March 31, 2007
Historic CO2 levels - the emerging picture,
Ernst Beck's full paper has now been published:
UPDATE - Downloadable summary at http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/archives/003901.html
More than 90,000 accurate chemical analyses of CO2 in air since 1812 are summarised. The historic chemical data reveal that changes in CO2 track changes in temperature, and therefore climate in contrast to the simple, monotonically increasing CO2 trend depicted in the post-1990 literature on climate-change. Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942 the latter showing more than 400 ppm. Between 1857 and 1958, the Pettenkofer process was the standard analytical method for determining atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and usually achieved an accuracy better than 3%. These determinations were made by several scientists of Nobel Prize level distinction. Following Callendar (1938), modern climatologists have generally ignored the historic determinations of CO2, despite the techniques being standard text book procedures in several different disciplines. Chemical methods were discredited as unreliable choosing only few which fit the assumption of a climate CO2 connection.
Part 4 of projected monograph "History of CO 2 Gas Analysis of Air by Chemical Methods"
(uncorrected, unfinished, not authorized for publication, only for evaluation)
Basic database (>90 000 series, 143 averages over 150 years, >53 locations )
And a full set of other linked resources on the page. Go and dip in and wonder why the IPCC has dismissed this data. As he says:
..my paper "180 Years of atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods" ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT VOLUME 18 No. 2 2007 I want to give you access to a supplementing webpage with most important historic resources.
Because of explosive content of my paper let me give you some further comments.
It´s clear that it is not possible to reconstruct 150 years of scientific evolution concerning one subject thoroughly in 20 pages. This is the main difference to other papers concerning one single problem. I had to sample, evaluate and select hundreds of problems. Therefore my selection out of available data can always be critisized with all possible arguments.
For this reason the online support should serve as a first help before projected publication of the monograph with all inspected sources.
So perhaps you realize that my paper is only a first sign of pointing to those "forgotten data". Your work will start right here.
Probably you also agree that my paper is not in first place a climate paper, it´s a chemical paper, because most historic resources are written by chemists.
As a biochemist I feel much more connected to CO2 as a climate scientist because of CO2 beeing an essential substance for all living things.
Modern propagated image of carbon dioxide as a climate killer contradicts natural importance ( biology, chemistry, medicine, nutrition science) in total.
Looking at history of modern natural science and measuring CO2 we see a timeline of two lines of arguments:
1. a 200 hundred year of consecutive evolving natural science establishing most modern knowledge and laws of nature ( honoured by dozens of NOBEL awards in 20th century)
2. a 60 year of climate science in parallel to (1) establishing a different, contradicting view of CO2 in nature with no real knowledge but most hypothesis and speculations.
Viewing from point 2 my paper is junk science.
Viewing from scientific point we have to evaluate verify and falsify both lines and join them together without excluding one or both a priori at the base of laws of nature.
In that sense I appreciate your comments and critics and your contribution to establish real truth.
Thank you for your help.
StD Ernst-Georg Beck, Dipl. Biol. 2006/2007
More details at http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/001971.html
A pathetic yes-man responds
Mike Power's Weblog reveals why Tim Ireland called me 'pathetic'.)
Tim Ireland:" If someone deliberately turns a blind eye to the quite obvious fact that it is Dale and Staines who have the websites that are awash with anonymous bullies and that it is Dale and Staines who make regular use of those same bullies... if they then play the tired old trick of trying to turn it around and make out that I'm the bully responsible for 'personal attacks', yes, that makes them pathetic."
I have no interest or knowledge of Guido's and Iain's commentators and certainly I am not sure what all this supposed bullying by them is all about. His attack on me seems to be an irrational thrashing about looking for a target to hit.
At first I was going to respond to Tim Ireland by calling him a lackbrain, witworm, lubbard, clopdate, pickthank, fustilarian, a stinkard, a scoundrel, a runnion, a paltry scurvy wretch and so on. Immature I know but great fun. I then decided a dignified silence was the most appropriate response, but then having actually read through some more of the verbiage on bloggerheads I started to actually pity and worry about him. I don't think it will help him in his difficulties for any more attention to be paid to him. Or am I the one who is suffering from paranoia?
"the paranoid person blames and/or fears intelligent beings for their supposedly intentional actions."
Gardening With W W Greener
(First posted in Jan 07)
With spring in the air it is time to think about bringing on those delicate plants from the greenhouse ready to be planted out later. The garden here doesn't have a cold frame, but I do have an old glass lidded freezer.
A quick undercoat so it is ready to be camouflaged, trying to prevent it being an eyesore.
But how to make the drainage holes it needs? Only one answer isn't there. Take it outside and stand it up and bring out with the Greener 12 Bore...
All going well until I had a visitor who seemed to be taking a close interest in what I was doing...
UPDATE: The cold frame is now installed in the wood.
And the plants planted..
I wonder if Geoff has any seedlings I could have.....
Miliband - sacrifice yourself for the good of the party
David Miliband would be offering himself up for "human sacrifice" if he were to run against Gordon Brown for Labour leader, Margaret Beckett warns today.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the Foreign Secretary says 41-year-old Mr Miliband would be "daft" to put his career at risk in order to satisfy the "prejudices" of Blairite MPs and the press.
It is not just the prejudices - the Labour Party, along with everyone else knows that Gordon Brown will lose it the next election. David Miliband knows this and so doesn't want to run, as the Labour Party is such damaged goods it might still lose with him at the helm. He sees his role as being the saviour of the party after the election and Gordon having been sent home with his tail between his tail. But, and it is a big but, the Labour Party want him to fight, it is their only chance, and a slim one, that they can hold onto power. If he loses, well they were going to lose anyway, he is expendable. So for the good of the party they want him to go over the top in one last futile gesture. His sensible refusal may be taken as cowardice and held against him, he is betting that they will need him though.
However the "Anyone But Gordon" campaign in the Labour Party is so determined that we might find that Gordon is prevented from standing (maybe by embarrassing leaks) and David has to step into the breech, certainly a small side bet as him being the next PM would not be daft.
Gordon Brown's Legacy
Comment: Documents are political dynamite | Uk News | News | Telegraph
Gordon Brown .. knowingly took actions which devastated Britain's pensions industry.
When he delivered his first Budget, he claimed he was merely ironing out unfair tax breaks enjoyed by the pensions industry. Now we know that the Chancellor was entirely aware that he was composing an effective death sentence for final salary pension schemes.
The destruction of long-term savings in the UK will be one of Mr Brown's longest-lasting legacies. Millions now face a retirement with only a fraction of the pension enjoyed by their parents. As the documents show, the worst affected will be those on lower incomes.
March 30, 2007
Have your say on the Milblogger
David Miliband MP's blog is being evaluated as part of
the 'Digital Dialogues' pilot (www.digitaldialogues.org.uk). The 'Digital Dialogues'
evaluations are being compiled by the independent, non-partisan Hansard Society
David Miliband Blog Survey
The purpose of this survey is to your ask your views on the blog of David Miliband MP, Secretary of State for the Environment. We are also interested in your general thoughts on the contribution of technology to British politics.
I wonder if Guido will post his thoughts?
I hope you do.
A coded attack on Tim Ireland?
Sir, That the mania for blogging is running out of steam (report, March 25 ) should come as no surprise to anyone but a manic blogger.
And who is the "Manic" Blogger? Tim Ireland - pure coincidence of course him using the term, I'm sure.
For a couple of months last year I blogged and contributed to online discussion forums, but the pleasure soon palled. I quickly learnt that — far from being a widespread, popular activity — on any one site the same people return again and again, and you soon get to know their pre-conceptions and prejudices. Many bloggers are petty — not to say misanthropic — and respond to other blogs with personal attacks on the people who wrote them, questioning their truthfulness and imputing to them dislikeable motives. The tone of many blogs and forums is quite unpleasant....
No - nothing like Tim Ireland and his constant sniping at Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale for not following his Laws of Blogging.
Another cup of tea Sarge?
Only one in 40 police officers on duty in some forces is available to respond to 999 calls, according to a study published yesterday.
The report, from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), found that only 2.5 per cent of uniformed officers in one area were allocated to "response duties". This meant that out of 800 officers at work only 20 were free for emergency response, which included patrolling alcohol-scarred towns and cities at night.
In another force, which was also unnamed, 50 officers were on duty but only three - six per cent - were allocated to "incident management".
The HMIC findings, in a report entitled Beyond the Call, will reignite the debate over bureaucracy and station-bound duties which keep the vast majority of the record 140,000 officers in England and Wales off the streets.
I'm sure this comes as no surprise to us readers of David Copperfield. No wonder we all stay locked up cowering in our own homes having surrendered the streets to the lowlife. As he reported last week:
Only one in 58 police officers is out on patrol at any given time, despite an increase in officer numbers, new Home Office figures show.
Just 2,400 out of a record 143,000 officers in England and Wales are out deterring criminals and reassuring the public - about four per town of 90,000 people - while more than twice as many are back at the police station doing paperwork.
The BBC - отдел агитации и пропаганды
Sir Michael Lyons emerged last night as the favourite to be the new BBC chairman.
The BBC Trust, the corporation's supervisory and regulatory body which is replacing the Board of Governors, has been without a chairman since Michael Grade's departure to become executive chairman of ITV before Christmas.
It is believed that another contender is Chris Powell, chairman of the Left-wing think-tank the Institute of Public Policy Research. He is the brother of Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's chief of staff.
Sir Michael is chairman of the English Cities Fund and the City Of Birmingham Orchestra and works in the Office of the Prime Minister.
He has close ties with the Government and has been referred to as Gordon Brown's Mr Fixit. The former professor of public policy at Birmingham University is best known for his work with local government.
Good to see the BBC picking candidates from across the spectrum of political thought, from Blair to Brown. That is what they mean by being fair and balanced.
Note : отдел агитации и пропаганды = Department for Agitation and Propaganda of Stalin's Russia
All you need to know about the state of NHS hospitals
Fewer than half of NHS staff members would be happy to be a patient at their own hospital, according to an official survey by the health service regulator.
More than a quarter, 27 per cent, said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: "I would be happy with the standards of care provided if I was a patient in my trust".
Only 34 per cent said they would be happy to be treated, five per cent would be "very" happy with the prospect and 33 per cent could not decide.
March 29, 2007
A song for Tony this wet miserable morning - Updated with Video
If it keeps on rainin, Levy’s goin to break,
If it keeps on rainin, Levy’s goin to break,
When the Levy breaks I’ll have no place to stay.
Mean old Levy taught me to weep and moan,
Lord, mean old Levy taught me to weep and moan,
Cryin wont help you, prayin wont do you no good,
Now, cryin wont help you, prayin wont do you no good,
When the Levy breaks, mama, you got to move.
Going down, going down now, going down.
In the windmills of Miliband's mind
In the battle against climate change, an "I can" society enables citizens to become producers as well as consumers of energy. Within ten years, all new homes will need to sell energy back to the national grid, with citizens getting a fair price for their electricity. The power stations of the future will draw energy from a million roofs, rather than just a central generator. Round like a circle in a spiral like a wheel within a wheel. Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel, like a snowball down a mountain or a carnival balloon, like a carousel that's turning running rings around the moon, like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes on its face and the world is like an apple spinning silently in space. Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.
Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
As the images unwind
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
Peace Man, that's cool...
Fem Dom Needs Punishment
Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, and two senior officials should quit or be sacked for their part in last year's farm payments "catastrophe," a committee of MPs said yesterday.
Is she really Foreign Secretary? No wonder we are a laughing stock, can you think of one success the screeching harpie has had?
Fem Dom Humiliation
"a massive slap in the face for Tessa Jowell. She has been humiliated by her own side."
Unfortunately being pelted with fish bones and rotten tomatoes whilst being held in the stocks having her hair hacked off didn't feature.
March 28, 2007
Scottish Raj to lose power at home, but not in their colony - yet.
Labour faces meltdown as SNP heads for power-News-Politics-TimesOnline
The Populus poll puts the Nationalists ahead of Labour in both the first-past-the-post and proportional-representation sections. They are on track to win 50 seats in the 129-seat Scottish Parliament, seven more than Labour. The Liberal Democrats would have 18 MSPs, the Conservatives 17 and the Greens one.
If the SNP leader Alex Salmond becomes First Minister, Mr Brown would face taunts that he would be a Scot in power in England whose writ did not run on issues such as health, education and transport in Scotland. And Mr Brown, if he becomes Prime Minister, would also be swiftly reminded that the Conservatives secured narrowly more votes in England than Labour at the last general election – leaving him open to claims that he has a mandate in neither country.
Today’s poll comes amid increasing signs that Mr Brown is unlikely to face a serious challenge for the Labour leadership. Some Blairite ministers have tried vainly to keep alive the prospect of a challenge by David Miliband, the Environment Secretary. Tony Blair is reported by friends to be irritated by what he sees as misguided attempts by some of his own allies to damage Mr Brown, believing they can only harm his party’s attempt to win a fourth term.
Mr Brown has tried to defuse opposition to a Scot running England by making a series of speeches about Britishness in recent years. It is possible that three Scots, Mr Brown, Alistair Darling, who could become Chancellor, and John Reid, who could stay as Home Secretary, will fill three of the main offices of state by the summer.
Miliband's Department Failure
The total bill for the Government's failure to pay English farmers their subsidies on time over the past two years could reach £500 million, a committee of MPs is expected to say today.
The cost includes up to £305 million in fines from Europe, £156 million on "fixing" the failures at the Rural Payments Agency and £21 million in interest payments to farmers last year.
In a long-awaited report which is expected to be critical of the Government, MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee are expected to determine whether responsibility should rest with a wider range of ministers and officials than who have lost their jobs so far.
While Lord Bach, the junior minister responsible, and Johnson McNeill, chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency, were sacked, Tony Blair promoted Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, who bore ultimate responsibility, to the Foreign Office.
Mr McNeill was eventually paid off by Defra after drawing his £114,000 salary for nearly nine months but Sir Brian Bender, the Defra permanent secretary, to whom Mr McNeill reported, was promoted to the Department of Trade and Industry.
Sir Brian was one of a group of officials who was told by Government business advisers six months before the system went live that it stood only a 40 per cent chance of working.
The role of Andy Lebrecht, the senior official responsible for the payments policy, who briefed ministers on whether the complicated system chosen to make the payments would work may be examined. He still works at Defra.
The system is still broken, those responsible aren't held to account and the Minister now in charge is too busy running a "virtual campaign" against Brown (not that he will stand but he may get some serious loving from Brown as a result) to worry about his departmental melt down.
The State is here to look after your children...
Checks will be made on all children to identify potential criminals under an extension of the "surveillance state" announced by Tony Blair.
A Downing Street review of law and order also foreshadowed greater use of sophisticated CCTV, an expanded DNA database and "instant justice" powers for police....
The Government believes children can be prevented from becoming offenders if early intervention is targeted at those who displayed certain traits. These include having a short attention span or living in a deprived environment.
Vulnerable children and those at risk will be identified by "trigger" factors such as parents in jail or on drugs.
They will be subject to measures including home visits from specialists.
But the Government says the net should be cast as widely as possible "to prevent criminality developing".
The review document added: "These checks should piggyback on existing contact points such as the transition to secondary schools."
The plan will be underpinned by a database for all children from next year.
It will contain basic information identifying the child and its parents and will have a "facility for practitioners to indicate to others that they have information to share, are taking action, or have undertaken an assessment, in relation to a child."
The database was developed to prevent another tragic death such as that of Victoria Climbie but now appears to be the basis for cradle-to-adult monitoring.
What do you mean you are surprised at the Government setting up a database for one "honourable" purpose, who could have been so heartless to object to it?, and then using it for more sinister purposes..
March 27, 2007
Thank the EU for the otters - it is all worth while!
The European Union is 50 this month. It was in March 1957 that the old EEC was created by the Treaty of Rome, its six members agreeing to bind themselves together in "ever closing union", and promote the free movement of goods, services, capital and people without regard to national boundaries.
Next time you hear some eurosceptic claiming that when Britain joined in 1972 people thought we were simply signing up to a trading arrangement, tell them they are talking nonsense. From the beginning it was a political partnership of countries that recognised that the future lay in working together.
That's not what the Traitor Heath told us - we were conned but then Mr Davis seems to live in a fantasy world judging by his full press release on how wonderful the EU is. I reproduce it below, please ensure sharp objects are out of reach and an airline paper bag is to hand...
THE EU AT 50
Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West
So the EU is 50. It’s not a bad age and its future looks secure. Recent
concerns about global warming and future energy supplies have reminded governments of their dependence on one another and reinforced the desire to move forward together.
As an environmentalist I never have a problem answering the question “what has the EU done for us?” “Look at otters returning to the rivers of Britain,” I say. “Think of the improvements to water and air quality, cleaner beaches, protected habitats, more recycling, better waste management, banning of dangerous chemicals, and now the raft of measures designed to slow climate change.” Pollution pays no respect to national boundaries and this is action most people welcome. It’s true that EU policies sometimes make things worse rather than better but in general they have forced the pace of environmental progress.
Do you have a mobile phone? In 1987 the EU introduced a common standard for digital mobile telephones. It created a huge market for manufacturers and gave a massive stimulus to innovation – a good example of Europe at its best. You don’t hear many people grumbling about Brussels having undermined national sovereignty on this issue, or complaining about the European Commission introducing measures now to curb excess profits and drive down the cost of international phone calls.
The EU brings together 500 million people in 27 countries to form the
world’s largest internal trading zone. But it’s not simply a common
market and never has been. The intention of the six founder nations in 1957 was to ensure that the bloody conflicts that had torn Europe apart could never happen again, and in the Treaty of Rome they committed themselves to seek “ever closer union”. Britain held back, and instead founded the European Free Trade Association. It was a huge mistake. Within four years we were saying “sorry, but we want to join the club.” By 1973, when we finally secured membership, the others had introduced measures like the Common Fisheries Policy that would have been very different had we been there from the beginning.
Within the European Union we have the right to travel, and live and work anywhere. Young Poles move to Britain. Elderly Brits move to Spain. Air travel has been liberalised, our driving licences are respected, and we have the right to free medical assistance if we get into difficulties. Basic common safety standards have been introduced and every European citizen has the right to a minimum four weeks’ holiday. We can even travel with our pets, the EU having copied British practice and created a ‘passport’ scheme to replace quarantine requirements. It’s true that languages differ but the common means of communication is English.
EU members have agreed to share sovereignty in certain fields.
Negotiating international trade deals Europe speaks with a powerful single voice that ranks us alongside the USA. Collectively we are strong, individually we are weak. Can you imagine any European country trying to negotiate alone with the emerging superpower that is China? Even the Germans would end up eating with chopsticks!
The Brussels decision-making process sounds complicated but isn’t really that hard to understand. It can be explained in just five sentences.
Every three months Europe’s Prime Ministers get together and paint the big picture about what their countries should be doing together. The fine detail is then left to the European Commission, appointed to do the job of drafting specific proposals and enforcing the rules once they are agreed. Proposed laws and the budget have to be put to meetings of ministers from all 27 countries and to elected MEPs. Both these groups, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, have the power to amend or reject most draft laws, and if we disagree with each other we have to negotiate a compromise.
Once passed, it is up to each country to put the rules into practice or
risk being taken to the European Court of Justice.
Of course there is a lot more going on beneath the surface. Most countries have hundreds of civil servants based in Brussels who do the detailed work.
New proposals are considered line by line but there are rarely any votes; the aim is not to crush the others but to take account of concerns and build a consensus.
And the result? Well, at its most extreme, when there is a dispute
between European nations we no longer send millions of young men off to die on the battlefields. Instead we set up a sub-committee in Brussels. It may not be so dramatic but it is certainly more civilised.
More typical of the EU in practice were the controversial negotiations on proposals for new chemical regulations that came to a conclusion recently.
Their object was to ensure that no chemical poses risks to health or the environment. As a member of the negotiating team in the European Parliament I was very aware that the chemicals industry is the North West’s biggest manufacturing employer, and members of the Women’s Institute reminded me that every one of us will come into daily contact with hundreds of the 30,000 chemicals in use.
Britain enthusiastically supported the basic ideas proposed by the
European Commission but sought changes to reduce their complexity and costs. MEPs like myself sought stronger environmental controls and less animal testing.
We all got something, and the ‘REACH’ regulations not only will now become the EU standard for chemicals but because our market is so huge are likely to become the world standard.
Can you imagine the position of the British chemicals industry had we not been members of the EU? We would have been excluded from the negotiating room, left powerless and utterly dependent on the decisions made by others.
This is the position that Norway finds itself in every day. The country
is not a member of the EU but to remain prosperous it stays within the
European economic area. The price it pays is to implement hundreds of EU laws each year over which its civil servants and politicians have had absolutely no say. This is what the UK Independence Party wants for Britain. It would amount to castration. We would still function but not to our full potential.
Too often I think we Brits see the situation only from our perspective
as a large country. Remember, ten nations within the EU have a population smaller than that of the North West of England. EU rules may be tiresome but they ensure fairness and prevent the big boys, Germany, Britain and France, from turning into bullies. Far from subverting individual identity the EU structure gives smaller nations a bigger say in determining their destiny. Just think of Scotland; nationalists may want to break with England but they most definitely want Scotland to stay within the European Union.
“But there are too many crazy rules,” say the critics. “Just think of
straight bananas!” As it happens there are EU rules about bananas but they describe them rather than straighten them. Banana buyers and banana growers trading by the million want the rules because they provide a legal framework for their business. They really should be of no concern to anyone else.
Strip away the anti-European nonsense and there are sound reasons for most EU laws.
EU finances generate the most criticism so let’s tackle the myths. The
total EU budget is large but not vast; it is about the same size as that
for Britain’s National Health Service, and more than 98% of public spending remains in the hands of national governments. Britain’s net
contribution is less than £5 billion, which amounts to just two weeks’ spending on the NHS.
Contrary to the myth the EU accounts are audited and signed off each year.
What’s missing from the auditors is a so-called ‘Statement of Assurance’, because 80% of EU money is spent by national governments. Britain’s top accounting officer says that he couldn’t issue one of these for the UK Government if he were asked. With many reforms now in place there is no more corruption in Brussels than there is in London.
The opinion polls remind us that the EU is not much loved. Is this
surprising? Stripped to its bear essentials the EU is sometimes little
more than a negotiating mechanism that helps 27 independent countries reach agreement on matters of common interest. Why should anyone fall in love with a ‘negotiating mechanism’?
But in truth it is about more than that. The EU is about freedom.
Membership requires a commitment to shared principles, amongst them democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. It’s true that we are sometimes better at saying the words than we are at putting them into practice but there’s no doubt that the EU has been remarkably successful in promoting freedom across Europe. It’s had a huge pulling power.Dictatorships have been transformed into democracies. Individual rights have been extended.
Maybe it’s time the opinion polls asked questions about specifics
instead of generalities. Maybe, instead of grumbling, we should rejoice in the contribution Britain has made to a 21st century Europe and to shaping the values the EU holds dear. They are, after all, the same liberal, British, values for which we fought the Second World War.
Cameron make firm European Withdrawal Pledge
We'll replace the European Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.
That our freedoms come with responsibilities attached - indeed, that our freedoms are only preserved by our collective commitment to self-restraint and duty. The British Bill of Rights will do that.
That is clear and unambiguous; of course there is small matter of how he squares that with us being members of the European Convention on Human Rights etc but then do we actually believe his European policy promises anymore?
Cameron runs scared of Education's Special Interest Groups
David Cameron yesterday laid down a challenge to parents and adults to regain authority over children
His Speech has a promising start..
"British children are among the poorest and least educated in the developed world....Government can't bring up children. But government decisions have an influence on how children are brought up...Education is another area where children are not getting what they deserve.... Local government too has a role to play. Councils look after some of the most vulnerable children in society - those who, for whatever reason, can't be cared for by their parents. There are 61,000 children in care, 60 per cent of them aged 10 or older and the situation isn't encouraging.
The figure has risen from 52,000 in 1997, an increase of 18%. Educational outcomes for children in care in comparison to other children are dreadful. 54 per cent will fail to achieve a single qualification at school. Only 1 per cent make it to university. They are 10 times more likely to be excluded from school.
That makes it pretty clear that Local Authorities are fucking awful at looking after children, and that central Government can't do it either. So why the fuck Mr Potato Head Cameron do you then start waffling on about more local authority interference being what is needed? Get the money leeching fuckers out of the way. Go back to your original thought and give parents more authority over how their kids are bought up, and this time include the small matter of allowing them real choice in how their kids are educated, give them back their money - "school vouchers now!"
Hurrah for Judges - Protecting us from patronising interference with the right of autonomous adults to make personal decisions for themselves"
A drunken woman can still consent to sex, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday....
Otherwise, "provisions intended to protect women from sexual assaults might very well be conflated into a system which would provide patronising interference with the right of autonomous adults to make personal decisions for themselves".
Benjamin Bree, a university-educated computer software engineer from Southampton "of excellent previous character", was told after an appeal hearing earlier this month that his rape conviction would be quashed. He had served nearly five months of a five-year sentence.
For one young man a nightmare is largely relieved, for the rest of us a glimmer of hope.
March 26, 2007
See, I told you it was harder to find than bloody Manhattan
...then there was Realdus Columbus, who in 1593, a century after his namesake discovered the New World, claimed to have made the far more momentous discovery of the clitoris.
The Phantom Challange
Blairite supporters yesterday stepped up their campaign for David Miliband to take on Gordon Brown in this summer's likely battle to be Labour leader.
IT WON'T HAPPEN - Davey boy will be rewarded with a plum job in Brown's cabinet and grin to himself as Brown ploughs Labour's chances at the next election. Guess who then believes he can step in as the clean cut young challenger and win the election after that?
The next labour PM, whoever it is, is going to be for two years max and seen as a loser in the history books.
Health and Safety isn't about saving lives but following rules
A fireman is facing disciplinary action after plunging into a river to rescue a drowning woman.
Tam Brown, 42, is the subject of an internal investigation by Tayside Fire and Rescue because he breached safety rules during the rescue in the River Tay in Perth.
He spent eight minutes in the cold water and at one stage feared that he would be swept to his death. But after dragging the 20-year-old woman to safety he was told by his employer that he had acted improperly by risking his life.
Mr Brown, who has 15 years’ experience as a fireman, was hailed as a hero by the young woman’s family but Tayside Fire and Rescue said that he had broken the brigade’s “standing instructions” on safety procedures.
He said yesterday: “I was expected to watch that young girl die in front of me.
Parents, leave those kids alone
Teachers in West Yorkshire have experienced some pleasant surprises since a fleet of yellow school buses started ferrying children to and from school a year ago.
As well as increasing pupil attendance and punctuality and cutting down on traffic congestion around the school, the buses have had the unexpected benefit of improving pupil behaviour.
Christine Eves, deputy head of North Halifax Grammar School, said: “For many children, travelling on these buses is the first taste of independence they have ever had. It helps build their confidence.
Far too many kids are ferried from home to the school, to the approved after-school class, to have tea with the kids of mummy's friends and back to carefully screened television watching. Without freedom no wonder they behave as toddlers.
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March 25, 2007
Spring up, fall down
Did you forget to change your clock this morning to keep Scottish Schoolteachers happy?
The Size of The Turkey Army
Almost a quarter of all workers are employed in the public sector - far more than admitted to by Gordon Brown. A third of women claimed to work for the state, compared to 15.6 per cent of men.
Almost seven million people say that they work for the state - 900,000 more than when Labour came to power a decade ago, according to a poll accompanying the respected Office for National Statistics' Labour Force Survey.
By contrast, the measure favoured by the Chancellor - called Public Sector Employment - says that there are now 5.8 million state workers, up from 5.1 million in 1997.
This measure, however, excludes hundreds of thousands of workers, including family doctors, NHS contractors and university lecturers, who are counted in different categories than public sector workers.
And then there are the millions who depend on Government largesse for their jobs, and are under the State's thumb as surely as if they worked for it - farmers for instance...
Light bulb jokes
How many people it takes to change a BBC lightbulb?
The member of staff left in the dark would need to find a clerk to get a reference number so that the repair could be paid for, then report the fault to a helpline. An electrician would ask the store manager for the part and install the bulb, making a total of five people.
And to think npower sponsored the BBC ten pounds for every lightbulb joke it told on Comic Relief day..
Cash For Honours - The Reason for The Delay
....Scotland Yard has, however, not ruled out interviewing Mr Blair for a third time if there is important new evidence to put to him. It is even possible that, as the inquiry drags on, Mr Blair could be interviewed - possibly as a suspect - after he steps down as Prime Minister in some three months.
Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who heads the cash-for-honours inquiry, told MPs this month that it would be "unrealistic" to set a deadline for completing the investigation. He said that he could not be rushed because some evidence raised "complex and challenging legal issues"....
...a spokesman for Mr Blair denied that he had been "going around saying he will resign if that happened [being interviewed under caution]. It is not true that such a message was conveyed to the police."
So the suggestion is that Blair threw a hissy fit and threatened to flounce out of No 10 if he was treated as the scum he is. Following standard hostage situation procedures the rozzers backed off, " we know where he is, he's not going anywhere, we can wait outside as long as he likes, when he comes out we will be ready." Expect him to be asked for a little interview after he leaves No 10, unless he manages to be whisked off to some millionaire's villa to "rest" first.
No wonder he is hanging on in there...
March 24, 2007
For the Man who has everything
Stolen from http://www.nkme.co.uk/strange/
When the going gets tough
Take that, metro boy! American psychiatrists have kicked sand in the faces of new men with a study report that claims that tough guys recover more quickly from serious illness and injuries.
Modern wisdom may say that metrosexual males have better health chances because they are self-aware, emotionally literate and smarter about their bodies. But the study says that, if it comes to the crunch, the John Wayne types win.
Glenn Good, of Missouri University, asked 50 men who had suffered serious brain or spinal injuries to fill in questionnaires about their strength, sexual prowess, independence and career achievement (including answering yes/no to the rather ambiguous statement: “Affection with other men makes me tense.” Hmm.)
What does he mean ambiguous? Anything other than a firm handshake and an insult from another male makes my sphincter clench tighter than Gordon Brown's grip on his wallet. If I want touchy feely affection I'll go back to being a hooker - in a scrum, only you understand.....
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Emperor Gordon's New Clothes
Gordon Brown’s public standing as the likely next prime minister has fallen sharply, according to a new poll for The Times.
The Populus poll, undertaken on Wednesday evening and Thursday as voters digested the Budget measures, shows that more than twice as many people think that they will pay higher rather than lower taxes than before.
The most worrying finding for Mr Brown is that the number of voters thinking that he will be a good prime minister has dropped from 40 to 30 per cent since last December. Over the same three months, the number believing that he will not be a good prime minister has risen by eight points to 57 per cent.
The decline in the number thinking he will make a good prime minister has been greatest among those aged 18 to 24 (down 29 points) and those aged 25 to 34 (down 18 points).
What's that quote about fooling some of the people all of the time? Does anyone believe the Treasury spokesman who said: "The average household is £1,000 better off in real terms thanks to measures introduced since 1997, and will be a further £100 better off in real terms as a result of this Budget."?
The wheels have come off the Gordon Brown bus.
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March 23, 2007
An English Funeral
The address delivered by David Godfrey at the funeral in Cullompton, Devon, of his grandson, Daniel Coffey, killed in action in Iraq.
Wanted - an engineer
Householders seeking refuge from the blistering summer sun will be banned from filling their swimming pools during water shortages under proposals unveiled today.
Hot tubs and splash pools will be similarly outlawed during droughts. The measures are designed to modernise the widely derided hosepipe bans and to help water companies to maintain supply during dry spells, which are predicted to occur more frequently because of climate change.
Last summer was one of the driest in recent history, and a number of water companies were forced to apply for drought orders. Heavy rains since then have allowed groundwater levels to recover and most reservoirs are now full or close to full.
Children, however, may be allowed to play in small paddling pools — though not in family-sized splash pools. Elderly and disabled people may also be granted exemptions to use a hose either to water their gardens or to fill watering cans.
Breaches of the rules will continue to be punishable by fines of up to £1,000 and water companies will continue to rely on the public to police misuse.
Tens of thousands of people informed on their neighbours during last year’s ban, reporting lawns being hosed at night and other abuses.
Now isn't that bloody depressing, leaving aside "climate change" copping the blame as usual, look how THEY respond to the problem, detailed irksome rules, there will be inspectors measuring paddling pools and the most depressing part? Turning the country is a curtain twitching land full of narks.
Let's remind ourselves, each and every one of us has four million litres of water dropped every year onto this green and pleasant land. What tiny percentage of that do we need to capture, bearing in mind the denizens of London use only second or third hand water? Bugger all. Is nothing more symptomatic that this generation's Bazalgette produces "Big Brother" where as his great-great-grandfather built sewers.
Note on rainfall figure: (244 820km2 * 10 000(m2 in Ha) * 1 000(litres rain per m2) * 100(Ha in km2)) / 60 000 000(population) = 4 080 333.33
March 22, 2007
The Joy of a Brazilian Strap-on
After my little accident last week I have been hobbling around, but joy of joys a little package arrived today from eBay Shop - Flexibrace which holds the injured part all in place with the aid of some plastic strips, lycra and a bootlace. The relief! Highly recommended.
Made in Brazil, sold from the USA, payment via Paypal - that's what trade is all about, remind me which bit of that transaction did the EU facilitate?
Slavery is illegal in every country in the modern world. Mauritania was the last country to make slavery illegal, which it did in 1980. Although slavery has been outlawed, it still exists; even on the narrowest definition of slavery it's likely that there are far more slaves now than there were victims of the Atlantic slave trade.
Richard Re, writing in 2002, stated:
Conservative estimates indicate that at least 27 million people, in places as diverse as Nigeria, Indonesia, and Brazil, live in conditions of forced bondage. Some sources believe the actual figures are 10 times as large.
Modern slavery differs from historical slavery in several ways:
* There are more slaves than ever before, but they are a smaller proportion of the human race
* No-one seriously defends slavery any more
* Slavery is illegal everywhere and so requires corruption and crime to continue. The power of the slave owner is always subject to the power of the state; slavery can only continue to exist if governments permit it to, and some writers claim that government corruption is a leading cause of the persistence of slavery
* Slaves are cheaper than ever and can generate high economic returns. Modern slavery is very cheap, and Kevin Bales has argued that this has made modern slavery even worse than that of Atlantic Slave Trade:
In the United States before the Civil War, the average slave cost the equivalent of about fifty thousand dollars. I'm not sure what the average price of a slave is today, but it can't be more than fifty or sixty dollars.
I think that the cost of a slave is a telling figure, if it they were rare and slave owners properly persecuted then the price would reflect that. Still on a related BBC page it is gratifying to see whose fault it isn't:
While Islamic law does allow slavery under certain conditions, it's almost inconceivable that those conditions could ever occur in today's world, and so slavery is effectively illegal in modern Islam. Muslim countries also use secular law to prohibit slavery.
News stories do continue to report occasional instances of slavery in a few Muslim countries, but these are usually denied by the authorities concerned.
The Black Helicopters are coming
Pilotless helicopters will be tested by police on Merseyside in the fight against anti-social behaviour.
The drone aircraft will keep watch over football matches and trouble hotspots.
Fitted with CCTV cameras and weighing 1kg - about the same as a bag of sugar - they are controlled by officers on the ground.
The force is considering using them to monitor large crowds
Will my tin foil hat protect me?
Taken for Chumps
Households would have to pay an extra charge for rubbish collection under proposals for local government reform published yesterday.
A review carried out by Sir Michael Lyons also proposed increasing council tax paid by half-a-million homes, mainly in London and the South
So as "The Stall" distracted us "Marks" with his his juggling act and red box "The Mechanic" dips our breeches for the loot. Of course if you are on benefit, live up north or tick the box "Labour Voter" then the tax on living in a house won't worry you, for the rest of us this tax, unrelated to the ability to pay, is going to hurt more than any penny on the pint or tweaking of tax bands.
The Tale of Cameron Nutkin
This is a Tale about a tail--a tail that belonged to a little red
squirrel, and his name was Cameron Nutkin.
In the middle of the lake there is an island covered with trees and nut
bushes; and amongst those trees stands a hollow oak-tree, which is the
house of an owl who is called Old Brown.
They made little rafts out of twigs, and they paddled away over the water
to Owl Island to gather nuts.
They also took with them an offering of three fat mice as a present for
Old Brown, and put them down upon his door-step.
"Old Mr. Brown, will you favour us with permission to gather nuts upon
He shut his eyes obstinately and went to sleep.
The squirrels filled their little sacks with nuts, and sailed away home in
But next morning they all came back again to Owl Island; and Twinkleberry
and the others brought a fine fat mole, and laid it on the stone in front
of Old Brown's doorway, and said--
"Mr. Brown, will you favour us with your gracious permission to gather
some more nuts?"
Mr. Brown woke up suddenly and carried the mole into his house.
The squirrels searched for nuts all over the island and filled their
On the third day the squirrels got up very early and went fishing; they
caught seven fat minnows as a present for Old Brown.
They paddled over the lake and landed under a crooked chestnut tree on Owl
On the fourth day the squirrels brought a present of six fat beetles,
On the fifth day the squirrels brought a present of wild honey;
On the sixth day, which was Saturday, the squirrels came again for the
last time; they brought a new-laid egg in a little rush basket as a last
parting present for Old Brown.
Now old Mr. Brown took an interest in eggs; he opened one eye and shut it
again. But still he did not speak.
Cameron Nutkin became more and more impertinent--
"Arthur O'Bower has broken his band,
He comes roaring up the land!
The King of Scots with all his power,
Cannot turn Arthur of the Bower!"
Cameron Nutkin made a whirring noise to sound like the wind, and he took a
running jump right onto the head of Old Brown!...
Then all at once there was a flutterment and a scufflement and a loud
The other squirrels scuttered away into the bushes.
When they came back very cautiously, peeping round the tree--there was Old
Brown sitting on his door-step, quite still, with his eyes closed, as if
nothing had happened.
But Cameron Nutkin was in his waistcoat pocket!
This looks like the end of the story; but it isn't.
Old Brown carried Cameron Nutkin into his house, and held him up by the tail,
intending to skin him; but Cameron Nutkin pulled so very hard that his tail broke
in two, and he dashed up the staircase and escaped out of the attic
Based on Project Gutenberg's The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, by Beatrix Potter
March 21, 2007
Cash For Kids
Total education spending in England was £29bn in 1997 and is £60bn this year.
Spending per pupil, which was £2,500 in 1997, would from now to 2010 rise by a further 10% in real terms to £6,600, Mr Brown said.
This was "continuing to narrow the gap in investment per pupil between state and private schools".
The broad range of school fees at independent schools are as follows:
|Preparatory schools||(5-7)||£2,500 - £4,000|
|(8-13)||£4,000 - £7,500||£8,000 - £12,000|
|Secondary Schools||Girls||£5,000 - £8,000||£13,000 - £16,750|
|(11/13-18)||Boys||£5,000 - £9,000||£13,000 - £16,750|
|Co-educational||£5,000 - £9,000||£13,000 - £16,750|
|Tutorial colleges||GCSE:||£1,400 - £1,900 per subject per annum|
|A Level:||£2,500 - £4,250 per subject per annum|
Examples from: 2002 - Source
So no more excuses for the failing State Sector please, they've got the money so why can't they deliver the goods?
"How sharper than a serpent's tooth is an ungrateful child"
The European Union, which turns 50 this Sunday, is America’s pampered godchild. You won’t find people saying that at the birthday fling that Angela Merkel is throwing in Berlin...it would have been a sickly infant had it not been for America’s unflinching strategic and financial support for European recovery, and for the idea of European unity.
The extraordinary Marshall Plan, whose 60th anniversary this year is likely to get somewhat less attention than the EU’s half-centenary, rained American taxpayer’s money on the stricken continent ....it was Nato, another instance of American statesmanship, that guarded the gates of Europe’s zone of peace against the Soviet threat. If the European Venus had not had Mars at her side in those years of now mostly forgotten danger, Europeans would be nothing like as rich today; nor would they, perhaps, be so smugly self-righteous about their streak of pacifism.
...it is now dogma that, with a population of nearly 500 million, the enlarged EU is more than a match for America. The flavour of this week’s birthday celebrations, to judge by some of the supercilious rubbish already written, is to dwell on the EU’s superiority as a social, even moral, model for the world, compared with the raw brashness of American power. To a great extent, the EU defines itself by what it is not: it is not America.
It is hard to say how well the EU “model” sells abroad, though it shows no sign of being copied. But it is embarrassingly clear that the EU is not selling well at home....
The sad truth is that the punters will barely notice this EU birthday, or care if they do. The EU brings to mind two things: politicians arguing over such impenetrable legal texts as the late unlamented EU constitution; and endless, irksome EU regulations governing slaughterhouse, shop, even the fabric that covers your sofa. ...Excessive regulation also means that people associate the EU with less, not more, democracy. Their votes have no impact on the EU; most laws come from Brussels, not the governments they elect. And this had bred a general disaffection with politics. No wonder then that politicians are desperate to get voters to love the EU, or at least to dislike it a bit less.
Happy Birthday, hope it's the last.
Some of Britain’s highest-ranking officials said yesterday that they supported the devastating attack on Gordon Brown by Lord Turnbull, the former head of the Civil Service, who accused him of “Stalinist ruthlessness”.
(The Times) can disclose that Sir Gus O’Donnell, the current Cabinet Secretary, and other Whitehall heads are discussing Mr Brown’s style of government and whether and how it might be changed if he enters No 10. The Chancellor delivers his last Budget today battered by the revolt by officials, fears of rising mortgages, the worst inflation figures since 1991 and with one poll suggesting that David Cameron’s lead would stretch to 15 points if Mr Brown were prime minister.
Half a dozen acting permanent secretaries and even more who are retired have voiced concerns about Mr Brown’s manner.
However rotten a day he is having we all know who is going to pay for it this afternoon, don't we.
Tories Target Envirocrims
Householders who keep putting out their bins on the wrong day could be caught out by secret spy cameras hidden in tin cans and bricks and branded "envirocriminals".
Ealing Council in west London is using the hidden cameras to catch people committing "major envirocrimes" such as graffiti and fly-tipping on main roads.
However council tax payers who put out their bins on the wrong day could also be caught up in the push.
The cameras, which cost around £200 each, are triggered by built-in movement sensors.
The council, which is Conservative controlled, said in a newsletter to local residents: "To catch vandals and envirocriminals, cameras disguised as anything from tin cans to house bricks will instantly email images to the council's CCTV control centre."
