Freedom’s Price

Never one to miss an opportunity to suck up to the bully, Labour scion Dan Hodges barely manages to allow the bodies of those murdered in the Paris attacks on Friday to cool off before using his Torygraph column to call for us to welcome even more state intrusion in to our lives by supporting the monstrously illiberal Communications Data Bill (aka the Snooper’s Charter). This will, he believes*, ensure that London isn’t itself the target of such an atrocity.

He offers no evidence as to why we should do so, just the emotive plea of someone who thinks that he can gain security by sacrificing the civil liberties of 65m or so people.

Since his only attempt to justify this piece of useful idiotry when confronted on twitter was to repeatedly pretend that all the security services wish to do is have a look through people’s browsing history – as if that isn’t bad enough given the state’s propensity to try to hang you for what they find on your hard disk if they can’t get you for what they initially wanted – I thought I’d deliver a cold hard dose of reality to him and anyone else who thinks that this piece of legislation is a great idea…

The brutal truth, although you might not like it very much, is that the price of living in a liberal democracy is that occasionally we will be the victims of an outrage such as we saw in Paris on Friday night.

No, that doesn’t mean I want to see people murdered in cold blood. Nor does it mean that I disapprove of sensible precautionary measures that may prevent incidents (such as not allowing those with mental health issues to have access to firearms**).

What it does mean is that I am an intelligent, grown-up human being who accepts the possibility of it occurring rather than someone who is so scared that something bad might happen to me that I wish to sacrifice my freedom in order to be swaddled in the dubious comfort blanket of the police state.


* Whilst, no doubt, furiously working himself in to a state of pleasure at the thought of Theresa May in black leather standing over him praising him for this loyalty to the cause.

** Related to this is the need to stop kicking meaningful mental health reform in to the long grass.

At the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

Field of poppies

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

In the last 12 months the following have died whilst in the service of their country:

  • Roberts, Geraint
  • Scott, Alan
  • Campbell, Michael
  • Sawyer, Jamie
  • Warrender, Charles
Image taken from pixabay

List of British military deaths courtesy of the BBC

Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium

From the person who brought The Cornershop comes “Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium” – a sex shop stuffed with items made solely from felt. If you wish to visit though, you’d best hurry as it closes on Saturday 17th October.

I went on the opening night – as I wanted to catch-up with the artist’s father – and took some pictures.

Licensed Sex Shop

Clarissa elsewhere

At Libertarian Home commenting on the Ashley Madison business.

Funding Auntie

Following on from Sunday’s leak/pre-announcement, yesterday saw the actual announcement of a host of changes to the licence fee.

In summary:

  • The licence fee will survive for at least another 5 years
  • The cost of the licence fee will rise by inflation, ending 7 years of price freezes
  • The government intends to alter the scope of the TV licence to include catch-up services
  • The BBC is take over the cost of subsiding free TV licences for those 75 and over

I’m not, you probably won’t be surprised to hear, a fan of the licence fee, considering it to be nothing more than a tax on watching live television. I’d much rather see the BBC funded though one or more of advertising, subscription or micro-payments.

For myself, I’ve not paid the tax since the analogue signal was switched off in my area in 2012. Having a (now) rather ancient, in technological terms, CRT set and no way to pick up the digit signal via it, I made the decision to stop watching and save myself £145.50 a year.

Like many I am though known to watch programmes via catch-up, an entirely legal (at present) approach which was last week blamed by Auntie for costing it £150m and 1,000 jobs. As if it has a right to that money.

If the government does go ahead and remove this ‘loophole’, I shall either stop watching anything on iPlayer altogether or use a VPN on the odd occasion when I do want to watch something. Either way, the BBC won’t be getting a penny out of me (directly at any rate) unless I buy some of its shows on DVD.

The sneaky, and perhaps downright nasty, move though is lumbering the BBC with the costs of subsiding the licence fee for those 75 and over. Previously this ‘freebie’, introduced by Gordon Brown in 2001, has been borne by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and is estimated to currently cost the taxpayer £631m.

Sneaky because it gets it off the government books and means that the BBC has to swallow the cost yet nasty because it is not the choice of the BBC to provide this subsidy and there is no way for them to withdraw it without finding themselves getting it in the neck from a lot of people and organisations.

If the government (rightly or wrongly) wishes to subsidise something it should pick up the tab itself (with taxpayer money) rather than pass the cost of doing so on to another party which has no power to end it.

By her actions shall you know @charlottechurch

Welsh choir girl Charlotte Church has declared that she would be happy to pay a higher rate of income tax ‘to protect public services‘:

“I have paid all my tax since I was 12 years old, and I would certainly be happy if the rate was 60% or 70%. I wouldn’t move away, I wouldn’t have an offshore account.

“That would be totally fine, for better infrastructure and public services and more of a Scandinavian model, which I see as far more progressive than the way we are, I would be absolutely fine with that.”

Leaving her utter ignorance of the ‘Scandinavian system’ to one side, if she really is quite happy to pay even more tax on any earnings then all she has to do is send a cheque for whatever amount she deems sufficient to HM Treasury, Unit 1, Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ and tell them where she would like it spent.

Anyone care to give me odds on her actually doing this? Long, aren’t they?

What Charlotte really means is that she’d prefer it if the government stole that proportion of income from all of us, including her.

Until she puts her hand in her pocket and voluntarily pays tax at a rate she’d impose on me then she is nothing more than yet another left-wing blow hard who refuses to put her money where her mouth is until forced to do so under threat of violence.

General Election 2015

And so the race is run. The dullest election campaign in (my) memory has finally drawn to an end and now the polling stations have opened. The public, those that haven’t died of boredom that is, will now proceed to turn out in their droves (about 6 in 10 or so anyway) at the local school, church or other selected venue over the course of next 15 hours in order to select their preferred lizard. Meanwhile the party leaders will show up at their polling stations at some pre-arranged time so that they can have their picture taken with their partner whilst they cast their ballot before retiring home to chew their finger nails and hope and pray that they have convinced enough people that their party is the right option.

I, for the first time since 1997, will not be bothering. Not bothering to such an extent that this time around I’m not even on the electoral register. Sadly for the local candidates this means that they will be deprived of the opportunity to scan quickly over anything unpleasant I might otherwise have said about them come the count.

If this vacuous election campaign has proved one thing, it is that fixed term parliaments might sound good on paper but are, in reality, a damn stupid idea and should be dispensed with ASAP. Better a short, sharp campaign than one which goes on for 5 years.

THe only thing left to find out is how close the opinion pollsters are to reality – and that is why I intend to spend this evening in a pub giving my liver and kidneys a thorough workout. Perhaps by this time tomorrow I will have a better idea of how extra lube I’m going to need for the next 5 years in order to cope with the depredations the next government inflicts on me.

Musical Interlude: Country to Country 2015 (Sunday)

On this blog we got both kinds of music. We got country *and* western.

From the main stage on Sunday…

Kip Moore – Hey Pretty Girl:

Brantley Gilbert – Bottoms Up:

Jason Aldean – Fly over States:

Lady Antebellum – We Owned The Night

Musical Interlude: Country to Country 2015 (Saturday)

On this blog we got both kinds of music. We got country *and* western.

From the main stage on Saturday…

Brandy Clark – Stripes:

Lee Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance:

Florida Georgia Line – Dirt:

Luke Bryan – Play It Again:

Soror, ave atque vale

For those couldn’t make it or those who could but wish to hear it again, I repeat my short speech below.


Like so many others I first met Chrissie through politics. In my case it was around about the time of the Rally against Debt. No, don’t worry, no-one else remembers it either.

Although we didn’t meet frequently – mostly at her birthday parties or at drinks organised by various political organisations – I, like others, was able to watch via Facebook and Twitter as she blazed a trail through the political youth scene. Her infectious personality, enthusiasm, passion for politics and propensity for alcohol made her many friends and acquaintances across the spectrum – including her beloved Olly. Whilst she may not have agreed with those who held opposing views, she also didn’t resort to the slanging matches indulged in by so many others.

Libertarian in outlook at an age where many, if they take an interest at all, prefer the siren call of socialism, her time at university was to see her grow from someone who thought it was possible to operate inside the political system in to someone who rejected it utterly. It was a privilege to watch as, in such a short space of time, she moved from being a member of the Conservative Party, to briefly (and very publicly in terms of both arrival and departure) flirting with UKIP before eventually rejecting parties in toto. During that time she stood in the local elections (even knowing she wouldn’t win), became Leeds Conservative Future chairwoman, Yorkshire Young Independence vice-chairwoman and founded the local Liberty League branch – managing all of this whilst not stinting on her social life.

A regular at pubs, events and socials in the Westminster area (as well as Players), the political geekery of herself and a few others made the Moggettes a force to be reckoned with at quiz nights run by The Freedom Association.

Always ready to help others, even if all they needed was a sympathetic ear, the premature end to the life of someone who shone so brightly came as a blow to many. An impromptu wake held at The Red Lion just hours after we found out attracted people from London and beyond, lots of apologies for absence and donations to the bar tab from people who’d only ever known her online.

Maggie, Boyne, if it is any comfort, the sheer number of people who have expressed their sorrow over the last month is testimony to what a fine job the two of you did in raising such a remarkable young woman and I’m grateful to have known her.

She will be missed, always.