Friday, August 29, 2003

A great man

Campbell goes. My own feelings about him are mixed -- while he's clearly an unpleasant person whose commitment to democracy is pretty non-existent, one has to remember the environment in which he worked -- that of the Tory tabloid press -- probably requires such tactics. The irony of course is he'll be remembered for having a big spat at the BBC on Ch.4 news.

Poujadism

I've not seen much on the blogosphere about the death of French politician Pierre Poujade. Here's his Guardian obituary.

Nothing new

Just in case one was to think the slightly heated atmosphere in the higher circles of government which the Hutton Inquirty has exposed, compares badly with the calm reassurance of the permanent civil service in earlier times, here is a classic of advice during the Suez Crisis.

"The tenor of debate at the time is illustrated by the attitude of Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, Permanent Under-Secretary at the FO and thus supposedly a source of calm and expert advice. Kirkpatrick told one doubter that 'the PM was the only man in England who wanted the nation to survive; that all the rest of us have lost the will to live; that in two years' time Nasser will have deprived us of our oil, the sterling area fallen apart, no European defence possible, unemployment and unrest in the UK and our standard of living reduced to that of the Yugoslavians or Egyptians.'"

Can there ever be a decent right?

Looking for news stories about Ted Heath's hopitalization I stumbled across this pleasant site, the home of the National Association of Ted Heath burners. In their own words,

"we are calling for : The UK to withdraw from the European Union, Ted Heath's knighthood to be removed, Ted Heath to be tried and Hung, Drawn and Quartered for high treason, deception and fraud."

Well that's nice.

Also, if being the PM who took the UK into the EU is considered High Treason, what on earth would these people call a website that is dedicated to calling for the legal execution of a former British prime minister? Oh, humour, I get it.

Can there ever be a decent right?

ps I realise I am breaking my pledge to be nice a couple of posts below. So may I add that such people are only patriots who have a slightly misguided view of what constitutes treason, and in any case are only adding some colour to an ever-greyer world.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Paul Krugman

What is it about Paul Krugman that some of the American right hate so much? To read some of their stuff you would think he was some horny-handed socalist hell bent on destroying the US.

I thnk the main reason is he is usually spot on in his criticims, and he brings an awesome intellectual backing to them. His new book, which is his NYT columns plus some new material looks as if it will be good. Krugman says 'trust me, the intro in particular will have the Washington Post editorial board accusing me of paranoia'.

Nice blog

There's only so far one can take a blog based on nasty, smart-assed comments about other people's sites, and for now (well at least a week) I think I have taken it as far as it will go. For the next week then the gimmick on this site is that it's going to be nice. It'll have nice posts, nice references, nice links, and even nice arguments. I will look for something encouraging in everything. No-one can be too extreme for me.

An Equatorial Guinea mentally incompetent half-brained ranter

A guy called Charles Copeland has more nice things to say about me on Cuthie's site!

"My suggestion re the Matthew problem: give the guy the silent treatment - he doesn't possess the cognitive competence needed to discuss 'affirmative action' (i.e. discrimination against Whites, Jews, Chinese. etc.) at any level above that of name-calling. Ignore him -- let him rant until what's left of his brain falls out.

Life's too short to waste on 'debating' with the mentally incompetent. Where's he from? Equatorial Guinea? "

Some of them are nice

It is customary on the blogosphere before this type of post to issue a warning about it being a boring and confusing inter-blog dispute, but if you don't like those you probably shouldn't be at this site, which specialises in them.

Anyway, Natalie Solent responds (indirectly) to my post below wrongly accusing her of racism, taking refuge in the old line of 'someone has to say it'. To be honest the post isn't much better than her previous one, with some classic touches such as the phrase 'informed black opinion' (that's the black opinion that agrees with her, naturallly). She quotes Martiin Luther King (an informed black) as if that ends the debate, despite the fact that we clearly aren't in the world he dreamt about, which is why we have affirmative action programmes.

Some progress has been made, as she now says she was only talking about a subsection of the black population. And yet I'll quote her original article again:

"This truth is often denied, but you watch the loudest deniers choose which tube carriage to get into late at night and you will get an education. Even black women will avoid a group of young black men. Imagine the tragedy of a black mother who watches her son go from being a lovable kid to being one of those rowdy, threatening youths. "

There's nothing qualifying the 'those rowdy threatening youths' except that they are 'black, young, men'. However if I misunderstood what she was trying to say then that's all well and good.

Essentially however the point of our disagreement is that Solent believes that black youths try less hard at school because they don't think they'll need qualifications because everything will be made easier for them. I think that's a load of Horlicks.

ps Oh Cuthies involved too! He thinks I'm ingenious! He writes (to Solent) "What I find truly ingenious about the post is the way he manages to interpret every piece of evidence in the post that you are not a racist as confirming his views, all being part of a cover-up scheme."

pps Incidentally, on the bit where she says I misrepresented her as saying 'punished for getting lower grades' she's entirely right, and I apologise. I was merely trying to cut down on words, and did so rather unfortunately.

ppps I made a slight edit to this post as it was unnecessarily snippy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Uk heat deaths

The UK may have had between 500 and 900 early deaths due to the heatwave. This pales into comparison with the estimated near 10,000 in France, but is still pretty bad. Let's hope the UK gets more sympathy from right-wing US bloggers than France did, where they seemed to think it was all a trick to lower the uniqueness of September 11th (don't ask me how they came to this conclusion). As Matthew Ygleisas has noted in a different context, 'Can there ever be a decent Right?'.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

78% support licence fee

A poll in the Sunday Telegraph found that,

"the overwhelming majority of voters - 78 per cent - said there should be no change in the BBC's status as a public broadcasting service funded by the compulsory licence fee"

This is not really surprising unless you spend too much time perusing right-wing British, and curiously American, blogs. Most Britons believe 2 a week per household is good value for money for what they get.

I even think that the introduction of cable and Sky tv in the UK has probably made the public more accepting of the licence fee. In the pre-Sky days you could easily contrast the BBC (60 pounds a year) with ITV and Ch.4 (free to air). Nowadays many familes are happily paying upwards of 400 pounds a year for Sky (I pay about 42 a month) which puts the 100 licence fee into perspective. Indeed to get another cable box for a different TV costs more than the licence fee, which covers all televisions within a home.

An apology

Paul from Canada comments on a comment I left on Peter Cuthbertson's site during a debate about British black youths. He notes that I failed to criticize cannibalism in Africa.

"Those like Matthew are so racist that they must think that Africans are animals who certainly cannot change their behaviour, so why bother to try. They hold fellow whites to a higher standard... I know the Irish are considered by some to be drunken inferiors by some English...but if the Irish were eating each other I think it would cause some outrage in the Guardian. But cannibalism in Africa is met with racist silence by Matthew "

My apology. I didn't - Paul is right. Let me once and for all put it on the record, 'I do not support cannibalism in Africa - it is something we need to understand a little less and condemn a little more'. In future if I forget to stress my opposition to eating our fellow human beings, as I did in the post below on house prices, please don't take it as tacit support. If you want to tuck into other humans you can, but not in my name.

Monday, August 25, 2003

House prices

Wandering around Notting Hill made me think of another good reason to vote Conservative. Cheaper houses for the working man. This is good for me as I want to buy a house, and you can always rely on the Conservatives to bring prices down. In the first two years of John Major's government prices fell by 15%, which with inflation at between 11% and 4% represents a real fall of about 25%. The first two years of Thatcher saw prices rise by 14%, but Thatcher managed to get soaring inflation of 30% over that period, so saw real declines of 16% (her last two years were far worse -- 20%+ nominal fall, 30%+ real fall).

Hence when IDS takes over (hopefully earlier than in the four years he is predicting) we can safely expect another decline in real terms of about 20%. As inflation will only be about 4% over that period we can expect nominal declines of 16%. This should take the average London house from 210,000 pounds to under 180,000.

Not our fault

Matthew Yglesias, whose blog is my favourite American politics one, has a nice repost to the great Glenn Reynolds,

"Glenn Reynolds complains that in Iraq "whatever happens, it's always America's fault." The thing about this is that's what happens when you invade a country and occupy it with your military forces. "

He also links to what should be a good Middle East site, by Juan Cole.

It's too easy for the rowdy, threatening youths

I've just returned from the Notting Hill carnival, an event in which a large part of those attending were black youths, which must make it 'libertarian' blogger Natalie Solent's idea of hell. In a recent post (I'm not going to link to her site), she had this to say about black youths in Britain.

