Open Thread

The idea of an open thread hasn’t been tried on this blog before.  The weekends tend to be quieter on AM, so it’s over to you dear reader.  Feel free to discuss or share your views on any subject that interests you – or throw out any questions for people to answer.  If it works well we will do this again.

42 Responses to “Open Thread”

  1. 1 Katabasis 20/02/2011 at 1:55 pm

    Here’s a particularly delicious item:

    Labour ministers now have to fill in a form before doing or saying anything in public.

    Anyone else think this neatly summarises the very nature of the Labour project?

  2. 2 MrT 20/02/2011 at 2:00 pm

    With unrest in the Middle East developing as it is and, seemingly, having some effect, is it not worth thinking about getting the downtrodden classes out on the streets of the UK/Europe and letting the arrogant, corrupt despots in charge exactly what we think of them and what we would like them to do?

  3. 3 peejos 20/02/2011 at 2:05 pm

    I have only just read about the adoption of Double Summer Time… help tourism. Quite how anyone can calculate that more visitors can be expected because of an hour extra in the evenings, I cannot conceive unless it is using the same algorithm as the Met Office. It seems much more likely to be deliberately to increase our subservience to the EU.

    As Spain and Portugal, I believe are actually altering their time zones to our present one it seems suitably anarchic.

    Everybody seems to ignore the effects of longer mornings in the winter. Apart from the problem of getting children to school, it means that frost will hang around for an hour more, with concomitant ice. That means more car accidents, more broken limbs from slipping on the icy pavements and steps. A quick perusal of any A&E department’s records will show the regular increase in such injuries every winter in comparison to the rest of the year. Naturally the effect will be worse in small towns where the heat island effect is small and even more so in the villages.

    There will also be greater energy consumption at schools because the first hour in winter will be dark and cold, which is not balanced by any savings at the end of the day as children now leave before it is dark in the winter anyway.

  4. 4 David Jones 20/02/2011 at 2:14 pm

    Yes Mr T but it does need organisation and who is to do that?

    Or perhaps it doesn’t need much organisation. A few liked-minded blogs could agree, after canvassing their readers, on a date and place, a few slogans (competition?) and then publicise the date and place. Readers could do likewise on social networks.

    How did the Tea Party start? Anyone know?

  5. 5 Katabasis 20/02/2011 at 2:14 pm


    “It seems much more likely to be deliberately to increase our subservience to the EU.”

    That’s pretty much my take on it too.

  6. 6 David Jones 20/02/2011 at 2:16 pm

    True peejos.

    The government has much to do and messing around with our clocks is the last thing they should be doing.

  7. 7 Dave 20/02/2011 at 2:16 pm

    Very warm and sunny today.

  8. 8 Katabasis 20/02/2011 at 2:18 pm

    @MrT – “With unrest in the Middle East developing as it is and, seemingly, having some effect, is it not worth thinking about getting the downtrodden classes out on the streets of the UK/Europe”

    Would love to see it, but unfortunately the left will attempt to dictate the narrative and kill it, just as they did with the anti-war movement. What we really need to do is to restart that burst of right-tinged action that kicked off a couple of years ago – for example, Old Holborn’s walk and LPUK delivering 646 copies of 1984 to parliament.

    There was a real burst of activity in that year, it is a shame it died down. We should think about creating momentum by doing similar stunts on a regular baasis.

  9. 9 permanentexpat 20/02/2011 at 2:55 pm

    Time: Portugal is GMT

    Rebellion: Those taking to the streets in the ME have no circuses & precious little bread, so they have a cause.
    The apathetic UK is ONLY bread & circuses…there will be no cause ubtil stomachs feel empty & power outages are commonplace.
    That may happen sooner than we think but my own opinion is that it will be a long wait.

  10. 10 Ian Innes 20/02/2011 at 3:58 pm

    Re the “outbreaks” in the Middle East and the likelihood of it happening here, i would surmise nothing will happen.

    Joe public is apathetic at best, happy with the X factor and Eastenders. If, and it is a big if, they make the Atlas Shrugged movie true to the ideals of the book, it may help change the popular narrative that business is bad, taxes are good. We don’t need a movie to change the minds of the idiots believing in global warming, the weather will do that just fine.

