We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The new world of news

It is interesting that media groups like the Kurdish Rûdaw are now able to plonk their news on YouTube with English subtitles, giving us yet another perspective of what is happening beyond the usual suspects.

I find it fascinating. Of course it will be no less slanted depending on the sensibilities of the source, but the notion of being able to watch stuff from a Kurdish news organisation in Erbil would have seemed fantastical just a few years ago. The fact they provide foreign subtitles is very telling.

Samizdata quote of the day

The impression given was that to be against multiculturalism is like being against chicken tikka masala, or bhangra, or arts festivals or smiley brown skinned people or fun generally. But multiculturalism isn’t and never was a handy synonym for “multiethnic”. And at last, it seems, the majority of British people have twigged.

- James Delingpole

Deleted by the Guardian… spotting the pattern

I found this interesting:

Harun Khan said many young British-born Muslims felt pushed to the fringes of society and that the latest government crackdown could nudge them further into the grasp of radical clerics, instead of drawing them back into mainstream society.

If they want to be in mainstream society in the UK, then their young males need to go down the pub and their young females need to stop wearing a head scarf. But this was my reply:

So if I understand what Harun Khan is saying, it is that monitoring members of the Muslim community for fear of Islamic extremism will cause radicalisation, so the thing to do is to leave it to the imams and community leaders to ensure everything is hunky dory. So a bit like Rotherham then?

And the Guardian’s reply was:

This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.

Now as I respect private property, unlike the some I could mention, I accept that as the comment was posted on the Guardian’s site, it is up to them what they allow to be published… so no nonsensical bleating about ‘censorship’ please… their house, their rules. I certainly never apologise for deleting comments I think are inappropriate on Samizdata, and neither should the Guardian.

But I do find it interesting that what I think was a pretty innocuous remark gets axed the moment it touches on this particular topic. I sense that a thread is being pulled on the whole morally relativistic carpet that has been draped over the large grunting shitting snuffling pig in the middle of the room, and there is mounting alarm in ‘certain circles’ as they see this carpet coming unravelled. So to me the issue is not “Oh noez! My comment has been cruelly deleted!” but rather “it is interesting to see this particular pattern show where the intolerable sensitivities are”. If that is the weak point, that is where to keep thrusting the dagger.

But then as I said last time I got a comment deleted, that was the sort of mainstream media world view that pushed me into setting up Samizdata in 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11.

And so I introduce a new comment category today: Deleted by the Guardian

The Ashya King story: am I missing something here?

This seems like a very odd story. Some parents remove their child from a UK hospital after they determine the NHS will not provide what they conclude is the most appropriate treatment for a brain tumour. They then go overseas where they hope to find somewhere such treatment is available. And this triggers a Europe-wide manhunt?

Is there more to this than meets the eye? Because if not, what possible justification is there for state involvement at all, let alone hunting the parents down in Spain.

Samizdata quote of the day

Okay, but there are ways of going about that which do not involve asking Russian tanks to cross the border in support and shooting down passenger jets. Last I looked, Scotland wasn’t fighting English soldiers in the streets, parading captured Englishmen through the streets of Aberdeen, and handing out weapons to Glasgow Celtic fans willy-nilly. I’d not have any problem if East Ukraine had attempted peaceful means of seceding from Kiev, but they haven’t: it’s been thuggish violence from the outset.

- Tim Newman, commenting here on Samizdata.

The European Commission explains how it will save you from buying the vacuum cleaner you want

“Consumer will get better vacuum cleaners than ever before”

As regards power, the maximum allowed input power will be reduced: from 1600 Watt in 1 September 2014, to 900 Watt in September 2017. The current average on the market is about 1800 Watt.

One additional measure helping to tackle climate change

The new rules will save 19 terawatt-hour per year by 2020, which is the electricity produced by more than 4 power plants or consumed by 5.5 million households.

Of course, measures on vacuum cleaners alone will not tackle climate change. However, if we consider all products together for which minimum efficiency requirements exist in the EU, the overall savings achieve up to a third of the EU’s energy saving target for 2020.

ADDED LATER: Commenter “Vinegar Joe” has pointed out that this is a perfect example of producer capture. “This policy was lobbied for by Dyson, who will be less adversely affected by it than their competition.” In this document Dyson appears to boast that the new EU law was a result of their lobbying. Under the heading “Legislation”, it reads:

“Dyson has always shown that through efficient engineering, high performance can be achieved with low power – and we’re trying to encourage others to do the same. We have successfully lobbied the European Union to introduce a cap on the size of vacuum motors from 2014. The estimated energy savings from the EU Ecodesign and Energy Labelling measures for vacuum cleaners amount to 19 Terawatt hours of electricity per year by estimated 8 million tons of CO2e.”

I love that jolly “we’re trying to encourage others to do the same”. For “encourage”, read “force”.

Dyson appears to be attempting to play both sides. In this Guardian article it says that despite supporting the rule in principle, Dyson is seeking a judicial review of some aspects at the ECJ. While I’d like to think that was them being hoist by their own petard, I suspect that the real result will be some more fine-tuning of the regulations to more perfectly fit Dyson’s own requirements. The only thing that will stop me starting a lifetime boycott of Dyson products now is evidence that rival manufacturers were at it too.

By the way, does anyone remember this extremely unpopular policy being in the manifesto of any political party for which one could vote at either national or EU elections?

Planning for the Zombie Apocalypse…

This is certain to cause much mirth:

The U.S. military has always been the one place in government with a plan, forever in preparation mode and ready to yank a blueprint off the shelf for almost any contingency. Need a response for a Russian nuclear missile launch? Check. Have to rescue a U.S. ambassador kidnapped by drug lords? Yup, check, got that covered. How about a detailed strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse? As it turns out, check.

Awesome!

First Vladimir Putin makes a land grab in the Ukraine…

…and now it is happening in Kaliningrad! Yet another instance of unprovoked aggression by the Putinpotamus!

Samizdata quote of the day

A well-armed peshmerga and renewed investment in proven intelligence techniques will be critical to combating extremists inside and outside of Iraq. America can stand tall with the Kurds, cripple Iran’s paramilitary capability, and destroy the Islamic State, but must act decisively and creatively – today.

- Robert Caruso

Surprise! No not really. Russia attacking the Ukrainians directly

The evidence that confirms what anyone paying attention suspected has been released: Russian artillery is firing on Ukrainian forces across the border from inside Russia. And the PutinBots in the comment sections of the world’s media are out in force saying “nothing to see here, move along”.

The only surprising thing about this is that anyone is surprised. World War 3 is not at hand, but it is definitely time to pay more attention and point more guns eastward.

A cat among the pigeons

Tory MP Douglas Carswell defects to Ukip and forces byelection, reports the Guardian, beating all the other broadsheets by a good quarter of an hour.

He did not have to resign. He could have just crossed the floor and kept his seat, at least until the next election. I rather admire him for re-submitting himself to the voters in his constituency. Of course the chance that they will vote for him while standing for a minor party is much higher in a by-election than in a general election. He may calculate that he can ride in now on a carriage drawn by the two horses of a protest vote and his personal popularity, and then trust to voters’ preference for the status quo come the general election.

This is fun! What does it all portend, for UKIP, for the Tories, for Labour, for the Scottish referendum?

Deleted by the Guardian

I have never… ever… heard a person of Pakistani or Arab origins called ‘Asian’ in the UK other than in the mainstream media. Never. Not even once.

It is a measure of how disconnected the media is from the society it ‘serves’. Come to think of it, that was precisely why I started blogging in November 2001.

- A comment by me deleted by the Guardian here. I think that is very telling.