"Because the biggest problem facing black people in Britain (and the US) is crime by other blacks. This truth is often denied, but you watch the loudest deniers choose which tube carriage to get into late at night and you will get an education. Even black women will avoid a group of young black men. Imagine the tragedy of a black mother who watches her son go from being a lovable kid to being one of those rowdy, threatening youths. Eventually her fear for him may well turn into fear of him. "

Now unless I am reading it wrong she thinks all 'group[s] of young black men' are 'rowdy, threatening youths' who even may (she allows a 'may' here) frighten their mothers.

It gets worse, but first it gets bizarre. Solent believes that an incentive against anti-social behaviour is 'Get a good job and you can marry the girl of your choice.' But welfare has removed this link, and so now men don't need to get a good job to get a 'good girl'. So they don't bother to get the job. This is fascinating take on the whole subject of dating and marriage, and presumably must impact all the way up the job market, until investment bankers find that the black teenagers on social security have nabbed all the attractive women.

Now it gets worse . The problems faced by young black youths are basically because THEY HAVE IT TOO EASY. I'm not making it up. Solent says,

'Although the rising generation may never explicitly make the calculation "I don't have to work so hard because I'm black," that is the message that will filter down through the millions of little allusions, jokes, observations and examples that make up each individual life experience. And of course, many of them do explicitly make that calculation.' This, Solent adds, means black youths 'cannot fail to be dimly aware that they are sadder, cruder, less accomplished and complete people than they might have been.'

Now that someone intelligent can believe any of this is pretty stunning. It sounds like a comic-book impersonation of the Daily Telegraph from about 1952, and indeed manages to come up with all the lines you expect in this sort of thing (it even manages to get that usual trick where the writer decides she knows what black leaders of the past would have thought -- 'If their ancestors, who wore their black respectability with fierce pride and strove for black education with all their might could see them now'). I suppose we should at least be glad that Solent didn't feel the need to laud the achievements of black Britons which we would have all read waiting the inevitable 'but'.

There's not really much to add. What can you say to someone who actually believes that black youths do less well at school than other youths because they expect to get all the good jobs when they are older, and anyway if they don't they will enjoy a life of luxury on the State, which will in turn get them all the 'nice' girls?

My main concern is whether this absurd view of the challenges and problems facing black youths is not just that of a small corner of the blogosphere, but instead represents mainstream right opinion. I fear it probably does.

Apparently?

Does anyone know why Sky News says Dr David Kelly 'apparently killed himself'? I though there had been an inquest and it had returned a verdict of suicide. Is there some legal process still to go?

Saturday, August 23, 2003

The benefits of membership

According to Duncers.

1. A vote in the election for leader.
2. A vote in the selecton of candidates for Westminister and Europe
3. Representation on governing board.
4. A vote on key policy ideas.
5. A cote in the election of constituency officers.
6. The chance to attend party conference.
7. Acecss to an Ethics and Integrity Committee.
8. A range of benefits including Conservative Heartland magazine.

All the voting ones won't be applicable until three months, or the 10th of November.

IAIN DUNCAN SMITH BELIEVES LABOUR WILL WIN THE NEXT ELECTION

Honest. It's right here in my memership 'pack'*. He says,

"The Conservative Party now faces a tremendous task. Over the next four years we have to provide principled and effective opposition...and dealing with the deceptions of the Liberal Democrats'

I guess he expects an election in May 2005, resulting in a Labour victory with a small majority, which will stagger on into 2007, before he takes the reins and saves us. What honesty!



* One sheet of A4.

I'm a member

I'm a member of the Conservative and Union...oh they seem to have dropped that bit. Anyway I'm a member of the Conservative Party, A72141, for a whole year!

I'm a little disappointed about the quality of the membership card, which looks like something you'd get if you joined your local library in 1978, but let's not quibble at this momentous time.

I will report back about the benefits in a second.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Children of the world unite!

At first I thought the right-wing of the UK blogosphere had erupted into civil war, with prolix blogger Oliver Kamm seemingly taking on teen prodigy Peter Cuthbertson.

"Children need to indulge in fantasy, and there are great works of children's literature that encourage the exercise of imaginative flights. It is morally wrong to transfer that appetite for fantasy to political activism; it's bad for the children most of all. What you'll end up with is an intellectually impoverished set of haranguers who lack any awareness of how to manage competing claims to scarce resources or reconcile conflicting values. "

But no. In fact I had got entirely the wrong point. Kamm actually was saying that children shouldn't be allowed to take political stances because they can't conceptually understand trade-offs, and this materialises not because they end up crazed-Thatcherites, but because they will be too LEFT-WING.

"We therefore, in politics and economics, make trade-offs. Children don't have the conceptual equipment to grasp this. They want only good things; it would be unnatural if they didn't. Children who imagine that's a political stance, however, ought not to be flattered. They want peace, and don't see that war to overthrow a bellicose tyrant is sometimes preferable. They want forgiveness of Third World debt, and don't see that developing countries' cost of capital would thereby rise and damage the living standards of the poor. They want to protect the Earth, and don't see that global controls on pollution make it harder for the Third World to lift itself out of poverty, or that environmental protection is a preference, to be assessed in terms of its benefits and costs relative to other public goods, and not a moral imperative."

Now aside from the fact that Kamm's tradeoffs are questionable (Does foregivness of third world debt lead to higher interest rates? I can see (although the evidence is mixed) how repudiation of one's debts could increase their future interest rate, but forgiveness?)), is it really the case that children are left-wing? I'd imagine children's political views are less uniform than Kamm thinks, and much less left-wing.

For example, from what I remember of my own schooldays, children seem to be too unquestioning of authority, anti-European, rather too proud of Britain's world achievements, overly symphathetic to the view that success is always earned, that taxes should be lower and that the Royal Family is a Good Thing.

A-Levels and Universities

This is a general rant, not brought on by any particular source. My complaint is the seemingly widespread belief that a university place is a reward for getting good A-Levels. Of course it isn't (or shouldn't be). University places should be allocated on the basis of potential to do well at university, of which A-Levels are clearly an important predicitive value (though some would say not a very good one).

Understanding this simple point makes many debates, such as those about access to higher education, easier to understand. It is very likely that getting 5 A-grade A-Levels (or a B and a D if you are Prince Harry) from a very academic and well-resourced school is a less good prediction of how you will do at university than getting 5 A-grade A-Levels from a 'bog-standard' comprehensive.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

A hurricane in a drop of water

Is how MaxSpeak describes blogging in an interesting article. Max says that blogging isn't that important, noting that;

"The drop of water analogy seems apt, when you consider that the greatest blogger of them all -- Glenn Reynolds -- is utterly unknown outside his and our small corner of the Web. I'd be amazed if one person in my office, an otherwise literate and informed group, had ever heard of him"

In Britain of course only bloggers have heard of Glenn Reynolds, which is not particularly surprising as I doubt very many people in Britain could name any American journalist. But even if there was a British Glenn Reynolds Max's point would hold.

Max;s conclusion is perhaps a little stronger than I would have put it,

"Many blogs, from both left and right, are full of interesting, well-informed intellectual discussions. But my view is that for something to really count, it has to be on paper. It's still not quite real otherwise"

but looking around my office I can't help but think he's probably right.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Unlike the Liberal Democrats?!

Proof at last!

Dear Matthew

Thank you for joining the Conservative Party. Your membership card and other details will be
sent to you within the next 28 days.

With the help of people like you, the Conservative Party is rebuilding its strength. We already
have more members than the Labour Party. We are the largest party in local government in both
district and county councils.

Iain Duncan Smith, Leader of the Party, has pledged an effective opposition to this Government
that will campaign on the issues that really matter to people - such as the state of their
public services, health, education and the environment.

In their first term, Labour failed to deliver on its promises. There will be no room for excuses
second time round. We will hold the Government to account and keep them to their commitments.
Unlike the Liberal Democrats, we will stand up to Labour when it matters.

The Conservative Party has a vital role to play now and in the future. Thank you for helping us
fulfil that role. Your support is very much appreciated.

Extrapolative Madness

I doubt many readers here also go to Steven Den Beste's page, so I thought I'd just share with you this classic of what D^2 called 'extrapolative lunacy' . It's Den Beste musing (2709 words) on the future of Europe.

"We can't discount the possibility that in fifty years the EU and most existing national governments in Europe will be gone, replaced by a new Fascist dictatorship, which among other things chooses to make the investment in a modern military and which hopes to use it in yet another round of world conquest.

And we might not be able to interfere before this point, because France has nuclear weapons. Even though Europe won't have the ability to threaten us using conventional forces for the next few decades, they do have the ability to threaten us with nuclear conflagration. Of course, if they nuked us we'd also nuke them, but the threat of it means that we might not be able to significantly interfere to prevent the rise of a new Europe-wide Fascist state, which could follow historical patterns and become militaristic and expansionist.


Polls

Here is my attempt to graph all this year's opinion polls (except a New of the World Mori poll, which was done under a different methodology than their others, and which got a completely different result). Clearly the Labour lead has been evaporating, with the Tories the main gainer on two polling companies (and slight gainers on the other two's data), while the Lib Dems, after a bad start to the war, have been basically stable. I didn't show the others for clarity, but they've gone up slightly too.

Note that each polling company has only done about one poll a month (YouGov a few more) and the graph should be a bar chart not a line chart, but I've interpolated the data between polls to make it clearer. The key should show you which polling company is represented by each line, but basically Lab are red, the Tories blue and the Libs yellow, with the same variation to represent each poling company (i.e. dashed line, or squares etc).

Here I did a rolling average of the last 4 polls. One should be a litte careful here, that it's not weighted probably matters little as the polls sample sizes were sijmilar, but it also looks at the most recent 4 poll regardless of company, so its possible some data contains the same company's polls twice, which would distort the figures somewhat.

Here Anthony Wells takes you through the ways in which each poll is conducted

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Recommendations

Via the gladly-welcomed back Virtual Stoa I can heartily recommend a blog by Mark Mulholland . His book on Northern Ireland also looks worth a read.

Congratualations to Prince Harry

Although A-Levels are so easy these days the newspapers now have no problems finding a student to photograph who is both a) an extremely attractive blonde girl and b) has five A grades, our ruling family still seems to have their problems.

In a school where the average pupil gets nearly 4 A grade A-Levels, Prince Harry got a 'B' and a 'D'. This is worse than his father, who got a B and a C which somehow got him into Cambridge. William, our future ruler, did rather well by comparision, with three A-Levels, an A, B and C.

I'll scratch your back and you...

Suspicious. Peter Cuthbertson praises The Guardian Monday, then the Guardian diary returns the compliment Tuesday. Is Peter actually a Guardian journalist in disguise?

Actually it's a pretty good Guardian. Aside from the above, it mentions Mark Kleiman (not in a blogging capacity though), and has an interesting opinion poll. I'm not sure what can be made of a question 'Who do you trust more?' (between the government and the BBC) which has the answer 'both' and 'neither', but the voting intention figures show Labour increasing its lead from 3% to 5% (37,32,22). This is very different from the YouGov polls, and suggests one of them is getting it wrong.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Are they really that stupid?

Political heavyweight Joan Collins lays into the euro today saying that it has made the cost of living on the Cote d'Azur 30% higher. She then gives two examples, which actually show a 40% increase, 'dinner at the village bistro, which used to cost 10, is now 14'. Worse still, the pair of shoes that cost '25 now costs 35'.

Now putting aside the difficulty one has in believing Joan Collins buys shoes that are 25, or eats meals that are 10, her comments echo those of Rod Liddle -- the thinking man's Tory* -- who said that prices had risen by up to -- you've guessed it --30% due to the euro.

This seems strange. The inflation rate of the Euro-area countries has risen by about 3% since euro notes and coins were introduced in 2002 (which is what I assume they are referring to given prior to that most goods were still priced in national currencies). Yet Collins' and Liddle's inflation rate has been ten times as much!

What is going on?

The simplest explanation would be that the goods Collins and Liddle buy are not representative of the population at large. This could be true -- they probably as holiday makers spend more on services which tend to have a higher inflation rate. Yet service inflation in the Eurozone has not been 20% a year over the last 18 months, and in any case we know that Collins spends her money on meals out and cheap shoes. So this can't be the explanation.

And then I realised. Collins doesn't understand that Sterling IS NOT THE CURRENCY OF THE EURO AREA. Hence they are quoting prices in pounds. And sterling has fallen against the euro by 17% since Jan 1 2002. Add in 3% inflation, and you get a 20% increase in sterling terms. Not quite 30%, but the final 10% would be relatively easy to explain by reference to changing relative prices. Liddle makes reference to local currency prices, but I think he's really suffering from the same illusion.

So let's think about the implications of this if I'm right. A former editor of Today and associate editor of the Spectator, and...well and Joan Collins...both are blaming the euro for the rising sterling price of European holidays, when of course the exact opposite is true -- it is our failure to be a member of the euro which leads to prices in sterling of imports (for this is what they are) being more expensive. Truly bizarre.

* It seems years ago now, but do you remember when the right were up in arms about Rod Liddle's editorship of Today? Then again that was back in the days when the BBC was New Labour's poodle, or fifth column, or armed wing, or whatever.

Oh yes, they were right after all

I won't bore you with details of my holiday (in the South of France) except to say that the right's view of France -- a socialist rich-hating enemy of personal liberty (ok... it never gets quite that sophisticated but you know what I mean) is pretty spot on the mark. Watching the Lamborghinis and Ferraris driving down La Croissette in Cannes I noted how the French feel they have to be ashamed of their wealth and pretend to be poor, whilst drinking wine on the beach at 10am I had time to ponder on their hatred of personal liberty. Don't get me started on their cheese-eating surrender monkey status, which was made all to clear to me at the Musse de l'Armee in Paris on my way back home.

On a more timely note Time magazine (Europe) has a fascinating series of photos (Europe 'Then and Now') showing the same place in Europe, and from the same angle, historically and today. The photos are also on exhibition in the National Theatre from today.

Finally this has been the longest period of time I was without an internet connection (you should see how much hotels charge to get online -- 30 euros an hour in Monte Carlo...), and I've been amazed how little interest I can get in blog entries of more than a few days old, even on sites I like. Yet I still want to read last week's Economist. What does that tell us?

ps there will be no prizes for anyone who comments 'it tells us that you are a very sad man indeed'.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Holiday

I'm off to France tomorrow for a week so there'll be no posts unless I get really bored.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

He started it

The question everyone is asking is of course, is Oliver Kamm the British Steven Den Beste? Those who argue 'yes' would point to his length of post, the clear evidence that he has nothing else to do but blog, his bizarre belief that destroying straw-men constitutes an argument and so on. Those who should 'no' would point out that he seems reasonably well informed on events in the 1970s, 1980s and even the early 1990s.

It's difficult to decide. Luckily there's a way out. Most of the stuff that you actually learn from OK (or is that ODeK?) can be found in his Amazon.com book reviews. The rest, e.g. the ludicrous attack on Ryan, or the hysterical obsession with the 'Liberal Democratness' of Nick Barlow is best left to the men in white coats.

As a fully paid-up member of the Conservative Party, I of course would expect nothing more from a Labour party 'brother'. Yet for some reason I still hope for something better than a cut&paste Daily Mail-style political debate (or in OdeK's case I guess a cut&paste from Amazon.com which was cut&paste from the Daily Mail) especially given when he tries hard, he can sometimes be interesting.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I should apologise for the lack of posts. With my new membership of the Conservative Party I thought I would take up residence over the summer at Conservative Commentary. It should be noted this wasn't one of those new-fangled blog-sharing things, not was it even with the permission of the owner. Nor in fact was I actually blogging -- I just spent the time making smart-assed comments in the comments box to an entry on immigration.

I will try to say something interesting by Friday. In the meantime, for those who are interested in an easily accessible economic article on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the European economies both among themselves, and compared with other large economic blocs I recommend
What's wrong with Europe.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Clear Blue Water - the new site design

One of the strangest things about the UK political blogosphere is the number of people who say they are 'left-wing' or Labour supporters, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Oliver Kamm is perhaps the best example, but there's also Stephen Pollard and countless others.

Why do they do it? Obviously it's an attempt to get credibility -- 'yes I sound like Norman Tebbit on speed, but as I'm left wing it's merely the harsh reality of a man who's realised the truth -- and that truth is a vision of society much like the US Republican party's', but I imagine also it's a comfort blanket as Labour are the governing party. Put another way, how many of them would remain Labour supporters if the party was in opposition? Finally, at least in the part of London I live in, membership of the Conservative Party is pretty incompatible with having friends.

Probably because of that reason there are few examples of the other way around -- left-wingers who say they are actually Conservative supporters. Well I don't have any friends, so I thought I would make a stand. From now on I am a right-wing Conservative party supporter. I have sent my 15 off to the party, and expect to be a full member by the end of the week.

The advantages are clear. I can now criticize their policies with the zeal of a man-let-down, a true-believer who has seen the error of his ways. I get to shake my head in sorrow each time they advocate a right-wing policy. I GET TO VOTE ON IDS'S REPLACMENT. Fun times ahead.