If you come across an old tin can with an aerial sticking out of it, giving it a good recycle is the only responsible thing to do.
March 20, 2007
Taking Freedom Lesson From The Chinese
The UK government faced questions on school fingerprinting in the House of Lords yesterday, led by the accusation that they had a worse track record on civil liberties in this regard than the Chinese.
Baroness Joan Walmsley, Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, said the government should look at the Chinese example.
"The practice of fingerprinting in schools has been banned in China as being too intrusive and an infringement of children's rights, yet here it's widespread," she said, calling for the UK to ban school fingerprinting unless parents opted into it.
Lord Adonis said they were taken to control the issue of library books, taking registration or dishing out school meals. In the latter instance, he said, children who take free school meals would be able to do it without anyone knowing if they bought them with a fingerprint rather than a voucher, and so avoid any stigma that might be lumped on them for being poor.
All you need to know - go and read.
The Final Solution for the Unter-polarerBär
A FLUFFY polar bear cub called Knut, who has become a media celebrity, should be given a lethal injection according to German zoologists,....
“Hand-feeding is not appropriate to the species and is a grave violation of the animal protection laws,” said Frank Albrecht, an animal rights campaigner. “Legally speaking, the zoo should kill the baby bear. Otherwise it is condemning the bear to a dysfunctional life and that too is a breach of the law.”
The director of Aachen zoo, Wolfram Ludwig, also believes the Berliners made the wrong decision in saving Knut: “It is not correct to bottle-feed a small polar bear. He will always be fixated on his keeper and will never grow to be a proper polar bear.” Knut, he argues, should have been killed when Tosca rejected him. “One should have had the courage to kill him much earlier.”
Leipzig zoo showed the way last December by injecting a rejected baby sloth with T61, a poison that kills in two seconds.
Sometimes national stereotypes are too easy a target, and I also know that the animal right nutters in this country prefer killing animals to them not conforming to their prescribed roles.
What a Party!
Austria: Young rock bands
Belgium: Veteran pop stars
Bulgaria: University debates
Cyprus: EU office open day
Czech Republic: Half marathon
Denmark: Free buns
France: Romantic movie
France has tried harder than most, shooting a film to be shown on national television on Sunday. Nous nous sommes tant haïs ( How We Hated Each Other), a film about the reawakening of love between a Parisian barmaid and a former German officer who lost contact for five years after a wartime affair. The tear-jerking, European Commission-funded made-for-TV romance of Marie and Jörgen has become the latest vehicle for inspiring mass enthusiasm in the European Union.
Their story, a heavy-handed allegory for the unification of Europe,....
Sometimes you couldn't make it up.....
American Occupation Prefered to EU Rule
Brussels officials yesterday said that the majority of Britons, who believe life was better before joining the European Union, are "nostalgic and insecure".
The European Commission has rejected a new FT-Harris poll finding that lives for 52 per cent of Britons have got worse since the UK joined the EU in 1973.
Out of those polled - the Germans, French, British, Italian and Spanish - only Spain, which joined in 1986, could muster a majority (53 per cent) who thought life had got better in the EU.
Spain and its citizens have benefited from the lion's share of EU funds, regarded as a key factor in its economic success story.
In other news EU Referendum brings us the results from Iraq:
49 per cent of those questioned preferred life under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to living under Saddam, while 26 per cent said things were better in Saddam's era, 16 per cent said they were as bad as each other and the rest did not know or refused to answer.
So Iraqiis are much more in favour of their present rulers than we are of ours - funny that, I didn't gather that from the BBC...
March 19, 2007
Paying the Piper
Political parties should receive an extra £20m in annual state funding....according to..Sir Hayden Phillips, a former senior civil servant and the report's author
Which would allow Party Leaders to ignore the wishes of their party - eh Mr Cameron?
Be a Real Man, put a finger up your bum!
Prostate Cancer Awareness Week (19-25 March 2007)
Don't be shy now....
Or maybe hold onto your dignity and manliness....
Michael Baum is in fighting form. The emeritus professor of surgery at University College London, and leading expert on cancer, says he would like to give the ‘self-appointed custodians of men’s health’ a ‘bloody nose’. He’s talking about those men’s health groups, men’s health magazines and men’s health officials in the pay of the government, who are constantly advising men – through TV ads, glossy posters in GPs’ waiting rooms, information-laden beermats, drop-in advice centres at football grounds or celeb-backed ‘awareness campaigns’ – to get in touch with their bodies and their wellbeing. ‘You know what they’re doing, don’t you?’ he says. ‘They are trying to make men into women. They are trying to whip up the same kind of hysteria about health that bugs women amongst men as well.’
Gordon Brown texture like sun
Lays me down with my money he runs
Throughout the night
No chance to fight
Never a frown with Gordon Brown
Every time just like the last
Same old story, same old cast
To distant lands
Takes all my money
Never a frown with Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown tax and waster
Thanks to him we're now heading west
From far away
He waits for the day
Never a frown with Gordon Brown
Dismissing the troops
David Cameron is spoiling for a fight with his party, amid signs of growing frustration among the Conservative high command that the rank and file does not share his vision for Britain. The Conservative leader used his party’s spring conference in Nottingham to face down grumbling over the decision to introduce green taxes on flights. “It’s only clear you mean it when you do the tough things as well. Like telling the truth about climate change,” Mr Cameron said....
those close to Mr Cameron responded by pointing out that the Conservative membership was not representative of the country as a whole. “A quarter of a million people are members of the Tory party. The important point is that’s less than one per cent of the electorate,” said a party source.The party has also gone to war with ConservativeHome, the website used by some on the Right to voice concerns about Mr Cameron. A senior Tory close to Mr Cameron said: “It’s 30 people talking to 30 people.
“This shows the wider Tory party don’t ‘get’ politics.”
I think it shows that the narrow Tory leadership doesn't get politics. It is alright to sneer at the awful old Majors and women in flowery hats, it's alright to only listen to your metrosexual friends in Notting Hill as to what is "acceptable", it is alright to base your policies around what Sam worries about chatting at the school gates, but if you want win the election you need to lead the party, encourage them, empathise with them, represent them or they simply won't work for your victory.
Does Mr Cameron enthuse me, in the slightest way? No.
Would he make a troop commander, would you follow him over the top? Don't make me laugh.
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March 17, 2007
Sad and Angry
January 21, 2004
A failure of common sense.
Settle down class!
Meadow, what is the odds of rolling a six on a die?
Right, what are the odds of rolling double six?
1/6 times 1/6 so 1/36 sir.
Now I have rolled a six with this die, what are the odds of rolling a six again.
Meadow - you are a miserable worm - Tompkins, what is the answer?
1/6 again, sir, they are two unconnected events. Actually sir it might be a bit less as the die might have a propensity to roll sixes!
To accuse a mother of murdering or deliberately harming her children is about the most heinous accusation you can make. Over the last few days we have discovered that not just one or two women but hundreds of women have been accused, found guilty, and jailed or had their children taken away from them for such crimes and the miserable worm Prof Meadow has been using very strange arguments as a professional witness in such cases.
Meadow, what is the odds of Sudden Infant Death occurring?
Now one child has died of SID what are the chances of a second child in the family dying of SID.
1/8500 times 1/8500 so 1/73 million sir
Meadow - you are a miserable worm. Can a real expert give us the answer?
1/8500 again, sir, they are two unconnected events. Actually sir it might be quite bit less as SID is thought to be influenced by environmental and genetic factors and so after one death the same factors apply to other children and makes them at high risk. In fact the figures from the Care of Next Infant charity (CONI) show after one cot death the risk of a second actually increases to one in 200.
But Meadow still is fixated on mothers commonly hurting and killing their children. His inability to understand basic statistics is enough for me to distrust him completely. My gut instinct tells me he is wrong in many other particulars. And his ignorance has had devastating effects.
At the time I linked to a report of Sally Clark's trial written by her father, Frank Lockyer, QPM (Queen's Police Medal), a retired chief inspector of police, today I sadly and with considerable anger link to Sally Clark's obituary.
Attacking the Greenwash
Two leading UK climate researchers have criticised those among their peers who they say are "overplaying" the global warming message.
Professors Paul Hardaker and Chris Collier, both Royal Meteorological Society figures, are voicing their concern at a conference in Oxford.
They say some researchers make claims about possible future impacts that cannot be justified by the science.
The pair believe this damages the credibility of all climate scientists.
Some sober voices at last, the clamour and claims have started to sound like the boasting competition late at night at Dirty McFlirty's Bar. And for a fine Irish view on the problem read 'You can't change world by wearing sandals' - Michael O'Leary
March 16, 2007
She wants it
Misty 69 wants you to fill her box
Troubled Diva (AKA Mike) has just released the launch of the 'Shaggy Blog Stories' and I'm in there! So get over there and buy the book, tell all your friends to buy the book, and tell everybody you know about the book, either via your own blog or by pestering random strangers into submission!
And as I promised yesterday, I am 'auctioning off' a few treasured items here today,
On the HP
The final bottle of HP sauce coming off the production line at Birmingham marks an end of more than 100 years of manufacturing at the site.
In a nostalgic gesture I bought a bottle of HP sauce yesterday, 12 pence a week for eighteen weeks, a bargain...
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Forecast: Staying Mild With Arctic Winds and Snow Flurries
The sunshine that brought early bumblebees, daffodils and flocks of migratory birds should give way to snow flurries and Arctic winds after the weekend.
Temperatures could fall to 3C (37F) in parts of Scotland and highs of 7C (45F) in the south of England, according to the Met Office. Exposed areas of Scotland could see snow falls of up to 30cm, but brief snow showers are expected right down to the south coast.
Philip Eden, weather expert for The Daily Telegraph, said the cold northerly wind would be felt properly on Monday, before continuing for three days.
"It will be a real shock to the system, but this is the typical way spring arrives, with one step forward and two steps back," he said.
Nick Grahame, chief forecaster at the Met Office, said: "The snow showers will be heavy in places and the strong northerly winds will make for difficult conditions at times."
It was all so different only four days ago...
Monday, 12th March 2007, 17:05
Britain's endangered butterflies are at risk of being killed off by frosts as the warm weather tricks them into coming out of hibernation early.
Dr Tim Sparks, an environmental scientist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said that endangered butterflies like the red admiral had been sighted over the winter, and warned that they risked being decimated if they were hit by a late frost....
But the good news for the butterflies is that there are no frosts predicted for the rest of the month.
Barry Gromett, a Met office spokesman, said that the warm temperatures were likely to continue until April.
He said: "I think it's looking as though it's going to stay mild. Right now, we're seeing temperatures of 17 degrees in central London and 18 degrees in Kent, which is well above the average expected for this year of around 10 degrees.
Whitey Guilt Complex
A school production of Roald Dahl's Three Little Pigs has turned the heroes into three little puppies for fear of offending Muslims.
Dahl's play, in which he reworks Little Red Riding Hood to include the pigs, is being put on by Honley Church of England School, in Huddersfield, with 250 primary pupils from other schools singing along. Gill Goodswen, who is one of the organisers of the Kirklees Primary Music festival behind the changes, said: "We have to be sensitive if we want to be multi-cultural. It was felt it would be more responsible not to use the three little pigs."...
Mohammed Imran, of the nearby Hanfia Mosque and Educational Institute, said he welcomed the thinking behind the decision but did not think it was necessary.
He pointed out that Islam does not ban the mentioning of pigs but added: "They are obviously trying to involve children rather than exclude them." But Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, said: "My view is that the people responsible for this are completely bonkers. It is the type of political correctness which makes people's blood boil.
"As usual it is done in the name of ethnic minorities but it is perpetrated by white, middle class, do-gooders with a guilt complex and far too much time on their hands."
Spot on - I have yet to hear of one of these PC bans that has been demanded or welcomed by Moslems, as local councillor Terry Lyons said: "I can't believe that Muslims would be offended. This is pandering to a few extremists. People will take umbrage at this decision, making it easier for the BNP to recruit."
March 15, 2007
It's all for Charidee
Bid for a Boozy Friday Lunch with Guido and Katy Go on you know it will be worth it!
- I wonder if Tim Ireland will bid...
La Vache Qui Rit
Farmers in Liechtenstein can no longer feed cannabis to their herds under new rules in the small Alpine state.
Traces of the drug found in hashish have been filtering through to the milk of dairy cows fed with the hemp plant.
The levels breach the maximum limit set by the new rules - which say animal feed must be free of any element that could have an ill effect on humans.
The rules to be introduced in March are to bring Liechtenstein in line with standards in neighbouring Switzerland.
Hemp will also be banned from the diets of meat herds, although reports say there is no clear evidence that THC - the active substance found in hashish - can filter through into meat.
So no more "Happy Meals" either then....
"Pain will be you constant companion, Sir, make him your friend"
Strangely the bruising on the ankle has gone down a lot but has started appearing on the toes, or is that gangrene?
Pain is just information, you can ignore information, can't you?
Mike Hulme's article, The appliance of science | Climate change | Guardian Unlimited Environment, demolishing the idea that environmental policy is science based; "In fact, in order to make progress about how we manage climate change we have to take science off centre stage." has been commentated on elsewhere. His whole thesis that "scientists - and politicians - must trade (normal) truth for influence"...What matters about climate change is not whether we can predict the future with some desired level of certainty and accuracy; it is whether we have sufficient foresight, supported by wisdom, to allow our perspective about the future, and our responsibility for it, to be altered. has been attacked by simple seekers of truth.
What they fail to realise is that this article is just part of the new school of Post-Normal Science
To engage in these new tasks we need new intellectual tools. A picture of reality designed for controlled experimentation and abstract theory building, can be very effective with complex phenomena reduced to their simple, atomic elements. But it is not best suited for the tasks of environmental policy today. The scientific mind-set fosters expectations of regularity, simplicity and certainty in the phenomena and in our interventions. But these can inhibit the growth of our understanding of the problems and of appropriate methods to their solution.
The leading concept is "complexity". This relates to the structure and properties of the phenomena and the issues for environmental policy. Systems that are complex are not merely complicated; by their nature they involve deep uncertainties and a plurality of legitimate perspectives. Hence the methodologies of traditional laboratory-based science are of restricted effectiveness in this new context.
The most general methodology for managing complex science-related issues is "Post-Normal Science" (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1992, 1993, Futures 1999). This focuses on aspects of problem solving that tend to be neglected in traditional accounts of scientific practice: uncertainty and value loading. It provides a coherent explanation of the need for greater participation in science-policy processes,..
Anyone trying to comprehend the problems of "the environment" might well be bewildered by their number, variety and complication. There is a natural temptation to try to reduce them to simpler, more manageable elements, as with mathematical models and computer simulations. This, after all, has been the successful programme of Western science and technology up to now. But environmental problems have features which prevent reductionist approaches from having any, but the most limited useful effect....
The insight leading to Post-Normal Science is that in the sorts of issue-driven science relating to environmental debates, typically facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high, and decisions urgent. Some might say that such problems should not be called "science"; but the answer could be that such problems are everywhere, and when science is (as it must be) applied to them, the conditions are anything but "normal". For the previous distinction between "hard", objective scientific facts and "soft", subjective value-judgements is now inverted. All too often, we must make hard policy decisions where our only scientific inputs are irremediably soft.
The difference between old and new conditions can be shown by the present difficulties of the classical economics approach to environmental policy. Traditionally, economics attempted to show how social goals could be best achieved by means of mechanisms operating automatically, in an essentially simple system. The "hidden hand" metaphor of Adam Smith conveyed the idea that conscious interference in the workings of the economic system would do no good and much harm; and this view has persisted from then to now. But for the achievement of sustainability, automatic mechanisms are clearly insufficient. Even when pricing rather than control is used for implementation of economic policies, the prices must be set, consciously, by some agency; and this is then a highly visible controlling hand. When externalities are uncertain and irreversible, then no one can set "ecologically correct prices" practised in actual markets or in fictitious markets (through contingent valuation or other economic techniques). There might at best be "ecologically corrected prices", set by a decision-making system. ...
The contribution of all the stakeholders in cases of Post-Normal Science is not merely a matter of broader democratic participation. For these new problems are in many ways different from those of research science, professional practice, or industrial development. Each of those has its means for quality assurance of the products of the work, be they peer review, professional associations, or the market. For these new problems, quality depends on open dialogue between all those affected. This we call an "extended peer community", consisting not merely of persons with some form or other of institutional accreditation, but rather of all those with a desire to participate in the resolution of the issue. Seen out of context, such a proposal might seem to involve a dilution of the authority of science, and its dragging into the arena of politics. But we are here not talking about the traditional areas of research and industrial development; but about those where issues of quality are crucial, and traditional mechanisms of quality assurance are patently inadequate. Since this context of science is one involving policy, we might see this extension of peer communities as analogous to earlier extensions of franchise in other fields, as allowing workers to form trade unions and women to vote. In all such cases, there were prophecies of doom, which were not realised.
For the formation of environmental policy under conditions of complexity, it is hard to imagine any viable alternative to extended peer communities. They are already being created, in increasing numbers, either when the authorities cannot see a way forward, or know that without a broad base of consensus, no policies can succeed. They are called "citizens' juries", "focus groups", or "consensus conferences", or any one of a great variety of names; and their forms and powers are correspondingly varied.
It is all clear now, we should depend on "citizens' juries" rather than scientists for the truth, Robespierre would be proud.
Does David Miliband still have young ladies to punch his holes?
As English Farmers face yet another year of RPA and Defra computerised troubles I have obtained an article on their computer setup:
The ICT 1900 series were 24-bit word machines (supporting 4 6-bit characters per word) and using octal for binary short-hand, as opposed to the IBM Systems using 8-bit bytes and hex. Basic memory on the smaller machines was 16K words (or 64 kilobytes equivalent), and there were even 8K word versions sold (although most actually had 16K memory factory installed in readiness for the certain upgrade order that followed!) - early machines using 'core-store' memory (ferrite rings on a copper wire matrix) and operated on binary hand-switches on the mainframe cabinet. Despite the apparent small memory size, quite sophisticated applications were run on the equipment and computer programmers paid great attention to the efficient use (and reuse) of memory.
I/O consisted of 80 column cards as 40 column cards (with round holes) were unable to cope with the full 64 character set, a card punch and 8 track paper tape - print was from a solid barrel line printer (120 columns wide).
Disk capacity was also very limited (early units supporting 4 or 8Mb removable multi disc packs) and similar attention to ensuring the efficient use of disk space was common. Early machines used storage on reels of magnetic tape and were then augmented by direct access devices (disks) typically with disk capacities of 1.6Mb, 4Mb and 8Mb were the order of the day. By the time 30Mb packs were available they occupied a cabinet 4 feet high (MEDS - Multiple Exchangeable Disk Store).
The betrayed generation
Iain Duncan Smith deserves the credit for exposing the way the education system has failed working-class boys.
Last November's report by his Social Justice Policy Group revealed that just 17 per cent of poor white boys gained five or more A to C grades at GCSE, while the equivalent figure for black boys from poor backgrounds (traditionally seen as the lowest academic achievers) was 19 per cent. For Indian boys, it was 40 per cent; for Chinese, 70 per cent.
These left-behind boys are an underclass in the making. However, it was this very group - "our people" - that New Labour came to power to help. A decade on, their position has, incredibly, worsened.
Let down by the school system, they are ill-equipped for adult life. Too many of them drift into lives of low-level criminality, drug abuse and fecklessness. Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary - the man who an awestruck Tony Blair said was "really working-class" because he fathered three children in his teens - has finally addressed the issue. His speech to the Fabian Society yesterday sought to put the problem of low achievement by working-class schoolboys in the wider social context of the collapse of traditional industries that in the past have given poorly educated school leavers work, training and - crucially - discipline.
Yet what was absent from the Johnson analysis was the fact that this betrayal of a generation of poorer schoolboys has happened under New Labour.
It is no good blaming the closure of the steel mills, Hollywood films or the parents - the blame lies squarely with the education system. It is not fit for purpose, and as long as schools are controlled by government and teacher unions it never will be. Even the most feckless parent wants better for their child, give the power back to the parents and it will be sorted.
Scrap the Railways
Rail passengers face annual fare increases above inflation for at least the next decade to help to pay for 1,000 new carriages on overcrowded routes.
Surely either there is market driven unfulfilled demand in which case the extra passengers carried should carry the cost or this is just another admission the whole rail system is leech on the public finances and should be scrapped.
Remember it is inefficient, dirty and dangerous - but loved by those who believe in controlling the people. See http://www.transwatch.co.uk
March 14, 2007
It's all my fault
The Evil Empire: 101 Ways That England Ruined the World
They invented slums. They invented child labor. They put Saddam Hussein in power. They burned Joan of Arc at the stake, and they enslaved the globe to get their tea fix. We're talking about England, of course, and the terrible evils they've set loose on the world. In The Evil Empire, American author Steven Grasse documents the 101 worst atrocities of Mother England everything from foxhunting to the invention of the concentration camp. With an irreverent mix of historical facts, smart commentary, and red-blooded American arrogance, Grasse offers a devastating critique of the country that gave us the machine gun, factory labor, and the metric system. Publishing just in time for the Queen's birthday (April 21), The Evil Empire is essential reading for true-blue Americans and others oppressed by the English throughout history.
They’re getting warmer . . . how the penny dropped for politicians
Never mind their differing approaches, the great thing is the acceptance by politicians of the need for action. Our correspondent analyses the arguments
The argument is no longer about the rationale for cutting greenhouse gas output, but about how this should be achieved. It is now recognised that the details are where votes are to be won.
In this, politics has caught up with science, albeit a decade or so late. For notwithstanding the enduring objections of a small band of scientific sceptics, such as those who contributed to the Channel 4 programme The Great Global Warming Swindle, the evidence that the world is getting hotter and that humans are responsible has become overwhelming.
As in politics, there is still room for debate over the intricacies of what is happening and what should be done about it, but the wider issue is largely settled.
The consensus that human-induced global warming is more than a hypothesis is built chiefly on the work of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. Its most recent report, published last month, included contributions from more than 2,500 scientists, and concluded with 90 per cent certainty that human activities are responsible for rising world temperatures. A further increase of between 1.1C and 6.4C (11.5F) is predicted for the end of the century.
As the critics say, the sheer number of eminent scientists who have signed up to such a view does not automatically make it right. It is possible, if improbable, that so many clever men and women could be wrong.
What this ignores, however, is the greatest strength of the panels’ report: its multidiscipli-nary approach. The most compelling reason for believing global warming to be a genuine problem is that the theory is consistent with evidence emerging from a multitude of different fields. Everyone knows about the atmospheric temperatures, but that is only one part of a much bigger story.
Ice cores from Antarctica show that temperatures have fluctuated with carbon dioxide levels for 750,000 years. Ocean temperatures show warming signatures that are inexplicable without anthropogenic greenhouse forcing. Animal distribution and behaviour is changing in line with the theory. The same signals can be seen in atmospheric physics, botany, meteorology, geography, ecology and many other scientific disciplines. Thousands of scientists may be mistaken — but across so many diverse fields?
How many mistakes and failures of logic can one expert make in one report? He fails to spot that the "signals" of warming say nothing about the cause, any theory that predicts warming will be "proven" by the same signals, whether it is CO2, Sun spots or Elephant Farts. The IPCC, whose latest report wasn't a report but a policy summary, still fails to provide the simple linkage between Anthropogenic CO2 and the warming record. Their historic figures are questioned; the effect of increasing CO2 in spectrum absorption, a simple enough scientific enquiry is absent as are other "hard" scientific proofs ; the modelling is bizarre and the forecasts are so flimsy any results can be claimed as proving them. The links are leaps of faith, not science.
But leave that all to one side, the political actions being demanded are votive offerings rather logical responses. The conclusion from Stern and the IPCC is that we should go for growth so we can afford adaption rather than unilaterally retreat to the stone age. Any chance any politician can get a grip?
It's that day again
Mrs Englishman is out tonight and has told me to cook my own dinner.....
Form Filling or Feeding, which is more important?
Age Concern wants an army of volunteers to feed elderly patients who might otherwise go hungry because nurses are too busy to sit with them at mealtimes.
The Government is considering introducing a "red tray" system for patients who need help with their feeding. It would signify that the tray should not be removed until a patient had finished eating or has had help to finish a meal.
The plan is being considered at an emergency meeting on malnutrition in hospitals today but Age Concern say it is not enough and hospitals must also launch large-scale volunteering programmes in which vetted members of the public would feed patients.
A spokesman said: "A lot of hospitals don't have the staff to feed patients properly, and volunteers are the way to support assistance with feeding."
Today's meeting comes six months after Age Concern launched its "Hungry to be Heard" campaign, which said that six out of 10 older patients were at risk of being malnourished while in hospital. Nine out of 10 nurses admitted they did not always have time to help patients with eating.
May I make a modest suggestion? I would have thought ensuring that patients had adequate nutrition was one of the most important priorities of nursing so why not get some of the NHS staff we pay for to do it, and leave the non-essential duties to one side.
I had to pop to my local Minor Injuries Unit on Monday, luckily it hasn't been closed yet. I was seen very quickly but before I could be seen the nurse had to fill out a four page form. I think my theatrical groan of pain as she got to asking my ethnicity and religion made her reconsider her priorities and leave the form and come and see what my problem was. As she said, the forms seem to get longer and she couldn't see what the purpose of them was, unless it was to generate even more statistics and targets....
Black Lawyer Says Black Gun Crime Nothing To Do With Blacks
Blaming young black men for rising gun crime would be a ''profound mistake'', a Home Office minister said yesterday.
Lady Scotland clashed with the Commons home affairs committee over its inquiry into the treatment of Afro-Caribbean youths by the criminal justice system.
The MPs have heard evidence from police and community leaders of a crime ''crisis'' among young black people....
Recent shootings in London, in which black teenagers have been killed, led to further concern.
She made clear throughout the two-hour session that she did not accept that the issue should be seen in racial, rather than criminal, terms.
John Denham, the committee chairman, said while it was accepted that people did not offend because of the colour of their skin, there was evidence of a particular problem of violent crime within the black community.
There were also different ''profiles'' of crime depending on the community.
Young white men tended to be more involved in hooliganism and burglary, while young black men were likely to be linked to drugs and robberies.
However, Lady Scotland said: ''We accept there is an increasing problem on the use of guns and we are trying to address it. We have not had any evidence that this issue is solely or disproportionately an issue for black young men.''
As she is a former "Black Woman of the Year (law) 1992" I suppose I should bow down to her expertise but I do suspect her political correctness is blinding her to the truth.
Government Mandated Babbling
The new Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum lays down how children are expected to develop from birth to the end of the first year of compulsory schooling, the year in which they turn five. The document, which has the force of law, was published yesterday..
Between eight and 20 months they should begin to "enjoy babbling and increasingly experiment with using sounds and words to represent objects", it says.
By three years and four months, children will begin citizenship lessons so they understand that "people have different, needs, views, cultures and beliefs, that need to be treated with respect".
And it seems most of our leaders are still "babbling", if only we could get them to move onto the finger painting curriculum target then there might be a hope that eventually they could progress to meaningful adulthood.
March 13, 2007
One of the last wishes of the former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, that his home be opened to the public after his death, has been turned down by councillors.
Whether my official objection was taken into account as it was presented to the meeting, I don't know:
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.
Buying a Subsidy
City dwellers are making huge profits out of an EU loophole that allows people who have never set foot on a farm to claim European farm subsidies.
The loophole allows investors to become classified officially as farmers and then buy the right to receive annual EU subsidies to cut agricultural production. Because the subsidies are decoupled from the land they relate to, investors do not need actually to own the ground they are claiming for or even go anywhere near it.
The profits to be made are enormous, with investors potentially increasing their capital nearly fivefold in 5 years.
Auctioneers and brokers who used to sell cattle and farm-land are now focusing their attention on selling the rights to receive European taxpayers’ money — known as entitlement trading — in what one described as a “ferocious” market with the rights to subsidies “flying off the shelf”. ...
British farmers claim around £5 billion a year of the subsidies in return for which they are meant to make environmental improvements to the land.
However, many are using their new right to sell the subsidies in order to raise a lump sum when they retire or to pay for new equipment.
What bollocks, there isn't a loophole. The system was deliberatly designed to be decoupled and tradeable in the hope little old farmers would take the money and run. Most of them haven't ben able to retire because they haven't got any spare capital. This scheme allows them to trade five years future income for a lump sum, and for Johnny Red-Braces to risk his money on an uncertain income stream. The fact that even though the "profits are huge" "demand outstrips supply" the prices are poor - £130 per hectare, and you get £624 per hectare back by 2012 - shows the risks involved.
Walk the walk
New research claims to have discovered that making yourself attractive is as much about how you move as how you look.The Telegraph's Science Editor, Roger Highfield, explains the theory.
How true, I noticed a Milf the other day, quite sweet I thought until she walked away from me with a gait that suggested she was carrying a hod load of bricks through thick mud.
March 12, 2007
Cash For Honours - Details of Ruth Turner's Allegations Revealed
Ruth Turner wrote of her concerns that "Lord Levy had asked her to lie for him".
This emerged in court when the BBC was granted permission to report the reasons an injunction was served about a cash-for-honours news story.
The judge who granted the injunction at the police's request said "there is a substantial element of truth in what the intended BBC broadcast was to say".
Lord Levy, Labour's fundraiser, and all others involved deny wrong-doing....
The police requested the injunction because they did not wish certain individuals to know in advance the nature of the document that they possessed.
In particular, they wished to put the document to Ruth Turner, Downing Street's director of government relations, who wrote the document.
They also wanted to discuss it with John McTernan, No 10's director of political operations.
They were worried that the individuals could have constructed or co-ordinated a response. ...
It also emerged on Monday that the document is several pages long and contains more information that is of interest to the police than that which has already been broadcast by the BBC.
Ernst-Georg Beck's paper 180 Years accurate CO2 Gas analysis of Air by Chemical Methods
Thanks to a reader I now have a copy of Ernst-Georg Beck's paper 180 Years accurate CO2 Gas analysis of Air by Chemical Methods (Short version) which argues that the IPCC reliance of Ice Core CO2 figures is wrong - It is only 10 pages long so I urge you to read it yourself and study such figures as:
Fig. 9 Comparing measured temperature in northern hemisphere (land) from 1850 (Jones (171),
Hansen (172), GHCN(170)) with CO2 fluctuation. (5 years difference by averaging corrected)
The temperature maximum around 1940 is not a result of exponential rise of CO2. It´s the
reverse, high temperature around 1940 had induced CO2 maximum.
How to cure MRSA - shut the hospitals
Thousands of patients are at risk of contracting MRSA and other deadly "superbugs" because more than half of NHS hospitals are overcrowded, it is claimed today.
New figures show that 216 trusts in England - about 52 per cent of the total - have bed occupancy rates of 85 per cent or more - well above accepted safety levels.
The hospitals suffering overcrowding include 95 trusts where occupancy rates have soared to 90 per cent or more.
The Government's infection-control experts have warned that hospitals need to force occupancy rates below 85 per cent if they are to win the war against MRSA and other superbugs such as Clostridium difficile.
Of course this won't be a problem in the Kennet area soon because to make the NHS even better they are closing my three local hospitals Devizes, Melksham and Trowbridge; if there is no traffic and I can drive then I can just about get to the next hospital in an hour, of course I can't park there as that would be environmentally unfriendly, but so what, it is still the envy of the world.
The Church of England is facing an embarrassing test case over whether mobile phone masts on steeples are illegal because they can relay pornography.
The church's highest court is to hear an appeal after a diocesan judge ruled that churches were "wrong in law" to "facilitate the transmission of pornography, even in a slight or modest way".
Stuff like this filth:
How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.
Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak....
Enough, next they will encouraging the common people to read and printing presses all of which encourage the spread of porn...
March 11, 2007
Cash for honours: The end game
THE Sunday Times can reveal details of the alleged plot that Tony Blair’s inner circle hatched to subvert the police inquiry into the cash for honours scandal.
Sources have revealed that Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s chief fundraiser, allegedly asked the prime minister’s most senior advisers to lie to police by telling detectives he had no involvement in the honours system.
A written record of the discussion reveals his suggestion was overruled by Ruth Turner, a senior No 10 aide, who drew up what she believed was a more “credible” strategy.
She allegedly said they should claim Levy was asked for “advice” and “character references” about potential peers. Police believe this might also be misleading because his input was far more significant.
It also emerged this weekend that:
- Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s chief of staff, was present at a meeting last summer when the alleged cover-up was discussed. He will be reinterviewed under caution shortly;
- Detectives have recently obtained a new document that is said to be “as damaging” as the Turner memo outlining the “cover-up” strategy;
- The government is set to disband key watchdogs, including the Committee on Standards in Public Life and the House of Lords Appointments Commission, that helped bring the honours scandal to public attention.
A senior Whitehall source said police believed they had evidence to contradict the defence offered by key figures in the scandal. Police are now said to be confident of charging Levy with breaching the 1925 Honours Act...
I don't think allegations that this is just an anti-semitic smear or a plot against the Irish or a vindictive campaign against curly haired twats will be enough now to stop the judicial juggernaut. The only question is how high will it go.
VETERANS from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering flashbacks, trauma and panic attacks are being told to wait 18 months or longer for treatment on the National Health Service.
Many of the ex-servicemen with posttraumatic stress should be given priority under government guidelines, but are being told that they must wait for treatment, in some cases for up to four years.
But don't worry according to The Times the cabinet is on top of the problem:
THE government is considering a new scheme to improve the National Health Service: encouraging doctors and nurses to smile at patients.
The proposal was presented at Thursday’s cabinet meeting as the culmination of six months’ work by the brightest minds in Downing Street.
Ministers were told that an Ipsos Mori survey had shown people remained dissatisfied with public services despite the billions of pounds Labour has spent on them. Ben Page, chairman of Ipsos Mori Social Research Institute, told ministers the public wanted to see nurses smile more and to “give the impression of caring”.
The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.
They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !
They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."
They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.
They strove to stand to attention, to straighen the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.
The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.
"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."
The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made - "
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!
'The Last of the Light Brigade' was written by Rudyard Kipling to highlight the plight of those who survied the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade.
Roll up to the amazing Flying Budget as it sours ever higher!
The Government was warned about the soaring costs of the London Olympics 18 months ago, confidential documents reveal.
Gordon Brown and Tessa Jowell were told in October 2005 - just three months after London's successful bid - that VAT would hugely increase the cost of staging the Games in the capital in 2012. The Chancellor and the Culture Secretary were also warned that security costs and contingency funds would make the bill spiral further.
The Government originally said that the Games would cost just £2.4 billion. But it was not until November 2006 that Mr Brown publicly admitted that a VAT bill of £1 billion had not been taken into account and it emerged that contingency funds could take the total bill to over £5 billion.
It can also be revealed, however, that this week the Chancellor will be forced to admit that the revised budget for the Games has rocketed to at least £9 billion
It was only £8 Billion last month, plenty of time for more more more before the final reckoning comes in. Fun for all the family to guess the final figure on the fund raising thermometer outside No 11.
And the band strikes up...
Hooray and up she rises
Hooray and up she rises
Hooray and up she rises
Early in the morning.
Tory Greens - a Guest Post
Cameron recruits green warrior Gore | Uk News | News | Telegraph
What an idiot.....On Thursday, the former US vice-president will address a meeting of the shadow cabinet at the House of Commons. Mr Cameron approached Mr Gore during a visit to London last autumn and asked him if he would meet him and his team. Last week, Mr Gore unexpectedly rang the Tory leader to say that he would be delighted to take up the invitation.
It gets worse.....The Conservatives will also suggest - most controversially of all - rationing individuals to as little as a single short-haul flight each year; any further journeys would attract progressively higher taxes, a leaked document entitled Greener Skies suggests.
Some sense in the Telegraph leader.....
"Some of those dissenting voices were on display in The Great Global Warming Swindle, a powerful programme broadcast last week. Channel 4 is to be congratulated for not being intimidated or bullied out of transmitting the documentary: it is difficult to imagine today's BBC having the courage to assault a doctrine so entrenched in politically correct opinion."
Although some nonsense as well:
"They have found it hard to get a hearing, not least because the oil companies did immense damage to any form of scepticism about global warming when it became apparent that they had bribed hundreds of scientists to act as PR lobbyists for the claim that "global warming isn't happening and if it is, it isn't caused by CO2 emissions". This immediately made anyone who raised doubts about the relation between CO2 emissions and global warming look like the executives from big tobacco companies who tried to claim that there was no evidence that smoking causes cancer."
Thanks DA for that
March 10, 2007
Contemplate a tangled bank,
Contemplate a tangled bank,
clothed with many plants of many kinds,
with birds singing on the bushes,
with various insects flitting about,
with worms crawling through the damp
these elaborately constructed forms
have all been produced by laws
acting around us.
Thus, the war of nature,
from famine and death,
the production of higher animals
There is grandeur in this view of life:
whilst the planet has gone
cycling on according to
the fixed law of gravity,
from so simple a beginning
endless forms most beautiful and
most wonderful have been
and are being
The Origin of Species
(The inscription on the brass plate in the photo - the view is out of my office window at home.)
March 9, 2007
Have we got the CO2 figures all wrong?
Interesting snippet here - via Greenie Watch.
German Prof Ernst-Georg Beck, thinks the IPCC has got the historic CO2 levels wrong, apparently they have just used air bubbles trapped in ice cores to get their figures (various scientists believe there may be problems with this method). But scientists have been measuring the composition of air for many years, admittedly mainly in Europe not worldwide. And pretty accurate results they got, we think. But the IPCC ignored them. He is doing the digging and getting a paper together which is being peer reviewed: a sneak preview was on the web at http://www.warwickhughes.com/agri/BeckCO2short.pdf but is no longer. However Google has an HTML cache of it. Remember this is a draft and is yet to be peer reviewed, but if it does stack up, WOW!
UPDATE: Thanks to a reader I now have a copy of Ernst-Georg Beck's paper 180 Years accurate CO2 Gas analysis of Air by Chemical Methods (Short version)
Here is the Summary
Accurate chemical CO2 gas analyses of air over 180 years show a different trend compared to the literature of IPCC climate change actually published. From 1829 the concentration of carbon dioxide of air in the northern hemisphere fell down from a value of e.g. 400 ppm up to 1900 to less than 300 ppm rising till 1942 to more than 400 ppm. After that maximum it fell down to e.g. 350 ppm and rose again till today, 2006 to 380 ppm.
Accurate measurements had been done amongst others by de Saussure 1826, Pettenkofer/v.Gilm 1857, Schulze 1864/71, Farsky 1874, Uffelmann 1886, Letts und Blake 1897, Krogh and Haldane 1904, Benedict 1912, Lundegardh 1920, van Slyke 1929, Dürst and Kreutz 1934 alternatively 1940, Misra 1942 or Scholander 1946 with measuring instruments through which from 1857 (Pettenkofer) an accuracy of +/-0,0006 Vol% to under +/-0,0003 Vol% =3 ppm (Lundegardh 1926) was achieved. These pioneers of chemistry, biology, botany, medicine and physiology constituted the modern knowledge of metabolism, nutrition science, biochemistry and ecology. Modern climatology ignored their work till today even
though it is the basis of all textbooks of the mentioned faculties and was honoured with several Nobel prizes. In total over 90 000 measurements within nearly every year since 180 year gave the following results
1. There is no constant exponential rising CO2 -concentration since preindustrial times but a varying CO2-content of air following the climate. E.G. around 1940 there was a
maximum of CO2 of at least 420 ppm, before 1875 there was also a maximum.
2. Historical air analysis by chemical means do not prove a preindustrial CO2 -concentration of 285 ppm (IPCC),as modern climatology postulates. In contrast the average in the 19th century in northern hemisphere is 321 ppm and in the 20th century 338ppm.
3. Todays CO2 value of. 380 ppm, which is considered as threatening has been known several times in the last 200 years, in the 20 th century around 1942 and before 1870 in the 19th century. The maximum CO2 -concentration in the 20th century roses to over 420 pmm in 1942.
4. Accurate measurements of CO2 air gas contents had been done from 1857 by chemical methods with a systematical error of maximal 3%. These results were ignored reconstructing the CO2 concentration of air in modern warm period.
5. Callendar and Keeling were the most important founders of the modern greenhouse theory (IPCC) beside Arrhenius. Literature research confirmed that they ignored a big part of available technical papars and selected only a few values to get a validation of their hypothesis of fuel burning induced rise of CO2 in air. Furthermore these authors discussed and reproduced the few selected historic results by chemical methods in a faulty way and propagated an unfounded view of the quality of these methods, without having dealt with its chemical basis.
6. To reconstruct the modern CO2 concentration of air icecores from Antarctica had been used. The presented reconstructions are obviously not accurate enough to show the several variations of carbon dioxide in northern hemisphere
This is an unofficial extract of E-G Beck's comprehensive draft paper and is for discussion not citing
Bi-polar Bear Opinions
A survey of the animals' numbers in Canada's eastern Arctic has revealed that they are thriving, not declining, because of mankind's interference in the environment.
In the Davis Strait area, a 140,000-square kilometre region, the polar bear population has grown from 850 in the mid-1980s to 2,100 today.
"There aren't just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears," said Mitch Taylor, a polar bear biologist who has spent 20 years studying the animals.
His findings back the claims of Inuit hunters who have long claimed that they were seeing more bears....
"I don't think there is any question polar bears are in danger from global warming," said Andrew Derocher of the World Conservation Union, and a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "People who deny that have a clear interest in hunting bears."
Bear numbers on the west coast of Hudson's Bay had shrunk by 22 per cent over the past decade, he said.
"They are declining due to global warming and changes in when the ice freezes and melts in Hudson's Bay," ..."To say that bear populations are growing in one area now is irrelevant."
Whereas to say that bear populations are falling in one area now is relevant?
While the Bears have quite happily survived previous warm periods I will leave the specialists happily alone to "handbag" each other; much more interesting, and revealing of my inattention in classics is that the word Arctic derives from the Latin and Greek for Bear, arctos and αρκτοϛ , though whether this is the after the polar bear or the constellation I am still unsure.
Cameron lays down a friend for his life..
Mr Mercer said of the black men he had known in the Army: "They prospered inside my regiment, but if you'd said to them 'Have you ever been called a nigger,' they would have said 'Yes.'
"But equally, a chap with red hair, for example, would also get a hard time - a far harder time than a black man, in fact."
Mr Mercer added: "But that's the way it is in the Army. If someone is slow on the assault course, you'd get people shouting: 'Come on you fat bastard, come on you ginger bastard, come on you black bastard.'"
He also said: "I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours.
"I remember one guy from St Ann's (Nottingham) who was constantly absent and who had a lot of girlfriends.
"When he came back one day I asked him why, and he would say: 'I was racially abused.' And we'd say: 'No you weren't, you were off with your girlfriends again.'"
After the comments were published, Mr Mercer was asked by his party to resign his frontbench position and did so.
He later told BBC Radio 4's PM programme that in his 25-year military career he had twice come across soldiers claiming racism when disciplined for poor performance.
Mr Cameron said: "The comments made by Patrick Mercer are completely unacceptable and I regret that they were made.
"We should not tolerate racism in the Army or in any walk of life."
He also said: "I was completely shocked when I read the remarks of Patrick Mercer.
Shocked he was!, pass the smelling salts as the poor little metropolitan flower tries to gather his strength to stamp his feet in rage. I wonder what that fat moon-faced mummy's boy Cameron would have been called if he had ever joined up.....
I have read the Times interview from which the quotes were culled; he is responding after the announcement of the formation of a new trade union proposed by Marlon Clancy, a serving soldier who was recruited from the Commonwealth, and so it was entirely appropriate he covered the issue of racism. He made clear his own beliefs but was reporting the truth as he saw it: "I had the good fortune to command a battalion that was racially very mixed. Towards the end, I had five company sergeant majors who were all black. They were without exception UK-born, Nottingham-born men who were English - as English as you and me. They prospered inside my regiment, but if you'd said to them: 'Have you ever been called a nigger,' they would have said: 'Yes.'.
Can you spot anywhere where he expresses a racist view, rather than report other's racist comments? anywhere he shows approval of racism? I can't, maybe he didn't make double plus disapproval explicit but then intelligent people talking to another bright person don't feel the need to go in to paroxysms of racist denial everytime they are talking about racial issues. But no, the slightest mention by a white person of how races are treated in the real world is political suicide unless the appropriate tribute is laid at the feet of the idols of the anti-racist industry.
Iain Dale disagrees and believes his Cameron did the right thing.
March 8, 2007
Tim Ireland - "A Safer World Without America"
Bloggerheads - the weblog of Tim Ireland (aka Manic) has noticed the 18 Doughty Street advert "A World Without America" and asks:
.."wouldn't a world without America be a world without the world's largest arms manufacturer and dealer? Wouldn't that be a safer world? Or does 18 Doughty Street see no connection between guns and people being shot by guns?"
My answers: Yes I think so - I can't find the China production figures, No and that is just a pathetic Strawman argument. Your answers may differ....
Update on Buster Martin
Kim points me to another story about Buster Martin, the 100 year old who still works everyday and provided the cow Mary Ann Sieghart with such hilarity:
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.
I dealt with that in the linked post but whilst she was giggling at an old man's pain in that caring sophisticated way of hers he was leaving the Fox on the Hill pub in Denmark Hill at 10:30 pm when three youths pounced on him from behind.
Despite their best efforts to subdue him, the Second World War veteran launched a counterattack and sent them running empty-handed.
He said: "They obviously thought I would be an easy touch because I'm old. But they soon found out I'm still a good fighter.
"They just jumped on me and caught me unexpected. But they didn't realise how fast I would turn around on them.
"I was confused and I was lashing out at them. How the helI I found the strength I don't know. I think it came from my temper. I don't lose it often but when I do it's not a pretty sight."
Their blows sent him crashing to the floor but he managed to spring back up and defend himself:
"I hit one in the groin and I kicked another one. The foot I used had been operated on a week before for an in-growing toenail. They must have done a good job on it because it worked bloody well."
The muggers eventually gave up and ran off leaving their victim with cuts to his head and bruised ribs.
Now that is more like it...
Global Warming False Alarms from the IEA
Global Warming False Alarms by Russell Lewis
Don't let your wife or servants watch the television tonight
British television's Channel Four risks the horror of cognitive dissonance tonight by showing a documentary contradicting Al Gore's well-received documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," which won an American Film Oscar. The documentary is titled "The Great Global Warming Scandal." (and) claims the greenhouse theory on global warming is a scam....
The actual truth about "global warming" is far less important than what people actually believe about it. If people can be led to believe that "global warming" is a danger to the entire earth and all its inhabitants, governments can pass sweeping legislation, installing huge new departments monitoring and regulating every private, business, and governmental action that even peripherally impacts on "global warming." International institutions in particular could benefit--in effect creating a massive international transfer of wealth from those who have it, to those who want it and can acquire the power to take it.
With so much at stake, it is important that people not be confused. They should be presented with only one side of the topic, so that their depleted cognitive apparati not be overloaded. I cannot stress this strongly enough.
A decades-long campaign to dumb down the schools is just now ready to bear fruit in a very large way. For the public's own good, those who control the gates to public information--assimilable information such as video and film media--must forcefully prevent conflicting points of view from being viewed.
Up until now, we have been able to control most of the substantial sources of information to the public dealing with important topics. Blogs and other minor media are unimportant, given the low credibility most people assign to the internet. Television and cinema, however, are taken very seriously by the dumbed down populace.
I trust you will all see to it that the public's right to protection from cognitive dissonance is protected. Anything less is irresponsible.
(Headline explanation for the dumbed down generation - "Is it a book you would wish your wife or servant to read?” Mervyn Griffith-Jones, prosecuting counsel, R v. Penguin Books Ltd (the Lady Chatterley case) Nov 1960)
Downing Street emphasised Tony Blair’s support for Lord Levy’s role as a Middle East adviser yesterday amid ministerial fears that he might “implode” over the cash-for-honours affair.
The Times has learnt that senior Jewish figures who have donated to Labour have voiced their anger to the party at the way Mr Blair’s fundraiser has been left “twisting in the wind”, raising worries that they might withhold their support in future.
What a bizarre suggestion, donors suggesting how government policy is run by threatening to withhold more cash! That's exactly the sort of thing Lord Levy claims doesn't happen isn't it?
Where will Tony's Friends go now?
For a Prime Minister obsessed with his legacy, last night's vote by MPs for a fully elected House of Lords was little short of a disaster.
Tony Blair came to office in 1997 on a firm promise to modernise the House of Lords by ending the hereditary principle.
Mr Blair was always appalled, however, by the idea of replacing the old Lords with an elected Second Chamber. Such a change, he thought, would merely strengthen the Upper House and make it more of a threat to the executive.
Yes Tony always had much simpler idea of how people should be appointed to the Lords and become part of legislature, not through the lottery of birth, nor the wishes of the people but instead because they generously ......
Blame the Kiwi Fruit
Parental trust in organic food could be a reason more children are suffering from allergies, an academic has suggested.
Jonathan O'B Hourihane, a professor of paediatrics, told peers yesterday that nearly half the population is now prone to allergies. But while many follow the accepted advice to eat a varied and fresh diet, it is the sheer variety of fresh foods now available that may be to blame for the prevalence of allergies.
"The impression that organic or exotic fresh food is better for children may by linked to the appearance of allergies to foods that would have appeared bizarre to previous generations," Prof O'B Hourihane said.
I don't know what evidence he has but he seems to be a specialist in the area, an interesting idea and one new to me.
March 7, 2007
Sir Menzies Speech in Full
The Cult of Thuggee Rules
A cattle market worker with a lengthy history of violence was jailed for only two years after killing a pensioner with Alzheimer's who rebuked him for urinating in public.
The family of the pensioner told of their anger last night after learning that Steven Chapman could be free within 20 months. Chapman carried out his attack after deciding to relieve himself outside a supermarket in the middle of the day.
Benjamin Kerr, 78, remonstrated with the 22-year-old, who threw him to the ground.
Mr Kerr suffered a broken rib and died in hospital 13 days later after contracting pneumonia. After the attack, Chapman and his friend Christopher Thurley walked into the supermarket and stole some alcohol.
As they left, they stepped over the stricken pensioner....
As we are always told "Don't get involved, leave it to the professionals with their blues and twos." If this thug had killed a copper do you think he would have been treated so leniently? But the point is that a civilised society is one where everyone takes a responsibility, and that the "system" backs them up, and doesn't spit on the memory of a decent man.
My local NHS
Olive Roberts, 79, and her husband of 57 years, Ronald, 81, both have wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in Britain.
They were told that they needed urgent treatment that could save their sight. However, if they wanted the treatment quickly, they said they were also told they would have to pay for it privately, even though the drugs were licensed for use on the NHS.
The couple said the drug treatment they needed would cost each of them £600 a month, over a period of up to two years. They could not afford two treatments, so they agreed that Mrs Roberts should have the drugs because her sight was deteriorating faster.
The couple, from Malmesbury, Wilts, applied to the PCT for funding two months ago, and the Royal National Institute for the Blind campaigned on their behalf. Last night, the Kennet and North Wiltshire PCT said in a statement that it had met yesterday to discuss the case and it had agreed to fund Mrs Roberts's treatment as soon as possible...
"While this is good news for Mrs Roberts, this is one victory for one individual. Around the country, 80 per cent of PCTs are still not funding sight-saving treatment, and each day, 50 people with wet AMD in England risk losing their sight to this condition because they can't access treatments on the NHS."
Pay your stamp all your life, and when you need help, and need it fast it isn't there unless you are very lucky.
March 6, 2007
No more Just William and the Outlaws
Nurseries are stifling the ability of small boys to learn by forcing them to stay indoors and sit still for too long in class, according to a report today on preschool education....Experts have long maintained that boys would be far better served by having more male teachers who understand the way they work. Instead, the achievement gap begins at preschool age and tends to grow wider throughout full-time education, with 59 per cent of first-class and upper-second degrees going to women.
At Westfield Farm, in Lincolnshire, Hannah Dring has recognised that boys learn far better when they are outside looking at tractors than when inside painting.
“Boys don’t want to sit down, so when they’re outside — as they are most days — they’re learning but don’t realise it. They’re counting the wheels and lights on the tractors. If we go on nature walks, they’ll collect leaves and learn about shapes and colours, as well as trees.”
I really pity boys at school, every "male" behaviour is now seen as "unnatural" to the girly run education system, it is "high level" autism, ADD or ADHD, dyspraxia or "failure to institutionalise" or whatever new label they can come up with. The poor kids are drugged to the eyeballs with ritalin the rich ones given therapy. Of course no man dares to become a primary school teacher unless he is happy to be pointed out as kiddy fiddler these days. I believe a wise man once wrote an essay on the dangers to society of Pussification, we know the problem, and the solution is not to trap young boys in unsuitable schools at an early age.
Why Miliband won't stand for Leader
The Conservatives now have a record poll lead over Labour and would stretch it even farther if they were facing Gordon Brown or David Miliband. A Populus poll for The Times, taken last weekend, shows that Labour support has fallen this year and the Tories are eight points ahead — equalling the widest gap recorded by Populus.
But, while nonLabour voters are attracted by the idea of a younger alternative to Mr Brown, many voters know nothing about Mr Miliband, the Environment Secretary. The poll suggests that he would do no better than the Chancellor against Mr Cameron’s Tories. Labour led by either of them would lag far behind the Conservatives.
Mr Miliband sought to dampen leadership speculation again yesterday. In an interview with The Times, he said that he was not thinking of running.
Too right he isn't thinking of running. He is young, why should he take over Tony's "legacy" and pick up Gordon's tab? Let the miserable old Scot do that and face the music. Next election Dave C wins, Gordon resigns to spend more time with his money and Dave M becomes the new shiny face of nu-nuLabour ready to wash whiter and be prime minister before he is 50. Doesn't that sound better than getting involved in a nasty internicene struggle, struggle to run the country as the debts are called in, lose the next election and being unemployed without having created a "legacy" to maintain the lecture tours...
Back to the 1970s
Gordon Brown has lifted the tax burden to breaking point and must slash public spending or risk plunging Britain's national accounts dangerously into the red, the International Monetary Fund warned yesterday.
Union running Labour, the IMF at the door,.. if we are going to go back to the 1970s I can stand the three day week, I can stand the Glam Rock, I would love the cars and the Sweeney back on the telly but please can I be excused the beige suits and the hair cuts this time.
Technorati Tags: Gordon Brown, Tax
"Adjusting the evidence"
The Guardian last night successfully resisted an attempt by the
attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, to prevent the publication of today's
lead story.... the Guardian was given no explanation as to why this was necessary, or the nature of the legal problem....If the attorney general - who may be a player in this action - is
seeking to gag newspapers he must give the precise reason for doing so.
In the absence of any specific details we decided to publish. "Secret
orders and prior restraint on the press have no place in an open
Cash for honours: key document names Levy | Special Reports | Guardian Unlimited Politics
Police have been investigating whether Ruth Turner, the prime minister's director of external relations, was being asked by Lord Levy to modify information that might have been of interest to the inquiry. Officers have been trying to piece together details of a meeting they had last year. Ms Turner gave an account of it to her lawyers and this has been passed to police.
....the exchange between Ms Turner and Lord Levy that has been at the heart
of the inquiry in recent months, and which prompted the focus to shift
from whether there was an effort to sell peerages to whether there has
been a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
A spokesman for Lord Levy said he was unable to comment. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
Ms Turner has also protested her innocence and her conduct has been defended by Downing Street.
the inquiry both have been arrested and interviewed on suspicion of
trying to pervert the course of justice, which is an imprisonable
Technorati Tags: Ruth Turner, Lord Levy, No 10 email
March 5, 2007
Tilting at Windmills
BBC NEWS | UK | Wind turbines save '£10 a year'
Many people would save just £10 a year on their electricity bill by installing a wind turbine on their roof, according to a leading turbine technology firm.
This means that it would take 150 years for turbines- costing £1,500 - to save enough money to pay for themselves.
Did Dave ever get round to putting one up to show his sound grasp of economics and investment returns?
Technorati Tags: wind turbines, greenery, david cameron
That No.10 email in full
The BBC can now say the e-mail that triggered the investigation into an alleged Downing Street cover-up was sent by Number 10 aide Ruth Turner.
It was sent to Tony Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, and concerned Labour's chief fundraiser Lord Levy.
"Here is Michael", "Michael is here", "Here is Tony", "Tony is here", "I like MIchael", "I like Tony"......
Just one more reform.....
Visitors from Mars would be bemused by EU, says Cameron
David Cameron will pledge tomorrow to work with like-minded politicians to create a new European Union — one that he thinks will work for Britain and the world rather than immerse itself in distractions such as the constitution.
In one of his most important speeches since becoming Tory leader, the Tory leader will signal the start of a new engagement by his party with Europe, reforming it from the inside so that it moves from uniformity to diversity and from being an inward-facing bureaucracy to an outward-facing association of states. It would be one which devotes its energies to matters such as global warming, world poverty and creating a dynamic economy.
The same old story yet again, John Major used to bang on about reforming the EU from the inside. It is like Charlie Kennedy saying he hasn't got a problem, one more little drink and then he will never do it again. Drunks, cheating husbands and the Eu are unreformable, ignore their morning after pleadings and kick them out.
The EU reform plan - a soliloquy by "Tammy" Cameron
Sometimes its hard to be a politician
Giving all your love to just one plan
You'll have bad times
And he'll have good times
Doing things that you don't understand
But if you love him you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him
Oh be proud of him
'Cause after all he's just a plan
Stand by your plan....
Careless talk costs lives
Detectives believe they have foiled an attempt by Downing Street to wreck the cash-for-honours investigation after they obtained an injunction banning publication of a potentially explosive email about the inquiry.
The email from Ruth Turner, one of Tony Blair's most trusted aides, was to Jonathan Powell the No 10 chief of staff. It refers to Lord Levy the Prime Minister's personal fund raiser.
Detectives leading the 11-month investigation believe it was deliberately leaked to the BBC on Friday night to sabotage the inquiry.
March 4, 2007
Property of The State
Proposals to fingerprint children aged 11 to 15 as part of new passport and ID card plans are being considered.
Immigration minister Liam Byrne told ITV1's The Sunday Edition the proposals were being "looked at".
Under existing plans every passport applicant over 16 will have details - including fingerprints - added to a National Identity register from 2008.
But there was concern youngsters could use passports without biometric details up to the age of 20, said Mr Byrne
Two years?, five years? ago this would have been unthinkable, but now it just slips over us as normal. The cattle stop lowing as they near the slaughterhouse door.
I spit in your pint
Beer Glasses: Approval Marks
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether EU rules allow the Crown stamp to be used alongside the CE stamp on pint glasses. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: No. Under the Measuring Instruments Directive (2004/22/EC) which entered into force on 30 October 2006 the CE mark has replaced the Crown stamp to guarantee the accuracy of pint measures including pint glasses. The directive does not permit the use of any other marking on the measure.
Bastards, if I can't even enjoy my pint without being reminded of the EU then pitchforks ought to be sharpened.
The Secret Portal
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
discovers why I don't need to leave Wiltshire to get my mediterranean sun....
March 3, 2007
Leave your computer and go outside
For the first time since 2004 the UK is set to bask in the spooky reddish light of a full lunar eclipse, so step away from your computer and hope for clear skies.
This Saturday night (3 March) the Earth will move between the sun and the moon. The Earth will cast its shadow on the moon, leaving our largest natural satellite to bask only in refracted Earthlight, which it reflects back to us in all its bloody glory.
The actual colour of the reflected Earthlight depends on the condition of the Earth's atmosphere, particularly its dust content. It can be anything from a deep coppery red to a dull grey.
Proceedings begin shortly after 8pm, when the moon moves into our planet's penumbral shadow. It takes a little over an hour for it to move into the darker umbra, but this stage should begin by half past nine, and reach totality by a quarter to eleven.
The eclipse will last for around 75 minutes, finishing two minutes before midnight. The moon will be totally out of our shadow by half past two in the morning.
The weather looks reasonably promising too...ｮ
Gun Crime - The Shocking Story
Interesting piece, even more interesting to see it published...
Cash for Honours Gag
The Attorney General has obtained an injunction against the BBC to stop it broadcasting an item about the cash for honours investigation.
So this now leads the BBC Ten O'Clock News but Nick Robinson can't say what the injunction is all about. Let me help. I understand it is to do with an email that incriminates someone in a fairly drastic way.
Beans, time to spill....
March 2, 2007
You say Silicon, I say Silicone, let's call the whole thing off
Trading standards officers have confirmed silicone has been found in petrol taken from the tank of a car affected by allegedly faulty fuel.
A 'CONTAMINATED' fuel scare which has affected thousands of motorists may have been caused by silicon....
Dr Pike warned that silicon could be easily confused with silicone, a substance used as a lubricant or sealant in engineering.
Remember only the Main Stream Media has the professional fact checking in place that stops it making silly mistakes like what bloggers and wikipedias do...
UPDATE 18:47: BBC story now changed to Silicon ....
UPDTE 20:00 - BBC story changed again, now "Supermarket cuts unleaded sales" - isn't all this secret editing against the Bloggerheads Rules of Teh Internet?
Mary Ann Sieghart on David Miliband
A history lesson for Miliband:
Mary Ann Sieghart
...if Mr Brown were to lose the next election for Labour, Mr Miliband’s best hope would be Leader of the Opposition — and Labour could be out of power for the rest of his political life.
Miliband is only 41, does Mary Ann think Labour will be in the wilderness for twenty years and so he must run for Leader now? Certainly she seems to be a fan...
My guess is that a large phalanx of MPs, including senior Cabinet ministers, will beg Mr Miliband to run. Yesterday he gave a presentation to Cabinet on climate change, and according to one of his colleagues, “He was brilliant. He grasped all the complexities, didn’t lecture us and had a great lightness of touch. He was amazing, I have to say.”
David, I think you have scored!
Salting the Greens
In an effort to encourage lower sodium consumption, UK policymakers have removed the salt shakers from school lunchrooms. As a result, students are not only eating less sodium but also, unfortunately, fewer vegetables. Simply put, the most nutritious cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and turnips) have a strong bitter component. Since it has been universally established that most children (and adults as well) need to increase their vegetable consumption significantly, the UK approach of substantial salt reduction seems misguided to say the least. The use of salt to improve the palatability of vegetables will do far more to promote an optimal diet than reducing the small amount of sodium chloride needed to make vegetables more palatable.
I can hear the "Healthy Eating" fascists heads spinning and threatening to explode, the idea that anyone doesn't want to live on tasteless grey sludge which is "good for them" is beyond their ken...
Cheese Making Surrender Monkeys
French cheesemakers are about to overturn centuries of tradition by ending the use of unpasteurised milk to produce camembert.
Farmers say that consumers are shunning cheese that is made according to age-old processes after a series of food scares, while overzealous health authorities have buried their industry under a mountain of red tape.
However, purists complain that cheese cannot be described as genuine camembert without the uniquely pungent goût that comes from the microbial flora in raw milk — flora now under threat from pasteurisation, thermalisation or microfiltering.
So the hard pressed farmers are attempting to be allowed to bastardise their own produce...
“In the past I suppose we often made cheeses with bacteria in them,” said Calude Granjon, 55, deputy director of the cooperative. “No one knew and no one minded. I don’t think people fell ill from eating them because we were in contact with bacteria and built up our immunity to them. Today, everything is different and we have to accept that.”
French fraud squad detectives carried out a recent raid on the Isigny-Sainte-Mãre cooperative to discover whether microfiltering was already under way. “They found nothing illegal because we are not using this method yet,” Mr Granjon said. “But we are going to use it come what may, because we have no choice, although we are not doing it with a light heart.”
Isn't it wonderful that in France the Fraud Squad will raid a fromagerie to ensure that they follow the rules but the Palais de l' Elysées seems curiously immune...
Olympics to be like the Dome disaster, just bigger and more wasteful?
The man who rescued the Dome today warned the 2012 London Olympics risked being a "complete and utter disaster".
....the London Olympics could be remembered for being "an enormous waste of money", he warned.
The Tory peer told the Lords during a debate on the economic and social benefits of the Olympics that a recent report on the Dome which he and his team wrote and submitted to the government was published last month.
However four key sections and recommendations were either "watered down or eliminated".
Lord James of Blackheath, a corporate troubleshooter, told the House of Lords yesterday that a catalogue of errors led to the loss of tens of millions of pounds at the Dome.
“There would have been a saving of tens of millions without the interference of the Government,” ..
Lord James said that big business, including McDonald’s, BT and British Airways, had run rings round the Government when negotiating sponsorship deals for the Dome. The Dome organisers had negotiated flawed contracts with major sponsors and had ended up receiving a fraction of the money they expected.
“McDonald’s were certainly coming in with a big budget,” he said. “But nobody realised until July the following year that the budget McDonald’s were going to send the Dome: a £3.5 million bill for building their restaurant on the Dome site. It made rather a big hole in the sponsorship.
“Similarly, British Airways and BT both insisted on providing their own staff and then deducted the entire payroll of the staff they had to man the zones at the Dome from the value of the sponsorship they were giving. So there was absolutely no cash value left for the Government as a result of it.
Lord James said that the Dome nearly ran out of money several times and contractors were ineffective. He was furious at the Government’s insistence on doing everything itself because it believed this would be a cheaper approach.
“The obstacle race which Government imposes on the sensible contracting out of essential services — Government believes it can do anything cheaper than anyone else and Government is emphatically wrong.”
Also sourced from The Times
Oh Yes, the Olympics are going to make the Dome look like a mere pimple on the face of Government incompetence, we must be mad.
Road pricing in black and white.
Britain will be divided into a patchwork of road-pricing zones where drivers will be charged varying rates, under a government plan to make them pay by the mile without tracking them on every road.
Ministers believe that a zonal system would protect drivers’ privacy and deter them from rat-running in residential areas to avoid high charges on main roads. All roads in each zone would be charged at the same rate, regardless of how congested they were.
So even at this early stage of this pie (or Galileo) in the sky scheme they are abandoning any idea it is about congestion! But why not combine it with the other lead story today?
Scores of public sector workers are being relocated from a town because its residents are "too white and British", it has been claimed.
The Prison Service has decided to move 80 administrative staff next month from the predominantly white Corby, Northants, to Leicester, a city with a more ethnically diverse workforce.
Yes, set up the road pricing zones according to how "white and British" the area is! I can hear it now...Stephen Ladyman, the Roads Minister, gave details of how the system would work in an attempt to address concerns raised by the 1.8 million drivers who signed a petition against road pricing.
Speaking to The Times, he said their main concern appeared to be that road pricing would allow the Government to track every driver’s movements through a satellite positioning device in each car. He said that tracking could be avoided by abandoning the idea of having a complex charging system in which the price varied from street to street. “We could have charging by zones instead of by streets. The multicultural heart of a hip and groovy city would be Zone 1, the area just outside it would be Zone 2, further out in the suburbs would be Zone 3 and rural areas would be Zone 4. Those white bastards on their tractors would have to pay £10 to even look at the road, It's asphalt, it's black, it's proud, get them whiteys off it.
March 1, 2007
The Pipes, the Pipes are calling...
Hearing experts confirmed yesterday what anybody who has ever stood too close to a bagpipe band has long suspected: the noise they make is louder than a jet aircraft taking off.
The Wick Royal British Legion Scotland Pipe Band will issue all its members with earplugs after the music at one of its practice sessions was recorded at 122 decibels — two decibels louder than a private jet. (The Times)
Any chance of some ear mufflers for any poor passers-by as well?
NHS - Don't be ill this financial year
The survey, published in today's Health Service Journal, shows that 73 per cent of primary care trusts, which run GP clinics and health centres, are already restricting access to treatments. Half are also delaying operations.
Seven out of 10 chief executives said "patient care will suffer"
And the worst part of it is that there is a very real risk of innocent radio listeners being subjected to Patricia Hewitt's smarmy condescending voice as she "responds" to the the NHS meltdown.
Stalinist Property Theft in the Tory Shires
2.51 The latest housing needs survey in 2001
demonstrates that there continues to be a
demand for affordable housing throughout
the District. It is therefore legitimate to seek
an element of affordable housing on
allocated housing sites throughout the
district in accordance with Guidance within
2.53 The Affordable Housing Policy Guide, will
address the process for the provision of low
cost market houses. PPG3 introduces clear
guidance on the need for Local Plans to
address the need for low cost market
housing within its area. House prices in
rural Wiltshire (ie excluding Swindon) have
increased on average by around 18%
between summer 2002 and summer 2003.
On average across rural Wiltshire the cost
of a terraced house in Summer 2003 was
£133,339. Average gross weekly earnings
in Kennet in 2002 were approximately £400,
clearly less than can support a mortgage for
a £133,339 house. This gap between house
prices and wages in the District is clear
evidence of need for low cost market
housing as even looking at this coarse level
of data it is quite clear that local people will
find it difficult to take the first step onto the
2.54 Critical to all the policies on affordable
housing is the evidence of local housing
2.55 As stated in para 2.03, one of the
fundamental objectives for the sustainable
provision of new housing is to ensure there
is a mix of house types and tenure within a
scheme to promote better integration. Too
often once an element of affordable housing
has been negotiated the site is developed
2.56 The Rural White Paper published
November 2000 states in relation to the
provision of affordable housing 'in
settlements of 3000 or less no thresholds
apply'. Effectively this means that in villages
where there is a clear need for affordable
housing the local authority can seek a
proportion of affordable housing even on
the smallest site. The White Paper supports
the view that in villages, where there is
evidence of local need, every new general
market house should be matched with an
affordable home. Policy HC32, below,
seeks to achieve this on all sites that come
forward in villages...
CONTRIBUTIONS IN RURAL
The Local Planning Authority will seek to
negotiate the equivalent provision of
general market and affordable homes
on all proposed housing sites in the
villages subject to evidence of local
housing need supporting this level of
provision and individual site
characteristics. Planning permission will
not be granted if the size and type of
individual affordable houses proposed
in accordance with this Policy do not
reflect local needs.
The Local Planning Authority will need
to be satisfied that the housing provided
under this policy will always be available
for defined local needs, both initially and
on subsequent change of occupant. In
the case of 'subsidised' affordable
housing this should be through the
involvement of a Registered Social
Landlord, village trust or similar body
and secured by the use of planning
conditions or obligations.
Well there you have it, if you want to build yourself a house in a village in Kennet, you have to build one for the state as well, and basically give it away. (The "housing needs" surveys mainly consist of sending round a circular asking if anyone local" wants a cheap house, and if so how big.) You will notice the need for the housing to be "integrated", in other words it is requirement that the housing is mixed so rich bastards who can afford their own homes have to live next door to the down-trodden poor so they can all "integrate". The socialists have won, they realised they couldn't be voted in so they took over the apparatus of the state instead.
And I will remind you that Kennet is a solid Tory council, with only one Labour member....