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October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

I have just come home waving a bloody red hand like Heremon O'Neill about to claim Ulster - well at least I know the chainsaw is sharp now! My delightful children thought this was a fantastic Halloween joke and are rolling around the floor still in hysterics. Luckily Mrs FM was taking tea with my wife to give me an appropriate amount of sympathy....

(The bleeding has stopped, no real damage done, thanks for asking.)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's not fun to be a kid on Halloween

Just a Girl in short shorts talking about whatever: Halloween in Fear Nation
It seems this year we don’t have to worry about razor blades and needles in the candy. This problem used to cause parental hysteria. Concerned public officials would appear around the boo season and demonstrate on TV how easy it would be to slip these items into Halloween treats. Of course, there is no documented record of this ever happening. But it was a pretty safe way for some politicians to get some mileage. Never mind that you are taking away a bit of some kids’ Halloween fun.

This year’s big deal is sex offenders. Now before you start e-mailing me—I favor, at the very least, sex offenders be castrated with a rusty knife. But, I also resent having to live in Fear Nation—and I don’t like politicians scaring kids.

And if that isn't enough...

Junkfood Science: Happy Trick-or-Treating!
Predictably, the alarm bells began weeks ago, as sugar-fearing writers began advising parents to “just say no to Halloween candy” and for everyone else to play a trick on the kids that come to their doors.

The “healthy Halloween” movement has been warning that Halloween is no excuse for allowing an indulgence and that anything with sugar would send blood sugars soaring and contribute to child obesity. Instead, they’ve been recommending everyone give kids things like sunflower seeds, cheese, bottles of water (“trick or treaters need to stay hydrated”), glow-in-dark insects, stickers, pencils, key chains, pens, whistles, notebooks, pencils and crayons.

These are adults who have definitely forgotten what it’s like to be a kid. While a bottle of water may not get quite the same reaction as Charlie Brown who got a rock at each house in the 1966 Great Pumpkin Halloween special, the let down may feel pretty close to kids who’ve looked forward to their candy hauls all year.

Spoilsports the whole bloody lot of them. Here at The Castle we have no truck with such attitudes, the florins are warming on the hotplate ready to be red hot when handed out and the raw brussel sprouts have been dipped in chocolate and almond flakes, and wrapped in Ferrero Rocher papers - how we will laugh tonight....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Lamarckian Logic for the Health Police

Science: Grandfather made me what I am - Telegraph
When we think about inheritance, what usually comes to mind is the way our DNA carries information, with parents' genes affecting things like their children's eye colour, height, and intelligence....But, in fact, your life has been directly influenced not just by the genes but by the experiences of your grandparents - what they ate and what they did.
This could mean that your health was partly determined before you were born, even before your parents were born, according to the science of epigenetics....
Marcus Pembrey, a professor of clinical genetics at the Institute of Child Health in London, ..looked at evidence from the Avon Longitudinal Study, (which) showed that factors such as smoking may have an effect across generations...

...importantly, Prof Pembrey's research allows us an insight into coming generations: a major cause for concern, given that stories about binge drinkers, obesity and younger smokers are never far from the headlines.

"We are all guardians of our genome," says Prof Pembrey. "The way people live and their lifestyle no longer just affects them, but may have a knock-on effect for their children and grandchildren."

It is not just for your health but "for the kiddies" tm and " for the kiddies' kids" tm that we are going to stop you eating, drinking and doing what you want to, how could you be so cruel to doubt this evidence.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

30% chance of a forecast being useful.

Forecasts will probably be less chaotic in the future - Times Online
What are the chances of rain today? For most of the UK only a few isolated, patchy showers are expected, but western Scotland will be thoroughly wet. This is fairly clear, but the Met Office would like to add the chances of what the weather will bring. For today there would be a 10 per cent chance of rain for most of us, but 90 per cent chance in western Scotland.

However, there are worries that people might not understand probabilities. “Scattered showers” could become a 30 per cent likelihood of rain – but is that 30 per cent of the country, or time, or are the forecasters simply guessing?

Probabilities in the forecasts show how much uncertainty there is in the weather. Some days the weather is more chaotic than others, and meteorologists measure this by running their forecasts repeatedly, each time making small changes to the observations fed into their computers. If 30 per cent of the resulting forecasts predict rain, that means a 30 per cent chance of it happening.

So 30% means it might rain in 3 out of 10 predictions - not that it will rain for 3 out of 10 hours or 3 out of 10 places, in other words pretty useless if you are rely on the forecast to plan anything. And how to they change the "observations" - either it is raining at the Biscay station or it isn't, or was the word he was looking for "guesses"? Still it is a good job they are trying to forecast only 24 hours ahead not long term trends, isn't it....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And the name is....

Charge anyone naming Royal ‘victim’, says accused’s lawyer - Times Online
British authorities could have powers to act against foreign-based broadcasters and websites and issue a European arrest warrant. They could be liable for breaching an English court order guaranteeing anonymity to the blackmail victim and witnesses if their speculation reached Britain.

As anyone with a passing interest and access to Google has already seen the name, and if bothered followed links of the name to previous "scandals", thereby in their minds constructing a complete fictional seedy network, it is all a bit late. Because we now know that X & Y knew Z who was "often accompanied" by F, who slept with G to H's disgust, and so on, the rumour mill is working overtime. It is unfair and nasty but inevitable. There was no way that secrecy was ever going to be maintained. In the Internet age these cases need to be handled differently, I can see no other way except victims being open, and public. and publicising their "victim hell", and claiming sympathy, rather than unfairly being smeared with suspicion because they claim the cloak of privacy. Either that or they call the palace and ask Philip to organise a taxi for their blackmailers....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The case for a one way ticket

Serial sex offender ‘can stay because deportation would breach his rights’ - Times Online
A serial sex offender is to be allowed to stay in Britain because deporting him to his native Sierre Leone would breach his human right to a family life, an immigration appeal court has ruled.

The Home Office wanted to deport Mohammed Kendeh, who has been assessed as having a “high risk of reoffending”, to his home country.
Kendeh, 20, who has admitted assaulting 11 women in the past five years and has committed other offences including robbery, burglary and drug crimes, is currently on remand in prison awaiting trial for robbery.

And what of the human rights of his future victims?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 30, 2007

Could try harder

Educational Conscription: The pieces fall into place

There seems to have been surprisingly little commentary so far from the right-wing blogosphere about the latest development on the from-ALevels-to-diplomas evolution saga, though these two make for interesting reading. (Care to link here, gentlemen?)

I think the case provides a useful illustration of the difference between NewLabour under Blair and NewLabour under Brown. Mr Blair, it will be recalled, at least expressed opposition to the abolition of A-levels, even if we never quite knew with him how much any given expression of sentiment actually amounted to. In the enthusiasm to focus hostility on the person rather than the ideology, it may have been forgotten that in many ways Mr Blair represented a brake on the more extreme collectivist-egalitarian elements of his party. Dr Brown, whatever his true underlying belief system may really be (it's a bit obscure, though we can be fairly sure it is not libertarian), seems less willing or able to resist those collectivist forces.....

What I find interesting about this development is that it explains two of the puzzles thrown up by the plan to force all 16 to 18-year-olds into education: (a) what are they going to do there, and (b) how are we going to avoid having the non-egalitarian horror of a two-tier system?

Time allowed: 15 minutes.

Pens down, please.

(a) They will do diplomas, in subjects ranging from "health and social care" to "hair and beauty" to "sport and leisure" to "travel and tourism".
(b) There will be no A-levels. Everyone will do diplomas, which will become the "jewel in the crown" of Brown & Balls the British education system.

I hadn't commented on it as I hadn't thought it through, so thanks for the explanation; all shall have prizes and all shall be the same....

Posted by The Englishman at 5:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Miliband skives off work - but please don't mention it.

Foreign Office under pressure as David Miliband puts his family first - Times Online
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has taken an unspecified period of paternity leave after announcing that he and his wife have adopted a second child.

Mr Miliband and his wife, Louise Shackelton, who is American, flew back to Britain yesterday after adopting a newborn boy in the United States. They have named him Jacob.

The couple’s announcement coincided with Mr Miliband’s failure to arrive at a conference on British-Saudi relations in London. He was scheduled to attend with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, but sent Kim Howells, a Foreign Office Minister, in his place.

The abrupt nature of the statement reflects a sensitivity on the part of the Milibands who, friends say, were deeply hurt by the media reaction after they adopted their first son, Isaac, in December 2004, also in the US.

The couple said that they were “delighted by the new arrival” and asked the media to protect their privacy.

The state visit by the King of Saudi Arabia was marred today by the last-minute cancellation of a high-profile engagement between David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and the Saudi Foreign Minister.

The Foreign Office announced this morning that the Foreign Secretary was calling off the meeting, which had been scheduled months in advance, citing the arrival of his newly adopted son.

Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi Foreign Minister, then also withdrew from the meeting because Mr Miliband's deputy, Kim Howells, was considered too junior to meet him according to diplomatic protocol.

And why wouldn't Isaac's and Jacob's Daddy turn up to work to meet and greet the Arabs? Paternity leave? No mucky sweating for David, all he had to do was sign a cheque, and now he needs a rest, ahh diddums. Of course, I sure, Diddy David is a strong supporter of the bizarre social experiment that is our adoption laws, but they just didn't suit him, bit like the inheritance tax rates. And assuming that the poor mite wasn't bought lastminute.com style he knew this was going to happen when he took the job, so why did he take it when he knew he was going to choose to do nappies at home rather than work alongside Gordon. Are we sure he hasn't been sent to sit on the naughty step for piss poor performance?

Posted by The Englishman at 8:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

With friends like these, it could get ugly...

Giovanni di Stefano is a European lawyer based in Italy who frequently works in the United Kingdom.
Those he claims to have represented have included:

  • Jeremy Bamber

  • John Gilligan

  • Nicholas van Hoogstraten

  • Saddam Hussein

  • Jonathan King

  • Slobodan Milošević

  • Kenneth Noye

  • John Palmer

  • Željko Ražnatović ("Arkan")

  • Harold Shipman

  • Ian Strachan and Sean McGuigan, the alleged blackmailers of a minor royal family member
  • Posted by The Englishman at 7:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Should make finding a plumber easier

    Scotsman.com News - 300,000 more foreign workers than believed, as Cameron vows to limit migrants

    PETER Hain apologised last night after admitting there were 300,000 extra foreign nationals working in the UK than the government previously believed.

    Whoops - those pesky stats again - no wonder they want to brand everyone so they can count us better. Still I can think of one African with a criminal record who is working here who could be deported to the general benefit of the country...

    Do you remember how the Govenment estimated just 13000 Poles would come to work in the UK in 2005/6? New independent research carried out for Westminster City Council shows almost a million Poles could come to London in search of work in the next 12 months....

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Greens trump Brown

    Bin tax muddle leaves green policy in disarray - Telegraph

    Gordon Brown's green policies were thrown into confusion yesterday after ministers confirmed that they would be pushing ahead with pilot schemes for controversial new "pay-as-you-throw" bin taxes.

    The Prime Minister had been anxious to distance himself from what he saw as unpopular "waste taxes" – which could cost typical households £250 a year – and No 10 claimed last night that plans for new schemes would not be rolled out across the country.

    But Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, announced that powers to set up pilot schemes for charging households who put out more waste would be included in the Climate Change Bill, sparking allegations of Cabinet disarray on the issue.

    The U-turn was the latest sign of Mr Brown's fear of introducing new green taxes that are seen as disastrous electorally but are being heavily promoted within Whitehall as essential to any programme to mulct the people of every last penny they can avert climate change.

    We don't care if Gordon loses - coz we get to save the world (and our salaries...)

    Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, will announce plans for households to get "personal travel plans" aimed at cutting the amount of carbon dioxide they produced.

    Informationen zu den Reisedokumenten - Damit der Ausweis ausgestellt werden kann, ist die persönliche Vorsprache in einem regionalen Erfassungszentrum zur Erhebung der biometrischen Daten (Gesichtsbild) zwingend notwendig. Wir bitten Sie, frühestens 5 Arbeitstage nach der Antragstellung, telefonisch mit einem Erfassungszentrum einen Termin zu vereinbaren.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Labour Blogs, Living In The Past

    I think I was the first to blog (on June 14th 2004) about Flying Lion Ltd - and followed it up when this was reported:

    Senior Tories declare £50,000 of free flights - Times Online

    The Times
    May 16, 2006

    “Flying Lion Ltd is owned by Lord Ashcroft of Chichester KC MG, formerly treasurer of the Conservative Party and now deputy chairman and a donor to the party of long standing.”

    So earlier this week when Tom Watson asked I’m trying to find out more about a company called Flying Lion Ltd. my immediate thought was Just Fucking Google It or is that too difficult for you?

    All the labour blogs are now wetting their knickers over it - as Bob Piper says: Some excellent work over the weekend by Westmonster and two pieces by Political Penguin here and here over the Flying Lion connection to Tory Party sugar daddy Michael Ashcroft.

    As Guido says; ".. it is not news" But then the dinosaurs of the left like to live in the past.....

    Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, Out, Out, Out, Support The Miners......

    Posted by The Englishman at 12:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 29, 2007

    Starvation Cheap

    Our men are dying to save Whitehall’s pennies | William Rees-Mogg - Times Online
    Historically, the Labour Party has a serious record in defence, particularly under Clement Attlee, the First World War army officer who became the first Prime Minister of the Cold War era; he took the decision to equip Britain with nuclear weapons.

    However, the Blair Government after 1997 must be the least military administration ever to take Britain to war. It is said that there is no member of the present Government who has served in the Armed Forces. Even now, with Britain committed to fighting difficult campaigns on two fronts, social expenditure has been given a far higher priority than defence. The Defence Secretary himself, Des Browne, is only a part-time minister.

    One can tell when a department of state feels ashamed of its own conduct. It puts out the news when it hopes nobody will be attending. This week is the tail end of the existing session of Parliament. Last Friday and Saturday, the Ministry of Defence was putting out the bad news, in the hope that no one was listening.....

    Wherever one looks at the shortages of equipment, cost has been the limiting factor. British forces have had to fight their battles under Treasury rules. In Afghanistan, only 20 helicopters were available this summer, about half the requirement. Again one can make a comparison with US practice, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. US soldiers have helicopters, ours do not. Yet helicopters are essential.....

    There is no such thing as a comfortable war. Soldiers and civilians get killed, or suffer crippling injuries. There is no such thing as a cheap war. Soldiers must be given support, both in battle and when they return from battle.

    Their families also need support. On Poppy Day, we all need to reflect that our soldiers are putting their lives at risk for us; we should at least put our taxes on the line for them.

    They won't allow a man to sweep the road without cones, a look out, Hi-vis clothing, diversity training and proper boots; but they will send young men to face death dangerously under-equipped, with his family in substandard housing. And we let them get away with it.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Tories get it right on English Votes

    Scotsman.com News - UK - Tories 'would break up UK' by stopping Scots votes on English issues

    THE Tories were accused of prompting the break up of the UK last night as it emerged David Cameron is set to commit his party to stripping Scottish MPs of the right to vote on English matters at Westminster.

    He will back proposals by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Scottish secretary, to create an English Grand Committee of the House of Commons to deal with issues which only affect people living south of the Border.

    ...David Cairns, the Scotland Office minister, said: "Once you breach the principle that all MPs should vote on matters before them in Westminster you get constitutional anarchy."

    Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader, told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the suggestion could lead to a break-up of the UK. She said: "I think it's very ironic that we've got a situation where Malcolm Rifkind, who was a Scottish member of parliament until he lost his seat ... is now proposing something that would ultimately end up with Scotland being pushed out of the union."

    Alex Salmond, the First Minister, described Sir Malcolm's proposal as "some sort of spatchcock solution to appeal for votes in Middle England". He said:

    "I am a great believer in an English parliament, and you know a lot of folk say that England couldn't manage on its own. I decry that entirely. I've got every confidence in the people of England to be fully self-governing. I think they'll make a fantastic job of it and we'll be the best of neighbours and the best of friends."

    I think the Tories have pitched this just right as a fair and measured response to the inequality the English put up with. Of course it isn't as far reaching as the English deserve, or Alex Salmond cheekily proposes; nor it is it completely ineffectual. The BBC gave Harriet Harmen's hysterical outburst full exposure last night, and I think most of Middle England listened and crystallised their thoughts that she was barking and that the situation was unfair. And the appeal to "fairness" is one of the most powerful emotive calls a politician can make.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    The Convenient Truth

    Coyote Blog's first climate movie, What is Normal? A Critique of Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming Theory is now available for free download. If you have the bandwidth, he encourages you to download the full 640x480 version as Windows Media Video, but be forewarned that the file is 258MB. This is actually a pretty small file for a 50 minute movie, and the full resolution version looks much nicer than the streaming version.

    Right-Click Here to Download Climate Movie in Full Resolution

    "Make sure you turn up your volume -- I think I recorded this with a pretty low audio level."

    If you are bandwidth-challenged, or you can't view a .WMV file, you may stream the video from Google video or download a reduced resolution version here. Unfortunately, to make the video stream effectively, the resolution is cut to 320x240, but having watched it, it still looks surprisingly good streamed.

    Note, on the streaming version, the video stutters between the 12 and 17 second marks in the movie, but runs fine after that.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 28, 2007

    Flaming Comets

    Things that go boom in the sky

    Here’s something you don’t see every day; an exploding comet. In fact the last time this comet did this was in 1892.

    Comet 17P/Holmes is now larger than Jupiter... More at www.spaceweather.com

    The comet is visible to the naked eye, and looks even better through a telescope. If you want to spot it yourself, here is a sky map.

    I have just been outside and I think I spotted it, can you?

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    They don't like it up them...

    Royal Armouries
    Using the No To Knives Website

    The Rules: -...nor may you create a link to any part of our website other than the home page. We reserve the right to withdraw linking permission without notice.

    Whoops - sorry - but WTF are the Royal Armouries doing involved in a wussy campaign like this - I mean don't they celebrate the freedom we enjoy, bought at heavy cost, by the use of cold steel?

    h/t Cyn Lib

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Tom, Dick or Harry?

    British royal family member targeted by blackmailers

    Hmm - The Alaska Report prints a photo of a young royal groping a girl to illustrate the report - what's the connection?

    (And any publication that runs a Corrupt Bastards Club to expose politiicains can't be all wrong...)

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


    Jackie Stewart runs down his ‘workshy’ fellow Scots - Times Online
    SIR Jackie Stewart, the former motor-racing world champion, has accused his fellow Scots of being lazy and overdependent on public sector “jobs for life”.

    “I think social services are too prolific. If you have a job in government you’re not going to be sacked. You have a job for life. You don’t have to work too hard and you don’t have to present yourself well because it is not competitive.”

    The 68-year-old’s comments have reignited the debate provoked by Kelvin MacKenzie, the former editor of The Sun, who claimed Scotland was a nation of subsidy junkies.

    As a panellist on the BBC’s Question Time programme earlier this month, MacKenzie, whose grandfather was born in Stirling and was allegedly a Highland Games champion, accused Scots of living off wealth created in the southeast of England.

    “Scotland believes not in entrepreneurialism, like in London and the southeast. The reality is that the Scots enjoy spending it, they don’t enjoy creating it, which is the opposite of down in the south,” he said.

    MacKenzie, who is being investigated by police for allegedly inciting racial hatred, said he was delighted a prominent Scot had now endorsed his comments. “The Scots may not want to take notice of someone like me but I hope they take notice of someone like Sir Jackie,” he said.

    “When their own countrymen and someone who has made a success of their life starts making these statements then maybe Scots should think a bit more rather than hitting out. I am not anti-Scot but I am anti the fact we are subsidising a part of the country that should be able to look after itself.”

    It should be a matter of pride for the Scotch that they stand on their own two feet, and seen to be doing so.

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Eat your greens

    Eat your words, all who scoff at organic food - Times Online
    one conclusion is clear: organically produced crops and dairy milk usually contain more “beneficial compounds” - such as vitamins and antioxidants believed to help to combat disease.
    "We have a general trend in the data that says there are more good things in organic food,”
    ...up to 40% more beneficial compounds in vegetable crops and up to 90% more in milk..
    ...the results show significant variations, with some conventional crops having larger quantities of some vitamins than organic crops. But researchers confirm that the overall trend is that organic fruit, vegetables and milk are more likely to have beneficial compounds...

    So not quite as clearcut as the headline suggests - seems to be a lot of weasel words in the report of the report... I'm quite happy to believe that slow grown stuff has more goodness and flavour than forcefed veg pumped up with water, But that isn't what the campaigners are claiming...

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:52 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Biofuels - farmers and greenies vs. the hungry

    Europe pursues biofuel creativity - USATODAY.com
    The European Union .. proposed mandate to fill 10% of its transportation energy needs with biofuels by 2020. Europe lags behind the United States and Brazil in ethanol, but production of biodiesel has soared, reflecting Europeans' preference for fuel-efficient diesel cars.

    ...$80 million that the U.S. Department of Energy will invest in a Poet LLC distillery in Emmetsburg, Iowa, that will be upgraded to convert corncobs into ethanol. It is among six cellulosic ethanol projects nationwide awarded a total of $385 million.

    Congress also is considering additional assistance to private investors in such projects: $2 billion in loan guarantees, a special 50-cent-a gallon subsidy to go on top of the existing subsidy for conventional ethanol, and a mandate that U.S. motorists use 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022.

    The European Union, which consists of 27 countries with a combined population of 500 million, won't meet a goal of getting 5.75% of its transportation fuel from renewable sources by 2010.

    The mandatory 2020 target that the EU is considering is more realistic, experts say. That target would require 15 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel, according to a recent European Commission study. That's more modest than the 36-billion-gallon mandate that passed the U.S. Senate this summer.

    ...Biodiesel has been the renewable fuel of choice in Europe. Europeans are buying more diesel cars because of their increased fuel efficiency, and biodiesel can be made from rapeseed, known in North America as canola, an oilseed crop well suited to Europe.

    Many farmers started growing rapeseed because of a requirement that they take 10% of their land out of production of food crops. The European Union also offers farmers a subsidy of $25 per acre to grow rapeseed. European Union countries produced 1.4 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2006, up from 928 million gallons in 2005.

    It's not clear how much is being spent in Europe on cellulosic ethanol, because funding for individual projects is left to national governments. The International Institute for Sustainable Development, based in Switzerland, estimates at least $36 million was spent on research and development in 2006. The European Commission spends $14 million a year on biofuel research with plans to increase that by 50%.

    In other news:

    UN expert labels biofuels a "crime against humanity" > FOODweek Online > Main Features Page

    An independent United Nations investigator has described the biofuels race as a crime against humanity, and called for a five year moratorium on their use.

    Jean Ziegler is the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food says converting crops such as maize, wheat and sugar into fuels was driving up the prices of food, land and water. (A Special Rapporteur is an investigator and monitor with responsibility for recommending actions.)

    Ziegler says the price of wheat has doubled in just one year and if food crop prices continue to increase, poor countries will no longer be able to import enough food for their people. A major factor in soaring crop prices is the drive to convert more crops into biofuel, reducing developed countries' reliance on fossil fuels. Much of the boom is occurring in the US.

    "It is a crime against humanity to convert agricultural productive soil into soil which produces food stuff that will be burned into biofuel," said Ziegler.

    While acknowledging the legitimacy of arguments in favour of biofuels, specifically in terms of energy efficiency and combating climate change, he argues the effect of transforming food crops such as wheat and maize into agricultural fuel is "absolutely catastrophic" for hungry people and will negatively impact the realisation of the right to food.

    Ziegler believes biofuels will only lead to further hunger in a world where an estimated 854 million people, one out of six, already suffer from the scourge. An estimated 100,000 people die from hunger or malnutrition every day. Yet, as Ziegler pointed out quoting UN Food and Agriculture Organization figures, the world already produces enough food to feed twice its current population.

    "All causes of hunger are man-made, it's a problem of access, not overpopulation or underproduction, and can be changed by human decision," Ziegler said.

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Piste Off Climate Change

    Snows return to Austria's 'doomed' ski resorts - Telegraph

    The naked slopes that plagued Europe's alpine resorts last year appeared to sound the death knell for many of them. But, a year on, the picture could not be more different.

    Skiers were this weekend gearing up for a bumper season after slopes began to open more than six weeks before the official start to the season.

    Pistes in Austria boasted pristine conditions after early falls and low temperatures left resorts blanketed with snow.

    A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development released last December warned that climate change could make family ski holidays a thing of the past within two decades.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Fall Forward - Spring Back - You didn't forget did you?

    Bloody quiet out there this morning, and the papers are late....

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 27, 2007

    Alamein Repost

    Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry History

    By the 29 October the Regiment were back with the 9th Armoured Brigade in reserve. The battle was still very much alive although the positions had remained unchanged from the 24 October when the Regiment were withdrawn. The tanks with which the Regiment had been re-equipped were far from new, many of them were the patched up casualties of the battle....

    For the next phase of the battle the 2nd NZ Division had been reinforced by 151 and 152 Infantry Brigades from 13 Corps and also the 23rd Armoured Brigade; the divisional task was to mount and execute, on their own, a single 'punch' to a depth of 6000 yards through the German front line, the resulting breach was then to be exploited by the reserve Corps. For this operation General Montgomery was prepared to accept 100% casualties. The Regiment, now under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel A. M. Gibb, along with the Warwickshire Yeomanry and the 3rd Hussars would spearhead this attack, the Regimental objective was little more than a point on the map just to the north of Tel el Aqqaqir. At 0145 hours on the 2nd November, B Squadron lead the Regiment across the start line in column, proceeded through the minefield and through the leading infantry of 151 and 152 Brigades who were defending the forward edge of the minefield. BY 0615 hours the squadrons had fanned out with B Squadron under the command of Major Gibbs in the centre; in the half light the crews of the leading tanks could just see fleeing enemy infantry as they tried to avoid the tank tracks.

    The B Squadron advance had taken them into the middle of an encirclement of enemy 88mm anti-tank guns, to halt the advance would clearly have been fatal so Major Gibbs gave the order to charge. Many tanks were destroyed and many gun positions over-run and already the enemy were starting their counter-attack from the south west.

    By full daylight the Regiment was slogging it out in a tank versus tank battle with B Squadron with its Crusaders, reduced to one tank that could still motor. On Orders Major Gibbs withdrew the Squadron with many of them sitting on the one tank whilst others walked. For his bravery, both during the advance and in the final withdraw, Major Gibbs was subsequently awarded the DSO.

    At 1600 hours the Regiment was withdrawn from the battlefield and its four remaining serviceable tanks were sent over to the Warwickshire Yeomanry where they fought until the battle was finally won two days later. The Regiment had fifteen killed, twenty seven missing and twenty wounded. There can be no finer tribute to the Regiment's achievements than the words of Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein recorded in 1967. " I must mention the magnificent fight put up by th 9th Armoured Brigade - 3rd Hussars, Wiltshire Yeomanry, Warwickshire Yeomanry - If British armour owed any debt to the infantry of the 8th Army, the debt was paid on 2 November by the 9th Armoured Brigade in heroism and blood."

    In his book "Royal Wilts" Lt.Col.P.W.Pitt records the battle more personally.

    Soon after the tanks emerge from the barrage the Squadron finds itself approaching the Rahman Track. Then, as the silvered telephone posts which run along it become dimly visible and the daybreak sharpens their outlines, the trouble starts in earnest when they mount the crest of a very slight rise they are in the midst of it. Below then the Boche is dug in. His position is formidable. His strength is terrific. This is the real thing.
    The Squadron Leader thinks quickly. He must in a situation like this. A few moments hesitation may spell disaster. Summing up his chances he glances from left to right along the horizon where the dawn has brought the rim of the desert into shadowy view. Flash, flash, flash . . in a great semi-circle the guns of the enemy wink viciously back at him as great balls of fire seem to leap out of the sand and hurtle towards the oncoming tanks. Some miss their mask and bounce on the sand, to die out gracefully like fireworks in the sky, others land with a sickening metallic clang on the Crusaders and explosions add dull thuds to the pandemonium of sounds that fills the shattered air. This is not the sort of resistance that can be brushed aside. Those shells are fired by the dreaded 88 millimetres
    and guns of even heavier calibre. B Squadron has bumped right into the middle of the enemy’s main gun line
    It is neck or nothing now. That gun line must be smashed at all costs. The forward Troop Leader has also summed up the situation and has slewed his troop to the left. The Squadron Leader quickens the pace of his own tank and takes the lead in the old fashioned cavalry style. His mind is made up. There is only one way to deal with this situation. He gives the order— Charge.’
    He should, of course, have used the expression "Over-run". He is now commanding tanks, not horses, but the slip is natural enough, although there is a deal of difference between a cavalry charge and its mechanical counterpart. The former is full of romantic associations and a man can do great deeds when his blood is up in good company with a stout horse between his knees. But, normally, there is little romance about a mechanised operation. These men are cooped up in steel prisons which are packed tight with high explosives. Each tank carries enough petrol to burn down a house and the air is thick with missiles. Nostrils are filled with the reek of engines and fumes of oil. Throats are choked with dust. It is a cold-blooded business, this grinding into the night in a mass of metal. Everything in a tank, like everything in a battlefield, is hard, hot or harmful . . excepting human flesh! There is iron to bruise, steel to cut and fire to burn. But no romance,
    Nevertheless, a dash of the old cavalry spirit infuses the men of B Squadron as the order to charge comes over the air. A Crusader has a fair turn of speed and the lust of the chase is added to their excitement, for the hunt is on. Chaos ensues, therefore, as the squadron breaks formation and races recklessly into the German gun-line. Every man is keyed up to the highest pitch and every tank is extended to its limit. Wherever a flash is seen in the sand, there lies a gun-pit, and after those flashes go the Crusaders. With all weapons blazing they thresh about and mill around, flat out in circles, to crush the Boche guns out of action. The pace is terrific. It cannot and does not last long, with both sides losing so heavily in the dust and smoke-laden din
    Unbelievable things are happening if we could but see them. Already the enemy guns are badly mauled. That "nice little tank screen" is in reality very formidable. It is officially described, later on, as composed of twenty to twenty-five 88 millimetres, ”supported by a vast number of smaller guns.” Official reports are not given to exaggeration and understatement is usually one of their characteristics.
    And guns are being literally over-run by tanks for the first time in history. Here, as just one example, is an impression of the sort of thing that is happening all round us.
    A subaltern sees through his glasses that the crew of an ‘88 millimetre, “ upon which he has set his heart, are busily engaged in firing point blank at another B Squadron tank. So he stalks them from a flank.
    The British tank is blazing back gamely but its guns are hopelessly inaccurate on the move and the shells fly wide of the gun emplacement. Its machine guns, too are giving a lot of trouble. The German 88 millimetre is also shooting wild. The subaltern holds his fire. So far he has been unobserved whilst the Germans battle with the enemy to their front. Then the Boches get a lucky hit. Flames spurt from the British tank. Its petrol is on fire. The crew leap out as the tank goes up in a bright flash of flame and is crowned with a great cloud of dove grey smoke. The German gunners rush for their machine guns, but, as they train them on the escaping British crew, the subaltern takes a hand. -This is his opportunity. He is close enough to the gun pit now to fire right down into it and he lets fly with his Besas at the Boches. There are four of them, and, for a few moments, they cling, as though magnetised, to their machine guns. Then, realising that they can’t possibly get back to their big gun, they flee in an access of terror. The Crusader races after them, its zipping bullets claiming first one and then another. The remaining two fling themselves on the ground and clutch cravenly at the sand. But their fate is seated. The charging metal passes over them as the huge tank slews round and makes once more towards the now deserted gun.
    Up till now this Crusader has been charging blind at German gun-pits, but this 88 millimetre is dug in eight feet deep. It is a formidable obstacle. So as the tank approaches the edge it checks and hesitates, as though measuring its distance. Then it advances more gingerly. Its nose hangs for a moment over the side of the emplacement—reaching towards the great breech of the German anti-tank gun. A few more inches. As it dips, it thud-jangles upon the “ 88 millimetre. The engine races slightly. Metal grinds on metal. The stout steel from Krupp’s crumples like cardboard beneath the massive weight of the British tank. Slowly, slowly . . with great effort the tank struggles astride the wrecked gun. It grunts furiously and seems to look up towards the further side of the gun-pit. Then it gropes for a way out. It gets a purchase on the lip. Again it roars and snorts and makes a fearful noise. The earth gives. Cascades of dust fall into the pit. Gradually the tracks get a grip and the great beast seems to scramble up the side. Now it is out, a crumpled mass of steel behind it, where once was a deadly gun. The Crusader appears to shake itself after this encounter as though looking round with a snort. What’s the next job? It moves on once more towards the centre of the battle.

    Meanwhile the Squadron Leader has lost control. It is every man for himself now, but he is worried about the petrol supply. His tanks have been running for fully twelve hours and they can’t have much fuel left. They won’t be able to keep this sort of thing up much longer. The Besas, too, are giving trouble. They keep jamming and, in the midst of all this hell, men have to keep getting out of the tanks and freeing them with ram-rods. This, and a thousand other dangers, add to the critical nature of the battle....

    My father's tank brewed up and he had to cut his driver's arm off to get the driver out. He stayed to look after the wounded man rather than return to the British lines, sheltering beside the burning tank until he was picked up by the Germans to become a POW for the rest of the war. The driver and him met again at the 50th Anniversary Dinner in 1992.

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    The Hotel Bike

    Man who had sex with bike in court - Telegraph
    A man has been placed on the sex offenders’ register after being caught trying to have sex with a bicycle.

    Robert Stewart was discovered in his room by two cleaners at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr, south west Scotland, in October last year.

    On Wednesday Mr Stewart admitted to sexual breach of the peace in Ayr Sheriff Court, where depute fiscal Gail Davidson described how he had been found by the hostel workers.

    She said: "They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply.

    "They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white T-shirt, naked from the waist down.

    "The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex."

    Both witnesses, who were extremely shocked, notified the hotel manager, who in turn alerted the police.

    Mr Stewart was placed on the sex offenders’ register but his sentence was deferred until next month.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but he was in a private locked room not harming anyone - what has he done wrong? Weird yes, and how you have sex with a bike is beyond even my sleazy imagination. (Maybe on the bicyclist bloggers can tell me). As the great PJ said ;" There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL."

    What's the difference between a bike, a rampant rabbit, suspender belts, or a pair of crimson size 4.5 Manolo Blahniks with a four inch heel and diamanté encrusted straps, to mention objects purely at random. What squelchy things people do in private is none of my business, or the State's.

    First they came for the bicycle users, etc.

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:28 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    No score

    Scotsman.com News - Scotland - White lines to be removed from roads to boost safety

    Insert rugby/football joke of your own choosing about Scots being unable to cross white lines on the pitch....

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 26, 2007

    His Lordship's Snout Trapped

    Iain Dale has been leaked a copy of the Guardian's explosive front page story tomorrow. And boy is it explosive. It accuses Labour Peer Lord Hoyle (former Warrington MP Doug Hoyle) of taking money to intriduce arms dealers to the Defence Procurement Minister Lord Drayson.

    Peer was paid to introduce lobbyist to minister | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited
    A Labour peer has admitted taking money to introduce an arms company lobbyist to the government minister in charge of weapons purchases. The case of "cash for access" in the House of Lords is likely to ignite fresh concern about ethical standards in parliament.

    The lobbyist paid cash for an introduction to Lord Drayson, the defence minister in charge of billions of pounds of military procurement, according to evidence obtained by the Guardian...

    Asked if he declared to the minister at the time that he was in the pay of a lobbyist, Lord Hoyle told the Guardian he "did not know" whether he had made the required declaration. The MoD says nothing was recorded about Lord Hoyle's position in the note taken at the time.....

    Lord Hoyle did report to the Lords registrar that Mr Wood had hired him as a "consultant", claiming it was for matters unconnected to parliament. But the public register had not been updated at the time of the Drayson meeting.

    Lord Hoyle now says he was not "specifically paid for [the] sole purpose" of introducing Mr Wood to the minister. But he could not identify any other services he provided. He said he had done "very little" for Mr Wood, who would ring up occasionally and talk "mainly about football".

    Squeal piggy squeal....

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Gordon Brown leads all to that sunny land of freedom..

    Gordon Brown's plan for human rights - Telegraph

    ..as part of what he called a "new British constitutional settlement for our generation" Mr Brown hinted at more legal changes to come.

    Promising to "respect and extend freedom of assembly", Mr Brown spoke of new rights for the public expression of dissent.

    Yesterday's package could also mean voters get new powers to access information held by the state, and new protections to stop others obtaining information about them and their families, Mr Brown said.

    Britain could get a new "Bill of Rights and Duties," paving the way for a full written constitution, ministers said yesterday.

    The Justice Secretary launched a consultation exercise on a single text setting out both the legal freedoms of British citizens and the responsibilities expected of them.

    Michael Wills, Jack Straw's deputy and a close friend of the Prime Minister, later made clear that yesterday's proposals are intended to have far-reaching consequences for Britain.

    He said: "These changes are going to be profound. This is going to change fundamentally the way power is distributed in this country."

    Yup, we already know how power is going to be distributed, up to Brussels. Allowing us to wave flags in Parliament Square again or mock Ed Balls for his expenses is classic political misdirection. And the "rights and duties of British Citizens"? Fudk you sunshine, I remember when we were British Subjects whose fealty to the Crown was repaid with its protection - not miserable citizens of a vast European superstate which defines our "duties and rights" at its political whim.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Hunting - the legal future, kill more of them.

    Countryside Alliance - The future for staghunting

    Last Friday the Crown Court in Taunton upheld the convictions under the Hunting Act of Richard Down and Adrian Pillivant of the Quantock Staghounds. High Court Judge Wyn Williams, who sat with two lay magistrates, found that "both men did not set out to break the law", but did not accept that "their belief that their activities was exempt was reasonable" and that they were therefore guilty of the offence. ...

    However, apart from the verdict, the judgement was much more positive than that of District Judge Parsons in the Magistrates’ Court and it shows how the staghounds can hunt legally within the law.
    ...it found that in order to comply with all the conditions of the ‘flushing’ exemption the Quantock Staghounds must ensure that:...

    Reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that there are enough guns to shoot dead all deer flushed,....

    Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart ; "We may be frustrated by the nonsense and lack of logic in the Hunting Act, but pause for a moment to think what our opponents think of it. They spent decades campaigning for a law that they now find allows the staghounds to continue hunting as long as they take steps to kill more deer. And they call that a victory?"

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Looking in the swill bucket


    Balls and Cooper claim £300,000 in expenses - Telegraph

    The Cabinet's golden couple claimed more than £300,000 in expenses in the last financial year, including £30,000 for the cost of their "second home", official figures have revealed.

    The six-figure expenses bill was racked up by Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary and his wife, the Housing Minister Yvette Cooper. Both were only elected to Parliament in 2005.

    Despite typically spending the working week in London, the couple are able legitimately to claim that their "main home" is in Mr Balls's constituency of Normanton in Yorkshire.

    The total cost of the MPs' expenses has risen by an inflation-busting five per cent to £87.43 million in the past year....

    Scotsman.com News - Scotland - Commons climbdown on MPs' claims secrecy

    THE House of Commons yesterday withdrew a High Court appeal to keep the details of a Scottish MP's travel expenses out of the public domain, paving the way for the breakdown of all Westminster MPs' expenses. MPs have fought attempts to force them to break down their costs, voting to exempt themselves from the FOI Act.

    A spokesman for Mr Thomas, the Information Commissioner, welcomed the decision, adding that the public had the right to know about taxpayer-funded travel.

    "The journeys for which an MP may claim reimbursement relate to official business and are therefore paid for out of public funds," the spokesman said.

    "The public has a right to know how public money is spent by politicians and public officials.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 25, 2007

    Sharing Bansturbation Files

    Labour wants to ban illegal file-sharing - The INQUIRER

    Isn't 'illegal' banned already then?

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Brazilian slash and burn threatens species by habitat destruction

    International Herald Tribune

    The article, titled "Did the Brazilian Kill the Pubic Louse?" found that crabs rates had fallen first in women, and several years later in men in Leeds even as rates of other sexual ailments were flat or rising. The authors hypothesized that the bikini wax known as "The Brazilian" that removes all or most pubic hair, might be to blame.

    Moeliker said that in essence, the lice's habitat is being threatened.

    "When the bamboo forests that the Giant Panda lives in were cut down, the bear became threatened with extinction. Pubic lice can't live without pubic hair."

    The Rotterdam Natural History Museum has appealed for somebody — anybody — to give it a single crab louse for its collection, amid fears they may be dying out....

    So that is why the soap dodgers don't depilate, it is to save an endangered species or two.

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    HM The Game Girl


    You take the Fiat Uno, I'll pot the Mercedes...

    (The original photo it is cropped out of is from happy times back in 1947 and is below the fold)


    Posted by The Englishman at 6:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Freedom for Health

    Why accountants live longer than builders - Telegraph

    Karen Jochelson, a research fellow, said: "Those who have a lower life expectancy have it because of a range of factors.

    "But the nature of people's jobs also has an effect. If you have autonomy and control over what you do, you tend to be in better health.

    As other studies have also shown it is not just the job you are in, it is your whole way of life - being told what to do, being forced to do things, being unable to choose not only gives you poor health it kills you, to use the tabloid expression.
    Far more than any amount of salt, lack of cycling, pesticides in meat being bullied and coerced is damaging to health. Being spied on, niggled at, harassed by agents of the State ruins you. Not just the Health and Safety fascists but the whole damn lot of them are bad for you.

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Speck of Humanity

    Scotsman.com News - Health - Tiny Graiden Eldred fights for life in hospital

    THE parents of a baby who weighed 1lb 3oz when he was born after just 23 weeks and five days in the womb said yesterday that their son was a "fighter" and was putting on weight...

    His father, Jamie, 30, said: "He is now as big as my foot, which is size 12." But he added: "We are still taking every day as it comes. Graiden is being given round-the-clock care. Incubators give him steam baths to prevent his paper-thin skin from cracking and he is also on a ventilator.

    Mrs Eldred added: "We were told that our baby did not have a big chance of survival, but we thought if he was born alive it would be because he was obviously a fighter.

    "He is beginning to look like a really sweet baby, but he is still so very, very, tiny. We are not out of the woods yet, but Graiden is determined."

    In other news:

    Health Minister Dawn Primarolo says the government does not believe there is sufficient scientific evidence to lower the legal abortion limit of 24 weeks.

    She said nothing had persuaded the Department of Health that survival rates had improved for extremely premature babies born before that time.

    Nadine Dories
    brings us the background to that statement:

    ..The RCOG Committee which drew up the guidelines, that regulate the abortion industry is made up mainly of abortion providers, both on a large and small scale....Militant, pro-abortion groups are also advisors, but in the name of balance, no pro-life groups.
    Almost every person on the committee has a vested financial interest in ensuring that the number of abortions which take place in the UK remains amongst the highest in Europe....

    I believe that the RCOG may have deliberately attempted to mislead the Science & Technology Committee in its submission.

    It failed to mention the Hoekstra study which demonstrates how with good neonatal intervention, 66% of all babies (that is babies born naturally because there may have been medical complications not healthy babies aborted) at 23 weeks live.

    It failed to mention how in the UK at good neonatal units such as UCH London and Hope hospital in Salford, 43% of 23 weekers live.

    Instead it chose to quote a study which averages out births at all hospitals across the UK, which puts the figure at 10 -15%.

    The RCOG also failed to quote any papers linking abortion to pre-term delivery which had been published after 2003 and completely ignored the recent peer reviewed acclaimed study into foetal pain produced by Dr Anand.

    The RCOG also went foolishly further than this and have in a very childish way claimed they are not aware of Dr Anand on their web page.


    Dr Anand is the world's authority on foetal pain - it was his work at Oxford in the 1980’s which resulted in all neonates being given anaesthesia for general surgery today. Until he produced his work it was thought that neonates could not feel pain, by measuring stress hormones he proved otherwise. Dr Anand has been published world wide.

    The RCOG web site stating that they are unaware of Dr Anand is the equivalent of a group of mathematicians asking “who is Einstein?”

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Fat Sense

    Obesity 'epidemic': Who are you calling fat? - Independent Online Edition > Health
    Obesity 'epidemic': Who are you calling fat?
    We're told there's an obesity 'epidemic'. Yet there's not a shred of evidence, says Professor Patrick Basham – and this crusade is harming our children

    ...The claim that half of the British population will be clinically obese in 25 years assumes, without any empirical foundation, that every overweight child will become an overweight adult and that every overweight adult will progress to obesity.

    It is true that Body Mass Index (a figure consisting of height squared divided by weight squared) statistics show a significant increase in overweight adults over the past decade. But this is an extraordinary case of moving the methodological goalposts: in 1997, the BMI classification of being overweight was changed from 27 to 25. At a stroke, millions of people previously classed as normal suddenly became overweight, with no good reason to explain the change. This obscures the fact that the average adult weighs only a pound or two more than those of a generation ago. The increase in obesity applies only to the morbidly obese (with a BMI greater than 40), who make up less than 5 per cent of the obese.

    Further, there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that childhood obesity is on the increase, let alone accelerating. The Department of Health's own survey, published in December 2004, shows that for all children aged two to 15 there was actually a slight decline in obesity prevalence from 2004-2005. And in children aged 11-15, there was a 17.5 per cent decline. So, it is difficult to see from the Government's own data just where this talk of an obesity "epidemic" is coming from.

    What's more, the latest UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2000) found that caloric intake in both boys and girls aged four to 18 declined since the previous survey in 1983. There is similar data in the States: a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2004 found no statistically significant increase in the prevalence of overweight or obese children between 1999 and 2002.

    Behind the medical profession's goal of identifying overweight people is the claim that it is unhealthy to be above normal weight. I am no obesity apologist: morbidly obese people are so fat that they are putting their lives at risk. But the claim that being overweight or modestly obese is associated with an increased risk of premature death has been discredited by a series of studies. For example, the 2004 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study claimed that there were nearly 400,000 annual deaths attributable to diet and physical inactivity. Yet this was discredited the following year by a study from researchers at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, which put the figure of annual deaths from overweight and obesity at just 25,814....

    Thanks to Budderies for braving the Indy to note this article.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Death by Red Tape

    Pointless red-tape hindering small business - Telegraph

    Pointless red tape is costing small businesses millions of pounds a year, a cross-party group of MPs reports.

    Entrepreneurs and the owners of new businesses are "frustrated" by the "ridiculous" way they are treated by the tax authorities, the Public Accounts Committee claims...

    The report comes in the wake of a study revealing that businesses feel the regulatory burden has got heavier.

    The total annual cost to business of implementing new legislation now stands at £10.2 billion, according to the research.

    And the "cost" of people just not bothering to start up or expand small companies because they can't face the hassle for the small chance of being able to make some money for Gordon to tax and waste away is even larger.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 24, 2007

    Brown Rubbishes Miliband's Rubbish Tax

    Government scraps tax on rubbish | Environment | Guardian Unlimited
    The government has postponed plans to introduce controversial "pay as you throw" charges for rubbish, according to reports today.

    The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) had been expected to unveil the charges this week.

    Defra had prepared a document stating it would take steps to enable councils to charge people for collecting their rubbish as an incentive for recycling, but Downing Street had "poured cold water" on the plan, according to the BBC.

    The plan to allow councils to penalise householders who do not recycle - and reward those who do - were backed by a majority of local authorities and waste management companies, according to a government consultation published today.

    The Conservatives claimed the findings, published without fanfare on the Defra website, had been "slipped out" by the government to "bury bad news".

    "Local authorities and waste management companies", of course they were in favour, who gets to run the charging scheme and get all the lovely cash for doing so! But has the idea been killed or merely going to be represented under a different guise when our guard is down?

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    The FibDims on that Treaty...

    ALDE Group in the European Parliament : IGC: A complex Treaty that rekindles hope for European integration

    Andrew DUFF (UK, LibDem), one of Parliament's three representatives throughout the intergovernmental negotiations and present at the Lisbon summit said that "for 26 countries this Treaty is a great step forward together towards European unity equal in historical importance to Maastricht.

    In one country, this is not so. The British still seem intimidated by the success of the European Union, and have sought in the IGC to reduce the scope and force of common policies in the area of fundamental rights, freedom, security and justice and in common foreign, security and defence policies. Why this strategy of non-cooperation is thought to serve the interests of the British people is not entirely clear. Let it be as short-lived as possible", Mr Duff concluded.

    There's a gate on the river down near Tower Bridge for scum like him...

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    This Green and Crowded Land - It's an England only problem

    Record immigration sees UK population soar - Telegraph

    Statisticians said at least 70 per cent of the population rise over the next 20 years will be attributable directly to immigration.

    The rest will be babies born to British mothers - many of whom are second-generation immigrants

    The ONS report says:

    ...the UK population will increase from an
    estimated 60.6 million in 2006, to 65 million in 2016, passing 70
    million in 2028, to reach 71 million by 2031.
    The population of England is projected to increase by 8 per cent
    by 2016, that of Northern Ireland by 7 per cent and Wales by 5
    per cent. The projected increase for Scotland, where fertility and
    life expectancy levels are assumed to remain lower than in the
    rest of the UK, is 3 per cent.

    But the graph accompanying the story doesn't seem to show that,


    The total rise seems to mirror the England rise with the other countries flat lining; so I dug into the figures:

    Data Source - GAD - Government Actuary's Department - Demography Data - Population (Note x scale not linear )

    The projected rise in the population isn't a UK problem/opportunity, it isn't a British one - it only affects England. So what is going on with the story? Why is every MSM outlet leading with it being a Brownian British story? Why does the press release seem to differ from the figures? Why is England the word that dare not speak it's name.....

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:47 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    A Diplomat Writes

    A vote to stay in -Times Online

    ...the Tories taunt the Prime Minister with the accusation that his reason for refusing a referendum is his fear of losing it.

    In fact, that’s one, although not the only, perfectly rational and honourable reason for not holding a referendum. Not only the Tories but much of the Europhobic press would exploit the worst kinds of anti-European xenophobic prejudice to secure a “no” vote, not out of any genuine opposition to specific provisions of a treaty whose main purposes you yourself admit are necessary after EU expansion, but in the unacknowledged hope of bringing about Britain’s eventual exit from the EU...

    But for the UK, probably alone of all EU member states, to reject a treaty regarded by every single EU government as sound and necessary would make us the pariahs of the union, and may well result in our expulsion from it, an outcome that only a minority of the electorate seems to want.

    Brian Barder
    HM Diplomatic Service, 1965-94

    Remind me again whose interests HM Diplomatic Service represents because it sure as hell doesn't seem to stand up for the democratic desires of the people of Britain, or I venture to guess Her Majesty.

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

    A Doctor Writes

    Drinking up -Times Online

    Sir, Many Times readers will have enjoyed their weekend all the more as a result of the allegation that safe limits for drinking, developed in 1987, have “no firm scientific basis whatsoever” (report, Oct 20).

    However, this is far from the case. Twenty years ago we knew that there is wide individual variation in sensitivity to alcohol, probably largely genetically determined. In the future we may be able to quantify an individual’s risk of cirrhosis, suicide or alcohol dependence from his or her genes, but until then the only way to avoid harm reliably is to stick to these clear and still valid limits.

    Many drinking hazardously, up to about 2.5 times the safe limits, will escape damage but some won’t. ...

    Professor Ian Gilmore
    President, Royal College of Physicians

    So the guidelines were "Fake But Accurate"... but don't worry because we are going to genetically profile you and then really be able to tell you what to do...

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

    Doomed, we are all doomed

    Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Global warming could wipe out most species

    Rising temperatures could wipe out more than half of the earth's species in the next few centuries, according to researchers who published a study on Wednesday linking climate change to past mass extinctions.

    ... The upper end of the IPCC forecast rise would heat the earth close to the temperatures of 250 million years ago, when 95 percent of all animal and plant species became extinct, Mayhew said.

    Some of the past mass extinctions happened over a brief few hundred years, providing evidence that present day rapid temperature rises could have the same impact, Mayhew said.

    "It does give us an idea of what to expect in the near future," he said. "There is nothing that says it couldn't happen in a short timescale."

    So these rapid rises in the past, what caused them?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    October 23, 2007

    Militwat- take a letter


    Dear Foreign Secretary,...

    A reasoned argument appealing to Miliband's senses of honour and morality, a waste of time I fear as such concepts are as pearls before swine. A cluebat might be more effective...

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


    Top 100 UK Blogs

    Nice to be mounted on top of Petite Anglais for a change...

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    If you go down to the woods tonight

    How To Bake A Badger

    Badger are at their best from October to November, being fat and succulent by then.

    The flesh can be treated as young pig meat in every respect, it being just as rich and having the flavor of a young pig. It can be cured by salting, the hams being exceptionally good fare. Badger pies are even better than pork pies, hot or cold.

    Badger Ham, To Bake

    A badger ham will weigh 7 to 8 pounds and needs cooking very carefully. Soak the ham for at least 6 hours in cold water. Wash it after soaking in lukewarm water. Cover it with a rough paste made with 3 pounds of flour and 3 pounds of water; make sure to wrap it well. Bake in a moderate oven, pre-heat to 350 F for 21/2 to 3 hours.

    Remove the paste and cover with bread raspings whilst still hot, if to be served cold. If to be served hot, serve with broad beans and fresh parsley sauce or cider sauce.

    Recipe Excerpt From
    The Master Book of Poultry and Game
    By Henry Smith
    Spring Books

    Circa 1950

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    New research doubts Keeling's CO2 measurement

    New CO2 evidence means climate change predictions are 'too optimistic' - Times Online
    Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are increasing much faster and will be harder to control than scientists have predicted, a study has found.

    An international team of researchers has found that, since 2000, the rate at which CO2 has been pumped into the atmosphere is 35 per cent greater than most climate change models have allowed for.Recent research has also noticed a reduction in the ability of the oceans and the land to absorb carbon.

    The problem with the seas was identified this year in the Southern Ocean, where winds driven by climate change are bringing carbon-saturated waters to the surface, which are unable to absorb any more carbon.

    The conclusions have serious implications for forecasts of how much and how quickly the world’s temperature will rise and mean that global warming will be harder and more expensive to control than feared. The results also mean that international efforts to bring CO2 emissions under control will need to be more far-reaching.

    Professor Nicholas Owens, of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), said that the findings were so worrying that they made previous widely accepted forecasts of climate change seem unduly optimistic......

    So all that extra CO2 - what has it done to the temperature since 2000?

    NCDC: Global Long-term Mean Land and Sea Surface Temperatures

    Estimates of mean monthly global surface temperatures with respect to the 20th century average (1901-2000).

    Yup - Bugger all.

    And this research shows "Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are increasing much faster.."
    but dear old Keeling, the daddy of CO2 measurements, doesn't seem to show this - go and look at the data and graphics here

    So what is going on? Is Keeling and the whole CO2 measurement network wrong? And why won't the bloody temperature behave itself and follow the script?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Seb Coe's Self-aggrandizement

    Olympics chiefs set to ban all car travel - Times Online

    The team organising the London Olympics in 2012 is adopting the most aggressive anticar policy ever applied to a major event in an attempt to deliver a permanent shift in people’s travel habits.

    The eight million spectators will be banned from travelling by car and forced to take public transport, walk or cycle. Only a small number of disabled people will be allowed to park anywhere near the car exclusion zones planned for the main venues in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cardiff, and Weymouth and Portland in Dorset.
    Even drivers not travelling to the Olympics will be affected by the plan because, for two months around the Games, one lane on several key routes in London will be reserved for 80,000 members of the “Olympic family” – athletes, officials and media. These routes, dubbed “Zil lanes” after the routes reserved for the Soviet Politburo cavalcades in Moscow, are likely to be policed by dozens of cameras and a team of enforcement officers.

    The core route will run from Hyde Park Corner, to Parliament Square, along Embankment to Tower Hill, on to The Highway and out to Stratford....

    So these lanes are for cars? The "family" will be driven in luxury whilst the poor punters will attempt to survive on public transport. The IOC arrogance, corruption, and contempt for the "proles" makes many an African dictator look like Mother Theresa.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:07 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    October 22, 2007

    Cheering up a Monday Morning

    I was set the task of clearing out the deep recesses of the larder cupboard this morning.

    And look what I found:

    Two bottles of Château Rausan-Ségla 1961 Margaux - who says hard work isn't rewarded....

    (The 1977 port is labelled as being a christening present for No.2 Son from his godfather for his 18th - next February...)

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

    Taxing and Policing the Web - the EU plan

    The Daily Brute: Seriously sinister
    If the stories here and here are true, they represent one of the most sinister and ugly threats to us all.

    Thank you WONDERFUL European Community for allowing the Italian government even to attempt to tell me, an Englishman, what I can and cannot write on any blog while, in the meantime, planning to charge me for the pleasure, in other words to regulate me and thousands of others out of business.

    As Beppe says:
    Ricardo Franco Levi, Prodi’s right hand man , undersecretary to the President of the Council, has written the text to put a stopper in the mouth of the Internet. The draft law was approved by the Council of Ministers on 12 October. No Minister dissociated themselves from it. On gagging information, very quietly, these are all in agreement.

    The Levi-Prodi law lays out that anyone with a blog or a website has to register it with the ROC, a register of the Communications Authority, produce certificates, pay a tax, even if they provide information without any intention to make money, to get a publishing company and to have a journalist who is on the register of professionals as the responsible director.

    Posted by The Englishman at 11:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Health and Safety Silly Bunt

    Firefighters banned from using ladders - News - Bedfordshire on Sunday

    Firefighters have been told they cannot use their ladders to take down festive bunting because it is too dangerous.

    Ampthill held its annual Gala Day in July and to mark the occasion the historic market town was festooned with colourful bunting.

    In previous years fire brigade officers have pitched in after the event to help remove the decorations.

    But this year, nearly four months later and the bunting is still in place.

    Former Mayor Cllr Mark Smith said: 'The reason the festival bunting is still up arises from the fact that due to local health and safety advice the local fire brigade is unable to take the bunting down.'

    Disgruntled resident Charlie Garth said: "What the blazes. I'm sure our brave firemen aren't frightened about falling off a piddling little ladder. They have never looked afraid of heights to me.

    "After all they are used to climbing giant turntable ladders with choppers in their hands and rescuing cats from the tops of tall trees."

    Deputy chief fire officer Graeme Smith said: "Yes it sounds like the world has gone mad. Firefighters will climb ladders to rescue people from burning buildings but not to remove bunting after a festival.

    It isn't just that "it sounds like the world has gone mad" - it has. Don't they ever do training exercises of climbing ladders, couldn't they do that in the high street....

    *Silly Bunt? The Monty Python origionation is below as an educational service

    Agent: Ah Hello, I'm Bounder of Adventure.
    Customer: Hello, my names Smoketoomuch.
    A: What?
    C: My names Smoketoomuch, Mr. Smoketoomuch.
    A: Well you'd better cut down a little then.

    C: I'm sorry?
    A: You'd better cut down a little then.

    C: Oh I see, Smoketoomuch so I'd better cut down a little then.
    A: Yes I expect you get people making jokes about
    your name all the time.
    C: No actually. It never struck me before. Smoketoomuch. Tahaha
    heh heh.
    A: Anyway, you're interested in one of our holidays are you?
    C: Yes that's right, I saw your advert in the bolour supplement.
    A: The what?
    C: The bolour supplement.
    A: The colour supplement?
    C: Yes that's right. I'm afraid I can't say the letter B
    A: C?
    C: Yes. Its all due to a trauma I suffered when I was a
    Schoolboy. I was attacked by a bat.
    A: Ah, a cat?
    C: No a bat.
    A: Well can you say the letter K?
    C: Oh yes, Khaki, Kettle, Kipling, Kuwait, Kings Bollege Bambridge.
    A: Well why don't you say the letter K, instead of the letter C?
    C: What, you mean spell bolour with a K.
    A: Right.
    C: Kolour.
    A: Yes.
    C: Ah that's very good. I never thought of that before. What a silly
    A: Now then, er, about the, er, about the holiday.
    C: Yes well I've been on package tours many times before and so
    your advert really baught my eye.
    A: Good, good, jolly good.
    C: Yes, you're quite right, what's the point of going abroad if
    you're just another tourist carted around in buses surrounded
    by sweaty miners sons from Kettering and Boventry with their
    bloth baps and their bardigans and their transistor radios
    complaining about the tea, ooh they don't make it properly here
    do they - and stopping at endless Majorcan bodegas selling fish
    and chips and Watneys Red Barrel and calamares and two veg and
    sitting in their cotton sunfrocks squirting Timothy Whites sun
    cream all over their puffy raw swollen purulent flesh cos they
    overdid it on the first day.
    A: Absolutely, absolutely.
    C: And being herded into endless Hotel Miramars and Bellevueses
    and Bontinentals with their International luxury roomettes
    and draught Red Barrel and swimming pools full of fat German
    businessmen pretending to be acrobats forming pyramids and
    frightening the children and barging into the queues. And if
    you're not at the table spot on 7 you miss your bowl of
    Campbells Cream of Mushroom soup - the first item on the menu
    of International cuisine.
    A: Absolutely, well what we'd like....
    C: And every Thursday night there's bloody cabaret in the bar,
    featuring some tiny emaciated dago with 9 inch hips, and some
    fat bloated tart with her hair Brylcreamed down and a big tits
    presenting flamenco for foreigners. And then an audio-typist
    from Birmingham with flabby white legs and diarrhoea trying
    to pick up hairy legged wop waiters called Manuel.
    A: Will you be quiet!
    C: And once a week there's an excursion to the local Roman remains
    where you can buy Cherryade, and melted Ice Cream and bleeding
    Watneys Red Barrel.
    A: Please....
    C: And one night they take you to a typical restaurant with local
    atmosphere and colour and you sit next to a party of people
    from Rhyl who keep singing "Torremolinos, Torremolinos".
    A: WILL you be QUIET!.
    C: And complaining about the food.. ooh its SO greasy isn't it.
    You get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with
    an Instamatic camera and Dr Scholl sandals and last Tuesdays
    Daily Express and he drones on and on and on about how Mr Smith
    should be running this country, and how many languages
    Enoch Powell can speak and then he throws up all over the
    Cuba Libres. Then sending tiddly postcards of places they don't
    realise they haven't even visited.... to all at number 22,
    weather wonderful, food very greasy, but we have managed to
    find this tiny little place hidden away in the back streets
    where you can buy Cheese and Onion crisps and Watneys Red
    Barrel. And spending four days on the tarmac at Luton airport
    on a five day package tour with nothing to eat but dried BEA
    type sandwiches and you cant even get a glass of Watneys Red
    Barrel cos you're still in England and the bloody bar closes
    every time you're thirsty. And the kids are crying and vomiting
    and breaking the plastic ashtrays and they keep telling you
    it'll only be another hour although you know damn well your
    plane is still in Iceland and it has to come back and take
    a party of Swedes to Yugoslavia before it can come back and load
    you up at 3am in the morning. And then you sit on the tarmac
    for four hours because of 'unforseen difficulties', ie. the
    permanent strike of Air Traffic Control; and when you finally
    get to Malaga airport and everyones swallowing into Vioform
    tablets and queueing for the bloody toilets and queueing for
    the bloody armed customs officers, and queueing for the bloody
    bus that isn't there waiting to take you to the hotel that
    hasn't yet been built. And when you finally get to the half-built
    Algerian ruin, called the Hotel del Sol, by paying half your
    holiday money to a licensed bandit in a taxi; there's no water
    in the pool, there's no water in the taps, there's no water in
    the bog, and there's only a bleeding lizard in the bidet!
    And half the rooms are double booked and you can't sleep anyway
    cos of the permanent 24 hour drilling of the foundations of
    the hotel next door. You play while appalling apprentice
    chemists from Ealing pretending to be hippies, and middle-class
    stockbrokers wives from Esher, busily buying identical holiday
    villas and suburban development plots just like Esher, because
    the Labour Governments got in again.
    Meanwhile the Spanish National Tourist Board......< fade out>

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Proudly waving the heretic's flag

    Today’s forecast: yet another blast of hot air | David Bellamy - Times Online
    I am happy to be branded a heretic because throughout history heretics have stood up against dogma based on the bigotry of vested interests. But I don’t like being smeared as a denier because deniers don’t believe in facts. The truth is that there are no facts that link the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide with imminent catastrophic global warming.

    While others will react to The Times publishing his views as though he was farting in front of the Queen, it seems to be more evidence that maybe, just maybe, the Climate Change bandwagon has jumped the shark

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Free Sweeties for all north of the border

    English pay price as Scots axe charges - Telegraph

    The public services ''apartheid" between England and Scotland has widened again as Scottish ministers pledged to abolish all prescription charges north of the border...
    The move was cited as the starkest example yet of the "unfairness" of the current funding arrangement, with English taxpayers forced to pay towards improvements to health care and education available only in Scotland.

    In the immortal words of Scottie; "Captain, I cannae hold it much longer! I cannae push her any further or she'll explode!"

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

    More on the teaching of "proles".

    Education is the only way to close class divide - Telegraph

    So the England rugby fans apparently managed to find their way out of Paris without wrecking a single bar, overturning a single car or bottling a single South African supporter – let alone waging a pitched battle on the Champs-Elysées with a squad of armoured police.

    Even those who arrived without tickets, drank with abandon and were reduced to sleeping rough in the streets – a sure-fire prescription for carnage if this had been a football World Cup – made no trouble for the authorities.

    There are a few commentators who staunchly insist that this is not about class: that the difference between what Dave Tattoo and his mates would have done to Paris after losing a football World Cup final, and what the sad but non-violent rugby fans did, is nothing to do with the ugly social divide that still pervades Britain.

    Well, delude yourself if you like – but this is about class. What confuses the issue now is that class is not all about money.

    Look at the photographs of the England football team who won the World Cup in 1966. How respectable and middle class they appear – and how gentlemanly was their behaviour on the pitch by comparison to the rich sociopaths who now dominate the game.

    Whatever happened to the decency and civility that was personified by Bobby Moore and the Charlton brothers? What happened to the desire of young working-class men to rise above the violence and borderline criminality that lay in wait for people of their backgrounds whose self-discipline was allowed to slip?

    It disappeared under a new wave of garbage culture and what seemed to me – a shocked outsider – like a positive conspiracy to maintain the separateness of working-class life, engineered jointly by sentimental media hokum and patronising middle-class guilt.....generations of working-class children had their feet set in social and cultural concrete by schools that refused to teach them how to speak and write their own language properly.....

    If you, as a society, do not expect correct speech, decent behaviour and a sense of responsibility from some of your fellow citizens – do not, in other words, demand from them what civilised life requires – then you deny them the chance to enter that life more effectively than if you had barred the gates to every centre of learning in the land.

    The patronising muddled marxist middle class thinking of many teachers and most of the teacher training is a "Birkenstock stamping on a human face. Forever." * No wonder social mobility has halted in this country. Is it because their philosophy demands a disenchanted "prole" class, or is it sheer incompetence?

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

    October 21, 2007

    In Praise of Carbon

    The soft powder that is lamp black,
    the amorphous stick of charcoal
    with which Leonardo first sketched the outline of a mysterious woman.
    The hardest of sparkling crystals
    nestling between the soft breasts of other women who changed history,
    yet which has been crucial to high technology.
    The smooth flaky centre of the draughtsman’s pencil
    that also lubricated the workings of his mechanical designs
    and the new nanostructures of unimaginable possibilities (fullerines, buckyballs, nanotubes etc.)
    are all chemically identical.

    John Brignell for the rest.

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The West Lothian Referendum Question

    Alex Salmond and the stinking fish | William Rees-Mogg - Times Online
    Last week Mr Brown accepted the reform treaty but he has backed out of his party’s commitment to a referendum, on the false pretence that the two treaties are different. This is not an action in good faith. If he persists in it, he deserves to be removed from office. For a man to obtain an advantage by a trick is inherently dishonest. For a prime minister to do so destroys his covenant of trust with the people he is governing.

    Most of the parliamentary gossip is not concerned with the morality of the Prime Minister’s conduct, though there is a moral issue. In the lobbies they ask the pragmatic question: “Can he get away with it?” I am not sure that he will. It is quite unusual for a prime minister to be distrusted or despised by a significant part of the population and regarded essentially as a cheat.

    Successful leadership depends on respect, on the moral consent of the governed. Even at his lowest point, John Major never found himself in this position. He – disgracefully enough – refused a referendum on the Maastricht treaty, but he had never promised one.

    There does, however, seem to be a constitutional as well as a moral obstacle to Mr Brown’s policy. The treaty recasts Europe to bring the EU much closer to a United States of Europe ....

    Yet these key transfers of sovereignty from Westminster to Brussels seem to include powers that have been devolved to Edinburgh. One example might prove to be the extension of qualified majority voting in the area of tourism. Will Scottish tourism become a European competence, or will it remain devolved to Scotland? Further examination of the reform treaty seems certain to discover that it would have a far reaching impact on Scottish self-rule. There is no red line to protect Scotland.

    The Scots had a referendum to approve devolution. Any substantial reduction in the scope of Scottish self-government would require a further referendum. Mr Brown is refusing a referendum to the UK. Can he also refuse one to Scotland, a nation with its own government and First Minister, Alex Salmond?

    Can Mr Salmond and the SNP allow Scottish powers to be transferred to Europe without Scottish consent? If that consent were sought from the Edinburgh Parliament, would there be a majority to ratify the reform treaty, in respect of Scottish affairs, without a referendum? In the UK Mr Brown may have the power to refuse a referendum, but Mr Salmond may decide to call one in Scotland, as a powerful precedent for the referendum he is already seeking on Scottish independence. I do not see who could stop him – it would not be the Black Watch. ...

    This could be Gordon Brown's Maastricht - Telegraph
    Imagine Mr Salmond, a brilliantly mischievous tactician, going to Mr Brown's constituency and telling the voters of Kirkcaldy that he, as First Minister of Scotland, wanted to give them the opportunity to vote on their destiny in Europe: an opportunity that their own MP, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was stubbornly denying them.

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    New additions to my daily read

    The Daily Brute World-weary to a near-insufferable degree, jaundiced beyond parody and unutterably irritated by the antics of socialists of any hue, The Creator has but a single goal: to shed light where once there was only darkness.

    If Sam Tarran Was In Charge 16 year old opinionated conservative.

    Just a Girl in short shorts Observations and commentary by a post-modern neo-feminist libertarian cyberpunk on society, culture, politics and whatever. A femme desert tomboy in Arizona, where the chick, once called "trailer trash with a brain" by an Intertard wit, will be able to wear unfashionable daisy dukes year round

    Posted by The Englishman at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Trafalgar Day

    A small chest at The Castle has these handles, "Sacr'd to Nelson - Trafalgar" - probably just a cheap souvenir 200 years ago but rather nice now.

    As John Redwood says:

    Today we mourn the deaths of 1663 brave seamen and soldiers who died fighting to preserve the freedom of our country against Napoleon’s imperialism 202 years ago.

    Their deeds were heroic. 27 English ships of the line (including 3 small 64 gun vessels with no ship carrying more than 100 guns) engaged with 33 French and Spanish battle ships, including the three largest ships in the world in the coalition fleet (a 130 gun ship and two 115 gun ships). After a few hours action 19 enemy ships had been captured or destroyed by the English fleet. No English ship surrendered.

    All in fucking vain now thanks to the traitorous bastards in power.

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 20, 2007


    A great result - well worthwhile to prevent the morning papers featuring the crookedteethfalsesmilingcyclopianfuckingtraitorousscotchfuckingtraitorous
    traitorousscotchmug alongside Jonny.

    Posted by The Englishman at 11:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Until 8:00 this will have to do

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    One for Mr NBC - and the rest of you awaiting the Clash this evening

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    How Nanny made up the rules...

    How ‘safe drinking’ experts let a bottle or two go to their heads - Times Online
    A collective shudder of dismay rattled wine glasses on middle-class dining tables this week when a report labelled some of Britain’s most affluent towns as sozzled dens of “hazardous drinking” iniquity.
    When the report defined any man who drinks more than 21 units of alcohol a week, or woman who consumes more than 14, as a hazardous drinker, the authors were relying on limits that have been set in stone for the past 20 years.

    Yet these guidelines have no basis in science. Rather, in the words of a member of the committee that drew them up, they were simply “plucked out of the air”.

    The safe limits were introduced in 1987 after the Royal College of Physicians produced its first health report on alcohol misuse. In A Great and Growing Evil: The Medical Consequences of Alcohol Abuse, the college warned that a host of medical problems – including liver disease, strokes, heart disease, brain disease and infertility – were associated with excessive drinking. The report was the most significant study into alcohol-related disorders to date.

    But Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journal and a member of the college’s working party on alcohol, told The Times yesterday that the figures were not based on any clear evidence. He remembers “rather vividly” what happened when the discussion came round to whether the group should recommend safe limits for men and women.

    “David Barker was the epidemiologist on the committee and his line was that ‘We don’t really have any decent data whatsoever. It’s impossible to say what’s safe and what isn’t’.

    “And other people said, ‘Well, that’s not much use. If somebody comes to see you and says ‘What can I safely drink?’, you can’t say ‘Well, we’ve no evidence. Come back in 20 years and we’ll let you know’. So the feeling was that we ought to come up with something. So those limits were really plucked out of the air. They weren’t really based on any firm evidence at all.

    So more than a glass and a half may be OK... just as well for tonight.....

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

    October 19, 2007

    Until they become conscious they will never rebel

    GCSE pupils stumble at the three Rs - Telegraph
    Fewer than half of teenagers in England mastered the three Rs in their GCSEs this summer, official figures show.

  • The Government report in full
  • Check out the GCSE results at your local school
  • Despite record levels of investment in education under Labour, almost 350,000 failed to gain five good GCSEs including the key subjects of English and mathematics – the Government's official benchmark of an acceptable education.

    More than 113,600 teenagers – one in five – failed to get a single good GCSE.

    A report published yesterday also showed that almost a quarter of boys did not earn any A* to C grades – leading to fresh fears over the gender gap in education.

    Last night teachers claimed young people were being let down by a "flawed, exam-based" education system.

    They warned that many pupils were being left on the scrapheap as they finish school with no useful qualifications.

    It is almost as though it was a system designed to turn out worker drones and state dependent proles.....

    In Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four the society of Oceania was divided into 3 distinct classes: Inner Party, Outer Party, and proles, 85% of the population are proles. They were given little education, worked at jobs in which tough physical labor was the norm, lived in poverty, had plenty of children, and usually died by the age of sixty.

    Proles were still free. As the Party's slogan put it: "Proles and animals are free." This is a sharp contrast to the control of the members of Inner and Outer Parties. That is mostly due to a fact that proles were not considered to be human beings. They did not have the intellectual power to understand that they are exploited by the Party (as a source of cheap labor) and were unable and/or unwilling to organize resistance. Their functions were simple: work and breed. They did not care much about anything else than taking care of home and family, quarreling with neighbors, watching films and football, drinking beer, and buying lottery tickets. They were not required to express their support to the Party. The Party created meaningless songs, novels, even pornography for the proles (All written by machines, except pornography, which was compiled by humans in the Outer Party and only ever readable by party members who worked inPornosec.) Proles did not have to wear a uniform; they could use cosmetics...

    To keep them in control was not difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous; but no attempt was made to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the Party. It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working-hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because, without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice. Even the civil police interfered with them very little. There was a vast amount of criminality in London, a whole world-within-a-world of thieves, bandits, prostitutes, drug-peddlers and racketeers of every description; but since it all happened among the proles themselves, it was of no importance. In all questions of morals they were allowed to follow their ancestral code.

    If there is hope, wrote Winston, it lies in the proles.

    One of the recurring themes in the novel is if proles revolted they could establish something like a utopia. It's a struggle between a wild hope carried by Winston Smith, the main character, and his realization that proles were incapable of such an act. Winston admired proles because as he said, “Proles remained human.” That means that they preserved emotions which Party members had to avoid because they were in constant surveillance of telescreens. Any “non-patriotic” emotion expressed, even involuntarily, by a Party member resulted in “vaporisation” (i.e., total deletion from all the records – such people, for all intents and purposes, never existed). Thus Winston believed that if there were any hope, it lay with proles. Proles preserved the essence of life, human emotions, and even the English language (Oldspeak) and the Party could not control it. However, Winston's hope clashes with O'Brien’s view that the proles would never revolt because they would never have the need to do so. Winston also recognized that proles were not capable and/or willing of organizing a revolution. It is also important to note, that nobody (even Winston) had any thoughts that the Party could collapse by itself. It had too tight control over the Party members who had already lost their human feelings (Winston himself recognized that he no longer felt compassion; children reported their parents to the Thoughtpolice on a daily basis; sex became a “duty to the Party” with the only purpose to produce children). The younger generation (represented by Winston’s love of Julia) showed a rapid degradation of humanity.
    Until they become conscious they will never rebel,
    and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    The band is playing Lady in Red and the chairs are being stacked on the tables...

    EU Referendum: The last British government
    There is still some argument about the precise date on which it happened. Some assert that it was 18 October 2007, when prime minister Brown agreed in principle to what became known as the "Lisbon Treaty" – once the pretence that it was a "reform" treaty was no longer necessary.

    Others suggest that it was the following day, when Brown initialled the communiqué giving his assent to the treaty, following down the path set for him on 18 June 2007 when his predecessor, Mr Tony Blair, agreed on the "mandate" which led to the treaty.

    Some declare that it was on the day in December when Brown formally signed the new treaty and still others maintain that it took effect from the day when the amendment to the European Communities Act was given Royal Assent, placing the treaty formally on the statute book of the United Kingdom and thus embedding it as part of its constitution.

    But, to a man – and the occasional woman – all agree that, whatever day it was, it was the last time the once-proud nation which called itself the United Kingdom had its own independent government. Mr Brown was the last prime minister of the last British government.

    Of course the dancing will continue for a bit longer before they grab a taxi to his place and she takes up the offer of "coffee", no one likes a girl who appears to be too easy....

    Battle of the EU treaty to last for months - Times Online
    The Prime Minister briefed his Cabinet colleagues on Tuesday to expect another protracted tussle on the latest treaty, starting in the new year and continuing well into the spring, The Times has learnt.

    He told them that months of detailed examination will dampen Eurosceptics’ opposition while demonstrating that the document is too complex to be decided by referendum.

    The reform treaty was agreed by leaders of the 27 EU nations after talks that stretched through their summit dinner.

    Damn, that must be too complicated for voters, I mean it they had to even talk it about it at the dinner table before they could sign, the sacrifices these wise men make for us, we should be grateful.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    MPs off

    Scotsman.com News - Politics - MPs have run out of work to do... so it's time for an extra holiday

    MPS are to get an extra week off at the end of this month - just weeks after coming back from their bumper three-month summer recess - because the government has run out of business.

    Harriet Harman, the Commons leader, broke the good news to MPs yesterday, also outlining even more time away from Westminster for them over the coming year. MPs will spend one in three weeks out of Westminster - taking their time away from the Commons from 15 weeks to 18 weeks.

    Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "If MPs spent longer in the House there'd be less badly drafted legislation."

    No, no, no - the more holidays the less legislation, which is a good thing, full stop. If they turned up once a year for a couple of days to tidy up then that would be plenty.

    The row over holidays came as Richard Bacon, the Tory MP for South Norfolk, called for the Commons shooting range to be replaced with a swimming pool.

    The very idea of Prescott, or Soames, or any of them in their Speedos is enough for my morning bacon and eggs to almost make a second farewell appearance, especially when it would mean the closure of a shooting gallery, which could be so useful one day....

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 18, 2007

    Thoughtcrime against the scientific consensus

    Science Museum cancels talk by Watson after 'racist' comments - Independent Online Edition > Science & Tech

    A speaking tour by the DNA pioneer James Watson was thrown into chaos last night when one of Britain's most high-profile scientific institutions announced it was cancelling a planned sell-out appearance.

    The Science Museum in London said "...the Science Museum does not shy away from debating controversial topics.

    "However, the Science Museum feels that Nobel Prize winner James Watson's recent comments have gone beyond the point of acceptable debate and we are as a result cancelling his talk at the museum."

    Dr Watson's comments in The Sunday Times have overshadowed the visit and caused an outcry from across the worlds of science, politics and the anti-racism lobby. He said he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa ... because all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really ". The new Human Rights and Equality Commission, which has the power to investigate alleged infringements of race laws, has said it is studying Dr Watson's comments "in full".

    I know no more of Dr Watson's claims than I read above, but there is test data to support his theory and the whole study of race and intelligence is a valid scientific field, even if it attracts the nutjobs to the fringes of it. Dr Watson's remarks don't seem to be calling for violence or racist acts, just "unacceptable".

    This intolerance of thoughtcrime against the "consensus", and remember we are talking the musings of a notable scientist not a lonely blogger, reminds us of the fragility of freedom of expression.

    As Junkfood Science tells us:

    A thought piece appeared in the Financial Times examining what is science and why it is so critical for us to distinguish it from scientific consensus. Author John Kay writes:

    Science is the pursuit of the truth, not consensus

    ...Consensus is a political concept, not a scientific one. Consensus finds a way through conflicting opinions and interests. Consensus is achieved when the outcome of discussion leaves everyone feeling they have been given enough of what they want. The processes of proper science could hardly be more different. The accomplished politician is a negotiator, a conciliator, finding agreement where none seemed to exist. The accomplished scientist is an original, an extremist, disrupting established patterns of thought. Good science involves perpetual, open debate, in which every objection is aired and dissents are sharpened and clarified, not smoothed over.

    And how many of our leaders would like to see the same intolerance shown to "climate change deniers?" or "healthy food doubters"?

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

    Gordon's Real Vision Thing

    Gordon Brown's taxes hit 20-year peak - Telegraph
    Britain has become one of the most taxed countries in the world, with people handing over a greater share of their wealth to the Treasury than at any stage in the past 20 years.

    The scale of the country's tax burden was laid bare in a report published yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, one of the world's most respected economic groups.
    ....The OECD has ranked the tax take of the world's 30 richest nations, and for the first time since 1986 Britain is among the 10 most taxed countries, above the US, Australia, Spain, Italy and Germany.

    The Treasury now takes 37.4 per cent of the gross domestic product as tax — the highest since 1986, and considerably higher than when Mr Brown took over the Treasury in 1997.

    Mike Warburton, of the accountants Grant Thornton, said families were being hit hardest, with most personal taxes doubling. He said: "The big question is where has all this money gone? If it had all gone into hospitals, schools or roads and we could see they had improved, I don't think we would mind. But it hasn't."

    Council taxes have doubled since 1997, with the average household paying more than £1,321 this year. And inheritance tax, even after the reforms announced last week, will net the Treasury an estimated £3.3 billion in 2009 — more than it took last year.

    The Tories attacked the high tax burden, pointing out that the Treasury's own predictions showed it will continue to rise.

    Philip Hammond, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "The UK is set to have the highest tax burden in its peacetime history. Gordon Brown's appetite for cash is insatiable and hard-working families are paying the price."

    Experts warned that the high tax burden would damage the economy. Corin Taylor, the research director at The TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "A decade ago this country had among the lowest taxes in the OECD, now we have some of the highest. Faced with the growing challenge of China and India, this is completely the wrong direction to go."

    Tax and waste - that is the whole Gordon "thing" in a nutshell.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    The result of the money splurged on Health

    Daily Express: Hundreds of hospitals fail to hit hygiene target
    MORE than one in four NHS trusts is failing to hit targets for hygiene and cleanliness, according to an official report.

    Despite soaring rates of killer bugs such as Clostridium difficile, standards for hand washing, ward cleanliness and isolating sick patients are not being met.

    A report by the NHS watchdog the Healthcare Commission found that 111 of Britain’s 394 trusts failed to meet at least one core standard on infection control.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The result of the money splurged on Education

    Secondary schools failing pupils, says Ofsted - Telegraph

    Half of secondary schools in England fail to give pupils a good education, Ofsted has warned. ...

    Lord Adonis, the schools minister, said it was the “most positive and encouraging assessment that we have seen of our schools”

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 17, 2007

    The Fridge Police are coming - be afraid, very afraid.

    BBC NEWS | Health | Obesity 'not individuals' fault'
    Individuals can no longer be held responsible for obesity so government must act to stop Britain "sleepwalking" into a crisis, a report has concluded.

    ...it was clear that government needed to involve itself, as on this occasion, the market was failing to do the job, Sir David King, the government's chief scientific advisor said.

    Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said the government would be holding further consultations to decide how to proceed

    So it is society that forcefed me that supersized burger yesterday was it? The statists are on the march to attack any freedom we have to make choices.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Cancers and what you eat - the truth

    Junkfood Science: JFS Exclusive: Part Two of the country’s largest clinical trial on healthy eating
    Briefly, more than 19,000 women in the intervention group endured intense behavioral interventions to encourage “healthy eating,” and they watched what they ate for more than eight years (reducing dietary total fats and saturated fats, eating 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables and 6 or more servings of whole grains per day). In the end, none of the expected benefits of “healthy” eating were realized.

    There were no significant differences in the incidences of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks or strokes, or weight changes, among those who ate a restrictive “healthy” diet and the control group (29,294 women) who ate whatever they pleased.

    ... Since then, secondary analyses have been combing through the study data trying to find some correlation between diet and cancers. ...The researchers looked at the incidences of about thirty different invasive cancers, verified by pathology reports..They statistically compared the number of cases among the group that ate the “healthy” diet to the number in the control group. What did the data show?

    There were no statistically significant differences for any of the cancers. Eating “healthy” versus eating whatever they chose made no tenable difference in any of the cancers.

    Of course that isn't what you will read in the MSM which leeches off the vast "healthy eating" industry.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Robbing Peter to also rob Paul

    Income tax 'could be set by councils' - Telegraph

    Councils should be given the power to set the basic rate of income tax, one of Gordon Brown's most influential former advisers says.

    Central government could also replace council tax with a new "national property tax", he adds.

    Chris Wales, Mr Brown's principal tax adviser in opposition and at the Treasury, sets out his proposals in an online article for The Daily Telegraph.

    He will unveil his ideas at a seminar on "fair taxation" to be held on Wednesday by the Smith Institute. The institute, which has held dozens of meetings in Downing Street, is run by one of the Prime Minister's closest friends and is regarded in Whitehall as Mr Brown's private policy unit.

    Brownite shuffling deckchairs on the deck thinking that if we pay our income tax to the council and our rates to the government we will be happy. No, Dickhead, it is the total mulct the bastards take from us that matters. Playing at Paul Daniels swapping which pocket the coins disappear into won't work. Calling for "serious investment in public sector skills to capture the benefit of change." because "it is the design of the tax system, arguably more than the overall level of taxation, that shapes the economy, affects our livelihood and drives our behaviour." are the words of an out of touch wonk who has suckled for too long on the public teat. Is he still seeking employment?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Miliband - My Suffering!

    David Miliband demands apology for Hitler jibe - Telegraph

    The Foreign Secretary, who is the son of Jewish immigrants, reacted with horror..."Maybe I feel this particularly personally.." "We are all sensitive about it for quite good reason."..

    Mr Miliband's father and grandfather both fled to England from Brussels to escape the advancing German army in May 1940. His mother stayed behind and joined his father after the war.

    So he is playing the Jewish card is he? You can't insult me coz I'm Jewish and my people suffered. I note on his blog he is brown nosing the Muslims:

    "I'm delighted to send you my very best wishes for the joyful occasion of Eid, a chance for us to recognise our common humanity, whether in Britain or around the world. I know that Eid represents a time of family, a time of community and a time of fellowship and it's very important that the 2 million British Muslims, along with Muslims around the world, know that the good wishes of people of all faiths and none are with them at this very, very important time. I know that in the Foreign Offrice (sic) we are determined to build links around the world that reflect our common humanity and reflect the fact that we're part of a global family. In that spirit, I am delighted to wish you Eid Mubarak." Prayer time of course continues but the fasting is nowover and the celebrations can now begin.

    Forgets to mention how Jewish he feels when he bleeds when he is pricked.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Boy Miliband Furious at Chamberlain Jibe

    David Miliband demands apology for Hitler jibe - Telegraph

    A furious David Miliband has demanded an apology after a senior Labour MP compared his approach to the new EU treaty to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Adolf Hitler in 1938.

    Quite right too, Neville Chamberlain may have been wrong but he represented the mood of the country and of the Commons, he was a conviction politician of vast experience and a long, active and largely successful ministerial career. He had also been a "hands-on" chairman of successful industrial firms.

    Milband is a juvenile lying policy wonk who hasn't done an honest days work in his life and only conviction in life is power at any price.

    But still bringing back pieces of paper from Europe will be a handy jibe to wind up the little wank-rag.

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 16, 2007

    Lost in Wiltshire

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Politcal ISTAR

    Mark wonders if I would mind taking a look at a new service he launched last month. http://votewise.co.uk

    The site aims to serve all candidates, from all parties, in all election
    campaigns - for the benefit of candidates, councils and voters alike.

    Always glad to help, looks useful even if it is a bit thin so far but then I suppose we are missing out on an expected election...

    ISTAR stands for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance

    Posted by The Englishman at 4:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Junkfood Special

    Junkfood Science: Junkfood Science Exclusive: The big one — results of the biggest clinical trial of healthy eating ever

    A must read - simple as that; I can't even begin to summarise it, except to quote her final paragraphs:

    The take-home message is that the soundest science for decades supports eating normally, enjoying everything, and not worrying so much. When we enjoy a variety of foods from all of the food groups — as most everyone naturally does when they’re not trying to control their eating — and trust our bodies, we’ll get the nutrients we need to prevent deficiencies. And that is the only thing that nutritional science can credibly support. The rest is dietary religion.

    Health is not evidence of moral character and pristine diets. Don’t let anyone try to scare you, threaten you, or get you to believe that if you don’t eat “right” (whatever their definition) you’ll get fat, cancer, heart disease, or die sooner. There is simply no good evidence.

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    An Email From Australia

    When England beat the Aussies, the Aussies were ranked second in the world. That defeat plus the frog victory over the kiwis meant Australia and France swapped places, Australia dropping to fifth and France rising to second. So when England beat France, France was ranked second in the world.

    Who is ranked second in the world now?

    International Rugby Board - World Rankings

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Hazardous Drinkers Live Longer - Official

    Hazardous drinking, the middle-class vice - Times Online

    Drinkers in middle-class areas are more likely routinely to consume “hazardous” amounts of alcohol than those in poorer areas, research published today shows.

    Social drinkers who regularly down more than one large glass of wine a day will be told they risk damaging their health in the same way as young binge drinkers.

    The figures will be used by the Government to target middle-class wine drinkers and to make drunkenness as socially unacceptable as smoking.

    Dawn Primarolo, the Public Health Minister, said: “Most of these are not young people, they are ‘everyday’ drinkers who have drunk too much for too long. This has to change.”

    The Times gives us The 10 Local Authority Areas with the highest levels of hazardous drinking, as a percentage of adults aged 16 and the ten local authority areas with the lowest levels to which I have added life expectancy figures from the National Statistics Website

    Runnymede 26.4 - 78.7
    Harrogate 26.4 - 78.6
    Surrey Heath 26.0 - 79.1
    Guildford 25.5 - 79.4
    Mid Sussex 25.5 - 78.6
    Mole Valley 25.5 - 79.5
    Leeds 25.3 - 76.2
    Elmbridge 25.3 - 79.7
    Waverley 25.2 - 78.9
    Woking 25.0 - 79.2

    Slough 16.2 - 77.3
    Wolverhampton 16.2 - 75.1
    Barking and Dagenham 16.1 - 75.3
    Boston 16.0 - 75.7
    Lewisham 16.0 - 75.1
    Tower Hamlets 15.9 - 74.9
    Hackney 15.7 - 75.1
    Redbridge 15.3 - 77.5
    Waltham Forest 15.3 - 75.4
    Newham 14.1 - 74.9


    Isn't it strange that the first hint of a health correlation like that which involves being able to tell people to stop doing something is proclaimed from the rooftops, but Prim Dawn spins it the other way.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Dave's Hugh Grant Morning

    I imagine that this mornings scene in Dave and Sam's house, as he suddenly faces the possibility of all those green yummy mummies swapping back tot the Fib Dims and slashing his popularity ratings reads something like the opening from the Four Weddings And A Funeral Script

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    One fo Ming

    Welcome to Retirement Homesearch
    And have the brave young yellow turks got enough on you to keep you quiet after your knifing? Or will you become the Ted Heath of the Fib Dims?

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

    Hot Air Causes More Ice

    Global warming makes Mont Blanc grow - Telegraph

    Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in France and western Europe, has grown more than two metres in two years - ironically as a result of global warming, experts have found....

    The volume of ice on Mont Blanc's slopes has almost doubled since 2005 to reach 24,100 cubic metres this year, while snow has built up due to greater frequency of winds and higher temperatures in the summer, believed to be cause by global warming.

    The phenomenon appears to go against the trend of sparser snow and ice on other European peaks that is a great concern to ski resorts and ski lovers.

    Yep, just got to love that globular warning that causes more snow and less snow all at the same time and it is all bad news...

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 15, 2007

    Takes the cream

    BBC NEWS | Business | Defra denies UHT milk switch plan

    "The government is not and will not be telling people what kind of milk to drink, people need to make their own decisions."

    Have you tried to buy unpasteurised milk lately?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Algore's threat to my morning cup of tea - you have gone too far now!

    The UHT route to long-life planet - Times Online
    It’s enough to put the nation off breakfast. Civil servants have suggested that Britons put long-life milk in tea and pour it on their cornflakes to save the planet from global warming.

    Officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have made a serious proposal that consumers switch to UHT (Ultra-High Temperature or Ultra-Heat Treated) milk to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    It is part of a government strategy to ensure that some 90 per cent of milk on sale will not require refrigeration by 2020. That most shoppers would not even know where to find UHT milk in shops (the cartons are discreetly placed near baking ingredients) does not seem to have deterred government strategists. The move would mean a big shift from fresh-milk consumption to long life. In Britain 93 per cent of milk sold is fresh. UHT, powdered milk and baby milk make up the rest of the market.

    The plan is set out in a government paper, seen by The Times, that was sent out last month to farmers’ leaders and the dairy industry. The “milk road map” is intended to help a dairy industry committee set up to work out the carbon footprint for milk and dairy products and to identify ways of reducing that footprint.

    And we pay their wages to come up with moronic ideas like that! The availability of fresh milk for breakfast delivered to my door is one of the few remaining advantages this benighted Isle has over places foreign. How anyone can live on the Continent or other godforsaken corners of the world without a decent drop of cow juice for the Rosy Lee is beyond me. And to even suggest we destroy our taste buds, our traditions, our dairy industry, our whole way of fucking life for some pie in the fucking sky muddled fucking thinking about carbon fucking footprints almost makes me lost for words.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Backburnerisation of Tony's Policys

    Labour to scrap national road pricing plans - Telegraph
    The sudden reversal on road pricing is the latest in a series of flagship policies advocated by Tony Blair to have been scrapped by Gordon Brown.

    It follows the decision to abandon plans for a "super casino" and to review the current laws on cannabis and all-day drinking.

    One senior Government source said national road pricing had fallen down the list of priorities – "it has been back burnered."

    Tony who? as they are saying in corridors of power. But isn't this road pricing scheme all about supporting the EU Galileo project, the vanity system of satellites we are paying for? "The EU commission is determined that any European system should be based exclusively on Galileo for which use it will be charging national operators. Therein lies the prospect of a lucrative "Euro-tax", with motorists contributing to the EU coffers every time they take to the roads." I'm sure Eureferendum will be along with more on this Eu-turn.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Lardarse Danger - the next Algore film?

    BBC NEWS | Health | Obesity 'as bad as climate risk'

    The public health threat posed by obesity in the UK is a "potential crisis on the scale of climate change", the health secretary has warned.

    Do they mean ‘as big a crock of shit’? « Nation of Shopkeepers
    Now we have our statist masters warning of a new threat to the future of mankind itself ~ obesity. Apparently, it’s a ‘potential crisis’, on the scale of AGW, that can only be solved by, yes, you’ve guessed it, throwing lots of tax money at it. It needs a ‘action plan’ or a ’strategy’.

    Now, the cynical side of me switches of at this point. As soon as I saw the BBC / Nu Labour alliance approaching this from a ’should we a) spend more money, or b) ban something?’ angle, my brain stored it away under the ‘bollocks’ category.

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Factchecking bombs under carparks

    Blood, mud and aftershave | Sport | The Observer

    'A bomb under the West car park at Twickenham on an international day would end fascism in England for a generation,' wrote George Orwell before the war.

    10 reasons why football is better than rugby | Football - Times Online
    Journalist Polly Toynbee on rugger: “A bomb under the West car park at Twickenham would set back fascism in England for a generation.” There’s only one Polly Toynbee.

    Ah hem - I believe both papers to be wrong - it was that nasty piece of work Polly's Dad Theodore Philip Toynbee's only bon mot.

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

    October 14, 2007

    Normans and Saxons

    As Mr FM reminds us On This Day ... in 1066 it is, as John Redwood says the anniversary of less happy times - the date of the battle of Hastings..

    Is it too early in the morning for a bit of Kipling, a warning our Brussels masters ought to heed?

    Norman and Saxon

    (A.D. 1100)

    Rudyard Kipling

    “MY SON,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will be heir

    To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for my share

    When we conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.

    But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:—

    “The Saxon is not like us Normans, His manners are not so polite.

    But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.

    When he stands like an ox in the furrow with his sullen set eyes on your own,

    And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealings,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.

    “You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears,

    But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole brood round your ears.

    From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,

    They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

    “But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.

    Don’t trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their wrongs.

    Let them know that you know what they’re saying; let them feel that you know what to say.

    Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear ’em out if it takes you all day.

    “They’ll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark,

    It’s the sport not the rabbits they’re after (we’ve plenty of game in the park).

    Don’t hang them or cut off their fingers. That’s wasteful as well as unkind,

    For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man-at-arms you can find.

    “Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.

    Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.

    Say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking instead of ‘you fellows’ and ‘I.’

    Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em a lie!

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    In case you hadn't noticed....

    Jonny marches England on again ( pics) - New Zealand's source for sport, rugby, cricket & league news on Stuff.co.nz

    New Zealand's worst fears have come true.
    England, insufferable England, the team all Kiwis love to hate, booted France out of the World Cup in Paris this morning winning 14-9 and they will now defend their title in the Rugby World Cup final in a week's time.

    Rugby: 'Rugby crazy' Pumas happy to pump up-and-unders all day - 13 Oct 2007 - NZ Herald: New Zealand and International Sport News including America's Cup coverage

    South Africa can expect no surprises from Argentina in their rugby World Cup semifinal clash here on Monday, something that will not come as welcome news for the Springboks.

    Argentina have developed a reputation as a gruelling, rugged, battling team that turns matches into a war of attrition, draining their opponents with bustling forward play and bombarding them with high kicks before hitting them with rapier-like breaks in the backs.

    And if the Boks thought they would be in for anything other than that, they will be sadly disappointed at the Stade de France.

    "If we have to we'll kick 140 up and unders and push the lines up. Maybe people don't like the way we play but this is the way we have to play," said lock Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe.

    "We are very strong mentally, we have a good defence and we are crazy for playing rugby."

    Come on you, Pumas!

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Darling, not like that, you are missing it, as usual

    Scotsman.com Business - My faith in Chancellor is rocked by strange choice of mortgage

    AM I the only one who is more than a touch concerned that the man we entrust with the nation's finances, Chancellor Alistair Darling, is happy to openly boast that he has a mortgage with Northern Rock?

    I'm surprised he's got a mortgage at all. Most people try to get rid of them by the time they are approaching their mid-fifties. But that is entirely his affair.

    If he has to have a mortgage, as he is perfectly entitled to do, why couldn't he have chosen a slightly less racy lender than the Northern Rock? Personally, I have never had an account of any description with them and wouldn't touch them with a barge-pole....

    I guess it's all a question of judgment, which brings me on to the Pre-Budget Report, which must go down as one of the most bizarre in the party's history.

    Leaving aside the huge increase in inheritance tax relief, which I know is popular with the public, but could scarcely be described as mainstream left-wing ideology, the most indefensible part of the package has to be the massive tax bonanza for second homeowners, and buy-to-let landlords, while offering no help whatsoever to first-time buyers and those otherwise priced out of the market.

    To cut the tax due on profits made by second homeowners and landlords from 40% to 18% at a time when we are in the middle of a housing crisis strikes me as either the height of negligence or incompetence.

    I find it impossible to believe the Chancellor understands what he has done. Just as the market was cooling he will unleash another boom, the rewards of which will be reaped by the wealthy. Great news for those of us who, like Mr Darling, are already firmly on our way up the property ladder, but disastrous for young buyers, whose first home will now slip further along the distant horizon.

    It has been easy to forget that the Government isn't just Gordon Brown this week and that someone else in Chancellor, but I suppose we must raise our eyes from the enjoyable sport of Brown Bottle Baiting and look at the incompetence of the rest of the team. And Darling in his bid to obey orders to outTory the Torys, without copying them, has been hastily throwing together policies which simply don't add up.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Roll over Darling

    Scotsman.com Business - Revolt grows over Darling's tax bombshell

    Replacing taper relief with a flat 18% rate will mean an 80% rise in tax bills for some entrepreneurs and investors.

    Business group leaders met at the CBI's London headquarters on Friday to hammer out a strategy. Darling's abolition reverses what was seen as one of Gordon Brown's most business-friendly policies.

    Darling came under pressure to alter the tax break because it allowed some private equity partners to pay just 10% tax on seven-figure pay packets. But outright abolition will catch family business owners, entrepreneurs and early stage investors seen as vital to the UK's economic future.

    A kneejerk reaction to a headline about a handful of people will be disastrous. Already there is very little incentive to be an entrepreneur, I know I can't be bothered to carry on, and without that spark the economy withers.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Shit cures

    Scotsman.com News - Cure for killer bug - but there's a catch

    IN THE annals of medical history, this could go down as one of the most effective but stomach-churning treatments ever devised.

    Scientists seeking a cure for a deadly superbug have successfully treated patients using human faeces.

    Trials in a Scottish hospital have shown patients suffering from the Clostridium difficile bug can be cured using 'donor stool' administered via a tube through the nose into their stomach.

    I think I would prefer to die.....

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


    Strictly no vinegar at conker championship - Telegraph
    Today, the Ashton Conker Club in Northants holds the annual World Conker Championships, rules is rules. Baking or soaking is banned (indeed, competitors are not allowed to use their own conkers, instead picking them at random from a bag).

    The string – 8in long, no less – must not be knotted or tampered with. Repeatedly tangling strings brings disqualification. And games have a strict five-minute time limit.

    It may be something of a relief, then, to find that the Health and Safety establishment is easing off the conkering heroes. Perhaps trying to shake off its killjoy image, a team from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health will instead be lining up to take a crack at the title.

    Conker posed by Kim.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 13, 2007

    One for your RSS reader

    EnviroSpin Watch

    Please note that, officially, from Sunday, October 14, 2007, Professor Emeritus Philip Stott has started a completely new blog at a new site.

    Global Warming Politics: A Hot Topic Blog

    The battle against so much 'global warming' claptrap must continue.

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Game Girl

    Kate Middleton goes hunting at Balmoral
    She has a relaxed shooting style

    Today the Queen’s 50,000-acre Balmoral estate was the setting for Kate Middleton’s intimate weekend with Prince William - and the backdrop for the first public photograph of her with the man tipped to become her future father in law.

    Dressed in a camouflage jacket, dark jeans, leg warmers and gaiters over her boots, Miss Middleton could be seen at one point lying on the ground - seemingly to prepare the sights of her gun before shooting. ...

    Prince Charles will relish the fact that Miss Middleton has joined in so enthusiastically with country pursuits and that she appears to enjoy her time at Balmoral.

    His first wife, the late, Diana, Princess of Wales, always resented being “dragged” to the estate, preferring to spend time in London.

    Is it just me but I hate the Americanism of using "hunting" when one is talking about "shooting"?

    So blah de blah, seems like the right sort of "gal" etc., too much beer after watching England win, in depth analysis confined to "nice arse, is there anything better than fit girl getting down and dirty?"

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    It was ours to lose.


    BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | Rugby World Cup photos

    Nuff said.

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Don't try ringing me this evening.


    Are we sure that is a regulation pitch?

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Hot Air Savings

    Saving energy at home could take 200 years to repay its cost - Times Online

    ...the study from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors shows that some of the measures, such as solar panels to heat water, would cost £5,000 to install but reduce average bills by only £24 a year and would take about 208 years to pay back.

    The RICS data shows that putting in all eight measures, including insulation, condenser boilers and double glazing, would cost £23,547. This would knock only £486 off fuel bills and would take 48 years to recoup.

    That's why the Castle is unadorned with turbines and solar panels, but has just had the oil fired heating boosted to give even more gallons of steaming hot water!

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Yo Ho Ho

    Christmas lights under threat - Telegraph

    This year councils must use a pressure gauge to individually test every bolt holding a cable or light fitting to a wall.

    Only fully insured professionals can hang the lights and workers must use expensive hydraulic platforms to do the job because ladders are not deemed safe.

    Not nearly as unsafe as the rope and tree I am assembling for the elfin safety officers...

    Posted by The Englishman at 12:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Long time to have been married

    BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Eighty million years without sex

    Posted by The Englishman at 12:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 12, 2007

    Too late to hold anyone to account.

    BBC NEWS | Politics | Crime assets agency 'ill-planned'
    The setting up of a government agency to seize criminals' wealth was ill-planned and unrealistic, an influential group of MPs has said.

    The Home Office had set "unachievable delivery aims for" the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), the Commons public accounts committee added.

    The agency was established in 2003 by the then home secretary David Blunkett.

    Its powers were so extensive it could even seize assets from people who had not been convicted of any crime.

    It was revealed earlier this year that the ARA had cost £65m over four years, but seized assets worth £23m.

    The agency is set to be disbanded from next year.

    With Gordon Brown claiming never to have been near the birth of this fiasco, which his treasury hoped it being a goldmine; with Saint Tony unable to remember anything about it, until his book is launched; I expect Blunkett will now claim it was his dog's idea.

    It is a shame that there isn't an asset recovery agency we can use against politicians because by rights Tony and Cheriiiiiie should be fearing the bailiff's knock on the door as we demand repayment of all the government has stolen from us rather than eyeing up a minor stately home.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Much too young

    Children who can’t write their own name - Times Online

    Forty per cent of children struggle to write their own name or to sound out letters to form simple words such as “dog” or “red” by the age of 5, government figures show....

    Around £21 billion has been invested in a series of initiatives but the latest results for schools in England show little improvement in children’s language and literacy and personal, social and emotional development.

    The findings raise serious questions about the effectiveness of flagship government schemes such as Sure Start to boost the development of the under-5s, although some critics point out that in many countries children are not expected to start to read or write until they are 7.

    Quite. Children start school far too young, most are simply not ready for it, but the schools bully parents to send them to keep their numbers up, and other parents want free daytime childcare so they want to send the kids. But the if the little tots are too young then there is no point to it. All they learn is what is officially called "institutionalisation" - they pavlovianly learn to obey the system.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Reducation Camp

    Student suspended in gun rights email row | The Register

    A US University has suspended a student after he sent emails suggesting that incidents such as the Virginia Tech massacre might have been prevented if students were allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus.

    Masters student Troy Scheffler was told he had to undergo compulsory "mental health evaluation" before being allowed to return to class at Hamline University, Minnesota. Scheffler declined to go along with this...

    Yep you would have to be mad to believe this.

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 11, 2007

    BBC Analysis of An Inconvenient Porky Pie

    The heat and light in global warming
    By Roger Harrabin
    BBC Environment Analyst

    I have spent much of the last two decades of my journalistic life warning about the potential dangers of climate change, but when I first watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth I felt a flutter of unease.

    Not because the central message - that climate change is happening and almost certainly caused by mankind - is untrue; but because in several points of the film, Mr Gore simply goes too far...

    Fair enough we know where we are, you aren't reporting the science, you are on a mission..

    A recent poll by Ipsos Mori showed that 82% of people were personally concerned about climate change, but a majority (56%) believed that many leading experts still question if human activity is contributing to climate change.

    This latter conclusion is simply wrong - all the world's major scientific institutions believe the man-made climate change theory - but the Gore court judgment will confuse people even more. ....

    ....climate sceptics - some well-meaning scientists, but many in the pay of the oil industry - discredit the global warming theory.

    The sceptics knew that they did not need to win the battle of climate facts, they just needed to keep doubt alive.

    The problem is that climate science is a massive and messy field; and although even the White House now accepts that the climate is changing and humankind is more than 90% likely to blame, there are still wrinkles in the science, signposts that point in the opposite direction to the one we expect.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deals with these wrinkles by expressing its prognoses in bands of uncertainty: the climate is likely to warm by between 1.8C and 4.0C by the end of the century.

    But movies are not made of piffling equivocations like this, so Mr Gore dispenses with many of them.

    Mr Justice Burton takes exception with nine such simplifications, or "errors".

    "errors" - in quote marks because you believe they aren't actually errors? For the greater good a few untruths are necessary? A bit like this claim in your article:

    "Al Gore, an environmental science graduate"

    Seems strange this doesn't seem to make it into his CV...

    Profile of Al Gore

    # Education: Degree in government, with honors, Harvard University, 1969.
    # Attended Divinity School in Tennessee.
    # Attended Vanderbilt Law School.

    But I forget it's for the children:

    If the conservative IPPC forecasts are accurate our children may rue the years we spent squabbling over climate change rather than tackling it.

    Don't worry about trying to get the science right or factoring in the costs of "tackling it" lets just get on with doing stuff that makes us feel better.....

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    We the undersigned

    The Prime Minister: He talks about a clamour for an election. I looked at the Downing street website this morning. There is a petition on the website calling for an election. It is signed by 26 people...

    Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: Just in Case You Want that Election

    At one point in Gordon's battering at PMQs he claimed that hardly anyone had signed the petition for an election on the Downing Street website. Click here to sign.

    3475 signed now when I just checked, an amazing increase since Gordon publicised it, I wonder how high it will go? His boast will come back to haunt him...

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Corrida de Gordon

    Great grizzly Gordon Brown is cut down by Tory bear-baiting - Times Online
    It was a disastrous Prime Minister’s Questions for Gordon Brown. He must have known what was coming and yet he reacted to Tory taunts with the incoherent fury of a wounded grizzly bear: rearing back, teeth bared, claws extended, eyes ablaze. As I watched the Beast of Downing Street crash and burn, I felt that only one thing could save him and that was a tranquilliser dart gun.

    He was in trouble from the start. Bob Neill, a deeply mediocre Tory, teasingly invited the Prime Minister to come to see a recycling scheme in his constituency. “I could take you and show you one of our bottle banks!” cried Mr Neill.

    At the word “bottle” the Commons exploded in laughter but not Grizzly Brown, who only looked enraged. He charged directly at the tiny Tory, his voice booming out over the mocking laughter: “He will therefore be very pleased with the public expenditure settlement with its commitment to the environment!”

    Labour MPs looked uneasy. In the Commons, in the space above the government benches, a collective “oh dear” thought bubble emerged. Someone needed to call NHS Direct and order a sense of humour implant, now.

    What sport, what larks; Bottle, bottle, bottle, the Torys have a handy banderilla now to prick his skin, how many times will it be used in the next few months? And can Gordon's handlers program him to ignore the taunt?

    And maybe Cameron should have a quick study tour in Spain
    Corrida de toros or fiesta brava

    The modern corrida is highly ritualized, with three distinct stages or tercios, the start of each being announced by a trumpet sound.
    In the first stage, the tercio de varas ("the lancing third"), the matador first confronts the bull and observes his behavior in an initial section called suerte de capote. Next, a picador enters the arena on horseback armed with a varas ("lance"). The manner in which the bull charges the horse provides important clues to the matador on which side the bull is favoring. If the picador does his job well, the bull will hold its head and horns lower during the following stages of the fight. This makes it slightly less dangerous while enabling the matador to perform the elegant passes of modern bullfighting.

    In the next stage, the tercio de banderillas ("the third of flags"), the three banderilleros each attempt to plant two razor sharp barbed sticks (called banderillas) on the bull's flanks, ideally as close as possible to the wound where the picador drew first blood. These further weaken the enormous ridges of neck and shoulder muscle through loss of blood, while also frequently spurring the bull into making more ferocious charges.

    In the final stage, the tercio de muerte ("the third of death"), the matador re-enters the ring alone with a small red cape (muleta) and a sword. He uses his cape to attract the bull in a series of passes, both demonstrating his control over it and risking his life by getting especially close to it. The faena ("work") is the entire performance with the muleta, which is usually broken down into "tandas" or "series". The faena ends with a final series of passes in which the matador with a muleta attempts to maneuver the bull into a position to stab it between the shoulder blades and through the aorta or heart. The act of thrusting the sword is called an estocada.

    Now doesn't that sound like a sensible Tory gameplan....

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

    At least Harold Shipman only killed 250

    NHS hospital superbug outbreak kills 331 - Telegraph

    Appalling standards of care and a catalogue of failures contributed to the deaths of 331 patients in the worst outbreak of a hospital superbug ever recorded in the NHS, a report has found.

    Crowded wards, a shortage of nurses and financial problems led to 1,176 people contracting Clostridium difficile over two and half years at three hospitals in Kent.

    Though the superbug was rife on the wards, managers failed to act. Isolation units were not set up, nurses were so rushed they did not have time to wash their hands and patients were left in soiled beds.

    Bedpans were not decontaminated properly and beds were not cleaned as well as they should have been.

    The health watchdog, the Healthcare Commission, concluded that the infection probably or definitely killed at least 90 patients and was a factor in the deaths of a further 241...

    The report said some patients at the hospitals run by the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Hospital Trust should have made a full recovery from their initial illness. But they caught the bug and died. Police will determine if there are grounds for criminal charges.

    In May 2004 the chief executive of the trust, Rose Gibb, told the BBC she had known about the cleanliness problem for six months. But by September last year the hospitals were in the grip of their second outbreak.

    Ms Gibb resigned on Friday before the release of the report. The commission found cases where the patient probably died as a result of their C.diff infection but it was not mentioned on the death certificate.

    Imagine if a private company killed that number and just bleated about a lack of money, would they be rewarded with barrow loads more dosh?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Cutting the strands of the mutual neighbourliness

    Scotsman.com News - Scotland - Neighbours 'should check safety of tree cutting' after estate death

    HOUSEHOLDERS should consider carrying out a risk assessment before allowing their neighbours to cut down trees, health and safety chiefs said last night.

    The suggestion came as it emerged that a Scottish landowner was being investigated after an elderly friend died while chopping down trees for firewood on Malcolm Forbes' estate in Aberdeenshire.

    Mr Forbes said: "[Mr Bremner] wanted some firewood, which was a reasonable request from a friend and neighbour.

    "A police investigation was launched and the police closed the file and decided it was a tragic accident. Now the HSE has decided to waste taxpayers' money, which I'm extremely upset about.

    "I'm not going to do anyone a favour if this is the result. It is ludicrous.

    "Someone has their priorities wrong if taxpayers' money can be spent [on this].

    "It is a very sad reflection indeed that those who have authority in such matters allow yet another strand of the mutual neighbourliness that binds together those of us who live in rural areas to be weakened." ...

    Mr Bremner's partner, Violet Smith, said: "The HSE are going overboard.

    "If James was still alive he wouldn't have wanted this. The police said it was an accident and what more can you do? Nothing will bring him back. I just hope this investigation will be called to an end.

    " I do not want Mr Forbes to be prosecuted over this. I don't blame him in any way. He was only doing James a favour."

    She said Mr Bremner had known what he was doing and had been involved in such work all his life.

    Triplicate forms and box ticking isn't how it works in cases like this, trusting an old boy to do what he has been doing without fatal injury for all his life seems quite reasonable. Doing people favours makes for communities, on one hand the government chucks money at fatuous "community" schemes on the other any real genuine community spirit is bound and strangled with red tape.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:07 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    No Pre-election Bribes Now

    Scotsman.com News - Foot-and-mouth payouts for farmers dropped after U-turn on election

    THE UK government was last night accused of playing politics with Scottish farmers' livelihoods as it was revealed plans for an £8.1 million compensation payout for foot-and-mouth disease were mysteriously scrapped after Gordon Brown decided not to call an election.

    A mystery worthy of Hercule Poirot himself.....

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

    October 10, 2007

    I warned them!

    Film showing worry

    From the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, first published Thursday 28th Jun 2007.

    Having had the privilege of teaching environmental science for a short time to the students of St John's, Marlborough I am concerned to learn that they are to be forced to watch the Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth.

    I gather no balancing film to this flawed polemic is being offered. Whatever our political masters tell us there isn't a consensus on climate change along the lines propagated by Al Gore. There are many serious and well respected scientists who have issues with the film's views.

    I would remind the school of Sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996 which forbid "the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school" and that pupils "are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views".

    I urge all pupils and parents to make their views on this attempted indoctrination known.

    Gore climate film's 'nine errors'

    Mr Justice Burton told London's High Court that distributing the film without the guidance, updated after the case was launched, to counter its "one-sided" views would breach education laws.

    The Department for Children, Schools and Families was not under a duty to forbid the film, provided it was accompanied by the guidance, he said.

    "I conclude that the claimant substantially won this case by virtue of my finding that, but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act", he said.

    The government has sent the film to all secondary schools in England, and the administrations in Wales and Scotland have done the same.

    The question is how many schools showed the film before and without the updated guidance, thereby breaking the law.

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Don't tread on me

    Mrs. du Toit - Messin’ With Your Head

    As Kim noted, a burglar ransacked my car last night and either purposely or accidentally opened our garage with the garage door opener from the car.

    .......it isn’t about possessions.

    It’s about something more important than that. Regardless of what the crime is, property theft or violent, you have been violated. Your space has been tampered with and your emotions will respond to property crime in exactly the same way as a violent crime, with the only difference (and not an insignificant one) of not having bruises or bones to heal....

    From experience, I know that it will take months to be able to sleep peacefully again--to not worry myself sick when I leave the kids home, even for an hour. That is what was stolen from me--my peace of mind, my security, and THAT is valuable… more valuable than the bastard’s life.

    I can happily report that I’m pissed. I’m pissed that I didn’t see the guy and kill him, because that’s what HE deserved for coming into MY home and scaring my children. I don’t care what he came for. That’s not my business to figure out. It is not my responsibility to determine if a man in my car or garage is ONLY there to steal my possessions. He’s a criminal and I have no clue what his intentions are. I’m not going to second guess if two seconds later he intended to open the door to our home and hurt one of us. I MUST assume, for my safety and the safety/security of my family, that he would be willing to risk my life for his… and he will LOSE that bet if he tries that again.

    I'm really upset to hear of the Du Toit's distress, Connie says it so well as to the upset a burglary, the sort of crime it isn't even worth reporting over here, causes. As to the young punk who did it, has he got a death wish?

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Gordon's Popularity Dive? The English are looking to their wallets.

    You don’ t understand us, do you, Gordon? | Alice Miles - Times Online
    Och, they’re all dreadful, said the sharp Scottish lady measuring up my curtains, when I explained that I had been away at the party conferences, “I’m that fed up with them. You don’t have to listen to it all, do you?”

    Normally one can get away with muttering something smilingly non-committal at this point, but not with Fiona. She put down her measuring tape and challenged me: “So come on, does it mean any more to you than it does to the rest of us? Do you trust them? Because I can’t see any good in it.”

    “Mind you,” she was musing, “it was different when I was in Scotland. You could see the benefit there. Everyone can see what they’re getting. Down here, they just pay and pay and get nothing for it.”

    Fiona’s not an idiot. There you have, from the mouth of someone who has lived north and south, a near-perfect expression of the reason why Mr Brown suddenly looked like losing a general election last week. He doesn’t understand Southern England, he doesn’t understand that he doesn’t understand it, and he doesn’t see any need to respond to its concerns. Put baldly, the South is paying a lot of money and it isn’t getting a measurable return. It wants to know what the plan is.

    Just handing out public money helps the North and Scotland, because their economies are carried by public money. Each year, the Centre for Economic and Business Research (cebr) calculates public spending as a share of GDP for every region of the UK. The cebr adds up government spending figures, benefits and pensions and apportions EU transactions, defence and debt spending on top.

    The results are quite shocking. In Northern Ireland, Wales, the North East, Scotland and the North West, public spending as a share of regional GDP is not only far higher than the national average of 44.1 per cent, it is higher than in any EU or OECD country – at, respectively, 70.5, 64.3, 63.0, 55.6 and 54.0 per cent. Well over half the economy in those areas is funded by the taxpayer. In London and the South East, by contrast, public spending accounts for under a third of GDP, in the East of England it is 38.3 per cent and in the South West, 42 per cent. According to cebr, the gap is widening, not shrinking.

    Now look at GB-AD and their Cabinet colleagues. They overwhelmingly represent Scotland and the North. Mr Brown has just a single full Cabinet minister with a parliamentary seat in the south, and he is the most junior, John Denham (who? Exactly). Apart from the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, in the Midlands, all the rest are in the north of England, Wales or Scotland. Not one from the East of England, the South East or the South West.

    Tony Blair’s Cabinets had a northern bias too, but it didn’t matter so much because Mr Blair himself was so obviously Middle England at heart. And he always had a sprinkling of Southern and Middle England softies – Tessa Jowell, Harriet Harman, Chris Smith, Pat Hewitt – to leaven the mix.

    So when a Scottish Chancellor of the Exchequer stands up next to a Scottish Prime Minister, the English naturally look to their wallets.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Blair - Lock'em up for longer without trial

    Scotsman.com News - Met chief calls for more time to hold terror suspects as plots 'mount'

    "If we had more time we wouldn't need to shoot them as we panic, we could take them back to the station and shoot them at our leisure, much more civilised, eh?"

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Guns in Space

    Russians blast off without space pistol

    Russia is sending its first cosmonaut for 20 years into space without a “space pistol”.

    Yuri Malenchenko will join colleagues on a flight to the $100-billion International Space Station (ISS), but he will do it without the specially-designed weapon.

    Created in 1982 and in service since 1986, the TP-82 pistol was not primarily designed to fend off hostile extra-terrestrials.

    Instead it is meant to protect the shuttle’s crew after landing in a hostile environment back on earth.

    The unique pistol has three barrels which fire hunting rounds as well as rifle bullets and signal flares. Its butt serves as a machete and a spade.

    However, the gun's original ammunition has deteriorated so much it is no longer viable and no new bullets are available.

    Nevertheless, the cosmonaut won't risk going into space completely unarmed. "Malenchenko will be taking with him a simple pistol.," a Russian space programme source said.

    His will not be the only weapon on board the flight. ISS crew commander and US astronaut Peggy Whitson will be wielding a "kamcha" - a traditional Kazakh horse-whip

    They used to be armed in case they landed in China, but now what a let down. And what an interesting sounding gun - thank goodness Google translates from the Russian...

    Translated version of http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/ТП-82

    MC-82-hunting manual Trehstvolny pistol, a part of the set-SONAZ (Small Arms Nosimogo emergency reserve), which armed Russian cosmonauts for the protection of animals and dangerous criminal elements, earning hunting food and lodging light signals visual observation when landing or privodneniya in quiet areas.

    More - with photo

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    BBC bloat reduction

    BBC faces walkout over 2,800 job cuts - Telegraph

    The strikes, which are expected before Christmas, could require the BBC to air repeats during prime time viewing.

    And how will we notice the difference exactly?

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

    October 9, 2007

    Shit before a shovel

    Animal Farm - Chapter X by George Orwell

    Benjamin felt a nose nuzzling at his shoulder. He looked round. It was Clover. Her old eyes looked dimmer than ever. Without saying anything, she tugged gently at his mane and led him round to the end of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written. For a minute or two they stood gazing at the tatted wall with its white lettering.

    "My sight is failing," she said finally. "Even when I was young I could not have read what was written there. But it appears to me that that wall looks different. Are the Seven Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?"

    For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran:

    After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their trotters. It did not seem strange to learn that the pigs had bought themselves a wireless set, were arranging to install a telephone, and had taken out subscriptions to John Bull, TitBits, and the Daily Mirror. It did not seem strange when Napoleon was seen strolling in the farmhouse garden with a pipe in his mouth-no, not even when the pigs took Mr. Jones's clothes out of the wardrobes and put them on...

    And in The House of Commons:

    Before the recess the Speaker approved the Administration Committee’s recommendation that Members should have priority access to services throughout the Commons part of the Parliamentary Estate.

    With effect from today, staff and other users should be prepared to give way to Members when queuing for retail and catering services, the post office, travel office or when using other facilities such as lifts, photocopiers, telephone cubicles, etc.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Alarums and excursions

    Watts Up With That?
    According to Investors Business Daily, Al Gore will be awarded the Nobel Peace prize and share it with Canadian climate researcher Sheila Watt-Cloutier.

    IBD writes: “…a couple of global warming alarmists. With dozens of wars raging, the committee couldn’t find a single person laboring honorably for peace?”

    A quick look through past winners shows they will be sharing it with at least three terrorists (reformed branch), Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter. Not exactly the dinner party guest list of choice.

    There is one woman who deserves it more than any other person, her steadfast defence of Western Democracy and its peoples against naked aggression surprised our enemies and caused them to question their whole aggressive doctrine. Her principles inspired other leaders such as Ronald Reagan and were the cornerstone of the strategy that destroyed the greatest threat to peace in my lifetime, the original evil empire. Ladies and Gentlemen, Lady Thatcher, the real peacemaker.

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Climate Change goes too far

    Climate change 'could be a fashion disaster' - Telegraph
    Climate change could be about to claim a new victim – the fashion industry.

    Designers and industry experts fear that the traditional seasonal collections which have formed the backbone of the business may become meaningless due to increasing unpredictability of the weather.

    Beppe Modenese, the founder of Milan Fashion Week, has predicted that the "whole fashion system will have to change" ...

    Now it is serious, all the luvvies in their ridiculous frocks are going the way of the polar bears, man the barricades! Give the great prophet a Nobel Prize....

    As a side note I'm sure you join me in wishing John Brignell well and a speedy recovery so he can add this to the complete list of things caused by global warming

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

    Benn's Silencing of The Lambs

    Healthy lambs will be slaughtered and burnt - Times Online
    Hundreds of thousands of healthy lambs on Scottish hill farms are to be slaughtered and incinerated as a result of an export ban imposed by foot-and-mouth restrictions.

    Up to 400,000 light lambs will be disposed of under a “welfare” initiative, first reported in The Times 11 days ago. Because of the movement restrictions the animals have been starving as grazing diminishes.

    The lambs, which weigh under 25kg, were specially bred for the European market, where they are eaten whole. But because of the lack of decent grazing, they are now regarded as too small to be processed for butcher meat. The situation is so desperate that many of the lambs have been eating grass reserved to fatten ewes.

    Plans to can the meat and send it to Malawi, rather than simply render it, were blocked by the EU export ban...

    Eaten whole? Is Mr Creosote alive and well? I think Booker and Eu Referendum provide a better coverage of this literal shambles.

    Last night Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Farming, announced a £12.5 million support package for livestock farmers in England hit by the foot-and-mouth restrictions, with separate arrangements for farmers in Scotland and Wales; however it was not clear if the payments would cover the cost of the cull in Scotland.

    As Mr Benn announced the details of the support package he acknowledged that the most likely source of the outbreak was faulty drains at premises in Pirbright, Surrey.

    Oh that is good of him to admit to the possibility it is bloody Defra's fault, what are the chances that he will eventually tell the truth in the end?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Whose Schools?

    BBC NEWS | Education | Reforms 'improve teachers' lives'

    Schools have used workload reforms to improve teachers' lives but not necessarily to improve education, the inspectorate Ofsted has said....

    Martin Johnson, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said :

    "However, we know much still needs to be done, in particular to reduce the workload of school leaders, improve access to continuing professional development, and further cut teachers' workloads.

    "We will keep up the pressure to ensure these issues are tackled."

    Nothing about improving the education of the kids, that, my friends, is the definition of "Producer Capture" - the education system is run purely for its employees, or as Mr FM once said it is a system for keeping the unemployable, the socially retarded and psychologically flawed off the streets.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 8, 2007

    Danny Bottles Labelling Brown

    Comment Central - Times Online - Daniel Finkelstein: Why Brown is not a bottler

    So if he isn't a bottler, what is he?

    First, an obsessive. .. The upside is that he only moves when victory is assured. The downside is that the story gets out, putting him under huge pressure. It's made him look like a serial bottler.

    Second, surrounded by unbelievably arrogant advisers and with an arrogant streak himself. ..

    Third, unbelievably political...

    And finally, what is he? In a lot of trouble.

    Sorry, Danny you are wrong, he is also a bottler. When he didn't move against Blair in 94, or mount a putsch against him or call this election the odds may have been against him but that is the point of having bottle, risking it a bit. Only taking sure bets is the sign of a coward. There is a book about Courage he ought to read sometime - The Amazon synopsis reads
    What is it that makes some men and women take difficult decisions and do the right thing against the odds when easier and far less dangerous alternatives are open to them? Why is it that some people - .. - have the courage to dare? To answer these questions, Gordon Brown.....

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Brown's plans gang aft agley

    Scotsman.com News - Politics - We elect politicians to manage risk not cynically to avoid it
    So what went wrong for Labour? Brown's fateful tendency to hesitate? The bad advice of the Young Turks around him? The awkward, inaccurate and heavily spun press conference in Iraq? Or perhaps all the above plus a wilful inability to understand the shallow desires of Middle England?

    Brown's predecessor and hero, the late John Smith, was once described by Peter Shore as "too Nordic to understand southern greed." It may seem to some that Brown has inherited the same fatal flaw. He's real old Labour. A genuine redistributionist in a way Tony Blair never was. Ex-Tory voters can sense this about him, and doubtless many in Labour believed it was just a matter of time before the pendulum swung. Last week, David Cameron didn't win, Gordon Brown didn't lose - Middle England simply woke up and smelt the coffee. I'm not sure this argument will wash.

    From Wick to Weymouth, we elect politicians to manage risk not to avoid it. Gordon Brown has not just failed to amuse the fickle voters of Surrey. He has failed a test of political leadership his opponents David Cameron and Alex Salmond have largely passed.

    To date, Labour has been content to believe Mr Cameron's success is to do with youth, novelty, good looks, and gift of the gab. In Scotland, Alex Salmond's success has been put down to gravitas, planning, longevity and that same gift of the gab. Strange that two such different men could outflank Labour through nothing more than the possession of silvery tongues. Strange and untrue.

    After years of risk-free, interest-free political debate - where managing, massaging and careful control has been all that counts - the Toff and the Nationalist have broken the sound barrier. They speak off the cuff and evocatively and are not afraid to support policies that may prompt ridicule.

    A week ago, Cameron's willingness to dabble with green taxes was scaring Tories now perfectly willing to overlook the "barmy" green taxes proposed by Zac Goldsmith. And Labour and Lib Dem voters seem to be giving Cameron credit for at least facing up to the challenge of climate change.

    Is this entirely because of superficial presentational skills? Or is it because Brown chose to fudge and compromise, while Cameron and Salmond have appeared to face up to difficult choices?
    Modern voters are strongly aspirational. Voters in Middle England may aspire to create wealth. Voters in Middle Scotland may aspire to achieve social fairness. But both sets of voters want the same thing. An aspirational government with motivating leadership.

    To date, that profound desire has been misunderstood by Labour who think leadership has something to do with the right use of suits, jokes, smiles, whitened teeth and new haircuts. Brown aspires to many things but he isn't a natural motivator.
    Like a choreographed fireworks display, the pre-set timers in Gordon Brown's now abandoned election will still cause rockets to explode all the way through the next fortnight. The Comprehensive Spending Review and Pre Budget Report tomorrow will let us see if Brown can respond to Cameron's ideas on Inheritance Tax and Stamp Duty. Or if the heavy footed Scots in Downing Street will be too cautious to rise to the challenge.

    If Brown hoped to flush out some half baked Tory policies - he has failed. And given himself just three days to decide whether to adopt, reject or ignore their bold tax plans.

    As a famous Scot who knew nothing of election dates once remarked: "The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley."

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Miliband Balls "Fingered"

    Brown's young Turks who got it all wrong | the Daily Mail

    Ed Balls, Labour election coordinator Douglas Alexander and Foreign Secretary David Miliband were being fingered as the chief architects of their leader's humiliation.

    Furious MPs blamed the three influential Ministers "pumped with political testosterone" who put their own leadership desires ahead of the party good.

    Until a few days ago, MPs looked to Mr Balls, 40, Mr Miliband, 42, and 40-year-old Mr Alexander as potential leaders who would assure Labour's grip on power long after Mr Brown is gone.

    They have been vying with each other for Mr Brown's favour, and are widely seen to be jockeying already for the succession battle.
    At a stroke, their claim to be the three best political minds of their generation is in question.

    So far Miliband has been getting an easy ride by the press but deep inside the Party, where he has never been trusted, his card is now well and truely marked.

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

    October 7, 2007

    Self Referencing Blog Post

    The excellent John Redwood considers the wide range of “bloggerisms” there can now be and gives a few meanings, uses, and adapted well known phrases and sayings:

    May I suggest Blogthority; sometimes when I google for an authority to quote or borrow from I find to my surprise that the leading source is me, which is scary.

    I popped into my local Teutonic Purveyors of Fine Groceries to the Gentry - Lidl - and was taken back by the pallet load of burnt and ground up bones for sale in transparent bags - something about the German labelling of Bone Meal at Special Price was a touch chilling.

    To pad out the post I was planning on this I googled for an image:

    lidl bonemeal - Google Image Search

    And whilst there are no images of Lidl Bonemeal most of the top results are from this blog and a page where Lidl is mentioned once and bonemeal not at all. How does that work?

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    M'Lord and the Squirrel

    'The Squirrel Wars' by D.T. Max - RichardDawkins.net
    Reposted from:

    When you think of England, Rupert Redesdale is who you think of. He has a slanting forehead, a nose shaped like an adze and the pink face of an aristocrat from the Georgian era. But in fact his family is far older: it is one of five in Britain that can trace its roots directly back to William the Conqueror, the last successful invader of England, in 1066. "Our original name was Bertram," he told me recently. "We were Normans." Redesdale, a 40-year-old baron, can stand on a Northumberland hilltop and see the Rede Valley, with the Rede River running through it. He is able to say things like, "Our family had a castle in Mitford, but Robert the Bruce, the sod, knocked it down."

    I first met Lord Redesdale one day in August in the Lake District, about 80 miles southwest of his home in the Rede Valley. The Lake District, in the north of England, is on the front lines of a new Hundred Years' War. It is a war between rodents. Since the 19th century, gray squirrels, an American import, have been overtaking Britain's native red squirrels and claiming their territory.....The country's National Lottery granted £626,000 to a group called Save Our Squirrels to run the reserves. Save Our Squirrels, or S.O.S., is a who's who of British conservation organizations, among them the Mammals Trust and Natural England.....Redesdale, too, has planted his standard on behalf of the red army. Last year, with a grant of £148,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, he founded an organization called the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership. The work of Redesdale's organization is different from that of S.O.S. It shoots, or traps and then smashes on the head, every gray it can find....

    Redesdale doesn't travel alone. Always by his side is a man named Paul Parker. Parker is a professional pest controller from Newcastle. He keeps 300 dead grays in his freezer, seven of them skinned, waiting for the day he will have time to cook them. When I asked Redesdale how many squirrels the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership had killed to date, he said, "We've taken 2,000 whatsis. . . ." and Parker added, in his heavy Newcastle accent, "2,000 - 300 - 32." They laughed like boys killing flies for sport.

    Parker had said he wanted me to shoot the squirrel - that grays were in Britain was, after all, my fault as an American - and I did not want to. He had also asked Redesdale to shoot the squirrel, and he did not want to either. Now Redesdale seemed to be summoning his nerve. "We keep on being told by the bunny-huggers, you know the wildlife-trust people, I mean I'm all for - I mean killing things to me is bad," he said. "I'm all for it but at some point you have to nail your colors to the mast."

    I had by that point learned more about Redesdale: he and his wife met at a human rights conference; he has mixed feelings about being a lord ("No one really cares if it's you that shows up"); when he first sat in the House of Lords, at age 23, he looked across at a cousin who was the Tory whip and remembers thinking, "I'd rather eat warm vomit," after which he joined the Liberal Democrats, a party that, he points out proudly, is to the left of Labor; and he does not like guns ("I don't see the sport in hunting").

    All the same, Redesdale was the officer; Parker, the enlisted man. If Redesdale did not kill the squirrel, he would never be able to lead. And had his family not led for 1,000 years? So we drove to an isolated parking lot, and Parker took the cage out of the trunk. He put the trap - "it's me killing trap," he said - on the asphalt. This was the place this animal was going to die.

    The squirrel, large and dark gray with just a hint of red to his fur, wheeled around the cage looking for a way out. Then it made a piteous noise, a whee-whee-whee sound. Parker handed the air rifle to Redesdale, and he pointed it.

    "That's the, uh, trigger?" Redesdale said.

    "That's right," Parker said.

    The squirrel paused. Redesdale steadied the barrel over its head. Then came the shot.

    "You've got it," Parker said softly.

    But he hadn't.

    "Is it dead?" I asked stupidly.

    The squirrel raced around the cage, blood dripping from somewhere around its mouth. WHEE-WHEE-WHEE. The same noise.

    "I know it's bad when they run," Redesdale apologized. I thought I saw the warm-vomit look in his eyes.

    The squirrel kept running and finally stopped when it realized there was still nowhere to go. Redesdale once more placed the rifle over its head. POP! The squirrel fell on its side and shook, scrabbled and shimmied twice around the cage like a break dancer.

    "They're dead when they do that, aren't they?" Redesdale said, sounding more Macbeth than Prince Hal. Parker assured him it was dead: these were just the death throes.

    Posted by The Englishman at 3:59 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    If one brown bottle should accidentally fall

    Analysis: Gordons colour now will be yellow - Telegraph
    Mr Brown will be presented as a man frightened of a leadership contest, an EU referendum and an election. He only has himself to blame, writes Matthew d’Ancona.

    The Conservative Party is cornering the market in bottles.

    Bottle banners, bottle novelty toys, bottle pictures: you name it, they’re buying it.

    For thirteen years, we have quaked before the mighty figure of Iron Gordon, master of all he surveys, untroubled by the anxieties of mere mortals.

    Now, with the general election called off, "Bottler Brown" is about to become a very familiar character on the political landscape.
    The whole point of Mr Brown is that he is meant to be square-jawed, implacable, remorseless, unstoppable. He is, after all, the author of a (very good) book entitled Courage.

    Now it turns out that he might be what I gather in Scotland is called a "feartie": a wuss, a girly-man, the Coward of the County (the county in this case being Fife, rather than somewhere in Texas as in the Kenny Rogers original).

    The PM wanted to be seen as the mighty Father of the Nation, indomitable on his plinth, and succeeded to some extent in nurturing that image in his first few weeks in Number Ten.

    But this farce has given the Tories the opportunity to change all that.

    They will present him now as a man on the run from scrutiny and judgment: frightened of a leadership contest, frightened of an EU Referendum, frightened of an election.

    So now we have the referendum on the EU Constitution back in the frame. A major selling point of an early election was that it gave him a way out by bundling the "treaty" ratification into the manifesto - he can't do that now. And now he is "damaged goods" maybe one or two more of his backbenchers will show some "Courage ™ Gordon Brown" and defy the whip. Could be an interesting few weeks.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    October 6, 2007

    Brown has bottled it. - First with the news

    Google rightly puts this humble blog as first with the news that Brown has bottled it - why go elsewhere for your analysis?

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Iain Dale sticks it into Gordon as I would have done, (if I hadn't been drinking beer and watching rugby instead).

    Iain Dale's Diary: Frit!

    Gordon Brown has bottled it...
    Make no mistake, David Cameron has got out of jail free. He has achieved the greatest political escape in modern history. Few of us would have been confident of a Tory victory, and Brown's decision has given the Party a chance to fight another day.

    Brown will give all sorts of excuses for not calling the election - state of the electoral register, blue tongue, foot and mouth, boundaries in Northern Ireland not ready, not in the national interest, blah, blah, blah, but no one will believe a word of it.

    Because everyone really knows that the reason Gordon Brown hasn't called an election is because he couldn't be confident of winning it.

    One advantage of being a round ball enthusiast is you can put your thoughts together when the rest of us have more important things to think about.

    Of course some of us refused to believe Gordon would ever call an election as he has a streak of yellow a mile wide running through him. But it gave the politico journos a cheap thrill to imagine he might.

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    12 - 10

    Apologies I haven't blogged an in depth match report but I have been too buy calling random telephone numbers and giggling down the phone at them.

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    So much to cook so little time

    Google has made finding recipes even easier. I have been using Google searches rather than wade through books for a couple of years now. The best part is the totally unexpected recipes it throws up sometimes - always sometimes worth a try.

    Posted by The Englishman at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The Advice to Gordon from all the papers this morning

    Don't be a Scaredy Cat - Image from Ava

    Avoid the slurry pit, Gordon. Be brave. Do it
    Matthew Parris

    Will Gordon Brown make up his mind?
    By Simon Heffer

    Iain Dale

    Uncle Tom Cobbley and all

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Iraqi Interpreters to be given asylum

    Victory for those who risked lives for Britain - Times Online

    Iraqi interpreters and other key support staff who have risked their lives to work for Britain are to be allowed to settle in the United Kingdom, The Times has learnt.

    Hundreds of interpreters and their families are to be given assistance to leave Iraq, where they live under fear of death squads because they collaborated with British forces. Those wishing to remain in Iraq or relocate to neighbouring countries will be helped to resettle.

    After a two-month campaign by The Times, Gordon Brown is set to announce that interpreters who have worked for the British Government for 12 months will be given the opportunity of asylum in Britain.

    Good news and without being churlish I think I'm right to point out it wasn't just The Times who campaigned, too many bloggers to mention also stirred up the indignation.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Taking the Piss

    Scotsman.com News

    Boots Expert Sensitive Refreshing Facial Spritz

    The £3.99 product is part of the Boots Expert range, described as "the definitive answer to those everyday health and beauty problems we all suffer from, but keep putting off.''

    On the back of the 150ml can, the manufacturer boasts of the beauty benefits of the product, which includes protecting skin from "dryness''.

    It reads: "Sensitive skin needs extra care throughout the day which is why this gentle facial spritz is specially formulated to refresh and hydrate.

    "Hypoallergenic and fragrance free, it instantly cools and freshens skin, helping to protect from the drying effects of central heating and air conditioning.''

    It also adds that it is lanolin-free and has been "dermatologically tested".

    Shoppers who examine the contents on the side of the Expert Sensitive Refreshing Facial Spritz have found it contains only "aqua". Boots admits that the spray is 100 per cent water.

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

    That Bastard Jesus

    Call for Jews to stop calling Jesus a bastard - Telegraph

    A senior American cardinal has asked Jews to reconsider descriptions of Jesus as a "bastard" in exchange for a softening of traditional Catholic prayers calling for Jews to be converted to Christianity.

    I'm afraid I flunked my Theology exams but surely Jesus was a bastard. I don't remember the scene where Mary is all dolled up in white and the Old Archangel takes her up the aisle to make an honest woman of her, do you? Maybe our Cardinal friend should be a bit more tolerant of bastards and not worry if his little hero is one as well. (Or will he be issuing Catholic fatwahs against me now?)

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

    October 5, 2007

    All the King's Horses and All the King's Men

    BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire |
    Police in a Wiltshire town, Tidworth, have asked shops not to sell eggs to anyone who appears to be under 18.

    "If youths attempt to buy them and you have CCTV then let us know and we can identify them," PCSO Jemma Clarke said.

    "We know most of the kids around here and if we can identify them then we can go around and offer them some advice," she added.

    Ah Tidworth! Home of the feared Scrambled Egg Army Units, quaking in their boots at the thought of underage egg buying with a PCSO ready to put on the blues and twos and race round to "offer them some advice".

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    CliffsNotes on An Inconvenient Truth

    Watts Up With That? brings us Detailed Comments on An Inconvenient Truth by Bob Edelman

    If our schoolchildren are going to be frogmarched into halls to be shown this film then they ought have a simple critique handy.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Fat chance of dying from Aids

    Junkfood Science: It’s better to die of HIV than be fat? provides a disturbing example of myths surrounding fat, but it’s a haunting example of how fears of fat can be deadly, especially for those most in need of sound information and our care and compassion.

    The Associated Press’ science writer reports:

    Obesity a problem in HIV population

    ...AIDS researchers and advocacy groups say the waistlines of HIV patients are growing right along with the girths of uninfected Americans as the disease shifts from a death sentence to a chronic condition....Doctors say there's a growing need to screen people with the AIDS virus for obesity, which raises the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems. ....

    “It would be very sad to survive HIV and die of something else that was preventable, said [Dr. John T. Brooks, an epidemiologist at] the CDC....

    Few HIV-positive people would view it as tragic that they’re able to live long enough to die of old age-related chronic diseases like everyone else!

    People, with and without HIV, eating normally will be a wide range of sizes: some fat and some not. So, what these researchers are actually proposing is that fat people undereat, and eat less than we all need for good nutrition, in order to try and be thinner than their natural genetic makeups. But the real issue here isn’t that promoting weight loss and thinness is based on unsound science, it’s that it ignores the most significant concerns for the welfare of HIV-positive patients:

    The evidence unfailingly shows that being fatter and gaining weight and having the best nutritional status is a huge survival benefit for HIV-positive patients, whereas undernutrition or losing weight prior to the onset of AIDS greatly reduces chances of living.

    And shouldn’t helping them live be a greater priority than what their figures look like?

    Yet, as is typical with press releases and media writers when it comes to 'obesity,' no attempt was made to question these recommendations, to examine the science and present a balanced viewpoint, or to recognize that presenting such claims to the public could put the lives of millions of people in jeopardy. .....

    Recent research from Singapore published in HIV Medicine found that undernutrition and low BMIs at the time of starting antiretroviral treatments reduced their effectiveness and significantly decreased survival.

    Oh, but they’ll be thin!? What does it say about our culture that a trim figure has become more important than doing what is best for the health, quality of life and welfare of people?

    Whether it be HIV, cancer, kidney or heart disease, dementia, or countless other medical conditions, letting kids grow up, or giving birth to a baby; fearing fat can have deadly consequences. We won’t hear that from mainstream media, though. It’s up to us to advocate for ourselves and for each other.

    Happy to do my bit in advocating Junkfood Science as an essential read in the battle against ignorance and hype that engulfs us everyday.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    NHS - Failure as usual

    150 health centres, 100 GP practices, a £100m injection - Times Online
    Lord Darzi’s review, Our NHS, Our Future, promises a fair health service for all, tailored to the individual patient, and delivering safe, effective and innovative care.
    NHS may be sick, but this won’t cure it | Nigel Hawkes: Analysis - Times Online
    Take a blank canvas. Talk to 1,500 NHS staff. Spend 12 weeks thinking hard. And then come up with the ideas you first thought of.

    That, in a nutshell, is a brutal but not inaccurate summary of the review of the NHS by Lord Darzi of Denham, published yesterday.

    Astonishingly, it identified as problems exactly the same things the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary have themselves been talking about for months: access to family doctors out of hours (Gordon Brown) and MRSA (Alan Johnson). Surely, in a system that now costs £90 billion a year, employs 1.3 million people and treats a million patients a day, Lord Darzi might have identified issues not already flagged up in a hundred tired political speeches?

    To a tiny degree, he did. He correctly points out the glacial slowness of the NHS to adopt new ideas or buy into new technologies.

    He then goes on to propose the wrong solution, a centralised health innovation council to “champion” change.

    Such bodies have come and gone as swiftly as the dew on an autumn morning.....

    Perhaps the most depressing thing of all is not what the report says, but the reaction to it.

    Almost all the great and the good who have backed every half-baked intitiative for the past decade emerged to say how pleased they were.

    Not only has the NHS stifled good healthcare; it has bought off those who are supposed to act as candid friends, and made them complicit in perpetuating its failures.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:24 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    I'm from the EU here to teach you democracy...

    Angela Merkel makes a stand for democracy as African odyssey takes her south - Times Online

    ADDIS ABABA Angela Merkel...went on to make a plea for more democratic freedom in the country and a greater role for Europe on the continent.

    Poor bloody Africa, hasn't it suffered enough? Having an EU leader preach on Democratic Freedom is a bit like having the late Diana preach on chastity....

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 4, 2007

    Climate Change Consensus opens a can of worms


    I have previously blogged about Sulphates and how they may have held down Global Warming in the 1970s - a common belief. Interestingly David Parker from the Met Office commented to my post and basically pointed out that my theory was rubbish, the Sulphate effect didn't seem to be responsible for the temperature differences.

    Over at Climate Audit Willis Eschenbach has being having

    I got to thinking about the theory that sulfate aerosols are the cause of the decrease in global temperatures from ~1945 - 1975.

    After slicing and dicing the data in different ways they also seem to be saying the Sulphate effect theory doesn't hold water. So we have agreement between what might be called the two sides of the climate science debate.

    So what did cause the temperature not to increase in line with the increasing CO2 levels if it wasn't all those smoky chimneys?

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Where's my Passport?

    My mower blades arrived this morning from The States wrapped in the local real estate pages, and my local paper with its adverts also arrived. I couldn't help comparing and contrasting:
    Now how do I get a green card?

    (Of course what this example shows is the real cost of our ridiculous planning system, forcing us to live in shoe boxes to satisfy some bureaucratic policy. And that is a real loss of our well being.)

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:42 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Cameron's Thoughts

    Cameron's Speech Notes - PDF 17.76 MB
    Kudos to him for not reading a script, and leaving his notes for The Times, saves me time from having to read/listen to the whole speech.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Election Date - The Predictions

    Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: Election Fever - Who Says When

    * Peter Riddell - "it will almost certainly be on November 1 or 8."
    * Tim Montgomerie - thought Gordon would call it during Labour conference.
    * Iain Dale - thought Gordon might call it during Tory conference

    * Team Cameron - we don't know but "we are on battle stations".

    * Adam Boulton - told Guido he didn't think this autumn, but you never know.
    * Mike Smithson - thinks Gordon will play it extra long, not before 2009.
    * Fraser Nelson - can't see why Gordon would want to shorten his reign.
    * Benedict Brogan - not now, according to his Brownite sources.

    Where is Guido sticking his neck? The Brownies are a secretive cabal yet they have signalled a supposed snap election intention. Why would they signal their true intentions to the enemy? Gordon will stretch out his term as long as he can...

    Iain Dale jumped off the fence some time ago by predicting that Brown would indeed call an autumn poll.

    "The events of the past few days are making me a little nervous about that prediction but I still think it's 60-40 in favour. But if Ben is right, the quote I gave the Telegraph earlier today will be very aposite...

    If the party has succeeded in putting Gordon Brown off calling an election they will have achieved one of the greatest feats in modern political history. They will have got out of jail. All credit to those who organised this conference."

    As I said before I was in the Brown's bottled it camp before the Tory conference and after the glowing reports from Blackpool I think Gordon's nails are chewed to the quick and he hasn't got the balls to fight.

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

    Chicken Munchies

    Scotsman.com News - International - Hash cakes go free range

    AMSTERDAM'S famed coffee shops are turning to free-range eggs for their hashish "spacecakes" to reduce the suffering of chickens.

    If you fed hemp seeds to the chickens then you could cut out the middleman and have really happy chickens?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Hybrid danger

    Scotsman.com News - International - Blind make a noise over the 'silent hazard' of hybrid cars

    GAS-ELECTRIC hybrid vehicles, the status symbol for environmentally conscientious Americans, are coming under attack from a group that does not drive - the blind.

    Because hybrids make virtually no noise at lower speeds when they run on electric power, blind people say they pose a hazard to those who rely on their ears to determine whether it is safe to cross the street or walk through a carpark.....

    Officials with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) are quick to point out that they are not advocating a return to non-hybrid vehicles. They just want the fuel-efficient hybrids to make some noise.....

    "To further expose millions of people to excessive noise pollution by making vehicles artificially loud is neither logical nor practical nor in the public interest," said Richard Tur, founder of NoiseOFF, a group that raises awareness of noise pollution.

    A man walking in front with a red flag and a hand bell should solve the problem.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Show some fighting spirit

    Red tape 'threat to Poppy Day parades' - Telegraph

    The petty bureaucracy of local authorities and the police threatens to halt Remembrance Sunday parades, Service veterans said.

    Organisers of one parade on Nov 11 have been warned by their local council that they face a 」54 an hour charge if those taking part litter the streets during the ceremony commemorating war dead.

    Police are also demanding that "risk assessments" are carried out before the parades are allowed to go ahead.

    Just tell them to "fuck off". Just form up and parade, what are they going to do about it? Send them scampering back to their rat holes with their tails between their legs.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 3, 2007

    If you go down to the woods tonight....

    Firemen reprimanded for disturbing gay sex act - Telegraph

    Four firemen who disturbed an outdoor gay sex session have been reprimanded and heavily fined after they were accused by one of the participants of being homophobic.

    The firemen shone their torches from their engine into bushes on the Downs - an area of parkland in Bristol said to be popular with people engaging in late-night outdoor sex known as "dogging" - interrupting the four as they were involved in a gay sex act.

    One of the group later contacted the AIDS charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust, who advised him to make a formal complaint.

    That led to the firefighters being suspended while a three month investigation was carried out.

    Two of them have now been fined up to £1,000; one has been demoted in rank and the other given a written warning. Each of them has also been ordered to attend a two-day ...equality conference being held in Bristol next week, entitled 'Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexuals and Transgender Equality in the Fire Service - an absolute taboo?’....

    The fines are to be donated to a nominated gay-rights charity. The charity under consideration is the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG)...

    Bingo! I have just scored a full card in the PC Watch Bullshit Bingo Competition!

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Iain Dale as a Hooker? With me as sloppy seconds?

    Liberty's Requiem: The Blogging All-Star XV
    Much as I enjoyed my days in the scrum I'm afraid they are long past, but certainly the best list so far.

    Posted by The Englishman at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Don't tell them your PIN, Pike.

    UK police can now force you to reveal decryption keys | The Register

    The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) has had a clause activated which allows a person to be compelled to reveal a decryption key. Refusal can earn someone a five-year jail term.
    The measure has been criticised by civil liberties activists and security experts who say that the move erodes privacy and could lead a person to be forced to incriminate themselves.

    It is also controversial because a decryption key is often a long password – something that might be forgotten. An accused person might pretend to have forgotten the password; or he might genuinely have forgotten it but struggle to convince a court to believe him.

    Controversially, someone who receives a Section 49 notice can be prevented from telling anyone apart from their lawyer that they have received such a notice.

    Five years for forgetting a password? I'm stuffed, I can't even recall my PIN without my sooper secret system and even then, despite using the same one for 25 years, sometimes I'm left gormless at the ATM trying to recall how many days there are in February and March with the queue growing impatiently restless behind me.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Recommended Listening

    IDS's speech is getting rave reviews - may I recommend you put it on in the background as you go blog surfing. Available here Conservative Party Conference 2007 - Conference TV

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

    The Prison Walls Close Round Our Children

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-10-02 – Public schooling
    One of the worst things about so-called public education, i.e. government-controlled schooling, is that students are forced into an institution that they consistently find unpleasant and boring, whether or not the individual student thinks that it’s worth the trouble. That fact, combined with the fact that the victims are all young and many of them are poor or black or otherwise marked as at-risk youth in need of special surveillance and control, naturally and systematically corrupts the way that the school relates to its students. It leads administrators and political decision-makers to focus on restraining the unruly behavior of the coerced students, by making authority, control, security, and discipline top priorities. In practice this means monitoring, intimidation, and coercion. These facts in turn result in attitudes and institutional practices throughout State schools that are often hard to distinguish from those prevailing in a prison camp.

    Via Coyote Blog: Government Thugs

    In the first story, a 13-year-old girl was asked to strip naked because school security thugs has "reliable" information that she had an ibuprofen tablet - basically a freaking aspirin.

    In the second story, security officers quiz high school girls about whether they are having their period to see if it is OK that they are carrying a small purse.

    In story number three, a fifteen-year-old girl was tackled by security officers, forced down on a table, and had her wrist broken in an arm lock. Later she was arrested and charged with assault. All because she failed to fully clean up a piece of cake she dropped on the floor.

    Twenty years ago, when I would have called myself a conservative instead of a libertarian as I do today, I probably would have said, "Oh, there are probably two sides of the story. He probably provoked them." I am embarrassed to admit it, but that might have been my reaction. But watch the video that is linked from Rad Geeks post. What could he have possibly done to warrant this? You can see in the video he was just circling the security guards filming them until one pointed at him, the other came at him, and then this. This boy was led from the school in handcuffs and spent the night in jail. Sick.

    And over here in England, the unaccountable powers to search children are celebrated.

    House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 26 July 2007 (pt 0038)

    Jim Knight: Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families: Knife incidents in schools in England are extremely rare. To help maintain that, we gave head teachers a power, from May 2007, to search a pupil without consent when, after screening with metal detectors or on other grounds, they suspect the presence of a weapon. This supports the efforts of the police to reduce crime by and against young people on the streets around schools and supplements initiatives by the Department for Children, Schools and Families on, for example, improving behaviour and learning about responsibility, conflict resolution and safety. We do not burden schools by asking them to report whether they do or will screen.

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

    Non Promotion of Promotion

    Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' can be shown to schools - Telegraph

    Al Gore's climate-change documentary An Inconvenient Truth promotes "partisan political views", a High Court judge has ruled.

    Normally that would almost certainly make it unlawful for the Oscar-winning film to be shown to schools.

    But Mr Justice Burton indicated that it can be shown if teachers follow new guidance to prevent the former US vice-president's views being wrongly "promoted" to children.

    - Bishop Hill blog - - Brainwashing guidelines

    "This is a pack of lies and propaganda. But it's imperative that you study it carefully".

    State education. Gotta love it.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Telegraph's Top Tory List

    Analysis: Most influential Right-wingers in UK - Telegraph

    ....everyone will disagree with this list and everyone will have questions.

    Where is Jackie Collins? Where is Nick Griffin? Why so few ex-Thatcher Ministers? Why so few industrialists and city brokers? Why no Tony Blair? Everyone will have their own answers and their own lists, so let us know.

    This is our list, now shows (sic) us yours.

    Umm, Jackie Collins - the smutty pot boiler writer? Nick Griffen a leader of a National Socialist Party, clue in the title to his left wing credentials and Tony Blair, you've got him in at No 10 - have you actually read the list?

    And on reading the list my despair at any sort of leadership of the right of centre politics is compounded by the preponderance of shiny-faced shiny-suited estate agent look-a-likes thought to be the top Tories who infest that barren wasteland between the intellectual thinkers of policy, such as Think Tank writers, and the actual doers such as industrialists and businessmen.

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


    Nurse stole dying D-Day hero's wallet - Telegraph

    A nurse made the biggest mistake of her life when she stole a dying war veteran's wallet to pay her telephone bill, a court heard yesterday.

    Veronica Harold, 47, used a cash card belonging to 83-year-old Albert Davies which she took with a wallet from his locker at Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool.

    Mr Davies, of Norris Green, Liverpool, was awarded the Croix de Guerre, France's military honour, in recognition of his bravery during the D-Day landings.

    He was admitted to the hospital last July and died of pneumonia 10 days later.

    Harold, who pleaded guilty to theft and fraud, stole his Barclays bank card while he was unconscious. She used it to settle a £284 phone bill, Liverpool magistrates heard.
    Harold was given a three-month suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay £284.50 compensation.

    Phil Mitchell, defending, said Harold, of Kirkby, Merseyside, acknowledged she had committed a "serious breach of trust". He said: "She has made the biggest mistake of her life and has profusely apologised to everyone involved in the matter."

    She had lost the job she loved, she was also about to lose her home and had suffered abuse following publicity about the case,..

    Feel free to add to the abuse.

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

    October 2, 2007

    The Little Column of Boris

    Boris, our man with a manifesto (of sorts) | Damian Whitworth - Times Online
    There are gazillions of words of Boris on the Times database. As a service to readers I have boiled them down into a summary. I’ve had to compress the arguments, but I think that it’s pretty much all there. Here, then, is the candidate entirely in his own words.

    What a great read, lots of Boris quotes! Do you know I think there could be a book in that idea, I must see if Top Tory Blogger and Author Iain Dale is interested...

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Osborne begins to get the idea

    Tories to lift inheritance tax threshold to £1m - Telegraph

    "We are the low-tax party," he said. "We have a new dividing line between a Labour Prime Minister who has taxed a generation out of home ownership and a Conservative government that will abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers.

    "The dividing line between a Labour Prime Minister who takes away the homes of those who have saved all their lives and a Conservative government that takes people's homes and savings out of inheritance tax."

    Now that is more like it, see it wasn't so hard to say was it, keep repeating every morning and build it up, more "low-tax", more "freedom" and you will be surprised what may happen.

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

    Good News From Scotland

    Scotsman.com News - One in seven jobs at risk as squeeze begins

    ONE in seven core civil-service jobs in the Scottish Government is to be cut under plans to deal with the spending squeeze being imposed on Scotland by the UK Treasury.

    An excellent start, if it ever happens.....

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    How to be English

    H/T Telegraph

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Schools; find the best examples and destroy them.

    Private schools 'should join the state sector' - Telegraph

    The Government will today urge private schools to abandon fees and academic selection to join the state sector.

    A prospectus is being published outlining how they can convert into state schools as city academies.

    Public schools issue 'hands off' warning - Telegraph
    "We need to protect our independence because it's under threat.

    "Above all, it's under threat, deliberately or unwittingly — I suspect a mixture of both — from Government. So we must say, very firmly, hands off. We are independent.

    "We need to be very robust in defence of our independence — and fight this latest creeping regulation."

    Dr Trafford attacked plans to force independent schools to register with the education inspectorate Ofsted, instead of the Government's Department for Children, Schools and Families. He described the schools' watchdog as the "Government's rottweiler" which would use "data-obsessed methods" to bring independent schools into line.

    His comments follow similar remarks by Chris Woodhead, the former head of Ofsted, who runs a series of independent schools. He said last year that headmasters should refuse to open their doors to Ofsted.

    Dr Trafford said the independent sector achieved such good results because it was "freed from the pressures of the currently insane levels of Government-required accountability". He added: "There is a lesson here for Government. If it really wants to see its own schools flourish it needs to set them truly free."

    In a further development, Dr Trafford said reforms of laws governing charities were being used by Left-wingers to attack the independent sector. As reported in The Daily Telegraph, schools may have to offer a "menu" of services to state schools or community groups to prove their "public benefit" and retain tax breaks worth millions every year.

    Dr Trafford said: "People just want to have a go with any weapon they can, the public benefit debate is the latest one. The politics of envy — a peerless example of malignity if ever I saw one — is alive and well."

    He also accused ministers of trying to "nick" the word "independent" by claiming that their flagship privately sponsored city academies are "independent" state schools.

    It is one way of reducing the gap between the failing state system and the independent system, destroy the latter. The ASI has a better suggestion

    Open Access to UK Schools: What Britain can learn from Swedish Education Reform, is published today.

    Inspired by Sweden's experience, the report calls for the UK to implement a universal open access scheme, which would allow parents to send their children to any school of their choice – whether state, private or religious – and make these schools eligible for government funding on a per–pupil basis. Two conditions must be met: the schools must not charge additional fees, and must accept pupils on a first-come-first-served basis.

    You can download a copy of the full report here.

    I haven't read it all so I can't see why the two conditions are needed apart from being a sop to the present system.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 1, 2007

    They've got your number

    Phone data law extends surveillance powers - Telegraph

    A massive extension of surveillance powers comes into force today, giving police, government officials and even local councils unprecedented access to everyone's telephone records.

    The new regulations will force telecommunications companies to retain information about all landline and mobile calls made by members of the public for one year, and hand over the data to over 650 public bodies and quangos.

    Six hundred and fifty different cunchs of bunts can trawl through my call records? If I bothered to make calls, I hate the telephone in a deep visceral way, then I suppose I would work out how Skype and PAYG phones work because, as ever, the Government is over reacting to the threat of old technology. And, of course, we can't hope for the Tories to protest because it would be seen as being soft on crime if they objected to this larceny of our right to privacy.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Brown has bottled it.

    Trust isn’t a four-letter word, Gordon Brown | William Rees-Mogg - Times Online
    It is reasonably clear where the polls stand at the start of the Conservative Party conference. Although a couple of polls taken in the middle of the Labour conference showed a larger Labour lead, the two published yesterday were very close to each other. BPIX in The Mail on Sunday gave Labour 41 per cent, Conservatives 34 and Liberal Democrats 12. Ipsos MORI in The Observer gave Labour 41, Conservatives 34, Lib Dems 16.

    Gordon Brown’s problem is that he has to make adjustments to these figures to allow for the behaviour of the marginals, differences in turnout and the campaign itself. In 2001 these factors tended to cancel each other out. Nevertheless, the 2001 campaign is a warning to Labour’s election planners. The early polls in that campaign gave Labour 50 per cent of the vote, but in the actual result Labour only won 41 per cent, 9 per cent below the early expectations; the Conservatives were stable and the Lib Dems gained 4 per cent.

    Historically, early polls have tended to exaggerate Labour support, and to underestimate the Lib Dems. Labour has greater difficulty in getting out its vote, while the Lib Dems benefit from the publicity of the campaign. If Mr Brown calls an election, he must expect at least some slippage of votes from Labour to the Lib Dems. From the present figures, in light of the 2001 result, there could be no overall majority in the next Parliament.

    There is also the factor of the European constitution....

    Brown is a coward, there has never been a political row or fight he hasn't walked away from. Despite having money on an early election I think he has bottled it. He will slip the EU constitution through with his majority, reasoning he doesn't want the election to turn into a referendum on Europe, he can then let the issue slide for a year or two as we won't see jackbooted bureaucrats taking over the streets it will lose its "danger". As for facing the electorate he "can't think about that right now. If he does, he'll go crazy. he'll think about that tomorrow."

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Brave New Dawn to Wiltshire Health Care

    Minor Injury Units To Close Today (from Wiltshire Times)

    The units run by Wiltshire Primary Care Trust, include those at Devizes, Marlborough, Melksham, Warminster and Eastleigh Surgery in Westbury.

    Minor injury units will now be provided at Trowbridge Hospital, which will open 24 hours a day, and at Chippenham Hospital, where the hours are being cut to 7am-1am seven days a week. Other units are available in surrounding counties.

    The decision was taken by Wiltshire Primary Care Trust.

    Like many other Trusts, it is struggling to reduce debts - it went £20m into the red.

    But managers insist that they have patients' best interests at heart.

    "The rationale," a spokesman said, "is not about saving money, but about modernising services to provide care which is fit for the 21st Century, and which allows more people to be treated outside of hospital settings."

    Health Minister, the Bristol South MP, Dawn Primarolo. "Wherever possible we have to take services closer to patients in the community," she says, "but we won't always be able to do that.

    "The total quality of care that is available is much better," she says.

    Having local Minor Injury Units has probably saved the lives of two of children, if they had had to be driven that extra twenty miles before initial treatment I think there is every likelyhood they would have died. So this morning I wake up and Wiltshire has one, just one, 24 hour unit. And that is at Trowbridge Hospital which is due for closure in 2009.
    Do you know how big Wiltshire is? How long it takes to get from one side to the other? The local response teams aren't working yet. So you lying sacks of shit don't tell me it is all about Patient Care, you have fucked up an already fucked up system, quite an achievement that! Quite simply people will die, but as they will be DOA the new super system won't record them as hospital deaths. In a just world Dawn Primarolo would be lying in the middle of Salisbury Plain with a sucking chest wound between her wrinkled dugs trying to gasp out how being thirty miles from help made the "total quality of care much better."

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack