Saturday 30 September 2006

Independence Demonstration

A march was held in Edinburgh this afternoon:

Some of the marchers haven't heard that Ireland is now capitalist:

Like this guy:


There's been a rather embarrassing event in the world of Inverness pubs:
A CAMPAIGN to ban unruly customers from Inverness bars has been undermined after its chairman became one of the first people to be nominated for exclusion.

Members of the Inverness Pubwatch scheme will be asked at their next meeting to ban Debbie Dryburgh from city centre pubs following an alleged incident at Johnny Foxes in Bank Street.

Oh dear.


I notice that Grasping the Thistle has its own website.

This is the new book that I wrote about on Monday and which is causing a bit of a ruction within the SNP.

Friday 29 September 2006

Thank God for the Council Tax

Without it, how would we survive? How would citizens of Edinburgh live if we didn't have councillors replanning the city like this?
Some of the changes which the city council proposes would simply replace "&" with a forward slash, so, for example, "Colinton & Fairmilehead" would become "Colinton/Fairmilehead".
I'm tempted to say: &/%*@^§!

But that would be rude.

Unintended consequences

Reality strikes again:
The upshot could be legal battles between young employees and their employers, or barriers being put up in the hiring of staff under 21.
This is exactly what's to be expected whenever the state tries to stop people "discriminating". In a free society there's always work for the competent and reliable.

Capitalism: is it for the birds?

It's one of those stories that almost make the political class worthwhile:
The Scotsman revealed yesterday that the Scottish Parliament had agreed to pay a private contractor £250 to transfer a baby pigeon 100 miles away to Ayrshire - if the company decided the bird needed to be rescued from the ledge at the parliament in Edinburgh where it is nesting.
Even the Lib Dems are talking sense:
It's a flying rat, for goodness sake.
But back to the story. According to the Pigeon Control Advisory Service (I did not make that up):
"I cannot believe they would pay £250 to transfer it to Hessilhead. We would have done it for free but this is what happens when you go to a commercial pest control company."
So, I thought, this PiCAS outfit is just another bunch on lefty haters of capitalism that isn't tainted by the dreaded cash nexus.

Except it ain't so. From their own website:

With the exception of the United Kingdom where PiCAS operates on a commercial basis, PiCAS offers a not for profit service to its client base worldwide, charging only travel expenses where a site visit or survey is required.
In other words, commercial companies are undesirable in the great world of pigeon control, but commercial "advisory services" are just fine. Bah!

(By the way, how much would it cost to transfer 129 MSPs to Ayrshire Rockall?)

We are the people...

This is from The England Project:

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1930’s 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s !! First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding three on a bike was always great fun.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate bread pudding, white bread and real butter and drank lemonade with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because…


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go karts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels satellite, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms……….WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given pellet guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

School sports teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned


And YOU are one of them!


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?!

PS -The big type is because your eyes are shot at your age

Monday 25 September 2006


SNP politician Mike Russell has called for a gradual approach to independence. That seems a sensible idea for his party.
MIKE Russell, one of the SNP's senior figures, has risked an angry backlash from party activists by proposing a gradual approach to independence - taking a series of small steps rather than securing everything with one big referendum victory.

Mr Russell has suggested the concept of a "New Union" with England which would see Westminster retain control over foreign affairs and defence, leaving Scotland with every other domestic policy agenda, including finance.

I'd stop at that point, but of course Mr Russell would want to move beyond the "New Union".

Note the backlash in the comments. For example:

Mike's ideas on the union aren't the really bad bits. Did anyone else see the stuff on privatisation of the health service, water boards, etc? He's been drinking the Thatcherite Kool Aid, that's what.

I must have been asleep - I missed the privatisation of the NHS.

Thursday 21 September 2006

Related to the Devil?

Goodness me. I may be related to the Devil:

Distribution of Devils:

Distribution of Farrers:

Monday 18 September 2006

Hey, Hey We're the Monkees!

Belatedly, I give you this unsurprising news of life at Holyrood.

What about us?

The Social Democrats have lost the Swedish election.

Good. But note this:

The election was closely watched by governments of other EU countries facing the need of welfare reform because of ageing populations and creaking pension and healthcare systems.
And will would-be governments be watching? Here's Alex Salmond when he took over the SNP leadership for the second time:
"We intend to lead a government of purpose and direction so that we can offer the people of this nation the opportunity to move forward to independence, democracy and equality."

He said the party would develop a new economic policy and a new vision of social democracy for Scotland.

Will Mr Salmond now be advocating welfare reform? And will some of Scotland's all-too-many socialist politicians in the other parties be looking at Sweden with a degree of trepidation? The governmental system over here creaks at least as much as that of Sweden.

Socialist finance

Yet another fallout from the Tommy Sheridan business:
Police in Shetland are investigating a transfer of funds from the Scottish Socialist Party to Tommy Sheridan's new party, Solidarity.
Should the police be bothering with this? Both parties were founded on the principle that no-one's money is safe.

Sunday 17 September 2006

Top blogs

They are listed here (PDF file). Iain puts me on the conservative list.

Saturday 16 September 2006

Freedom and Whisky - Still Going Strong

I came across this statue in Kilmarnock earlier today. The chap on the left is Johnnie Walker. Hopefully there's no need to tell readers of this blog who he was.

On the right you can read this message:


Wednesday 13 September 2006

Old news

How many times do we have to read this?
MSPs were told yesterday there remains a risk that Scottish Enterprise will not meet its budgetary targets for the coming financial year.
Don't we get this story every year? The solution is simple: abolish Scottish "Enterprise" and use the money to scrap local business taxes.


While enjoying my post-work pint this evening I noticed an ad in the Scotsman for a post-graduate course at the University of Paisley:
Students will gain an appreciation of the processes involved in an individual becoming a problem alcohol or drug user
Er, can't the students just walk around Paisley?

And there's more:

Students will be able to rehearse intervention methods.
I trust that the U of P has arranged suitable cover with one of Scotland's life assurance companies.

Tuesday 12 September 2006

8% is for wimps

Neil Craig has a new blog. Have a look at the 9% Growth party:
Let no politician from any other party tell you that just because they have only been able to grow Scotland at 1.5%, 9% is not an entirely possible goal. Ireland managed an average of 7% over many years & a peak of 10.5%, China has averaged 10, Russia & the Baltic states have averaged 8% & world average growth is now calculated at 5% annually. We can get as far above the world average as we have been below it.
Another new Scottish blog is Musings of a Reactionary Snob.

Monday 11 September 2006

Alexander Filipov

I never knew Alex Filipov but ask readers to remember him today - five years since he was killed in New York on board American Airlines Flight 11.

You can read more about Alex here:

Alexander M. Filipov, an electrical engineer and church deacon, died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 11 in New York City on Sept. 11. He was 70.

A longtime resident of Concord who semi-retired in 1999, Mr. Filipov continued to work in the field of electronics as a consultant. He was traveling to California on a business trip at the time of his death.

A member of Trinitarian Congregational Church, Mr. Filipov was a deacon and a former moderator and served on numerous church committees. But family, friends, and co-workers said it was his personal touch that they will remember most.

People who knew Alex have written about him on this site and there's a lot more here in his local paper. Although we never met, I'm sure that Alex would have been a fine friend.

This tribute to Alex is coming from a Scottish blogger who was born ten miles from Lockerbie.

We do not forget.

All 9-11 victims are being commemorated by an individual blogger today:

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.

(A memorial service for New York firefighters and police officers who died on 9-11 was held in Glasgow on Sunday.)

Sunday 10 September 2006

Not forgotten

Leuchars - September 2006
Originally uploaded by David Farrer.

What, no Conservatives!

As the Sunday Herald explains, the Labour shenanigans have a Scottish dimension. And I don't mean that both Blair and Brown come from these parts. We have elections coming up for the Scottish parliament next May and everyone accepts that the result will be affected by the outcome of the Labour struggle.

But note the absence of any mention of the Conservative party. Down at Westminster all the talk is of how any Labour leader can beat the Tories. Up here, they're not even worth mentioning.

