Thursday 31 July 2008

Where's your Milton Friedman now?

Isn't it time for ZaNuLab to learn from Zanu?

The solution to inflation, it turns out, is rather simple:

"The Zimbabwe dollar will be redenominated by a factor of one to 10, which means we are removing 10 zeros from our monetary value. Ten billion dollars today will be reduced to one dollar with effective from August 1," said Gideon Gono, the central bank governor.

The largest new note will be worth 500 new Zimbabwe dollars, or five trillion current dollars. Coins, which have been obsolete for years, will also return, and existing notes will be valid until the end of the year.

Why doesn't Alistair Darling knock off a zero and we can get back to the five bob pint.

Friday 25 July 2008

Hell's Bells

The new, post Glasgow-East Scotland should work towards being free of that curse of our time - the nanny state. Scottish nannies were just fine before the concept became politicised.

Here's the latest madness:

The historic clock bells of a Borders town have been silenced at night after an investigation by environmental health officers.

It followed a complaint by a bed and breakfast owner about the sound coming from the Galashiels war memorial.

...The council said that by silencing the clock the it was just "moving with the times".

They've got that right - Health and Safety takes priority over a war memorial.

In case you think this is another example of the ZaNuLab tyranny, think again:

Scottish Borders Council has 11 Wards, 10 Wards having 3 Elected Members and 1 Ward having 4 Elected Members (Councillor).

The political make-up of the Council is - Scottish Conservative and Unionists - 11; Liberal Democrats - 10; SNP - 6; Independent/No Ticket - 5; Borders Party - 2.

Who's the Mason in the black (and yellow)?

They'll have to get some new songs at Parkhead, won't they?

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Vanity post

I don't normally feel that it's right to promote oneself for these things but I draw your attention to Iain Dale's Vote for your Top Ten Blogs.

As this is the first post produced on my new Advent 4211 laptop I thought it might just be OK to break my rules on this occasion...

Glasgow East

I drove through the constituency again on Monday afternoon and like before it seemed clear that the SNP had by far the greater visible presence.

But what's this in today's Scotsman?


3,000 posters put up on lamp posts


5,000 posters put up on lampposts

3,000 to 5,000? It didn't seem like that to me. Nothing like it, in fact.

And here's a local's opinion. Derek White says:

"I walk to the bus stop and all I see are SNP banners or flags. I haven't seen a single Labour flag nor have I received any campaign literature. It's all been from the SNP."
Perhaps it's really true that the Scottish media is stuck in the Labour camp.

Saturday 19 July 2008

SNaPping the Polis

I see that the SNP has made a bit of a "gaffe". Well, according to the Scotsman that is:
Labour has criticised the SNP after it emerged a picture of two police officers was put on a leaflet distributed as part of the Nationalists' Glasgow East by-election campaign.
Here's the apology:
Central Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Iain MacLeod, whose officers feature on the pamphlet, told the newspaper that the image, which was taken as part of an official ministerial visit, had been used without the knowledge of the force.

An SNP spokeswoman said they had issued an apology to the officers involved through the Scottish Police Federation.

She added: "The police are an apolitical organisation who are doing a fantastic job in Glasgow East and across the country."

What the SNP should have said is that the police are our servants and until they stop harassing photographers they should stop being so hypocritical.

Friday 18 July 2008

Countering the Scorched Earth policy

The Spectator's Fraser Nelson thinks that Gordon Brown is adopting a "Scorched Earth" policy designed to destroy an incoming Conservative administration in 2010:
The Scorched Earth policy has begun. The FT has a hugely significant story – that the Treasury is “working privately on plans to reform Gordon Brown’s fiscal rules” which would “initially allow for increased borrowing”. In the vernacular, Brown has realised that if the Tories win the next election the he is now spending with Cameron’s Gold Card – every by-election bribe, every union sellout will be funded by borrowing with the bill sent to D. Cameron Esq. Cameron will have to tax us to pay for what Brown is today spending.
There's an easy solution.

The Tories should wait until Brown calls the next general election and then not put up any candidates. Labour would romp home and bear full responsibility for the coming crash. After all, ZaNuLab itself introduced this very tactic at Haltemprice and Howden, did it not?

Wednesday 16 July 2008

The most important story in Scotland

And it's not Glasgow East.

Jeff from SNP Tactical Voting gets it:

RB Afraid, RB Very Afraid

Less than a month ago I blogged about the worrying state of RBS' share price. I was worried about a share price of £2.30, especially when shares were trading at £7 only a year ago.

Well, in less than a month, that £2.30 is now down to a very, very troubling £1.70.

Last night the Royal closed at 167.70, down 7.06% for the day. HBOS was down 4.41%.

Scotland's economy is very dependent on financial services. And the uniquely centralised nature of the UK makes the situation even more precarious.

Jeff writes:

Royal Bank of China, coming to your high street soon. Mark my words....
I wouldn't be surprised at all, and such an outcome would be disastrous for Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole. Power, influence and the top jobs follow the headquarters.

But an RBS takeover isn't the worst prospect facing us right now. What should really worry us is the survival of the entire banking system itself. And it's not like we havnae been telt. Is it?

In conclusion, here's a movie from (near) Hollywood.

Sunday 13 July 2008

Robert Burns International Airport?

No, I don't think so.

Some folk think that Prestwick Airport should be renamed in honour of the national poet.

I don't agree. Nothing against Rabbie you understand - after all, I attended Ayr Academy for three years. It's just that I think airports should be named after places, not people.

I think that the Americans made a mistake in renaming Idlewild as J.F. Kennedy. It's wrong that Roissy is now known as Charles de Gaulle. And Belfast City shouldn't be called George Best, even though I once did see him score a goal. Come to think of it, what was wrong with Speke?

The problem's this: what happens when these local worthies go out of fashion? The airport's name has to be changed again and perhaps again. At great cost to the taxpayer.

The way things are going I expect to read that Glasgow (Paisley, actually) is to be renamed "The Margaret Curran International Airport", should the Glasgow East electorate vote for the ZanuLab candidate thus saving the incumbent regime.

What's brought all this on is the news from Indianapolis:

Shortly after he was appointed to the Indianapolis Airport Authority in January, Randall Tobias started getting polite, well-written letters from people who want to restore Col. Harvey Weir Cook's name to the airport's.

Then Mayor Greg Ballard, who appointed Tobias, mentioned he supports the change to honor the World War I flying ace killed during World War II in the South Pacific.

And then the City-County Council overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting the change.

The vote was 25 to 3 in favour of the change of name. Overwhelming indeed.

Surely the elected politicians know what the locals want. Not quite. An opinion poll in Indianapolis indicates otherwise:

The outcome: 49.5 percent wanted to add Weir Cook's name, while 50.5 percent did not.
I think there's a lesson here. Politicians are motivated by self-interest, just like the rest of us. Yes, I know that's shocking news for some but that's the way it is.

Politicians like the idea of naming airports after people. Who knows, they also might be so honoured one day. But normal folk - the 50.5 percent - realise that they're going to have to foot the bill for all these changes.

This is just another reason why the state should be allowed to do as little as possible.

Or less.

Monday 7 July 2008

Glasgow East

I was over in Weegieland earlier today and took a drive through the constituency. The main industries seem to be pubs and tanning salons. Where's Tommy Sheridan when you need him? Oh, and I noticed a large football stadium.

Anyway, judging from the signs on lampposts the current state of affairs seems to be something like this:

SNP: 500

Conservative: 200

Labour: 10

Lib Dem : 10

And all of the Lib Dem messages were on the front of what looked like their headquarters on Shettleston Road.

Extraordinary quote of the day

It comes from the Spectator Business:
Huntington is impressed by how the Guardian has responded to eroding readership. ‘They’ve transformed themselves from a lefty broadsheet published in Manchester and London to being one of the world’s great opinionated journalism brands,’ he says. ‘It has more readers in Texas now than in the UK.’
Good grief: perhaps the Guardian will become liberal again.

In the Manchester sense and not the Texan one of course.

Sunday 6 July 2008

There's Gold in Them Thar Hills

I've just come across this piece of news:
Britain's unexploited mineral wealth could be about to come into its own: with the price of gold predicted to soar above £500 an ounce over the next six months, drilling at one of the UK's only workable gold mines is about to restart after years of idleness.

Exploration work to uncover the true amount and value of the precious metal deposited at Cononish mine, near the village of Tyndrum in Scotland, is due to start any day.

This is welcome. Better still would be for Alex Salmond to announce that an independent Scotland would adopt a gold standard. If Alex were really radical he'd advocate a free market in currencies.

(Disclosure: I bought my gold shares when the price was £200 per ounce.)

Saturday 5 July 2008

Adam Smith

Madsen Pirie
Originally uploaded by David Farrer

Adam Smith
Originally uploaded by David Farrer

Adam Smith
Originally uploaded by David Farrer

Adam Smith
Originally uploaded by David Farrer

Adam Smith
Originally uploaded by David Farrer

The Adam Smith Experience

As reported by Mr Eugenides the first event was an excellent debate held on Thursday evening.

From Mr E:

Your scribe was honoured to participate in a debate last night alongside the ASI President Madsen Pirie, former Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth, and assorted well-intentioned but hopelessly muddled lefties. A good time was had by all, although Mr E partook perhaps too liberally of the free bar.
Around a couple of hundred folk attended and most did indeed enjoy the free bar that was available both before and after the rather boisterous debate. Needless-to-say, the House supported the cause of the "invisible hand".

On Friday morning Mrs F&W and I went along to the High Street and were rather surprised to see the great economist wearing a burqa! Not only the hand was invisible at this point. A "local" asked me what was going on.

"They're unveiling a statue of Adam Smith," I replied.

"Never heard of him."

"The greatest Scotsman who ever lived," I informed him. "And a drinking partner of David Hume whom you can see up the street."

That sort of relationship seemed to command a degree of respect.

The Edinburgh "market" community turned out in force. The ceremony started on the dot, as one would expect for a privately funded statue. The string was pulled, the "burqa" fell away as planned, people applauded and a group in See You Jimmy Hats had their photos taken in front of the man who gave the world prosperity. The invited guests were piped across the High Street into the City Chambers where we enjoyed a free lunch (free at the point of consumption anyway) and heard an excellent and libertarian talk by the sculptor Alexander Stoddart.

On Friday evening a sumptuous dinner was held in the Playfair Library at which we were addressed by R Emmett Tyrrell, editor of the American Spectator, and Professor David Purdie who used to live a few doors away from me in Prestwick when we were teenagers.

I was placed at Table 13. At each table someone won a bottle of Gaelic Whisky provided by Sir Iain Noble, founder of the distillery. For me it was a case of "lucky 13", perhaps helped by Sir Iain being at this table himself. I won the bottle and Table 13 consumed about half of it before I headed off home.

As the saying goes: Freedom and Whisky gang thegither.