Sunday, November 26, 2006

When in Saudi Arabia...

TMP policy is characteristically robust in matters of foreign affairs.

Doing business in foreign parts frequently involves paying "commissions" that certain prim Brits regard as - heaven forfend - bribes. The present fuss over £50m in commissions required to secure the £70b order for Typhoon Eurofighters from Saudi Arabia is sadly typical of the type of unworldly and sanctimonious process that has become a natural part of the regime of witless political correctness that has been established during the Blair Presidency.

It's no mistake that the language of diplomacy was deemed to be French for much of the while in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, because the French have the only sane approach in all matters diplomatic, which is "if we don't do it first, then someone else will".

So this seems like a classic moment of pragmatism when TMP's proposed popular phone-in vote should be applied. It would save acres of press debate and get straight to the heart of the matter:

A: "I am happy for my government to sanction a bung of £50m to a Saudi prince and his mates in order to secure 50,000 UK jobs and a £70bn trade deal?"

B: "I would prefer that Britain remained pure and poor, and that the French got the jobs and the money".

Text your replies to 88888: calls cost £1 plus network charges, and remember to ask permission from the person that pays the bill...

And as for those sanctimonious ninnies who will then suggest that this would be the thin end of some nebulous wedge, TMP says: "Bring that wedge on! Let's buy many more deals worth £70bn and save 50k UK jobs".

Foreign trade has been a process of "bribes" and "commissions" ever since the first explorers greeted the local chief with a box of glass beads. Will we ever by ruled by anyone with a sense of perspective and reality ever again?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Stranger danger...

Having let all the genies out of all the bottles without ever asking permission or thinking through the whole consequences, we are still assured by most witless politicians that cheap travel and mass migration is good for us all, and that to think otherwise is xenophobic and racist.

Likewise the transfer of all our personal and private data to computers in a wave of globalisation and efficiency that means the foreign call center operators have access to your innermost financial secrets, has happened without anyone asking the right questions. I have no doubt that part of the much discussed computerisation of the NHS involves crucial data passing through hands we don't know about.

Globalisation is good for the sort of large companies that politicians like to "work with", since large companies generally have enough to lose that they will tend to be pragmatic and try and suck up to the parties in power. Heavens, they've even been known to donate cash to politicians and political parties.

Latterly the news that a vast amount of private data has been compromised by the loss of laptops in the hands of companies who make a fat living from "managing" this data, has reminded us to think more carefully about what is going on.

So as a result or carelessness at many levels, secure management of identity is now one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century, and politicians are predictably attempting to devise ever more convoluted legislation to tackle the security implications and issues of fraud.

Not content with taking DNA samples whenever they feel like it, the police have now been empowered to initiate roadside fingerprinting - because Mr Plod is fed up being told the driver of a suspicious vehicle without any form of identification is George Bush. Anyone offering a false identity in such circumstances clearly "has something to hide", so the chances of nabbing a previously convicted and fingerprinted felon are pretty good.

But when anyone expresses concern at the broader scope of this overwhelming invasion of what was once was known as "personal privacy", Home Office ministers respond "So what have you got hide?"

I just wish someone would reply "no more than Tony Blair, Tessa Jowell, Patricia Hewitt and Lord Levy" at such moments.

TMP policy decrees that just as with most things "personal", the only person you can safely trust with your personal information is yourself. Systems can be devised that require the consent and direct permission of the data owner to be involved (or at the very least advised) in any transactions where private information is involved.

Ironically, we are heading back to the same sort of situation of suspicion of strangers that existed in the good old days when everyone knew everyone, and people rarely moved more than 10 miles from where they lived or worked. The League of Gentlemen may have got it about right.

Monday, November 20, 2006

You couldn't make it up

As if Patricia Hewitt's NHS wasn't shagged enough, we now learn that NHS hospitals are feeling obliged to market themselves to local GPs, because under the brave new scheme of internal markets within the NHS, after years of assumption that they operated a local monopoly, it seems that hospitals are competing for "customers".

BBC TV news featured a typical NHS administrator, all power suits and media-training, telling us that this is a good idea. But it seems like it's just another distraction by pointless NHS management to justify their precarious existence at a time when health budgets are being squeezed dry as a result of poor administration by so-called power-dressed and media-friendly "professional managers".

Most medical staff have given up hope of discovering method in the madness of the modern bureaucracy-mad NHS, and seem to be of the heretical opinion that there are better uses what little money they have left - for despite the huge spending increases of the past few years, many hospitals are actually laying off medical staff because they have simply run out of money. However, such poorly informed comment only goes to show how badly these doctors and nurses are in need of re-education and enlightment by Hewitt's ever-vigilant thought police.

But however hard you try and spin it, there remains no shortage of patients and waiting lists. And no surfeit of facilities, equipment or humble politicans willing to admit that NHS reorganisation has been a cockup of biblical proportions with £700,000,000,000 of your money

But at least when you attend the local flea pit and watch the wobbly adverts between the feature films for local restaurants, you may well be regaled with a glossy commercial, produced at your expense: "And when that dodgy vindaloo does its worst, why not ask your doctor to consider checking you into the Royal Gut and Gizzard Hospital, quoting bonus code 9876..."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rights and responsibilities

In case the name of TMP misleads, I'd like to stress that The Majority Party sets out to defend the rights of the individual - but it also insists on enforcing responsibilities: and it is where those responsibilities impinge on the Majority that we tend to part company with fashionable political thinking.

From this principle should arise law based on enforcing responsibilities which are generally clear, obvious and the product of common sense - rather than the current fad for creating and defending rights, which are generally wooly, ambiguous and a lawyer’s delight of misinterpretation and unforseen consequence.

This difference of approach largely explains the ridiculous consequences of Labour's mindless adoption of the ECHR, and its unthinking enforcement by the process sheep of Whitehall. Law concerning individual rights should be so obvious to sane people that any lawyer trying to make a living from practising it should be living in a cardboard box, not 10 Downing Street.

A fine example being those notorious payments to folks recumbent at HM's pleasure for obliging them to give up their narcotic habits too abruptly. As Catherine Tate's infamous Nan might say "What a flipppin' libertry..."

“Obvious” means starting with simple ideas like not receiving unwanted cold-calls on the phone, and ends up with more complex issues such as not getting blown up on public transport because a minority government listened to apparently flawed advice from unaccountable experts …and arm twisting from a US administration elected by a minority of that country's voters.

Avoiding being blown up is not an "individual right" to be defended; it is the responsibility of a responsible government to ensure that it does not happen in the first place. There is a BIG difference. In this case the process of consequences that lead to 7/7 - the defence of the rights of those involved to pursue a form of irrational religious fanaticism that overtly proposes violent insurrection - was ultimately irresponsible to the majority.

TMP believes that primary responsibility is not to interfere with the rights and lives of those who do not wish to be hassled, except where the exercise of their responsibilities to others is at issue. By all means feel free to be a practising vegan transsexual Jedi Kinght with Goth tendencies. In fact, the more you wish to exert your individuality, the simpler it is for the rest of the community to appreciate, embrace and understand your diversity and understand you for “what you are”; but please don’t complain about rights when your choice means it is difficult to get a job where “normality” is a requirement.

So if McDonalds turn you down, apply to your local LibDem or Labour Party selection committee; you’ll be amongst friends.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Then and now: a golden age?

I make no apologies for reproducing here something many of you will already have seen elsewhere in viral email.

This nicely sums up the core differences between the majority-orientated society that created the “platform” (sorry) of prosperity that presently exists, and the shambolic coalition of minorities that has systematically squandered this prosperity to fund legions of professional and amateur nannies and numerous meddlers to waste hard earned resources on endless irrelevance and interference.

These wastrels and fanatics will ensure that we will never experience the same opportunities again in the UK... without a realignment in the way the UK voting system operates, so that the Majority view can once again prevail.


First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a tin, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a van - loose - was always great fun. We drank water from the garden hosepipe and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cakes, white bread and real butter and drank pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no text messaging, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms.......... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We played with worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
Made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out any eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Local teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!?

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned


And YOU are one of them!


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Text 8MAJ to vote: cut out the middle man

The ethos at the top of this blog says it all. The nature of UK democracy is such that that a very small proportion of the population aka "the swing vote" can determine who gets into power. The energy of the political parties is thus directed towards various forms of sophisticated gerrymander to switch these vacillators (who are hardly the people who should be determining the fate of us all, eh?) meantime abandoning the voters that form the solid core of the party because they can be trusted to turn up like sheep anyway.

Labour's recent rude awakening to the fact that it has been pandering to minorities for just a bit too long brought a number of its diehards up with a jolt; and the reaction is the now typical one of suggesting legislating the perceived threat of the BNP out of existence. The Tories seemed distinctly non plussed to find the Blair regime yet again doing things with liberty and the constitution that even the most right wing Tory government would have been nervous to suggest.

Meanwhile, the steadfastly irrelevant LibDems twitter on incessantly about proportional representation in the hope that it will give them the casting vote in perpetuity in a perpetually hung parliament - which is possibly the most hopeless and divisive form of minority rule imaginable, and is no assurance that scamps like Berlusconi in Italy are kept away.

The only fair and reasonable way to deal with the issues is to let the people deal with the issues directly. Cut out the middle man. If we are going to be forced to have a big brother ID system, it will be perfectly good enough to support a system of direct voting on just about every major topic. In fact, the people should insist on making weekly referenda a condition of cooperation with this further state intrusion to help redress the balance a little in favour of the serfs, for once?

The Majority Party might even charge the punters - sorry, "voters" - £1 a call to remind them that all decisions and policies have consequences, and thus run the lottery on the back of this weekly vote-in..?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

An Englishman's Home his tax burden.

Or so the Daily Mail and others are warning following the stealth tax trials in Northern Ireland where council tax has become and annual house value tax, based on some 0.66% of the valuation.

Doubtless when the tax is introduced to England, the PR department will have spun up some suitably innocuous name - such as "Community Charge". (Oops; maybe not that one...)

A property tax bears no relationship to the impact of its occupants on the local "amenities" and services. Possibly the only element of local government cost that is actually proportionate to property size is the length of the road that runs past/round it.

The political acceptance of a property tax will rely on appealing to the lack of sympathy for those who live in posh gaffs. Indeed it shamelessly panders to the well known tendency of Brits to be jealous of the "haves". It's the same button that sees to it that drivers of flash motors pay according to the envy rating; regardless of the fact that they already pay more VAT and additional fuel tax than drivers of humble transport.

The same appeal to envy also sees to it that those who pay for private health care and/or education don't get any sort of rebate because they use less of the state provided alternatives.

Will this nasty, small minded and increasingly vindictive government not give up until there is no incentive whatever to try harder and earn more? I suppose a nation of those who have given up trying and just accept what the commisars hand out will assure Labour's re-election in perpetuity. It seems to be working in Scotland.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Calling Kazakhstan

I eventually managed to obtain a csv file with a comprehensive tariff listing for non-geographic calls made in the UK. I think it's from Gamma Telecom, but my source was coy in case they got knee capped for exposing the scale of the scamming going on.

These charges relate to premium rate services and these don't vary a lot between the various alternative telco operators. I have not included the overseas tariff - is still cheapest by far and you can look up on their site readily enough..

Following Borat's campaign to raise the profile of Kazakhstan I thought I would mention that even using the least cost possible phone call services, it costs about the same to call a mobile in Kazakhstan as a UK 087XX service - which could be located in the same building as you are. Moreover, I suspect you probably get more satisfaction from calling Kazakhstan with neither party understanding the other, than talking to the average "UK" call centre. Costs of calls to fixed lines in Kazakhstan are 4p a minute, compared to the ~10p fleecing you get on a UK 087XX.

And things don't get any better on higher ticket items. I realise that the world's car manufacturers refer to the UK as "Treasure Isle" because they manage to charge more here than just about anywhere (check the price of Subaru in the UK versus anywhere else), so why is it that the UK is so full of suckers?

Moreover, why on earth do so many foreign workers want to come to the UK and get fleeced along with the rest of us? Presumably if they send the money they earn straight home and don't spend any here (especially on optional stuff like car insurance and MOTs), they make a serious net gain.

Incidentally, take great care when calling numbers that begin with '87039" as these are costing you around £8 a minute.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The trouble with politics

At the Majority Party, we like getting straight to the heart of matters.

A politician, when you cut through all the crap, is someone who believes that they can spend your money more wisely than you can. So it's not surprising that the main problem with politics the world over is the politicians, because how many of you - deep down - honestly believe that there is anyone better equipped to spend your hard earned cash than you are?

There is no end of folk (quite apart from politicians) that believe they can spend your hard earned money more wisely than you can - they're called children, wives and husbands; but most of us human cash points have slightly more influence over those making the withdrawals than once every 5 years. Moreover, we don't get locked away for refusing to buy a 12 inch flick knife or an Ingram sub machine gun for our kids, whereas we will certainly be in deep trouble if we want to pursue the same pacifist tactic and decline to pay the taxes that Blair and Brown then dutifully piss away into the sands of the desert. Politicians can happily spend our cash on a vast selection of nasty whizz-bangs from a glittering array of questionable armament businesses, most of whom make enough money from their trade to buy politicians and influence in just about country they operate.

Part of the problem is that politicians have evolved a very neat conspiracy amongst their kind to see to it that people who do real work and have real lives simply don't have time to participate in the sort of incestuous media-fuelled nonsense that is now the hallmark of politics in just about every "advanced" nation in the 21st century. For however unsound the notion has been spun to become, the fact remains that many nations, including Britain, grew great on ideas such as noblesse oblige and a ruling class that worked its apprenticeship in the realities of how the world rubs along, before being handed the reins of power.

The starkest of all realities learned in such an apprenticeship is that the world is an unfair place, full of unfair people, doing unfair things. This means that the most effective contribution to maintaining a viable society is to encourage everyone to fend for themselves, because when push comes to shove, no one else will.

Talking of spending money and “unfair”, the costliest, most unfair and yet still holiest of cows is the NHS. But if you live in an area that doesn't support the Labour Party, there is now a greater chance that your nurses will sacked, and your hospitals will be closed. And if you live in Scotland, the Labour government will spend >£1000 a head a year more on you than if you live in England. Remind us, how many Tory MPs are elected by the Scottish people?

Politicians are a self-absorbed community who try and pretend that they exist to promote "fair and democratic" concepts and principles. Voting for them is indeed "fair and democratic" - but doing anything else is take a step closer to some imagined abyss that gets wider and deeper, and inhabited by all sorts of bogeymen and the dark forces or terrorism - in fact, anything that otherwise disagrees with them.

For many years the UK parliamentary system has been excused as being the best of the various alternatives, since it produces an unencumbered long-term majority government that can make unfettered decisions. And to be honest, the shambolic periods in our history when the government was too weak to act decisively, supports this notion. However, that's mostly because of politicians' bad behaviour, since at times of herd weakness, the opportunity to trample your way to the top is never better.

But there is now a better way, it's called the will of the people and modern technology means that it is entirely possible to invite the people to participate in all decisions on how their money is spent.

So just text "no" to 8888 if you don't want another £1bn spent on propping up civil service pensions; and "yes" if you want the budget for speed cameras to be spent on more police in patrol cars.

If it's good enough for The X Factor, it's good enough for The Majority Party.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The other new religion

Further to the notion that entrenched politics is little more than a religion where rationality and objectivity play little part, what other element of the human experience attracts such extremes of opinion, bigotry and generally errant behaviour as religion or politics? That's right - vegetarianism!

All those omnivores that live with veggies will probably have lit up by now, although I accept that those who only encounter homo-vegetariens occasionally may be puzzled at this outburst of angst - after all it's only food, isn't it?

Vegetarianism pursued as a healthy lifestyle option is one thing, but in order to lash themselves into the mental strait jacket required to resist the siren smell of crispy fried duck (I've deprogrammed a couple of veggies in my time with that one) all too many of the species adopt an attitude that transcends rationality and becomes yet another crusade. It is indeed no coincidence that many strict religions set out to dictate what their followers should and should not eat, as this is all part of the programming of self discipline that is required to accept the rest of the hocus pocus.

Oh the guilt we omnivores are obliged to feel, oh the condescension whenever some veggie fundamentalist organisation issues a press release that claims to have research that can be spun to suggest that eating meat causes your genitals to turn green and fall off. Oh the finnickitiness, oh the smugness, oh the hassle when attempting to eat out and provide the other half with something more gripping than yet another risotto...

So as a matter of urgent policy, the MP is thinking of starting a members' dining club for the partners of vegetarians, where us carnivores can gather together and pursue our guilty passion for red meat and fine game with relative freedom from guilt, while our pasty partners can gather to share their concern for the animal kingdom and spend a sanctimonious time chasing lentils round a bowl.

Hands up anyone?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Phone call costs: a complete scandal

Once the cost of a phone network is paid, the incremental cost per call to the operator is negligible. By far the biggest cost element in any phone call these days is an itemised billing process, and paying a marketing department to confuse the customers so they have no idea what actually costs what.

Isn't it astonishing that many people will now use a mobile phone when they are sitting/standing 3 feet from a DECT (fixed line) phone where the calls can be virtually free? Many have now become immune to paying anything from £30-500 a month for the conveniencee of leading a wireless cellular lifestyle. (Partly because the person paying the bill is frequently not the one using the phone.)

The biggest list of charges can be found on BT's site, of course. Once upon a time this was a simple single page listing the cost of calling all the different number prefix types. That was, of course, far too simple and convenient and allowed users to easily compare costs and realise who was ripping off who. So the marketing department has buried this in multiple clicks, and the result is incomprehensible enough to cause most people to take one look and not bother to look deeper. Job done!

Complain to BT about this blatant filibustering and they will use one of the standard references to the impositions of process by regulatorss, and that their hands are tied. Well then, let's do a proper job and tie their feet, place a black bag over their head, and then open the trap door.

It would be far too dangerous to offer users a simple calculator where you enter the number calling, the number called and the time of day (defaulting to current time) wouldn't it? However, I'll save you all a lot of trouble by telling you that 1899 is by far the cheapest solution across the board. operates a service where all any calls in the UK will cost you a flat 4p whatever duration or time of day/week. Overseas is even better: by way of example, as far as I am able to make out from the BT price list, using a "raw" BT line can be 3000% more expensive than 1899 when calling NewZealand: 31p/minute versus 1p a minute.

But just as technology has cut the cost to oeprators and provided numerous routing features, so it has provided a bonanza for companies who have climbed on the premium rate phone scam bandwagonn - which these days seems to be just about everyone including government, of course.

Many companies (and government departments) now operate 087X/084X numbers, and wrap it all up in specious twaddle about improved services. Crap, anyone with an 0870/0845 number is generally on some sort of revenue share with the service operator - 0870 yields frequently as much as 5p a minute. If they are not, they are stupid (or maybe the telecoms manager has a deal where the cash get routed straight into an offshore account?) Even 0845 numbers can provide revenue back to the company using them.

Our American cousins simply cannot believe that we Brits are being this stupid and compliant. No one there would deal with any businesss that didn't provide free 0800 numbers for everything - including complaints.

But you can frequently avoid paying the ~10p a minute surcharge if you just look at SayNoTo0870 to provide the geographic numbers of those companies scamming their customers by using 084X and 087X numbers. Or look for the "when calling from overseas" UK geographic number that some of the 087X scammers sheepishly publish. And then use 1899 to call them.

The UK regulatory body for the really outrageously priced premium rate services (PRS) is Icstis, and they (just) come under the heading of "better than nothing". Although quite how such a shabby industry has been allowed to establish and thrive is a mystery (do certain PRS operators "have the negatives", I wonder?), but ITV's crass misuse of PRS has eventually forced some sort of effort to curtail the more blatant abuses.

One of the more disturbing aspects of all this is the time and intellectual effort that has gone into creating these numerous "call plans" that are designed to do nothing more than confuse all users into submission. And worse still, is the prospect that many people must have been trained to understand and sell them; 4 dimensional chess is simpler.

This is job creation of the most pointless and worthless kind. But guess what? Just as with the deployment of snooping CCTV, privacy invasive DNA databases and stealth taxing traffic camera technology, Britain proudly leads the world!

Insurance and other protection rackets

Buying motor insurance online is not a happy experience for anyone with a vehicle that is more exciting than a very bland Mondeo. In fact, if I go through any more forms only to reach the end and be told to call a number where all the same bloody questions are asked again, I may give up and buy a Mondeo.

There is little doubt that insurers apply the principle that people that buy expensive cars will meekly pay extra for their insurance. Even an aged "posh" motor that cost £30k new but is now worth £5k seems to be rated the same for insurance premium costs as a new one.

It's all part of the process of ratcheting cash out of a compliant populationon when the gross sums involved make the sneaky levies seem insignificant. Much as Estate Agents have traditionally got away with hacking "a meagre 2%" from a £n000k transaction for what is frequently no work at all.

And let's not forget "insurance premium tax". There's a stealthy one if ever there was, it should probably be deemed a covert wealth tax, but since it appears to have been meekly accepted by a supine electorate, there's no chance of any party willingly scrapping it and giving the money back to the punters, is there?