September 30, 2005
Letter from the Middle East conflict
Turning out some boxes I found this letter from my father to an old friend of his (who later became my Godfather) - an interesting snippet of a forgotten corner of the war.
558215, L/Cpl Daw
Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry
17 x 41
My Dear Billie,
As usual I have been putting off my letter writing as long as possible although this time I might have a little excuse as we have been on the move, here, there and everywhere since the beginning of May. First of all of course it was Raschid Ali (My note - the pro Axis revolt in Iraq that the British quelled), actually we had a rather dull time in that stunt doing patrol-work, then as soon as that finished we trotted along to Syria, perhaps you read in the papers that this crowd was mixed up in the XXXXX (Censored) do, since that stunt I will never again believe that the French don’t hold us any ill feeling, not their airmen anyway, and we XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX brought down six bombers in as many minutes, I had a grandstand view. Where we were all underground one minute the chaps were all out on top going mad the next. Well, we had a very pleasant fortnight around XXXXXX which we found to satisfy our wants wonderfully, Champagne was comparatively cheap. To continue my miniature Odyssey again perhaps you read that we had a finger in the Iran Pie, unluckily I managed to spend that five weeks in dock in XXXXXXXX, a very boring time as they kept me in bed all the time. I was still more fed up when the chaps came back singing the praises of Tehran, it seems they could do no wrong and as for beer and cigarettes, they were dirt cheap. I think the Russians were one of the highlights……
NOTE: The Wiltshire Yeomanry went out to Palestine at the beginning of the war on their horses and tried to keep order amongst the rebellious Jews (for more on the Jewish Terrorists, who even "proposed intervening in the Second World War on the side of Nazi Germany to attain their help in expelling Britain from Mandate Palestine" please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehi_(group) . They then turned their attentions on the Iraqis as mentioned above before being involved in the vicious battles of Syria which was a Vichy French possession. The Vichy French fought surprisingly and unexpectedly hard . The bulk of the Allies were Australians who fought a brave campaign, and to be fair there were also Free French fighting - I believe there was a Free French Foreign Legion involved and at the end the Vichy Legionnaires just applied to sign up with them. My father's war, though not his danger and suffering, ended at El Alemain where he was captured and he spent the rest of the war as a POW.
A comment from a reader:
I tried posting a comment on your post about Lance Corporal Daw's campaign against the Vichy French. For some reason my post was bounced by a spam blocking service.
My father and stepfather both served in that campaign (which never got a medal because it was an imperial police action). It was called "the war of the little columns" because they kept hurrying from place to place to fight first the Vichy French in Lebanon and Syria, then the Arab revolt in Iraq, then the occupation of Iran, together with the Russians.
I don't agree that most of the soldiers were Australian. One book I read made a point that most of the troops were English - specifically, "English", not Scottish, Irish, or New Zealanders. It was a feature of press useage at the time that regiments from Scotland, say, were identified as being Scottish, but shire regiments from England were called by their traditional name or just a unit number - "Yorkshire Regiment" or "9th Armoured brigade". People thought the English weren't getting the credit they deserved.
Apart from that, the troops achieved their aims despite shortages of arms and poor food.
It was also in this time that the last cavalry charge of the British Army took place. Against an aircraft. An airborne aircraft. It was flying low towards them and the colonel ordered "Draw sabres and charge!". The pilot didn't shoot, possibly from sheer astonishment. It was a yeomanry regiment, I think perhaps the Warwickshires.
You can post this comment if you like.
I read your blog occasionally. I share the eurosceptic tone and the English pride. These islands have done more for the world than any other offshore island. Invented cricket for starters. And the most insane sport trophy - the Ashes. I tried explaining it to some Dutch and German people once and they were baffled. "You mean you care about this ?"
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, CC, CMM, COM, CD (born September 6, 1957 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti) is the current Governor General of Canada.
She sounds quite a woman! I only learnt of her appointment through Blogs and I thought it interesting, we don't hear much about Canada over here. Good news is that she renounced her French Citizenship to take the job!
Christmas is saved!
You know Dasher and Dancer
And Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid
And Donner and Blitzen.
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all?
The Danish air force has admitted causing the death of Rudolph the reindeer and has paid compensation to Father Christmas.
Telegraph | News | To labour the point, they're really, really sorry
Tony Blair has a talent for apologising, but no one has ever been on the receiving end of such an abject display of prime ministerial grovelling as Walter Wolfgang...
the image of a frail, ancient Leftie being hauled out of his seat by two Labour heavies just because he shouted a disparaging remark at Jack Straw was about as damaging to the party's reputation as any single incident that has happened at conference since Mr Blair has been leader.
For once, Iraq was at the centre of the conference news agenda. Mr Wolfgang had achieved what he wanted after
Just when you think the
Nuremberg Brighton Rally is all going well and completely stage managed to present the docile Press with the soundbites and images you want it all goes wrong. I haven't laughed so much since Auntie Millie caught her left tit in the mangle.
Bradys target Florida tourist industry
IT IS Britain's most popular transatlantic holiday destination, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors a year with its sun-drenched beaches, theme parks and wildlife.
But Florida's £30 billion tourism industry is under threat from a campaign launched by a gun-control group which warns visitors they could be killed.
A series of alarming adverts, to be placed in British newspapers, warns potential tourists about a new law allowing gun owners to shoot anyone they believe threatens their safety.
The Geek points out the real situation - I have never been to Florida, but it has moved up my list of possibles for a holiday now.
September 29, 2005
Free Speech at the Labour Conference
The Countryside Alliance exhibition stand at the Labour Party conference was vandalised last night. The display was a replacement for a stand which had to be scrapped after being vandalised on four consecutive nights at last year's Labour conference.
Three people have been arrested in connection with the incident, which caused damage estimated at £2600. No-one was charged with any offences after last year's vandalism inside the high security conference venue.
Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart said: â€œSadly, even in 2005, it seems there are still delegates at the Labour conference who do not believe in free speech, and think that people with different views to their own should not be heard.
Fungus the Bogeyman speaks
Rottweiler Puppy -- Take Small Bites Often reports on British Home Secretary, Charles Clarke's speech:
"The right to be protected from the death and destruction caused by indiscriminate terrorism is at least as important as the right of the terrorist to be protected from torture and ill treatment."
Priorities fairly clear there then - personally being an old fashioned sort of chap I feel my right not to be blown up is a teensy weensy more important than a terrorist's (not a suspected terrorist - he said terrorist) right not to be ill treated, but then I'm not Home Secretary.
Still as the BBC reports "Charles Clarke has vowed to "eliminate" disrespect in society by the time of the next general election "whenever it comes"." so by then I will have come to realise the error of my ways and have started to think what a jolly good chap he is, or else....
Dissent in Tony's Britain
Labour had to apologise to an 82-year-old activist last night after he was roughly thrown out of the party conference for heckling Jack Straw on Iraq.
Walter Wolfgang, 82, was ejected from the conference for heckling
The leadership faced angry protests from MPs and party members who accused it of stifling dissent and abandoning traditions of free speech.
The Foreign Secretary was telling the conference that Britain was in Iraq "for one reason only" - to help the elected Iraqi government - when Walter Wolfgang shouted: "That's a lie and you know it."
Mr Wolfgang, a refugee from Nazi Germany and a Labour Party member since 1948, was immediately surrounded by security staff in full view of the television cameras and ejected from the hall in Brighton as officials revoked his pass.
When he tried to re-enter the secure zone, he was stopped by a police officer citing the Terrorism Act.
Steve Forrest, the chairman of Erith and Thamesmead Labour Party, was also thrown out after complaining about Mr Wolfgang's treatment.
He said that five security guards moved close to him in an intimidating manner after he shouted "Hear, hear" during an anti-war speech in debate.
A few minutes later, as Mr Wolfgang was being escorted away, he protested: "Leave him alone, he's an old man." At that point he was hauled out himself...
At first Sussex police denied that Mr Wolfgang had been detained or searched but a spokesman later admitted that he had been issued with a section 44 stop and search form under the Terrorism Act.
Mr Wolfgang said: "We have reached a situation where freedom of expression has been threatened. I am not surprised, because the Labour Party has been taken over by a gang of adventurers who are on their way out."
Video available from the BBC
Good on yer, mate!
An Australian university has appointed a kangaroo-hunting, beer-drinking student as "heterosexuality officer", charged with defending the rights of straight scholars.
September 28, 2005
Japanese shaving brushes - Banned!
Apart from the general prohibitions, the following are also prohibited: Japanese shaving brushes; items falsely bearing the markings of a Government Department; items which infringe authors' rights; goods made in prison; unseasoned celluloid; stamps and stamp impressions.
Japanese shaving brushes? It took a while but I eventually found out why - and in case you are wondering as well...
Abstract:The Committee of Inquiry on Anthrax considered the existing law with regard to the importation of goods infected or likely to be infected with anthrax and the precautions that should be taken in connection with such imported goods for the protection of public health, and made recommendations..
The report is divided into twelve chapters: (i) the disease; (ii) anthrax due to wool and hair; (iii) anthrax due to horsehair, bristles, hog and cow hair, etc.; (iv) anthrax due to hides and skins; (v) anthrax due to bones and bone meal; (vi) anthrax contracted from the use of Japanese shaving brushes; (vii) anthrax contracted by workers in docks, wharves and warehouses; (viii) arrangements for early diagnosis and treatment of suspected cases of anthrax; (ix) precautions of general application in all factories where anthrax-bearing materials are handled; (x) cases of anthrax outside the scope of the Factories Acts; and (xi) developments which may be relevant to the problem of anthrax in the future.
Be afraid, be very afraid
''We are trying to fight 21st century crime - anti-social behaviour, binge drinking, organised crime - with 19th century methods, as if we still lived in the time of Dickens," he said. ''The whole of our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted.
''Don't misunderstand me. That must be the duty of any criminal justice system. But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety. It means a complete change of thinking."
He promised to extend the summary powers of police and local authorities to take on the wrong-doers, to ensure a "uniformed presence on the street in every community, and to pump more money into youth services and sport in schools to ensure that young people are taken off the streets".
The crime Tony is talking about are local neighbourhood crimes, which are exactly the sort of crimes that existed in the 19th Century. (There may be a point that international crime is very different these days.) It sounds like he is dreaming of his happy gilded youth when he was at an exclusive Private School and the oiks outside the gate knew their place and showed respect. There was a friendly copper on every beat who knew the young scallywags and gave them a clip round the ear, and sent them on their way, if he caught the stealing the Squire's apples. And why can't that happen now, eh Mrs Blair? So we end up with a proposal where the worry of convicting innocents is relegated for the greater good, for a uniformed presence on every street, re-education centres for the youth where they will be taught respect for our Dear Leader, summary justice on the street etc.; more 1930s Germany than 1950s Enid Blyton Land.
September 27, 2005
C of E - what is the point?
As we prepare for our Harvest Festival Services, we see that what's left of the English Church is indistinguishable from a lunatic asylum. Everywhere you peer inside this once refined and educated, lovely and lovable national institution, there is only a mania for self-destruction. How else can you account for church services that compete with pantomime for dramatized idiocy?
The institution that served generations has been hijacked - the last sermon I heard was an embarrassing mixture of unedited ramblings which hinted that Heaven might be a bit like the film Ghost, or something, and that not being sure is really sort of like OK...
There are still hints of the proper church about, but they are fading rapidly, but I increasingly feel like a stranger when I venture into Church.
Lame Duck Tony
HAS there ever been a Labour conference that meant so little? Or that was anticipated with such little enthusiasm?
Delegates meeting in Brighton today should be in a state of mass excitement. Tony Blair has delivered a remarkable, historic third election triumph.
His majority was down but he still has a mandate to do just about anything he wants.....
This conference week allows him the chance to revive and reinvigorate his government. To give it purpose.
If he does not, the cry will go up that he has become a lame-duck prime minister. And that, for the sake of his country and party, it is time to go.
With friends like this, Tony doesn't need enemies!
Tony is obsessed by continual reform, creating a legacy, busy busy busy. This is a modern management trick; figures down?, change the organisation so you can't compare year on year, write off costs as structural changes, but never keep the structure long enough to take the benefits. What Tony need to do is calm down, in a world of rapid change you don't need to be providing a rapidly changing Government on all fronts, you need to provide a rock of stability that people can base their lives on. Boring steady management of our Defences, the NHS, Education, even steadiness with the EU is what is needed not another flashy press launch. Real reform of those institutions will come with another Government, so nuLabour's job is to make them work as they are now.
BBC NEWS | UK | Drunk young women 'taking risks'
...a third (of young women) had been sexually assaulted while drunk and 34% had had unprotected sex after drinking
Only 2% of men questioned said they had been sexually assaulted after drinking too much.
As well as being more likely to be assaulted, the study also suggests women are more likely than men to become aggressive.
They are getting into more fights, more arguments and are being arrested or cautioned by the police more than young men
More than half the women questioned had got into an argument while drunk, compared with 45% of men.
And 27% of women admitted to having been arrested or cautioned by police while drunk, compared with 16% of men.
Just under a fifth - 19% - of female interviewees had been injured through an accident after getting drunk, compared with 14% of men.
The findings of the survey have been published by the Portman Group to coincide with the launch of its "drinks diary" scheme.
The scheme encourages people to log their alcohol consumption.
The free drinks diary is available at www.drinkaware.co.uk.
About time us men were protected from these ruffians - it always has been a well known fact that if no women are about blokes can drink peacefully all night, as soon as the dangerous mixture of well lubricated ladies and youth is added then trouble occurs. Can we ask for the return of proper four ale bars where the only sound is the click of Dominoes and a muted oath as the cribbage game is lost, and the only woman is Betty, the Landlord's wife, bringing in a new jar of Pickled Eggs to go in the Crisp packets? Reclaim the night I say!
I will download the diary for Mr FM as he seems to be on a health kick these days - getting worryingly thin as well, many years in the Orient can do that to a man....
September 26, 2005
The kitchen table tonight
Shooting at the pub has started again so a few bangs, a few pints and home for a cup of tea
Image taken on 27/9/2005 0:32
A retired social worker from Devon has become the first woman pensioner to be jailed in England for refusing to pay an increase in her council tax.
Sylvia Hardy, 73, from Exeter, was jailed after missing a deadline to settle arrears of £53.71.
She was cheered by supporters when arriving at court, carrying a packed bag in expectation of a jail term.
Jailing her for seven days at Exeter Magistrates' Court, chairman of the bench Louis Crowden said: "If everyone paid their debts on the basis of what they thought appropriate this country would descend into anarchy."
"You may think you are a martyr but you are not," said the chairman.
(I believe he added that she was a "very silly woman" as well according to the Radio News)
As Ms Hardy, from Barrack Road, was led away the chairman of Devon Pensioners' Action Forum, Albert Venison, shouted at the bench: "You are on a completely different planet you people."
There were other shouts of "pompous ass" and "shame" from other supporters of Ms Hardy who were packed into the small courtroom.
One of the protesters outside the court said after her sentencing: "This government doesn't take any notice of the pensioners' rights or protests whatsoever."
The BBC's John Kay said: "One of the pensioners I've talked to described her as the council tax equivalent of Emily Pankhurst or the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
"That is how she is being perceived by people down here, where her plight has been recognised for some time."
nuLabour News Managers won't like this at all!
Picking on th Missus
Tony tries to make clear his latest idea - thanks to Owen's musings - The PM on terrorism, Iraq, & development
"let's be absolutely clear: there will be all sorts of people who say for all sorts of reasons: "look, I understand why the terrorists do it, and you know, you can sympathise with their motivation." Now I happen profoundly to disagree with that, but I am not suggesting that you make that a criminal offence. Er, what I am suggesting should be an offence is somebody who in effect by glorifying is inciting and is saying to people - particularly impressionable people - and we know, look, that this is a modern phenomenon that we have, this extremism based on a perversion of Islam - is in effect saying to impressionable young people: this is something you should do."
So saying "As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up you are never going to make progress". at a charity event for medical aid for Palestinians would sort of be OK but wrong - could be frosty over the Weetybangs at No 10 this morning...
Interim Payment - More than my job's worth!
Almost three months after the 7/7 terror bombings the victims have still not been given a penny by the state.
Instead, the 700 maimed and injured and families of the 52 innocents killed in the attacks on London's transport system have had to rely on charity handouts.
Meanwhile suspects held after the failed 21/7 bombings are on legal aid and their families have had thousands in benefits. ...
The long-term payments will come from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. But last night a spokeswoman admitted NOTHING had yet been paid. She said: "We'll be making our first interim offers within two to three weeks."
September 25, 2005
Good News from Texas
Telegraph | News | Oops! TV crews left deflated as Rita blows herself out
the glummest faces were the huge crews of television journalists sent from Britain to cover the hurricane, many of whom looked as if they were reporting typical autumn weather in England.
The BBC had the biggest team, with a total of 34 reporters, producers, cameramen and others. Nine, including three correspondents, are based in New Orleans and 25 in and around Texas.
Thanks to our Dallas friends for giving us an update on themselves and some of the other Blogospheric Texans - so far not too bad.
September 24, 2005
Bollocks to free speech
A girl was arrested for wearing her"Bollocks to Blair" T-shirt at the Midlands Game Fair last weekend. Charlotte Denis, 20, a gamekeeper from Gloucestershire, was stopped by police as she left the Countryside Alliance stand because of the "offensive" slogan. ..At this point, two officers marched Denis towards a police car.
Although the "Bollocks to Blair" slogan was in evidence all round the Game Fair, police maintained it was the first time they had seen it.
A tearful Denis was driven to a mobile police unit. "I asked the officers how they could arrest someone for wearing a T-shirt and they told me it was because it would offend a 70-80-year-old woman," she said.
Sexist, ageist comment there I think - the 70-80 year old woman who lives next door to me would use stronger language about Blair! By the way a "Game Fair" is a celebration of traditional country sports and the visitors would be overwhelmingly in favour of hunting, so Plod was being very stupid - next week they will notice a FCUK shirt for the first time I suppose. It gives me a chance to put a gratuitous picture from http://www.houndblair.com/ up!
September 23, 2005
All is well
We buried The Good Colonel yesterday; a very old stone church in a small Wiltshire village was filled with his friends and family; when the church was full they gathered around the porch, filling the churchyard; with gold braid, medals and boots shining in the autumn sun. A lone piper played "Flowers of the Forest", Artillery boots clicking on the cold stone floor as the flag covered coffin was brought in. A brave young boy turned into a man as he read "All is Well" for his father. "I vow to thee my country" and "Jerusalem" the hymns of course. Then out into the green churchyard where he was buried in sight of the rolling downs. The "Last Post" and then back to the marquee on the tennis lawn of the old Manor House for tea and sympathy. Afterwards to the Pub for many pints of "It's what he would have wanted". I feel shattered.
September 22, 2005
Good news for Tony - Bad for everyone else
The prospect of lower growth and therefore lower tax revenues meant the Chancellor would have to take action to plug gaps in the public finances through "fiscal consolidation" - tax rises or spending cuts - the IMF said.
...the IMF report showed that Britain had a structural deficit that had grown faster than any other major economy since 2000. Only Italy was singled out for harsher criticism
...Even some Brownite MPs are now becoming nervous that the Chancellor's reputation could suffer if the economy goes into a downturn. This would raise the likelihood of other candidates challenging him for the Labour leadership when Tony Blair steps down.
Tony is hanging on in there until it happens so he can shoehorn his chosen Blairite replacement in..
"I am the Law"
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said "modernisation" of the force should be carried forward by introducing "an escalator of powers" for the dispensing of instant justice.
"One idea is to have some police officers - paid more and with more powers - to impose an interim anti-social behaviour order, for instance, or suspend a driving licence," he said. This would have an immediate effect rather than waiting for intervention by the courts, Sir Ian suggested....
However, Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the human rights group Liberty, said Sir Ian was behaving like Judge Dredd, the post-apocalyptic comic book law enforcer whose catchphrase is "I am the law". She added: "This is more like summary justice which has no place in a democracy. He's supposed to be the Met Commissioner, not Judge Dredd. Sir Ian should concentrate on the difficult job of running the Metropolitan Police rather than working on political speeches arguing for ever more draconian laws."
Shami has got it right on this one - I know boring old courts and the rule of law are frustrating to a copper but they are there for a reason and I would have thought Sir Ian would have shied away from arguing for "instant justice" just in case anyone mentioned an electrician from Brazil...
Bus them from the ghettos?
Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial equality...(will) voice his fears of a "New Orleans-style Britain of passively coexisting ethnic and religious communities, eyeing each other over the fences of our differences".
The Sunday Times said he would suggest new measures to help encourage integration - which could include forcing "white" schools to take larger numbers of ethnic minorities.
He will admit that his message is "bleak", but sees Hurricane Katrina as a warning to Britain to avoid complacently believing that it has an integrated society.
"The fact is we are a society which, almost without noticing it, is becoming more divided by race and religion,"
I just don't know or have an opinion - living in an area that is 99.40% white (Source: Neighbourhood Statistics), what do I know about it? Your opinions would fascinate me.
For your information
We're back, and madder than ever.
September 21, 2005
Less Hot Air from Blair
Blair, a longtime supporter of the Kyoto treaty, ... prefaced his remarks by noting, "My thinking has changed in the past three or four years." So what does he think now? "No country, he declared, "is going to cut its growth." That is, no country is going to allow the Kyoto treaty, or any other such global-warming treaty, to crimp -- some say cripple -- its economy.
Looking ahead to future climate-change negotiations, Blair said of such fast-growing countries as India and China, "They're not going to start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto." India and China, of course, weren't covered by Kyoto in the first place, which was one of the fatal flaws in the treaty. But now Blair is acknowledging the obvious: that after the current Kyoto treaty -- which the US never acceded to -- expires in 2012, there's not going to be another worldwide deal like it.
So what will happen instead? Blair answered: "What countries will do is work together to develop the science and technology.There is no way that we are going to tackle this problem unless we develop the science and technology to do it." Bingo! That's what eco-realists have been saying all along, of course.
Now I didn't spot that story on the MSM - hat tip to A Tangled Web - though I did note that the BBC reports that on Mars' "scientists also say that deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near the planet's south pole have shrunk for three summers in a row.
They say this is evidence to suggest climate change is in progress."
Plans to revalue English homes for council tax have been postponed until after the next election, the government has announced.
Local Government Minister David Miliband said " Cluck, cluck, cluck, Cock-a-doodle doo, Poll Tax riots, votes, smokescreen, next election...."
Thank goodness for The Reverend Alfred Ridley, 71, of Towcester, Northants jailed for 28 days for refusing to pay what he called an "unfair" increase in council tax.He seems to have put the wind up'em.
Liberal Democrats have voted against a plan to restrict the amount of money spent on the European Union.
Well good for them, I'm sure they know where to make the cheques out to, though they could cut out the middle man and just tear £50 notes up and chuck them into the air. Pretending to be setting a national agenda is rather charming isn't it, a bit like playing with Lead soldiers and pretending to be Napoleon!
Making the news
Thanks to the Nice Doggie I have been watching the fascinating raw footage showing how the Palestinians and their media helpers are staging “battles” and “atrocities”... Download here or if you have broadband get a coffee and watch it streamed.
September 20, 2005
To make room for the Damson Gin, thanks to Mr FM for the Damsons, I had to decant last year's Sloe Gin. Made with sloes that the du Toits picked I drank their health as they embark on new adventures. Come back over soon and pick me some more!
The Mrs reassures everyone they are fine!
George and 'Pollo recommend
You may have noticed the advert over there on the right - so splashing out far more than I will ever earn from the advert I bought some Dog Treats - I was particularly interested in discovering the mixes that your children bake and cut out (with the supplied bone shaped cutter) for your hound.
Ordered yesterday - here today - happy dogs this evening. You know it's what your best friend wants.
Vive la Difference
England Expects reported:
Philippe Douste-Blazy, the new French Minister for Europe was "visiting the new Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, Douste-Blazy, while looking at a map of Europe showing the number of Jews living in each country before and after the Holocaust, apparently asked:
"Were there no Jews killed in England?"
"But, Minister, England was not occupied by the Nazis!"
"But no Jews were expelled from England?" replies Douste-Blazy."
EU Referendum followed up and confirmed the story:
But, as a matter of fact, there is a kind of a logic in M Douste-Blazy's curious questions. The truth is that Jews had been deported from Vichy France long before it was completely conquered by the Germans. Maybe the Foreign Minister thought that some similar arrangement had existed with Britain as well.
Or, of course, he may just be ignorant and stupid.
Mobile speed cameras are increasingly being used by the police to enforce speed limits, but how accurate are they?
I missed the program but the full write up on the web looks interesting, showing how a small wobble can make a wall be clocked at 58MPH. The MD of the company that makes them blusters that errors are impossible - I'm more impressed by someone who "has spent twenty years being a professor of industrial instrumentation (possibly the only professor of industrial instrumentation)" - and his verdict?
The only reasonable conclusion you could come to in view of all these caveats is that thousands of motorists have been wrongly convicted, some of them losing their livelihood as a result.
This is one of those cases in which it is difficult to understand why the fundamental design decision was made. Laser Doppler velocimetry has been successfully applied to the measurement of speeds of everything from blood corpuscles to rolled steel. Why throw it aside for a mechanism with such obvious contradictions?
it wouldn't be because it increases the conviction rate, would it?
September 19, 2005
Bad news for Germany and the Euro
Germany now faces weeks in limbo as the main parties indulge in horse-trading over all the possible permutations.
Normally I welcome the lack of Government - I believe America's strongest period of economic growth was during the Florida Recount interregnum. But what Germany needs is some decisions made, it almost doesn't matter what the decision is but without a sense of direction it will continue to drift aimlessly. Weak coalition, need for strong leadership, looking for a leader with vision, a call for a strong Germany... whoops we have been here before, I think I will go and clean out the Anderson shelter....
Perks of the Job
Telegraph | News | Cocaine and sex claims pile pressure on Kate.
..reports that the model .. enjoyed lesbian orgies and took cocaine while attending a function with Nelson Mandela.
The dirty old man! Must beat listening to another speech as to how you are the saviour of the world. Almost make me wish I went to more of these Inter-Governmental functions.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Clarke said: "We need to get to a state of affairs where prisoners are able to reintegrate into society through developing their relations with their friends and family.
"The break in that - and it happens often - is the damaging thing in people's ability to stop reoffending."
I am probably missing the point here but what he seems to be saying is that when someone goes to prison they are "often" sent away from their friends and relations. I thought that was part of the idea to break their contact with their fellow local scrotes, but obviously I'm wrong. What he seems to be suggesting is nice little weekend break just down the road, as long as that isn't too inconvenient, as the nuLabour nuPrisons.
September 16, 2005
Dept of the Bleeding Obvious
Labour's welfare policies are promoting child poverty because they do not encourage parents to stay together, a think-tank claimed yesterday.
It needs repeating over and over again and eventually truths like these might start getting through.
A police officer threw at least two "unprovoked and unnecessary punches" at a pro-hunting demonstrator during protests in Parliament Square, a court was told yesterday.
Neil Latteman, 43, assaulted Mark Faulkner, 34, an arable and game farmer, after he had been pulled from the crowd during violent clashes between police and protesters on Sept 15 last year.
He lunged towards Mr Faulkner, behaving according to one witness like "a football hooligan", Bow Street magistrates' court was told.
Mr Faulkner, who had travelled to London from North Yorkshire, was at the front of the protest when he was hit twice by a police officer with a baton, causing him to fall to the ground and lose consciousness.
He was then pulled from the crowd, pushed against a police van and, according to footage studied by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, assaulted by Latteman.
Stephen Jackson, a resources technician and private investigator who filmed the incident, said he saw Latteman leave the police line to hit Mr Faulkner.
"I was quite dismayed because the person who had been arrested did not appear to be struggling," he said.
Pc Latteman (Pictured) said he had used approved police tactics to help subdue Mr Faulkner who was going "berserk".
Dismissing the case, District Judge Timothy Workman said he could not be sure the officer was acting unlawfully.
"I cannot be sure that the defendant was lying when giving his evidence that he was acting lawfully in striking Mr Faulkner, therefore the case is dismissed."
The court heard that Pc Latteman had used a police-approved technique to stun a struggling suspect with a hard blow to a cluster of nerves in the neck and face.
This isn't about a rioter being smacked over the head after charging a poilce line, this is about someone in police custody who has been knocked unconcious, is groggy and is being held up against a van. Luckily the PC was the only one on the ball enough to notice he was going beserk and launched himself from 8 feet away to give him this special Police Punch causing "several injuries, including a black left eye, and .. needing hospital treatment". Now of course a white farmer protesting about hunting isn't exactly the flavour of the month for the Civil Rights movement, but I presume their silence is because they also know how lucky we are to be in the safe protective hands of PC Latteman and his ilk.
September 15, 2005
I believe in eternal life
I am proud member of that traditional branch of the Church of England that doesn't actually require one to believe in God so I will leave matters spiritual to the Sky Pilots and those better versed in such matters. But even so I am confident in my belief that life is eternal and that death isn't the end. As a biologist it reassures me that my genes are immortal and have multiplied, it is pure vanity I know, because we share these basic building blocks, but they have served me well and so I am pleased to wish them "bon voyage" for the future. But we are not just mere machines for propagating our selfish genes. We are the sum of what we do, have done, our thoughts, our actions, our love. What we have built and nurtured may be our physical remembrances, but our affect on others, both now and in the future, is our real memorial. Some have called these exemplars our memes. And even after the direct memory of us and our standards has passed, I believe that these memes will still flourish and what was good will still live.
Who wrote what about it?
September 14, 2005
The Good Colonel didn't make it - he is at peace now. May his family regain their happiness quickly without ever forgetting him. I miss him more than I can say.
More at Mr FM.
No petrol anywhere - all the stations in Wiltshire are shut, but don't panic there is no shortage...
Good news for Pewsey
The British ban on marriage between parents-in-law and children-in-law is a breach of human rights, a European court ruled on Tuesday.
They will welcome that down the other end of the Vale; now if they want them all to be really in favour of Europe there is the matter of sisters, domestic pets and the odd sheep I believe to be sorted out as well...
What a promising headline, is it Charlie Falconer, Mandy, Tony? Which one have they got at last?
AtomFilms - Consent Ah, the perils of dating in America...
September 13, 2005
What a game!
The Queen's message to England cricket captain Michael Vaughan following his team's victory in the Ashes series, 12 September 2005
Warmest congratulations to you, the England team and all in the squad for the magnificent achievement of regaining the Ashes. This has been a truly memorable series and both sides can take credit for giving us all such a wonderfully exciting and entertaining summer of cricket at its best.
Oranges and Lemons
Mr Hain said "responsible community and political leaders must come foursquare behind the forces of law and order".
Of course these Loyalist riots make him love his beloved Gerry and Martin even more as they are now the "nice" people. I hadn't realised that apart from the hapless Hain the other useless waste of space Shaun Woodward is Security Minister. I suppose with that pair working together it saves some money as it only needs one person to tie their shoes and wipe their noses for them.
They were queued down the road last night filling up their cars, one Petrol station in Devizes had no fuel (it runs out about once a month anyway) and this was enough to start panic buying. I tis happening elsewhere and the more the Government sounds like Jonsey " Don't Panic" the more people do. At 99.9p a Litre ($6.89 for one of those tiny US Gallons) it is a dear business filling up the truck. Good background graphics at (BBC News | At-a-glance
September 12, 2005
Wanadoo - Wannadon't -calling Rob Connell
I have mentioned before Wanadoo's amazing customer service. Brief recap, they sent me a bill for £10.49 for a service they supplied to a company I worked for - I thought a quick friendly call would allow them to send it to the right person. Nope, waste of time - put it in writing and no, we don't do email! The demand for payment was signed by Rob Connell - Managing Director. So I wrote to them saying, please forward this invoice to ... and who is Rob Connell - as he isn't listed at Companies House and is Google invisible. Got a letter back confirming that Rob Connell is "one of their Managing Directors". and sorry we are unable to forward invoices, please pay the £10 owing!
I tried ringing the customer care specialist who signed the letter - and was told - she works in the other building and they don't have phones, and of course no email address either! (Remember that Wanadoo is "one of Europe's leading Internet and directories companies")
So I called Julian at the Press Office 020 7553 7566 and he explained that Wanadoo does have more than one Managing Director, one for each division, but that he couldn't find a Rob Connell on any list and had never heard of him.
I'm starting to believe Rob Connell doesn't exist and so I'm going to ignore his demand for payment. Sounds reasonable to me!
Vital information for Englishmen this morning
With a tight first innings "victory", the likely draw and hence winning of The Ashes, (Dear American readers - give up now - you will never understand this), will be fair enough. However I'm sure a little help from the weather gods today will not go amiss..
BBC - Weather Centre - 5 Day Forecast in Fahrenheit for London, United Kingdom
The phone will be "off" this afternoon.
Adjacent headlines this morning
Call to scrap Holocaust Day
Downing Street is facing calls from its advisers to abolish Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day, established by the Prime Minister four years ago, because it is offensive to Muslims.
'Jews controlled war on Iraq'
Tony Blair decided to wage war on Iraq after coming under the influence of a "sinister" group of Jews and Freemasons, a Muslim barrister who advises the Prime Minister has claimed
Whether it is the same adviser "Mr Thomson (who) wrote a book in 1994 in which he said Freemasons and Jews controlled the governments of Europe and America and described the claim that six million Jews died in the Holocaust as a "big lie"." in both cases is not said. Of course offending the Jews isn't something anyone worries about...
September 11, 2005
May I recommend.
Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall
is now available in bookshops. Hardback price: £19.99
* You can buy direct from Civitas for £19.99 plus £2.75 p&p.
* Telephone orders can be placed through Telegraph Books on 0870 155 7222. The price is £19.99 plus £1.25 p&p.
* Amazon is offering the best price we have seen: £16.74 (£13.99 plus £2.75 p&p).
* Click here for further details.
There have been reviews in:
CIVITAS: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society
77 Great Peter Street,
London SW1P 2EZ
September 9, 2005
A must have for a Land Rover Driver
More Cash Please
Lead story on BBC NEWS | England
Rural campaigners say England's countryside will be gone in a generation if we do not change our ways.
Oh yes it is the Campaign for the Prevention of Rural Enterprise at work again looking for cash, sorry that should have read " it is the Campaign to Protect Rural England encouraging everyone who enjoys visiting the countryside to join the debate".
Lead problem - Tree Sparrow's number's are down - strangely The Castle is blessed with one of Southern Britain's largest flocks of Tree Sparrows so I know a little about them - they used to be rare and had a huge population boom in the 1960s and are now rare again, they are also hard to spot which makes identifying them difficult. And of course Sparrow Hawk numbers have vastly increased, go figure!
Farm workers are disappearing - Yes, farming is becoming a largely mechanised industry, farm work is hard, dirty, dangerous and poorly paid. Of course I wish I was back twenty years ago when a gang of us would be out in the fields shifting bales, happiest days of my life, but it is progress it now takes one machine a quarter of the time to do the same job. And modern farming frees up more land for wildlife, hence my Tree Sparrows have five acres set- aside just for them!
No what the CPRE means is that retired Major Twittering-Twitt (Catering Corp Rtd.), who runs the local branch, can't find a chap to do the garden for a few bob after working a long week on the farm down the road, and that the Memsahib can't find a woman "to do" because they have cars and drive into town for a proper job. And the pub no longer has horse brasses and dimpled glasses with handles with the Landlord welcoming him every lunchtime as the pub's most important customer; it is now a modern eatery where young telecommutes laugh about foreign holidays and how much money they make.
The British Countryside is like the climate, it is changing and always has done. And above the desire for Picture Postcard Poverty should be recognising that the locals deserve to be able to enjoy the material progress the rest of the country has.
September 8, 2005
Gratuitous Media Story
WONDERBRA is covering up. The underwear company that pushed Eva Herzigova's cleavage into the public eye with the slogan "Hello Boys" is promoting its new range of bras using fully clad models. It may signal the decline of an era of sexually overt advertising.
Shame - what sort of adverts are they dropping?
Disgusting - they should be banned!
In 1780, Mr. Hiat (with one 't') formed his business manufacturing "Prisoners' Handcuffs to the Trade". ..Hiatt's range is the most comprehensive of any handcuff manufacturer in the world today. ..Hiatt's offers a range of expandable friction - lock batons, made from a ZYTEL polycarbonate composite material or steel. The traditional range of wooden British - style truncheons is also available.
Ah - A proud traditional British Manufacturing company, winning in the export market, something we can all be proud of can't we? Seems not.
BBC NEWS | UK | Activists target handcuffs firm
Campaigners are targeting a Birmingham firm that they say makes "shackles" used at the Guantanamo Bay camp.
Now there are some places that targeting a firm that makes truncheons wouldn't be such a good idea....
Help wanted - Beginners guide to economics
A reader writes:
Can you recommend a good beginners guide to economics?
The more I try to keep track of the world the more I realise that the subject dominates and apart from being able to draw the price:supply and demand graph (sometimes even getting it right) I am a bit of a novice on the topic.
Although I have something of the right about me politically I'd prefer any book that explained the principles clearly enough for an engineer rather than a polemic.
Any suggestions would be welcomed by him, me and I'm sure a lot of others.
Anyon got some spare change?
Bloggers keep the media honest, so wade in
The full article contains 521 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.
To read the full article now subscribe to "scotsman.com Premium" from as little as £29.95 a year.
Oh well - sounded interesting....
He leaves no doubt that, unlike other leadership candidates, he is firmly committed to reducing taxes. "Only a low-tax, light-regulation economy can provide the resources for good healthcare and education, roads and police because those are the economies that generate sustainable wealth," he writes.
"Only a low-tax, light regulation economy can build the stronger society we all want to see because those are the economies that encourage enterprise, provide incentives and promote competition."
He is getting my vote so far - well he would do if they would let the Tory members vote and if I was a Tory Party Member - , but apart from that put me down as a swing voter more likely to vote Tory if he is elected...
Scottish Raj at work.
"We are currently considering limiting air-gun sales in the UK to firearms dealers registered by the police, following discussions between Cathy Jamieson and the Home Office." - Home Office spokesman
So the Scotch Parliament now is pushing laws on to the whole UK. Get that wall repaired.
BBC launches Satellite TV
Why launch Freesat?
Broadcasters are eager to switch over to digital as soon as possible to cut the costs of running two systems at once. Ensuring that almost everyone in the country can get free digital is part of their campaign to persuade the Government to end analogue broadcasts sooner rather than later. The BBC and ITV may also have ulterior motives in pushing free satellite.
The set-top boxes used for Freeview and satellite come in two varieties - those with a slot that can take a pay TV card and the "dumb" variety that can never be upgraded to subscription TV. The BBC is keen to get as many "dumb" set-top boxes on the market as possible in order to protect the licence fee.
Senior managers believe that if a large number of viewers have set-top boxes that can accept pay TV cards, it makes it too easy for a future Government to demand that the BBC funds itself through subscription
I hadn't thought of that - as Freakonomics would say - look for the hidden incentive. (Good book and site by the way!)
September 7, 2005
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Ah - I think that petulant cry for "help" and interference from the Government tells me all I need to know about the site...
September 6, 2005
Licenced to carry
Nice knife! Of course you wouldn't expect to be able to carry it around the streets of Britain, or if you had it concealed under your clothes you wouldn't think it was unfair to be asked to not carry it into a school or airport, would you? But part a section of society does exactly that. The Sikh's; some of the finest soldiers and warriors that ever have lived under the Union Flag. Showing my ignorance I was interested to learn today that Sikhs carry such knives at all times, some not as sharp or as pretty, but knives all the same. I would add that Sikhs are anxious that this practice is explained openly so that society can understand. A helpful website is:
The Kirpan (ceremonial sword) worn by followers of the Sikh religion sometimes raises questions or concerns among people who are unfamiliar with the religion or it's tenants. The Kirpan is an ingrained part of the Sikh religion and is in many ways its religious symbolism is similar to the Cross in Christianity. Just as a Cross is worn be devout Christians, baptized Sikhs are required to wear the Kirpan. ...
It was Guru Gobind Singh, the final living Sikh prophet who formally instituted the mandatory requirement for all baptized Sikhs to wear the Kirpan at all times.....
The Reht Maryada does not specify the length of the Kirpan or how it is to be worn by the devotee. Kirpans can be anywhere from 3 foot swords carried by Sikhs on religious festivals, marriages and parades, to a few inches in length. They can either be worn over ones clothing or under the clothing. ....
Season of mists and mellow fruitfullness
Plum jam making time, yum, wish I could send some to Texas!
Image taken on 6/9/2005 19:8
Why I will recommend a BMW as Mr FM's next car...
The firearm bracket in the rear centre armrest provides space for an MP 5 and three magazines. The bracket is electromagnetically locked and is opened from the front seats using a switch. The firearm moves forward automatically, therefore easy for the driver and passenger to reach.
Hattip to Mr NBC
Sniffing Bicycle Seats Special
I'm not a fan of cycling so the Tour of Britain 2005 has not interested me, even if Britney Spears was ride naked on her bike on the Tour of Britain 2005 I wouldn't get my interest up. But the anti-English attitude of the Tour of Britain 2005 organisers who seem to be a huge bunch of pricks gets on my tits, so cum and join an orgy of protest by linking to Tour of Britain 2005.
Your super soar away blog - now with Sudoku!
The aim of the puzzle is to enter a numeral from 1 through 9 in each cell of a grid. Each row, column and region must contain only one instance of each numeral. Completing the puzzle requires patience and logical ability.
According to Sudoku - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tthe number of valid Sudoku solution grids for the standard 9×9 grid was calculated by Bertram Felgenhauer in 2005 to be 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960.....
5 3 4 | 6 7 8 | 9 1 2
6 7 2 | 1 9 5 | 3 4 8
1 9 8 | 3 4 2 | 5 6 7
8 5 9 | 7 6 1 | 4 2 3
4 2 6 | 8 5 3 | 7 9 1
7 1 3 | 9 2 4 | 8 5 6
9 6 1 | 5 3 7 | 2 8 4
2 8 7 | 4 1 9 | 6 3 5
3 4 5 | 2 8 6 | 1 7 9
2nd best option
TONY BLAIR must use his power as President of the EU to end the "medieval" practice of European legislation being decided behind closed doors, according to an unprecedented joint declaration by the leaders of all British political groups in Brussels.
Critics claim that the Council of Ministers, the EU's supreme law-making body, which decides two thirds of all Britain's laws, is the only legislature outside the Communist dictatorships of North Korea and Cuba to pass laws in secret.
The campaign - launched by a letter in The Times today and an official proclamation in the European Parliament - demands that the Prime Minister use his six-month EU presidency to open up debates and votes at the council to public scrutiny.
And about time - though I note the Southern European countries are against. Of course I have another option in mind of what to do with the EU commission which might be considered a bit more radical, though I'm sure the Chinese could quickly and cheaply supply the necessary rope....
September 5, 2005
Off to school
First day for the eldest Englishette so panic and stiff upper lips this morning
Image taken on 5/9/2005 9:46
Just adding my opposition.
There are plans to create a European “Oath of faithfulness”...Now is the time to act against this invidious measure. Let them know that we do not want an oath of allegiance to the EU in no uncertain terms, and the idea will be taken off the table.
OK - I'll be blunt - the EU can sod off, Oath of Faithfullness to the EU, my arse!
September 2, 2005
The fair is back in town
I still have a childish thrill of the prospect of going to the fair especially when it is in the old market place of Devlzes
Have a great weekend and spare a thought for those who are suffering anguish and worry..
Image taken on 2/9/2005 14:1
Image taken on 2/9/2005 14:1
Image taken on 2/9/2005 13:58
It is hard to imagine how to cram more misinformation and misdirection into a couple of short paragraphs than EUROPA - Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission: does in her Blog:
Then all the terrible pictures from forest fires in Portugal, floods in other parts of Europe and finally Katrina, the storm hitting the southern states in the USA . Unfortunately: with accelerating climate change we will see more of these extreme weather conditions and phenomena in the future.
Simply Bollocks - the European weather extremes are just normal variations due to the Jet Stream wriggling as it does. And Katrina, however awful, is not abnormal.
Tuberculosis has returned to Sweden and hit 60 children in a school.
And your point is? - It wouldn't be that you want to raise the issue of immigration would it? : Entrez PubMed All patients in this cluster (This is talking about another similar outbreak) were found to be from Africa. In comparing the pattern in the T-base the strains matched with strain BEA-000007341 isolated from a patient in Rwanda. The majority of patients with drug resistant tuberculosis in Sweden are immigrants from countries with high incidence of tuberculosis. Spread of disease to the Swedish born population is uncommon. However, an increasingly prevalent clone of isoniazid resistant tuberculosis was found among African immigrants, mainly living in the Stockholm area.
Back to Margot..
Chinese clothes piled up in European ports has naturally been dominating the news reporting lately. The Commission is trying to find a practical way to deal with the problem and to unblock the goods as soon as possible seems like a sensible solution in the interest of European consumers as well.
I love the "as well", the other interests go unmentioned as I suppose she doesn't want to say the whole problem has been caused by the EU favouring a few manufacturing companies. It sounds as though she believes the EU is riding to the rescue of this Munchausen problem it caused and that is a wonderful thing!
BSE - I blame the French.
The mad cow disease epidemic could have been caused by the feeding of material containing human remains to cattle, a scientist claimed yesterday.
Sometime ago, and I have looked and failed to find the reference, I cam across an account of a firm of Yorkshire Renderers who were producing Bone Meal in 18th and 19th Century. Their speciality was touring round Europe and clearing up Battlefields.
So on the morning after Waterloo and the local Mayor is looking out across a bloody field piled high with dead horses and soldiers a little man with a bowler hat on would turn up, whistle through his lips and say " Aye, nasty mess that Sir, wants some proper clearing before it gets too rank. Happen I know a champion bunch of lads who would do that for you. Nasty job, cost a bit but I could probably do you a deal..."
Of course the victors, the British would gather their own dead, and the women would search the French corpses but would they have buried them all? I think one or two would have got scooped up with the horses in to the Renderer's waggon. And that is how the Blood and Bone Meal that was feed to cattle as far back as then got infected.
September 1, 2005
ABC - The choice
K e n C l a r k e MP
This autumn Conservative MPs will not only decide the future of our Party, but potentially the future direction of Britain.
Ken Clarke is the Conservative who voters think would make the best Party Leader. The swing voters who we need to convince to vote Conservative, think so too. Put simply, Ken Clarke is the most
appalling appealing Conservative in the United Kingdom.
No - the man is a disgrace - time the Tories got some young radical policies - so sign me up for ABC - Anyone But Clarke.
We want someone who is prepared to be a real alternative to Tony - what have they got to lose;
My starter for ten:
School vouchers; Flat Tax; Abolish the LEAs, Disengage from the EU (If withdrawal is too strong to stomach), Abolish the Regional Assemblies, a Bonfire of regulations, - it isn't hard to come up with a list.
How Ya' Gonna' Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?
Bizarrely, the Royal Academy's own report, Transport 2050, contains less mechanical engineering than social engineering. Though it acknowledges the need for more infrastructure investment and technical innovation, the cornerstone of its vision is "True Cost Charging" of travellers -pricing that reflects "the real costs of journeys to themselves and to society". In effect, this means using the market to change our behaviour by adding the cost of pollution, congestion and accidents directly onto the cost of travel.
"Restraining demand" for transport is only part of the RAEng's strategy, alongside "maximising use of existing capacity" and "the creation of new capacity through infrastructure and technology", but it's a surprising policy suggestion from industry's traditional problem-solvers.
Although increased opportunities for travel are credited with improving "wealth creation and quality of life", the report then rapidly shifts focus onto the adverse effects on health and the environment, and the explicit suggestion that the future of British transport should involve shorter journeys and more walking and cycling. Never mind bio-fuels and hydrogen, the fuel of the future may well be a substantial breakfast.
Today's engineers certainly seem reluctant to take credit for the social and economic advances made possible by improved transport systems, both a catalyst and consequence of the industrial revolution, and they are unwilling to look forward boldly to a future in which engineering will contribute to even more freedom of movement.
When Telegraph Motoring contributor Austin Williams warned a few years ago that transport policymakers were effectively proposing that people (especially the poor) should be geographically constrained in a manner not a million miles from the feudalism of the Middle Ages, some thought he was being alarmist. Has such a short-sighted and pessimistic vision now become the accepted wisdom?