An insult to Brendan O’Neill’s nan

I agree with Brendan O’Neill; the term nanny state is misleading. It does not come close to describing the dangerous presumption of authority over other people’s private lives.

In any case, O’Neill told a gathering in Sydney last night, the phrase is an insult to his nan.

I liked her not least because she was the very opposite of the nanny state.

Her daily breakfast was a bottle of stout. She only ever ate stale bread because she thought it tasted nicer. She smoked all the time and if anyone ever complained about her cigarette smoke she said that they could always go outside until she had finished.

Excessive smoking regulations, government-enforced food faddism and alcohol prohibition are only the most outward expressions of a deeper interventionist logic, O’Neill said.

What we have today are governments that have shifted from focusing on infrastructural issues and economic matters towards obsessing over individuals’ behaviour, thoughts, and relationships.

For most of the modern era, governments had a fairly narrow remit – their job was to keep their nations secure, to enable prosperity, and to protect property and individuals from criminal damage or physical harm.

Today, in a massive turnaround, we have what the British Labour Party calls “the politics of behaviour”, or what the ever-growing Nudge Industry calls “behavioural economics” and the politics of “behavioural insight”.

We have governments that have moved from keeping the external, infrastructural world chugging along to policing and correcting the internal lives of their citizens.

We have gone from a situation where governments concerned themselves with macro issues to a situation where governments micromanage the moral existences of their citizens.

We need to recognise the extent to which this winds back the ideals of the Enlightenment itself.

O’Neill is in Australia as a guest of the Centre for Independent Studies. He’ll be joining me, Paul Kelly and Andrew West to discuss the public broadcasting in Sydney on Tuesday March 15.

On May 2 we’ll be having a public discussion on the derailing of the Enlightenment. Details of these events and O’Neill’s other public engagements in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are on the CIS website.

 

 

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99 Responses to An insult to Brendan O’Neill’s nan

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    I agree. “Nanny state” sounds soft and fuzzy. George Orwell gave no such overtones to the cold dictatorship of Big Brother in “1984″.

  2. Geriatric Mayfly

    Did O’Neill overlook the fact that the Leftist busy bodies are always hovering over anything to do with sex and gender? From abortion to gay marriage, the list is endless, their obsession deranged.

  3. Nanuestalker

    He’ll be joining me, Paul Kelly and Andrew West to discuss the public broadcasting in Sydney on Tuesday March April 15.

    FTFY

  4. manalive

    Think the ‘nanny’ refers to the middle-aged to elderly single ladies or widows employed by the English upper crust to care for their children while the parents attended to their all-important social round.
    My maternal grandmother of Irish born parents also regarded ‘invalid’ stout as an important ingredient in a balanced diet and would share a little with us mixed with lemonade.

  5. Rabz

    a situation where governments micromanage the moral existences of their citizens

    And typically, not only are they absolutely frigging hopeless at it, they’re dangerously incompetent into the bargain.

  6. Michael

    I’ve heard the ‘nanny state’ best described as a ‘daddy state’ – a state in which the inhabitants behave like children, complain constantly that the authority figure is mean to them while still expecting authority to provide and protect them.

  7. Nanny, not nan. My grandmothers were the same variety as Brendan O’Neill’s.

  8. M Ryutin

    I really enjoyed the talk, concentrating, as it was, on the all-pervasive intrusion of government into all levels as to what we do and think (especially ‘nudging’). Although I realise that the time available meant that the multiple areas about which he writes so acutely couldn’t be reached, but hopefully, valuable lessons were learnt by at least a few of the audience who seemed to think they themselves ‘generally’ agreed but there were areas where a ‘nanny’ approach was okay.

    I hope he gets a spot on Q&A while he is here as I thoroughly enjoyed his last appearance where he creamed Tanya Plibersek and left Stephen Mayne clutching for lame clichés.

    Unfortunately, I had to rush off as soon as the event was over and couldn’t linger to perhaps meet him and offer ‘an opinion posed as a question’ that because his colleague at Spiked Mick Hume excoriated two journalists – John Pilger and Nick Davies – for signing up to the anti-free speech Hacked Off petition to force licensing on the British media, if he looked thoroughly at the Australian media, he would find far more than two to sign such a petition here!

    (come to think of it, Nick, perhaps you can help enlighten Brendan while he is here)

  9. ar

    When we sub-contract our self-defence to the government, the first thing they do is protect us from ourselves.

  10. James Buchanan used the term meddlesome preferences:

    “the elitist, who somehow thinks that his or her own preferences are ‘superior to,’ ‘better than, ‘ or ‘more correct’ than those of other, tries to control the behaviour of everyone else, while holding fast to his or her own liberty to do as he or she pleases.”

  11. Roger

    Hilaire Belloc devised the term “the Servile State” in 1912, some fifty years before “nanny state” was coined. He used it to describe a modern state in which the unfettered capitalism of the 19th C., which by then had largely destroyed customary laws and the often religiously based cultural sanctions which once framed human relations in Christian societies like England, would be reformed with positive law which extended into every area of human behaviour, thus effectively enslaving the vast bulk of the citizenry as in the ancient, pagan world. There’s more to Belloc’s book than that, but it’s a while since I’ve read it; he also thought that in modern capitalism wealth would become increasingly concentrated in a controlling elite. His theory on the necessity of an ever-expanding code of positive law is an early version of the late modern thesis that as a society become increasingly fragmented culturally you need more and more laws on the statute books to regulate interactions between the various sections of it.

  12. unfettered capitalism of the 19th C

    19th century English capitalism was in fact fettered by a lot of legislation covering workers rights and wrongs, conditions of employment, factory acts, and even – horror – elf and safety.

    Belloc needed to pull his head out of his European backside and look around him a bit more.

  13. His theory on the necessity of an ever-expanding code of positive law is an early version of the late modern thesis that as a society become increasingly fragmented culturally you need more and more laws on the statute books to regulate interactions between the various sections of it.

    Hilaire Belloc was – as I have often been wont to remark, when enjoying a few sherberts with my fellow Catholics – full of shit.

  14. Abu Chowdah

    Did O’Neill overlook the fact that the Leftist busy bodies are always hovering over anything to do with sex and gender? From abortion to gay marriage, the list is endless, their obsession deranged.

    If you read the online magazine he edits, you’ll know he has made that a large focus of his output.

    For example:

    http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/gay-marriage-the-fastest-formed-orthodoxy-ever/14855

  15. David Black

    The buzz-phrase “Nanny State” can be over-used.
    Some form of government regulation will always be necessary.
    How evil is it that cyclists have to wear helmets. I’m quite happy to wear mine.
    Could we possibly have allowed smoking on planes to continue into this century? That was the thin edge of the wedge that the tobacco industry tried to make into a basic rights issue. Life for smokers and non-smokers has been better since.

  16. dragnet

    I think it was Peregrine Worsthorne who first coined the expression back about 1990, in the context of Margaret Thatcher not necessarily “walking the walk” when it came to state control.

  17. incoherent rambler

    Could we possibly have allowed smoking on planes to continue into this century?

    You would never have been able to reduce the re-circulation rates of air in aeroplanes, unless smoking was banned.

  18. incoherent rambler

    There was the enlightenment.
    Now we have the darkening.

  19. Tom

    I’m going to see Brendan on March 29 at the Society Restaurant in Melbournistan (register here) so I can ask him about the clever construction of his political identify — an anti-herd animal using “Marxism” as a shield from attacks by the left — which drives the ‘tards insane. Only this morning at the unread troll stop Dogshit Today, an anonymous leftard Good German foot soldier of the totalitarian overlords was tying himself in knots trying to work out whether O’Neill hates the modern left (he does).

  20. Fisky

    so I can ask him about the clever construction of his political identify — an anti-herd animal using “Marxism” as a shield from attacks by the left — which drives the ‘tards insane.

    It’s a good one, but I prefer being a compassionate, small-l liberal moderate myself. :)

  21. manalive

    Could we possibly have allowed smoking on planes to continue into this century?

    Who’s ‘we’? Whether airline companies allow smoking is entirely the business of the owners.
    On cycle helmets, the government has a right even duty, with proper research backing, to warn cyclists of the dangers of not wearing them but the choice to do so or not should be the cyclist’s decision only.

  22. Rabz

    On cycle helmets, the government has a right even duty, with proper research backing, to warn cyclists of the dangers of not wearing them but the choice to do so or not should be the cyclist’s decision only.

    Agreed.

  23. Anne

    manalive
    #1252124, posted on April 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm
    Could we possibly have allowed smoking on planes to continue into this century?

    Who’s ‘we’? Whether airline companies allow smoking is entirely the business of the owners.

    I abhor smoking so my instinct is…yeah, no, not on planes but I like the let the market decide cut of your jib Manalive.

  24. nerblnob

    How evil is it that cyclists have to wear helmets. I’m quite happy to wear mine

    And I’m not, but still I can be fined for not wearing it, even on a dedicated cycle path. Result: I don’t cycle in Australia any more. “Nanny state” is good because it’s entered public discourse as an accepted term and drives the control freaks mad.

  25. Vicki

    Thank god someone is actually pointing out the quite shocking undermining of the essential principles of the Enlightenment that seem to be happening on a daily basis today.

  26. Tapdog

    but the choice to do so or not should be the cyclist’s decision only.

    An unassailable position of principle.

    If however a naked headed cyclist takes a buster and injures his brain, are we still happy to spend our taxes on his repair and rehabilitation via Medicare? I think it can be argued strongly that our acceptance of subsidised medical services (amongst a host of other life saving energency services) suggests there is some justification for a level of state intrusion into our private lives, which in reality are not very private anyway.

    I suppose you could say ‘No helmet-no free medicine’ . Again unassailable theoretically, but what governement would have the balls to do it?

  27. Tintarella di Luna

    I’m going to see Brendan on March 29 at the Society Restaurant in Melbournistan

    Tom will you be taking the DeLorean or the Tardis – Tom he is very entertaining and very personable.

    I asked him the most important question of the evening: Will you be appearing on Q & A to which he replied – Yes on 21 April, 2014. Interruption Lotto might be the go that night

  28. Anne

    Tapdog! Take that Gratatar down! I’ve just eaten for God’s sake.

  29. Tom

    will you be taking the DeLorean or the Tardis

    The Messerschmitt coupé, Tinta. And I’m pleased to say that it is now possible to evade the $1000 per hour parking charge in the Melbourne CBD after 4pm provided you know the correct handshake.

  30. nerblnob

    If however a naked headed cyclist takes a buster and injures his brain, are we still happy to spend our taxes on his repair and rehabilitation via Medicare? I think it can be argued strongly that our acceptance of subsidised medical services (amongst a host of other life saving energency services) suggests there is some justification for a level of state intrusion into our private lives, which in reality are not very private anyway.

    I suppose you could say ‘No helmet-no free medicine’ . Again unassailable theoretically, but what governement would have the balls to do it?

    In theory you are right – state-subsidised medicine justifies state intrusion into private lives. But how much? Not in the vanishingly small probability of a cyclist damaging his or her brain for the sole reason of not wearing a helmet with no mitigating circumstances, such as not previously using free services for years due to being fitter through cycling. You might as well deny free medicine to naked-headed assault victims who crack their head on the pavement.

  31. Anne

    … I’m pleased to say that it is now possible to evade the $1000 per hour parking charge in the Melbourne CBD after 4pm provided you know the correct handshake.

    I’ll be at that talk Tom. Can you cut me in on a bit of that car parking action?

  32. Tapdog

    Sorry Anne I like him way too much.

  33. Tom

    Anne, $8 flat rate after 4pm. Wilson Parking – entry off 55 Bourke Street, about 50 metres from Society.

  34. Anne

    Sorry I’m confused! No worries Tapdog. …and…

    Thank you so much Tom! I appreciate that. xx

  35. Tapdog

    You might as well deny free medicine to naked-headed assault victims who crack their head on the pavement.

    Agreed-there are valid counter arguments. The cycling helmet regulations (if I remember that far back correctly) arrived at least partly because of signifcant numbers of kids presenting at emergency with head injuries after stacking their bikes.

    Fact remains there is some tension between practicality and principle.

  36. blogstrop

    The modern meaning of nanny state is the “control freak” state. It is a creeping paralysis.

  37. M Ryutin

    Re: Tom April 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm
    He actually covered that last night Tom, at first intimating that he kept pushing that to stir things up, but went into some detail also to show the links. In particular early Marx writings on liberty and press freedom and so on.
    In any case, allowing for that potential CIS audience, (perhaps) containing people who instinctively react to “Marxist” as something to slant any possible reception of their words (just as ‘right’ ‘conservative’ etc do for others on the left), I am content to judge his writings in unbiased terms, agree with some, reject others (but “reject” is minimal I must say).
    But I am not going to tear my hair out unless I can find a neat ideological box for people such as he and Mick Hume (or anyone else). I have never been without regular access to Private Eye for example and Spiked Online is now up there with the Eye as a must-read.

    Re: Abu Chowdah April 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm
    It’s a theme he has brought up before too….
    http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/13518/

  38. .

    I’d like to add “Hysterical” to “…control freak”…if I may, blogstrop.

  39. nerblnob

    The cycling helmet regulations (if I remember that far back correctly) arrived at least partly because of signifcant numbers of kids presenting at emergency with head injuries after stacking their bikes.

    If I remember that far back correctly, there was a tsunami of legislation-supporting anecdotes none of which convinced me of the need to criminalise bareheaded cycling .

  40. Roger

    19th century English capitalism was in fact fettered by a lot of legislation covering workers Well, unfettered by comparison our times.

    Hilaire Belloc was – as I have often been wont to remark, when enjoying a few sherberts with my fellow Catholics – full of shit. An informed critique, I take it, PM?

  41. Tel

    You might as well deny free medicine to naked-headed assault victims who crack their head on the pavement.

    One of the more reasonable suggestions I’ve come across.

    If you want to go out drinking in Sydney City on New Year’s Eve… you know the rules, tool up first. It ain’t complicated.

  42. jupes

    He’ll be joining me, Paul Kelly …

    What is Paul Kelly doing there Nick? Is he providing the alternate argument? (I assume it’s the journalist not the singer or footballer).

    Kelly is a lefty wrongologist who, amongst many other self-beclownments, predicted the demise of the Liberal Party when they elected Tony Abbott as leader. Why conservatives treat him with respect is beyond me.

  43. duncanm

    state-subsidised medicine justifies state intrusion into private lives

    indeed it does – and its insidious.

    Bike helmets, nanny statism on food and lifestyle choices, etc etc.

  44. jupes

    The cycling helmet regulations (if I remember that far back correctly) arrived at least partly because of signifcant numbers of kids presenting at emergency with head injuries after stacking their bikes.

    So they say. I call bullshit. Kids will always get hurt one way or another.

    I take it very personally that I was trusted to ride my bike as an eight year old without a helmet but as an adult I now need supervision.

  45. Gab

    The cycling helmet regulations (if I remember that far back correctly) arrived at least partly because of signifcant numbers of kids presenting at emergency with head injuries after stacking their bikes.

    Yeah, that was the propaganda fed to everyone. Reminds me of the propaganda about the surfeit of backyard abortion clinics using coat hangers as jsutificstion for abortion bills. Ten years or so later this was debunked by one of the earliest pro-abortion activist doctors.

  46. lem

    Jupes, interesting fact. I have a patient whose lawyer husband died when he fell off his bike and was asphyxiated by the strap of his helmut after having being knocked unconscious, on a morning pre work ride. A group of people gathered around, but not being game to touch him because everyone has been indoctrinated NOT TO MOVE THE NECK….he choked to death.

    !

  47. nerblnob

    Lem, although it supports my bias (compulsory helmets for cyclists are stupid), that is just another anecdote of the kind that was used to support the legislation push.

  48. Rabz

    (Paul) Kelly is a lefty wrongologist who is also quite possibly one of the most boring individuals in human history.

    Hugh Mackay could not be contacted for comment.

  49. M Ryutin

    19th century English capitalism was in fact fettered by a lot of legislation covering workers rights and wrongs, conditions of employment, factory acts, and even – horror – elf and safety.

    Seems like they were ‘fettered’ to the extent that they couldn’t do just whatever they liked. A reading or re-reading of even mid-Victorian documents might show just what ‘no fetters’ meant!

  50. lem

    I know. But the outcome was still pretty final.

  51. Rabz

    The cycling helmet regulations (if I remember that far back correctly) arrived at least partly because of signifcant numbers of kids presenting at emergency with head injuries after stacking their bikes.

    Wearing a bicycle helmet was one of the few things my surgeon father did not have an opinion about, hence my never wearing one of the stupid bloody things until riding without one was suddenly decreed to be verboten (when I was about 28 and had effectively given up – didn’t take cycling back up again until I was about 31).

    I call bullshit as well.

  52. Tintarella di Luna

    provided you know the correct handshake.

    Do tell Tom, things are looking up then in beautiful downtown Melbourne, but do you have to be wearing a lilac tie?

  53. Gab

    Skateboarders don’t have to wear helmets – except for the State of Serial Killers (SA) where it is mandatory.

  54. Rabz

    Skateboarders don’t have to wear helmets

    This oversight must be corrected toot sweet, I tells ya!

  55. Boambee John

    “Could we possibly have allowed smoking on planes to continue into this century?”

    FWIW, I read ages ago (don’t ask for a reference) that one of the losses from the end of smoking on aircraft was that hairline fatigue cracks, which were detectible by the nicotine etc residue that collected in them, became harder to detect.

  56. Anne

    That sounds like codswallop, Boambee John.

  57. Tapdog

    There are also plenty of stories about people dying BECAUSE they wore a seatbelt and probably some are true. Maybe seatbelt wearing penalties should go? Particularly odious is the double demerit long weekend. If you and one passenger are pinged without a belt, your licence is gone.

    Still, as the argument goes-seat belts save lives and public money. As I said, tension.

  58. Sir Fred Lenin

    These leftist busybody little dictators ,with their dysfunctional lives ,divorces,reationships,homoseuality,lesbianism ,paedophilia,lying,stealing,deceiving,amongst otherfaults,are just the people to tell other people how to run their lives arent they? Its like the marriage guidence counsellor who is going thru his sixth divorce ,and having relationship problems with his gay partner ,who want him to “marry” him.! Just the person to advise others ,isnt he? Oh and hes due to front the union RC!

  59. jupes

    A group of people gathered around, but not being game to touch him because everyone has been indoctrinated NOT TO MOVE THE NECK….he choked to death.

    A sad but typical indictment of our generation.

  60. jupes

    Maybe seatbelt wearing penalties should go?

    Definately. And so should the warning beap in the car if you decide not to put it on.

    I don’t need the fucking car working for the nanny state.

  61. Anne

    Maybe seatbelt wearing penalties should go?

    Definately. And so should the warning beap in the car if you decide not to put it on.

    I don’t need the fucking car working for the nanny state.

    I like all the beeps and cameras Jupes. I can’t be doing mascara in the mirror and looking around at the same time!

  62. John Mc

    I tiny pair of wire cutters is all you need to eliminate that stupid seat belt warning (such as when you’e reversing into a parking space).

  63. Rabz

    Sir Fred Lenin

    Listen, Squire – will you please do something fucking constructive about addressing your total inability to express yourself coherently in the written word, FFS?!?

    Spelling.

    Grammar.

    Punctuation.

    Line breaks and paragraphs.

    It’s not that fucking difficult, Squire!

    :x

  64. Gab

    Tell him “No”, Sir Fred. :D

  65. nerblnob

    Seatbelts are not analogous to cycle helmets.
    They come as part of the car and don’t need to be carried. Helmets do not come as part of the bicycle.
    Seatbelts don’t obtrude in the same way that helmets do.
    I’ve fallen off bikes numerous ways and hit every part of my body except my head, which is pretty tough anyway. Compare that with the near certainty that a front-on bingle will put you into the steering wheel as a minimum.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of compulsory seatbelt legislation, it doesn’t present a barrier to spontaneously going for a spin in the way that compulsory helmet-wearing does to cycling.

    Spontaneity has been the biggest victim of these joyless control-freak crusaders.

  66. Rabz

    You keep out of this, Devotchka!

    :)

  67. Infidel Tiger

    How fucking annoying is the seatbelt warning when you have a carton of piss on the front passenger seat and the thing beeps at you all the way home?

  68. Gab

    Just put the seatbelt around the beer, IT. Save the beer!

  69. Rabz

    Seatbelts are not analogous to cycle helmets.

    There is an absolute mountain of indisputable evidence that proves the efficacy of seat belts.

    I would never drive a car without wearing one. You will regularly travel at speeds of over 60 kph in a car – on a pushbike you will be lucky to exceed 20 kph.

    Impacts – get thrown off a bike at 10-20 kph you’ll be very unlucky if you pick up a serious injury of any description.

    Have an accident in a car at 80 kph + without a seat belt and you’re mush.

  70. Infidel Tiger

    Just put the seatbelt around the beer, IT. Save the beer!

    Damn. I’ve been putting a helmet on it.

  71. John Mc

    Seatblelts are fine. I just stopped that stupid beeper when I’m reversing and taken off my seat belt (as I’m legally entitled to do), or manoeuvring my car onto the lawn to wash it. When I’m relaxing on the weekend with little jobs like washing my car, I don’t want that stupid thing beeping at me.

  72. Rabz

    How fucking annoying is the seatbelt warning when you have a carton of piss on the front passenger seat and the thing beeps at you all the way home?

    I put mine on the floor. Or engage the seatbelt (Gab+), which again, makes more sense than it seems.

    P.S. My trip home from the bottle ‘o’ is less than 3 minutes and it’s still as annoying as fuck.

    Trial and error, Squire.

  73. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I don’t need the fucking car working for the nanny state

    Mine beeps at me when it considers I have driven long enough to need a break. F.M.D.

  74. dan

    I like the way you can’t buy a Chery (car) here because it doesn’t have stability control, but it’s perfectly legal to ride a piece of aluminium weighing about three grams down the middle of the street in heavy traffic or at night with a “reflector” on and no headlights, completely invisible. However after setting up a system specifically designed to put unprotected cyclists in close proximity to 1 tonne projectiles moving at 60-80km/h, and often specifically designed to guide cyclists within centimetres of doors that specifically must be repeatedly opened and closed to allow entry to and exit of vehicles from parking bays, we place some foam on the cyclists’ heads so that we all feel better. Having treated countless people serviced by the above arrangements, who were as per the system’s design severely injured and put in ICU, I can assure everyone that head injuries are only one part of the bicycle crash smorgasbord.

  75. Rabz

    FFS – mine only beeps if I’ve left the door open with the key in the ignition.

    But then – don’t get me started on the disfunctionality of modern cars.

    The horror stories are legion.

    Thankfully, mine is no longer modern – it’s a 2006. The model before that was a 1998 – a true driver’s car. Didn’t even have ABS.

  76. Rabz

    I can assure everyone that head injuries are only one part of the bicycle crash smorgasbord.

    For those stupid enough to ride on roads shared with cars.

  77. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    please do something fucking constructive about addressing your total inability to express yourself coherently in the written word

    Sir Fred obviously has a sticky keyboard. Letters go missing as they miss their mark, and the space bar has self-destructed. Sticky keyboards are an occupational hazard on the Cat – all that coffee sprayed on them when taken by surprise by one of IT’s gems. I am still chortling over the helmeted beer carton. I like it when threads descend to a particular level of general insanity.

    Punch that keyboard around a bit, Sir Fred, until it gives up and behaves itself.

  78. Rabz

    Lizzie – mea culpa – I blew my stack because the good Squire obviously has some sound points he’d like to make but I just can’t wade through such incomprehensible sludge.

    It’s to your credit that his defenders have been Devotchkas such as Gab and yourself.

  79. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I can assure everyone that head injuries are only one part of the bicycle crash smorgasbord.

    Back to serious again. Yes, well said. The other day, with heart in mouth, I watched some underfed hippie guy with a beard riding a bicycle on a busy road as roaring traffic sped by. Behind his bike was a fragile contraption in which he was towing a little girl, saving the planet by risking her life and limb.

    I wanted to shout and shame him off the road. We don’t need nanny laws, but when it comes to children, we need the application of the legal concept of ‘duty of care’.

  80. Rabz

    Oh – and Sir Fred – I hear Fauxfacts are recruiting, Tovarich – get in there and cause some mischief.

    You are a hell of a lot more intelligible (and about a gazillion times more amusing) than Barkin’ Betty.

    Go for it, Squire!

    :)

  81. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Love it when you hit the Russian late at nite, Rabz. :)

    We went to get our Visas from the Russian Consulate. Almost no-one speaks English and it is bureaucratically Kafkaesque. On the application form you have to list the name and date of every country you have visited for the past ten years (Da Hairy Ape going spare about this), plus the name, address and telephone number of your last two places of employment, including the names of your ‘chief’ at the time, and many other questions of a ‘prying’ nature. These Soviet remnants give some idea of what it must have been like to live under communism.

    Looking forward to the language and culture though.

  82. John Mc

    I don’t believe cycling should be limited or helmets compulsory, but those stupid contractions with babies and toddlers in them, being towed behind pushbikes, need to be prohibited from any public road where there are cars. If you need to travel by your own steam you can walk with your child pushing the cart on the footpath.

  83. Gab

    but those stupid contractions with babies and toddlers in them, being towed behind pushbikes, need to be prohibited from any public road where there are cars.

    Ever seen a baby in one of those “jogger” prams? The baby’s head gets knocked about a bit and I wonder of any of them acquire shaken baby syndrome.

  84. nerblnob

    Having treated countless people serviced by the above arrangements, who were as per the system’s design severely injured and put in ICU, I can assure everyone that head injuries are only one part of the bicycle crash smorgasbord.

    It rather stands to reason that people working in accident and emergency departments will see accidents and emergencies. Not a basis for criminalising the healthy population.

    I rode around Melbourne in the 70s and 80s without a problem but a very different attitude to the cyclists I see there now.
    My momentum was not sacred. It was not up to pedestrians and other vehicles to get out of my way to save my energy.

    I had no hesitation in slowing down, stopping, or getting off to walk my bike if I anticipated a dangerous situation.

    Every intersection I approached, every driveway, lane or sidestreet was a potential threat so I went slow enough that I could stop safely approaching these. Every car door could potentially open so I either went outsid etheir radius or went slow until I was past. That wasn’t just me, that was how most cyclists went.

    I accepted that I was a light and vulnerable vehicle that could nevertheless cause harm to others, not an asexual planet-saving superhero.

    I came off a couple of times, wet tram tracks, and once I was on a cycle pub crawl and somehow got stuck upright after I’d wobbled into a car’s front bumper bar from behind.

  85. Yobbo

    Impacts – get thrown off a bike at 10-20 kph you’ll be very unlucky if you pick up a serious injury of any description.

    That’s the entire point of bicycle helmets. If you get hit by a car you’re fucking dead no matter what you do. The point of helmets is that those 10km/hour falls can be fatal if you land on your head. The same way people are routinely killed by hitting their head on the pavements in fights.

    I’m no supporter of mandatory helmet laws but trying to argue against their usefulness is retarded.

  86. Yobbo

    The usefulness of helmets, that is. Not the laws.

  87. Blogstrop

    The Mozilla episode marks a new descent into madness and media thuggery by the left. What has for generations been a mainstream stance, supported by the Judeo-Christian moral code, is now deemed incorrect. Politically Correct is now a term which means the opposite. It means that correct is whatever the activists want it to be, regardless of the wealth of human wisdom which might say the opposite.
    The BBC’s World Have Your Say, a structured forum on radio, featured activists equating opposition to gay marriage with denying essential human rights, donating money to the KKK, and siding with holocaust deniers.
    Given the upping of the ante by some to blocking Firefox users from some sites until the CEO stood down, it is to be hoped that no conservative for the forseable future uses that browser.
    I tried it once – I didn’t like it!

  88. Blogstrop

    Damn! Now I have to copy that to the open thread.

  89. but the choice to do so or not should be the cyclist’s decision only

    That’s fine, as long as the decision for me to wear seatbelts while driving is mine.

  90. Rabz

    Yobbo,

    I’m not arguing against the usefulness of helmets per se, but the denial of a choice in regard to wearing one. I rode a pushbike around for about fifteen years and never once wore a helmet. But then, I can’t recall ever having any accidents, either.

    I do a fair bit of recreational cycling nowadays and yes, I wear a helmet. I hate the bloody thing. On hot days, it’s like having a small furnace strapped to your noggin.

    But yes, I did stop cycling for years due to my annoyance at being told by the state that I had to wear a helmet. I wasn’t the only one, it seems.

  91. Yobbo

    What has for generations been a mainstream stance, supported by the Judeo-Christian moral code, is now deemed incorrect.

    Need we list the parts of the “Juedo-Christian moral code” which were considered mainstream for thousands of years that are now considered barbaric?

  92. Yobbo

    I’m not arguing against the usefulness of helmets per se, but the denial of a choice in regard to wearing one. I rode a pushbike around for about fifteen years and never once wore a helmet. But then, I can’t recall ever having any accidents, either.

    I do a fair bit of recreational cycling nowadays and yes, I wear a helmet. I hate the bloody thing. On hot days, it’s like having a small furnace strapped to your noggin.

    But yes, I did stop cycling for years due to my annoyance at being told by the state that I had to wear a helmet. I wasn’t the only one, it seems.

    That’s fair enough Rabz. Not everyone likes helmets. But someone was earlier trying to argue that they don’t do anything. No need to make stuff up to justify the preference not to wear one.

  93. blogstrop

    Go do some reforming of Islam, Yobbo, instead of more cheap shots at our own reformed religion.

  94. But then, I can’t recall ever having any accidents, either.

    That’s because the last time you you had an accident, Rabz, you got amnesia, obviously ;)

  95. Yobbo

    Go do some reforming of Islam, Yobbo, instead of more cheap shots at our own reformed religion.

    Given that I’ve previously been banned from commenting from here due to being too disrespectful of Islam, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Islam being worse doesn’t make other religions better. The comparison Christianity needs to win is to rational secularism, not even more barbaric religious intolerance.

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