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It must be true, because *I* think it’s obvious

If you were trying to identify a person unlikely to be a cunt, then probably the phrase “formerly Chief of Staff to David Cameron” would encourage you to look elsewhere. Reading Alex Deane’s work would tend to confirm your original prejudices.

According to Mr Deane:

[the death of Alexander Litvinenko] has also prompted some of the worst, most irritating dinner party chat I’ve ever been subjected to – and I say that after normally being the lone pro-Bush, pro-Iraq war voice at the table for the last three years.

So, he starts off with the admission that he normally spoils dinner parties by being a stupid, bloodthirsty cunt. He goes on to outline the various, more plausible and less plausible theories about what happened in the case, and concludes that:

It’s like the moon landing conspiracy – no matter how stupid, its proponents keep obstinately at it, until you’re at the dinner table bleeding from the eyeballs, wanting to run out into the streets, screaming the obvious and absolute truth – “The Russians did it! The Russians did it! The Russians did it!”

Either Mr Deane has access to some top-secret government files confirming what the fuck happened, or he’s an absolute dickhead. There are any number of plausible non-the-Russians-doing-it explanations that might be true and don’t include anything outrageously implausible (most obviously, the murder being done by a corrupt oligarch to make the Russians look bad and encourage Britain to not extradite him).
If I had to guess at this stage, I’d say that it seems most probably that the Russians did do it. But it’s not a case like the moon landings, where the evidence in favour is so overwhelming that only a drooling dope-addled clown could possibly doubt that they happened. Rather, it’s a case where we’re conducting a detailed investigation to find out what happened…

As it happens, I’ve managed to find a quote from Alex Deane’s great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, writing in 1692:

No matter how stupid, the trials’ opponents keep obstinately at it, until you’re at the dinner table bleeding from the eyeballs, wanting to run out into the streets, screaming the obvious and absolute truth – “They’re witches! All of them! And anyone who disagrees is a witch too!”.

A prise that just isn’t worth taking

Flying Rodent has some of the best comments: 

There is even talk of confiscating my collection of preserved body
parts. Needless to say, they’ll only get my cold dead hands when they
pry them from my cold dead hands.

On complicated Saudi business

If you don’t read Alex Harrowell, you’re a fool:

The TYR research staff recently did a simulation of Saudi Arabia
stopping oil exports, and we gave up at the point where the king was
lynched by a screaming mob.

Abolish the Post Office; viva the EU!

The Royal Mail is a complete waste of space, time and money. It operates a poor service at an extortionate price, protected from competition by competent people like DHL and FedEx by a legal monopoly.

Why do we tolerate this situation? Apparently, because of our fetish for post offices. Which is weird, because post offices are entirely unnecessary. Benefits can be paid by electronic transfer and stamps purchased from newsagents – the only reason for anyone sane to go to a post office now is because they need to send a parcel that’s not quite big or valuable enough to send by courier.

Now, if you’re an economic illiterate and a socialist (not necessarily the same thing), you’ll probably start bleating about the rural poor. Fair enough, it sucks to be poor, especially if you live in the theme park for rich retirees and richer commuters that is the English countryside. But poor ruralites need transport too – and we don’t deal with that need by running a taxi monopoly that charges the same price for all taxi journeys irrespective of length.

In other words, if we’re worried about the rural poor, we shouldn’t let that concern stop us from breaking the postal monopoly – rather, we should have a free market in mail and, separately, give subsidies to rural households that need them. This has the added advantage of not providing a pointless subsidy to wealthy ruralites.

It’s the same issue as with means-tested benefits versus basic state pensions: why the hell should someone with a £15,000 a year tax-free private pension and a paid-off mortgage on a comedically expensive house that they bought for fuck all get an additional £3,150 from my wages just for being old? If you apply broad-brush subsidy regimes like the Post Office and like the state pension, most of the impact will be to increase inefficiency, and very little will go to help the genuinely needy.

One of the best things about the EU is that it’s seriously opposed to state aid for industry and forces governments to not provide it, even when to do so would be popular. So the fact that it has told the government to reduce the pointless subsidy is excellent news. Weirdly, libertarian Europhobes like the Devil have abandoned their normal principles of hating government waste to eulogize the Post Office and slate the EU; I hope this is just a cynical political move rather than a sign of genuine economic idiocy.

Update: the EU hasn’t actually told the government to reduce the pointless subsidy. It’s an amazing and rare case of Labour doing something good and unpopular without external prompting…

Worst joke of the season

It’s a shame to see Jeff Skilling has finally been sent to jail – especially as it means he’s not going to be able to come to my Christmas party.

Then again, I only invited him to make up the numbers…

Ruthlessly stolen from elsewhere

Jokes about polonium will only be half as funny in 138 days’ time.

