August 31, 2007
Diana and me
So, what did you do in Diana Week, daddy?
Embarrassed by how they got caught up in the public outpourings between her death and funeral, some now try to dismiss it as “the week we all went mad”. Speak for yourself.
The thing I remember about the death of Diana, I learnt of first as a joke on the internet. Early on the Sunday morning before I had turned on a radio or TV I checked my email, oh you early adopter!, and was perplexed by this message::
"I see Princess Diana was on the radio last night,.... and the dashboard, steering wheel and right through the windscreen"
I knew then t'internet was going to change the world.
This boy is for turning
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said this morning that the treaty was different in "absolute essence" from the defunct European constitution, so the Government was not obliged to follow through on its manifesto pledge to hold a referendum.
"We have not got a European constitution," Mr Miliband told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has refused to rule out a referendum on the EU reform treaty as Labour infighting grows over Europe.
In the face of a mounting Labour rebellion, he insisted last night the final decision should be left to Parliament.
But asked to say that there was no possibility of an eventual referendum, Mr Miliband repeatedly ducked the question.
Some Labour MPs believe Mr Brown may be increasingly tempted to call an early election if the EU referendum campaign continues to gather pace. One idea is that he could include a commitment to ratify the treaty in the election manifesto and, if he wins, use this to say he has a mandate not to call a referendum
Oh dear Diddums sounds as though he is getting rattled. He is afraid he is going to be called into the headmasters study and have to explain why he can't deliver a compliant parliament and populace who accept Gordon's word. Very frightening when you are very little.
Will Gordon duck a referendum by calling an election? Tempting in that Dave is still in disarray, and that there are some many traitorous Tories who love the troughs of Brussels so Cammy couldn't run an anti-Eu campaign. But then old cowardy custard Brown has always run away from any fight and I don't think he will risk an election being turned into an EU referendum. If he calls an election he will have neutralised the problem first.
Energy companies are cashing in on Government subsidies by building wind farms that will never make any money because they are being constructed on sites with not enough wind, it has been claimed.
Experts said claims of wind farm potential were being overestimated - Wind farm cash-in for renewable energy companies
Experts said claims of wind farm potential were being overestimated
Despite Britain being the windiest nation in Europe, some farms are proposed for sites where companies have exaggerated their potential, a BBC investigation alleged.
To meet EU targets for renewable energy, the Government has subsidised the wind turbine industry by half a billion pounds. Yet companies have not managed to deliver even 0.5 per cent of Britain's electricity needs....
Jim Oswald, an engineering consultant, analysed figures submitted to the electricity watchdog Ofgem on every wind farm's load factor - the amount of wind generated across the year.
The recommended load factor for a viable wind development is 30 per cent, but he said the average across Britain was 28 per cent. The problem lied with the volatility of the wind, he added.
An over reliance on wind power could result in power failures and higher electricity bills, he said, adding that the network needed to be redesigned.
The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) rejected the claims. It said subsidies were not paid for the building of farms, only per unit of electricity supplied to the National Grid...
Mr Jefferson and Mr Oswald criticised the fact that some wind farms in remote areas such as northern Scotland were sitting idle because they were not connected to the National Grid.
The claim that subsides don't pay for the building of the farms because it is paid on the juice produced shows the kindergarten level of economics of the whole sorry whirligig scam.
August 30, 2007
The Drug War, Just Say No to it.
Give peace a chance. Forget the war on drugs | Anatole Kaletsky - Times Online
The fact is that many complex problems do have simple answers. What politicians mean when they say “there are no simple answers” is that the simple answers are not the same as easy ones. The easy answer to almost any political problem is to highlight its complexity, plead for patience, appoint a policy czar and set up a Royal Commission. The simple answer is often to do something bold and previously unthinkable. In other words, to cut the Gordian knot instead of trying to untie it.....
...there is a common thread linking the British Army’s failure to bring order to large parts of Afghanistan controlled by the Taleban and the British police’s failure to bring order to large parts of our inner cities controlled by gangs of gun-toting youths. That common thread is drugs....
what if, instead of looking for the root causes of crime and social breakdown, we consider what might have changed in recent years to encourage more teenagers to carry weapons? The answer then becomes much simpler. As in Helmand, many inner-city estates have created an alternative social order where the economics of the hugely profitable drug trade are far more attractive than any other choice.
And just as in Helmand, the efforts to suppress drug-use and trading have distracted the police and the courts from the infinitely more important tasks of preventing violence and keeping control of the streets. For example, tougher sentences for carrying knives or guns are pointless when the law already imposes even longer prison terms — up to life for large quantities — on people who carry drugs, which many of the teenage gangs habitually do. Similarly, zero-tolerance policing, which could certainly help to get weapons off the streets in the right conditions, is of little use if prisons are so overcrowded with drug offenders that there is no room for violent criminals carrying knives and even guns.
All these observations point to a simple conclusion: simple, though not easy. The global war against drugs is in contradiction to the war against violent crime at home and the war against terrorism internationally. Legalising, or at least decriminalising, drugs would, not on its own, end terrorism or gang violence — and it is no substitute for long-term measures to promote development abroad or improve education at home. But a ceasefire in the war against drugs would at least give peace a chance — not only in Afghanistan, but also in the streets of Britain.
And the chances of any of Gordon's ministers recognising that? As likely as Cherie Blair retiring to a nunnery.
Bring me sunshine
THE European Commission is under fire from green campaigners and retailers for plans to extend duties on energy-efficient light bulbs from China.
The Chinese light bulbs have been subject to import duties since 2001, because the commission says the products are sold in EU markets for less than their true value.
Yesterday, EU commissioners met in Brussels and agreed to keep tariffs of 66 per cent in place, despite calls from green campaigners to bring down the price of energy-efficient light bulbs to encourage consumers to make greener choices.
Johannes Laitenberger, a spokesman for the commission, said it was in the "overall community interest" to keep the tariffs in place to help European manufacturers to adjust to "a changing market reality".
Could you explain it to me again how it is in my overall interest that I should pay more for my light bulbs so some slow witted Belgium lighbulb hewer can eventually notice there is a growing market for energy efficient light bulb?. No doubt the oligarch of the rare metal component of such bulbs will be along in a moment to explain how the subsidy keeps him in the lap of luxury having his grapes peeled for him under the Lusitanic sun.
Only criminals would object to a DNA database, wouldn't they?
Junkfood Science: Ingsoc
...While national security or science for the common good might sound like noble reasons for governments to gather genetic material of its citizens, that’s not what this is really about. And the potential for abuse and financial and political gain go far beyond anything George Orwell even envisioned.....As one of the public commentators at the Times insightfully noted: “They want your DNA because of all the information it reveals about you. As the human genome is decoded, government, employers, insurance salespersons, banks, and everybody else will be able to read what diseases you are genetically predisposed to and make decisions affecting you without your control. Government et. al. will have this increased power over you, but you will not have any more power over your government. In fact, it is just one more means of rendering you helpless and vulnerable to the whims of bureaucrats who have their own interests in mind, not yours. Eventually all people will be monitored and controlled from cradle to grave - the journey of which is adjustable by those with enough power.”
This is so much bigger than public health and safety.
August 29, 2007
Collect GCSE, do not pass Go, go directly to Jail
Make science easier, examiners are told - Times Online
Examiners will have to set easier questions in some GCSE science papers, under new rules seen by The Times. A document prepared by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents awarding bodies across Britain, says that, from next year, exam papers should consist of 70 per cent “low-demand questions”, requiring simpler or multiple-choice answers. These currently make up just 55 per cent of the paper.
The move follows growing concern about the “dumbing down” of science teaching at GCSE and grade inflation of exam results, which critics claim is the result of a government drive to reverse the long-term decline in the number of pupils studying science....
Try your hand at the GCSE physics paper - answers at the bottom of the article
Why not just stick the bloody certificates on the backs of Cornflake packets. It doesn't fool anyone, except teachers and the government, which frankly isn't hard to do. Universities know, employers know and even the kids know they are being fobbed off with crap teaching and given shiny stars to pretend it is all OK.
Please Mr State take care of my children
MOST parents struggle to meet their children's school costs, under pressure to fund trips and buy expensive uniforms, a report warned yesterday.
Some schools pester parents to make "voluntary" contributions towards their children's education, the charity Citizens Advice said.
And with uniforms reportedly costing up to £500, one in ten parents said associated expenses had influenced their choice of school.
The charity warned poorer families could find the cost of uniforms, photos and books too much to bear. David Harker, chief executive of Citizens Advice, called on ministers to take a tougher line with schools.
"Parents shouldn't have to spend sleepness nights worrying about how they are going to pay for what their child needs simply to go to school," he said.
FFS - even I have noticed Tesco advertising 3 school shirts for £3.75. Before a single one of these whinging scroungers is allowed to open the fat crisp filled face to demand the the taxpayer further subsidised the bastard offspring of their sordid and seedy lives I would love to know how many £40 football shirts the little brats already have. They are your children take some bloody responsibility for them.
Community Involvement in the Criminal Justice System
The victim was tied to a lamppost as masked men poured tar over him then covered him in feathers as women and children looked on.
A placard around his neck declared: "I'm a drug dealing scumbag."
This was an inspiring day. .... We are going to make community involvement and problem solving a reality here ... I am challenging prosecutors to think creatively about their role at the heart of community justice, from start to finish. What has been discussed here will blaze a trail across the country.
While old fatty Goldsmith might not have been talking of this particular day, with the Government retreating from the essential idea that the State acts as a fair judge of punishment with its calls for victims or the nebulous community to be "involved" this is what you will get. I note from the Sun that the victim didn't go to the police or hospital, so a fully privatised justice system then...
August 28, 2007
Na Na I've got my fingers my ears, I can't hear you.
Referendum row closes in on Gordon Brown - Telegraph
Gordon Brown's fabled strengths as a political strategist are about to be tested to breaking point. Our revelation today that as many as 120 backbench Labour MPs (apparently with the tacit support of some ministers) support the call for a referendum on the EU reform treaty presents the Prime Minister with a serious challenge to his authority....
Labour's 2005 general election manifesto gave an explicit commitment to a referendum on the EU constitution.
The new treaty is accepted across Europe as being a near-identical replica of the constitution which the votes of the French and Dutch consigned, briefly, to oblivion.
Mr Brown argues otherwise. He maintains that the Government has secured Britain's "red lines" and that, as a result, "the proper way of considering this is through detailed consideration in Parliament itself". In maintaining this position, the Prime Minister is defying the popular will...
The trade unions, which intend to use next month's TUC Congress to add their voice to the referendum clamour.
Mr Brown has already embarked on the job of buying them off with the kind of horse-trading that used to give Labour governments a bad name.
So how does he extricate himself from this impasse? We have frequently argued that for this risk-averse Prime Minister a snap general election capitalising on his political honeymoon is probably the surest way of achieving a fourth Labour term..
I don't think we are allowed to point out that Gordon Brown is over to the left on the autistic spectrum any more, but if he was, and I'm not saying he is the sort of man who sorts his socks for relaxation, but if he was then he has the wonderful advantage of being able to filter the outside world to his own comfort. He will be counting the spots on the political advisor's tie rather than listen to the news that the people are beginning to recognise him as an amoral scheming chancer rather than the solid bank manager he projects.
DA DADA DA DA DA DA-DA DA DADA DA DA DAH DADA - part three
The Dam Busters return, sharper than ever - Telegraph
Veterans of the legendary 617 "Dambusters" Squadron have welcomed plans to screen a digitally restored version of the classic film that immortalised their heroic wartime exploits.
The stirring epic The Dam Busters, starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd, is to be re-released in cinemas nationwide next week, for the first time since it opened in 1954....for one day only - Tuesday, Sept 4.
One day only! Pah.
(And yes the dog gets to keep his name...)
Like it or not, thou shalt recycle thy rotting food | Mick Hume: Thunderer - Times Online
...Our local authority is the latest in London to make recycling compulsory. The council says that it in turn has been compelled to impose this scheme by the threat of government fines.
Free societies rarely make things compulsory, preferring to rule out what we may not do rather than dictate what we must....
the real aim of domestic recycling has long had more to do with changing our behaviour than affecting climate change. It is about sorting people into the clean-living who recycle, and the trash who do not. The message is that Green is Good. Now the garbage police are going farther with the threat of fines for unrepentant sinners; our council says these will be “a last resort to persistent nonrecyclers” – others call them serial eco-criminals. It seems we are going to be in the state’s Good Books whether we like it or not.
The eco-crusaders want to have their cake and recycle it. They caution that man-made global warming means the planet is doomed. Yet they also want us to believe that we can save the world if only we rinse out a can and do our laundry at 30C. It just won’t wash.
Still, the council leaflet assures us that compulsory recycling “can also be fun” – just before it orders us to put out our recycling box “by 6am”.
Why am I reminded of the laws on Archery Practice and other impositions on our freedoms...
August 27, 2007
Forensic Climatology and the Central England Temperature (CET) record - UPDATED
A very welcome guest post by Willis Eschenbach which raises questions over the UK's long running temperature record.
Because of the difficulty in obtaining the underlying data and computer codes used for various studies and graphs, I often find myself involved in what I call "forensic climatology". This is the art and science of reconstructing data and procedures from published graphs and descriptions.
Thanks to Tim at "An Englishman's Castle", I recently got interested in the UHI adjustments to the Central England Temperature (CET) record. ....
These issues are discussed in Parker et al., " Uncertainties in the Central England Temperature series 1878-2003 and some changes to the maximum and minimum series" Here are Figures 8a and 8b from that paper:
The first step is to extract the data from the graphs. I use a combination of manual and automated methods. First I carefully trace over one of the lines in the graph. Then I mask out the rest of the lines, and use digitizing software to extract the values for that line. (I use "GraphClick" on the Mac, but there are equivalent programs for the PC). I repeat this for each of the lines. Then I copy the digitized data into Excel, and interpolate it to determine the values at regular monthly intervals for the period of record (January 1959 - December 2002).
The next step is to look for internal relationships in the data. In this case, the data are station anomalies relative to the CET average values. Since the CET average is defined in the Parker paper as being the average of Rothamsted + Malvern + 0.5*(Squires Gate + Ringway), one internal relationship should be:
Rothamsted anomaly+ Malvern anomaly+ 0.5*(Squires Gate + Ringway) anomaly = 0.
However, when we look at the data, this is not the case. Here are the Tmax anomaly figures:
Rather than all of them being zero as we would expect, there are fairly wide swings in the data. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it must relate to adjustments in either the station data or the CET average data. One clue comes from the Parker et al. paper, which says:
Owing to the availability of additional digitized daily data, Parker et al (1992)
used different stations for daily CETmean than Manley (1974) had used for monthly
CET (Table 1). Because of these differences in stations, the areal average
temperature at Parker et al’s stations differed slightly from Manley’s values. So
Parker et al. (1992) adjusted their daily CETmean values to make their monthly
averages consistent with Manley (1974). For similar reasons, when we created
daily CETmax and CETmin series, again using a different sequence of stations (Table
1), we adjusted the values so that each day’s average of CETmax and CETmin
equaled that day’s adjusted CETmean and was therefore also compatible with
Manley (1974). In this section, we estimate the uncertainties arising from these
adjustments. We also estimate the uncertainties stemming from the adjustments
applied by Parker et al. (1992) to the CETmean data from 1980 onward to
compensate for urban warming. These adjustments differed between calendar
months and have been increased in magnitude to reach -0.2°C in all months by
2003. In Section 6 we consider the biases arising from the application of double
these adjustments to CETmin and no urban adjustment to CETmax.
Since there is a big change in 1974, it is tempting to think that the above mentioned changes were the cause. But if this is the case, it invalidates the reason for using the values in Tables 8a and 8b. Since the average values have been adjusted so much (e.g. more than three quarters of a degree from 1964-1967), the resulting comparison of averages with the station values loses meaning. In fact, having to make this size of adjustment suggests that there may be deeper problems with their data.
Next, here is the corresponding station Tmin minus CETmin graph:
The difference in this graph is that the CET Tmin values have been adjusted downwards for urban warming (Urban Heat Island, or UHI), while the CET Tmax values were not. Because of this, the difference between the station temperature and the CETmin increases over time. Again, however, we find the jumps downward in 1974 and upward in 1980.
Finally, we can determine how much the UHI adjustments are by subtracting the data in the first graph from the data in the second graph. This will zero out the common differences in the CETmin and CETmax data, leaving only the UHI adjustments. Here is that graph:
Once again, questions arise. You would expect the UHI adjustment (which began in 1980) to be relatively smooth. Instead, there is an adjustment of about 0.3°C around 1980, and then no further adjustment until 1997. At that point, there is an abrupt adjustment of about 0.65°, followed by a steep climb. These adjustments seem quite odd.
What can we conclude from all of this? Unfortunately, we end up with questions rather than conclusions.
1) Why don't the post 1974 Tmax station data agree with the CETmax averages (first graph)? Prior to 1974, the CETmax and CETmin averages were adjusted to fit the Manley data. But after that, the station data average should have been stable with respect to the CETmax average. Instead, the station - CET TMax data jumped upwards in 1980, and down again in 1997.
2) Why did the station Tmax - CETmax values change in 1980 (first graph)? The Parker et al. paper says that the UHI adjustment was applied solely to the Tmin data.
3) Why did the station Tmax - CETmax values rise from 1990-1995 after nearly a decade of stability? (first graph)
4) Why the change in adjustments in 1980? (Third graph)
5) Why the huge change in the adjustments post 1997? (third graph)
6) The Parker et al. paper lists the following adjustments made in 1974 in order to match the earlier (Manley) data:
Given these adjustments to match the pre-1974 data, why is there such a large drop in both Tmax and Tmin post 1974 (graphs one and two)?
7) Why is the UHI adjustment (post 1980, third graph) consist of a jump in 1980, no adjustment for seventeen years, and then a radical adjustment?
8) Finally, it appears that rather than adjusting the individual station averages for urban warming, by comparing them with nearby rural sites, the average of the individual sites is adjusted. Why adjust the averages rather than the individual stations?
Some or all of these questions may have perfectly simple answers. However, I could not find them in the description by Parker et al., which may be my poor reading skills, or may be because they were not explained in the paper, or may be because they are actually errors in the processing of the data.
I look forward to any answers to these questions.
My best to everyone,
UPDATE David Parker responds:
The adjustments Willis Eschenbach shows up to 1974 are as expected the
mirror image (approximately, owing to the smoothing in the plots) of the
adjustments plotted in Figure 1 of Parker and Horton (2005) for 1958-74.
These adjustments account for station changes, ensuring a consistent
series whenever stations close and have to be replaced. They remove the
average difference in climate between an old station and its
replacement. The paper estimates the uncertainties resulting from this
adjustment process. The Table 5 Willis Eschenbach reproduces shows these
uncertainties, not the actual adjustments!
However Figures 8 a and b also suggest an error in Willis Eschenbach's
extraction or subtraction. Visual inspection of the Figures does not
indicate that [Rothamsted anomaly+ Malvern anomaly+ 0.5*(Squires Gate +
Ringway) anomaly] deviates much from zero for Tmin or exceeds about 0.4C
(the maximum urban warming adjustment) for Tmax. Note also that near the
end of the plot the filter has to assume imaginary values (equal to the
average value in the last 31 months because it is a 61-month smoother)
beyond the end of the plot so the data-extraction method could be
misleading there. If we didn't do this we would be unable to show
anything within 2.5 years of the end of the series (which were available
through 2003 when the paper was being written).
It is true that, rather than adjusting the individual station averages
for urban warming, by comparing them with nearby rural sites, the
average of the individual sites is adjusted. We did this as the
combination of sites reduces "noise" in the adjustment process because
local-scale weather and micro-meteorological influences are thereby
cancelled out somewhat more effectively.
I hope this helps
UPDATE - Willis responds to David:
David, thank you for your prompt reply. You say that the adjustments up to
1974 are the mirror image of the adjustments made to the station data. If
this is the case, perhaps I misunderstood your graph. You say that you are
showing the stations (presumably adjusted for station closure, etc) and
their anomaly about CET average. If that is the case, then why is the sum of
the anomalies about the average not always zero?
On the other hand, it is possible that the graph shows the unadjusted
stations versus the CET average. But what would be the use of that? Why show
unadjusted data, which is presumably inaccurate, rather than adjusted
Post 1974, you say that there is an error in my extraction or subtraction. I
have rechecked my figures and cannot find it (which of course does not mean
that it is not there!). If you would be so kind as to post on the web (or
send me directly) the data upon which the graph is based, we could determine
if I have made an error.
Next, you say that you adjust the station average (rather than the
individual stations) for the UHI. While this makes sense, why is the
adjustment done in a step fashion, with a jump around 1980, no further
adjustment until 1997, and then a jump after that?
Finally, if all of the individual station anomalies are filtered using the
same filter as the CET average, the sum of the filtered individual anomalies
minus the CET filtered anomaly should equal zero. In other words, the
filtering should not affect the calculation.
Access to the underlying data would resolve all of these questions. Your
assistance in providing the data to settle all of these matters would be
All the best,
SCOTTISH ministers last night increased the pressure on their UK counterparts to hand over control of firearms to Holyrood.
Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, wrote to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, asking for a clear timetable for legislation allowing the Scottish Executive to ban airguns north of the Border.
Firearms is one of the areas which remains reserved to Westminster and Scottish ministers are not allowed to legislate on the issue without the clear consent of the UK government.
We have been here before repeatedly and so luckily the legislation already exists - all we have to do is unrepeal it. (It would also have the added bonuses of outlawing tartan shortbread tins and the bagpipes...)
Act of Proscription 1747
An act for the more effectual disarming the highlands in Scotland; and for the more effectual securing the peace of the said highlands; ...
Whereas by an act made in the first year of the reign of his late majesty King George the First, of glorious memory, intituled, An act for the more effectual securing the peace of the highlands in Scotland, it was enacted, That from and after the first day of November, which was in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixteen, it should not be lawful for any person or persons (except such persons as are therein mentioned and described) within the shire of Dunbartain, on the north side of the water of Leven, Stirling on the north side of the river of Forth, Perth, Kincardin, Aberdeen, Inverness, Nairn, Cromarty, Argyle, Forfar, Bamff, Sutherland, Caithness, Elgine and Ross, to have in his or their custody, use, or bear, broad sword or target, poignard, whinger, or durk, side pistol, gun, or other warlike weapon, otherwise than in the said act was directed, under certain penalties appointed by the said act; which act having by experience been found not sufficient to attain the ends therein proposed, was further enforced by an act made in the eleventh year of the reign of his late Majesty, intituled, An act for the more effectual disarming the highlands in that part of Great Britain called Scotland; and for the better securing the peace and quiet of that part of the kingdom; and whereas the said act of the eleventh year of his late Majesty being, so far as it related to the disarming of the highlands, to continue in force only during the term of seven years, and from thence to the end of the next session of parliament, is now expired; and whereas many persons within the said bounds and shires still continue possessed of great quantities of arms, and there, with a great number of such persons, have lately raised and carried on a most audacious and wicked rebellion against his Majesty, in favour of a popish pretender, and in prosecution thereof did, in a traiterous and hostile manner, march into the southern parts of this kingdom, took possession of several towns, raised contributions upon the country, and committed many other disorders, to the terror and great loss of his Majesty's faithful subjects, until, by the blessing of God on his Majesty's arms, they were subdued: now, for preventing rebellion, and traiterous attempts in time to come, and the other mischiefs arising from the possession or use of arms, by lawless, wicked, and disaffected persons inhabiting within the said several shires and bounds; be it enacted by the King's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the first day of August, one thousand seven hundred and forty six, it shall be lawful for the respective lords lieutenants of the several shires above recited, and for such other persons as his majesty, his heirs or successors shall, by his or their sign manual, from time to time, think fit to authorize and appoint in that behalf, to issue, or cause to be issued out, letters of summons in his Majesty's name, and under his or their respective hands and seals, directed to such persons within the said several shires and bounds, as he or they, from time to time, shall think fit, thereby commanding and requiring all and every person and persons therein named, or inhabiting within the particular limits therein described, to bring in and deliver up, at a certain day, in such summons to be prefixed, and at a certain place therein to be mentioned, all and singular his and their arms and warlike weapons, unto such lord lieutenant, or other person or persons appointed by his Majesty, his heirs, of successors, in that behalf, as aforesaid, for the use of his Majesty, his heirs or successors, and to be disposed of in such manner as his Majesty, his heirs or successors shall appoint; ...
Time to bang Drake's Drum
Britain's EU treaty opt-outs 'humiliating' - Telegraph
Enrique Baron Crespo, a Spanish socialist and former president of the parliament, made clear Britain had already exhausted its goodwill.
He said Britain's opt-outs had "led to a situation close to humiliation and embarrassment for the entire EU".
Criticism also came from German MEP Elmar Brok, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said: "The European parliament is worried about the exact extent, definition and consequences of the opt-outs.
"The extension of majority voting in crucial policy areas, particularly in justice and home affairs, will strengthen the fight against terror and cross border crime. Regrettably Britain has got an opt-out from the policy area of justice and home affairs."
So how long and effective will the so called opt outs be? Chocolate fireguard comes to mind...
Being inquisitive I looked up Baron Crispie to see what else he had to say...
Q&A: EU Promoting Democratic Globalisation
The EU will have to be the driving force of the world economy in the near future. The U.S. is approaching the end of its economic cycle,...
The EU ... brought about peace, and created an engine of prosperity, this region’s greatest gift. Let’s remember that this bloc is a pioneer in building a democratic global world. ...
Israel’s position contrasts with pacification. To the EU, this problem is a priority, and is complicated by the issues of Israel and Palestine. The main thing is to recognise the two states and support the Palestinian National Authority....
we must remember that since the end of the Second World War, no imperial-type invasion has been accepted. We live in a post-colonial world.
The U.S. failed in Vietnam and had to withdraw. In Iraq, it must reconsider its position. Let’s not forget that we, too, made mistakes, for instance in the second Gulf War (1990-1991). But today it’s clear that the system of imperial adventures is doomed to failure. ...
We need to strengthen democracy on our continent and support it in the rest of the world, but let’s not forget that the first great debate about the dignity of persons and the inalienable character of human rights began in the Americas. Brave men like (Fray Toribio de Benavente) Motolinía and (Fray Bartolomé de) las Casas, opposed the conquests, the serf labour system imposed upon indigenous peoples, and other forms of slavery. Theories by (Francisco de) Vitoria and (Francisco) Suárez led to the recognition of the rights of peoples.
Sorry? "Inalienable... rights...dignity....began in America" Absolutely! but what's with the Corned Beef names? I've checked through the Declaration of Independence signatories and can't find Fray Bentos etc anywhere? Or is it that the Baron is resolutely anti-anglospheric and credits his fellow bull-wallopers with everything good? And to think his like rules us and represents us.
Fred Karno's Secret Police
Outrage at 500,000 DNA database mistakes - Telegraph
The database, the biggest in the world, contains about four million names.
But it has been dogged by problems. Statistics released by the Home Office show it contains around 550,000 files with wrong or misspelt names.
It is understood that some of the errors have been caused by people deliberately giving someone else's name - or names of people who do not exist. The database, which police are determined to expand, also contains spelling errors and other inaccuracies.
Another source of concern to opponents, shown in the figures, is that the system has the DNA profiles of about 150,000 children, many of whom were arrested by police but found to be innocent.....
Ministers accept the system is suffering teething problems but insist........
If you are going to set up an authoritarian surveillance state at least you might as well try to be efficient at it, isn't the boast meant to be the ability to get the trains running on time, oh never mind....
August 26, 2007
Wood Hog Roast
King's Arms. All Cannings Wiltshire - Monday Bank Holiday afternoon.
They are roasting a hog over an open wood fire, a special selection of guest beers will be on tap to be enjoyed in the garden, I'll be there, why don't you come along?
Gun Crime - Causes and Correlations
I think the sad events of this week prove yet again that it isn't guns that cause gun crime but the wearing of garish polyester football shirts. It seems all victims and suspects of gun crime wear them.
My suggestion to solve the problem is a simple law that states guns may only, and can be freely, carried by wearers of natural fibres; cotton shirts, silk ties, wool, waxed cotton with leather boots etc. (A small amount of Goretex could be permitted as proper dubbin is hard to find).
August 25, 2007
Oh what a beautiful morning
Combine passing a Maize Field - Wiltshire - 9:00 am Sat 25 August 2007
There's a bright golden haze on the meadow,
There's a bright golden haze on the meadow,
The corn is as high as an elephant's eye,
An' it looks like its climbin' clear up to the sky.
Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,...
And here is the field I took the picture from on my morning walk
The human cost of your bio fuel
To eat . . . . or to drive? - Times Online
....The economics of food — what is affordable, what it costs, and what that money buys — are creating unprecedented waves through all continents. From nut plantations in Indonesia to barley fields along the Rhine, farmers are all adjusting to this new world.
Part of the result is tortilla riots in Mexico, the astonishing leap in Brazilian chicken leg prices and mayonnaise price spikes in Western Europe.
These, say industry insiders, are the first skirmishes of a conflict that could soon dominate geopolitics: the war for resources between the world’s 800 million cars and its six billion stomachs. In the developed world, the war will come down to price and choice; in the developing world it could come down to survival.
The war centres largely on global demand for biofuels — “green” replacements for petrol, such as ethanol, that can be produced from sugar, corn and other agricultural products rather than fossil fuels.
Farmers are making a perfectly rational economic choice. With the price of crude oil high, they are planting crops to meet demand for cheaper biofuels. But converting more crops into energy means there is less to go into foodstuffs. And so the price of those foodstuffs rise......
For too long in the West the price of food has been a problem we don't worry about - the percentage of our wage we spend on it every year decreases. But forget "water wars" or the predicted chaos caused by climate change. this is the big story, this is what is affecting billions of people, this is what will cause instability as people die.
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Paxman voices concerns over BBC
Presenter Jeremy Paxman has voiced concerns over the BBC and the TV industry as a whole during a lecture at the Edinburgh TV festival.
Well Dear BBC I think maybe "voiced concerns" is a bit mild, ....
Jeremy Paxman likens BBC to Stalin's Russia - Telegraph
Jeremy Paxman said working with the BBC was like living in Stalin's Russia last night as he launched a scathing attack on his employer.
The Newsnight presenter accused the corporation of staking its future on "one five-year plan, one resoundingly empty slogan after another".
He said management initiatives such as One BBC, Making it Happen and Creative Futures all "blur into one great vacuous blur".
Infamy, Infamy, they've all got it in for me!
The Other Side of Kim du Toit
Don’t Even THINK Of Drinking Here
It would seem that friends have been mentioning my intemperate habits today
The view this evening as The Englishman & I drove down to the pub across the fields.
August 24, 2007
Green rubbish measures will lead to more pollution
Labour's tax will up fly-tipping, say Tories - Telegraph
Households in England could have to pay to take rubbish to their local tip under new Government proposals, the Tories said yesterday.
Councils currently have a legal duty to provide sites for residents to dispose of household waste
A Whitehall consultation document on boosting recycling disclosed plans that would allow town halls to charge people for throwing away household waste that does not fit in their bins.
The Conservatives labelled the proposals a "tip tax" and said it would increase fly-tipping and punish responsible behaviour.
...The "tip tax" would be designed to stop people avoiding doorstep collection charges by taking all their household waste to the local dump.
The consultation said: "The Government would also make legislative changes to allow financial incentives to be implemented at civic amenity (CA) sites to avoid a situation where household waste was simply diverted to CA sites."
Since the local
dump recycling centre opened we have had a lot less fly-tipping, start charging for people to take their waste there and of course fly-tipping will increase. But can that nice green Mr Cameron work his way through the thicket of opposing green claims on rubbish to simply state that rubbish collection is a public health measure and must remain free as a public good?
Not as green as I'm cabbage looking...
Eco-slackers feel the pressure to keep up with Green-Joneses - Times Online
Where once the chattering classes would have vied to demonstrate the most conspicuous consumption, now they are competing to be the greenest.
Such a shift has taken place in attitudes to the environment that conversation at dinner parties is more likely to turn to who had the most environmentally friendly holiday rather than who went to the most exotic location.
The pressure to be seen to be green is so strong that nine out of ten people admit telling “little green lies” to avoid being labelled an eco-vandal, a poll has found.
The survey, commissioned by Norwich Union, found that more than half of the people questioned considered unethical living more socially unacceptable than drink-driving. Three-quarters said that ethical one-upmanship is now one of the main themes of conversation at the school gates or while having meals with friends.
Dr Peter Marsh, co-director of the Social Issues Research Council, said that the issue of being greener than the Joneses cropped up frequently during lifestyle studies. “You see it in cars. Yesterday you talked about brake horsepower, now people talk about carbon emissions from their car
And you see it in my face as I sit quietly in the corner getting drunk rather than rage at the empty headed posturing of the brainless. Despite not insulting the host I still don't get invited back to this sort of dinner party, can't think why.
State Confiscation of Kids
Children taken from parents and adopted ‘to meet ministry targets’ - Times Online
Record numbers of young children are being taken from their parents and adopted - sometimes unjustly - to meet government targets, it is claimed today.
Each year some 1,300 babies under a month old are placed in care before adoption, compared with 500 when the Government came to power, BBC Radio 4’s Face the Facts claims today.
The programme is told that there are now more than 100 cases of possible miscarriages of justice in which children have been forcibly or unjustly adopted.
It says that the number of parents in England who have lost their children, despite insufficient evidence that they were causing them harm, has reached record levels.
One reason, according to social workers, is that they are under pressure to meet government adoption targets – in line with ministers’ policy for more children in care to be adopted.
At the same time, it is claimed, parents are not always given a proper chance to challenge adoptions because of the short time limit for appeals and the secrecy of the family courts.
Where's the Save Maddy campaign for these kids? Taking kids away from the poor, disabled misfits because they fail to match a social worker's expectations is not as newsworthy, but just as heartbreaking. But then we live in a State that believes in social engineering and that all your kids are belong to it.
August 23, 2007
Summer Camp - The sort I wish I had gone to.
What do you mean its a hoax, eh?
Thanks to a Canadian reader for sending it to me, and the outraged reaction...
Geriatrics, once more into the breach!
Spark me up: Stones flout ban at O2 concert - Telegraph
The Rolling Stones will not be prosecuted despite repeatedly flouting the smoking ban during their first concert on home soil since the new law.
Although Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood lit up time after time on stage at the O2 Arena in London on Tuesday night, Greenwich borough council said nothing could be done because fans at the 23,000-capacity venue had not objected.
The council said it had warned them not to smoke on stage.
The Devil's Advocate: A man's got to do what a man's got to do
...For eight years, 79-year-old June Turnbull has tended a flowerbed alongside the road that runs through her Wiltshire village. And then someone grassed her up to the Health and Safety Nazis......
Luckily, Mrs Turnbull, who pays for the plants out of her pension, is made of sterner stuff than the wimps who cravenly caved into things like the smoking ban. “They can send me to jail if they like,” she says. “I just want to be left alone to do it.”
That’s the spirit. We need to rebel against nonsense like this. And who better to do it than grumpy old folk?
PERHAPS THE veterans of Horwich, near Bolton, might take a leaf out of Mrs Turnbull’s book. There they’ve cancelled this year’s Remembrance Sunday parade after police refused to conduct the usual rolling road bock system and insisted on road closures and marshals … at a cost of £18,000.
I have an idea. Why doesn’t the British Legion just march on regardless? These people handled Dunkirk and Burma. Two spotty 16-year-old beat bobbies eating sweets and swigging Dandelion & Burdock aren’t exactly going to be much opposition.
The only way to deal with the choking grip of the jobsworths in the Turkey Army is to defy them at every turn. Civil disobedience should be the order of the day. Bring it on.
Maybe we will be saved by the old people, instead of silver surfing why don't they go out there and enjoy being cantankerous to the petty officials? Most of them enjoy being rude, given the chance, and what else have they got to do apart from dribble soup down their cardies as they watch Carol Vorderman? The patronising gits in the councils don't know how to deal with independent old people, it is a "non-compute" error that some don't depend on the council for their every whim. So reclaim the streets with your zimmer frames and if some should fall in the struggle, well in what better cause?
Dulce et decorum est pro illegitium carborundum mori.
Some corner of a foreign field
Record numbers emigrate from UK - Telegraph
Long-term migration from the country reached 385,000 in the year to July 2006, the highest figure since current counting methods were introduced in 1991, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.
The number of long-term migrants who arrived in the UK in the same period slightly down on the previous year, at 574,000.....
One in four babies born in Britain last year have a foreign mother or father,
I'm starting to feel I'm stuck in a revolving door, except those leaving aren't the same sort as those arriving.
Since 1997, 1.8 million British nationals have left the country and about 900,000 have returned. At the same time, more than three million foreign nationals arrived and about half that number left.
The departure of so many Britons is exacerbating the demographic and cultural changes wrought by high levels of immigration....
There are 250,000 second homes owned by British nationals in France alone, though Australia and Spain are the two favourite destinations for the British diaspora.
Surveys indicate that another one million are set to pack their bags for good over the next five years and a further 500,000 live abroad for part of the year.
Also, far from being pensioners looking for retirement in the sun, many leaving today were young and highly skilled. The IPPR study showed that four in 10 were in managerial or professional occupations.
The Brain Drain, voting with their feet, and why wouldn't you look for the new Jerusalem abroad if you could, what is there to keep you here?
Rubbish Durvey from the LGA
BBC NEWS | UK | 'Many' support pay-as-you-throw
Almost two-thirds of people would support a "pay-as-you-throw" system of collecting household waste, a Local Government Association survey suggests.
But only if it is rebranded "save-as-you-throw" and they get large council tax decreases... As my correspondent says:
I don't necessarily argue with the economics of pay-as-you-throw, but the
LGA carrying out such a survey is a akin to King Herrod undertaking a survey
on child abuse! What chances are there that this would really be revenue
neutral? Costs foisted on to the public as hypothecated charges create a
revenue hole that bureaucrats simply can't help filling with some unwanted
service that expands their empire. All your cash belong to us! We'd end up
paying more... That's for sure. Look what happened when water charges were
decoupled from the local rates.
And let's not mention that rubbish collection is a public health measure and if we start not paying for others waste to be collected, well then there are a lot of other council services only others use that I would prefer not to pay for either. I mean what has the Lesbian Outreach worker ever done for me, not even sent me the videos I asked for....
August 22, 2007
Rothamsted Temperature Record - Atmospheric Sulphur to Blame?
Rothamsted Research Sulphur (pdf) gives us a simple graph showing the decrease in Atmospheric Sulphur (No apologies to my valued American visitors, that is how we spell Sulfur!)
I have previously blogged about how Rothamsted shows a marked increase in minimum temperature compared to other UK sites, and that it probably was the one most affected by the decrease in smoky chimneys. (Woburn is 25 miles north west of Rothamsted and is an outlying station.)
As the amount of Sulphur rose in the 1970s we would expect it to be cold, and as the air is cleaned up starting in the 1980s we would expect it get warmer. The UK sulphur emissions have continued to fall according to official figures mirroring the rise in Rothamsted's minimum temperature.
So why do we not hear more about this huge change in atmospheric pollution, a pollution that the consensus is causes lower temperatures, and vastly more about a much smaller change in the CO2 levels?
Gordon's Big Fat Wedding
The money dance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There are various cultures in which the Money Dance (or in some cultures Dollar Dance or Apron Dance) is a traditional part of the wedding reception.
Scotsman.com News - Politics - Labour got £500,000 in Brown's first three days as PM
The figures may fuel speculation about Mr Brown calling an early election.
However, Labour remains deep in debt, owing around £16.3 million, while the Tories have liabilities of only £9 million.
And one of the major donations to Labour risks exposing the Prime Minister to charges of hypocrisy. Shortly after Mr Brown's appointment, Labour took £150,000 from Bet 365, a gambling company.
Gordon waltzing around the Cabinet room with eager supplicants pinning banknotes to his suit, what a picture! And of course just to wish him well on his honeymoon....
Ruth Turner's Friend Praise Cold Blooded Killer as Icon of Peace
Anglo-Irish ties at all-time high as lord delivers Collins oration - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie
BRITISH peer and Oscar-winning film producer, Baron David Puttnam, will make history today by delivering the keynote address at the General Michael Collins commemoration at Beal na Blath.
It is the first time a member of the British parliament has been asked to deliver the address at one of Ireland's foremost political ceremonies.
The decision to invite 66-year-old Baron Puttnam has been hailed as a measure of close Anglo-Irish ties and the growing determination to properly address historic issues between the two countries.
Baron Puttnam -- who has lived in West Cork for more than a decade -- is renowned for his interest in politics and contemporary Irish history.
He is a good friend of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet organiser, Ruth Turner, and has for years been deeply interested in both Irish history and the Michael Collins story.
"Ireland was gifted a figure to rank alongside other 20th century leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela - men who, having freed their own people from the shackles of oppression, became icons for peace and reconciliation everywhere."
To say Michael Collins was a peacemaker is humbug: He was a cold-blooded killer - Analysis, Opinion - Independent.ie
Michael Collins, stamp-collector; Michael Collins, composer of string quartets; Michael Collins, basket-weaver; Michael Collins, pacifist; Michael Collins, lace-maker; Michael Collins, teetotal Buddhist monk; Michael Collins, flower-arranger.
At this time of year we're used to an entire gallery of ludicrously fictional Michael Collins being mellifluously wafted out of the Bael na mBlath clay by some Irish voice or other, so I suppose there's no reason why some tame Englishman like Lord David Puttnam shouldn't have been invited to add to the heap of poppycock about the most fictionalised man in Irish history.
And naturally, he didn't disappoint, labelling Michael Collins "an icon for peace and reconciliation" and an example of "how people ought to behave in the service of their country".
Well, as it happens, at the time of his death, this "icon of peace and reconciliation" had already started a war against the Northern state, which, in the Treaty of the previous year, he had already agreed should come into existence.
And with what did he equip the IRA units he unleashed on the North?
Why, the very guns supplied by the British for the self-defence of the new Free State Army, which he had given his word of honour would not be allowed to be used against the Northern state. To "refresh" your memories -- which probably have been misinformed by a criminally delinquent educational system, and by a general social consensus which prefers the annual farrago of falsehoods of the flowery meadow to the truth of the school of hard fact -- let me remind you of the truth about Michael Collins.
It was he who, with his murders of the men of the G Division of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, introduced the concept of a campaign of assassination in support of a political cause: in doing so, he injected a toxin into Irish life that has never left it.
Bad as this was in southern Ireland, it had perfectly catastrophic consequences in the North.
Council lacks Market Skills
A branch of the Women's Institute has been told it cannot organise a market in a town square - despite a charter from Henry VIII granting permission to hold one there "forever".
"Devon county council told us there was no legal mechanism for closing the road."
Markets had been held in the square for centuries, she said.
"We have a charter signed by Henry VIII saying we can have a market three days a week 'forever'," said Mrs Roberts-Wake.
"It would not affect traffic through the town because it is a market square."
Yep, little old town, big open space in the middle called the Market Place, thousands of them all over England. But a bit of a puzzle for the local council, never come across that before....
August 21, 2007
BBC NEWS | Magazine | Is assault lawful when protecting someone?
Assault is against the law but what if it is committed to protect someone else?
Protecting the vulnerable is considered a key tenet of a civilised society, but recent events have shown that intervention in an effort to uphold community values can come at a very high price.
"There's the concept of self-defence in case law that extends to defending not just one's self and one's property but also ...to anyone else, including a stranger."
... But the advice from police is unequivocally against intervention. A spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers says they have only one instruction - call the police.
And a Home Office statement said: "The public should not intervene in any situations of any criminal activity. They may put themselves in danger, exacerbate the situation and ultimately be acting on the wrong side of the law."
Those who have stepped in have sometimes found the authorities interpret events in an unsympathetic way. ....
What ever happened to The nine policing principles by Sir Robert Peel/
... Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence
No longer, we must be good little proles and cower in our burrows and leave it to the forces of the state to keep us safe and grateful...
Cuts Causing Deaths
Hospital downgrades 'could kill thousands' - Telegraph
A study has found that the further patients travel in an ambulance to reach hospital the more likely they are to die.
Its authors say the findings show Government policy-making "may be driven by anecdote or supposition" rather than based on evidence of what is best for patients....
The A&E research is published in today's Emergency Medicine Journal and says that mortality rates increase by one per cent for every extra 10km travelled.
I used to have two A&E departments locally, one 6 miles, one ten. Now the nearest is a half an hour drive away. The official position is that the ambulance that will drive out to me will have a paramedic on board now, so I am not to worry if I don't make it to the A&E within the Golden Hour. Bollocks. In the US scoop and run is the norm, and its what I have done for my kids. That's me slewing to a halt outside the entrance and dripping blood all over the reception desk. Despite their tuts that I should have left it to the "professionals" it embarrasses them to have someone die in the waiting room so normally a "real" doctor can be persuaded to leave his cup of coffee and get to work.
And politically here's an issue for Cameron to really get his teeth into, will he have a bulldog bite or is he more the Golden Lab type?
Sarcasm - derived from the Greek sarkasmos, meaning "to bite the lips in rage"
Scotsman.com News - UK - 'Lowest form of wit' tops poll, proving that Britons love sarcasm
Well, there's a surprise - sarcasm is our favourite kind of comedy
FROM the savage tirades of hotel owner Basil Fawlty to the suave and waspish Blackadder, it has long been a mainstay of the comedy scene.
And while sarcasm may be denigrated as the lowest form of wit, a new survey claims it is also the nation's favourite.
...Rob Deering, who is performing at the Underbelly's Smirnoff Baby Belly venue, said: "We reserve the right to be miserable, focus on the bad things in life, and deflate all that is good at all times. Sarcasm keeps misery alive while you're having a laugh in the pub."
The Australian comic Brendon Burns, appearing at the Pleasance Dome, said the UK's taste for sarcasm was driven by "self-loathing and taking the p*** out of someone else to make them look stupid".
He said: "There is a presumed intellectual superiority in Britain, so anything that makes someone look dumber than you goes down rather well here."
Ah poor diddums, just because the audience doesn't like his "shouty 1980s stylee throwback" "utter rubbish" and he knows it :Brendon Burns is not happy with the Monday-night reception he receives. "It's a fuckin' show, act like it!" he roars, stomping back off the stage. "It's been sold out every night - you're lucky to get a ticket you cunts!"
What wit, what sophistication, but then "he is also serious about what he does, describing himself repeatedly, and not always plausibly, as a "wordsmith" with a wonderful "turn of phrase". Maybe sarcasm is bit too sophisticated for "Australian Shouter" and it is unfair of us Brits to expect him to be able to appreciate it.....
August 20, 2007
The real reds under the bed: they waited 50 years before climbing back in - Times Online
Five decades after being declared officially dead, the most toe-curling of all America’s critters has returned, with a spate of bloodsucking attacks on unsuspecting victims as they sleep. The culprit is Cimex lectularius - otherwise known as the common bedbug. Until recently it was known happily to Americans only from nursery rhymes.
Not any more. Up to 5mm in length, wingless, nocturnal and covered in microscopic hairs, the bedbug was supposed to have been eliminated from the US by the pesticide DDT, which was later banned by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1972 because of the damage it caused to fish, birds and other wildlife....with DDT banned, the bedbugs laugh in the face of the pyrethroid-based compounds now used against them. “We’ve had cases where we’re spraying 200 to 300 times the label dose of toxins and we can’t kill ’em,” ...
But now the insect is back, and its sudden return has been proclaimed “one of the great mysteries of entomology”. Over recent months bedbugs have been turning up in hospitals, nursing homes, cinemas, dry cleaners, schools, public housing and even some well-to-do residential homes.
They are attracted to the very thing that has caused the US, and the rest of the world, so much grief lately: carbon dioxide. While historically it is the carbon dioxide in human breath that has brought them out to feed, experts speculate that rising levels in the air could be behind their renaissance
Oh yea! That rise in CO2 from 370 parts per million to 380 parts has made all the difference, that banning of nasty old DDT, the only effective control, pah! not a factor...
Boys will be boys
Irons in the Fire: "Gangs, alas, are offering what boys need"
...a lady reports on a year spent digging into why the gang problem in Britain has become so bad. Her two main points are:
Young boys join gangs, they told me, because they are afraid. There is nobody else to protect them, certainly no responsible adult.
Teenage boys need different treatment to girls to become responsible members of society. They need a role model.
Now, I know a lot of you are rolling your eyes over the latter and thinking things along the lines of "Well, no shit!" And a lot of people have said this over time and been ignored(I think she's probably catching a lot of crap for daring to state that 'boys need different treatment', thus violating the pc demands that there's no difference between boys and girls other than genitals). I have no hope for the upper reaches of the Brit government, it overall having shown itself to be so dedicated to nanny-state BS that no pointing out of facts will sway them. And the way their government is set up(as I understand it) the people in general have real problems trying to change things. At least until, as Kim puts it, the Glorious Day arrives.
...In times of war we value their aggression, their sense of immortality, their loyalty to one another. But in peacetime they are at best a nuisance, at worst a threat.
The old old refrain...
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;..
Teacherz is 2 blaim
CBI Press Release
Tech-savvy youngsters are making a great impression on employers with their IT skills, but too often they lack basic abilities in English and maths, the CBI warned today.
In advance of GCSE results, a survey by the UK’s biggest business group revealed that - in an increasingly technology-driven work environment - nine out of ten employers are happy with the IT skills of “Generation Text”.
However, more than half of employers are unhappy with the fundamental English and maths skills of these school leavers, with many businesses having to retrain teenagers on basics that should have been covered in the classroom....
Richard Lambert, CBI Director-General, said: “Young people are clearly doing some things very well. These technology-smart whizz kids are making a great impression at businesses with their expertise in IT and computing.
“Their fluency with iPods, mobiles and MySpace has translated well into the workplace, and often gives them an edge over their bosses. The greater focus on IT in schools and investment in computers is also helping.
“The challenge ahead is for schools to channel that same enthusiasm into numeracy and literacy skills, where far too many young people are struggling.
The computers in school are great for keeping the kids quiet but to think their "their fluency with iPods, mobiles and MySpace" has anything to do with schools is laughable. These skills are self taught with in peer groups, usually despite the school which will have banned iPods, mobiles and MySpace. Kids are inquisitive, smart and keen to learn, so they do with these skills. Maths and English have billions of pounds and reams of resources thrown at them and fail to be presented properly in the gulags of our classrooms. It's not the kids' fault. The fault lies in the compulsory monolithic state education system, and the cure probably needs more of our children to learn basic carpentry and knot tying, I'll supply the hempen rope.
Out of Hours
Competition can prove effective medicine - Times Online
Under Tony Blair, the threat of the private sector was used to try to change the behaviour of hospitals and consultants.
Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTCs), run by private companies and staffed by doctors mostly from overseas, were given contracts for carrying out elective operations such as knee and hip replacements and cataract operations. Although the centres have conducted only a small minority of such operations and many have worked well below capacity, their effects have been very significant, ministers argue.
This is because the threat of competition, when combined with other policies such as patient choice and payment by results, has forced NHS hospitals to improve their own performance. Waiting lists have melted away not because ISTCs have performed millions of operations but because hospitals have raised their game in response.
The "threat of competition", no the "promise of competition"! So the government is using the same tactic to try and restore an "out of hours" health service from GPs. Excellent, we have blogged before on this. But if it works for hospitals, how about Schools, Milk Marketing, Rubbish Collection and all those other governmental monolithic monsters?
August 19, 2007
UK Surface Stations - Now go digging
Global Historic Climate Network Temperature StationsThe Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) is a comprehensive global surface baseline climate data set designed for monitoring and detecting climate change. The stations listed below are in the region you selected. The timeline shows the period during which data are available from these stations as a red bar. The left end of the timelines is 1800. The right end is 2003. Hold your mouse over the red bar to see the exact start and end years for the station.
If you have questions about this data set, please contact the National Climate Data Center at email@example.com.
56 stations where Continent = Europe and Region = Northern Europe and Country = United Kingdom
STATION NAME LAT LON ELEV(M)
1800 Present GORDON CASTLE UK 57.60 -3.10 32 1800 Present EDINBURGH/ROYAL OBS.UK 55.90 -3.20 134 1800 Present MANCHESTER AI 53.35 -2.27 78 1800 Present GREENWICH/MARITIME MUK 51.50 0.00 7 1800 Present ORKNEY UK 59.10 -3.30 22 1800 Present OXFORD UK 51.70 -1.20 63 1800 Present BELFAST/ALDER 54.65 -6.22 81 1800 Present DURHAM UK 54.80 -1.60 102 1800 Present STONYHURST UK 53.80 -2.50 115 1800 Present TRURO UK 50.30 -5.10 -999 1800 Present OSBORNE UK 50.80 -1.30 52 1800 Present SOUTHAMPTON/ 50.90 -1.40 9 1800 Present BRAEMAR UK 57.00 -3.40 339 1800 Present GLASGOW AIRPO 55.87 -4.43 8 1800 Present PLYMOUTH WC 50.35 -4.12 50 1800 Present BIDSTON UK 53.40 -2.90 -999 1800 Present ABERDEEN/DYCE 57.20 -2.22 65 1800 Present YORK UK 53.90 -1.10 -999 1800 Present DUMFRIES UK 55.10 -3.10 -999 1800 Present KEW UK 51.50 -0.30 5 1800 Present CAMBRIDGE UK 52.20 0.10 12 1800 Present SCARBOROUGH UK 54.20 -0.40 -999 1800 Present ROTHAMSTEAD UK 51.70 -0.30 128 1800 Present ROSS-ON-WYE UK 51.90 -2.60 -999 1800 Present SHEFFIELD UK 53.40 -1.50 -999 1800 Present FORT WILLIAM 56.83 -5.10 20 1800 Present BEN NEVIS UK 56.80 -5.10 1343 1800 Present EDGBASTON UK 52.50 -1.90 -999 1800 Present COCKLE PARK UK 55.20 -1.60 99 1800 Present STORNOWAY 58.22 -6.32 13 1800 Present GORLESTON 52.60 1.70 2 1800 Present VALLEY 53.25 -4.53 11 1800 Present LARKHILL 51.20 -1.80 133 1800 Present FELIXSTOWE 52.00 1.30 3 1800 Present TIREE 56.50 -6.88 12 1800 Present ESKDALEMUIR 55.32 -3.20 242 1800 Present WARRINGTON 53.38 -2.65 27 1800 Present WADDINGTON 53.17 -0.52 70 1800 Present LAKENHEATH 52.40 0.57 10 1800 Present CLONES 54.18 -7.23 89 1800 Present MILDENHALL 52.37 0.48 10 1800 Present SCULTHORPE 52.85 0.77 68 1800 Present EDINBURGH AIR 55.95 -3.35 41 1800 Present OXFORD 51.75 -1.58 91 1800 Present UPPER HEYFORD 51.93 -1.25 133 1800 Present BIRMINGHAM/AI 52.45 -1.73 99 1800 Present BENTWATERS 52.13 1.43 26 1800 Present FAIRFORD 51.68 -1.78 91 1800 Present WETHERSFIELD 51.97 0.50 101 1800 Present WOODBRIDGE 52.08 1.40 29 1800 Present GREENHAM 51.38 -1.28 125 1800 Present HUNTINGTON 52.37 -0.22 49 1800 Present BOURNEMOUTH A 50.78 -1.83 11 1800 Present LONDON/GATWIC 51.15 -0.18 62 1800 Present GLAMORGAN/RHOUSE AP 51.40 -3.40 67 1800 Present LEEMING 54.30 -1.53 40
State Sponsored Kidnapping?
Lifted and reposted in full from Tim Worstall (As he beat me to posting on it and made a better job than I could have done.)
Oh happy day! Frabjous! Your children belong to the State and we are geting ever closer to that glorious day of utmost perfection, when all the targets will have been met!
Vanessa Brookes, 34, who is due to give birth early next month, smuggled taping equipment into a meeting with social services officials, fearing they would try to take her baby for forced adoption.
She recorded a social worker telling her and her husband Martin, 41, that even though there was "no immediate risk to your child from yourselves", the council would seek a court order to place the child in foster care.
Mother and baby would be allowed "two or three days" in hospital together, but should not leave the premises until social workers came to remove the infant. In a desperate attempt to keep their baby, the couple have published the recorded conversation on the internet.
The tape is here. The council is taking legal action to have it removed, so would someone with the requisite skills like to copy it?
So, why is this happening?
The case returns the spotlight to claims that social services are being heavy-handed in removing children from their parents, in order to meet Government adoption targets.
And tractor production is up! Glories Comrades!
Forget the Nanny state and its laughable bans on conkers, this is its true face.
State Snooper Redux
HARD evidence that the government is preparing to train hundreds of inspectors to “snoop” on households has undermined ministers’ claims to have put the revaluation of millions of homes for council tax on hold.
Training manuals have been printed instructing staff how to identify marketable features of homes and how to score them so the homes can be put into a higher band.
The handbooks, disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act and in parliamentary answers, make suggestions to inspectors that they look for homes in “small pleasant rural villages”, “within the catchment area of a very popular school” or in a town with “good leisure, parks, schools and recreation facilities”.
Documents also show that staff at the Valuation Office, an arm of HM Revenue & Customs, are preparing to log marketable features such as conservatories, gardens, loft conversions, parking spaces, extra bedrooms and swimming pools.
Well before the last general election, ministers were claiming that proposals for revaluing properties had been shelved in England.
However, the new manuals explain “. . . it is imperative that every opportunity is taken to maintain and further improve the extensive electronic database”.
Eric Pickles, shadow local government secretary, said: “State snoopers are being trained to punish those who have improved their kitchens, live in a quiet rural community or have good schools nearby.”
eGov monitor |
State-sponsored snoopers gathering details of every home: The information collected via the Energy Performance Certificates includes the year of construction, the type of dwelling, total floor area, number of stories, central heating, window glazing and building materials. These are precisely the same property attributes which the council tax inspectors, are currently collecting for their own new ‘Big Brother’ council tax database. These property attributes were revealed in March when Conservatives forced the publication of the council tax inspectors’ revaluation handbook.
Yes I know we should keep banging on about the bastards but is the Sunday Times rerunning a story from March? I know it is August and stories are thin on the ground but....
CE marked - easy if you have got a printer....
Fake safety permits that allow China’s toxic toys into Britain - Times Online
THE forgery of British safety certificates is rife among Chinese factories exporting toys to Britain, according to businessmen involved in the trade. They say the frauds include altering the date of tests on toys and using computer graphics to change “fail” to “pass”.
“Fake certificates are rife,” said a British buyer who sends millions of pounds of goods to the UK every year.
The certificates, coded EN71... Hang on a sceond, what's all this about "British safety certificates", British this and Britain that. As Christopher Booker points out the system (was) devised by the EU to guarantee that toys (and many other products) comply with safety rules.
Since Brussels took over competence for toy safety from national governments in the Eighties, its system relies on manufacturers labelling their products with a CE mark (for Communauté Européen). To justify this mark, the makers are supposed to have their products independently tested; and once an imported product bears the magic CE mark it cannot be inspected at the port of entry, or checked out by national inspectors.
The EU loves to boast of how its system is respected all over the world, but it has one fundamental flaw. There is in fact no way of guaranteeing that a product has been properly tested. All too often, not least in China, fraudulent CE marks are slapped on products indiscriminately, reducing the system to a charade.
CONTROVERSIAL feminist Germaine Greer sparked uproar yesterday when she claimed that Princess Diana was a "devious moron" who came to a "sticky end" after messing up her life.
File under Bears - Woods, Pope - Catholic and does Dolly Parton sleep on her back - oh, except it doesn't do to insult the saintly.
August 18, 2007
For what avail?
IN the 1940s, George Raymond Walden, a British farmer, aged 65, was shot and killed by British police officers who were supporting members of the War Agricultural Committee in dispossessing him of his lawful property at Itchen Stoke in Hampshire
During both the First and Second World Wars the need to produce as much food as possible was paramount. In an attempt to increase food production, County War Agricultural Executive committees were set up to supervise agricultural production in their local areas. In practice the "War Ags" were the local arm of national government, especially in the over-seeing of the ploughing up land and the achievement of production targets.
The farmers were evicted - often without warning - under the Defence of the Realm Act, by the all-powerful County War Agricultural Executive Committees (the 'War Ags').
By 1946 more than 1,800 farms in England and Wales were still held by the 'War Ags'. Astonishingly, farmers were graded A, B or C by other locals and those graded C might in some cases be evicted.
Professor Brian Short (CCS), : "Families were made to feel like pariahs in their communities, although some War Ags took their roles more seriously than others." In one notorious 1940 case, a Hampshire farmer was shot dead by police for refusing to leave his life-long family farm.
"The case of George Walden was most incredible," said Brian. "When he refused to leave, police dropped gas bombs down his chimney. But he had his gas mask and refused to move. In the end they came back armed. The coroner's report described it as 'justifiable homicide'."
While it could be claimed that with wartime food-shortage emergencies, the 'War Ags' were basically successful in their aim to ensure continuity of food supplies, the social cost - arising from the sometimes callous treatment of farmers - is still felt today.
In 1952 A G Street wrote a novel "Shameful Harvest". This is the best study of how petty local bureaucrats for the best of reasons end up acting like the Gestapo and how sometimes the honourable thing to do is fight them.
This is an update of a post from a couple of years ago - I have now found the inquest report, reproduced below. It tells the full story of the clash between an Englishman in his Castle and the government taking our freedom and liberties in the name of defending them. How resonant that sounds today.
Ralph Waldo Emerson: For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail
The Itchen Stoke Shooting Tragedy
George Raymond WALDEN
Verdict of Justifiable Homicide
From the Hampshire Chronicle archives 1940, with kind permission.
The adjourned inquest was held on Tuesday afternoon at the Guildhall, Winchester, on the death of George Raymond Walden, the 65 year old farmer of Borough Farm, Itchen Stoke, who died on Tuesday week following a siege of his farm by police officers. Mr Walden, who was a bachelor and had lived all his life at Borough Farm (which his father had farmed before him) had resisted the attempts to evict him from his home after his failure to comply with the cultivation directions of the Hampshire County War Agricultural Executive. The inquest was conducted by Mr Theo E Brown (Winchester City Coroner) sitting with a jury. There were also present Mr R Knox (Deputy Chief Constable of the County), Mr W G Stratton (Head Constable of Winchester), Mr C G Hickson (Deputy Clerk to the County Council, representing the police), Mr D C M Scott (representing the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Hampshire County War Agricultural Executive), Mr S A Pettifer (representing Sir Anthony Tichborne – the landlord – and Messrs James Harris and Son agents for the Tichborne Estate), Mr R R Geech (representing members of the deceased’s family), Supt Fielder, and others, Police constable Draper, who was shot during the incidents at Borough Farm, attended the court on a stretcher.
William Roland Meads, 82 High Street, Winchester, Cultivation Officer for the County War Agricultural Executive Committee – the Committee responsible for carrying out the Defence General Regulations under powers delegated by the Ministry of Agriculture, said that after due consideration, the Committee made a Cultivation Order in respect of property owned by Mr Walden – an order dated April 17th, 1940. The order directed the ploughing, summer fallowing, and preparing for cropping in 1941 of two areas amounting to approximately four acres. That order was not complied with. The matter was further considered in connection with both the landlord and the tenant and an order for taking possession on July 20th was issued. That was nothing to do with the landlord, but the action of the County War Agricultural Committee under authority from the Ministry of Agriculture.
John Reginald Morton, the Carfax Hotel, Winchester, Assistant County Land Officer, employed by the Hampshire County War Agricultural Committee, said he prepared a schedule of Borough Farm, in support of the application to the Ministry. He corroborated that notice to terminate the tenancy on June 20th was served on the deceased. On June 24th, Mrs Roskilly, the sister of Mr Walden, came to see him and he gave her some friendly advice, the following day and explained the position fully to him. He was not successful in persuading Mr Walden what the real position was. Notice of intention to take possession on July 20th was then served upon him. Arrangements were made with the Chief Constable of the County that two constables should be present at Borough Farm at 11.20 am on July 22nd to see that there was no breach of the peace. He was instructed to carry out the taking possession, and when he got there the police were already there. He tried the doors and found them locked. They found it necessary to break open the back door and the inner door. As they went though the inner door one of the two policemen with him call out to him, saying that Walden was inside with a gun and advising him to go outside. He went out and Walden re-fastened the outer door.
Police constable Draper, stationed at Ropley, said that at 11.30 am on July 22nd he went, on instructions, with Police constable Cripps to Borough Farm. He saw Walden standing at the back of the farmyard. Cripps went first and said “Good morning, Mr Walden, I want to speak to you” Walden said “No!” and something else which he could not catch. Walden then closed the door and bolted it top and bottom. Cripps shouted to him but there was no reply. The position was explained to Mr Morton (who had arrived) and then he and Police constable Cripps got through the back door into the scullery. They went on through the door into the kitchen (which was fastened on the inside) and Cripps then said “Look out. Here he comes with a gun.” Neither he nor Cripps had any firearms with them then, so they withdrew out to the yard. Cripps went off to inform the Police Superintendent, while he remained to watch Walden’s movements. At about 12.50 he was standing at the entrance to the cow pen yard when he heard the back door open. He stepped behind a board fence and he peeped over. He saw Walden about 12-15 yards away, so he said “Well, what are you going to do now?” Walden raised the gun and fired with one barrel of a double barrelled gun. He was struck in both legs and one arm. Walden said nothing to him at all then or at any time. A roadman and field workers came to his assistance. There were 15 pellets in the left leg, two in the right leg, and two in the left arm. He was taken home and later to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital.
Police constable Cripps, stationed at Preston Candover, said he was with Police constable Draper on July 22nd. He corroborated what Police constable Draper had said about the occurrences that day. He said that when he was in the kitchen he saw Walden creeping down the stairs with a gun. He went off to inform the Superintendent, while Draper remained. On his return he heard that Draper had been shot. In the afternoon he tried to get Walden to come out, but without success. He went away and returned about midnight with other officers under Inspector Hatcher. He and other constables threw four tear gas canisters into the house; they then heard movements and he and another office stood by the side of the door to arrest Walden as he came out. The door opened a little and Walden fired twice through the partly opened door without hitting anyone. Then a third shot was fired, presumably from another gun as he had not had time to reload. The door was shut again and barricaded from the inside.
A half an hour later they forced the house and at the foot of the stairs they found an empty civilian gas respirator case. The witness said he lifted the latch of the door at the bottom of the stairs but heard a movement on the stairs. He withdrew quickly and just got out of the way when another shot rang out. Later he went across the farmyard towards the front door and he was shot at again, this time receiving some of the shots in his right arm, right leg and chin, and Inspector Hatcher, who was with him was also slightly wounded in the left hand. He remained on duty outside the premises until 7 am the next morning, keeping out of sight of the house. Then he left and when he returned Walden was being carried out of the house suffering from severe injuries.
Inspector Hatcher, of the Hants Constabulary, stationed at Basingstoke, said he saw Draper after he had been shot at his home at Ropley. The same afternoon police officers were stationed all round Borough Farm. His intention was to arrest Walden on a charge of attempting to murder Police constable Draper. Tear gas canisters were thrown into the farm with the intention of making him come out and from this point on he corroborated Cripps evidence. Later additional police officers were brought to the farm and the house was surrounded. Shortly before 7 am both the outer doors of the house were forced and wedged open. Walden fired at the officers then.
Sgt Longman together with three constables entered the scullery by the back door and Sgt Longman called to Walden to surrender assuring him that no harm would befall him. Walden did not comply and said “You are going to kill me or I am going to kill you; I am not going to give in” The scullery door was forced and he heard several more shots fired the last in fairly close succession. He went in by the front door and found Walden lying on the floor of the kitchen in a kind of sitting posture and with a severe wound on the right side of his head. By his right was a double barrelled gun, which he did not have hold of but which was pointing towards his head. He searched the premises, and found, in addition to the double barrelled 12 bore gun by the side of Walden, a single barrelled 4.10 gun and a certain amount of ammunition for both guns, some of which had been fired. He gave evidence also of the shot marks which were on the walls of the premises, and said that there was no mark anywhere of any shots in the ceiling. Both the guns used by the police and Walden’s double barrelled gun were firing No. 6 cartridges.
Police sergeant Longman, stationed at Basingstoke, spoke of the final attack upon the house. He entered the scullery with three constables, and found that the door to the kitchen was secured. He forced the door open and saw the barrel of a gun pointing towards him from the stairs. He pushed the door to, and shots were fired. He called out to Walden, and said “Put your gun down and surrender.” Walden replied “I am going to kill you like you are going to kill me; I am not going to give in.” He said “Don’t be a silly man, put up your gun and come out.” Walden, however, fired and taking a gun which one of the constables gave him he fired back twice towards the stairs. He called out again to Walden telling him to come out, but Walden only fired in reply. One of these shots struck him in the neck, so he gave the gun to Police constable Cole, who also called on Walden to surrender and later fired. Hearing a groan he went into the kitchen and at that moment Inspector Hatcher came in at the front door with other constables.
Police constable Cole corroborated Sergeant Longman’s statement up to the time when the latter was hit by a shot and he took the gun. He then said to Walden “Come out and put that gun down.” And Walden replied “No, I am not coming out; I am going to shoot.” He looked out of the door and saw Walden standing on the stairs pointing the gun directly at him. He could see what looked like this elbow and he fired at that. Walden’s gun was then withdrawn and after a short time he heard a groan. He then went into the kitchen with Sergeant Longman and found Walden in the position that Inspector Hatcher had described.
Dr Charles Hall Wrigley, Pathologist to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, said that the deceased man died on the same day as that on which he was admitted to Hospital suffering from gun-shot wounds. He made a post-mortem examination, and found a gun-shot wound on one side of the head; there were 30 pellets there in a circle about 4 inches in diameter. One pellet went through the right eye and it was that one pellet which caused his death. There were no signs of scorching or powder marks. Death was due to injury to the brain, following gunshot wounds.
Howard Albert Davies, 6 Southgate Street, Winchester, a gunsmith, said that there were approximately 280 pellets in a No. 6 12 bore cartridge. He said that if such a cartridge had been fired at the head of a man from 2 ft range, there would certainly be some scorching. Moreover, if a man had fired it at himself from such a range there would be a total wound of the head; he did not think there would be much of the head left. At such a distance also one would find not also the pellets but the wad.
Summing up the case, the Coroner said that it had aroused some notoriety but when one came to boil it down there was really very little in it. Going shortly over the facts, he said that this man, George Raymond Walden had been ordered by the County War Agricultural Committee in the execution of their duty, to do certain acts upon his farm. A good many attempts were made to induce him to carry out what had been ordered; but he disregarded the order; in fact he flouted it, and he did not attempt in any shape or form to do what he had been ordered to do. In consequence, the War Agricultural Committee had applied to the Ministry of Agriculture, and they had been authorised to take a certain course, which was they if they failed to get their orders carried out they were to evict Walden from the farm. That eviction, as the evidence had showed, had nothing whatever to do with the landlord, Sir Anthony Tichborne, or his agents. That was the position of July 22nd. Eviction at all times was a somewhat difficult process of law, and the War Agricultural Committee, in their wisdom, made application to the Chief Constable of Hampshire for two police officers to accompany their representative to see that there was no breach of the peace. That was a very proper and very ordinary proceeding, and the two officers – Police constable Draper and Police constable Cripps – together with Mr Morton, went to the house, and made a peaceable approach to take possession of the land. He pointed out the significance of the answer given by one of them to his question to the effect that they were not armed at the time. One of these officers remained behind while the other officer went to report that Walden was armed. Then, without warning Walden shot at the constable who was left in what we could only describe as a murderous manner.
Reinforcements were obtained, and without going into the whole of the story, entrance was ultimately obtained to the house. But before that and after it and practically continuously until 7 o’clock the following morning, this man was shooting at every officer who appeared, and as a result he wounded four. They had all seen that afternoon the poor fellow who while standing there unarmed, had been fired at and badly wounded by the man who refused to carry out a lawful, command. After that the position was entirely changed. It passed from what he might call a civil proceeding to a criminal act. Walden, without any justification whatever, had fired at Police constable Draper and wounded him. The subsequent events which took place were done in the attempt to arrest Walden. If he had not been killed in this unfortunate affair he would undoubtedly have had to stand his trial on a charge of attempted murder. They Walden died of a gun shot no one would have any doubt whatever. In his humble opinion too, the evidence had entirely disposed of any suggestion that he committed suicide. The evidence, he thought, showed beyond all doubt that it was a shot from one of the policemen which caused the injury from which Walden died. If they came to that conclusion, he thought the proper verdict for them to return was that this man died from gunshot wounds inflicted by a police office in the proper execution of his duty, and was therefore justifiable homicide.
The law with regard to justifiable homicide in circumstances like these was they where a police officer was resisted in the legal execution of his duty he might repel force by force and if in so doing, without disproportionate violence, he killed the party resisting him, that was justifiable homicide. An officer was not bound to withdraw, but could stand his ground and attack a party who was attacking him – for who would submit quietly to arrest if, where resistance was offered, the police were bounds to retire. An officer in the course of the legal execution of his duty was entitled to the protection of the law and there was no doubt that they were carrying out their legal duties on this occasion. They were met by force – by murderous force – and they were entitled to repel it with force. He had no hesitation whatever in directing them in this case that, so far as the police were concerned, it was a case of justifiable homicide.
After a short retirement, the foreman of the jury announced that they found that Walden died of gunshot wounds inflicted by the police in self defence and in the execution of their duty. Their verdict therefore was one of justifiable homicide. On behalf of the jury the foreman expressed their sympathy with Police constable Draper and wished him a speedy recovery.
The same expression was made by Mr Geech on behalf of the relatives, and sympathy with the relatives was expressed by Mr Pettifer on behalf of his clients, mentioning that this unfortunate affair closed an association lasting many years. Mr Scott, on behalf of the County War Agriculture Committee, also expressed his regrets at the occurrence.
Transcribed from a report in the Hampshire Chronicle dated Saturday, 3rd August 1940
Ethanol demand hits the wildlife
Scotsman.com News - Home to rare species under threat
....the likely scrapping of the EU "set aside" scheme.
Set aside funding has injected about £11 million a year into Scottish agriculture, paying farmers to keep areas of land free from commercial use and thereby providing a home for insects, small mammals and endangered birds.
Environmentalists fear that without it, key habitats will be lost. Farmers' leaders believe the move will allow their members to bring acres of land back into production, boosting the economy.
RSPB Scotland points to numerous incidences where wildlife has prospered on set-aside land....
And why is set-aside going to abolished? Because the rising demand for Bio fuels is pushing up the price of cereals and there is a need for more to be grown. It isn't just the orang-utans who are being displaced to satisfy the Greens.
Tax and Spend Tories
We’ll pay for any cuts in taxes by imposing green levies, say Tories - Times Online
The Conservative leadership gave notice yesterday that it would use green taxes to fund any tax reduction promises at the next election.
After a week in which the party high-lighted a policy group report calling for massive reductions in the burden of tax regulation and the abolition of inheritance tax, George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, dampened expectations by saying that the party would not be offering overall reductions in taxation. Any tax cuts that were identified would be balanced by tax increases elsewhere, such as green levies,
How depressing, how obvious. As a matter of interest has George Osbourne got any balls? If they are undescended I know it is embarrassing but it can be sorted out. It is just that the pasty faced tosser doesn't seem to have an ounce of determination or a scintilla of Toryness about him.
More on those Central England Temperature Records
Our own correspondent writes:
The constant mantra is "increasing incidence of extremes", so I also decided to look at temperature frequency and broke the record into basic bands. You can see these results in the charts as well, including seasonal results and in fact the opposite is true, the range of extreme temperatures has narrowed.
The long temperature improvement from the 19th C is apparent, there is no run away warming, we just don't get the desperately cold years of the past As you noted, the lack of low temperature (Tmin), is driving the situation, rather than any run-away top temperatures. This could well be the result of urbanisation as tarmac etc re-radiates heat at night. The station changes may also be significant latterly.
Kewl Slo-mo Bullet Blow Outs
Whoops, Sorry, Gunz is bad, baddy, baddy.
August 17, 2007
Tireless Blogging Has Rewards
EU Referendum is revealing how it, with its allies (and not a little help from the blogosphere) have saved the lives of British troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan – and will continue to do so. This is the story of how it came about, so settle down – it is a long one. But it is a story about how blogs can make a difference.
Yet again there aren't words enough to thank them.
Take more Tonic Water in your Gin
Weary Britons are braced for mosquito invasion
...this year is not a normal year. Met Office forecasts of a heatwave in August to follow the exceptionally wet start to the summer come with a health warning. Scientists are predicting that weather conditions in the UK could be "extremely conducive" to the spread of the most unwelcome of guests -- the parasite-infested mosquito.
It's the damned heat Carruthers, isn't it? It seems to be mainly reheating the same old stories...
Prudence Brown - Scotland needs you.
Scotsman.com News - Scottish National Party - SNP: on brink of a financial 'black hole'?
THE SNP government is facing a financial crisis, with a potential spending shortfall of up to £2 billion in its budget plans, according to one of Scotland's leading experts in public expenditure.
Professor Arthur Midwinter yesterday warned that the new Nationalist Executive had underestimated their spending commitments and overestimated the savings that they can make from making the Scottish government more efficient.
In his paper he predicted that Scotland's budget from Westminster would rise by only around 2 per cent a year over the next three years, compared to 5.5 per cent in real terms since devolution was established.
That means that there will be only around £500 million in new resources coming to Scotland, as opposed to the £1,250 million of recent years, said Midwinter, who is based at the Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research at the University of Edinburgh.
The SNP had said that it would cancel the proposed Edinburgh tram and airport rail link saving £1.1 billion, and make £3.2 billion in budget savings, investing the extra money Scotland gets through the Barnett formula in frontline services.
Guess who will bail them out...
First they came for the smokers…
While I have been busy numberwatching the Met Office John Brignell has been protecting an Englishman's liberties far better than I could; read it here..
Well, it was not long in coming. The zealous banners, fresh from their triumph over smoking in public buildings, have already turned to the next target, revealing their usual mixture of opportunism, perverse logic and orchestrated campaigning.
August 16, 2007
Rothamsted Temperature Record Problem?
The Rothamsted Research Centre is one of three temperature recording centres of record for the official Central England Temperature. I can't spot the Stevenson screen on Google Maps but the research station is still fairly large and green. So is it a reliable source of data?
The driver of the increasing warmth in the UK is mainly the increase in the T min (Minimum Temperature - we aren't getting the cold to bring the averages down).
Here is the T min series:
Wow, quite a jump in the Tmin for Rothamsted (the solid red line).
As the Met Office notes - "the coldness of Ringway around 1993 the warmth of Rothamsted around 1993 and 2001, while disconcerting, may not be outliers in view of the expected uncertainties. That Rothamsted T min is not fully supported by Cambridge T min suggests calibration or siting biases rather than real spatial variations of min temperature anomalies. If any biases can be ascertained following further investigation of Ringway and Rothamsted, then the CET series should be adjusted accordingly." Source
I can't find any evidence that they have done any further investigations or adjustments, so the extra half a degree(?) from Rothamsted still feeds into the data.
Just eyeballing that, does it look right to you? I have no idea what is going on, is it correct or whether there is a software problem such as Steve McIntyre found with the US records, or a siting bias as the Met Office suggests or maybe something else.
Just north and north west of Rothamsted lies the Bedfordshire brick fields, an average distance would be about twenty miles away. There used to be over 130 chimneys there belching out sulphurous fumes. As we know this sort of pollution cools the atmosphere and is bad, so they have all been knocked down apart from one or two, which try to be as non polluting as possible.
This is the area in 1974:
Could this be the source of the anomalous jump in Rothamsted's temperature average, which fuels the jump in the UK record?
August 15, 2007
The Potency of Cheap Music
Still moistens the eyes as I remember it playing the day we eventually brought our little baby girl home for more than just a day after months in Neonatal Intensive Care...(full lyrics)
And may I recommend these, much better than they sound and I don't even like peanut butter..
Elvis Presley's Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
* 2 slices of white bread
* 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
* 1 small ripe banana mashed
* 2 tablespoons butter
Spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread and the mashed banana on the other. Press the slices gently together. Melt the butter (or to be truly Elvis-like, melt bacon fat!), over low heat in a small frying pan. Place the sandwich in the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides. Eat it with a glass of buttermilk.
Please note: Elvis tended to eat 12-15 sandwiches a sitting!
Kim du Toit muses on whatever a man sows, that he will also reap and points me to this article in, of all places, Rolling Stone magazine, which eviscerates the “ethanol is good” line once and for all.
Because RS is mostly a magazine written by Manhattan pinkos, the main thrust of the article is not one I’d have chosen:
Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption—yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World.
Of course, none of this matters to the eco-loons. But as someone pointed out, forcing our energy products to switch to a higher corn-based fuel mix is the kind of central planning and command economy which caused the Communist regimes of the 20th century to endure massive distortions, shortages, and famines, and eventually, to go tits-up.
Oy. Y’all might want to consider what we in the grocery business called “forward buying”—purchasing food at today’s costs to be able to ride out tomorrow’s sky-high prices, until sanity returns.
Nearer home The Farmers Weekly reports Wheat yields below par but prices continue to climb..Yields are down about 10%. In past years we have exported about 10% of our crop, this 10% is now earmarked for use to make ethanol. Crunch time in the market. Yields in Europe are also reported to be down, though luckily the US is reporting decent crops. But with the price of wheat double that of last year expect food inflation throughout all sectors as it is the foundation stone for the whole industry.
Mind how you go...
Independence vote for 'Scots only' - Telegraph
Speaking as he unveiled a White Paper on independence, Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, said only Scots would be given a vote in a referendum on the issue.
British politicians, including Margaret Thatcher, had accepted that the question of self-determination was for the people of Scotland alone to choose, he said.
"The decision when it comes will be a decision for Scots," he added.
So they won't want to hear the views of an Englishman then, but if I can help them pack as they leave I'll be only too pleased to help.
A female patient has died after an attack by a man being cared for in the same psychiatric unit despite long-standing government pledges to end the use of mixed-sex wards.
Elderly people suffering abuse and neglect in residential care homes - Times Online
Elderly people are suffering from abuse, neglect and malnutrition in hospitals and care homes, according to a report by peers and MPs.
BBC NEWS | Health | 'I was shocked by the lack of care'
Sue McMahon's father Wallace Beaumont went into hospital in Greater Manchester in February 2005 aged 87 with slight breathlessness...
"The staff thought he had come from an old people's home but he had been completely independent, a smart gentleman who always wore a blazer and tie," she said.
"He had travelled abroad with family only months before and had until eight months before been the sole carer of our mother, who had Alzheimer's.
"I went on the ward the next day to find him sat on a chair near the door with his coat, hat and clothes in a bag as if he was leaving, but the staff told me he got upset if he was asked to go back to his bed and they didn't have time to talk to him so they left him there all morning in his own faeces.
"He stayed in hospital for several weeks - he lost a lot of weight and he was dirty - I changed him each time I arrived.
"He went to a temporary ward where no-one knew his history and just assumed he was a dirty, incontinent old man with dementia and wasn't worth bothering to keep him clean or take him to the toilet.
Discovered in pool of his own urine - Telegraph
Marilyn Payne's 75-year-old father Dennis was discovered in a pool of his own urine, with a pressure sore "the size of two fists" on his back, she decided enough was enough.
Mr Payne, a resident at Southover nursing home in Maidenhead, Berks, was admitted to hospital in a condition which doctors said was commonly associated with wartime trenches. He was suffering from gangrene, septicaemia, dehydration and malnutrition.
During his first two months in the home, which has since been shut down, Miss Payne noticed he was losing weight, often partly dressed and sopping wet. When she complained to the matron she was told she was "upsetting staff".
Miss Payne, left work to look after him, took him home and cared for him until he died in 2002.
It used to be "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." but when we abdicate that responsibility to the all caring state we are expected to trust in the system and not question it. Do, loudly and often.
August 14, 2007
Secrets of an Iain Dale Sect Slave
You now only have 5 days to get your Top 20 blogs to Iain (ranked 1-20) before the deadline of midnight tomorrow.
Iain has been asking various bloggers to review the blogs of their respective political sects. Having just visited 376 different blogs and given them a speed dating rating I'm blogged out.
I notice that some of the top scorers are ones I don't read and some of my favourites are lower down. I was trying to be fairly objective but I'm sure my biases show through and if I did it again the score would be different.
There are some really excellent local issue blogs which tended to get scored down as the "Dog Poo in the Park" story is excellent if you live near the park but not for the rest of the country. May I suggest a best local blog category next year. Candidates certainly should do one to engage with their potential voters!
Good News on Climate Change
Met Office: London & South East England: forecast
Severe weather warnings have been issued for London & South East England
As the tanned, cheerful twenty-somethings set up their tents, you could be forgiven for thinking this was the summer's latest music festival.
Environmental campaigners have assembled here not just to oppose a third runway for the airport.
With their compost toilets, wind turbines and leaderless command structure, they are also keen to demonstrate that an alternative, more sustainable way of living is possible.
Brenda Hatton, 60, a retired head teacher from central London, says she woke up to the issue of climate change after her 29-year-old son began studying geography at university.
"I'm not here for me - I'm here for my children and my grandchildren," ...
Protesters pitch their tents alongside others from the same area - Oxford, London and Nottingham already have settlements, each with their own kitchen serving vegan, organic food.
They say they are here to learn as well as speak out.
More than 100 workshops are due to be held on subjects like carbon offsetting and building wind turbines.
"It's been fun so far - I've been topping up my tan while I work," laughs Claire Blatchford, 20, a "full-time protester" who has spent four months at a peace camp outside Faslane naval base in Scotland.
"I've brought sturdy boots and my waterproofs, though. I'm sure I'll need them after the summer we've had."
Even the most ardent climate change protester, it seems, is forever at the mercy of British weather.
It is almost worth firing up the SUV to drive up to Heathrow to see how the makeshift tents and wind turbines are faring in the howling winds and torrential rain of our globally warmed summer....
Central England Temperature - What a waste of time
With all the hoohah over the US surface stations and the apocalyptic warming the Met Office is warning us of I thought it was time for some investigation.
Met Office: HadCET:Central England Temperature
Central England Temperature is representative of a roughly triangular area of the United Kingdom enclosed by Bristol, Lancashire and London. The monthly series begins in 1659, and is the longest available instrumental record of temperature in the world.
The timeseries shows variations across a broad range of timescales, and illustrates recent warming. 2006 was the warmest calendar year in this record by a considerable distance, coming on top of a long run of warm years.
The HadCET data series consist of daily, monthly and seasonal temperatures. Anomalies are also calculated with respect to 1961-1990 climatology. The stations used to compile CET are chosen from the UK surface station network to be consistent as possible with those used historically. The data is then adjusted to ensure consistency with the historical series.
So I have spent several hours looking at the stations, adjustments, aerial photos, musing over the non adjustment for urban warming at Oxford Radcliffe Observatory and then I find that a commenter at Climate Audit has done all the work for me and I had been wasting my time.....
Climate Audit - by Steve McIntyre » Warmest Month
From 1878 to 1930, the monthly CET mean temperature record was the average of “Lancashire” and Oxford, where “Lancashire” was derived from four to seven stations in the northwest of England reduced to a common standard (Manley, 1946)
From 1931 to 1973, the Oxford record was thrown out and replaced by the “corrected” Radcliffe Observatory monthly mean (Knox-Shaw and Balk, 1932).
From 1974 to October 2004, the whole lot was thrown out and replaced by Rothamsted, Malvern, and the average of Squires Gate and Ringway.
And since October 2004, it’s been comprised of Rothamsted, Malvern, and Stonyhurst, equally weighted.
Now, any scientist worth his salt will tell you that while this makes for an interesting record, we cannot draw any kind of firm conclusions regarding the record. In particular, comparing the pre- and post- 1974 records is useless.
Having said all that, here’s the record so you can judge for yourselves whether the current warming is unusual …
Fields of England
If PM doesn't fly Union flag, the separatists win - Telegraph
What it means to be British will swing centre stage this week, and we may, in hindsight, see this question, in one guise or another, as the big issue that comes to dominate Gordon Brown's premiership.
Scottish independence is now one of the big questions that the English, who make up more than four fifths of the electorate to Westminster, will have to face. They can only sensibly do so by developing, in response, a clear statement on what it means to be English as distinct from simply British.
The Brown Government therefore must engage with the Scottish question while, at the same time, ceding yet more British sovereignty to the European Union - which will most affect the English. And it is here that the interests of the English and the other nationalities of the United Kingdom divide.
Voters in the past reacted with hostility to each and every government's attempts to bind the country more closely with the EU. And every government has wrongly dismissed this reaction by dubbing it as nothing more than another outbreak of Europhobia. Hostility was not simply a negative reaction to closer union. Integration was opposed for the most fundamental of reasons: voters believed it ran counter to what they saw as their British identity, and it was this identity that they wished to protect.
A realignment will be much easier for voters in Wales and Scotland. Here, a significant proportion of the electorate see their main identity coming from their separate status as countries, and not from being British. Greater integration in Europe is for them the easiest way they can separate themselves from the Union. They wish to become sovereign powers in a greater Europe.
What then will there be left of the Union? For the English, the question of the great institutions that have bound the United Kingdom together, and particularly the monarchy, will be issues they will find hardest to solve......
Immigration will give a further twist to this debate on identity. It has been mainly to England that the great waves of post-war immigration have come. Until recently, British governments of both parties tried to limit the scale of immigration, accepting that there could come a point where the sheer weight of numbers threatens the identity of the host country......
There was, ominously, one major item missing from the bevy of announcements that Mr Brown made in his first weeks in office. He seems reluctant to confront this most fundamental of political questions on identity: what basic beliefs do we still hold in common and how should our primary loyalty to the country in which we live be expressed in tangible terms?....
Mr Brown thinks a bit of flag waving will help but he has no feeling for loyalty to a country, he is a professional politician who sees countries as power bases. And whether it is Scotland, Britain or the EU all he sees is more power. It is up to the English voters to tell him what needs to be done. Then maybe, just maybe, he may slow down the sell out to the EU that the Scots are happy to see, thinking that sucking up to a bigger gang will save them from their neighbourhood bully.
August 13, 2007
Greeny Wet Dream
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Pulling the plug on wasting water
"meta name="Description" content="Water is a finite resource and attitudes towards its consumption have to change if we do not want the taps to run dry."
Englishman's meta tag="bollocks"
After Summer come the Autumn and the resumption of the old Countryside Pursuits
Video uploaded to Youtube December 12, 2006 but The Times has just noticed it with much outrage...
(Youtube pulled it so here is the bebo copy!)
Police issue on-the-spot penalty fines once every three minutes - Times Online
On-the-spot fines for crimes such as being drunk and disorderly, destroying property and shoplifting are being issued at a rate of one every three minutes, according to latest police figures.
The number handed in England and Wales rose by almost 40 per cent in a year as police officers on the streets made use of a swift and economical way of dealing with offenders. But the surge in the use of penalty notices for disorder (PND) has also helped police to meet a key government target because they count towards a ministerial pledge to increase the number of crimes “brought to justice”.
Police representatives claim that the need to meet the target of bringing 1.25 million offences to justice in 2007 to 2008 has “corrupted” the use of PNDs by encouraging officers to use them inappropriately.
Chief Superintendent Derek Barnett, vice-president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said: “Experience suggests that when used sensibly PNDs have been a useful tool for the police service. But the emphasis on targets for ‘bringing offences to justice’ has corrupted their use.
“Policing is often about common sense and resolving difficult circumstances with discretion. But some individual officers are choosing not to use their discretion perhaps because they feel it is a way of fulfilling the Government’s target.”
Offenders pay either a £50 or £80 penalty even though they may have caused criminal damage of £500 or stolen up to £200 of goods from a shop. Representatives of shopkeepers bitterly oppose PNDs, claiming that they encourage shoplifting by effectively letting offenders off. Today’s figures, obtained by The Times, also fuel growing concern at the rise of a summary justice system parallel to the formal court process.
And to think we used to have a Bill of Rights that promised that " all ... fines and forfeitures ... before conviction are illegal and void" but all that tiresome lawyering stuff was too much for Tony - He was often mocked for using 1984 as an instruction manual but maybe he was also reading the 2000 AD comic
In the fictional future history of the series, the role of "Judge" combines those of judge and police officer, thus avoiding long legal wrangles by allowing for criminals to be tried and sentenced on the spot.
.. While there was heavy protest in Congress over the idea of abandoning due process, the electorate was in favour and the President .. was re-elected with a massive majority
Hoo noo Broon coo?
TOP Scottish politicians barely know their rolled Rs from their elbows due to the pressure of the Westminster hothouse.
A study of the speech of major political figures has shown that senior Scots at Westminster have changed their accents to sound more akin to their English counterparts - dropping their pronounced Rs and changing their vowels.
Those who have altered their speech include Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Tory Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind and Lib-Dem leader Menzies Campbell. However, the study shows that SNP leader Alex Salmond has not changed his accent, despite spending two decades in the Commons.....
Brown's "mixed accent" saw him say words such as "bank", "long", "not", "after", "export" and "support" in Scottish style, but "start", "half", "all" and "workforce" with long English-style vowels. The analysts also found that sometimes he said "quarter" in a Scots style and sometimes in southern way....
...As Prime Minister, Tony Blair was known for discreetly switching accent according to the audience he was addressing...
And why wouldn't a Scot representing a Scottish public not remind us of his Scottishness when he is ruling on English matters that he has no mandate for?
Guilty until proven otherwise
BOSSES of a laboratory at the centre of Britain's latest foot and mouth outbreak are in "a state of denial" over their involvement in the scare, furious government officials claimed last night....
Merial chiefs have consistently refused to accept responsibility for the episode, provoking frustration among government officials who are desperate to trace the source of the virus and prevent a fresh outbreak.
"No one can say with absolute certainty where this virus came from," one official said. "The state of denial over this is not helpful."
Oh come on, they are an AMERICAN (well not really) PROFIT DRIVEN COMPANY as the BBC shouts repeatedly, of course they are guilty, it can't be the Government lab can it, they should just accept the blame whatever, cough up the compensation.....
August 12, 2007
Via Theo Spark
How many can you name? - Answers below.
Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, Marlene Dietrich, Norma Shearer, Ruth Chatterton, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, Carole Lombard, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, Vivien Leigh, Greer Garson, Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth, Gene Tierney, Olivia de Havilland, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, Ginger Rogers, Loretta Young, Deborah Kerr, Judy Garland, Anne Baxter, Lauren Bacall, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Kim Novak, Audrey Hepburn, Dorothy Dandridge, Shirley MacLaine, Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, Janet Leigh, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Ann Margret, Julie Andrews, Raquel Welch, Tuesday Weld, Jane Fonda, Julie Christie, Faye Dunaway, Catherine Deneuve, Jacqueline Bisset, Candice Bergen, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sigourney Weaver, Kathleen Turner, Holly Hunter, Jodie Foster, Angela Bassett, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Salma Hayek, Sandra Bullock, Julianne Moore, Diane Lane, Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry
And the more cultured may also enjoy this from the same genius:
Something Right From the Tories
The Conservatives have drawn up a radical programme of cuts in red tape and regulation aimed at saving British businesses £14 billion a year, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
The proposals, to be endorsed by David Cameron, would achieve savings by scrapping huge amounts of legislation imposed on businesses by both Whitehall and Brussels, including rules on working hours and employee protection and restrictions on financial services.
John Redwood, the former cabinet minister who will unveil the findings of his economic competitiveness policy review group this week, said his proposals would be a "tax cut by any other name".
The document is certain to come under heavy attack by Labour and risks setting up the Tories for more bruising clashes with Europe, the unions and the BBC - and even provoking potentially damaging internal Tory rows.
Quick election winning suggestion to the Tories - why not leave all the policy decisions to John Redwood and leave the the limp brained leadership to just wave their hands about and make jowly statements on the telly.
SOME of Britain’s highest profile game-shooting enthusiasts are turning their back on the sport in disgust at the “mass slaughter” of birds, often by parties of City traders paying thousands of pounds a day.
Shooting needs to get its house in order - only yesterday an old boy in the pub who has shot all his life was explaining to me why he hadn't taken up a "gun" (share of a shoot) this year - the mass slaughter of ducks in his case with them not having a sporting chance. And if shooting is losing its core supporters then the antis will have an easy job.
Even German Farmers have Property Rights
A German farmer is refusing to allow British families to recover the remains of crew members of a Lancaster bomber shot down during the Second World War - unless they pay him €7,500 (£5,080)....
Mr Bender said he needed the money to cover the cost of returning the field to its original state after the remains had been dug up.
"Everyone wants to come on my land and dig, but no one has offered any money to cover the damages," he said. "I have nothing against giving my permission, but the costs have got to be covered. I can't say how much it would cost without making a thorough estimate, but it will not be less than €7,500."
Initial shock outrage is somewhat tempered by seeing he has a point. I'm not sure how he prices refilling a hole quite so high but whatever. I guess the normal practice of hole diggers, certainly when archaeologists have dug my farm, is that they simply guarantee to reinstate the land themselves. No payment, problem solved.
August 11, 2007
July was another record breaking month on Politicalbetting. We had a total of 759,452 hits...
In July 250,654 unique visitors made 321,734 pageloads. So slightly more people came here than to Dale's, but fewer times
Iain Dale has more on blog visitor numbers here
The big problem is visitor number counting is all over the place - different packages give widely different numbers for the same site, hits aren't the same as visitors etc. For the record my prefered package is Awstats which is about the average of the different ways I could count numbers. Here are my numbers:
In the 18th century, a revolution in thought, known as the Enlightenment, dragged us away from the superstition and brutality of the Middle Ages toward a modern age of science, reason and democracy. It changed everything. If it wasn't for the Enlightenment, you wouldn't be reading this right now. You'd be standing in a smock throwing turnips at a witch. Yes, the Enlightenment was one of the most significant developments since the wheel. Which is why we're trying to bollocks it all up.
Welcome to a dangerous new era - the Unlightenment - in which centuries of rational thought are overturned by idiots. Superstitious idiots. They're everywhere - reading horoscopes, buying homeopathic remedies, consulting psychics, babbling about "chakras" and "healing energies", praying to imaginary gods, and rejecting science in favour of soft-headed bunkum. But instead of slapping these people round the face till they behave like adults, we encourage them. We've got to respect their beliefs, apparently.
Well I don't. "Spirituality" is what cretins have in place of imagination. If you've ever described yourself as "quite spiritual", do civilisation a favour and punch yourself in the throat until you're incapable of speaking aloud ever again. Why should your outmoded codswallop be treated with anything other than the contemptuous mockery it deserves?
Maybe you've put your faith in spiritual claptrap because our random, narrative-free universe terrifies you. But that's no solution. If you want comforting, suck your thumb. Buy a pillow. Don't make up a load of floaty blah about energy or destiny. This is the real world, stupid. We should be solving problems, not sticking our fingers in our ears and singing about fairies. Everywhere you look, screaming gittery is taking root, with serious consequences. The NHS recently spent £10m refurbishing the London Homeopathic Hospital. The equivalent of 500 nurses' wages, blown on a handful of magic beans. That was your tax money. It was meant for saving lives.......
The Seeds of Revolution
FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES brings us the local news:
A pensioner has been told she must stop tending a public flower bed unless she agrees to wear a fluorescent jacket, put up warning signs and use a lookout. June Turnbull, 79, of Urchfront near Devizes, has nurtured the blooms on the plot for eight years. But now she is being told to obey health and safety rules after being spotted by a county council official.
(More) For Mrs Turnbull, the order to comply has simply planted the seeds of rebellion.
"They can send me to jail if they like," she declared. I just want to be left alone to do it.
"It is a very pretty flowerbed. I have tried to make it look very natural."
Mrs Turnbull, who is registered disabled since contracting polio in her youth, considers the flowerbed her patch.
She pays for the plants from her weekly pension and cycles the halfmile from her house to tend them whenever she can.
Residents credit her with transforming the flowerbed into a gorgeous focal point, which helped Urchfont win the title of Best Kept Village in Wiltshire two years ago.
The parish council will meet next month to decide whether to defy the Wiltshire authority's demands.
Quite - what exactly are Wiltshire County Council going to do? Install a spy camera to watch out for when this lovely old disabled lady ventures out of her door with a trowel in her hand? And if they catch her what are they going to do?
The quiet yeomen of England have had enough and while the pitchforks are still in the barn the kowtowing to "authority" is over.
To watch the local news showing her and the flower bed try this link
Why the quaint-looking narrowboats of Britain are being built in Poland - Times Online
The number of people taking to the water in canal boats rose to 450,000 last year. Companies are struggling to find enough builders to satisfy demand....
Down in these parts the huge rise in narrowboats has nothing to do with holidaying film stars but is an unnoticed private enterprise response to houseprices. While the authorities mulct housebuilders to provide "starter homes" for the struggling poor an increasing number, of mainly divorced men, find that for £10- 20,000 a reasonable boat can be bought and a tax-free life of being a ditch-gypsy commenced. As long as you move the boat every week from one pubside mooring to another there is no hassle. Of course this simple solution which costs the tax-payer nothing is ignored by the vast army of bureaucrats who work so hard on our behalf to house us.
I See Four Horsemen....
Conquest, War, Famine, and Death - that'll be the EU silent conquest of Britain, the miserable Middle Eastern adventure, Foot and Mouth and the Stock Market Crash, and Death????
At least it is going to be a sunny day to enjoy in the garden, while I can.
August 10, 2007
Blogger Sceptics Change Climate History
Via Numberwatch Hush, not a word to the public!Newsweek and Al Gore tried to make the case that climate skeptics were counter-productive and evil.
Climate scientist Michael Mann (famous for the hockey stick chart) once made the statement that the 1990's were the warmest decade in a millennia and that "there is a 95 to 99% certainty that 1998 was the hottest year in the last one thousand years."
Well, it turns out, according to the NASA GISS database, that 1998 was not even the hottest year of the last century. This is because many temperatures from recent decades that appeared to show substantial warming have been revised downwards. Here is how that happened....
Anthony Watts at SurfaceStations.org has lead an effort to photo-document these temperature stations as an aid to scientists in evaluating the measurement quality of each station. The effort has been eye-opening, as it has uncovered many very poor instrument sitings that would bias temperature measurements upwards, as I found in Tucson and Watts has documented numerous times on his blog.
One photo on Watt's blog got people talking - a station in MN with a huge jump in temperature about the same time some air conditioning units were installed nearby. Others disagreed, and argued that such a jump could not be from the air conditioners, since a lot of the jump happened with winter temperatures when the AC was dormant. Steve McIntyre, the Canadian statistician who helped to expose massive holes in Michael Mann's hockey stick methodology, looked into it. After some poking around, he began to suspect that the GISS data base had a year 2000 bug in one of their data adjustments.
Unfortunately, it was hard to prove. Why? Well, that highlights one of the great travesties of climate science. Government scientists using taxpayer money to develop the GISS temperature data base at taxpayer expense refuse to publicly release their temperature adjustment algorithms or software (In much the same way Michael Mann refused to release the details for scrutiny of his methodology behind the hockey stick). Using the data, though, McIntyre made a compelling case that the GISS data base had systematic discontinuities that bore all the hallmarks of a software bug.
Today, the GISS admitted that McIntyre was correct, and has started to republish its data with the bug fixed. And the numbers are changing a lot. Before today, GISS would have said 1998 was the hottest year on record (Mann, remember, said with up to 99% certainty it was the hottest year in 1000 years) and that 2006 was the second hottest. Well, no more. Here are the new rankings for the 10 hottest years in the US, starting with #1:
1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939
Three of the top 10 are in the last decade. Four of the top ten are in the 1930's, before either the IPCC or the GISS really think man had any discernible impact on temperatures....
Surface Station Fraud?
The latest IPCC report cites Jones et al. [Nature, 1990] as
one of its main supports for the insignificance of Urban
Heat Islands--a critical issue. The paper seems to be bogus,
and Doug Keenan has filed a formal allegation of research fabrication.
For details, see
Informath >> Notes on W.-C. Wang fabrications and Jones et al. [Nature, 1990]
Here Comes The Summer
That old hippy Tim Worstall forecasts that " the British summer is scheduled for this weekend. Enjoy." and links to some old longwinded beardy music.
For us younger ADHD limited attention span punks this is more like it....
Good to be back
Apologies the headline scraping sarcasm bot seems to have stopped working while I was sunning myself amongst the neoprene wrapped lovelies at Rock - all back to normal soon...
August 2, 2007
The most interesting thing about Asperger's syndrome is that its "discoverer" decided he had it and named it after himself, which he might have done even if not "suffering" from this "disorder." Maybe.
Asperger's, like too many other mental illnesses, is in effect an almost whimsical diagnosis of exclusion: If someone is really smart, arrogant beyond measure, and tends to be an asshole or otherwise impossible to converse with in a normal way, then he must have a form of autism. It's not treatable, but hey, labels are always fun and interesting.
So take this test to determine your inclination toward Asperger's. If you disagree with the results, well, what makes you think you know so much? And what does that say about you, huh?
I'm still scoring 45 - same as two years ago. (See I can remember my score without even looking it up...)
Thousands of arthritis sufferers will be denied treatment with proven benefits by a decision not to pay for a new drug.
Guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the watchdog that controls access to drugs on the NHS, will recommend today that the drug does not represent value for money, although it has been shown to improve dramatically the severest symptoms of arthritis in almost half of patients.
Abatacept, which has the brand name Orencia, is the latest of a new generation of drugs to be blocked by NICE on the ground that it is not cost-effective.
About 400,000 people in the UK have rheumatoid arthritis, of whom a tenth (40,000) have a severe form. Many benefit from a class of drugs called anti-TNFs but about a third do not. This group, of around 12,000 patients, could potentially benefit from new drugs such as abatacept....
Of course this advice doesn't apply in Scotland - not that the Media are reporting this. No wonder The NRAS are complaining to the House of Commons...
...NICE's role is increasingly being dominated by economics arguments rather than an evaluation of the therapeutic benefits (short and long-term), with innovative and effective licensed medicines not being recommended by NICE on predominantly cost-effectiveness grounds.....We are concerned about the inequities that persist between England and Scotland, both in terms of the absolute decisions being made and in terms of delay in reaching decisions. It is well documented that the NICE Multiple Technology Appraisal (MTA) process takes a minimum of 54 weeks in theory, and often much longer in practice. By contrast, the Scottish Medicines Consortium's review process takes only 4-6 months. ...
Whilst a NICE decision is pending, patients are further disadvantaged as a consequence of the phenomenon known as "NICE blight".
Old Timers Disease
WHEN lottery winner Derek Ladner posed for photographs holding a cheque for nearly half a million pounds he thought he had hit the jackpot. But as Camelot officials waited for another winner to make contact they were unaware he was standing right beside them.
Mr Ladner, 59, who admits he has a track record of forgetfulness, had a duplicate winning ticket for the same £2.5m National Lottery draw in his wallet....He said: "I looked in my wallet and there it was. It was an exact duplicate. I thought 'crikey - I've won twice'.
"I realised that I must have bought two tickets in that week - I honestly can't remember doing it. ...
Mr Ladner, a delivery driver from Redruth, Cornwall, who was due to retire on Friday, said he will not return to work.
Sometimes, just sometimes, advancing years and the old memory going have advantages....
An Enslaved Nation
An independent inquiry was launched yesterday into the national DNA database as senior police officers raised concerns about proposals to take samples from litter louts and other minor offenders.
The Human Genetics Commission, a Government advisory body, announced that it is to investigate concerns about the huge numbers of people on the database in England and Wales.
The move came as Alex Marshall, the deputy chief constable of Thames Valley police, warned that plans to take samples from minor offenders may be seen as "indicative of the increasing criminalisation of the generally law-abiding citizen".
There are around four million samples on the database, making it the biggest in the world. Just over five per cent of British residents have their profile stored, compared to an EU average of just over one per cent and 0.5 per cent in the United States.
The database includes the records of nearly 900,000 children between the ages of 10 and 17. Around 100,000 of these children have never been charged with an offence....
The move came as concerns grow about Government proposals to allow police officers to take samples from people arrested for minor "non-recordable" offences, such as dropping litter or ignoring a road sign.
CCTV cameras - Times Online
...new figures show that Britain is one of the most “spied upon” countries.
According to the information commissioner, there are now 4.2m cameras in Britain...Germany, the country in Europe with the next highest number, has just 1.6m. The whole of western Europe excluding the UK has 6.5m.
Apart from America, the rest of the world combined has just 5m cameras.
When Britain first, at heaven's command,
Arose from out the azure main,
Arose, arose, arose from out the a-azure main,
This was the charter, the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must in their turn, to tyrants fall,
Must in ,must in, must in their turn, to tyrants fall,
While thou shalt flourish, shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
Britannia rule the waves.
Brittons never, never, never shall be slaves.
August 1, 2007
Poverty of Aspirations
Middle-class teenagers are being turned into "whipping boys" as ministers discriminate against them in favour of students from poor homes, teachers warned.
Education is being "dumbed down" as universities turn their attention towards easy subjects like surfing studies, beauty therapy and knitwear to attract more working-class students, it is claimed.
In a fierce attack, the Professional Association of Teachers called for the Government to halt its drive towards so-called "social engineering".
There was a time that social mobility and encouraging the working class kids to have aspirations was the policy. Don't feel too sorry for the middle classes, they will pay and influence their kids to become reasonably educated. It is the poor sods on the bottom of the pack who are being patronised and demeaned by the dumbing down -" they are too poor and stupid to be taught that they can become anything other than worker drones". No wonder they spit on the whole system.
Is this creation of a disaffected working class just the result of absent-minded policies or is the abandonment of the teaching of culture,which has been defined as the activities in which one could seek and actually find release from the alienation and fragmentation produced by the capitalist mode of production, deliberate?
Indeed, Marx himself seemed to fear that the working class would deplete or exhaust its revolutionary energies in the pursuit of culture and the physical pleasures of everyday life.*
Fake TV - Shock Horror
Faked death scene brings new television furore - Times Online The new furore over television “fakery” ....
Simple question: Have you ever been featured in, on the sidelines of, or simply watched a "factual" feature being made for the screen? Probably yes, and you will have seen the shots being rehearsed, retaken and before transmission edited. Did you think that yours was the only documentary that was "faked"?
"Put him in the round house till he gets sober"
Police and retailers are backing proposals for short-term “Tesco jails” for shopping malls and major sporting venues as a way of speedily dealing with shoplifters, drunks and football hooligans.
Nothing new -
Village lock-ups were temporary holding places for detaining people in rural parts of England and Wales.
A typical lock-up was a small building of varying shape - some round, some polygonal, and some square in plan with a single, or sometimes double cell. They were usually built from bricks or large stones, although many built in areas where brick and stone was not readily available and therefore expensive, were built in timber. Their greatest fascination is in their shape, many featuring a dome or a spire - the lock-up at Castle Cary includes a domed roof that is often claimed to have been the inspiration for the design of the modern Policeman's helmet.
Village lock-ups have a variety of names: guard house, watchhouse, blind house, kitty (Cockermouth) clink, bonehouse, bridewell, cage, jug, lobby, gaol, and roundhouse. The term ‘clink’ derives from the Clink Prison which stood in what is now Clink Street in London’s Bankside. It was the private prison of the Bishop of Winchester serving his London manor: the Liberty of the Clink. For almost 300 years, it was used to hold martyrs, debtors, whores, thieves and even actors. The Bishop also retained the privilege to sanction other punishments, including the stocks, the ducking stool and whippings.
Lock-ups were often used for the confinement of drunks who were usually released the next day or to hold people being brought before the local magistrate.
Over 200 lock-ups are currently recorded in England and Wales, with many clustered in Essex, West Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and a high concentration in Wiltshire and Somerset.
Somehow I don't think the new ones will be as well built as the old ones - here's one of my local ones at Bradford-on-Avon: