Ceci n'est pas une rapist.

Ched Evans Rape Conviction Makes a Mockery of Justice, Demeans Women and Rape Victims and the Petition Mobsters Pursuing Him are Ethically Illiterate

Chedwyn “Ched” Evans is a convicted rapist, ergo he should not be permitted to play football professionally. So goes the ‘logic’ of the social media mob now pressuring Oldham Athletic not to sign the player, the same mob which caused Sheffield Utd to abandon him previously. This asinine reasoning would be offensive even if Evans was guilty of rape! How much more is it given that he was wrongfully convicted?

 Evidence  vs sordid speculation

Ched Evans was convicted of raping a woman in a hotel room, whereas his co-defendant and friend Clayton McDonald was acquitted of the same charge despite both having admitted to sexual activity with the complainant.

 The transcript of Evan’s initial application to appeal his conviction states:

 …there was no doubt that the applicant also had sexual intercourse with her. The issues for the jury were: whether she may have consented, although she had consumed a large quantity of alcohol; and if she did not consent, whether the applicant (and McDonald in his case) may reasonably have believed that she had consented to the sexual activity which took place between her and McDonald and between her and the applicant. The complainant stated that she had no memory of any sexual activity with either of the two men. {1}

Given that Mcdonald was acquitted it follows that he was judged to have been given ‘implied consent’ from the complainant by her sharing a taxi with him to the hotel; or at least was deemed to have believed that this constituted consent, thus exculpating him of the Mens rea aspect of the charge. Whereas Evans only arrived at the scene following a text from McDonald saying that he had, ‘got a girl’. Therefore Evans could not rely upon a similar (implicit consent) defence. So we must conclude that Evans conviction rests upon the jury deciding – beyond all reasonable doubt – that he could not have reasonably believed that consent was implicitly offered or that it was explicitly given.

But there is no basis for a jury to make such a judgement! The defendants both contend that the complainant did give explicit consent to Evans. Additionally the complainant made no protestation to the contrary – let alone a direct accusation of rape- claiming that she had no recollection of the night’s events. Thus the logic of the jury’s decision is fatally undermined unless they agreed that the complainant was too intoxicated to have consented to (or refused) sex at the time Evans arrived at the scene.

With regard to the ‘too drunk to fuck’ hypothesis you can make that judgement for yourself: the website set up by Evan’s supporters hosts CCTV footage of the complainant and McDonald entering the accommodation where the ‘rape’ took place. On the basis of the video evidence I would say that the complainant certainly was capable of consent at the time of entering the hotel. {2}

However that is a secondary concern in light of McDonald’s acquittal:  If the complainant really was too intoxicated to give consent then the jury invites us to imagine a scene where Evans enters the room to find McDoanld having sex with a comatose girl and then “having a go” himself. In which case I would say the potential for belief in consent obtained from the shared taxi ride by McDoanld had expired. Wouldn’t you?

Regardless, who thinks that sharing a taxi constitutes consent to have sex? Or that sharing a taxi entails an invitation to do so, for that matter? I can only assume the jury was composed entirely ofsociopathic nymphomaniacs! What they achieved is an acquittal based on the flimsiest defence combined with a conviction based on sordid speculation, all gleaned from the co-defendants corroborating evidence. In legalese this is know as a ‘clusterfuck’.

Not only is the implication here extremely licentious, it also entails that women are not moral agents, capable of making their own (misguided) decisions, but social flotsam who do not retain the capacity to give (or withdraw) consent as circumstance changes. Moreover it panders to the preposterously old-fashioned notion that sex is something that men do, but something that women have done to them. Furthermore it gives rapists leave to attempt the ‘Mcdonald defence’: well she jumped in a taxi wiv me your honour, she musta been ‘aksing for it’!?

 So much for empowering women!

It is clear that this is not just an ‘unsafe’ conviction, it is a miscarriage of justice which will have appalling consequences due to the precedent it sets – it is of paramount importance to remember that in a system of precedent law no case can be considered in isolation. Every sane person knows what rape is and we all agree that it is a serious crime, yet this case sets the bar for rape convictions so low that it is now synonymous with a dirty weekend in Rhyl.  Far from sending a message to would-be rapists of the gravity of the crime this case simply tells us not to turn up late to a spit roast.

 But rape is a violent crime!?

 …not anymore it isn’t…

Rape is a ‘fashionable’ crime: No one of greater public renown than the local bobby is safe from spurious allegations of sex crimes in the age of Operation Yewtree. And having personally experienced the petty vindictiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service I can only imagine their delight at the chance to stick it to a cocky lad with too much cash on his back burner by setting him up for a fall in a joint trial where a ‘compare and contrast’ strategy could be employed in order to facilitate a conviction based on an “enhanced” definition rape and the debasement of the concept of consent.

Unfortunately the redefinition of rape has not happened by accident but has been achieved by design in order to increase the rate of conviction, irrespective of guilt. This has been done at the behest of misandrists (as political feminists should be more accurately named), without the knowledge of the public.

Of course the man haters howl terms of abuse at such suggestions, and anyone who forwards them ‘condones rape’ and ‘blames the victim’. But the truth is that the desire to convict more men of rape on the basis of a prejudiced belief in their guilt, rather than on the evidence, is now public policy. Alison Saunders the Director of Public Prosecutions, described by the BBC as the leading national police officer for rape (whatever that means) says she is “frustrated by how many rape trials end in acquitals” {3}

Last year she told the BBC:

“Over the last year we have worked hard to increase the volume of rape cases referred by the police and charged by prosecutors and our latest figures are certainly encouraging.”

 And,

 “…even though there have been slightly more defendants convicted, the steady increase in conviction rates we have seen in recent years has halted, and this must be addressed immediately.” {4}

There we have it Gentlemen! Britain is now a country where rape convictions are not to be meted out on the basis of quaint concepts like evidence, or truth and guilt. Here we do justice by quota. I think this can be said to be Orwellian without risking hyperbole or cliché! I’d love to know what the ‘correct’ conviction rate is in Mrs Saunders mind. Lacking access to a crystal ball we cannot say with any certainty how many of the accused are truly guilty, a situation made worse by the fact that consent appears to have no fixed definition. Perhaps she would prefer we simply heed the words of the character Val in the novel The Women’s Room, by feminist author Marilyn French: “All men are rapists”?

Knowing that a concerted effort is being made to “improve” conviction rates, as if that were an end in itself, should cause anyone to look askance at any rape conviction. Far from helping to put criminals behind bars this only serves to undermine faith in the justice system’s impartiality. How this is intended to serve the victims of crime I do not know. Perhaps a passing feminist might have the answer?

In a well thought out Telegraph article titled, Did you know the legal definition of rape and ‘consent’ is changing?, former barrister Laura Perrins addresses this new legal trend, “The offence of rape has continued to become more complex, and malleable” – chilling words indeed. She goes on to say that, “The crucial question is, are these decisions an accurate reflection of the public’s understanding of what the offence of rape truly is? Are these cases stretching the definition of rape so far that there is now an insurmountable gap between the Court’s understanding of what rape is, and that of the public’s?” {5}

Regina vs. Chedwyn Evans amply illustrates that the answer to that question is ‘Yes’, as evidenced by the comments issued by the great and the good on the subject. Debbie Abrahams MP, someone who it would be reasonable to assume was acquainted with the law, said,

“I believe it would be wrong for Ched Evans to return to playing football for OAFC, or any other club, as he has been convicted of rape, a violent crime for which he has neither apologised or acknowledged.” [My emphasis].

However Mr Evans simply was not convicted of a violent crime nor was there ever any accusation, by the police or complainant, of violence let alone any evidence to suggest it was used.

A common retort is that ‘all rape is violent’, yet this statement carries as much weight as saying ‘all apples are green’. It is a truism that the letter of the law allows non-violent acts to be labelled as rape. That is not to say that such acts should not be actionable in principle, but there is gulf between the perception of rape as a violent crime – do not forget that the judiciary exists to serve the public interest and not the other way round – and how the courts now describe the offence. Yet this is not the case in other areas of criminal justice.

When an unlawful killing occurs there is an obvious distinction drawn between manslaughter and murder. To convict someone of the latter Mens rea must be established, and so it should be. It is uncontroversial to say that a crime is a greater evil if the act is perpetrated with criminal intent. The charge of manslaughter acknowledges that a crime may have taken place, yet admits the possibility that the defendant may not have intended the death of his victim, thus his level of culpability is diminished.

Why then can we not draw this simple distinction between rape – violent rape – and what the balance of probability suggests is the loutish, unseemly behaviour of a drunken oaf? Can anyone seriously believe that Ched Evans was motivated by malice aforethought? Here was a young, fit, wealthy man on the razzle in some nowhere town. If he was “on the prowl”, looking for a victim he surely would’ve caught his prey a lot earlier than 4am? Yet this is the far fetched slant on events which the prosecution successfully advanced. During the trial John Phillpotts, prosecuting told the court,

“Ched Evans had booked that room with the main or sole purpose of procuring a girl or girls that night.”

“He and Clayton McDonald were on the lookout for any girl who was a suitable target and the claimant had literally stumbled across their path.” {6}

OK, so no one becomes a criminal barrister without wanting to indulge in a bit of court room razzmatazz; I’m sure Mr Phillpotts gestured menacingly at the defendants when he made the claim – just like they do in the films. But if I was sat in the jury I would think the bloke had lost the plot. What the man was describing, in the most sinister and sensationalist terms, was what most young people, and not-that-young people for that matter, call ‘going out’. Attempting to paint a picture of two ne’er-do-wells skulking in the back alleys ready to pounce is simultaneously banal and hyperbolic. Not only that, this version of events again serves to place the female in the role of passive acquiescence, without agency. But let’s not allow female empowerment get in the way of a conviction, eh?

I’m a believer!

If feminism was about equality and ‘empowering’ women then the denizens at netmums.com might well have scaled the ramparts and busted Ched Evans out of his cell, instead we get this: A Facebook page entitled, I Believe Her: Supporting Ched Evan’s Victim. {7}

The title of the page alone tells me that these people haven’t even bothered to acquaint themselves with the basic details of the case simply because there is no one to ‘believe’! The ‘victim’ in this case NEVER MADE A COMPLAINT OF RAPE to the police and maintained she could not remember what happened to her when the alleged rape took place. (The only admissible, eye-witness evidence was given by Evans and McDonald) and it was the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who made the decision to pursue a rape conviction.

Regardless, the notion that it is inherently virtuous to prejudicially believe the accuser and condemn the accused in any criminal case is truly despicable and anyone who promotes such folly should be made aware of that fact. If we simply ‘believed’ then what is the point of a trial?

Rehabilitation or revenge?

As it happens I don’t think that rapists and murderers etc. can, in general, be rehabilitated. This makes me an illiberal, ‘Daily Mail’ type in the eyes of Britain’s oh so enlightened public. However the fact that our prisons are brimming with violent recidivists (who thoroughly deserve to be there) stands as testament to the fact that I’m correct and you’re all wrong (as usual). I can sleep easily knowing that prison is for punishment and so it should be.

But the ‘liberals’ have shown their true colours in this case and have orchestrated a demented, protracted campaign to stop Evans from returning to football since his release. In October Sheffield Utd buckled to pressure not to resign Evans emanating from a change.org petition started by Jean Hatchet, the pseudonym of a self-described radical feminist. Quelle surprise!!

I think it is well worth mentioning that Jean Hatchet is a pseudonymous title. It is patently obvious from this woman’s twitter account and blog that she is nought but a man-hating harridan, and a provocateur of little talent. Of greater concern is that this individual is simply not prepared to stand behind her assertions in public- unlike yours truly, and yes I am that sexy IRL! People who won’t argue their case publicly should be dismissed as the anonymous trolls that they are and be sent crawling back to whichever hole they came from.

Unfortunately in the case of Hatchet, or Battle Axe, or Madame Defarge – or whatever she’s called – this didn’t happen; quite the opposite. Her petition gathered around 160,000 signatures and various Sheffield United patrons severed ties with club, including the singer/songwriter Paul Heaton. The Olympian Jessica Ennis told the press that she would not allow the club to use her name on one of their stands if Evans was reinstated. When celebrities indulge in this kind of behaviour it is impossible to tell whether they are acting out of principle or simply taking the opportunity to grandstand their compassionate, progressive credentials. Either way Sheffield Utd, who had initially supported Evan’s reintroduction to their team, relented and let the player go.

Last week the Hatchet Woman returned with a fresh petition, this time aimed at preventing Oldham Athletic from signing Mr Evan’s. Once again it is gathering signatories by the thousand and once again the great and the good are making all the right noises.

Charlie Webster – who the interweb tells me is a TV presenter – endorsed the new petition having been among the ‘celebs’ to sever ties with Sheffield Utd last year over the issue:

“When Sheffield United had the petition I think it was a ridiculous amount – 160,000 maybe –people that stood up.

“Myself stood up, Jessica Ennis stood up, very many patrons stood up. Society stood up and said ‘no’. And they listened and he didn’t get signed up to Sheffield United.” {8}

I would like to ‘stood up’ and ask, firstly, how is it that someone with such a poor understanding of the language can find employment as TV presenter? Secondly why is a moron like this allowed to get away with claiming that, “It’s about the one in five women that, this year, will suffer sexual abuse” unchallenged? That, I can assure you, is a damn lie not a statistic, yet the media will uncritically parrot such wild, uncited, untestable claims. Thirdly why does her opinion carry any more weight than a fart in the breeze?

Beside the large section of the anti-Evans crowd (not that one needs to be ‘pro-Evans’ to admit that he is entitled to work) who simply will not countenance the idea that the man should ever kick a football again, there are many change.orgers who claim that their problem with Evans return to pro level soccer is that he has shown no remorse for his crime. But what good does a public display of contrition do? How would we know that it was sincere in any case? And what bearing does that have on the fact that Evans has as much right as any ex-con to seek gainful employment?

Footballers are Not Role Models

The other popular reason being offered for their Evans-embargo campaign is that as a footballer he is a role model and that he cannot take to the pitch again without corrupting the minds of his legion of young boy-fans. Notwithstanding the fact that Ched Evans was playing in the third tier of English football and that his fame is owed largely to Ms Hatchet Faces petitions, the ‘footballers are role models’ argument is an utterly pathetic attempt at the Oh-Please!-Why-won’t-somebody-think-of-the-Cheeeldren argument, beloved of cretins everywhere.  Of course the lamentable Miss Webster was available to give us a rendition:

“He’s not just going into a job, he’s bandied as a role model, we cheer him on as a role model and he’s influencing the next generation of young men who are currently still making their decisions on how to treat women and what sexual mutual consent is.” {9}

The thing is, love, most of us are not as easily led as you are. But let me put your mind at ease: There is not a generation of young men ‘making decisions’ on how to treat women, because the vast majority of males who are too young to partake in sexual relations are too concerned with the relative merits of the PS4 vs. the X-box One to waste their time mulling over whether or not it would be good craic to become a sex pest. And even if it were true that one simply awoke and thought, ‘yep I fancy getting ma rape on!’ would the absence of like minded individuals gracing league 1’s hallowed turf provoke a different decision? I think not. I do, however, think that if you believe that footballers should be considered role models then you are a vapid moron and are, per force, not fit to be a role model. Please tender your resignation post haste!

 Law of the land or mob rule?

It is easy to dismiss the unlettered ramblings of air-headed Tele-bimbettes, unfortunately this case has drawn similar responses from public officials and politicians. Labour’s Shadow Minister for Sport, Clive Efford, called for the Football Association to intervene and not accept Evans’s registration as a player.

 “There are lots of professions that you would be barred from taking part in if you had committed rape. I think football should be one of them. {10}

Which is just the kind of illogical platitude which appeals to Labour’s core constituency (well played Sir!). In reality football is an ideal environment for convicted rapists as it is unlikely to bring them into contact with women in their working environment.

The leader of Her Majesty’s opposition (no less) skilfully combined the ‘role model’ and ‘remorse’ fallacies into a statement so lacking in logical rigour and so platitudinous that one can only stand back in admiration at the man’s ability to politic:

“I think that it’s right Oldham are thinking again about whether Ched Evans should be hired by them because you are a role model, he’s been convicted of a very serious crime.

“Personally, if I was in their shoes, he hasn’t shown remorse and I wouldn’t take him on.” {11}

Thankfully a Downing Street non-statement at least managed to point out that the issue is ultimately the concern of employer and employee:

“…it is for employers to take decisions, but the prime minister does think that footballers are role models and he is sure that any potential would-be clubs and employers will weigh their decisions very carefully.” {12}

Nevertheless it is grotesquely uncivilised for people in public office to lend credence to a vigilante band wagon provoked by anonymous petitioners.

Bring back Dirty Den!

