Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Banning cars from the Olympics

It has been reported that spectators attending the 2012 Olympic games will be prevented from driving anywhere near the games. The organisers say they want this to be the greenest Olympics of modern times.

Just be careful when putting politics before practicality. It's one thing for a couple of London based tourists to get the train, it's a completely different matter when you're a family of four from the other side of the country lugging a pram around all day. The Millenium Dome should serve as a useful lesson. In line with the Labour government's vision of "sustainable transport", the area around the dome was also designated "car free" and as a result, hardly anyone bothered visiting.

Anti-American Americans

Gerard Baker has written a great piece in the Times about anti-American Americans. It seems there is nothing Europeans love more than Americans who slag off their own country, hence their adoration of Al Gore, Michael Moore and Sean Penn.

But there is one major difference Europeans fail to notice: however much animosity Hollywood celebrities may feel towards Bush or the Republicans, they will still wrap their selves in the American flag and say they're proud to be American.

A little bit like the Muslims who disassociate themselves from suicide bombers and tell you that they're not real Muslims, liberal Americans will tell you that Bush doesn't represent the real America and the United States that you see today isn't the country the founding fathers intended it to be. It's constructive criticism and you have to admire that.

It's one major reason why America has a future whilst Britain has none. Not all Americans like their government but at least they still believe in their country and its values. Contrast that with Britain where self loathing has long been a national sport among our intelligentsia. As Britain comes under increasing attack from home grown Islamists, it needs to defend its values now more than ever, but what's there left to defend?

The NHS is no longer the envy of the world

Ever wondered why more and more people feel the need to take out private health insurance? Well, ask yourself this: If 90 people were killed in a network of private hospitals because of poor hygiene, would you take your business there? But when the same thing happens in our state run hospitals, people shrug their shoulders and life carries on.

It never ceases to amaze me how a country like Britain that is so free market oriented runs a health care system that is like something out of the former Soviet Union. Meanwhile, our French neighbours, despite their supposed hostility to capitalism, run a public healthcare system where everyone get healthcare, and people get to choose where they're treated, yet many of the services are provided by the private sector. Isn't it about time we had a more mature debate about the NHS? All too often, it's presented as a simple choice between a centralised state run health system versus and an American style private health system. In reality, you can quite easily have a mixture of the two as they do in continental Europe.

Would you fly with an airline that had a poor safety record? So why should you be forced to go to a filthy hospital? In continental Europe you have a choice, why can't we have the same here?

The end of consensus politics

For several years, the conventional wisdom was that the British people were prepared to pay ever more taxes for an ever larger state, but it seems that Britain isn't Sweden. If our schools and hospitals were anything as good as Scandanavia's that would be one thing, but here we have the worst of both worlds: rising taxes combined with unreformed public services. The public are now losing their patience, and Labour have been shaken out of their comfort zone.

Now (to borrow Janet Daley's phrase), British politics have been "de-harmanised" - (as in Harriet Harman, Polly Toynbee etc...) – the metropolitan, Left-wing women who had gained so much influence over Labour (and for that matter Tory) policy. As we've seen from the last month, a week is a long time in politics, and the next election is probably 2-3 years away, but after nearly a decade of consensus, the British political scene is getting interesting again. Hallelujah! We finally have two distinct political parties: one that supports a lower taxes and a smaller role for the state, and the other that believes in ever more taxes and ever more spending.

Monday, October 22, 2007

David Bellamy, the global warming heretic

David Bellamy's latest polemic is likely to enrage the man made global warming lobby.