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]

Thinking outside the box

According to its website the responsibilities of the Scottish government include the economy, education, health, justice, rural affairs, housing, environment, equal opportunities, consumer advocacy and advice, transport, taxation, and ensuring that Shetland only appears on maps of Scotland as an indecipherably tiny smudge in the top right corner.

Ban on putting Shetland in a box on maps comes into force

New rules barring public bodies from putting Shetland in a box on official documents have come into force.

Islands MSP Tavish Scott had sought to change the law to ban the “geographical mistake” which “irks” locals, by amending the Islands (Scotland) Bill.

The bill’s “mapping requirement” has now come into force, although it does give bodies a get-out clause if they provide reasons why a box must be used.

Mapmakers argue that boxes help avoid “publishing maps which are mostly sea”.

A couple of points: (1) Tavish Scott MSP is a Lib Dem, proof that the Scottish National Party is not the only one in contention for a Holyrood Comedy Award. (2) the “ban” only applies to public bodies, so no need to get outraged about free speech. Yet. These “bans” do have a way of being trialled in the public sector before being unleashed on the actual public. For now, however, I think a more appropriate reaction is gratitude for the good laugh Mr Scott is giving us. And his comedy routine is not over yet:

Mr Scott said it was “ridiculous” that he had to change the law to close the box

True, but not in the way that he means.

He said: “There is no excuse now for the Scottish government, its agencies or others to put Shetland in a box. The box is closed. It doesn’t exist, whether that be in the Moray Firth or east of Orkney. Shetland is now in the right place.

This box is no more. It has ceased to be. It is … an ex-box.

Wise advice…

Dear “Barmier than most,”

I sympathize. It must be dreadful for a eurocrat of your breeding and position to have to deal with ordinary people like the British. However, their great weakness is that they are, at heart, a nation of shopkeepers. It’s trade they want, so sign a deal that gives them it, and present it to your European masters as a triumph, in which the Brits have been tricked into doing the sordid stuff like buying and selling goods, leaving the far classier Europeans to loftily pursue “the European Project,” making pious homilies about “moving towards an ever-greater union of peoples.” The Brits will fall for it because they are just money-grubbers who have no soul, whereas the Europeans, especially the French, who always found the Brits rather strange, will enjoy feeling superior.

Agatha Antigone

See something, say nothing, do nothing:
how the Grauniad became the Girthiad

Four decades ago, the Guardian newspaper dared not defy its then-powerful printsetting unions – so its morning editions often had unfortunate typos. Sometimes these were spotted by journalists at what would have been just-in-time moments before the print-run began, but woe betide anyone who dared alter the type with his own un-printsetter-unionised hand – or suggest that union-negotiated printsetter hours be disregarded.

The Guardian has been called the Grauniad ever since. (The unions are gone but the tradition lingers – in 2014, the Guardian reported that a crucial UN summit sought “a global agreement to find climate change before the end of the year.”)

When the chance timelines of separate stories resulted in last Tuesday’s front-cover, I think it likely some, even at the Grauniad, noticed something. In live broadcasts, I understand how unfortunate adjacencies in BBC news may juxtapose themselves too late to be avoided. But at the Grauniad, there must have been long minutes, if not hours, before the moment when the print-run began and the cover below also appeared on the web that is forever.

FightFatphobiaBeHealthy

But clearly, noone at the Grauniad dared say anything. It’s not just us who “can’t say that”; they also silence themselves.

(h/t David Thompson, well worth reading on this, via Instapundit)

Samizdata quote of the day

Leave means leave

Marina Wheeler

Aunt Agatha gives some wise career counselling

Dear “Switcher,”

No. You need a new career because you obviously have no future in politics since your current party lies second in only 37 seats. I know you are getting on, but your onetime colleague Menzies Campbell took on a new career as a University Chancellor and a peer when he was only a year older than you are now, so take heart. I thought the ideal and undemanding job for you might be flower arrangement, in that everything you do there lasts only a few days before it wilts, and you have to start all over again with something new.

On reflection, though, I think you should start a shoe company, concentrating on sandals. Your name has such good brand association that flip-flops bearing your name would sell like hot cakes.

Agatha Antigone. I wonder who this week’s unworthy supplicant is?

Stop politicising my dumplings!

Aunt Agatha threads her needle through the eyelids of another unworthy seeking advice

I spot you’ve never been short of cash, from your days of ‘golden sacks’ to your current take-home of over £800,000 a year. So what you need is the satisfaction of a role that fits your character. With your dark suits, unsmiling face, and the air of gloom you spread like a fog around you, you have the demeanor of an undertaker. You should capitalize on that by setting up a chain of funeral parlours. Your slogan could be something like, “Pass on with certainty into that uncertain future.” People would flock to sign up for your sombre services, knowing that, once dead, they’d be beyond the reach of your gloomy predictions.

– The wise and sagacious Agatha Antigone casting yet more pearls of wisdom before the Gadarene swine on line.

Aunt Agatha has some wise words for an usual supplicant

Dear “Algy,”

The clue is that word “celebrity.” Because people are bored seeing you yet making money by humiliating people through deception, you should do something that has you on the receiving end. You should sign up for “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.” People would love to see you eating worms and rat-droppings and walking through snake-infested huts through showers of urine. The hostility incurred by your sneering superiority would vanish as they watched you struggle to cope with adversity. You would almost certainly win, because people would vote to keep you in there doing it. It’s novel, and it would bring you the renewed fame and popularity you crave.

Hmm, I wonder who he might be? 😉

Oh my God, they killed Godfrey!

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

― Obi-Wan Kenobi, sensing the destruction of Alderaan by Darth Vader

The circumstances are complicated. Lisa Graves, the satirist behind the most recent incarnation of Elfwick, was reported to Twitter for using an expletive during an exchange on her personal account with another user. The complainant additionally made the demonstrably false claim that Elfwick was an ‘alt-right account’ engaged in ‘targeted harassment’. Before long, all of Graves’ accounts had been subject to a blanket ban. Given Twitter’s curiously draconian response to such groundless accusations, it is hardly surprising that many are assuming that the punishment is politically motivated.

― Andrew Doyle, sensing the destruction of Godfrey Elfwick by Twitter

Aunty Agatha dispenses useful advice…

Agatha offers sage advice to another worthy:

I think you should undertake a single-handed voyage around the world. I know you have no experience of sailing, but that’s never stopped you taking on other jobs. Just think of the advantages. It would put a tan on that pasty pudgy face. It would take you out of circulation for a year, which would do wonders for your reputation and the quality of your newspaper. You could easily get sponsorship from some of your Russian friends, and announce you’re doing it unpaid for charity, maybe the Clinton Foundation? Go on, do it!

Oh boy, who can this person be?

The special costume shop

Things had been very boring in the rue de la Fête. Mr Benalla thought, “I think it is a good day to visit the special costume shop.” Inside the shop, as if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared.

“Good morning sir,” he said. “Which costume would you like to try today?”

“That one with the visor, please,” said Mr Benalla. And he took the outfit into the fitting room. Inside the room, Mr Benalla changed into the outfit and then looked at himself in the mirror. “It looks a bit like a riot cop’s costume,” he thought. “Is that cool or what?” Then he went through the door – not the door back to the shop but the second door that could lead to an adventure!

*

So to prevent the immense coercive power of the state from being abused, said Hayek, we need to restrict its use to enforcing a strictly limited list of duties that we all accept and understand. Setting limits on how the state’s monopoly of force can be used at least spares us from arbitrary or growing coercion by other people who happen to be in authority.

Friedrich Hayek: The ideas and influence of the Libertarian Economist by Eamonn Butler

*

For those poor souls who did not grow up with tales of Mr Benn, this post refers to the extra-curricular activities of Alexandre Benalla, formerly a senior security officer for President Macron of France:

Emmanuel Macron faces the biggest crisis of his presidency over the growing scandal of one of his closest security officials who was filmed being allowed by police to violently assault a young man and woman at the edge of a Paris demonstration while illegally dressed as an officer.

That the French riot police beat people up is not news. That they allow well-connected civilians to put on a spare uniform and join in the fun was surprising. Then again, as George Atkisson says below, “The whole point of being well-connected and exempt from everyday rules is precisely to be allowed to indulge in one’s extra-legal whims without consequences.”

More sage advice…

Dear “Shrill Voice,”

This is difficult. Normally I tell has-beens and never-has-beens (and you seem to be both) to rake in the loot and live comfortably. But you’ve already done that. Clearly domestic political office is out because nobody likes losers. And you couldn’t win international office because all the countries you bombed would vote against you. Clearly, you have to make some Hard Choices.

Why not trade on the fact that you are not the most loved and respected person in the world? License virtual reality game arenas named after you in which contestants would face 100 avatars of you in various settings and have to kill as many as possible. This would be incredibly popular, and players would readily pay $100 a game, with the money going, of course, to the “charity” of your choice.

Hmmm, I wonder who Aunt Agatha is referring to? 😉