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February 28, 2009

MPs want to control your searching

Politicians have urged the Government to put an end to Google’s dominance of the online search advertising market, calling for the matter to be referred to the Competition Commission.

Twenty-nine MPs have signed an Early Day Motion outlining their concerns. The motion, tabled on February 11, has the support of 25 Labour MPs, one Conservative MP, two Liberal Democrats, and a member of the Scottish National Party.

“On the internet, competition is literally one click away,” said a Google spokesman. “We have to prove our value to our users and advertisers every day, because if they’re unhappy with Google, there’s nothing preventing them from switching to another search engine.”

Quite, what do the MPs suggest, that we are rationed to only using Google for every other search? One day a better search engine will come along, as Altavista and Yahoo found out, both were near monopolies once....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Combat Stress

Iraq hero goes on warpath - The Independent

Cpl Beharry became the Army's most high-profile war hero when he was awarded the VC for "repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour" for the two rescues "despite a harrowing weight of incoming fire".

Yesterday the 29-year-old, who is still a serving soldier, displayed the courage which earned him the country's highest honour by standing up for the thousands of servicemen and women who are still suffering from post-traumatic and combat stress, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a candid interview, Cpl Beharry broke his silence to reveal that almost five years after he suffered severe injuries saving his friends, he is still racked by mental anguish and excruciating pain. While he is aware he has received first-rate treatment, he has spoken out on behalf of less high-profile service personnel, criticising the fact that charities have been forced to step in where the Government has failed.

Robert Marsh, a director of Combat Stress, the charity that offers a lifeline to thousands of veterans suffering from PTSD or associated conditions, said they had seen a 53 per cent increase in new veterans in the past three years. In the past year alone, they have treated 3,700 new veterans.

"Most people do not come forward for an average of 14 years after they have left the services so there is a problem storing up for the future," he said. "Combat Stress is working hard to reduce this time lag because by the time we see them they are on their uppers.

"To have someone like Johnson Beharry VC talking so candidly helps normalise this condition for other veterans and, we really hope, encourages them to come forward."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Where's Philip Pullman's Article on Liberty gone?

Philip Pullman wrote a punchy and poetic article on our disappearing freedoms for The Times yesterday - it appeared in the print version and I linked to it, but it seems to have been wiped from the ether - did anyone save a copy?

cache:www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5811412.ece - Google Search

UPDATE - The Times definitely seems to have pulled it, I wonder why, but thanks to commentators, and Mr Google who has now updated his results, I have now found a couple of copies on the web, one of which I reproduce below.

Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms

To mark the Convention on Modern Liberty, the children’s author has written this article

Are such things done on Albion’s shore?

The image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake’s prophetic books. Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber: that is the condition of Britain today.

We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness - the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys.

We are so fast asleep that we don’t know who we are any more. Are we English? Scottish? Welsh? British? More than one of them? One but not another? Are we a Christian nation - after all we have an Established Church - or are we something post-Christian? Are we a secular state? Are we a multifaith state? Are we anything we can all agree on and feel proud of?

The new laws whisper:

You don’t know who you are

You’re mistaken about yourself

We know better than you do what you consist of, what labels apply to you, which facts about you are important and which are worthless

We do not believe you can be trusted to know these things, so we shall know them for you

And if we take against you, we shall remove from your possession the only proof we shall allow to be recognised

The sleeping nation dreams it has the freedom to speak its mind. It fantasises about making tyrants cringe with the bluff bold vigour of its ancient right to express its opinions in the street. This is what the new laws say about that:

Expressing an opinion is a dangerous activity

Whatever your opinions are, we don’t want to hear them

So if you threaten us or our friends with your opinions we shall treat you like the rabble you are

And we do not want to hear you arguing about it

So hold your tongue and forget about protesting

What we want from you is acquiescence

The nation dreams it is a democratic state where the laws were made by freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people. It used to be such a nation once, it dreams, so it must be that nation still. It is a sweet dream.

You are not to be trusted with laws

So we shall put ourselves out of your reach

We shall put ourselves beyond your amendment or abolition

You do not need to argue about any changes we make, or to debate them, or to send your representatives to vote against them

You do not need to hold us to account

You think you will get what you want from an inquiry?

Who do you think you are?

What sort of fools do you think we are?

The nation’s dreams are troubled, sometimes; dim rumours reach our sleeping ears, rumours that all is not well in the administration of justice; but an ancient spell murmurs through our somnolence, and we remember that the courts are bound to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and we turn over and sleep soundly again.

And the new laws whisper:

We do not want to hear you talking about truth

Truth is a friend of yours, not a friend of ours

We have a better friend called hearsay, who is a witness we can always rely on

We do not want to hear you talking about innocence

Innocent means guilty of things not yet done

We do not want to hear you talking about the right to silence

You need to be told what silence means: it means guilt

We do not want to hear you talking about justice

Justice is whatever we want to do to you

And nothing else

Are we conscious of being watched, as we sleep? Are we aware of an ever-open eye at the corner of every street, of a watching presence in the very keyboards we type our messages on? The new laws don’t mind if we are. They don’t think we care about it.

We want to watch you day and night

We think you are abject enough to feel safe when we watch you

We can see you have lost all sense of what is proper to a free people

We can see you have abandoned modesty

Some of our friends have seen to that

They have arranged for you to find modesty contemptible

In a thousand ways they have led you to think that whoever does not want to be watched must have something shameful to hide

We want you to feel that solitude is frightening and unnatural

We want you to feel that being watched is the natural state of things

One of the pleasant fantasies that consoles us in our sleep is that we are a sovereign nation, and safe within our borders. This is what the new laws say about that:

We know who our friends are

And when our friends want to have words with one of you

We shall make it easy for them to take you away to a country where you will learn that you have more fingernails than you need

It will be no use bleating that you know of no offence you have committed under British law

It is for us to know what your offence is

Angering our friends is an offence

It is inconceivable to me that a waking nation in the full consciousness of its freedom would have allowed its government to pass such laws as the Protection from Harassment Act (1997), the Crime and Disorder Act (1998), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), the Terrorism Act (2000), the Criminal Justice and Police Act (2001), the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Extension Act (2002), the Criminal Justice Act (2003), the Extradition Act (2003), the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003), the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004), the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005), the Inquiries Act (2005), the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005), not to mention a host of pending legislation such as the Identity Cards Bill, the Coroners and Justice Bill, and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Inconceivable.

And those laws say:

Sleep, you stinking cowards

Sweating as you dream of rights and freedoms

Freedom is too hard for you

We shall decide what freedom is

Sleep, you vermin

Sleep, you scum

Source: Times Online

Posted by The Englishman at 12:22 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

February 27, 2009

Custard down your vest

Military to use new gel that stops bullets - Telegraph

"When moved slowly, the molecules will slip past each other, but in a high-energy impact they will snag and lock together, becoming solid," said Richard Palmer, who invented the gel. "In doing so they absorb energy."..The substance relies on "intelligent molecules" that "shock lock" together to absorb energy and create a solid pad. Once the pressure has gone they return to their normal flexible state.

"intelligent molecules my arse - they are just stuffing the vests with custard. Non-Newtonian fluids have given me and my loved ones hours of fun but don't over-egg the discovery.

(My secret plan for untold wealth is to patent sleeping policemen filled with such a gel, drive over slowly and they will ooze flat, try to drive too fast over them and they will set solid..)

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

Friday Night is Music Night (Let's even up the voting Edition)


pollcode.com free polls
Which version do you prefer?
The first The second Hate them both   

Posted by The Englishman at 4:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Iain Dale - Statist Thug

Iain Dale's Diary: Does Sir Fred Goodwin Have No Shame?

Parliament should act to take it away from him.

Iain, Iain, Iain, wrong, wrong, wrong. If it is his legal entitlement agreed by contract then only the worst sort of politician hoping to appease the mob would enact retrospective legislation to confiscate his private property. I'm sure you will realise that in the morning.

UPDATE - The Devil agrees in his usual forceful way...

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

Divine Lightening?

High earning speed camera sites kept secret after vigilante-style attacks - Telegraph

Safety camera partnerships, the organisations which operate the yellow roadside machines, were accused of resorting to "unnecessary secrecy" after several devices previously named in the media as the most lucrative were set alight, apparently by protesters....

One of the organisations approached, Wiltshire & Swindon Safety Camera Partnership, said that one device close to Stonehenge was attacked just a few hours after it was named as one of the most lucrative in the country last year while another nearby was torched the next morning.
A spokesman added that four cameras in the area had been attacked following a wave of media coverage about how much revenue they were generating.

My lips are sealed in case I start giggling at this wanton vandalism...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Snooping has gone too far - Official

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas warns of surveillance culture - Times Online
Richard Thomas told The Times that “creeping surveillance” in the public and private sectors had gone “too far, too fast” and risked undermining democracy.

The Information Commissioner warned that proposals to allow widespread data sharing between Whitehall and the private sector were too far-reaching and that plans to create a giant database of every telephone call, e-mail and text message risked turning everyone into a suspect. “In the last 10 or 15 years a great deal of surveillance in public and private places has been extended without sufficient thought to the risks and consequences,” said Mr Thomas, 59. “Our society is based on liberty and democracy. I do not want to see excessive surveillance hardwired into British society.”
Of the Home Secretary's proposal to build a database to store information currently held by internet service providers and telephone companies, Mr Thomas said: “A government-run database of the communications of all citizens, every phone call, every e-mail, every text, every internet use; a database of all those activities held by the Government would be a step too far for the British way of life.”

Posted by The Englishman at 6:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 26, 2009

One 16 year old gets it

School Gate - Times Online - Can we please have less politics in our GCSE's: a plea from a 16 year old.....
As a current GCSE student, I can identify with this “politicisation”. It seems to me as if the GCSE curricula, above all for science, no longer focus on understanding the subject. The core biology science curriculum now calls for very little knowledge of the biology that we had studied in the years preceding GCSE, but seems to be a governmental attempt to raise awareness of current social issues. For example, section A of the core biology exam concentrates on contraception, drugs, alcohol, smoking, obesity, anorexia and the MMR vaccines, whilst section B tackles broader issues such as global warming, GM crops, creationism vs Darwinism and alternative energy sources...
However, one of the key problems with sitting exams about topics of this nature is that the exam board are required to write mark schemes clearly detailing the answers that they want within a rigid framework. This leaves no room for debate on the part of the student, meaning that instead of producing insightful, perceptive and interesting answers, pupils tend towards putting down what they think the mark scheme is most likely to have as an acceptable response. For example, in a question about embryo screening, the advantage of screening embryos in accordance to the mark scheme was to reduce health care costs for the parents. I found it a little disconcerting, if not positively concerning, to discover that my answer that it would improve the quality of life for the child, did not feature....Arguably, the government is now more concerned with indoctrination than discussion.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Are such things done on Albion's shore?

Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms | Philip Pullman - Times Online

To mark the Convention on Modern Liberty, the children's author has written this article

The image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake's prophetic books. Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber: that is the condition of Britain today.
We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness - the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys....

A Must Read

UPDATE - It has been removed from The Times' website so I reproduce it below.

Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms

To mark the Convention on Modern Liberty, the children’s author has written this article

Are such things done on Albion’s shore?

The image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake’s prophetic books. Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber: that is the condition of Britain today.

We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness - the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys.

We are so fast asleep that we don’t know who we are any more. Are we English? Scottish? Welsh? British? More than one of them? One but not another? Are we a Christian nation - after all we have an Established Church - or are we something post-Christian? Are we a secular state? Are we a multifaith state? Are we anything we can all agree on and feel proud of?

The new laws whisper:

You don’t know who you are

You’re mistaken about yourself

We know better than you do what you consist of, what labels apply to you, which facts about you are important and which are worthless

We do not believe you can be trusted to know these things, so we shall know them for you

And if we take against you, we shall remove from your possession the only proof we shall allow to be recognised

The sleeping nation dreams it has the freedom to speak its mind. It fantasises about making tyrants cringe with the bluff bold vigour of its ancient right to express its opinions in the street. This is what the new laws say about that:

Expressing an opinion is a dangerous activity

Whatever your opinions are, we don’t want to hear them

So if you threaten us or our friends with your opinions we shall treat you like the rabble you are

And we do not want to hear you arguing about it

So hold your tongue and forget about protesting

What we want from you is acquiescence

The nation dreams it is a democratic state where the laws were made by freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people. It used to be such a nation once, it dreams, so it must be that nation still. It is a sweet dream.

You are not to be trusted with laws

So we shall put ourselves out of your reach

We shall put ourselves beyond your amendment or abolition

You do not need to argue about any changes we make, or to debate them, or to send your representatives to vote against them

You do not need to hold us to account

You think you will get what you want from an inquiry?

Who do you think you are?

What sort of fools do you think we are?

The nation’s dreams are troubled, sometimes; dim rumours reach our sleeping ears, rumours that all is not well in the administration of justice; but an ancient spell murmurs through our somnolence, and we remember that the courts are bound to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and we turn over and sleep soundly again.

And the new laws whisper:

We do not want to hear you talking about truth

Truth is a friend of yours, not a friend of ours

We have a better friend called hearsay, who is a witness we can always rely on

We do not want to hear you talking about innocence

Innocent means guilty of things not yet done

We do not want to hear you talking about the right to silence

You need to be told what silence means: it means guilt

We do not want to hear you talking about justice

Justice is whatever we want to do to you

And nothing else

Are we conscious of being watched, as we sleep? Are we aware of an ever-open eye at the corner of every street, of a watching presence in the very keyboards we type our messages on? The new laws don’t mind if we are. They don’t think we care about it.

We want to watch you day and night

We think you are abject enough to feel safe when we watch you

We can see you have lost all sense of what is proper to a free people

We can see you have abandoned modesty

Some of our friends have seen to that

They have arranged for you to find modesty contemptible

In a thousand ways they have led you to think that whoever does not want to be watched must have something shameful to hide

We want you to feel that solitude is frightening and unnatural

We want you to feel that being watched is the natural state of things

One of the pleasant fantasies that consoles us in our sleep is that we are a sovereign nation, and safe within our borders. This is what the new laws say about that:

We know who our friends are

And when our friends want to have words with one of you

We shall make it easy for them to take you away to a country where you will learn that you have more fingernails than you need

It will be no use bleating that you know of no offence you have committed under British law

It is for us to know what your offence is

Angering our friends is an offence

It is inconceivable to me that a waking nation in the full consciousness of its freedom would have allowed its government to pass such laws as the Protection from Harassment Act (1997), the Crime and Disorder Act (1998), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), the Terrorism Act (2000), the Criminal Justice and Police Act (2001), the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Extension Act (2002), the Criminal Justice Act (2003), the Extradition Act (2003), the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003), the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004), the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005), the Inquiries Act (2005), the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005), not to mention a host of pending legislation such as the Identity Cards Bill, the Coroners and Justice Bill, and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Inconceivable.

And those laws say:

Sleep, you stinking cowards

Sweating as you dream of rights and freedoms

Freedom is too hard for you

We shall decide what freedom is

Sleep, you vermin

Sleep, you scum

Source: Times Online

Posted by The Englishman at 10:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tonight's Homework from Christian Aid

Tonight the Englishettes brought this home from school...

Count%20your%20blessings.jpg

(Slices from several sheets for brevities sake, and I don't think it would be good for your blood pressure to read it all.)

Posted by The Englishman at 8:15 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Local Golly News

Marlborough brothers hailed heroes after canal rescue (From This Is Wiltshire)
...Their father Golly Black who lives in Pewsey said: “I can’t tell you how proud I am to have two sons like this.”...

I presume that is a nickname from long ago, but then that is Pewsey for you.

Posted by The Englishman at 11:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Paul is Dead and Antarctic Warming

I strain my brain everyday trying to understand articles such as Steig Eigenvectors and Chladni Patterns - Climate Audit and wanted to share my oversimplisitc view that might give others a toehold into monitoring how well the blogosphere is auditing the claims of climate scientists.

The papers are full of terms such as "Eigenvectors" which is a bit putting off. But concentrate and it becomes a bit clearer.

There was a recent paper that made the front cover of Nature which claimed Antarctica was warming, to the surprise of everyone who had previously looked at the data who thought it was cooling (Either result was claimed to be consistent with the CAGW theory.) What the guys at Climate Audit have been doing is working out where that signal comes from.

Record_Groove-Microscope_View-1000x.jpg

For those of a certain age that image is recognisable as the groove of an LP, a single signal. But we know it is made up of many individual signals combined, the drums, the guitars and the janitor on cowbells etc. What the consensus scientists tell us is that the magic way they play the track, a way they won't reveal shows that that the thousands of individual signals, the weather data, tells them that the Antarctic is warming.

But "auditing" the data shows that that it was only recorded on a three track machine, the other tracks were left on the studio floor. Each track is a special setting of the control knobs to record the incoming noise. And now we know what those settings are we can see what happens if you record random noise, put random data into the formula; you get very similar results to what the scientists claimed was significant proof.

If you play any random music backwards you will hear that Paul is dead, if that is what you want to hear...

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

PC stands for Polar Cooling

The Times reports Icecaps around the North and South Poles are melting faster and in a more widespread way than expected, raising sea levels and worsening climate change, according to a scientific survey.
The International Polar Year survey found that warming in the Antarctic was “much more widespread than was thought”, while Arctic sea ice was diminishing and the melting of Greenland’s ice cover was accelerating.
Preliminary findings from the two-year survey by 10,000 scientists...

Catherine Bréchignac, President of ICSU, adds “thanks to the tireless efforts, enthusiasm, and imagination of thousands of scientists, working with teachers, artists, and many other collaborators.”

I'm not sure how the imagination of teachers and artists help with scientific research but than I'm also not sure how "the catalyst for the development and strengthening of community monitoring networks across the North" is also relevant....

The report is available here in a variety of languages including English and Inuktitut, but it seems to be just a glossy fund raising pack. I'm sure there is a link somewhere to the raw data but I can't find it.

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

February 25, 2009

Teaching the kids that property is theft

One of my children was given this book to read tonight as homework.

Trees0.jpg

The story begins that nice Mr Pennyfeather lets the kids play on his tree in his front garden, but he gets too old to live in the big house and sells it. The story continues below...

Trees1.jpgTrees2.jpg


Trees3.jpgTrees4.jpg

Trees5.jpgTrees6.jpg

Trees7.jpg

The glorious day has arrived where the mayor lives in the wicked capitalist's house, everyone is happy... should I drop a note to the teachers or am I wasting my time?

Posted by The Englishman at 10:53 PM | Comments (35) | TrackBack

IPPR Welcomes Collaborators

The Ranting Penguin brings to my attention, in a forthright manner, the paper 'National Security Strategy and Implication for the UK Intelligence Community' which was published last week by the influential New Labour think tank, the Institute of Public Policy Research.

Sir David Omand, Whitehall's former and security and intelligence coordinator, called for unprecedented Big Brother powers to allow access to private details - including phone records, emails and travel information - to be given to the intelligence services....
'Modern intelligence access will often involve intrusive methods of surveillance and investigation, accepting that, in some respects, this may have to be at the expense of some aspects of privacy rights....application of modern data mining and processing techniques does involve examination of the innocent as well as the suspect to identify patterns of interest for further investigation'

As ever I like to go the source for the true story...

ippr - Institute for Public Policy Research - The National Security Strategy:
Implications for the UK intelligence community


This is a free download, but to help us monitor our readership and improve our service we would be grateful if you would register your details below. You will not be asked for these details again. Thank you for your collaboration.

In this case, I won't bother as I don't want to be monitored and collaborate with a bunch of Statists.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Too dirty a word even for the French

Internet may change name of a town that became a dirty word - Times Online

Go on, guess which town in France is a "dirty word", that Mr Google might misinterpret if you added "tourist" or "hotel" to it.

Anus?

Agay?

The town of Condom on the river Baïse (Note the double dot on the i, we don't want any dirty slang here..)

No, none of these. In fact the town has a name so revolting, so associated with deviant behaviour and disgusting people I feel compelled to hide it below the fold...

Eu

Posted by The Englishman at 7:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Big Job Opportunity for The Remittance Man

Microtrends: gold from sewage - Times Online
• A sewage treatment facility in Nagano, Japan, recently recorded 1,890g of gold per tonne of ash from the sludge it burns up. Not bad, compared to the 20-40g of gold per tonne of ore found in Japan’s largest mine.

Leave behind the dusty veld and long sun downers on the verandah and don the rubber waders and Marigolds if you want to strike pay dirt...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

How to impress the Boss

'Sunday best' tradition will be lost within a generation, researchers warn - Telegraph

Sunday Best clothes, traditionally reserved for wearing to church, topped the list of customs falling by the wayside.
A mere six per cent of Britain's under 25s have ever made the effort to wear them on the traditional day of rest.

I'm not sure if this means dressing up to go to church or putting a tie on when going down the pub for a half a mild and a game of dominoes whilst the leg of lamb cooks. I'm not one for bothering the sky pilot much on a Sunday but when I do go to church I dress as though I was going to an interview, which I suppose I am. And I find it very hard to love my neighbour when they are wearing trainers and jeans; and as for hand shaking I carefully position myself to avoid any chance of that.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Who Pressed The Big Red Button?

video: Nasa loses its first CO2 satellite after launch failure - Times Online
The space agency’s first carbon dioxide-monitoring satellite took off on a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California this morning, but after blasting through the Earth’s atmosphere it fell short of its orbiting height and plummeted back towards the sea.
The orbiting carbon observatory (OCO) satellite was designed to map carbon dioxide on Earth to provide an important step forward for scientists studying climate change.
“For the scientific community it’s a huge disappointment. "....


But an unworthy thought arose that whilst the scientific community might be disappointed the climate change community might be secretly relieved that an independent source of data wasn't going emerge....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 24, 2009

Teatime Pancakes

Gloucester Pancakes from Jane Grigson

Ingredients
6 oz plain flour
1 pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 oz shredded suet
1 egg; beaten
A little milk
Lard for frying

Instructions

Stir together the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl then rub in
the suet. Add the egg and sufficient milk to produce a stiff dough. Roll
out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick, then cut into
about 12 rounds, using a plain (not fluted) 2 inch cutter. Melt a little
lard in a frying pan and fry the cakes until golden brown on both sides.
Drain well and serve at once with warmed golden syrup or a lemon sauce.
Makes about 12 cakes.

These are fantastic, proper rural fare, three of those and you know you have been fed.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

England and the everlasting flame (extinguished)

Bodwyn Wook brings us the wonderful passage of what England meant to Stanley Baldwin, do go and read it all...

....The sounds of England, the tinkle of hammer on anvil in the country smithy, the corncrake on a dewey morning, the sound of the scythe against the whetstone, and the sight of a plough team coming over the brow of a hill, the sight that has been in England since England was a land, and may be seen in England long after the Empire has perished and every works in England has ceased to function, for centuries the one eternal sight of England. The wild anenomies in the woods of April, the last load at night of hay being drawn down a lane as the twilight comes on, when you can scarcely distinguish the figures on the horses as they take it home to the farm, and above all, most subtle, most penetrating and most moving, the smell of wood smoke coming in an autumn evening, or the smell of the scutch fires: ...

Very few of these have survived into this century, but of the agricultural ones I remember the burning scutch or couch fires. Harrowing up the white rhizomes and setting light to them. Of course Round-up put paid to that, though I gather some organic farms need to go back to it.

But I thought it was Hardy who said that couch fires were an everlasting symbol of England you are exclaiming, I know. You are right of course, it seems they both picked the same symbol, a symbol that is now totally meaningless and unimaginable to the English...

In Time of “The Breaking of Nations”
Thomas Hardy (1915)

Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.

Only a thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War’s annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

British Taxpayers Paying for India's Rockets


India has approved a £1.7 billion (£1.1 billion) plan to launch its first astronauts into space by 2015.

The currency confusion is The Times - I presume it is meant to be dollars and then pounds. A billion squids is still a lot of money, even in these profligate days, but it is just about the amount Britain gives to India every year as aid.....why?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Beer isn't just for drinking at breakfast

Pancake Day - remember the batter is best made first thing and then left on the slab in the larder for the day before cooking for high tea. So get to it.

Beer Pancakes

2 eggs
8 oz plain flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
Half a pint milk
2 tbsp butter melted
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tbsp Ale

2 tbsps? I would splash a bit more in, and cut the milk a bit, but then that reduces the amount of beer in the bottle that would only go to waste if not drunk at breakfast....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Jacqui Cuts Plod

Large numbers of police forces are planning to cut thousands of officers despite the threat of a recession-driven surge in crime and disorder.
Representatives from dozens of police forces contacted by The Times last night gave a grim picture of falling numbers and “significant and painful” cuts...
Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said: “There is no reason why police strengths should reduce..

smith.jpg

I think I have spotted half a dozen who are surplus to requirements...

But then just as the Queen believes the world smells of new paint these jumped up poltroons of politicians believe the streets are always full of police. When my local hospital spends £30,000 or more policing its grounds against smokers but the county can't find the money for more plod on the beat then you know our priorities are screwed.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 23, 2009

Big Brother in your Bin

Binmen given computers to build household 'rubbish profiles' that could resurrect plans for £50 bin tax - Telegraph

Waste collection crews are being issued with devices featuring GPS technology that allow councils to store a history of information about individual rubbish collections, including whether householders are failing to recycle properly.
The system feeds binmen with up-to-the minute information about houses they are visiting.
It also provides local authorities with enough information to issue recycling advice or automated fines to residents who fail to obey bin rules.

The bin bugs failed but they won't give up the idea of controlling our habits, the way we live and our bins will they?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:17 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Touching Darwin's Hem

Yesterday was in London on a pilgrimage to the Darwin - Big idea big exhibition.

I guess from The American Museum of Natural History supplying most of the exhibits and a sideshow that sat incongruously at the end attacking the teaching of intelligent design that this exhibition will move on to America after April. So catch here or there if you are into that sort of thing.


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

Let the NHS know all your hidden secrets?

Genetic code could be used to offer ultimate personal care on the NHS - Times Online
A powerful new approach to reading genetic codes has been tested for the first time in a study that could transform the prospects of personalised medical treatment based on individuals’ DNA.
It should be possible to sequence a patient’s entire genetic profile for little more than £500 within five years, making it affordable to the NHS and private health insurers.
...he expected every baby born a decade from now to have its entire genetic code sequenced.

I don't know whether to be scared or excited by the prospect.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

German Desire For World Domination

Europe backs hedge fund oversight and haven crackdown
| Reuters

Chancellor Angela Merkel: "We have today underscored once again our conviction that all financial markets, products and participants must be subject to appropriate oversight or regulation, without exception and regardless of their country of domicile, This is especially true for those private pools of capital, including hedge funds, that may present a systemic risk."

The statement also urges definitive actions against tax havens and uncooperative jurisdictions.

Ah! International Capital, private pots of money in countries we don't control, we demand the right to control them or we will take action, they all have hook noses and eat babies, we demand their immediate surrender......

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

February 22, 2009

Standing up for the right to offend

Open season on free speech in divided Britain - Times Online
As our society fragments into more and more special-interest groups – I’m sorry, I mean, as our society blossoms into an ever more vibrant and diverse “rainbow nation” – these competing groups find more and more reasons to feel offended, and to demand that the law protect them from feeling offended again. This is missing a fundamental point about a democratic state: the right to freedom of speech far outweighs the right not to feel offended. As George Orwell said, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”...Our political leaders should toughen up a bit, and encourage some of the electorate to toughen up as well. There’s nothing dumb about freedom of speech.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:53 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

How The Internet Works In Pictures

The%20Internet.jpg

That's my phone line which connects me to the world; I'm not sure if having it wrapped round an old fence post with all the connectors hanging out is "best practice" but I had that Jacqui Smith down here with a pair of headphones fitted with crocodile clips once...

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

Fac quod dico, non quod facio

Green watchdog red faced over emissions - Scotsman.com News

SCOTLAND'S top environmental watchdog, which urges citizens to fight global warming by reducing the amount of climate-changing gases they produce,... admits that its own emissions rose by a total of almost 10%, or 200 tonnes, last year.

They really do spout a lot of hot air and farts.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Making Alan Stanford Look Like a Two Bit Loser

How to make a million in five years (become a Euro MP) - Times Online
Well, Brussels is a bubble that has escaped the recession, thanks to the many millions that European taxpayers pour into the pockets of Euro-parliamentarians and Eurocrats alike.
In Britain, we complain about bankers’ bonuses and about the denizens of Westminster and Whitehall who cushion themselves financially through perks and pensions while the economy totters.
However, the Euro fatcats – enjoying allowances that, by my reckoning, enable them to save £1m during a single parliament – vastly outpace the British for sheer effrontery, and they do so without having to account for themselves.

It's not Antigua or any other offshore tax haven you want to go to make bucketloads of cash... and you don't risk getting caught..

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

February 21, 2009

Julia Bradbury Virgin Probe

Watchdog star caught up in free flights fraud probe takes time off

Julia Bradbury - Modern Environmental Heroine? Julia%20Bradbury.jpg

Ms Bradbury is understood to have accumulated 238,000 Virgin Atlantic air miles before the account was suspended. Most of the flights taken by Ms Bradbury were from Heathrow to South Africa between 2006 and 2008 using G-class, a free flight earned as a regular flyer..

That would be a no then I guess... But so what? I agree with the scientific view that Julia Bradbury is weirdly hot, in a sanctimonious kind of way.

Posted by The Englishman at 2:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 20, 2009

The hunting laws seem quite stale now....

I was lucky enough to be invited along to a Lawn Meet today, big thanks again...

English as tuppence,
Changing yet changeless as canal water,
Nestling in green nowhere, armoured and effete,
Feudal, still-reactionary Rawlinson End....

Lawn%20Meet.jpg

stale definition 1

  • Having lost freshness; made musty, dry, bad, etc. by having been kept too long;
  • Having lost originality or newness; lacking in interest through familiarity or overuse;
  • Out of condition, ineffective, enervated, bored, etc. from either too much or too little activity
  • LAW having lost legal force or effect through lack of use or action, as a claim or lien

    stale definition 2

  • To urinate: said as of horses and cattle

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Friday Night is Music Night (European Decadence Edition)

    pollcode.com free polls
    Which version do you prefer?
    The first The second Hate them both   

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Crud and Crap to Replace the Brown

    Labour left-wingers Harriet Harman and Jon Cruddas 'could unite to replace Gordon Brown' - Telegraph

    As part of his defence of Miss Harman, Mr Cruddas wrote in the Independent: "Their personal attacks, anonymous briefings and confused diagnoses are symptomatic of an inability - or simple refusal - to grasp the end of an era."

    Saucer of milk?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    I'm off to buy a 4x4

    Sales go into reverse as gas-guzzling 4x4s become 'socially unacceptable' - Scotsman.com News
    Expensive, gas-guzzling cars like 4x4s are becoming socially unacceptable – unless you're a farmer.
    Edmund King, the AA president, said: "The recent cold and icy spell tested many drivers. AA insurance saw claims climb by 100 per cent, but there weren't many by 4x4 drivers, who tended to stay on the road."
    Corinne Evans, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "It's good to see the brakes put on 4x4 owners' relentless quest to trash our climate. Perhaps the school run can now be done in somewhat more sensible vehicles – or, even better, on foot."

    I think it is time to look for a bargain....

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Govt Plans To Control How We Dress

    The government has launched a campaign to tackle the environmental impact of a "fast fashion" culture.
    The Minister for Sustainability Lord Philip Hunt, said the plan represented a "concerted effort to change the face of fashion".

    Little Mao suits for every one then.....

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

    Nappy Time

    Commentary: green is not the only factor - Times Online

    The environmentalist case against disposable nappies is relatively compelling...

    Not that old chestnut again - as Defra points out they are only greener if you hand wash them in cold water and dry them outside on a line across the back yard...
    But hurrah - our hero realises something else...

    Well, so what? Disposable nappies, I contend, are design classics, and worth every penny. A top-of-the-line disposable lets me clear that changing table in two minutes - much less if the subject is co-operative. That is a precious efficiency: with a three-week-old and a two-year-old in the house, my poor girlfriend is averaging three hours' sleep a night. I'm getting maybe five. Neither of us will be wasting a second washing nappies.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 19, 2009

    Dinton Street View

    Driving through Dinton this afternoon I came up behind a strange car with a pole out the roof - a moments thought that it was an intrusive anti privacy cctv setup was dispelled when I noticed the small Google sign on it - Street View being clicked - I hope they didn't catch me eating my sandwich and talking on the phone as I drove along...


    View Larger Map

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Gordon's Ripper Fantasy

    Ripper 'very unlikely' to go free, says Brown - Yorkshire Post

    YORKSHIRE Ripper Peter Sutcliffe will almost certainly spend the rest of his days locked up, the Prime Minister has said.
    Seeking to reassure the public after reports suggested doctors had cleared Sutcliffe as no longer dangerous, Gordon Brown said: "I don't think he will ever be released. But I'm arranging for him to have some day releases to help repay the community for his crimes. I've given him the spare backdoor key to Yvette Cooper's house and than a taxi is booked to take him to bloody Harriet Crusty Knickers Harman. If he wasn't out of practice that Fat Gobshite Jacquii would be on the list as well, she can bloody wait for next weekend.......

    H/t KdT

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    If you go down to the woods today...

    Big thumbs-down for 'private' forests - Scotsman.com News

    PLANS to lease out a quarter of Scotland's forest estates have met with opposition from almost three- quarters of people who responded to a Scottish Government consultation, The Scotsman can reveal.
    Among reasons for opposing the plans, in the draft Scottish Climate Change Bill, were that it was "tantamount to privatisation" and that public access and use of woodlands could suffer if they were in the hands of private firms whose priority was to make a profit.
    Allan MacKenzie, department trade union secretary at the Forestry Commission, said it was time to shelve the proposals.
    "We are not surprised at the overall percentage of people against it," he said. "What we are surprised at is the cross section of the population who have taken the time and trouble to voice their opinions as to why leasing is a bad idea."
    Jonathan Hughes, head of policy at Scottish Wildlife Trust, said the overwhelming "no" vote sent a very clear signal.

    Of 399 people who gave their views on allowing private companies to have 75-year leases for a quarter of Scotland's publicly owned forests in return for £200 million, 71 per cent were against.

    So they managed to find 284 socialists still in Scotland running wild in the state owned forests spitting venom against Maggie Thatcher and privatisation. I wonder if there will be a captive breeding program to ensure these relics from an earlier age are preserved for our children to wonder at and the BBC to make documentaries about?

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Rats queuing to leave the ship of state

    Even Labour MPs are shortselling the bust PM | Rachel Sylvester - Times Online

    Just as public figures flocked to Labour in 1997, now celebrities and business leaders are following the polls towards the Conservatives....Think-tanks, keen to attract business sponsorship, are concentrating on centre-right policies - Demos, new Labour's favourite wonk-house, recently launched a project on Progressive Conservativism.....Across Whitehall civil servants are carefully pulling back from the Labour administration. I am told that it is getting harder to recruit fast-streamers for plum jobs in ministerial private offices - the bright young things don't want to become too associated with the politicians of what they assume to be an out-going regime.

    Meanwhile, politicians are thinking increasingly of life after Gordon. Cabinet ministers are jostling for position in preparation for the leadership contest that would follow a Labour defeat. Harriet Harman - who, as deputy leader, has won one party election - is said by colleagues (and rivals) to be campaigning assiduously for the top job..... “Harriet's positioning like mad,” one senior figure says. “She's written off the election and she's thinking about herself.”

    She is not the only one. Ministers claim that Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is “on manoeuvres” with speaking engagements to party groups all over the country - his speech suggesting that the global recession would be the worst for 100 years was seen as an attempt to reach beyond his ministerial brief. Ed Miliband's opposition to the third runway at Heathrow was interpreted by MPs (and No 10) as an attempt to appeal to Labour's green wing.

    “There is a massive sense of fatalism both among MPs and civil servants,” a former Cabinet minister says. “Gordon's lost all authority. How can this go on for another 16 months?”

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

    Stanford Trails

    Allen Stanford 'fraud' uncovered by favour - Times Online

    In his one-room office delicately positioned above a North London hair salon and next to the local chip shop, Charlesworth Hewlett diligently pored over his work.
    Each year for a decade the ageing accountant and former RAF serviceman put his signature on the audit of the $50 billion business affairs of the international financier and cricket sponsor Allen Stanford.
    Post for CAS Hewlett & Co is still delivered to the 20ft by 20ft room at the back of a 1930s block shared by five other companies.
    Jeff Wynne, who runs a property services company in the office opposite, recalled that Mr Hewlett mostly worked on his own, although a colleague sometimes joined him.
    “He was a nice old boy,” he said, “He had a few clients, but it was not much. He would spend a couple of weeks here and then a few months working in Antigua.” As he grew increasingly frail Mr Hewlett moved his business to his nearby home where he lived with his wife, Delvine, 69.
    Since Mr Hewlett’s death at the age of 73 last month the business has passed to his daughter, Celia, who lives in Enfield, North London.
    Last night Ms Hewlett refused to comment about the allegations.

    Didn't anyone ask why the accounts weren't being signed off by one of the big companies with flashy premises. Didn't one of the big swinging dick investment managers who earn gazillions for their insight and cleverness think as they read the accounts prior to shovelling more money that way, ummm?
    Not that I'm blaming the old boy who did the books, I'm sure it made a nice retirement project with paid for trips to the sun, but mighten the size of the business been just a tad too much for him?

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

    February 18, 2009

    The Last Glacier in Wiltshire Melts and a History Lesson

    Come back Mr Free Market the last glacier in Wiltshire is melting;
    LAST%20Glacier.jpg
    Where's Al Gore when you need him?

    The circle you can see on the hill below is Rybury Camp, an ancient Neolithic fortification, which nearly became a bloody battlefield in 1944.

    In December 1944 an audacious plan was hatched by Waffen SS officers and some Fallschirmjäger troops to break out of their camp in Devizes, Wiltshire and seize weapons, including tanks from a local army depot and march on London, all this was to coincide with the Ardennes offensive which was taking place in Europe. The Ardennes Offensive lifted the moral of many German prisoners as they though this would lead to their liberation but they were very much mistaken.

    Their plan called for them to regroup after escape at Rybury Camp, await reinforcements and fight off any opposition.

    Although the plan sounds ludicrous it caused the British some concern and not unfoundedly as there were around 250,000 prisoners in Britain (the equivalent of 48 divisions) at that time and the British and American forces stationed in Britain numbered considerably less as they were fighting in Europe and the Far East.

    The huts were bugged and so the plan was discovered. On the night of The Great Escape at the appointed time the floodlights were turned on and revealed the camp ringed by Grenadier Guards who were stationed nearby. The easy going local guards were replaced that night by Polish troops, noted for their sensitivity towards Nazis.... The perpetrators were dealt with, being sent to Comrie Camp in Perthshire (Camp 21) in the wilds of Scotland which housed hard-line line Nazis (mainly young Waffen SS, Fallschirmjäger and U-boat crew prisoners) out of the way of other moderate prisoners. This did lead to one very unfortunate incident where Feldwebel Wolfgang Rosterg-a known anti-Nazi was sent by mistake. He was believed to have informed of the plot to march on London and after a severe beating was hanged in the latrine. Five prisoners were caught, tried and hanged in Pentonville Prison in North London on 6th October 1946. Another prisoner- Unteroffizer Gerhard Rettig was beaten to death for his open criticism of the plan and was beaten to death after being chased round the camp and two other prisoners were executed in November 1946 in Pentonville Prison.

    Picture Credit Young Harry

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Pay to Save

    BBC NEWS | England | Cornwall | Tax increases for 'super council'
    Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

    Councillors in Cornwall have agreed an average 2.6% council tax rise to help fund the county's new "super council"...The council tax rise will amount to an extra £23.83 a year on a Band B property.

    BBC NEWS | England | Cornwall | Job cuts plan at merged council
    Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

    It is predicted the money saved by creating the new authority will save taxpayers £17m a year.

    I bet the poor taxpayers of Cornwall are glad the new council isn't predicting even bigger savings, who knows how high their rates bill would have to be to pay for them.

    HT JO - many thanks.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Abolish Private Property to Create Jobs

    Letters to The Editor -Times Online
    Dear Sir
    ...The Marine and Coastal Access Bill, currently being debated in the House of Lords, will create a continuous route for walkers around the coast. It would provide an annual boost of up to £128 million to coastal businesses and create an estimated 11,300 jobs. Britain has a window of opportunity to bring her coastline alive again. If this rare opportunity is to be grasped, there must be full public and cross-party support for this visionary Bill.

    Adrian Morris
    Head of Walking Environment
    The Ramblers’ Association

    11,000 jobs (though only paying £10 grand) who could possibly be so curmugeonly to object to this benefit cost? It only involves the confiscation without compensation of private property rights so even the Tories can hardly be worried about that as they happily did it to Leaseholders when they were in power.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Scotch Diet

    Releasing sea eagles into the wild seemed a good idea, but there was one key flaw … they love killing other rare animals - Scotsman.com News
    ..They most commonly ate sea birds, particularly fulmars. This was followed by mackerel, then lumpsucker, dogfish, red deer, mountain hare, lamb, brown rat, raven, short eared owl, great black backed gull, puffin, greylag goose and eider duck.

    The Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of the avian world. Protected species and farmers lambs, yum yum...

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

    The costs of being spied on

    Surveillance will cost more than £34 billion say Convention on Modern Liberty - Times Online

    Supporters of the Convention on Modern Liberty claim that spending on computer systems ranging from the NHS Spine to the ID card register is rising at an alarming rate....A Home Office working party has drawn up three options for surveillance of telephone calls, e-mails and text messages, including a huge government database. Opponents describe this as a Big Brother project that could cost £12 billion over the next ten years.

    Mobile phone companies retain call logs for billing purposes, which can be obtained by detectives. The problem facing the police is that internet telephony networks such as Skype do not need the data and so do not collate it. One senior police source said: “We face a potentially disastrous loss of our investigative capability.”

    Lord Bingham of Cornhill, the former Lord Chief Justice said:
    “Perhaps the British are content to be the most spied-upon people in the democratic world,” he wrote in The Guardian. “But this would be surprising given their traditional belief that the state should mind its own business.

    I worry less about the £34 Billion than the loss of our liberty.

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

    The state broadcaster wants to know if we are living in a police state

    BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Are we living in a climate of fear?
    Do you think recent anti-terrorism laws are justified? Is the UK moving towards a police state? Are ministers using terrorism threat to create a climate of fear the UK?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    I want a rebate on my TV licence

    Swearing, sex and phone-in scams see Ofcom fines soar by 1,000 per cent - Telegraph

    the level of penalties issued by the broadcasting watchdog since its establishment increased from £452,500 in 2004 to a record £4.7 million last year...Recent cases include a number of faked phone-ins on BBC radio and television, including a £45,000 fine for scam in which a charity competition run as part of Comic Relief was won by a producer posing as "Dave from Essex".
    The BBC's infamous rigging of a competition to name the Blue Peter cat resulted in a £50,000 penalty in 2007.
    The Corporation was also criticised for highly offensive language broadcast prior to the watershed as part of the Live Earth programme in 2007 and the fine is pending.
    ITV was fined a record £5.67 million last May...

    So it looks like 2008 is going to be an even bigger bumper year for fines, so where does the money go? I haven't seen my share as compensation for being conned and offended, why doesn't it come off the TV licence? There's a policy idea for Jeremy Hunt

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

    February 17, 2009

    Your Tax Money at Work in the NHS

    BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire | Hospital smoke wardens criticised
    A Wiltshire hospital has been criticised for employing two full-time no-smoking wardens to patrol its grounds.

    Bosses at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon imposed a smoking ban on the site last year.

    A hospital spokesman said it was an effective move and claimed the number of smokers had decreased.

    But the Taxpayers' Alliance said it was not a justifiable use of money which should go on primary healthcare.

    Terri Stevans, from the hospital added: "It is our duty to protect our patients. We are not telling them not to smoke, just that this is a non-smoking site.

    Posted by The Englishman at 1:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Recycling News

    Food scraps and farm waste to be chewed up to create energy - Times Online
    Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter
    Plans to build more than 1,000 anaerobic digesters to turn unwanted food and farm waste into energy and fertiliser will be unveiled today.

    Lewis Smith covered the same story back in August 2008 to which EU Referendum
    set out a dire tale about how private enterprises had embraced anaerobic digesters as an admirable solution to organic waste disposal, only to have the economics of their systems wrecked by the dead hand of the Environment Agency.
    The EA insisted on classifying these systems as "scheduled processes" – under an EU directive – and then charging exorbitant "authorisation" and "subsistence" fees which, with the stultifying and time-consuming bureaucracy involved, ensured that few digesters were installed. Those that were quickly became disused simply because, under the burden of regulation, they were too expensive to operate.
    So, now that the government has effectively priced the system out of the market, it is offering public money – our money – to encourage the use of a well-tried and working technology that it, itself, has hamstrung.
    Had Smith known anything of the subject – and the background to it – he could have written a really interesting and critical piece. As it is, we are condemned to the usual ration of extruded verbal material which has become the only fare available. Thus, as we keep saying, are we served by the fourth estate.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    A National Disgrace

    Save Bletchley Park: Why I'm ashamed to be British - Dr Sue Black - Telegraph
    Bletchley Park needs sustained government funding to preserve it. But then of course we’re in an economic downturn - so how could the government afford it?
    Well, here’s a comparison. In the short term Bletchley Park needs £10 million, which is a pittance compared to how many millions, or is it billions now, that have recently been given to the banks? And how much more than the original estimate is being spent by us on the Olympics?

    Dr Sue Black is Head of Department of Information and Software Systems at the University of Westminster. She blogs about saving Bletchley Park here.

    A cause we should support.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:38 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    The Sheriff and Outlaw

    Anger as sheriff jails man who threatened drug dealer and destroyed heroin stash - Scotsman.com News
    Peter Drummond, 26, took the law into his own hands after his brother-in-law became addicted to the drug.
    He went to the home of John Nellies and berated him for causing misery to families before flushing five bags of heroin down the toilet, Perth Sheriff Court was told.
    Drummond, who was reported to the police by one of Nellies' customers, shook his head in disbelief as he was jailed for two months by Sheriff Robert McCreadie....
    But Sheriff McCreadie ignored the plea and told Drummond he should have contacted the police. "You can't take matters into your own hands the way you did," he said.

    Obviously The Sheriff doesn't subscribe to Peelian Principles
    Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

    Law and order has become a state monopoly...

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 16, 2009

    Police State - Warning

    Spy chief: We risk a police state - Telegraph

    Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has warned that the fear of terrorism is being exploited by the Government to erode civil liberties and risks creating a police state.

    Dillow and The Devil may br discounted as frothy mouthed blogger but FFS she knows of what she talks.

    (Best Devil article for a while - do visit)

    Posted by The Englishman at 11:34 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Porky Pie Labelling

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

    Mr Ed's Climate Police Will Come Calling

    Energy experts to visit every home to help them go green - Telegraph

    "The Great British Refurb" will fit every home in need of insulation in the roof or walls by 2015. By 2030 every home will be offered a "whole house" green refurbishment, including fitting renewable heat technologies like ground source heat pumps and solar panels.
    Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said teams of energy advisers would go around "house by house, street by street" to advise people how to improve their homes.
    Loans would then be made available to pay for the new technologies, that can cost thousands of pounds.
    It is not yet decided how the massive programme will be funded but it is expected a large amount of money will come from a levy on energy companies that will ultimately be passed onto consumers.
    "We cannot afford not to act," he said. "

    What fun dinner must have been in the Miliband household; the old man Adolphe was a Marxist illegal immigrant always grumbling about the Americans, David would have been banging his rattle in his high chair until he went to University and Ed is obviously named after and is as bright as a talking horse.

    Mr%20Ed.jpg Ed%20Miliband.jpg

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

    Pilots Battle ID Card Pilot Scheme

    Flights at risk as pilots refuse to accept 'demeaning' ID cards -Times Online
    Thousands of flights could be cancelled in a dispute between pilots and the Government over the introduction of identity cards.

    The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said that its members – 84 per cent of the commercial pilots in Britain – would not co-operate with Home Office plans to make airside workers “guinea pigs” for the cards.

    Balpa said in its submission: “It is clear that the Government's staged introduction of biometric identity cards first to overseas students, then to migrant workers and then for aviation workers, represents a way of picking off what are seen as easy targets.”

    “Forcing pilots to have ID cards is an affront to the people who for years have been, and continue to be, at the forefront in the battle against terrorist outrages.”

    The pilots are the first non vulnerable group to be picked on, let's hope they stick to their objections and start the scuppering of this scheme.

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

    Culpability Brown

    Critics rush to point finger of blame at 'Culpability Brown' - Scotsman.com News
    GORDON Brown was last night facing an unprecedented barrage of criticism over his role in the UK's financial crisis amid claims he was responsible for massive gaps in the regulatory system and that he failed to maintain stability in the country's finances.

    Analysis: What an appalling mess – and Lord Turner may have pressed the ejector button that could catapult Gordon Brown out of Number 10 - Scotsman.com News
    What an appalling, blame-dodging, question-begging mess is now unfolding with new items almost every day.
    Bankers with no banking qualifications; top executives who say they were not to blame; a regulatory system almost perfectly designed to miss the big picture; bonuses showered everywhere – and a government in denial of its responsibility.

    Gordon Brown now looks vulnerable on four fronts.

    First, he was the architect of the current tripartite regulatory system, set up in one of his first acts as Chancellor...
    Second, it was Mr Brown as chancellor who made appointments to the FSA.
    Third, it was Mr Brown as Chancellor who made appointments to the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee and who ordered the Bank to set interest rates using the EU-standard Consumer Price Index as its inflation measure.The central flaw of the CPI is that it has no house price component. As a result, interest rates were cut and kept low even though house prices and mortgage lending boomed.
    And fourth, it was Mr Brown, together with his Chancellor, Alistair Darling, who promoted the Lloyds TSB takeover of HBOS by waiving competition rules.

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

    Scots Commando Hygiene Warning

    True Scotsmen are told to cover up - Scotsman.com News

    IT MAY be a tradition, but Scottish men's habit of "going commando" in a kilt is increasingly disgusting firms hiring Highland dress.
    Several companies are now requesting that customers keep their pants on when they hire a kilt to protect staff and future customers from unhygienic tartan.
    Leading Scottish kilt-making firm Slanj..said: "A lot of our staff worked in the hire sector previously and found the biggest problem was cleaning the kilts. People were hiring them to wear at weddings, parties and football and rugby matches.
    "It doesn't require a huge leap of imagination to picture what kind of states they would come back in. Because of this and the potential hygiene problems, we are politely asking people to wear underwear."...
    "We've had customers who have absolutely no shame whatsoever, with soils front and back. But 98 per cent will be all right, with just the usual beer spills, and if they are gross then we'll charge the customer even more for cleaning it."

    I've never worn a skirt, and I'm certainly not going to start now, especially a hired one...

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

    February 15, 2009

    Olympic Thought Police

    Rachel Cooke interviews Iain Sinclair | Books | The Observer
    Hackney council does not want its author speaking in any of its libraries because he is "anti-Olympics". At this, Sinclair laughs gleefully. "So wonderful for me. So absurd and crazy, a metaphor for insanity, in fact, but the best piece of publicity. I was asked to go along to Stoke Newington library to speak to 20 people: old hippies and local history buffs, probably. But I'd written an anti-Olympics piece in the London Review of Books, and so the Hackney thought police decided: no, we can't have this person in our library. They lied about this all the way down the line, insisting it was nothing to do with the Olympics but that they can't have 'controversial' topics discussed in libraries. Eventually someone from the Hackney Citizen used the Freedom of Information Act to get the transcript [of what was said in a meeting] and, sure enough, it came directly from the Mayor, Jules Pipe, saying that this person is anti-Olympics, and he doesn't go into our libraries. So Hackney Council is my co-sponsor, really - and, of course, this manipulation [on the part of the council] is also a big theme of the book."

    Sinclair goes further than most when it comes to condemning what he regards as the folly of the Olympics. "It's catastrophic. Apocalyptically catastrophic. It's brutalising: the time scale of it, the fact that it was imposed from above, the consultation a farce, and the promise of this legacy - which is what? It's Westfield shopping mall, basically [a similar mall to west London's Westfield, will be built out east]. Have you been there? Horrendous. Drains the life blood out of you in seconds. Then they have the nerve to call it the People's Park. What do they think was there before? It was the people's park: anglers, birdwatchers, footballers. Now they're all gone, so it's the opposite. I'm deeply disturbed and angry....it's like an invaded city. Like Basra. A sea of mud. Convoys rolling in day and night, day and night."