    Doing a John Galt? Now that would scare the politicians silly; no taxes, no diversity coordinators, no expenses to fiddle!

  11. 11 Uncle Badger 20/02/2011 at 4:38 pm

    I’m inclined to think Ian Innes is right. It’s not that the British are inherently incapable of sudden shifts of mood (Diana’s funeral proved they are) but it takes an awful lot to move them and they are better served with palliatives than the populations of Libya or Bahrain, which increases their general unwillingness to take to the streets.

    Which means change is going to have to come from a John Galt-like figure, or group. I had hopes for the UKIP once, fool that I am.

    If enough energy could be put behind the TPA, or a similar group, it might stand a chance but one thing is certain: the massed ranks of the Left-owned media (which means most of it, led by the BBC) would start an almighty barrage of opposition.

  12. 12 kenomeat 20/02/2011 at 4:39 pm

    Katabasis is right. Remember a few years ago when a large, peaceful UKIP (I think) demonstration in London was totally ignored by the media in favour of a handful of fathers’ rights campaigners on the roof of Westminster? So perhaps stunts are the way forward. My preference, however, would be for a sustained advertising campaign critical of our EU membership.

  13. 13 WitteringWitney 20/02/2011 at 4:51 pm

    Picking up in Mr. T and Katabasis, anyone care to discuss and network to see what ideas surface, how practical they are etc?

    Anyone interested can email me through my blog and if you on skype we cud ‘conference call’?

  14. 14 Katabasis 20/02/2011 at 6:28 pm

    I’m definitely up for action on this folks.

    What we really need is a forum where we can discuss this with like minded people – email contact is too limited except for occasional direct contacts.

    I humbly submit that if you haven’t already done so, sign up for an account here:

    And we can get some threads going on it.

    As an initial plan I propose we resurrect Old Holborn’s 5th November walks as of this November.

    A name that captures the imagination would be helpful too – may I humbly propose ‘5th Column’ – we can play off the ‘V’ (new series) and Ayn Rand memes here by also adding something like “john galt lives” to the banners etc. Just an idea anyway….

  15. 15 CalvinBall 20/02/2011 at 7:46 pm

    Having not seen in it the mainstream media, possibly some good news today for those who want a more reasoned debate on climate change. I understand that the US House of Representatives appear to have voted to cancel the funding for the IPCC for the remainder of 2011.

    I’m anticipating huge quantities of spite and vitriol from the following’s more extreme wing as Congress appears to have gone fired something of a nuclear weapon into one of their key strongholds. It might even be fun to watch certain media elements in this country start screaming like the witch in the Wizard of Oz when water was poured on her.

    But on the brightside there may be at least a reduction (however small) in the amount of junk science that will get trotted out this year, simply down to lack of finance. It might give the chance for a slightly more balanced debate to gain traction and for more people to have their eyes opened.

    Who knows’ maybe global cooling will be back on the agenda also.

  16. 16 permanentexpat 20/02/2011 at 9:40 pm

    Diana’s funeral a change of mood?
    It was an utterly disgusting & embarrassing breakdown of national character stage-maneged by ‘peoples’ princess’ Bliar & the MSM.
    That manipulative schemer was no saint & should never have been chosen as a future queen.

  17. 17 kellys_eye 20/02/2011 at 9:42 pm

    Does anyone know where you can download a ‘definition’ of council tax (in terms of what they are/aren’t allowed to do with the monies raised)?
    I would question the councils use of monies to pay for non-related items i.e. pensions.

  18. 18 Uncle Badger 20/02/2011 at 10:52 pm

    permanentexpat – agreed, but not really the point. Whatever she may have been, the atmosphere surrounding her funeral represented a remarkable demonstration of the way public mood can swell out of the control of the ‘elite’.

  19. 19 Chairman of Selectors 20/02/2011 at 11:06 pm

    There is so much wrong with the country, and it is so easily fixed, I weep. Of course nothing gets fixed, becase of this spinelss feeble government and a truly extraordinary state broadcaster. I mean really. At what point in the planning of asking councils to save soem money did they honestly think this would be done responsibly? Manchester/Liverpool and other leftist councils were always going to close libraries and swimming pools before looking at cost savings, procurement, and of course getting rid of the army of state sponsored labour voters.

