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October 31, 2006

A busy night at the castle

Dipping Brussel Sprouts in chocolate and wrapping them in Ferrero Roche papers for the young urchins shouting "trick or treat" at the gate, of course for the older feral chavs I find a pan of copper coins warming on the hot plate of the Aga more suitable for their outstretched hands.
In the Butler's Pantry the ironing board is busy pressing the Poppies, with care they can last for years, especially if you stick to the etiquette of only wearing them from the 1st to the 11th.
Faggots for the fire are piled up in the porch, the first welcome signs of winter are arriving. Enjoy.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Stern Report - a Worstallian Summary

On the Adam Smith Institute Blog Tim provides a clear and concise summary of his criticism - ones that many will agree with.

(Having been accused of misrepresenting his long and detailed "live-blogging" of the report I am particularly pleased to get a short summary!)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Global Warming Proof - the evidence that Stern ignores...

Repost to prove I'm not a "Global Warming Denier" (Which wil soon be a crime against humanity I believe).

...here is the proof of Global Warming - look at that temperature rise according to Met Office official figures!


So what if this covers the years 1695 to 1737 - this proves it, or something anyway!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:18 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The Stern Review - the fundamental errors.

The Stern Review Summary

Climate change presents a unique challenge for economics: it is the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen...

Um - I don't see any evidence presented here, or else where that this is a "market failure" - That bold unsupported assertion seems to be slipped in to justify government intervention.

To meet these requirements, the Review draws on ideas and techniques from most of the important areas of economics, including many recent advances.

And what recent advances are they? Good old fashioned cost/ benefit analysis and discount rates are hardly new, or is there some new tricky stuff you are using?

The stocks of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and a number of gases that arise from industrial processes) are rising, as a result of human activity... These concentrations have already caused the world to warm by more than half a degree Celsius and will lead to at least a further half degree warming over the next few decades, because of the inertia in the climate system...
there is at least a 77% chance - and perhaps up to a 99% chance, depending on the climate model used - of a global average temperature rise exceeding 2°C.

And this is where the fundamental problem with the Stern Review is. The estimate for the global temperature rise is about 0.7 degrees, with large amount of uncertainty. The greenhouse gases he mentions are only one factor, water vapour is far larger "greenhouse gas - a rough approximation is that water vapour contributes 60% of the greenhouse effect, CO2 20% and other gases 20%. There are also other influence such the changing albedo of the earth due to landuse changes, solar radiation, particular pollution etc. So for Stern to boldly claim that our emissions have caused a certain rise is unsupported by the evidence and goes beyond what the IPCC says.
He notes that we are dealing with probabilities - though some might say they are more like bookmaker odds than scientific probabilities as they are based on untested assumptions - and then seems to ignore them. If a future result only has a 77% chance (or whatever figure you choose) of happening, then either the discount rate must take that into account, which he doesn't seem to do or the end analysis must be tempered by it. Otherwise we have the position where "the benefits of" buying a lottery ticket "outweigh the cost" simply because we have forgotten to factor in the odds of not actually picking up the jackpot.

He then dips his toe into what happens if you let the market deal with the problem rather than have central planning solve it - which is the fundamental difference between "adaptation" and "mitigation":

Adaptation is the only response available for the impacts that will occur over the next several decades before mitigation measures can have an effect. Unlike mitigation, adaptation will in most cases provide local benefits, realised without long lead times. Therefore some adaptation will occur autonomously, as individuals respond to market or environmental changes. Some aspects of adaptation, such as major infrastructure decisions, will require greater foresight and planning. There are also some aspects of adaptation that require public goods delivering global benefits, including improved information about the climate system and more climate-resilient crops and technologies..

The challenge of adaptation will be particularly acute in developing countries, where greater vulnerability and poverty will limit the capacity to act. ...
Markets that respond to climate information will stimulate adaptation among individuals and firms. Risk-based insurance schemes, for example, provide strong signals about the size of climate risks and therefore encourage good risk management....

Sustainable development itself brings the diversification, flexibility and human capital which are crucial components of adaptation. Indeed, much adaptation will simply be an extension of good development practice – for example, promoting overall development, better disaster management and emergency response. Adaptation action should be integrated into development policy and planning at every level.

Not much there to disagree with, but that isn't the story the sponsors of his report want to hear. The simple solution is there - help the poor get richer as quickly as they can and they will deal with the problems in a cost effective way by adapting to the changes. From the Baring Sea to Burkino Faso people deal with the different climates by "adaptation". That is a "known"; the extent of change that reducing CO2 emissions in the UK will cause is an "unknown". The effects of changing taxation on us to socially engineer our behaviour and our ability to "pay" for adaptation are "unknown". And to suggest otherwise is wrong and dangerous.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 30, 2006

Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change - A Quick Round-up

The Stern Review was released today.
Trying to make sense of it and the analysis of it is complex - and not helped by the BBC's infantile over simplifications - for instance :
BBC NEWS | Business | At-a-glance: The Stern Review starts:

Carbon emissions have already pushed up global temperatures by half a degree Celsius

As far as I can see Stern is far too sensible to make such a statement.

Responses seem to fall into four camps:
We are doomed - there doesn't seem to be any attempt to understand what Stern is arguing with this camp.
We need to tax our way to prosperity. Well sort of, what Stern is arguing is that is a stitch in time saves nine. So spend a little now and we get much more back in the future.
Those who question the whole basis of the scientific "facts" he uses - see JunkScience.com for the comprehensive argument there.
And then a very small camp consisting mainly of Mr Worstall so far who have had the energy and insight to argue the economics.
This last group is the most interesting. It is an argument for another day as to whether the whole anthropogenic climate change science is sound or not, but it is surely reasonable to accept the IPCC report that Stern uses as his basis and then argue his methodology and reasoning is wrong from that.

Tim Worstall makes several points the key one is that the IPCC give a huge range of possible outcomes, and Stern seems to pick the most pessimistic one that responds best to early intervention.
And all his figures depend on the chosen "discount rate". He uses a discount rate of 3% dropping to 2% which is his "chosen" rate rather than the market rate. Change that rate a point or two, change the chosen scenario by a point or two and the whole picture changes.

My own quick reading is that Stern is a very clever man who has built a fantastic castle of recommendations and policy suggestions but that he has not felt it part of his remit to check the foundations he is building on. A common intellectual exercise is to take some assumptions to be correct and then see what that leads to. Fine for academia but disappointing to see little critical review of the science or underlying economic assumptions. And I don't expect to see any intelligent criticism apart from here on the web.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

How to reduce "Carbon" emissions - I have a plan..

We know that an average human breathes out about 0.85kg of CO2 each day, or 310kg/year.

Politicians who are talking a lot will produce more - say 1 kg a day.

All we need to do is draw up a little list -
"As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list--I've got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed--who never would be missed!"

And I will soon be able to spot hundreds of kg of C02 that are being wastefully produced - any suggestions as who should be on the list...

(For the disturbingly curious, I present the maths:

The average person exhales about 0.5 litres of air with each breath. At 15 breaths per minute, that's about 10,800 L per day.

CO2 makes up about 4% of each exhalation, so we breathe out about 432 L of CO2 daily.

Assuming my chemistry isn't completely dodgy, that works out to about 0.85 kg CO2 per day:

1 mole of gas occupies 22.4L at STP
432 L C02 / 22.4 litres/mole = 19.3 moles CO2.
1 mole of CO2 weighs 44g
19.3 moles CO2 x 44 g/mole = 849g CO2
So 432L CO2/day = 0.85kg CO2/day).

Posted by The Englishman at 6:16 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Stern Report = a good day to turn off the television

As the Torygraph leader says:

Having exhausted stealth taxes, the Government is reaching for green taxes: levies on flying, driving and household appliances.

The beauty of eco-taxes, from Gordon Brown's point of view, is that people won't want to be seen to be against them.

Those who dispute their efficacy – including this newspaper – will be dismissed as having fallen for tendentious science, or being in the pay of the oil companies, or simply not caring about the viability of the planet.

A few seconds' thought should reveal how asinine these accusations are. Surely we can take it as read that everyone is in favour of life on Earth.....

it is hard to avoid the suspicion that, for many on the Left, Kyoto is a handy way of advancing an agenda that has little to do with the environment: one that seeks always to blame the West, that is hostile to free trade, and that looks instinctively to state intervention.

The trouble is that governments tend to be inefficient. There is no reason to expect the state to be any better at protecting the environment than it was at making cars or running the Millennium Dome.

It is a pity that all three main parties have bought into the idea that state regulation is the answer. Market mechanisms have proved highly effective at delivering green goals.

....taxes should be used soberly, judiciously and reluctantly; never as a way of flaunting one's green credentials.

Take that as a slap in face with a GM farmed kipper Dave.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Adam Smith Scores

£20 reward for the father of free trade - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

Adam Smith will have his reputation fixed as the father of modern economics as he becomes the latest historical figure to appear on the £20 note.

Smith, who died in 1790, having lived out his days as a quiet Customs official with his mother, will become the first Scotsman to appear on a Bank of England note when he replaces Edward Elgar next spring.

I know Gordon claims to be a fan of his, born in the same town etc, so he is probably behind this excellent move - all we have got to do now is to get Gordon to actually read and understand him...

Posted by The Englishman at 5:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 29, 2006

The Stern Report - a Critique

Pre-publication we are being fed a steady diet of greenery from the Stern Report with Dave, Ming and the other chap all calling for more taxes to save us. And millions of Africans dying is no longer a problem caused by corruption, misgovernment and socialism, it is now our fault for driving large cars. So it is refreshing to clear the palate by reading some of the criticism of the report early:

Patrick J. Michaels
Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies, Cato Institute

My comments are largely directed towards a major scientific shortcoming in the current manuscript and a lack of attention to the political and economic milieu influencing global warming science....

and for more critiques on his earlier papers -

The January Stern Review (the amuse-gueule to the main report) is available here.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Consigliere Levy breaks Blair's omertá

The Times reveals:
LABOUR’S chief fundraiser has implicated Tony Blair as the key figure in the cash-for-honours scandal, a well-placed source has revealed.

Lord Levy, a close associate of the prime minister, told Scotland Yard detectives last month that he was acting on the direct orders of Blair when he secretly obtained £14m in loans from businessmen to fund the party.

He has been questioned twice in the past four months after it emerged that four businessmen who lent Labour money were also recommended by Blair for peerages. The honours were blocked by an official watchdog.

Levy’s potentially incriminating testimony could prove crucial to the decision to question Blair — the culmination of a seven-month inquiry. Police hope to interview the prime minister within the next five weeks.

A prosecution source said: “Levy told the police that everything he did was for the top man. It wasn’t for anybody else, just for Blair. That’s why the PM has to be interviewed.”

Hey, that's no way to do it - has Blair's "compare" no honour, what is he? Some kind of cheap loanshark with coglione of water? The Capo won't like it, but I've got a bottle on ice ready to be opened on the glorious day.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Listen to the creaking of the tumbrel arriving...

WHEN he was president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing refused to let anybody sit opposite him at dinner, reviving a tradition dating from the court of Louis XIV. François Mitterrand thought nothing of dispatching his chef to Brittany for the day to buy fresh oysters for dinner.
Ever since General Charles de Gaulle, French rulers have been famed for their enjoyment of absolute power and its trappings: Jacques Chirac’s pilot knows better than to land before le patron has had a good sleep, even if it means flying in circles.

Like so many other French traditions, however, the extraordinary privileges of power are under assault as people tire of the ruling elite and younger politicians more attuned to the public pulse prepare to storm the Elysée.

I hope this article causes Charlie Falconer to splutter on his morning egg as he dips his silver spoon into it....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time to change the Rabbit catcher

Telegraph | News | Speed camera fines used to buy plasma TVs and T-shirts

Speed camera operators are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds from fines on refurbishing premises and buying plasma television screens and staff T-shirts, new figures reveal.
The "safety camera partnerships", formed by police and local authorities, now spend £95 million running their nationwide network of 4,650 cameras.

Many of their costs are unrelated to road safety, and critics say they have become "fully fledged quangos", wasting huge sums of money and adding to widespread suspicions that speed cameras are merely "revenue-raisers".

I thought I would have a look at my favourite Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership audit certificate and draw out the numbers.
Oh look - Costs shadow revenue nicely. Looks like a self serving quango to me - I mean if they were actually discouraging speeding surely by now the number caught would be going down wouldn't they?


