March 31, 2008
Darling Barred Update
Son pequeños símbolos, pero demuestran que en algunos sitios los pobres súbditos aún están dispuestos a comportarse como si fueran libres y mandar a sus gobernantes a tomar por donde se merecen. En Inglaterra el “chancellor of the exchequer” se va a quedar sin poder beber cerveza en la mitad de los pubs del país.
(They are small symbols, but show that in some places the poor citizens are still willing to behave as if they were free and send their leaders to take where they deserve. In England the "chancellor of the exchequer" will be unable to drink beer in pubs half of the country.)
A Brownian giveaway.
Oh that is nice of him, I didn't know he owned a country estate he was prepared to give away for people to build on.
Silly me, he isn't going to do anything except make housebuilders give away their land without compensation.....
Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, ...forcing developers to include social housing in large developments.
In the Kennet area "large" developments means in the villages 2 dwellings, a ‘one for one’ policy. (Local Plan Policy HC32).
Benjamin Franklin. “I wish that the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country,” he wrote. “He does not get his living honestly.”
Hand fed and dependent on handouts, sounds like it should be our national bird.
Keep it Local
With as many as 27 village pubs closing every week, the Prince of Wales has taken up the cudgels on behalf of beleaguered locals across the country, pointing out the pub’s importance to society and local economies.
He has invited Hilary Benn, the Rural Affairs Minister, to accompany him today on a visit to The Black Swan Hotel in Ravenstonedale, Cumbria,
Poor old Charlie, the things he has to do as he tries to do good work. Can you think of anyone you would like less to go to the pub with than teetotal, vegetarian Hilary Benn?
Meanwhile Simon Barnes in The Times says that pubs are jolly good places It’s nothing to do with convenience or drink or food: it’s something to do with being English....Pubs have a cultural importance. It’s not the real ales and the fine wines that matter: it’s the spirits, and pubs are part of the spirit of place. If they are anachronisms, they need to be preserved because of their cultural meaning. The French subsidise circus because they believe it has a meaning: we don’t do that in this country, and so we are losing circuses. We are also losing pubs: and that strikes me as a sad thing for us all.
However he admits he doesn't go to his local very often, even though it is only a few hundred yards away and very good, is he hinting they should be subsidised by the state?
Who said Formula One was boring?
At one point the wrinkled 67-year-old—who publicly likes to give the impression he has put his father's evil legacy behind him—yells "she needs more of ze punishment!" while brandishing a LEATHER STRAP over a brunette's naked bottom.
Then the lashes rain down as Mosley counts them out in German: "Eins! Zwei! Drei! Vier! Fünf! Sechs!"
67 years old, and still at it! There is hope for us all yet.
Murder Map of Old London Town
I An Englishman's Castle: Murder she wrote I complained that The Telegraph hadn't produced a decent map showing the murder concentration in London. Very clever reader Tim A has done so and you can Download the kml file here.
Carry On Sausage
No - I'm not even going there... My friend Mr FM has texted me that he is still in San Francisco, though without revealing if he still has flowers in his hair, so I will leave those jokes to him.
March 30, 2008
Designed for the 21st century, Fifty Lessons has developed a comprehensive and compelling resource of management and leadership lessons from some of the world’s most successful business leaders.
Communicating Through Uncertain Times
In uncertain times communication with staff is doubly important – even if there is no update to give them on what they already know. People appreciate a leader who is honest about the lack of news, so keep communicating even through difficult times.
Barbara Stocking CBE ..Oxfam is one of the most innovative .. NGOs, being creatively led by Barbara Stocking, its director...With an already distinguished career in the National Health Service behind her, Barbara is now bringing her talents to bear on the interface between welfare and development. She brings to the development world a pro-active, impassioned and multi-dimensional imagination. With an analytical perspective and a 'can-do' take on leadership, Barbara believes in the importance of bringing out the resourcefulness and capacities of people who often live on the edge, materially and socially.
In her varied work environment, flexible engagement is a key resource. For example, at one moment , she will be engaged in detailed discussion with the Director of the International Monetary Fund and 24 hours later Barbara will be in the middle of a field in a West African country, being followed by a group of smiling, curious children who are wondering, what is this foreign visitor looking for...
So what do the staff on the ground think in the UK think of all this management guff - my mole sends me the latest email from Barbara, below the fold, -
I have just read Oxfam's Barbara Stocking's latest letter to her
staff/volunteers. So horrified by her patronising view that women from the
south need to be mentored by business women from the north. It's a bit odd
that the chief executive of a development NGO should assume that women from
developing countries need to be mentored by British business women. Did it
enter this foolish woman's head that perhaps these business women with whom
she was rubbing shoulders in 10 Downing Street the other day might need a
bit of mentoring by women from the south instead?
If anyone is damaging Oxfam I am afraid it's Barbara Stocking. I wonder
whether Oxfam is past its sell by date, reading the musings (below) of its
chief executive officer!
If you can read through her email without wanting to slap her round the head with a kipper you have a more tolerant attitude than I have.
Subject: A letter from Barbara Stocking
*A LETTER FROM BARBARA STOCKING, CHIEF EXECUTIVE *
*TO ALL STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS*
Please share with all your colleagues who might not have access to e-mail.
Esta é uma carta da Executiva Chefe da Oxfam, Barbara Stocking. Para
receber uma tradução em português, por favor enviar um email para
Esta carta viene de la Directora Ejecutiva de Oxfam, Barbara Stocking. Si
la quiere leer en castellano, por favor enviar un correo electronico para
Ceci est une lettre écrite par Barbara Stocking, Directrice Generale. Si
vous voulez lire une copie en français, veuillez envoyer un e-mail à
*1. Oxfam's UK brand refresh*
I wanted to let you all know about an exciting change taking place to the
way we communicate about Oxfam in the UK, to be launched on 18 April.
Oxfam has many important stakeholders across the world, one of which is the
UK public. We depend on their support for much of our legitimacy and income.
We have UK individual financial supporters, campaigners, volunteers,
shoppers. However, recent research shows us that Oxfam feels distant in the
minds of the UK public. Although they respect and trust us, they do not
understand what we do, or feel close to us - they do not know us as the
dynamic, cutting-edge and passionate organisation we really are.
To close the gap between what people think and the reality of what we do, we
need to communicate differently by refreshing our brand, how we express what
we really are. It is not about changing who we are, what we do, or altering
our logo: it is an exciting opportunity to change how people feel about us _
one we cannot afford to miss. We want to communicate the real Oxfam _ an
Oxfam that is dynamic, engaging and relevant.
This builds on the success of I'm in, which was a targeted UK campaign that
reached its goal of getting one million people to give their names in
support of Oxfam. The brand refresh is much wider and will provide a
framework for all our communications in the UK _ including in our shops,
campaigns, and fundraising initiatives. The underlying feel of it is
So, from April, we will have a new way of speaking to the UK public and
supporters. We will share the new look and feel of our communications with
all staff worldwide in April and May. So, watch out on the intranet and
website for some inspiring new work!
*2. Gender, Let's Talk, International Women's Day, etc*
Sometimes you get the feeling the world is on the move and I think it is on
women's issues. You may remember that in November I went to New York to an
International Women Leaders Conference on Global Security, led by Mary
Robinson. In January at Davos I went to a very high powered women's dinner
on maternal mortality. Then last week Annie Lennox, the singer, hosted a
women's dinner to start The Circle, which is about women for women. That
started off specifically to fundraise for a range of projects for Oxfam and
included quite a few women who are ambassadors for Oxfam or who help us in
lots of different ways, eg: Jane Shepherdson who is helping to set up
ethical fashion boutiques, Zoë Ball, a presenter who has been to Mali and
Malawi for us and got us lots of media coverage. It was clear at the dinner
that the women just wanted to get to know each other and also to think of
ideas about how they could help end poverty as a group. It was very
exciting. After International Women's Day in Oxford I then followed this
with a lunch for about 35 women with the Prime Minister and his wife, Sarah,
in No 10 Downing Street on Saturday. That group was mainly top business
women, about 10 of whom were American and had flown in especially for the
occasion! We discussed two things: developing women's talent and maternal
mortality again (because this is Sarah Brown's key interest). *On talent, I
was able to ask if business leaders were prepared to mentor women, could
they take women from the South. There was lots of willingness and
discussion and we need to think how we can help with this from Oxfam. **
Whenever we talk about maternal mortality, I always think of my visits to
Yemen, and the tremendous work we do there and in Afghanistan and of course
of the huge needs for health services in Africa.
It was also good to hear from some of you around the world about
International Women's Day. Debasis in Kabul sent this on the day: 'We are
celebrating women's day today at Kabul, Afghanistan. The entire staffs have
been invited by a specially designed card to bring their family also. Some
guests from government and other agencies are also invited. I am sharing a
success case study about 'Lijjat Papad from India' on women economic
empowerment. I had another good presentation about god's creation of women,
that will be translated in Dari/Pastu (local language) by national
colleagues and presented'.
Then Catherine Hine in MEEECIS told me about their innovative Gender Idol
contest last week: 'This competition inspired line managers across the
region, to consider what a 'significant contribution to gender equity' would
be for their teams and to nominate team members who have made such a
contribution. Of seventeen nominations received from across the region,
Artan Kapexhui, a logistician in the Albania country programme, narrowly
triumphed over Abduqosim Kayumov and Inobat Rasulova, both from the
Tajikistan country programme. Artan was commended as a consistent and
powerful role model, demonstrating how a man can contribute effectively to
greater rights and fair treatment for women, doing even small things that
add up to a huge difference.'
Thank you to so many people for putting so much effort into women's rights
and also to understanding gender equality. I am pleased a man won the Idol
contest because we really need men to champion the issues, but also to show
how men's lives can change positively, too.
Going back to where I started, if there is so much engagement with these
issues globally, we need to think in Oxfam how we can best use this to
influence the issues we are concerned about.
A few words about our colleagues in Kenya who have been through an
especially difficult time since the beginning of the year. The outbreak of
post-election violence shook the country to its core and affected many of
our staff personally. Colleagues in the Kenya programme and the Regional
Centre have been bravely going about their work, even though at times it
must have felt like their country was falling apart around them. It's hard
to imagine for all of us who are used to Kenya being the peaceful base from
which we visit trouble spots. But it's a testament to our colleagues'
resilience that they've kept going through it all, and have taken positive
steps to address the impact of the crisis in their own office.
This year, Valentine's Day - February 14th - took on a special significance
in Kenya. In many Kenyan media outlets it was used as an opportunity to
promote love and friendship amongst all Kenyans, with a special focus on
ethnically mixed couples. In the Oxfam office the day was celebrated with a
lunchtime event. Staff took part in a quiz on Kenyan history and culture,
and an appreciation event where they nominated colleagues they particularly
appreciate. Small groups then walked down to Freedom Corner in Nairobi's
Uhuru Park which has become a shrine for peace, and laid flowers for those
who all those killed or affected in the crisis. It was a moving occasion -
and I'd ask you to join me in assuring our staff in Kenya that our thoughts
and hopes are with them for a peaceful resolution to the crisis, at least we
have more positive news on that at the moment. It is incredible what Kofi
Annan has managed to do.
*4. The Wyche School _ Cheshire, UK*
I had a meeting with our Youth Team and was really excited about some of the
things they were telling me. Today's children are the opinion formers and
policy makers of the future and making sure they have the skills and desire
to tackle issues like climate change, poverty and injustice is a vital part
of Oxfam's work in the UK. Our Education Team has helped bring these issues
to life in classrooms for more than 30 years by providing teachers with
lesson plans, assembly ideas and resources, which really enthuse and empower
The example that fired me up is Wyche Primary School in Cheshire. Once
judged by Ofsted (the government's school inspection agency in England) as
"causing concern" the school's improvement strategy put Oxfam's Education
for Global Citizenship at the heart of its teaching. Within a year, Ofsted
was describing it as "good_ with outstanding features" and the school is now
hailed as an example of best practice. Children at the school campaigned to
get local shops to sell fair trade goods, held assemblies on poverty and a
series of themed days including children's rights and refugees. A
10-year-old from that school sums up the effect of learning to consider
other peoples' views and make informed choices as getting "a bit wiser and
The next step is to make sure all teachers have the support, resources and
incentives necessary to embrace this kind of education and our policy team
are playing a key role in lobbying government to this end so the next
generation is indeed "a bit wiser" about their role in the world and the
positive difference they can make.
*5. Merger of South America (SAM) and Caribbean, Mexico and Central America
In order to strengthen the work of our teams in Latin American and the
Caribbean, we are merging the South America and the CAMEXCA regions. The
aim is to build a new Latin America Region (LAC) which will give us a
strengthened, higher profile OGB presence, with a greater opportunity for
development, humanitarian, campaigning and advocacy work.
At the end of February, Penny Lawrence, International Division Director
advised Latin America staff of the Corporate Management Team decision on the
new location for the LAC Regional Centre. There was not one obvious
location for the new LAC RC, but there was one that came out best on the key
strategic criteria. We have therefore decided that the location of the core
Regional Centre will be in Mexico, but some Regional Centre posts will be
based elsewhere in Latin America, in a networked structure.
Just to be clear, this particular merger does not mean that we are planning
mergers in other parts of the world.
Please do remember that I welcome your comments. I promise you I will read
them all, though I will not be able to reply to each one individually. You
can e-mail them to me on email@example.com or write to Barbara
Stocking, Letter Comments, John Smith Drive, Oxford OX4 2JY.
The Decline and Fall
Four stories much in the news last week, each causing the Government serious embarrassment, highlighted again the remarkable missing dimension in the way politics are now discussed, the "elephant in the room", which is that our real government is no longer in London but in Brussels....
It is one thing for our politicians to conceal how much of their power to run this country they have already surrendered to Brussels.
But unless journalists become more clued-up as to where that power now resides, ever more of the media's coverage of British politics will be reduced to irrelevant fluff.
...It is certainly thought-provoking to consider just how many iconic British firms have recently passed into foreign ownership....
Even BAE Systems, our largest remaining aircraft, shipbuilding and defence company, is now based largely offshore. Since it sold off Royal Ordnance, our Armed Forces must now rely on Continental companies to supply all their ammunition.
So, if this picture of national decline tempts us to shoot ourselves, we will first have to buy the bullets from France.
Spring back in surprise
Definition of Springback - you didn't forget did you?
As we are seen from Sofia
Breaking news: the Spice Girls will be appearing as guest singers at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in London. Wow, what an honour! The politically correct British thought police need not worry; I come to praise Mandela, not to bury him....
What irks me, however, is the almost blind de rigeur adoration of this man whose statue now stands in London’s Parliament Square. Even Conservative leader David Cameron has stated that his party’s historic definition of Mandela as a “terrorist” was mistaken. Now everyone who is anyone, and even anyone who is no one, makes the obligatory genuflection to Mandela. Pop stars who probably couldn’t place South Africa on the map, Hollywood stars like Charlize Theron – who (coincidentally) left the country of her birth in the early 1990s around the time that white rule was ending – as well as American presidents and an assortment of British dignitaries brainwashed into believing that Mandela is a paragon of virtue. The British masses, people whose ignorance on South Africa is often mind-boggling, also lend unquestioning support. I remember one person saying to me in all seriousness: “Prison really works. Look at Mandela. He did bad fings (sic), served his time and then went on to become president. He really reformed.”
The liberal intelligentsia appear to believe that Mandela was clearly infallible. Yet history tells us a different story....
I’m not saying that Mandela is a bad man, merely that he is a mere mortal – a normal politician acting according to realpolitik – who should be treated as such. So why the deification? Is it that Britain, as a former imperialist power, feels guilty about its colonial role in South Africa? To assuage their guilt London is now landed with a permanent memorial to Mandela the Machiavellian. Ironically, his statue is near that of Winston Churchill, a truly great British leader. It’s just another example of the madness of modern Britain.
Murder she wrote
All they have done is stick pins in the map to show where the boroughs are, what they need is a map which shows density of murders byt different size circles, numbers of corpses or what ever. The information is all there waiting for someone to produce it...
As The Telegraph notes:..statistics compiled by the Metropolitan Police Service revealed that more than half of murder victims in the capital last year were from ethnic minority groups....The murder rates, when mapped out, reveal that a large number of homicides take place in socially deprived neighbourhoods.
The middle-class enclaves of Harrow, Richmond, Merton, and Kensington and Chelsea, did not witness any murders last year.
Baltimore can do it - why can't we?
UPDATE: Very clever reader Tim A has done so and you can Download the kml file here.
Alas poor piggy, I knew him well
The House of Commons is headed for catastrophe. When the details of members’ expense claims are published, as they are bound to be under freedom of information laws, the public will be appalled. They will see that MPs help themselves to allowances as thinly disguised bonuses.....
Outside parliament the world has changed. Taxation of benefits has led employers once more to consolidate perks into salary. The pressures of competition and the bottom line have shortened the lunches and squeezed out the booze. Management accounting systems have enabled bosses to control expense accounts more tightly. As the Information Tribunal commented, when ordering that the claims of 14 MPs be published, the “laxity” of Commons rules is “very different” from practice in the private sector. Most significantly, the public today expects higher standards than before in public life and greater transparency.....
It is most unusual for the Speaker to be criticised in the media. That, too, is a sign of changing times. Following the unfavourable press comments on his expense claims, the Commons roared in approval when he next entered the chamber and the Speaker beamed back with pleasure. The outside world might interpret both reactions as signalling that the Commons is an insiders’ club contemptuous of public opinion....
In truth, the disaster cannot now be averted. Even if reforms were implemented tomorrow the freedom of information campaigners have won access to yesterday’s records and before long the claims of every MP will be laid bare.
Catastrophe? Disaster? Maybe for the little piggies with their snouts in the trough but this is a victory we ought to be celebrating.
March 29, 2008
Tips on Home Entertaining - an occasional series
Before your guests arrive ensure your dining room furniture is looking its best. Now might be the time to glue back on those loose acanthus carvings. Remember for antique furniture you must use traditional Pearl Glue
So what's so special about pearl glue, or hide glue or animal glue, for all these are common names for this type of glue?
This glue is almost the oldest glue known to man. It's made, as the name suggests, from bits and bobs of animals boiled down to a dark brown sticky substance and sticky it is...
So heat it up on the stove and get sticking.
Trying to explain why your house now smells of boiled up dead animals, a lingering stench that no amount of air freshening will get rid of, will provide you with hours of amusement as you cower from the wrath of your spouse.....
Darling, you are barred from The King's Arms, All Cannings
The signs are up on the approach. Hey Darling, you sure got a purty mouth! Can you squeal like a piggy?
Inside the free cheese and biscuits were being served alongside copious quantities of IPA at two guineas, two crowns and a florin a pint, not that I'm harping back to a happier age....
March 28, 2008
The Wembley Laffer Curve
Wembley Stadium has lost out to Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium in its bid to host the 2010 Champions League final because of tax reasons, says Uefa.
Wembley was discounted after failing to provide assurances that players competing in the final would not be taxed by the British government.
"Yes, the reason was the taxes," said Uefa president Michel Platini.
Friday Night is Music Night (Claymation Memories)
Bonus version below the fold...
Support the Red Lion
AN award-winning pub landlord and brewery owner trying to purchase an historic pub in the heart of Melksham have been told they can only buy it if they promise not to run it as a public house.
Enterprise Inns, which owns the 17th century Red Lion in The City near the Cooper Avon Tires factory in Bath Road, has placed a covenant on the sale of the pub saying it cannot be run in direct competition with The Unicorn just across the road, which it also owns.
Enterprise Inns are based in this building:
3 Monkspath Hall Rd.
0121 733 7700
Guess where I would prefer to be and who I support - Bastard Suits.
The Froggie went a'Toadying
President Sarkozy of France embarrassed Gordon Brown yesterday, heaping praise on his “courage and loyalty” for ratifying the EU treaty without a referendum.
The president said that every other European leader was grateful to Mr Brown for not blocking the replacement to the EU constitution....
“It is not simply a matter of a one-night stand. I believe that we can go in to next-day breakfast as well,” Mr Sarkozy said at a joint press conference with Mr Brown.....
A Le Monde columnist called this “a shameless exercise in toadying intended to win, at whatever cost, the approval of his audience”.
Is it all over yet, can we take down the bunting and stop lusting over Carla? If it hadn't been for her long legs Gordon would have been in grave danger that we actually noticed what a little eurocreep he is.
School news roundup
Children should be banned from leaving school at lunchtime so they cannot gorge themselves on junk food, a Government body says today.
Teachers to get search powers - Telegraph
Teachers should be able to search pupils for alcohol, drugs and stolen goods, Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, said yesterday.
At the moment staff must call in the police to carry out a search if they suspect pupils of carrying drink or drugs. Only if they believe the child is in possession of a gun or knife can they carry out a search themselves.
From The Barrel of a Gun - Hey, Teacher, Leave Them Kids Alone! It's not just teachers that need to leave them alone, so do these assholes. Every ounce of freedom has already been sucked out of schools themselves, but still those pesky kids won't just sit down and do as their told like good little zombies. No, what needs to be done is to extend the rules of the womb-prison indoctrination camps out to cover areas beyond its own boundaries.
Sometimes I think the answer may lie elsewhere:
A middle school principal threatened to kill a group of science teachers if their students did not improve their standardized test scores, according to a complaint filed with the New Braunfels Police Department.
Now that is the way to treat the piss-poor whining underperforming jokes who infest the staff room.
There's a cold wind blowing
The economy is false. The economy is a lie. The economy is a fictional set of numbers cooked up during a boom period that is almost over, and six months from now nothing will add up. ...And now you are going to realise how overpriced and bogus the minutiae of British life are, and Gordon is panicking because there is no way he can make this sustainable; yet the artifice of commerce and government relies on your expanding wallet....Our lives are full of inflated expenses that are propping up Brown's fairyland economy and, when the penny drops, this crash will be the mightiest ever. No wonder he looks scared....The wealth that keeps Brown's economy ticking over is a mirage; it cannot survive the recession. And neither can he...
Feel-good factor drops to lowest level ever - Telegraph
Growing gloom over the economy is driving voters away from Gordon Brown, an opinion poll shows today.
Amid a period of global economic turbulence following the credit crunch, Labour strategists have been calculating that voters would swing back to Mr Brown and his Government's promise of stability.
But the poll suggests that this month's Budget, which affected motorists, drinkers and small business owners with inflation-breaking tax rises, contributed to voters' growing pessimism.
Sixty four per cent of people think their household's financial situation will "get worse" over the next year and only 12 per cent of those questioned expect it to become better.
March 27, 2008
Abolition of Parliament Bill
Adam Smith Institute - Blog Review 549.. the revival of the Abolition of Parliament Bill. This is getting like the EU, the same measures brought back under a different cover. SpyBlog with the details, Dale and Guido with reactions (and it's hard to find a British political blog today not outraged by this).
I note Guido is sounding a note of caution but what the hell, let me belatedly add my outrage as well. (Sorry lunch got in the way of blogging).
A real hero of Global Warming
Climate Audit - by Steve McIntyre is yet again nailing dead the notorious "hockeystick" history of temperature produced by MBH (Mann et al). This is the graph that "proved" the recent temperature rises were "unprecedented" and had to be due to humans. But Steve proved it is a bunch of crock for many reasons; it is wrong, it is false...
So did the PC error “matter”? Well, it probably mattered in a different way than people think.
Consider what would have happened had MBH had not used an erroneous PC methodology. Let’s suppose that they used a centered PC calculation together Preisendorfer’s Rule N. So that they retained 5 PCs in the AD1400, including the bristlecones, and everything reconciled the first time. What would have happened? In 2003, I’d probably have more or less replicated their results and thought no more about it. I would probably not have peered beneath surface inquiring about the PC4 and bristlecones. verification r2 statistics and so on. I’d be making a handsome living in speculative mining stocks.
I followed the magic flute instead.
And because of his dedication, hard work, and sacrifice the whole global warming scam has had its foundations cut away. His contribution should not be underestimated and is due thanks from us all.
MP Expenses - Labour points the finger
Alex Salmond urged to quit after he spent £130,000 in expenses as an MP during a period in which he visited the Commons six times.
Scotland’s Nationalist First Minister, who also represents Banff & Buchan at Westminster, was accused by Labour of “taking the taxpayer for a ride” with the bill, run up between April and December last year. Labour, exploiting a rare opportunity to embarrass him, calculated that the First Minister’s overnight stays had cost the public purse £2,331 a night.
Glasshouses, people living in them and the throwing of stones comes to mind. I love to lean over the sty wall and watch the pigs scrapping over the slops, biting and squealing to get the last apple core, so this parliamentary bitchfight has all the makings of decent sport.
I'm on the change
Apologies if I sound a little skittish this morning, but after my shower last night I think I'm on the change. Forty years ago Matron at school plastered my hair down with a parting on the right, instilling in me a distrust of men who part their hair on the left, girly side. In the pub last night it was commented how much better my hair looked. The bloody parting had swapped sides when I was washing it, it is immovably on the left; how did that happen? If Matron was wrong about hair partings what else was she wrong about? The French and their revolting habits? Catholics? That thing that Simpkins used to do after lights out? My life is in turmoil.
I suppose as a sceptic I should embrace the chance to review long held notions but some beliefs are too deeply engrained in my ethos for me to want to change them, especially about the French and that thing Simpkins used to do.
UPDATE - thanks to the comment below:
BBC NEWS | Politics | Hair buzz as Cameron moves left
Tory leader David Cameron's decision to part his hair on the left has sparked a buzz of speculation from commentators.....
The Sun reports it shows Mr Cameron was not afraid of change while the Daily Mirror reports that it could be an attempt to look more "butch", as a right parting is sometimes seen as feminine.
But hairdresser Roger Craig told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it could be more of a "metrosexual" statement.
"I have always kept mine on the right and was always led to believe that real men put their partings on the right hand side," he said.
But would Douglas Bader have worn one?
The Royal Air Force is celebrating its 90th anniversary with the launch of a "show-stopping" diamante-encrusted bikini..
The RAF Collection website, which sells the bikini online, describes it as a "show-stopping bikini (which) will make anyone's head turn, yet which is distinctly tasteful and flattering to the figure". The garment is also available through mail order.
The RAF advanced into new territory with the launch of a new leisurewear fashion range a year ago, when another bikini, decorated with a pink and blue version of the RAF roundel, was launched.
I've always said there is something a little odd about the crabs...
Cough cough - the precautionary principle at work again.
Over-the-counter cough medicines are to be pulled from supermarket shelves amid fears that they are dangerous for toddlers...The agency moved to ban certain decongestants, expectorants, cough suppressors and antihistamines, 12 "active ingredients" which manufacturers have been using for decades but which have potentially life-threatening side effects.
Around 50 further products currently authorised for toddlers will have to be relabelled to warn buyers that they are not suitable for children aged two or below.
The MHRA spokesman added: "It is not a panic measure, it is a precaution.
"Some of these products have been on the shelves for 40 years and we have not had as many adverse reactions as the Americans have."
What I want to know is what happened to the proper Benylin that did make you drowsy, they all advertise "non-drowsy formulation", when I'm suffering from a cold I want to go to bloody sleep not "operate machinery". A glug of Benylin and a large glass of red wine and you could barely make it up the stairs before falling into a long satisfying sleep, now you have to stay awake all bloody night coughing like Elizabeth Barrett Browning and wishing for death.
March 26, 2008
A chunk of ice the size of the Isle of Man has started to break away from Antarctica in what scientists say is further evidence of a warming climate.
Satellite images suggest that part of the ice shelf is disintegrating, and will soon crumble away.
The Wilkins Ice Shelf has been stable for most of the last century, but began retreating in the 1990s.
The full Wilkins 6,000 square mile ice shelf is just 0.39% of the current ice sheet (just 0.1% of the extent last September). Only a small portion of it between 1/10th-1/20th of Wilkins has separated so far, like an icicle falling off a snow and ice covered house. And this winter is coming on quickly. In fact the ice is returning so fast, it is running an amazing 60% ahead (4.0 vs 2.5 million square km extent) of last year when it set a new record. The ice extent is already approaching the second highest level for extent since the measurements began by satellite in 1979 and just a few days into the Southern Hemisphere winter and 6 months ahead of the peak. Wilkins like all the others that temporarily broke up will refreeze soon. We are very likely going to exceed last year’s record. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica’s ice sheet is also starting to disappear.
The Pussification Of The Western Male
Many men believe the world is now dominated by women and that they have lost their role in society, fuelling feelings of depression and being undervalued.
Asked what it meant to be a man in the 21st century, more than half thought society was turning them into "waxed and coiffed metrosexuals", and 52 per cent say they had to live according to women's rules.
What they apparently want is what some American academics have dubbed a "menaissance" - a return to manliness, where figures such as Sir Winston Churchill were models of manhood.
Piling on the guilt
The Government's health watchdog has altered its previous guidance that small amounts of alcohol are safe during pregnancy in response to growing fears about Britain's drinking culture.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) previously said mothers-to-be could drink 1.5 units of alcohol a day, equivalent to a small glass of wine, after the first three months when the risk of miscarriage is highest.
But now, even though no new evidence has been published on the dangers of alcohol to babies, Nice is telling pregnant women to abstain altogether, especially during the first three months....
The new stance from Nice will add to the confusion for women, as only last autumn, its draft guidance on the issue said expectant mothers could safely drink a small glass of wine a day.
Dr Gillian Leng, of Nice, said the advice was tightened partly because of the recognition of the harm excessive drinking was doing in society generally.
What sport, responsible pregnant mums are the easiest people in the world to scare, no needs for any facts lets make them carry the burden for the feckless.
I try not to do euromyth stories unless they seem credible and have more than one Daily Mail source, but it appears along with others I was fooled about the mince.
Whoops, sorry, but they should still be hanged.
March 25, 2008
The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy
Every age has its dominant caste. This is the age of the zealot. Twenty years ago they were dismissed as cranks and fanatics, but now they are licensed to interfere in the every day lives of ordinary people to an unprecedented degree. When Bernard Levin first identified the new phenomenon of the SIFs (Single Issue Fanatics) many of us thought it was a bit of a joke or at most an annoyance. Now the joke is on us. In that short time they have progressed from being an ignorable nuisance to what is effectively a branch of government. They initiate legislation and prescribe taxation. They form a large and amorphous collection of groups of overlapping membership, united and defined by the objects of their hatred (industry, tobacco, alcohol, adiposity, carbon, meat, salt, chemicals in general, radio waves, field sports etc.) Their success in such a short time has been one of the most remarkable phenomena in the whole of human history......
Teachers - yes to imams, no to infantry.
Teachers are accusing the Ministry of Defence of using "sophisticated" methods to lure youngsters, often in deprived areas, into the armed forces.
National Union of Teachers delegates in Manchester will debate a motion later calling for an end to "recruitment" in schools in England and Wales.
BBC NEWS | Education | Call to offer faith class choice
Head teachers should allow imams, rabbis and priests to offer religious instruction to pupils in all state schools, teachers' leaders have said.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said the move would be a way to reunite divided communities.
ArchBish Cranmer reports When the BBC first reported this story, they headlined it ‘Schools could offer Koran classes’ in order to ruffle a few feathers. Later on in the day, the headline was changed to ‘Call to offer faith class choice’, though it is still possible to search for it under the original provocative headline.
....In a reasonable world, the proposal that he puts forward would scarcely require outstanding courage. It is a common-sense judgment to which all politicians committed to raising educational standards should assent.
What Mr Gove is promising is that a Conservative government would take incorrigibly poor schools in deprived areas out of the control of the local education authorities that have clearly shown themselves to be incapable of improving them.
That such a reasonable policy must be seen as daring is a testimony to how much political leverage local councils have managed to maintain over successive governments, in spite of their often dire history in running education....
In spite of what it claims is its passionate sense of urgency about the academic fate of children in failing schools, the Government has agreed to give at least a further four years to turn them round.
But the Conservatives, whose depth of concern about poor children has often been suspect, are now committed to handing over the running of the 638 worst schools to independent organisations of various kinds - City Academies, charitable trusts or even parents' co-operatives - thus freeing them from local authority power and revolutionising their chances of improvement.
Not only is this a refreshingly firm promise from an Opposition that often seems reluctant to make hard-and-fast commitments, but it is politically well-judged. By beginning the emancipation of schools with those that are failing poor children, the Conservatives can inspire confidence in their social concerns, as well as paving the way for a wider move towards giving all schools independence from political control.
It is a start, and maybe as far as the Tories can politically go. In fact they may be hoping that it is not trumpeted as merely a stepping stone on the way to the abolition of LEA and introducing competition into the education system, but it ought to be.
FARMERS in Scotland last night criticised a warning from the UK's chief environmental scientist , Professor Robert Watson, that an increased reliance on biofuels could send greenhouse gas emissions soaring.....
Dr Richard Tipper, technical director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management, said although there could be some truth in Prof Watson's comments, he felt biofuels should be pursued, with any issues dealt with as and when they arose.
"If we try to stop the whole thing in its tracks, the companies will go out of business," ....
Oxfam, RSPB, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and others told Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, there was "a very real risk that the RTFO will make climate change worse, not better".
Doug Parr, chief scientific adviser of Greenpeace, said:
"For one of the government's top scientists to describe these plans as potentially insane suggests that something has gone seriously wrong here."
Sod what it might do the environment just enjoy the "black gold" rush that us farmers are enjoying...
The case for hanging EU bureaucrats
Brussels penpushers want to end the sale of properly aged beef mince - to prevent foodies poisoning themselves with raw steak tartare.
Farmers and butchers say the move will push up prices and make the family favourite less tasty.
And food bug expert Hugh Pennington says the new rules won't make beef any safer.
The new health rules state meat used to make mince should be cut less than six days after an animal's slaughter.
The FSA opposed the moves but have admitted defeat and are now in the process of informing butchers and food processors that the new rules must be implemented immediately.
It's feared the regulations will also push prices up as meat has to be processed more quickly - or binned if it misses the six-day limit.
The changes have been approved to protect consumers, mainly French, from eating potentially contaminated steak tartare - made from ground up raw steak mixed with egg and herbs.
The plans are the brainchild of health commissioner Markos Kyprianou, who quit last month. He outlined his crackdown in 2006 in the catchily titled Annex III, Section V, Chapter III, point 2 ( B ) to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004.
On his official EU webpage, Kyprianou said: "What I want to achieve is a Europe where all citizens, whether in northern Finland or in Sicily, in Porto or in Paphos, know and appreciate that they can enjoy food confident they will be safe, and that their rights will be well protected."
Tell Eurocrats to go hang - this reheated idea is still pure mince - Scotsman.com News
Meat, particularly beef, is hung to improve both its texture and taste. Enzymes in the meat soften the muscle tissue, making it both tender and more flavoursome, but this takes time and it has to be done under refrigeration. Many butchers survive the pressure from the supermarkets simply because they still prepare their meat in a traditional way and refuse to slap it on the counter only days, or hours, after slaughter.
Just compare two similar cuts of meat, one from the cheap end of the supermarket range and one from a local high-street butcher, and taste the difference.
Beef in Scotland is produced to be eaten after it is cooked, particularly mince. After three weeks of hanging, there may be bacteria in the meat, but this will be eradicated by the cooking process. Well-hung Scotch beef mince is not designed to be eaten raw.
I have no problem with people in eastern Europe who want to eat it raw, but we should not have to change the way we prepare meat just because of the way they want to eat it. It is a typically bureaucratic response from the EU. Rather than telling those who like steak tartare that they eat it at their own risk, we have to change our ways to fit in with them.
Hang'em all, for at least three weeks.
After drowning them in sloe gin...Winemaker faces £30,000 bill for eurobottles - Telegraph
The EU says it is illegal to sell his nine liqueurs - including bramble, walnut, ginger, sloe and strawberry - in his traditional 37.5cl bottles. They must measure 35cl instead.
March 24, 2008
Roofing Warehouses with Laffer Curves
Ministers intend to take steps to counter a threat by property developers to leave buildings unfinished in an attempt to dodge an impending increase in business rates.
The measures, which are due to be announced this week, pit the Government against increasingly angry commercial developers - as the Treasury tries to raise an additional £1 billion in business rates from buildings that are unoccupied.
John Healey, the Local Government Minister, will ask local councils to make better use of existing powers, including forcing developers to speed up the completion of building works so that they cannot dodge taxes by leaving buildings incomplete.
Owners of unoccupied commercial property currently pay little or no business rates but the Government is planning to cut the existing reliefs from next month. That prospect prompted Ian Coull, the chief executive of Segro, to threaten to leave the roof off new unlet developments to avoid the rates bill.
Mr Healey told The Times that his plans amounted to “zero tolerance on commercial vandalism” – and he specifically warned developers against damaging complete but unlet properties. “It would be an extreme step for a property owner to go to the lengths of deliberately vandalising their asset. I do not believe this is likely and I expect the property industry to adapt in a responsible manner.”
Developers argue that leaving buildings incomplete helps them to save money if they fear that they can no longer find tenants for a planned building by the time it is built. Segro estimates that its rates bill will be £8 million higher as the existing system of reliefs is scrapped.
Back in the 1970s they tried to boost business by penalising wicked landlords who wouldn't let their property - Centrepoint anyone? The property developer owners of the building found that, due to the rates and taxes of the times, it was cheaper to keep it empty than to use it as offices or accommodation. Of course it is seen as the fault of the landlord rather than the taxation authorities. And now they hope that the likes of Segro will hand over £8 million just to grease the wheels of government. And then they will wonder why the stock of readily available empty properties, the cornerstone of a dynamic entrepreneurial economy, will have disappeared.
The head of UK public policy at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Brian Berry, is worried that the new law might mean that some landlords take drastic action.
He says: “The restriction of rate relief on vacant industrial property from April 2008 could lead to owners deliberately damaging buildings to remove them from the ratings list and exempt them from the empty rate. “It’s history repeating itself, as in the 1970s an empty rate relief was introduced as a penal rating surcharge. Instead of creating new lettings it led to the deliberate vandalism to avoid rate liability.”
MPs - get a job and a life.
Sir, Peter Riddell (Comment, Mar 21) is spot on: we are now grossly over governed and over legislated. Years ago I heard Harold Macmillan speaking about his early days as an MP. The House of Commons sat for about three 8-to-10-week terms in the year; MPs passed a few laws and then went off and managed estates, operations, businesses or professions. The Civil Service ran the country.
How many of today’s professional politicians have any experience of managing anything? They sit for so long that they feel they must justify their existence by passing more and more laws. Then they spend millions on consultants to advise them what to tell the experts to do in all the professions and in industry. What a waste.
Quite - cut their wages and allowances and make them work for a living and then they might be a little less keen on buggering up everyone else's.
You don't have to be mad to work here, but...
The new Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS), which becomes law in the autumn, lays down up to 500 developmental milestones between birth and primary school and requires under-fives to be assessed on writing, problem solving and numeracy skills. It will apply to about 25,000 nurseries, plus registered childminders in England.
I was going to say it was absolute madness until I noticed the next headline..Recruitment drive as mentally ill teachers asked back to school - that about sums it up.
DNA fairy stories
A new DNA technology hailed as having the potential to solve thousands of murders, rapes and other serious crimes could lead to innocent people being convicted, one of Britain’s most respected forensic scientists has warned.
DNAboost, a computer software program that unravels DNA samples where a surface or material has been touched by more than one person, should be subject to widespread testing among the scientific community before it is introduced for use by police across Britain, according to Professor Allan Jamieson, director of the Forensic Institute in Glasgow. His concerns about another method of DNA detection, low copy DNA, led to the collapse last year of the trial of Sean Hoey, the Omagh bomb suspect, and to the technique being suspended by police forces.
The software has already been piloted by four police forces in northern England, at least one of which has praised it publicly and claims it has provided more “hits” on possible suspects.
In their haste to use nice comfy scientific DNA testing instead of having to go out in the nasty wet weather to do some real detecting it isn't just the guilty who have something to fear.
The Easter Bunny and the Eagle Shredders
THEY were once a common sight on the west Highland estate of Beinn an Tuirc, but as the landscape has changed over the past 40 years, there is now a greater chance of spotting a mountain hare at a tea party than on the moorland.
Now, a project by an energy company aims to establish a thriving community of the creatures by next Easter.
ScottishPower Renewables is offering £30 to rangers for every hare they hand over. The animals will be reintroduced to draw a pair of golden eagles, which feed on the hares, away from the wind turbines.
When the wind farm was proposed, conservation groups and local planners insisted on a habitat mitigation plan to keep the eagles away from the turbines.
The Pagan origins of the Easter Bunny
In second century Europe, the predominate spring festival was a raucous Saxon fertility celebration in honor of the Saxon Goddess Eastre (Ostara), whose sacred animal was a hare.
Now of course our sacred animal is the Green Goddess whose symbol is the wind turbine....look I'm not making this up, my imagination isn't that good.
March 23, 2008
Easter Day - the view from my bedroom...
The snow has just started falling, just don't tell the council - Secret council tax database penalises homes with a view - Telegraph
Happy Easter - A day for a story of death, loyalty, bravery and hope
It was 9.30 on the morning of March 30, Holy Saturday, 1918. He had somehow survived four years of shell and bullet and privation, and Passchendaele, but now, in the little hamlet of Castel, not 10 miles south-west of Amiens,....
An eye for the Ladies
C’est chic: Nicolas Sarkozy's 'babes’ sashay into town - Times Online
Haute couture meets high politics. The French president’s state visit to London will seem like a fashion parade as Nicolas Sarkozy breezes into town this week with his glamorous wife and a cluster of female ministers who have brought their chic wardrobe into the cabinet.
The female contingent in the cabinet was built up by Sarkozy in the interests of sexual equality and appears to follow him virtually everywhere since his election last May.
It includes Rama Yade, the secretary of state for human rights, who at 31 is the youngest member of the “rainbow government” team and is known for her model good looks; Rachida Dati, the 42-year-old justice minister, who has raised eyebrows by posing in designer outfits in her office for glossy magazines; Christine Lagarde, the elegant, 52-year-old minister of finance; and Michèle Alliot-Marie, 61, the interior minister, of whom the previous president, Jacques Chirac, once said: “She has the best legs in the party”.
How can Britain possibly compete with that?
Well we have Jacqui Smith, Margaret Beckett, Ruth Kelly and dear little Hazel - Gordon doesn't seem to have much of an eye for the Ladies, poor Sarah has probably trashed the wardrobes as she contemplates posing beside Carla Bruni. I was going to publish comparative photos but it was a bit unfair on the eyeballs early on a holiday Sunday....
The Jelly-Bellied Flag Flapper plans in full.
PUBLIC buildings in Scotland will be allowed to fly the Saltire year-round following a government climbdown in response to pressure from nationalists.
UK ministers will this week announce the lifting of restrictions on flag flying that have been in force since 1924. The rules stipulate that the Union Jack must must take precedence over all national flags on 18 days each year.
Jobcentres to fly Union Jack - Times Online
Public buildings, including job centres, schools and hospitals, are to be encouraged to fly the union jack and other national flags to boost national identity.
Ministers will this week announce the lifting of restrictions on flag flying that have been in force since 1924. They will allow public buildings to erect flagpoles and fly the union jack and national flags, including the cross of St George, the Saltire of Scotland and the red dragon of Wales every day.
At present, flying national flags from public buildings is restricted to 18 days a year, which include the Queen’s birthday and Remembrance Day.
I'm not sure The Times understands the rules as a they are at the moment, and of course scrapping a bunch of rules is nearly always good news but the jelly-bellied flag-flapping is a mere frippery and to have been constantly representing it as the answer to Gordon's desire for us to forget he is Scottish, sorry I meant to say, to have been constantly representing it as the answer to the lack of Britishness shows the shallow paucity of Labour's imagination.,
March 22, 2008
This climate change is beyond a joke.
I don't care if the colonials and Texans are frore, that the Balkans are blanketed and the Siamese shivering, this bloody cold snap here is serious, a crisis. Send help! The Blackthorn was lured into flower by the empty promises of globular warming and a balmy zephyr and now the buds are being frozen. No blackthorn flowers, no fruit, no sloes, no sloe gin - now if that isn't a crisis I don't know what is, and what is the Government doing about it? Trying to drop the temperature even more, bastards.
Scotland, close the door on your way out - please don't slam it.
As the traditional advice for children goes, if there is one thing worse than being teased, it’s being ignored. Jeremy Paxman, an expert in the oft-practised art of baiting the Scots, has finally come out with the most hurtful insult of all - he’s simply not bothered about them.
Paxman said: “I think the view down here would be ‘if our friends in Scotland decide they don’t want the Union to continue any longer, well that is a judgment for them’. And if they really don’t want to be sharing the same house with us, and want to move out, well that’s a bit of a shame. It is like watching a marriage decay among friends.
“But if that’s what they want, well, let them do it. You really ought to snap out of this sense that everyone down here is worried about it. They are not. The English have been allowed no voice in this.”
Paxman has form when it comes to cross-Border relationships. He once claimed that it was “tremendously good fun winding Scots up” because it was so easy.
Another Al Gore Wannabe
LEONARDO DiCaprio says it's not easy being green - especially when you are an Oscar-nominatedactor and a heart-throb with a habit of dating jet-setting supermodels.
Yet over the past 10 years, Leo has transformed himself from a "Titanic" pin-up and strip club lothario to critically acclaimed actor and environmental activist.
This month, he's the force that produced, co-wrote and presents a new documentary, The 11th Hour, which warns humanity and nature are on a collision course....
Poor old Christopher Monckton is going to be busy pulling yet another film apart. He revisits our old friend Al today and points out Gore’s 10 Errors Old and New - Scientific mistakes and exaggerations in an interview in India Today, 17 March 2008.
A Round of Drinks News
Deep in the bowels of Whitehall a government warning panel has exploded in a spasm of flashing red lights and whoop-whoop sirens. Quick, scramble the press officers, issue the admonishments. Somewhere out there, people are having fun! And it's not the usual suspects: the “toxic” teenagers or those feckless women bingeing away their looks and fertility. Can you believe it's the oldsters, the over-55s, boozing it up on holiday - never-ending bloody holidays! - when they should be down the garden centre or picking out Per Una cardies in fetching shades of beige?
This week the Foreign Office paused from its missions in Tibet and Darfur to warn us that “older travellers... drink more alcohol while away than they would in the UK”. Besides this startling revelation, with its implied debauchery of aperitifs, wine with dinner - every single night! - and, who knows, nightcap cognacs or queasy-coloured local stickies, was the news that “20 per cent of 55-plus holidaymakers try activities they would not contemplate at home”.
Women targeted in drink campaign - Telegraph
Rising levels of alcohol consumption, particularly among the middle classes, have been blamed in part on an increase in the strength of many wines and a fashion for larger glasses, leading to confusion over how many units of alcohol each glass contains.
The Government has responded with a £10 million advertising campaign that aims to educate women about the health risks of drinking and the need to be aware of how much alcohol they are consuming....critics will be disappointed that the Government is again turning to an awareness campaign. The Alcohol Health Alliance, which is made up of medical groups, wants a rise in tax on alcohol, a ban on advertising and restrictions on sales.
Scottish Executive plan alcohol ban for under-21s - Times Online
There is a growing body of concern that more and more young Scots are drinking at an earlier age, and anecdotal evidence suggests that many youngsters seen the worse for wear for drink on Scotland’s streets at the weekends are under age.
The Courier: Ridicule for alcohol age limit plan
Plan To Raise Age Limit For Alcohol Sales Wins Praise (from The Herald )
SCORES of police officers investigating the illegal poisoning of birds of prey have swooped on a Highland estate in one of the largest operations of its kind in Scotland...Four gamekeepers were detained for six hours and police seized a large number of items, including clothing, equipment and documents during the raid at about 6:30am on Thursday.
While the four gamekeepers were questioned at police stations across the region, scores of officers, with staff from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the National Wildlife Crime Unit, combed the upland estate that runs to several thousand acres.
Police dogs, including one specially trained to detect pesticides, were used in the hunt ...
I hope the weather was nice for them on their day out.
March 21, 2008
Wikio's monthly rankings for the most influential blogs in the UK blogosphere.
This is The End
James E. Hansen, the NASA climate scientist who has long had a habit of pushing past where many colleagues dare go in describing the risks posed by global warming, has done it again...arguing that the world has already shot past a safe eventual atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, which they say would be around 350 parts per million, a level passed 20 years ago....To avoid a centuries-long slide to conditions profoundly different than those that saw the rise and spread of modern civilization, the paper concludes, humans need to reverse course on emissions rapidly.
"We must begin to move now toward the era beyond fossil fuels. Continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions, for just another decade, practically eliminates the possibility of near-term return of atmospheric composition beneath the tipping level for catastrophic effects.
The most difficult task, phase-out over the next 20-25 years of coal use that does not capture CO2, is herculean, yet feasible when compared with the efforts that went into World War II. The stakes, for all life on the planet, surpass those of any previous crisis. The greatest danger is continued ignorance and denial, which could make tragic consequences unavoidable. "
As that other notable Climate Scientist Jim Morrison said:
This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end...
SERBIA has completely lost Kosovo and now needs to decide whether it will make efforts to move towards the European Union or choose total isolation, Jim Murphy, the Europe minister, warned yesterday.
There is no other choice but the all loving and powerful EU! You will be assimilated! (If I was a Serb leader I would be on a plane to Peking, that would wake the EU up.)
Young Man, there's no need to feel down, young man, get yourself off the ground
March 20, 2008
Friday Thursday Night is Music Night
Oh those backing dancers!
Where's the warmth hiding?
Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years....In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. .. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans..."There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant,"
So not only has the troposphere not warmed in the last few years that pesky warming isn't hiding in the sea, unless it is really really deep, where it won't effect us. Is it being lost by being radiated out into space....
When Churchill met Elvis
Winston Churchill: leader, victor, and, according to a third of schoolchildren, astronaut. The most celebrated British Prime Minister of the 20th century was the first man to walk on the Moon, one in three young people told a survey.
The black hole in their knowledge was revealed after an online poll asked 1,400 children, aged from 6 to 14, some basic astronomical questions.
Not only did a significant number confuse Neil Armstrong with the statesman who led the Allies to victory, it also revealed that 72 per cent were unable to identify the Moon in a series of pictures.
Makes you proud of the system eh? Though of course some might wonder about The Times implying that Churchill was Supreme Allied Commander.
Oh please! One lot of spivs complaining that another lot of spivs has outspivved them, that isn't the end of civilisation as we know it. It is the essence of capitalism, the cold wind that comfortable companies try to keep out of their marble halls to the detriment of us all.
As Joseph Schumpeter, said when he coined the phrase "Creative Destruction"
This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in. . . .
Every piece of business strategy acquires its true significance only against the background of that process and within the situation created by it. It must be seen in its role in the perennial gale of creative destruction; it cannot be understood irrespective of it or, in fact, on the hypothesis that there is a perennial lull. . . .
It is hardly necessary to point out that competition of the kind we now have in mind acts not only when in being but also when it is merely an ever-present threat. It disciplines before it attacks..
From Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (New York: Harper, 1975) [orig. pub. 1942], pp. 82-85
I must go down to the sea again
somethingfishy: will be a happy bunny frolicking with joy at the news that Fishing licence plans scrapped by Government - Telegraph
Of course the plans are scrapped because of "cost effectiveness" not because they were an affront to our age old liberties. It is of course a given now that the government can regulate and licence any activity it chooses to do so.
March 19, 2008
Health and Safety Warning
We want your children
“A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare.”
In other words, the purpose of the public schools is to indoctrinate children into a particular communal ethos promoted by the state, whether or not the parents agree on the specifics of what the “public welfare” entails.
Presumably if parents obtain the proper credentials they will not only not beat their kids, but instill the secular values of the Nanny and Welfare States.
This is frightening stuff.
There are really two primary purposes of compulsory public eduction.
First, over the period of twelve years the mindset of children can be molded into one of conformity and obedience to authority.
Second, public schooling enables government officials to fill children’s minds with officially approved political, historical, and economic doctrine.
No wonder that Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Mussolini were enthusiastic supporters of compulsory public education.
A thought for Holy Week
The fact remains, in order to be a heretic--whether in religion, climate orthodoxy, political correctness etc--one must know more about the underlying ideas involved, than must a true believer, who must only profess belief. To a believer, insistence on evidence and consistency is often considered a sign of a lack of faith. In many belief orthodoxies, such lack of faith could easily mean the loss of funding, employment, or even loss of one's life.
Heresy is a risk. Be sure you are ready to take the risk before you take the plunge.
Even though you may think the CAGW (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) true believers have less of leg to stand on when it comes to a record of believability than Heather Mills, to persuade people against the comfort of their faith is never easy, and is dangerous. Careful how you go!
It's that old time warming again
The present wide-spread and persistent tendency toward
warmer weather, and especially the recent long
series of mild winters, has attracted considerable public
interest; so much so that frequently the question is asked
“Is our climate changing? ” Historic climate has always
been considered by meteorologists and climatologists to
be a rather stable thing, in marked contrast to geologic
climate and to weather.
I know we hear it all the time from the BBC - but wait as
Anthony Watts reveals that is the opening from a study published in the Monthly Weather Review in September 1933 Titled: IS OUR CLIMATE CHANGING? A STUDY OF LONG-TIME TEMPERATURE TRENDS.
Read the rest of the Watts Up post for more
Come friendly bombs
...a far more interesting story, largely ignored by the Westminster pack,..
There was much jubilation in the Slough Labour Party after an election court disqualified a local Conservative councillor, Eshaq Khan, for corrupt and fraudulent election practices.
Mr Khan was found to have secured his election last May by registering at various properties around his ward more than a hundred “ghost” voters – people who didn’t exist or weren’t entitled to be on the voting register - and who then, of course, voted for him.
I wonder if the right-wing blogosphere will be covering this story tomorrow..
Answers on a postcard..
The right wing blogosphere will be discussing this and the angle they will take is...thanks to labour, postal voting fraud is common and not just from labour councillors but even the Tories are tainted with this..er labour policy of postal voting... did i mention it was LABOUR that introduced postal voting? did i? well in case you missed it... its labour fault for introducing postal voting.
Quote of the week: (thus far)
"To ignore the possibility that it is widespread, particularly in local elections, is a policy that an ostrich would despise."
I wouldn't want to disappoint by not commenting, but I know little about postal voting fraud except that this seems to be the first time recently that the BBC has got all excited about it, whether that is because the crooks are Tories or that it is only a short commute from London I will leave up to you to guess.
As the Fulham Reactionary says:...there are those who might attempt to use this kind of case to "smear an entire community". That would of course be very wrong: although the alleged perpetrator is a Tory, I am assured that the vast majority of moderate Tories are entirely supportive of democracy. And, while it is true that a tiny minority of alleged extremist Tories (Abdul Razaq, Raja Akhtar, and Mohammed Khaliq in Peterborough; Haroon Rashid, Jamshed Khan, and Reis Khan in Bradford; Iftikhar Hussain in Birmingham) are currently undergoing trial for vote-rigging, there have also been Labour activists (Muhammad Afzal, Mohammed Islam, and Mohammed Kazi in Birmingham; Muhammed Hussain in Blackburn) who have been either convicted of electoral fraud, or found to have engaged in it by an election commissioner, besides the former Labour mayor of Peterborough, Mohammed Choudhary, who is currently on trial for vote-rigging, alongside Tariq Mahmood and Maqbool Hussain. And Lib Dems have also been caught participating in some dubious electoral practices: in 2006, Burnley councillors Manzur Hussain and Mozaquir Ali were jailed for their part in a 2004 vote-rigging conspiracy, while last May Birmingham Lib Dem activists Zaker Choudhry and Mohammed Saeed were arrested over accusations of electoral impropriety. I think that it should therefore be abundantly evident to all but the most hardened and intolerant Toryphobe, that there are individuals within all political parties who show insufficient respect to democracy, and that to suggest that any one group was more likely than others to engage in vote-rigging would be the height of bigotry. So there!
Sense from Country Life
The campaign for genetically modified food will receive a significant boost when Country Life, the influential countryside and property magazine, calls for its widespread introduction to help feed the world's starving.
In a hard-hitting editorial, the magazine argues that for the Government to ignore GM crops is "immoral" and "criminal".
Read Country Life on 'Frankenstein Foods' [pdf]
Sense from an unexpected corner, recognising however much its readers want the countryside preserved in aspic it is still has to feed the world. It is going to cause apoplexy in Dentists' waiting rooms in two years time when people get round to reading it.
March 18, 2008
Definition of an English Gentleman - he is never unintentionally rude.
I'm sure Macca won't mind it being revealed that he disclosed total net assets of £387,012,000. He disclosed his total net income for the next 12 months at £5,357,000 (judgement.pdf). when he knows the whole world is reading a proper legal kicking.
In his full ruling on the McCartney divorce, the judge was highly critical of Heather Mills's evidence.
You can have all your hysterical bitch slapping and name calling, when you want to really insult some no one is better than an English Judge.
March 17, 2008
If I told you you had a beautiful body...
We reveal the most beautiful cars as chosen by readers of The Daily Telegraph
That's my favourite - or at least the best car I have ever owned (and yes it is me driving it). I should never have sold it...
1988 6.0l V12Jaguar XJR-S
After winning the 1984 European Touring Car Championship at the wheel of an XJ-S, Tom Walkinshaw of TWR was commissioned to give the road-going XJR a performance makeover. In 1988 the factory made an official model incorporating Walkinshaw's enhancements. His company JaguarSport (or TWR), was already producing body and suspension kits for the XJ-S which were available for separate order.
Each car left the TWR factory as individually built cars. Options such as the body kit, quick-shift gearbox, ventilated discs and four-pot brake calipers along with stiffer suspension, lowered ride height, re-calibrated power steering and a momo steering wheel were available.
Both a 5.3 liter and 6.0 liter engine were available in the car. Since the engines look almost identical, its hard to differentiate between the two. In either case a genuine TWR car is hard to come by, as in three years of production a little over 600 cars were manufactured.
And the rear view, which is all most people saw of it was pretty good as well..
£700 an hour, for every hour she was married
And in other news Kim Du Toit launches an attack on women who sleep with men for money...
Tim B-L on Bad Phorm
The creator of the World Wide Web has hit out at corporate attempts to track users' online browsing habits.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee said it was vital that consumers' rights were protected and what sites they visited were not recorded by commercial organisations without express permission.
He was speaking as major British internet service providers (ISPs), including Talk Talk, BT and Virgin, consider adopting a web tracking service provided by a company called Phorm.
Sir Tim added: "I myself feel that it is very important that my ISP supplies internet to my house like the water company supplies water to my house. It supplies connectivity with no strings attached.
"My ISP doesn't control which websites I go to, it doesn't monitor which websites I go to."
The EcoWorld view
.... Subsequent to publishing the feature ”The Fluid Envelope - A Case Against Climate Alarm“ by Dr. Richard Lindzen, we received an email from a science journalist questioning one of the central assertions in Lindzen’s report. The writer wanted to know on what basis Dr. Lindzen was claiming there has been no significant warming in the last 10+ years. In response, Lindzen emailed the following table, showing temperature trends for the last 27 years. This data is based on global (including over the ocean) average temperature readings per year, per altitude, as reported by the U.K.’s Hadley Climatic Research Unit:
As the data indicates, over the past two decades, temperatures have actually declined in the upper troposphere, even though there has been some minor upward trends in temperature at sea level and lower altitudes. This completely contradicts conventional global warming models. As Dr. Lindzen explained in his follow up email:
“I used this data to show that the trend at 300 hPa was not about 2.5 x the surface trend which is what greenhouse warming [models] requires.” Apparently climate models that predict global warming ala increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 assume increasing temperature trends in the troposphere, where CO2 concentrates, and the reality is the troposphere is not getting hotter, it is getting cooler.
Before we radically rearrange the political economy of the world because some scientists claim anthropogenic CO2 is the cause of climate change, it might be worthwhile for anyone taking a position on the topic to consider whether or not this is indeed “well settled science.”
Thanks to Dennis Ambler for pointing out this website out to me - full of interesting articles.
Editor's Note: We have been publishing more material than ever on the
subject of climate change, for a very simple reason: The debate is not over as to
the cause, the eventual severity, nor the remedies for climate change. The
debate never was over, and for the mainstream press to have ever acceded to the
notion that debate was over, or to condone marginalizing anyone who continued
to debate, is one of the most eggregious examples of media bias in history.
One should think that given what is at stake - the reorganization of our
entire political and economic systems - debate would be welcomed. One would
think those who are calling for debate and discussion would be heralded as voices
of moderation and reason, instead of branded as ideological fanatics and
The fact that debate is supposedly "over" regarding something for which the
remedy is so fundamentally and abruptly transformative should concern anyone
who claims to care about human rights, individual freedoms, free enterprise,
and an open society. The idea that anyone who questions global warming
alarmism is freely demonized should concern any student of history.
The solution - government control over virtually anything that emits a gas -
including CO2, which plants and trees require for their very survival - and
huge new taxes (perhaps disguised in the form of Wall Street friendly "cap
and trade" mechanisms, but the consumer still pays the freight), should concern
anyone who cares about representative government and values the concept of
private property. ..
Common sense would suggest we question the agenda of the global warming
alarmists who rely on fear and questionable science, not that of the skeptics. If
there is a "denial industry," who would benefit? A handful of underfunded
think tanks? If there is a hidden agenda, it is more likely coming from the
"alarm industry." Government agencies get more tax revenue, the United Nations
gets a revenue stream, insurance companies collect higher premiums,
corporations get more subsidies, small businesses get destroyed because they can't
afford to comply with the new regulations, and families everywhere pay punitive
prices for energy, water and land. Is this the future we want? Maybe, if all of
this AGW alarmism were true!
H/T The Devil for the graphic
Gypsies go Fox Hunting
The children’s television character Basil Brush is at the centre of a police investigation after an allegation that an episode of the programme was racist towards gipsies....
The programme, which was aired on the BBC’s digital channel CBBC, centred on Basil’s co-star Mr Stephen, played by actor Christopher Pizzey.
He falls under the spell of a gipsy fortune teller, Dame Rosie Fortune, who moves into the flat above them and greets them at the door with offers of pegs and "lucky" heather.
When she offers to read Basil’s fortune for him, the character tells a joke about previously visiting a gipsy fortune teller who predicts he is about to embark on a long journey.
When Mr Stephen asks what happened, Basil replies: "He stole my wallet and I had to walk all the way home."
A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: "We can confirm we have received a complaint about a TV show featuring Basil Brush from a member of the public.
"The complaint was logged as an incident of a racist nature and we are now investigating."
The McLaffer Curve
JOHN Swinney's plans for a local income tax in Scotland have suffered a new setback after senior tax experts warned some of the country's wealthiest business leaders might leave the country to avoid paying it.
Mr Swinney, the finance secretary, wants to replace council tax with a new income tax, to be initially set at 3p in the pound.
I guess that a 3p cut in tax, and a guaranteed long term non-dom favourable system, would boost Scottish revenues far more....
Pricing shattered lives
Soldiers' families reacted angrily after it emerged the Ministry of Defence awarded £202,000 to an office employee who strained his back picking up a printer...
Pte Jamie Cooper was 18 when he was hit by two mortar rounds in Basra in November 2006. He suffered serious internal injuries, a shattered pelvis, and also damaged his leg and lost the use of a hand.
Despite his ordeal he was awarded just £57,587, which the MoD refused to increase on appeal.
...a second civilian MoD employee was awarded £217,000 after developing chronic fatigue syndrome and depression.
Pte Cooper will receive £9,000 a year for life - 60 per cent of his final salary.
Previously an RAF typist who injured her thumb was awarded £484,000.... Lance Bombadier Ben Parkinson, who lost both legs in an Iraq blast, which also left him paralysed and brain damaged... his compensation was increased from £152,150 to £285,000.
And waving a few balloons on sticks under the tatty bunting of Gordon's "Armed Forces Day" won't put it right.
March 16, 2008
Tony Blair and the hubris syndrome
Lord Owen analyses Tony Blair's psyche - Times Online
Lord Owen, the doctor who became foreign secretary, examines Tony Blair’s psyche and reaches worrying conclusions.
....First, his early passion was not politics but performing. Actor-politicians tend to be especially narcissistic – which makes the hero role almost irresistible.
A second trait concerns his view of himself, in that he thinks he is always good. Someone who believes they cannot act badly will also believe that they cannot lie, so shading the truth can easily become a habit.
Linked to this is the nature of Blair’s religious beliefs and the particular way he sees his relationship with God. In a television interview two years ago, he said, in relation to Iraq: “If you have faith about these things then you realise that judgment is made by other people. If you believe in God, it’s made by God as well.”
The implication is that the accountability that really matters to Blair is not to the electorate but to God. If, however, he is already convinced of his own goodness, that accountability is not constraining as it would be to the believer aware of his own capacity to sin. The belief in God becomes a spur to hubris rather than a constraint on it...
Any CEO who acted as he did would have lead to the Board summoning the men in the white coats to take him away.
Shannon News Roundup
The Press Association: Shannon 'back where she belongs'
Shannon's mother Karen said: "When I first saw Shannon again I was overwhelmed - I just couldn't stop crying, knowing she's back where she belongs and she's safe.
Rescued schoolgirl put into police protection - Scotsman.com News
SHANNON Matthews was last night taken into care by police and social services...
Enough! I'm bored already but I do note that the Sunday Papers in Dewsbury are carrying a new advert:
You are getting worse off - what's Dave going to do about it?
Gordon Brown’s party slipped to 27% – 16 points behind the Conservatives – amid growing concern about the government’s economic competence, a YouGov survey for The Sunday Times shows today.
Budget 2008 breaks Middle Britain - Telegraph
The cost of living for the middle class is rising far faster than for anyone else. Inflation rates calculated by consultants at Capital Economics have consistently shown higher increases for goods and services typically consumed by middle-income families than the "hard-up", pensioners or "young single professionals".
The latest data for January show that this "middle-class" inflation rate is running at 5.7 per cent a year, compared with 1.8 per cent for pensioners; virtually nothing for the poor and falling prices for young adults still living at home. Wages and benefits, by contrast, are rising more slowly at about 4 per cent.
It is true. Life is getting harder for those working hardest. You are not imagining it. Even this is probably understating the case. The middle-class inflation research is based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that groups broad categories of spending....
Moaning about taxes and bills used to be considered a selfish thing, but increasingly it looks like it might become a progressive political rallying call.
The more interesting question is why the middle-earners have allowed themselves to become so hard done by? Why, for example, after all Tony Blair's focus groups and emphasis on Mondeo man, has the Labour Party lost its instinctive feel for Middle Britain?
Why have the Tories allowed themselves to be painted into a corner on tax that makes it difficult for them to appeal to this natural constituency?
Why indeed has the Tory party not got back on track instead of being sidetracked with "nice" ideas. Is it as Sam Tarran asks that they "don't watch the news?"
March 15, 2008
Cymru am byth
Three nearly perfect matches, and the IPA was fine as well. Normal service will resume tomorrow.
March 14, 2008
A rise in drug-related deaths in Brighton this year has led police to warn users about heroin purity.
Yep, the war on drugs is working so well that the price has dropped so much it isn't been cut with so much crap and users aren't expecting it to be so pure. Of course if it was legalised then none of these deaths would have occurred as the strength would be advertised on the outside of the packet....
Friday Night is Music Night (True Blues Edition)
Huddie William Ledbetter or Lead Belly
A cunning plan to cure the prison place shortage and keep the greens happy.
I think I have the answer, one that will make everyone from the greens to the die hard Tories happy:
The giant terminal has taken six years to build at a cost of £4.3bn.
It consists of a main terminal building and two smaller satellites (B and C), the second of which is due to open in 2010.
The terminal has been designed by architects Richard Rogers Partnership
As anyone who has travelled through Heathrow knows it is akin to being banged up without the option. Lets cut out the middleman and lock up all those fat sweaty passengers in their lurid tracksuits and stolen trainers. The terminal has got the fingerprint scanners, the tannoy system and the happy smiling security guards already; the food might need upgrading to prevent the inmates rioting and those do-gooders at Amnesty International might complain that subjecting anyone to more than twenty minutes of an airport terminal should be filed under cruel and unusual punishment but so what?
I commend the idea to the house.
The European Union's competition watchdog has appoved the use of €99m (£76m) of French state aid for a consortium attempting to build an internet search engine to take on Google....
Following an "in-depth examination," the European Commission decided that the Quaero project "brings positive externalities for the community as a whole."
However, Quaero "is not spontaneously underpinned by the market owing to divergent interests within the consortium and to uncertainties regarding the project's chances of success," the EU's executive arm said in a statement.
The consortium plans to make the Quaero engine available for personal computers, mobile phones, televisions and other media platforms.
The project was unveiled by former French president Jacques Chirac in 2005, who billed it as a Franco-German attempt to compete with Google.
However, some of the German development team split from Quaero in 2006 to pursue their own, "complementary" search engine, dubbed Theseus, which won approval from the EU watchdog last year for an injection of German aid.
Of course we all know how you can't expect a search engine to prosper without state aid, how could you set one up without committees, government guidance and years of planning? Next you will be proposing the ridiculous notion that a couple of bright kids could start one in a garage and make gazillions from it, that's not how it works in the EU.....
A reader writes:
I have been following Miskolczi at
and a really scary book popped out http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/C34504.aspx entitled "The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy".
When we say that post Carson enviromentalists are resposible for more death than Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot put together, this book shows in detail where the movement is going. I would especially draw your attention to the number of acedemics that recommend the book.
Be Afraid ---be very afraid.
I remember other bloggers mentioning it, but it is worth reading about it again.
"...the authors conclude that an authoritarian form of government is necessary, but this will be governance by experts and not by those who seek power. There are in existence highly successful authoritarian structures--for example, in medicine and in corporate empires--that are capable of implementing urgent decisions impossible under liberal democracy. Society is verging on a philosophical choice between "liberty" or "life." But there is a third way between democracy and authoritarianism that the authors leave for the final chapter. Having brought the reader to the realization that in order to halt or even slow the disastrous process of climate change we must choose between liberal democracy and a form of authoritarian government by experts, the authors offer up a radical reform of democracy that would entail the painful choice of curtailing our worldwide reliance on growth economies, along with various legal and fiscal reforms. Unpalatable as this choice may be, they argue for the adoption of this fundamental reform of democracy over the journey to authoritarianism.
You must never go down to the end of the town, if you don't go down with me.
Ashley Alexandra Dupré
It has been bugging me all night where I had heard that name before, and no it wasn't on my speed dial. It is of course resonant with a character from the AA Milne poem Disobedience:
Weatherby George Dupree
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
Said to his Mother,
"Mother", he said, said he;
"You must never go down to the end of the town,
if you don't go down with me."
Now if that isn't worthy of a parody I don't know what is.
Tony jumps on the green bandwagon
Tony Blair is to lead an international campaign to cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.
The latest addition to the former Prime Minister’s portfolio of interests has the backing of the White House, the UN and Europe, and Mr Blair is shortly to discuss the plans with the Chinese and Indian Governments.
Just last month it was announced that Mr Blair is to be a part-time adviser to JP Morgan Chase. There is also his work, ten days a month, as envoy for the Quartet of the EU, US, Russia and the UN in the Middle East — and an interfaith foundation to be set up later this year.
Now it has emerged that Mr Blair, whose venture has the support of Gordon Brown, has been working on the climate change project with a group of experts since he left office last summer.
You can almost hear Cherie screeching; "Oi Tony, d'yer see that Al Gore left office in 2000 with a net worth of about $2 million. Today his net worth is about $100 million and he recently invested $35 million in a “green” hedge fund. Why don't yer get us some of that, the business leaders have rumbled your speeches and the they are only paying you peanuts to sort out the Jews..."
March 13, 2008
Selling my browsing habits
A Reader writes:
Tim - you might want to have a look at this. The MSM are either ignoring it or don't understand the implications.
BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk are going to sell your browsing habits to an advertiser.
BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk (CarphoneWarehouse) have signed an advertising deal with a company called PHORM.
The company PHORM re-named itself from 121Media which was alledgedly associated with spyware last year.
These ISPs will run PHORM software inside their networks. This software will intercept and examine EVERY WEB PAGE you visit and will process it looking for keywords, and creating a profile of you.
Based on that profile, participating websites will then be able to send you targetted advertising.
BT are selling this to customers as an anti-phishing protection - WEBWISE (you will be warned if you are going onto a potential phishing site). Not that you need it - McAfee among others offer this for free.
BT will tell you that you can opt-out of this WEBWISE 'service'. You can opt-out of receiving the advertising. What they won't tell you is that you cannot opt-out from having all your web activity processed, because that is the only way this Deep Packet Inspection can work - opt out does not mean completely opt out.
There are supposed to be safety measures that protect you from having your secure transations (HTTPS) such as online banking from being processed and it also ignores email addresses and some other data. however, it will still capture post codes and other identifying information that you enter into web pages.
BT, Virgin and TalkTalk will share the advertising revenue with Phorm - said to be up to £85million.
Many people think this is an illegal wiretap under the RIPA and is also against the Data Protection Act.
As far as Im concerned this is a material change to my contract with BT, which means I can cancel it and move to another ISP who doesn't spy on me, with no penalty.
The technical community think this stinks. Read here (particularly the comments !) :
There is a petition here : http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ispphorm/
BT has no right to snoop on my data and make money out of it.
Mehdi Kazemi, can't we send Jacqui Smith in his place?
CentreRight wrote yesterday about the distressing case of the young gay Iranian student, Mehdi Kazemi, who was denied asylum despite the very real threat to his life from the vile Iranian regime should he sent back. Mehdi's 'crime' is that he is gay. ...after the extensive media coverage and pressure from various quarters the BBC are reporting that the Home Secretary is to personally review his case.
I may not share the young man's vices but I don't believe anyone has the right to proscribe what I put into my own bodily orifices, whether it be beer, dope or other men's willies. If I don't own the right to decide that, I don't own my own body and I am nothing but a slave. And sending a young man back to a slave state to die is a crime.
As my old friend Geoff Baker says: (Swearblogger alert)
Once again I am ashamed to be British today.
Correction, I am ashamed to have been among those who voted into power the current Government and its bunch of cunts at the Home Office.
The British Government probably doesn’t want you to know this abroad - so tell all of your friends - but in their cretinous wisdom their Home Office (currently run by a halfwit called Jacqui Smith) has decided to turn down the pleas for asylum by a young Iranian lad, Mehdi Kazemi.
Mr. Kazemi is just 19 and he is gay. If he is deported back to Iran he will be hanged to death.
Let me reiterate - Mr. Kazemi will have a noose put around his neck and a fucking crane will hoist him into the air until his poor legs stop kicking.
Which is precisely what happened to Mr. Kazemi’s boyfriend, when he was busted in Iran for the capital crime (there) of being homosexual.
As we know from the very lips of that twat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (he of "there’s no gays in Iran" fame), homosexuality is punishable by death in Iran ...
Jacqui Smith’s telephone number at the Home Office is 44 207 035 4848. Give her a bell and tell her to stop being such a stupid bitch and let the poor lad stay here.
Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?
I don't pretend to understand all the ramifications of the Budget, it is a bit like when a whiny teenager comes asking for some more pocket money and starts into a long spiel as how she really, really needs it for something important, and won't waste it, and how the last lot you gave her was really really well spent and anyway she is a lot more responsible than the kids from your previous marriage, and it will save the planet, and all her other friends have got more... there comes a time when you stop listening so you can carry on watching the game and just give her your wallet.
Of course the difference is that this little Darling confiscates the contents of your wallet with the power that comes out the end of a gun, but he craves for you to feel nice about it.
Seeing the Laffer Curve dimly through the bottom of a whisky glass
The great whisky con - Scotsman.com News
THE Chancellor was at the centre of a Budget storm last night, as it emerged that his plan for a huge rise in whisky duty may not raise a single penny for the Treasury.
Despite adding 59p to a bottle of Scotch, Alistair Darling's own figures reveal falling sales will cancel out any gain.
Furious whisky producers viewed the rise for no gain with "utter dismay". Gavin Hewitt, the chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), said: "Scottish distillers are astonished by the Chancellor's announcement. The government's own figures show that any duty increase on whisky is likely to reduce revenue at a time when public finances are tight."
Treasury figures show the package of levies Mr Darling slapped on alcohol will raise an extra £400 million in the year from April. Some £300 million will come from the 14p on a bottle of wine, while £100 million will be generated by 4p on a pint of beer and 3p on a litre bottle of cider. But the tax take from spirits, including whisky, will remain unchanged at £2.3 billion.
Treasury officials insisted the projections were estimates and that revenues would flow from all drinks duties announced yesterday, allowing the Chancellor to fulfil his pledge to tackle child poverty.
As the IFS said:
A cut in duty on spirits would lead to an increase in revenue from spirits. Beer is a complement to spirits, so a cut in spirits duty would lead to an increase in beer sales and an increase in beer revenue. But, since wine is a substitute for spirits, a cut in spirits duty would lead to a fall in sales of wine and this means a fall in revenue from wine. Overall, we find that we cannot reject that the duty rate on spirits is at the revenue-maximising rate. This means
that there is little scope for the Chancellor to increase indirect tax revenue by raising or cutting duty on spirits, since at the current tax rate he is already getting the maximum amount of revenue.
Laffer Curve anyone? But no the Treasury are pretending it doesn't exist, it's for the kiddies! It's all to eradicate Child Poverty! How could you be so mean to think otherwise? And it isn't just whisky that he has pushed over the curve, the whole entrepreneurial culture of the country is now dampened by the realisation that whadaya get? Another day older and deeper in debt.
The Devil's Kitchen brings us a US version of Gordon Brown's Citizenship Information Film
Instead of following your dreams, obey these rules! Why? Because we're the government and you're not...
March 12, 2008
88 or 08,, which is better?
Yesterday the Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, left the nation agog when he claimed British society was in a better state than 20 years ago. We asked our leading thinkers whether they'd like to return to the days of the prawn cocktail, four TV channels and mum-only nappy-changing. The answer was.....
A big yes from me.
Cheese Making Surrender Monkeys
Cheese traditionalists have won their battle to make Camembert producers use unpasteurised milk to obtain the prestigious AOC label.
Normandy's cheese and milk producers have voted in favour of making the use of untreated milk obligatory, in keeping with a recipe given to Marie Harel - an inhabitant of the village of Camembert - by a priest fleeing French Revolutionaries in 1791...They said the newer techniques wiped out the flora found in raw milk which they argue gives it its distinctive farmyard flavour..
This puts an end to a year-long "Camembert war" that has raged between defenders of old-fashioned Camembert with its distinctive aroma and two cheese multinationals, who argued that using raw milk, or lait cru, could present a health hazard.
"It's a relief", said Thierry Graindorge, whose family has been making Camembert for three generations.
"We wanted to maintain our cheese making values in making traditional Camembert, whose unique qualities are appreciated by so many.
"Raw milk makes a big difference to the taste and provides a very strong link between the consumer and our local soil."
Excellent news, very little beats a good cheese running off the plate. One of the joys of the King's Arms is the platters of free cheese and biscuits late on Friday night, of course the health Nazi's prevent the cheeses being kept as the landlord would like, insisting they are refrigerated, but they soon warm up as we sup on Wadworth's fine ales... whoops, sorry Kim!
Baby, it's average out there.
Anthony Watts blogs:
A note from Richard Lindzen on statistically significant warming « Watts Up With That?
...There has been no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995. Why bother with the arguments about an El Nino anomaly in 1998? (Incidentally, the red fuzz represents the error ‘bars’.)
Richard S. Lindzen
Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences
MIT Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
Hmmmm... CO2 levels have been rising and the temperature hasn't. It's only
ten eleven years, it doesn't prove global warming has stopped, but you have my permission now to slap any greenie who mentions the "increasing global temperature" hard around the face with a kipper.
And my American readers have nothing to complain about:
Doesn’t get much more ‘average’ than this:
A Kingdom is ruled by a King, a country is ruled by Gordon Brown
Perhaps we could have our children pledge allegiance to a national motto. So thick and fast and inchoate tumble the ideas about Britishness from the Government that the ridiculous no longer seems impossible. It is easy to poke fun - too easy, perhaps. For the very debate about what it means to be a British citizen, long a particular passion of Gordon Brown, brutally illustrates the ever-decreasing circle that new Labour has become.
The idea of a national motto (or “national statement of British values”, as they insist we call it) has already attracted derision on a glorious scale - and there's nothing more British than the refusal to be defined. Times readers chose as their national motto: No motto please, we're British.
Undaunted, here comes the Government with another one: a review of citizenship, which suggests that schoolchildren be asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. A what? Yup. Oath of allegiance to the Queen. It would be hard to think of something more profoundly undemocratic, less aligned to Mr Brown's supposed belief in meritocracy and enabling all children to achieve their full potential.....
But it is in him that the central problem resides: the Prime Minister himself is uncertain what Britishness is, while insisting we should all be wedded to the concept. No wonder there is a problem over what a motto, or an oath of allegiance, should contain.
Britain is a set of laws and ancient institutions - monarchy, Parliament, statutes, arguably today EU law as well. An oath of allegiance naturally tends towards these.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. In its younger and bolder days, new Labour used to argue that the traditional version of Britain is outdated. When Labour leaders began debating Britishness in the 1990s, they argued that the institutions in which a sense of Britain is now vested, or should be vested, are those such as the NHS or even the BBC (no coincidence that these are also traditionally viewed as “Labour” institutions), allied with values of civic participation, all embodying notions of fairness, equality and modernity absent in the traditional institutions.
Gordon Brown himself wrote at length about Britishness in The Times in January 2000: “The strong British sense of fair play and duty, together embodied in the ideal of a vibrant civic society, is best expressed today in a uniquely British institution - the institution that for the British people best reflects their Britishness - our National Health Service.”
An oath of allegiance to the NHS? Ah, those were the days. They really thought they could do it; change the very notion of what it meant to be British. Today, ten years on, they hesitatingly propose an oath of allegiance to the Queen. Could there be a more perfect illustration of the vanquished hopes and aspirations of new Labour? Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair...
Britishness is about not being seen as too Scottish to rule the English, it is about talking about unity whilst breaking up the country into regions to be ruled from Brussels, it is the last refuge for him.
March 11, 2008
Getting to the bottom of the Eliot allegations
Tim Worstall brings us up to date about Gov. Eliot but being of refined and delicate sensibilities leaves out the mucky innuendo of the Times Online
Lewis continued that from what she had been told, ‘he would ask you to do things that you, like, might not think were safe – I mean . . . very basic things’.”
Big Oil and Climate Change Research
Today there is a huge ‘social support’ group of grant toting modelers and researchers, agenda driven or ratings driven journalists, environmentalists and corporations that have realized green is their favorite color and see this as a way to keep green paper flowing into their coffers and pockets, farmers who are benefiting from the misplaced focus on alternative fuel from crops which has sent the cost for their crops to record levels, traders and major market firms licking their chops at the prospects of big time money from carbon trading, big oil and alternative energy companies that have realized this is the vector to bigger profits and the politicians and political activists who see it as a way to accomplish ulterior goals about changing society and increasing their powerbase.
It will only be after the public realizes they have been snookered that the situation may turn on them. We can only hope damage done is not great or irreparable when that day finally comes
What's gone wrong? Quite.
Fire extinguishers may be removed from blocks of flats across Britain after they were deemed dangerous by buildings risk assessors at two blocks on the South Coast.
Many residents regard the distinctive red extinguishers as the first response to fire, giving vital time until professional firefighters arrive.
Residents described the ban as ridiculous. Mike Edwards, a 61-year-old retired printer who lives in Avon House, said: “I was absolutely staggered to discover the fire extinguishers were to be taken out. How can removing fire extinguishers be a safe decision?
“The risk assessor said an extinguisher could cause a hazard if the person using it has not been trained. They are worried they will point it in the wrong direction or use the wrong extinguishers on a certain type of fire but if you are trapped in a burning building, you will certainly work out how to use an extinguisher.
“Our eldest resident is 103 but even she said she could quickly work out how to use an extinguisher in an emergency.”
Excuse me. Are these the very same Britons who tackled incindiary bombs with buckets of sand and with small streams of water from handpumps?
What's gone wrong?
Dennis, Portland OR, US
Civilising the Picts
"The first provisional script I got was so Anglo-centric I couldn't believe it," Prof Macinnes said. "It was written on the basis as if Scotland was a divided country until the Union (with England] came along and civilised it.
And the problem with that is what?
Off with his head
The waxworks museum has decided not to commission a model of the Prime Minister because he has not made a sufficient impact on the public.
Ben Lovett, a spokesman for the tourist attraction, said: "We have decided not to create a wax figure of Gordon Brown at this interim stage. He may not be in the job for much longer. We could be making a David Cameron, who knows?
"We are apolitical and always listen to the public in terms of its figure selection process. So we will not make a Prime Minister until after the General Election as this is the best possible indicator of public opinion and popularity."
And there was me thinking it was because they had too many wooden lifeless dummies already. Of course Madame Tussaud made her name by copying heads that had been detached by the guillotine, now there is a n idea....
Save the serfs! Censorship is enforced
Civil servants will now be issued with guidelines warning that they must "avoid any embarrassment to Ministers or your department".
Any chance that Ministers will be ordered not to embarrass their civil servants by being complete dickheads?
March 10, 2008
In honour of the small gale we are having here is Lena Horne:
Ouch - that hurt!
He blew with His winds, and they were scattered
The worst storm of the winter, which was forecast to hit Britain early this morning, is expected to have a second powerful blast today.
The Met Office said that there would be a brief lull in the storm, which produced gusts of up to 80mph during the night, before another wave of high winds and heavy rain hit the country later this morning. The severe weather is expected to continue until early tomorrow.
The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for all of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and southern and central Scotland. Residents were told to expect uprooted trees, power cuts and damage to buildings.....
Householders have been urged to ensure that windows are closed.
If it blowing like it is here outside and you haven't got the nous to close the bloody window then Mr Darwin has a message for you.
And as an old fashioned Englishman whose country has been betrayed to the idolatrous worshippers of Europe it brings to mind the Great Protestant Wind of blessed memory which lashed the Spanish Armada in 1588, wrecking the fleet and saving England and returned to enable William of Orange to save us again in 1688. If only it had the power to do so again....
What Jolly Fun!
First they said they didn’t understand it. Now they say we don’t have it any more. The British sense of humour, supposedly one of our defining national characteristics, is once again lost on the Americans.
Eric Weiner, a former New York Times journalist, spent a year travelling the world in search of the planet’s happy places. But after visiting Britain he felt only pity for a population unable to experience happiness.
For the English, Weiner claims, happiness is an American import based on silly, infantile drivel. What the British like to be is grumpy, and they derive a perverse pleasure from their grumpiness. British life is not about happiness; it’s about getting by, he says.
Oh, put on the silly clown face and squirt me from a plastic flower! Let's all sing along with bloody Barney, do you feel good? If you feel good I feel good, Have a Nice Day!" Oh for fuck's sake, is there anything more annoying than the a rictus grin of an American TV host and the inoffensive "humor". As Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh said:
I wish I loved the Human Race;
I wish I loved its silly face;
I wish I liked the way it walks;
I wish I liked the way it talks;
And when I’m introduced to one,
I wish I thought "What Jolly Fun!"
But I don't and you can't blame me for it or I will sue...Researchers claim that the British penchant for cruel comedy at the expense of others is dictated by our genes.
I'm from the government and I'm here to help you...
Britain's equality watchdog wants tough new powers to tackle employers who fail to hire or promote staff from "disadvantaged" groups.
Under the plans, inspection teams would carry out "spot checks" to ensure that companies were obeying discrimination laws...
Under the plans, inspectors from the EHRC would be empowered to carry out spot checks at any workplace - those where there was cause for concern or firms which had done nothing wrong.
In an interview, Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), said: "What business wants is the sort of regulator that makes competition fair, rewards people who really try and do well, leaves people who are getting on with it alone, and turns the heavy artillery on the people who are cheating. I hate the idea that we are waiting for people to make a mistake - I would like us to be an organisation that helps people to do the right thing."
What business wants is the right to employ the best person for the job, if a firm decides to only employ knuckledragging BNP members that should be its choice, but if left to the ruthless nature of a free market a competitor who employed better people, whatever their "minority", would soon see it out of business.
Crackdown on Crack dealers
THEY were Glasgow's hard men, feared and reviled by everyone they met and living up to their reputations as Scotland's most dangerous criminals. Each had a nickname as sharp as the blades they used: the Godfather, the Licensee, the Torturer.
Oh no, not another story about Speaker Martin, .... no of course it isn't...
The authorities estimate there are 400 organised crime bosses in Britain, with an amassed criminal wealth of about £440 million.
A million quid each? Not much of a "don"; a big house in Essex, a couple of flash cars and diamanté collars for the dobermans and there is not enough to bling up the bird. Sound like someone is talking up your small time tealeaf to make their job seem more important...
As part of a crackdown, Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, has proposed new offences of directing or being involved in organised crime.
The planned new laws were endorsed recently at the second meeting of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce, which brings together organisations such as the Crown Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, the SCDEA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and the Scottish Prison Service.
The government is also planning to add new offences indicating a criminal lifestyle to the Proceeds of Crime Act,
March 9, 2008
The Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change - Blog it!
To Our Media’s Shame
“Why has the UK media, in pretty well all its forms, failed to report ‘The Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change’, signed in New York on March 4, 2008?” The meeting at which the ‘Declaration’ was agreed [‘The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change’, March 2 - March 4] was attended by over 500 people (scientists, economists, policy makers, etc.), with over 100 speakers delivering keynote addresses, or participating in panel discussions. Sadly, I think we know the answer, and it is one that reflects very badly on our supine UK media [the only exception of note appears to be The Sunday Telegraph, March 9: ‘Climate dissent grows hotter as chill deepens’]. If ever evidence were needed of the dangerous ‘control’ of our media by pernicious grand narratives, then this is surely it.
Luckily, we bloggers can break the deafening silence. Here, then, is the ‘Declaration’ for you to read for yourself, unadorned, unedited, and unfiltered by any media:
The Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change
‘Global warming’ is not a global crisis
We, the scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policymakers, and business leaders, assembled at Times Square, New York City, participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change,
Resolving that scientific questions should be evaluated solely by the scientific method;
Affirming that global climate has always changed and always will, independent of the actions of humans, and that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant but rather a necessity for all life;
Recognising that the causes and extent of recently observed climatic change are the subject of intense debates in the climate science community and that oft-repeated assertions of a supposed ‘consensus’ among climate experts are false;
Affirming that attempts by governments to legislate costly regulations on industry and individual citizens to encourage CO2 emission reduction will slow development while having no appreciable impact on the future trajectory of global climate change. Such policies will markedly diminish future prosperity and so reduce the ability of societies to adapt to inevitable climate change, thereby increasing, not decreasing, human suffering;
Noting that warmer weather is generally less harmful to life on Earth than colder:
That current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity's real and serious problems.
That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.
That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.
That adaptation as needed is massively more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation and that a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from addressing the real problems of their peoples.
That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.
Now, therefore, we recommend -
That world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as popular, but misguided works such as An Inconvenient Truth.
That all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith.
Agreed at New York, 4 March 2008. [End of Declaration]
EU Referendum: Virtually unreported in Britain …
This is something that bloggers, in particular, could benefit from studying. Last week, I was talking to a "senior government advisor", who bemoaned the fact that the British political blogging scene had not followed the US example of leading the way in focused attacks on the establishment. Instead, he said, it was largely derivative, devoting most of its energies to commenting on media output - thus allowing the MSM to set the agenda.
If the British blogosphere is to have any real impact, we need to start shaping our own agenda. The "global warming fraud" is a good place to start.
Climate Change Adviser
I spent a happy morning this week wandering around some ancient woodland on Exmoor, only spoilt by some bearded loon from the Forestry Commission continually spouting on about how these remnants of the ancient wildwood that covered England from before man knapped his first flint were at risk from the weather.
The Earth's climate has been relatively stable since the last glaciation which ended about 10,000 years ago, but it is now changing.
The average global temperature is rising. ...
Of course as his job depended on planning for climate change he wasn't going to let facts get in the way of the story. As Anthony Watts reminds us:3 of 4 global metrics show nearly flat temperature anomaly in the last decade
It has been 10 years since the super El Niño of 1998 helped to spike global temperatures dramatically. Now since it appears we are in the opposite phase,..
And if you want to preserve the climate change myth my union is offering £30,638 - £37,849 for a Climate Change Adviser
(Reports to: Chief Adviser, Renewable Energy and Climate Change)
So much better than spending it on nasty pointy things that might hurt someone....
MEET the gang 'cos the boys are here, the boys to diversity train you.
Defence chiefs have caused widespread outrage with plans to spend £5m on actors to help spread the message of tolerance throughout the armed forces.
The 2008 version of It Ain't Half Hot Mum will visit military bases throughout the UK and abroad, performing self-penned sketches and plays on the theme of "equality and diversity".
But as evidence of over-stretch and under-equipping of British forces mounts, the move has been widely condemned by politicians and military insiders as a ridiculous waste of money.
Tragic losses blamed on equipment shortages include the death in Basra in 2003 of tank commander Sgt Steven Roberts, who handed over his body armour to a colleague shortly before he was shot. In 2006, the death in Afghanistan of paratrooper Captain James Philippson was partially blamed on shortages of night vision equipment and machine guns.
Despite the controversy, documents seen by Scotland on Sunday reveal the MoD has invited firms to bid for a contract worth up to £5m to provide "drama-based interventions" – sketches and plays – for equality and diversity training.
Treasoners to "overhaul" treason laws
Britain's ancient laws of treason are out of date and should be overhauled, a senior government adviser will tell the Prime Minister this week.
You don't suppose the bastards who have sold out our country are getting itchy round the neck do you?
March 8, 2008
Fingerprinted before you are allowed to fly within the country.
Millions of British airline passengers face mandatory fingerprinting before being allowed to board flights when Heathrow’s Terminal 5 opens later this month.
For the first time at any airport, the biometric checks will apply to all domestic passengers leaving the terminal, which will handle all British Airways flights to and from Heathrow.
The controversial security measure is also set to be introduced at Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow’s Terminal 1, and many airline industry insiders believe fingerprinting could become universal at all UK airports within a few years.
All four million domestic passengers who will pass through Terminal 5 annually after it opens on March 27 will have four fingerprints taken, as well as being photographed, when they check in.
Dr Gus Hosein, of the London School of Economics, an expert on the impact on technology on civil liberties, is one of the scheme’s strongest critics.
He said: "There is no other country in the world that requires passengers travelling on internal flights to be fingerprinted. BAA says the fingerprint data will be destroyed, but the records of who has travelled within the country will not be, and it will provide a rich source of data for the police and intelligence agencies.
"I grew up in a society where you only fingerprinted people if you suspected them of being criminals. By doing this they will make innocent people feel like criminals.
"There will also be a suspicion that this is the thin end of the wedge, that we are being softened up by making fingerprinting seem normal in the run-up to things like ID cards."
Gordon's Grenztruppen have their eyes on controlling internal movements as well, how they love the number plate recognition cameras on the motorways, and now if you fly.... And if they can sneak in travel permits under the guise of "carbon points cards" (brainchild of Miliband) their happiness would be complete, until the next restriction idea occurred to them.
Military uniforms in public ‘risk offending minorities’
Certain areas in Britain will still have to remain off-limits for servicemen and women in military gear, despite the Government’s desire for a nationwide uniform free-for-all, senior RAF sources acknowledged yesterday.
“We’re aware of the sensitivities, for example, in some ethnic minority communities which is why we need to have a dialogue with local authorities and police if we don’t want to cause a problem,” the source said.
Let them be fucking offended, in fact go and offend them. Bull the boots and march up and down a few streets a few times. Or is it just that the crabs who don't like getting down and personal with the
enemy concerned citizens?
Made up numbers behind a Greenie scare
Scientists and environmentalists have attacked a global campaign to ban plastic bags which they say is based on flawed science and exaggerated claims.
The widely stated accusation that the bags kill 100,000 animals and a million seabirds every year are false, experts have told The Times. They pose only a minimal threat to most marine species, including seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds.
Lord Taverne, the chairman of Sense about Science, said: “The Government is irresponsible to jump on a bandwagon that has no base in scientific evidence. This is one of many examples where you get bad science leading to bad decisions which are counter-productive. Attacking plastic bags makes people feel good but it doesn’t achieve anything.”....
The central claim of campaigners is that the bags kill more than 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds every year. However, this figure is based on a misinterpretation of a 1987 Canadian study in Newfoundland, which found that, between 1981 and 1984, more than 100,000 marine mammals, including birds, were killed by discarded nets. The Canadian study did not mention plastic bags.
Fifteen years later in 2002, when the Australian Government commissioned a report into the effects of plastic bags, its authors misquoted the Newfoundland study, mistakenly attributing the deaths to “plastic bags”.
The figure was latched on to by conservationists as proof that the bags were killers. For four years the “typo” remained uncorrected. It was only in 2006 that the authors altered the report, replacing “plastic bags” with “plastic debris”...In a postscript to the correction they admitted that the original Canadian study had referred to fishing tackle, not plastic debris, as the threat to the marine environment.
Regardless, the erroneous claim has become the keystone of a widening campaign to demonise plastic bags.
David Santillo, a marine biologist at Greenpeace, told The Times that bad science was undermining the Government’s case for banning the bags. “It’s very unlikely that many animals are killed by plastic bags,” he said. “The evidence shows just the opposite.
‘Sexed-up’ numbers should not always be accepted as science - Times Online
Mike Hulme: Commentary
Yet as this example shows, we need to be very careful about the veracity of the numbers we latch on to, and about what they signify. What may start out as a credible, yet qualified and provisional, scientific estimate may end up, either through distortion or mere negligence, enduring as an urban myth, apocryphal numbers – the modern equivalent of folklore.....
My own area of climate change offers plenty of such examples......
March 7, 2008
Friday Night is Music Night (Mad as a box of frogs edition)
Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll
The ‘nanny state’ has expanded in recent years. Politicians and bureaucrats have increasingly sought to restrict what individuals are permitted to do with their own bodies on their own property. Prohibitions is a corrective to the prevailing support for such authoritarianism.
This collection examines the outlawing of the manufacture, distribution, sale or provision of particular goods and services by consenting adults. It begins with an overview of the economics of prohibition and subsequently analyses particular prohibition issues including gambling, prostitution, recreational drugs and trade in body parts.
The authors find that in most cases prohibition imposes significant costs on individuals and society as a whole and produces few benefits in return. Prohibition places markets into the hands of criminal enterprises and criminalises people who would not otherwise come into conflict with the law. It makes risky behaviour even more risky, increases public ignorance and often encourages the behaviour it seeks to prevent. Given the substantial costs and minimal benefits, it is clear that prohibition is bad public policy.
(Students of firearm legislation maybe particularly interested in the chapter on firearms:
This review of violent crime trends in the United Kingdom, Australia
and Canada found that in the years following the introduction of Britishstyle
gun laws, despite massive increases in governmental bureaucracy,
total homicide rates either increased or remained stable. Similar trends
were observed in total violent crime. Importantly, in not one of these
countries did the new gun laws appear to result in a decrease in total
homicide rates despite the enormous costs to taxpayers. The situation is
even clearer in the Republic of Ireland and Jamaica, where violent crime,
particularly murder, became much worse after the bans in both countries.
Clearly, the factors driving the increasing rates of violent crime, for
example organised crime or terrorism, were not curtailed by British-style
The failure of British-style firearm laws to influence the total
homicide rate in any of the jurisdictions examined here is suggestive but
not conclusive. The causal link remains unproven. The British Home
Office argues that crime would have increased even more rapidly had the
gun laws not been imposed. That explanation is problematic, given the
failure of British-style gun laws in other countries.
These trends contrast with the situation in the United States, where
there was an impressive drop in the American homicide and violent
Denying Climate Change Science a platform
Some people don't like to give the "deniers" free speech...
Biofuels as bad as climate change
The rush towards biofuels is theatening world food production and the lives of billions of people, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser said yesterday.
Professor John Beddington put himself at odds with ministers who have committed Britain to large increases in the use of biofuels over the coming decades. In his first important public speech since he was appointed, he described the potential impacts of food shortages as the “elephant in the room” and a problem which rivalled that of climate change.
The French Filly Health Plan
French women are becoming increasingly assertive in their sexual habits, while one-in-five younger French men "has no interest in sex", according to one of the most comprehensive surveys of the nation's love lives.
No wonder French women look so disgustingly healthy, and the men wan and pathetic.
Carla Bruni recently declared monogamy "terribly boring" and spoke in relaxed fashion about her numerous past conquests, including Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton.
"I am a tamer of men, a cat,.. I am faithful... to myself. I am monogamous from time to time but I prefer polygamy and polyandry [its female equivalent]."
You can do the google search yourself, you pervs. OK, OK, here you go.
The Bishop, his chaplain and Uganda
A bishop at the centre of a row over the break-up of his marriage is facing a potential boycott by members of his own clergy following rumours about his friendship with his aide.
The Rt Rev Carl Cooper, the Bishop of St Davids, 47, has repeatedly insisted that nobody else is involved in his separation from Joy, his wife of 25 years with whom he has three children.
But many of his clergy and parishioners were angered by his decision to take the Rev Mandy Williams-Potter, his chaplain, 38, who is also the bishop's press officer, and is separating from her husband Christopher, on a mission to Uganda last year.
DISCUSS UGANDA: vb. British. to have sex. A euphemism coined in the 1970s by the British satirical magazine 'Private Eye.' It has become one of the magazine's long-running jokes and is said to stem from a party at which a female journalist was alleged to have explained an upstairs sexual encounter by saying 'We were discussing Uganda.' (Idi Amin’s regime was in the news at the time.) The term 'Uganda Affairs' is also derived from this source." From the "Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne (Pantheon Books, New York, 1990).
Bad Hair Day forecast for Monday
Hair absorbs moisture from the air, thanks to a protein called keratin, which makes it longer in humid conditions and shorter in drier weather. This explains bad hair days in humid weather, when curly hair turns more frizzy, while straight hair becomes more limp. Coarse, dark hair is especially prone to the problem because it absorbs slightly more moisture than fine, blonde hair, changing length by almost 3 per cent.
In fact, hair is so sensitive to moisture that it can be used to measure humidity in the air surprisingly accurately. The idea was developed by Horace Benedict de Saussure, the Swiss physicist and geologist. In 1783 he invented the hair hygrometer, an instrument that used strands of hair attached to levers to magnify small changes in the hair length
Worst storm this winter expected on Monday - Telegraph
Forecasters have warned that the strongest and most damaging storm so far this winter could hit the United Kingdom on Monday.
A band of exceptionally low pressure is expected to bring heavy rain and severe gales across the country
Come friendly bombs and fall on Peterborough!
RAF personnel have been banned from wearing their uniforms in public after suffering abuse in the streets.
The order was given to servicemen and women at an air base in Cambridgeshire on the advice of RAF police.
The base commander at RAF Wittering, near Peterborough, took the decision after reviewing incidents of abuse over a seven-month period. Sqd Ldr Tony Walsh, a spokesman at the base, said a number of personnel who lived in the city and its outskirts had suffered abuse when wearing their uniforms off-duty.
The abuse had come from a "cross-section" of the community, he added, and was believed to be linked to the RAF's operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And it is such a nice modern city:
Peterborough is a multi-racial and multi-cultural city. In the 2001 Census, approximately 10.3% of Peterborough’s population classified themselves as belonging to a non-white ethnic minority group, as illustrated in Table 1. This is higher than Peterborough’s figure for the 1991 Census (7.5%) when 11,363 people described themselves as nonwhite compared to 16,060 in 2001. The largest non-white ethnic group in Peterborough is the Pakistani community (4.5% of the total population) but the city is also home to significant numbers of people from other minority ethnic groups such as, India, Ireland, Italy, Poland and the Caribbean.
FORMER mayor of Peterborough Mohammed Choudhary (Labour) faced disgrace as he stood in a dock yesterday after being found guilty on four counts of trying to rig an election.
A SECOND Labour party official has been found guilty of trying to rig an election.
Maqbool Hussein (52) had hoped to get himself elected in Peterborough's Central Ward in local elections in June 2004, by abusing the voting system.
Hussein, and Choudhary, along with Tariq Mahmood, were accused of abusing the system whereby voters can choose an "away" address, instead of their usual home address, to cast their vote from, if they happen t o be away from home on business, or on holiday, at the time of an election.
A jury at King's Lynn Crown Court returned guilty verdicts for all 14 forgery charges against Mahmood.
Choudhary and Hussein had each been found guilty of four charges of forgery earlier in the week.
After the verdicts were read out by the jury foreman, Deputy Circuit Judge Alan Hitching told the men: "You all face immediate custodial sentences. The only issue will be how long those sentences are."
I think if John Betjeman was alive today he would substitute Peterborough for Slough...
Wendy Alexander will not be prosecuted for failing to register donations to her leadership campaign, it has been announced.
A spokesman for the Crown Office said further action "would not be appropriate in the full circumstances of this case".
Get the bloody headline right - she hasn't been "cleared" they just have taken the reasonable view it isn't worthwhile prosecuting her. As the paper continues: But the Scottish Labour leader might still have to appear before Holyrood's standards committee, which could suspend her as an MSP.
March 6, 2008
INSTRUMENT of SURRENDER
GORDON Brown last night killed off hopes of a referendum on the EU constitution for good.
The “listening PM” ignored the demands of nine out of ten British voters and denied them the say he promised.
Mr Brown broke Labour’s 2005 general election pledge as he ordered his foot soldiers to reject a referendum.
INSTRUMENT of SURRENDER of the United Kingdom including all islands.
Near Luneburg. March 5, 2008
1. The British Parliament agrees to the surrender of all British Sovereignty in the United Kingdom, to the EU. This to include all naval ships in these areas. These forces to lay down their arms and to surrender unconditionally.
2. All hostilities on land, on sea, or in the air by Eurosceptic forces in the above areas to cease at 0800 hrs. British Double Summer Time on Thursday 6 March 2008.
3. The British command to carry out at once, and without argument or comment, all further orders that will be issued by the EU on any subject.
4. Disobedience of orders, or failure to comply with them, will be regarded as a breach of these surrender terms and will be dealt with by the EU in accordance with the accepted laws and usages of war.
5. This instrument of surrender is independent of, without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by or on behalf of the EU and applicable to the member states as a whole.
6. This instrument of surrender is written in English and in German. The English version is the authentic text.
7. The decision of the EU will be final if any doubt or dispute arises as to the meaning or interpretation of the surrender terms.
I've got a cheap PC arriving tomorrow for the young children to use, mainly to keep them off my machine. What software would you recommend?
Staroffice or Openoffice.org? Antivirus, AVG???
I used to have a man to do all this for me....
The celebrity glamorisation of drugs is irrelevant. There would be huge benefits from legalisation
Quite - for once a sensible article on drugs.
London’s ambition to hold the first car-free Olympics in 2012 is being undermined by the International Olympic Committee’s demand for more than 3,000 chauffeur-driven cars for dignitaries, officials and corporate sponsors.
These cars will have access to a network of dedicated lanes, which will be closed to other traffic for up to two months. Up to 3,000 sets of traffic lights will also be adjusted to ensure that the IOC’s fleet has fast access to all venues.
Those whom the IOC insists need cars, in addition to receiving free access to public transport, include the 110 IOC members, 400 presidents and secretary-generals from the Olympic committees of the 200 competing nations and 450 senior executives from corporate sponsors. None of the 10,500 athletes will have access to the 3,145 cars and will instead travel on a dedicated fleet of coaches.
The eight million spectators will not be able to travel by car because the Games venues will have only a small number of disabled parking spaces.
If Londoners put up with the Drugfest Czars in their Zil lanes then we have finally lost. Get making those caltrops.
March 5, 2008
The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change Report
S. Fred Singer, ed., Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate: Summary for Policymakers of the Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, Chicago, IL: The Heartland Institute, 2008. - Pdf
Click, download, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.
In conclusion, this NIPCC report falsifies the
principal IPCC conclusion that the reported
warming (since 1979) is very likely caused by the
human emission of greenhouse gases. In other
words, increasing carbon dioxide is not responsible
for current warming. Policies adopted and called for
in the name of ‘fighting global warming’ are
It is regrettable that the public debate over
climate change, fueled by the errors and
exaggerations contained in the reports of the IPCC,
has strayed so far from scientific truth. It is an
embarrassment to science that hype has replaced
reason in the global debate over so important an
Hurray for parents who cheat
That is what parents are meant to do, fight for their kids even against the all benevolent and knowing state. Doesn't the headline reveal in all its nastiness how parents are viewed when it comes to responsibility for their kids education, to be sneered at as "pushy" or "cheats", when they try to gain a little advantage in the state rigged system.
The online headline is slightly different:
Crackdown ordered on parents who try to cheat the state-school system - Times Online
Gordon Scotchs Scotch Plans
Gordon Brown has ordered a review of the controversial Barnett formula under which Scottish people receive £1,500 subsidy each a year from English taxpayers, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.
The Prime Minister wants the policy re-examined in an attempt to head off mounting English resentment over the millions of pounds of public money sent to Scotland every year.
ALEX Salmond suffered a double blow yesterday as it emerged Westminster was blocking two of his party's key Holyrood ambitions.
The UK government has ruled out providing any financial assistance to the SNP administration's plans to replace the council tax with a local income tax. And demands for the Scottish Parliament to be able to introduce its own firearms legislation have been dismissed, as Westminster is ruling out a review.
Och, Gordon is falling out of love with Scotland, funny thing giving someone independence, sometimes they take it, which came as a nasty surprise to him and his puppets. He showed who really rules the Labour Party in Scotland when he held two secret meetings with Sir Menzies Campbell during last year's Scottish election campaign in an attempt to forge a new Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition and keep the SNP out of power, it emerged last night.
The then Chancellor tried to get the agreement of the former Lib Dem leader for an anti-SNP coalition – even though neither politician had the power to make such an agreement.
Trebruchets and Cannons, now we are talking security measures.
The headquarters of Joe Weston-Webb’s portable flooring empire is protected by security fencing, motion-sensor lights and CCTV cameras.
None of these conventional measures has deterred arsonists, however, and in desperation, Mr Weston-Webb has now fortified his defences with less orthodox technology left over from his time as a travelling showman.
A 30ft Roman catapult, loaded with chicken droppings from a nearby farm is primed each evening. And a cannon, which Mr Weston-Webb once used to shoot his wife across the River Avon, will fire a railway sleeper if triggered by an intruder....
Nottinghamshire Police said yesterday that they would send an officer to offer advice on “conventional security techniques” and on the use of “reasonable force”. Mr Weston-Webb promises to be reasonable. “We are putting a rubber block on the end of the railway sleeper,” he said. “It should just knock an intruder down.”
Seconds out, round two.
Oh goody, the cat fight continues, hopefully once they have finished scrapping all there will be left will be a pile of blood and hair.
Grandad, you are a sex icon
Once the preserve of grandads in rocking chairs - the men's cardigan is undergoing a fashion resurrection thanks to male fashionistas like David Beckham.
The garment is flying off the shelves as young men in particular follow the trend set by the footballer and actors like Jude Law and Daniel Craig, according to the supermarket chain Asda.
The store's George label sold more men's cardigans in the first two months of this year than in the past three years, the chain said, with 226,000 sold in January alone.
According to fashion experts, the woollen garment has shaken off its Val Doonican associations - becoming an emblem of cool for gay and straight men alike.
I'm worried now that if I slip my dads old cardigan on to go out to plant some potatoes that I will be recognised for the fashion icon I am and have to beat off the the Beckham worshipping fans, of both sexes, who would merely treat me as a piece of meat to satisfy their base desires, rather than recognise me for the fully rounded human being I am....
Time for a hunt in the wardrobe I think.
March 4, 2008
Bishop Hill sniffs out MPs fiddles
A thought occurred to Bishop Hill the other day. If MPs are using their expenses to pad out their paltry sixty grand salaries, then it might be possible to see this by analysing the expenses figures and looking at how they correlate with other data.
His hypothesis was this: if MPs are employing lots of staff, their office costs should be inflated too, to reflect all the work done by the staff. He therefore prepared a scatter plot of office costs
And if you were in any doubt as to how good a correlation there is between staff costs and office expenses, the answer is that there is none. Literally. (For those who aren't statisticians, the R2 value of 1E-5 which is to say, near as dammit zero, is the figure which tells you whether there's a correlation or not. A value of near to 1 is a strong correlation. Zero means there is none.)
Which strongly suggests that quite a lot of our elected representatives are on the fiddle.
Teacher Job Protection Lottery slammed.
Children lose out in first schools lottery - Telegraph
The use of lotteries to award school places has been criticised as it emerged the first random selection scheme resulted in fewer children getting places at their preferred secondary this year.
Teachers' leaders said the idea that parents could choose between the best state schools was a myth.
John Dunford, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "People regard themselves as having an equal chance of getting into the best schools under this system, so they are willing to chance their arm.
'That clearly is not the case. The more you talk about 'choice' when it comes to school admissions, the more people will try to exercise that choice and the more they will be disappointed."
A Government-funded report by Sheffield Hallam University - published earlier this year - backed the use of admissions lotteries, saying they could "make access to popular schools fairer".
These lotteries have one purpose only, not to improve fairness, not to help pupils but to protect the staff at the less good schools from the rigours of parental choice. If I had to choose who supplied me with potatoes by lottery do you think quality, service and prices would improve? The only fair way to give parental choice and help pupils is to give parents full free choice backed with vouchers. If good schools get too many applicants, well as businesses let them sort it out; and if the bog standard don't get enough, ditto.
18 year old gets £5000 for injury to feelings after being told she wasn't experienced enough.
A 19-year-old woman who claimed that she was sacked for being too young has been awarded more than £16,000 in compensation after winning a ground-breaking case against her former employer.
It is the first time since age discrimination regulations came into force in October 2006 that they have been properly tested in a case involving young workers.
Leanne Wilkinson, who was then 18, claimed that she suffered age discrimination when she was dismissed from her job as an administrative assistant at Springwell Engineering in Newcastle upon Tyne.
She claimed the company had told her that she was too young for the post and that they needed an older person with more experience.
An employment tribunal ruled in her favour, concluding that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of age.
The tribunal said that the company had relied on a “stereotypical assumption that capability equals experience and experience equals older age . . . age was the predominant reason for the decision to dismiss”.
Miss Wilkinson was awarded £16,081.12, of which £5,000 was for injury to feelings.
Craig McCracken, an employment lawyer at Nexus solicitors, of Manchester, who acted for Miss Wilkinson, said that it was an important decision with far-reaching consequences. Yes, firms will take on board the lesson "don't offer a job to a youngster", they may be capable, but if they aren't here is another reason why they can sue you.
Running the NHS is like steering a supertanker. It responds with majestic inertia to a whirl on the wheel, but before you know where you are, you are ten miles out to sea.
Given a simple objective, the service seldom fails. But it can easily overcompensate. Two years ago the order went out to balance the books and save Patricia Hewitt’s job as Health Secretary.
The books have been duly balanced, though Ms Hewitt was still cast to the sharks. But, having eliminated the deficits, the NHS is now heading for an embarrassingly large surplus of almost £1.8 billion this financial year.....
The cost savings were made in 2006-07 by squeezing emergency care, reducing the prices paid to hospitals for such care and cutting staff by 8,500 ....
So, the impression that the NHS has suddenly become much more efficient is, alas, an illusion. It has jammed on the brakes, squeezed its staff and denied some patients the care they would take for granted in other countries.
As a result, it is in surplus. But it won’t last.
Time to break up the supertanker and create a fleet of smaller more responsive craft.
March 3, 2008
Tories promise a policy that works!
Turns out that all those people in prison must have been doing a lot of bad stuff, since once they were deprived of their freedom the crime rate dropped. Last year, as the prison population swelled, the violent crime rate hit at a postwar low.
It's not hard to figure out why. Prison is a deterrent, just what it's meant to be. Saying the number of people behind bars has risen is, by itself, meaningless. It's only meaningful when compared with what the increased imprisonment is supposed to alleviate: Crime.
And as we see from the chart, it seems to do that quite well.
As for the other arguments, such as the high cost of incarceration, that's also rather trivial when you compare the far higher cost of crime to society.
I'm sure Iain Dale will be pleased with the Tories picking up on this...
Five thousand extra prison places would be built by the Tories to beat overcrowding in jails in England and Wales, the party has said.
Under its new prison policy plans, older prisons would be sold to the private sector - with the money raised paying for the building of new jails.
The Conservatives want the voluntary sector to play a much greater role in providing inmates with work ....
Send them round Boss, I have got plenty of orange overalls, a few lengths of chain and some roadside ditches I want dug...
Labour up to its old tricks again.
Hard-up Labour in fight to raise funds - Times Online
Labour has resumed a secret courtship of influential donors before new funding rules are introduced to cover the party from future sleaze allegations, The Times has learnt.
Labour fears being left behind by the Tories in building up their war chest to fund the next general election. Labour, now £20 million in debt, generated only £580,000 from individual donors in the last quarter of last year, while Tory fundraisers brought in £9.8 million over the same period.
Jon Mendelsohn, Mr Brown’s leading fundraiser, is inviting small businessmen as potential donors to a series of private dinners to mingle with Cabinet ministers. They have been told that they could help to shape the next Labour manifesto.
Mr Mendelsohn is one of a number of people who face police questions over donations ...
Inside the candlelit Chelsea Suite, which has a spectacular view of the Millennium Wheel, diners received a glass of champagne and were invited to mingle. By 7.30pm they had taken their places around an oval, linen-covered table for their starter of honey-peppered duck breast with orange salad and pink peppercorns.
The seating plan ensured that every potential backer was near to a Labour official, including Mr Mendelsohn and Chris Lennie, the acting general secretary of the party, who hosted the event. Lord Sainsbury, the party’s most generous donor, and Jon Aisbitt, the City hedge fund manager who gave £250,000 last year, were also present. Before a main course of beef wellington with herb-infused vegetables, accompanied by a burgundy, Mr Balls made a short speech about the need for trust in education.
The delicate subject of future donations was not mentioned until the end of the evening. It was raised by a donor and then quickly brushed over by a Labour official.
Stefanos Stefanou, an ebullient Greek Cypriot-born businessman who has given up to £40,000 to the party, asked one official: “What are you expecting from us? Is it a contribution?”
The Labour official lowered his voice and replied that the dinner was supposed to be limited to an exchange of ideas. He then paused before implying that the party would be in touch for contributions before the general election, one guest said.
After a chocolate pudding served with physalis berries, the ministers were introduced to each backer.
Martin Littler, 59, the chairman of Inclusive Technology, the special educational firm that has donated £15,000 to Labour over the past five years, said that the meeting had been particularly useful for him because he had met the Education Minister. “I am always flattered and surprised to be invited to this kind of event. Ed Balls was very good. How often would a businessman like me get a chance to speak to the Education Secretary like this?” he said.
By 10.30pm both ministers had left in their chauffeur-driven cars. According to their spokesmen, they were entitled to use them despite visiting a party event because of a possible House of Commons vote.
And there were passerbys thinking the stench was Bazalgette's adjacent sewer venting...
Health Warnings to be stamped on toast?
DAIRY foods could soon have to carry cigarette-style health warnings in a bid to slash Britain's soaring levels of obesity and heart disease, according to a report yesterday.
According to the trade magazine the Grocer, the government's Food Standards Agency is considering using shock tactics to persuade Britons to cut down on their consumption of saturated fats. The crackdown could target a wide range of regular snack staples such as cheese sandwiches and hot buttered toast,...
Hot buttered toast? They are going too far now! Mrs Englishman tries to do the best for my heart carefully draining off the fat from my morning rashers of bacon, what she doesn't realise is the saved fat is ideal for making fried bread when she is out of the house....
We want a referendum
MPs were under huge pressure to support a referendum on the new EU treaty after the biggest test of public opinion on the issue so far showed almost 90 per cent of voters want a ballot.
The mini-referendums, organised by the cross-party I Want a Referendum campaign group, were conducted in 10 marginal seats held by Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs.
These included those of Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, Jim Murphy, the minister for Europe, and Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman.
In total, 88 per cent of respondents backed a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty, which was signed in December in Portugal and became known as the Lisbon Treaty. Voters were also asked if the UK should approve the treaty. An overwhelming majority - 89 per cent - said no.
The turnout of 36.2 per cent was higher than in most local elections.
I have nothing to add except I hope the two protesters who have scaled a crane in Parliament Square are up there to check its suitability for attaching hempen ropes for the traitorous bastards who are giving our country away without our agreement.
March 2, 2008
Canadian Climate Change Crisis - A Special Report
Why I should have become a Climate Scientist
Back in the halcyon days of 1984 I was employed to wander across fields in East Anglia counting ears of wheat and barley. I recently came across my field notebook and the data entries that caused me to be "let go" as they politely termed it.
On the left is a couple of counts from a farm at Horkesley in Essex. The left hand "column" is the field number (89) or name, six or seven counts and then long division to get the average from the counts. On the right is another page from a week later (SB = Spring Barley) where I have realised it is easier as I walked across the field to average two counts and then get the notebook out and record that number. So six counts become three and working out the average becomes easier. (For younger readers calculators were not things you took out into the field in those days).
All was well until my boss asked to see the raw data as well as the averages I was writing up on my reports. I didn't have it, it looked as though I was skimping on the data collection, anomalies were being "adjusted out". I was in the wrong and I paid for it.
So is it any wonder that every time Climate Audit et al expose the shoddy data collection, processing and archiving behind the headlines on Climate Change I applaud?
Iain Dale gets it - does Dave?
Sometimes I wonder whether anyone can reverse the Nanny State tendencies so prevalent in this country at the moment. Even the Conservative Party is succumbing to them in a few areas. ... All my instincts tell me that the electorate are beginning to cry out for a kind of politics which seeks to give meaningful power back to the individual and shrink the size of the State.
Cameron's speech today said "I get it" loud and clear:
Anti-politics is the new politics. You have read it here almost daily for four years. Cameron's new politics shows promise, his post-bureaucratic agenda is about limiting the state and the unlimiting of society. Those of us who are anti-politics are the majority at election time, if Cameron can convince the non-voting majority that he will walk the walk as well as talk the talk he could win a landslide.
Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet - Student Edition
Now will he sit under a medlar tree
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars when they laugh alone.
O, Romeo, that she were, O that she were
An open et cetera, thou a pop'rin pear!
"et cetera"? Now you don't think old Will really wrote that do you?
He was writing about Medlars
- which are very hard and acidic. They become edible after being softened ("bletted") by frost, or naturally in storage given sufficient time. Once softening begins, the skin rapidly takes a wrinkled texture and turns dark brown, and the inside reduces to a consistency and flavour reminiscent of apple sauce. As D.H. Lawrence said: "Wineskins of brown morbidity, autumnal excrementa ... an exquisite odour of leave taking"
So what he (or whoever) wrote was:
Now will he sit under a medlar tree,
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.
O Romeo, that she were, O that she were
An open-arse and thou a poperin pear!
Open-arse - now that is a proper name for the fruit, but not one that Waitrose uses...
Thomas Dekker also draws a saucy comparison in his play The Honest Whore: "I scarce know her, for the beauty of her cheek hath, like the moon, suffered strange eclipses since I beheld it: women are like medlars. No sooner ripe but rotten"
(And in checking the text Microsoft provided me with a fine example of literary criticism...See below)
An Englishman's Home is the council's to control
THE government is preparing to impose drastic curbs on second home ownership that would stop people buying in sought-after rural areas.
An inquiry commissioned by Gordon Brown will recommend local authorities have the power to prevent outsiders buying property they do not intend to make their main residence. Those seeking to buy country boltholes that deprive local residents of houses would be forced to apply to the council.
They would have to win planning permission to change the house from fully occupied to a second home and could be refused by the council. The inquiry is also considering banning outsiders from buying newly built homes in such areas....
There are concerns it could lead to “snooping” by council officials investigating how homes are used.....
Already Councils insist on imposing their ideas of "social integration" (25% socially rented and 10% shared ownership in any development) on new houses, give them more powers and they will soon be imposing "positive discrimination" on who is allowed to buy a house.
Has any fuckwit in power got any concept of private property, or is everything in our lives just to be enjoyed at the whim of a clipboard wielding official?
RUH Bath "Get me out of here, it stinks of piss".
Bigmouth Tory Lord Mancroft is living proof that there are still some unspeakable fools hanging around the House of Lords pretending to be politicians.
The sheer nastiness of his highly personal attack on nurses was shocking, heaping smear upon smear.
Of course specific criticisms are acceptable, and no one can ever pretend that every single nurse in the country is an angel.
But his sustained assault cannot go unanswered and bosses of Bath's Royal United Hospital must institute a full inquiry.
And if Lord Mancroft cannot further justify his outrageous remarks, he must apologise and Tory leader David Cameron should strip him of the whip.
Everyone I have spoken to down here who has been to the Royal United , not pontificating journalists from London, but actual patients has applauded Lord Mancroft for the accuracy of his remarks regarding the Royal United Hospital in Bath. Everytime I have been there I have been appalled by it. I have seen cleaners walk round dropped food rather than sweep it up, dirty swabs lying for days in lifts, bin emptying porters clump through rooms with the most vulnerable premature babies in, without even taking the most basic precautions, as they drag clinical waste around the hospital. As my poor dying father said; "Get me out of here, it stinks of piss".
And just as Lord Mancroft made clear that other NHS hospitals provide excellent care, let me make clear that, for instance, Frenchay Hospital nearby, in the most basic of buildings, shows that an NHS hospital can be clean and welcoming.
Time for the Mirror to drop the tired old class bashing and "all nurses are angels" clichés and do some real journalism and investigate a long standing disgrace.
Scotch with Chips, on both shoulders.
Gordon Brown launched a deeply personal attack on David Cameron and his privileged background yesterday in a move which risked being seen as old-fashioned class warfare.
So the truce not to mention Gordo's Scottishness in return for not mentioning Dave's Poshness has broken down then. Fine, open season on the Scottish Raj resumes.
To E or not to E that is the question
Just as Nancy Mitford divided society into the upper classes and the aspiring middle classes - that is, into U and Non-U - so society is being divided into the environmentally aware and environmentally unaware, or E and Non-E. It satisfies a need we seem to have to judge one another.
The modern equivalent of saying "toilet", "serviette" or "pardon" is leaving your television on stand-by, driving a Chelsea tractor, arriving at Waitrose without your own heavy-duty carrier bags, popping into Starbucks without your own reusable mug, walking past the shelves selling organic, Fairtrade and free-range, or flying long-haul when you don't really need to (and without offsetting your carbon footprint). I tell you, it's a social minefield out there.
Even going to Glastonbury has become Non-E. I know - that surprises me, too. I thought Glastonbury was the ultimate in environmental chic, a demonstration that you suckle at the teat of Mother Earth, that you are in touch with your inner solstice. But no - for the bien pensants, Glastonbury is ruled out this year. And this comes straight from the top: Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead. Why? Because it doesn't have "an adequate public transport infrastructure in place". Radiohead, he added in an article in the Sun on Thursday, "are doing everything we can to minimise our impact on the environment".
Hmm. Could this be the moment when the backlash starts? It is, after all, a scientifically verifiable fact there is nothing in this world more annoying than being lectured by a pop star....
Being harangued by a newspaper comes a close second. The Independent has been banging the environmental drum for a few years now...More disturbing is the come-lately arrival on the eco-worthy scene of the Daily Mail....
Being lectured by a posh person comes third. I wonder how much longer the green revolution took to filter into the mainstream because the Prince of Wales was leading it. Don't get me wrong, I think he is a visionary, a true philosopher prince. But given that the other two leading figures in the green movement, the Eton-educated Jonathon Porritt and the Stowe-educated George Monbiot, are also pretty posh, there may have been some inverted snobbery in the slowness of the eco uptake.
On the other hand, perhaps in some subliminal way this association of greenness with poshness explains the current vogue for going green among the aspiring middle classes. David Cameron (Eton-educated, of course, and for once this seems relevant to the discussion) has been canny in the way he has exploited this fashion.
When councils start preaching at us, that really winds us up.....If there is one thing the British hate more than having their environment needlessly destroyed, overheated or squandered, it is being preached at by busybodies, puritans and snobs.
The eco-snobs are the worst. It is not enough they get to feel better about themselves for doing the right thing environmentally; they have to make someone else feel worse. Make them feel small, vulgar, immoral.
Put me down for U non-E please.