Thursday, May 20, 2010

On hiatus

Should be back early June.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Election: Lib-Con Agreement

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes!  Absolutely wonderful.

10. Civil liberties
The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.

This will include:

  • A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.
  • The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.
  • Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.
  • The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.
  • Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database. 
  • The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury. 
  • The restoration of rights to non-violent protest. 
  • The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech. 
  • Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation. 
  • Further regulation of CCTV. 
  • Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason. 
  • A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.

I also note very little on Defence - a Strategic Security and Defence Review and maintenance of the deterrent (albeit with a review of Trident with agreement that the Lib-Dems don't like it.)

Election: Quote of the Day.

From the Times online blog:

Theresa May is only the second ever female home secretary - let's hope she follows in the illustrious footsteps of Jacqui Smith.

So illustrious she was sacked by both party and electorate?

Friday, May 07, 2010

A Modest Proposal

I'm reading an e-book - "Shadow of Saganami" by David Weber.

This struck me as apposite Libertarianism:

And all the Star Kingdom requires to vote is that a citizen pay at least one cent more in taxes than he receives in government transfer payments and subsidies

Now, I wonder what difference that rule would have made yesterday? I'll point out that if you include pay for government work on the negative side, I'd be disenfranchised.

Election: Blurgh

I'm not hung-over - yet. What a disappointment.

Still, Smith and Opik down, it can't be a bad thing ...

Really tough luck for John McNally - I was told, repeatedly, that he had no chance but hope sprung eternal ...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Election: Another Quiz

Not, of course, that it matters but I have just taken the "Who Should You Vote For" quiz (note that this is an England version - and it doesn't reference the BNP).

The results are fairly unsurprising:

Liberal Democrat22
UK Independence13
You expected: CON
Your recommendation: Conservative

I didn't, of course, for the entirely sound reason of that huge, huge "No, not Labour" thing.

Oh, found a Scotland version:

Liberal Democrat24
UK Independence9
Scottish National Party-15

See, I needed a really strong clothes-peg when I filled that postal ballot in ...

Note that the Scotland one is biased because I am a Unionist - I would note that I would rather see a Federal Britain or a broken Union than the country completely ruined ... Also, the results are slightly biased by me leaving neutral the question "The next Prime Minister should have experience of senior government office." If I change that to the "Anybody but Gordon" radio button, I get:

Liberal Democrat30
UK Independence15
Scottish National Party-21

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


The unofficial motto of the submarine service is "There are only two sorts of ships. Submarines and targets."  It tells the same dangerous truth as the old Royal Navy opinion of submarines, alleged to Admiral of the Fleet (then Rear-Admiral) Sir Arthur Wilson VC etc, etc, who otherwise had an exceptional career, that they were:

underhand, unfair and damned un-English

In his 'honour', a British submarine will fly the Jolly Roger if it sinks an enemy warship on a patrol, last performed by HMS Conqueror - the US Navy have a similar tradition involving tying a broom to a periscope.

Neil Craig has a post up about submarines and carrier battle groups.  It misses the fundamental point about temperature-based warfare - you don't give people the chance to practice.  Letting the Song-class get inside the screen was a bad thing because the officers who were involved in that exercise may well be the officers commanding the PLA submarines which are 'protecting' Taiwan from the evil invading 鬼佬 hordes come the mainland 'assistance' of their cousins to true democracy :)

I am reminded of the possibly apocryphal story of the British O Boat (very junior) captain, commanded to lose graciously in the Thursday War - the RN being run, then as now, by ex-frigate commanders.  He refused the unfair blue water battle and just sat his boat on the bottom, outside Portland Harbour and, once the important people had sailed past, came quietly to periscope depth and launched his green grenades (being a submarine way of saying "I think I've just sunk you", as opposed to red grenades, which sort of say "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, I think I've just sunk myself!").

Carriers, like ballistic missile submarines, are the "Uncle Target" of the naval world.  Except you might not, quite, start a nuclear war if you attack a carrier.  Any submarine commander worth his ego would carry out a practice attack on a carrier if he didn't have a diplomat ready to throttle him,

I remember listening to the panic when the Yanks lost track of an Oscar class submarine in the North Atlantic, while a carrier battle group was heading east from Norfolk.  It wasn't that it was a time of tension - there was no direct threat.  The concern was that if a Soviet (yes, that long ago) submarine crew were able to practice getting within the effective range of their "Shipwreck" / "Granit" missiles to the carrier - call it 500km, then they would be able to improve their doctrine for getting there in time of war.  Yes, these games were played - land, sea and air.
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