May 31, 2007
Kim du Toit - asks Every so often, when driving or flying by myself on some trip or other, I play the old game of “If you could play a musical instument as well as _____, who would you choose?”
As I wander the land with my MP3 player plugged in my question is " If you could play a musical instument as well as _____, which riff would you wish you had played?”
The opening bars of "Satisfaction"?
The horn section alongside Duane Eddy?
The best I could hope to achieve with my lack of musical ability might be the drum crashing into Nobody Does It Better
I'm sure you have riff that you do the steering wheel bongo to.....
Beck's New Presentation on Historic CO2 levels
Presentation at Berlin EIKE meeting on 30th may 2007; "180 Years of atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods"
Please notice presentation on my paper at Berlin EIKE (European Institute of Climate and Energy) Meeting 30th may 2007 (with Fred Singer)
Click on the numbers (1,2 ...12) at the bottom on the right to browse through the pages
Click in left arrow to go back
Click on character M to see all pages
Files downloadable in compressed .rar format here:
Feel free to use it.
CBS on AGW
The video above is now available on YouTube. It is the first of a 5 part series. To view the rest, simply click on the screen and go to YouTube for the other 4 segments.
Big Brother's Naughty Cameras
Nearly all cameras illegal, says watchdog-Business-Law-TimesOnline
We are living in the surveillance age but 90 per cent of Britain’s 14.2 million closed-circuit television cameras may be failing to comply with the law.
A new national advisory body for the industry, CameraWatch, which has the backing of the police and the Information Commissioner’s Office, claimed yesterday that the vast majority of CCTV is used incorrectly and could potentially be inadmissable in court.
The organisation’s chairman, Gordon Ferrie, the international head of security for RBS and a former director of the fraud squad in Strathclyde, said that the dangers were pressing given the growth in the industry.
“Our research shows that up to 90 per cent of CCTV installations fail to comply with the Information Commissioner’s UK CCTV code of practice, and many installations are operated illegally. That has profound implications for the reputation of the CCTV and camera surveillance industry and all concerned with it.”
Knives in School
Security guards will be able to search pupils for knives at the school gates without their consent under government guidance to be published today...
Any school instituing such a policy is reminded that it should follow a suitable code in regard to the wearing of knives for Religous reasons:
The purpose of this document is to address concerns arising from the Sikh tradition of carrying the Kirpan, a ceremonial sword or dagger. It provides advice to schools that applies specifically to male members of the Sikh community.
The aims of this guidance are to:
• Ensure religious tolerance and harmony within schools serving diverse religious and ethnic communities
• Encourage and value pupils’ religious and cultural practices
• Ensure the health, safety and well being of all pupils.
• There should be no objection to the practice of wearing the five K’s, including the Kirpan.....
• The Kirpan should not be more than 6 inches in length (including both blade and handle) and the blade should not exceed 3 inches in length; the Kirpan should always be sheathed and worn out of sight...
No news yet if the freedom to carry a knife into school also applies to those ethnics from north of the border and their sgian dubhs...
Tory Fights Back Over Grammars
Graham Brady wades into Cameron over Grammar Schools - basically calling him irrational and acting as a teenage girl with a crush on the present Headgirl - and most damagingly presenting the evidence that two-Brains promised but never delivered on how Grammar Schools affect local communities.
Climate advice from those without a clue
One of the most prominent members of the Inuit community will today plead for an end to the expansion of Stansted Airport and deliver a devastating critique of the link between Britain's cheap flights culture and the effects of climate change on his people...Nicodemus Illauq, an Inuit from northern Canada, told the gathering in Belize of representatives of Arctic peoples and island states: "My people have been hunting on the ice for 5,000 years but now you risk death around every turn."
Why the fuck should we listen to a fuckwit Eskimo - they came across the Baring Straight 5000 years ago and turned left. If they had turned right they would have ended up in California, Mexico or Florida. If they had had the fucking nouse to move house one mile south a year they would by now be sunning themselves on a Caribbean beach, but no, they stayed clumping about in the snow eating seal liver and being eaten by polar bears for five fucking thousand years, and wondering why they were cold all the time. They are fuckwits, and so is anyone who listens to their advice on climate.
May 30, 2007
Vote for "None of the Above"
We put up with terrible, inept government. Why?-Comment-Columnists-Guest contributors-TimesOnline
What should we make of the failure of the Home Office to operate control orders properly, the MTAS computer fiasco at the NHS, and Ruth Kelly’s climbdown on home information packs?
Almost everyone has one of two responses. Some say that these are isolated failures in an otherwise acceptable record, others that they are evidence of a general incompetence that has a simple solution – to put different backsides on Cabinet chairs.
Almost everyone is wrong. There’s a third possible reaction: that these episodes (and there are countless others) show that centralised hierarchy is a terrible way of getting things done. Policy failures aren’t due to having the wrong personnel in charge. Nor are they exceptions to the rule of general competence. They are the inevitable result of bad organisational structure.
There are four lines of thinking that tell us this. One comes from Friedrich Hayek....
Read the rest for an excellent summary of why we shouldn't vote for the bastards. As he says "It’s not just in the high street that hierarchy is being rejected. It’s also being rejected at the ballot box, with support for the hierarchical parties falling. Here, the political class is in denial. At the recent local elections in England, five out of six voters choose not to vote Conservative, mainly by not voting at all. And yet when David Cameron described this as a “stunning” result for his party, no one pointed out that he was talking rot."
Gratuitous Demeaning Allison Stokke Picture
A month ago, Allison Stokke was an ordinary sixth-former with a special talent: pole vaulting.
A two-time California state champion and national record-holder, she was serious about her chosen sport, which had earned her a university scholarship. But then she made the “mistake” of posting a three-minute interview about her technique on the internet video site YouTube.
Within days, pictures of her, innocently taken at a track-and-field event, were on the internet and being leered at by tens of thousands of men all over the world on websites that have nothing to do with sport....
"..it just all feels really demeaning,” Ms Stokke told the newspaper. “I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it’s almost like that doesn't matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me.”
Oh yes they do, and with a good agent I'm sure you can get over the feeling as thousands of newspapers illustrate your distress with pictures and cash payments...
Pick a loser
Deputy Labour Leader - TimesOnline The new Labour legacy of Tony Blair was called into question last night as the six contenders to be Gordon Brown’s deputy revealed sharply differing views ......
In a largely good-natured debate with no clear winners,..
I watched about five minutes before retiring in hysterics at Hazel chipmunking away unseen behind her lectern, cruel bastards not giving her a box to stand on so she could be seen! A complete shower of evasive wannabees, either they should all be locked in a CCTV infested house for weeks for the public to vote on who they want evicted or I suggest choosing George Osborne, as he is apparently claiming to be Tony's true Heir on earth.
Entertainment News - Talentless Tosser Show Returns
Reunited Police begin world tour | Entertainment | Reuters
Every frigging breath they take whining about Roxanne is a waste of oxygen, rather than watch the bloated ponces I would rather have my eyelids stapled opened and strapped in a chair in front of the telly for this.
Burnley Express Latest Entertainment News - Big Brother back
Robocops on the beat
The white shirt and black tie of the British policeman is known the world over.
But a force is preparing to be the first in England to drop the traditional uniform for front-line work in favour of something more comfortable...
Ian Arundale, the deputy chief constable of West Mercia police, which operates in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire, said: "After body armour was introduced to protect police and community support officers out on patrol it became apparent that the traditional white shirt and clip-on tie was no longer a suitable uniform for front-line officers.
"Overall the responses to the new under-body-armour shirts have been incredibly positive and the shirt was well received by members of the public with people commenting that the shirts looked very smart, more up-to-date and made officers seem more approachable.
Dressed all in black wearing body armour, more approachable? Are clip-on ties really that scary in comparison. May be they should have got Hugo Boss to design them, at least they have a history of stylish designs...
Eat Beans, Reduce Your Methane Emissions - Defra
"You will be interested to hear that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is working on a set of key environmental behaviour changes to mitigate climate change. Consumption of animal protein has been highlighted within that work. As a result the issue may start to figure in climate change communications in the future. It will be a case of introducing this gently as there is a risk of alienating the public majority.
"Future Environment Agency communications are unlikely to ever suggest adopting a fully vegan lifestyle, but certainly encouraging people to examine their consumption of animal protein could be a key message."
Wait for it, alongside our Carbon Ration books Dave (M) will be introducing our Meat Ration books, best get to know your local butcher so you will be able to buy some chops from under the counter.
May 29, 2007
Celebrating Mr Broon's Heritage
Gordon Broon is considerin' creatin' a new "british day" tae celebrate traditional national values an' th' best ay home-groon culture, accordin' tae laboor ceilidh soorces. Gordon Broon believes a greater sense ay national identity is necessary in an era ay globalisation the idea coods be floated durin' his first 100 days as prime minister as part ay a personal drife tae build a greater sense ay patriotism. Mr Broon, fa will tak' ower as prime minister oan juin 27, has sit stoatin stair oan th' idea ay celebratin' "britishness" in a series ay speeches in preparation fur takin' ower at nae 10.
In other news it is revealed that Mr Brown is sensitive to charges about a Scot running the country
Willetts on School Vouchers
there is another approach which appears to have great appeal because it trusts parents - introduce school vouchers. The idea is to empower parents to choose the good schools by giving them direct spending power. There is a subtle, and more attractive form of a voucher in which you adjust the spending power for the social background of the student so that children from a poor area have, if you like, a higher price on their head. If a parent's request for their child to get to the school of their choice is written on the back of a cheque to pay for it then the letter is going to get far more attention. This is a powerful and important argument. We do need to go further towards clearer, more predictable per capita funding of pupils, aimed particularly at the poorer children being let down at the moment....
We already have more per capita funding than in the past and we officially have a system of school choice. But it hasn't transformed educational standards as we hoped. This is because there are no mechanisms in place to enable successful schools to expand, to take over failing schools or for new schools to be created. This explains why school choice, which has done wonders for educational attainment in Sweden, The Netherlands, and some parts of the United States, has not had the same impact here.
Every MP must have had the experience of a parent turning up at a surgery saying that they had chosen the best school for their child but had then been told that the school wasn't able to let the child in. Suddenly a politician's promise of choice has degenerated into a mere chance to express a preference. If we simply issued vouchers for an unreformed education system, that problem would be repeated in spades. It is as if we were lovingly focusing on the details of exactly what free railway tickets we should hand out to people without tackling the problem that the trains people want to take are full to bursting already, health and safety regulations make it very hard to add extra carriages and planning rules obstruct the building of new track. It is the failure to open up the supply side which is the reason why, despite years of ambitious attempts at education reform, Britain now lags behind many other advanced western countries....
Nor do I believe that handing out education vouchers in an unreformed schools system genuinely empowers parents because it is so hard for schools to respond to their preferences. The crucial step is not to focus on the demand side but on the supply side. We have already got parents who want to choose and a significant amount of public money that would follow them. Indeed, the latest evidence is of more parents appealing against admission decisions than ever before. What we haven't created are the mechanisms to provide more of the good schools that they want to choose. We must make it easier for people, including parents themselves, to set up new schools. New school providers must be able to enter the maintained sector, responding to what parents want.
So does that mean he is saying that they after they have sorted out the supply side of schools then vouchers will be a good idea? Is that the long term plan?
May 28, 2007
Led Zeppelin, Abba, the Beach Boys, Crowded House, the Supremes, Guns N’Roses, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, R.E.M. They never got Grammys....Sting, on the other hand, has won six Grammys. This is because he writes ponderous, furrow-browed ballads about international politics, the destruction of the rainforest and his dead dad. Things which, within the context of listening to music during a normal day – driving, doing the washing up, dancing around a bit drunk – would be almost wholly useless.
Tell them how much control parents should have over schooling
British ministers from both main parties have tried everything to improve standards in schools: literacy and numeracy hours, new timetables, discipline codes, school dinner strategies. Nothing appears to have worked.
Now, in the second week of our Think Local campaign, we suggest that the solution to the problem is to allow parents to transfer their share of education funding to the school of their choice, forcing schools, freed from state interference, to improve their performance.
Would you take advantage of this opportunity for your children? Or, if you would remain loyal to your local state school, how do you think it could improve standards and what role should central government play in helping it do so?
How much control, economic or political, should parents have over their local schools? If you live abroad, does your education system have lessons for the UK?
To send a letter to the editor of The Daily Telegraph, email email@example.com
Worstall's post on "rednecks from Alabama having a laugh at us urbanites who will swallow this tale". fails to be quoted in the Telegraph:
....a hoax by Alabama rednecks, cleverly using perspective, knowledge of hunting and the power of the internet to have a joke at the expense of urban dwellers everywhere?
but at least he gets to recycle his rubbish posts in the Times
May 27, 2007
Tim Worstall meditates on Hog Hunting and the skill in photographing trophies...
Gooseberry Chutney from 23rd May 1907
This is a recipe in my grandmother's cook book dated 23rd May 1907:
4 pints Gooseberries boiled in 1 1/2 pints Vinegar
2 lbs brown sugar made into a syrup with 1 1/2 pints Vinegar
1 1/2 lbs Raisens, stoned and chopped
6 oz Mustard Seed gently dried and blended
Mix altogether, put into a cool oven for four hours, on several occasions add vinegar as required - I always find the boiled vinegar sufficient, Add Chillies to taste.
Strong stomachs those Edwardians - but it sounds worth trying. Unfortunately our Gooseberries aren't ready yet, despite Global warming the season doesn't seem to be any earlier...
The English Food Movement
This isn’t just a fad or an east-London oddity, but a real movement of real English food. The simplicity of the decor, the menu and the message is indicative of the sense of purpose and the heritage of this food. It takes its style not from country hotels, old gentlemen’s clubs or grand plutocrats’ dining rooms, but from pubs and caffs of the sort that is disappearing, and the rural, bottom-up element comes from the organic and green movements, the hundreds of slightly loopy hippies in Peruvian hats and cut-down wellies making ewe’s cheese from sheep with names, breeding malevolent chickens, picking mushrooms under a full moon and driving chip-fat-burning 2CVs to farmers’ markets.
Now, I have issues with all of those things, but together they have produced the muddy ingredients and the imperative for a coherent national grub. And what I particularly like about it is that it reflects a lot of particularly English qualities that have got lost or dumped or sneered at in much of contemporary culture. Taciturn directness, thoughtfulness, a pleasure in craft, a mistrust of art, a joy in small things and details, a belief in the quality of sturdy things, openness, honesty and blushing. This is Leveller food, nonconformist, with a touch of piety and a subtle, ironic humour.
The Queen has been left "exasperated and frustrated" at the legacy of Tony Blair's 10 years in power, friends have disclosed.
She has been "deeply concerned" by many of New Labour's policies..
And I bet she is really looking forward to her weekly talks with Gordon.....
School vouchers - another half-hearted proposal
...we should introduce an education credit equivalent to the amount the state pays for a primary education place, £3,150, and a secondary school place, £4,070, to those parents whose children attend a school that is designated by the Department for Education and Skills as failing, and who are dissatisfied with the education provided for their children. The parents of pupils in such schools would have the cash to purchase better education for their children, either in a local state school or at an independent school. This would achieve greater social mobility than undermining the grammar schools. Education at independent schools costs more than this, but such a change would encourage the start-up of new schools, particularly at the primary level, geared to that level of funding. What's more, this is just the sort of school that businesses could be encouraged to support.
Critics will point out that such credits are another name for educational vouchers. That is true. But in the past when they have been advocated they were attacked for creating a get-out for middle-class parents faced with a poor comprehensive. This new credit would be available only for the worst schools (mostly in the inner cities) because the children there need real help. The education establishment and the teacher unions will fight hard against the idea but what is wrong in extending to parents in the inner cities the choice that richer parents in the leafy suburbs already have?
I was encouraged to hear David Cameron say in an interview that he wants to see "parents choosing schools, not schools choosing parents". Well, this is one way to achieve that aim....
It is no good for a party in opposition to simply mirror what the Government is doing. The Conservatives should use the time to open up the education debate and find new practical solutions to help the children who need it most.
Oh stop pussy footing around - school vouchers for all and bollocks to the teacher's unions, they aren't going to vote for you anyway.
Anti-gun campaigners have accused the Government of making a U-turn on firearms after a minister urged teenagers to take up shooting to improve their behaviour.
Richard Caborn, the sports minister, has backed a drive by shooting groups to increase participation in the sport among children as young as 12. He believes that the sport helps young people to become more responsible and disciplined, and vowed that significant funds would be made available to help boost participation. ...
That sound you can hear is the GFWs crying. Generally I'm not in favour of taxpayers money subsidising people's sport, and all I think is needed is for the Government to leave the shooters alone for them to prosper.
May 26, 2007
Pay Attention at the Back
Not standing by idly while 17-year-olds are deprived of their liberty...
For some reason I had missed this blog before, don't you do likewise
Mad Bint Alert
The Devil's Kitchen appeals
Rachel North is being stalked by some mad bint who absconded, after being convicted in absentia of harrassment. Quite apart from this woman being a nutjob and, of course, the fact that this libertarian is a big fan of the rule of law, Rachel's one of us and I would advise you to go and read Rachel's appeal....
Basically, the idea is for us to look out for this loony... in the real world, not virtually. Especially in cyber cafes in London and North Oxford, and in the East End streets, where she wanders, drinking cider.
Iain Dale also appeals but not so colourfully, as do may other bloggers. I'm not sure how many of my readers frequent these metropolitan locations but you never know...
Happy Birthday Duke
He embodies almost everything modern Hollywood considers politically incorrect - the tough-talking, red-blooded man's man, pro-war patriot, All-American hero and, in his own words, "Right-wing conservative extremist".
But John Wayne, whether on horseback or the battlefield, remains one of the towering icons of 20th century cinema and one the entertainment industry is again fervently embracing as it celebrates the 100th anniversary of his birth today....
..However, some observers were aware of how much Hollywood has changed since Wayne's heyday.
"It's hard to guess how the Duke would be received today, or even if he could find work in contemporary Hollywood,"..
Which is probably why I watch so few new films. There is nothing better on a wet Sunday afternoon than sitting on the sofa of sloth with The Searchers or The Shootist on the box.
And as a bonus for you here is the famous credo from the latter: Download Credo.wav
An Englishman's Castle
Microchips in our rubbish bins, smart meters that pass on information about electricity and water use, energy performance certificates, and councils that use military equipment to check emissions from our roofs - all new threats to our privacy. Clive Aslet asks when did an Englishman's home stop being his castle?
Isn't it time that someone told a government composed substantially of Scots about the true nature of an Englishman's home? It is supposed to be his castle. A retreat from the cares of the world, where - in the manner of Wemmick in David Copperfield - the returning householder can pull up the drawbridge, fire off a cannon and grow cucumbers. Inviolability is the principle - that, and a high yielding, tax-free investment to help in old age.
In recent months, the long noses of government ministers and town hall bureaucrats have been pressing ever harder against the portcullis. Enough is enough....
May 25, 2007
Gedanken-Fick Women #
Pregnant women and those trying for a baby should avoid alcohol completely, according to new government advice.
It replaces existing advice that one to two units such as a couple of glasses of wine per week is acceptable.
The change follows concern from some sectors that there is no safe amount of alcohol that mothers-to-be can drink....
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says there is no evidence that a couple of units once or twice a week will do any harm to the baby.
The Department of Health said the revision was not based on new scientific evidence but was needed to help ensure that women did not underestimate the risks to their baby.
It now says pregnant women or women trying to conceive should abstain from alcohol. ...
Women who are already pregnant and who have followed the earlier advice "will not have put themselves or their baby at risk", the Department reassured.
So no evidence - just connecting the awful results of FAS with a couple of drinks.
Paracelsus, A sixteenth-century Swiss chemist , wrote:
German: Alle Ding' sind Gift und nichts ohn' Gift; allein die Dosis macht, dass ein Ding kein Gift ist.
"All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous."
That is to say, substances often considered toxic can be benign or beneficial in small doses, and conversely an ordinarily benign substance like water can be deadly if over-consumed.
But so what - our nannies prefer to panic millions of women and shovel blame on them - I've not met a woman who didn't admit that she had a few drinks before she realised she was pregnant. Poor sods then spend years panicking that they damaged their baby when there is NO EVIDENCE that moderate drinking causes any harm.
# - Gedanken-Fick? - see http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfuck
THIS is truly shaming. A Victoria Cross hero Gurkha has been banned from living in Britain 'because he has no strong ties with UK' according to the Daily Mail.
Tul Bahadur Pun's extraordinary act of valour while fighting the Japanese during World War Two even won him royal admirers. He was invited to the Queen's Coronation and had tea with the Queen Mother. Yet despite his illustrious service record, when the ailing 84-year-old former Gurkha soldier applied for permission to live in Britain he was refused by government officials. Amazingly, British officials in Nepal told the wizened old warrior who put his life on the line for King and country: "You have failed to demonstrate that you have strong ties with the UK."
I need to go outside for a calming breath of fresh air and look longingly at that unused length of hempen rope in the barn, one day my lovely, one day...
Miliband - stop dreaming and do some work!
The Rural Payments Agency has paid out less in 2006 single farm payments than at this point last year – meaning many farmers are in a worse situation than 12 months ago.
Although SFPs did start to flow much earlier this year, latest figures from the RPA reveal that the total amount of money paid to producers now stands at £1.274bn. This is 83.8% of the estimated total fund of £1.52 billion.
Yet at the same point in 2006 – when the agency was dealing with 2005 Single Payment Scheme claims - the agency had managed to pay a total of £1.32 billion or 87% of the fund.
Of course that nice Mr Miliband has far more important things to do, like saving the world from plastic bags, than actually do his frigging job and get his department to actually work.
From 25th May, fitting bull-bars to vehicles such as 4x4s is to become illegal.
In a move to improve pedestrian and cyclists’ safety on the road, EU law dictates the sale and manufacture of protective metal frames is to stop.
Farmers – for whom the idea was originally developed – must now find alternative means of shielding the front of their vehicles from marauding cattle and rogue tree branches.
This is the only UK press mention I can find of this today.
Rubbishing Miliband and the MSM
EU Referendum has written at great length and in some depth about the growing shambles created by the EU's waste strategy. Our first piece was written in June 2004, not long after this blog had started, and we can count 50 more since.
There is thus very little more we can say, by way of comment, about yesterday's announcement by environment secretary David Miliband, on the government's waste strategy for England.
We can however, note that, in the torrent of media reports covering the event, one fundamental dishonesty shone through. Almost without exception, the media – typified by The Times - describes Miliband's initiative in terms of the government's plan to "wean England off its landfills".
It is, of course, no such thing. It is the government's strategy to increase the level of compliance with the EU's landfill directive, a desperate push, on the one hand, to reduce the huge fines which Britain will have to face and, on the other, a stratagem to transfer the massively increased costs of refuse collection and disposal from central government and local councils to individual households....
But what really sticks in the craw is this sanctimonious, ignorant, fatuous little individual blithely telling us that it was "time for everyone to change their behaviour…". One is almost tempted to do just that, but the result would be an extremely long term in prison.
No more needs to be added.
May 24, 2007
Traffic wardens are to be given head-mounted video cameras
What larks, what opportunity! Do you think I will be nabbed for "Anti-social behaviour" if next time I meet a sad nark patrolling the streets in the rain I start swinging on lamp posts and tap-tapping in the puddles doing my best Gene Kelly impression....
"Repugnant" Government's behaviour was "unlawful and an abuse of power"
Families expelled from the Chagos Islands by Britain to make way for an American airbase won their legal battle to return home yesterday.
Three judges led by the Master of the Rolls, Sir Anthony Clarke, refused a stay on the effect of their judgment, allowing the islanders to return immediately.
The judges had condemned as "repugnant" Whitehall's decision to "exile a whole population" in the 1960s and 1970s.
The only island that they will not be able to resettle under original High Court orders allowing their return will be Diego Garcia, where the airbase is situated.....
Lord Justice Sedley, who gave the lead ruling, said that by making an Order in Council under the Royal Prerogative to stop the islanders returning, the Government's behaviour was "unlawful and an abuse of power". The judges also rejected the Government's argument that the Royal Prerogative, discretionary powers that belong to the Queen but exercised by Government ministers in her name, were immune from judicial scrutiny.
Lord Justice Waller said that the decision had been taken by a minister "acting without any constraint".
"Indeed, the Crown may be doing something that - if she only knew the true position - she would prefer not to do, and yet it is then said that the Government can hide behind the Crown's prerogative."..
In 2000 the High Court overturned measures introduced by the Government in 1971 to keep the Chagossians in exile.
The court held the islanders had a right of return to the islands, although not to Diego Garcia. Robin Cook, the then foreign secretary, said there would be no appeal and a "feasibility study" would be conducted into the possibility of their return.
American military authorities were concerned that any attempt to resettle the islands would compromise the security of Diego Garcia, which was used to launch bombing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Government then changed its mind and declared that no one had a "right of abode" in the territory.
That order was overturned by the High Court last May. The judges said at the time: "The suggestion that a minister can, through the means of an Order in Council, exile a whole population from a British overseas territory and claim that he is doing so for the 'peace, order and good government' of the territory is, to us, repugnant."
(It is worth studying a map of the Islands to see how far away Diego Garcia is from the nearest habitable Island - about fifty miles).
So good news for the islanders and an enjoyable right royal bitch slapping for the government, is it too early to have a celebratory rum punch?
Bugs in your Bins
More than three million households in Britain have rubbish bins equipped with "waste stealth tax" technology, it was claimed last night.
Remember that , - Anyone who removed a bug and threw it away might not get their bins emptied, warned Paul Bettison, the Local Government Association's environment chief.
Mr Bettison, an advocate of charging, said: 'Removing one of these devices would not break any law as far as I know. Source
To remind you of what happened here last August and as a public service may I repost this:
So I went outside and tipped my bin over to have a look under the lip at the top - and here is what I found...
Details on the bug's abilities are here
May 23, 2007
I'm a Minority
Well, "we" meaning my fellow residents of rural communities. I suspect most of the people reading this are members of the urban elite, so you won't really care that today is the day when urban populations were predicted to exceed rural populations. That is, for the first time in the history of the world, a majority of human beings live in cities rather than in the countryside.
Now I don't want to hear any sneering from you glossy depilated metrosexuals about us barefoot hayseeds reeking of eau de porc. We're the ones with the low-traffic, low-stress, low-cost lifestyle and the fresh local foods who can still see the stars at night. And since there are now more of you than there are of us, I guess that means today is the day we have been promoted to the rarefied elite, and you're the common majority.
Kim du Toit is upset with me, and he is armed....
Cash to Cruise
Controversial plans by the UK government to introduce road pricing are to go ahead, despite fierce opposition
The government has published a draft Bill laying the ground for local authorities to develop local pay-as-you-drive road charging across England and Wales.
Conservative transport spokesperson Chris Grayling said that despite the government's public denials, the Bill is a "Trojan horse" for national road pricing.
"It's now clear that Gordon Brown is as committed to the government's road pricing plans as Tony Blair has been, despite the petition signed by 1.8m people and official forecasts that such as scheme could cost up to £60bn.
"To make matters worse, they are blackmailing local authorities into being guinea pigs for road pricing so they don't have to take the flack themselves.
The draft Local Transport Bill has a clause insisting that any council proposing a pay-as-you-drive scheme must take account of its environmental effect.
Climate change has been highlighted in the Bill as a factor which should be considered when devising schemes.
While many of the clauses amount to little more than building on powers contained in the Transport Act 2000, the insertion of "green" provisions represents a significant shift from previous legislation.
A tax raising measure - nothing to do with Brown, it is just a "green" measure - oh yes!
Soapdodgers in Danger
GERMAN authorities are using scent tracking to keep tabs on possibly violent protesters against next month's G8 summit - a tactic that is drawing comparisons with the methods of former East Germany's secret police.
Scent samples have been taken from an undisclosed number of people believed to be a possible danger to the forthcoming summit so that police dogs can pick out the perpetrators...
Surely it doesn't need much training to smell an unwashed demonstrator, you can normally pick them up from a hundred yards away - though of course at an international meeting the French delegation will now be running a risk of being bitten on the ankle as well.
Brownian Motion on HIPS
The Government was forced into a humiliating and chaotic climb-down over Home Information Packs yesterday, Ruth Kelly announcing that they would be postponed indefinitely for four out of five homes....Yesterday, experts predicted further confusion from new regulations that appeared to have been made up on the spot.
The packs will now come in two months later than planned, with no start date for smaller houses.
In a further sign of problems, ministers admitted they did not have a legal definition of what constituted a four-bedroom house....
Miss Kelly denied that Gordon Brown had been behind the delay because he feared that an adverse impact on the housing market next month could overshadow his arrival at No 10.
The Government is creating a "make work" scheme for hundreds of home energy inspectors, who face being unemployed for months. Councils and landlords of social housing will be "invited" to introduce EPCs on a voluntary basis to provide work.
Is it just me or does Ruth Kelly always sound as though, when she is speaking with that mouthful of marbles voice, she is debating whether to spit or swallow?
So Gordon's reign starts as it will continue; "nothing to do with him", fiascos, lies and "make work" schemes in the name of fatuous goals, and behind it all the unspoken kowtowing to EU directives.
May 22, 2007
Bringing it into your living room
A Royal Marine recently returned from combat in Afghanistan has uploaded some astonishing Doom-style helmet-cam footage, taken during a massive gun battle with the Taliban.
Viewers be warned: unlike the Iraq headquarters PR channel videos, it contains extensive profanity. Also, the cameraman gets hit in a mildly embarrassing location, to the hilarity of his comrades. There isn't any blood and guts to speak of.
Here it is (could be NSFW, depending on how much swearing and gunfire is allowed in your office):
Cameron's Big Idea on Education - A Hissy Fit
His head-on confrontation was criticised privately by some party frontbenchers. “I’m not sure that coming out all guns blazing is [the way] to damp it down. Trying to turn this into some sort of Clause Four moment is unusually ill-advised,” said one.
Although there was no sign of a frontbench resignation last night, MPs said that local party members were preparing to quit.
Mr Cameron is determined not to give ground on the 11-plus but is preparing to offer an olive branch to traditional supporters by announcing plans to toughen discipline in schools.
He will call for head teachers to have greater freedom to expel unruly pupils by removing a parent’s right to appeal against a head’s decision to exclude their child.
He will also say that Ofsted inspectors should have a new remit to report on consistency of discipline policy across a school, to ensure that some teachers are not strict and others soft, leaving children confused over what is acceptable behaviour.
Pathetic - he might be right on Grammar Schools, the cri de coeur of the parents worried about the state of education isn't going to be satisfied by giving Ofsted inspectors another box to tick. People look back at Grammar schools as representing a time when education was better and offered social mobility for the aspiring, the very people who the Tory party should appeal to. If they aren't the way forward, just offering Tony Blair's acadamys as the solution isn't the way the Tory party should respond, it should be putting forward strong radical proposals and not insulting its core members who have stood with the party through thick and thin.
It's enough to drive you to drink
Facing the daily stupidity of this country without the benefit of being outside a strong drink would be enough to send anyone mad.
Anything to Declare?
SCIENTISTS have discovered a new potential use for Viagra - preventing jet-lag.
The anti-impotence drug helped hamsters recover more quickly when their sleep patterns were disrupted by bright light...However, the drug only worked when applied before an advance in the light-dark cycle, equivalent to an east-bound flight.
Thanks, that is all we need, all those business men boasting how they have just arrived on the "red-eye from NY" sporting huge woodies as they have their breakfast meetings in Slough hotels. Maybe Spearmint Rhinos should start opening earlier...
May 21, 2007
A National Disgrace
To honour those who have valiantly fought for our country but are not treated as the heroes they truly are...
Would you want one living next door?
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has said housing policy must not be made "on the hoof" after a minister said UK citizens should have priority.
There is one oleaginous orange immigrant who I would happily prevent having a tax payer subsidised home, or homes....
A No 10 spokesman said the government recognised it was an issue in some places, adding that the key was to keep boosting the amount of social housing. and hope that keeps the BNP vote down.
Mrs Hodge, who was born in Egypt - as Margaret Oppenheimer, the daughter of a refugee millionaire German Jewish steel trader and his Austrian Jewish wife - as the BBC doesn't add, maybe they want her to appear to be as one with the poor huddled Muslim masses. What's a poor girl going to do? Her old fashioned constituents have robust views on who should get the subsidised housing, them and their families, and don't take kindly to those fresh off the eurostar getting first dabs. And they are showing their disgust by not voting for her or her beloved party. But if she panders to their prejudices she is vilified by the Guardianistas. Shame isn't it?
Safety standards set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNRP), which apply in the UK, state the amount of energy absorbed from an electric field or radio wave cannot exceed two watts per kilogram when averaged over 10 grams of tissue.
The Panorama researchers found the radiation levels in the Norwich classroom were 600 times lower than this guideline.
Vivienne Baron, of the campaign group Mast Sanity, said: "Many people have already fallen sick as a result of exposure to this microwave technology.
"Parents have not given consent for their children to be guinea pigs."
However, Prof Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, said: "Wi-fi is a technique using very low intensity radio waves.
"Some people suspect a non-thermal interaction but there is no evidence to suggest that this exists and indeed it is unlikely.
"Radio waves and other non-ionising radiations have been part of our lives for a century or more and if such effects were occurring then damage or other untoward effects would have been recorded and studied."
Oh for feck's sake, yet again we are teaching the children that primitive superstition against the magic of science outweighs any form of rational argument in favour of progress - give them all crystals to wear round their necks and brand them as sheep for life.
Snitch, squealer, stool pigeon, tout, grass, dobber, bavette, bourrique, cafard, cafteur, donneur, fileur, indic, mouche, mouton, raille, taupe....
Secret plans to turn staff into police informers-News-Politics-TimesOnline
Council workers, charity staff and doctors will be required to tip off police about anyone whom they believe could commit a violent crime, under secret Home Office plans.
.....a growing trend which has led to the UK's information commissioner, Richard Thomas, warning that the country has become a "surveillance society".
Yesterday a leading policeman joined civil rights campaigners in branding the spread of CCTV cameras an "Orwellian situation".
Ian Readhead, deputy chief constable of Hampshire, voiced his concerns that sleepy towns and villages were wasting valuable resources on spy cameras.
Singling out the town of Stockbridge in his area, where parish councillors have paid £10,000 to install CCTV, he said: "I'm really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras, and what comes next.
"If it's in our villages, are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation where cameras are at every street corner? I really don't think that's the kind of country that I want to live in."
DNA bungle as database tops 5% of population
As the total number of samples on the database topped 4 million — meaning that 5.5 per cent of the UK population now has their DNA held by the Government —
Nutories in a nutshell
The Cameron project has, at a stroke, restored patrician condescension to the heart of Conservative philosophy. Apparently oblivious to the sinister aspect that their own upper-class, public-school backgrounds would inject into this debate, they have revived a species of class war that prevailed in this country long before the Marxist version: the aristocratic loathing of the middle-class upstart.
The destitute are sympathetic because they can be patronised and "helped": the real enemy is the striving, overly-conscientious burgher who insists on helping himself.
May 20, 2007
Gordon's Balls to Europe
. That Britain is in inevitable decline and needs Europe as its salvation now looks absurd....
The old assumption that economic cooperation would inevitably lead to political integration, from single market to single currency, tax harmonisation and a European state seems removed from reality of modern Europe today....
We must not return to the old ideological assumption that being pro-European means moving inevitably towards European political integration, regardless of the opposition of national populations.
Public support for Europe has ebbed in recent years, with slow economic growth, high unemployment, budget problems and the rejection of the 2004 constitutional treaty making Europe seem stagnant and out of touch. A European state is not the answer. We do not need a constitutional treaty that fundamentally changes the relationship between member states and the EU. ...
Ed Balls MP is economic secretary to the Treasury..
His Master's Voice???
Revolting French Peasants And Their Revolting Plonk
The Regional Committee for Viticultural Action (CRAV), a small group of militant winemakers that has in the past riddled a lorry carrying Chilean wine with bullets, is threatening action they say could lead to deaths if Sarkozy reneges on his electoral promise to support their industry.
Last week, a piece of video footage was sent to France's Channel 3 TV station showing five balaclava-clad men, "somewhere in the Languedoc hinterland".
The short video showed the winemakers warning that after one month, if nothing had changed and wine prices continued to rise, they would be forced to go into action.
Decanter.com has that last demand the other way around:
They said that if in one month nothing has changed and that wine prices have not gone up, they will go into action.
What do these disaffected winemakers want with their campaign of violence? Well, the status quo. Actually, a reversion to the status quo ante. The French government has been in a process of weaning table wine growers off of subsidies for two decades or more. Table wines, in this case, are a category of insipid wines that previous generations consumed in vast quantity. As French consumers have started to drink less, but better wine, the table wine producers face increasing difficulty in finding a market for their wines. Thus they rely on the state to issue a guaranteed minimum price for their wines and periodically request crisis distillations as they did earlier this year. (Appellation wines, which now account for over half of the wine produced in France, receive no subsidy and are left to the whims of the market).( Dr Vino)
I think therefore it behoves us to drink more Appellation wines to support the free market and piss them off even more.
Correcting a Policy Mistake
The food company that makes Mars Bars has been forced to change its chocolate recipes and ditch the use of animal products after a backlash from vegetarians.
Mars has admitted it "made a mistake" by switching a key ingredient in its confectionery to one that came from the stomachs of slaughtered calves. Thousands of consumers complained after the company admitted that it was using animal rennet, the enzymes from the stomachs of livestock, to make whey used in their chocolate products.
It meant that Britain's three million vegetarians and some religious groups would no longer eat popular brands such as Mars Bars, Snickers, Galaxy and Maltesers.
Fiona Dawson, managing director of Mars UK said: "At Mars UK we have recently changed the source of some of the whey which is used in our chocolate products. We made a mistake. We apologise."
The first changes to the manufacturing process will begin on Monday... The company will tomorrow publish adverts apologising for the change and explaining future plans
That is the power of the market and how capitalism works, don't make excuses, apologise, change and make what you can out of it. Maybe there is a lesson here for some politicians....
David Cameron is being accused of riding roughshod over his shadow cabinet and policy groups after ignoring their advice when he announced that the Conservatives would not create more grammar schools.
The Tory leader brushed aside objections from senior members of his team to ditch his party's traditional support for selective schools. He also ignored a key policy document calling for a big increase in academic selection.
David Willetts, the shadow education secretary, risks inflaming the situation further today by repeating his view that grammar schools served the middle classes and declaring in The Sunday Telegraph that he is "proud" to continue Tony Blair's education reforms
May 18, 2007
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to oppose calls by police to introduce blanket use of plastic glasses even in pubs and other licensed premises with no history of violence. We feel blanket bans on glass are unnecessary and will have a detrimental effect on the licensed trade and the drinking experience of the millions of law-abiding pub goers in well run establishments up and down the country.
Wadworth's 6X in a plastic glass - the idea is too repellent to contemplate. I would like to go back to my pewter mug but "the nick and the froth" meant I was always getting short measure. (nick and froth n. c.1600 - a dented pewter mug and excessive foam on the ale, both diminishing the quantity of liquor contained within it).
From the nick and froth of a penny pot-house,
From the fiddle and cross,
and a great Scotch louse,
From committees that chop up a man like a mouse
May the Good Lord preserve us
Apologies for lack of posts this morning, it's my birthday and what with my present of a pair of Javanese twins and their massage oil arriving suitably wrapped up to be opened and enjoyed; and having to get the Ox onto roast for this evening's meal, put the case of Margaux to chambre and so on, Mr & Mrs Fm and Mr NBC amongst others are guests, it is all a bit hectic this morning.
May 17, 2007
Are Police Going Undercover in the Bush?
Unhappy Brisbane residents may have to put up with a nude car wash offering x-rated services, after police and Brisbane City Council both said its operations were beyond their control.
Local councillor David McLachlan spoke out about the Bubbles 'n' Babes business on Tuesday, using a council meeting to complain of inaction from police and council officers.
...police investigations to date had found the business was not involved in anything illegal.
"We'll continue to monitor the situation but anything we've investigated so far has been lawful," he said.
The operation offers a topless car wash for $50 and a nude car wash with x-rated show included, for $100.
Superintendent Campbell would not speculate on what activities would be considered unlawful or how police planned to monitor the business.
"We did not receive any complaints about the operation itself that required a police response and investigation," he said.
"We have received information from the community that it exists and that it's there."
He rejected claims of a police cover-up.
But the local squad cars are all bright and gleaming..... sounds like the Police and most residents have better things to do and are happy to let others be, the true sign of a civilised society.
One's Seed Supply
At a reception to thank the trust supporters who donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to help the purchase, the Prince joked that today was his lucky day.
"it reminded me that I found, when I was here last, I collected an enormous amount of seeds in the turn-up of my trousers, which I experimented with when I got home."
I hope Sir enjoyed them, as long as Harry didn't steal all the plants first...
The Unbelievers File
Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics
Following the U.S. Senate's vote today on a global warming measure.. it is an opportune time to examine the recent and quite remarkable momentum shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven “consensus” on man-made global warming.
The list below is just the tip of the iceberg. A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report.
In the meantime, please review the list of scientists below and ask yourself why the media is missing one of the biggest stories in climate of 2007. Feel free to distribute the partial list of scientists who recently converted to skeptics to your local schools and universities...
( Link to pdf version )
Or see below for online version...
(Hattip Doc Bud)
Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, a top geophysicist and French Socialist who has authored more than 100 scientific articles and written 11 books and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States, converted from climate alarmist to skeptic in 2006. Allegre, who was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, now says the cause of climate change is "unknown" and accused the “prophets of doom of global warming” of being motivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" “Glaciers’ chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena. This fact is confirmed by mathematical meteorological theories. So, let us be cautious,” Allegre explained in a September 21, 2006 article in the French newspaper L'EXPRESS. The National Post in Canada also profiled Allegre on March 2, 2007, noting “Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution.” Allegre now calls fears of a climate disaster "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers” mocks "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." Allegre, a member of both the French and U.S. Academy of Sciences, had previously expressed concern about manmade global warming. "By burning fossil fuels, man enhanced the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century," Allegre wrote 20 years ago. In addition, Allegre was one of 1500 scientists who signed a November 18, 1992 letter titled “World Scientists' Warning to Humanity” in which the scientists warned that global warming’s “potential risks are very great.”
Geologist Bruno Wiskel of the University of Alberta recently reversed his view of man-made climate change and instead became a global warming skeptic. Wiskel was once such a big believer in man-made global warming that he set out to build a “Kyoto house” in honor of the UN sanctioned Kyoto Protocol which was signed in 1997. Wiskel wanted to prove that the Kyoto Protocol’s goals were achievable by people making small changes in their lives. But after further examining the science behind Kyoto, Wiskel reversed his scientific views completely and became such a strong skeptic, that he recently wrote a book titled “The Emperor's New Climate: Debunking the Myth of Global Warming.” A November 15, 2006 Edmonton Sun article explains Wiskel’s conversion while building his “Kyoto house”: “Instead, he said he realized global warming theory was full of holes and ‘red flags,’ and became convinced that humans are not responsible for rising temperatures.” Wiskel now says “the truth has to start somewhere.” Noting that the Earth has been warming for 18,000 years, Wiskel told the Canadian newspaper, “If this happened once and we were the cause of it, that would be cause for concern. But glaciers have been coming and going for billions of years." Wiskel also said that global warming has gone "from a science to a religion” and noted that research money is being funneled into promoting climate alarmism instead of funding areas he considers more worthy. "If you funnel money into things that can't be changed, the money is not going into the places that it is needed,” he said.
Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top young award winning scientists, recanted his belief that manmade emissions were driving climate change. ""Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye,” Shaviv said in February 2, 2007 Canadian National Post article. According to Shaviv, the C02 temperature link is only “incriminating circumstantial evidence.” "Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming" and "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist,” Shaviv noted pointing to the impact cosmic- rays have on the atmosphere. According to the National Post, Shaviv believes that even a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere by 2100 "will not dramatically increase the global temperature." “Even if we halved the CO2 output, and the CO2 increase by 2100 would be, say, a 50% increase relative to today instead of a doubled amount, the expected reduction in the rise of global temperature would be less than 0.5C. This is not significant,” Shaviv explained. Shaviv also wrote on August 18, 2006 that a colleague of his believed that “CO2 should have a large effect on climate” so “he set out to reconstruct the phanerozoic temperature. He wanted to find the CO2 signature in the data, but since there was none, he slowly had to change his views.” Shaviv believes there will be more scientists converting to man-made global warming skepticism as they discover the dearth of evidence. “I think this is common to many of the scientists who think like us (that is, that CO2 is a secondary climate driver). Each one of us was working in his or her own niche. While working there, each one of us realized that things just don't add up to support the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) picture. So many had to change their views,” he wrote.
Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian Government, recently detailed his conversion to a skeptic. “I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical,” Evans wrote in an April 30, 2007 blog. “But after 2000 the evidence for carbon emissions gradually got weaker -- better temperature data for the last century, more detailed ice core data, then laboratory evidence that cosmic rays precipitate low clouds,” Evans wrote. “As Lord Keynes famously said, ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’” he added. Evans noted how he benefited from climate fears as a scientist. “And the political realm in turn fed money back into the scientific community. By the late 1990's, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming. And so were lots of people around me; and there were international conferences full of such people. And we had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet! But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed,” Evans wrote. “The pre-2000 ice core data was the central evidence for believing that atmospheric carbon caused temperature increases. The new ice core data shows that past warmings were *not* initially caused by rises in atmospheric carbon, and says nothing about the strength of any amplification. This piece of evidence casts reasonable doubt that atmospheric carbon had any role in past warmings, while still allowing the possibility that it had a supporting role,” he added. “Unfortunately politics and science have become even more entangled. The science of global warming has become a partisan political issue, so positions become more entrenched. Politicians and the public prefer simple and less-nuanced messages. At the moment the political climate strongly supports carbon emissions as the cause of global warming, to the point of sometimes rubbishing or silencing critics,” he concluded. (Evans bio link )
Climate researcher Dr. Tad Murty, former Senior Research Scientist for Fisheries and Oceans in Canada, also reversed himself from believer in man-made climate change to a skeptic. “I stated with a firm belief about global warming, until I started working on it myself,” Murty explained on August 17, 2006. “I switched to the other side in the early 1990's when Fisheries and Oceans Canada asked me to prepare a position paper and I started to look into the problem seriously,” Murty explained. Murty was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, "If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.”
Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner, former lecturer at Durham University and host of a popular UK TV series on wildlife, recently converted into a skeptic after reviewing the science and now calls global warming fears "poppycock." According to a May 15, 2005 article in the UK Sunday Times, Bellamy said “global warming is largely a natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that can’t be fixed.” “The climate-change people have no proof for their claims. They have computer models which do not prove anything,” Bellamy added. Bellamy’s conversion on global warming did not come without a sacrifice as several environmental groups have ended their association with him because of his views on climate change. The severing of relations came despite Bellamy’s long activism for green campaigns. The UK Times reported Bellamy “won respect from hardline environmentalists with his campaigns to save Britain’s peat bogs and other endangered habitats. In Tasmania he was arrested when he tried to prevent loggers cutting down a rainforest.”
Climate scientist Dr. Chris de Freitas of The University of Auckland, N.Z., also converted from a believer in man-made global warming to a skeptic. “At first I accepted that increases in human caused additions of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere would trigger changes in water vapor etc. and lead to dangerous ‘global warming,’ But with time and with the results of research, I formed the view that, although it makes for a good story, it is unlikely that the man-made changes are drivers of significant climate variation.” de Freitas wrote on August 17, 2006. “I accept there may be small changes. But I see the risk of anything serious to be minute,” he added. “One could reasonably argue that lack of evidence is not a good reason for complacency. But I believe the billions of dollars committed to GW research and lobbying for GW and for Kyoto treaties etc could be better spent on uncontroversial and very real environmental problems (such as air pollution, poor sanitation, provision of clean water and improved health services) that we know affect tens of millions of people,” de Freitas concluded. de Freitas was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, “Significant [scientific] advances have been made since the [Kyoto] protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases.”
Meteorologist Dr. Reid Bryson, the founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at University of Wisconsin (now the Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, was pivotal in promoting the coming ice age scare of the 1970’s ( See Time Magazine’s 1974 article “Another Ice Age” citing Bryson: & see Newsweek’s 1975 article “The Cooling World” citing Bryson) has now converted into a leading global warming skeptic. In February 8, 2007 Bryson dismissed what he terms "sky is falling" man-made global warming fears. Bryson, was on the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor and was identified by the British Institute of Geographers as the most frequently cited climatologist in the world. “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?” Bryson told the May 2007 issue of Energy Cooperative News. “All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd. Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air,” Bryson said. “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide,” he added. “We cannot say what part of that warming was due to mankind's addition of ‘greenhouse gases’ until we consider the other possible factors, such as aerosols. The aerosol content of the atmosphere was measured during the past century, but to my knowledge this data was never used. We can say that the question of anthropogenic modification of the climate is an important question -- too important to ignore. However, it has now become a media free-for-all and a political issue more than a scientific problem,” Bryson explained in 2005.
Global warming author and economist Hans H.J. Labohm started out as a man-made global warming believer but he later switched his view after conducting climate research. Labohm wrote on August 19, 2006, “I started as a anthropogenic global warming believer, then I read the [UN’s IPCC] Summary for Policymakers and the research of prominent skeptics.” “After that, I changed my mind,” Labohn explained. Labohn co-authored the 2004 book “Man-Made Global Warming: Unraveling a Dogma,” with chemical engineer Dick Thoenes who was the former chairman of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society. Labohm was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, “’Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural ‘noise.’”
Paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson, of Carlton University in Ottawa converted from believer in C02 driving the climate change to a skeptic. “I taught my students that CO2 was the prime driver of climate change,” Patterson wrote on April 30, 2007. Patterson said his “conversion” happened following his research on “the nature of paleo-commercial fish populations in the NE Pacific.” “[My conversion from believer to climate skeptic] came about approximately 5-6 years ago when results began to come in from a major NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Strategic Project Grant where I was PI (principle investigator),” Patterson explained. “Over the course of about a year, I switched allegiances,” he wrote. “As the proxy results began to come in, we were astounded to find that paleoclimatic and paleoproductivity records were full of cycles that corresponded to various sun-spot cycles. About that time, [geochemist] Jan Veizer and others began to publish reasonable hypotheses as to how solar signals could be amplified and control climate,” Patterson noted. Patterson says his conversion “probably cost me a lot of grant money. However, as a scientist I go where the science takes me and not were activists want me to go.” Patterson now asserts that more and more scientists are converting to climate skeptics. "When I go to a scientific meeting, there's lots of opinion out there, there's lots of discussion (about climate change). I was at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia in the fall and I would say that people with my opinion were probably in the majority,” Patterson told the Winnipeg Sun on February 13, 2007. Patterson, who believes the sun is responsible for the recent warm up of the Earth, ridiculed the environmentalists and the media for not reporting the truth. "But if you listen to [Canadian environmental activist David] Suzuki and the media, it's like a tiger chasing its tail. They try to outdo each other and all the while proclaiming that the debate is over but it isn't -- come out to a scientific meeting sometime,” Patterson said. In a separate interview on April 26, 2007 with a Canadian newspaper, Patterson explained that the scientific proof favors skeptics. “I think the proof in the pudding, based on what (media and governments) are saying, (is) we're about three quarters of the way (to disaster) with the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere," he said. “The world should be heating up like crazy by now, and it's not. The temperatures match very closely with the solar cycles."
Physicist Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, chairman of the Central Laboratory for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Radiological Protection in Warsaw, took a scientific journey from a believer of man-made climate change in the form of global cooling in the 1970’s all the way to converting to a skeptic of current predictions of catastrophic man-made global warming. “At the beginning of the 1970s I believed in man-made climate cooling, and therefore I started a study on the effects of industrial pollution on the global atmosphere, using glaciers as a history book on this pollution,” Dr. Jaworowski, wrote on August 17, 2006. “With the advent of man-made warming political correctness in the beginning of 1980s, I already had a lot of experience with polar and high altitude ice, and I have serious problems in accepting the reliability of ice core CO2 studies,” Jaworowski added. Jaworowski, who has published many papers on climate with a focus on CO2 measurements in ice cores, also dismissed the UN IPCC summary and questioned what the actual level of C02 was in the atmosphere in a March 16, 2007 report in EIR science entitled “CO2: The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Our Time.” “We thus find ourselves in the situation that the entire theory of man-made global warming—with its repercussions in science, and its important consequences for politics and the global economy—is based on ice core studies that provided a false picture of the atmospheric CO2 levels,” Jaworowski wrote. “For the past three decades, these well-known direct CO2 measurements, recently compiled and analyzed by Ernst-Georg Beck (Beck 2006a, Beck 2006b, Beck 2007), were completely ignored by climatologists—and not because they were wrong. Indeed, these measurements were made by several Nobel Prize winners, using the techniques that are standard textbook procedures in chemistry, biochemistry, botany, hygiene, medicine, nutrition, and ecology. The only reason for rejection was that these measurements did not fit the hypothesis of anthropogenic climatic warming. I regard this as perhaps the greatest scientific scandal of our time,” Jaworowski wrote. “The hypothesis, in vogue in the 1970s, stating that emissions of industrial dust will soon induce the new Ice Age, seem now to be a conceited anthropocentric exaggeration, bringing into discredit the science of that time. The same fate awaits the present,” he added. Jaworowski believes that cosmic rays and solar activity are major drivers of the Earth’s climate. Jaworowski was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part: "It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases."
Paleoclimatologist Dr. Ian D. Clark, professor of the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa, reversed his views on man-made climate change after further examining the evidence. “I used to agree with these dramatic warnings of climate disaster. I taught my students that most of the increase in temperature of the past century was due to human contribution of C02. The association seemed so clear and simple. Increases of greenhouse gases were driving us towards a climate catastrophe,” Clark said in a 2005 documentary "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What You're Not Being Told About the Science of Climate Change.” “However, a few years ago, I decided to look more closely at the science and it astonished me. In fact there is no evidence of humans being the cause. There is, however, overwhelming evidence of natural causes such as changes in the output of the sun. This has completely reversed my views on the Kyoto protocol,” Clark explained. “Actually, many other leading climate researchers also have serious concerns about the science underlying the [Kyoto] Protocol,” he added.
Environmental geochemist Dr. Jan Veizer, professor emeritus of University of Ottawa, converted from believer to skeptic after conducting scientific studies of climate history. “I simply accepted the (global warming) theory as given,” Veizer wrote on April 30, 2007 about predictions that increasing C02 in the atmosphere was leading to a climate catastrophe. “The final conversion came when I realized that the solar/cosmic ray connection gave far more consistent picture with climate, over many time scales, than did the CO2 scenario,” Veizer wrote. “It was the results of my work on past records, on geological time scales, that led me to realize the discrepancies with empirical observations. Trying to understand the background issues of modeling led to realization of the assumptions and uncertainties involved,” Veizer explained. “The past record strongly favors the solar/cosmic alternative as the principal climate driver,” he added. Veizer acknowledgez the Earth has been warming and he believes in the scientific value of climate modeling. “The major point where I diverge from the IPCC scenario is my belief that it underestimates the role of natural variability by proclaiming CO2 to be the only reasonable source of additional energy in the planetary balance. Such additional energy is needed to drive the climate. The point is that most of the temperature, in both nature and models, arises from the greenhouse of water vapor (model language ‘positive water vapor feedback’,) Veizer wrote. “Thus to get more temperature, more water vapor is needed. This is achieved by speeding up the water cycle by inputting more energy into the system,” he continued. “Note that it is not CO2 that is in the models but its presumed energy equivalent (model language ‘prescribed CO2’). Yet, the models (and climate) would generate a more or less similar outcome regardless where this additional energy is coming from. This is why the solar/cosmic connection is so strongly opposed, because it can influence the global energy budget which, in turn, diminishes the need for an energy input from the CO2 greenhouse,” he wrote.
More to follow...
Reading for Boys
The UK's Education Secretary is hoping that including books violence and sporty working-class heroes in a list of the top 160 books for teenage boys will them more interested in reading.
The list includes works of authors from the past and present such as Philip Pullman's 'Northern Lights (His Dark Materials', Daniel Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe', J RR Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' and E E Richardson's 'The Intruders'.
'Ripley's Believe It or Not!' by Robert LeRoy Ripley, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams and 'King Solomon's Mines' by H Rider Haggard also appear on the list.
The common feature all these authors share is that their novels are full of gritty, fighting, spying, fantastical, bloodthirsty and sporty working-class heroes.
The Guardian view is that:
The resulting list is a pile of cack - sub-Tolkien and not-really-books - studded here and there with gems.
What do you think? The full list is below:
1. The Top 10 of Everything 2007 by Russell Ash, Hamlyn (2008 edition available in the autumn)
2. Strange Powers of the Human Mind (Forbidden Truths) by Herbie Brennan, Faber
3. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, Black Swan,
4. I Know You Got Soul by Jeremy Clarkson, Penguin
5. Guinness Book of Records 2007, Guinness (2008 edition available in the autumn)
6. 101 Things You Need To Know (And Some You Don’t) by Richard Horne, Bloomsbury
7. 101 Things To Do Before You’re Old and Boring by Richard Horne, Bloomsbury
8. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! by Robert LeRoy Ripley, Century
9. The Boys’ Book; How to be the Best at Everything by Guy McDonald, Buster Books
10. Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food by Eric Schlosser, Puffin
11. How to Spot a Hadrosaur in a Bus Queue by Andy Seed, Hodder
12. How to Avoid a Wombat’s Bum by Mitchell Symons, Doubleday
13. Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? by Mick O'Hare, Profile Books
14. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Macmillan
15. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Puffin
16. King Solomon’s Mines by H Rider Haggard, Penguin
17. Northern Lights (His Dark Materials) by Philip Pullman, Scholastic
18. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Bloomsbury
19. Kidnapped (adapted by) Alan Grant, Barrington Stoke
20. Treasure Island by R L Stevenson, Bloomsbury
21. The Hobbit by J RR Tolkien, HarperCollins
22. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Penguin
23. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Penguin
24. Like Father Like Son by Tony Bradman (ed), Kingfisher
25. Unreal! by Paul Jennings, Puffin
26. Flight by Kazu Kibuishi, Image Comics
27. One Beastly Beast by Garth Nix, HarperCollins
28. The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, Puffin
29. It Was A Dark and Silly Night by Art Spiegelman, HarperCollins
30. Scientific Progress Goes Boink (Calvin and Hobbes) by Bill Watterson, Time Warner
31. Talking Turkeys by Bejamin Zephaniah, Puffin
32. Arthur and the Invisibles by Luc Besson, Faber
33. The Spellgrinder’s Apprentice by N M Browne, Bloomsbury
34. The Forgotten Spell (Spellcaster Gamebooks) by Louisa Dent, Wizard Books
35. Castle of Wizardry (The Belgariad) by David Eddings, Corgi
36. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, Chicken House
37. Mirrormask by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, Bloomsbury
38. Samurai (Saint of Dragons) by Jason Hightman, HarperCollins
39. Blade of Fire (The Icemark Chronicles) by Stuart Hill, Chicken House
40. Eldest by Christopher Paolini, Corgi
41. Clash of the Sky Galleons (The Edge Chronicles) by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, Doubleday
42. Bloodsong by Melvin Burgess, Puffin
43. The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer, Puffi
44. Small-Minded Giants by Oisin McGann, Corgi
45. Takedown by Graham Marks, Catnip
46. Jango (Noble Warriors) by William Nicholson, Egmont
47. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (Maximum Ride) by James Patterson, Headline
48. A Darkling Plain (Mortal Engines Quartet) by Philip Reeve, Scholastic
49. Storm Thief by Chris Wooding, Scholastic
50. Darkside by Tom Becker, Scholastic
51. The Spook’s Secret (Wardstone Chronicles) by Joseph Delaney, Bodley Head
52. The Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven, Doubleday
53. Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Bloomsbury
54. Setting of a Cruel Sun (The Lost Souls Stories) by Alan Gibbons, Orion
55. Nightrise (Power of Five) by Anthony Horowitz, Walker
56. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, HarperCollins
57. Breathe by Cliff McNish, Orion
58. Devil for Sale by E E Richardson, Barrington Stoke
59. The Intruders by E E Richardson, Corgi
60. Blood Beast (Demonata) by Darren Shan, HarperCollins
61. Crazy Creatures (Reality Check) by Gillian Arbuthnott, Barrington Stoke
62. The Fighting Pit (Bear Kingdom) by Michael Coleman, Orchard
63. Flanimals of the Deep by Ricky Gervais
64. High Rhulain (Redwall) by Brian Jacques, Puffin
65. The Dark Portal (Deptford Mice) by Robin Jarvis, Hodder
66. Mouse Noses on Toast by Darren King, Faber
67. Soul Eater (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness) by Michelle Paver, Orion
68. Fall 1152 (Mouse Guard) by David Petersen, Archaia (Publication due in June)
69. Nathan Fox by L Brittney, Macmillan
70. Mines of the Minotaur (Companion’s Quartet) by Julia Golding, Oxford
71. The Ship Between the Worlds by Julia Golding, Oxford
72. The Black Book of Secrets by F E Higgins, Macmillan
73. Here There be Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica) by James A Owen, Simon & Schuster
74. Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve, Scholastic
75. Larklight by Philip Reeve, Bloomsbury
76. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan, Puffin
77. Physik (Septimus Heap) by Angie Sage, Bloomsbury
78. My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick, Orion
79. Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton, Puffin
80. Ptolemy’s Gate (Bartimaeus Trilogy) by Jonathan Stroud, Corgi
81. Bloodline by Kevin Brooks, Barrington Stoke
82. Johnny Delgado Like Father Like Son by Kevin Brooks, Barrington Stoke
83. Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer, Puffin
84. Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer, Puffin
85. Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce, Macmillan
86. Grk and the Hot Dog Trail by Joshua Doder, Andersen Press
87. Final Lap (Traces) by Malcolm Rose, Kingfisher
88. The Crime Lord (F.E.A.R. Adventures) by Jak Shadow, Wizard Books
89. Tins by Alex Shearer, Macmillan
90. Great Britain (Jack Stalwart) by Elizabeth Singer Hunt, Red Fox
91. The Curse of the Nightwolf (Barnaby Grimes) by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, Doubleday
92. Montmorency’s Revenge by Eleanor Updale, Scholastic
93. The Obsidian Dagger (Horatio Lyle) by Catherine Webb, Atom
92. The Boy who was Wanted Dead or Alive – or both (Blart) by Dominic Barker, Bloomsbury
93. Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools by Philip Cavney, Bodley Head
94. The Moomy’s Curse (Cows in Action) by Steve Cole, Red Fox
95. Toonhead by Fiona Dunbar, Orchard
96. The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, Bloomsbury
97. So You Think You Know the Simpsons? by Clive Gifford, Hodder
98. It’s True You Can Make Your Own Jokes by Sharon Holt, Allen & Unwin
99. Ryan’s Brain (Jiggy McCue) by Michael Lawrence, Orchard
100. Measle and the Slitherghoul (Measle Stubbs Adventures) by Ian Ogilvy, OUP
101. Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People by Dav Pilkey, Scholastic
102. Urgum the Axe Man by Kjartan Poskitt, Scholastic
103. A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett, Doubleday
104. Zip’s Apollo by Philip Ridley, Puffin
105. The Great Cow Race (Bone) by Jeff Smith, Cartoon Books
106. Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl, Puffin
107. Once by Morris Gleitzman, Puffin
108. Crusade by Elizabeth Laird, Macmillan (Publication due in June)
109. Secrets of the Fearless by Elizabeth Laird, Macmillan
110. The Highwayman’s Footsteps by Nicola Morgan, Walker
111. Billy the Kid by Michael Morpurgo, Collins
112. Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, HarperCollins
113. Rebel Cargo by James Riordan, Frances Lincoln
114. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Bodley Head
115. Divided City by Theresa Breslin, Corgi
116. Game Boy (4u2read.ok) by Alan Durant, Barrington Stoke
117. Stat Man (FYI) by Alan Durant, Barrington Stoke
118. Lady Friday (Keys to the Kingdom) by Garth Nix, HarperCollins
119. The Penalty by Mal Peet, Walker
120. Dream On by Bali Rai, Barrington Stoke
121. Goal 2: Living the Dream by Robert Rigby, Corgi
122. Agent Orange (Spy High) by A J Butcher, Atom
123. Sakkara (New Heroes) by Michael Carroll, HarperCollins
124. Jimmy Coates: Revenge by Joe Craig, HarperCollins
125. True Spy Stories (Usborne True Stories) by Paul Dowswell and Fergus Fleming, Spies (Publication due in June)
126. The Flight of the Silver Turtle by John Fardell, Faber
127. The Devil’s Breath by David Gilman, Puffin (Publication due in June)
128. Double or Die (Young Bond) by Charlie Higson, Puffin
129. Ark Angel (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz, Walker
130. Meltdown (Special Agents) by Sam Hutton, HarperCollins
131. Deep Waters (Zac Power) by H I Larry, Egmont
132. The Fall (Cherub) by Robert Muchamore, Hodder
133. Deadline by John Townsend, Barrington Stoke
134. S.T.O.R.M. by E L Young, Macmillan
135. The Hand of the Devil by Dean Vincent Carter, Corgi
136. The Aztec Code by Steve Cole, Bloomsbury
137. Bunker 10 by J A Henderson, OUP
138. Sure Fire by Jack Higgins and Justin Richards, HarperCollins (Publication due in May)
139. Bloodbones (Fighting Fantasy) by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, Wizard Books
140. Troll Blood (Troll trilogy) by Katherine Langrish, HarperCollins
141. The Beast Within (Nemesis) by Catherine Macphail, Bloomsbury
142. Avenger (Boy Soldier) by Andy McNab, Corgi
143. Operation Typhoon Shore (Guild Trilogy) by Joshua Mowll, Walker
144. Boffin Boy and the Invaders from Space (Boffin Boy) by David Orme, Ransom
145. Time Runners: Freeze Framed (Time Runners) by Justin Richards, Simon & Schuster
146. Flash Flood (Code Red Adventures) by Chris Ryan, Red Fox
147. Book the Thirteenth: The End by Lemony Snicket, Egmont
148. The Web of Fire by Steve Voake, Faber
149. Smokescreen by Bernard Ashley, Usborne
150. Mutant (Gr8reads) by Theresa Breslin, Barrington Stoke
151. Being by Kevin Brooks, Puffin
152. Billy Elliot by Melvin Burgess, Chicken House
153. The Bone Room by Anne Cassidy, Barrington Stoke
154. Moon Man by David Donohue, Egmont
155. The Road of Bones by Anne Fine, Corgi
156. The Thing with Finn by Tom Kelly, Macmillan
157. Flush by Carl Hiaasen, Corgi
158. Under the Skin by Catherine Macphail, Barrington Stoke
159. Captives by Tom Pow, Corgi
160. BurnOut by Robert Swindells, Barrington Stoke
161. Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama, Gollancz
162. Help I’m a Classroom Gambler by Pete Johnson, Corgi
163. The Paradise Plot by Natasha Narayan, Egmont
164. The Inventors by Alexander Gordon Smith, Faber
165. Tide of Terror (Vampirates) by Justin Somper, Simon & Schuster
166. Running the Risk (Shapeshifter) by Ali Sparkes, OUP
167. H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) by Mark Walden, Bloomsbury
Reid - still unfit for purpose
ONE year after first admitting that foreign prisoners released from jail had been wrongly allowed to remain in the UK, the Home Office still cannot say how many were freed in Scotland.
MPs who asked about the figures last year were assured by the Home Office that information would be published "shortly".
And 12 months after telling MPs he would investigate the foreign-prisoners fiasco in Scotland, John Reid, the Home Secretary, was last night unable to provide the answers he promised.
Too busy chasing dreams of glory to actually do your job, eh Dr Reid?
On Christmas Day 1066, less than three months after landing at Pevensey, William was crowned king of England. At the coronation, William of Poitiers writes that the English "all shouted their joyful assent, with no hesitation, as if heaven had granted them one mind and one voice." The Normans added their own voices as well, and the guards outside the Abbey, "hearing the loud clamour in an unknown tongue, thought some treachery was afoot and rashly set fire to houses near to the city." The fire spread from house to house, says Orderic, as those in the congregation frantically rushed outside, some to fight the fames, others to loot.
Only the bishops and a few clergy remained to complete the consecration of the new king, who was seen to be "trembling from head to foot."
So began William's reign: with fires burning all around him. And so would England burn for five more years until it finally was subjugated. The plundering of the country's wealth would begin immediately.
May 16, 2007
The Case for Eurovison
The Eurovision Song Contest voting system needs to be changed because it is "harmful to the relationship between the peoples of Europe", an MP has said.
And the BBC should insist on voting changes or withdraw from covering the contest altogether, he added.
Serbia won Saturday's contest, while the UK was second from bottom, only receiving votes from Ireland and Malta.
Mr Younger-Ross said the present structure was a "joke", adding that votes were based "largely on narrow nationalistic grounds".
He has tabled a Commons early day motion,.....
The fact that even after 50 years the people of Europe still are nationalistic rather than "European" is deeply upsetting to europhiles like him, and the only reason to keep the Eurovision contest going, apart from the chance to laugh at funny foreigners in their strange clothes...
Gordon's Off His Hospital Trolley
Here I quote directly from an interview Gordon Brown gave at the weekend, because it expresses his muddle quite clearly: “As far as the health service is concerned, you’ve got to understand it, it’s different from any other form of activity because you’ve got people who rely on the doctors for advice. I can’t normally diagnose myself.
“You’ve also got hospitals in an area that are essentially monopolies because they have accident and emergency and you’re not going to find an accident and emergency facility very near to where you are, and you’ve got maternity services, you’ve got emergency services including the accident and emergency. So healthcare is quite different from any other activity in the economy.”
Anyone have the faintest idea what he is talking about? I will make a wild guess: Mr Brown is going to reverse the hospital closure programme that has been frozen while the local elections were under way. Why do I think that? First, because it is phenomenally unpopular. If there is a case for it, it has not been made. Secondly, because if he carries on with it now, the closures will collide neatly with the next general election. Thirdly, because I cannot think what else he was getting at with all that stuff about A&E and maternity services, the very areas which are most under threat.
So that is the mighty brain of the Prudent One at work is it - talk bollocks and throw cash at a problem in the hope it goes away, rather than think things through.
Grammar School boy agrees with Public School Boys that Comprehensives are good enough for everyone else
The Conservative Party will officially sever links with academic selection in the state sector today, accusing grammar schools of entrenching social advantage.
David Willetts, the shadow education secretary, will warn grammar supporters in the party that they cannot harp back to the past.
"We must break free from the belief that academic selection is any longer the way to transform the life chances of bright, poor kids," he will say.
"This is a widespread belief but we just have to recognise that there is overwhelming evidence that such academic selection entrenches advantage, it does not spread it."
OK - what evidence? 70 per cent of parents want a return to Grammar Schools, if you want to persuade them that their widespread belief is wrong then you will have to do better than just parroting the DFES line and actually show how you are going to reverse the deplorable decrease in social mobility that has happened, uniquely for a developed nation, under Tony Blair.
May 15, 2007
John gives us a full eulogy on the Blair years.
How different it is from Pericles' Funeral Oration from the Peloponnesian War :
"I shall begin with our ancestors: it is both just and proper that they should have the honour of the first mention on an occasion like the present. They dwelt in the country without break in the succession from generation to generation, and handed it down free to the present time by their valour. And if our more remote ancestors deserve praise, much more do our own fathers, who added to their inheritance the empire which we now possess, and spared no pains to be able to leave their acquisitions to us of the present generation. Lastly, there are few parts of our dominions that have not been augmented by those of us here, who are still more or less in the vigour of life; while the mother country has been furnished by us with everything that can enable her to depend on her own resources whether for war or for peace....
But what was the road by which we reached our position, what the form of government under which our greatness grew, what the national habits out of which it sprang; these are questions which I may try to solve before I proceed to my panegyric upon these men; since I think this to be a subject upon which on the present occasion a speaker may properly dwell, and to which the whole assemblage, whether citizens or foreigners, may listen with advantage.
"Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.
...We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing, although the eyes of an enemy may occasionally profit by our liberality; trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens; while in education, where our rivals from their very cradles by a painful discipline seek after manliness, at Athens we live exactly as we please, and yet are just as ready to encounter every legitimate danger....
We cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without effeminacy; wealth we employ more for use than for show, and place the real disgrace of poverty not in owning to the fact but in declining the struggle against it. Our public men have, besides politics, their private affairs to attend to, and our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters; for, unlike any other nation, regarding him who takes no part in these duties not as unambitious but as useless...
...the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those, who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger. In generosity we are equally singular, acquiring our friends by conferring, not by receiving, favours. Yet, of course, the doer of the favour is the firmer friend of the two, in order by continued kindness to keep the recipient in his debt; while the debtor feels less keenly from the very consciousness that the return he makes will be a payment, not a free gift. ......
...you who are still of an age to beget children must bear up in the hope of having others in their stead; not only will they help you to forget those whom you have lost, but will be to the state at once a reinforcement and a security; for never can a fair or just policy be expected of the citizen who does not, like his fellows, bring to the decision the interests and apprehensions of a father. While those of you who have passed your prime must congratulate yourselves with the thought that the best part of your life was fortunate, and that the brief span that remains will be cheered by the fame of the departed. For it is only the love of honour that never grows old; and honour it is, not gain, as some would have it, that rejoices the heart of age and helplessness.
O tempora O mores - not a word of that now applies to our poor benighted country.
Looking to earn an honest shilling or two I was pleased to recieve a genuine job offer today:
This bicycle-mounted mine-detector was named the FU-2. One can't help if there was some sort of message in the name! Note the car battery to power the detector.
Nine months in the Sudan driving a Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector - more like a Pookie than the above vehicle but even so I gratefully declined the generous offer of employment, can't think why; but if you are interested I could pass your name along....
Raining on Tony's Parade.
Tony Blair has failed to deliver a "world class" education system despite massive extra investment in schools during his decade in power, Gordon Brown will say today.
Further distancing himself from the Prime Minister's record, the Chancellor will describe numeracy rates among young children as "unacceptable" for one of the world's leading economies. "We are still some way off being world class," the Chancellor will say as he turns to schools policy on the latest leg of his campaign for the Labour leadership.
"It is unacceptable that we still have 150,000 children leaving primary school who aren't numerate.
And on the other side of town...
Tony Blair took off on a whistlestop cross-country tour today for a first farewell flourish to mark his decade at Number 10.
As Gordon Brown was busy forging ahead with his Labour leadership campaign, the outgoing prime minister highlighted his achievements after 10 years in office.
With 23 days to go until he leaves Downing Street following his resignation announcement last Thursday, Mr Blair started his long goodbye by lauding the changes in education made during his tenure.
Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours,
Just a friendly wave each morning, helps to make a better day.
Neighbours, need to get to know each other, next day is only a footstep away.
Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours,
With a little understanding, you can find a perfect plan.
Neighbours, should be there for one another.
That's when good neighbours become good friends...
I wonder if Gordon will stay on Tony's Christmas card list?
German Humor Hurts
Britain's "thick wall of prejudices against Germany" is only natural for a country that considers Victoria Beckham to be classy, a German magazine has said.
Ouch, now that is a cutting!
Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Collect $200
Jacques Chirac faces two contrasting fates when he hands over the keys to the Elysée palace to his successor, Nicolas Sarkozy, tomorrow - saving the planet or fighting corruption allegations...
How unlike our own dear Prime Minister who after he hands over the keys to No 10 is going to either save the planet or....
May 14, 2007
DDT - the view from 1945, still valid today!
Browsing The Castle Library I came across this 1945 article on DDT - I have cut out the most interesting parts and tried to OCR them - the scan is below the fold.
The conclusion is as valid today as it was then..
JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF ENGLAND
16, BEDFORD SQUARE, LONDON, W.C. 1
VOLUME 106, 1945.
THE NEW INSECTICIDES D.D.T. AND BENZENE HEXACHLORIDE AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE IN AGRICULTURE
It one of those coincidences that seem unaccountable in terms of pure chance, two of the most remarkable insecticides ever to be discovered came to light about the beginning of the present decade, these were the materials now widely known as D.D.T. and as benzene hexachloride, 666, or Gammexane. The coincidence extends further in that each substance was discovered very many years before its insecticidal properties became apparent. Nor does the resemblance end there, for the two substances share the distinction of being the first examples of a new class of insecticides. All insecticides act either by contact with the external surfaces of the insect or by being ingested. Until the new discoveries, the former group—the contact poisons—comprised more or less evanescent materials like nicotine, which is volatile, and pyrethrum, which is chemically unstable. Conversely the permanent ‘ insecticides like lead arsenate and Paris green were all stomach poisons with little or no contact activity. The unique characteristic of D.D.T. and benzene hexachloride is that they combine contact activity with a stability and persistence that confer protective properties. They are, moreover powerful stomach poisons as well, and benzene hexachloride can act also as a fumigant. Because they embody this novel combination, the introduction of two new insecticides has opened up entirely new possibilities in pest control;
The conjunction of outstanding properties with the mystery in which official policy shrouded these products has provided an opportunity for sensational accounts rarely equaled in pseudo-scientific journalism. D.D.T.., in particular, has had thrust upon it a publicity as unwelcome as it has been, in the main, inaccurate, with the inevitable result that ‘the man in the street,’ according to the measure of his cynicism or credulity, has come to regard it either as just one more quack remedy or as a near-miracle that will solve most of the world’s outstanding problems. ‘…………..
In normal times the new insecticide would no doubt have come slowly to general acceptance by the usual stages of trial, development, and large scale use. But 1939-40 saw the closing of all the normal channels of communication with the Continent and no intimation of these discoveries reached this country for several years. By the time D.D.T.. was brought to the notice of the British and American authorities late in 1942, the insecticide position had become one of acute difficulty, for supplies of derris and pyrethrurn were very low and quite inadequate to meet service requirements. In consequence D.D.T. was taken up and its potentialities in relation to military needs explored with unexampled speed and energy. The resulting unqualified success against disease-carrying insects, especially mosquitoes and body lice, is an often told story that need not be repeated here. It is sufficient to quote the view that D.D.T.. has probably been a major factor in the success of several allied military campaigns. While it is no part of the purpose of this review to deal with non-agricultural applications of D.D.T.., it may be said in passing that striking success has been achieved against such diverse pests as house-flies, cockroaches, lice, bed bugs, mosquitoes, tsetse flies, and locusts. …..
In the United States, where the treatment of very large areas by spraying or dusting’ from aeroplanes is contemplated, concern has been expressed about the possible long-term effect upon wildlife in general. Although Weismann stated that Gesarol was harmless to fishes, it has since been shown that D.D.T. preparations are highly toxic to many cold-blooded vertebrates including frogs and snakes, as well as fishes. It is alleged too, that large numbers of birds have been killed, possibly by eating poisoned insects. Again this is a problem whose answer is to be found only in practical experience on a large scale.
All these unanswered questions should stand as no more than warning signposts. They are evidence that neither the reckless enthusiasm nor the unqualified condemnation that sonic popular writers have displayed is justified. …..
Yet another of the problems associated with the use of D.D.T. is that of its effect on warm-blooded animals and especially humans. There has been a deep cleavage of opinion among American toxicologists, but the majority seem now to be convinced that there need be no misgivings arising from normal use. There is also the evidence that millions of service and civilian personnel have been in prolonged contact with D.D.T. in treated garments without a single known case of ill-effect. Cameron and Burgess are of the opinion that sprays containing upto 0.1 per cent. could have serious effects only as a result of grossly careless handling. On the other hand, they are insistent that precautions are essential in handling higher concentrations, especially oily solutions. Wigglesworth has reported a case of nervous derangement following drastic and deliberate exposure, but even here the effect was transitory. There are, perhaps, two directions in which present information is inadequate. These are on the cumulative effect of small doses such as might arise in spray residues, and the effect of exposure to solutions of D.D.T. in oil, such as might be encountered in certain spray combinations. Excluding gross negligence neither of these is likely to prove serious, but the United States Department of Agriculture has provisionally fixed 7 mg. per kg. (0.01 grain per pound) as the level beyond which D.D.T. residues should not rise, ….
Much work still remains to be done with both D.D.T. and benzene hexachloride, especially in the direction of devising the most suitable formulations for particular purposes, of determining minimum concentrations for effective control, arid of observing their cumulative effect upon the general fauna of treated areas.
The two materials have opened up entirely new possibilities in insect control, but with their bright promise they have brought also potential dangers. To meet this situation it is essential that the first few years of the commercial use of these insecticides should be regarded as all extension of the experimental phase. This period of extended trial should he entered upon with open minds free from prejudices in either direction, and with a willingness to accept and act upon the findings of careful and reliable observations. There is little doubt that if such a rational outlook is maintained towards the development of these materials, they are capable of facilitating perhaps the greatest single step forward that man has ever made in his unending contest against the insect world.
Smoking out the truth on Climate Change
I posted a while back about the failure of climate scientists to archive their data or to release it on request - a scandal which has been carefully documented by Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit blog. Another post on the same subject developed a very interesting comments thread with contributions from McIntyre and Maxine Clarke, the executive editor of Nature - one of the journals who have failed to enforce their own policies on data availability.
Over this weekend there have been a couple of developments which suggest that change is afoot....
And while we're about it, we might also note that pretty much the whole story has been played out on blogs. Well done the blogosphere.
And well done the Bishop!
GM or Veggie - the chocoholic dilemma
Vegetarians who have learned to live without roast beef dinners and bacon sandwiches were yesterday forced to make another major sacrifice: chocolate.
It came after the makers of Britain's most popular chocolate bars, including Mars, Snickers, Maltesers and Milky Ways, admitted that they now contain an ingredient derived from a cow's stomach.
This month, Masterfoods began using animal rennet to produce the whey needed for its products, rather than a vegetarian alternative. Rennet is extracted from the stomach-lining of slaughtered newborn calves, and is used in traditional cheese production in central Europe. In Britain a microbial alternative made from mould is used.
That would be the rennet produced by GM altered yeast then. The Veggies don't accept GM foods but made an exception for this one. Not for any scientific reason but because it saved cuddly calves. My guess is that Mars haven't dropped using GM Yeast but are just having to buy whey from Europe due to the contraction of the British Dairy Industry, and they can't afford to be picky over how the Europeans produce the whey.
Rachel Carson - No Hero of Mine
It is the 100th anniversary this month of the most influential environmental writer and campaigner of the modern world, Rachel Carson. And it is 45 years since her masterpiece, Silent Spring, was first published in Britain.
For those who have never read the first account of the horrors unleased on the natural world by the post war generation of wonder-sprays, such as DDT, I earnestly encourage you to do so.
Meanwhile, in Africa, there is a resurgence in demand for DDT for spraying malaria mosquitos inside buildings - a legal use under a treaty which bans most other uses. ..Malaria kills a million people a year, mainly African women and children....Yet new South African research shows DDT lowers the sperm counts of the men who do the spraying; it has an extraordinary habit of winding up thousands of miles away; in the flesh of polar bears, and there are alternatives - bed nets treated with other chemicals. Carson's case remains robust.
Few arguments, as Carson knew, are ever wholly won. They flicker on - as I suspect the one about man's part in climate change will, long after the water is around our ankles.
As neo-con polemicist asked in the Wall Street Journal last week, why ban DDT if it saves lives?
Class me as a neo-con polemicist then, I happen to think that saving the women and children is more important than worrying about the sperm count of the spray operators, as I guess they do as well.
For a more honest view of Rachel Carson than this appalling guff then may I suggest this:
One of the most difficult aspects of keeping up with environmental issues is having to suffer through the agonizing hero worship at the altar of Rachel Carson.
Were I a more religious person, I would be inclined to believe she made a pact with the devil in which she received the capacity to write beautiful prose poetry in exchange for leading society down a path to Hell paved with the proverbial "good intentions."
It is mind-boggling to find such incredibly misguided admiration for a woman whose opposition to DDT and other synthetic pesticides led to the suffering and death of millions of people around the world. I
Darfur - your fault by driving an SUV.
Climate change will take the number of refugees worldwide to a billion by 2050, according to a report...by Christian Aid.
Oh it is Christian Aid Collecting Tin Rattling Week again is it? Last year I believe it was all the fault of free markets that the world was starving.
The report cites men, women and children being forced from their homes by war, persecution, natural disasters and increasingly, to make room for development projects such as dams and roads.
Sorry, so now it isn't climate change but development projects like roads? What like Swampy and the Newbury bypass/ So why does Christian Aid want our money if bringing civilisation to the dark masses is so evil?
....hundreds of millions of people will be forced from their homes by floods, drought and famine sparked by climate change."
"Movement on this scale has the potential to destabilise whole regions where increasingly desperate populations compete for dwindling food and water," the report states. Let Darfur stand as the starkest of warnings about what the future could bring."
Now that really is shameless use of a genocide for political purposes. Of course the rains failing in 1983/84 didn't help, - anyone remember Live Aid - and it is a grotty hot dry bit of the world but to blame Darfur on Global Warming is plain wrong
May 13, 2007
Give us this day our daily bread.
The latest study in the news, said to “confirm the health benefits of whole grains,” gives us another look at meta-analyses and chance to see just how shaky the science is behind many of our popular beliefs about “healthy” eating.
One of the most popular beliefs is in the special health-promoting properties of whole grains and dietary fiber. Refined foods are supposed to be “bad” for us and if we listen to today’s popular diet doctors and government spokespeople, white foods are nothing short of deadly and should be eliminated from our diet!
Yes, Get Whitey! He is bad, bad, bad, if your bread doesn't taste and look like sawdust you are going to hell my son.
For those interested, here are some fun facts we don’t often hear. Soluble fiber fibers are found inside plant cells and include pectin, dextrin and gum. Fibers in the cell walls of plants that are water insoluble include cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Like these researchers, when we think of “healthy” sources of fiber most of us think of foods like those listed on this government website (grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits).
You can bet that coffee, for example, isn’t included in most dietary fiber or wholegrain studies, even though a medium cup of coffee has 3 grams of soluble fiber — as much as an apple! Nor is beer, which has significant amounts of dietary soluble fiber and would make just as much sense. And while these beverages aren’t seen as “healthy,” we are quick to pay dearly to guzzle down “healthy” functional drinks containing the very same soluble fibers. Jellies are never included, even though they’re thickened with natural pectins. And what about guar gum, which is commonly used to thicken and keep our favorite puddings and ice creams creamy? Without soluble fiber ingredients, like locust bean gum, carageenan and guar gum, these foods would separate and become grainy messes. But the fiber in “bad” foods doesn’t “count” — even though it’s the same thing! :)
So beer and nachos with gallons of dip (full of guar gum), followed by ice cream is a way of getting my daily fibre, maybe I am a health freak after all!
A Worthy Call
The Metric Martyrs Campaign is launching a petition to call for a posthumous Royal Pardon for Steven Thoburn on behalf of his wife Leigh, and children Rhys, Georgia and Jay, and pardons for the other three convicted Martyrs, John Dove, Julian Harman and Colin Hunt.
You can sign the petition here
Filling Gordon's Hole
GORDON BROWN was accused by the Liberal Democrats this weekend of carrying out a £3 billion stealth-tax raid on British pensions and funds.
The Lib Dems claim that changes to the rules governing empty-property rate relief will wipe some £3 billion from the value of commercial properties owned by British pension and life-insurance funds, which control £250 billion of commercial buildings....
Under the new system, office and shop landlords will have to pay rates on properties that have been empty for three months or more. Previously, they had to start paying only when properties had been empty for six months.
Industrial property owners will have to pay rates on properties that have been empty for six months or more. Before, they did not have to pay any rates on empty industrial buildings. ....
Void periods are often necessary to allow landlords to refurbish buildings when a tenant leaves, and if a tenant goes bust it can take several months for the landlord to get the property back from the administrator or receiver and find a replacement....
Oakeshott said: “Six months is a reasonable time period to re-let an office block or shopping centre — three months is not.
“Reducing the time period for voids on offices and shops is a tax hitting well-managed pension-fund property.”
He added: “This shows that the Treasury has no idea how the property market works ...
Oh yes they do, they spotted an opportunity to tax something that had been missed before so they did, as long as they get a bit more in the short term to fill Gordon's yawning chasm now they don't care about the future consequences. Trying to arrange a new tenant, even after one has been found takes months as the professional leeches of lawyers and estate agents take their time so this will reduce the mobility in the market. And if empty industrial sheds are to be taxed then where will be the reserve that is built and ready for businesses to expand into? It all acts as a brake on the economy.
Snout in the Trough
What seemed to escape the MPs was the astonishing degree to which capital spending on water is skewed by the need to comply with three EU water purification directives. On April 24, Lord Pearson of Rannoch pointed out in the Lords that, up to 1997, we had spent £48 billion on complying with the often absurdly over-the-top requirements of these directives (the companies had to spend over £3 billion, for instance, on "denitrification plants" to solve a problem that turned out not to exist).
Lord Pearson asked the minister how much more money had been largely wasted on these directives since 1997, and how much had been spent on the infrastructure needed to improve the efficiency of our water supply and sewerage systems. In a letter, Lord Rooker, as "Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food", has now given the answer. Spending to comply with the directives now totals £65 billion. Only ｣14 billion has been left for infrastructure. It is hardly surprising we still have hosepipe bans, despite our ever-soaring water bills. But we cannot expect our MPs to notice the embarrassing reason for this.
EU pushing pointless uneconomic green measures what's new? But please let us have no complaints, I'm half way through my grant application to concrete my farmyard and put gutters on my barn and dig out some dry ditches - there is money to be had.....
From April 2007 Defra are funding a £5 million Capital Grants Scheme to support land managers in priority catchments in England, which will provide a range of opportunities to install facilities that will benefit water quality by reducing diffuse pollution.
Low Hanging Criminals
Police force clear-up targets are "criminalising Middle England" as petty incidents are treated as crimes in order to boost statistics, the Government will be told next week.
Serving police officers and magistrates will say that the pursuit of "easy targets" is clogging up the courts and damaging public confidence in the justice system.
"To reach their target, the police will pick the 'low fruit' and not look at more serious offending, which is the more difficult fruit to reach."
A message that needs to be repeated as loudly as possible, "middle England" has lost respect and belief in the police as they see the "real" criminals walk free whilst their slightest misdemeanour is pounced on.
May 12, 2007
Welcome to The Interregnum
An interregnum is a period between monarchs, between popes, emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, Polish kings (elective monarchy) or between consuls of the Roman Republic. It can also refer to the period between the pastorates of ministers in some Protestant churches, or generally, any gap in the continuity of a government, organization, or social order.
The English Interregnum was the period of parliamentary and military rule in the land occupied by modern-day England and Wales after the English Civil War. It began with the regicide of Charles I in 1649 and ended with the restoration of Charles II in 1660.
After the Parliamentarian victory in the Civil War, the Puritan views of the majority of Parliament and its supporters began to be imposed on the rest of the country. The Puritans advocated an austere lifestyle and restricted what they saw as the excesses of the previous regime.
After 13 years of waiting, Gordon Brown's big day had finally arrived. And from the moment he hopped on to a Piccadilly line Tube train soon after 7am to meet activists in north London, it was clear the glitz of the Blair years was being swept unceremoniously away.
Twenty-four hours earlier Tony Blair had drawn his decade at Number 10 to a close with the help of private jets, motorcades, activists dancing hysterically to up-beat pop classics and a wave of emotion. Mr Brown's attempt to replace him, by contrast, was to be launched amid studied sobriety.
May 11, 2007
May 11, 2007 6:21 AM
Here, in no specific order, are the words/opening scenes which cause me to change TV channels really quickly: ..
Friday, May 11, 2007 8:18 PM
Top Ten Things Which Make Me Change Channel
Iain doesn't credit Kim, gun toting Texans not being his style maybe, must just be a general meme floating around the ether....
I suppose it is too late to do my top ten turn offs now.
1) This is the BBC News...
2) Surgeons show us...
3) Tonight's football..
4) We are joined on the sofa by diet expert....
5) Russell Brand...
6) An expert from the University of London
7) Britt Eckland stays clothed in this rare...
8) Bon Jour
9) From Brussels..
10) One of the newest British Artists...
Deblairisation - neologism of the day
DeBlairisation - Google Search
Results 1 - 1 of 1 for DeBlairisation
So not the first with the word "Deblairisation" - but a close second I think...
DeBlairisation - The Party Starts The Process
Mr Brown's spokesman denied that the Chancellor was behind the rebranding exercise. He said it had been carried out by the Labour Party without consulting him to "freshen up" the party website during the leadership election.
Aye, of course not! - and by the time the photos have all been airbrushed history will be corrected - Did anyone mention Stalin?
Yo Ho Ho Gordon's in Charge
I take up my pen in the year of grace 2010 and go back to the time when Tony kept No 10 and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.
I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow--a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards:
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest-- Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"
in the high, old tottering voice that seemed to have been tuned and broken at the capstan bars. Then he rapped on the door with a bit of stick like a handspike that he carried, and when Tony appeared, called roughly for a glass of rum. This, when it was brought to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering on the taste and still looking about him at the furniture and up at our plasma screen.
"This is a handy cove," says he at length; "and a pleasant sittyated grog-shop. Much company, mate?"
Tony told him no, very little company, the more was the pity.
"Well, then," said he, "this is the berth for me. Here you, matey," he cried to the man who trundled the barrow; "bring up alongside and help up my chest. I'll stay here a bit," he continued. "I'm a plain man; rum and bacon and eggs is what I want, and that head up there for to watch ships off. What you mought call me? You mought call me captain. Oh, I see what you're at-- there"; and he threw down three or four gold pieces on the threshold. "You can tell me when I've worked through that," says he, looking as fierce as a commander.
And indeed bad as his clothes were and coarsely as he spoke, he had none of the appearance of a man who sailed before the mast, but seemed like a mate or skipper accustomed to be obeyed or to strike. The man who came with the barrow told us the mail had set him down the morning before at the Royal George, that he had inquired what inns there were along the coast, and hearing ours well spoken of, I suppose, and described as lonely, had chosen it from the others for his place of residence. And that was all we could learn of our guest.
He was a very silent man by custom. All day he hung round the cove or upon the cliffs with a brass telescope; all evening he sat in a corner of the parlour next the fire and drank rum and water very strong. Mostly he would not speak when spoken to, only look up sudden and fierce and blow through his nose like a fog-horn; and we and the people who came about our house soon learned to let him be. ....
Jim David, times are going to be rough under the new captain...
Bath Students - What a Shower
BathStudent : Bath University Students Union takes me back to my old college days as they prevent Nasty Nick Griffen speaking at a meeting in the University.
The following is the Statement of Belief agreed upon at EGM on Thursday 10th May condemning the BNP. Following debate, this was the agreed version with one exception. The Executive, in their capacity as trustees of the Union, chose to remove University of Bath Students’ Union Notes point 7 on legal grounds as there were potential libel issues.
University of Bath Students’ Union Notes:
1. The British National Party (BNP) is a far right political party.
Try racist authoritarian socialists - in favour of renationialisation of the Railways for instance and even the nationalisation of the RNLI
2. Prominent members of the BNP have historically promoted anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
3. In 2006, the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, was charged by police on offences of using words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up racial hatred. Though was later acquitted, other leading BNP figures have been convicted of race hatred and criminal offences.
He was tried and aquitted - or don't you believe in due process of law?
4. The BNP limits party membership on basis of skin colour, claiming that “To be truly British one has to have a British genotype, as well as to have fully adopted British culture."
With Bath Student Societies ranging from the Afro-Caribbean Society to Welsh, and while obviously Afro-Caribbeans are welcome to join the Welsh society and visa versa, maybe objecting to closed cultural groups is a bit pot and kettle.
5. The BNP’s opinion on homosexuality, that this should not be taught by schools, that "homosexuality, which affects less than 2% of the population, is not the norm” and that civil partnerships are a “flaunting or celebrating of homosexuality”
Are Catholics and Muslims banned as well for similar views?
6. Many organisations believe that the BNP is a fascist, discriminatory organisation.
And it is the duty of the Student Union to prevent Students making up their own minds rather than rely on hearsay?
7. A proportion of members of the BNP have had criminal dealings, some election candidates have even been gang members, drug dealers and rapists.
Bless 'em, such ernest rage and stamping of little feet will stand in them in good stead when they become Labour MPs.
The Previous EGM is another classic: See below.
BUSU against the war in Iraq
"Extraordinary General Meeting Believes:
1. The involvement of Britain in costly wars such as the war in Iraq, is a waste of tax payers money, which would be much better spent on improving education on all levels. This irresponsible behaviour puts the education of our students in jeopardy, hence affecting students as students.
2. By acting as an aggressor, the British Government breeds hatred towards the western world, resulting in a greater support for terrorist groups. This will further undermine British security, and hence could have an impact on the lives of all students study in our country.
3. The UK-US military action taken in Iraq was in breach of International Law and has stripped the U.N. of all credibility, demonstrating a dangerous neo-colonialist and imperialist disregard for the rest of the world.
Extraordinary General Meeting Mandates
1. The SU finance committee not to fund our campaigns
2. The Media can Communications Officer to publish a press release stating our condemnation of the war that took place in Iraq, the imperialist occupation of Iraq, and any further aggressions of this nature
3. The Union to allow Bath Student Stop the War Coalition to publicise B.U.S.U.’s stance"
Obviously it is the neo-colonial oppression by Bush that prevents them writing grammatical English - or is that just an imperialist disregard of the rights of students to be illiterate?
Councils that introduce fortnightly rubbish collection will have to have a programme to tackle fly-tipping, Lord Rooker, the environment minister, said yesterday.
He said that he was concerned that there had been an increase in fly-tipping where collections were fortnightly.
Hang on - haven't the councils all been saying there is "not much increase in fly-tipping" when they are promoting their AWC schemes. Just like there are no more rats or malodors....
May 10, 2007
Family Feast - King's Arms, All Cannings, 23rd June
Every Christmas, a remote pub in Northern England - the Tan Hill Inn a remote pub along the Pennine Way - serves a traditional holiday meal consisting of pate, turkey, roast beef, trimmings and pudding, under its "Family Feast" menu.
According to reports on Thursday, however, American fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken is suing the Tan Hill Inn for trademark infringement over the company's own "Family Feast" -- a cardboard box of fried chicken and french fries, coleslaw, potatoes, gravy and a 1.25-litre soft drink bottle.
A spokesman for KFC was quoted as saying in The Times: "'Family Feast' is a registered trademark of Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Limited. KFC devotes significant resources to promoting and protecting its trademarks."
The idea of a KFC Family Feast makes me want to vomit sickly sugared water and prepubescent chicken gobbets all over any kindly white haired Colonel I see. I'm sure the Tan Hill Inn serves a proper family feast, as does my local pub. I'm all for protecting intellectual property but when a common phrase is trademarked then bollocks to them. So why not join us at a "Family Feast" of chilli at the King's Arms 23rd June? No reconstituted crap served.
June or July? Blair decides.
Betfair odds on it being July rather than June have dropped rapidly in the last few days - I got some money on July at 6/1 last week, it is now 5/4. 30th June is one date being bandied about so I wouldn't be interested at that price in a flutter.
Home Schooling - Good News?
Parents educating children at home will be subjected to tighter controls amid fears that many young people receive little or no tuition.
A record number of parents are thought to be educating their children at home because of mounting disillusionment with state schools.
The Government's own research reveals that the number of young people withdrawn from school is on the increase following concern over indiscipline and the quality of lessons.
Researchers found records of 16,000 home-schooled children - nearly three times as many as eight years ago - although numbers are likely to be much higher as many parents choose not to register with local councils. Some studies estimate as many as 150,000 school-age children are taught at home.
However, officials fear that many do little or no work as parents use home education as a front for truancy.
I'm sure Officials fear home schooling for all sorts of reasons...
Sometimes It's Peaceful: I'm in heaven.... seems happy with the new proposals on home schooling and as she is bright and industrious enough to actually have read them I will go with her analysis. Though of course the kids may miss out on exciting new initiatives such as Schools encouraged to teach gipsy language unless they actually are Gypsies home schooling as they trundle around the country.
The West Lothian Cancer Question
British cancer patients are substantially more likely to die of the disease than those in other western European countries because of poor access to the latest drugs, according to an authoritative report to be published today....
I haven't seen the report but I bet it isn't "Britain" but either England or "England and Wales" because Scotland has its own rules on what drugs to prescribe and they are keener on spending the taxpayers money on wonder drugs. But then why should I expect the Telegraph to grasp this point...
May 9, 2007
Slash England’s green and pleasant Land for the Olympics
Campaigners condemn Hardy Country road | Uk News | News | Telegraph
The 3.5-mile relief road between Dorchester and Weymouth will speed up traffic to the marina in Portland that will be used for the 2012 Olympics.
The road runs through a protected ancient woodland and will cut huge chalk gashes out of the Dorset Downs area of outstanding natural beauty....
Part of an ancient woodland, Two Mile Coppice, which is part of the Lorton Site of Special Scientific Interest, will be destroyed by the proposed road and more will be damaged by disturbance. A nature reserve will also be partly destroyed.
Tom Oliver, head of the CPRE's Rural Policy, said: "This shows a breathtaking disregard for the Government's own stated aim to protect nationally protected landscapes and wildlife sites.
"One reason advanced for building this road was that it was needed to support the sailing events at the 2012 Olympics, which will take place over a few weeks."
Of course that it is in one of the South's few Labour constituencies and the local MP, Jim Knight, is crowing about it is not a factor.
Tories Throw Away Council Seats With Rubbish Policies
On Kirklees council, West Yorks, the balance of power switched from Conservative to Labour in last Thursday's poll. The Tory-led council had announced the new collection system was being rolled out, but Labour pledged to reverse the change.
It picked up two extra seats to become the largest group, while the Conservatives lost one. The Tories also lost North Lincolnshire to Labour, and Salisbury, where no party has overall control. Both areas had experimented with alternate collections.
After the election the first Wiltshire results were Swindon and Salisbury and it was obvious the Tories weren't doing well. I assumed that this was that Dave's message wasn't selling in the heartlands. I might have been wrong, and owe an apology to Iain Dale who I thought was overegging the Tory victory. It looks like the Tories rush to embrace trendy Green policy is at fault and that local politics came to the fore.
Hot Air Certification
Buy-to-let investors will face a new "green tax" on their properties from next year, it emerged last night.
They will have to pay several hundred pounds for compulsory energy performance certificates,...experts said last night that buy-to-let landlords would be forced to employ qualified energy inspectors to give their properties an energy rating between A and G.
The certificates would likely cost around £200 and could require renewal as often as every three years,...Under European law, energy inspections are required every 10 years, but they will be carried out far more frequently in the UK because of their inclusion in the packs.
A Government spokesman said that it was looking at energy certificates on rental property also being carried out more frequently than every 10 years, because it believed that this would make rental homes more energy efficient...
The Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP), which trains energy inspectors, said that it was talking to the Government about renewing the certificates on rental properties every three years.
Mike Ockenden, the director general of AHIPP, said that it was also lobbying to bring forward the October 2008 deadline for certificates on rental properties on the basis... they represent a bunch of money grabbing snodgrasses who want to invade homes as often as possible so they can trouser a large wad for producing meaningless waffle.
What Would Jesus Crash In?
An electric car beloved of green-minded celebrities and promoted as the environmentally friendly alternative for city drivers may be banned after failing a basic crash test carried out by the Department for Transport.
The Government is so concerned by the lack of protection offered by the G-Wiz that it rushed out a statement last night.. that Darwin will not be mocked, and the rest was drowned out by a roar of laughter from 4x4 drivers.
May 8, 2007
A Victory to raise a pint to
Press Release: Metric Martyrs Defence Fund: Immediate
“Monumental victory for Metric Martyrs as the European Commission and the Government abandon enforced Metrication Programme"
...the pound, ounce, yard, foot, the mile and the pint have been saved!"
Press Release: Metric Martyrs Defence Fund: Immediate
Press Release: Metric Martyrs Defence Fund: Immediate
“Monumental victory for Metric Martyrs as the European Commission and the Government abandon enforced Metrication Programme"
...the pound, ounce, yard, foot, the mile and the pint have been saved!"
...the pound, ounce, yard, foot, the mile and the pint have been saved!"
The European Commission’s Industry Commissioner Gunther Verheugen quietly announced in a meeting on 2nd May 2007 that "dual marking" of goods in imperial and metric will 'continue indefinitely'.
Following intense lobbying by the Metric Martyrs Campaign and excellent work with US business by the British Weights and Measures Association, Commissioner Verheugen agreed that imperial measurements are 'good for business.'
The Metric Martyrs submission to the European Commission’s Metrication Consultation can be seen here
We do forgive Conservative MEP Giles Chichester for attempting to claim all the credit for what has undoubtedly been a team effort. The Conservative MEP's press release is copied below at the end of this release. I hope that he will join us with his Conservative colleagues to support the request for a Royal Pardon and a public acknowledgement of the Metric Martyrs' patriotic stand.
Papers also released under the Freedom of Information Act to the Metric Martyrs by the Department for Trade and Industry also indicate that the Government and the DtI have performed a screeching u- turn (quietly behind the scenes!) and abandoned plans to abolish imperial measures after 2009. The papers also reveal how concerned they were about the consequences of losing the case back in 2001.
This result represents a monumental victory for the Metric Martyrs who have campaigned tirelessly from their Sunderland office against enforced metrication since the two
It is now apparent that the persecution of Steve Thoburn (and subsequently 4 other traders whose cases to the High Court were consolidated into the Thoburn appeal) was politically motivated but the resistance that their defiant stand created forced all the other local authorities to back off and they have been held at bay for 7 years.
Indeed, further information received from a European Commission insider confirms this. He states:
"In fact, the Commission were never that interested in banning dual weight marking - the
It must be remembered that Steve Thoburn always dual-priced and had metric scales.
The Metric Martyrs saw their convictions upheld at the Court of Appeal when Lord Justice Laws ( who hailed from
Tragically, Steve died in his wife’s arms of a massive heart attack only days after learning that his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights had been rejected.
He had vowed to continue to defy the ‘law’ and continued serving his customers ‘the way they wanted to be served.’
Metric Martyrs Campaign Director, and former fishmonger, Neil Herron states:
“This is a monumental victory for the Metric Martyrs and all who have supported the campaign. It has been ‘People Power’ that has forced the European Commission and the Government to abandon the enforced metrication programme.
We have saved the pint, the mile, the yard, the foot as well as pounds and ounces.
We have stood toe to toe with the Council, Government and the EU and won … and shown others that you can stop the tide of EU legislation.
Steve Thoburn was the man who drew the line in the sand.
All that remains now for the campaign is to insist on a Royal Pardon to quash the criminal conviction that Steve took with him to the grave.
He should never have been prosecuted and ALL the authorities knew that it should never have happened.
The public had never wanted or asked for imperial measures to be abolished and no political party had ever put it in their manifesto that they intended to criminalise the use of imperial measures.
The name of Steve Thoburn will be chiselled into the pages of the history books.
The day they seized his scales was the beginning of the end of the EU.”
Metric Martyrs Defence Fund
Tel. 0191 565 7143 or 0191 514 4606
Mob. 07776 202045
The full background behind the European Commission, the Government and the DtI’s decision to surrender can be seen here
Date: 3rd May 2007
Issued by: Conservatives in the European Parliament
Giles Chichester MEP, tel: +32 (0) 2 28 45296
No more metric martyrs after Conservative lobbying pays off
End of EU inspired metrication after Commission agrees imperial measurements are good for business
Brussels, 3 May 2007 -- The threat to miles, yards and pints is off the agenda after Giles Chichester MEP, Conservative Industry Spokesman, got confirmation from Industry Commissioner Verheugen that "dual marking" of goods in imperial and metric will 'continue indefinitely'.
Following intense lobbying by the Conservatives, Commissioner Verheugen agreed that it was good news for British and European industry to keep imperial measurements as it would make it easier for them to sell to the United States.
Scotland - Time for the Edward III option
Obviously the Scots are incapable of forming a stable government, this sort of chaos in one of major oil suppliers and on our border could cause unacceptable upset to our economy and security. We haven't time to wait for the UN to act so I suggest we send a "peacekeeping force" north once again, as we have had to do so many times before, to restore order. It is for their own good.
Schools with large numbers of white pupils may be taken over or closed if they fail to promote race relations and links between different religious groups, according to Government guidance.
Lessons in all subjects should help to teach children tolerance and break down prejudice.
Schools must encourage pupils to strike up e-mail friendships with children at schools with a different racial or religious mix. They should also consider inviting imams and vicars to talk.
Schools Minister Jim Knight said one school in his Dorset South constituency had been rated as "outstanding" by Ofsted for its RE teaching.
But pupils had only limited experience of those from other backgrounds.
"They had never met anyone of the Muslim faith, they had never met a Hindu," he said.
"As part of delivering the duty, we could encourage more of that sort of contact. You could do it online."
He gave the "perfect example" of a link between a primary in Weymouth and another in Tower Hamlets.
The inner London borough has among the highest concentration of ethnic minority pupils in the country.
"The relationship had been forged by a member of staff who moved from a school in Tower Hamlets to Weymouth.
"They developed a relationship by e-mail between individual pupils, and then were going to visit."
I wonder why they didn't. Probably best to just to continue to "encourage more - e-mail friendships - that sort of contact. You could do it online." You wouldn't want to actually meet them when you can just have a nice safe virtual "cohesion" with them, would you. I'm sure the teenage white boys in Dorset South are leading the way with Asian Babe websites...
File under Ursine Arborial Fecal Deposition
May 7, 2007
Whip me, whip me! - Sorry; Nettle Soup, bottle of Oz Shiraz and some fresh home made bread, flour from local farms ground at Wessex Mills, sheer heaven!
I'm just not playing any more.
Somethingfishy suggests in sweary way it is.
May 6, 2007
Miliband - taken from behind by a bit of rough trade.
Home Secretary John Reid says he will leave the Cabinet in June when "Tony Blair goes".
I awoke this morning to the whisper that a Scotsman was going to resign alongside Tony - I thought surely Gordon isn't clever enough to sacrifice his one chance of being PM to keep his legacy and reputation - if he stood down with Tony he would be remembered, rightly or wrongly, as The Prudent Chancellor whereas he is going to be seen now as a short term loser of a PM. But I was wrong.
John Reid has played a blinder, of course he wasn't going to win against Gordon so he wasn't going to stand. But now in the post electoral meltdown leadership battle which David "Dave" Miliband thinks he has in the bag suddenly he has chance. Dave will be highly prominent, and identified, with the failing Gordo years. Reid will be out in the working mens clubs and union meetings reigniting the true flame of Labour. And when the crunch vote comes from the massed ranks of the old Labour movement the question will be "how many tanks has Islington have?". For no one is more identified with the guacamole and warm white wine wonk set than Miliband, and with the demise of Tony they will have had their day.
On the other hand Iain Dale, who is much closer to the action than I am believes differently:
But even worse than that, he got to hear of a big tabloid scandal brewing, which portrayed him, shall we say, in a less than chivalrous light. It was clear that the newspaper concerned was preparing to run the story if and when he announced his candidacy.
And so Dr Reid shuffles off into the great political waiting room muttering "Enoch was right". All political careers do indeed end in failure.
Voters turned on and turned out for real politics
The interior ministry estimated turnout to be 85 per cent – the highest for decades.
Mr Sarkozy has campaigned on themes such as national identity, security and radical economic reforms, including curbing union powers, dropping social charges from those wanting to work longer than the 35-hour week and cutting punitive French taxes.
Calling Mr Cameron - the rush to occupy the centre ground by all parties means most feel disenfranchised and unwilling to vote.
Have some balls and define a real position that is different to the others.
Britain’s most expensive state school is being built without a playground because those running it believe that pupils should be treated like company employees and do not need unstructured play time.
The authorities at the £46.4m Thomas Deacon city academy in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, due to open this autumn, also believe that the absence of a playground will avoid the risk of “uncontrollable” numbers of children running around in breaks at the 2,200-pupil school.
“We are not intending to have any play time,” said Alan McMurdo, the head teacher. “Pupils won’t need to let off steam because they will not be bored.”
The standard view expressed last week by Prof Alan Smithers, of the University of Buckingham, is that schools have been turned into exam factories at the expense of cultivating the inquisitive mind. But the more substantial problem stretches back to the educational reforms of the 1980s, and particularly Kenneth Baker's "core" curriculum,which introduced a major bias in favour of the sciences at the expense of the humanities.
The upshot now is that pupils spend a massively disproportionate amount of time learning (or supposedly so) about saturated fats and Ohm's law but nothing of the great achievements of Western civilisation. Their glorious island history is an optional subject and the creative arts are marginalised to the point of non-existence....
This might seem a far cry from the concerns of the family doctor, but the enforced tedium of the classroom must be responsible, at least in part, for the rising incidence of adolescent psychological and behavioural problems. The solution is simple:science should cease to be compulsory, thus freeing up time for pupils to learn about the real world.
May 5, 2007
Weekend Cat Blogging
The Remittance Man: Live Cat Blogging - cute little African cats playing in the sandpit. He is getting the idea, as I have previously shown my Wiltshire cat likes to play rough with its toys...
Chilli Cook-off - A Date for Your Diary
May JUNE - King's Arms, All Cannings, Wiltshire.
It is the BIG Chilli (or Chili to our colonial cousins) Cook-Off - see the advert to the right.
Will Mr FM attempt to beat me again? Will anyone survive Geoff Baker's Ring of Fire? Have you booked your space yet? If not why not?
It promises to be bigger and better than last year so I would be pleased to greet any readers who can make it, plenty of room for a few more tents in the garden so you can enjoy the beer as well.
I look forward to seeing you here. (And any tips are welcomed in the comments, as I failed to pick up a prize last year....)
The Elections - The Lazy Man's Guide to All You Need to Know
I think England is going to get heartily sick of Scottish politicians dominating our airwaves, squabbling over who is going to grab the spoils of office in their devolved Parliament and gain the right to spend all the money the Union votes them.
Whether Salmond ends up as First Minister or not, the endless wrangling and wriggling as the parties try to outmaneouvre each other and gradually ditch their promises to the electors will do two things. It will recruit more English nationalists, fed up with it all, and will turn many more people off oddball electoral experiments that confuse electors and muddle the message voters were trying to send to the government.
For a whole day the BBC voiced the Labour message - the Conservatives had failed to break through in the north, had failed to win enough seats and votes to win a general Election...
So what are the facts?
1. If the same voting were reproduced at a General Election there would be a majority Conservative government, with MPs from Bolton and Bury.
2. The Conservatives won control of 20 Councils in the north, more than Labour control there.
3. The Conservatives now control 205 Councils, more than 4 times as many as Labour.
4. Labour now only controls 46 Councils, and the Lib Dems a mere 27.
Scotland shows just what a bad idea PR is...
No-one has any idea in Scotland who is now going to form the government because the result was inconclusive. All the parties that want a role in the government will now ditch some of their promises to electors to try to cosy up to each other to form an administation. PR guarantees dishonesty by parties in an election, as they have to tear up their manifesto once the results are known and form a new programme with others. PR is the ultimate way to ensure a conspiracy of the political classes against the electorate, as they share out the spoils on some basis which suits them, rather than being the direct result of votes cast.
The electoral system like so much else has been badly damaged in the last ten years. There are now serious worries about electoral fraud, the postal vote system is weak, and the PR elements make it impossible for electors to stay in charge over who gets into government.
That saves me having to do the hard lifting of commenting on the election - Thanks John.
May 4, 2007
Drinking to the Scotch tonight
THE Scottish Nationalists have become the largest party in the Scottish parliament, beating Labour by one seat,
Betfair have paid out on my bet that the SNP would win the most seats - if I had had more nerve I could have had some much better odds earlier today when the media were believing the Labour spin, but I'm happy with my modest winnings, and the egg on Tony and the invisible Gordon's face...
Hot Tin Roof
56 Cecile Park Hornsey London N8 9AU - you have been found guilty of wasting heat and will be taken from this place to a lawful prison and thence to a place of execution and that you be hanged by the neck until you are dead.
Or so the snoop from the sky at Haringey Interactive Heat Loss Map implies.
Wiltshire - Not good news for Cameron
Swindon: Tories gained one seat, and now have 43 councillors.
Labour also gained one seat, to take their tally to 13.
The Lib Dems have three councillors and two "others" lost their seats.
Salisbury council is now hung after the Conservatives lost overall control.
Tories lost eight seats, and now have 30 councillors in place.
But the Lib Dems gained 10 seats, taking their total to 19. Labour lost one seat, giving them 10 councillors, and there are four "others".
Doesn't look like the voters down in the shires have flocked to the polls to support the boy wonder, what news from the north?
Banana Republic Polls
Ministers were urged to bring in new laws to ban political parties from handling postal votes amid growing concerns about electoral fraud.
As polling booths closed across Britain, with near-record turnouts in Scotland, council chief executives issued a statement claiming that party workers across Britain were interfering with postal votes.
The warning follows police investigations in Birmingham and Leeds into allegations of continued interference by political parties. Council chiefs claim that activists are taking completed ballot papers, opening them, and deliberately dumping or hoarding those backing a different party.
A scandal - Iain Dale has another worrying story
Bjørn Lomborg - How to save the world.
Malnutrition is one of the world’s biggest challenges, afflicting 1 of every 6 of us. Although we are moving in the right direction—despite adding more than 70 million people to the global population each year, the number of those suffering from malnutrition has been falling—more than 3 million people will die this year from poor nutrition. Some 800 million are chronically undernourished.
The most wellknown form of malnutrition is a lack of calories. But there is another, more prevalent form. It isn’t obvious or easily photographed, and so it attracts scant attention. Yet it could be solved with remarkable ease. It is the unsexysounding “micronutrient deficiency”—a lack of iodine, vitamin A, and iron.
Children lacking iodine do not develop properly, either physically or intellectually. All they need is salt fortified with iodine. An absence of vitamin A increases the risks of blindness. The nutrient could easily be made more readily available in staple food items, such as genetically modified golden rice.
Iron deficiency affects as many as 3.5 billion people—more than half the world’s population. An iron deficit stunts growth and impedes mental abilities—stealing up to 15 IQ points from the average child. It reduces a person’s ability to perform manual labor by as much as 17 percent. Today, it’s battering the health and energy of half a billion women and stunting the growth of 40 percent of the developing world’s children. Yet we already know how to solve this problem: The fortification of flour, rice, and salt is cheap and simple. In other cases, iron cooking pots, which slowly emit iron, could be distributed in poor countries.
Dealing with micronutrient deficiency would quickly and cheaply improve the lot of billions of people...
Simple, sensible and unsexy solutions - if a hundredth of the effort that goes into the AGW scare went into this real problem what a difference it would make.
May 3, 2007
The school of "Machiavellian skullduggery"
...teachers have scored top marks in a new survey of workplace backstabbing.
The office politicking that goes on in between lessons makes teaching the most gossipy job of all, with eight in ten teachers admitting they regularly criticise fellow staff members behind their backs.
A further 27 per cent of teachers revealed that they gossip about colleagues at least once every week.
More than half (54 per cent) admit they withhold important information to get ahead at their colleagues' expense and curry favour with their head teacher.
The most popular behind-the-back topic on teachers' curriculum is criticising colleagues' work performance.
No wonder Guy Fawkes reveals Gordon was, as always, at a photo op at a school. He must feel at home in the staffroom.
What a difference an E makes (Pt2)
Tim Montgomery will be sentenced after pleading guilty to charges of fraud and money-laundering as part of a $5m scam made me wake up with a start this morning, "there goes Conservativehome" I thought.
But please note it is not Tim Montgomerie but Tim Montgomery . I bet the old Field Marshall is spinning in his grave as the family name is traduced.
I really must get out more and discover the world beyond blogs...
Can the SNP deliver for an Englishman?
Betfair.com has at 6:39 am SNP at 1.22 to win the most seats at the Scottish election (Labour is at 3) - looks like the market is going with the Telegraph poll rather than The Scotsman's neck-and-neck one. I think I will have a bit of that. Just enough to buy something to celebrate Tony getting a final kicking, if he does.
Succumb to Iain Dale's breathless entreaties and make him a happy man, you know you will feel better for it.
May 2, 2007
Ten Years of Blairism, nothing to do with me - Tony Blair.
The Tories immediately accused Mr Blair of a shameless attempt to distance himself, ahead of Thursday's polls, from a disastrously unpopular strategy pioneered by his own Government...
Many Labour MPs say fortnightly collections are the number one issue on the doorstep. Even in areas where the Tories run the councils they say Labour is being blamed for the bin policy.
"Look, Guys, it is nothing to do with me, and in fact I'm leaving very very soon, in fact all the things that have gone wrong in the last ten years were nothing to do with me, remember all my triumphs, my legacy, you know something will come to mind, surely, and did I mention I'm resigning soon? Please vote Labour, please.....
No English Welcome
THE ROYAL ARMOURIES (LEEDS) PAY £5,200 COMPENSATION FOR ANTI-ENGLISH RACISM
The English Democrats have won a notable victory in the battle against political correctness by suing the Royal Armouries in Leeds for anti-English discrimination in breach of the Race Relations Act. In an out of court settlement the Royal Armouries have paid the English Democrats £5,200 compensation.
- Any chance the compensation could be taken in kind?, a few Brown Besses, Pikes, etc. all could come in handy
Under the thumb
Hidden mini-cameras and microphones that can eavesdrop on conversations in the street are the next step in the march towards a "Big Brother" society, MPs were warned yesterday.
Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, said a debate had begun about whether listening devices should be set up alongside Britain's 4.5 million CCTV cameras....
He said it was arguable that surveillance in Britain - which is greater than in any other democratic nation - may already have gone too far. It was crucial, he added, to ''proceed with caution'' to avoid creating a climate suspicion.
MPs told Mr Thomas that their constituents were keen on CCTV, which they found reassuring.
That last sentence can be parsed in different ways:
Constituents who MPs have talked too find CCTV reassuring, in which case everyone else needs to let their MPs know their feelings.
MPs find the idea of CCTV reassuring and so do their constituents, of course MPS like the idea of anything that keeps their sheep like voters under the thumb.
MPs find the idea of their constituents being keen on CCTV reassuring, the sheep are happy.
Which ever one it is you have a duty to inform your MP of your views.
It's down to me, oh yeah
The way she talks when she's spoken to
Down to me, the change has come,
She's under my thumb
Yeah, it feels alright
Under my thumb
Her eyes are just kept to herself
Under my thumb, well I
I can still look at someone else
What a difference an E makes
-Gay Sex Resignation, Escourt Agency, lying in court, Brown, Peerage, Friend of Tony Blair, all came crackling through the radio as I left the pub last night, I nearly turned back to buy a large bottle of something. As I struggled to tune it in I eventually realised that it wasn't Brown but Browne - and even then not the Defence bloke. Damn, a no interest story - Browne of BP, of course he is a liar, no surprise there, haven't you seen how short he is? Never trust short men.
Historic CO2 levels - The Consensus Defence
RealClimate defends Ice cores and Keeling and Callendar.
May 1, 2007
Happy Birthday Great Britain - 300 years old today
The Acts of Union were a pair of Acts of Parliament passed in 1706 and 1707 (taking effect on 1 May 1707) by, respectively, the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts were the implementation of the Treaty of Union negotiated between the two states.
The Acts created a new state, the Kingdom of Great Britain, by merging the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. The two countries had shared a monarch since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, but had retained sovereign parliaments.
The Acts of Union dissolved both parliaments and replaced them with a new Parliament of Great Britain, based at Westminster, the former home of the English Parliament. This is referred to as the Union of the Parliaments.
Other happy unions would be hanging out the bunting today and wishing for many more anniversaries to come, though David Aaronovitch does his bit to preserve the Union by declaring "I don’t want to be English"...
"The Union has allowed a generation of talented Scottish politicians to strut their stuff on the British stage: Brown, Cook, Rifkind, Kennedy, Campbell" - and that is meant to be a recommendation!
"This is an argument about how the rest of the UK will miss out if the Union ends. You won’t get, for example, an Andrew Marr becoming political editor of an English and Welsh BBC." I think I could survive the loss.
Some people are unworried by this loss. Exponents of the new boneheaded super-localism, for example, take it as read that the smallest possible unit is superior to anything larger. Supporters of the English parliament – an idea that derives from an infantile proposition about fairness, rather than need – will more or less get their way.
Ah fairness, so unnecessary when the needs of
the Labour Party the Union are paramount.
10 years of Blairite education - the verdict
Schools under Labour have been turned into "factories" that churn out exam results but fail to educate children properly, according to a leading Government adviser.
In a damning indictment of Tony Blair's school reforms, Alan Smithers, the professor of education at Buckingham University, says the Government has "done quite a lot of harm" to children by subjecting them to repeated tests.
Addressing a conference today, he will say that the Prime Minister has produced a generation of children regarded as the most unhappy in the western world....
Prof Smithers, an expert on school standards, says there is mounting evidence that children's self-esteem and long-term development is being undermined by the target-driven culture in state schools. This move is driving rising numbers to educate children in the private sector.
Oh Happy Anniversary Mr Blair! I hope just somehow behind that smug insincere grin we will see today as you celebrate 10 years in Downing Street there is a worm of doubt biting into your soul as you contemplate the damage and hurt you have done to the children.