October 31, 2005
Caledonia, oderint dum metuant
Wonko's World leads on:
"Breaking news yesterday was the article in the Sunday Times by "Posh Scottish columnist with an English accent" A A Gill. The delightful Mr Gill managed a full 2 page diatribe on why he hates the English...
I must admit I couldn't be arsed to read it all, though I think the headline wasn't consistent with what I did read, still "Oderint dum metuant" and leave it to the fenland king
Two Thirds British
I scored 10 out of 15 so I suppose they will put me back on the boat.
Leopards and spots
As the world focuses on global terror attacks, Northern Irish leaders are struggling to distance the region from terror movements. During a Sinn Fein conference this weekend in Dublin, Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, the political party allied with the Irish Republican Army, made a point of calling terrorism "ethically indefensible".
Well I suppose with cash in the bank (under the hedge rather than in a vault I presume) and a blanket amnesty for all your murderous scum on the way you can take the moral high ground now....
Glorifying, exalting and celebrating terrorism
Guy Fawkes, it seems, was a little over zealous with the gunpowder. Half the number of barrels he smuggled into Parliament would have been enough to destroy the chamber above him and wipe out the ruling elite - providing he had got around to lighting the fuse.
400 years ago - of course there is a theory that he was the dupe of a Government that wanted to exploit a Terrorism scare so they could bring in repressive measures - not the sort of thing that could happen now, is it?
October 30, 2005
Something to watch while drinking a cup of tea
Katherine Jenkins ‘L’Amore Sei Tu’ (I will Always love you) video.
Maybe it is because I'm Welsh but there is something about this girl from a council house in Neath that cheers an old man up - and as a red head I think she might even make it to the Gun Man's Weekend Roster
Still time to give!
I meant to highlight before that it is The Daily Ablution Pledge Week. Give now or Mrs Scott will ban him from the computer, and that mustn't happen. Personally I have found it easier not to let the present Mrs Englishman know that I blog, she thinks I spend all these hours surfing pornography rather than indulging in the solitary sin of blogging....
What are they on?
The plan to ban drinking on public transport is reportedly on a list of 40 proposals aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour and binge drinking.
The list is also said to include the introduction of respect "sheriffs" in each community
Drunks on trains are drunks who got on drunk - very hard to get drunk on the £3 a can warm lager you can only buy after enduring a Muscovian queue to be served by Stalin's Auntie..
But I like the idea of Respect Sheriffs, I think I'll apply; the black hat, the well worn oil-cloth Duster coat and the .357, yep I could wander down the road demanding respect.....
October 29, 2005
Don't forget tonight.
Fall forward, spring back! It is all for the Scottish schoolkids so you know it makes sense!
October 28, 2005
The smoking gun of the West Lothian Question
BBC NEWS | Politics | Smoking out the big question
...what is really getting up the nose of some MPs - apart from the smell of stale cigarette smoke - is that the architect of this policy, former health secretary John Reid, represents a Scottish constituency, Airdrie and Shotts. ...
Some Labour MPs are even threatening to rebel against the smoking bill in an attempt to prevent it becoming law. ...
But at least one Old Labour firebrand is permitting himself a wry smile at the unfolding row.
"It is the West Lothian question in excelsis," says Tam Dalyell.
The former Linlithgow MP and father of the House of Commons, who stood down at this year's general election, made a career out of asking awkward questions.
And the West Lothian question, with which he became synonymous, was possibly the most awkward of all - namely how was it right after devolution that a MP representing a Scottish constituency could continue to be allowed to vote on issues affecting just England?
"It is absolutely extraordinary; indefensible. It makes a mockery of accountability," says Mr Dalyell.
Now, he says, every vote is crucial. It is the perfect time, in other words, he says, for MPs to make a stand over the West Lothian question, even though he admits there is no easy answer to it.
The only way to solve it once and for all would be to have no more Scottish MPs at Westminster and a fully independent Scottish state, something he was "personally against".
Nevertheless, he must feel some sense of vindication now that the question he pressed for so long is finally creeping up the political agenda?
"I would be inhuman if I didn't," he replies with a smile.
Good to see it raised, though strange that an English Parliament for English matters isn't mentioned....
An MA writes
Four years after graduating, nearly a third of "the class of 99" were either in "non-graduate" jobs or jobs that were not appropriate for someone with their qualifications.
There was also clear evidence that the "graduate earnings premium" - a measure of the financial advantage of having a degree - had begun to fall.
The study found that those most likely to be employed in non-graduate jobs had gone to the "new" universities that have been at the forefront of the Government's drive to "widen access".
These graduates were 37 per cent more likely to be employed as clerical and shop assistants, bar managers and in call centres than graduates of the old universities.
Now there is a surprise! Something must be done! Employers have worked out that Mickey Mouse degrees from
Polytechnics New Universities just show that the kid chose to laze about for an extra few years rather than work. I'm proud that the son and heir had one thing he wanted to do on his seventeenth birthday, which was a Sunday. He wanted to drive himself to work. And he did. That attitude counts for more than a desire to do Media Studies in my book.
The answer is in the question.
OSLO Jens Stoltenberg, the recently installed leftist prime minister of Norway, believes that his country should join the European Union. So do some of his rivals on the right. Even the often euroskeptical populists today say they are neutral.
So why is this increasingly wealthy North European nation remaining outside the fold at a time of broadening European integration?
So another country ruled by an out of touch leftist and children can you guess why they are happy to not be part of the sclerotic EU morass but continue to enjoy free trade with Europe and whoever else they choose?
Hat tip EU Referendum and another source I have forgotten..
Commons pressure on Galloway
Speaking on the floor of the Commons, Mr MacShane said he could not comment on the allegations that were published by the Senate sub-committee on Monday.
He said Mr Galloway "employs very expensive libel lawyers to stop any press investigation into his role as Lord Haw-Haw for one of the worst tyrants in the world's history, responsible for killing more Muslims than anybody else in the history of that religion.
"Still, we do need a joint Congress and Commons committee of inquiry to settle the truth once and for all.
"Because if any of the allegations of financial receipt are true, it is not just the honourable member's reputation that is at stake. It's the reputation of this House, if it does not deal with it."
The full text of the report is here (long – 630 pages). And even the BBC is now reporting that GG is in the report - start at page 79. I'm not sure if they didn't report that yesterday because that is what the BBC is, or whether they sensibly wanted to run it past their learned friends first.
October 27, 2005
The Health Police Cometh
Central to the report is the idea of "anticipatory care", or searching out the nation's couch potatoes before they end up in hospital. Health boards will be asked to identify "at risk" members of the community and ensure they attend a clinic if they have not done so. This is likely to be through sending out "health police" to identify those at risk.
A step beyond the Nanny state! And what if you prefer to take the risk of staying at home eating deep fried Mars Bars rather than risk the horrors of an NHS clinic, will they arrest you? drag you there in chains? The fanatics won't give up until everyone is pale and weedy like them.
Tony shows his true colours
Tony Blair yesterday invited the European Union to extend its reach into a sweeping range of new - and sensitive - policy areas, from company taxation to university reforms, a "common energy policy" for Europe and the management of immigration.
On the eve of a summit of EU leaders today at Hampton Court, Mr Blair said: "We need to get Europe moving and we need to get it moving in the right direction."
I can think of a direction Europe ought to move but it probably isn't the same way he is thinking of...
October 26, 2005
Standing at the bar tonight in the King's Arms the following game evolved - I'm sure it has a name and history but we just made it up on the spot...
One player is the House, one the punter. The House puts up ten coins of different denominations, which add up to say to £4.90, he offers the punter the chance to buy two coins for a pound. The choice of coins to be chosen by the punter writing down two numbers and putting down his Quid; then the House lays out his coins in an prearranged pattern. I.E. coin to the left is number one, up to number ten on the right. Open the folded bit of paper revealing the punters choice and whether he chose the two pound coin and the fifty pence or the the two pennies. Strangely addictive and as you play it you start to get more confident and offering better odds. I was laying down £5.50 to get a pound bet because I reckoned I could beat the punters guesses. I think I ended the evening up.
Georgeous takes on 100 lawyers
A few years ago in a universe far away I was involved in an American legal case - spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and enjoyed planning and responding to lawyer's questioning. Fascinating stuff and two things you learn are lawyers questions build to prove a point and don't volunteer information, just answer the questions. George Galloway seems not to have done that and got carried away, see:
The Belmont Club
- gives an extract from Galloways testimony .....
"the tone and manner of Galloway's examination suggested that the Senators were trying to establish a specific point for the record, in the hopes of using Galloway's testimony against him later....
(Speculation alert) It was Galloway's contempt for the intelligence and capability of his Senatorial pursuers that may have gotten him into this perjury mess in the first place. It wasn't enough to remain silent on his relationship with with Zureikat. Playing to his gallery, Galloway boomed, "I can assure you, Mr. Zureikat never gave me a penny from an oil deal, from a cake deal, from a bread deal, or from any deal." Nice touch about the cake and the bread. Perhaps he couldn't imagine, at the time, why these yokels were asking him simple questions that were beneath his level of rhetorical ability. Even today Galloway may think so little of his adversaries that he was willing to boast on BBC Radio that "I am ready to fly to the US today, if necessary, to face such a charge because it is simply false." He is as smart today as he was then.
Of course it won't make a blind bit of difference as those who like GG and hate America wont change their views whatever comes out and those of different views probably won't change theirs either.
Art in Wales
A JAPANESE artist has been paid £5,000 of taxpayers' money to attempt to drink 48 cans of beer and then fall off a wooden beam.
The "performance", which took place at the Chapter arts centre in Cardiff, has outraged members of the local council and caused bafflement among the public, many of whom do exactly that without getting paid every Friday and Saturday night.
An arts centre spokesman said:"This wasn't just about a woman drinking a lot of beer, this was a powerful piece of art." Tomoko Takahashi, 39, who performs under the name Anti-Cool, was once nominated for the Turner Prize for her installations of rubbish. She says that her performance "comments on the availability and use of mass-produced products". The 50 people who turned up to watch the three-hour show, saw Miss Takahashi dressed in a smart black business suit and high heels, drinking beer from a bag suspended from the ceiling. She then tried repeatedly to walk across a narrow beam two feet above the floor. She failed to finish the 48 cans.
Where do I apply for a grant? - I'm still bruised from going out drinking with Mr FM and Mr NBC and falling off my high heels into a farmyard puddle - that was worth £5000 in anyones money.
Mr Englishman goes to Town Pt II
October 25, 2005
Concesserimus libertates quasdam scriptas in magna carta nostra de libertatibus.
Tim Worstall and Attempting Escape note the BBC hiding away at the bottom of a story a comment by Fungus that he is considering throwing away a thousand years of Judicial practice...
BBC NEWS | Politics | Police firearms review considered
The home secretary also said "there was a lot to be said" about the UK switching from its adversarial court system to a system where an investigating judge direction (sic) inquiries - as happens elsewhere in Europe.
The government was considering the idea, he said, but it would be a very major reform and was opposed by most lawyers, including some of his fellow ministers.
Why not? It is about the only bit of British Justice he hasn't trampled all over yet....
This blog likes to be inclusive and celebrates diversity so for the pig lovers amongst us here is an update on Patrick the Glos Old Spot trainee Boar.
He has been growing at a couple of pounds a day and seems to have done the dirty deed. Expect news of piglets in Dec.
Here he is choosing a warm place to sleep (unwisely?) and also his Churchillian pose.
Image taken on 10/10/2005 19:16
Image taken on 10/10/2005 19:16
Image taken on 10/10/2005 19:22
Mr Englishman goes to Town
Off to the Smoke today so no blogging - going to parts of the Great Wen I haven't been to since I used to carry the bag for a friend when he went to All Saints Road in 1980 - wonder if it has changed?
A step in the right direction
There are some advantages in having a Conservative Prime Minister in a Labour Government and Tory Tony seems to being edging towards the right steps in Education, late and not far enough but every journey etc...
Councils will be stripped of their responsibility for schools; businesses, churches, City livery companies and wealthy individuals will be allowed to take over schools; independent schools will be encouraged to accept state cash and join the state sector; and there is to be a new emphasis on grouping pupils by ability and offering advanced classes to the brightest.
Mr Blair made clear that he was ready to resist opposition from the Labour Left and the teachers' unions to opening up the system to parent power and ending comprehensive education.
October 24, 2005
Compare and contrast.
THE commanding officer of a battalion serving in Iraq has resigned after failing to obtain armoured Land Rovers for his patrols.
Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Henderson, commander of the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, is understood to have been furious last week after one of his senior sergeants died as a direct result of the failure to supply "armour protected" Land Rovers for his men, defence sources said.
CHERIE BLAIR has become the first prime minister's spouse to be given an official government car and driver for her personal use, including shopping trips and visits to the gym.
Use of the car, a bullet-proof Vauxhall Omega, is estimated to be costing taxpayers more than £50,000 a year. She also has the use of a Ford Galaxy people carrier as backup.
Norma Major was not so lucky. She had personal protection during her time at No 10 but never her own car. On the occasions she used an official vehicle for her own use she was invoiced.
Denis Thatcher, too, was excluded from the official car club. Despite the real threat from the IRA, he could often been seen strolling along Whitehall to meet his friends at a club or would take the bus using his senior citizen’s pass.
October 21, 2005
Sacr'd to Nelson
A small chest at The Castle has these handles, "Sacr'd to Nelson - Trafalgar" - probably just a cheap souvenir 200 years ago but rather nice now.
A day to celebrate a great Victory so slipping back to my youthful days before the mast as a boy sailor I will be happy to join in the traditional Naval celebrations, but I'm not getting in that barrel again....
October 20, 2005
Live Tractor Blogging
Glorious weather so I decided to spend the afternoon taking out the fence between the 40 acres and the 110 acre field. That looks better. Now what to do with all that rusty wire?
Image taken on 20/10/2005 16:15
Nice work if you can get it
The announcement yesterday follows a report suggesting that the IRA had kept its promise for at least month to abandon violence.
Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, said the republican party's £120,000 Stormont Assembly allowances to Sinn Fein would be restored on November 1, despite the Northern Ireland Assembly being in abeyance.
Mr Hain also signalled that he would ask MPs to approve the restoration of £400,000 in allowances to the party's five representatives in the House of Commons later this year, even though they refuse to take their seats.
The allowances were removed to punish the IRA's political wing when the Provisionals were linked to the £26.5 million Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney.
Now isn't that a much easier way to make money rather than have to go out on a cold night and shake down a few small businessmen for a few quid; just sit back, do nothing and old oily Hain sends a cheque over. As long as you didn't have to meet the creep nothing unpleasant about the deal at all.
But it is not a lie...
Here is the transcript of the court exchanges which led Stephen Byers to admitting not telling the truth to MPs.
Why is that a single Lawyer in court managed to string him out to dry when the massed ranks of Lawyers turned Politicians in the House hadn't? Will they manage to now?
As a survey for BBC News reveals that more people are taking part in various forms of fox-hunting than a year ago - before February's ban - rural affairs correspondent Tom Heap looks at how the pursuit is managing to survive. ....
October 19, 2005
New Blog to follow
Mysteryspindoctor...a former spindoctor no longer working in British politics but still with an active interest. I'll try in this blog to demystify what political professionals do in Britain, and to provide some insight to what's going on behind the surface in British politics.
Plenty in the trough
None of the 5m members of public sector schemes will be required to work beyond their current average retirement age of 60 because the new pension age of 65 will only apply to those who start work in future.
Some of those already on the public payroll will continue to enjoy retirement ages below 50, with tens of thousands going even earlier due to "bad backs or stress". More than two thirds of members of some public sector schemes retire early due to ill health, according to the Pensions Policy Institute.
Since The Daily Telegraph revealed in February that taxpayers will have to pay nearly £700 billion - or double the national debt - to provide pensions already promised to those on the public payroll, the Government has been under intense pressure to reach a compromise...
Sir Digby Jones, director-general of the CBI, said: "This is a bad deal for the taxpayer. The Government has capitulated to the threat of public sector strikes and conceded that 21-year-old civil servants can retire aged 60 in 2044. Lucky them, at a time when private sector employees face longer working lives.
"Before the election, the Government pledged to tackle public sector pension reform as a matter of priority - now it appears to be pushing it into the long grass under pressure from the unions. Who is running Britain - the Government or the unions?"
Actuaries - the mathematicians who advise pension funds - were scathing about the deal. Stewart Ritchie of the insurance giant Aegon said: "It is not sustainable in the long term to expect taxpayers to fund more generous pensions for public sector employees than they can possibly acquire themselves.
"Although there has been some tightening, the degree to which public sector workers have been able to take ill health early retirement has also been a scandal."
Similarly, Stephen Yeo of Watson Wyatt said: "You can perhaps understand why two thirds of firefighters need to retire early but it is less obvious why ill-health caused four in 10 local government scheme members to retire early. It will be many years before the agreement reached today reduces costs borne by taxpayers."
Compromise? - about as much of a compromise as my dog rolling over in return for a biscuit? Writing cheques for our children to honour was of course going to be the easy option, so that is why they took it. Of course you could sack them all and re-employ them on the new contract, or even not re-employ them at all....
They don't like it up'em, Sir.
In the past two years, the Army has bought 4,000 Minimi light machineguns, 9,000 night sights and 2,000 underslung grenade launchers in a £30 million programme, with £35 million available for further purchases.
Before the war in Iraq in 2003, the average British infantry section had a feeble amount of firepower available.
While the much derided original SA80 rifle failed in numerous operations, its successor the SA80 A2 was now "the best weapon in the world" after 24 modifications were made in a £90 million overhaul four years ago.
"As a section commander I now know that I can stop the enemy and in close combat kill them because my weapons will work in all terrains," Sgt Poulter said.
The troops were now "more than happy" with what they had got although some grumbled about the loss of capability for using the bayonet.
Good news that at last they seem to be equipping them with some of the tools they need, but no bayonet? Doesn't seem right, I'll keep mine shiny and ready for my Lee Metford.
October 18, 2005
Bye Bye - don't let the door slam on you on the way out.
The sun is just dropping below the Mizzen Mast, and even if it wasn't, it is time for a large one in celebration!
"What Paula Radcliffe paused to do in the streets of London, bid organisers are doing to the locals."
I have blogged about this before so may I ask you to support Forman & Field in their demand to be relocated to a like-for-like site, and call on the Government to ensure that no businesses in and around Marshgate Lane are worse off due to their eviction to make way for the proposed Olympic Park.
The techie view on ID Cards
THE government's case for identity cards has been dealt a serious blow on the day of a crucial Commons vote after the software giant Microsoft warned that the proposals could generate "massive identity fraud" on a scale as yet unseen.
In an article for The Scotsman today, Jerry Fishenden, the national technology officer for Microsoft, says the proposal to place "biometrics" - or personal identifiers such as fingerprints - on a central database could perpetuate the "very problem the system was intended to prevent". He says ministers "should not be building systems that allow hackers to mine information so easily".
October 17, 2005
The Scotsman's Opinion of Gordon
....the question that has been asked ever since the reneged-upon Treaty of Granita provoked the War of the British Succession is how would Prime Minister Broon play in Middle England?
The consensus has been that, without being able to tap into the zeitgeist of southern England, he would win grudging acceptance for so long as he kept the economy in good shape. Unhappily for Gordon, that verdict today amounts to a disqualification from the premiership, at a time when Tony Blair has pledged to depart and there is no other plausible challenger for the crown. Gordon is going to be PM and he is going to be a catastrophe.
In his first budget he raided pension funds for £5bn. Few people realised how feral this piracy was going to become or how serious its long-term consequences would be. His annual take is now £7.3bn and, overall, his rapacity has cost British investors a mind-numbing £270bn in lost equity values. After five years of Brown at Number 11, his increased regulations had already cost British business a total of £15.6bn. Yet those were the good years, to be looked back upon with nostalgia now.
It was in 2002 that Gordon broke free from his Lilliputian bonds and went on a public spending rampage that would have made Sir Stafford Cripps void his bowels. In just 36 minutes at the Despatch Box Brown sprayed £93bn of public money into the fiscal stratosphere like a drunk Lottery winner on speed. Once the £32bn annual uprating on pensions and benefits was taken out, that left a public-spending splurge of £61bn by 2006, taking overall public spending to more than £500bn by that date.
If those are Gordon Brown's economic credentials to become Prime Minister, perhaps he would do better to rely on his bubbly personality, his winning smile and the boyish charm with which a good fairy has endowed him. None of those attributes is any less substantial than the reputation for economic competence that has now deserted this robotic socialist with the effortless anti-charisma
Not for the Bunny Huggers
Infidel Press Release
I have been asked to publish a Press Release - so without comment ...
New Ball Point pen is a powerful physchological deterrent to terror and holds the promise of ending suicide bombings
Las Vegas, Nevada -- October 15, 2005 With global suicide bombings on the rise, more and more innocent lives are being destroyed. In response, Susblood Labs, LLC is introducing a quality writing instrument that contains a potent formulation including a non-toxic, cryogenically frozen porcine plasma (pig’s blood) as a key component.
The ancient Islamic "Doctrine of Jihad" promises homicide bombers an eternity in paradise accompanied by 72 virgins in exchange for committing their deadly acts of suicidal terror. However, this same doctrine states that Muslim terrorists defiled by pig's blood will not enter paradise, but will instead spend eternity in hell, alone. “Knowing that a fine mist of pig's blood will be sprinkled all over his body after his bomb explodes may well cause an Islamic terrorist to think twice before following through with his heinous act.” says Dr. James Susblood, founder of Susblood Labs, LLC.
Just last year, pig's blood and other pork by-products were approved for use in Israel by the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court in an effort to dissuade homicide bombings.
"Our intent is to overcome the threat of terror with the promise of eternal damnation," says Dr. Susblood.
Susblood Labs, LLC is today announcing the release of a new ergonomic and completely functional ball point pen called "Infidel's Revenge." This pen is a high quality writing instrument and incorporates the same technology used in the Company’s’ industrial product line. The Infidel’s Revenge ball point pen resembles a hypodermic needle and is encased in a sealed plastic cylinder that contains the patent-pending formula. The formula is non-toxic and completely safe. This pen can now be purchased by any consumer, and provides a simple and effective way for everyone to fight terrorism.
“Finally, there is something we can all do to prevent terror attacks. Using the new Susblood pens for your everyday writing needs means that terror prevention technology will be resident in every drawer, every purse, every pocket everywhere, thereby eliminating the terrorists' primary motivation for homicide bombing," states Dr. Susblood. “Suicide bombers contemplating terror must now decide between completing their mission and spending eternity in hell.”
Susblood Labs, LLC is a privately held research and development company headquartered in Las Vegas, NV and engaged in the production and deployment of terror prevention technologies designed to save innocent men, women and children from suicide terrorist acts. Susblood Labs products are safe and, when properly used, pose no health hazards. At the same time these products provide a powerful and frightful psychological deterrent to the would-be-terrorists of the Jihad.
For more information or an interview, please contact John Murphy, by phone at (408) 239-6642 or email at: email@example.com
Web site address: http://www.susbloodlabs.com
Web log: firstname.lastname@example.org
The stepson of the musician Jools Holland is being prosecuted for breaching planning laws by covering the front of his inherited house with a giant banner decrying supermarkets.
Fred Lambton, the 20-year-old grandson of the former Tory minister Lord Lambton, put a banner measuring 20ft by 17ft across his three-storey Grade II listed town house in King's Road, Chelsea.
Mr Lambton, whose grandfather was a minister in Edward Heath's government until he resigned in 1973 over a sex scandal, describes himself as a full-time environmental campaigner.
He is using the banner, which reads "Boycott supermarkets. They're killing Britain", to publicise his website, ethicalnetwork.org.
Mr Lambton, the heir to the Earldom of Durham, said: "I have been learning more and more about supermarkets since I left school. They treat farmers like dirt and put independent shops out of business.
Interestingly in these celeb worshipping days that to The Telegraph being the step son of a popular musician is higher in importance than being the Heir to an Earldom..
Putting my farming hat on it is nice to know he worries about us horny handed sons of the soil and the sometimes rotten deal we get from the near monopolistic buyers of the supermarkets. But I suggest in the bigger scheme of things providing good cheap food to the millions means for the country as a whole they are doing more good than a wealthy young environmental campaigner, my guess is that if you have inherited a listed town house on the King's Road then you don't have to pick through the Value range to afford the weekly shop.
There are a lot of good reasons to "shop locally" but the initiative shouldn't be hijacked to just mean buy expensive "craft" foods directly from small organic producers.
October 15, 2005
The Voice of Tolerance
Some of you may remember I posted about "An Australian university has appointed a kangaroo-hunting, beer-drinking student as "heterosexuality officer", charged with defending the rights of straight scholars."
Late this afternoon from a UK IP address I recieved this charming comment to the post - a classic of its type:
This is another example, of a nazi doing something ironic, lets face it gays are persecuted everywhere, gays, are bullied for being gays in every schools in Britaina nd australia, they are burned by nazi rap singers in jamaica and the carribean, and then comes along this scumbag, and preteneds there is no homophobia against gays, the fact is, he actually said he does nopt like it when gays get things, does he moan, about others, does he moan at homes for battered women, does he say, "why are they no homes for non-battered women, does he moan at the lifeboat association coming to rescue people who are not in trouble at sea, no he does, not, all he is doing this for is his hatred of gays, gays need gay pride, and respect, and along come scum like him to critise them, and sday their is no homophobia, and then tell gays, "i have no hatred of gays, i just do not like the weay gays get anything", i think gays need special tretament just like everybody needs specvial tretament, after all farmers like him get subsidies, farmers, like him get a farming minister, farmers, like him get this and that, the fact he said all tyhis anti-gay stuff, is as he thinks they desrve no help, that society should pretend gays do not exist, and so deserve no way where society tries to suit them to a extent, rather than ask them to suit society, this is a great triumph of liberalism, that society says society is not just about bulluies, andf homophobes and racists, that gays, pay taxd, and deserve rights, that we all deserv rights, that governments should try and attack homophboia, and bullying, and the high suicide rate of gays, and aborginiees, by having people in government who understand them, just like how the police are mostly working class thugs, so understand working class thugs, we should have people in society who understand reasnoble gay concerns, or beaten wives, or other geroups, about bullying, i think the horrible evil aussie nazi, is like the people from easy rider, who when they see somebody diofferent they just hate them, and then beat the guys to death, you know the scumbags in teh pub, who beat jack nicholson to death, i think he is like that, and he pretedning as he likes killing kangaross, and drinking beer that makes him more of a man, than anybody else, it does not, all it shows is that he likes drinking beer, and killing kangaroos, i bet if all th people who actually are saying on the internet they support him, actually had a chat with him, he would say if they were american "oh mate i hate all americans" and then beat you up, and kill you, if you were Brit, he would say"is it true all brits are faggots, " and then kill you, then some serial killer woman, i think people like him should be executed in gulags, its not fair that people like him are alive, while gays kill themslves, and are burned to death, and while gays are bullied, and if they turned up ata kanagroo shoot, scum like him would probably spend the whole time, mocking agys, i think this waffen ss officer should be dealt with the same way the soviets dealt with nazi cvoncentration camp guards, no wonder the soviet communists kileld the tsar, they oppress us so much these right winmger,s they think being nice to us is unreasnoble, we must execute the filth who hate us so much, we must destroy them,
I wonder if he ever found the end of the sentence or did he just self-implode?
Things I don't understand - Part One of Many
Today the modern version of Biro's pen, under the brand name BiC Cristal, sells 20 million pens throughout the world every day.
OK, I know how many things are made including how you forge chain links, I know how you brick up a well from the top down, how you get ships into bottles - but how do you make ball bearings? I understand how shot towers worked; I also know how specialist Ball Bearing factories were hugely valuable during the War when Germany relied on Swedish production. But how do you make millions of them every day to high standards of accuracy? Cast them and then grind them a bit? Please tell me - I have been trying to find out for years.
The Economics of Petroleum Jelly
20 g 99p (branded Vaseline Lip Balm)
100g £1.00 (branded Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly)
500g £2.84 (Non branded White Petroleum Jelly BP)
1 kg £5.68 (Non branded White Petroleum Jelly BP)
I bought the 500g as that seemed sufficient for the weekend. Pip pip.
October 14, 2005
A TANGLED WEB is on top form - I was going to pick a story but you really ought to read a good selection of them.
Life, but not as we know it.
Mr Cameron told BBC One's Question Time everybody was allowed to "err and stray" in their past.
"You do have a right to a private life before you go into politics," he said.
The shadow education secretary added: "I didn't spend the early years of my life thinking: 'I better not do anything because one day I might be a politician' because I didn't know I was going to be a politician'.
How unlike most of the nuLabour front bench who only ever wanted to be a politician and never had a real life or job. An encouraging sign.
"an exorbitant assertion of government power"
The Law Lords ruling is being seen as a matter about Hunting, it wasn't, it was about the constituional checks and balances that we live under. The anti-hunters are pleased with the ruling and are claiming the confirmation that the House of Lords has no real power is a triumph for Democracy. So full steam ahead for whatever the House of Commons decides on any day with no gentle restraining hand. Not good.
Countryside campaigners have lost their latest bid to overturn the ban on hunting with dogs, after nine Law Lords unanimously ruled it would remain.
The Countryside Alliance had argued the legislation used to force the ban through in England and Wales - the 1949 Parliament Act - was illegal.
...anti-hunt campaigners called it a "triumph for democracy".
Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart said the Lords' ruling had come as "no surprise" but the fight would go on.
"The Law Lords, for technical reasons, found themselves unable to agree with our case - but the Attorney General takes a bit of a kicking in the judgement as well."
However, he added: "This judgement effectively gives the House of Commons the freedom - with no checks and balances - to do what it wants, to whom it wants, when it wants."
‘The Council of Hunting Associations is extremely disappointed by the final outcome of the Parliament Act Challenge. The result strikes a sombre note for the future of British democracy. As one of the Law Lords stated in his judgment: “I am deeply troubled about assenting to the validity of such an exorbitant assertion of government power”.
Where it all started to go wrong
When I was a little boy I had a strong ambition to own a couple of things - a real penknife and a Ten Bob note - and then the Bastards took it away !
ON THIS DAY | 14 | 1969: New 50-pence coin sparks confusion
The seven-sided 50p coin has come into circulation to replace the 10-shilling note - but it has received a mixed reception. ...members of the public are complaining that in spite of its distinctive shape it is too easily confused with the 10-pence coin or half crown. ... many people were unhappy with the new addition to their purses and pockets.
It took me a long time but I eventually got one, and still have it along with a "proper" penknife.
October 13, 2005
Happy Birthday Mrs T.
The Adam Smith Institute Blog wishes Lady Thatcher a Happy Birthday in an eloquent and concise summing up of why we should all be grateful to her. I fully concur. Happy Birthday!
And now the end is nigh...
AFTER THIS WEEK'S creation of a German government in which Angela Merkel will not even control the Finance and Foreign ministries, all three of the great European nations that have dominated the Continent's history for 2,000 years (Germany, France and Italy) are effectively leaderless. They will almost certainly remain politically paralysed at least until the French presidential election of 2007. The power vacuum now covering the whole of continental Europe is almost unprecedented, at least since the disastrous period between the two world wars.
But is the inability of German, French and Italian voters to choose effective political leaders and then to decide on clear programmes of social and economic reform or more precisely the unwillingness to do so a cause for worry? Or should we instead regard it as a natural product of the prosperous and comfortable societies that Europeans have created and simply want to preserve?
At the European level, the unity of the German and French electorates in rejecting liberal reforms ends Tony Blair’s hopes of leading a pro-market consensus in Europe. ...
For Europeans who are elderly or who “own” their secure unionised jobs, especially in the public sector, the lack of economic dynamism is unimportant, compared to the generosity of pensions and protection of employment rights. High unemployment, which mainly afflicts the young and non-unionised, is a small price to pay for such security.
The tragedy, however, is that something precious will be lost if the people of Germany, France and Italy choose the path of a slow, comfortable national decline, rather than revitalisation. What will be lost, of course, is the global dominance of the European civilisation that these three great nations largely created.
As a democrat one has to acknowledge that the ageing electorates of Germany, France and Italy are entitled to vote for political paralysis, economic decline and global irrelevance. But the inevitable eclipse of European civilisation by a brash, materialistic American or Chinese culture will be a tragedy of epic proportions.
So where does that leave Britain? I don't think there is anything wrong with the American culture he sneers at, and he also ignores the growth in Australia and India. Even Tony has realised as he ignores Europe our future would be better served linking with the Anglosphere, maybe he will even try and revitalise the Commonwealth, now there was an idea that got frittered away!
October 12, 2005
Scots push airgun law on to the rest of the UK
The UK Government is to impose tighter controls on airguns following the murder of Glasgow toddler Andrew Morton, BBC Scotland has learned.
The Home Office could confirm as early as Thursday plans to restrict the sale of weapons to registered gun dealers.
There is some bad lawmaking going on here. Firstly the whole issue arose from one appalling incident, and it is a knee jerk reaction. But then it was going to be a Scottish matter, but the SMPs have decided that it should apply to the rest of us as well and so have pressurised the Home Office into taking it on.
If times weren't so hard I could be tempted to buy whilst I can.
Spare the rod
Young offenders' institutions in England and Wales are "out of control", prison officers have warned.
National vice-chairman of the Prison Officers Association (POA) Steve Gough says the institutions are in danger of "descending into anarchy".
He has written to the director general of the Prison Service demanding an end to the "liberal regime".
The Prison Service said it "utterly refuted" the charge that any of the institutions were out of control.
I thought I heard that on the radio, but then the story disappeared from view - imagine the use of the word Liberal as meaning a bad thing, and on the BBC as well!
Heroes and Villains
I eventually narrowed the problem on the 'puter to PokaPoka and a wonderful tool from the lovely guys at SimplyTech in Italy provide a free tool to kill it - I will make a donation. I want to have their babies, also the gorgeous Tina I want to have hers as well for the help she offered. Thanks.
And I hope that the makers of Surfsidekick suffer Weeping Buboes and are hunted down and squashed like the Roaches they are. Their homes should be destroyed so no stone stands upon another and the ground salted. They are cursed to the tenth generation and should be branded with a mark before their long and painful deaths.
Help I need some one
Bugger Bugger Bugger - yesterday having been happily playing with Google's Reader I had a little peak into what other goodies they offer and Web-accelerator caught my eye as being designed to speed up access on Broadband to regularly surfed sites, sounds like me so as it is from a reputable source I downloaded it. Installed it, Microsoft AntiSpyware asked if I wanted to allow it to work so clicked OK and off I went. Seemed to do the trick. I followed a couple of blog links, nothing dodgy, and suddenly a tidal wave of Ads overwhelmed the computer and Anti-Spywear was blocking attempts to change settings left right and centre. Something had got through. Now it may be coincidence but this the first time in ten years of surfing on this computer that this happens and it is five minutes after I have installed Google Web accelerator. My hunch is that in its helpful way it preloaded the next likely page and that was the dodgy link.
So this morning I'm out in the shed with the old machine and my normal computer has wasted all of yesterday afternoon for me and still isn't clean despite the best efforts of Ad-Aware SE. Of course normally I would give Mr NBC a call but after Mr FM poisoned him with too much beer and Whiskey (yes Irish) on Friday night in an attempt to thank him for his last Tech support job he is probably running scared of Wiltshire. Maybe if I promise to fall over into the muck puddle again as we walk home from the pub that will be incentive enough...
So limited blogging until all is fixed, and if I catch up with anyone involved in the adware industry then in the immortal words of Kim; "Rope, Tree, some assembly may be needed."
October 11, 2005
One for The Worstall
US citizen Thomas Schelling and Israeli Robert Aumann have won the 2005 Nobel prize in economics for their work in an area known as game theory.
They will share a 10m kronor ($1.3m; £723,000) cash prize awarded by the Swedish central bank.
Ah, but how will they share it? Just dividing it in two would be too boring for these specialists in strategies of conflict and the theoretical underpinnings of bargaining, co-operation and conflict wouldn't it?
Read More Blogs
Google Reader - I have been trying it for a day or so and to seems to be the first RSS system that I can actually get on with. Basically it goes and snuffles out any new story from your favourite blogs and news sources and gives you an extract which you can then click on to get the full story - and it is so easy to set up even Mr FM could do it!
Sartorial advice needed
I have been summoned for Jury Service in December in Swindon. I suppose a grand show trial of the massed youth of Swindon for wearing hoodies and lolling around slack jawed watching the traffic lights change as the most sophisticated entertainment their evo-stuck brains can comprehend is unfortunately unlikely to happen. So should I polish up my brogues and wear the pinstripe suit with an inch of hempen rope dangling from the pocket and a black handkerchief ready to be whipped out or should I dig out the sandals I bought when suffering from a whitlow, let the beard grow and knit myself a jumper from nettles?
Reading the Tory Tealeaves
Swirling the PG tips about I am told that DD is going to squeak the job, with DC as his Chancellor on the belief that Gordon has the next election in the bag. While the two Tories haven't yet gone for dinner in a post-modern restaurant this gives time for the Young'un to mature a little, sort out the voting rule and sweep effortlessly into leadership and power after the short Brownian Parliament, the betting being that Brown will have to go back to the country after three years.
October 10, 2005
Come Home to a ReaI Fire
Good end to a good day's work
'Pollo Iooks impressed.
Image taken on 10/10/2005 17:47
The Times Online has an excellent column by Anjana Ahuja in which she covers Popular Science Stories - always a good read:
This week :
YOU DON’T have to be mad to be a parent, but it helps. In fact, according to a psychiatrist at Yale University, there are spectacular similarities between the thought processes of first-time parents and sufferers of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Yup seen that....
Acquiring a dog can lose you more weight in a year than most diet plans.
How else do you explain my Racing Snake physique?
The brains of pathological liars are structurally different from the brains of honest folk, and show more wiring. Deceit takes more mental effort than telling the truth, suggest the researchers at the University of Southern California, and this is borne out by the observation that the liars had about a quarter more white matter in their prefrontal lobes than honest people. The increased wiring imparts the enhanced cognitive and linguistic skills required to pull off a convincing con.
The liars also had less grey matter than the others — this is the stuff that whirrs into action when people are asked to make moral decisions.
Oh for an MRI scan of our Tony.....
October 7, 2005
Council Tax protest
Council tax rebel Sylvia Hardy could be facing a second prison term after being summonsed again over non-payment.
Of course this protest will never really get going because those with the time to protest; unemployed, most pensioners etc don't pay any Council tax - the rest of us are working so hard to feed El Gordo that we haven't the time or energy.
SWRA - A reader writesThe regional assemblies being voluntary bodies may not, unauthorised, place impositions on the public purse. This may only be done by elected bodies. Despite this and although unelected at least three and very likely all English regional assemblies have employed personnel on permanent and pensionable terms. The assemblies are employers associations under S122 of the TU and Labour Relations Act 1992. According to the National Audit this renders members of the Boards of the assemblies responsible for such liabilities. However, Counsel's opinion is that should the Boards fail in their responsibilities the Courts would probably rule that these responsibilities would descend on local authorities since they had sustained the Assemblies by their subscriptions and must be taken to have been aware and approved of their actions. In other words local taxpayers can end up paying for people they never appointed and who were never even public servants being appointed under S122. This was undoubtedly always the intent of the ODPM. Once the assemblies became elective they would tax to meet the commitments. The NE put paid, at least for the moment, to that. In the case of the SWRA, the Assembly with expectable incompetence, omitted to register under 122 with the Certificating Officer and hence the legal status of the employees is uncertain. Although this has been brought to the attention of Public Service Unions none has evinced any interest. Nobody is keen to offend Prescott. Further in the case of the SWRA, having woken up to the fact that it was operating illegally in this matter, the Assembly tried to pass itself off to the Certificating Officer as being the SWPEO but this was noticed by some of us amazed at the effronteries going on. At least until recently, the Assembly has been "in discussions" with the Certificating Officer. These discussions have continued for nearly a year. In the meantime, the Board has understandably become anxious and went into defensive manoeuvres. One was to enter into a deal with the Somerset County Council Pension Fund for pension and redundancy cover for the Secretariat staff. The other was suddenly to start calling itself the South West Regional Board. The point of this latter move is believed to provide a facade that it has remit over staff and assets of SWPEO and SWLGA as well as the SWRA. Arrangements had indeed been made for the SWRA to provide joint secretariat services but no evidence has yet been encountered that the SWPEO, SWLGA, or SWRA gave the necessary individual plenary session endorsements. These are separate bodies with their own memberships and constitutions. But it seems that whatever the SWRA Board wanted was automatically a done deed. To enable the deal with the SCCPF to go forward the SWRA had to produce a bond of indemnity for £1 million against existing liabilities. It did this by "ring fencing" reserves. That it was able to do this was something of a surprise since the accounts show that the SWRA doesn't have any reserves. However, the SWPEO does and the suspicion has to arise that the SWRA has filched the money from the SWPEO. The SW Regional Board appears to claim that it has the right to do this but has proved unprepared to produce evidence. On top of all this, as if it were not enough, there aeems to be something odd about the status of Dennett House, Taunton, where this secretariat hangs out. This belongs, or used to belong to the SWPEO. Enquiry at the Land Registry shows it in the charge of 4 Trustees, 3 of whom it has not been possible to get in touch with and the other died a year ago. Enquiries to the SWRA about the ownership of the premises it occupies have failed to produce any answer. Actions are being taken on these things but anybody who wants to wade in on them, please do. They are matters for everybody's outrage. The people primarily responsible for it all are in fact local councils whose business it is to know what is going on since they subscribe to the RAs. But they do nothing. They need to redeem themselves. Peter
October 6, 2005
Driving through the Vale this morning I came across the delightful sight of the Hunt out exercising hounds in the fog:
Obviously they weren't hunting just as I wasn't driving along taking photos. Sorry for the quality.
To complete the modern view of hunting they had a Black guy on the quadbike, pictured here following the hounds - I presume he was the one with the gun for when they found a fox, unless they were indulging in a bit of drag hunting.
But when G P Taylor, a former vicar turned publishing phenomenon with his fantasy novel Shadowmancer, addressed 120 pupils at a Cornish secondary school, staff took a different view of his use of the English language.
The talk by the children's author was abruptly ended and his audience of 12-year-olds ordered to return to their classrooms after he used what the school termed "inappropriate language". His crime was to have used words such as "bum", "fart", "bogey" and "crap", as well as comparing Harry Potter to a gay character in the television comedy show Little Britain.
He said: "I have done this talk in many schools and I have been invited back many times. If the words 'fart' and 'bogey' are unacceptable, that's sad.
"I heard these kids speaking in the school and outside, and they were using language far worse than the language I used. I didn't set out to offend. I'm a priest - I'm very careful about not offending people.
"I think it is down to a growing climate of political correctness. It is curbing freedom of speech...."
He described television as "crap" compared to books and used "bogey" while discussing Fungus the Bogeyman, the classic illustrated book by Raymond Briggs.Taylor denied making any homophobic remarks, saying the teachers had misunderstood. He said: "All I said was that my villains are scarier than those in Harry Potter - and they are. I call Lord Voldemort Lord Vulgarwart and said that Harry Potter was not 'the only gay in the village'. It was a joke; a joke from Little Britain that the children would know."
Obviously they live a sheltered life in Cornwall but it sounds like he gives a racy, robust talk, but not inappropriate for 11-12 year olds, for goodness sake. The sort of talk that might actually make kids want to read books and be seen reading books because they are cool. And the headmistress seems to have given a real lesson in rudeness to a guest - if she was being offended a note passed across or asking him to pop outside for an urgent phone call to have a little word would have been appropriate.
Fox in favour
So David Davis came over as damp as dishwater and failed to press the right buttons. Public speaking isn't that important nowdays, but making the sound bites is. His position as challanger to BATman is his to lose, and he may have lost it to Dr Fox.
BBC NEWS | Politics | Fox sets out 'bold' Tory agenda
Dr Fox said: "We have spent so long focusing on diversity we have forgotten what we have in common. Free speech. A fair rule of law. Our history and heritage. Economic liberty. And democratic government based at Westminster."
But is Fox popular enough to be the ABC (Anyone But Clarke) candidate? When it comes down to the two man playoff would he beat him?
As ever EU Referendum gives the best analysis - frankly none of the candidates appear to be offering any "beef".
Local Gene Pool
An electricity company is warning children to stay away from its cables after workers found a rope swing attached to live wires.
Youngsters in Chisledon, near Swindon, had hung a nylon rope across lines carrying 33,000 volts of power to form a makeshift swing, the company said.
Ah Swindon! They bain't be proper Wiltshire zknow, but some of them youngsters ain't got the sense of a Pewsey Fool.
October 5, 2005
Television weather forecasters may soon use simpler terms for their predictions, the Met Office has said.
The move follows an internal review in which Met Office staff gave their views on how best to portray the weather.
Suggestions include using "patchy rain" rather than "showery outbreaks", and "warm for most", rather than "chilly in isolated areas".
The Met Office - which trains BBC forecasters - said the idea was to make forecasts "clearer and more relevant".
Oh Dear - "More relevant" if you see that phrase you know it is bad news. There is a place for simple forecasts, but there is also a place for serious forecasts that treat the viewer as an adult with some knowledge - I think though that place is the Internet not the TV. Rarely do I get real information from the TV anymore, just some froth and filler to the stories.
October 4, 2005
Got the message?Clicky Clicky Click - Ting - I have been busy typing..... With a little help from Toogle and apologies that the entry gets truncated.. england'sflagengland'sflagengland'sflagengland'sflagengland'sflagengland'sflagen
A Pig's Ear of a country
Browsing the news this morning I was feeling more and more depressed - St George's Cross pins banned in case they are racist, lack of Black hair and skin care products in Prison shops a cause of concern, Turkey voting for Christmas, Tory Who vs Tory Yawn, Junk Food, Posh Salt, it is the diet not the food that can be junk! Expect compulsory Rocket with a drizzle of "Organic Virgin Olive Oil from a delightful little estate in Tuscany we stay at" in schools any day now. It is madness, all bloody madness - so this leader article was a little ray of sunshine peeping out from the penumbra of the rest:
Alas, the United Kingdom's descent into dhimmitude is beyond parody.
October 3, 2005
WeIcome to the countryside.
Sign spotted painted onto a wall in Devizes:
Wiltshire County Council
Image taken on 3/10/2005 13:3
National Insurance extra
Before the Conservative conference starts, I feel I should draw attention to something the Chancellor told Labour last week, which nearly everybody missed. As he sweated and ranted away, I was having trouble paying attention, like most people, when he suddenly said: "Labour has established the pension commission and asked them to examine the case for moving beyond voluntarism."
Say what? Did I hear that right? Does that mean compulsory pensions for all? The Pension Commission reports next month. Will it recommend that we should all have to pay another nine per cent of our income into personal pension schemes, as in Australia? Hardly anyone reported that weaselly half-proposal, which, it seems to me, was the one genuinely new piece of information to emerge from the Labour conference. Perhaps it would have attracted more attention if the Tories spent more time opposing the Government than each other.
The Ponzi scheme that is the State Pension is crashing, as these schemes tend to do, so he wants to force us to invest in another new improved version! I'm not that gullible, I am more likely to believe in the Rev Tobias Eno who has found $43 million which he is happy to share with me if only I can send him a trifling administration fee.....
October 2, 2005
Novelty pig calendars and toys have been banned by bosses at Dudley Council in case Muslim staff are offended.
Workers in the council's benefits department have been told to remove or cover up all pig products including toys, porcelain, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.
Patrick, Primrose and Dolly will be most offended that they are thought to be objectional - who do I complain to?
October 1, 2005
"Water, rations and ammo almost depleted and troops becoming exhausted. Enemy on high ground dominate this position from both sides of the road and at dawn position will become untenable. I intend to attack." A message from Captain PK Parbury of the Australian 2/3rd Battalion. Parbury’s diminished company was astride the Beirut-Damascus road in Syria 1941.