The finest whines available to humanity

I don’t always read the comments people leave here, particularly if I’m drunk or busy when they arrive. Since I’m drunk or busy most of the time, occasionally things that really ought to be removed slip through…

In the spring, I spotted a post on uk.local.london from a woman who will be referred to for the rest of this article as Ms X. She’d said some amusingly perjorative things about a gentleman named Steve Adeleke; I felt they deserved a wider audience (note: her post has now been removed from the Google cache, which means that either she’s retracted it or Mr Adeleke has threatened to sue…). It attracted a few comments from ladies angry at Mr Adeleke’s actions, but then a couple of gentlemen stepped in with the killer dope while I was drunk, busy and in Croatia…

[Ms X] From [city] ,You Are A Big Bastard Bitch [Ms X]
You Say this same story with me i’m also your EX BoyFriend i Live also in Poland same city like you, everyone should run away from this woman almost 4 man same story everytime to collect money from Man she collect 2000zlot,from me you are NOT PREAGNAT YOU ARE A BIG LIAR SHOW OUT YOUR SELF IF YOU PREGNAT SHOW it to the PUBLIC that you are PREGNANT, BIG LIAR LIAR LIAR [Ms X] from [address].
Keep out for this Internet killer Bitch she use this way to get money from Man THIEF THIEF THIEF
you will never get anyman here in Poland anymore everyone Know her so Good in Poland Watch Out For HER PLEASE [Ms X] BASTARD BITCH

Followed by (from a different IP, conspiracy fans):

[Ms X], YOU ARE BIG LIAR AND BIG INTERNET BITCH!
my name kasia,i’m from [city] poland.
i know about this lie this woman write in this internet page this is wrong information she only meet this man 2time and she only want his Money,she never preagnant or something like that,i know this woman she married 2 time’s already. she send mafia to kill one of her EX husband girl friend, she terrible woman please this woman danger dont near HER please!! i know her very good she live’s at [address].
please beware of this woman she’s internet mafia and she like to open with diffrent name and Photos in internet only to have money from mens.and tell them she preagnat to collect money from them.she’s BITCH she fuck under age Boys here in [city] she sick in her Head,she is disgrace of herself and all of us polish lady. please tell anyone should watch out for this woman she have 2dogs
she dont have no life only liar liar to collect money from man.
this is my Advice to all of you read this fact page BEWARE of HER.

Obviously, if I’d noticed these comments I would have deleted them – or rather, I’d’ve done the same thing I’m doing now, keeping the amusing bits and deleting the stalker-friendly bits. The reason I’m doing this now is because Ms X yesterday pointed the relevant comments out and asked for them to be deleted.

However, the reason I suspect the allegations may be not-entirely-undeserved and that Mr Adeleke’s allegations may be at-least-slightly-undeserved is by Ms X’s methodology for arranging the deletion: she posted the same cryptic comment, which didn’t identify either her or the article I was supposed to be looking at, on a random selection of six old PDF posts.

Being conscientious, I tried and failed to work out what on earth she was talking about for some time, then emailed the address she’d left on the comment to ask her for clarification. I also said that if she could point me towards any personally identifying information about her, then I’d be happy to get rid of it. But being, apparently, “BIG INTERNET BITCH”, Ms X decided that instead of replying to my email, she’d contact my ISP saying she was going to sue me for libel and harrassment.

So Ms X joins Neil Clark and Phil Dilks in the PDF official “I’m going to thue and thue til I’m thick, becauthe you’re a nathty man and I don’t like you” thatheth. And Steve Adeleke wins an official PDF apology. Mate, if you put up with Ms X even for long enough to get her up the duff and run away, you don’t need random people on the Internet slating you as well…

Words to strike terror into the heart of anyone

“And coming up now on More4, Germaine Greer and Melanie Phillips talk to David Starkey”. Yes, this really happened tonight…

Why the fuck have we regressed to the level of six-year-olds?

When a child complains excessively about some injustice, a good parent’s response will generally include the maxim that “life isn’t fair”. Because it isn’t: through the sheer workings of bad luck, bad things happen to people who don’t deserve them.

And even if the relevant bad thing could have been averted if someone else had acted differently, this doesn’t move the relevant act from being a horrible accident to the second person being morally responsible for the bad thing.

Unfortunately, although anyone with an age and/or IQ over ten is aware of these maxims, The Authorities increasingly aren’t. One obvious recent example is the utterly appalling decision to impose prison sentences for causing death by careless driving. This does not mean getting blind drunk and then driving at 150mph, or even driving while eating a sandwich. It means driving like most drivers do most of the time, but being unlucky enough to have been caught up in a fatal accident that would not have happened if you’d driven better than most drivers do most of the time.

Another is the sad-but-really-really-fucking-obviously-accidental death of Vietnamese student Vu Quang Hoang Tu. Some teenage boys were messing around on a Tube platform, chasing each other around; one fell over as a train entered the station; the boy fell into Mr Tu (or possibly Mr Vu – sorry, I can’t remember which way round Vietnamese names go); both went under the train. Mr Tu died; the boy survived with serious injuries.

In saner times, this would have been viewed as a tragic accident (and possibly as the basis for a gory Public Information Film). Since we live in a society with no concept of bad luck, the boys are currently out on police bail on suspicion of murder. For fuck’s sake…