Well, this will be quick. It’s past midnight and I have to catch a ferry in the morning. This will tie up a few loose ends I’ve been meaning to say something about in the past couple of weeks.

First, the election.

I’ve been bombarded with campaign literature for the last couple of weeks. All for some bizarre reason, from the Scottish Labour party. Included was a personal missive from the indefinably-odd looking Iain Gray urging me to help keep the eeeeeevil Tories at bay (if I read it correctly). Oh and stop the Nats from doing something they’ve quietly dropped.

Anyway, the whole election thing is incredibly tedious – despite the efforts of two Facebook friends, one on either side of the SNP/Labour divide, to breathlessly tell us all how incredibly exciting it all is. I have been very interested in politics since I was sixteen, when I was some sort of ill-informed Marxist type, to where I am now, a free-market minarchist (still pretty ill-informed), but the whole Scottish thing really does fill me with a deep melancholy and boredom. Mainly I think it stems from a belief that, until we are not ruled from Brussels, our petty national politics are an irrelevance, and none of the four candidates up here will lift a finger to campaign for us to get out of the EU.

The regional list thing  seems to be a touch pointless too, a strange way for nobodies and losers to get a seat and make a noise in Holyrood. Losers here meaning both not-winners and sad political beings with no future or past. And a token Tory

Lastly we will be given a chance to vote on a brand spanking new shiny system of vote-counting. A choice between FPTP and AV. Hmmm. To paraphrase, “the most exciting chance to change our system of democracy and to re-connect with the voters”. Allegedly. I cannot really be bothered to go into my reasons for wanting to stick with FPTP, other than to say that I think it is the least bad system.

I’m just waiting for the resurrection of old excuses when the inevitable “No” is returned. Top of the list, I suspect, will be that it was too confusing for the electorate to have the vote the same day as the Scottish Parliamentary elections and English council votes. I’m not sure what advantage was gained by the campaign teams making this argument to begin with. Calling the electorate morons never seemed too smart to me. But what do I know.

To cap the whole sorry saga which – rather pathetically – has taken up a large part of my (obviously extremely valuable) thinking time in the last couple of months I will be away on the 5th anyway. When I discovered that I would be back at sea on the date, the postal vote deadline had passed. A family member asked if I wanted to vote by proxy, but the problem I had with this was that the only person I could trust to be my proxy and not to vote for someone I didn’t want, refused to draw big comedy willies all over the ballots. Because yes, dear reader*, I had come to the conclusion that I was going to spoil at least two, if not all three ballots this time.

Mean new colour scheme

The office

Secondly, work. I’m still running a wee taxi company up in Stornoway, which provides a handy excuse for someone who keeps asking me why I don’t write more (hello again, reader). It keeps me incredibly busy but I still want to get back to sea as much as possible. Back at the end of March I was contacted by the company I worked for at the end of last summer for a while saying that there might be a position open this summer, and would I like it if there was a place. Yes. Yes, I would. So I have to join a Coastguard tug in Ullapool on Wednesday morning. As it’s now 1.30 on Wednesday morning, I feel that I will be rather sleepy when I join after an early morning ferry trip. Unfortunately, I’ll only be on board for a month, but I enjoyed the trip I did last year, so I’m looking forward to it.

There’s tons of stuff I’ve been wanting to talk about recently. From the Royal Wedding and how one can support the monarchy and simultaneously be bored half to death by wedding build-up coverage; Obama feeding the trolls and releasing his birth certificate and breeding a new species of swivel-eyed conspiraloon; the rather odd circumstances surrounding the murder of OBL, and the FB  friend, who wrote – apparently without a trace of irony – “Vengance is mine, I will repay, sayeth the Lord”; latest erosions of civil liberties and intrusion of the state; and many other riveting subjects. However, I have to be up in four and a half hours, so I’ll leave these exciting topics to another time.

Also I suspect I may get some comment on this post for a change, but bear with me. I will endeavour to reply to anything asap, but I’ll be away from decent interweb connection for probably a month.

*Yeh, thank you, whoever you are.

Just a wee quick one.

I came across this story just now when checking the local news. Eleven acres of solar panels are to be planted in Lewis. I’m personally not too fussed by this, after all no public money seems to be earmarked for the scheme (as far as I can make out). However, the first thing I did when I read the story, was to look for this. In the summary, it says

Daily hours of sunshine range from between 0.8 per day in December to 6.3 per day in May

This is an average. I can remember days – or even weeks – at a time with no sun, let alone days with only 48 minutes. As any local can tell you, this can happen at any time during the year. Like I said, none of my money seems to be going into it, so all I can do is wish them the best of luck.

Stolen from <a href="http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2011/03/tomorrow-is-officially-double-up.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DickPuddlecote+%28Dick+Puddlecote%29">here</a>

Stolen from here

Ah yes it’s National Double or Quits Day today, and in a move designed to show that the Tories are even more reprehensible than Labour*, Andrew Landsley today confirms that further regressive, bullying, Soviet policies of Labour are being implemented. It will soon – within 5 years – be illegal to display tobacco products. Additionally “consultations” will be held about plain packaging.

In the introduction to the press release, there is the following gem:

The plan confirms action to end eye catching tobacco displays in shops which encourage young people to start smoking.

Have the collective ‘minds’ who drafted this turned to mush? They seriously think kids go “ooh, look, shiny stuff, I better start smoking” and die. It is indisputable that the more something is restricted, the more using it becomes an act of rebellion, and therefore the more likely it is to used as a part of youth rebellion. I would almost think that it was a brilliant double-bluff** to stimulate the market, but I find the thought of Labour dreaming up something that would make money as mind-boggling as Quantum Mechanics.

Anyway this set of targets came out in the DOH release:

  • stopping the promotion of tobacco;
  • making tobacco less affordable;
  • effective regulation of tobacco products;
  • helping tobacco users to quit;
  • reducing exposure to secondhand smoke; and
  • effective communications for tobacco control.

Right-e-o.

  • stopping the promotion of tobacco;

Advertising tobacco and tobacco products is illegal. Use of tobacco products on TV are increasingly restricted. Tobacco is (for now, at least) legal, so either ban it entirely and face the consequences, or stop interfering in a lawful commodity.

  • making tobacco less affordable;

Putting the duty on tobacco up is self-defeating. Already I know very few people that buy full-price fags or baccy. Especially up in Lewis, there is vast amounts of tobacco (legally purchased and illegally sold on) washing around the place from folk who work at sea. People are buying this and most importantly not paying tax on it. The more expensive it is the more likely we are to buy it from someone down the road, rather than from the shops.

  • effective regulation of tobacco products;

I have noticed that an ever-larger proportion of the stuff around these days is counterfeit, rather than just from abroad. Shops are aware that they are watched constantly by trading standards and associated prod-noses, and are too good at asking for ID when buying fags. I still occasionally get asked to prove my age. Me. I’m a fat, greying, bearded 25 year old, with the looks of a 35 year old. The guys selling baccy out of their car boots don’t worry about the provenance or the quality of their products, and don’t worry about the age their customers are. Increasing regulation will increase illicit trading, which again, will defeat the purpose of the regulation. Yet again.

  • helping tobacco users to quit;

Eh? Why they believe this is a legitimate area for Central Government, I’m not entirely sure. Anyway, it is up to individuals to stop, as and when they want. Nobody forced to stop ever really does. Patches and gum don’t work. Again, when bullied and harassed, hectored and vilified, the correct course of action is to dig one’s heels in and stick either one or two fingers up.

  • reducing exposure to secondhand smoke; and

SHS is a myth.

  • effective communications for tobacco control.

All the fake charities, prohibitionists and rent-seekers in tobacco control already have extremely effective lines of communications. Whichever half-baked, spurious and ludicrous claim is made on any particular day, is sent out as a press release, and is immediately reproduced verbatim by an ever-credulous BBC, Daily Mail, Guardian, etc, with absolutely no critical view on it.

Anyway, that’s my thoughts on this important day, when I will go out and try to persuade all ex-smoking acquaintances to restart their habit, and tell anyone who will listen that all the coolest people smoke.

*The Tories should be the party of individuals; the party of enterprise, free markets and laissez-faire. The party that removes petty bureaucracy; nanny and bully statism; and stands up for enterprise and civil liberties. The fact the Labour hate the individual, and especially success by any individuals should be well known to everybody. The Tories have fallen so far from their ideal, that that they are not the same party.

**I once considered that He With The Massive Forehead, might be doing something similar, and trying to bring around the downfall of the EU by pushing for Turkey’s membership. However, it just became apparent that our PM is a massive tool, as well as a traitor. Ah, well.

Well hello! It’s been a while.

Posted: 24-November-2010 in Rants

I had a customer in my cab yesterday. It was one of the regulars, and as usual he was a touch… merry. 9 out of 10 of the folk I pick up are. Anyway as I was driving this guy home he opened a bottle of whisky and took a couple of pulls at it, and spilled a dram down the door. This guy is usually pretty decent, so I asked him to put the bottle away. He then said something I haven’t heard since Primary school: “naw, it’s a free country”.

What a quaint and inaccurate statement.

What is free about or in this country? Several months have passed since our new glorious “Tory” government swept to power, borne aloft on a wave of unbridled joy apathy, promising to sweep away the decade and a half of Socialist Fascism.

And what has been achieved in this time?

The coalition of losers who are our new overlords have continued Labour’s policies of erosion of civil liberties unabated.

If only the economic policies of the tory right had been married with the libertarianism that the Lib Dems (should) offer. However, both parties’ policies have mixed to give the Social Democrat’s abortion of economics and the authoritarian wing of the Tories, to give a revoltingly illiberal concoction.

It also hit me that I almost never hear anyone say this anymore, it has been replaced with “my rights”, a not so quaint and equally inaccurate statement.

As for things being your rights, innit, until you show some responsibility, no they’re emphatically not.

Those militant lefty student scum rioting all over the country do not have the right to my money.

Fat single baby-spouting dolescum housebound slags have no right to my money.
Bearded lunatics have no right to demand backward, evil Sharia law in my country.

Bully quangos and fake charity right-on rent-seekers have no right to tell me what to do/ think/ say.

It is not your right to square up to me for asking for my fare or vomit in my car when you’re pissed and can’t handle your drink.

It’s not your right to sue your local council when you’re too stupid to take responsibility for yourself.

And it most certainly is not your right to take legal action for being offended. You have no ‘human right’ not to be offended.

What’s my recourse for being offended by that concept?

I am really and truly sick of election coverage. Every time I turn on the radio, or open my feed panel in firefox, I’m bombarded with will he/won’t he nonsense, uselessly repetitive analysis and varyingly degrees of swearyness in blog entries.

I really don’t post as much as I should/would like to on this blog. I seem to only post excuses for not posting. Anyway, one of the reasons is that everything that catches my attention is posted to my facebook page.

Earlier today I was linking to this fabulous image:

and I was impressed to see that the anti-spam word-verification thingumyjig had worked out exactly why we are all sick of Nick Clegg:

I'm not only sick of wangling, I'm sick that the little turd who's  given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a say in politics is  apparently holding out for more. You are a nonentity.

I put this on facebook a while ago, so to most, if not all, of you this picture is nothing new.

I took it at the beginning of the electoral campaign, and it spoke to me of one the most fundamental choices we have to make at this election.

Do we want more surveillance? if yes, vote Labour.

Labour surveillance... Are they watching the boothes? Tin-foil hat firmly attached to the ol' noggin.

quick and dirty edit.

Well now,  our Dear Leader made a bit of a mistake yesterday in the affair now (inevitably) known as “Bigotgate”.  When I say mistake, he inserted his foot a considerable way down his oesophagus. Obviously, this subject is a goldmine and has been comprehensively covered by better and more prolific bloggers than myself.

One aspect of the story struck me today as I was on my last delivery of the day. I was listening to Jeremy Vine’s show, and before turning off in disgust I heard a caller, in support of the Unelected one, say that it was a private conversation, and it was therefore unethical of Sky to broadcast it. I’ve noticed John Prescott and the Dark Lord Mandelson have jumped on the same meme and are sticking by it.

Now, the person they are defending here is the leader of the party who have plans to record every phone call, every email, every text and monitor everyone’s internet usage.

They have cameras that track your car’s movement, cameras to record your every movement, military-grade spy planes checking you don’t give your child salt, they want to follow cars from satellites, they want to put microchips in your bin to ensure a baked bean doesn’t get in with the metal recycling, they want to stop us from having any contact with kids, they want to force us to invest in spurious “green” technologies, they want us to uncomplainingly fork out our hard-earned cash to fund them and their cronies in the Unions, they want to spend OUR money like it was going out of fashion.

And they claim that it is unfair to report the “sinner’s” words.