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November 30, 2003

Olde English word of the day

Being a gentleman I have never learnt to type and so rely mainly on one finger to tap at the keys.

Unfortunately due a stabbing incident involving a "safety" pin I am now the proud owner of a whitlow on the said finger, which is slowing my blogging down.

At least it is a fine old 14th century condition, which could also be called a "felon" - Though having a Felon oin the end of your finger sounds a little perverse.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 29, 2003

Racist?

November 2005

A Labour MP has been accused of racism by Countryside Activists.

Following the violent protests and letter bombing campaign of pro-hunt supporters in anger at the fox-hunting ban Mr MacShane had said the elected and community leaders of British Countryside had to make a choice.

"It is the democratic, rule-of-law, if you like the British way, based on political dialogue and non-violent protest like the one in London yesterday.

"Or it is the way of the terrorist against which the whole democratic world is uniting."

Now Countryside activists in his Rotherham constituency have said they have no confidence in their MP and written to Labour's NEC ruling body expressing their concerns. "People are very much offended that their patriotism has been called into question.

"The most devastating thing, we feel, that is implied is that in some way we should choose between the British democratic system of dialogue and the terrorism perpetrated by so-called Countryside groups.

"There are over 170 Countryside Alliance councillors who believe in our democratic system that we have in Britain.

"We want the NEC to investigate these comments that our MP has made and if there is any action to be taken they should take it, because in this current climate of ruralphobia throughout the world, we think it is very unhealthy that a minister in such a senior position should make these comments."

A member of the NEC, Shahid Malik, has said he will take up the matter, adding that "Farmers should not be expected to condemn terrorism any more strongly than other people."

-- Well of course I have just made that up - there aren't gangs of rural terrorists roaming the land blowing up inocent civilians - but if there were I don't think sucha speech by a Labour minister would be out of place, and I wouldn't consider it "racist" against us countryside dwellers.

But of course as you have guessed all I have done is replace the word "Muslim" with "countryside", and yes, Muslims are playing the race card against MacShane. Basically it is verboten to say anything about Muslims and terrorism in today's Britain.
BBC NEWS | Politics | Complaint lodged over MacShane comments

Posted by The Englishman at 9:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Major-General Sir Hector Archibald Macdonald 1853-1903

(K.C.B., D.S.O., A.D.C., L.L.D.)
Sir Hector.png

Hector Macdonald, a crofter's son, began his military career as a private in the British army, and later became a Major General. Hector Macdonald fought in the Afghan war and both Boer wars. Distinguished himself when he saved the British army from total destruction at the Battle of Omdurman.

At the Battle of Omdurman Macdonald's brigade met the attacking Dervishes with heavy fire, Macdonald kept his troops well organized and disciplined, he continually maneuvered the lines to meet the ongoing threat of the attacking Dervishes.

"Amid the roar of the firing and the dust, smoke and confusion of the charge of front, the general [Macdonald] found time to summon the officers of IX Sudanese around him, rebuked them for having wheeled into line in anticipation of his order, and requested them to drill more steadily in brigade."- Winston Churchill

Before long other regiments began to arrive and backup Macdonald's lines, the firing upon the Dervishes was so intense that they began to retreat, fleeing into the desert. At the battles end 10,000 Dervishes lay dead, 16,000 wounded, and 5,000 prisoners. The battle was over the British army saved, the army lost 48 men and 382 wounded. At the end of the day, when the ammunition from Macdonald's brigades was counted, there were two rounds per man. The British army won the battle and avenged the death of General Gordon of Khartoum. Macdonald was the hero of the day and truly saved the British army.

Hector Archibald Macdonald’s tragic end came in 1903, from allegations and rumors of crimes that were unproven.
General Macdonald was sent to Ceylon as commander of the forces on the Island.
Macdonald was despised by the leaders in Ceylon who felt that they should not have to answer to someone of such "low breeding".

Dearest Mab, Do you really mean to say that, besides your-
self, three ladies (all up-country ones,,too) were the only
ones who went to see our new General arrive? ... Then,
dear, you know we heard a whispered rumour that he does not
like ladies, and possibly may have been pleasantly sur-
prised to find he had dropped on a spicy little Isle where
ladies were few and far between.

Times of Ceylon 1903

On a Sunday morning at the Hotel Regina in Paris, Hector came down from his room to the lobby to get the morning paper and sat down to breakfast. Macdonald opened the paper and was shocked at what he saw in the headlines "grave charge", a witness said a look of despair came across Hector’s face as he held his head low and stared at the paper. Hector got up and walked slowly up the stairs and entered his room, sat on the bed, raised the revolver to his head and shot himself.

The people of Ceylon had questioned his age, and that Hector was not married. In fact Hector was married and had a son, and the fact that Lord Kitchener did not allow his officers to marry, Hector kept his marriage a secret for years.

When Hector’s wife Christina Macdonald came to Paris to claim Hector’s body, the British government was stunned to learn that Macdonald had a wife and son. The government then offered Lady Macdonald a heroes funeral, Lady Macdonald basically said: no leave us alone.

The fact that Hector committed suicide, most would see it as a act of guilt. In fact Hector Macdonald was suffering from Dysentery, was in general poor health, and greatly depressed, his suicide might not of been a act of guilt, just poor judgment of a poorly beaten down man. A great Highland hero had been destroyed, and his accomplishments to the British Empire forgotten.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:07 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 28, 2003

From the ranks

Over a drop of the amber nectar Mr Free Market and I couldn't remember, or rather disagreed over several things:

Did Tommy Franks rise from the ranks?
Who was the UK General in the First World War who rose from the ranks - dispelling the idea that Edwardian Britain wasn't a meritocracy?
Did Slim hold every rank in the Army?

I could Google them but this late at night I will leave it open...

Posted by The Englishman at 11:46 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Counting Sheep

Ain, Tain, Tethera, Methera, Mimp,
Ayta, Slayta, Laura, Dora, Dik,
Ain-a-dik, Tain-a-dik, Tethera-dik, Methera-dik, Mit,
Ain-a-mit, Tain-a-mit, Tethera-mit, Gethera-mit, Ghet.

(1 -20 in Wiltshire Sheep Counting System)

Over recent years a range of evidence - archaeological, genetic and linguistic - has been use by historians to throw doubt on the traditional view that the native Britons or Welsh were largely driven out of England. A less well-known strand of evidence that supports the theory of continuing `Welsh' presence throughout Britain - that of rural dialects.

I am sorry to say I have never heard a shepherd use this but it was apparently still used in my Father's lifetime. The final survival of these counting systems has usually been as children's rhymes rather than as working tools.

- a universal example is the rhyme that I learnt as a child

"Eeny, meeny, miney, moe; Catch a nigger tiger by his toe".

Source:
British Archaeology, no 46, July 1999: CBA update

Posted by The Englishman at 4:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monboit Bollocks

Whilst I have heard of him I have never knowingly read anything by George Monbiot before.

This article turned up as I looked for something else.

He talks about events I know about and was part of, and his version is bollocks - as the local farmer I had a cordial relationship with the Hippies and a great evening at the camp with them. Though I do remember the Hippies had no time for the hangers on, which presumably included Guardian journalists.

And I did prevent the late comers parking by some nifty driving with my Caterpillar D6. I trundled across the road and gazumped some trustifarin trying to park in my gateway. She was upset when I just stopped, got out and walked away - " you can't leave that there!" - Oh yes I can!

Posted by The Englishman at 4:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Offensive jargon comes under fire

As I was reading BBC NEWS | Technology | Offensive jargon comes under fire

"Technology firms supplying Los Angeles County with hardware have been asked to avoid using the words "master" and "slave" to describe their products."

My BES Ltd. Mail Order Gas & Plumbing Supplies Catalogue arrived.

On the front page it advertises a "Stud Finder" - inside it has got "Male Stud Couplings" - "Male and Female Nipples" though they call the Bastard Files, half round ones. And so on...

Who can I sue?

Posted by The Englishman at 1:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 27, 2003

The Difference between Liberals, Conservatives and Texans

Question: You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two
small children. Suddenly, a dangerous looking man with a huge knife
comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities,
raises the knife, and charges. You are carrying a Glock .40 and you are
an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your
family. What do you do?

Liberal Answer:

Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the
man look poor or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would
inspire him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What
about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock
the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation?
Does the Glock have an appropriate safety built into it? Why am I
carrying a loaded gun and what kind of message does this send to
society and my children? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing
me? Does he definitely want to kill me or would he just be content to
wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get
away while he was stabbing me? This is all so confusing! I need to
debate this with some friends for a few days to try to come to a
conclusion.
_________________________________________________________

Conservative Answer:

BANG!

__________________________________________________________________

Texan's Answer:

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click... (sounds
of reloading).

Wife: "Sweetheart, he looks like he's still moving, what do you kids
think?"

Son: "Mom's right Dad, I saw it too..."

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click....
(sounds of reloading).

Daughter: "Nice group, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips?"

Posted by The Englishman at 9:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 26, 2003

"Accused of Racism"

Looking at my earlier entry about Muslims being accused of racism for attacking Jews and the report accusing them of so not being published in case it was accused of racism....

I did a quick Google Search: "accused of racism" UK

4,630 entries for this specific search - top ten:
New Labour
US networks
Colleges
UK Health Service
House of Lords Staff
Asian Doctor
Asian Doctor (again)
Millennium Commission
SOAS
Tories

Gosh, there does seem to be a lot of it about!

Racism goes against one of my core beliefs.
'A gentleman is never unintentionally rude' and I hold no brief for it, but am I being a tad cynical in believing this "accusing of racism" is just an indiscriminate stick that is being waved about?

Posted by The Englishman at 4:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

IEA must read

Economics often is counterintuative - which is why I try to remember to thank John Blundell and the IEA everyday for helping me realise the error of my assumptions. This article is a classic example.

Institute of Economic Affairs

"ECONOMICS is at its most rewarding when it contradicts banality. Our intuition, or even our common sense, is not always the best guide. Indeed, economist Diane Coyle famously wrote in Sex, Drugs and Economics: "When economics and common sense clash, economics wins every time."

I rehearsed this thought when I heard Digby Jones, head of the CBI, arguing that we must "make Britain more competitive". It sounds sensible. It sounds close to self evident. It is nonsense. "

How can a nation be competitive? The statement has no meaning. It is a polite rendering of the dud idea that trade involves one side to an exchange being a loser. In such a flat-earth economics, exports are in some mysterious sense virtuous, with imports a measure of failure.

Jones has omitted a central insight of economics - comparative advantage. It was David Ricardo who first defined this vital idea. All other economists after Ricardo have refined and confirmed his insight that specialisation - across frontiers - is to everyone’s advantage.

Britain is invariably described as "the world’s fourth largest economy". But we are not some sort of Hibs or Hearts always beneath the American Rangers or the Japanese Celtic. The CBI may able to claim we have the fourth largest GDP per capita, but what does that mean?

The language of trade is price. Prices can only be established by trade. Swapping goods and services can only enrich both parties. Trade is nothing to do with the concept of "competitiveness". There is a sort of primitive anthropomorphism to the CBI line. To be competitive is to be alert, diligent or inventive - to exhibit capitalist or entrepre-neurial virtue.

I’m not concerned to praise commercial agility. That seems self-evidently useful. Yet "competitive" is really only CBI-speak for political begging. The CBI wants the exchange rate to be lower, though bafflingly it also favours joining the euro - thus abolishing exchange rates at least within the EU.

Ricardo may have established the primacy of comparative advantage 160 years ago, but each generation has to relearn that all trade, internally and beyond borders is enriching.

When a Turk or a Canadian or a South African exchanges something with a Scot there are no winners or losers. Both gain. The important point, the really crucial point, is that it is only individuals who know what they want and at what price. Public agencies know nothing of our individual preferences.

The notion that nations compete is a fallacy, as the errors lead to initiatives for exports or other mirages. Tariffs and subsidies are cousins of "competition policies". The moment politicians try to "help" the rot sets in.

