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Manifesto

I think Ken should be allowed to make silly boorish remarks.
I think David Irving should be allowed to tell lies.
I think Danish newspapers should be allowed to publish cartoons of Mohammed.

(from someone in Harry’s comments, worryingly)

D’you Ken?

I don’t really have anything to say about the demented end to the Ken-Evening Standard debacle. Well, not anything that won’t incite ludicrous cunts to try and ruin my life, just as they’ve tried to ruin his.

(for those of you who don’t understand the last paragraph, move along, there’s nothing to see here).

Yes, it’s more Tube geekery

If you’re bored of and enraged by political idiocy, this is an elegant diversion. Hooray for novelty Underground maps!

More entertaining than Lloyd-Webber

At a time when anti-semitism is on the rise, tolerating Holocaust denial is like allowing a man to shout fire in a crowded theatre” – David Cesarani

Hmm. There’s no evidence that antisemitism is on the rise; this has become a right-wing talking point despite its utter lack of support. Antisemitic incidents fell in the UK last year, even based on figures issued by a very paranoid organisation (and out of 455 ‘incidents’, over 300 featured people saying mean things or printing nasty leaflets. That’s fewer mean things than were said about Ian Blair over the same time period, never mind about the Scousers or the Muslims).

But the really annoying thing is the use of the “fire in a crowded theatre” metaphor. No, this is wrong: if you shout fire in a crowded theatre, you will start a stampede and people will die, but if you say that there was no Holocaust, you will not start a stampede and people will not die. You won’t even start a metaphorical stampede, as might be the case if you were to tell your audience to rise up and kill Jews.

The fire/theatre and kill-the-Jews statements are clearly in the same class. Statements like “there was no Holocaust” or “Mohammed was a nonce” are clearly in a different class. Anyone who uses the fire in a crowded theatre analogy to justify outlawing the latter class of statement is either stupid or dishonest, and should preferably be set on fire in a crowded theatre.

Postman in ‘is idiot’ shock

Postal trade unionist writes article against post office competition. World amazed.

The most annoying thing is the economic illiteracy of the article. Yes, there may be some social value in offering a universal post service that involves subsidies to rural communities. No, the most efficient way to fund this is obviously not by levying an opaque tax on urban letter-writers (the current cross-subsidy model). Rather, the subsidies should be made explicit and paid out of general taxation – then we’ll know how much we’re paying, and whether it’s worthwhile.

Cross-subsidy of unprofitable state-sector businesses by profitable state-sector businesses is a Bad Thing, precisely because you can’t quantify the cost or benefits of the subsidy. And this has absolutely nothing to do with left-wing or right-wing views on levels of government provision.

Irving joke

I imagine an important element of the punishment will involve the guards responding to Irving’s complaints about being in prison with “No, you’re not.”

(from this, here).

I’ve got to stop reading warblogs

These people are genuinely paranoically delusional. Fucking chill out!

(and yes, linking to the last post is slightly unfair: the guy’s an autistic, paranoid, war-supporting BNP member who believes Melanie Phillips’ writings on MMR, so taking the piss out of him is rather like machine-gunning a barrel of pickled herrings).

Shorter Condi Rice on Hamas

Only the Americans are allowed to do terror and politics at the same time. If you’re not the imperial power, you’ve got to choose. And we might still kill you anyway.”