Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More FrontPage writers

Bloody hell. This could be the worst yet. Another one of David Horowitz's writers, Laurence Auster, writes (not on FrontPage) chillingly (my emphasis):

I’m not primarily interested in helping the French find ways to cut the Muslim birthrate, a type of social engineering the outcome of which is very uncertain. Rather, I’m interested in the French finding ways to remove the Muslims from France. Once they’re out of France, the French won’t have to worry about their birthrate; or, at least, their birthrate will no longer represent an immediate internal threat to the state, as it now does. I know that the idea of removing Muslims from France sounds absurd and inconceivable. But in 1900 or 1945 the idea that France and Europe would admit a mass influx of their historic mortal enemies was inconceivable. Yet the inconceivable happened, didn't it? If the inconceivably bad can happen, the inconceivably beneficial can happen too.

Tory National Service

David Cameron it appears wants to bring back a non-military form of compulsory "national service". He won't of course, as he would lose about a million votes.

Apparently from a conversation with his father's generation he is under the impression it was popular.


The BBC reports:

The more creative a person is, the more sexual partners they are likely to have, UK investigators have found.

If you change the word 'have' to 'claim to have', it all makes a lot more sense.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Henry Jackson Society

With regard to the above, it's interesting that their list of signatories (which includes Stephen 'invade Spain' Pollard!) to a list of principles that includes an attack of the Bosnia policy of the mid-1990s includes Michael Ancram. Ancram's position in Bosnia was the same as Douglas Hurd's (Hansard, 19th April 1993):

Mr. Michael Ancram (Devizes) : Does my right hon. Friend agree that the situation in Bosnia is anything but simple and that, although Serbs are committing appalling atrocities against Muslims, at the same time Muslims and Croats are committing appalling atrocities against each other, sometimes under the nose of the British forces? Does my right hon. Friend therefore agree that our response should ultimately be based on a balance of moral imperatives and that, while positive military intervention might, in the short term, prevent some of the atrocities taking place, in the longer term it could threaten a wider and even bloodier civil war throughout the region and that it should be considered only as a last resort?

Mr. Hurd : My hon. Friend has the balance quite right. We must take account of events where the cameras are not. The heaviest fighting in the past day or so has been between Muslims and Croats. This is very relevant to the suggestion that the arms embargo should be partly lifted ; we must take that into account. We must take into account the very fragile situation in Croatia where a truce is just holding and where the UN forces are in substantial operational difficulty. Those are the kinds of thing that do not come into the headlines or into the news bulletins day after day and night after night, but they are part of the total picture. If we took action to deal with the situation

ps The debate is here. Perhaps George Galloway should take Ancram's place?

More Carol Gould

On the Brazilian man shot dead by the Police:

(When I learned of his profession I could not help thinking of the nickname of the sleazy character immortalised by Jonathan Pryce in ‘Miss Saigon

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Norman Johnson attracts the ire of MediaLens

Even though he's a spoof. Or is he? Cue music.

I read the papers so you don't have to!

The previous Iraqi PM declares that abuse under the current regime is as bad as it was under Saddam

There will be no prosecutions over the shooting of Charles de Menezes

David Cameron says former Conservative Party deputy-Chairman and Mayoral candidate Jeffry Archer will not be allowed to return to politics

Will Michael Portillo make a return to front-line politics? The Mirror claims he is having an affair with a woman 21 yrs his junior.

Royal Marines are violent and unpleasant men, the News of the World reveals.

