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November 30, 2006

Hello to all my fans - including that bald Sweaty at the Home Office

Guy Fawkes' blog reveals that the Home Office says:

We have 12 librarians that monitor blogs on a daily seven day week basis. These come in as feeds, the tools make the job easier, they cannot replace the skills of the professionals. Fundamental information professional skills of knowing your audience really comes to light. In just over a year it has become a key part of our department service, the benefits include a public enquiries unit that we can alert to media campaigns that are Home Office issues.

Twelve of them working like submariners hot-bunking it in the bowels of the Home Office to listen to the sound and fury of us bloggers, well I hope we help to get the message across and it is money well spent....

Posted by The Englishman at 9:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How we spend our money down here...

Magical Romance Brings World Record Price at Tattersalls Sale - bloodhorse.com

Magical Romance set a world auction record for a broodmare or broodmare prospect when purchased for 4.6 million guineas (about $9.35 million) at Tattersalls' December Sale in Newmarket on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Wigan said the mare -- along with Spinning Queen, purchased for 3 million guineas (about $6.1 million) Monday -- were bought for Lady Rothschild...

Who farms just along the valley from me, you may have seen picture of the Hunt meeting at her place the day after hunting was banned here

Mr FM better watch out in case Mrs FM decides it is time to upgrade her horses, though of course the other option is for him to retire to his shed in the garden and then presumably he would need something like the next farm along to Lady R. has - the Keswick's Folly...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


YMCA.jpg Class!

I suppose I will have to watch out for a Christian Jihad on me now....

Posted by The Englishman at 4:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Times Watch

Bottom of Matthew Parris today......

Posted by The Englishman at 4:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helping Africans to feed themselves

Let Them Eat Cake

Would environmentalists rather let the hungry in Africa starve than give up their goal of eradicating genetically modified foods?

Wish we didn't have to ask such a question. But how could we not after hearing the latest demands from the Friends of the Earth?....

The organization also is urging African governments to immediately stop accepting untested rice food aid and commercial imports from the U.S.....

"We are a nation just recovering from years of civil war," he said, "and now to attack us in this manner is now making our people once more vulnerable."...

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced that after a thorough review of scientific evidence it will deregulate genetically engineered LLRICE601 based on the fact that it is as safe as its traditionally bred counterparts," the USDA said in a statement.

The statement also said that the Food and Drug Administration "has concluded that the presence of LLRICE601 in the food and feed supply poses no safety concerns."

No environmentalist can point to a single person who's been killed or even injured by a genetically modified food. Yet the entire world knows Africans die in large numbers due to starvation from famine, despotic governments and other preventable complications. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 34% of the population — 194 million people — reportedly goes hungry every day.

Friends of the Earth? Maybe. Friends of Africans? Not a chance. If they were, they wouldn't do something so morally reprehensible.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MoD error management

Marines lose £3,000 allowance - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

Royal Marines serving in Afghanistan who were promised a special allowance amounting to about 」3,000 apiece have instead had the money deducted from their wages in what the Ministry of Defence described as an administrative error....

Navy chiefs were so concerned about the impact of the wage cut on the morale of the troops that they sent out extra human resources staff.

WTF - send out some pen-pushers to counsel them? Let me give you a simpler plan; get some cheque books, a nice comfy chair and a desk and just write out a thousand cheques, and if you have time write - "sorry we cocked up". That is all you need to do.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Charity gets on my goat

Critics urge charities to give up the goat
The promotion of feelgood Christmas gifts such as goats for poor African farmers has provoked an unseasonable war of words between charities.

Oxfam, Christian Aid, Help the Aged and others are wooing the ethical shopper with pictures of cute goats wearing Christmas hats and promises of helping the poor in developing countries.

But the World Land Trust and Animal Aid say that it is “madness” to send goats, cows and chickens to areas where they will add to the problems of drought and desertification.

Horrible animals goats - ruin the land, awful milk, rancid meat and they stink. But don't worry those ethical souls at Christian Aid explain why even if you worry about goats it is all right to give them the dosh:

Christian Aid said that its critics misunderstood its programme. The purchase of a goat, the charity said, did not necessarily mean that a goat was bought. The money would go into a farming and livestock fund that would be distributed by local project managers.

So where it advertises a cuddly goat being presented to a smiling family in your name in fact it means the local white Bwana gets it to spend.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 29, 2006

Blair and the Democracy Deficit

Iain Dale's Diary: Blair Says the English Want Their Own Parliament

Mr Blair acknowledged that if people in England were asked if they wanted a Parliament like Scotland's they would overwhelmingly agree. But he added: "I think to then take it a step further and say, 'Actually we want to bust up the UK'... no, I don't think people want to bust up the UK."

So the PM agrees that the people of England want a Parliament. In 1997 he said it was what the people of Scotland wanted and so he granted them a referendum. Why won't he grant the same courtesy to the English?

Quite - basically he doesn't trust the English with democracy...

In other news:

Tony Blair is not Hitler: official | The Register

An advert showing a close-up picture of Tony Blair with a barcode on his top lip was not offensive, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.

NO2ID said the photograph of Tony Blair was expertly retouched to make it look like a 1930s portrait and the layout was designed to recall the Nazi era.

They said the photograph did not portray Tony Blair as Hitler but was intended to be a comparison of Tony Blair with Hitler based on policy, not personality.

NO2ID asserted that the ad contained an implicit claim that identity cards were useful to the implementation of Nazi policies across Europe; they argued that that was beyond doubt. They asserted that identity cards themselves had been used to control populations in occupied Europe and were very closely associated with the process of sorting victims for the concentration camps.

They said the ad was intended to be insulting to Tony Blair but argued that insulting a politician was unlikely to offend.


Posted by The Englishman at 4:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Fading away


There is no major Western European country that is producing enough children to replace the current population. Instead, they are replacing their population with Muslim immigrants.

Here are the birthrates per couple in various European countries:

Remember the birthrate for a population that is neither increasing nor declining is 2.1 babies per woman of childbearing age.

Ireland - 1.87
Germany - 1.3
Austria - 1.3
Italy - 1.2
Russia - 1.2
Spain - 1.1.

At a replacement rate of 1.1, Spain is at half the stable population replacement rate. This means Spain's population is halving every generation. The magnitude of the numbers is difficult to comprehend. In 2000, the total population of Europe was 728 million. By 2050 at the present rate of births, it will be less than 600 million, a loss of a staggering 125 million Europeans.

Posted by The Englishman at 4:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Vivat Oxonia

Dons reject plan to halt 900 years of self-rule by Oxford

Oxford’s reform plans were thrown into chaos last night when academics unexpectedly threw out proposals to hand strategic control of the university to outsiders.

In what amounts to a crushing blow for John Hood, the Vice-Chancellor, the academics voted by a massive majority against his amended Governance White Paper. ....

Dr Hood had recommended ending 900 years of self-rule by creating a board of directors with a majority of externally appointed members to approve the budget and oversee the running of the university. He had argued that his reforms would improve accountability and transparency and were crucial to Oxford retaining its international dominance.

His opponents, however, feared that, ultimately, financial interests could outweigh Oxford’s academic priorities, to the detriment of students, staff and the university. ...

Dr Hood had been backed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and by Lord Patten of Barnes, the Oxford Chancellor.

Oh, caput stercoris Patten,"Te futueo et equum tuum" - or in other words if he is in favour of it there is no need of any further thought, it is the wrong idea to follow. Somehow I have more faith in an institution that has survived war, pestilence and Labour Governments than I have in modern management consultants.

For those of you still in the lower forms the translation is "Oh, Shithead (lit. Cap of shit) Patten, "Go screw yourself and your horse (you rode in on)".

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

Telegraph Watch

On the front page of the News section:
Telegraph | News | Correction

We reported yesterday the proposed use of a pesticide, Glyphosphate, to destroy opium poppy crops in Afghanistan. This was incorrect. The Afghan government is considering using the herbicide Glyphosate.

Duh! A herbicide is a pesticide - "Under FEPA, a pesticide is any substance, preparation or organism prepared or used, among other uses, to protect plants or wood or other plant products from harmful organisms; to regulate the growth of plants; to give protection against harmful creatures; or to render such creatures harmless.

The term pesticides therefore has a very broad definition which embraces herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, rodenticides, soil-sterilants, wood preservatives and surface biocides among others. " PSD

And Glyphosate and Glyphosphate are synonyms so no problem there either..

So will the Telegraph correct their correction tomorrow?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One Law For All No More?

BBC NEWS | Magazine | The end of one law for all?

Ethnic and religious courts are gaining ground in the UK. Will this lead to different justice for different people?

Aydarus Yusuf has lived in the UK for the past 15 years, but he feels more bound by the traditional law of his country of birth - Somalia - than he does by the law of England and Wales.

"Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law. It's not Islamic, it's not religious - it's just a cultural thing."

The 29-year-old youth worker wants to ensure that other members of his community remain subject to the law of their ancestors too - he helps convene an unofficial Somali court, or "gar", in south-east London.

Aydarus is not alone in this desire. A number of parallel legal universes have been quietly evolving among minority communities. As well as Somali customary law, Islamic and Jewish laws are being applied and enforced in parts of the UK.

Islamic and Jewish law remains confined to civil matters. But the BBC's Law in Action programme has learned that the Somali court hears criminal cases too.....

So how did this court come about? Some academic lawyers see these alternative legal systems as an inevitable - and welcome - consequence of multiculturalism....

The (Jewish) Beth Din is the most formally entrenched of these minority courts. The UK's main Beth Din is based in Finchley, north London.

It oversees a wide range of cases including divorce settlements, contractual rows between traders and tenancy disputes.

The court cannot force anyone to come within its jurisdiction. But once someone agrees to settle a dispute in the Beth Din, he or she is bound in English law to abide by the court's decision.

This is because under English law people may devise their own way to settle a dispute before an agreed third party.

Amongst the UK's Muslims there are sharply contrasting views about Sharia or Islamic law in the UK. Sharia is the historic legal foundations of the Islamic world - like English law, it has developed over centuries but is based on simple principles.

In an ICM survey of 500 British Muslims carried out in February 2006, 40% of respondents said they would support the introduction of Sharia in predominantly Muslim areas of Britain.

The UK's most prominent Muslim organisation, the Muslim Council of Britain, opposes the idea, saying it will not support a dual legal system. ....

Posted by The Englishman at 5:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 28, 2006

How to behave down under....

australians.jpg (JPEG Image, 945x627 pixels)

Posted by The Englishman at 10:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Politicians make you sick

Scotsman.com News - UK - Blair red tape vow to woo business

TONY Blair has ordered all government departments to draw up urgent plans to slash red tape as part of a promise to business to cut regulatory burdens by a quarter.

In his last speech as Prime Minister to a CBI conference, Mr Blair pledged to cut form-filling, inspections and record-keeping requirements by 25 per cent.

And I will believe it when I see it - as far as I can see the red tape burden is a constant ratchet up - and of course with most of it oozing out of the EU there is not a lot Tone can do.

But maybe there is hope in the air - there is now so much Red Tape it is even making the Public Servants ill, and they are the people nuLabour listens to...

BBC NEWS | Politics | Red tape 'causing mental illness'

Constant political interference is causing stress-induced mental breakdowns in public servants, a consultant psychiatrist has claimed.

"I primarily treat people suffering from stress-induced mental disorders, such as depressive illness and anxiety states," Prof Cantopher writes.

"Twenty years ago most of my clientele were business executives, but they aren't now.

"Businesses have long since recognised that it is in their employees who are at the highest risk of stress related illness and they mostly nurture and protect them.

"Now it is the public servants who form the bulk of my practice."

"What these professions now have in common is that they are all victims of the craze so loved by recent governments for regulation and its attendant bureaucracy.

"Politicians need to be needed and for us to believe that they can stop things going wrong.

"They can't, of course, but they have to be seen to be doing something or their opposite numbers will call them complacent."

He said the big change in the past 20 years had been the growth of a bureaucratic "blame culture", which had been fostered by politicians.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Still waiting for an apology from the shores of Tripoli

in 1610 the King of Spain, Phillip III, expelled the Spanish Moors, many of whom had lived in Spain for generations. One large group of 4,000 men and women, called Hornacheros, settled in an almost abandoned Rabat, and became the Sale (or Sallee) Rovers. They hated Spain, and targeted it particularly, but didn't limit themselves. They linked with pirates in Tunis and Algiers, and started raiding merchant shipping. Between 1610 and 1616, they took 466 English ships! Some European captains, including English, joined them when their own governments tried to curb their excesses; one of these was the infamous John Ward. The corsairs soon controlled the Mediterranean.

