April 30, 2006
Go and enjoy the newspapers over breakfast - it's good news week!
The week from hell for the new Labour project - Sunday Times - Times Online
TONY BLAIR’S government is “sleazy and incompetent” and on its last legs, much as John Major’s government was in the mid-1990s, according to a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times today.
And when you have digested the full range of stories about the sleaze-balls then this final item showing up the pathetic incompetence of boring bandwagon-jumping talentless twats is the cherry on the top!
Get on moi Land
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust - Sarsen Trail is on today, several thousand people walking through the Castle's environs. Good luck to them, unfortunately I can't do the 26 miles this year as I have to go to some happy clappy baby dunking this afternoon - deep joy.
Reality check at Tesco
A deer hunter who took his photographs to a supermarket for processing was shocked to find himself reported to police.
Although the sport is legal, Tesco gave his details to officers who questioned him for several hours.
Staff deemed photographs of him with his gun and a deer he had shot "inappropriate", although he had broken no animal cruelty or firearms laws.
If venison is more to your liking check out Tesco Finest British Venison casserole. Wild venison in a rich port and peppercorn sauce with carrots, baby onions and roasted button mushrooms is so easy to cook just put into a pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes. Or if speed is essential it can be ready to serve from the microwave oven in less than 9 minutes. That's fast! Simply pop the meal in the oven, pour a glass of wine and settle down for a super supper.
I hope MR FM doesn't use Tesco for his prints...
April 29, 2006
White Sun of the Desert » Well, I'll be blowed!has been researching my old friend Angel Long - a girl from my part of the world - in fact I have blogged about her before. I hadn't realised she has starred in 300 films and I haven't seen one yet...
Ducking the question
Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby) (Lab): When the Prime Minister hears about British soldiers losing their lives in Iraq, he usually - in fact, always, and correctly- ”makes a statement from the Dispatch Box expressing sympathy. Today, in Committee Room 16 at 12.30 there will be members of the families of those who have lost their lives in Iraq. Will the Prime Minister spare five or 10 minutes to meet them?
The Prime Minister: For the reasons that I have given on many occasions, I yield to nobody in my support and admiration for the work that the soldiers do in Iraq. It is also important, however, from my perspective and also from the perspective of those who are serving out in Iraq, that they know that we are fully behind the work that they are doing there. They are there with a United Nations resolution and the full support of the Iraqi Government. I believe that at this moment it is important that they know that they are doing a job that is right and worth while, and is absolutely necessary for this country's security.
So that will be a No then Prime Minister, will it? You snivelling little bit of dog turd, forget the rights and wrongs of the war, if you haven't got the guts to face the families of the soldiers you sent to be killed then you are a fucking low-life cheap-rent piece of shit. If you were right to send them to war, and many believe you were, then pretend to be a fucking man, thank them and tell them that their boys didn't die in vain; they know and understand what service to the country means. But you don't, do you? Just fuck off, and quickly.
April 28, 2006
Pots and Kettles
I just turned on the wireless and they were introducing George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with his words:
Much of the inspiration for the work came to him during a train journey to Boston, "with its steely rhythms, its rattlety-bang . . . I suddenly heard - and even saw on paper - the complete construction of the rhapsody from beginning to end. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America - of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness."
And a stray thought crossed my mind; when was it we stopped talking about, and believing in, "melting pots" and the beneficial blending of cultures, and changed to "multiculturalism", where cultures are kept separate or "apart"? - I believe the Afrikaners had a word for "apartness".
That ASI do
As you will have gathered from various other blogs a bunch of us were invited out by the very, very nice people at the ASI to discuss blogging and the media. I thought as a proper photoblogger I would keep a record of the excitement as it happened, and intersperse the reported repartee with insightful comments.
Other bloggers have done the same - the most informative I have seen so far is Blithering Bunny » Blog Archive » ASI night - the aftermath and of course Tim Worstall: Timmy's Baaack!
So I started with a quiet pint on the Terrace of my club - that is Big Ben in the background behind the trees - about 500 yards 30 degrees elevation should do it.
And then to the meeting itself...
This seems to be the only photo and recollection I have of it...
Still the full English in the morning was just right.
Maybe I will never make it as a proper journalist!
What he said
For a Government that delights in over-regulating British business, meddling where it shouldn't, this shabby bunch should take a lesson from some of our leading industrialists on how to behave when things go horribly wrong...
It's a depressing example of why the state should run as little of our lives as possible...
I can't better this demolition of the sleazeballs so i just suggest you go and read it.
The right way to act.
A FULL military funeral for the first Australian soldier killed in Iraq was called off yesterday after his widow and parents learnt that the coffin flown from Baghdad contained the body of a soldier from Bosnia.
Private Jake Kovco, 25, a sniper and member of an Australian Army infantry parachute battalion, died a week ago after his pistol was accidentally discharged, shooting him in the head while he was off duty in Baghdad.
The error was discovered by military officers at Melbourne airport. Brendan Nelson, the Australian Defence Minister, and the Chief of the Army flew to tell Private Kovco's widow, Shelley, and his parents what had happened. Shelley Kovco demanded to speak to John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister, who was awakened in Sydney to take her call. Mr Howard said that he was angered by the incident.
A terrible mistake - but note how the Australian leaders react, they put themselves out to give what comfort they can, good for them, how unlike our own sorry bunch, with their refusal to meet families.
Icons of England - Misrepresenting again.
The Icons Online project, a controversial scheme that is costing the taxpayer £1 million, yesterday added 21 "icons" to the 12 it announced to some derision in January.
Yesterday's new list was "broadly" the 21 most voted for icons suggested by the public since the website was set up in January, although a panel of advisers made some "modifications" to ensure a good geographical spread, Icons Online said yesterday.
The somewhat nebulous nature of the scheme has come in for heavy criticism, notably for being a Government attempt to define England's culture....
Jerry Doyle, managing director of Icons Online, insisted yesterday that the first three months had been a huge success. Almost 300,000 votes had been cast online, some 5,500 nominations had been received and the website was particularly popular with expatriates.
She said: "It's not a popularity contest. We are just trying to paint a portrait of England to encourage an awareness of our cultural identity and so far we feel that it is really capturing people's imagination."
You may remember back on Feb 1st the site had left its stats page open to view, so I did - my report showed that Fox hunting had about 4 times as many views ( which correlated to votes) as the next most popular icon - Morris Dancing.
But strangely it isn't now in the "most popular" list - either the Advisory Board (a bunch of urban Arts Grads - check their CVs) have deemed it unsuitable or Mugabe like voting has been going on in the last couple of months.
The new icons: Flag of St George; Hadrian’s Wall; Notting Hill Carnival; Brick Lane; Lindisfarne Gospels; On the Origin of Species; morris dancing; Domesday Book; HMS Victory; the miniskirt; The Hay Wain; Pride and Prejudice; Eden Project; the pub; Blackpool Tower; Globe Theatre; cricket; Sutton Hoo helmet; York Minster; Big Ben; postage stamp showing the Queen’s head designed by Arnold Machin, in use since 1967
The original 12: Stonehenge; Punch and Judy; SS Empire Windrush; Holbein’s portrait of Henry VIII; cup of tea; FA Cup; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Routemaster bus; King James Bible; Angel of the North; Spitfire; Jerusalem
April 27, 2006
Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner...
Light blogging today as this is the view from my room this morninq.and I have to get home..Hope the tractor hasn't been clamped.
Image taken on 26/4/2006 18:7
Image taken on 26/4/2006 18:18
April 26, 2006
The Lawnmower man
Mr Free Market compalins about the problems of being an arriviste in the countryside and having to mow his lawn - It is not a problem I have; an old boy comes up from the village every week and mows mine. I have never paid him, I presume my dear old dad, who has been dead now for 13 years, did some sort of deal with him but I have never got round to asking what it was and if he is expecting some folding from me some time.
Dave stamps his pristine Converse trainer shod little feet.
David Cameron threw down the gauntlet to Eurosceptic Tory MPs yesterday by declaring that anyone who advocated withdrawal from the European Union would not serve on his front bench.
On the eve of the launch of a pressure group promoting withdrawal, the Tory leader effectively warned backbenchers not to get involved if they valued their careers.
Philip Davies, the Eurosceptic Tory MP for Shipley, will host the launch of the Better Off Out campaign, to which nearly 50 of his party colleagues and two Labour MPs have been invited.
Mr Cameron also unveiled plans to transform the party by ensuring that a tenth of candidates in winnable seats were from ethnic minorities. Addressing parliamentary journalists at Westminster, he made no apologies for setting up a secret group to promote the selection of women by announcing that the new "priority list" of top-quality candidates would have more women than men on it.
There you have it - a firm policy at last from Dave, wrong but at least he seems to have made his mind up about something at last.
But then I also noticed his speech in Norway
"The Norwegian and British people share many characteristics.
A sturdy sense of independence.
An identification with the sea.
A sensible and practical approach to life.
And a distrust of the EU - no sorry, I'm off message again..
"So I want us to get positive about climate change.
Sometimes, it feels as if rational debate on the subject is sandwiched between two extreme and negative views.
The sceptical views of some economists amount, albeit unwittingly, to a suicide note for the planet.
I know all that adding up and actually thinking about rational choices and resource allocation is jolly hard and not the sort of stuff a modern Tory needs to understand...
"To those who say that nothing serious is happening to our climate, I say look at the evidence from where I've just been."
Oh dear - he is now a bloody scientific expert based on on his day trip out...
We are witnessing more and more unusual and unpredictable weather events.
According to the international insurance firm Munich Re, before 1987 there was just one weather event worldwide that caused an insured loss of over $1 billion. Since 1987, there have been 46.
And being a house owner benefiting from the rise in property prices you can't think of any other factor in the rise in insurance claims?
Scientists are fiercely independent people. But on this subject they agree.
They agree not just on the fact of global warming, but on the need for urgent action.
Whoops - not all of them...
It's become fashionable in certain circles to dismiss the Kyoto agreement. That's a mistake.
Really? I'm struggling to remember anyone who isn't a raving Moonbat or on the EU payroll who still believes Kyoto wasn't an embarrassing mistake.
My fourth principle is an enthusiastic acknowledgement of the role of markets.... Normally, I'm all for politicians keeping well out of the way of business.
Hurrah - some sense. But sorry I spoke too soon - he wants the Government to set up the market...
Above all, however, British business and consumers are crying out for government to provide clear political leadership to make green markets work.
Government, as a partner to UK business, is failing to provide the necessary regulatory and fiscal frameworks, appropriate advice, support, direction and advocacy.
Hello Planet Cameron! This is earth calling. Please return and actually listen to some real people.
Irrelevant but costly
Mark Thompson, the Director-General, announced a radical shake-up yesterday in the delivery of all the corporation's services after saying that the BBC was increasingly seen as irrelevant by younger audiences.
Oh Lord not yet more chasing of the yoof market - it is not just the young who are finding the BBC irrelevant, some of us who are a bit older struggle to think when we actually watched a BBC program, though we do remember the licence fee every month...
What a waste
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said that tallow, a by-product of meat processing, is a waste, not a product, and cannot be burned as a fuel in rendering plants.
Defra's interpretation of the EU Waste Incineration Directive, which came into force at the end of last year, is not shared by regulators in Ireland, France and Holland, where tallow continues to be burned.
British renderers, however, were told that they should stop burning tallow and switch to another fuel by yesterday's deadline.
The United Kingdom Renderers Association has said it would have to pass on the added costs of disposal to meat and livestock businesses even though "there are serious doubts as to their ability to meet them."
It has told Mrs Beckett that banning the burning of tallow, which is a renewable, carbon-neutral fuel, will cause the burning of £70,000 worth of fossil fuels per plant and increase Britain's rising carbon dioxide emissions by 750,000 tons a year....
"Mrs Beckett is constantly wagging her fingers at the Bush administration for using too much fossil fuel. This decision means we will actually be burning more fossil fuels. A softer interpretation would be to the benefit of everyone - and the environment."
A Defra spokesman said: "Defra's view is that the legal position is clear - tallow when incinerated is a waste and the renderers must comply with the directive.
"Defra is aware of the EC's study on the environmental impact of burning tallow, which is expected later this year. We shall review the position in the light of the commission's conclusions."
And there you have it - the whole EU/ Defra madness, have they all been eating too many hamburgers?
Your council tax at work
A judge was left "speechless" after being told that a council that has pursued a motorist for an unpaid 10p parking charge is now allowing everyone to park free in the same place...
Nick Newby, a former Royal Marine, has so far attended six hearings in a case that has cost the public more than £2,800.
Legal discussion lasting a full day led to the case being adjourned...
Geoff Bell, the council's chief legal officer, said that requests for information by Mr Newby, who is conducting his own defence, had cost the legal department £1,235 and the highways department £1,491. The council will consider "how best to move forward".
So the £2800 is just the cost of his FOI requests and doesn't include what Kirklees council has spent on m'learned friends so far, and barrister for a day or so isn't small change.
April 25, 2006
The head of the herd was calling ...
Far, far away
They met one night in the silver light
On the road to Mandalay
So Charlie the Safety Elephant packed his trunk ...
The home secretary says he will not resign after it emerged 1,023 foreign prisoners had been freed without being considered for deportation.
Charles Clarke said he did not know where most of the inmates, who include three murderers and nine rapists, were.
Not just evil, but also incompetent; I do hope he goes before the Blogger bash tomorrow evening as it would add to the general gaiety of the event.
Paxo faced him down with the cost of £380 million to keep foreigners in our gaols and then the sheer stupidity of forgetting to deport the scum when they get out. Maybe in their desire to criminalise everybody else in the UK they have lost the ability to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys.
And trundled back to the jungle
Off he went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump
Play up and play the game
Mr Free Market complains that I put him off his shooting by telling a pig tale, as though a bit of light joshing behind the shooter isn't part of the game..
But what happened was, I had this young pig lying on the floor in pain, he had got meningitis, no cure. So I thought to myself "put him out of his misery". There happened to be a pointed pick-axe in the barn so one foot on his head and thwack between the eyes. I don't like doing such things but the job was done quickly. I took my foot off his head and the bugger jumps up and runs off down the barn with the pick-axe in his head. I race after him and eventually get hold of the handle, but the bloody thing won't come out. I try pleading with him to let me have it so I can hit him again but he doesn't co-operate. Eventually it catches on a gate and comes free and I complete the job.
I expect he felt a bit like that Oregon man who went into hospital complaining of a head ache after firing a dozen nails into his own skull - news
So a simple everyday tale of country folk, nothing to put you off your aim...
An English Gentleman's Bulldog Postal Shoot
Dearly Beloved, Mr FM has finally released the results of the last Bulldog Postal Shoot, which means it is time for the next one.
This time it is simple, 75 Feet, five shots, any calibre, iron sights only, using a proper old English target as supplied below; entries in by 15th May, results posted by MY BIRTHDAY 18th May.
Email your efforts to "target at anenglishmanscastle.com"
Good luck and Good Shooting
The target to download is below:
April 24, 2006
Safe in our beds
CRIMES of violence in Wiltshire have shot up by 23 per cent in the past year, it was revealed in new figures presented to the county's police authority last week.
The figures show that violent crimes rose by 1,584 offences to a total of 8,369, during the period from April 2005 to last month.
It was the biggest increase in recorded crime during the year but there were also rises in the number of offences of theft and handling, criminal damage, drugs and non-domestic burglaries.
Overall, crime in the county rose by 2,105 offences, 5.3 per cent, to a total of 42,181 crimes.
But police are quick to emphasise that, when these are expressed as crimes per head of population, Wiltshire still has one of the lowest number of crimes in England and Wales and "remains one of safest counties in which to live, work and visit".
Wiltshire Police News reports:
Assistant Chief Constable Peter Vaughan said:
'During the last year, crime has continued to fall in the key areas of burglary and vehicle crime and although some areas of crime show an increase, this is largely due to our proactive approach to policing these issues. Our continued focus on drug misuse and violent behaviour actually leads to an increase in the numbers of these crimes, as, for every person we arrest for violent behaviour, for every person we arrest for dealing or using drugs, an offence is created and recorded as such'.
Latest Wiltshire Constabulary News Article
As part of a combined effort to combat hate crime across Wiltshire, an Equality and Diversity web page is successfully up-and-running, thanks to the Community Safety team at Wiltshire Police.
It is all so reassurring isn't it, violent crime rates souring, but that is only because they are curing the problem, and if someone is horrible to me I can log on and report it...
A return to traditional values?
The Times - Cameron? He's so last year
Mr Cameron aspires to do the same, sprinkling himself with stardust (following Clinton/Blair) and triangulating into the space between new Labour (which has become old) and old Tory (which could not be remade new).
Yet, looking at the United States today suggests that the formula of the Nineties has faded. Who are the most popular politicians in America? Senator John McCain (particularly) and Rudolph Giuliani. They are offering themselves not on the basis of glitz and glamour, style or sophisticated triangulation, but as men of established weight who talk straight to the voters, not act as an echo chamber for short-term sentiment.
The new, new politics in the US is old-fashioned in nature. And beneath the headline numbers, British pollsters are detecting a similar rejection of the razzmatazz and realpolitik of the Clinton-Blair era and a desire to rediscover solemn, mature leadership without the make-up.
Maybe, just maybe those of us who have resisted the call of shallow popularism as the sole reason for political parties will be proved to have the longer staying power. Real politicians presenting real, tough, choices is much more appealling than the daytime sofa-jumping, glottal stopping, regular guy crassness we have now.
A Tory speaks out
In no order of awfulness, this government has emasculated the House of Commons by the permanent use of guillotines. On the whim of the Prime Minister, the Lord Chancellorship has been neutered, removing a voice of law from the cabinet.
Those instances are on the parliamentary front, but what the government has done to the liberty of the subject is far worse. Note that I say liberty of the subject, not the rights of the citizen. That is because liberties are boundless unless circumscribed by law and rights are, by their nature, circumscribed.
It has repealed the law on double jeopardy. With Asbos, it has sent to prison some of the young on hearsay evidence for things that are not even criminal. It has created a centralised register held by the government on all citizens and proposes to force them to have ID cards. It has formed a police force with unprecedented powers of arrest - the Serious Organised Crime Agency - over which the Home Secretary has authority no predecessor has previously enjoyed.
Through its control orders, it has introduced a system of deprivation of liberty without trial on the say-so of the executive. It has passed the Civil Contingencies Act that allows a minister to override any statute after the calling of a state of emergency and now there is the Regulatory Reform Bill, which has been described as 'the abolition of parliament bill' and against which our party did not even vote at second reading. This gives gauleiter-like powers to ministers which we are blandly told will not be used.
The government has allowed the retention by the police of DNA details of thousands of innocents and it has given us section 81 (6) of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claims) Act 2004 which amends the Nationality, Immigration and Asylums Act 2002, creating a single-tier appeals procedure which Lord Steyn, in a recent lecture, described as, in effect, ousting the jurisdiction of ordinary courts. The government has introduced anti-terrorism stop-and-search powers that are constantly being misused, such as when the elderly Walter Wolfgang was ejected from the Labour conference.
This list is by no means comprehensive. What surprises, worries and depresses me is the apparent relative quietude on the part of the Conservative party on these issues. I repeat - it did not vote against the Regulatory Reform Bill on second reading. It has not remembered the great Edward Gibbon's comment on Augustus Caesar's Rome: 'The principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably lost when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.'
It was dozy on the Civil Contingencies Act until the excellent Peta Buscombe in our house took it up; this from the party which, since the restoration of Charles II, has been so jealous of our constitution. Have we a guilty secret? Remember Burke saying: 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.' Why are we not shouting from the hustings that we will return to the people their ancient liberties?
Why, Mr Cameron, is the Conservative party passing by on the other side while our old liberties fall among thieves?
Yours sincerely, Onslow
· The Earl of Onslow is one of the 92 hereditary peers and takes the Conservative whip.
April 23, 2006
Happy St George's Day
April 22, 2006
Sign on the dotted
The People's Petition was set up by the Coalition for Medical Progress after it was approached by David Taylor. David wanted to give people the opportunity to register their support for medical progress and for those who work to achieve it. Like the majority of the population of Great Britain, David recognises that a small percentage of medical research requires animal studies.
The future of England as seen in 1870
Brother sportsmen, staunch protectionists! rejecting all that's new,
Oh! the future that's impending is a queerish one for you;
For I look'd into its pages and I read the book of fate,
And I saw Fox Hunting abolished by an order of the State.
Saw the heavens filled with guano, and the clouds at mans command
Raining down unsavoury liquids for the benefits of the land;
Saw the airy Navies earthward bear the planetary swell,
And the long projected railway made from Hanover to H--l;
Saw the landlords yield their acres, after centuries of wrongs,
To the cotton Lords, to whom, it's proved, all property belongs;
Queen, religion, State abandoned, and all flags of party furled
In the government of Cobden and the dotage of the world.
Then shall exiled common sense espouse some othe country's cause,
And the rogues shall thrive in England, bonneting the slumb'ring laws.
Written in 1870 by Sir W Bromley Davenport, M.P.
(As far as I know this is its first electronic publication!)
Not too far wrong!
In a similar vein may I point you to The Fox's Prophecy.
April 21, 2006
A toast is in order
Britain's oldest known World War I veteran wiped away a tear as he was awarded the freedom of the seaside town where he has lived for 40 years.
Henry Allingham, 109, was handed a scroll, a badge of honour and a bottle of malt whisky by Graham Marsden, Mayor of Eastbourne in East Sussex.
Mr Allingham said the whisky, along with "cigarettes and wild, wild women", was the secret of his long life.
Image taken on 21/4/2006 15:27
The Stinking Bishop and StiIton arrive....
Time for pudding
Image taken on 21/4/2006 15:39
The rare old beef of England was very good.
Oxtail soup is being served.
Image taken on 21/4/2006 14:46
Live Pub BIogging
Image taken on 21/4/2006 13:42
I am just going outside and may be some time
St George's Day Gentleman's Lunch at the Pub today....
Happy Birthday Your Majesty
Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!
The Right Stuff
A grandfather of nine was saved by his keys when he was shot as he challenged two armed robbers. The bullet was deflected by his house keys and when he realised that he was not injured the former member of the Royal Corps of Signals grabbed a rock and attacked the robbers.
Brian Woodham, 64, had gone to his local Asda store in Ashford, Kent, when saw that a security guard refilling a cash dispenser was being robbed.
He challenged one of the masked men and saw him fire the gun into his leg. When he realised that he was not injured he picked up a rock and attacked the man forcing him to flee. The robbers escaped
Of course if Gramps had been allowed to carry something more lethal than a bunch of keys, or a rock, then the story might have had a different ending...
Tim Worstall: has "something in The Times.
Apologies, they did insist that I dropped the death penalty for Mr. Clarke, the feck, the fuck and the fucking.
One for the shopping list
Ben and Jerry's began promoting its Black and Tan flavour - cream stout with a whirl of chocolate - this month, but said it was unaware of the connotations that the name has in Ireland.
The company, whose mission statement promotes "deep respect" for individuals, has apologised for any offence their latest product has caused to the Irish.
Any hippy company that promises "deep respect" can't get into too much trouble for my liking, but as ever the curse of Ireland is that it never forgets (and England's is that it never remembers).
The price of a silk purse
The Labour Party has defended reports Cherie Blair left it with a £7,700 bill for a personal hair stylist at the last general election.
May I suggest that prudence and good houskeeping suggest that their money would have been better spent here
A modest proposal
Iain Dale's Diary
People are fed up with the homogenisation of our High Streets. The challenge for the Conservatives is to decide what can be done about it.
May I be so bold as to suggest "Nothing" - micro managing the economy and intrusive planning are not what being a Tory is about - leave it to the bloody market to sort out and let people get on with their lives in peace.
The Moral Right
"Mr Cameron's Norway trip is a photo opportunity"
"And there should surely be a moral right to reach for your gun any time a politician tries to play the ethical card."
April 20, 2006
BBC sense on Climate change!
Hardly a day goes by without a new dire warning about climate change. But some claims are more extreme than others, giving rise to fears that the problem is being oversold and damaging the issue. ...
Overselling Climate Change will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday 20 April at 2000 BST. Or you can use the Listen Again service on the Radio 4 website
Will the last person to leave please turn out the lights, if H&S will let them.
HEALTH and safety regulations have meant that the fundraising big breakfast planned by parents of Bromham PTA has had to be cancelled.
The St Nicholas Primary School parents' association was looking forward to earning up to £500 from their efforts at the St George's Day Big Breakfast on Saturday.
But chairman Peter Wallis was forced to call a halt to proceedings after he was advised that handling protein-based food without a food handling qualification was breaking all the regulations.
Truth on Standby
Gordon Brown will go head-to-head with David Cameron on green issues today by urging people to save electricity by not leaving their television sets on standby.
While the Tory leader is in Norway seeing the impact of global warming on glaciers, the Chancellor will be addressing the United Nations on the need for international co-operation to protect the environment. He intends to highlight the "huge waste" from consumer goods left on standby - about 10 per cent of the electricity supply.
So how mush power do TVs actually use on standby?
Thanks to CNET here are some figures:
|Model||Screen siz||Power consumption (in watts)|
|Envision A||27 inches||104.9||5.1||4.86%|
|JVC LT-32||32 inches||114.2||11.1||9.72%|
|RCA 27F6||27 inches||86.7||2.5||2.88%|
|Sharp 27D||27 inches||124.9||3.5||2.80%|
|Sony KD-3||34 inches||189.1||5.2||2.75%|
So the average from a representative sample of TVs is about 4% - CNET have figures for 20 in total but they include some real US monster TVs which aren't that common.
And is that usage a waste? - the energy in is seeping out into the room as heat, thereby cutting the need for heating by other means. The red-light stays on here at The Castle.
UPDATE - sorry in my hurry this morning I misread the quote - it seems to say that 10% of all electricity is wasted on goods left on standby, not that a TV uses 10% of its active state electricity. See more on this claim at http://www.unescap.org/esd/energy/publications/psec/guidebook-part-two-standby-power.htm but the general point still stands, most machines on standby use a tiny amount of electricity which needs to be balanced against the purposes of leaving tham on standby.
April 19, 2006
"Cut the fat"
The Charlie Falconer Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine - Non-stick and wipes clean!
A survey says
Study author and professor of sociology at the University of Chicago said people aged 40 to 80 actually "engaged in a significant amount of sex".
He suggested this may well be a surprise to their children.
Often comes as a surprise to their spouses as well....
Plans to reduce the compensation paid to those wrongly convicted of crimes are to be announced.
Those who win their appeals at the first attempt will get no compensation. Others who have spent years in prison will see any pay-outs capped.
If the plans went ahead, people who appealed within the time limit set by the court would no longer be entitled to any compensation if they won.
Instead it would be regarded as the legal process taking its course.
This would rule out damages being awarded to someone like Angela Cannings, who was wrongly convicted of killing two of her sons.
She served 20 months in prison for murder before her convictions were overturned on her first appeal.
Her solicitor Bill Bache told BBC News the proposals did not recognise the impact of miscarriages of justice on people's lives.
"In the case of people who have had their lives quite needlessly ruined, why should they not be regarded just as much as victims as people who have been mugged in the street or something of that kind?
"Simply because the perpetrator of the injustice against one group of people is the state as opposed to say a criminal in the street or something of that kind, why should there be a distinction between those two?"
Of course if you are a poor homeless blind man you deserve £18,000 compensation if you have to leave your job, and you get to keep all the perks (tax-free) and you get your job back in a few months anyway - but have your life ruined with the most grotesque smear and incompetent expert imaginable and endure a spell in prison as a "child-killer" well that is just tough luck.
A book for bedtime
I note Gordon Brown's son is approaching three years old, I wonder if his father reads bednight stories to him, and if he includes this classic:
The Tale of Ginger and Pickles ~Beatrix Potter
Ginger and Pickles gave unlimited credit.
Now the meaning of "credit" is this--when a customer buys a bar of soap, instead of the customer pulling out a purse and paying for it--she says she will pay another time.
And Pickles makes a low bow and says, "With pleasure, madam," and it is written down in a book.
The customers come again and again, and buy quantities, in spite of being afraid of Ginger and Pickles.
But there is no money in what is called the "till."....
When it came to Jan. 1st there was still no money, and Pickles was unable to buy a dog licence.
"It is very unpleasant, I am afraid of the police," said Pickles.
Ginger and Pickles retired into the back parlour.
They did accounts. They added up sums and sums, and sums.
"Samuel Whiskers has run up a bill as long as his tail; he has had an ounce and three-quarters of snuff since October."
"What is seven pounds of butter at 1/3, and a stick of sealing wax and four matches?"
After a time they heard a noise in the shop, as if something had been pushed in at the door. They came out of the back parlour. There was an envelope lying on the counter, and a policeman writing in a note-book!
"Do you think that he has gone to fetch a real live policeman? I am afraid it is a summons," said Pickles.
"No," replied Ginger, who had opened the envelope, "it is the rates and taxes, £19 11 3/4 ."
"This is the last straw," said Pickles, "let us close the shop."
They put up the shutters, and left.
Do you think I ought to send him a copy just in case? It is such an important book for youngsters to understand, I'm sure there is a generation of politicians who missed out on it.
April 18, 2006
A date with Google
Last month I spent some time looking for an online calendar program as the only reason I was using the horrible Outlook was for its calendar - and look one has just arrived: Google Calendar.
So far very impressed.
We can make a rainbow..
He will help distribute recycling boxes to residents in Brentwood, Essex, before launching a document setting out his environmental agenda under the slogan "vote blue, go green".
How appropriate - distribute the rubbish bins before the leaflet, now that is joined-up thinking and will ensure the smooth passage of the drivel straight from his hands into the most appropriate container...
Tarzan nearly gets it right
Lord Heseltine spelled out the dangers of alienating one in five workers and a vast chunk of the electorate. “Too many Conservatives talk about the public sector as though it is a bloated, badly run, inefficient, impost on the taxpayers’ back,” he said.
Guilty M'Lord. But I don't blame the workers who take Gordon's shilling, it is the only sane game in town. The trick for the Tories is to promise a rosy future outside of the Turkey Army after it has been trimmed to size.
Our No 1 priority
WITH every day that passes the world seems to go increasingly mad. It has just gone particularly bonkers on a Cardiff bus.
In a vivid demonstration that who really runs Britain is not the Government, the Civil Service, big business nor Labour Party donors but the health and safety police, a man has been thrown off the No 9 service from Heath Hospital via city centre to Prospect Place for carrying a tin of paint. ..
Mr Heale, 73, an RAF veteran who suffers shortness of breath after a heart attack, could not manage the 20-minute walk from the paint shop to his home in the Leckwith district of the city so, naturally, he caught the bus. But the driver caught Mr Heale in the act of carrying a can of emulsion and ordered him off.
Ejected on to the rainy street, Mr Heale took shelter in a café and ordered a cup of tea to steady his nerves. There the manager took pity on him and gave Mr Heale, and his paint, a lift home.
New health and safety rules governing public transport do indeed list paint as a “hazardous article”. It can be taken on the bus only if it is “carried in two containers, ie, a sealed pot and a bag, and is not left unattended on a parcel shelf where it could slide and tip, burst open and spread across the floor”.
Cardiff Bus admitted that it may have been a little hard on Mr Heale. A spokesman said: “We apologise to Mr Heale for the obvious inconvenience caused. The safety of our passengers is our No 1 priority, which is why the company takes regulations on health and safety very seriously.”...
Says it all really - of course in the this new brave world we all should take the bus rather than own cars so that our journeys can be controlled and monitored...
Sending us back
Half the arable farmland in the east of the country must be converted to grass within six years to avoid huge fines for pollution from the European Court, the Government has been warned.
Researchers have concluded that the land must go back to what it was in the Middle Ages if new EU rules on reducing nitrate pollution in water are not to be breached.
Adas says nitrate in water from farmland must be lower than 26 kgs per hectare to meet the limit and this is "incompatible" with either conventional agriculture (about 50 kgs of nitrate) or organic (about 48 kg).
Prof Sylvester-Bradley believes that EU regulators will eventually have to recognise that it is unrealistic for agriculture not to have an effect on water supplies in heavily populated northern Europe. Peter Kendall, the president of the National Farmers' Union, said: "We want the Government to make sure it gets the agri-environment schemes it has promised up and running and invests in a strong research and development base.
"I believe that we should be looking at smart solutions and not throwing out the baby will the bath water and losing British agriculture."
It is worth remembering that we are talking of very low levels of pollution which are harmless - the time scale is such that the rise in nitrate levels in borehole waters is largely due to the ploughing up of grassland during the last European unpleasantness 60 years ago.
But isn't this just symptomatic of the EU to create a problem, where there is no need for one, which creates huge changes and costs and basically sends us back to the Middle Ages.
Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam
April 17, 2006
No more trees please.
The Adam Smith Institute releases a thought provoking addition to the planning debate. Quite rightly it suggests that there is far too much farmland and it would improve life all round if it had houses on it, but not crammed in as is the present trend, but spread out in true suburban style. But i must take issue with one point, it says:
"monoculture wastelands ugly to look at,...If some of these were converted to sympathetic development consisting mostly of woodland"
Oh Dear! Yet again the latent Tree Worship that flourished in Germany in the 1920s raises it ugly head. The joys of Aryan youth prancing through the Black Forest gave rise to two ugly movements, the more long lasting, and potentially more destructive one, being the Extreme Environmentalists that plague us today. England is a pastoral country, with sweeping open downlands, lush green meadows, wide open moors - all boring monochromatic landscapes to some, but to others sheer beauty. If Mischa Balen, the author, doesn't have time to leave the smoky environs of Tufton Street may I suggest a quick appreciation course of the works of Mark Rothko to give an urban insight into the beauty us country boys see every day.
April 16, 2006
A redhead with a gun - nice photo (Hey Kim?) - but which publication is sending it out as an postcard advert for its photography prize?
Happy Easter from a bright sunny England
The view from my window taken on 16/4/2006 9:18
Home Thoughts, From Abroad
Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge—
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
On the stone in the picture there is engraved:
Contemplate a tangled bank,
clothed with many plants of many kinds,
with birds singing on the bushes,
with various insects flitting about,
with worms crawling through the damp earth:
these elaborately constructed forms
have all been produced by laws
acting around us.
Thus, the war of nature,
from famine and death,
the production of higher animals
There is grandeur in this view of life:
whilst the planet has gone
cycling on according to
the fixed law of gravity,
from so simple a beginning
endless forms most beautiful and
most wonderful have been
and are being
- Charles Darwin
April 14, 2006
What now for Easter Lunch?
A healthy swan which was shot at least nine times in the chest may have been targeted because of concerns over bird flu, wildlife rescuers said.
Bird flu worries! Bollocks - I had the large roasting pan ready, just a bloody poor shot, I suppose it will have to be Lamb again.....
Take a swan and prepare it and put it on to roast until it is all cooked, then make a paste of eggs, as clear as paper, and pour it on the said swan while turning the spit so that the paste cooks on it, and be careful that no wings or thighs be broken, and put the swan's neck as though it were swimming in water, and to keep it in this position, you must put a skewer in its head which will rest between the two wings, passing all other, until it holds the neck firm, and another skewer below the wings, and another between the thighs, and another close to the feet and at each foot three to spread the foot: and when it is well cooked and well gilded with the paste, take out the skewers, except that in the neck, then make a terrace of whole-wheat pastry, which should be thick and strong, and which is one fist thick, made with nice fluting all around, and let it be two feet long, and a foot and a half broad, or a little more, then cook it without boiling, and have it painted green like a grassy meadow, and gild your swan with a skin of silver, except for about two fingers width around the neck, which is not gilded, and the beak and the feet, then have a flying cloak, which should be of crimson sendal on the inside, and emblazon the top of said cloak with whatever arms you wish, and around the swan have banners, the sticks two and a half feet long with banners of sendal, emblazon with whatever arms you wish, and put all in a dish the size and shape of the terrace, and present it to whomever you wish.
That's the way to do it...
APRIL 11--A Drug Enforcement Administration agent who stars in a popular online video that shows him shooting himself in the foot during a weapons demonstration for Florida children is suing over the tape's release, claiming that his career has been crippled and he's become a laughingstock due to the embarrassing clip's distribution.
The shooting occurred moments after Paige told the children that he was the only person in the room professional enough to carry the weapon. ....
British bloggers defeat Tony?
THE Government has backed down over the so-called "dictatorship Bill", which would have allowed ministers to bypass parliamentary scrutiny.
This comes after trenchant criticism from a cross-party group of MPs, peers and senior lawyers, including six Cambridge law professors, who gave warning in a letter to The Times that it would allow the Government to rewrite almost any Act.
The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, which the Government said would help to cut red tape, also provoked a grassroots revolt when nearly 2,000 people signed up to a Save Parliament campaign.
Jim Murphy, the Cabinet Office Minister responsible for the Bill, has now indicated that he will amend the legislation to make clear "beyond doubt" that it will be used only to tackle red tape, known as better regulation.
As noted before the campaign started after : ""Daniel Finkelstein of The Times, and a couple more " journalists wrote about this bill - Daniel Finkelstein was alerted to it by Tim Worstall so kudos to him and the rest of the British Bloggers who kick started the campaign and kept the pressure on.
Foetuses cannot feel pain because it requires mental development that only occurs outside the womb, says a report in the British Medical Journal.
Dr Stuart Derbyshire, of the University of Birmingham, said a baby's actions and relationships with carers enabled it to process the subjectivity of pain. ..
"Pain is something that comes from our experiences and develops due to stimulation and human interaction.
"It involves concepts such as location, feelings of unpleasantness and having the sensation of pain.
"Pain becomes possible because of a psychological development that begins at birth when the baby is separated from the protected atmosphere of the womb and is stimulated into wakeful activity."
Dr Derbyshire said whether or not foetuses felt pain did not affect the abortion debate because it did not change the moral viewpoints of the pro-choice and pro-life lobby, or the legality of terminations.
So as pain is only felt after "human interaction etc" it is still alright to dissect unanaesthetised live dogs to study the blood flow is it? All that howling and squirming can't be reacting to pain can it? Or have we moved on from the medieval period?
April 13, 2006
Happy Dance Time
Who says that just because you are retired you cant play a full, active & useful role in society .... prepare to be made very very happy!
The gang's all here
The Conservative front bench
I don't know about you but if this is the bunch that is meant to impress me consider me underwhelmed so far. With the total lack of opposition and the inability to hit the rotten barn door of a target that the present government presents what hope is there?
Tony is down and isolated, Gordon is wobbly as it unravels and he tries to charm, a skill he doesn't possess, the Labour party in infighting, Europe is a mess, the English question has started to be asked, nd what are the Tories doing? Flying off to see glaciers and enjoying reviewing policies - if they didn't know what they believed what the hell are they doing getting elected.
Spot the missing word
Scientists are perfecting a cheap way to synthesise a highly effective malaria drug.
Artemisinin is currently expensive to manufacture, and so is denied to many in the developing world.
US researchers have created a yeast which can churn out large quantities of a related chemical, which can be easily converted into the drug.
Lots of good news about potential life saving techniques, but somehow the phrase Genetic Modification or "GM" or "GMO" fails to make it into the piece, but then GM is evil but engineering bacteria for drugs is good...
April 12, 2006
Calling for a cultured man
Having given the present Mrs Englishman an Ipod for her birthday I am attempting to learn how to use this new fangled technology - It seems more complicated than the Dansette I normally use to listen to my "platters" on.
Browsing the Itunes Music store I thought i would test it by looking for a copy of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 In A Major Second Movement "Allegretto". (When my lifeless husk is being carried from the church, in hopefully the distant future, I wouldn't mind it being played - though if you have better suggestions of funereal music I would appreciate hearing them).
I note the track length varies from a brisk 7 minutes 27 seconds, which would make the dignified procession more akin to the Hokey-Cokey to a positive glacial 10 minutes 21 seconds which would run the risk of forcing the few mourners to hang about for far too long wasting time which rightfully should be spent gathering at the bar of the King's Arms. I am a man whose knowledge of culture is limited to Yogurt, so which or whose recording should I be storing away?
Save a SUV today
(I recommend the Video for its insight into free choice theory in a post-Keynesian proto-enviroauditor consumer led market.)
End of an era
THE Hunter Rubber Company, maker of the upmarket wellies favoured by Royals and the country set, has called in the administrators, despite soaring sales.
No more Green Wellie Set? I must admit I haven't noticed many people wearing Hunter's recently - it is either cheap black ones or neoprene lined French ones, but then I'm not in Fulham.
A TEACHER, a nurse, his besotted receptionist girlfriend and a veteran activist were the disparate characters behind an animal rights campaign of terror that culminated in the theft of a grandmother's body.
...Unlike her boyfriend, Mayo was not believed to be a driving force in the plot to steal the body of Gladys Hammond, the 82-year-old mother-in-law of the farm’s co-owner, Chris Hall. But rather than being repulsed by the desecration of the grave, Mayo’s admiration for Whitburn deepened — their romantic relationship did not begin until after the theft of the remains in October 2004. Mayo seemed not to realise the ramifications of her actions until Monday’s court appearance; she sobbed on discovering that she faced a six-year sentence.
The three men, who were remanded in custody, are expected to receive jail sentences of about 12 years.
....Ablewhite ran the campaign while teaching in Wolverhampton. He vowed to return to the classroom and teach children about animal rights and veganism before he was remanded in custody last autumn.
I wouldn't piss on them if they were burning to death in the immortal words of Kim; "Rope, Tree, some assembly required".
Fly Tony !
..it emerged that he had spent more than £130,000 of taxpayers' money on a string of family holidays.
In the first detailed breakdown of government air travel, it was revealed that the Prime Minister uses the royal flight up to 60 times a year and regularly commandeers it to fly him to and from his Sedgefield, Co Durham, constituency. He also uses it to go to Labour Party conferences. About half the flights were domestic, ranging from Birmingham to Devon and Scotland.
Sometimes I wish Santa had given me the Rapier Missile set I asked for - I really have been a very good boy....
Needing Beauty Sleep
MARGARET BECKETT, the Cabinet minister responsible for the environment, is one of the most enthusiastic users of the Queen's Flight, regularly summoning its aircraft to collect her from her local airport.
Mrs Beckett, whose department is responsible for reducing carbon emissions and air travel across government, has cost the taxpayer more than £100,000 on 110 flights in three years. Her department has not offset the carbon emissions from the flights.
Other than ministers with an overseas brief and Tony Blair, Mrs Beckett cost the taxpayer more in flights than any other minister.
She has made repeated public statements about the environmental dangers of air travel....
Opposition MPs are furious that RAF aircraft have been ordered to collect the Environment Secretary from her Derby South constituency, so that she does not have to travel to Northolt, where the Royal Flight is based.
A spokeswoman for Mrs Beckett said that the minister was often unable to travel the 100 miles because meetings in Brussels were held too early.
If she bloody got up a bit earlier she could get there - or she could take her sodding caravan and park it up in Brussels. Getting the RAF to fly to pick you up because you want to stay in your bed, unbelievable - I suppose she has no qualms about getting the whole team to wake up early just for her! The woman is bloody disgrace.
Also known as...
April 11, 2006
A short corrective letter has been chosen - my hit rate for letters published is high, I think about 5 out of 6 I have sent in. The one I most proud of was:
I remain yours etc...
Brevity, as always, is the key.
I watched and continut to watch the odds on www.betfair.co.uk to get a quicker more accurate picture than from the BBC - though I haven't put any money on the race - yet...
400 Not out
The Union Jack is 400 years old tomorrow, but 17th-century documents have revealed that Britain could have been saluting a different flag. A manuscript in the National Library of Scotland, drawn up by the commander of Queen Elizabeth's fleet who defeated the Spanish Armada, shows that at least six designs were considered. The Earl of Nottingham, trying to represent the union of England and Scotland, created the designs, above, in 1604. He chose the Union Jack, noting: "This is like man and wife without blemish one to the other."
It seems that the man and wife are heading for a divorce - I doubt the union flag will be flying so much for its 500th birthday.
April 10, 2006
Happy Birthday to me - soon
Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three neat facts, two births and one death in your blog, including the year.
1803 - Napoleonic Wars: The United Kingdom revokes the Treaty of Amiens and declares war on France.
1876 - Wyatt Earp starts work in Dodge City, Kansas under Marshall Larry Deger.
1980 Mount St. Helens eruption: Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington,
1048 - Omar Khayyám, Persian poet
1872 - Lord Bertrand Russell
1692 - Elias Ashmole
Baby, it's cold outside..
For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero). ...
In response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate.
Does something not strike you as odd here? That industrial carbon dioxide is not the primary cause of earth's recent decadal-scale temperature changes doesn't seem at all odd to many thousands of independent scientists. They have long appreciated - ever since the early 1990s, when the global warming bandwagon first started to roll behind the gravy train of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - that such short-term climate fluctuations are chiefly of natural origin. Yet the public appears to be largely convinced otherwise. How is this possible?
DAVID CAMERON is to interrupt his local election campaign in order to go on a fact-finding mission to northern Norway to examine the disappearing polar ice-caps.
The Conservative leader will be travelling by dog sled to the remote research station of Ny-Alesund, accompanied by a BBC film crew, ... to see the glacier retreating because of global warming.
A Tory spokeswoman said that by going on the trip during the run-up to the local elections, Mr Cameron, who told the spring conference on Saturday that he wanted to lead a “green revolution”, was re- affirming his commitment to the environment.
As it has been decided the glacier is "retreating becasue of global warming" already I'm not sure what facts there are left for him to find that he doesn't already know. Though maybe he will discover that real fur is warmer than fake fur. Is there any tired old bandwagon that "Dave" isn't jumping on?
No mention of the elephant in the room
Mr Cameron then decided, having done his bit to give the UKIP the publicity it badly needed, that he would be wise to shut up. He did not refer at all to Europe in his leader's speech in Manchester on Saturday. This omission, however, made his speech sound strangely lopsided, since most of his main themes had a European aspect that he did not mention.
Identity cards arise from European policies, as does the regionalisation to which he is so strongly opposed, while the environment is largely a European competence. Even if he did not wish to discuss the European integration, he should have recognised the European limitations on British policymaking. More than half of all our legislation now comes from Europe. Parliament is the rubber stamp for Brussels.
Yesterday Oliver Letwin further stirred these troubled waters. On the BBC Sunday AM programme, Andrew Marr asked him why there had been no reference to Europe in the leader's speech. Mr Letwin replied that the speech had concentrated on "mainline issues", clearly implying that Europe is not one. If Europe is not a mainline issue, what is?
No doubt the real motive for avoiding discussion of all European policy is that Europe does not fit the desired image of Mr Cameron's party. Euroscepticism could be as embarrassing as a striped polyester bow-tie at a Notting Hill party. To some people, the mention of Europe sounds obsessive or old-fashioned. But Conservative Party policy, while it needs a favourable image, cannot merely be a fashion statement. Europe matters because in wide areas Brussels makes the laws for Britain. Mr Cameron understands that perfectly well. Any policy without a European element is only half a policy, if that.
My lips are sealed
Within a stone's throw of the Palladian splendour of Stourhead House in deepest Wiltshire a tanker rolls up that contains one of the country's best-kept secrets.
So secret, in fact, that The Daily Telegraph was first told it did not exist by Government officials and so sensitive that companies involved have refused to reveal their identity.
The tanker does not, however, contain illicit nuclear or chemical waste but 5,500 gallons of cider destined to fertilise large tracts of land. Other spirits, beer and wine that do not make it on to the fields are used to create feed for pigs.
All this is part of a multi-million pound scheme to recycle vast quantities of smuggled alcohol and tobacco seized by Customs.
I didn't realise it was so secret what goes on down here in Wiltshire. I have been out shooting a couple of times with the men who take in the fags and booze from the customs. Their whole "scrap yard" is an official bonded site, and that includes the "laboratory" in the house where he has to test the Whisky. As well as custom seizures he also destroys small lots from distilleries which aren't worth marketing etc. - as long as they are destroyed at a bonded site no tax is payable. They seem to enjoy their work.
That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart;
A ruse that helped to win a soldier the Victoria Cross during the Second World War was a "war crime" and New Zealand should apologise to the families of the snipers he killed, it was claimed yesterday.
Lt Col Glyn Harper, a professor at the New Zealand army's Military Studies Institute, who co-authored the book, In the Face of the Enemy, said that on one occasion Sgt Hulme donned a German paratrooper's smock, climbed up behind a nest of enemy snipers, and pretended to be part of their group.
"He shot the leader first, and as the other four snipers looked around to see where the shot had come from, Hulme also turned his head as if searching for the shooter," the book says.
"Then he shot and killed two more." He shot the other two as they tried to leave.
"Hulme deserved the VC for his outstanding bravery, but he shouldn't have done what he did in disguising himself."
Other academics have supported the book's claims. Peter Wills, the deputy director of the Centre for Peace Studies at Auckland University, said Sgt Hulme's actions were "unsanctioned murder".
He told the Sunday Star-Times that the New Zealand government should apologise to the families of the Germans he killed.
Can anyone explain to me what use any professor at any Centre for Peace Studies has ever been - or are they just oxygen thieves?
April 9, 2006
The RSPCA at work
The RSPCA has been accused of harassing a police officer after he killed an injured cat with a spade.
A prosecution estimated to have cost a total of £50,000 lasted two years before failing in the High Court.
In April 2004, Pc Bell was called out to an estate in Stoke-on-Trent following reports of youths throwing stones at passing cars.
While there local residents called his attention to a cat which had been run over.
The 36-year-old officer sought advice from his control room and colleagues including a police handler.
He borrowed a spade and with three to four blows killed the cat.
An independent expert witness called to give evidence in the trial said the officer had been in a no-win situation.
"The cat had been squashed to within an inch thick at its lower half," said veterinary surgeon Colin Vogel.
"He did the kindest thing which was to put it out of its misery whereas if he'd just walked away leaving it injured he could have just as easily faced a charge of animal cruelty."
The estimated £50,000 total cost of the case, which includes £12,000 spent by the RSPCA on its own legal costs, will lead to accusations that it has wasted large amounts of voluntary donations and public money.
One has a moral duty to an injured animal which this PC seems to have taken responsibly and done the right thing - what the RSPCA was thinking in hounding him I cannot fathom.
May it's because I'm a Taffy that I love London so....
Breast cancer patients from Wales will be given the cancer drug Herceptin for free at the same hospital where women from Shropshire will have to pay.
The Welsh Assembly Government is funding the drug in full, unlike the Shropshire Primary Care Trust.
It means women from Shropshire would have to pay £47,000 to receive the drug at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
The 544-bed Royal Shrewsbury Hospital provides acute care for people in north Shropshire and mid Wales.
I don't think I need to spell it out why some of the English are getting a tad fed up with the Celtic carve up of this United Kingdom.
You are what you eat.
There is a lot of comment flying around about plans to add Folic Acid to Bread to prevent birth defects - some people object to this compulsory medication, especially as the intake of Folic Acid may cause problems in older people. Nowhere have I seen noted that our flour is already "fortified" by law and that this doesn't have to be noted on the label, and yes it applies to those lovely organic handmilled on the thighs of Dorset virgin brands as well...
By law, white and brown flour is fortified with calcium, iron, thiamin and niacin. Because it is made from the whole wheat grain, wholemeal flour already contains these vitamins and minerals, although white and brown flour contain more calcium because of fortification.
Calcium carbonate (E170) is added to all brown and white flour products in the UK and has been a legal requirement for almost 5 years. This is carried out to ensure that vulnerable groups receive enough calcium in their diet. On average 20% of the UK dietary calcium intake is accounted for via bread and flour products. Other legally required additives in bread include iron and B-Vitamins.
CHIPPENHAM residents will now have to pay for their own black rubbish bags after the district council decided to scrap its freebies.
Five thousand householders whose properties were unsuitable for wheelie bins were regularly supplied with rubbish sacks.
But North Wiltshire District Council has decided to axe the service, saving itself £25,000 a year.
So 52 bags costs the council £5 to supply - a quick look at http://www.polybags.co.uk/index.htm shows that if I was buying in quantity I could get 50 bags for £1.35. A small example of why we pay so much in tax.
A real Tory leader speaks
"The economy has expanded for 17 straight quarters," he said. "And last year the American economy grew at a healthy rate of 3.5pc. That's the fastest rate of any major industrialised economy.
"The tax cuts I signed left $880bn (£505bn) with our nation's workers, small business owners and families. Not everyone in Washington agreed with the decision to let people keep more of their own money.
On the day that Republicans in the House and Senate were finalising the 2003 tax cuts, one Democratic leader said these cuts would 'do nothing to create jobs'. Facts have proven the critics wrong 5.1m times over."
Tory leader David Cameron has come under fire for his refusal to put tax cuts at the top of his domestic agenda. But Mr Bush said the policy was the right one.
"Tax relief has created jobs for the American people. Yet some are now proposing that we raise taxes. These are the same politicians that told us that letting Americans keep more of their own money would be irresponsible.
"They were wrong then and they are wrong now."
April 8, 2006
Well I failed to get fuckthe.eu, screwthe.eu or even sodthe.eu - but I have hopes for buggerthe.eu as it was still available five minutes ago when I ordered it.
EURid- Domain Status
April 7, 2006
Turn out time
Lambs enjoying their first time out in the sun
Dont forget you can adopt one for meat
Image taken on 7/4/2006 14:50
Nearly taken in
1 April 2006
DANGER: BAGGY TROUSERS
Health warning on big breeks*
By Karen Bale
A SENIOR government expert wants big trousers to come with a health warning.
Professor Muir Gray believes shops should attach labels to larger sizes telling overweight shoppers to eat less, exercise more and even visit the doctor. ...
He said there were no plans at the moment to extend the warnings to underpants.
*This isn't an April Fool - it's a government idea
I think if you believe something is a an April fool story and it isn't then you are "fooled", on that basis I was done like a kipper.
Our Brave New World
TWO young sisters were taken away from their biological mother and handed over to her former lesbian partner on the orders of the Court of Appeal yesterday.
Lord Justice Thorpe, who headed the panel of three judges, said in his ruling: “We have moved into a world where norms that seemed safe 20 or more years ago no longer run.” He then posed the question: “Who is the natural parent?” In the past, judges have held that the biological parent is the natural parent, he said. “But in the eyes of the child, the natural parent may be a non-biological parent who, by virtue of long-settled care, has become the child’s psychological parent.”
He said that in this case, the upbringing of the children had been shared, and the sisters would not distinguish between the women on the ground of biological relationship
Strange how important "biological mothers" compared to "psychological parents" are to the whole race industry and yet here the Judge declares the difference irrelevant.
There is hope for the country yet
The president of the Oxford University Boat Club admitted celebrating well but not wisely yesterday as he reflected on a night in the cells and an £80 fine following last Sunday's dramatic victory over Cambridge.
Barney Williams, an oarsman in the winning Dark Blues crew, went on a pub crawl in the city after the triumph in the 152nd University Boat Race
Good chap, not for him a quiet night at home with wife and child drinking isotonic drinks and doing a workout on the rowing machine, no a bloke should get hogwhimperingly drunk after winning the boat race; even Bertie Wooster got fined five guineas on Boat Race night for swiping a policeman's helmet, and he was only a spectator! As long as there a men like this all will be well.
A bit late but here it is
Mazher Mahmood - Google Image Search still isn't showing up many images so as a geasture to support to Guido I signed up to - 'I will publish a picture of Mazher Mahmood a.k.a. the Fake Sheikh' - PledgeBank " What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Support press freedom. Publish and be damned!
I note that there is frantic editing going on on his Wiki entry - Mazher Mahmood - History - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia where I got this image from.
April 6, 2006
Get one fast
The .eu domain name will be open to the public on Friday after four months of registration only for businesses and holders of prior rights.
In the so-called "landrush" period to start on Friday (7 April) anyone living in the EU or any company with an office in one of the 25 member states can register for a .eu domain name on a first-come-first-served basis.
My bids for sodthe.eu and fuckthe.eu are in....
Revolting little people
Where is the big bad wolf?
TONY BLAIR was accused of running scared last night after Labour started its local election campaign by making certain that all five ministers present avoided questions.
No 10 tore up plans for a 12-minute question-and-answer session with the media late on Tuesday amid fears that queries over sleaze and relations with Gordon Brown would dominate proceedings.
It is only the public they are frightened of, the Boy King and his bunch of caring conservatives haven't even attempted to say "Boo" to Tony - if they can't make points and win prizes against a party in such disarray what hope is there for them, attacking the UKIP seems to be the limit of their ambition.
That'll do nicely Sir
British taxpayers face paying an extra £208 million to the European Union after a late-night deal was struck by EU representatives to add billions to the budget compromise agreed by Tony Blair.
Under extraordinary pressure to reach a deal at an EU summit last December, Mr Blair surrendered £7 billion from Britain's EU rebate, without winning any commitment from France to early reform of farm subsidies.
Mr Blair chaired that budget summit, in almost his last act as holder of the rotating presidency of the EU. On Jan 1, that presidency passed to Austria, one of the countries most critical of British attempts to rein in EU spending, as leaders thrashed out a budget deal for the years 2007 to 2013.
True to form, the Austrian presidency this week presided over a closed-door meeting with the European Commission, and selected leaders from the European Parliament, aimed at satisfying MEPs' demands for extra spending. It was agreed to expand the budget by up to £2.68 billion to a new "ceiling" of £579 billion.
Britain's share of that increase comes to an extra £208 million, over and above the £42 billion agreed for the seven-year period.
A billion here and a billion there, soon you are talking about real money - Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam.
Science Reveals 2
Scientists have found that there is such a thing as inherent laziness in the natural world, a discovery that provides new insights into the enduring mystery of why teenagers are such layabouts.
April 5, 2006
What's throbbing between my legs today
Image taken on 5/4/2006 10:8
Stitching us up
Following talks on Tuesday night at Westminster, Mr Blair and Mr Cameron agreed to continue negotiations
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Adam Smith - The Wealth of Nations I.x.c.27 (Part II)
A debt-ridden hospital yesterday reopened an operating theatre that had been closed for 10 months - for the visit of Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary.
The University Hospital of North Staffordshire, which plans to lay off 1,000 staff to tackle overspending of £15.5 million, carried out extra eye operations, drafted in more nurses and made a ward look busier than normal to impress Miss Hewitt.
"All this was so that the hospital could show Miss Hewitt that all was well and that cuts could not affect patient services, which is of course rubbish."
It used to be the Queen who believed the whole world smelt of fresh paint and was full of flowers, politicians used to believe in seeing the real problems of the world and righting them....
"Since pain information is transmitted to the pre-term infant cortex from 25 weeks, there is the potential for pain experience to influence brain development from a very early age as the brain is highly malleable at this stage."
The legal limit for abortion is 24 weeks in the UK.
April 4, 2006
A hero remembered
I am pleased to see this news:
Statue at Fort Benning memorializing Rick Rescorla helps world know a true hero.
For the full story I recommend - http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/000307.html
Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can't you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors' pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!
FOR Tony Blair, it was an off-hand remark allegedly made seven years ago in the company of his aides as he watched Labour underperform in the first Welsh Assembly elections.
But for North Wales Police, a reported prime ministerial gibe about the Welsh has turned into a six-month investigation involving top-level discussions between forces and repeated trips to London for interviews with former colleagues of Mr Blair.
And, despite a recommendation from the Crown Prosecution Service not to proceed, the investigation of the Prime Minister's supposed "race-hate crime" will drag on for at least another month, police say.
Mr Blair is said to have shouted "F***ing Welsh" as he watched the results from the Welsh Assembly on election night in 1999.
I never thought I would come to the defence of Tony but this is plain barking, but then North Wales Police have a bit of a reputation for not being the most sensibly led force - I tried to access their latest performance figures but the file was damaged and unviewable, perhaps the lack of vowels causes a problem.
One day maybe the locals will get fed up of Richard Brunstrom the Chief Constable of North Wales Police - drivers have - as John Stalker former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police said "I regard him as dangerously out of touch with reality."
Doctors for Reform
A group of doctors has urged the main political parties to reconsider the way the NHS is funded.
Politicians should look to move away from an entirely tax-funded system, says Doctors for Reform, a centre-right group set up two years ago.
And a very reasonable arguement they provide in their briefing paper - and it can even be downloaded as a pdf to leave lying around in surgeries...
And roaring out of the mists come the usual suspects to attack what the BBC call this "centre-right" group....
The British Medical Association, which represents 120,000 doctors, said it believed in a health system funded through taxation.
"What is important is that care is provided free at the point of delivery based on clinical need and with equal access for all."
And Nigel Edwards, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, which represents health service managers, said: "If a system is unaffordable through taxation, it is unaffordable through social insurance or whatever other system."
Karen Jennings, head of health at Unision, called the doctors "dangerous mavericks".
"It is totally irresponsible for these doctors to be making these dangerous, off the wall comments about NHS funding without any real evidence base."
And all three parties added they were committed to a tax-funded NHS at the moment.
Tory leader David Cameron ruled out a move to another system in his first major speech on health, while the Liberal Democrats are also committed to a tax-based system.
The government said it was "fully committed" to a tax-funded NHS.
That's it boys, keeping wrenching open the stopcocks to sloosh more and more taxpayer money into the top of the system in the hope a trickle reaches the parts that need it...
April 3, 2006
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
The BBC is collecting memories - admist the memories of NF bootboys and racists coppers causing it this comment stood out..
I was on the front line at Brixton a uniformed policeman,unprotected,just a baton we had been told not to use. We were not used when we should have been,while youths,rubbing their shoulders from aches caused by throwing missiles,walked through us.Policing was politically correct but ineffective just thugs using numbers to hide their criminal intent. Police knew it but we were controlled by wimps.Lions lead by donkeys.Nothing has changed,hence my getting out of the UK for ever.
Carson, Cadiz, Spain
Good race - Great result
...the ITV production team unwisely switched to their microphone in the boat at just the moment when Seb Pearce shouted: “OK, we’re going to f***ing attack them.”
It was shocking. Fancy such an educated fellow using a split infinitive.
But it worked. Cambridge were sunk, almost literally...
As sport it might not work but as a public display of guts, character and sheer determination it is unbeatable.
The cause of that NHS funding crises...
The business leader who convinced Gordon Brown to pour more than £40bn into the NHS has issued a scathing rebuke over the government's failure to deliver genuinely radical improvements to patient care.
In his first open criticism over the handling of the record investment in the health service, Sir Derek Wanless blamed generous increases in pay for doctors and nurses for the financial crisis now facing many hospitals. His attack came as the official responsible for implementing the pay deals prepared to leave the Department of Health, just a month after the departure of its chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp.
Wanless, a former head of NatWest who wrote a groundbreaking health report for Brown in 2002, told The Observer: 'The government decided to pay people a lot more than was in the assumptions made in the report. Like night follows day, the money's not there to be spent on the other things.'
'What they've finished up with now is using all the money - actually, slightly more than all the money - and they're not doing some of the things that were actually crucial: prevention, and productivity of the health services.'
The hint from Wanless that they have used 'slightly more than all the money' appears to confirm fears that virtually all the extra growth money earmarked for the next two years has already been taken up by pay, inflationary pressures and extra pensions provision. The budget will have risen from £46bn in 2002/03 to nearly £90bn next year.
Only a surprise to those who have never heard of "Producer Capture" - which includes most of our leaders; a quick read of the most basic economics text by them might have saved us a little of the waste.
Something is wrong with British public administration. Britons are not used to having their central government so comprehensively trashed. Since the days of Northcote-Trevelyan it was the envy of the world. The integrity of the civil service was taken for granted and the accountability of ministers was the rock on which the constitution was built.
The traditional partnership between ministers and civil servants has collapsed, destroyed by Blair's sofa government and his miasma of agencies, consultancies and private firms. These lack continuity, leadership and accountability. The relationship between Whitehall and such shadowy entities as EDS, KPMG, WS Atkins, Serco and Capita seems immune to scrutiny.
Blair's Legacy will be the way he has thrown his sabot into the cogs of government. Is there any central government department that works better or even as well as before the great Blairite revolution of reorganisation, renaming, reorganising again, outsourcing, hiring more consultants, rebranding and reorganising yet again?
The result of health scares
A FALL in the number of parents allowing their children to have the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine has been blamed for a resurgence of measles that has claimed the life of a 13-year-old boy.
I wonder if young Leo Blair has had his jabs yet or is he still being protected by a crystal pendant? The responsibility for letting health scares flourish should lie heavily on some people - but it won't be theor children dieing and being disabled as a result, that burden falls on the poor.
State funding for parties will guarantee sleaze: look at Europe
By Daniel Hannan
If there is one thing we politicians agree on, it's that the rest of you owe us a living. That's why you should be alarmed that the Labour and Tory leaders are meeting tomorrow to discuss state funding for political parties. People of the same trade seldom meet together, as Adam Smith says, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public....
April 1, 2006
Life before children
Kim posted about the joy of real cars and got me thinking about this little beauty I used to own - OK it was a three speed automatic, but with a V12 6 litre engine, hand built by TWR in Abingdon my XJRS still qualifies I think.
www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/9794.shtml seems not to approve of the engine and I must admit that late at night on the motorway holding her in second until about 90mph and then dropping into third and pressing the loud pedal would punch you back into the seat, piss off absolutely any nearby boy racer and send the fuel gauge into free-fall. But the babyseat wouldn't fit so it was sold...