Well like most bloggers, I'm too busy enjoying the holidays to be arsed writing about anything much... since I am currently in South Canterbury for a few days before heading up to Wellington, I thought I'd just make a few random remarks for the hell of it:
1. Why is it that Air New Zealand's British and Chinese cabin crews from London to Auckland were friendlier and more helpful than the Kiwi ones (or the one in the front cabin)? The difference is between people who couldn't do enough, to sour faced bitch. The Chinese cleaner at the United lounge at Hong Kong was a blessing though, she came and got me when a shower was free - THAT is what benevolence is about.
2. Appreciate the low density housing, wide open spaces, lack of traffic (seriously NZers, get over it, almost all congestion is a joke compared to London) and room. Think carefully about those who want to impose high density living on our cities, and the arguments they put forward. I can just say that it is one of the things I appreciate the most while away from London.
3. When thinking about recovery of fines, think about tax. Think about how dedicated the state is to taking your money to fund its activities, and think how less dedicated it is to punishing criminals, ask yourself if things shouldn't be reversed, and whether the state is more interested in growing itself than undertaking its core function - to protect you from criminals. David Farrar comments rightly about how immoral it is to fine people based on wealth. An alternative is to deduct fines from people's incomes JUST like tax, including welfare.
4. Death of Gerald Ford - the President who pardoned Nixon and shepherded the USA until the disaster of Jimmy Carter. Sadly he wont be remembered for much more. He survived two assassination attempts. On the bright side he fought the wasteful and destructive welfarism of Johnson, he reduced taxes, and entered into the Helsinki Accords with the USSR. These accord which included commitments on human rights, such as free speech, planted a seed that undermined the communist administrations in eastern Europe over the following decade or so, it gave NGOs in those countries something to start holding their regimes to account, though few would notice how significant it was for some years. On the other side he gave Suharto the nod to invade East Timor, which saw hundreds of thousands murdered. The justification was fear of a Marxist regime following Portugal's swift decolonisation - but Suharto's blood thirsty ways had been ignored. That must surely be his darkest moment, darker than pardoning Nixon. So I am ambivalent about Ford - he recovered the dignity of the Presidency, but only just.
5. End of Don Brash's political career - I written almost enough about this. All I wish is that Don and his family have a great holiday season. He has done more for NZ than his colleagues will ever publicly give him credit for.
6. Politicians I most want to see the back of before the end of 2006:
- Fidel Castro (come on, I'd like the year to end on a happy note);
- Robert Mugabe (he is surrounded by so many low lifes someone must be ambitious);
- Ken Livingstone (there must be a mad bus driver somewhere ready to give productive (i.e. 10% of) Londoners an end of year present;
- Helen Clark (you haven't climbed enough mountains yet Helen, you know 2008 is virtually unwinnable - oh that's right you're facing Key and English, fair enough then);
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (time to visit God you bigoted knuckle dragging prick).
7. Saddam's death sentence. Yawn get it over with, the man has the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands. I have better things to do than waste time giving a damn.