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December 31, 2006

Out with the old.

Britons happier, but not with Britain - Sunday Times - Times Online

BRITONS are upbeat about their prospects in life but fear the country as a whole is on a downward spiral, according to a YouGov poll published by The Sunday Times today. ...

Asked how they had fared in 2006, 40% of people said they had had a good year, 24% said it had been bad, while the remainder said it was neither good nor bad.

The findings, however, were starkly different when people were questioned about how the past 12 months had been for Britain in general. Only 7% said it had been good, while 55% thought it had been bad.

A similar contrast was highlighted when people were asked about their own prospects for 2007 compared with their level of optimism about the nation as a whole for the coming year.

Just over one in 10 people (11%) believe that Britain has become a better place to live over the past five years, compared with 62% who said it had got worse.

Put me in the majority - 2006 not bad with family and friends but crap for the country - good riddance to it.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Calling all workers

Telegraph | News | Cameron sets his stall out for 'the workers'

As I toured the estate yesterday, giving out hampers to the poor widows and a guinea to all the workers, they were very pleased to see me and told me I was the man for them. I understand them, one can't have servants around all the time without understanding their mindset, only the other day I offered to take my own plates to the scullery after dinner to show I am prepared to knuckle down and work like a ....thingy. Jolly decent sorts the working classes, in fact my first act as Prime Minister will be to bring back Workers Playtime on the Home Service so they can whistle along - eh?

A Brown-supporting Labour MP described the message as "tosh" and added: "If Cameron really understood working people he would know they prefer politicians to shut up and let them enjoy their Christmas holidays without all these ridiculous messages.
"Who does he think he is? The Queen?"

Posted by The Englishman at 6:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 30, 2006

Strange Dreams but True

Do you ever wake up from a comfortable snooze on the sofa of sloth and then spend some time having to disentangle dreams from the truth?

Having awoken from a short power nap I have had to check:
1) No I didn't get my scrotum tattooed last night, thank God, that would have been hard to explain.
2) Tony Blair is still in power, now that is harder to explain.
3) A valley in Chad - not Chad Valley, the toy maker or in Somerset, provides the fertiliser for the Amazon rainforest: now that is the hardest to explain but it is true:

United Press International - NewsTrack - Dust from Chad sustains Amazon rain forest
More than half of the dust needed to fertilize the rainforest in Brazil comes from a valley in the African country of Chad, researchers said.

An international research team found 50 million tons of dust blow from Africa to the Amazon region annually, a much higher figure than the previously estimated 13 million tons, the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science said in a news release. The new estimate matched calculations on the quantity of dust needed to supply minerals for the continued existence of the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest depends on minerals washed off by rain from the soil in the Sahara Desert and blown across the Atlantic Ocean as dust, the institute said.

Researchers said the Bodele valley in Chad played an important role as a rainforest dust source because of its shape and geographic features. The valley is flanked by basalt mountain ridges, which create a cone-shaped crater with a narrow opening in the northeast, resulting in a wind tunnel of sorts, researchers said. As a result, gusts of surface wind lift the dust from the ground and blow it toward the ocean.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Opposing the death penalty

Saddam's death - BBC has brought out a lot of handwringers pontificating against the death penalty.

As you might expect I'm also against the death penalty - I don't trust the government, full stop. So why should I want our leaders to have the power of life and death over us individuals? I'm not sure I am so against us individuals stringing up a few of our leaders though. But whatever I won't shed any tears for Saddam and to use him as an example of why the death penalty is wrong is bizarre and counter-productive.
And the unassailable argument against the death penalty? with Tony away in Miami John Prescott is in charge, would you trust him with the power to put his cross on a hanging warrant?

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

How much rope do they need?

Saddam%20Rope.jpg
Just a technical query - what's with the monstrous thick rope? - the safe load of 1 inch Manila rope is a ton, the breaking strength 9000 pounds. How much did the fat old bastard weigh? I know they didn't want to pop his head off with a cheese wire, but really that rope is overdoing it - maybe the Health and Safety official insisted on it to prevent any nasty accidents....


(Further investigation reveals the operation manual - reproduced below - it seems 3/4 inch Manila rope, steamed and pre-stretched, would be used in the US, not the rough end of a thicker rope as seen here)

STATE of DELAWARE
FRED A. LEUCHTER ASSOCIATES, INC.

EXECUTION BY HANGING
OPERATION and INSTRUCTION MANUAL

Department of Correction
State of Delaware

Delaware Correctional Center
Smyrna, Delaware 19977-1597

May 1, 1990

Fred A. Leuchter Associates, Inc.
231 Kennedy Drive
Unit 110
Boston, Massachusetts 02148
(617) 322-0104


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONTENTS

Page

BACKGROUND................................................1

MEDICAL DESCRIPTION.......................................2

PURPOSE...................................................2

EQUIPMENT.................................................3

PERSONNEL.................................................5

PREPARATION...............................................5

EXECUTION PROCEDURE.......................................7

SPECIAL PROTOCOL..........................................9

APPENDIX.................................................10

DRAWINGS & TABLES

1. DROP DISTANCE TABLE

2. DIAZEPAM DOSAGE TABLE

3. PROCEDURE FOR TYING HANGMAN'S KNOT.

APPRECIATION

The author wishes to express his thanks to the Command of the U.S. Army Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, whose help was invaluable in the preparation of this Manual.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EXECUTION BY HANGING

BACKGROUND

Hanging has been utilized as a mode of execution for as long as man can remember, There have been more executions by this method than any other means. The procedure is simple; and yet there have been more botched executions by this method than by any other.

Essentially, execution by hanging is strangulation, effected by restricting the executee's air supply at the neck, unconsciousness occurring between two and four minutes and death within ten, resulting in death by asphyxiation. This, however, is not humane.

The correct procedure is when the executee is dropped some distance and stopped by a rope fastened around his neck. The force of this drop and stop breaks the bones in the executee's neck and severs his spinal cord causing him to go into medical shock and be rendered unconscious. At this point the executee strangles to death. This method is the only humane form of hanging.

The force (in foot pounds) of the drop is critical and is determined by the physical stature of the executee, primarily his weight. In general, the heavier the person, the shorter the drop, and conversely, the lighter the person the longer the drop. Generally, weights as low as 120 pounds result in a force of some 950 foot pounds where weights over 220 result in some 1100 foot pounds. A drop of too short a distance will result in a condition where the spinal cord is not severed and the executee will not go into shock and will be conscious during the strangulation period. A drop of too long a distance will result in decapitation. Both conditions are not humane. In general, execution requirements will never result in an execution where the inertia of the drop will greatly exceed l600 foot pounds or be less than 900 foot pounds. In all cases, it is better to utilize an established Drop Distance Table to prevent an error or accident.

The Drop Distance Table contained herein is the established Table utilized successfully by the United States Army for many years. Additionally, the specifications for some of the specialized hardware defined herein are resultant from many years of testing by the United States Army.

MEDICAL DESCRIPTION

The executee will be dropped a distance as defined in the Drop Distance Table and his acceleration will be stopped by the rope around his neck. This will result in the breakage of several neck bones and the severing of the spinal cord within a time period of less than a second. The executee will immediately enter medical shock. He will probably experience one brief instant (measured in milliseconds) of pain before he loses all consciousness and all sensation. His body will go limp with paralysis. He will then strangle due to the lack of oxygen. He should be brain dead in something more than six minutes and heart dead in about eight. The attending medical doctor will determine heart death.

Depending upon the equipment used, there will be some physical trauma to the executee's body. This should be minimized by using the defined equipment.

PURPOSE

This Manual, the Protocol, Procedures and Equipment contained herein were written and designed to ensure a competent and humane execution. The equipment and procedures have been taken from long-standing and well-tested protocol and changes and improvements were made based upon expert engineering and medical considerations. It is the author's intent to make the execution as easy and painless as possible for both the Executee and those persons tasked with carrying out the execution. The Protocol, Procedures and the Equipment have been designed to maintain the dignity of the executee, as well as, the dignity of those responsible for the execution.

Up until very recently Execution was an Art employed only by the "Executioner". It is only now becoming a Science with the Training and Certification of other types of Execution Technicians (i.e. Lethal Injection and Electrocution). Those persons carrying out the Protocol and Procedures in this Manual shall be Trained and Certified as Hanging Technicians.

It is further suggested (if the Jurisdiction permits) that the Executee be tranquilized one-half (1/2) hour prior to execution by the administration of Diazepam (Valium) as per the dosage table.

EQUIPMENT

The following items are required for a competent hanging.

1. A Gallows should be utilized having the following basic characteristics.

A. A floor height of at least nine (9) feet to allow for a minimum clearance of about one (1) foot on the drop.

B. A crossbeam height of nine (9) feet giving an approximate clearance of three (3) feet above the executee.

C. An opening and trap door of at least three (3) feet square to allow proper clearance for the executee.

D. Means of releasing the trap door. This is normally accomplished by utilizing two bolts under one side of the door which are actuated by a common mechanism, either linkage rods or cable.

E. Means for stopping the trap door swing after it has fallen. This is normally accomplished utilizing a mechanical metal spring catch or a counterweight and a "rope grabber".

F. An eyelet or fastening mechanism for the rope containing the Hangman's Noose.

2. Body Restraint. This is a waist strap containing two (2) wrist restraints. It is fabricated from 3000 lb. test nylon aircraft webbing two (2) inches wide and is fifty (50) inches long. It contains three (3) quick release fasteners (one [1] for the waist and one [1] for each wrist) all of which are adjustable from each side. The color is black with chrome fasteners.

3. Leg Restraint. This is an ankle strap which binds both ankles together. It is fabricated from 3000 lb. test nylon aircraft webbing two (2) inches wide and is thirty-six (36) inches long. It contains one (1) quick release fastener which is adjustable from both sides. The color is black with chrome fasteners.

4. Collapse Frame. This is a six by thirty (6 X 30) inch frame fabricated of square steel tubing. It contains three (3) body restraints measuring fifty (50) inches long by two (2) inches wide which are made from 3000 lb. test nylon aircraft webbing and contain three (3) quick release fasteners adjustable from both sides. (One [1] for each restraint.) The color of the frame and webbing is black and the fasteners are chrome. This is used in the event of a physical collapse by the executee and enables the personnel conducting the execution to transport him to the scaffold.

5. Hood. The hood is fabricated of black denim and has split sides enabling it to extend onto the chest and back. It is generally used, optionally, to cover the face of the executee. A similar hood is available for the executioner but has a hole for the eyes.

6. Mechanical Hangman's Knot. This is fabricated from a delrin cylinder and has two (2) longitudinal holes and a steel U-clamp to fasten the rope. It comes with a black denim cover which is fastened with velcro. It is a replacement for the Conventional Hangman's Knot to eliminate the problems in tying the knot. It, unlike the Conventional Hangman's Knot, never binds in operation.

7. Noose Sleeve. This is fabricated of denim and fastened with velcro. It is utilized to prevent tissue damage at the neck.

8. Rope. Standard hangman's rope of three-quarter (3/4) inch Manila hemp is available in thirty (30) foot lengths. This rope has been boiled and stretched in drying to eliminate all spring, stiffness or tendency to coil. The rope is also available in six-hundred (600) foot coils but cannot be treated when supplied thus.

9. Knot Lubricant. Knot lubricant must be used whether utilizing the Mechanical or Conventional Hangman's knot. With the Mechanical Hangman's Knot, silicone spray is recommended. With the Conventional Hangman's Knot, melted paraffin is recommended.

PERSONNEL

Personnel for the Execution must consist of the following persons:

A. One (1) or more Certified Hanging Technicians.

B. One (1) Executioner.

Additional Personnel:

C. One (1) or more attendants or guards.

At least three (3) persons from the above categories are necessary to conduct the execution. Ideally, six (6) persons: two (2) Certified Hanging Technicians, three (3) attendants or guards, and one (1) Executioner would result in an easier execution. The Hanging Technicians, only, will do makeready, test and bind the Executee. The Executioner need not have any special training, as his only function is to release the trap door.

PREPARATION

The following procedure should be used in makeready for the gallows prior to the execution. This should be done several days prior to the execution by a Certified Hanging Technician.

Determine the Rope Length for the particular executee. Employ the following formula for this determination and in the event of a multiple execution test with the requirements for the lighter executee and the longer drop. After the first execution, the Rope Length should be shortened for the next execution. Since the test was for the lighter executee, the trap door may be considered to function with the greater weight of the second executee.

Rope Length = (S - C) + Drop Distance

Where: S = Scaffold Crossbeam Height from Scaffold Floor

C = Executee's Chin Height

Drop Distance = the distance the executee is dropped

Rope Length = distance of the executee's drop + the distance of his chin from the scaffold crossbeam

Note: All measurements are in inches.

1. Measure the executee's chin height from the floor and weigh him.

2. Measure the scaffold crossbeam height from the floor of the scaffold.

3. Subtract the Chin Height from the Scaffold Crossbeam Height and add the Drop Distance from the Drop Distance Table to obtain the Rope Length.