My father used to say "never employ the same rabbit catcher for more than two years" - if you did he had no incentives to catch all the rabbits, a few breeding pairs would always "escape" wouldn't they. I suggest that it is time to change these "rabbit" catchers as it looks like they are naturally more interested in looking after their own comfort and incomes than anything else....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 28, 2006

Mother Earth

Detail from one of the hunting photos below compared to a detail from an Amedeo Modigliani "Reclining Nude".
Is it just me?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Opening Meet


Through the red veil of a hangover from drinking with Mr FM and Mr NBC last night I wandered off to grab a port and sausage roll at the Opening Meet.
As always the hospitality was generous and there was a good turnout. There is something about smartly turned out fillies that always pleases.
The meet was in the small hamlet of Huish nestling under the Marlborough Downs - in the background there was the small chapel where David Niven married Primula Susan Rollo in 1940 and where she was buried after her untimely death.
After a few rousing words from the Master, emphasising that they were staying with in the Law by only hound exercising and a bit of trail following, they were off, hooves clattering down the street reminding me of how somethings stay the same, and how some people hate us for wanting it to stay so..
Where ever you are "Good Hunting!"
Whoops - a small accident, the hounds picked up the scent of a fox round the lambing pens, but no harm done (apart from to the fox) and it is off for some fun away from the roads and spectators...

Posted by The Englishman at 12:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 27, 2006

Final Paddy Update

First Published 25 October 2005:

This blog likes to be inclusive and celebrates diversity so for the pig lovers amongst us here is an update on Patrick the Glos Old Spot trainee Boar.
He has been growing at a couple of pounds a day and seems to have done the dirty deed. Expect news of piglets in Dec.
Here he is choosing a warm place to sleep (unwisely?) and also his Churchillian pose.
Image taken on 10/10/2005 19:16
Image taken on 10/10/2005 19:16
Image taken on 10/10/2005 19:22

I sorry to say no piglets ever arrived and Paddy developed a name as the "Gay Boar", call me a homophobic speciest but with his arthritis getting worse (maybe he just had a bad back) I'm afraid he went off to the kennels today to feed the hounds. I'll miss the old bugger, but young Max is looking like a promising replacement.

Off to the pub with Mr NBC, Mr FM and Old Don to drown my sorrows - and no Pork Scratchings for me thanks..

Posted by The Englishman at 5:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who's running the asylums?

BBC NEWS | England | Gloucestershire | NHS defends £400,000 hospital art

Health service officials have defended a decision to spend £400,000 on modern art sculptures following criticism.

The artworks have been installed in mental health facilities across Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the former county of Avon.

James Gray, Conservative MP for North Wilts, said the scheme was "ludicrous" when there was a beds shortage.

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust claim the sculptures benefit patients.

... AWP medical director Susan O'Connor said: "The arts can play a vital role in creating a healing environment and this is particularly important in mental health.

"Involving service users and carers in the development of the arts commissions was very important and everyone is delighted with the results."

The health trust has been further criticised for spending £100,000 evaluating the project.

The current Mental Health Review in the area - sets a target:
"To achieve financial balance by
commissioning financially sustainable mental
health services. At present the two PCTs
collectively spend £25.4 million on NHS
mental health services in Kennet, North and
West Wiltshire, the majority of which are
provided by AWP. Currently these local
services cost £2,750,000 more than the
available funding and consequently both
AWP and the PCTs are in deficit. All NHS
organisations are under great pressure to
achieve financial balance and deficits have to
be paid back. Services therefore have to be
delivered differently to achieve a balanced
financial position as well as to meet local and
national needs..."

So the odd half million here or there spunked up the wall on pictures won't matter then as there are still a few beds and nurses left to be cut first. And £100,000 to evaluate how wonderful it all is shows how the managers are running the system for themselves and their form filling...

Posted by The Englishman at 3:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Great Bovril Taste Test

On test today we have a jar of Original meaty Bovril - from before they went Veggie, a Jar of Ersatz Bovril, a jar of the new Beefy Bovril, Chicken Bovril and Marmite.
I tried them all blind on white bread with butter:
Old Bovril - a good mature almost gamey smell, tastes of the bottom of the roasting tin - (As its "Best before Date" is Oct 05 it may have matured but it was still in fine condition.)
Veggie Bovril - Beery smell, like Marmite without the salt.
New Bovril - Sweeter, blander smell to the original, odd almost chemical notes to the taste but nearly as good as the original, maybe it needs maturing?
Chicken Bovril - my favourite - sweet, salty roast chicken in a jar - but I couldn't find it for sale anywhere yesterday, they haven't withdrawn it have they?
Marmite - Seems very salty after the Bovrils and not as complex or as an interesting a flavour.

So there you have it, the old champ is back and in pretty good form.

Posted by The Englishman at 11:31 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

"Show him your cross" - Arch Bish

Let people wear cross or veil, says Archbishop - Britain - Times Online

I can't hear about the public display of religious symbols without remembering this...

Two nuns, Sister Catherine and Sister Helen, are traveling through
Europe in their car. They get to Transylvania and are stopped at a
traffic light.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a tiny Dracula jumps onto the hood of the
car and hisses through the windshield.

"Quick, quick!" shouts Sister Catherine. "What shall we do?"

"Turn the windshield wipers on. That will get rid of the abomination,"
says Sister Helen.

Sister Catherine switches them on, knocking Dracula about, but he
clings on and continues hissing at the nuns. "What shall I do now?"
she shouts.

"Switch on the windshield washer. I filled it up with Holy Water at
the Vatican," says Sister Helen. Sister Catherine turns on the
windshield washer.
Dracula screams as the water burns his skin, but he clings on and
continues hissing at the nuns.

"Now what?" shouts Sister Catherine.

"Show him your cross," says Sister Helen. "Now you're talking," says
Sister Catherine.

She opens the window and shouts, "Get the fuck off the car!"

Posted by The Englishman at 7:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Stern report - Junk Science

Bad Climate Science Yields Worse Economics

By Steven Milloy - of JunkScience

The British government is preparing to fire a new round of global warming alarmism at the U.S. next week.

Her Majesty’s Treasury is scheduled to release the “Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change,” as it’s called, on Oct. 30.

While the precise contents of Sir Nicholas Stern’s report are not yet available, Stern’s report apparently claims that climate change could cause the worst global recession in recent history, according to a report in the UK newspaper The Guardian (Oct. 26).

This bizarre conclusion – which somehow spins the higher energy prices and reduced energy available associated with greenhouse gas regulation into an economic boon – should come as no surprise...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

If it’s less urgent than 999, 101 it! - No, don't bother actually...

Telegraph | News | Labour drops its non-emergency national number

A key Labour law and order pledge to set up a national non-emergency number to divert calls from the 999 system is to be shelved.

Ministers have decided not to extend the programme beyond pilot areas where it has been running over the summer.

The retreat has been signalled in confidential briefing papers leaked to The Daily Telegraph. They include guidelines to press officers on how to sustain a line that the scheme, which has cost millions to set up, has been a success. They are told to deny to callers that an election promise has been broken because phase one of the network has been introduced.

Interestingly Wiltshire Police in a Briefing Document entitled "CONFIDENTIAL - not for publication" - but put up on the web here reveal how the local Rozzers have already spent £100,000 developing a detailed proposal to apply to run one of these numbers in "Wave 2" and that "it is envisaged that the implementation bid will exceed £1 million and the operational bid will be approximately £850,000 per annum based upon the Home Office target volume of 30% of the population calling once in any one year. Implementation funding will be subject to a cash limit agreed at the outset. Ongoing funding will be paid on the basis of a fixed sum for the first 100,500 calls p.a. (15% of the population) and a sum per call thereafter (likely to be in the region of £3)."
They go on to note a range of potential problems but conclude:
"....however the potential benefits, both financially and customer service-wise, are deemed to outweigh these risks.
Diversity Assessment: There are very significant diversity implications for this project. The service provided will cater for different languages, as well as a range of different ways to contact 101 e.g. phone, e-mail, internet, text and textphone. The project will be aiming to provide levels of service to minority communities that are not currently available

Across the country £1.83 million has been blown on preparing for "Wave 2" - all to written off as yet another Home Office IT fiasco.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 26, 2006

More on Green Parking Fee scam

Neil Herron: Illegal Green Parking Fines

This latest scam has hit all the news wires.
What no-one has yet reported is that it is illegal under the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act for a local authority to make a profit from the provision of such residents parking places. A levy to cover the administration cost is all that can be charged.
There has been a case ... Camden v Cran before Justice McCullough 1995

The man is a hero yet again for pointing out once more how the councils ride roughshod over the law - why didn't any of the highly paid experts in the papers pick this up?

Posted by The Englishman at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The beginning of the end?

What has four letters, begins with E and is slowly killing half of Europe? - Comment - Times Online

The Iraq invasion, disastrous though it has been, may not go down in history as the greatest political blunder of the past decade. That dubious honour will probably belong to an event most people still regard as a triumph: the creation of the euro. What we see today, not only in Italy and Hungary, but also in the other relatively weak economies on the southern and eastern fringes of the EU, is the beginning of the end of the European project. And if the euro project does turn out to be the high-water mark of European unification, then history will judge it a far more important event that anything happening in the Middle East.

Nothing in this interesting article I would disagree with except the assertion that the creation of the euro is seen as a triumph by most people, but if it is they are waking up to the disaster it is.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Teasing Tony

Telegraph | News | Tories taunt Blair with prospect of prison

Mike Weir, the Scottish Nationalist MP for Angus, kept up the pressure. "When he is interviewed by the Metropolitan Police, what innocent explanation will he offer for the fact that 80p in every 」1 donated to the Labour Party came from people who were subsequently honoured?" the MP said.

Mr Blair side-stepped the question, saying he had "absolutely no intention" of debating those issues with Mr Weir.

Or put it another way Princess Toni refused to answer a question properly put to him in the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Question time. I bet he was stamping his little kitten heels in rage - I am sure anyone who was such a pretty boy at Fettes has no desire to go back to sharing the showers again....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can't get the staff these days.

clth_doll_sm.jpg In a tearful interview in the saloon bar of "The Wrinkled Retainer" Sir Jocylen Singer-Pterude-Song, known as "Mad Jo" after the incident with the kudu dung, the whip and the rioters, defended his actions in buying a "picaninny" at the market when on safari.
"The poor little bugger looked quite lost and abandoned as his mother went into Mr Ali's shop to buy a length of cloth", Mad Jo explained. "And it struck me here was my chance to give myself a better sort of life."
"The old family pile has never been the same since Uncle Ernst shot the last of the liveried servants for passing the port the wrong way and quite frankly how do you expect to run a decent shoot without enough chappies to set up the picnic tables and travelling silver service in the far covert. And the locals are bloody useless, threaten to burn their cottages down and they are still bloody lippy."
So I scooped little "Sam" up, popped down to the District Commissioner's Office, bunged a bit of Wonga down and hey presto he was mine.
Damn smart he will look too, in fact if it wasn't for the bloody press people causing a rumpus and frightening the pheasants I would be sending out for a another one to make up a matching pair. Still don't let my troubles put anyone off, everyone has room for a few so do your bit to restore proper standards and get a couple yourself. I understand that me neighbours down the road in old Beaton's place have done the same. Went shooting there last year, damn fine hocks on the American girl, didn't catch her name, but the mouth on her! Needed a lesson or two on how we behave over here, I would have bent her over my knee and given her a sound smacking...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Westminster Gossip - Trendy Eco-tory leaves wife for man

Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: And They Say A Dog Is A Man's Best Friend... teases..The Telegraph reveals.

....I hadn't realised I was meant to think he was straight in the first place...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 25, 2006

Lib Dem Hot Air

BBC NEWS | UK | Parking fees linked to emissions

The cost of residents' parking permits could be linked to the emissions their car produces, under plans from one London borough council.

The Liberal Democrat council in Richmond, south-west London, hopes to make owners of gas-guzzling vehicles pay more to park outside their homes.

The owner of two high-emission cars could pay £750 a year for parking, compared with the £200 they pay now.

But it would cost nothing to park environmentally friendly cars

Am I being as dim as a Liberal Councillor or are the carbon emissions of a parked SUV not the same as those of a Prius or a knitted Tofu bicycle? Nothing, nil, zero?

Posted by The Englishman at 8:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What's a girl to do?

I've got nothing to wear - I tell you the panic before dressing for a ball is nothing to the panic in The Castle this morning. The Boy and I are going out on the first shoot of the season. My trousers have shrunk around the waist over the summer and don't fit, the tattershall shirts ditto round the neck. The holey shooting pullovers were sent to Ethiopia as being beyond repair and not replaced - thank God it is not a posh shoot as I am going to be breaking every shooting dress code that goes...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

An Englishman's house is the Councils

Telegraph | News | Law to open door to council tax valuers

Council tax inspectors will be given the right to enter homes and fine householders who refuse to cooperate under a new property revaluation scheme, the Conservatives claimed last night.

They accused ministers of "covertly" pushing through new laws that would give the inspectors power to levy fines of up to £1,000 to back up a revaluation that could see council tax bills soar.

The new powers are due to be rubber-stamped today by a little-noticed committee of MPs dealing with delegated legislation reforming the domestic rating system in Northern Ireland.

The Conservatives said Ulster was being used as a testing ground for a looming council tax revaluation in England, which will put extra charges on homes that have double glazing, a scenic view, a swimming pool, or have more bedrooms than average.

The order extends the power of entry for gathering information to domestic properties in Northern Ireland, and obliges the occupier to give reasonable assistance when information is being sought for valuation.

Where a person fails to give reasonable assistance to a valuation officer, they will be guilty of a new offence and liable to a fine of up to £1,000. The offence will be recorded by local police and courts. A further £200-a-day fine can be imposed if householders continue to refuse to cooperate.

The powers are tougher than those already in England, where a fine of up to £500 can be imposed on anybody who "intentionally obstructs" Valuation Office Agency inspectors.

We have covered the existing law here before and how Labour lied about it last December - so don't believe any denials you hear today.
Snodgrass is going to come barging in photographing the inside of your home whether you want him to or not.

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October 24, 2006

The morning of the 24th October - A long time ago part 3

The armour must be through by first light, and it’s already half past five The sappers have made it, however, and as dawn breaks the two heavy squadrons of the Royal Wilts begin to trickle through the far side of the gaps and move slowly up to the summit of the ridge. All may yet be well.
And, as the dawning day steals the colours from the pyrotechnics in the sky, the strangest of scenes is revealed. A sort of orderly confusion reigns everywhere and the activity is intense. Within the minefields themselves small segregated battles are still raging where enemy pockets of resistance are being mopped up with fierce determination. For those individuals concerned, their immediate struggle is as important as anything else in the whole operation The gaps in the minefields are cluttered up with mechanical contrivances of all kinds. Shermans, Grants, Valentines and Crusaders take up most of the space, but soft-skinned vehicles jostle for what is left with the anti-tank guns and supporting weapons which are trying to get up to the infantry. Droves of surly prisoners axe herded along whilst doctors fuss around in jeeps, and ambulances go quietly about their business. Wounded men are dressed and propped up along the sides of the tracks to be picked up later. Others, less fortunate, are tidied out of the way of the oncoming troops. In one place a stretcher bearer is going through the pockets of a dead British soldier. He comes across some snap-shots. Bathing at Tel-Aviv. A cheerful waving group of healthy looking young men! He covers the dead mans face, places the photographs under the steel helmet on his chest and passes on.
The mine sappers are pressing on as fast as they possibly dare with their steady routine of detecting, marking, lifting and so on. The infantry up forward are fighting grandly to hold the positions they have so dearly won ... whilst they wait for the armour to come up. But the tanks are not so very far behind now. If only the sappers can clear that last obstacle it won’t take them so very long to get to their final objective. Already, although this is their first experience of this kind, the men are settling down to it. The strangest jobs so soon become routine in the army. There is even a military policemen walking about in the minefields asking people for their identity cards A necessary precaution this, as a matter of fact, ridiculous as it may seem. All kinds of spies and observers might be drifting about. There is also a minefield “ traffic cop ‘—a peculiar job indeed. But routine must go on, even in the waiting tanks where some of the crews are filling in the time with a “spot of maintenance” now that it’s light enough to see. What a business it all is
Meanwhile, how has the battle been going? To General Freyberg in his Tactical headquarters the news seems better around six o’clock in the morning. The gaps on his 6th Brigade front are reported clear. The supporting arms and the tanks are said to be moving up. And so they are, but all is not well with the Royal Wilts. Those in the rear of the column have been speculating about the origin of a new addition to the carnival of noise which is going on around then. Something different, this one. Deeper and more earth shaking than the rest. Woomph This is quite unmistakable. A very sinister sound. Big aerial bombs, perhaps? But they really know instinctively what causes those noises, even though they have never heard them before. Mines! But why mines? Something must have gone wrong. The first squadron ought to have been clear of the minefields by now. There are no mines where those noises come from. Or shouldn’t be, according to the air photographs. But Woo-umph There it goes again. And this time there is no mistake. A spurt of flame appears in the distance through a gap in the fog and quickly grows into a flaming mass. Little figures jump out and run for their lives as the sand spurts up around them in the eerie light from the burning tank. For it is a tank. They can see that clearly now....

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Laodong jiaoyang 劳动教养

For me the day brings the joy of "Reeducation through labour" - I will report back on the " Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership Workshop" on the evils of speeding I have been summoned to attend.
Memo to self - be a good boy and no sarky comments otherwise you may have to start wearing a red triangle as a dissident, or a green one as a criminal...

UPDATE: The penny drops.

Why does the Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership offer Speed Awareness Workshops as an alternative to a fine and points?

Official Answer: Because they just want people to drive safer and the money isn't a factor.

Unofficial Answer: Britain's speed camera system is run by more than 40 regional road safety partnerships, made up of representatives from police, courts and councils.

The partnerships are funded by the Department of Transport, which demands that each region gives target figures for the number of motorists they plan to catch speeding over the next year. If these targets are not met, then Whitehall cuts the size of its funding.

This has the effect of making the local partnership set low targets, rather than risk losing cash by falling short of predictions. And that is good news for the Government, since the system is geared so that any extra fines go to the Treasury. (source)

But as the Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership knows they are going to catch more motorists than their quota the local unit has no interest in sending those "extra" fines to Gordon. But if they run a workshop then the motorist doesn't pay a fine, he pays the Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership who get to keep the money, apart from having to rent a cheap room and whiteboard...

No that is silly - I must keep repeating the "Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership are not interested in the money..."

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Health Vouchers

The Times: PATIENTS with chronic conditions would be given individual budgets worth thousands of pounds to manage their own care, under plans to be put to Tony Blair’s new public services policy group.

In an extension of plans to widen patient choice, people with long-term needs, including palliative care, would receive NHS credit, equivalent to the cost of services provided, conventionally, by the health service. For a diabetic, for example, the sum would be about £2,000 per year.

Patients with such conditions would have a choice between a package of care from the NHS or credit that they could control directly. They could spend some of the money privately if they wished, provided they stayed within the budget.

Now extend that to all patients, and then education and if you make that Labour policy I will be out on the streets waving a red banner saying "Vote Labour" and singing L'Internationale...

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Toni's Brave New World

Telegraph | News | DNA database 'should include all'

Tony Blair called yesterday for the national DNA database to be expanded to include every citizen.

He said there should be no limit on the development of the database because it was vital for catching serious criminals.

The Conservatives accused him of attempting to expand the DNA database by stealth and called for Parliament to vote on whether details of people who were innocent or not charged should be included against their wishes.

The Prime Minister said the public backed the extended use of DNA .. but he doesn't want us to debate it or have our representatives vote on it! Or is he too high and mighty now to worry about simple things like democracy. The Tories are right to concentrate on pointing out the need for informed debate and consent otherwise all we get is the "soft on crime" counterattack.

But I bet they don't raise the point that with free travel through the EU unless all the peoples in all the subjugated nations are on the database what's the point?

And why not start by first concentrating on stopping some crimes that never should happen -
ONE in five of the most high risk and dangerous offenders under supervision in the community broke the terms of their freedom or committed a further serious violent offence, according to figures published yesterday.

Overall, the figures show that more than 60 serious offences — defined as murder, attempted murder, rape, arson, manslaughter, kidnap and armed robbery — were carried out by offenders under the supervision of the probation service and other agencies. (The Times)

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England will be heard

The Daily Telegraph Letters

24 October 2006

Sir – The current "post-devolution settlement" is iniquitous to England.

Scotland and Wales have their own Parliament and Assembly, and yet are still over-represented in the House of Commons; the West Lothian Question has yet to be answered – why should Scottish and Welsh MPs preside over English matters when MPs representing English constituencies have no reciprocal right?

And the long-discredited Barnett formula, the system by which regional funding is allocated, remains grossly unfair to the taxpayers of England.

It has been nearly 10 years since the people of Scotland and Wales were consulted in a referendum prior to devolution. No such courtesy has been extended to the people of England, and our politicians seem reluctant even to allow open debate on the subject.

Dividing England into "regions", while leaving Scotland and Wales as "nations", is rightly unpopular and undemocratic. Stopping Scottish and Welsh MPs voting on English issues will cause as many problems as it solves.

The question of the establishment of an English parliament must be considered and the option placed in front of the electorate.

At a meeting in the House of Commons today, the English Constitutional Convention will be formally established, with the aim of promoting debate and raising public awareness of England's democratic deficit. As patrons to the convention, we urge the Government, Opposition and all the people of the United Kingdom actively to participate in that debate. England will be heard. The time for silence is over.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley; Lord Stoddart of Swindon; John Horam MP; Professor Hugo De Burgh; Professor Jeremy Dibble; Prof Roger Scruton; Dr. Gerald Morgan Trinity Dublin; Jervis Kay QC; Garry Bushell Journalist; Iain Dale Conservative commentator; Neil Addison Barrister; Mike Knowles, Chairman, Campaign for an English Parliament; Robin Tilbrook, Chairman, English Democrats; Christine Constable, Chairman, English Lobby; Bishop Michael Reid; Rev Richard Martin; Richard Long, Solicitor; Andy Smith, Past President, Chartered Institute of Journalists; Simon Lee, Lecturer, Hull University; Prof Charles Greenawalt

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October 23, 2006

Long ago on this night....

Under such circumstances a couple of hours can seem like an eternity. The bravest of these men must have some qualms. It is bad enough for those who are more or less ignorant of what is in store for them and only know that it is going to be just one more infernal battle, But for those who know the whole story it is a severe mental strain.
Yet, on the whole, the impression of their deportment is one of unnatural calm. Most of them have climbed out of their tanks and are sitting in small groups chatting or leaning against them. Some betray their feelings by small nervous gestures— the drumming of fingers or the aimless rolling and unrolling of little bits of paper. Some chew sweets. More than one has a good swig at a flask. A few rather forced jokes are cracked and greeted with equally forced laughter. These men are human and under considerable strain. But few there are, undoubtedly, who would willingly yield their places at this moment.
But time must pass, however slowly, and as the over-anxious glance furtively at their wrist watches they see that the longer hands are catching up the shorter on their journey to the appointed hour. Then, a little after half past nine, a searchlight appears behind the British lines. Nothing very remarkable in that, and it is solely for want of anything else to do that some of the waiting men watch it as it idles across the sky. And then another beam flashes on, some distance further down the line. As the minutes tick off, these two fmgers of light wander rather aimlessly amongst the stars.
But the gunners ate watching those searchlights. Eight hundred gunners are watching them with intense interest. And each gunner is behind a loaded twenty-
five pounder with a lanyard in his hand. They see the beams coming closer together -
four minutes - . three minutes . . two minutes . . one minute !
Then the two shafts of light clash and it seems as though all hell has been let loose. As one man the gunners tug their lanyards. The bombardment roars into the night. The party is on.
From where the Royal Wilts are waiting, the effect of this bombardment is beyond description. They are almost in the centre of the arc described by the mass of hurtling shells, and the whistling of their passage overhead is mingled with the staccato bask of the guns behind them and the crump of the shells bursting on the enemy positions to their front. Apart from this, the pyrotechnic display alone is awe inspiring. This is all right,” shouts a subaltern through the din. This is very good, but personally I prefer the Turf Club every time! His sally amuses those who hear it. They store it mentally, to be added to the One of the best remarks “ series for use in reminiscences after it is all over. But that subaltern does not know, of course, that it will be a very long time before he will see the Turf Club again, or anything like it. For such establishments form no part of a Prisoners of War Camp in Germany.
For fifteen ear-splitting minutes they thunder on, those guns. Sixty thousand rounds for the twenty-five pounders on our own Divisional front alone have been dumped by the New Zealand A.S.C. and the gunners are helping themselves freely. It is a twenty-to-one concentration and twenty troops of our own artillery are battering away at each enemy troop. No wonder their retaliation against our guns is negligible. Besides, we have gained tactical surprise. The enemy must have known that we were likely to attack. He probably even guessed that General Montgomery would take advantage of the moon. But he didn’t know just where or when.
Next comes the turn of the infantry. Theirs is the unpleasant task of following up dose under the artillery barrage and putting in the main attack. This is last war technique and it was dangerous enough then, but this time they have the additional hazard of having to pick their way through enemy anti-tank minefields....

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Never bring a shoe to a knife fight

It is admitted by recognised authorities that for an entirely unarmed man there is no certain defence against a knife.” So wrote WE Fairbairn in the definitive second world war commando training manual All-In Fighting, and what was true in 1942 is equally true against a malevolent hoodie’s blade today: the only surefire way to avoid being cut is to outrun your attacker.
Knife carrying is so prevalent these days — last year there were 169,400 violent crimes involving knives in England and Wales — that it’s always as well to assume that your menacer is armed.

The key to survival, according to Gary Wragg, a martial arts expert at Wu’s Tai Chi Chuan Academy in Bethnal Green, east London, is awareness. Do not make eye contact with your opponent (which will provoke him) but be mindful of his body language. A hardened streetfighter is likely to conceal his weapon until the last second so never allow him to get within striking distance. If he does, you must act.

If running is not an option, Wragg says, “always fight a weapon with a weapon”. Anything is better than your bare hands — a chair, a bottle, your belt or even your shoe

Readers from the lefthand side of the pond may have different advice to offer to that, but then we live in "the most frightened of youths" nation on earth.

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A long time ago in a place far away

The Divisional Cavalry was told that the battle (Operation LIGHTFOOT) was timed to start at 10 p.m. on 23 October prefaced by a terrific barrage, such as they had never before witnessed, which was to open up exactly twenty minutes earlier. The battle would consist of a break-in, ‘dog-fight’, break-out and pursuit. It might be over in ten days; it might last for a fortnight. All this depended on the enemy's capacity for punishment....
All day on the 23rd the men rested, perhaps impatiently, though the temper of the regiment was of a quiet, determined kind. They were not grim nor were they light-hearted. One who did not know his New Zealanders might say they were phlegmatic. But anyone who did know would read in their eyes and in their actions, as they meticulously polished their guns of the last speck of dust, that they were thinking of their natural job in an attack, the exploitation task, of which they had been so often robbed. Conversation centred round crew drill, or perhaps here and there they were discussing who next within the troop could make best use of the next pair of captured binoculars....(Source)

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The man who saved us

The man who saved Britain - Comment - Times Online

IDEAS SHAPE the world. Last week a very important promoter of ideas, Ralph Harris, died at the age of 81. The liberal economic ideas that he popularised in the 1960s and 1970s became the basis of the Conservative reforms of the 1980s, and have remained the accepted basis of the Blair administration.

No other British propagandist of ideas in the second half of the 20th century had anything like the same influence on national policy. Lord Harris of High Cross taught Margaret Thatcher. He converted a whole generation of politicians and journalists to the free-market ideas in which he believed; he converted most economists as well. We are all, or almost all, Harrisites nowadays...

Ralph Harris was a very likeable man who knew what he believed. He did not invent the ideas of a free society based on a free economy, but he did convert the British establishment from Fabianism to Thatcherism. His ideas — put into effect by Mrs Thatcher in the 1980s — saved Britain from the decline of 1960s and 1970s. The ideas that the IEA was advocating in the 1970s provided a large part of the intellectual basis of the Thatcherite revolution. He deserves a statue: he helped to save the freedom of his country.

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1,428,740 - Number of your life

The hidden price put on your life - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

£1,428,740 - that's how much you are worth.

Or at least that is the amount the Dept of Transport will spend to prevent one death on the road - of course on the sacred cow of the railways then nothing is too much - "John Prescott, the deputy prime minister and in charge of public transport, declared he would spend whatever it took to make rail travel safe: money was “no object”. He was true to his word: the European Rail Traffic Management System, intended to stop trains running red lights, is expected to cost between £3 billion and £6 billion. And it will save, on average, a life every 2½ years.

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October 22, 2006

The Good News from the Aral Sea

The BBC reminds us of when we first learnt of the Soviet disaster of the Aral sea and claims to bring us up to date on the eco-pessimism:

BBC : Aral Sea is 'world's worst disaster'

In spite of calls for international assistance to save the Aral Sea, efforts to stop the sea's evaporation by reducing water wastage or reducing irrigation have not yet materialised.

In June 2004, scientists predicted the sea would vanish within 15 years.

Strangely they don't actually bring us up to date - for that turn to the New York Times:

As a Sea Rises, So Do Hopes for Fish, Jobs and Riches - New York Times

The Aral Sea, which was once drained of 75 percent of its water, has this year taken on millions of cubic feet of new water years ahead of schedule, surpassing even the sunniest predictions made when a new dam was completed last summer.

With each month the water pushes back the desert just a little more.

The Aral Sea's 155-square-mile retreat from its original shoreline is frequently invoked as one of the 20th century's more jaw-dropping ecological catastrophes, a consequence of the Soviet-era policy of diverting the Aral's two main tributary rivers into canals to irrigate cotton plants across Central Asia.

Good news about man's capacity to undo some of the damage he has done - wonder why the BBC couldn't tell us that...

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A film about traitors

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Speed awareness

Some of you may remember I was nabbed by a Wiltshire and Swindon Camera Safety Partnership Cashpoint for going too fast - I knew there was a form of words I should have used as I informed them who was driving in response to their NIP and in accordance with Section 172 but I couldn't find them. Here they are:

PePiPoo: PACE Witness Statement

As this statement is provided under threat of criminal penalty [Funke v France] and as I have not received the caution required by paragraph 10.1 of PACE Code C [Mawdesley -v- the Chief Constable of Cheshire [2004] 1 All E.R. 58], I make this statement on the express understanding that it shall not be used or disclosed in any proceedings of whatever nature against myself.

I found it thanks to this:

Revealed: Hundreds of civilians are operating mobile speed cameras | the Daily Mail

Thousands of motorists could have their speeding fines refunded thanks to a landmark court case taking place this week.

A businessman will tell magistrates his penalty charge should be overturned because the hand-held camera that caught him driving over the limit was operated by a civilian and not a serving police officer...

Mike Morgan, who runs the anti-speed camera website www.pepipoo.com and will speak on the driver's behalf at the hearing in Devizes Magistrates' Court, Wiltshire, told The Mail on Sunday: "There is no question in our minds that the camera partnerships are acting outside of the law by using civvies instead of police officers.

"Police constables are considered to be officers of the Crown and, as such, are deemed to be able to form what is known as a prior opinion of excess speed. The camera or other device provides the secondary opinion - but one is not valid without the other.

"We have sought top legal advice and they agree that there is no Act of Parliament that gives the civilian camera operators the empowerment to give primary evidence - only a police officer can do that."

By coincidence on Tuesday instead of being in Devizes Magistrates' Court to get my 3 points I have been offered a Speed Awareness Workshop. (My old dog used to give me lessons in speed awareness, he would stick his head out the side window and the faster we went the bigger his stupid grin was... ) So I'm off to be re-educated. Though I might pop into the court before hand to see how the case goes, it might give some amusement as I sit on a cheap plastic chair being lectured at....

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Have I got news for you

Michelle Malkin: P.C. BBC

It was the day that a host of BBC executives and star presenters admitted what critics have been telling them for years: the BBC is dominated by trendy, Left-leaning liberals who are biased against Christianity and in favour of multiculturalism.
A leaked account of an 'impartiality summit' called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.
Political pundit Andrew Marr said: 'The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.'
Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biased against America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretly agreed to help him to 'correct', it in his reports. Webb added that the BBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it 'no moral weight'.

I can't really comment as I haven't watched BBC news for years, it got too expensive to replace the set after yet another object was thrown at the screen....

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Walk on by

BBC NEWS | UK | British adults 'fear youngsters'

Britain is in danger of becoming a nation fearful of its young people, new research has claimed.
British adults are less likely than their European counterparts to intervene to stop teenagers committing anti-social behaviour.

Nothing to do with the fact that anytime an adult does ntervene the police get huffy and insist they shouldn't and should leave it to the police and haul the adult off to the nick for "threatening" behaviour or the like.....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Trouble in Dingle

THE town of Dingle yesterday voted overwhelmingly that the Irish Government should give it back its English name.
Eighteen months ago the town became An Daingean — pronounced On Dangun — as part of the Government’s efforts to preserve the Irish language.
Votes were counted yesterday after a week-long ballot of about 1,300 residents. Only 70 voted against a return to Dingle/Daingean Uí Chuís.

John Moriarty, a leading restaurateur in Dingle, and at the forefront of the “yes” campaign, was jubilant. “This confirms what we always knew — that the arrogance of politicians is not tolerated by the people of Dingle,” he said.

Kerry County Council will now pass the results to Eamon O Cuiv, the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. In a lengthy statement Mr O Cuiv said that the plebiscite had no legal effect because an Order under the Official Languages Act — the law he used to strip Dingle of its English name — could not be revoked.

And politicians wonder at why they are not treated with respect! I hope that the people of Dingle show their respect with a few screwdrivers and pots of paint and return their town to the name they want.

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England - a second class nation

Telegraph | News | The great divide

Anne Reay, 30, and her husband, Andrew Walker, 58, look upon the River Tweed, a mile from their log home in Northumberland, in much the same way as Mexicans regard the Rio Grande: it is what divides them from a more prosperous life. The only difference is that it's easier to cross, something the couple are planning to do next year.....
It is no accident that residents north of the border seem to get a better deal from their councils and the NHS. In the tax year 2005/06, according to the Government's Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis 2006, English residents benefited from public spending of £6,762 per head. Scottish residents, on the other hand, are indulged to the tune of £8,265 per head: 22 per cent more. It is a gap that has widened over the past generation....The results of extra state spending in Scotland are everywhere to be seen. ...
Yet, in spite of all the extra public expenditure, three of the main parties in Scotland, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Nationalists are all reported to be considering campaigning in next year's Scottish Parliament elections on a ticket of cutting income tax. They are able to contemplate this thanks to a clause in devolution legislation that allows the Scottish Parliament to vary the basic rate of income tax by up to 3p in the pound. Until recently, given the Scottish Parliament's propensity for lavishing money - not least on its own building, which ended up costing 10 times its original budget - it was widely presumed that Scottish income tax could only go up. In addition, Scottish Tories have promised to halve council tax for the elderly, in contrast to the lack of tax pledges made by David Cameron south of the border.

Go read the rest - it is refreshing to see one of the invisible elephants in the room politic revealed for a moment - will others follow it up?

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October 21, 2006

Guns with Character, with added Wadworth's Beer

Devizes & District Miniature Rifle League

Celebrating the League’s 100th year and the development of the British Service Rifle

The competition is open to clubs affiliated to the League. Clubs may enter all their registered riflemen for the INDIVIDUAL COMPETITION. Of these entrants the earliest to shoot each evening will also make up the club team for that evening for the TEAM COMPETITION.

At each range, each rifleman will have 3 sighters, to gain familiarity with the rifle, and 7 shots to count.
Shooting jackets, gloves, elbow pads and orthoptic glasses will not be allowed.
Scoring: Bull 5 points, miss 4 points. All shots spotted.

Range 1. Conservative Club .22 Martini-Henry rifle (c. 1874).
Range 2. New Inn .22 Lee-Metford rifle (c. 1888).
Range 3. Rowde Village Hall .22 SMLE rifle (c. 1902).
Range 4. Lamb Inn .22 No.4 rifle (c. 1939).
Range 5. Eastwell, lanes 1 & 2 .22 L1A1 rifle (c.1958).
Range 6. Eastwell, lanes 3 & 4 .22 L85 rifle (c.1980).

Now that is a line up of guns to drool over - and any Conservative Club that can offer a Martini Henry to shoot are my sort of Conservatives - I wonder if Dave knows.....

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Paul Linford reminds me of "The Aberfan Disaster, which took place 40 years ago" today.
One of my earliest memories - I was the same age as many of the primary children who died that awful day - I can remember my red-eyed mother listening to the news on the Robert's Radio in the kitchen. When you have children you will know how personal the suffering of any child is.

BBC NEWS | Wales | Reflecting on a lost generation

The National Coal Board, which owned the mines and tips, tried to claim it was an act of God.

Lord Robens, the board's chairman, blamed a natural spring which had been pouring water into the heart of the tip, but said it was impossible to know it was there.

That was untrue however. It had been common knowledge in the village. People had previously voiced fears about the tip's safety.

Conclusions from a tribunal of inquiry set up to investigate the disaster were scathing. The coal board was condemned for its weaknesses and failures, the government criticised, but no one was ever prosecuted, fined or dismissed

The disaster caused an outpouring of grief, and £1.75m flooded into the village. Then came the second blow.

Afraid the tips that remained could slip again, the villagers wanted them removed. When their demands weren't met they dumped bags of slurry in the Welsh office.

The government finally agreed they should be removed, but the village had to pay £150,000 from the disaster fund towards the work...

"I was scandalised by the behaviour of Lord Robens and chiefs of the coal board, the failure of anyone in authority to understand the traumas of the people of Aberfan and the failures of the government - the most notorious forcing the fund to pay for the removal of the tips."

The cash was eventually repaid 30 years later but without interest payments, and is money the village says is now needed to maintain the graves. .

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October 20, 2006


Telegraph | News | Muggers and robbers defy the fall in crime

Street crime and violent robbery continues to rise in England and Wales, according to the latest official figures published yesterday.

But the number of overall offences, especially burglaries and car thefts, has fallen to its lowest level for 15 years, Home Office statistics showed.

Burglaries are down because cheap imports from the far east mean second hand TVs and videos are worthless, and car crime - modern cars have locks that actually work, so nothing there to praise the Home Office for.

The level of street robbery is now almost back to where it was before Tony Blair ordered a crackdown in 2002.

His "street crime initiative" helped to drive down muggings significantly by pouring police into 10 inner city crime hotspots. But since the money for the £80 million scheme dried up last year, the problem has returned.

Shows police on the street actually worked. As David Davis said:

"Instead of being on the streets fighting crime, our police are stuck behind their desks under an ever increasing burden of Labour red tape. In the event an offender is apprehended for violence or theft they are likely to be punished with the equivalent of a parking ticket. This is hardly a deterrent.

"The fact robbery has only recently started to rise since Tony Blair's street crime initiative proves what we have been saying for some time now: that more police on the street can make a difference.

"Now the Government's constantly shifting central targets have reversed that effect."

Where as the Rozzer's response is pure management bollocks.

Ian Johnston, a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "While violent crime and vehicle crime levels remain stable, robbery continues to be an anxiety, although the rate of increase has now fallen.

Don't slip the word "fallen" in there, my son, in the hope that we may not notice that the rates are still rising.

"Police forces continue to treat robbery as a priority in the areas it occurs, targeting high crime areas and tackling the issues that drive this crime, such as mobile phone ownership, the behaviour of young people and the vulnerability of key locations."

So you are tackling mobile phone ownership eh? What about tackling the toe-rags who commit the crimes.
The mental image I would prefer of Plod is not of him behind a mountain of forms at his desk but more like this young man who may not be playing rugby entirely within the rules but certainly looks to be effectively tackling - with a right hook.


Small prize for identifying the player....

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October 19, 2006

Fry the Flag

Fry The Flag!
No more fumbling with matches and paraffin - now you can torch the Euro rag from the privacy of your own desktop!

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For your browsing pleasure

Internet Explorer 7 is out of beta - I have been using it for a couple of weeks now and like it a great deal - in fact it seems to work a bit better than Firefox.. - runs from room as I am pelted with empty cans of Diet Coke and Jolt by Geeks..

Posted by The Englishman at 6:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Calling Marshal Wade!

SO PLEASED were Latvians to see the Queen on the second leg of her tour of Baltic states yesterday that they played all three verses of our national anthem. It was something the Duke of Edinburgh had not been expecting.

At a state luncheon in Riga, the capital, 100 guests stood for the anthems of the two countries. The locally recorded version of God Save the Queen was a rich choral treatment. As the melodious notes of the first verse died away, the Duke adopted the half-shut penknife position as he lowered himself back towards his chair.

Suddenly, in mid-squat, the choir boomed out the second verse. The Duke was forced into immediate reverse. Sensing danger, he remained standing as the second verse ended. Sure enough, a third verse followed, and when it finished he asked wearily in a stage whisper: “Is that all?” The Times

What a pity they didn't play all six verses - (below) - I find myself humming the final verse whenever I get sight of Gordon Brown's dour face on the television...

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.
O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
God save us all.
Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen
Not in this land alone,
But be God's mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world o'er.
From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the Queen!
O'er her thine arm extend,
For Britain's sake defend,
Our mother, prince, and friend,
God save the Queen!
Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Pay" you by not robbing you

BBC NEWS | Politics | Tory tax reform plans dismissed
...proposals by a Conservative Party policy group for a recommended £21bn a year in tax cuts.

Ed Balls Economic Secretary to Treasury: "The problem is there is no indication here at all as to how it will be paid for,"

..Tory leader David Cameron, who has also said he will not promise tax cuts unless they can be paid for...

Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell also criticised the plans.
"You can't produce plans for £21bn worth of tax cuts without saying how they would be paid for."

May I propose a simple rule of thumb - anyone who talks about "paying for" tax cuts should be hung up and beaten like a piñata donkey until the shit runs out of them. Tax cuts are not "paid for" - muggers do not "pay for" the money they don't mug. They may have to be "budgeted for" but to have the frame of mind that the Government "pays" people for not mulcting their honest earned money shows the statist bastards for what they are.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 18, 2006

The stink isn't from the farmyard

Farms error official on gardening leave at £114,000 a year

THE senior civil servant who was removed from office seven months ago for the bungling of £1.5 billion in “green” payments to farmers is still on the government payroll, earning £114,000 a year.

While more than 3,000 farmers are still waiting for last year’s cash for looking after the landscape, Johnston McNeill, former chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency, even received a bonus of £21,062 for overseeing the new cash system after the Common Agricultural Policy was reformed...

Mr McNeill’s tenure at the agency resulted in such financial and bureaucratic chaos that costs for the farm cash scheme may end up almost five times over budget.
The original estimate of £75.8 million has been revised to a total cost of £258.3 million, without including fines imposed by Brussels for failing to pay 116,000 farmers in England by the end of June this year.

The salary arrangements for Mr McNeill are criticised as unsatisfactory by Phil Gibby, a director at the NAO, who said: “Allowing someone to remain on full pay for so long does not represent value for money.”

The sums are particularly galling for farmers who have already been told that there will be problems in payments for this year, normally due in December, and that it could take at least 18 months before computer systems are operating properly....

As the BBC points out:
BBC NEWS | UK | Mistakes 'cost UK farmers £22.5m' and that is only in direct costs, and doesn't include lost opportunity costs, and those lost opportunities are the reason why this fiasco has driven some farmers to bankruptcy and despair.

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October 17, 2006

A day in the life of..

BBC NEWS | UK | Blog aims to record everyday life

Thousands of people across Britain are expected to contribute to a project aiming to create an online archive of a day in the life of the country.
The National Trust is encouraging people to record a diary of their day on a website, as part of what is being called "Britain's biggest blog". ..
And the trust says the emphasis does not have to be on recording exciting events.

Historian Dan Snow said "the minutiae of what as many people as possible got up to on a normal boring day" was actually "quite exciting".

Share your boring day here

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Welcome to Englishman Television licenced and censored by your caring EU

The European Commission proposal would require websites and mobile phone services that feature video images to conform to standards laid down in Brussels.
The draft rules, known as the Television Without Frontiers directive, extend the definition of broadcasting to cover services such as video-on-demand or mobile phone clips....
... would hit not only successful sites such as YouTube but also amateur “video bloggers” who post material on their own sites. Personal websites would have to be licensed as a “television-like service”.
Viviane Reding, the Media Commissioner, argues that the purpose is simply to set minimum standards on areas such as advertising, hate speech and the protection of children.
(The Times)

Unfortunately I couldn't reply with the most appropriate response - surely someone must have a camera, a box of matches, half a pint of four star and be able to nick a Gold Starred rag...

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

No Videos found for 'eu flag burning'

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October 16, 2006

Random Tales from the Pub

So in those long off days when we were too young to drink at the Pub, and Maudie having been Landlady for 45 years she knew our ages, so we had to sneak off to the New Inn in a neighbouring village. Brian was a year or so older and possessed a Yamaha 250cc bike, we would follow on our push bikes. Now obviously this was tedious so Chas introduced the idea of a length of rope. Brian tied it to the back of his bike and as he drove past the front cyclist would grab it and be dragged to the pub. Brian would return and pick up the rest of the crew one by one.
Of course it was more interesting on the way back when several pints of Mr Wadworth's finest were on board. Big Al was telling me tonight of the time when as he cycled home on his Rudge Whitworth Brian gave him a drag and wondered how bright the dynamo could actually get.
Even though this was 25 years ago Brian was also in the pub tonight as well to confirm the story. As he said he turned off his lights, and as he pressed the throttle the dynamo lights gave a better and better light, so much so he suddenly thought to look down and noticed they were doing sixty.
He shouted to Al to let go of the rope, and as he stopped he watched as Al sailed past feet wide apart, the brake blocks steaming, the chain whirring, and Al missed the turning to the village completely.
Ah, Halcyon days...

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An apology to Mrs Englishman

For Sunday lunch yesterday, I slowly cooked overnight a shoulder of my own pork in a marinade of Madeira'd Onions and young peppers, fresh bay leaves, herbs and spices. The joint was then cooled, and then hot roasted with sea salt and thyme to produce perfect crackling. Potatoes were boiled, crisped in beef dripping, and then finished in olive oil infused with our own Rosemary. Also roasted in your oil were sweet potatoes and red peppers, carrots and tomatoes. To accompany it there was fresh apple sauce and a rich gravy, and a decent bottle of red. Mrs Englishman came in a tuck into the feast, and her only comment was; "Why aren't there any green vegetables?" I shouldn't have lost my sense of humour, so I apologise.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:48 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Och Mon - I'm The Law

THE government is to extend the power to issue on-the-spot fines to “authority” figures other than the police. They could include teachers, council workers and even RSPCA inspectors, who would be given the same right as police officers to mete out summary justice for offences expected to include vandalism, antisocial behaviour and theft. ..
The proposal is contained in clause 15 of the Police and Justice Bill. It enables John Reid, the home secretary, to give any “persons” the power to hand out fixed-penalty notices of £80 or £100. Reid would be able to do this whenever he deemed it “necessary” and without primary legislation in parliament. (The Times)

Rather than read my intended intemperate rant on this usurpation of Justice I suggest you see the wise and measured response of Adam Smith - http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/index.php/blog/council_workers_to_have_police_powers/

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Keep the poor man at the gate

Mother's Union: HONOUR thy father and thy Mothers’ Union, and the meek may yet inherit some kind of Earth.

Thou shalt abhor Kenyan green beans, nor shall ye drive to the shops when you can get the bus. Thou shalt turn thy central heating down and thy television off at night, and shouldst thou fly thou shalt plant a tree of penitence to offset thy carbon emissions. Thereby might the planet be saved.


“We seem to have this expectation that we have a right to all food products at all times of the year. We grow perfectly good green beans in the right season over here. We do not need them out of season. People say we should help Kenya’s balance of payments, but I am not sure the money reaches the most marginalised.”

The Mother's Union campaigns across the world for parental rights, international debt relief and an end to child poverty
(The Times)

And how does boycotting the goods they produce help the poor? Or do you prefer the charming picaninnies to come to the Mission for the hand out of gruel and religious tracts every morning to them having the dignity of working for a living?

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St George's Day in Trafalgar Square

Diwali lights up Trafalgar Square - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

Trafalgar Square was ablaze with lights as it hosted its sixth Diwali, the Hindu festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Prayers were followed by music and dance and a spectacular display of lights, firecrackers and floating lanterns

Must look fantastic, I'm all for it - but my curmudgeonly mind wonders why St George's Day isn't also celebrated so.
The Mayor is trying a little but reading his press releases he doesn't seem to really get it , does he?

Greater London Authority - Press Release - St George's Day and Vaisakhi celebrated in London

In Trafalgar Square people queued throughout the morning to have their pictures taken in front of a red or white backdrop. The resulting shots, including one featuring the Mayor and Olympic gold medallist Marlon Devonish, were added to a giant St George's flag erected in front of Nelson's Column. The aim was to underline people's support for the 2012 Olympic Games to come to London and opposition to racism in sport..

In 2006 St George's day was marked by a couple of traditional events and by "Charlie Chaplin was celebrated with a series of film showings on Leicester Square"

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Killing the Community

The local Tories were out in force on Saturday stopping people in the street and getting petitions signed under the banner:
Stop Brown's NHS cuts
They seemd to be getting a lot of support - but then I live in a Tory constituency where the local hospitals are under threat. If option "A" is adopted it will be nearly a thirty mile drive for me to my nearest one.

And I wasn't surprised at all by this in today's Times:

COMMUNITY hospitals that lie in Conservative or Liberal Democrat constituencies will bear the brunt of the Government’s closure programme, re-igniting accusations of political interference in the NHS.

The Times has learnt that seven times as many community hospitals have closed or are under threat in constituencies held by opposition MPs. There are 62 closed or at-risk hospitals in Conservative constituencies and 8 in Liberal Democrats seats, with 11 in Labour areas.

The hospitals threatend by closure are "old" - of course they bloody are, they were built and paid for by the local people before the N bloody H sodding S was even a wet dream of the socialists. Their closure is everything to do with centrist control and nothing to do with providing local needs.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 15, 2006

Sainsburys goes for the Béla Lugosi market..

(With warning magnified)
So not a toy then? It must be real then....
Further warnings: This cape does not protect against Silver Bullets and Wooden Stakes. Do not expose to Sunlight, Tumble Drying or Crucifixes....

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And the day after tomorrow isn't looking too hot either..

Pink Tories learn the art of being gay friendly - Sunday Times - Times Online

IT USED to be true blue, David Cameron gave it a greenish tinge and now it is going pink. The Conservative party has signed an agreement with Stonewall, the gay rights organisation, to turn itself into a model gay friendly employer and build up its appeal to homosexual voters.

And in other news today:

Tory tax cutters put squeeze on Cameron

DAVID CAMERON’S attempt to push tax cuts down the Tory agenda will be undermined this week by a report from the party’s own policy group recommending up to £21 billion of reductions to make Britain more competitive.

The Conservative Tax Reform Commission is expected to outline proposals to slash the basic rate of income tax, scrap inheritance tax for main homes and abandon the 10p starting rate of income tax.

The tax cuts would be worth more than £600 a year for higher earners.

The commission, chaired by Lord Forsyth, the former Conservative minister, will argue Britain needs lower taxes to compete in the world economy.

However, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, has emphasised the Tories will not rush into promising tax cuts and the party’s Thatcherite wing fears the report will be “kicked into the long grass”.

It will be kicked so far into the long grass it will be off the field completely - Dave has identified where his supporters come from and boring old fuddy-duddies who believe in stealing money from the state and putting it back in people's pockets are not there, it is the state's job to decide whose pockets it should go into.

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I hate Mondays

Telegraph | News | Brown's raid on pensions costs Britain 」100 billion

Gordon Brown's notorious "pension stealth tax" has reduced the value of retirement funds by at least 」100 billion, independent research has disclosed.

This is more than twice as much as the combined pension deficits of the country's 350 biggest companies.

The calculation comes at an unwelcome time for Mr Brown, who has tried to reassure voters that he will be a prime minister "for Middle Britain" as he seeks an orderly hand-over from Tony Blair.

And in other news today:

Focus: It's mine... all mine!
Britain’s tax burden is growing faster than that of any other European country, with middle-class taxpayers working nearly half of every year for the state. David Smith on the new high-tax economy...

Under Gordon Brown’s management the tax burden is rising sharply. A report last week from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the share of national income taken in taxes is rising more sharply than anywhere else in Europe. It now stands at 37% of gross domestic product (GDP).

There is apparently no alternative. A commission appointed by the Conservatives will report this week and recommend significant tax cuts, but its findings are set to be rejected by David Cameron, the Tory leader.

This is despite the fact that according to calculations by the accountants Grant Thornton, many middle-class households can expect to see half their income disappear in taxes, either when they earn it or when they spend it.

Remind me again why we should bother to go to work on Monday morning, what little we manage to keep for our old age is going to be stolen anyway....

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October 14, 2006

Baa to the Council

Telegraph | News | Year-long probe to find council heckler

It has taken more than 12 months and cost about £10,000 but a council is finally on the verge of discovering the identity of a man who kept saying "baa" during a planning meeting.

After a wide-ranging investigation, Havering council, based in Romford, Essex, has prepared a 300-page report, according to the Romford Recorder newspaper.

Unfortunately, the downside is that the prime suspect is no longer a councillor and is, therefore, beyond the scope of any punishment that it might want to mete out....

I hope the good citizens of Romford start a new tradition and shout "Baa" at any passing Councillor and interupt any official stuffed shirt speaker with farmyard noices..

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

A Rubbish Statistic for Kennet Council

Meandering back from the pub last night I thought as a public service I would survey residents' acceptance of Kennet Council's Bin Bugs. Out of five bins outside people's homes only three still had their bug in them. Looks like 40% of residents have risked Coun. Chris Humphries' wrath and threats and removed them....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

One for the Xmas stocking

The Times reports: A BOOK that rejects religion and argues for the non- existence of God is heading to be the No 1 bestseller for Christmas.

Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion is at the top of the bestseller chart of the online bookseller Amazon, and is climbing up The Times bestseller chart.

With Professor Dawkins about to travel to the US to publicise the book, sources in online sales say that his atheistic rant against all things religious is already trumping celebrity biographies....

Kes Nielsen, Amazon’s head books buyer, said it was rare for a serious scientific or philosophical book to top the UK charts. “It seems as though many people are bored with the superficial world of stardom that’s fascinated us for so long.”

See - people don't just want pap all the time - the book is on the shelf here in line to be read (I have all of his books in first editions, so count me in as a fan).

Posted by The Englishman at 6:49 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 13, 2006

Mine Your Own Business

A must see!


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Good News for the FMs - Bad news fo the Greens

DRIVERS of small and medium-sized cars are 50 times more likely to be killed in collisions with another car than drivers of 4x4s or people-carriers, according to the Department for Transport.

The safest cars, from the driver’s perspective, are the Land Rover Defender....(Full list)

Of course the usual voices are saying don't listen, buy a fartbox and save the planet - but maybe you might think that your duty to protect your family outways their whining protest, besides with a decent set of Roo bars on the front of the Landy you will not even notice the tree hugger waving a banner, and a quick pressure wash will remove unsightly Tofu stains...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:26 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

EU plans UK Biker Cull

The Times October 13, 2006
Motorists must switch on lights during day, EU says

Stephen Ladyman, the road safety minister, said that the move could result in more motorcyclists being killed. Motorcyclists tend to use their headlamps during the day to mark them out in traffic.

Speaking in a Commons road safety debate this week, Mr Ladyman said: “Because motorcycles use daytime running lights, they have greater visibility than they would do if everyone used such lights.

“Given that one of the most serious problems that we face in this country is to bring down sharply the stubborn rate of motorcyclist fatalities, we cannot afford to compromise an important safety concern for motorcyclists.”

But the minister added that he had been unable to persuade his counterparts in other countries to vote against the Commission’s proposal.

“I am increasingly pessimistic. The tide is running against me. A number of powerful states believe that it is a good idea. I believe that they think that it is a panacea and an easy solution to which their public will not object and which will help to reduce their casualty statistics,” Mr Ladyman said.

“I do not think that it will reduce their casualty statistics, but it will affect our casualty statistics. I will continue to fight the good fight, but I cannot promise that I will win.”

Mr Ladyman - So you are quite happy to let British Bikers be splattered across the tarmac because an unelected body can overrule the British Parliament, are you? Why do you bother to pretend that you and your colleagues have any say in ruling this country, why not give up and go home? Or should you try and do something about it?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Simple Simon met a Pieman

Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: Sion Shoots Himself in the Foot

Having broken bread with him at his table I'm reluctant to have a go at the prat Sion Simon so I will leave Guido and his commentators to do so....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Come Hunting

From Saturday 21st October, to coincide with school half term holidays, hunts across the country will be taking part in National Newcomers’ Week. This event is aimed anyone who has always wanted to find out more about hunting but has never known how to go about it, and hunts are issuing an open invitation to everyone.Contact Philippa Mayo on philippa-mayo at countryside-alliance.org for more information of your local meets or click here for a regularly updated list of confirmed meets.

That shows an openness and welcome that many other organisations could copy - so much for it being a secret hobby only open to select members.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 12, 2006

Today I have mainly been ....

The History Matters campaign has designated Tuesday 17th October a day for the public to record history. You are invited to contribute an online “blog” diary which will be used by the British Library as a record of ordinary life in Britain in 2006. Please take part in this project to ensure that life in rural Britain is reflected in the results.

Whether you are hunting or harrowing, fishing or farm shopping, milking or just walking the dog, please write it down! The website says that “on 17th October and for a week after it will be possible to upload your online diary

Go on give them a true picture of Britain..

(Hat tip Countryside Alliance - as you may have guessed from the sort of life they are talking about, but even if you are stuck in the smoke that day it would be worth while doing.)

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Lib-Dems - Please give generously

THE business that gave the largest financial gift to the Liberal Democrats was entirely fraudulent and had never traded, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.

The London-based finance company 5th Avenue Partners Ltd, which donated £2.4 million to the party, shunted investors’ money around Europe without their knowledge, Mr Justice Cooke said.

His judgment raises the stakes for the Liberal Democrats. The party has been resisting calls to return the gift, saying that it was accepted in good faith. (The Times)

Sir Ming was woken to hear the news and issued the following statement: "Eh? Eh? Half-past four, I've had my tea, thank you Matron, what, what? Money, what Money? If they are rattling a tin get the Butler to drop half-a-crown into their tin, send the buggers away, it will be Dick Barton on the Wireless soon and I don't want to miss it, oh and ask Cook to send up some crumpets please..."

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Bring back "On the Buses"

Race quotas 'needed to end divide in schools' - Britain - Times Online

STATE schools should introduce ethnic quotas into admissions criteria to break down the extreme segregation of pupils along cultural and religious lines, the head of the Local Government Association said yesterday....

It was unacceptable that non-white pupils should form 90 per cent of the population of one school, when white pupils formed 90 per cent of a neighbouring school down the road.

One solution, he suggested, would be for schools in areas with high concentrations of minority ethnic groups to incorporate some kind of ethnicity quota into admissions policies

It is all part of the 1970s revival isn't it? - it started with flares coming back into fashion, and now it is going to be bussing of kids acros the neighbourhood to fulfill race quotas - didn't the US give this up in the 1990s?.

Still it brings back memories of Blakey saying "I hate you Butler" while Jack had a quick grope with a clippy...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Speaking out against the propaganda machine

....While there is a fashionable queasiness about the big bad corporations influencing children to adopt unhealthy lifestyles, there is little queasiness about TV delivering the Government’s messages. Celebrity endorsements of crisps, cola and sugary food by the likes of Gary Lineker are denounced as a shocking manipulation of children’s minds. But somehow it is not shockingly manipulative when the Food Standards Agency advocates that broadcasters use — guess what — celebrities and cartoon characters to sell children 5 A DAY (five portions of fruit or vegetables a day) messages.

BBC Worldwide uses CBBC characters such as the Teletubbies and the Frimbles to brand food products deemed nutritionally sound. It appears that Ofcom’s problem is not about using cartoon characters or celebrities to influence children’s diet or lifestyle per se. Rather, if they are to be used, they have to endorse the right diet and lifestyle. And what is “right” is increasingly dictated by the State.

Policy placement threatens journalistic integrity and political accountability. When policy issues are the focus of current affairs programmes, the journalists must adhere to strict guidelines of veracity. The Paxmans and Snows keep a rein on the wilder claims of politicians. Such stringent broadcasting criteria do not apply when policy messages are delivered through entertainment formats. Kris Murrin, presenter of the misanthropic Honey We’re Killing the Kids, can get away with terrifying hapless parents into believing they are poisoning their offspring by letting them munch on a bag of crisps, without any cross-examination of her “facts”. Where is the evidence to back up Sainsbury’s poster boy’s litany of ill-founded contemporary prejudices against modern food? Shouldn’t St Jamie be challenged to explain how our digestive systems distinguish between the nutritional content of ciabatta with a drizzle of olive oil versus bread and dripping?

Policy placement is not just about diet. Just when Tony Blair focuses the domestic agenda on “the politics of behaviour”, we have a flurry of reality TV shows about changing people’s behaviour. The message is that private lives need mentoring and monitoring by third party “experts”..... Claire Fox - The Times

I'm sure someone somewhere is adding her name to a re-education course she will be "invited" along to...

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

October 11, 2006

An inconvenient truth maybe

Institute of Economic Affairs invite:

Mine Your Own Business - European Premiere
One Great George Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3AA
18:30, 01 November 2006
The Dark Side of Environmentalism...

A documentary by Phelim McAleer & Ann McElhinney.

Mine Your Own Business is a journey through the dark side of environmentalism. It demolishes the cosy consensus that environmentalists are well-meaning, agenda-free activists and shows them to be anti-development ideologues who think the poor are happy being poor and don't want the development that we, in the west, take for granted.
"Hundreds of years after we have become rich and comfortable by removing our forests and exploiting our natural resources such as coal, oil and gold we are now going to the poorest countries on the planet to prevent them from doing what we did and from having what we have. We want them to stay as 'traditional peasants' – a tableau vivant of pre-modern poverty western tourists can come to see on holiday — forgetting all the while that the poor people desperately want progress and desperately want to enjoy the good, healthy and long life we in the west take for granted.

Mine Your Own Business will make a lot of comfortable western people very uncomfortable indeed. It will show them the consequences of their blind faith in our new religion — the religion of radical environmentalism.

Phelim McAleer, Director,
Mine Your Own Business".

6:30pm doors open; 6:45pm Film Premiere; 7:50pm Q&A; 8:15pm Reception

either by email: iea@iea.org.uk
or by Fax: 020 7799 2137
or by Phone: 020 7799 8900

Posted by The Englishman at 8:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Hull - Fat, Stupid Men with Poor Sex Lives

EDINBURGH is fit and clever but Glasgow is drunk, dangerous and lazy, according to a survey.

Scotland's capital city has been named the fittest and cleverest city in the UK in a study by Men's Health magazine.

But Glasgow walked away with three less attractive awards.

It was branded the most dangerous, lazy and drunk city in Britain in the study...

But it isn't all good news south of the border...

Across the UK, Hull was named the most stupid place in Britain.

Which follows up this story...


Hull has been branded the 'fattest' city in the UK and the worst location for men looking to live a healthy life.
The city's men also have the least satisfying sex lives, it claims.

Wolverhampton, meanwhile, is the most sober city in Britain yet, perhaps not surprisingly, also the dullest in the survey, said the report.

:: The top 10 stupidest places in Britain are:

1. Hull
2. Stoke
3. Liverpool
4. Bradford
5. Glasgow
6. Wolverhampton
7. Newcastle
8. Nottingham
9. Leicester
10. Birmingham

And I hardly need to remind you who is an MP from Hull do I?

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Mussolini defends freedom - an idea for Iain Dale

Friends of the Amarone: MP drug expose' taken off the air

A television prank which threatened to expose widespread drug use among Italian MPs was suspended on Tuesday.
It was due to be included in Le Iene (The Hyenas), a popular satire show which begins a new series on Tuesday evening.
The show secretly tested 50 lawmakers for drug use with the results showing that one in three had apparently taken drugs in the previous 36 hours.
A total of 12 tested positive for cannabis and four for cocaine, according to Le Iene.
Amid parliamentary uproar over the prank, Italy's privacy authority intervened and ordered the piece to be deleted from the show.
....Alessandra Mussolini, hard-right MP and granddaughter of Fascist dictator Benito, said the privacy regulator's decision amounted to censorship.

I wonder what the results would be here - maybe 18 Doughty Street could try it out. My wish is just that more of our MPs looked like Alessandra Mussolini

Posted by The Englishman at 6:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 10, 2006

Valkyries 1 - Vatman 0 - what a result!

Rural opera house wins VAT victory for the arts

A SMALL country house opera company won a landmark Appeal Court battle against the Treasury yesterday over attempts to remove its VAT exemption on ticket sales.
The ruling, in favour of the Gloucestershire-based Longborough Festival Opera, has important implications for hundreds of other arts charities, many of which rely on tax breaks to survive.
Appeal Court judges ruled that Revenue & Customs wrongly stripped the opera company of its “cultural purposes exemption” after accusing Martin Graham, its founding trustee, of having a financial interest in the company because he had offered to underwrite losses in a production of Wagner’s 16-hour epic Ring Cycle. ...
Mr Graham said: “This decision has huge implications for all arts charities nationally right the way up to big organisations like the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne.

“Just about every major arts organisation is a charity, which means that we get all sorts of tax breaks. I suspect HMRC had a sinister motive in chasing such a tiny company on such spurious grounds. Had they been successful in destroying LFO they would have moved against many other much larger arts organisations . . . The attractions of these targets is simply their turnover. Imagine the tax brigands salivating at the prospect of 17.5 per cent of the Royal Opera House takings.”

Mr Graham celebrated yesterday outside court with members of the company dressed as Valkyries carrying the fake corpse of a VAT man. The company, which gives any profits to charity, specialises in productions by Wagner

Off out to play The Ride of the Valkyries full volume on the MP3 player as I walk the dogs!

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

Cameron D. - Must try harder

Labour neck and neck in the polls after conference season - Britain - Times Online

ANY Conservative bounce left after its conference last week was short-lived. The two main parties are at level pegging again as Parliament returns from its 11-week recess despite the leadership crisis that engulfed Labour in the summer.
... new Populus poll for The Times, undertaken over the weekend, showed that support for the Tories is unchanged from early September at 36 per cent. Labour has gained three points to reach 35 per cent and the Liberal Democrats are down two points at 18 per cent.

The poll suggests, however, that David Cameron would comfortably defeat Labour at the next general election in three or four years whether the party were led by Gordon Brown, John Reid or Alan Johnson. Support for the Tories would be 40 per cent or more in each of these cases with Labour reaching no higher than 34 per cent.

A small glimmer of hope there for the Tories but to only be on level pegging with the most corrupt incompetent lying bunch of bastards in living memeory isn't really good enough, is it?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Mother Tongue

Telegraph | News | English is in the minority for pupils

English is a foreign language for the majority of children in more than half the primary schools in central London.

Pupils with English as a second language or barely speaking it at all outnumber indigenous speakers at 348 of the 695 primaries and at 53 of the 132 state secondary schools in the capital.

David Willetts, the shadow education secretary, warned yesterday of the "heavy burden" being put on teachers and the danger of creating ghettos..

Meanwhile in Germany - the Germans are desperately trying to defend their tongue against a modern English invasion.

While the French have been fighting a losing battle against Franglais for years, the Germans are only now beginning to take seriously the threat to their language from the rise of Denglish – the bastard child of Deutsch and English....

Such developments have promp-ted Norbert Lammert, Germany's conservative parliamentary president, to launch an initiative that aims to win constitutional protection for the German language.

"Many countries, not only France, have done this," he said. "Last May, the American Senate declared English to be the country's official language to prevent Spanish assuming this role."

And in Italy:
An Italian academic has sounded the alarm over the “infiltration” of his national language by English terms — but admits that “the battle has probably already been lost”.

Seems I will have to move to the Continent if I want to speak English then....

Posted by The Englishman at 5:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 9, 2006

No Nukes News Here

CND Home page

No Trident Replacement
No US bombing of Iran
No Nuclear Power Stations

Nothing else happening to worry the CND crowd.....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:34 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Three Years ago

An Englishman's Castle: Wow After a day of nothing
To us a baby girl!

- Is it really over three years I have been blogging. Anyway she work up at six this morning so no more blogging today.
Happy Birthday

- With a lisp it sounds like a remake of Tommy here...

I'm free -- I'm free,
And I'm waiting for you to follow me.
I'm free -- I'm free,
And I'm waiting for you to follow me.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sign me up

- Sod them. Let's fly!
Taping Greenies to trees and rubbishing Climate change worries in a public information film and campaign, sign me up!


Oh Sorry, it is a spoof, shame because it seems rather a good idea!

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

October 7, 2006

Autumnal Morning

Finally Autumn has arrived - a brisk phone call " The hounds would like to meet at your place on the 6th January, OK?" As an animal lover how could I refuse the request from the doggies themselves?


Beaufort Hunt - with The Old Duke in the Wheelchair - 24 August 1922

Posted by The Englishman at 7:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 6, 2006

Climate Change Deniers - Lock'em up!

Whoever thought that serious commentators would want it made illegal to have a row about the weather? One Australian columnist has proposed outlawing ‘climate change denial’. ‘David Irving is under arrest in Austria for Holocaust denial’, she wrote. ‘Perhaps there is a case for making climate change denial an offence. It is a crime against humanity, after all.’ (1) Others have suggested that climate change deniers should be put on trial in the future, Nuremberg-style, and made to account for their attempts to cover up the ‘global warming…Holocaust’ (2).

The message is clear: climate change deniers are scum. Their words are so wicked and dangerous that they must be silenced, or criminalised, or forced beyond the pale alongside those other crackpots who claim there was no Nazi Holocaust against the Jews. Perhaps climate change deniers should even be killed off, hanged like those evil men who were tried Nuremberg-style the first time around.

Whatever the truth about our warming planet, it is clear there is a tidal wave of intolerance in the debate about climate change which is eroding free speech and melting rational debate.....

The rest at (Spiked)

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Vote Early - Vote Often

Play chess on your nearest e-voting machine | The Register

IT professionals in the Netherlands have demonstrated that the type of e-voting machines chosen by the Irish government for election counts can be secretly hacked.

Using documentation obtained from the Irish Department of the Environment, Dutch IT experts from anti e-voting group, "Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet" (We don't trust voting computers), went on the "Een Vandaag" television programme on Wednesday to reveal that NEDAP e-voting machines could be made to record inaccurate voting preferences and even be reprogrammed to run a chess program...

The NEDAP e-voting machines were originally purchased by the Irish government for use in the local and European elections on 11 June 2004. However, the decision to introduce e-voting at that time had to be abandoned following the publication of an interim report from the Commission on Electronic Voting (CEV), which raised doubts over the accuracy of the software used in the system....

The total storage costs for the machines is around €700,000 per annum and it's estimated that the e-voting system itself has cost the taxpayer between €52m and €60m.

Fergus O'Dowd, Environment spokesman for the Irish opposition party Fine Gael, has criticised the government over its e-voting strategy, claiming that it was a "debacle" that was getting worse by the month.

"It is frightening to consider that, were it not for strong resistance by the opposition parties, this country would have had e-voting foisted upon us by Fianna Fail and the PDs and would be forced to use it in the upcoming General Election," said O'Dowd.

I expect to see the Labour Party call for their immediate use over here in some key constituencies....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Reporting from th CPU front

FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES: Looks like Johny is living up to his reputation brings us stories uncovered elsewhere:

With the Taliban closer than 50 yards, Rifleman Nabin Rai, 20, manning a heavy machinegun on the roof, had several rounds ricochet off his weapon before a bullet went through the gunsight and hit him in the face. "His commander called for him to be medi-vacced out, but he refused to come down from the roof," said Major Rex. "Later he was again hit, this time in the helmet. He sat down and had a cigarette, then went back to his position."


The Gurkhas faced constant danger from several snipers and Taliban mortar teams. "The snipers had positions in buildings two rooms back with holes cut through the walls to give them a field of fire," said Major Rex. British troops could not show themselves during the day and a signaller was shot in the back, but survived his injuries. In response the Gurkhas flew in a specialist sniper. "It was cat and mouse for a couple of days," said Major Rex. "Then our sniper, Corporal Imbahadar Gurung, got four confirmed kills."

and compares it to his exciting life modelling a probability distribution of the forward curve by using a binomial numerical model.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 5, 2006

The voice of tolerance

BBC NEWS | England | Dorset | Row over councillor's gay 'joke'

Lib Dem councillor Michael Carlile, 41, said: "I urge, if we are truly going to embrace diversity, all members should have compulsory diversity training."

Presumably the diversity embraced doesn't include holding views that diverge from those of the Lib Dems norm in this brave new world...

Posted by The Englishman at 9:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's the Sun wot done it?

EnviroSpin Watch thinks he may be picking up "the first tiny rumblings of a paradigm shift in climate-change science?"

Well worth reading and welcome back!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'A propensity to play billiards well is a sure sign of a misspent youth


Posted by The Englishman at 6:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A poor widow's plea

BBC NEWS | England | Staffordshire | Killer's widow pension bid fails

A woman who killed her retired police officer husband has had her legal battle for a widow's pension dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

I suppose she based her argument on Lizzie Borden's plea that she was now an orphan...

(Lizzie was aquitted of the murders though she was followed everywhere by:
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one. )

Posted by The Englishman at 5:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Beware the wrath of Rover man

Binmen in stand-off at dawn - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

A man has won his battle to stop refuse collectors entering his street early in the morning and waking residents.

Chris Perry, 60, a part-time teacher, parked his Rover 75 across the entrance to his cul-de-sac in Winchester to stop dustcarts entering at the customary 5.45am.

The binmen threatened to ram the car, but he refused to move it. They called the police, who agreed with Mr Perry that they should not be waking residents so early. Mr Perry agreed to move the car on the condition that the binmen called their bosses at Serco, the council’s contractor. They were told that their rounds should begin no earlier than 7am.

Council officials said that most binmen had second jobs and so needed to finish early to get to other employment.

5:45 in the morning - what sort of time is that to be up and about?

Posted by The Englishman at 5:54 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Last feudal state?

Telegraph | News | Sark vote brings end to last feudal state in Europe

The tiny Channel Island of Sark, Europe's last feudal state, has voted to introduce a fully democratic government.

Last feudal state? No, not while England is ruled by unaccountable Cabals of Scots and Europeans.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 4, 2006

The Bin Bug Plague

BBC NEWS | UK | Many councils 'bug' rubbish bins

More than 30 councils are fitting microchips to wheelie bins ahead of possible "pay as you throw" schemes.

It is the latest attempt to encourage more recycling to curb the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill.

Household rubbish would be weighed to within 500 grams on collection trucks and the chips used to identify which property the bin belongs to.

Councils are expecting to get the go-ahead from the government to start using the chips to charge residents.

Many local authorities are in favour of "pay as you throw" and are already anticipating the changes, according to the information uncovered by BBC One's Real Story.

But Paul Bettison, chairman of the Local Government Association's environment board, appreciates that certain councils have taken the wrong approach.

"Any council that's issued chipped bins and hasn't informed their residents I would say has scored something of an own goal. We need to work with the public and it's sad that seemingly some councils didn't," he said.

So that is a slap to Kennet Council who slipped the bugs in without telling the residents and then claimed they were only to resolve disputes over bin ownership in cases where the bins had wandered!

But as I reported earlier -
Mr Paul Bettison, of the Local Government Association said: 'Removing one of these devices would not break any law as far as I know. But if in the future a local authority decided to charge for taking away rubbish, it would be within its rights to say to that person, "If you don't want to pay, we don't want to provide you with a service."' But he admitted that at the moment no action could be taken against protesters.

So here, as a public service, is a small spanner with rounded jaws 2 cm wide I found in my toolbox, if anyone wants to borrow it...


Posted by The Englishman at 8:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988 Notice of Intended Prosecution - you don't have to fill it in!

If you have been a naughty boy and driven too fast through our lovely county you are liable to be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution from the laughingly called Wiltshire Police Safety Camera Partnership.
On the form are various instructions, such as - Part 7. Please complete this part in all cases. This is a requirement under Section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988 .

It is a lie.

The charming Miss Anna Gilder of the Wiltshire Police Safety Camera Partnership has confirmed to me that "There is no legal requirement that this form be used if someone chooses to provide the details in another form this is acceptable."

So nit-pickery on one side and an arrogant dismissal of legalities on the other. A civilised service which respected us would include a form and say, "Please could you use this form as it will help you to fulfil your obligation and help us to process it accurately and easily and this will keep our costs down etc." But no, they hector us with bold black ink orders threatening the full force of the law when they have no right to. No wonder I have replied to her thus:

Miss Anna Gilder
Wiltshire Police Safety Camera Partnership
PO BOX 3025
SN10 9AH

Ref xxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Madam:

Thank you for your speedy reply to my letter, which as it was attached to my completed form I take to be an acknowledgement that you received the form safely.

My apologies if you misunderstood my letter, I merely pointed out that I couldn’t remember driving “like Jehu, the son of Nimshi” (2 Kings 9 – 20). I didn’t deny I was the driver or suggest any other drivers: you also have my signed form in which I say I was the driver and completed my driver details. I am therefore at a loss to understand what grounds you have for suggesting I have failed to provide driver details, but for the avoidance of doubt let me make this statement:

It’s a fair cop, guv., it was me, you have got me bang to rights.

Driver xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

On a more worrying note I am pleased you acknowledge that the form you send out is wrong and the threat - Part 7. Please complete this part in all cases. This is a requirement under Section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988 - is false. I hope you will confirm that this wording, and the other misleading instructions, including those on your website, will be modified to reflect the truth.

I understand why you wish to plough on with your cases, as is your right; but I would beg you to remember that if the ECHR does rule against the present method of mulcting the motorists, and that we should go back to a rule of law where ancient liberties are recognised and the policing authorities can regain some of the trust and respect that they have frittered away, then I will be looking for this injustice to be righted.

Yours as ever,

Posted by The Englishman at 7:32 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Local Market News

BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire | Market town twins with Arab city

A market town in Wiltshire has become the first place in the UK to be twinned with a city from a Muslim Arab country.

Trowbridge, with a population of 40,000, has joined up with Oujda - which is 10 times bigger and the eastern capital of Morocco.

Moroccans in Trowbridge are the biggest ethnic minority group in Wiltshire and many originated from Oujda.

Strangely a man with an extensive taste in herbal cigarettes told me this last week in the pub, claimed it was worthwhile spending some of his dole money to go to Trowbridge where smoking requistes for the discerning gentleman were much cheaper than Devizes. The benefits of free trade and movement across borders are proved again.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Recognising the elephants in the room

BBC NEWS | Politics | Number of anti-EU Tories 'rising'

The number of Tory MPs who want to withdraw from the EU is growing, claims Euro-sceptic MP Philip Davies.

He says David Cameron is also happy for MPs to advocate that policy without fear of any sanctions inside the party.

Meanwhile Edward Leigh warned Tories could become recruiting agents for UKIP and the BNP if they do not speak up on tax, Europe and immigration.

He urged the leadership to pay attention to its traditional right-wing voters, or risk losing them

It isn't just the right wing voters, judging by the noise on the blogosphere (an unrepresentitive sample I know), the silence on the big issues is driving away all sorts.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dave on the right track

BBC NEWS | Politics | English MPs 'must have final say'

English MPs must have the final say on laws which affect England alone in this post-devolution era, according to Conservative leader David Cameron.

A good start - why is a simple democratic idea so hard? Let's see some meat on these bones of an idea.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm really really sorry.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Boris in row over Jamie remarks
Osborne apologises,
Vicar apologises for "Nip in the Air" joke,
Britain says sorry for slavery,
The Englishman apologises for everything - OK.

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

Ch ch changes

BBC NEWS | Politics | Cameron's blog targeted by spoof

David Cameron's attempt to harness the power of the internet through his Webcameron blog has led to opponents setting up a spoof rival site.

UKIP backers have launched a site with a near-identical internet address, which launches to show a video parodying his likeness to Tony Blair.

Video here

Posted by The Englishman at 6:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 3, 2006

Will Ye No Come Back Again?

Cabarfeidh - Highland Warriors is hanging up his bonnet - a sad loss to the blogosphere.
Thanks for all the insight, inspiration and help!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why Don't You Do Right?

Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee pose the question. Are you listening "Call-me-Dave"?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pieces of eight

The Tory leader has only promised to "share the proceeds of growth" between public services and tax cuts – something that is causing anger among many in his party.
I'm not a paid up member but it certainly is making the ichor rise - his endless parroting of "share the proceeds of growth" just reminds me that what he means is that he has his beady eye on any extra money anyone earns, and he is going to help himself to it - oh and maybe if we are really good, and promise to vote for him, then he may see himself able to give us a bit back as a "tax cut", a bit like dropping half-a-crown into a porter's hand if he tugs his forelock and calls the young Master Cameron "Sir"...

"Share the proceeds of growth, share the proceeds of growth, pieces of eight, pieces of eight, pretty polly"... Bang.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Broken Troopers

Telegraph | News | Wounded soldiers 'get appalling health care'

Senior Army officers and Service charities united last night in condemning the treatment of wounded troops as "an absolute disgrace".

Field Marshal Lord Bramall, a former chief of the defence staff, said the outpatient service for soldiers was "appalling". Charity chiefs believe there is a "lost battalion" of 500 troops who have been ignored or forgotten after leaving hospital.

Col Tim Collins, who commanded an infantry battalion during the Iraq invasion, said the public did not care about troops who had been wounded in an unpopular war and that they were not vote winners for the Government.

"The public perception is that these men are volunteers and if you get wounded then bad luck; you should have joined the fire service instead," he said. "We should start caring about our forces and demanding better standards."

There are also growing calls for the Government to build a dedicated military hospital. Seven of the eight military hospitals have been closed since the early 1990s.

While soldiers receive excellent treatment from military medical staff on operations, it is when they are returned to health service care that their difficulties begin.

The wounded are first treated at Selly Oak, where they are meant to be cared for in a military wing, but recently they have been placed in mixed wards with civilians, open to the public and with little security. By contrast, American military hospitals have armed guards and a strict entry system.

The hospital trust that runs Selly Oak has also recorded the highest rate of the superbug MRSA in Britain, figures showed this year.

The row follows The Daily Telegraph's report of security worries at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, where a paratrooper was threatened by a man who accused him of "killing my Muslim brothers in Afghanistan".

Oh for a Kipling to write with " the scorn of scorn"..

The Last of the Light Brigade
by Rudyard Kipling

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 straighen 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!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:15 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 2, 2006

A real Conservative debate

Freedom and Whisky

In yesterday's Sunday Times, the Scottish conservative historian Michael Fry wrote about his conversion to the cause of Scottish independence. Mr Fry has kindly agreed to answer some questions posed by Freedom and Whisky.

Well doen to David for getting this interview - do go and read it. It just shows there are still one or two serious Conservatives out there prepared to face the hard questions and come up with sensible ideas.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cameron aims for the "Ladies Home Journal" audience.

Call-me-Dave Cameron's condescending speech was too dire for me to fisk without vomiting so instead I thought I would see what level of audience he was aiming at. So I ran it through a SMOG Reading Level Calculator and the result was:

Detailed SMOG Analysis SMOG Grade 8.5

He used some long words towards the end of the speech which raised the reading level a bit but he still is only just above the semi-literate level.

SMOG Grade Educational Level Example
0 - 6 low-literate Soap Opera Weekly
7 junior high school True Confessions
8 junior high school Ladies Home Journal
9 some high school Reader's Digest

Posted by The Englishman at 6:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The right to be educated, or the right to be employed in education?

BBC NEWS | Education | School standards 'to take decade'

It will take another 10 years before government reforms raise standards in secondary schools, former education secretary David Blunkett has suggested.

Changes to primary school education saw test results improve sharply in the 1990s but improvements in secondary schools will take longer, he said.

He also acknowledged that his citizenship lessons project had failed.

If we believe his timetable, and we all know how elastic Government timetables are, then kids just entering primary school for the very first time are being written off as their secondary education will be substandard, and we know that now. More importantly the Education Department knows it and is content for the natural rate of change to hopefully correct it. Would parents be happy to learn that little Samantha and Joshua are being denied their right to the best damned education ther taxes could buy?
Adam Smith has other proposals. which would speed up changes by applying market forces.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 1, 2006

The unholy Trinity

Mr. Chalk our blogospheric teacher points out:

There are three areas of our society that cause great concern for many people at the moment

Law and Order

If you are interested in these topics, then you can spend your money on a newspaper and read articles by journalists with no experience of the above professions and absolutely no guarantee that what they have vaguely researched (or overheard in the pub) bears the slightest resemblance to the truth.

Alternatively you can check out the views of those who have worked in these areas and equally importantly, you can comment on our posts and tell us if you think we are talking rubbish.

Law and Order is a thing of the past in many parts of the UK and who better than PC David Copperfield to bring us news of the latest plans to punish the law abiding citizens whilst ensuring that criminals are kept safe on the streets.

Healthcare is the third great fiasco and Dr Crippen can be relied on to keep us up to date with the latest medical madness.

I would add that the "Environment" and "Health Scares" are another area the MSM rattles on about without the benefit of knowledge. While many of my daily reads cover the madness well there doesn't seem to be a UK blogger who daily fisks the rubbish, or am I missing someone?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:46 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just thinks

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, flew to Malaysia, South Africa, and Amsterdam on business and took his family on holiday to Slovakia in the past year. This weekend he is on a business trip to Nigeria. His trips are estimated to have generated at least eight tons of CO2.

“This is the dilemma faced by all international organisations, including green ones,” said Juniper. “We do all we can to cut travel but we need to do some flying to make decisions.” (The Times)

There was poor old Newton shut up on his farm in Lincolnshire, unable to travel because of the plague, so he sat down under an apple tree and did some thinking; and came up with a spiffing idea or two. Einstein could only manage a walk in the park when he was holding down a full time job but he managed to scribble down some stuff which exercises the old grey matter. Maybe if the Greens mentioned in the article stopped flying round the world preaching we should all stay at home they might have time to actually do some thinking....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The New Colonists

Telegraph | News | Miliband promotes plan to buy rainforests

Ministers are proposing an extraordinary scheme to tackle climate change in which the Amazon rainforest would be turned into an international trust and its trees sold to individuals and groups.

Plans for the wholesale "privatisation" of the rainforest will be raised by David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, at a summit in Mexico this week.

The scheme, endorsed by Tony Blair, aims to protect the plants and wildlife from logging....

Quite right too - the denizens of the political saloons of Islington have a far better idea of how all that green stuff should be managed than the poor little brown people who live there - so a few beads and mirrors and bingo they will sell the land to us!

Go on Dave -
Take up the White Man's burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack