Tag: United Kingdom

UK Votes

Two months ago, Theresa May called for a snap election to strengthen her position going into Brexit. It looked like a great decision — the conservatives were leading massively in the polls. But she promptly blew all that and, tonight, it looks like the conservatives will lose their majority and have a hung parliament. Labour — lead by Marxist terrorist-loving twat Jeremy Corbyn — picked up a lot of seats but not enough to take the parliament. May is likely to step down tomorrow.

May pulled a Clinton on the UK — managed to lose an unlosable election. Crazy times.

Big Brother In the UK

This is probably our future too:

On Tuesday, the UK is due to pass its controversial new surveillance law, the Investigatory Powers Act, according to the Home Office.

The Act, which has received overwhelming support in both the House of Commons and Lords, formally legalizes a number of mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. It also introduces a new power which will force internet service providers to store browsing data on all customers for 12 months.

Civil liberties campaigners have described the Act as one of the most extreme surveillance laws in any democracy, while law enforcement agencies believe that the collection of browsing data is vital in an age of ubiquitous internet communications.

The UK is also introducing a new mass surveillance power, with the creation of so-called internet connection records (ICRs): records of the internet service a specific device has connected to, which will be created and stored by internet service providers. These records will include visited websites, messaging platforms like WhatsApp, or potentially even the connection your computer makes to a remote server when updating its software.

Many law enforcement agencies will be able to access this data, but so will lots of other, less obvious public bodies, including the Food Standards Agency, and some National Health Service Trusts.

The UK also, a couple of years ago, banned porn depicting anything the pearl-clutching nannies running their country regard as “deviant”. I’m sure more censorship is coming.

Don’t think this can’t happen here. Trump is putting in place people who support mass surveillance and oppose privacy protections. Congress has shown repeatedly that will instantly cave unless we the people rise up in protest. If we don’t want to follow the example of the UK, we have to object now, no matter who is in power.

Assassination in the UK

Awful:

Investigators are searching for answers a day after British politician Jo Cox was killed in a brazen attack on the street in her district in northern England.

Cox, a member of Parliament, was stabbed and shot Thursday in Birstall after a meeting with constituents, the Press Association reported, citing witnesses, in an attack that has shocked a nation with tight gun laws.

A local official briefed by police told CNN that the gunman “lay in wait” for Cox before the attack.

Police have arrested Tommy Mair in connection with the case, the Press Association reported. There is no clear indication of a motive, but details are emerging that Mair had an interest in white supremacy.

Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two, was an avid campaigner for the rights of refugees. Her death comes a week before a crucial referendum on whether Britain should stay in the European Union, and she was an open supporter of remaining in the bloc.

I haven’t commented on the Brexit referendum because, frankly, I don’t know enough about the issue. It seems likely this was connected but we’ll wait until more details come out.

Labour Moves to the Fringe

Earlier this year, the United Kingdom had a stunning electoral result. The conservatives won a clear majority in the parliament, defying electoral expectations. Labour expected to do well with the collapse of the Liberal Democrats but what they gained in England, they more than lost in Scotland as the Scottish National Party swept up almost all of the seats. In the aftermath, Labour leader Ed Milibrand stepped down.

Today, the Labour Party appointed new leadership: certified nutter Jeremy Corbyn:

Veteran far-left lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Saturday, a runaway victory that threatens to further divide the party as it struggles to recover from a heavy defeat in elections earlier this year.

Corbyn’s win is one of the biggest political shake-ups in British politics in decades, marking a sharp left turn for his party and a rejection of the more centrist policies of his predecessors.

The silver-haired and bearded Corbyn, 66, has drawn vitriol and admiration in equal measure with his old-school socialist views: He wants more taxation for the rich, strongly opposes Britain’s austerity measures, and argues for nationalizing industry. Considered an eccentric outsider just three months ago, he has surged in popularity to become the favorite over his three more mainstream rivals.

Corbyn’s beliefs are a radical left smorgasbord of bullshit: nationalizing industries, inflation, wage caps, trade restrictions, nationalizing schools, nationalizing childcare, rent control, raising taxes through the roof, withdrawing from NATO, abandoning the campaign against ISIS, scrapping Britain’s nuclear weapons, wealth redistribution and massive increases in spending (because Britons are apparently not taxed enough). He even wants to re-open Britain’s coal mines because what Britain really needs right now is to send another generation of men deep into the ground to have their bodies destroyed digging out a mineral that is an economic sinkhole and is the worst fuel in terms of global warming. Oh, and he also has ties to anti-Israel organizations.

Back in the 1990’s, when the Tories lost the government, they went into the wilderness, becoming more radical and stupid before finding their way back under Cameron. Since 2008, the Republicans have done something similar, albeit in a less decisive fashion. In both cases, the result of purifying themselves was to elect the opposition. We’ll have to hope Britain’s economy stays afloat under Cameron. Because if Labour wins while Corbyn is in charge of Labour, the British ship of state could sink very far and very fast. Imagine the UK, only with Syriza in charge.