Saturday 9 September 2006

Red Arrows

Defending freedom.

(CLICK to enlarge)

Leuchars - September 2006 Originally uploaded by David Farrer.

Leuchars - September 2006 Originally uploaded by David Farrer.

Thursday 7 September 2006

A date in November

The Libertarian Alliance Annual Conference will be held in London on 25th and 26th November 2006.

Monday 4 September 2006

Read this and weep

This morning I took a trip over to Holyrood to see the World Press Photo Exhibition. It's certainly worth a look despite the leftist bias in the selection of shots.

The real shocker was on the way home. I got on the number 36 bus for the ride back into town. What seemed to be a mother and son got on at the same stop and sat a couple of seats behind me.

She: "It's really nice, the way that the countryside goes right into the city. Arthur's Seat is quite something. You'll like it here"

He: "Uh."

She: "I think you'll need three "B"s to get in to Edinburgh."

He: "Yeah."

She: "Have you any more idea about what you'll study?"

He: Grunts

She: "How about economic history?"

He: "Sounds boring."

She: "Aren't you interested in architecture? How about history of architecture?"

He: "Sounds a bit difficult."

She: "Well, you'll have to decide before you apply."

He: "Suppose so."

She: "Of course, we'll have to pay a fee if you come here. The Scots don't have to."

He: "Why's that?"

She: "Because they have a different government from us in England."

He: "Didn't know that."

He had of course got on the bus right outside the front door of the Scottish Parliament.

Not your usual ZaNuLab website

Good grief. David Cameron has done something rather cunning. Instead of splashing out thousands on a probably unreadable website, he's got himself a bog-standard, el-cheapo blog just like the rest of us. And on it he puts a link to Guido, the politicians' nemesis.

Very clever stuff. Unless the whole thing is a spoof of course.

Saturday 2 September 2006

Gordon Brown - tax snatcher

The final event that I attended at the Book Festival was a talk given by James Buchan (grandson of John), who has written Adam Smith and the Pursuit of Liberty. I was a little concerned that I was going to hear a revisionist take on Smith, having read book reviews along these lines:
Politicians such as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan promoted Smith's famous 1776 book, "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" as the bible of Anglo-Saxon laissez-faire. In the past ten years, modernising leftists such as Gordon Brown have tried to kidnap Smith for the reformed socialism of Britain's New Labour. In this vigorous, crisp and informal book, James Buchan shows that Smith fits no modern political category and that much of what politicians and economists say about him is false.
I needn't have worried: Mr Buchan was sound and saw Smith as an anti-state libertarian. OK, so old Adam was a bit unsound on road privatisation and (more unfortunately) on the labour theory of value, but essentially he was one of us.

I asked Mr Buchan a question:

"Isn't it shameful that the Scottish political class hasn't given proper recognition to our greatest countryman, a man who has done more to alleviate world poverty than the whole goddamned race of socialists laid end to end?"
The rather unworldly Buchan was a bit surprised by this modest suggestion but I got a welcome round of applause from the audience.

Anyway, whether Gordon Brown understands anything at all about Adam Smith, it's now surely clear to everyone that his policies are a total disaster for the very people he claims to represent:

In 1996-97, the year before Gordon Brown became Chancellor, the poorest fifth of households paid 6.8% of the total tax take, according to official statistics. This had risen to 6.9% in 2004-05, while their share of benefits had fallen from 28.1% to 27.1% over the same period.

The extra tax paid by the poorest fifth of households, compared to 1996-97, was equivalent to an annual £56 (E82.9, $106.4) per household in 2004-05, while the benefits lost were equivalent to £475 a year, according to the report from the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), a free-market think tank.

Actually, in the context of "think" tank, the term "free-market" is a redundancy. Surely all tank people have read this gentleman.

So there we have it: socialism harms almost all of us, but especially the poor. And the Tories are afraid of these people!

Friday 1 September 2006

Surely some mistake

The Independent has got a little list:
A panel of experts has picked out 50 individuals - including some double acts - who they believed were motivated by an "ethical" dimension.
There's obviously been some sort of mistake - at least one of the fifty seems to be a "businessman".