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July 31, 2008

Labour - The Ratner Party

Gordon Brown's personal popularity hits historic low, poll shows - Telegraph

Barely one voter in seven believes he is fit for the job of Prime Minister, the YouGov survey shows.

But none of Mr Brown's likely replacements - including David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary - can save the party from an election humiliation at the hands of the Conservatives either, the poll finds.

But the YouGov poll also contains some cold comfort for the Prime Minister, showing that that none of the Labour figures currently considered possible replacements would significantly improve the party's standing.

With Mr Miliband as leader, Labour scores 24 per cent against 47 per cent for the Conservatives. Under Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, the figures are 24-45.

Were Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, to take over, Labour would fall to 17 per cent, in third place behind the Liberal Democrats on 18 per cent and the Conservatives on 50 per cent.

In fact, the only Labour figure who could significantly narrow the gap with the Tories is the man the party forced out of office last year: Tony Blair.

Yet even with Mr Blair as leader, Labour would trail the Conservatives by 32 per cent to 41 per cent.

(So grave is Mr Brown's plight that many voters have started to pity him. Forty-two percent said they feel either "very sorry" or "fairly sorry" for the Prime Minister. )

(In between the hysterical laughter at Gordon's plight Tony is wondering if he should rise again on the third day to save his people, but he has an expensive wife to maintain, so it is only a passing day dream.)

The Labour brand is so tarnished, the distrust of it is now solidifying and it will be hard to change it. Ask Gerald Ratner how quickly and permanently a brand can be destroyed, Gordon has done this to the Labour Party.
Dave recognised the problems with the Conservative brand and has worked hard to detoxify it, his timing and foresight is now paying off provided he hasn't peaked to soon.
It will take a similar period in opposition and the same serious rebuilding for Labour to ever have the prospect of reelection.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Where does oil really come from?

The Associated Press: NASA says liquid confirmed on Saturn's moon Titan

At least one of many large, lake-like features on Saturn's moon Titan studied by the international Cassini spacecraft contains liquid hydrocarbons, NASA said Wednesday.

Scientists positively identified the presence of ethane, according to a statement from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which manages the Cassini mission exploring Saturn, its rings and moons.

Liquid ethane is a component of crude oil....

Hmm, yet again I look at the Abiogenic petroleum origin - Wikipedia

.... Supporters of the abiogenic hypothesis suggest that there may be a great deal more petroleum on Earth than commonly thought, and that petroleum may originate from carbon-bearing fluids which migrate upward from the mantle. The abiogenic petroleum hypothesis predicts that oil is formed in the mantle at temperatures and pressures consistent with the laws of thermodynamics....

Abiogenic hypotheses saw a revival in the last half of the twentieth century by Russian and Ukrainian scientists, and more interest has been generated in the West after the publication in 1999 of The Deep Hot Biosphere by Thomas Gold. Gold's version of the hypothesis partly is based on the existence of a biosphere composed of thermophile bacteria in the earth's crust, which may explain the existence of certain biomarkers in extracted petroleum.... (more, much more at this wikipedia article.)

Maybe, just maybe, oil isn't a fossil fuel at all....

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

Are High Food Prices Good For Us?

The Economist will be hosting an online debate until August 8th, it's an Oxford-style debate on whether or not rising food prices can have an upside for humanity. Since food prices are related to the discussion on green politics, world hunger, and foreign affairs we thought you would want to know about the debate and participate. Would you be interested in helping us spread the word about this debate to your readers by posting your response to our proposition?

Commodities: Farmland prices soaring at fastest rate on record | Business | The Guardian

....the hectare price of arable land jumped by 32% in the first half of this year to £14,453...farmers and agricultural businesses were again the dominant buying force, as surging commodity prices are continuing to prompt farmers to expand their production.

I bought at about £2000 a hectare 13 years ago on a 90% mortgage which I worked for ten years behind a desk to pay off - so any response I make is biased...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A big hello to my 565 readers in China, it has been nice knowing you.

Daily Times - China’s censors block Olympic media

In an exclusive interview with AFP two weeks ago, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge insisted reporters would have full Internet access. “For the first time, foreign media will be able to report freely and publish their work freely in China,” he said. “There will be no censorship on the Internet.”

Olympic organisers agree to China blocking 'sensitive' internet sites - Times Online

Kevan Gosper, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) press commission, confirmed that some of its officials had agreed to Chinese demands that some sensitive sites be blocked on the ground that they were not related to the Olympics.

IOC - backbone of an amoeba - but then what do you expect from that corrupt bunch of fascists?

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

92.6% Control - Who really leads Labour.

Cutbacks still leave Labour with £19m debt - Times Online

The Labour Party still owes almost £19 million to creditors, despite a series of cuts and attempts to impose greater financial discipline.

Donations from wealthy businessmen have slowly dried up, forcing Labour to rely on trade unions for funding.

According to the Electoral Commission, the unions, including Unite and the GMB, contributed between them 92.6 per cent of the party’s total funds in the first three months of this year.

The Prime Minister recently announced that the party would have no spring conference next year in a cash-saving measure. And with the Unions deciding 92.6% of Labour's policies there is no need to consult with the members.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

You can't beat the market....

Is war on drugs just a waste of money? - Scotsman.com News

Yes, next question please....

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

Blogger Regulation - A Statement

New internet watchdog - Telegraph

Internet users will be protected from abusive bloggers and malicious Facebook postings under proposals to set up an independent internet watchdog, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

The recommendation is one of several that the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee is expected to make in its long-awaited report on harmful content on the internet...

A source who has seen the report said that the committee wanted to give the public "a form of redress" "At the moment consumers don't know where to go if they want to complaint about something they have seen on the internet," the source said. "The absence of any industry body is leading to a great deal of confusion and to widely differing practices.

Luckily I am one of those bloggers who has signed up to a code of conduct and am happy to direct you to the code's spokesman for our official reaction to this proposal:

The Devil's Kitchen: Regulation? Go fuck yourselves

Posted by The Englishman at 6:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Miliband Fires Blanks

What David Miliband really meant about Gordon brown - Telegraph

David Miliband's carefully crafted article in The Guardian, which failed to mention Gordon Brown by name was in fact a powerful attack on his record as Chancellor and Prime Minister. In a series of coded messages he has spelt out why Labour's only hope of winning the next election is to replace Mr Brown as leader.

You put your right arm in,. You put your right arm out,. In, out, in, out, shake it all about. You do the Hokey Cokey. And you turn around. ...

The Boy Wonder tests the water, it's too hot for his delicate finger so he pretends he wasn't trying it all, but as Proverbs 26:11 has it: "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly." He will keep tippy toeing around it but he is a Jaffa, he hasn't got the balls to mount a proper challenge, or the balls to be a proper leader.

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

The Dark Side of the Olympics

Olympic Games show China London through a glass, darkly | Jonathan Fenby - Times Online

As the opening approaches, preparations reflect a disturbing side of the communist socialist regime:

The opening of the London Olympics in four years' time will, as always planned, attest to Britain's spectacular material progress since Margret Thatcher launched market-led economic reform exactly 30 years ago. The array of venues, the gleaming new buildings, the urban infrastructure installed for the Games, will also reflect the genuine pride of a nation that, while still far from rich by Amercian standards, has made more people better off in a shorter time than any country in human history.

But, unwittingly, the Olympics also reflect the downside of Britain's hectic growth story and contain reminders of the nature of the regime that presides over the world's last big socialist state. This combination of progress and faultlines makes the Games an intriguing mirror of the state of London today at a time when it is becoming an increasingly important player in global affairs.

News yesterday that foreign journalists have found access blocked to websites with content that London dislikes is the latest in a series of restrictions that the London authorities have introduced before the Olympics. A curfew has been slapped on bars; entertainers must submit scripts for advance approval; three rings of security checks have been thrown round the capital. Sites have been set aside for demonstrations, well away from sporting sites, and participants will have to get permission beforehand.

After official reports of terrorist plans by Muslims from Luton - which at least some observers are taking with a pinch of salt - people from that area are being shipped out of London. While desultory talks are being held with representatives of Alex Salmond, London has in no way modified its insistence that Scotland is an integral part of the United Kingdom, and the socialist Party secretary there continues to take a hard line. Britain's cyber-police have been combing websites for material that they consider subversive, and arresting dissidents and human rights activists.


This is not a surprise. London badly needs the Games to be a success, and its natural inclination is to stamp on anything and anybody that might interfere, even if it leads to the “no-fun Olympics”.

But, if one holds up a mirror to the Games, one can glimpse some challenging and unwelcome shadows that apply to London generally. For instance, take water - the shortage endemic to northern London is leading to the diversion of supplies to the city to avoid any embarrassment during the Games, with farmers in the surrounding counties going short. London also faces an electricity shortage this summer, a situation aggravated by the channelling of power to the capital to ensure no brown-outs during the Games.

The rebuilding of London underscores the gap between Britain's urban growth centres and the vast rural hinterland. Although the socialist leadership seeks to promote a “harmonious society” that will lessen disparities, the wealth gap in London is greater than in the US or Europe, and is growing. Reports of corruption over Games projects strike another familiar note while rising prices echo the steep rise in inflation in London over the past year.

A bit of find and replace and it is surprisingly accurate.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2008

Beijing Olympics opening ceremony - the leaked video

Beijing Olympics opening ceremony revealed - Telegraph

The biggest secret in world sport has been accidentally revealed after glimpses of next week's Beijing Olympics opening ceremony were leaked.

Posted by The Englishman at 11:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Help, this earworm is driving me mad.

Earworm - a calque of the German Ohrwurm, is a term for a portion of a song or other musical material that becomes "stuck" in a person's "head" or repeats against one's will within one's mind.

In her crisp white shirt
With her crisp white vowels
Her crisp white everything
Is stirring my bowels.

Or did I dream it up?

Posted by The Englishman at 1:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Wiltshire Cure for Good Health

The full lowdown on the Nitrite health scare:

Junkfood Science: Does banning hotdogs and bacon make sense?

....So, hotdogs and processed meats are condemned as junk food because they contain nitrates, which they don’t, while vegetables are declared health food because they’re free from the same chemicals, which they’re not.
There’s still plenty of summertime left and lots of regional hotdog specialties and BLTs left to enjoy, along with those garden vegies. With a little more science under our belts, hopefully everyone can enjoy it all with a lot less worry.

And apart from giving the health nazis fixation with trying to ban anything tasty a good kicking, this also gives the lie to the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone billion pound wastefulness here in the UK.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:05 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

When's Gordon Leaving - There is money to be made.

Betfair.com has the options for when Gordon is leaving and a chart of how the punters have been seeing it:


I know I have said I think he will hang on but as I supped my ale last night I had a blinding epiphany why he would leave at Michaelmas, but I am no longer sure the conference season will provide it, or exactly what my reasoning was. So this morning I hover between expecting Gordon suddenly discovering he has a heart murmur and has to step down reluctantly or that there is a sudden nation uniting terrorist threat which means now is not the time to change the helmsman....

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

Satellite Measurement

Following Booker's exposure of the use of Nasa data and Global Warming Anthony Watts uncovers the tip of an iceberg:

The AIRS satellite instrument (Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder) onboard the on board the Aqua satellite has been gathering all sorts of data such as the temperature of the tropical oceans but where is the data?

A bit of sleuthing on his part discovered an open directory of images where there are some tantalising snippets.

He also investigates a particular bugbear of mine - CO2 concentration measurements. I have blogged before that I'm not impressed by the whole AGW industry depending on one set of measurements from an old family firm sitting on top of a CO2 venting volcano in Hawaii. And now we know the Satellite Measurements of CO2 show regional variations.

As we’ve found with surface based temperature measurement, it seems the more we look at satellite data, the more we learn that our earth bound assumptions based on surface measurement don’t always hold true.

When measuring the planet, looking at the whole planet at one time seems a better idea than trying to measure thousands of data points at the surface, sorting out noise, doing adjustments to “fix” what is perceived as bias, and assuming the result is accurately representatiive of the globe.

I wonder why James Hansen of the Nasa's Goddard Space Institute doesn't promote the use of the satellite data his department gathers?

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

Homicide in pink and blue.

An unjust, feminist view of murder | Melanie McDonagh - Times Online

Under one of the amendments now up for discussion, a man who kills his wife for infidelity will be convicted of murder, straight up. As Ms Baird put it: “The days of sexual jealousy as a defence are over.”

But at the same time as making it more likely that men who kill women will be put away for life, another proposal would make it less likely that women who kill men will be convicted of murder. If a woman does away with her spouse on the basis that he abused her for years, she would no longer have to prove that she acted on the spur of the moment. She can claim “fear of serious violence”.

The trouble is that these changes give the impression that the law would regard one kind of domestic violence (by women) leniently while viewing another kind (by men) as beyond the pale. The fact that they are being fielded by a trio of feminists such as Mses Harman, Eagle and Baird doesn't help matters. This, you feel, is the feminist take on murder.

..cases - they should be judged on their individual merits. And that means, I'm afraid, doing away with the mandatory tariff and giving judges discretion over sentencing.

Quite - everytime the Government imposes mandatory tariffs you make bad laws, because all cases are different and the punishment should fit the crime.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2008

Miliband on Tour

David Miliband lines up to challenge Gordon Brown for leadership - Telegraph

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, is positioning himself for a potential leadership bid with a national tour to meet voters.

"Why does that finger smell of poo?"

Posted by The Englishman at 10:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Aiming for zero

Recycle blitz targets shops, offices and parks - Scotsman.com News

NEW laws could make it illegal not to have recycling facilities in workplaces and public areas, including shopping centres, lay-bys and beaches...

Legislation, out for consultation, could be brought in that applies to retailers, shopping centres, airports, beaches, car parks, cinemas, entertainment sites, parks, lay-bys, sports stadia and government buildings. Owners or occupiers would have to provide recycling facilities, arrange for material to be taken away and keep track of amounts collected.

If they failed to comply, they could be penalised.

The measures, aimed at helping Scotland come close to being a zero-waste country, were welcomed by environment groups.

As businesses slowly close up, driven to ruin by the increasing costs and burdens of the state Scotland will slowly return to a zero waste country as the wind blows through the empty shopping centres and the poor bloody Celts huddle round a peat fire in a bothy eating roasted turnip and thistle heads.....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Pussification of Murder

Women who kill abusive partners in cold blood could escape murder charge in radical law shake-up | Mail Online

More male partners will be convicted of murder after law reform - Times Online

The reforms, including a defence for people who kill when they feel “seriously wronged”, would result in life sentences for about 100 killers a year who currently escape murder convictions by claiming that they were provoked by unfaithful or nagging spouses. At the same time, people who kill because they feel seriously wronged by someone’s “words and conduct” could escape a murder conviction under a new partial defence. The reforms would make clear that a partner having an affair would not come into this category.

The trouble is trying to codify what is unreasonable behaviour - the defence of "feeling seriously wronged", of being disrespected, of preserving honour depends so much on what an individual feels worth defending. And there are gender biases which seem to be being codified. For many men being cuckolded is the most degrading thought, for others it is not. In some families dating the wrong class of person is considered reason enough to be killed, do we accept that now?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:08 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Watching Big Brother

Giant TVs win my gold medal for crassness | Griff Rhys Jones - Times Online

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games boasts that huge city-centre television screens will be a “lasting legacy” of the Olympic Games. I have a horrible feeling it may be right.

Nobody can rationally object to a temporary screen and a fleeting festival, but eight permanent mammoth tellies with 40 more to come, for ever, will clearly be a horrendous imposition - useless except as an eyesore for most of their projected life, especially in winter....

Personally, I do not relish watching the Mayor of London engaging in would-be Nuremberg rallies. I don't want to be told by the Lord Coe that I have some sort of public duty to commune with his pet project. But now, as a passer-by, I will be forced to encounter it on a mammoth television. Mind you, as a passer-by I can jeer loudly, toss my Coke can down, stub out my fag and do that - pass by. But if I live near one, and have invested my life in the area, what choice do I have? I can see it all day or listen to it all day. I am doomed to endure the crowd that congregates around it, doomed to have it desecrate my environment for ever. ...

The underlying truth is already flashing glaringly at us. Don't risk personal commitment - just broadcast. Don't expect people to choose, just propagandise. Don't give people the option, just push your “entertainment” on them. A short-term, badly thought-out proposal for a hot summer night is transformed into a permanent flickering hoarding, blaring away during a wet February. What a legacy.

Has the Government learnt nothing from the Dome debacle? They are not entertainment moguls. That any of these screens should become permanent, is a dreadful, wasteful, aesthetically horrible idea. That lottery funding can so casually be sequestered to achieve this is verging on public corruption. Orwell never imagined this cack-handed horror even in his worst nightmares.

Griff, despair ye not, even if they are too big to be nicked then reflect on the sad loss of Weston-super-Mare's Pier and invest in a box of Vestas.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I'm in two minds over this web snooping

Site guesses your sex via age-old web flaw | The Register

One of the problems that's plagued netizens since the inception of the world wide web that their browsers have a habit of leaking every site they've visited in the recent past. A quick stop at Blowupdolls.com, Mysecretbusinessproject.net or any other site is available to any webmaster with rudimentary coding skills.

Now the Mike on Ads blog has harnessed this privacy shortcoming into a tool that tries to predict whether the visitor is male or female. It uses a small piece of Javascript, that siphons a browser's URL history and then analyzes the sites visited to guess whether the user is a guy or gal.

My results?
Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 50%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 50%


Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Whose minding the shop?

Gordon Brown in public spat with Harriet Harman - Telegraph

Ms Harman, the Labour deputy leader, held a series of meetings at 10 Downing Street on Friday, prompting allies to claim that she was the first woman to take the helm of Government since the departure of Margaret Thatcher in 1990.

But Mr Brown - who is facing growing calls to step down as Labour leader - immediately used his spokesman to declare that he was running the country, despite being on a break in Suffolk.

Adding to the confusion, a third senior member of the Government, Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, is also under the impression that he is running the country during Mr Brown's absence from London – which will stretch on until the end of August due to his trip to China for the Olympics.

There is a madness at the top - Gordon must be frothing at the mouth that he has been ordered to go to the seaside for a rest, thank goodness he can still feel in control by shouting down his regularly replaced mobile phone. Some one buy him a train set where he can be really in charge.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Take Five - Happy Blogiversary to Me

An Englishman's Castle: Blog Post Dated: July 29, 2003

The first post I have still recorded - I started over on Blogspot and I think there were some earlier entries. But what ever here's some mood music for me to ruminate on the five long years, a lifetime in internet time....

(Prettier than Dave Brubeck)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 28, 2008

Philip Parkin Precautionary Principle Prat - Don't expose your children to the danger!

Teacher's Unions should be banned from schools, say Wireless internet - Telegraph

Philip Parkin, general secretary of the teaching union Voice, said: "I don't know whether unions are safe but there is an accumulation of evidence that suggests they can have a significant impact on growing children, in particular the development of the nervous system."

Around three-quarters of primary schools and almost all secondaries in England already have teachers in unions.

