Monday, 30 April 2007

Bad news for Africa's Joe Ordinary

Mugabe being feted by China's President Hu

An interesting article from Britain's The First Post;

Tazivei, a tough-looking 30 year-old, works at the S&M brickworks outside Harare, and he's just been paid. He should be a happy man, but he's not. He's covered in bites from lice, his hands and feet are corrugated with painful cracks, he works in filthy conditions and his pay is miserably low. Tazivei works for the Chinese.

The Chinese are Mugabe's new friends. China is currently the world's biggest investor in Zimbabwe, and Chinese-owned businessmen flourish here (the southern part of Harare has become known as China City). One of them is Mr Meng, who owns S&M.

Tazivei stuffs his pay in his pocket, and gestures around the brickworks. "Look at it. There are no toilets here. That's why it stinks. We have to go where we can. So most of us have got dysentery. The government knows, but it doesn't care."

He peels off his shirt to show me his back. It is pockmarked with bites. Lice and flies thrive here. He shows me scars, too. "We are given no protective clothes, no overalls or gloves or safety shoes."

Mr Meng isn't totally blind to his workers' needs. Occasionally he distributes Chinese-made plastic shoes, known here derisively as 'Zhing Zhongs'. They fall apart in a week.

Tazivei is a union member, but his senior regional officer, Alex Masarakufa, is helpless to change things. "Nothing much we can do," he told me. He means that Mr Meng and his countrymen are untouchable.

Zimbabwe's dependence on China is breathtaking. More than 35 different Chinese companies now operate in the country, and Chinese investment stands at US$600m. In return the Chinese are awarded mining concessions and acres of rich tobacco-growing land, much of which was grabbed from the white farmers for redistribution to black people.

Under one recent deal, China is to give Zimbabwe a US$58m finance facility, to purchase farming equipment, implements and tools. In return, Zimbabwe must send 110,000 tonnes of tobacco to China over two years. It'll be tough going for us. The Chinese strike a hard bargain.

Poor countries, and we're talking Africa here, are screwed, and have been for years, by their own, black, rulers. The overseas assets of the past and present ruling elite of Africa come to 141% of that continent's national debt. Political Correctness and Western Liberals have kept that particular elephant-in-the-room quiet for a long time.

China are muscling in on Africa in a big way. They won't directly or legally rule the Africans like we did, but the Africans will certainly know who's boss - they'll know who has the greenbacks. And they already know what the Chinese think of them - and that is; "you are subhuman".

Our (Britain's) rule, although morally wrong, on balance benefited Africans hugely. But then their rulers-in-waiting could see a better time ahead for the tiny minority that were........the rulers-in-waiting. And so it came to pass and the lives and welfare of the now rulers, did indeed increase greatly. But, as we all know, their charges' lot didn't fare so well. The rulers will also benefit greatly when China comes to town. But for the ordinary African, things are about to get a whole lot worse. And there are no sympathisers back in China to lobby for Africa's Joe Ordinary.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

More electoral fraud from Labour....

Labour - rotten to the core.

"In the car park the students were told to trawl the surrounding streets collecting postal ballot forms from voters and, if necessary, to help residents to complete their ballots. Hyde warned: “Put the postal vote form out of sight...Don’t get caught with any on you. We are not supposed to collect them.”
He appeared well aware of the ramifications of what he was suggesting. One of the students conspiratorially told the group he believed that what they were doing was “illegal”. Hyde responded: “Yes it is. But we’ve done 25% already, so...” "

I think that there is a deeper psychology behind Labour corruption. Britons, as an envious people and with a generally Left-leaning media, perceive the Tories as "them", the "Toffs" - and are apt to squeal loudly when the likes of Archer lies for personal gain. However, although Labour's squalid record in office has eclipsed any Tory wrong-doing many, many times over, there is that almost unconscious perception that Labour doesn't have any pretensions or obligation to honesty anyway - after all they're proles-in-power aren't they? - that's how they're supposed to act. There's no overt contradiction.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

18 Doughty Street takes a retrograde step....

I'd really like to interview this guy.......

