Monday, 18 December 2017

So 20 mph zones don't work ...

There's a certain glee in reports today that the accident-reducing 20mph zones in our towns and cities don't work. At least, it seems, not without speed cushions, chicanes, steel posts to reduce lane width and so on. I can't say I'm surprised.

Years ago I pointed out that the Pelican crossings being installed to replace existing Zebra crossings were actually more dangerous. Getting the FOI data from the Transport Department had been like pulling teeth. Yes, 20m of steel cattle pen barrier either side of the crossing on both sides of the road, loud beeping and flashing noises, peremptory commands to stand or walk, a vulgar and intrusive part of the Big State imposed on small communities, actually killed more people than the simple painted  stripes on the road that they replaced. The problem, the DoT hypothesised, was twofold. First, people didn't obey the commands of the State and oh horror decided themselves when to cross the road - the younger ones even leapt over the barriers at times. Secondly (and I suspect the real reason) was that drivers seeing green lights didn't look for hazards in the same way that the glowing orange balls of Hore-Belisha's beacons induced. 

Conservative councillor Daniel Moylan and his colleagues at K&C Council took personal liability for changing Kensington High Street when the council's officers refused to do so. They ripped out every cattle barrier, every obstacle, all the peremptory commands, scores of signs, posts and bollards and made the space one shared between vehicles and pedestrians for which space was negotiated between them - in the same way that a zebra crossing works. The accident rate dropped immediately and stayed low. KH St became an infinitely more pleasant place on which to wander, browse, graze and bar-crawl. It was a genuinely courageous move at a time when the State's agents, the council's professional officers, were advocating that only penning pedestrians behind ten-foot fences could further reduce the accident rates. 

The ideas came from a Dutchie - Hans Monderman. He found that such road sharing not only reduced accidents but allowed traffic to move more efficiently. Yes, if people are allowed to make their own decisions, if the State is put back in its box, things are more efficient. This is proved time after time on the rare occasions that traffic lights fail; motorists allowed to negotiate junctions themselves actually do better than traffic lights, and queues, slow moving traffic and extended travel times are greatly reduced. We used to reckon in our part of London that a TfL traffic light failure meant 10 minutes off the drive home. 

You don't have to be Ayn Rand to work out that generally the least intervention and the lightest touch in respect of traffic management, combined with 'nudge' rather than concrete and steel*, is not only much cheaper but more efficient and far more effective. 

*Except of course from the risk posed by rogue members of the Religion of Peace. At either end of pedestrian roads. 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Are ALL Guardian readers irredeemably stupid?

It started with a typically whiny Guardian piece yesterday titled "No one cares about us - Brits in Europe". It's part of a big whine from many of the 1m Brits living in Europe for special status - a status that can only come at a cost to the British. It is a typically selfish and self-obsessed whinge, as is normal today. My own view is that those of us who have chosen to make homes in Europe must make shift for ourselves; we made informed decisions. I want no-one in the UK to pay for my choice. 

Anyway, I commented to this effect. What 'protection' do you need, I asked, "To be permitted residence in Austria you have to prove you have an adequate income and are a member of an Austrian health insurance scheme - to demonstrate you are not a burden on Austrian taxpayers. Same before Brexit, same after. What's the problem?"

The problem, it emerged, is that several Guardian readers living in Austria are here unlawfully. If EU or EEA citizens intend to be here for more than 3 months, they must apply for a residency certificate, and do so before the end of month 4 or face steep daily fines.  I have my residency certificate. The Guardian readers do not. One declared that he classed himself as a free spirit and didn't agree with documentation in general, others said they had been here for many years and not been deported, others that said they didn't think the requirement was important. Not one seems to have read the widely available guidance from the Austrian government detailing residence requirements. All seem just to have understood that the EU meant free movement and acted on that - and now that they face problems post Brexit, are whining and moaning that the UK government and all the British people back home should get them out of the shit.

My own view is that the UK should not lift a finger to help them. If they are stupid enough, arrogant enough or misguided enough not even to understand the most basic residence requirements of another country then Austria is probably best rid of them - sorry, UK, you will get some irredeemably stupid and bitter Guardian readers back. I had a drink with my young German mates last night and asked them if they understood the Anmeldebescheinigung. Sure, they said - all of them working or studying in Austria have the 'yellow certificate'. They simply couldn't imagine anyone moving to Austria without checking out the requirements in advance. "They're Guardian readers" I explained "fantasists, dreamers, away with the fairies". They nodded, not quite understanding. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

2018 Austrian smoking ban to be scrapped

This is a post about freedom, not an encouragement to smoke tobacco. Myself, I am a committed tobaccophile - I'm just taking a very long break from smoking. If I make it to 70, I intend to start smoking again. I like the smell of smoke and am lucky having local friends who smoke - so my house is still furnished with ashtrays. I've also got some cigars which they will have to smoke for me over Christmas, whilst I bliss out on Colheita Port, Samuel Gawith snuff and the heady scent of best Havana leaf smoke. But because of the health disbenefits, I wouldn't encourage anyone to start.

Austrians however are firm believers in the rights of citizens to injure themselves in any way they wish. There isn't a week goes by without the local paper reporting in a matter-of-fact way another farmer crushed under his tractor, lady kicked to death by a horse, driver heading off a steep ravine or carpenter sawing his arm off. In fact, carpenters here wear their lack of fingers as a badge of honour - good carpenters, they reckon, must have lost at least two fingers. And there is no, I repeat no, whiny wailing in the media that 'Something must be done!' or that 'They must stop this happening!' after each death. Very philosophical they are about such things, here.

It reminds me of a train crash in Ghana in which several passengers had been killed. Our local Accra paper reported that the Transport Minister had visited the scene - not to call for an inquiry, or make vacuous promises, but simply to pour a libation of palm wine to appease the spirits of those killed. A policy at least as sound as, and possibly more so than, UK practice.    

One of the things here I particularly enjoy is my clothes reeking of smoke after a session down at the gasthaus. Sometimes, if I sniff deeply enough, I can still get a hit three days later. The current law does require bars over a certain size to offer a non-smoking room, usually a cold, empty room at the back somewhere, for anti-smokers. From next year all bars and restaurants where food is consumed would have been obliged to ban smoking - but Austria's new political coalition is putting an end to that. The FPOe - the Freedom Party -  is insisting the ban is scrapped. So those of us who really don't mind eating and smoking in the same room can carry on being as sociable as before.

It's a small win, but proof that there's still a libertarian tolerance in places. 


Monday, 11 December 2017

Population growth is not the only option

We go into 2018 with an EU that is already very different. Committed to becoming the USE within eight years, with an army, foreign office, finance ministry and powerful president, much hinges on the federation's forecasts for future growth. These have been gloomy because Euros have been breeding at below the replacement ratio of 1.2 2.1 children per couple. The EU's solution is to import 5m healthy breeders from Africa, the Middle East and Indian subcontinent. It made the decision much as a steel plant decides a new limestone contract, or a pie-maker signs up a new abattoir. Yes, all those sexually urgent young men in Germany are there not because Mrs Merkel felt sorry for them - it's their priapism that is valued, like little breeding rams, to impregnate German maidens and breed a new generation of factory workers for the global corporates. 

The EU also took the decision in secret, without consultation or any democratic endorsement. You see, we ordinary folk don't know what's best for us, and need benign and sober heads such as Herr Juncker's to decide these things for us. It's jolly bad form to question the EU's wisdom and anyone who does so must be a Hitlerite bigot. 

Now I don't doubt the EU's well-meaning. What I condemn is their stupidity. The utter, crass, doltish stupidity of fools like the EU commissioners is the very reason we have democracy - crowds make better decisions than 'experts'.

That they're still pursuing their insane aims at a time when factories are becoming fully robotic, when AI is replacing vast swathes of human labour, when machine pickers intelligent enough to tell a potato half buried in the earth from a stone are in common use, the whole basis of their fatuous rationale collapses. My carer in old age will be a small robot with powerful hydraulics and sensors delicate enough to wipe a geriatric arse gently. 

You see, I really don't believe the replacement ratio or continuous GDP growth are that important any more - we're moving into a new age. The idiots, fools and charlatans at the EU just haven't realised it yet. We can only hope the cooler heads of the Visegrad group apply some sort of brake to their mad ambition.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

German car bosses face jail if they step outside the EU

I'm sure, in the worldwide diesel fraud issue, that carmakers around the globe were complicit in at least a massaging of the test results. But none were as industrially efficient at defrauding the public as German carmakers VW, BMW, Audi et al. With Teutonic efficiency, they defrauded the world on a massive scale.

Now the first German VW executive has been jailed - in the US. He was unlucky enough not to escape back to Germany quickly enough, and the Americans scooped him up. Oliver Schmidt is now doing seven years in a federal penitentiary. The US indicted five other VW executives last January - Heinz-Jakob Neusser, 56, Jens Hadler, 50, Richard Dorenkamp, 68, Bernd Gottweis, 69, and J├╝rgen Peter, 59. They face summary arrest and detention without bail in the US if they are caught. 

No one has yet been prosecuted in Germany. No EU countries that have been defrauded have issued EU arrest warrants for any of the five VW bosses. The US isn't trying to extradite them from Europe. And this is all because the world knows full well that European justice and its organs the ECHR and the ECJ are corrupt political courts. Courts in China and Russia are rated by the WEF as having greater judicial independence than those in most EU countries. 

However, should those five VW bosses, and others from the other big-name German carmakers, step outside Europe to any country that has an extradition arrangement with the US, they face arrest and detention. After Brexit, if the UK breaks free of the corrupt claws of Euro justice, this includes Britain. And this forms a large part of the reason that the EU is fighting so hard to keep EU citizens in the UK under the protection of the bent ECJ - to allow VW bosses, fugitives from justice and other Euro criminals to visit Britain (and Ireland) without being banged up and extradited to the US. It stinks. EU 'justice' stinks. The collusion between the EU and the global corporates stinks. We will be far better off after Brexit away from that noxious putrescent foulness.  


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Remoaner sabotage reaches a new high

I wonder if we should have an assessed code, somewhat after the manner of terrorist warnings, in respect of attempts by Remoaners to sabotage Brexit? If so, We are forever in the highest categories of SUBSTANTIAL, SEVERE or CRITICAL. Ireland's government is I am sad to say little more than the EU's sock puppet. If left to the British and Irish we could sort the border in a day's talks. And now that loathsome putrefying old zombie Blair has risen from his grave to bother us all again - no doubt fomenting difficulties for the country of his birth.

Juncker and the Federasts are laughing in their muesli. Half the work of undermining the United Kingdom is being done by those with British passports. The Remoaners are now promoting a counter proposal that would see the UK as a 'Protectorate' of the EU much as Bohemia and Moravia was declared a Protectorate of the Reich. It means they govern us, and take whatever economic surplus we have, but we are not represented and have no say in our subservience.

You can be sure that the Federasts never want us again at the same table. They are charging ahead with proposals for their own army - yesterday announcing that they are formulating ways in which EU and NATO forces can exercise together, and take part in joint operations. A UK that could frustrate such jejune ambitions is simply not wanted - they want to live in La-La land away with the fairies without a nagging voice behind them. 

I've given May the benefit of the doubt so far in my mind; we can cope with the money, but my own red lines are complete freedom from the corrupt political court the ECJ and unencumbered repossession of our economic waters. If Theresa May is prepared to compromise on either of those then I join the 'no deal' camp, whatever the ensuing chaos. 

Brendan O'Neill nails it again in Spiked;
They want to Balkanise Britain. Carve it up into Remainer and Brexit enclaves. Divide a nation so that different zones are subject to different constitutions and principles and laws. This is the end point of the EU class’s elitist pseudo-cosmopolitan hatred for the nation: a situation where popular sovereignty comes to be superseded by a dynamic of fragmentation that’s entirely motored by the arrogant desire of the political class to escape the judgement and opinion of the people.