March 31, 2009
ESP Test - I get it every time
Three out of three every time .... here's how.
In London Tomorrow?
The excellent Adam Smith people are putting on an 1st April 2009: Evening Seminar: Politics and the Blog
I'll be there, looking forward to an evening's conviviality, I hope to catch up with you there.
I understand there is also some sort of sporting event also happening in London tomorrow so I will be wearing my stoutest brogues and shin pads...
Aaronvitch Fails To See Outside the Westminster Bubble
Our prurience is a disgrace, not the porn films | David Aaronovitch - Times Online
No one seems at all concerned about the privacy element in all this. In newspapers, on television and computer screens we, in our millions, have been shown copies of the bill in question - someone else's bill - itemising the times and dates of the films. In terms of exposure of personal data it is as big a breach as one can imagine, and one designed specifically to “get” the Home Secretary. Nor do I think, as many do, that the morality is covered by the rubric of “it's public money, we should know how every penny is spent”. I cannot see why it would be insufficient if the Commons authorities simply refused to pay the bill, explaining why to the claimant.
In that case David it is time you sniffed the air outside the bubble, you have been sharing the air in there for too long. Come out here and live in the real world.
Maguire Refuses To Gossip
Cops tonight used pepper spray, I'm told , to subdue two men and a woman behind the Speaker's chair just yards from the chamber of the House of Commons. And No, they weren't MPs....
Why so shy Kevin? I believe they were three journalists, you know the sort of people you hang about with. Having a "domestic" - Three, Domestic, Arrest - meat and drink to the inky trade unless they are fellow members eh?
But I forgot, sorry...
I'm not one to gossip ...
Alcohol Limits - The Consensus Fights Back
You may remember sometime ago I blogged about The Times reporting that the recommended Alcohol Limits were simply “plucked out of the air”.
Over the weekend a comment appeared from Dom:
The Times article quoted has since been discredited...there will always be those who deny the harm caused by alcohol as over estimated, usually those who drink too much. The suggestion that 60 units a week is acceptable is raving mad...unless you imagine that drinking 3 pints of vodka a week is normal. An individual's right to cause their bodies permanent damage notwithstanding, The Times article should be removed from internet, it's a hugely irresponsible green light for alcohol abuse.
It's a typical reaction of people to believe something only when it sounds acceptable to their ears.
I emailed him back to ask if he had any source for his claim, no reply; I have googled but can't see any rebuttal. Has the report being discredited or is his comment simply “plucked out of the air”?
Telegraph Fails to Report What Bear Did in the Woods
The "large" bear was allegedly spotted over the weekend as it roamed around 3,700-acre Rendlesham Forest near Woodbridge.
Left no traces? Didn't become a Catholic or sleep on its back?
March 30, 2009
Looking for Something in The Woodpile
Today George and I have been mainly looking through the woodpile, well he has been looking as I have been chopping ready for next winter (I think it is going to be a cold one). He caught a polecat ferret out of it last week but despite the smells there didn't seem to be anything in it today.
March 29, 2009
So that is what you do when I'm out is it! I'm off to my sister's....
Blue movies on expenses: How Jacqui Smith's husband watched pornographic movies... paid for by the taxpayer | Mail Online
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s political future was in jeopardy tonight after it was revealed that her husband used her Commons expenses allowance to pay to watch pornographic films.
Richard Timney, who works as Ms Smith’s Commons adviser, used part of the Minister’s second-homes allowance to pay for the blue movies he watched on a subscription television channel.
The relationship between Ms Smith and her husband was said by Government insiders to be ‘very difficult,’
Oh, what a frabjous day!
10% return on your money in days, guaranteed!
Royal Mailannounced that the price of First and Second class stamps for standard letters weighing up to 100g would rise by 3p, to 39p and 30p respectively, from 6 April 2009...
Buy the books of stamps that just say first and second at the old price tomorrow - they are still valid for the new price.
I'm here to help, and you did remember to Spring Back your clocks didn't you....
Booker on form - though when it comes to Climate Science spotting the Greatest Lie Ever Told is an imprecise art...
Jews - Forgive and Forget
He was a founder member of the SAS, was one of the most decorated officers of the Second World War, and has been hailed as a "legend among fighting men".
The heroism on the battlefield of Major Roy Farran, who died in 2006, earned him a Distinguished Service Order, three Military Crosses, the Croix de Guerre and the American Legion of Merit.
Among other feats, he led a highly successful raid against a German army headquarters in occupied Italy in which senior Reich generals were assassinated and their control over a vital front line thrown into chaos. In a single foray behind the lines in northern France, he led an SAS Jeep squadron which claimed 500 German soldiers killed or wounded, for a loss of just 12 British dead, wounded or taken captive.
But Major Farran's record of service after the war, when he was seconded to the British Section of the Palestine Police, cast a shadow over the rest of his life....
No shadow in my book, there were Jews who were a nasty a bunch of terrorists fighting against the British not only after but actually during the Second World War, and we dealt with them in the way they should be dealt with. As with so many of our terrorist foes in the past we have now elevated them to World Statesmen and officially swept it all under the carpet. Verbum Sapienti, let it lie.
Nigel Griffiths - His Turn To Be A Bukkake Victim
Nigel Griffiths tries to gag the News of the World | News | News Of The World
He cheats on wife, cons his voters and is whitewashed by Commons watchdog..then goes to court to stop YOU finding out
Go on, you know you want to read it, the NOW lets him really have it, and I expect others to join in any minute... just wash your hands when you have finished.
March 28, 2009
Who will tell the Emperor he has no clothes
There's something wrong in our politics, something big and bang-in-the-middle: a howling question that is not about the global economy at all. It's about domestic leadership. It's about Mr Brown. He isn't any good. He's failing. He's embarrassing. He's dreadful. His colleagues know this. Yet they are gripped with a terrible fatalism, sliding towards election defeat as though catastrophe were unavoidable.
Defeat isn't, but catastrophe is. New Labour has modest achievement to its credit; and as to its two great blunders - Iraq and the credit bubble - the Tories have been in there too: up to their necks. It is still possible to pull things back quite some distance. But not with Mr Brown.
Don't rule out an October revolution. Don't rule out Mr Brown himself staring a 2010 defeat in the face, and deciding to run away. He's avoided two elections already - for the leadership, and then for an early general. He can duck a third.
My guess is the deal is that he will be allowed to hang on to his dream right up to the election; Labour is going to lose who ever is leading so why sacrifice yourself by being a losing leader. Take a lesson from the Tories. Shoot the loser after the inevitable and start the new brand then with an unsullied Alan or Dave or whoever.
Proof that schools' raison d'être is to keep the unemployable off the streets...
The National Union of Teachers - Britain's biggest classroom union - insist newly-qualified staff should only spend three days out of every five in front of pupils.
It is also calling for the working week to be slashed to 35 hours and a break for any teaching session lasting more than two hours.
The demands come amid claims teachers are being over-worked.
Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoscet. - I doubt very much if any NUT member will understand that though...
Dr Hansen Explains The Climate Forcing Numbers
As we know the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming theory depends on a combination of changing climate forcings
Some are positive and some are negative, and the big cooling one is aerosols, hazy pollution.
So our leading scientists add up the CO2 and positive forcings and take away the negative ones to give the headline figure. And how are those figures worked out?
....If we accept the IPCC aerosol estimate, which was pretty much pulled out of a hat, it
leaves the net forcing almost anywhere between zero and 3 watts.
I didn’t know what forcing to use when we started our IPCC runs 4 years ago, so I went to
my grandchildren and asked them “What is the net forcing?”
Sophie explained that it was 2 watts, but her well-fed baby brother could only count 1 watt.
Sophie was older and pretty smart so we used 1.8 watts.
But now I’m not sure Sophie was right, and for various reasons I began to think that
conceivably Connor was closer.
So I decided to go back and ask them again, because they are four years older, and should be
But now when I ask them, “What is the forcing?”, they say that they don’t know. Maybe this
is scientific reticence creeping in already.
And that Ladies and Gentlemen is the science behind the scare.
For the full pdf including charming pictures of Connor and Sophie doing the math click here.
March 27, 2009
Gove Gets Half an Idea On Education
In an interview with an Economist journalist available at http://economist.com/audiovideo/britain, the shadow education spokesperson Michael Gove praised Tony Blair's education reforms while promising that a Conservative government would imitate the Swedish model to allow churches, charities and even groups of parents to open schools without seeking council permission.
Gove also said that urgent reform of the education system will be address the current situation whereby "less than half of Department for Schools, Children and the Family's total expenditure" is "spent in the classroom".
Gove believes that emulating the Swedish system, however, could quickly create 200,000 school places in England. When asked how the Party proposed to fund reforms in a recession, he answered that local authorities will "Look to cut the fat within its own system. Everything from the amount of money spent on maths advisors and school improvement partners to educational consultants. All of this is money that's not being spent in the classroom."
Friday Night is Music Night (Horny Edition)
Or if you are staying in tonight contemplating the club Webley whilst nursing a glass of Malt...
The Greatest Human Being That Ever Lived (and you've probably never heard of him)
A day late but worth celebrating.
One of the true giants of our time, plant breeder and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Norman Borlaug turns 95 today (March 26 2009). Borlaug is the person who has saved more human lives than anyone in history. How? He was the father of the "Green Revolution" that more than doubled crop productivity in the 1960s and 1970s thus averting the massive global famines predicted by many doomsayers
A quote of his..."If some consumers believe that it's better from the point of view of their health to have organic food, God bless them. Let them buy it. Let them pay a bit more. It's a free society. But don't tell the world that we can feed the present population without chemical fertilizer. That's when this misinformation becomes destructive..."
Oh for more like him.
An Apology to Derek Draper
I may have given the impression that LabourList.org is the worst Labour blog imaginable. I was wrong, I now recognise it is a work of towering genius compared to Aneurin Glyndwr - Peter Hain's new love child.
No wonder Guido has declared a truce with Dolly...
h/t The Devil's
UPDATE - The Labourlist webcam caught Dolly after he returned to the office yesterday...
h/t Old Holburn
Another Scientific Consensus Discovered
BBC NEWS | Education | UK youths among worst for drink
Prof Martin Plant, University of the West of England; "There is a clear scientific consensus that alcohol education and mass media campaigns have a very poor track record in influencing drinking habits," he said.
"Far more effective - and cost effective - policies include using taxation to make alcohol less affordable.
"It is therefore recommended that a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol should be introduced. This would save over 3,000 lives per year."
Hurrah for the University of Scrumpy Drinkers and Professor Geranium for that rigorous research! Mass media campaigns don't influence drinking choices, just don't tell the advertising companies that. Now where else have I heard of a Scientific Consensus putting debate beyond the pale...
Turbine Power to Suck Up Cash
Ministers were last night considering fresh incentives designed to spur investment in renewable energy amid evidence that the credit crunch is threatening government energy targets.
The Energy Minister hit back at claims that the Government was failing to deliver on an ambitious plan to foster a green energy revolution by building thousands of onshore and offshore wind turbines.
Mr O’Brien said: “We are fully aware of the investment challenges facing some parts of the industry. We are examining how we can help ensure there is sufficient finance and other support available for viable projects which are short of the investment they need.”
Let me guess, are you going to show that investing in wind turbines is a rational investment choice with a positive return or are you going to shovel barrowloads of taxpayers cash at your fantasy, Hard one...
Science Exams; Are They? A: Leaf B: Easier C: A Mammal
Exam regulator Ofqual: science GCSE is dumbed down - Times Online
GCSE boards must act immediately to improve the quality of science questions in order to stretch and challenge students, the exam regulator said yesterday. It said that the qualification had been dumbed down, with too many multiple choice papers and superficial questions.
A controversial new GCSE in single science, which was intended to make the subject more relevant to teenagers, raised “significant cause for concerns” about standards, Ofqual said.
Well done, years after everyone else noticed the official body admits the bleeding obvious, and now it will take five years to change it all again....
Important Issue of The Day
BBC NEWS | UK | PM and Palace 'discussed reform'
"They need to support this bill today, amend it as necessary and make sure it passes. They can't wait until next year because our constitution also tells us that their time is up in June. This is the last chance."
Her Glorious Majesty looks good for a few more years, Charles isn't in danger of marrying a Left-footer so why the rush? It is almost as though Gordon wants something that isn't his fault to lead the news today. (Wasn't it foresightful of Camilla to not convert to Popery when she married one the first time round, though I imagine the conversation was a bit awkward; "So Darling you won't join me as a Catholic, and then have a massive bells and smells wedding because you think you might divorce me and marry Charles in the future...")
March 26, 2009
Mervyn King and his one eyed friend..
BBC still ignoring Hannan speech
The internet has changed politics - changed it utterly and forever. Twenty-four hours ago, I made a three-minute speech in the European Parliament, aimed at Gordon Brown. I tipped off the BBC and some of the newspaper correspondents but, unsurprisingly, they ignored me...Breaking the press monopoly is one thing. But the internet has also broken the political monopoly. It's all a bit unsettling for professional journalists and politicians. But it's good news for libertarians of every stripe. Lefties have always relied on control, as much of information as of physical resources. Such control is no longer technically feasible.
I should have linked earlier but everyone else had so I assumed you had already watched it, was I correct? With nearly 600,000 views by this morning it seems I was, and even some of the dinosaur press is noticing it now - but not of course the BBC
Miliband's Dirty Choices
The minister’s dilemma: high ideals or low prices - Times Online
As the private sector votes with its investment decisions, Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, faces an unholy dilemma. He has pinned his colours to the Government’s policy of keeping energy affordable while also boosting the proportion of British energy derived from green sources from 5 to 35 per cent by 2020. He has also pledged to make Britain “the best place in the world to locate or build a low-carbon business”.
All three goals require massive subsidy that the Exchequer can ill afford — unless Mr Miliband chooses to tear up Britain’s vaunted pledge to lead by example in the war on carbon, and allow a new generation of coal-fired power stations such as the one mooted for Kingsnorth in Kent to fill the country’s looming generation gap.
A third of Britain’s generating capacity will become obsolete by 2020. The market will provide new capacity if left to its own devices. But if the current trend continues, it will be dirty.
Can you think of anyone less inspiring in giving you confidence that the lights won't go dim in 2020 than Ed The Horse? His green interventions into the market will mean the worst of all worlds, massive subsidies for schemes that don't work, not enough real power stations and expensive panic measures to fill the gap at the last minute..
Big Ignorant Fucker from Offaly Allows No Mockery
The prankster who created a furore when his nude portraits of Brian Cowen, the Irish Prime Minister, were hung in two of Dublin's most prestigious galleries faced prison yesterday after police discovered his identity.
Mr Casby could be prosecuted for indecency, incitement to hatred and criminal damage - for hammering a nail into a wall of the National Gallery of Ireland. If convicted, he would face a heavy fine and possibly even a stint in jail.
Also in the dock is RTÉ, Ireland's leading public broadcaster, for daring to report the incident. After receiving a formal complaint from the Taoiseach's office, the Irish equivalent of the BBC was forced to issue a grovelling apology to Mr Cowen on its main evening bulletin.
A detective told ...that he was under “pressure from on high ... the powers that be wanted it investigated”.
RTÉ, meanwhile, removed its light-hearted story from its website and delivered a contrite and sombre apology, read by one of the nation's best-known news presenters.
Michael Kennedy, a member of the Irish Parliament for Fianna Fáil, the ruling party, which Mr Cowen leads, insisted that the RTÉ report was “a gross insult to the dignity of the office of Taoiseach”. He called on RTÉ's director-general to tender his resignation.
"Dignity of the office of Taoiseach” what a joke, with the fat fucker there, what dignity? With this sort of reaction Ireland shows that its leaders are third world politicians.
The Misuse of Anti-terror Laws
Counter-terror powers to spy on people have been used 10,333 times by councils for things as trivial as dog fouling.
The 10,333 council operations also targeted benefit fraud, fly tipping, theft and graffiti damage.
Just nine per cent of them led to a successful prosecution, caution or fixed-penalty notice.
Ministers are now promising to carry out a review to ensure the powers are not abused.
10,333 Number of times town halls used anti-terror laws to spy on people
0 Number of times town halls used anti-terror laws in terror offences
My favourite - "establishing the identities of those taking fairy lights from a Christmas tree"
How Very Dare You! Question a Labour Whip's Second Home Allowance
A GOVERNMENT whip was today embroiled in the growing expenses row after claiming thousands of pounds for a second London home despite already having one within 10 miles of Westminster.
Assistant government whip Dawn Butler has claimed £37,245 in taxpayers' cash in two years to pay for a second property.
Speaking at her Wembley home today, Ms Butler declined to answer questions from The Standard about her use of the second home allowance. She said: "I totally resent you coming to my private home. Have some respect. How dare you."
Quite, how very dare you question me spending your money...
March 25, 2009
Jacqui's Inoffizieller Mitarbeiters
Jacqui Smith unveiled the government's terror strategy in a round of interviews this morning
Shopping centre and store managers will be among 60,000 British workers trained for action on a new frontline against terror.
Gore Green Global Government Grasp
"Now that the need for urgent action is even clearer with the alarming new findings of the last three years, it is time for a comprehensive global plan that actually solves the climate crisis. 'Our Choice' will answer that call".
I am that man, I'm not some American Messiah, I am the Saviour of The World!
Jonah Brown Sinks Dundee Labour
Nationalists seize control in third major city as provost quits Labour - Scotsman.com News
THE SNP will next week seize control of Scotland's fourth-largest city for the first time in the party's history, following the surprise decision of John Letford, the Lord Provost of Dundee, to quit the ruling Labour group and stand as an independent.
Gordon Brown boast backfires after SNP seizes control of former Labour stronghold - Telegraph
Labour has ruled the local authority in Dundee for 35 years,...The Prime Minister; "It's in a great state, I replied. It's got a Labour council." on his visit to Dundee on 6th March 2009.
Bev Bashes The Grammar
A TORY education chief has defended a council's efforts to 'turn around' a failing grammar school as a government minister called for him to step down.
Stretford Grammar became the first of its kind in the country to be placed in special measures.
Children's Minister Bev Hughes, MP for Stretford and Urmston, has called for Coun John Holden, Trafford council's education executive member, to 'reconsider his position' in the wake of the school's damning Ofsted report. But Mr Holden, who recently became a governor at the school, has described the calls an 'unfounded attack' on the Conservative council.
Ofsted inspectors were highly critical of the school's leadership and management in a damning report, which came weeks after the resignation of the school's head, Peter Cookson.
Last year it was one of the top performing schools in Trafford, with 95 per cent of 15-year-olds achieving five A* to C grades at GCSE, although the figure was down from 98 per cent in 2006.
But the inspectors now say the school's overall effectiveness is 'inadequate' and it is failing to give pupils an 'acceptable standard of education'.
A reader asks "Is this a political failing?". From here it looks like it is a bloody successful school which has had a few problems with leadership, the head has resigned (how unlike our political masters) and the Tories recognise the problems and are working to deal with them. But Bev (and who would take any advice from someone called Bev?) hates Grammar Schools and schools that manage to get 95% pass rates even when failing are an embarrassment.
Eat Up Your Greens
This could bring about the demise of hot meals in secondary schools, as caterers struggle to cope with the expensive and time-consuming restrictions. From September they will have to buy costly computer equipment to calculate the nutritional content of every meal. Each dish must meet 14 standards, including calorie content, fat, proteins and vitamins.
An example of dish that would meet the nutrition requirements is a chicken and vegetable stir fry with brown rice and green cabbage. A typical portion would contain 411 calories, 6.3g fat and 20.6g protein. Burgers with chips and baked beans will disappear.
At best they will have to restrict choice, by scrapping the cafeteria-style buffet common in most schools in favour of a set two-course menu that places greater emphasis on nutrition than pupils’ tastes.
Neil Porter, chairman of Laca, said these were a “step too far”. He said: “We will have to put menus and recipes through a software system which produces a graph to show whether they are compliant. These will be externally monitored and checked.
And what about the brown rice and cabbage that is left on the plates, will the kids be ordered to stay at the table and eat up until the computer says they may get down?
March 24, 2009
BBC NEWS | Saltwater at home- Writer's idea to persuade climate change sceptics
Can a simple idea help make the world a better place?
Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam suggests randomly piping saltwater into homes....
There are still many climate change sceptics out there.
