February 28, 2007
The Cream of Health Scares
Two of the most popular products in Britain’s vast health food industry come under attack today, as scientists cast doubts on the benefits of vitamin supplements and low-fat dairy products. Research published today suggests that regular consumption of a wide range of vitamin pills, taken by more than ten million people in the UK, may actually increase the risk of dying,...
Women who consume low-fat milk and yoghurt may find it harder to become pregnant, a new study has found.
A team at Harvard School of Public Health found that women who eat a lot of low-fat dairy foods were 85 per cent more likely to suffer from a failure to ovulate.
The finding suggests that the obsession with low-fat foods, driven by nutritionists trying to protect against heart disease and by consumers trying to lose weight, may have a downside.
And even worse they taste bloody awful....
Theat bloody wonderful NHS yet again
Three quarters of hospitals in England are failing to meet standards of quality and safety in the care they provide for children, a damning report has found.
The investigation by the Healthcare Commission, the health services regulator, today says that 70 per cent of 157 trusts scored only "fair" and five per cent scored "weak" when measured against national standards set by the Government, three years ago.
Only four per cent had services that were "excellent".
Oh and guess what "Children's services have long been under-resourced" - yes that is what is needed, more money!
Whilst on our health service and reasons we live in fear let me recommend John's Fear
Parent power worrying schools
By Graeme Paton, Education Correspondent
An estimated 200,000 children may miss out on their first choice secondary school this year.
Amid unprecedented competition for the best schools, around a third of all applicants in some parts of the country will fail to get a preferred place.
Some schools report 10 pupils competing for every free desk.
Experts warned last night that the clamour for places will intensify under Government plans to give families more freedom to choose schools.
It is feared the shift, a major part of Labour education policy, will prompt a free-for-all as parents resort to desperate measures to get a place at the best comprehensives.
"experts warn, ...it is feared" Yes, an outbreak of parent power is bloody worrying for the educational establishment, and the establishments inability to respond to it will be worrying, but this sort of consumer pressure is just what the whole rotten set-up needs. Back up the choice with giving the parents the actual money - school vouchers - and give schools the ability to respond and all will be well, eventually!
February 27, 2007
Al keeps the air-con turned up
Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.
Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).
In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.
The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.
Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.
Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.
Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.
A woman who chased and caught a bicycle thief ended up in police cells for 10 hours on suspicion of assault.
Wendy Challis-Jones, 39, a former traffic warden and store detective, was driving home when when she spotted a man chasing a youth on a bicycle. He was yelling at him to stop and claiming he had stolen the bicycle.
Miss Challis-Jones pulled over and allowed the man into the passenger seat of her car, before giving chase. She pulled her car in front of the thief and pulled him off the stolen bicycle. He lunged forward and she struck out, grabbed the bicycle and pushed the thief away from it.
When police arrived at the scene in York they arrested the man. But Miss Challis-Jones said: "It was then that I heard a frightening, aggressive voice shout 'You. Stop there. Don't move.'
"I turned to see a police officer, who arrested me on suspicion of assault.
"I couldn't believe it. I then spent 10 hours in a filthy police cell with food smeared on the walls and an open toilet with no flush.
"I had my fingerprints taken, DNA, mugshots, they even took my jewellery and shoes away. I just felt humiliated. I spent almost four hours crying, thinking I was going to prison.
"It was six hours before I was interviewed and then another four before I was finally released with no further action taken.....
Insp Nigel Slater, of North Yorkshire police, said: ..."We are grateful to her for challenging this youth but I would warn the public that they must use only reasonable force. We can only apologise for the length of time she was detained."
No, Inspector Noddy Slater, what you could do is get your fucking act together, a five minute interview at the scene is the maximum it needed to sort this out, put the woodentop who dragged her in onto cleaning the cells for a week and send her a big bunch of flowers. As for yourself, go and reread Peel's Principles of Policing.
Peels Nine Principles of Policing
The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.
Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
Police seek and to preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustices of the substance of individual laws; by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing; by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
Police use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public cooperation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order; and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Police must recognize always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the state, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
These nine principles were set forth by Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the British Police in 1822 a
Concrete them over - Part 6
With the Press, the HSE and unions beginning an orgy of investigations into how much more money they can spend on the railways to prevent another death it is important to remember that railways are a nineteeneth centurary answer to a medieval problem (bad roads) - they are an anachronism that needs to be scrapped. As Transport Watch UK - Road/rail comparisons across the UK puts it:
Road/rail comparisons - Summary findings
Very much against public and political sentiment roads managed to avoid congestion would offer 3 to 4 times the capacity to move freight and people at one quarter the cost of rail while using 20% to 25% less energy and reducing casualty costs suffered by rail passengers by a factor of 2.
All for your own good.
England’s country pubs are likely to bear the brunt of any closures after the introduction of the smoking ban this summer, according to Irish publicans.
As pubs prepare for the implementation of the ban on July 1, the warnings from rural Ireland were backed by official figures from Dublin showing that country pubs were shutting at a record rate.
I suppose I will have to drink more beer to keep my local open then, whilst the smokers stay at home beating their children and poisoning their wives (I gather from the impeccable research this is what they do in the few short months they live between taking up the weed and suffering an horrendous death).
February 26, 2007
Taking the law into our own hands
Via Ranting Stan
I object strongly to the expression 'taking the law into your own hands'. The law is ours and we made it for ourselves, to protect us and govern us, as a free people. Our freedom to defend ourselves against criminal violence is part of our general freedom to live our lives lawfully. We hire the police to help us enforce the law, not to tell us that we cannot do so. Sadly, the modern British law is not our law, but an elite law, based on ideas which most of us do not share. And the modern police are the elite's police, not ours, which is one of the reasons why they have vanished from the streets, where we want them to be. The disarming of the people, and the cancellation of all their rights to defend themselves, are bad signs.
The Principalities of Peter Hain
Over the weekend Bremner released the transcript of a telephone call in 2005 in which he tricked Margaret Beckett, now the Foreign Secretary, into making indiscreet comments about colleagues by pretending to be Gordon Brown, the Chancellor. Mr Hain rounded on Bremner not for the embarrassing duping of Ms Beckett but because the comedian accused him of betraying his principles. “I enjoy the impressions . . . But I do think you should stop spreading cynicism and embitterment about politicians,” Mr Hain told Sunday AM on BBC One.
Bremner had earlier said: “I want to know who’s impersonating Peter Hain? Because I remember you as a left-wing, ideological figure.”
It is very unfair of Rory Bremner to suggest Peter Hain is betraying his principles.
Mr Hain is a man of many principles ; if you don't like his present ones he has plenty more from which you may choose
Ronnie Ince, Stone, Staffordshire
An excellent comment on the Times Online site, what else can I say!
The cost of council votes
Households are facing another inflation-busting rise in council tax this April for the tenth successive year since Labour took office.
A Times survey of more than 200 authorities shows that the average bill is set to rise by at least 3.8 per cent to £1,315, up £47 from last year. The figures mean that council tax will have risen by more than 90 per cent since Tony Blair came to power in 1997, with annual bills jumping from £688 to £1,315.
The lowest rises are in the 238 districts that face elections in May, weeks before Gordon Brown is expected to take over as Prime Minister.
Funny how lower taxes and forthcoming elections are linked isn't it? Expect double mulcting next year to pay for it. Of course if you didn't pay tax you couldn't vote then we might see an even better result...
Plans for a new 10,000-strong army of specially trained border police – to be funded in part by scrapping Tony Blair's £20 billion national identity card scheme – will be announced by David Cameron today.
The Tory leader wants dedicated officers, under central command, posted at every major port and entry point around the British coast in the battle to keep out terrorists, drug dealers and illegal immigrants....
Last night Liam Byrne, the Home Office minister, said Mr Cameron's decision to scrap identity cards showed that he had no real interest in placing national security first.
The immigration minister said the Tory leader's proposal to ditch ID cards would leave the country "defenceless against illegal immigration"
A double helping of bollocks first thing on a Monday morning - bollocks that ID cards are going to stop illegal immigration and bollocks to Dave because there is the elephant in the room stamping on our borders who is the love that dare not speak its name of yours, two letters, beginning with E and ending with U....
February 25, 2007
...not as I do.
Kennet District Council has been condemned for plans to extend its free car park for staff because they have difficulty finding public transport.
The council argues that the number of spaces at its headquarters at Browfort in Bath Road, Devizes, is inadequate and is planning to build an extra 12 spaces at a cost of between £3,000 to £5,000.
The car park at Browfort currently has 182 free spaces for staff and councillors and 17 spaces for visitors.
Tony Sedgwick, a traffic expert who lives in Devizes and advises The Trust for Devizes, said based on Kennet's current policy for parking standards Browfort should have 166 car parking spaces.
Devizes Town Council's planning committee agreed on Tuesday night to object to the 12 extra spaces...
Of course for the rate paying businesses and householders in Devizes it isn't so easy when you or your customers can't park, then it is all about more bicycles and buses and save the bloody planet...
As I was saying,
After the excitements of Tuesday evening I thought I would look up a couple of young nieces of mine who work in Great Windmill Street for a relaxing afternoon on the chaise longue; after which we speeded eastward in a hansom on a strange errand, as it seemed to me at the time, though the future only could show how strange it was to be.
But there was no great difficulty in the first stage of my adventure. Upper Swandam Lane is a vile alley lurking behind the high wharves which line the north side of the river to the east of London Bridge.
Between a slop-shop and a gin-shop, approached by a steep flight of steps leading down to a black gap like the mouth of a cave, I found the den of which I was in search. Ordering my cab to wait, I passed down the steps, worn hollow in the centre by the ceaseless tread of drunken feet; and by the light of a flickering oil-lamp above the door I found the latch and made my way into a long, low room, thick and heavy with the brown opium smoke, and terraced with wooden berths, like the forecastle of an emigrant ship.
Through the gloom one could dimly catch a glimpse of bodies lying in strange fantastic poses, bowed shoulders, bent knees, heads thrown back, and chins pointing upward, with here and there a dark, lack-lustre eye turned upon the newcomer. Out of the black shadows there glimmered little red circles of light, now bright, now faint, as the burning poison waxed or waned in the bowls of the metal pipes. The most lay silent, but some muttered to themselves, and others talked together in a strange, low, monotonous voice, their conversation coming in gushes, and then suddenly tailing off into silence, each mumbling out his own thoughts and paying little heed to the words of his neighbour. At the farther end was a small brazier of burning charcoal, beside which on a three-legged wooden stool there sat a tall, thin old man, with his jaw resting upon his two fists, and his elbows upon his knees, staring into the fire.
As I entered, a sallow Malay attendant had hurried up with a pipe for me and a supply of the drug, beckoning me to an empty berth.
"Thank you. I have not come to stay," said I. "There is a friend of mine here, Mr. Isa Whitney, and I wish to speak with him."
There was a movement and an exclamation from my right, and peering through the gloom, I saw Whitney, pale, haggard, and unkempt, staring out at me.
"My God!," said he. He was in a pitiable state of reaction, with every nerve in a twitter. "I say, what o'clock is it?"
"Of what day?"
"Of Wednesday, February 21st ."
"Good heavens! I thought it was . It is Friday. What d'you want to frighten a chap for?" He sank his face onto his arms and began to sob in a high treble key.
"I tell you that it is Wednesday, man. Your wife has been waiting this two days for you. You should be ashamed of yourself!"
"So I am. But you've got mixed, for I have only been here a few hours, three pipes, four pipes--I forget how many. But I'll go home with you. I wouldn't frighten Kate--poor little Kate. Give me your hand! Have you a cab?"
"Yes, I have one waiting."
"Then I shall go in it. But I must owe something. Find what I owe. I am all off colour. I can do nothing for myself."
I walked down the narrow passage between the double row of sleepers, holding my breath to keep out the vile, stupefying fumes of the drug, and looking about for the manager. As I passed the tall man who sat by the brazier I felt a sudden pluck at my skirt, and a low voice whispered, "Walk past me, and then look back at me." The words fell quite distinctly upon my ear. I glanced down. They could only have come from the old man at my side, and yet he sat now as absorbed as ever, very thin, very wrinkled, bent with age, an opium pipe dangling down from between his knees, as though it had dropped in sheer lassitude from his fingers. I took two steps forward and looked back. It took all my self-control to prevent me from breaking out into a cry of astonishment. He had turned his back so that none could see him but I. His form had filled out, his wrinkles were gone, the dull eyes had regained their fire, and there, sitting by the fire and grinning at my surprise, was none other than .......
I couldn't help but be amused reviewing this blog post by the advert that was juxtaposed with it on my visit...
February 21, 2007
Back from the smoke.
Breakfast in Horseguards, followed by inspecting the guards..
And then to the IEA organised commemoration of the life of Ralph Harris:
Lots of famous faces;
And then out on the town with some sound minded anarchists..more when the hangover subsides...
Pants on Fire
Please Sir, the dog ate my homework!
Now what we long suspected has been shown to be true. Records of past temperature data are being altered to exaggerate the apparent rate of global warming. The perpetrators and their acolytes make the usual excuses of original data being lost and the adjustments being for sound, though vague, reasons.
February 20, 2007
Westminster - Here I come
The National Identity Register will allow police to add the entire adult population of the UK to their suspect list, giving them the opportunity to check fingerprints left at scenes of crime against those collected from ID card and passport applicants, says Tony Blair. Nor are fingerprints in other EU countries necessarily safe - the introduction of biometric technology, he adds, will "improve the flow of information between countries on the identity of offenders.
Blair made the pledge to collar the lot of us, and some, as part of a rag-bag of warmed-over, half-baked, misleading, and just plain untrue claims issued in an email to the near-28,000 signatories of the Downing Street petition calling for the scrapping of the ID card scheme. The notion of the police having access to the NIR fingerprint data in order to tackle unsolved crime is not entirely new (the Home Office document Identity Cards Scheme - Benefits Overview tentatively suggested this could happen a couple of years back), but it's not something that has previously been pushed by senior ministers.
Characteristically, Blair and his delusional wonks find themselves unable to put forward this unfeasible scheme without falsifying the data.
Right - it is the 11.37 train from Bedwyn to Paddington for me, see you up there!
Education - what a sorry waste
Millions of employees believe that their lack of basic skills has lost money for their companies and themselves, according to a survey.
A survey for Learndirect, the adult training agency, highlights the extent of weaknesses in English and maths.
Based on a sample of 1,000 people, the survey projected that 14.6m workers had lost their firms money because of literacy and numeracy mistakes.
A government-commissioned report into skills, published by Lord Leitch in December, called for a radical overhaul in adult training - and warned that the UK's skill base was lower than many international competitors.
The report said
* out of 30 OECD countries, the UK lies 17th on low skills, 20th on intermediate skills and 11th on high skills;
* 5 million adults in the UK lack functional literacy;
* 17 million adults in the UK have difficulty with numbers; and
* more than one in six young people leave school unable to read, write or add up properly.
Time to admit the system is not fit for purpose rather than relying on adults having to go back to get these skills through the programs this report is promoting I would have thought.
Anyone for lunch?
Oh good a stiffie first thing this morning.
A Celebration of the Life and Work of Lord (Ralph) Harris of High Cross
St John’s, Smith Square, Westminster, SW1
15:30, 20 February 2007
Sounds like a good do, with reception afterwards, so I think I will pop to town for it, where to lunch before, and eat afterwards? Suggestions please.
Details of the event below:
The Trustees and Staff of the IEA invite you to attend
A Celebration of the Life and Work of Lord (Ralph) Harris of High Cross
with brief 5-minute speeches by:
Rt Hon the Lord Howe of Aberavon CH QC
The Lord Vinson LVO DL
Andrew Alexander, The Daily Mail
Russell Lewis, IEA Author
Brian Kingham, Reliance Security Group plc
Rt Hon the Lord Tebbit CH
John O'Sullivan, The National Interest
Dr Edwin J Feulner Jr, The Heritage Foundation
Neil Hamilton, former MP
Prof Pascal Salin, Université Paris IX-Dauphine
Simon Heffer, The Daily Telegraph
Alberto Mingardi, Instituto Bruno Leoni
and an excerpt from the film
‘A Conversation with Lord Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon’
Time: 3:30pm doors open; 4:00pm programme; 5:15pm reception
RSVP (acceptances only) to: Harrisevent@iea.org.uk
NO BLACK DRESS PLEASE!
Won't take No for an answer
I've just worked out how the federasts are going to do it. Ever since the French and Dutch "No" votes, the craftiest legal minds in Brussels have been looking for a way to resurrect the European Constitution. Now, they have found one:
"We have the answer," says Alain Lamassoure, a former Europe minister who is now Nicolas Sarkozy's vicar on earth. "We shall go through the text with a rubber instead of a pencil. Many of the clauses are unnecessary, because they reiterate what is already in the treaties. But these are generally the articles that people object to. So, if we take out what we don't need, we can avoid any new referendums."
It is a horribly plausible plan. For the fact is that, as Peter Hain, then Europe minister, kept trying to tell us, three quarters of the EU constitution is a rehash of the existing treaties. This shouldn't make it any more acceptable, of course: the whole point of the constitution was that it was an opportunity to draw up a settlement in accordance with people's wishes. If we objected to something that Brussels was already doing - the Common Fisheries Policy, say - this was our opportunity to remove it.
Still, excising these articles will allow supporters of the constitution to claim that the document has been medicinally purged - especially if they also cut the clauses that offer a legal basis for something the EU is already doing unofficially: the diplomatic service, the space programme, the defence procurement office, the human rights agency, the charter of fundamental rights, the external borders agency, and so on.
The 27 heads of government will be asked to approve this plan at a dinner in Berlin next month. Shorn of its otiose paragraphs, the constitution will be less than half its present length. It will still specify the changes in national voting weights, the creation of an EU presidency and foreign minister, and a slight extension in majority voting. But the French and Dutch governments will claim that the new version is too trivial to warrant new referendums, as will the other governments that fear their Euro-sceptic publics: Sweden, Poland and Britain. Geoff Hoon, the Europe minister, has confirmed that the Government's promise of a referendum on the constitution would not apply to a "mini-treaty".
And - here's the clever bit - the 18 states that have already ratified will be able to tell their national assemblies that, since the curtailed version contains nothing new, there is no need to start the implementation process all over again. The outcome will be identical to approving the full constitution in its present form.
Which brings us to something that neither side of the debate likes to acknowledge. The bits of the constitution to which people object are, in general, the bits that restate the status quo. Voters are complaining, not about what Brussels proposes to do next, but about what it is doing now.
"Our mistake was to spell everything out," says a senior German official.
"For 50 years, the people of Europe were happy to eat sausages. Then we came along and asked them whether they wanted to eat tubes stuffed with chopped-up sow's udders."
Indeed. Until now, the EU has proceeded by stealth. First, Eurocrats would extend their jurisdiction to a new area and then, often years later, they would formalise that extension in a treaty. The Single European Act recognised the unofficial Brussels role in environmental policy, Maastricht the effective harmonisation of foreign policy, Amsterdam and Nice the informal standardisation of immigration and criminal procedures.
Instead of being presented with revolutionary changes, voters were informed after the event.
This, of course, is how Britain joined in the first place. Had we had a referendum in 1972, we would almost certainly have voted "No", but, by 1975, the "Keep Britain in Europe" campaign (as it was careful to title itself) was able to appeal to our conservatism: we were committed now, we had burnt our bridges with the Commonwealth, we couldn't let our new partners down. It is a delicious paradox that, at that very moment, Parliament was passing an Act to outlaw inertia selling.
The constitution was a one-off. Instead of occupying territory inch by inch, under cover of night, the integrationists drew up their cataphracts in ranks and offered us a pitched battle. It is not a mistake they will repeat again.
The democratic experiment is over. We are back to the Monnet method of behind-the-scenes integration. Eurocrats have calculated that, as long as we are presented with a fait accompli, we will shrug our shoulders and accept it. And, God forgive us, they are probably right.
Organic food, more is less
The energy needed to grow organic tomatoes is 1.9 times that of conventional methods, the study found. Organic milk requires 80 per cent more land to produce than conventional milk and creates 20 per cent more carbon dioxide, it says. The use of manure to fertilise land can lead to acidification of soil and the pollution of water courses.
Organic chickens require 25 per cent more energy to rear and produce more carbon dioxide than conventional battery or barn hens, according to the report.
In the bad old days of Victorian "organic" farming workers were sent out with spades to dig over and plant the very last corners of fields that the plough couldn't reach. With high productivity "chemical" farming we leave acres untouched around the edges of fields because they aren't worth the hassle, and we can grow enough on the straight work. Nature loves these uncropped areas. So high yields, and monocultural crops, work well for nature conservation. In the broader picture the more we grow on the land we already use means less virgin rainforest is needed for farming.
February 19, 2007
Jackboots, Frauds and Freedom
As the boots stamp on our human faces - forever, Numberwatch reminds us of the loss of freedom, unthinkable only a few years ago, that we are suffering. He also reminds us of the utter fraud behind the anti-smoking zealots, and why at the age of sixty I fully intend to take up my pipe and tobacco again (if I am still able to and allowed to).
Tony Blair, the Norma Desmond of Politics
Tony Blair has said that he wants to continue leading the global battle against climate change after he steps down as Prime Minister.
The Anglo American Relationship
Middle East Peace
His shopping list of great causes to continue with keeps getting shorter..
"Lecture Tour of America", "Paying off the Mortgage" and "Keeping Cherie in the style she is accustomed to" still seem to be there though......
Joe - "I know you. You're Tony Blair! You used to be in global politics. You used to be big!"
Tony - "I am Big! It's the politics that got small!"
Tony (to newsreel cameras) - "And I promise you I'll never desert you again. You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!... All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."
Guns in the neighbourhood.
Gun crime is being exported from the inner cities to the shires, the senior officer in charge of the national firearms policing strategy has told The Times....
A man in his twenties was admitted to hospital yesterday with a leg wound after a shooting on Harrow Road in the west of the capital. It followed the fatal shooting on Saturday of a 28-year-old man in Homerton, East London. Three others were wounded in shootings in Manchester.
The latest attacks came after a spate of shootings in South London in less than a fortnight, including the murders of three teenage boys.
But as the death toll mounted in the capital, Mr Bristow gave warning that the gun problem was moving to the shires. ....
Suffolk police are investigating the murder of a 24-year-old man in a nightclub shoot-out in December. No one has been arrested but detectives believe that the killer is linked to a South London gang.
In Reading, where London gangs dominate the drug trade, a man was seriously wounded in another nightclub shooting in December, and last week gunmen with London accents carried out a number of robberies in Cardiff.
Oh so not quite "out in the shires", in the bucolic rolling acres with smiling yokels, as you might imagine from the headline then.
"The typical pattern is that a crack dealer establishes a trade in an area but, when that becomes saturated, it generates competition and violence between drug dealers and more robust policing. These factors force some of the dealers to go elsewhere in search of new markets. They bring their guns with them.” He cautioned against the view that firearms were only a problem for the black community. “It is much more about where you went to school and whom you hang out with than about ethnicity.”
So let us be honest and use the term the good copper daren't - this is a specifc crime problem of a black sub-culture - to which some non-blacks also belong. The coded reference the politicians use is "rap music". Other crimes come from other sub-cultures but the blanket worry of racist policing prevents action on this particular crime, and pretending that the crime, rather than the criminals, are coming to the countryside is misleading and unhelpful.
The Road Pricing West Lothian Question
Motorists face a potential bill of more than £600 to fit a black box needed to make a full pay-as-you-drive road pricing system work, Whitehall documents have revealed.
A blueprint drawn up by the Department for Transport showed it could cost £62 billion to set up and £8.6 billion a year to run...
Wonko points out.
Douglas Alexander was elected in the constituency of Paisley & Renfrewshire South, Scotland. Transport is devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so he has no say over transport policy in his own constituency.
Because transport is devolved, road pricing only applies to England and law compelling motorists to fit their cars with a spy box to track their every move will only apply to England. Not only will road pricing not happen in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland but the people who live there won't have to pay to use English roads!
Douglas Alexander can't lose. He is the architect of the most unpopular transport policy ever to come out of the Department for Transport yet his own constituents - the people who decide whether or not he keeps his job every 5 years - are completely unaffected by it.
February 18, 2007
Suffer the little children
Pupils with special needs forced to attend mainstream secondary schools faced a "horror" that could leave them suicidal, claims a peer who helped to bring in the policy, writes Julie Henry.
And parents were left "terrified and exhausted" in their efforts to get proper provision for their children, says Baroness Warnock, in the foreword to a new book, Included or Excluded?
Her hard-hitting criticism of the Government's record comes despite ministers' attempts to rein in the effects of their "inclusion" agenda, which has seen thousands of special needs children sent to mainstream schools.
ouncils have used the policy to close expensive special schools, with nearly 9,000 places lost since 1997.
Baroness Warnock, who two years ago renounced the inclusive approach which she had helped enshrine in the 1981 Education Act, said she was convinced that there were some children, particularly with autism, Asperger's Syndrome, attention disorders and behavioural difficulties, who simply failed to be educated in mainstream schools.
"No adaptation of the school can turn it in to an environment in which such children can learn," she said.
"Such a child may no longer even pretend to keep up, feeling defeated by the inevitable demands of the environment, the bustle and clamour, the pushing and shoving, the rushing from one classroom to another. The tragic result for some children is trauma and even regression.
"A special school may be the only place where a fragile child will learn anything at all."
The baroness went on to say that the parents of special needs children "must laugh" when they read the Government's White Paper on school choice, which she criticised as "intensely confusing".
"For the majority of them there is no choice," she said. "They cannot choose what school their child will go to. They must take a place in any mainstream school willing to accept a difficult pupil. This will probably be the school with the lowest standards."
Of course if you are a Labour Minister you can afford £15,000 to send your dyslexic child to a private school so it isn't really a problem is it? But for the rest of us? Stick your head round the corner of any secondary school and sitting in the corner you will see the poor bloody kid, shunned and shouted at, who struggles to learn anything, just wants to go home or to be dead. Betrayed by trendy theories and economies coinciding.
Living near a bus stop or corner shop and even enjoying "peace and quiet" will lead to a hike in council tax for householders, under Government plans.
The tax on "nice neighbourhoods" is being planned as part of the council tax revaluation, with proposals expected within weeks....
The plan follows revelations in this newspaper that people who live in areas with good schools, clean streets and low crime rates face big increases in their council tax bills.
Inspectors were instructed to take photographs of the homes, logging the "convenience to local services, such as shops, bus routes, local communities".
Home improvements and double glazing were taxed, with kitchen units, bathroom suites and central heating driving up bills.
My double glazing needs major work as the seals have reached the end of their life, the kitchen units are fit only for firewood, the bathroom suite has more mould than a Stilton Cheese and the central heating boiler is a troublesome old geezer - do I get refund? Does the council tax element for these improvements get written down each year as they decrease in value? Thought not. Any way I will apply for a discount as there is no peace and quiet here, not with that nutter trying out his new gun at all hours...
Vulcan burps on green scheme
Swiss prosecutors are investigating a green energy project after it was revealed that it caused earthquakes.
The inquiry was launched after experts confirmed that the Deep Heat Mining project to exploit geothermal energy near the north-west border city of Basel had caused tremors measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale....
With strong opposition to nuclear power, the Deep Heat Mining project was widely embraced in Switzerland as an environmentally-friendly and risk-free renewable source of energy. It is partially financed by the Swiss government and is meant to provide electricity for 10,000 homes and heat for over 2,700. It has so far cost about \u20AC40 (sic) million. Public enthusiasm for the project has dropped since the tremors.
Oh well at least when their houses fall down they will be happy as it was nice cuddly safe green energy that caused it...
February 17, 2007
All Your Grammar Are Belong To Us
Hum - If I were him I would sue for that misquote. He actually says:
A knowledge of grammar is the fundamental requirement in learning a language, and it is best to teach that grammar in a systematic way.
I am tempted to add that if English teachers taught more grammar, more of our children might be able to speak and write English.
Do you think that applies to Times Online Sub-eds?
A load of huff for very little puff
Having spent £13,000 on installing a wind turbine at his home, John Large is disappointed at the return on his investment, which amounts to 9p a week.
At this rate, it is calculated, it will take 2,768 years for the electricity generated by the turbine to pay for itself, by which time he will be past caring about global warming.
The wind turbine was installed at the engineer’s home in Woolwich, southeast London, four weeks ago and has so far generated four kilowatts of electricity. An average household needs 23kw every day to power its lights and appliances. (The Times)
I wonder how long it will take him for the turbine, its manufacturing, installing and maintenance, to become "carbon neutral".
Has Tory Boy got his whirly gig installed yet as an example of his prudence and foresight?
What the Dickens?
Teachers are threatening to defy Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, over his list of "untouchable" authors.
They say Charles Dickens and George Eliot are too difficult for many pupils aged 11 to 14 and could put them off great writers for life.
The National Association for the Teaching of English called Mr Johnson a "bird brain" yesterday. The English Association questioned if he had read the books he was forcing on pupils.
Mr Johnson has insisted that in the first three years of secondary education pupils read classic authors. But Ian McNeilly, the director of Nate, accused the Education Secretary of trying to win favour with "Middle England".
"The guy's a bird brain," he said. "Forcing children to study texts that are inappropriate puts them off the text, the author and the subject."
Yeh matez Yoo gotta bring da issue to da street, respect.
I would have thought that Dickens is a good example of a classic author who describes "working class" life and struggles which aren't too hard to relate to.
An example of not teaching "hard English" was posted as a comment yesterday on my Chav article, make of it what you will....
Yeh matez Whats tha big deal bout all these chavs! There is nuttin' wrong wid a chav! it'z probz cause you cant fit in wid them. Now it 2007 yeh get with it! this is da furure! Yeh hopefully not cuz da dimwitted chavs in gnna be able to stop shit such az globel warmin n they wnt hav a gud enuf head for da amount of gud jobz needed but just remeber yo alwayz got da geekz 4 tht! Chavs no how to hav fun they go for all da good brandz n dont just shop in primark lyk sum yoo cheapo'z. Most of em wuld neva even think of frownin' at n old personz but da chavz tht do steal old ladiez handbagz n shit giv chavz a bad name! Yo snobberz people onli reed lyk posh newspaperz so you only read bout majour incidentz wid chavz lyk them murderin people n stuff. But if you got issuez wid em n dnt wnneh start a nust up on da street yoo gotta no how to respect em they'll respect yoo. They aint all tht solid but thy aint all tht week. Mst of em can knock yoo down wid 1 chunk! yoo dont hav to talk all chavvy n wear all chavvy clothz to get on wid a chav. yoo gotta giv em chav respect. heck i no sum gothz tht get on well wid chavs (freakz init) but it good work! Stopz alotta fytz! Some of you probably got sworn at by a chav n tried talkin 2 one n got rejected. yoo gotta hit on em at da right time m8. Hope yoo muvaz get too get chilled wid da chavz soon cuz you all talkin bout em hear behind there bakz. no chav will waste time readin this unless they wnna no wot yo'll think. Yoo gotta bring da issue to da street. Letem no how yoo offend em nd they let u no how u offend em. for now keep it peaced and i dont giv a shiterz wot yoo fink of how i talk or type of swear itz now everyday think so keep up yo sooo last decade! peace im out just memba to respect yeh!
February 16, 2007
Thanks are due
Geneticists are shedding light on why some people can't handle their beer, or rather may eschew a noble chalice of foaming chestnut ale in favour of a less challenging sweeter beverage.
Big thanks to a couple of people I failed to sack in a previous life for taking me out tonight in Mr FM's absence (he is on the piste). Much enjoyed and I hope the Ginger Beer doesn't keep you up all night, (as we say down the old East End).
Don't let the turkeys vote for Xmas
Workers were warned yesterday that they face disciplinary action if they use office computers to sign the Downing Street petition calling for the scrapping of road pricing proposals.
The curbs faced by individuals wanting to protest emerged as Dorset Police launched an internal investigation into the circulation of an email which urged staff to back the campaign....It also highlighted the restriction on political activity in both national and local government, which could leave many in the public sector vulnerable if they add their names to the list while at work.
Quite right, I'm sure that any public sector worker who used an office computer to send a message of support to the Government would similarly hounded.
Let's follow Rwanda
Paul Kagame, the Rwandan President, says that his country will cement its bitter divorce from France and the French-speaking world, which he holds responsible for the 1994 slaughter of up to one million of his countrymen, by joining the Commonwealth later year.
“There are many benefits for us in joining the Commonwealth — cultural, economic, political,” he told The Times.
Mr Kagame, a lanky former guerrilla fighter with an austere manner, rarely shows any emotion. But the softly-spoken 50-year-old struggles to contain his anger when discussing France in Africa. “They are the ones who armed and trained the militias . . . the evidence is everywhere. They continued to do so even after the genocide started,” he said.
Mr Kagame was brought up as a refugee in neighbouring Uganda, where he learnt to play cricket. He later took command of the RPF and can barely conceal his pleasure at the thought of how Paris will view his country’s membership of the Commonwealth, the 53-member, English-speaking club of countries, most of whom have colonial ties to the United Kingdom. He smiles as he asserts that his “entire experience of France and French influence” has been negative.
Other than the recent creation of the Rwandan cricket board, it is hard to imagine an act more calculated to put French noses more out of joint than joining a body so closely associated with the British Empire and the Queen, who always attends Commonwealth summits. The next one will be held in November in Uganda.
For years, Paris was so concerned about the creeping influence of the English language that it blindly followed a policy of la défense de la ligne de la francophonie (defence of the French-speaking line) and ended up supporting killers such as Habyarimana.
French policy backfired spectacularly. The Habyarimana regime was driven from office. Rwanda’s subsequent pursuit of the genocide planners into neighbouring Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, led to the fall of another French ally, President Mobutu. He was replaced by an English-speaking exile from Tanzania — Laurent Kabila, father of the current President, Joseph Kabila, who can barely utter a full sentence in French.
Maybe we should follow his example, rejoin the Commonwealth (not ignore it as we do now) and cut our ties with the French.
What time is the next train to Drancy?
Police across the EU are to be given free access to Britain's DNA, fingerprint and car registration databases in a move denounced last night as the creation of "Big Brother Europe".
At a meeting in Brussels, the Home Office agreed to a deal that will set up a network of national crime records across 27 states.
Britain also has by far the largest criminal DNA database in the world – 50 times the size of the French equivalent.
When Labour took office in 1997, it held only 700,000 samples. By next year, it will hold the samples of some 4.2 million people – seven per cent of the population – and is growing by about half a million a year.
The next largest DNA database in the EU is in Austria, where less than one per cent of the population is included. Coverage in Germany is half of that.
Britain gives its police greater freedom to obtain, use and store genetic information than other countries, who remove the profiles if the person is acquitted or not charged.
Civil liberties campaigners complain that the British database has effectively become a "permanent list of suspects". It includes at least 140,000 samples from people never charged with any offence.
The DNA from nearly one million juveniles has been added over the past decade....
Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's federal interior minister, said: "Our aim is to create a modern police information network for more effective crime control throughout Europe."
The Lebensraum will all be so much more pleasant to live in once the necessary security measures are in place...
If the Eu wants my spit to analyse then I will gladly supply it....
February 15, 2007
Marks & Spencer, one of Britain's largest grocery store chains, announced its plan to hire 1,500 food police to patrol supermarket aisles and lecture shoppers on the contents of their carts. Reminiscent of grade-school Hall Pass Monitors, these health food patrols will donofficial Healthy Eating Adviser badges while harassing customers about the fat, sugar, and salt levels of their purchases.
Not to be outdone, retail competitor Sainsbury's has launched its own set of gastro guards to walk the beat. And the store donated ｣3 million ($5.9 million) to MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition and Do It!), a government sponsored program that trains "food advisors" and deploys them at stores and classrooms. With more patrols, police, and monitors filtering into every aspect of life, the United Kingdom's big brother looks increasingly like a vice squad.
The English city of Bolton is a prime example. The city's director of public health admitted to the town's local paper that "just providing information on healthy lifestyles is not enough." Instead, officials rely on strong-arming citizens through community initiatives. So Bolton health and education officials have teamed up to deploy squads of fat fighters and surveillance teams to local schools. Taking from the workload of local bullies, these groups will actually pull kids out of class for mandatory weigh-ins.
Hattip D Ambler - Comment unnecessary.
Thousands of council staff are being trained to police the smoking ban in bars, restaurants and shops in England.
Ministers have given councils ｣29.5m to pay for staff, who will be able to give on-the-spot ｣50 fines to individuals and take court action against premises.
They will have the power to enter premises undercover, allowing them to sit among drinkers, and will even be able to photograph and film people. ..
Local authorities have been given the power to enforce the ban so it does not consume police time.
A government-funded course is expected to train 1,200 council officers in the next few months with more expected to follow later.
Councils will use these fully-trained officers to brief other staff on how to enforce the law as many towns and cities will have scores of officers patrolling public places.
As few as three uniformed police officers are available to patrol the streets, respond to 999 calls and tackle night-time disorder in some towns and city areas, according to research into the experiences of front-line Pcs.
Well you better hope your mugger dares to light up a cigarette then!
As Mr Sparrow, who tipped me off on this, says "Thousands of council officers will be freed up from other work (what the
fuck were they doing anyway that so important it can just be dropped like that?) and Britain's new securitate will be able to photograph and film people covertly in order to issue summary £50 fines without even a trial.
So that's it. How much longer before the fifth column of council spies will also be taping our conversations and monitoring them for homophobia, islamophobia and inappropriate thoughts or political views?"
Mary Ann Sieghart - I hope you break a leg
Dear Mr Martin, please toe the line
Mary Ann Sieghart
A short news item made me laugh this week. Buster Martin, a 100-year-old man, has sought private treatment after being told that he would have to wait up to three months for an NHS operation on an ingrowing toenail. Mr Martin, “a lifelong NHS supporter”, plans to complain to his MP. Up to three months? For an ingrowing toenail? Listen, Mr Martin, you may be very old, but surely you can remember the time, not so long ago, when people were waiting up to 18 months for a heart operation and often died before they had a chance to be treated? I’m sorry, but “up to” three months for an ingrowing toenail sounds like progress to me.
Made me laugh? The condescending cow - giggle at a poor old man in pain, lets kick his stick out and have a real guffaw as he falls over! Buster Martin is still working so I bet he is a tough old bird and doesn't complain much but to have to "only" wait three month in agony, you have had an ingrowing toenail haven't you Mary Ann?, is a cause of celebration and mirth. Thanks to nuLabour our wonderful NHS is getting even more wonderful. Of course in the US physicians are encouraged to do this sort of thing in their offices.
It is a fucking disgrace he has to wait and even worse for some stupid overpaid commentator to think it all a bit of a joke. I bet she gets paid more for writing this crap than it would cost to treat Mr Martin's toe privately, if she had any decency her cheque would be on the way.
Comments please to email@example.com
Your NHS money at work
SUSSEX An NHS trust that gave a former public health director a payoff of £243,000 after working less than three weeks also paid lawyers £12,000 for advice on how to manage the case.
Sussex Downs Primary Care Trust revealed that it made the payments to Capsticks Solicitors, of London. The legal advice concerned the treatment of Iheadi Onwukwe, 41, who was appointed in September 2002. He worked briefly for Eastbourne Downs Primary Care Trust, which later merged with Sussex Downs Primary Care Trust, and was reported to have been paid a salary for almost three years while on “gardening leave” before leaving his post.
(He) was also paid £325,000 while he was signed off work on 'gardening leave' before leaving the Trust in May 2005.
Gina Brocklehurst, former chief executive of the trust, received £230,000 to leave as part of the reorganisation. It is believed she left the Trust because of a board merger - but then moved to another six-figure salaried job elsewhere in the NHS.
Last year East Sussex Hospitals Trust, which runs both the DGH and the Conquest hospitals, (tried) to keep quiet about a £231,000 pay-off to former chief executive Annette Sergeant.
Not a total waste of money, as far as I can see Dr Iheadi Onwukwe managed to send out a Press Release about children and second hand smoke while he was working, whether he did anything else I don't know.
Sorry no, I have already given.
Universities would collapse without tuition fees and must now seek to find a third major source of income through fund-raising, Tony Blair says today.
Business, former students and philanthropists can help provide funds to expand higher education and ensure universities are in a position to compete internationally, he says.
Mr Blair, writing in The Daily Telegraph, urges universities in this country to follow the example of those in America.
May I make so bold as to point out one teensy difference, in the US the successful ex-students and businesses haven't already had their pips squeaked by the taxman. they have some money of their own left to spend and their taxman looks favourably on their largesse.
February 14, 2007
I've got a woody and a big smile on my face
Browsing I found W W Greener Stock of Inexpensive Grade Pre-owned Guns for Sale
FN (Browning Patent), 12 bore single barrel 5 shot automatic ejector shotgun with 30 inch barrel and half choked barrel, plain stock with 14-1/4 inch pull - Price - £50.00
As Mr Greener lives just up the road from me what else could I do but buy it. I haven't shot it yet having picked it up this afternoon, a couple of splits and chips on the stock and some pitting on the bright work but what a fantastic gun; it looks, feels, sounds and smells just right.
And what a history - this one is probably from the 1930s - but read Kim for the full story
Browning Auto-5 “Light Twelve” (12ga.)
Kim du Toit
November 14, 2003
Here’s a shotgun which is not only liked, but loved by people who’ve ever owned it. The Browning Auto-5 (sometimes called the “humpback") was the first semi-auto shotgun made, and was designed by the Man Himself, John Moses Browning. Even among his many other designs (eg. the Colt 1911), the Auto-5 is regarded as Browning’s best design. Stories of its reliability and ruggedness are legion: at one point, the Auto-5 was the waterfowl piece, and without which few hunters considered their gun safe complete.
Many shotgunners think, incidentally, that the venerable Auto-5 is still the fasest-cycling semi-auto shotgun, matched only recently by Benelli and the new Brownings.
Production began in 1902, and ended in 1999, which means that the asking price of the Auto-5 has shot up, and no one makes accessories for them anymore.
[pause to allow boos, jeers and catcalls to subside]
Personally, I blame the Democrats. Wasn’t Bill Clinton President in 1999? ...
So… why should I get an Auto-5 instead of one of the new whizz-bang modern ones painted in a camo pattern?
Well, duh… because it’s an old gun, of course—the same reason to want a Winchester 1894, a Colt 1911 or a Remington Police revolver. All were designed a century or more ago, and all are still outstanding examples of firearms engineering.
The Auto-5 still belongs in every serious shooter’s safe, for its heritage if for no other reason. And some day, a Sweet Sixteen will be in mine.
The best £50 I have spent today!
As I face the final curtain..
I note he managed two more posts after this, so hopefully it is a bit of an Old Blue Eye's Retirement Tour, much promised but never delivered on. All together now: "And now the end is near...."
Where Racism Really Flourishes
"An authentic production [of the opera] is a racist production. It has a lot of ideas within it that would be seen in any other circumstances as racist. It is not just a question of the words, it also Puccini's music."
Ooooh "Racist Music",is that too many white notes? Whatever, it is obviously far more important than this report which doesn't use the R word once...
More than 50 years after caste discrimination was outlawed in India, millions of "untouchable" low-caste Hindus remain subject to daily petty humiliations, police violence, rape and even murder, a major new report claimed yesterday.
Research published last year from surveys in 565 Indian villages showed that in 80 per cent of them old practices of untouchability endure and are "profoundly affecting" the psyches of Dalit residents.
It said that Dalit children were forced to sit in segregated sections in village schools while their parents were denied a range of basic rights, including access to water, the right to stage marriage processions and entry to polling booths.
The age-old practice of devadasi or temple prostitution - where a pre-pubescent Dalit girl is married to a deity for the "use" of upper caste villagers - also remains widespread. Indian government efforts to abolish the practice had been "largely unsuccessful", the report added.
In the most serious cases the day-to-day discrimination can take the form of extreme violence, with Dalits being attacked, raped and murdered for protesting against upper caste excesses.
Teenage kicks and The Blair Legacy
Tony Blair and the Iraq war may have alienated them, but they are not ready to turn to David Cameron. That is the central conclusion of a Populus poll of 16 to 19-year-olds, those who will be able to vote for the first time at an election in 2008-09.....
This group is also highly sceptical about the Blair/Brown approach to taxation and public services. More than three fifths agree that “taxes in Britain are too high and should be cut even if this means less money is available for some areas of government spending”. Just a quarter disagree. This finding is at one level surprising, since most of this group do not pay direct taxes and have been at least the intended beneficiaries of the increased spending on education.
89% do not believe Labour is honest and principled.
In other news "Britain’s children are the unhappiest in the West, according to a Unicef study of 21 industrialised countries.
Not only do they drink the most, smoke more and have more sex than their peers, they rate their health as the poorest, dislike school more and are among the least satisfied with life. Their relative poverty, the lack of time spent eating meals with their parents and mistrust of classmates mean that Britain languishes at the bottom of the wellbeing league table."
I'm not quite sure why drinking more and having sex more makes the the unhappiest but whatever - it is a depressing picture, and they have seen through the Government's lies. Now for them to do something about it.
February 13, 2007
Starving in Paradise
Cubans struggle to survive on an average wage of less than ｣10 a month to supplement the state rations which provide them with basics such as rice and beans and either one small bar of soap or tube of toothpaste a month.
Visiting foreigners can spend almost double that on a taxi ride to the airport or a meal in one of Old Havana's state-run restaurants.
"It sticks in the throat," says Oscar Espinosa, an independent economist and dissident who was jailed in 2003 for criticising the regime's economic strategy and is now confined to his home on conditional release.
"Such obvious inequality in a country where for decades the people have laboured in the mistaken belief that they are creating a classless society. The truth is we have created a paradise for tourists and those that live off them, but for the rest of us, daily life gets worse," he said.....
Published: 06 November 2006
He also paid tribute to the health services and education provided by the Cuban President, Fidel Castro.
Mr Livingstone was speaking at the weekend during a visit to Cuba on the first leg of a Latin American tour. He called Mr Castro's Communist revolution "one of the high points of the 20th century" and praised Mr Castro while on a trip to see a cricket match on the island.
If you go out in the town tonight
Despite record numbers of police officers overall, many commanders in local divisions in England and Wales - typically based in a station in small and medium towns - can call on just five or fewer uniformed officers per duty shift, the academic study shows.
Those who are available are often tied up in bureaucracy for up to half their eight- or 10-hour shifts. ...a simple arrest could tie them up for hours and that data for the Home Office was constantly demanded.
All very reassuring isn't it, civilians told to " jump up and down" if they see a crime and not get involved but wait for the police, the police stuck in the canteen filling out a diversity form and Charlie Chav running amok because if he is caught he won't really get punished..
MPs are considering launching their own inquiry and Peter Luff, chairman of the cross-party trade and industry select committee, said MPs were concerned whether the industry was being "socially responsible".
If the committee goes ahead with the inquiry, fashion chiefs could be summoned to give evidence at a televised hearing of the committee.
"I would like to know if young women are being set the right example and whether the industry can be trusted to get its house in order without government intervention," Mr Luff said.
The "caring" voice of Big Brother" who can't leave anything alone! Have they really not got anything better to do than look at pictures of models all day?
February 12, 2007
Miliblinker on how the EU will save us
Climate change is, according to Sir Nicholas Stern, the greatest ever market failure, but the answer is not to replace markets. Instead, we need to price pollution into markets and extend market mechanisms so that they work more effectively. If we are to uncover the most efficient carbon reductions, the long-term aim must be for carbon trading to cover the vast majority of the UK economy, with a price on pollution enforced through markets, taxation and regulation.
Climate change also requires a much deeper commitment to EU and international action....By regulating across Europe — for example, setting a date when all new power stations are carbon neutral, or driving up car emission standards — we can move to a low-carbon economy without suffering competitive disadvantages from acting alone.
Does he understand anything about markets and international trade, or is he so in love with the EU he believes this guff?
Playing the man not the ball
Read this before deleting...
The e-mail, sent by its director Martin Livermore, alerted me to the “Frazer Institute Independent Summary for Policymakers (sic)”. This, Livermore stated, was “an alternative, unbiased view of the state of climate change science, for comparison with the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers”.
He was referring to the Fraser Institute, a Canadian free-market think-tank that has received money from ExxonMobil (the SA has not). This institute, like so many others that have pocketed the ExxonMobil shilling, disputes the scientific consensus that mankind is warming the planet. Which led me to ponder who Martin Livermore is, and what his organisation stands for....
According to www.sourcewatch.org , Ascham Associates was founded by one Martin Livermore, who boasts a 25-year record of working for such companies as DuPont and Unilever. Can a person previously involved in “managing major food ingredients R&D programmes” really claim a lofty neutrality on such environmental topics as GM foods?
As luck would have it, we can glean Livermore’s views on just this topic in letters of his published in The Guardian (“Genetic modification is a valuable tool which can be used to produce more desirable environmental outcomes”) and the Ascham Associates website, which dismisses the precautionary principle as “of no help in rational decision-making”.
Reader, I hit “delete”. .
Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic
Argumentum Ad Hominem
Abstract: The argument concerning the attack of a person's character or circumstances is characterized and shown to be sometimes persuasive but normally fallacious.
The EU - The Enemy of Biodiverstiy
...as far as agricultural biodiversity is concerned, Europe is probably more in need of help than anywhere else. Elsewhere, as in Europe, intensive agriculture and monocropping are destroying existing biodiversity. But elsewhere, unlike Europe, farmers, gardeners and ordinary folk who just want to grow themselves a bit of food have a bit of choice. If they can find the variety they want, they can buy it (or obtain it by barter, whatever) and grow it. In Europe that is not legal.
There is a Common Catalogue of registered varieties. If a variety is not registered in the catalogue, it may not be marketed. And marketed means exchanged and given away too, not just sold....
A variety must be distinct, uniform and stable, and in the case of the more important commercial crops must deliver some agronomic benefit, such as yield. There’s a flat fee for registration, which pays for experts to grow it out, make sure it is indeed distinct, uniform and stable, and then grant Plant Breeders Rights so the breeder feels protected...The catalogues hymn the fact that this pea variety, for example, matures extremely uniformly, ideal for freezing. Uh huh. Perfect for the pea growers who boast of going from vine to freezer in less than three hours. But if I want frozen peas I am more than happy to go down to the local supermarket and buy them. If I’m growing peas in my garden, I want a few to be ripe each time I go down there, so I can pick and enjoy them directly...
When academics and researchers go to undeveloped countries and study how their farmers manage agricultural biodiversity, they generally discover the vital importance of something they often label the informal seed sector. In most of Europe, the informal seed sector has been snuffed out of existence by bureaucracy designed to serve only the largest enterprises.
Remember this next time some beardy proclaims the wonder of the EU and its protection of biodiversity - the bureaucrats have made it illegal for me to offer you a cutting off the old village apple tree as it isn't registered, you will have to make do with a Golden Delicious instead.
February 12th, 1809 On this date, two great men were born — Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.
Seventeen years ago No.2 son was born, and will be out driving today, Happy Birthday.
villein (vĭl'ən) [O.Fr.,=village dweller] - peasant under the manorial system of medieval Western Europe. The term applies especially to serfs in England, where by the 13th cent. the entire unfree peasant population came to be called villein. The villein was a person who was attached to the manor and who performed the servile work of the lord and in some respects was considered the property of the lord. Various distinctions of villeinage, or serfdom, were sometimes made. In privileged villeinage the services to be rendered to the lord were certain and determined; in pure villeinage the services were unspecified, and the villein was, in effect, subject to the whim of the lord. The villein was theoretically distinguished from the freeholder by the services and duties he owed to the lord; these included week-work (a specified number of days' work on the lord's demesne each week throughout the year) and boon days (work required at busy periods during the seasonal year, as at plowing or harvesting time), payment on the marriage of the villein's daughter, payment of tallage on demand, and the like. In practice, however, distinctions blurred, and all land tenure on the manor tended to approach a common level. The villein in England was protected by law against all except his lord, and some guarantee against the lord's power was gradually extended by the royal courts. In the 14th cent. English villeinage began to disappear.... But in the 21st cent it reappeared...
One in three households across Britain is now dependent on the state for at least half its income, it emerged today. Official government figures showed that more than seven million households are getting more of their income from government handouts.
According to David Green from Civitas, the author of the report, data on the real scale of state dependency have only been collected for the last five years or so. But he estimated that the proportion of households dependent on the state for at least 50 per cent of income had been probably as low as five per cent in the 1960s.
It rose during the 1970s and 1980s, especially because of soaring unemployment under the Thatcher government.
His report in the current issue of Civitas Review makes the wider point that conventional politics is no longer providing the answers to Britain's problems. The Blair years had "tested to destruction" the notion that big spending on health, education and welfare was the answer.
I'm a Doctor, trust me
Gillian McKeith, the presenter of You Are What You Eatwho is used to pontificating on our nutritional requirements, has agreed to drop her doctor title in adverts.
The self-styled guru has agreed to remove the honorofic Dr from her company’s advertising after an investigation by the industry watchdog.
The watchdog came to the provisional conclusion that the honorific was likely to mislead the public. In a move that will prevent the publication of the ASA adjudication, McKeith Research has “voluntarily” accepted not to call her “doctor” any more. Ms McKeith, who has been censured by regulators in the past, has a distance-learn-ing PhD in holistic nutrition from the American Holistic College of Nutrition. However, it is understood that the ASA thought the advertisements misleading because the college had not been accredited by any recognised educational authority when she took the course...She said: “As far as I am concerned, because of the hard work I have done, I will continue to put PhD after my name and I am entitled to use the word Dr as and when I choose.”
Last November Ms McKeith was censured by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for illegally selling herbal sex pills called Fast Formula Wild Pink for women and Fast Formula Horny for men.
I've mentioned her before as being the most off putting thing on television, compare her looks and diet to those of the Blessed Nigella and you will be dipping your fingers in the cream in no time.
Quo errat demonstrator
Statistics, covering the 12 months to Sept 30 of last year showed a one per cent rise in fatalities with 3,210 deaths. That compares with 3,177 for the same period in 2005.
But in defending the use of cameras, a Department for Transport spokesman said: "These are one off quarterly provisional statistics.
"These things sometimes go up and sometimes go down. We don't know if they are anything to do with cameras, which still play an essential role in maintaining safety."
In one sentence he says they don't know if speed cameras make roads safer or not but then say they are essential for safety. It is a shame the elementary study of logic is no longer taught at school, I don't suppose he has ever heard of the phrase QED because this certainly qualifies for Q E bloody not D.
February 11, 2007
Blogwars Part Five Hundred and Three
I must have missed the post where Guido claimed to be the reincarnation of Mother Theresa out of Erskine May, but flawed or not he is power for good in the augean task he has set himself. As to the other bloggers involved I will admit not to knowing their form as I can't be arsed to read their effluvia. But I gather that it revolves around whether "Indian" Guido consorted or not with the BNP back in the 80's, or was he fighting them? Will he roll-over and have his tummy tickled by the Tories when they win? Is there a conspiracy to ridicule the "Tory" attack blogs, by whom and why now? If you care about questions such as these follow the links and maybe, just maybe, you ought to get out more...
Of course if Ireland hadn't been robbed in the last couple of minutes I might be feeling less generous....
Who wants to ba a Millionaire - I do!
I have blogged before about the unreliableness of visitor numbers to websites (trust me I made a lot of money from them back in the boom years). So it only has a close approximation to the truth, in fact think of it as a Gordon Brownesque estimate, but the odometer to the right is about to click up a million - probably early Monday. If you are the lucky punter who captures the magic moment, and emails me a screen shot then a big wet kissy prize is promised.
The fact that anyone bothers to visit, and even more amazingly return, is a constant source of wonder and solace to me. So I would like to thank you all, each and everyone of you.......
S.H.E.D - the S.P.E.C.T.R.E of our age.
An anonymous email arrives, obviously the agenda for some secret society. I believe it was found when they were tidying out Smith Square for the sale....
Happy New Year to all Sheddists. Must press on.
There has been a change. Nothing major but an emergency committee formed by me has changed the rules of S.H.E.D.
Due to Godknowswhat there has been only one S.H.E.D. meeting to date and I understand from one present that women were also there. A couple of slappers, apparently, but nonetheless outside of Association rules (unless the woman concerned has arrived dressed in a plastic mac and carrying a cucumber).
Anyway, all Sheddism is now to be done online, as there could be a book in this and also because I would quite enjoy e-mails other than those whom somebody has told that my cock needs extending.
Anyway, global warming. It is a bugger not least because it is interfering with the principal practice of S.H.E.D.; growing drugs.
At the snowdrops and quite probably the horse chestnuts are already out, what time of the newly-heated year do members think should be set aside for THE GREAT PLANT?
THE GREAT PLANT
After heeding the warnings of Member O, only 10 seeds were hatched last season and Member B killed 8 of them. Of the two which Mrs. B manages to resuscitate to the standing of a bush, one did a Danny La Rue at the point of budding and by the time that it was noticed to be shrieking "I'm a lady!" it was too late to unmask the roaring bender bastard.
Subsequently Member B only harvested two tobacco barrels, which is rubbish. So this year instead of 10 seeds, we shall be planting 40.
Due to the intended increase in cultivation, obviously the potential forest cannot be grown at The Shed On The Mount alone. Please complete the following survey. Return your survey to me we will get the results and comments up on so me form of website thing.
A: Do you intend to plant any seeds of your own this year?
B. If yes, how many are you prepared to rear?
C. Are you prepared to rear any seeds provided by another Member?
D. If so, how many?
E. Alternatively, are you prepared to join one of the 'commando units' , which will discover a good place in the wild where seeds can be planted and reared?
F. What else do you think we should grow?
G. Has anybody tried this salvia stuff that Member O proposed?
H. I've got a stack of it, dried. What do you do with it?
I. Is any Member interested in joining the Birch Sap Rape Committee, which will be raiding West Woods next weekend to drain the lifeblood of trees for an age-old elixir?
So who was that fresh faced Old Etonian whose membership card was also attached?
The Oleaginous Hain On The Take
City high-fliers should lose two thirds of their bonuses to deprived communities, claims Peter Hain, a candidate for Labour's deputy leadership. Their firms could otherwise face heavier regulation and tax.
The Northern Ireland Secretary said that multi-million-pound bonuses created a "grotesque" wealth gap that fuelled envy and crime.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, he warned companies to take action to self regulate or face "a big fight".
"There's a real problem of people on average incomes feeling there's a sort of super rich class right at the top,"
So speaks a man who
earns is paid over £130,000 a year with generous expenses. Does he think that these bonuses are untaxed at the moment, does he want to take another two thirds after the government has taken it's half or before? Does he want to encourage business in the UK or is he still just spouting the student agiprop he relied on to become a politician? Has he got a clue, or is he prepared to say anything in the hope of reviving his leadership bid? Why doesn't he concentrate again on stopping England playing cricket, that might be more useful.
February 10, 2007
....after Defra's admission that the current outbreak of avian flu could have been brought from Hungary in turkey meat, the betting is here that the one thing the media will not be doing is putting the blame where it properly belongs.
That blame, as readers might guess, properly belongs to the European Union, and in particular the EU commission, which has almost dictatorial powers when it comes to regulating inter-community trade in commodity products such as poultry meat.
The National Farmers Union is calling on the environment department, Defra, to "examine very carefully" the idea of bringing in new restrictions.
Yes, not a mention of the EU in the whole article, nor that it isn't up to gorgeous Ben Bradshaw, Defra, the NFU or even Tony Bloody Blair as to whether it is a good idea to import poultry - but then you didn't expect the BBC to mention that did you?
Pass the Dutchie.....
"Hey, Cams, these Organic Camberwell Carrots are really cool..."
Civil Servant Support Agency
A total of £11.4 million was handed out in bonuses in 2002-03 alone. While a further ｣3.9 million was paid out last year, even though John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, unveiled plans in the summer to scrap the agency.
Special bonus payments were made to 3,600 staff last year, and just under 11,000 other staff received individual performance bonuses.
The bonuses were paid despite repeated admissions by Mr Blair and other senior ministers that the CSA was failing. The agency currently has a backlog of nearly 240,000 cases and more than £3.5 billion of uncollected debts on its books.
Around one in five calculations or assessments are inaccurate and it currently takes around 36 weeks to deal with new applications.
...a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman defended the bonuses. "The bonus scheme, agreed by the unions, rewards the hard work of individuals.
That's alright then, it was "agreed by the unions", what better reason could there be to spunk more of our money away on a unfit organisation, need I hint at what would happen to a similar shambles in the private sector?
Rubbish Tax creeps nearer
Families could be forced to pay a rubbish tax of up to £120 a year under proposals being considered at the highest levels of Government.
Plans to let councils impose a levy on household waste are set out in a restricted policy review document drawn up by the Prime Minister's strategy unit....
The cost would be on top of their existing council tax bills.
Around 30 councils in England have already taken the first step towards such a system by introducing wheelie-bins with microchips
that weigh their contents.
....The plans were criticised last night by the Conservatives. Eric Pickles, the shadow local government minister, said: "There is already massive public resentment at the way working families and pensioners are being punished by punitive levels of council tax. Now every household in Britain faces the prospect of new rubbish taxes on top.
"Bin taxes would be deeply harmful to the local environment by causing a surge in fly-tipping and back yard burning, and cuts to the frequency of rubbish collection are already harming public health due to the increase in smells, vermin and infestations. Is it too much to ask for our streets to be cleaned and bins to be emptied?"
Corin Taylor, head of research at the TaxPayers' Alliance campaign group, said there were growing concerns that Labour's green tax agenda was simply a new way to raise money.
"There are no plans in this document to offset the proposed rubbish tax with lower taxes elsewhere, nor is there any suggestion that households that meet or exceed recycling targets will be given a council tax discount," he said.
A Downing Street spokesman last night played down the strategy unit report. "There are no current plans to introduce a tax on household rubbish," he said.
So it is a done deal then - Downing Street denies: pack of lies.
Rubbish collection is a public health measure as EU Referendum reminds us, not another chance to mulct us in the name of greenery.
February 9, 2007
No crime was committed at Downing Street, says minister
Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary said: “I haven’t spoken to anyone over in the Commons who thinks Blair should step down now. Most people say it would be tremendously damaging to us if Tony was hounded out [by the media].
“They are comparing it to Watergate. At Watergate there was a crime. There was no crime near this shown at all. We have got to batten down the hatches and make it perfectly clear that Tony says he will go by September and we are perfectly happy for him to make that decision.”
Happy talkin', talkin Happy talk
Talk about things you'd like to do
You've got to have a dream
If you don't have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?
Alan Johnson is running for Labour’s deputy leadership.
Sometimes "an eye for an eye" seems only right and proper
Appalling failures in the child protection system were exposed yesterday as a couple were jailed for "scalping and kicking like a football" their four-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy. The case had echoes of the Victoria Climbie tragedy, with a judge expressing "anxieties" about social services.
Samuel Duncan, 26, was sentenced to 10ｽ years and Kimberley Harte, 23, to 11½ years, after "revolting abuse" in which boiling liquid was poured over the child's hands, her hair was ripped out, she was repeatedly kicked in the groin and forced to sleep naked in a locked lavatory.
This came weeks after she was returned from foster care to the couple by Westminster social services last year.
No social workers have been disciplined despite the fact that the family was visited or contacted 20 times, Westminster council confirmed.
Judge Paul Worsley, QC, attacked social services failings, in particular the near-fatal decision to return the girl to her parents against the wishes of her foster carers.
The parents, who showed no remorse, tortured a "loving and affectionate" child....The girl's "agony" ended only when her horrified grandmother discovered what was going on and called the police.
The headline suggested that the bastards got 22 years, I hadn't realised it was shared between them, what with good behaviour etc. they will be out well before the kid is in her teens; unless some cons take it upon themselves to meet out some justice, they would have a blue print to work from...
Teachers Buggered With Four Inches
Schools were accused of being over-cautious yesterday as more than a million children were forced to stay at home when 4in of snow paralysed the education system.
In many cases, pupils were able to travel in but were turned away amid claims that staff from further afield could not make the journey.
Other head teachers blamed icy conditions for making playgrounds unsafe, while some insisted that school buses could not get through. Parents' groups accused teachers of "over-reacting" and said the scale of the closures had a huge knock-on effect, as thousands of parents were forced to take the day off work.
And you thought I was joking yesterday when I said four inches of snow would bring Britain to a halt. (I must admit the eldest Englishette was late to school, but that was because we went sledging on the hills before breakfast....)
See also " Wedges, thin edges of"
Plans to turn environmental offences over to the criminal courts across the EU are set to be unveiled by the European Commission.
It marks an extension of the EU's powers, following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2006.
It is one of the first times the EU would have the power to make criminal law and set penalties.
"It's a significant transfer of power to the commission," says Timothy Kirkhope, leader of the British Conservatives in the European Parliament.
"The decision on whether or not to criminalise offences in Britain should be a matter for Britain, not for the EU. We all support penalties against environmental vandals but this sets an alarming precedent."
Britain supported earlier proposals to criminalise environmental offences, but on a different legal basis. This would have left it to the member states to set the penalties.
But that framework decision by the EU Council of Ministers was overturned by the European Court of Justice last year. Judges ruled that the EU's competence on environmental law overruled the member states' powers on criminal justice.
So if they want to the EU could order your arrest for dropping a crisp packet or putting the wrong sort of rubbish in the recycling bin or dare I say it being a climate change denier....
AN EROTIC BROWNING 12-BORE 'B25' SINGLE-TRIGGER SIDEPLATED OVER AND UNDER EJECTOR.....
February 8, 2007
Kids TV seems to have changed from when I was a lad... NSFW
Out my window this morning
Dawn's pink traces lighten the sky behind the bothy as the snow gently falls...
If the four inch high snowdrifts are keeping you at home as "Britain grinds to a halt" then why not usefully spend your time by following this link...
As everyone is probably by now aware, Friday, February 2, 2007 marked the release of the IPCC's political document: Assessment Report 4, Summary for Policymakers. The media seem to be operating under the misapprehension this is equivalent to the release of IPCC Working Group I Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis -- this is regrettably neither true nor even close to the truth.
Bizarrely, the actual report will be retained for another three months to facilitate editing -- to suit the summary! IPCC procedures state that: Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group or the Panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers or the Overview Chapter (Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work, p4/15) -- this is surely unacceptable and would not be tolerated in virtually any other field (witness the media frenzy because language was allegedly altered in some US climate reports).
Under the circumstances we feel we have no choice but to publicly release the second-order draft report documents so that everyone has at least the chance to compare the summary statements with the underlying documentation.
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
Scottish ministers had given assurances that a similar exemption could be available in Scotland when MSPs passed last year's Animal Health and Welfare Act.
But this option has now been rejected and a total ban will be introduced at the end of April. Anyone who breaches the ban faces a possible £5,000 fine and six months in prison....
In brave new Scotland everything is "Sugar and spice and all things nice" - anything distasteful is banned.
Gordon's Turkeys Not Being Culled
Gordon Brown's drive to slash Whitehall budgets by more than £20 billion was thrown into doubt today as the official spending watchdog challenged the veracity of three quarters of the savings claimed so far.
Gordon Brown had promised to cut more than 70,000 civil service jobs
In a damning report, the National Audit Office (NAO) said that billions of pounds of savings trumpeted by ministers may be "substantially wrong".
Surprised? You mean you hadn't noticed the incredible shrinking state, bureaucrats out on the streets flogging the Big Issue, taxes coming down, red tape being shredded? No, I had missed the signs of genuine cuts as well....
February 7, 2007
Blair's 5th House - how does he afford it?
The new property, their fifth, is a two-bedroom house with two floors above ground and a basement currently serving as office space.
They also own two flats in Bristol, where their son Euan attended university, which they bought in 2002. The prime minister also has his constituency home in County Durham, Myrobella, which he bought when he became an MP in 1983.
It is thought the latest purchase will take the Blairs' mortgage repayments to up to ｣20,000 a month. They owe about £4m on their other properties, taking their new mortgage debt closer to £5m, after adding stamp duty at 4%.
The latest acquisition is a Georgian mews house which once served as a stable block for the Connaught Square property. It is likely to be used as a base for Mr Blair's security staff...
So Cherie has pulled the same trick again, - why two flats in Bristol? Because the Rozzers, who we pay to protect them, had to rent one to provide security, why the Mews behind the big house? Because we will pay the mortgage on it, by renting it for the goons from the people they are protecting. With such an assured source of rental income it moves their purchases out of the common people's mortgage problems into their own special world of finance. And of course as long as he remains popular to the United States they will have the deep joy of his lectures to quickly clear the overdraft once he departs these shores.
Des Res, Two Bed, One Mugging
A spokeswoman for Southwark Council said yesterday that the regeneration had “absolutely worked. It’s changed. Peckham now is a different place to what it was ten years ago.”
Andrews & Robertson estate agents were offering a house in Blakes Road, where Damilola died, claiming: “The district has been the subject of extensive regeneration and is now quite a desirable place to reside.” Yet the Home Office still considers Southwark a high-crime and high youth-crime area. The crime rate has been rising since 2000, driven by increases in crimes of violence against the person committed by youths and children.
Violent crime in the borough has risen from 10,000 incidents in 2000 to 2001, to 12,500 in 2005 to 2006, even though huge sums of money have been thrown at the problem.
Some social workers say that they are not surprised, arguing that new homes have failed to address or remove the underlying problems.
“My kids sum it up well: nice new houses but the same old s**t happening inside them,”
So who do we trust to tell the truth, the council who love spending money on "regeneration" and the Estate Agents, or the kids who live there? Not a hard choice is it. How ever much of our money the experts throw at these problem estates there are some problems that fancy new libraries won't solve. As they say down here, you can't polish a turd.
Women in labour could face lengthy journeys by ambulance to distant specialist units under plans which would strip dozens of local hospitals of consultant-led maternity services....
Unusually, the health minister responsible for maternity services, Ivan Lewis, was not present at the report's launch.
Mr Lewis, the MP for Bury South, has been active in the campaign to save the maternity unit at Fairfield Hospital in his constituency....
Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, demanded to know why Mr Lewis was unavailable for comment at the briefing to launch the report, Making it Better for Mother and Baby.
He said the Conservatives had repeatedly asked for clinical evidence to show the need for a reconfiguration of maternity services and the report failed to provide this.
"Government nationally seems to be saying that everything has got to change and smaller units have got to be shut down, while locally, Labour ministers say they don't believe it and it's not justified. There's a hypocrisy in that.
"These changes are being driven by financial deficits in the NHS and this kind of nimbyism displayed by health minister Ivan Lewis and Hazel Blears, the Labour Party chairman, is patronising to expectant mothers who want to access good maternity services within travelling distance...
The youngest Englishette had been born and swaddled within seven minutes of us arriving at our local Maternity unit - the first twinge was less than an hour before hand and by the time we had arranged a baby sitter and I had made a steak sandwich (rare) for myself it was a hectic drive. So I am rather biased in favour of local maternity units, instead of babies slurping out into the passenger footwell.
Cool Hand Tony
Offenders carrying out community sentences should be required to wear a "recognisable uniform", Tony Blair said yesterday.
I would recommend chains as well, nothing would cheer me up more than a line of them cleaning out the ditches on the A4 under the direction of a big guy with a bull horn. I wonder if Cherie will pick a suitable colour for Tony to wear....
February 6, 2007
Waiting for the taxi - the party is over, it's wet and cold, we are out on the street, we want to go home but that fool Blair is still pissing around; IT'S OVER - get your bloody coat and go home so we can all move on.
Heresy - the brands are heating at the forge!
So why is this written by a climatology professor?
Let me stress I am not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.
And if scientific inquiry is supposed to involve questioning and argument, why does this happen?
What I have experienced in my personal life during the last years makes me understand why most people choose not to speak out; job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.
Climate Scientists Amazed - "The Moon Controls Tides"
Antarctic ice streams controlled by the Moon... The Rut-ford ice stream is a river of ice larger than the Netherlands, which drains the West Antarctic ice sheet. Scientists recently discovered a bizarre behaviour in this ice stream — it speeds up and slows down by as much as 20 per cent every two weeks.
This regular rhythm coincides with the fortnightly tidal cycle of the sea, when the gravitational pulls of the Moon and the Sun are either working together in large spring tides, or working against each other, in small neap tides.
The British Antarctic Survey glaciologist, Hilmar Gudmundsson, was amazed at these findings. “We’ve never seen anything like this before. The discovery that the spring-neap tidal cycle exerts such a strong influence on an ice stream tens of kilometres away is a total surprise. For such a large mass of ice to respond to ocean tides like this illustrates how sensitively the Antarctic ice sheet reacts to environmental changes.”
Ummm not necessarily, just because the oceans slosh about with huge force twice a day doesn't mean that they are, still I'm sure 4x4 drivers are to blame in some way...
February 5, 2007
Have a go
This Government won't let you take action against criminals
Here it comes – the advice you've all been waiting for. A Home Office minister is going to tell you what to do about crime and anti-social behaviour. Watch your television screens tonight and you will be given the official word on how you – being the concerned, responsible citizen that you are – can take back control of your neighbourhood in the spirit of that rousing governmental slogan, "Don't moan, take action: it's your street too." Let me give you a preview of what you can hear this evening.
Panorama presenter Jeremy Vine asks Tony McNulty, the deeply underwhelming minister for police and security, what exactly the individual should do when faced with a nasty incident in the street. Should he "step in", in the spirit of that admonition to "take action", this being his street and all?
Mr McNulty replies in a tone that sounds rather less enthusiastic than his Government's slogan: "I think the general line must be to get in touch with the authorities and make sure that, if things are as bad as you paint, the police will be there as quickly as they can."...
What should you do – retreat and call the police? Mr McNulty responds rather confusingly: "I think you should in the first instance. It may well be [that] simply shouting at them, blowing your horn or whatever, deters them and they go away."...
You can "try some distractive [sic] activities". Such as? Mr Vine offers, presumably not without a hint of sarcasm, "jump up and down", and Mr McNulty replies in the best Blairite demotic style: "I would say you know sometimes that that may well work."
Pafuckingthetic - leave policing to the police, teaching to the teachers and politics to the politicians, stay at home behind locked doors watching dross on the telly! No wonder we are in the mess we are in.
As an aside - I note in the village that there is a notice up for the name of the vandal who ripped some wing mirrors off, with the promise of "suitable" punishment in store. Plod has been round asking a few questions as well, I bet I know which approach will work.
n an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Nigel Farage, the party leader, said it was time to campaign on more than simply immigration and withdrawal from the European Union and move to wider themes of national and local independence, deregulation and tax cuts.
These arguments, he said, had been "abandoned by David Cameron".
And the Devil has launched Independence Home - to help the effort.
February 4, 2007
somethingfishy: brings us news that the Sir Edward Heath Foundation want to make a museum of his former home as a memorial to the man. Haddock suggests in his own inimical style what the traitor's memorial should be.
I have taken advantage of Salisbury District Council's kind offer that comments regarding the planning application may be left on the site;
Any comments that you make will be forwarded to the application case officer and will be taken into account when a decision is made. Please note that any comments you submit will be treated as a public document and will be open to public viewing on the application file and, in due course, on this website.
The proposed design is missing the essential element needed to properly remind us of Sir Edward's contribution to his country - a spike above the door to display his traitorous head.
I'm sure you can be more inventive..
And the planning application even has photos of the palatial edifice they are applying for...
Seriously - that is it!
Reason 8 Billion and One to abandon the London Olympics
A swathe of controversial "Big Brother" style crime-fighting techniques are to be introduced by the Government under the cover of the 2012 London Olympics, a leaked memo has revealed....
The memo, entitled No 10 Policy Working Group on Security, Crime and Justice, Technological Advances, asks: "To what extent should the expectation of liberty be eroded by legitimate intrusions in the interests of security of the wider public?"
It goes on to explore how to win over public opinion and concludes: "Increasing [public] support could be possible through the piloting of certain approaches in high-profile ways such as the London Olympics."
Tim Worstall beat me to The Simple Answer
I'm not addicted, just one last one then I won't touch another drop ever
Let me save you time by giving you the edited highlights -
First, to become a force for economic dynamism and free trade.
The second challenge Europe faces is the fight against global poverty, where the EU could make such a difference.
Third, the EU must become a force for a cleaner, greener planet. Climate change threatens not only our prosperity, but also our security. Europe has to show real global leadership
The EU has failed to do all these, can't do these, is beyond reform and for him to believe in giving it yet another chance shows the appalling addictive force of the hint of power... time to book yourself into the clinic Dave..
We want to involve real people - not just a political and bureaucratic elite - in these vital questions. If you care about these issues, please get involved. Visit our website and have your say about the future. Or sign up to our European Reform Commission.
Just read the blogs....
February 3, 2007
Blair's personality cluster
Blair's personality cluster found...
Smile - OK mine is below the fold...
|Your Personality Cluster is Introverted Sensing|
Responsible, ethical, and trustworthy
Loyal, with a sense of roots in your community
Someone who treasures and remembers the past
Adverse to surprises and the unknown
There is a God and thy name is Jonny
England: (17) 42
Tries: Robinson 2, Wilkinson, Lund
Cons: Wilkinson 5
Pens: Wilkinson 2
Scotland: (10) 20
Tries: Taylor, Dewey
Cons: Paterson 2
Pens: Paterson 2
Jonny Wilkinson and Jason Robinson made fairytale returns...
Climate Change Teaching contains “omissions, simplifications and misrepresentations”
Teenagers will learn about the threat to the environment from climate change and what they can do about it, under reforms to geography teaching.
They will be encouraged to recycle consumer goods and to question whether they really need another imported pair of trainers. Other topics to be studied include the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, said: “With rising sea temperatures, melting ice-caps and frequent reminders about our carbon footprints, we should all be thinking about what we can do to preserve the planet. Children are the key to changing society’s attitudes to the environment. Not only are they passionate about saving the planet but children also have a big influence over their own families’ lifestyles.”
In a parallel move, the Department for Education announced that it would send a copy of Al Gore’s film on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, to every secondary school.
The reforms, to be published next week by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, follow criticism by scientists of the way schools have addressed issues such as climate change. Last month the Royal Society of Chemistry said that textbooks were out of date and that lessons had “omissions, simplifications and misrepresentations”.
And Al Gore and Alan Johnson's lessons don't contain “omissions, simplifications and misrepresentations”? The scientific lesson to teach them is that there is a debate and there is evidence to weigh up, and that simple slogans are rarely right. Luckily most teenagers properly distrust political messages, and are savvy enough to recognise bullshit when it is shouted at them.
The Gordon Gecko generation were all taught by corduroy bearded lefties peace, love and understanding, it was the making of them!
Tony, poor Tony
Tony Blair's aides have moved to dismiss talk of him being a spent force and a liability.
He is due to stand down this year but one senior aide said he will be working "flat out" until he announces the day.
He may be weary
PMs do get weary
Wearing the same shabby suit
And when he's weary
Try a little tenderness
He may be waiting
Things he may never possess
And while he's without them
Try a little tenderness
It's not just sentimental
He has his grief
And his cares
But a word
Soft and gentle
Makes it easier to bear
So much easier to bear
You won't regret it
PMs don't forget it
Love's got a whole
A whole happiness
And it's all so easy
Just to try a little tenderness
You've gotta try
You've gotta hold 'im
You've got ta squeeze him
You have to try
You've got ta try
And always please him
You won't regret it
You won't regret it
Try a little tender-ness
Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, Chris Huhne MP said:: "Climate change matters because if we don't tackle it quickly it will cost far, far more later on. Already storm damage, rising sea levels, drought and flooding are taking their toll. For example, the Thames Barrier has had to be raised 55 times in the last five years compared with just 12 times in the previous five".
Thanks to Numberwatch we know where he got his figures from and how he massaged them to produce this sensationalism - he asked in Parliament for the figures and then found the ones that gave the trend he wanted. Here are the figures he was given, work out your own trend -
Environment Agency figures show that since its construction, the Thames Barrier has been closed to prevent flooding during the winter flood season (generally October to April) on 95 occasions as follows:
(1) To date.
At present the Thames Barrier is closed on average three to four times a year. In extreme conditions more frequent closures have been necessary to protect London from flooding—such as during the winter of 2000-01, when the barrier was closed 24 times and January 2003, when it was closed 19 times. These unusual occurrences were generally the result of continued high freshwater flows which only required a smaller tidal surge to necessitate a closure of the barrier.
As The Clash sang when the Zeitgeist was different;
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the river
Now get this
London calling, yes, I was there, too
An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
And after all this, won't you give me a smile?
I never felt so much alike, like-a, like-a...
February 2, 2007
A 29-year-old convicted sex offender has spent four months at a US school after successfully posing as a 12-year-old boy, officials say.
They say Neil Rodreick shaved his body hair, covered his stubble with make-up and took a new name......
As an example of how easy it is to mistake a grown man for a schoolchild may I present David Miliband - who isn't a kiddie fiddler....
Banned From Shopping
Oh Dear - I have been warned off entering the local superstore...
....Below is a list of offences over the past few months all verified by
our surveillance cameras:
1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's
trolleys when they weren't looking.
2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute
3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to
feminine products aisle.
4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official tone,
"Code 3" in housewares..... and watched what happened.
5. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.
6. September 15: Set up a tent in the outdoor clothing department and
told shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring sausages and a
Calor gas stove.
7. September 23: When the Deputy Manager asked if she could help him,
he began to cry and asked, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
8. October 4: Looked right into the security camera; used it as a
mirror, picked his nose, and ate it.
9. November 10: While appearing to be choosing kitchen knives in the
Housewares aisle asked an assistant if he knew where the
10. December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously, loudly humming
the "Mission Impossible" theme.
11. December 6: In the kitchenware aisle, practised the "Madonna look"
using different size funnels.
12. December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed, yelled
"PICK ME!" "PICK ME!"
13. December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker,
assumed the foetal position and screamed "NO! NO! It's those voices
And; last, but not least:
14. December 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited a
while; then yelled, very loudly, "There is no toilet paper in here." ..
Do You Fancy An Italian Man?
Following a link from Friends of the Amarone: Italy's 10 Sexiest Women (link now dead)I discovered this amusing little quiz:
Italy's 50 Sexier Women
There are 51 Pictures on this page. Is there an error on this page? Nope! There are 50 of the sexiest women on this page... so which one is the man?!?!
It can't be:
What about.... well you see if you can spot the ringer, I give up, I think I must be on the change as this seems to prove I fancy a man....
Suits you Sir
Boys have been warned against using oils or hair gels that contain lavender or tea tree oil after three reported cases of them growing breasts.
If you stink of lavender you might as well have breasts, you great soft jessy....
All your history are belong to EU
People who question the official history of recent conflicts in Africa and the Balkans could be jailed for up to three years for "genocide denial", under proposed EU legislation.
And after they have outlawed questioning the official EU history of Genocides, then will it become a crime to question the EU history of say the glorious EU and its benefits?
On a narrow level to think that an "official" history should be law on old events is stupid, constant re-interpretation happens, but for recent events it is just madness.
Deborah Lipstadt, the professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, Atlanta, believes the German proposals are misplaced. "I adhere to that pesky little thing called free speech and I am very concerned when governments restrict it," she said yesterday.
"How will we determine precisely what is denial? Will history be decided by historians or in a courtroom?"
February 1, 2007
Blogwars - part two
The only thing worse than a piss-weak joke is a badly-judged one... witness the disaster that is Village Vermin....
I'm going to say it again:...Those of you who know what I've been up to these past few years will know that I helped make a lot of firsts happen in political blogging, and I am still doing things right now that won't be done on a widespread basis for at least a few years. Call me self-important if you like, but I've learned quite a few things in the process; stuff that even most 'experts' don't know about the long-term political use of weblogs....
..people take this blogging thing seriously. That goes for political blogs as well as personal blogs because... well, people who are involved in such things tend to take politics rather seriously, too. Duh.
For a start, look at this blogroll (see right)...
I mean just look at it!
It looks like it was drafted in a hurry by someone who talked to someone who once read a thing or two about political weblogs in a pamphlet by Carol Vorderman.
Some of the sites have individual worth - (author waves to Wibbler)....
This is laziness at work.
This is stupidity at work.
This is ignorance at work.
This is arrogance at work....
Nurse - the medication isn't working, we will have to double the dose, or wait for the producers to realise how important he is and put him on the blogroll...
"Excited children welcome the PM and Kelly Holmes to Telford" according to the No.10 website. All 12 of them look really thrilled - not!
On his Birthday he will be handing out decorations to the few remaining youths loyal to the cause - photo
The Full Stop on Climate Arguments
Speaking in Nairobi, United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) executive director Achim Steiner told reporters the findings should be "the full stop behind any arguments over what was causing global warming".
Climatic changes seen around the world are "very likely" to have a human cause, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will conclude.
By "very likely", the IPCC means greater than 90% probability.
This is a stronger position than the global organisation took in its last major report in 2001.
IPCC scientists have yet to finalise other elements - including forecasts of sea level rise - in their report due to be published on Friday.
Experts have been divided on whether to go with a conservative forecast in the order of half a metre increase over the coming century, based on computer models which exclude the melting of icecaps, or whether to include estimates of how much water the Greenland and West Antarctic sheets are likely to contribute.
The exact wording on projections of global temperature increase have also yet to be finalised, though the agency is likely to say that by the end of the century temperatures will rise by between about 2C and about 4.5C.
So no more arguments will be allowed, what will they do about those pesky deniers who keep bringing up inconvenient facts?
Poor Protest Against Eco Effects
Demand for eco-friendly bio-fuels in the US is being blamed for a massive rise in the price of corn in Mexico. The recent 400 per cent increase in the price of a tortilla has driven thousands of Mexico's poorest people onto the streets in protest...
Since the surge in the cost of tortillas, many are spending up to a third of their income on the flat breads.
UPDATE: Mercia Rising (a good looking new blog) brings us news of the environmental horrors of “renewable” palm oil fuel
Village Vermin Daily gossip and intrigues.. invite only.
I'm honoured to be one of their links...
(What do you mean it is a spoof site for a BBC program? - Party Animals, which I missed last night, was it any good?)
Boris Johnson on the Pussification of Primary Schools
I was half asleep in the front seat the other day, coming back from some exhausting tour of an educational establishment, and in the back seat were two twentysomething female graduates. They were talking about men, so I tried to focus, while keeping my eyes cunningly half closed.
One of them made the eternal feminine complaint. "All men are useless these days," she said. "Yeah," said the other. "The trouble is that they haven't risen to the challenge of feminism. They don't understand that we need them to be more masculine, and instead they have just copped out."....
It is a gloomy truth that 40 per cent of female graduates born in 1970 are likely to enter their forties childless.
As a result of the same instinct — female desire to procreate with their intellectual equals — the huge increase in female university enrolments is leading to a rise in what the sociologists call assortative mating. A snappier word for it is homogamy. The more middle-class graduates we create, the more they seem to settle down with other middle-class graduates, very largely because of the feminine romantic imperative already described. The result is that the expansion of university education has actually been accompanied by a decline in social mobility, and that is because these massive enrolments have been overwhelmingly middle-class.....
...we have widening social divisions, and two particularly miserable groups: the female graduates who think men are all useless because they can't find a graduate husband, and the male non-graduates who feel increasingly trampled on by the feminist revolution, and resentful of all these hoity-toity female graduates who won't give them the time of day.
What is the answer, my friends? I don't know. We could try fiscal incentives for heterogamy. We could have plotlines in soap operas, in which double first girls regularly marry illiterate brickies.
But the only long-term solution for the "uselessness" of young men, as complained of by my twentysomething colleagues, is to get serious with the education of males in primary schools. And if the Equal Opportunities Commission wants to say something sensible for a change, it should start campaigning for more male teachers.
Judge halts trial of the chip shop owners who seized tearaway in a citizen's arrest
A chip-shop owner thought he was doing his public duty when he carried out a citizen’s arrest on a 12-year-old delinquent who spat at his customers and smashed a window.
But overzealous police officers turned the tables on Nicholas Tyers, 46, and his son Lee, 20, treating them as criminals and taking their fingerprints after the boy complained.
Mr Tyers and his Royal Marine son were charged with kidnap for holding the boy for up to six minutes and told the maximum sentence was life in prison. During the six months that followed, Mr Tyers was forced to sell his shop and lost his faith in justice.
His nightmare ended yesterday when a judge halted the trial, which has cost taxpayers £60,000, and derided the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for bringing the case.
The police never like it if citizens do their job for them, what ever became of Sir Robert Peel's Principle of policing:
Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence?
Alan Johnson - hopeless, says Brown
Gordon Brown delivered a stark warning yesterday that unskilled workers could find themselves out of work and without any job prospects within ten years
That is not a very nice thing to say about The Rt Hon Alan Johnson is it, not a touch of rivalry there is there? Of course some might argue that a Degree in History (old socialist dogma branch) isn't exactly the right sort of qualification needed to run an economy either.