I don’t usually comment on this sort of thing….

One sort of knows, in the background, that it goes on, but one is rather tired from striving to pay Gordon Brown and all that stuff….and Yemen and Afghanistan are rather far-away countries right now, of which we know little…

…but I even wondered about this picture for a LA caption competition – just look at the poor LITTLE girl’s face: this is her wedding photo, the poor mite – he’s “about 40”, and she’s eleven:-

David Davis

...you mean, I have to shag THAT?...

...you mean, I have to shag THAT?...

In my mind, there is no problem for a woman to marry an older man, in principle. I am 16 years older than my wife, and even the Director, Sean Gabb, married his dear and nice wife whom we know and love, when she was at the time about 12 or 13 years younger than he was. They have now caught up in age together, as you do, and as we have done. My wife is still 16 years younger than I am, but we are both now old warring scrag-bags together.

But I think for the wife to be “eleven”, as in the above picture, so it is said, is pushing at the boundaries of the envelope” a little bit, or even a lot. If this is what is going on, then I as a Libertarian who believes that individual humans have Natural Rights, believe this sort of process to be disgusting. If we believe that children are children up to a “certain age” (about which there can be some argument but broadly we all agree it is “about” 16 (or so) and therefore cannot consent legally to serious interpersonal arrangements or other sorts of contracts under that age, then that must be the case for all humans. It cannot be that our children here can’t do it, but Yemeni (or other) children can, for some spurious and quasi-religious or other pre-Renaissance pre-capitalist reason.

Ragged pre-capitalist, pre-classical-liberal, and barbarian-warlord-survival-guides, cleverly promoted and peddled as “religions”, and dealing with the disposal of debts, animals, defeated tribes, the enemy’s widows-of-beheaded-warriors, and his relict children, his men’s and boy’s severed heads, and his slaves and concubines, are no help to these poor children in the photo. Not at all.

Libertarians, when they will have regained The West (a long job, Boyo!) will have their foreign-policy-work cut out for some time. But perhaps not as long as against Lithuanian EU Commissioners who hate light bulbs.

This is the real, primary sort of Enemy-Class enemy that we ought to be “servicing”. We can then, having secured our civilisation, “service” people like that “Taliban” bloke who seems to be able to get lots of interesting and exciting weapons to attack our boys with. I can’t find a correct wikiref to “service”, which in the Cold War, meant “kill on the battlefield”. Sorry.

Partridges of Chelsea will live or die by the rules of 21st century customer sovereignty

Tim Evans

Very recently I had the grave misfortune of taking my young daughter to breakfast at Partridges of Sloane Street http://www.partridges.co.uk/ – or more accurately Chelsea given the main store is now just off the Kings Road. I have been visiting these local general grocers since the 1960s, and putting to the side a noticeable drop in standards over the last couple of years, nothing could have prepared me for such an utterly repugnant experience.

Forget the fact that I asked for an English breakfast whereupon I received something completely different – we all make mistakes. Forget that it took more than 40 minutes for a very simple order to arrive. These things happen and, well, there were customers on one other table…? No, what was such a shame was the fact that what eventually did arrive can only be described as a mound of utterly cold and gelatinous yellow swill, which, according to the waitress was supposed to be scrambled eggs. To the side were four pieces of totally uncooked and un-browned bread that was officiously described as “toast”! On picking up a slice, I discovered that the bread was utterly stale and that it should have been thrown away days ago.

Sadly, this tip of the iceberg experience highlights a more troubling fact about this once proud business. Having been granted the branding advantage of a Royal Warrant, one suspects that Partridges is not only resting on past glories but that it now appears to be largely devoid of any effective quality control at street level. For what emerged from the kitchen was symptomatic of a business that is no longer worthy of a Royal Warrant. Instead, it is becoming an embarrassment to London and the Royal household. Indeed, given apparent levels of under performance it is a disgrace that in 2008 a senior executive of Partridges held the position of President http://www.partridges.co.uk/royalwarrant of the Royal Warrant Holders Association http://www.royalwarrant.org/

Now, mindful of the power of the market, I will not give up here. In the future I will continue to visit Partridges because I understand that customers really do have sovereignty and they can make a difference. Next time I will expect the basics of good service and good food. But to focus minds and aide the right incentives I will covertly take along my digital video camera. If my recent experience is repeated once more then there will be no blog or web article to follow. Instead, there will be a You Tube film and a press release requesting that the Royal Warrant be finally removed from this once proud institution.

For in the 21st century, businesses really will live or die according to the economic laws of customer sovereignty. If quality and value are not maintained even the mightiest will fall. Today, the world really is flat. http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/the-world-is-flat