Special Relationships

Unbeknownst to most Americans, Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner (more than five times that of the U.K. and even bigger than China in this respect), its foremost supplier of energy, closest ally and supposedly bestest friend in the whole wide world, so why doesn’t our country get the semi-royal treatment that China, India, Mexico and the U.K. does? Why isn’t Our Glorious Leader treated to the pomp and circumstance of an official state visit?

I suppose it could be argued that Stephen Harper isn’t the head of state – that title going of course to Governor General David Johnston, who has made inexplicable state visits to Quatar, Malaysia, Vietnam and other remote places in the last year – but then, David Cameron isn’t the head of state either. If not mistaken, that would be the Queen of England – just as is the case with our own Prime Minister…


Police Action

Funny video of a confrontation between a well-informed cyclist with a helmet-cam and a police officer in the U.K.

Warning: Don’t try this in Seattle!

The Passion of Ayn Rand

Who knew? Apparently, it was a 1999 TV movie. I only happened to run across it quite by accident while searching for a particular track from one of my favourite progrock bands, but it struck me as quite amusing. Anyway, a little late night music.

Feel free to discuss objectivism if you like… I know our libertarian friends are completely enthralled by the allure of selfishness, the romance of individualistic heroism, and so on. By the way, whatever happened to all of those pissed off conservatives that were “Going Galt” earlier this year? Haven’t heard much from them lately.

LPC 2008: Gordon Brown

Take heart fellow Liberals, if you think Dion is somewhat less than inspirational, here’s Britain’s beleaguered Labour leader, Gordon Brown, delivering his pitch (perhaps a make-or-break effort) to the party faithful at the conference taking place in Manchester and vowing to guide the U.K. through the challenging economic times ahead… Hmmm. Sounds rather familiar, doesn’t it?

Standing before a backdrop bearing the slogan “Winning the Fight for Britain’s Future,” Brown set out a monotonous range of plans that he called “a new settlement for new times” (also referred to as “A Fair Britain for the New Age”) to help British voters with issues ranging from prescription charges to care for the elderly, free nursery education for two-year-olds and linking disadvantaged schoolchildren up to the Internet, and so on. One imagines there will be a great wave of disinterest and much snoring across the land.

The Great “Green Tax Con”

It’s to be entirely expected that many “conservative” bloggers would seize on the article in today’s Daily Express that indignantly states “FAMILIES are being ripped off by an average of £783 a year through Gordon Brown’s bogus ‘green’ taxes, it emerged yesterday” and draw a suggestive parallel to the “Green Shift” carbon tax being proposed by the Liberal Party. There are, however, a couple of things that should perhaps be taken into consideration before doing that.

First of all, the Express is allied to the Conservative party in the U.K. and therefore tends to have a political bias in that direction — so take that for whatever it’s worth. Second, the article is remarkably short on detail to the point of being almost impossibly vague. For example, it’s nowhere stated exactly how the £19.6 billion in so-called green taxes is “too much” or how the money is presumably being misallocated — one gathers that it’s going straight into general revenues rather than being directed at any specific programs to combat pollution. Again, details are few and far between and there’s no presentation of the government’s side of the story. And finally, the Labour government in the U.K. has a myriad of these green tax schemes, but it’s not clear from the article that the ones in question are in any way comparable to the Liberals’ carbon tax, other than in name only of course.

Still, it’s something that’s definitely worth digging deeper into as it could prove to be a demonstration of how well-intentioned environmental initiatives can go horribly awry, whether through deliberate fiscal legerdemain or bungled implementation.