All change please

"Remember when it used to be the left who blamed everything on the evils of the capitalist media?" – Sonic at Harry’s.

It’s amusing that the pro-war mainstream have become deluded fantasists who believe in ideology-driven nonsense and massive conspiracy theories (all the Muslims! All coming to get us! All the media! In league with the Muslims!), while the other side have become the realists who recognise that the power of Our Enemies is generally exaggerated, that governments will fuck up most things they touch, and that any event described as a conspiracy is usually best explained by incompetence.

I’m sure the stereotypes used to go the other way round…

Posted in Uncategorized


I was going to write something about the Who Should You Vote For results, and the bizarre bleating from Labour supporters that it must be a Lib Dem plot (on the grounds, presumably, that their heads would explode if they realised that they agreed with the Liberals’ politics more than those of their own Dear Leader).

However, Chris Lightfoot has beaten me to it, while also slating Egg and making a South Park-ish cartoon of himself.

Posted in Uncategorized

No economist of mine

I respect the Economist as a newspaper. Not as much as do some underinformed commentators (I’ve seen enough of its coverage of areas on which I’m a genuine expert to know that it can be highly misguided), but quite a lot. Therefore, it surprises me that it employs Megan McCardle as a staff writer in the US, to the extent that I’m predisposed to ignore its US coverage entirely.

One glittering recent example: "Plus, remember how Europe’s cell phone network was, like, eighty zillion times better than ours until it turned out they couldn’t afford to upgrade to 3G? Big, honking government sponsored infrastructure projects, in which the government picks a technology winner, generally look better than the market’s bumbling trial-and-error approach right up until it turns out that the government has made a whomping big mistake and it’s too costly to fix."

As anyone who’s walked down a European high street, viewed the European media or travelled on European transport in the last two years will know, 3G has been widely available here for some time. In the US, meanwhile, handset and market development is still way behind Europe – and although the country’s CDMA providers do now offer a product that’s labeled 3G (CDMA2000 1X), it actually only runs at the speed of GPRS.

It worries me that someone this unaware of what the hell she’s talking about has a job as an opinion former on one of the most influential newspapers. Sack her, employ me.

Oh, speaking of idiocy: global warming denialist bingo; reporting on terrorists means the terrorists have already won; and airline security monkeys can now ban books.

Posted in Uncategorized


Tim Worstall has the latest Britblog roundup. Bruce Schneier has an analysis of the potential for corruption at the Papal election (lower than in Birmingham, for sure). Vice Squad has evidence that drinking makes you want to smoke. Dsquared has a correct assessment of Excel:

"No fuck off. Excel is the spreadsheet program of champions, endorsed by no fewer than five winners of the ‘Financial Analyst of the Year’ [award]".

Damn right. However, his verdict on Powerpoint is still wrong. And less upbeatly, Dave Weeden has inexplicable medical trouble which might cut his blogging output, his drinking input, and therefore his drunk blogging output. This is all sad news.

Posted in Uncategorized

Some things need repeating

It’s been said before, but: "Prewar Jews, like today’s East End Muslims, also lived in unforgiving poverty. They too were herded into the cramped streets of East London as the first stop for new immigrants. They too were reviled as outsiders, branded as parasites on the indigenous society. And they too were feared as a potential fifth column, suspected adherents of a violent, supranational ideology. The ‘Jewish menace’ was said to be first anarchism and then Bolshevism. Today’s ‘Muslim peril’ is jihadism."

(Jonathan Freedland, via Lenin)

Posted in Uncategorized

In praise of the NHS

An American writer is annoyed that unlike the US healthcare system, the NHS doesn’t waste vast amounts of time and money on services for people who are on their way out anyway. I’m not.

Admittedly, we should make euthanasia a more formalised and directly legal process, rather than something that happens by default – but focusing medical resources on people with a life ahead of them makes obvious sense (although if people really want to pay extra to be pointlessly kept alive, that should be their prerogative).

Posted in Uncategorized

Best electoral analysis so far

Inspired by Who Should You Vote For, Jim Bliss has a long but worth-reading piece on who he should vote for.

The piece as a whole is more measured, but less fun, than this: "And now, my balanced analysis of the tories… there is none. The tory party are right wing extremists and do not deserve a balanced analysis. The do not believe in fairness, in justice, or in basic human compassion. And by imposing their cold, bitter views on the UK for 18 years they forfeited the right to be treated fairly."

Posted in Uncategorized