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]

Samizdata quote of the day

Those who regard themselves as the custodians of Labour’s electability know whom to blame: Jeremy Corbyn. They regard him as Labour’s id, a morass of self-indulgence who has escaped the control of the superego; the pleasure principle of socialist fantasy, revolting against the reality principle of government. Although one can understand why they feel this way, they are guilty of intellectual dishonesty.

Bruce Anderson

Samizdata idiotic quote of the day

Even so, with eight months of the fiscal year still to go and often large revisions to early borrowing estimates, it is too soon to conclude that the Chancellor is meeting his fiscal plans with room to spare and could therefore reduce the scale of the austerity measures set to hit the economy.

– Samuel Tombs, economist at Capital Economics, quote here.

Listen up you ‘tard, it would be a very good thing indeed if even more ‘austerity’ measures were “set to hit the economy”. ‘Austerity’, as you Keynesian fuckwits like to call the state spending slightly less of other people’s confiscated money, means the money in question gets used in the economy under private economic direction, rather than malinvested by the damn state.

smite_control

#Labourpurge

In the olden days, anyone got a letter from the Labour Party telling them their support was rejected and their vote wouldn’t count because “we have reason to believe you do not support the aims and values” would moan about it to a few friends and that would be that.

But it is not the olden days any more, so get your popcorn out!

If the NHS is the ‘envy of the world’, no need to fix it then, right?

The dramatically named NHS Survival – an “umbrella group bringing together patients, public and professionals” – echoes previous dire warnings that we had “24 hours to save the NHS”, or “14 days to save the NHS”, and so on. At best it seems a bit “boy who cried wolf” and at worst actually contradictory.

Backed by many of the same people who cherry-pick the Commonwealth Fund report to claim the NHS is just super, its website says that “our NHS is a wonder of the world”. In another part, it warns “the NHS will continue to fail”. If it’s failing, then why are they trying to save it? If it’s so good, why are they trying to fix it?

Contradictions like this make it difficult to take the group seriously at all. We are told that it wants an “independent body” (presumably stuffed with NHS staff) to set funding requirements for the NHS. Yet the campaign’s whole website is predicated on the idea that it already knows what funding needs to be – higher, much higher.

Ryan Bourne

Samizdata quote of the day

The Royal Society for Public Health is suggesting that unusual, unhealthy or minority pursuits should be criminalised in order to set a good example to others. They want people to be arrested, fined and possibly even imprisoned for being poor role models. In a liberal society, the only appropriate response can be made with two words or two fingers.

Chris Snowdon

Samizdata quote of the day

This week, Alastair Campbell said that the current eruption of ‘Corbynmania’ was akin to ‘what happened when Diana died’. Worse still, popular delirium can foster a herd mentality that leads to the persecution of dissenters and opponents. This is especially the case when a movement’s mentality is half-detached from reality. Protecting benefits, ending austerity, raising taxes on the wealthiest, abolishing university tuition fees, reopening coal mines: Corbynomics is basically the equivalent of saying ‘wouldn’t it be great if all this Monopoly money was free?’.

Patrick West

For extra FSM karma points, also read: The Corbyn audit: how Marxist Jezza would impoverish Britain by Zac Tate

Samizdata quote of the day

The great irony is that, unlike many of today’s champagne socialists and shisha-jihadists my entire life has been a prototype of their archetypal aggrieved Muslim. Unlike the Guardian’s private school, Oxbridge-educated journalist David Shariatmadari, I am a state school-educated Muslim and racial minority. I have been stabbed at by neo-Nazis, falsely arrested at gunpoint by Essex police, expelled from college, divorced, estranged from my child, and tortured in Egyptian prison, and mandatorily profiled. I’ve had my DNA forcibly taken at Heathrow Airport under Schedule 7 Laws, which deprive terror suspects of the right to silence at UK ports of entry and exit, among much else. I’ve been blacklisted from other countries. I am every grievance regressive leftists traditionally harp on. Yet their first-world bourgeois brains seem to malfunction because I refuse to spew theocratic hate, or fit their little “angry Muslim” box. Yet they talk to me about privilege, and non-fat lattes?

Maajid Nawaz in an absolutely storming article. Highly recommended.

The best way to destroy the credibility of a socialist is…

… to write down what they say and then publish it for all to see.