This is an "interview" between Peter Tatchell and Matthew Collins, ex-BNP activist and Director of Searchlight's "Operation Wedge". The question that begs to be asked, in response to his allegation that the BNP would make life a living hell for ethnics is "which BNP policies would you identify, that support this claim". He further claims that the BNP would "seperate people on the grounds of their sexuality, race, etc..." He knows he can make this claim in the knowledge that he won't be asked to explain himself.

I heard that Tatchell and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown were given jobs on 18 Doughty Street and I thought it was a wind-up. I am incredulous that this new media (a promising and refreshing alternative to the Leftist-soaked "traditional" TV media) should recruit these dinosaur Liberals. What a negative and retrograde step. Shame.

These are the very same people, along with the BBC and the Guardian, who are desperate to regulate the blogosphere. Without the leg-up of State funding and state regulation, the Left wing blogosphere has assumed its rightful position: a scarcely-visited irrelevance. Meanwhile right-wing blogs, unfettered by thought policing and political correctness are attracting huge visitor numbers.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Goodbye Boris.................

Luminary figures from around the world are paying their respects to Boris Yeltsin. President Bush said he "helped to lay the foundations of freedom in Russia". Lady T remarked: "He deserves to be honoured as a patriot and liberator."

The Toad is not in the slightest bit complimentary about the late Mr. Yeltsin. He was a cowardly egotist. Mikhail Gorbachev was the man who risked all to make democracy posssible, but understood - unlike Yeltsin - that The American Dream could not be realised overnight. Yeltsin's mantra - "we want it all, we want it now" - is to blame for much of Russia's present troubles.

Blair also said something on the matter, but as his utterances have now become so meaningless and devoid of currency, there's no point in repeating them here.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Up, up and away.......good ol' Easyjet.

The Toad is going to seek cultural enrichment in Barcelona folks, and will be back on Monday. In the meantime, please think about cheap air travel and the enormous good it brings. Laugh at Greens and their luddite whining.

Monday, 16 April 2007

This could end in tears.

I wish Jennifer Southall all the best. It gives one a good feeling to see someone who has struggled, finally throw off the shackles of worry and grind. Eight million pounds can improve your life. Or not.£8m+lotto+winner/

From the article linked above;

"After ten years working as a £5.85-an-hour cinema supervisor, the 43-year-old, who had never before tasted champagne or been on an aeroplane, has just one ambition - to spend, spend, spend.

Refreshingly, the divorced mother-of-three has already made plans that will make a big hole in her £8,372,751 fortune as she aims to fulfil her dream of a lifestyle to match those of the Hollywood superstars she has spent the last decade watching on-screen."

The article goes on;

"Among the sums either spent or already earmarked are:

Big house with swimming pool in Newport area - five bedroom property with 40ft covered swimming pool on market in nearby Caerleon - £675,000.

Spanish villa - four-bed property on Costa Blanca with private garden and pool - £300,000.

Holiday in Egypt - two weeks at a four-star resort in Sharm El Sheikh by the Red Sea for the whole family - £3,000 (and passports at £243).

Trip to New York - three nights at the stylish Bentley Hotel plus spending money for everybody - £6,000."

And it transpires that Jennifer has already been shopping: "I spent about £1,500 on clothes, phones, a new handbag and a posh pair of trainers....."

For Jennifer, one of the first inklings that money is not the only difference between those who have it and those that don't, will be when she notices that her fellow travellers in business class and her Costa Blanca and uptown-Newport neighbours, look upon her "posh" new trainers with something less than admiration.

I hope she realises that the money has already bought her a huge benefit: the cessation of worry. I also hope that she doesn't perpetually search for a Valhalla, to be found by spending - it ain't there.

Toad's brother and four of his mates shared a £1.25M win ten years ago. The ensuing anthropological study was salutary. The winner who went nuts spending on just about everything he thought he needed to make life great, was quickly disabused about the life-
enhancing powers of material goods. On the other hand, another of the winners bought his house outright (£50k in those days) and bought a modest car for £10k. The rest was invested and his boss agreed that he could work four days a week - every weekend a bank holiday. Karma.

If Oliver Reed had been a dog...............

Click .gif if static

Friday, 13 April 2007

Go on...have a McDonalds

Yes, I know - it's like eating cardboard. But you'd be striking a small blow against the mindless Victim Culture that seems to have such a hold over Liberal sensibilties in c21 Britain.

The most high-profile target of negative consumer pressure in Britain are the murdering paedophiles we have come to know as MacDonalds. At least that's what you'd think they were, if some people were to be believed. Their food may taste bland, but I used to love their coffee on the way to work. MacDonalds coffee with brown sugar and cream to start the day off. Not anymore though, because thanks to the Victims who hate MacDonalds for being the successful enterprise that they are, they no longer provide the cream that made the coffee "just so".
The whole bitch about MacDonalds seems to be about envy. From the few times I've been to a MacDonalds I've found that the "restaurant" always seems clean and the food preparation places seem sterile ( which gives you the impression that's where the food gets its blandness from). Toad's brother has been to a MacDonalds sanctioned abattoir and tells me that the place is immaculate with a member of Macdonald’s staff permanently on-site.

Who could say the same about the average kebab shop? Two years ago I succumbed to the British ritual of the Friday night kebab which apparently was lamb. The next morning I fished this thing out of the bin and had a good look at it - probably the only one I've ever examined sober. It was full of gristle and tiny pieces of hard matter which I suspect was bone. All of this was compacted into a rubberised mass which I think is generally called "reconstituted meat" - in other words garbage that has been powerwashed from carcasses. What traceability does this stuff have? Now if Morgan Spurlock had eaten this for 30 days he'd had done us all a favour. So, why don't we ever hear of protests or documentaries against such places? Well, perhaps because the proprietors are usually poor and/or immigrants rather that wealthy US corporations and are therefore seen as Victims in their own right rather than the easy target that MacDonalds are.

MacDonald's biggest crime is to be successful. Whenever I see "globalisation" protesters launching waste bins through a MacDonalds window, I can just about see the thought bubble above their lice ridden heads which says; "that's for reminding me how useless I am".

Thursday, 12 April 2007

When I die............

.........and if it turns out there's a heaven...and providing, of course, I'm admitted, I would like to spend my time in the afterlife sitting around this table.

I love this painting. It's called "Hip Hip Hurrah! Artists' Party at Skagen", by Peder Severin Kröyer, 1888.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Bad Architecture part I

The architecture series will comprise of the Toad's judgemental and righteous views on some of Britain's buildings. There will be a Good Architecture series and a Bad Architecture series. Readers are welcome to send in their photos of buildings that they think would make good entries in either the good/bad architecture series.

In reaction to RIBA's member's policy of ignoring public - and therefore "ignorant" - views on their creations, there will be no Right of Reply to the Bad Architecture series, meaning that comments may be struck out even for just providing a counterpoint. It's unfair and it's meant to be.

We kick off the architecture series with Lincoln's favourite eyesore - The Lincoln School of Architecture (ironically).

A chap called Rick Mather is responsible for this gem. From RIBA News* "The University of Lincoln’s School of Architecture moved from Hull to Lincoln last year. The £10m building was designed by internationally renowned architect Rick Mather". What a wonderfully versatile word "renowned" is.
The Toad strongly suspects that Mr. Mather's design was the eleventh hour casualty of a cancellation of a US military contract for an accommodation unit in the Nevada desert. If it wasn't scarring the view in it's present location, readers would be able to see the magnificent medieval cathedral that it so effectively obscures.
Although the photo was taken on a cloudy day, the colour is faithfully off-white and yes, that lower section is bare breeze block. What the camera doesn't show very well is the top section weather-staining. Give it another couple of years and Mr. Mather's creation will blossom into the full-on, Sixties-revivalist icon that I assume it is meant to be.
The Toad has only ever met one man who likes the ghastly aberration and, you guessed it, he was an architect. The balance of respondents to Toad's enquiries (many scores of people), hate it.
However, in a twist of irony - from RIBA news again - : "The RIBA’s decision to relocate its East Midlands regional office to the University of Lincoln - at the heart of regeneration - will help to establish stronger links ....blah, blah..."*. So it would seem that some of RIBA's members will have the soul destroying prospect of having spend their working lives at Moonbase Alpha. There's some justice, at least.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Taxation - we never learn

The "Laffer Curve" is commonly cited as being the model best known for illustrating tax-take "efficiency", see here:

As you increase the amount of tax on an item or service, your tax-take correspondingly increases. Up to a point. As the amount of tax charged increases past a certain point, the higher charge for the item or service begins to affect sales of same. This has a detrimental effect on the tax-take until, of course, so much tax is levied that the tax-take actually decreases. The Toad is of the firm belief that in the area of alcohol and tobacco, we have been firmly on the right-hand side of the Laffer curve for many years. The irony being the consumption has remained the same.

Let's look at some historical examples. I'll quote from memory, so please excuse any inaccuracies.

Around 1780, Britain taxed tea at 119%. This meant only the rich had access to unadulterated tax-paid tea. The vast majority of tea drinkers consumed smuggled tea which was imported in great quantities compared to pukka tea. Very often this was bulked out with sawdust stained by lead and all other manner of nasty things. Crime was part and parcel of smuggling, including murder. Great profit was also part and parcel of smuggling. At the time we were short of warships to kill the French with, especially frigates. Many frigates were employed in customs work against the tea smugglers.

So, Pitt jnr says " 'old on, why don't we drop the duty on tea to 12.5%?" And so it was that the Commutation Act of 1784 at one stroke reduced the tax on tea from 119 per cent to 12.5 per cent. Result!! Crime due to tea smuggling practically disappears and revenues are soon restored and actually eclipse previous levels. The adulteration of tea with nasty colourings and sheep dung is diminished and there are more frigates to kill Frenchmen (huzzah!!). Everyone wins (apart from the French).

200 hundred-odd years later and after the example of prohibition in the States, we still don't learn our lesson. I live in Lincolnshire. If I want tax-free beer I can get it with no problem at about half of the price I would have to pay in a shop. Ditto for tobacco if I smoked. These contraband goods come via Dover as Hull is too expensive a route for the bootleggers to use. So, if someone half way up the East coast of England can make these savings, what is the deal in Kent? The deal is that the Kentish brewer Shepherd Neame export their beer to France, to be sold to British day-tourists. No revenue for Mr. Brown, decreased profits for Shepherd Neame and the nausea of the trek for the shopper. Everybody loses (apart from the French).

Monday, 9 April 2007

Scottish independence - scary for Scots Tories.

This map is the political make up of the United Kingdom as of election night, 2005. As we can see, the area to the North of the Scots/English border is largely various shades of red and the area to the South is mostly blue. The North East of England is red, as is Merseyside. What all these areas have in common, is that they are peopled by the welfare-dependent. Since 1997, Labour have increased the public sector by some 800,000. Scotland has the highest proportion of it's workforce employed by government in the Western world*. At 23.5% that's even more than the notoriously socialised Denmark. The country with the strongest ratio is, predictably, the USA, with 14%. England comes in at a blubberly 20%. But you can bet that "England" in this instance actually means "England & Wales". Wales (another traditionally red area) would undoubtedly top the league if assessed as an independent nation.**

Should Scotland aquire independence, and I'm writing this from the perspective of someone who wishes them to have it, we will be in for interesting times ahead. I would not want to be self-employed or a money generator in the New Scotland. The SNP and Old Labour rule the roost North of the border - think Harold Wilson with a kilt.

Mr Salmon is also very keen to embrace the "European Ideal". Indeed, he envisages keeping Sterling for a couple of years and then embracing the Euro! In terms of national independence, it would appear Mr Salmon prefers the fire to the frying pan.

Talking of the EU, a newly independent Scotland will have to be very robust with Brussels. Lord knows, Westminster have rolled over and given in to the EU on occasions too numerous to mention. But a member state with a population of only five million and lots of black gold will appear much easier to intimidate and coerce than a net importer with a 52 million population. Germany has a mindset against nuclear power and the rest of Western Europe will increasingly be under pressure to pay the Russian Danegeld in the future years. How nice it would be if wee Scotland were to be "good Europeans". That invidious phrase "common resource" springs to mind........


"Relative Poverty" - an essential tool of the Left.

As everyone's standard of living increases with the relentless march of technology, socialists need bad news to keep their client voters unhappy. Enter "relative poverty" - as opposed to absolute poverty (ie real poverty). The way this term (and its subordinate term; “wealth gap”) has been sneaked in to everyday usage, it will soon be the orthodoxy in regard to assessing poverty. The beauty of this - for socialists at least - is that there will always be poverty.

There are people in genuine hardship, of course. Some people are mentally incapable of looking after themselves or disabled through no fault of their own and must be cared for - it is right, we are a caring society, after all. But I don't think that they are numerically sufficient for the poverty campaigners - there must be more. In 20 years time, even if the least wealthy of British people have the disposable income and quality of life currently being enjoyed by today's middle classes, you can be sure that they will still be in "poverty", for those on the Left who exploit them require that it is so.

I speak of those who over the years have traditionally exploited the worse-off in our society. They are the likes of the Labour Party of Great Britain and The Daily Mirror. These people see the exponential rise in everyone's living standards as a threat to their very existence. They feed the worse-off with disaffection in order to harvest the resulting envy and it's crop of votes and print sales. For these exploitative forces there must be poverty, even if there's no poverty.

On 27th Sept 2005, the Guardian's Micheal White, reporting on the Chancellor's Brighton speech, propagated a Gordon Brown lie: "Mr Brown focused his concern chiefly on children and blamed the Conservative legacy for Labour's grim inheritance of one in three children born into poverty". Under no stretch of the imagination could anyone believe that one third of children were born into poverty in 1997. Only that statistical conjurer's trick - relative poverty - could embolden a politician to make such a ludicrous claim.
But back to the present day and things aren't looking too good for our confident class warrior in number 11, as his liberal friends at the Guardian report: "....the government published the latest figures on poverty and inequality.

The statistics were bad news for Labour. In case you missed them, these were the headlines: child poverty was up by 100,000; absolute poverty was up; there was a widening gap between rich and poor."

Absolute poverty up, eh? Now that takes some doing.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Now THIS is an engine!

I wish I could say that these photos were taken in somewhere in Manchester. Alas, no. These snaps were taken at the Sulzer plant in Japan. The first two are of a ten cylinder crankcase and liners and the bare crankshaft laying in the bottom half of the crankcase. The third photo is of a complete 12 cylinder engine. The biggest engine they make at this plant is a 14 cylinder unit making 102,000 hp. - apparently the most efficient diesel engine in the world. I must ask Audi if they could put one in my A6.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Cash for honours and honours for all.

Pious rockstar Bono benefits from Labour's PR machine.

Every tribe since Adam has had an honours system. A member of the tribe performs good works, or acts valiantly and the tribe rewards that person with a medal or robe or stick or whatever. The value in that reward is that it is a symbol that is rare, respected by others and encourages some of the others to perform to their best so that they, in time, may also bear the reward. That is the logic behind the honours system in its purest form.

Of course, the British honours system has been subject to abuse for many years. But isn’t it a feature of this government that they have capitalised on the self-neutering of HM opposition (by way of their own example, when in power) to "go nuts" in terms of excess corruption? At the present rate, all the far-left activists of the 1970’s campuses who are now in power, will achieve their teenage ambitions to do away with the aristocracy-smelling honours system, by way of making the currency so weak that it effectively dissolves. But the real cynicism lies in the way they are benefiting from the sell-out at the same time. Cash for peerages is just the more blatant example.

The world of sport and celebrity are other examples of the exploitation of the honours system. Celebs are perhaps the most undeserving recipients of honours. People who preach about poverty and at the same time are wealthy icons of the drug scene which enslaves thousands of South Americans, don’t rank highly for my respect. Labour’s sickening cosying-up with the airheads at number 10 and 11 is well documented. What price Sir Mick Hucknall if Brown the Clown becomes PM?

Sport has its own honours system and it’s very efficient. When you win the race, you wait 30 minutes and then receive your honour. Simple. Imagine being told "you won the race and we’re going to give you the silver and bronze as well - next week". And so it was, that the victorious England rugby team, trooped in to see Betty, replete with grey suits and brown shoes and were duly given their MBEs. If they were given the choice, how many of them would choose to keep the MBE in preference to their World Champions’ gold medal? Situations like these are an open goal to corrupt politicians like New Labour. They cannot lose. In the hysterical aftermath of the win, Labour awarded the team their medals and shared in the reflected glow of success. Anyone who dared to draw attention to the pointlessness and cynicism of this exercise would have been immediately vilified by the red tops as unpatriotic or worse. But the most exploited people of all were the players themselves. It would have been impossible to decline the medal in the circumstances. To do so, would have put an incredible downer on any refusnik and he wouldn’t have been seen as snubbing Labour, but his team mates and good ol' Queeny.

This short term and cynical political gain sets long term precedents though doesn’t it?. When the England cricket team win the Ashes, how can they be refused their gongs? So, off they go for a photo with Betty and Labour are seen to be doing the right, patriotic thing. But when you play false, matters are likely to return to bite you. The Australian cricketers are all members of the Commonwealth and are therefore eligible to receive MBEs too. No prizes for guessing why are they not being honoured after they whitewashed England earlier this year. There's no reflected glory for Blair.

The honours system, a potentially good thing - wrecked by corrupt and unprincipled politicians.

Is it wrong?

Is it wrong to give your girlfriend's breasts names?

I first did this with a girlfriend some years ago and she giggled a bit. But the present Toad girl doesn't think much of it. At all. I suggested Bertha and Brenda, because they sound like big ol' gals, which is apt as it happens. But Toad girl is a feminist - she was brainwashed by that bloke on Radio 4, Laurie Taylor, when she was at York university some 20 odd Summers ago. The above photo is not of Toad girl's chest, but I'll be single regardless if she ever sees this blog.'s end?

I took this photo a couple of years back, out of sheer morbidity. As the letters on the side of the building indicate, this is a hotel. But no ordinary hotel. This is a Scunthorpe hotel and what is special about it, is that it perfectly captures the mood of the whole town. I swear to God that all my mental images of Scunthorpe are stored in my brain in various shades of grey. I remember thinking, when I took the snap, I really want to go in through the doors to reception and ask the girl if anyone actually stayed there. But Scunthorpe women are prone to acts of violence using glass objects, so I thought better of it.
Those in the know, please comment: which is the most unpleasant Lincolnshire town, Gainsborough or Scunthorpe?

Read this book.....

.....or you'll get cancer.

I laughed my silly little head off reading this light-hearted, but essentially accurate send-up of the circus that is Blair politics. It also prompted me to contemplate the similarities between Jeffrey Archer and Tony Blair.

The best fish 'n' chips....

Lincolnshire is the fish 'n' chip capital of the world. I once met a chap who said: "Yorkshire has all the best fish and chip shops". With total confidence that no court would convict me, I took half a step back, sprang forward and struck him hard with a clenched fist to his throat. "You sir", says I, "are a confounded liar". He said nothing in reply - the silent testimony of the guilty, I suppose.

Haddock and chips from the late Mrs. Longden's in Upton village certainly were the best, when the venerable old soul was still shovelling coal into her 1930's fryer. Her nephew carries on with the business, I'll let you know if they're still the world's no. 1 when I've reviewed them again. Grimsby has a plethora of very good fish 'n' chip shops. My favourite in Lincoln is the Elite on Tritton Road. Mr. Chips in Louth are good too. These places are the tops - Rick Stein ain't in it.

Whatever you do, don't eat fish 'n' chips in the sweating, groaning, hell-holes that pass for holiday resorts on Lincolnshire's East coast. They cater for the troglodyte masses of Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire, who think that what they're eating is "reet gud" on the simple premise that it isn't gruel. You eat fish 'n' chips from Skeggy for a week and you'll be dead within the year. Fact.

The worst fish and chips are to be found in the South - no arguments. Scotland comes a creditable second place in the worst-fish-n-chips-in-Britain league. Roll on independence and then with a leader called "Salmon", they might pass the "Closure of Poor Chippies Act" (2007).

Comments welcome (apart from outright lies - see para 1).

A waste of money.

Here in Lincoln, we have a brand new university. The City Council were desperate to have a university and so were the bars and clubs of the City. So were the builders and landscapers and architects and everyone else who would benefit from this project. But did the country need another university to accommodate another 5000 students?

A quarter of a century ago, when someone went to university in Britain, you stopped and shook their hand - well done - it was something of an achievement. Now do you feel the same way when someone tells you their son or daughter is going to university? They might as well tell you "my son's going to the shops this afternoon" for all the impression it makes.

Our universities, especially the new ones, are full of kids who wouldn't have made the grade 25 years ago. In pursuit of Blair's goal of 50% of all school leavers going through a university education, 'A' level standards have been dramatically lowered and the academic standards of the new universities are well below that of Oxbridge, Imperial or Bath. And they need to be. Without these establishments who will "take anyone", we could never meet Mr. Blair's goals. But it also means that Mr. Blair's goals become meaningless if a student misses out on three years of work in the real world only to obtain a degree in sociology (which is nigh on impossibleto fail) and face the world of work with his/her head full of crap and a life-outlook strongly influenced by Marxist professors. I can't imagine a worse start in life in a first world country. Just take a look at the amount of soft degrees in sociology, humanities, arts, media and other liberal topics that our kids are taking: .

Does Britain need thousands of graduates fit only for non-jobs in the public sector or MacDonalds? A further development that has been brought about by this grand project has been the introduction of tuition fees. The ballooning of the university sector has been accompanied by a corresponding inflation in costs (of course). Once, in this country, you went to university free of charge if you met the strict academic requirement. It was seen as an investment in the State by the State. Now some kids who are bright enough to go to a good university and complete a physics degree are opting not to as they are daunted by the prospect of their debt. And to top that, some New Labour genius recently proposed that those who the State knows have possession of a degree should not be allowed to draw a pension until the age of 70, to take into account that they are likely to have earned more money for less physical work in their lives. If you're not from these shores and find that last point a little hard to believe, go here:

I can't think of a more glaring example of the law of opposite effect than Mr. Blair's university project. My solution would be the wholesale closure of half of Britain's universities (including Lincoln, in 114th place from 122 in the Guardian's league table) In the remaining universities there would be as many places as there is demand for degrees in the sciences, medicine, engineering and other productive areas. University places for subjects in the arts and social sciences and all other soft degrees would be tightly capped at around one tenth of current figures. All these would be free. Only those studying law would pay for their degrees. All applicants would have to pass muster at an 'A' level standard which has reverted to 1970's Cambridge syllabus standard. We would adopt the American system of making school children re-take grades (or years) if they fail to come up to scratch and haven't put the effort in - there's nothing like the prospect of stigma to concentrate the mind.Not only would we have a better, more respected university system, we would also wipe out - at a stroke - many of the breeding grounds for liberal sentiment and ideals which have created amongst other disasters, "multiculturalism", the dependency culture and perhaps, in future, the abolition of the existence of failure (in favour of "deferred success"). In short, let's attack the Berkeley disease with the same vigour with which we attacked smallpox.


Welcome to my blog

Yes, welcome to my blog. That is, unless you're a liberal. If you're a liberal, please close your browser and leave your house (if you have one). Walk to the nearest bridge. Hurl self off. Thank you.

Everyone else - greetings!! Comment moderation is off, so I guess I'll leave it that way, until things start getting crazy.

I am a right-of-centre, self employed, anarcho-capitalist who likes red wine perhaps a bit too much. Oh yes, I'm English and proud of what that used to mean.