Ian Blyth – It's Just a Thought

My thoughts and opinions

Archive for October, 2006

Death of a President

Posted by Ian Blyth on 25 October 2006

An interesting film done as pseudo documentary about events triggered on 19th Oct 2006. It was shown on TV that day. The subject was the assignation of George W. Bush. It could have been better. It did show how because a person was Muslim they were the main suspect and they were convicted even when other evidence was brought up that contradicted the evidence. But then the politicians wanted a public showing and not justice.

It brought up a topic that I have thought about before. Why does a president (or prime minister etc) need to have that level of security around them at the taxpayers expense? They want those high offices so the fact that they might be assassinated should be part of the job. They are supposed to be public servants and not public lords. After all there are plenty of politicians wanting to take on the job. Or maybe not if they do not get protected. That would make them think twice. Politicians should be protected by the police but only to the same level as the rest of the public. So if the general public gets a 4 hour response from the police then so should the politicians. No favouritism.

Unfortunately these guys protect themselves as they control the police, army, secret service etc. They make it seem like they are indispensable. They are not.

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Lessons of Supply and Demand

Posted by Ian Blyth on 17 October 2006

Governments generally get this wrong especially as their ideologies tend to make them favour one approach over the other. The left wants everyone to be workers whereas the right wants everyone to be consumers.

Most governments tend to deal with things that they do not want (like drugs) by restricting the supply and trying to stop it or destroy it. That just inflates the price as demand is still the same. Which means it becomes even more profitable for criminals and so creates openings for people to create more supply.

Look at two approaches to dealing with similar issues – fur and ivory. The ivory trade goes on although there are laws against poaching but a single “catch” for a poacher can feed his family for a month. A big incentive especially if the chance of getting caught is slim. So the result is that poaching continues, elephants are killed for their tusks and ivory goods are still made and sold.

The anti-fur trade took a totally different stand. Instead of going after the supply they targeted the demand. With spectacular results. The advert showing a model on a catwalk draped with a fur coat and leaving a trail of blood behind shocked most people. But the message got across and if you wore a fur you were cruel and insensitive. When I was a boy my mother, grandmother and practically all female relatives had a fur coat that was their best and that they were proud of. And we were not a well off family. It was just what every woman had to have. Now you do not see people wearing fur at all. Demand was taken away and so the supply dried up of its own accord. If there is no money in it why do it.

Governments, even with this classical example that everyone quotes, have not learned from this and they still go after supply. Will they ever learn?

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John Reid

Posted by Ian Blyth on 5 October 2006

I was appalled at the speech he gave at the weekend. This comes from the man who ignored his Army chiefs who said it would be too much of a strain to fight on two fronts and British troops are now under terrible conditions and are being killed in Afghanistan.

He was responsible for putting the airports on full alert even though they had captured the alleged terrorist whop were plotting. An empty measure to try and reassure the public that the Government were in control and being strong. He caused more chaos than the terrorists.

I think Ryan Air was right to sue the Government over that one. An interesting take on it and also the governments attitudes to nuclear power at
http://www.joiningdots.net/blog/2006/08/nuclear-luggage.html

His latest thinking on protecting our freedoms and stopping terrorists is to take away our freedom. Well that is an oxymoron.

See story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5257518.stm

“None of us should be anything other than vigilant and that vigilance is the price of securing our freedom,” he said.

Well there is a price for freedom and vigilance is fine.

He also said the “challenge to all of us” means “we may have to modify some of our freedoms in the short-term in order to prevent their misuse and abuse by those who oppose our fundamental values and would destroy our freedoms and values in the long-term”.

Absolute nonsense. Historically when freedoms have been taken away, regardless whether they were short term or not, the government does not willingly give them back. It usually takes some sort of upheaval. Terrorism is a fact and in the UK we should know this better than most having had the IRA plant bombs for many years. Soldiers die for their country and if we have deaths, and no-one wants that, then we must consider that a price we may have to pay rather than restricting us and reducing our freedoms. If we do that then the terrorists have won.

He said he was frustrated by the number of people who should be better informed, but “who just don’t get it”. Well it is him that does not get it. But then he is a politician so what do you expect. I think we can forget about the oxy part when talking about him and his oxymorons.

And now he wants to be the new leader of the Labour Party which would make him Prime Minister until the next election. If that happens then it is time to leave the country.

John Reid, http://www.johnreidmp.com/ is the UK Secretary of State for The Home Department

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Greatest

Posted by Ian Blyth on 1 October 2006

Recently there have been a few programs on about the 100 Greatest Films and the 100 Greatest No 1s. This got me thinking about how you define the greatest. Is it by:-

  • influence – and how do you judge that?
  • sales – well that is just a measure of popularity
  • critics choice – but they have their preferences and prejudices.  

When watching these programs it transpires that the list was created by viewers’ votes. So it is not really the greatest but the most popular films or No 1s from people who watch that channel, saw the request for votes and took the trouble to vote. But I suppose that is not as catchy as saying the greatest.  

If all the people in the world watched all the films ever made and then rated them to get a top 100 would that then be the greatest? I think that still is the most popular. I don’t think that the greatest is a term that we can use and I don’t really know how you would judge what are the top 100 greatest of anything. 

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