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 Snooper’s Charter returns

As expected, the ghastly Snooper’s Charter is back and this time Dismal Dave will probably find it easier to push through.

snoopers_charter

To protect the children of course.

The salty tears of the parasites

This gem of a remark is to be found here in an article about people planning to protest against largely trivial ‘cuts’ in state expenditure (but note, lower state spending is not “austerity” and I refuse to call it such).

Please come along and let them know that we have no intentions of accepting this oppressive, draconian lifestyle they are trying to impose

This thug wants the state to impose his tax funded lifestyle on other people purse, yet sees a life with less state looted largess as being ‘imposed’ on him? Most parasites have a shameless sense of entitlement and this one is clearly no exception.

Oh how I wish these turgid excuses for ‘conservatives’ we have truly stuck it to them, with genuine cuts that hacked entire limbs off Leviathan, for then I truly would bathe my smiling face in their salty tears each morning. Sadly I cannot see Cameron doing more than fiddling around at the edges.

MPs: don’t pay them a penny

We seem to shy away from constitutional matters at Samizdata. I think in part this is because we have a distaste for government and would like to see an end to the whole shebang.

I can’t argue with that but it seems to me that freedom is a slow process and the state is going to hang around for a good while yet. So, how it is set up is something we probably ought to concern ourselves with.

Amongst all the other rows engulfing UKIP last week, one concerned whether they should accept so-called “Short” money. This is money handed out to opposition parties to help them with their parliamentary duties. If memory serves, the argument is that the government has an army of civil servants to help them, so the opposition needs the help to even things up a little. For us libertarians, there would be no need for Short money if we had less government but there you go.

All this can be traced back to 1910. Before then, as I understand it, MPs weren’t paid a penny: no salary, not even expenses. The problem was what to do with these newfangled Labour MPs. They tended to be less well off and were unable to support themselves by either private means or by moonlighting as barristers or journalists as figures like Carson and Churchill were able to do. The obvious solution was to allow trade unions to pay them. But this fell foul of the principle that MPs could not be bought.

Scared of the implications of denying Labour voters representation – riots were a frequent occurrence at the time – MPs started paying themselves. Pity. The great advantage of the previous system was that energetic statists had to do something useful before becoming MPs. This meant they had some idea of the difficulties of running a business. While we can’t prove that it was a bulwark against socialism it is difficult to imagine it did a great deal of harm.

By the way, on the question of UKIP and Short money I understand they decided to take no money at all. If this turns out to be true, good for them.

Who are you and what have you done with the real Guardianista?

“Bring back self-defence classes for women – it’s the feminist thing to do”, writes Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett in the Guardian. That’s right, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, more typically to be found writing such gloriously quotable effusions as “Why it’s OK to cry about this election”, is writing kick-ass pieces about kicking ass in the Guardian. This is strange but good.

Forced speech

The Times reports (paywalled):

Christian bakery guilty of discrimination over ‘gay cake’

A bakery whose Christian owners refused to make a cake carrying a pro-gay marriage slogan has been found guilty of discrimination after a landmark legal action.

Ashers Baking Company discriminated against Gareth Lee when it refused to create the cake featuring the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie, with a slogan “Support Gay Marriage”, a judge has found.

Ruling in the case that has split public opinion in Northern Ireland, Isobel Brownlie, the district judge, said: “The defendants have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of sexual discrimination.”

So, you can be forced to say “Support Gay Marriage”, on the grounds that if you don’t say it someone will be left feeling “like a lesser person”, to quote Mr Lee, the plaintiff in this case.

How might this principle be extended?

Added later: in answer to my own question, a scenario:

Following the Labour victory in the closely-fought election of 2020, the new prime minister made good on the pledge made to the Muslims who had formed such a reliable part of the winning “coalition of the oppressed”. (In fact the promise to outlaw Islamaphobia had first been made by Ed Miliband back in 2015.) The relevant amendments to the Equality Act 2010 having been made, it seemed a natural next step for many Muslims to press for the UK to follow the example of several Canadian cities and give legal weight to the verdicts of the existing informal network of Sharia tribunals to which Muslims could choose to bring civil cases as an alternative to the regular channels of English or Scottish Law. It was as part of the campaign for this that the plaintiff, Mr A, approached the Rainbow Baking Company, run as a family business by the defendants Mr B & Mr C. The judge ruled that “The defendants have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of religious discrimination” when they refused to bake a cake bearing the message “SUPPORT SHARIA LAW”.

As it happens I am not in principle opposed to parallel systems of arbitration running in parallel to the ordinary law, so long as they are strictly voluntary. But my imaginary gay bakers might well profoundly object to being obliged to make a cake bearing that slogan. However by then the precedent that they can be forced to by law will have been set.

Laws only apply to the little people

The Government has quietly ushered through legislation amending the anti-hacking laws to exempt GCHQ from prosecution. Privacy International and other parties were notified of this just hours prior to a hearing of their claim against GCHQ’s illegal hacking operations in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

Privacy International

So basically the state broke the law, got caught breaking the law, and then when challenged, changed to law so exempt themselves from the law they broke.

Prince Harry calls for the return of slavery

Prince Harry calls for the return of slavery. Time for the tumbrels to start rolling methinks.

smiley_behead

Dear Mr. Cameron, glad you beat the even worse guy, but… get stuffed

We must end the idea that as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone

David Cameron, more or less inviting law abiding people to start stockpiling material to make petrol bombs

Samizdata quote of the day

Must admit, it’s really rather satisfying to see the Left and their rich luvvie acolytes squabbling and squealing over the outcome of the election like a bunch of failed vampires arguing over a used tampon. I think the word “Schadenfreude” is the one I’m looking for.

– Samizdata commenter Tanuki

“Perhaps he wants to quiet me”: Charlotte Church pops out of the bubble then in again

“It’s all very well for me to sit in my cosy leftie bubble,” writes the singer, “with my baja-sporting friends, spending our free time attending vegan popup barbecues and meeting in art centres to have a bit of a moan about Ukip; we missed the changing climate of British politics. We dismissed the growing support for the right wing as just a few comedy racists, underestimated the momentum they were gaining, and thought that by retweeting the latest Owen Jones article, we were doing our bit. Wrong.”

That is self-aware. And it never goes amiss to assert, as she does in the second sentence of her article, that the right to protest does not end just because an election goes against you. She is also right to assert that her celebrity does not invalidate her right to political speech, nor her riches her right to advocate socialism.

All rather well said, I must admit. Then she goes into the pouty whinge-n-smear mode that has become so prevalent among modern feminists that they probably no longer know they are doing it.

For Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, to describe my exercising of democratic freedom as “unbecoming” really says more than I ever could. Perhaps he thinks I should get back to the ironing and stop babbling on about air-headed notions such as protecting the NHS (a system that he himself has been most mobile in attacking), fighting for a fairer society (a concept that entirely eludes his party), and championing the plight of those in society who are less privileged than me.

What Davies actually said was,

“At the end of the day, to denigrate the electorate, who has just spoken, within 48 hours of the election, is slightly unfortunate and unbecoming.”

Note he did not deny her right to go on a protest march whenever she wanted, he merely said that it did not look good and was annoyingly timed. I am not sure what prompted her speculation that “perhaps” he wants her to get back to her ironing. Using old-fashioned but very mild terms of rebuke such as “slightly unfortunate and unbecoming” does not logically imply a wish to repeal the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870. Still, who knows the secrets of the Tory heart? Perhaps he does. Or perhaps (while we’re perhapsing) it was all a Freudian slip and it is Charlotte who dreams of a man Tory and masterful enough to carry her off to her £800,000 “Princess” yacht in Swansea Marina and have his wicked way with her on the folding ironing board in the servants’ cabin?

I’m too scared to check what use I myself have made of that “Perhaps he thinks [whatever anodyne thing he said passed through Evil Overlord Filter]” formulation. Never mind. I’m cured now. I do not wish to sound like this:

Perhaps he wants to quiet me because I threaten his status as a wealthy, privately educated, white male.

And perhaps he doesn’t. A not unreasonable assumption given that he never said a word about “quieting” you, both of you are equally white, and you are much richer than he is. That speculation all came out of your own pretty little cis-privileged head, protest princess who makes things up. Why this need to pretend you are persecuted? At least the other Princess Charlotte has an excuse for acting like a baby. By the way, I would not normally have thought it becoming to mention your racial, heteronormative and wealth privilege, only you seem to think it’s important to insert a checklist of these things for anyone you criticise, so I thought it best to defer to your preferences.

Samizdata quote of the day

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. So he went on Twitter instead and called Michael Gove a ‘vile reptilian evil tory scumbag’, and linked to a cartoon of Iain Duncan Smith stealing a paralysed woman’s wheelchair. And lo, he felt better and went for a £3.50 caramel macchiato with some mates from the BBC.

– Libby Purves, who lives behind the Time paywall, has some fun with Matthew chapter 19. Mick Hartley quotes from the Purves piece at his blog, in a piece entitled Virtue signalling. You can’t Read The Whole Thing at Mick Hartley’s, but you can read a bit more of it.

I invented that. Probably.

You may have seen all sorts of weird hexagon-based maps of the United Kingdom in the last week or so. Here’s one from the Telegraph but lots of other people from Sky to the Guardian have their own versions:

Election Map

The BBC had one filling up the square at Broadcasting House.

The reason for these maps is to do with the way people vote in the UK. People in rural areas vote Conservative (up until Thursay, that is) while people in urban areas vote Labour. When you take a geographically accurate map of the UK and colour it in according to who won what seat the map is almost entirely blue no matter what the overall result. If you make all constituencies the same size and carry out the same exercise hopefully you will get a much more accurate representation of what happened.

Here’s another map:

polmap

From 1997. Drawn up by yours truly. I believe it was the very first. One of the oddities is that all the subsequent maps have included my design flaw. It should be squares not hexagons.