Thursday, 19 December 2013

Death by hanging for Rigby killers

Death by hanging is what the two Michaels, Adebolajo and Adebowale, both British-born of Nigerian descent, both Christians converted to Islam, deserve, as they have today been convicted of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Of course death by hanging is not what they will get. Instead it will be life in prison, probably with the possibility of parole - that remains to be seen, the judge will decide - and inside they will be role models to the large muslim population. 
The two murderers offered the court the defence that they were "soldiers of Allah" but this nonsense was rejected by the jury after a 90 minute deliberation.
Private Rigby was selected largely at random on the basis that he was in the vicinity of the barracks at Woolwich and was wearing a Help for Heroes tee-shirt. He leaves behind a distraught family and one small child.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Gotta love the Indians

The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that male homosexual intercourse is illegal. The judgment finds that it is unnatural, immoral and the reflection of a perverse mind.

Violators will be liable to ten years in prison, and a fine!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Snowden may get amnesty

Back in July I blogged that the signficant difference between Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning is that Snowden had access to TOP SECRET intel, but Manning only had a SECRET clearance.

Now the benefits of this are becoming apparent. The NSA seems to be flirting with the idea of granting Snowden an amnesty in return for his not releasing any more files.

Clearly Snowden knows too much - and one must assume he has held back some dynamite stuff about the intelligence agencies and they are deathly afraid he will reveal it.

Of course if he gets and accepts the amnesty and returns to the USA he is going to need some serious insurance to avoid being bumped off; insurance in the form of data disks to be made public in the event of his death perhaps.

Julian Assange has much the same insurance. Various newspapers are holding encrypted disks and only Assange knows the key. He could make one phone call and put everything in the public domain.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Lloyd Pye is dead

Probably the people reading this don't know who Lloyd Pye was.

Lloyd Pye is a name that one day will rank equal with Darwn or Einstein, but yesterday, like so many of the greats, he died impoverished and in obscurity.

Come back in a hundred years and everyone will know his name.

Lloyd Pye

Monday, 9 December 2013

Marine A named and jailed

He is Sergeant Alexander Blackman, aged 39, and he will serve 10 years minimum of a life sentence.

A petition for his conviction to be quashed can be found here

This blog considers that since the identity of the victim is unknown; whether the victim actually died is unknown, and if the victim died, whether he died as a result of Sgt Blackman's single pistol shot or it was the previous burst of 30mm 600-rounds-per-minute shots from the chain gun on an Apache helicopter that actually killed him, is also unknown, that the conviction is unsafe.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Nelson Mandela, dead

Nelson "Madiba" Mandela, aged 95, died yesterday 5th December 2013, at 8.50PM (local time) at his home in Johannesburg, surrounded by his family, including his second and third wives.

Today the news is full of adulation for the former mass murderer and president. Typical would be Evan Davis' question to Tony Blair on BBC Radio 4 this morning.

Davis: "Mr Blair, when did you first realise that Nelson Mandela was no ordinary Nobel Peace Prize winner but actually one of the greats?"

Tony Blair's response was so trite it is not worth reporting

There will be three days of official mourning in South Africa, then a state funeral.

This is a very sad time, especially for George Osborne who could reasonably have expected the news to be all about him given that he delivered his Autumn Statement to parliament yesterday.

After the announcement of the death people congregated near Mandela's house and started dancing a form of dance called toyi-toyi which involves jumping up and down and stamping feet to intimidate enemies, and singing "Liberation" songs in Xhosa including the words "Kill the whites." The British media have not been offering English translations of the songs, although they have been playing them.

This is now a dangerous time for the 3 or 4 million whites remaining in South Africa. Many blacks have made no secret of the fact that they were only waiting for the death of Mandela before embarking on a white genocide.

Presumably the South African government will heavily repress mass violence during the mourning and funeral. The eyes of the world will be on the country and many world leaders will wish to attend the funeral. But the months that follow, after the media has moved on, will be another matter altogether.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Autumn statement, 2013

This was a much more assured performance from the chancellor than the Budget back in March. Obviously it helps when you have good news to impart.

George Osborne started by telling us that growth was up (his March prediction is now doubled to 1.4% for the year), the deficit is down, employment is up and unemployment is down (strangely these two stats can move independently of each other - there are a whole bunch of people who are neither employed not unemployed, nor even self-employed) and there was no double dip recession after all.

Chancellor: Santa Claus arrives early

For the record his GDP growth and deficit predictions are now:

       Year       Growth   Deficit
       2013/14    1.4%     £111 bn
       2014/15    2.4%     £96  bn
       2015/16    2.2%     £79  bn
       2016/17    2.6%     £51  bn
       2017/18    2.7%     £23  bn
       2018/19    2.7%     £Zero!

Most of these numbers should be ignored, but this year's might be accurate.

He now predicts that the deficit will reach zero in the year 2019, so pretty much the end of the next parliament. In his first budget in 2010 he predicted a zero deficit in 2015 so a pinch of salt is required here.

Next he came out with a few austerity measures: overall welfare spending to be capped (excluding state pensions and job-seekers) so presumably as claims go up the entitlement will go down. He will be taking £1 billion out of Whitehall's admin budget and applying capital gains tax to foreigners who sell houses here and also reducing landlords' CGT relief.