Update: The current generation has never seen real socialism. Oh, they’ve seen Socialism Lite: big wealth transfer programs, big spending programs, high taxes. But they haven’t seen it like it was in the 70’s when labor unions could dictate industrial policy, when entire unprofitable industries were propped up with billions in taxpayer money, when you had to fight with store clerks to keep them from raising the prices on things while you were trying to buy them, when the West almost abandoned Israel to the wolves.

With Venezuela, Bolivia, Greece and now possibly the UK, they’re about to get a quick refresher course. Let’s hope it’s a quick lesson. We can’t afford to learn as slowly as we did forty years ago.

The UK Votes

The UK election is going tonight. It’s looking close. The Tories may win more seats by the Scottish National Party is set to win all of Scotland and may join with Labour to form a government (which may end up resulting in Scottish Independence).

I mildly support the Tories but the key word is mildly. Cameron has reigned in the out-of-control spending binge of the previous Labour government. But he has also supported some of the starkest internet censorship in the Western world.

We’ll see what happens.

The Baby Thieves

I’m sure the only reason this hasn’t happened more often is because no one had ever thought of it:

Last summer a pregnant Italian mother flew to England for a two-week Ryanair training course at Stansted. Staying at an airport hotel, she had something of a panic attack when she couldn’t find the passports for her two daughters, who were with her mother back in Italy. She called the police, who arrived at her room when she was on the phone to her mother. The police asked to speak to the grandmother, who explained that her daughter was probably over-excited because she suffered from a “bipolar” condition and hadn’t been taking her medication to calm her down.

The police told the mother that they were taking her to hospital to “make sure that the baby was OK”. On arrival, she was startled to see that it was a psychiatric hospital, and said she wanted to go back to her hotel. She was restrained by orderlies, sectioned under the Mental Health Act and told that she must stay in the hospital.

By now Essex social services were involved, and five weeks later she was told she could not have breakfast that day. When no explanation was forthcoming, she volubly protested. She was strapped down and forcibly sedated, and when she woke up hours later, found she was in a different hospital and that her baby had been removed by caesarean section while she was unconscious and taken into care by social workers. She was not allowed to see her baby daughter, and later learnt that a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, had given the social workers permission to arrange for the child to be delivered. In October, at a hearing before another judge, she was represented by lawyers assigned to her by the local authority and told she would be escorted back to Italy without her baby.

The mother is back on her medication now (she was likely off due to the pregnancy). But the authorities refuse to give her daughter back. The Chelmsford court says they can’t risk her going off the meds, since, apparently, in the UK, no parent is ever off their meds. The Italian authorities concluded that they can’t do anything because she didn’t protest her treatment at the time — you know, that time when she was confused and disoriented in a foreign country and was sectioned anyway. Her ex-husband has tried to adopt, but the courts say he has no blood tie. Unless someone steps in, she will never get her child back. Even is she does, she has already missed the first year and a half of her child’s life.

Now this is an extremely rare event so we shouldn’t read too much into it, right? Wrong. In this country, we’ve had children yanked out of parents arms for being obese. We’ve had children put into foster care because their parents had some pot. We’ve had babies ripped from their mothers’ arms because they ate a poppy seed bagel. And custody battles are often decided in favor of whoever is the worst helicopter parent.

One of the running themes of the Nanny State is that you are not a good enough parent. Your child has too high a BMI! And what’s that scrape on their knee? Do I smell booze on your breath? Are those cigarette butts? Who did you vote for? For God’s sake, are you using formula to feed your newborn?! What kind of monster are you? And the Nannies see Britain — with its sectioning and ASBO’s — as a shadowy model for what they want to build here.

But surely even the Nannies would draw the line at an invasive medical procedure, right? Wrong. Just a few weeks ago, we found out about David Eckert. He was pulled over for a routine traffic stop but officers thought, based on a drug dog alert and him seeming to clinch his butt cheeks, that he had drugs in his rectum. Then this happened:

Mr. Eckert released medical records to local reporters, who reviewed them and noted that the following things were done to him by doctors and staff at Gila Regional Medical Center:

1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.

Allow me to repeat: no narcotics were ever found during Mr. Eckert’s encounter with police and doctors.

Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures.

This is coming, folks. One day, we will read that some American woman has had her baby literally ripped from her belly, most likely in the name of the War on Drugs. Let’s not say we didn’t see it coming.

Beheading in the Streets

I’ve been tinkering with a post on yesterday’s cold-blooded murder and attempted beheading of a UK soldier by two Islamic men. But what is there to say? It was senseless, pointless, barbaric and brutal — everything we have to expect from Islamism. And while the video of these men speaking is horrific, I’m glad that people will get to see these men literally soaked in the blood of an infidel while they shout Islamic slogans. Maybe they’ll quit pretending Islamism isn’t savagery.

Romney Abroad

This just in: the media have flagrantly misrepresented a point Mitt Romney once made about the British Empire as an insult to Britain. I know … shocking, huh? But the stupid Chick-Fil-A story seems to have run out of steam, so we have to talk about something.

Several blogs are running basically non-stop coverage of how badly Mitt is doing in the UK. Part of that is because, well, it’s Mitt and he has a tendency to say dumb things and has no real political principles (Example: he’s promised to get the Churchill bust back. But the bust is (a) Britain’s and (b) was returned because it was specifically loaned, not given, to Bush). But Mitt would get negative coverage even if he were the world’s greatest candidate. As a Republican, the British media are predisposed not to like him. His demeanor and his words make him a perfect straight man for British humor and sarcasm. And he’s there on the eve of the olympics, when there’s a natural surge in excitement and national pride.

So ignore anything coming from the other side of the Atlantic. If Romney is elected, the Brits will find a way to work with him. I mean, for fuck’s sake, if they can work with France, they can work with anyone.

Libor

I’ve been lazy on the Libor scandal because it made my head spin. It seemed like an obscure financial scandal confined to the UK. But I was wrong not to pay attention. As Matt Yglesias explains, this scandal — involving interbank loan rates — isn’t some obscure financial bullshittery:

Even though the typical American is never going to seek an interbank loan in London, the number is used as a benchmark for a wide range of other financial instruments. Credit instruments with variable interest rates—private student loans, auto loans, adjustable-rate mortgages, credit cards, etc.—need to be indexed to some underlying marker of the overall cost of funds within the financial system. Often that’s something called the “prime rate” set here in the United States, but it’s also frequently the Libor. So growing evidence that Libor numbers have been deliberately manipulated by banks for years means that millions of people have been paying the wrong interest rate on all manner of financial products. Vast sums of money have been wrongly snatched from innocent people and created equally vast undeserved windfalls for others.

Essentially, Libor is an estimate of what it costs for banks to lend each other money. Those interest rates feed … everything. They are based on banks reporting data on borrowing. And it turns out that banks tailored their reports to under- or over-estimate Libor so that their financial arms could make huge profits on the information asymmetry. The banks knew what the real libor was but made sure a bogus libor was put out so that they could make millions. Then, when the financial crisis hit, both the banks and the regulators conspired to keep the rates low so the economy and the banks would seem healthier than they actually were.

A few heads have started rolling — put a pin in that for a second — but I think people are missing the forest for the trees. The corruption of Libor was inevitable. An informal system like this may have worked when all the bankers knew each other and agreed not to manipulate the system. But as Mark Calabria notes, it was never going to be as good as a system based on actual market performance. It was precisely the sort of cosy insider bullshit that has been exploding in our faces for the past five years.

And this is bigger than the billions or maybe trillions these guys ripped out of our pockets. What this really is, when you think about it, is a suicidal attack on the financial system itself. The financial system functions on trust. If we come to believe the game is rigged, we might as well just rename ourselves New Zimbabwe. So far, Barclay’s is the only bank implicated, but that’s because they’re cooperating (sorta). This will spread and spread until banks across the world are engulfed.

Now, returning to the head rolling: I’ve frankly lost patience with these fuckers in the banking industry. When they make me agree with an op-ed by Robert “The Littlest Communist on Slate” Reich, they’ve gone too far. Rolling out the heads of a few mid-level executive is simply not going to cut it this time. Entire boards need to be fired. People need to be jailed. This business of shrugging shoulders and offering a few ritual sacrifices is insufficient for this crisis.

Let’s be clear: we don’t need some new huge slate of regulations and capital restrictions. Stephen Baindbridge points out how often these crises result in bad laws that hurt the economy and do nothing to prevent further scandals. No, what we need to do is enforce the laws we have to the fullest extent. What these guys did was fraudulent. We’ve had laws against that for centuries.

Control the message by controlling the messenger

The labour party in the UK has been suffering a serious sets of defeats as more and more people lose hope with their stupid policies, and now are having a conference to discuss options. One of their brilliant ideas is a journalist license. The plan is to only allow people that they like, the ones telling the stories they like and the way they like it, to be reporters.

The UK Labour party’s conference is underway in Liverpool, and party bigwigs are presenting their proposals for reinvigorating Labour after its crushing defeat in the last election. The stupidest of these proposals to date will be presented today, when Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, will propose a licensing scheme for journalists through a professional body that will have the power to forbid people who breach its code of conduct from doing journalism in the future.

Given that “journalism” presently encompasses “publishing accounts of things you’ve seen using the Internet” and “taking pictures of stuff and tweeting them” and “blogging” and “commenting on news stories,” this proposal is even more insane than the tradition “journalist licenses” practiced in totalitarian nations.

Now what could go wrong with that, huh? I could go into a long tirade about what this means and how these people view their serfs, but it wouldn’t be anything new to anyone that has been paying attention to the way the left works.