    The first thing that needs to happen of course, is to close the BBC. Shut down. Stopped. Sell all their property. Sell Lonely Planet (since when has the government and MY taxes been about commercial publishing?) and return the money to taxpayers (not state employed idiots) in the form of a special dividend – licence fee plus proceeds from the sale. It would be a good start. Imagine – being able to make desperately necessary changes to state spending without the bogus lies of “cuts” splashed all over the BBC and its many, many mediums 24 hours a day.

  20. 20 ian innes 20/02/2011 at 11:33 pm

    As much as i hate to disagree with someone nice enough to agree with me, Uncle Badger, the “Princess Diana” debacle was just that. The Eastenders generation at its’ worst. I actually don’t blame B’Liar for that one,the opportunistic b’stard behaved just as one would expect that of a politician.

    The “lefties” promote hate and vituperation and are past masters at it. We, and i am assuming i am talking to like minded individuals, on the “right”, don’t react that way. We don’t join marches and demos, we don’t have riots. We are too busy earning a crust, paying for the deserving who cannot earn and also the undeserving, who will not. Ultimately, because we have a sense of responsibility for our families, or mere ambition, at the end of the day the difference matters naught.

    To overcome what i loosely and probably incorrectly called apathetic…..what will it take to prompt the silent majority to force the change.

    Slowly slowly catchee monkey? (hasn’t worked yet). Mass protest? (too busy being responsible and believe in the rule of “law” Revolution, naw? (rarely if ever works, even more rarely for the better).

    Change the paradigm, but don’t know how…just asking y’know.

  21. 21 ian innes 20/02/2011 at 11:58 pm

    ps my apologies to “uncle badger i know i am taking you out of context

  22. 22 Jones 21/02/2011 at 9:02 am

    Ref the Middle East. I feel that Israel is simply going to HAVE to defend itself in an existentialist face-off. This in the relatively very near term too.

    Their actions will also be defending our own right to exist. I for one will support such action if only on these grounds.

    Does anyone agree/disagree?

  23. 24 Span Ows 21/02/2011 at 12:12 pm

    I agree with you Jones. And I think they will take action sooner rather than later. They by now have realised that the craven EU and biased media (esp BBC) aren’t really bothered and would prefer it if the “problem of Israel” just ‘went away’.

  24. 25 orkneylad 21/02/2011 at 1:53 pm

    katabasis – I’ve registered….keen to get invloved in developing a Libertarian movement north of the border, everyone works for the State up here so it may be a long long road….

  25. 26 Ted Davison 21/02/2011 at 2:18 pm

    Oh… err… your timing is just awful. I am some 15% up the WordPress learning curve setting up a blog on Global Warming*.

    Anyway, the first entry is a brilliantly erudite** paper entitled ‘The Search for Impartiality’. If you don’t mind clambering around a construction site just pop on your ‘elf and safety ‘elmet and take a look.

    * That’s the modernist Anthropogenic variety, not the old-fashioned mediaeval kind.

    ** Trust me, I wrote it.

  26. 27 Vernon E 21/02/2011 at 2:28 pm

    My bugbear is, and has been for a long time, the use of bogus statistics to con us (the people) and to set policies by government. For example,currently we are being repeatedly told that by 2020 half the population will be living to a hundred and we/they must plan accordingly. This is bogus. If I take the official UK statistics and make some straightline extrapolations that the current increase in life expectancy will continue, I get the following:

    Today’s 65-year olds can expect to live to about 82*

    People born in 2011 will expect to live on average to about 90

    For an average life expectancy of 100 (more-or-less the same as “half the people can expect….”) you have to wait until 2055 to be born.

    * The differnce in expectancy between men and women
    is decreasing so I’ve used a mid point figure

    And this completely ignores the government’s constant nagging that we are all going to die young from obesity, cirrhosis, cancers, dementia and heaven knows what else. They can’t have it all ways. How on earth do you plan an economy on the basis of nonsense?

  27. 28 bil 21/02/2011 at 3:29 pm

    Katabasis, giz a mo and I’ll join.

    Currently residing in Qatar and working with lots of very worried people from across the Arab world. All worried, but very optimistic for a better future, and willing to fight for it.

    So am I.