Unfortunately, captains including John Ward soon realized the cargoes of the ships they took were less valuable than the crews, and they started taking particular care to capture those men.

In July 1625, a mighty fleet sailed up the English Channel, which was soon discovered to be Islamic corsairs of Barbary. The Vice Admiral of Cornwall, James Bagg, was appalled to learn there were over 20 ships; he immediately asked London for assistance. But too late - they swooshed down on The Mount, invading the town while the people were attending Sunday service, and took 60 men, women and children as slaves. Looe was next, but when they arrived they found the populace had been warned and had escaped They managed to capture 80 "mariners and fishermen", then set Looe on fire in retaliation. West Briton lost "27 ships and 200 men". Then another Corsair fleet was sighted in north Cornish waters. They captured Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel, and flew their flag brazenly. Using it as a fortified base of operations, they continually raided the undefended villages of Cornwall. They seized people in Padstow, and threatened to sack and burn Ilfracombe. Facing a two-pronged attack, the British admiral sent to solve the problem admitted he could not defeat them.

By the end of 1625, it was estimated they had destroyed 1000 'skiffs' and captured as many people. All the captives had been taken to Sale slave pens, on the Atlantic coast, to be sold. Most ended as house-slaves, or building the immense palace of the Sultan - jobs for which their experiences did not qualify them. (Nothing would qualify them for the conditions in which they were kept, nor the brutalities they suffered.)

The King was petitioned by "distressed wifes of neere 2,000 pore marriners" to open negotiations with "the Kinge of Morocco.. for the redemption of the saide poore distressed captives." In 1627, a representative of the King did just that, but instead of freeing 2,000 as expected, only 197 were released.

Off and on, the slavery trade continued. Thomas Pellow of Penryn, who was 11 when he went sailing with his uncle Captain John Pellow, of the "Francis", which departed Falmouth for Genoa in 1715, was one of the captured Among the crew of the Francis were Lewis Davies, George Barnicoat, Thomas Goodman, Briant Clarke, John Crimes, and John Dunnal. They didn't know that shortly before they left, the Sultan had torn up his treaty with the King, and released the corsairs from any previous restraints. All of the crew of the Francis, including the captain, died in slavery, toiling on Moulay Ismail's palace.

Raids by Barbary pirates on Western Europe did not cease until 1816, when a Royal Navy raid, assisted by six Dutch vessels, destroyed the port of Algiers and its fleet of Barbary ships.

In 1784 two American ships (the Maria of Boston and the Dauphine of Philadelphia) were captured, everything sold and their crews enslaved to build port fortifications. Christian slaves were preferred and forced to do degrading work and treated harshly so letters would be written home to prompt the payment of a bigger ransom.

American ships sailing in the Mediterranean chose to travel close to larger convoys of other European powers who had bribed the pirates. President Thomas Jefferson proposed a league of smaller nations to patrol the area, but the USA could not contribute. For the prisoners, Algeria wanted 60,000 dollars, America offered 4000. Jefferson said a million dollars would buy them off, but Congress would only appropriate 80,000. For eleven years Americans who lived in Algeria lived as slaves to Algerian Moors.

Continued attacks prompted the building of the United States Navy, including one of America's most famous ships, the USS Philadelphia, leading to a series of wars along the North African coast, starting in 1801. It was not until 1815 that naval victories ended tribute payments by the U.S., although some European nations continued annual payments until the 1830s.

The United States Marine Corps actions in these wars led to the line, "to the shores of Tripoli" in the opening of the Marine Hymn.

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

November 27, 2006

IPCC whitewash of Police Brutality Against Rural Protestors.

Police watchdog clears officers involved in violent hunting protest | News | This is London

Baton-wielding police officers who left scores of anti-hunt protestors bloodied in one of the most violent London riots in modern memory have been cleared of wrongdoing.
Shocking images of law-abiding demonstrators being clubbed to the ground rocked Westminster in 2004 and prompted a flood of legal complaints.
Pictures of injured rural men, women and teenagers, their faces streaming with blood under a hail of blows from officers in riot-gear triggered a national outcry.
But the official report into the demonstration has refused to endorse claims of police brutality and even accuses the protestors of stoking up the violence...

The IPCC 43-page report.... acknowledges that "some of the people injured in the demonstration were clearly not involved in any disorder", but goes on to conclude that "it is not surprising that police officers chose to use force".

The report's conclusions are all the more surprising given the seriousness with which IPCC chairman Nick Hardwick describes the events of Sep 15 2004.

In the report's foreword, he points out they were the "largest scale disorder" in London for more than a decade. And he accepts "how shocked everybody was" by the footage of the violence.

He says: "The images of injured hunt supporters cast a shadow across the reputation of the Metropolitan Police Service."

The IPCC received an initial 425 complaints, including 54 from people at the demonstration who claimed they were injured by the police. It took 1000 witness statements, and logged 400 exhibits and 25000 documents.

The report concludes: "It is clear that a number of protestors received serious head injuries. The consequences of such acts could have been far more serious."

It agrees that there were examples of "considerable force" used by some officers that led to "a number of serious head injuries".

But it refuses to condemn the actions of the Met officers in Parliament Square and instead limits itself to a number of procedural recommendations, including a suggestion that batons used against demonstrators should be seized on the spot as potential evidence.

You couldn't make it up as that being the sort of pathetic recommendation the pen-pushers would come up with. I will leave it to others to suggest that if the demonstrators hadn't been overwhelmingly white law-abiding British Subjects then the outcome would have been different. The supercilious tones of some Plod on the radio welcoming the report reminds me yet again of the shame that decent folk have lost all respect for the police; and without that respect then "policing by consent" is no longer possible and we take yet another step towards a police state.

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

November 26, 2006

Putting out the empties

Clearing up after Kim and his two boys stayed - bottles ready for the bin...

What great company and gracious guests they are - looking forward to you coming again.

Posted by The Englishman at 1:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Today I'll be mainly wearing...


Rockmount Shirts

ROCKMOUNT is a 3 generation business started by Jack A. Weil, president, who works daily at age 105! A true pioneer, he introduced the first western shirts with snaps

And they wear well - no reason for this post except I liked the effect of the wintery sun shining through my shirt as dries.

(Oh and I am dreaming of life on the range....)

Posted by The Englishman at 1:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Walls have ears....

POLICE and councils are considering monitoring conversations in the street using high-powered microphones attached to CCTV cameras, write Steven Swinford and Nicola Smith.

The microphones can detect conversations 100 yards away and record aggressive exchanges before they become violent.

The devices are used at 300 sites in Holland and police, councils and transport officials in London have shown an interest in installing them before the 2012 Olympics.

The interest in the equipment comes amid growing concern that Britain is becoming a “surveillance society”. It was recently highlighted that there are more than 4.2m CCTV cameras, with the average person being filmed more than 300 times a day. The addition of microphones would take surveillance into uncharted territory.

The Association of Chief Police Officers has warned that a full public debate over the microphones’ impact on privacy will be needed before they can be introduced.

They won't need a high powered microphone to hear my response!


Who was it who said that the novel 1984 was meant to be a warning not a bloody instruction manual?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Something to chew on

Four big, fat myths
By Patrick Basham and John Luik, Sunday Telegraph

The Government wants to set up a database to monitor every child in the country — including their diet. But are our children as obese and unhealthy as we are told? And what about us? Health researchers argue that being overweight is actually beneficial: it's dieting that kills

The US surgeon general has claimed that obesity is 'a greater threat than weapons of mass destruction'

Big Brother has an ambition: to become Big Nanny. The Government wants to introduce a £224 million "Children's Index", a massive database of every child in the country, charting progress from birth to adulthood and flagging up "concerns" about each child's development. Two "flags" on a child's record would trigger an official investigation into his or her family.

Not surprisingly, Parliament's Information Commissioner, in a report last week, was highly critical of the scheme. "Government policy proposes treating all parents as if they cannot be trusted to bring up their children," the report said. Increasingly, this is just what the Government and health campaigners believe. One of the proposed danger signs on the Children's Index, after all, would be if the child were not eating the requisite, government-approved amount of fruit and vegetables each day.
Yet the obesity epidemic is a myth manufactured by public health officials in concert with assorted academics and special-interest lobbyists. These crusaders preach a sermon consisting of four obesity myths: that we and our children are fat; that being fat is a certain recipe for early death; that our fatness stems from the manufacturing and marketing practices of the food industry (hence Ofcom's recently announced ban on junk food advertising to children); and that we will lengthen our lives if only we eat less and lose weight. The trouble is, there is no scientific evidence to support these myths.
Obesity crusaders believe that the nanny state has the right to define and enforce a single vision of what constitutes healthy living a good life. The government's judgment is considered inherently superior to any individual's judgment that fatness is at least personally tolerable.

The obesity crusade presumes a nursery nation comprised of docile infant-citizens too uncertain of their own values to be left to make their own way in a world in which an evil Ronald McDonald lurks under every archway. Obesity crusaders believe the individual has an obligation to order his life according to their judgment about health, and that the government may justifiably force him to conform if he demurs.

The lasting legacy of the obesity crusade will be both a much fatter government and a much thinner citizenry.

The government will be fatter through its expanded power to shape inappropriately the lives of its citizens. Britons will be thinner in their capacity for choice, self-government, and personal responsibility.

• Patrick Basham is director of the Democracy Institute and John Luik is a health policy writer. On December 14, the Social Affairs Unit publishes their book, Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade, co-authored with Gio Gori.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Majority want an English Parliament

England wants its independence
The United Kingdom should be broken up and Scotland and England set free as independent nations, according to a huge number of voters on both sides of the border.

A clear majority of people in both England and Scotland are in favour of full independence for Scotland, an ICM opinion poll for The Sunday Telegraph has found. Independence is backed by 52 per cent of Scots while an astonishing 59 per cent of English voters want Scotland to go it alone.

There is also further evidence of rising English nationalism with support for the establishment of an English parliament hitting an historic high of 68 per cent amongst English voters. Almost half – 48 per cent – also want complete independence for England, divorcing itself from Wales and Northern Ireland as well. Scottish voters also back an English breakaway with 58 per cent supporting an English parliament with similar powers to the Scottish one.

The poll comes only months before the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union between England and Scotland and will worry all three main political parties.

A quiet word to the Tory Central Office - read the polls, look at how an English Parliament would be Tory and go figure; and if that doesn't convince you then note how Gordon is setting out his Britishness stall and identify here is one policy that you can put clear blue water between the parties on..

BBC NEWS | UK | Scots split would harm UK - Brown
Chancellor Gordon Brown has warned that everyone in the United Kingdom would suffer economically and culturally if Scotland voted for independence.
Mr Brown told the Scottish Labour Party conference that the economic futures of Scotland and the rest of the UK are inextricably linked.
UK links must be kept for "solidarity" in the "interdependence" age, he said.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 25, 2006

Spawn of the Devil


Country superstitions about the correct time for picking blackberries still persist. In the UK, blackberries must be gathered before Michaelmas, September 29. After this date the Devil contaminates the berries by spitting or urinating on them. Blackberries feature in the Bible and they were known to the ancient Greeks who considered them beneficial for gout.

So there, my gouty friends - I'm backed by research that Blackberries are the Devil's fruit and any chef sneaking them into "summer" pudding deserves to be branded on the forehead as a Satanist.....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's what's between your legs that counts.

“While seated on a bicycle, the external genital nerve and artery are directly compressed. It is possible that chronic compression of the female genital area may lead to compromised blood flow and nerve injury due to disruption of the blood-nerve barrier.”
...male cyclists can suffer from genital numbness and erectile dysfunction.

That explains the sour mean faces that Lady Cyclists have as they wobble down the road laden down by Greenpeace stickers and sensible shoes in their organic hemp bags. Apart from the short trip to the range at the Pub, laden down with the Lee Metford on my back, you won't catch me risking the old todger by mounting the iron horse. Funny how the anti-car fascists never point out that cycling ruins your tackle....

(Apologies to any readers who are offended by this story).

Posted by The Englishman at 6:14 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 24, 2006

Democracy - it was a good idea whilst it lasted...

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy

The reports singled out the USA (17th) and Britain's (23rd) poor results, partly to blame on measures adopted to fight terrorism.

"The United States and Britain are near the bottom of the full democracy category, but for somewhat different reasons. America falls down on some aspects of governance and civil liberties. Despite low election turnouts, political participation in the United States is comparatively high," the report said.

"In Britain low political participation (the lowest in the developed world) is a major problem, and to a lesser extent, for now, so are eroding civil liberties," the report said.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

PC is cleared after speeding to pick up his fast-food order

A police officer who broke the speed limit on the way to pick up a Chinese takeaway did not commit any offence, a court ruled.

PC Stephen Akrill was on duty in a marked police Land Rover when he drove at up to 60mph along a road with a 40mph limit. As the traffic officer slowed before parking outside the restaurant, a fixed speed camera registered his speed at 48mph.

PC Akrill, 41, who was charged with speeding, had his case dismissed at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court this week after telling a district judge that he was driving to a serious traffic accident in Doncaster.

It emerged that PC Akrill was not asked to attend the accident, did not use a flashing light or siren and did not take the quickest route. He also failed to use his police radio to indicate that he was responding to the accident.

Don't be cynical, the judge believed him, now I wonder if District Judge John Foster is interested in bridge I have for sale....

Posted by The Englishman at 5:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pretty Polly Cameron

Telegraph | News | Cameron's caring image comes unstuck

David Cameron faced a fierce Right-wing reaction yesterday after attempts to give the Conservatives a more caring image ran into trouble.

The Tory leader will today commit his party to following a new approach to tackling poverty endorsed by Polly Toynbee, the Left-wing commentator......

But the row over suggestions this week that the new approach amounted to "ditching" the legacy of Sir Winston Churchill are likely to overshadow the speech.

In a leaked report from the Tories' current wide-ranging policy review, Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, advised Mr Cameron that Churchill's view that the welfare state should be no more than a safety net was "out of date". Instead, Mr Clark said the modern party should embrace Miss Toynbee's "imagery" that the state had a far wider duty to make sure that the gap between rich and poor did not become too great.

I suppose I should rant against this stupidity, but frankly I'm too hung-over, tired and bored with Mr Potato Head to bother...

Posted by The Englishman at 5:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving -

Edward Winslow, in Mourt's Relation:
Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all - I'm honored(sic) to be hosting Kim du Toit tonight and so we shall celebrate in true style - though I can't promise we have been out slaughtering fowl and deer, and I haven't found any Indians to invite along either. But we might be "exercising our arms" at some point!

Posted by The Englishman at 3:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Fasting man killed swan to eat

LLANDUDNO A Muslim who killed a swan while fasting during Ramadan has been given a two-month prison sentence.
Shamsu Miah, 52, killed the mute swan at a boating pond in Llandudno, North Wales, on September 25.When challenged by police he said: “I am a Muslim, I am fasting, I needed to eat.” Llandudno magistrates were told that Miah, from the town, had white feathers stuck in his beard and blood on his shirt. Jim Neary, for the prosecution, said: “The officers told him the swan was the property of the Queen and he replied, ‘I hate the Queen, I hate this country’.”

See not eating doesn't do you any good - any one knows that preparing a swan for roasting or a pie takes time and delicacy, not a mad knifing on the boating pond...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:12 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees

The lives of paratroopers were put in danger after the Ministry of Defence sent defective ammunition to Afghanistan, it can be revealed.

The situation became so serious that a platoon from the 3Bn The Parachute Regiment refused to go out on patrol until the problem was resolved. The troops had to borrow ammunition off Canadian and American special forces as they battled to fight off Taliban attacks.

The MoD, which yesterday unveiled plans for British troops to make a quicker-than-expected withdrawal from the front line in Iraq, has been unable to explain why defective ammunition for the .50 calibre Browning heavy machinegun was sent to Afghanistan.

It is thought that the batch was from either Pakistan or the Czech Republic, where a round costs 60 US cents. The price for British, Canadian or American ammunition is $1.50. With many thousands of rounds fired, using cheaper ammunition would have saved thousands of pounds.

A shocking demonstration of the poor quality rounds is shown on a video posted by a paratrooper on the YouTube website. It shows two soldiers in a sandbagged position struggling to operate the machinegun, which can also be mounted on Land Rovers.

One is shown constantly re-cocking the weapon as his colleague seeks to feed through the ammunition belt. At one point, the Para, who becomes exhausted with the strain of constantly pulling the cocking handle, drops the gun and swears in frustration. All the time incoming enemy fire can be heard.

Video Here

I think I will discuss this story with Kim du Toit later today over a few beers - after I have removed all the valuable crockery! Come the glorious day someone should pay for this.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:05 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 22, 2006

Hello hello hello - who've got here?

1001 ways to crash the I.D card system

Suggestions welcomed!

Posted by The Englishman at 4:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Count me out

Telegraph | News | Proud to Say, I Have Never...

It was Groucho Marx who best summed up that nagging feeling we all periodically suffer from: that we don't really like the rest of mankind.

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members," he said.

Today, The Daily Telegraph, inspired by our readers, launches a new club for people who, like Marx, want to stand out from the crowd and are strongly inclined to go against prevailing fashions.

They do not buy iPods because their neighbours have them, and they certainly do not "drizzle" truffle oil on their carpaccio because Nigella Lawson tells them to.

Sign me up - I don't watch "Celebrity", I have never been to IKEA, I have no idea who is in the "hit parade" or Premier League of Soccer. I don't buy Fair Trade or wear white wristbands, Metrosexual grooming products, ready ripped jeans, go to Tuscany... In fact I guess a lot of you don't either.

Sign up here

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

All your kids are belong to us - The Verdict

Telegraph | News | Child database 'will ruin family privacy'

# Information Commissioner report

Parents will be devalued and family privacy shattered by the mass surveillance of all 12 million children in England and Wales, says a report today commissioned by Parliament's Information Commissioner.

In what is likely to be a major embarrassment to Tony Blair, it says proposals for a £224 million database containing details of every child will waste millions of pounds, undermine parental authority and actually put children in more danger.

Not just us "shrill" bloggers who are against it then!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 21, 2006

Ugly Goat Weed Complex

Dr Gillian McKeith’s organisation has had to detox its own products after MHRA officers discovered it was advertising and selling goods without legal authorisation whilst making medicinal claims about their efficacy. Dr McKeith’s products, ‘Fast Formula Wild Pink’ for women and ‘Fast Formula Horny’ for men promised to deliver wonders for all in the bedroom.

Good - she is the mad old bat who pokes people's poo on prime time telly to humiliate them into eating their vegetables. But I'm not sure why her "Dr Gillian McKeith's Fast Formula HORNY Goat Weed Complex for men" needs to be banned - can anyone imagine trying to get the old boy to rise with that ugly mug leering off the package at you?

..."Sorry Scarlett, you and Keira might as well go home now, never happened to me before..."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What a tool

It’s a Boy’s Own gift that will be stuffed into thousands of Christmas stockings, but a retired brigadier has discovered that the credit card-sized toolkit — complete with 5cm (2in) blade, compass, tweezers and toothpick — could put the recipients on the wrong side of the law.

Tom Foulkes, 56, who spent 35 years working for the Ministry of Defence developing real weapons, was arrested, locked up and had his fingerprints and DNA sample taken after the kit was discovered in his overnight bag by police.

The former Royal Engineer was preparing to board a Paris-bound train at Waterloo when an X-ray machine alarm was triggered by the toolkit. He was hauled from the station, placed in a cage in a van and taken to a police station for questioning. Four hours later he was released and cautioned after admitting to possessing an offensive weapon; Mr Foulkes had seen it as something with which to sharpen pencils and cut off luggage labels, and that his wife occasionally used to pluck her eyebrows.

Mr Foulkes aired his grievance in a letter to The Times. Yesterday he revealed more about his ordeal. “The whole thing was an absolute farce,” he said. “I’m now on the police database. They have photographs of me and records of my DNA and my fingerprints, all because I was carrying this useful little tool.” (The Times)

Sorry Sir - but you are also at fault, not for carrying the blade but for accepting the caution. If you had stood up to the bullies and demanded your day in court then not only would you probably have got away with it but also you would have done your bit to curb their behaviour. Not as easy as accepting a caution, and I'm not saying I would do it either, but that would be the right thing to have done.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:05 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 20, 2006

Calling Tory Bloggers

Martine Martin's Lebwog

So be a saint and help out a student in need

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

How to cut EU fraud

Britain proposes national audit to root out fraud and abusesBritain will take the lead today in trying to root out fraud and financial mismanagement in the European Union by seizing national control of the auditing of European money spent in Britain.
Ed Balls, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, will call on other EU countries tomorrow to do the same and to end the “annual embarrassment” for Europe of its accounts being rejected. The European Court of Auditors has found fault recently with the EU accounts for the twelfth year in a row.

Mr Balls will tell MPs that the Government will in future give Parliament an annual statement of all spending within Britain from the €100 billion (£677 million) European budget and have it audited by the National Audit Office.

Now here's a better idea - instead of pouring all our money over to Brussels and then counting what comes back, why not just keep it here and spend it ourselves....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Wireless Balls

Parents and teachers are forcing some schools to dismantle wireless computer networks amid fears that they could damage children’s health.
More schools are putting transmitters in classrooms to give pupils wireless access from laptops to the school computer network and the internet.

But many parents and some scientists fear that low levels of microwave radiation emitted by the transmitters could be harmful, causing loss of concentration, headaches, fatigue, memory and behavioural problems and possibly cancer in the long term. Scientific evidence is inconclusive, but some researchers think that children are vulnerable because of their thinner skulls and developing nervous systems...

Vivienne Baron, who is bringing up Sebastian, her ten-year-old grandson, said: “I did not want Sebastian exposed to a wireless computer network at school. No real evidence has been produced to prove that this new technology is safe in the long term. Until it is, I think we should take a precautionary approach...

It had to be a "Sebastian" didn't it! Poor bloody kid being dragged backwards into the age of unreason and superstition by his dear old granny. The shame is, of course, the school hasn't got the balls to tell her where to stick her mumbo-jumbo.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:21 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dirty Old Men

A Chief Constable responsible for giving the views of senior officers on child protection has provoked anger after suggesting that people who have sex with children aged from 13 to 15 should not be classed as paedophiles.

"It's much more of an issue for me if a child is under 13. The closer they get to 16, the more it becomes a grey area."

In speaking to The Sunday Times, he said, he had been "referring to 13-, 14- and 15-year-olds [girls] and teenage boys and nothing else".

"If you prosecute each and every time a boy has sex with a girl under 16 and above 12, then we'd be in schools and youth clubs across Britain pretty regularly," he said.

However, Mr Grange's claim that the 16-year-old cut off point was artificial was dismissed by Kidscape, a charity which deals with bullying and child sexual abuse.

Michele Elliott, the charity's spokesman, said: "The definition of a paedophile is a person who is sexually attracted to children. In this country we class this as children who are under 16.

"We have been having this debate for ages. He is misguided - it is not a grey area."

Come off it - lumping post-puberty teenager lust in with kiddie fiddlers is madness, the two factors are puberty and the age difference. With a third of girls claiming to have done "it" before their 16th birthday the charity is trying to fuel the paedophilia terror. Regretable as it is, early teenage sex is not remotely comparable to the classic dirty old man and primary school children; for whom the wrath of all right thinking people should know no bounds. By linking the two it lessens the horror we ought to fell and blunts our reactions to the monsters.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Harrods - Bastards

Harrods bans soldiers on Poppy Day | the Daily Mail

A serving Army officer was banned from entering Harrods on Remembrance Day in case his uniform upset other shoppers.
Lieutenant Daniel Lenherr had just taken part in a parade honouring Britain's war dead when the London department store turned him away at the door. ...

The store has stood by their dress policy, saying: "There is a long-standing tradition at Harrods that would normally preclude customers who are wearing non-civilian attire from entering the store.

"A lot of people assume that somebody in uniform is either there on official duty, which could cause them alarm, or they assume they're a member of staff and ask them where the lavatories are and so on."

Yet another reason not to use the old Knightsbridge corner shop - I don't think they felt the same in the days when Whatshisname was still flogging cheap jewellery to tourists in Cairo - for instance back on 17th Dec 1983 when three members of the public and three police officers were killed by an IRA bomb as they worked to clear the store...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:05 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 19, 2006

"Our KGB man"

BBC NEWS | UK | Profile: Alexander Litvinenko

Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian security agent fighting for his life in a UK hospital after allegedly being poisoned, has been a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin since before he became president in 2000.

And most fingers of suspicion point east, but there are some others he has annoyed with his wild claims as well...

Gerard Batten MEP in the European Parliament

"Alexander Litvinenko, was formerly a Lieutenant Colonel in the Russian Federation's FSB, the successor to the KGB.

Mr Litvinenko's exposure of illegal FSB activities forced him to seek political asylum abroad.

Before deciding on a place of refuge he consulted his friend, General Anatoly Trofimov, a former Deputy Chief of the FSB.

General Trofimov reportedly said to Mr Litvinenko, "Don't go to Italy, there are many KGB agents among the politicians: Romano Prodi is our man there."

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

Here comes the sun lala lala

Telegraph | News | Christopher Booker's notebook

(A) rather more general question-mark has been raised over (Solar Panels) value by one of the country's genuine experts, Abu Bakr Bahaj, a senior lecturer in civil engineering, who based his figures on the experience of a large panel installation at his university in Southampton.

Since solar panels in Britain generate, on average, only 20 per cent of their potential maximum output (at a cost of £4,500 per kilowatt of installed capacity), he reported in the journal of the Institute of Civil Engineers that the average pay-back time of solar panels is more than 45 years (although 70 years, he wrote, "is a more realistic figure"). Yet the average life of a photovoltaic cell is only 25 years.

In other words, if taxpayers were not so generous in providing £3,000 per kilowatt of capacity, no one in his right mind would dream of installing them.

So rapidly does any mention of global warming turn people's minds to jelly these days, that I suspect before long we shall see not just 10 Downing Street but the entire Palace of Westminster groaning under the weight of turbines and solar panels: all as useless as the politicians below them, whose electricity they will be doing almost nothing to provide.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:46 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

IPPR stinks

Telegraph | News | Call for new 'green tax' on disposable goods

Shoppers should pay new "green" taxes on disposable and hard-to-recycle goods, according to a report by an influential think-tank.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) claims the move would help reduce Britain's 300 million tonne annual waste mountain. It could raise around £1.3 billion a year if levies similar to those already imposed in EU countries were introduced in Britain.

The Green Alliance, which wrote the report for the IPPR,..

So it is not by the IPPR at all, who pretend to actually do a bit of research and thinking - it is just a publicity puff by a pressure group that the IPPR have put a rubber stamp on - no wonder Guy Fawkes says:
The "IPPR gets funded by vested interests to create and influence legislation. It stinks."

Posted by The Englishman at 7:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2006

The 1970s catch up with Local Councils

BBC NEWS | UK | Councils want help for equal pay

Local councils have called on the government to help them finance equal pay for women, which is costing £3bn.

The LGE added that the cost of employee back-pay and the demand of income tax and national insurance on all payments could see the eventual bill reach £5bn...

"The largely unexpected scale of this problem means it is simply unrealistic to avoid providing local authorities with appropriate tools to manage this issue and ensure women feel the benefit of equal pay.

Oh another demand from Local Councils for more money. Quelle Surprise! But what a strange reason! Can you imagine the sympathy a firm would get if complained that it had been cocking up implementing equal pay and could the taxman see himself able to help out a bit.
You can hear the sneer in the response to the Councils from the Treasury ....

"But a Treasury spokesperson said it was up to local councils to deal with equal pay measures in an affordable manner....He added: "Employers have been required to pay male and female workers equally since equal pay legislation came into force in 1975. Equal pay is not a new pressure."

Posted by The Englishman at 11:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Green" land

Contextualizing the recent climate in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere is especially important, as it is across this region that the largest increase in surface air temperature has been both observed during the 20th century and predicted for the 21st century. These ideas highlight the importance of snow cover, its sensitivity to temperature, and its positive feedback to the overlying atmosphere. Higher temperatures in typically snow covered regions may lead to a reduction in snow cover, and in turn, a reduction in the refrigeration of Earth’s atmosphere from beneath, and even greater atmospheric warming. The vision of out-of-control warming in Earth’s frozen regions makes the leap toward a breakdown of the global oceanic circulation system and global sea level rise an easy one. ....

As the popularized side of the debate has led us to expect, the authors found that the coldest year (1863) and the coldest decade (1810s) are early in the record, well before the ballyhooed warming of the 20th century. Problematic from a climate change standpoint is the fact that the two distinct cold periods that made the 1810s the coldest decade followed an 1809 “unidentified” volcanic eruption and the eruption of Tambora in 1815 – unusual geologic events that defined the climate. However, of greater importance is the fact that the researchers found the warmest year on record to be 1941, while the 1930s and 1940s are the warmest decades on record. This represents very bad news for climate change alarmists, since the warmest period was NOT the last quarter of the 20th century. In fact, the last two decades of the 20th century (1981-1990 and 1991-2000) were colder across the study area than any of the previous six decades, dating back to the 1900s and 1910s (Table 1). When examining the instrumental records of the stations it is apparent that no net warming has occurred since the warm period of the 1930s and 1940s .... Source

Well that is something I didn't know before, strange what you don't hear on the BBC....

Posted by The Englishman at 3:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2006

House Prices in the South of England

Probably the most boring subject that ever arises whenever two or more are gathered together in the name of mortgage payers is property values.

In the south of England they are rising at a ridiculous rate. Which is good news for those of us who bought our houses some time ago.

But what fuels the continuing rise? An increasing demand.

The root cause is that it is is an artificial market rigged by the planners - without their say-so nothing gets built. Their signature can add millions to the value of a plot of land, but let us leave that there.

But what causes the increasing demand?

Immigration into the country is often blamed - the Optimum Population Trust: say that "Figures released by the Office for National Statistics on 2 November 2006 reveal population growth of more than 300,000 for the second successive year."
(This figure balances inward and outward migration - see http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=950 for more details.)
This would mean an extra 130434 houses are needed if they lived at 2.3 per house.

But is that the main culprit?

In 1971 http://www.optimumpopulation.org/opt.more.ukpoptable.html gives the population as 55.928 million - who lived at 2.91 people per household ( http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_compendia/GHS04/GHS04_3Househ
which gives 19,219,244 houses.
In 2004 (latest figures I have) the population is 59.835 million, people per house is 2.30 which equals 26,015,217 houses.

If the population had stayed the same the decrease in number living per house would mean 24,316,521 houses would be needed - or an increase of about 5 million houses.

So we can see that the increased population only demands about 2 million extra houses.

And of course there is the internal migration from north to south, so not only does the south have to house all its own spreading families, "its" immigrants and its second-home buyers, it also has all those horny-handed sons of toil coming down from "up north" on their bikes looking for somewhere to live.

So in this case the blame can be pointed at our own selfish ways of kicking granny and the kids out to keep our cramped houses bearable, tolerating the failure of the north so workers have to move south and a smidgen of guilt for wanting those East Europeans in to wait our tables.

So not as simple as you thought!

Posted by The Englishman at 11:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Don't call me Deer...

Sex with dead deer not illegal, lawyer argues | The Register

The defence lawyer of a Wisconsin man charged with having sex with a dead deer is claiming he's innocent of any wrongdoing - because a "crimes against sexual morality" statute prohibits sex with animals, but fails to mention carcasses, The Duluth News Tribune reports.
Bryan James Hathaway, 20, of Superior, was arrested on "a misdemeanour charge of sexual gratification with an animal" after indulging in intercourse with said deceased deer on 11 October..

Interpreting the statue to exclude carcasses would, moreover, "also exclude freshly killed animals", Boughner insisted. This, in turn, "could lead to people who commit such acts with animals to kill them".

Boughner's latter point seems to be backed up by Hathaway's previous form, which saw him in April 2005 plead "no contest to one felony charge of mistreatment of an animal for the shooting death of Bambrick, a 26-year-old horse, to have sex with the animal".

The results of this case are being watched with interest in Pewsey, and the wildlife is looking worried..

Posted by The Englishman at 8:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sneering at hoi polloi

BBC NEWS | Politics | Web 'fuelling crisis in politics'

Tony Blair's outgoing chief strategy adviser fears the internet could be fuelling a "crisis" in the relationship between politicians and voters. ..

"We have a citizenry which can be caricatured as being increasingly unwilling to be governed but not yet capable of self-government," Mr Taylor told the audience....

...rather than work out these dilemmas in partnership with their elected leaders, they were encouraged to regard all politicians as corrupt or "mendacious" by the media, which he described as "a conspiracy to maintain the population in a perpetual state of self-righteous rage".

Whether media was left wing or right wing, the message was always that "leaders are out there to shaft you".

He went on: "At a time at which we need a richer relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had, to confront the shared challenges we face, arguably we have a more impoverished relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had.

"It seems to me this is something which is worth calling a crisis."

"The internet has immense potential but we face a real problem if the main way in which that potential expresses itself is through allowing citizens to participate in a shrill discourse of demands.

"If you look at the way in which citizens are using technology and the way that is growing up, there are worrying signs that that is the case.

"What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It's basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.

I'm happy to take that condescending sneer as a badge of honour. Harking back to the good old days when hoi polloi - "not yet capable of self-government" tugged their forelocks at the master's of the universe and their superior knowledge isn't much use - the world has moved on and now simple yeomen like me can do our own research into the claims of the MotU and publicise when they are talking bollocks!

Hat tip Guido

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

The Last Word on the School Leaving Age

Letters to The Editor

Sir, Apprenticeships should not be seen as a downgraded option. My father, the late Sir Barnes Wallis, chose to leave school at 16 with no paper qualifications, and was indentured to a shipwrights. He stated clearly at that age that he would gain more from learning “on the job”, and his skills proved transferable.
My husband’s uncle, the late Sir Alliott Verdon-Roe, left school even earlier to make his own way and his own decisions. He preferred to develop his inventive and technical skills by doing, not being guided or coerced into doing.


QED I think.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The shades of the prison wall draw near

Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: YATES LETTER FULL TEXT

Officially, No 10 refused to comment. But last night a source questioned police motives for saying that they had uncovered significant material. “We intend to maintain the high moral ground. We will leave it to others to speculate why the police are writing a letter like this at a time like this,” the source told Channel 4 News. Tony Blair is expected to be interviewed imminently.

Downing Street sources are reportedly suggesting that they believe any trial would not now be fair.

Maybe Tony has been advised by a human rights lawyer that the old "unfair trial" plea is his only chance, and that all this leaking of material only helps that defence...

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

Open the Envelope!

Telegraph | News | Public 'face £100 fines over Revenue job cuts'

Thousands of people are in danger of being fined £100 for late tax returns as revenue staff job cuts lead to a backlog of post, it was claimed last night.
Self-assessment tax returns, P45s and tax code letters are going unprocessed because of cutbacks at HM Revenue and Customs, union chiefs said.
More than 40,000 items had been left "for three months or more" with a further 78,331 unprocessed for 40 days, they claimed.

Every week I get a nice letter from the taxman asking for an increasing amount of money and threatening bailiffs and jail if I don't cough up, every week my accountant talks to the taxman he delivered the tax return to, every week the taxman agrees I don't owe anything and the return is just stuck in the system and it will all be sorted. If the got off their bloody arses and stopped sending out and responding to mulcting demands and actually opened their post then I for one would be a lot happier and not facing such a large accountants bill...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Telegraph | News | Thatcher praises Friedman, her freedom fighter

Milton Friedman, the free market economist who inspired Margaret Thatcher's economic reforms of the 1980s, died yesterday aged 94.

His theory that inflation resulted from too much money chasing too few goods inspired a generation of central bankers and played a pivotal role in forming the governing philosophies of Lady Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan in the US.
Lady Thatcher said last night: "Milton Friedman revived the economics of liberty when it had been all but forgotten. He was an intellectual freedom fighter. Never was there a less dismal practitioner of a dismal science...

He served as an adviser to the Thatcher government from 1979 to 1990 as it developed a free-market economy, low taxation, and the sale of state-owned industries.

Mr Friedman believed that tax-funded government spending was appropriate only to the most limited set of "public goods", such as national defence.

We need his like still, he probably did for the welfare of man than the whole sorry bunch of politicians we have now strung together.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 16, 2006


We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to repeal the Hunting Act 2004.
Go and add your cross...
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to repeal the Hunting Act 2004.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Free Born Englishman

Title: A Free Born Englishman! The Admiration of the World!!! and The Envy of Surrounding Nations
Artist: George Cruikshank
Date: 1819
Commentary: John Bull, a personification of England, in chains and gagged, stands on the Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights.

And feels appropriate today as the liberties of Free Born Englishmen are gagged and enchained..

Posted by The Englishman at 7:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Swindon Sickies

BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire | Council sick note for 60,000 days

Around 60,000 days were lost by Swindon Borough Council to long-term sick leave in one year, a six of which was for "psychological" reasons.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that about 500 employees took long-term sick leave between September 2005 and 2006.
Long-term sick leave is defined as being absent for more than 20 days.

The figure the BBC didn't include in their report is that Swindon employs only 5793 Full Time Equivalent people (FTE equals 37 hours a week). So despite an "on-site occupational health service" and a caring employer the Swindon employees are a sorry sick bunch, of course there wouldn't be the hint of any swinging of the lead would there?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:20 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Council Tax Rebel

Telegraph | News | Held in a tiny cage for 10 hours, thrown into a van with screaming drug addicts, then strip-searche

A retired serviceman jailed for refusing to pay his council tax yesterday described how he was forced to sit in a tiny cage, handcuffed, for more than 10 hours....

Yesterday, in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said he hoped that his sentence would raise awareness of the millions of pensioners who were suffering under "crippling" tax rises.

And he criticised a justice system that sent pensioners to jail for not paying council tax, "while letting serious criminals free".

Mr Fitzmaurice, who served 20 years in the Logistics Corps, was jailed for 32 days on Monday morning by magistrates in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, seven months after he had cancelled his council tax direct debit to West Norfolk council because of 45 per cent tax rises in the last six years.

The final straw, he said, was a controversy involving the council leader, John Dobson, who had a complaint made against him by opposition councillors that ended with council taxpayers footing a £23,000 legal bill......

He said: "I've made my point. I didn't really want to spend 32 days in prison.

"I wrote to the authorities asking if they could give me a community sentence as it would be of more use to me and others, and would cost much less money, but I was told that there was nothing in the statute that allowed that.

"It's something they should look at. It's wrong to send pensioners to jail while criminals are walking free committing all sorts of crimes. It's just not right."

But he added: "I don't think there was anyone I met who was not sympathetic to my cause and who did not treat me with respect."

Mrs Fitzmaurice celebrated the news of her husband's release with a cup of tea.

"...I'm incredibly proud of him for standing up for himself. Not many people would have done it at his age, especially as he has high blood pressure.

"But I do feel sorry for the other bloke in his cell because my husband snores so much."

And next year the tax will rise again by more than the rate of inflation or pension increase........

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

More Old Steel

Telegraph | News | Nanotube secrets of Damascus steel blade

For hundreds of years, some of the keenest minds searched in vain for the secret of how blacksmiths in the ancient Middle East fashioned a tough and flexible metal known as Damascus steel.
The search for the secret of the shimmering alloy may now be nearing an end, thanks to a study that reveals that the blacksmiths unwittingly managed to create "nanotubes" of carbon, structures at levels of a billionth of a metre....

Damascus blades are thought to have been forged from small cakes of steel known as "wootz", probably produced in India. A sophisticated treatment was then applied to the steel, but details of this were lost in the 18th century.

Prof Paufler believes that, as further details of this material emerge it might be possible to reproduce the long-lost recipe.

The "Damascus Steel" pattern we all love in our old firearms is not the original sort - for that you need to see a display of old swords. If you are unlucky enough not to have a few on the walls of your baronial hall I would recommend the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, many the afternoon I snuck off from lectures to admire its riches.

I don't know if I'm pleased that we are cracking the mystery of if I would prefer it to remain unanswered and part of the romance of the past...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:28 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 15, 2006

Tapping the glass

Outlook set fair as vote saves Britain's mercury barometers - Britain - Times Online

European green campaigners vowed to carry on their fight to outlaw the mercury barometer along with the thermometer, the manometer and the sphygmomanometer (for measuring blood pressure), all of which, under the EU directive, are no longer to be made.

On one hand this shows how "adaption" aand the use of new technologies solve environmental problems - who twenty years ago would have forecast that you would be able to buy very accurat electronic thermometers for pocket money? But on the other hand I just have a sneaking thought that the greens really hate us old codgers who tap the barometer each morning and check the silver column on the max/min thermometer and then dismiss their scaremongering - maybe they would like there only to be an official temperature....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:04 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Underclass

Telegraph | News | White, poor, male and doomed to fail

White working-class boys have become the new "underclass", a report by Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, warns today.
Boys from low-income white families are bottom of the heap in school performance, trailing behind every other major ethnic group...

...culture, not ethnicity or cash, is the key to educational achievement.

And the white trash have a culture of feckless drunken glorification of stupidity - how you turn that around, I have no idea.

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

November 14, 2006

Sodium and Chlorine? Must be poisonous!

Take this ban with a pinch of salt

Keeping our favourite seasoning off school dinner tables won't necessarily improve children's health, finds Paul Eastham

If last year's villain was the Turkey Twizzler, this year's must be salt. My 14-year-old daughter complains that it has been banned from her school's lunch tables this term – on the orders of the Government

The telegraph is going up in my estimation with this reasoned examination of the killer salt ban alongside its killer climate change articles. The MSM is catching up!

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

What did your child think today?

Al Fin: Brain Calibration

Baseball pitchers warm up with practice pitches before every appearance. Basketball players shoot practice hoops before games. Actors practice emoting before acting, singers practice intervals and runs, surgeons go through the sequence of a major surgery before scrubbing. All of these preliminaries are examples of mental calibration.

Calibrating the brain is a priming operation. The brain can be prepped for specific types of performance. But it is not just professional performers and practitioners of high risk procedures who need to calibrate. Every morning when the brain wakes up, it falls into a new dynamic state. If the brain has to achieve a certain level of performance each day, it must be calibrated for that performance. Otherwise, the level of achievement from day to day is left to chance. That is how most people live, by chance. When has popular culture ever offered anything else?

In Palestine the children are calibrated daily to hate the Jew, as they are in Hizballah controlled Lebanon, and much of the arab muslim lands. Hatred of the proper enemy is too important to be left to chance. If a society wants a ready supply of suicide bombers and guerilla fighters, it must begin calibrating minds at an early age.

Christian fundamentalists begin calibrating the minds of their children quite early as well. Sunday School and church, religious schools, camps, bible schools, and so on. Maintaining the proper religious way of thinking is too important to be left to chance. Early morning mass, confession, liturgy, prayer meetings, revivals. If a group wants the next generation to carry on the traditions of the current one, it must begin calibrating minds very early.

But then, those examples are not really the same thing as calibrating for top performance. They are more like brainwashing. But why do so many parents leave the cultivation of the minds of their children to chance and a largely indifferent culture? Affluent societies so often breed listless and goalless children. Decadence is what happens when one generation leaves the minds of the next generations to chance.

Brain calibration can take many forms--from meditation to mental imaging to neuromuscular practice to estimating distances or calculations, then checking the estimates. More complex forms of calibration are needed for more complex thought patterns. Unfortunately, modern educational practices have not kept up with current findings in neuroscience, but have instead regressed to conform with current whims of "political correctness."

Many professors of educational trends are willing to destroy a society in order to see their methods of social engineering "tried out" on new generations of hapless students. Fortunately, there are others who pay attention to scientific findings, who are outside the reach of the fashionable trendsetting PC social engineers.

There is a lot of need for reform in education, thanks to the PC professors who currently rule the universities and schools of education. Whether they like it or not, this reform is coming.

I hope so, not just for our children's sake, for all our sakes.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Pussy Galore

Sod the News the Telegraph leads with the "Best Bond Girls" and the "Bond Trailer"...

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Speedbandits - updated

Via onegoodmove: Speed Bandits
How to stop motorists speeding and leave them smiling
View the movie below the fold - not completely work-safe but hey it is from Denmark!

Now here is a traffic calming campaign I could support...

See also - http://www.speedbandits.dk/

Posted by The Englishman at 1:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 13, 2006

In the eye of the beholder

Kim du Toit has reopened the plastic vs. old wood and steel gun debate - I have no further comment to make but point you to these links:


I feel the need to rub an oily cloth up a woody right now!

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The end of the euro?

Solved: the mystery of the crumbling €50 notes

THOUSANDS of Germans have been stuffing euro notes up their noses — and destroying not only their health but also the currency, police believe.

They say that the mystery of why euro notes have been falling apart since the summer — many look moth-eaten after only a day in the pocket — is down to an increasing use of crystal methamphetamine....German police forces are now advising consumers to use gloves whenever dealing with cash — and to spend as quickly as possible.

My advice to my Teutonic friends would be to firstly invest in a proper bit of kit - something like this would be acceptable at even the smartest dinner parties and secondly change to a proper currency - I find the white fivers in my wallet have lasted for years....

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Fighting like rats in a barrel

No 10 'fury' over police leaks on cash for peerages

DOWNING STREET has made an informal complaint about Scotland Yard’s handling of the cash-for-peerages investigation....

Lord MacKenzie of Framwellgate, the Labour peer and former head of the Police Superintendents’ Association, warned the Prime Minister not to try to wreck the inquiry. “The common ploy by criminals is to get their retaliation in first and make a complaint against the police to divert the attention of the authorities and put the heat on the police,” he told The Mail on Sunday. “But it rarely works.


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November 12, 2006

Monkton vs Stern Round Two

Telegraph | News | Wrong problem, wrong solution

Roll up roll up - one not to miss. His two parter on the Stern Review really is excellent and commendable.

Possible Error by Monkton?

On a small note Lord Monkton also publishes the email responses to his first article here and I'm unsure if there is an error in one of his responses or not. Maybe you can help me. As a peer with a decent education he drops the odd Latin tag into his writing, and this should be only encouraged. However he uses, "Nutat et Homerus", now as you know "Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus" is the usual form, my old copy of Kennedy's Latin Eater can't quite square his version - is it my deficient education or has he nodded again?

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

Circling the Wagons in Downing Street

Telegraph | News | Yates offers ministers a way to clear their names

Police have offered Cabinet ministers the chance to rule themselves out of suspicion in the "cash for honours" investigation, piling yet more pressure on Tony Blair.

Letters sent to senior Labour figures by John Yates, the detective in charge of Scotland Yard's inquiry, have listed the 10 individuals originally nominated for peerages by Mr Blair last year....

The letters, received by Cabinet ministers about 10 days ago, ask whether they played any part in nominating any of the people on the list.

A source close to the inquiry said: "What Yates is trying to do is to ensure that no senior figure is able to take the rap for the nominations at a later stage in the inquiry, saving Tony Blair and his inner circle."...

What the police do not expect them to do is to say they helped nominate any of the four lenders.

"This in turn will put the spotlight even more strongly on to Tony Blair and his inner circle at Number 10."

Mr Blair ... is expected to be interviewed under caution, as a potential suspect, before Christmas, but it is not thought that he will be arrested.

That's the way to do it, pick off the outriders and sentries one by one, leaving the wagonmasters sweating in the middle. Leaks like this are the whooping and hollering that soften up them up.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

An EU headache for Gordon

Telegraph | News | Tax ruling will save UK drinkers billions

British shoppers will soon be able to buy cut-price alcohol and cigarettes from the Continent without leaving home, as a result of an extraordinary legal test case that threatens to blow a multi-billion pound hole in the Treasury's coffers.
The European Court of Justice is expected to rule next week that goods can be bought in other EU states and delivered to the door while only the duty levied in the country of origin is paid. This is often a fraction of that charged in Britain.
If, as appears likely, the court rubber-stamps a previous adjudication by its advocate general, shoppers will be free to use the internet or mail order companies to find the best bargains around Europe and have them shipped home for their own consumption.

Excellent news - it means the one last remaining reason to visit Europe, to stock up the cellar, will have disappeared, and that lingering thought that I ought to go over there again can be firmly dismissed.

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November 11, 2006

Order of Service


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"THE REST IS HISTORY.. .. A long time ago - the final part

I have been posting a few extracts from books about El Alamein which I hope you have been enjoying. This final extract is from "Royal Wilts" by Lt.Col.P.W.Pitt.
Please read it and remember it as the collecting tin for the poppy is passed around....

That is the story of the Royal Wilts in the Battle of El Alamein. Fate had cast them for an important role on that historic occasion and it is no exaggeration to say that they played it well. It was, however, only a part. El Alamein has been referred to as the most decisive land battle of the war,' and history may well confirm that description. Many units of the British forces were engaged and their individual stories will be told elsewhere. This book is, quite naturally, most nearly concerned with what happened to 9th Armoured Brigade.
That Brigade fought a terrible battle. Scenes such as those which have been described in the Royal Wilts sector were happening throughout the advance of the three armoured regiments. It is hard to realise those scenes, and no reporter could faithfully describe them. The mind soon became accustomed to reading about heavy losses of tanks." Such headlines were taken very much for granted during the war. Even the men who were themselves in action became callous. So-and so's tank brewed up,' they would say, and leave it at that. But what did it mean, to the men inside that tank when it brewed up" ? In order to try and gain just a faint impression of what it did mean, let the reader imagine that he or she is back again, for a few minutes, amidst the scenes which have just been described.
Up and down the whole El Alamein front the battle is raging furiously. Men are being killed, maimed, burned and mentally shattered for life. In one place two officers arc earnestly discussing some important point whilst standing, for the moment, beside a tank. A shell screams past and one of them ducks. Then he looks round and finds that his companion's head has been blown clean off. His collar has fallen to the ground. That collar, with the tie still neatly tied inside it, will remain to bleach in the desert for years to come.
Everywhere the sand is littered with smashed and burning machinery. Wrecked German guns are lying in all directions. Some are the dreaded 'eighty-eights'
some even are big Russian anti-tank guns which the Boches have lugged all the way from the eastern front, so that with them they can fire upon the allies of the men who made them. Near one gun-pit, looking somehow slightly obscene with its underbelly exposed to view, lies a British tank on its side. It is hard to imagine how, even with a direct hit at twenty yards, it can thus have been bowled over. But there it is and there it will remain, a visible proof that such things can happen.
The whole of this strip of desert is a shambles. Men are being crushed between metal and sand, and others run screaming from blazing tanks, their very clothes on fire. They roll frantically in the sand as they tear the burning material from their bodies. Again, others pace pitifully up and dot in charred uniforms, their hands swelled up with burns, their faces unrecognisable, their lips grotesquely puffed up. There are also swollen travesties of men lying, in fantastic attitudes in burnt out tanks that reek of cooked flesh. Some of these will remain there for months and when, eventually, they are moved, their bodies will drop to pieces.
Some there are who, bodily unharmed, wander witless in the desert. These will live out their lives, but never again will they be as they were yesterday.
Over there a tank is lilt broadside. A solid shell pierces the armour and smashes the drivers legs. His hands fly up. There is tenor in his eyes. Not because he will never walk again. That thought has not yet occurred to him. But he knows that tanks catch fire when hit in certain places. He also knows that when this happens it is only a matter of seconds. This is the secret dread of all tank crews. In this tank, now, bits of metal, white hot from their passage through the armour plate, are flying around the tiny space behind the wounded driver. And that space is packed with shells. One is struck by a fragment. A tiny greenish flame appears. The driver instantaneously hauls himself out of the seat. He reaches the turret a moment after the rest of the crew have baled out. Gripping, pulling, levering himself up, he extricates himself, in spite of his useless legs, with the superhuman strength of a desperate man. Then he lands with a soft thud upon the sand as the tank goes up with a raucous "whoof". The heat singes his hair as he wriggles and scrambles away from it.
That is what happens when a tank "brews up."
Don't shudder, reader, and say, "How disgusting! Why draw attention to such unpleasant details?" The author has already been asked to leave them out. Some have described them as "horrific." But others, who took part in the battle, have asked that they should be left in. These latter feel that you should know the truth and so the details have remained. This is not fiction. These are only a few specific and isolated instances of the horrors that took place on that battlefield of El Alamein. The men concerned were your relatives and friends. They would normally have been living at peace in England, and each one represents a family. Furthermore such scenes occurred, to a greater or lesser degree, on every battlefield throughout the world in this last appalling war.
You should know about such things because it is you who will have to prevent their recurrence in the future. Yes, you. Not the politicians. Not the man next door. But you, You, YOU! Those men who fought have helped to wrest the torch of civilisation from the hands of the devil. They have paid with their lives, their limbs and their wits. All that they ask of you is that you should guard the flame.
If you do not guard it carefully, that flame will most surely die away. There will be more wars. Queen Victoria is credited with having said that, 'The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.' History has proved how right she was. Henceforth every man should make it a ceaseless mission to pursue that vigilance.

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November 10, 2006

The best thing from Budapest since Zsa Zsa Gabor

Biometric ID cards an insecure menace, says EU ID outfit | The Register

The EU-funded FIDIS (Future of Identity in the Information Society) project has warned that implementation of the current generation of biometric travel ID will dramatically decrease security and privacy, and increase the risk of identity theft. In the Budapest Declaration, which derives from FIDIS' September meeting in Budapest, FIDIS calls for short-term damage control measures to be taken (because biometric ID is already being rolled out), and for "a new convincing and integrated security concept" to be developed within the next three years.

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We shall not sleep..

Telegraph | Comment | In Afghan fields, the poppies blow By W F Deedes

Why does the wild poppy mean more than any other flower? What links it so closely to remembrance, the soldier and the Royal British Legion?
As the years go by, we shall find such questions harder to answer. It's a long time since, in 1915, Dr John McCrae wrote those lines:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place.

You have to be my age - someone born in 1913 - to have any recollection of the First World War. I just remember seeing soldiers take a breather from a long route march on the grass bank outside our house, close to the south-east coast.
advertisementI was carried on to our flat roof to see two German airplanes in the night sky, faintly lit by searchlights and on their way to London. If the wind blew from the south, we heard the faint rumble of big gun barrages in France.
When the Armistice came in 1918, my eldest sister and I were given small Union flags to wave. Two young friends joined us for tea, accompanied by their widowed mother, whose husband had died at Ypres.
It was 88 years ago. ...

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Today, the poppy is about more than remembrance. It reminds us that valour and death in battle and war wounds did not end with the two world wars.

As figures we published yesterday tell us, veterans live on and still need our help. So do a new generation of younger soldiers. The soldier is not answerable for Iraq. As the Roman centurion of old understood so well, he obeys orders. Give generously for the poppy this year.

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Up the chimneys with'em

School leaving age 'should be 18' - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

Children will be compelled to stay in full-time education or training until they reach 18 under proposals being considered by ministers for one of the biggest shake-ups in education for decades.

Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, said that it was unacceptable for children of 16 to be in full-time work, adding that government policy on the school leaving age may be reversed.

Alan Johnson left school at fifteen without a single qualification to his name. His first job was stacking shelves at Tesco, a job which he eventually abandoned when they refused to allow him a lunch break. Then at the age of eighteen in 1968 he decided to move to Slough and become a postman, attracted by the promise of overtime, since he now felt that he needed the money now that he was married and his guitar had been stolen.

So did leaving school early damage him? Does he believe young people are less mature now and that they should be incarcerated as unwilling scholars rather than be allowed to earn a living?
I strongly believe that by that age some kids know that book learning isn't for them at that time, and they will be much happier, more productive and useful members of society if they learn to work instead.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Hornby, the maker of toy trains and Scalextric cars, is to rescue Airfix from administration, adding the maker of model aircraft, tanks and ships to its stable of brands.
It is thought that Hornby, which saw off competition from rivals including Germany’s Revell to secure the brands, (The Times)


Go on - you know you want to - add the wings, prop, canopy, inhale the glue as you cement it all together. Float the transfers onto the freshly painted body and run down the garden going yewooow rat-a-tat-tat...... It wouldn't have been the same if they were made by a German company would it?

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November 9, 2006

Global Warming - the two sides of the argument

This global warming business is very confusing - so I thought I would try and line up the two sides to argue it out.

There is no "plateau" where CO2 stops being important. Every time you double CO2, you get another 4 Watts per square meter of radiative forcing, so that the anticipated climate change between present CO2 and doubled CO2 is comparable to that between doubled CO2 and quadrupled CO2.

Water vapor and carbon dioxide are major greenhouse gases. Water vapor accounts for about 70% of the greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide somewhere between 4.2% and 8.4%. Much of the wavelength bands where carbon dioxide is active are either at or near saturation. Water vapor absorbs infrared over much the same range as carbon dioxide and more besides. Clouds are not composed of greenhouse gas -- they are mostly water droplets -- but absorb about one-fifth of the longwave radiation emitted by Earth. Clouds can briefly saturate the atmospheric radiation window (8-13µm) through which some Earth radiation passes directly to space (those hot and sticky overcast nights produce this effect - that is greenhouse but has nothing to do with carbon dioxide). Greenhouse gases can not obstruct this window although ozone absorbs in a narrow slice at 9.6µm. Adding more greenhouse gases which absorb in already saturated bandwidths has no net effect. Adding them in near-saturated bands has little additional effect. ..

Rather obviously, once a window is saturated adding more gases with the same properties will do nothing. This point seems to cause confusion for some people so perhaps consider multiple shades on a window with each shade blocking half the light coming through - pull one shade and you reduce the light source by half, pull another so you block half the light coming through the first shade, etc.. The effect of each shade diminishes as you keep adding more and eventually you get no additional effect - you have saturated or blocked the radiation window and it makes no difference if you double or quadruple the number of shades again.


In global warming and climate studies, figures are often given in Watts per meter squared (Wm-2) -- what does that mean? Surface warming ratios are variously cited as 0.1 °C per Wm-2 forcing through 1.0 °C per Wm-2 -- and most everything in between -- which ones make sense? ..
According to the National Academies' Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions (2001), doubling CO2 (to 600 ppmv) would lead to a forcing of about 4 W/m2..

The IPCC's estimate of additional forcing from all added CO2 since the Industrial Revolution is ≈ 1.5 Wm-2, the equivalent of change in radiative forcing (ΔF) for a value of 370 ppmv. Over the same period they estimate net warming of 0.6 ± 0.2 °C. Professor Roger Pielke, Sr., suggests a figure of 26.5-28% of contemporary warming is attributable to atmospheric carbon dioxide by estimating from IPCC-supplied forcing tables. Of the IPCC's estimated 0.6 ± 0.2 °C that would be 6/10 x 28/100 ≈ 0.17 ± ≈ 0.06 °C. That would give us a value of 1 Wm-2 ≈ 0.11 °C

...What does this 3.7 Wm-2 mean? How much warming does that equate to for the planet's surface? ...
On balance of available evidence then the current model-estimated range of warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide should probably be reduced from 1.4 - 5.8 °C to about 0.4 °C to suit observations or ≈ 0.8 °C to accommodate theoretical warming -- and that's including ΔF of 3.7 Wm-2 from a doubling of pre-Industrial Revolution atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, a figure we suspect is also inflated.

The bottom line is that climate models are programmed to overstate potential warming response to enhanced greenhouse forcing by a huge margin. The median estimate 3.0 °C warming cited by the IPCC for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide is physically implausible.


We have often made the case here that equilibrium climate sensitivity is most likely to be around 0.75 +/- 0.25 C/(W/m2) (corresponding to about a 3°C rise for a doubling of CO2). ..

...we know that for a particular model, once you know its climate sensitivity you can easily predict how much it will warm or cool if you change one of the forcings (like CO2 or solar). We also know that the best definition of the forcing is the change in flux at the tropopause, and that the most predictable diagnostic is the global mean surface temperature anomaly. Thus it is natural to look at the real world and see whether there is evidence that it behaves in the same way (and it appears to, since model hindcasts of past changes match observations very well).

So for our next trick, try dividing energy fluxes at the surface by temperature changes at the surface. As is obvious, this isn't the same as the definition of climate sensitivity - it is in fact the same as the black body (no feedback case) discussed above - and so, again it's no surprise when the numbers come up as similar to the black body case.
(an idealised 'black body' (which gives of radiation in a very uniform and predictable way as a function of temperature - encapsulated in the Stefan-Boltzmann equation) has a basic sensitivity (at Earth's radiating temperature) of about 0.27 °C/(W/m2). That is, a change in radiative forcing of about 4 W/m2 would give around 1°C warming)

In a transient situation (such as we have at present), there is a lag related to the slow warm up of the oceans, which implies that the temperature takes a number of decades to catch up with the forcings. This lag is associated with the planetary energy imbalance and the rise in ocean heat content. If you don't take that into account it will always make the observed 'sensitivity' smaller than it should be. Therefore if you take the observed warming (0.6°C) and divide by the estimated total forcings (~1.6 +/- 1W/m2) you get a number that is roughly half the one expected.

Hansen's model is dumping heat into the oceans at roughly 0.8 Wm-2 and the bulk ocean heat rise mid-1993 - mid-2003 sort of matched that -- if only the world would remain constant and conform to the models we'd have this "global warming" thing sorted. Like all happy accidents, however, this good thing came to an end, too.

Lyman et al (2006), using updated data from the same source, show that the period 2003-2005 involves a sudden ocean cooling at a rate of -1.0 ± 0.3 Wm-2 over the period, which means Hansen's model is calculating wrongly in both magnitude and sign. No one expected this loss of one-fifth of the heat stored in the ocean since 1955 and no model predicted it. Its cause is unclear but we appear to be witnessing Earth dumping heat to space via the atmosphere.

So it looks like "Real Climate" is arguing that the models are correct, even thought the earth doesn't realise yet how warm it is meant to be yet and is obstinately refusing to play along, whereas "Junk Science" seems to be trying to see how the models fit into the limited data we have of how the world is actually reacting, and then forecasting from that. I think I know who my money is on.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Keeping the customers away.

Kennet News from the Gazette and Herald Editor's Blog

FURTHER to my rant about Jobsworth parking wardens the other day, now we hear they have annoyed register office staff so much they are refusing to go back to Marlborough.

The wardens there kept ticketing their car while they unloaded their files outside the town hall.

Now they have said they are not going back, so anyone in the town wanting to register a birth or death will have to go to Devizes.

Nice one lads. Why don't you have a go at the blood transfusion service next?

I was once cornered in our reception by one of the old school traffic wardens. He complained that we painted them in a bad light. Bearing in mind he himself had ticketed Santa's sleigh when it was parked in Devizes Market Place (I kid you not)I could not agree with him.

As I said before, they may all be charming people but unless they actually prove it by exhibiting some recognisable human emotion I'll always think otherwise.

And in other news; Kennet plan to increase parking fees by 66% in the shopper car park as they squeak about how they are helping revitalise the moribund centre of Devizes - I never bother going there now as I can't park the car anywhere close.
Car parking remains free for Kennet Council employees at their plush offices in Devizes.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The customer is always right

Telegraph | News | Students protest as Bristol cuts tuition to two hours a week

Students at one of Britain's most sought-after universities are demanding more value for money after their tuition was reduced to two hours a week.

History undergraduates at Bristol say they thought they were paying fees to be educated by renowned academics, not to receive "library membership and a reading list".

Isn't it wonderful what the effect of students actually having to pay for their course is having - they are demanding value for money like any other consumer. Excellent.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:17 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Exclusive Photo from Downing Street

Telegraph | News | Blair tries to keep out 'peerage' police

Tony Blair is determined to keep the door to No 10 closed to detectives in an attempt to limit the embarrassment of being the first serving prime minister in 70 years to be interviewed in a political corruption inquiry.

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

November 8, 2006

English farmers paying the price for Government incompetence - again

In a joint statement the NFU, CLA and TFA said: “This confirms our worst fears about the ability of the RPA to deliver 2006 single payments. We have strongly argued for a part payment and for a clear timetable, so to that extent, we are relieved David Miliband has listened to our case.

“However this still leaves much of the industry in financial difficulties and we are very disappointed the payment is less and later than we wanted. We do recognise ministers’ determination not to make promises they cannot keep, but we sincerely hope this really is the worst case scenario and in practice more than 50 per cent will be paid earlier than the end of February.”

The three organisations are continuing to urge the RPA to improve its performance, but additional accounting complications this year mean fines for making incorrect payments without all due checks and processes will result in Defra being fined rather than central government.

The NFU, CLA and TFA said: “This is an unfair double hit on the rural community. First, the single payment is paid late, affecting not only farmers but dependent businesses and the wider rural community. Then Defra’s budget is cut to the tune of £200m, which impacts on vital issues like flood defence, land drainage, animal health and the environment. Nfuonline

In other news:

Officials in the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs
received more than £7 million in bonuses in the last two years despite
the failure of the English single farm payments scheme, a provision for
£131 million of losses in the accounts, as well as financial crisis in
British farming....Details from Hansard

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Naked man arrested for concealed weapon

Naked man arrested for concealed weapon - Boston.com

The mind boggles - there's a headline that you know is going to lead you to an unsavoury story...

Posted by The Englishman at 4:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Make do and mend...


The Times can also disclose that David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, is investigating ways to encourage people to take responsibility for their own energy consumption. He is considering plans to issue every Briton with a “carbon credit card”, which he predicts would be the world’s biggest loyalty card. People would use cards to buy electricity, gas and fuel to persuade them to cut emissions in their personal life.

Everyone would have a set entitlement to consume and would win cash back if they used less than their allowance. But individuals wanting to consume more than their limit would have to buy spare points off the more thrifty.

I am becoming convinced that my dear old mother in her final confused days darning socks in front of a meagre fire, and listening to the wireless in case that nice Mr Attlee came on, by the light of one small bulb is the only sort of person who can make sense of this brave new world the Boy Miliband wants us to retreat to...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:25 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Value for Money

The Government has admitted that Connecting for Health, the Department of Health agency in charge of its disastrous NHS IT programme, could be scrapped.

The admission comes amid growing alarm in the Government at the spiralling cost of the programme which is likely to end up at £20 billion — £7.6 billion more than its original budget.

24dash.com - Top earner in the NHS was Richard Granger, chief executive of NHS Connecting for Health, which is in charge of the much-troubled introduction of the health service's new IT system. He got £285,000.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dept. Of Righteous Shootings

I'm not sure if this qualifies for Kim du Toit's Dept. Of Righteous Shootings but what the hell, I don't expect many tears in Texas....

Telegraph | News | Lawyer in TV 'sting' commits suicide

A Texas lawyer shot himself dead after being caught by an internet paedophile sting set up by a television programme.
Louis Conradt Jr, 56, killed himself as police approached his home to serve him with an arrest warrant for soliciting sex from a minor. Police said the former district attorney had gone online to solicit sex from someone he thought was a 13-year-old boy.
The "boy" was a decoy for a sting operation being run by an internet watchdog and Dateline NBC, a news show that includes the series To Catch a Predator, which aims to entrap paedophiles who surf the web for victims.
An NBC camera crew was outside the house ready to film when the fatal shot was fired.

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

November 7, 2006

Well Oiled Steel and Mahogany

FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES: & for those of you that question my taste in firearms ...

Now one or two of you have been questioning why I keep buying black plastic firearms ...
This old wood & metal is all well & good - but the new stuff delivers (that is if you have necessary skills to use it properly).

These Lego guns are all very well if you need to mechanically kill things but where's the skill, where's the romance, what's the bloody point of using them on targets? Especially when if you any good you don't need to.

For example here is a card Mr FM shot last night, 9 out of 9 catching the bull, and he was using an old Martini action hand fettled in Birmingham when the globe was still pink, the butt fashioned out of a tropical hardwood that never even was named before it was extinct, carried to our shores in a British steamship. Tens of thousands of rounds have been fired through it by young men of the village. Some of those young men made use of the skills they learnt defending freedom around the world over the last hundred years. And last night three young teenagers shot their first rounds ever through it. Now that is what it should all be about, not some bloody Vorsprung Durch Technic extruded recycled coffee cups and laser cut billet.


Posted by The Englishman at 6:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Timmy on Cargoes

Tim Worstall: Timmy Elsewhere
A rational policy would be to stop throwing rocks in our own harbours and declare unilateral free trade. True, our European partners are unlikely to go along with such a plan. But as the economist Patrick Minford has calculated, even if the EU denied its citizens the benefits of our labour through tariffs, we would still be better off by about 」30 billion a year if we followed the logic and quit the Brussels customs union.

Please, forgive me, but there's a certain whoop, whoop, a certain pride, in actually getting that view, the truth, into the national media.

Let me join him in whooping this morning. Well done.

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November 6, 2006

Taxman making naughty phone calls?

BBC NEWS | UK | 'Silent calls' warning welcomed

Campaigners have welcomed news that the phone regulator Ofcom has warned four firms about generating "silent calls".

Carphone Warehouse was among the firms which made too many of the calls, which happen when dialling systems generate more calls than staff can handle.

Ofcom's rules ban silent calls and allow only 3% of calls to be accompanied by a recorded message.

The firms have until 6 December to respond, after which Ofcom could fine them from £5,000 to £50,000.

And guess who is another big offender :

A parliamentary answer to a question
asked by John Hemming MP has
confirmed that the taxman is still making 4,300 nuisance calls a week.
The maximum fine for each of these silent calls is £50,000 so the tax
man could be asked to pay a fine of over £200 Million a week.

Posted by The Englishman at 4:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


THE world’s largest container ship lifted its 29-ton anchor from British waters yesterday to begin its return voyage, gathering up scrap and waste from around Europe in exchange for its cargo of Christmas goods from China.

Having unloaded 3,000 containers of consumer goods in less than 24 hours, the Emma Maersk left Felixstowe last night reloaded with crates of waste plastic, paper and steel from Britain.

Relieved of tons of su doku puzzles, cocktail shakers and toy gorillas, the vessel’s vast belly has now also been filled with more mundane British exports, such as nail varnish remover, cleaning products, cigarettes and alcohol.

Many of the 1,600 boxes picked up during its British pitstop, however, contained nothing. The exchange — which, for the ship dubbed “SS Santa”, must be the economic equivalent of a mince pie and a glass of milk — is a telling symbol of the one-sided trading relationship between the UK and Asia.

Its speedy turnaround, thanks to six cranes, 300 dock workers and a complex computerised loading system, also shows the sophistication of the container ship industry which is now relied upon to transport about three quarters of global trade. The Times

Excellent news - I hope Gordon Brown realises that this is good economic news and is why he should carry on shouting about the advantages of globalisation and free trade. (But the salty old seaman that I am wistfully remembers the old days as well...)

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

John Masefield

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

The Son of Kirckaldy on the advantages of Free Trade

GORDON BROWN has called for a new global alliance of governments, business leaders and public figures to fight the reactionary “Luddites” opposed to globalisation and break the “dangerous global log jam” that is threatening world trade.

The Chancellor, writing today in The Times, challenges leaders to show the determination necessary to stop the world slipping back into a new era of protectionism, comparing it to the effort needed to rebuild the international order after the Second World War.

One very simple step he could take with relish - have quiet word with Peter Mandelson in a dark alley and then announce a new vision for the EU...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

By the left, quick march

The TimesAn influential left-wing think-tank has taken the rare step of advocating a return to some of the structures associated with public schools — including the house system and forcing young people to take part in structured and uniformed activities — to help the working class to gain personal skills for the 21st century.

The recommendations may be aired commonly in society’s more conservative wings, but they have now emerged in a far more surprising quarter. The Institute for Public Policy Research ....“The evidence shows that wearing a uniform, be it in the Scouts or for martial arts, football or sports clubs, helps.”

I'm not sure why regimenting and marching children around in uniform is seen as particularly "conservative" - I seem to recall lots of pictures from our Socialist Paradise neighbours of happy children waving red flags as they march, so why shouldn't a national socialist regime like ours be a natural home for it as well. I just hope they get Hugo Boss to design the uniforms for the Tony Jugend...

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

November 5, 2006

Squeezed until the pips squeaked

Telegraph | News | The road to ruin: how pay as you drive could cost families £3,000 every year

It has been sold as a price worth paying to free up the roads, not to mention help save the planet, but pay as you drive could cost a typical middle class family an extra £3,000 a year.

Council tax bills set to double | This is Money

At least half of English households face huge council tax increases under a nationwide reassessment of property values by a 'Big Brother' computer.

Telegraph | News | Labour tax plan that would turn us all green

Every autumn Gordon Brown is inundated with ideas from fellow Cabinet ministers for new taxes as he prepares his annual pre-Budget report.
Last week, Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, revealed that she has asked for higher taxes on alcopops to curb binge drinking among teenagers.

David Miliband wants to target air travel, extend congestion charging across the country and encourage recycling

But the submission sent earlier this month from David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, and leaked to the Mail on Sunday, is likely to have surprised even such a committed high-tax Chancellor as Mr Brown.
Mr Miliband, who last month admitted he had been "scared" by the scientific evidence on the impact of global warming, is proposing an eye-watering menu of hard-hitting green taxes.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Remember Remember

Have a good 5th celebrating our old traditions, ignoring Health and Safety and dealing with Guy Fawkes as he deserves.
For me it is my wedding anniversary so a quiet night in...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:36 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Oleaginous Hain Green with Envy

The Times: PETER HAIN today raises the spectre of making the rich bear more of the burden for reducing carbon emissions by relating green taxes to income.

The Northern Ireland secretary, campaigning to become deputy prime minister under Gordon Brown, also suggested “innovative ways” were needed to stop the super-wealthy “racing away” from those on average incomes.

Hain advocates introducing “progressive” green taxes to hit those on big incomes hardest, rather than slapping levies on flights, petrol and rubbish.
“There is a problem about those right at the top just racing away over the horizon and those on average and below-average incomes staying behind. We need to find a way of addressing that.” What I am saying is just be very careful that we’re not ignoring the need for social justice.

It is good of the oleaginous one to remind us what the call for "green taxes" is really about - not a "levy" to rectify the harm an activity does but another method of socially engineering society in the orange faced twat's vision. Green with envy with taxes maybe?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Stern gets a rocket

Telegraph | News | Climate chaos? Don't believe it

This week, I'll show how the UN undervalued the sun's effects on historical and contemporary climate, slashed the natural greenhouse effect, overstated the past century's temperature increase, repealed a fundamental law of physics and tripled the man-made greenhouse effect.

Next week, I'll demonstrate the atrocious economic, political and environmental cost of the high-tax, zero-freedom, bureaucratic centralism implicit in Stern's report; I'll compare the global-warming scare with previous sci-fi alarums; and I'll show how the environmentalists' "precautionary principle" (get the state to interfere now, just in case) is killing people.

Now a detailed researched topical investigation is what the Sunday Papers are for, and so rarely provide! Go read.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 4, 2006

Voters not as green as cabbage looking

BBC NEWS | Politics | Voters 'do not trust green taxes'

Most voters believe "green taxes" are more about raising money than helping the environment, a BBC poll suggests.
All three main parties say they want to use the tax system to encourage more environmentally-friendly behaviour.
But the Populus poll suggests they may have a fight on their hands convincing voters there is not a hidden agenda.
Some 62% of those polled said they thought green taxes were just a revenue-raising measure and nearly half were against the idea altogether.

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

Justice is blind

LORD GOLDSMITH, the Attorney-General and close confidant of the Prime Minister, will advise the Crown Prosecution Service on whether it should bring charges in the cash-for-peerages inquiry, according to reports last night.

The involvement of Lord Goldsmith will be hugely controversial, and the police, who have been at pains to appear neutral throughout their investigation, are doubtful whether he would be politically able to recommend bringing criminal charges that could bring down the Government.

The Attorney-General’s role in advising the Government has been under intense scrutiny after his advice on the legality of invading Iraq appeared to alter in the light of discussions with Mr Blair.

How can anyone suggest that he would not be completely impartial as to whether Tony should be dragged down to the nick or not?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:00 AM

Taking responsibility on the roads

Telegraph | News | Is this the end of the road for traffic lights?

Most traffic lights should be torn up as they make roads less safe, one of Europe's leading road engineers said yesterday.

Residents of the northern Dutch town of Drachten have already been used as guinea-pigs in an experiment which has seen nearly all the traffic lights stripped from their streets....

There have been a few small collisions, but these are almost to be encouraged, Mr Monderman explained. "We want small accidents, in order to prevent serious ones in which people get hurt," he said yesterday.

"It works well because it is dangerous, which is exactly what we want. But it shifts the emphasis away from the Government taking the risk, to the driver being responsible for his or her own risk.

"We only want traffic lights where they are useful and I haven't found anywhere where they are useful yet."

Mr Monderman, 61, compared his philosophy of motoring to an ice rink. "Skaters work out things for themselves and it works wonderfully well. I am not an anarchist, but I don't like rules which are ineffective and street furniture tells people how to behave."
In short, if motorists are made more wary about how they drive, they behave more carefully, he said.

There are small trials of a similar approach in my local town of Devizes and it works! Of course the idea of putting responsibility back onto people's own shoulders and not just putting up more and more hectoring signs is alien to most councils...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 3, 2006

Exclusive David Bowie MP3

Last year I happened across the original mastertape of David Bowie's Changes, I tried to arrange for the owner to return them to Bowie's people but it never happened. So as far as I know they are still sitting in a cupboard in Wiltshire. To confirm it was what it claimed to be we transferred it to modern tape - but of course as we didn't have the copyright so we didn't do anything with it, though it sounded fantastic. I thought I had wiped all of the copy I had but I have just found this snippet, which I thought you might find interesting:Download file

Posted by The Englishman at 9:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yet another reason to concrete over the railways

Network Rail, created by the Government in 2002 to replace Railtrack, last year paid its four executive directors a total of £3.3 million in salaries, bonuses, pension contributions and “long-term incentive payments”. It says that it is a private-sector company competing for the best business brains with the likes of Shell and BP. But Network Rail has a monopoly over rail infrastructure and its £18 billion debt is underwritten by the Government. John Armitt, the chief executive, never has to worry about going bust or losing market share to a rival.
Network Rail argues that other rail industry leaders took home even more. But Brian Souter at Stagecoach (£1.1 million plus pension) and Phil White at National Express (£1.5 million plus pension) both had to compete in a fiercely competitive market to run train franchises.

They are also held to account by shareholders while Network Rail is answerable only to a few dozen rail enthusiasts who can do nothing but ask one or two awkward questions.

(The Times)

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Troubled teens? All they need is love, says Cameron - Britain - Times Online
After 'hug a hoodie' the Tory leader now wants people to stop calling yobs 'feral' and offer them understanding instead

I've only just realised - he's John Lennon's bastard child - which one is Dave, which one is Julian?


Of course the good news the article reveals is that British youths are maintaining the standards that saw the Boche off a couple of times and built an Empire, whilst the Kindervolk are becoming a bunch of wusses - what became of the traditions of the Heidelberg duelling scars....

Almost half (44 per cent) of 15-year-olds have been in a physical fight in the past year compared with just 28 per cent in Germany.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Telegraph | News | All seafood will run out in 2050, say scientists

Bad news I know - and a damn good reason to start fish farming and putting a few property rights into place - tragedy of the commons and all that - but surely this is an overreaction...

Telegraph | News | Pollock sold for $140 million (£75 million).

Single frozen Alaska Pollock is considered to be the premier raw material for Surimi Seafood; the most common use of surimi in the United States is "imitation crabmeat" (aka crab stick), known in Japan as "kamaboko". Alaska pollock is commonly used in the fast food industry, for example the fish filet at both McDonald's and Burger King are also made from Alaska pollock.
The Alaskan pollock is said to be "the largest remaining source of palatable fish in the world.. (Pollock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 2, 2006

The Stern Review - the view from down under

Bob Carter: British report the last hurrah of warmaholics | Opinion | The Australian
The Stern review has been presented as a rigorous treatment of climate change and its economic effects. In reality, however, the review is a political document whose relation to the truth is about the same as that of the notorious British report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
The Stern agenda in Britain is to enable Labour to compete for eco-votes with an increasingly green-oriented Tory party. A wider agenda is the imposition of carbon levies for goods and services provided from outside Europe, thereby penalising more efficient competitors elsewhere. The European Union has form on this, and has previously tried to use DDT and genetic engineering of food as bogies to justify trade barriers.
Among a range of possible carbon morality taxes, Stern considers the application of a food-miles levy on produce subjected to lengthy air transport. Subsequent media coverage has concentrated on earlier estimates that flying 1kg of kiwifruit from New Zealand to Europe generates 5kg of carbon dioxide. With delicious irony, it turns out that virtually all NZ kiwifruit are transported by ship, yet arrive in Britain at a price that undercuts local supplies. No wonder a levy is needed.
Australian grape growers are doubtless already resigned to having an extra "noble carbon" levy imposed on their products, to the advantage of their French competitors. For that matter, why not a ballet miles surcharge on tickets at Covent Garden when the Australian Ballet next visits London? And given that most British dildos probably come from overseas, perhaps UK citizens will soon have dildo miles, too.

The Stern review is not about climate change but about economic, technological and trade advantage. Its perpetrators seek power through climate scaremongering.

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

From the hot south of the county...

spiked | Got a problem? Blame global warming! John Brignell of Numberwatch lays the boot in..

Posted by The Englishman at 3:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Even More Stern Review Nonsense

A reader writes and points me to two very interesting articles, which you also ought to read.

You've been covering global warming and perhaps you might be interested in this article:

It says the Stern Report "are merely openings for government to expand its role in allocating investment, raising taxes and otherwise controlling economic decisions. Socialism was supposed to have died with the Soviet Union, but it is making a comeback under the guise of coping with global warming." Sounds about right.

The article refers to the quasi-simultaneous Lomborg report, found here:

Lomborg says Stern's claim falls apart when one actually reads the report.
He adds it is "selective and its conclusion flawed" and that "its fear-mongering arguments have been sensationalized". Lomborg then tears the Stern report apart piece by piece.

You should also see Tim Worstall: More Stern Review Nonsense.


Nigel Lawson

The third danger is even more profound. Today we are very conscious of the threat
we face from the supreme intolerance of Islamic fundamentalism. It could not be a
worse time to abandon our own traditions of reason and tolerance, and to embrace
instead the irrationality and intolerance of ecofundamentalism, where reasoned
questioning of its mantras is regarded as a form of blasphemy. There is no greater
threat to the people of this planet than the retreat from reason we see all around
us today.

A Lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies

Posted by The Englishman at 9:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Enuff said

News Sniffer - Watch Your Mouth - BBC Fora's most censored threads

Posted by The Englishman at 7:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Media Studies anyone?

Telegraph reports:
"The study of modern foreign languages is in free fall at a time when young people face competition in the jobs market from multi-lingual Eastern Europeans, according to this year's trends survey."

Times Online reports: "the number of pupils choosing science A-levels has collapsed in a generation,"

The numbers taking the "Classics" is miniscule so apart from a bit of English and Maths what are they studying?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

More Big Brother

Telegraph | News | Britain: the most spied on nation in the world

A stark warning that Britain is turning into a Big Brother society, where the lives of millions are routinely monitored and tracked from cradle to grave, is given today by the Government's privacy watchdog.

Old news to us readers of blogs....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 1, 2006

Climate Change Newspeak

Futerra proudly announce how to stay on message on Climate Change...

In March 2005, Futerra launched The Rules of the Game.,(a guide for communication which would change attitudes towards climate change).Since then we have noted a growing commitment within government, its agencies, local authorities, business and NGOs to actively and consciously encourage behaviour change on climate change. Futerra has been approached (and challenged) many times over the past months for a behaviour change version of ‘The Rules of the Game’.
Therefore, we (have now) produced ‘New Rules: New Game’, a guide to behaviour change communications.
We hope that the many businesses, NGOs, government authorities and international agencies undertaking or planning climate change communication will all be able to use this guide immediately in behaviour change communications.
New Rules: New Game’ can be used in three ways:
1. To inspire new communications
2. To check the messages and activities of planned communications
3. To adapt existing communications

Examples include:

2. Forget the climate change detractors
Those who deny climate change science are irritating, but
unimportant. The argument is not about if we should deal with climate
change, but how we should deal with climate change.
3. There is no ‘rational man’
The evidence discredits the ‘rational man’ theory – we rarely weigh
objectively the value of different decisions and then take the clear
self-interested choice.
4. Information can’t work alone
Providing information is not wrong; relying on information alone to
change attitudes is wrong....

14. Raise the status of climate change mitigation
Research shows that energy efficiency behaviours can make you
seem poor and unattractive. We must work to overcome these
emotional assumptions.

• Refreeze good behaviours
Once you’ve woken or ‘unfrozen’ people from their sleepwalking behaviour, you can convince them to change. But once they’ve adopted the new behaviours, you need to find a way of ‘refreezing’ them, so the positive behaviour becomes an unconscious habit again.

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought -- that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc -- should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever.
(1984 - G. Orwell)

Posted by The Englishman at 10:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

1st November passim

An Englishman's Castle: 1st November post

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The running of the bulls


A policeman trying to warn a motorist not to stop because a bullock was running free along a dual carriageway was chased by the animal back to his vehicle.

The chase, on the A30 at Whiddon Down, Okehampton, Devon, which ended when PC Steve Thomson managed to sprint to one side of the vehicle while his pursuer ran to the other side, was captured on the patrol car’s video camera.

But where is the video? I can't find it on Youtube, looks like the funniest thing I saw since Granny caught her tit in the mangle.
Still I'm sad to relate that Plod didn't grab his cape, picas and estoque and deal with the bull in a proper manly way, instead they took a hint out of the Met's book and declared the bullock a terrorist and "after more than two hours ... two police marksmen to shoot it". Bloody hell if it takes two of them two hours to track down and kill a rampaging beast what chance have they of catching a proper baddie?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dump the Olympics

Telegraph | News | Massive blow to London Olympics

Blow? What blow? They get an old boy in to run the brickies on time and on budget and he finds he can't. Because of the politicians, for instance:

Derek Wyatt, the Labour MP who chairs the all-party Olympics committee at Westminster, agreed that building costs were likely to be far higher than original estimates.

But Mr Wyatt dismissed Mr Lemley as "out of his depth" and said it was commonplace for Olympic project costs the world over to increase.

"Original costs spell 'x' and come out as a 'y'. I think Mr Lemley was out of his depth."

That is an old Labour Councillor who just scraped into Parliament (by 74 votes on the third recount) telling the boss of an international building consultancy he is out of his depth. It might be acceptable to expect the builder's estimate for your extension to be a wild fiction, but you are a fool if you don't actually work out what the real costs are going to be first. If you expected the estimate you told the public was going to be massively wrong then you lied to them.

Original Budget:


* £560 million for new venues, including £250 million for the Olympic Stadium.
* £65 million for the Olympic village.
* £1.5 billion to run the Games.
* £200 million on security.


* £1.5 billion from a special Olympic National Lottery game.
* £625 million from a council tax surcharge of £20 per year for London households.
* £560 million from IOC television and marketing deals.
* £450 million from sponsorship and official suppliers.
* £300 million from ticket sales.
* £250 million from the London Development Agency.
* £60 million from licensing.

The bid team believed that London could end the Games with a surplus of more than £100 million.

Present Cost estimate "£2.4 billion but that is now believed to be approaching £5 billion." And I will bet it is really going to be 10 by the time they finish.

Is it really to late to dump this debacle back on Paris?

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