Blair says memo about bombing al-jazeera is a 'conspiracy theory'

There was something about the IRA and a window of one of their victims, but I can't find it again.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Christmas Bestseller

With just ten days to go in the leadership election there was suddenly a groundswell of public support across the Kingdom, the like of which had not been seen before, in favour of a third candidate, the millionaire novelist and philanthropist, Jeffrey Archer. Unwilling and reluctant to take the job he was persuaded by his beautiful and loyal wife Mary and the demands of millions of his countrymen. After a short consultation with the Conservative Party in the country David Cameron, the previous front-runner, decided to stand aside out of his desire for party unity and the knowledge he was going to be easily defeated. After a week in office the new Conservative leader decided to stand in a by-election for the Commons after the MP for Finchley had suddenly decided to quit. Elected by 90,000 votes, the highest individual vote for an MP ever recorded in British politics, he returned to the Commons triumphant. Panic set in amongst the Cabinet, who begged the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to go to the Palace and ask the Queen to sack them and appoint Jeffrey Archer. Archer, a democrat to the core, thought the process at risk of sounding illegitimate and announced a snap election which was held on Christmas Day. The results were a revelation -- Archer's new Conservative Party took 46% of the votes, the highest share in electoral history, and 397 seats, the most in history. As Prime Minister Archer's reign, which was to last 10 years -- the longest in history - was considered the best in Britain's last 1000 years, with Winston Churchill's granddaughter confirming it live on television. His time in office was sure and just: beginning with the Daily Mirror Reperations Act and ending with the Ken Livingstone String-em-Up Act.

Friday, November 25, 2005

On Edgware Road

Decent-left* favourite Carol Gould (who famously believes that, if you are Jewish, living in London in 2002 was like living in 1930s Nazi Germany) has been on a trip down Edgware Road, and naturally has a terrible time. Melanie Phillips declares it dark days for Britain.

* Actually it's possible that Carol Gould is not such a Decent favourite after this piece, in which she says the country has 'never looked so much like Nazi Germany' than after the arrest of Walter Wolfgang, which given her early comments is pretty damning.


I think Simon Jenkins has been good since he moved to the Guardian. Today's column on the government's decision to grant an amnesty to former terrorists is certainly thought-provoking.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Those defeatist, betraying, Decents

In a bizarre article in the Guardian (not online for some reason) Washington Times columnist Tony Blankley tells us that Congress is indulging in the politics of national defeat with the stench of defeatism.

Harking back to 1974 he reminds us that "anti-war Democrats" voted against $800m of military aid to South Vietnam, these "fish-eyed sacks of loathsome bile and infamy; unwholesome in their birth; repugnant and stench-forming in their decline".

Let's look at one of those Democrats who voted against the military appropiation bill in 1974. Step forward, Henry "Scoop" Jackson...[exerpt from Robert Kaufman's biography]

In his justification for the decision, he stressed that no further aid could save a corrupt South Vietnamese regime that “lacked the determination, leadership and direction to fight”….[in April 1975] he accused the executive branch of misleading “a foreign government and the United States Congress about US commitments to South Vietnam in 1972-73

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Status Quo is not an option

A senior [Police] Federation source told the Daily Express:

It seems there is a choice between re-introducing the death penalty and arming the officers who patrol our streets.

There is of course another choice, which is to do neither. I'm not saying it is the right choice, but certainly it is a choice.

Is the problem getting worse? Did the abolition of capital punishment make it worse? The data is not supportive. The following chart shows murders of serving police officers in each decade, and the % of those on duty who were murdered. Data has been collected, rather hurriedly, from here for the number murdered and here for serving police officers (hard data is available back to the 1970s, before then I have read it off the chart). There was a leap in the 1980s, but it has not been sustained, and in % terms the numbers have been falling. There clearly are other factors, notably Police Officers go to much greater lengths to protect themselves nowadays, and medical care is better, but conversely overall crime is vastly higher, so I think it shows this is not a new or worsening issue (unless I've made a mistake in my interpretation, comments welcome). After all Dixon of Dock Green (in the film) was murdered.

Monday, November 21, 2005


The BBC should be a bit more careful with its left-to-right appearing 'breaking news'. The one that began "Deadly Al-Qaeda attack using bio-agents..." rather gave me a fright.

