Heads Should Roll

Apparently, the UK Ministry of Defence (aka MoD) according to a report at the Telegraph needs nine months to assess the new UK government's defence plans (delaying a new Nuclear missile sub program, buying a carrier without aircraft, opening a 10 year window without a carrier etc.)

Quite simply this gives us a Morton's fork. Either the government plans are reckless and endanger the country, or the MoD is not preparing strategy for a reduced budget future.

Either way, one is incompetent, and heads should be rolling.

Story initially via EU Referendum who blames the military.


Truth: A Casualty in the War on Drugs

Consider this article about the discharge of three Australian soldiers following detection of steroids in drugs tests.

Commentators argue taking steroids does not provide a physical edge in combat, and Mr James says, if anything, the cases have uncovered a vain streak among Defence personnel.

There are clear reasons to worry about steroid use in an army. Breach of discipline is one, and roid rage is another, but I would say that only a fool would suggest that the physical recovery effect in a combat theatre doesn't provide an advantage.

Of course, this drugs test policy also allows soldiers an easy exit from deployment, something which I can imagine being pretty attractive option when things get hot. Put it this way, I'd certainly consider it.


Get Your Tickets Here...

Bishop Hill briefly mentions that Ben Santer, the climate scientist in the assault threat from the Climategate emails...

("Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I'll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.")

...is testifying before congress later today, with Michaels.

Jeez, how much are they charging for tickets?

And why are they fighting over "settled" science?


What Is the Progression Of Political Mistakes?

Two questions.

There is a progression of political mistakes or errors or whatever. I'm not sure exactly how it goes, but it's a bit like this:


Q1. Can anyone fill in the dots?

Q2. Where does driving the banks offshore come in that sequence? (Via Mark Wadsworth.)

Whisper it quietly, but the Con-Dem-nation seem to be striving to make Gordon Brown's government look good. And succeeding...


A Properly Dismal Economist

Every wondered the origin of the phrase "Dismal Science"? Wikipedia says it came from a Scot named Thomas Carlyle, contrasting with the "gay science" of writing songs and poems. I didn't know that.

Anyway, a leading, unappreciated purveyor of dismal-ism is the Irish economist Prof. Morgen Kelly. A couple of times a year, he writes an op-ed about the Irish economy that just dismal-s the ball out of the park. Starting with warnings that Irish house prices were unsustainable and likely to lead to a banking crisis at a time when prices in Ireland were still rising at double digit percentage rates, he has been consistently ahead of the curve.

So his latest piece (a week old now) is notable for the fact that he has signalled that the Irish Government have lost control of their economy, and a five-year prediction that a new political party is needed to give voice to anger at the status quo.

He's been pretty good at predictions so far. Will he maintain his batting average?
(Via FT Alphaville.)

(edited for clarity 2010-11-15 19:30.)

Don't Mention the...

The Daily Telegraph is one of the four-six remaining serious UK national newspapers (depending on your definition of serious and national).

Last week, it launched a re-designed website. It took me ten minutes of searching to find the "Europe" section. It's available under "world -> europe", and comes after USA, US Politics, Asia, China and Central Asia on the menu bar.

Clearly not the number one priority for coverage, then, eh?


I've tried optimism. Doesn't suit me, doesn't suit the times.

So this is a place for me to vent.