June 30, 2009
One for sorrow, two for joy ...
Why we must protect magpies | Chris Packham | The Guardian
...the Songbird Survival Trust has called all bird lovers to arms. They want a magpie cull and they are not just asking farmers or gamekeepers to lock and load; they want everyone with a garden to use their legal right to kill these birds now, in their breeding season, leaving their chicks to starve in the nest. Well, as a lifelong and passionate birder, I'm not going to be signing up for the slaughter.
The trust's reasoning comes down to the same old misinformed chestnut - that evil magpies are causing the decline in smaller songbirds. It's kneejerk ornithological racism, ignorant and counterproductive. It's true that some magpies prey on the nests of smaller birds during the breeding season, but this is for perhaps three or four months of the year and only affects young birds that are easily replaced. The magpies never kill the more valuable breeding adults (unlike cats, which do so 365 days a year). No predator would thrive by dramatically reducing its own food supply...
So how could the trust get it so wrong? I can only assume that this fringe group is still clinging to outdated views built on a foundation of medieval superstition.
Or maybe they understand a bit about Predator Prey Cycles, silly old medieval superstitions such as Lotka-Volterra equations and refinements there of. Mr Packham should stick to gurning to the camera.
Happy 60th Andy
Andy Scott (born 30 June 1949, in Wrexham, Wales) is a British musician and composer. He was a guitarist, vocalist, and synthesizer player in the band Sweet.
He continues to perform in 'Andy Scott's Sweet'.
And here's one wot he wrote:
Another Mandy Whizzo Plan With No Trousers.
Brown takes cash from schools, roads and health to pay for 30,000 homes - Times Online
There was immediate confusion in Whitehall last night as departments appeared not to be aware that they were supposed to be funding the £1.5 billion centrepiece of the Government’s pre-election fightback.
Within hours the sums were being challenged. The Department for Communities refused to accept that it would foot half the bill and seemed to be fighting a proposal to plunder its Decent Homes refurbishment programme. Whitehall sources repeatedly told The Times that no agreement had been reached, amid warnings that the move would leave at least 200,000 council homes in disrepair.
Officials at the Schools Department were also taken by surprise. The Department of Health implied that the money could come from a £350 million underspend in capital projects this year, but had no details....
What a wonderful way to run a country, Mandy has a doodle on a napkin in the evening, Brown's minders write it out in crayon in big letters and it is announced the next day as policy. In a month's time it will all be forgotten as Mandy moves onto something new to grab the headlines for a day.
Friendless, broke and mad
Michael Jackson was emaciated, virtually bald, covered in needle scars and had only pills in his stomach when he died, according to an autopsy report.
Though authorities are expected to pinpoint Michael Jackson's cause of death within weeks, settling the King of Pop's estate — homing in on Jackson's assets, determining his debts and divvying up what's owed to creditors and promised to beneficiaries — could take far longer.
"This is going to be a major headache. These are matters that could take years and years to settle and could touch off a feeding frenzy,"
Why do I keep misreading "Michael Jackson" as "Gordon Brown", they aren't similar in anyway.
That's the stuff Sir Mike, warn the rebellious Scots that the traditional job of the English Army is to crush them, not fanny about in sandy places.
June 29, 2009
I've found a new website
No more typing until my trapped nerve stops throbbing and I can go back to using my right fist. I even had to use my other hand to clean my teeth, made a change, almost as though someone else was doing it to me...
THE BBC was blasted last night for sending 405 staff to cover Glastonbury festival.
The figure was only 32 fewer than those sent to produce 3,000 hours of Beijing Olympics coverage last year.
I'm not one to support them but I wonder if the BBC announced random drug tests on staff and dismissals for the guilty would that reduce the number of essential staff volunteering for overtime at the festival?
June 28, 2009
Punting on the Cherwell and a Garden Party at the old Oxford college, eating and drinking with friends on a sunny English weekend, it doesn't get much better.
June 26, 2009
Chilli Cook-Off Reminder
How am I going to top my Banana Chilli Recipe from last year? If you have a recipe to suggest please put it in the comments below as I believe the Devil is coming to sup with us and I need all the help I can get.
Friday Night is Music Night (Black Genius Died Too Young Edition)
Friday Night is Music Night (Noize Edition)
Turn it up loud
The Death of the South West Regional Assembly - No Flowers Please
The Regional Assembly has for the last ten years been at the centre of decision making in the South West, today, 13 May 2009, the Assembly’s Regional Planning Body, housing and transport functions will transfer to the Strategic Leaders’ Board with immediate effect.
The transfer follows agreement between the Assembly Leaders, the Strategic Leaders, the Social Economic and Environmental Partners and South West Councils and brings to a close the work of the Assembly in line with the motion agreed by the Assembly at its final meeting in March.
10th July they have a final wrap up and that is it - it is gone, replaced by a Council Leader's Talking Shop. I only learnt by accident, just shows what a waste it was when its abolition is as pointless as its existence and no one notices.
Are the other Regional Assemblies also being killed off?
No ID, No Cash
A MAN who won £100,000 on a National Lottery scratch card cannot collect his winnings because he does not have sufficient identification.
William Hamilton was told by lottery company Camelot that he had to have a bank account so they could pay out.
When he tried to open an account, Mr Hamilton was told he needed a driving licence or passport – neither of which he possesses.
Hamilton, 52, has been left wondering when he will get his hands on the cash. "I've never had a driver's licence, I've never been overseas, so I don't have a passport, and I don't have a bank account of my own.
"I've got a letter addressed to me from Servite housing, from Greenwood Personal Credit, from Dundee Sheriff Court, as well as my health card from the NHS, my birth lines and a passport photograph signed by my GP. Apparently, that's not enough for Camelot or to open an account, but I can't do much more than I've already done."
Welcome to the wonderful new world of ID.
Scotsman Flouts Wimbledon Conventions
IT WOULD appear the hype and expectation surrounding Andy Murray's Wimbledon campaign has reached truly biblical proportions.
As the Scots tennis star powered into the third round...
Attention Please Mr Sub Editor, the convention is that he is referred to as the "British" tennis star when he is winning, "Scots" when he is a whining loser..
A Million Bedsit Walls Mourn
It's my age...
Other celebrity death news today only induces huge indifference..
Canterbury Plays for Gays
Canterbury is sufficiently gay, council inspectors rule
The council had to prove its inclusiveness by giving details of "touring plays and musicals, for example, which would be of interest to the LGBT community".
And it had to show that it had "put forward suggestions for small events that it might help fund, as well as proposals for other events such as exhibitions".
Rob Davies, spokesman for the council, said: "Obviously we're delighted with the outcome of the investigation.
"We feel we do a great deal for the gay community in Canterbury and we have always tried to support various gay events and promotions."
"But at the same time it is not the duty of any council to set up a gay bar – that's not what councils do."
Maybe it also not the duty of the council to "fund any small events" for any part of the community. Why should ratepayers be mulct to pay for the pleasures of others? Let Gays, Morris Dancers, Yummy Mummies, Bell Ringers or whoever stick there hands into their own pockets, not mine.
Oz threat to ancient Wiltshire Craftsmen Jobs
'Stoned wallabies make crop circles'
Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around "as high as a kite", a government official has said.
Oi! That's our job, I wonder if all those Glasto travellers stuck on the A303 at Amesbury realise that the pretty field to the north of Solstice Park is full of Papavar Sominiferum out in flower....
June 25, 2009
Always look on the bright side...
In a defiant interview after another crisis of confidence in his leadership, a slump in Labour’s vote to 16 per cent in the European elections and the debilitating expenses scandal, the Prime Minister brushes aside suggestions that he might walk away before the next election.
“I have got a job to do,” he says. “One that every day I address with new enthusiasm.”
Seems quite sane in comparison... And here's a preview of his Conference Speech
A Manifesto Event for Freedom
A glass of wine with your picnic? It's against the law
More than 700 “controlled drinking zones” have been set up across England, giving police sweeping powers to confiscate beer and wine from anyone enjoying a quiet outdoor tipple.
Local authorities are introducing the zones at a rate of 100 a year, The Times has learnt. Some cover whole cities, a radical departure from what the law intended.
Once a control zone is in place, police can seize alcohol from anyone who is not on licensed premises, even if the bottles or cans are unopened.
The law made clear that the zones should cover only streets or city centre areas with a record of alcohol-related disorder or nuisance.
There are now 712 zones, some covering vast areas where there is no record of disorder. There are city-wide bans in Coventry and Brighton, which cover even the quietest suburban streets....
Police in Brighton and Hove appear to be the most energetic in the country. Their 45 community support officers are making 25 confiscations a week. The Manifesto Club was inundated with claims of over-zealous enforcement, such as two young women forced to pour away glasses of wine that they were drinking on the beach, and three men having cans of lager confiscated as they stood on the promenade. Researchers observed drinks being confiscated from people having a quiet drink while admiring the plants in the Pavilion Gardens.
To protest at what it considers an excessive approach, the Manifesto Club is hosting a picnic on Brighton beach with alcoholic drinks on Saturday.
ABOUT THE MANIFESTO CLUB
The Manifesto Club campaigns against the hyperregulation of everyday life. We support free movement across borders, free expression and free association. We challenge booze bans, photo bans, vetting and speech codes - all new ways in which the state regulates everyday life on the streets, in workplaces and in our private lives.
We believe that the freedom issues of the twenty-first century cut across old political boundaries, and require new schools of political thought, and new methods of campaigning and organisation.
There is much to celebrate about the contemporary world, but there is also an urgent need to work out how we can take that world forward. Any attempt to transform our society towards a freer, more enlightened future, must begin from the conviction that people have a tremendous capacity to organise their own lives, both individually and collectively. That is why at the Manifesto Club we campaign, write, petition and argue for freedom in everyday life.
Scotland to outlaw ‘dishauntening’ of ordinances
A RAFT of new powers to crack down on wasteful homeowners and businesses were passed yesterday, giving the Scottish Government the tough tools it needs to meet what have been hailed as the world's most ambitious state religion observance targets.
Measures voted through by Parliament included the power to fine householders and companies if they do not take action to improve the idolatory display of their houses and buildings.
The legislation, which comes after months of campaigning, was praised by environmental groups and politicians, who said all eyes would now be on Scotland as other countries set their own
climate change religion targets. However, ministers acknowledged that the difficult job of meeting the new targets must begin immediately.
The burning at the stake of non-believers and deniers is expected start in the new year.
More at EU Ref
June 24, 2009
Brown's Bill To Destroy Parliament's Sovereignty
Make no mistake. This is an anti-democratic, pernicious and malign little Bill. Consider this provision;
You see, Brown's new Quango doesn't merely check MPs' claims - it pays them. Rather than Parliament owning its own pay chest and being its own master, MPs will now be employed by the government. Brown has taken Parliament's resources from them. And who decides just how much of Parliament's property, rights and liabilities are to be transferred to the government? Why, a government minister, of course! With the complicity of Brown's Speaker, Mr Bercow;
(8) An order under this section may provide .. for specified property, rights and liabilities which subsist wholly or mainly for the purposes of the House of Commons to be transferred to the IPSA by a scheme
(9) A scheme made by virtue of subsection (8) is to be made by a Minister of the Crown with the consent of the person who chairs the House of Commons Commission.
The last thing this nation needs is an Act that would pack the chamber with vile apparatchiks and 'professional' politicians, rob the Commons of its authority, turn our parliament into just a department of government and treat our MPs - returned by us to Parliament to exercise the thunderous powers and sovereignty of that body - as mere hirelings, irrelevant juniors.
Not only Cameron but all decent MPs must find their balls. Don't be afraid to oppose this most malignant of Bills.
Hot Weather Reading
Among their claims:
Polar bears are not going to go extinct. The pair of scientists claim that polar bear populations are not declining, but in fact growing in spite of their loss of habitat.
Humans are not to blame for global warming. Feldman and Marks point to the sun being the CO2 culprit, arguing that the sun's heat has simply intensified.
Global warming might be good for us. The duo say a warmer climate and an increase in CO2 could be good for farming and agriculture.
Organic food is not better for you. The anti-organic pair say plant nutrients comes from the air in the form of CO2, and from water-soluble chemicals in the soil. By the time organic foods reach your plate, it is all the same.
There is no need to cut back on salt. The soon to be under fire scientists posit that salt is good for us, and we need it to control our body temperature - a person with low salt can cause overheating, and in extreme cases, death.
Set to publish on July 8, the Global Warming And Other Bollocks authors maintain that the end of the world is not, in fact, nigh. They claim that "the idea that we are one step from calamity is as old as history itself. Every step on the road of progress has always been countered by those who think that we should keep to a primitive lifestyle that they claim is compatible with nature."
One to read under the patio heater on a summer's evening.
NHS IT - “no overall concept of affordability or ability to demonstrate value for money”.
Reports from the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) showed that there were concerns from the outset in 2002 about the Government’s ability to take on such a huge project. Over several years the civil servants repeated issues of unrealistic timetables, unknown procurement risk and an inability to predict costs. They wrote that there was “no overall concept of affordability or ability to demonstrate value for money”.
The project is running four years late and its estimated cost has risen from £5 billion to £13 billion.
Stephen O’Brien, shadow health minister, said: “It’s incredible that the Government should have ignored these warnings.”
I think he meant "inevitable" rather than "incredible" - The Government is merely the political wing of the public sector troughers, of course they are going to continue to shovel the swill in.
Olympics - "reckless use of taxpayers’ money" - Fraud Inquiry
Fraud inquiry into £100m hole in London Development Agency’s Olympic accounts
KPMG will determine whether this was a genuine oversight or a cover-up that could amount to reckless use of taxpayers’ money.
Good luck to them, how you could spot a "reckless use of taxpayers’ money" in the Olympic accounts is beyond me, it would be as hard as finding a Catholic in a pointy hat in Rome.
You will be assimilated
It comes amid claims that many parents are failing to instill proper values in children...
June 23, 2009
Night Jacks and Finks
I hadn't blogged before about The Times and its unmasking of Night Jack as I was sure there must be a justification for it that I was missing. I am therefore grateful to Mr Devil for providing the definitive article on the affair and putting to rest any idea that The Times' action was anything other than mean, petty, damaging and plain wrong.
Which Nanny Plates
I had the misfortune yesterday to be stuck with only a copy of Which to read. They were moaning on about how easy it was to get forged number plates and steal their members' beige Skodas. They were campaigning for, I think, the Swedish system were there is one government monopoly that supplies all the plates and everything is tripled stamped. They were also pushing for number plates to be electronically chipped, an idea the DVLA is already considering. It is already bad enough in this country to get replacement plates, you have to bring the blood of your first born and a note from your mother, and they think it will help the consumer to make it worse? Criminals will continue to bypass the system, only the poor bloody consumer, who Which are meant to be helping, will be inconvenienced.
Luckily Mr Internet helps and you can buy plates online from Ireland without any hassle, and cheaper than your local registered dealer. Now that is the sort of information consumers need.
Not an advert or recommendation but my car's plates came from these boys in Kilkenny, and I was very happy.
Minimum prices for alcohol a step closer as Lib Dems hint at U-turn
But after the alcohol summit – which was described by some in the alcohol industry as a "cheerleading event for minimum pricing" – the Liberal Democrats indicated that they were now open-minded on the issue.
Can anyone point out to me how imposing price controls are evidence of being "open-minded", Liberal or Democratic? No, thought not.
Politics Home and Away
There used to be a website called Politics Home for political obsessives to examine each others navel fluff. It used to send over fifty visitors a day who enjoyed a less reverential view compared to the mass of boring clogging MPs it was increasingly featuring. no longer does, I wonder if I have upset Iain as this humble blog in it declining years still punches in the premier league according to independent stats.
So I thought I would check it out http://www.politicshome.co.uk/, looks strangely familiar....
Sir Alistair Graham on The Ministry of Truth
Bring back Speaker Martin
At least he was authentic, I have taken an instant dislike to the new smarmball, I'm sure that will save time in the future. It seems the Honourable members have learnt nothing from the last few months and like a recalcitrant hound they need to be taught the lesson again with a louder voice and bigger stick.
June 21, 2009
Top Greenery News From The Times
THE green movement’s greatest triumph – the abolition of ozone-destroying CFC gases in the 1980s – may become its biggest embarrassment because of research showing that their replacements are sharply accelerating global warming.
That must be the accelerating warming that has stalled for a decade, thank goodness he isn't doing a a Grand Prix race commentary.
My Week: Bill McKibben: I’m spewing carbon for your benefit and mine
The environmentalist is jetting around the world to try to halt climate change.
We are called 350.org because 350 is the most important number on earth. Eighteen months ago, after the Arctic melted, scientists published data showing that any value for carbon in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million was incompatible with “the planet on which civilisation developed”.
It's melted? No one told me, you would have thought someone else would have noticed it had all disappeared....
June 20, 2009
Nice Puppies on an English Summer Afternoon
The local hunt's annual puppy show, picking the winner. Followed by tea and sandwiches, made by the Ladies of the Hunt, with The Master. What could be a finer way of spending a Saturday? My thanks to those who invited me and ensured I went a long.
June 19, 2009
Friday Night is Music Night (Hippy Edition)
With Stonehenge just down the road it is a target rich environment out there for Mr FM as we set out cross country in Landie tonight....
Invite - I'll be there in spirit if not in beer.
Save Our Pubs & Clubs: AmendTheSmokingBan.com, with Antony Worrall Thompson at:
The Buckingham Arms
62 Petty France
on Tuesday 23 June, 11.00am-12 noon.
Darling Follows The Viv Nicholson School of Economics
Huge rise in public sector borrowing renews fears for Britain’s credit rating
There are fears that debt could rise to nearly 100 per cent of GDP in the coming years as the public finances continue to deteriorate, leading to concerns about the long-term health of national finances.
Drunken sailors on shore leave don't come close, we are fucked.
Obama - Finds a New Loony Enemy to Bomb
But what about the pristine wilderness? Where's the UN when you need it? Bush got enough stick for bombing towelheads who had annoyed him, what's the moon ever done to annoy the Lizard King?
And who will win the First Great Lunar War?
The First Time is Always The Hardest
Lord Judge: “In this country trial by jury is a hallowed principle of the administration of criminal justice. It is properly identified as a right, available to be exercised by a defendant unless and until the right is amended or circumscribed by express legislation.”
For 400 years we have put up with the problem of embracery without having to ditch trial by jury. Back in the days when even our cities were no larger than large towns and Jurors and defendants all lived within the same walking distance of the court we managed. With easy travel, video links and all the paraphernalia of a surveillance state are they saying we really can't manage it now?
Expect to see it happen a lot more from now on.
June 18, 2009
UKCP09 - The Findings
I have checked and I think it fulfills the Submission Guidelines
The Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction is awarded to the author who, in the opinion of the judges, has written the best, eligible full-length science fiction novel in English.
The prize is open to any full-length novel, written in English by an author of any nationality, provided that the novel is published for the first time in the United Kingdom between 1 January and 31 December of the year before the prize is awarded
The Times Bigs Up Bennite Five Point Planning For Future
Climate impact report says 800,000 homes will be at risk of flooding - Times Online
It will say that the estimated number of homes at risk of flooding is likely to double to about 800,000 within 25 years because of rising sea levels. Average summer temperatures in the South of England will rise by 2C by the 2040s and up to 6.4C by 2080, it will warn, increasing the risk of skin cancers and insect-borne diseases.
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, will respond to the warning from the UK Climate Impact Programme (UKCIP) by urging people and businesses to redouble efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Contingency measures will be announced to prevent hospitals becoming overwhelmed during prolonged periods of hot weather. Mr Benn is also likely to signal the urgent need to extend water metering and change agriculture practices as he lays out a “five-point” plan.
More than 100 public sector organisations — including the NHS, police and Army — will be ordered to develop and publish action plans by next year on how they intend to respond to the dangers.
Robin Pagnamenta - Energy Editor The Times
...it would be hard to dispute the quality of the science that underpins this report — the product of 12 years of detailed research by the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, part of the Met Office. Its predictions may be grim, but they are better informed than anything else that has been published on the subject.
Hilary must laugh at his poor old dad trying to seize the means of production in the name of the workers and socialism, that was never going to work. He has achieved it by running some computer models and scaring us it might be as warm as Provence for our grandchildren.
And Murdoch is loving it.
Scotland Owes England £20 Billion
SCOTLAND would be £20 billion in the red even if it had retained all its oil money, a new government report claims.
A Scotland Office paper, published today, shows North Sea oil revenue would not have plugged the gap between spending and tax raised. The paper claims that if all the North Sea oil revenue had gone to Scotland, the country's finances would have been in surplus in only nine of the past 27 years.
It is an expensive way to buy a few tartan shortbread tins and keep some men in skirts happy. But still the SNP want to ramp up spending, increase the burdens on business, watch dwindling oil revenues and enjoy being on their own. Good luck with that.
City to Fall to French Invaders
"There will be a pincer movement on Britain," said a key aide to President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking at a pre-summit briefing.
Europe's key proposal is for three new bodies to oversee banking, insurance and securities. Each would rank as EU "authorities" and have binding powers to dictate decisions over sweeping areas of regulation.
Britain cannot veto the proposals because EU single market laws are passed by qualified majority voting (QMV). While a few countries have reservations – Germany views the plan as "too ambitious" – London will struggle to put together a blocking minority.
It would be a serious political matter if the EU proceeded against vehement objections from the British Government. Any outcome depends on whether Mr Brown is willing to risk a showdown with Europe.
Mr Brown, risk, showdown, courage, not a chance; game over.
UKCIP09 - We are all going to fry - car provided with job
Detailed forecasts of how climate change may affect the UK during this century are to be released by the government later.
The report will predict how temperature and rainfall are likely to change at regional and local scales.
Scientists believe winters will be wetter, particularly in the north, and summers drier, especially in the south.
The projected impacts are "worse than the government had feared," according to a source familiar with the project.
The government hopes the UK Climate Projections 2009 report (UKCP09) will allow citizens, local authorities and businesses to plan better for future decades.
A fascinating website to dig around, but frustrating that on my old machine I couldn't download any of the report they made in 2002 -
I know they update the document in 2007 but it would still would have been interesting to see how their forecasts from seven years ago had fared...
Maybe I will just apply for a job there instead...
Trainer – UK Climate Impacts Programme, Environmental Change Institute
Grade 6: £25,623 - £30,594 pa.
UKCIP is embarking on its largest stakeholder engagement programme Projections in Practice. This programme will explain both the benefits of UKCP09 and offer practical help in accessing and using the data.
Experience of planning and conducting presentations is vital and although previous training experience is not necessary, it would be advantageous.
This role will involve a great deal of travelling within the UK (for which a vehicle will be provided if required) and be prepared to spend the contract period working away from home.
June 17, 2009
When Plod Runs Scared of the Equality Police
Police are making unjustified searches of members of the public to provide "racial balance" to stop and search statistics, Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of anti-terrorism laws, has said.
He warned that police were wasting money by carrying out "self-evidently unmerited searches" which were an invasion of civil liberties and "almost certainly unlawful".
He said police were carrying out the searches on people they had no basis for suspecting so they could avoid accusations of prejudice.
As the terror threat against Britain is largely from Islamist extremists, the figures show disproportionately more Muslims and therefore more Asians being searched than whites.
But the peer said police should stop trying to balance the figures, and it may be that an "ethnic imbalance" is a "proportional consequence" of policing.
Officers in England and Wales used the powers to search 124,687 people in 2007/8, up from 41,924 in 2006/7 and only 1 per cent of searches led to an arrest.
Ah Ha My Lads!
'Come to Portsmouth – it's just like Malta' - Telegraph
Portsmouth has been hailed as the "new Malta" in a bizarre summer advertising campaign.
I'd be tempted if it was like the "old Malta", I first went there aged 16 wearing Her Majesty's uniform, trousers neatly ironed with seven horizontal creases. Bottle of wine seven pence and liberty boat to take us to The Gut (Strait Street) from our base on board HMS St Angelo. Now I guess it is just another fly ridden lump of rock poking out of the greasy sea....
Blair's bid to be God backed by Cameron
David Cameron ‘would not oppose’ Blair becoming first president of the EU - Times Online
Gordon Brown would support a Blair presidency warmly, The Times has been told, but friends of both men say that it would be in Mr Blair’s interests for the advocacy of his case to come from other leaders.
A senior Tory said: “There have been a number of ‘what if’ discussions and the feeling is that we have nothing to gain in being seen to try to block Blair.”
Having created everlasting prosperity at home, a summer of love in Ulster and solved the Middle East problem it is his due, or is that the other choices of failed politicians are even worse?
Rundum-Wohlfühl-Erlebnis - Nein.
German soldiers 'drink and complain too much to fight Taleban' - Times Online
They have a beer ration of up to a litre a day, and wurst for dinner. Taleban or no Taleban, Germans take a little bit of home with them when they serve in trouble spots. Even their carefully sorted rubbish gets dumped in wheelie bins before being sent from Afghanistan to Germany for recycling.
In 2007 German forces in Afghanistan consumed about 90,000 bottles of wine in addition to 1.7 million pints of beer; that figure has stayed constant. British and US bases by contrast have an alcohol ban. The diet is heavy on carbohydrates, low on fruit and a higher proportion of soldiers are overweight than in the civilian population of Germany. In short the soldiers are fat, they drink too much and spend a great deal of time moaning.
Now Germany’s most senior officer has berated his troops for going soft. “We cannot guarantee soldiers that they will have an all-round feel-good experience,” said General Wolfgang Schneiderhan. “We have to tell a professional soldier who complains about his third tour of overseas duty that he has to get a grip — this is his profession.”
Almost makes me nostalgic for the good old days, the uniforms are scruffy as well now and the songs they sing are nothing compared to what we used to sing..
I'm only carrying a few extra pounds because...
Dr Eveloff said: "Sleep eating is more common than most people realise but if the person has a mild case - not eating much or only doing it occasionally then they may not even notice.
Up there with I've got heavy bones or a gland problem, there is an excuse to use when you are found shoulder deep in the fridge scoffing the chocolate...
June 16, 2009
What Cars have to do with Libertarianism
Why cars and personal freedom are linked, and hated by so many.
First 'anti-stab' knife to go on sale in Britain - Times Online
The first “anti-stab” knife is to go on sale in Britain, designed to work as normal in the kitchen but to be ineffective as a weapon.
The knife is expected to sell for around £40-50 and has been tested with “very favourable” results by the Home Office’s Design and Technology Alliance - set up to research products that can deter crime.
Very clever, a knife with a blunt end, sorry, an expensive knife with a blunt end suitable for "cutting vegetables". I expect he will make millions as the public sector mandates it for their kitchens. For the rest of us, are you going to replace your Globals and Sabatiers just in case? Unless of course they brought a law in....
Ihre Papiere, bitte!
David Cameron adopts German accent to mock ID cards - Telegraph
The Conservative leader pledged to scrap identity cards during a question and answer session with voters in Norwich.
When explaining his concern about the scheme he pretended to be a German speaking English and said: "Where are your papers?"
A woman in the audience raised her hand and asked him: "I wonder about the wisdom of you adopting a German accent?"
Mr Cameron told her: "It was meant to be light-hearted."
No need to apologise to the humourless bitch, it is a valid bit of historical social commentary.
Blood on the streets - hardly
BBC NEWS | UK | 'Huge job cuts' for public sector
As many as 350,000 public sector jobs could be lost over the next five years, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is warning.
Chief economist John Philpott says the recession will bring "a bloodbath in the public finances" which will force employers to slash their workforce.
This could lead to "guerrilla war" in the workplace, characterised by repeated strike action, he said...."One brake on this possibility may well be wider public opinion.
"Here sympathy will have been frayed by private sector job losses and pay freezes which will have touched many families, and further exacerbated by a growing awareness of the huge gulf between generous public sector pensions and private sector pension schemes that have been squeezed and in many cases closed."
He said it. With nearly 6 million directly employed public sector jobs this suggested cut is hardly a bloodbath, a 5% cut is mere prudence in the private sector, it is barely half way to decimation.
June 15, 2009
Nanny Labels Pass Their Use By Dates
Rise in listeria food poisoning as elderly take ‘use by’ date gamble - Times Online
Research from the agency suggests that a dismissive approach to “use by” labels on food and a reluctance to throw away food may be the reason for the incidence of the bug.
In face-to-face interviews with 3,219 adults, almost 60 per cent of the over-60s did not realise that the “use by” date on a food label was an important indicator of whether the food was safe.
Older people also thought nothing of eating food past its “use by” date.
Is it time to shelve sell-by dates? | The Sun
The Government thinks so and wants to abandon them as part of a war on waste.
Environment Minister Hilary Benn reckons shoppers are confused by terms such as "sell by", "display until" and "use by", which have specific meanings.
Mr Benn said: "Too many of us are putting things in the bin because we're not sure, we're confused by the label or we're just playing safe."
Too many different labels, too much caution; many years ago someone wrote a story about the perils of crying wolf, and that is what has happened here.
Osbourne and the C word
It's ridiculous to pretend there won't be cuts | George Osborne - Times Online
We, like Labour politicians, have fought shy of using the “c” word - cuts. We've all been tip-toeing around one of those discredited Gordon Brown dividing lines for too long. The real dividing line is not “cut versus investment”, but honesty versus dishonesty. We should have the confidence to tell the public the truth that Britain faces a debt crisis; that existing plans show that real spending will have to be cut, whoever is elected; and that the bills of rising unemployment and the huge interest costs of a soaring national debt mean that many government departments will face budget cuts. These are statements of fact and to deny them invites ridicule.
A hint of plain speaking, a welcome sign. What I really want to hear is that he intends to be as Alaric and his Visigoths in 410 AD. I want to hear that the bureaucracies of Whitehall and Brussels are to be sacked and burnt....
June 14, 2009
Kinnock - Paying the Price Of Being Useless
Glenys and Neil Kinnock have six state pensions - Times Online
GLENYS KINNOCK, the new minister for Europe, has amassed six publicly funded pensions worth £185,000 per year with her husband Neil, the former leader of the Labour party.
They have already received up to £8m of taxpayers’ money in pay and allowances,..During their time in Brussels both Kinnocks claimed a housing allowance on top of their incomes, even though they lived in the same home. This alone would have netted the couple almost £600,000 over 10 years. ...Glenys Kinnock, a teacher who went on to become the most-travelled British MEP, clocking up almost 130,000 air miles in a five-year term, also employed her daughter Rachel as an executive assistant. Rachel is now in charge of events and visits at Downing Street.
The Kinnocks’ Cambridge-educated son, Stephen, 39, director of Europe and central Asia at the World Economic Forum, spent eight years in Brussels in senior positions with the British Council.
Neil Kinnock resigned last week as unpaid chairman of the British Council to avoid “perceived conflict of interest” with his wife’s ministerial role,
Jolly decent of him to resign the unpaid post just in case anyone might think that the Kinnocks were troughing it as they are justly rewarded for their years of brilliant leadership...
Comment Central - Times Online - WBLG: Is this the least politically correct, most bizarre children's toy?
At only $12.95, the ‘avenging narwhal play set’ comes 'with four magic tusks… to impale the cut animals of the world, specifically baby seals, baby penguins and koalas.'
So, so many questions… Exactly where in the natural world, for example, does a narwhal find itself within fighting proximity of a koala?
The company dutifully point out that its not suitable for children under three.
Brilliant - it is several years since I last bought from Archie McPhee but their stuff was always great. In fact the darling Englishettes were enjoying their Strawberry Jelly turned out from the Brain Mold only yesterday, and fighting over who got the speech centre....
The Englishman's Patent Guaranteed Diet
Don't be a silly sausage with diets – soya banger can beat the bulge - Scotsman.com News
Scientists have found that if they eat high-protein foods then people do not get as hungry. The exact reason is not known, but it is thought a protein triggers particular signals from the gut to the brain that it is full. The weight lost on a high-protein diet is fat instead of muscle or water.
And if healthier high protein food does the same thing then it could be the Holy Grail of the diet world – hence the soya sausages, bacon and meatballs.
Dr Alex Johnstone, from the Rowett's Metabolic Health Group, is running experiments to see if vegetable-based proteins such as soya work as well as dairy and meat. If successful it could result in a high-protein weight loss plan diet that is healthier and more environmentally-friendly.
Soya sausages? A sure fire way for me to loose weight as I would rather eat the bloody packaging. If Dr Alex would forget for a moment trying to be green and bunny hugging she would just endorse The Englishman's Patent Guaranteed Diet - If you feel peckish a bit of decent Cheddar and a slice or two of salami gives you the mouth feel of fattiness that satisfies and the protein that tells the blood stream that the tummy is full. Bloat yourself up with rabbit food and the brain will continue to cry out for real food.
Love Thy Neighbour
Middle-class drinkers in their homes are as bad as riotous youths, says bishop - Telegraph
Bishop Gladwin, a former social responsibility secretary for the Church, called for a new approach to the problem, which he said was caused by "growing prosperity".
"While do we have a significant problem among young people, not least the binge drinking that breaks out onto our streets, that is not the issue," he said.
"Growing prosperity is behind the rise in alcoholism. We now go out and buy our wine for the weekend."
The bishop said that it was unfair to draw attention to young and poorer people getting drunk in public when they are also having too much alcohol, but in the privacy of their own homes.
"Often poorer people in society haven't got the protection – the safety of jobs and homes – so when young people do go out clubbing it's all very public, whereas for older people you can collapse at home at the weekend and have levels of alcohol consumption that are just as bad."
You collapsing at home after a couple of glasses of vino too many isn't any of my business, it doesn't impinge on me. Being a violent noisy drunk on my street late at night does. Is it so hard to see the difference? The key is that the Bish doesn't like "prosperity" and people being able to choose what they want to do. How much better life would be if the flock would obey the man in the pointy hat with the crook.
June 13, 2009
Chilli CookOff 4th July 2009 King's Arms All Cannings
Reminder for your diary, you wouldn't want us to come looking for you if you didn't turn up now, would you....
June 12, 2009
His Master's Voice
Spinoza (1632–1677) explains Machiavelli's text as probably meant to show "the folly of attempting—as many do—to remove a tyrant when the causes which make a prince a tyrant cannot be removed, but become rooted more firmly as the prince is given more reason to be afraid." Or, Spinoza says, perhaps Machiavelli wanted to show how careful a free people should be in entrusting its welfare completely to one man, who has to go in daily fear of plots and "is forced in self-defense to plot against his subjects rather than to further their interests."
Hi Honey I'm Home!
MARRIED women sleep better than single ones, according to a new study of 360 middle-aged women.
Too true, I'm back from the pub and Mrs Englishman is unarousable...Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis
Ve have vays of making you sing
Susan Boyle tonight vowed fans during the opening show of TV's Britain's Got Talent live tour.
Once is a typo, twice is vorrying.
Friday Night is Music Night (Dated Glamour Edition)
June 11, 2009
Vodafone Fail To Deliver
Despite the promises on "immediate" action and "within 24 hours" no sign of my replacement dongle.....
Little Continental Mandy Up To His Old Tricks
Britain "obviously" remains committed to joining the euro following the currency's "success" in helping its members to weather the economic crisis, Lord Mandelson said.
Asked if the British Government would consider joining the euro, Lord Mandelson replied: "Does it remain an important objective for Britain to find itself in the same currency as that single market in which it interacts? Obviously yes."
Euro-zone europe being the only market we interact with then, but then he does get a pension from the EU which forbids him from not promoting it....
June 10, 2009
Dongle Mating Worries
My USB broadband dongle stopped working. Plug it in and the computer doesn't know it is there, a bit like a night at the Milibands where the question of "Is it in yet?" is often heard. Tried it on two other computers and the same, no "da-dum". Its fried.
First hour on tech support with Vodafone show that the Sim card and software is OK, I knew that. I was left on hold for twenty minutes. Second hour, I tried to tell them the problem but it wouldn't compute but eventually I was told to take it to a Vodafone shop for it to be tested. Off to bloody town, pay through the nose to park, wait in the shop behind one dim breeder with her screaming kids who spends twenty minutes deciding whether to buy the £20 or £30 phone. As she finishes a scowling muffin top tart waddles in, pushes past me and demands her repaired phone, which wasn't as the stupid bint had spilt her Barcadi Breezer over it and it wasn't insured. Cue another twenty minutes as she tries to comprehend she needs to offer to pay for the repair before they will do it.
Finally I get to the counter where the charming girl reads my service record and says there is no way they can test it in the shop but she will record it doesn't work on my say so.
Hurray! I can get back on the road again. Can she give me an exchange unit? No. I then have to ring up Vodafone and go through it all again with a bizarre American accented person to whom English was a third language. Forty minutes later she has agreed to organise a replacement. Which I will get an email about sometime today, maybe, though as I haven't got mobile Internet access that is a lot of use to me.
Don't expect much internet contact from me today, and that large cloud of black smoke just off the Newbury bypass as Vodafone HQ burns to the ground is nothing to do with me, OK.
June 9, 2009
£½m an hour goes up in smoke - Scotsman.com News
SMOKING costs the NHS more than £5 billion a year – up to five times the previously accepted figure, researchers have said. The researchers, from the Department of Public Health at Oxford University, also calculated that almost one in five deaths in 2005 was due to smoking. One in four men and 23 per cent of women are smokers, based on 2005 figures, the paper noted. But the authors warned that their figures were an underestimate.
Betty McBride, policy and communications director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We are now spending over £5 billion a year dealing with the health consequences of smoking. This is money being drained out of the NHS as a direct result of something we have the power to prevent.
Pile the numbers up, one in four smoke and only one in five die from it, back to the abacus and find some more, there is work to be done.
June 8, 2009
Hannan Video - The Verdict on the Elections
To Forgive is Divine
GORDON Brown sent a defiant message yesterday that he would not capitulate to the clamour for him to go – saying the British public would not forgive him for turning his back on the country in difficult times.
Gordon Brown - definition - see "Messiah complex": A state of mind in which the individual incorrectly believes he/she is, or is destined to become, a savior
Dogoodery by threats
A VISIT to Scotland by the man in charge of one of America's most notorious prisons has been cancelled after police were called in by organisers over "threats" from protesters.
Burl Cain, who runs Louisiana State Penitentiary, had been invited to speak to members of the Winning Entrepreneurs business network in Edinburgh today. But organisers cancelled the dinner at Prestonfield House Hotel after a flood of protests from campaigners.
On Friday, a series of penal reform campaigners, including Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six, wrote to Belinda Roberts, managing director of the business network, to complain about the visit from the head of the jail that has been dubbed "Angola"
It has been "dubbed" Angola because that is the name of the plantation it is on. Burl Cain has a renown name for reforming and running this huge prison. Tough management doesn't get much tougher, and would have been at least interesting to hear. But the tender entrepreneurs have been saved from this by a bunch of people, none of whom I can see have ever run a business.
38 out of 40 million didn't vote Labour
The Tories held up very well putting the Labour lie that the expenses scandal was hitting all parties. UKIP were the biggest losers to the scandal as Europe wasn't a major issue in this election. And the National Socialists moved their vote from Labour to BNP. The rise of the BNP is a Labour problem, not across the board as it was portrayed. (The perplex on the BBC's talking faces as "Far Right" Andrew Brons extremist past was revealed to founded on his membership of the National Socialist Movement was a joy to behold.)
So much worse for Labour than they even feared, will Brown survive?
Yes until the election. There aren't enough cojones in the Labour party to make a serving of Prairie Oysters for one.
June 7, 2009
Love Peter, Love Derek - Full text of emails between Mandelson and Draper
has had the full texts for those of stronger disposition than me - I got as far as where they started signing off Love Peter and Love Derek and was in danger of losing my lunch, I'm off to the pub to swill the taste from my mouth.
Update - Sky has them, not sure why Politics Home no longer has....
Only Head of State Alive Who Was In Uniform During WW2
The deplorable absence of The Queen in Normandy yesterday keeps being mentioned with the phrase "She's the only head of state who was in uniform/served during the war" (Andrew Neil for example just used it on the BBC).
Before this canard gains universal acceptance my I point out that the Pope also qualifies....
2012 - The Big Brother Games
BRITISH police are studying Chinese-style surveillance tactics as they prepare security for the 2012 London Olympics, a leaked Scotland Yard report has revealed.
The report, marked “restricted”, reveals that among the “Big Brother” tactics deployed at last summer’s Beijing Games was the installation of miniature microphones in thousands of taxis.
The bugs transmitted passengers’ conversations to a police control room. There, officers could activate disabling devices to stop the cabs if they suspected criminal activity.
The 44-page police report says there are “lessons to be learnt” from China’s use of digital surveillance. But it warns: “The fine balance between the use of technology to support security requirements and individual rights to privacy will be an open debate in the UK for 2012.”
Can anyone think of a single good thing coming out of these Games?
Viking Ritual Claims Victim at Oxford
Oxford University student badly burned in boat race ceremony - Telegraph
Students watched as the tradition of burning the winning boat went horribly wrong when Josh – who studies history and politics – stumbled into the flames.
One student said: "He was a bit drunk and people were running around the boat.
"He wanted to jump through the fire but he didn't realise that there was someone running through the other side so he crushed into them and got burned.
"I think he was the only one badly burned."
The horror! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!
Actually it seems that Oxford produces some sensible people...
"Some staff were not the entirely happy about the injury. I haven't heard about an official response, but there is a difference between the dean and college officials."
Playing down the incident, Mr Roche said: "I jumped over the boat a few times, quite a few people were doing it. Someone else nudged me and I bumped into them so I caught the edge of the fire.
"I was a bit singed and I lost a few leg hairs."
General Gordon of Khartoum Killed by Climate Change and other news
WITH their turquoise water and swaying coconut palms, the Carteret Islands north-east of the Papua New Guinea mainland might seem the idyllic spot for castaways.
But sea levels have risen so much that during the high tide season, between November and March, the waves block the view from one island to the next and residents hang their possessions in fishing nets between the palm trees.
We have dealt with this before...the islands are sinking, whether because of tectonic plate movements or the fishermen's habit of dynamiting the coral reefs I don't know. But why let facts get in the way of a good story of poor islanders being evicted from their idyllic home ...
Rakova, on the Carteret Islands, echoes that sentiment. A year ago, her proposed relocation effort attracted just three families out of a population of around 2,000. But after last season's high tides, she is asking for about £1 million to help some 750 people relocate before the tides come again.
In other news "experts call the Darfur region of Sudan – where nomads battle villagers in a war over shrinking natural resources – the first significant conflict linked to climate change."
Of course, it was a land of peace and harmony until we all started driving 4x4s.....
June 6, 2009
Milf Flint Sparks As Balls Chokes As Mandy Power Grabs Brown's Inner Ring
A Downing Street insider claims that Ed Balls “went nuclear” as the prime minister wavered over whether to make him chancellor
“Ed thinks Mandelson ran a covert campaign to stop him. He thinks Peter advised Darling on how to handle everything. He went nuclear and warned Gordon that if he didn’t get the job he wouldn’t cooperate with Peter any more,” the insider said.
No 10 fiercely denied a rift, saying suggestions of “any tension” between the two men were “completely untrue”. The denial was echoed by a spokesman for Mandelson.
Meanwhile Caroline Flint, the former minister of state for Europe, has launched a new attack on the prime minister.
In an excoriating article for The Sunday Times, Flint, who resigned on Friday, lashes out at the chauvinism of the No 10 cabal, accusing Brown of “utter hypocrisy”.
Put a bottle on ice - I think a long happy read of the Sunday papers is coming up.
In The Year 2080, So Very Far Away
Farmers in Devon and Cornwall could be challenging vintners in France by 2080 as climate change transforms the southwest into a balmy wine-growing region.
Forecasters predict that temperatures could rise by 3C to 4C, making the West Country ideal for growing crops such as grapes, sweetcorn and sunflowers.
Meanwhile, commuters in London will be left sweltering as peak temperatures spiral as high as 41C.
Some may question how the Met Office can make predictions a lifetime into the future, when it struggles to produce forecasts for the next few months. However, climate change impacts are predicted to be so strong that, over decades, they are easier to predict than short-term changes.
"Easier to predict", of course, it only takes a week to prove a short term forecast wrong, but 2080, gosh, how can you doubt they might be right.
Guido Cashs in on Dolly and Mandy
Whilst Iain's commentators conjure up conspiracy theories of it being Dolly's revenge The Times gives the back story -
It is understood that the communications between Mandelson and Draper come from a cache of documents acquired by Paul Staines, the political blogger known as Guido Fawkes, that included the McBride memos. The blogger yesterday sold the Mandelson e-mails to a tabloid newspaper for a five-figure sum.
Makes it even sweeter; now how quickly can he sink Peter Hain the second time?
Bagpipes - The Sound of Freedom
HUNTING shops and other outlets selling non-domestic knives have been given 12 months to get a licence under a government crackdown on knife crime.
Window displays of knives will be banned, and retailers will have to keep a record of knives sold and of how they checked the age of the purchaser...
Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "We were originally concerned about the definition of non-domestic knives but we now know the regulations won't apply to the vast majority of items sold by mainstream retailers.
"But there are other retailers where items are being sold for one purpose – to maim, harm or injure."
Piper Bill Millin is in France today remembering
June 5, 2009
Yet another doorstepping interview with an MP
I continue to believe that Gordon will survive; but what a bloody mess, what a complete bunch of losers, what a fecking disgrace. The Cabinet he has ended up with is beyond belief, and I'm off to share the laughter at the pub.
Wiltshire Council Final Results
Labour Party 2 (2%)
Independent 7 (7.1%)
Liberal Democrats 24 (24.5%)
British National Party 0 (0%)
Conservative Party 62 (63.3%)
Devizes Guardians 3 (3.1%)
Green Party 0 (0%)
English Democrats 0 (0%)
UK Independence Party 0 (0%)
Friday Night is Music Night (Onomatopœia Special)
As one of the comments says "If you don't like this come see me, you Commie Bastard!".
And Wiltshire voted...
The page is very slow but early results won't please Gordon...
Update 17:17 Results so far for seats won.
Labour Party 0 (0%)
Independent 7 (7.1%)
Liberal Democrats 21 (21.4%)
British National Party 0 (0%)
Conservative Party 53 (54.1%)
Devizes Guardians 3 (3.1%)
Green Party 0 (0%)
English Democrats 0 (0%)
UK Independence Party 0 (0%)
Lincolnshire Results All In - Labour Massacre
Conservative 60 seats (+15)
Liberal Democrat 5 seats (-3)
Labour 4 seats (-17)
Lincolnshire Independents 4 seats (+4)
Independent 3 seats (no change)
Boston Bypass Ind 1 seat (+1)
Lost Chipmunk - Please Help
Hazel Blears had told the Prime Minister that she wants to reconnect with her grassroots but today she was nowhere to be seen in her Salford heartlands. She was, effectively, in hiding.
The two pints of milk left by the milkman at her quietly respectable, suburban villa close to Salford Royal Infirmary were left untouched in the shade of the porch. Her newspapers went unread.
I hope she hasn't taken up hill walking...
Jaffa Miliband Hasn't Got The Balls To Resign
He's too frit to, he will only join in if a crowd does.
June 4, 2009
Purnell stands down to force leadership battle
The knives are coming out into the open.
This moment calls for stronger regulation, an active state, better public services, an open democracy....
I don't think he gets what the country wants, though he might know what the Labour Party needs, although a lot of Members aren't so keen on Open Democracy any more when it is their troughing that is revealed.
Giant Dragonflies in Wiltshire caused by Climate Change
A 150ft long crop circle depicting a dragonfly has appeared in a barley field in the village of Yatesbury, Wiltshire.Crop circle enthusiasts claim the succession of animal designs have been created in an attempt make people more aware of the threat of climate change and predict they could continue throughout the summer.
They have been found across the ancient 'ley lines' - believed to have mystical qualities.
"There has certainly been a lot of activity and this is the busiest year since 1999 at the moment," said Mr Alexander a crop circle fanatic, from Gosport, Hampshire.
"People believe they will increase in frequency up to 2012 where there will be some kind of cataclysmic world event."
There will certainly be a "cataclysmic event" if I catch the buggers trampling my corn....
Guilty of future criminality
Officers are targeting children as young as 10 with the aim of placing their DNA profiles on the national database to improve their chances of solving crimes, it is claimed.
The alleged practice is also described as part of a "long-term crime prevention strategy" to dissuade youths from committing offences in the future.
A Metropolitan Police officer made the claims after figures were released showing that 386 under-18s had their DNA taken and stored by police last year in Camden, north London.
The officer said: "Have we got targets for young people who have not been arrested yet? The answer is yes. But we are not just waiting outside schools to pick them up, we are acting on intelligence.
"It is part of a long-term crime prevention strategy. If you know you have had your DNA taken and it is on a database then you will think twice about committing burglary for a living.
"We are often told that we have just one chance to get that DNA sample and if we miss it then that might mean a rape or a murder goes unsolved in the future."
I seem to remember measuring the shapes of noses had a similar rationale.
Time to vote
Climate Change - The Big Report
Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) is the most comprehensive objective compilation of science on climate change ever published. It offers a “second opinion” to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2007. Unlike that report, Climate Change Reconsidered finds global warming is not a crisis, and never was.
Principal findings of the book include the following:
Climate models suffer from numerous deficiencies and shortcomings that could alter even the very sign (plus or minus, warming or cooling) of earth’s projected temperature response to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations.
The model-derived temperature sensitivity of the earth--especially for a doubling of the preindustrial CO2 level--is much too large, and feedbacks in the climate system reduce it to values that are an order of magnitude smaller than what the IPCC employs.
Real-world observations do not support the IPCC’s claim that current trends in climate and weather are “unprecedented” and, therefore, the result of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
The IPCC overlooks or downplays the many benefits to agriculture and forestry that will be accrued from the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content.
There is no evidence that CO2-induced increases in air temperature will cause unprecedented plant and animal extinctions, either on land or in the world’s oceans.
There is no evidence that CO2-induced global warming is or will be responsible for increases in the incidence of human diseases or the number of lives lost to extreme thermal conditions.
Ministry of Defeat
The Army is in "denial" over Iraq, claims Richard North, author of Ministry of Defeat, a startling new book published today, the first comprehensive history of the British occupation of southern Iraq.
Charting the progress of the occupation, relying on "open source" material, the extensive official and Arab media coverage, and high level sources, he finds that the military made many serious blunders which led to an irrecoverable position. This eventually forced the retreat into a single base in Basra, leaving the city and its surrounds to fundamentalist Islamic milita....
The Army, as a corporate body, let down men and women on the ground, who performed admirably, fighting a vicious and unprincipled enemy. They were handicapped by poor strategy, inadequate equipment and insufficient resources. Without their perseverance, their skills and in some cases quite extraordinary courage, things might have been far worse.
The sad fact though is that the Army failed. More dangerously, it is refusing to acknowledge that failure and risks making the same mistakes in Afghanistan, particularly in terms of equipment procurement, where it is clear that lessons have not been learned.
A must for students of modern history and warfare.
June 3, 2009
Letter to Gordon Brown from his MPs
Over the last 12 years in government, and before, you have made an enormous contribution to this country and to the Labour Party, and this is widely acknowledged.
However, we are writing now because we believe that, in the current political situation, you can best serve the Labour Party and the country by stepping down as party leader and Prime Minister and so allowing the party to find a new leader to take us into the next General Election.”
I might have phrased it slightly differently, maybe more succinctly and Anglo Saxon, in fact with judicious editing I think I could get it down to two words. You may have your own suggestions.
4th June Elections - The Real Issue
Forget wanting to punish our parties for corruption, for incompetence or out of loathing. The real issue in European elections is Europe. Cameron is wishy-washy on it as he tries to hold the Tories together on it. The Lib-dems are beyond the pale in this regard. The fringe parties are either irrelevant or nasty and if you are even fleetingly thinking of voting Labour then nurse will be along soon with some medication. UKIP may not be the sort of people you would want to invite to dinner, with one or two notable exceptions, but tomorrow I will lend them my vote.
MPs' expenses: cabinet meltdown as Jacqui Smith heads resignations - Telegraph
It was unclear who leaked the news of her departure which was only known by two other people in Cabinet, including the Prime Minister. The other is likely to have been Hazel Blears, a friend of Miss Smith. Last night a Whitehall source said that the news may well have been leaked by someone who wants to “destabilise Gordon Brown”. Miss Blears fell out of favour with the Prime Minister, after writing an article in which she mocked his recent appearance on YouTube. He then criticised her publicly for failing to pay capital gains tax on the sale of her second home. She later repaid £13,000. She is also widely expected to be demoted in the reshuffle or sacked. One senior Labour figure said: “Hazel should wait until Friday morning then announce she’s leaving the Cabinet and standing for the leadership.”
I'm sure Iain will be pleased but can anyone else read that idea of Blears standing as a candidate without giggling? It shows the utter chaos and desperation that the Government is in.
Banett Formula to be scrapped
Grant Scotland an overdraft and scrap Barnett – Calman - Scotsman.com News
HOLYROOD will be allowed to run up debts and the controversial Barnett Formula will be consigned to history in dramatic recommendations by the commission set up to review Home Rule in Scotland, The Scotsman can reveal.
In a long-awaited report, the Calman Commission will call for a new financial set-up which will make MSPs more accountable – but could see Scotland's budget severely reduced.
The Scotsman understands the commission will reject any new tax-raising powers for Holyrood or assigning Scotland's share of the oil and gas revenues directly to the Scottish Government.
The Scotsman has been told most members of the commission felt that handing over fluctuating oil and gas revenue and tax-raising powers would create "unacceptable instability" in Scotland.
A slap in the face, being told they can't be trusted with raising the money but can play at being in control with whatever nanny lets them play with. This side of the border I would just be glad not to have to be paying for the nursery at all.
Health Advice for Men I can believe in
A man's chances of dying early are cut by a fifth if their bride is between 15 and 17 years their junior.
The risk of premature death is reduced by 11 per cent if they marry a woman seven to nine years younger.
The study at Germany's Max Planck Institute also found that men marrying older women are more likely to die early.
The results suggest that women do not experience the same benefits of marrying a toy boy or a sugar daddy.
Though "I'm only doing it for my health" might not wash as an excuse with my present child bride.
And for once with these health stories they hint at how the correlation and causation might be linked in a non-obvious way. It isn't the rolling around with a nubile that keeps you young, it is the fact you are healthy and wealthy that enables you to attract the nubile in the first place. That buggers it for me then, back to eating the lettuce.
June 2, 2009
Sunny day yesterday and the kids had a day off school so I started early and finished at 11 in the morning, back home for the full English, two rashers of bacon, sausage, fried egg and fried bread, washed down with strong tea. Then out for lunch, roast beef, chocolate nemeses pudding with lashings of cream, washed down with several pints of IPA. Back home for a bit of strenuous work in the garden in the sun. I must have strained something as I had to retire to the sofa of sloth with a tight pain across my chest, could hardly move so a couple of aspirin and off to bed. I must have slept strangely with my head crushing my hand as I awoke all numb in my left arm and couldn't bear to do any typing. But all seems to be fine now..
UPDATE - under the threat of extreme violence I did go the Docs for check up, the CGT showed my heart is as flinty as ever but keep an eye on it...
June 1, 2009
Crooks want to redefine crime
We need a new constitution for Britain — and the debate has begun
For the first time since the suffragettes, constitutional reform has become a popular issue....
No it hasn't, the insiders like to chatter and play with transferable alternative tampon stuffing chad dropping systems to see if their beloved party could scam a few more seats and individual MPs can avoid being held personally responsible to electors. The problem isn't the system, the problem is the crooks. When there is a surge in burglary you don't need a convention on the importance of private property and its liberation, you don't need to redefine burglars as community equality outreach operatives you just need to bang them up. The same with MPs, don't be distracted by the smoke and mirrors of it being a constitutional crisis; it has nothing to do with the constitution, everything to do with individual behaviour.
Mandy complains of cheapness of jibes
New revelations pile pressure on Darling - Scotsman.com News
Mr Darling, who earlier faced Liberal Democrat calls to quit after being "caught with his fingers in the till", was again the subject of further revelations.
Mr Cable used his column in a Sunday newspaper to demand the Chancellor's scalp, writing: "Here is the company finance director caught with his fingers in the till.
"He doesn't explain. He doesn't apologise. He just blames his colleagues for not stopping him. His moral authority has vanished. He must go, now. We need a Chancellor focusing on the national accounts rather than his own. There are some urgent economic questions to address."
Joining the demands, Mr Clegg said: "As Chancellor, Alistair Darling occupies a very special position in government. He needs to enjoy the public's trust when it comes to issues of financial probity, of money, of managing our nation's finances.
"And given that very unique responsibility that he has, it's simply impossible for him to continue in that role when such very major question marks are being raised about his financial affairs."
The pair were accused of descending to "cheap jibes" by Trade Secretary Lord Mandelson.
Is it only the Lib Dems who want Darling to go? And only the squeaky clean Mandy who defends him. Interesting times.
DOA doesn't affect the bonuses
Patients forced to wait hours in ambulances parked outside A&E departments
An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has found that thousands of 999 patients are being left to wait in ambulances in car parks and holding bays, or in hospital corridors – in some cases for more than five hours – before they can even join the queue for urgent treatment.
Experts warn that hospitals are deliberately delaying when they accept patients – or are diverting them to different sites – in order to meet Government targets to treat people within fours hours of admitting them.
That is what happens when targets rule and sense goes out the window. The Englishman's top health tip of the day - avoid ambulances. "Scoop and Go" - review the literature, ask any doctor, just get to the hospital as fast you can. Don't let the paramedics "Stay and Play", get bleeding all over the hospital floor and they won't let you die in reception as it ruins their results.