February 28, 2006
Joined up thinking
I have been known in the past to be critical of my local council - Kennet - but I have just realised they, and their beloved masters have been actually planning it all out for our benefit.
Firstly they ban fox hunting.
Then we get news of a Global Bird Flu epidemic.
And then Kennet Council announce they are rushing to introduce Wheelie Bins for rubbish collections.
Seemingly unconnected - but:
A domestic cat in Germany has become the first European Union mammal to die of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Urban foxes are attacking and killing pet cats because they are struggling to find enough food to eat in British towns and cities.
Cat owners have reported an increasing number of attacks and pest control specialists say that the use of wheelie bins, rather than bin bags, for rubbish disposal is partly to blame because it has deprived many foxes of an easy source of food.
So Foxy Woxy to the rescue! Eating up all the mangy cats before they infect us all, Hurray!
Of course there is one flaw in their plan - Mr FM: No gentleman would ever admit to shooting a fox but he does, and he seems intent on cleansing Kennet of the beasts. And he admits to having worked on the shores of the Pearl River delta and the old Shanghai Bund - I sense some sinister Chinese plot, with Mr FM (Picture) as the mastermind, even as I type he is probably stroking some white pussy somewhere....
Can we go home now - please?
It is snowing, I'm cold and there isn't a bunny to chase anywhere....
Better go and cut those hedges today...
Cross Compliance - FAQs "you are not allowed to trim hedges from March 1st - 31st July"
So that will be me with the chainsaw rather than at the computer today!
Eggs should be cooked until the whites are solid - not necessarily the yolks.
The World Health Organisation advises cooking eggs until both white and yolks are solid, but the FSA has discussed this with them and it says that the WHO advice was "precautionary".
The scene appeared to be set for a re-run of the row over vaccination and foot and mouth in 2001...
As was shown in 2001 the authorities had learnt nothing from previous disease outbreaks and it is increasingly becoming clear that they haven't a clue what to do about Bird Flu. The idea that we may be facing the horrendous cockups of the F&M outbreak again is too awful to contemplate. Is it really so hard to draw up some concrete plans and make them known. It is not as though this threat has just erupted, they have had months, and hopefully still have a long time before it reaches our shores. Instead of arguing if you will be able to dip your soldiers into your yolks or not, what I would like to see is a solid plan - ie in case of enemy Geese arriving, all fowl within five miles will be shot, a vaccinated cordon of 50 miles will be created, etc etc. It isn't hard, but it needs someone with more balls than Ben "Hugh Grant" Bradshaw to take control.
Sir, The problem with dumped shoes from China and Vietnam is not that they threaten tough competition for European shoe producers, but that they constitute unfair competition ....Anti-dumping measures never take the form of a quota (another misunderstanding): they add a small tariff to the cost of imports to correct price distortion. The impact on consumer prices will be minimal because an import duty of less than Ł1 on shoes that retail for Ł30 to Ł90 can be absorbed across the supply chain.
European Trade Commissioner
So what he is saying is that the duty he is adding is so small it will make no difference, er, so why is he doing it? Or is it that he just talking cobblers?
February 27, 2006
One for the carnivores
Meat Identification Test
Strange American cuts though - whereas some of us want our meat " burnt like St. Joan, served with Calvin’s horseradish and mustards to pierce the tongue like Cardigan’s lances".
Via every other blogger I bring you my word cloud:
Oh and here is one for the old reprobate himself...
February 25, 2006
The Dublin Riots - the Palestinian question
As ever Slugger O'Toole gives a good starting point for understanding the Dublin Riot . (Don't even bother looking for any depth on the BBC),
An accidental Googlewack
Curious to see who visitor 333,333 was I checked the stats and noticed visitor 333,334 was a decent sort of chap from Oxford University looking for "obscurantism petrichor" - and surprisingly this site was the only one that could cater to his or her need....
February 24, 2006
Live Crime Blogging.
I opened the cupboard doors so the dogs could go for a mouse and that is illegal under the Hunting Act 2004
Send me cake with a file in it when I am in Gaol please
Image taken on 24/2/2006 19:30
Hunting Act 2004
1 Hunting wild mammals with dogs
A person commits an offence if he hunts a wild mammal with a dog, unless his hunting is exempt.....
I can't use the stalking exemption because it is a condition that:
a) reasonable steps are taken for the purpose of ensuring that as soon as possible after being found or flushed out the wild mammal is shot dead by a competent person, and
(b) in particular, each dog used in the stalking or flushing out is kept under sufficiently close control to ensure that it does not prevent or obstruct achievement of the objective in paragraph (a).
I am not planning to blast Mrs Englishman's kitchen with the twelve bore if the mouse appears, and I'm afraid the dogs aren't under control. And it I believe it is a mouse, not a rat so that is all the loopholes filled. So no defence, well it's been nice knowing you......
As I get older the truth that there are two nations everywhere becomes more self evident. I think the first time I noticed this was many years ago when I first went to Boarding School. As you know British Public Schools are always intensely interested in the bottys of the boys, and that they are functioning correctly. So outside the bogs was a chart where each boy had to cross if he had been or not each day. The cure for not going, or forgetting to mark the "bog board", was a large dose of Milk of Magnesia - from Matron.
So I developed a simple habit every day of first thing crossing the box whatever. I remember being caught doing this by a friend who was horrified that I would deceive the authorities in this way. I am sure he is probably a senior Civil Servant happy as one of Gordon's Turkeys, where as I still prefer to not have to complete the shit list checking everyday. Two nations.
Lambing time soon...
"People can grow their own vegetables, but it is difficult for most people to grow their own meat. This way they have a little bit of control.
"It is an ideal project for schools. Children can understand the way meat is produced, how fairly they are slaughtered after living a happy life in an natural environment."
"With our system, the consumer can choose their own sheep or lamb, find out how it is raised and even come to see it grazing on the lovely Pewsey Downs."
The website www.adoptasheepformeat.co.uk
Something warming to read by the fire on this fine freezing day.
Says it all, really
A fine piece on the "science" of global warming by Dr Gerrit J. van der Lingen,
The global warming debate has left the realm of science a long time ago. It has become totally politicised. Any scientific criticism is not met with a scientific response, but with name-calling and a stepping up of the scare tactics. Some sceptics have even lost their jobs or are told to shut up or else. Many of the global warming doomsayers seem to be obsessed with a longing for Apocalypse.
February 23, 2006
Ava on Cbeebies - who is she?
Stuck indoors with a poorly toddler the only ray of joy is Ava on CBeebies
- a quick Google and no one seems to know who she is - surely someone must be able to help a sad old man increase his knowledge...
Q&A: Your bird flu concerns
Concern is growing about the spread of bird flu from birds to humans and the possibility of the H5N1 virus mutating so it can pass easily from human to human.
The BBC news website has asked the experts to answer your questions on the issues.
A virologist, the BBC's medical correspondent and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds respond to your concerns.
And I have some excellent advice here from SHED....
Q: How do I avoid getting bird flu?
A: While it may seem overly cautious, various international health
authorities are advising that persons in high-risk areas such as India,
South East Asia and East Anglia refrain from fucking birds. At least
for the time being.
We understand that complete abstinence is not always a viable option,
and ask that when you do fuck birds, make sure to take appropriate
precautions, such as pulling out.
Q: Can I still eat poultry?
A: The thing is, bird flu tastes like chicken so you never know if your
General Tzo's is infected. You're at highest risk if you're eating at a
Chinese establishment that is owned by Pakistanis or a Kebab House owned
by the Chinese. Best stick to KFC, which is made
from featherless, beakless mutates that are not legally birds.
This way you can die of cancer like the rest of your neighbors.
Q: How about eggs?
A: It depends on the kind of eggs. The ones that you buy in the store
should be fine. But if you're the kind of person that goes from tree to
tree raiding nests, you're engaging in high-risk behavior.
Q: How do I protect my cockatoo or canary from bird flu?
A: If you keep a cockatoo or canary as a pet, slaughter it immediately.
The proper way to do this is to grab its body in your fist, walk it into
the kitchen, place it on the cutting board, and lop its head off with a
knife. Pretty much any knife will do. Bird necks are about as tough as
As you probably know, the head and body must be burned, separately, with
their ashes scattered in different directions. Just like you're
disposing of a vampire corpse.
Important: Be sure to rinse thoroughly both the knife and your cutting
board! How stupid would you feel if you successfully killed and disposed
of the infected bird only to later die from decrusting a Marmite
I bet you'd feel pretty fucking stupid.
If the caged bird is a beloved family pet, have your husband, wife or
live-in fuckbuddy take the kids to a movie before slaughtering. When
they come home, explain to them that lil' Petey flew out the window and
then surprise them with a new pet monkey. Kids love monkeys, and they're
Q: What's the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic?
A: Here's a handy way of remembering it: If your home town is in the
"-demic" part, you're probably already dead.
Q: Is this thing a genuine threat or just media hype?
A: Despite what Michael Moore might have you believe, the two are not
mutually exclusive. Michael Jackson was both a legitimate concern and
the vertex of a media circus. Know what else gets a lot of hype but is
also really dangerous? Terrorism.
Q: Is the United Kingdom prepared to deal with an outbreak of bird flu?
A: Are you kidding? Haven't you been watching the news? According to
most leading scientists, the bird flu will not only pick off the elderly
and young (which wouldn't be so bad because we fall into neither
category), but also the hale and hearty that fall in the middle.
Have you seen 12 Monkeys? It'll be like that, only we haven't yet
invented that rusty time-travel contraption through which they send
Bruce Willis to save the world. But if we do invent one, I say we send
back a scientist, and not a half-retarded convict whose most distinct
personality trait is that he always acts like he's hung-over. Just a
Q : Should individuals stock up on flu drugs?
A: Honestly, if Avian bird flu breaks out, all the drugs in the world
aren't going to save you. Which is why I highly recommend stocking up on
any other drugs you might find in your kids' drug stash (usually to the
back of the sock drawer).
Drugs like pot, acid, Ecstasy and Percocet will make the whole slow
death thing a whole lot more painless. This of course only works if your
kids are cool.
Q: But I've had the flu before and it hasn't killed me.
A: This is the bird flu, not the regular flu. Regular flu symptoms
include fever, nausea, aches and difficulty sleeping. Symptoms of bird
flu are much, much different. They include walking into glass doors and
mirrors and an urge to defecate on public statues.
Baron Bedwetter Balls
They contradict the image - and the reality - of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place where the past is valued and respected and the future is approached with creativity and confidence.
For a moment I thought he might be talking about the practice of giving clapped out failures a second chance to Lord it over us by granting them ridiculous titles, ancient privileges and a tenured place in Parliament but no The Right Honourable Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty in the County of Gwent, PC was only talking about road signs....
Long Live the Prince of Wales
The Prince of Wales reveals his exasperation at Tony Blair's style of government in a private travel journal released by the High Court yesterday......
"But they are all in such a hurry, so never really learn about anything. Then they take decisions based on market research and focus groups, on the papers produced by advisers and civil servants, none of whom will have experienced what it is they are taking decisions about."
The journal also reveals his growing realisation that something was not quite right about his Club Class seat on the top deck of the BA 747 flying out to Hong Kong.
"It took me some time to realise that this was not First Class although it puzzled me as to why the seat seemed so uncomfortable," he wrote.
He then discovered that other dignitaries, including Edward Heath, Douglas Hurd and "the new Foreign Secretary Robin Cook" as well as Paddy Ashdown, the Liberal Democrat leader, were all "ensconced in First Class below us".
"Such is the end of the Empire, I sighed to myself".
I'm not surprised he talks to trees, If I had to put up with our "political elite" day after day I think I would also think that a Aesculus hippocastanum would have more sense than the front bench.
The Turkey Army
Nearly one in two adults in Britain is now receiving at least half their income from the State, a study of Britain's burgeoning public sector shows today....
The size of the so-called "client state" created by New Labour will invite suggestions that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have deliberately built up the public sector to boost the number of people who vote Labour.
It may also fuel concern that the wealth-creating, private sector of the economy is being neglected.
"will invite" "may also fuel concern"!... even The Torygraph hasn't woken up yet, and obviously anyone who mentions Gordon's Turkey Army is a complete nutter. And remember yet again all those "voluntary bodies" that are funded by the Government aren't included, you know the ones, the ones Labour want to run local affairs rather than tiresome elected councils...
Kinnoch's vision of Britain
Lord Kinnock says: "Our imperial road signs are perhaps the most obvious example of the muddle of measurement units in the United Kingdom.
"They contradict the image - and the reality - of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place where the past is valued and respected and the future is approached with creativity and confidence."
Kinnoch's view of how Britain should be:
The backward, non-multicultural, non-dynamic place that old fashioned road signs thrive in...
February 22, 2006
Upholding academic standards in Oz
A UNIVERSITY graduate student abandoned the institution in frustration after a marking fiasco during which a lecturer, Edwina Luck, told him to produce "more smarter writing". (A follow up email read): "I knew you would be di appointed, o what I have done i taken the middle ground. I am uppo ed to take the econd mark, but I did not want to kill you that much. I do hope that you have learned from thi . Not the point of a king for explanation, but that we a lecturer are not totally illy!! Academic writing i difficult. I hope all our comment can be helpful in the future. Edwina."
I've got the gift!
Radio Times | Programme detailsBritain's Psychic Challenge...
Sitting waiting for the Grease Monkeys to fix my car this morning, that'll be Ł67 with the oil on the driver's seat included for free, thank you gov, I was subjected to hearing another's punter regaling how she had "the gift". She knew what was wrong with people, just by putting her hands on them, oh the cures, it is a worry being able to see into the future, but she couldn't help it , it is just a gift. Of course those people on the telly being tested, it wasn't fair, no one could do it if they were subjected to that sort of scepticism. But her, oh the things she knew, it was like clear as though it happened yesterday, but it was in the future, the times she had warned people, saved them...."
She tripped over a chair on the way out - I nearly pissed myself.
Pro-test and live
Until now, animal rights protesters have made all the noise in a dispute over a new research lab in Oxford. But this weekend the city's famed academics are planning to hit back just as loudly, as pro-testing campaigners hit the streets.
According to one Oxford academic, a war is looming over "scientific freedom" and the "future of progress", no less. And this Saturday the battle for and against testing will shift from the city's dreaming spires to its historic streets.
ALF has declared all staff and students at Oxford to be "legitimate targets"..
Well as they have declared me to be a target guess which side I'm on.
I note that the human haters - SPEAK - have attacked the Pro-testers because they were run by "a delusional penis-obsessed narcissistic youth with a penchant for guns and pornography and a liberal inhalation of cannabis " and their point is what? Obviously they failed to make the grade to become a typical Oxford student so they are simply envious!
One to watch - and add to the blogroll
Time to start a new blog. Time to join together and do what we can to get New Labour out. Time to begin the fight for liberty while we still have some freedoms left. And just now feeling a little bit inspired by the sudden coming together in UK blogworld.
Getting ready to give her a big hand
Lots of local excitement as the local village of Pewsey is getting ready to welcome Shelley Rudman back. Pewsey is a village that knows how to party with annual Pubcrawls in Wheelbarrows that close the main "A" road as well as a fantastic carnival.
The carnival used to fund the local Hospital before the NHS nationalised it - a reminder of how free health care did exist before the glories of the NHS! And it is worth recording that despite the billions of pounds the Government shovels into sport it was the locals at The Moonrakers who found the money so she could compete - cash into a pot, straight to athlete, no bureaucrats involved!
My congratulations to Ms Rudman and the people of Pewsey is especially strong as it is where I first went to school, learning to read and write. Of course in those days it was still 12 inches to a foot and 12 pennies to the shilling, but in Pewsey that came easily to most of them, it was only when it was all decimalised that they had to learn not to count on all their fingers.
Power to the people - (the right sort of people only of course).
David Miliband, the communities minister, outlined proposals for "double devolution" - handing power that had been devolved from central government to town halls on to local communities and voluntary groups.
As A TANGLED WEB says...
Studying the outline of what he says, it appears that Labour is concerned that perhaps too many local Councils may fall into the hands of either the Conservatives or Lid-Dems. Thus the wheeze is to move power to "local activists" and "community groups" in the guise of returning pwer to the people.....
February 21, 2006
Yet more on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill
rightlinks.co.uk - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill asks some questions that need answering about this bill...
Why does the Bill change the current procedures for the enactment into our law of EU legislation?
What guarantees are there that the Bill could not be used to bring in the EU Constitution by the back door?
If the Bill is just a simplifying measure for deregulation, why does it contain no requirement for any orders to actually reduce the amounts of red tape and regulation?
Why does the Bill give the power to create new law, including new criminal offences, to the Law Commissions, which are unelected quangos appointed by Ministers?
If the Law Commissions are supposed to be staffed by impartial technical experts, why are Ministers taking the power to amend the recommendations of the Law Commissions before they are fast-tracked into legislation?
Why do protections in the Bill against new laws to permit forcible entry, search, seizure or compelling people to give evidence not apply to reforms recommended by the unelected Law Commissions appointed by Ministers?
If the Bill allows Ministers to "amend, repeal or replace legislation in any way that an Act might", does this not give them an unlimited power to ignore a democratic Parliament and legislate by decree?
If the Bill is so sensible, why has Parliament used a different way of making laws for 700 years?
If the Bill is meant to retain Parliament’s ability to scrutinise regulations and regulators, why does it not contain a provision for automatic sunset clauses in orders issued under the Bill?
If the Bill gives Ministers powers to charge fees by decree, is that not a charter to bring in unlimited stealth taxes?
As the Bill permits an order to be made by a Minister under the Bill provided its effect is “proportionate” to his “policy objective”, since when in our history as a democratic country has a Government Minister’s “policy objective” directly received the force of law?
What guarantees are there that the Bill could not be used to bring in ID Cards by the back door?
Why does the Bill give the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly a veto over Ministers’ power to change the law which it denies to English MPs?
Abolition of Parliament Bill
The boring title of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill hides an astonishing proposal. It gives ministers power to alter any law passed by Parliament. The only limitations are that new crimes cannot be created if the penalty is greater than two years in prison and that it cannot increase taxation. But any other law can be changed, no matter how important. All ministers will have to do is propose an order, wait a few weeks and, voilŕ, the law is changed.
The Bill, bizarrely, even applies to itself, so that ministers could propose orders to remove the limitations about two-year sentences and taxation. It also includes a few desultory questions (along the lines of “am I satisfied that I am doing the right thing?”) that ministers have to ask themselves before proceeding, all drafted subjectively so that court challenges will fail, no matter how preposterous the minister’s answer. Even these questions can be removed using the Bill’s own procedure. Indeed, at its most extreme, in a manoeuvre akin to a legislative Indian rope trick, ministers could use it to transfer all legislative power permanently to themselves.
The writer credits "Daniel Finkelstein of The Times, and a couple more " as the only journalists to note this bill - Daniel Finkelstein was alerted to it by Tim Worstall so as British bloggers we are holding the standard and we need to keep the pressure on to continue the campaign against this monstrous grabbing of powers.
Of course we are reassured that: "The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures...The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one," - Whoops! no that was someone else on March 23, 1933 about another "Enabling Act" that removed power from the elected Parliament and handed to the Government Ministers
The Censors at work again
"I made a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz," he told the court in the Austrian capital.
Irving appeared stunned by the sentence, and told reporters: "I'm very shocked and I'm going to appeal."
...Karen Pollock, chief executive of the UK's Holocaust Educational Trust welcomed the verdict. "Holocaust denial is anti-Semitism dressed up as intellectual debate. It should be regarded as such and treated as such," Ms Pollock told the BBC News website.
But the author and academic Deborah Lipstadt, who Irving unsuccessfully sued for libel in the UK in 2000 over claims that he was a Holocaust denier, said she was dismayed.
"I am not happy when censorship wins, and I don't believe in winning battles via censorship... The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth," she told the BBC News website.
First the obligatory condemnation of Irving as a poisonous dwarf and the confirmation in my belief in the Holocaust. (As it happens when my father was shipped to Germany as a prisoner of war he was mistakenly placed in the wrong camp, the one for the Untermensch on the other side of the valley, before the week was up he was moved to the Aryan camp with profuse apologies, he never doubted the Holocaust and neither will I, nor will I support those who do.)
But but but - Firstly he has apologised and admitted he was wrong, but even if he hadn't so what? - when another odious toad Eric Hobsbawm can answer whether 20 million deaths would have been justified if the proposed Communist utopia had been created as a consequence by saying "yes" and is made a Companion of Honour; and every day we see other communist sympathisers, other IRA apologists, other Muslim Fascists, and so on given space in once respectable newspapers.
You know the sayings, free speech really is indivisible. And when Austria disgraces itself like this then shame on it.
(Of course an additional rant is needed when you consider that Austria and us have both surrendered our sovereignty to the EU, common arrest warrants, Europol - you can write the post yourselves!)
February 20, 2006
Someone needs a good kicking
"I ask that we try to imagine what it must be like on the battlefield," he will say.
If this happens "we may be a little slower to condemn and a lot quicker to understand... the best fighting force in the world".
Speaking to the BBC on Sunday ahead of the speech, Mr Reid said the troops' circumstances were the toughest in history because "they face an enemy that is completely unconstrained".
"Yet our troops are increasingly constrained not just by international law and conventions, the standards we want to keep, but by media scrutiny, by videophones, by mobile phones, by satellite dishes."
While it was right to disapprove of abuse, it should be kept in proportion, he said, and out of nearly 100,000 British troops who had served in Iraq, there had only been five sustainable allegations of the mistreatment of civilians, he said.
With the Maysan council joining its counterpart in Basra in registering a protest over the video footage, most of British-controlled Iraq is now not co-operating with the Army.
For once I can totally agree with "Dr" Reid - and wonder what justification the cowards at the "NOW" have..
Flyover Britain Zoo
Wet weekend, what to do with the kids? I note that a local zoo has some Rhinos recently arrived. Now I like Rhinos, not just the Spearmint flavoured ones, so I track the place down on the web: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall, Bristol, Somerset
Looks good but there is something odd down the bottom - Creation Biology We are also keen to expose inadequate or even fraudulent parts of Darwinism . Oh no! the Creationists have started a Zoo. I am not sure I can face an afternoon of preachy labels and exhibits when i just want to see the animals - Sundays aren't made for religion. But then again when you go the other zoos in the area the smug environmentalist preaching can be just as grating.
February 19, 2006
A Bug in the System
On my little day out at Bisley I was embarrassed to have the Marlin jam on me twice - the very nice guys at Fulton's the Gunshop there sorted it out both times and I bought some degreaser (actually Clutch and Brake cleaner) as it seemed to be caused by a build up of gunk under the lever. Thanks to Google and Full Disassembly/Re-assembly Instructions for Marlin 1894 Lever Rifle and Carbine I have now sorted the problem. It was a bug. A housefly was in the mechanism - must have got into the cabinet and then settled in the dark workings. So now with bug cleared I really need to do some testing.....
The Emperor's real clothes
He may be chancellor, architect of new Labour and prime minister in waiting, but Brown is foremost a Scottish Labour MP. A biographer of the great Red Clydeside hero James Maxton, he is marbled with the passions and instincts of the Scottish Labour party.
For anyone living south of the border, this poses some uneasy questions: just how far removed from the needs and instincts of middle England are the needs and instincts of socialist Fife? Can Brown truly claim to be equally in tune with both? And when he becomes prime minister, which instinct will be to the fore?
To see what government might look like were Brown’s instincts given full throttle, one need only look north of the border. Scottish Labour governs there without the compromises new Labour deems necessary in England.....
Scots pay a heavy price for such ideological Labour purity.One in 10 Scots seeking treatment at accident and emergency departments waits more than four hours to be seen. This compares with one in 20 in England. While waiting times have shortened dramatically in England in recent years, in Scotland they have actually lengthened in some cases. The lack of modernisation means the vast sum of money pouring into the Scottish NHS — spending on health is 20% higher per head than in England — is having less impact.
Scottish education, once revered around the world, is unable to deliver even the basics to young Scots. Take, for example, a primary school’s ability to send more than 50% of its children to high school with the basic requirements in reading, writing and arithmetic. In Glasgow more than half of the city’s primary schools are failing to reach even this undemanding standard.
....Brown does not like to talk about England. He prefers to talk about Britain. The problem is there is no such thing as a British education system or health service. Once Brown becomes prime minister he will have no responsibility for Scottish health and education, which are the preserve of the Holyrood parliament in Edinburgh. Brown will be in charge of English schools and hospitals, which because of Blairite reforms are very different to the statist institutions found in Fife.
If Brown does carry on down the Blairite path in England it will be because he deems it politically necessary, not because his heart is in it. It will not chime with his deepest convictions. In a very real sense, and for all his talk of a new definition of Britishness, Brown will be governing a foreign country.
Local Democracy - the new order imposed
A storm has blown up in Wales over an order issued to a Powys county councillor who opposes the council's pro-wind turbine policy. He he is not allowed to attend any debate on the issue ...A letter to Councillor Bob Mills from Jeremy Patterson, Powys's "monitoring officer" (and "executive director for organisation and governance"), notes that he has written a letter to the local paper critical of windpower as being not "cost effective". Furthermore, writes this official, "I am also advised that you expressed very strong views at a meeting here in County Hall on 26 January". Mr Patterson informs Mr Mills that, because he has a "pre-determined position" on this issue, he cannot be allowed to speak or vote on it, and "must leave the Chamber" whenever it is discussed....
(Of course) Powys council and many of its councillors are just guilty as Councillor Mills, because they have made no secret of their support for the Assembly's policy. ... (but) councillors seem only to be disqualified for "prejudice" when their views run contrary to those of their council's ruling group, or of the Government itself.
It seems it is not just the sheep that are sheep in Wales...
February 17, 2006
Mr FM beating the smoking ban.
Image taken on 17/2/2006 14:53
Live BisIey Blogging
Image taken on 17/2/2006 12:4
Grigori Aleksandrovich Prescott
Architectural campaign groups and local residents have condemned the Edge Lane scheme in Liverpool as an act of "social cleansing" that is at odds with the city's imminent status as European Capital of Culture.
The city council has now been given approval to oversee the destruction of almost 500 homes and businesses. They are being flattened to make an easier route into the city centre from the M62.
While Potemkin only maybe had hollow facades of villages constructed along the desolate banks of the Dnieper river in order to impress Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787, Prescott and the Scouser Council really do want them on the link road to the Town Hall from the motorway - I hope they will also add a Zil lane for important visitors.
Branded at birth
Police can keep storing the DNA profiles of thousands of innocent children, the Government said yesterday.
The Home Office rejected a call by the Tory MP Grant Shapps for the details of 24,000 under-18s never cautioned, charged or convicted to be removed from the police database. He had accused the Government of creating a DNA database by stealth.
What does he mean "by stealth"? Looks fairly blatent to me that they won't be happy until they have as all tagged and branded with our DNA details and ID cards from birth....
February 16, 2006
Wiltshire’s answer to the film Cool Runnings?
OK, I'm sorry I have been rude about a local village called Pewsey - but let me congratulate the village for raising the money to send Shelley Rudman, born and bred in the Wiltshire village, to the Olympics to pick up a medal for sliding down a hill very very fast on a tea tray. I certainly wouldn't have the guts or determination to do it so huge congratulations to her as well. Though I do wonder if the extra fingers help her hold on....
Thanks to Blognor Regis for bringing us Churchill's chilling and accurate forecast from 1945 - a snippet:
Here in old England, in Great Britain, of which old England forms no inconspicuous part, in this glorious Island, the cradle and citadel of free democracy throughout the world, we do not like to be regimented and ordered about and have every action of our lives prescribed for us. In fact we punish criminals by sending them to Wormwood Scrubs and Dartmoor, where they get full employment, and whatever board and lodging is appointed by the Home Secretary.
Socialism is, in its essence, an attack not only upon British enterprise, but upon the right of the ordinary man or woman to breathe freely without having a harsh, clumsy, tyrannical hand clapped across their mouths and nostrils. A Free Parliament - look at that - a Free Parliament is odious to the Socialist doctrinaire. Have we not heard Mr. Herbert Morrison descant upon his plans to curtail Parliamentary procedure and pass laws simply by resolutions of broad principle in the House of Commons, afterwards to be left by Parliament to the executive and to the bureaucrats to elaborate and enforce by departmental regulations?
Guardian Calls for a Nanny Government
It is clear that it is not only against the cruelty and cupidity of employers who compel women and children to expose themselves to such a risk as that we have described for the amusement of a vulgar crowd that protection is needed.
Check the date again!
Dangers of non-smoking
Of course the biggest danger in pubs comes from the fact that all those self-satisfied sandal-wearing totalitarian freedom-hating killjoy anti-smokers will now start coming into our pubs. I'm in big trouble with Mr FM for being rude to him and his gaily dressed friends the other night; I think I must of had a head cold and the half of Wadworth's IPA I sipped interfered with my medicine. And while I am glad to publicly apologise for my boorish and loud behaviour to them I can assure them, and you, that it was a mere whimper compared to the wrath that will erupt at the first matching sweater couple who simper into the snug and explain how much nicer and modern the place is without that nasty smoke.
Private reminder to the Young Englishmen
SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD children may come across as sullen, monosyllabic depressives with acne and hopeless love lives, but it is their parents who are really suffering.
A survey has confirmed what parents had long suspected: children get more expensive as they get older. The average cost of maintaining a 16-year-old in your home for a week is now Ł64, or Ł3,328 per year, while 15-year-olds and 11-year-olds cost Ł62 a week. ...
So when I become a soup-dribbler and you are choosing a home for me, remember all that money spent, please.....
The Disadvantages of Being Educated
A sharp fall in the number of university applicants wanting to study such "non-vocational" subjects as history, philosophy, classics and fine art was "no bad thing", Bill Rammell, the higher education minister, said yesterday....
"There is some evidence that students are choosing subjects they believe will be more vocationally beneficial to them," said Mr Rammell, who read French and politics at University College, Cardiff.
"If that's what they are doing, I don't see it as necessarily a bad thing."
Pity he didn't study plumbing and go off and do a useful job instead of bing a nuLabour minister. But he has a point, there is far too much "education", and the stigma attached to training an d apprenticeships compared to educating is harmful and wrong.
As Albert Jay Nock put it a long time ago when talking about American Education in the 1930s.
In his essay "The Nature of Education," Nock explained, "When you want chemists, mechanics, engineers, bond-salesmen, lawyers, bankers and so on, you train them; training, in short, is for a vocational purpose. Education contemplates another kind of product..." (The Book of Journeyman).
Nock's did not mean to denigrate those who should be trained, rather than educated. He wrote, "Education, property applied to suitable material, produces something in a way of an Emerson; while training, properly applied to suitable material, produces something in the way of an Edison" (Memoirs). Thus, to Nock, science was a matter of training and many of the world's most eminent men were not educated, but trained. He wrote, "Training is excellent, and it can not be too well done, and opportunity for it can not be too cheap and abundant... (Free Speech and Plain Language).
The main problem with the American educational system was that, in attempting to educate everyone equally, it encountered Gresham's law and ended up educating no one adequately. Instead, it provided only training, even to those who were educable. Under the current system, he believed that "the study of history, like other formative studies, does not even rise to the dignity of being a waste of time. What with the political, economic and theological capital that has to be made of it...it is a positive detriment to mind and spirit" (The Book of Journeyman). Indeed, "Following the strange American dogma that all persons are educable, and following the equally fantastic popular esti- mate place upon mere numbers, our whole educational system has watered down its requirements to something precious near the moron standard. The American curriculum in 'the liberal arts' is a combination of bargain-counter, grab-bag and Christmas-tree" .
February 15, 2006
The extraordinary Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill
I’m nervous about admitting that I’ve been having a paranoid nightmare, one that very few other people seem to share. But I have been, so you may as well know about it.
In my nightmare, Tony Blair finally decides that he is fed-up with putting Bills before Parliament. He has so much to do and so little time. Don’t you realise how busy he is? He’s had enough of close shaves and of having to cut short trips abroad. He decides to put a Bill to End All Bills before the Commons, one that gives him and his ministers power to introduce and amend any legislation in future without going through all those boring stages in Parliament.
That’s not the end of my feverish fantasy. The new law is proposed and hardly anyone notices. John Redwood complains, of course, and a couple of Liberal Democrats, but by and large it is ignored. The Labour rebels are nowhere to be seen. The business lobby announces that it is about time all those politicians streamlined things, cutting out time-wasting debates. In a half empty Commons chamber, a junior minister puts down any objections with a few partisan wisecracks. Then the Bill to End All Bills is nodded through the Houses of Parliament, taking with it a few hundred years of Parliamentary democracy.
I wake up, sweating.
Only one thing persuades me that I’m not cracking up. When I have my nightmares about the Bill to End All Bills, I am not dreaming about dastardly legislation that I fear a cartoon Tony Blair, with an evil cackle, will introduce in some terrible future. I am tossing and turning about a government Bill that was given its second reading in the House of Commons last week and is heading into committee.
Now I know what I am about to tell you is difficult to believe (Why isn’t this on the front pages? Where’s the big political row?) but I promise you that it is true. The extraordinary Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently before the House, gives ministers power to amend, repeal or replace any legislation simply by making an order and without having to bring a Bill before Parliament. The House of Lords Constitution Committee says the Bill is “of first-class constitutional significance” and fears that it could “markedly alter the respective and long standing roles of minister and Parliament in the legislative process”.
There are a few restrictions — orders can’t be used to introduce new taxes, for instance — but most of the limitations on their use are fuzzy and subjective. One of the “safeguards” in the Bill is that an order can impose a burden only “proportionate to the benefit expected to be gained”. And who gets to judge whether it is proportionate? Why, the minister of course. The early signs are not good. Having undertaken initially not to use orders for controversial laws, the Government has already started talking about abstaining from their use when the matter at hand is “highly” controversial.
Now, I am not an extreme libertarian. I don’t spend my weekends in conferences discussing the abolition of traffic lights and the privatisation of MI5. But I have to admit that the legislation being debated in the Commons this week — the new ID cards, the smoking ban, the measure on the glorification of terror — has tempted me to take up smoking and start attending lectures about Hayek organised by earnest men with pamphlets in carrier bags.
Yet the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill has made me realise that I may be missing the point — the biggest danger to civil liberties posed by these new laws is not the nature of them, but merely their quantity.....we are now passing so many new laws, so quickly, and so many of them are sloppy, that we don’t have time to debate them properly or reform them when they go wrong. Parliament is drowning in a sea of legislation. Instead of calling a halt to this, the Government is seeking a way of moving ever faster, adding yet more laws, this time with even less debate
See - we are not alone in having this nightmare, and it is worse than we even dream...
BBC stumped by racism
A TORRENT of racist and abusive postings on the BBC's Test Match Special website has forced the corporation to close its message board.
Strangely the BBC doesn't give any reason for doing so, I was expecting, a stern homily about the institutionalised racism amongst cricket fans, but then I read on The Times who was being racist...
Complaints were received over a number of bulletins headed “Die white f******” and about comments on rape and suicide bombers. A user called “Covfanmartin” accused another of “spouting anti-semetic (sic) and pro-terrorism, hate-filled bile”, while one user noted four posts supporting September 11 and another glorifying Hitler. “Laloo ram” accused one member of “posting filth and rude racist insulting junk”, and “ Indidhoom” said that two contributors “insulted Hinduism and their gods”.
There have been accusations of Pakistanis masquerading as Indians and vice versa. Identities have included “Muslimssuck”, “WannabeIndianMusharaff” and “Pakifromkarachi”. India and Pakistan are at the moment in the middle of a series of one-day matches.
“The highly anticipated series between India and Pakistan set against a sensitive time for international politics has led to hostility between the two sets of fans on the message boards. To stop offence being caused and taking into account the extreme volume of traffic, we feel the best course of action is to suspend the board.”
A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said: “If somebody reports it to us and we felt that there were offences within it, we would investigate . . . If people log on anonymously, it’s very difficult to find them.”
Oh good, Sir Ian will step in and investigate all the racism in the Sub-continent now, that should keep him busy till tea time.
In the decade since they voted to join the European Union the islanders of the Aland archipelago in the Baltic Sea have been outvoted and overruled by Brussels, time and again.
Now Aland, a unique, autonomous region of Finland, is about to teach Brussels a lesson in democracy it may never forget.....
A week ago, few if any readers of this newspaper would have been able to locate Aland on a map, still less known how to respond politely if offered a nice relaxing mouthful of snus.
So it is nothing short of delightful to contemplate the possibility that, when the history of the European federal project's downfall is written, the projectile that socked into the forehead of Goliath will prove to have been a wad of Swedish chewing tobacco, and the David of the scenario will have been the duck-hunting, jumper-wearing, snus-chewing, freedom-loving people of a small Baltic archipelago.
The freedoms the Alanders seek to defend are based on much that Brussels seems to stand against: the right of a small population to govern itself; and long-standing, historically determined constitutional tradition.
A pity another, slightly larger, island to the west doesn't also hold and defend its rights and traditions.
February 14, 2006
Great minds think alike - or fools seldom differ..
BlogCode.com - the weblog directory and recommendation tool - interesting new site - see the box on the right for an example of how it works.
When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping
Aaargh Valentines Day! I better add some flowers to the list.... How do you get that petrol smell out of them from them sitting forlornly in that plastic bucket next to the four star pump??
I hope your shopping lists are more interesting.....
That video and those cartoons
As Laban points out:
"There is no doubt that this video will worsen relations between British soldiers and the Iraqi people, and between Britain and the Islamic world...."
The pond life at Murdoch's Papers are pleased as punch to publish pictures that will inflame Iraqis and put our Squaddies at greater risk of death or injury, but when there is the tiny chance that they might face the wrath of a Believer themselves it is all about "responsibility" and "not being provocative".... Yellow belly cowards.
February 13, 2006
Your reaction may vary
Jelly-Bellied Flag Flapping?
The National Veterans Day - designed to complement commemorations of the war dead - is expected to be held on June 27 each year.
Mr Brown will announce a series of measures aimed at ensuring the contribution of the armed forces to national life is "never forgotten" in a speech.
Mr Brown will say: "I have suggested that we also value the ideals of Britishness and its symbols and institution.
"And, in particular, I suggest today we recognise and show we value the contribution of our police, emergency and security services, our military and our armed forces and the contribution of all those who fought in the Great Wars of the last century."
"The National Veterans Day in June is designed to thank today's generation of ex-servicemen and women for their service to our country, and I propose ceremonies in every constituency of the country to mark National Veterans Day - where we present veterans with veterans medals at local ceremonies."
A genuine recognition of the immense debt we owe our veterans or a cynical stunt by the Jelly-Bellied Flag Flapper?
As I seem to have missed Gordos generous treatment of veterans and their families in his treasury role, his previous speeches extolling their virtues, his morale raising tours of our bases in Iraq, his grieving appearances at military funerals, and his compassionate visits to the returned wounded mark me down as a cynic. And disgusted at this use of people who deserve better.
February 12, 2006
1809 - Charles Darwin, English naturalist (d. 1882)
1809 - Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (d. 1865)
Quite a day - celebrated as Darwin Day and Lincoln's Birthday in the States. Here we celebrate it as No 2 son's birthday - 16 today.
February 11, 2006
Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley ... posed nude for the cover of Vanity Fair magazine's yearly Hollywood issue, to be released Wednesday.
Fashion superstar Tom Ford also appears on the cover photo, though he stuck with a more traditional suit -- one of black fabric.
Ford, the issue's guest art director, said he hadn't planned on becoming part of his own project, but he stepped in when "Wedding Crashers" star Rachel McAdams, 29, backed out.
Nice guy, genius etc but what a waste! a gay man, I could of done it, I wouldn't have charged much, given me a ring, "Hey, Keira and Scarlett are here butt naked, the third person has dropped out, we need someone to be in the pose with them." I would have cleared my diary, I would have been prepared to do it, just to help out you understand, next time, maybe...please....
Blognor Regis rightly reminds me that he carried the story of Mustafa Shag, the inflatable sex doll, before I did - sorry - but he still doesn't point out the biggest selling point of Mustafa - he blows himself up!
Job for Mr FM
Urban foxes have become such a nuisance that home owners are hiring pest controllers to shoot them in the middle of the night....
But the practice has been condemned by animal welfare groups who claim that killing foxes is "inhumane" and "a complete waste of time"....
Becky Hawkes, from the RSPCA, said: "The most effective way of deterring foxes is to limit the amount of food available, so people should make sure their bins are closed and ensure that any fallen fruit is picked up."
Ah but then they move onto eating Tiddles....
Urban foxes are attacking and killing pet cats because they are struggling to find enough food to eat in British towns and cities.
Cat owners have reported an increasing number of attacks and pest control specialists say that the use of wheelie bins, rather than bin bags, for rubbish disposal is partly to blame because it has deprived many foxes of an easy source of food.
As Tim Bonner, of the Countryside Alliance, said: "We believe that wild mammal populations need to be managed whether they are squirrels, deer or urban foxes. The population should be kept at a level that is acceptable in a particular area."
February 10, 2006
FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES is hosting the
The Bulldog Shooting Club 2006 Postal Shoot
Ok, after a lot of procrastination & general faffing about, at last here it is, an excuse (as if you needed one) to hit the range & get some trigger time. Yep, forget the Imperial Week at Bisley, this is more important ... its our 06 postal shoot....
Go and read the rules and join in.
For Bulldogs this side of the pond I am adding an extra class of entrant for those unable to be suitably tooled up. The Any Projectile Class - pencils launched by rubber band, bogies blown through Bic tubes, whatever!
Download target or
view the target - note ruler to ensure you print it out the right size! Right click link and choose "print" or save to your computer before printing.
Muslims offended again - Little Man in a Toque reports:
Yesterday, the erotic retailer Ann Summers unveiled Miss B as the "face" of its new range of products. Not 24 hours later, she finds herself on the front line of Islamic protest after Muslim leaders discovered that the range includes a new blow-up doll, called "Mustafa Shag". Unfortunately, Mustafa was one of the names given to the Prophet Mohamed. Bestowing it upon, in the words of its catalogue, "an inflatable escort for your hen-night adventures" is considered highly offensive.
Laugh - I haven't laughed so much since Abu Hamza scratched his arse with his wrong hand!
I think this is Emma B rather than Mustapha Shag but so what, Ding Dong!
St Georges Day
There is a chance the public can make St Georges Day a public holiday
Click on this link to vote
Peter Hain still a crook
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, is investigating the possibility of "article vandalism" by staff at the Houses of Parliament after it uncovered attempts to manipulate information by workers in Washington. Contributors to the website claim to have traced "flattering" and inaccurate changes to politicians' biographies to internet addresses at Capitol Hill.
I quickly checked but my edit is still there helping fill out Peter Hain's history...Peter Hain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peter Hain was found guilty of Criminal Conspiracy He appealed against the conviction in 1973. The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal with costs. As reported in the Daily Telegraph of October 23 1973, the court said his conviction was ‘fully justified’. Lord Justice Roskill said Mr Hain had not elected to give evidence, adding ‘He gave no explanation of his part over the incidents with which he was charged’
Memo to self - buy roses next Tuesday.
Richard Coate, 59, who was jailed for three years and nine months, kept records claiming to have traded 425,000 sheep with a Spanish farmer called Senor Questos.
He then applied for Ł865,799.27 in VAT compensation from the Government's agricultural flat-rate scheme.
But after the tip-off from Coate's wife, Faye, following an acrimonious split, customs officials visited his farm in Broomfield, Somerset. They discovered that the sheep had never existed, and that Coate owned just 29 animals
After last year when the Petrol station had run out of flowers and I had to give the present Mrs Englishman a Road Atlas for Valentines day maybe it would pay to get into town early....
Old Englishmen are the envy of Europe
ENGLISH men are living longer than their counterparts in almost every other European country, but women's life expectancy is now below the EU average.
A report based on government health statistics for Britain paints a picture of increasing longevity, but finds striking rises in sexually transmitted infections and obesity.
So despite us being fat sods who sleep around we are living longer than those wiry woofters who live with their mothers on the Mediterranean diet, and those pallid ponces who follow their government orders to eat recycled engine oil margarine and elk, and those tubby tuba-players with their pale pissy pilsner and pie diet.
Of course the Memsahibs who actually do read and follow the shrill advice shovelled out by the Nanny state are keeling over faster than Welshmen in the King's Arms.
Time for a proper breakfast I think!
February 9, 2006
Monday Night Shooting links
Mr FM is busy organising a Postal Shoot so he wanted a list of my links - i thought others might enjoy a canter through what we get up to on Monday nights...
Picture of Lesbians in Uniform Kissing
Admit it - you came here from a Google Search....
LESBIAN Army privates Vanessa Haydock and Private Sonya Gould, who made military history by becoming the service's first gay couple to get wed, are about to set up home together.
Live Tractor Blogging
Wonderful sunny morning.but cold in the wind.
Image taken on 9/2/2006 11:28
Play spot the inflation causes
RESIDENTS in Wiltshire will see their council tax bills rise by 4.95 per cent...
UK inflation has fallen for the second month in a row, to 2.1% in November from 2.3% the previous month, the Office for National Statistics says. ...
....figures showed that clothing prices in 2004 were 15% lower than they had been in 1990.
Leisure goods had also fallen back to their level in 1987, which the ONS said was mainly thanks to prices of audio-visual equipment in 2004 being less than a quarter of their level in 1987, reflecting rapid technological change.
In its monthly survey, the BRC said its shop price index revealed that overall prices were 0.57 pct lower in January than a year ago. On a month-on-month basis, prices were 0.27 pct lower.
The overall index stands at 100.39 compared to 100.97 in Jan 2005.
In addition, it said that for the first time since Aug 2000, food prices were lower than a year ago, by 0.52 pct, despite a 0.22 pct increase from December.
Meanwhile, the BRC said the price of non-food items showed a year-on-year decline for the eighth consecutive month. Non-food prices are now 0.58 pct lower than in Jan 2005. The non-food index now stands at 92.96 compared to 93.49 in Jan 2005.
'These results clearly show that retail price deflation is strengthening, particularly as discounting has in general been less widespread and prolonged this January than in previous years,' said Kevin Hawkins, the BRC's director general.
'Yet there is no abatement in the inflation of retailers fixed costs wages, property rents and rates, fuel and energy and the squeeze on margins is tightening,' he added.
Thank you Dear Leader
New Labour To Cancel Local Democracy
Voting is no longer necessary. Blair loves us all...
Oih Guido! I do the facile one liners, you provide the insider gossip, I'll be raising this at the next Blog Lodge meeting :)
Might be a good day for a backup
BBC NEWS | Technology | Anti-cartoon protests go online....More than 900 Danish websites have suffered defacement during the wave of attacks, said Mr Preatoni. He added that a further 1600 Western sites have also been attacked and defaced as part of the same protest.
Sending out an SOS
President Robert Mugabe has begun to reverse his "insane" land grab and offer some white farmers the chance to lease back their holdings in Zimbabwe.
With the fastest shrinking economy in the world, Mr Mugabe has had to backtrack on six years of chaos and his own determination to rid the country of all white farmers.
Would you go back? Until the Zims clear out the Marxists madmen the place will continue to rot - but i suppos it is all whiteys fault somehow...
February 8, 2006
More Video fun
Having been sent the Microsoft video below I thought I would try out "adding to page" and other goodies from Google Video. It is the easiest way to waste hours, typing in search queries and watching the videos, some are amazing - try AK-47, Texas, Toyota as three starters...
It gives a glimpse of what video on demand will be like and why the MSM TV stations must be worried....
The fearsome warriors of Islam....
As Misty says - no wonder they throw stones!
One for Mr NBC
Microsoft - share the pain!
The other terrorists amongst us.
AN UNPRECEDENTED security crackdown is being mounted at Oxford University in the face of threats from animal rights extremists....
the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) recently announced that anyone associated with Oxford University, including students, was a legitimate target for attack.
This is just the beginning of our campaign of devastation against ANYONE linked in ANY way to Oxford University. Every individual and business that works for the University as a whole is now a major target of the ALF.
The University have made a crass decision to take us on and we will never let them win! This ALF team is calling out to the movement to unite and fight against the University on a maximum impact scale, we must stand up, DO WHATEVER IT TAKES and blow these fucking monsters off the face of the planet. We must target professors, teachers, heads, students, investors, partners, supporters and ANYONE that dares to deal in any part of the University in any way.
There is no time for debate and there is no time for protest, this is make or break time and from now on, ANYTHING GOES. We cannot fail these animals that will end up in those death chambers. Be warned, Oxford University, this is only the beginning of our campaign. Everyone linked to your institution is right now being tracked down and sooner or later, they will be made to face the consequences of your evil schemes.
As a proud alumnus that makes me a target of these scum, but then we all are at risk from these people haters.
February 7, 2006
The German relatives have announced a surprise visit - I will try and avoid any faux-pas unlike last time!.
So I may be confined to barracks for this weekend, unless I can reopen Tom, Dick or Harry......
Friday Night Road Test
I apologise this review has been delayed but I kept meaning to find out what model my Saab is, it's an estatey one but I don't know any more - does it disqualify me from doing a road test if I can't be arsed to find out?
In the blocks we have Mr FM's Land Rover vs Mr Englishman's Saab, late Friday night after the pub has closed.
Down the straight to the Canal Turn the Land Rover proves the advantage of four-wheel drive in getting away quicker, but the Saab benefits from a knowledge of the course and cuts in the corner quicker to get a lead. A lead that nearly is permanently lost as we splash through Foggy Bottom where the snipe breed - only sheer momentum keeps the two wheel drive going forward. neck and neck as we go for the 135 degree turn. The Saab is drifted round whereas there is an embarrassing breaking from the Land Rover as its grip yet again handicaps it and threatens a roll. Now it is a simple dash for home, passing the pole that nearly caused Mr NBC to lose sphincter control as we skidded towards it on a previous Friday. Mr FM claims he reached 65 mph but couldn't catch the Saab.
So there we have it - across country late at night the Saab is the winner. Of course the Land Rover was seriously compromised by having a sober driver, a disgraceful state of affairs; and also if Mrs FM had been driving it would have been a different story.
Shades of the Greenmantle
Having outed myself as a Buchan fan I was interested to read Helen at EU Referendum praise John Buchan's novels.
Aficionados will recall that most of the novels (and my own favourites are the Hannay and Leithen series) have somewhere near the beginning a discussion of a random set of events that somehow fit together into a sinister pattern. Almost always behind those events there is a person or a group of people manipulating those who think they are acting on their own.
The reason these plots do not become stupid and tiresome conspiracy theories is because Buchan, a man who knew politics from personal experience, always understood that there were many other unforeseeable events happening as well and even the smartest conspirators could not count on everything to develop as planned.
I am not for one moment suggesting that there is a world-wide conspiracy behind the War of the Danish Cartoons (though I have no doubt some of our readers will think of one or two or a hundred). But clearly there are different forces at work.....
Ah, time to get Greenmantle off the bookshelf again. You will recall it involves a sinister plot to dupe believers into a Jihad against the west, of course back in July after the bombings the BBC dropped a serialisation of it as being "unsuitable and insensitive material" (They did rebroadcast it over Christmas though.)
In the book the plan is foiled by Richard Hannay and Sandy Arbuthnot, a "wonderful fine horseman, with his firm English hunting seat". When Sandy turns to the German arch-villainness and says, "You must know, Madam, that I am a British officer," she realises that her game is up. We need their sort now.
Kim the Wykehamist *
Kim proves again why he is a shining light in this murky Blogosphere and cuts through the cant surrounding provocative cartoons and other insults.
I have always believed and strived for : "A gentleman is never rude unintentionally" - I often fail but it is worth aiming for.
However to his magisterial pronouncement I would wish to attach a small addendum:
Even if an act is morally wrong to do that does not invalidate the right to do it, and that with rights come responsibilities.
It would be wrong to expose my children to The Guardian at the morning breakfast table, but I have the right to do it but I must accept the responsibility that they would grow up thinking I was a sad old git.
It would be wrong for me to jeer that the scousers top the sickie league and wonder if they are a bunch of workshy losers if I was enjoying the traditional Liverpool hospitality on the Kop, but if I did I would have only myself to blame if they moved their fat arses and gave me a kicking.
So just because saying something is upsetting, unwise, insulting and the wrong thing to do doesn't mean that the freedom to do so ceases to exist, but in is the most condemning phrase an English Gentleman can use, it is bad manners to do so.
* Manners maketh man
- William of Wykeham Motto of Winchester College
February 6, 2006
The Tory Response
David Cameron has (according to aides) said he wants "to be kept out of this one". The only sound comes from Dominic Grieve, Shadow Attorney General, calling the Danish cartoons "reckless". And he admits he hasn't seen them.
All are equal
EU Referendum reminds us in an excellent article about how diligent the police are in arresting people for flicking the finger at Speed cameras, calling police horses "Gay" and so on, and wonders about the latitude afforded the Muslim protesters to publicly call for violence.. And in another excellent post he compares the treatment handed out to the boys when they complained about the hunting ban in Parliament Square to the Religion of Peace and Love's followers gentle handling. As Mr FM says:
When the pro-fox hunting lobby held its most recent demonstration in Parliament Square, (the police) officers response was somewhat different. On that occasion protesters went not there to advocate terrorist atrocities, they were there to protest about the criminalisation of a sport that has just topped a high profile government poll of find the most popular icons of England. That day the protestors were not greeted by officers holding cameras, they were met by row upon row of thuggish riot police. On that day, protestors didn't have their photographs taken by your officers. On that day, innocent people were met with walls of riot shields & then beaten unconscious with truncheons & batons, in the shadow of their own Parliament.
February 5, 2006
From a Welsh Friend
A farmer was out on his Welsh hillside tending his flock one day, when he
saw a man drinking with a cupped hand from the stream which ran down from
one of his fields
Realising the danger, he shouted over to the man "Paid a yfed y dwr! Mae'n
ych-y-fi!" (Don't drink the water. It's disgusting!)
The man at the stream lifted his head and put a cupped hand to his ear
shrugged his shoulders at the farmer, and carried on drinking.
Realising the man at the stream couldn't hear him, the farmer moved closer
and yelled..."Paid a yfed! Dwr ych-y-fi! Defaid yn cachu yn y dwr!"(Don't
drink. Water's disgusting. Sheep crap in the water.)
Still the walker couldn't hear the farmer. Finally the farmer walked right
up to the man at the stream and once again said..."Dwr yn ych-y-fi! Paid
a'i yfed!" (Water's disgusting. Don't drink it!)
"I'm dreadfully sorry my good man, I couldn't understand a word you said
dear boy! Can't you speak English???" said the man at the stream in an
extremely fine English accent.
"Oh I see....," said the farmer. "I was just saying, if you use both hands
you can get plenty more in..."
Book of the Week
Silverfin: A James Bond Adventure an excellent boys yarn by Charlie Higson - written for young teenagers but if you enjoy The 39 Steps and other Buchanesque adventures you will enjoy this.
Can't wait to read the second one in the series as soon as the Young man has finished with it.
February 4, 2006
Piss off you Papists!
"The freedom of thought and expression, confirmed in the Declaration of Human Rights, can not include the right to offend religious feelings of the faithful. That principle obviously applies to any religion," the Vatican said.
With apologies for any Catholics who actually believe in the freedom of thought, the freedom of thought and expressions includes the right to insult the Left Footers as well as any other followers of different imaginary friends, so I will gratuitously enjoy that freedom!
The real conservative future
How growth stunts us
In the developed world, the poor are becoming poorer. A Joseph Rowntree report showed that in 1983 14 per cent of households lacked three or more necessities because of poverty. By the new millennium, this had increased to more than 24 per cent. The "invisible hand" does not, after all, fashion order and justice out of chaos....
...a friend and neighbour recently expressed ‘dismay’ that I did not possess a plasma TV screen. Using the language of the addict, he explained that he ‘could not live’ without one. He lives, through no fault of his own, on benefits, and often has trouble paying rent and household bills.
Please - "the poor are becoming poorer" - and as example he mentions someone with a Plasma TV. Simple tosh - there might be an argument that the poor aren't getting as rich as quickly as the rich are getting richer but he fails to make it. But then he seems to be basing his article on this report:
Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research: Press releases and consultations
"The only way to end poverty within a generation would be to embark on a serious policy of redistribution. At the beginning of the 21st century, the UK is one of the most unequal societies in Europe. In order to reduce poverty and social exclusion the Government needs to reverse this redistribution to the rich, and, at a minimum, return to the levels of inequality in income and power that existed in the mid-1970s. This would see poverty and social exclusion reduced by at least half."
A fine example of publicly funded research from one of our universities I'm sure, but not the sort of rubbish I need on a Saturday morning as i grope to the light after a night at the King's Arms with Mr FM.
But what is more interesting is this Aidan Rankin chap - His progress through politics mirrors so much these days:
As a young man in the mid-1990s, I had held standard progressive views and written occasional contributions to New Left Review. But, like many at that time, I became disillusioned with a left that seemed to be recycling old slogans and ignoring new complexities. Moreover, it was doing so with a distortion of liberalism dubbed "political correctness", which seemed harsh and intolerant, and could hurt most those whom it intended to help. In particular, I found that the left's assumptions about gay men - of which I am one - were often patronising and in many ways as restrictive as the old stereotypes. Being gay, the left seemed to think, meant ceasing to be an individual and becoming a nameless, faceless member of a minority group, obediently reciting the mantras of victimhood.
I was interested in green issues as well and had the experience of working for Survival International, which promotes the interests of indigenous peoples throughout the world, oppressed minorities who are struggling to preserve their ancient cultures as well as keep their environment intact. I came to see a contradiction between this cultural and ecological conservatism and the universalist values of the left.
In moving right, I thought that I would meet people who would excite me and make me think, who would dare to question received assumptions. I thought I would find cultured yet passionate individuals whose radicalism was balanced by a sense of history. I had the naive and hopelessly utopian idea of uniting green politics with cultural conservatism and in the process strengthening both. This led me towards sections of the right that showed some basic ecological awareness. In 1997 I became a contributor to Third Way, then the British mouthpiece for the European new right, and which proudly proclaimed itself green.
...My attraction to Ukip took me into a peculiar demi-monde, peopled largely by men with faces red through alcohol and outrage against the modern world, ladies with affected accents or strange hats, and youthful zealots who collected "facts" about Europe or immigration the way better-adjusted young men collect train numbers....
The Eurosceptic movement as a whole consists of a series of mock-conspiratorial cabals, sad little internet discussion groups and obscure news-sheets, each trying to outdo the other in vituperation. They hate each other at least as much as they do the European Union.
I have yet to meet anyone on the British right who is made more contented or fulfilled by its politics. So why do otherwise relatively intelligent people put up with it?
The answer, I believe, is to be found in the initial frisson, the sense of adventure and vague threat, which much of left-wing politics has lost. Indulging in right-wingery is a form of political slumming akin to the predilection for "rough trade". And, like the taste for rough trade, it is initially thrilling but yields quickly to feelings of loneliness and inner turmoil. Right-wing politics and rough trade are both addictions. They take over as substitutes both for real thought and real emotion. They combine certainty with danger, and rebellion.
Indulging in rough trade gives you the certainty of sexual encounter and the danger of it being with a stranger, in illicit (and often illegal) circumstances that can climax in violence. ...
It took me two more years to leave the right fully. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to use the past tense when I describe it. When I awake in the morning, I relish the sudden realisation that, no, I am no longer right-wing.
So now he offers :
AIDAN RANKIN - THE REAL CONSERVATIVE FUTURE
'Rankin cuts through with razor-sharp clarity the dishonest cant we call 'political correctness'. He provides a defence of freedom and tolerance that is both welcome and overdue.'
Zac Goldsmith, Editor, The Ecologist
The new Tory - not right wing, green loving, economically illiterate and a penchant for "Rough Trade" - count me out.
February 3, 2006
English Parliament - new or used - look on ebay!
(Screenshot of automated ad running just now!)
A motorist, on his way home from work in Westminster came to a dead halt
in traffic and thought to himself, "Wow, this traffic seems worse than
After a short while , he noticed a police officer walking towards him,
between the lines of stopped cars. He rolled down his window and asked,
"Officer, what's the hold up?"
The constable replied "Tony Blair is depressed, so he stopped his motorcar
and is threatening to douse himself with petrol and set himself on fire.
He says no one believes his stories; about why we went to war in Iraq, or
that there is no pensions crisis, or the worsening economy, or that
constant adding of stealth taxes, or that his education reforms are going
to do any good, or that the health service is safe in his hands, or that
immigration is under control, or that he`s not George Bush`s lapdog , or
that his Party's proposed tax cuts won't help anyone except his wealthy
friends, or that his chairmanship of the European Community hasn`t just
led to more power being surrendered to the French.... So we're taking up a
collection for him."
Thoughtfully , the man asks, "How much have you got so far?"
The officer replies, "About forty gallons, but a lot of people are
The jokes are too obvious and besides I have great deal of respect for Camilla so instead let me point you to the excellent Adopt a Sheep For Meat idea!
Those Cartoons and The Times
The Times presents a reasoned argument for not publishing them, or is it just cowadice from the Murdoch Empire?
This newspaper has had anguish of its own over whether to reproduce the pictures at the centre of this saga. At one level, their appearance might be seen as an appropriate response to the fanatics who have demanded their prohibition and could help the reader to understand both their character and the impact that they might have on believers. But to duplicate these cartoons several months after they were originally printed also has an element of exhibitionism to it. To present them in front of the public for debate is not a value-neutral exercise.
On balance, we have chosen not to publish the cartoons but to provide weblinks to those who wish to see them. The crucial theme here is choice. The truth is that drawing the line in instances such as these is not a black-and-white question. It cannot be valid for followers of a religion to state that because they consider images of the Prophet idolatry, the same applies to anyone else in all circumstances. Then again, linking the Prophet to suicide bombings supposedly undertaken in his honour was incendiary. The Times would, for example, have reservations about printing a cartoon of Christ in a Nazi uniform sketched because sympathisers of Hitler had conducted awful crimes in the name of Christianity.
Muslims thus have a right to protest about the cartoons and, if they want, to boycott the publications concerned. To move from there to holding ministers responsible for the editorial decisions of a free press in their nations, to urge that all products from a country be ostracised or, worst still, to engage in violence against people or property is to leave the field of legitimate complaint and enter one of censorship enforced under threat of intimidation. That free speech is misunderstood in much of the Islamic realm shows how much progress has yet to be made.
Consistency would also be a virtue. The anger directed at these cartoons by certain Muslims would carry more weight if pictures that crudely insult Jews and Christians were not found regularly in the Middle East. To contend that faiths of many forms merit a degree of deference, but not absolute protection, is one notion. To insist that this principle be applied selectively is another, quite indefensible, assertion.
"This hand hath offended."
'And now I come to the great thing that troubleth my conscience more than any other thing that ever I said or did in my life: and that is, the setting abroad of writings contrary to the truth. Which here now I renounce and refuse, as things written with my hand, contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear of death, and to save my life, if it might be: and that is, all such bills, which I have written or signed with mine own hand since my degradation: wherein I have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished: for if I may come to the fire, it shall be first burned...
Fire being now put to him, he stretched out his right hand, and thrust it into the flame, and held it there a good space, before the fire came to any other part of his body; where his hand was seen of every man sensibly burning, crying with a loud voice, 'This hand hath offended.' As soon as the fire got up, he was very soon dead, never stirring or crying all the while."
England - not to be trusted with a Parliament
Little Man in a Toque highlights a paper by Robert Hazell the head guy at the Constitution Unit which is worth reading if your blood pressure is a bit low and you need something to get you started this morning:
The English Question -- Hazell - Abstract
Devolution to Scotland and Wales throws up related questions about the government of England. Does England need to find its own separate political voice? Does England too need devolution? There is little demand for an English parliament. "English votes on English laws" commands more support but would be impossible to implement in practice. Despite the setback of the Northeast referendum defeat, the future will see further development of regionalism in England. Regional government is the only institutional solution that could help to give England a louder voice and also help to decentralize the government of England. But it is not inevitable. There is no logic in the process of devolution that requires the English to have devolution too.
February 2, 2006
A Reader's Record Request
Here's a musical tribute to the courageous men and women of the American Military: Heroes In Our Midst
The great middle "flyover" bit of America is routinely mocked for many things by the coastal sophisticates and the British Media. One of the more common jibes is about its Bible Bashing evolution denying mindset. How primitive they must be not to grasp Darwin to their hearts!
How unlike us, with our wonderful State proscribed education and curriculum which leads our children unto righteousness! But it looks as though Science, along with reading and writing, is yet another thing we are failing our children on....
Just under half of Britons accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life:
22% chose creationism
17% opted for intelligent design
48% selected evolution theory
and the rest did not know
Newspapers across Europe have reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to show support for a Danish paper whose cartoons have sparked Muslim outrage.
Seven publications in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain all carried some of the drawings.
Their publication in Denmark led Arab nations to protest. Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet.
The owner of one of the papers to reprint - France Soir - has now sacked its managing editor over the matter.
Great to see newspaper editors standing up for freedom at personal and professional risk, I'm embarrassed to see no UK paper has done the same. And isn't it typical of France that for every brave man there is a weasel who bows to the oppressors and does their bidding, before they even have to ask!
Talking of the Danes I listened to talk about this book on the radio - now on my list to buy:
The story of how the Danish, uniquely, stood up to the Nazi invasion of their country by smuggling out virtually their entire population of Jews, thus saving them from the gas chambers, is one that should be better-known. The broadcaster and comedienne, Sandi Toksvig, is herself half Danish, and she has woven the tales her father told her about the occupation of Copenhagen with Edmund Burke’s famous dictum that “the one condition necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ...
There are not as many classic children’s novels about the Second World War as there should be, but this is one of them. Yet this was a war in which children, above all, were victims and heroes, and Toksvig’s enchanting and inspiring tale reminds us of how even the smallest people made a difference.
February 1, 2006
Icons of England - Again
How interesting! The Icons of England website has its stats publicly available - ICONS web stats.
Firstly, thank you to all the readers here who visited the icons site 207 times!
I imagine a lot of you were following my link to Fox Hunting - Icons of England in order to vote for it or not.
I note that Fox Hunting is number two in popularity, not bad. The Lake District is more popular though. Strangely the stats tell a different story. Fox Hunting was viewed 40,000 times (I think that is a fair representation of how many votes it got). The next most popular nomination page was Morris Dancing with 11,000, then the Countryside and Pubs with 7 and 5 thousand respectively, with the Austin Maxi and "Yes Minister" fighting it out for bottom place with 70 each.
But no sign of the Lake District page... they wouldn't have just slipped it in above Fox Hunting,would they? No, it must be just hiding in the stats somewhere....
Live Shoot Blogging
Mr.FM Mrs FM and me; Match the gun to the shooter
Image taken on 1/2/2006 12:17
Quack Quack Limp
TONY BLAIR'S authority was shaken by two surprise defeats last night that weakened his Bill to create the crime of inciting racial (sic - I think that should be Religious) hatred. Key measures were lost by a majority of just one after he failed to stay for the crucial vote.
That just proves there is a God and she has a sense of humour!
Parliament standing up for Freedoms and Liberty - what ever next? - thanks to the House of Lords so watch for more "reforms" as nuLabour goes for those who stand in the way of the project.
Blair on Blair
In response to an Early Day Motion: “This House notes with concern the recent remarks of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, belittling the appalling crimes committed at Soham; condemns his thoughtless pursuit of self-publicity; and calls on the Home Secretary to remove him from his position as Metropolitan Police Commissioner.”
Tony Blair's spokesman said that the Prime Minister recognised "that the job of the Metropolitan Commissioner is not only a highly important one but also a difficult one and he supports Sir Ian Blair in carrying out that job".
Good, once Tony has given someone his full backing it is normally time for them to start clearing the desk and flicking through the Kuoni brochure...
File under "Couldn't run a Whelk stall"
THE Home Office has lost control of its finances and its accounts are in a mess, according to a report published by the public spending watchdog.
The National Audit Office is so alarmed at what it has uncovered that it has refused to give its approval to the department's flawed financial records.
Bit like Prescott's department and the EU then. Of course the Home Office sees fit to tell us all how to run our lives in the greatest detail. Of course "in 2004 the Home Office spent Ł74 million hiring 142 consultants" - maybe to help them tie their own shoe laces....
UPDATE - The Big Number machine on my desk makes each of those consultants cost Ł521,126.76, Nice work if you can get it!
A&R Scott's Porage Oats
As Stephen Fry said " It had to be Scott's Porage Oats" for breakfast. Facing a cold day outside the porringer is bubbling away on the Aga with the spurtle to the ready as the Scott's Porage is prepared.
But wait, on the back of the Scott's OLD FASHIONED Porage packet there is a recipe for Flapjacks: Oats, Marge, Demerara, Golden Syrup and a pinch of Ginger, BUT it is only in Grammes. I haven't bought or sold anything in grammes since my College days, I'm not starting to now, not on the advice of the so called Scott's OLD FASHIONED Porage.
Time for a quick email. But no website, no email, maybe Scott's OLD FASHIONED Porage really are OLD FASHIONED! But lurking at the bottom is a customer service number in Leicester. In bloody England, what the hell are A&R Scott of Cupar, Fife, KY15 4PD doing letting the bloody Sassanachs get involved with their Old Fashioned milling of oats?
Leicester = pointy eared footballer = crisps = Quaker foods = Pepsico.
It seems A&R Scott of Cupar, Fife, KY15 4PD are just part of the bloody Pepsi Cola empire not some honest smiling bunch of Jocks. I yield to no one in my admiration of the benefits that American Multinationals bring, but if the stinking Yankees come over here buying up our heritage they can at least leave our customary weights and measures alone - it is not as though they use them themselves!