4. Mark the rope at the rope length and cut it seven (7) feet longer. If fastener for rope is not at crossbeam but at another location, add this distance to the crossbeam height plus any additional amount needed for fastening.

5. Boil the rope for one (1) hour and stretch the rope while drying to eliminate all spring, stiffness or tendency to coil. Dry thoroughly.

6. Either tie Conventional Hangman's Knot as per included instructions or utilize a Mechanical Hangman's Knot and fasten with U-clamp. Lubricate Hangman's Knot with proper lubricant.

7. Install the Rope with the Hangman's Noose to the scaffold crossbeam and cut off remaining rope. The rope should be stretched tight prior to cutting and only the
Rope Length should hang below the scaffold crossbeam.

8. Oil, check and verify that all mechanical parts of the Gallows (i.e. the hinges on the trap door and the release mechanism) are functioning properly.

9. Fill two (2) sandbags with the equivalent weight of the executee (half in each bag) and fasten the bags together at the tops. Open the Noose and slip it over one of the bags and tighten it at the point where the bags are fastened together. You are now ready to test the gallows.

10. Close the trap door and reset the trip mechanism. Stand on the door to make sure it is secure. Place the sandbags on the door and loop the rope in such a fashion as to prevent any crimping or catching. Test the gallows repeatedly (at least twelve [12] times) to insure proper mechanical operation of the trap door and that the rope is secure and will not break.

11. You are now prepared for the execution.

EXECUTION PROCEDURE

Note: The following procedure should be completed by a Certified Hanging Technician.

1. Install the Noose Sleeve and, if using a Mechanical Hangman's Knot, install the cover for the Knot.

2. Install the Body Restraint around the Executee's waist and tightly bind his wrists to the restraint. (His arms may be restrained either in the front or the back.) If necessary, utilize the Collapse Frame.

3. Bring the Executee to the Execution location and up the stairs to the scaffold. Remove the Collapse Frame, if utilized.

4. Place Executee on the trap door and conduct the legal formalities.

5. Bind the Executee's legs with the Leg Restraint. Place the Hood over the Executee's head, if used. Place the Hangman's Noose over the Executee's head and tighten snugly around his neck. Place the Hangman's Knot directly behind the Executee's left ear.

6. All Hanging Technicians shall leave the scaffold and the Executioner, on order from the Warden, shall release the trap door.

7. The Trap door shall open and the Executee shall drop. On order from the Warden some eight minutes after the release mechanism was thrown, the attending doctor shall examine the Executee for heart death.

8. After the pronouncement of death, the Hanging Technicians shall, while supporting the Executee, loosen and remove the Noose and Hood and set the Executee on the floor. Thereupon, the Hanging Technicians shall remove the Leg and Body Restraints. The Executee shall be placed in a body bag for removal.

STATE of DELAWARE
DELAWARE CORRECTIONAL CENTER

EXECUTION PROTOCOL - EXECUTION BY HANGING

The following Special Protocol applies:

APPENDIX

1. DROP DISTANCE TABLE

Weight in Drop Weight in Drop
Pounds Distance Pounds Distance

120 or less........8' 1" 170................6' 0"
125................7'10" 175................5'11"
130................7' 7" 180................5' 9"
135................7' 4" 185................5' 7"
140................7' 1" 190................5' 6"
145................6' 9" 195................5' 5"
150................6' 7" 200................5' 4"
155................6' 6" 205................5' 2"
160................6' 4" 210................5' 1"
165................6' 2" 220 and over.......5' 0"

2. DIAZEPAM DOSAGE TABLE (Valium)

Note: To be used only in Jurisdictions where legal.

Diazepam Tablets USP, 10 mg (flat, round, white, scored tablets coded WC 143) supplied in bottles of 100 # N0047- 0143-24. (Warner Chilcott)

Diazepam has a central nervous system depressant effect and has no short term side effects which would preclude its use as an execution anxiety and stress suppressant. Warning: will produce ataxia (appearance of being drunk) at high dosages and can cause death. Do not overdose or exceed the dosages in the table. If possible, administration should be by physician.

Weight Dosage in in Pounds milligram

to 160 15 mg
180 20 mg
200 25 mg
220 and above 30 mg

3. PROCEDURE FOR TYING HANGMAN'S KNOT

Length of loops: make loop as shown from Standing Part to Running End. A to B should be approximately eighteen (18) inches, and from C to Running End should be approximately thirty-five (35) inches. Wrap running end for six (6) turns. No extra rope should remain.

Tighten wrap (loops) by pulling Running End. Lock loops and form Knot by pulling down at point D and up on Running End. Slide Knot up or down on Standing Part to adjust size of Noose.

Posted by The Englishman at 1:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Old Bearded Terrorist Gets Just Rewards

The Times - Unionists demanded to know yesterday whether a secret deal had been struck with Gerry Adams to allow fugitive IRA terrorists back to Northern Ireland in return for Sinn Fein endorsing the police.

As Sinn Fein’s executive backed Mr Adams’s proposal for a special party conference on the issue, Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists asked what concessions had been granted to the Sinn Fein leader to ensure republican support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Lord Morrow, the Democratic Unionist chairman, said: “Unionists today are asking the question, what further concessions has Government given in return for this latest statement by Adams? On the Runs has been one of Sinn Fein/IRA’s demands for movement. Are we now to accept this has been delivered?”

I'm surprised, surprised because I thought Tony had already bent over ready greased to Gerry Adams and given him everything he wanted. But no, the lovable old rogue demands a bit more felching before he nobly condescends to recognise the emasculated Police Force.

Bearded%20Old%20Terrorist.jpg

Call me an old fashioned Unionist but I think there is a better way to deal with old bearded terrorists....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:05 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Arise Sir Turkey Twizzler

The Honours List

A shoemaker, some woman who did Cherie's make up, a Labour lawyer getting a knighthood for services to human rights, an old crooner, a retiring soap star and a turkey farmer - it is more like the cast list for Celebrity Christmas Panto Get Me Out Of Here Special than honours graciously awarded by Her Majesty.

Who would you have chosen for the list?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Form an orderly queue please

Telegraph | News | Saddam: the end

Now they have got the trap door oiled and working, and a ready supply of rope, surely it is a golden opportunity for a few other political leaders; a lot of them keep flying out to Iraq but then come back, what a waste!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 29, 2006

Tell the Chipmunk what you think about ID Cards

Hazel Blears wants to know:

Have your say
Do you think everyone should carry ID cards?

Posted by The Englishman at 12:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Neotenification Of The Western Male

Kim du Toit The Pussification Of The Western Male

"We have become a nation of women."

Of course I wouldn't disagree with my old friend Kim but I have been noticing a different slant to the same problem.

"We have become a nation of children"

Look around you at men of your age, still dressed as teenagers, still doing teenage things. Al Fin has collected and opined on this physiological neoteny at length and quotes:

...it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth.

As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry.

...Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are, he said, “unfinished.”

“The psychological neoteny effect of formal education is an accidental by-product — the main role of education is to increase general, abstract intelligence and prepare for economic activity,” he explained.

“But formal education requires a child-like stance of receptivity to new learning, and cognitive flexibility."

"When formal education continues into the early twenties," he continued, "it probably, to an extent, counteracts the attainment of psychological maturity, which would otherwise occur at about this age.”

Charlton pointed out that past cultures often marked the advent of adulthood with initiation ceremonies.

While the human mind responds to new information over the course of any individual’s lifetime, Charlton argues that past physical environments were more stable and allowed for a state of psychological maturity. In hunter-gatherer societies, that maturity was probably achieved during a person’s late teens or early twenties, he said.

“By contrast, many modern adults fail to attain this maturity...

So combine the mind numbing effects of modern schooling with the infantile "Yoof" culture so ably marketed to the gullible and we have ended up with a nation of children.

Of course girls become women, largely because, I think, biology forces them to do so; but boys stay as boys. Boys used to have men to look up to, now all they see is a continuum of immature behaviour stretching away in front of them to the soup dribblers shuffling in their slippers and romper suits.

We gave up adult initiation ceremonies a long time ago, though putting on a uniform and breaking the square had and still has the right effect, and so this problem grows as each generation follows a more immature one.

The upside is that these immature minds are more receptive and adaptable, more suitable to modern commerce, but at what cost to society?

What became of When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Railways - Glory of Britain

The chance of being assaulted at a mainline railway station has nearly doubled in the past five years, according to figures from the British Transport Police.

There were 1,270 violent attacks against passengers at stations last year compared with 702 in 2001 — an increase of 80 per cent. (Times)

Good luck to you if you have to brave our public transport system because the great twin gods of rail and bus are worshipped over the cleaner, more convenient and liberating car and coach..

Posted by The Englishman at 6:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2006

Today at the Castle

Greener%20Shooting.jpg
S&H giving the W W Greener GP a workout at some clays - thanks to Mr FM for the help in organising it.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gatvol - a word for 2007

IOL: Cheers for 'instant justice'

"People are simply gatvol (fed up) with crime in the country and we will do anything to stop criminals,"

Gatvol - I'm not saying we should take the law into our own hands as the stars of this story do (thanks to reader NK for the link), but it is getting closer as we all become a bit more gatvol of the thieving scrotes that surround us and the lack of policing.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Paying for Education - the benefits of fees

Parents are tackling universities over poor grades and lack of teaching time as they seek better value for money from their children’s degrees.

As students increasingly turn to their families to help with tuition fees, Baroness Deech, head of the student complaints watchdog, has given warning that parental disgruntlement will escalate. ..

So as parents prepare to pay off their children’s fees to spare them years of debt, they are beginning to question what they are getting for their money....

...students are already seeking better value for money.

Last month, students at the University of Bristol complained after learning that they were to have two hours’ lecture time a week in their final year, instead of a promised six.

And this is being reported as though it bad news? Universities are no different to butchers, bakers and candlestick makers - the consumer should be demanding a bloody good deal, and the fact the lecturers and administrators don't like it is tough.

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

Union Blues

Telegraph | News | Britain's 300th birthday 'ignored'

The 300th birthday of Great Britain is to pass next year without any major celebrations.

January 16 sees the tricentenary of the Act of Union which merged the parliaments of England and Scotland in 1707.

Historians consider it one of the most important events in the nation's history, laying the foundations for imperial expansion a century later.

But beyond striking a commemorative £2 coin and staging an exhibition in the House of Lords, there are no plans for anything more celebratory south of the border. By contrast, £20m is being spent on commemorating the abolition of slavery, which will also be marked by a £2 coin....

"It is almost as if the Government is embarrassed about our history."

I suppose it would be a bit like a Wedding Anniversary Dinner with the divorce paper server hovvering at the door. A shame though when a Union that was a magnificent, powerful and beneficial creation has been reduced to this sorry state by mendacious gutter politicians....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

School Vouchers - a chink of hope

Telegraph | News | Best pupils to get extra lesson vouchers

The brightest 800,000 pupils in England are to have vouchers to spend on extra lessons as part of a national talent search that starts next week....

The scheme also introduces to schools for the first time the concept of "vouchers" as part of an education market in which pupils are the consumers and decide how and what they want to learn. It follows a decision by the Tories last month to drop plans for a full-blown voucher, in which parents would get £5,000 a year to spend at the school of their choice — state or private.

It's a start - bloody typical that it isn't the Tories getting the much needed School voucher system up and running. Without the kids and parents "acting as consumers" and exercising real choice the monopolistic state comprehensive system will continue to fail them

As Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary also says in another story today

“Parental involvement in education trumps every other factor in terms of whether a child is going to do well,” he said. “It is more important than ethnicity, more important than social background.”

Many parents, particularly from poorer backgrounds, do not get in touch with schools because they are intimidated by the educational establishment. “Parents are sometimes loath to trouble a school unless they feel welcome, so a strategy that encourages people to express their concerns is really sensible,” Mr Johnson said.

“When you talk about the most difficult to reach, it’s the parents who don’t feel particularly empowered, are not as pushy as they might be because they are inhibited or lack confidence.

Quite - they may feel intimidated by the Head Master's Secretary if they try to complain but they know how to use their wallets and purses to get the deal they want...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 27, 2006

And the long term forecast is....

Taxes set to keep rising for 50 years, Treasury figures show

Britons will have to pay ever higher proportions of tax for the rest of their working lives, the Government’s own figures revealed.
Despite an unprecedented era of economic stability and growth, the burden of taxation is set to rise or stay constant in every decade for the coming 50 years, according to little-noticed forecasts published by the Treasury this month.
The Government’s best estimate of the tax burden it will bequeath to future generations is printed in figures less than two millimetres in size and buried within an obscure document published alongside Gordon Brown’s Pre-Budget Report (PBR).

Entitled Long-Term Public Finance Report: an Analysis of Fiscal Sustainability, it revealed that taxes as a proportion of national income will rise from 38.4 per cent this year to 40.5 per cent in 2026 and up to 41.6 per cent in 2056, if current policies are continued.

Government spending is set to rise even faster, pushing the country’s finances deeper into the red with every successive decade from the 2030s onwards. (The Times)

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Scottish Green Party - the voice of reason

BBC NEWS | Scotland | ID card call to 'stop bullying'

All secondary pupils in Scotland should be given ID cards in an effort to stamp out bullying, according to a teaching union.
The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) says many schools already have card systems in place for school lunches and libraries.
It believes adding a picture would stop pupils missing meals because they have been bullied into handing over cards.

The SSTA's general secretary, David Eaglesham, said the time had come for photographic identification to be added to the cards used to access school facilities.
He said that introducing such a system would also help prepare young people for "the realities of identity management in the 21st Century".

However, Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the suggestion was troubling.

"We should be preparing young people for the reality of defending their privacy and civil liberties against ever-more intrusive government systems," he argued.

"We've heard proposals for airport-style scanners and random drug testing in schools, fingerprinting is already in place in some schools. There's a risk of creating environments which feel more like penal institutions than places of learning.

"These ID cards will do absolutely nothing to address the causes of bullying. Instead they will teach the next generation that an ID card culture is 'normal', and that they should have to prove their entitlement to services."

Ye Gods - what has it come to when the Green Party is the voice of sanity against the Command and Control Teachers - Poor bloody kids being taught by the likes of the SSTA. If the teachers got off their arses and took their meals with the kids, and got to know them, then the problem would not exist but instead to protect a few kids from being bullied into handing over their meal vouchers they approve of subjecting the whole herd to branding..

Posted by The Englishman at 7:19 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Awards of the Year

The sixth annual Numby Awards and a special eulogy of the man of the decade - well deserved praise, an inspiration to us all....

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The true rate of violence rockets

Killings by strangers rise a third in 10 years - Britain - Times Online

Killings carried out by strangers have increased by a third since Tony Blair came to power promising to be tough on crime and its causes, according to figures released to The Times.

The incidence of homicide by strangers is regarded by experts as one of the most reliable measures of the true rate of violence in society because the figures are difficult to manipulate.

The disturbing statistics revealed today suggest a rise in random incidents of violence rather than a growing weapons culture of blades or firearms.

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Your Police Budget at Work

Telegraph | News | Police camera crew keeps tabs on hunt

The scene could hardly be more traditionally English: the hunt gathering on Boxing Day, stirrup cups raised, surrounded by eager supporters.

But only yards away the police were filming the entire event as the Avon Vale prepared to ride out from Lacock, Wilts, on one of the sport's busiest-ever days, with 320,000 people attending meets.

Two officers, leaning from a window, used a hand-held video camera to film the gathering. The meeting, like hundreds of others, passed without incident but Wiltshire police insisted that the filming was standard practice in case things got "out of hand".

Insp Roger Bull said: "This is a major hunt meeting. It is quite normal for us to use evidence-gathering facilities of this nature. There is always the potential for some people to allow matters to get out of hand."

Welcome to nuEngland where overt police surveillance of people going about their lawful pleasure is the norm and the old traditions of the country are consigned to the tea towels and chocolate boxes...

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Law and Order in Tony's Britain

Telegraph | News | Law and order spending fails to reduce crime

Britain spends more of its national wealth on law and order than any other industrialised country yet still has a higher crime rate than most, new figures show.

A paper prepared by the Downing Street Strategy Unit shows that Britain spends 2.5 per cent of GDP — about £5 billion a year — on public order and safety.
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This is more than any other country in the OECD group of advanced countries. Among the rest, only America spends above two per cent of GDP and France spends just over one per cent.

Yet, according to the latest edition of the European Sourcebook of Crime, Britain has 4,200 offenders for every 100,000 people compared to a European average of 1,600. Only Finland has a higher rate and it spends far less than Britain on law and order.

Measured by the number of offences per 100,000, Britain again comes out close to the bottom with 11,200 — a figure surpassed only by Sweden.

Out of the 37 countries, which include Russia, we have more chance of having a car stolen than every country except Sweden and more chance of being burgled than all 36 other countries.....

Mr Reid said one reason Britain spent more was because ''the British people want to see policing that is visible, accessible and responsible". He added: ''People like to see the bobby on the beat and, therefore, we have got a record number of police numbers, 141,000."

However, even with the extra police, Britain still has fewer per head than many other countries and they are often far less visible.

So if the money isn't going on police on the beat where is it all going, and why isn't it stopping the real criminals? I think we all know...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 26, 2006

Enjoy the Countryside today

List of Boxing Day Meets 2006

Tuesday 26th December
11.00 am unless stated otherwise

250 Hunts in the country

18,000 days when they go out each season

250,000 supporters expected to turn out today

13,987 foxes caught last season

£4.5 million raised each year by events organised by hunts

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

Tory Top Twelve

The Tories have named their heroes who should be worshipped at school and why:

Saint Columba, 521-597 (Christianity in Britain)
A Paddy who tried to civilise the Scots - an ongoing process

Alfred the Great, 849-899 (the Kingdom of England)
Local boy made good - sold out to the Europeans

Henry II, 1133-1189 (Common law)
A Good King - c. 1066 and all that

Simon de Montfort, 1208-1265 (Parliament)
Rebel

James IV of Scotland, 1443-1513 (the Kingdom of Scotland)
After agreeing a treaty of "perpetual peace" with England in 1502 he declared war on England. He led an army southward, only to be killed at the Battle of Flodden Field in Sept 1513. In other words a treaty breaking anti-English Sweaty, but he qualifies as being good because he is dead.

Thomas Gresham, 1519 -1579 (the stock market)
Inventor of red braces and Christmas bonuses for Dave and Ollie's chums.

Oliver Cromwell, 1599 -1658 (the British Army)
Regicide of St. Charles the Martyr

Isaac Newton, 1643-1727 (the Royal Society)
Very clever nutter. - But he came from Grantham so worthy of respect.

Robert Clive, 1725-1774 (the British Empire)
Outsourcing business guru.

Sir Robert Peel, 1778-1850 (the police)
The only Tory on the list - his principles of policing now sadly only of historic interest.

Millicent Fawcett, 1847-1929 (universal suffrage)
Token totty.

Nye Bevan, 1897-1960 (the National Health Service)
Slightly to the right of the nuTory Party.

A suitable quiz for this afternoon - who would you choose as the top twelve Britons that the kids should be taught about - or have the Tories got it right?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:25 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

December 25, 2006

Sloegasm time

Sloe Gin and Champagne 50:50 - it is about time to start pouring a few out and digging out the James Brown records - get Granny to strut out "I Feel Good" in memory.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Happy Christmas

xmas%202006.jpg
The half eaten carrot and nearly finished glassof Sherry can mean only one thing - Santa's been!
Happy Christmas one and all!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 24, 2006

A Christmas Tale

Stop reading blogs - go and read my favourite Christmas tale instead!

The Tailor of Gloucester
By Beatrix Potter

In the time of swords and peri wigs and full-skirted coats with flowered lappets--when gentlemen wore ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of paduasoy and taffeta--there lived a tailor in Gloucester.

He sat in the window of a little shop in Westgate Street, cross-legged on a table from morning till dark.
All day long while the light lasted he sewed and snippetted, piecing out his satin, and pompadour, and lutestring; stuffs had strange names, and were very expensive in the days of the Tailor of Gloucester.

But although he sewed fine silk for his neighbours, he himself was very, very poor. He cut his coats without waste; according to his embroidered cloth, they were very small ends and snippets that lay about upon the table--"Too narrow breadths for nought--except waistcoats for mice," said the tailor.

One bitter cold day near Christmastime the tailor began to make a coat (a coat of cherry- coloured corded silk embroidered with pansies and roses) and a cream- coloured satin waistcoat for the Mayor of Gloucester.

(MORE)

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Bringing Gifts, Gold...

Telegraph | News | Crime about to rise and swamp prisons, warns Blair team

A document drawn up by Tony Blair's strategy unit warns that a slowdown in economic growth is threatening to reverse recent falls in crime. It predicts that the jail population could rise by 25 per cent, topping 100,000 within the next five years, and outstripping the planned rate of growth in prison places.

It says the Government should consider drastic crime-curbing remedies used abroad, such as rationing the amount of alcohol people can buy, a ban on alcohol advertising, ID chip implants, the use of bounty hunters and "chemical castration" for sex offenders.

Mad, they have gone mad - there is no other explanation..

The 60-page report, Policy Review: Crime, Justice and Cohesion, written last month, also makes controversial observations about social cohesion. In a blow to Labour's record, it speaks of a growing wealth gap, saying: "The very poorest have got poorer since 1997."

Oh yes there is - it is due to not enough socialism, we should shovel more money at the Burberry Apes and hope they won't then rob us....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Christmas Shopping 4

I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find
any.............

Posted by The Englishman at 7:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The costs of being a Government chattel

Telegraph | News | £1,000 fine for failing to update identity cards

A draconian regime of fines, which would hit families at times of marriage and death, is being drawn up by ministers to enforce the Identity Card scheme.

Millions of people, from struggling students to newly-wed women and bereaved relatives, will face a system of penalties, netting more than £40 million for the Treasury.

People would be fined up to £1,000 for failing to return a dead relative's ID card, while women who marry will have to pay at least £30 for a new card if they want to use their married name, risking a £1,000 fine if they do not comply.

The revelations will fuel debate over ID cards in the countdown to their nationwide introduction, which the Government claims will boost security, tackle identity fraud and prevent illegal working. But costs are soaring and the technology has failed in tests.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said the fines revelation shows that the scheme "will hit the taxpayer not the terrorists" and is "just another Labour stealth tax".

I look forward to more real opposition like this!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mrs Beeton's Mincemeat Receipt

I forgot to remind you earlier to use this receipt (recipe) - you will never want to taste commercial mincemeat again:

Mrs Beeton's Mincemeat

2lbs raisins
3lbs currants
1 1/2lbs lean beef
3lbs beef suet
2lbs moist sugar
2oz citron
2oz candied lemon peel
2oz candied orange peel
1 small nutmeg
1 pottle of apples [a pottle is 4lbs]
the rind of two lemons, the juice of one
½ pint brandy

Stone and cut the raisins once or twice across, but do not chop them; wash, dry and pick the currants free from stalks and grit, and mince the beef and suet, taking care the latter is chopped very fine; slice the citron and candied peel, grate the nutmeg, and pare, core and mince the apples; mince the lemon peel, strain the juice and when all the ingredients are thus prepared, mix them well together, adding the brandy when the other things are well blended; press the whole into a jar, carefully exclude the air, and the mincemeat will be ready for use in a fortnight.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 23, 2006

Breaking the fast

An%20Englishmans%20Breakfast.jpg
No poncy coffee and cancer sticks for me - a couple of mugs of builder's tea to wash this down and I'll be fit to face the day...

Posted by The Englishman at 8:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Snap

Prime Minister is questioned for 17 hours over 'bribes list' scandal - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

The cheer was not quite festive when the French Cabinet gathered for its Christmas breakfast yesterday: the Prime Minister had just been released after 17 hours of overnight questioning in a criminal case.

Two examining judges kept Dominique de Villepin until after 3am with their questions about his role in the so-called Clearstream scandal.

Saw the headline and for a moment hoped it was about Tony, oh well next time...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Christmas Shopping 3

I went to Millets and said 'I want to buy a tent.' He said 'To camp?', I said [butchly] 'Sorry, I want to buy a tent.' I said 'I also want to buy a caravan.' He said 'Camper?' I said [campily] 'Make your mind up.'

Posted by The Englishman at 6:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Answers please

Talking to Mr FM this evening we both agreed that we had spent more time choosing a tie than choosing which car to buy. Is this a defining characteristic of an English Gentleman or are we a pair of old Brummellian queens?

Posted by The Englishman at 12:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 22, 2006

Today we sing the old songs

all_cannings_church.jpg On an ancient mound surrounded by yew trees the Church has "it’s origins in Norman times. However, it underwent significant rebuilding in the early part of the 14th century.(As the church website apologetically puts it.)
I was baptised there, married a previous Mrs Englishman there, had my children christened and said goodbye to my parents there. Whilst I leave the God bothering to others I will be there this morning to watch my little girl sing the old carols at a candlelit service - I think I better pack an extra handkerchief in case I get some grit in my eye...

Posted by The Englishman at 9:40 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Politically Correct Holiday Greetings

An Englishman's Castle: *Politically Correct Holiday Greetings*

December 13, 2003
*Politically Correct Holiday Greetings*


Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit my best wishes for
an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress,
non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice
holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious
persuasion or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the
religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their
choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all;"

PLUS

"a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically
uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted
calendar year, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice
of other cultures, and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age,
physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or
sexual orientation of the wisher."


(Disclaimer: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms.
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely
transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no
promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for
her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is
revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted
to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for
a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday
greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement
of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the
wisher who assumes no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress
these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit.)

(reposted by demand)

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Christmas Shopping 2

I went to the Butchers and saw two pieces of meat hanging from the
ceiling. I asked the Butcher, "Why are those two pieces of meat hanging
from the ceiling?"
He replied, "It's a competition which we run every day. If you
can jump up and touch the meat, you get them for free."

"Great, but what if I can't reach them?"

"Then you have to put a tenner in the collecting box," the Butcher answered.

"Do you want to try?"

"No, but thanks anyway."

"Why not?", the butcher asked.

"The steaks are too high."

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

Standstill

Telegraph | News | The great Christmas standstill

Not having ventured far from the yule log burning in the hall I was wondering if one of my spotters could tell me how well the wind turbines are doing in helping supply the extra electricity that is needed on cold windless days like these....

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

December 21, 2006

Hippies - you've got to love them!

BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire | Early celebrations for Solstice

Around 60 people turned up at to celebrate the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge - on the wrong day.
After negotiating with site-managers English Heritage, the crowd performed traditional solstice activities on Thursday morning, and left peacefully.
One reveller, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We formed a ring and held hands, and touched the stones. The man with the green cloak was there.
"But there were an awful lot of red faces," she said.
The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.
People assume because the Summer Solstice is the 21st June, the Winter Solstice will be the 21st December

The Solstice is actually at 0022 GMT on Friday 22nd December this year.....

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What Broadband is for at Xmas

Winter Wonderland Radio - Pandora Internet Radio

Essential Christmas background musice for those of us of a certain age...

Posted by The Englishman at 11:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Keeping Gordon's hands off the money

Sisters Pact Over House (from The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)

Sisters Joy and Sybil Burden have a pact that whoever lives the longest will set fire to their Ogbourne home to prevent Chancellor Gordon Brown getting any inheritance tax.

Last week the spinster sisters appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to be treated the same as lesbian and gay couples.

Same sex couples are treated the same as married couples and are exempt from having to pay inheritance tax if one of them dies.

However the exception does not extend to siblings and the Misses Burden have been fighting for more than 30 years to get the law changed.
...

The sisters said they had never taken a penny from the state and all they were asking for was to be treated the same as married couples or same sex couples.

Joy Burden said: "Over the years we have come to understand more and more how corrupt this country has begun."

Their father Frank was a Methodist preacher besides being a farmer and he instilled in his sons and daughters a sense of justice and value.

The elder sister said: "If one of us dies then we have vowed that the other one will burn the house down rather than let Gordon Brown get his hands on this money.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Big Mac's big heart

The Times
Louise Flind
Big Mac's big heart

Luke Skiff, the son of a friend of mine, is 35 and has Down’s syndrome. He has worked, perfectly happily, at a McDonald’s in Oxford Street for the past nine years cleaning and taking out the rubbish.

Every year Luke has an assessment which is attended by his social worker, his psychologist, Didhar Hussain, the manager of McDonald’s, his mother and a friend. This year they asked Luke whether he’d like a change: after all he’d been working there longer than anyone else.

“I’d like to be a manager,” he replied. His mother let out a muffled shriek, then thought nothing more of it. A few weeks later Luke rang. “Mummy, I’ve been made a Customer Care Manager – tell the whole world!” When I asked Luke about his favourite aspects of the new job he said: “Cleaning tables, mopping and taking out the rubbish.” The promotion was, of course, in name only — but to Luke it means the world.

McDonald’s is high on the list of multinational corporations that we love to hate. We find it hard to believe that it cares that much about the calibre of its produce or indeed the working conditions of the staff it hires.

But this unsolicited act of kindness impressed me.

I don't find it hard to believe and I'm not that surprised; "evil" American Multinationals do more good than the whole collective of bleeding heart liberal organisations put together...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Christmas Shopping 1

I went into PC World the other day.

You have to watch what you say in there....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

He's making a list, he's checkin' it twice

Telegraph | News | Detectives seek more interviews in cash for honours investigation

Scotland Yard detectives investigating the cash for honours allegations yesterday stepped up their demands for documents and information from key figures in the inquiry.

Letters were sent out inviting them to be re-interviewed after Christmas as part of the inquiry led by Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

The intensification of the inquiry came as Tony Blair returned to Britain after a tour of the Middle East that has kept him out of the country for almost a week since he became the first serving prime minister to be interviewed by police as part of a criminal investigation.

There were signs yesterday of growing tensions within Mr Blair's inner circle, with reports that Lord Levy, the Prime Minister's chief fundraiser, and Jonathan Powell, the No 10 chief of staff, were increasingly at odds.

Mr Powell is said to be "furious" over reports that he is to be re-interviewed by police under caution and is being viewed by police along with Lord Levy as one of main figures they are focusing on in the final weeks of their inquiry.

You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry
You'd better not pout, I'm telling you why
Yates of the Yard is coming to town
Yates of the Yard is coming to town
Yates of the Yard is coming to town

He's making a list, he's checkin' it twice
He's gonna find out whose naughty or nice
Yates of the Yard is coming to town
Yates of the Yard is coming to town
Yates of the Yard is coming to town

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows if you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
(so you'd) better be good for goodness sake
Better be good for goodness sake

Yo Ho Ho Happy Christmas everyone!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Labour's Not Working

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online

New Deal not working for youths
Anthony Browne, Chief Political Correspondent
The unemployment rate has risen to 14.5 per cent among young people, overtaking the 14.4 Labour inherited from the Tory Government

'Labour costs are too high if I employ Brits'
Lucy Alexander
Companies are finding themselves under increasing pressure to hire Poles because their cheaper labour rates enable his firm to remain competitive

Any connection between these two adjacent stories?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

Home, home on the range...

...
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day..

Marlin 1894C and Springfield 45-70

Where the air is so pure, the zephyrs so free
The breezes so balmy and light
That I would not exchange my home on the range
For all of the cities so bright

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Fancy Dress Foils Customs

A man who was being hunted for the murder of a policewoman is understood to have escaped from Britain by disguising himself as a veiled Muslim woman....At the time, Jama was Britain’s most wanted man, while Heathrow was on a heightened state of alert after the 7/7 terrorist atrocities in London five months previously...
David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, called for an urgent inquiry into the security breach. “The idea that in any circumstances you could be let through passport control wearing a veil is barely credible,” he said. “Doing so when an all-persons bulletin for murder has been issued demonstrates that our borders are not just porous — they are non-existent.”...(Times)

In the privacy of your own home, or on the streets providing you don't frighten the horses, you should be able to wear what you like. Church of England clergy wear lovely frocks and flowing robes, both on and off duty, so religious cross dressing has a long history on these isles, but I would expect even the Arch Bish himself to be asked to knock off the bishop's hat to go through customs....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bidding up the Olympics

Olympic bill rises £1bn
Up to 80 businesses and hundreds of residents could be evicted from the London Olympic site next year as part of a huge relocation exercise adding an extra £1 billion to the cost of the 2012 Games.

The total taxpayers’ bill for the 2012 Olympics, which is rising steadily, is now estimated at more than £8 billion, including contingency fees.

Last month it was:

".. is now believed to be approaching £5 billion." (Source)

Originally it was:

£2.4 billion


Costs

* £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.

Revenue

* £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

At this rate my original estimate of £10 billion is going to be a wild underestimate. Look just stop - admit it was a bit of a mistake, first loss is the best loss to take and so on. If Paris wants it they can have it other wise they will have to make do with Walthamstow Dog Track for the ceremony....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Rawhide Prescott's New Title

Prescott spends £645 to spell out who's boss
John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, has spent £645 updating the sign on the front of his office. To ensure that visitors don’t get confused, the old sign, “Office of the Deputy Prime Mininster”, has been replaced by one saying “Deputy Prime Minister’s Office”.

Despite losing the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Prescott has stayed in his actual physical office, at the palatial old Admiralty building in Whitehall. He no longer has thousands of officials working for him but still has 18 staff and a budget of £2 million a year in a new unit called the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, which has struggled to fight off accusations that it is pointless. Mr Prescott and his staff also spent £726 on new business cards.

If only they had asked - I would have resigned his office for free, I would have even bought a new aerosol can to spray paint the word across it - only four letters it would fit on easily....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

Off out

Up early this morning and oiling my woody (pictures below the fold) as I'm with Mr FREE MARKET off shooting today.

shooting%20eyesight.jpg


MetfordMKII-02.jpg+


my British Lee Metford MkII converted to a .22 trainer and
marlin_1894C.jpg
Marlin Model 1894C in .357 Magnum/.38 Special calibre.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Stock up the Candles

Telegraph | News | Windfarms to power a third of London homes

If you are one of the lucky people who are going to depend on these whirly-gigs then with the wind not blowing or blowing too hard or the colony of red-throated divers being disturbed or any of the other reasons they only run at 25-30% capacity I would get Santa to look for a present here:

Posted by The Englishman at 5:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 18, 2006

More on Goats for Africa

I have covered it before, but it still gets my goat! I'm being deluged with brochures asking me to buy a goat for a smiling African farmer, but supplying goats is a stupid idea for many areas as they ruin the land...

The Times

Christian Aid said there had been a misunderstanding. The purchase of a goat did not really mean that a goat was bought. The money would go into a farming and livestock fund that would be distributed by local project managers.

But if Christian Aid thought that would see off its critics, it was mistaken. Intelligent Giving, the charities analyst, said it was appalled by its own research, which showed that few charities delivered the animals that they said they would. Adam Rothwell, a researcher at IG, said: “We have looked at what your money actually buys you, because what you see isn’t always what your African farmer gets.”

Of all the charities IG investigated, only three — The Good Gifts Catalogue, Save the Children and Help the Aged’s Cows ‘n’ Things, guaranteed to buy what present-givers had donated for.

Rothwell was unimpressed with promises from charities that the money would go to useful projects elsewhere.

“The usual explanation was that the money would go to something like a goat, or that the charity would spend the money on something else entirely, where it judged there was the greatest need. But that’s like paying for an iPod and getting a radio,” he said.

“We don’t think most people would be happy with that.”

I wouldn't trust "Christian Aid" with anything after their disgraceful adverts this year so the fact they don't deliver what you have bought doesn't surprise me.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"It's the cover-up that brought him down"

The Times has this snippet hidden away...

Downing Street aides and Labour officials involved in the cash-for-honours inquiry are being investigated on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, The Times has learnt.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has advised detectives to look into suspected attempts to hamper the nine-month investigation. Some e-mails and documents have yet to be handed over to the police while others have apparently “disappeared”. Some individuals are suspected of colluding over evidence.

The disclosure shows that the investigation has widened to include a suspected cover-up by those around the Prime Minister. Until now, it has centred on the £14 million in secret loans made to the Labour Party by millionaire supporters.

A prosecution source said: “There is more than a suspicion that evidence has not been handed over, people have colluded and the police are not being helped.

“It has been noted that when the Watergate scandal forced President Nixon to resign, it was the cover-up, not the burglary, that brought him down. What these people should remember is that they are not dealing with a parliamentary inquiry; this is a criminal investigation and anyone failing to co-operate is participating in a criminal offence.”

A bit of good news for a Monday morning. That sounds like a copper getting a bit narked at the slimy suits and their condescending attitude. All over by Christmas? I don't think so. I think the flat feet will walking round No.10 again in the very near future. Oh Happy Days!

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

Devils without skirts

sr_swhdr_camo_kilt.jpg
Telegraph | News | Scots troops must share their kilts

Soldiers in Scotland's new "super regiment" have to share kilts because of a shortage of the ceremonial dress.
The Royal Regiment of Scotland has 5,000 soldiers but just 320 kilts, just one for every 15 men.
The kilts are worn during ceremonial or public duties.
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The shortage comes after the Army decided to end its 150-year association with Borders-based kilt makers Robert Noble, which has produced military tartan since 1850.
The Army has put to tender a £1 million contract for the new kilts. It has received 320 "trial" kilts but will not receive a full set until 2008.

When you can't even dress the men then you know defence spending is a disgrace!

This fetching Camo pattern kilt is available from The Kilt Store for £145 and a matching sporran is yours for £65, a total of £200; which is what the MoD is paying per kilt, delivery in 4-6 weeks, not 18 months.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:07 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 17, 2006

Tis with Sharpers as ‘tis with Pikes

Telegraph | News | Blair refuses to back Levy in Labour's cash for honours scandal

A Wolf that had a mind to take his ease, stor’d himself privately with Provisions, and so kept close a-while. Why, how now Friend, says a Fox to him, we han’t seen you abroad at the Chase this many a Day! Why truly, says the Wolf, I have gotten an Indisposition that keeps me much at home, and I hope I shall have your Prayers for my Recovery. The Fox had a fetch in’t, and when he saw it would not fadge; away goes he presently to a Shepherd, and tells him where he might surprize a Wolf, if he had a mind to’t. The Shepherd follow’d his Directions, and destroy’d him. The Fox immediately, as his next Heir, repairs to his Cell, and takes Possession of his Stores; but he had little Joy of the Purchase, for in a very short time, the same Shepherd did as much for the Fox, as he had done before for the Wolf.
THE MORAL. ‘Tis with Sharpers as ‘tis with Pikes, they prey upon their own kind; and ‘tis a pleasant Scene enough, when Thieves fall out among themselves, to see the cutting of one Diamond with another.

Aesop's Fables: A WOLF AND A FOX trans . Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 16, 2006

Take it with a pinch of salt

putting iodine in salt, public health experts say, may be the simplest and most cost-effective health measure in the world. Each ton of salt needs about two ounces of potassium iodate, which costs about $1.15.

Worldwide, about two billion people — a third of the globe — get too little iodine, including hundreds of millions in India and China. Studies show that iodine deficiency is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation. Even moderate deficiency, especially in pregnant women and infants, lowers intelligence by 10 to 15 I.Q. points, shaving incalculable potential off a nation’s development.

The most visible and severe effects — disabling goiters, cretinism and dwarfism — affect a tiny minority, usually in mountain villages. But 16 percent of the world’s people have at least mild goiter, a swollen thyroid gland in the neck. NY Times


“Deadly sprinkles in lunches” and “cheese stick could be killing your children.”

We were told that we are feeding our children things that are going to cause heart attacks and strokes later in life and that the salty foods parents are allowing their children to eat are like feeding them “solid seawater for lunch.”

The evidence for these headlining claims was a recent study .. published in the journal Hypertension. The media echoed the CASH press release, saying this study proves that a modest reduction in salt intake among children can almost immediately cause significant falls in blood pressure, “which in turn could lead to major reductions in the risk of developing stroke, heart attacks and heart failure later in life.”
...
Their press release promised possible “massive population health gains.”

·But this study did not examine a single child.

·It conducted no clinical research to learn how much salt is needed or might be harmful for children.

·It offered no clinical evidence to know if a lower blood pressure reading of 1 point means anything for children’s health or is maintained as a child grows.

·It offered no proof that a blood pressure reading during childhood has any bearing on adult blood pressures or heart disease.

·And worse, it didn’t follow a single child to see if there were any health effects from the salt restrictions they are recommending.

In other words, this study offered no clinically meaningful evidence, only speculations. While controversy, debates and politics have surrounded salt recommendations for decades, as Gary Taubes outlined in the magazine Science, the body of evidence has not demonstrated that low-salt diets result in health benefits for the general population, nor that current salt intakes of Americans pose health risks for the general population. Even a recent Cochrane Library review of the evidence found insufficient information to know what effect salt reduction might have on health and mortality.

Of greatest concern is evidence suggesting that low-salt diets may actually be harmful for most people; increasing heart attacks, mortality and insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes).

Shouldn’t we have something tenable to go on before experimenting on an entire generation of children? I suspect most parents would think so.

(Junkfoodscience)

I think I ought to go back to buying the Iodised Cerebos Salt - I stopped because it blackens the silver spoons so, but that is probably a small price to pay to prevent my children becoming morons. (I seem to remember that the word Moron comes from the inhabitants of a small village in the Jura mountains that suffered iodine deficiency and were therefore stupid - can't find confirmation via Google, am I right?)


Update: Thanks to a comment I realise it was Cretin - not Moron I was thinking of:

From the Wikipedia:"The term cretin was brought into medical use in the 18th century from an Alpine French dialect prevalent in a region where persons with such a condition were especially common ..Endemic cretinism arises from a diet deficient in iodine and has affected far more people worldwide and continues to be a major public health problem in many countries. Iodine is an essential trace element, necessary primarily for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Although it is found in many foods it is not universally present in all soils in adequate amounts. The soils of many inland areas on all continents are iodine deficient, and plants and animals grown there are correspondingly deficient. Populations living in those areas without outside food sources are most at risk for iodine deficiency diseases.

Iodine deficiency results in the impairments of varying degrees of physical and mental development. It also causes gradual enlargement of the thyroid gland, referred to as a goiter. It is being combatted in many countries by public health campaigns of iodine administration.

Endemic cretinism was especially common in areas of southern Europe around the Alps and was described by Roman writers, and often depicted by medieval artists. Alpine cretinism was described from a medical perspective by several travellers and physicians in the late 18th and early 19th centuries."

Though there is a village called Moron in the Swiss Jura mountains which is probably what confused me....

Posted by The Englishman at 4:13 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Let Him Have It - Brown

Telegraph | News | Brown denies all knowledge of loans affair

Brown had a difficult upbringing during which he suffered serious injury from a V1 flying bomb and developed epilepsy. He was of limited intelligence (mental age of 11), easily influenced, and unable to read or write. Together with Tony Blair, aged 16, he broke into a warehouse in Croydon, Surrey, England on 2 November 1952. Tony had a revolver. The two youths were spotted climbing a drain pipe to the roof and the police were called.

When the police arrived, the two boys hid behind a lift-housing. Detective Constable Frederick Fairfax climbed the drain pipe onto the roof and managed to grab Brown. Brown managed to break free and was said by a number of police witnesses to have shouted "Let him have it, Tony". Tony opened fire with his revolver, grazing Fairfax's shoulder; nevertheless Fairfax managed to arrest Brown, who told him that Tony had a Colt .45 and plenty of ammunition. The weapon was in fact a Colt in .455 Eley calibre, for which Tony had a variety of undersized rounds, some of which he had had to modify to fit the gun. The weapon had also had more than half of its barrel sawn off by Tony, so that it would fit in his pocket.

Following the arrival of more policemen, a group was sent onto the roof. The first to reach the roof was Police Constable Sidney Miles, who was immediately killed by a shot to the head. After exhausting his ammunition, Tony jumped some ten metres from the roof, fracturing his spine and left wrist, at which point he was arrested.

Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/

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December 15, 2006

Let us now praise..

Operational Honours - Full List - Times Online

Afghanistan

Victoria Cross: Corporal Bryan James Budd, The Parachute Regiment (killed in action).

George Cross: Corporal Mark William Wright, The Parachute Regiment (killed in action).

Mrs Budd received the VC on behalf of her husband, who died in August. Although injured, he continued with a lone assault on the Taleban, “attacking and killing the enemy as he rushed their position. His action inspired the rest of the platoon, who had taken cover after coming under enemy fire. They reorganised and mounted an attack, eliminating more Taleban and eventually forcing their withdrawal. When Corporal Budd’s body was later recovered, it was found surrounded by three dead Taleban.”

Corporal Budd, 29, from Ripon, North Yorkshire, had been involved in an earlier attack, on July 27, in which he also displayed exceptional courage while rescuing a wounded colleague under fire.

Mrs Budd, a clerk in the Royal Artillery, said: “Bryan will always be remembered by me as a loving husband and father to our two beautiful daughters, Isabelle and Imogen.” Imogen was born a month after Corporal Budd died. He is only the second recipient of the VC in 24 years.
Corporal Wright, 27, from Edinburgh, was killed while trying to save comrades trapped in a minefield in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.

These stories are buried in the inside pages with the front pages taken up with froth and nonsense about poltroons, spivs and air-heads. I'm sure I'm not alone in preferring these men to Di, Dodi, Toni and Levy....

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

Helping Al Gore

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Gore tells scientists to be vocal

The former US Vice President Al Gore has told scientists to speak out more on the issue of climate change.

In a keynote address at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, he said it was imperative people understood what was happening to the world...the Democrat politician said efforts to censor "inconvenient truths" should be resisted.

Only to happy to help , Al. Though maybe I sometimes spread the facts you don't want spread I will carry on with the warm glow in my heart it is what you have asked for.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Veggie Bollocks

BBC NEWS | Health | High IQ link to being vegetarian

Intelligent children are more likely to become vegetarians later in life, a study says.

A Southampton University team found those who were vegetarian by 30 had recorded five IQ points more on average at the age of 10.

There was no difference in IQ score between strict vegetarians and those who said they were vegetarian but who reported eating fish or chicken.

Researchers said the findings were partly related to better education and higher occupational social class, but it remained statistically significant after adjusting for these factors.

I wish John at Numberwatch had the energy to go through the figures but my cursory look suggests that it is simply that the distribution of meat eaters is across the whole IQ spectrum, including the knuckle-dragger end as well as the "top" end, whereas the prissy veggies, and especially the pretend veggies, concentrate at the Guardian reading point of the IQ scale. And is there anything more pathetic than being a pretend veggie? A pretend Duke or war hero may be reprehensible but at least they wish to be something better than they are....

Posted by The Englishman at 5:49 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 14, 2006

The Arsenal Flags

Arsenal to ban national flags?

This is bizarre. Arsenal apparently had problems with a lone Turkish Cypriot flying a flag.

The ban would also include the Union jack and Cross of St George. Multi-national Arsenal banning the national flag of the country they are resident in?

If it goes ahead it would be a bit of an overreaction.

Arsenal's supporters have come from across the usual class divides. Additionally, Arsenal have the highest proportion (7.7%) of non-white attending supporters of any club in English football, according to a 2002 report.

I'm not one to start name calling supporters of The Arsenal, (I was always brought up to use the definitive article in the name), but you wouldn't get such PC nonsense down in East End where I'm from, we don't have problems of all the posh people buying tickets pretending to be "real supporters" bringing their fancy notions to the game, even in The New Den Millwall supporters still believe in the old values...

Posted by The Englishman at 8:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

VC Hero?

Telegraph | News | VC for Para Budd, one of the heroes of Helmand

A paratrooper who launched a lone charge on Taliban lines after his platoon was ambushed is expected to be awarded the Victoria Cross today.
The men of 3Bn the Parachute Regiment will be showered with operational honours including the highest award for gallantry that will be given posthumously to Cpl Bryan Budd.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 13, 2006

O Tempora, O Mores

End of the bath? Climate change prompts council plans for 'shower-only' bathrooms | News | This is London

Moves to tackle climate change may spell the end of the bath.
A London council is set to introduce planning rules encouraging builders to provide only a shower.

Now Tory-run Barnet council ...

If someone failed to check whether a bath could be left out it would be a "material consideration" in deciding whether to grant permission. Schemes that include a bath unnecessarily could be refused.

"Tory run"? I think this justifies the ancient Roman belief that we are a bunch of savages without appreciation of civilisation, with the Green Tories leading the rush back to the stone age as fast as they can...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Tools for the job

Body armour 'held on by tape'

The inquest into the death of Sergeant Steven Roberts, 33,who had to give his enhanced body armour to a colleague because it was in short supply, His training body armour could not stop the machinegun rounds that killed him in 2003.

Squadron Sergeant-Major Jeffrey Elson, of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, told Oxford Coroner’s Court that, unlike in the Cold War, “you do not get the kit on time to do your job, and troops do not have enough time to familiarise themselves with kit before they have to use them”. In the Iraq war, “those not forced to hand back their armour had to slot protective plates into their pockets as they did not have vests needed to hold them in place. Some used black masking-tape.”

The inquest continues.

The Telegraph says it better than I could: Telegraph | Comment | Soldiers shed blood for shameful MoD

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

The wheels on the bus go round and round

Bus operators will lose right to set fares and timetables - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

Private bus operators will be stripped of their powers to set fares, frequencies and timetables, under proposals aimed at reversing 20 years of decline.
The competition laws will be relaxed ....
If the proposals become law, local authorities will be allowed to establish contracts if they can demonstrate that there is a public interest in removing control from the operators.

No no no - this isn't the creeping hand of socialism, nationalisation and state control, that is all "so last century", this is modern dynamic competitive measures for THE ENVIRONMENT; can't have people travelling willy-nilly as they want in their own cars when they could be forced to queue up in the rain for the privilege of travelling in a stinking diesel smoking monster that takes them where they don't want to go at times that don't suit. It's for the planet, don't you understand?

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

Slashing the troops' allowance

Telegraph | News | MPs "misled over troop payments"

Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, was accused of misleading Parliament last night after he told MPs that plans to scrap allowances for troops who spend long periods away from home would "not take one penny away from anybody".

Mr Browne came under fire after a leaked Ministry of Defence document, seen by The Daily Telegraph, revealed he had been told a week before his statement in the Commons that there would be "losers" under the reforms.

It is a pity that "Des" won't be a bloody loser under this regime, I'm not the sort of person who recommends barrack room justice but just sometimes.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 12, 2006

A Curate's Egg for Cameron

David Cameron faces fresh unease from the Conservative Right after a new poll showing a fall in the party’s rating to its lowest level since April.

The Populus poll for The Times, taken over the weekend, suggests that the main shift has been from the Tories to the UK Independence Party.

Support for the Tories has been level since the summer at 36 per cent, but has fallen by two points over the past month. Labour is unchanged on 33 per cent, with the Liberal Democrats down a point at 19 per cent. ....

...the UKIP on 2 per cent. While the numbers of voters here are very small, the drift away from the main parties is potentially significant.

The poll follows defections to UKIP by some prominent Tory activitists (sic) and rumblings of discontent on the Right about Mr Cameron’s leadership over his views on green policies, tax and Europe. A recent survey by the ConservativeHome website found that, next to their own party, 43 per cent of Tory members felt closest to UKIP.

Nevertheless, the poll shows that the Tories under Mr Cameron would still enjoy a big lead over Labour led by Gordon Brown at the next general election, of 39 to 32 per cent. This compares with a 38 to 34 per cent gap last month.

Dave's problem is that it the activists with fire in their bellies who he will need to drive the party machine to get the votes out - wishy-washy support won't pound the streets on a wet Wednesday - and the activists are either leaving or abstaining. The Tories should be like Shane Warne bowling against our Gentleman's Village Side with this shower in power, not scraping along. End of Michaelmas Term Report - "Could do better".

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

Up and down the City Road, In and out of the Eagle,..

Poor record-keeping at the Home Office means no one knows how many people are employed by the department, according to a government watchdog report published yesterday.

The department has also run up an “overdraft” of £246 million with the Office of the Paymaster General and is still struggling to get a grip on its finances.

It is unable to reconcile the amounts of money owing to suppliers with the records of suppliers themselves and there are weaknesses in matching purchasing orders with invoices. (The Times)

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

That's the way the money goes, Pop goes the Weasel

Scots get £1,200 a head more per year

The Government spent £6,361 a head in England, compared with £8,216 in Northern Ireland, £7,597 in Scotland and £7,248 in Wales....

The figures, published yesterday in Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland 2004-05, provoked anger from English MPs and fuelled an anti-Scottish backlash.

David Maclean, the Conservatives’ former Chief Whip and MP for Penrith and the Border, said: “The Government has got to address this because it is feeding the destruction of the United Kingdom.

“Not only have we got an unbalanced Parliament in Westminster, with Scottish MPs having more rights than English MPs, we are having legislation foisted on England with the votes of Scottish MPs. We are getting fundamentally greater expenditure on people in Scotland, which is aggravating rural poverty in England.

“If the Government does not address this, it will find an unstoppable demand in England for separation. It is not Tory policy, it is the Government that is destroying the United Kingdom.”

John Redwood, Conservative MP for Wokingham, said: “When it comes to certain public services, people in England do think it is unfair that devolution allows Scotland to vote for things England is not allowed.”

The figures are also a blow to the Scottish National Party, which claims that an independent Scotland would be better off financially. According to the review, the Government spent £11.3 billion more on Scotland than it raised there.

Scots received more than £3,000 a head on welfare and benefits in 2004-05, 45 per cent more than the British average of £2,072.

Identifiable spending on health was £1,513 a head in Scotland, 10.5 per cent more than the British average of £1,369.

Spending on education and training was £1,160 a head in Scotland, 6 per cent more than the British average of £1,093.

In enterprise and economic development spending per head was £123, 12 per cent above the British average of £109 a head.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Over to you Kim

Blind may get right to hunt

AUSTIN The blind will be able to go hunting if a Texas Bill becomes law.

They would have to be accompanied by a sighted hunter, who would help to guide their shots, and carry proof that they were legally blind. The law will also allow them to use a laser sight — a device forbidden to sighted hunters.

Edmund Kuempel, a State Representative, who introduced the Bill, said: “This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that’s great.”

I feel discriminated against - why can't those of us who have difficulty hitting the barn door with buckshot at twenty paces also get help?

I am predicting a rush on paramedics this morning as the denizens of Islington read this over their muesli and their brains boil as they reconcile their pro-disability and anti-shooting prejudices...

Posted by The Englishman at 5:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 11, 2006

Parents Schooling Promise

Parents raise £1m to save school - Britain - Times Online

Parents in a remote Scottish village are so infuriated by a decision to close their primary school that they have raised more than £1 million to buy it.

In an unprecedented initiative, parents in Roybridge, Inverness-shire, have been offered a bank loan and a five-figure private donation to ensure that the small school, which has served their community since Victorian times, remains open.
....

On Thursday the local council will decide whether to support the Roybridge parents, who have drawn up a detailed business plan in an attempt to save their school from closure and have raised £9,000 to pay for surveyors’ appraisals and architects’ plans.

After years of allowing the school to fall into disrepair, the Highland council has announced plans to close it and to amalgamate it with a neighbouring village. ..

Just shows that Parents are the key to education - they want the best for their kids and it is the councils, the government departments and the "Producer Capture" of the teachers that gets in the way and tell them not to worry their little heads with it and not take responsibility. Well they want to, and should do.

(And if any villagers are wavering as to whether to support such a scheme then a school in a village gives a ten percent uplift in property values...)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Labour's Schooling Failure

No school, no work and little hope for 1.24m young Britons
The number of young people doing nothing with their lives has risen sharply since Labour came to power, government figures reveal.

There are now 1.24 million people aged between 15 and 24 who are neither in education, work or in a training scheme — a 15 per cent increase on 1997. The rise has been particuarly rapid for 16 to 17-year-olds and men, both up by almost a third.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, are an embarrassment for the Government, which has spent billions of pounds helping disadvantaged young people to stay on at school, train and get a job.

Both Labour and Conservatives yesterday placed the blame for social breakdown at the door of errant fathers....

David Willetts, the Shadow Education Secretary, who uncovered the figures, said: “It shows an extraordinary failure of government policy. Even if you put in large amounts of money, if you haven’t got the basic policies right, you won’t get the results. For kids from the most deprived backgrounds, things are getting worse.”...

The study suggests that the rise in young people doing nothing is caused by failures in the school system, in vocational qualifications, and in the flagship New Deal for young people, launched with much fanfare just after Labour was elected.

This failed generation have spent nearly their whole education under a Labour Government, blaming the feckless fathers is to suggest human nature has changed, it hasn't. Everyone responds to the incentives, punishments, example and regime set for the country and it has been a failure.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 10, 2006

Not the Sportsman of the Year

Mick Gault's diary of events on his achievement of beating the English Record by winning his 15th Medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006 for Pistol Shooting 4 April 2006

Rightly boasts that he is "THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ENGLISH ATHLETE IN THE HISTORY OF THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES, holding 15 medals" - but as they were for Pistol Shooting the BBC decided that Top Toff Totty was more worthy.....

Posted by The Englishman at 10:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

An Affront to Justice

Tim Worstall: Bowland Dairy Products

You really do want to read Booker's column today on Bowland Dairy Products.
The European Commission has just closed down the firm, despite the Court of First Instance showing them that they were wrong, and that they must desist. Further:
Despite the FSA's solid support of Bowland and its insistence that no rules had been broken, the Department of Health bowed to the commission's diktat. On October 16 it rushed through a statutory instrument, the Curd Cheese (Restriction on Placing on the Market) Regulations 2006, to take immediate effect. Section 3 read "No person shall place on the market any curd cheese manufactured by Bowland Dairy Products Limited"....

So, the courts don't work....even when you win in them the Commission just carries on in its own sweet manner. Further, to get their way, the introduce an entirely alien concept into UK law.

Can we leave yet?

Posted by The Englishman at 11:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Folic Acid Bollocks fro The Times

Folic acid may be ‘force fed’ via bread
Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Correspondent

BRITAIN will take the first step towards mass medication of the population this week with the publication of proposals to add the vitamin folic acid to bread.

A report commissioned by ministers will recommend the compulsory fortification of flour and bread with folic acid to help prevent babies being born with birth defects.

Don't these people do any research? Don't they know how to use Google?
As any fule knows and I have pointed out before..
...

Our flour is already "fortified" by law and that this doesn't have to be noted on the label, and yes it applies to those lovely organic handmilled on the thighs of Dorset virgin brands as well...

By law, white and brown flour is fortified with calcium, iron, thiamin and niacin. Because it is made from the whole wheat grain, wholemeal flour already contains these vitamins and minerals, although white and brown flour contain more calcium because of fortification.
Calcium carbonate (E170) is added to all brown and white flour products in the UK and has been a legal requirement for almost 5 years. This is carried out to ensure that vulnerable groups receive enough calcium in their diet. On average 20% of the UK dietary calcium intake is accounted for via bread and flour products. Other legally required additives in bread include iron and B-Vitamins.

See Statutory Instrument 1998 No. 141


Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

IPCC - we are still all going to die, just more slowly

Telegraph | News | UN downgrades man's impact on the climate

Mankind has had less effect on global warming than previously supposed, a United Nations report on climate change will claim next year.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet, but the organisation has reduced its overall estimate of this effect by 25 per cent.
.....predicts that temperatures will rise by up to 4.5 C during the next 100 years, bringing more frequent heat waves and storms.

The panel, however, has lowered predictions of how much sea levels will rise in comparison with its last report in 2001.
....
The authors also state that the climate is almost certain to warm by at least 1.5 C during the next 100 years.

Such a rise would be enough to take average summer temperatures in Britain to those seen during the 2003 heatwave, when August temperatures reached a record-breaking 38 C. Unseasonable warmth this year has left many Alpine resorts without snow by the time the ski season started.

Britain can expect more storms of similar ferocity to those that wreaked havoc across the country last week, even bringing a tornado to north-west London.

The IPCC has been forced to halve its predictions for sea-level rise by 2100, one of the key threats from climate change. It says improved data have reduced the upper estimate from 34 in to 17 in.

It also says that the overall human effect on global warming since the industrial revolution is less than had been thought, due to the unexpected levels of cooling caused by aerosol sprays, which reflect heat from the sun.

Large amounts of heat have been absorbed by the oceans, masking the warming effect...

The report paints a bleak picture for future generations unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. It predicts that the climate will warm by 0.2 C a decade for the next two decades if emissions continue at current levels.

...

Climate change sceptics are expected to seize on the revised figures as evidence that action to combat global warming is less urgent.

Scientists insist that the lower estimates for sea levels and the human impact on global warming are simply a refinement due to better data on how climate works rather than a reduction in the risk posed by global warming

Naughty Telegraph - those who wrote the report are "scientists" those who question are mere "sceptics".

I look forward to seeing this report sceptically examined.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 9, 2006

Damning Doll - Pots and Kettles

injurywatch has found a series of secret payments from environmental polluters to the leading Oxford University cancer researcher Sir Richard Doll may have compromised his integrity. By shaping the epidemiological evidence to fit the requirements of his paymasters and failing to stimulate adequate health warnings, Doll's paid-for "evidence" may have protected his proven paymasters in the chemical and asbestos industries and led to the premature deaths of millions of people worldwide. Injury watch Aims and principles

Injurywatch aims to counter the myth that a "compensation culture" exists in Britain today and to presses for the rights of victims to receive the compensation due to them. We campaign against business practices intended to rip-off claimants wherever we find them. We strongly oppose the culture of delay, obfuscation and legal challenge which we believe insurance companies are using in a cynical attempt to limit their liabilities to pay valid claims, particularly to asbestos victims. At the same time we deplore the behaviour of claims handlers who promise no-win-no-fee agreements but dip into compensation rightfully due to the claimant if the case is successful.

All sounds very noble - but who is "injurywatch"? Who is the "secret paymaster" behind them. I haven't been able to find out from their website. They obviously work with solicitors - who presumably pay them for leads, but nowhere, that I can see is this disclosed. The website declares it is Copyright © 2000-2006 Watch Media.

A quick WHOIS Query on the domain reveals the unhelpful information:

Registrant: injurywatch.co.uk
Trading as: Legalwatch Ltd
Registrant type: UK Individual
Registrant's address: The registrant is a non-trading individual who has opted to have their address omitted from the WHOIS service.

(Companies House reveals that Legalwatch ltd is a recent company incorporated 24/7/2006 - that trades from the same address as injurywatch.)

So still no nearer as to who pays for injurywatch's extensive services! It looks like the Groan merely reprinted a PR puff from an organisation funded by an anonymous bunch of compensation solicitors who might be thought to have a declarable interest - though I might be wrong! And the accusation is that Sir Richard Doll took money from an anonymous bunch of companies who might be thought to have a declarable interest - though they might be wrong!

Posted by The Englishman at 11:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Teacher, leave those kids alone...

BBC NEWS | Education | Why skills are the new education

The blunt message from this week's long-awaited UK skills audit, the Leitch Report, which was fully endorsed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his pre-Budget Report. ...The UK is "on track to achieve undistinguished mediocrity" if it fails to upgrade the skills of its workforce by 2020.

It is perhaps part of Britain's problem that the chattering classes are not very interested in skills

His case is that unless we dramatically improve our work-related education, our economy will shrink and our standard of living will fall.
Too many people stop learning far too young. Participation levels in post-16 education and training are below the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) average.

This affects productivity. According to Leitch, the average French worker is 20% more productive per hour than their British counterpart. In Germany they are 13% ahead.
...
With Gordon Brown talking about keeping all young people in education or training until 18,..

the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, told the Lifelong Learning UK annual conference this week, "we must eliminate all failure".
The message is stark: Underperforming colleges must improve or lose their funding. The Further Education Bill takes new powers to close failing colleges in much the same way as happened with schools.

Employers are the new blue-eyed boys. ...Some hoped the government would require employers to provide, or fund, the training their workers will need, not just in their current job but throughout their careers.

Asked about that this week, Alan Johnson admitted employers might now be in "the last chance saloon".

Yet, while compulsion remains a possibility, Johnson noted that the evidence from abroad suggests that forcing employers to train does not worked. ...

Compare and contrast to this also from today...

Al Fin: This Isn't Working Out Part I

Modern societies treat their children as if they are incapable of bearing the least responsibility until they have finished at least twelve to sixteen years of schooling--sometimes up to twenty-five years of training or longer. This is a huge mistake that is bringing a destructive rot to society from the inside out.
...
Have you ever wondered why there do not seem to be people like Benjamin Franklin around anymore?

At twelve he was bound apprentice to brother James, a printer. After a few years of that, and disliking his brother’s authority, he ran away first to New York and soon after to Philadelphia where he arrived broke at the age of seventeen. Finding work as a printer proved easy, and through his sociable nature and ready curiosity he made acquaintance with men of means. One of these induced Franklin to go to London where he found work as a compositor and once again brought himself to the attention of men of substance. A merchant brought him back to Philadelphia in his early twenties as what might today be called an administrative assistant or personal secretary. From this association, Franklin assembled means to set up his own printing house which published a newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, to which he constantly contributed essays. At twenty-six, he began to issue "Poor Richard’s Almanac,"...

Many college students today lack the reading skills that children in the early US possessed before they ever started school. Are children and college students today really that much stupider--or is the way they are treated today making them seem that way?"

Posted by The Englishman at 6:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Who Nose?

di%27s%20nose1.jpg di%27s%20nose%202.jpg

One on the wedding day - one after a few years of hard living and a hint of a scalpel.... not a pretty site...

Posted by The Englishman at 12:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 8, 2006

Another Last Word on the School Leaving Age Debate

Following from The Last Word on the School Leaving Age
...Sir Barnes Wallis, chose to leave school at 16 with no paper qualifications...

I found this blog post ....
Al Fin: Dropping Out of School to Get Rich

Here are some billionaires who dropped out to get rich:

Bill Gates
Larry Ellison
Steve Jobs
Michael Dell

Here are some wealthy and famous persons who dropped out of high school:


Here is a long list of famous and wealthy dropouts at Wikipedia.

Here is a super-list of celebrity dropouts.

The fact is, if you are good at filling a perceived need of the public, government, or commercial interests, you may have a better chance of being successful by making your own way, than by staying in cookie cutter assembly line style of conformist education, oppressed by mindless politically correct guidelines.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nicholas Stern - wrong before

Were 364 Economists All Wrong?

In March 1981, 364 economists agreed to write to The Times arguing strongly against the then government's monetary and fiscal policy. However, the Thatcher government decided to ignore these voices and continue the pursuit of policies to defeat inflation and restore fiscal responsibility. To the opponents of the 364, this decision marked a turning point in British post-war economic history: every other post-war government had capitulated and returned to policies of reflation and direct control of prices and incomes in the face of intense political pressures when the going was tough. The 1981 Budget, which precipitated the letter, was also a turning point in other respects: from 1981 there was continual growth, falling inflation and eventually, employment growth. Arguably, the 1981 Budget set the scene for today's benign macro-economic outlook and political consensus in favour of stable prices and fiscal prudence.

Amongst the 364 were many economists who play a very prominent part in public life today...

Amongst those signatories, who were wrong and should have been cast into the wilderness for their wrongness was one Nicholas Stern - .

No wonder Gordon couldn't see eye to eye with him... Stern Quits

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

December 7, 2006

What's on your desk now?

Is it just me? My desk is overflowing with stuff again - for some reason I don't feel the readers of this humble blog belong to the minimalist school.
Without excavating the layers scanning my desk from left to right I can see:
Box of pencils - needing sharpening.
Hole punch
Bills to pay
ID card
Tape measure
Cheque Books
Duct Tape
Mobile Phone
Vaseline
Knife
Indigestion Tablets
Red demands from the Taxman - being ignored.
Empty Shotgun cartridge
Interesting flint
Marker Pen
Scissors
Scalpel
Another spent shell
Premium Bonds belonging to my Mother (deceased)
Tea cup
Tin of pens
Calculator
Another hole punch
Two staplers
Cable tie
Keyboard
Mouse
Pens
Birthday card badge
Insulating tape
Inspector Morse Tape
Toddler's toy
Two phones
Bag with dismantled shotgun cartridge in it - shot, powder etc.
Headphones
Knife
USB cables for MP3 player, phone, camera.
6 inch ruler (no centimetres on it)
Old CD
Screwdriver
Empty envelopes.
Dust

How do I tidy it? I need all that stuff around me.

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There may be trouble ahead...But while there's .... Let's face the music and dance..

Factory output fall raises fears over shrinking demand - Industry sectors - Times Online

The sharpest drop in industrial production for a year has ignited fears that manufacturing is starting to suffer from the unravelling of global demand.
The production industries contracted by 0.8 per cent in October, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed, the worst such figure in 12 months...
Manufacturing, which makes up the bulk of the production sector, also suffered a drop of 0.4 per cent, defying expectations of a rise...
Industrial data can be volatile from month to month, but the ONS figures for the three-month trend growth of output were also weak, with overall production falling by 0.2 per cent, the weakest figure since last December. The statistics did not bode well for the ability of Britain’s exporters to compete against a weak dollar, especially as world growth is set to slow next year, analysts said. ...
Gordon Brown was bullish about the manufacturing sector in his Pre-Budget Report (PBR) yesterday. He forecast that industrial output would rise by about 2 per cent in each of the coming three years

"He would say that, wouldn't he?" The Mandy Rice Davies rule applies....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:45 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

No More Mr Prudent

Bloomberg.com: Europe

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, the favorite to succeed Prime Minister Tony Blair, may have to increase borrowing by 18 billion pounds ($35.6 billion) over the next three years to pay for higher U.K. government spending.
...
``He will stand up in Parliament and tell everyone that growth is strong, although that hasn't prevented the public finances from deteriorating,'' said John Butler, chief European Economist at HSBC Holdings Plc in London. ``Since 2002, he has borrowed 100 billion pounds more than he said he would. He is leaving as his inheritance a deficit that is structural rather than cyclical.''

Economic growth at the fastest pace in two years last quarter wasn't enough to narrow the deficit. ...

In the first seven months of the current fiscal year, spending gained 7 percent, outpacing a 6.5 percent increase in revenue. The deficit was 22.9 billion pounds, compared with 20.6 billion pounds in the year-earlier period.

The U.K. has moved more slowly than other European countries toward reducing its deficit since 2003, when its budget gap soared above the EU's limit to 3.3 percent.

Britain's budget deficit will touch 2.8 percent of gross domestic product next year, compared with 2.6 percent in France, 1.6 percent in Germany and 2.4 percent in the U.S

``Under Gordon Brown the national mortgage is now bigger than out national income if we add up all the real liabilities of government,'' said George Osborne, who shadows Brown in Parliament for the Conservative Party. ``Britons will be making repayments on Brown's mortgage for years to come.''

He just can't help spending it faster than it comes in, even with a booming economy the debt keeps rising. And that is without all the off balance sheet debts such as PFI and Railtrack...
Prudence - my arse!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's all about the money

Telegraph | News | What made Mr Brown turn into Mr Green

He knows that David Cameron has promised to make the environment a tenet of his first year in office and knows that he will lose votes if he doesn't try to keep up. Now the polls show increasing exasperation that our politicians are doing so little about tackling global warming, Mr Brown also thinks he can get away with raising taxes.

It is all about another way to tax us - I think Brown is canny enough to know whilst Tesco Mum will bleat about wanting to go green she doesn't actually want to pay through the nose for her essential people carrier or short breaks to Tuscany, so unlike The Boy he is being canny about how much he says he is going to squeeze us.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 6, 2006

One to watch on Pre Budget Statement Day

Iain Dale's Diary: has the video of the day.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sound Policy

Telegraph | Comment | Brown knows he will have to cut taxes
By Denis MacShane

When Gordon Brown rises to deliver his last Pre-Budget Statement today, will we discover something new and important about Britain's next prime minister? That he will be the next PM is no longer remotely in doubt. A few years ago the tea-room was full of muttering about Brown, but after the anger over the comic-opera September putsch, most Labour MPs are now discussing a Brown administration as a given.

The Pre-Budget Statement will offer further evidence of Brown's determination to carry on the reinvention of his beloved Labour Party, to make it fit for purpose for a long period in power. To achieve that end, he has caught the Tories bathing and is walking away with many of their clothes – above all, an admiration of Friedmanite market economics, a muscular pro-Americanism with no quarter given in the war against terror, and a willingness to breach the high walls of state administration to allow the energies of the private sector to roam freely.

The 19th-century political observer John Wilson Croker wrote of early Victorian politics: "There are two great antagonistic principles at the root of all government – stability and experiment. The former is Tory, and the latter Whig." Today it is Brown and Labour who are the party of stability. It is David Cameron's Whigs who have captured the Conservative Party and turned it into a laboratory of political experiment.
.....
Instead of sniping at Brown, David Cameron and George Osborne should learn from him. They appear to believe the spin that New Labour was about spin and are obsessing on image instead of proper thought-out policy. Britain is enjoying the benefit of sound Conservative economic theory, but it is Labour putting this into practice and delivering a huge increase in social justice at the same time.

Perhaps Cameron is right that there is a majority for a high-tax, big-government Conservative Party embracing the causers of crime rather than its victims, and planting windmills on every roof while simultaneously cutting links with Europe and distancing Britain from America.

Brown can afford to leave the Notting Hill Tory Whigs to their experimental politics. The Chancellor has discovered that a healthy dose of stable conservative financial management is the best way to deliver Labour values. When he is prime minister, Britain should expect more of the same.
# Denis MacShane is Labour MP for Rotherham

Nurse - the tablets! For once I'm in total agreement with MacShane, I hope Tory Central Office also read and note it.

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

Nice work if you can get it

Telegraph | News | Jowell faces inquiry over lottery 'cronyism'

Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, was facing an official inquiry into allegations of cronyism last night after she packed a key lottery quango with Labour supporters.

Whitehall's official appointments watchdog was called in after it emerged that five of the 12 members of the Big Lottery Fund, which hands out 」600 million a year, are members of the Labour Party.

The five include former Labour council leaders and active party members. However, none of the other parties are represented on the Fund....

The five Labour appointees are: Sir Clive Booth, 63, a Labour supporter who will earn £36,000 a year as chairman of the Big Lottery Fund; Sanjay Dighe, 49, the former Labour deputy leader of Harrow council, who will be paid £24,000 a year to chair the Fund in England; John Gartside, 61, the former Labour leader of Warrington council, though Labour claim he is no longer an active party member; Roland Doven, 45, a former Labour councillor and the surgery clerk for Keith Hill, MP, Tony Blair's parliamentary private secretary; and Albert Tucker, a Labour member and a director of a fair trade company.

Mr Gartside, Mr Doven and Mr Tucker will all be eligible to claim £208 for each day they work for the Fund.....

A Department for Culture spokesman last night rejected the criticism. "Appointments are made on merit and the needs of the BLF Board. Political activity plays no part in the selection process."

Only the tip of the iceberg of how "our friends" are rewarded...

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

December 5, 2006

Lawson on the "fraudulant" Stern Report

From http://www.18doughtystreet.com/

Posted by The Englishman at 6:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Those Vouchers

Scotsman.com News - UK - 'Bungle' to make Threshers millions

TO ANYONE still sober enough to care, it is either one of the biggest retail blunders of all time or a fiendishly clever piece of internet marketing.
Yesterday, off licence chain Thresher was besieged by customers desperate to cash in 40% discount coupons that were "released in error" to the general public and will reportedly cost the company millions.
But as drinkers stocked up for Christmas, assuming their purchases last that long, an alternative explanation began to emerge.
Some experts believe the vouchers were released "accidentally on purpose" in a bid to gain massive publicity for the firm. And there is virtual unanimity in the view that Thresher, far from losing a fortune, will make millions from the frenzy they have generated. ....

Viral marketing at its very best, give that ponytail an award. (Threshers do a standard 3 for the price of 2 offer which is 33% discount, but who goes rushing to buy there for that?)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Land Fit for Heroes

Scotsman.com News - UK - Afghan hero to auction off Military Cross

A HEROIC soldier who became the most junior serviceman ever to win the Military Cross is to put his medal up for sale.
Liam Armstrong, a Royal Marine serving with Arbroath-based 45 Commando, made history more than three years ago when he was presented with the Military Cross, one of Britain's highest awards for gallantry, aged just 23.
The commando was decorated by the Queen in July 2003, at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace for his outstanding bravery. He had captured nine terrorists and a cache of mortar bombs, rockets and bullets in a raid on a suspected al-Qaeda stronghold in Afghanistan. The young Marine broke into the terrorist compound, near the Pakistan border, and took the men prisoner without firing a single shot.
But it was revealed yesterday that Mr Armstrong, now working as a tracklayer for a railway company, has decided to put his award for bravery up for sale to help guarantee a financial future for his long-term partner, Charlene, and two-year-old daughter, Lydia.

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

'The Last of the Light Brigade' was written by Rudyard Kipling to highlight the plight of those who survied the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade

Posted by The Englishman at 6:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 4, 2006

It's Monday Morning - Go Back To Bed

Labour 'has raised taxes by £9,000' - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

Gordon Brown has increased taxes by nearly £9,000 per household since he came to power, according to a report out today. The money is being used, among other things, to pay for 27,000 tax inspectors.

The study, by a former World Bank and United Nations economist, says that taxpayers are paying twice as much council tax and income tax as they did in 1997, business taxes have risen almost as much and a welter of stealth taxes have been introduced.

In other news "a poll of economists carried out by the Taxpayers’ Alliance shows that they believe Brown’s tax and spending policies have damaged the economy. The survey, of 16 economists who contribute to the Treasury’s monthly compilation of independent forecasts, shows that 100% think higher public spending has damaged Britain’s long-run performance, 79% think higher taxes have had a similar effect and 71% say Britain’s corporate tax regime is no longer internationally competitive."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pensioners Being Screwed Again

Telegraph | News | Revealed: the real rate of inflation

The cost of living for many British households is up to four times the Government's published rate of inflation, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Millions of families are experiencing inflation far beyond the official rate of 2.4 per cent, new research suggests.

The Government was last night accused of neglecting hard-up families as the research shatters the illusion that the Consumer Price Index - used by the Bank of England to set interest rates - represents the true cost of living as experienced by many households.

Pensioners are the hardest hit, with inflation rates of almost nine per cent, as record gas and electricity bills take a massive slice out of their budgets.....

Hard-up families, getting by on £20,000 a year, saw their costs increase by 4.6 per cent — almost twice the national average and well above the annual rate of wage increases, 3.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, the increasingly large number of young Britons living at home with their parents — and not paying mortgages or bills — experienced deflation of 2.1 per cent, since many of the items they spend their money on, such as clothes and electrical goods, are falling in price.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Some Pensioners Doing Very Well

Telegraph | Money | Great Britain: a tale of two pension plans

MPs and mandarins can retire with saving plans the rest of us can only dream about, reports Faith Archer

Meagre improvements to state pensions for women in this week's Pensions Bill highlighted the gulf between the "gold-plated" pensions enjoyed by MPs and the public, experts said.

After 30 years of contributions, a backbench MP on £60,277 a year can look forward to retiring at age 60 on a final-salary pension of almost £39,000 a year, according to calculations by actuaries Watson Wyatt.
A person making the same contributions to a private pension could generate less than a fifth of the MP's risk-free returns, at £7,160 a year.

If they worked for a generous employer that topped up their 10 per cent money-purchase pension scheme contributions with a further 15 per cent, they could expect a pension of £18,000 a year.

To fund the same pension benefits as an MP, an individual would need to save a staggering £1.25m.....

While the Pensions Bill will raise the state pension retirement age to 68 by 2046, MPs and public sector employees can still retire at 60.

The Bill also announced that cash-strapped pensioners could endure another nine years of the state pension falling behind average earnings, in the same week that the Government confirmed that Paul Gray, the acting chairman of HM Revenue & Customs, is entitled to a pension pot of £1.7m.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 3, 2006

Christopher Booker's Censored Column

EU Referendum reveals that the Telegraph's love affair with David "Dave" Cameron is got to all that yucky tongue sharing stage and so the one essential read Christopher Booker's column has been "censored" - but it also supplies us with the copy -

As David Cameron ends his first year as leader of the Opposition, there are clear signs that the greatest gamble in modern British politics has not come off. The little group of ex-public schoolboys who last year hi-jacked the Conservative Party have seemed to gamble on just one strategy. List everything the Party used to stand for – low taxes, the family, rolling back the power of the state, encouraging business, upholding our defences, curbing criminals, common sense – then go for the opposite.

The essence of the gamble has been the belief that, in wooing the support of Lib Dems, would-be greenies, Guardian readers and the supposed "soft centre", they could take their supposed "core" supporters for granted. But as support for Cameron falters, all the evidence seems to suggest that those wished-for new recruits to his "Not The Conservative Party" are not forthcoming, while the Party's former natural supporters are left baffled, dismayed and increasingly angry.

All this was neatly symbolised by the recent photo-opportunities staged by the three men now competing for the role of Britain's prime minister. Mr Blair and Mr Brown, aware that defence and national security (not long ago rating 34 percent on a Mori poll) still rank very much higher as voter priorities than "environmental" issues (only 8 percent), flew out to the Iraq and Afghan battle-zones to pose in front of the largest guns they could find. Mr Cameron, at the same time, flew out to the Sudan, in Lord Ashcroft's CO2 emitting private jet, to be pictured cuddling a little refugee child. It was the "Men from Mars" against "the Boy from Venus". "Darfur Dave" did not come well out of the contrast.

The tragedy is that, confronted by the most corrupt, hypocritical, inefficient, illiberal, discredited government in history, what millions of voters are looking for is an alternative which might put an end to the sleazy, self-regarding sham of the Blair era by displaying some "masculine" firmness: in cutting back on the bloated public sector and the out-of-control bureaucracy which is destroying our health service, education and police; which might encourage enterprise; which might restore democracy to local government; bring back some balance into our public finances; sort out the shambles into which our Armed Forces are sliding; uphold Britain's national interest, as we suffocate under the malfunctioning system of government represented by the European Union.

In other words, what much of the country is crying out for is a party which represents precisely those values which Mr Cameron's Not-The-Conservative Party seems so hellbent on abandoning. As for what he stands for instead, almost the only clear message Darfur Dave seems to have put over to the voters is his sentimental "save the planet" greenery, on which his dotty little gimmicks and practical ignorance have simply made him a laughing stock.

What many voters sadly begin to conclude is that Dave and his cronies seem so hopelessly ill-equipped to take on the serious business of government that, if we have to choose between one gang of PR merchants and another, better stick with the devil we know. Hence the evidence of the latest polls appearing to show that the gamble has failed. Ever larger become the number of would-be Conservatives sorely tempted to join that 40 percent who already feel so alienated from politics that they just stay sullenly at home. But the Guardian readers are scarcely flocking to replace them. So where does all this leave our country?

"Much of this is based on material previously published on the EU Referendum blog, which sends the additional message. What is fit for the blogosphere is not suitable for the MSM, which has it own agenda. Our readers already know this, but pity the poor saps who rely for the MSM for their information and are naïve enough to believe what they are told.

Anyone who wishes to publish the missing column on their own blog - with due acknowledgements to Booker - is welcome."

Posted by The Englishman at 7:46 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Our Friends Up North

Anti-enterprise Scotland go it alone? What a hoot - Sunday Times - Times Online

One recent calculation estimates that just 163,000 Scottish taxpayers, from a population of 5m, make any net contribution to the British exchequer. The rest receive more than they pay out in reliefs, subsidies and benefits.

The cynical view is that Scotland has remained part of the union only for the reason it joined in the first place: money. Scotland, according to unionists, is massively subsidised by the English taxpayer. Public spending, £1,503 per Scot above the English average, is financed by hardworking families in the home counties. Alone, Scotland would stagger into economic depression and collapse....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Scottish Reivers ride out raiding again

Scots won't have to pay £10-a-day road tolls | News | This is London

Motorists in England are facing punitive congestion charges of up to £10 a day but north of the border it's a different story.

Scotland will be exempt from Labour's new laws to be introduced in cities throughout England, a move which has infuriated English MPs.
...

The Government Bill backed by Transport Minister Douglas Alexander - who is also Secretary of State for Scotland - is to be published in the New Year.

It will lead to a string of schemes modelled on London's £8 congestion charge but in cities where public transport is far less well developed.

The move comes amid growing debate about the so-called West Lothian Question, the constitutional quirk which means Scottish MPs can vote on English laws while the English have only a limited say on what happens north of the border.

Veteran backbencher Andrew MacKinlay said that he was fed up with Scottish Ministers imposing levies on Middle England which their own constituents did not pay.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 2, 2006

To the first approximation...

The success of the human race, and also some of its uglier deeds can be traced to our highly developed sense of what is true to the first approximation.

"to a first approximation" definition

1. to a first approximation - When one is doing certain numerical computations, an approximate solution may be computed by any of several heuristic methods, then refined to a final value. By using the starting point of a first approximation of the answer, one can write an algorithm that converges more quickly to the correct result.
2. to a first approximation - In jargon, a preface to any comment that indicates that the comment is only approximately true

Leaving aside the dark side of racism and bigotry this technique frees us from slow tedious calculations for every new situation we meet. For example simple rules about fungi or berries can save your life, and if you miss out on the delights of a rare delicacy then that is a small price to pay.

And in general life I find it increasingly useful to draw up such rules, and I want to hear yours, we need to build a common knowledge base.

My rules:

All timeshares are cons.
If you don't understand the deal, don't do it.
Nothing is too complicated to be explained on more than one side of one sheet of paper.
Americans can be trusted.
Politicians can't.
Anyone who claims to be a funny, crazy guy isn't.
Modern Jazz isn't worth listening to.
Old men in pubs are.
Young people's opinions aren't worth spit.
Young people should be listened to with respect and patience.
Nobody cooks breakfast like your mum did.
No bed is as comfortable as your own.
Trusting your first instincts is rarely wrong.
Stupid haircut equals stupid person.
Anyone one wearing stacks or a syrup can't be trusted.
...

So what have I missed?

Posted by The Englishman at 12:50 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 1, 2006

Linky Love

Devizes Opportunity Centre - needs your links as they have just launched a brand new website and want Mr Google to notice them!
They do a fantastic job so if you can help please do!

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Miliband vs The Flat Earthers

David Miliband | Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs : Good Science or Flat Earth?

When I appeared on the Jeremy Vine programme on Wednesday a number of callers disputed my interpretation of the science of climate change. I said the evidence of cause and effect was unambiguous. A number of emails after the programme also disputed the facts and I promised to provide links via my blog to the science. ..

Strangely he doesn't link to this...

World Climate Report which brings to our attention a peer- reviewed paper in a serious scientific publication untainted by any special interest:

The authors place the recent warming into an interesting perspective noting “the global warming observed during the latest 150 years is just a short episode in the geologic history. The current global warming is most likely a combined effect of increased solar and tectonic activities and cannot be attributed to the increased anthropogenic impact on the atmosphere. Humans may be responsible for less than 0.01°C (of approximately 0.56°C (1°F) total average atmospheric heating during the last century)”. Holy cow, can you imagine the letters and e-mails they must have received in response to that conclusion? They even show that over the last 3,000 years, the earth has cooled, or if you look just at the last 1,000 years, the earth has been cooling as well (the earth was in the Medieval Warm Period 1,000 years ago).

Their conclusions with respect to potential policy will more than raise some eyebrows as well as they write “Any attempts to mitigate undesirable climatic changes using restrictive regulations are condemned to failure, because the global natural forces are at least 4–5 orders of magnitude greater than available human controls.” They show that the climatic effects of the Kyoto Protocol would be negligible, leading them to state “Thus, the Kyoto Protocol is a good example of how to achieve the minimum results with the maximum efforts (and sacrifices). Impact of available human controls will be negligible in comparison with the global forces of nature. Thus, the attempts to alter the occurring global climatic changes (and drastic measures prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol) have to be abandoned as meaningless and harmful.”

Our World Climate Reports uncover and present interesting results we find in the peer-reviewed professional scientific journals, and as we have seen over and over, there are many absolutely amazing papers published regularly in outstanding journals. The global warming crusade would denounce this paper as outrageous, but it survived rigorous peer-review, the editor elected to publish it, and like it or not, this paper is part of the serious science literature. Dismissing the paper is made more difficult given the affiliation of the authors and the prestige of the journal.

The debate on climate change is never boring, the debate is full of surprises, and anyone claiming the debate is over is simply dismissing a significant number of papers that appear regularly in the major journals.

Reference:

Khilyuk, L.F., and G. V. Chilingar. 2006. On global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate. Are humans involved? Environmental Geology, 50, 899–910.

Hat Tip to The Devil for the Miliband quote

Posted by The Englishman at 7:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Come on down!

Telegraph | News | Fake EU passports delivered within 24 hours

Fake European Union passports are now so easy to obtain in Europe that an investigator was able to buy false passports for 20 EU countries and twice enter Britain with a bogus document, the BBC's Panorama programme will claim next week.

The depressing thing is that this news will be used to press for even more centralised biometric ID data....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack