May 31, 2006
Democracy - cancelled
Sorry folks the rating of posts system is being overwhelmed by bots and spiders so at the request of the hosting company it is going.
Internet spammers - die die die When I get hold of one of you the imaginative use I'm going to make of a large can of Hormel's best, a flue brush, a 24 oz tube of valve grinding paste and a pineapple is going to make you wish you had never even seen a computer, and you certainly won't be sitting down to play with one for a very long time.
Blair - Si monumentum requiris, circumspice
Not a day passes now without further evidence of administrative incompetence emerging from our floundering Government. ...
There have been third-rate administrations before, packed with ministers of little ability or experience: but then the country could count on two factors to safeguard its interests. First, there was a "Rolls-Royce" Civil Service that could take over in times of trouble and ensure the business of government was carried on effectively and responsibly. And second, there was a constitutional understanding that accountability was clear, and the trail ended on the desk of the minister in charge of the department concerned. ...
This country has, in consequence, never been so badly run: and has never had a political elite so derelict, so self-serving, so cynical and so shameless in its management of its own decline.
The idealism of the young
Young people are twice as likely to show respect to someone in a uniform than are the older generation, the survey by G4S Security Services (UK) reveals. While a quarter of 16-to 24-year-olds said they have respect for a person wearing a uniform just 13% of 55-64 years olds agreed.
But what sort of uniform? G4S used to be known as Securicor and is the largest supplier of uniformed jobs-worths in the country. I have a feeling this question isn't about respecting proper people in uniform but instead shows that older people have come to despise all the make believe forces who order us about in car parks and shopping centres.
I tried to buy a bench once in B&Q and the only one left was the display model. which the manager refused to let me buy. So I walked out the entrance - the cashier said - "You can't go out that way". I pointed out to her that I could, and I would, the word she had be looking for was "mustn't". Her reply was a puzzled "eh" and I was then chased across the car park by a security goon who insisted that I went back into the store and left the "proper" way. I asked him what he was accusing me of and how was he going to make me. The fact I wasn't respecting his cheap man-made fibre suit and cardboard hat perplexed him and he eventually moved out the way before I ran over his foot.
Why Prescott is safe.
Mr Blair wants Mr Prescott to remain until he stands down. If Mr Prescott were to go now, it would almost certainly mean a deputy leadership election at the Labour conference this autumn. With several candidates signalling their readiness to enter the ring, Labour would be preoccupied with an election when it needs to be trumpeting its recent policy changes on pensions and education.
The other risk for Mr Blair is that, if there were a deputy contest this year, he could come under pressure to go at the same time and give Labour the chance of a clean start.
Simple really, if he goes it all collapses. And he knows it and is enjoying it - at our expense of course.
Martin McGuinness claimed yesterday that his political opponents were behind allegations that he spied for the British and were waging a dirty tricks campaign to sabotage the restoration of the Northern Ireland assembly.
The reason why he is being exposed as a tout is simple - look at his piggy little eyes and ginger hair atop that weaselly face and it is quite obvious that he would sell his own grandmother for the price of a woodbine. Simply he is untrustworthy. I don't have any evidence I can share in a public place that he makes a canary seem like a Trappist monk, but if he told me my name I would check the tag in my shirt collar. But then if you elect a bunch of lying, murdering criminals it is no surprise if you find them hard to trust.
As we were saying...
BBC NEWS | UK | Trust mulls 'deer hunting' return
Hunts may be a humane way of dealing with sick deer, the NT says
Deer hunting with hounds may be allowed on National Trust sites as the best way to deal with sick and injured animals.
"At the moment it is not easy to isolate them and shoot them, so this may be a way of drawing out the sick deer and despatching them effectively and quickly."
May 30, 2006
Climate Change - all the answers.
We got Dr Myles Allen, a climate expert, to answer any questions you might have about global warming, whether the weather's getting worse, do we really need to recyle etc.
Amber, 13, Shrewsbury: "Is there any way to stop global warming?"
Dr Allen: "Absolutely there is. Essentially all we have to do is stop emitting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. It's that simple. ...
So there are no other possible causes in the equation, never been global warming in the past - or even on Mars then?
Max, 12, Bracknell: "When will we see the effects of global warming in the UK?"
Dr Allen: "Well lots of people remember that hot summer we had in 2003, and we've looked at that and worked out that human influence did play a role in increasing the risk of a summer like that one.
Now lots of people like hot weather in the summer, but don't forget that summer across Europe, killed more than 20,000 people."
And they died either because they couldn't afford the right technology for air conditioning for instance or else they were French and it was August and the doctors are all on holiday. -
Helen, 12, South Shields: "What can I do to help climate change?"
Dr Allen: The main thing that people have to realise is that eventually this problem is going to get solved. It's either our generation that's going to solve it, or Helen's generation, or her children, and every generation that you put off the decision to do something about the problem, it puts up the cost by a factor of a hundred or more.
So that's the choice that really has to be made. So Helen needs to talk to her parents about whether her parents are going to solve the problem cheaply, or leave it for her to solve much more expensively, or, Heaven forbid, for her to put it off to her children and leave them with a very big bill indeed
So piss off now and go and pester your mum and dad - I'm a very important scientist and I have some work to do as I am a "Review Editor for the chapter on predictions of global climate change for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report". What else did you expect with those facile and insulting answers?
Blame Cyril the Squirrel
Grey squirrels and wild cats are wiping out the UK's songbird population, according to a new report.
The charity SongBird Survival wants the government to step in to protect the birds before numbers decline further.
It's estimated that overall some 180m adult songbirds or their eggs and young are killed by mammals every year - mainly by squirrels, cats and rats.
A surprise - The RSPB has been telling us it was due to "Climate Change" or wicked farmers - of course this being CBBC there is no suggestion of what should be done to control these pests...
Agreeing with the wooden top
Sounds like a sensible call - If I recall correctly Hay on Wye is up on the middle of the Welsh border, lovely green countryside but that is because it rains 340 days a year and snows the rest. So Al has got it right, change Hay's climate and it would be a much better place to visit, though there would still be lots of Welsh people there...
You spoil me Mr Ambassador.
WILTON pensioner Elizabeth McIntosh has slammed Salisbury district council for refusing to waive a parking ticket sent to a young woman who was booked while she was helping Mrs McIntosh after she fell down.
Mrs McIntosh, who is 84 and lives in Saddlers Mead, Wilton, is furious that Dominique Sampson has been told by the council she will have to appeal against a parking fine levied on her for stopping her car on the side of North Street, in Wilton, while she rushed to help Mrs McIntosh.
Miss Sampson was told by council officials that they could not waive the charge because there was no "documentary evidence" and that she should appeal to an independent adjudicator.
Of course in Salisbury they don't have traffic wardens, they have "traffic ambassadors" - maybe she should have offered him so Ferrero Roche. I presume that is to make them sound cuddly and welcoming to visitors to the city. That great hero Neil Herron shows where Salisbury was slipping up before - maybe they have this time.
Much as I like Salisbury any city that for many years had the Traitor Ted Heath living with a few yards of a suitable City Gate, and failed to decorate a spike on it with his head has got to be suspect.
May 29, 2006
Time to dig out the old Nugger Hunting Spear
The return of boar hunting as a sport to help the rural economy in Britain is given a boost today after a government consultation.
About 80 per cent of people and countryside organisations have said that they are in favour of wild boar being killed to protect human safety and prevent damage to native plants such as bluebells..
For pig-sticking there are two requisites in addition to the pig—a fast, steady horse, and a good hog spear. The Nugger Hunt spear-head, which is now generally used in India, is shaped somewhat like a myrtle leaf, with long slight curves from point to shank, so that it can be easily withdrawn, as well as easily driven home. A four-edged spear-head is also sometimes used, but as it is difficult to sharpen, it is not much liked. Of course the spear-head is made of the best quality of steel, and its edges ought to be sharp enough to shave with, in case any lunatic should desire to put it to such a use.
The spear shaft is a stout male bamboo about nine feet long, with the butt weighted with lead so as to balance the weight of the spear-head. The veteran pig-sticker is particular to have his bamboo cut at night, and at the time of the new moon; in which case it is his belief that it will not yield to dry-rot. This is a native superstition and perhaps strikes an Englishman, whose sisters make a point to cut their hair only at the change of the moon, as a rather respectable superstition which it can do no harm to adopt.
Armed with this weapon, and well mounted, the pig-sticker rides off, sometimes alone, but usually with a gay company of pig-sticking brother officers, and halts on the border of the jungle while the native beaters drive the inhabitants of the jungle down toward the hunters. The master of the hunt posts the sportsmen here and there in pairs so that each hunter has an especial rival, against whom he is pitted and whom he must, if possible, forestall in spearing the hog. When the line of spearmen is in readiness the beaters advance, usually with shouts and the beating of torn-toms. Presently one of them sounds a horn, and the hunters then know that the game has been started. A little later, and out from the jungle marches the “sounder,” led by the patriarchal boar. When the master of the hunt considers that the game has had a fair start in advance of the hunters, he sounds his bugle, and the horsemen, with poised spears, bear down upon the devoted boar, which bounds away with a speed more worthy of an antelope than a pig.
The one great secret of success in pig-sticking is to ride straight after the pig with all the speed that your horse can muster. The pig must be “blown” within the first two miles, or else he performs the curious respiratory feat known as “getting his second wind,” in which case the chances are that he will outrun the horse, and squeak derision at the baffled hunter.
A BRUTAL SPORT
You who sit at home will naturally condemn it. But again I say, like the drunkard to the parson, try it before you judge.
See how the horse enjoys it, see how the boar himself, mad with rage, rushes wholeheartedly into the scrap, see how you, with your temper thoroughly roused, enjoy the opportunity of wreaking it to the full
Yes, hog-hunting is a brutal sport--and yet I loved it, as I loved also the fine old fellow I fought against. I cannot pretend that I am not inconsistent. But are many of us entirely consistent ? Do what we will and say what we like, although we have a veneer of civilisation, the primitive man's instincts are still not far below the surface. Murder will out. Did we not see it in all its horridness in the War ?
But apparently the Churches recognised the fact; at any rate one does not remember that they made any attempt to stop us killing our fellow-men, our fellow-Christians.
Until we get our education upon a more spiritual foundation instead of being content with mere academical scholarship, more of character training than standard of knowledge, we shell only have the veneer.
May 28, 2006
Welcome to Comrade Brown's World
THE growth in public spending in northern areas of Britain is so rampant that it is resulting in the "sovietisation" of swathes of the country, new figures show.
Gordon Brown, the chancellor, has pushed up national public spending beyond the levels of former communist countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The dependence on the public sector of the north of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has grown so sharply over the past year that many areas are now significantly more reliant on public spending than countries such as Sweden, known for the bloated size of its welfare state.
The new figures, compiled by analysts at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and to be released in a report tomorrow, show that between 2001-02 and 2005-06, public spending grew from 38.9% to 43% of gross domestic product.
The national increase over the past year, from 42% to 43%, disguises the fact that in southern regions dependence on the state has barely risen, while in northern areas it has jumped sharply.
The reliance on the public sector varies between regions, from just 33.4% in London to 71.3% in Northern Ireland. The public spending share in Northern Ireland has risen from 65.2% to its present level in four years; Wales has gone up from 56.3% to 62.4%; the northeast from 56.4% to 61.5%; Scotland from 50% to 54.9% and the northwest from 47.8% to 52.6%.
The “sovietisation” of parts of Britain as a result of Brown’s huge increases in public spending looks even more dramatic when the figures are adjusted for comparison with other countries. On this basis, public spending is equivalent to 76.2% of the size of the Northern Ireland economy this year, 66.2% in Wales, 64.9% in the northeast, 57.7% in Scotland and 56.1% in the northwest.
This compares with 56.1% in high-spending Sweden, 54.1% in France, 51.9% in former communist Hungary, 51.5% in Denmark, 46% in Germany, 42.6% in the Czech Republic, 41.2% in Poland and 36.3% in Slovakia.
May 27, 2006
Thatcher saves us from the World Cup
Among the many blessings that this country has had from Lady T's munificence and benefaction probably few realise that they include saving us from the odious spectacle of our Association Footballers poncing about having won the World Cup. Much as I enjoy seeing our flag being waved I am praying for an early knock out by Burkino Fasso so the bloody boring business will be relegated to the back pages.
- And Thatcher's role - she stopped the free school milk so that poor kids drank Kia-ora and Fanta instead, so their bones are like a cheap Llandidno plaster donkey and break at the first contact with the girly balls they use nowadays.
Her legacy lives on and still we benefit.
I thought I might do some hard number crunching this morning on the latest pension news.
I am just amazed that this huge tax increase has slipped through with no outrage.
So I started by looking at (and getting depressed at)
GAD - Government Actuary's Department life tables.
Simply the government will increase your pension by a small amount if you don't retire for a three extra years, and pay more tax.
But if you don't retire until 68 you don't draw down 3 years of pension which is about 15% of what you would have done - so that is a huge amount added to the pot without the need for extra tax. You also will have paid in for an extra three years, and of course a significant number of you will fall off your perch in those three years. So just by raising the retirement age the public pension pot is increased by about 20% but the government couldn't resist dipping its fingers into our pockets as well.
But all further research is off now as the red mist is coming down as I look at this graphic from The Telegraph of how our lords and masters have looked after themselves in their old age.. I'm off to kick something very hard.
Scotland falling behind
Magnus Linklater attempted to defend his Scotland's economic performance in The Time this week:
Hey, pal, you calling me feeble? - Comment - Times Online
Just as, in 1706, there were signs that the Scottish economy was performing rather better than its English critics maintained, so too in 2006 the gloomy Scotophobic analysis needs to be tempered with a sharp dose of realism.
Taken over the past 40 years, the Scottish economy has grown at an average of about 2.1 per cent, compared with the rest of the UK's figure of 2.5 per cent. This is not great, but it is by no means disastrous
Of course he fails to mention the miracle of compound interest - something which would not have escaped the eagle eyes of an eighteenth Century Scottish banker.
The difference between 2.1% and 2.5% growth over forty years would give a growth index of 229.63 vs. 268.51 - quite a significant difference.
May 26, 2006
Ripped off again
...einem Chablis Premier Cru 2004 (5.99 Euro), einem Premier Cru Champagner (13.99 Euro) und einem Châteauneuf du Pape 2003 (9,.99 Euro) auch ein Grand Cru aus Saint Emilion, der für 7.99 Euro angeboten wird
So why am I having to pay £9.99 for my St Emilion Grand Cru from my local Lidl? Of course great value as our Teutonic Grocers have persuaded some overstocked and overstretched cheese-eating château owner to part with it on the cheap in return for some immediate folding stuff. Real grown up wine with the taste of berries overlain with hints of mud and wet dog-basket.
But still to be paying twice as much as Hans is a bit much - what we need is some sort of Common Market to sort it out.
More gun licences
The number of people in England and Wales holding firearms certificates rose by 3.5 per cent to 122,076 at the end of March, according to Home Office figures. There are 358,352 legally held weapons on the certificates, a 4.7 per cent increase on the previous year. There were 572,397 shotgun certificates.
One to read
THIS SUMMER, as an antidote to all those books rhapsodising about the Tuscan sun, you could dip into The Clumsiest People in Europe: Or, Mrs Mortimer’s Bad-Tempered Guide to the Victorian World, which may qualify as the most intolerant travel guide ever published. Driving over lemons? Mrs Mortimer would rather drive over foreigners. ..
She was even-handed, in a back-handed way: she despised just about everyone and everything.
The Portuguese, as well as being “the clumsiest people in Europe”, are “indolent, just like the Spaniards”. The Welsh are “not very clean”; the Zulus: “A miserable race of people”; the Greeks: “Do not bear their troubles well; when they are unhappy, they scream like babies”; Armenians “live in holes in the ground . . . because they hope the Kurds may not find out where they are.” Buddhists, Hindus, Mohammedans: all received a thrashing from the aggressively Protestant Mrs Mortimer.
Lao-Tzu, the father of Taoism, is dismissed as “an awful liar”. Roman Catholicism comes off little better: “A kind of Christian religion, but a very bad one.” Oddly, however, she professes a soft spot for Nubians: “A fine race . . . of a bright copper colour”.
... Her sweepingly negative generalisations and racial stereotyping seem even more remarkable for the fact that this doughty world traveller didn’t go to the places she described and disparaged.
We owe Mrs Mortimer a debt, for her little book is the shining example of how not to travel in the British manner, a reminder of a way of thinking that has gone forever.
Gone forever? What the hell do you mean man? That sort of right thinking is alive and well here at The Castle - you won't catch me flitting all over the world, nothing fills me with more dread than the thought of going abroad for a holiday. I would rather lick the floor of the Bristol NHS Children's Ward than eat some filthy taverna food; bathe in the municipal cess pit rather then the oil slicked detritus ridden Mediterranean; roll in nettles rather than suffer the Dhobi rash from walking in the Aegean sun, in fact I think sitting watching the rain come down reading Mrs Mortimer excellent tome will beat any experience that involves queueing at one of our god forsaken aerodromes.
The Filthy NHS - wonder of the world (tm).
Standards of cleanliness in hospitals are falling despite Government promises to tackle dirty wards, a survey showed yesterday.
Only 52 per cent of the patients said their ward had been "very clean" last year compared with 56 per cent in 2002.
Less than half - 46 per cent - described lavatories as "very clean" compared with 51 per cent three years before
Deaths from 'dirty hospital bug' double in five years
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
Published: 26 May 2006
The hospital bug Clostridium difficile is causing more than twice as many deaths as it did five years ago, the first official figures show.
Inadequate infection control measures in hospitals and declining levels of cleanliness are believed to be behind the rise. Increased reporting of cases has also contributed.
The Healthcare Commission, the Government's NHS watchdog, warned last December that more than a third of NHS trusts had failed to implement government guidelines aimed at curbing infections of C.difficile.
Today the commission is to publish a survey of hospital patients that suggests standards of cleanliness have fallen.
The first report on deaths linked with C.Difficile published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, show they rose from 975 in 1999 to 2,247 in 2004.
In more than half the cases (55 per cent) C.difficile was identified as the underlying cause of death. In the remainder, it was a "contributory factor".
That is more than twice the number of deaths linked to MRSA, the antibiotic resistant superbug. C.difficile is a bacterium that causes severe diarrhoea and mainly affects elderly patients.
The increase in MRSA infection in NHS hospitals is a growing concern for both doctors and patients.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of bacteria which has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics. MRSA infection has become increasingly difficult to treat, and can lead to death.
The number of cases of MRSA has been rising sharply - from 2,422 in 1997 in England and Wales, to 7,684 in 2003/4 in England alone. Official figures show that about 15% of reported cases result in death.
The following data on hospital infection rates in private hospitals has been collected by the Independent Healthcare Forum. (A full copy of the IHF position paper on MRSA and hospital acquired infection can be downloaded here
And the conclusion is that private hospitals have much lower rates - apart from when they get patients in from NHS hospitals, because they are clean, they use single rooms and they bloody well care.
Happy Retirement - hah
By "saving" in that headline they actually mean "tax" - another 7% (I think) tax on employment - or out of your wages - in return for a Government "promise" that they will look after you in your very old age.
So you will pay more tax, work for longer and some of it will come back to you as a state pension.
I'm not a licenced financial adviser and so can not give advice but if I were it would be don't trust the bastards, invest as much money as you can in your own pension provision which you control and has nothing to do with the government, or do you believe they are so wise and careful with your money that they can look after it better than you can do?
I can prod my pension fund with a stick and check it is still there every morning, and that is the way I like it.
Of course these strictures and advice doesn't apply to certain groups in society who will be feasting at the public pension trough at an age they can still enjoy it...
May 25, 2006
The Great Escape
Werner Schnappauf, the Bavarian Environment Minister, issued a “shoot to kill” order. Dr Schnappauf urged hunters to “put a shotgun in your knapsack and get up there quickly”. He said: “This is now a problem bear. It cannot be allowed to roam freely.”
But fresh tracks suggest that the bear has eluded German hunters and is back in Austria. He would be foolish to linger there, however. Last night the Austrian authorities declared open season on the interloper, licensing 150 hunters to capture him dead or alive.
Make for Switzerland! Steal a motorbike! Just don't crash into the wire this time.....
What a drag
An occupational therapist has been given the right to continue sunbathing naked in her back garden after a court cleared her of indecent exposure.
Lynett Burgess, 55.....
Euuggh! Why is it always the old dried up wrinklies with their dugs like two empty crocodile purses and arses that droop like two half filled hessian potato sacks that want to parade their body? - Pictures though I wouldn't recommend them without a strong restorative drink to hand.
Why can't a brace of Scandinavian twenty year olds want to exercise their rights next door?
Media Studies - from Hero to Zero in a week
A quick Technorati Search: Mark Inglis shows a fascinating example of how a story "turns". Eight days ago Mark Inglis was "a hero and inspiration to all" with his feat of climbing Everest on tin legs. His passing by on the other side of a dying man was just one of those things. Yesterday I blogged on it and basically called him a dispicable shit for doing so - a lot of others have done the same in the last 24 hours and it is now all over the MSM. It will be interesting to watch the story develop further.
Blogosphere posts that contain Mark Inglis per day for the last 30 days.
The next question for the Home Office
As it appears the Home Office does not know the whereabouts of many serious and dangerous foreign criminals released from British prisons, the major concern now is how serious criminals, including paedophiles and sex offenders released from prisons within EU Member States are monitored.
There are no checks at passport control. Many EU countries do not even have a sex offenders register.
There appears to be no requirement to go on the UK Sex Offenders Register and no explanation from the Government as to how many potential paedophiles and serious sex offenders have entered the country perfectly legally under the free movement of people.
How many paedophiles and sex offenders, convicted in their own EU state or another EU Member State, are in this country?
If there are no checks at passport control and no requirement to declare any criminal convictions, how can they be monitored?
How many, if any, are any on the UKs National Sex Offenders' Register?
Neil Herron has sent an open letter to Geoff Hoon and John Reid asking.
I wonder what the reply will be.
And if any reader of another blog would like to copy this please do - I notice after Iain Dale's campaign to raise the profile of the Cheriegate affair its profile was well and truly raised. This issue is of far more importance - but it touches the sacred cow of the EU and so will be buried.
May 24, 2006
The madness of King Tony
....the complete lack of strategy or vision at the top of the Government and their replacement by gimmicks.
Since the local elections (and, I know, many would say, before them, too) there has been nothing but gimmickry from No 10.
We have a Prime Minister who seems to believe that if only he had more power, flexed it more openly and wielded it more ruthlessly, he could get everything he wants. The Prime Minister has gone quite mad.
Go on then, tell us what you really think of him! If it wasn't a tragedy it would be a farce, and guess who is paying for it all..
Today's headlines - any connections?
This glimpse into the private life of the Chancellor and Prime Minister-in-waiting is contained in the latest issue of New Woman magazine. It found that behind the "dour Scotsman image" was "Gordon the affable". On a visit to Downing Street, Helen Johnston, the magazine's editor, found him amiable and relaxed. "Phew, in fact he's charming," she said.
Mr Brown showed her around the flat above No 10 - formerly occupied by successive Prime Ministers
Caption Competition - Blair's Vinegar Strokes
Pixelated to protect the guilty.
"Even Charles Clarke's ears weren't enough to save him"
"Not all Peerages were bought with money"
You can do better...
May 23, 2006
German Jokes part 83
>Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Lost in translation is a long article explaining why German humour is so... german. And it ends with:
Some Germans tell us their jokes ...
Andrea Foss, 46, Schleswig Holstein
"What is romantic?" "I don't know." "When a man strokes a woman tenderly with a feather."
"What is perverse?" "I don't know." "When the chicken is still attached."
Tabea Rudolph, 26, Stuttgart
There are problems in the woods. The animals of the forest are always drunk, so the fox decides to ban alcohol. The following day, the fox spies a rabbit hanging out of a tree, clearly wasted. The fox ticks him off, and carries on his way. But the next day he sees the rabbit drunk again, and gives him a final warning. The next day, the fox does his rounds and there's no sign of the rabbit, but he notices a straw sticking out of a stream. Wondering what it is, the fox scoops it out, only to find a very drunk rabbit on the other end of it. "How many times do I have to tell you that animals of the forest aren't allowed alcohol?" says the Fox. "We fishes don't give a toss what the animals of the forest aren't allowed to do," says the rabbit
Gerhard Bischof, Bad Toelz, 57
A man jumps out of a plane for the first time. At 3,000m he tries to undo his parachute, but the cord fails. At 2,000m he tries to open the emergency chute but that doesn't work either. At 1,000m he bumps into a man wearing blue overalls, carrying a spanner. "Can you repair parachutes?" asks the first man. "'Fraid not," says the other. "I only do boilers."
Wolfgang Voges, 56, from lower Saxon
Three priests hold a meeting to discuss where life begins. The evangelical priest says, "No question about it, life begins when the child is born." "No, no," says the Catholic priest, "it all starts when the sperm meets the egg." "You're both wrong," says the Rabbi. "Life begins when the children have left home and the dog is dead."
Start spread - in' the news, la la lala la, I wan - na be a part _ of it New Labour Sleaze,...
Yesterday I reported on the sick scandal of Cherie Blair and Alastair Campbell signing a copy of the Hutton Report for auction at a Labour Party fundraising dinner last week. Click HERE to read the original post from yesterday. I expressed astonishment that none of the mainstream media had followed up Jonathan Oliver's Mail on Sunday story. .. I'd encourage everyone reading this who has a blog to post something on it...
Happy to help Boss.
From whence cometh my help?
Mark Inglis, the double amputee who conquered Everest last week, yesterday defended his party's decision to carry on to the summit despite coming across a dying British climber.
As his team climbed through the "death zone", the area above 26,000ft where the body begins to shut down, they passed David Sharp, 34, a stricken British climber who later died. His body remains on the mountain.
Mr Inglis, 47, a New Zealander, said: "At 28,000ft it's hard to stay alive yourself. He was in a very poor condition, near death. We talked about [what to do for him] for quite a lot at the time and it was a very hard decision.
"About 40 people passed him that day, and no one else helped him apart from our expedition. Our Sherpas gave him oxygen. He wasn't a member of our expedition, he was a member of another, far less professional one."
There is something very odd about mountaineers - as well as their fingers and toes they also seem to lose part of their humanity - to "pass by on the otherside" a dying man so you can tick off having reached the top of a mountain is plain wrong and I hope will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Even if they couldn't have physically helped him they could have comforted him, to die alone with people passing is a damning testament to those tourists.
Psalms chapter 121
King James Version
1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Come on in and draw up a stool, mine's a pint.
"Country entrepreneurs" are to be trained to give black, Asian, disabled and young people a warmer welcome. The move is part of a £25 million campaign to persuade these groups to visit rural areas after Countryside Agency research suggested that they feared exclusion from close-knit communities.
£25 million! How do I get some of that? It is the old story if you respect the locals then they will welcome you, whoever you are; if you parachute your views and attitudes in then there may be a small hint of frost in the air.
I wonder if there are similar grants to make us country boys welcome in the big cities. Last time I was up in the smoke it cost me a lot of money following that nice ladies advice of how to make myself more comfortable.
I was talking to old Don in the pub about how we only had a few non-whites in the village nowdays and he recalled how there used to be more blacks in the village when he was young, and that they looked lovely in livery. And that he wasn't alone in having a young black boy as his best friend in those far off halcyon days, tickling for trout, stealing apples, all the usual stuff boys used to get up to, in fact it fair broke his heart when they had to sell him....
The old slapper rides again
MADONNA'S world tour began in typically provocative fashion when the pop singer hung from a cross, shouted an obscenity at an image of President Bush, showed video footage that seemed to compare Tony Blair to Adolf Hitler, and writhed around on a device that combined a horse's saddle with a stripper's pole.
As if that were not enough, the singer also wore a crown of thorns,.. and even briefly played the electric guitar. Early reviews of the event on Sunday night were positive, but the show failed to produce the reaction so beloved by Madonna: shock.
I must admit I am surprised - her attempting to play an instrument is quite unexpected, never in the history of entertainment has anyone with such little talent fooled so many people for so long. But the rest of her targets are so boringly obvious, now if instead of putting a crown of thorns on her head she had put a towel on with a fake beard (or she could not have bothered to shave) and made some derogatory remarks about the Religion of Peace then that would have been shocking, and brave...
May 22, 2006
I walked round this morning to see what damage the deer are doing to my new hedges and surprised a deer who had just given birth to two fawns. As the dog chased the mother off I have just been back to check she had returned and they were OK.
The view from Wiltshire
The essential John Brignell on his Number Watch site has an article called Greenflation - More sense there than you will get from the latest BBC Climate Chaos series that the wireless keeps promoting...
FRANCE, Italy and Germany sanctioned the payment of $45 million in deals to free nine hostages abducted in Iraq, according to documents seen by The Times.
All three governments have publicly denied paying ransom money. But according to the documents, held by security officials in Baghdad who have played a crucial role in hostage negotiations, sums from $2.5 million to $10 million per person have been paid over the past 21 months. Among those said to have received cash ransoms was the gang responsible for seizing British hostages..
Lily livered bastards the lot of them, how many times does it have to be said that paying kidnappers is a stupid, bad and dangerous idea.
Back at the end of September 1985 four Soviet diplomats were kidnapped in the Lebanon - one was killed but the others were released unharmed after the Spetznatz turned up in the mountain villages that the kidnappers came from and started wreaking biblical revenge. No more Soviets were kidnapped.
Stop planning, start managing
Hundreds of prisoners, including murderers, rapists and robbers, have absconded from open prisons in a further embarrassment for a Government reeling from a series of Home Office blunders.
Prison Service figures show that offenders have been escaping from Leyhill Open Prison, Glos, at the rate of almost two a week for three years.
It is one of 13 open prisons in England. The Home Office last night refused to give absconding rates for the others, but did not suggest they would be any less serious.
Robbery and burglary offenders were the main absconders. But 22 murderers and seven rapists have fled Leyhill since 1999.
The Home Office suffered another bad weekend after admitting that hundreds of people had wrongly been labelled as criminals - pornographers, thieves and violent robbers - because of errors by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
The disclosure that more than 2,700 people were affected came as ministers and officials continued to grapple with the fall-out from the foreign prisoners fiasco.
The Home Office described the errors as "regrettable" but refused to apologise.
It said the problem arose from checks carried out by the CRB on people applying for jobs in positions of trust with young people and vulnerable adults. In a "tiny proportion" of cases, there had been "mismatches".
A spokesman said: "We make no apology for erring on the side of caution. We are talking about the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
"This is not about the CRB making 'mistakes':
No apologies? If I had been wrongly labelled as a Nonce to a local school and failed to get a job I would be down to m'learned friends first thing and enquiring about suing the arse of someone.
It is amazing what the media discovers once it starts to actually look at a government department instead of just regurgitating press releases. And the deepening fiasco shows what happens when the people running an enterprise are always planning changes, new initiatives, and reorganisations rather than the more boring task of actually managing the bloody thing - a curse that doesn't only affect the Home Office, or even government but many private firms as well.
May 21, 2006
Damning opinion on Snake-oil Tony
BRITAIN’S sleaze watchdog has launched a personal attack on Tony Blair for failing to uphold standards in public life after a succession of scandals.
Sir Alistair Graham, appointed by the prime minister to oversee politicians’ behaviour, has criticised Blair for treating standards as a “minor issue, not worthy of serious consideration” and says the prime minister now faces repercussions for failing to give the issue sufficient emphasis. “I think it’s a major error of judgment,” he said this weekend in an interview in The Sunday Times.
....On cronyism, he says: “We have given recommendations as to how the government could address that. They accepted many of our recommendations but they didn’t accept those.”
Overall, he says: “We would have preferred more positive support from the prime minister.
“We suspect he is pretty lukewarm to the work we do, though it is interesting where we suggested changes to improve ethical standards in local government, it [the government] accepted all of those recommendations because it was helpful to it.”
Graham also lambasts the government for failing to tackle electoral fraud. Postal voting has been extended to everyone to encourage higher turnouts. But the government has ignored independent advice that individuals should register to vote rather than households. Critics have suggested that this is because more rigour would hit Labour’s share of the vote.
Graham says: “It might be argued there was a party-political interest. There was a fear that if you increased the integrity of the electoral register, you might put at risk — particularly in inner-city areas — who exactly was on the register. And there might be party advantage in how these matters are dealt with.
“It’s not a very satisfactory situation where the professional body [the electoral commission] is saying one thing and the government is doing something else . . . it undermines trust in our democratic system and anything that does that is very worrying.”
May 20, 2006
If you are caught - just lie.
The five illegal immigrants arrested this week while working as Home Office cleaners had worked there for years, it was alleged last night.
It emerged on Thursday that the five Nigerians had been detained when they first arrived for work at one of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate's (IND) offices in London.
John Reid, the Home Secretary, even boasted that the system deserved "an accolade" for operating efficiently while Downing Street added: "They were caught... the system actually worked." ..
Last night, David Davis, the shadow home secretary, accused the Government of misleading the public. "Yet again we see the Home Office and now the Home Secretary have misled the public over a very serious breach of national and Home Office security."
Dominic Grieve, the shadow attorney general, asked whether in its statements yesterday, the Home Office had simply "said the first thing that comes into their heads for propaganda reasons".
- Legal note - "Any resemblance of government statements to the truth, living or dead is purely coincidental. They are completely the product of their authors' imaginations. All rights reserved. No animals were harmed in the making of this statement."
May 19, 2006
Reid's Rozzer Trouble
Police force mergers in England and Wales will cost up to £600 million to carry out and will 'destroy' Government plans to extend neighbourhood policing, says a confidential paper prepared for chief officers.
The report says that without extra funding the new 'superforces' will fail to achieve their intended purpose - to improve the protection of the public from serious crime. 'It won't even do what it says on the tin', it says.
English police forces have to merged into large regional forces because they are too small to effectively fight terrorism and serious and organised crime. The proposed West Midlands regional police force will cover 5m people.
The Home Secretary's constituency in Scotland is covered by Strathclyde Police. They cover 2.2m people and are planning to split into 6 smaller forces because they can't effectively police 2.2m people.
According to the Home Office, this is too small to fight terrorism and serious and organised crime. By allowing any more than one single regional police force in Scotland covering its population of 5m, the Home Secretary is putting the UK at serious risk of terrorist infiltration from inside Scotland.
Naturally, I have written to the Home Office asking if the Home Secretary will be exercising his right to legislate on devolved matters in Scotland for the safety of the country by forcing them to merge into a single regional police force.
If I was "Dr" Reid I would just blame it on my predecessor and junk the plan - that is the normal management option, and the sensible one in this case - or because it won't affect his constituency or country maybe he doesn't care what happens in the vassal state.
Porridge with lots of cream on top.
COMPENSATION payments to prisoners have doubled in the last year to more than £4 million, while the total legal bill to the Prison Service has reached £20 million a year, The Times has learnt.
One prisoner received £2.8 million compensation after a failed suicide attempt, which is equal to the previous prison service record payout in 2002.
The payment was made in an out-of-court settlement to a prisoner who self-harmed and claimed for miscellaneous injury against the Prison Service. The service estimates that the costs alone of the case will be more than £1 million.
See - that what's happens when nobody listens to me. If the cell had been equipped with a hook in the ceiling and strong length of rope, he wouldn't have botched it and it would have saved us all a lot of money. Penny pinching by the prision authorities must stop, get the cells properly fitted out.
If you haven't got Google Earth you are missing a great deal - they have just updated my local area to better, though not the best, photos.
Yesterday I did a circumnavigation of Tan Hill
The link takes you to a placemark of the hill - described as:
Google has captured the (joint) highest spot in Wiltshire with a sprinkling of snow - this highlights its height above the surroundings. In this ancient landscape with Avebury and Silbury Hill just to the north and Stonehenge a few miles to the south it isn't surprising that the land is full of archaeological details. With the snow and the undisturbed downland you can pick many of these out. There are round and long barrows and the famous Wansdyke and other sundry ditches still awaiting an explanation. This used to be the site of an ancient sheep fair from time immemorial to the 1930s when the introduction of lorries instead of droving made the site impractical. This is a wonderful wild and lonely place to walk.
Bristol Slavery Apology
With local passions running high about the Bristol Slavery Apology question I note that sometime ago The Gray Monk alerted me to why the people of the Bristol area deserve a slavery apology -
The Bristol Channel - Shipping and Pirates
The Bristol Channel towns were once targets for pirates slavers and the dreaded corsairs from Algeria
While Bristol pirates were off plundering Spanish treasure ships, other freebooters were turning the tables by raiding the Bristol Channel.
The feared Algerian corsairs sailed up from the Barbary Coast ( North Africa ) to harass ships and even attack coastal towns. In 1630, for instance, corsairs landed near Weston-super-Mare and carried off men and women from a village.
They joined the 30,000 slaves from Britain, France, Spain and as far north as Iceland, who were used as slave labour in Algeria and Morocco. They got much better treatment, and sometimes freedom and honoured positions, if they agreed to become Muslims...
There is even a book available about it:
Amazon.co.uk: White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and North Africa's One Million European Slaves: Books
So how about an apology from the Arabs?
And of course the dreadful slave trade in Africa went two ways, with probably more slaves going east to Arabia then went west, but they didn't leave descendants who are looking for compensation...
May 18, 2006
Whoops nearly forgot! Postal shoot results.
I promised the results to An English Gentleman's Bulldog Postal Shoot today.
Bit rushed as I've got other things tod o but the winner is this group - this email from a bunch of students made it all worthwhile:
"shot at Bisley on the Melville range last Wednesday by members of the Reading University Pistol and Rifle club. We left the bolts for the .22 target rifles at home so we were forced to shoot with very battered .357 underlevers with open sights. To hit the middle we had to aim off by about a foot as no one could be bothered to work out to reset the sights. Richard Gee is a new member. His entry is his first ever shoot with a real rifle (as opposed to an air rifle).
We shoot at Bisley every Wednesday afternoon during term time."
He might not have quite scored the highest but I think the assembled multitude would vote that Richard and Flic (the highest scorer) share the beer tokens - come and get them!
Knees up Mother Brown
It is a day to be joyful, I'm full of love and laughter and goodwill to all. For it is my Birthday!
Forty five years ago, within the sound of Bow Bells, I arrived on this day.
I'll be back here tomorrow, sore head permitting; though I'm not going uncork any of my remaining 1961 Clarets as in a burst of optimism I will risk holding on to them for another five years.
The religion of Peace and Tolerance (tm)
A SENIOR judge died yesterday after a lawyer opened fire in Turkey's highest administrative court. He was apparently protesting against a ruling on the Muslim headscarf, which is barred from many places in the secular country.
The attacker chanted, "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest) and Islamist slogans as he sprayed bullets across the courtroom, wounding five of the six people present before he was arrested by police guards.
Maybe it wasn't just headscarf ban, the attacker probably did it because he was forced to by the racist Zionist occupation of Palestine, the illegal war in Iraq and Evil Bush. In fact it is probably all our fault.
No papers needed
The Home Office faced fresh controversy last night after ministers were accused of accidentally repealing the law which makes it an offence to have a forged passport.
In an extraordinary development, it was claimed that Labour's Identity Cards Act had repealed the existing laws before the new laws to replace them come into force.
I would laugh if it wasn't so pathetic, though I am starting to wonder why we bother with passports at all.
When David Roberts, of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), said there was little point hunting individuals who overstayed their visas.
He also said he did not have the "faintest idea" how many illegal immigrants there were in the UK.
But Mr Roberts, who is head of removals at the directorate, said the directorate's resources were better targeted on firms employing illegal workers.
And the revelation that "we also hand out National Insurance numbers without checking up on a person's immigration status."(ibid)
Why bother with any ID?
Unless you are a law abiding citizen of the country when, of course, it is essential that you are branded by the Government as a symbol that they own you.
You're not from around here are you?
Councils in picturesque rural areas such as the South West, north Norfolk and the Lake District would get a veto over houses being bought up as second homes under proposals made by a Government commission yesterday.
They don't want Townies, or even worse Darkies, coming down to their parts exciting the women and stealing the sheep, or the other way around. So in a meaningless geasture they are happy to trash a thousand years of property rights, the most basic underpinning of a free and prosperous society, to gratify their Nimby bigots.
The Birds and the B's
A DOCTOR who campaigned to rid a town of gulls was convicted yesterday of shooting a bird that had deposited an unwelcome addition into his wife's salad.
Brian Boughton, the founder of an anti-seagull action group, had a licence to shoot them, but only if they were a danger to public health.
Boughton said that the birds, which were nesting on the roof of his home in Dartmouth, Devon, were aggressive and spread disease. One had dive-bombed his wife as she ate her lunch, covering her food with droppings.
Boughton was convicted of unlawfully shooting the bird, contravening the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, after a trial before Totnes magistrates.
The court was told that he had shot the bird with an airgun before stringing it up in his garden as a deterrent to other gulls. He was prosecuted by the RSPCA after a complaint from a member of the public.....
Boughton was given a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £400 costs.
Obviously a Doctor's opinion that a bird that shits on your food is a danger to public health is wrong and our world will only be safe if we get rid of gun wielding maniacs and let the wildlife take over.
I used to pop in for lunch at a farmer who kept a parrot flying around the kitchen, I was always a bit wary as the parrot poo on the table looked just like the home made mayonnaise that was liberally put on the salad. Luckily before every visitor was poisoned the bird made a bid for freedom and escaped. But not before it freaked out the Police Firearms officer who was filling out some forms on the kitchen table one day when there was some knocking on the table and a quiet voice saying "Who are you?". He was alone in the kitchen, there was no dog or cat even, but ever so often there was a sharp rapping on the table and this voice. As he was backing out the door thinking up excuses why he had had to rush away Mrs Farmer came in and opened the knife drawer of the table where Polly had been banished for being a nuisance.
(The Headline? - "Boughton is the father of Emma B," Ding Dong!)
May 17, 2006
Tales from the Gun Room two
The other night Mr FM was introducing me to his club and I was being introduced to other members and shown around. Mr FM said, "See that old man asleep in the chair by the fireplace? He is our oldest member and can tell you some hunting stories you'll never forget." So we awoke the old man and asked him to tell us a hunting story.
"Well, I remember back in 1944, we went on a lion hunting expedition in Africa. We were on foot and hunted for three days without seeing a thing. On the fourth day, I was so tired I had to rest my feet. I found
a fallen tree, so I laid my gun down, propped my head on the tree, and fell asleep. I don't know how long I was asleep when I was awakened by a noise in the bushes. I was reaching for my gun when the biggest lion I
ever seen jumped out of the bushes at me like this,
ROOOAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!....... I tell you, I just shit myself."
We looked astonished and Mr FM said, "I don't blame you, I would have shit my pants too if a lion jumped out at me."
The old man shook his head and said, "No, no, not then, just now when I said ROOOAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!"
With the news that Heather and Paul are splitting I hope a bit of luck may fall on an old friend of this blog, and writer of the Dear Hugh letters, Geoff Baker. As I mentioned before he was sacked at Heather's insistance:
"The major problem was that Heather felt Geoff was a bad influence on Paul. She did not agree with the rock'n'roll lifestyle and she knew Geoff was always sneaking off for a spliff. She didn't want Paul to indulge in that sort of lifestyle."
If you believe the press she has a serious problem -
Paul and Heather apart 'after rows over fame' | the Daily Mail
She is angry that he gets so much adulation from fans and is one of the most famous people on the planet, while she feels she should get just as much respect for being a model and campaigner.
Still the radio is saying she can expect to walk away with £150 million...
On this day...in 1943, 1955 and 1993
(As Mr FM seems not to have posted an "On this day" entry today I thought I ought to fill the gap.)
The Royal Air Force - History Section 1943 - Operation CHASTISE...
And the film of it - "The Dam Busters" premiered on 16th/17th May 1955
And in 1993 I nearly got banned from the quiz league by posing the question "Whose Nigger died 50 years ago tonight?" (Scarlett O'Hara was the most popular, though wrong, answer!)
All together now - DA DADA DA DA DA DA-DA DA DADA DA DA DAH DADA........
Crime in rural England
Yesterday there were two hefty RSJs here stopping the chav scum driving into my field
One was stolen last night
Is it worth bothering to ring the police?
I think I will have more luck with my trusty hound who has found the getaway tracks
Image taken on 17/5/2006 10:38
Image taken on 17/5/2006 10:39
Choose your Doctor carefully
PATIENTS who are forced to wait longer than doctors would advise for NHS treatment can travel abroad for care and reclaim the cost after a landmark court ruling.
The European Court of Justice said yesterday that the NHS must refund the cost of foreign care if patients endure "undue delays" for surgery in Britain
Leaving aside how the envy of the world and "quite superb" NHS with is zillions of punds of taxpayer's money and quadrillions of staff can be out performed by a shoulder-shrugging Gaulouis-smoking beret-wearing onion seller working out of the back of a Cafe the important lesson to be learnt is to get your doctor on your side. When "Despite having arthritis and being in constant pain, (you are) told that (you) would have to wait for a year for a “routine” operation at (your) local hospital in Bedford." go back to you GP and get a "Clinical Opinion" that this is unreasonable - what inducements you choose is up to you, he might actually do it because he is a decent chap - and then book yourself a flight to somewhere warm and the beds are available.
Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans
Unlike Basil Fawlty, his alter ego, the actor is a keen Germanophile and is playing a prominent role in three projects designed to encourage a World Cup free from xenophobia and bigotry.
These include sponsoring a children’s essay-writing competition called “But Don’t Mention the War”, contributing a matching World Cup anthem and starring in a comedy football film for German television.
The song, which is available from iTunes, tackles more delicate territory than England’s official World Cup ditty, World at Your Feet by Embrace. It calls on football fans to concentrate on the game and abandon outdated prejudices, even if the Germans “bombed our chipshop 60 years ago”.
Meanwhile in news from Liverpool:
OK I won't mention it again; though you did start it... As dear, dear Noel Coward wrote in 1943 "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans " .
Lyrics below if you want to sing along this summer:
We must be kind
And with an open mind
We must endeavour to find
A way -
To let the Germans know that when the war is over
They are not the ones who'll have to pay.
We must be sweet
And tactful and discreet
And when they've suffered defeat
We mustn't let
Them feel upset
Or ever get
The feeling that we're cross with them or hate them,
Our future policy must be to reinstate them.
Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
When our victory is ultimately won,
It was just those nasty Nazis who persuaded them to fight
And their Beethoven and Bach are really far worse than their bite
Let's be meek to them-
And turn the other cheek to them
And try to bring out their latent sense of fun.
Let's give them full air parity
And treat the rats with charity,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.
We must be just
And win their love and trust
And in addition we must
And ask the conquered lands to join our hands to aid them.
That would be a wonderful surprise.
For many years-
They've been in floods of tears
Because the poor little dears
Have been so wronged and only longed
To cheat the world,
Deplete the world
The world to blazes.
This is the moment when we ought to sing their praises.
Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
When we've definately got them on the run
Let us treat them very kindly as we would a valued friend
We might send them out some Bishops as a form of lease and lend,
Let's be sweet to them
And day by day repeat to them
That 'sterilization' simply isn't done.
Let's help the dirty swine again
To occupy the Rhine again,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.
Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
When the age of peace and plenty has begun.
We must send them steel and oil and coal and everything they need
For their peaceable intentions can be always guaranteed.
Let's employ with them a sort of 'strength through joy' with them,
They're better than us at honest manly fun.
Let's let them feel they're swell again and bomb us all to hell again,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.
Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
For you can't deprive a gangster of his gun
Though they've been a little naughty to the Czechs and Poles and Dutch
But I don't suppose those countries really minded very much
Let's be free with them and share the B.B.C. with them.
We mustn't prevent them basking in the sun.
Let's soften their defeat again - and build their bloody fleet again,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.
Careful how you go down Bristol way
You may remember the small row over how Avon and Somerset Police were choosing new recruits - on diversity grounds rather than on suitability :
The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, accused Avon and Somerset of positive discrimination in a recent recruitment drive. It claimed that the force turned down some strong candidates on grounds of race or gender.The force confirmed the majority of the rejected applications were white males.
Paul Hazel, Avon and Somerset's head of personnel and training, said: "The majority of those deselected were white men because the force's workforce is over-represented by white men."
While the Rozzers have been fussing over their quotas the scrotes have been making free...
Four out of five crimes committed in the Bristol area remain unsolved, according to figures released by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
Chief Constable Colin Port said he was pleased the force had improved its detection rate which a year ago was the worst outside London
At a 23% detection rate I wouldn't use the word pleased....
May 16, 2006
Let the people speak!
I have just installed a nifty little plugin:
Movable Circus - RateIt
You can now tell me which posts you like with a single click - please do as I crave public approval. Of course if I don't like the way this democracy thingy works this site will revert to a more suitable system, purely for your own good you understand!
A lack of British values
Harris Bokhari, from the Muslim Association of Britain, told the BBC's Five Live it was a "knee-jerk reaction" because teaching British values in schools would not have prevented the London bombings.
"What was the reason why these people actually committed these disgusting acts?
"And unfortunately it was our foreign policy, it was the issue of the illegal war, the illegal occupation of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the continuing abuses of the Palestinian people, the illegal occupation of Palestine by the Israeli state."
And quite how is blowing up commuters in London meant to stop the occupation of Palestine? Maybe a "British Value" that could be taught is that this sort of behaviour is simply wrong and inexcusable, or should we teach the modern British Value that if you terrorise enough the government will give in and greet the terrorist leaders as statesmen....
The unasked question
It emerged at the end of last year that the identities of up to 13,000 civil servants from the Department for Work and Pensions had been stolen and used in tax credit fraud. However, there are concerns that this may be only a small part of a much wider problem, according to Richard Bacon, a Conservative MP on the public accounts committee.
He has written to Sir John Bourn, the head of the NAO, urging him to investigate the scale of identity theft at both the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Customs and Revenue.
"Obviously, 99.9 per cent of civil servants will be honest but it only takes a tiny minority to be working with criminals and passing on details for there to be a very significant problem," he said.
And how does this shattering revelation that among the millions of Gordon's Turkey Army there might be one or two who are as bent as a nine bob note impact the security reassurances of the ID Card?
The Teaching of Britishness
The Government's latest answer to Muslim disaffection is to teach core British values in schools. We know what those values will be: toleration, respect, freedom, consideration - the virtues of the "open society", detached from the religious absolutes that Muslims seem, on the whole, to prefer.
I cast my mind back to the way in which Britishness was taught to me by family, school, church and town. Those British values, as I recall, were seldom mentioned, and never taught. Britishness was a state of mind, imparted like the sense of family, as a collective "we". It was a matter of belonging, of being at home, of thinking by habit in the first person plural.
Our lessons were shaped accordingly. History was our history. It recounted battles that we had fought or lost; it dwelt on our achievements and our shortcomings (though the latter were strictly rationed). Literature was our literature, and all our lessons and activities were marked by the same proprietary feeling: we were being brought up as British, by authority figures infused with a love of the country that we shared.
It is not only Muslims who have problems with that kind of education. Labour, too, has never accepted it. Celtic bias and class resentment have made the party uncomfortable with our traditional forms of patriotic sentiment.
It is suspicious of national loyalty, and is looking for a set of "values" that will make no reference to a country or the people who inhabit it. It cannot stomach the island history of our ancestors, sneers at English institutions....It has been conciliatory towards Welsh and Scottish nationalism, not because they are nationalisms, but because they are not English....
You can be fairly sure that, within a few years, the ideals of toleration, fair-mindedness and the rest will be turned into anti-patriotic weapons. This will happen by an invisible hand, as teachers, many of them every bit as disaffected as their Muslim pupils, look for ways in which the British people have fallen short of the values preached in their name.
In studying freedom, much time will be spent on the British participation in the slave trade, but very little on our heroic attempt to abolish it. Under the heading of toleration, much attention will be paid to the religious persecutions of Reformation England, but little or no attention to the great blemish on the face of Islam, which is the punishment by death of apostasy.
"Fair-mindedness" will not be taught through the long history of the English common law, or through those edifying stories of self-abnegation that taught our ancestors to "play up and play the game". It will be taught through the great injustices of imperial government, from the massacre at Amritsar to the Zulu war.
It is not inevitable that this will happen. But it is very likely. For "British values", as understood by the Government, are really Enlightenment values, with no intrinsic connection to the history, loyalty and shared experience that define our country. They can be used as easily to undermine national sentiment as to uphold it.
And when the inspectors come round to tick the boxes, they will give a higher score to the teacher who covers all the stated "values" while also teaching his pupils to "think for themselves": in other words, to reject the very idea of Britishness as an offence to the Enlightenment values that they have learnt to discuss in class, though not necessarily to exemplify in their lives.
There is a fallacy at the heart of the Government's thinking, which is to think that, if children lack some vital accomplishment, then we must teach it in school. The Government conceives of values as a kind of knowledge, to be put up on the blackboard and discussed by the class.
But values are matters of practice, not of theory. They are not so much taught as imparted. You learn them by immersion, by joining with your contemporaries in team spirit, competition, and adventure - in short, by fashioning an "I" out of the collective "we". That is how I became both English and British: because I was immersed in them and they were part of me.
Our mystery solved
In July 2004 I posted about a fax I had sent:
:An Englishman's Castle: They Work For You
Dear Rt Hon Michael Ancram QC,
Late at night perusing the excellent www.theyworkforyou.com I notice on your register of interests that several of your trips have been financially supported by Flying Lion Ltd. I just wondered who they are, as the only information that is thrown up on a web search is, via a far right web site, which quotes them as "(A)company (that)owns one Dassault Falcon 900EX (registration VP-BMS) registered in Bermuda at the following address:
FLYING LION LIMITED
41 CEDAR AVENUE
HAMILTON HM 12
Being curious I wonder why such a small airline is prepared to fly you, and apparently no other MPs to ;
Kabul and Baghdad, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and Afghanistan, Georgia and Turkey.
I am making this enquiry public on my website www.anenglishmanscastle.com and unless you request otherwise I will make the reply public. I hope that is OK.
He never replied, or to a follow up one and I gave up as he was helpful about another matter. But The Times has finally caught up and solved the mystery.
FOUR senior Conservative MPs have declared more than £50,000 of free travel from an offshore company after an investigation by The Times.
Michael Ancram, the former deputy leader, Richard Spring, the party vice-chairman, and the Shadow ministers Caroline Spelman and Mark Simmonds flew across four continents from 2002 to 2004.
Mr Ancram's flights and hospitality amounted to £33,000 in gifts from an aviation company based in the Atlantic tax haven of Bermuda. The MP has told the Electoral Commission that the business is owned by Lord Ashcroft, the former party treasurer.
May 15, 2006
James Cowan's father began work aged 14. He died after spending almost half a century underground. In return, his family have been offered only £7.13 in compensation
...the law firm that handled their claim has earned £41 million.
In total 293,000 claimants have received money under the scheme, which was set up after the courts ordered British Coal to pay compensation to miners with respiratory disease caused by the inhalation of coal dust.
New parliamentary figures show that more than half of them — 166,000 — have received below £2,000, less than the scheme allows in legal fees for each claim that is handled.
More than 58,000 miners were paid less than £1,000, of whom almost 4,000 banked a cheque for less than £100.
Dealing with the claims of the 3,949 miners who each received less than £100 cost the taxpayer £15.3 million, of which less than £400,000 went to the claimants. Thirteen law firms have been paid more than £10 million each for their work.
BEVIS O miserable age! virtue is not regarded in handicrafts-men.
HOLLAND The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons.
BEVIS Nay, more, the king's council are no good workmen.
BEVIS Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity's throat cut like a calf.
DICK The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
We thus have one of the purest forms of producer capture in Whitehall.
The old saw about generals gearing up to fight the last war is an almost perfect description of current procurement policy. The Navy is good at defending the Atlantic sea-lanes from Soviet submarines.
The RAF, now hugging itself with glee over the preposterous Euro-fighter, is ready to beat off a massed assault by MiGs.
The Nato command structure, to say nothing of the EU's growing military role, more or less guarantees that our strategic thinking remains Euro-centric...
Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs by Lewis Page has been recommended here before, and also by Mr FM. It is essential reading for anyone who wants an insight into the MOD as the Telegraph leader above says. I think it is also behind Tim Collins reasoned opinion that It's time to abolish the RAF. Which is of course getting a lot of old boys spluttering in the Telegraph: Air Commodore Eric Wright CBE DFC DFM, who flew Hurricanes with 605 Squadron in the Battle of Britain. "If we didn't have the RAF in the 1940s we would all be saying 'Heil Hitler' now," he said.
Unfortunately we are unlikely to be attacking Europe in the near future and it is time to look again at the RAF's purpose amongst other reviews, but not to save money but to ensure we are prepared for the next war, not the last one, or the one before that.
May 14, 2006
Childcare at The Castle
I was left in charge of the children this afternoon This is the youngest Englishette helping to clean the chimney Will she fit up it?
Image taken on 14/5/2006 15:25
May 13, 2006
Something to do this weekend
I don't know much about garden design but I agree with the dictum laid down by one of the Rothschilds - "However small your garden is you should have at least quarter of an acre of native woodland in it". Even if you aren't lucky enough to be able to follow that advice this is the weekend where you should follow Benjamin Disraeli's example. Every year on this weekend he went back to his beloved Chilterns and took some time out to lie down under some beech trees and marvel at the freshest, brightest green of their newly minted leaves.
May 12, 2006
The Tale of The Dented Hoe
Twenty years ago my father looked out of the kitchen window early one morning and spotted a rabbit in the vegetable patch at the far end of the garden. So he got the old BSA .22 down off the rack - in those days they weren't locked up - and opened the window quietly. It was about 25 yards and only the tip of its head was showing. Ping!
It wasn't a rabbit! - it was this old draw hoe, and if you look carefully you can see the dent just above the leaf. As he said he felt a bloody fool for not recognising what it was, but chuffed he hit it.
Sorry I got distracted
Sorry - no time for blogging this morning - I seem to hve lost an hour or two after I went to:
How to hypnotize a man
Not work safe.
Neil Herron: DVLA Data Base and the £50m robbery
Our investigations are uncovering massive flaws in the availability and accessibility of data held by the DVLA.
Anyone can set up a 'parking company' and then access the DVLA data base. Private companies simply make the request at £2.50 a time. Hey presto, nameaddresss and postcode of the registered keeper.
Local authorities and / or their agents however, are not charged for their electronic requests and there is no scrutiny as to whether the request actually relates to an alleged contravention.
JAIL terms of up to two years should be introduced to tackle "widespread" illegal dealing in confidential personal records, a government watchdog will report today.
Hopefully a few "parking company" bosses will face some time playing mummies and daddies with a convicted armed robber...
May 11, 2006
What's up Doc?
GLOSSARY OF YORKSHIRE MEDICAL TERMS
This guide was devised by Dr Lis Rodgers, GP and Chair of the Professional Executive Committee to assist European Doctors coming to work in the South Yorkshire area.
All the words and phrases included in this guide are those which have been used by patients during consultations and have been included to assist doctors who do not speak English as a first language. Whilst these phrases are in common use locally, readers should be aware that some people may find them offensive, however, demand to view the guide has been high, and for this reason it has been posted on the website.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
David Miliband - An Apology
Like Boris has discovered today I can claim that "I am a farmer. Yes, folks, I am a Tibullan agricola." However unlike him I got my subsidy claim form in on time. In previous posts I may have mistakenly given the impression that Defra and David Miliband were suitable subjects for derision and disrespect. I would like to apologise for that erroneous attitude and repent. In fact everytime I see a picture of David Miliband I want to kiss his little rosy cheeks, tickle him under the chin, ruffle his hair and cover him in baby oil. He's lovely.
In other unconnected news my interim Single Farm Payment cheque arrived yesterday; my children can be shod and the wife fed.
The Flying Squad
"We have put tape up, coned the area off and put a notice up warning people.
"The last thing the birds want is to be disturbed by lots of nosy police officers."
Ah, how different it is now in the caring sharing police, birds that lay eggs are now protected; there was a time when only one sort of bird was considered by the boys - "We're The Sweeney son and we haven't had any dinner yet, you've kept us waiting, now unless you want a kicking...Get your trousers on - you're nicked!"
Who was Anthony Rice's Human Rights Lawyers?
A dangerous criminal was released from a life sentence because his human rights were put before protecting the public, an official inquiry said yesterday.
Nine months later Anthony Rice strangled and stabbed Naomi Bryant 15 times.
Rice should never have been allowed out of jail but obtained legal aid to engage a lawyer to argue for his freedom.
The Parole Board - in deciding to let him out - and the Probation Service - which should have closely monitored him in the community - took undue account of his human rights, fearing legal action against them.
Despite some deep Googling I can't find out who his lawyers at the parole hearing were. But if I was looking for a firm that specialised in arguing "human rights" I would go to Matrix Chambers, and one Cherie Booth . If anyone can find the answer I would be most appreciative....
May 10, 2006
Concrete them over - part 5
The biggest rail stoppage since the 1926 general strike could take place next month after a decision by the main rail unions to ballot tens of thousands of workers yesterday.
Quick seize the moment! Close the whole bloody lot down - Face up to the facts:
Road/rail comparisons - Summary findings
Very much against public and political sentiment roads managed to avoid congestion would offer 3 to 4 times the capacity to move freight and people at one quarter the cost of rail while using 20% to 25% less energy and reducing casualty costs suffered by rail passengers by a factor of 2.
The problem with the proposition is that (a) it is so very much against expectation (b) the numbers are so overwhelming as to inspire disbelief rather than belief (c) few people have ever seen a motor road managed to avoid congestion - the UK road network is (with the exception of motorways and some modern single carriageways) a collection of access roads never designed for motor traffic (d) rail is so romantic.
Keyword spam control in Movabletype
Like many bloggers I use Movabletype, I also suffer spam comments. MT controls the vast majority but increasingly I have to pop in an manually control it. The way to add keywords to be junked wasn't clear to me so as a public service here is how I do it.
Main menu of your MT control panel - find the "plugins" section - click on it.
Find the "settings" choice of the Keyword Filter section - go to it.
Copy in a unique word that the spammer uses onto a new line of keywords to junk - I always add "4" after it as this means it is a bad bad word (you can rate badness from the default of 1 to 10)
Save you changes and you will never see that word again in your comments!
Award that woman a rolling pin!
A woman who battered a burglar with a saucepan has been praised by a judge who said that many people would be disappointed that she had not hit him harder.
Laura Partington, 23, reached for the weapon in self-defence when she found a man in her bedroom. Ibrahim El- Hamady, who lived in the flat above Miss Partington's in Gloucester, had just ransacked her jewellery box. She laid into him so enthusiastically that the pan broke. She then went back to the kitchen to fetch another one. After chasing the 20-year-old burglar from her flat, she knocked him off his bicycle and dragged him in front of a closed-circuit television camera, where she held him until police arrived.
Good for her, and good for the judge!
You read it here first! Come on wake up Guardian!
Telegraph | News | New farms minister quits after a week
Labour's stewardship of the countryside was branded a "total shambles" yesterday after Tony Blair's new farms minister left after a week in office...
Lady Ashton is understood to have spent the weekend assuming that she was moving from the DCA to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
It was only yesterday that it emerged that Downing Street had double-booked the peer, leaving her with two jobs at two different departments.
Downing Street effectively acknowledged the error yesterday and named a new farms minister in the shape of Lord Rooker
But no one at the Guardian seems to have noticed yet...
Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Wind of change
Wednesday May 10, 2006
...Meanwhile, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the fourth new member of the Defra team, replaces Lord Bach, whose disastrous handling of farm payments could still escalate and severely embarrass government. She, too, is desperately inexperienced about the environment, having spent most of her career working in childcare, health and family support. On the other hand, that could prove to be exactly the experience needed in the new Defra.
May 9, 2006
Whoops - Defra Ministerial mistake!
On Friday it was announced that Baroness Ashton was appointed as the Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food, replacing Lord Bach who was sacked for his role as Minister with oversight for the botched Single Farm Payments. Defra, UK - About Defra - Ministers - Baroness Ashton of Upholland
Looks like someone forgot she still had another job:
Department for Constitutional Affairs - The Department - Ministerial Executive Board - Baroness Ashton of Upholland
So they have had to bring in Lord Rooker instead today.
And they wonder why Defra has a name for incompetence. Though to be fair to Defra it actually only illustrates how chaotic and rushed Tony's panic reshuffle was.
EU ruining another Farmer's business
A UK farmer who builds gallows and has sold them to African countries with poor human rights' records, has been condemned by Amnesty International.
The execution equipment he sells ranges from single gallows, at about £12,000 each, to "Multi-hanging Execution Systems" mounted on lorry trailers, costing about £100,000.
An Amnesty International spokesman said the new European Commission Trade Regulation, which comes into force on 31 July 2006, will make it unlawful to export gallows.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Trade and Industry said the government was pleased that the export of gallows was being made unlawful.
£12,000 for three bits of wood and a length of rope! Haven't they got trees out there?
So the DTI is glad that a successful British exporting company is being forced to close, I wonder if DEFRA and that nice Mr Miliband will help him out with a Rural Enterprise Scheme grant before that scheme closes too?
And the figures are in..
LABOUR'S poll rating has fallen to its lowest level for years amid the turmoil at the top of the party and the bad local election results, a poll for The Times suggests today.
Cut out and keep image here
It is getting harder to keep insisting this is just midterm wobbles. No wonder Gordon is getting desperate, at this rate all he will get is a short poisoned pill of a premiership. I almost feel sorry for him....
The poor old European Commission put a brave face on it, today, but the latest pan-EU opinion poll makes bleak reading for Eurocrats.
Not necessarily because of the headline numbers - which show that only 49 per cent of EU citizens think that membership of the Union is a good thing for their countries....
to me, the main problem was that the poll showed – once again – that large swathes of core Europe, starting with France but also including Germany, are in an irrational funk about globalisation and the threat of competition from abroad.
...The whole poll is worth browsing through, especially the raw data at the back. I like most of all the spontaneous answers that crowd their way into the columns. For example, when the pollsters fanned out and asked people “which two of the following would strengthen your feeling about being a European citizen”, a quarter of the British respondents answered “I do not want to be a European citizen”, which was not on the list.
Now all we need is our "leading" politicians to break the pact that they won't mention Europe and we could start to have a sensible debate - WTF is the point of EU membership?
May 8, 2006
Microsoft Office 2006 is coming!
Pity it doesn't seem to have a spell checker!
The New Misguided Minister for the Environment - getting it wrong - the Cnut!
Oh Dear, this doesn't sound very hopeful. Cnut, "halting climate change", stopping the tide, keeping the flame of Blairism alive, all Cnutian or is it Canutian!
David Miliband on the challenges of his new job:
It is also humbling that Al Gore held his first Senate hearing on climate change 26 years ago, in 1980. His article in the latest issue of Vanity Fair, which I read last weekend before I knew that this was to be my new focus, combines the passion and lucidity that marked out his book Earth in the Balance - the best book I have ever read by a politician. He starts with a really great point. The Chinese symbol for 'crisis' is in fact two symbols - one for danger and the other for opportunity. That is how I see the challenge of halting climate change - locally, nationally and internationally there are opportunities to advance economic and social progress, but there are also huge dangers. We need to use the dangers to motivate us to take up the opportunities.
And if Al Gore is the bestest book ever he
has coloured in read by a politician may I suggest he pops down the Library and finds books by Churchill, Machiavelli or - well why don't you suggest "top books by Politicians"? And no, Jeffery Archer doesn't make the list.
And of course Al got it wrong -
There is a widespread public misperception, particularly among the New Age sector, that the Chinese word for "crisis" is composed of elements that signify "danger" and "opportunity." ...
Now, however, the damage from this kind of pseudo-profundity has reached such gross proportions that I feel obliged, as a responsible Sinologist, to take counteraction....
A whole industry of pundits and therapists has grown up around this one grossly inaccurate formulation....
I'm a farmer - talk to me!
David Miliband on his blog says:
I am hoping to have a chance to get out into rural England to hear from farmers but also rural residents and businesses about the issues they face.
I will try to use the blog to continue the conversation started while I was at ODPM. If you have ideas about how we can best use the blog for this purpose, please let me know.
I have a couple of ideas.. but then he deleted my trackback comparing him to Fotherington-Thomas for saying "Hello trees"...- a gentle tease compared to what Blair, Cameroon and the rest of the grown ups get from me - so maybe he doesn't want to hear them...
UPDATE - and that trackback got deleted within 20 minutes! - they are sharpening up their act - now stop mucking about with his blog and go and sort my SFP out! (Please).
Teflon Tony - Operation Weserübung
Tony Blair will refuse mounting demands for him to name a day for his departure from No 10. He will say at a speedily arranged monthly press conference that he has no intention of allowing his hand to be forced by a group that wants to reverse Labour's reforms and go back to an "Old Labour" agenda....
But his fightback, in which John Reid, the new Home Secretary, played a prominent part, was denounced by supporters of Gordon Brown. ..
Mr Brown, angry at what he regards as a factional reshuffle in which the Prime Minister moved against ministers who were seen as sympathetic to him, ...
You read it here first, first the shoring up of the cabinet with cronies and now the threat to all we hold dear that only Tony can save us from...
Tony will do a quick reshuffle, with the public behind the need for one he can do what he likes. He will present himself as the voice of the common man fighting against the government, lawyers and media - and all will be well again in his own little world - apart from the Gordon problem
Operation Weserübung was the German codename for Nazi Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during World War II and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign. (The term means "Weser Exercise", the Weser being a German river.)
In the early morning of April 9, 1940 - Wesertag ("Weser Day") - Germany invaded Denmark and Norway, ostensibly as a preventive maneuver against a planned (and openly discussed) Franco-British occupation of both these countries; upon arrival envoys of the invading Germans informed both countries' governments that the Wehrmacht had come to "protect the countries' neutrality" against Franco-British aggression.
Stop me and no longer buy one
FOR 60 years the tinny jingle of Greensleeves that announced the arrival of the ice-cream van has been an indelible memory of childhood, but that sound may soon be removed from suburban streets. Health lobbyists have decided that ice-creams are too much of a danger to children's health.
MPs and health officials are planning a series of measures across the country that are already forcing Mr Whippy and his helpers into meltdown.
Under an amendment to the Education and Inspection Bill to be put forward this week,.....
One dietitian told The Times that a ban on ice-cream vans near schools would be a draconian policy that may drive children to buy even less healthy foods at nearby shops.
Catherine Collins, the chief dietitian at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, south London, said: “This is the kind of blanket ban that gives the health lobby a bad name. A healthy diet can factor in a sugary treat such as an ice-cream. It is the frequency of that treat that is an issue. Most choices from an ice-cream van would provide fewer calories and fat compared to a free choice from a newsagent.”
And so the madness continues. Are children allowed to enjoy childhood anymore? Life is for living not just for prolonging! And this is the "horrific" truth of obesity:
BBC NEWS | Health | Obesity 'could cut US life spans'
The obesity epidemic in the US may cut life expectancy, a study says.
Researchers said based on the current obesity levels life spans could fall by between four months and nine months.
A lifetime of boredom and guilt and you may dribble your soup for an extra winter! HL Mencken defined Puritanism as "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." Maybe that should be the new motto of our health fascist leaders.
Barking - Ow- wooooow - or The Advantages of Being Educated
You may notice a little moon phase graphic over on the right - I have been noticing the phases for over twenty years now, and still wear a watch of that age which shows them.
It stems from when I was a lonely young bachelor. My main squeeze S****** was hot but moody and so in the lonely weeks I started seeing S...... . An old college friend, Sxxxxx, staying at my place as he worked on the farm noted that S****** was in phase with the moon and so if I used my brain to think with, for a change, I would be able to predict her behaviour. And it worked; S****** for full and waning moons, S....... for new and waxing! I was like a dog with two dicks! And then S------ turned up as well and she was worth paying attention to; and the other two Ss phases started to coincide and it all became a bit of a mess. But that is another story.....
May 7, 2006
The purpose of www.stengun.dk is to show the effort the Danish Resistance made during the German occupation of Denmark 1940 - 1945. They produced more than 1000 copies of the British submachinegun STENgun. This incredible achievement raised moral standards as well as it met the acute demand for weapons. In Copenhagen were established several illegal weapon factories, and they produced new weapons as well as repaired old ones. They too made caltrops and handgrenades - all at a very high risk.
I'm pleased that they now have an English version of the site - the story is one that is well worth reading and publicising.
May 6, 2006
Old Brown Nose Award of the month
Öpik Reaction To Hain Reappointment
Commenting on Peter Hain’s reappointment as Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland in today’s Government reshuffle, Lembit Öpik, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Wales and Northern Ireland, said:
"Despite my differences with Peter Hain politically, it's never been a question of competence. He has always been highly professional and is clearly in charge of his Welsh brief. The same goes for Northern Ireland where I believe he has shown a good degree of leadership in what I hope will be the closing stages of the peace process.
"At a professional level Tony Blair is right to maintain a good man in two important jobs. At a personal level I'm pleased our working relationship continues at an important time for Wales and Northern Ireland."
Eh? Why would the well known anagram and general media tart Öpik be so lovey about the day-glo oleagenous twat? Limpbiscuit wouldn't be thinking of getting even cosier with nuLabour would he? If he had an ounce of political opposition in his body he would be asking questions about Hain and what Mrs Peter Law alleges....
May 5, 2006
(And will this help me get my Single Farm Payment cheque any quicker?)
Welcome to St Custards..
Fotherington-Thomas ... his questionable tendency to skip around the school saying such things as "hullo clouds, hullo sky".
Or as his new blog at Defra says:
Through the wonder of technology I now have an interim blog up and running.
It is particularly humbling to get the chance to help tackle climate change, an issue for which there are no quick answers, but which we can all play a part in addressing.
Defra is a department whose agenda touches everyone's life - from the cleanliness of our streets and the food on our plates, to the diversity of our wildlife and the future of the planet.
Ah, Bless him! But wait till Molesworth or Grabber pounce on him....
Englishness - the Stats.
From a surprising source - the new boy - David Miliband | Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
I recently read a 'devolution briefing' from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) which showed that in Scotland and Wales in 2003 at least 3 in 5 people said they saw themselves as a mixture of British and Scottish/Welsh. The equivalent figure in England was nearly three quarters (though since 1999 the number saying they are English not British has been at least 17%).
Which seems to say that with 75% vs 60% the English are more conscious of being English than either the Scots or Welsh are of being Scottish or Welsh. A politician with nous would tap into that...
The Scottish Raj in action.
So John Reid a Scottish politician voted in by Scottish voters to a Scottish constituency is given the task of running the the Home Office, which is responsible for internal affairs in England and Wales (but not Scotland).
Need I say more?
Waste Fat News
In a bizarre twist of events, Defra agreed on Wednesday to allow renderers to ignore a ban on burning tallow (waste fat) for energy that had only been brought in two days earlier.
John Prescott remains as deputy prime minister and in his elected role as deputy leader of the Labour Party but is losing his porfolio...
Charles Clarke has been sacked as home secretary in the biggest cabinet reshuffle of Tony Blair's career.
Mark Oaten Campaigning?
(hattip for photo to Mr FM)
25 years ago today
As I walked towards my morning coffee in the St Giles' Cafe in Oxford 25 years ago today I passed a newly painted graffito on the wall of The Lamb and Flag - "Bobby Sands - 1981 Daily Mirror Slimmer of the Year". If only, that might have been something to be proud of and remember. But it is worth remembering that 100,000 people turned up to his funeral to show support for the shitty scumbag, and their wallowing in the misery of being The Most Oppressed People Ever (tm - The Irish) means they share the guilt.
What a pity the leaders didn't starve to death along with their poor stupid footsoldiers.
Bobby Sands died 5th May 1981..
Willie Frazer, director of Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair), said people had to remember why the hunger strikers had been jailed.
His group plans to publish a booklet showing the background of the seven IRA and three INLA prisoners who died.
"There is a lot of romanticism painted about the hunger strikers by republicans," he said.
"The booklet we are producing will show these men in their true light.
"We want to remind people these were not, as republicans like to portray it, freedom fighters who became martyrs. People need to remember what they did before they went to jail."
Teflon Tony rides again
Tony Blair has suffered a poor night in England's local elections as Labour lost 210 councillors.
The main gainers were the Tories, who had their best results since 1992. The Lib Dems failed to make much headway.
Not too bad for Labour, not good enough for the Tories, and disastrous for Ming. Tony will do a quick reshuffle, with the public behind the need for one he can do what he likes. He will present himself as the voice of the common man fighting against the government, lawyers and media - and all will be well again in his own little world - apart from the Gordon problem, but we don't mention that - but as Dorothy says, and Tony believes - Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Bluebirds fly. Birds fly Over The Rainbow. Why then, oh why can't I? If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why cant I?
Calling Mr FM...
An aggressive pheasant is locked in a vicious territorial battle with the farmer who owns the field he lives in.
The brutal bird dives on cattle farmer Ted Cull every time he tries to go into the field at his farm in Winchcome in Gloucestershire.
Pecking and squawking, the bird - nicknamed "My Mate" by Mr Cull - chases the 78-year-old away.
His avian attacks have even drawn blood, leaving the farmer afraid to go near his own field.
A spokesman for the RSPB said the bird's behaviour was likely be a case of the bird being over-protective of his territory.
"The best thing to do is to avoid the bad tempered bird until the danger has passed."
I know it is out of season but it strikes me that there may be an even better way to deal with the problem....
Beckett must go
BBC NEWS | Politics | 'Costly' delays for farm subsidy
Farming subsidy changes were made by the EU last year
The government's delays in implementing a new scheme of European farm payments could end up costing the taxpayer at least £20 million, the Tories say.
Conservative agriculture spokesman Jim Paice said this was unacceptable as the government had been told last year that the system was heading for disaster.
Under EU rules, member countries must have made payments to farmers by the end of June, or face heavy fines.
..Farmers' leaders say the delays and mistakes in the way the system has been implemented in Britain are a "tragedy" and could lead to some bankruptcies.
Mr Paice said that even if Britain manages to pay the subsidies by the end of July, it is still facing a fine of £20m.
Two points - it is only the ENGLISH farmers who are missing their payments not Britain or the UK as the BBC and Conservatives say, but then "England" is nearly a banned word in politics now - the Welsh, Scots and NI farmers have all been paid on time because they were given a different system.
And Beckett should go - now she says:
Responding to criticism that her failings were causing farm businesses to go bankrupt, Mrs Beckett said farmers should not have set a date for receiving their payments.
"No farm business could ever have said with confidence that it would receive its payment before the end of the payment window, which is the end of June," she said.
At the launch of Defra's sustainable strategy for the food industry on Wednesday, she dismissed concerns about farms going bankrupt as a result of late SPS payments.
Compare that with this Defra Press release dated 31st January 2006:
English farmers will start receiving full payments in February under the Single Payment Scheme, Farming Minister Lord Bach confirmed today.
A total of £1.6 billion will be paid directly into farmers' and growers' bank accounts or by payable order, starting at the end of February and with the bulk complete in March. All payments will be well within the window set by EU legislation which runs until 30th June 2006.
Lord Bach said: “I am very pleased to confirm what we said more than a year ago – that full payments will begin in February. I hope this announcement will provide some reassurance to the farming industry.
The Rural Payments Agency will now press ahead to definitively establish entitlements on February 14th. Farmers will be informed of their individual details within two weeks of that date.
Farmers know nothing is certain in life but that sort of announcement gave a "reasonable expectation" of what was going to happen - and it hasn't - I'm still waiting for my entitlements statement and there is no sign of the cash either. I kept my side of the bargain, the Governement hasn't kept its side, and its failure is going to cost not just farmers dear but also the taxpayer.
May 4, 2006
The Phantom Fencer Strikes Again
Looks like a logo for those wanting to fence off Mexico
Image taken on 4/5/2006 15:11
Putting up fences in the hot sun
I wonder if there are any jobs for a fencing expert in Texas?
Image taken on 4/5/2006 10:24
Bring it on
Telegraph | News
Global warming a fact (Headline)
Well it is drizzling here so rather than read this blather I'm off out to finish assembling my Lidl Patio Heater in the hope of drinks on the terrace tonight. I hope it works because it was very cheap for a gas burner, but it is German made and they should know about making this sort of thing, shouldn't they?
May 3, 2006
Tony Blair has sought to brush off suggestions he has "lost control" by telling MPs he plans to toughen the laws on deporting foreign criminals.
Of course he has lost control - though not in the way that is being suggested. The EU controls this and he and Fungus can posture all they like but untill he regains control of our borders he is just another blowhard.
Automatic deportation for EU nationals convicted of criminal offences in the UK are specifically prohibited by EU Directive 2004/38, which states that â€˜Expulsion orders may not be issued by the host Member State as a penalty or legal consequence of a custodial penaltyâ€™. "Article 33 of the directive prevents the automatic removal of those convicted of offences, and whilst it does allow for deportation as a sanction, the blanket use of deportation orders is prohibited by the Directive, which specifically states: 'Justifications that are isolated from the particulars of the case or that rely on considerations of general prevention shall not be accepted'. The Directive entered into force on the 30th April 2006.
....the centre-piece of Clarke's counter-attack was a proposal for legislation that created a "presumption for deportation" in the event of any foreigner committing and imprisonable offence. This, he maintained, would replace the current rules which had no provision for automatic detention, with foreign criminals being merely "considered" for deportation.
But, as we pointed out in our earlier, this is not possible. The UK is bound by both the EU Treaties and law, and by the European Convention on Human Rights, which seriously limit his ability to act.
You are not from around here, are you?
The head of the UK pressure group, The Freedom Association, has criticised plans to introduce finger scanning in Yeovil pubs and clubs.
The move is "the insidious low-level start of general population movement control", said Michael Plumbe.
Biometric scanners were installed in a number of venues in the town recently, with drinkers asked to register and provide a photograph and a finger scan.
Well I won't be going there then, bastards. Of course it is a bit like that in Pewsey, but there they want all twelve fingerprints before they will let you in as a local...
I put this photo up last year on 11th April - the plants this year have only just got past this stage now. As Numberwatch would say "a contribution to the BBC’s valuable exercise in the art of Phenology" when it comes to the climate change debate.
THE BBC'S coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict implicitly favours the Israeli side, a study for the BBC Governors has concluded.
Deaths of Israelis received greater coverage than Palestinian fatalities, while Israelis received more airtime on news and current affairs programmes. The references to "identifiable shortcomings" surprised BBC News executives, who are more used to accusations that their coverage is routinely anti-Israel.
What do you mean, you hadn't noticed that the BBC was part of the great Right Wing Zionist conspiracy?
Someone should tell Stephen Pollard who wrote -
A few days ago Barbara Plett, a BBC Middle East correspondent, broadcast a report about the airlifting of Yassir Arafat to Paris. She informed her listeners: “When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry . . . without warning.”
She went on to talk about Arafat’s “ambivalence towards violence” (an interesting phrase for the man who effectively invented modern-day terrorism) and to castigate Ariel Sharon for having “demonised” the man responsible for a campaign to murder as many Israeli citizens as possible.
For some reason, Ms Plett’s words have prompted a series of news reports. I am at a loss to understand why. There is nothing remotely newsworthy about her having expressed her adoring view of Arafat and her contempt for Israel’s attempts to defend itself from terror. Certainly, her tear-jerking might not convey the impartiality which license-fee payers ought to be able to expect from the BBC, but her sentiments are so straight-down-the-line a representation of the BBC’s bias against Israel that they are in no way newsworthy.
Keeping it in the family
Peter Housden, the permanent secretary in Mr Prescott's department, will also question the Deputy Prime Minister over the claims that Ms Temple was regularly chauffeur-driven from their sexual assignations in government cars. ..
Oh it is one of those full and frank investigations! I hope the ex-teacher Peter Housden has some guts - of course he is still without a gong, but I'm sure that will be rectified soon.
Enough is enough
Engulfed by scandal and fighting to save his job, the ... prime minister made an emotional outburst in parliament yesterday, portraying himself as the victim of a "shameful" smear campaign.
I learnt the inky trade back in the days of lead type and the fiddle of assemblying them with tweezers. There were some sentences that you knew you would use again and they were "left in the set" to be reused. I have a feeling this story about the Frog PM is one of them...
May 2, 2006
A "dirty old man" on who to vote for.
One to contribute to
You can help!
None of the above
It seems a pity we haven't got any elections down in these parts this week - but at least it saves me from having to decide between choosing a lesser evil, ignoring them all, spoiling my paper or dripping the old hypergolic Aerozine 50 into the box.
If you are voting this week how the hell do you choose?
May 1, 2006
Dave Roberts, the head of UK Border Control Operations for the Immigration Service
Tim Worstall: Your Tax Money at Work points us to an article Martin Kelly: The Great Foreign Criminals Fiasco, Continued: Striking One For the Blogosphere which highlights some very strange actions by Dave Roberts - including:
"“While the convicts were happily vanishing, senior managers from the IND were indulging in an exercise worthy of David Brent, deluded manager of The Office. More than 20 attended a “visioning workshop” organised by RSM Robson Rhodes, the management consultants.
They were told to use “images, words and models” to make flip-chart presentations about how to improve the IND. Some drew smiley faces, one a big umbrella. Another drew a picture of some lips and a hand with the caption “Saying what we’ll do; doing what we say”. If only. Dave Roberts, a senior IND official, wrote the slogan “Migration is good for Britain”.
Roberts, who is known as the “eternal flame” apparently because he never goes out, is head of the IND’s removals directorate. His task is to deport people, not let them in.”
So David Roberts, a civil servant who is neither unimportant nor overly important, is reported to have bullied underlings while also expressing an ideological opinion that might directly conflict with the task with which he has been charged and for which he presumably volunteered."
The flipcharts are online and here is his page for your contemplation:
I wonder what he meant by "Withholding information"?
Happy May Day
The working class
Can kiss my arse
I've got the foreman's job at last
I'm out of work
And on the dole
You can stuff the Red Flag
Up your hole.
't Was on a Gibraltar's rock, so fair
I saw a maiden lying there
And as she lay in sweet repose
A puff of wind blew up her clothes
A sailor who was passing by
Tipped his hat and winked his eye
And then he saw to his despair
She had the Red Flag flying there.
To the tune of the White Cockade, an old Jacobite song, but more well known to the tune of 'Tannenbaum'.