Take a look at how Rachel Cunliffe hangs Jeremy Corbin from a lamp post using a rope he has woven with his own words, showing him to be a Marxist who has read very little Marx, a supporter of Vladimir Putin and the dismemberment of Ukraine, well disposed towards Irish Republican Army, Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists, and would like to see Britain get what Venezuela is getting. He must have something against food and toilet paper.

In short, Jeremy Corbin is the candidate who will keep the Tory party in power for the next decade :-D

The right to express yourself must work both ways

When it comes to expressing yourself, I am something of an absolutist. Unless said expressions involve violence, the default position must be in favour of allowing a person to do as they please. And so I found this interesting:

The film, My Freedom, My Right, made in partnership with the youth charity Fixers, features Clarke reciting a poem that recalls comments made to her because of her niqab. She also included other young people from marginalised communities, such as under-represented ethnic minorities who, she said, “rarely have their struggles highlighted in the media.

“I made the video to prove a point – I wanted to highlight that people who go through struggles and discrimination every day, but are rarely talked about by the media.”

She hopes the video will stop people “judging a book by its cover” and instead “treat people as individuals”.

Except that last line is completely wrong.

If a person wears a hijab… or a Nazi armband… I will indeed judge that particular book by its cover. The individual who dresses thus is not making a fashion statement, they are making a political statement (and Islam is a set of political values). Unlike a person’s race or national origin, a hijab… or a Nazi armband… tells me something profound, because it informs me about that particular person’s world view and their choices.

It is absurd to expect such a thing not to matter to others. If I am to tolerate a person wearing a hijab… or a Nazi armband… I must be equally free to non-violently express myself by stating my view that the things they represent are not just fine by me, and I think poorly of the people who wear them.

I support Joni Clarke’s right to wear what she wants, and to follow whatever crackpot religion she wants. And I hope Joni Clarke is equally tolerant and supports my right to have nothing to do with her, and have complete disdain for her political/religious values. I do not need or even want her acceptance or respect, I only want her tolerance, because that is all I am offering in return. But unless it is reciprocal, I am not even offering that, because tolerance of intolerance is cowardice (not to mention suicidal).

Ms. Clarke could of course find far fewer dissenting views from hers were she to live somewhere else. And as living under Sharia would not be a problem for her… well… just a suggestion, but I hear property in Raqqah is far less expensive than London.

No place to lay my head

“These anti-homeless spikes are brutal. We need to get rid of them”, writes Leah Borromeo in the Guardian.

So we decided to do something to neutralise it. A group of friends and I laid a mattress and a bookshelf stocked with tomes on the housing crisis, inequality, gentrification, place-hacking and poverty atop some particularly vicious spikes on London’s Curtain Road. In the 1990s, it was the epicentre of a burgeoning artistic community that would eventually emerge as tastemakers in the visual and performing arts. We’re all aware that an artistic scene that gains any sort of appeal or traction is eventually leeched on, Death-Eater-like, by “property developers”. We saw these spikes as a direct assault on everything that makes us human. Anyone, for any reason, could end up on the streets with no home, no friends, no support. Sometimes you feel so unsafe where you are that sleeping on a ledge in east London comes across as the better option.

If some developers had their way, they’d commodify oxygen. To stop us having a society where it is acceptable to do that, we’ve decided to help out the best way we know how. We’re a loose collective of artists, journalists, academics, graduates and performers. We’re cultural producers. And with that comes the responsibility that what we make and share with the world highlights injustice and offers alternatives.

Many comments ask whether Ms Borromeo, a journalist and filmmaker, has made her own doorstep – or her own bedroom – available to the homeless. It is an obvious question. This does not stop it being a good one. I would imagine her own bookshelves are well stocked with “tomes on the housing crisis, inequality, gentrification, place-hacking and poverty”, so she could offer the free use of these as an additional incentive to make her own property a “more inclusive space where misfortunes of circumstance such as homelessness aren’t banned.”

On the other hand the capitalist vipers who own the Curtain Road premises probably regard the reading material left on their doorstep by Ms Borromeo and her preening chums (“The only good thing about living in austerity Britain is that through pushing us into a corner, the government and the money that controls it is unwittingly training up a generation of fighters. Some of us will kick and scream. Others will be by the ringside healing the wounded”) as a more effective deterrent than the spikes.