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Draper Must Apologise

    Dolly Draper admits his ignorance by allowing commentators on his site to use the derogatory term for mentally retarded kids - "windowlickers"; ignorance is no defence, he didn't allow Carol Thatcher to get away with Golliwog because she knew no better, so nor should he, especially as he is an expert in mental health.
    Or as he would say in that excitable way of his:

    Derek Draper's offensive comments have to stop - and John Prescott must stop linking to him NOW!

    Sadly the left wing blogosphere has today proved itself to be even more offensive and objectionable.
    We have no doubt that sections of the blogosphere will accuse us of picking a fight But we should not - and cannot - ignore this.
    Because this goes beyond personal abuse.
    This is about zero tolerance of bullying. It is about coming down firmly on bullys and their apologists and enablers wherever they show their sick, ugly heads.
    We call on Derek Draper to remove these comments immediately and apologise. Take down these comments now. They are on your website. You should hang your head in shame.


    UPDATE
    Draper has issued a decent grown up apology. That's the way to do it.

    Posted by The Englishman at 1:47 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Passing on a message to all parents.

    Sometimes It's Peaceful: For *all* parents

    The time has come for all parents to wake up and become aware of the massive legal changes to UK law that are being rolled out and will affect us all. Even parents who live outside of the UK should look out for this coming to their country and try to stop it before it happens. ....

    Here, the new system is called Every Child Matters (http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/) and it seeks to monitor and control every aspect of every child's life.

    The ECM regime is centred around five 'outcomes', with which every child is expected to comply, but the outcomes don't mean what they imply. "Be healthy," "Stay safe," "Enjoy and achieve," "Make a positive contribution," and "Achieve economic well-being," all sound quite harmless and beneficial, but when you scratch the surface they actually mean something quite different.

    The five outcomes are all measured by a whole raft of indicators, and if your child is seen to be failing in any outcome, he or she will be put through an eCAF (http://tinyurl.com/ag6686) which is a long and extremely invasive questionnaire that collects information about every aspect of the child's life, and lodges the answers in the child's file on the new Contactpoint database. If you look at the end of the questions, you will see the requirement for an 'action plan', the progress of which is to be tracked, monitored and recorded on the child's file.

    The thing is, the criteria for the outcomes is going to be so tight that it will be almost impossible for every child to reach them all the time. For example, the draft guidance for anyone coming into contact with children on 'When to suspect child maltreatment' (http://tinyurl.com/bv23r2) includes things like inappropriate, or ill-fitting clothes, not taking prescribed medicine, 'excessive clinginess', temper tantrums, or other 'inappropriate behaviour'. If you've got children, you will know that most can and will fall foul of at least one of those points in stressful circumstances. The 'Stay Safe' outcome is then breached and an eCAF carried out.

    But the most worrying outcome is the last one. 'Achieve economic wellbeing' actually means that any child whose family on a lower than average income (which is actually quite high: http://tinyurl.com/b76f2r and is worked out *after* housing costs and tax) who is receiving Child Tax Credits, when both parents are not in full-time employment, will fail to meet the outcome and be made the subject of an eCAF and associated action plan. Causing a child to live in [relative] poverty is now seen as abusive and this may not affect you now, but hardly anyone's position is 100% safe in the current economic climate. To address the issue of lack of jobs, the government is working with corporate 'partners' to bring in a full-time compulsory workfare programme.

    The 'Every Child Matters' and Anti-Child Poverty programmes are not designed only to help children in real need. Systems are already in place to help those children and our state welfare system ensures that nobody ever needs to go hungry in this country. The intention - and the result, if we do nothing - will be to completely change the nature of normal family life forever.

    So what can we do? This is difficult. Most of the changes are happening by Statutory Instrument, which is not voted on in Parliament, so your MP is probably unable to make a difference although it might help to write to them with your concerns (http://www.writetothem.com/). Petitions are usually ignored in matters of major reform programmes such as these, and protest marches seem to have very little effect. Voting for a different political party will not help: all the main parties are committed to doing the same thing, or worse.

    Perhaps the most powerful thing you can do just now is to talk to other parents. Pass this message around, post it on forums, send it in emails. If you know anyone who works with children or is likely to come into contact with them in a professional capacity, talk to them especially about it. Ask them if they realise the full extent of the planned changes and consequences.....

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Tory Millions - Where the Money Goes

    Amazon villagers get Conservative party windfall for saving rainforest - Times Online
    A REMOTE community in the Amazon stands to be given millions of pounds to stop cutting down its rainforest after being chosen by both the Conservative party...
    A total of 322 families living in the Juma reserve in the Brazilian state of Amazonas will each receive a monthly allowance in return for pledging zero deforestation. Each family had to attend a workshop on climate change and commit to zero deforestation and to send their children to school. They were then given a forest cash-card credited with 50 reais (£15) per month.
    The Tories decided to support the project after a visit in December by Greg Barker, shadow environment minister, on a fact-finding mission. “Nothing we can do to fight climate change will succeed unless we can reverse the alarming deforestation across the world,” he said.
    It will be announced this week as part of a Conservative climate change campaign.

    If I promise not to cut down any rainforests this month will the Tories give me money to stay in bed?

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    The Girly Games

    Tessa Jowell’s gender Olympics - Times Online
    TESSA JOWELL, the Olympics minister, wants the 2012 Games to meet equality targets by allowing women to compete in heavyweight wrestling and men in synchronised swimming.
    She has written to UK sports chiefs asking them to help end “gender discrepancies” in the Olympic and Paralympic rules...

    Why not get rid of the whole unfair outdated winning and losing concept as well?

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Top Blogging

    A guide to the 100 best blogs - part I - Times Online

    Yawn....

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Doomed, I say Doomed!

    BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Global warming 'underestimated'
    The severity of global warming over the next century will be much worse than previously believed, a leading climate scientist, Professor Chris Field, has warned.
    ....Speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, Prof Field said fresh data showed greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2007 increased far more rapidly than expected.
    "We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously in climate policy," he said.
    Prof Field said the 2007 report, which predicted temperature rises between 1.1C and 6.4C over the next century, seriously underestimated the scale of the problem.

    So he is claiming emissions rose "far more", emissions are estimated but luckily we have an old family firm on a volcano in the Pacific that publish what they think CO2 levels actually are, and I can't see any unexpected rises. And Watts Up points out another small problem with this BBC alarmism:

    Chris Field is not a climate scientist, as they claimed. He is actually a Professor of Biology in an Ecology Department. So how does the BBC choose their headlines? In matters of global warming, apparently the apocalyptic words of one American ecologist overrule those of the UK’s own government climate scientists at The Met Office. Chris Field clearly does not have any credentials to be making the climate claims the BBC reported.



    Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 13, 2009

    Strong and sweet

    Prince Harry ...his commanders in the Army called him to "an interview without coffee" .
    The Prince has been ordered to attend a racial equality and diversity course, for the second time.

    "without coffee" - well they could hardly ask him how he likes it; "White or black?", could they?

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:24 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Size Matters

    Judge takes 12,000 words to rule that size does not matter - Telegraph

    His conclusion clashes with that of Lord Denning, a former Master of the Rolls, who ruled that it only counted if it was at least seven inches....

    Lord Denning was a good old country boy and I think in this case he knew what he was talking about, this ruling is going to cause a great deal of confusion if it is allowed to stand.

    Posted by The Englishman at 4:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Friday Night is Music Night (English Love Song Edition)

    In the Summer of 1888, Edward Elgar and Alice Roberts were heading towards marriage. Edward decided on a holiday with his long-standing friend, Dr Charles Buck of Settle, Yorkshire. As he left Worcester, Alice presented Edward with a poem she had written and entitled Love's Grace. While on holiday in Settle, Edward reciprocated by writing a short piece of music for her, which he called Liebesgruss (Love's Greeting). The work carried the dedication "To Carice", a contraction of his future wife's forenames Caroline Alice with which they subsequently christened their daughter. On his return from Settle, Elgar presented the work to his wife and proposed to her. They married at the Brompton Oratory in South Kensington, London in May the following year.

    Towards the end of 1888, Edward submitted three arrangements of the work - for solo piano, for violin and piano, and an orchestral arrangement - to the music publishing firm of Schott who agreed to buy the work outright for a fee of two guineas. At first, the work sold slowly. Apparently with Elgar's approval, Schott's retitled the work Salut d'Amour and gave the composer's name as Ed. Elgar, believing that the French title and a less obviously English composer would help the work gain wider international approval. It did, much to the publisher's satisfaction but with no financial benefit to Elgar.

    Posted by The Englishman at 4:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Rights vs Justice

    I listened to this case yesterday as I was driving and I struggled to pinpoint what was wrong, Andrew Lilco points out what it is :

    CentreRight: The wicked principle that "the welfare of the child is paramount"

    ...the central principle that the welfare of the children is paramount. It was very likely to be in the best interests of the children that they stay with their new adoptive parents. Yet this principle is obviously wicked - consciously so, for it sets aside even the aspiration of being just. The notion that these parents should be denied the raising of their children just because they would be better off being raised by someone else is horrific.
    Australia used to take children from Aborigines so they could be raised in environments in which the children would do better. One could imagine taking away the children of British unemployed teenage single mothers to give them to wealthy childless couples. I don't doubt that by any objective measure of life outcomes - qualifications, lifetime earnings, likelihood of falling to crime or drugs, likelihood of divorce, whatever you like - I have no doubt that on any objective measure of the welfare of children the children taken from Aborigines would have done better, and the children taken from teenage single mothers to give to wealthy childless couples would do better. But we rightly think that this practice in Australia was wicked, and we would rightly think that taking the children of teenage mothers in this way would be wicked - provided only that the parents were competent to raise their children. Setting aside justice in order to take paramount concern for the welfare of children is unjust...

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:05 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Where's Flashman When His Country Needs Him?

    Beware of the dog: Gordon Brown's nearly at the end of his tether - Times Online

    I learnt three things from watching Gordon Brown for two and a half hours yesterday. Our Prime Minister is right about everything (no exceptions). He truly believes he is saving the world. He is operating on a very, very short fuse.

    The problem the Tories have is that Dave and George were never the school bullies. They were the ones with "Kick Me " signs pinned to the backs of their jackets, theirs were the shiny little red faces pushed down the bogs. Any bully recognises when the victim is about to break and lash out in a terrible bait and then run home crying, and that is the moment the special taunt has be reserved for. But they keep letting Gordon off the hook; you don't suppose they realise that the best thing for their political careers is to keep him in No 10 for as long as possible, it might not be in the country's interest but it definitely is in the Tory Party's.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Cowards and Appeasers

    Anti-Islamist politician Geert Wilders refused entry to Britain - Times Online
    Mr Wilders, 45, an MP in the Netherlands, caught a British Midlands flight from Amsterdam this afternoon brandishing his passport and boarding pass. He said he would have to be physically restrained from entering the country. “I’ll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs,” he said.
    ”It is easy to invite people you agree with, it is more difficult to invite people you disagree with and this is the proof of the pudding," he said.
    "I am going to Great Britain because I was invited by another politician (Lord Pearson of Rannoch). I am a democrat, I am serving freedom of speech. They are not only being nasty to me they are being nasty to freedom of speech.
    He added: "They (the British government) are more Chamberlain than Churchill."
    The Home Office decision to refuse Mr Wilders entry on account of his views provoked Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister, to call David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, to protest at the decision. “The fact that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country is highly regrettable,” Mr Verhagen said.

    Lord Pearson asked Home Office minister Lord West of Spithead: “Do you think this situation would occur if Mr Wilders had said ban the Bible. If it would not have occurred, why would it not have occurred? ...The violence is coming from the Jihadist, the violent Islamist, and surely the Government in doing what it has done is therefore guilty of appeasement.”

    Lord West replied: “I certainly don’t think we are guilty of appeasement in any way whatsoever. I don’t want to go down the route of discussing a hypothetical case of what if he talked about this, what if he talked about that.”
    He told peers: “Under European law a member state of the European Economic Area may refuse entry to a national of another EEA state if they constitute a threat to public policy, public security or public health.”


    Posted by The Englishman at 7:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Sometimes Punishment Not Understanding Is Called For.

    Caustic soda rapists’ sentences to be reviewed - Times Online
    The jail sentences of three men who gang-raped a 16-year-old girl and doused her in caustic soda, leaving her disfigured, are to be reviewed to decide if they were unduly lenient.
    Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the Attorney-General, referred the cases of Rogel McMorris, 18, jailed for nine years, Jason Brew, 19, and Hector Muaimba, 20, both jailed for six years, to the Court of Appeal. The victim, who had a mental age of 8, was attacked in Tottenham, North London. The rapists used their mobile phones to record the girl’s suffering and hoped that the caustic soda, a powerful corrosive, would destroy evidence. They also poured water on her, intensifying the burning.

    Six years would be about the right length of time if I was in charge of their gaoling, the sorry remains of their flayed corpses would be ready to be cut down by then. But then scum like that make me come over all medieval....

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    February 12, 2009

    Get Your Origin of Species here...

    I succumbed to temptation and put my copy up on eBay:

    1882 Charles Darwin "The Origin Of The Species" on eBay (end time 12-Feb-09 17:58:07 GMT)

    I feel a little bit guilty, but then as it only cost me £3 I didn't think it good enough to give to my son for his birthday present....

    Posted by The Englishman at 4:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Happy Birthday F, C and A

    Alongside Charlie we also have that old Republican Abe and on a personal note a big Happy Birthday to the boy in Bristol.

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

    Publish and be damned

    Statistics chief Karen Dunnell inflames row over foreign workers - Times Online
    The UK’s official statistician weighed into the debate about foreign workers yesterday by highlighting the growing numbers of immigrants getting jobs while the British workforce declines....

    Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said that he would raise concerns about the release of the figures with the Prime Minister today. “The danger is that such information could be misconstrued or misused by those who do not support the view that Britain should be a diverse and multicultural society,” he said.

    Wouldn't want the civilians having access to the figures, only professional politicians should be able to see them....

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

    Local Snoop's Charter

    Councils to be given power to snoop on calls and emails - Telegraph

    Towns halls, along with police, security services and other public bodies will be able to view "communications" details of any one suspected of crime...will have access to data such as who was called or texted and when or which websites were visited...
    But critics fear the move will simply pave the way for authorities to spy on millions of citizens and taxpayers.
    The power is contained in a new statutory order quietly laid before parliament yesterday.
    If approved, it will come into effect from next month...

    And for a hint as to how this brave new world will feel here's another story from today:

    Primary school receptionist 'facing sack' after daughter talks about Jesus to classmate - Telegraph
    ....
    Her daughter Jasmine had been overheard by a teacher discussing heaven and God with a friend and had been pulled to one side and told off.
    On January 22, Mrs Cain went to pick up her children from the 275-strong primary school.
    "My daughter burst into tears, her face was all red and she was clearly upset.
    "She said 'my teacher told me I couldn't talk about Jesus' – I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
    "She said she was taken aside in the classroom and told she couldn't say that. I was so shocked, I didn't know what to do."
    Mrs Cain said she decided to wait until she wasn't working to discuss the issue with the teacher as a parent rather than an employee.
    But she was called into The Headmaster's office the next day over another matter before he started discussing Jasmine.
    "He started talking about my daughter about how he wasn't happy about her making statements about her faith.
    "At that point I froze, I felt very small and I felt trapped as I was a junior member of staff."
    That weekend, she emailed a prayer request from her personal computer at home to 10 trusted friends from her church.
    "I asked them to please pray for us, please pray for Jasmine, please pray for the school and pray for the church."
    A few days later she was called back into the Headmaster's office.
    "I didn't think at this point I could be more stunned. He had in his hand a copy of my private, personal email and it was highlighted all the way through.
    "He said that he was going to investigate me for professional misconduct because I had been making allegations about the school and staff to members of the public."

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:24 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    February 11, 2009

    Call me a bigot but some multicultural ideas aren't for me

    India makes cola from cow urine - Telegraph

    Hindus worship cows for their life-sustaining dairy products, but many also consume bovine urine and faeces in drinks and spice mixes for their "health-giving" properties.
    In some Indian states, cow dung and urine are sold in regular dairy shops alongside milk and yogurt, and "ayurvedic" Indian health food companies make porridge, toothpaste and tonic drinks which claim to cure ailments ranging from liver complaints to diabetes and cancer. The urine is also believed to have disinfectant properties while the dung is used in many Indian village huts as a clean and antiseptic flooring.
    Now, the RSS's Cow Protection Department has invented a new urine-based soft drink it hopes will promote its health-giving properties to a wider market. "We refer to gau ark (cow urine) as gau jal (cow water) as it has immense potential to cure various diseases. We have developed a soft drink formula with gau jal as the base and it has been sent to a laboratory at Lucknow for testing," said director Om Prakash.
    His team is now focusing on packaging, marketing, and of course preservation to stop its curative drink from going whiffy in the summer heat.

    If they want some extra raw material there is plenty running down the brook here as the deluge of rain has cleaned the milking parlour right out.

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

    Darwin and the Climate Changists

    Christopher Booker had a pop at Darwinists last Sunday which gave some supporters of him a nasty surprise. Eu Ref and Numberwatch nail much of the argument, but there are two strands that I wanted to pick up.

    I am huge admirer of Darwin but the wall to wall coverage is a little over the top and actually becoming boring and off putting. It is interesting to compare it to the complete absence of any coverage over here of Abraham Lincoln who shares the same birthday and will also be celebrating being 200 tomorrow - he did a bit to change the world as well but I've yet to spot a paragraph.

    But more importantly Booker is right in pointing out the fundamentalist attitudes of some self proclaimed Darwinists. They have become at one with the Warmists in brooking no dissent. It made me turn to my old copy of The Origin of Species and look up chapter's six and seven where the old boy carefully lays out objections to his theory and answers as best as he can.

    As Prof Moran says: We'd like to think that this behavior—bringing up objections to your ideas—is standard operating procedure for most scientists but, alas, it is a lost art. You would be hard pressed to find a modern science book where an author makes an effort to address criticisms in a fair and rational manner.

    And that is another reason why Darwin was a great scientist and worthy of our celebration.


    ( I notice my old 1888 copy of the book cost me £3 but there is one on ebay this morning going for £360 so far; I'm tempted to sell, very tempted...)

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:12 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    Jacquiii; A Politician for Our Age

    Jacqui Smith is a symptom of our consensus of cowardice - Telegraph
    It is a measure of our cynicism about politicians and our archaeologically low expectations of them that there should have been so little outrage about the expenses of Jacqui Smith, our Home Secretary. There is no suggestion that Miss Smith has broken any law, or even rule. It was not that long ago when such behaviour – very much within the letter of the law, but far from within its spirit – would have been condemned and those responsible would have been hounded out of Parliament for it. Now, a great officer of state and other MPs can indulge in it. With all the resignation imposed upon us by experience we shrug our shoulders, and the MPs
    carry on pretending they are fit to rule us.

    No suggestion at all that the fat faced porker has been filling her fat face illegally at the taxpayer's trough, oh no.

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

    Vote of No Confidence

    Public authorities weather the storm, poll suggests - Times Online

    As many as two in five of us think that local authorities and public transport have done a good job of handling the recent snowstorms and bad weather, according to the latest Populus poll for The Times.

    Wow 40% approval! And with 40% of people working for the Government what a surprise!
    Just for a moment imagine your local supermarket manager telling his bosses the good news that 40% of his customers were understanding enough to think that he was doing a good job. Yes that wooshing sound was him leaving the building. But of course we have no choice when it comes to paying for local authorities....

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

    Boris' Potemkin Village

    'White elephant' stadium will drain public cash years after Olympics - Times Online

    Amid growing concerns of a repeat of the £1billion Millennium Dome fiasco, The Times has learnt that the Olympic stadium will cost at least £800,000 a year to keep open...In an embarrassing admission, three years after promising that the Olympic venues would not be a further drain on the public purse, the Government said that no football or rugby club was interested in becoming the anchor tenant after 2012.

    No progress has been made because the stadium's design - a submerged bowl surrounded by an athletics track - means that spectators would be too far from the action on the field.
    “There were insuperable obstacles to do with the shape ...,” Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, said. “But we will have a world-class facility, which will be a wonderful thing for British athletics.”

    Privately, Olympic chiefs concede that the stadium, which will be reduced from 80,000 seats during the Games to 25,000 afterwards, will never be profitable. A £10million annual maintenance fund has been earmarked for the park, although it is not clear whether this will come from London taxpayers or central government.

    “It is not only about buildings. It's about creating communities, where people are happy to live and work for years to come,” Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, said.

    You may remember to build this folly to Politicians vanity at least 300 firms with 5000 employees, a real community where people were happy to live and work for years were compulsory purchased and razed to the ground

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 10, 2009

    Out Hunting today

    A big thanks to a reader of this blog for filling me up with hot sausages and port and then taking me out to follow hounds on foot (too snowy for the gee gees). I managed to avoid having to tramp very far, staying nice and warm as my little Wiltshire built wagon bounced round the tracks. I had a great time for which I give many thanks. I didn't manage to capture any decent photos so here is one from last week of the hills above my place, taken from a moving car...

    tanhillsnow.jpg

    War%20Memorial.jpg

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Cutting out eBay

    Change to policy regarding sale of knives on eBay.co.uk and eBay.ie

    All knives except cutlery will be banned from sale on eBay.co.uk and eBay.ie.
    This will impact UK, Irish and international sellers who currently list knives for sale to buyers on the eBay.co.uk and eBay.ie sites.
    ...However, the criteria for what constitutes a legal knife are increasingly complex, and this step is necessary to help further protect our members and provide them with the highest safety standards.

    For this protection and help thank the BBC...

    At least it helped me make up my mind that I needed a second Bear Claw knife and that I really ought to get on with buying a bayonet for the Lee Metford that has a scabbard...

    Posted by The Englishman at 4:34 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Show Trial Time

    Senior bankers face MPs for live television grilling - Telegraph... many MPs will be expecting an apology.

    Now where have we seen senior managers forced to make apologies in television for mistakes before being sent to the countryside for reducation in the past? No of course such silly Maoist ideas have no place in modern Britain...

    Bankers should do charity work in poor communities to make amends for the credit crunch, David Cameron has said.

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

    Thought Crime Daily Update

    Simon Clark - Taking Liberties - A sorry tale of drugs and climatechange

    Another day, another public apology and another blow for freedom of speech. This time it's the government's top drugs adviser Professor David Nutt who has been forced to say sorry. His "crime"? Suggesting that the risks of taking ecstasy are no worse than riding a horse, which is responsible for more than 100 deaths a year....

    Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, politicians and campaigners have demanded that the DUP's Sammy Wilson be sacked after the environment minister blocked a government advertisement campaign on climate change saying the adverts were part of an "insidious propaganda campaign"....

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Fascist Balls

    Ed Balls: minister fears rise of fascism amid economic gloom - Telegraph

    "I think that this is a financial crisis more extreme and more serious than that of the 1930s and we all remember how the politics of that era were shaped by the economy."

    Having to sit next to Jacqui Smith I'm not surprised at his views - but first a history lesson....


    In power, the party attempted to form an economic policy that was a "third way" between capitalism and socialism, ...launched several public construction programs and government initiatives throughout Italy to combat economic setbacks or unemployment levels...pushed for government control of business:
    foremost priority was the subjugation of the minds of the people and the use of propaganda to do so; whether at home or abroad, and here his training as a journalist was invaluable. Press, radio, education, films—all were carefully supervised to create the illusion that fascism was the doctrine of the twentieth century,...All teachers in schools and universities had to swear an oath to defend the fascist regime. Newspaper editors were all personally chosen by Mussolini and no one who did not possess a certificate of approval from the fascist party could practice journalism. These certificates were issued in secret;...ways to ideologize, with an accent on schools. ....

    Yup, pretty spot on.

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

    February 9, 2009

    Tales From The Biology Lab

    "This morning we are going to be examining cells, take a wooden spatula and gently scrape a few cells from the inside of your cheek. If you have a clear specimen bring it up to the front and we can put it under the computer microscope and put it up on the big screen.
    Excellent, Susan, very clear; though we don't normally expect the cells found in the mouth to have tails and be swimming..."

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    A new addition to our fleet

    'Toxic' French aircraft carrier docks in Britain - Telegraph
    A former French aircraft carrier containing 700 tonnes of contaminated materials has docked in Britain.

    Bloody Garlic gets into everything...

    the 32,780-tonne vessel will become the largest ship to be recycled in Europe and will bring jobs to the area, but the project has faced criticism from environmental campaigners.

    And what do they suggest we do with it? Turn it into a fireship and head it into Calais?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    Frying tonight

    Secondhand cooking oil in green heating trial - Times Online
    Secondhand cooking oil is being used to heat homes and schools in an experiment designed to help householders to cut down their carbon emissions.
    Biofuel derived from used vegetable oil and tallow has been mixed with kerosene and fed into domestic boilers for the world’s first trial of renewable heating oil.
    Initial results from the trial, in and around the market town of Reepham, have delighted researchers, who said it was proving as efficient as fossil fuel while emitting less than half as much carbon dioxide. The trials are being led by the University of East Anglia’s Low Carbon Innovation Centre, the Clean Energy Consultancy and the oil industry.

    The world's first trial that is unless you count the thousands of people round the world who have been doing this for years - but if we did that then what would be the point of University of East Anglia’s Low Carbon Innovation Centre?

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 8, 2009

    I've lost a brown envelope about this long....

    Jacqui%20Smith.jpg

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

    Truscott Towers

    'Peer for hire' Lord Truscott grabs £70,000 housing perk - Times Online
    LORD TRUSCOTT, one of four peers named in the “lords for hire” scandal, has taken at least £70,000 in allowances for overnight accommodation in London while staying at his home in the capital.
    He uses the allowance to maintain a £700,000 flat he owns in Mayfair, central London, with his Russian wife, Svetlana.

    Revealed: The secret Soviet past of Labour peer at centre of sleaze row | Mail Online
    At the time they married, Lady Truscott was an active member of the Communist Party and her father was a senior Red Army officer at a secret military institute connected to the Soviet equivalent of the SAS.

    Must be a love match made in heaven, I wonder what first attracted her to the balding shortarse with a title and ready source of influence and cash? Will she get to keep the house as well as the jewels?

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Schooling in the State's Image

    Snow Britain: The health and safety rules that closed our schools in bad weather - Telegraph

    Diktats issued to head teachers specify in precise detail the width of paths that must be cleared and the amount of grit to be laid. They are even asked to consider the weight of the shovel provided to caretakers in order to prevent overexertion....

    Chris Hassall, the head teacher of Taylor Road primary school in Leicester, which remained open while other schools in the city were shut all week, said: “Heads are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
    "The local authority is warning you might get sued and parents are risk averse. Heads are thinking 'What’s in it for me if I break ranks and open? Absolutely nothing.’”

    Meanwhile private schools which depend on parents paying stayed open.

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

    Freedom of Movement to be Watched

    Spy centre will track you on holiday -Times Online

    THE government is building a secret database to track and hold the international travel records of all 60m Britons.
    The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details for all 250m passenger movements in and out of the UK each year.

    So inured have we become to the creeping approach of a total surveillance society that we will just shrug and turn the page to this news...

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    February 7, 2009

    Snowman Outrage - Phocomelics up in arms (if they could)

    Are they taking the piss? Everywhere you look there are crude caricatures mocking the disabled - we demand an apology an angry phocomelus pressure group demanded. Are the Distillers behind it?
    Where is the Sunday Times insight team when you need it?

    Ht FD

    Posted by The Englishman at 1:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Ramblers - it is only fair to warn them....

    sign22_1290538i.jpg
    H/t The Telegraph

    I had that Janet Street-Porter in my sights once.....

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

    Scots claim calling a Scot Scottish is racist

    Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Jeremy Clarkson - Scotsman.com News

    While saying sorry for commenting on Mr Brown's "appearance", he did not apologise for his gratuitous inclusion of "Scottish" in his remarks. Critics said there was only one reason why the Englishman included the PM's nationality in his diatribe.

    ? But I thought he was Scottish, or is to call a Scot Scottish now racist? Still no complaints about calling Gordon an idiot though....

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:40 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    Freedom of Movement to be Banned

    Flights could be rationed, says environment tsar Lord Turner - Telegraph

    Lord Turner, the chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said people would be given personal flight limits to lower pollution from the aviation industry. "We will have to constrain demand in an absolute sense, with people not allowed to make as many journeys as they could in an unconstrained manner."

    "And Gordon has ordered the first person to be banned from flying anywhere is that bastard Blair...."

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 6, 2009

    Friday Night is Music Night (Unpolished Love Song Edition)

    What with St Valentine's Day around the corner and the demand for more English music here's a bonus track to make up for the Wurzels...

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Snow Clearing Competition

    Through the good offices of Tim Worstall my observations about how snow clearance in these rural parts used to happen were, via Nigel Farage, broadcast to the audience of Question Time (first response to first question). Briefly I pointed out that in the bad old days lots of small contractors were given the job using their own equipment.
    One point I didn't make was that this ensured there was competition to actually clear the snow. I remember being up at five and racing round the lanes finding snow to clear before the other farmers finished milking and came out with their diggers. I cleared more snow than them earlier so I got paid more.
    Of course now the council only allow their own staff to clear roads this keenness to clear roads is no longer; in the case of the roads around here the council didn't clear the roads today and nobody else was allowed to so nothing happened.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Friday Night is Music Night (Yokel Request Edition)

    The worrying thing is I actually talk like that....
    The short version if you have better things to do:

    Posted by The Englishman at 4:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    An English Gentleman's Sartorial Advice for Inclement Weather

    Your overcoat will of course be made of wool, hand spun by some crofter; as it gets wet it gets warmer unlike those plastic jobbies unemployed bankers wear on shoots. And it goes without saying it will have a button under the right hand lapel so you can use the left hand button hole to close the gap.

    Lapel%20button.jpg

    The additional button under the collar that you noticed is also on the otherside. This is for the detachable gorget, pictured below safely stored inside the coat for warmer times.

    gorget.jpg

    It is harder in these slap dash times to ensure that your tailor has created proper turned up buttoned cuffs. They should unbutton and fold back in so that the silk lining can be rebuttoned with the extra buttons tightly around the wrist. If your Primark version is missing this take it back.

    Cuffs.jpg

    And of course no fashion article would be complete without it being modelled:

    Old%20Coat.jpg

    I'll be wearing it down to the pub at lunchtime....

    Posted by The Englishman at 8:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Snow business means no business

    cost of snow fsb - Google News

    £1.2bn, £3bn, top £1bn, £3.5bn, 1 in 5 workers were not able to make it into the office, at a cost to the economy of £1.2bn, $1.7 billion, an amount likely to increase as the snow persists....

    Well, shall we just call it a lot. 6:30 am here in Wiltshire and we haven't had any snow overnight and it isn't even freezing; but the forecasts were some fearsome yesterday evening it has been declared a duvet day by many already, just what the economy needs. At least it gives Gordon yet another excuse...

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

    How to Cure Artists

    Anger after student stages 'suicide' as performance art - Scotsman.com News

    A SWEDISH art student has been condemned by police and medical staff after she faked a suicide attempt and then attacked a hospital's psychiatric nurses and doctors as part of a "play"....
    The charade led to David Eberhard, the chief psychiatric doctor at St Goran's, lashing out at Odell for using up scarce resources and staff time at the already crowded hospital.
    "She and the head of her school ought to cut their hair and get a real job," he said."It's just pathetic – paint a picture instead. But she's welcome to come back so I can give her a shot of Haloperidol, and then we'll see how much fun she has. That would make a great installation."
    Haloperidol is an anti- psychotic drug that can have serious side-effects in some patients.

    I like the sound of him, maybe we could send some of our "artists" over to Sweden to be treated as well.

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

    Olympic Dash Thru Cash

    £2bn emergency fund for Olympics being eroded - Times Online

    The contingency fund for the 2012 Olympics construction project in East London has been reduced to £500 million as organisers fight the recession, government figures revealed.As it is used up, there are fears that the overall £9.3 billion budget will be inadequate.

    Olympic chiefs argue that most of the extra costs will be offset by money cut from elsewhere, with £193 million of savings identified.

    I think they will need to save a lot more than that, it is time Boris got a grip, two hours and a fat red pencil and he could save billions...

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

    BBC faces One-eyed-idiotgate row

    Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson calls Gordon Brown a 'one-eyed Scottish idiot, he keeps telling us everything's fine and he's saved the world and we know he's lying, but he's smooth at telling us.' - Telegraph
    Scottish politicians reacted angrily to the remark.
    Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said: "Such a comment is really a reflection on Jeremy Clarkson and speaks for itself.
    "Most people here are proud that the Prime Minister is a Scot and believe him to be the right person to get the UK through this global economic crisis."
    Gordon Banks, Labour MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, branded the comments "unforgivable".
    The BBC and Downing Street declined to comment.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:15 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    February 5, 2009

    The View from the Country

    Country people got over the affront and carried on - Times Online
    The Hunting Act is becoming like those statutes introduced by the Puritans to stop dancing on Christmas Day: one day Parliament will get round to tidying it off the statue book, but until then it is arcane and irrelevant to modern life. It is difficult to remember why everyone got so worked up. But then, the countryside marches were never just about hunting. They were motivated by fairness.

    Rural people thought new Labour – its seats in the industrial North, its heart in metrosexual Islington – had got it in for them....But now that the froth has blown off the metropolitan cappuccino and the second-homers are selling up, the countryside – used to belt-tightening and soldiering on, credit crunch or no credit crunch – isn’t quite such the poor relation it was.

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

    I bet you think this song is about you

    Tony Blair wanted me to become leader, says Charles Clarke - Times Online

    And when he looks in the mirror he sees Brad Pitt looking back, yeah, yeah yeah.

    I think we are suffering enough under a delusional leader already not to need Mr Potato Head's help.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Anyone out there?

    Scientists claim our galaxy could host as many as 38,000 intelligent civilisations - Scotsman.com News

    I wonder where the 37,999 others are, as the only one I know of consists of about a hundred people in Oxford....

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Dispose the Day

    'Black Panthers' prepare to take out Taleban in Afghanistan - Times Online
    In the biting cold and snowy landscape of Salisbury Plain, soldiers of the Black Panthers, nickname of 19 Light Brigade, were doing their best to imagine what life would be like for them in Afghanistan when they begin their first tour there next month.

    Teenage soldiers frozen to the core during training at Westdown Camp yesterday will be thrust into their first operational environment in temperatures that will reach 50C (122F) before their six-month tour is over.

    Facing his first venture to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, 19-year-old Rifleman Aaron Fell, of 2 Rifles, who joined the Army 18 months ago, is fully aware that as a member of a recce platoon he will be involved in seeking out the Taleban. His cheeks bright red from the cold, he repeated what his training instructor must have told him: “The Taleban are adapting to us but we're adapting to them.”

    “I'm anxious about it obviously but I'm not really worried, although my mum will be,” he said.

    “But I've been well trained. If I worked for McDonald's I'd be cooking burgers, but I'm a soldier, so this is the job I do,” he added.

    I live a few miles from the Plain and the last two weeks there has been a constant sound of artillery and machine guns in the background as they train. Last night as I snuggled under the eiderdown, the electric blanket on toast setting, two jets were screaming through the falling snow of a freezing night as part of some night exercise.

    As a gentleman in England a-bed my thoughts and thanks went to that band of brothers out there, and wished them well.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    The D word

    The d-word heard round the world | Coffee House

    It isn't just Gordon Brown who was having trouble yesterday with the d-word. Depression is unspeakable, it is almost as bad as the n word or c word or even the g word, as Carol found out.

    I had to go and see the Saw-bones yesterday about my tinnitus. A condition that can contribute to the depression, officially. But he couldn't bring himself to mention it, skirting round asking whether I was a bit low, was it getting to me...etc etc. He looked up in his easy guide to drugs any possible remedies and of course Valium is mentioned because it relaxes the ear muscles, but he ummed and aahed and said he would ask a senior partner if anything might help. He didn't dare mention it to me presumably in case I became "officially" depressed, or a raving drug addict or both.
    And of course I don't want to be "officially" depressed as Plod will be round emptying the gun cabinet quicker than they can sprint down a tube station. And it doesn't make me depressed, a bit short of sleep and a bit irritable maybe, but then what is new?

    (And to extend the apology to music lovers it means Friday night will continue to feature thrashy loud music sometimes. I have always been tone deaf - my bluetooth in car phone thingy plays three tones to indicate if it is turning on or off, the manual tells me the tones go up when it goes on and down as it goes off - I can't tell the bloody difference so I never know if it is off or on. And don't get me started about the difference between 5/4 time and the ticking of a clock; like a drummer i have hung around with musicians and they have patiently explained it to me, I have never managed to hear what they are on about. I may miss out aurally but I'm a Supertaster so my oral pleasures are intense and the joy of scent, heaven.)

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Hunting Act Appeal - Good News For Everyone

    Victory claimed by both sides after hunting ruling - Times Online
    The Crown Prosecution Service then asked the High Court to clarify the law. Yesterday Sir Anthony May, President of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court, and Mr Justice Maddison ruled that ... the burden of proof that a huntsman’s activities were not classed as exempt from the Act lay with the prosecution.

    The CPS had argued that such a ruling would make the Act “wholly unworkable”.

    And that's why it is good news for everyone - innocent until proven guilty and all that guff, up to the prosecution to prove guilt not the accused to prove innocence and other old fashioned ideas, the sort of rule we rather like.

    (And yes it is good news even for scruffy individuals who like to dress up in second hand camo gear and go round the country blowing horns and pouring aniseed over Nicholas Soames, all good fun and unless it is provable they are committing a crime they should be free to carry on doing it.)

    Posted by The Englishman at 5:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 4, 2009

    All together now...

    Why music in our schools matters ...

    Baz Chapman director of the Gonernment's Sing-Up Programme; "The art of making music can have benefits right across the school.
    Schools that are inclusive are schools where there's lots of music going on.
    Music can also enliven other parts of the curriculum - where there are things to remember like dates for history..."

    You didn't know the Government had a Sing-up Scheme? I wonder why they believe it important to get the little ones all singing together?


    Goose stepping may have encouraged people to follow Nazis - Telegraph
    Researchers have found that if groups perform tasks in unison, such as marching, dancing and chanting, they show more loyalty towards each other and are less likely to go against the norm.
    The findings, published in New Scientist, could explain why the likes of Hitler and Mussolini both seemingly had the ability to bend millions of people to their will.
    Dr Scott Wiltermuth, of Stanford University in California and colleagues, have found that activities performed in unison, such as marching or dancing, exercise a form of mind control over people.

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Wednesday Night is Apology Music Night

    I've had a complaint from Texas:

    By the way, Mr. Englishman or whatever you call yourself: if you're going to embed music clips on Friday nights, would it be too much to ask that you show a little of your heritage and feature REAL English music?
    I mean, I'm not expecting statues of Maddy Prior in your village (although I wouldn't complain if I saw one or two), but honestly: I can hear crap Yank music anytime, but if you think that MTV is ever going to show Adge Cutler & The Wurzels, or Steeleye Span, or Fairport Convention...
    Get to it, please. Adge (or even just The Wurzels) would be just splendid.

    The Colonial Type

    Sorry, but I draw the line at featuring any beardies with fingers in their ears singing about all around their sodding hat, so here's a local band I used to know playing a traditional English song in a field in Pewsey...(I think I'm in the front row pogoing, I'm the one with only five fingers.)

    Is that more like it?

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Nanny claims people love nanny

    BBC NEWS | Health | Why we need more nannying
    Dr Alan Maryon-Davis - President, UK Faculty of Public Health

    Is the government 'nannying' us too much? Is it trying too hard to micro-manage our health?
    I say firmly - no....
    I see an increasing acceptance that we, all of us, need not only more information and guidance from government, but also more legislation to save us from ourselves....
    We need to press for more legislation to improve and protect health and well-being.
    We've been largely successful with the tobacco industry, and now it's time to shift the focus onto alcohol and junk-food.
    What next? I would like to see a ban on smoking in cars with a child on board and a ban on displays of cigarettes in shops. I would like to see a real hike in tax on alcohol and a ban on deep price-cuts for booze. I would like to see a wider ban on junk-food adverts around TV programmes watched largely by children.
    I would like to see …. Oh, a whole raft of other legislation for health.
    This is not 'nannying'. This is responsible government acting on behalf of a consenting public.
    Campaigns, guidelines and voluntary codes aren't enough. We need more laws to ensure that the world in which we live, work and play will help promote and protect our health.

    We need a big stick to curb the worst excesses of the various commercial interests who shape our lifestyle.

    And the biggest commercial interest that shapes our lives is the "health" industry and people like you Dr Alan; and I have a very big stick in mind suitable for curbing you and your fascist tendency.

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:07 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    £30 fine for flying an England flag?

    Motorist told flag could be racist (From This Is Wiltshire)

    A TEENAGE motorist was told to remove an England flag from his car by a police officer because it could be offensive to immigrants.
    Ben Smith, 18, was driving back home to Ingram Road in Melksham on Thursday evening after filling up with petrol, when the officer stopped him on a routine patrol.
    He checked the tax disc and tyres on his Vauxhall Corsa but when he noticed the flag of St George on the parcel shelf he told Mr Smith to take it down.
    Mr Smith said: "He saw the flag and said it was racist towards immigrants and if I refused to take it down I would get a £30 fine....

    PC Dave Cooper, of Chippenham Road Policing Unit, said he had never come across an officer asking someone to remove an England flag from their car because it could be racist.
    He added: "It all depends on the context of a stop. If they are going past a lot of Polish people, for instance, and abusing them, then we possibly would ask them to take the flag down."
    He said there would be no police log of Mr Smith having been stopped with details of what was said to him, as there was nothing wrong with his car.
    He added the officer could have been based anywhere around the county and just made an independent stop.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:39 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    Glenrothes - voters records go missing

    SNP raises doubts on Glenrothes as inquiry launched into by-election - Scotsman.com News
    The SNP has raised concerns after it was revealed the marked voter register from last November's poll had gone missing from the sheriff clerk's office in Kirkcaldy. These papers show who came out to vote.
    The by-election was surprisingly won by Labour by a margin of almost 7,000 votes...Question marks had already been raised over the turnout at the by-election – it was, unusually, much higher than in the general election – and the number of postal votes, which was four times the average.
    Tricia Marwick, the Nationalist MSP for Central Fife, said: "Without these records, there is no evidence of either a fair or unfair election. This undermines the confidence of everyone who took part.
    "It is almost beyond belief that a by-election which attracted media coverage throughout the UK, which delivered such a surprise result and had a much higher turn-out than anticipated, now has no records to show who actually voted."

    Whoops! Dearie, dearie me! Could happen to anyone; I must try that excuse when the Revenue Man wants to see my records....

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

    Are fit people dull? Yes, next question please.

    Times Online - The Fat Chancer - WBLG: Are Fit People Dull?

    Fit people are generally very dull and spend most of their free time staying fit and not eating nice things. You will probably live longer being fit. But the increase in your lifespan is unlikely to dramatically outweigh the amount of time you spend exercising. And you don't enjoy exercising; that's why you are unfit.

    Discretionary time is like discretionary spending, it is the bit we enjoy and makes the rest worthwhile.
    You spend eight hours a day sleeping and abluting, ten hours a day working and travelling, two hours a day on duty in the home and two hours faffing about; which leaves only two hours a day which are actually yours to enjoy. If you then spend one of those doing something you don't want to do like running in a gym you are halving your "real life". And no amount of being a scrawny old bloke dribbling soup for a few extra years is going to make up for that.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    I blame the teachers

    Snow: Teachers must show grit - Telegraph

    Schools faced mounting anger from parents and business leaders over their "defeatist" approach to the bad weather as one in three closed to pupils for a second consecutive day because of snow.

    Around here it seems to be the secondary schools which are being pathetic. Small local primary schools in villages seem to be open with parents bravely battling through up to four inches of snow to get there, but the big schools in town have locked their doors. (At one local primary the headmaster brought his sleeping bag and slept there to ensure he was there for the pupils.)
    Maybe it is something about these large state schools that makes the staff a bunch of defeatists, and not just about the weather.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Less Gollywog more Porridgewog

    Carol Thatcher banned from BBC's The One Show for 'golliwog' comment - Telegraph

    Not following tennis it seems I was wrong in surmising who the "golliwog" was; Noah it wasn't him, it was Andy Murray (apparently), who I believe is a British White tennis player when he is winning but otherwise is a Scottish whiner.

    So is the reason the BBC and the Fat Boy are refusing to name him because it makes the whole row even more ridiculous?

    Update : Iain Dale says it wasn't Murray but doesn't say who it was...

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

    February 3, 2009

    There's Snow Business Like Snow Business

    Harry Haddock asks; show me a cost / benefit analysis of providing an extreme weather capable infrastructure that will only be used once every 18 years against the proven cost of a day off work to the taxpayer

    Well here's an idea that used to work eighteen years ago when we last had snow. Every autumn the council would ring round builders, forestry workers, farmers, anyone who might have a big bucket loader and say, "If it snows, we'll give you a call and you can go out and clear the roads and we will pay you x an hour, OK?"
    First sign of snow and the go signal, every man jack of a loader driver was out there, me included. Capital cost to the council, zero. Standby costs, zero. If it didn't snow, no charge. Of course such an unregulated approach can't work now, so all those JCBs sat idle on abandoned building sites in London stayed idle whilst the roads remained blocked.

    Posted by The Englishman at 2:37 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    Oh Carol!

    Carol Thatcher may be banned by the BBC after tennis ‘golliwog’ remark - Times Online
    Neither the BBC nor representatives of Chiles and Thatcher were prepared to name the tennis player who was under discussion. Her friends said that she had been referring to the player’s hairstyle...

    Such coyness, noah idea at all who she was yannicking on about?

    Posted by The Englishman at 12:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Sword Play

    Mr Free Market muses on knives and sabres.... Of course I must point out the statutory message that carrying a knife is neither big nor clever and if you think it will impress a girl then you are completely wrong, er...


    Posted by The Englishman at 7:25 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Adam Smith's Biggest Fan

    Chinese PM reveals policy enlightened by works of Adam Smith - The Scotsman
    At a press conference yesterday, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, described Mr Wen as an "expert on the Scottish Enlightenment" ...
    Renowned for being an "eclectic reader", Mr Wen is said to travel the world with a copy of Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which lays out the moral underpinnings for governing societies and market economies.
    So taken is he with Scottish Enlightenment thinking that he recently referred to two of Smith's main works in an interview with the CNN news network. Critics say Mr Wen sees no contradiction between running a 21st-century dictatorship and espousing the work of a Scottish liberal philosopher.
    (more)

    Sometimes you wonder if Adam Smith is getting to be a bit like the Old Testament where whatever you want to believe a suitable quote can be found. I wonder if he will bung the ASI a few Yuan to help them spread the word....

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Health Fascism creeps in again

    Workers face smoking ban while in NHS uniform … even at home - Scotsman.com News
    Gordon Stephen, the employee director of NHS Grampian states in his report to the board: "The aim of the initial tobacco policy was to ensure that 'all NHS Grampian premises become smoke-free within a very few years' and that the provision of smoking areas was only an interim measure."
    Mr Stephen admits: "The removal of smoking areas and smoking rooms and perception of a complete ban may be seen as contentious, particularly on humanitarian (sic] grounds." But the policy should apply to "all staff wearing NHS Grampian uniform or NHS Grampian badge at any time, or representing NHS Grampian on or off NHS Grampian premises during their working hours".
    Neil Rafferty, a spokesman for the pro-smoking organisation Forest, said: "To suggest that a member of staff cannot smoke during what is effectively their own time, during breaks, is tantamount to health fascism.
    Cameron Fyfe, one of Scotland's leading lawyers, said: "To say that you can't smoke in your back garden, just because you happen to be wearing an NHS uniform, is going to be challenged. A member of staff would say, 'My human rights are being violated here and that, outwith the premises of my employment, I am entitled to do anything I like so long as it is legal'."

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

    Obligatory The Day The Music Died Post

    Why Buddy Holly will never fade away - Telegraph

    And not forgetting Richie Valens and the Big Bopper.

    Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 2, 2009

    Phone Votes Required - An Englishman's Bleg

    You may remember that I publicised a book that was in preparation about amazing objects that make life worth living

    This was my entry:

    IMG00413.jpg

    A telephone handset. Wonderful as they are for keeping us in touch with our family, friends and timeshare salesmen that is not why I have chosen it. It is no ordinary handset. It is an American one, it came from the command bunker of Greenham Common. It is through this handset that the coded orders would have passed that would have unleashed nuclear war. A few words listened to on it would have meant the end of civilisation as we knew it. We still face threats to our security but the black cloud of the Cold War hotting up which hung over a generation is now history. And that this telephone handset is no longer ready for use is something that makes life a lot better.

    It has come to voting time now and I'm asking you to stoke my vanity by voting for it on their site. Voting continues until the 13th.

    Remember Vote for The Phone, Thank you!

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:29 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Let's pray for some Global Warming otherwise nobody will ever work again

    Snow: Councils and transport chiefs blamed for fiasco - Telegraph

    As London ground to a virtual standstill Mayor Boris Johnson also faced questions over the inability of the capital's infrastructure to cope with six inches of snow.
    Mr Johnson admitted London did not have enough snow ploughs to keep the roads clear and defended the decision to suspend all bus services, which left thousands of angry commuters stranded.
    It was the first time in living memory that all London buses have been stopped, something which didn't even happen during the Blitz.

    Snow: Schools, airports, motorways and railways all closed - Telegraph

    Up to 1ft of snow fell in parts of the south east and the Pennines while most of the country was blanketed in at least four inches of it.

    Business leaders fear that the disruption could cost the British economy at least £1.2 billion in lost trade.

    Pafuckingthetic, in fact embarrassing. Four inches of snow and the whole country comes to a halt, apart from the self-employed who stayed working.....

    Snow exposes the public sector's instinct to give up - Telegraph

    there is a significant difference now to the way things used to be. The very first instinct in the public sector these days is to give up, rather than to battle with the elements, almost certainly because of "health and safety" considerations. In London yesterday, schools were closed even though most teachers and pupils live within walking distance; and, although a few routes opened later in the day, during the rush hour all the buses remained in their garages. Not even the Luftwaffe stopped the capital's buses. It should have been possible to run a reduced service.
    Outside London, it was especially galling for people who wanted, and who tried, to get to work to find that the transport system had simply ground to a halt. Nobody expected it to run normally given the conditions; but is it really acceptable that it hardly functioned at all?

    Posted by The Englishman at 9:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Scammer Warning - We are all at risk

    Con artists targeting 3m Britons, says watchdog - Scotsman.com News

    MORE than three million people are potentially at risk from scams in Britain, as experts warn that billions of pounds could be lost during the worsening economic downturn....

    Decimal point error - according to Her Maj there are Thirty Million taxpayers who are at risk from the scammers who have conned us out of billions of pounds which will be lost during the worsening economic downturn..

    As the article continues:

    Gareth Thomas, minister for trade, development and consumer affairs, said: "Scammers cause deep anguish to their victims. Anyone can be targeted by these criminals, ... cost the UK billions of pounds each year."

    Ron Gainsford, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute, urged the public to be on their guard all year round for unexpected letters, e-mails, text messages or telephone calls. He added: "We ask you to stop, think and ask yourself, 'What's in it for them?'"

    Normally they are trying to keep their seat in Parliament....

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:24 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    I'm just going out for a while, I may be some time...

    Britain hit by worst snow in 20 years - Telegraph

    It comes on the day experts had already nicknamed "national sickie day" with 330,000 workers expected to take the first Monday of February off because of annual seasonal gloom heightened by the effects of recession.

    Barely half an inch here so far but I'm working from home today....

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Will the Pawl hold?

    Wildcat oil strikes: Europeans are finally waking up to the demise of democracy - Telegraph

    Angry people across the EU are discovering the fine print in all the treaties signed by their leaders, says Janet Daley.

    One of the most frightening thoughts about Europe is that as the ratchet has been tightening there will only be one way for it to loosen. Not by gentle unwinding but by smashing the pawls.

    (Pawl? You know your mechanics, its the finger that pushes or pulls and holds the gear wheel, which together with it makes up a ratchet....)

    Posted by The Englishman at 7:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack