Saturday, May 30, 2009

Baloney, sir!

As my last post was related to a ten-day-old Alan Cochrane article in the Daily Telegraph, my eye was drawn to Cochrane's billing on the Telegraph website - "[he] cuts through the baloney and explores all corners of the devolved government in Edinburgh with vigour". Just alter a few words and that's close enough to true - it's rather more that he generates the baloney himself and makes sure no corner of devolved government is left undistorted. Baloney exhibit A - "the local income tax, known to everyone as the 'Nat Tax'." Now who exactly is this everyone? Well, there's Cochrane himself, his well-trained parrot, he's working very hard on his goldfish...

Let's face it, almost nobody apart from Cochrane called it the Nat Tax. The problem, it seems to me, is that he's primarily talking to a non-Scottish audience and he's very self-conscious about it. It's a trap we've probably all fallen into at some point or another - he's presenting the version of our country that he'd personally want outsiders to believe in. He probably thinks it's all true when he says it. I saw a similar phenomenon during my interminable 'debate' with the American gun enthusiasts a few weeks ago - the odd British person (displaying what Paul Keating might have called a 'cultural cringe') was periodically popping up to say something like "I'd just like Americans to know that not all of us Brits have surrendered".

Aye, that's right. Some of us told Bush exactly where to go.

Another AM2 exclusive : Labour politician makes statement that can be vaguely inferred as attack on SNP

AM2 - "Former NATO boss brands SNP 'fringe and oddball'".

Now that would indeed be a troubling headline for the SNP but for two small points - a) the 'former NATO boss' in question just happens (extraordinary coincidence this) to be former Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland and professional SNP-hater George Robertson, and b) he wasn't directly talking about the SNP when he made those comments! George Robertson makes statement that can merely be inferred as an attack on the SNP - now that really is an exclusive worthy of the name.

Elsewhere in Alpha Male World - "Goodbye Mr MacAskill". Hmmm. As Mr MacAskill is still very much here, I can only assume AM2 is off on his hols - but I'm sure Kenny will be thrilled that he merited such a personal farewell.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another tragedy? Not to worry.

An absolutely heartbreaking story on CNN about a three-year-old girl who accidentally shot her two-year-old brother. In the past, I would have instantly jumped to naive and inappropriate conclusions about this event, viewing it as a fairly clear-cut example of a totally avoidable death that could not possibly have occurred without the lax gun laws in America. However, thanks to my recent long-overdue education on these matters, I now realise that having lots and lots of deadly weapons around doesn't cost lives, it saves them. If you feel that this story appears to contradict that statistically proven fact, you need to bear in mind the following factors -

1) Guns are mere tools, and are no more dangerous than any other inanimate object. If the girl had not accidentally killed her brother with a gun, she would simply have done so with any other tool that happened to be to hand.

2) Legal gun owners have no problem keeping their weapons safe and secure, and out of the hands of children or other vulnerable or dangerous people. This is something that ignorant European liberals simply do not understand. Therefore, this tragic incident is either a figment of your imagination or not statistically significant.

3) You are either far too stupid, or far too stubborn, to understand the arguments. There is overwhelming statistical evidence to prove this is the case. It's too complex to go into in detail here, but suffice to say it has something to do with the Tottenham Outrage of 1909, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and some chap you've never heard of called Colin Greenwood.

Enlightenment is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What's in a name?

I was intrigued to read David Maddox's recent post in the Steamie about the Party of European Socialists' apparent plan to change their name to the 'Alliance of Social Democrats'. Maddox explains in a matter-of-fact way that this amounts to a recognition of the fact that the parties that make up the group aren't actually socialists anymore. Curious that, because the swiftest of Google searches reveals that the true story is somewhat different. The PES are in fact extremely reluctant to change their name (hardly surprising given that so many of their constituent parties retain - at least nominally - a socialist identity), but feel compelled to do so to secure the full affiliation of Italy's principal centre-left party, which contains strong non-socialist elements.

Maddox also makes some other claims that I'm slightly dubious about. He implies that the SNP would be thrilled to join the PES if only Labour would let them in (really?) and he also suggests rather implausibly that the name change might encourage the European Greens to join the group. The article I read in fact suggested that the PES is considering ditching its current informal 'grand coalition' with the European People's Party to form a similar arrangement with the Greens. Is that where Maddox is getting his ideas from, I wonder? If so, he's misunderstanding what's really going on at a fairly basic level.