Jones expresses the fear that Asian countries will subvert our industries by their dastardly habit of lower wage costs. Yet that is part of the comparative advantage of being in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. Jones’ instinct is to ban, suppress, delete or censor the price information that is the market.

Britain can no more be "competitive" than can Scotland, or East Lothian or Kirkcaldy. The only worthwhile policy is to open our doors to as much international trade as possible. That entails relaxing all the crazy protectionism of the EU, yet, exasperatingly, the CBI supports this vast impediment to mutually beneficial trade.

Perhaps in the CBI world view is the illusion that trade is like the Rugby World Cup. In trade we are all winners. I wish that the men meant to be the leading exponents of capitalism would shout that from the hilltops

Posted by The Englishman at 4:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Urban Fighting

I noticed this article: How to Conduct Urban Warfare

From Stalingrad to Seoul, Hue City to Sarajevo, Mogadishu to Groznyy, history is filled with the tragic tales of urban brawls. If they can avoid it, U.S. forces would certainly prefer not to confront an enemy in city streets. ..

The military has also paid a lot of attention to the lessons learned from other tough urban fights, including the Russian army's disastrous first war with Chechen rebels in the streets of Groznyy in 1994 and Israel's experiences in the Palestinian refugee camps. ..

Excuse me - haven't they learnt anything from UK troops 'trained for urban war' I thought it was one of our specialist subjects now!

Posted by The Englishman at 3:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wrong result - don't publish!

EU agency suppresses report on anti-semitism

The European Union's Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) shelved a report on anti-semitism after it found that Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents, according to the Financial Times.

The agency decided not to publish the 112-page study after clashing with its authors over over their conclusions and the definition of anti-semitism, which included anti-Israel acts, the paper said.

An unnamed deputy board member of the Vienna-based EU agency confirmed that the directors of the EUMC had found the research biased.

The focus on Muslim and pro-Palestinian perpetrators was judged inflammatory.

An extract from the report obtained by the FT stated: "...it can be concluded that the anti-semitic incidents in the monitoring period were committed above all by rightwing extremists and radical Islamists or young Muslims".

And we don't want to upset the Muslims by saying some of them are racists do we - though traditional bodies through out England are expected to accept that they are "institutionlly racist" and to work to root out what often is impossible to actually nail down.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 25, 2003

Thanks to Kim for the link

Czech warns Europe of 'dream world' woes - The Washington Times: World
Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Europeans are living in a "dream world" of welfare and long vacations and have yet to realize "they are not moving toward some sort of nirvana."
The Czech Republic is a candidate for European Union membership, but Mr. Klaus, who was elected president in February, made clear in an interview his distaste for the organization.

However, he conceded during a visit to Washington last week that "the political unification of Europe" is now in "an accelerated process ... in all aspects and in all respects."
Mr. Klaus said the movement toward a single political entity of 25 European nations "will not change until people start thinking and realizing they are not moving toward some sort of nirvana."
The Czech president remains convinced that "you cannot have democratic accountability in anything bigger than a nation state."
Asked whether he could see the nation-state disappearing, Mr. Klaus replied, "That could well be the case, [but] it remains to be seen whether it will be the nominal disappearance or the real disappearance.
"We could see the scaffolding of a nation-state that would retain a president and similar institutions, but with virtually zero influence," he said "That's my forecast. And it's not a reassuring vision of the future."
Last week, the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg released a 400-page report that found "systematic problems, over-estimations, faulty transactions, significant errors and other shortcomings" in the EU budget.
EU auditors could vouch for only 10 percent of the $120 billion the bloc spent in 2002. It was the ninth successive year the auditors were unable to certify the budget as a whole.
Europeans have not yet faced up to such "serious underlying issues," Mr. Klaus said, because "they are still in the dream world of welfare, long vacations, guaranteed high pensions and cradle-to-grave social security."
The biggest challenge for the Czech Republic, Mr. Klaus said, is to avoid falling into the trap of "a new form of collectivism." Asked whether he meant a new form of neo-Marxism, he said, "Absolutely not, but I see other sectors endangering free societies.
"The enemies of free societies today are those who want to burden us down again with layer upon layer of regulations," Mr. Klaus said.
"We had that in communist times. But now if you look at all the new rules and regulations of EU membership, layered bureaucracy is staging a comeback."
The European Union's 30,000 bureaucrats have produced some 80,000 pages of regulations that the Czech Republic and the other applicants for EU membership will have to adopt.
Mr. Klaus dismissed anti-Americanism in Europe, which he sees as "more a reflection of American anti-Europeanism than European anti-Americanism."
He said those who organize demonstrations in Europe are a tiny minority of the population. "The majority doesn't care to demonstrate."
Asked about the U.S.-led war on terrorism, Mr. Klaus said, "It is quite normal that the principal targets of al Qaeda are the U.S. and the UK, as they have taken the lead to do something about those who launch the terrorist attacks.
"We understand the fragility and vulnerability of today's world and we know these attacks are coming close to us, but as someone from a small country, I have a tendency to take domestic issues first and then look at the external ones."
The Czech Republic is one of 33 nations with troops in Iraq, but Mr. Klaus has been critical of the postwar transition to an Iraqi civilian government.
"My concern was always what to do after the end of the war because I know something about the transition from a totalitarian regime to a free society," he said. "This cannot be done by soldiers, or by foreigners.
"After we won back our freedom at the end of the Cold War, there was a proposal to bring back Czechs who had escaped to Western countries and make up a new government of those people who had been living in free countries.
"Those who had lived the tragic communist experience said no to the idea of foreigners organizing our transition back to freedom. We said we had to do this ourselves without outside influence dictating what we should do."

Posted by The Englishman at 8:32 PM

Stitch up.

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Fury as France and Germany Escape Rule Breach Punishment

Fury as France and Germany Escape Rule Breach Punishment

A decision not to punish France and Germany for consistently breaking single currency rules triggered a political backlash today.

The European Commission – enforcer of the rules – erupted in fury at the leniency of EU finance ministers, including Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Meanwhile European Central Bank chiefs held emergency talks to consider the implications.

Implication - the pact is not worth the paper it is written on, as you would expect, and so now the smaller countries will break it as well. The euro - a strong currency - what a joke.

And Euro MPs on all political sides condemned the move and vowed to hold their own inquiry.

The rumpus followed a majority vote of the finance ministers not to launch legal action which could have meant huge fines against Paris and Berlin.

Both governments – the most powerful economies in the EU – have run budget deficits above limits permitted by the Stability and Growth Pact, which sets the economic rules for countries in the single currency.

The Commission had urged the other member states to trigger the sanctions the Pact rules demand, arguing that for three years France had not made any effort to comply with the Pact, while German efforts to do so had been “inadequate”.

But a majority of governments agreed to let the guilty pair off the hook in return for promises to work harder to buck up their economic performance in line with the needs of maintaining a stable single currency.

Afterwards Mr Brown justified his support for France and Germany, saying the Pact ought to be flexibly interpreted to take account of economic cycles and not just the bald annual budget deficit figures.

The Commissioner in charge of upholding the Pact, Pedro Solbes, disagreed. He said the decision had no legal basis and did not follow the spirit or letter of the rules.

And some other member states said the result showed there was one law for the powerful EU countries and another for the rest.

Ironically it was the Germans who insisted on setting up the Pact to ensure weaker economies in the eurozone did not endanger single currency stability.

Now the Germans themselves are pleading that the rules they invented are too strict, and the credibility of the Pact– and the single currency itself – is at stake.

Conservative MEP and finance spokesman in the European Parliament Theresa Villiers said:

“Surely this must be the end of the Stability Pact.

“Why should any country comply with it, when the two biggest Euroland economies are flouting it and getting off scot-free?

“This is also another blow to the credibility of the euro. The Pact was billed as an essential way to make the euro work – now it is coming apart at the seams.”

European Liberal Democrat leader Graham Watson MEP said:

“This shabby deal will endanger the ratification of Europe’s new constitution. Citizens may well ask what is the point of agreeing new rules to run the European Union if the big countries will ride roughshod over them when the going gets tough.”

“The European Parliament will want to conduct a thorough post-mortem on this sorry affair. The Commission has attempted to apply (the Pact) but has been overridden by self-interested member states. The onus now will be on the governments which have killed off the Stability Pact to create a workable framework to ensure the future stability of Europe’s currency.”

European Parliament President Pat Cox declared the Pact to be “in the hospital ward but not dead“.

However he justified the decision to go easy on the French and Germans, saying sanctions might have been counter-productive:

“The judgment the finance ministers had to make was whether this is the right moment to take action against one member state emerging from a recession and another which is not firing on all cylinders. I have some doubts – it’s like kicking a dog when it’s down.”

He said the Commission was doing its duty in pushing for sanctions, but “it is for finance ministers to assess the impact of imposing sanctions on the stability culture of the eurozone and the currency itself.”

He called for “quality control” improvements to gear the rules more to national economic cycles adding: “Clearly the pact needs to function better in good times, to give the flexibility needed for a rainy day.”

Posted by The Englishman at 4:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shoe sizes

I really must write more about our historic weights and measures as they are attacked.

One of the most historic is Shoe sizing

Edward II originated shoe sizes in 1324.

"He decreed that 3 barley corns, placed end to end, equaled one inch. 36 barleycorns, end to end, were the actual length of his own foot. Each barleycorn was one third on an inch, which added up to 12 inches or one "foot." The longest normal foot measured 39 barleycorns, or 13 inches, and was called size 13. Smaller sizes were graded down from this number, each by a third of an inch."

Buit is that right?

History of sizes has a different take on it -

The system is as follows:

"First, no one can have a foot smaller than a baby. So size zero will be the size of a baby's foot: I measured one earlier. It was four inches long.

Second, we will measure up from size zero using the precision measure of the English Standard Barleycorn for each size increment (of course, the barleycorn shall be round and dry and taken from the middle of the plant, three equalling one inch).

And there you have it. The English Standard shoe size measure for all shoes.

"Idiot. My foot is longer than all your barleycorns!"

Fortunately, we are able to add to the size scale.

"But you don't have any more barleycorns. Fool!"

"Er... no worries, your Majesty: I take the first barleycorn in the row (the size one barleycorn) and place it beyond the thirteenth, thus repeating size one again, then I take the second and make another size two - and your Majesty will have already realized that we can add another size three, four and five, right up to a second thirteen!"

Posted by The Englishman at 12:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Home with the cup

Jonny, Jonny Jonny - as my three year old Girl shouted!
jonny.jpg

It has all been said elsewhere but what a contest and what a team that we can be so proud of!

- and I'm pleased that thousands met them when they arrived in the early morning - you had better get prepared for more of that!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Conned again

This morning's headlines:

BBC NEWS | Business | Britons count high cost of scams

Conmen have tricked Britons out of at least £350m in the past three years, according to government figures.

- For a moment before the caffeine kicked in I thought they were talking about the EU - silly me the figure is far too low...

"a cost-benefit analysis of the UK's EU membership from the Institute of Directors. The discussion paper, by Graeme Leach, argues that the aggregate impact of the EU budget, common agricultural policy, customs union, single market and EU social welfare model is negative for the UK. His most conservative estimate is that the net cost of EU membership is about £15bn a year, while the true current net cost of membership could be as high as £50bn."
Source

Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 24, 2003

This is why I loathe Mr Free Market

He writes too bloody well - what is the point in me trying to add anything to his "This Is Why I Loath Chirac" when he says everything I would have said. Go to FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES: Economics & Politics Archives to read it.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Accountants - my Heros!

Headlines today :
Rampant fraud costs EU more than £ 600m a year

Last week we had the Auditors refusing to sign off the EU accounts for the NINTH year running because they can't be sure where 90% of the budget is properly spent.

And here is an example of the pressure the poor beancounters are put under:

Scotsman.com Business - Banking & Insurance - Further allegations against EU whistleblower

MARTA Andreasen, the EU whistleblower, is facing fresh allegations from EU commissioner Neil Kinnock. The EU chief accountant, suspended on full pay since August 2002 after warning that the 100 billion (£69.89 billion) budget was open to fraud, has now been told she faces further allegations of speaking at conferences without permission.

