Seasonal Area (August 2011)

Well, this blogging thing’s going well isn’t it? Somehow I seem to have avoided finding the time to do much. I did ponder writing something on a thing-tank report called Sharper Axes, Lower Taxes but decided I ought to calm down after reading such ill-informed tripe first. Having taken the bike out around some narrow country lanes and shown a few car drivers where to get off (or, at least, where to get stuck behind a cyclist who isn’t getting off the road for you), I felt much better and am generally inclined not to explain why replacing Crossrail with express trains on the Circle Line is a silly idea.

SALT is, as far as rail transport is concerned, a less-well-researched version of the 1982 Serpell Report. It’s a tax-cutting report which recommends putting VAT on public transport fares. Since this is illogical (if VAT on petrol is a problem, which the author thinks it is, then abolish it and call it a tax cut), it gives you some general idea of the report’s overall quality. Which is a shame, since cutting taxes is a good idea and deserves better than a report which reads like a left-wing satire.

(I should add that if the think-tank wishes to complain about this review I am more than happy to do them a review of British transport free from their South-Eastern England bias.)

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Anyway, as may be gathered from the title, the Seasonal Area page on the website has been updated (in the new style – no, I don’t have time to fit the entire archive into this design too).  Comments will be appreciated. Pale backgrounds and sans-serif fonts are in these days (so I’ve made the blog look dated with a green background and a font which isn’t serif but looks like it out to be). Next up is A History of the British Railway once I’ve organised some more pictures.

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The Comment, Satire and Tripe Department’s columnist A Pratt is also threatening an article on a campaign to bring back the death penalty. One blogger has got himself tied up in knots over what the European Convention on Human Rights says about this (Protocol 13 should overrule Protocol 6 – i.e., for those laypeople not up on endless protocols, it’s banned). I’ve also seen an argument that we shouldn’t argue that we don’t trust politicians or juries on life/death matters because that would mean arguing that we don’t trust ourselves to adjudicate. Personally I’d argue that I don’t trust the police enough to bring a decent case (of which I’m sure you can remember your own examples). Anyway, the general position of myself and the Order is long-standing – no objection to bringing it back so long as it is accepted that after the inevitable miscarriage of justice the relevant judge and jury will all be executed for murder. (Back in the Middle Ages we fined such people, but  if the death penalty is good enough for murderers then it’s good enough for juries.)

Perhaps I should add a ringleader of the campaign, Guido Fawkes, to that line-up. It would be appropriate somehow.

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Sorry if I seem ranty this evening by the way. It’s a combination of the heat and me using this column to get a month’s worth of grump off my chest while I’m here. Must be off now, I think my sausages are done…

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