May 30, 2009
Darling the next PM?
Gordon Brown wants Ed Balls as chancellor - Times Online
GORDON BROWN is ready to promote Ed Balls, his closest political ally, to chancellor this week in a high-stakes gamble to restore Labour’s political fortunes.
According to a top-level leak from Downing Street, the prime minister wants to make the appointment the centrepiece of a sweeping reshuffle on Friday, after the local and European polls.
With Balls, the schools secretary, one of the most divisive figures in government, the move would be a huge risk, which could trigger a ferocious backlash within the Labour party that could spiral into a leadership challenge.
Disastrous election results, followed by a bizarrely stupid choice of balls, the knives will be out. Of course Darling will be offered the Home Office as Jacqui is on the way out. But what if the Blairites have had enough, and Darling refuses. How about Darling being the replacement PM to guide the Labour Party to the next defeat and then the chosen son can take over unsullied by defeat? Worth a flutter?
May 29, 2009
Friday Night is Music Night (Dance With Me Edition)
Sea Level Rise Highest Ever Estimate
World's leading scientists warn climate change is as great a threat as nuclear warfare
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, which organised the summit, said the consequences of not acting were comparable to a nuclear fall out.
"It is comparable in magnitude [to nuclear warfare]. With business as usual we will have another five or six degrees Celsius [9 to 10.8F] – that could not sustain civilisation as we know it, which is quite comparable to a nuclear shoot-out. It would mean 80 metres rise in sea level
80 Metres - Wow - In 2007, the International Panel on Climate Change only estimated that sea levels would rise 0.18 to 0.6 meters (0.59 to 2.0 feet) over the next 100 years. Al Gore weighed in with twenty feet over an unspecified time. But 80 metres, where did he get that from?
From assuming every bit of ice on the planet will melt!
Estimated potential maximum sea-level rise from the total melting of present-day glaciers.
[Modified from Williams and Hall (1993)]
Of course with the average temperature of Antarctica being -49 C some despicable deniers refuse to see how warming by 6 degrees C will melt all the ice...
Top Boffin At Work And Play
All revellers fall into one of eight different personality types which are given away by their drinking techniques, a leading psychologist has concluded.
Dr Glenn Wilson, a consultant psychologist at King's College, London, observed over 500 drinkers in bars last month.
Dr Wilson said: "The simple act of holding a drink displays a lot more about us than we realise – or might want to divulge.
"The next time you're in a bar, it might be worth thinking about what you're saying to the people around you just by the way you're holding your glass."
The eight types identified are: 'Flirt', 'Gossip', 'Fun-Lover', 'Wallflower', 'Ice Queen', 'Playboy', 'Jack the Lad' and 'Browbeater'...
Good for him to get sponsored by a bar to produce this research - I think some corraborating evidence is needed, where do I apply?
Scottish Politician rinses out tea bags to save on expenses
As Westminster politicians struggle to explain their expenses, Ms MacDonald totted up her quarterly claim for attending the Scottish Parliament and found that she had spent only £32 — making her the lowest claimant of the 129 MSPs at Holyrood.
Ms MacDonald, who served as the Nationalist MP for Glasgow Govan from 1973-74 and represents the Lothians in the Scottish Parliament, billed for only the costs involved in sending her press releases. Ms MacDonald, who has Parkinson’s disease and difficulty walking, also turned down an official car and a driver. Because she sometimes uses a taxi, her expenses bill for the full year has almost reached a heady £2,000.
Ms MacDonald says that she will not tell others how they should run their affairs, although she did offer five top tips for saving money. Politicians could follow her example by making their own office curtains, shopping at supermarkets after 5pm when food is often reduced, and using garden furniture in offices. They could further cut costs by reading newspapers online, rinsing out teabags, and buying the fabric for curtains in the sales.
Now that is more like how we expect our prudent Scottish politicians act, there are some tartan troughers in Westminster who could take some lessons.
Bishop Bashes Pope on Climate Change
Bishop Hill alerts us to the latest lecture in The Times pushing Climate Change by one Frank Pope.
The Bish points out Frank has swanned around the world burning up fossil fuels and calls him a hypocrite.
But let's have a look at his Papal Bull
Unprecedented international collaboration is also necessary to secure a future for renewable energy generation, which is acutely sensitive to geography. By building smart grids that transmit energy for long distances with little loss, wind farms and solar power arrays can be sited where the wind blows and the sun shines hardest.
Nimby, of course somewhere over the rainbow the weather is always perfect for wind and sun and if the lights go out it is just because we haven't built enough power lines through the wildernesses to get to that promised land.
May 28, 2009
Doctors tell off sceptics - consensus has been reached there is no debate
Sir, We are sad at the responses to Muir Gray’s article on the health impacts of climate change (Opinion, May 25). Many still seem to select isolated comment from poorly assessed sources, and trumpet that “climate change doesn’t exist” or that “it isn’t caused by man”. Both are wrong.
In climate change, as in medicine, one must challenge and weigh all the evidence, consult experts in the field and discern where the truth lies. This process is long over. Consensus has been reached...
Such consensus does not occur by chance. The evidence comes from drawing together observations from many sources — the most convincing being from Arctic ice caps, showing that carbon dioxide levels are higher now than for many thousands of years and rising at an unprecedented rate. Recent “coolings” in temperature are within the normal year-on-year variations.
Medical professionals will be reminding this group that there are immediate benefits to be had from action now, mainly about how we move, how we eat and how we redistribute resources more fairly around the globe — all of which are fundamental to health and welfare.
Professor Hugh Montgomery Director, UCL Institute for Human Health and Performance,
Dr Mike Gill & Dr Robin Stott Co-Chairs, Climate and Health Council
Dr David Pencheon Director, NHS Sustainable Development Unit
Dr Tony Waterston Paediatrician, Newcastle
Helen Moffatt Chief Executive, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Mustafa Abbas Head of Healthy Planet Medical Student Campaign
How very dare you! Questioning the doctors! You naughty sceptics, don't you know we know what is best for you.
Times commentators are almost universally sceptical both of Muir's Opinion and of the whole 100 question splash, is there a consensus amongst the readers forming?
"“climate change doesn’t exist” or that “it isn’t caused by man”. Both are wrong...the most convincing (evidence) being from Arctic ice caps, showing that carbon dioxide levels are higher now than for many thousands of years and rising at an unprecedented rate."
What does that mean? Ice caps, are they counting more than one in the Arctic or are they including Antarctica as well? Are they saying the ice caps are melting (see here for links) or are they saying that ice cores show CO2 levels have risen, if the latter that doesn't prove anything about climate. The one thing I look for in a diagnotician is precision, and in prescriptions clarity, they fail on both and so I wouldn't trust them to pull a splinter out of my arse.
Cameron Pets Cows
The farmers look impressed....
China Controls All Green Technology
Crunch looms for green technology as China tightens grip on rare-earth metals
China’s near monopoly on the raw materials for environmental technology – a 95 per cent dominance of world supply that is likely to become more widely noticed as China tightens its grip.
Don Burbar, the chief executive of Avalon Rare Metals, said: “The crux of the matter is that there are now a lot of technologies that can’t work without rare earths, and China is currently in effective control of the global supply. China has positioned itself to retain control, and meanwhile politicians around the world do not appreciate how the supply side of green technology works.”
There are potential supplies around the world, but prospective miners in Australia and the US are experiencing financing difficulties and as soon as new facilities have emerged in Asia and elsewhere, Chinese companies have quickly become majority investors.
" All green technology depends on rare-earth metals and all global trade in rare earth depends on China"
Not that I want to worry you or anything but I would stock up on candles.
Freedom's Light Flickers Out
By September this year 100W incandescent bulbs will no longer be sold in shops, followed by 60W bulbs in 2011 and all incandescent models by 2012.
As part of the same legislation retailers will be forced to label lightbulbs in Lumens from September 2010.
"Consumers have to be made aware that this is nothing to confuse them but this will actually help them to make the right choice,"
We will ban and legislate so that there is only one choice, the right choice and you will make it, you understand?
May 27, 2009
Who Wanted to be a Millionaire?
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimates that there are currently about 242,000 millionaires in the UK, compared with 489,000 in 2007.
The centre cites the stalling property market and the slump in share prices as the main factors behind the decline, with people who crept over the elite threshold thanks to rising house prices now seeing their assets shrink in value.
Only three years ago, the CEBR estimated that the number of millionaires in Britain would swell to an all-time high of 760,000 by 2010
So that is half a million people whose aspirational goal has been shattered by Gordon, what a victory for socialism!
Pop goes the weasel
A great resource for seeing how and where are money is
invested spunked away.
Ministers To Learn What "We Are From The Governement And Are Here To Help You" Really Means?
MPs' expenses: ministers not exempt from tax laws and must pay, says taxman
...in an unusual intervention, HMRC told The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday night that MPs were not exempt from tax laws and that tax must be paid on some expenses.
In a statement it said: “It’s a general principle of tax law that accountancy fees incurred in connection with the completion of a personal tax return are not deductible.
“This is because the costs of complying with the law are not an allowable expense against tax. This rule applies across the board.”
It almost sounds as though some one at the Revenue is a teeny bit annoyed at the antics of Ministers, not nice when they get annoyed. I do hope so.
Safety Advice For Voters
I find when dealing with MPs that a nosepeg and rubber gloves are also desirable.
May 26, 2009
Welcome back to work
9:00 am on the first day back and I have already wasted an hour ...
Thursday I created a company profile and contact details for someone I do some work for on line.
Friday I get the message "I noticed you have a duplicate profile so I have tidied it up and got it back to your original email, I hope that helps."
No, the original profile consists solely of one incorrect email address which is why it was updated with the correct details and several hundred carefully crafted google baiting words.
Bite my tongue and go and update the details all again, luckily I had some of them saved. Finish the wordsmithing this morning and I can't save them because the email address has already been used, on a deleted profile I can't access...
It is going to be very long week.
Your Chance to Question the Experts on Climate Change
There’s a broad consensus that our way of life, and quite possibly our very existence, is under threat from changes in the Earth’s climate.
Where the consensus breaks down, though, is to what extent we can fix it. Before we are able to find answers to the pressing issues facing every inhabitant of our planet, we need to ask some perceptive questions.
From 26–28 May 2009, Nobel Laureates from every discipline will be joined by world experts in climate change to discuss the connections between global warming and other urgent environmental, economic and development challenges facing our world. The Symposium will be hosted at The Royal Society and St. James’s Palace under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales.
This is not just a discussion for the scientific élite: In the course of the following 12 months, the project will, appropriately, become a global debate. We here at The Times will do our part by giving you a voice in this unique worldwide forum.
Leave your own questions in the Times comment field, or below any of the expert questions that will be appearing in Science Central over the coming months.
I'm sure you have some questions to ask, but first let us look at the top expert's question
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin
What is the one piece of irrefutable evidence that knocks the climate change sceptics' arguments on the head? Is it the fact that sea levels are rising? James Lovelock believes this is the clearest demonstration of the Earth's rising temperature.
Why don't we see what a real expert is saying....
..an invited reviewer for a chapter dealing with the economic impact of sea level rise on small island nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Second Assessment Report...also co-authored the sea level rise section of the New Zealand impact report, and same section for a revised report following the release of IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001).
What has sea level actually done so far this century? There have been large regional variations, but the global rate has slowed and is currently negative, consistent with measured ocean cooling. Claims to the contrary are exaggerations and not realistic.
I am a climate realist because the available evidence indicates that climate change is predominantly, if not entirely, natural. It occurs mostly in response to variations in solar heating of the oceans, and the consequences this has for the rest of the Earth’s climate system. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis runaway catastrophic climate change due to human activities.
May 25, 2009
The Missing Broad Street Pump Handle of Climate Change
Professor Sir Muir Gray - Public Health Director of the Campaign for Greener Healthcare
Smoking, Aids, swine flu? They all pale into insignificance compared to climate change’s threat to health. That proposition will instantly provoke a hostile reaction from the diminishing band of climate-change sceptics. But as a doctor of 40 years’ standing who has been involved in running public health services for 30 years, I know that the evidence is good enough to make action, not inaction, the sensible choice. An empirical view of the data shows that delay will not just increase the amount of preventable harm, it may take us past a point of no return.
The defeat of Cholera in London by John Snow is an heroic story of the use of evidence.
Unfortunately Muir Grey doesn't actually provide or point us to any of his evidence or data why climate change is the cholera of our times; (apart from a lot of Frenchies dying of heat stroke).
Campaign for Greener Healthcare is part of Knowledge Into Action a registered Charity No. 1123566, which is "harnessing the revolutionary power of citizens and the Internet to improve the three determinants of health – the physical environment, the social environment and healthcare". It is newly formed and so hasn't filed any accounts and its prospectus makes no mention of how it intends to raise the money it intends to spend. I wonder.
Darling Takes the Piss
The Chancellor was among nine members of the Cabinet who used publicly funded expenses to pay for an accountant to complete their personal tax returns, The Telegraph can disclose.
I may be in a bad mood tonight as I had to leave the King's Arms early when my old mate Spud had a bladder control accident in front of the bar but the news that the bastards who make the tax rules up, and make advice we need a non allowable expense, charge the taxpayer to ensure their income is free from from tax makes me finger my can of Grinding Paste fondly. I know how I would help Darling understand his tax return - I think a 2.5kg tub might do it..
Chemico Grinding Paste has a lithium grease base, specifically formulated and manufactured solely for Chemico Sales & Overseas Ltd. The high-viscosity, high-temperature lubricant provides inherent shear stability, that is the lubricant remains in place during the grinding operation for the most efficient grinding together with inherent corrosion protection and good sealing properties.
Silicon carbide is one of the hardest abrasives known and the particles are especially sharp. Moreover they are brittle and tend to break up into smaller particles that still retain their sharpness and so continue to work efficiently.
One for Gordon
May 24, 2009
Any colour you like as long as it is white.
Skin sculptures to be displayed - Telegraph
Mr Krasnow's exhibits, which include skin lampshades, flags and maps of America, will be shown at the GV Art gallery, in London, in July.
He only uses white skin because much of the suffering in the Americas has been caused by white men, according to gallery owner Robert Devcic. Mr Krasnow says his work is a commentary on human cruelty and America's morality.
Mr Devcic said: "He uses skin to make the point that suffering is universal.
"Universal but caused by whites" - yawn. Same old facile shock art with all the insight of a angry fourteen year old. Of course he wouldn't be brave enough to use any other colour.
But does it mean I can get Uncle Helmut's lampshades out of the cellar now?
Sheep Duvet Lifters
A Government-sponsored study into greenhouse gases has found that producing 2.2lbs of lamb was the equivalent of releasing 37lbs of carbon dioxide. Lamb produces so much carbon dioxide because sheep belch so much methane (sic), which is a potent greenhouse gas.
The study also found that alcoholic drinks contribute significantly to emissions..
I have feeling this research consists of sticking their head round the door of a student flat the morning after a lamb biryani and lager night...
The trouble all started when we let them vote...
Professor Oswald said that having daughters made men "gradually shift their political stance and become more sympathetic to the 'female' desire for a ... larger amount for the public good".
"They become more Left-wing. Similarly, a mother with sons becomes sympathetic to the 'male' case for lower taxes and a smaller supply of public goods," he said.
... 67 per cent of parents with three sons and no daughters voted for Labour or the Liberal Democrats.
This rose to 77 per cent in households with three daughters and no sons. A similar pattern was found among families with two and four children.
When I was younger I was siring sons, now it is daughters, I must be getting soft in my old age.
May 22, 2009
MPs feel the terror of their type of rule.
BBC NEWS | Politics | MP's fears of expenses 'suicide'
...MPs were walking around "with terror in their eyes" and likened the atmosphere to that surrounding Senator Joseph McCarthy's "witch-hunts"...
Good, as they say only the guilty have anything to fear, but they are all complicit in creating a Britain where ordinary people are spied on, reported on, fined and criminalised for "innocent" mistakes. Every self-employed person lives every day in fear of the State "investigating" their business and personal circumstances. So it is excellent news that every single Member is now getting to feel just a little bit what it is like to be a subject.
Friday Night is Music Night (Baby Baby Edition)
And the Forecast is.....
Met Office says new super-computer will give more accurate forecasts - Times Online
Yesterday, however, the Met Office unveiled a £33 million super-computer that it hopes will be able to do the job with a little more precision.
The IBM machine is more powerful than 100,000 standard PCs combined. For the technically minded, that means it will have a speed of one petaflop, placing it among the world’s top 20 most powerful computers. It is capable of performing 125 trillion calculations per second. It will use 1.2 megawatts of power, enough for a small town, provoking criticism from environmentalists. Although the machine was switched on this week, it will take two months to boot up fully and will not be running at peak performance until after an upgrade in 2011.
Bank holiday weekend will bring a taste of summer, but rain is coming - Times Online
There will be a real taste of summer for anyone heading outdoors over much of Britain this holiday weekend — although there could be a sting in the tail on Monday.
For most of the UK the weekend will be warm and dry, and some places could have the highest temperatures of the year, up to 24C (75F).
But on Bank Holiday Monday the weather picture may flip completely. Although the forecasters at the Met Office are still uncertain, a damp squib seems to be in store.
North Wales and northern England should have a pleasant day of sunshine but the rest of the country is likely to be cloudy, humid and wet. The South East may be particularly wet as a band of rain drives up from the Channel with up to around 9mm (0.35in) rainfall expected.
Two months to boot up, is it a Babbage Steam powered one? No wonder they can't tell us the weather for Monday yet.
Tune In, Surf's Up, It's Hot
Global Warming Now Audible, Study Says
According to a new study, it's now possible to hear the rise of global warming in the form of more, larger, more intense storms—signs of climate change, many scientists say.
For decades, seismologists have been filtering out the sounds of massive, storm-driven ocean waves crashing into coastlines. The pesky noise was getting in the way of earthquake detection.
But now some experts are electronically filtering out the quakes—and turning up the volume on the storm waves.
The noise of waves crashing ashore creates very specific vibrations, according to study leader Peter Bromirski of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. And those vibrations indicate how severe storms at sea actually are.
Seismic recording stations have been monitoring the vibrations of the Earth worldwide since the 1930s in roughly the same way.
That consistency may be reassuring to scientists. For example, weather-satellite data have been used to identify evidence of a trend of intensifying storms, but some scientists say satellite tech, having changed so much over the decades, is problematic for tracking storms in the long term.
"The nice thing about these [quake] recording stations," Bromirski said, "is that they are such stable devices that so consistently measure the vibrations produced by storm activity." ...a trend is already obvious, he said. "There is a definite increase in severe storm events over the years that we are noticing at the recording stations."
Yorkshire Plod Truncheon Query
West Yorkshire Police have said they were forced to ignore responses to a diversity questionnaire after a large number of staff claimed they had undergone a sex change.
Police said the results from the question about whether employees were undergoing, or had undergone, gender reassignment in the annual survey were "exceptionally wide of the national average".
This led police to believe the answers were not accurate....
Taking the piss out of the diversity snoops, excellent...
May 21, 2009
A flutter after a drinkypoo - whoops.
Haven't we all been there? What's up with the modern puritans running the place when a chap gets punished for upholding the traditions of the city. He didn't go running to nanny claiming a big boy made him do it, no, he kept quiet, popped a couple of Alka-Seltzer and "traded out of his position for a small profit the next morning". How unlike our MPs who don't put right their mistakes with other people's money until nudged by the cattle prod of public indignation, and then only grudgingly with little risk to their well being.
Glasgow Class Warfare
A SCOTTISH MP who claimed almost £90,000 in second homes allowances over the past four years – only £30 below the maximum permitted – yesterday complained that the emergency rules being brought in to clean up parliament would leave him out of pocket.
Ian Davidson, the Labour MP for Glasgow South West, who is famed for his "class war" attacks on the rich, said he wished he had a larger mortgage on his London flat so he could claim more in allowances.
He claimed £87,699 in the four years to 2007-8 – only £30 below the £87,729 maximum permitted. His claims included £5,500 to have his London flat renovated by a handyman friend – whom he later took shooting at an annual Commons v Lords competition – and almost £1,500 on reclining furniture.
He said: "I think what we have probably done now is change the rules in a way that will advantage the rich classes...."
Only a lump of coal to suck on to stave off the hunger pangs, my heart bleeds for him, as I expect do those of his poor bloody constituents.
Salmond All Wind and No Power
NUCLEAR power must be part of the energy mix for the future, according to the man behind Europe's largest onshore wind farm, which the First Minister officially opened yesterday.
Speaking at the launch of the Whitelee wind farm in East Renfrewshire, Ignacio Galán, chairman and chief executive of Iberdrola, Scottish Power's Spanish parent company, said nuclear power and renewable sources had to be complimentary.
His willingness to build new nuclear reactors puts him at odds with Alex Salmond's SNP administration, which has ruled out the construction of new stations in Scotland.
Of course Salmond doesn't have to worry about the lights going out when the wind doesn't blow, they will just suck some juice up from south of the border whilst droning on about how green Scotland is..
In Parkhurst nick on the Isle of Wight Dame Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, found a significant number of Travellers whom she urged four years ago should be treated as separate ethnic group.
But in an unannounced inspection last year Dame Anne discovered that the prison had not met her recommendation apart from in one area - the catering manager had a plan to introduce some specific dishes for them. So just what do Travellers eat that the rest of us don't? Will Heston Blumenthal be called in to do for Parkhurst what he did for Little Chef? We've asked for recipes....
Making Education Pay
I think I see the problem with our wet and woolly colleges all "aspirational" and in debt. The vegan shoe wearing lecturers aren't up to the job of running them, up to the job of running anything actually. Time to get the man from the corner shop in...
Thousands of young Pakistanis exploited a hole in Britain’s immigration defences to enrol as students at a network of sham colleges, The Times can reveal.
The gateway, opened by fraudsters who have earned millions from the scam...
MIT The Sky is Falling
The study, carried out in unprecedented detail, projected that without "rapid and massive action" temperatures worldwide will increase by as much as 7.4C (13.3F) by 2100, from levels seen in 2000.
Previous estimates have concluded that the likely increase this century would probably be 2.4C (4.3F).
The study uses the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model, a detailed computer simulation of global economic activity and climate processes that has been developed and refined by the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change since the early 1990s. The new research involved 400 runs of the model with each run using slight variations in input parameters, selected so that each run has about an equal probability of being correct based on present observations and knowledge....
Prinn says. "The least-cost option to lower the risk is to start now and steadily transform the global energy system over the coming decades to low or zero greenhouse gas-emitting technologies."
The first line of their home page says - The question is no longer whether global warming is upon us … but how we can rise to its challenge.. That will be the global warming of the last ten years or the global warming of the last 400? The first doesn't exist and the second is a gentle steady natural process so I guess not. I expect it means the global warming from when you last held hands with a real girl in the late 1990s...
"Least-cost option"? Destroy civilisation because of a computer read out based on what they admit are " so many uncertainties, especially with regard to what human beings will choose to do and how large the climate response will be, "we don't pretend we can do it accurately. Instead, we do these 400 runs and look at the spread of the odds." ? I don't think so Prof.
May 20, 2009
T'internet t'save us all
Earlier in the day the Prince told delegates at the Google European Zeitgeist conference that the power of the internet to "inform and challenge" people's thinking could be used to tackle the world's environmental problems.
Quite right, Sir, without the Internet I'm sure a lot of us would be much less educated about climate change. In fact it is horrifying to imagine what the scaremongers would have got away with...
Policing the Streets of Swanage
Swanage Town and Herston striker Jamie Holland lost the wager that he would be the season's top goal scorer and as a punishment he is supposed to jog into the Dorset resort in his underwear.
When police heard about the stunt however they told the club not to do it...Inspector Chris Weeks, told the Dorset Echo: "A Police Community Support Officer with the Swanage Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team spoke with the club.
"He explained that good natured events of this type have the potential of getting out of hand and he advised the club the runner should wear shorts."
Our streets are safe again, thank goodness.
The Death of Old Labour
Michael Martin owed his position to loyalty - not to voters, but to a Scottish party machine that all but ignored them...For more than 50 years after the war, it ran councils and constituencies as a self-perpetuating oligarchy, with a code as rigid as that of a latterday mafia. The assumption that Labour was the natural expression of the people's opinion was so endemic that the people themselves were rarely required to be involved in its affairs.
So, when Mr Martin responded to the wave of outrage that has swept the country in the wake of the expenses scandal by turning on his critics rather than promising to expose the abuse, he was merely reflecting the system he represents.
This is the true corruption of a party that has been in power too long - it is not the bathplugs or flat-screen TVs that matter in the end, but the failure to connect with those who put them there in the first place.
For Mr Martin and his supporters, the expenses story was seen as an unwarranted intrusion into private affairs rather than an exposure of abuse. These diehard representatives of Labour hegemony seem to believe that power is theirs by right, rather than something to be fought for. In the long course of Labour domination, the fundamental question of why they came to politics in the first place has become blurred. The old notions of championing equality, fighting poverty and defending the underprivileged have grown emptier over the years as the gap between rich and poor has widened. And poverty appears as ingrained as ever, while the underprivileged remain just that.
No one walking through Mr Martin's constituency of Glasgow North East yesterday could have failed to note the stark contrast between the deprivation on the streets, and the stories of refurnished second homes and thousand-pound food bills that have been front-page fare for the past two weeks. The gap between the haves and the have-nots has always been incendiary in politics. It is what brought Labour to power in the first place. Now, as the voters look around, they see that, for all the promises, the reality of their own lives bears no comparison with the luxuries to which their MPs have grown accustomed. That is why the anger is so palpable, the desire for electoral revenge almost tangible.
Labour must now reinvent itself, go back to its roots and discover again the simple maxim that it is there to serve the people rather than help itself to power. When, at the next general election, it presents itself to the voters, it must do so in sackcloth and ashes and in a mood of humble contrition - as different as it is possible to be from the mumbled resignation speech of a man who simply failed to recognise that history has moved on.
As the dinosaurs die out I won't be shedding any tears.
Hasta la vista, baby.
FOR the past couple of summers, the British public have suffered torrential downpours, flooding and landslides. As usual, Wimbledon has had to stop for rain.
But now, government officials are advising householders to prepare for a potential heatwave and "go Mediterranean" by painting the outside of their homes white to reflect the heat.
Details of the plan to cope with temperatures which are expected to soar this summer were released yesterday and included rather more obvious tips to stay in the shade where possible, and to avoid going outdoors between 11am and 3pm if vulnerable to heat.
Heatwave plan for England 2009 : Department of Health - Publications
Supersedes/replaces Heatwave plan for England 2008
Supersedes/replaces Heatwave plan for England 2007 : Department of Health
Supersedes/replaces Heatwave: Plan for England - protecting health and reducing harm from extreme heat and heatwaves (2006) : Department of Health - Publications
Supersedes/replaces Heatwave: Plan for England - protecting health and reducing harm from extreme heat and heatwaves (2005 edition) : Department of Health
Supersedes/replaces Heatwave: Plan for England - Protecting health and reducing harm from extreme heat and heatwaves (2004 edition) : Department of Health
It's coming any day now I'll get the whitewash out....
May 19, 2009
Catlin Arctic Survey - Lost Again?
Ice Team arrive back at Heathrow and are en route to CAS HQ for Press Conference
2:15 AM May 18th from web
Day and a half later and not a news story anywhere, odd.
Martin - The End is Nigh
19 May 2009
Beleaguered Commons Speaker Michael Martin is to hold emergency talks on the reform of MPs expenses as he fights to save his political career.
He is trying to hold on but his trotters haven't got much grip on the slide...
Keeping the Jews out of Film
ORGANISERS of the Edinburgh International Film Festival have been forced to return a donation from the Israeli embassy after director Ken Loach waded into the funding row and called for people to boycott the event on political grounds.
A donation – believed to be in the region of £300 – was to have been used to pay travel costs to the capital for Tali Shalom Ezer, a graduate of the film and television department at Tel Aviv University, who directed a short feature film, Surrogate.
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) threatened to picket screenings after the EIFF listed the Israeli embassy to the UK as one of its backers.
Mr Loach released a statement through the SPSC which read: "I'm sure many film-makers will be as horrified as I am to learn the Edinburgh International Film Festival is accepting money from Israel. The massacres and state terrorism in Gaza make this money unacceptable. With regret, I must urge all who might consider visiting the festival to show their support for the Palestinian nation and stay away."
The following day the EIFF – which has since been in talks with Mr Loach – did a U-turn. It said: "The EIFF are firm believers in free cultural exchange and do not wish to restrict film-makers' abilities to communicate artistically with international audiences on the basis that they come from a troubled regime.
"Although the festival is considered wholly cultural and apolitical, we consider the opinions of the film industry as a whole and, as such, accept that one film-maker's recent statement speaks on behalf of the film community, therefore we will be returning the funding issued by the Israeli embassy."
Might be news for Hollywood that the mouthpiece for the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign speaks for the film industry as a whole....
The Holy War against Salt
The FSA warns that more than 20,000 Britons a year die prematurely because of the high level of salt in their diet.
The war against salt is almost evidence free and inexplicable unless you credit the idea that it is a war against pleasure.
Sandy has dealt with salt many times - check it out there.
So who is behind this latest scare promoted by the FSA? Step forward "Mike Rich, executive director of the Blood Pressure Association". Who they? Charity No: 1058944 The accounts are here. I haven't had time to read them fully, but it looks as though the majority of income doesn't come from concerned citizens but from the lottery, Dept of Health and the FSA.
Another one for the Fake Charities site?
May 18, 2009
Very Much an English Afternoon
Thirty years of legal drinking...
18th May Annual Post
More on those smart meters
Government's smart-meter estimate falls short by £6bn, expert claims - Times Online
The Government has underestimated the cost of a nationwide rollout of smart meters by as much as £6.4 billion, according to Ernst & Young.
Last week ministers gave a green light to install 47 million new gas and electricity meters, which can monitor energy use in real time, in every household in Britain. They said that the project could be completed at a cost of between £7 billion to £9 billion, or an average of £269 to £346 per household.
Ernst & Young, the audit firm, has rejected that estimate, arguing that the true cost would be at least 49 per cent higher, at about £13.4 billion, or £515 per household.
All so Ed Miliband can watch and remotely control how much power you are using.
£59,000 for 89 houses in 4,500 acres - too much
A LANDMARK community takeover has been thrown into doubt because of difficulties in buying the land from the Scottish Government.... 4,500-acre estates of Borve, Luskentyre and Scaristavore ...89 houses...However, the deal has stalled with the government insisting it must pay the market value for the land and the community unable to afford the £59,000 asking price.
Yes - that is the asking price, and they are complaining that it is too much and they should just be given it by the taxpayer.... Anyone fancy a whip round so we can buy it and evict the moaners...
May 17, 2009
Tories are the True Friends of Dorothy
BRITAIN must learn lessons from film classic The Wizard of Oz if it wants to survive the recession, former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth has said.
He said The Wizard of Oz could be interpreted as an allegory describing a failure of monetary and government policy, released in 1939 as the world was coming out of the depression caused by the great crash ten years before.
The twister, which saw Dorothy whisked off to Oz, represented economic collapse following a boom. The wicked witch of the East was the eastern bankers, whose demise freed the Munchkin, a hard- working people.
The yellow brick road was the gold standard and Oz was the abbreviation for ounces, the unit of measurement of gold and silver. The Wizard was the US president and the Emerald City was Washington.
He continued the analogy by suggesting that the tin man symbolised industry and the scarecrow represented agriculture.
"(They) do everything that is asked of them by the Wizard, but he fails to deliver and when challenged turns out to be a fraud," said Forsyth.
"The Wizard may have turned out to be powerless, but on the journey the lion had shown fearlessness in great danger and found his courage. The tin man had displayed great kindness and shown he had a heart and the scarecrow showed great ingenuity and shown he had a brain," Forsyth said.
"They had possessed the courage, the intelligence and the compassion they were seeking all along... the moral is clear. Put not your trust in governments. A political failure had created the whirlwind that changed everything and threatened everyone."
He added: "The remedy lay not with government, but with the people themselves through their courage, innovation, enterprise, determination, hard work and the strength of their families and communities."
Not that I disagree with his thesis but the story was actually first published in 1900. Many scholars have interpreted the book as an allegory or metaphor for the political, economic and social events of America of the 1890s.
Martin 'planning to retire'
Mr Martin is reported to be ready to say that he would step down at or just before the next general election in a bid to avoid a humiliating exit.
It is just down to a timing issue now then, will the Commons accept a lameduck speaker to see out this lameduck government or do they want to take out their hurt on him sooner?
Hope for a New Labour
Backlash denies Lord Gould daughter safe seat - Times Online
Gould, a part-time student who works for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, beaten by Teresa Pearce, a local candidate...The upset was being seen as a further sign of grassroots fury at the arrogance of the political classes. Local party members had been angry at the bid by a clique of senior Blairites to bulldoze their candidate into the seat.
In a battle marred by accusations of nepotism, vote tampering and other dirty tricks, Gould’s supporters were said to have broken party rules by encouraging voters to register for postal ballots.
Taking back the party by the real grass roots is the only thing that can save the rotting edifice.
May 16, 2009
Guido notes that the "the MPs expense scandal is un-named" and asks for suggestions.
How about "A Beginning", it won't have gone nearly far enough until we see the likes of Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper installed in their well earned position.
Good News - He's back
Beckett's Ceausescu Moment
We're forced to eat out at restaurants, says Beckett | News
Mrs Beckett was booed on TV as she tried to defend claiming £72,000 for a second home in Derbyshire, while living in a Whitehall grace-and-favour residence. She also earned income by renting out a flat in the capital.
Audience members on Question Time branded it a “scandal” and heckled the minister when she refused to pay back the taxpayers' money.
Political experts were stunned by the hostility towards MPs, who had to fend off accusations that those fiddling expenses are no better than benefit cheats.
"Political experts were stunned" and that is the problem with mainstream political reporting, they are all eating from the same trough.
May 15, 2009
From the Family Album
Sorting through some paperwork I came across this photo of my father in uniform, looks almost like a film still.
Friday Night is Music Night (Lightning Edition)
Trudie's Cleverest Green Answer
Alongside her husband, she founded the Rainforest Foundation in 1989, and has since expanded her role to include forthright attacks on oil giants and the urgent need to move beyond our dependency on this wretched fuel.
Naturally, this urgent need must be balanced with the urgent need to courier Trudie and her entourage of personal groomers to events that simply wouldn't be the same with out her – and I'm afraid it is her journey to last weekend's White House correspondents' dinner that has caused the latest controversy. To summarise, Trudie took a private jet from New York to Washington DC for the dinner. For the trip, she was accompanied by an eight-person entourage, which included her Manhattan-based hair guru – and there are those now questioning her integrity.
An outraged Trudie responded: "My life is to travel and my life is also to speak out about the horrors of an environment that is being abused at the hands of oil companies. I can't think of a cleverer answer than that."
How odd. Lost in Showbiz can't think of a stupider one. Then again, perhaps we simply lack Trudie's vision. In some ways she is profoundly consistent, having previously made the 80-mile journey to the home of fellow environmentalist Zac Goldsmith by helicopter.
Fenland Poly Insulting Platitudes
Students at a Cambridge's Newnham College want to jettison their traditional Grace before dinner because they believe it “too religious”. “Benedic nobis Domine Deus et his donis quae de liberalitate tua sumpturi sumus per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.*”
The new Grace reads: “Pro cibo inter esurientes, pro comitate inter desolatos, pro pace inter bellantes, gratias agimus”. It means: “For food in a hungry world, for companionship in a world of loneliness, for peace in an age of violence, we give thanks.”
Professor Beard, a Fellow of Newnham, wrote she just “couldn’t stomach it”. She continued: “The undergraduates’ rewrite was a classic case of disguising a load of well-meaning platitudes in some posh dead language, which was actually an insult to that dead language.”
That's the problem with these upstart girly colleges, no sense of history. You let any old riff-raff in and this is what you get. Though I suppose at least they are still discussing Grace before dinner, even though I believe the usual form of words used by Cambridge graduates is "Do you want Fries with that?".
* “Bless us Lord God and bless these gifts which by your generosity we are about to eat, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”
Plod Recognises Right To Dress Up In Uniform And Ride A Horse
Police forces are to stop monitoring hunts in a change of policy that sounds the death knell for the hunting ban, The Times has learnt.
New guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) states that gathering evidence of illegal hunting is difficult, that the ban is hard to enforce and that chief constables have more pressing priorities.
Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales and the Acpo spokesman on rural affairs, said: “Hunting is definitely not a policing priority. It is not illegal to wear a red coat and ride a horse in a public place.”
Dr Brain to Nab Flashy Dressers
Gloucestershire Constabulary has launched a campaign urging people to report anyone ... wearing excessive amounts of jewellery, driving expensive cars, or buying luxury items.
The force's Chief Constable, Dr Timothy Brain, said that ostentatious criminals would be easier to spot during the recession.
Adrian Foster, from Gloucestershire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "With the evidence that comes from good intelligence, we are able to restrain all of an individual's cash and bank accounts, their home, vehicles, electrical items and jewellery.
"Then following a successful prosecution we are able to take back the proceeds that they have accumulated from the last six years of crime."
Note the "restrain" all the possessions and then prosecute... Next time I go through Gloucester I better follow the Police Approved Dress Code...
How Freedom Was Won And Is Being Lost
Fear of terrorism, crime and social chaos are all factors that have put our ideal of individual liberty into retreat. What Price Liberty? explores how civil liberty was constructed, and has been re-thought and re-fought, in a bid to debate and determine the value we place on it today.
Download the eBook of What Price Liberty? and pay what you think is fair.
Wild West Law Needed in Bristol? The View From Texas
Brazenly breaking into a house in broad daylight, these two burglars don't look too worried about being caught.
And perhaps with good reason.
Despite this clear picture of the pair forcing a rear window open with a crowbar, the serial offenders have both walked free from court.
Matthew Clark, 28, and Stefan Poyster, 21, stole £1,400 of belongings from the three-bedroom semidetached house.
This image of the criminals in action was taken by a neighbour, who also alerted the police.
But despite the photographic evidence, Clark and Poyster escaped a custodial sentence.
The pair, who have a history of drug abuse, admitted burglary but walked free from Bristol Crown Court with a suspended sentence and supervision order.
Their victim Simon Duffy, however, lost a plasma television, a computer games console and a laptop in the midday burglary in Little Stoke, Bristol, last month.
Clark removed a double-glazed window and made off with the haul of electrical equipment while Poyster kept watch.
They then sold the stolen goods to buy drugs and gamble.
But the photographs provided to police by a neighbour were not enough to persuade Judge Simon Darwell-Smith to send either of the men to prison.
When you have finished grinding your teeth, please note the following:
Under Texas state law, if you were the lady with the camera, you could have shot both the little shits dead, and would not have been prosecuted -- indeed, you COULD NOT be prosecuted, under the "Neighbor Protection" law. Here's how it works.
Let's say I know I'm going to be away for a while -- at work, on holiday, whatever -- and I ask you to "look after my house" while I'm gone.
As your neighbor, I actually have more latitude in dealing with criminals on your property than you do. And the fact that one of the criminals was carrying a crowbar -- well, that's a "lethal weapon" under the law.
So if Camera Kate had been instead Pistol Patricia, in Texas, both those criminals could now be dead -- and all the cops would be able to do is congratulate her for her tight grouping (which, in our neighborhood, they would do anyway).
Sometimes, we colonials get a few things right...
May 14, 2009
Those Who Fail to Learn From History Are Doomed to Repeat It
I meant to blog about this well written history of the 1970s before as I was kindly sent a review copy. It reads almost like a novel with the twists and turns, which whilst familiar to me as a youngster come as surprises in the narrative. What an appalling time it was; imagine having the choice of Wilson, Heath or Thorpe to lead you.
A week ago the book seemed especially pertinent to read as the mistakes of the seventies are being repeated around us, but with the sleaze exposures grabbing the headlines the far worse policies of the Government are going unreported on. But maybe in a weeks time we will wake up and notice them again and then this book will be a must read again.
Abbott and Costello on Climate Change
Professor Anthony Costello: climate change biggest threat to humans - Times Online
Climate change poses the biggest threat to human health in the 21st century but its full impact is not being grasped by the healthcare community or policymakers, a medical report concludes.
The report, compiled by a commission of academics from University College London and published in The Lancet, warns that climate change risks huge death tolls caused by disease, food and water shortages and poor sanitation.
Chris Abbott, a 30-year-old academic, said he was "punched in the face" and then "smashed" across the head with a riot shield as he sat on Bishopsgate during the 1 April protests. Chris Abbott:: "You do not expect to be beaten up by the police when you are exercising your right to protest on something as important as climate change"
Anatole frolics thru the Green Shoots
...signs of recovery continue...
....some commentators believe that ... by printing huge quantities of money the Bank has guaranteed an inflationary crisis in the years ahead. As a result, many financial experts are advising borrowers to lock in to fixed-rate mortgages at relatively high interest rates to protect themselves against even higher rates to come. But are increases really inevitable? There are four reasons why the Bank could keep rates in the 0 to 2 per cent range for years ahead - and would be right to do so....
And the weather on planet Kaletsky is what this morning?
With output falling, money sloshing out of the presses, Government up to eyebrows in debt, if I had to borrow money I would lock in at what ever - but then I'm not an expert or qualified to give advice.
Morley - Pecunia non olet
May 13, 2009
Fabian - Cunctator
...dilatory... from Fabius Cunctator, Roman General.
Arctic Ice Still Going To All Melt Real Soon
New warning over Arctic ice-cap
Professor Peter Wadhams, from the University of Cambridge, told BBC News he has brought forward his estimates of the ice-cap's demise.
He believes the ice is now so thin that almost all of it will disappear in about a decade.
He says it will become seasonal, forming only during the winter.
He told the BBC: "By 2013 we will see a much smaller area in summertime than now, and certainly by about 2020, I can imagine that only one area will remain in summer."
Arctic summers ice-free 'by 2013'
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Professor Peter Wadhams from Cambridge University, UK, is an expert on Arctic ice. "Some models have not been taking proper account of the physical processes that go on," he commented. "In the end, it will just melt away quite suddenly. It might not be as early as 2013 but it will be soon, much earlier than 2040."
Global warming 'past the point of no return' - Science, News - The Independent
Friday, 16 September 2005
Current computer models suggest that the Arctic will be entirely ice-free during summer by the year 2070 but some scientists now believe that even this dire prediction may be over-optimistic, said Professor Peter Wadhams, an Arctic ice specialist at Cambridge University.
There is a certain dogged consistency there, of course if he was arguing the opposite he would be seen as an Oil industry shrill...
University of Cambridge DAMTP: Professor Peter Wadhams' chief industrial links in ice research have been with the offshore oil and marine transport industries. He received continuous support from British Petroleum Co. from 1976 until 1992 for his research group at SPRI, covering funding of a technician and support for the design and development of novel instrumentation for use in Arctic ice engineering...
Private Solutions to Public Problems
How can farmers and land managers be motivated to provide landscape, biodiversity and other environmental goods?
The CLA believes that the status quo will not deliver these benefits to society and, as a business-based organisation, wants to explore what might be achieved by creating environmental markets.
That's talking my sort of talk, pass it on.
WWF Coral Scare
Rising water temperatures, sea levels and acidity in the vast region threaten to destroy reefs in Southeast Asia's Coral Triangle, a region labelled the ocean's answer to the Amazon rainforest, the WWF report said. Saving the Coral Triangle will require countries to commit to deep cuts in carbon gas emissions when they gather for global climate talks in the Danish capital Copenhagen in December to work out a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.
Cuts of 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050 would be needed to avert the worst effects...
Collapse of the reefs would send food production in the region plummeting by 80 percent and imperil the livelihoods of over 100 million people
Two minutes on Google finds this slightly more impressive paper...
CO2, GLOBAL WARMING AND CORAL REEFS:
by Dr. Craig D. Idso (.pdf)
...The persistence of coral reefs through geologic time – when temperatures were as much as 10-15°C warmer than at present, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations were 2 to 7 times higher than they are currently – provides substantive evidence that these marine entities can successfully adapt to a dramatically changing global environment.
Thus, the recent die-off of many corals cannot be due solely, or even mostly, to global warming or the modest rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration over the course of the Industrial Revolution.
The 18- to 59-cm warming-induced sea level rise that is predicted for the coming century by the IPCC – which could be greatly exaggerated if predictions of CO2-induced global warming are wrong – falls well within the range (2 to 6 mm per year) of typical coral vertical extension rates, which exhibited a modal value of 7 to 8 mm per year during the Holocene and can be more than double that value in certain branching corals. Rising sea levels should therefore present no difficulties for coral reefs. In fact, rising sea levels may actually have a positive effect on reefs, permitting increased coral growth in areas that have already reached the upward limit imposed by current sea levels.
The rising CO2 content of the atmosphere may induce changes in ocean chemistry (pH) that could slightly reduce coral calcification rates; but potential positive effects of hydrospheric CO2 enrichment may more than compensate for this modest negative phenomenon.
Theoretical predictions indicate that coral calcification rates should decline as a result of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations by as much as 40% by 2100. However, real-world observations indicate that elevated CO2 and elevated temperatures are having just the opposite effect.
In light of the above observations, and in conjunction with all of the material presented in this review, it is clear that climate-alarmist claims of impending marine species extinctions due to increases in both temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration are not only not supported by real-world evidence, they are actually refuted by it.
Donderdag Veggiedag Durbledag Greeniedag Daggiedaggiedo
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Belgian city plans 'veggie' days
The Belgian city of Ghent is about to become the first in the world to go vegetarian at least once a week.
Starting this week there will be a regular weekly meatless day, in which civil servants and elected councillors will opt for vegetarian meals.
"Opt" as freely choose, of course not. And can we all guess why they are being forced to forgo the horse sandwich?
The UN says livestock is responsible for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, hence Ghent's declaration of a weekly "veggie day".
Schoolchildren will follow suit with their own veggiedag in September....
Antimacassars cost y'know
The old boy's £10,000 for an interior designer - no surprise...
Victorian design was established in the 19th century in England and is basically on the feminine side of decorating and is very elaborate as well. You have to realize that the people the 19th century did not care how much their decorations cost. All they cared about was the look of wealth that it gave to them and their families. They spared no expense back in those days which make the Victorian Interior Design look get pretty expensive in today's day and age.
May 12, 2009
£7 Billion to save £3.6 Billion - Miliband's Big Brother Plan
Smart meters for all homes – but families will foot bill - Scotsman.com News
AN INNOVATIVE "smart meter" will be installed in every home in the UK to encourage energy saving, under plans announced yesterday.
The gadgets, which will replace traditional electricity and gas meters, will display how much energy is being used at any one time.
The gadget will also show how much the energy is costing, and a red light will warn if a particularly large amount of gas or electricity are being used.
The UK government's plan to install the devices in all 26 million homes by 2020 was widely welcomed yesterday.
The initiative will be paid for by energy companies – but with the prices expected to be passed on to the consumer.
It is estimated the initiative will cost £7 billion, but ultimately save as much as £3.6 billion by 2020 ....the devices will enable precise information on a household's energy use to be communicated remotely to power companies.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "The meters most of us have in our homes were designed for a different age, before climate change.
So I will pay through the nose so that Ed, or Ed's successors, can check on how much juice I'm using at any time. I would love to see the red lights flashing as I applied the electrodes to his scrawny chicken-skinned body but otherwise count me out.
Middle of the Road - it's mine.
Gardener banned from trimming grass because of health and safety
Graham Alexander, a gardener from Wiltshire, has been banned from trimming the 40ft x 30ft verge outside his home after 43 years - for health and safety reasons.
Now he is only allowed to continue trimming his own lawn and must stop at the boundary line where it meets the council's grass.
A spokesman for the council said: "The Council would not want to see Mr Alexander injured whilst working on land that was not his responsibility.
"The council would also not want to see the risk of injury to a neighbour or passer-by or damage to property that could lead to a costly compensation claim being made against him."
But is it the Council's land? There is a right of way on the land and the Council has a responsibility to maintain it but the underlying land, even if it isn't registered on the Land Registry may well belong to him, and he would still have rights to it.
The presumption as to ownership of a lane by adjoining owners, the ad medium filum viae presumption (to the middle of the road), operates in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
I'm not a lawyer but if the Wiltshire Council tells me to stop mowing my verges, which I have to do to be able to see out to drive out, that will be in my strongly worded letter to the jumped up little prodnoses.
May 8, 2009
Friday Night is Music Night (The Beat Starts Here Edition)
Lumley steamrollers Woolas - fabulous
The crime of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by accessing insecure internet connections
James Rennie, 38, a gay rights campaigner who had managed the Stonewall Youth Project before his appointment as chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, an organisation which campaigns for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered young people. Rennie was an opinion former, a mover and shaker. He was consulted by the Scottish Parliament over youth policy. He met the Queen and went to Downing Street to shake hands with Tony Blair
Convicted of: Sex attacks on children; conspiracy to abuse children; owning, making and distributing images of child-sex abuse; attempting to defeat the ends of justice by accessing insecure internet connections
I hope the whole gang of them enjoy meeting Mr Boiling ChipFat and friends whilst locked up. I just wish they weren't segregated but had their crimes tattooed on their foreheads... but I'm getting so unmodern.
The only questionmark I have is what is this crime "attempting to defeat the ends of justice by accessing insecure internet connections"? What does that mean?
Oink, oink, oink
This morning there is only one story dominating the political blogosphere..
Enjoy a proper scoop. I couldn't watch some youtube clip of Gordon Brown yesterday as I started to feel sorry for him, I must get a grip.
May 7, 2009
My Crop Circle
This flowery formation had some definite energy to it, especially notable in the small circle I could get to without disturbing the formation. A close direct overhead view would be great to see the wonderfully woven and flowing crop around the central area. The flow of the crop was especially interesting as, in some of the outer downed segments, the crop flowed in three or four directions.
Many of the stems were broken and some severed completely several inches from the ground leaving the stems standing vertically, however many good examples of distinctly bent stems could be found (pictured), many with no signs of physical pressure markings....
Picture galore on the linked pages; plan your sight lines, it is like a tethered goat for bringing hippies into range....
Protect Your Data
That works better than a grinning Youtube appearance, doesn't it.
The New BBC Natural Talkinghead
Meet the Pol Pot of conservation - Telegraph
Springwatch, the BBC's fly-on-the-wall nature programme, returns later this month to delight 3.5 million viewers. But this year there will be no Bill Oddie.
His place is being taken by Chris Packham, a fast-talking 48-year-old former children's television presenter who could turn out to be every bit as controversial as his predecessor. ...
...the isolated thatched cottage in Hampshire where Packham spends the rare days when he isn't either staring down a long lens shooting wildlife (in the photographic sense) or talking into a lens to present television programmes...He is now so busy that little time is left for his private life. At least, he can combine work and play with his current partner, Charlotte Corney. She runs the Isle of Wight Zoo, a safe haven for tigers, whose plight is a shared concern. ...The quiet of the New Forest these days upsets him so much that he spends most of his spare time in his home in southwest France...
"Bill is an old hippy; I'm an old punk rocker," says Packham. The spiky hair that lured many non-nature lovers to The Really Wild Show in the Eighties has long been toned down, but the spitting anger of his formative years is still with him, and directed to the cause of preserving wildlife. Among the targets of his rage are politicians, squirrel killers, "eco-fascists who bang on about native species" – and ordinary pet owners.
Cat lovers ... He knows he is in danger of sounding like "the Pol Pot of conservation", but it infuriates him that owners refuse to acknowledge the carnage wrought by these fluffy, domesticated killers. Since New Labour came to power, between a third and two thirds of our cuckoos, swifts, pied and spotted flycatchers, nightingales, turtle doves and wood warblers have vanished from these shores. "Climate change in Africa is affecting the flight paths and nesting areas all over Europe, but Britain has had the worst fall in bird numbers."
He holds politicans, as well as pets, responsible. "I've had enough of arguments in village halls: we need a benign dictatorship."
I never thought I would think bring back Bill Oddie....
Jackboots Smith Doesn't Get It
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "This well-spun proposal proves that the Home Secretary has yet to learn about the presumption of innocence and value of personal privacy in Britain.
"Wholly innocent people - including children - will have their most intimate details stockpiled for years on a database that will remain massively out of step with the rest of the world. With regret we shall be forced to see her in court once more."
The sooner she is retired to her DNA splattered sofa the better. The Scottish system is there to be copied but that is too simple and doesn't satisfy her urges.
Darling - Amateur Night at The Treasury
It's GCSE economics: high taxes don't work | Eamonn Butler - Times Online
Given the damage that the new 50 per cent tax rate will probably inflict on the UK economy, the Chancellor seems to have been very cavalier about it. When the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee asked how he decided to impose the new rate on everyone earning £150,000 or more, he replied: “There was no science behind it. It was simply my judgment.”
No science? If there is one part of economics that lends itself to scientific analysis, it is tax policy. Taxation has been under the microscope ever since Adam Smith first distilled the principles of good and bad taxation in the 18th century. Two hundred years of evidence later the science is clear: high taxes don't work. They bring the Treasury less revenue, not more. And on the way, they really mess up your economy.
So Darling admits he hasn't got a clue, we knew he didn't have a clue but for him to admit he is just guessing what to do is astonishing. And the cost to the country, read the rest of Eamonn's piece, is too high to forgive such amateurism.
May 6, 2009
I've been invaded
One in my field by my house appeared overnight - shame I wasn't out fox shooting last night, I might have bagged a UFO.
Red Faced Greens All at Sea
BBC NEWS | England | Eco-sailors rescued by oil tanker
An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker.
The team, which left Mount Batten Marina in Plymouth on 19 April in a boat named the Fleur, aimed to rely on sail, solar and man power on a 580-mile (933km/h) journey to and from the highest point of the Greenland ice cap.
The expedition was followed by up to 40 schools across the UK to promote climate change awareness.
But atrocious weather dogged their journey...
Aiming is for wusses
back front of the cupboard I have a five shot Benelli auto-shotgun. Great fun getting off five shots in a second or so, and about the only way I can shoot any pigeons these days. But I'm now lusting after a RCI XRAIL Roth Auto Index Loader to add to it. Even if Mr FM wouldn't let me bring it along to his driven pheasant days.
Jackboots Smith's Latest Whizzo Plan
Jacqui Smith says ID cards could be available from high street shops - Times Online
The Home Secretary will also announce that residents of Greater Manchester will be the first to be able to volunteer for identity cards.
Ms Smith’s decision to seek the help of high street businesses in taking the biometric fingerprints and photographs needed for the cards is an attempt to minimise costs and make enrolment in the scheme easy.
Ms Smith said that providing facilities on the high street would allow people to provide their biometric details while shopping.
Excellent - I think I will pop up to Manchester and buy several different ones. The unique secure key to all our information available over the counter at thousands of small shops, what genius! She really is getting desperate.
Pardon me Sir
Fur flies over racist name of Dambuster's dog - Telegraph
Peter Jackson, the New Zealander who is producing the remake:"It is not our intention to offend people. But really you are in a no-win, damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't scenario.
"If you change it, everyone's going to whinge and whine about political correctness. And if you don't change it, obviously you are offending a lot of people inadvertently."
In most recent television reshowings of the 1954 film, the dog's name is either edited out or altered.
An edited version for American television has Nigger's name redubbed as Trigger.
Redubbing is all the rage - it is now "Pardon me Sir" on modern versions...
Scottish Pussy Problems
"We are not the only country with a small species of wildcat, but they are ours and it would be a tragedy if Scotland's tiger becomes extinct. We get terribly upset about the extinction of Siberian tigers; let's get upset about the possible extinction of the Scottish wildcat."
Crossbreeding with escaped domestic cats is the problem. Neutering is suggested, as with all cats a more final solution would be my suggestion. Click, bang.
May 5, 2009
Householder vs The Law
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, a householder who "knew of an intended intruder and set a trap to hurt or kill them rather than involve the police would be acting with very excessive and gratuitous force and could be prosecuted."
Sixty-five per cent of British householders would arm themselves with bats, walking sticks and other household items to use as protection if they were to come face-to-face with an uninvited guest.
Seven per cent would even use an axe and 14 per cent would use a knife.
Andrew Lowe, head of home insurance at Direct Line, which polled 2,000 people, said: "Our research shows the extremes that some householders would go to in order to protect their property from intruders. "However, while it's natural for many to look out for their family and their belongings, we do not recommend anyone resorts to violence as you put yourself at risk of injury or possibly even death.
Of course not, any Billy Burglar scaling the walls of The Castle will have only a feather cushion thrown at them and be offered a nice cup of tea, we don't want anyone to get the idea that I might consider anything rougher do we. The disparity between what the law and ordinary people consider to be right and proper grows wider.
Fake Charity - Fake Scare
Baby food has more fat than cheeseburgers - Telegraph
Some baby foods contain more fat and sugar than cheeseburgers and chocolate biscuits, reveals a new study...by the Children's Food Campaign, a lobby group.
Of course babies actually need more fat and sugar than adults (pro rata) so they grow, fat especially so their brains grow and they learn to think....
Another Fine Mess
Fast fines scheme 'a failure' as 15,000 go unpaid - Scotsman.com News
Statistics given to Ms Mitchell by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill showed penalties worth £3.7 million were imposed by prosecutors last year as an alternative to court action. Of this total, £1.3m had been collected, £1.2m was being paid in agreed instalments and the other £1.2m was in arrears.
No payments at all had been made in 14,741 fines, or 41 per cent of the total, while a further 4,769, or 13 per cent, were in arrears. More than 57,000 warning letters had been sent out. Ms Mitchell said: "These figures are an absolute disgrace. It is surely bad enough that 54 per cent of fiscal fines, or 19,510, remain either unpaid or only partly paid, but the real revelation is the shambolic administration of these fines."
The breakdown of Law and Order. The system is being laughed at; I'm sure nice middle class people pay up but everyone else is just sticking two fingers up at a fine obsessed system. Fewer laws properly applied is what is needed.
Obama to tax our US firms
Mr Obama said yesterday that he would close provisions in US tax law that allowed companies to defer the payment of tax on profits made at their overseas operations as long as the profits were ploughed back into the foreign business. He said that this encouraged companies to expand their operations outside America at the expense of US jobs.
Bad news for London, worse news for Dublin but worst for the the US as the money grabbing system tries to squeeze every pip out of enterprise. So much for him being an international superstar as he retreats into isolationist socialism.
Anne Ashworth - Landlord and Property Feckwit
The private rented sector is a cottage industry, with a vast and growing customer base.
Most of the operators are small-time players, owning one or two properties. Many of these amateur landlords regard their portfolios of flats as long-term investments and are mindful of their responsibilities and the need for high standards of service.
Fortunately, few can be described as “Rachmanite”, that is, guilty of the violent practices of Peter Rachman, the notorious West London slum landlord of the late 1950s. But a considerable number of rental properties are in a deplorable state of repair. And trouble can lurk even in impeccably decorated apartments with the latest kitchens....
tenants are becoming increasingly discontented with arrangements that force them to disclose financial information to a prospective landlord, while receiving none in return.
Professor Julie Rugg, of the University of York, who was commissioned by the Government to devise rental accommodation reforms, highlighted the diversity of the customer base which ranges from international bankers to asylum seekers, from students to young professionals.
In her report, released last year, Professor Rugg recommended: a “light-touch licensing system” for landlords; VAT relief, stamp duty and other tax breaks to encourage the refurbishment of substandard properties; and a new complaints procedure for tenants.
Although last month’s Budget did not contain any tax concessions, the Government is implementing the licensing proposal.
Responsible landlords will probably view the licensing scheme as yet more paperwork. We should always remember that letting out properties can be a thankless task. Landlords will, however, accept the system provided that it is effective...
Anne Ashworth, you and "your more rules are needed" friends can go screw yourselves. You outline that there are few problems, you outline that the recommendation was for a licence in return for tax breaks, you outline that all we are getting is a cumbersome prodnose intervention, and you even point out the pilot project in Scotland is a pile of crap. The costs and the reduction in rented property will hurt the tenants. But you still are for it. But then some people just like rules and ruling.
Whenever I come across one of them I comfort myself by thumbing through my well worn copy of British Standard EN40-2:2004 and calculating if the load capacity on the bracket will be acceptable or not...
May 2, 2009
Speed Cameras Piggy Bank Broken
There was a big fall in the number of speed-camera penalties after police and local authorities lost the right to keep the proceeds.
The drop came in the same year that road deaths fell to their lowest level since records began, undermining claims that an increase in cameras improves road safety.
The drop in fines suggests that police chiefs decided to put fewer resources into speed enforcement when they stopped being able to recover the costs of installing and operating cameras. Many camera housings are being left empty and some forces have reduced their use of camera vans.
Ministers admitted in 2005 that allowing police to keep some of the money created a perception among drivers that cameras were being used to raise revenue, not just to save lives.
Funny how we had that perception, "incentives matter" I can hear a Worstall mutter.
Home Schooling - in danger of suffering 'significant harm'.
Rotherham Council's social services department, backed by the school, say that Elysha could be suffering isolation and missing the company of children by being kept at home.
A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said she was unable to comment on individual cases but said : "In general the authority would always recommend that children receive a better all round learning experience from attending school."
There doesn't seem to be any other suggestion that the poor little mite is "in danger of suffering 'significant harm' as the law they have used says, just that they can't believe a Mother knows better than they do.
Call me a social and moral decadent
It has already started:
My first job today is mow mine - and I would love to have inscribed on the garden gate; "Clinging to the grassy elegance of English lawns will be signals of social and moral decadence."
May 1, 2009
Friday Night is Music Night (Vinegar Strokes Edition)
Oh come on, get on with it you bunch of long haired hippies....
Dr Dave explains the Tory Tax Policy
A bit of gel on this finger and you won't feel a thing...
Brown losing it but winning according to the BBC
Gordon Brown has lost it, say ministers - Telegraph
The Prime Minister was forced to surrender in his battle to reform MPs’ expenses yesterday
BBC NEWS | Politics | MPs back allowances reform plans
The government has won a series of votes on planned MPs' expenses reforms
The Brown Broadcasting Company....
Gaoled on an unexplained whim?
On Thursday, Ferry was cleared of the witness intimidation charges, which had seen him locked up for four months, after the prosecution said it was offering no evidence on both counts.
Prosecutor Kerry Barker told Gloucester Crown Court: "I don't intend to explain in a public court why those instructing me took the decision they took.
"The reasons why are not a matter that is or should be in the public domain."
Lock him up for four months and then offer no evidence and refuse to explain? Lovely world isn't it.
Met Office Forecaster Right but Wrong
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Will the UK get a sizzling summer?
The Met Office is forecasting a barbecue summer after two summers of rain.
Given the shortcomings in past summer forecasts, how much credence should we give this one?
Remember the summer of 2007? On 11 April of that year, the Met Office chirped: "The summer is yet again likely to be warmer than normal. There are no indications of a particularly wet summer." - the wettest summer for England and Wales since 1912. Temperatures were below average.
In April 2008, the Met Office projected: "Summer temperatures are likely to be warmer than average and rainfall near or above average." That didn't prepare people for one of the wettest summers on record, with high winds and low sunshine.
Chief meteorologist Ewen McCallum said: "We can expect times when temperatures will be above 30C (86F) - something we hardly saw last year."
Mr McCallum admitted in a news conference that seasonal forecasting is still in its infancy - a cross between climate change prediction and tomorrow's weather forecast.
But he said normal forecasting had massively improved, with the four-day forecast now as good as the one-day forecast when the Met office started more than 30 years ago.
I think I have spotted his problem, the Met Office was actually founded in 1854. So as with so much of what he says he is technically correct, that is more than 30 years ago, but hardly accurate or historically aware.
Happy May Day Picture Post
A dead Che - what more do you want to lift your spirits?