After these minor items of no great import he was into the give-aways:
  • £100 mil of LIBOR fines to go to military charities.
  • State pension up £2.95 a week.
  • Investments in infrastructure/quantum technology/shale gas
  • £1 billion in loans to build to houses.
  • Councils to sell expensive council houses to buy more cheap ones.
  • Right-to-buy your council house extended.
  • Free school meals for all for the first 3 years of school (was previously first year only.)
  • Funding for 20,000 more apprenticeships.
  • Removing cap on University places; sell student loan book to fund this.
  • Business rates reduced for small businesses.
  • Cancel employer's national insurance on under 21-year-old employees.
  • Marred couple transferable tax allowance of £1,000.
  • Council tax freeze to continue until 2015.
  • Fuel duty: 2p rise due in April cancelled.
  • Train fare rises capped at inflation (were going to be 1% above inflation.)
There were a couple of interesting changes in the state pension. First, and widely leaked in the press before the statement, the pension age for 40-somethings is going up to 68 and for 30-somethings to 69. Realistically if you're under 50 you're probably not retiring before 70.

The other change was that people over pension age can continue to make voluntary national insurance contributions to increase their pension when they finally claim it.

This could be interesting to private sector workers who do not have index-linked pensions since the state pension is guaranteed to go up by the highest of inflation, average wage increase or 2.5%. So contriving to put your eggs in this basket is very attractive to defined-contribution pensioners.

Fifty minutes after standing, Osborne sat down and up jumped Ed Balls to respond for the opposition.

Balls: It's not prices that are frozen but people

This was a difficult task for him due to all the give-aways, but he made two very good points. First he hammered hard on the fact that despite the GDP growth people's living standards are falling and have been for the entire duration of this parliament (this is because price inflation has been higher than wage inflation since 2007).

He also derided the Chancellor for borrowing more in 3 years than Labour did in 13 years - which is pretty sobering when you think about it, considering that Labour borrowed three times more that the total borrowing of all previous governments since governments were invented.

And that wrapped it up. The markets barely budged. It was not a statement likely to have any great impact.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

PISA education results

The OECD has tested half a million 15 to 16 year olds in maths, science and language. They produced a league table and various Chinese cities, South Korea, and Japan took the top seven places and the UK came 26th.

In the UK we ranked statistically equal with Ireland, Denmark, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norway, and Portugal.

The USA came 36th.

So obviously the Asians are doing something right in their schools and we are doing something wrong!

At least that's what the media are saying.

But before we slink off in disgrace perhaps we should have a little look behind the numbers.

Check out this graph of pupils in UK state schools who do not have English as a first language.

Percentage of foreign pupils

You might need to click on it to make out the small print, but what it says is that in 1997 less than 8% of pupils did not have English as a mother tongue and this year (2013) it is more than 18%.

Due to immigration we have seen a massive rise in non-English-speaking students in our schools. There are about 9 million children in our state schools and slightly over one and a half million of them do not have English as a first language.

The Asian countries do not take immigrants in anything other than trivial numbers. They simply do not have a statistically significant number of students who do not speak the mother tongue.

Next consider teacher-contact time. In the UK a six-hour school day is the norm. In South Korea 12 to 13 hours is not unusual, including children going home for lunch and then back to school, then home for supper and then back to school in the evening. These children are getting double the effort put into them per day. They also have a longer academic year than in the UK, 38 weeks per year to our 30 week year.

As an aside it is worth considering what all this pressure is doing to the school children. The under-15 suicide rate in the UK is 0.04%. In South Korea it is 0.54%. That is a staggering 13.5 times higher! (Source) In fact all these "successful" Asian countries have very high child suicide rates. In Japan it is 0.32%, Hong Kong 0.51% and Singapore 0.31%.

So to wrap it up - the UK actually has quite a creditable ranking when you consider the uphill task of educating a migrant influx (the BBC usually manages to show a classroom full of ethnic minorities without ever remarking on the fact that if your native language is not English it is going to be harder for you) and the reduced effort applied to every child.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Great news! Tom Daley is/is not (delete as applicable) gay

Tom Daley, who won a bronze Olympic diving medal for the UK in the 2012 London Games and was declared "world's sexiest man" by "a magazine", has come out as gay (or maybe not gay.)

The 19-year-old, who will be shooting for gold at Rio (selection permitting) is dating another man and is very happy. (Hat tip to Tony Blair for reducing the age of homosexual consent from 21 to 16.)

Tom Daley:
Likes bronze, and guys, but also gold and girls!

The BBC is lauding him; national papers are all over him - it's a great day for Tom and the Gay Community and frankly the whole country!

You see the thing is, straight white males are the "bad" people who are oppressing all the other people on planet Earth, and all the people they oppress (women, ethnic minorities, not-straight people) are the "good" people. So young Tom has jumped from the "bad" people to the "good" people, at least as far as the Left-wing media is concerned and new recruits are always welcome in politically-correct-land.

But wait, what is this in the small print? "Of course I still fancy girls...", said Tom. Whoops! That's not so good. So Tom is actually "Bi". And that means he still has one foot in the "bad" camp. (Pun not intended but I'm leaving it in anyway.) Still being half-oppressor tarnishes an otherwise feel-good story.

The solution is obvious: don't report that bit. At least not in the headlines or anywhere near the top of the article. Relegate the embarrassing not entirely gay bit to the end where hopefully not many people will see it.