In order to address the scepticism, which I believe is a result of a failure of the imagination, I propose that all citizens of countries that have high per capita carbon emissions have saltwater randomly piped into their homes.
The saltwater will arrive without warning, with complete disregard for whether or not the people in those homes are themselves high carbon emitters.
Torrid on Ice - and BBC stealth editing.
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Arctic trek team pushes forward
The British team trying to measure the thickness of Arctic sea-ice as it treks to the North Pole believes the weather is finally turning in its favour.
Pen Hadow, Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels have experienced torrid conditions since being dropped on to the ice three weeks ago.
Temperatures have been down to -40C with wind chill, and the drifting ice has blunted their progress.
Torrid? Torrid as in:
Parched with the heat of the sun; intensely hot.
Scorching; burning: the torrid noonday sun.
Passionate; ardent: a torrid love scene.
Hurried; rapid: set a torrid pace; torrid economic growth.
[Latin torridus, from torrēre, to parch.]
So it has been so cold they haven't been able to set a rapid pace and the BBC calls that torrid, and now it is warmer it is better - no wonder we are confused....
UPDATE - The BBC has now (next morning) done a stealth edit by replacing the word "torrid" with "extreme" but not changing the last updated by time and date (17:02 GMT, Tuesday, 24 March 2009)
RSPB Wants More Eagle Slicers
RSPB warning as wind turbines kill sea eagles - Environment - The Independent - 28 Jan 2006
Sea eagles, among Europe's most magnificent birds, are being killed by the turbines of a Norwegian wind farm, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said. The discovery of four dead eagles on Smola, an island with 68 turbines six miles off north-west Norway, and failure of almost 30 others to return to nests on the island, have increased concerns that wind farms in Britain could kill wild birds, the RSPB said.
RSPB to build wind farms on its bird reserves - Telegraph - 06 Dec 2008
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is drawing up plans that will see wind turbines constructed on its estates as part of a new green energy drive.
RSPB conflict of interest over wind turbines , 19 February 2009
RSPB calls for more UK wind farms - 24 March 2009
There should be a significant increase in the number of wind farms built onshore in the UK, the RSPB has said.
It called for an end to the "needless delays" that beset wind farm projects
No One Died So Important Safety Campaign Launched
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is campaigning for the safety covers to be banned. It says that the covers, used by thousands of parents to stop their children poking their fingers into a socket, are not just a waste of money but are also potentially dangerous.
Though it admits there are no cases of any children being harmed by socket covers...
Adam Hart-Davis, the television broadcaster who specialises in promoting science, said: "I normally refuse to join in campaigns – I get asked to do so about once a week – but this seemed so important, and the 'safety' covers so absurd and dangerous, that I agreed. I do think someone should do something, since children's lives could be put at risk'.
...the IET argues that there have been no cases of children being harmed from sockets that have been left uncovered since a new generation of sockets were introduced in 1990.
So socket covers are unnecessary but reassure parents who don't like to see Jimmy sticking an HB into the live hole. They are cheap and no one has been hurt, haven't these people got anything better to worry about?
A World Fit For Old Etonians
Eugenics is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created unequal and the food is running short; that, in the struggle for food, those who have an inherited advantage prevail and pass the advantage on to their children who prevail even more; that this is how evolution, Yale and the English aristocracy happened. A further belief is that, at this point in evolution, the more evolved must take destiny and the less evolved in hand. Selection must not be left to chance for chance is cruel, capricious and, all too often, expensive but must instead be led by the kindly elite - Harvard professors, British aristocrats, Serbian psychiatrists, Aryans and so on.
You’d have thought I’d advocated compulsory sterilisation, emasculation, euthanasia, and baby-slaughtering all in one fell swoop. Melanie Philips likened me to Pol Pot and Hitler (who was “green” after all!), and when Fox News in the US got hold of the story, every religious nutcase with nothing better to do crawled out from under their stones to suggest the best thing I could do to help address population pressure would be to top myself. Instantly. Logic and sound evidence were not much in evidence.
The Fundamental Flaws Of The Government's Databases
ContactPoint’s failure is a symptom of a wider disease - Times Online
Technology moves fast. Governments do not. Those in the know are not in the least surprised that ContactPoint has been halted. The Government’s databases are in a mess.
A scathing report, published by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust yesterday, found that the most of the Government’s databases have “significant problems and may be unlawful”. ContactPoint was one of the systems said to be “fundamentally flawed”. ContactPoint’s failure is a symptom of a wider disease.
The problem is that the Government is rarely at the forefront of technological advances and therefore is liable to be sold shoddy goods. The report stated: “One noticeable effect is that the UK public sector always appears to get sold whatever technology or methodology is just going out of fashion in the private sector.”
But press on regardless eh? Stamping and cataloguing the peasants, there is no time to lose...
March 23, 2009
Tim Teeman Disses Stable Love Affairs
This tide of bigotry should not go uncensured | Tim Teeman - Times Online
...equated gay sex with having sex with donkeys. Do those in authority not condemn this?... So much bigotry is tied up with an obsession about gay sex, but to conflate what people do in bed with their human rights makes as little sense as comparing homosexuality with bestiality...
No one likes being told what to say, and gays don't want “special rights”, but equality. So, as with racism, a law preventing incitement to hatred on sexual orientation should have no exceptions at all.
So why are you being rude about the donkey buggers then? Isn't that a sexual orientation that needs protection from hurtful comments as well? Slippery slope ruling against the freedom to say what you want to isn't it?
Boys should be boys
BBC NEWS | Health | Eczema cases rise dramatically
The highest rate was in boys aged between five and nine. One potential explanation for the rise is increased frequency of bathing and use of soap and detergents.
Poor bloody kids, boys between the age of five and nine should only have a brief passing acquaintance with soap and water, it is all part of the feminisation of childhood...
Theo ology in Oxford
Running late this morning as I succumbed to turning on the television last night which is a rare event for me. But my old tutors at Oxford had suggested I catch Lewis on ITV to admire the beauties of Oxford and play the "that doesn't belong there" game. I was pleasantly surprised it was almost as good as Morse and they were certainly right about the pulcritude of the place (or even pulchritude as the Americans would have it, I of course prefer the original spelling.)
The opening scene featured winter on the river bank, lovely; picture below...
Now that is the way to start the week...pip pip!
Ice with a slice please.
Scientists are to dig up ice dating back more than 100,000 years in an attempt to shed light on how global warming will change the world over the next century.
The ice, at the bottom of the Greenland ice sheet, was laid down at a time when temperatures were 3C (5.4F) to 5C warmer than they are today.
With temperatures forecast to rise by up to 7C in the next 100 years, the ice more than 8,000ft (2,400m) below the surface is thought by researchers to hold valuable clues to how much of the ice sheet will melt.
If it was so much warmer then and the ice sheet melted how come there is ice still there for them to sample?
As ever it won't be the data they come up but the spin that is spun with it that matters.
Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb to be sacked
The time they are on call is calculated by Brussels as part of their working week. Around 90 per cent of Britain is protected by retained firefighters.
So my local station instead of relying on roughly two crews who take it in turn to be available as they go about their normal work and rest will need four full time crews to cover the whole week? The present volunteers will be sacked if they choose their normal interesting jobs rather than sitting unwanted in the firestation night after night and who will replace them? I suppose this will be seen as a triumph of EU job creation.
March 21, 2009
IE8 Suggested Site For An Englishman - I'll Sue!
Thanks to a Reader....
March 20, 2009
Friday Night is Music Night (Young Punks Edition)
Or the Samba version...
And once more for those of us missing Xena
IE8 With Added Porn Mode
When checking e-mail at an Internet café or shopping for a gift on a family PC, you don't want to leave any trace of specific web browsing activity. InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer 8 helps prevent your browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, and usernames and passwords from being retained by the browser, leaving no evidence of your browsing or search history. Yea, yea, yea - we all know what it is really for..
I haven't tried the new Porn Mode yet but the general impression is that the new IE8 is very fast and works very well. (I expect there will be an Apple Addict along in a minute to point out its faults though...)
Darling Cash In The Attic Search
Alistair Darling has demanded a further clampdown on Whitehall departments, in the first sign of a much tougher spending squeeze as public finances continue to deteriorate, The Times has learnt.
Oh he is still here is he? I had quite forgotten he existed. I suppose he will scweam and scweam until he he sicks but the finances are so buggered up that paperclip savings are irrelevant and the Civil Service know he is a lame duck so they will just shuffle the paper at him and protect their own.
The Ploughman Homeward Plods His Weary Way
Regular readers may remember this was an annual series...
Image taken on 9/3/2005 16:30
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Go on Love, just do it.
Go on then, jump! Do us all a favour.
State Prodnoses Coming Your Pub
Public health "mentors" will be enlisted by the NHS to offer 'on the spot' advice in their local neighbourhood when they see people smoking, eating or drinking too much.
Eating a third fried breakfast of the week in the office canteen, having a drink 'for the road' at your local pub or chain-smoking another cigarette while waiting for the bus could all see the mentors spring into action to offer the Government's advice.
Volunteer attend training sessions where they are taught how to offer appropriate advice on health issues including how to become more active, have a better diet, stop smoking and reduce stress.
Reduce the stress of not being nagged and ordered about presumably. Do they also receive advice on how to deal with a bleeding nose and an earful of abuse?
March 19, 2009
Welsh Sheep Video - Wow!
As seen on other farmers websites...
Gordons Two Nations Policy
Public sector shielded as unemployment hits 2 million - Times Online
A growing divide between a burgeoning public sector and struggling private sector emerged yesterday as figures showed that the number of people out of work rose above two millions in January – the highest level since Labour came to power in 1997.
The number of people signing on for unemployment benefits rose by 138,000 last month – the fastest rate since 1971. Meanwhile, jobs and pay are still rising in the public sector. Official figures show that 30,000 jobs were created in the public sector last year, with 105,000 lost in the private sector.
The gap between the growth in pay in the public and private sectors rose to a record 4.8 per cent. As companies slashed salaries and bonuses, earnings in the public sector continued to rise faster than inflation. Public sector pay rose by 3.7 per cent in the year to January 2009. Private sector pay fell by 1.1 per cent in that period. Inflation is currently at 3 per cent.
The figures reveal that 21,000 extra NHS staff and 5,000 public adminstrative staff were recruited in the last three months of 2008.
And for how much longer do you plan to continue to milk the cash cow without allowing it access to food and drink? Do you think it will die or turn on you first?
Forget Bankers Pay - Here Is The Real Scandal
The head of a hospital trust where at least 400 patients may have died because of appalling emergency care is understood to have received pay rises totalling more than £30,000.
The salary of Martin Yeates, chief executive of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, increased from a pay band of up to £140,000 to one of up to £180,000 over two years, while standards at the trust deteriorated.
Last August the governors’ nominations and remuneration committee doubled the salaries of other non- executive board members. Toni Brisby, the chairwoman, went from £20,144 to £40,000 for 3½ days’ work a week. Other non-executive directors, who worked 2½ days a month, were awarded rises from £5,875 to £12,000. Ms Brisby resigned this month and Mr Yeates has been suspended on full pay...
A report by the Healthcare Commission found “shocking and appalling” standards of care for patients admitted through A&E from 2005 to 2008. Investigators estimate that between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected.
The commission was heavily critical of the trust’s board, which it said had been focused more on finance, targets and achieving foundation trust status than on patient care.
And that tells you the complete story.
From The If It Moves Tax It School of Politics
Economic migrants and students coming to the UK from outside the EU will have to pay a £50 levy towards the costs of the public services they consume.... Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said that the long-term benefit to the UK from migration is "significant" and will play a vital role in the country's recovery from recession.....
March 18, 2009
Climate / Sun Activity Correlation
Beryllium-10 is an isotope that is a proxy for the sun’s activity. Be10 is produced in the atmosphere by cosmic ray collisions with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen. Beryllium 10 concentrations are linked to cosmic ray intensity which can be a proxy for solar strength....
Plotted up and annotated, the ... data shows the strong relationship between solar activity and climate. Instead of wading through hundreds of papers for evidence of the Sun’s influence on terrestrial climate, all you have to do is look at this graph.
All the major climate minima are evident in the Be10 record, and the cold period at the end of the 19th century. This graph alone demonstrates that the warming of the 20th century was solar-driven....
Bosses to blame for ‘Third World’ hospital: Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust - Times Online
Appalling standards of care that may have contributed to the deaths of at least 400 patients at a hospital trust were missed repeatedly by managers and regulators, it was disclosed yesterday.
A report by the Healthcare Commission into death rates at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust found that receptionists were given responsibility for carrying out medical checks and patients were left screaming in pain for hours.
The report, the most damning yet compiled by the commission on an NHS hospital in England, raises serious questions about the monitoring and regulation of the trust, which was awarded elite foundation status and continued to receive positive annual reports despite its many problems.
Obviously the trust was good at filling in the right forms, which are the only sort of important indicator of how well the trust was performing. I doubt if patients had been able to vote with their wallets that it would have not been noticed for so long. Any private company that killed 400 people and caused untold agony and anguish to thousands would be in court, with the management rightly looking forward to prison, any bets on that happening here?
Gordon's Correct About Our Unique Ability To Recover
UK recession will drag into 2010 as others recover, says IMF - Times Online
Britain’s economy is set to keep shrinking well into next year, even after all or most of its leading competitors have begun to enjoy renewed growth, the International Monetary Fund will warn this week.
Yes, thanks to Labour our economy is unique, thanks to Labour the recession will be longer, deeper and worse here than anywhere else.
Gov to Curb Personal Quantitative Easing
Gareth Thomas, the consumer affairs minister, said it was vital consumers were properly protected.
He said: "We are concerned that people may be tempted to borrow irresponsibly".
Has he warned Gordon about his concerns? Pots and kettles, dear boy.
You know the rest of the story already...
March 17, 2009
Shoppers still recognise the importance of reducing carbon emissions in spite of recession - Times Online
Harry Morrison, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, sympathises. “I understand this sentiment that for some businesses, survival is critical now. But from an environmental perspective, the clock is ticking — we don't have much time. In addition, cutting carbon has an immediate bottom-line effect as costs drop, and a medium-term benefit for the brand.”
But there seems to be a stumbling block in how businesses can let their customers know about the good work that they are doing to curb carbon.
B&Q has gone one step further at its new flagship store in New Malden, southwest London. Visitors sipping a coffee in the café can look through glass panels to admire the solar panels and wind turbine that are helping to cut the store's carbon emissions.
Excellent news, carbon is dirty black stuff, we don't want B&Q letting the dust from its BBQ charcoal blow about the place, though I'm not sure how solar panels and wind turbines stop the grit spreading, or am I missing something?
Gunboat Diplomacy in Cockburn Town
Britain to seize control of Turks and Caicos Islands - Times Online
Britain is expected to seize full administrative control of the Turks and Caicos Islands next week after a corruption probe into the governance of the small Caribbean territory.
The Foreign Office announced plans today to suspend the constitution on the idyllic islands situated to the east of Cuba for two years.
Gordon Wetherell, the British Governor, broadcast a message across the islands announcing that a proposal had been drafted in London to transfer the authority of the local government ministers into his hands.
He blamed “clear signs of political amorality and immaturity and general administrative incompetence” for the move which is likely to suspend the democratic administration of the territory until the next scheduled election in 2011.
With no income tax, an array of unspoilt beaches and the security offered by its status as a British dependency, the Turks and Caicos Islands had become a haven for celebrities and their bank accounts.
The calm has been disrupted, however, by an inquiry into allegations of political corruption. At the centre of the inquiry was the islands' charismatic Premier, Michael Misick,...
An investigation into the administration of the islands by Sir Robin Auld, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, found a “high probability of systemic corruption or serious dishonesty”, according to Gillian Merron, a junior FCO minister.
In a written statement to Parliament today, she said: “The Government has formed the view that parts of the constitution will need to be suspended and has decided to take steps to enable it to do so.”
In a better world that would read...
Turks and Caicos Islands to seize control of Britain - Times Online
Turks and Caicos Islands is expected to seize full administrative control of the British Isles next week after a corruption probe into the governance of the small European territory.
The Foreign Office announced plans today to suspend the constitution on the idyllic islands situated to the west of Europe for two years.
Gordon Wetherell, the Turks and Caicos Islands Governor, broadcast a message across the islands announcing that a proposal had been drafted in Cockburn Town, to transfer the authority of the local government ministers into his hands.
He blamed “clear signs of political amorality and immaturity and general administrative incompetence” for the move which is likely to suspend the democratic administration of the territory until the next scheduled election in 2011.
With high income tax, an array of spoilt beaches and the insecurity offered by its status as a Europen dependency, Britain has been losing celebrities and their bank accounts.
The calm has been disrupted, however, by an inquiry into allegations of political corruption. At the centre of the inquiry was the islands' uncharismatic Premier, Gordon Brown,...
An investigation into the administration of the islands by Sir Robin Auld, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, found a “high probability of systemic corruption or serious dishonesty”, according to Gillian Merron, a junior FCO minister.
In a written statement to Parliament today, she said: “The Government has formed the view that parts of the constitution will need to be suspended and has decided to take steps to enable it to do so.”
Just hand over your money
HMRC investigates allegations of tax avoidance schemes at Barclays - Times Online
Alistair Darling signalled yesterday that he was ready to crack down on tax avoidance by Britain’s banks.
HMRC said: “We have received papers relating to allegations of tax avoidance in the banking industry which we are studying carefully.”
The Chancellor told MPs that HMRC would publish a code of practice on taxation for the banking sector around the time of the Budget next month. The code, initially voluntary, would mean that banks must comply “not just with the letter but the spirit of the law”, the Chancellor said. “We expect banks to fully comply with their tax obligations.”
The scheme will be based on the one introduced for the corporate sector, in which officials engage in a “dialogue” with big companies to weed out avoidance schemes. According to the Treasury, it has resulted in billions of pounds extra in tax being collected.
Tax avoidance is legal, whereas tax evasion is illegal – but avoidance is deeply frowned upon and each year the Treasury comes up with new efforts to close loopholes.
Officials said that the taxpayer could save billions as a result.
No, No, No, The Taxpayer who has his pension funds invested in Barclays shares will lose billions which will be passed through the Treasury mangle to result in a small benefit to the country. Barclays has a duty to minimise the amount it pays in Tax, if it fails to plan to avoid unnecessary tax bills it is failing its shareholders.
March 16, 2009
Man charged following soldiers' homecoming parade - Bedford Today
The 18-year-old, from Luton, has been charged with racially aggravated harassment (verbal abuse) and will appear before Luton Magistrates Court on Wednesday, March 18.
Superintendent Mark Turner of Beds Police said: "It is important that people understand that those who chose to disrupt the parade yesterday represent a small minority in what was generally a very peaceful crowd. Luton remains a very cohesive town where overall relations with the many diverse communities are good."
Windows at the Stopsley home of a protestor involved in last week's demonstration during the parade of troops through Luton were smashed at the weekend.
Police were called to the home of 29-year-old Yousaf Bashir in Dellcot Close late on Friday night...Neighbours of Mr Bashir, who lives with his parents, said they had put up Union Jack bunting outside their homes to prevent them being targeted by mistake....
Mr Bashir is believed to be travelling to Turkey later this week, according to neighbours.
A police spokesman said the cul-de-sac was "on police watch" but that the police presence was not a personal guard for Mr Bashir.
The Real Story About Drink Prices
The BBC and the Lib Dims are still breathlessly excited by this idea, even though Gordon has scotched the idea and better informed people than BBC journalists point out the EU angle which scuppers it but then as they point out it is probable "that we have a strong element of kite-flying here, softening up public opinion for a massive tax hike on booze. That is the only legal option available to our provincial government." And that is something the Lib Dims and BBC agree is excellent.
Eradicating Bugs From Your Bins
Make that 1,999,999 as mine fell out, I suggest you examine the charmingly named "chip nest" on yours.
Teacher's Leaders Slam Success
I'm not in favour of central control of schools but isn't it ironic that if our schools were as successful as Tescos then we wouldn't have a problem.
March 15, 2009
Sir Liam Donaldson Arse
Christian Aid for Hansen
Plan B: scientists get radical in bid to halt global warming ‘catastrophe’ - Times Online
THE director of a Nasa space laboratory will this week lead thousands of climate change campaigners through Coventry in an extraordinary intervention in British politics.
James Hansen plans to use Thursday’s Climate Change Day of Action to put pressure on Gordon Brown to wake up to the threat of climate change....The protest, being organised by Christian Aid, will involve a New Orleans-style funeral march by “mourners” for future lost generations.
Hansen is just one of a number of leading researchers who believe that scientists must get out of their laboratories and campaign on climate change.
They say researchers have spent nearly two decades producing high-quality research demonstrating that the world risks dangerous warming - yet political inaction means CO2 emissions are rising faster than ever.
Even the Met Office, which traditionally has been one of the government’s most conservative research institutions, has become quietly radical over climate.
It sent a team of its top climate scientists to the Copenhagen meeting - backing them with a team of publicists who lobbied journalists intensively to maximise coverage of their research.
Others have used scientific publications to make overtly political points. Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre, the government’s leading global warming research centre, recently used the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, one of the world’s most respected academic journals, to call for a “planned global recession” to cut carbon emissions.
BAH! I'm off to The local Game Fair - I will be mighty tempted by any weapons I see for sale...
March 14, 2009
Iain Dale Outrage That Press Reveal Miliband Has A Girlfriend
Stories like this are from the school of thought that assumes all politicians are on the make or easy to influence in a malign way.
I plead guilty, but then I'm not an insider like Iain.
The travel plans and personal details of every holidaymaker, business traveller and day-tripper who leaves Britain are to be tracked by the Government, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Passengers leaving every international sea port, station or airport will have to supply detailed personal information as well as their travel plans. ..the rules which will require the provision of travellers' personal information such as passport and credit card details, home and email addresses and exact travel plans.
The full extent of the impact of the government's "e-borders" scheme emerged amid warnings that passengers face increased congestion as air, rail and ferry companies introduce some of the changes over the Easter holidays.
The new checks are being introduced piecemeal by the UK Border Agency. By the end of the year 60 per cent of journeys made out of Britain will be affected with 95 per cent of people leaving the country being subject to the plans by the end 2010.
Yachtsmen, leisure boaters, trawlermen and private pilots will be given until 2014 to comply with the programme.
They will be expected to use the internet to send their details each time they leave the country and would face a fine of up to £5,000 should they fail to do so.
Ever thought you had woken up and you were in a prison cell?
March 13, 2009
Friday Night is Music Night (Alan Freed Special)
Praying for a surfeit of lampreys
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness receive film star reception on US trade trip - Times Online
As the people of Bambridge, Co Down, prepared for today’s funeral of PC Stephen Paul Carroll, the Odd Couple of Irish politics were in the United States, declaring that it was business as usual.
A reception had been arranged at a $5.5 million (£4 million), seven-bedroom, Mediterranean-style mansion in Hancock Park - the residence of Bob Peirce, the British Consul-General A jazz trio played in the corner of the garden, illuminated by the soft glow from fairy lights wrapped around a nearby tree trunk.
The arrival of Mr McGuinness, a former leader in the Provisional IRA, in the back of a massive, chrome-rimmed, tinted-windowed Cadillac Escalade SUV - the kind favoured by rappers such as 50 Cent - bordered on the comic.
Mr McGuinness went on to inform the guests that the next day the Irish delegation would be “going to meet with senior fill-um executives”, before flying to Washington DC for a St Patrick’s Day reception at the White House, at which they will meet President Obama Both men will no doubt be acutely aware of the potential for a PR disaster as these images are broadcast back to Northern Ireland.
Martin McGuinness and the armed struggle
“I am a member of Oglaigh na Eireann [IRA] and very, very proud of it.”
To a Dublin court, on being convicted of IRA membership charges, 1973
“Everybody in Derry knows what I’ve been in the past, everybody in Ireland knows. I’m not ashamed of it. Everybody knows I was always involved in opposition to British rule in Ireland and the British occupation forces.”
“These people [Real IRA], they are traitors to the island of Ireland.” Speaking at news conference on Tuesday, alongside First Minister Peter Robinson and Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde
Buttering up Nigella
That's too much for first thing in the morning, a cold shower is needed....
Little White Spoonfuls of Happiness
According to researchers salt puts people in a better mood...The study by scientists at the University of Iowa found that going without salt could even make people depressed....
Professor Kim Johnson, who carried out the tests on rats, found that when the animals were deprived of salt they lost pleasure in things they normally enjoyed, such as having a sugary drink.
Prof Johnson said: "Things that normally would be pleasurable for rats didn't elicit the same degree of relish, which leads us to believe that a salt deficit and the craving associated with it can induce one of the key symptoms associated with depression."
Happiness inducing is a feature; think of someone sprinkling salt on their chips, they will be smiling; think of a whey face health food fanatic spurning the salt, do they smile?
Let's be reminded of the truth behind the Salt Scare:
...the best science for nearly half a century — including the government’s own findings on examinations reflecting 99 million Americans; more than 17,000 studies published since 1966; and even a recent Cochrane systematic review of the clinical trial evidence — fails to support the hypotheses that salt reductions offer health benefits for the general public. Cochrane’s reviewers specifically concluded that such interventions are inappropriate for population prevention programs.
It’s not just that the salt reductions being proposed will be costly programs that won’t be of much help to people, but that they could hurt people.
So salt is cheap, harmless, makes us eat more vegetables and makes us happy - what's not to like?
"This suggests that salt need and cravings may be linked to the same brain pathways as those related to drug addiction and abuse," Prof Johnson said.
Uh-oh I can feel some more expensive research and treatment programs coming on....
March 12, 2009
Increasing Hot Air
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Earth warming faster than thought
Earth warming faster than thought
By Matt McGrath
BBC environment reporter, Copenhagen
The worst-case scenarios on climate change envisaged by the UN are already being realised, say scientists at an international meeting in Copenhagen
..they say there is an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climate shifts...
...Scientists heard that waters could rise by over a metre..
...There was also new information on how the Amazon rainforest would cope with rising temperatures. A UK Meteorological Office study concluded there would be a 75% loss of tree cover if the world warmed by three degrees for a century....
If 'ifs' and 'ans' were pots and pans, we'd have no need of tinkers...
The meeting was also addressed by Lord Stern, the economist, whose landmark review of the economics of climate change published in 2006 highlighted the severe cost to the world of doing nothing.
He now says the report underestimated the scale of the risks, and the speed at which the planet is warming.
And how fast is that My Noble Lord? Sort of not very fast at all this century? Sort of not at all since you wrote your report? If you want to use a two year data set to spread alarm then you can't complain if others actually look at it, and if you use two years data as "climate" evidence then you can't then claim it is just weather.
How Well Do You Know Your Highway Code? (1970s Edition)
Land Rover Heads the Wrong Way
CAR maker Jaguar Land Rover was offered a taxpayer-funded £27 million boost yesterday to make an eco-friendly car as part of a government effort to shore up the beleaguered industry.
The money will be given once Jaguar, owned by the Indian firm Tata, gives the green light to producing the car, a compact, lightweight Land Rover LRX
I don't want Land Rover to produce a cuddly curvy green car, if they want to go green produce Series 1 again. There are fewer cars that are more recyclable, longer lasting and cheaper to produce. Maybe this time they could even make them go. But it might be a touch too hairshirted for the modern day but what would be wrong with a tarted up Series 11a? Now that is a car I would buy.
Wanted - Your View Of Scotland - 50 words max.
Plans were unveiled yesterday to mark the tenth anniversary of devolution by adding a striking new quote to the 25 already on the Canongate wall. Announcing the start of the search, Alex Fergusson, the parliament's presiding officer, said: "We are asking people to nominate a well-loved or significant piece of writing that is relevant for Scotland, perhaps something that expresses how they feel about Scotland, what it means to be Scottish, or hopes for the future." Nominations can be from writers dead or alive, or even anonymous, but no more than 50 words are allowed.
"Funded by English Taxpayers" would be my suggestion, you may have others....
LGA Chairman claims he is hung like a donkey
Councils did not "underperform" during snow chaos, says local government chief. - Telegraph Mandy Rice-Davies Applies - He would say that, wouldn't he - I bet he also claims he is a better driver than the average, has a better sense of humour and is a demon in bed. If he can't recognise underperformance when it on the street in front of him then I pity his passengers, his golf club fellow members and his partner....
March 11, 2009
How Well Do You Know Your Highway Code?
Is it only Wiltshire that has this road sign at the entrances to villages, or do they need them at the end of Whitehall as well?
(In case you are rusty it means "Tanks Forbidden" - the sign for "Tank Crossing", or "Beware Tanks" is in a triangular sign)
Iain, let me introduce to a pair of chaps you should see.
Iain Dale's Diary: Those Gordon Brown DVDs
I am afraid I do not come out well on this...
NEVER SEEN: Gone With The Wind, City Lights, Sunset Boulevard, Casablanca, The General, The Grapes of Wrath, Citizen Kane, Raging Bull, Singin’ in the Rain, Lawrence of Arabia, , Vertigo, The Wizard of Oz, The Searchers, Psycho, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Graduate, On the Waterfront, Chinatown, Some Like it Hot, The Godfather, Star Wars: Episode IV, It’s a Wonderful Life, To Kill a Mockingbird
Sorry Iain I'm afraid you don't - I can forgive you never having watched the tedious Star Wars or bizarre Wizard, I haven't managed that through all the way so I'm no friend of Dorothy. But Gone, Casablanca, Kane, Singin', Lawrence, Searchers, Some like it Hot and Wonderful Life are films that are part of a civilised man's education.
I only actually own one of them, one that I slip into the slot for a lazy Sunday afternoon snooze in front of the fire and has given me a Pavlovian longing for crumpets as the end credits roll...
Da Fink Gets It, Do The Tories?
Because what British politics is going to be about in the next ten years is living with the consequences of the State being broke, of the Government running out of money.
I don't mean to make a meal of this. It's just that sometimes when I listen to the political debate, I wonder if everyone is still connected with reality. They're all busy announcing new schemes and White Papers or dreaming of tax cuts and so forth, and no one seems to talk much about the cash. La la la la (fingers in ears). ...
Every Labour government has kept its unstable coalition of leftist dreamers, truculent union men and hard-nosed managerialists together by spending money....
New Labour was made possible because steadily increasing state spending allowed important choices to be avoided. The Government could give out more in benefits to the low paid, spend cash on the NHS to cover up its failures, buy off the unions and all without alienating the middle class too badly. If it proposed market reforms, to burnish its credentials as a progressive party, it could buy off the left-wing critics with taxpayers' cash. No more. In the era of no money, the Left will have to choose. And choosing will be grim.
But things will be grim for the Right, too. Many Conservatives have lived in a dreamworld. Cutting spending would be easy. Cutting tax is a moral necessity. They are about to find out just how difficult it is even to control the amount Government pays out. Consumers of public services have rising expectations and most of the services are labour intensive. Both these things keep pushing up costs, even if government does nothing.
And Tory ideology robs them of the one escape route that the Left retains. They can't very well start putting up taxes - at least not greatly, at least not for an extended period. The party leadership is going to find it hard enough restraining the demand for tax cuts from activists and newspapers, tax cuts that the era of no money make impossible....
It will not be open to David Cameron to be the mirror image of Mr Blair - to move gently towards Tory goals while using spending to keep his opponents always, always slightly off balance. In the era of no money a much more bloody clash will prove almost impossible to avoid. The Left will not find themselves, as the Right did in 1997, confused and with little to say. The battle with the Tories over tax and public spending will seem familiar. Then again, they might like to recall that when those were the battlelines, they lost.
When the Tories get in, assuming the get a proper working majority of seats, they need to grasp the nettle quickly. They will have a short honeymoon period when they can swing the axe. If they try to do it all nicely nicely the four years will soon be up, the opposition will have regathered itself and it will be a bloody mess, and I fear that is what will happen.
March 10, 2009
A lift for Otis
Judge furious as 'witness-nobbling' charges against Otis Ferry are dropped - Times Online
Martin Picton, the judge, described the situation as “nonsensical and farcical”. He had abandoned the original robbery and assault trial in September and remanded Mr Ferry in custody – upon pressure from the Crown Prosecution Service – after hearing the perverting the course of justice allegation. The judge called for Kerry Barker, the prosecution lawyer, who was not in court, to appear before him to give a full explanation.
Judge Picton said he found it breathtaking that the prosecution had reached its present situation after the case had been “vegetating a long time”.Bailing Mr Ferry and Mr Deutsch, he told them: “I am adjourning your case. I can’t tell you until when.”
Mr Ferry told The Independent: "This whole thing could have been avoided. It is not only frustrating, but it is devastating. If you have ever been in prison you will know it is not very nice. I was in prison for four months because the police claimed that their sensitive investigation would be prejudiced if I was out. They thought that I would bully the witnesses but it seems to me that they had me locked up on the say-so of one man. What they accused me of was simply not true and I tried to tell them that but they didn't listen."
HRH Hansen's Poodle
The Prince said Chile was witnessing the terrifying effects of global warming, including the shrinking of nearly 90 per cent of your glaciers.
"Ladies and gentlemen, in the light of such evidence, and so much more from across the globe, I find it incomprehensible that there are those who doubt the science of climate change."
I'm sure his Highness has read the scientific papers which show that they have been retreating for over a century -
Here is another fascinating example of an easily understandable one that even he could understand.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office wants to use the Prince's expertise, experience and contacts more from now on in "soft diplomacy" abroad.
Some diplomats feel he is an asset that has been under-used. The Prince's views on climate change and the environment are widely admired by world leaders.
On Thursday, in Brazil, Prince Charles will deliver a keynote speech when he will warn the world has less than 100 months to act if it is to avoid irreversible damage from climate change.
It is a shame to see him reduced to being wheeled round as a useful idiot spouting spoonfed views to prop up the increasingly discredited agitprop of the consensus.
The poster of buttocks clad in sheer tights by Swiss underwear giant Sloggi was given the award for "promoting pornography and prostitution" by the Guard Dogs, a French and Swiss feminist association.
The group gave another prize for "gratuitous nudity that has nothing to do with the product" to Italian coffee company Lavazza for a picture of a naked woman on all fours.
Wot no pictures? The Telegraph is slipping...
March 9, 2009
Dr Eammon Butler Owes Me A Drink
National debt is running at £175,000 per household, five times more than thought, while each year the Government has passed 3,500 regulations, along with 100,000 pages of rules and explanation.
'The Rotten State of Britain' claims to be the first "deeply researched factual account" of Tony Blair's and Gordon Brown's time in office.
The author Eammon Butler, a director of the leading think tank the Adam Smith Institute, claimed that his book had been turned down by two publishers because of the "unconventional" nature of the content.
He said: "A new form of centralised government and authoritarian government has been created that is worse than ever in Britain's recent history."
A well written and easily readable book, though I think I will need to buy a second copy as after every page or so I throw it on the ground and declaim about the bastard politicians and then have to go to find a fresh bottle of good cheer as a necessary restorative. Dr Butler is costing me a fortune....
Nevertheless it can and should be purchased by clicking here.
Armed Guards Stood By As Soldiers Died
Security guards stood by as gunmen killed Northern Ireland soldiers - Times Online
Armed security guards employed to protect the military base in Northern Ireland where two soldiers were shot dead did not open fire on the terrorists, even when they stood over the injured men and fired further shots.
Army sources said that it was the first time that the Northern Ireland Security Guard Service (NISGS) had had to deal with a direct attack on a base. The service took over responsibility for security of barracks from soldiers more than ten years ago.
The speed and audacity of the attack not only exposes a gaping hole in the intelligence picture of republican terrorist activity but also raises questions about why barracks throughout the UK are protected by civilians.
Why do I have a feeling the civilians are more like plastic plods rather than Blackwater contractors? What is their training? What are their rules of engagement? How has their effectiveness been tested? Is this just cost cutting? Who is responsible?
Darn your socks to help save planet, says minister - Scotsman.com News
The new environment minister, who has never owned a car, tumble drier or dishwasher, said our grandparents could teach us how to lead greener lifestyles.
She believes it is time we become less materialistic.
"..this shiny new, buy-everything-chuck-it-away society is the anomaly in history. It's going to have turned out to be a very expensive anomaly in every way – for our climate, and for our pockets.
"So maybe we should be showing off the darned holes in our socks."
Ms Cunningham added that the problem was that some people would make fun of that idea.
Perish the thought. The dry Scotsman continues...
THE Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall began their ten-day tour of South America yesterday with the issue of climate change at the top of their agenda.
Prince Charles and Camilla arrived in Chile, but they will also visit Brazil, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Highlighting the issue of global warming is a major theme, and this week the prince will give a dire warning on climate change to the world.
Their chartered Airbus arrived at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez airport close to Santiago. They were driven away in a limousine, followed by a motorcade of six cars.
March 8, 2009
Stagnating the economy on purpose
THE government is to cut the national speed limit from 60mph to 50mph on most of Britain’s roads, enforced by a new generation of average speed cameras.
The reduction , to be imposed as early as next year, will affect two thirds of the country’s road network. Drivers will still be able to reach 70mph on motorways and dual carriageways and 60mph on the safest A roads.
Jim Fitzpatrick, the roads minister, defended the plan, which will be the most dramatic cut since 1978, when the national speed limit was reduced from 70mph to 60mph.
“There will be some in the driving lobby who think this is a further attack and a restriction on people’s freedom,” he said. “But when you compare that to the fact we are killing 3,000 people a year on our roads, it would be irresponsible not to do something about it. I’m sure that the vast majority of motorists would support the proposals.”
...could save 200-250 lives a year and also reduce carbon emissions....Local authorities will have the power to raise the limit to 60mph on the safest roads, but will have to justify it.....Speed Check Services, the company behind the cameras, claims the number of deaths or serious injuries at its sites has fallen on average by 60%...Fitzpatrick said: “ The nature of some rural roads, with dips and bends and difficult conditions, means that the 60mph limit is not enough.”
Yes, you statist bastard I do think it is "a further attack and a restriction on people’s freedom", the problem is specific drivers driving dangerously in specific places. But your answer is a blanket ban on everyone everywhere enforced by surveillance technology which will alienate large numbers of ordinary people, because you don't trust ordinary people to make any decision. You think that sitting in Whitehall you know better than I do what the appropriate speed is for the road in front of my eyes is. Those on the public payroll are happy to dawdle around, but those actually trying to earn their living need to get a move on. Are you actually trying to provoke the middle classes to riot, because if they do I hope your scrawny neck gets to have a set of jump leads wrapped around it.
Pass the Sick Bowl
Presenting Brown with a silver honey bowl in the shape of an apple at the British embassy in Washington, the foundation's founder, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, hailed "your courage in defending freedom and human rights ... and also your key intellectual and compassionate leadership in these critical times, when financial upheavals raised societal tensions and international tensions
No comment from me needed. - HT ASI
Fenian Bastards Still at Work
Four other men were injured in the attack, when shots were fired from a passing car at the Massereene Army base in County Antrim, north of Belfast.
Now there have been deaths maybe the "narrative" that Tony Blair solved the Ulster problem and all is peace and light will be revisited; no news yet of condemnations from Gerry Adams or Ted Kennedy.
March 6, 2009
Friday Night is Music Night (Seven Inches of Pleasure Selection Box)
From my lost single collection...
More below the fold..
Roast Grouse Recipe Wars
Mr Free Market treats us to an unseasonable recipe for Roasted Grouse
..wash trim and cut the celery, leek, & courgette crossways in to 1 inch rounds at an angle....Lightly season the vegetables & brush with olive oil.
Preheat a griddle pan. Slice the new potatoes lengthways into quarters & fry them with the vegetables on the griddle to create a criss-cross effect..Preheat oven to 200C...To assemble the dish, place a slice of black pudding in the centre of each plate & arrange some vegetables & potatoes around it. Place the grouse next to the black pudding. Season the sauce & spoon over.
He is going up in the world, though he failed to include the word "jus".
I suppose I ought to share my recipe for Roast Grouse.
Peel the potatoes first thing in the morning as the second cup of tea and Aspirin take effect. Put in a pan with lots of cold water and handful of salt, bring to the boil on the Aga as your bacon and eggs cook. Finish breakfast, ablute and then pour the boiling water out of the pan over your breakfast plate in the sink to clean the eggy stains off. Leave pan lid off for the potatoes to steam dry as you walk the dogs.
On your return sniff the grouse hanging in the woodshed and pick a couple, or more of the ripe ones. Do the dirty deeds and return indoors with your fresh plucked grouse.
Rummage in the larder and pull out all the root vegetables you can find. Cut off the grotty bits, put in the hen food bucket (it's legal as long as you don't take them into the kitchen first).
