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

In fact, Oxford has a disproportionately high number of black students, although you wouldn’t know this from the comments made by Lammy and others last week. He quoted the seemingly shocking statistic that, between 2015 and 2017, several Oxford colleges had failed to admit more than one or two black British students. This set the tone of the news agenda, prompting Oxford graduates to tweet their scorn at their old university. But, as ever, statistics are the last refuge of the scoundrel.

Jon Holbrook

This 1 weird trick will solve your crime problem

Knives are too sharp and filing them down is solution to soaring violent crime, judge says.

Samizdata quote of the day

At the end of a week in which the House of Commons defeated Labour’s draconian plans to regulate the press, the Tories revealed their own draconian plans to regulate the internet. The culture secretary, Matt Hancock, has pledged to make Britain ‘the safest place in the world’ to be online. But when the world’s ‘safest’ internet is currently found in China, where access is heavily restricted and censored by the state, it becomes clear how terrifying the government’s safety agenda really could be.

Fraser Myers

The wind can blow a smokescreen either way

Two stories related to freedom of speech are doing the rounds tonight:

The BBC reports: YouTuber Alison Chabloz guilty over anti-Semitic songs

Chabloz is a nasty and stupid woman, whose delusions will be given more credibility by the fact that she was persecuted for them.

The Hull Daily Mail reports: Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson ‘being held in Hull prison’ after arrest

I do not know what to make of Robinson himself, nor of his arrest. There are some complications about contempt of court and his breaching the terms of his earlier suspended sentence that, frankly, I cannot summon up the energy to investigate; it may not be as simple a case of persecution as it is presented as being in this PJ Media story. The authorities imagine that by placing reporting restrictions on Robinson’s case they will make people think he is as clearly bad as Chabloz is. The actual effect is to make the public wonder whether she, like he, might have something to be said in her favour.

Samizdata quote of the day

It occurs to me that there’s perhaps a bit of guilt on show here. You see those pregnant 11 year olds in Telford got in that state because the local authorities, in fear of being branded racist and/or islamophobic, allowed gangs of muslim men to groom and abuse white girls for decades and ignored complaints/reports etc. that this was occurring. One suspects that the distaste for this joke is more because it reminds readers of the failures of the Briitsh Nanny state than actual concern for the feelings of 11 year old sex abuse victims. If the writer actually cared about the victims and subsequent potential victims he’d be campaigning to have the perpetrators and their facilitators in the police/social services punished appropriately (personally I think being nailed to a fence by their genitals would be reasonable, but I can see that people might differ on the details. Would a bit of rebar up the bum be better? both? or how about the traditional English hanging, drawing and quartering?) so as to make clear that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable in the UK.

Francis Turner

The spirit of Nongqawuse lives on

Nongqawuse was a fifteen year old Xhosa girl who in 1856 had a vision in which three ancestral spirits told her that if the Xhosa people showed their trust by destroying their crops and killing their cattle, then on the appointed day the spirits would raise the dead, bountifully replace all that was destroyed, and sweep the British into the sea. Thousands believed this prophecy and slaughtered their cattle. But the dead slept on and the British remained in place.

Nongqawuse explained that this lack of action was due to the amagogotya, the stingy ones, who had kept their cattle back from slaughter. She urged everyone to greater efforts. A new date was set for the prophecy to finally come true. The rate of cattle-killing rose to a climax.

Eventually the Xhosa lost patience, and, with remarkable mercy, handed Nongqawuse over to the British. By then famine had reduced the population of British Kaffraria from 105,000 to fewer than 27,000.

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City A.M. reports that John McDonnell says Venezuela is failing because it is ‘not a socialist country’.

Oh, and our Chancellor-in-waiting says that he will overthrow capitalism.

If you want to watch the Sunday Politics interview where he said all this, this BBC link will work for another 28 days.

Samizdata quote of the day

What I found particularly annoying is the degree to which certain commentators elevated the importance of Meghan Markle’s race. If the media hadn’t told me, and then not shut up about it for months, I would never have guessed she was the daughter of a black mother and white father. To me, she looks as much Spanish, or Italian, or Lebanese as mixed-race American. Her mother simply looks like someone you’d see shopping in Marks & Spencers in Croydon, so why anyone should think her race is even worth mentioning I don’t know. Actually, I do: it’s because some people think race is the be-all and end-all (e.g. David Lammy, Katie Hopkins), and others simply took the opportunity to virtue-signal, rubbing people’s nose in the subject of immigration.

Tim Newman

Samizdata quote of the day

I am a radical on Town & Country planning as on other economic issues. I would abolish it. To me it is offensive that the value of a man’s land is stripped from him by laws that deny him the right to put it to its highest and best use without grovelling to local politicians in thrall to his envious neighbours.

‘Tom Paine’

Hey! Hypocrites have feeling too!

Aunt Agatha seeks to give advice to another troubled public figure in Britain… I wonder who it could be?

‘It’s not illegal, but we must find a way to stop it’.

Is a fair summary of the antics of a bunch of Cornish bureaucrats in Padstow, (a harbour and tourist attraction on Cornwall’s north coast) supported by the local MP Scott Mann, in a battle against street traders, who are within the law. And we have that bureaucrats favourite concept, a ‘multi-agency approach’, (which I first heard in the early 1990s), with the following wastes of public money involved: Cornwall Council, Devon & Cornwall Police, Padstow Town Council, Padstow Harbour Commissioners (the Harbour is established by law with government oversight).

Scott Mann discusses Padstow street trader complaints with multi-agency group

It is rather concerning that the local Police are getting involved in a matter that is not illegal, street trading by selling services is not, well, according to Cornwall Council’s legal advice.

Following a number of complaints in 2017 regarding hair braiders and henna tattooists providing services on the quay at Padstow, partners have been working together to consider options for controlling these traders. In recent meetings, each agency or representative has discussed the concerns being brought to their attention by local residents and businesses, what solutions may or may not be available to them, and what options there are going forward.

Independent legal advice has been obtained by Cornwall Council which confirms that the provision of services does not fall within the definition of street trading as prescribed under the relevant legislation.

Or as the bureaucrats find to their evident dismay.

The current street trading legislation under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 creates a loophole whereby people deemed to be providing a service are exempt from having to obtain a street trading licence or adhere to street trading regulations. In practice, this means individuals who are sat around the harbour braiding hair or applying henna tattoos do not have to obtain a licence because they are deemed to be providing a service, rather than selling tangible objects such as toys, clothes, jewellery or food.

Yes, Parliament never regulated this, so why don’t you all eff off back to your desks, submit your resignations, and ask for your jobs not to be replaced? It’s freedom that upsets you, isn’t it? No one is getting their hair braided without consent, no one is getting tattooed by force, just don’t buy it. There is no trespass, no obstruction, no nuisance, no wrong done, it’s just something that you can’t (yet) licence. A chink of light through the curtain of licensing darkness. It is not a loophole, it is simply not banned. A loophole would be making it legal to sell goods on the street without a licence only if you wore a red hat.

It is for Parliament to propose changes in the law, not bureaucrats, who are paid to do their jobs, and Councillors are, really, paid bureaucrats. Let the public pester the MP, and let him propose what he might, so that her Majesty, with the Advice of the Commons and the Lords Temporal and Spiritual, may so enact if it please her. To be fair to him, this appears to be what he has in mind. It is a symptom of the political culture in Britain, even far from London, that this is something for bureaucrats to fret about, all mask of neutrality has fallen here.

The attitude of the police officer involved is particularly dismaying:

Sgt Andy Stewart said:

“The Police are actively working with other agencies in an attempt to resolve the issues being caused to some people by the street traders. A balanced approached will be maintained, and it is important that each case is considered individually and there is ongoing monitoring of any changing circumstances.”

Why didn’t he say something like:

‘No offences are being committed, this is as lawful as breathing, it’s got nothing to do with me, stop wasting my time. I’m going to look for some hate speech on Twitter instead to boost my stats.

OK, the last sentence is perhaps a little unkind.

Samizdata quote of the day

I’m not making up my mind on Gaza until I’ve heard what Gary Lineker and Lily Allen think

Jeremy Briar offers sage words of advice 😜

A post that would have been a million times as funny

…if I could find the right bloody sketch on YouTube. First I thought it was “Negotiations” from Not The Nine O’Clock News, but it wasn’t. My goodness, they wouldn’t allow the line at 1:30 nowadays, would they? Sticking with Mel and Griff, I then tried “The Union Man” with no better success. The sketch about Gerald the Gorilla was always a long shot.

Nope. Just couldn’t find it. It’s the one where there’s this meeting between the leaders of the different unions, the TUC or whatever they called it, and they are having a break and someone says, “tea or coffee?” and one of the blokes says, “let’s vote on it” and so they vote and tea gets more support, only the bloke who wants coffee has a block vote of three million when the all the ones who wanted tea together only added up to two million or something like that or vice versa. That one.

Look, back in nineteen whaty-whatever it was quite surprising to see anyone on TV mocking the trade unions. All the luvvies were lefties even then.

Anyway, I thought of that sketch when I saw this story pop up in the Guardian:

One million students join calls for vote on Brexit deal

Student organisations representing almost a million young people studying at UK universities and colleges are today joining forces to demand a referendum on any final Brexit deal, amid growing fears that leaving the EU will have a disastrous effect on their future prospects.

Predicting a young people’s revolt over the coming months, student unions – representing 980,000 students at 60 of the country’s leading universities and colleges – are writing to MPs in their areas this weekend, calling on them to back a “people’s vote” before a final Brexit deal can be implemented.

Student leaders said last night that they were planning action that would dwarf protests held in 2010 against the coalition government’s plans for student fees, and that they would not rest until they had been granted a say on their futures.

That’ll be one million for coffee then.

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Breaking news: I am adding this clip of a random guy supporter of Zheremy Corbyn interrupting the current UK entry to the Eurovision Song Contest to shout, “Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom!” because it is very important.

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Edit: Hat tip to Patrick Crozier who found the relevant Not the Nine O’Clock News episode here. The block vote sketch in question starts at 8:00. The actual result of the vote was five hands raised giving one and a half million votes for tea, outvoted by Mel Smith’s five million votes for coffee.