  28. 29 MrT 21/02/2011 at 4:25 pm

    After years of being the ‘man in pub’ rantin’ and ragin’ to little effect of course and getting back-ache bending over this (and other) keyboards, I feel it is about time that I did something more pro-active, shall we say, hence my original post.
    I agree, permanentexpat, as a friend and (client) always used to say to me, “empty minds and full stomachs” are the problems.
    As long as Joe Public can afford (working or not, preferably) to buy his/her lager, fags, make-up and Nike/Adidas trainers they’re ‘appee, know wot I mean…
    Trying to motivate people to do more than just ‘Tut tut’ over their Daily mail is going to be tough though.
    I am inclined to think that targeting local councils with a “guerrilla warfare” approach might be effective.
    They are certainly ripe for some forensic scrutiny, if you like.
    Perhaps there would be a chance of getting some sympathetic/up coming local ‘journo’ to get on board to give the movement some kind of oxygen/air play etc.
    (I can already envisage a desperate (disparate??) “Band of Bloggers” parachuting into local town halls at midnight…)
    Notwhithstanding the likes of Phil Dolan and his like-minded arrogant, corrupt f-kers cocooning themselves in a veritable duvet of taxpayers money (561,000 tog?), I do think that local councillors etc. are more exposed and vulnerable to the likes of anyone who fancies a ‘pop’, as it were – nn yer face??
    Anyway, I am more ready to have a go and sign up, so to speak.
    Little money, but lots of enthusiasm, I like the idea of WitteringWitney…networking one way or another would be a start.
    I’m all ears for any ideas.

  29. 30 Andy Baxter 21/02/2011 at 4:30 pm

    interesting points of view re “revolution” in Middle East and Africa versus odds of happening here….

    However for me the British populace is at heart very inert, it always has been and always will be as long as some semblance of ‘rule of law’ exists along with a ‘feeling’ of satisfaction with the level of ones quality of life and also the infrastructure around us functioning to a degree that we deem ‘tolerable’.

    however ladies and gentlemen, take a good long hard look at what is happening in Britain today and you will see that the seeds of revolution are there;

    increasing blog analysis mostly intelligent and well thought out, cleverly worded often using satire to outright rage in expressing dissatisfaction with many aspects of Britain today, is it any wonder the hit rates are high?

    increasing blog activity advocating revolution, its being openly discussed and advocated now, something I never saw even five years ago

    increasing frustration and anger with the obvious ‘cut n paste’ adoption of EU diktats AND now unlike the past they are begining to be felt in everyday lives intruding into the most private minutiae of peoples lives

    increasing detachment of the political class from the real world, and ordinary folk know it

    no discernible difference between the main three parties on any policy issues, you might as well vote for one and get two free!

    increasing disdain for MSM, people would rather turn to facebook, twitter, Xfactor and the soaps than listen to political debate, the news etc…because its all bland on message and we know it

    falling MSM circulation (as pointed out by AM)for the same reason

    massive falls in membership of the traditional political parties, the conservative party has dropped from a paid up membership of over 2 million at its height in its heydey to just over 258,000 when Cameroon took over which has now fallen to less than 177,000 under his leadership

    and we dont have to think too hard to understand why

    the iron like grip party leadership has on its MP’s via the whip system and witness Call me Daves tyrannical candidate selection process denying local party involvement and selection and also Labours tight control over its MP’s via clearing of all statements via the leadership

    the abadonement by Labour of the traditional core labour vote now being taken up by the BNP and the EDL

    out of control immigration (dictated by the EU)

    the pressure on traditional infrastructure of schools, hospitals welfare etc due to this

    the emergence of the EDL as tour de force which has grown exponentially in the last two years as it gives voice to genuine concerns over immigration, totally ignored by the MSM and mainstream political parties

    the breakdown of the criminal justice system, the prison system, Jeez you get out in about 8 years now for commiting MURDER! when you strangle justice you get vengeance….and the endless blood feuds that follow. they just dont get it

    the perception of the Police becoming more and more servants of the State instead of servants of the Law due to the target driven culture endemic within itb driven from the top down as targets mean cash in pocket for senior police

    the HRA provisions placing the rights of offenders before victims, again no sense of justice, merely payouts and rights to the wrongdoers, its no longer perception but reality that the HRA puts the individual above the interests of society as a whole or the common good

    the almost near collapse of mainstream education at all levels primary right thorugh to tertiary

    rising out of control inflation

    rising energy costs due to feed in tariffs

    rising petrol and deisel and motoring costs

    out of control Government spending and the blackmail politics of councils cutting frontline services instead of climate change coordinators, walking coordinators, and transgender lesbo liblob whatever outreach workers…

    rising food and commodity prices out of tune with any meaningful wage rises

    falling food production due to biofuel AGW driven obsession and land use thereof and falling bee populations neccessary for the pollination of such

    the strangulation of the wealth generators SME businesses under reams of regulations and taxation

    rising personal taxation both direct and indirect to ‘service’ all this madness

    the increasing deliberate targeting of innocent motorists and members of public all to extract money under penalty notice this, penalty notice that

    out of control government borrowing and spending and ever more ingenious ways to extract even more from our pockets to service it all

    the demise of our historic and proud armed forces and our obvious subsuming to the EU defence force

    the attacks on our historic traditions, culture and history, the feeling of anger at the loss of our cultural identity and being called racist bigot fascist nazi or whatever when challenged by reasoned debate

    the folly of Iraq and Afghanistan

    rising numbers of war injured and war dead

    the effects of increasingly harsher winters not only on the vulnerable (which is killing them in greater numbers) but also the transport infrastructure wholly reliant on a discredited Met office obsessed with AGW which means our roads are becoming potential death traps and causing damage to vehicles (more cost)

    local councils obsessed with AGW, recycling targets and competing for the ‘how many coloured bins can we come up with competition this month’ and offering ‘non-jobs’ instead of doing their traditional roles while extracting ever more in council tax

    and finally (but please add a few more if you think I’ve missed anything….) the utter nonsense energy (lack of) policy that means individual and business energy rationing and the loss of productivity that WILL come with the power cuts…

    some readers may be too young to remember but I remember doing my homework by candle light, I remember walking around in the dark on a winter morning getting ready for school….but at elast back then we had a coal fire to heat the water and warm the kitchen and cook the food on the aga range….and give a little light too….

    we aint got any of that now….

    I believe that the power rationing (AND ITS COMING BOYS AND GIRLS) will be the trigger….

    When all the other stuff above is piled up and we are suffocating under it, it will be WHEN the lights go out and people can’t charge their i-pods, their blackberrys, can’t turn on the pc or tv and are denied their weekly X factor, and Cora, when people can’t get their three times a day Facebook fix or even get the gas boiler to fire up cos there aint no spark to light it, even if they can afford the gas, thats when its all going to explode…all the frustration, the anger and seething suffocating self righteous hatred will be looking for someone or something to blame and then maybe only then will the political ruling elite finally get it…..

    but my guess is they wont have to long to ponder over it before the oxygen starvation kicks in brought about by a tightening feeling around the neck……

  30. 31 Span Ows 21/02/2011 at 5:17 pm

    Vernon E, the answer is easy: we’ll need more people. Soylent Green can’t be made for thin air.

  31. 32 WitteringWitney 21/02/2011 at 6:58 pm

    Katabasis – I registered also.

  32. 33 Katabasis 21/02/2011 at 8:22 pm

    @everyone – great to hear some people have signed up over at the UK Libertarian forums. Davy will be pleased!

    Just to make clear – it is not my forum, however as it is explicitly a libertarian forum, its a good place to knock about these ideas, and pick up extra sympathetic people at the same time.

    I’ll get some more work done and then I’ll start kicking some thoughts around with you folks over at the forum.

    Also @Andybaxter – great rant mate, I agreed with every word. The only things I’d add are two thoughts I’ve seen raised elsewhere – if we go through energy rationing again we’re in even worse trouble this time because i) our society is now so dependent on computers and ii) our society is no longer as homogenous as it was back then.

  33. 34 Span Ows 21/02/2011 at 9:01 pm

    Well Mr T has already given you (us) a name: Band of Bloggers!

    …and of course you know or guessed that Phil “570 grand” Dolan is sure to be being paid a fortune “advising” other councils, don’t you? Despite being paid his pension contributions up to 65 in advance…

  34. 35 permanentexpat 21/02/2011 at 9:23 pm

    Just registered…..I’m a very old geezer living abroad & have no idea how I can contribute, but I may be able to expand on the ideas of others.
    My only probable advantage is that I’ve lived maybe longer than most commenters…and have a good memory.
    I remember when a cinsiderable part of the Atlas was coloured red…but do not regret the passing of Empire which was historically preordained, as are all empires.
    I also remember a proud & free nation….& we all know what happened to that. I remember when our elite were patriots and though times were not perfect (are they ever?) they were at least ‘our’ times and not those of an unelected, faceless alien bureaucracy.

  35. 36 Chairman of Selectors 21/02/2011 at 9:57 pm

    Katabasis, isnt this blog a good forum for like minded folk? I am struggling with the UK Libertarian forum as it all seems a bit “studenty” to me = lots of airy fairy idealism. I mean that in the nicest way of course, I agree with much of what the site talks about and stands for so please do not take offence. However, I do agree with war (when necesary) and the strengthening of our armed forces. I am also not convinced about legalising all drugs (though I admit this is a position I am starting to waver on). I have decide to put my money where my mouth is and join UKIP. I will also be volunteering when I am dragged back kicking and screaming from Oz by the wife at the end of the year. The thought of living back in the cesspit that is blighty fill sme with dread.

  36. 37 CalvinBall 21/02/2011 at 10:15 pm

    See Cameron has been to Egypt. I wonder if the showboating charlatan went as special adviser on how to renege on promises made to the people.

  37. 38 Katabasis 21/02/2011 at 10:33 pm

    OK everyone – I’ve kicked it off here:

    Let’s get stuck in and get this thing moving!

  38. 39 Katabasis 22/02/2011 at 11:04 am

    @Chairman of selectors

    “Katabasis, isnt this blog a good forum for like minded folk?”

    This blog is fantastic – but not for use as an organising platform. A discussion forum gives us the structure and freedom we need to have ongoing discussions on a number of issues and enables us to organise much more rapidly. It is also much more visible to other participants.

    “the UK Libertarian forum as it all seems a bit “studenty” to me = lots of airy fairy idealism.”

    That’s true of elements in almost any political theory. There are plenty of libertarians who would agree with you on the war issue for example (I personally am a little ambivalent; whilst I tend to fall on the non-interventionist side, I’m also willing to accept exceptional cases for intervention – for example an immediate international effort to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya).

    This is something that worries me that I’d like to nip in the bud as soon as possible – it is a fact that those of us on the libertarian right differ on a large range of issues; we shouldn’t use this as a reason to be divisive (not saying you are, but just wanting to point out that the things we agree on are more important), nor as a reason not to work together on actions beyond the blogosphere. The problem with us individualist types is that we stick apart, damnit! :)

    Instead of setting up a completely new forum for this kind of discussion, I’d rather we settled into one that was already active with people on roughly the same wavelength. After all, we need the numbers too.

  39. 40 Chairman of Selectors 23/02/2011 at 3:28 am

    Katabasis, all sound points (I would expect nothing less!). On that basis I will also chip in on the forum.

  40. 41 MrT 26/02/2011 at 9:47 am

    I’d just like to echo Chairman of Selectors’ concerns regarding the general tone of The UK Libertarian blog.
    I’m not knocking it all, or you Katabasis, but I think that organising ‘walks’ or whatever is going to do little to further ‘The Cause’, unless ‘we’ could organise something like a couple of million people to walk and make a real noise.

    I frequently read this:

    I have always thought that to register any serious impact on the ‘science is settled issues/political establishment’ they have to be brought to court in some fashion and forced to defend/confirm their status and its legality etc.
    Expensive, certainly, but I think with these people having to define and defend themselves and their beliefs in the spotlight of a courtroom would expose their rank hypocrisy and corrupt ‘values’.

  41. 42 Katabasis 26/02/2011 at 1:19 pm


    Understood. We could just as easily have discussions elsewhere. The UK lib forum just seemed like a sensible, open access place to start.

    Large movements always start from small movements. If we want a couple of million marching with us, we have to get the ball rolling ourselves and not wait from some panacea on high to do it for us.

    I’m focusing on things like walks etc because visibility and symbology is critically important, especially in today’s world of hypermedia, soundbites and short attention spans.

    I am of course completely behind each and every other action to push these things forward.

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