There used to be a time when a convict was freed, it was assumed that he had ‘done his time’ and had made restitution for his crime.  No one would have thought it proper to rally a hate mob to prevent the man from finding work. That time was the 1980s: The actor Leslie Grantham had a successful career, becoming famous for his portrayal of Dennis ‘Dirty Den’ Watts in Eastenders. Its’ true that his crime was relatively minor. After all he only murdered a man, it’s not as if he raped a woman or anything properly bad like that.

Ched Evans is guilty of being a crappy boyfriend, of that there can be no doubt. But the only constituency confident that his conviction is safe is composed of third-wave-feminists/misandrists – who would extend the definition of rape to looking at a woman funny – and their omega-male enablers who think that they might yet lose their virginities if they toe the party line. The pitch fork wielding petitioners are guilty of crowd hysteria, a flagrant disregard for the principle of restitution and the right to work and a fond desire to traduce the meaning of justice to fit their narrow agenda and baseless prejudices.

 When Oldham Athletic sign Ched Evans justice will have been served.

{1}  https://www.crimeline.info/case/r-v-ched-evans-chedwyn-evans

{2} http://www.chedevans.com/judge-for-yourself

{3} http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/54258/who-alison-saunders-lawyer-announced-new-dpp

{4} http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27726280

{5}http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10319902/Did-you-know-the-legal-definition-of-rape-and-consent-is-changing-Heres-how.html

{6} http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-17677969

{7} http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/netmums-mums-panel-251/member-requests-185/757617-i-believe-her-supporting-woman-who-raped-all.html

{8}] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27726280

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/showbiz/news/a619224/charlie-webster-urges-oldham-athletic-not-to-sign-ched-evans.html#~p0BI6nGy4gxdGE

{9} http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/nov/12/charlie-webster-sheffield-united-patron-ched-evans

{10} http://www.itv.com/news/wales/update/2014-10-16/ched-evans-should-be-barred-says-shadow-sports-minister/

{11} http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30680239

https://www.change.org/p/kevin-mccabe-chairman-of-sheffield-utd-football-club-refuse-to-reinstate-ched-evans-as-a-player-at-sheffield-united

{12} http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2898920/David-Cameron-believes-club-thinking-signing-Ched-Evans-weigh-decision-carefully.html

Three Good Reasons To Support UKIP

The intertubes have come alive with execrations and epithets directed against the UK Independence party this week during local and EU polling. This frothing at the mouth is uncharacteristic in a population usually so apathetic that I doubt even a small minority could name their MP, let alone their MEPs.

Politics, being the game that it is, would not be complete without a bogeyman figure, and for a cadre of politicians whose popularity levels linger at around that of pubic lice Nigel Farage and UKIP is grist to the mill. In the Guardian earlier this week the Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg said of Farage, “I think the mask is starting to slip and what has been revealed behind that beer-swilling bonhomie is a really nasty view of the world.” Unfortunately for Mr Clegg (and the other major party leaders) this kind of attack is counterproductive for two staggeringly obvious reasons: Firstly, 99% of the population is rather attracted by, and enjoys, “beer swilling bonhomie” – it’s what we in the underclass call “socializing”; although Mr Clegg should be congratulated on his adept use of alliteration. Secondly, whether or not Mr Farage’s views are “nasty” is immaterial. Any kind of view, nasty or otherwise, will garner a certain level of support when juxtaposed against Mr Clegg’s party, whose core principle is that it shall have no fixed principles. (We will see this play out spectacularly on Sunday when the EU election results are announced).

However, this being a “serious” blog I am not principally concerned with the politics of personal popularity. Rather, I believe that there are a number of sound ideological reasons to support UKIPs cause to secede from the EU; lest we forget that is, ultimately, their raison d’etre. But don’t take my word for it, I am in good company:

Jefferson on Corruption

“Public servants, at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder, and waste.”

Thomas Jefferson, 1800

Bastiat on the “Acquis”

“…if the law were to be made upon the principle of fraternity, if it were to be proclaimed that from it proceed all benefits and all evils—that it is responsible for every individual grievance and for every social inequality—then you open the door to an endless succession of complaints, irritations, troubles, and revolutions.”

Frederic Bastiat, 1850

 Overton on the European Arrest Warrant and the ECJ

“And therefore (sir) as even by nature and by the law of the land I was bound, I denied subjection to these lords and their arbitrary creatures thus by open force invading and assaulting my house, person, etc. — no legal conviction preceding, or warrant then shown. But and if they had brought and shown a thousand such warrants, they had all been illegal, antimagisterial and void in this case; for they have no legal power in that kind, no more than the king, but such their actions are utterly condemned and expressly forbidden by the law. Why therefore should you of the representative body sit still and suffer these lords thus to devour both us and our laws?

Be awakened, arise and consider their oppressions and encroachments and stop their lordships in their ambitious career. For they do not cease only here, but they soar higher and higher and now they are become arrogators to themselves of the natural sovereignty the represented have conveyed and issued to their proper representers. They even challenge to themselves the title of the supremest court of judicature in the land”

Richard Overton, 1646

There are a number of historical political figures and philosophers who speak to us from beyond the grave about the dangers of remote and extensive government, and tangentially, the foundational principles of the EU. For Overton and the Levellers the House of Lords appropriated powers which did not naturally accrue to it. The European Commission is no different. Bastiat recognized that the law would ultimately be subverted by the politically ambitious and Jefferson elucidated the self-evident: if you take your eye off some people they’ll take the piss; observe:

Whilst I may be an unreconstructed bigot, with a portrait of the Queen Mother tattooed onto his scrotum, an IQ of around 75 and a penchant for listening to Pomp and Circumstance whilst flaying the starving piccaninnies he keeps manacled in the potting shed – as we are enjoined to believe that everyone who considers lending their vote to UKIP must be – I also have a working knowledge of European politics, which is far more than can be said for most EUphiles, and an interest in the cultures and history of its people. So there’s 500 million more reasons why the EU must be dismantled. (Just in case the three above weren’t good enough). In British politics UKIP alone recognizes this.

Tally Ho! To the potting shed!

Why the Left is Wrong About Everything: Part 1, The Economic Pie Fallacy

“Value does not come out of the workshop, but out of the wants which goods satisfy”

Eugen Bohm von Bawerk

I was watching Question Time on iPlayer today when a typically smug Left wing commenter managed to inadvertently sum up the core foundational fallacy which popular Socialist economics rests upon.

Wowing his fellow audience members with his biting (and not at all rehearsed) “wit”, the fellow sought to entertain and inform with a gag:

 “A banker, a Daily Mail reader and a single mum on benefits sat down to have a packet of a dozen biscuits. The banker took eleven biscuits and whispered to the Daily Mail reader, “Watch out for her she’s trying to nick your biscuits”.”

 The “Daily Mail reader” gag has become ubiquitous amongst the bien pensant; it is this decade’s equivalent of the “George Bush is stupid” quip. The beauty of this canard is that it allows one to appear to be politically informed and edgy whilst absolving one of the requirement of knowing anything about politics or being edgy in anyway at all. Combining this with a swipe at the wanton acquisitiveness of usurers is, of course, manna from heaven for socialists of a Nationalist or Internationalist flavour alike.

Anyway, I digress: The central implication of the chap’s stilted attempt at humour was that an economy contains a fixed amount of wealth – the dozen biscuits – which is being fought over by competing class interests: the standard, misanthropic, schoolboy-Marxist drivel basically. This belief stems from a total ignorance of what economics is, namely the study of the distribution of scarce resources. Left-Socialists routinely conflate the scarcity of physical resources with the existence of a constant amount of wealth; we often hear laments about the “economic pie” and how “the rich” are “taking” more than “their fair share”. This is wrong “on so many levels”, as we say.

In reality wealth is not a simple function of the ability to command resources (capital), it is in fact a highly subjective concept. This should be immediately obvious to everyone, and since food themed arguments seem to be popular I will continue the trend:

 Ed likes salt and vinegar flavour crisps (S&V), but dislikes cheese and onion (C&O). Jen likes C&O but dislikes S&V. Either is willing to pay 50p for a pack of crisps of their preferred flavour, but will not purchase a disliked flavour. Notice that, regardless of their flavour, potato snacks contain (more or less) the same amount of scare physical resources.

Ed is willing to voluntarily transact at a rate of 50p for S&V, hence when he does so wealth is created; he has a need (want) for salty snacks and the salty snack manufacturer has a surplus of them, so when they are sold the total wealth in the economy is increased as both parties to the trade are enriched. Even so  the amount of any given scarce resource has not changed.

Subsequently a company, or “evil” corporation for the Lefties, (let’s call them Walkers for the sake of argument), notices this diversity in personal taste preferences and ruthlessly attempts to exploit the downtrodden proles by marketing “variety packs” of its savoury snacks to an unwitting public with the sole intention of increasing profits. Notice that Ed and Jen can now collectively purchase their preferred flavours at reduced prices due to economies of scale, whilst the evil-doers at the corporation accrue disgustingly immoral levels of wealth due to increased sales.

This phenomenon, writ large, is what we right wing lunatics call “the market”. It is a spontaneously emergent phenomenon whose sole function is to satisfy the needs and desires of consumers.

There is no economic pie.

Of Course the Handgun Ban is Ludicrous

According the Daily Express (and others) Nigel Farage provoked “Fury” last week by saying, “I think the ban on hand guns is ludicrous.” I say we are in a sad predicament when the statement of such a vacuous truth can provoke “fury”.

Anne McGuire, the MP for Stirling, said that Mr Farage’s views on the ban are “idiotic”. And a Mrs Majorie Davies, who was chair of the Dunblane community council at the time of the 1996 massacre which prompted the ban, said that Farage’s remarks were, “insulting to all the hard work done by the campaigners to bring in the ban. The ban clearly works as there has thankfully never been a repeat of Dunblane in the UK but when you look at somewhere like America it feels like every few months there has been a shooting.”

So let’s take a dispassionate look at the effect that the Firearms Acts of 1997, to which Mrs Davies was referring, have had on homicide and firearms offences in the UK, then hazard a glance at the effect of gun ownership abroad, in order to test these good ladies’ claims.

 I include for your edification and amusement a chart showing the number of homicides in the years immediately preceding and those subsequent to the aforementioned act:

If Anne McGuire’s unseemly accusation that Farage is “idiotic” held any water and that, “the ban clearly works”, per Mrs Davies claims, we would expect to see a sharp fall in the number of murders perpetrated in UK after the 1997 handgun ban. Instead what we see is a broadly flat trend with a greater number of murders in seven of the intervening years and fewer in seven also (as of 2011). This is of course what we should expect: Firstly because criminals tend to ignore bans – that’s what makes them criminals – I suppose the member for Stirling expected all those gun toting gangsters to give up their weapons because John Major and then Tony Blair told them to? Secondly, if one is intent on committing homicide there are tools other than handguns which will do the job just as nicely: “Guns for show knives for a pro.”

As for the claim that, “there has thankfully never been a repeat of Dunblane in the UK”, what about Derrick Bird? He managed to kill twelve and injure eleven in 2010, which by my admittedly shoddy arithmetic happened after the 1997 ban. It’s true that Bird’s victims were adults and that he used a shotgun and rifle, not a handgun, but the fact remains that the Firearms act did not prevent a massacre from being committed by a gun wielding maniac. Who would expect it to? Does anyone out there really believe that deranged psycopaths can be legislated out of existence by politicians? Besides, there was a previous tightening of firearms regulation in response to the Hungerford massacre of 1987 which by Marjorie Davies “logic” would have prevented the Dunblane massacre from ever happening: It didn’t.

Whenever gun control is mentioned in Britain, just like night follows day, there is always a nanny statist on hand to trot out stories of the terrible number of murders in the USA, conjuring up images of good old-fashioned, wild-west saloon-bar, gun-slinging chaos. Indeed, the Manchester Evening News wheeled out Peter Fahy, the Manchester Chief Con’, who said, “We should all be grateful that we have got such tight gun control in this country – when you look at the States, it’s awful over there“. Of course this is a lie promulgated by knaves and fools.

 In reality the murder rate in the US, whilst higher than in Europe, is low in global terms. What is remarkable about the USA is that it demonstrates, categorically, that firearm ownership and murder rate are NOT subject to a simple linear correlation from which we can blithely attribute a cause and effect relationship.

I include, for your delectation and delight, a chart showing global gun ownership figures versus the homicide rate for a sample of 171 countries:

[Admittedly this data is unreliable, but it is the shape of the plot and the relative position of the USA which maters]

If we were to apply a simple linear regression model to this data (as I have, simply to demonstrate its unsuitability) it would imply that firearm ownership rates above about 0.55 per capita cause negative homicide rates, which of course leads to an obvious policy prescription: If we supply free guns to the under-fives (obviously at tax payers expense) then we’ll see murder victims, like Lazarus, being miraculously raised from the dead within a generation! There is a serious point to this silliness: the anti-gun lobby relies on similar abuses of statistics in order to support the ban. Which is why you shouldn’t.

As a point of interest I have labelled the Latin American narco-states (Honduras is at the top of the chart) where gun ownership is relatively low but murder is rife. Which brings me to a more serious policy prescription: Want less murder? Legalize drugs!

Anyway, the pattern, or lack thereof, demonstrated above is repeated if one examines the USA on a state-by-state basis. In 2001 a survey asked 200,000 Americans, “Are any firearms now kept in or around your home? Include those kept in a garage, outdoor storage area, car, truck, or other motor vehicle.” Once again plotting the rate of positive responses to this question against murder rates in each state for the same year is instructive:

The lowest rate of gun ownership coincides with the highest murder rate (in Washington DC), inconveniently for gun control enthusiasts, and the rest of the data shows little to no trend over a range spanning 10% to 60% of households with guns. Of course the brighter of the gun control advocates out there might complain that Washington DC is an urban area and cannot be compared to a low population density wilderness such as Alaska. This is perfectly true but it makes my point for me: gun ownership is not the major explanatory variable when considering the homicide rate!

Even if one omits Washington DC from the above data set increased gun ownership shows a slightly negative correlation to the murder rate, in direct contradiction to the simplistic “more guns-more murder” thesis of gun control advocates. However plotting normalized residuals pertaining to the previous chart serves up a large helping of heteroscedasticity (the data “fans out” from left to right), indicating that a linear regression model is an unsuitable fit to the data anyhow.

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One can further demonstrate that banning firearms is a fool’s errand by looking at the historical homicide rate in Washington DC itself over a period of many years. In 1976 Washington DC introduced legislation restricting residents from acquiring handguns. The act required all registered firearms to be kept unloaded and disassembled. It is widely agreed that Washington has amongst the most stringent gun control laws of all the US states. Despite this Washington experienced a crime wave in the years after the ban, culminating in the 90’s, with homicide rates around 80 per 100k population. Therefore we would be just as well placed to argue that banning guns causes people to commit murders as we would to argue the converse, but that would be silly, wouldn’t it?

Returning to the European context we see more of the same, which should come as a surprise to nobody. Selecting the members of the EU 15 and EFTA (I have omitted Leichtenstein, principally because it’s a micro-state) as a sample of geographically proximate, advanced economies, once again there is no correlation between gun ownership and homicide to be found:

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Of particular note is the band of data points forming a vertical line around 30 guns per hundred mark. Norway sits atop this cohort with a murder rate of 2.3 per 100k and Austria is at the bottom with a mere 0.6 per 100k. This might force me to revise my opinion that Austria is the fount of all evil; can anyone name an Austrian other than Adolf Hitler or Josef Fritzl though? Happily though, if you were of the equally odd opinion that firearm ownership had any significant bearing on the murder rate then you can now disabuse yourself of that foolish notion too!

Of course I’m thinking rather wishfully. After all the British body politic is singularly unimpressed by facts and/or logical hypotheses, preferring to base their politics on appearing to be “nice” and rolling with the in-crowd. And so we have people holding to the fantastically naive opinion that because guns are “bad” that banning them is somehow “good”. Furthermore we are blighted by a venal cabal of over-paid, under-scrupled journalists and politicians who are all too happy to play to the somnolent gallery given the slightest opportunity. Take for example the apparently “outraged” Labour MP Chris Williamson, who told the Mirror that Nigel Farage’s (correct) opinion on the Firearms ban was, “an insult to victims of gun crime”. This is logically equivalent to stating that questioning a ban on penises would be an insult to victims of rape. But it matters not in the island cult of faux-outrage and lachrymose sentimentality that we call Britain. Here its people like me (and Farage) who are the idiots.

Welcome to Littleton Green Community School Indoctrination Facility

Religious education is self-contradictory concept. Multiculturalism is too. Perhaps, then, we shouldn’t be too surprised when one of Britain’s state schools, where the aforementioned contradictions in terms are the height of fashion, sends out a letter like this little gem; read it and weep:
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