Andreasen is already banned from commission buildings while Kinnock decides whether to take any further action against her. Andreasen was last week voted 2003 Personality of the Year by readers of Accountancy Age magazine and accepting the trophy she thanked the UK profession for supporting her campaign.
It is not often that accountant are heros but the fact the auditors have held out for honesty for so many years amongst the swill pots of Brussels says something for their characters, and I'm sure the commission has tried to appoint Yes men in place.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A good thing

Why do stories like this make me feel uneasy? After all it is a good thing to solve crimes, and serious crimes at that. but there is an irrational old luddite in me that worries about the inexorable drift to everyone's DNA being recorded - or would it lead to a better country with less crime?

BBC NEWS | UK | Old crimes solved after DNA blitz

Police have cracked 64 unsolved crimes following the DNA testing of prisoners and offenders with mental disorders.
A further 78 unsolved crimes are being revisited after an exercise to take samples from 3,772 prisoners and offenders not on a national database.

DNA matches have helped police take action over a 1997 murder in London and a 1994 rape in South Yorkshire.

The success of the exercise, launched in February, was announced on Monday by Home Office minister Hazel Blears.

An example - I would buy a DNA sniffer that recorded the DNA of any goblin that broke into my house - and I would be very pleased to use the results to hunt them down, but I'm not sure I want my DNA on file at the local nick...

Posted by The Englishman at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Full of cold

All wrapped up on the sofa with a a little girl also suffering a cold the video is keeping us sane - Is there a better beginning to any book than that of The Tailor of Gloucester?

In the time of swords and periwigs
and full-skirted coats with flowered
lappets, when gentlemen wore
ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of
paduasoy and taffeta, there lived a
tailor in Gloucester."

Who says you have to write down for children?

Posted by The Englishman at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 21, 2003

Rough as rats.

No blogging today - I'm as rough as rats - and I must keep my strength up for Saturday morning at the Pub - how rough am I? I fell like these cnuts have slithered over my tongue and are kicking the shit out the front of my head from the inside. -Though a shot of Damson Gin and a couble of tablets of Bute seem to be maikng it better....
rough.bmp


Posted by The Englishman at 3:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 20, 2003

The Anti-Bush Protest

Mr. FREE MARKET is our man on the ground when it comes to reporting on the anti-Bush protest:

protest.jpg

"This protest march has just gone by my office window - the length of the column was no more than 25 yrds"

"Trafalgar Square (approx 1000 soap dodgers there) & walked up to the US Embassy (not a single scumbag there)."


From the BBC NEWS | Politics | Thousands join anti-Bush protest
"Thousands of people have taken to the streets in London to protest against George W Bush and the war on Iraq.
Organisers claimed more than 150,000 have joined the march in central London, which will skirt Downing Street on its way to Trafalgar Square. "

I think I know who I believe...

Posted by The Englishman at 4:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How modern markets overtook the euro

The no campaign has launched a new pamphlet by David Lascelles, Director of the Study of Financial Innovation, which deconstructs one of the main arguments of the pro-euro lobby - that we need the euro to avoid transaction risks. The reality is that modern markets have developed highly sophisticated practises which make the cost of hedging against these risks minimal.


David Lascelles said, "The message for the UK is that currency hedging is available, it's cheap and constantly becoming more efficient. Anyone can access it: companies big and small, public institutions and private individuals. The euro is not a modern project: at best it provides a solution to a problem that has already been solved."

For the full PDF of Currency Futures: How modern markets overtook the euro click :
here.

Posted by The Englishman at 4:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One for Ken

Red Ken got very upset when Campaign for an English Parliament dyed the water in Trafalgar Square red - I remember the letter he wrote to The Spectator.

red square.jpg
The anti-Bush mob did it yesterday - I won't hold my breath waiting for his condemnation this time.

- If it ran red with his blood I would be celebrating until Christmas.

Posted by The Englishman at 2:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tagged, branded and coded

I thought as Blunkett wants to tag me it would be helpful to get some barcodes made up so off I went to The Barcode Generator

fuck off (hover your mouse over it for the meaning)

Now all I need is some sticky labels until such time as a tattoo is necessary.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iraq Body count

The Coalition dead body count went through 500 yesterday.

Hostile fire: 354 71%
Non-combat related: 147 29%
Total 501

I don't want to sound callous but that doesn't seem very many to me, especially as a large proportion are non-hostile.

Interesting how different commentaors se the same figures:

And from;
Samizdata.net - Middle East & Islamic Archives

bodycount.jpg

Posted by The Englishman at 12:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 19, 2003

"pet pig walking licence"

If you take your pig for a walk, you must have a “pet pig walking licence”. Your local Animal Health Divisional Office issues these licences. A Defra veterinarian will visit you and inspect your proposed route. This is to ensure your pig does notcome into contact with disease or possibly spread disease. There is no charge for this licence.

-Is it me or is the whole world mad?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Soham

I haven't been following the Soham murder trial closely but Systemiq over at Lib-Dem World puts my thoughts in his own inimitable style.

"This is one odd case. I'm very intrigued as to what line the defence is going to take here, given the Not Guilty plea but with the attendant admission that the two girls did die in his house. Not really clear to me if the opening statement by the Prosecution, where he ridiculed the notion of a 'double accident' was just a throwaway sneer or a direct reference.

However, what's more interesting is the thin nature of the Plod case, despite the manpower and scientific know-how they've thrown at it."

From what I see, the forensic evidence can all be explained away; they found his prints and hair inside a binbag at his place of work, but as a caretaker one would expect him to be handling binbags on a daily basis on a daily basis, and usinf and re-using them. Fibres similar to those from the girls Man Utd shirts were found in his house, but he's not denied they were in there and on more than one occasion. What's more remarkable is that not much else was found in either his car or his house. For some years now, we've been led to believe that short of burning said items to cinders, it would be impossible to circumvent forensics. That's either the case or it isn't.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing of all is the string of witnesses offering up half-remembered snippets of conversation, much of which is being spun as being sinister when it could in fact be innocent. Case in point being the fucking Teacher (wouldn't you know) who tried to make a name for herself by stating;
"He said he had been the last person to see them alive", the inference of course being how would he know that unless he'd killed them.
"Did he not in fact simply say he was the last person to /see/ them ?" enquired his silk swiftly.
"Er, yes" the ridiculous frump clarified.
Plus much more of the same that I can't be bothered to recall. Of course, it doesn't matter. Since the moment of his arrest, he's been found guilty and put away for life. And the sad, backward idiot of a Teachers Aide (and that has to be the lowest form of occupational-life on the planet, assisting halfwits to bully children), banged up for a year on charges that yere average high-profile boardroom delinquent walks away from half a doaen times a year, how much justice is there in that ?

Posted by The Englishman at 1:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday to Kim

Kim du Toit - Today's The Day

Posted by The Englishman at 12:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Section 28

I hadn't noticed it had gone - it always struck me as a stupid clause and not worth the fuss. And the more I read about it in this article the more I think I was right - it should never have been created.

kuro5hin.org || UK Repeals Law Against "Promoting Homosexuality"

This is the beginning of Section 28 of the UK's 1988 Local Government Act:
(1) A local authority shall not--

(a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality;

(b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.
This section will be repealed in England and Wales from 18th November 2003, having already been repealed in Scotland in 2000.

"much of the controversy has come from the common misunderstanding that it "stops the promotion of homosexuality in schools". In fact, schools are legally free to act as they wish; it has only ever applied to local authorities."

-" The schools clause did absolutely nothing other than promote intolerance, due to the fact that the LEA (local education authorities) had no control over the curriculum taught since the Conservative government introduced the National Curriculum in 1988, and local government has no control over the curriculum because it's decided nationally."

Posted by The Englishman at 12:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Making fun of foreigners.

IDIOTAS EN HEATHROW

Dos graciosillos estuvieron hace poco en el aeropuerto de Heathrow (Londres) haciendo la siguiente broma: escribían extraños nombres en un trozo de papel y los llevaban al mostrador de información para que preguntasen por esa persona por megafonía.
AirportGag2.doc

Posted by The Englishman at 10:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2003

Tilting at windmills

"This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the counsels of the great." (J.R.R. Tolkien, 'The Council of Elrond', The Fellowship of the Ring).

EnviroSpin Watch has comprehensive coverage about "the greatest scam since the South Sea Bubble" - wind farms - and the destrustion of some of the last wildernesses in the UK - go and support.

Posted by The Englishman at 4:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rudyard again

FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES notes the Kiplingesque state of the US now:

“Marine?” I asked.
“Yes,” he answered.
“Have you just been in Iraq?”
“Afghanistan. Just got back.”
The exchange was straight out of Kipling.

and I was reminded of Rudyard's work that he wrote for the Americans when they got involved in Panama:

-Take up the White Man’s burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard—

Full poem - thanks to Words - Rudyard Kipling here..

The White Man’s Burden
1899
Rudyard Kipling


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TAKE up the White Man’s burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the White Man’s Burden—
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain,
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden—
The savage wars of peace—
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hope to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden—
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper—
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go make them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man’s burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—
“Why brought ye us from bondage,
“Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden—
Ye dare not stoop to less—
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your Gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden—
Have done with childish days—
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!


Posted by The Englishman at 12:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Anarchy in the UK?

BBC NEWS | Wales | Hunting ban backlash fears

A ban on hunting with dogs could lead to a serious breakdown in relations between police and rural communities, an expert has claimed.
There are concerns that if pro-hunters carry out threats of defying any ban put in place, it could lead to conflict with police similar to those seen during the 1980s miners' strike.
More than 40,000 people have signed a declaration saying they will continue hunting even if its banned.

- Rural resentment is growing all the time - I almost dread to think what this ban will set off..

Posted by The Englishman at 10:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rotten to the core.

You wouldn't be allowed to run a whelk stall like this!

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | EU accounts fail to pass muster

The European Union's court of auditors has failed to give EU accounts a clean bill of health for the ninth year.
The court has criticised the system of accounting used by the European Commission and the way in which much of the 100bn euro annual budget is spent.
The auditors can give assurance to less than 10% of the European Union's annual budget for 2002, they say.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Burn Her! - quite right.

I was shouting at the radio as I drove to work this morning as some Social Worker Union representitive complained about the attention that is being paid to the Margaret Hodge scandal - "It was deflecting her attention away from ensuring that Social Workers were properly rewarded" (Near quote - I haven't found it on line yet.) Looking for it I found this disgusting article by Polly Toynbee Guardian Unlimited Politics | Comment | Burn her!

"This non-story threatens her in the run-up to the comprehensive spending review as she is fighting for money for children, money to pay social workers properly and above all, for universal Sure Start children's centres." I think that is the important bit.

The delight Polly shows in the new State apparatus is frightening "a widely praised system for ensuring every hint of abuse or neglect is flagged up at a central hub, forcing teachers, doctors and social workers to cooperate."
A Gestapo approach to Child protection if ever I heard of one. We can guess at what the hints of abuse might be - anything that doesn't conform with the Guardian reader's approach to life. I stand my belief that it would be safer and better for an abused child to be given to any random couple on the street rather than be put in the care of the council.

For those not up to speed on this story - please read ThisisLondon on the "The Children Minister's" background.

Demands for Hodge's resignation have never really stopped since June, when a Standard investigation published documentary evidence that Hodge conclusively knew about the abuse, yet failed to act. Initially, she had pleaded ignorance until the scandal came to light in October 1992, the last months of her tenure. But a "killer memo", dated April 1990, provided proof that she was told twoanda-half years earlier.

This memo - on the council leader's letterhead - exposed Hodge rebuking Cofie for requesting extra staff to investigate "sexual abuse among eight to 16-year-old children", callously reminding him that the budget was overspent.

The Standard also published a second document, this one by social workers, dated April 1990, which warned Hodge that "14 children" - some as young as nine - were "at risk of sexual exploitation".

Hodge never satisfactorily explained why she tried to deny knowledge of the abuse, and why, when this was exposed, she had rubbished the social workers who reported the abuse, and then failed to act.

Instead, shooting the messenger became Hodge ' s signature response. She responded that way when the Standard first exposed the child abuse scandal back in 1992, calling our reports "gutter journalism". And she was up to the same dirty tricks last week, shamefully smearing Panton when she heard the BBC was investigating his story.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Whee!

I feel yet another business trip to Colorado coming on -Colorado Conservative
Colorado is one of the few places where snow is a GOOD THING. I was able to ski for the first time of the season on Sunday....AWESOME!!!!


Posted by The Englishman at 8:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2003

I plead "Guilty"

:: Digital Freedom Network © :: Internet censorship coming to a computer near EU

The EU just passed an amendment to their Convention on Cybercrime that outlaws any speech these thought crime specialists deem as "any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors." If passed into law by the various national legislatures which comprise the EU, online books, such as Oriana Fallaci's The Rage and Pride, which is an honest and impassioned examination of Islamic immigration into the West or even The Bible, which is examined and reproduced extensively on the Web, could be deemed "hate speech" by Muslims in France and homosexual activists in the UK respectively.

Any site which tries to honestly discuss and debate illegal immigration, the Iraqi War, cultural clashes, homosexuality, Israel's right to existance, or even conservatism itself can be declared a hate site. In the EU, as in any socialist society, politically correct speech shifts constantly as expediency, vengence, and fashion dictate.

This is the same mind set that passed an anti-blasphemy law in regards to itself in 1999 making it a crime to criticize or mock the EU. (Blasphemy according to the EU is extreme if you even dare criticize its monetary policies.)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thanks for the images guys!

Free US and free UK images for you to use on your website. From The British in Florida. 9:11 , September 11th 2001

Posted by The Englishman at 6:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rugby and "The Protestant Wind"

Lilli burlero, bullen a la
Ho, by my soul, 'tis a Protestant wind,
Lilli burlero, bullen a la

First it was the Spanish Armada

And then William of Orange

and on Saturday the "Great Protestant Wind" came to aid England in the Rugby World Cup.

Galthié and Laporte both felt France's lack of control was down in part to the wet conditions. "This team had the means to do much better," said Galthié. "Without looking for excuses, the weather was not helpful to us, in producing the game we wanted to, or to our physical capabilities. With a dry ball in our hands we might have had quicker ball and been able to get over England's line."

According to the veteran flanker Olivier Magne, France were unready for the rain which ended a week of perfect spring weather in Sydney. "We worked all week on playing a wide game, and the conditions changed at the last moment. In different weather, the outcome would have been different, I'm certain."

Posted by The Englishman at 2:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Beeb asks for it.

The BBC has a new "iCan" section on its website to keep an eye on the pulse of the nation's thoughts - apparently the Tarquins were shocked and surprised when the Petrol strike happend three years ago in that they had no idea such resentment was brewing, they had heard nothing in Dean Street - so here is where they hope to hear the man on the street - as
Samizdata.net has pointed out the man on the street seems mainly to be the usual media suspects.. so please help them answer this week's question:What's it like living in rural British in 2003? And what are the key ways it can be protected?

My answer was - leave it alone - no more interference. Bugger off, we don't want any more "help" from the government!

Posted by The Englishman at 12:17 PM | TrackBack

November 16, 2003

Good Question

The Daily Ablution: Calling All Human Shields!


"So why aren't the human shields "trying everything" to protect Iraqi civil society now, when it most needs it? Why isn't the peace crowd out in the streets, screaming at the top of their lungs about terrorist bombers who callously kill "equally precious, equally important" Red Cross wokers and Iraqi civilians?"

Posted by The Englishman at 7:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 14, 2003

Nice

Sat here witha nice cup of tea - this guy does some good background web animations - I wouldn't let Mrs Englishman watch though - CUNNILINGUS_IN_NORTH_KOREA


Genuine or not, I don't care.
Y H Chang


Posted by The Englishman at 11:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You're welcome.

FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES: Economics & Politics Archives

Sir Winston,

“We must also never allow………the growing sense of unity and brotherhood between the United Kingdom and the United States and throughout the English-speaking world to be injured or retarded.”

House of Commons, 1 March 1955

Hear hear - I'll have the flag out next week as well.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Samurai pussies

Across the Atlantic has an impressive list of countries helping out in Iraq - but Japan won't send any pf its warriors because it is too dangerous - so much for Bushido, the way of the samurai.

This way can be summarized in seven essential principles:
1. Gi: the right decision, taken with equanimity, the right attitude, the truth. When we must die, we must die. Rectitude.

2. Yu: bravery tinged with heroism.

3. Jin: universal love, benevolence toward mankind; compassion.

4. Rei: right action--a most essential quality, courtesy.

5. Makoto: utter sincerity; truthfulness.

ó. Melyo: honor and glory.

7. Chugo: devotion, loyalty.

These are the seven principles underlying the spirit of Bushido, Bu--martial arts; shi--warrior; do the way.

The way of the samurai is imperative and absolute. Practice, in the body, through the unconscious, is fundamental to it, thus the enormous importance attached to the learning of right action or behavior.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pigs today. you tomorrow

With all the excitement on ID cards you may be interested in seeing how the Gov is doing with tagging farm animals. FromPublicTechnology.net:

"Identifying the 25 million cattle, sheep and pigs in England and tracking their movements costs taxpayers and farming around £55 million a year equivalent to just over £2 an animal. "

Posted by The Englishman at 6:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BACKUP

Stop reading this and go and backup your stuff - MT crashed on me last night, or the Welsh hacked it, thank god I had made my first backup of my blog on Friday!
Just got it all back working so I will be back to normal soon.

Posted by The Englishman at 4:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 13, 2003

Enviro nutters

I'm sitting here reading the excellent EnviroSpin Watch when I look up to see an advert on the television - a man's arm, a mosquito lands and bites...

The advert is for Organic food - Seeds of Change - the tag - "Organic People taste better". Ha bloody ha . Malaria - even West Nile disease in Colorado are just a bloody joke because we are Organic and Mosquito bites are just funny little bites - No they fucking aren't - they are only funny to you, Tarquin, because the full force of western science is keeping you safe and you won't get a nasty disease.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

After Hunting the attack on Shooting:

From the Countryside Alliance:

********************************************************
SHOOTING - 'ASTONISHING IGNORANCE' BEHIND ATTACK ON WILDFOWLING'
Wildfowling is the latest country sport to come under attack from
animal rights groups following an 'investigation' into wildfowling
on conservation sites.
The Independent on Sunday quotes an un-named 'senior conservationist'
claiming that: "it's clearly bonkers to have shooting going on on a
nature reserve", while Douglas Batchelor, of the League Against
Cruel Sports, was predictably creative labelling wildfowling
"management by death". For more go to:-
www.countryside-alliance.org/news/03/031112ast.htm

********************************************************
SHOOTING - THE REVIEW OF THE WILDLIFE AND COUNTRYSIDE ACT 1981The CfS has made a submission to DEFRA on Snaring and Trapping
being the first round of consultation for the review of the Wildlife
and Countryside Act 1981.
The CfS line to DEFRA is:
* Shoot managers and gamekeepers require the widest range of methods
available.
* Training and the correct setting of the snares are vital.
* The use of free running snares with a 'stop' to prevent total
closure is favoured. Stops are not currently mandatory. The future
lies with properly set, safe, effective and humane free running
snares, which must be preserved at all costs.
* There is scope for DEFRA to become much more actively involved in
the endorsement and promotion of best practice in both snaring and
trapping. Promotion of existing codes of practice would assist in
raising standards.
* Trapping legislation must be based on the International Trapping
Agreement.
* The best way of improving snaring and trapping practice is by working
alongside professional gamekeepers and land managers. We support the
establishment by DEFRA of an advisory group comprising representatives
from appropriate organisations associated with land management,
gamekeeping and animal welfare. Such a body would be tasked with the
development and promotion of officially endorsed codes of practice for
trapping and snaring which would have the full weight of DEFRA's
authority and backing.
The full submission will be on the CfS website shortly
www.foresight-cfs.org.uk/

Posted by The Englishman at 7:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BBC Headline

BBC NEWS | Wales | Swansea Leisure Centre to shut

Actually it only ever was a sheep tied to a lamp post - and the ewe has eventually got too old and ugly even for Swansea.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 12, 2003

From "Adam Smith"

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed,
law-ridden, regulated, penned up, indoctrinated, preached at, checked,
appraised, seized, censured, and commanded by beings who have neither
title, knowledge, nor virtue."

And some of us at least don't want that...

Adam Smith email bulletin - get your own copy!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
IN THIS BULLETIN...
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

BUT FIRST...

Professor Anthony King, the noted psephologist, came to a Power Lunch last
week and told us that there were now no deep divides in politics: it was
just a case of who promised more or less of each shared social objective.

He's wrong. I don't share politicians' objectives at all. Indeed, the higher
they climb up the tree, the more revolting are the parts they expose. So
frankly, I'd like to see fewer of them, working shorter hours, taking longer
holidays, and meddling less in our lives.

As Proudhon put it:

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed,
law-ridden, regulated, penned up, indoctrinated, preached at, checked,
appraised, seized, censured, and commanded by beings who have neither
title, knowledge, nor virtue."

And some of us at least don't want that.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
STUFF
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Silly jobs
**********

Talking of which, our dubious jobs competition uncovered some very daft jobs
indeed. Lots of pieces in the papers and I was kept busy last week touring
the radio and TV studios on it. Here are some of the highlights:

We had to pay special compliment to all those NHS trusts who found office
space for 'Five-A-Day Co-ordinators'. Their job is to make us all eat five
pieces of fruit or vegetables a day. (In fact, latest research suggests that
three pieces is just as good for you, so in my book they should take a 40
percent pay cut and become 'Three-A-Day Co-ordinators', but there you are.

Almost as silly are the 'Real Nappy Officers' which local councils harbour,
in the belief that towelling nappies take up less landfill and so are more
environmentally friendly. In reality, disposables take up a tiny proportion
of landfill, and given the energy you need to boil the water and the amount
of bleach and detergent you tip down the drain, nobody's really sure.

Bristol's Walking Officer (don't ask) called up to claim her well-deserved
prize, which (now she's learnt to walk) will be a pair of running shoes.

Another special prize is on its way to the Coventry City Council Scrutiny
Officer. He wins a very useful deerstalker and magnifying glass.

Meeja
*****

It doesn't have to be like that, though. I did the Core Values column in The
Business newspaper this week (great paper, by the way, and growing fast),
and chose to reflect on how education choice is sweeping Europe. New and
better schools are springing up in Denmark, Netherlands, even Sweden, as the
policy of 'the money follows the child' steers state resources into the
schools that parents actually want. The Tories have adopted the same idea
here, so it can't be too long before the government copies it too.

Colleagues have also been busy in the meeja. During the mail strike, Alex
Singleton went on the likes of BBC1, News 24 and Radio 5 to make the case
for Royal Mail privatization. Dr Madsen Pirie has been everywhere as usual,
debating Polly Toynbee (zzzzzz) on Radio 2, appearing on Richard Littlejohn
(which I did too, on the subject of silly jobs). We're everywhere, man.


Libertarian shindig
*******************

Who says 'libertarian organization' is an oxymoron? Liberty 2003, the
European conference of the Libertarian International and Libertarian
Alliance, takes place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 November, in the National
Liberal (where else?) Club in London SW1. Topics include globalization,
medical freedom, Tolkien and liberty, (non-)compulsory education, and more.
Check the details and download the brochure at:
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/misc/conf03.htm


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
GOING WESTMINSTER: More scandals from http://www.ePolitix.com
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ten years of Ofsted, and schools are still failing -- one-third more than
last year, according to Ofsted chief David Bell.