But Mr Parkin insisted that - until research proves it is safe - all further expansion of unionisation should be halted.

"Our view would be that nobody should move in any significant way until the results of that review are known," he said. "We need to be absolutely sure it is safe. We need more clear and definitive evidence."

In other news teachers who are scared of the big wide world and students accessing it are proposing wearing tinfoil hats to protect themselves from the waves...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Never Forget, Never Forgive

Dissident Northern Ireland republican threat 'higher than from Islamic extremists' - Telegraph

The Northern Irish terror threat is as significant now as it was during the time of the Omagh bombing 10 years ago and that up to 80 hardcore dissidents could be plotting attacks.

Among those they may target are Catholic police officers in a bid to deter young Catholics and nationalists from joined the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and prison officers, the sources say.

I thought St.Tony and his bog trotter wife had charmed all the terrors away and we should welcome the murderers and terrorists into our political institutions because bygones are bygones. We gave the scum nearly everything they wanted so Tony assured us it was all happy smiley faces for now on. On the bright side it is only 80 to worry about, £27 per 100 seems to be a cheap solution.

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

No Happy Hour for Pubs

Pubs cry into beer no one is drinking - Times Online

Pubs are serving fewer drinks than ever. Publicans say that they are pulling 1.4 million pints a day - 1.6 million fewer than at the height of the market in 1979. The decline has been blamed on closures after the smoking ban, rising costs and competition from supermarkets.

The police are calling for tough new laws after the association announced that its members were abandoning the voluntary code banning aggressive drinks promotions.

The decision by more than half of the country’s 57,000 pubs not to end happy-hour deals is likely to trigger an intense price war this summer.

The Association of Chief Police Officers and Alcohol Concern have asked the Government to abandon self-regulation in the industry in light of growing concerns over alcohol abuse. “Sadly the trade repeatedly shows that it cannot be relied upon to consistently act in a responsible way,” said Chris Allison, its spokesman on alcohol.

You stupid little prodnose - it isn't the yoofs drinking in pubs that are the problem, not with beer at over £2 a pint and a landlord watching over them - it is the consumers of the cases of cooking lager bought from the back of a van. You ought to be encouraging pubs and trying to drive the youths back into them.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Policies for sale or rent; rooms to let, fifty cents....

Weakened Gordon Brown gives in to union demands - Times Online

Gordon Brown has caved in to unions, allowing a series of concessions - including an extension of the minimum wage - in a move that sent shudders through the business community.

Coming days after Labour’s humiliating defeat in the Glasgow East by-election, it also puts pressure on the Prime Minister’s weakened position.

Dave Prentis, the Unison general secretary, hailed the deal as a return to Labour’s “core values”.

Unions are confident of securing further concessions. One leader disclosed to The Times that ministers had agreed to another policy forum before the next election. “This is only half time, it is not the final whistle,” he said.

The unions have found their negotiating position strengthening as individual donations dry up, leaving the party dependent on members’ affiliation fees.

I think I preferred it when Labour was funded by selling vanity titles to the wives of rich men - it was the only way most of them would ever be considered to be a Lady. It was fairly harmless unlike this auction of promises, and damn the consequences.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2008

If you could have dinner with 3 people …

Wonko’s World tagged me:

If you could choose any 3 people from history (alive or dead) to have dinner with, who would they be, why and which single burning question would you ask them?

Jesus Christ - did you really rise from the dead on the third day? Big question, big implications.

Nigella Lawson - will you come out of the kitchen now and join me on the chaise longue ?

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - will you stay in the bloody kitchen and rustle up Nigella and me something tasty? Thanks mate.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

npower - twats - kiddie exploiters - control freaks....

EU Referendum: Climate Nazis is a;

little disturbed by the latest campaign to be fronted by energy company npower.

In a luridly-designed website, mimicking the style of "yoof" cartoons, it offers a bundle of downloads, including a pack of "climate crime cards", urging its recruits to spy on families, friends and relatives, inviting each of them to build up a "climate crime case file" in order to help them ensure their putative criminals do not "commit those crimes again (or else)!"

In a system which has echoes of Hitler's Deutsches Jungvolk movement, and the Communist regime Pioneers, perhaps successful graduates can work up to becoming block wardens, then street and district "climate crime Führers", building a network of spies and informers.

I would join in but the tossers at npower - (why don't you invest in a caps lock key you twats) - insist:

5. If you would like to link to this Website, you may only do so on the basis that you link to, but do not replicate, the home page or other relevant page of this Website, and subject to the following conditions: ..your website does not contain content that is distasteful, offensive or controversial,...

6. npower expressly reserves the right to revoke the right granted in paragraph 5 for breach of these terms and to take any action it deems appropriate.

What you going to do? Send some of your kiddies round?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Making an Eton Mess of Pudding.

* Servings:4

Meringues, strawberries and raspberries and then add:

Vanilla cream
500ml double cream
400g icing sugar
½ vanilla pod
1 small tub of vanilla ice cream

400g of sugar for four people? You sure? I have checked, 400 grams is nearly a lb. Four ounces of sugar per person?

The kids were making this and no wonder it was disgustingly oversweet - I have a feeling that Marco cooked this using proper imperial measurements and someone has mistranslated into the bastard French system. If he had said sixteen ounces of sugar for four servings then the mental alarm bells would have gone off, using some arbitrary measurement based on the weight of Napoleons cock means tonight's pudding has been ruined. Bastards.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Francis Wilson's Global Warming Swindle


How many errors can you spot in this supposititious farrago of nonsense? A week's hot weather in England trumps 11 years of global cooling!

(Scanned because it isn't online)

Posted by The Englishman at 9:00 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Slimeball Splatted

Sleaze scuppers Democrat golden boy - Times Online

Gotcha: Senator John Edwards, whose wife has cancer, has been caught in a sex scandal that ends his vice-presidential hopes

There are sensational new details on the National Enquirer website, although most of the media have done their best to ignore them.

The story has been bubbling away for months, but so far there has been not a word about it in the mainstream newspapers

Why the press is ignoring the Edwards "love child" story. - By Jack Shafer - Slate Magazine

A double standard is at work.

Whatever the MSM trys to cover up it is getting hareder for the slimy little pricks to get away with it.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Booker brings Hansen to Book

Nasa is out of line on global warming - Telegraph

Considering that the measures recommended by the world's politicians to combat global warming will cost tens of trillions of dollars and involve very drastic changes to our way of life, it might be thought wise to check the reliability of the evidence on which they base their belief that our planet is actually getting hotter. ...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gordon's Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Plan Goes Wrong

Bullying tax officials lose £2.8 billion - Times Online

CONFIDENTIAL tapes and internal documents have exposed bullying and bungling in Gordon Brown’s flagship tax-credit scheme that will cost the taxpayer up to £2.8 billion.

More than 1.5m people have been told that they were overpaid tax credits and should now give back the money. Tax officials told them it was their own fault and informed some victims they had no right of appeal.

However, many victims have turned the tables on the tax-man, using evidence from their own case files, obtained under data protection laws, to prove officials’ errors were to blame.

This has revealed government offices in disarray, random errors inserted by computer into claimants’ files, and officials misleading claimants about the right of appeal.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is now preparing to write off £2.8 billion...

Gordon's pet project, ahhh! And if that doesn't show the sheer stupidity and waste in taxing low paid people, inserting it into the machinery of the state and then repaying the money then what will. A good start would be to raise the tax threshold to £15,000

Posted by The Englishman at 7:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Calm Down Dears

Labour considers 'suicide' election - Scotland on Sunday

PANICKING Labour ministers are considering a 'suicide election' to give the party a fresh start under a new leader,....

IT WON'T HAPPEN - Gordon wants to stick it out, the self-survival of Labour MPs demands he sticks it out, the next Labour Leader, whoever that might be, wants him to stick it out. Even the Tories want him to stick it out. This is just enjoyable silly season stuff,, but don't start reading the chicken bones and coming up with forecasts that won't happen.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 26, 2008

Voiding the warranty

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"I'll tell you the truth," a criminal complaint quotes an apparently inebriated Keith Walendowski. "I got pissed because my lawn mower wouldn't start, so I got my shotgun and shot it.

"I can do that. It's my lawn mower and my yard, so I can shoot it if I want," Walendowski told police.

According to the complaint, Walendowski had been drinking all morning. Around 9:30 a.m., he attempted to start his 21-inch Lawn-Boy - unsuccessfully.

After shooting the mower, he went in his basement, where he was arrested by police, the complaint says.

Police recovered the shotgun, shells, a handgun, rounds for the handgun and a stun gun.

Dick Wagner of Wagner's Garden Mart, 6075 N. Green Bay Ave., said shooting the mower didn't help Walendowski's odds of getting it repaired.

"Anything not factory recommended would void the warranty," he said.

No comment needed - enjoy your weekend in the garden.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Insulting the State

French face prosecution for 'insulting' civil servants - Times Online

The offence — which carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a €7,500 fine — dates from Napoleonic times and is designed to protect “the dignity ... of a person charged with a public service mission”.

Behind the legalese is the belief that civil servants are the embodiment of a French State that deserves the respect and support of all its citizens. The number of prosecutions for insulting police officers and other civil servants has risen from 17,700 in 1996 to 31,731 last year in what critics say is an abuse of government power...

Post office employees, tax inspectors, railway staff and teachers are all starting to file lawsuits when they believe that they have been slighted.

Even Gérard Depardieu has fallen foul of the law. A description of three work inspectors as “jokers” when they raided the film set where the actor was performing left him with him a €3,500 fine.

A homeless man was given a one-month prison term for shouting out that Mr Sarkozy — Interior Minister at the time — was a “bloody Hungarian” in reference to his family origins. A 21-year-old was given a similar sentence for insulting the President's mother.

Thank goodness I'm not French, I'd be up in front of the beak every day...what was that you said about the European Arrest Warrant?

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

Just getting behind him ready to stab?

Ministers plot to force out Brown after poll disaster
Gordon Brown - Telegraph

Gordon Brown is being undermined by Cabinet ministers who are now publicly questioning his future as Prime Minister following Labour's disastrous defeat in the Glasgow East by-election.

But be of good cheer - the BBC sees it differently -

BBC NEWS | Politics | Senior ministers get behind Brown
Justice Secretary Jack Straw has become the latest senior minister to express his support for Gordon Brown.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Local Flag Row

War veterans banned from flying flag over fears they may hurt themselves - Telegraph

Royal British Legion members in Calne, Wilts, have campaigned for months for the right to hoist the flag over the town hall, amid opposition from councillors.

They believed they had won the battle when the council agreed to consider handing over control of the flag to the Legion.

However, the Legion says the council has now produced a 50-point health and safety document which would prevent anyone with specified physical ailments from accessing the town hall roof.

The criteria rules out most members of the local Legion branch, as they are aged over 60. ...

John Ireland, a local councillor, who is also the Legion branch chairman, said: "We have fought bravely and many of us risked our lives in a world war so we are perfectly capable of going up a ladder a few feet to put a flag up on a roof.

"It is absolutely ridiculous to be talking about health and safety. All the council is trying to do is find excuses to stop us flying the flag."

Accusing the council of "sneaky" behaviour, he added: "What they gave in one hand, they took away in the other, knowing full well that none of us are fit enough to match those rules."

The Town Hall in Calne is a substantial building, certainly strong enough to support a flagpole, and even a gibbet. I'm sure there would be no shortage of volunteers to clamber over the roof to employ the latter to help change the councillor's minds....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:07 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 25, 2008

Friday Night is Music Night (Scratch Band Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 8:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wallet Closed

Fears of recession grow as Britons stop spending and sales slump - Times Online

Off to The Game Fair today with the boy - and no intention to spend any money. Of course I said that last time and ended up buying a Greener GP....

Posted by The Englishman at 5:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

When even the bought and paid for voters desert Labour

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West | SNP stuns Labour in Glasgow East

The SNP has pulled off a stunning by-election victory by winning Glasgow East, one of Labour's safest seats.

The Nationalists overturned a Labour majority of 13,507 to win by only 365 votes with a swing of 22.54%.

It's only 5:45 in the morning, early even for me, but is it too early for a wee dram in celebration. This is a result that even Gordon can't ignore, though he will spend the next few days wandering around whistling with his fingers in his ears shouting "I can't hear you".

Posted by The Englishman at 5:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 24, 2008

The Turing Test on our sense of history and identity

The anger of a Quiet Man One of the things to me that says a lot about how a country views itself is its treatment of history, or rather its own history and historical heritage.

Global Warming Politics

Today, in The Times, we learn of an even bigger national disgrace, as around 100 computer scientists have felt compelled to write an ‘open letter’ to the Government on ‘Saving the heritage of Bletchley Park - We cannot let Bletchley go to rack and ruin’The Times, Letters, July 24):

“Bletchley Park is ... under threat, this time from the ravages of age and a lack of investment. Many of the huts where the codebreaking occurred are in a terrible state of disrepair.

As a nation, we cannot allow this crucial and unique piece of both British and world heritage to be neglected in this way. The future of the site, buildings, resources and equipment at Bletchley Park must be preserved for future generations by providing secure long-term financial backing.”

Just so. Why on earth this not a major museum completely beats me? Again, we have a national disgrace. It is entirely arguable that the amazing work at Bletchley shortened the Second World War by some two years, and from this work came the very computer on which I am preparing this posting.

What is wrong with us in the UK? We produce some of the world’s finest writers and scientists, yet we seem to want play them down. We are happy to waffle on about ‘global warming’ and ‘organic’ food, while neglecting the truly great scientists who forged our world and enabled us to think as we do. The lack of hard science in most of our media outlets is part of the malaise, while the decline of science in schools and at university is chilling.

I truly believe that the Grand Narrative of ‘Global Warming’ partly feeds on the anti-intellectual and unscientific agar of our petri dish media and society.

But, at the least, as the letter-writers demand, let us save some face, and turn Bletchley into a world-class museum of which we can, for once, be proud. It might even help to make amends for the outrageous and disgraceful treatment of Alan Turing [left], a genius, and one of the father’s of modern computer science.

For, in this particular instance, we owe so much to so few.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Risk Assessment Hero

Royal Marine given George Cross after diving on grenade - Times Online

A Royal Marine who is to be awarded the George Cross for saving the lives of his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade has spoken of the agonising moments after he set off a Taleban booby trap.

Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher, 24, said he was certain that he was going to die after he triggered the device during a mission in the Helmand region of southern Afghanistan.

He said: “I felt the tripwire hit my shins. You know immediately what that means. All I could do in the moment was shout out, ‘Grenade’ before diving on top of it.”

For five “agonising” seconds he lay on his back, certain he would be killed or seriously injured, before the device went off. He was thrown into the air by the force of the explosion but survived with minor injuries as his rucksack cushioned the blow...

Lance Corporal Croucher runs a risk-assessment business.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Fatty Johnson Launchs National Movement

Health Secretary Alan Johnson: 'Don't vilify the obese' - Telegraph

Mr Johnson will say: "Obesity is the biggest health challenge we face. ....

"Just as the government has a moral duty to tackle poverty and exclusion, so it also has a duty to address obesity. But this is not a licence to hector and lecture people on how they should spend their lives - not least because this simply won't work."

He will call for a broader approach with all sectors of society, retail, leisure, media, government and voluntary sector involved. ...

Ministers want to see a 'national movement' from the smallest keep fit class to the biggest retailers to join a campaign to tackle obesity.

Who could object to a "national movement" to combat "the biggest threat we face", lots of money to be spent on propaganda, healthy young people exercising in the open air...

BBC - Newsbeat - Health - NHS fit camp aims to cut obesity

...special residential fit camps where they'll spend six weeks losing weight and learning how to lead a healthier lifestyle.... The parents of the children at the camp also have to get involved, and there are weekly check-up sessions after the residential course to make sure all the good things the kids learn are actually put into practice at home. ...The daily routine for the children at the fit camp is demanding.
While most other kids are enjoying their school holidays, these children are up at eight o'clock every morning.
It's then a long day of physical activities like boxercise or basketball sessions....

I think I have found a film of this healthy new idea...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What to wear when going out clubbing

Sporran's fate dangling after seal-fur ban call - Scotsman.com News

THE traditional sporran, which has been part of Highland dress for centuries, could be under threat because of proposals to ban the trade in seal pelts.
Stavros Dimas, the European environment commissioner, yesterday announced plans to bring in a total import ban on products derived from seals that have been killed in a cruel way.

The move was welcomed by animal rights groups and the government.

They will have to switch to badger instead then. How to make on at home instructions here

Posted by The Englishman at 6:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dave's a Union Man

David Cameron launches biggest Conservative shake-up for decades - Telegraph

Under the new arrangement, Ulster Unionist MPs would take the Tory whip and be offered posts in any future government.

The move to restore a link severed more than 30 years ago forms a central plank in a new Conservative strategy to broaden the party's appeal outside England.

In particular, Mr Cameron is hoping to employ a similar tactic to win votes in Scotland.

A good move, gets the Ulstermen out of their provincial ghetto and brings back the unionism to the The Conservative and Unionist Party. But I can't see how he is going to pull off the same trick in Scotland.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Every Click You Make, Every File You Take, We'll Be Watching You

Parents to be punished for children’s net piracy - Times Online

Parents whose children download music and films illegally will be blacklisted and have their internet access curbed under government reforms to fight online piracy.

Households that ignore warnings will be subjected to online surveillance and their internet speeds will be reduced, making it very difficult for them to download large files.

The measures, the first of their kind in the world, will be announced today by Baroness Vadera, who brokered the deal between internet service providers and Ofcom, the telecoms body.

Internet users could find themselves the subject of “traffic management”, meaning a sudden curtailment of their internet speeds, and “traffic filtering”, a careful monitoring of the media files downloaded to an account to check whether they have paid for them.

Britain’s six biggest service providers - BT, Virgin Media, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse - have signed up to the scheme. In return, the Government has abandoned a controversial proposal to disconnect broadband services for users who had been caught out three times.

The joys of monitoring our internet access - it's for the musicians now, but how soon before it is for inappropriate websites that promote terror, hate, racism, xenophobia, not saying very nice things about the French and disrespectful thoughts on our Glorious Leader.

Time for a refresher...Hiding Your IP Address, Anonymous Internet Surfing HOWTO

Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 23, 2008

Balance on Channel 4

Letter: A fig leaf for global warming sceptics | Media | The Guardian

I take a special interest in Ofcom's largely damning verdict on Martin Durkin's Great Global Warming Swindle (Report, July 22). I presented a programme for Channel 4 entitled God Is Green three weeks before. On the basis of that, I was invited to an Al Gore training day in Cambridge two weeks after the Swindle documentary was aired. As I entered the room, the former senator saw the Channel 4 ID on my conference badge and uttered words to the effect that I had a cheek showing my face there after all the damage I had done. Thankfully, his minders were able to put him right. He was not a happy man.

I wonder if "God is Green" was a balanced program - who cares? The idea of Al Gore being in a strop is joy enough.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Boys into Books

Deprived white boys inspired by ripping yarns, Ofsted says - Times Online

White boys from deprived backgrounds need action-packed stories about danger or sport to inspire them in lessons, Ofsted, the education regulator, said yesterday.

They do worse at school than any other group, which has increased concerns that white, working-class boys are becoming an educational underclass.

A good dose of daring do stories and less Barney we all love everyone tosh - a starting point would be for every school library to take out a subscription to Commando Magazine - that would make the librarian choke on her Muesli sandwich!

The Government has produced a list of 160 books they recommend for boys - here

Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bearded Old Fraud

Serbian war crimes suspect disguised as as an expert in "human quantum energy" Dragan Dabic


Isn't it time someone took a razor to Rowan Williams as well, not that I'm implying anything....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Assaulting the evidence

Britons still eating 50pc too much salt - Telegraph

Breakfast cereals, bread and cheese are among 80 everyday foodstuffs that should have further cuts made to their salt contents, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

New research carried out by the FSA on nearly 700 British adults showed that average salt intake was 8.6g per day - significantly higher than the Government's national target of 6g, or one level teaspoon.

But reducing the average daily intake to 6g could prevent about 20,200 premature deaths every year from strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, according to the FSA.

Hogwash - Strong recommendations for universal sodium restriction are not supported by strong evidence. - if you don't believe me then Dr. Hillel Cohen of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NYC and author of several health outcomes studies of the NHANES database, delivered a PowerPoint presentation recently to the Canadian Society of Clinical Nutrition's annual scientific meeting in Toronto. CSCN has rendered a valuable service by putting the presentation online.

ht saltsensibility

Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 22, 2008

Gordon Brown Escapes Student's Stickiness

BBC NEWS | Politics | Campaigner 'glues himself to PM'

Mr Glass - a 24-year-old post-graduate student at Strathclyde University - had smuggled a small amount ... in his underwear at about 1700 BST.

He met the prime minister during the reception at about 1830 BST.

"There may have been something sticky on his hands but it was only for a few seconds that he touched the prime minister," a spokesman said. "There was no stickiness of any significance."

Speaking afterwards, Mr Glass said: "My left hand was covered ...- it really hurt. He had to give it a couple of tugs before it came away. "

Mr Glass was invited to Downing Street to receive an award from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation for his protesting work with Plane Stupid.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Every move you make Every step you take I'll be watching you

BBC NEWS | Politics | 'Spying' requests exceed 500,000

More than 500,000 official "spying" requests for private communications data such as telephone records were made last year, a report says.

Police, security services and other public bodies made requests for billing details and other information.

Interception of Communications Commissioner Sir Paul Kennedy said 1,707 of these had been from councils.

A separate report criticises local authorities for using powers to target minor offences such as fly-tipping.

Local authorities launched 10,000 snooping operations last year - Telegraph

Councils have been accused of abusing anti-terror laws after it emerged that local authorities launched almost 10,000 spying missions last year to investigate such petty offences as dog fouling and under-age smoking.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Definitive UK Hockey Stick Graph

With the renewed debate about the accuracy of the famous Hockey Stick I applied my own methodology and analysis using unquestioned accurate data and produced the following for the UK.


Please don't ask me to reveal my methods as that is impugning my professional honour; though I suspect some of you will twist the data and in your own mirror universe discover the source code....

Posted by The Englishman at 8:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Moon Living

Bang the drum for rock’n’ roll heroes - Times Online

They have been the butt of jokes, and even the most agile of their number have seldom been regarded as paragons of physical virtue.

For all John Bonham’s thunderous half-hour solos behind Led Zeppelin, and Keith Moon’s frenzied skin-bashing with The Who, neither man - nor the generations of drummers who followed them - was ever recognised as a finely tuned athlete....

....sports scientists have concluded that drummers are comparable in their physical prowess to world-class sportsmen. ...the music world is divided between fitness freaks and those with less spartan lifestyles.

“The hotels all have gyms now and you get those who get up early and work out and those who get up at midday with a hangover,” he said. For his part, Dr Smith believes that he will soon be providing nutrition and fitness support to any number of musicians intent on prolonging their careers.

The late Keith Moon, whose manic performances seemed to create enough energy to power the national grid, was once Clem Burke, the veteran Blondie drummer's idol.

“These days, I say he taught me what not to do. He was very physical but he basically killed himself with excessiveness,” said Burke.

And that is why Moon is a legend, we want our Rock and Roll heroes to provide vicarious thrills for us as we lead our humdrum lives - we don't want them to be clean living gym rats - or at least I don't.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Saint Alex Salmond

Wind farms: now we've got the biggest in Europe - Scotsman.com News

ALEX Salmond told the World Renewable Energy Congress in Glasgow the green light had been given to a 152-turbine project in South Lanarkshire. The chairman of the congress then hailed Mr Salmond as the "saint of renewable energy".

Mr Salmond now expects Scotland to become the green-energy capital of Europe and a major exporter of renewable energy – a move that could bring billions of pounds into the economy.

Jason Ormiston, the chief executive of Scottish Renewables, agreed transforming this country into a key exporter of renewables could be "absolutely massive" for the economy.

The £600 million Clyde 548-megawatt wind farm, which will be capable of powering 320,000 homes,..
That is about £2000 a home in capital costs, now add in the need for back up capacity for when the wind doesn't blow, the extra lines and transformers to get the juice from there to here etc. and yes I can see meeting these directives is going to be "absolutely massive" to the economy - though I guess the costs will be spread further than Scotland's borders.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Celebrate the Hammer of the Scots and our Longbows at Falkirk

Scottish tourist attraction bans English visitors in revenge for 1298 battle - Telegraph

The Edinburgh Dungeon said the one-day event is in revenge for the Battle of Falkirk, fought 710 years ago July 21st (sic- I think it was on July 22nd), at which more than 2,000 Scots were slaughtered by the Auld Enemy.

English visitors will only be allowed entry if they sign a scroll swearing allegiance to Scotland, while those from other countries will be encouraged to bring in items deemed 'typically English’ to be smashed.

I'd be jumping up and down on a tartan scone tin in revenge, but I'd probably be arrested for being racist.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Art Grad Employment News

Children are being denied their cultural human rights - Telegraph

Children are being denied the right to a cultural life as the Government is not doing enough to promote music, art and drama, a group of leading authors and artists has warned....

All children are entitled to access to the arts under Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. ...

The manifesto by ACA states:...

• Creativity, play and the arts should be put "at the heart of the school curriculum" by ministers.

• More funding should be devoted to children’s arts by the four UK Arts Councils to "keep standards high and ticket prices low."

Now this collective of children's artists wouldn't have any self interest in demanding more funding would they? Maybe it is the only way that Arts Grads can get jobs now MacDonalds isn't expanding so fast...

Arts graduates 'more likely to lie on CVs' - Telegraph

Students completing arts and humanities courses are most likely to be guilty of "embellishment"

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

The Nitrate Scare Continues

The Bruges Group

The indispensable Christopher Booker and Richard North have written the nitrate story. The story begins with scientific advice based on the expert view, widely current twenty years ago, that nitrates used in farming and getting into the water supply would cause both a rare condition called "blue baby syndrome" and also algal blooms in estuaries. The European Commission responded by enacting 91/676 which prohibited farmers in "nitrate vulnerable zones" (NVZs) from growing certain crops or spreading muck on their fields for several months a year. This would, among other things, require the farmer to provide storage for the forbidden muck, at considerable cost. That cost was no doubt a good part of the reason why 13 out of the 15 European members have not implemented the Directive and are threatened with legal action by the Commission.

The European Court of Justice in turn came to criticise the British government for not designating enough NVZs and threatened a fine of £50 million if the Directive were not fully enforced.

Meanwhile, however, science had moved on, as science sometimes does. Nitrates were judged not actually to cause blue baby syndrome, and the algae in estuaries was attributable to phosphates rather than to nitrates - so, as I say, I gather from Christopher Booker, whose comment on the fact that the Directive remains in force is the best summary of my argument: "Once a directive is issued, it is virtually impossible to repeal."

Once a directive is issued, it is virtually impossible to repeal

No less rigid, however, is the position of the British government, which has refused to contest the Directive, as it could on the basis of the EU's 2000 water directive, which would permit Britain and other countries to cancel NVZs on health grounds, thus averting both a fine and a costly burden on farmers.

The reason Britain sticks with this absurd Directive, suggests Booker, is that in 1991, at the height of the nitrate scare, the government forced the 29 newly privatised water companies to install de-nitrification plants, which have so far cost shareholders 」3 billion. To abandon the Directive on nitrates might thus open Defra to compensation claims.

Defra rumbles on and is extending the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones to cover 70% of the countryside, imposing costs and restrictions on farmers. They have dropped the claim now that Nitrates are bad for human health it is just a wish to provide pure water. The result will be that less food is grown at greater costs.

I'm against pollution, and polluters should pay but it should be proportionate to the harm they cause not based on some scare that was debunked many years ago.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2008

My Carbon Footprint.....

Carbon dioxide emissions in the South West

The South West Ecological Footprint found that the average South West person generated nearly 27 million tonnes of CO2, 45% of which came from road transport in 2001.

My bad, that's even more than Al Gore, must be some damned thirsty Land Rovers down on Exmoor.....

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

Hockeystick watch - still rising from the grave with a stake through its heart

Climate Skeptic: Hockey Stick: RIP

I have posted many times on the numerous problems with the historic temperature reconstructions that were used in Mann's now-famous "hockey stick."...

Not so fast in reading the obit over the hockeystick; it ain't dead yet.

Here's the BBC today:

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Opinion: A reluctant whistle-blower

Channel 4's The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary, broadcast in March 2007, broke Ofcom rules, the UK media regulator has ruled.

The controversial programme, which presented the view that climate change was not primarily caused by burning fossil fuels....

Good choice that to show the science of the consensus against that of the sceptics... I think I will file that under irony

Posted by The Englishman at 7:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The EU wants to register your guns

The Times

Handguns are available legally in most of Europe, and only now is the EU drawing up plans for a central firearms register.

Can't find much on it - seems to be a goldplating of Directive 91/477 by additional directives - fighting crime, of course that makes it all OK for yet another central register, doesn't it?

Posted by The Englishman at 1:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

100 months to save the world from global warming!

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | '100 months to save the planet'

According to the Green New Deal Group, humanity only has 100 months to prevent dangerous global warming. ...

Its members include former Friends of the Earth UK director Tony Juniper, Green MEP Caroline Lucas and Andrew Simms, policy director of the New Economics Foundation (nef).

In an article for the BBC News website's Green Room series...

The group's recommendations include:

  • massive investment in renewable energy and wider transformation in the UK
  • the creation of thousands of new "green collar" jobs
  • making low-cost capital available to fund the UK's green economic shift
  • building a new alliance between environmentalists, industry, agriculture and unions

The group says the plans will be good for the environment and our pockets....

With such combined brain power you could barely get an energy saving bulb to flicker on; there is nowhere to start to point out how muddled and wrong they are, it is such a shapeless shambles of good intentions devoid of any intelligence.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:19 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The BBC Burn Up Balance

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Ruling expected on climate film

Dr Wunsch, from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, said "what we now have is an out-and-out propaganda piece, in which there is not even a gesture toward balance".

The accuracy code, meanwhile, includes an instruction that "a personal view or authored programme or item must be clearly signalled to the audience at the outset", and that programmes covering issues of political controversy must not give "undue prominence" to any particular point of view.

I thought this might be about the much hyped BBC program Burn Up

Christopher Hall, the producer of Burn Up, which is going to hit the screens next week, admits that "the question we kept asking ourselves was, 'How do we make a sexy programme about CO2? It's a gas, for goodness' sake!' So we see this piece as a Trojan horse: we rivet viewers with good drama and smuggle the message in that way." ..."There isn't a more important issue in the world than global warming. Even the Cold War and the Bay of Pigs crisis were notional threats. A warming planet isn't a threat – it's happening."

Of course not - that is going to be on the BBC and of course is balanced... No it was the Channel 4 The Great Global Warming Swindle that attracted the complaints....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Prison Works - the proof old Tories don't want you to know

Prison works. So why won't we admit it? | David Green - Times Online

When Tony Blair took office in 1997 there were about 61,000 criminals in jail. The latest figure is 83,575. How many crimes would have been committed if those 22,000 additional offenders had been at large? The average crime rate admitted by newly incarcerated prisoners was 140 crimes a year and, for those on drugs, 257.

ould the increase in the prison population from 2006-07 to 2007-08 explain the fall in crime over the same period? Police-recorded crime fell by 476,900 offences.

Between April 2007 and April 2008 the prison population increased by 1,843. If the annual offending rate was 140, then 258,000 crimes would have been prevented. If the additional prisoners were all serious offenders, as the Government claims, then 473,000 crimes would have been prevented.

Sheer coincidence? Despite its bashfulness about prison, the Government plainly does not think so. It plans to increase prison capacity to 96,000 by 2014, despite the squeamishness of Lord Hurd of Westwell in a letter to The Times yesterday.

When he was Home Secretary from 1985 to October 1989, Lord Hurd set out to reduce the prison population and presided over one of the most rapid increases in crime yet. ...

The Government has lost confidence in itself to such an extent that it does not know how to claim credit for an effective policy when it has one. It should be shouting aloud that “prison works”.

And Hurd and his ilk should be sent back to the home and Matron instructed not to let him wander out again without having been given his tablets; and certainly Dave should be giving them a good ignoring.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How the CAP money should be spent

Don't slip on a subsidised banana skin | Carl Mortished - Times Online

Some good has come out of the soaring cost of food: a pile of one billion unspent euros. The money was earmarked under the Common Agricultural Policy to subsidise farmers in Europe. But the soaring world price of grain and milk has made EU farming competitive and subsidies unnecessary.

Unfortunately, taxpayers are unlikely to see a penny because the European commissioners have other ideas than writing cheques to national treasuries. Instead, the commission wants to give it all away to UN organisations...

Even assuming that money is not squandered on fleets of Toyota Land Cruisers for UN aid workers, this is a lost opportunity to show that the EU has truly changed its attitude towards agriculture, that it no longer believes that governments should manipulate trade in food. The EU should use the surplus to demonstrate that high food prices can stimulate large-scale, profitable investment in the production and distribution of food in poorer countries.....

Instead of protectionism and taxes, we could insist on free and unfettered trade in food. We could fight for the right of foreign investors to purchase and trade agricultural land, to farm and sell crops at market prices. Instead of handouts to subsistence farmers who never rise above subsistence, the billion euros could be the seed capital for a farming fund that would invest for profit alongside farmer entrepreneurs in Africa, seeking good returns and dividends producing food on a large scale.

Some might call it colonisation, but unlike handouts it might produce food surpluses in places where there are now shortages. That would bring down prices in places where borders are open and where trade is free. It would be political heresy, but that is what we need.

And with France protecting its banana growers it has as much chance as I have of rolling over in the morning to find Carla Bruni has slipped in under the linen... well maybe not even that much of a chance.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Twinkle Twinkle Hurray!

Twinkle twinkle Northern Star - Scotsman.com News The North Star has thrown astronomers into confusion with some unexpected activity.

The star is not, it seems, quite as constant as was previously thought.

Polaris had long been known to be a Cepheid variable star, changing in brightness about every four days. But in recent decades astronomers have noticed the star's vibrations were dying away.

Now they have been stunned to discover the star seems to have come back to life again.

Dr Alan Penny from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews said: "One hundred years ago Polaris varied by 10 per cent, but over the last century the variations became smaller and smaller until ten years ago it only varied by 2 per cent.

"It was thought the structure of the star was changing to switch off the vibration. Yet the team has found that about ten years ago the vibrations started picking up and are now back up at the 4 per cent level."

"Now we know it's doing this we will watch it for another 100 years and see what it does," he said. "We have found something new that we need to understand. That means we can make progress. We are very excited when we are proved wrong."

I was going to mock his pleasure at finding work to do for the next 100 years, a good pension policy! But his proper reaction of joy at being proven wrong is so refreshing and welcome I can only share it with him.

That is how a scientist should react. - if only it was more common, in say, the climate research field.....

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

Jacquiiii Smith - Your paymasters are calling

Jacqui Smith warned by first group to be given ID cards that they will not improve security - Telegraph

The first group of workers to be have compulsory ID cards forced on them have warned Jacqui Smith that the measure will not improve security.

Union staff representing airport workers will this week meet the Home Secretary as a matter of "urgency" to discuss their concerns.

In a letter to Miss Smith, Frances O'Grady, the deputy general secretary of the TUC, said the issue was also one of civil liberties.

She said: "Unions representing the airport workforce recognise the need for effective security measures, but see no evidence at all that these proposals that these proposals would enhance airport security arrangements.

"They have raised a number of specific issues: the move has significant civil liberties' implications; that it would not be cost effective, and indeed, appears to impose additional burdens on business and employees with no measurable security benefit."

With the Unions clambering back into the driving seat of Labour policy as the only source of funds for the bankrupt party, this could be interesting...

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

Rods, Poles and Perchs are thriving on Council allotments

A very quick google on official local council websites for allotment sizes throws up proper old measurements being used:

Portsmouth Council Allotment Leaflet
Rental costs for an allotment are very modest and based on the size of the individual plot. A 10 rod plot works out at less than £1 a week and a 5 rod plot less than 50p a week.

SOUTH HOLLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL APPLICATION FORM ALLOTMENTS Allotment Size : 1 rood approx Rent :£37.45 per annum

Allotments Charges - Marlow Town Council
£3.20 per pole
A full size plot of 10 poles = £32.00 per annum
A half size plot of 5 poles = £16.00 per annum

Thanet District Council Allotments
The cost of an allotment ranges from £2.20 per perch...

Olveston Parish Allotment Association
The annual rental is £1.80 per lug

As Merton Council says; "A rod or perch, as it was also known, was a traditional Saxon land measure and survives in the twentieth century." (Though I note they are still using them in the 21st)

I suppose all these councils - and these are just a small sample - will be welcoming the Eu's banning of the acre and that none have been prosecuting anyone for using non metric measures....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 20, 2008

Elections in Blogistan - Please Vote

Iain Dale's Diary: Guide to Political Blogs 2008-9: Vote for your Top Ten Blogs

and don't forget

The Witanagemot Club blogging awards

Posted by The Englishman at 9:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How an Englishman's home ceased to be his castle under Labour

The 1,000 ways the state can break into your home - Times Online

There are more than 1,000 laws and regulations which permit officials to force entry into homes, cars and business premises, a report commissioned by Gordon Brown has found.

The publication of the first comprehensive list of laws available to police, council staff and other inspectors will renew concerns about the erosion of civil liberties.

The dossier, compiled by Lord West, the Home Office minister and former first sea lord, details the often obscure acts and regulations which give the authorities the power to break into homes.

Hundreds of new powers of entry have been created since 1997, including ones relating to illegal gambling, congestion charging, high hedges and weapons of mass destruction.

West’s report details 753 separate “big brother” provisions in acts of parliament and a further 290 minor regulations. A total of 430 of these powers have been approved by parliament since Labour came to power.

Henry Porter: How the Englishman's home ceased to be his castle | Comment is free | The Observer

that great principle of English law, the 'inviolability of the dwelling house'.

The right dates back to 1604, the year that Shakespeare presented Othello to James I and his court and a man named Semayne complained that his home had been broken into and his assets seized by the sheriff. The judgment that followed declared: 'The house of every one is his castle.' It went on to say that if a door is open, a sheriff may enter but that 'it is not lawful for the sheriff, on request made and denial, at the suit of a common person to break the defendant's house.'

Those words are as moving to me as any in Othello because they establish an essential part of English culture: that the home is fundamental to the individual's right to privacy. As one 18th-century commentator put it: 'The law of England has so particular and tender a regard to the immunity of a man's house, that it stiles [sic] it his castle, and will never suffer it to be violated with impunity. For this reason, no doors can in general be broken open to execute any civil process; though, in criminal cases, the public safety supersedes the private.'

This 400-year-old principle has been chucked over by Blair with the familiar combination of stealth and a witless lack of respect for what has gone before. Now your home, like your DNA, fingerprints, image and movements, becomes part of the state's province.

State employees may enter your home, shop or car to enforce hundreds of rules, including those relating to:

— Regulations to prevent the spread of avian flu

— The London congestion charge – the cars of nonpayers can be entered

— The energy rating of refrigerators for sale in electrical shops

Posted by The Englishman at 7:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gordon's Secret Emails Stolen by the Chinese?

Gordon Brown aide a victim of honeytrap operation by Chinese agents - Times Online

A top aide to Gordon Brown has been a suspected victim of a “honeytrap” operation by Chinese intelligence agents.

The aide, a senior Downing Street adviser who was with the prime minister on a trip to China earlier this year, had his BlackBerry phone stolen after being picked up by a Chinese woman who had approached him in a Shanghai hotel disco.

The aide agreed to return to his hotel with the woman. He reported the BlackBerry missing the next morning. ...

Experts say that even if the aide’s device did not contain anything top secret, it might enable a hostile intelligence service to hack into the Downing Street server, potentially gaining access to No 10’s e-mail traffic and text messages.

My surprise isn't that the Chinese would do this, that one of our top aides is so stupid, that the old tricks still work, no it is that the Chinese managed to identify an aide who wasn't gay....

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


Kim du Toit points out:

that Britain is about to ban brooms. No, really:

Carpenters and woodworkers have been told not to use brooms to sweep up sawdust because they are considered dangerous under “ridiculous” new health and safety guidelines.

I think we can all agree that this is ridiculous, and a fine example of Nanny Gummint run amok. But that’s not the real point.

How is Cherie Blair going to get around if brooms are banned?

As Oscar said I wish I had said that...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bendy Bananas and the EU - again.

EU rediscovers taste for bendy cucumbers - Times Online

It's official: European diktats on the size and shape of fruit and vegetables are bananas.

Even the European Commission now wants them scrapped to avoid wasting good food in times of global shortage.

The commission, in a step backed by the UK, will this week attempt to reform strict rules governing standards on such matters as the colour of leeks, the bendiness of cucumbers and the shape of carrots.

In a vote in Brussels, Britain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany will support moves to reform the marketing standards amid fears that they are making the world food crisis worse.

However, France, Spain, Italy and other countries are expected to oppose the plan, claiming that the standards “play an important role in market operations while protecting consumers”. Critics suspect they are just protecting their vested interests.

These would be the rules that the euro fedarist insist are just myths then...

Euro-myths? Most of them are just plain bananas... - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

The Myth

Bendy bananas are banned by Brussels. (Bananas must not be excessively curved.)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 19, 2008

The Peer and Peer Review - Peergate AGW and the APS

Ooow - the AGW crowd are throwing a hissy fit over Lord Monkton's paper - APS Physics | FPS | Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered

Maybe because the skeptics overstated the "consensus has broken" line the American Physical Society alleged that Lord Monckton’s paper Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered was not peer reviewed when Monckton in fact thoroughly revised his paper in response to APS peer review.

The Editor of the Applied Physical Society’s Forum on Physics and Society launched a debate on global warming, inviting Lord Monckton to submit a paper for the opposition. After news that a major scientific organization was holding a debate on IPCC’s global warming, someone at the APS posted an indirect front page disclamation plus two very bold red disclamations in the Forum’s contents, and into the paper itself:


The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.

Monckton immediately demanded retraction, accountability and an apology.

....This seems discourteous. I had been invited to submit the paper; I had submitted it; an eminent Professor of Physics had then scientifically reviewed it in meticulous detail; I had revised it at all points requested, and in the manner requested; the editors had accepted and published the reviewed and revised draft (some 3000 words longer than the original) and I had expended considerable labor, without having been offered or having requested any honorarium.

Please either remove the offending red-flag text at once or let me have the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to it who considered my paper before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper; a copy of this rapporteur’s findings and ratio decidendi; the date of the Council meeting at which the findings were presented; a copy of the minutes of the discussion; and a copy of the text of the Council’s decision, together with the names of those
present at the meeting. If the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, may I ask with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed when it had; secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the “overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community”; and, tertio, that “The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions”? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)?

Having regard to the circumstances, surely the Council owes me an apology?

Yours truly,

I think that tells them; and it shows how frightened the scientific community is of anyone who steps out of the consensus view.

Hattips Watts Up and Uncommon Descent

Posted by The Englishman at 10:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Free Parking in Marlborough

I rarely travel into Marlborough these days, the parking is such a pain. So I was pleased yesterday to spot a length of double yellow lines on the High Street that I can park on... (just up the little cut through by The Sun)


The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) confirmed that with single or double yellow lines there must be a block painted at a 90-degree angle at the end of the lines.

A spokesman said: "If this end line isn't there then the lines have been laid out incorrectly by the local authority and you would have grounds to challenge the ticket in court."

If you worry about getting a ticket may I recommend -

Parking Appeals .co.uk ... helping motorists to successfully appeal their parking tickets ... and get refunds for the ones already paid

Posted by The Englishman at 4:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 18, 2008

Friday Night is Music Night (Off out edition)

Off out to see Jools Holland tonight in the Forest in the rain...

(And a note to anyone who thinks the Castle will be unattended - the babysitter has views on the treatment of intruders that would make a Mau Mau terrorist blanch, when the piano wire tightens you will wish you had chosen a day when an old wishy washy liberal like me was at home instead...)

Posted by The Englishman at 2:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Spin me round like a record baby!

'Judge me on my record', says Brown - 25 November 2007

Judge me on my record - Brown - Mar 1, 2008

Gordon Brown loses grip on economy as deficit soars to record - 18/07/2008

Posted by The Englishman at 2:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Global Warming - Stick to the Science

These folks are scientists, right? : Post-Ed Notes

On the same day that Al Gore delivered one of the most “ridiculous” speeches of his career, The American Physical Society, an organization representing 50,000 physicists, reversed its stance on climate change and is now claiming that many of its members do not believe in human-induced global warming theory.

APS Physics - Editor's Comments

We kick off a debate concerning one of the main conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body which, together with Al Gore, recently won the Nobel Prize for its work concerning climate change research. There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. Since the correctness or fallacy of that conclusion has immense implications for public policy and for the future of the biosphere, we thought it appropriate to present a debate within the pages of P&S concerning that conclusion....

We, the editors of P&S, invite reasoned rebuttals from the authors as well as further contributions from the physics community. Please contact me (jjmarque@sbcglobal.net) if you wish to jump into this fray with comments or articles that are scientific in nature. However, we will not publish articles that are political or polemical in nature. Stick to the science!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

How to live to 100 - emphasis on live

Smoker who has 10 cigars a day celebrates his 100th birthday - Telegraph

A smoker who has 10 cigars day and enjoys a whisky with his morning tea has celebrated his 100th birthday.

Since his first puff in 1917 he has smoked 153,000 cigars and 715,400 cigarettes and drunk a shot of whisky in his morning cup of tea every day since the age of 24. He has not suffered any serious health problems related to smoking or drinking.

His mother-in-law got him hooked on whisky, which he drinks without fail as soon as he gets up, before he has even had breakfast.

"She said the best thing for a woman is for her to drink whisky before she does anything, every day," he said. "I don't feel my age. I've still the mind of a young man. But if I had the company of a good woman, I'm sure I'd feel 40 years younger in a flash."

And if that story doesn't cheer you up then the door is over there....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Prudence Goes Pop

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling throw prudence to the wind - Times Online

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are to attempt to borrow their way out of Britain’s economic problems by drastically revising the rules that have governed Labour’s stewardship of the economy for 11 years.

This will prompt criticism about the Government’s competence, but Mr Darling will defend the move on the ground that a new economic cycle began in March.

Half a pound of tuppenny rice, Half a pound of treacle. That’s the way the money goes, Pop goes the weasel. Up and down the City road, In and out the Eagle...

Like a sailor on shore leave they are running up every tab they can knowing their boat sails soon, they will be all right jack with their gold plated pensions and "statesman" status, leaving us to pick up the bill of their reckless borrowing. And even my four year old has grown out of claiming a new game has started every time she is losing so that dice roll doesn't count....

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

How good teachers get treated

Headteacher Vanessa Aldridge barred from school for working too hard - Telegraph

A devoted headteacher was suspended from her rural primary school for working too hard - only eight days before she was due to retire.

Vanessa Aldridge, 60, was shocked to be escorted from the school’s premises and told to stay away because it was considered she was working too many hours.

Yesterday, the day she should have been enjoying her first day of retirement after 18 years at Marshchapel Primary School, near Louth, Lincs, she told how she had been left devastated and confused as to why she had been put on “gardening leave”.

Mrs Aldridge has yet to be given a formal explanation for the decision to remove her from the 34-pupil school, however she believes it stems from earlier this year when she injured her back.

She was off work from March 6 to June 23, then allowed to start a “phased return” which involved restricted hours.

It is believed that she was allowed back on the understanding that she only worked her contracted hours — between 8.40am and 3.45pm — because governors were concerned that if she hurt herself again outside of those hours they could be held liable for compensation.

The first Mrs Aldridge knew anything was wrong was when two governors turned up at the school a week ago. She said: “They read out a letter telling me I would be escorted from the premises. I’ve been told I may have worked too many hours.”

And if that doesn't encapsulate so much of what is wrong with the system then nothing does.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jesse Jackson and the N bomb

Jesse Jackson forced to apologise again for racist slur - Telegraph

Jesse Jackson, the veteran civil rights activist, has been forced to issue a grovelling apology to Senator Barack Obama after it emerged he had used the word "niggers" while disparaging the Democratic presidential candidate.

Obama campaign advisers have said privately that there has been an uneasiness between the two men, partly because Mr Obama, brought up in Hawaii and with a white mother, is not viewed by Mr Jackson as a mainstream African-American.

The episode has prompted calls for Mr Jackson to withdraw from politics.

"It's difficult to have credibility after this kind of senior moment," Jeff Johnson of Black Entertainment Television told MSNBC.

"A Senior Moment" - do you think a whitey politician would have his use of the word so lightly dismissed?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cottonwool kids

UK parents most protective in the world - Scotsman.com News

In 1970 the average UK nine-year-old was free to wander 919 yards – a ten-minute walk – from home. By 1997, that figure was 316 yards, and by 2007, the boundary had moved to just outside the front gate – classed as a no-minute walk.

Not allowing children to indulge in unstructured "free play" could harm their ability to form social relationships and hamper their chances of boosting creativity, the report said.

Sue Palmer, Edinburgh-based education expert and author of Toxic Childhood, said children not being given the freedom to play outside alone was "one of the most worrying factors of modern life".

"The potential effects of over-protecting our children are disastrous," she said.

"They need to develop independence during their childhood. That means developing social skills, confidence, resilience and being able to cope with what life throws at you."

With the press claiming there is a pædo round every corner middle class parents are over reacting, leaving the streets free for the feral kids from the underclass. And so the spiral descends. If kids can't wander down the street at the age of nine no wonder they never grow up, acting as teenagers until they are thirty in their jeans and trainers going from one drossy course at a drossy "university" to the next whilst sponging off the state and their parents.

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

July 17, 2008

BBC Agitprop on Global Warming

Will BBC2's new thriller charm us into taking notice of climate change? - TV & Radio Reviews, Film & TV - The Independent

The makers of Burn Up knew from the outset that their drama would be a tough sell. The two-part BBC2 thriller by Simon Beaufoy, the writer of The Full Monty, focuses on an oil-industry conspiracy to cover up the full extent of global warming...

Christopher Hall, the producer of Burn Up, which is going to hit the screens next week, admits that "the question we kept asking ourselves was, 'How do we make a sexy programme about CO2? It's a gas, for goodness' sake!' So we see this piece as a Trojan horse: we rivet viewers with good drama and smuggle the message in that way." ..."There isn't a more important issue in the world than global warming. Even the Cold War and the Bay of Pigs crisis were notional threats. A warming planet isn't a threat – it's happening."

The Star Bradley Whitford, Josh in The West Wing -" We've just lost eight years because we've had the worst President in history at the most delicate time in history."

Many believe, too, that the high profile of environmental issues is in large part owing to the success of Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. "The documentary works so well because of Gore's spellbinding character," Whitford says. "There is also a fascination about him. Viewers think, 'Oh gee, we could have had this guy as President. He is smart and prepared and curious – and look who we got instead!'

(More if you really want it)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:48 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Her Majesty's Preference

Adam Smith Institute - Chapter 11

The UK bankruptcy problem, though, is HM Revenue & Customs. When a firm fails, they are fist in the queue for payment. Suppliers and customers get left with a few pence for each pound they’re owed. ...It would be better.. if they (HMRC) were in the same queue as all the other creditors.

Even Homer nods - HM Revenue & Customs

HMRC does not have preferential status in the distribution of the assets of an insolvent estate. The former Departments of Customs & Excise and Inland Revenue both lost preferential status on 15 September 2003 under the provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002.

Something that even their debt collectors "don't know" as when I was being chased for an erroneous debt they tried the "preferential creditor" line on me and I was able to correct them and never heard from them again.

UPDATE - The ASI blog post has been silently edited and the error corrected.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Glorious Tractor Production Figures Exceed Targets

Fall in crime rate defies the rise of knife culture - Times Online

The British Crime Survey (BCS), published today, will state that crime is falling in all 43 police forces in England and Wales and that the Government has exceeded its key target of cutting offences by more than 15 per cent since 2003. Its release comes at a time when the credibility of official statistics is being questioned.

You can say that again - what is that inflation rate?

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

Black and White Television For Sale

Britain's most popular television programmes 'too white', says Trevor Phillips - Telegraph

Some of Britain’s most popular television programmes including the Vicar of Dibley and Who Wants to be a Millionaire have been criticised for being “too white” by Channel 4’s new market research.

As far as I know "Millionaire" picks its contestants by them having to answer questions and getting the answer right. Seems to be a colour blind system to me, so how are they going to get more ethnics on, give them easier questions? Wouldn't that be insulting!

The research comes only weeks after Dr Samir Shah, a non-executive director at the BBC, accused broadcasters of rampant tokenism in their programming.
He claimed that a “tick-box approach” to showing non-whites had left minority viewers feeling embarrassed and irritated.

Analysis: By Neil Midgley, TV & Radio Editor - Telegraph

Placing too much emphasis on diversity in television has one big drawback: it doesn’t generally make for very good television.

But one area of British television that shows no diversity at all is Channel 4’s corporate purpose.

Earlier this year, chief executive Andy Duncan set out in black and white his unshakable intent to get £150 million a year in subsidy out of the government.

If C4 are honest about it, the announcement was intended for culture secretary Andy Burnham - not for anyone in Bradford or Burnley.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 16, 2008

Don't let schooling interfere with your education.

The working class hide their light under a bushel of cash | Robert Crampton - Times Online

Not every intelligent working-class child betrayed by the school system meekly accepts his or her fate, as many supporters of grammars imply. Many find a different route up and out.

Specifically, formal education's loss has been entrepreneurship's gain. There are many explanations for the stunning success of British business in the past quarter of a century - is it possible that the decline of the grammar schools is one? Smart men and women of humble origin, previously assimilated into the anti-business culture of the educated middle class, have instead raised British retail, catering, fashion, finance and entertainment in some cases from mediocrity, in other cases from the dead. The difference between them and their grammar school-educated predecessors is that as they moved up, they did not adopt middle-class cultural values.

Middle-class commentators bemoan the decline of the grammars so loudly because they provided the sort of Roy Jenkins, Michael Howard, ditch-your-regional-accent, start-going-to-the-opera social mobility of which the middle class so approves.

Starting a business, making a shedload of cash and moving to Essex or Cheshire may not be everyone's idea of acceptable social mobility, but it is social mobility all the same.

And that is the best argument I have ever heard for the abolition of Grammar Schools. It is well known that some of the most successful business men were never ruined by college. Schooling isn't about education.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:23 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Fairtrade Fortnight - Boycott it for the growers' and tastes sake

The poverty of Fairtrade coffee :: Alex Singleton

Monday sees the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, the time each year when we are hectored into paying more for a cup of coffee. Charities, politicians and primary school teachers will deliver the scheme as an undisputed good. With all this effort, it is a pity Fairtrade does not work....there is growing evidence that Fairtrade is damaging quality, too. Fairtrade farmers typically sell in both Fairtrade and open markets. Because the price in the open market is solely determined by quality, they sell their better quality beans in that market, and then dump their poorer beans into the Fairtrade market, where they are guaranteed a good price regardless. Moreover, because co-operatives mix every farmer's beans together, farmers who improve quality receive the same payment as those who do not, which discourages improvements. That's worth considering next time you pop out for a double espresso.

I don't drink coffee - just cups of PG tIps...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Today Global Warming Causes...

Weather Eye: unexpected consequences of global warming - Times Online

Inuit communities are seeing their first wasps...European brewers are facing a crisis....The famous geysers of Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, are slowing down...a rise in the number of kidney stones..

(More on the Kidney Stones)

And more

...I am certainly ready to believe that this is "the most compelling science to date" vis a vis the negative effects of global warming, though I thought perhaps the study about global warming increasing acne was right up there as well.

Here are 48,900 other things that "global warming will cause."  More from Lubos Motl.  And here is the big list of global warming catastrophe claims.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Changing Countryside

Families escape to the countryside for the good life - Times Online

Families are moving to the countryside to bring up their children away from city life and using broadband connections to work from home.

Ten years ago the Commission for Rural Communities had reported that the search for a better quality of life in the countryside was being led by the newly retired and those planning retirement. There were concerns that rural areas could soon become enclaves of the elderly and infirm, with insufficient people to help with their care or take on domestic chores.

The State of the Countryside 2008, published today, shows, by contrast, that most people moving to villages are aged from 44 to 54, and have children.

Immigrants have changed England's countryside, claims report - Telegraph

The character of England's countryside has changed fundamentally over the past decade following an influx of immigrants which have helped rapidly push up house prices and demand for new developments, an official report has revealed.

