The Dangers of Peripheral Thinking

As the riots come to a close and looters sink back into the shadows, the political classes breathe a sigh of relief, but also begin tooling up for their own particular street fight. Quite rightly people want answers. How could this happen? How could a rich and prosperous nation suddenly plunge into violent chaos? Very few pundits will now cite the late Mr Duggun as anything other than a momentary catalyst for the violence, the real cause had been there all along.

Both the Left and the Right will try and use these events (quite genuinely in their eyes) to justify their own pre-existing views. The Right will claim that the problem is bad parents, lack of morals, a culture of glorified violence; indeed, Cameron has already begun making these noises, marking a distinct lurch to the right for his party and perhaps sounding the death knell for Ken Clarke’s ‘liberal’ conservatism. The Left, on the other hand, are quick to blame the events on the upper echelons of society: the government’s cuts, large corporations, the destruction of communities, economic policy failing to create jobs, and cuts to the EMA.

Already conservative quarters of the public are calling for benefits to be removed from any who took part in the riots, and not just that, but having subsidised housing removed from their families too. Now, after hasty hearings, prison sentences are being handed out for petty thefts such as stealing a scoop of ice-cream. Now, whilst these are indeed crimes that should be punished, the question must be asked, would these sentences have been handed out if those scoops were stolen a month ago? The answer is almost certainly no, and if that is indeed the answer these people are not being punished for their crimes, but the crimes of others. That is not how the rule of law should work. It is not logical.

The Left, on the other-hand, are just as misguided as their right-wing counterparts. In their eyes this is the natural comeuppance of cutting public spending and low employment prospects. Leading leftie Ken Livingstone was quick to imply that the riots were a result of the governments economic choices.

But this is as foolish thinking as the conservative line. If the ‘poor’ (such a folly to use generalised terms, but please forgive it in this case) are so lead to misdeeds by their circumstance, shouldn’t the rich also be excused? If a rioter can blame his actions on the banker, can’t the banker blame his selfish actions on a spoilt upbringing? In such a world no-one is ever responsible for their actions, they are merely products of their lives up to that point, robots pre-programmed and innocent.

However, this is not the argument the Left makes; their one is far more sinister. Rather than embrace the behaviourist argument and excuse everyone of their actions (by denying free-will) they allow the blame to shift from the rioters, but NOT from the government/financial sector/corporations. By doing so they are implying that somehow those in wealth are more capable of choosing between right and wrong than those denied such privilege. The logical conclusion is startling: that the rich are free-thinking human beings and the poor are somehow less. They are wild beasts simply responding to their environment and are incapable of understanding what they’re doing. This is a similar attitude we take to dogs. It is ironic that the Right, in all their ignorant fury, give more dignity to the rioters than the Left do.

It seems the gut-reaction of those on either side of the political spectrum is to use the riots to somehow blame those they always wanted to blame. It is the responsibility of logical libertarians to remain strong in the face of such dangerous peripheral thinking. The crimes committed over the past month were committed by those who did them, no-one else. And those crimes were the same then as they were at any other time; a victim of arson in 2009 has as much right to justice as a victim of arson in 2011.

A State is a club into which we pay taxes and get services in return. A legitimately elected government should be able to cut spending and not see its citizens turn on each other. People are responsible for their own lives.

In short: the State is the State. It’s not your mum.

Oldham Voters, Think Hard!

On 13th January, Oldham will be holding their bi-election. The reason for this re-run of the recent general election poll is that Labour were caught being a bit pesky with the truth and accusing the Lib Dems of courting the extreme Islam vote (always a winner, don’t you remember that photo of Ming and Osama Bin Laden bowling together?).

If I had disposable cash, I would put some on Labour winning, with a much healthier majority than the one they got in the GE (only 103 votes!). Only problem being the odds wouldn’t be great, every bookie is probably banking on exactly the same thing.

This all seems to make sense, bi-elections tend to go to the opposition parties as a way of the public voicing their dissatisfaction with government policies. But does the coalition change how we view bi-elections? I would argue that it should.

Previously, a bi-election gave the public two choices. Whilst it can’t replace the government, the voters can choose to weaken the government’s hand or strengthen it.

This time, however, the public can do far more than that. They can influence the direction of policy the government takes. If they elect a Tory MP, the government’s right flank will be emboldened, or if they elect a Lib Dem MP, then it will be the liberal-left wing who gain momentum. For the first time in living memory, we have a choice of picking which wing of the government we want to have a greater sway.

Contrast this to the third option – voting Labour. Sure it will result in a bad headline for the government, but it won’t have any tangible effect. Labour still won’t have enough MP’s to defeat legislation. You have to wait until the next general election for that.

So Oldham would be foolish to pass up this rare opportunity to affect government policy. Approve of an immigration cap? Vote Conservative. Like the raised tax threshold for low earners? Vote Liberal. A vote for Labour is the juvenile option, and the folks of Oldham are robbed if they go for it.

David Cameron’s Getting More Sex Than You

David Cameron’s had sex. Yup, I know, it’s not the sort of thing you want to read about, but then neither did I and I’ve been forced to endure it all week. No not the sex, the story about how Samantha Cameron’s knocked up. Normally this wouldn’t be the business of peasants like us, but seeing as how it’s being used as a blatant piece of electioneering, I’m compelled to comment.

So yes, David Cameron has had sex. And not long ago in a bygone era, we’re talking within living memory, just a few months ago. It’s true, one day you saw him giving a speech, the next you heard him babbling inanely on the radio, and in the meantime he was getting his end away, while you, what were you doing? Eating toast and watching Come Dine With Me?

And now he’s going to get a bump in the polls (“aha”, they must cackle, “a bump for a bump!”), and its well worth the price of a bit of torn vagina nine months down the line. That very pitch is probably going on in all corners of the political spectrum, as eager politicians try to play catch up. Gordon Brown’s probably getting it on in the kitchen as we speak, It doesn’t bear thinking about. Actually, yes, go on, imagine it! Are your eyes and ears leaking blood? Good.

Probably the only one who isn’t doing the dirty right now is Nick Clegg, who no doubt propositioned his partner, only for her to turn around and ask him to remind her who he was.

Not that this is anything unusual, it has happened before, and Cameron’s not going to repeat the mistakes of the past. In 2005 Charles Kennedy’s child was born in the run-up to the election to disastrous results as he appeared zombie-like in a press conference, drooling with a soiled nappy stuck to his head. No, Cameron’s child will be born in September, not so late that he can’t announce the pregnancy now, but not so early that it actually interferes with the campaign. Brilliant!

So thanks to his well-timed fornication I’ve got to read about it. I can only assume it managed to happen because way back in Dec/Jan he was much further ahead in the polls. “Oh your personal-approval rating is sooo huuuuge” she must have cooed as his head became engorged. And I do mean his actual head, which is apt to swell whenever he is angry, excited or defensive, similar to a toad trying to scare off a rival. You can see it every week on prime ministers questions. Priceless.

Finally, something that’s baffling me is all this “Sam Cam” stuff. Is that short-hand for “Samantha Cameron” or is it some tawdry online peep show where we can watch the conception for a small donation to the Tory party? Horrible. What sort of creep thinks of stuff like this?