« February 2005 | Main | April 2005 »


March 31, 2005

Ahhh Bacon!

BBC NEWS | England | Manchester | 'Smelly' bacon butties off menu

A sandwich shop has been banned from selling bacon butties after a vegetarian complained about the smell.

There is something about the smell of a Bacon Sandwich which tempts even the hardest Veggie - I would contribute to a Hog roast on the street outside just to annoy him further!

Posted by The Englishman at 8:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Tories Schmoories -

Telegraph | News | Conservatives: Please stop calling us Tories

The Conservative Party has appealed to broadcasters to stop describing its members as "Tories" in the run-up to the election.

The 17th-century term derives from the Irish "toraidhe", meaning outlaw or robber.

Most of the time they might as well be call "nu-nu-labour" for all the difference between the parties.

Posted by The Englishman at 3:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Your tax money at work

Telegraph | News | Protests as police spend £10,000 on anti-racism CD guide for gipsies

David Bailey, traveller and diversity manager at Fenland district council, which is helping to distribute the CDs, said: "We have found that people in other minority groups, such as the lesbian, bisexual and gay community, are much more confident in making complaints to the police if they fall victim to hate crime.
"Unfortunately, travellers don't have the same confidence."

Whoops, I was nearly guilty of thought crime then...

Posted by The Englishman at 3:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

MRDA - incomes falling!

BBC NEWS | Business | Average incomes 'fell last year'

Average household incomes have fallen for the first time in a decade, says the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS).
The IFS says income after tax and benefits fell by 0.2% between 2003 and 2004, due partly to rises in national insurance payments in the 2002 Budget.
In response, the Treasury described the IFS research as "complete rubbish".

"They would say that wouldn't they" (Mandy Rice-Davis Applies).
Doesn't seem like rubbish to me - incentives to work are not there when old Tax and Waste dips his hand deeper and deeper in to our pockets.

Posted by The Englishman at 3:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Headache

Urgh! Rough as Badger's Arse this morning - cold streaming out every oriface, guts as rotten as a nu-labour promise and the Englishettes have brought a sickness bug back to The Castle. Combined with a few beers with the Good Colonel last night - "So what are these Bloggie things then?" - and I am not a well bunny. If I can leave off driving the Porcelain Bus for long enough - IPA, Pork Scratchings and Gaviscon don't look any better the second time round - I will try and make use of my enforced leisure by filling in the most important form this year.
My subsidy application: Punching the numbers in to the FWi - Single Farm Payment Calculator it looks OK for the next ten years, provided no one goes and upsets the EU applecart.
And once that it is done it will be filling in the Entry Level Stewardship application.
And of course the Countryside Stewardship Scheme still has another eight years to run on this farm. I tell you it is hard work being a farmer these days..

Posted by The Englishman at 10:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 30, 2005

Peace in our time

Thank God that there are no more criminals in Northern Ireland, -
BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Maze site 'approved' for stadium

The former Maze prison site in County Antrim is the only viable location for a new £55m sports stadium in Northern Ireland, the government has decided

Posted by The Englishman at 10:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Engineering

Let us escape from the mucky world of politics for a day and enjoy the cleaner healthier world of heavy engineering:
Watching the late Fred Dibnah on the box last night was a joy as he toured Britain bring great engineering to us. His views are to quote:

"Fred Dibnah pushed into the world in 1938, a world, which in his view has been going downhill ever since, he has had two main passions - Steeplejacks and Steam Engines."

As he drives his steam engine around the country fuelled by water, coal and beer (I have never seen so many shots of someone driving supping cans of ale!) he also came across a modern example of a fantastic project -

The Falkirk Wheel - a boat lift designed to connect the Union Canal with the Forth and Clyde Canal 25 m below. Magnificent!

Posted by The Englishman at 5:51 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 29, 2005

Military Maths

England Expects reports:

According to Le Monde "Les Pays-Bas avaient un contingent de 1 400 soldats présents dans la province d'Al Muthanna (sud) et qui doit être remplacé par quelque 600 Britanniques."
Which by my reading suggests that one British Tom is worth 2.3 Dutchmen.
Which is interesting given the 850 Black Watch replaced 4,000 US troops in the run up to Falujah in October last year.
Which in turn suggests that one Dutchman is worth 1.7 Americans....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Torys look to blogging to save them.

c o n s e r v a t i v e h o m e . c o m is the new Tory blog that is either going to help the Tories win the next election or provide a forum for "social conservatives" to discuss the policies that the Tories should follow to win the one after that.

I will be watching to see how it progresses -
Times article on it

Posted by The Englishman at 6:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Follow up to Kennet Councillor

Following up the post below An Englishman's Castle: Kennet Council and the SWRA I am including the following covering note to the Leader of the Council.

I look forward to a reply.


Cllr. Christopher Humphries
Kennet Council
Browfort
Devizes
Wilts


Dear Cllr. Christopher Humphries

I apologise for troubling you again but I thought you ought to be copied in again to my letter to Ms M Memoli regarding possible problems with Kennet’s relationship with the SWRA. I’m afraid most of my original questions went unanswered and so I am having to ask them again, in hope of either getting an answer or a reason why they are unanswerable.

In the meantime, so that we can all swiftly move on, it would be most helpful if you could answer this simple question:

Could you confirm that during the entire time that you have been a member of the SWRA and Kennet Council you have always acted correctly and declared an interest and withdrawn from any meeting, and exerted no influence, whenever Kennet Council’s support for the SWRA was discussed?


Yours sincerely,

Posted by The Englishman at 5:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 28, 2005

Kennet Council and the SWRA

You may remember that I have asked Kennet Council some questions about their membership of the SWRA. For details see :An Englishman's Castle: Regional Assemblies - Help needed

I have just had a reply back from Maria Memoli MBA who is Kennet's Monitoring Officer - she fails to answer the questions (if the technology works I will scan her letter in tomorrow) - so I am asking them again!
Text of my new letter is below - has anyone else had a reply yet? (I was expecting that the Regional Assemblies would have started to produce a standard reply, but judging from the pathetic response I have had they haven't.

The Monitoring Officer
Kennet Council
Browfort
Devizes
Wilts

CC Cllr. Christopher Humphries et al


Dear Ms M Memoli

Thank you for your kind reply to my letter of the 2nd March.
I appreciate the answers to the questions you have given and I hope you will not be offended if I ask again for answers to the ones you left unanswered.
To aid clarity I have cut the letter I sent to the basics so that the questions are clear. I have not altered the questions but have added explanatory information in italics - I am aware that The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) aims to prevent discrimination against all and it is recommended that one should avoid underlining, avoid use of italics or any mix of fonts etc. – however I am at a loss how else to easily show the new from the original – if it causes a problem please get back to me.

Questions:

1. Can you confirm that Kennet Council is aware that the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA) is an ‘unincorporated association’ and thereby has no legal personality?

Thank you for answering this.

2. Can you please provide details of all the amounts paid by Kennet Council to SWRA since its inception?

Please could you answer this – the question asks for the amounts.

3. Can you please provide details of all the Kennet Council’s representatives of SWRA over the period this money was paid and whether they were present at council meetings when this payment, the ‘voluntary subscription,’ was agreed in the budget?

As far as I am aware the website only provides current positions – please could you answer this question. Particularly whether they were present at the meetings – if you cannot answer this please could you inform of who can..

4. Can you confirm that at all times the Members’ Interest Book had up to date details of membership of SWRA. If not, can you advise as to when and where the breaches were noted and the date they were corrected?

If it is not your job to monitor such things please could you inform who does.

5. Had the members indicated that they had a pecuniary or prejudicial interest in SWRA? If not, had you, as the Monitoring Officer, advised them otherwise?

Please could you answer this question. Did they or did they not indicate any interest?

6. Were they ever advised by yourself as Monitoring Officer, or any other official of the Local Authority that membership of an ‘unincorporated association’ whose members are ‘jointly and severally’ liable may have personal financial consequences?

I fail to see how the “Surcharge abolition” has anything to do with this issue – this is about members of an unincorporated body – I would appreciate sight of your reasoned advice.


7. SWRA is not recognised as an employer under Section 122 of the Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
— Are you aware of this?
— Did you advise Kennet Council’s SWRA members of this?
— Did you advise them that as they were the ‘legal personality’ of SWRA, and as such they could face a potential personal liability for those contracts and pensions / redundancies should there ever be a shortfall in the funding stream?
— Are you aware of any Local Authority underwriting the SWRA / SWRA’s contacts of employment for their permanent members of staff? If so, which authority?

Please could you answer this question – it is whether you are aware of it etc.

I believe that that the accountable body for the South West Regional Assembly is the South West Regional Assembly Board which represents itself as an employers association under S122 of the TU and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. However, it has emerged that this is not the case owing to the SWRA Board failing to certificate itself as required under this Act. This position has persisted for at least four years
Matters are further complicated by the SWRA apparently representing itself to the Certificating Officer as an associated body, the SW Provincial Employers Organisation, which is indeed certificated. In fact the SWPEO has it’s own constitution. Again, the SWRA Board has lately changed its name to the SW Region Board. All this conflicts with the 1992 Act’s insistence that there be no ambiguities in naming of an association.
Since the SWRA has not been operating under S122, the legal status of the staff appointments appears uncertain.

10. Can you please provide a copy of the Strategy promoting the well being of the Kennet Council and details of the consultations, which were undertaken detailing how the decision was arrived at that membership of SWRA would be beneficial to the Council Area?
What is the form that the ‘consultation process’ takes?

Thank you for answering this question.
THE COMPLAINT

1. Let us leave this one standing until such time as further information is available.

2. I apologise for causing you confusion by the maybe sloppy use of the word “register”. But the gist of the complaint still stands:

In plain language: Members – not the council – appear to be personally financially liable for potentially large sums if the SWRA folds. If any members of the SWRA who are also Kennet Councillors have voted or influenced the payment of money to the SWRA from Kennet then there has been a conflict of influence – I hope that this has not happened and that all such members have raised their interests and left such meetings. I am asking you as Monitoring Officer to confirm that that is what has happened and if not to take it further.


Relates to the Code of Conduct of councillors.
From Part 2.8 (1) of The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (England) Order 2001,
“A member must regard himself as having a personal interest in any matter if the matter relates to an interest in respect of which notification must be given in paragraph 14 and 15 below, or if a decision upon it might reasonably be regarded as affecting to a greater extent than other council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the authority’s area, the well-being or financial position of himself, a relative or a friend …”

It therefore appears that Kennet Council’s Members of SWRA have recorded in the Members’ Interest Book the fact that they are only ‘members’ of the organisations (you will be confirming whether they have all done this…question 4 above). They appear not to have registered a ‘pecuniary’ or ‘prejudicial’ interest.
Can you confirm this?

The members’ financial interest arises because as ‘unincorporated association’ it is the members of SWRA who are ‘jointly and severally’ liable.

Therefore, if, as it appears, SWRA is not registered as an employer under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 then it is the members of SWRA who have the legal responsibility for contracts entered into by that body.
The liability of the contracts of employment amounts to many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Therefore, if Local Authorities ceased to pay ‘voluntary subscriptions’ or there was a change of government whereby these bodies were abolished (or both) the liabilities of the members would become immediate and apparent.

Therefore, for the members of SWRA, sitting as councillors and approving Kennet’s budget and voluntary subscriptions there is a serious breach of Local Government Act 1972 Section 94 (1) as well as breaches of the Members Code of Conduct.

Section 94 (1) states,
“Subject to the provisions of section 97 below, if a member of a local authority has any pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in any contract, proposed contract or other matter, and is present at a meeting of the local authority at which the contract or other matter is the subject of consideration, he shall at the meeting and as soon as practicable after its commencement disclose the fact and shall not take part in the consideration or discussion of the contract or other matter or vote on any question with respect to it.”

(The disability could not be removed by Section 97 (5) of the same Act because the ‘influence’ of the leader and deputy leader of the ruling group could hardly be classed as ‘insignificant').

Therefore, under Section 94 (2) of the Local Government Act 1972 it appears that an offence has been committed.

I wish you also to refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions for investigation.

I trust that you will treat this complaint with the seriousness that it merits and I will receive a full and thorough response addressing all of the points raised in order for the complaint to be taken to the next stage of proceedings.

Yours sincerely,

Posted by The Englishman at 8:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

A true Gentleman

Telegraph | News | Wartime injury finally brings Sir Patrick down to Earth

"But there you are. I have had a very good innings and done most of the things I am capable of. I mustn't grumble."

Posted by The Englishman at 7:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Back to the Socialist Stone Age please.

BBC NEWS | UK | Call for action on climate change

The Environmental Audit Committee attacked ministers for believing that new technology and market mechanisms will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The committee says Britain and the developed world need to reduce emissions by 60-80% by 2050.
Committee chairman MP Peter Ainsworth called on the government to draw up a clear plan of action.

Yea Gods the man is a Tory MP - why isn't Howard sacking twats like him and not MPs who actually believe in "Conservatism"?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

BBC grudging support for GM

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | GM golden rice boosts vitamin A

the first concrete evidence that GM technology can produce crops aimed at solving the pressing problems of the developing world, rather than increasing the profits of western biotechnology companies.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:26 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 25, 2005

Help your non-local blogger

Young Tim Worstall stuck out in foreign parts away from the comforts of Blighty asks for your help - he has a cunning plan in which 90 seconds of your time keeps him in the style he wishes to enjoy - just the odd beer and meal. It is easy and painless and I have done my bit - why not go and help as well. It won't cost you a European Cent.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Off to the Glasshouse

Jackson's military badges raise Brit Army's ire!

World News] London, Mar 14: The military badges worn by Michael Jackson while on trial for child abuse seemed to have angered British Army veterans.

According to The Sun, the motifs on his breast pocket or a cap badge tied around his neck included symbols from the Royal Engineers, the Welch Regiment, the Sherwood Foresters, the Wiltshire and Cheshire Regiments, the Royal Corps of Transport and the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

I think if he wants to wear them he should be able to - after he has completed Basic Training for the Regiments - nothing a few press ups, crunches, burpees, star jumps and a suitable NCO couldn't put right with the sick twat.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:59 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 24, 2005

Seven Stars

Kim du Toit mentions this local pub today - it was a pity he didn't get to meet the previous Landlord who was a gun nut (but French). Phil the Frog introduced me to Handguns many years ago - he used to shoot a 1 3/4 inch barrel S&W 38 - I remember having a lift with him when he stopped on a double yellow line to go and buy vegetables, jumped out, locked the doors with me inside and his gun on the dashboard. Great I thought - that will please the traffic warden. And when they were banned he and I went to France shooting with a BBC crew... And then I took Mr NBC to the pub to show him it was civilised - and the local gamekeeper came in with his young son and Shotgun and put them both on the bar - saying he thought he shouldn't leave either of them in his pickup. Just before he left I was over there sitting at the bar with my two year old having a drink with the local policeman ( see somethings are better in England!) Ah happy days!.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Support your local blogger

Other bloggers may offer T-Shirts or mugs or caps but I thought An Englishman's Castle ought to be different: So here it is:

Rawlings 232 Wooden Baseball Bat handsigned by The Englishman with your choice of inscription - Legendary Adirondack northern white ash for optimum wood grain. 2.5" barrel, natural finish. 33" Adult size. - £25 - ideal for playing Rounders or whatever the American version is - I can't think of any other uses....

Posted by The Englishman at 9:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thank goodness for men and machines such as these.

Telegraph | News | Spitfire pilot, 92, takes controls of his old plane after 60 years

One of Britain's finest pilots took to the skies above East Anglia yesterday in a Spitfire he last flew more than 60 years ago.
Alex Henshaw, 92, was the chief test pilot at Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham, the largest factory producing Spitfires and Lancaster bombers during the Second World War, and was responsible for taking hundreds of aircraft into the air.
Yesterday he was once more at the controls of a Mark IV Spitfire, lovingly rebuilt after surviving the war only to crash 55 years later.

Although another pilot took off and landed the aircraft, Mr Henshaw flew it over the Cambridgeshire countryside using its dual controls.

"It brought all the memories flooding back," he said. "Those young men went into combat with only five or six hours' flying experience in it. If it had not been for the Spitfire, a wonderfully easy aircraft to fly, they would not have survived. If it had not been for the Spitfire, Britain would not have survived. It has been such a privilege flying one again today."

Mr Henshaw ended his 30-minute flight with a loop-the-loop and a string of victory rolls.

The aircraft is the property of Karel Bos, 76, a millionaire industrialist who fell in love with Spitfires after seeing them in action above his home in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands.

What a great story!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

There should be a law against it.

Telegraph | News | Wildlife experts are baffled as fox attacks second dog

A second dog has been attacked by a fox in a village where an alsatian was fatally injured earlier this month.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Straw attacks "Social Market"

BBC NEWS | Politics |

Jack Straw "In countries like Germany and France, where frankly because of a tighter social market they have much higher levels of unemployment".

Well you want it here then will you? Which is why Blair showed all the backbone of a Jellyfish with the Services Directive wasn't it. Or was getting a yes vote in France more important?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2005

The European Social Model of commerce .

As noted Tony has given up his insistance on the service Directive that was causing a storm in France (and a chance of the referendum vote going the wrong way.) This article from The Times describes what the Social Model really means, and why Europe won't flourish.

TO OPEN a chocolate shop in a French town a local committee must decide whether to grant your application.
That committee will include two people from the local chamber of commerce, representing the interests of any existing chocolate shops in the area. Such protectionist practices, widespread around Europe, would be banned by the new services directive, which is designed to sweep away regulations hindering EU citizens offering their services in other member states.

Another practice that the directive would ban is licensing on economic grounds. For example, in Germany the number of bakers is restricted to one in 10,000 people. This has led to Polish bakers baking bread in Poland and selling it in Berlin each day because they cannot bake it in the city.
...

Posted by The Englishman at 12:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The dangers of the politicisation of the “life” debate

or so a legal bod writes in a letter to The Times. How a society judges what is acceptable in terms of ending human life, what limits are drawn, what exceptions are allowed etc. is one of the most important definers of a particular civilisation. Lawyers would probably argue that it should be left up to them and let Parliament continue to do other stuff such as spend 700 hours debating how Foxes lives are ended instead.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blair rolls over and surrenders

TONY BLAIR has given in to French demands for a “far reaching” revision of controversial plans to streamline employment regulations across the EU after President Chirac of France declared that the free market policies championed by Britain were “the new communism of our age”.
Mr Blair agreed, after a major row, to water down the proposals to open up Europe’s market in services to help the French Government to avoid defeat in May’s referendum on the European constitution and to protect the “European social model”. (source)

The "project" is too important for principles...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:35 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Time to book up.

Cheese Rolling with DoctorDanger.com

The famous "Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake" is an ancient event which takes place annually on the Spring Bank holiday in lovely Gloucestershire (UK).
The rules of the game are simple, you show up, you chase cheese off a cliff, you tumble for a couple hundred yards, then you go to either the pub or the local hospital.

Oh Blow - looking in my Diary I am sorting my record collection that weekend - otherwise I would go along - I wonder if I can persuade our resident hillrunner Mr NBC to go along and report back...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Its about bunnies and chocolate, init?

Telegraph | News | Meaning of Easter lost on British adults

Less than half of Britons know why Christians celebrate Easter, according to new research. Only 48 per cent of adults questioned for a survey were aware that the festival marks the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

No wonder that Tony Blair
appealed to Church leaders not to bring religion into the general election, he said Churches made a "visible, tangible difference" for the better in society.
Mr Blair rejected talk of a decline in religion and the Churches in national life, saying he had been struck by their revival in social action in local communities.
Christian organisations had a crucial role to play in helping young people. Jewish and Muslim community organisations were also doing a "fantastic job".

Anyway, as I have told the Staff; Easter is cancelled - no taking time off. They have found the body, it was behind the sofa all the time.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

CAP logic

Telegraph | News | Tate & Lyle given £127m from CAP

The reason so many food companies receive so much money is that subsidies and import controls make sugar three times the price it is on the world market and dairy products twice as expensive.
To compensate for the higher prices that result from European Union protectionism, companies that export outside the EU are entitled to apply for export refunds that cover the difference between the prices at which they buy and sell.
Producers of processed foods are allowed production refunds for the same reason.

Expensive food for Europeans, ruining of Third World farmers and huge amounts of tax - a veritable hattrick of badness.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 22, 2005

Scottish Raj

Tim Worstall: A Call to Arms. wants to ensure that hte words Scottish Raj point to old Tax and Waste himself - Always happy to help.

And in return I think Trencherman should point to Mr FM....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gmail geeky help

Gmail Notifier stopped working on all my machines - bad data error - the cure I found is to delete all your Google and Gmail cookies whilst the Notifier is not running. Or even just delete all your cookies ( from tools on the Interent Explorer menus.)
End of Public Service Broadcast.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Open Letter to MacShane

Neil Herron has the text of an open letter to Slimebag MacShane.
...
You say reading of the debates (you quoted) gives lie to those who claim that Parliament was unaware in 1972 what it was agreeing to. I agree the LEGISLATURE knew very well indeed what it was getting into, but the people were not told the truth then and they are not being told the truth now.....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Handbags at dawn

Telegraph | News | EU chief blames the French elite for treaty problems

The president of the European Commission yesterday launched a scathing attack on the ruling classes in France for allowing public opinion there to turn against the draft European constitution.
Speaking on the eve of a summit of European Union heads of state and government, a visibly upset Jose Manuel Barroso demanded the political leaders of France "do their job", and "make an effort to explain the constitution" to French voters, who are turning against the treaty.
Mr Barroso was speaking as a second public opinion survey, in Le Figaro, confirmed the results of a poll that sent shock waves through Paris on Friday when it showed a collapse in support for the draft constitution.

In both polls, a narrow majority of French voters said they would vote No.

'Eeee, I haven't laughed so much since Granny caught her tits in t' mangle!'

Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Uncharitable

BBC NEWS | England | Nottinghamshire | Charity rejects £30,000 donation

A cancer charity has rejected a £30,000 donation over animal welfare concerns.
Barry Atkinson carried out a record 148 days' worth of beating - or flushing out birds - at grouse, partridge and pheasant shoots.
The 61-year-old, who lives near Newark in Nottinghamshire, said he was appalled the donation had been rejected by the Institute of Cancer Research.
The charity said it recognised the need to minimise pain and suffering in animals, so could not accept the money.

“Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity political correctness.”

Posted by The Englishman at 6:33 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 21, 2005

Mr "Trencherman" FM

After Rifle Practice we adjourned to the Pub and Mr FM noted he had never heard of the word Trencherman apart from in Wiltshire:

Down here we use it is sentences such as: "In the space of the last five years, he fearlessly gained 40 pounds, displaying a trencherman's appetite for life and an admirable disdain for cardiologists and Surgeon Generals whining about moderation.."..
Doesn't anyone else?

Trencherman is from trencher, "a wooden board or platter on which food is served or carved" (from Medieval French trencheoir, from Old French trenchier, "to cut," from Latin truncare, "to lop off, to shorten by cutting") + man. It is related to trench, "a hole cut into the ground."

Posted by The Englishman at 11:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Top Brit Blogs

Top of the British Blogs - BritBlog is a brave attempt to give us a rundown of the Brit Blogs - all it needs is Fluff Freeman reading it out.

I noticed somewhere else that A Welsh View was way out in front as the most popular Brit Blog ever - it is interesting but is it really that much better than the rest?

Posted by The Englishman at 11:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

British Isle moving towards Zero rate Tax on Companies

Nothing doing - 21 March 2005

It collects some 40 per cent of its GDP in tax. This percentage means it is very much within OECD member state norms of tax take. The tax is spent on delivering first-class public services. It has also been spent on renewing the public infrastructure, with some £750m being invested in capital projects such as power supplies, a hospital, sewage improvements and an incinerator. Government finances are managed prudently. By statute, it has to budget for a revenue surplus each year. The budget surplus for 2004-05 was some £9m, with £12m projected for 2005-06. Both Standard & Poor's and Moody's rate it's debt as AAA. The economy is growing at a healthy 6 per cent rate and unemployment is virtually non-existent...

Within the 2005 Budget is a proposal to cap personal income tax, perhaps at a level between £100,000 and £200,000 tax paid. The top rate of personal tax is currently 18 per cent. Some time ago, the island identified the vital importance of attracting not only good companies to the island, but also the entrepreneurs who own them.

Ah, if only the rest of the British Isles were like the Isle of Man. (And there's no speed limit on open roads!)

Posted by The Englishman at 8:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Shit Sherlock!

As a farmer I was gently amused that a 6.5 million pound study had shown that:

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | GM study shows potential 'harm'

"They've highlighted that what's good for the farmer is not always good for the population of weeds, insects and birds that share that space.

So if I'm paid to grow wheat, I grow wheat and not lesser flagleafed sporage. Amazing! As it happens you the taxpayer now wants me to grow Tree Sparrows and Lapwings - I can report back that the Tree Sparrows are doing very well - maybe the biggest flock in the country - All it costs you is about £500 a year plus a few thousand on Capital expenditure. I grow about £600s worth less of Wheat (the Gross Margain is of course much less) and grow weeds instead.
You want hedges I'm growing hedges, and so on. It has nothing to do with GM or organic farming - it is just simple reacting to market forces.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brit Blogger

Albion's Alchemist is an excellent addition to the fold! Welcome.

Posted by The Englishman at 11:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Irish Regions

I noticed an advert for Tourism Ireland which just talked about the "Seven regions of Ireland" - so I went to have a look. To the world it would be hard to notice that there is more than one country on the island. Then I noticed us Brit visitors are sent a different site to the rest of the world http://www.theislandofmemories.co.uk and we are offered:

From the buzzing hearts of Dublin and Belfast to the remote coasts of Antrim, Galway, Cork and Kerry, each of our nine regions offers visitors a completely different experience. It all depends on what you’re after.

Nine regions! even better.

Of course I'm happy to see all of Ireland play Rugby together and even happier when Wales beat them so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised they market to tourists as one island, but I get just a bit of a feeling that a Eurpean regionalisation agenda is at work here. And of course all being one entity wouldn't upset anyone, would it?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 19, 2005

VCs

vc29din3.jpgBigger
With the news of of a VC being awarded I thought I would bing this site to your attention:
Victoriacross.org
The photo shows recipients of the Victoria Cross who attended the VC Reunion Dinner held in London on the 9th November 1929.

Explore the site and give thanks.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Miss Information

Oh Bliss - I had never come across the Uncyclopedia before:

This part of an entry on England gives a taste:

England was founded in 753 BC by the master race, marked by bad teeth and an addiction to crumpets. Modern English still believe themselves to be better than everyone else, but centuries of breeding with outsiders has made this no longer the case. (This is in contrast to France, whose inhabitants believe themselves superior, but in fact, never were.) At the height of its power, England controlled nearly one third of the world. Its colonies have since become independent, with the notable exception of Alaska.

Go look up stuff and add to it!

Posted by The Englishman at 12:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 18, 2005

I wish I could write like this

Village Hampden

Now that the Tyrant Blair's Quisling Government of Collaboration with the Occupying Power from Brussels has arrogated to itself the privilege of locking up without trial anyone whom it does not like, it has regressed to the condition of the French Government in the years leading up to their Revolution, in which this power was inflicted by the hated lettre de cachet. It is no protection at all that, instead of allowing a Minister to sign the relevant documents, they can instead be signed by the Prime Minister's wife.

Posted by The Englishman at 3:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Hero rewarded

BBC NEWS | UK | Soldier wins VC for Iraq bravery

"At the time I was just doing the job, I didn't have time for other thoughts," he said of his actions.
"I want to return to service, but I don't know when that will be and I would go back to Iraq if I had to."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Killing the ill.

I haven't followed the story on Terry Schiavo very closely. This is a woman who is in a debatably vegatative state and whose feeding tube will be removed today to make her die - the story is long and compicated and unsavoury characters keeping surfacing. Follow the link for more.
On a more general point there does seem to be a rise in Doctors and carers who are prepared to advocate killing the ill and inconvienient. On one side there are many of us who say "Don't ever let them keep me alive in that state, if I haven't got enough strength to rollover for my trusty 12 bore then give me the drugs". And on the other hand we seem to be killing a lot of people who haven't made that choice.

Do you hate Nazis? Not a general disapproval and horror but real gut hatred? I don't think many people do. I certainly didn't. Yes, I knew what they did, on a personal note the Old Man suffered from nightmares all his life and probably died early from the horrors he saw and suffered. But that was his generation, he never complained.
A couple of years ago I had my RCOB moment about Nazis. We were in the Imperial War Museum in London and there was a Nazi film describing the T-4 Euthanasia Program As a German voice explained gently how these unfortunates cost everybody money and contaminated the blood, a picture came up of a youngster walking with a K-walker - a type of zimmer frame for the disabled. At the time the eldest Englishette was using a K-walker to get her up and walking. That bastard was suddenly describing my beautiful child and that is when I started to really hate, and I still do.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 17, 2005

Don't tell them a thing, Pike.

Telegraph | News | Britain tells Brussels not to spend on information

The Government yesterday urged the European Parliament not to spend any public money explaining the proposed European constitution to British voters, saying the parliament's plans for an "information campaign" in the United Kingdom would be "entirely counterproductive, and inappropriate".

Understandable - the more you know about it the less you like it!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 16, 2005

Great Management Moments

So I was pontificating again the other day about management styles and thought I ought to start writing that Management Guru book that I have inside. Can't decide between calling it "The ARSE Management Book" (ARSE - obviously standing for Anticipate, Rehearse, Speculate, Execute - the secret of being in control) or else "Pig Farming Secrets for Senior Management". Things like it is easier to move a pig with a bucket of food than to push it; If you beat a pig too often it may turn and bite you; If you let the pig think it is deciding where to go it will go there; And pigs know when it is time for market because the farmer stops tickling them behind the ears a week or so beforehand... Your help in deciding this would be welcome.

And in the hope of drumming up some advance orders let me tell you of one of my triumphs:

In a previous life I was presenting on why our fledgling company was positioned to take the world by storm, we had some competitors in Europe but we had identified them and we had mapped out the market sectors where we could beat them, and once we had established a toehold we could surround them and beat them. We also didn't have to worry about the American competition because they weren't going to turn up for a couple of years and we could then sell ourselves to them, make a lot of money and retire happy.

Knowing my potential investors I spiced the presentation with this map, subtly changed to show competitors names and market sectors.

Bigger

Went down well, great visual imagery illustrated the plan. We got the first investment. The map took pride of place in the office. So with our new money we invited over the potential big client, the one we had to win to set the rest of the plan rolling. They liked our technical stuff, the figures stacked up but the meeting was sticky and we never got the deal. It was only after they left to catch the flight back to Berlin that I noticed the map behind my head. Germans - no sense of humour.....

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

Dead Di and Dodi

Times Online - Britain

As the nation mourned, Whitehall cracked a joke at Diana's expense...

You can almost hear that being read in a Dimberly voice and the outrage is being manufactured..

I first news I had of the successful Executive Action sad death of Di was a joke in my inbox at about 6 in the morning - it was so quick that the news on the web haddn't caught up and so I was able to watch the media frenzy start. So no outrage at this story from here.

The Joke? "I heard that Diana was on the radio last night, and the dashboard, steering wheel, through the windscreen....."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

All that is wrong in one story

Telegraph | News | EU creche matches annual fees for Eton

European Union civil servants are building a subsidised creche for their children where places will cost more than £20,000 a year - almost as much as fees at Eton.

The 180-place creche is due to open next year, but the costs are already raising eyebrows in Brussels. Even hardened Eurocrats, used to generous living at the expense of EU taxpayers, have been startled. A year's fees at Eton are £22,380.

The presidency and ministers and officials attending meetings are supported by a permanent general secretariat, whose workers will be the main beneficiaries.

They will be expected to pay no more than £3,500 a year, thanks to subsidies provided by the EU taxpayer.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 15, 2005

FUD attack on Regional Assemblies

Neil Herron has received his first reply with regards to his letter to the Council about their members and the Regional Assembly. He judges it a great success which is devastating to the Assemblies. We have been supporting him by sending out similar letters to our local Councils - the domino effect is needed. Let us hope we have similar success and if you haven't sent a letter yet, why not? See this entry for details.

Posted by The Englishman at 1:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In a good cause.

Kim reminds us that today is “Eat An Animal For PETA Day”.
I'm doing my bit:
Before and after.
Yum.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Nice people in nice houses don't want nasty new homes in the backyard.

BBC NEWS | England | 'Too many' houses in countryside

Women in tweeds who own large country houses and other CPRE members back strict socialist planning laws to protect their views. (But are quite in favour of small developments of well hidden "affordable" houses otherwise where would the "Daily" and the Gardener live?)

Is there no one out there who is against our bizarre planning system?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

An Englishwoman's Garden isn't her Castle

BBC NEWS | England | Manchester | Messy garden woman faces prison

A woman faces a jail term for refusing to clean up her garden.

Helen Abbott, 46, from Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, was taken to court by the New Charter Housing Trust Group which manages her home.

The housing association says the amount of piled-up rubbish in the garden is "disrespectful" to her neighbours.

Ms Abbott failed to turn up to the court case but was sentenced to 14 days in jail.

Ian Munro, from the New Charter Housing Group, said: "We have someone here who has been disrespectful to the neighbours and as a consequence is causing problems because neighbours like to be proud of where they live."

Going to Jail for being disrespectful and doing what you want to in your own garden? A Free Country?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"Shoot over to see me"

+ So the Perky Princess of Pop the Sainted Kylie has upset everyone with her new video to the song "Shoot over to see me". The video aired last night contained graphic scenes which made the innuendo in the song's title plain. But that wasn't what caused the outrage - it was her brandishing a gun....

Oh, Bugger! I woke up this morning with this blog entry all written and polished in my head; but I think maybe I dreamt the whole thing including the offending video, maybe too much beer with Mr FM last night and playing with guns in the Pub.. Better go off and have a shower...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 14, 2005

Bullying

The press is full of Bullying - as ever I turned to Kipling and Stalky & Co for an insight:

You are devils, you know,’ said Campbell.

‘What? for a little bullyin’—same as you’ve been givin’ Clewer! How long have you been jestin’ with him?’ said Stalky. ‘All this term?’

‘We didn’t always knock him about, though!’

‘You did when you could catch him,’ said Beetle, cross-legged on the floor, dropping a stump from time to time across Sefton’s instep. ‘Don’t I know it!’

‘I—perhaps we did.’

‘And you went out of your way to catch him? Don’t I know it! Because he was an awful little beast, eh? Don’t I know it! Now, you see you’re awful beasts, and you’re gettin’ what he got—for bein’ a beast. Just because we choose.’

‘We never really bullied him—like you’ve done us.’

‘Yah!’ said Beetle. ‘They never really bully—“Molly” Fairburn didn’t. Only knock ’em about a little bit. That’s what they say. Only kick their souls out of ’em, and they go and blub in the box-rooms. Shove their heads into the ulsters an’ blub. Write home three times a day—yes, you brute, I’ve done that—askin’ to be taken away. You’ve never been bullied properly, Campbell. I’m sorry you made pax.’

Posted by The Englishman at 8:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Celebrate!

The Scotsman reports:
The English should celebrate St George’s Day in a bid to renew national pride, former home secretary David Blunkett said today.

English national identity has been “diluted and deliberately played down” over centuries, he said.

Can't argue with that but I have a feeling he is trialling a focus group suggestion to see how it plays - out of Government he is deniable if it goes wrong, part of the family if it goes right. Still the wind is in the right direction.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Anti-politics the new politics?

Telegraph | News | Howard leading, says Labour thinker

Michael Howard is winning the election campaign because he has associated the Tories with "anti-politics" populism, a leading Labour thinker said yesterday.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Recta Ratio

A bit heavy for a Monday morning, maybe I will leave this new blog untill the Tea starts to cut in.

Right Reason

Right Reason, the new conservative philosophy blog. This site is dedicated to philosophical explorations of moral, cultural, and political conservatism. The contributors are a diverse bunch, but all are committed to challenging the liberalism regnant among intellectuals and to giving conservative principles a careful, powerful, philosophical defense.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2005

Is it coz I'm not black enuff?

Young Tim Worstall asks "Just How Do You Define Race?"

As ever the answer is here - http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/archives/000934.html ....

To quote
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/about/ethnic_group_statistics/downloads/ethnic_group_statistics.pdf
"Is a person’s ethnic group self-defined?
Yes. Membership of an ethnic group is something that is subjectively meaningful to the person concerned, and this is the principal basis for ethnic categorisation in the United Kingdom. So, in ethnic group questions, we are unable to base ethnic identification upon objective,
quantifiable information as we would, say, for age or gender. And this means that we should rather ask people which group they see themselves as belonging to."

"an ethnic group would be defined as a community whose heritage offers important characteristics in common between its
members and which makes them distinct from other communities.
There is a boundary, which separates ‘us’ from ‘them’, and the distinction would probably be recognised on both sides of that boundary."
..
Well that settles it: I think it is obvious that us traditional countryfolk have a different "heritage" to the urban elite and the evidence is clear that there is a clear "them and us". We are our own Ethnic Minority, all we have to do is "self-define". So now I want my rights, how do we go about this?
And what do we call the minority? The guidance acknowledges that groups change and so there can be no objection to a new Ethnic Group self-defining itself.

"Membership of any ethnic group is something that is subjectively meaningful to the person concerned and the terminology used to describe ethnic groups has changed markedly over time. As a result, ethnic groups, however defined or measured, will tend to evolve depending upon social and political attitudes or developments. Therefore, we do not believe that basing ethnic identification upon an objective and rigid classification of ethnic groups is practicable."

"So let me publicly self-define myself to be "Traditional English" and that "Traditional English" is a separate Ethnic Group to any other, including the majority "English".

Any insults, discrimination or attacks against the heritage of "Traditional English" is now covered by the Race Relation Acts etc. and I will expect the full protection of the Law.

Of course, this afternoon I was Welsh.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Living under the Raj

BROADCASTER Jeremy Paxman has renewed his dispute with Health Secretary John Reid by claiming he is part of a "Scottish Raj" now running the UK.

Paxman’s comments follow his alleged slight on Reid’s Glasgow accent during a Newsnight interview last week which sparked a flurry of debate over whether the Health Secretary’s pronunciation influenced public perception of his character.

Following the argument Paxman is reported to have last night expressed concern at the growing influence of the "Scottish ruling class".
(Source)

Ooh Er - someone has finally woken up - Remember even Blair is a Sweaty, along with the more obvious Brown, Reid etc.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another one joins the usual suspects:

a very British insurgency
Blogroll:

Airstrip One
An Englishman's Castle
Biased BBC
Copper's Blog
EU Referendum
EU Serf
Majority Rights
Melanie Phillips
Public Interest
The England Project
UK Future

Posted by The Englishman at 10:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2005

Cordite

The AnarchAngel: The Carnival of Cordite, Week Four

Next weeks Carnival of Cordite will be hosted by Kevin Menard.

To submit your firearms, firearms rights, firearms politics, firearms porn, and firearms stuff related posts; write them up on your blog or web page and link to them in the comments on his post, trackback them, or email them to carnival of cordite ( at ) hot mail ( dot ) com.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rent a German

Renting a German was never so easy !
Select the package of your choice. By clicking on the package, you can send us your order...

So do I choose this type or this type?

Posted by The Englishman at 8:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

For Sale - some Kite parts delivered here by accident.

BBC NEWS | England | Bristol | Kite man's rifle delivery shock

A man who ordered parts for a kite buggy was shocked when he received two Winchester rifles instead.
Andy Coptcoat, from Berkshire, ordered two steel tubes through Bristol-based Atmosphere Kites, who forwarded the order to its suppliers in France.
"I thought the shape of the package looked strange and when I checked it, the two firearms were inside," he said.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 11, 2005

The Bacon has landed

Half pig smoked or green or mixed about 20kg £5 / kg
shout if you want it.
52AH0036.jpg
Image taken on 11/3/2005 17:34

Posted by The Englishman at 5:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Who has riqht of way?

local roadsign

52AB0033.jpg
Image taken on 11/3/2005 11:26

Posted by The Englishman at 4:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Censors at work

THINK you can guess the kind of movie that’s likely to get the censor’s knickers in a twist this week? Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs, with its two tirelessly bonking actors, might seem like the safe bet. But think again. In this week’s releases, it’s a moment of suspected pigeon abuse that has got the British Board of Film Classification in a flap. (The Times)
In Emir Kusturica’s Balkan wartime farce, Life is a Miracle, the BBFC was troubled by a scene in which a cat attacks what appears to be a live pigeon. Kusturica claimed that the pigeon was already dead and the fact that its wings appeared to flap was thanks to a cunning arrangement of wires and pulleys. He also threatened to pull the film from British cinemas altogether rather than cut the two seconds in question.....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:40 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

EU racist chemophobes

A lot of chatter in the press about the huge rise in Malaria and Malarial Deaths - not a lot of chatter about how to prevent it so I was pleased to find an article that sums it up:

Putting mosquitoes first: Chemophobic EU fuels Uganda malaria epidemic.
EU must retract threatened trade war and encourage limited DDT use to control malaria.
U.S. civil rights official calls EU’s Rijcken old-fashioned racist who violates human rights. (source)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 10, 2005

Mythbusters!

As England Expects points out:

The European Parliament has set up a "myth-buster" unit. This unit which is budgeted to cost about 300,000 euros over the next twelve month, is tasked with, "The CIDC is a special taskforce whose mission is to detect lies, errors and other types of misleading reporting on the EU constitution in the European media".
Of course being the European Parliament what we are talking is comments made by opponents of the Constitution. The "lies, errors and other types of misleading reporting" of pro-Europeans of course seem to be missed out.

So if you spot any please get in contact with them:

Jowita WYPYCH jowita.wypych@europarl.eu.int
Joëlle FISS jfiss@europarl.eu.int
Ralph PINE rpine@europarl.eu.int
Bertrand PELTIER bpeltier@europarl.eu.int
Dominique ROBERT drobert@europarl.eu.int
Gérard LAPRAT glaprat@europarl.eu.int
Danièle RECHARD drechard@europarl.eu.int
Wilhelm LEHMANN wlehmann@europarl.eu.int
Jose Luis PACHECO jpacheo@europarl.eu.int

Posted by The Englishman at 2:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ruling the Roost?

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | The changing face of US news

...
As Frank Sesno, the former CNN political correspondent and now journalism professor, told me in his Washington office, the internet bloggers now rule the roost.
Journalists have always been in a fox hole but the shooting is now 24/7 and coming from 360 degrees.
Professor Sesno says this is not necessarily a bad thing.
If facts are checked by many more sources then the truth is likelier to be told.
But, at the same time, there is a risk that journalists and the organisations they work for will hunker down and simply not risk any original journalism. They will not think it worth the effort.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

When you are filling out your expenses claim remember Benford's Law

Everyone knows that our number system uses the digits 1 through 9 and that the odds of randomly obtaining any one of them as the first significant digit in a number is 1/9. (First significant digit means we ignore zeros.) This works well for fake data generated with a random number generator or the type of data an embezzler would create. With naturally occurring data this generally isn't true. The odds of obtaining a 1 for the first significant digit of a number are much higher than the odds of obtaining any other digit as shown by Benford's Law...has been used as a method for spotting fraudulent accounting data by looking at the first significant digit of each data entry and comparing the actual frequency of occurrence with the predicted frequency. Most white collar criminals are unaware of Benford's law and will use each digit about 10% of the time for the first significant digit in a number.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 9, 2005

Porkies

EU Referendum points us to:

Flying pigs

Have a look at this: Foreign Secretary Straw on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Wednesday, 9th February, 2005. Turn your speakers on first.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Home For Tea

Job done
528G0031.jpg
Image taken on 9/3/2005 16:30

Posted by The Englishman at 4:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Live Tractor Blogging

Hitched up ready to go
528F0029.jpg
Image taken on 9/3/2005 15:38

Posted by The Englishman at 3:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Spring is here PT 2

and the tractor wont start
528D0027.jpg
Image taken on 9/3/2005 13:57

Posted by The Englishman at 1:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Spring is here

Down to the last 100 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in my barn It is going fast
528D0026.jpg
Image taken on 9/3/2005 13:52

Posted by The Englishman at 1:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Tshwane Tshwane, we all fall down.

Telegraph | News | South Africa's capital to be renamed Tshwane

And just like Peking, Bombay and other non-white places the BBC will rush to use the new names. Of course they show their inate "liberal" racism by not doing this with European places like Paris, Munich and Turin.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 8, 2005

Just got better

Google Desktop Search Download - out of Beta and now supports Firefox and Thunderbird. Essential tool.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wave as you say goodbye

MyBlogLog tracks your blog's outgoing links - neat.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 7, 2005

A simple thing you can do for England's sake

If you live in England and you don't like Prescott's and Europe's Regionalisation of England here is something quick and easy you can do that will be really effective. Neil Herron has done the homework on how to put the wind up the Members of the Regional Assemblies, so much so that it is causing cracks to appear in the whole project. All it needs is more people to push. So all you have to do is Download this word document and fill it in and send it off.

As Neil Herron reports on Christopher Booker's column.

The survival of the eight unelected assemblies that he hoped would be retrospectively legitimised by referendums, and which are part-funded by local authorities, is now looking increasingly shaky.

One reason for this disintegration is the growing panic among council nominees on these assemblies that, because of the dubious status of most of these bodies as "unincorporated associations", councillors may be personally liable in law for their assembly's financial obligations, including the contractual and pension rights of hundreds of employees....

..the sharp-eyed Neil Herron, who led the "No" campaign in the North-East, has just formally brought it to the attention of his local council, Sunderland, that the councillors who sit on the North-East Assembly seem to be in serious breach of various statutory provisions. For a start, since the councillors are personally liable for the Assembly's financial obligations, this gives them a personal and pecuniary interest in its decisions, which in law disqualifies them from participating in those decisions.

Furthermore, under the Local Government Acts, it is illegal for councils to give money to bodies which may be acting against their interests. Since the North-East assembly recently voted for a regional planning strategy which some participating councils strongly oppose, for them to fund a body against their ratepayers' interests appears to be breaking the law.

Prior to lodging a complaint with the district auditor, Mr Herron has fired off a set of searching questions to Sunderland's chief legal officer, to which he has been promised "a substantive reply".

The letter you have downloaded is based on his complaint - either just fill in the blanks or embellish it a bit more. But do it and pass it on. It is important.

External Links

Then go and hunt out your local Assembly member - for instance mine is listed on http://www.southwest-ra.gov.uk/swra/downloads/assemblymembers/Assembly_Members.pdf

Posted by The Englishman at 8:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Times on euroblogging

The Times reports on Margot Wallström's Blog and how the comments are dominated by eurosceptics
Sometimes the comments descend into English nationalism. A contributor called Kissingengland listed triumphs from the Magna Carta to the defeat of Fascism, adding: “This free, unconquered nation of mine, which has nourished, defended and preserved its institutions and liberties through eight centuries of continental despotism and warmongering, has nothing to gain from suborning itself to the inferior political structures of the EU.”

Descend, Descend? Those truths are in the eyes of The Times obviously a descent from the high lofty ideals of Europe - bastards.

But the article makes me smile with the the arrogant self-delusion of Ms Wallström’s spokesman: “It’s true a lot of it comes from the UK. It’s a pity we get so many comments from people who seem to be very eurosceptic. It proves those in favour are the silent majority .”

Posted by The Englishman at 7:40 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Unhelpful to whom?

Ben Bradshaw has had to endure some rather nasty physical attacks recently, including those from the rougher end of the Pro-hunting brigade. But why does he then have to play the "phobe" card? He also blamed the attacks on “certain homophobic elements in the Countryside Alliance. Many placards bear slogans such as ‘Gay Rights, What About Our Rights?’ One of the arguments of the Alliance is that they are an oppressed minority and link it with gay and lesbian equality. I don’t think that is a helpful point to make.” (The Times What is homophobic about that slogan - and why is it unhelpful?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 6, 2005

Sinister Gun Trade

I escaped my Oubliette this afternoon to try out the Martini Action BSA I bought last week in the dark from a man in the Pub car park. (passim). The Son and Heir and I loosed off a few shots at the various damaged crockery I had scavenged and then I thought I would try a cunning scheme. One of my many troubles with shooting is that my right eye suffers from astigmatism so I can't see the bloody target. So as no one was around I thought I would try shooting off the left shoulder. What a strange feeling that is - a bit like using your left hand....Well at least I could see the target, and I hit it - not sure though if it is worth persevering trying this out or whether to continue to squint down the range. But the biggest surprise was finding out that the Martini has a bloody left handed stock, and I hadn't noticed in the dark. That will teach me to do dodgy dealings. Still I have the consolation in knowing there is a man in Texas who covets it!

Posted by The Englishman at 10:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Too much Good stuff

Tim Worstall: BritBlog Roundup # 3 - there are far too many talented bloggers out there - I can't afford the time to read them all so will you do it for me. Thanks.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 5, 2005

New Shooting Law - update - blame Europe

Defra, UK: News releases 2005: GENERAL LICENCES UNDER SECTION 16 OF THE WILDLIFE AND COUNTRYSIDE ACT 1981

There has been some concern and confusion over paragraph 4 of the Terms and Conditions of three of the licences which require that users must demonstrate that appropriate non-lethal methods of control are either ineffective or impracticable...
Since 1979, the EC Birds Directive has protected all birds. However, it is open to Member States to make exceptions to this protection in certain circumstances. In the UK, game birds can be shot during specified open seasons and bird pests can be controlled for the specific purposes mentioned above where there is no other satisfactory solution. These exemptions and conditions have not changed in substance as a result of the new general licences. The new wording simply clarifies what is expected of those who relied on general licences in the past and those who wish to rely on them in the future....

Hum - not sure..

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

Blame the Dog

BBC NEWS | News Front Page
LATEST: DNA tests show David Blunkett did not father Kimberley Quinn's child. More soon.....

Posted by The Englishman at 12:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Looking for Hurdists

I don't spend a lot of time looking round the British Blogosphere so I'm asking your help.

There are Marxists, Greenies, Liberal lefties, Blair Babes, LibDems, straight Tories and the Libertarian fringe. But has anyone spotted a blogger who takes the Hurdist Tory Grandee line?

The Gordon Poole Entertainment Agency
will rent you Rt. Hon. Lord Douglas Hurd CH CBE PC for over £6000 a night so his views are obviously valued - so why don't I know anyone who supports them? Is it a case that conservatism in Britain is being badly let down by the Conservative party?

Posted by The Englishman at 12:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 4, 2005

My backyard stamp

Blognor Regis points out that the Royal Mail has seen fit to picture an area Horton Down, about a mile or so from The Castle on a stamp - it is one of my favourite spots in the world - a wild and desolate plain; two thousand years ago maybe the most densely populated area in Europe, now as remote as anywhere in southern England. I have been up there on long summer days and on a freezing day, blowing a blizzard waiting for a Partridge to pop out of the Rape. Fantastic.
So why haven't I seen one of the stamps or heard about it in the local press?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Friday night fun

Concentration test for men

Posted by The Englishman at 9:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BBC - Long term solution

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Green Paper setting out the BBC’s long-term future proposed a solution that could end the traditional fee.The paper suggested “either a compulsory levy on all households or even on ownership of PCs as well as TVs”. (source)

Personally I have another suggestion...

And a tip - I was in charge of the Englishettes last night so I put them to bed and settled in front of a roaring fire with a bottle of red, some cheeses, an apple and a fruit knife (I find it shocking that some people eat apples without cutting them into segments first - animals). The BBC had nothing to amuse so I slotted in a DVD we aquired "The Best Comedy DVD ever in Aid of Unesco or something". Promised some classic clips etc. You wouldn't have thought it hard to find a few amusing clips from the past eighty years to fill a DVD would you. Crap - it didn't raise a titter.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:48 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 3, 2005

Kennet Council - Nah Nah Nah - I can't hear you!

Our local Council - Kennet - seem determined to discourage anyone shopping in Devizes by any means possible. So there is Anger over proposed parking fee. But don't worry Cllr. Chris Humphries has set up a sub-committee to consider objections:

A statement from Kennet this week said: "The public can attend the meeting but will be unable to speak or make any input, but the committee will take on board their views."

Now that is the true voice of our Local Glorious Leaders.

-------

Apologies for any readers who have noticed an increasing coverage of my local issues. In many ways the goings on of yet another averagely incompetent Local Council is of little interest to outsiders. But the more I blog, the more I learn. And for too long local politics have been ignored. In many ways the big battles have been won at national level. But down at local level the statist centrally-planning envy-mongering money-grabbing wastrels have found a home and are flourishing. We all need to get involved. And so I make no apologies for using my blog to try and do my bit to turn the tide. And I encourage you do the same.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Accounting Fraud

Bishop Hill has done all the hard work on a Government accounting "change" which helps Gordon but in the private sector would be considered fraud.

"The Office of National Statistics has decided that it will now treat road repairs as capital rather than revenue expenditure."

It sounds dull but it this sort of underhand skullduggery that bloggers should be uncovering.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Holistic approach

Telegraph | News | Hospital removes Christian artefacts

A communion table and other Christian artefacts have been removed from a hospital chapel to accommodate visitors of all faiths.
The health trust behind the move said it was complying with guidelines from the Scottish Executive, which call for a "holistic" approach to spiritual care.
But a regular visitor to the chapel at Perth Royal Infirmary complained that there were now "just a few mats on the floor" where the communion table once stood.

"A few mats on the floor" - now where have I seen that before? - Perthshire has one of the least multicultural populations in Britain, with less than one per cent of the population of ethnic origin. (Assuming that the Scotch aren't an ethnic people - that is.)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:53 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Vote rigging case

BBC NEWS | England | West Midlands | Labour trio's 'vote-rig factory'

Three Labour councillors, Muhammad Afzal, Mohammed Islam and Mohammed Kazi, in Birmingham were caught operating a "vote-rigging factory", an Election Court has heard.
Police found the trio handling unsealed postal ballots in a deserted warehouse in the city during a late-night raid in June 2004, the hearing was told.
The votes were later counted towards that month's English local elections.

Obviously as the case is still going on a perfectly innocent explanation may come to light - but isn't it amazing that the "documents were taken by police to the elections office next morning, where they were mixed in with other ballots." Shouldn't there be a "provisional" category of ballot papers where they can be held until they are seen if they are legal - and of course they were not opened or examined so w don't know who they were in favour of.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Failure rewarded

BBC NEWS | Education | E-University 'disgraceful waste'

A failed government scheme to offer UK university courses online has been branded a "disgraceful waste" by MPs.
The e-University was scrapped last year, having attracted only 900 students at a cost of £50m.
Chief executive John Beaumont was paid a bonus of £44,914, ...
....virtually no market research was carried out and just £4.2m was spent on worldwide sales and marketing of courses.

Some £14m went on developing the technology to make the e-University work. This was used by just 200 students, the rest preferring to work through existing university websites.

With no significant private investors and no direct accountability to a government minister, the e-University had had "too much freedom to spend public money as it wished", the report found.

And he gets a bloody bonus!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Shooting Law

Before you shoot a bird pest you must be able to show that saying "Boo" to it hadn't worked! I expect there will be a form to fill in soon.

On Tue (Mar 1) the government passed an amendment to general licence, number WLF 18, – applicable to all shooters – without consultation.

Under the new rules the shooting of bird pests will only be justified if other non-lethal methods of control like gas bangers or scarecrows have been found to be ineffective.

"This licence can only be relied upon in circumstances where the authorised person can demonstrate that appropriate non-lethal methods of control such as scaring are either ineffective or impracticable."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:21 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 2, 2005

See it works

FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES points out:

According to the Met Office, today is the twelfth day in succession that snow has fallen in London

I think it was thirteen days ago that the Kyoto Agreement came into law - so that proves it is pretty damn effective at stopping global warming, I think you will agree.

Posted by The Englishman at 2:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 1, 2005

Regional Assemblies - Help needed

Neil Herron has started a funding Complaint to his local Council that will create national chain reaction!

I want to do my bit - my draft letter is below - any comments etc would be much appreciated before I send it.

And if anyone else wants to use any bit of it please do.

Thanks
Tim

The Monitoring Officer
Kennet Council
Browfort
Devizes
Wilts

CC Cllr. Christopher Humphries et al


I wish to raise a serious matter which may have profound implications for Cllr. Christopher Humphries and for Kennet Council. I am therefore bringing this to their attention as well as to the attention of other interested parties. As well as being Leader of Kennet Council Cllr. Christopher Humphries is also a Member of the SWRA and this is where my concern is.

My concern, and that of many others, is about what appears to be some very serious misuses of public money. From discussions with the District Auditor and the Senior Policy Advisor at the Standards Board of England and Wales, I understand that I first need to raise the matters with you for investigation.

However, because of the seriousness of the allegations and the implications for other local authorities, I will also be copying in a number of other interested parties in on this correspondence. I also believe that the matter is so serious that it may warrant a Police investigation with a view to prosecutions.

Therefore, I hope that you will treat and investigate the matter thoroughly and with the view that this is simply the beginning of a process that will also be replicated in other authority areas and with other regional assemblies across the country.

There are a number of questions that I wish answered before moving on to the complaint, and the answers will have an obvious bearing on the next stages of the complaint and investigation procedures by outside bodies:

1. Can you confirm that Kennet Council is aware that the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA) is an ‘unincorporated association’ and thereby has no legal personality?

2. Can you please provide details of all the amounts paid by Kennet Council to SWRA since its inception?

3. Can you please provide details of all the KennetCouncil’s representatives of SWRA over the period this money was paid and whether they were present at council meetings when this payment, the ‘voluntary subscription,’ was agreed in the budget?

4. Can you confirm that at all times the Members’ Interest Book had up to date details of membership of SWRA. If not, can you advise as to when and where the breaches were noted and the date they were corrected?

5. Had the members indicated that they had a pecuniary or prejudicial interest in SWRA? If not, had you, as the Monitoring Officer, advised them otherwise?

6. Were they ever advised by yourself as Monitoring Officer, or any other official of the Local Authority that membership of an ‘unincorporated association’ whose members are ‘jointly and severally’ liable may have personal financial consequences?


7. SWRA is not recognised as an employer under Section 122 of the Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
— Are you aware of this?
— Did you advise Kennet Council’s SWRA members of this?
— Did you advise them that as they were the ‘legal personality’ of SWRA, and as such they could face a potential personal liability for those contracts and pensions / redundancies should there ever be a shortfall in the funding stream?
— Are you aware of any Local Authority underwriting the SWRA / SWRA’s contacts of employment for their permanent members of staff? If so, which authority?

10. Can you please provide a copy of the Strategy promoting the well being of the Kennet Council and details of the consultations, which were undertaken detailing how the decision was arrived at that membership of SWRA would be beneficial to the Council Area?
What is the form that the ‘consultation process’ takes?

THE COMPLAINT

The complaint which I will initially ask you to respond to, which will require further investigation by outside bodies, dependent on your response is as follows:-

I wish to make a formal complaint, which I will be copying initially to Michelle Witton, Senior Policy Advisor at the Standards Board of England and Wales, because of the potential ‘knock-on’ implications for other local authority councillors and possible legal action.

The complaint is as follows:-

1. I believe that there have been breaches of Section 137 and 143 of the Local Government Act 1972 and Section 2 of the Local Government Act 2000.

The SWRA cannot be seen to be acting always in the interests of all of the local authority areas in the region, and often decisions or strategies will be to the detriment of Kennet.

Therefore if SWRA is beneficial to another area which compromises Kennet then Sections 137 / 143 and Section 2 cannot hold true.

Can you clarify if this is the case?

Can you detail your monitoring procedure intended to prevent such breaches?

If the promotion or improvement of economic, social or environmental well-being of the local authority area can be potentially compromised then the payment of the ‘voluntary subscriptions’ cannot be authorised.


2. Relates to the Code of Conduct of councillors.
From Part 2.8 (1) of The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (England) Order 2001,
“A member must regard himself as having a personal interest in any matter if the matter relates to an interest in respect of which notification must be given in paragraph 14 and 15 below, or if a decision upon it might reasonably be regarded as affecting to a greater extent than other council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the authority’s area, the well-being or financial position of himself, a relative or a friend …”

It therefore appears that Kennet Council’s Members of SWRA have recorded in the Members’ Interest Book the fact that they are only ‘members’ of the organisations (you will be confirming whether they have all done this…question 4 above). They appear not to have registered a ‘pecuniary’ or ‘prejudicial’ interest.
Can you confirm this?

The members’ financial interest arises because as ‘unincorporated association’ it is the members of SWRA who are ‘jointly and severally’ liable.

Therefore, if, as it appears, SWRA is not registered as an employer under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 then it is the members of SWRA who have the legal responsibility for contracts entered into by that body.
The liability of the contracts of employment amounts to many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Therefore, if Local Authorities ceased to pay ‘voluntary subscriptions’ or there was a change of government whereby these bodies were abolished (or both) the liabilities of the members would become immediate and apparent.

Therefore, for the members of SWRA, sitting as councillors and approving Kennet’s budget and voluntary subscriptions there is a serious breach of Local Government Act 1972 Section 94 (1) as well as breaches of the Members Code of Conduct.

Section 94 (1) states,
“Subject to the provisions of section 97 below, if a member of a local authority has any pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in any contract, proposed contract or other matter, and is present at a meeting of the local authority at which the contract or other matter is the subject of consideration, he shall at the meeting and as soon as practicable after its commencement disclose the fact and shall not take part in the consideration or discussion of the contract or other matter or vote on any question with respect to it.”

(The disability could not be removed by Section 97 (5) of the same Act because the ‘influence’ of the leader and deputy leader of the ruling group could hardly be classed as ‘insignificant').

Therefore, under Section 94 (2) of the Local Government Act 1972 it appears that an offence has been committed.

I wish you also to refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions for investigation.

I trust that you will treat this complaint with the seriousness that it merits and I will receive a full and thorough response addressing all of the points raised in order for the complaint to be taken to the next stage of proceedings.

Yours sincerely,

Posted by The Englishman at 9:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Parking Tickets and Our Freedom

Neil Herron is roasting the local council over a Parking Ticket - but it is not just a Parking Ticket - As I have mentioned before there is a whole ediface of oppressive Law he is trying to bring down - We must support him.

And on a completely different tack he is on the attack on the Regional assemblies. If anyone is laying into the South West one please let me know. It is time to take up the pitchforks.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Peter wants a rise - some tips

Cuthbertson's Conservative Commentary causes concern, can't capture consumers consistently.

1) Site visit figures are unreliable.
2) If you want visits you have to feed the beast every day. Readers want something new.
3) Don't try and write to get visitors. Write to tell a mate down the pub what interests you and you think he would be interested in - or perform pinpoint surgery on targets which others can then pick up on.
4) Get the length right. If you do snippets do them well, they are the little savouries that should leave a lingering taste; if you do long articles, you are asking people to invest a lot of time in reading, make it worth their while every time.
5) Don't expect too much - I expect 40 visits a day here - I get a few more and am very happy.
6) Full disclosure - the adverts on this site have earned me $3.19 over the last year - but on my other Blog which I only spend a couple of minutes a day on - I average $150-$200 a month. The difference is that the other blog is tightly focused on a specific niche, no ego involved. This one is just my playground.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Martini Action

Wasted half of last night by going to some bloody PartnerShip meeting where various people argue about Five Year Plans and Land Use Restrictions and getting money from various arms of the Government. All will be right with the world if we have Arts and Crafts Learning Workshops and not houses and when someone mentioned ASDA the word Walmart was hissed...Socialist planning is alive and well at local level.
But the night got better as I popped into the pub to spend an hour or so filling out Firearm Certificates etc. Eight photos supplied and countersigned by two referees...

But at least I managed to buy an old BSA Martini action rifle from a man in the Pub - who then had to push start the Pikeymobile to get it started so I could drive home.....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Election getting dirtier

Michelle Malkin reports:

Democrat political operative Zack Exley, known as "the garbage man" for publishing fake photos of President Bush with cocaine residue under his nose, has been hired as a campaign consultant by Britain's Labour Party. A Labour spokeswoman told The Independent that Exley was hired specifically because of his experience working for MoveOn.

As if Campbell wasn't dirty enough...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack