December 31, 2007
Happy New Year
Sorry I have failed to write my review of the year.
But simply family and friends have been the high spots again; people virtually met through the blog have been funny, informative and fantastic. May 2008 bring you all you desire and deserve.
The downside of 2007 is the coil of hempen rope still lies unused in the barn and the oxygen thieves in Westminster and Brussels, and their brethren worldwide, continue to infest us as ticks on a hedgehog.
After an enjoyable repast with the FMs this evening I'm off to bed before the witching hour, as there has been nothing decent on the box to stay up for to watch since it went from being 525 lines and black and white...
In honour of that long lost golden age here's Walkin' After Midnight..
What you are not missing by staying in tonight
How I hate the human race
How I hate its silly face
And when I'm introduced to one
I wish I thought what jolly fun
I thought the poem was Belloc, but I can't trace it. Mr Google throws up the preposterous suggestion it might be by Sir Walter Raleigh, thus:
I wish I loved the human race;
I wish I loved its silly face;
I wish I loved the way it walks;
I wish I loved the way it talks;
and when I'm introduced to one,
I wish I thought what jolly fun.
I don't believe it.
A Cycling Fan wries
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Churchill, prescient or what?
Surely most bloggers are lacking something which allows them to pour out their near endless bilge and take in everybody else's same old boring rubbish.... I've got better things to do. And likewise with reading endless screeds about someone's hobby horse or, particularly lame, a great swathe of text cut and pasted from the paper about someone's hobby horse with either very little or zero input from the alleged blogger whatsoever. Or lamer still, just a You Tube clip that someone else took the time to make and post, embedded into the blogger's page for which they expect the credit and in some cases even money for this old rope....
Guilty as charged.
End of Year Stat Pron
Iain Dale boasts 404,000 Individuals Visited This Blog in 2007, Well done, and richly deserved, and I'm glad to have played a part in it. I had forgotten I was also running Google Analytics, so having been reminded I thought I would check:
223,284 Absolute Unique Visitors (And yes I know the arguments over definitions.) - 305,232 visits came from 189 countries/territories, which doesn't leave many countries unpolluted, none of which I can name, half a dozen in Africa, a couple bordering Afganistan and one in South America, Demerara Land if my memory is anything to go by.
And my biggest thanks go to the 51,000 of you who have visited nine or more times, including the 8,326 who have visited over 200 times.
Bi Cyclist Tales
A joke that will sicken cyclists | Alison Steed - Times Online
OK, I admit it, I like Lycra! I know that may seem bizarre to many of you who chug around in your cars, but as a cyclist it is something I could not do without. And if you agree with Matthew Parris, who wrote on these pages that we deserve to be “decapitated” for wearing bright, clinging colours, then tell that to the families of the 150 people a year who die in cycling accidents.... but not by piano wire.... and on and on she goes, I thought she was going to be calling for new laws to make it illegal to mock push bikers. So who is this Alison Steed? I wondered. A quick google and I come across this wonderful story - I have no idea if it is the same bicycling - emphasis on the bi - Alison Steed or not, but I hope it is.
The truth about my lesbian divorce | the Daily Mail
...three months on, the 'marriage' of Daphne Ligthart and Liz King - triumphantly celebrated as one of the first of this country's same-sex civil partnerships - is in tatters amid accusations of infidelity, lies and betrayal.
Two weeks ago, keep-fit fanatic Liz moved out of the couple's home after falling for wedding guest Alison Steed, who is separating from the man with whom she has lived for 16 years.....At the reception party, at Churchill's pub in Ashford, Daphne noticed that Alison Steed - one of several guests invited from the local athletics club, Ashford Tri,(giggle) where Liz was a member - looked rather depressed.
"She had come on her own without her boyfriend,"(fnarr fnarr) Miss Steed, the 33-year-old, who works in the media seemed to wish the couple well....
But it was the discovery of a pizza box in the kitchen at the end of March, and Liz's admission that Alison had cooked it while Liz had been upstairs taking a bath, that finally tipped Daphne over the edge....Liz told Daphne it was because Alison was splitting up from her boyfriend, with whom she shared an Edwardian home near a Kent hamlet called, ironically enough, Cuckold's Corner..."She swore on our dogs' lives that it was a friendship." (howl)
As Daphne recalls: "I said to Liz that I thought Alison was meant to be straight, and that she had never been with a woman before."
To which Liz is said to have replied: "She's doubting her sexuality."
After that sharp exchange, Liz left for the night, apparently to see Alison. The following morning, she returned home to admit that she and Alison had shared their first kiss.
"She said they had a kiss and a cuddle," says Daphne. "I asked her what kind of kiss and she said it was a French kiss.
"I said: 'Why are you doing this? Is it just exciting?...
(Cue music, curtain fall and credits)
Gratuitous Photos of Pretty Girls
These are, in order, the top beauty icons of 2007 as named in the Superdrug poll: Keira Knightley, Kelly Brook, Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby, Gemma Atkinson, Alesha Dixon, Lily Allen and Jordan.
The story is crying out for a few illustrations but do you really want to see a bunch of high maintenance "tits on sticks" at this time of the morning? Where are the real women? Over to you Theo.
Travel Papers Bitte
EU move to collect fact files on air passengers - Scotsman.com News
PASSENGERS boarding flights within Europe – even on domestic UK routes – will have a wide range of personal details stored on a security database for more than a decade, under plans being drawn up by the EU's Justice Minister.
The controversial move by EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini would see 19 facts about each passenger kept on file for more than a decade and available to a range of agencies.
The Passenger Name Recording (PNR) information would even include details of requests made to change seats or how tickets were paid for.
Initially, if the plan is ratified, it is claimed only the 27 EU member states would get to view the details – which will be kept for 13 years – but civil liberty groups are convinced the US government would soon demand to be able to see them.
One security source said: "There is no question that once this material becomes available that Washington will want access to it."
Already, anyone flying to the States from the EU has their details entered into a security database for the US authorities, but critics believe Frattini's idea is an extension of that policy.
Last night, a spokesman for the EU said that while any firm decision was some time away, "it would be strange" if the UK did not sign up.
Strange indeed if the UK weren't in the forefront of this move to squirrel away any personal detail they can about people exercising their free choice to travel, and then "losing" the data for any Tom, Dick or Muhammed to use as they want.
In other news:
Britain rated worst in Europe for protecting privacy | Special Reports | Guardian Unlimited Politics
Britain, the country with the world's biggest network of surveillance cameras, has the worst record in Europe for the protection of privacy, according to a report from a London-based international watchdog.
The UK is billed as "an endemic surveillance society" alongside Russia, the US, Singapore and China in the survey of 47 countries by Privacy International (PI).
Britain is bottom in Europe because of its cameras, ID card plans and lack of government accountability. ..
The report concludes that the 2007 rankings "show an increasing trend among governments to archive data on the geographic, communications and financial records of all their citizens and residents. This trend leads to the conclusion that all citizens, regardless of legal status, are under suspicion.
Four out of five doctors believe patient database will be at risk - Times Online
Only a fifth of doctors believe that a national electronic system for storing patients’ records will be secure, a poll for The Times has shown.
More than three quarters are either “not confident” that data will be safe or “very worried” that data will leak once the £20 billion National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is running. Asked how well they thought that local NHS organisations would be able to maintain the privacy of data, only 4 per cent said very well. The majority, 57 per cent, said quite or very poorly....
A pro forma letter written by anti-NPfIT campaigners is available on a website for patients who want to object to their details being included in the database. The letter, on www.nhsconfidentiality.org, is designed to be sent by patients to their GPs. The Department of Health said that patients who chose to opt out might not get the best emergency care.
An Englishman Abroad
The Briton abroad has been a uniquely popular figure ever since, clanking with armour, he first blundered through the Holy Land lopping the heads off peaceable Islamic pedestrians with something that looked like a scaffolding pole.
Back when the map was pink, he brought civilisation to the uncivilised, complicated railway systems to those without, and free trade to those who had never even realised they needed it.
Everywhere his solar topee was sighted, the locals would greet him with cheerful cries of "Allez à l'enfer, cochon!", "Could you untie me now, bwana - it's been three weeks and I'm jolly thirsty" or "Aiee! He's back! Run for your lives!"
In the 1980s, his great-grandchildren adorned the Spanish coast with concrete golf courses, egg and chips, and broken glass coloured with lager and blood. In the 1990s, his merchant-banker descendants brightened up Umbria and Provence with their bogus bohemianism, ludicrous straw hats and open-necked shirts.
He may not always have been popular, you see, but he had a certain distinctiveness, a certain panache, a certain - dare I venture it? - je ne sais rien. He was our advertisement to the world - and he succeeded precisely because, knowing nothing whatsoever about anything, he had the freedom to improvise.
And now they want to ruin it for our children...
December 30, 2007
Antony Fisher's Ideals Attacked
Jamie Oliver’s back on the warpath - this time to urge us to eat better chicken. Battery farming’s in for a roasting
Humane Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wants you to give up cheap chicken - Times Online - December 30, 2007
THE television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, known for his earthy approach to cooking and love of offal, is to launch a campaign for the middle classes to boycott cheap chicken in protest at the cruelty of battery farming.
Fearnley-Whittingstall believes well-heeled consumers should be prepared to pay more for their chicken so that fewer birds are reared in overcrowded, unnatural conditions.
Santa having given me the Sainted Hugh's book on Meat (down to £10 at W H Smith) for Christmas I have a lot of time for his point of view. I certainly don't ever want to eat a cheap chicken again, they are pointless bits of rubbery gunge. But, but, I do worry about these campaigns for dearer food. Widespread availability of cheap nutritious food has done more for improving the sum of human happiness than any moralising sermon. Did Antony Fisher do more good by founding Buxted Chickens, bringing cheap chicken to Britain or founding the IEA . Discuss.
SEX education lessons should be given to schoolchildren as young as five as part of a bid to combat soaring levels of teenage pregnancy...
Sex education failing to halt teen pregnancy - Telegraph
Sex education initiatives are failing to control the spiralling teenage pregnancy crisis, ministers have admitted for the first time.
Teenagers have no problem knowing what goes where, and how it works. In fact judging by the
videos scientific research they have a damn sight better idea than the grown ups. Telling them to wear a condom in kindergarten isn't the answer. They are choosing to get pregnant, now the reasons maybe stupid and due to their paucity of aspirations, or because they want a council house as the Daily Mail would say. But it is rarely anything to do with not knowing enough about sex.
‘Down in one’ drinks curbed - Times Online
DRINKS firms will no longer be able to market products as “slammers” or “shooters” from midnight on New Year’s Eve under a new code of conduct designed to curb high-speed “down in one” drinking. Even ads that show a drinker’s head tipped back too far as they put the glass to their lips will be covered.
A votre sante!
Egé szé gé re!
Za vashe zdorovye!
December 29, 2007
Out on my walk this morning down by the canal where the water gypsies live I noticed an old waterproof ammo box in the hedge. Useful I thought so I picked it up, and as I walked along I opened it up and looked inside. A fancy steel cutting box with a brown powder in it, a steel ampule, a calculator and a bag full of unused syringes and needles. Umm I thought, as the ghost of Sherlock Holmes inspired me, a diabetic snuff-taking mathematician has lost his box, what to do?
What an Honour
Tom Kelly, one of Tony Blair's official spokesmen is to be given The Order of the Bath.
Calling John George Haigh , there is work to be done....
Really, How Interesting.
I'm so glad my curmudgeonly reputation has become so widespread that no longer am I invited to Middle Class Dinner parties where gel haired prats and their power dressed wives will be boring for England about property prices. Given the choice between listening to them, disembowling myself with the fish slice or drinking too much ASDA Australian Cab Sauv and falling over shouting abusive comments into the koi pond you will probably understand why Mrs Englishman got fed up of dragging a sopping wet gibberer home everytime.
Guns for Boys - Offically Good for Them
Ministers tell nurseries to allow boys toy guns - Times Online
Boys should be allowed to play with toy weapons at nursery, according to government advice that contradicts guidance from police and teachers.
Ministers do not mention toy guns specifically but they claim that some form of “weapons play” could help to engage boys in education.
However, teachers said that the guidance, published today, had no basis in educational practice, could encourage aggression among pupils and would anger and confuse parents.
Children have been suspended from school previously, or even arrested, when caught playing with toy guns.
The advice, from the Department for Children, Schools and Families, says that nursery staff should ignore their “natural instinct” to stop young boys playing games with weapons. It says that such activities can help to engage them.
I thought those mushrooms last night tasted a bit strange because I must be hallucinating, sensible advise from the Department? Though I would have been a bit more robust in telling the whining teachers that their "natural instinct" is nothing of the sort but is just another manifestation of the feminising wussyness that pollutes the whole education system.
Motorists could be banned from smoking behind the wheel of their own cars while driving them as part of their job, it has emerged.
Cigarettes are banned in company cars when passengers are carried, which means taxi drivers cannot smoke. However, sales representatives still can light up if they are the only person using the vehicle.
There is greater confusion when it comes to private cars. Smoking is banned if the vehicle is mainly used for work - but not if it is mainly private....
Action on Smoking and Health welcomed the idea...
smokers could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.
Prof Richard West, the Government's leading smoking adviser, has called for a complete ban on smoking at the wheel.
He said: "It may seem draconian but the Government should legislate."
And come the New Year the French will be banned from smoking in their bars... Oh for the Glorious Day when the air is putrid and choking with the toxic smoke of the burning pyres of politicians, pokenoses and parliamentary paper.
December 28, 2007
Friday Night is Music Night
27% of Iain Dale's Readers are scum
- that is the only conclusion that can be reached from Iain Dale's Diary: End of Year Awards: Devolved & International Politicians.
The Year of Global Smarming
Top 10 Climate Myth-Busters for 2007
“I’ve made up my mind. Don’t confuse me with the facts.” That saying most appropriately sums up the year in climate science for the fanatic global warming crowd.....
The Tale of Two Dynasties
Was Benn the Silver Jubilee spoilsport? - Times Online
With the economy faltering and the Government hanging on by a thread, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee was an unmissable opportunity to instil some feel-good factor into 1977. However, an “anti-monarchist” at the Department of Energy was threatening to ruin plans for a floodlit spectacle in London.
Lord Drogheda, the chairman of the London Celebrations Committee of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, did not name the culprit, it seems reasonable to suspect that the allegedly unenthusiastic minister was Tony Benn, the Secretary of State.
And while Her Majesty serenely carries on as an inspiration and providing wise counsel, Benn is still a bitter old man heading up a dynasty of fanatical puritanical spoilsports.
Someone to pass the biscuits round at the board meeting
Norway's firms face gender law - Scotsman.com News
NORWAY is about to smash the glass ceiling for women in the workplace with a sweeping new law.
From next week, firms must employ 40 per cent of female boardroom directors – or face being shut down.
At 37 per cent, Norway already has the highest number of female boardroom executives in the world.
Many Norwegian firms say they will not meet the quota deadline set for Monday and will have to shut until women get the posts once reserved for men.
A team of bureaucrats in Oslo has been tasked with keeping tabs on companies in the weeks and months ahead to make sure the ratio is being constantly increased to the required levels.
Nice to see that bureaucratic employment will increase as private firms suffer trying to fulfil this sexist tokenism. And how do female board directors who made it on their own merits feel about Trace from the typing pool being promoted and everyone assuming that every female director has now been given the role just because she is a girl?
Too dangerous to live
For as long as Miss Bhutto lived, she was a symbol of the alternative route open to Pakistan - the route towards a liberal, secular, open democracy, offered in stark contrast to the closed and militant path of the radicals.
Moreover, Miss Bhutto was genuinely popular....In the end, the popular backing she was able to command was her trump card, rendering her an exceptionally dangerous opponent for the Islamist radicals, perhaps more so than Mr Musharraf.
Miss Bhutto knew the risks only too well. Yet she addressed rally after rally, choosing the militant stronghold of Peshawar for her penultimate gathering on Wednesday.
It was her popularity that was dangerous to the Islamofascists - they don't like it when the "ordinary" people show they don't want a medieval theocracy.
Her death is a huge blow, we need more, many more like her.
December 27, 2007
Perdix perdix - incentives matter
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix or English Partridge is on the Red List of the Conservation Status. and there is an active Biodiversity plan with targets and objectives.
No 1 son has a shiny new Shotgun Certificate and has been out today doing his bit to help the wild population....
Giving them an economic value by shooting them gives farmers the incentive to maintain their habitat..
B of the Bang goes the Games' Budget
‘Bang’ ends with a whimper as spikes fall foul of health rules - Times Online
A sculpture created to mark the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester has been declared unsafe...
The vaulting ambition of the 180-tonne structure, a starburst of enormous metal spikes that dominates East Manchester, was designed to seal the artist’s reputation. But his company is being sued for negligence and breach of contract by Manchester City Council. The council says that the structure remains unsafe. Four years after it was due to be completed it remains fenced off....a sorry sight on the periphery of Eastlands, formerly the City of Manchester Stadium.
Discarded metal spikes lie on the ground and, for a short period, the road had to be closed to traffic because of safety fears.
Meanwhile, costs spiralled from an estimated £750,000 to £1.42 million – because the successful bid did not include the cost of installation. The opening was put back from July 2003 to January 2005. But within two weeks of the opening, spikes began to fall off,...Sir Howard Bernstein, the council’s chief executive, said: "We want a lasting memorial to the Games."
EU Bendy Bananas
STOCKPORT The European Commissioner for Agriculture, Mariann Fischer Boel, has reassured a Liberal Democrat MEP that the bendiness of bananas is a valid matter for Brussels.
In response to a question from Chris Davies, an MEP for the North West, Mrs Fischer Boel said that in the 13 years that European legislation on bendy bananas had been in force, not one grower, wholesaler, retailer or customer had complained. Mr Davies said that this was because the industry needed such trading standards.
He had raised the issue with the Commission to clear up an old claim about bureaucratic overregulation by Brussels. “People think bananas are just bananas, but there’s a huge difference between a long, straight one from Costa Rica and a short, curvy one from Cyprus,” he said. “Strip away the anti-European nonsense and there are sound reasons for most EU laws.”
Not one complaint about the regulation? Huh? So that proves it is needed? And what is the sound reason? That bananas come in different shapes, doesn't the EU celebrate diversity?
Who can deliver Sebastian Coe’s Games promise? - Times Online
Fears that London 2012 will fail to deliver on its promise of rejuvenated participation after the Olympics were raised yesterday by leaders of the two marquee Olympic sports..
Our promise in Singapore was that we’d use this as an inspirational tool to re-engage the youth of this country and the world. That is a really tough call. But who is joining up the dots for all this to work? Where is the drive?”
I have no idea of what a "marquee Olympic sport" is, sounds a bit camp to me. But this guff about inspiring and re-engaging yoofs worldwide is just another excuse to suckle the public teat. If they just concentrated on putting on a bit of a show as the drug addled "atheletes" hop, skip and jump then the Olympics might be interesting; there would be no role for the boring smug git Smeg Coe, apart from being a javelin catcher; and there would be chance that the whole circus would cost less than £20 Billion
Rising security costs threaten to break the Olympic budget - Times Online
There is a 20 per cent chance that the £9.3 billion total budget will be exceeded, the Government admitted yesterday.
You find me a bookmaker that will accept those odds and I will be down there with a wheel barrow of fivers to say that if it is properly audited the cost will be double that, minimum.
Union warns that wildcat strikes could hit Olympics - Times Online
London Olympic projects could be hit by widespread industrial action and wildcat strikes.., Ucatt, the building union, has given warning....Work on building the main Olympic stadium and other projects is due to begin in the spring.... Alan Ritchie, the Ucatt general secretary, said: “My union is 100 per cent committed to the London Games being a total success. However, I fear...
Get your snouts in the troughs boys, everyone else does and there is no reason why the brickies shouldn't as well. It is badly run with a pressing timetable, it won't be hard to squeeze them a bit as they panic it won't be finished in time.
How do you like your spuds?
UMAMI, a 100-year-old Japanese concept of flavour, may hold the key to breeding the perfect potato.
Umami has been scientifically accepted as one of the five individual tastes sensed by receptors on the tongue, along with salty, sweet, bitter and sour.
Although there is no equivalent word in English, umami has been used to describe the slightly savoury taste that people encounter when they eat ripe tomatoes, parmesan cheese, cured ham, mushrooms, and various types of meat and fish.
Dr Mark Taylor, the SCRI scientist who led the research, said: "Umami is almost a savoury-like flavour and that is obviously considered to be important when it comes to judging the taste of a potato. It was certainly the case in our taste trials.
I find it is the generous application of butter and salt or roasting them in beef dripping that gives them flavour...
Make Boys Girly - Official
Schools have been told to encourage boys to play netball and take dance lessons in the name of equality.
Thousands of schools are being forced to ensure that pupils are more "gender balanced" as part of discrimination legislation introduced this year...
Last night, the guidance was criticised by head teachers, who said they were already struggling under the strain of bureaucracy.
Mick Brookes, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "It doesn't make any sense to promote things to boys that they don't want to do, simply so you can tick a box on a form."
It is refreshing to see some headmasters recognising that there are limits to the indoctrination they can perform on their charges, they have enough trouble already with the feminised curriculum to keep the boys interest.
December 26, 2007
Peter Watt is likely to face prosecution for his role in Donorgate
The scandal over the Labour Party's £670,000 illegal donations will return to haunt Gordon Brown in the New Year as criminal charges may be imminent, according to an authoritative Whitehall source.
The Daily Telegraph can disclose that those leading the investigation into the so-called "donorgate" affair will complete their inquiries as early as the end of next month.
The source has said that Peter Watt, who resigned as Labour's general secretary, may be facing criminal charges over his role in the worst fundraising controversy since Labour took power in 1997.
The development will overshadow attempts by Mr Brown to regain the political initiative in the New Year after a disastrous last quarter of 2007.
Peer Review of 2007
In the first of a four-part series, ROBERT McNEIL gives his unique perspective on the key events of the first three months of 2007.
THE year got off to a great start for curmudgeons when the Hogmanay Party in Edinburgh was cancelled due to inclement weather. In more good news, Saddam Hussein was bunged into an unmarked grave....An infinitely more tragic death was that of Lord Anthony Lambton, 84, a former Tory defence minister famously photographed in bed with two prostitutes while smoking a joint. Lambton had dedicated himself to "gardening and debauchery" after losing a legal battle about a toff title.
Asked why he used call-girls, he said: "I think that people sometimes like variety… and I think that impulse is probably understood by almost everybody. Don't you?"...
In February, the nation rejoiced when charges of causing mayhem on a small aeroplane were dropped against Lord Fraser, the much-loved roly-poly peer who had overseen the mysteriously named Fraser Inquiry into costs at Holyrood. On the plane, at a small airstrip by the Tay, all his nibs had done was speak out politely when he was seated among the proletariat after paying for a posh seat. He wasn't drunk or anything, having inhaled merely one large whisky while his plane was delayed. However, he had wobbled in an alarming manner, and that was enough to make one of these notoriously panicky stewardesses start shouting the odds. Nowadays, you daren't even glance at these power-drunk prima donnas without risking immediate arrest and your picture in the papers.
Happy PC Holidays
For decades, children have enjoyed singing about the little donkey which is said to have carried the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem.
But one group of young singers was ordered to change the traditional lyrics of the Christmas song - because they were said to be "too religious".
Instead of "Little donkey, carry Mary safely on her way", the youngsters were told to sing "carry Lucy" for fear of offending non-Christians. The incident, at the school's Christmas concert, appears on a new calendar alongside 11 other examples of extreme political correctness from around Britain.
More here - H/t Jos
Hunting is undergoing a revival with increasing numbers of women and children taking part as a direct result of the ban imposed by the Hunting Act.
As 314 hunts were preparing to meet organisers report that in the two years since the ban, young people have attracted to the sport, reversing the situation of more than a decade ago where hunt memberships were ageing and in decline....
Karl Creamer, 44, joint master of the Ludlow, is a former professional ice-hockey player who had not sat on a horse until 1994.
He said: "Everything that gets banned seems to become popular." Mr Creamer said that the average hunt follower was now 26 years old and female with a full time job who likes doing dressage as well.
"I make no bones about it, that's why I got into it," he said.
Doing something that that the Government has tried to ban, open air, traditional, danger, excitement and immaculately turned out 26 year girls - what's not to like?
December 25, 2007
It's Christmas cracker time
My wife's gone to the West Indies
-No, she went of her own accord.
-My wife's gone to the Indian coast
-Phwoar! I'll say!
-My wife's gone to St Petersburg.
-Is she Russian?
-No, she's taking her time.
-My wife's gone to Northern Italy
-I should think so, we've been married for 20 years.
-My wife's had an accident on a volcano
-No. She broke her leg.
-My wife's gone mad in Venezuela
-Yes, absolutely loopy
-My wife's gone to the Welsh border.
-My wife's gone to the botanical gardens.
-Yes, it was rather busy.
-My wife's gone to Malawi
-Yes, about 5000 miles
-My wife's got an upset tummy in Laos
-My wife's gone to see relatives in France
-No, her Aunt and Uncle actually
-My wife's gone on a singing tour of South Korea
-My wife caught a cold in the Gulf
-Yes, she was coughing up greenies for weeks
-My wife had an accident in Slovenia
-like a stuck pig.
-My wife's parents are from Croatia
-No, they're still happily married.
-My wife went to a very bad concert in South East Asia
-Terrible. And the rest of the band was even worse.
-My wife went on a sailing course in Poole
-Yes, she'd recommend it to anyone.
My wife had a nasty car accident in Mid-Wales?
- No, she drove into a wall.
My wife's gone to Indonesia.
No, she flew with British Airways.
- My wife's studying polar bears somewhere in the Arctic.
- Impossible, she's out of contact at the moment.
My wife's gone to Iceland.
No, just the once.
Who was the wife of Jupiter?
No, that's why I'm asking.
What is the state capital of Alaska
Yes, but do you?
My brother was taken ill on a flight to England
-No, but he felt very queasy
- My wife bought some second-hand clothes in Cheshire.
- No, they fitted her perfectly.
December 24, 2007
Churchill on The Home Secretary Detaining Suspects Without Trial
DEFENCE REGULATION 18B
A SPEECH TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
OCTOBER 21, 1941
NOTE.—This speech was made in the course of a debate concerning the Home Secretary’s powers of detaining persons under Defence Regulation 18b and the prevention of Mr. McGovern, M.P., from visiting Northern Ireland.
THERE is no part of the powers conferred on His Majesty Government in this time of trial that I view with greater repugnance than these powers of exceptional process against the liberty of the subject without the ordinary safeguards which are inherent in British life. Those high-sounding familiar phrases like “ Habeas Corpus,” “ petitioner’s right,” “ charges made which known to the law,” and “ trial by jury “—all these are part of what we are fighting to preserve. We all care about them and understand them, and we are determined that they shall not be trespassed upon by anything except the need of self-preservation which arises in time of war.
I recognize that this legislation and the Regulations which are based upon it were passed at a moment of great danger. It possible that if in this lull—-and it is only a lull—the matter were considered, the House would be in a different temper. I must say that I should feel very proud and happy if I could come down to the House, even while the war was going on, and say, “Our position is now so good and solid, we now see the path before us so firm and clear, that even in time of war we can of our own free will give back these special powers.” Unhappily that is not the case at present. The time may come, but not now. In the meanwhile, I cannot conceive how Parliament can better keep control over the use of these abnormal powers than by insisting upon their being exercised in the discretion of a Minister present in the House and accountable to the House. The Minister has been made accountable to the House. He has come down to-day and has explained in the greatest detail his use of the powers in a particular case. I should think he feels it a most objectionable thing to have this discretionary power conferred on him ; but such a discretionary power there must be, and there must be a choosing between this and that. The House has given the power, and I am bound to say that the manner in which my right Hon. Friend has explained the whole position has brought home to the House, first, the submissiveness of the Executive to Parliamentary institutions, and secondly, the care with which these powers are exercised.
For my part, I hope that the day may come as speedily as possible, even before the end of the war, when we may be able to relieve ourselves of these exceptional powers, or some of them. In the meanwhile, I feel that we are entitled to ask from the House a general measure of support for the Minister charged with exercising them. There can be no question of going behind the powers of the House. The powers of the House are over-riding and inalienable, and everything that is done s done on the responsibility of the House, be it right or be it wrong The House has power to wreck the pro-posed action, provided, of course, it is confident that it is representing the country in the course which it is taking. Therefore, I hope the Debate when it ends may leave the impression that there has been no derogation from the authority and freedom of Parliamentary institutions I particularly resent the suggestion that we are adopting the methods of Fascist States We are not We are the Servants of the House. It may be true that the House will support its servants, but if it does not the powers in their hands are without effect, and so long as that fact is established it is absolutely improper, as well as unhelpful, to place us upon the level of totalitarian Governments which have no corrective legislature, no law but their own wills, no check on the enforcement of their own particular doctrines in any way they choose.
Dear Hugh - Saving the Whale
Dear Hugh on Myspace reveals that the Japanese did require whales for scientific research - research into a complaint peculiar to Japan, known as "mame chin".
According to the delegation, the whales are hunted not to eat (using the flesh for food is a side-product of the exercise) but for a fatty chemical tissue found in the blubber.
"Mame chin", our reddening translator continued, is Japanese for "tiny penis".
Apparently the chaps of the rising sun are not quite the stallions of their counterparts in Europe and America - and that the demand for injections of this whale fat is led by Japanese businessmen who are planning trips abroad.
So miniscule is the average nob of Nippon that businessmen feel they will be humiliated if their condition is revealed on a business trip and that rather than risk losing face, they succumb to these injections, which have effect for up to a month, whenever working overseas.
Understandably, because they don't wish to wave this fact about, they call it "scientific research".
That's the truth.
And so basically if you want to save the whale, tell our whores not to giggle so much.
And I bet they don't tell you that on Newsnight.
Remember this Christmas how lucky we are.
"So what happened was, I had had a couple of beers and fancied a takeaway, as you do. So I drove the old Land Rover into Swindon and parked in the car park opposite the Chinky's. When I came out with my meal I couldn't drive away, I put the old girl down into low gear and we started off and then I realised I had caught my tow hook under the bumper of the car behind. Well I tried, and the Chinese guys tried but we couldn't get the bugger off. So I started thinking and thought I've had a pint or five maybe I ought to get on my way. So off I set, took me two and half turns round the car park before the bugger fell off. I often wonder what they thought when they came back to find their car t'other side of the park without its bumper..."
I didn't know Bob Fry well, but spent a few memorable evenings with him, and he always had such a tale to tell
Robert Fry, 52 and his wife Deborah, 48, died when they ran into rough seas near Sagres on the Algarve coast on 22 October saving their children. Rosie Fry, 11, and her brother George, nine, are now orphans.
If you are having the day off..
Today's the day for settling down in front of a roaring fire and watching an old film in the afternoon, before the chaos of tomorrow commences. In a year or so we all will get video on demand down the wire and no longer have to rely on the vagaries of the programmers, this would be my choice for today:
Iain and Tim both wrong
Iain Dale and Tim Worstall are at oppositie ends of the argument as to how much MPs should get paid.
Iain as a wannabe MP thinks MPs ought to be paid gazillions, and having learnt how he has had to sell the roof from over his head to finance his attempts to become one, he argues with some passion. His disinterested argument is simply, you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
Tim can be summed up that as we only get monkeys they only deserve peanuts, and that is generous as a length of hempen rope and a lamp post would be more fitting for most.
There is a simple, fairer and more democratic answer. Let prospective MPs, like a job applicant say what their salary expectations are. Put it in their manifestos. "I'm worth £100,00 a year and double that in expenses because I'm jolly clever and will work hard". We will soon judge who is worth what.
Pass the sick-bag, Alice
The Roman Catholic priest who was instrumental in guiding Tony Blair on his path to Rome compared the former Prime Minister last night to St Paul.
Follow the money
Billions of pounds are being spent on schools in deprived districts in Labour strongholds at the expense of pupils in more affluent areas, new figures show....Almost all the local authorities that have seen the biggest increases in spending since 1997 are dominated by Labour councillors and MPs.
Ministers insisted that spending had been targeted at those areas of the greatest social need.
Michael Gove, the Tory shadow children's secretary, said: "These figures only underline how important it is that we have educational reforms which put spending power in the hands of the parents, not Labour-controlled bureaucrats."
Dominated by the social need of the politicians to continue sticking their snouts in the trough. Grove is correct we need to put the spending power in the hands of the parents, not Labour, nor Tory bureaucrats. Give the money to the parents to spend, if we think that some deprived families need more money to help them, give them more . Don't give it to some bureaucrat to spend on their behalf as though they are some sub-normal case who patronisingly needs caring for.
School Vouchers NOW.
No X factor
They are defined as Generation X but today's 20- to 40-somethings could soon be equally known as "Generation with no sex".
For those born before the 1960s, the invention of the Pill awakened their sense of sexual adventure. ... teenagers and those in their early 20s, .. are increasingly using sex as entertainment thanks to the internet, according to Edward Laumann, the professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, who conducted the research.
"It's clear that, while Generation X has sex, obviously, it's probably not as much or as varied in styles as that of their parents or today's teenagers and students," he said.
I think I'll give some yoofs a high five tonight as us old farts giggle at the losers in their carefully pressed jeans, oh so ethical lifestyles and boring lives in Barratt Homes. Still I see in other headlines there is hope for our rural northern friends:
December 23, 2007
Before the fiddlers have fled..
As central banks continue to splash their cash over the system, so far to little effect, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard argues things are rapidly spiralling out of their control
Twenty billion dollars here, $20bn there, and a lush half-trillion from the European Central Bank at give-away rates for Christmas. Buckets of liquidity are being splashed over the North Atlantic banking system, so far with meagre or fleeting effects....
"Liquidity doesn't do anything in this situation," says Anna Schwartz, the doyenne of US monetarism and life-time student (with Milton Friedman) of the Great Depression.
"It cannot deal with the underlying fear that lots of firms are going bankrupt. The banks and the hedge funds have not fully acknowledged who is in trouble. That is the critical issue," she adds....
York professor Peter Spencer, chief economist for the ITEM Club, says the global authorities have just weeks to get this right, or trigger disaster.
"The central banks are rapidly losing control. By not cutting interest rates nearly far enough or fast enough, they are allowing the money markets to dictate policy. We are long past worrying about moral hazard," he says
"They still have another couple of months before this starts imploding. Things are very unstable and can move incredibly fast. I don't think the central banks are going to make a major policy error, but if they do, this could make 1929 look like a walk in the park,"
Worse, changes pushed through by Gordon Brown in 1998 have caused the de facto cash and liquid assets ratio to collapse from post-war levels above 30 per cent to near zero. "Brown hadn't got a clue what he was doing," he says.
The risk for Britain - as property buckles - is a twin banking and fiscal squeeze. The UK budget deficit is already 3 per cent of GDP at the peak of the economic cycle, shockingly out of line with its peers. America looks frugal by comparison.
Maastricht rules may force the Government to raise taxes or slash spending into a recession. This way lies crucifixion. The UK current account deficit was 5.7 per cent of GDP in the second quarter, the highest in half a century. Gordon Brown has disarmed us on every front....
There may be trouble ahead
But while there's music and moonlight and love and romance
Let's face the music and dance
Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill and while we still have the chance
Let's face the music and dance
Soon we'll be without the moon, humming a different tune and then
There may be teardrops to shed
So while there's moonlight and music and love and romance
Let's face the music and dance
Brittania in bondage
New power to seize passports - Times Online
GORDON BROWN has set himself on a collision course with the legal establishment over plans to give civil servants and government agencies the power to remove people’s passports without going through the courts.
As the new year approaches remember you are merely the State's chattel, your rights and freedoms dependent on the whim of the People's Leader, the Glorious Gordon, and his representatives on earth.....
Brown Wounded by Lack Of Army Equipment
THE equipment available to British troops in the field is better than it has been for years, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, insisted yesterday
Mr Brown told British Forces Broadcasting Service that the country's troops deserved "nothing but the best," hitting back at retired military chiefs who have questioned his commitment to the armed forces.
The government has faced persistent accusations that the military is under-resourced and morale is low.
Mr Brown said it was "totally unfair" to question his commitment to the armed forces: "Over the last few years, despite difficult circumstances … we have tried our best not only to give decent settlements so that there is the money to do everything necessary, but also where there is an urgent operational requirement, we changed the system so that the equipment can get there more quickly.
"I think the evidence on the ground is that the equipment people have is a lot better than it was a few years ago
After his long and dangerous tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan Brown knows better than those pathetic grumblers in Uniform, why as soon as he landed he was issued with brand new well fitting body armour, what more could anyone want? And when needs are urgent he is the man to fiddle with "the system" so that procurement and budget agreement meetings can take only months to start happening, don't these ungrateful squaddies realise how hard it is to get things moving in the Civil Service, they should have more patience whilst he has to wrestle with the dangers of preparing a budget policy.
Catholics - The Bloody Question
Roman Catholics have overtaken Anglicans as the country's dominant religious group. More people attend Mass every Sunday than worship with the Church of England.. This means that the established Church has lost its place as the nation's most popular Christian denomination after more than four centuries of unrivalled influence following the Reformation.
Whilst that Fenian Fawkes may welcome this, as a true Englishman I retain a vestigial distrust of Papists, though I'm far too modern and liberal to mention it. As William Cecil asked; who they would support if the Pope invaded the country - Pope or Queen? And this was their downfall every time. This question became known as, "The Bloody Question", as there was really only one answer that a true Catholic could give. But as Stalin asked; How many armoured divisions has the Pope got? The Papacy, with its idolatry of the Virgin Mary with her blue flag and twelve golden stars, is no longer the threat it was. The Bloody Question we should ask now is not of Catholics but of Euro Fedarists, such as the Traitor Blair; who would they support if the EU invaded the country?
December 22, 2007
Friday Night is Music Night (late edition)
Fats Waller performing his own 'Aint Misbehavin' in 1943. The drummer is Zutty Singleton, trumpet Benny Carter and the bassist is Slam Stewart.
I have loved this version for years, especially the drumming.
BBC NEWS | Wales | 'Atheistic fundamentalism' fears
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has described a rise in "fundamentalism" as one of the great problems facing the world.
He focused on what he described as "atheistic fundamentalism". He said it advocated that religion in general and Christianity in particular have no substance, and that some view the faith as "superstitious nonsense".
As well as leading to Christmas being called "Winterval," the archbishop said "virulent, almost irrational" attacks on Christianity led to hospitals removing all Christian symbols from their chapels, and schools refusing to allow children to send Christmas cards with a Christian message.
He also said it led to things like "airlines refusing staff the freedom to wear a cross round their necks" in a reference to the row in which British Airways (BA) suspended an employee who insisted on wearing a cross necklace.
The horror of it! And how many 'planes have been flown into buildings in the name of Dawkins? How many non-believers have been put to the sword by other non-believers for not believing in the wrong sort of god? How many sectarian conflicts simmer and boil over on the finer points of Charles Darwin?
Power Cut at The Castle this morning
No electricity this morning, so no blogging or computer fun, luckily some things are battery powered....
December 21, 2007
Tree Rats and Compost Heaps
The dogs were helping me clear out the compost heap this morning, as it had some holes appearing in it and it needed spreading it on the vegetable patch. They had one rat fairly quickly but its mate esacaped and ran up a tree:
Continues under the fold.
The view from the bedroom
Out with the Lee Metford, iron sights, sleeved down to .22, 45-50 yards; it is the only language these recycling rats understand.
Calling Doctor Principal Agent to cure the NHS
BBC NEWS | Health | Row breaks out over doctor hours
Doctors and the government are at loggerheads over getting GPs to work in the evenings and weekends.
The British Medical Association, the doctors' trade union, wants to offer two extra hours a week for every 6,000 patients.
The average GP has a list of 2,000 patients meaning doctors would only need to do an extra 40 minutes.
The government, however, wants to see three extra hours for every 6,000 patients.
Officials also said the profession has been offered £100m to do this
Another example of
how the market doesn't work properly when the real customers are those who commission a product rather than those who use it. It is, for example, businesses, not the householder, that choose the courier service that makes you stay in all day in case it calls...“Ah,” said Danny, “this conundrum is well known to economists. They call it the Principal-Agent Problem. There are whole chapters in textbooks about it.”
I'm not actually sure when my Doctor does actually see his patients as I haven't managed to get hold of him now for years...
Men Jeer, Women Pity
BBC NEWS | Health | Humour 'comes from testosterone'
Men are naturally more comedic than women because of the male hormone testosterone, an expert claims.
Men make more gags than women and their jokes tend to be more aggressive, Professor Sam Shuster, of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, says.
The unicycling doctor observed how the genders reacted to his "amusing" hobby.
Women tended to make encouraging, praising comments, while men jeered. The most aggressive were young men, he told the British Medical Journal....
He suggested men might respond aggressively because they see the other unicycling man as a threat, attracting female attention away from themselves.
"This would be particularly challenging for young males entering the breeding market and thus it does not surprise me that their responses were the more threatening."
Umm - the day I feel my chances of pulling are threatened by a prat on a pole will be a sad day indeed.
Out and Proud to be a Tory
The findings - which follow the Northern Rock crisis and the lost child benefits record scandal - underlines the reversal in Mr Brown's fortunes and the loss of public faith in him as Prime Minister.
I think more importantly people are now prepared to admit they are closet Tories, for too long it has been like admitting you wear mink lined underwear and listen to Daniel O'Donnell records. A combination of Dave's campaign to rid the party of the Nasty tag and the sheer unignorable ineptitude and incompetence of Labour seem to have finally worked.
I don't think we realise how lucky as a nation we have been to have had and to continue to have her reigning over us.
36p - that's over seven shillings in real money.
I'm blaming the increased cost of storage as letters take longer to arrive now.
December 20, 2007
Gas in court
THERE was consternation in Kennet magistrates' court on today when the bench withdrew while an empty canister of poison was removed from court.
The canister which used to contain the rodenticide Phostoxin was being introduced in evidence by barrister John Upton, who was defending Visconde Brita de Cunha de Pereiro Machada.
Mr Upton showed the bench the empty canister of Phostoxin and took the deep screw cap off to demonstrate how safe it was.
But prosecutor Philomena Craffield, after consulting with RSPB investigating officer Guy Shorrock, told the court there was concern about the safety of the canister and it should not be in court.
The bench retired while Viscount Machada removed the canister.
Miss Craffield explained that Phostoxin emitted the deadly Phosphene gas when it was mixed with water.
John Upton, defending, said the only reason the police had called at Mr Smart's house that morning was they were investigating the death of two buzzards and a magpie from poisoning.
Presiding magistrate Jill Pechey told Viscount Machada that, as an employer, he had a duty of care to provide the correct advice, training and guidance to Mr Smart.
The bench fined him £2,500 and a further £1,000 for permitting the poisons to be stored in an unsafe place. He was also ordered to pay £400 court costs.
Mr Smart was fined a total of £1,000 on all five offences and £100 costs.
Mr Upton successfully argued that costs should be paid to his client for the expense of obtaining expert help on the charge of poisoning wildlife, which had been dropped.
The £3,286 bill will be paid from public funds.
Note: There is no antidote to Phosphine poisoning and one sixth of a 3g tablet is a fatal dose for an adult - take it from an old Pesticide salesman it isn't something to mess with.
Good news for divorcing men and errant fathers
Commons Leader Harriet Harman has told the BBC she wants the law to be changed to make it illegal to pay for sex.
I've been tagged in a few memes and have finally decided to start one of my own. But what should the meme be about? Simple, what does a blogger's desktop look like.
So, here it is:
What? You meant the computer background thingy - oh that's just a couple of girls, I always leave Google Reader running so I never see it.
Bonus points for gratuitous displays of weaponry.
The Flying Squad
POLICE have arrested a 44-year-old biker after a chase through the Wiltshire countryside at speeds in excess of 100mph.
The police helicopter took up the pursuit as ground crews held back on the grounds of safety....
A passerby who was in Devizes town centre on Saturday morning said the police response was dramatic.
He said: "I was walking down Sidmouth Street when I noticed the police helicopter flying overhead. Within two minutes six police cars came down Southbroom Road and one did a U-turn in the middle of the road and shot up Gains Lane.
"Other police cars were coming down London Road and Nursteed Road and they were going at high speed.
"I counted about 17 police vehicles and these were 4x4s, unmarked vehicles, dog vans and marked cars.
"I saw about 15 to 20 police officers and they surrounded a block of flats at the end of Victoria Road, front and back.
"They brought a man out of the block of flats in handcuffs and put him in a police car."
So after chasing him all across the county they found him at home with his feet up! Who says the police haven't got the resources to fight crime!
(As an aside it reminds me of much missed Good Colonel who claimed that as Plod's Helicopter had a top speed of 160mph as long as he kept over 140 on the A4 into a 20mph head wind they couldn't keep up with him...)
An intelligent redneck lesbian who favors short shorts and has a tad bit of feminist concern, explains why Digg Doesn't Digg Her
Digg, and all the similar social networking sites, run on a mob mentality. Boys and girls sit in their lonely cubicles, or their Mom's basement, and band together into brigades who either push or destroy various people or ideas e.g. Digg each other and bury others.
The Web 2.0 proponents believe this will supplant the old capitalist system of Big Media choosing our news and entertainment for us. But whether digital mobs are a qualitatively superior way of promoting cultural and political developments is the real question.
Mobs are by their nature anti-democratic. And they often don't want democratic processes to work...
They will also use dirty tricks. Their favorite, which is not surprising given their dweebie backgrounds, is to be tattletales. They report stuff as being pornography or mature content. These guys are not actually offended by anything they see, it is just a means to an end....
The recent ban by Digg happened when I posted Uber-Boob Fascination. Although it featured two images of topless women , that was not really the reason the Diggers were offended. They did not like the discussion of the uber-attention testosterone drenched uber-jerks have for uber-boobs, and how women do not always appreciate it all that much.
Good It isn't just me that doesn't "get" this whole dweeby Web 2.0 - and I thought it just because I was too old.
That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger
BBC NEWS | Health | Over-30s 'ignore alcohol advice'
A survey by YouGov found almost half of 30 to 50-year-olds confessed to drinking too much at times and had not learned to stick to their limits.
The poll was commissioned as part of a government campaign to encourage responsible drinking over Christmas.
Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians and Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: "People over 30 should be aware that their body is less likely to cope with the after-effects of alcohol, think carefully about the weekly amount they are drinking and stick to the safe limits so as to avoid alcohol-related disease."
Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP, said that it was important for the over-30s to limit their alcoholic intake over the Christmas period. "To help you stick to your limits, you might want to try agreeing a limit with a friend, following one alcoholic drink with a soft drink, or taking time out from drinking for another activity."
Oh yes, when you are young you can pop out from the pub for a quick kneetrembler and a dodgy roll-up round the back, us old farts are left inside sipping our pints of mild...
But maybe, just maybe, this shows that older people have learnt to ignore the made up advice of the experts as they try and create new ways to control the herd. Just don't get DK started again on how Nanny just made up the rules.
Turkey Army Declines
IT'S happened without anyone really noticing. Quietly, gradually, stealthily, there has been a significant reduction in the number of people working in Scotland's public sector....
For the third quarter of this year, there were 5,770,000 people in the public sector in the UK as a whole, equivalent to 19.7 per cent of the workforce, with 23,521,000 in the private sector, 80.3 per cent.
The figure of 77.4 per cent in the private sector and 22.6 per cent in the public sector north of the Border shows that Scotland still trails the UK average in the size of the state and its effect on jobs.
However, Scotland's the proportion of people in the public sector in Scotland is falling more rapidly than the UK average.
It has dropped 1.2 per cent from the high of 23.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2005. The UK figure has dropped 0.6 per cent from a high of 20.3 in fourth quarter of 2005 to 19.7 per cent in the third quarter of this year.
All good news but the results are partially due to events such as The transfer of staff providing central services to the Scottish police forces to the new Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) has meant that a large number of staff who were previously employed by police boards are now classified as being employed by a non-departmental government body.
A lot more people are still in Gordon's Turkey Army even if they aren't employed directly.
Follow the Star
The politics of fairylights | Robert Crampton - Times Online
Electrified Yuletide illumination is about more than mere decorations, it's about class warfare
Driving into my home town of Hull last weekend through the affluent villages and suburbs to its west, I was met by a blaze of light: snowmen, sleighs, Santas, each villa, semi and bungalow putting on a silvery show to rival Las Vegas. This is safe Tory territory, David Davis's seat no less, and a seasonal reminder that along with low tax and low immigration, traditional Conservatives love high camp. Probably for the best, then, that David Cameron has given up trying to wean his core voters off their addiction to ruinous electricity bills. ..
A mere three or four miles farther into town, you come to the Avenues, a Victorian enclave near the university, the Hampstead of Hull, home to the city's middle-class lefty community, such as it is. Here, in the safe Labour seat of Hull North, lies another feast for the student of flashing festive festoonery, the point being that there isn't any. Complete blackout. It's as if all the lecturers and teachers were worried the Luftwaffe is still overhead poised to unload. The Professor Emeritus of Economic History who lives opposite my parents has a wreath on his door the size of a saucer. My mum and dad, I notice, have gone for the single red star in the porch, Kremlin-style. Further up the road, someone (probably a Liberal) has gone for the single word display: HUMBUG. A compromise of sorts, yet not doing much to undermine the idea that of all the reasons the Left will never be truly popular in this country, the fact that it mistrusts anything popular is the strongest.
It is always the ex-Council House with the biggest display, the hard grafter who benefited from Thatcher's legacy, if Cameron can get them back voting Tory he is a certainty. But I fear he is of the miserablist school of decorations.
December 19, 2007
You may not have noticed that you have a problem with fire stations, but fortunately the Department of Communities & Local Government is there to put you right. Today, the bit of government that is all that remains of John Prescott's expensive and ephemeral empire unveiled its "vision for a new generation of open, accessible, inviting and environmentally friendly fire stations" in the shape of its guide, Achieving Design Quality in Fire and Rescue Buildings.
"The design of many fire stations - often intimidating and closed-looking Victorian buildings - does not make them naturally attractive places for the public," it says here. "The popular image of fire stations is often of red bay doors opening briefly to allow out a blue light fire engine before closing again to the outside world."
Well, apparently this is A Bad Thing, and the design guide is intended to change this. "Firefighters' first job will always be fighting fire, but stations can also play a greater role in promoting good community relations by opening up to them and putting a greater emphasis on prevention by increasing education about fire safety," said Fire Minister Parmjit Dhanda.
The trouble with fine old buildings, of course, is that they're not environmentally friendly (the guide announcement is headlined "Green fire stations to open up to local communities"). And they don't "offer high tech facilities",* aren't "welcoming and accessible to the community", or environmentally friendly". They don't meet the needs of diverse communities, "reflecting them in their workforce."
So the guide suggests new uses that would help engage the local community (and, one might speculate, point towards alternative roles for fine old but redundant buildings). Hosting community events and services, "on site cashpoints", car parking space for rural areas, and providing "space for art displays." Or property development opportunities - but we made that last bit up (possibly). ®
Not one in a million is fit to it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity
"My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) - or to `unconstitutional' Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word state (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate!"... "If we could get back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and the process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people. If people were in the habit of referring to `King George's council, Winston and his gang', it would do a long way to clearing thought, and reducing the frightful landslide into Theyocracy"..."The proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit to it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity" - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1995), p. 63- 64.
Chewing the Fat
...the conventional risk factors for cardiovascular disease “decreased with increasing degrees of obesity.”
Yes, you read that correctly, decreased.
“Therefore,” the authors argued ... “the criteria for obesity surgery should be changed to lower BMIs than are currently used.”...
To sum up, they want to treat those with the lowest actual chances of dying, using a treatment so risky it’s been shown to increase the risks of dying by nearly 400% among those at the highest risks? This is a risk-benefit ratio that goes against all medical practice ethics and integrity.
But they are surgeons; if you ask a surgeon if surgery is needed what do you expect him to say? They have wives and children to support you know....
Labour Voter's Bank to cost us dear, but Brown is bouncing back.
Northern Rock rescue to cost us £1,800 each - Telegraph
Ministers yesterday announced that public guarantees to the beleaguered bank could rise to £57 billion - almost as much as the annual Whitehall education budget - with a full-scale nationalisation now thought to be imminent.
You would have the voters might have realised that the Government hasn't got a clue, but:
Poll shows Labour still Rock with voters after bank panic - Scotsman.com News
LABOUR'S popularity with voters has increased despite the Northern Rock crisis, a new opinion poll showed today.
The ICM survey found Labour support up one point to the symbolic 40 per cent level which usually gives parties confidence ahead of an election.
The same poll showed Tory leader David Cameron had become Britain's least popular party leader, with an approval rating below that of both Gordon Brown and the Liberal Democrats' Sir Ming Campbell.
And another poll found public trust in the Government hardly shaken by the Northern Rock panic. In that Populus survey, 56 per cent of people said they trusted Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling,
56% - what a market of suckers, I must start printing that Bridge Sale Prospectus again...
Two Britains on the road
Only honest drivers get fined | Ross Clark - Times Online
As the police and the DVLA between them attempt to police the roads by remote control..why bother taking a driving test, buying insurance and registering her vehicle at all when she could look forward to years of road-hogging and illegal parking with minimal chance of being caught?
It is scandalous enough that the personal data of millions of British driving test applicants have gone missing on a computer disc in America, but even worse is the failure of the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) to keep accurate data in the first place. There are at least one million drivers on the roads who needn't worry about the DVLA spewing their insurance details to potential criminals — they don't have any insurance. Similarly, the owners of 820,000 vehicles need not worry about their names, addresses and registration details going missing: the DVLA has admitted it doesn't even have the information.
Drive along a British road and it is easy to imagine that everything is under control: reckless motorists will quickly be trapped by speed cameras, unregistered and stolen vehicles will soon be scooped up by the numberplate recognition cameras now fitted at every petrol station. The reality, of course, is that a system of traffic policing that is ever more reliant on the recognition of numberplates is only as good as the database of vehicle owners that sustains it — and that is next to useless. It is fine for catching out honest, if careless, drivers, yet the growing population of motoring outlaws gets to drive with impunity.
I remember taking the ferry over to Rosslare, and because my car had low ground clearance I was down on the commercial deck with the Transit vans. Of the eight that surrounded me only two had tax discs. If you are middle class you worry about such things but in today's Britain if you slip below the radar, stay there.
THE largest proposed reform of sexual offences laws in Scotland is unveiled today, raising hope that the country's historically low rate of rape convictions can be improved.
For the first time in Scots law, the concept of consent in rape cases will be clearly defined in statute. It will also be spelled out to judges and juries that a woman cannot be held responsible for an attack on her if she was so drunk that she was incapable of agreeing to sex.
If the woman is so drunk she can't be held responsible for her actions, as we all know women are delicate flowers who aren't actually real grown up people, what about the man? Can he use the excuse he was so drunk he didn't realise the coyote ugly slapper wasn't actually Katie Price begging for it? No?
We are not talking about women who have been drugged or forced to have sex, we are saying that women who make the free choice to get drunk are given a free pass? Does that include if they decide to go for a drive rather than have a knee trembler in the alley? It is sexist dangerous nonsense and women are insulted by it.
Buy a Swastika for Christmas
A Finnish charity is selling silver rings emblazoned with a swastika to raise money for World War II veterans. The €60 ($86) silver bands feature a swastika flanked by stylized wings. A small rosette sits in the center. The rings are on sale until Dec. 31 at R-Kioski supermarkets in Finland and online.
In most countries, the swastika is forever linked to the horrors of Hitler's regime, but for centuries in Finland it has been a symbol of good luck - during the Second World War, Finnish military aircraft even sported blue swastikas as they fought the Nazis.
"We thought they would make great Christmas presents for men, or for young people if their grandparents fought in the war," said Pia Mikkonen, the head of the Finnish Veterans' Association.
She added that sales had not been as strong as she would have liked.
Strange that, and as far as I can see the online ordering is only in Finnish which is beyond my monoglottal skills.
December 18, 2007
Hick Clog Wins Lib Dem Thingy - The Musical
Our decision is final, ish.
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Radio 1 censors Pogues' Fairytale
Tuesday, 18 December 2007, 15:50 GMT
A Radio 1 spokeswoman said the station's management had met on Tuesday morning to discuss the issue. She said they "had made their decision" and would not be going back on it.
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Radio 1 backs down in Pogues row
Tuesday, 18 December 2007, 17:26 GMT
BBC Radio 1 has said it will allow the Pogues' Fairytale of New York to be played on the station uncut, after criticism of a decision to censor it.
But after a day of criticism from listeners, the band, and the mother of singer Kirsty MacColl, they changed their minds.
Controller Andy Parfitt said the original decision was "wrong".
One shouldn't mock when people change their minds, there isn't enough of it; but the anonymous spokeswoman needs giggling at...
I'm dreaming of a white Christmass
The Tories yesterday attacked a third security failure by Customs officers after it was alleged cocaine, passports and illegal contraband had gone missing from a secure warehouse.
The seized drugs and goods vanished from an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) store at Coventry Airport.
It is the latest scandal to rock the government department that lost the personal details of 25 million people on the child benefits system and discs containing the names and addresses of more than 7000 Northern Ireland motorists.
Reports claim cocaine worth £80,000 from six Customs raids, as well as other items have gone missing.
Police are now investigating if the items were stolen or have simply been lost.
An HMRC official refused to confirm the details of what is thought to be missing.
But he said: "We can confirm that a small number of items are missing from one of our offices in the Coventry area.
Could happen to anyone, £80,000 worth of cocaine just goes missing, have they tried looking down the back of the cistern?
I used to know someone who worked at Coventry Airport, I haven't seen him around for a week or so....
Healthy but Dead - the Doctor's ideal patient
People in medieval times were healthier than modern Britons because they did not suffer from cholesterol related diseases, it has been claimed
Roger Henderson, a GP who carried out the research, said his findings suggested the medieval diet was by far the healthiest for the average man - low in saturated fats and transfats, high in vegetables and a moderate amount of weak alcohol daily.
Combined with a highly active workload this meant their risk of heart disease, diabetes and diseases linked to obesity were much less than in 2007.
But the average lifespan in medieval times was about half of what it is now ....
Data Loss Fines
Record fine for Norwich Union error that left 7m at risk - Times Online
Norwich Union was fined a record £1.26 million yesterday after security failures at its call centres allowed fraudsters access to policyholders’ details and put almost seven million customers at risk of financial fraud.
I'm still searching through the papers to find out how much Government Ministers are going to be fined for scattering our personal data around like confetti. That Ruth Kelly ought to be good for about half a Bernie at that going rate.
The Faggots of Radio One
Radio 1 bosses have bleeped out the word faggot from the song, for fear it will offend homosexuals, a spokesman said: "This step has been taken as this is a word that members of our audience would find offensive."
Well in the hope I offend the faggots in charge of Radio 1 here it is...
Bad news for Beardies
Beards have a huge effect on how people are seen. When compared with the clean-shaven, those sporting white beards are seen as less generous (by 28 per cent), cheerful (39 per cent) and caring (29 per cent).
As Prof Wiseman points out, throughout history men with facial hair have been thought to possess wisdom, sexual virility or high status.
"There was a positive relationship between the amount of beard, and adjectives such as masculine, mature, dominant, self-confident, and courageous," reveals Prof Wiseman
But there have been some worrying signs that beards are sending out a sinister semaphore. Recent surveys show that more than half of the Western public believe clean-shaven men to be more honest than those with facial hair.
"Apparently, beards conjure up images of diabolical intent, concealment, and poor hygiene," says Prof Wiseman.
"Although there is absolutely no relationship between honesty and facial hair, the stereotype is powerful enough to affect the world - perhaps explaining why everyone on the Forbes 100 list of the world's richest men is clean-shaven, and why no successful candidate for the American presidency has had a beard or moustache since 1910."
But at least there was one consolation for Father Christmas in our survey - if we distrust those with white beards, the effect is even worse for those who have not gone grey.
People with dark beards are seen as far less generous (a drop of 38 per cent), cheerful (51 per cent) and caring (36 per cent).
December 17, 2007
Ding Dong Merrily on High - Gordon is losing his marbles
Gordon Brown has been accused of leading a Government in paralysis after a new poll showed Labour falling even further behind the Conservatives....
His personal approval has now slumped from a 48 per cent net positive reading in the early weeks of his premiership to 26 per cent net negative now.
It came amid claims that Mr Brown is "too demoralised" to introduce new banking rules after the run on Northern Rock.
One senior Bank of England official told Irwin Stelzer, the economist and writer, that senior ministers were "unable to focus because morale throughout the Government is so low"...
However, David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary regarded by Blairites as a possible successor to Mr Brown, insisted that the Government was not in crisis.
"It doesn't feel like meltdown at all," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show. "This is a Government getting on with the big and difficult decisions. And Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog are going to have a really big adventure with lashings of ginger beer..."
Had I a heart for falsehood framed - Sheridan
Had I a heart for falsehood framed,
I ne'er could injure you;
For though your tongue no promise claimed,
Your charms would make me true:
To you no soul shall bear deceit,
No stranger offer wrong;
But friends in all the aged you'll meet,
And lovers in the young.
Nobel prize for economics
Banal though it may be, I remember playing SimCity 2000 as a teenager on my computer. Every time I tried to set up a high-tax, high-service economy within my city, my economy, followed by the city itself, stagnated. The answers have been staring me in the face for years.
Many years ago in a different place I noted the excellent work The Sims were doing in teaching real economics. My boys were similarly impressed by the truths it revealed. I have never played it but I bet I could beat Gordon, Darling and Batshit with one hand tied behind my back. And The Sims and Sims 2 with 30 million copies, at least, shipped deserve the Nobel Prize because I can't think of any other economic's text so widely spread that isn't a little red book.
December 16, 2007
Professor Sir David King the Government's chief scientist singled out women who find supercar drivers "sexy", adding that they should divert their affections to men who live more environmentally-friendly lives.
Alongside aesthetic reasons why women may prefer a partner arriving in a high status symbol cool and relaxed to a sweaty beardy on a bike there are medical reasons:
The most common bicycling associated urogenital problems are nerve entrapment syndromes presenting as genitalia numbness, which is reported in 50–91% of the cyclists, followed by erectile dysfunction reported in 13–24%. Other less common symptoms include priapism, penile thrombosis, infertility, hematuria, torsion of spermatic cord, prostatitis, perineal nodular induration and elevated serum PSA, which are reported only sporadically.
Urologists should be aware that bicycling is a potential and not an infrequent cause of a variety of urological and andrological disorders caused by overuse injuries affecting the genitourinary system.
Instead of Turkey
just in time for The Christmas alternatives to turkey; are ten days enough to hang it for flavour? A quick flash fry of the steaks or a rib roast? So many questions, but at least there should be enough for cold sandwiches on Boxing Day.
Government's Maddest Ever Decision
Last week... Gordon Brown committed us to what I do not hesitate to call the maddest single decision ever made by British ministers.
And there is some stiff competition there, can you guess which one it is?
Science not the answer, back to the stone age - says Science Editor
A lungful of carbon delusion | Jonathan Leake, the Science Editor of The Sunday Times
As individuals it means making less use of cars, aircraft, central heating and so on. For businesses it means changing the way we work ....
The first step is simply to realise that there is no technological saviour about to come galloping over the horizon. Adapting to global warming is no longer about changing our technologies: it is about changing our minds.
No wonder the Sunday Times is so piss poor in its science coverage - its editor doesn't have faith and feel excitement in the promise of it. But then he seems to double as the Environment Editor as well....
December 15, 2007
Welcoming home our troops
They fired their guns until they could fire them no more, they lived for six months under almost continuous enemy fire and suffered the horror of seeing colleagues killed and maimed. But talk to any of the young men and women who have just returned from active service in Iraq, and all they want to do is get straight back into the thick of the action.
CHEERING, flag waving crowds gave a hero's reception to soldiers from 4th Battalion The Rifles - the Lions of Basra - when they marched through Salisbury on Tuesday.
Thousands of people lined the route from the Cathedral Close into the city centre, in what was possibly the biggest welcome home given to troops locally since the end of the Second World War.
And they burst into spontaneous applause and cheering as the 522 soldiers from the Journal's adopted regiment, led by the Band of The Rifles, passed by.
After marching through the city, many of the soldiers attended a reception for 350 guests, hosted by the Mayor in the Guildhall, while others were given time off to enjoy specially-reduced price refreshments in city pubs and restaurants.
Leader and Deputy Leader of the District Council, Paul Sample (Liberal Democrat) and Steve Fear (Labour) did not attend the ceremony.
Brown's Bust is starting to hurt
It is about now in the economic cycle that you hear the old refrain that we must not talk ourselves into a recession. With most indicators in the West pointing to a slowdown, business leaders and ministers frown at any mention of the R word, or worse, the S (for slump) word.
It sounds very responsible. Confidence, Keynes’s animal spirit, plays a huge part in determining economic outcomes. If every consumer stops spending, every businessman puts capital investment plans on hold, every investor retreats to cash, there will indeed be an economic freeze.
'Desperate' stores slash prices for Christmas - Telegraph
Retailers are offering their biggest pre-Christmas discounts as the credit crisis takes its toll on High Street spending.
Prices are being slashed at big-name stores, including Argos, BHS, Debenhams, Halfords, Toys R Us and Boots, with 80 per cent off the cost of some gifts in a "desperate attempt" to woo reluctant shoppers.
A castrated lion – the perfect symbol for European defence policy
The proud motto of northern Europe’s crack rapid-reaction force is ad omnia paratus. Prepared for everything, everywhere. But the heraldic lion above the Latin tag now sends a less plucky message – he has just been digitally emasculated and, though technically still a lion rampant, he does not seem to be ready for anything, anywhere.
The change was implemented after a group of women Swedish soldiers protested that they could not identify with such an ostentatiously male lion on their army crest. A complaint of sex discrimination was then lodged with the European Court of Justice.
“We were forced to cut the lion’s willy off with the aid of a computer,” Christian Braunstein, from the Tradition Commission of the Swedish Army, said.
Most upset, though, was Vladimir Sagerlund, the designer of the crest from the National Archives. “A heraldic lion is a powerful and stately figure with its genitalia intact and I cannot approve an edited image,” he told öteborgs-Posten, a Swedish daily.
“The Army lacks knowledge about heraldry. Coats of arms containing lions without genitalia were given to those who betrayed the Crown.”
The English three lions used to be entire but appropriately no longer are...
We are saved
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Climate deal sealed by US U-turn
The "Bali roadmap" initiates a two-year process of negotiations designed to agree a new set of emissions targets to replace those in the Kyoto Protocol.
Those thousands of journeys and millions of words weren't wasted see - the world is saved because they have agreed to having more talks about talks...
To the point
I was going to blog on the Home Office announcing that it plans to go ahead with a proposal to ban what they are calling 'cheap imitation Samurai swords'
But I needn't bother as Simon Clark has it done it far better than I would have done.
December 14, 2007
Miliband - who dressed him?
Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: Friday Caption Contest has a picture of Gordon signing away the country. What took my eye was the boy Miliband standing alongside.
What a bloody disgrace he looks. Has he done the jacket up on the wrong buttons, or is it just a badly fitting cheap suit? He looks like a schoolboy whose Sunday Suit was bought last year and is being made to last for an extra year. Hasn't he got a mummy to dress him before he has a photo taken?
And any excuse to republish his kiddie fiddler pose is good enough...
Friday Night is Music Night
Kapo Miliband - a embarrassment
Mr Miliband bounded boyishly on stage, signed both books quickly, and paused as if he felt he ought to write something else, as in a visitors’ book: “Thanks for a lovely lunch. So Sorry Gordon couldn’t make it. David xx.”
Since he had no prime minister with whom to shake hands, Mr Miliband shook hands with Verena Schubert, a protocol officer (the European Council’s equivalent of an usher). Ms Schubert, whose duties for the day had until then included handing pens to the signatories, looked rather surprised.
To describe him as pathetic is slightly wrong as "Pathos" implies he arouses compassionate pity, and I feel neither of those for the twat. He was signing on behalf of Her Brittannic Majesty and us, he is just a fucking disgrace.
Thoughtcrime in the Evil Empire
The leader of the Front National party is due to face charges of conspiring to justify war crimes and to deny Nazi crimes against humanity, both violations of France's Holocaust denial legislation.
It isn't really important what he said;
"In France at least, the German occupation was not especially inhumane, even if there were a number of excesses - inevitable in a country of 550,000 sq km (220,000 sq miles).
"If the Germans had carried out mass executions across the country as the received wisdom would have it, then there wouldn't have been any need for concentration camps for political deportees."
"If one compares what happened here to what occurred in Belgium, Holland, Poland or elsewhere, it [my statement] is self-evident. In these three countries the Jews were completely exterminated, while in France I persist that the proportions were far too great, but not in the same league," he said. "To stop me from speaking and to pursue me in the courts is unacceptable and really anti-democratic."
But only for us to note that we now signed up to be part of this empire where thought crimes are prosecuted.
Spending within our means
Labour made the charge after it was revealed that the Scottish Government has delayed by six months the publication of the report that calculates the gap between expenditure and revenue north of the Border.
The Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland document last year revealed an £11.2 billion "black hole" in Scotland's finances,..
So that is the real cost of Scotland... wonder where they make up the missing money from? Meanwhile in other news the SNP continue to throw English money around ...
LOCAL authorities are to receive above-inflation cash settlements from the Scottish Government – enough to allow them to fund a council-tax freeze across the country.
They will get rises ranging from more than 7.5 per cent to 3.4 per cent, John Swinney, the finance secretary, told MSPs yesterday.
And in a surprise move, he revealed the Scottish Government was to consider giving extra funding to Edinburgh to recognise its status as a capital city.
Cyclists ‘voted early and often’ to win £50m - Times Online
A cycling charity has been accused of manipulating The People’s £50 Million Lottery Giveaway by encouraging its supporters to vote several times each for its entry.
The Big Lottery Fund announced on Wednesday that Sustrans had won the money with 42 per cent of the 286,000 votes cast.
The Times has learnt that a manager for Sustrans circulated an e-mail that encouraged people to vote as many times as possible.
According to my big number machine that makes each vote worth £416.25 for the beardies, at that rate if they had forsaken their love of nineteenth century technology they should have racked up a few more votes. Fuck me why don't we buy each of them a GT Aggressor XC2 20" Mens Mountain Bike and give them the £16.26 change for them to buy themselves a cheese and ham ploughmans and several pints of Real Ale. That should keep them happy and save the rest of us and the country from the encroachment by miles of "special" paths and garishly coloured ecofreaks wrapped in lycra looking like Jackson Pollock designed condoms
Another Labour Success
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said only one per cent of potential buyers was asking to see the contents of a Hip when viewing a property.
From today, sellers of all residential properties in England and Wales are required to provide a Hip, at a cost of between £300 and £600.
James Scott-Lee, a spokesman for RICS, said: "The survey results clearly show the complete apathy potential buyers have for Hips. They are seen as an unnecessary added tax on the selling process that you can't even give away."
December 13, 2007
Mine Your Own Business - a follow up email
You may remember the story of a mine in a small Romanian town (and resident Gheorghe Luchian). George Soros and his radical environmentalists have been calling for a halt to the progress in the mine's development. While he claims to have altruistic motives, Bill Hobbs took a closer look into billionaire financier George Soros and claims to have discovered his real motives.
Soros is using his billions to halt progress on the mining project with one company and from the looks of it poising himself to buy the mine for his own profits. And this isn't the first time Soros has made a grab for gold
.. Proving money really can buy you everything – including a gold mine!
It's hot, hot, hot...
Dr Vicky Pope from the Met Office Hadley Centre, who has been attending the conference said, "The last few days have provided an important platform for debate and confirms the need for swift action to combat further rises in global temperatures because of human behaviour."
...The last six years (2002-2007) are set to become the six warmest years....
I've added a trend line...
Oh, sorry, the reason it isn't warmer is because " the La Niña event has taken some of the heat out of what could have been an even warmer year."
Ah, so the La Nina destroys the excess heat; I'm not sure how that squares with the first law of thermodynamics but then I'm not a climate scientist...
The Kapo Miliband
Miliband signs EU Treaty in Lisbon | UK Latest | Guardian Unlimited
Foreign Secretary David Miliband signed the controversial European Union Reform Treaty on Britain's behalf at a ceremony in Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
He gets all upset when comparisons with the Second World War are brought up, and at any hint he acts like a Judenrat or collaborator with the occupying power. Well good, I hope he fucking cries himself to sleep, the little shit; I will sleep well dreaming of the glorious day when he and his kind have their heads shaved and are paraded through the streets.
Meta to the power of four?
Death of Democracy Day.
This should be remembered as the death of democracy day. This is the day that the UK accepts an undemocratic Treaty which even contains powers to avoid these difficulties in future when the EU wants to grab more power from us.
And nothing in the papers this morning, I thought it was only me having a bad dream.
British Heroes For Today
Morgan Stanley Great Britons '07... each has displayed the core British characteristics of adaptability, modesty, humour and determination. Together they say more about what it means to be British than a single definition.....
And here is 2007 shortlist
Damien Hirst (artist)
Sir Ian McKellen (actor)
JK Rowling (author)
Sir Ronald Cohen (founder, Apax Partners)
Sir John Rose (chief executive, Rolls-Royce)
Michael Spencer (founder, ICAP)
Shami Chakrabarti (director, Liberty)
Sir Ranulph Fiennes (explorer)
Marion Janner (founder, Star Wards Project)
Michael Boyd (artistic director, RSC)
Stephen Fry (actor and presenter)
Jonathan Ive (senior vice president of industrial design, Apple Inc.)
Jeremy Leggett (chief executive, Solarcentury)
Sir Jonathan Porritt (co-founder, Forum for the future)
Tim Smit (co-founder and chief executive, Eden Project)
Professor Colin Blakemore
Professor Sir Martin Evans
Professor Sir David King
Lewis Hamilton (F1 driver)
Ricky Hatton (boxer)
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (sailor)
What a depressing bunch, one or two or deserve to be on it I suppose but if they are what it takes to be British count me out. To describe most of them as oh so trendy establishment lapdogs would be insulting to lapdogs, but then the Bank wants winners who will put on the monkey suit and smile along side the Chief Exec for the publicity shots. As an aside I note none of them actually serve the country at the sharp end where bullets fly, so who should be on a real Heroes List? My quick suggestions, yours are welcomed.
Arts - J K Rowling is as good a choice as any - she has achieved her success of old fashioned books by unfashionable hard work without suckling the public teat.
Business - Heroes? - you must be joking.
Campaigning - Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart
Creatives - Stephen Fry as he would be amusing at the awards dinner.
Environment - Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley for bringing some sense to the climate change debate in a very British way
Science & Innovation - Heston Blumenthal for making science digestible - try his spaghetti carbonara
Sport - Delete, insert Armed Forces.
Avoiding the EU Landfill Tax caused the F&M outbreak
Contractors ‘sold top soil contaminated with foot-and-mouth virus’ - Times Online
The second wave of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Surrey is likely to have been caused by contaminated soil from the Government’s Pirbright scientific research laboratory, an official inquiry has been told.
It is alleged that contractors working on the £121 million modernisation programme at the laboratory collected soil contaminated with live virus at the site and sold it as top soil. ...
The allegations, if proven, will bring new embarrassment to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Under government guidelines, waste from any site dealing with live disease viruses requires a disposal licence from the Environment Agency, but Defra, which took charge of the modernisation works at the laboratory, appears to have overlooked the need for such a licence in this case.
Top soil is sold for £10 a cubic yard and a lorryload would be enough for 20 cu yards or £200. The cost of dumping in a landfill site would be £2 per cu yard for inert soil or £40 for 20 cu yards.
But given that the Pirbright laboratory was handling live virus and there was potential for hazardous waste, the landfill charge should have been at least £24/cu yard or £480 for 20 cu yards.
To correct The Times those charges are just the Landfill Tax rates - the owner of the hole in the ground would also charge for the use of his hole.
So yet again we see how the mad EU mandated Landfill tax causes flytipping and pollution, this second outbreak has cost a minimum of £100 million so far...
Scotsman.com News - 'Racism' on trial… or a hammer to crack a nut?
AN ELDERLY taxi driver held in a police cell for 12 hours after he used racist words in front of his white passengers has told of his relief at being cleared of criminal charges.
The accusations, by the wife and daughter of a former Labour MP, Jane Ross, the wife of former Dundee Labour MP Ernie Ross, and her daughter, Karen Girolami, sent the great-grandfather, who has an unblemished record, into a spiral of depression.
Last night, politicians and campaigners welcomed the decision, describing the determination to prosecute in the first place as "crazy".
A legal expert said Mr Young's case threw up questions over the definition of racism, and a spokesman for Help The Aged Scotland said it demonstrated the challenge to older generations in keeping pace with changing definitions.
Mrs Girolami, 41, told the court: "He said 'it doesn't matter where they come from because P***s are P***s, C******s are C******s, d*****s are d*****s'."
Now that is disgraceful, Scots with their glottal stops are hard enough to understand at the best of times but to start spitting out asterisks is beyond acceptability..
December 12, 2007
Global Warming Scare - it's over
Are Carbon Emissions the Cause of Global Warming? - Mises Institute
(Gratuitous advice for those whose jobs depend on the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming: Find another job to pay your mortgage and feed your kids!)
Three Stages of Knowledge and the IPCC
Our scientific understanding of global warming has gone through three stages:
1985–2003 Old ice core data led us to strongly suspect that CO2 causes global warming.
2003–2007 New ice core data eliminated previous reason for suspecting CO2. No evidence to suspect or exonerate CO2.
From Aug 2007 Know for sure that greenhouse is not causing global warming. CO2 no longer a suspect.
The IPCC 2007 report (the latest and greatest from the IPCC) is based on all scientific literature up to mid 2006. The Bali Conference is the bureaucratic response to that report. Too bad that the data has changed since then!
The Perils of Being Sober
Bugger bugger bugger - I have done it again, a repeat of last spring. Tripped over the bloody dog, (are you sure no one wants to buy him?) Not a drop had passed my lips all day, you only hurt yourself falling when you're sober; drunk, two flights of stairs, you pick yourself up and only worry about the bottle that broke...
As Dr. Kim pointed out ligaments are plastic not elastic, once buggered always buggered. As the old RSM said - Pain is just an unwelcome call from your neurons, treat like you do when the bank manager calls, ignore it.
At least the Brazilian Strap-on is providing relief...
The 21st Century arrives in t'village
The old pole at the end of the road used to just have a couple of lines off it - BT are replacing it this week with spanky new underground cables. It will be nice to lose the overhead clutter but we also lose the welcome signs of increasing wealth and information access.
Human Right Lawyers Spot Climate Change Bonanza
There is a lot of talk at this year’s UN Climate change conference about climate change being a human rights issue....
Communities at risk from climate impacts have started to argue that climate change violates their human rights. The issue has been the basis of a legal claim launched by the Innuit people of Canada and the United States to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. ....
A number of human rights established in the International Bill of Rights will be violated by climate change. In Tuvalu, for example, a 2OC rise in temperature is likely to cause annual coral bleaching, changing rainfall patterns, more intense extreme events, and sea-level rise. ...
In this case of Tuvalu, climate change puts at risk a number of established rights, including the right to a means of subsistence, the right to an adequate standard of living including to continuous improvement in living conditions, and the right to take part in cultural life. Because of this there is some prospect that Tuvalu may launch legal action to seek restitution for damages.
Indeed, climate change is already violating key human rights already established in the International Bill of Rights, including the right to life, the right to health, and the right to be free from hunger.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) climate change is already responsible for more than 160,000 additional deaths per year around the world, largely through the way it leads to hunger and diarrhoea in developing and least developed countries in Asia and Africa.
The WHO is confident that climate change will increase mortality rates in the future, and that most of these additional deaths will be due to malnutrition, exposure to extreme events, and expansion in the range and changes in the transmission of malaria.
Climate change is and will increasingly violate the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health too. ...
The right to be free from hunger is also already being violated by climate change. The WHO estimates that climate change already causes widespread hunger and malnutrition. Once global average temperatures exceed 3OC, food production is likely to be adversely affected almost everywhere. ...
Because human rights are vulnerable to climate change the 156 countries that are Party to the International Bill of Rights are obliged to avoid actions that impinge on these rights. Climate change does and will increasingly violate human rights, so, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are required to protect human rights.
However, there is a danger that actions to reduce emissions may also violate human rights. At this year’s climate change conference indigenous and environmental NGOs have been reminding countries that actions such as clearing rainforests and displacing forest communities to produce biofuels violates human rights.
(Jon Barnett, Nusa Dua, Bali.The writer is a professor of environment, Melbourne University).
So I have a "right to to continuous improvement in living conditions.. and the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health too". How does making me live in a yurt with only a candle to power my bicycle instead of relaxing in comfort in front of a roaring coal fire with the Hummer outside on tick-over fulfil that? Can I sue?
Climate Change Deaths
Seventy years ago Britain was in the grip of a savage freeze. Snow fell heavily over much of the country during December, in some cases accompanied by thunder, lightning and gales. A snowstorm on December 8 across Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset left roads blocked, cars stranded and telegraph poles felled.
On December 10, disaster struck the railway station at Castlecary, between Falkirk and Glasgow. Heavy snow that day had led to big delays, and by late afternoon showers of large, thick, snowflakes fell. A local train was brought to a halt outside Castlecary station while the tracks were cleared. A few minutes later an express train from Edinburgh to Glasgow ran through a danger signal at about 70mph — in the heavy snow and fading light, the train driver had not seen the signal. The express train smashed into the back of the stationary train, hurling its engine 100 yards down the track. Both trains were full of commuters and shoppers, and 35 people were killed and 179 injured. It was Britain’s worst snow-related rail crash.
The Campaign for Fighting Diseases, run by Philip Stevens (formerly of the ASI), does excellent work on health policy issues in the developing world. Most recently, they have been pointing out the flaws in the World Health Organization's approach to climate change.
Although WHO claims that climate change is responsible for all manner of health threats to the developing world, the evidence suggests this is not the case. .... We are always hearing that climate change is going to cause more natural disasters and kill lots of people (particularly in the developing world), but deaths from climate related natural disasters have in fact fallen dramatically since the 1920s. This is purely the result of economic growth and the technological advances it has brought.
The point is clear: rising wealth will reduce the incidence ... lessen the human cost of natural disasters in the developing world, regardless of climate change. You would think, then, that the WHO would be doing everything it could to promote the economic development of poor countries. Yet the global emissions caps they advocate would undoubtedly hurt the poor by retarding their economic growth.
The WHO should forget environmentalism and focus on the real barriers to good health in poor countries. ... H/T ADAM SMITH
The true Labour vision of respect for law and due process
"Mr Clarkson had been accused of failing to name the driver on a speeding ticket, but the case was dropped before it even began."
"The summons was fatally flawed. They did not have any information as to who the driver was. They only had information as to who the car was loaned to.
"The form wasn't completed correctly."
Neil Harding ...stupid libertarian reason about incriminating yourself... for protecting the wealthy...procedural technicality...most people would not have found this loophole and would have paid the fine straight away without going to court and costing the taxpayer a fortune. Clarkson did the crime but refuses to pay the fine. You know it, I know it and so does he. He is immoral and smug and deserves punishment....I think the case should be resubmitted and Clarkson tried properly rather than getting away on a technicality.
So the CPS cock up, and our favourite Labourite wants to bang up a rich man just "because", thank goodness we still have an independent British Legal System, until the EU and nuLabour take it over...
Iraqi Interpreters - Government is “wriggling out” of its promise
Britain's breach of honour over Iraq interpreters - Times Online
More than half the Iraqi interpreters who applied to come to live in Britain have had their applications rejected, drawing accusations that the Government is “wriggling out” of its promise to help former Iraqi employees.
The Times has learnt that 125 of the 200 interpreters who took up the offer to resettle in Britain have failed to meet the strict criteria laid down for eligibility.
The revelation challenges Gordon Brown’s pledge in August that the Government would fulfil its “duty of care” to those who had served with British troops.
Utter utter shits - and as a commentator on the The Times says :"And yet, Britain actively seeks the return of those 4 inmates at Guantanamo Bay....."
December 11, 2007
2007 - An Inconvenient Truth
4 January 2007
2007 - forecast to be the warmest year yet
2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998, say climate-change experts at the Met Office.
Each January the Met Office, in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, issues a forecast of the global surface temperature for the coming year. The forecast takes into account known contributing factors, such as solar effects, El Niño, greenhouse gases concentrations and other multi-decadal influences. Over the previous seven years, the Met Office forecast of annual global temperature has proved remarkably accurate, with a mean forecast error size of just 0.06 °C.
Met Office global forecast for 2007
* Global temperature for 2007 is expected to be 0.54 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14.0 °C;
* There is a 60% probability that 2007 will be as warm or warmer than the current warmest year (1998 was +0.52 °C above the long-term 1961-1990 average).
Katie Hopkins from Met Office Consulting said: "This new information represents another warning that climate change is happening around the world. Our work in the climate change consultancy team applies Met Office research to help businesses mitigate against risk and adapt at a strategic level for success in the new environment."
I wasn't aware that a "prediction" represents "new information." Well, perhaps it does to a certain breed of consultant. I wonder if the Met Office's clients will ask for their money back if the Met Office's prediction proved way off the mark?" Hall of Record:
"With just a few weeks to go it's looking like 2007 will be the coolest year this century and possibly the coolest since 1995. If so then one more year like this and we will begin to have enough statistical information to speculate about a downward trend, though a few more years will be better.
“We must mobilise our civilisation with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilised for war.”
Whilst Al dreams of leading his battalions into battle in the real world Dennis Ambler sends a link to an interesting article which shows how this:
“A global warming of larger size has almost certainly occurred at least once since the end of the last glaciation without any appreciable increase in greenhouse gases. Because we do not understand the reasons for these past warming events, it is not yet possible to attribute a specific proportion of the recent, smaller warming to an increase of greenhouse gases.”
And if you think it was better scientific knowledge I have a bridge for you to buy.....
Abroad News From Home
Mohammed is set to overtake Jack as the most popular boys' name in Britain as a result of the high birth rate in Muslim families, which is driving the British population to a record high...
Economic migrants from eastern Europe have also helped to boost the population, which is set to rise to 65 million by 2017 - an increase of five million. By 2031, the population will be over 70 million....
Union Fair Dealings is all we ask
"I have a message for them: I will never let you succeed."
He added: "We must confront and defeat the ugly stain of separatism that is seeping through the Union flag."
Better an imperfect union than a broken one. Better an imperfect union than a perfect divorce.
Cameron is on dangerous ground here as he tries to bolster the Scottish Tories. The English don't want independence, all they want is fairness. The union as the larger umbrella unit is great, but when it comes to our rulers Normans such as Cameron should remember that the majority of us are Saxons. And as Kipling said:
....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 dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.
December 10, 2007
Move along, nothing to see.
Labour has failed to disclose that it has received more than £300,000 from a Scottish entrepreneur whose identity was not disclosed to electoral watchdogs.
Imran Khand is said to have sent the money to the party via a "secretive front organisation".
Hidden away on the inside pages; this scandal is losing its legs, the crisis is nearly over unless a new major revelation is uncovered. The truth is that the public aren't bothered; "so they are a bunch of conniving crooks, they all are, so what? We knew that already....."
Safety of our troops is paramount
The "snaps" have had to be removed from more than 650 Christmas crackers being sent to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan because of regulations on the carriage of "explosives".
The original plan was for the troops to receive a cracker to pull with their turkey dinners.
"The troops will just have to go 'bang' themselves when they pull them."
Phew - you can't be too careful can you?
They don't know they're born today!!!
IT IS one of the sunniest countries in the world. But Australia may have gone too far with its "sun safe" messages - causing a major vitamin D deficiency among the population.
Experts said as many as 70 per cent of Australians may have insufficient levels of vitamin D, which is produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
They believe the cause could be too much sun-avoidance in a bid to ward off skin cancer
And if they aren't going down with rickets then they are weakening their bones so they will be more at risk from osteoporosis. If you watch the yummy mummies slapping protection on Tabitha and Tarquin before they are allowed out, and they are only allowed out under close supervision, then I guessed that Fulham is the UK's capital for rickets. Except it isn't - that title goes the neigbourhoods were the girls are wrapped up in dark jilbabs for the whole of their lives.
December 9, 2007
BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire | Driver attacked confronting gang
A man was attacked by a gang of youths after he got out of his car to confront them about throwing missiles.
He was driving along Station Road in Tidworth, Wiltshire, just before midnight on Saturday, when his vehicle was struck by an object.
When he got out to remonstrate with the gang he was assaulted, suffering head and facial injuries.
Sometimes a Peacemaker is the only way to even the odds.
The EU and Africa sign up for democracy - who’s kidding who? | John Redwood's Diary
When I first heard the news that the EU-Africa summit would produce a declaration to promote democracy at its heart I marvelled that African dictators had a sense of humour forcing this statement onto a reluctant EU. The EU after all is famed for ignoring the wishes of voters at every turn. They tell countries that hold referenda to re-run them if they reach the wrong answer. They work with secretive governments to throttle promised referenda at all costs....
The production areas are clean. Although they are cutting metal and using cooling fluids and oil, they ensure all floors and work surfaces are kept dirt free.
The production areas are uncluttered. There is no stock of parts and materials and discarded components littering the workplace.
There is a can do approach. People do not say they cannot change one of the car’s components this week because they are going on holiday or a bit busy. If it needs changing for the race, someone in the team changes it....If men in a car plant can deliver a required standard of cleanliness , can’t we expect the same of staff in a hospital? If it is possible to combine senior management making or agreeing all the big judgements with rapid decision making and devolved authority at an F1 factory, can’t we do the same in the NHS?
Bring on the Hounds
Maybe the Tories aren’t so barking mad after all | Rod Liddle - Times Online
Dogs are notoriously right-of-centre creatures, of course; loyal, patriotic, implacably pro-hunting, wedded to the idea of the monogamous heterosexual middle-class family unit, deeply suspicious – to the point of violence – of all aliens.
Dogs – even the most stupid dalmatian or red setter – understand such half-forgotten terms as obedience, duty and discipline. Tell them to chase a stick and they will do so, without questioning why or contacting a lawyer and filing a complaint to a tribunal. Tell them to shut up and sit down and they will do so, with a chastened expression.
Until quite recently they were the country’s favourite pet – but about 10 years ago (oddly enough) they were usurped by the sinister and poisonous cats. There are now many more of these insinuating, manipulative, indolent left-liberal beasts in Britain: ask a cat to chase a stick and it will yawn, urinate on your carpet and then sit on the roof of the shed for the rest of the day in a catatonic stupor. Decadent and idle, they rub themselves up against your leg in a sexually incontinent manner. They are urban creatures, symbolic of an atomised and insular society which has lost its way.
The political debate in this country always lags behind cultural changes; the good news for David Cameron is that dogs are back.
You just can't imagine Gordon Brown with a dog can you, stoking a white cat yes, but a solid dependable Labrador, leave that to David Cameron..
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
Giant offshore wind farms to supply half of UK power - Times Online
Britain is to launch a huge expansion of offshore wind-power with plans for thousands of turbines in the North Sea, Irish Sea and around the coast of Scotland.
John Hutton, the energy secretary, will this week announce plans to build enough turbines to generate nearly half Britain’s current electricity consumption. He will open the whole of Britain’s continental shelf to development, apart from areas vital for shipping and fishing.
The scheme could see turbines so large that they would reach 850ft into the sky, nearly 100ft taller than Canary Wharf. Each would be capable of powering up to 8,000 homes...
It could mean that wind farms would become visible from almost every point of Britain’s coast. Some developers have made clear that they would like to see a forest of turbines stretching up the North Sea, whose shallow waters make it relatively cheap and easy to develop.
There would still be a need to keep fossil-fuelled power stations in reserve because windless days could leave Britain with power shortages. And on cold wet days like today with 90mph winds forecast the whirlygigs would have to be shut down for safety - so the kettle wouldn't boil for cheering cup of Bovril!
It is madness, and disgusting, not just having ruined our wild windy wildernesses they want to destroy the tranquillity and peace of the coastline all in the name of environmentalism.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
A convenient £50m for green Gore - Times Online
WHO would have thought that saving the planet could be such a lucrative business? Al Gore, the former US vice-president turned environmental campaigner, has made more than £50m in just seven years from his books, speeches and shrewd investments in technology and green ventures.
Gore, 59, a failed presidential candidate, has already reinvented himself from the nearly man of American politics into the first global green celebrity. This week he will pick up the Nobel peace prize in Oslo before flying to Bali to take centre stage at the United Nations climate change conference.
Today Gore commands between £50,000 and £85,000 a speech....
Who says a Prophet is not recognised in his own land?
74% of the English call themselves English
a large majority English voters believe everyone in the United Kingdom is better off remaining aboard the good ship Britannia - but many think it won't be long before the order goes out to abandon ship
More than six out of 10 English voters say they feel "British", according to a new opinion poll.
The Telegraph is campaigning for us to call ourselves British "to rally the people of Great Britain around the 1707 Acts of Union. " And are using this 62% figure "call themselves British" to support it. They only get this by including the 41% who call themselves English and British equally. Using the same figures it could equally validly say that 74% call themselves English.
December 8, 2007
Lancet accused of making up mortality figures
The news media's been reporting a paper in The Lancet this past week that purports to "prove" that salt produces chronic disease mortality, killing 8.5 million persons around the world. As the headline writers penned, that would be a serious condition, indeed, if it were true. But a closer look shows the authors engaged in the same statistical sleight-of-hand that was on display at the FDA hearing a couple weeks ago.
No matter how you quantify the enormous costs associated with chronic disease and, in this case, heart disease, the key to assessing the veracity of the numbers associated with salt is the linkage. Simply put, there is none.......
....the authors cite one of two studies of salt reduction in Finland. The study they don't report is the health outcomes of Finland over the year it reduced its citizens' salt intake. Absent any control, the numbers show improvement, but compared with other countries over the years, Finland lagged behind those countries that did NOT reduce salt .
That The Lancet would choose to publish this reflects the policy preference on the author, not a substantive contribution to public health nutrition policy.
Making up the numbers to make a computer model predict the outcome you want to push as public policy, - that sounds familiar....
Oh Dear, Mrs Englishman and the Englishettes have gone away for the weekend leaving me alone for the weekend. Mr FM promises to come over tomorrow to try out his Mauser but to while away the empty hours I happened to pass the King's Arms (officially home of the world's best pint) where they were broaching a cask of limited edition Wadworth's Porter. A Dickensian drink I have never had here on draft before. It was smooth, dark, sweet and chocolatey, with smoky aromas, like Nina Simone in a glass, or licking between Josephine Baker's breasts in the early hours. An hour or two later I have wandered home to find The Colditz Story on the box. Sheer Heaven.
Before I sink into a stupor in front of the roaring fire and whilst the 16 oz fillet steak chambres, before a quick burning on the Aga like St. Joan, let me reminisce about when my father was a POW and they wound up the Italian goons in transit camp by whistling the Cuckoo Dance as they tried to smartly change the guard....
We don't know how to teach so we will tell you how to do it.
Ministers will target the family in a major drive to boost education standards and improve children's lives over the next decade.
In a tacit admission that 10 years of Labour reforms have failed to deliver, a major policy document to be published on Tuesday is expected to place a fresh onus on parents to keep children healthy and help them learn at home.
So they admit they aren't much good at educating the kids themselves, so they are going to tell, cajole and order us how to do it, As the old saying says; if you can't do it, teach; and if you can't teach, teach the teachers; and if you can't do that become an administrator.
Illegal immigrant to face police questions after 50 years here.
Please look after this migrating bear – Paddington gets political - Times Online
The authorities have finally rumbled the nation’s most famous illegal immigrant.
At a time of heightened sensitivity to mass immigration, the refugee background of Paddington Bear has persuaded Michael Bond to write his first novel about him for 29 years.
In a surprisingly political opening chapter to Paddington Here and Now police interrogate the duffelcoat-wearing stowaway from darkest Peru about his residency status and right to remain in England.
The novel is to be published next June to mark the 50th anniversary of the debut of the character in A Bear Called Paddington
Jacqui Smith is promising an inquiry into this lapse and is blaming previous Tory and Blairite Governments for not tackling the problem sooner.
Labour claimed to know the law on donations, at our expense.
Labour got a £180,000 grant to train staff about donations law - Times Online
Labour was paid £180,000 from public funds to help party officials to understand new funding rules shortly before it began accepting secret donations from a property developer, The Times can reveal.
The party applied for and received a “start-up grant” from the Electoral Commission to meet the costs of abiding by the law on declaring donations that Labour had itself enacted. It was for training staff in the duties imposed by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and was specifically for the party to prepare for its requirements on submitting accounts and declaring donations above £5,000.
Ouch, that makes the "Oh we thought they were legal" argument even flimsier, not that ignorance is any excuse.
Who actually received the training? It can't have been Peter Watt, or Jon Mendelson, or Jack Dromedary because they didn't know, did they.
December 7, 2007
Old German Joke
German Composer Stockhausen Is Dead | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited
Friday December 7, 2007 7:01 PM
BERLIN (AP) - Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose electronic works made him one of Germany's most important postwar composers, has died, German state broadcaster ZDF reported Friday. He was 79.
Stockhausen, who gained fame with avant-garde compositions in the 1960s and '70s
Can I be first with the "now he is decomposing" joke?
Friday Night is Music Night
How long before you can work out who it is....
A Dangerous Waste on the NHS
The Government's chief scientific adviser gave warning yesterday that people who use homeopathic medicines could be putting their lives at risk.
Sir David King said homeopathy was of no medical use whatsoever and that those who trusted it to cure serious health problems could be causing themselves more harm than good.
He also told MPs that the Department of Health was wrong to support the use of the alternative medicine and said there was no evidence that it worked.
Sir David's comments raised the issue of why the NHS continues to allow primary care trusts to fund homeopathy.
Of course the fact that the NHS funds five Homoeopathic Hospitals is a scandal. Homeopathy works for the well understood and scientific reason that people feel better after a caring chat with a trained listener and are given a sugar pill. If that is a cost effective treatment, and it probably is, then maybe we should provide it, but it is insulting and dangerous to dress it up in hocus-pocus which means that mean that real illnesses go untreated. I note that Jayne Thomas, the vice-chairman of the Society of Homeopaths, added: "If a patient was seriously ill, any genuine homeopathic practitioner would encourage them to visit a GP." Quite - it doesn't bloody work! If it did it wouldn't be called alternative medicine, it would just be called medicine.
Of course I have always understood the reason the NHS funds the quacks so lavishly is that The Royal Family are ardent believers in it and no one wants to upset them.
You Can't Do That!
I'm going outside, I may be some time
It was good enough for Churchill, but now it’s a crime
The puritans in Whitehall say I’m lower than slime
So I'm going outside and I may be some time
Is it Gordon's troubled mind that refuses to let him sign the treaty?
Prime Minister Gordon Brown may miss out on signing the controversial EU reform treaty in Lisbon next week, Downing Street has said.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband, or Europe Minister Jim Murphy, would sign on the UK's behalf if Mr Brown was not able to be present.
The Prime Minister's date in Lisbon next Thursday clashes with a session before the Commons Liaison Committee,....
Now that is a pretty thin excuse, as a Scottish son of the Manse it strikes me that he wants to avoid being haunted as Macbeth was with a stain upon his hand
“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand?
No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red”.
And I am sure he was raised on the history of the great Protestant Martyr
Thomas Cranmer, who famously proclaimed, and if we may substitute "the EU" for "the pope", appositely :
And now, added he, I come to the great thing, that so much troubleth my conscience more than any thing I ever did or said in my whole life; and that is the setting abroad a writing contrary to the truth, which I here now renounce as things written with my hand contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear of death, and to save my life if it might be; that is, all such bills and papers which I have written or signed with my hand since my degradation, wherein I have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand offended, writing contrary to my heart, my hand shall first be punished; for, may I come to the fire, it shall be first burned. As for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy and antichrist, with all his false doctrine.
"It was the Joos wot done it"
David Abrahams: I feared Jewish conspiracy accusations - Times Online
The property developer at the centre of Labour’s “donorgate” crisis said last night that he had given money secretly to avoid accusations of being part of a Jewish conspiracy. David Abrahams also warned the Government he will come out fighting if ministers start “hammering” him over the row.
In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, Mr Abrahams said all his money had been “earned legitimately”, and none of it had come from Israel, as had been alleged. Mr Abrahams said he was now being linked with Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s chief fundraiser who was investigated in the “cash for honours” inquiry, and Jon Mendelsohn, Labour’s new chief fundraiser. “Some of the things written about me have been terrible. Now they are saying there was a Jewish conspiracy, with Lord Levy, Jon Mendelsohn and me, and that is ridiculous.” ... “The real reason I wanted to remain anonymous was that I didn’t want Jewish money and the Labour Party being put together because this is what I feared would happen. People would say there’s a Jewish conspiracy.”
It has actually amazed and impressed me how the "Jewish" angle to Labour funding has been ignored. I hope it is a sign that we are all grown up enough not to indulge in sly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories rather than us all been too afraid to mention it.
Central England Temperature - Warmer and windier
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, is to declare that Britain has warmed significantly in the past 30 years and violent storms are a regular occurrence.
He will unveil a report showing that the annual average temperature in central England has risen by about 1C since the 1970s.
It will also show that 2006 was the warmest year of the past three decades and that average sea surface temperatures around Britain have risen by 0.7C over the same period.
Violent "windstorms" have become more common in the past 20 years, but the level is only as high as it was at the beginning of the last century.
We are lucky that the role of "adjustments" in the record have been comprehensively debated here by a leading "sceptic" and by the expert from the Met Office.
The longer term view was also sent to me thus:
Our own correspondent writes:
The constant mantra is "increasing incidence of extremes", so I also decided to look at temperature frequency and broke the record into basic bands. You can see these results in the charts as well, including seasonal results and in fact the opposite is true, the range of extreme temperatures has narrowed.
The long temperature improvement from the 19th C is apparent, there is no run away warming, we just don't get the desperately cold years of the past As you noted, the lack of low temperature (Tmin), is driving the situation, rather than any run-away top temperatures. This could well be the result of urbanisation as tarmac etc re-radiates heat at night. The station changes may also be significant latterly.
December 6, 2007
Deer suffering on the League Against Cruel Sports' (LACS) "sanctuary" on Baronsdown on Exmoor
BBC Southwest recently screened an exposé showing deer suffering on the League Against Cruel Sports' (LACS) "sanctuary" on Baronsdown on Exmoor.
The Chosen Few
Two thirds of the 250 primaries in England achieving "perfect" test results were Church of England, Roman Catholic or Jewish schools.
Despite making up just a third of schools nationally, faith schools increased their hold on the top places from 44 per cent two years ago to 66 per cent in 2007. Last night, they hailed the results as a testament to good teaching and discipline.
I can't find the numbers but I think the real story is that the Roman Catholic an Jewish schools are the real stars - there aren't that many of them yet they seem to be very common in the top of the table. Of course many CofE schools are so imbued with the spirit of trendy correctness that they are indistinguishable from the Local Authority sinks.
Breaking the Embargo on Free CDs
The Adam Smith Institute Blog - Britain's favourite think tank blog RSS feed promises:
Friends of the free society need look no further. We have the idea Christmas gift for you and your friends. It's a jazz CD celebrating the right to smoke and drink without puritan officials trying to stop you. And if you move fast, it's yours FREE! You Can't Do That! comes from the Boisdale Blue Rhythm Band, containing 18 free society classics such as A Cup of Coffee and a Cigarette (Irby): When I get up in the morning, I'm feeling mighty low There's just one thing that'll patch me up, I want you all to know It happens every morning, no matter where I'm at I've got to have a cup of coffee and a cigarette... Not to mention Smoke Gets in your Eyes (Harbach/Kern), Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette (Travis/Williams), Cigareets and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women (Spencer) and of course a jazz version of Air on the G String (Bach), which was the theme tune of the Hamlet cigar ads. This hour and ten minutes of pure political incorrectness could be yours. The CD is available here, price £10, from the Boisdale shop. However, I've sweet-talked Simon Clark of Forest, the Free Society organization, to offer up 50 copies to our UK and European readers free of charge! Log in to this blog tomorrow morning and I'll give you all the details.
But for us early morning bloggers all we get on the page is:
You are not authorised to view this resource.
You need to login.
Save one for me guys when you get to work later please and that is my Christmas sorted - thank you.
The Devil is in the detail
Damn his early morning blogging - of course he is dragging his exhausted body to bed after a night of debauchery whilst I am risen fresh and virtuous ready to face the hopeful dawn with a clear conscience and an old man's prostate - but jealousy aside do follow his lead and also read his succinct conclusion.
Data Disc Losses - even more!
The boss of the HM Revenue and Customs, who has presided over the loss of two discs with the details of 25 million people on, has admitted there have been seven other significant data losses in recent years.
The Tories last night said his comments directly contradict assertions by Chancellor Alistair Darling, who has insisted that the loss was an isolated incident.
And that is the ones they know about. If you were a Junior who had posted off some discs and you get a call a day or so later asking where they were wouldn't you just press the copy button again and send them off again without telling anyone - it might be your fault they hadn't arrived and who needs the trouble?
Brown U-Turn due to lack of support
Ministers are to abandon proposals to hold terrorist suspects for up to 56 days without charge under new plans.
Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, will concede that they do not have the necessary support to increase the present limit of 28 days after a public outcry over the planned rise.
A "compromise arrangement" is to be proposed which would require the Home Secretary to seek the approval of Parliament if police wish to hold someone for more than 28 days.
The about-turn is an embarrassment to the Prime Minister who had pledged to increase the time terrorism suspects can be held without charge...
As he had no support from those at the sharp end of fighting terrorism , no support from many senior parliamentarians, no support from the opposition and an uneasy public worrying about this renewed assault on our liberties, all he had were the loyal Brownites to support it, and they are increasingly hard to find....
Baroness Gardener of Porkies on our Daily Bread
Junkfood Science: Abolish thick sliced bread!
The award for the most inane government initiative being debated by politicians to address the “obesity epidemic” goes to the House of Lords. Thick bread slices, they believe, contribute to obesity. A Baroness has actually proposed mandating thinner sliced bread to trim waistlines.
And how are flimsy slices of white pap meant to support the groaning load of streaky bacon dripping with "red", do you want me to get juice all down my shirt every morning?
December 5, 2007
De Gaulle + Sartre + baguette + Sophie Marceau's breasts = the culture of France
France's artistic elite has turned on American critics who claimed that their nation's culture was dead.
The surge of Gallic pride was provoked by the front page of the latest European edition of Time, which asked readers to name a living French artist or writer of international standing.
The magazine itself came up with just one: the singer Johnny Hallyday...
Go on then, name another one..
Nope, he is Belgian....
Lost in News
Oh goody, a proper old Christmas Miss Marple story of the man with no memory, the run away wife, the insurance money; just the stuff to give the people - I mean there wasn't any other news fit for the front page, was there?
Excuse me Sir is that a Police baton or are just pleased to see me?
A MALE stripper accused of possessing offensive weapons while he "masqueraded" as a policeman was dramatically cleared of the charges against him yesterday.
In a decision described as a victory for common sense, a sheriff dismissed the charges against Stuart Kennedy, 24, who uses the name "Sergeant Eros" while performing his police stripogram act at hen parties and other functions.
He was arrested on 17 March outside Aberdeen's Paramount Bar after he has spotted in the street by two female police officers as he was about to do his act. He was wearing a police uniform and utility belt, which contained the batons. .. legal submissions by his solicitor, Iain McGregor, ... submitted that Mr Kennedy had been legally entitled to have the batons in his possession, provided he had reasonable excuse for doing so. The two batons, he said, were "merely props" in his act as a male stripper.
MSPs described the case as an "extraordinary waste of time and money".
Grampian Police and prosecutors had alleged Mr Kennedy - who has spent 41 hours in police custody and appeared in court eight times in connection with the matter - was guilty of offensive weapons charges. This was because his act involved having two police-style batons and an unidentified spray.
"No-one likes to be imitated for entertainment purposes, but just because something annoys a police officer does not make it a crime. In fact, here there is no crime whatsoever."
"It is a shame that a few officers with uniform egos can bring a force into disrepute and waste so much police time and that of the already overstrained justice system."
Encouraging fly tipping
Households have been forced to pay a total £1.5 million in the last year for breaking bin laws, it was reported last night.
The number of penalties issued has gone up by a third over the last 12 months as local authorities impose strict rules on household rubbish
According to figures from councils, almost 44,000 people have been given fines of up to £100 for offences ranging from leaving their rubbish out on the wrong day or putting black plastic bags alongside their wheelie bins.
You might as well just fly tip it in the nearest hedge - the penalty is just the same but you are much less likely to be caught - now that is a result for the environment isn't it?
Danny is Practically Right
You see, I intend to put forward a truly plonking point. The only thing to be said in its favour is that it is right, important and not one you hear that often. And that, my friends, will have to do.
My prosaic point concerns smaller government. Despite 30 years of concerted effort, the Right hasn't got very far arguing for smaller government. Well, it occurs to me that perhaps the Right hasn't been making the best case. ....
The conclusion .... is unmistakable....the individuals at the top of government haven't the time to do all the things they are trying to do.
This is not an argument that will excite philosophers or make a good bumper sticker. But it might make sense to the practical British voter. Government ministers shouldn't have a reach greater than their grasp. They shouldn't seek to do more than they have hours in the day to do properly. That's my case. Plinkety plonk.
December 4, 2007
Judge me on our record on Education
Britain nosedives in education league tables - Telegraph
British teenagers have plummeted down an international education league table, sparking fresh fears that schoolchildren are failing to master the basics.
They fell in a set of new rankings comparing reading, mathematics and science standards in 57 nations - accounting for 90 per cent of the world’s economy.
And no, more money isn't the answer; getting the government out of education and putting parents in charge is by giving them real choice is.
Scots recognise West Lothian
A majority of Scots believe the system that allows their MPs to vote on English-only matters is unjust, a poll released today shows.
The simple belief in "fairness" is for most people a guiding principle so it doesn't surprise me that the Scots recognise what is fair and what isn't, of course "fairness" is a concept that is foreign to the politicians and merely a sound bite word they try to grasp when it is in their interests and ignore when it isn't.
The real cost of Speed Cameras
Anger as fines from speed cameras soar - Telegraph
Almost two million speeding tickets are being issued to motorists each year following Labour's vast expansion of the speed camera network, official figures disclosed last night.
Coupled with an increase in the basic speeding fine, this means speeding tickets are now raising almost £120 million a year - most of which is simply ploughed back into operating the cameras.
But despite the significant increase in speeding penalties in the past 10 years, road deaths have fallen only marginally
And worse it has brought the entire policing system into disrepute within its core support group of the law abiding middle class.
The Best Pint
Wadworth’s Perfect Pint Competition.
Now in its third year, the competition recognises best practice in the serving, storage and presentation of cask beer across its estate of 220 tenancies and 39 managed houses.
There is only one pub that has been in the top three all three years, awarded silver the first year, bronze last year and gold last night.
The King's Arms, All Cannings, officially the best Pint of Wadworth's beer - and as Wadworth's is the finest beer, maybe that means it is simply The Best Pint....
As I happened to be down there last night propping the bar up with an old friend, son and heir and the Lee Metford (I had just been shooting in the rifle range attached to the pub) it doesn't get much better and no wonder I am feeling a little green around the gills this morning...
Temps may get full work rights under EU law - Times Online
Britain looks likely to lose its fight against the EU’s proposed new rights for temporary workers. Employers argue that the change, which would give Britain’s estimated 1.3 million agency workers the same pay and workplace conditions as permanent staff, puts 250,000 jobs at risk.
Ministers have run out of allies in frantic behind-the-scenes talks to block the legislation, after finding themselves on the wrong end of a piece of classic EU horse-trading.
The TUC has long campaigned for an end to “two-tier” workers doing the same job on different pay and conditions. It warned ministers that there would be a political price to be paid if they resisted the new rights.
Reminding us yet again that the TUC is rightly only concerned for the short term interests of its permanent worker members and that its donations to the Labour Party means it pays the piper...
And the Weather today is...
The northeastern United States was blanketed and drivers faced a mix of rain, sleet and snow as the wind gusted up to 40mph (65km/h). Schools cancelled or delayed classes from New York to Maine.
It is a good job Al Gore flew out of the area a couple of days ago or he might not have been able to make it to Bali for the Globular Warning Fest...
The Daily Wendy - Like a Puppet on a string
‘You can’t quit over donations row – or Harman may be next’ - Times Online
Gordon Brown’s election chief, Douglas Alexander, ordered his sister not to resign as Scottish Labour Party leader for fear of causing fallout throughout the Cabinet.
The disclosure that Mr Alexander put pressure on his sister, Wendy Alexander, came as Peter Hain admitted failing to register donations properly and as the Prime Minister tried to rally his demoralised party at a meeting of backbenchers.
If Ms Alexander had resigned over an illegal £950 donation, pressure on Harriet Harman to step down as Mr Brown’s deputy over an illegal donation of £5,500 could have proved irresistible.
Labour sources told The Times that it had been made plain to Ms Alexander that if she fell on her sword over the illegal money from a Jersey-based businessman, it would be difficult for Ms Harman not to follow suit. “That would have left Gordon incredibly exposed,” the source said.
One source told The Times: “She was completely down and incredibly angry. She wanted to go but then the message came from London: you must stay. After that we had to decide how to present her decision as a decision made by her.”
She is being hung out to dry by her Lords and Masters in Westminster and bang goes any notion of the Scottish Labour Party being anything other than the plaything of the National Party. Standing by her man whilst she is walked all over - take it away Wendy!
December 3, 2007
Wendy Alexander standing by her man
I see a great future for her as a Country and Western Singer bitching how her man has let her down....
Just letting you go
I did nothing wrong
You're the one who makes all the rules
Chatting with my friends
Telling me, girl you're the fool
And, I should give a call in him
Stop saying that I still love him
What he does
But he knows
How to get me back
I am letting you go
I did nothing wrong
Setting you free
It was not my bad at all
Just letting you go
I did nothing wrong
Take care of your heart
It was not my bad at all
Rebellious Scots to crush.
The national anthem is not inclusive and should perhaps be changed, Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general now leading a citizenship review for Gordon Brown, has suggested.
He said that there were problems with some of the later verses of the anthem, which refer to "rebellious Scots" being crushed.
Nice to know that Fatty Goldsmith has other things to worry about apart from his pension and why doesn't the Telegraph actually print the sixth verse?
Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!
It certainly sung with gusto here before the Calcutta Cup game...
Of course the real problem is that it is the British Anthem and England and English teams need their own.
One easy step to radically improve schools
For her, the aim is as much cultural as nutritional. She does not just want children to acquire a taste for fruit and veg - she wants them to learn some table manners too.
"They should sit down and eat properly with a knife and fork. Everyone thinks this is just a food problem and it's not, it's a social cohesion problem."
The quickest easiest way for teachers to improve their pupils performance and behaviour would for the teachers to not hide in the staff room but eat lunch with their pupils and get to know them outside of the classroom as fellow human beings. It is no coincidence that to break bread with someone has universally been acknowledged for thousands of years to bring peace and understanding.
Captain Ahab's Satellite Record
Around 1815 whaling ships in Arctic waters reported an unprecedented break-up of sea ice off the east coast of Greenland, leading to fevered speculation that new shipping routes might become available. “A considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions,” the president of the Royal Society, London, wrote to the Admiralty in 1817. “New sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past.”
This incident was used by David Bellamy (Comment, October 22) to illustrate how the climate has fluctuated dramatically throughout history. Clearly, the disappearance of Arctic ice in the early 1800s happened long before cars, planes and many other sources of man-made global warming, so it must have been natural. Satellite research reveals that the Arctic Ocean circulation can sometimes reverse and push sea ice out of one area and into another quite naturally over decades.
The current collapse of the Arctic icecap, however, is entirely different from that of the 1800s. It is far more widespread, sustained and dramatic and a very worrying sign of a global climate change.
Yep - the satellite data research from the 1800s shows it was completely different! You wouldn't expect The Times' pet Climate Change theorist to say anything different, and having taken six weeks to respond to David Bellamy he has obviously done his research. I wonder when he will get back to us on the Antarctic Ice Record...
Some Bali Hope
Carbon footprint fears for UN climate summit - Telegraph
The 15,000 politicians, civil servants, green and industry lobbyists and journalists who will fly in are estimated to emit the equivalent of more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the annual emissions of the African state of Chad.
The UN organisers and Indonesian government will announce a plan to offset the emissions of the whole conference by planting millions of trees.
But tree planting is not a form of carbon offsetting accepted by the British government or the UN’s climate change experts
That's the bad news, here's the good news..
Bali Tsunami & Earthquake Risk
It is an unfortunate fact that the very same fault line which caused the December 26th 2004 tsunami, where the Eurasia plate pushes over the Australia plate, runs just south of Bali. It is also a chilling thought that Bali's main tourist areas are just 20 minutes away from a similar tsunami should a similar earthquake occur in the wrong place. But what makes this even more worrying is that some experts in Europe have indicated such a quake may be long overdue and perhaps hastened by the extra tension created between the plates just off south Sumatra, Java and Bali by the December 2004 disaster.
I'm the man jumping up and down here in the hope of triggering it there....
Living causes cancer - official
The EU has now advised people to avoid burnt toast or golden brown chips
Health tip of the day - the only sure way to avoid cancer is to be dead and if you trust EU advice on anything rather than your own common sense than your brain probably already is.
December 2, 2007
Vote for me I'm an Idiot.
"Humbly beg to report, sir, I’m an idiot,” was the excuse the good soldier Schweik gave his army superiors for breaches of discipline. Labour is falling back on this humiliating but necessary scuttle in the “Donorgate” affair. The best defence they can now muster is that they are fools, not knaves.
And this seems to be the training scheme video...
Scottish Schadenfreude - Your Daily Wendy Alexander Update
THE businessman at the centre of the Wendy Alexander donation scandal was backed for an honour by senior figures in the Labour Party, it emerged last night.
MSP Charlie Gordon, who resigned last week as Labour's transport spokesman after it emerged he arranged an illegal donation from Jersey tycoon Paul Green, has now admitted he earlier supported the same businessman for an unspecified honour.
Green's spokeswoman last night confirmed he had been in line for an honour and claimed that four other Labour figures were involved in writing letters of recommendation....
PACING up and down her office on Thursday lunchtime, Wendy Alexander furiously surveyed the wreckage of her week. She had just been assailed by a media scrum not seen in the Scottish Parliament since the last, ghastly hours of Henry McLeish.
The Labour leader is not good in a crisis, says one aide who has worked alongside her for years. "When things go badly, she finds it difficult to accept - and she struggles to accept that somebody else might have a better idea about how to solve it." But her problems were just beginning. Today, this protege of Gordon Brown, who has always believed that she will one day lead her country as First Minister, is contemplating the battered remains of her career.
The SNP, meanwhile, is revelling in schadenfreude. When Labour introduced a law barring those not on the UK electoral register from donating to political parties, the Nationalists smelled a rat; this was clearly a ruse aimed at preventing Bahamas-based Sir Sean Connery from funding them. A decade on, that same change in the law has rebounded on Labour with a vengeance.
Looks like The Times has got Abrahams on side
Donorgate: 10 Labour bosses knew - Times Online
David Abrahams has claimed there are 10 party officials who were aware of his "illegal" arrangement to fund it secretly
He needs a bit of good press to support him as his old friends in the Party turn nasty. I wonder whose Christmas Card list he is still on?
Market Day Blues
The centre of a busy market town was brought to a halt at the start of the Christmas shopping season - by a small refrigerator.
Firemen, police and ambulance crews descended on the high street in Marlborough, Wilts,...Fire crews from up to 20 miles away converged on the hotel and an environmental protection unit from Warminster was also called in as police closed off the surrounding streets.
But after an extensive search of the building on Friday the source was found to be ammonia leaking from a small fridge used for storing sandwiches.
As my local shopping town I know how Plod loves to panic and close it down, the hours I have wasted as some Part Time Dibble has been waving his badge about to save us from some imaginary danger so thank goodness I decided against going there yesterday and to use t'internet to do my shopping - as are so many others
With an "under-resourced" fleet composed of "ageing and operationally defective ships", the Navy would struggle even to repeat its role in the Iraq war and is now "far more vulnerable to unexpected shocks", the top-level Ministry of Defence document says.
The report was ordered by Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, who had intended to use it to "counter criticism" on the state of the Navy in the media and from opposition parties.
But in a damning conclusion, the report states: "The current material state of the fleet is not good; the Royal Navy would be challenged to mount a medium-scale operation in accordance with current policy against a technologically capable adversary." A medium-scale operation is similar to the naval involvement in the Iraq War.
The document adds that the Navy is too "thinly stretched", its fighting capability is being "eroded" and the fleet's ability to influence events at the strategic level is "under threat".
Underfunding and all that, but is it really the best use of naval funds to be splashing £4 billion?l out on the two new aircraft carriers. Their role is to be "power projection" or as it is normally known "willy waving". They will be too big and too valuable to be allowed near any conflict as a beardie in an inflatable with a "special" suitcase can disable them. We need the money spent on small agile adaptable kit, the sort of stuff that can be used for regime change, the sort of stuff that can sail up rivers and park outside Parliament buildings.....
Keep on Hunting!
The ban on hunting has been left in tatters after a judge suggested it was virtually impossible to bring a conviction against those accused of breaking the law.
Legislation introduced in 2005 to outlaw hunting with dogs is too difficult "to interpret or apply" said Judge Graham Cottle, as he upheld an appeal from the first huntsman to be convicted of breaching the Act.
The pro-hunt lobby claims that the verdict has set a significant precedent that proves that the law is unenforceable.
What not another nuLabour Law that is badly thought out and drafted?
December 1, 2007
Guy Fawkes Stat Porn - 423,598 page loads last month. More people visited Guido than any other comparable political website.
Iain Dale's Diary: November Stats Page impressions were 438,957
Your Humble Englishman... 433,150 Pages..... (though a lot fewer visitors than the twins...)
Inside No 10 this morning
Gordon Brown in the eye of the storm - Telegraph
"It's terrible," admits a minister close to Brown. "None of it is Gordon's fault, but life's not fair. Gordon is stoical: he's got his head down."
But others suggest that the Prime Minister is rather less than stoical. There are concerns about his temperament, with stories circulating in the Commons tea-room of his rages against the so-called "garden-room girls", the secretaries at Number 10. "There is talk of tempers, that he even threw a mobile phone," says one MP, who is not tied to the Brownite or Blairite camps.
"The most dangerous thing for Gordon is pity," says a former minister. "People are starting to pity him, and pity is much more worrying than fear or loathing."
Tackling Fraud Poster
Reposted - coz of Iain