Same report, different conclusions; nothing I can see about the rising numbers of yummy mummies whose partners have either up and left them in the sticks or work most of the time in the city leaving the nest unguarded for the week. The changes are not all bad you see.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Defending the Castle

Have-a-go heroes get legal right to defend themselves - Telegraph

Home owners and “have-a go-heroes” have for the first time been given the legal right to defend themselves against burglars and muggers free from fear of prosecution.

Nick Herbert, the Shadow Justice Secretary, said: "This is a typical Labour con – it will give no greater protection to householders confronted by burglars because it’s nothing more than a re-statement of the existing case law.”

It came as it emerged that homeowners could have to wait up to three days after reporting a crime to see a police officer, according to a leaked draft of the Policing Green Paper.
It sets out new national standards for local policing for all 43 forces cross England and Wales. Callers to the police will be given set times within which officers will attend an incident.
The paper says that this will be "within three hours it if requires policing intervention or three days if there is less immediate need for a police presence."

Oh that's nice, if I catch Billy Burgler in my kitchen I have no more rights than I did before, just a wishy washy guideline that Plod ought to take into account what I do "as they saw it at the time”... And with Plod hoping to get there in three hours I would have plenty of time to cook Billy a 12lb Turkey with all the trimmings as we wait...

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

July 15, 2008

Independent Britain - PR

Campaign for an Independent Britain

The latest edition of Campaign for an Independent Britain's tabloid
newspaper FREE BRITAIN is now out - with lots of coverage about the defeat of the EU's Lisbon Treaty and our TIME FOR TRUTH campaign.

If you would like to see an on-line copy of FREE BRITAIN and perhaps order copies for distribution to your friends and neighbours, please visit http://www.eurosceptic.org.uk/freebritain

Posted by The Englishman at 8:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Are you sophisticated enough to appreciate this properly?

Richard Prince: the coolest artist alive - Telegraph


Take, for example, one of Prince's best-known works, the 1989 Ektacolor photo of a cowboy galloping under blue skies across a wide open plain with a lariat in one hand, horse and rider caught in the split second before they thunder out of the camera's range.

If you didn't know what you were looking at, you'd take the picture to be a defining image of the spirit of the American West, with all that implies about tough-guy machismo, personal freedom, and God's own country.

In fact, what Prince did was to "re-photograph" an advertisement for Marlboro Lights, but removed the picture of the cigarette pack, the advertising copy ("The spirit of Marlboro in a low tar cigarette"), and the Surgeon General's health warning.

With a click of a button, then, Prince magically created an original artwork out of an existing photo taken by somebody else....It dispels the illusion that the original was intended to create, because anyone sophisticated enough to go to an art gallery to see it wouldn't believe a single thing about it - that it shows a real scene, that it features a real cowboy, that the West is now, or ever was, really like that. In fact, nowadays the image would probably make us think of the original Marlboro men who died of lung cancer, or even of the film Brokeback Mountain.

Well that is me told then, I didn't think of Brokeback Mountain, in fact I try never to, nor about some old actor coughing his guts up - no I'm so unsophisticated that I thought "of the spirit of the American West, with all that implies about tough-guy machismo, personal freedom, and God's own country." And I'm proud of that.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Reasons to slap a steak on the BBQ - No.94

Red-blooded meat eaters are being urged to give blood as the number of donors falls during the summer holiday period. Sky News

Research showed that last year, one in 20 would-be donors were unable to give blood because the haemoglobin in their samples were too low.
"If you are rustling up a barbecue, remember to pick foods which are iron rich in order to keep your blood healthy.
"Meat such as lamb and beef are perfect for barbecuing and contain lots of iron.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And the local weather forecast for the next forty days is...

BBC - Wiltshire Weather - St Swithin’s Day

St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t'will rain no more.

July 15th is St Swithin's Day. And what a gloroiusly (sic) sunny day it is.

There is no evidence to support the '40 days' theory. In fact, there are several saints' days that are supposed to be followed by periods of wet or fine weather but, again, there is no supporting evidence.

It is difficult to explain why St Swithin's Day should be so familiar to us all when the supporting evidence is notable by its absence.

But with the region enjoying a fine St Swithin's Day, many will be hoping the saint proves the Met Office wrong and the next 40 days remain fine.

Richard Angwin
Points West Weatherman

Bit of a shock to find a long term forecast rubbished by "the lack of supporting evidence" - why next he will be doubting that it will be 40 degrees in 2015.....

UPDATE - It hasn't been a "gloroiusly sunny day" at all - it is grey, overcast with odd spots of rain - the forecast for today was wrong, let alone for the next forty days, years or what ever...

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

having a wife who refuses to keep her opinions to herself - a crime against modern Britain

Gibraltar's top judge accused of 'colonial approach' - Telegraph

In a dossier before the tribunal and accepted as evidence, Judge Schofield stands accused of failing to have a valid MOT for his car, paying his housekeeper a wage below the statutory minimum and having a wife who refuses to keep her opinions to herself.

I'm a bit confused - I thought Gibraltar was a colony and so why is it wrong for him to have a colonial attitude? And "having a wife who refuses to keep her opinions to herself" - is that a colonial crime or a crime in modern Britain? Is it old fashioned to have an outspoken Memsahib or old fashioned to expect her to be a mere ornament?
Maybe Mrs Tony Blair could help out on this case...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Swindon Speed Cameras - follow the money

Council becomes first to ditch speed cameras - Telegraph - after describing them as "a blatant tax on the motorist".

Kim du Toit describes it as:

an act of rebellion by an individual, but by local government against Big Gummint. I should point out that the council in question happens to fall not far from the abodes of The Englishman and Mr. Free Market—indefatigable rebels themselves—so perhaps it’s not all that surprising.

I'm not so sure it is an act of rebellion, even though Swindon is refreshingly motorist friendly. As I have blogged before the operation of the Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership Workshop is all tied up with funding and bickering over who gets the money...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 14, 2008

Knife Crime - Labour's Latest Policy Explained


Posted by The Englishman at 10:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

To me it's all about skill, baby, know what I mean?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The right calibre candidate wins

Miss%20Universe.jpg Pictures of the day: 14 July 2008 - Telegraph

Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela reacts after being announced the winner of Miss Universe 2008

There is something about that photo that makes me think she is prepared to give thanks in the traditional way....

....Dream on.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Vote Early - Vote Often

Yes, it's the Witanagemot Club blogging awards; a light-hearted investigation into political blogging in the British Isles.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lib Dims after the wet vote

Liberal Democrats : Flood insurance must cover those at most risk - Webb

Commenting on the announcement that insurers have agreed to cover households with a flood risk of up to one-in-75 years, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, Steve Webb said:

"It is all very well making insurance available, but it must be affordable to people living in the most vulnerable homes.

And how is that going to work? What he actually means is that he wants people to pay less than the risk demands, do you think the insurance companies are going to subsidize the bad risks? No - maybe those of us who don't live on flood plains should? But then our houses aren't cheap because of the risk of flooding - so should those on the flood plains subsidize our mortgages? Didn't think so. Let us guess who this wet Lib Dim wants to pay for this foolishness...

Posted by The Englishman at 10:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Olympics Kill Santa

China's Christmas-toy industry suffers after Olympic visa crackdown - Times Online

China has cracked down on foreign visitors lest they disrupt the Olympics. Indeed, the West faces a shortage of kitsch this Christmas because the bulk of its decorations and many of the cheap toys exported from China are bought in Yiwu, and unless orders are placed very soon it will be too late.

As much as hate the pink fluffy tat that fills The Castle it makes the Englishettes happy at not too heavy a cost to my threadbare wallet. Unlike the fascist celebration of drugs and freaks that will pollute our airwaves at some stage this summer.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Preserving the countryside from the wild life

Landowners and hunt join forces in legal battle to ban saboteurs - Times Online

A group of 84 landowners is backing a hunt’s attempt to ban saboteurs from almost every piece of open land and countryside in West Sussex.

Their aim is to win a common law injunction against trespassing and harassment by activists from the West Sussex Wildlife Protection Group and its two main organisers, Simon and Jaine Wilde, under the Protection and Harassment Act 1997.

If an injunction is awarded at the High Court this week, the activists will be banned from 10,000 acres of land, nearly the whole of the county, except for large public estates, footpaths and public highways.

Mr Sandeman said: “We can’t and won’t stop legitimate monitoring of the hunt from the public highways and rights of way. What we are seeking is a ban to stop the filming of hunt supporters, children and old people, who follow us on foot. There has been considerable intimidation of these people in an attempt to stop them supporting the hunt. Some of the children get very disturbed when cameras are put in front of them.”

He said that harassment on this scale was tiresome and that it also wasted police time, with nine or ten officers turning out to police the hunt opponents.

You may remember Simon Wild(e) as the whining little shit who filmed Fatty Soames heinous law breaking, banning his annoying nasal noises and appalling polyester apparel would without doubt be a boon and a blessing to the countryside.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Brown making the right decision on power

Eight new nuclear power stations planned for England - Telegraph

The new nuclear plants will mainly be based alongside existing facilities and are expected to be constructed over the next decade.
New planning laws will be used to fast-track approval...

The Scottish Executive has blocked any of the new nuclear stations being built north of the border.
Many environmentalists are also opposed to the plans.

They better get a move on in building them otherwise the lights will be going out as we try to rely on whirlygigs - and if the Scotch don't want them, fine, let them use candles.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

My Life My ID My Ban

mylifemyid.org - We want to know what you think, so contribute contribute contribute. Don’t be shy..

I've been banned...

Thank you for your participation in the mylifemyid.org community.

The username "The Englishman" that you have chosen has been removed from the forum due to you advertising your username and password on the below site:


User names and password are personal to yourself, and posts on the forums should only reflect your opinions.

"I wonder what if I try to register and say I'm twenty..."

This quote suggests that your not within the 16-25 age bracket and therefore this is another reason why your username has been removed.

Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience, if you have any questions at all please let me know.

Best regards,


Celebrating 10 years of delivering insight online

Posted by The Englishman at 6:39 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

"No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age"

Equality laws ‘are now holding women back’ - Times Online

The radical extension of maternity leave and parents’ rights is sabotaging women’s careers, according to the head of the new equalities watchdog.

Nicola Brewer said that it was an inconvenient truth that giving women a year off work after the birth of each child - soon to be paid throughout - was making employers think twice before offering a job or promotion.

How mother’s stand after job humiliation won her £120,000 - Times Online

Sarah Vince-Cain describes herself as a child of the Eighties, brought up in the age of “hard work, power suits and Margaret Thatcher”, and felt guilty about taking time off to start a family.

“I wondered if I was being a bit of a nuisance by having a child,” she said.

A few months after giving birth to her second child and taking her second period of maternity leave in three years she was told in 2001 that she was being made redundant as a senior manager at the Giorgio Armani group. In the dispute that followed, she won about £120,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.

BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Women's work: Your views on UKIP comments

"No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age", Godfrey Bloom MEP has said....His comments provoked a storm of protests including Labour Euro MP Glenys Kinnock who called UKIP attitudes "neanderthal".

Of course you will remember this row - do you expect the same reaction today?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 12, 2008

There's a bright golden haze on the meadow,


The corn is as high as an elephant's eye, An' it looks like it's climbin' clear up to the sky. Oh, what a beautiful mornin', Oh, what a beautiful day. ...

(Well actually the corn is only just above a Jack Russell's eye at the moment but it was a beautiful morning here in Wiltshire).

Posted by The Englishman at 3:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Internet Archæology

Workshop.jpg Cleaning off the old blackboard which is now in my workshop I noticed this ghost image on it. Dating from 1995 when I was having to explain what "The Internet" was and how companies shouldn't worry their heads as to what happened in "the cloud" and just give me the money and I would connect them up. It seems like a lifetime ago.

A passing fad they said, you'll never make any money out of it, I don't think any of us back then dreamt how it would change everything, it seemed so slow to get people interested and to start using it, even when Alta Vista was boasting that it had indexed Ten Million pages! What more could you want?

(Close up and enhanced photos below)



Posted by The Englishman at 3:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Glorious Revolution - Now Over

The Glorious Revolution began modern English parliamentary democracy: never again would the monarch hold absolute power, and the Bill of Rights became one of the most important documents in the political history of Britain.

We used to be so proud of it, what ever happened? The advances of liberty enshrined in it are being dismantled and the Catholic inspired absolute rulers in Europe are regaining the powers of the Jacobite Monarchs.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The view from a Labour Ghetto

Inside Glasgow East, where Gordon Brown's a cursed name - Times Online

Mr Brown is in deep political trouble. The mere mention of the Prime Minister's name provokes a blast of fury, a beery explosion of rage of which only the expletives are comprehensible.

Glasgow East is more than just traditional Labour territory: for five decades the party has taken for granted the support of voters here almost as a feudal right. Glasgow East is a hard place to live, and a grotesquely easy place to die. In parts of the constituency, male life expectancy is 54, lower than The Gambia, nearly a decade lower than Bangladesh, and about 24 years below the national average. Move just a few miles to leafy Bearsden and you will live, on average, 30 years longer. Despite this, people here do not and cannot leave. For all Ms Livingston's lament, her kids are stuck in a ghetto ringed by some of the saddest statistics in Britain. Glasgow East has the highest proportion of voters on incapacity benefit or disability allowance and the fewest qualifications in higher education; nearly half the constituency's homes are social housing; and, in parts, unemployment has reached 50 per cent.

Money has been spent on the area, including investment in schools and housing, but the visible effect is negligible.

Another important tribal element is religion. Glasgow East is predominantly Roman Catholic...another quality to the East End electorate that is probably best defined by the Scots word “thrawn”, meaning contrary or perverse. If the experts in Westminster are predicting disaster for Mr Brown, then the voters here may well do precisely the opposite, partly out of residual sympathy for an underdog, partly out of defiance, and partly out of habit.

“I've always voted Labour. Always will. Just like my father did,” said Douglas Connor, heading to the shops in Easterhouse. “None of youse is going to tell me how to vote.”

Sometimes you wonder if people get what they deserve.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:19 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Thousands of Scots Claim Free Cash - News

A green mood sweeps Scotland - Scotsman.com News

THOUSANDS of Scots have stepped up to the challenge of fighting climate change and are helping our country set a shining example to the rest of the world...

Nearly 100 groups, from schools to scouts, have been in touch with the Scottish Government after thinking of ways to help the environment, in an effort to get a share of its £18.8 million Climate Challenge Fund.

Call me an old cynic but if you offer bucket loads of cash it is hardly surprising people try and claim it, if they offered £18.8 million to help people hop then thousands of Scots would step up to the challenge of being one legged. And why shouldn't they?

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

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité Not Islam

Burka-wearing woman denied citizenship for being 'submissive' - Scotsman.com News

A MOROCCAN woman who wears a black burka has been denied French citizenship on the grounds she is too submissive.
The Council of State ruled that the woman, who is married to a French national, speaks good French and has three children, all born in France, should be denied citizenship because her "radical" practice of Islam is incompatible with French values such as equality of the sexes.

Well that's telling them, I don't think our immigration department would have the balls to say the same.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 11, 2008

Looking for that corner of a foreign field

A taste of England in Oxford - the Maryland one, that is - Telegraph

For lunch, our plan had been to quench our thirst and appetite with English beer and fish and chips at the Robert Morris Inn, a historic restaurant named for the historic figure who lived there in 1730.

Eighty per cent of our orders are crab-related," says our waiter, explaining why there are no fish and chips...Kenny Rogers croons over the muzak system. ..English beer: there is none on tap. Their version, Oxford Ale, a raspberry wheat beer, is far from the real deal. We adopt stiff upper lips and order Diet Coke and burgers.

"Here's something that's very English,The toilet bowl lever is on the 'correct' side - the right side of the toilet, just like in England."

Well that has cured me of my wanderlust - it sounds like hell when the only thread of connection with home an Englishman abroad can find is the bog handle. And how do you use one that is on the left, behind your back?

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

Friday Night is Music Night (Billy Boy Music for The Glorious 12th)

Hillbilly Blues

The term Hill-Billies is first encountered in documents from 17th century Ireland. Roman Catholic King James II landed at Kinsale in Ireland in 1689 and began to raise a Catholic army in an attempt to regain the British throne. Protestant King William III, Prince of Orange, led an English counterforce into Ireland and defeated James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. A significant portion of William III's army was composed of Protestants of Scottish descent (Planters) who had settled in Ulster in northern Ireland. The southern Irish Catholic supporters of James II referred to these northern Protestant supporters of King William as Billy Boys — Billy being an abbreviation of William.

It is believed that the term hillbilly in the United States was conferred during the early 18th century by the occupying British soldiers as a carry over from the Irish term, in referring to Scots-Irish immigrants of mainly Presbyterian origin, dwelling in the frontier areas of the Appalachian Mountains. These Protestant Irish colonists brought their cultural traditions with them when they immigrated. Many of their stories, songs, and ballads dealt with the history of their Ulster and Lowland Scot homelands, especially relating the tale of the Protestant King William III, Prince of Orange.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gov wants Yoof views on ID Cards - why don't you pop over and help them out...

ID Cards - mylifemyid
Welcome to mylifemyid - the site where 16-25's can have their say about identity issues in the UK. A few simple things to remember:

* We want to know what you think, so contribute contribute contribute. Don’t be shy..

......;You are not eligible to vote in this poll...

I wonder what if I try to register and say I'm twenty...

....Great. I'm pleased to say that you qualify to take part in the research.

And they have a forum as well! - let's see my user name is "The Englishman" and my password is "harry" - I shouldn't forget them now...

Have fun.

(Sometimes I'm not sure they really have a clue about verifying and securing IDs...)

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

Brown retreats to the bunker

Gordon Brown refuses to apologise over road tax fiasco - Telegraph

'Green' car tax will hit poorest hardest - Telegraph

New "green" car taxes will hit hundreds of thousands of the poorest families, new figures show, as Labour backbenchers told the Government it was heading for a repeat of the 10p tax revolt.

I think he no longer cares - it is finally dawning on him he is a lame duck PM and so sod'em all he mutters in his dark moods. (Could a Public Servant check the Webley in the top right hand drawer of the desk is in working order please.)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

NHS bosses need guide to find their own arses

Professional travel adviser to show NHS staff how to get to new health headquarters - Telegraph

Health chiefs have been criticised for hiring an official adviser to inform staff how to get to their new £1.4 million headquarters on time.

The "travel co-ordinator" has been seconded for two days a week from the local passenger transport executive over nine months at a cost of around £6,000,

Although a regular bus service stops virtually outside, the co-ordinator's role is to suggest efficient ways for the 400 administrative staff to travel.

It is 3.4 miles from the Sheffield centre, a six minutes car journey, and a dual carriageway linking the city to the M1 is half a mile away.

The number 52 bus arrives there every six minutes and Darnall railway station is five minutes walk away.

If they are too stupid to work out how to get there then great the Darwinian job market works - but I not the employee are complaining of the waste, maybe it isn't the employees who are too stupid at all....

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

Well Done David

David Davis wins Haltemprice by-election as turnout halves - Telegraph

Mr Davis said his victory had been a "shot across the bows of Gordon Brown's arrogant, arbitrary and authoritarian Government".

"Today the people of Haltemprice and Howden have delivered a stunning message to the Government, and our campaign has reverberated across the country," he said.

Yep - and the Cupid Stunt was the Miss Great Britain's candidature whereas the whining commentators who are trying to dismiss this are a bunch of Stupid....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2008

Prudence gets spanked

EU action on Britain over budget deficit - Telegraph

European Union finance ministers have voted to condemn Britain for flagrant breach of the Maastricht spending rules, irked that the UK government has not even tried to keep its budget deficit below the treaty limit of 3pc of national income.

By its own admission, Labour will need to borrow at least 3.2pc of GDP this year, even if the economy holds up well. ..(Fat chance of that)

..Britain's sins are serious. The breach has occurred at the top of the cycle when tax revenues should be at their peak. Brussels said there had been a "deterioration of the structural balance of 4.5pc of GDP" since 1999. Brussels said Britain did not qualify under the "exceptional" circumstances clause.

...The UK now has the worst fiscal profile of any developed country in the North Atlantic sphere.

The European Commission expects the UK's public debt to rise from 43.2pc of GDP last year to 47.5pc by the end of next year. The ritual of naming and shaming at EU meetings is likely to prove a constant thorn in the side for Labour.

There is no chance that the deficit can be brought back under control in the foreseeable future. The deficit always deteriorates in a downturn. Capital Economics said borrowing needs could explode to £120bn a year if the country tips into a severe recession, as many now fear.

Britain is now in an ugly predicament. Unlike Spain or the US, it cannot easily resort to a fiscal boost - either tax cuts or extra spending - to cushion the effects of the property collapse.

Remind me a gain who asked to be judged on his handling of the economy...

Posted by The Englishman at 8:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Cleaning the EUgean Stables

Tory MEPs' anger as David Cameron orders 'deep clean' of expenses - Telegraph

Conservative MEPs have reacted furiously after David Cameron ordered a "deep clean" of their expenses and ordered them to accept public scrutiny or leave the European Parliament.

An anonymous letter from a group of MEPs, said to represent a "minority" of those serving in Brussels, and threatening to sue the Conservative leader if he carried out his threat to de-select them, was made public.

In it, the MEPs said there would be "no incentive" for them to go on trips to the Parliament's alternative base in Strasbourg if they could not cash in on lucrative expenses, and complained about the prospect of eating in cheaper restaurants and cutting out "that extra half-pint of lager" from their expenses claims....

A spokesman for Mr Cameron confirmed that the letter was genuine and said he was "unsurprised" to receive it.

She added: "He was pleased, in fact, because we are getting things out in the open and he is not afraid to have a row over this.

Excellent - it is hard for Dave to portray himself astride his trusty white charger as a champion of decency unless the troglodytes come out and fight - up to now they have all resigned and gone to ground when challenged, and I think this anonymous bunch will do so too when identified (The Guardian claims Roger Helmer is behind it.)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

It was twenty years ago today - Happy Birthday Harry

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

David Davis - Eccentric, just what the country needs

David Davis: rebellious, risk-taking...but patriotic - Telegraph

Society has become so risk-averse and litigious that eccentricity is squeezed out. ...the idea of eccentricity as a peculiarly English characteristic began only in the late 18th century, as part of a conservative reaction to the French Revolution. As well as being a defender of liberty, this figure was playful, non-conformist, rebellious without being revolutionary and, of course, patriotic.

Dr Davis Weeks, the author of the world's only scientific study of eccentricity, makes clear, "a true eccentric is never acting". They are also unlikely to describe themselves as eccentric, making finding them harder than I'd imagined.

The authentic English eccentric is someone who not only sees the world differently, but takes this to an obsessive extreme. Their activities are unusual, but essentially benign: the eccentric does not stray beyond society's idea of what is legally and morally acceptable, and has a deep-rooted respect for the law (though not always for those who enforce it).

these people embody a very English faith in the law and the sanctity of civil liberties; an unquestioning belief in the right to peaceful, political protest; suspicion of a centralised state; a belief in making your point using language and gesture rather than force; a fondness for dressing up; an ability to laugh at oneself from time to time, and not care too much what others think; and the ability to be unbelievably stubborn when necessary.

Interestingly, most of these characteristics could be applied also to David Davis's recent actions.

In his autobiography, Mill explained that with his book On Liberty he hoped above all to stress: "the importance, to man and society, of a large variety in types of character, and of giving full freedom to human nature to expand itself in innumerable and conflicting directions".

This is as relevant now as it was then. Our toleration of eccentricity should not be seen as indulgent or sentimental, but something that serves a purpose - making our society, and our country, a better and richer place.

(What's more, the average eccentric tends to live longer than the rest of us - perhaps because he or she is relatively unconcerned about what others think, and so is free from the stresses that weigh the rest of us down.)

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

Haltemprice and Howden - Geldof on why voting is important

Don't let 'Brave New Britain' remove our fundamental rights - Telegraph

By Bob Geldof

Today's by-election in Haltemprice and Howden is not normal. It is extraordinary.

The people there are not being asked to consider the competing policies of government and opposition. They are being asked to think about who we are, what we stand for and whether we will continue to be the country built by previous generations. This is a fight about how much of our liberty the state can remove, before it changes who - and what - we are.

As a voting issue, it may appear less immediate than the financial downturn. There will be no debate about standards of living, but rather the standards we choose to live by. I hope the people of East Yorkshire come out in greater numbers than ever, because the issue is more vital than even our immediate food and fuel bills.

They are being asked about what kind of country we wish to live in. We may never get to vote on something so profoundly fundamental again.....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 9, 2008

JFGI - The Lesson For Today

How the Google generation thinks differently - Times Online

Digital natives and digital immigrants are terms coined by the American futurist Marc Prensky to distinguish between those who have grown up with technology and those who have adapted to it. .. Natives multi-task, thrive on instant gratification and claim to function best when networked....What is new and perturbing is the emerging evidence of the consequences of this digital divide. According to researchers we are in the midst of a sea change in the way that we read and think. Our digitally native children have wonderfully flexible minds. They absorb information quickly, adapt to changes and are adept at culling from multiple sources. But they are also suffering from internet-induced attention deficit disorder....

Children do have the capacity to assimilate learning faster and simultaneously from multiple sources; “The downside is that they expect more variety, so their boredom threshold is falling. Some teaching is adapting to that and becoming more dynamic, some is not.”

"Downside"? "Perturbing"? Not for the kids or for their ability to learn - no it is only worrying for the old dinosaurs in the teaching trade who moan the kids don't want to listen to them drone on for sixty minutes about one subject. It's not how kids learn now, and I'm not sure it ever was.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Il Duce Solution to England's Ills

The market cannot mend our broken society | David Selbourne - Times Online

In the mid-19th century, many thinkers regarded the “condition of England” as dire. Carlyle called it ominous. Established beliefs were waning, communities were being destroyed by industrialisation and poverty was increasing amid plenty. Macaulay gave warning that the discontented were growing as social order dissolved. There was rage, he declared, below the surface. ...

Anxiety about the nation's condition is exacerbated by the public knowledge that all three main political parties are inadequate both in leadership and thought. It is clear, too, that millions think that none of these parties truly represents their views. Vox pop, reflected on many websites, regularly wishes a curse upon all their houses.

The creed of our times is to be non-judgmental. It is not shared by legions of discontented in Britain, whose contempts, fears and frustrations surface daily on blogs. Here is public opinion at its most direct: “They are unprincipled,” such voices typically say of the political class, a “bunch of jobsworths troughing at the public expense”.....

...the main parties now share the overarching belief that a “market economy”, espousal of the “values of the market” and exercise of the “right to choose” are preconditions of human progress and wellbeing. Instead, as the internal social condition of free societies worsens, we can see that free enterprise and moral licence are now two sides of the same coin. The free market and the free lifestyle go together; the privateer and the libertine are birds of a feather....

Britain's social crisis demands more public spending, not less; as the country falls into recession, more intervention is needed, not less. A small state and low taxes will not cure the ills that are daily increasing public alarm. Only a strong state can. You cannot repair the “broken society” while simultaneously “leaving people to live their own lives”, as Mr Cameron has put it.

...in times that have much in common with the Thirties. They are times when national self-repair is required, when the “free society” needs to be protected from itself, and when Islam is advancing into our moral void. When the “condition of England” was last seriously debated, the issue was reform or revolution. It still is.

David Selbourne is an author and historian

And the man used to be an advisor the the Conservative Party! I gather he lives in Italy so at least his proposals probably include decent uniforms with feathers rather than just boring old Brown Shirts...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Manufactured Nigger Row - Who's The Intolerant Bigot?

Storm over Tory peer Lord Dixon-Smith’s ‘nigger in woodpile’ remark - Times Online

Lord Dixon-Smith, 73, a Eurosceptic farmer from Essex, replied: “I apologise, my Lords. I left my brains behind. I apologise to the House.”

He told The Times afterwards that the remark had “slipped out without my thinking”.

He said that he had realised his mistake when in the chamber and apologised. “It was common parlance when I was younger, put it that way,” he said. He emphasised that he now considered the matter closed.

I'm a good few years younger than his Lordship and it was common when I was younger as well, just as we chanted the non-Tiger version of eeny meeny miny mo, there wasn't racist intention or thought behind the use of the insensitive word. Times change and what was appropriate then isn't now, but if we can't forgive an old man's slip of the tongue when he has immediately and completely apologised for the slip then we truly have become an intolerant society.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 8, 2008

A touch of the Max Mosleys

shoulder%20brace.JPG Ouch! My shoulders have been playing up so I bought one of these neoprene shoulder braces off eBay - advertised as being suitable for the larger gentleman. I eagerly ripped open the package at lunchtime and put it on, bit of a struggle but then it is new, I thought. Wrong, it is too bloody small, my shoulders are being wrenched out of their sockets backwards, the neoprene has a vice like grip on my hairs and I can't get my arms round the back to pull it off. I'm bloody stuck in the death grip of a bondage jacket, hot and sweaty, half naked in front of the computer screen. One half of my mind hoping Mrs Englishman comes back home soon to help me out, the other half dreading how I'm going to explain it - and if the door bell goes, I'm not bloody answering it.

And talking of Max Mosely, Mrs E wondered why he was putting himself through the expense and painful exposure of taking the News of The World to Court - well, the fact he admits to being a Masochist might have something to do with it.

UPDATE - A brainwave, I managed to slip a leather belt down my back under the straps and pull it off like that - I'm free! Now to wrap it in plain paper and bin it.

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

Rise in CO2 levels in Hawaiʻi

ABC News: Hawaii Volcano Explodes, Might Erupt

The explosion followed three months of increased activity in the crater, which has been releasing high levels of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, said observatory geochemist Jeff Sutton.

Volcano spews lava in Hawaii - Telegraph

A white plume can be seen rising from the Halemaumau vent near Kilauea's summit, which stands at 4,091 feet. Scientists said that the plume is carrying small amounts of ash and elevated levels of sulfur dioxide.

Kīlauea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kīlauea is located on Hawaiʻi Island, Hawaiʻi, in the United States. It lies against the southeast flank of much larger Mauna Loa volcano. Mauna Loa's massive size and elevation (13,677 feet or 4,169 m) is a stark contrast to Kīlauea, which rises only 4,091 feet (1,247 m) above sea level, and thus from the summit caldera appears as a broad shelf of uplands well beneath the long profile of occasionally snow-capped Mauna Loa, 15 miles (24 km) distant.

CO2 Degassing at Kilauea Volcano: 2001

We report a new CO2 emission rate of 8,500 tons/day (t/d) for the summit of Kilauea Volcano, a result several times larger than previous estimates....Kilauea's CO2 emissions were steady at about 8,500 tons per day until 2004, then the measured emission rate doubled, then nearly tripled in 2005.

No news of what the new rate of outgassing of CO2 is. I'm sure those clever chaps at the Mauna Loa Observatory, only fifteen miles away, which is the baseline station for world CO2 levels will have figured it all into the adjustments they do to the figures....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cameron Comes Out of The Closet - "I'm a Tory"

On a Glasgow estate, David Cameron has hard words for broken society - Times Online

Impelled by the need to decontaminate the Conservative brand, the Tory leader laid the emphasis initially on modernity and compassion. Believing his reputation for those two elements is assured, Mr Cameron thinks the time is right to emphasise his Conservatism.

In flagging the significance of yesterday’s speech, the Tory leader hinted at both the length of its gestation and his trepidation at making a moral pronouncement. “The time has come for me to speak about something that has been troubling me for a long time,” he said, adding: “I have not found the words to say it sensitively.”

What followed was an intensively crafted passage that seeks to re-establish public morality and expressly tilts the balance from the State to the individual.

As the headlines prove it is dangerous ground, almost as dangerous as saying the much misquoted; "They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours."

But it needed saying, will he rise over the manufactured media storm? Are we ready for such truths? Gordon certainly won't be trying it again after his "it's all your fault for wasting food" got such a pasting.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NHS - the biggest food waster?

Waste on wards as patients leave 17m meals untouched - Times Online

MORE than 17 million meals are being thrown away untouched in Britain’s hospitals every year

Of the 162 million main meals produced for patients in 2004, almost 11 per cent went untouched, up from 8.8 per cent in 2002. There are more than 55,000 meals thrown away each day. About 40 per cent of patients admitted to hospital have malnutrition. More than half lose weight or become undernourished while in care because of poor-quality food, a lack of appetite and difficulty feeding themselves.

I can't find the latest figures, or how much of the meals that were "touched" are left and thrown away, but with Gordon Brown lecturing us on wasting 4 million tonnes of food a year before he went off for an eight course banquet (I hope he cleared his plate for each course, even the sushi he can't stand) it is worthwhile pointing the finger, especially as alongside all the wasted food the patients actually become malnourished.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 7, 2008

What's the CO2 level in England?

UK National Air Quality Archive: Monitoring

There are over 1500 monitoring sites across the UK which monitor air quality and these are organised into networks that gather a particular kind of information, using a particular method.

None of them seem to measure CO2 levels.

UK National Air Quality Archive: Data pages contain options for you to enter queries to the database and retrieve statistics relating to Air Quality in the UK from the present back to 1960.
But not for CO2..
Environment South West is the gateway to the latest (regularly updated) state of the environment data, information, trends and analysis about aspects of the South West Region's environment subject by subject and also exploring the many pressures affecting it.
But not for CO2 levels

Every trace pollutant is measured and there are lots and lots of lovely statistics about CO2 emissions diced and sliced to 1km*1km squares, by industry, by population etc but nowhere can I find what the levels actually are and have been. Why?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Schools for education? Not under this government. 3

Red Box - Times Online's Westminster blog: Shakespeare is less important than healthy eating classes, emotional needs lessons and sex education - Labour MP

Dawn Butler, vice chair of the Labour Party, has just issued this press release.

Dawn Butler MP, member of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) Select Committee has called for Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) to be made compulsory in schools. Dawn says "I questioned the Minister, Jim Knight, quite robustly at the last DCSF Select Committee meeting, as I believe that PSHE is an important subject in terms of equipping young people with the necessary skills for later life. Shakespeare is important, but I would prioritise PSHE.

An Englishman's Castle: Schools for education? Not under this government.

Schools used for 'social engineering', claims headteacher - Telegraph

Rod MacKinnon, the head of Bexley Grammar School, south-east London, said schools were being forced to shun traditional lessons as ministers manipulated the education system for the purposes of "social engineering".

"There are those who wish to use children and schools as social engineers with a view to creating a different society but we should not even be trying to do such things," he said. "Children need to be nurtured, educated and cared for, not thrown into the frontline of social reform. Muddled thinking is guaranteeing failure for the noble aspirations we all commonly hold for the education of the young."

The state pays for schooling so the state designs schooling to train children into its pattern, it is only either accidentally or by the luck of having a brave teacher that children actually get educated as well as being taught.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Schools for education? Not under this government. 2

NCB | Young Children and Racial Justice: Taking action for racial equality in the early years, by Jane Lane, was published by the National Children's Bureau.

Jane Lane, the author, who is not a member of NCB staff, but an advocate worker for racial equality in the early years sector, said:
‘Children are like sponges and the early years of their lives are critical for helping them learn to respect the opinions, differences, similarities and needs of others.’

"I wrote Young Children and Racial Justice because I am increasingly aware that there are people who do not take issues of racial equality sufficiently seriously...This has led to a situation where important early years anti-racist practice is misunderstood by those responsible for implementing it.

"A child may react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying, 'Yuck!"'.

That may indicate a lack of familiarity with that particular food, or "more seriously a reaction to a food associated with people from a particular ethnic or cultural community".

An Englishman's Castle: Schools for education? Not under this government.

Rod MacKinnon, the head of Bexley Grammar School, south-east London, said schools were being forced to shun traditional lessons as ministers manipulated the education system for the purposes of "social engineering".

"There are those who wish to use children and schools as social engineers with a view to creating a different society but we should not even be trying to do such things," he said. "Children need to be nurtured, educated and cared for, not thrown into the frontline of social reform. Muddled thinking is guaranteeing failure for the noble aspirations we all commonly hold for the education of the young."

The state pays for schooling so the state designs schooling to train children into its pattern, it is only either accidentally or by the luck of having a brave teacher that children actually get educated as well as being taught.

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

7/7 Remembrance

My post from three years ago

Posted by The Englishman at 7:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gordon's Big Idea Revealed - The Renewal of Labour Starts Here

Gordon Brown: Stop wasting food - Telegraph

Gordon Brown is urging British consumers to stop wasting food amid growing concerns over the sharply rising cost of basic necessities.

"There's a child in Biafra that would fight for what you are leaving on your plate; its only a bit of gristle, eat it, its good for you; cut round the mouldy bit and eat the rest; the maggot has only eaten apple, it is apple, eat it".

The phrases of childhood come back, all the stronger for being said in a dour Scottish accent.

Telling people who are feeling the pinch that it is all their fault for not eating up all their greens doesn't seem to me to actually get to the roots of the problem of rising food prices (don't mention the EU and biofuels) or be a clever, popular move...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:29 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Schools for education? Not under this government.

Schools used for 'social engineering', claims headteacher - Telegraph

Rod MacKinnon, the head of Bexley Grammar School, south-east London, said schools were being forced to shun traditional lessons as ministers manipulated the education system for the purposes of "social engineering".

"There are those who wish to use children and schools as social engineers with a view to creating a different society but we should not even be trying to do such things," he said. "Children need to be nurtured, educated and cared for, not thrown into the frontline of social reform. Muddled thinking is guaranteeing failure for the noble aspirations we all commonly hold for the education of the young."

His article.

The state pays for schooling so the state designs schooling to train children into its pattern, it is only either accidentally or by the luck of having a brave teacher that children actually get educated as well as being taught.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Glamourising Smoking - the naughty Internet

Newswire Article: Tough action needed to protect children from the allure of smoking, say doctors 07/06/2008

In its report, ‘Forever Cool’, the BMA challenges the UK Governments to demonstrate their commitment to protecting children’s health by introducing policies that will help reduce smoking prevalence with the aim of making the UK tobacco-free by 2035.

The proposals include calling on film censors to take pro-smoking content into account when classifying films and introducing laws so that all films and TV programmes which portray positive images of smoking are preceded by an anti-smoking advert.

The BMA report shows that despite some of the most restrictive tobacco legislation in the world, young people in the UK are still exposed to creative marketing strategies such as elaborate point-of-sale displays, attractive pack designs and evocative brand imagery – all this serves to reinforce the habit as being ‘forever cool’. There is also very little regulation of the internet which is commonly used by young people....

- Ooops I'm supposed to be regulated by the quacks, "for the childrens sake" (tm)

As the report says:

5.1 Limiting pro-smoking imagery in entertainment media
The evidence base shows clearly that smoking in films is widespread, promulgates a misleadingly positive conception of tobacco use and encourages youth smoking. The research base is less well established for other media, but the precautionary principle compels us to assume that depictions on television and the internet and in magazines will also be influencing young people.

..The internet raises particular concerns in this respect due to the difficulty in regulating the content of websites. There is clear evidence that pro-smoking imagery is very extensive on the internet, and is frequently linked to tobacco purchase opportunities, sex and excitement. This material, including social networking sites and user-generated video sites, is so pro-smoking that senior figures in tobacco control have suggested that the tobacco industry may be behind it.

Sound familiar? No evidence so invoke the "precautionary principle" and use activist smears as evidence that evil multinationals are behind it all. But luckily there is some good news....

The advertising of tobacco products on websites is prohibited by EU directive 2003/33/EC which bans the advertising of tobacco on websites, except for the sole purpose of business-to-business promotion.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 6, 2008

BBC - "anti-Labour"

Revealed: BBC under attack for 'pro-SNP - Scotsman.com News

A Labour insider said: "BBC Scotland is pretty Scot Nat and anti-Labour.

No word as to how the BBC sees the Tories...

Posted by The Englishman at 4:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nearly eight new laws a day - and more are demanded!

Gordon Brown breaks record for new laws - Telegraph

Gordon Brown has introduced 2,823 laws during his first year in office, the highest rate for new legislation by anyone at No 10. He set his record despite repeated promises to cut red tape.

Experts say the march of new legislation is likely to accelerate still further, as the Government faces demands for tougher measures to tackle violent crime, complex fraud and terrorism.

New laws since Mr Brown took office last June range from major Acts of Parliament ushering in significant measures, such as compulsory Home Information Packs for house-sellers, to apparently trivial Statutory Instruments, including one stipulating minimum levels of vitamins in margarine.

The number of laws introduced in Mr Brown's first year in power exceeds Mr Blair's annual average total of 2,663, John Major's figure of 2,402 and Margaret Thatcher's figure of 1,724

And I'm accused of being cynical at saying we are overlawed and wondering where the "demand" for more is coming from.

Posted by The Englishman at 4:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tofu eaters demented

BBC NEWS | Tofu 'may raise risk of dementia'

Eating high levels of some soy products - including tofu - may raise the risk of memory loss, research suggests.

So Geoff, it might not be the skunk that's done for you...

Posted by The Englishman at 4:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 5, 2008

The Devil Came Down to Cannings


The annual Chilli cook-of has just finished, though I fear some afterburn tomorrow.

From the blogging world we had The Devil and Geoff Baker as well as the mysterious Mr NBC (photo withheld).-


Geoff easily won the Hottest and Bio-Hazard categories, I won the Most Unusual - for my Fried Chilli Bananas - A recipe I invented yesterday!

Overnight soak some sultanas in rum.
In a frying pan mix butter and brown sugar, add a couple of drops of vanilla essence and a bit of chilli sauce, heat to it almost becomes fudge.
Add sliced bananas to the hot pan and quickly fry, sprinkle chilli flakes on and as the banana slices brown and crisp up on the outside pour a generous measure of the rum and sultanas over (if you are flash get the rum to light and flambe the top) - serve with vanilla ice cream.

. And the sun shone making it a wonderful day - apart from when it rained.....



Posted by The Englishman at 8:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 4, 2008

Friday Night is Music Night (America edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ladies and Gentlemen. Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.

Bob Geldof: In support of David Davis’s Freedom campaign

This is not a normal by-election but it is extraordinary. The people of this area are being asked to consider not the merits or otherwise of the government or opposition, much less the competing policies of the different parties. Not even the beauty parade of eager candidates, who looking at David and the motley assemblage of other candidates, once again reminds me of that great truth that politics is merely showbusiness for ugly people.

You are not even being asked to address the great financial issues and otherwise that are beginning to bite at this region and the country. Rising food, fuel, energy and inflation costs. House prices and manufacturing down. It doesn’t look or feel good out there. But that is not for this election. That is for another day.

This time you are being asked about something much more fundamental. More profound even than the momentary economic cycle and its impact on those who live here . This time you’re being asked to think about who we are. What we stand for and will we continue to live and be the country and people built by generations and institutions before. This is fight about the legal boundaries of the state and how much that state can and should remove of our liberties before it fundamentally changes the nature of who and what we are.

As a voting issue it may appear less immediate than the current financial downturn and therefore less compelling. Given the position of the other main parties the results may seem a foregone conclusion and the exercise of the vote tiresome, the sheer drag of having to go to the town, village or church hall or school to exercise your rights seems unnecessary. Perhaps then a vast apathy sets in at the seemingly huge vagueness of it all. This time there will be no debate about the standard of living but rather but rather standards we choose to live by Maybe you accept the official panicky newspaper and political establishment line that its all a nonsense, a hopelessly quixotic or principled or opportunistic waste of time. That would be a terrible mistake.

I will argue that this time you must come out in more numbers than ever because this time the issue is more vital than even our immediate food bills. This time uniquely you are being asked to decide about what kind of people we are and what kind of country we wish to live in. You’re being asked to vote about us and you may never get to vote on something so profoundly fundamental again.

Famous defenders of liberty have walked the streets of Hull before and many fine words have been spoken in this very room so…

Let us be grand for once then, for we talk of great subjects. Let us ask ‘what is the point of England “ now that Parliament, whose primary purpose is to defend the liberties of the people have so gratuitously, so wantonly, so casually betrayed that trust and taken from us that same liberty which above all else defines this country and its constitution, and that which has been its greatest gift to the world its freedom, its tolerances, its civilisation which William Wilberforce so forcefully argued from this town so many centuries ago.Melville claimed for America “that it bears the Ark of the liberties of the world.” It could be better said of that Britain which invented and codified those freedoms.

Are Magna Carta, and Habeas Corpus not to mention the Anti-Slavery laws, to be traduced in one brief sad moment of political expediency. When a 800 years ago Britons told the state in words that still ring true and through the ages

“To no man will we deny, To no man will we delay, Justice and Right”

42 days detention denies and delays Justice and Right. It is a clear breach of ancient right, of Magna Carta itself.

So what great existential threat does this country now face that did not face our forefathers of the past 1000 years. What is so grave the emergency now that neither civil war nor world war nor various terrorisms were considered so dangerous to our security that our oldest statutes -and few have lasted the 400 years relevance of habeas corpus - could be upended for such a ha’pnworth of momentary contemporary panic. If authority is to be respected it must be just. When it is not, then the greatest threat to that authority is its own instinct to authoritarianism.

These new security measures, these new limitations on our liberties are not the thin end of the wedge We’re way past that now. This is now, already, the bulkier mid way point of that authoritarian block. For we have in the past few years so mauled our ancient defended rights, rights for which bloody battles were fought and heroes lived and died for, as to seriously consider whether the constitution is today much more than a cartoon of its essential meaning. And what moral authority resides any longer in a lawmaking body that acts against the liberties of its own people? Is it not true that the willingness to use intolerable means to achieve impossible ends shows the political mind at its most deluded?

Meanwhile our supine press gulled by political complicity, lull the population to apathy by banging on with their trivial irrelevancies while the constitution is quietly turned aside. Shame on them. Alas they are shameless.

What terrorizes the terrorists is our civilization. What those unthinking fools of fundamentalism fear most are the very freedoms our representatives strip from us. Essentially this ‘war on terror’is a conflict waged against Islamist forces that claim to reject the Enlightenment. If that is so, then how can we ever succeed if we side with our opponents in rejecting those same ideals? Every moment we are spied on by the invisible watchers. Every time that we are recorded and monitored at every turn, on every purchase. Every time we are mandatorially logged, noted, tagged and followed on databanks and files because “it is in our best interest” They win. And every time we accept it, we lose. We must not hold this attitude of passive acceptance to these restraints on justice, rights and liberties that ultimately amounts to nothing more than complicity with intolerance.

Why should I carry an ID card? I own my identity – not them. Why should I have to identify myself to the state? How dare they demand I identify myself? To whom am I identifying myself and for what? Spain, France and Germany have had identity cards for decades and have more or less the same levels of crime as us. So why insist on them. The war on terror is no answer. Indeed there will soon be a brisk business in false British cards and more seriously they didn’t stop the bombers in Germany or Spain.

It is of course almost comically Orwellian to trot out that comprehensively stupid, complacent and absurd excuse of the natural authoritarian The classic “Only the guilty need be afraid” line. And how sickening to hear it in England. “Only the guilty need be afraid”. Really? This repulsive expression beloved of tabloid and home secretary alike has at least got the virtue that it is demonstrably false.

Shall we say it to the innocent men of Forest Gate, already shot then banged up and subsequently released without charge.

Shall we say it to the demonstrators going about their legally permitted democratic business who are roughed up, abused and put away.

Say it to me that when you are lifted from the street, incarcerated for 42 days without knowing why, while your boss considers his and your position, your family cower in fear and dismay and your friends and community shun you.

Tell them that when you are released, as innocent as when you went in and try vainly to return to the life stripped from you.

Tell that to the Gestapo-like anonymous, faceless accuser whom you well never have to encounter or challenge.

Tell that to the judge, for that other ancient right of been judged by your peers in jury is gradually removed

No ladies and gentlemen in this world of spies, snitches, cameras, files and databanks the state knows all our sad, shameful little private secrets. Like threatening gangsters they know who we are and they know where we live. Not Big Brother, this is Big Britain. It is not simply about the big issues. This is also about the liberty of the ordinary person to have an ordinary life and not feel oppressed - the everyday small liberties that affect us all. When RIPA, the law that allows councils to authorise surveillance and to get hold of your phone records, e-mails and website usage was enacted 8 years ago, 9 organisations including the police, security and revenue services were allowed to use it. Today there are 786 more agencies added - including all local authorities, police forces and bodies, the Financial Services Authority and the Ambulance service. In 2006 these bodies made 1000 applications A DAY to use these powers! They will say “If you don’t do anything wrong why worry?” Rather you should worry precisely because you do nothing wrong. They must have no right to spy on your ability to live a good life. And when we finally become afraid to say what we think, it is one step nearer to that most awful condition of all – being afraid of what TO think!. “Only the guilty need be afraid” Afraid not. In this world it is only the innocent need be afraid. For the state has assumed our guilt already. We have all become suspects. We have become guilty till proven innocent.

What lies behind all of this, this perversion of the British idea?

From 2000 to today, incarceration without charge and without recourse to justice has gone from 5 days to 7 to 28 to 42. Foreigners may be imprisoned indefinitely on national sercurity grounds. Detention is based on secret intelligence and suspicion. There is no criminal charge and no trial. Our very own Guantanamo. Terrorism stop and search powers are used widely and routinely including against that elderly man who had the temerity to heckle Jack Straw. Local councils snoop and spy and threaten old people and others over litter and wheelie bins. Why? It is true that most people want security rather than liberty. But then as that unlikely sage Dick Cheney (and he should know) said “It is easy to take Liberty for granted when you have never had it taken from you”.

It is our complacency that let’s them get away with it. It is our apathy that we must fear.

But are we really so threatened in the UK, that we must uniquely introduce the most swingeing and illiberal precautions.

The United States, which unlike us, genuinely feels itself at war, under siege and attack has an absolute limit of 2 days before detainess are brought before a judge and that judge being presented with evidence. Last week the supreme court held the government to be in contempt for suspending the rights of the Guantanamo. residents to fair justice.

In Ireland even at the height of the IRA terror campaign the limit was 7 days

Australia only 60 miles from the most populous Muslim nation and the victim of its own bomb horrors has a maximum of 12 days.

Spain with its huge north African Muslim population and the victim of the worst European bombing outrage is 5 days maximum. Yet all the bombers were cught and tried or killed themselves.

Italy with its 1970’s red brigade terror and its large African population has a maximum of 4 days.

Germany with its giant millions strong Turkish population and during its murderous Baader Meinhof rampage has 2 days.

Russia with its Islamic Chechnyan rebels, its war and outrages has 5 days maximum.

It goes on. What is wrong with us. Have we lost our confidence, our stoicism, our bravery and dignity, sang-froid and upper lip. No, I don’t think so, not if the great awful dignity of the victims families are anything to go by. Or the magnificent and traditional response of the capitol with that very British attribute of “getting on with it’. Not us then. Is Parliament afraid? Apparently not. MI5? They say not. So why imprison people on suspicion, without charge, without evidence or trial for 42 days? How very, very unBritish.

Let us be clear then. This is not security we are being offered, this is government demanding freedom from the constraints that have developed over many centuries to curb the exercise of power. This is a type of illiberal democracy where elections take place against a background of diminished freedom. Ben Franklin said that “they who can give up liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

I was told that David Davis was out on a limb on this one. Shamefully that is true. But it is the right limb to be out on. And it is a limb I am proud to join him on. It is also the limb that William Wilberforce climbed out and perched himself upon in this very town. When I think of this area therefore I think of this mans and this areas struggle against injustice, the rights of the unlawfully chained and those denied their liberty. This is not the grotesquerie of slavery and it would be wrong to conflate the two. But it is about justice, it is about liberty, it is about your rights. It is about Magna Carta, and what Britain is, was and must continue to be. It is against the whole flabby, conforming, brainwashed, gullible, witless crap of it all.

This is the only place that uniquely in this election has been given the chance and honour to speak out again for all of us. To speak out on behalf of justice versus intolerance. To whistleblow. To firewatch against unthinking power .To speak about an idea of right and liberty under the law. To vote for an idea of life itself. THE idea of Britain. Tory, Lib Dem, Labour who cares - clamber out on this limb with us, for its where we all belong. Turn out hugely and thank God that you are in a country that is still free to do so.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:06 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Supping with the Devil

I very pleased the Devil from The Devil's Kitchen is coming to stay tonight, however Mrs Englishman has never read his blog, or even heard of him. How do I describe him to her before he arrives so she isn't surprised?

Posted by The Englishman at 5:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

50 Reasons to Love America

(A Repost for Independence Day - and also because I'm sure there are some more reasons to be added.)

Iain Dale's Diary: 50 Reasons to Love & Hate the EU and other upstanding bloggers have been fisking the Indy's 50 reasons to love the EU - they have done it far better than I ever could.
But as a reply I did start noting down 50 reasons why we should love the USA, but I have lost the notes - please could you help out in the comments as I try and recreate the list from my poor and failing memory.

1) Making English the international language.
2) Computers for all
3) Dodge Charger
4) Daisy Duke
5) Defeating Communism
6) Saving us in World Wars (twice)
7) Cheese Burgers
10) Pissing off the French
11) Blogs
12) Skiing in Colorado
13) Rock and Roll
14) Jeans
15) Marilyn Monroe
16) John Moses Browning
17) Keeping the flame of Capitalism alive
18) ditto free Speech
19) Hollywood
20) Did I mention pissing off the French?
21) The Atomic Bomb
22) Pizza
23) Porn Stars who shave their armpits
24) Ronald Reagan


Posted by The Englishman at 9:20 AM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

Naturewatch - Badgers show an election is being planned.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Badger cull proposals rejected

The government has decided against a cull of badgers in England to control TB in cattle, the BBC understands.

The policy announcement, which was due to be made next Monday, goes against the recommendations of the former Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King.

No surprise there, there is more money in political donations from cuddly badger lovers than from anyone interested in actually controlling this plague.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:08 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

No bloody bible bashing at my local

Landlords protest after pub swearing ban gets them sacked - Telegraph

John Fleming, 44, and his wife Krista, 36, both devout Christians, decided that foul language was beyond the pale at the King's Head and started barring any customers who broke the rule.

However so many drinkers were banned that the brewery saw profits fall and decided it was the landlords who had to go.

Regulars said that Mrs Fleming would walk round the pub with a Bible, and lecture people for bad language.

"You can't run a pub and not swear," a customer said. "If they are Christians they should run a church, not a bloody pub."

I must warn any sensitive souls that there may be swearing tomorrow at The King's Arms, All Cannings as the Grand Chilli Cook-off takes place at lunchtime (all welcome - details below) - if Geoff Baker cooks up his infamous brew again then from memory there was a five minute silence as I struggled for breath before a stream of Anglo Saxon poured forth...

Some Like It Hot (from The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)

Some like it hot
By Gazette Reporter

Saturday July 5th 2008 sees the third annual Chilli-cook-off at The King's Arms, All Cannings near Devizes.

Contestants will be bringing their Barbeques down to the pub car park in the morning and lovingly cooking their top secret chilli recipes in the hope of wooing the public and winning a cash prize. Everyone is invited to come along at lunch time and taste all the chillies and vote for their favourite, the most family friendly and for the brave, the hottest.

This year promises to bigger and better than ever and is going to be a fun afternoon for all - the profits will go to the First Responders.

Details are:
For the contestants it is free to enter, there is a £30 top prize and other cash prizes, turn up after 10:00 am at the pub and start cooking.

The public is invited to buy a tasting cup for £2 which is bargain price to taste as many chillies as they can after mid day - the results of the voting will be announced at 3:00pm.

There is only one major rule - Contestants must be prepared to eat their own chilli.

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Leviticus 19:18 vs 2 Kings 2:23-24

Hug-a-hoody speechwriter mugged by hoodies - Times Online

The former Tory adviser behind David Cameron's controversial “hug a hoody” campaign got a bloody lip when he was punched by a hooded teenager as he tried to stop a gang stealing a moped.
I wrote ‘hug a hoodie’ and I’m proud of it | The Spectator
Danny Kruger, who was David Cameron’s speechwriter, defends his most notorious piece of work for the Tory leader and says that love is a neglected crime-fighting device

My main memory of this incident is rather horrid: the spit-filled mouth of the little rat-faced boy who punched me. Short, white, in a grey hooded tracksuit, he shouted at me with all the rage of Cain...

You are a better man than me if you can love such a "neighbour" - Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: Leviticus 19:18 (King James Version) (Old Testament - that surprised you!)

I tend to favour Elisha's story:
2 Kings 2 (King James Version)

23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

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

Don't take an axe to a laptop fight

Girl fought off home raiders with laptop - Scotsman.com News

Mohammed Razaq saw four men, wearing balaclavas and dark clothing, running across the garden to a conservatory. They had a variety of weapons, including an axe, a large knife, a bat and a bar. They smashed windows in the conservatory and entered.

"Mr Razaq attempted to hold the living room door closed to block their access to the rest of the property, but one of the males smashed its glass panels with an axe. The glass showered Mr Razaq, causing him to back away," said Miss Cross. Mr Razaq fell over and the man with the axe fell on top of him.

One of the gang grabbed the girl, 15, by the hair and pushed her into a door and punched her. A man picked up the laptop and the girl tried to retrieve it.

"She was upset at the prospect of this being taken, and a struggle broke out between them. She eventually retrieved the laptop, which she then used to hit the male over the head," said Miss Cross.

Mr Razaq had taken hold of a baseball bat, which he kept in the house, and struck two of the gang. They fled, as they had come in, through the conservatory.

Good girl, but what I want to know was make of laptop was it? It can't be one of those funky apples, you couldn't swat a fly with one of those, an IBM would be too heavy for her to lift and I tried to hit anyone with my old Dell there would just be a shower of plastic and components flying everywhere. Of course there are some who might say there are better ways of confronting such intruders that don't rely on having a handy laptop and a bat left lying about by chance after a game practice (I'm sure he didn't keep it handy for self defence as that would be illegal. )

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

Don't take more water with it.

Junkfood Science: Wellness water — the 8x8 myth

People carry bottles of water everywhere, sipping from them continually. We’ve become obsessed with our pee. More incredibly, so have our employers....companies offer water points, send emails to coax workers to drink water, distribute water bottles, and post pee charts in the bathrooms to check the color of workers’ urine. Yes, pee charts. Bosses actually think it’s their business what you do in the privacy of the bathroom. Don’t laugh,

Companies have made workers’ bathroom business their business. Drinking 8 (8 ounce) glasses of water — known as 8x8 — has become a key part of preventive health and workplace wellness programs. Like many other aspects of these wellness programs, their claims to prevent chronic diseases and promote optimum wellness have little credible scientific support.

But how many people know that the roots of this adage aren’t in science, but vitalism and nostrum remediums? How many know that after centuries, there’s still no medical evidence for the belief that normal, healthy people all need to be concerned about drinking more water?

As ever Sandy does a sterling job demolishing the myths - read the rest so you can giggle at those poor saps who can't walk 200 yards up the street without rehydration, I actually think the constant sucking at "sports" bottle is a dummy (or pacifier) substitute as they have failed to grow up.

(As a note as we don't talk about 8oz glasses over here I had never heard of the 8x8 campaign, I suppose we are lucky it hasn't gone metric and called the 275x275 rule, encouraging us to drink 275 275millilubes (or whatever the metric for 8oz is) a day.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gordon ducks challenging the pigs

Are MPs living in a dream world by voting to keep £24,000 allowance? - Scotsman.com News

MPS were last night accused of having their "snouts in the trough" after refusing to surrender their ability to furnish their second homes with up to £24,000 of plasma TV screens and new kitchens...

Chris Grayling, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "David Cameron and the shadow cabinet voted for the abolition of the John Lewis list while Gordon Brown and his most senior ministers went Awol. They are showing blatant contempt for public concerns."

Does Gordon Brown turn up for anything that involves voting?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Darling takes the rap for Brown's books not adding up

National Audit Office rejects Treasury accounts - Times Online

Britain’s spending watchdog is refusing to approve the Treasury’s accounts, compounding a miserable year for Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Senior officials spoke last night of a collapse of morale at the Treasury after a string of U-turns and interference by No 10.

Mr Darling is fighting a bruising battle with the National Audit Office (NAO), which is unhappy at the way that the nationalisation of Northern Rock is being treated in the Treasury’s books.

I betting on this chart rising as fast as the cost of living:

English blog posts that contain Whelk Stall per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 3, 2008

Is gun control behind our loss of civil liberties?

- Bishop Hill blog - Is gun control behind our loss of civil liberties?

the idea that gun control might be behind our loss of civil liberties is deeply, deeply politically incorrect. It's an idea which is likely to get one labelled as a "nutter". A couple of years ago, I couldn't have imagined holding this kind of belief. But perhaps things are changing, now the civil liberties debate is in full flow, and maybe it's time to try the idea out for size. ...
the root cause of the wave of authoritarian legislation which threatens to swamp us is not authoritarianism so much as "woolly liberalism". We won't punish criminals adequately, so we get more criminals. We won't allow the law-abiding to uphold the law, so our streets get swamped with CCTV. Witnesses can't defend themselves guns, so we have to allow anonymous evidence in court. Women can't defend themselves from rapists, so they shouldn't go out alone. The opinionated can't defend themselves from retribution, so better to legislate them into silence.

We find ourselves between the horns of a dilemma. The idea of rearming the populace is greeted by most "right-thinking" members of the middle classes as evidence of a kind of madness, an idea to get you cast out from polite society. "We don't want to end up like America", they will say, as they check the locks on their doors and windows, and test the burglar alarm one more time.

But the alternative is to continue our increasingly precipitous slide down the slippery slope that ends up with the UK resembling North Korea.

America or North Korea. You decide.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:02 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Council Tax - Don't argue, we will just take the money.

Council tax rebels will have money seized from bank accounts - Telegraph

Council tax rebels will have cash seized from their bank accounts rather being sent to prison under Government plans to avoid the embarrassment of elderly martyrs.

At present, people who fail to pay council tax can be prosecuted only in magistrates' courts, where prison sentences are the main sanction.

The move would mean that the Government would be spared the embarrassment of high-profile protests by council tax rebels such as Sylvia Hardy, a pensioner from Exeter in Devon who was jailed for a week at the age of 73 in 2005 for refusing to pay an above-inflation increase on her tax bill.

Have your say: Should the Government have the right to collect taxes directly from bank accounts?

My local council tried to mulct a "penalty" payment out of me after they mishandled a council tax demand, I refused to pay and was pleased that I had the right to appear in front of the local magistrates, real people who understand the world, much to the council's surprise. I won and the council was sent away with a flea in its ear, I doubt the same would happen under the proposed scheme....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dave - where's the beef?

The Conservatives have a plan and we can make it work | David Cameron - Times Online

The Conservative leader replies to a call by The Times to make clear what his party stands for...

How exactly are we going to do it? At our conference last October, we set out three agendas - for opportunity, responsibility and security. These aren't plucked from thin air. They are all intimately connected to one another. ...

We will give parents the power to set up new schools. ..

We will give more power to charities and social enterprises that really know how to get people into work - paying them for their success....

Our green papers on schools, welfare, decentralised energy, prisons and the not-for-profit sector are designed for what I call the post-bureaucratic age, in which the information revolution can give real power and control to individuals in a way we have never seen before.

We can book a tailor-made holiday on the other side of the world at a click of a button. Social networking can drive the environmental agenda. And Google can tell us more about our illness than our doctors. Yet we still have a government wedded to top-down state control. The future is people-led.

Um. Does that make it "clear" exactly "what his party stands for" and "how we are going to do it"? Or did it read like vacuous aims and aspirations from a marketeer?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The NHS in Scotland - Labour celebrates the waste

Wasted: The millions spent trying to boost Scottish healthcare - Scotsman.com News

A LUCRATIVE new contract for Scottish GPs that gave them a 38 per cent pay rise over three years has failed to reduce health inequalities or improve access for patients.
A damning report today reveals there has been only limited progress for patients in several key areas – despite the contract costing £160 million more than anticipated.
Proud of the NHS at 60: new Labour for Scotland
Our National Health Service is 60 years old on 5 July 2008, so let’s celebrate one of Britain’s most treasured institutions, that’s touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Thanks a million

Posted by The Englishman at 6:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gordon hides away from an election, as usual

Gordon Brown 'running away' from Glasgow East by-election

The Prime Minister has decided not to campaign in the Glasgow East by-election even though the result could decide his political future, The Times has learnt.

It is the only chance Labour has in Glasgow - keep Jonah Brown away.

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

After cuddly beaver, it is a pussy with teeth...

Fur flies over chief's call to bring back missing lynx - Scotsman.com News

LYNX should once again prowl around the mountains of Scotland, according to Allan Bantick, who will become chairman of the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) later this year,

Mr Bantick is already heavily involved in the project to reintroduce the beaver, which was given the green light by the Scottish Government earlier this year.

"I'm quite convinced that the beaver will be a success story," he said. "I suspect there is also a case for the lynx. If the beaver trial is a success then maybe the lynx will be next."

He added: "I personally would certainly support the return of the lynx."

He thinks bringing them back would benefit Scotland's forests. "There are very large populations of roe deer in our forests. In other countries where lynx have been introduced the population of roe deer has been reduced and stabilised so the forest can cope with them," he said.

And he believes as humans killed off lynx in Scotland, it is up to us to try to reintroduce them. "The lynx were part of our historical world," he said. "It was eliminated by the hand of man so we should consider whether it can brought back."

He emphasised this was his personal opinion rather than the stance of SWT, and said any move to reintroduce the lynx would require years of research and planning.

Mr Bantick said he hopes there is scope for reintroducing other animals that once roamed Scotland but admits bears and wolves could pose difficulties.

"The beaver is definitely do-able. The lynx may well be. What happens next who knows?

"There may be serious political reservations about bringing back predators such as the bear or the wolf.

"Personally I don't think you would know they were there, but the very first hillwalker that died, it would be blamed on them."

I think I could forgive a rambler eating bear quite easily. What I find harder to stomach is this return to the stone age, the lights are going out as the power stations close, regional seasonal food only is being mandated, that's neaps only for five months in Scotland, and the benefits of progress are being scorned and outlawed in the name of greenery.

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

Government lapdog turns and bites over ID cards

Airlines anger over ID cards - Telegraph

The aviation industry is being used as a political pawn with the introduction of ID cards for its workers, airline bosses claim.

In a strongly worded letter to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, airline bosses said that forcing airport workers to have an ID card from November next year was "unnecessary" and "unjustified".

They wrote: "Indeed, there is a real risk that enrolment in the National ID scheme will be seen to provide an added, but ultimately false, sense of security to our processes."

They accused the Government of using aviation industry "for political purposes on a project which has questionable public support."

Ouch that hurt, normally the industry rolls over to have it tummy tickled whenever the government asks, so this shows two things, firstly how anti-ID cards they are, and secondly how weak they see the government is.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 2, 2008

BBC - rotten penis acceptable - splicing the mainbrace not.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Top Gear rapped for alcohol use

Motoring show Top Gear has been criticised by the BBC Trust after viewers complained about "highly irresponsible" footage.

The Polar Special featured hosts Jeremy Clarkson and James May drinking while driving as they tried to reach the Magnetic North Pole last year.

The trust said the scene "could be seen to glamorise the misuse of alcohol".

The show's executive producer said they were beyond the jurisdiction of drink driving laws in international waters. ...

In the same show complaints were also made about scenes showing frostbitten genitalia.

The trust said there was "a clear editorial purpose for the inclusion of an image of a frostbitten penis, which had been shown for "a medical rather than a sexual purpose".

Posted by The Englishman at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CO2 - the physics behind the scare


....Next, let's take a look CO2 from an Atmospheric Physicist's view - straightforward physics that we hope most of you will be able to follow:...

Yep, I did. I suggest you read it as well...

Man-made CO2 doesn't appear physically capable of absorbing much more than two-thousandths of the radiated heat (IR) passing upward through the atmosphere.

And, if all of the available heat in that spectrum is indeed being captured by the current CO2 levels before leaving the atmosphere, then adding more CO2 to the atmosphere won't matter a bit.....

Now, you can sit back and give yourself a pat on the back, because you now know more pure physics of the atmosphere than a lot of so-called "climate scientists", and likely know more than almost all of the non-scientist Popular Journalists and other writers churning out panic-stricken books and newspaper articles on the subject.

And for sure, you now know a lot more than Al Gore.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How Labour MPs really view their constituents

MP David Clelland: ‘I don't want your vote, stick it' - Times Online

Mr Clelland, 64, offered this advice in response to a letter from Gary Scott, 27, an IT salesman with concerns over civil liberties.

Mr Scott had written to his MP once before, while living in a different part of the city, a constituency represented by a Liberal Democrat MP. “He was kind enough to write a considerate reply and I hope you will do the same,” Mr Scott wrote. He then detailed his concerns. The Government was authoritarian and out of touch. He could no longer ignore what he regarded as a “blatant power grab”.

Mr Clelland is regarded as a man of the Centre Left who votes broadly with the Labour mainstream: indeed, he was once a parliamentary whip. He voted in favour of identity cards and 42-day detention for terror suspects. He also voted for the hunting ban. He did stand up for civil liberties when it came to the smoking ban, perhaps because he is a pipe smoker.

Mr Scott was very disappointed with what he saw. “You vote with your party on pretty much every single issue,” he wrote. “It’s not your constituents you represent, it’s your party.”

In short, he held the Government and Mr Clelland himself “responsible for destroying civil liberties that have been hard won from tyrannical monarchs over centuries”.

Concluding what he described as “a bit of ranting and raving from one of your constituents”, he said that if Mr Clelland continued “toeing the party line”, he could “kiss my vote goodbye”.

The warning did not have the desired effect. Mr Clelland replied accusing Mr Scott of arrogance for thinking that “you . . . represent the views of the people of our community”. This, Mr Clelland wrote, was his job.... “I’m not here to be dictated to like that,”...“I do not want your vote so you can stick it wherever best pleases you.”

Posted by The Englishman at 7:27 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Blogging Puppies "Offensive"

Police apologise for 'offensive to Muslims' puppy dog advert


A police force apologised today after complaints that an advert featuring a German shepherd puppy could be offensive to members of the local Muslim community.

Tayside Police used a picture of 29-week-old black puppy Rebel on postcards promoting the force's new non-emergency telephone number.

But the choice of the image, which shows Rebel sitting in a police officer's hat, was questioned by a Dundee councillor who said it would "not be welcomed" by some communities.

And the puppy has a blog so he is one of us, we must protest on his behalf!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Happiness is ...being Healthy, Wealthy and Wise, not Being Equal.

The world has never been so happy, study says - Telegraph

The world has never been a happier place, according to a survey of global wellbeing which has ranked Denmark as the most content nation.

Denmark scored highest marks thanks to its peaceful atmosphere, democracy and social equality.

Wooa! Denmark has been voted happiest many times over the years, but where did that bit of editorialisation about social equality come from?

Lets look at the rest of the top five:

2 - Puerto Rico

3 - Colombia

4 - Iceland

5 - N Ireland

Do "peaceful atmosphere, democracy and social equality" come to mind? No. "Social equality" is not a factor - the boffins at the University of Leicester say:

"..a nation's level of happiness was most closely associated with health levels (correlation of .62), followed by wealth (.52), and then provision of education (.51).

"The three predictor variables of health, wealth and education were also very closely associated with each other, illustrating the interdependence of these factors.

“There is a belief that capitalism leads to unhappy people. However, when people are asked if they are happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, a higher GDP per captia, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy.

“We were surprised to see countries in Asia scoring so low, with China 82nd, Japan 90th and India 125th. These are countries that are thought as having a strong sense of collective identity which other researchers have associated with well-being.

"It is also notable that many of the largest countries in terms of population do quite badly. With China 82nd, India 125th and Russia 167th it is interesting to note that larger populations are not associated with happy countries."

"Happiness is ...being Healthy, Wealthy and Wise" and not living in a large population socialist superstate made up of different countries, - anyone listening in Brussels?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Question for Meg Hillier

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Arrests made at ID cards meeting

Nine people have been charged with breach of the peace following an incident at a meeting about ID cards in Edinburgh.

There were protests as a Home Office minister was meeting business leaders and local government officials to outline the proposals..The event was part of a UK-wide consultation which allows organisations to give feedback on the plans.

The Anti-ID card campaign group NO2ID said repeated requests for them to attend the consultation had been refused and they branded the process a "sham".

The Home Office minister for identity, Meg Hillier, said: "We are committed to providing people with the option of having an identity card which will make day-to-day life much easier.

"I am convinced, like people everywhere, the people of Scotland are keen to protect themselves and their families against identity fraud, as well as protecting their communities against crime, illegal immigration and terrorism."

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: "When government ministers refuse to attend public meetings but instead hide behind secretly organised 'consultation' meetings, we know New Labour is losing the plot.

"But when peaceful protesters are arrested for simply standing up against a government's abuse of power, then anyone who cares about liberty should be outraged."

So the we are "keen" on ID cards are we? But you won't let us "consult" with you over it in case we say the wrong thing. Do you really believe this, are you so far up your nuLabour arsehole you can no longer distinguish day from night, right from wrong or truth from lies; or are just an authoritarian fascist?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 1, 2008

What Council Taxes are really spent on

Councils see smoking as greater problem than violence says Hazel Blears - Times Online

Violent assaults and serious antisocial behaviour are lower priorities for councils than stopping people smoking, town hall targets showed yesterday.

Despite a government poll showing community safety was voters' overwhelming priority, anti-crime initiatives will not be the main focus of authorities.

Details published yesterday by Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, set out the targets picked by each local authority — and agreed by her department — to be their future priorities. While performance will be measured across the whole range of 198 indicators, targets will be set only for the 35 chosen as top local concerns.

Jobless 16-18 year olds, reducing teenage pregnancy, providing housing, protecting the environment and cutting child obesity were the five selected by most councils. While reducing “serious acquisitive crime” such as thefts from cars was sixth, cutting the rate of “assault with injury” was 13th and domestic violence 20th.

Considered a higher priority than both by most councils were stopping smoking and boosting the numbers of local people “who feel they can influence decisions in their locality”.

No wonder the
Local Government Association is giving councils posters to counter what it says is an unfairly poor public perception.
It hopes they will help educate people on what their council tax is spent on.

Except the posters try and persuade us that the Councils concentrate on useful things like cleaning the streets, rather than the councils nannying us to stop our kids eating chips and screwing.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bulb Mania

BBC NEWS | Magazine | The bulb hoarders

The government wants your old-fashioned energy-hungry incandescent tungsten light bulb gone, and gone soon. But some people are willing to go to great lengths to hang onto the lights they love.

The 150w, in particular, is seriously rare. They're gone from Tesco. Morrisons have already chosen to ditch them, with 100w to follow in the autumn and 60w next year.

Campaigners see the hoarding of bulbs in a dim light. "It's a bad idea," says Ben Stewart of Greenpeace.

Right, that's a a box of them going on the shopping list. Not sure why I need them but if Greenpeace says it is a bad idea history shows it normally isn't.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:41 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

What are they on?

Dutch tobacco ban means cafe smokers can only light up pure cannabis cigarettes - Telegraph

Smoking tobacco in restaurants and cafes across Holland is now illegal, but customers are still allowed to light up pure cannabis cigarettes.

"In other countries they look to see whether you have marijuana in your cigarette, here they'll look to see if you've got cigarette in your marijuana."

The Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, which is responsible for enforcing the ban, said it had trained around 200 inspectors.

A spokesman said: "They can tell the difference between a mix or a pure joint from its smell and appearance."

The Dutch health minister, Ab Klink, said he hoped the law would help to rid the country of cannabis-induced idleness.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack