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The Uncertainty Principle in violence blame mechanics: further experimental confirmation

I wake up, I check the morning news.

Oh.

Six days ago, on July 8th, President Biden said, “it’s time to put Trump in a bullseye”.

In January 2011, a man called Jared Loughner tried to murder Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and did murder six others. The media rushed to blame his crime on a map put out by Sarah Palin’s campaign showing a map of the US with states that she regarded as political targets marked by crosshairs, with the names of those states’ Democratic representatives whom she hoped to unseat listed below. Loughner was a paranoid schizophrenic who held a longstanding – and bizarre – grudge against Giffords. There is no evidence he ever saw Palin’s map.

Perhaps it is time to dust off this old post:

The uncertainty principle in violence blame mechanics

Sometimes one is privileged to witness the discovery of a law of science.

Δl Δm > M

The variables l, m and M are defined in the link.

These five 1984 predictions came true

From Big Brother Watch:

Samizdata quote of the day – Reform, not the Tories, is starting to inherit the Brexit realignment

Ever since their defeat, many Tories have been on the airwaves smothering themselves with comfort blankets. They’ve been saying Farage and Reform are merely a ‘protest vote’. Are ‘far right’. Are ‘not Conservative’. But actually the evidence does not support this at all. Reform, we already know, rallied an electorate that is socially distinctive —is mainly older, leans toward the working-class and non-graduates, and tends to be outside the cities and university towns. This makes it ‘sticky’, more likely it will stick to Reform in the years ahead. And in his post-election poll, Lord Ashcroft finds that most of the people who voted for Reform did so because they ‘preferred the promises made by the party I voted for more than the promises of other parties’, and ‘I trusted the motives of the party I voted for more than those of other parties’. This does not sound like protest to me. It sounds like a very instrumental vote rooted in sincere and coherent concerns about the country. Furthermore, the top issue for these voters is immigration and asylum, once again underlining their coherent worldview.

Matt Goodwin

Steve Baker’s parting shot

The count through the night after British elections makes great TV. What could be more juicy than thrusting a microphone into the face of someone who has just made their concession speech and asking them how they feel? ITV’s election coverage roped in a lot of ex-politicians who had been there themselves to carry out this task, including two former Chancellors of the Exchequer, one Labour and one Conservative, Ed Balls and George Osborne. The two former rivals seemed very pally. As is the custom, they interviewed both the winning and the losing candidates in various constituencies just after the results were announced when emotions are at their most raw.

So, in the early hours of Friday morning, Steve Baker was standing in Stoke Mandeville Stadium where the Wycombe count took place, having just lost his seat to Labour, being quizzed by a visibly gloating Ed Balls. Baker talked about three factors that got him into politics, all of which had been presided over by the government of which Balls was a part: Extraordinary Rendition, Labour bringing forward the Lisbon Treaty to avoid having a referendum on the Constitution for Europe, and “that your government rode an enormous credit boom within which the money supply tripled, leading into the global financial crisis”.

Chuckling, Ed Balls said, “Goodness me, Mr Baker, I have to say, y’know, it’s 2024. You’ve just lost your seat in your constituency. You’ve sort of thought of three different things which all happened over seventeen years ago. Are you maybe in denial?”

Freed of the obligations of being a minister, Baker’s response did not spare either the Labour or the Conservative Chancellor:

“You know as well as I do that these big treaty changes with the European Union, and indeed the monetary system post-Bretton Woods, is fifty years old – and it’s now breaking down. And I’m afraid you and George are as bad as each other on this particular score. Neither of you have ever really understood monetary economics and I’ve wasted a lot of breath in the House of Commons trying to explain to George in particular what was going on, and the kind of injustice it was manufacturing. Well, much good did it do everybody. And now, with the nation seething with a sense of injustice, economic injustice – of course they are; they can’t afford house prices if they are young! Why? Because cheap credit was pumped into a housing market in which supply was constrained by planning laws, about which neither of you did anything. So, you know, at last, as I say, I’m free, thank God.”

Commentators as varied as the financial journalist John Stepek, the IEA’s Reem Ibrahim, and the very left wing Aaron Bastani have reposted Baker’s reply. As Stepek said, “Sorry but @SteveBakerFRSA is mostly, perhaps entirely correct in his analysis here. And the smug reaction – ridicule, not to mention the extraordinary notion that 17 years ago is ancient history with no bearing on the current situation – exemplifies why voters are fed up”.

Samizdata quote of the day – It is Tony’s world now, and we all just get to live in it

Having “got Brexit done”, the Tories in theory had a one-off opportunity to change the frame. They could have used the time to pack Britain’s NGOcracy with their people, or even tackle the plethora of New Labour constitutional innovations that paved the way for the post-liberal order. But they didn’t take it, which suggests that either they had so poor a grasp of the political machine they supposedly operated as to make an inadvertent case for the technocratic “experts” they affected to deplore. Or else, perhaps, they understood how that technocracy worked, and liked it just fine.

The latter position is understandable, if not commendable. When you can leave the machinery of state largely on autopilot and focus instead on lining your own and your friends’ pockets, who in their right mind would want actual responsibility? There are honourable exceptions to this: Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates have both stuck their necks out, while for voicing mainstream British views on migration control and the inadequacy of multiculturalism, Suella Braverman was smeared as the reincarnation of Oswald Mosley.

But that’s three MPs, out of what was (until the Tories’ roundly deserved electoral hammering) several hundred. As for the others, their behaviour in Parliament suggested that whatever the electorate may have hoped, they mostly accepted it is Tony’s world now, and we all just get to live in it.

Mary Harrington

“Or else, perhaps, they understood how that technocracy worked, and liked it just fine” is of course the correct answer.

There is always hope!

No Parliament can repeal the laws of economics. Whilst, to quote Hirohito ‘We must endure the unendurable.‘, there is a real Prester John in the faraway land of Argentina, where a zero weekly inflation rate in food prices has been registered for the first time in 30 years, and a truly libertarian President is doing great things.

So let us adapt and cherry-pick the words of Winston Churchill:

…And even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, it will carry on, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old…‘.

But if that doesn’t come to pass, it will just be more of the same, faster, until what can’t carry on any longer, doesn’t.

If you came for constantly updated election coverage through the night…

…the Guardian’s website is thataway. Honestly, they are usually very good at this sort of thing, although even their best writers would struggle to inject much tension into this episode. Before I head up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire, I shall raise a glass to the humbling of the Scottish National Party and to whichever stubborn old reactionary kept British votes retro.

Samizdata quote of the day – Starmergeddon

The Labour government that will take office tomorrow will be a disaster. Keir Starmer will make a terrible prime minister – a political weathervane, swinging wildly towards the policies he thinks will be most popular; a weak, unimaginative leader trying to keep the lid on a party seething with far-left lunatics, bitter class warriors, anti-Semitic bigots and deranged wokels.

Fergus Mason

Samizdata quote of the day – What decline looks like on the page

What, in any event, does one say about the future of a country like this? The image that increasingly comes to mind when I dwell on these issues is one of an attic in a dilapidated country house, dusty and mildewed, with many old spider webs strung between the rafters. Brittle and frail, these strands of gossamer still somehow cling to the physical realm, and to physical existence, because the still, stale air does not contain quite enough movement to dispel them into nothingness. But all it will take is one decent breath of wind, one strong draft from a suddenly opened window somewhere else in the house, for them to be swept away forever.

That is how I envisage our political class and the chattering classes which surround them. They are of such thinness and intellectual fragility that they could be knocked over by a feather, and all we are really waiting for is to find out where the coup de grâce will come from and whether it will be economic, social, military, or something else entirely. To return to a different analogy, the feeling is increasingly one of wondering not whether the future is going to hurt, but how much – whether it will be equivalent of a knife or a bullet wound. We’re coming to the end of something, and we all know it; in this respect the promise of a ‘new Britain’ does seem somehow to be prophetic, although one strongly suspects that ‘renewing our democracy and rebuilding our economy’ are unlikely to be on the cards for a long while yet.

David McGrogan

A great realignment is coming; but what will start the avalanche and what comes next? We will only know looking back afterwards.

G K Chesterton described how I view the 2024 election in 1908

“They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics. I am still as much concerned as ever about the Battle of Armageddon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election. As a babe I leapt up on my mother’s knee at the mere mention of it. No; the vision is always solid and reliable. The vision is always a fact. It is the reality that is often a fraud. As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals.”

– G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Boycott Wickes (but not for the reason you think)

A year ago, Fraser Longden, the Chief Operating Operator of the DIY store Wickes, was in the news. On 16 June 2023, Internet Retailing magazine ran this story: “Wickes hits back at boycott campaign over COO’s comments that trans-critical shoppers ‘are not welcome’ in stores.”

I was aware of the boycott but did not join in. We do buy stuff from Wickes on occasion. It is useful that they open at 7am and close at 8pm. I certainly was not going to give up that utility because the company had gone woke. If I were to boycott all the companies who waste their substance by hiring “inclusion and diversity” teams and whose senior staff members gush about it to the media, I would have to live like a hermit. Still, it was foolish of Fraser Longden to first tell Pink News that “Creating a culture where everybody can feel welcomed – can be their authentic self, can be supported – is about modernising our business” and then tell the same Pink News that, in his estimate, ten percent of the UK population are “not welcome in our stores anyway”. I did not know whether my position on these issues, which I like to think of as nuanced, would have allowed him to welcome me through the rainbow-festooned portals of Wickes. Nor did I care. Wickes can hate me and still sell me screws.*

No, the thing that has made me decide to boycott Wickes happened a mere seven months ago, but I must have missed the story at the time. On 4 November 2023, the Telegraph reported, “DIY giant Wickes fails to shut down website accusing it of being ‘woke’”

The DIY giant Wickes has been accused of stifling freedom of speech after its boss tried unsuccessfully to shut down a website criticising it as “woke” after its boss told trans-critical “bigots” to shop elsewhere.

[…]

In response [to Mr Longden’s comments], Timothy Huskey set up the protest site featuring the headline “Woke Wickes” and claiming “the UK calls for a boycott of Wickes” due to its “highly controversial sexual agenda”, claiming that the company “hates” customers who think there are only two genders.

[…]

In July, the home improvements store’s lawyers contacted Nominet, the body which oversees UK domain names, to complain that the website was abusing the company’s trademarked name, contained “malware capabilities” and was being used for “phishing”, a reference to the use of emails and online platforms for fraudulent behaviour.

Papers filed with the watchdog also said the site was set up for commercial gain and intended to “unfairly disrupt” Wickes’s business.

In response, Mr Huskey, who is American, said he set up the site as “legitimate criticism” of Wickes, and made it “abundantly clear” it is not connected to the company, even offering visitors the address for the company’s official website if anyone wanted to shop with them. He insisted it was not used to make money or for any phishing fraud and contained no malware.

The adjudicator, who ruled on the dispute, found the use of the word “boycott” in the protest site’s name meant visitors would not think it was linked to the official Wickes’s site.

They concluded the company’s claims the site was malicious or set up for “phishing” fell “well short of what is required to support its serious allegation”.

They added that Wickes had not proven that the criticism on the website was “of such an exceptional nature” to merit the site to be shut down. They were also satisfied it was not set up for commercial or illicit purposes.

Wickes’ use of obviously spurious claims about malware and phishing to attempt to silence a critic enrages me. I am glad the attempt failed; https://www.boycottwickes.co.uk/ is still there. Mind you, so is Fraser Longden. Obviously the earlier boycott did not damage their bottom line that much. And I do not delude myself that my little mini-boycott will leave their accountants a-tremble. Mr Longden is right about one thing, most grand resolutions fizzle out when it’s 6:30pm, everywhere else is closed, and you desperately need a screw.

Nonetheless, given that companies will count an expensive advertising campaign a success if it increases custom by one or two percent, they would be wise not to do things that cause even a few of their customers to get into the habit of looking elsewhere first. That is how most of my “boycotts” end up. In 2019 Nigel Farage had a milkshake thrown over him for the first time. Someone in Burger King’s social media team proved their worth by putting out a tweet saying, “Dear people of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK. #justsaying”. The net worth of most companies’ social marketing teams is negative: until then I had often used the Burger Kings at motorway service stations because, like Wickes, they remain open when other outlets are closed, and because a family member gets a discount, but their encouragement of political violence led me to declare a boycott. Predictably, my resolve wavered. I have eaten several Burger King burgers at motorway services since then, when BK was the only place selling food open, or because it was what other members of the party wanted. But five years of looking elsewhere first adds up.

*I meant the type of screw that comes in Metric, Imperial or Whitworth. Although having started that line of thought, I did not have the strength not to follow the Wikipedia link that told me that all screws have inherent male gender.

Brexit Independence Day

Today is Brexit Day, which is something to celebrate.

But to put it bluntly, the nation is an absolute mess. Levels of taxation and spending are insupportable. Pretty much every aspect of life is regulated by the state and its adjuncts. We have permitted speech, not free speech. Constitutional checks and balances abolished under Tony Blair have not been rolled back, in fact they have been expanded and deepened under a Tory government. The people responsible for mass abridgement of the most basic civil right 2020-2021 are still in politics and able to show their faces in public. The laughably named ‘Conservative’ Party has not only failed to fight the culture war, leading party members such as the risible Penny Mordaunt do not know what a woman is. Parliamentary democracy has in large part been replaced with a technocratic administrative blob, one that deposes Prime Ministers who question the high-status Guardian-reading consensus on almost anything. What remains of democratic politics has started to develop very dangerous sectarian elements in some parts of the country. And whilst the Tories arm of the ConLab blob have proven to be inept, inane, and malevolent, they are about to be replaced by a Labour government who will dial all of that up even further.

And yet…

On 23 June 2016, it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even with every Parliamentary party supporting Remain, echoed by the majority of the mainstream media, the blob can be defeated. Never forget that.

Brexit was not the endpoint for anything, it was just the start of a long process of a great political and social realignment. Brexit was a prerequisite, a strategic battlefield shaping operation if you will. This will be a long struggle and it will get worse before it gets better. But it is a struggle that has to be fought and can be won.