Telegraph troubles

For those who like media gossip, the Guardian's report into the ousting of Telegraph editor, Martin Newland, provides some interesting stuff. Newland seemed to me a good editor of the paper, responding personally to emails for a start, and focusing on news, but his apparent uninterest in comment (as opposed to news) did allow some awful stuff with terrible howlers to creep into those pages.

The newspaper apparently now has Simon Heffer (and other ex-Mail journalists) in some sort of managerial capacity, which essentially means it will soon be unreadable. For us loyalists it appears we're going to have to go the other way, and start buying the Mail.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Will Blair get ideas?

I don't know enough about Israeli politics to know why Ariel Sharon plans to quit the Likud Party, or how successful such a decision will be, or even why "Israeli Army Radio" reports such things. But I wonder whether it will give our Tone an idea to do a Kilroy, and creat his own Veritas. Talking of which, I couldn't at first remember what Kilroy's party was called, and his rather sad website wasn't a help.

Chutzpah from The Telegraph

The Sunday Telegraph reports of its shock that the Treasury has refused to release David Cameron's security clearance files and given as its reason that the information may damage Cameron. It calls it "dirty tricks".

The Treasury's response came in reply to a Freedom of Information request from the Sunday Telegraph, who presumably were merely asking in order to ensure they had the most comprehensive information about him.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A temperate view of China

This is an interesting Pew poll on what Americans, and different parts of the 'elite' think about things. I love the headline above this one, though:

It reminds me of the Onion post-Sep 11th edition, with this "point/counterpoint".

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cameron and economics

David Cameron tonight said he 'will share the proceeds the growth' which is not what Gordon Brown does, which is 'take all the proceeds of growth'.

This surely is a lie? Has the private sector not grown since 1997?

Otherwise I thought he came across well. He's going to scrap all of their headline policies in the last election, which is without doubt the only way to go.

The Left are Evil in All Possible Worlds

Imagine a fantasy-world in which an incompetent Right-wing Administration in the United States had not launched a disastrous war with no attempt to plan for the post-war situation, and instead Iraq was now a peaceful and stable democracy with a flourishing economy. Guess what? I think the Left would hate that. This shows how Evil their minds are.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Evening Standard

Even when Nick Cohen isn't in it, the Standard really is a dreadful newspaper. Today we get Liz Jones' "City Lives" column, which may or may not be a spoof, telling us that she can prove Londo is the most expensive city in the world because this week she spent £50 on a congestion charge fine, £275 on a lamp at the Conran Shop, £134 on an H&M Stella McCartney top, £175 on cosmetics at SpaceNK, £75 on dinner for two at a pub, £20 on a taxi, £80 on a back massage, and £45 on dry cleaning, because "london is so dirty", £40 on a window cleaner, and £195 on basic groceries. She also tells us she spent £20,000 on Babington House for her weddding, £300 a night on a weekend stay last week, and plans to spend £90 on a facial at the new Cowshed Spa in Holland Park. She concludes her column by asking "how do people with children or coke habits manage? How?"

Allison Pearson's column is perhaps worse. Fitting into the role she was hired to play perfectly, she commends Abigail Witchalls for her 'grace', 'gravity', and 'sweetness', her 'strong, simple, Christian faith' and bemoans a society that has gone too far in self-gratification to follow Witchell's devout example. In the next piece she refers to the Prince of Wales and his wife as looking like 'two bewildered Saga holidaymakers', Camilla's evening frock as making her look like she had been 'lowered by crane into a Baked Alaska', and disaparagingly like Barbara Bush. Why? What is the point? What has Camilla done to deserve that?

Finally something worth reporting. Roy Jhuboo, of WC1, tells in a letter how the Police arrested him for photographing around Limehouse under the Terrorism Act. When he asked why, he was told that he "could be a terrorist on a reconnaissance mission planing to launch a rocket at Canary Wharf". He adds "I am of dark-skinned appearance".

Whether or not the two are related, we'll never know. Assuming the story is true the picture it gives of the Met's anti-terrorism training suggets one can only assume we will all be blown up soon.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Terry Wogan Breakdancing

The BBC tells us how it got Terry Wogan to break-dance. Essentially they used a body-double, padded up and wearing a wig...

...carefully matching Terry's hairstyle.

Couldn't they have just used the same one?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Today's Sunday Telegraph

Nothing particularly interesting, but things I agreed/disagreed with:

Niall Ferguson argues that instead of being polarised politicallly and socially as most people think, the US is culturally and socially more homogenous than any other similar sized place. This I think is stating the obvious to most Europeans, indeed sometimes talking about the homogenity of the place can nearly get you labelled anti-American. I think Ferguson is missing the point, it tends to be Americans who talk about the polarisation, not people from other countries. Also he says that the American Left is more right-wing on every issue than the European Left. I'm not so sure this right, mainly in the area of woman's rights.

Matthew d'Acona says the Conservatives are still the party of opportunism after Wednesday's government defeat.

The Tories' opposition to this measure and their astonishing claim that it was all just a cunning ruse by Mr Blair to split the Conservative Party showed how far they still are from power.

It's worth rememberthing this, for if d'Acona really believes this measure is so important to justify the major curtailment of liberties then surely he must think much like the Sun, that they are 'traitors'. Yet I bet he'll have soon be singing their praises. I think he is posturing too.

Eric Anderson ridiculously gives an end-of-term report for both Blair (whom was at Fettes when he was housemaster) and Cameron (who was at Eton when he was headmaster). Whatever 30 or 40 years' later gives him any knowledge in this matter I do not know. That he thinks he can seems quite in character, I remember a college tutor of mine sitting next to him at a dinner in Lincoln College and once Anderson realised the man he was next to had no idea who Eric Anderson was he hardly spoke a word to him for the rest of the dinner.

Cameron's going to win; time for my endorsement

Saturday brings us a YouGov poll showing that David Cameron, who if turnout is the same as last time (80%) needs 40% to win, already has 22% from only 33% of the electorate, and thus needs his support to slump under 40% of the remaining votes cast to lose. Sunday we get an endorsement from William Hague and Liam Fox. And who do the two 'traitors' ('traitors', according to the Sun newspaper, not myself) endorse: David Davis... of course not, they go for David Cameron.

Time for my endorsement too. I hope that David Cameron, with both his youth and experience, wins the day. If he does, I will take my share of the credit and expect a reward.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Via The Stoa, I come across this Hitchens' quote:

If you really believe the crazed fabrication, fabrication of the figures of 100,000 deaths in Iraq.... It's a simple matter to show this is politicized hack work of the worst kind, the statistics in that case have been conclusively and absolutely shown to be false and I invite anyone to check it

It would be interesting to know how Hitchens' cheerleaders would square this statement with their belief that the man is a great teller of truths.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


The Sun declares that every MP, from the Conservative to the Democratic Unionist Party, who voted against the 90-day provision, are "Traitors". Nick points out that this includes its Sunday sister paper's columnnist, William Hague.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Time for a confidence vote

If Blair really believes the Police and Security Forces are now going to be weakened in the fight against terror markedly, and that the country is behind their and his wish for a 90 days period, he should surely now force the bill through on a confidence motion?

Government misjudgement

So the Blairs' request for a 90-day detention limit was rejected, and rejected clearly by 322 to 291.

The size of the defeat makes one wonder why the government went to the effort of having Gordon Brown flown back from Israel, and Jack Straw leaving Moscow talks early. Did they so misjudge their support, or was it merely to encourage the others?

Parliament has passed a vote on an extension to 28-days; I have no idea whether that means that will become law or not.

In the old days when governments lost votes in the House of Commons the survival of the government was questioned. At the least they usually went for a confidence vote. No-one is talking about that, I guess being due to the General Election being just five months ago and this being the first defeat.

The question now then for the Blairs is does this mean they believe the Police are fatally weakened in the fight against global terror? If they really do then they need to outline alternative steps to take. Given how much personally he staked on this one one wonders whether the Met Chief Commissioner feels unable to do his job now.

Many commentators are positioning themselves in the event of another attack to be able to say they had their reservations, but they also warned MPs of the consequences of not listening to the authorities. It is wise to say this about everything, of course, and most of them do. The same people also talk on an attack in France, which has in some ways a tougher regime, as being inevitable.

Update: Loony comment watch. "Juan" on HP, ""Interesting how the bloody BBC is playing up the "defeat for Blair" angle despite his having said he was willing
to go through the defeat in order to lay down his marker. The bloody
beeb is acting more and more like a political party and less and less
like a news organisation."

Good point Juan. What Blair said would be a defeat isn't actually a defeat, it's a marker. Why can't the BBC (and the Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Indepednent, Reuters, etc) lead their stories with "Victory for Blair"?

121.66 days

The main argument in favour of the government's plan for a 90 day detention period is that it is accepting the best advice of the Police. This does not seem to be the case:

Sir Ian [Blair, the head of the Met] said 90 days was not a "magic" figure and four months might be better.

I saw Prime Minister's Questions today. The PM was saying that each MP had to decide how to vote, which is strange as I thought that would mean it was a free vote. But I don't think it is.

Startling revelations

And a not so good Telegraph letter, by that media-darling, Oleg Gordiesvesky:

Sir - France always had a cult of revolution. The French public fully supported extremist political parties, Communists and Trotskyists, which had political violence as an integral part of their programmes.

Now they are reaping the fruits of it.

Oleg Gordievsky, London WC1

It's not so much this letter is wrong on its facts, it's the "now they are reaping the fruits of it", as if until now politics in France had been like a Scandinavian country run by clones of Sir Geoffrey Howe [NOT THE CITY BANKER] permanently drugged to the eyeballs on Mogadon.

It's true that the last 30 years or so have been relatively peaceful, but we've still had numerous motorway blockades, McDonald burnings (by a man who became a folk-hero, though the story is rather more complex that it seems, as with much of French agricultural legend).

But the 30 years before that, ie 1945-1975, saw one of the least peaceful periods in any western country's recent political history. The instability of the fourth republic, the constant blow-back from Algeria, leading to a near-attempted coup d'etat in 1958 by rogue Army elements, and an actual, if legal, coup d'etat by De Gaulle, continual terorrism and assasination attempts, ending in the least violent, but most well-known today 1968 riots, when months later bodies of those shot dead by the security forces were still be found in the Seine. Oh and De Gaulle had fled to Germany at the height of it all. Most of it can be found here.

This brings us to a good letter in today's Telegraph, which notes the idiocy of Mark Steyn's view that this is what multi-culteralism brings you.

Sir - Mark Steyn, in his enthusiasm to link France's current unrest (and Europe's apparently imminent doom) to multiculturalism appears to have forgotten that France has been consistently and stridently opposed to multiculturalism, disparaged by Left and Right alike as "le communautairisme à l'anglo-saxon... this conception of citizenship is deeply problematic; it means the French state is incapable of acknowledging that the present crisis is connected to years of topographical, economic and social marginalisation along patently ethnic lines. This, ironically, puts it in rather the same position as those, such as Mr Steyn, who would denounce its supposed indulgence of multiculturalism as being somehow a factor behind the violence.

W. L. Duffy, West End, Queensland, Australia

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

David Cameron

There's a nice letter in the D.Telegraph today:

David Cameron in the steps of Hannay

Sir - Each time I hear David Cameron or read him in The Daily Telegraph, I am reminded of John Buchan's novel The Thirty-Nine Steps, in which the intrepid hero, Richard Hannay, blunders into an election meeting in a small Scottish town.

The organisers mistake him for their parliamentary candidate, and he is quickly thrust on to a stage to face a crowded auditorium of waiting constituents.

Our hero comes up with a lively speech, full of optimism and platitudes, that so enthuses his audience that they are soon cheering him on.

Daniel Sheen, Felixstowe, Suffolk

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Prince William is not stupid!

Prince William is the brains of the family - it's official. The 23-year-old prince, who is to enrol at the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in January, scored seven out of 10 in the "raw intelligence" test, when he took part in a gruelling assessment at the Regular Commissions Board in Westbury, Wiltshire
It is believed that what surprised many of the officers who were judging his suitability to become a commissioned officer was his performance in multiple-choice intelligence tests, which he faced on the first day.

So that's a relief. I for one believe this is all the proof we need that this man should be one day allowed to decide whether or not laws passed by a democratically-elected legislature can stand.


What can you say about this?

"The police told me, and the security services back them up, that they may have stopped two further attempts since July 7," Blair said.

"I find it really odd that we're having to make the case that this is an issue, when virtually every week, somewhere in the world, terrorists loosely linked with the same movement are killing scores of people."

What does "may have stopped" mean? What does the fact that terrorists "loosely" (and that even Blair says that is quite striking) associated with Al-Qaeda have to do with wanting a 90 day period?

It really has come to something when John Major is the voice of reason, but there you go:

But Sir John Major condemned the plans to detain terrorist suspects for up to 90 days without charge, and warned the measure was unlikely to secure Parliamentary approval.

"I think the 90 day concept is utterly and totally unacceptable in a liberal society," the ex-prime minister told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme.

At last!

Gene from Harry's Place, who until now had his most amazing moment in linking favourably to a post that compared today's London to 1930's Germany, has finally woken up.

" I'm closing the comments box for this post, but Ali's blog has comments boxes, making it easy for those who have never set foot in Iraq, and live thousands of miles away, to explain to him how wrong he is"

The question must be: of the six Harry's Placers, Gene, Harry, Marcus, Brownie, Johann Hari and Dot Comrade, how many have been to Iraq? I think it's just Johann Hari, and he opposes the occupation.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Telegraph repeats lie

"Typical middle- to high-income earners now pay up to 50 per cent of their salary to the Treasury, compared to 36 per cent when Tony Blair came to power in 1997."

screams The Telegraph, and yes, it is based on the same lie, namely that a typical middle-class family moves house ever year.

In fact it is about every seven years, and so the Stamp Duty should be divided by 7. Do this and in fact it is less than 40%, not much different from what was paid in 1997.

There really is no excuse for this. "Typical" does not mean what 6/7ths of the population don't do.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Nick Cohen's not-even-Standard column

Nick Cohen in his Observer column famously blamed "liberals" for supporting the war in Afghanistan and making Britain a target for terrorists, and then famously blamed "liberals" for the opposite in the case of Iraq. His Standard column doesn't quite plumb those depths, it tends to be more of a "Cor blimey guv'nor, where are the Routemasters, why won't cabs take you South of the River, isn't modern architecture rubbish" kind of stuff.

This week however he took on the fact that on Question Time a week ago or so all of the panellists and the compere went to public schools (which he lovingly named) and this showed that we need grammar schools to allow the working-class to compete with them.

The people on the show were David Dimbleby, Tim Yeo, Tessa Jowell, Sir Max Hastings and David Laws. Except Laws, they all left school (assuming the left at 18, if they left at 16 it would be two years earlier, before 1965 (Jowell), with Hastings and Yeo 1963 and Dimbleby the earliest in 1956. Thus they were 11 in 1949, 1956, 1956, and 1957.

The first comprehensive school (except for geographical reasons) was Kidbrooke School in Greenwich, opened in 1954, and it and a few other early adopters Wikipedia says "modelled themselves firmly on the grammar school, with teachers in gowns and lessons in a very formal style". It says the "Rising Hall Comprehensive" in Islington in 1960 was the first "to offer an alternative to this model".

In other words it is absurd to suggest that it was the failure of comprehensive schools that led to this panel being so constituted. Even if you believe no-one worthy of appearing on Question Time could come from a comprehensive, hence the age group of the panel, this would imply the same was true of grammar schools, and in their heyday!

Cohen's transformation into Melanie Phillips appears unstoppable.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The things Daily Mail readers say!

Ban Public Drinking

Trust this government to make a dog's dinner of its alcohol policies. Instead of trying to ban drinking on public transport, why not just ban drinking alcohol in public places? Such a ban would be easy to enforce - walk down the street drinking, and you'd be breaking the law and could expect a trip to the local police station to pay a hefty fine.

And if you didn't have the money to pay a fine, you would either get a night in the cells, an option to pay the fine the following day, or go to court to risk a heavier fine.

Then all the money could go towards paying for more police and keeping police stations open at night.

Ms C. Portchmouth, London, SW2.

Huge cut in Stamp Duty, says the Telegraph

The reasons for the decline are unclear but today's Daily Telegraph reports on a huge collapse in Stamp Duty payments last year. It reports that home-owners paid just £5.5bn in 2004. Readers with long memories will remember I reported that the Telegraph claimed just over a year ago that the average higher-rate taxpayer (presumably referring to 2003) paid £7,500 in stamp duty per year.

Now there are roughly 3.3m higher-rate taxpayers in the UK, so the Telegraph was claiming that stamp duty payments were about £23bn in 2003. Here is a chart of this remarkable change.

Update: Of course I forgot non-higher rate taxpayers who probably account for another £3bn or so. So the Telegraph's reporting an even larger fall. Wonderful times.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Will Cameron win the Scottish Tory leadership?

Now he's seen off Gordon Brown, got David Milliband installed as Labour leader, and probably is being consulted on the replacemnet to Trident, it seems bizarre that Charlie Cameron has not been mentioned as a potential Scottish Tory leader. Does news really take that long to travel up there?

Humanitarian intervention index

It's been a few years since I last looked at which countries are ripe for humanitarian intervention. I've made some improvements to the index. Regular readers will remember that what it does is take an index of a country's Human Rights (as in the Observer, where higher is worse), to measure the desirability of intervention, and divides by their military budget, as a proxy for how easy such intervention will be.

I've now slightly improved the measure, by taking into consideration the population of the country, so now we have a "collective misery" index, whichi is the HRI multiplied by population (in thousands). The logic here is you're better off rescuing a million people from their misery than 100,000.

Here (apologies to modem users, but really, it is 2005) is the revised table with some key countries and their ranking. Keyboard warriors take note! You can click on it to see the Excel file with the full data

Or here is the full table in lovely html, courtesy of Chris Lightfoot. Just to explain the headings, HRI is the Observer's measure of human rights, the "Collective Misery' index is that multiplied by population (in thousands), defence spending is from 2000 and in $bn, and the HI is collective misery/defence spending/87 (the last being to make the US 100).

Zimbabwe isn't on it as the Observer didn't give them a rating in 2000, perhaps it wasn't considered bad enough. It has a population of 12,000 (000s) and defence spending of 120m, so it's HII will be 1,200 times its HRI. For example if it had an HRI of 10, it would have an HII of 12,000.

The tabloid Telegraph

Much has been made of the Daily Telegraph remaining broadsheet why all its rivals (excluding the FT) have got smaller. This is in fact not true. I'd not read the Telegraph since it had a revamp until today, and actually it appears to have become a tabloid, just without getting smaller. Today's front page has only one story, David Blunkett, with an enormous headline.

Good laws

I'm very pleased to read this news story. On my way to work I have to walk up a road on which large puddles form on the left hand side, and when cars are turning right off it cars go quickly on the very far left to undertake, usually resulting in a soaking unless you are careful. Obviously the worst offenders are transit van and London cab drivers. I always wondered whether you could sue them for damages; this seems easier.