OK, this woman is a poseur. She isn’t a healer of the wounded, she just plays one in her own mind. I would give her a little more respect if I learned that her good deeds to the homeless included volunteering at homeless shelters or accompanying those charity workers and street pastors who make the rounds of those places where rough sleepers go every night. Or if I thought that she had spent even a moment thinking about the plight of the shop owner who sees her sales plummet because customers don’t want to push past the dosser on the floor to enter, or the premises manager who has to clean up the urine and needles every morning.

Yet it is possible to acknowledge the right of those put up these spikes to do so, and also have sympathy with the homeless. Ms Borromeo’s statement that “anyone, for any reason, could end up on the streets with no home” is the usual hyperbole (she need not worry about the chances of it happening to her), but it is true that things can go wrong for a person with surprising speed. There is probably at least one of your classmates from primary school who has lost everything, usually via drugs or alcohol. There are ways to help, but all of them have downsides. Homeless shelters, whether run by true charities or government funded, must themselves exclude some people. I would not be surprised or angered to learn that they make use of “access control” spikes themselves. If the shelters don’t exclude anyone – if they allow people to sleep there who are violent or predatory – then they destroy their own function as a refuge. The one sentence in Ms Borromeo’s article that rang true was “Sometimes you feel so unsafe where you are that sleeping on a ledge in east London comes across as the better option.”

Why the minimum wage is seen as a success

Paul Johnson, writing in the Times about the minimum wage (“Why it’s a gamble to follow Ikea on higher pay”) talks some sense but puts the cart before the horse:

It is a bet that forcing companies to increase wages will force them to increase productivity. If you have to pay £9 an hour then you’ll be forced to invest in the training and the machinery to ensure you get your money’s worth. Indeed this could be one of the reasons why productivity in France is so much higher than in the UK. With high minimum wages and extensive labour market regulation French companies can only survive by being highly productive. On the other hand that same regulation probably partly explains higher French unemployment.

Of course French workers are productive. The people who would have been the least productive French workers aren’t workers at all. Thanks to the minimum wage they’re unemployed, except for a little light rioting.

However Mr Johnson’s penultimate sentence cannot be faulted:

The minimum wage as it stands is widely seen to have been a success.

Everyone loves a feelgood story, and to increase the minimum wage feels so good. How vividly one imagines the joy of the hardworking night cleaner as he counts the extra in his meagre pay packet! In contrast, how dim and watery is the mental picture of the, um, potentially-but-not-actually hardworking unemployed person who might theoretically have benefited from a job at the till at a supermarket but now there’s an automated checkout machine instead. She’ll never know. The supermarket chain are not such fools as to announce that the reason for them scaling back their hiring plans is that they would rather not pay their employees any more. They will present automation purely as a benefit to the customer. The customers will continue to curse at the words “unexpected item in the bagging area” and moan about what a pity it is that they don’t have real human beings at the till like they used to, especially since that nice Mr Osborne put up their wages.

An afterthought: Oh, and about that hardworking night cleaner… six months after he was interviewed by the BBC saying what a wonderful difference the extra pay would make to his life, he was let go. Nothing personal, but what with the rising wage bill, the only way for his employers to keep within budget was to cut the frequency of cleaning. The BBC were long gone. Warmhearted people continued to feel good about how companies were finally being made to pay a “decent living wage”.

The perfect day for this Boris headline

I recently had a clean-out of my home, and one of the things I chucked out was a small stack of recent and not-so-recent newspapers.

Before binning them I took photos of their front pages, because front page photos, I find, can often make very evocative souvenirs. Plus, unlike the actual newspapers, they don’t clutter up my home. (Just my hard disc.) I also often take photos of front pages when I am out and about in London. Maybe (although I promise nothing) I’ll do one of those “a year in newspaper headlines” postings, come the end of the year.

I haven’t gone through this latest clutch of front page photos properly yet. My camera always sees more than I do, until I really look at what I’ve got. But, I have already been smiling at this front page headline:

BorisMoralPolitics

Someone’s having a laugh, right? I don’t think it’s just me.

And the date above the newspaper headline …:

BorisMoralPoliticsApril1st

… tells me that one of the someones having a laugh is the Evening Standard. Nice one, gentlemen.

Here, for those who care, is the story.