Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No one on either side of the Atlantic seems to have any answers to the current crisis

The scariest thing about the Tories is that despite their huge lead in the polls, they don't seem to have a clue how to deal with the current economic crisis. Both their and Labour's economic policies were based around how to handle the proceeds of an economic boom. Both strategies now lie in tatters.

Sadly, neither of the two presidential candidates seem to have much in the way of answers either. The Bush administration may not be guilty of raising taxes as Brown did, but they have spent money during the last eight years like there was no tomorrow. American taxpayers like their British cousins will pay a heavy price for years to come. These are scary times.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The British reaction to Sarah Palin

What I find most fascinating about Sarah Palin is not so much her, but the reaction to her, especially in the British media and amongst London's chattering classes where she is perceived as an ignorant, gun toting, bible bashing country bumpkin. Their reaction tells you more about the bigotry of the British than of any perceived shortcomings of our American cousins. It also reveals how ignorant the British are when it comes to American politics and culture.

Irwin Stelzer has a written a great column in her defence.

Making a mockery of trial by Jury

A British jury last week convicted three British Islamists of conspiracy to murder, acquitted one, and failed to convict four more. This resulted from the investigation of the 2006 summer plot to blow up seven transatlantic airliners between Britain and the U.S. by detonating explosives packed in soft-drink bottles.

After what was thought to be "an open and shut case", many such as Melanie Phillips and Sean O' Neill have lost faith in our jury system, but I wouldn't put much faith in trial by judges either. Based on the overtly political views that many of them display, I can think of nothing more terrifying.

A politically motivated verdict

A jury decided that Greenpeace campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station because of the defence's argument that the threat of man made global warming is greater than the threat of vandalism. Naturally, the Independent delighted in the verdict. But I can't help but feel that this was a politically motivated verdict, and not the first time that political beliefs have been used to justify criminal damage.

There will be many who will argue that "you have to respect the verdict of the jury". I wonder if they would have made the same argument after the Rodney King trial?

Speed cameras aren't saving lives

I have long argued that the safety claims of speed cameras are exaggerated and if people really care about saving lives, they should put more emphasis on driver education and on getting police highway patrols back on our roads. Now recent research by Liverpool University has found that speed cameras only save about 50 lives a year, not the 100 that was previously claimed.

Predictably, road safety charities have ignored the findings. If only we drove more slowly they reason, there would be no deaths. Come to think of it, why don't we bring back the red flag act?!

The summer that never was

As the days get colder and the nights draw in, I can't help but feel a little envious of my relatives in Israel who get to swim outdoors every day. It has been yet another ghastly summer, and predictably there are claims that this is all due to man made global warming. Except that Britain doesn't appear to be getting any warmer! I can sympathise with the millions of expats who have fled to Spain and Australia.

It seems that Britain now has a three season calendar: Spring seems to come sometime around March, lasts till about July when we have about a week of sunshine and then we go straight into Autumn in early August. How depressing!

The way I feel is pretty much summed up in this Telegraph editorial:
It seems only yesterday that we were shopping for summer clothes, yet now we are only a fortnight from that most depressing of autumnal events, the Liberal Democrat annual conference. No doubt the Lib Dems will try to blame our disappearing sunshine on global warming. That makes about as much sense as blaming the Prime Minister. Come to think of it, though, we do not remember summers being quite so short under Tony Blair. Maybe the nights are not drawing in faster under Gordon Brown, but it certainly feels that way.