Open up the Sunday paper on the kitchen table and put the vegetables on it; read, cut, slice and swear all at the same time. When finished screw up the soiled paper and use in the bottom of the fire grate.
Open a bottle of red.
Heat a large knob of dripping in your largest roasting pan until it is smoking, drop in the potatoes, swirl about and sprinkle with lots of salt. A sprig of rosemary can be added on top. Bung in the oven. Pour a glass of wine.
Second roasting tray, butter and oil and put to heat. When you have finished the wine, take out of oven and put the veg in, shake and return.
Your frying pan that you cooked your bacon in this morning should be returned to the hot plate and all that lovely bacony grease heated up. Pour another glass of wine.
Take birds and roll around in hot pan until they are brown and your fingers hurting.
As Agas only fit two roasting trays you will probably now need to add them to the potato tray.
Drink the glass and check how laying the table in the dining room is going.
Your guests should now arrive, a sherry with them, make your excuse as soon as he mentions his work at the bank, retreat to the kitchen, open another bottle of really meaty red, get all the stuff out of the oven, birds on the carving plate on the table to breathe, veggies in the bowls that were warming in the bottom oven. Splash some wine in a glass to check it and then into the meat roasting pan, pinch of this, spoon of that and your gravy is made.
Take through and carve and let the guests help themselves to vegetables.
I'm sorry it isn't as fancy as Mr FM's but it works for me.
Time to get a grip on your train fetish
Commuter journeys "slower than before the war" - Telegraph
Commuters enjoyed faster train journeys into London before the Second World War than they do today, according to new research. ...
All Southeastern trains into London before 9am from the Kent coast and East Sussex were cancelled yesterday because of thick frost and ice. Many other commuters had their journeys disrupted. Up to 3in (8cm) of snow – more than had been forecast – fell overnight near Okehampton, Devon,..
A whole three inches, 200 miles away! No wonder chaos ensued. Trains are 19th Century technology which should have been phased out last century. The invention of the steering wheel made them obsolete. Coaches can carry more people on the same track width, quicker, using less fuel and with the flexibility to drive round problems. Only Freud can explain people's obsession with great long steaming machines, pounding their way under bridges and through tunnels, whoo-whooo!
The Ed and Mandy Show
Imagine somebody telling you that 20 years from now almost everything you do in your life you will do differently. That is how fundamental the transition to a low-carbon economy in the UK will be....
But this is more than a green job creation scheme, or “greening” the recovery. This is about looking beyond the short term, to Britain’s industrial future. Low carbon is not a sector of our economy. It is, or will be, our whole economy and a global market.
While the shift to low carbon requires significant change and adaptation, it also has huge economic and industrial benefits if we combine a strategic approach from government with the dynamism of private enterprise and compete for them. A low-carbon industrial strategy must seize the opportunities that will come with change. That requires a new industrial activism for a new green industrial revolution.
Nice for Ed to have Uncle Peter's guiding hand writing his homework for him. Shake all the buzzwords out of the box and rearrange them however you want Eddy, you still haven't got a clue. Luckily you only have a few months left to strut your stuff...
£900 fine for not carrying your ID Card
Foreign drivers face £900 roadside fines to halt rise in crashes - Times Online
Foreign drivers will have to pay on-the-spot fines of up to £900 for flouting traffic laws under new legislation to be introduced next month.
If they do not have enough cash or a working credit card their vehicles will be clamped until they pay — and they will face an additional £80 release fee.
The law will also apply to British residents who cannot prove at the roadside that they have a valid address in Britain.
The fines will be described officially as “deposits”..
Nasty foreigners getting away without paying their fines, let's get them! Of course provided you are carrying your British ID Card it won't be a problem to us British, will it....
March 5, 2009
We'll Keep The Red Flag Flying For Global Warming
5th March 2009 the Southern bit of Wiltshire was unexpectedly blanketed, icy hills to climb made spring seem far away. (At the top of this hill it was six inches deep).
And apologies to Her Majesty and her stout fellows in red berets who would be very cross if they spotted me photographing their red flag. I didn't test their patience by snapping the broken down tank being towed across the road in front of me.
(For those not familiar with Wiltshire a large portion of it is under control of the military for them to play at being soldiers on, lots of bangs and crackles and big boy toys. The red flag pictured was on Porton Down and means keep out. Porton Down is now relabelled as some sort of Public Health Institute, I suppose they fly flags and wave guns to stop trespassers risking catching the snuffles or something.....)
HRH Princess Anne arrived in Gibraltar Wednesday on an official visit to the disputed territory that has stirred up old tensions between Britain and Spain.
The Spanish government made an official complaint to British authorities ahead of the royal visit describing it as "inopportune" and an affront to Spain, which contests London's rule over the strategic territory.
"Disputed"? Disputed, as in the way the ownership of my wallet is disputed between me and a hoody late at night. Just because a bunch of grease balls want it doesn't make it disputed. The Telegraph is a bloody disgrace to dignify the attempted theft with the word.
Paper of Record Disses Guido's Counting
Guy Fawkes' : How Many Standing Ovations Will Congress Give Brown?
Guido counted even the half-hearted stand-ups ,making it 17, BBC reckons 18...
But this morning
Pravda The Times makes it 19 standing ovations during the address — the same as Tony Blair in July 2003.
How great our Glorious Leader is and how dare anyone suggest he isn't as loved as the discredited running dog Blair.....
Printing Money - invest in wheelbarrows
The Bank of England is set to slash interest rates to another all-time low and announce plans to pump newly-created money into the ailing economy.
With borrowing costs also set to fall to 0.5% after a sixth successive month of cuts, the Bank is now pulling out all the stops to stave off a prolonged slump.
Chancellor Alistair Darling is expected to give the go-ahead for the Bank to create up to £150 billion, according to reports this week.
If we look over the Atlantic we can see what these exciting policies will bring us - I'm surprised Gordon hasn't found the time for an extra leg on his trip to touch the hem of his economic guru, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez as he tightens state control of food amid rocketing inflation and food shortages...
March 4, 2009
Gordon's Arselicking Gestures
Senator Ted Kennedy is to be conferred the honorary title of "Sir Ted" by Her Majesty the Queen.
I'm told that Gordon Brown will use his speech to the joint session of Congress on Wednesday to make the announcement of the Senator's elevation to Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) to mark his "services to the US-UK relationship and Northern Ireland". For decades the now ailing Senator from Massachusetts, 77, was a vehement critic of the British presence in Northern Ireland and worked hard to sever it from the rest of the United Kingdom. Some British diplomats viewed him as an enabler of the IRA...
The gesture by Mr Brown is, of course, part of the Prime Minister's courtship of President Barack Obama. The "lion of the Senate", first elected in 1962, broke ranks with the rest of the Democratic establishment in February last year to endorse Mr Obama over Hillary Clinton.
I thought Gordon's team running round the White House begging for Gordon to be acknowledge that he is "Besty Friends" with The Messiah was embarrassing enough but for our Glorious Empire's name to be dragged so low; and it has been dragged fairly low before but this is a new low; by being used to bribe the Obamaweenies by rewarding the murderous old fraud for his years of bile and hate is stomach churning.
Hush, hush whisper who dares, Here's a Tory idea that works.
Local services face a new wave of privatisation across England as a Conservative council leads moves to put contracts worth billions of pounds out to private tender.
Essex County Council is one of a growing number of authorities, mainly Tory-led, that intend to outsource all or most of their services to save funds, including schools management, social care, roads and libraries.
Essex, which has shortlisted two companies for a £5.4 billion contract over eight years, is regarded as having developed the blueprint for town halls under a Conservative government.
Case study: Hammersmith and Fulham
When the ruling Conservative Group at Hammersmith & Fulham Council reviewed the efficiency of its council-run cleaning service last year, the result was less than impressive.
According to Stephen Greenhalgh, leader of the West London council, thousands of pounds were being wasted through ineffective management and other “Spanish practices”. “We were providing a Cinderella service when it was done in-house. And it was costing the council a significant amount of money,” he told The Times .
In January the council tendered its school cleaning service to a private company. “We’ve got a better service and it’s costing us a lot less,” he said.
Cue howls of protest from the town halls and it won't be official Tory Policy as it is too contentious but at last a real Tory policy that reflects Tory ideals and provides real benefit.
When Recycling Upsets Greens
Camperdown Park in Dundee has stepped up its cull of the aggressive rodents in a bid to secure the future of their red cousins. To enhance the scheme's eco-friendly credentials dozens of the dead creatures are being "recycled" by being fed to the wolves and eagles in adjacent animal enclosures.
Park bosses claim the policy is a common sense way of making the best of a nationwide offensive against grey squirrels.
But the move has left a nasty taste in the mouths of some animal rights activists... who believe that wolves and eagles really prefer tofu sandwiches made with stone ground organic spelt flour.
March 3, 2009
How to spend £3million on building houses without laying a brick
Eco-towns bill soars to more than £3m before a house is built - Telegraph
Figures show that the Government has spent £3.1million on proposals to build tens of thousands of environmentally-friendly homes in England.
One third of the cash - £960,700 - was spent on PR and communications alone.
A further £820,000 was spent on local authority assessments and £720,000 on "financial assessments".
The Government also spent nearly £80,000 on developing website about eco-towns.
The Cost of an Addiction
Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, is meeting Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, next week, and he will be raising cross-Border sales and ways of restricting them.
The UK government is looking at introducing legislation to have similar measures, in particular minimum pricing and restrictions on promotions, across the UK. Sources within the Scottish Government have said they believe Scotland is being considered as a test for the rest of the UK.
Restrictions, legislation, Government pricing can't you see it all happening. Alcohol addiction is a terrible thing and the addicts harm themselves and their families but it is a mere annoying pimple compared to the addiction to power our rulers have.
Trainspotting - Scotland's Favourite Attraction
A LIFE-SIZED tram model has been described as "one of Scotland's busiest visitor attractions" by Edinburgh city council after 22,000 people climbed aboard in its first week.
The 130ft mock-up is sited in Princes Street, where little work has taken place since it closed to traffic ten days ago.
I must book my holiday....
All that stand between us and Mugabonomics is Fred's Pension
Government by vendetta: I remember it well | Tom Winsor - Times Online
Trying to legislate to annul an inconvenient contract binding on the State (or a state-owned bank) would do massive harm to Britain. What company in its right mind would place reliance on a contract with a Government that is prepared, after the contract has been signed, to use its legislative pen to strike out the clauses it later decides that it doesn't like? If we go down this route we get close to the status of developing countries, such as as former Soviet republics, where foreign private companies need special protection against political interference in their contracts with host governments. Their technique is usually to set up enforcement of the contract in a neutral third country, with direct recourse against the foreign-held assets of the state in question. Is that really where the British Government wants to take us?
Unfortunately, the present Government has form. In 2001, the Government's No1 hate figure then was Railtrack.....
Threatening companies with legislation to extinguish their contractual rights was obviously a desperately clever thing, and it was kept for the next time some enemy of the State with an inconvenient contract had to be dealt with.
On October 24, 2005, having repeatedly insisted that the independence of the economic regulator for the railways was sacrosanct, Alistair Darling tabled a Commons motion congratulating the Government on the legislative threats it had made to me. So now we know what he thinks of contracts that government later wishes it hadn't signed. The damage caused by the Government's handling of Railtrack was severe, and it took years for confidence to recover.
If Ms Harman's harangues are to be translated into special legislation to reduce the value of one wealthy banker's severance contract in an act of political vengeance, we will revisit the place of Third World governments whose promise is suspect. Are the word of the State, the sanctity of contract and the rule of law really worth so little that they should be undermined in this way to pursue a political vendetta? Sir Fred Goodwin can afford to give up the money, and perhaps he will, but the British Government will pay an exponentially higher price if it tries to legislate it out of his grasp.
Tom Winsor was the Rail Regulator, 1999-2004
Defending the odious Fred the Shed's rights is defending the rule of law and contract without which our descent into third world status is complete.
Half a Cheer for ID Voting Cards
Every British citizen will soon have to sign a form or show identification before they can vote, the Government has announced.
In an historic shift, which comes after years of campaigning by the Electoral Commission and The Times, the Government finally agreed yesterday to end the system whereby one person in each household names all those eligible to vote in their property.
The Government had resisted the switch out of fear that it would result in a sharp dip in the number on the electoral roll. A similar exercise resulted in a drop in the vote in Northern Ireland. This would be likely to be most pronounced in more deprived areas, which Labour feared would mean a disproportionate effect on their own vote.
Hurrah! About time too - the system has been far too lax for too long, but wait...
The Government will also begin a pilot data-matching scheme to allow electoral registration officers to obtain relevant and restricted data from public authorities such as Revenue & Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions. Mr Wills insisted that the release of data would be “carefully controlled” and subject to a number of safeguards.
Oh! What does that mean? I don't like the sound of that at all....
Teaching about inefficient resource allocation
BBC NEWS | Education | School admissions 'too complex'
The secondary school admissions process in England is still too complex for many parents, research claims.
The report comes as hundreds of thousands of families receive letters telling them where their children will be going to school next year.
If schools were for educating pupils rather than teacher job preservation reserves it wouldn't be any harder than supermarket admissions; "Do you take cash, card and/or school vouchers?"
March 2, 2009
Green Money Plea
Going green will costs billions. The way to raise the money is to issue modern war bonds and raise an army of investors...
ts patriotic duty and dip into its own savings, however meagre, and lend to the Government. The money was specifically used for the war effort. .... I hesitate to link the war against Nazism with the war against climate change but I believe that now is the time for the Government to consider, with urgency, the issue of bonds for another cause - reducing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere - while at the same time kick-starting the faltering economy....
The Government can help to make this happen. The Treasury can lend a hand. That is what happened in the 1940s. To paraphrase a line from an old poster: “Climate Bonds - the present for the future.” We and our political servants should seize the day. We have no time to lose.
James Cameron is the vice-chairman of Climate Change Capital
Money, Money, Money
A business-like public sector? We wish
Private companies are freezing pay as they struggle to survive the recession, unlike their counterparts in local government
Jenny Hjul: We’re all in this together, except for the councils - Times Online
The one comfort of the economic crisis is that we are all in it together. Obviously, some are cushioned from its blows more than others, but even the fund manager or the footballer can’t get a decent price for his house or a return on his investments these days.
Belt-tightening has become a national pastime, recession humour lifts the gloom, and “how to save money” handbooks are the new bestsellers. Few professions or trades have been unscathed by retrenchment and redundancies and even those workers who have hung on to their jobs now live in a climate of uncertainty. Every expense is measured, travel plans are curtailed and expansion projects are postponed.
There is an escape, however — not to distant lands (which are also feeling the pinch), but to a parallel universe where little of the above applies. This other reality is called government and so far it appears to be depression proof, nowhere more so than in Scotland.
Thrift has not darkened government’s door here, either at national or local level, spending remains profligate, employment is secure and pensions are protected. Council bosses and ministers have simply chosen to ignore the financial meltdown affecting other parts of the country.
That's all folks for today as I'm out early trying to fit an extra job in to keep the pennies rolling in, how unlike our pampered bosses...
March 1, 2009
Fred the Shred the Law
Herr Harman was full of pant-fillingly scary quotes such as:
It may be enforceable in a court of law, this contract, but it's not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that's where the government steps in.
Sir Fred Goodwin should not count on [keeping his money] because it is not going to happen.
The prime minister has said that it is not acceptable and therefore it will not be accepted.
And (Fantasy Island) treasury spokesman Vince Cable said:
Nobody disputes that Sir Fred should be deprived of his pension.
Nobody? Is there nobody who recognises the rule of law anymore, nobody who recognises a smokescreen for what it is, nobody who knows where the finger of blame should really point?
Guy can count his blessings
Faux Old Baggage advert, crinkly old leather hide, I suppose at least it isn't crocodile...
Happy St David's Day
Having enjoyed the rugby on Friday night in the company of a couple of Welshmen, a little token of my thanks.
And if Martin Johnson has stopped shouting at the England team this morning, it is time he started again and continued in that gentle caring way he has until he gets some discipline instilled in the shower.
Bootlegging it into Scotland
MINISTERS are to press ahead with a crackdown on sales of cheap alcohol in a move that could be fast-tracked through Parliament in as little as six months, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.
In the biggest shake-up of alcohol laws for years, the Government is expected to confirm tomorrow that cut-price drink offers will be banned, minimum prices on alcohol imposed and a higher age limit set on off-sales.
A minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol, as advocated by health campaigners, would result in rocketing prices. A two-litre bottle of cider, currently priced at around £3, would cost £7.50. Wine would also increase in price, with a £3 bottle of wine possibly rising to a minimum of £5.
The controversial plan to increase the age limit for off-sales to 21 is to remain in the proposals, despite opposition from students.
Scotland on Sunday understands that ministers may seek to place some of the measures – such as the ban on "Buy One Get One Free" deals – in the existing 2005 Licensing Act, which is due to come into force in September.
The Act enshrines "protecting and improving public health" as a key objective of all licensing decisions, so the Government may argue that it gives the power to ban cheap drink offers. The same logic could also be applied to plans to impose minimum pricing.
Another example of a law passed for one purpose being used for another without parliamentary scrutiny.
And how are they going to police cross border sales? Will they confiscate Mr FM's hip flask as he travels north to go shooting?
The US to copy our Glorious Leaders And Emulate Our Tractor Production
Obama buries Reaganomics under $3.6 trillion mountain - Times Online
The scale of Obama’s ambition has only just begun to sink in. If his budget for 2010 passes through Congress largely unscathed, it will represent the “the biggest redistribution of income from the wealthy to the middle class and poor this nation has seen in more than 40 years”, said Robert Reich, a former secretary of labour under Bill Clinton who has been advising Obama.
Reich told The Sunday Times: “It is the boldest budget we have seen since the Reagan administration, and drives a nail in the coffin of Reaganomics. We can basically say goodbye to the philosophy espoused by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.”
Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget proposal includes $770 billion in tax cuts over 10 years for the “middle class”, America’s term for everyone from the moderately well-off to the working poor; $150 billion for funding “green” energy sources, and $634 billion towards the introduction of universal healthcare.
The numbers are almost beyond the power of imagination, but it is clear somebody will have to pick up the bill. A hefty $1 trillion or so will come from new taxes on the rich, paid for by families earning over $250,000 a year, increases in capital gains tax and limits on America’s generous tax deductions, including those for charitable contributions.
An extra $80 billion a year is predicted to come from auctioning off carbon permits under yet-to-be determined cap-and-trade legislation — if and when it actually happens.
None of this will be nearly enough to cover the gaping hole in America’s public finances. Even if the economy recovers at a clip over the next 10 years, America will still be running a deficit of 3% of GDP by 2019. The president’s daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, along with other members of their generation, are likely to emerge into adulthood saddled with debt.
The politics of “tax and spend” — or rather taxing the rich to spend on everyone else — is not only back in vogue, but has become an essential component of America’s economic recovery plan. Obama has seized on the “once in a generation” crisis to fulfil his campaign pledges
And it has all worked so well over here...Good Luck!
Heatwave alert and advice to drink cool water from the Met Office
Take a siesta to beat the British heat - Times Online
TAKE cover: heat waves are on the way. Despite the unusually cold winter the government has drawn up a national emergency plan to deal with the rising risk of extreme hot weather linked to climate change.
Under the plan, people in areas hit by heat waves will be advised to stay indoors during the middle of the day — in effect, taking a siesta — and change out of formal clothing such as suits and avoid hot food.
They will also be advised to stay cool by using fans, shading windows and drinking lots of water.
On Friday the Met Office hosted a private conference for governmental agencies and public health experts, who discussed the emergency plan.
It envisages setting up a national response centre overseen by the Cabinet Office whenever a prolonged heatwave threatens. This would send out public alerts and co-ordinate responses by councils, local authorities and emergency services. The Met Office also plans to work with GPs to directly target those most at risk from prolonged heat. This would include the elderly and people with medical conditions such as circulatory and heart disease.
They would be issued in advance with personalised heat wave health packs by their GPs. Then, when a heat wave threatened, they would get automated warning telephone calls reminding them...
The Met Office has a service to warn people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) when it is cold and horrible that they might be feeling extra poorly, something most coughers and splutterers can work out for themselves fairly easily. They charge the NHS £18 a patient per winter and £10,000 per area to set up. No wonder they want to expand the role of health forecasting.