October 31, 2008
Friday Night is Music Night (Lemmie says turn it up edition)
Dell Outlet - Don't bother trying to buy anything on a Friday afternoon.
Dell UK homepage - Computers, Computer equipment, electronics, and services. Trying to get through to Dell Outlet this Friday lunchtime I have been given four different excuses why they are closed:
It's the weekend
Technical issues - "can I quote you to say the computers are down?" -Yes.
Unintelligible - the call was being answered in India I guess.
I hope Michael Dell knows he is paying a bunch of part time wasters who are too busy on a jolly to take money. Sod them. I've bought elsewhere.
October 30, 2008
Comrade Minister Announces Zil Lanes
Within months, officials will draw up plans to create a faster lane for those willing to pay for a quicker journey on the country's busiest roads during the rush hour.
Oh how our Socialist Paradise progresses, do you think Minister's Cars will be free to travel on them without the Man of the People having to pay? And what fun when the bloated plutocrat is speeding down the hard shoulder and my old Morris Oxford breaks down and has to drift into the lane to stop in front of him. Will you let him out into the poor people's lane?
Wussies on the High Seas
Seems some shipping lines are hiring contractors to protect ships and crews, especially around Somalia. With some of the usual "Oh NO!"
Mody says armed guards onboard ships may encourage pirates to use their weapons or spark an arms race between predators and prey. Currently, pirates often fire indiscriminately during an attack but don't aim to kill or injure crew.
That is because they want to hold the crew hostage, though if they are firing indiscriminately then they aren't aiming at anything...
David Johnson, director of British security firm Eos. "But if you have guns onboard, you are going to escalate the situation. We don't want to turn that part of the world into the Wild West."
Oh yes far better to just hand over the keys and allow yourself to be dragged off to some desert hell hole. I don't think so. There is a method of dealing with pirates that has been tried and tested over many years and it isn't that. Surrender may be the preferred course for ships run by Johnny Foreigner but I would hope anything flying the Red Duster would be aiming to blow them out of the water.
I blame it all on ships not having enough rope and masts these days....
Back to the Stone Age as the storm rages
Snow fell as the House of Commons debated Global Warming yesterday - the first October fall in the metropolis since 1922. The Mother of Parliaments was discussing the Mother of All Bills for the last time, in a marathon six hour session.
In order to combat a projected two degree centigrade rise in global temperature, the Climate Change Bill pledges the UK to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050....
n the Commons, there wasn’t an out-and-out sceptic to be found. It was 90 minutes before anyone broke the liturgy of virtue. When Peter Lilley, in amazement, asked why there hadn’t been a cost/benefit analysis made of such a major change in policy, he was told to shut up by the Deputy Speaker.
(And even Lilley - one of only five out of 653 MPs to vote against the Climate Bill in its second reading - felt it necessary to pledge his allegiance to the Precautionary Principle.)
It fell to a paid-up member of Greenpeace, the Labour MP Rob Marris, to point out the Bill was a piece of political showboating that would fail. “The public will ask ‘why should we bother doing anything at all?’”
Tory barrister Christopher Chope professed himself baffled by the logic of including aviation and shipping. If transportation was made more expensive, how could there be more trade?
“As we destroy industry we’ll be more dependent on shipping and aviation for our imports!” he said.
“When the history books come to be written people will ask why were the only five MPs… who voted against this ludicrous bill,” he said. It would tie Britain up in knots for years, all for a futile gesture, Chope thought.
However, Tim Yeo, the perma-suntanned Tory backbencher who wants us to carry carbon rationing cards, said it would “improve Britain’s competitiveness”. He didn’t say how.
Can anyone explain to me what the point of a Yeo is? It seems to be neither decorative, useful or necessary, or do we have to keep a Yeo around like one is obliged to keep an incontinent pet around out of sentiment? If so isn't it time to call the vet before the Yeo and its other equally dumb friends do further damage to the furnishings and fittings.
Gordon and Jacqboots ID Card Claims Shredded
Gordon Brown's claims that a national ID card scheme would help prevent terrorist attacks are "absolute bunkum" according to a senior Government security adviser.
Harvey Mattinson, a consultant at the information technology arm of GCHQ, said that the only real value of identity cards would be to help state bodies share information about people.
Mr Mattinson is a former senior official at the Cabinet Office who now advises GCHQ's Communications-Electronics Security Group. "We have got to get this right because it is stopping us doing our business. We need biometric as well as biographical data; we will have to build up the information on the chip."
A Home Office spokesman said: "No one has ever claimed ID cards are the complete answer to terrorism or crime. Criminals and terrorists are known to use multiple identities to avoid detection."
An interesting point is that Mr Mattinson was supporting the idea of ID cards so that his employers can build up even more information on us to allow GCHQ to "do its business".
October 29, 2008
Fatty Balls Imprisonment Plans For Millions To Help Them Make The Right Choice
Teenagers should be forced to stay in school at lunchtimes to stop them going out for junk food, Schools Secretary Ed Balls said yesterday.
He also called for councils to stop takeaways from opening near to schools.
He added: "Temptation can be hard to resist but we owe it to future generations to help young people make the right choices about how they want to live their lives."
And you can fuck off too Ed Balls, lock people in, and remember under the new plans people who are old enough to marry are forced to go to school, and prevent businesses opening where the demand is and than call that helping people make the right choices, it is beyond parody.
10 Million People to be Re-educated by The State
More than 10 million 'drinking at hazardous levels’ - Telegraph
A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) yesterday warned the NHS is failing to deal with the scale of the problem.
It says that three times as many patients should receive advice from their GP on how to cut down their drinking.
The report also found that around a quarter of local healthcare trusts did not know how many people in their area are drinking too much.
Four in ten Primary Care Trusts also admitted that they had no strategy to reduce excess drinking.
Professor Ian Gilmore, from the Royal College of Physicians, said the report made “sobering” reading.
He added: “It is clear that the NHS needs to urgently 'up its game’ both in investing in alcohol services and in having sensible strategies to make sure the investment is well spent.”
Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat Shadow health spokesman, said "... ministers should not shy away from enforcing more responsible regulation of alcohol sales.”
Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, will say:"...just as it would be wrong in a plural and democratic society to require broadcasters to produce programmes that meet government objectives and promote social behaviour, so it is also wrong for broadcasters to produce programmes that legitimise negative social behaviour.”
Oh just fuck off the lot of you. It isn't about preventing the "15,000 deaths", it isn't about preventing the harm that feckless drunks do, it isn't about wondering why so many people use a glass of cheer to deal with the stress of living. It is all about increasing the stress by regimenting, by controlling, by regulating the proles with constant preaching and penalties.
And Jeremy Hunt you get this month's doublespeak award for pretending to be for freedom of speech but in the same bloody sentence contradicting yourself. Wrong to have to promote good behaviour but also wrong to promote bad, therefore the broadcasters will have to choose to only promote good. Some free choice that is.
Vampires are said to suffer from a condition called arithmomania: a compulsive desire to count things.
Vampires are said to have their own numbers: these are defined as a number that can be written as the product of two smaller numbers of half the length which contain all the digits of the larger number. For example 1395=15x93. The two smaller numbers are called the vampire number's fangs. Although this is little more than a numerical curiosity, mathematicians have proved that there are an infinite number of vampire numbers.
However, research into the science of Hallowe'en has also proved that vampires cannot exist. Vampires need to feed on the blood of a human being at least once a month to survive. The trouble is that once you have feasted on the human, the victim too becomes a vampire. So next month there are twice as many vampires in the search for human blood to feast on.
The world's population is estimated to be 6.7 billion. Each month the population of vampires doubles. Such is the devastating affect of doubling that within 33 months a single vampire would end up transforming the world's population into vampires. Even if one factors in the effect of the birthrate, humans can't reproduce quickly enough to counter the mathematical effect of doubling.
So forget the garlic and the mirrors, it's mathematics that is your best protection against the Prince of Darkness.
Marcus du Sautoy will be the new Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, succeeding the evolutionist Richard Dawkins.
Excellent! We really need better public understanding of science, and if he can engage our interest with quirky snippets like that then there is hope.
(Headline - A 70-digit vampire number with 100025 different fang pairs)
Jumping on the Brand Wagon
When is a joke not a joke? The answer is simple - when no one laughs. Comedy is quite different from other art-forms... No one hears a line that fails to raise a laugh and says, yes, that's me, I have no sense of humour. We don't think it's subjective. We take refuge in the same attack: it's not funny. If the joke doesn't work for us, we deny its very existence as a joke.
Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross are experiencing the aftermath of a joke gone horribly wrong. What do you get if you cross a Spanish waiter with ill-judged prank - 10,000 complaints and rising. After a series of on-air phonecalls to Andrew Sachs, the 78-year-old actor, about a liaison with his granddaughter, the two face calls for their resignation, an Ofcom inquiry, even a suggestion that they be prosecuted. Why are the British public, normally so proud of their sense of humour, not laughing?
Gordon Brown and David Cameron jumping in now, just like most of the 10,000 offended people I doubt if they heard the broadcast, they are just offended by the reports of what they should be offended by. I didn't hear it either, there is very little that could induce me to listen to the whiny bore that is Brand, but obviously some people find him funny. He is paid handsomely to put on an edgy out-of-control act, and if it brings him vast amounts of sex, drugs and rock and roll, well good luck to him. He delivered. Don't shoot the messenger. The blame lies higher in the food chain.
Of course that we are forced on pain of imprisonment to pay for such acts is another matter, and one that Gordon, Dave and the 10,000 won't be complaining about.
October 28, 2008
Baby, It's Cold Outside
The news is that the first big snowstorm of the season in the Northeast USA ....
Snowing here Boss, here in Wiltshire, and not just on the Marlborough Downs...
And yes, we know weather is not climate, but this unseasonably cold weather has not come as a surprise to watchers of Watts up with that and other "climate sceptic" sites. The severe winter last year - which ran well into the Spring - the "quiet sun", the shifts in oceanic current patterns, the behaviour of the Arctic ice and the global temperature trend all point inexorably to one thing – it is going to be cold this winter.
I must go on eBay and buy a generator to keep warm, until Cerys turns up....
Caroline Flint YouTube
There seems to be one video out of that bunch that Youtube suggests that is more interesting than the rest...
Oh alright here it is...
Gordon's havin' a laff
No responsibility for smashed monitors is accepted by the management.
Global Cooling - One for Alex
Ernst-Georg Beck on Global Cooling - pdf
Labour - Bottom of the Class
Reform Maths Challenge
As part of our campaign to promote a rigorous maths curriculum, Reform is proud to announce the 2008 Reform maths challenge to coincide with this year’s Party conferences.
The questions have been set by Dr Tony Gardiner, Reader in Mathematics and Mathematics Education at the University of Birmingham, and founder of the UK maths challenge.
We will announce a maths champion from each of the three Party conferences, and we will publish the average score of each Party.
And the answer is:
Labour's sums don't add up
The average scores for each Party conference were:
* Liberal Democrats: 83%
* Conservatives: 71%
* Non-attendees: 71%
* Labour: 65%
Make of that what you will...
Liberties aren't graciously granted by the state
Taking Liberties at the British Library, NW1: how our rights were won - Times Online
The British Library’s new Taking Liberties exhibition is an often inspiring tour of Britain’s “1,000-year struggle for our freedoms and rights”. At least, it is once you get past the patronising promotional quotes outside.
The guilt-tripping message appears to be: “Come inside and be grateful for what you’ve been given.” Whereas the real message of Taking Liberties seems to me that freedom has advanced in Britain when people have refused to do any such thing and instead have stood up and demanded more....
The exhibition is a reminder that the fight for liberty in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland has been a hard and dirty struggle ...
Go and see Taking Liberties, but not as a guilt trip about how we take hard-won freedoms for granted. Maybe we’ll be inspired to start a debate about taking more liberties ourselves.
Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s freedoms and rights is at the British Library, NW1, from Fri to March 1
I'm planning to be in Town on November 5th to share a pint at
29 St Martins Lane,
At 11 am with anyone who cares to join me and then go for a little stroll down to Big Ben and then maybe back to this.
Back to when the Prime Minister said "a rifle should be kept in every cottage in the land."
I was very pleased last night to in my own little way to mark the centenary of the Bingham Hall, Cirencester
The hall complex included a rifle range to encourage the responsible and skilled use of firearms by the local menfolk. So importantly was this viewed by Mr Bingham that the Trust document included provision for a rifle club to be based there in perpetuity.
The range was very much ‘state of the art’ for the Edwardian period. 100 feet long, it was equipped with a Solarno target incorporating variable landscapes with both static and moving targets. Over the years the range became a very popular competition and practice venue for the Cotswold Rifle Club. Of course, more recent legislation has changed the character of such clubs but the Cotswold Rifle Club has adapted to the changes and is still in existence today, as Daniel Bingham decreed.
An hour of shooting the Lee Metford (tubed to .22) in the surroundings it was modified for, an Edwardian club endowed by a patriot after the Boer War so that never again would Englishmen be unprepared. More on similar ranges here and in these links....
The Parable of Boy Jones - Land & Sea Tales - For Scouts and Guides - Rudyard Kipling
The Parable of Boy Jones
THE LONG shed of the Village Rifle Club reeked with the oniony smell of smokeless powder, machine-oil, and creosote from the stop-butt, as man after man laid himself down and fired at the miniature target.....
NRA-ILA :: Articles
Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle both witnessed the lethal fire that Boer farmer-riflemen rained on British troops in 1899. They returned home to promote civilian marksmanship through the expansion of rifle clubs in England. ...
"What the `clothyard shaft and grey goose-wing` effected, when guided by an English eye and an English hand at Crecy and Agincourt, the rifle bullet will do in any future contest...." wrote Hans Busk in The Rifle and How to Use it.
The London Times went so far as to editorialize: "The change from the old musket to the modern rifle has acted on the very life of the nation, like the changes from acorn to wheat and stone to iron are said to have revolutionized the primitive races of men."
Despite the NRA`s best efforts during the previous 40 years, the war in South Africa demonstrated clearly that England was not yet a nation of marksmen. In May 1900 Prime Minister Lord Salisbury called for the formation of civilian rifle clubs to redress the shortcoming. In a speech to the Primrose League, he stated his goal was no less than that "a rifle should be kept in every cottage in the land."
Writing to the London Times in June 1905, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle presented his case, making the inevitable comparison to the Middle Ages: "The first point which is worth insisting upon is that a man trained at a miniature range (whether Morris Tube or otherwise) does become an efficient shot almost at once when he is allowed to use a full range. What with the low trajectory and absence of recoil in a modern rifle the handling of the weapon is much the same in either case. I am speaking now of an outdoor range where a man must allow for windage and raise his sights to fire . . . It was skill at the parish butts which made England first among military powers during the fourteenth century. My suggestion is that the parish butts be restored in the form of the parish miniature range."
Fox hunting in Tamworth
Mr Langford, a retiree, said: "We had seen this fox cub playing around the house, and we thought it had been in a car accident.
"Other people had said it was quite tame and not frightened, so we gave it food. But we became worried about it, so my wife rang the RSPCA, as we weren't sure what to do.
"The RSPCA said the best thing to do was to encourage it into the conservatory, my wife offered it some food, and being quite relaxed, it was happy to follow her in there."
He added: "It was OK in there for a while, as he had some food. But as soon as he realised he was trapped, he went berserk."
The couple's conservatory was torn apart by the cub, who scratched his way through their curtains and carpets.
They waited five hours for the RSPCA to arrive.
Mr Langford added: "After about 15 minutes or so, they (the RSPCA) rang and said that it was so badly infected, there was no other alternative than to put it down.
"They said it had many contagious diseases, we had to clear out the whole conservatory - absolutely everything.
"We had to strip the whole place. The curtains, blinds, pictures it made a total mess."
The couple even had to take their beloved cat to the vets.
If you lock an injured wild animal in your home what do you expect? Of course under the Hunting Act hunting may be undertaken for the purpose of relieving a wild mammal's suffering if it is believed to be injured. But it is a requirement that "reasonable steps are taken for the purpose of ensuring that as soon as possible after the wild mammal is found appropriate action (if any) is taken to relieve its suffering". Waiting around for five hours for the RSPCA to turn up would seem to fail that test....
October 27, 2008
Boots on the ground trampling the green weeds
Seeding doubt: how sceptics use new media to delay action on climate change - pdf
Alex Lockwood, University of Sunderland
Paper delivered to the Association for Journalism Education (AJE) annual conference, “New Media, New Democracy?” Sheffield University, 12th September 2008
“The science about climate change is very clear. There really is no room for doubt at this point.”
Since publication of the 4th IPCC report in 2007, the mainstream media has, in general, accepted this position. As Andreadis and Smith (2007) note, UK journalists are no longer required to balance each warning voice....
However, the results of a long campaign of disinformation are depressing. In a poll conducted by Ipsos Mori in June this year, 60% of the UK public agreed that “many scientific experts still question if humans are contributing to climate change.”....
It is my contention that new media is providing the spatial and temporal freedoms that, when combined with the ability to publish free from peer‐review and from journalistic codes, provides the ‘room for doubt’ for which Pachauri says there is no longer any time.
Do we have time for ill‐informed scepticism and disinformation?....
...a useful way to think about climate change in relation to democratic renewal, as sceptic discourses have been found to sow doubt as a means to protect the economic interests of Western enclaves (McCright and Dunlap, 2003). What is the contribution made to this contest by new media?...
....The most successful, WattsUpWiththat.com, the US‐based blog of sceptic and former weatherman Anthony Watts, in July this year posted 646,024 page views (2.8m since launch). It is in the top four of 3.4m blogs using the free online blog authoring tool, Wordpress. Using the latest Nielsen Net Ratings data, even the most conservative estimate would give it over 300,000 monthly visits and a readership of over 31,000 users. Compare that to the New Statesman’s 12.7% year‐on‐year decline, to headline sales of just over 26,000.
In the UK sceptic sites are fewer, but are well read and bound up with concepts of nationalism. Climate denialist An Englishman’s Castle is in Total Politics magazine’s Top 20 libertarian blogs. Political sites dominate online, and many libertarian sites such as Newsbusters.com (70th most influential blog, according to Technorati.com) regularly support denialist views....
...The rise of the issue enthusiast and lay expert is part of the ‘citizen journalism’ revolution and is providing, to quote online journalism blogger Paul Bradshaw, “more boots on the ground than any commercial news operation... more background, savvy and commitment to the case.” This has been rightly celebrated. But ascribing a “technological idealism” to the democratic potential of the Internet risks holding it apart from history and politics.
Anthony Watts and A Englishman’s Castle are boots on the ground, but ones leaving heavy footprints....
...So what does this mean for new media’s democratic value? There is clearly a need for research into the ways in which climate scepticism online is free to contest scientific fact. But there is enough here already to put forward some of the ideas in circulation.
One of the founders of the Internet Vint Cerf, and lead for Google’s Internet for Everyone project, made a recent suggestion that the Internet should be nationalised as a public utility.
As tech policy blogger Jim Harper argues, “giving power over the Internet to well‐heeled interests and self‐interested politicians” is, and I quote, “a bad idea.”
Or in the UK every new online publication could be required to register with the recently announced Internet watchdog: from which at least the ownership and political economy of the web could be assessed. However, a tale from Belarus, where a law requiring registration with the national government of every new blog has just been signed into force. Rightly, Reporters Without Borders called the law “repressive” and predict that censorship will increase.
Suppressing debate where it legitimately exists risks leaving the mainstream agenda open to dismissal. ‘Green bully’ and ‘religious environmentalist’ personas are invoked as evidence of hysteria at the heart of environmental commitment....
...I would argue that climate disinformation online is a form of cultural and political malware every bit as threatening to our new media freedoms, used not to foster a forum for open politics but to create, in Nancy Fraser’s term, a “multiplicity of fragmented publics” that harms not only our democracy, but our planet.
I am not worthy, but my sincere thanks to Alex for those encouraging words. Some mornings it seems a waste of time tapping away at the keyboard but with such stirring endorsements I am given the strength to carry on.
Sheep tagging - some protest.
Every police force is to be issued handheld fingerprint scanners that will allow officers to carry out identity checks on people in the street. Project Midas would give the police "a full, mobile national capability" to check identities.
In other news:
Farming unions from the UK and the Republic of Ireland turned out in force in Brussels this week to protest against compulsory electronic tagging for sheep.
Representatives from the farming unions of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are in agreement that plans for all sheep in Europe to be electronically tagged by 2010 are unworkable.
Citizen Juries - the money trail
Guido has been banging on about Deborah Mattinson Gordon's helpful private pollster, for some time - September 6, 2007...Organising "Citizen's Juries" has made Gordon's pollster, Deborah Mattinson, a lot of money over the years. Amazingly they have now become a key Gordon Brown government policy. Who, Guido wonders, will get paid all those fat fees for organising what are jumped up focus groups?
Today a few figures and the burning questions asked are revealed:
The polls were conducted in locations around the country, often in the presence of a Government minister. In many cases, they were carried out by Opinion Leader Research (OLR), a polling group set up by a close friend of the Prime Minister who now works for the Labour Party.
Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is a particular champion of the concept, and his department has spent nearly £850,000 to consult 500 people about how to teach and look after children.
Hazel Blears, the Local Government Secretary, presided over the spending of £70,000 to ask 35 people their thoughts on building community cohesion through the teaching of English.
Hilary Benn's Environment department spent £20,000 asking 15 Devonians about water pollution and the role of livestock farming.
Bring me my bow
Forestry Commission scraps Magna Carta right to collect woods from forests - Telegraph
The Forestry Commission has scrapped the right, enshrined in the “Great Charter” at Runneymede in 1215, in order to stop people picking firewood from woodland due to health and safety fears.
“The Magna Carta states that a common man is allowed to enter forests and take deadwood for firewood, repairing homesteads, fixing tools and equipment and making charcoal.”
Boo hiss, freedom under the greensward, Robin Hood riding through the glen, dispatching HiViz killjoys to the left and to the right. We are all for that here, so what I can't find the right enshrined in the Magna Carta, but then those that are enshrined have nearly all been repealed anyway.
October 26, 2008
Help For Heroes - What you missed on ITV last night
Uptown Top Ranking
The “golden era” of blogging – an odd term for a period so recent and so brief – was never going to last. It was easy enough for a strong, independent voice to stand out from the crowd when the crowd was only a few rows deep.
Blogging no longer gives enthusiasts the chance to top the Google rankings with a carefully crafted post, the argument goes, and without that possibility, it’s neither fresh nor exciting.
Well that is me told then - though I'm still top of Google's rankings for "Hempen rope", can't think why.....
Keep surfing - it's big and clever.
Keep clicking and you’ll be a snappy thinker - Times Online
The internet is changing the way the human brain works, researchers have found. It is improving people’s ability to make snap decisions and filter large amounts of information – but at the cost of subtle skills such as picking up the nuances of facial expression.
Well I never was any good at picking up the nuances of facial expression, if people want to tell me something, then bloody say it, or better still write me an email, don't expect me to work it out from your twitching eyebrows and sulky mouth. You're not an ape, you're a human, use bloody words. And leave me to make snap decisions and filter the morning news so I can make sarky comments as which politician deserves their neck broken in those few precious silent minutes at the start of the day.
Mine's a pint of GM
Breakthroughs, tips and trends: October 25th - Times Online
BEER drinkers could get many of the health benefits that wine sippers enjoy, thanks to genetic-engineering students at Rice University, Texas.
They are adding genes to brewer's yeast, so that during the brewing process the fungi should produce resveratrol, the chemical in wine that has been shown to reduce cancer and heart disease in lab tests.
The “BioBeer” is an entrant in the International Genetically Engineered Machine Prize in Massachusetts next month.
Ouch, the clash between "healthy food" and GM fiddling (and beer) - it must be frying some brains out there - luckily not mine. As GM foods increasingly provide boosts for health, whether the trivial beer for Texans (Do Texans actually know what beer is?) or real vitamin advantages for the third world then these clashes will become more frequent and important.
It is important that we should stand up for what is right now to counter the shrill condemnations by the eco-luddites.
You say tomato I say GM yum yum
GM tomatoes may ward off cancer – shame they’re purple - Times Online
The plants were given genes from the snapdragon, a garden flower, which enable them to produce a type of nutrient that may protect against cancer.
When the tomatoes were included in the diet of mice bred to be susceptible to cancer, the animals’ lifespans were significantly extended, according to the British scientists who created the tomatoes.
One idea is that foods like the “super-tomato” could help people meet the government’s recommendation that everyone should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Using such foods they could eat fewer portions but get the same benefit.
Bring them on - it is only this summer after forty years of avoiding tomatoes that I finally learnt to like them - no one had told me they needed a pinch of salt on them before. Now I love them, And I can even eat them in extremis without salt, just like with a woman the memory of her perfume lingers on so the saltiness of tomatoes remains as a memory of the senses to be enjoyed even when they are bare and naked.
Hutton proposes Army surrender to the French
John Hutton backs European army - Times Online
John Hutton has become the first defence secretary to back a French plan for a European army, branding those who dismiss it as “pathetic”.
Hutton said: “France is one of our closest allies, militarily. The French believe very strongly in this type of role. If we can support it, we should. I’m not one of those EU haters [who think] anything to do with the EU must by definition be terrible. There’s plenty of them around. I think frankly those kind of views are pathetic”
Nothing wrong with joint operations with the French, holding the line whilst they have lunch for instance, but this is an anti-NATO anti-American move, trying to divert resources from NATO and our own national interests to a glorious Napoleonic Europe. Add me to the ranks of the "pathetic".
The untwisting story
I thought the press would wake up having been done up like a kipper on the Queen KYacht and Georgie boy. Older hacks don't like that and are digging for the real story the smokescreen was blown to conceal...
“You cannot hope to bribe or twist, Thank God! the British journalist But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to” - Humbert Wolfe
October 25, 2008
Saint Crispin's Day
October 24, 2008
Friday Night is Music Night (A good year for the roses edition)
In 1981 Elvis Costello released Almost Blue, an album of country music cover songs written by the likes of Hank Williams ("Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used To Do?)"), Merle Haggard ("Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down") and Gram Parsons ("How Much I Lied"). The album was a tribute to the country music he had grown up listening to, especially, George Jones. Some avid fans dismissed the album because it was inconsistent with earlier recordings. It was not a country-rock album (a la The Byrds or Eagles), which might have been more palatable to his established audience and to reviewers, but rather an undiluted country album. It received mixed reviews, some of which accused Costello of growing soft. Perhaps in anticipation of the inevitable accusations of apostasy, the first pressings of the record in the UK bore a sticker with the message: "WARNING: This album contains country & western music and may cause offence to narrow minded listeners". Almost Blue did spawn a surprise UK hit single in a version of George Jones's "Good Year For The Roses" (written by Jerry Chesnut), which reached #6.
It was shocking and very brave, here was the epitome of cool punky songwriters doing something so uncool, and amazing.
Iain Dale Wants To See The Tories Grow A Pair
The Tories have let Mandelson run rings round them leaving their flabby pink faces gasping like freshly caught guppies. If they haven't got the balls, the guts, the networking and the attack dog instinct to deal with this weak story and turn it round then it really makes you wonder if they are capable of running a bath let alone the country.
A Churchillian effort will be needed if Britain is to meet to meet the 15 per cent target (imposed by the EU) of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, Peers have warned.
Much will depend on the Government being able to persuade the public to use less power and to begin thinking about producing their own electricity at home - so called micro generation.
To achieve this planning laws will have to be shunted aside and Ministers given more powers to drive through renewable energy schemes even when there is local opposition.
So the silencing of public opposition and the destruction of inconvenient laws to do the bidding of our Continental masters is now described as Churchillian. Have they no shame?
The striking mural, painted under cover of darkness, was intended as a stinging criticism of Big Brother society. So it will come as little surprise to its creator, Banksy, that bureaucracy has ordered the removal of one of his largest works.
The Times has learnt that Westminster Council has demanded that a mural by the pseudonymous graffiti artist, a 7m (23 ft) criticism of Britain’s CCTV culture, must be painted over. While other authorities have turned a blind eye to Banksy, the council said yesterday that it would remove any graffiti, regardless of the reputation of its creator.
People who buy homes near church bells or cricket pitches then complain about the noise should just tolerate it, the High Court has ruled.
Rushden Town cricket club was blocked from putting up practice nets because the local council feared the sound of leather on willow would annoy neighbours...
Sense at last, though down here the councillors worry more about the sound of willow on leather.....
October 23, 2008
No Filthy Puns in the Countryside
The Country Wife Act 4, scene 3
....This allows Sir Jasper to utter innocently what is, for the audience, a filthy double entendre:
"Wife! my Lady Fidget! wife! he is coming into you the back way."
Lady Fidget's reply spells out the joke:
"Let him come, and welcome, which way he will".
Filth! Smut! Disgusting! Not the sort of Restoration Romp we want perfomed at our school thank you very much, far better the children are safely at home watching Eastenders.
Post early for Christmas
If you haven't signed up to send your MP a copy of "1984" - it's a warning not a fucking instruction manual - then Power to the People! has a draft letter to send to your MP - probably a better idea than mine of sending a length of hempen rope....
Clouding the Climate Models
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Study probes clouds' climate role
An international team of scientists is hoping to shed light on how clouds over the Pacific Ocean are affecting global climate and weather systems.
The clouds, some of which are bigger than the US, reflect sunlight back into space and cool the ocean below.
The team hopes to learn more about the clouds' properties and if pollution from activities such as mining affect the formation of these systems.
Mining? I knew it is all Mr Remittance Man's fault
A team of 20 climate and cloud experts from the UK's National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) are taking part in the expedition, which will be based in Chile.
Hugh Coe, the lead scientist for the British consortium, said the project would help improve the accuracy of climate change models.
"These are some of the largest cloud systems in the world and we know that they must play a very significant role in climate change, yet we know that climate models do not represent them very well," he explained.
"This campaign is a fantastic opportunity to make cutting-edge measurements in a unique environment and merge them with state-of-the-art climate models.
"We hope to finally hit some of the uncertainties in current climate models on the head."
Heretic! Burn him at the stake (in a carbon neutral way, of course).
The UK project - funded by NCAS, the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) and the UK Met Office - is one part of an international three-year project called VOCALS, which is exploring how complex interactions between clouds, oceans and land affect the world's climate.
But I thought the science was settled
Local Speeding News
....6% of accidents are caused by people breaking speed limits and yet almost 100% of the government's road safety money is being invested in speed cameras.. recent changes in the way that government handles the huge amounts of money that these things make has led to common sense starting to prevail
Councillors in Swindon have voted to stop funding the town's speed cameras. The Wiltshire town's borough council is believed to be the first in England to withdraw funding for fixed cameras. The revenue from fines generated by the cameras goes to the government, but the Conservative-led borough council pays £320,000 a year to maintain them.
Swindon may be a dump but it has always been a car friendly dump, which is why if I am forced to shop I tend to go there. Other towns please note.
Destination Moon: historic day as India launches first space mission - Times Online
“Chandrayaan is a scientific mission, but it also has implications for global geopolitics. It’s like a coming-out party for India.”
Burning our money: According to the Department for International Development (DfID), India is the top recipient of UK aid: over the last five years we've given them £1045m, and there'll be a further £825m by 2011.
To which the only response is why?
In related news...
Britain plans to stop giving China £39m a year in aid under Tory plans after the country spent £20billion on Beijing Olympics | The Sun |News
...the UK gave China £38.6million in aid last year.
Shadow international development secretary Andrew Mitchell: “Many British taxpayers would be astonished to learn that we are still giving aid to China. Our aid budget is the fruit of the hard work of British people. It must be spent wisely."
Chocolate Covered Hamsters
I understand scriptwriters are already at work to turn this into a major Hollywood film, but who to cast as the major star?
6:02 10/23 Mole Time
(Even Chemists have their little jokes)
October 22, 2008
It's all Britain and Adam Smith's Fault.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Price
Public Relations Director
International Coalition for British Reparations
Global Financial Crisis Blame Lies with Britain
October 23, 2008-The last few months have seen the global financial system
slide into the worst crisis since the Great Depression. While many ¡®pundits¡¯
have sought to place the blame for these unfortunate circumstances on
excessive greed amongst Wall Street brokers and poor regulatory policy in
America¡¯s capital, acclaimed people¡¯s historian, voice of the American
people and critically acclaimed author of The Evil Empire, Steven Grasse
believes the root causes of the crisis lie on the other side of the great
Atlantic Ocean in Britain. One must look no further than the face of the ¡Ì20
note and the banks of the River Thames to find those responsible.
To understand the current financial crisis Grasse says, we must first look
to one Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, ¡®father of modern
economics¡¯ and a Brit.
Once again, British hubris, greed and complete indifference towards other
nations, races, and cultures has landed the world in a catastrophic
predicament that will cost trillions of dollars to fix, and will destroy the
lives of untold numbers of families the world over. In our tireless pursuit
of justice, The International Coalition for British Reparations has decided
to push for an additional ¡Ì3.2 trillion payment from the British Government
to cover the initial round of government bailouts taking place all over the
world. The ICBR plans on adding to this amount as the true cost of the
meltdown reveals itself overtime.
This brings the current total of reparations owed to the citizens of the
world by the British government to a staggering ¡Ì35,160,000,000,000.
Thanks love for sending me that, I'm sure Gordon will send a cheque round first thing. I would join in the whip round but I'm a bit skint at the moment.
Little England and AGAs
When something as symbolically English as an Aga in a West Country farmhouse turns out to be dependent on factors over which nobody in this country has any control, what does that say about Englishness?
That we are a global trading nation and that is true Englishness?
(And some of us in our West Country Farmhouses have been mixing in Topanol with our AGA fuel for some time, to get the hotplate glowing red....)
The new five-a-day recommendations.
Do five simple things a day to stay sane, say scientists - Times Online Connect Be active Be curious Learn Give
A “five-a-day” programme of social and personal activities can improve mental wellbeing, much as eating fruit and vegetables enhances physical health, according to Foresight, the government think-tank. Its Mental Capital and Wellbeing report, which was compiled by more than 400 scientists, proposes a campaign modelled on the nutrition initiative, to encourage behaviour that will make people feel better about themselves.
Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will
enrich your life and bring you support
Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make
you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness
Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on
them helps you to appreciate what matters to you
Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and
satisfaction brings fun and confidence
Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is
Critics of the recommendation said that the Government and health professionals ought not to be prescribing individual behaviour in this way. “The implication is that if you don’t do these banal things, you could get seriously mentally ill,..."
Five-a-day fruit, three-a-day cereals, or is that five-a-day carbs? I'm lost already in the "recommendations" that are being pushed at us. I'm assuming if you fail to satisfy the triage nurse you have been following them then the chances of being allowed to see a doctor are "reduced" in our brave new world. But even in my most satirical moments never did I think I would see a five-a-day for thinking happy thoughts and helping little old ladies across the road. Traa-la-la-la what happy bunnies we must all be.
It's My Job
"Having separate areas to sell alcohol will help us tackle this growing problem of young people getting tanked up on cheap supermarket beers and lagers," the source was reported as saying. "We would also want to see specially-trained staff in these areas to make sure alcohol is not being bought by people who are underage."
But those buying a selection of beer and wine along with their weekly groceries would be forced to queue twice to pay for one, then the other.
And the move is likely to enrage supermarkets because of the potential cost of constructing new areas and training staff, and the potential inconvenience to customers who could simply opt to buy their drink elsewhere.
Ministers are expected to reject, however, the suggestion of doctors that alcohol be priced per unit of alcohol and a minimum price for any alcoholic drink.
They are also considering whether to force supermarkets to stamp a bar code on cans of lager, alcopops and bottles of spirits and wine to enable police to quickly be able to identify where alcohol they confiscate from underage drinkers has come from.
The plans all form part of a draft code of practice looking at ways of clamping down on British drinking drawn up by the Home Office and the Department of Health.
"Specially-trained staff" - sounds impressive doesn't it! If they ever went to a supermarket they would see that Tracey already has a badge apologising for having to ask if you are old enough - "it's my job" that I will lose, sort of stuff. Of course teaching someone to say, "You got ID?" if they aren't using a zimmer frame is probably worthy of a GCSE these days, but it is hardly rocket science. It is all bollocks, it is all about control.
The Return of The Smooth Operator
• Oleg Deripaska: The billionaire is thought to be Russia's richest man with an estimated wealth of £16 billion. He bought British car company LDV, the former Leyland Daf vehicle maker, two years ago.
• Nathaniel Rothschild: Co-chairman of Atticus Capital, an investment fund. Seen as a rising star in financial world. He has been friends with George Osborne since the pair were both members of the student drinking society at Oxford.
• Andrew Feldman: The Tory fundraiser took up his post this July. He is a close friend of David Cameron and was a member of the same tennis club at Oxford. He is credited with helping the party win many new donors.
• George Osborne: As an heir to the Osborne & Little soft-furnishing and wallpaper company, Mr Osborne has a personal fortune of around £4 million. He became the youngest Tory MP in 2001.
• The Smooth Operator: He who shall not be named.
October 21, 2008
Dark Green ‘carborexics’: The obsessive generation of extreme environmental activists - Telegraph
A new survey claims that seven per cent of Americans now qualify as “dark green”, hard core recyclers and carbon footprint worriers. But it is unclear whether some of their behaviour qualifies as eco-leadership or bordering on the obsessive-compulsive.
....mental health experts are worried. “If you can’t have something in your house that isn’t green or organic... if you’re criticising friends because they’re not living up to your standards of green, that’s a problem,” said Elizabeth Carl, a psychologist and specialist in obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Dr Jack Hirschowitz, a New York psychiatrist, said such behaviour qualified as a disorder if it was taking precedence over everything else in the subject’s life.
As we have been saying - mad as a box of frogs. I have nothing against anyone living how they want to. If they want to live in a mud hut, eat only seaweed and heat themselves by dunging in the fireplace, that is thier choice and they are welcome to it. But just shut the feck up and stop trying to force me to live as you do, OK.
Real Nappy News
Blow to image of ‘green’ reusable nappy - Times Online
A government report that found old-fashioned reusable nappies damage the environment more than disposables has been hushed up because ministers are embarrassed by its findings.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has instructed civil servants not to publicise the conclusions of the £50,000 nappy research project and to adopt a “defensive” stance towards its conclusions.
The report found that using washable nappies, hailed by councils throughout Britain as a key way of saving the planet, have a higher carbon footprint than their disposable equivalents unless parents adopt an extreme approach to laundering them.
To reduce the impact of cloth nappies on climate change parents would have to hang wet nappies out to dry all year round, keep them for years for use on younger children, and make sure the water in their washing machines does not exceed 60C.
The conclusions will upset proponents of real nappies who have claimed they can help save the planet....A Defra spokesman said the government was shelving plans for future research on nappies.
It isn't about being "green" it is about guilt and wanting to wallow in misery and shit. No wonder there will be no more research, they only want to hear the results they want. And all your taxes being spent on Real Nappy Networks, do you think they will be cut in these stringent times?
The real £50,000 question
A total non story leads The Times - Tory fundraiser is invited by friend to visit very rich man for an agreeable hour on two on a yacht. Very rich man later offers a small donation to Tories, Tories politely turn it down as it would be illegal. Another very rich man writes to The Times to inform them of this.
Why do I smell something behind this story, the whiff of sulphur as someone organises this. Is someone trying to turn the Times back into a nuLabour rag? What is the real story here?
It is understood that Lord Mandelson was told yesterday of Mr Rothschild’s intention to send a letter to The Times.
A note from a Scotsman on buying an eco car
THEY promise their owners greener driving and clearer consciences.
But motorists would have to drive their low-emission cars up to the equivalent of three times around the world to recoup the extra cost.
A typical buyer driving 12,000 miles a year will have to wait six years, six months and cover 78,000 miles before it pays for itself.
October 20, 2008
He knows of what he speaks
A call for level headedness and legislative restraint in an age of danger and risk was made by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald QC in the inaugural CPS Lecture.
Sir Ken said that technology had brought the State enormous powers of access to information but this needs to be used with great care.
"We need to take very great care not to fall into a way of life in which freedom's back is broken by the relentless pressure of a security State," said Sir Ken.
"Technology gives the State enormous powers of access to knowledge and information about each of us, and the ability to collect and store it at will. Of course, modern technology is of critical importance to the struggle against serious crime. Used wisely, it can protect us.
"But we need to understand that it is in the nature of State power that decisions taken in the next few months and years about how the State may use these powers, and to what extent, are likely to be irreversible. They will be with us forever. And they in turn will be built upon.
"So we should take very great care to imagine the world we are creating before we build it. We might end up living with something we can't bear."
The full lecture is here - Coming Out Of The Shadows - Sir Ken Macdonald, QC, Director of Public Prosecutions
"Our struggle (against terrorism) has been absolutely grounded in due process," said Sir Ken. "We all know that this has worked. Our conviction rate for terrorism cases is in excess of 90 per cent – unmatched in the fair trial world.
"So we have been absolutely right to resist, whenever they have been suggested, special courts, vetted judges and all the other paraphernalia of paranoia. On the streets of our country, violent law-breaking is dealt with as crime. It is taken through the courts as crime. It is dealt with in accordance with our constitution. We would do well not to insult ourselves and all of our institutions and our processes of law in the face of medieval delusions."
Take that Jacquiiiiii Smith and stuff it where the sun don't shine.
AGW - The Case Against
Settle down in an easy chair with something calming and peaty and read this long letter. You will need it to resist the urge to smash some numpties around the head with a dead penguin.
Petition to: ensure that the Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, The Rt Hon. The Lord Coe KBE, the Chairman of the British Olympics Association, The Rt Hon. The Lord Moynihan, and the Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, The Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, will be jointly and severally responsible for any expenditure in excess of the budget for the London 2012 Olympics confirmed by The Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP on 10 December 2007. | Number10.gov.uk
Sign away, we can live in hope!
When Graphic Designers Cock Up the Annual Report
Birmingham International Airport - Report and Accounts 2007-2008
...Safety & Security
The Airport’s focus on safety and security issues continues to be one of the highest priorities...
As the photo in the brochure shows....
Obviously she was travelling alone....
Those who can't....
However, the trainee teachers are allowed to sit the test as many times as they need and record numbers are failing.
The numeracy test takes 48 minutes and contains 12 mental arithmetic questions, to be completed without the aid of a calculator. There are several longer questions with data manipulation which can involve a calculator. The 45-minute literacy test is in four parts – spelling, grammar, punctuation and comprehension.
The basic skills tests are taken online in literacy, numeracy and ICT and the pass marks are 60 per cent.
A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said trainees on some routes into teaching – such as on-the-job training programmes – were exempt from taking the skills tests.
"Ofsted tell us that the standard of teaching training has never been higher and big rises in results show that quality of teaching is improving massively year-in, year-out," he said.
Glorious tractor production continues to rise under the great helmsman.
(If you want to see if you could be a teacher here is a sample test...)
New Olympic Event, the Begging Bowl Race
About £550 million of government funding has already been allocated for Stratford Park and the infrastructure for the Olympic Village, including electricity cables and water supply. But an extra £850 million to £900 million still had to be found for the village through a mixture of funding from housing associations, private investment and the taxpayer. So far no money has been guaranteed from either the private sector or housing associations...
An ODA spokesman said: “More public sector investment will clearly be needed for the Olympic Village, given the problems in the banking sector and the deterioration in the property market. This would be an investment in a long-term housing asset that can then be sold in the future.
It is not a bloody investment, if it was an investment that promised a decent rate of return then the private sector would do it, it is yet another subsidy that you want for your fascist drugsfest.
WWF's report, Climate Change: Faster, stronger, sooner, has updated all the scientific data and concluded that global warming is accelerating far beyond the IPCC's forecasts.
All the scientific data, all of it, updated; it is so rigorous that I'm not sure if the pandas or the wrestlers did it. It is a shame the WWF used to be a decent conservation charity taking sensible steps and considered campaigns to look after wildlife. It is now just a climate shrill and all the good work is forgotten.
Maybe WWF should “update” their findings with this picture from 2008:
Yes a picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it? For those of you that visit these other blogs, be sure they see this updated picture and send my regards.
October 19, 2008
Back to a Keynesian Future - or Don't They Ever Learn?
Financial crisis: Alistair Darling will spend his way out of recession - Telegraph...plans to prop up the economy by embarking on big government-spending projects, an interventionist policy in the style of John Maynard Keynes, the 20th century economist.
Britain has overborrowed in the past decade. Both its consumers and the Government have fuelled the boom of recent years by living beyond their means. The message is that we must cut back and endure a few lean years. Borrowing and spending more today will only serve to build up inflation in future years. This was the lesson which Keynesians learnt to their cost, when the high-spending years of plenty were followed by the misery of the 1970s.
Samual Johnson on the financial crisis
The commercial world is very frequently put into
confusion by the bankruptcy of merchants, that assumed
the splendour of. wealth only to obtain the
privilege of trading with the stock of other men, and
of contracting debts which nothing but lucky casualties
could enable them to pay ; till after having
supported their appearance a while by tumultuous
magnificence of boundless traffick, they sink at once,
and drag down into poverty those whom their equipages
had induced to trust them.
Among wretches that place their happiness in the
favour of the great, of beings whom only high titles
or large estates set above themselves, nothing is more
common than to boast of confidence which they do
not enjoy ; to sell promises which they know their
interest unable to perform ; and to reimburse the
tribute which they pay to an imperious master, from
the contributions of meaner dependants, whom they
can amuse with tales of their influence, and hopes of
Everyone who buys a mobile telephone will be forced to register their identity on a national database under government plans to extend massively the powers of state surveillance.
Phone buyers would have to present a passport or other official form of identification at the point of purchase. Privacy campaigners fear it marks the latest government move to create a surveillance society.
A compulsory national register for the owners of all 72m mobile phones in Britain would be part of a much bigger database to combat terrorism and crime.
Back to the happy days when all typewriters had official IDs and reference printouts stored for identification purposes. Maybe it is time to stock up on some sim cards....
Metric Matyrs Update
0 wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us !
TV historian David Starkey called Mary, Queen of Scots, "a whore and a trollop and a murderess", accused the Scots of "adoring failure", and branded the SNP "utterly contemptible"..."They even have special music for failure – it's called bagpipes."
October 18, 2008
November 5th is my Wedding Anniversary so I'm thinking of going to London for a drink or two at lunchtime, and then in accordance with Government Health guidelines walking it off, and it looks like others may have the same idea...
The Devil's Kitchen: Going for a little walk...
For those wishing to take a stroll on the 5th November, I shall be taking suitable refreshment prior to my stroll from 11am onwards at
29 St Martins Lane,
Here is a map.
See you there. It may well be your last chance.
BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire | Electorate snub their councillors
Local democracy week in Wiltshire has failed to attract potential voters to meet their councillors.
The councillors say they are disappointed people in the county have not turned out to meet them.
They say they have been waiting in libraries and schools...
I shouldn't laugh but it is the only sane response. Of course if they were waiting on a platform under a gibbet then I'm sure record crowds would have turned up....
Oh to be in England
Neatsfoot oil on the boots, fresh bread out the AGA for sandwiches, the gun safe opened and the old wooden stocks wiped down, the sun is shining, the sky clear and not a breeze to rustle the autumnal leaves. And I'm off shooting English Partridge on the top of the Marlborough Downs, and poor Mr FM is missing it...
Give them an inch
Councils will be banned from taking the so-called "metric martyrs" to court for "essentially minor offences" such as selling goods weighed in pounds and ounces.
Good news if it is true, the bastards will still try and control in any way they can...
October 17, 2008
Friday Night is Music Night (Country Boy Edition)
As he has been upsetting the "left wing liberal media"....
Brown to tax us more to save us.
The Prime Minister instead said that he would spend to get the economy moving.
Some ministers privately believe that Mr Brown should be prepared to talk about cutting spending as the Government's debts mount.
The Treasury has forecast that spending will exceed tax revenues by £43 billion this year. But independent economists say borrowing is likely to be as much as £90 billion
"We are spending more to get the economy moving." Mr Brown admitted that "hard and difficult times" lie ahead as tax revenues fall and welfare bills rise.
The Prime Minister said: "The issue for me is what we can do to help hardworking families in our country - what we can do to help people facing high petrol prices high gas and electricity bills, people seeking mortgages and small businesses worried about their cashflows."
And the biggest brake and drain on the economy of small business and ordinary people are taxes, what are you going to do about them? Increase them!
Who owns Tony Blair's House, is it us?
There is no mortgage/no mortgage interest claimed by Gordon Brown on his houses as far as I know, but I wonder how many other ministers have mortgages that are now owned by us, the owners of the nationalised banks. Any declarations of interest as we were mulct to save their homes and savings? Thought not.
Gordon Orders OPEC and Garages to Obey His Demands
Gordon Brown demands garages slash petrol prices - Times Online
Mr Brown “has made clear that all institutions, including Opec, should act in the interests of global economic growth and stability at this challenging time for the world economy . . .The Prime Minister said that there was too much variation across Britain on petrol prices. “In some areas, it is as high as £1.20 per litre. That must change."
October 16, 2008
Obama - Are the polled lying?
In 1982 Tom Bradley ran for the governorship of California, and was expected to win by a wide margin. In the run-up to the election, polls gave the African-American candidate a lead of between 9 and 22 percentage points over his white opponent. On election day the first exit polls also predicted that he would win, and one newspaper even declared him the victor on its front page.
Bradley lost by more than 100,000 votes.
The impetus for the deception was not simple racism, but social pressure - white voters, it seems, did not want to appear racist by admitting that they would be voting for the white candidate rather than the black one.
This, then, is the spectre that haunts the Democrats. Mr Obama is at present up to 14 points ahead in the national polls, a lead that would seem unassailable were it not for the unpredictable Bradley Effect, a nagging fear that defeat could be snatched from the jaws of victory because opinion polls behave differently when a black candidate is running.
A similar phenomenon occurred in the 1992 election in Britain, which pollsters put down to the “shy Tory factor”. Opinion polls put the Tories one percentage point behind Labour; but in the final result, the Conservatives won by nearly eight percentage points.
In certain, rare circumstances voters do not tell pollsters the truth, more out of embarrassment than mendacity.
So if Obama loses America is tarred with the racist brush whereas it, as with the "Shy Tories" it is more a case of wanting to appear hip and modern that causes people to lie to pollsters rather than a more discreditable motive in most cases. And of course there are some of us who lie to pollsters on principle....
(I note that overnight the odds on McCain being next president have decreased - 13/2 was available just now, and 1000/1 on Dick Cheney might also be worth a small flutter, only a heartbeat away and all that....)
Megalomania - The Medical Notes
Megalomania is commonly understood as a mental behavior characterized by an excessive desire for power and glory and by illusory feelings of omnipotence. The latter can be expressed in the psychopathological form of delusions of grandeur.
Megalomania can be understood as exacerbated narcissism in relation to the ideal ego.... This type of mental functioning would also involve a systematic denial of otherness and an infantile theory of sexuality involving self-procreation....Omnipotence and denial of the other's reality are the organizing framework.
Megalomania as an extreme form of manic defense can be one outcome of the process of melancholia. If we recall that another possible outcome is suicide, megalomania can be considered an attempt to deny death and a defense against the anxiety resulting from separation....
In addition to its pathological forms, megalomania is a mental behavior that can be used by any individual as a way of coping with distress linked to frustration, abandonment, loss, or disappearance of the object. The megalomaniacal fantasy is then a desperate attempt to repair an ego that has been damaged by object-loss experienced as an amputation or mutilation....
Remind you of anyone?
Gordon's Megalomaniac Lust For Power
He said: "We now have global financial markets, global corporations, global financial flows. But what we do not have is anything other than national and regional regulation and supervision."
He now wants to create a new system of international financial regulation, led by a reformed and enlarged IMF. "We need a global way of supervising our financial system."
....Some British diplomats speculate that Mr Brown might aspire to take on the leadership of a reformed IMF or some other leading post in a new financial regime.
Mr Brown ducked a question asking if he had any aspirations of a new job in the new "financial and regulatory architecture" he says he wants to construct.
Smiling broadly, he replied only: "I am not an architect."
Tony only wanted to be leader of Europe and solve the Middle East problem, Gordon wants to run the world by running its economy. He really believes he has been the greatest chancellor ever and that he is the great helmsman the world needs. He is mad.
Biofuel Powered U Turn
The controversial fuels were due to make up 5 per cent of transport fuels by 2010-2011, but concerns have been raised about their impact on the environment and the price of food.
Under the new proposals, suppliers would not be required to source 5 per cent of transport fuels for UK vehicles from organic matter such as palm oil and sugar beet until 2013/2014.
The slowdown would be in line with the findings of the Gallagher Review, which warned current policies could cause greenhouse gas emissions rather than savings....
The first stages of the policy being silently dropped. Good.
October 15, 2008
Mandelson - No Sleaze Busting For Him
This is embarassing to say the least for Peter Mandelson. Jack Straw has just announced in a written ministerial statement that he - and not the Business Secretary - has been personally appointed by Gordon Brown as the Govermennt's official "Anti-Corruption Champion"....
Shadow Justice Secretary Nick Herbert is quick onto this: "We're being told that it's all sweetness and light between Gordon and Lord Mandelson, but for some inexplicable reason the Prime Minister has decided not to trust his new Business Secretary with an anti-corruption portfolio held by the previous incumbent. Surely the former European Commissioner is qualified for the job?"
I can't think of any reason why Peter shouldn't be trusted with the anti-corruption portfolio, can you?
Jacquiiii Smith wants your well-informed opinion on allowing her to snoop on you.
Ministers are planning a massive increase in their capacity to collect records of people using e-mail, social networking sites and on line game sites, amid fears they are being exploited by terrorists and serious criminals.
The plans to record the details on a huge database are being driven by an explosion in electronic means of communication including social networking, auction sites, video sites and telephoning over the internet. ..the use of multiple user names is thwarting efforts to link individuals to their on line identities.
Jacqui Smith's announcement today that ministers are considering new powers will prompt fears that the UK is heading towards a "Big Brother" state with the authorities able to monitor the public's every move online.
The original proposal, which was this week criticised by Lord Carlisle, the independent reviewer of anti-terror laws, had been due to be put before MPs in the Communications Data Bill next month.
However, in a speech, Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, announced that she was delaying the Bill in order to expand the extent of surveillance powers open to the security services, while consulting further on the best way to win public support for the plan.
She added: "The consultation will begin in the New Year and I want this to be combined with a well-informed debate characterised by openness, rather than mere opinion, by reason and reasonableness.
"In this, as in the other work we do, my aim is to achieve a consensus and I hope that others will approach the serious issues posed for our national security capabilities in the same spirit."
Jacquiiiii, if you want my opinion, "characterised by openness, rather than mere opinion, by reason and reasonableness" then I merely can say go screw yourself with broken bottle, and likewise to the rest of the stalinist prodnoses who think they can scare the British people into giving away our freedoms.
The Best A Man Can Get
Without overcomplicating matters, mathematical analysis suggests that you should survey the scene for 37 per cent (1/e equals roughly 0.37) of the way through the period that you have set yourself to find a partner. Supposing that you start dating at the age of 16 and aim to find the best partner by the time you reach 60, this would take you to about the age of 32. Then you must choose the next partner who beats all the people you've dated up to that point. It's not going to guarantee you success, but this strategy maximises your chances. Just be sure not to show the formula to your new spouse: it never looks good to be too calculating when it comes to love.
Umm, I met the present Mrs Englishman when I was 32... thank goodness she never reads this.
Dave take a memo - Tories win by ditching green taxes
The Liberals were handed a sound defeat on the issue of the environment, especially a carbon tax to fight global warming.
Cameron and other leaders are taking notes, or they should be at least. The green vote isn't as powerful as it pretends, especially when it will hurt the wallet.
Betfair is offering 5/1 on a McCain victory. That seems a bit steep for a two horse race. Sure he is behind, sure Palin is appalling the East Coast liberal media and the BBC, but 5/1?
Tempting odds for a value bet....
I don't think McCain is good enough but the odds were 5.8/1 this morning so a small tickle seemed in order, and a fiver on Sarah Palin at 480/1, why not, it might happen.
The Bad News is the Bank Crisis is Over
Bank crisis ends as the economic crisis begins - Telegraph
If the history of financial crises is any guide, the violent credit shock of 2007-2008 has largely run its course. The sovereign states of the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Holland have broad enough shoulders to carry their load of fresh liabilities – even if Iceland does not.
We are now moving to the next phase, a grinding slump across the G7 bloc of leading industrial economies as years of excess debt are slowly purged from the system. This is when people start to lose their jobs in earnest.
I'm not completely convinced that the bank system deals will be enough but sense that traders haven't got the stomach for a continued fight. But the bubble has been pricked and there is a lot of hot air to come out of the bloated corporate system. It is going to hurt.
(Quote of the day - from a trader: "This is worse than a divorce. I've
lost half my net worth and I still have my wife.")
Don't Mess With a Granny
It was an unequal chase: a 68-year-old grandmother against a teenage thief who had just run off with her bag.
The bag-snatcher had no chance.
As he and his two accomplices ran away, Mrs Lane set off in pursuit, chasing them 100 metres across a park and into the grounds of a hotel. Despite wearing sandals, the 5ft 6in (1.68m) tall grandmother managed to catch up and grabbed one of the youths by the collar. The youth, aged about 15, dropped her bag and begged to be let go. All three escaped empty-handed....
However, Devon and Cornwall Police warned members of the public against following Mrs Lane's example. A spokesman said: “Generally, for safety reasons, we do not actively encourage this kind of behaviour, as you never know what could happen. But we understand this woman is a former cross-country runner and did not feel able to let it go.”
The police are continuing their inquiries.
When they have finished stuffing their faces with doughnuts I suppose. Roll over, be a victim is the official advice. Some Grannies take a different view...
Make Believe Playtime is Over
Alex Salmond insisted yesterday that he intended to press on with his plans for a referendum on independence for Scotland, to be held in 2010. Self-delusion is, of course, an occupational hazard for those who prefer dream over substance, but this time it sounds as if the leader of the Scottish National Party has lost touch with reality.
Around him, and his party's flagship policy, lies the wreckage of Scotland's independent banking sector, the very symbol of his future hopes for a robust economy. Worse, the two main Scottish banks have been saved from collapse by a Westminster Government, drawing on the resources of the United Kingdom's taxpayers. They are now British, not Scottish banks and their future strategy will be determined from the City of London not Edinburgh.
The twin pillars of Mr Salmond's strategy have long been a healthy financial sector and the price of North Sea oil. With the former in turmoil and the latter hovering around a fragile $80 per barrel, this former banking economist will need more than just his famous bouncy optimism to persuade Scottish voters that now is the time to cast caution to the winds and embark on the brave new venture of independence.
Come home to Mummy, had a nice time playing at being a wild pirate in the playground? But the night is closing in, and a storm is brewing so back home to Mummy and the warmth of the family hearth.
Truth in Advertising
TWO adverts, for Jaffa Cakes and Maltesers, were banned yesterday for suggesting the products were low-fat or low-calorie.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that an advert featuring the statement that a Malteser contains "less than 11 calories" gave the "misleading impression" that the sweet was low in energy.
The watchdog also criticised a Jaffa Cakes advert that said each cake had "only one gram of fat". Again, it said this suggested the product was low in fat.
Both statements were statements of fact, neither advert made the claim that it is said they suggested, nor even came close to it. But people can't be trusted to understand that if one Malteser is about 11 calories then a bucket of them has a lot more, or that if a 12g Jaffa cake only has one gram of fat then it isn't low fat. It is a thought crime.
Judge for yourself...
October 14, 2008
Climate Change Caption Contest
Ooooh that's the first time in three years a man has touched my tits....
October 13, 2008
Snow at Easter, No Sloes, All Global Warming's Fault
Graeme Proctor, from Crown Nursery in Suffolk, said the weather had not been good for sloes for the last two summers.
He said: "Because last year's summer was very bad, it meant the fruit bud initiation on which this year's crop would grow was very poor. This led to fewer flower buds this spring. When they did flower the weather was very hot, in the 70s, followed by snow for a couple of weeks in April, which killed them off. If the fruit can't set it simply withers and drop off. "
He blamed climate change for the bad weather.
He added: "For that reason [climate change], it's been a bad year for all stone fruit including plums. It's all down to global warming."
As I was saying:
Snow and Storms at Easter in Europe.
I don't care if the colonials and Texans are frore, that the Balkans are blanketed and the Siamese shivering, this bloody cold snap here is serious, a crisis. Send help! The Blackthorn was lured into flower by the empty promises of globular warming and a balmy zephyr and now the buds are being frozen. No blackthorn flowers, no fruit, no sloes, no sloe gin - now if that isn't a crisis I don't know what is, and what is the Government doing about it? Trying to drop the temperature even more, bastards.
The Brown Future - The Telegraph Gets It
At a time when the rest of the country is making economies, it is intolerable that the public sector should be immune. Businesses are cutting costs and laying off staff. Individuals are postponing planned purchases and shopping around for special offers. The coping classes are finding it harder to cope than ever.
Yet, for our functionaries and quangocrats, the credit crunch doesn't exist. The Guardian supplement continues to advertise non-jobs on the state payroll. GPs are to benefit from a 58 per cent increase in pay (this is what "investing in the NHS" means). Senior council officers continue to draw their six-figure salaries - despite being ultimately responsible for the investment decisions that led to hundreds of millions of pounds of local authorities' funds being stashed in Icelandic banks.
The loss of such money in the private sector would lead to cutbacks, starting with those who had given the duff advice. But local councils, like all government agencies, invariably favour their hirelings over their ratepayers. In their present predicament, their instinct is to demand more cash from the taxpayer, not to curtail their expenditure....
...Until now, Labour has refused to countenance any diminution in its client state. But, as the recession bites, voters will be less tolerant of the glossy leaflets being pushed through their letter boxes by local authorities.
They will no longer grin resignedly at the armies of gender mainstreaming advisers and liaison units and disability awareness counsellors and compliance officers producing their plans and strategies and consultation documents, breaking off occasionally to sue each other for discrimination. Nor will they be fobbed off by the claim that reducing these bureaucracies will mean "cuts to vital services" or "taking money from schools and hospitals". People are starting to hurt. They want the pain to be shared by those whose salaries they are paying.
That is the sort of Leading Article our papers should be producing.
The Green Future - Iceland Gets It
Sir Philip Green poised for Baugur bail-out - Telegraph
Following the nationalisation of Iceland’s banks, much of the debt used by Baugur to acquire UK retailers such as Oasis, Warehouse, Principles and Karen Millen is now controlled by the government.
Baugur and Sir Philip are working on a plan which would see him buy the debt from the government – providing Iceland with much needed funds and Baugur certainty about its future funding.
That is more like it, the Government acting as a short term backstop, in and out as quickly as possible leaving ingenuity and private surplus funds to do what they do best.
The Green Future - The Times Doesn't Get It
The climate has changed. There can now be no doubt. Change is happening and it is definitely man-made: the changed financial climate is a plausible pretext for any nation that wishes to renege on its environmental promises...
Back-pedalling on carbon emissions because of the crisis is not surprising, but it is wrong. Businesses and individuals clearly will be looking for ways to cut costs. But cuts that postpone progress towards lower carbon output will prove ruinously expensive in the long run. For European governments to abandon responsible - and in some cases exemplary - positions on climate change because of tough economic times is not just disingenuous, but foolish....
The greatest inroads into climate change will, in the end, derive from the endless ingenuity of human minds. That requires speculative investment that can only be harmed by the diminution of surplus funds. It requires governments, therefore, to be bolder.
You expect better from a Times Leading Article - they used to be written by some of the finest brains of the generation not cobbled together by someone on work experience as this one appears to have been.
"No doubt the climate has changed and it is definitely man-made" Really?
He almost gets it when he notes the best hope for the future is to trust " the endless ingenuity of human minds. That requires speculative investment that can only be harmed by the diminution of surplus funds." Good boy, you are getting it. So where do these surplus funds come from? No, not the individuals and companies that show the ingenuity but from the Government which taxes the profits of ingenuity and then hands back a small amount of it.
I seem to remember that the British newspaper industry was transformed by the ingenuity and bravery of the Government that secretly built a printing works at Wapping and had the courage to take on the Unions, taking the long term view that it was better to shut down for a year than to capitulate, or maybe I got that wrong, maybe it wasn't the Government, maybe it was Rupert Murdoch when he still had a pair of balls.
The Green Future - Freedom Gets It
A CHILLING world where licences are required for having children and questioning global warming is a crime could be ushered in by climate change, a report out today predicts.
Governments could ban car ownership and automatically switch off power-hungry devices such as kettles and washing machines if households exceeded energy quotas.
The scenario is one of five potential responses to climate change described by a panel of 60 experts in the study by Forum for the Future, a sustainable development group.
Who claim "We know more and more about the environmental impacts of climate change every day. Models can project temperature rises and rainfall trends at a regional, and soon even national, level. Our understanding of complex climate feedback loops is advancing quickly....There are some details about climate change we don’t know yet – how quickly it will happen, exactly where different impacts will be felt or if we are nearing a tipping point that irreversibly changes our climate system forever. But climate change is a scientific certainty. We know that over the medium and long term temperatures will rise, the frequency of storms will increase and rainfall patterns will shift, dousing some areas and leaving other areas parched. Ecosystems will be destabilised, ice caps and glaciers will melt and sea levels will rise. These impacts form the backdrop to all of our scenarios."
In other words we haven't got a clue what will happen but we like making up scary stories.
One of the upsides of the growing recession is that the likes of Hewlett Packard will be less likely to spunk away cash on drivel like this.
October 12, 2008
Hockey Stick, Smockey Schtick
Jeff Id shows how the methods and data used to produce the famous hockey-stick graph can be used to produce any graph you aim for...
Will the Real Hockey Stick Please Stand Up? ｫ The Air Vent
Mandelson's Greek Pleasures on Queen KYacht
Peter Mandelson joins richest Russian on his superyacht - Times Online
Peter Mandelson gave trade concessions worth up to £50m a year to Russia’s richest man who has entertained him on his superyacht.
The encounter on the 238ft yacht, Queen K, in Corfu this summer was the latest in a series of social meetings between Mandelson and Oleg Deripaska — known as the “king of aluminium” — during the politician’s term as European Union trade commissioner.
At the time of Mandelson’s Corfu holiday his trade department was a few weeks into a fresh investigation into aluminium foil tariffs, which could have hit one of the Russian’s companies.
The Sunday Times was told by an authoritative source that he had been an overnight guest on the boat, a European spokesman said: “He exercised his role as commissioner despite his friendship with Mr Deripaska.” He refused to say whether Mandelson had stayed on board.
Of course we know that Mandelson is a pretty straight sort of guy so of course there is nothing to worry about...
A pretty straight sort of guy
Tony Blair - the truth is starting to slip out already....
The documents - released to The Sunday Telegraph after a two-and-a-half year Freedom of Information battle - reveal that Mr Blair personally intervened to secure Formula One's exemption from the tobacco advertising ban just hours after meeting Bernie Ecclestone, the motorsport's billionaire boss....
The revelation casts doubt on the version of events given by officials both to Parliament and to lobby journalists when the sleaze scandal first broke in 1997. The documents also show that civil servants believed draft statements on the affair, which were about to be made public, were "disingenuous"....
As the affair deepened with the revelation that Mr Ecclestone had donated £1 million to the Labour Party just months before the tobacco advertising climbdown Mr Blair faced calls to resign.
The Prime Minister appeared on the BBC's On The Record Programme to defend the exemption and to insist he was "a pretty straight sort of guy."
Of course he is, pity he isn't still claiming that from behind bars...
So the latest edict from politicians in London and Edinburgh is that they should decide how much alcohol should cost to try to control how much we all drink. Despite all the legislation already out there to deal with shops that sell to the underage, or bars and clubs that contribute to anti-social behaviour, politicians seem to think that writing even more laws that punish everyone is the solution.
Like so many Government-led debates, the average punter who enjoys a pint or a bottle of wine with friends, continues to be ignored.
The Drinkers Alliance, is a new platform recently launched to give everyone a chance to make their views heard on the debate on alcohol.
Go and sign up.
The EU and Market Matters
EU Referendum reveals that the EU commission has known for at least a year that there have been disastrous "shortcomings" in its system of financial regulation. This system includes the measures for the application of the "mark to market" rules which lie at the heart of the current banking crisis.
The commission has also known that changes to the system were urgently needed to prevent a repeat of the "market turmoil" of the summer of 2007. Yet, despite a massive effort, it has only just been able to deliver drafts of these vitally needed changes.
What is particularly damning though is that the commission is actively hiding its part in what amounts, probably, to the most serious regulatory failure in the history of mankind – certainly the most expensive.
As they are busy doing sterling work there exposing the red tape that is behind the crash, and how the solution offered is more red tape, let me highlight a less weighty matter, but further evidence of the corrosive effect of the bloody continentals on the British trading system.
In September last year, Gunther Verheugen, the European Commission's vice-president for enterprise and industry, said Brussels never intended to criminalise those who sold in pounds and ounces.
But days after Mr Verheugen made his remarks trading standards officials from Hackney Council, accompanied by two police officers, arrived at Mrs Devers' stall to confiscate two sets of imperial, non-metric scales
Magistrates ordered Mrs Devers, from Wanstead, east London, to pay just under £5,000 in costs and told her she would have a criminal record after being found guilty of eight offences under the Weights and Measures Act.
The "metric martyr" was also convicted of selling vegetables for £1 a bowl rather than counting them out individually, a common practice among Britain's estimated 40,000 market traders to help customers confused by metric measures.
October 11, 2008
A Spoonful of Sugar
The findings suggest a link between glucose levels and the expression of prejudice and the use of stereotypes.
They believe that sweet drinks give people a sugar rush that helps supply the brain with the fuel needed to suppress outspoken opinions.
"People with lower glucose levels are more likely to use stereotypes when describing others and, if they are high in prejudice, are more likely to make derogatory statements."
The researchers from Amsterdam University and Florida State University added: "When people engage in the act of trying to control public expressions of prejudice or the use of stereotypes, they consume the energy required for self-regulation.
"However, once the energy source is restored to normal levels, people regain the ability to control conscious responses towards others.
Which is why I always blog before I have had my breakfast and my Wheetybangs covered in dark Muscovado sugar - after that I'm the epitome of reasonableness and tolerance.
Tagged and sampled
Overall the number of DNA profiles on the database increased from 3.78million to 4.43million by the end of March 2008, the National Policing Improvement Agency said. Taking into account replication factors, there were 4.1 million different individuals represented on the database.
Of those, 3.25million had a conviction, caution or formal warning which means that over 730,000 people were innocent of any offence.
The NPIA said that 244,514 young people under the age of 18 are included on the database.
Under 84 years to get everyone at this rate - so nothing to worry about???
"The investigation into the death continues and officers are following up a number of lines of inquiry."
Put the file in with the missing cats and UFO spotted over Kings Lynn cases and treat yourself to a large scotch would be my advice.
Imagine a Birkenstock stamping on your face forever.
Mariangiola Fabbri , World Wildlife Fund energy policy officer, said legislation is needed to ensure energy efficiency.
She said: "Keeping energy efficiency as an optional tool will not lead us towards the much needed 30 per cent greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2020."
October 10, 2008
Friday Night is Music Night (No Guitars No.1 edition)
Gordon Brown vs. Keir Hardie
Financial Crisis: Gordon Brown demands £20 bn 'British money' from Iceland - Telegraph
Mr Brown told the BBC: “We are freezing the assets of Icelandic companies in the UK where we can. We will take further action against the Icelandic authorities wherever that is necessary to recover the money.”
A war of words started as Geir Haarde, the prime minister of Iceland, used a press conference to denounce the seizure of Landsbanki assets. The use of anti-terrorism legislation was “not pleasant”, he said.
Of course we want our money back, what losing gambler doesn't; but Gordon Brown is just being a big fat bully and yet again misusing legislation brought in for a specific purpose, no surprise there. And he is lovin' it, he sees this as his moment of destiny, a world leader, the great steersman, beloved protector of his people, the lying bag of shit.
Something to keep their minds off the money they have lost.
Olympic flag gets go ahead (From Wiltshire Times)
DESPITE being labelled as ‘grotesque’, the Olympic flag has been granted planning permission to be flown outside Wiltshire's County Hall in the run-up to the 2012 London games.
Town councillors in Trowbridge objected to the application to fly the flag, they also had complaints over the suitability of the location and the design of the official Olympic logo.
The county council said the flag would only be flown from time to time in lieu of the national and county flag, between now and the end of the London Games on September 30, 2012.
Deep joy, as well as frittering away £8 million of our taxes by placing it in the Fishy Bank of Snorgersborgerslund they now want to pollute Trowbridge with porno filth. Thank goodness I never go there.
Iraqi Interpreters - the silence continues
Only one out of 16 serving and former ministers who have visited Iraq was willing to comment on the plight of the interpreters who are risking their lives to help the British authorities. Only 23 Iraqis and their families have been able to resettle in Britain so far.
The Times asked the politicians, who had been to Iraq on official business, whether they had used interpreters and, if so, how important they had been.
Only one, Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces Minister from 2001 to 2007, would speak. He told The Times that Britain could do more for the interpreters. “People took risks, and they were paid well, but I do think there is a sense of duty and responsibility towards them,” he said.
His openness was in contrast to the response of 15 other ministers and former ministers, Gordon Brown, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw, Hilary Benn, Baroness Scotland, Des Browne, Bob Ainsworth, David Miliband, Kim Howells, Douglas Alexander, Mike O’Brien, Tony Blair, John Reid, Margaret Beckett and Lord Goldsmith.
There's fifteen names of people I wouldn't piss on if they were on fire, their interpreters risked their own and their families' lives in serving them, and not a bloody finger lifted to help.
The Fedarists Rag
The European parliament has officially adopted an anthem and flag which were left out of the Lisbon treaty for fears they appeared federalist.
Supporters of the symbols said they would send "a political message to our citizens".
The Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff, a European federalist, said opposition to the move was nothing but "petty nationalism".
And I have a clear "political message" back...
People tend to drink less, smoke fewer cigarettes and lose weight. They enrol in higher education, the air is cleaner, the roads are less crowded...people have more time to visit their elderly relatives and are more likely to look after their children themselves...those who have refused to be thrifty for green reasons have now to start rationalising their lives for economic ends. In the past six months councils have reported increased use of libraries and a fall in the quantity of household rubbish.
Now I'm really depressed...
October 9, 2008
Hundreds of delegates from metal, plastic and waste disposal companies are expected to gather for a conference on landfill mining in London at the Royal School of Arts.
With commodity prices rising, landfill mining is an increasingly viable option for countries like Britain. ...Companies will go in primarily to extract methane and recover plastic, that can be converted to liquid fuel or recycled, but could also mine precious metals.
Another reason why landfill is such a good idea, you don't want that old plastic bottle now, it isn't economic to recycle that mobile phone at the moment, you can either at great expense do it anyway now or you can leave it in a hole in the ground until such time as it is worthwhile. And while you are building up your stock the bugs are naturally, without any fuss, cleaning up all the organic waste and turning it into methane which you can tap. It is so bloody simple and obvious.
The Plan - The Consequences
The state does not have its own money to engage in stock market speculations, such as buying shares in clearing banks. It undertakes this gamble with our money.
That is the money we, as taxpayers, have involuntarily handed over to pay for the things we generally accept as being socially necessary: a health service, schools, pensions, a police force and the defence of the realm.
With anything up to £500 billion having been pledged by Alistair Darling yesterday to create a state-backed banking system, there is now going to be a struggle to find the money. Mr Darling hopes that most of that guarantee will never have to be called on. If he is wrong - if a substantial bank or banks go under, and the money is called upon - then the Treasury will be heading for bankruptcy. We have been there before under socialism, in the autumn of 1976.
The liability and risk to the taxpayer is terrifying. The political cost to Labour if all this fails will be as nothing compared with the cost to the British public.
This is what socialist economics brings. The intervention, or rather interference, of the state in financial and economic matters can only lead to sclerosis, the suppression of enterprise, the raising of taxes, starvation of investment, lack of innovation, technological retardation and the rise of the power of organised labour. Judging from yesterday's interest cut, the much-vaunted independence of the Bank of England has already gone out of the window and state control of the central bank is back with a vengeance.
If you doubt this analysis, recall what happened in this country between 1945 and 1979, when such an ethos as we are now returning to existed unchallenged, even by Tory governments. The more the state intervened, the more it had to intervene: the appetite grew with eating.
What we have seen in the past few days was indeed a crisis of capitalism. However, in terms of fighting to restore a normal system of finance and enterprise, the forces of liberty and anti-statism haven't even dared to come out of their corner yet. The ultimate reality of socialist economics is that - as we saw just before 1979 - it will probably require a crisis equal to the present one to dislodge this poisonous orthodoxy again.
We have turned the clock back thirty years, and it may be thirty years until a new Thatcher frees us again.
The Deal Explained
A simple guide for simple people like me, bamboozled by all the shouting elsewhere.
October 8, 2008
Ave atque vale Flashman
Harry Paget Flashman VC, KCB, KCIE; Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur; U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor; San Serafino Order of Purity and Truth, 4th Class.
Back in the spring I bought a complete set of his memoirs which I have read to the exclusion of all else, in order, during my weekly bath. I have just finished the last one and the thought that there will never be another new one to read is quite upsetting. If you haven't read at least a couple of them you are in for a treat.
Where's an icepick when you need one?
Under the influence of crisis, unemployment and the predatory manipulations of the capitalists, the working class in its majority may turn out to be ready to fight for the abolition of business secrecy and for control over banks, commerce, and production before it has come to understand the necessity of the revolutionary conquest for power.
After taking the path of control of production, the proletariat will inevitably press forward in the direction of the seizure of power and of the means of production.
The plan is working, so far.....
Back to basics with Clause Four | Analysis: Alice Miles - Times Online
If it weren’t so serious, you would have to laugh: 13 years after its demise, Clause Four is back. It was a defining moment in the creation of new Labour – Tony Blair ditched the party’s traditional pledge.
Written by Sidney Webb in 1917 and printed on every Labour membership card, it promised “to secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service”.
Even back then, few in the Labour Party thought that it meant nationalising the banks.
It does now, though rather than enjoying the full fruits it is more a case of the workers paying for it through the nose without hope of enjoying a return.
The Big Lie This Morning
British taxpayer to be tied into £50bn bank bailout - Times Online
Taxpayers will be committed today to providing more than £50 billion to bail out high street banks in an attempt to avert a cataclysmic failure of confidence.
Alistair Darling was due to tell the City in an early morning announcement today that the sum will be available for “investment” in banks that have demanded help from the Government.
The socialist dreams so roundly rejected in 1983 sound eerily familiar:
... a National Investment Bank to put new resources from private institutions and from the government.... Exercise, through the Bank of England, much closer direct control over bank lending. Agreed development plans will be concluded with the banks and other financial institutions. Create a public bank... set up a Securities Commission to regulate the institutions and markets of the City... Set up a tripartite investment monitoring agency to advise trustees and encourage improvements in investment practices and strategies... We expect the major clearing banks to co operate with us fully on these reforms, in the national interest. However, should they fail to do so, we shall stand ready to take one or more of them into public ownership. This will not in any way affect the integrity of customers' deposits.
The National Economic Council of the people's plutocrats is straight out of that unreconstructed dirigiste mindset. This isn't going to work.
The big lie that we will hear this morning is that taxpayer's money will be "invested"...British taxpayers are going to get screwed like they have never been screwed before.
I don't claim to fully understand the malady that has infected our financial system but I do know the cure is going to be worse.
Did I really cc the whole office?
Google takes aim at drunken messaging • The Register
Mail Goggles are presently available in the Labs tab on Gmail settings. Once activated, users can select the days and times when they're most likely to be recreating in a fashion unsuitable for CC'ing the entire office. Default settings are the tender hours between 10 PM and 4 AM on Fridays and Saturday.
Before an ill-conceived email is allowed to make its rounds, Mail Goggles offers the constitution a checkup by asking a series of math problems that must be solved in 60 seconds. Several levels of difficulty are available for drunken savants.
And hopefully it will soon be introduced for blogging software as well...
October 7, 2008
CO2 variability in the pre-Keeling era
The Consensus View
Before the industrial era, circa 1800, atmospheric CO2 concentration was between 275 and 280 ppmv for several thousand years (that is, between 275 and 280 molecules of CO2 for every one million molecules in the air). This we know from the composition of ancient air trapped in polar ice.
A role for atmospheric CO2 in preindustrial climate forcing — PNAS
CO2 trends based on leaf remains of Quercus robur (English oak) from the Netherlands support the presence of significant CO2 variability during the first half of the last millennium. The amplitude of the reconstructed multidecadal fluctuations, up to 34 parts per million by volume, considerably exceeds maximum shifts measured in Antarctic ice. Inferred changes in CO2 radiative forcing are of a magnitude similar to variations ascribed to other mechanisms, particularly solar irradiance and volcanic activity, and may therefore call into question the concept of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which assumes an insignificant role of CO2 as a preindustrial climate-forcing factor. The stomata-based CO2 trends correlate with coeval sea-surface temperature trends in the North Atlantic Ocean, suggesting the possibility of an oceanic source/sink mechanism for the recorded CO2 changes.
Hat tip to Ernst-Georg Beck who has been beating the drum for CO2 variability in the pre-Keeling era for some time.
Of course if CO2 and temperatures jump up and down without man's help (though maybe not as much as they have recently) then..., well work it out for yourself.....
Having listened to the Chancellor, the Sketch has some advice for all readers. Get out of money. Buy gold. And not gold futures or options. Buy Krugerrands and put them in a safe deposit box. Then buy 500 kilos of rice and an automatic rifle. This is not a drill!
Home Thoughts From Abroad
As the financial world collapses around us I have been happy living in other times. Deep in a drawer I found a Red Cross drawstring bag my father brought back from his time as a POW in Germany, crammed full of photos, postcards, his paybook etc. Among the items was this copied out and sent to him as a comfort from home.
The Ten Commandments of Fox-hunting by Mr Young
Article I Every man shall present himself at the place of meeting quietly, suitably clothed and in good time. He who rides his hunter steadily thereto is better than he who uses a hack. He who drives tandem for display or who uses any manner of engine or machine, except as a necessity, is an abomination.
Article II Every man shall first salute and speak words of comfort to the huntsman and whippers-in, knowing full well that they have hard work to perform.
He shall then count the hounds and examine them with great joy, but in a quiet manner. He shall then likewise cheerfully salute his friends. He that shall say the day will be a bad-scenting one, or in any manner endeavour to prophesy evil, is an abomination.
Article III It is acceptable that those of experience shall, at all times, give explanation and encouragement by word and deed to all young persons, so that foxhunting may continue in the land from generation to generation. He who thinks he knows, when he knows not, is an abomination.
Article IV Every man shall remember that the ground he passes over is not his own property. Whosoever uses not due care and consideration is an abomination.
Article V Whosoever uses not due care and consideration or talks too loudly or leaps unnecessarily is an abomination. He who wears an apron, mackintosh on wet days or who uses any other device for making a mountebank of himself, or who in any way causes inconvenience to any hound or hunt servant is an abomination.
Article VI If it be possible, let every true believer abstain from all meat and drink, save only such as is necessary to sustain life. Let the whole day be kept as a special fasting and strengthening of the mind for the Chase. In the evening he shall partake of suitable meat and drink, and on the evening after a good day he shall have a special allowance.
Article VII He who, of his own free will, goes home before the hounds do, or who is displeased with the day, or who is not fully uplifted, joyful and thankful because of the day, is an abomination.
Article VIII Whosoever kills or takes a fox by any other means save by hunting is an abomination; his dwelling shall become desolate and his possessions a desert; may his mind be filled with bitterness and his body with pain.
Article IX Whosoever lives a cheerful, good neighbour, striving to help and encourage his friends at all times, and who hunts on foot if he has not a horse, and by whose behaviour the Scarlet is never brought into dishonour; may he live long, and be happy and may his possessions be as the sand by the sea-shore for multitude
Article X And may all men, rich and poor, have equal rights and pleasures in the Chase if they devoutly agre to these articles.
Above me hangs his favourite print:
That Far Far Away Echo by Snaffles
In the early morning in the trenches, a soldier remembers his hunting days. Around him is his dream sequence.
What home thoughts from abroad comfort our troops now?
Zealots prevent LHC Black Hole forming?
"It is very probable that there was a connection that wasn't good," said Lyn Evans, project leader...he did not think a single fault in 10,000 connections was bad, but "it cost dearly".
Perhaps they were using lead free solder?
John Brignell: March of the zealots
"A classic example was the ban on lead in solder. It was completely unjustified by available evidence yet imposed virtually without serious thought. Leadless solder is not only considerably more expensive, it is unreliable, being subject to dry joints and cracks. We are talking about people being killed here, for there are now many applications of electronics on which human lives depend, let alone livelihoods. Notably, military applications were excluded."
H/t D Ambler
October 6, 2008
Rats and Sinking Ships
Stricken Iceland sends out financial SOS - Times Online
Financial turmoil has led to renewed calls from labour unions for Iceland to join the EU and adopt the European single currency
Every country for itself as European unity collapses in an attack of jitters
Germany shattered any semblance of European unity on the global credit crisis last night by announcing that it was ready to guarantee €568 billion of personal savings in domestic accounts.
The massive liquidity crisis in the banking system has already nudged the Irish Republic and Greece into unilateral – and probably illegal under EU law – action to guarantee the deposits in national banks. Faced with a choice between the possible collapse of their banking systems and violating EU competition rules, the two countries opted for what they saw as the lesser evil. Now Germany, which at the weekend rejected French plans for an EU lifeboat fund, has taken the decisive protective step, and it is said to be plain that other European states will have to follow suit.
Early today the Danish Government guaranteed all bank deposits in Denmark ...
EU Referendum: Oh shit!
...if they do decide to throw way the rule book, the game is over, The EU is on its way out. After all, if the rules are useless for a crisis, what use are they at all?
Too Much Ozone - Thousands to die!
Failure to fight ozone pollution 'puts lives in danger' - Times Online
Human health and food production are being damaged because too little is being done to control worldwide ozone levels, a report by the Royal Society says. ..
Regulations to control the gas have been introduced by Britain and other industrialised nations but it is still present in quantities well above safe levels, largely because it is carried by air currents from other parts of the world. Levels close to the ground have risen 6 per cent each decade since the 1980s, the Royal Society says in its report, which calls for concerted international action. ...
An estimated 1,582 people died in 2003 because of the effects of ozone. Deaths are conservatively forecast to rise by 51 per cent to 2,391 by 2020 because of pollution and climate change.
Significant reductions in crop yields because of ozone have been observed in Europe and North America, with £5 billion being knocked off the value of arable crops in Europe in 2000 alone. The nutritional values of wheat, rice and soya bean are all known to be reduced by the chemical.
In regions including South Asia the losses to crops such as wheat and rice are forecast to be so serious that they may cause food shortages. ...
They wouldn't be trying to start a new scare would they? Luckily I have the answer, a few old aerosol cans of Brut left over from the 1970s should reduce the levels nicely......
The Morning After Driving Sense
Britain is to become the only European country that allows motorists to have at least one alcoholic drink and still be legally fit to drive.
The Times has learnt that the Government has changed its mind about reducing the limit from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, despite evidence that a lower limit would save 65 lives a year.
Road safety groups.....
blah, blah blah - make up some numbers, scream at everyone, etc. But for once the Minister makes sense:
"We are not convinced that dropping to 50 is the right answer. Drivers who are between 50 and 80mg are not the ones we are most worried about. It’s the ones above 100.
“If you look at a comparison with other countries which have 50 rather than 80, our safety levels compare very favourably.”
And the important point about the level is this:
...the Government will avoid the awkward question of whether to introduce a lower penalty for registering just over 50mg. At present, anyone caught drink-driving serves a minimum ban of 12 months. Most countries that have lower limits only fine drivers and give them penalty points for minor breaches.
A ban is disproportionate for a lower level breach, but the safety nazis won't countenance anything less. If they proposed a slap wrist for a 50-80 breach their case would be much stronger but they can't do that because they are safety nazis.
Charity begins at home
Holyrood ministers have put forward proposals for a Climate Change Bill, with a target of cutting emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
And while Oxfam has called for Scotland to go further still.
Great idea, reduce Scotland to third world poverty, lots of jobs for Oxfam types and they only have to drive up the M6 to help out!
October 5, 2008
Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain.
GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, has already been given up to £1 billion to finance the first stage of the project. Hundreds of clandestine probes will be installed to monitor customers live on two of the country’s biggest internet and mobile phone providers - thought to be BT and Vodafone.
Officials claim live monitoring is necessary to fight terrorism and crime.
Time to crank up the spam creator, a couple of million emails everyday mentioning Gordon, pitchforks, tar and hempen rope seem to be called for. And for homework today take a course in Steganography and learn how to use it
The New Department of Hot Air
Yesterday we learned that we are to have a new government department, the Department for Climate Change and Energy. I wonder whether it will really be concerned with climate change. ..
One might, therefore, be tempted to welcome the creation of a government department concerning itself with climate change because of the practical impact the climate can have on future expenditure. The problem, of course, is that there is precious little chance of the new department being concerned with anything so mundane.... Is it just window dressing to keep the greenies happy or is it a real element of the new Department?...
Perhaps there is hope. Perhaps it is just window dressing. My fear is that adding "Climate Change" to the name of a government department is just another excuse to raise taxes now that he has run out of money and the financial faeces has hit the fan. What I would prefer is a government that had the courage to look carefully at the evidence for human activity making a detrimental change to climate, look at the things the greenies tell us we have to do to change our ways, assess the effect such a change in behaviour will have on the people of this country and have the courage to say it will not happen on their watch. Gordon is not noted for courage, but you can't stop a fat man dreaming.
Dream on Fat Man - with another one of the appalling Miliblands in charge, as green, climate change obsessed and Europhile as they come - the prospect of our lights going out seems unavoidable., and of us being lectured, taxed and regulated.
The Peter Love In
The MSM is full of positive coverage about Mandelson's return...I sense this is one of those issues which will separate political insiders from the wider public,...
Written into all the articles about Mandelson's return, you sense a general air of bewilderment and head-scratching: surely these two men hate each other? Surely Mandelson and Brown didn't speak to one another for fourteen years? Surely their great rivalry was a constant headache for Tony Blair? The solution to this emotional puzzle seems quite obvious to me....
But Tony's gone. Impossible for you or I to understand the strange quality of the relief that his departure must have brought even, or especially, to those who once worshipped him. The strain for both Mandelson and Brown must have been immense. That tension, the requirement to sublimate feelings of cowardice or treachery - or sheer jealousy - has vanished. All that Mandelson and Brown are doing is resetting their emotional attachment to that which it was before the former PM got in their way. The only surprise is that it's taken them so long.
The mutual circlejerk of the political insiders, the party and the press comes to its inevitable pointless conclusion with Peter's return. The rest of us look on in disgust and with the longing for the feel of a hippopotamus hide sjambok in our hand and the chance to use it.
This morning's hymn
On scanning the papers this morning and contemplating the scum who rule us, as the rain beats against the window sometimes an uplifting tune is needed...
And for those confirmed a longer service is available...
October 4, 2008
An American in Paris
Bugger, a bloody Afro-american friend has suggested we join him et al for drinks in Paris at the New Year. Nothing I would like more, in fact I would happily sell a couple of wisdom teeth to fund the trip, but the snake suggests I bring the present Mrs Englishman as well. Again there is nothing I would prefer to do than parade my child bride through the debauched quarters of the Montmartre before tucking into the joys of raw meat and perfect chips in the company of valued friends. So it isn't the suggestion that I free Mrs E from her domestic servitude for a long weekend that has raised my goat but that everywhere Mrs E goes there goes also the Englishettes.The Englishettes who have been suckered into believing that Disneyland Paris is a veritable paradise on earth. For five long years I have persuaded them that the continent is isolated due to the fog and the unfortunate death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and we are unable to visit. So how can I tell them that we are leaving them in the arms of the babysitter whose house is made of gingerbread and candy while we escape to forbidden treasures. It won't work. The first whisper of the the name of Paris will cause ten thousand requests to be launched to join us and divert us to the charms of Mickey.
I don't like leaving the parish but I want to go, it is just the small people who infest my house... what to do? And I can picture Mrs E and I in Paris already...
October 3, 2008
Friday Night is Music Night (Modern Beat Combo Edition)
Temerarious Advice from the H&S
Helen Reynolds, a health and safety officer with Lancashire Constabulary, said that the current phrase, which praises officers for acting “with no thought to his or her safety” should be toned down.
She suggested changing the words to "fully recognising the risks to their own safety".
Surprisingly I think she may have a point, bravery isn't about acting when unaware of the danger, that is foolhardiness; bravery is about being aware of the danger and then risking it.
Swiss Army Death Threat to Britain's Streets
TK Maxx sold jackets with knifes attached - Telegraph
The Swiss-made Strellson jacket, which was reduced from £200 to £59 at the discount clothing shop, has a metal chain with a Vecorinox officer’s knife on the end attached to the lining.
“It’s horrendous. They’re promoting knife crime.
“Someone could get hurt. I hope whoever came up with that idea gets a big fine.”
"Vecorinox officer’s knife"? Do they mean Victorinox Swiss Army knife? (Officer's knife is an Americanism and the misspelling of Victorinox is just sheer laziness.) Either way I'm fleeing the streets in terror at the idea I may be poked by a tool for getting stones out of horses hooves or threatened by the death of a thousand cuts from a pair of folding scissors...
Gloucester's Ersatz Bullingdon
BBC NEWS | UK | University to probe initiations
The video obtained by the BBC shows a group of University of Gloucestershire students lined up against a wall with white plastic bags over their heads.
Another student, dressed in a Nazi-style uniform, is seen to encourage them to drink. Several students then vomit onto the ground before being paraded though the streets.
Bloody disgrace - I'm outraged. Shabby little students at a shabby little polytechnic in a pathetic ritual. These things should only be done when properly dressed, in ancient colleges and after a proper feasting. Just ask Dave.
The Guardian's Blair Obituary
The fall and fall of Sir Ian Blair | UK news | guardian.co.uk
...his lack of judgment, luck and people skills..
Even the Guardian had turned against him, and if there ever was a Guardian Copper Blair was it. The Met needs a leader who the Met trusts, not one that is part of the the failing nuLabour project.
Well she didn't blow it, which is the victory the Republicans were hoping for, - the game is still afoot.
October 2, 2008
Pickles Guilty Of Thought Crime
Mr Pickles told the audience in Birmingham: "When old Prescott came out as bulimic I thought, 'I wonder if I've added to that'. I thought for a while, and I thought: 'Good'."
However, health experts have now warned that the remarks were "dangerous" and could prevent sufferers coming forward to seek treatment.
Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the eating disorder support group Beat, said: "We are disappointed by this irresponsible and thoughtless comment.
"Any comments that might prevent someone from seeking treatment by trivialising the condition are potentially very dangerous. Eating disorders are a serious mental illness and still too often misunderstood.
So the fact that our Deputy Prime Minister had an unlikely condition and suffered from "a serious mental illness" is beyond the pale for a light hearted remark.
Susan Ringwood is the chief executive officer for Beat, a not-for-profit organization devoted to beating eating disorders in the United Kingdom. After initially training as a teacher, Susan has spent 28 years working in the not-for-profit sector in regional, national and international roles.
What was it we were saying about the over reaching State in all it's guises....
Time for a fundemental change in the role of the State
The vast jamboree of special interest groups in Birmingham illustrates its malignant growth
Over the next few months we will hear a great many politicians talk of the need for the public sector to tighten its belt. But such an approach is entirely inadequate. What is needed is a fundamental reassessment of the offer made to citizens by the State and its myriad offshoots.
The policy of simply suppressing spending without large-scale structural reform has not had a happy history. After an initial flurry of privatisations, the Conservative Government controlled public spending by holding down its growth without changing the scope of the services that the State was offering....And so by the mid-1990s it was hard to resist the idea that more spending was required.
Thus in 1997 came what might be termed a “correction”. Labour was elected largely because the public was angry at failing services. The new Government soon began to increase public spending faster than the economy was growing. But such a policy is not, of course, sustainable either....
And so we are due for yet another correction. ..This time we have to fundamentally rethink what the State does and how it does it.
Spot on, Danny.
Shipping them to Germany for Thought Crimes
A leading Holocaust denier was arrested as he flew into Britain yesterday, accused of running an internet site that insisted that the Nazis had not murdered millions of Jews.
Huh? you think. Didn't realise that was a crime here now.
Dr Toben was arrested in transit from America to Dubai, the court was told. Tina Whybraw, for the Crown, on behalf of the German authorities, said that he was accused of committing the offences in Australia, Germany and other countries...When police boarded the aircraft Dr Toben had moved seats “to avoid detection” and told officers “you can’t arrest me on British soil”, she said.
The extradition request is being made under the European Arrest Warrant, a fast-track procedure to allow criminal suspects to be sent between European states.
The warrant, which came into force in January 2004, abolished the principle of “dual criminality” that existed under old extradition laws. This means that someone in Britain can be extradited for something that is not a crime here - as long as it is a criminal offence in the state requesting extradition.
The reform was rushed through in part as a response to terrorism after September 11. Ministers also argued that it would speed up a cumbersome and slow extradition process, helping criminals to be brought more swiftly to justice.
Critics pointed out, however, that people could find themselves charged with an offence they did not know existed because racism or xenophobia, for example, can be interpreted differently in different jurisdictions. The spectre of “thought crime”, a person facing trial for broadcasting xenophobic or racist remarks such as denying the Holocaust on an internet chatroom in another country - as alleged against Dr Toben - was the very criticism raised against the warrant before it took effect.
Lord Filkin, then the Home Office Minister, said when the legislation went through Parliament that no one would be extradited for conduct that was legal in Britain.
Yet again we see how the Government lies and how laws brought in to cover terrorism are abused to destroy freedom.
I know nothing of Dr Toben, but even if he is the most unpleasant little shit in the world he should not be in prison here for a thought crime that isn't illegal here. If we can send an Australian to Germany for an internet thought crime, how soon will it be a British Subject exercising their right to free speech on a computer here who is sent off to some European court for some other thought crime.
October 1, 2008
Absorbing CO2 Science Paper
What is the contribution of anthropogenic carbon dioxide to global warming? This question has been the subject of many heated arguments, and a great deal of hysteria. In this article, we will consider a simple estimate based on well-accepted facts, that shows that the expected global temperature increase caused by doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is bounded by an upper limit of 1.76ｱ0.27 degrees Celsius. This result contrasts with the results of the IPCC's climate models, whose projections are shown to be unrealistically high.
Give me Freedom and/or Death
It's not just the banks. Today marks the next stage in the campaign to nationalise our bodies. Not content with those big written warnings on packets - Smoking Kills/Causes Impotence/Destabilises the Financial System, etc - the authorities are replacing them from today with stark pictures of what smoking can do:... know that smoking is bad for you. And so, by now, does everybody else. Yet the lifestyle police cannot accept that any thinking individual could simply choose to ignore their lectures and carry on smoking. “Let's show them pictures - they must be too thick to read!”
There are bigger issues here than discoloured teeth. In his essay On Liberty, J.S.Mill took a stand not only for freedom of thought and speech, but also for “liberty of tastes and pursuits...of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow [ie, if you smoke don't sue tobacco companies] without impediment from our fellow creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them, even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse, or wrong”.
...the anti-smokers' real aim is to get you to cleanse yourself by changing what they think is your foolish, perverse and wrong behaviour, regardless of any harm it may or may not do to others. They have banned smoking in public places; they are pushing to ban it in private homes. Ultimately they want to ban it in your body and soul....They apparently believe that personal freedom has turned us into disgustingly obese, drunken ignoramuses, riddled with self-inflicted sexually transmitted and smoking-related diseases. I ask you, is that a healthy attitude?
Our personal freedom is under attack as never before. What I don't understand why it is that legal and long established freedoms to stuff our bodies with cream cakes, fine ales and Marlboro lights are vilified daily but newer freedoms to stuff our bodies with things that were or are illegal such as cocaine, filthy pictures or by buggery never have a word said against them.
Negative Equity in America - I Want Musso To Rescue Me
Congress is the best advert for dictatorship | Camilla Cavendish - Times Online
We needed leadership. We got childish shenanigans on Capitol Hill. Thank goodness, Europe is finding its own way
Welcome to the post-American world. It has come sooner than we expected. But as bank shares gyrate and the livelihoods of millions of people are at stake, the country I have loved for so long looks as parochial and myopic as a banana republic....This woeful absence of leadership is a hammer blow to America's status as a great power....The most flattering reading of the turmoil in Congress this week has been that this is democracy in action. Personally, I have never felt more attracted to benign dictatorship. But the reality is that politicians who are using their taxpayers as an excuse to do nothing are condemning those same taxpayers to suffer: savers, homeowners, employees and entrepreneurs struggling to make a go of the businesses that will create the wealth the world needs.
It should come as a desperate irony to every American that the only grown-ups today are in the capitals of Europe.
Oh Diddums! A gale blows through your savings and you want to run to the comfort and security of European Dictators rather than wait a few days for the slow and imperfect democratic processes. Some people would prefer to live in a shack under freedom than in a palace under European dictatorship.
Tony - His Finest Hour
In an interview with Vanity Fair she said that Tony Blair would be judged "very well" by history and that "he'll be up there with Churchill".
Of course the gob-faced scouser has delusions of grandeur but to be fair Tony is only 55. Churchill was 55 in 1929 and if he had died then, or his career had finished then, it would be a case of "Winston who?" now. So maybe there is time still for her dreams of glory to arrive. But the prospect of such a crisis arriving that Tony is the answer fills me with dread.