If the government made fewer mistakes on its Jobcentre Plus and Disability
Living benefit pay-outs, it could save 8 million pounds, says the NAO.

1.4 million pensioners fail to claim council tax benefit, perhaps confused
by the paperwork. Well, we don't want to make it easy for them, do we?

Whitaker's Almanack says 47 percent of us cannot name the deputy PM. (Well,
it is hard: this week he's changed it from Four Pads to Three Pads.)

Left-wing firebrand Diane Abbot conceded that it was 'indefensible' for her
to send her child to a 10k-a-year private school. But she did, anyway.

Who says GCSEs are too easy? A Skills for Life study says half the adult
population would fail, with 15 million of us struggling with basic maths.

Macmillan Cancer Relief says that despite committing an extra 570 million
pounds to cancer care, ministers have no idea how it is being spent.

Business bankruptcies are up 20 percent since 1997, running at an annual
rate of 50,000 a year. (Brown's budget is pretty near the edge, too...)

Despite government efforts to encourage public transport use, the proportion
of journeys undertaken by car last year remained stuck at 85 per cent.

The Public Accounts Committee says that the 400-million-pound computer
contract for magistrates' courts is one of the worst deals it has ever seen.
(Remember, PAC Chairman Edward Leigh visits ASI soon -- see EVENTS below.)


----------------------------------- -------------------------------------
WHO'S HOT? WHO'S NOT?
----------------------------------- -------------------------------------

REASON Magazine: Libertarian hip POLLY TOYNBEE: Interventionist lip
http://www.reason.com http://www.guardian.co.uk/columnists


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE WEEK IN WEBLOG: Think and write on http://www.adamsmithblog.org
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's just a few of the pieces that have fomented discussion on our blog in
the last week or two. Visit; enjoy; think; and comment.

WASTEFUL SPENDING: Alex Singleton points out the waste of 120 million pounds
on government IT projects; but some commentators say this is just the tip of
the iceberg.
http://www.adamsmithblog.org/archives/000094.php

ENGLISH ANTHEM: Let's have a national anthem for England that's as
anti-Scottish as theirs is anti-English. That's what I say, anyway.
http://www.adamsmithblog.org/archives/000093.php

DAYDREAM BELIEVER: Forget 'the government ought to do something' -- never
underestimate the power of motivated individuals to change things, says Dr
Madsen Pirie. But you have to start somewhere. Here's how.
http://www.adamsmithblog.org/archives/000089.php

SCRAP THE DFES: And replace it with a much smaller Funding Agency, says
Stuart Sexton, former Special Adviser at Education.
http://www.adamsmithblog.org/archives/000088.php

FREE AND FAIR: Schemes to help poor coffee producers should be about helping
them to move to industries where their labour is more valuable, and not
about propping up the price of overproduced coffee.
http://www.adamsmithblog.org/archives/000099.php


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EVENTS: Full list on http://www.adamsmith.org/policy/news/forward.htm
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Pension policy think-in
***********************

DAVID JOHN, Senior Research Fellow at the prestigious Heritage Foundation
think-tank in Washington DC, will be joining us for a working lunch focusing
on the next steps in pension policy, comparing and contrasting policy
thinking in the UK and US. The date is Monday 17 November, and if pensions
turn you on, contact Matthew Young at asiprojects@matthewyoung.co.uk for
information or one of a truly tiny number of invitations.


Health and money
****************

ASI is sponsoring the 4th annual LCS Health Policy Conference -- "Follow the
Money" -- which takes place in Westminster on Thursday 20 November. The
ultra-impressive roll of speakers includes SIMON STEVENS (PM's health
adviser), PENNY DASH (former NHS policy chief), KEN ANDERSON (DoH Commercial
Director), MIKE DIXON (NHS Alliance chair), and ANDREW FOSTER (boss of DoH
personnel). Do check it out: you can find all the details on:
http://www.lcsic.com


PAC-Man visits ASI
******************

EDWARD LEIGH MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee
-- who as I've said, has been beating up the Lord Chancellor for mis-
spending 400m quid on a computer contract, gives the Adam Smith Lecture on
Tuesday 18 November in Westminster's stylish City Inn hotel. Hope we'll see
you there. Contact steve@adamsmith.org for information and invitations.


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AS ADAM HAD IT...
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Here's a tip for Tory spokesman Tim Yeo MP as he tries to work out how to
revitalize the public services:

"In every profession, the exertion of the greater part of those who exercise
it, is always in proportion to the necessity they are under of making that
exertion."
-- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chapter I, Part II, Article II


e

Posted by The Englishman at 1:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

When supping your ale

What colour should it be?

Click for a large copy to print out and take to the pub.

All about the Lovibond Beer Database

Some History...

Joseph W. Lovibond invented the tintometer, a visual colorimeter, and a system for colorimetry based on subtractive color mixing.

Evolution of the Method.
The writer was formerly a brewer, and this work had its origin in an observation that the finest flavour in beer was always associated with a colour technically called "golden amber," and that, as the flavour deteriorated, so the color assumed a reddish hue. It was these variations in tint that suggested the idea of colour standards as a reliable means of reference.


Posted by The Englishman at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

.eu bollocks

I was amused by Europe wanting to take a bigger role in "running the Internet" - it is instructive to look at the history of the .eu domain -it still hasn't happened! While private enterprise has set up any number of domains over the last few years ( despite the process being a complete dogs breakfast) Europe can't organise a single one - here's news from October 2000;
vnunet.com Europe set to replace .com in 2001

Europe set to replace .com in 2001
By Ian Lynch [04-10-2000]
Plans mooted by European government and business leaders to drop .com for .eu as the flagship European domain extension are on course, and registrations may start next year.


The full story is too tedious to bother with but for those interested here is the latest official news. Telecoms / Internet Services / EU Domain

Posted by The Englishman at 10:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Papers Bitte!

Purely "voluntary" - my arse!

ID cards: these are Blunkett's detailed plans :: PublicTechnology.net :

The Government has decided to begin the process of introducing a national identity cards scheme, said David Blunkett yesterday. This is a look under the bonnet of the latest plan, watered-down after the Home Office proposal for a compulsory scheme was ditched last week.

Top line - what is planned:

> Establishment of a National Identity Register.
> Passports and driving licenses to move towards being based on biometric technology - with personalised, specific identifiers;
> Those who don't need a passport or driving license can use it as a voluntary, plain identity card. This would not become compulsory until an appropriate further Parliamentary decision can be made.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2003

Climate Alarmism Reconsidered

From the ever reliable Institute of Economic Affairs


Robert L. Bradley Jr.
A robust examination and critique of statist solutions to energy and environmental problems

The energy challenges of resource depletion, security of supply and pollution have been effectively addressed by market entrepreneurship, technology, and measured regulation. The remaining sustainability issue for carbon-based energy reliance is anthropogenic or man-made climate change. Climate Alarmism Reconsidered demonstrates how the balance of evidence supports a benign enhanced greenhouse effect, and how the case for mandatory greenhouse gas reductions depends on unrealistic assumptions.
Government intervention in the name of 'energy sustainability' is the major threat to real energy sustainability “ the provision of affordable, reliable energy to growing economies worldwide. Free-market structures and the wealth generated by markets help communities to best adapt to climate change.
This multi-disciplinary study concludes that climate alarmism and its corollary, policy activism, are unwarranted and counterproductive for the developed world and particularly for the world's energy poor.

> buy now for £12.50 or

Download it for free - PDF

Posted by The Englishman at 5:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World Peace - sorted.

The Daily Ablution: David Lynch to Bring World Peace - 'It Could Happen This Year'

Well that is it then - no more worries.

Posted by The Englishman at 3:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I know who put on next year's bonfire.

A village in East Sussex had problems in the summer with "travellers" so in time honoured tradition when they were making up their bonfire they put an effigy on it.

Bonfire effigies can either be Guy Fawkes and the rest of the papist plotters, or The Pope, or some topical villain - Saddam, Tony Blair, etc. - it is always about having a good time never about stirring up hate - this isn't about setting up a burning cross and a noose in a tree.

But in Tony's Britain this is what happens: BBC NEWS | England | Southern Counties | Six arrests over burnt gypsy effigy

"The Commission for Racial Equality has called for those involved in the effigy burning to be pursued and "punished"."

There might possibly be a case for someone to say "Steady on chaps, that was a bit over the top". But no they are being hunted down for a hate crime...

Posted by The Englishman at 3:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A great result from a Speed camera.

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | French ministers 'found speeding'

Cars carrying two French ministers broke the speed limit while taking them to inaugurate a new speed camera, according to a French motoring weekly.

Posted by The Englishman at 2:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Speed Cameras

Lots in the news today about Speed Cameras - including a clutch of Rally drivers being nabbed - the end result the Rally probably won't come to the area again and £150m of tourist cash will go else where.

The The Sun Newspaper has the easiest to read article on a general campaign about cameras.

"SPEED cameras have been slammed as a £150million failure which do not save lives.

A study by Autocar magazine shows they do not deter drivers and may CAUSE accidents.

And the increased reliance on speed cameras has led to a reduction in police patrols' meaning other serious offences go undetected.

Edmund King of the RAC, who helped carry out the study, said the people caught by cameras were often not the drivers causing accidents.

Research shows that while the number of drivers caught by cameras has risen four-fold since 1996, there is less than a five per cent drop in road deaths."

And now even France is going to introduce them in an attempt to make the appalling French roads safer.

- Sorry a correction - they are "Safety Cameras" not "Cash collecting speeding cameras that are yet another Big Brother scam that lets the police off real policing".

- I wonder how long they would last if the Citizens were allowed to carry...?

Posted by The Englishman at 2:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cops Reconsider Lock-Out Rescues

News from Auto Express

"Police officers in the UK could be told not to help motorists retrieve keys that have been locked in their vehicle. The news comes after an incident in Edinburgh when two officers helped a woman gain access to her car.

She then complained and sent the force a bill for £200, claiming that the cops had damaged the vehicle's paintwork, and demanded compensation. A police spokes-man said officers would now only help motorists if safety was an issue."

Silly Bitch - I hope she keeps an eye on her tyre tread depths and her lights because I expect the Rozzers will be looking to book her - , but anyway greedy silly bitch - one case of compensation culture and everyone no longer had auseful service. They should have fought the case as she asked them to do it...

Posted by The Englishman at 2:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

EU basketcases dragging us down.

From the FT.

UK records worst trade deficit with EU

Britain recorded its worst goods trade deficit with the rest of the European Union in September, according to official data which will rekindle fears of unbalanced economic growth.

Strong domestic demand led to a sharp increase in imports but exports deteriorated despite the weakening pound and strengthening global economy.

The sharpest fall in exports was to the weakest economies - Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

The deterioration meant that Britain's global goods shortfall widened from £3.4bn in August to £4.8bn the following month, or 4.3 per cent of gross domestic product.

This was well beyond economists' consensus expectations of a £3.5bn deficit and was the worst deficit since the record £5.1bn set in November last year.

"But interestingly, exports actually rose to both the US and Japan over the month reflecting the fact that both these economies are enjoying a healthy rebound in business activity," Mr Rubinsohn said.

Posted by The Englishman at 1:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kim will love this.

Some time ago Kim du Toit and others ranted about an appalling case of waiting for an ambulance - so when I first saw the story about the Countess of Wessex and her emergency call out all appeared fine..
from ThisisLondon
"Staff dialled 999 and an ambulance arrived within three minutes."

Hang on a minute! what is this in today's Times "A POLICE blunder forced the Countess of Wessex to wait more than 30 minutes for an ambulance to take her to hospital for an emergency Caesarean section, it emerged last night. " - this is the Queen's Grandchild we are talking about who have Police security with them all the time, living in the poshest bit of Britain and still the Rozzers can't organise an ambulance with in half an hour - what hope for the rest of us?

Ambulance for Countess delayed by police error
By Alan Hamilton
(The Times)


A POLICE blunder forced the Countess of Wessex to wait more than 30 minutes for an ambulance to take her to hospital for an emergency Caesarean section, it emerged last night.

A 999 call was made from the Wessexes’ home after the Countess, who suffered an ectopic pregnancy two years ago, suffered severe stomach pains on Saturday night.

Staff contacted Marcus Setchell, her gynaecologist, who insisted that she be admitted to the nearest hospital without delay. Police were immediately sent but the call was not passed to the ambulance service by the duty inspector.

When finally alerted, the paramedics arrived in 3min 45sec and the Countess was taken under police escort to Frimley Park NHS Hospital in Surrey, four miles away. A surgical team was by then on standby and delivered her baby daughter.

A Surrey Police spokesman yesterday apologised to the couple for the distress suffered by the Countess, 38, who was visited in hospital by her husband yesterday.

“We received a call at 21.59 from Bagshot Park security and it was passed on to the duty inspector, who believed an ambulance had already been called by the way the message was recorded.

“He immediately put into action the security measures surrounding the call of an ambulance and dispatched police response within one minute. An ambulance was not called. We will get this matter investigated and reviewed externally to establish what lessons can be learned for the future.”

The Countess and her baby were both stable in separate hospitals last night, but it is likely to be several days before they are reunited, Buckingham Palace said.

The unnamed girl, born a month prematurely and weighing 4lb 9ozs, is expected to remain for between two and three weeks in the specialist neonatal unit at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, South London, where she was taken immediately after her delivery. She is the first royal baby to be born in an NHS hospital.

The Countess is likely to remain at Frimley Park hospital at least until Friday, Palace sources said. The Earl of Wessex spent 90 minutes with his wife yesterday before returning to St George’s in the afternoon for a second look at his daughter.


Posted by The Englishman at 8:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

11/11

"Out of the wood the pale faces, tinged by the cold with blue, watched as the sun rose. Each face had a roughly drawn cross of red blood smeared on it, from forehead to chin and across the pinched cheekbones. With this sign of their covenant with their God they went forth to battle and from the slaughter a Nation was born: England."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 10, 2003

IQ

Reading my freshly ironed copy of The Times - Newspaper Edition, which my Butler had brought to me in bed, I noticed they had been brave enough to write about IQ....

Click for bigger version


ONLY the bravest academics dare to embark on the study of comparative intelligence, a field fraught with social, racial and sexual sensitivities.

Professor Richard Lynn, a fellow of the British Psychological Society and a member of the editorial boards of the journals Intelligence and Personality & Individual Differences, has often provoked controversy. Despite being described by colleagues such as Oliver James as kindly and unbigoted, his findings have led some students to boycott his lectures.

In 1996 he annoyed feminists by concluding that more men were winning first-class degrees because their brains were about 80 cu cm (5 cu in) larger than women’s, so that more men had IQs above 130 (which he calculated was needed for such degrees). He believes that males are innately more intelligent than females by about five IQ points from the age of 21 onwards.

Two years later he enraged social reformers by arguing that the tendency for intelligent people in good careers to delay having children and to have fewer of them — compared with the average — will knock half an IQ point off the average score in each generation.

His co-author, Tatu Vanhanen, the father of Matti Vanhanen, the Prime Minister of Finland, specialises in the study of democracy, in particular the social and economic preconditions necessary for its existence.

The longest shadow hanging over psychometrics — the measurement of intelligence — comes from The Bell Curve, the 1994 book on genetic influences written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray.

It claimed that blacks in Western countries scored on average 15 points below the average white IQ of 100, and that a “cognitive elite”, led by Ashkenazi Jews with an average IQ of 115, would come to lead developed societies. Opponents said the statistics were flawed and called the book racist.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Checking Cards much easier than catching real criminals.

Britain's top police officer gave his support yesterday
to the introduction of compulsory identity cards, describing them as an "absolutely essential" tool in the war against terrorism.
Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said Britain was at its highest level of alert in its peacetime history because of the threat of terrorism.

- My prediciton: watch the New Years Honours List for his reward in coming to Blunkett's rescue.

PS - A new comment has been posted on your blog An Englishman's Castle, on entry #148 (ID cards).


"I have heard that at the end of WWII, during the debate over whether to retain identity cards, it was pointed out that the only criminal prosecution resulting from them was that of forging them. No saboteurs or criminals were caught because of the IDs."

Posted by The Englishman at 9:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh Lord!

The botched reform of The Lords is one of the most shameful and ignored attacks on our institutions by El Presidente Tony - And here is the result of filling the place with "People's Peers" who would be active and representitive;

From the -Times Online - Britain

SEVERAL of the so-called "people's peers" have exceptionally poor voting records, analysis of divisions lists in the Lords over the past two years shows.
The worst offender is Lord Browne of Madingley, the chief executive of BP, who has not voted once since taking his seat. Others who have taken part in only a handful of Lords divisions are Baroness Greenfield, who has votes four times in the past two sessions, and Lord Adebowale, who has voted ten times.
The 15 peers were the first recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission, which was set up by the Government in 2000 to head off criticism over Tony Blair's powers of nomination to the Lords. The independent body took over the task of recommending peers for the crossbenches.
The commission's first list of 15, published in April 2001, was widely attacked for containing seven knights, four professors and a dame, the type of people likely to have been made life peers anyway.

PS - Oh look:

"TONY BLAIR is to create 20 more Labour peers as he squares up for confrontations with the Lords in the next parliamentary session over hunting, student fees and hereditary peers.
A source close to the House of Lords Appointments Commission told The Times that it was preparing to receive the first list of working peers since the general election. In addition to 20 Labour peers the commission, which vets nominations for propriety, has been told to expect six Conservatives, to be chosen by Michael Howard, and four or five Liberal Democrats."

Posted by The Englishman at 7:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 9, 2003

Remembrance

Thanks to The Group Captain at Across the Atlantic for providing the words..

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

On 3rd May, 1915, an exhausted Canadian doctor, Colonel John McCrae, was doing all he could for the wounded and dying on the battlefields of Flanders. The unimaginable carnage he witnessed at the front is captured in the moving words of a poem he wrote that day.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Posted by The Englishman at 4:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Junk

The Observer | Special reports | Official: fat epidemic will cut life expectancy

The child obesity epidemic caused by poor nutrition and lack of exercise is creating a looming health crisis, with average life expectancy expected to drop for the first time in more than a century.

Let me make a prediction - it won't. The biggest threat to kids health are the environazis banning life saving chemicals and techniques.

Influential Nazis tended to approve of the occult and of unscientific manifestations of vitalism and quasi-holism, including biodynamic farming, homeopathy, and a precursor of holistic medicine.

Nazism was very complex and is not reducible to a single group of beliefs, particularly in terms of the aforementioned theories. But within the Nazi movement of the early 20th century were influential figures who publicly subscribed to tenets remarkably similar to the prevalent antiscience claims of today's advocates of postmodernism, deconstructionism, and/or ecofeminism. Indeed, some of the antiscience canons of postmodernism were enunciated by key members of the Nazi regime.

More

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November 8, 2003

Pig Drawing Test

I was reminded that the Pig category was looking a bit empty so:

Get a sheet of blank white paper. Draw a picture of a pig on your sheet of paper. After you have completed your pig picture, click below.

The pig you’ve drawn can be used to identify your personality traits.
Match your drawing of a pig with the following interpretive details.

If your pig is drawn:

Toward the top of the page, you are positive and optimistic.
Toward the middle of the page, you are a realist.
Toward the bottom of the page, you are pessimistic and have a tendency to behave negatively.

Facing left, you believe in tradition, you’re friendly, and you remember dates (bithdays, etc.).
Facing right, you are innovative and active, but you don’t have a strong sense of family, and you have trouble remembering dates.
Facing front (looking at you), you are direct and enjoy playing devil’s advocate. You neither fear nor avoid discussions.

With many details, you are analytical, cautious, and distrustful.
With few details, you are emotional and naive. You care little for details and like to take risks.

With 4 legs showing, you are secure, stubborn, and stick to your ideals.
With less than 4 legs showing, you are insecure and living through a period of major change.

The size of your pig’s ears indicates how good a listener you are - the bigger, the better.

The length of your pig’s tail indicates the quality of your sex life - and again, longer is better. (OK, who didn’t draw a tail?)

Posted by The Englishman at 8:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 7, 2003

e-voting - a scandal waiting to happen?

I have been following the progress of e-voting.

"Electronic voting is being rushed upon voters around the world with little regard for the risks and the costs to our democracies. In Europe, the UK and Denmark are holding e-voting trials as part of the 2004 European elections. France, Spain and Ireland have also held trials. E-voting is already established in Belgium and Switzerland. The European Commission is looking at introducing e-voting across the EU, and the Council of Europe is developing guidelines for elections involving e-voting."

And of course in the States there are Democrats that believe that Diebold Commits Massive Voter Fraud? The more I read the more I think there may be a serious problem in verification of fairness - and it's not all just sour grapes from losers.

free project/fipr resolution on voter verifiable e-voting
Is a UK based site that highlights these problems and suggests some alternatives - here is their statement:

"Computerised voting is inherently subject to programming error, human error, equipment malfunction and malicious tampering. Due to the opaque nature of the technologies involved, which few understand, it is crucial that electronic voting systems provide a voter-verifiable audit trail. By this we mean a permanent record of each vote that can be checked for accuracy by the voter before the vote is submitted, and is difficult or impossible to alter after it has been checked. This must be achieved without compromising the secrecy and integrity of the ballot thus, to prevent vote selling or coercion, the vote records cannot be kept by the voter. It must be noted that such an audit trail is only useful if it is used regularly for recounts to verify the electronic result. Without a verifiable voting system every election is open to allegations which will raise doubts over the results that administrators will be unable to disprove. However an audit trail alone is not sufficient - all aspects of the voting process need to be made secure. Providing a voter-verifiable audit trail should be one of the essential requirements for any new voting systems."

Posted by The Englishman at 9:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Shall from this practise but make hard your heart:"

The blogosphere is making many points on the US Bill to ban Partial-Birth Abortion .

Ignoring the unborn for a minute, in the name of heaven what does such a procedure do to the abortionists and the women involved?

The doctor's warning in William Shakespeare's Cymbeline (Act 1, Scene V ) is apt as any.

Now, master doctor, have you brought those drugs?

CORNELIUS
Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, madam:

Presenting a small box

But I beseech your grace, without offence,--
My conscience bids me ask--wherefore you have
Commanded of me those most poisonous compounds,
Which are the movers of a languishing death;
But though slow, deadly?

QUEEN
I wonder, doctor,
Thou ask'st me such a question. Have I not been
Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learn'd me how
To make perfumes? distil? preserve? yea, so
That our great king himself doth woo me oft
For my confections? Having thus far proceeded,--
Unless thou think'st me devilish--is't not meet
That I did amplify my judgment in
Other conclusions? I will try the forces
Of these thy compounds on such creatures as
We count not worth the hanging, but none human,
To try the vigour of them and apply
Allayments to their act, and by them gather
Their several virtues and effects.

CORNELIUS
Your highness
Shall from this practise but make hard your heart:
Besides, the seeing these effects will be
Both noisome and infectious.

QUEEN
O, content thee.

Enter PISANIO

Aside

Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him
Will I first work: he's for his master,
An enemy to my son. How now, Pisanio!
Doctor, your service for this time is ended;
Take your own way.

CORNELIUS
[Aside] I do suspect you, madam;
But you shall do no harm.

QUEEN
[To PISANIO] Hark thee, a word.

CORNELIUS
[Aside] I do not like her. She doth think she has
Strange lingering poisons: I do know her spirit,
And will not trust one of her malice with
A drug of such damn'd nature. Those she has
Will stupefy and dull the sense awhile;
Which first, perchance, she'll prove on
cats and dogs,
Then afterward up higher: but there is
No danger in what show of death it makes,
More than the locking-up the spirits a time,
To be more fresh, reviving. She is fool'd
With a most false effect; and I the truer,
So to be false with her.

QUEEN
No further service, doctor,
Until I send for thee.

CORNELIUS
I humbly take my leave.

Exit

Posted by The Englishman at 1:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

An Honest Craftsman

I'll be wearing my R M Williams boots today - a great example of a company staying true to its starting beliefs and the world changing to meet it, instead of the other way around.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 6, 2003

The Fox's Prophecy

This was found among the papers of the late D.W. Nash, probably written during the winter of 1870-1871. At that time the military triumphs during the previous autumn of the Federated German States against France impressed the writer and his mind was therefore full of foreboding about the effect of the rise of a great and ambitious power like Prussia on England.

Thanks to JohnJo http://www.theenglandproject.net/ for it.

D. W. Nash's 1870 The Fox's Prophecy

Tom Hill was in the saddle,
One bright November morn,
The echoing glades of Guiting Wood
Were ringing with his horn.


The diamonds of the hoar-frost
Were sparkling in the sun.
Upon the falling leaves the drops
Were shining one by one.


The hare lay on the fallow,
The robin carolled free;
The linnet and yellow finch
Twittered from tree to tree.


In stately march the sable rook
Followed the clanking plough;
Apart their watchful sentinel
Cawed from the topmost bough.


Peeped from her hole the field-mouse
Amid the fallen leaves.
From twig to twig the spider
Her filmy cable weaves.


The wavings of the pine boughs
The squirrel's form disclose;
And through the purple beech-tops
The whirring pheasant rose.


The startled rabbit scuttered
Across the grassy ride;
High in mid-air the hovering hawk
Wheeled round in circles wide.


The freshest wind was blowing
O'er groves of beech and oak
And through the boughs of larch and pine
The struggling sunbeam broke.


The avried tints of autumn
Still lingered on the wood,
And on the leaves the morning sun
Poured out a golden flood.


Soft, fleecy clouds were sailing
Across the vault of blue.
A fairer hunting morning
No huntsman ever knew.


All nature seemed rejoicing
That glorious morn to see;
All seemed to breathe a fresher life -
Beast, insect, bird and tree.


But sound and sight of beauty
Fell dull on eye and ear;
The huntsman's heart was heavy
His brow oppressed with care.


High in his stirrups raised he stood,
And long he gazed around;
And breathlessly and anxiously
His listened for a sound.


But nought he heard save the song bird
Or jay's discordant cry;
Or when among the the tree-tops
The wind went murmuring by.


No voice of hound, no sound of horn
The woods around were mute,
As though the earth had swallowed up
His comrades - man and brute.


He thought, "I must essay to find
My hounds at any cost;
A huntsman who has lost his hounds
Is but a huntsman lost".


Then round he turned his horse's head
And shook his bridle free,
When he was struck by an aged fox
That sat beneath a tree.


He raised his eye in glad surprise,
That huntsman keen and bold;
But there was in that fox's look
That made his blood run cold.


He raised his hand to touch his horn,
And shout a "Tally-ho"
But mastered by that fox's eye,
His lips refused to blow.


For he was grim and gaunt of limb,
With age all silvered o'er;
He might have been an arctic fox
Escaped from Greenland's shore.


But age his vigour had not tamed,
Nor dimm'd his sparkling eye,
Which shone with an unearthly fire -
Fire that could never die.


And thus the huntsman he addressed,
In tones distinct and clear,
Who heard as they who in a dream
The fairies' music hear.


"Huntsman" he said - a sudden thrill
Through all the listeners ran,
To hear a creature of the wood
Speak like a Christian man -


"Last of my race, to me' tis given
The future to unfold,
To speak the words which never yet
Spake fox of mortal mould.


"Then print my words upon your heart
And stamp them on your brain,
That you to others may impart
My prophecy again.


"Strong life is your's in manhood's prime,
Your cheek with heat is red;
Time has not laid his finger yet
In earnest on your head.


"But ere your limbs are bent with age,
And ere yours locks are grey,
The sport that you have loved so well
Shall long have passed away.


"In vain shall generous Colmore,
Your hunt consent to keep;
In vain the Rendcomb baronet
With gold your stores shall heap.


"In vain Sir Alexander,
And Watson Keen in vain,
O'er the pleasant Cotswold hills
The joyous sport maintain.


"Vain all their efforts: spite of all,
Draws nigh the fatal morn,
When the last Cotswold fox shall hear
The latest huntsman's horn.


"Yet think not, huntsman, I rejoice
To see the end so near;
Nor think the sound of horn and hound
To me a sound of fear.


"In my strong youth, which numbers now
Full many a winter back,
How scornfully I shook my brush
Before the Berkeley pack.


"How oft from Painswick hill I've seen
The morning mist uncurl,
When Harry Airis blew the horn
Before the wrathful Earl.


"How oft I've heard the Cotswolds' cry
As Turner cheered the pack,
And laughed to see his baffled hounds
Hang vainly on my track.


"Too well I know, by wisdom taught
The existance of my race
O'er all wide England's green domain
Is bound up with the Chase.


"Better in early youth and strength
The race for life to run,
Than poisoned like the noxious rat,
Or slain by felon gun.


"Better by wily sleight and turn
The eager hound to foil,
Than slaughtered by each baser churl
Who yet shall till the soil.


"For not upon these hills alone
The doom of sport shall fall;
O'er the broad face of England creeps
The shadow on the wall.


"The years roll on: old manors change,
Old customs lose their sway;
New fashions rule; the grandsire's garb
Moves ridicule to-day.


"The woodlands where my race has bred
Unto the axe shall yield;
Hedgerow and copse shall cease to shade
The ever widening field.


"The manly sports of England
Shall vanish one by one;
The manly blood of England
In weaker veins shall run.


"The furzy down, the moorland heath,
The steam plough shall invade;
Nor park nor manor shall escape -
Common, nor forest glade.


"Degenerate sons of manlier sires
To lower joys shall fall;
The faithless lore of Germany,
The gilded vice of Gaul.


"The sports of their forefathers
To baser tastes shall yield;
The vices of the town displace
The pleasures of the field.


"For swiftly o'er the level shore
The waves of progress ride;
The ancient landmarks one by one
Shall sink beneath the tide.


"Time honoured creeds and ancient faith,
The Alter and the Crown,
Lordship's hereditary right,
Before that tide go down.


"Base churls shall mock the mighty names
Writ on the roll of time;
Religion shall be held a jest,
And loyalty a crime.


"No word of prayer, no hmyn of praise
Sound in the village school;
The people's education
Utilitarians rule.


"In England's ancient pulpits
Lay orators shall preach
New creeds, and free religions
Self made apostles teach.


"The peasants to their daily tasks
In surly silence fall;
No kindly hospitalities
In farmhouse nor in hall.


"Nor harvest feast nor Christmas tide
Shall farm or manor hold;
Science alone can plenty give,
The only God is gold.


"The homes where love and peace should dwell
Fierce politics shall vex,
And unsexed woman strive to prove
Herself the coarser sex.


"Mechanics in their workshops
Affairs of state decide;
Honour and truth - old fashioned words -
The noisy mob deride.


"The statesman that should rule the realm
Coarse demagogues displace;
The glory of a thousand years
Shall end in foul disgrace.


The honour of old England,
Cotton shall buy and sell,
And hardware manufacturers
Cry "Peace - lo, all is well".


Trade shall be held the only good
And gain the sole device;
The statesman's maxim shall be peace,
and peace at any price.


"Her army and her navy
Britain shall cast aside;
Soldiers and ships are costly things,
Defence an empty pride.


"The German and the Muscovite
Shall rule the narrow seas;
Old England's flag shall cease to float
In triumph on the breeze.


"The footsteps of th' invader,
Then England's shore shall know,
While home-bred traitors give the hand
To England's every foe.


"Disarmed, before the foreigner,
The knee shall humbly bend,
And yield the treasures that she lacked
The wisdom to defend.


"But not for aye - yet once again,
When purged by fire and sword,
The land her freedom shall regain,
To manlier thoughts restored.


"Taught wisdom by disaster,
England shall learn to know,
That trade is not the only gain
Heaven gives to man below.


"The greed for gold departed
The golden calf cast down,
Old England's sons shall raise again
The Alter and the Crown.


"Rejoicing seas shall welcome
Their mistress once again;
Once more the banner of St George
Shall rule upon the main.


"The blood of the invader
Her pastures shall manure,
His bones unburied on her fields
For monuments to endure.


"Again in hall and homestead,
Shall joy and peace be seen,
And smiling children raise again
The maypole on the green.


"Again the hospitable board
Shall groan with Christmas cheer,
And mutual service bind again
The peasant and the peer.


"Again the smiling hedgerow
Shall field from field divide;
Again among the woodlands
The scarlet troop shall ride."


Again it seemed that aged fox,
More prophecies would say,
When sudden came upon the wind,
"Hark forrard, gone away".


The listener started from his trance -
He sat there all alone;
That well-known cry had burst the spell,
The aged fox was gone.


The huntsman turned,
He spurred his steed,
And to the cry he sped;
And when he thought upon that fox,
Said naught, but shook his head.

Posted by The Englishman at 4:38 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

ID cards

Go to White Rose for great coverage of the ID card debate.

And an MP talking sense:

Mr. Simon Thomas (Ceredigion): Let me say at the outset that I am opposed to ID cards, both in principle and on grounds of practicality. To put it at its most brutal, I do not believe that the best way of remembering, as we do this week, those who gave their lives for freedom is to introduce the sort of society that would have had Saddam Hussein drooling. The apparatus of totalitarian repression depends on knowing who and where every citizen is and was, and which God they worship. The Government may have dropped the God bit, but the potential for all the rest remains.

Posted by The Englishman at 2:51 PM | Comments (1)

Defcon 3 - enemy alert

Thanks to The Edge of England's Sword for bringing the Eurofanatic mayor in Lewisham, South London to my attention.

It tells us al ot about the eurofascists behind the compulsory metrication scam.

"Last Thursday, when a phalanx of officials entered the market in Lewisham High Street, the traders, were ready for them. When Martin Pulsford, a greengrocer, was told to surrender his scales, he replied, "With the best will in the world, I am not going to give them to you." The officials called the police, who seemed none too happy to be involved. (One officer said: "We should be out catching real criminals.") As reporters and a BBC camera crew converged on the scene, the officials beat a retreat.
Why should Lewisham have been the first council to break the two-year truce on enforcing the metric laws (while the Metric Martyrs case is still awaiting a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights)? It may be because the borough's elected mayor, Steve Bullock, is a fervent Europhile, who immediately issued a statement: "The change in the law was made to bring the United Kingdom in line with Europe. I personally advocate the change to the metric system. If it were possible, I would enjoy buying goods in euros as well."

Mr Bullock, who is also general secretary of the Union of Social Democratic Local and Regional Politicians of Europe, was clearly angry at the rebuff suffered by his officials on Thursday. His council says it will be taking further steps to force Lewisham's market traders to obey the law, at a time of its choosing."

Posted by The Englishman at 2:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The new Normans..

I picked up a copy of Michael Wood's book In Search of England: Journeys into the English Past and he starts with
Norman and Saxon - Rudyard Kipling - which I will put in the extended part of this entry below.

It reads like good advice to our new European masters and the new Norman Yoke we suffer from.

NORMAN AND SAXON
(A.D. 1100)
Rudyard Kipling


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


MY SON," said the Norman Baron, "I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for my share
When we conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:—
"The Saxon is not like us Normans, His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, "This isn't fair dealings," my son, leave the Saxon alone.

"You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears,
But don't try that game on the Saxon; you'll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
They'll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

"But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.
Don't trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their wrongs.
Let them know that you know what they're saying; let them feel that you know what to say.
Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear 'em out if it takes you all day.

"They'll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark,
It's the sport not the rabbits they 're after (we 've plenty of game in the park).
Don't hang them or cut off their fingers. That's wasteful as well as unkind,
For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man-at-arms you can find.

"Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
Say `we,' `us' and `ours' when you're talking instead of `you fellows' and `I.'
Don't ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell 'em a lie!"

The Norman Yoke

Norman saw on English oak.
On English neck a Norman yoke;
Norman spoon to English dish,
And England ruled as Normans wish;
Blithe world in England never will be more,
Till England's rid of all the four. (Chapter XXVII)

Proverb recited by Wamba to De Bracy and Front-de-Boeuf. - Ivanhoe

Posted by The Englishman at 11:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Missing in Action

Apologies for the light blogging, I had to pop to Dublin on business and some professional socialising. Flew back in on last night the 5th November, fantastic sight of Bath lit up with fires and fireworks flying up into the air towards us. Guy Fawkes night is an old and the most English of celebrations but the view from the plane took me back to more recent times.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quick Link

With all the talk of Interest rate moves today I thought this appropriate:
THE ECONOMISTS

Move your cursor over the picture.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 4, 2003

Bustards

I look forward to The Great Bustard returning to Wiltshire - Rare birds return to Britain after 130 years - I hear they taste just like chicken..


Press Association
Tuesday November 4, 2003
The Guardian

Conservationists have been given the go-ahead for the reintroduction of the world's heaviest flying bird to the wilds of Britain.
If successful, the scheme could see the return of the great bustard after an absence of some 130 years.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has granted a licence for reintroduction which will mean the release of around 40 great bustard chicks a year for up to 10 years on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

The plain has been selected as large swaths of it have not been subjected to modern agricultural practices and have changed little since the 1870s - the last time the bird was resident in Britain.

The chicks will be raised, avoiding human contact, from eggs collected from nests that would have otherwise been destroyed or abandoned on farmland in Saratov, Russia - one of the few areas where bustards remain in the wild.

There are also bustards still found across eastern Europe, Spain and Portugal.

Male birds can grow up to a metre in length, weigh up to 18kg (40lb) and have a wingspan of 2.3 metres.

Ben Bradshaw, minister for nature conservation, said of the trial project: "It will be thrilling if this species of bird could be successfully reintroduced into the UK after so many years of being absent. We have consulted widely before issuing this licence with conservation bodies including English Nature, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds."

He added: "They are content that the interests of the birds will be safeguarded by the conditions of the licence."

Before the project can begin in the spring, licences need to be granted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). If approved the Cites licence will be granted before the import of the great bustard chicks into Britain.

A condition of the 10-year licence is that results of the project will be closely monitored and evaluated each year by Defra, in consultation with the RSPB, the Joint Nature Conservation Council and English Nature.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Civil War

Interesting to see what one man - a supporter "but not a member" of http://www.fathers-4-justice.org can do. Now look again at the Countryside revolt that is brewing..

Telegraph | News | Spiderman protest causes traffic chaos

A man in a Spiderman outfit caused traffic chaos in London yesterday as he continued his protest on a crane close to Tower Bridge.

David Chick, 36, from Burgess Hill, West Sussex, who claims that he is being prevented from seeing his three-year-old daughter, climbed the 170ft crane on Friday.

Police failed to talk him down at the weekend. Yesterday he walked about on the crane's boom, waving to supporters.

Police shut Tower Bridge and surrounding roads because the crane was swinging over the bridge in high winds. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said it was too dangerous to send officers up to bring Mr Crick down against his will.

The crane could become unstable in high winds and roads had to be shut in case Mr Crick fell on to bridge traffic, the spokesman added.

Traffic jams stretched for up to 10 miles from the bridge during the evening rush hour.

The Federation of Small Businesses said the road closures could cost businesses up to £10 million a day.

The London congestion charge is to be waived for motorists diverted because of Mr Chick's protest, a Transport for London spokesman said.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 3, 2003

Says it better than I could

The England Project has put two posts out on stuff I was going to comment on - and done it better than I could - so :
DerekWyattMP@barking.mad - as he says you couldn't make it up.
and The Hunt:

"They are a serious bunch of people who are, effectively, fed up to the hind teeth with the government and anti-hunt types trying to stomp on them. ..
It is still not clear whether the government will press ahead with the abolition of hunting in England and Wales (the ban has already passed into law in Scotland). But, if they do, and these people are good to their pledge, then they are quite capable of making life very difficult indeed for the authorities. In effect, a low-level civil war will be waged in the English countryside."


Posted by The Englishman at 5:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

One for Ian

Mirror.co.uk - HERO LIAM GETS HIS MEDAL FROM QUEEN
HERO LIAM GETS HIS MEDAL FROM QUEEN
Jul 17 2003

THE youngest squaddie to win the Military Cross was yesterday decorated by the Queen.
Marine Liam Armstrong won the second highest honour for tearing down a wall with his hands to get at nine Taliban guarding an arms cache in Afghanistan.
He forced them to surrender without a shot being fired and held them prisoner until back-up arrived. Marines spokesman Lt Col Ben Curry described his actions as "very brave and a great credit to the corps".
After the investiture at Buckingham Palace, Liam, 23, from Carlisle, said: "Words can't describe how proud I feel." As he left with friends to visit a lap-dancing club, he added: "It's my night and I'm going to enjoy it."

I hope he did - thanks to Ian for pointing me at this story and No, I'm not going to write down his comment.

Posted by The Englishman at 3:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Editing an MT blog for Beginners by a beginner.

A friend with a blog who has just moved to Movabletype was foolish enough to ask my advice on how to customise his blog: He posed five questions.
1. How do I get colours - you know, something nice....!
2. How do I get a pic onto the title bar
3. I have set up categories which I would like to use instead of dates
for archives - how?
4. How do I get blogroll onto it?
5. Hit counter - how?

I'm new to blogs and to MT but I have been playing with websites since 1995 - but I'm no expert nor a web designer. But I have got a blog so I am arrogant enough to think that people are interested in what I say. So here goes with a basic guide as I see it:

Apart from the documentation that comes with Movable type one the best resources I have found is: mediatinker.com

But first you need to look under the bonnet of how and where your new website keeps its files - you will need an FTP client - something like Visicom Media Inc. - AceFTP 3 Freeware. Configure this with the details your Hoster gave you and you would see various directories on the host - probably a public_html which will then contain a directory called either MT or movabletype. This is where the pages that you make are living. Whilst you are in there look for a directory called "images" - or make one if there isn't one there. You will need this later to put up pictures. And the FTP client is what you use to send the pictures up there.

Now go back to mediatinker.com and get a grip on this:
"The MT default templates contain four kinds of code: CSS, HTML, MT tags, and Javascript. - once you understand this all is easy."

1. How do I get colours - you know, something nice....!

CSS - controls the style sheet - to learn more see:
movabletype.org : Default Styles
"The layout and design of Movable Type's default templates depends entirely on the stylesheet being used. On this page, you can view screenshots of the 7 prebuilt styles; once you have selected the style you wish to use, copy and paste the contents of the text box into the "Template body" box of the "Stylesheet" index template in your Movable Type weblog. After rebuilding your index templates, your blog will take on the new style."

In your Movabletype control panel you can now see your CSS style.
This defines a lot of different elements and how each element should be displayed - for instance you will have an element called "Side" which will read something like this:

.side {
font-family:verdana, arial, sans-serif;
color:#333;
font-size:x-small;
font-weight:normal;
background:#FFF;
line-height:140%;
padding:2px;
}

This tells the browser that every time it comes across a bit of a page marked up as "side" then it should use this font at that size in such a such colour. Provided you have got a back up in case everything goes wrong you can now play with each element - change one - save and rebuild and see what difference it makes. This answers how do I get some colours in:

(But Tim it says that the color -sic- is #333 WTF is that? Look at HTML Color Chart - www.BROBSTSYSTEMS.com for an example of Colour codes - or you can do what I did and go off into the wilder territories and use "non-safe " colours such as "E6DCA5" which I got from looking at the source code on Farrow and Ball's Colour Information for Farrow's Cream.)
When you look at the HTML in the Index template you will see the various sections start with a (div) and then which style should be used - then the (/div) ends the section and the style no longer applies.

How do I get a Picture on the Title bar?

This is where you need to edit the HTML template. - this is the Index template in the control panel.
HTML is very simple once you look into it - it is all about nested brackets - something you open must be closed.

So I look for the bit that codes for the banner
and insert the code for a picture (img) where its source is (src=) you can shorten the whole URL to its path relative to where your blog lives - in my case it is is the images directory which is in the MT directory - and then I aligned it right. And again trial and error works! My code now reads:

<body">
<div id="banner"">
<h1">
<a href="">
<$MTBlogURL$">
<" accesskey="1"">
<$MTBlogName$>
</a">
</h1>">
<img align=right src="/mt/images/flag.jpg"">
<span class="description"">
<div class="codesample"">
<$MTBlogDescription$">
<&/span">
</div">

3 I have set up categories which I would like to use instead of dates
for archives - how?

This now takes us to MT itself ;
In your Index template you will have an entry about archives;
You need to add a section where the MTArchiveList archive_type="Category" rather than weekly or monthly.
You will see the way it is done with the existing archive section - a simple way is to copy the whole section the div marks the beginning and the end of the section and insert "Category" where it now says "Monthly".

4. How do I get blogroll onto it?
5. Hit counter - how?

Over there on the right are links to BlogRolling - Home and to a counter Sitemeter You will need to go to those sites and sign up and then they will give you some Javascript that you copy and paste into your index template. Simple as that - but do keep a copy of your template as a backup and also be prepared to move it about until it is in the place you want it. Trial and error will soon get you learning where the different divisions or sections are.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Better Out than in.

I don't really care about internal schisms in churchs who have different imaginary friends to me, but having met a couple of Bishops who seemed to be as queer as a the day is long, at least this guy is being honest about himself: First openly-gay bishop consecrated.

Whereas the church, which is meant to be about searching for some sort of Truth, is full of lying hypocites in pretending that homosexuality isn't rife in it. It is time they made their mind up - either they grow up and accept the Queers are a normal part of life or they stick to their Old Testament guns and say that queers have no part to play in their church - but then they seem to have given up on actually believing any of the inconvenient difficult stuff in The Bible.


Posted by The Englishman at 9:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Borderless Europe

First of all the Greeks don't let anyone of this plague ship - though my experience of Greek hygiene suggests that if they had gone ashore they would have been in greater danger of catching something serious.

And now our Spanish colleagues use the excuse to shut the border yet again.
CNN.com - Spain closes border with Gibraltar - Nov. 3, 2003

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- The tiny border crossing between Spain and Gibraltar has been closed by Spanish authorities for "reasons of public health," a Spanish Interior Ministry spokesman told CNN Monday.

Imagine the outcry if we closed Dover to stop some sick foreigners coming here...

Posted by The Englishman at 9:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 2, 2003

Talking my sort of language.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Howard 'would cut taxes' as PM

Howard 'would cut taxes' as PM

Posted by The Englishman at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 1, 2003

1st November

It's ten years today, 1st November 2003, that my father died. It's 61 years since he and the rest of the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry took part in the battle of El Alamein. Having been in the vanguard of the attack at the beginning of the battle they had lost most of their tanks and were rehorsed in Grants and Shermans for the second main attack on the 2nd of November. That morning they charged the German guns; on the flat plain there was no cover for the tanks against the dug in Panzers and 88s. The only way they could destroy an 88 was to run it over and crush the gun and crew. Of course a hit from an 88 destroyed a tank. And when they brewed up they burnt very quickly. Of the 50 tanks that started only four survived the day, many of the crews got out and some including my father were captured and spent the rest of the war in POW camp.

I would like to share a story about Dad, Herbert William Daw, which I only learnt at his funeral. He would never have mentioned it himself. A comrade of his told me he could have got back to the British lines but he stayed with his wounded driver; cowering behind a burning tank in the middle of a battlefield. And the driver had been wounded when the tank had been hit; he had been trapped by his arm. My Dad crawled back into the tank, amputated the arm and got him out. And I'm glad to say they both made it to the 50th year anniversary dinner.

God Bless you Dad, I miss you.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:26 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack