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July 31, 2006

Putting the record straight

Having mentioned in passing the allegations in several papers that Ms Sarah Bissett Scott had been another Prescott Mistresss I am happy to put the record straight:

Press Complaints Commission >> News & Features


Ms Sarah Bissett Scott of Hertfordshire complained that articles in several newspapers including the Daily Mail describing an alleged relationship between her and John Prescott were inaccurate in a large number of respects and used misleading terminology. She also said that some articles had misquoted her.


The matter was resolved when the newspaper noted the complainant's position as being: that there was no affair between her and Mr Prescott, that she was never his mistress, and she has neither taken nor been offered any advantage for herself, her professional or political standing nor for her business in this matter; and that reports that she “claimed to have had an affair with Mr Prescott” are untrue. The newspapers agreed to place a warning on their internal databases to the effect that a complaint to the PCC had been made and that details of the complaint could be found in the legal department, managing editor’s office or elsewhere.

So where does this put this report - did the Mirror just make it all up?

JOHN Prescott had a SECOND secret mistress. Former Labour Parliamentary candidate Sarah Bissett-Scott, 57, said she had a two-year fling with Prescott and believed she was just one of a string of torrid affairs.
She has spoken exclusively to the Sunday Mirror and branded the Deputy Prime Minister a hypocrite for presenting himself as happily married.
"I was totally bowled over by him. He did all the running but I loved him and I think he loved me too," she said. "Looking back I was totally foolish and very naive but he is a very charismatic and persuasive man.
"It started at a Labour Party Conference but I want to stress he did all the running. There was a mutual attraction.
"Many women were flirting with him. People find it difficult to believe, but he is very charismatic and attractive.
"I was new to politics and he was so enthusiastic. He might be fat and ugly now, but when I knew him was a very attractive man. Naively I thought his wife lived in the North and he lived in London. I was very stupid. He led me to believe he was leading separate lives from his wife Pauline. But why pick on me? I assume there were many other lovers."....

UPDATE - The Mirror along with the other papers goes along with the PPC resolution so it looks like it was all just made up.

Posted by The Englishman at 2:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Deconstructing schooling

Schools told it's no longer necessary to teach right from wrong - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

SCHOOLS would no longer be required to teach children the difference between right and wrong under plans to revise the core aims of the National Curriculum.
Instead, under a new wording that reflects a world of relative rather than absolute values, teachers would be asked to encourage pupils to develop “secure values and beliefs”.
The draft also purges references to promoting leadership skills and deletes the requirement to teach children about Britain’s cultural heritage.

Whilst the real world has moved on and rejected most of the nonsense that Jacques Derrida and the rest of the French "philosophers" peddled to the drug addled students in the 1970s it is almost touching to see that the Tony Blair generation still clings to their threadbare theories as they rise to the top of the establishment. Of course it is only the children who suffer, but hey, when has the purpose of the DofE been to help children?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

More council rubbish

BBC NEWS | UK | Bid to stop households flytipping

Councils are being told to do more to prevent householders dumping their rubbish illegally.
The government has issued guidelines for councils to stop people flytipping - a problem which costs about £2.5m a month to clear up nationally.
Better collection services and extended opening times at local tips are among suggestions to ease the problem.

What are we actually getting at the moment? Instead of weekly collections, fortnightly; instead of collection of all our rubbish a pedantically controlled 180 litre maximum, and the bin lid must be closed so nothing long either. No longer cheerful binmen who were willing to help now we have rubbish inspectors to check what sort of rubbish we throw away and to give lifestyle advice. No wonder more gets dropped in hedgerows.

And as for getting tough of flytipping - sometime age I reported a dumped engine with some bags of rubbish - to be fair Kennet were happy to pick it up as it added to their weight of recycling which they need to get Government grants - but when I pointed out that in the rubbish there were several letters with someone's name and address on who might know where the rubbish came from I was told as I had looked at it I had interfered and only their professionals should do that and so they wouldn't follow it up...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Prescott mucking fuddle

Prescott faces new inquiry over link with developer - Britain - Times Online

JOHN PRESCOTT came under renewed scrutiny yesterday after it emerged that he had visited the office of a wealthy property developer before giving planning permission for a 」50 million building project.
The Deputy Prime Minister opened the offices of Adenstar Construction, a property company owned by Derek Chapman, in 2002, The Sunday Telegraph reports. In October Mr Prescott overruled the advice of two planning officers to give the go-ahead for Mr Chapman, a director of Brighton and Hove Albion, to build an all-seater stadium for the football club in the village of Falmer, near Lewes, East Sussex.

The disclosure will increase pressure on Mr Prescott to resign. He is due to take charge of the country this week, when Tony Blair goes on holiday, despite continuing controversy over his links to Philip Anschutz, the US billionaire who owns the Dome.
He may also be interviewed by police investigating allegations of corruption.
Permission for the stadium was withdrawn in April this year, however, because Mr Prescott had made a wording error in his approval letter.

As Rawhide said once; "I have to take the blame for that, as that was my education, and I am responsible for it, but I would sooner get the words wrong than get my judgement wrong." I think if you relying on Prescott to get the wording right to get your planning application through you are a trusting soul, in fact I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in buying....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nothing to lose apart from their chains, false teeth and glasses.

To the barricades, old codgers: you're the last bastions of threatened liberty - Comment - Times Online
Traditionally, the challenge to the power of the authorities and “the tyranny of the majority” in democracies has come from professionals, from academics and intellectuals, from the media, and from the young. These countervailing forces have all been seriously weakened.
Where, then, are we to look for the guardians of freedom? This is where the growing cadre of healthy elderly people may be increasingly important. They no longer hope for promotion or preferment. They are not required to bite their tongue or grovel. They have no targets to deliver on, no need to devote themselves to the futile productivity of academe, no asinine mission statements to write or respond to. They are at liberty to think and to say what they like. They can therefore shout out what those who have families to feed and careers to promote — and so must remain on-message at all costs — would not dare mutter in their sleep.
Because they have nothing to lose by speaking the truth; because they may be better able to bear the stigma that results when one casts timidity and calculation to the winds, they are (to use the jargon) a “precious resource” that we can ill afford to overlook.
Elderly mavericks, by the way, should not be expected to squander themselves on the kind of futile, unthreatening rebellious gestures such as “wearing the colour purple” that Jenny Joseph envisaged in her over-anthologised poem.
This is not an argument for a cognitive gerontocracy but a call for this new and growing generation of rentiers to take up the battle to defend the freedoms they have enjoyed but which, if present trends are unopposed, their grandchildren may not.

To the barricades! Oh, my older readers or at least get blogging!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2006

Gun Fair News

The CLA Game Fair - 130,000 country folk enjoying a peaceful day out - lots of guns but not a policeman needed - not a mention on the BBC news website. But they have got room for this...

BBC NEWS | England | London | Protest march against arms fair.

About 60 people have marched through east London in protest at an arms fair to be held at the ExCel Centre in Docklands next year......

(I know which event Jeremy Paxman with his love of fishing would prefer to cover on Newsnight!)

Posted by The Englishman at 8:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lead into temptation

I knew it would be a mistake to go to the Game Fair with Mr FM - look what he forced me to buy.
An old W W Greener GP. This is a single shot 12 bore shotgun with a Martini action. It is based on the Police Gun WW used to produce in odd calibres for the Egyptian Police. I am writing to young Mr Greener to get a date from the serial number but I guess it is a 1930s gun. The action of sliding a shell in is as smooth and sweet as stroking Charlize Theron's thighs covered in Silkolene. But she kicks like hell when you pull the trigger. I will have to put a few more through to get used to the action, and the automatic safety. But it feels lovely, and I can see why they were used as police guns; indestructible, simple, easy to load in the dark or without looking and if I heard that big clunk as the block is dropped back into place I would obey the man.
And the best thing - this old beauty came with a spare barrel, in a full choke, all for £65!



UPDATE - And I have found the instruction manual on the web so it has now been cleaned and given some TLC - Greener GP/EG/Police Gun Disassembly/Instructions

Posted by The Englishman at 2:36 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

The most fun one could have with a dead fish

Town told to drop the dead fish contest - Britain - Times Online

THERE was outrage and sadness in a Dorset fishing town yesterday as locals mourned the death of a cherished tradition, killed off after complaints from animal rights activists.
Since time immemorial, or at least since 1974, the denizens of Lyme Regis have gathered on the harbour to indulge in the traditional sport of the conger: a game of skill and balance involving a dead eel.
In the annual finale to the town’s Lifeboat Week, nine players or “conger cuddlers”, would mount wooden blocks arrayed in a triangular formation. An opposing team of nine would take turns to swing a dead conger, suspended from a rope, and try to knock their opponents from their perches as if they were human skittles, the crowd assisting with carefully aimed buckets of sea water.

It was, by common consent, the most fun one could have with a dead fish.

Teams of firemen, powerboat racers, fishermen — all were preparing to take their chances against the swinging eel in a tournament that raises about £3,000 for the RNLI. This year, however, an anonymous animal rights activist has scuppered the event after writing to the RNLI, complaining that the event was “disrespectful” to dead animals and threatening to film it and use the footage for a nationwide campaign against conger cuddling.

Rob Michael, chairman of the Lyme Regis Lifeboat Guild, was advised by the RNLI to abandon the conger cuddling. “The RNLI is not prepared to be involved in an event that may be seen by some as a barbaric throwback,” he said.

Give me barbaric throwbacks rather than simpering aquiescence to the politically correct anyday. Shame on the RNLI.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

No more heroes anymore

International heroes have become icons at a secondary school in Larkhall.

As part of their end-of-term celebrations, pupils at St Mark's School launched their new house system. Each house is named after a famous figure from history. All pupils took part in a vote earlier in the term to decide on titles for the three houses, and chose Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. The colours red, green and yellow have been selected to represent each grouping.

What no Bob Marley house?

Posted by The Englishman at 8:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 28, 2006

My Dogs like to crack the marrow out of the bones of Jehovah's Winesses

In the doghouse, the pensioner told to remove 'offensive' sign - Britain - Times Online

FOR 32 years it prompted little more than a wry smile. But now a pensioner who has a sign on her garden gate warning Jehovah’s Witnesses that their presence could result in them being eaten by dogs has been ordered to take it down.

Hampshire police received a complaint that the notice outside Jean Grove’s cottage, which reads “Our dogs are fed on Jehovah’s Witnesses”, was “distressing, offensive and inappropriate”. When officers arrived at the house in Bursledon, near Southampton, Mrs Grove was bewildered. She has only a Jack Russell puppy. She told police that the sign had been put up by her late husband Gordon after he became exasperated with visits from the church. The final straw came when they called on Christmas Day in 1974.
Insisting that the sign was simply a lark, Mrs Grove said yesterday that she had never received any complaints about it. But police ordered her to take it down and her details were taken. Once the officers left she hung the sign back up.

I think I will have the headline made up into a sign to hang on my front door, and see what happens..

Posted by The Englishman at 6:16 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Junk thoughts

Telegraph | Money | Floodgates open for junk mail

Junk mail deliveries are set to mushroom after a landmark pay and conditions deal between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union. The agreement sees postmen accepting heavier sacks as the price for better wages....
Junk mail deliveries have until now been limited to three items per house per week but managers wants to expand in this profitable area, which has become the fastestgrowing part of its business.

Last year Royal Mail's unaddressed mail deliveries, branded Door to Door, grew by 12.1pc to 3.3bn items

Isn't there some EU directive that businesses have to take back their old goods? Does this mean that I can get Postie to pick up all the crap he leaves rather than filling my over- regulated Kennet bin?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Papers Please

The Bath Alternative points me to this article from the Bath Chronicle."It sounds like 1945 never happened and that classic wartime film – Went The Day Well? – has actually come to pass."

Devious motorists are thought to be using forged permits to make their way through checkpoints on the closed stretch of the A4.

Devious motorists are thought to be using forged permits to make their way through checkpoints on the closed stretch of the A4.

Security is also being tightened because some drivers travelling between Bath and Bristol through Saltford have been pretending to visit local businesses in order to trick their way through the village's controlled access points.
Yesterday, some motorists and businesses were told by checkpoint staff that as of today, they would have to travel all the way around to Keynsham and come in from that end.

Drivers without permits visiting businesses, friends or relatives will still be able to enter from both the Bath and the Saltford ends, but will be expected to leave the same way they came in unless they have very convincing reasons not to.

They will face stiff questioning by staff at the central checkpoint if they try to pass through.

Maybe they are trying to catch the escaped Worstall...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Getting tooled up

Mr Free Market is looking for a new gun so I'm off to the CLA Gamefair with him today - I will try and persuade him against another plastic camouflaged thingy - proper guns should have lots of old wood and Damascus steel, and the barrels should go across not up and down...

Posted by The Englishman at 5:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 27, 2006

In the land of Canaa

A commentator brings me to book for failing to mention the Levantine war - I plead guilty. I don't think I have insight or anything interesting to say - but that never stops you I hear you say. I think in common with most of us on these islands we just don't really care. If the Jews want to do a bit of vermin clearance, well good for them; but also deep down there is an ancestral distrust of the troublesome settlers in the old British Protectorate.
So let me pass you over to the man in Lycra instead:
Blognor Regis: No to cease fires

And as an aside my main worry is what is happening to the vineyards that supply Serge Hochar with the grapes for the wonderful Chateau Musar wines, if this year's harvest is disrupted then that would be a disaster.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Don't worry , be happy

Be afraid of the happy brigade - Comment - Times Online - Jamie Whyte

RONALD REAGAN claimed that the scariest words in the English language are: “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.” Hyperbole, of course, but we got his point. And anyone who didn’t get it then ought to have got it by now. This Government is not merely incapable of devising policies that will help; it is incapable of even implementing them. Most of its “eye-catching initiatives” are quietly shelved after a few million in consulting fees reveal them as ill-conceived.
You might expect repeated failure by successive governments to have infused the political class with a degree of humility....
Then you have underestimated the chutzpah of politicians. They are like tradesmen who make a mess of your bathroom and then bid for the job of renovating your entire house. David Cameron is a human device for detecting the direction of the political wind. And he now claims that the Government should aim to increase not GDP (gross domestic product) but GWB (general wellbeing), or happiness, as those who do not talk in TLAs (three-letter acronyms) might put it.
“I’m from the Government and I’m here to make you happy.” Now that is scary. ..
To have been born British is to have won first prize in the lottery of life. This is almost as true now as it was when Cecil Rhodes said it. But not because the British are or ever were the happiest people on earth. It is because, unlike those happy Nigerians, we are prosperous and free. Which means we have just about as much happiness as we want.

Jamie Whyte's full article makes a lot of sense - and as he is a New Zealander I just about forgive him for substituting the word British into Cecil Rhodes' quote - it was of course being born an Englishman that is the first prize.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Watching what you eat.

Telegraph | News | Blair ready to use law in drive for a healthier population

Tony Blair is willing to use the law to encourage people to adopt a healthier way of life by curbing junk food advertising and requiring supermarkets to improve labelling.
The Prime Minister said that successful anti-smoking campaigns and the drive to make school meals more healthy had changed his mind on the role of the state.

"A few years back, I would have hesitated long and hard over issues like the smoking ban," he said .

Only because he wasn't sure whether he would win the vote, but he then produced an onion from his pocket and turned to the page labelled "It's for the kiddies (tm)"

"Now, and particularly where children are concerned, I have come to the conclusion we need to be tougher and more active in setting standards and enforcing them."

Hey for a lame duck "tougher" and "more active" are the words I have been told to use about everything in the hope they make me look butch.

Mr Blair said the NHS faced crippling costs unless people took more responsibility for their health.

Oh Good, encourage personal responsibility - or maybe not.

"Ten per cent of NHS resources are used to treat diabetes. By 2010 the estimate is that this could double. That is 20 per cent of the entire resources of the NHS - and it's avoidable. Three quarters of diabetics are Type 2 diabetics and two thirds of them have a disease which could be preventable with exercise, diet and more healthy choices."

A "more robust" approach to health would not mean that the NHS refused to treat people who continued to smoke, even though it spent £1.7 billion treating conditions related to smoking. But health care should not be just about treating the sick; it must be about helping people to live healthier lives.

Oh so not personal responsibility at all, but personalised bullying plans and targets to be drawn up.

Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary said: "In January, David Cameron set out Conservative priorities for health. I am glad that Tony Blair accepts our argument.

No surprise there from the nuTories...

So along with the Boy Miliband's ration cards for carbon expect an electronic record to be kept of the sweeties you buy and a visit from Big Doctor if the national ID register notes you are over limit for Sherbet Lemons in a month.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 26, 2006

The reality of Parking

You can't sink on a yellow line - Newspaper Edition - Times Online has a photo which shows the madness of petty officialdom in action...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Taking responsibility

Old soldier wins first round of fire battle - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

A RETIRED army captain yesterday won the right to sue police who he claims prevented him rescuing heirlooms from his burning home.
Edmund Carlisle, 83, is demanding compensation from Dyfed-Powys Police after the fire destroyed his 16th-century home on the Welsh borders, causing £723,000 of damage. Possessions worth more than £143,000 were also destroyed.
He and his wife, Rosemary, 82, had dialled 999 and began rescuing furniture and paintings after fire broke out in the boiler room at their farm at Llanigon, near Hay-on-Wye, Powys.
When police arrived they ordered the couple out of the house for their own safety. When Captain Carlisle refused he was arrested and put into the back of a police van.

And I hope he wins - at the sight of a fire the emergency services get all over-excited - I have nearly been arrested twice for ignoring their instructions - when a neighbour's thatched house was alight , only one end was burning and stuff was being pulled out, I tried to walk over to help and was blocked on the road (so I walked across the field) and after a fire in Marlborough they insisted in closing a carpark quarter of a mile away from a fire that had been put out the previous night - I let my displeasure be known...)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:32 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Blameing the EU

Telegraph | News | Taxes to rise unless more rubbish is recycled, says watchdog

Tax will have to rise if Britain fails to meet European Union targets for reducing the amount of rubbish sent to landfill in four years' time, says the National Audit Office.
In a report yesterday, the spending watchdog warned that there was "a significant risk" of councils failing to reduce the volume of waste sufficiently to comply with EU law. Such a breach could see Britain fined £180 million a year.

Councils would face fines from the Government of £40 million a year by 2010, rising to £205 million a year by 2013, forcing council tax bills to rise.

No, I don't understand those figures either - but I thought it encouraging the Telegraph putting the blame fairly on the EU for once.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2006

There may be trouble ahead But while there's moonlight and music And love and romance...

VAT fraud drives booming UK exports | The Register

Soaring VAT fraud is significantly inflating the UK's export growth figures. The Ernst & Young ITEM Club Summer forecast, released yesterday, predicts that export growth for 2006 will be more than 15 per cent.
"However, once you allow for Missing Trader VAT fraud (MTIC) the headline figures look much more modest and stand closer to nine per cent," the accountancy firm says.
Although the real growth figure is much better than the last two years, Professor Peter Spencer, chief economic advisor to the ITEM Club, notes: "It appears that the recent revival in UK exports largely reflects the activities of fraudsters rather than genuine business. When seen against the background of the boom in world markets, it's actually very disappointing."

The UK can't trade out of trouble says ITEM

London 24 July 2006: The Ernst & Young ITEM Club Summer forecast, released today, reveals that UK manufacturers’ poor performance is preventing the economy from rebalancing, piling pressure on the already overextended consumer and government sectors.
It shows that over the last decade there has been a considerable improvement in UK manufacturing productivity growth - beyond that of our largest European competitors. However, simultaneously there has been an even larger increase in domestic labour costs, leading to the UK persistently losing export market share in Europe and elsewhere.

It's all going pear shaped for Gordo...

Posted by The Englishman at 2:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Safe in their hands?

Dying woman, 91, 'begged for cup of tea' - Britain - Times Online

A FAMILY who claimed their elderly mother endured a terrifying death after being deliberately starved by a hospital doctor put their case before a coroner yesterday.
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital allegedly decided that Olive Knockels, a former school matron who had suffered a stroke, would have no quality of life if she recovered. ..
In a statement to William Armstrong, the coroner, Mrs West said her mother had begged her for something to eat and drink, or a cup of tea, but the request was refused by a nurse, on the doctor’s orders. Her last days were spent with her false teeth and hearing aid removed from her bedside, in a cold hospital room.

She was admitted on September 14, 2003, after a suspected stroke.After two weeks Dr Maisey allegedly told Mrs West that he was surprised her mother was still alive and said that if the family intervened, he would have them arrested.

Mrs West said that on another visit her mother had looked terrified and had tried, unsuccessfully, to tell her something. Three days later she pleaded with her daughter: “Help. Help me please.”
In a statement, Christopher West said: “I told Dr Maisey: ‘I wouldn’t treat my dog like that’, and he said it was easier for vets because they . . . can put animals to sleep.”

Obviously this is only an allegation in an ongoing case so I can make no judgement - publically....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I'm Tony - Fly me

Telegraph | News | Cost of Blair's foreign trips fly past 」2m mark

Tony Blair came under fire yesterday for more than doubling the cost of his overseas trips last year to more than 」2 million.
An MP claimed that the Prime Minister's fondness for foreign travel was growing in direct proportion to his dwindling popularity at home.

I have absoloutly no objection at all to Tony flying off abroad - I just wish he wouldn't buy return tickets.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Scoundrels wrapping themselves in our flag

BBC NEWS | Politics | National flags ban to be lifted

Outdated laws banning the flying of national flags are to be scrapped.
Currently it is illegal to fly a national flag without permission from a local council - unless it is flown from a vertical flagpole.
The rule means thousands of football fans were technically breaking the law during the World Cup by displaying the Cross of St George. ..
"The regulations on flags are currently woefully out-of-date and far too bureaucratic," said Ms Cooper. "It is ridiculous that someone could be prosecuted for displaying their national flag."

Hurrah we should all say - shouldn't we? No! this is the sneaky and well handled way they are going to allow the yellow starred rag to fly, after the embarrassments they have had in seeing it hauled down as being in breach of planning - see Neil Herron passim.

The rule changes will allow national flags to be flown without permission however they are displayed. It will also apply to international flags, such as the EU, UN or commonwealth flags.

Back in November they held a consultation on this: See An Englishman's Castle: EU Flag - get consulted, and I certainly let them know my views.
How do I do a FOI request to see what the public actually thought?

More at EU Referendum

Posted by The Englishman at 6:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 24, 2006

Now here's an unexpected turn up for the books.

BBC NEWS | England | London | Dome 'led super-casino shortlist'

The Millennium Dome in south-east London topped a shortlist of possible venues for the UK's first Las Vegas style "super-casino", it has emerged.

I wonder what the odds of that happening were?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Wisdom of the Old

Despite what Tony would have us believe Britain isn't a new country but an old one full of history and wisdom - if only we would listen to it. Sunday was spent at a very pleasant family Christening at St Mary's Well Charlcombe near Bath. The old church - a thousand years old - was being repaired and so the ceremony was held in the grounds at the Holy Well which predates the church by any number of years.
On Saturday I had tea with a charming lady in the house she was born in. She thought it was about time Cameron produced a few policies but understood he didn't want to do so too soon in case Labour stole them. After sorting out the middle East we moved onto Climate Change - Of course she was born in 1911 when the last record was set and recalled her mother talking about the heat. She also ran through the weather of the '70s and '80s with harvest news and cropping details of those years - that is the 1870s and 1880s that her father her talked about. Still as bright as ever and for what it is worth with her experience and knowledge she believed man-made global warming played only a small part in this week's weather.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2006

Freedom of Information Request

TO : enquiryodpm@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Dear Sir or Madam

I realise that John Prescott is no longer Minister in charge of your department, but whatever he is in charge of doesn’t seem to have a website so please could you pass this on if needed.

I note that the Deputy Prime Minister has chosen not to buy the cowboy outfit he was given and therefore it remains the property of the State. I am a great fan of the American Wild West and wonder where the items now are and what arrangements are in place for members of the public to view this historic kit.

Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.

Yours truly,

The Englishman

Posted by The Englishman at 8:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Rawhide Prescott - the adventure continues

Iain Dale's Diary notes a message from Newsnight:

"You'll be relieved to know we've secured a Bucking Bronco on College Green. We just thought we couldn't let you ponder the complexities of the Commissioner on Standards in Public Life's findings on John Prescott without one.

May have something to do with the official sleaze report - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/21_07_06_prescott.pdf and questions such as these:

Question 1—Did you receive any gifts from Mr Philip Anschutz during your stay in his ranch in July 2005?
Yes, I did receive gifts and I fully understood that they were gifts at the time. Indeed I was informed at the time I used them that they would be posted to my office in the UK.
Question 2—If so, what was their nature and the estimated cash value of each of them?
As I explained in my letter of 14 July, the nature of the gifts I received were designed to allow me to carry out a
working day on Mr Anschutz's ranch, and, as you know, in the usual way their value has been estimated at:
A Stetson hat—£97
A pair of calf length boots—£120
A belt and buckle—£207
A pair of spurs - £185
A leather bound notebook (not valued)
Question 3—Were they declared on your return to the UK to your then Permanent Secretary?
...In accordance with my department’s procedures, there was no correspondence between my Private Office and my Permanent Secretary about these gifts - though she did see at least some of the
Anschutz gifts when they were displayed in the office on their arrival.

I wonder if any of his other secretaries or Parliamentary colleagues also saw the boots and spurs...?

Keep movin', movin', movin'
Though they're disapprovin'
Keep them dogies movin'
Don't try to understand 'em
Just rope, throw, and brand 'em
Soon we'll be living high and wide.
My hearts calculatin'
My true love will be waitin',
Be waitin' at the end of my ride.


Posted by The Englishman at 6:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sexy Ladies for your Aural Pleasure

I'm surprised Kim with his fine musical ear and his discerning taste in pulchritude hasn't done one of these top tens before so to get the ball rolling - I'm looking for your lists - here is my top ten women who sound sexy. This isn't about singers who are lustbuckets - note Jessica Simpson doesn't make the list, or women who are fine singers - none of the classical singers seem to quite deliver that toe curling horniness. And surprisingly a fine couple of my favourite female singers fail the test as well - k d lang and Michelle Shocked - I wonder if them being lesbians has an influence - maybe if they were naked wrestling in a paddling pool of jelly( (c) Mr NBC ) they might be more interesting. Billie Holliday, Aretha Franklin - wonderful, but not quite there..

My quick list:

1 Susanna Hoffs
2 Chrissie Hynde
3 Diana Ross
4 Debbie Harry
5 Olivia Newton-John
6 Whitney Houston
7 Bic Runga
8 Nina Simone
9 Suzi Quatro
10 Marc Bolan

What's yours?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:24 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

More bad news for Prescott

BBC NEWS | Health | Bed sharing 'drains men's brains'

Sharing a bed with someone could temporarily reduce your brain power - at least if you are a man - Austrian scientists suggest.
When men spend the night with a bed mate their sleep is disturbed, whether they make love or not, and this impairs their mental ability the next day.

The lack of sleep also increases a man's stress hormone levels.

And you wondered why he muddles up his words, lacks the ability to construct a single coherant thought and is so stressed he lashes out at provocation...

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"Buff" Hoon - will he answer the question?

Neil Herron

Press Release:Immediate

The People's No Campaign
20th July 2006

"Anti-EU Campaign Group throws down the 'Martini Debate' Gauntlet to the Minister for Europe...
'anytime, anyplace, anywhere!'

The North East based Anti-EU Campaign group, The People's No Campaign, today threw down the gauntlet to Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon. At a recent event in the North East organised by Sovereign Strategy ( CEO Alan Donnelly, former Labour MEP) on behalf of the North East Economic Forum he stated that he wished to "re-establish the link between the big issues and the EU in the eyes of the public." He went on to say that what he wanted to see was "an adult debate on the substance on what the EU is about so that people can decide for themselves."

Should your members wish to make the request personally to Geoff Hoon for details of where and when the adult debate on the EU will take place then he can be contacted at waltersa@parliament.uk
I am sure that you will also wish to point out to the letters pages of the local and national press that the new Minister for Europe is keen to engage the people.

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Home Office - That's the way the money goes, pop goes the weasel.

Accounts for Home Office adrift by trillions - Newspaper Edition - Times OnlineA National Audit Office review of transactions carried out on the Home’s Office’s financial IT system found problems with the data. “When the gross transaction value of debits and credits within this data was totalled, they each amounted to £26,527,108,436,994: almost 2,000 times higher than the Home Office’s gross expenditure for 2004-05 and approximately one and a half times higher than the estimated gross domestic product of the entire planet,” a note from the National Audit Office said.

“This suggests something has gone seriously awry. We have yet to receive an explanation for what has happened,” the note added.

Last night Richard Bacon, a Conservative member of the committee, said: “In any parish council or cricket club the person responsible would have been out on his ear. What actually happened was that Sir John was promoted to become Deputy Governor of the Bank of England in charge of financial stability in the banking system.

“You might reasonably expect to see this in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, but not in real life.”

Today’s report states that the department wrote off a £3 million discrepancy between its in-house cash records and its bank statements without further investigation. It said that the failure of the department to produce proper accounts was symptomatic of poor management.

Sir John is crititicised for failing in his duty to Parliament to produce auditable statements for 2004-05

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July 20, 2006

Classical Summer - letter to local paper - repost from last year

Sir, - Many of your readers may have been asking how this glorious summer compares with the other "classics." Most summer statistics confine themselves to June, July and August. This is too narrow a bracket, and the figures below are based on the period 16th May to 15th September.

Year . Mean Temp. Rainfall Hours of Sunshine Days rain fell Days Max Temp exceeds 80d.F. Sunless Days
1887 60.2 6.63 800* 40 9 9*
1893 59.3 7.54 736 41 16 3
1899 59.0 7.42 934 28 17 0
1911 60.8 3.82 962 26 32 6
1921 59.3 4.82 824 29 19 4
1933 60.2 7.40 871 38 15 2
1934 59.0 6.66 882 40 9 3
1940 58.3 5.20 901 42 6 4
1947 61.3 5.07 842 43 26 3
1949 60.8 5.74 950 35 19 3
1959 58.9 6.11 936 36 15 5

* Approximately
I have balanced these scores in two different ways. By each method 1911 comes out top, and 1947 second. There is little to choose between 1899, 1921, 1949 and 1959 for third place. We have no sunshine figures for 1868, but it would appear to have been as good as those four years.
Some will think that if a summer is to be pleasant, rather than record-breaking, we can suppose that there must be at least 900 hours of sunshine, but not too many very hot days and not too much drought.
The years that must be considered in this connection are 1899, 1911, 1949, 1947 and 1959. Of these 1911 was certainly too hot and probably 1949 and 1947 also; moreover these were too dry, and the choice would seem to lie between 1899 and 1959.
Yours faithfully, Reginald Jennings, Marlborough College
(Probably written in 1959)

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In the doghouse

I was sent out to take some photos of the eldest Englishette taking part in a procession down the street - this was photo number three - the camera must have slipped...

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As the planet heats up, we sit around talking and doing nothing. Explain - Comment - Times Online

But perhaps the lasting legacy of 1976 was that it was the first time that people began to take climate change seriously. Until then scientists had been making dire noises about something going terribly wrong with the weather, but it seemed so . . . well, academic. After all, what was there really to worry about when the 1970s had been mostly the usual mix of cold winters and disappointing summers? So a sensationally hot and dry summer in 1975 came as a rude shock. It could have been written off as a one-off freak, but two successive summers of blistering heat stretched coincidence too far.
No, it was clear to everyone in 1976 that something was untoward.

Rubbish - back in the 1970s there were fears of an impending Ice Age - look at National Geographic, November 1976 article which basically is non committal on which way the climate might turn next - good link well worth an explore -

Scientists agree that we can expect increasingly hot and prolonged heatwaves as climate change bites deep.

Not a hint of any scientist forecasting anything different or actually saying they aren't confident enough in the models to able to forecast as to what to expect.

We may yet find ourselves in the position of Californians, who suffer power blackouts in the summer because of the huge energy demands from air-conditioning.

Those right wind sceptics at the BBC blame something different -

BBC News | AMERICAS | California blackout: Why it happened
...The problems stem from an ambitious - but poorly executed - plan to deregulate the energy industry.

Oh well - facts mustn't get in the way, we are facing disaster!

So, how many more record-breaking heatwaves will it take before we start to take climate change seriously? And when will the Government take the lead? When will it force all new buildings to have their own power generators — solar panels, wind turbines, whatever — and compulsory rain traps to collect rainwater?...We need to be more aware of how much carbon dioxide we use. ... While we’re at it, impose a special carbon tax on airline fares because aviation fuel is untaxed. And tinkering around with a few wind turbines is useless; we need a huge, concerted effort to change our ways.

You said it - useless!

In the intense heatwave of August 2003, more than 2,000 people are reckoned to have died, but still it made no difference. How many more deaths will it take before climate change is taken seriously?

Paul Simons writes the Weather Eye column for The Times

It is strange this 2000 deaths figure - see http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_health/HSQ25.pdf for a full article - the striking quote I noticed was: Excess mortality was much greater than that observed with previous heat waves in the UK. In London it was estimated that the 2003 heat wave was associated with a 42 per cent increase in mortality, compared to an excess of 16 per cent in 1995 and 15 per cent in 1976
Isn't that damning - 1976 which was a long hot summer, not many died but nearly thirty years later they are dropping like flies - what does that tell you about all the wonderful advances we have made in care for our old and sick?

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Rural rich 'have more child cancers' - Britain - Times Online

CHILDREN from well-off families who grow up in less densely populated environments — such as big houses in the country — are at higher risk of childhood cancers, research suggests.
It is believed widely that many childhood cancers are triggered by a cell mutation developed before birth, followed by an infection in infancy. It is thought that this prompts an abnormal immune response that causes the disease. Scientists from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare) said that trends of cancer clusters supported this hypothesis. They said that children brought up in too clean an environment either developed impaired immune systems — or, alternatively, “urban” viruses could be finding their way into rural populations, causing the genetic damage that leads to cancer.

In crowded places more people are likely to be exposed to the viruses and become immune to them, according to the theory. An influx of city-dwellers into an isolated community might spread the viruses to individuals who are not resistant to them.

“If you’re wealthy you tend to live in a big house with more land and have contact with fewer people. It’s theoretically believable that if there is a viral component you have less chance of coming across that virus.”

So it is probably all right for the Englishettes to mix with the villagers' children but I should not allow the SUV driving yummy mummies across the drawbridge...

This explanation of cancer clusters is also probably the reason there are clusters around Windscale and other nuclear plants, large numbers of people from all over the place arrived to live in these remote areas, rather than the Tritium that they sloshed all over the landscape.

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The heat is getting to Miliband

Telegraph | News | Miliband backs idea of carbon rationing for all

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, yesterday backed the idea of carbon rationing for all, based on smart credit cards that record an individual's energy use....
The idea has been floated before, by Elliott Morley when he was an environment minister

Enuff said - if Morley thought of it it is stupid - ergo sum.

In a speech to the Audit Commission last night, Mr Miliband said: "Imagine a country where carbon becomes a new currency. We carry bank cards that store both pounds and carbon points.

"When we buy electricity, gas and fuel, we use our carbon points, as well as pounds. To help reduce carbon emissions, the Government would set limits on the amount of carbon that could be used.

"Imagine your neighbourhood. Each neighbour receives the same free entitlement to a certain number of carbon points.

"The family next door has an SUV and realise they are going to have to buy more carbon points.

"So instead they decide to trade in the SUV for a hybrid car. They save 2.2 tons of carbon each year. They then sell their carbon points back to the bank and share the dividends of environmental growth."

Buzz word bingo - tick for trade, dividends and growth even though he is describing a restrictive rationing scheme. With Big Brother watching every time you buy a gallon of unleaded - "vy are you driving to Salisbury every Wednesday? - what a wondeful world it will be. And of course this scheme will be a lovely huge Government IT project - will it work as well as the Tax Credits or the NHS records system?

Anyone want to buy a load of off ration logs?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 19, 2006

Beware of the thoughtcrime directive

In just over three years time it will be illegal for you to ask your co-worker to pass a six inch nail, or for Sport Relief to use the slogan "Making the world miles better", for the Prime Minister to promote Sports Relief by running a mile or even for Mr FM to share his recipe for Damson Gin - For an insight into this thoughtcrime world see this:

NIST Metric Information and Conversions: Report on Meeting with European Union March 2005

The Metric Directive is intended to require metric units of measurement to be used in all aspects of life in the European Union. The use of a uniform system of measurement units is considered essential for the purposes of public health, safety, and trade. The Directive is not a labeling directive; rather it applies to all expressions of measurement units wherever they are used in the European Union.

The directive comes into force on January 1, 2010

Questions and Answers:

15. Does the requirement for SI only units extend to sales catalogs, blueprints, e-commerce and Internet sites, advertisements, brochures and user manuals and instructions?

The Directive applies to all catalogs, blueprints, e-commerce and Internet sites, advertisements, brochures and user manuals and instructions that target only the EU. If they are clearly intended for the international market (i.e., including non-metric countries), then inch-pound units will be accepted in the text of the language for the non-metric countries.

16. Do the requirements for SI only units apply to magazines and books?


17. Do the requirements apply to internal business operations, processes, formulations, etc.?


So any mention of feet or pounds will be a doubleplus ungood crime.

Hattip BWMA/British Weights and Measures Association

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Baby it's warm outside

...Then, noting that the IPCC (2001) suggested that the increase in anthropogenic radiative forcing over the 20th century was about 0.5 Wm-2, Shaviv calculated that the anthropogenic-induced warming of the globe over this period was approximately 0.14°C (0.5 Wm-2 x 0.28°C per Wm-2). ...
Next, based on information that indicated a solar activity-induced increase in radiative forcing of 1.3 Wm-2 over the 20th century .., plus the work..that indicated a globally-averaged solar luminosity increase of approximately 0.4 Wm-2 over the same period, Shaviv calculated an overall and ultimately solar activity-induced warming of 0.47°C (1.7 Wm-2 x 0.28°C per Wm-2) over the 20th century. Added to the 0.14°C of anthropogenic-induced warming, the calculated total warming of the 20th century thus came to 0.61°C, which was noted by Shaviv to be very close to the 0.57°C temperature increase that was said by the IPCC to have been observed over the past century. Consequently, both Shaviv's and Idso's analyses, which mesh well with real-world data of both the recent and distant past, suggest that only 15-20% (0.10°C/0.57°C) of the observed warming of the 20th-century can be attributed to the concomitant rise in the air's CO2 content.

In light of these real-world-based observations, plus the multitude of studies that indicate most climate changes of the past were clearly associated with changes in solar activity (see Solar Effects in our Subject Index), the case for anthropogenic CO2 emissions playing anything more than a minor role in contemporary global warming would appear to be fading fast.

CO2 Science

Hat tip CCNet

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Welcome to Project Blair - a techy view

Round up the youthful suspects! Govt to target crime at birth | The Register

Children's Minister Hilary Armstrong was due today to outline what could become one of Project Blair's most ambitious, misguided and hubristic projects yet. The Government will attempt to identify children at risk of failure, violent behaviour or criminality at birth, and take the necessary corrective actions to steer them onto a law-abiding and successful path.
Ironically, Armstrong is floating these proposals just as this same predictive approach to future behaviour patterns is becoming discredited. ...
Unfortunately for the Government (or more accurately, for the future generations now being herded into the labs), the output of the assessment tools is starting to look like voodoo, and in real life, when non-factual data (i.e., value judgments) is poured into data sharing systems, it breeds imaginative and semi-fictional narratives, and in the case of social work, invents whole cases.

The problem with prediction is that although it is possible to identify 'tell-tale' signs in actual offenders, the presence of these does not necessarily identify future offenders. Start with the real villains and work backwards, and the signs were all obviously there, but studies that start with the signs and work forwards don't end up separating the serial criminals from the law abiding. So yes, it may still seem 'obvious' that you can figure out what made people bad and go back to childhood and fix it, but right now you haven't been able to prove it. So stop experimenting on whole generations until you have proved it, OK?
...Some of the women midwives are dealing with have noticed that their histories can be taken down and used against them, and that it does not matter whether or not they have successfully coped, or are successfully coping with whatever the problem might have been. If you tell someone, it will be flagged as a 'concern' and will breed more concerns, and turn you into a 'case'. So they're starting to withhold information, and as midwives, and other professionals continue to ask "a few more" questions, people on the receiving end of the data kleptocracy will start to go underground.

Leaving systems built on junk science sharing junk data in pursuit of imaginary concerns and a pre-defined criminal underclass, while the rest of us hide. Welcome to virtual reality social work, welcome to Project Blair. ®

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Sorry for the short break

My net connection is up and down like Rosie's draws - normal service tomorrow - maybe.

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July 18, 2006

Take it with a pinch of salt

BBC NEWS | England | Temperatures due to go on soaring

..the Met Office recommended people stay hydrated in the heatwave conditions.Transport for London repeated its advice to passengers to carry water with them on the Underground. ..

And don't forget to eat enough salt - yes salt. While the BBC won't tell you it in case it offends the health fascists you need more salt when you are sweating like a paedo in a playground, so sprinkle it on, and enjoy your food.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A real political scandal - with Peter Hain's fingerprints all over it

Whitehall letting foxes into the chicken coop - Comment - Times Online

WHAT KIND of a criminal justice system is it that seeks to incorporate into its ranks one of the IRA killers who lynched two British corporals in Belfast in 1988? Or some of those who helped to destroy the evidence after Robert McCartney was murdered by the Provisionals in early 2005? Answer: the criminal justice system of the new Northern Ireland.
Crazy, but true. As part of the latest batch of goodies to keep the peace process going, the Government is about to issue preposterously lax proposals that would allow convicted terrorists to play a key supervisory role in Ulster’s restorative justice programme. “Restorative justice” is a fashionable concept whereby criminals are forced to come face to face with the victims of their deeds and must make swift recompense.
Restorative justice has worked all very well in nice, stable societies such as New Zealand. But in Northern Ireland, when run by certain “credible community figures”, it can turn out to be a recipe for parallel policing by the IRA.
Worse still, the Government seems intent on letting the foxes into the chicken coop without so much as a Commons debate, at the very end of the parliamentary session. It is, in its own way, an even greater scandal than “cash for honours”.
So what are the Government’s bitterly controversial guidelines all about? Fourteen “community restorative justice” (CRJ) schemes have been established by the republican movement in Catholic areas to provide a kind of substitute for nationalist people who supposedly still don’t accept the “Unionist” police force. They had been funded by the Irish-American philanthropist, Chuck Feeney — who in recent times has gone rather sour on Sinn Fein-IRA. He has duly cut his funding for these schemes.

The British Government contends that, with this system of parallel policing already in place, it had better step into the breach and gain a purchase on what is going on. The problem is that the Government has asked for virtually nothing in return. The British taxpayer will thus be footing the bill for a well-nigh autonomous operation that can continue to work outside the regular criminal justice system.

Catherine McCartney is under no illusions about “restorative justice”. “If a kid has a dispute with someone and he’s called into a restorative justice meeting in a nationalist area, that means it’s going to be run by the IRA,” she told me. “Look at my home area of Short Strand. When they put out the notice for the creation of a restorative justice programme there were some perfectly decent people on it — but also many Provisionals, plus some of those women who picketed the home of my brother’s partner after the murder.”

Indeed, when Robert McCartney’s best friend, Jeff Commander, was subsequently assaulted by republicans armed with iron bars, the attack was witnessed by a leading CRJ figure — one Harry Maguire, who was convicted for his part in the murder of the British corporals. Yet despite observing all this, he hasn’t made a statement to the police, even though the Commander family have asked him to do so and it is a crime not to report such an event.

The Government is undeterred by all this. It is expected that Whitehall’s guidelines will allow the funding of republican restorative justice groups — even before Sinn Fein agrees to support policing and the rule of law. In such circumstances people will be too scared to complain about abuses. It is also expected that terrorist convictions pre-dating the 1998 Belfast agreement can be overlooked for those appointed to the CRJs. Potentially, this may even apply to the punishment beatings of children.

The website of the scheme - www.restorativejusticeireland.org seems to be down though the google cache is available.

It is scandals like this rather than the froth of affairs that we really should worry about.

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Zut alors - Le homme speakee le sense

Sarkozy: speak English and work harder - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

THE French need to work harder and display less arrogance, if they are to recapture former glories, Nicolas Sarkozy, the Interior Minister, tells his countrymen in a highly personal 281-page book published yesterday.

Hailing modern Britain as an example, M Sarkozy urges voters to remove their heads from the sand, accept that France is in decline and embrace the market economy as the path to revival.

And in a comment that will infuriate traditionalists, he says that the French should no longer insist on speaking their own language in international negotiations and instead should use English.

“We should ask ourselves why the English buy our houses in the Dordogne, in the Périgord ... and in many other regions. The answer is simply because the British GDP is 10 per cent greater than the French and that the standard of life of the British is higher than that of the French”

“We have committed the immense error of undermining work. When someone who works does not have a better life than someone who does not work, why should he get up in the morning?”

It will be interesting to see how the French respond to this wake up call - and how depressing it is to see us go in the other direction.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It is getting serious for Prescott

prescott%20grey.jpg I have just realised how worried poor old John must be - for a 67 year old man he has always sported an amazingly dark thatch of hair - and now his grey roots are showing. You don't suppose Pauline, of the amazing high hair maintainence, used to be in charge of his hair do you? And she wouldn't have stopped running her fingers through it, would she? And can't he find anyone else to do it?

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ID cards - the commons debate

Is the Home Office fit for anything at all? - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

I HESITATE to provide yet more worrying news about the Home Office. We all know, thanks to the ray of sunshine that is the new Home Secretary, John Reid, that it is not “fit for purpose”. Yesterday, at Home Office Questions, I found myself wondering if it could ever be fit for anything at all.
The reason for this despair was Joan Ryan. She is the junior minister responsible for the introduction of the government policy of ID cards.

Actually, junior makes her sound too senior. She is more at pre-school levels....
The subject of ID cards causes unrest in the Commons these days. No one is really sure it will happen, no matter what the Prime Minister says — or perhaps exactly because it is he who is so very keen. ...

Ms Ryan announced that the most important thing about the ID cards is to “get it right”. (Surely, given the Government’s IT record, that should be “not get it spectacularly wrong”?) She then added:

“He will know that we are seeking to move to a procurement timetable and he will also know that we have taken extensive soundings with the market and that a large number of those soundings have given us very sound advice and I hope to be able to publish them (sic) soundings very shortly.”

Does that make you feel better? Things began to go seriously awry when the Tory backbencher David “T. C.” Davies asked what she was doing about those Labour Party donors who had expected to get new identities in the honours list. “They now find that their proposed new identities have been grievously snatched away . . .”

The Shadow Home Secretary, David “D. D.” Davis, jumped up, exuding his usual ridiculous amount of misplaced machismo. ...D. D. said that the Government claimed that ID fraud costs the banks £504.8 million a year, but the banks said £37 million. Who was right? “It costs the banks a great deal of money,” Ms Ryan said.

D. D. then announced that experts say that ID cards brought a danger of massive fraud. “Can the Minister guarantee that the ID card will be 100 per cent secure against fraud. Yes or no?” Mr Reid barked something at Ms Ryan to say. She stood up but was visibly struggling with her own thoughts. “It seems to me that the Right Honourable gentleman might very well next blame burglary on burglar alarms,” she said. “It is quite a ridiculous contention. Could anybody say anything is 100 per cent secure? You would have every reason to be sceptical if anybody stood up here and said such a thing.”

Actually, I am not sure that it would be possible to get more sceptical. Ms Ryan’s voice was beginning to squawk. Her last words, which faded away as she sat down, were that ID cards were “a valid and viable way forward”. We’ll see.

As my old Colorado lawyer friend would say - he loaded for bear and only a rabbit showed up. Read the rest.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 17, 2006

For your viewing pleasure

When you have tired of Kim's The Shooting Trail Diary a kind reader has pointed me in the direction of these videos - and of course when you view one it always leads onto other suggestions:

See below the fold!

Sheer Poetry!


Don't mess with Granny

Santa - If I'm really good, please...

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O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.

Scotsman.com News - Politics - US watches Jack whatsisname as Scotland 'lurches to left'

IT'S a socialist society led by a left-wing parliament ruling a population with a tendency to boo its own leaders.
The dominant party just scraped to victory at the last election, thanks to an apathetic electorate with unrealistic expectations of its representatives.
But this is not a former communist regime struggling to embrace democracy. It's 21st-century Scotland as seen by US diplomats assigned to keep a close watch on the country.
The American view of Scotland is revealed in documents released under freedom of information legislation from the US State Department's central foreign policy records.
Although it may not rank in the top league of diplomatic gaffes, the papers may upset at least one prominent native. In one section, the First Minister is referred to as Jack Connell.

Jack who? I tend not to keep up with these tinpot socialists, what is his name? Chavez, Sheridan, McFlurry, Miss Hooley? Who cares - I'm with the US on this one

Posted by The Englishman at 7:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Good fences make good neighbours

Scotsman.com News - Politics - A third of English want split from Scotland

A THIRD of English people want to be independent from Scotland, according to a new poll.
The ICM poll found 31 per cent of people south of the Border wanted to split up the UK, with 60 per cent keen to keep the Union with Scotland intact and 9 per cent saying they did not know.
With support for Scottish independence also enjoying the backing of about a third of the population, the survey does show that levels of support for independence are roughly the same north and south of the Border. ..
The result of the poll, for a Sunday newspaper, was welcomed by Scottish nationalists. Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, said: "It's time both countries were self-governing, having responsibility for their own resources and passing their own laws while working together in a new partnership of equals."

He added: "Gone will be a surly lodger, and in its place a new and very friendly neighbour.

I couldn't see whether the poll asked if the English wanted their own democratic parliament within a United Kingdom, in other words equality with Scotland rather than full independence - I'm sure if this third option had been put it would have had overwhelming support.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Blair - time to wake up and smell the кофе

It's now or never, Gordon - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

William Rees-Mogg

War in the Middle East, spiralling oil prices, a tide of sleaze. Everyone can see that Blair is finished

Well that is everyone apart from the increasingly delusional Tony himself -
Blair hits back at critics and rules out an early exit - Britain - Times Online

TONY BLAIR fought to bolster his flagging premiership yesterday by declaring his intention to be in office a year from now — after he has completed his ten years as Prime Minister.
He surprised Labour MPs and ministers by telling the BBC that he was looking forward to being at next year’s G8 summit in Germany, confirming for the first time that he wants to be in charge at the time of next spring’s Scottish and Welsh elections, and defiantly defended his friend, fundraiser and “superb” Middle East envoy, Lord Levy, and his deputy, John Prescott.

I think Nurse needs to increase his tablets as the man is not just making a joke of himself but also of the whole country now - but then his French and Italian friends got and are getting away with it so why not " a pretty straight guy". (I always thought that was a strange term to use for a old all male public school boy and all male College graduate - though being pretty always meant you fagged for the better sort of prefect, and being straight was a fairly loose term...)

(UPDATE - Iain Dale has another example of his delusional mindset and also his second-rate lawyerese as he squirms on the hook.)

But old Billy R-M has more to say about his favoured choice so back to the article...

Gordon Brown is not going to be overtaken by any of his potential challengers, most of whom have no comparable public recognition. He is by far the most authoritative figure in the Labour Party, even including Tony Blair.

One comes back to the crisis and the issue of authority. Gordon Brown is a man who takes decisions; some of them, like giving independence to the Bank of England or refusing to join the euro, have been big decisions, justified by the outcome. Of course he has made mistakes, but he is free of the taint of sleaze that has done so much damage to Labour. If he becomes leader, Labour will have a chance. There is no prospect of recovery under Tony Blair.

And not a large prospect under Gordon as all the infighting rises to the surface.

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They work for us

Clampdown on 'sickies' by civil servants fails - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

GOVERNMENT attempts to clamp down on “sickies” in Whitehall have failed, with rates of absence higher than ever, according to a survey published today.

While absence rates in the public sector have fallen overall over the past 12 months, they are still rising among civil servants and council workers.
The report, from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), shows that overall rates of sick days in the workplace have dropped, but absenteeism is still 25 per cent higher in the public than in the private sector.
However, despite a new regime in Whitehall to reduce absenteeism, the number of sick days taken by civil servants has risen from 9.3 days to 10.5 days, while those for council workers have increased from 10.9 days to 11 days.

The report also claimed that public sector employers were significantly less likely to discipline or dismiss employees because of absence from work.

Poor lambs, all that hard work and the worry of an early pension must take it out of them.

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July 16, 2006

Another fine mess you've got me in

Lots of stuff on the humpty-dumpty world we live in now at Neil Herron's blog.

High Court Judgment Set to Cost the Inland Revenue Millions

Justice Collins statement that parking tickets are not fines but 'civil responsibilities' is likely to lead to businesses making claims that such 'responsibilities' are now allowable expenses. As they are no longer considered fines leading tax specialists are of the opinion that this decision is likely to cost the Inland Revenue millions as businesses can now offset these 'responsibilities' against tax paid.

The Inland Revenue site is shown below:

NIM05630 - Class 1 NICs : Expenses and allowances : Car parking fines
"Fines for illegal parking are not allowable business expenses. Any payment which an employer makes towards the cost of fines incurred by an employee, and for which they are liable, should be included in gross pay for Class 1 NICs purposes."

However, Robin Decrittenden could be the unlikely Knight on a White Horse for the Inland Revenue...as his appeal against Judge Collins decision is expected to confirm the Inland Revenue's position...that parking tickets are fines!

BUT ... if that is the case then the Bill of Rights does apply and there can be no fines or forfeitures without conviction...and therefore, decriminalised parking falls!

Once you let the worms out of the can...

Posted by The Englishman at 9:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2006

Spitting in the face of your friends

EU butter import suspension

The dairy giant, Fonterra, says a decision by the European Commission to suspend all New Zealand butter imports to the European Union is extraordinary.

EU Referendum

Significantly, throughout the war and the very worst of the U-boat campaign, Germany never managed to sever our trading links with New Zealand but now, sixty years later without even firing a shot, it has achieved that, courtesy of the European Union.

Back then, of course, our trading links - and our more general relations - with the Commonwealth really mattered. But, despite this serious blow to the New Zealand economy, and not a squawk of protest from the British government, and no mention of this in our media.

How things change.

Of all the many things our politicians make me ashamed of, the way we have treated our true friends around the world is one of the worst.

My father was proud to wear a fern leaf and so should all of us be:

Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry

In 1941 the regiment was re-roled as an armoured regiment in 9 Armoured Brigade under the command of 2 New Zealand Division. In recognition of that close association, The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry (PWO) continues to wear the 'fern leaf' flash on their Blue Patrols to this day.
At EI Alamein The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry (PWO) had the honour of being the first British tank regiment to engage the enemy.

Posted by The Englishman at 11:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Meum et Teum

Telegraph | News | 'Bedroom touts' want right to sell tickets on net

Nine out of 10 people want the right to buy and sell tickets to pop concerts, cricket matches and rock festivals on the open market, according to a new poll.

Buying and selling second-hand tickets is not illegal, accept for football games in England and Wales.

However, re-selling tickets is usually in breach of the terms and conditions laid down by the event organiser.

Venues can refuse admission to someone they know has bought a ticket second-hand.

In a survey of 1,000 people, carried out by ICM, 87 per cent of people said they should be able to re-sell tickets.

Nearly half of people surveyed who said they had tried to secure a refund had found it "impossible".

Eighty-four per cent believed that a ticket was their private property and that they should have the right to buy and sell it.

Funny how people actually recognise the importance of the principle of private property when it is something they might actually own - how unlike our dear leaders who have a distinctly cavalier attitude to the principle when they think they can get away with it.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2006

Off out today

I have been lucky enough to be invited to a day of simulated game shooting today - last time I went I just failed to use 500 carts as I left four in the bottom of the bag - I'm taking more today and am leaving now for a gentleman's full English breakfast beforehand. I'll be basing my technique on this - hattip Mr FM:

Posted by The Englishman at 6:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Kennet Council's Rubbish

A small insight into the green and pleasant land we now live in:

This New System Is Simply Rubbish (from This Is Wiltshire)

FURIOUS mother-of-five Fiona Cox has expressed her despair at only being given one wheelie bin for a fortnight's household refuse.
She said: "When I alerted the council to the problem, I was told if I tried using terry cloth nappies and bought milk in glass bottles then I could recycle the excess waste. That way the bin would not get so full.
"Why should we pay the extra cost for things like that when we already pay council tax to provide such services? I feel we have been penalised for having a big family."
Mrs Cox and several of her neighbours are worried that rubbish will start piling up.
She said: "There are maggots in the bottom of our bin as rubbish has been sitting there for two weeks and there is too much of it." Mrs Cox and her husband have five children under the age of ten as well as a housekeeper Lata Mudiyanselage. In two weeks she said they would produce eight bags of rubbish, and she alerted the council to this...
She said to qualify for a second bin, she will have to wait a month and then have her rubbish inspected. She said: "They said they will assess the bin and make sure nothing can be recycled but I don't want my rubbish laid out."

Neighbour Alison Giles, 70, said: "My greenhouse was packed with rubbish and I am due to have knee surgery soon, so I will not be able to drive to the recycling centre to get rid of rubbish. This scheme will affect old people, people who can't drive and those with children."

Kennet leader Chris Humphries said: "Large families will not suffer. They will get the extra facilities they need for their rubbish."

The land of the rubbish inspectors where the council decides on the correct way for you to live.

I am sure in a few years time there will be a variety of private firms offering private house rubbish collections - people will just ignore the council and be prepared to pay extra for a simple non-discriminatory collection when and how they want.)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Honi soit qui mal y pense

BBC NEWS | England | Staffordshire | Vicar steps down for cheek kiss

A vicar has stepped down as a school governor after kissing a primary pupil on the cheek to congratulate her.

There is something deeply worrying about those who imagine evil and see "sex" in every action by anyone else. It is a madness that has bcome instituionalised. Honi soit qui mal y pense - (Old French for, "shame upon him who thinks evil of it")

Posted by The Englishman at 6:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 13, 2006

Scots welsh on English deal

Waking Hereward

Yesterday, Geoffrey Cox, Tory MP for Torridge and West Devon stood up in the House and asked Snake-oil Blair a question..about a tender for a Scottish Fisheries Protection boat won by a local firm. Apparently, Appledores, a shipyard in his SW constituency had originally won the contract fair & square from the Scottish Executive.

And then, all of a sudden, they lost it. Just like that.

Thanks to Scottish Executive Environmental Minister, Ross Finnie, the contract was withdrawn from Appledore the same day as it was awarded and eventually re-awarded to Fergusons shipyard in Port Glasgow who were incidentally one of the original tendering companies who failed first time round.

Even though strict EU rules state that the Scottish Executive should select the cheapest quote. Even though Appledore of SW England were the cheapest. Even though they were awarded the contract it was still withdrawn after Finnie sort of cried "foul" - and given to a Scottish yard.

Consequently, Appledore are in it right up to their necks. Workers have been laid off their yard is empty. They are currently suing the Scottish Executive for 10 million.

Narrow minded parochial protectionism? No of course not...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

You can't trust Cameron

EU Referendum

Tories MPs are being summonsed this morning to hear their leader renege on his promise to withdraw the Conservatives from the EPP group, his one and only specific promise made during his bid for the leadership of the Party.
Looking at the broader picture, with Cameron having already ditched the pledge to withdraw from the CFP, pulling his party out of the EPP was the one issue to which the Eurosceptic wing of the Tory Party was able to cling, in order to convince themselves that the Boy had any Eurosceptic tendencies. This has now been shot to pieces and nothing left of the Tory policy suggests anything other than a Heathite, pro-EU policy. His u-turn signals that he has no intention whatsoever of wooing the Eurospectic vote.
Possibly most damaging of all for the Boy, however, is the loss of trust. Although in the grander scheme of things, the EPP was a minor issue, for him to break his one "bankable" promise made to secure his leadership victory proves that his word is valueless. From now on, the grumblings in his Party, not least over his latest "hug a hoodie" lunacy, may be more difficult to contain.

And the Tory party is still only just ahead of Labour in the polls - if he can't trounce this enfeebled ragbag of smug sleazy shits there is something very wrong, and maybe a little bit of it is people like me hesitate over supporting him.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Col Collins joins the campaign

Prescott not fit to press the tit.jpg BBC NEWS | Politics | 'Horror' at Prescott as acting PM

Colonel Collins, who hit the headlines for his eve-of-war speech to troops in Iraq, voiced his dismay at Mr Prescott taking charge.
"I have to say that the prospect of John Prescott running the country in the absence of Tony Blair is a prospect that fills me with horror," he told the BBC's Daily Politics.
"I have to say that the prospect of John Prescott running the country in the absence of Tony Blair is a prospect that fills me with horror," he told the BBC's Daily Politics.

"A man who on the BBC last week by his own admission struggles with a paper and pencil, and is incompetent by his own admission with technology, running two complex wars, and a number of other complex issues in the nation leaves me wondering who actually is running the nation.

"Is it the civil service behind the scenes? Or... this man who by his own admission is not up to the job?

"It does fill me with horror, and I feel sorry for the troops who are deployed at the risk of their lives on his behalf."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Racist Brighton and Hove Council

Telegraph | News | 'I was refused a job because I'm white'

A history graduate has been rejected for a job in a royal palace because he is white.
Brighton and Hove council told Kieron Keenan he could not apply for the job of trainee museum assistant at The Royal Pavilion because he is not of African, Afro-Caribbean, Asian or Chinese descent.
Mr Keenan, a 23-year-old graduate, said: "It's astonishing. In order to be seen to be less discriminatory towards ethnic groups the council has used a law which is blatantly discriminatory against another ethnic group.
"Apparently it is perfectly legal. I feel very annoyed.
"To get a graduate job in the history field is very hard and I have been automatically barred because of my skin. I am perfectly qualified to do the job.
"I didn't even get the chance to apply because the advert made it clear you could not apply unless you were non-white.
"I couldn't even get as far as filling in the application."
The council applied the Race Relations Act to exclude white people from applying for the 9,000 a year part-time post in order to help fill quotas of ethnic minority employees. ...

Bert Williams, who runs the Brighton and Hove Black History Project, said: "This is an easy way out for the council. It is panicking because it has been accused of being institutionally racist.
"Yes, the council must have a more representative work force but this is not the way it should be doing it because it's another form of discrimination."

I think it is an ex-royal palace actually, it is now a Local Council run attraction sandwiched between a dual carraigeway and some grotty 1970's concrete - If my memory of Brighton is correct. Brighton is such a "right-on" council I'm sure it loves beating itself with the stick of instituional racism - and now they have proved they are racist!
Good to see the Black history spokesman taking a reasonable line.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2006

Road Closure

BBC NEWS | England | Bristol | Grand piano lorry blaze closed M4

A lorry fire on the M4 shut the motorway westbound between Bristol and Bath for two hours on Wednesday.

I drove past when the van was well alight and before the emergency services had arrived. The traffic was self organising itself into an orderly queue to give it a wide berth and we got on with our journey - I knew when i saw it that if I had been a bit later the Rozzers would have got all over excited and started closing the road with out regard to the cost and inconvenience. It was a small van on the hard shoulder - it only needed a couple of lanes closed whilst they put it out- not the whole bloody motorway for two hours. It is time we got a grip. (I note the Bombay trains are running again today after the terrorist outrage.)

Posted by The Englishman at 10:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

They are Ginger and from Wales - what's not to like?

Ginger Welsh Porkers.gif
We only manged to catch five of the little rascals but they are happily at home now - still looking for names - with their snouts in the trough I'm sure they remind me of someone; Neil, Glynis - they are good Welsh names. There is a runty one I think is going to be called Levy, a fat bullying one - John and that leaves one other girl - maybe Rosie?

Posted by The Englishman at 8:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

For your viewing pleasure tonight:

BBC2 7:00 pm
Porridge: New Faces Old Hands
"Unlike Fletcher, Lenny Godber has never been in prison before and there are many things to be learned from old lag Fletcher," ...

Channel Four 7:00 pm
All the latest news, including a background report into the arrest of Lord Levy

It was hard to tell them apart...

Posted by The Englishman at 8:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Today I'll be mainly playing

Loyalist Music Archive and raising a toast to the "glorious and immortal memory" of William III, Prince of Orange and King of England.

Happy Holiday to Loyal Readers.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Off to the Land of my Fathers today

Away from the screen today as I am off over the bridge to pick up seven piglets to fatten up. We were going to call them Happy, Bashful, Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey and Doc but I gather those names are copyright Walt Disney and may not be used without permission, so suggestions please.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The Green madness rolls on

TV standby buttons will be outlawed - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

THE Government is to outlaw standby switches on televisions and video and DVD players to cut the amount of electricity wasted in the home

If I can't leave my video on stand by how do I get it to record when I'm not there? And as the Government's own research unit - http://www.mtprog.com/ - says a lot of this "wasted" energy - which turns into heat - is substituting for other heating sources. I never have to worry about a heater in my office as the mighty 486 ticks over.
But the greenies won't be happy until we have been beaten back to the stone age.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

An Englishman's castle and his Laura Ashley curtains are belong to us

Telegraph | News | Home seizure plans criticised

Local councils will have power to seize furniture and fixtures and fittings when they take over empty homes according to new rules published by the Government yesterday.
Town halls have been given the authority to take over and rent out homes which have been standing empty for more than six months.
possess furniture, fixtures and fittings when a home was seized, even in cases where a property was taken over because the owner was dead.

The Government admitted that the purpose of the new laws was to provide "a credible threat" and was intended to put pressure on the owner. Yet empty public sector properties were unaffected and exempt from the new powers. Under the Orders a private home could be seized for up to seven years, 28 days after an Order was granted - and with no right of appeal.

A home did not have to be blighted, boarded up or uninhabitable to be seized, merely empty for six months, including homes of the recently deceased.

Homes for sale could be seized if a council thought the asking price "unrealistic".

Councils would have forcible powers of entry once an Order was made and people could be taken to court and charged with a criminal offence if they obstructed officials.

Once seized, there was no obligation to obtain a market rent, and social tenants could be housed in the property. The owner could even be charged and billed for their property being seized, if service or standing charges were greater than the rent, after the council deducted its "expenses".

"Prescott's parting gift" gets worse the more it is examined. And I repeat the biggest cause of empty house is the local authority messing about with planning applications. Your dear old mum dies and you want move into her house but it really need updating. A month or so to sort out the will if you are lucky, a month or so to get some plans drawn up and then the council objects to your plans. Six months is approaching you want to go to appeal and someone from the council drops a hint about "a credible threat". What are you going to do? Carry on trying to improve your property in the way you want to and risk losing your house to the Asbo family or cave in to some hairy planner's idea of what a socially just and renewable scheme would be?

Of course like the Duke of Westminster I left the Tory party when they passed the 1993 Leasehold Reform Act which started this trend of state seizures - I haven't rejoined and until they start being a bit more robust in defence of the rights of property, amongst other niggles, i won't.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 11, 2006

What's the Story?

Site Meter - Counter and Statistics Tracker

Visit 414,804
Domain Name newsint.co.uk ? (United Kingdom)
IP Address 143.252.80.# (Times Supplements Limited)
ISP Times Supplements Limited
Referring URL http://www.google.co... John Prescott&meta=
Search Engine google.co.uk
Search Words rosie winterton mistress john prescott

I wonder what story they could be researching?

Posted by The Englishman at 12:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Why Anti Dumping is good for you

Your query to the Europe Direct centre in Gloucester has been forwarded to

In answer to your first point, the measures introduced by the EU are to
counter anti-competitive practices by the two states concerned, which have
been found to be harming EU shoe manufacturers. The EU is a customs union
and operates a common commercial policy, under which it acts in the
interests of any manufacturing sector (whilst also taking fully into account
those of importers, retailers and consumers) threatened by unfair subsidies
or practices, wherever they are located within the EU. In this case the
industry is concentrated in the southern part of the EU, in another case it
could be a sector of industry concentrated in the northern EU states - with
a significant concentration of manufacturers, perhaps, in your region). The
aim of the EU measures is not to penalise the imported products by making
them more expensive than their EU-produced equivalents, but to remove any
illegal subsidy that they have enjoyed (in many cases this still means that
the imported footwear remains at a significantly lower price). Only about 9%
of the shoes sold in the EU are affected by the additional duty .

Regarding your second point, the perceived benefits of the EU are a matter
for each individual. However, there are plenty of examples of EU
intervention that are beneficial to consumers, environmental protection,
anti-cartel policing, the free movement of individuals and businesses
throughout the Single Market as well as collaboration to deter crime and

Best regards
Jeffrey Lamb

Research Assistant
Representation of the European Commission in the UK

Looking for local sources of information on the EU? http://www.europe.org.uk

Posted by The Englishman at 12:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The local cost of Chernobyl

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 2 Feb 1996 (pt 8)

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent assessment he has made of the persistent environmental effects on Welsh farms of the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl accident in 1986; and if he will make an assessment on the effect on the Welsh economy of the radioactive pollution.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: In Wales radiocaesium contamination from the Chernobyl accident affects certain upland areas of sheep grazing, predominantly where there is a high peat content. While there is a general decline from year to year in the activity rate of radiocaesium, the actual rate of decline in these areas depends on the interaction of a number of factors such as soil type, vegetation, weather, drainage and sheep grazing preference. The variable interaction between these factors does not enable an accurate forecast to be made of the length of time sheep controls will be required.
Regular monitoring of radiocaesium levels in sheep, and other relevant information, enables suitable areas to be identified for a comprehensive survey and assessment to determine the prospects for removing controls. Following such work, my right hon. Friend was able to
lift controls from more than 65 sq km in the Snowdon area on 17 January 1996.This reduced the area originally affected by sheep controls from more than 4,000 sq km to approximately 580 sq km.

It was recognised that the introduction of sheep controls would have some economic effect on part of the Welsh sheep industry. To mitigate this, the sheep compensation scheme was introduced in July 1986 to compensate farmers whose enterprises had been disrupted as a consequence of sheep controls. So far in Wales over 7,900,000 has been paid to farmers affected. This compensation has been paid primarily to recompense farmers for the inconvenience and disruption of sheep controls; payments for market losses as a result of the Chernobyl accident have been comparatively small.

Danger from radiation is exaggerated, say scientists - Britain - Times Online

THE dangers of radiation to human health have been exaggerated significantly, according to scientists who have examined the legacy of the Chernobyl disaster 20 years ago.
Research into the aftermath of the meltdown at the Soviet nuclear reactor has suggested that low levels of radioactivity are not as harmful as believed - and may even be beneficial.
Evidence from people and animals exposed to fallout has convinced experts that the risks of radiation follow a much more complex pattern than predicted.
Generally, the hazards are thought to rise directly with increasing doses of radiation. But the new theory suggests that there is a threshold, below which any amount of exposure is probably safe.

(As others including Tim W have pointed out it isn't a new theory - as Numberwatch says:

It has been known ever since the Manhattan Project in 1943 that ionising radiation shares with many other toxic agents the property of hormesis. This is the tendency for small doses actually to be beneficial, or at least neutral, in their effect. Furthermore it is known that human DNA incurs a dramatically large number of lesions per cell per year, which are repaired. For a full discussion with references see Jaworowski in What Risk? (Edited by Roger Bate, Butterworth Heineman, 1997, ISBN 0 7506 3810 9).

The Chernobyl disaster was initially predicted to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths. Two decades later the death toll stands at 56. The United Nations Chernobyl Forum estimates that no more than 4,000 people will die as a direct result of fallout, while radiation may be a contributory factor in another 5,000 deaths.

Dr Repacholi said that even these estimates could be too high. While 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer have been detected in the Chernobyl region, with 15 deaths, many can be attributed to better detection because of the screening conducted after the disaster.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Recycling Nazis suffer setback

First recycling prosecution fails - Britain - Times Online

THE first person to be prosecuted for failing to recycle household rubbish was cleared of any offence yesterday after magistrates decided that there was insufficient evidence to convict.

The decision by magistrates could have implications for other councils trying to persuade householders to sort their waste before putting it in the appropriate bins. Exeter City Council, which brought the prosecution, called for a change in the law to make it easier to get a conviction

Mrs Challice had repeatedly told council investigators that neither she nor her children, Warren, 14, Kimberley, 12, and Ryan, 10, had put the food into the bin outside her home in Hazel Road, Exeter.

Mark Shell, her solicitor, said: Who put the items in the bin? We do not know. It is not our problem. It is the Crown who have to satisfy the court that it was the defendant.

After the case Mike Trim, the Exeter City Council recycling officer, said: We will have to look at the implications for us and other local authorities. It will be hard to bring cases like this if there has to be direct evidence of an individual contaminating a recycling bin.

Its hard to see how you can carry out surveillance practically on what people do in their own homes and their own back gardens...

Oh, but you would love to, wouldn't you - watching, monitoring, surveillance, lovely lovely lovely. The proles must be controlled and just because there isn't any evidence doesn't mean we shouldn't prosecute, fine, imprison, flog and hang the non-believers!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Charlie the Safety Elephant's Plans coming unraveling Pt II

Online passport applications halted - Britain - Times Online

The problems with the online application system, which was begun on May 16 and withdrawn 20 days later, on June 4, are disclosed today in Computer Weekly.
Under the system applicants fill in the form online, pay online and can print out the form at home. They then send the old travel document plus photos to the passport service who issue the travel document.
Staff at the passport office realised that difficulties were preventing them turning round applications as quickly as promised soon after the service was started.
The disclosure that the Siemens Business Services online system was withdrawn after operating for less than three weeks is a serious embarrassment to the Home Office.
The Prime Minister and John Reid, the Home Secretary, have praised the Passport Agency as an area of government with high levels of customer satisfaction.
The agency is also the organisation that is to develop the identity card scheme, which will involve issuing tens of millions of cards to British citizens.

More Giggles! And of course you too can help them out - join the campaign!

renew for freedom - SUMMER 2006 - renew your passport

Why you should renew your passport.
The Identity Cards Act 2006 turns your passport into a one-way ticket to control of your identity by the government. It means lifelong surveillance, and untold bureaucracy. This website, produced by the NO2ID campaign, is about how you can renew your passport and avoid being forced to register on the ID scheme database.
Please renew your passport this summer.
You can apply to renew your passport online right now at the UK Passport Service website [use the 'Launch online application form in a new browser window' link]

Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Charlie the Safety Elephant's Plans coming unraveled

I was alerted by this:
The Remittance Man: Police Mergers

The in depth insta-analysis (from the political correspondent, not me): Police force merger plan is likely to come to a grinding halt. More to be revealed in tommorrow's HO questions.

I shall now retire to my bed with a chuckle and an extra large glass of North Antrim's finest liquid export.

And lo so it came to pass - I too enjoyed raising a drink to it last night.

Merger of police forces is scrapped - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

PLANS for a 1 billion merger of police forces across England and Wales have collapsed, The Times has learnt. John Reid, the Home Secretary, is expected to announce the decision tomorrow.

And that rumbling sound is Fungus's head starting to boil - with any luck a journalist will seize the chance and get some really good quotes from him - go on Charlie say what you really think of Blair!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2006

And another answer came..

From:* "Europe Direct"
*Date:* Mon, 10 Jul 2006 16:30:36 +0100

Hello Tim

I am afraid we cannot give you any more help on these questions beyond the information already provided.
The purpose of the levy is to combat unfair trade practices. Like any measure, it is bound to benefit some people more than others. As to whether it means you should support the EU, this is really a matter for individual judgement based on the information available, personal circumstances and attitude to trade and competition regulation. As we are unable to help you any further with these questions, I will forward your email to the European Commission representation in London who will be able to give you further information.

You might also like to raise your concerns about the levy and its effects with your MEP who will be able to raise the isssue in the appropriate forum.

Thank you.

Europe Direct
Gloucester Reference Library
01452 426977

-----Original Message-----
To: Europe Direct
Cc: tim (a) buggerthe.eu
Subject: RE: Welcome


Thanks for the reply and the background. I wonder if it would be
possible for my original questions to be answered.
> Bearing in mind I'm not a cobbler, and there are no shoe
> manufacturers in my area, how exactly does the proposed levy on
> imported shoes help me?
> Why does making it more expensive to keep my children shod mean I
> should support the EU?

(I would point out that two of my children are teenagers and wear adult
sizes 11 and 13).

Thank you very much.


Posted by The Englishman at 4:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Linky Love

A courtesy service supplied by precise-media: links, daily blog overview, early morning newspaper summary ....

Looks interesting - one to watch!

Posted by The Englishman at 9:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Fatted Calf has a worried look this morning

No 1 Son is 18 today so feasting and pubbing tonight - I'm very proud of him and wish him the very best.
Happy Birthday Son!
Love Dad

Posted by The Englishman at 7:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

A summer campaign

Prescott not fit to press the tit.jpg Telegraph | News | Don't leave Prescott in charge of the country

John Prescott's future looked precarious last night as it emerged that senior ministers were questioning whether he should be left in charge of the country when Tony Blair goes on holiday next month.
They fear that the Deputy Prime Minister will be a lame duck stand-in and a target for tabloid newspapers after he refused yesterday to deny reports of further extra-marital affairs.

Labour MPs and ministers are canvassing the possibility that he should step down as Deputy Prime Minister but remain as the party's deputy leader, at least until the Prime Minister leaves No 10.
Another senior Cabinet minister, probably Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, or possibly Jack Straw, the Leader of the House, could deputise for Mr Blair over the summer break.

The idea that Rawhide Prescott should be left in charge of the UK and the big red button while Tone and Cherrie swan off on a freebie holiday is too horrific - so time for a campaign methinks - nick the graphic!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

An answer from the EU

You may remember I tried the new European Information Service on Europedirect@gloucestershire.gov.uk on a quick question:

An Englishman's Castle: My first question

Bearing in mind I'm not a cobbler, and there are no shoe manufacturers in my area, how exactly does the proposed levy on imported shoes help me?
Why does making it more expensive to keep my children shod mean I should support the EU?

An answer arrived this morning -

Dear Tim
Thank you for your enquiry.
The provisional levy on imported shoes follows an investigation into complaints of dumping of leather shoes from China and Vietnam. It applies to those two countries only and not to imports from other countries. It does not apply to children's shoes or high-tech sports shoes, so it should not affect your purchase of shoes for your children.
I am adding below an excerpt of a statement by Peter Mandelson to the European Parliament, taken from the Europa website, where he sets out the details and reasons for this proposal.

Please contact us again if you have any further enquiries.

Europe Direct
Gloucester Reference Library
01452 426977

Of course it is an answer but not to the questions I asked - so I will try again!


Thanks for the reply and the background. I wonder if it would be possible for my original questions to be answered.
> Bearing in mind I'm not a cobbler, and there are no shoe
> manufacturers in my area, how exactly does the proposed levy on
> imported shoes help me?
> Why does making it more expensive to keep my children shod mean I
> should support the EU?

(I would point out that two of my children are teenagers and wear adult sizes 11 and 13).

Thank you very much.


The European footwear industry is in the front line of global competition. For all their
ingenuity, creativity and excellence, Europe's leather shoe makers are faced with an
extraordinary challenge from Asian producers.
But the case of dumping requires me to distinguish between this tough new
competition and genuinely unfair trade.
Europe's trade defence measures target unfair trade. They cannot protect us from
tough competition. They cannot shield us from Asia's natural and legitimate low-cost
However, when those comparative advantages are topped up by unfair and
uncompetitive practice we have a right and an obligation to act.
Recommendations in the footwear case
That is why, having been presented with the preliminary analysis and assessment of
my services, I have recommended to the Commission and to Member States
provisional duties in this case.
There is clear evidence of serious state intervention in the leather footwear sector in
China and Vietnam - cheap finance, tax breaks, non-market land rents, improper
asset valuation - leading to dumping. And that dumping is causing serious injury to
EU producers.
I have recommended that duties of 16.8% for Vietnam and 19.4% for China be
phased in over a period of five months, beginning at about 4% in April.
This will ensure that retailers with goods in transit are not suddenly faced with an
unexpected cost at the border. It means importers can plan ahead over the next six
months with the maximum of transparency and predictability. It nevertheless means,
that after six months a full duty will be in place and the damaging effects of dumping
will be counteracted.
As I am required by law to do, I have weighed the question of consumer and retailer
interest in this case very carefully.
I have proposed to exclude high-tech sports shoes, which are no longer produced in
significant numbers in Europe. I also propose to exclude children's shoes, so as to
be sure that even small price rises are not passed on to poorer families.
I know that some are worried about the possible impact on consumer prices. But
this case concerns only nine pairs of shoes from every 100 pairs bought by
European consumer - a fraction of the product range. A duty would be just over 1.5
euro on average wholesale prices of 8.5 euro and these shoes sell for 40-120 euros.
I believe on the basis of these facts that there is margin within the supply chain to
absorb a small duty on import costs by spreading it across product ranges and the
distribution chain.
As I have said, these are proposals for provisional measures. They will be
discussed with Member States and must be confirmed by the College.
I believe this is a balanced solution that deserves the backing of Member States and
of this House. It corrects the injury, but allows maximum predictability for importers
and passes on minimal additional costs to consumers. There will be no quotas; no
limit at all on import of leather shoes from China and Vietnam.
I have told the Chinese and Vietnamese that I want to work with them to see how
they can address the concerns raised by the EU investigation.

Peter Mandelson
EU Trade Commissioner
Leather footwear, tough competition and unfair trade
Remarks to the European Parliament; oral questions with debate
Strasbourg, 14 March 2006


Posted by The Englishman at 7:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bureaucratic Waste

Others such as Tim W and Mr RM have already commented on this. I was too busy down the barn checking and oiling my stock of piano wire to do so, being prepared for the glorious day when we deal with these scum seemed more important - but if you haven't read it please put anything breakable out of reach first:

EU Referendum reports on the scheme highlighted in the Booker column this week.

A small charity called Intercare, based in Leicester, has for 30 years been putting large quantities of drugs surplus to requirements to use in Africa. Thanks to a nationwide network of volunteers, it collects medicines from GPs, which are rigorously inspected by a team of retired NHS professionals - doctors, nurses and pharmacists - and then supplied to 94 clinics in seven African countries.

This is the sort of initiative that does work. It cuts out the middle-men, by-passes the corruption because no money, no government agencies and no NGOs are involved, and ensures that real aid reaches the people who most desperately need it.

That was the situation, but it was to reckon without the mindless intervention of the bureaucrats of our very own Environment Agency. According to their bizarre interpretation of EU waste rules, they have decided that these life-saving medicines are "waste" and must be buried in landfill rather than put to use in Africa.

The drugs are only sent out, to order, when they are in date and in perfect condition, and the operation is approved by the World Health Organisation. It provides 2.5 million Africans in remote rural areas with access to treatment they could not otherwise afford.

However, not only are these cretins in the Environment Agency seeking to put a stop to this work, they are considering prosecuting Intercare for breach of EU waste rules, and the directors have been summoned to an interview under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

The lamp posts are waiting.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 9, 2006

ID cards - the forthcoming cock up.

ID cards doomed, say officials - Sunday Times - Times Online

TONY BLAIR'S flagship identity cards scheme is set to fail and may not be introduced for a generation, according to leaked Whitehall e-mails from the senior officials responsible for the multi-billion-pound project.
The problems are so serious that ministers have been forced to draw up plans for a scaled-down "face-saving" version to meet their pledge of phasing in the cards from 2008.

However, civil servants say there is no evidence that even this compromise is remotely feasible and accuse ministers of ignoring reality by pressing ahead. ....

Read the emails

Posted by The Englishman at 7:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 8, 2006

Plus a change, plus c'est la mme chose

Cabarfeidh - Highland Warriors brings us:

War Poem of the Week
The Last of the Light Brigade

There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an, we thought we'd call an' tell.

"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made-"
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

-- Rudyard Kipling

As The Wondering Minstrels says:

Surprisingly enough, this is not one of Kipling's better known poems. Or, perhaps, not so surprising - while Tennyson's account of heroism in the face of overwhelming odds caught and stirred the public imagination, Kipling's scathingly acid revelation of the way the world treated its heroes seems, like most of the uncomfortable details connected with the war, to have been swept under the carpet. There is a glamour inherent in the charge of the Light Brigade - even though it was obvious "someone had blunder'd" - that the real life plight of Thomas Atkins, Esq., cannot match.

And of course, it was Thomas Atkins that Kipling was chiefly concerned with.
From his magnificent 'Tommy' to the unforgettable 'Gunga Din', Kipling saw war neither as the noble endeavour earlier poets made it out to be (sometimes stirringly heroic, sometimes ineffably sad, but always noble) or as the graphic nightmare later poets (most notably Wilfred Owen) splashed across the world's consciousness. Kipling's war poems were highly personal; his soldiers ordinary men doing a misunderstood and underappreciated job in the best way they could. (Like much else of Kipling, this attitude is no longer fashionable; the which, of course, detracts nothing from his poetry,but does help explain its fluctuating repute).

Though the BBC takes a slightly different view:

Kipling's poetry works will live on to document the excesses of class and racial attitudes of 19th century Britain and British Imperialism. Kipling's poetry has earned for him equal measures of both lasting fame and infamy.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 7, 2006

The truth about blog visitor numbers.

Many years ago on a galaxy far away I founded an Internet business - after a little while I discovered an interesting metric for our business. For every 100 visitors to our website 20 downloaded our trial software, of those twenty, five then bought it - which gave us an income of 500. Therefore every visitor was worth 5 to us. I quickly moved into the role of Marketing Guru and web expert and kept pumping those visitor numbers up. When we went to ask those very nice men in the city for a few million quid I would wave the graph about and say look - I can keep the numbers rising through my magic understanding of Google and ker-ching will go the cash register. Of course it all went wrong soon after they handed us a cheque but that is another story.
But I do know about measuring visitor numbers and the tools are a load of rubbish inconsistent - (the men in the braces never asked me to justify the numbers).
As an example Verve Hosting who host this blog give you three programs to analyse your stats - I also have Sitemeter running and Google measures it through Adsense and Analytics.
So let's compare the figures for the last seven days:

Sitemeter: 4368 Visits 6636 Pages
Google Adsense 5988 Pages
Google Analytics 3754 Visits 5535 Pages

(The latter may be disadvantaged as its counting script is the last to load and the page may have hung before then.)

But reading from the server logs:
Webalyser 25648 Visits 54724 Pages - Wow!
Awstats 9503 Visits 24520 Pages
Analog 27678 Pages

I seem to remember when I was doing presentations as to how great I was at growing traffic I used Webalyser.

So just remember when you see any blogger boasting about traffic numbers - they are wrong - they are just an indicator...

(And the new counter on the right is the total visits so far recorded by the Server- a prize for when it hits a million!)

Posted by The Englishman at 8:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A year ago - the "Dear Hugh" Responses.


July 08, 2005

Go and read the great letter I was honoured to publish - I didn't write it, wish I could write that well!

And you may like to read the following Apology Edition and even GB's views on two minute silences

Posted by The Englishman at 2:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

They don't like it up them...

Yobs given marching orders by Dad's Army - Britain - Times Online

ALL was well on a peaceful Sunday afternoon in the park, with only the sound of a brass band to interrupt the birdsong, until 30 youths arrived with crates of lager and a football.
For a while the old men snoozing in the sun tried to ignore the swearing and the shouts. But then the youths began yelling abuse at the musicians and kicking the ball into the bandstand.
Exchanging determined glances, pensioners and war veterans rose from their deckchairs and formed a thin grey line. As they advanced shoulder to shoulder, some brandishing walking sticks, the band struck up the theme from the war film The Great Escape. Within minutes the enemy had been routed. The youths, unable to withstand the withering glares of 20 old men, fled the field of battle. ..

Les Brown, a 78-year-old veteran of the battle of Grove Park, who signed up to fight Hitler at the age of 18, said: The Great Escape music came on and the next thing I knew I was marching towards them, along with lots of others.

It felt like I was back in the war again, up against a fierce foe. Ive never seen a group of young men look so scared.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

All your kids are belong to us! cont.

leyton.org Fingerprinting children

It seems a bit hard to believe at first, but it's happening. Schools across the country are compulsorily fingerprinting children without the consent of the parents. It seems to be with regards some supposed library system, but it seems rather over the top, and that it's without the consent of parents beggars belief. Especially when parental consent is required for so many other things, not least sex education, swimming lessons, and away trips. So why not the capturing of biometrics information, the use of which seems a little murky, and rather ominous, and in a time when identity theft is of growing concern. Surely childrens identities are of equal value, and deserve equal protection and appropriate consent.
A campaigning website has been set up, ...

LeaveThem Kids Alone! (against schools fingerprinting our children) Home

Posted by The Englishman at 9:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My first answer - The Eu doesn't work...

Delivery to the following recipients failed.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Think before you print - only print this email if absolutely necessary.

This email and any attachments are strictly confidential and intended for the addressee only.
If you are not the named addressee you must not disclose, copy or take any action in
reliance of this transmission and you should notify us as soon as possible.

After a phone call I'm advised to try Europedirect@gloucestershire.gov.uk - I wonder if that will work? Hey, I only took the address from the official EU Press release why should I have assumed it is correct?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My first question

To Europedirect.glos@gloucestershire.gov.uk

Dear Sirs

I am pleased to see that you are now open and ready to "provide more factual information on the EU".

Obviously you are still moving in and training so I don't want to strain your resources too hard by asking any questions about the EU budget and Audits! So just a quick one.

Bearing in mind I'm not a cobbler, and there are no shoe manufacturers in my area, how exactly does the proposed levy on imported shoes help me?
Why does making it more expensive to keep my children shod mean I should support the EU?

Thank you so much



(I thought Ciao more appropriate than "yours sincerely" -

Definition - ciao (chou)
Used to express greeting or farewell.


[Italian, from dialectal ciau, alteration of Italian (sono vostro) schiavo, (I am your) servant, from Medieval Latin sclavus, slave, servant; see slave.]
Word History: Ciao first appears in English in 1929 in Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, which is set in northeast Italy during World War I. It is likely that this is where Hemingway learned the word, for ciau in Venetian dialect means "servant, slave," and, as a casual greeting, "I am your servant." Ciau corresponds to standard Italian schiavo; both words come from Medieval Latin sclavus, "slave." A similar development took place with servus, the Classical Latin word for "slave," in southern Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Poland, where servus is used as a casual greeting like ciao.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Someone to ask

A View from Middle England points out this exciting new development:

Anyone interested in the "Real" facts can call these people at the new Europe Direct centres, which the EU hope will dispel some myths!

Margot Wallstrm, European Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy said: I am pleased to announce the opening of 25 brand-new centres in the UK, completing the Europe Direct network. I am well aware of euroscepticism in the UK. Well, theres certainly nothing wrong with a bit of healthy scepticism on any subject, as long as its based on the facts. Polls show that the British public want access to more factual information on the EU, and its Europe Directs job to help provide this."

A total of 564 000 or just under 400 000 has been earmarked for the UKs centres for this financial year. Each partner will receive up to 24 000 (about 16,000) for the next three years, along with a package of documentation and network support.
So get your money's worth, here are the contact details: I'm sure you can think of a few pointed questions.

I always knew my email address at buggerthe.eu - see www.buggerthe.eu would come in useful!


Ashford Gateway
14 Park Mall
Kent TN24 8RY
Tel: 01233 331111

Ashford Central

Civic Centre

Tannery Lane


Kent TN23 1PL

Tel: 01233 331111


Ashford Tenterden

6/7 The Fairings


Kent TN30 6QX

Tel: 01233 331111


Bedfordshire European Information Outlet

Kimpton Road


Bedfordshire LU2 0SX

Tel: 01582 522360


Europe Direct-Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry Technocentre

Coventry University Technology Park

Puma Way Coventry CV1 2TT

Tel: 02476 236 377


Europe Direct Information Service

Gloucestershire and Schools of the South West

Gloucester Reference Centre

Brunswick Road

Gloucester GL1 1HT

Tel: 01452 426977


European Law Monitor Europe Direct

Wessex House

Upper Market Street


Hampshire SO50 9FD

Tel: 02380 617200


Europe Direct Leeds

Central Library

Calverley Street

Leeds LS1 3AB

Tel: 0113 247 8282


London European Information

St. Bride Institute

14 Bride Lane

Fleet Street

London EC4Y 8EQ

Tel: 0207 353 7086


Europe Direct North East

Chief Executives Office

County Hall

Durham DH1 5UF

Tel: 0191 383 3448


Europe Direct Information Relay

Plymouth Central Library

Drake Circus

Plymouth Devon PL4 8AL

Tel: 01752 305923


South Devon College

Long Road


Devon TQ4 7EJ

Tel : 01803 540551


Europe Direct North-West (NW)

9-10 Eastway Business Village

Olivers Place


Preston PR2 9WT

Tel: 01772 704412



Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Capital House

2 Festival Square

Edinburgh EH3 9SU

Tel: 0131 221 2999


Europe Direct Highlands & Islands (ED-HI)

Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Cowan House

Inverness Retail & Business Park

Inverness IV2 7GF

Tel: 01463 244571


Europe Direct Centre

YouthLink Scotland

Rosebury House

9 Haymarket Terrace

Edinburgh EH12 5EZ

Tel: 0131 313 2488



South Wales Europe Direct Information Centre

Cardiff University

PO Box 430 The Guest Building

Colum Drive

Cardiff CF24 ODE

Tel: 029 2087 4262



Parade Street



North Wales

LL20 8RB

Tel: 01978 861514


West Wales European Centre

Dewi Building

Trinity College

Carmarthen SA31 3EP

Tel : 01267 242360


Europe Direct

Wrexham Library

Rhosddu Road

Wrexham LL11 1AU

Tel: 01978 292090


WCVA Central Wales

2nd Floor, Ladywell House

Newton SY16 1JB

Tel: 01686 611050


Northern Ireland

Belfast Central Library Europe Direct Relay

Royal Avenue

Belfast BT1 1EA

Tel: 028 90509 150


Europe Direct Derry & the North West

Council Offices

98 Strand Road

Derry Northern Ireland

BT48 7NN

Tel: 028 7137 6596


Europe Direct @ NICVA


61 Duncairn Gardens

Belfast BT15 2GB

Tel: 028 9087 7777


Europe Direct NI

22a Church Street


Co. Tyrone

Northern Ireland BT70 2HB

Tel: 028 8556 8773


Posted by The Englishman at 7:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 6, 2006

How the BBC got those documents

BBC NEWS | The Editors | Freedom of Information

Some bloggers have queried how Newsnight had key documents on John Prescott (watch here), obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, at such an appropriate time. The BBC's Open Secrets blog has an intriguing explanation...

For instance :The Devil's Kitchen

I would say that we are pushing it considerably faster than the MSM, frankly. And as Unity implies, it doesn't seem to be because the BBC didn't have the materials to hand; not only did they probably have them to hand, but they have failed to make a vital connection.

And here is the intriguing answer:

BBC NEWS | Open Secrets | How journalism works 2

Last night's Newsnight revealed the keen interest of officials from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in the idea of a casino on the site of the Dome, a new twist to the latest John Prescott tale.

This revelation stemmed from documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. So was this a speedily made and answered FOI request from Newsnight? No; actuallly the documents had been sitting for months on the website of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

It was Newsnight's political reporter David Grossman who recalled that DCMS had made FOI disclosures about the Dome in the past and had the bright idea of looking through them to see if they would shed new light on the role of Prescott and his officials.

He found this.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Charting a Minister

This entry I first put up on 2nd May is worth repeating as more blogs become braver at naming Rosie Winterton as one of Rawhide Prescott's Mistresses. Keep an eye on the line.

Posts that contain "Rosie Winterton" per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

One of Prescott's other Mistress specialised in getting money out of the ODPM

UPDATE - Ms Sarah Bissett Scott of Hertfordshire complained that articles in several newspapers describing an alleged relationship between her and John Prescott were inaccurate in a large number of respects and used misleading terminology. She also said that some articles had misquoted her.

The matter was resolved when the newspaper noted the complainant's position as being: that there was no affair between her and Mr Prescott, that she was never his mistress, and she has neither taken nor been offered any advantage for herself, her professional or political standing nor for her business in this matter; and that reports that she “claimed to have had an affair with Mr Prescott” are untrue. The newspapers agreed to place a warning on their internal databases to the effect that a complaint to the PCC had been made and that details of the complaint could be found in the legal department, managing editor’s office or elsewhere.


JOHN Prescott had a SECOND secret mistress. Former Labour Parliamentary candidate Sarah Bissett-Scott, 57, said she had a two-year fling with Prescott and believed she was just one of a string of torrid affairs.

RISE Associates - Regeneration in the South and East

Sarah Bissett Scott is currently working with clients in the East of England, providing programme management for European funding streams, regeneration briefings for Members and chief officers, advice on economic development and planning matters, and capacity building with community groups.
Sarah is a highly experienced Urban Planner and Regeneration expert with an outstanding record in local government of managing bidding teams. As head of economic development for Luton from 1992 to 2001, she secured access to over ?150m in regeneration funds. She has an excellent track record in incisive research and reports, in sitting on and contributing to Ministerial Task Groups

And who was charge of Regeneration at Cabinet level until he lost a few powers recently - Yup old Rawhide Prescott himself. Of course there is no suggestion that anyone has done anything wrong - it is just natural that lovers have similar interests and even when they fall out those interests remain.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is it too late to let Paris have the games?

Costs soar for London Olympics - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

Until now the cost of staging the Games has been put at 2.375 billion, with an additional 1 billion of government money for regeneration of the Lea Valley area. That will rise by at least another 1.5 billion and possibly 2 billion.

It's government project - what do you think the final bill will be - I would bet north of 10 billion - and for what?

No gold for those who were hosts in the past - Newspaper Edition - Times Online
THE Olympics will bring no lasting benefit to British tourism and may cause damage to the industry, according to a report released yesterday.
Nations that have previously hosted the Games have suffered declines in tourism growth in the years surrounding the event, the study from the European Tour Operators Association shows.

It claims that visitors at Olympic events are sports fans, with different spending habits from other tourists who devote much of their trip to leisure activities. The behaviour of Olympics attendees was akin to business visitors attending a convention, making them unlikely to spend money on visiting museums, theatres and monuments.

Theme park owners in Los Angeles saw a decline in revenue during the 1984 Games, while in Sydney in 2000, regular attractions also experienced a downturn, the study claims.

Tom Jenkins, the executive director of the association, said that the Olympics could threaten the conveyor belt of visitors coming to Britain. The great rolling circus that hits town during the Olympics does not help tourism and perhaps hinders it. The Olympics deter regular tourists, scaring them away for some time, as they perceive that the city will be full, overpriced and congested.

The association said that this Olympic effect was also apparent in the Games at Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996). Full details for Athens, which staged the 2004 Olympics, are not yet available, but the association said that one month before the Games visitor arrivals to Greece were 12 per cent down.

London is the last place I'm going anytime around the Olympics - and I would advise you to stay away as well.

We need Great Britain football team, says Blair - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

Londons victory came with a pledge by Lord Coe, the bid chairman, that the London Games would bring participation and interest in Olympic sport back to young people. A year later, there has been limited evidence of this, although Mr Blair said he hoped that this would change.

When I was at school, you could play sport every day and many of us did, he said. It was a great thing to be able to do. Id like the opportunity for kids to be able to play sport.

In the two most recent Olympics, half of Team GBs medal winners have been athletes educated at private schools. Mr Blair said that he hoped that British medal winners could be more representative, but it requires us to build the facilities and encourage sport in schools. I think sport is a major, major thing. It declined over a long period of time and weve got to build it back up again.

And the fact you have been selling off school playing fields to your mates at Tesco is unconnected? And the ethos against competitive games, everyone must be a winner, has no effect? So you think wasting billions dahn the East End is going to help? Tosser.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 5, 2006

Bill of Rights scrapped

By John Aston, PA
A senior High Court judge today demolished the belief that the 1689 Bill of
Rights outlaws parking charges because they have not been imposed by a court of law.
In a ruling which will dismay a lot of motorists and bring relief to local
authorities, Mr Justice Collins said the belief was "baseless" and "a
The judge said: "The only surprise I have is that this argument has been
produced on a number of occasions and seems to have worried local
authorities and possibly even parking adjudicators.
"All I can say is that they should cease to worry. It is, as I say, a
completely baseless argument."

Bill of Rights Act 1689: :
"That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void".

Apparently he said "the Bill of Rights does not apply to parking as parking tickets are not fines or forfeitures." I'm not sure what they are then but hey who cares our Bill of rights was just a stuffy old document that was holding up progress towards the brave new world Dear Leader has promised us.

As the Metric Martyrs site says:
..this is clearly an establishment decision with a Judge basically saying Parliament can do what it likes. The public will be able to work out for themselves the mendacity and duplicity behind this decision in order to protect the "parking industry " worth 1 billion a year...

This judgment will now open the door for local authorities and Government abuse at every level ... Fines for littering, fines for not putting your bin far enough out into the street, fines for wearing a loud shirt in a public place, fines for failure to recycle... all on the say so of a badge wielding Government appointed jobsworth, without there ever being recourse of reference to a Court of Law...except for the registration of a civil debt. The general public are now living in the real "big brother house".

Posted by The Englishman at 6:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"Only the guilty have something to hide"

"Only the guilty have something to hide" - how many times have we heard that about ID cards and why we should welcome them - well..

BBC NEWS | Politics | Whitehall fights ID costs demand

The government is battling to ensure that estimates of the benefits and risks of identity cards remain secret.
The freedom of information watchdog ordered the Department of Work and Pensions to publish its findings about how the cards could fight ID fraud.
Now the department has decided to appeal against the information commissioner's ruling.

Now do you really believe that if the reports showed how beneficial the cards are going to be they wouldn't be fighting tooth and nail to prevent us seeing them?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

My top ten eleven hates today

Builders who think they know better than their clients - "I didn't think you would want those expensive taps so I got these from Jewsons, only 1.49" - and they are bloody broken a year later. Compared to what you charge by the hour goldfeckingplated ones would be cheaper than replacing them.

Nailing things to trees - I might make an exception for some politicians but otherwise don't put nails in trees unless you want a four inch one through the wrist.

Dirty cups left on the left of sinks. - Right hand side for dirty stuff, please!

Blokes standing at the bar not knowing what they are going to order. If you haven't worked out what the hell you want to drink, and who you are buying for, stand aside and let me through.

Amateur drunks.

Women fumbling for money in their bags - Darling why is it such a huge flipping surprise to you that the checkout girl is going to want paying - is it the first time that you have been let out shopping on your own?

Hanging thick socks on washing lines - that crunchy feeling as you put the peg on - ughh.

Kids calling their parents by the parents name - When the little bleeder is a coked up asbo scrounger on the settee then they might start regretting it.

Kids calling me by my first name - It is either Mr or Uncle ( if I have given you sweeties) otherwise join the queue to be one of the twelve people I allow to call me by my first name - OK brat.


People answering the telephone by saying - "Hello" or "It's me" - Give me a facking clue as to who you are - "Hello, this is Tracey, how can I help?" or is that too hard for your peroxided brain to remember?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:26 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Rawhide Prescott

Prescott to face sleaze inquiry over ranch visit - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

...it became clear yesterday that the donation, which the department said was the equivalent of a hotel room, was worth just 40 per person per night. Mr Anschutz's ranch is on a 32,000-acre Rocky Mountain estate, which has a nine-hole golf course and health spa. Mr Prescott also admitted that the stay lasted two nights rather than one, and he was accompanied by two civil servants and a media adviser.

Mr Prescott insisted that at no point during the trip did he or his staff discuss business. "I spent [Sunday] travelling around the large cattle ranch, discussing with ranch staff the issues and problems of running a large-scale farming enterprise,..."

On the positive side at least he was a s mean with the taxpayer's money when it came to donations as he is with his own. But the idea of a fat old sea steward from Hull having anything relevant to say about "the issues and problems of running a large-scale farming enterprise" makes this story even more bizarre - I thought yesterday he only talked about Slavery when he was there.
Are we sure he wasn't just holed up in his cabin rutting with his staff - name the civil servants!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Of course I express no opinion as to who I believe...

Tommy Sheridan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tommy Sheridan is a Scottish socialist politician from a well-known family of Irish-Scots Trotskyists from Glasgow.
Born in Glasgow, on March 7, 1964, he attended Roman Catholic schools before attending the University of Stirling, from which he graduated. He was active in the Militant Tendency faction inside the Labour Party, before leaving Labour as a member of Scottish Militant Labour (SML). He was a leading campaigner against the poll tax in Scotland, and was jailed for six months for trying to stop a warrant sale taking place. He has also been jailed twice as a consequence of his activities campaigning against the presence of the nuclear fleet at Faslane Naval Base.
Sheridan fought two elections while in prison. In the Pollok constituency at the 1992 General Election he won one of the best votes for a left candidate for many years, and a few weeks later he won the Pollok ward on Glasgow City Council..

(He was first elected to theScottish Parliament in 1999. Opinion polls consistently recognise Tommy as Scotland's most respected politician.source )

He was the convenor of the SSP from its formation until November 11, 2004 when he resigned, due to 'personal reasons' citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

More time with his family - not according to the News of the World!

Spanking, swinging and a socialist MSP - Britain - Times Online

A LEADING Scottish politician attended a swingers' club and asked to be spanked with red PVC gloves, a court was told yesterday.
Tommy Sheridan, the former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), was then said to have asked party colleagues to lie about his behaviour by backing his public denial of newspaper allegations against him.

Lawyers for the News of the World said that Mr Sheridan, 42, a member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow, was a "hypocrite" who took part in sex orgies and cheated on his wife.


Posted by The Englishman at 6:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bloody Expensive Sunday

Telegraph | News | Bloody Sunday: Full inquiry, cost 400m. July 7 bombs: No inquiry, 'too expensive'

The Government stepped up efforts yesterday to block an official inquiry into the July 7 London bombings by disclosing that the eight-year inquiry into the Bloody Sunday shootings had now cost the taxpayer 400 million.
The inquiry, ordered by Tony Blair in 1998, has still not produced its report into the deaths of 14 civilians shot by paratroopers during a civil rights march in Londonderry in January 1972.
Last November the Government put the cost of Lord Saville's Bloody Sunday inquiry at 163 million. However, Tessa Jowell, let slip on BBC TV's Sunday AM programme that "the latest estimate. . . is about 400 million"
In response to questions about the Bloody Sunday inquiry, Government officials were unable to explain why the cost was more than double the estimates given publicly. Miss Jowell's aides confirmed that she had repeated a figure given to her by John Reid, the Home Secretary, who when he was the Northern Ireland secretary had challenged the hefty fees being charged by lawyers at the inquiry.

Mr Blair's official spokesman later agreed that costs had run out of control, saying that the inquiry had taken a "long time and cost an awful lot of money". It heard from more than 900 witnesses before it ended last November and Lord Saville retired to write his report.

David Lidington, the Tories' Northern Ireland spokesman, said the costs were "scandalous". He would be asking in Parliament why there had been such a dramatic increase. Tory figures say the inquiry has cost everyone in the country 6.64; the total of 400 million would have paid for more than 15,000 nurses, nearly 5,000 doctors and 11,000 policemen, or 13 extra Apache helicopters for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A simple scandal - producing a report that no one will believe. Not one single person will have their view of why those people died changed. But is the fact that they let one inquiry run away with itself, in case it offended anyone, is that a reason not to have one on the 7/7? or do we need to institute a system where we can find the truth quickly and economically?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Telegraph | News | Mandelson child shoe levy 'will hit the poor'

Peter Mandelson, the European Union trade commissioner, was accused yesterday of hurting low-income families by imposing a new EU surcharge on children's shoes imported from Asia in an attempt to protect jobs in the ailing shoe industries of southern Europe.....
Brussels sources claim that Britain has already struck a deal with Italy to abstain over shoe tariffs in exchange for Italian support for a measure to limit Norwegian salmon imports into Britain.
A spokesman for Mr Mandelson said: "This is a fair and balanced system. While correcting the effects of unfair trade, the proposed allowance before dumping duties apply will allow substantial trade. A large proportion of children's shoes will enter the EU free of any anti-dumping duty."

Mandy - shut up, it is nothing to do with "unfair trade" or dumping but a simple stitch up of consumers to protect Italian cobblers and Scottish salmon farmers at the expense of the rest of us.
Europe - I wouldn't piss on it if it was on fire.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 4, 2006

My money is on him

School bans boy's snack empire | Metro.co.uk

A schoolboy who set up a playground sweet shop because he was fed up with 'overpriced health food' is facing expulsion.
Teenager William Guntrip was raking in more than 50 a day by selling chocolate bars and fizzy drinks to other pupils during break times.
Now the health-conscious school, which has banned sweets from vending machines and filled the canteen with healthy options, says he will be expelled if he does not shut up shop.
William, 13, set up the venture at Sponne School in Towcaster, Northamptonshire, after his father Glyn pledged to give up smoking if the boy could make 1,000 through his own business. He trawled supermarket aisles and corner shops for cut-price bargains before selling the sweets to other youngsters who wanted a change from pasta, fruit and vegetables.
The schoolboy, whose idol is Virgin tycoon Richard Branson, said: 'I can't believe it; I don't see what I've done wrong, it's not illegal. Even some of the teachers have been buying from me.
'The food at lunchtimes is rubbish. It's all pasta and vegetables, there's no meat. I don't mind some healthy stuff but it costs too much money and there's not enough choice. Now they've taken away all my stock.'

Why do I have the feeling he will do far better in life than the nannies who are trying to stop him. Mine's a Mars bar and a Coke - please.

Posted by The Englishman at 11:31 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Remembering and Honouring...

Telegraph | News | Leonard Cheshire charity seeks name change

Plans to change the name of the charity founded by the war hero and VC winner Leonard Cheshire, the RAF bomber commander who went on to dedicate his life to the care of the disabled, have "disappointed" his family.
The Leonard Cheshire charity, which cares for 21,000 disabled people, wants to change its image after a survey showed that most young people had never heard of him and did not know what the charity did.
Volunteers and residents in its 50 homes were asked for suggestions for a new name after its leaders said: "The Leonard Cheshire name can be a barrier to achieving the organisation's goals."

Various new names have been suggested, among them Equability UK, A-BL UK, Disability UK and eQual UK.

A-BL UK - wow! what a bleeding trendy name, and what apart from a weak pun does that mean, what does that stand for? Does it stand for honour, decency, self-sacrifice and bloody hard work for others or does it stand for designer glasses and couple of lines of something in a trendy Soho bar? If the brand name isn't being recognised for what it is then that is your own bloody fault, changing the name and logo is a marketing cop-out and rarely works. The managers of this organisation are obviously just rule-book robots - I doubt a single one of them has an ounce of the qualities that makes the Leonard Cheshire name one that they should be proud to shout about.

Leonard Cheshire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

He was the only one of the 32 VC airmen to win the medal for an extended period of sustained courage and outstanding effort, rather than a single act of valour. His citation read;

'In four years of fighting against the bitterest opposition he maintained a standard of outstanding personal achievement, his successful operations being the result of careful planning, brilliant execution and supreme contempt for danger - for example, on one occasion he flew his P-51 Mustang in slow figures of 8 above a target obscured by low cloud, to act as a bomb-aiming mark for his squadron. Cheshire displayed the courage and determination of an exceptional leader.'

Cheshire was, in his day, both the youngest Group Captain in the service and, following his VC, the most decorated. His notable wartime record makes his subsequent career all the more remarkable.

On his 103rd mission, he was official British observer of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki flying in the support B-29 The Great Artiste, an event which profoundly changed him. On his return from the mission he left the RAF and went home to his house, Le Court in Hampshire.

While deciding what he should do with the rest of his life he heard about the case of Arthur Dykes, who had formerly served under him and was suffering from cancer. Dykes asked Cheshire to give him some land to park a caravan until he recovered, but Cheshire discovered that Dykes was terminally ill and that this fact had been concealed from him. He told Dykes the real position and invited him to stay at Le Court.

Cheshire learned nursing skills and was soon approached to take in a second patient, the 94-year-old bedridden wife of a man whose own frailness meant he could no longer care for her himself. She was followed by others, some coming to stay and others to help. Although Le Court had no financial support, and was financially perilous most of the time, money somehow always seemed to arrive in the nick of time to stave off disaster. By the time Arthur Dykes died in 1948, there were 24 people staying at Le Court.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Happy Independence Day to my Colonial Readers

A bit of Johnny Cash via Iain Dale's Diary: Happy Independence Day to My USA Readers

...we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just - a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.

Abraham Lincoln
Source: Second Annual Message to Congress, Dec. 1, 1862.

The USA - the last best hope - Amen.

D-day American Graves.jpg

Graves of American soldiers in a cemetery on Omaha Beach.

Have a good day!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 3, 2006

Short prick, short arms, long pockets.

Prescott's charity gift came from public purse - Britain - Times Online

THE charity donation made after John Prescott spent the night at the Rocky Mountain ranch of the tycoon who owns the Millennium Dome was paid by the taxpayer, The Times has learnt.

THE charity donation made after John Prescott spent the night at the Rocky Mountain ranch of the tycoon who owns the Millennium Dome was paid by the taxpayer, The Times has learnt.

The Conservatives are demanding that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards should investigate the trip to the 32,000-acre Denver estate of Philip Anschutz last July.

Mr Prescott spent the night with a small number of civil servants at Mr Anschutzs home, which has its own nine-hole golf course, hunting facilities and a health spa...A spokeswoman for Mr Prescott confirmed that the donation, which was made to a 7/7 charity, came from the public purse because the trip was official business.

Mr Anschutz, who has close links to President Bush, is the owner of AEG entertainment, which was handed the Dome free for 20 years in June 2004,..at the time of the US trip Mr Prescott had ultimate ministerial responsibility for the regeneration of the Dome.

Bloody amazing isn't it! Yesterday the excuse was - "Oh it is alright because the Fat Bastard copied his leader and stuffed a couple of quid in the collecting box" - and now we find our it was poor bloody tax payer who did on his behalf , not the Council Tax cheat himself.

And was Tracey one of the "civil servants" also there on "Government Business", did we also have to pay for a palatial knocking shop?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

English Votes

Cameron supports plan to stop Scottish MPs voting - Britain - Times Online

DAVID CAMERON is to lead a campaign to bar MPs with Scottish seats from voting on English legislation in an attempt to thwart Gordon Brown's ambitions of becoming Prime Minister.

The Conservatives are preparing to back a constitutional change that would stop Mr Brown from taking part in votes on Bills relating to English schools, hospitals and a host of other policies.
Mr Clarke told The Observer: There is no prospect of backing down on some form of English votes for English questions.

Scottish devolution had left the system a mess and voters already recognised that it meant that democracy was not working properly, he said.

People say that you cant have a Scottish MP as the United Kingdom Prime Minister when the Government is responsible for all these English matters but not for issues, particularly of health and education, in his home constituency.

The proposal produced a stinging riposte from Mr Brown, whose allies called it a shallow attempt to personalise the Conservatives attack on the Chancellor and distract attention from the poor Tory showing in the Bromley and Chislehurst by-election

Better late than never and only a partial answer to the Scottish Raj that swaggers as rulers over us I suppose. But of course now instead of being a measure to restore some democratic accountability it is just being presented as a personal attack on the Jelly-bellied flag flapper. And it shouldn't be. It is a fundamental problem with our democracy and should be treated as such.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Why Europe hates America Pt.3

Telegraph | Opinion | To hate America is to hate mankind

Kipling's poem The White Man's Burden is often assumed to be about the British Empire, but it was in fact addressed to the United States, then beginning its global ascendancy following the Spanish-American War.
A century later, its lines -"The blame of those ye better, the hate of those ye guard" - seem eerily prophetic. According to our YouGov poll, even many Britons regard America as malign, although they remain fond of individual Americans.
Americans find themselves damned either way. If they remain within their own borders, they are isolationist hicks who are shirking their responsibilities. If they intervene, they are rapacious imperialists.

Indeed, many of their detractors manage to hold these two ideas in their heads simultaneously. Yet a moment's thought should reveal that they are both unfair...

Conceived in a popular uprising against autocratic government, the United States has a natural sympathy with self-rule, personal freedom and representative government. To this day, it is guided by the Jeffersonian ideal that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people they affect.

The EU, of course, is founded on the opposite principle, that of "ever-closer union". No wonder its peoples sometimes resent their more successful cousins.

The ignorant misguided bile one hears about America and its leaders is astonishing and a disgrace but is absolutely normal amongst people who consider themselves "educated". At most dinner parties it would be far more acceptable to admit to having just buggered the cat rather than suggest that George W was an intelligent thoughtful man.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:05 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 2, 2006

Rebranding - let me at the irons..

Telegraph | News | Your chance to rebrand the EU - Brussels wants a new slogan

Its current motto is "United in Diversity", a cheery catchphrase designed to evoke a continent working together for "peace and prosperity".
If, however, you can think of a better slogan to sum up the European Union, now may be your chance.

Jos Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, will this week launch a "new slogan for Europe" competition aimed at re-invigorating the stalled European integration project.
The winning entry will be rolled out during the EU's golden jubilee celebrations next year, together with a new logo to replace the blue EU flag with its ring of gold stars (it represented "perfection, completeness and unity").

It has to be Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam - unless you can think of a better one!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:30 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 1, 2006

And the winner is

Hottest chilli.jpg
Geoff Baker for the hottest and the best veggie chilli - the fag ash adds a certain something to the mix.

And Mr FM won the overall champion prize based on the common vote - which he oversaw...

Congratulations to all the prize winners and thanks to everyone - see you again next year.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Its hot hot hot!

Posted by The Englishman at 12:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Great Chilli Cook off

All is ready for today's great Chilli Cook-off - except perhaps the pub chef's entry. He ordered some Red Chillies and some green ones from his suppliers in his broad Scottish accent. They sent back a message that they didn't have any green ones and had substituted some extra red ones. So he ended up with a double quantity of Red Cherries - should be interesting!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Ker-ching - the cost of the EU

Telegraph | News | EU ruling on poison metals to raise cost of electrical goods

A European directive banning poisonous heavy metals from all kinds of electrical and electronic goods including fridges, computers and vacuum cleaners comes into force today.
Experts say that the directive, which represents the largest single change ever to hit the consumer electronics industry, is causing chaos among retailers and is likely to put up prices to consumers by at least five per cent.
Experts say that it is quite likely that consignments of electrical goods already afloat and on their way to Britain could be pronounced illegal the moment they get here today by the National Weights and Measures Laboratory, the enforcement agency.

It is only the flood of cheap stuff from the East that has saved Gordon's back and his inflation figures - luckily for him that will soon hide the 5% rise but we will still have to pay it.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bollocks to Blair

BBC NEWS | England | Leicestershire | Man fined for 'rude' Blair shirt

A Leicestershire trader has been fined for displaying shirts bearing a rude slogan about the prime minister.
Tony Wright, 60, from Burton Lazars, was told the shirts could cause alarm or even distress.
He was caught selling them at the Royal Norfolk Show and told to take down his stand. The shirts have the slogan "B******* to Blair" emblazoned on them.
He said he would challenge the 80 fixed penalty the police gave him for causing harassment, alarm and distress.
Mr Wright said: "I am a local country boy - and I don't see anything wrong with me expressing my opinion about Blair.

"The ticket is a joke - it is for causing harassment, alarm and distress and I look forward to fighting it all the way."

Oh happy land we live in now.
I am sure there would be a few people who would contribute to his defence fund - try asking round at No. 11..

Those with long memories will remember this story from last year:

Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: "Bollocks to Blair" is Illegal

Sunday, September 25, 2005
"Bollocks to Blair" is Illegal
Horse & Hound has this article in it. Police arrested a 20-year-old girl gamekeeper for wearing a Bollocks to Blair T-shirt at a game fair last weekend.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack