« September 2009 | Main | November 2009 »


October 31, 2009

Collating the evidence for man made warming.

Paul Simon has a warmist screed in The Times this morning, which lists the evidence for Man made global warming. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to fisk them and see what stands up as fact, which are unproven or unattributable to man and which are lies.
For ease I have inserted numbers to reference the statements, and changed the formatting to make them clearer.

Barbecue autumn is about to end with gales and heavy rain ....individual weather events are incredibly difficult to pin down to climate change — it is only by taking the long-term view that a pattern emerges. On its own, the remarkably warm autumn enjoyed by much of Britain so far is not evidence of climate change. But it fits a pattern of increasingly later autumns, and earlier springs, as the climate grows warmer.

As temperatures rise, ice melts, seas expand and mapmakers are having to redraw the world.
(1) Italy and Switzerland are realigning their border after Alpine glaciers that marked out their frontier melted.
See comment below and here which shows the retreat of the glaciers cannot be pinned on man.

(2) New islands have appeared off the coast of Greenland as glaciers melted and revealed land previously hidden under ice. as above

(3) Rising sea levels across the world have submerged several uninhabited islands, and now the first inhabited islands are going under — the Carteret Islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea are being evacuated as the sea engulfs the land. The entire 1,000-strong population is being moved to another island.
Lie - The Carteret Islands are a typical low lying atoll formation which is sinking, any small increase in sea level is irrelevant. A Mr C Darwin showed us that atolls sink as the underlying volcano erodes away. And I tend to believe him more than I do Mr Monboit. The only Man Made part of this disaster is that the islanders used dynamite to fish, blowing holes in the protective coral

(4) Mountains are defrosting as their permanent ice melts, with the Eiger, in the Alps, crumbling in large rockfalls. As fact one

(5) Everest is gradually losing its height, nearly 0.1m annually, because of warming that is shrinking glaciers.
Huh? Everest the mountain is getting higher by about one inch a year as the plate tectonics that formed it continue. Base Camp has got lower because it is on a shrinking glacier - see above

(6) Nowhere is the shrinking ice more shocking than in the Arctic, which is warming twice as fast as anywhere else on Earth, 3 to 4C in past 50 years, and with unexpected consequences.
Lie - that is not what the actual thermometers show, the uptick only emerges from computer models of what they should show.

(7) Recently, the Inuit in Canada were warned to avoid wasps that had just arrived. The Inuit had never seen wasps before.
Most references to this story seem to return to this writer but the wasp seems to have been an Arctic Yellowjacket, I think you can guess where it is normally found.

(8) Broccoli can now be grown in Greenland.
As it could be in the 1890s

(9) The permanently frozen ground, permafrost, is melting and giving off so much natural gas, methane, that it bursts into flames when ignited with a match. A bit vague of where this is happening or how it has changed but the global Methane emissions aren't spirally out of control, and we don't know what drives them so not evidence for man made warming.

(10) At the other end of the world, the Antarctic Peninsula, the finger of land pointing towards South America, is turning green as ice retreats and grass starts to colonise the bare ground.
The peninsula is anomalous in the Antarctic, on the rest of the continent the ice is growing. The undersea volcanic activity near the peninsula may have a bearing but whatever there is no link proven here to man.

Perhaps the most shocking changes are taken globally over decades.
(11) Twelve of the hottest years worldwide have been in the past fourteen years, in records going back to 1850.
Cherrypicking dates - the world has been gently warming for many years, (I personally think that man has contributed a bit to that warming) but it is very hard to spot a change in the trend that can be pinned on man

(12) “There are so many impacts being found across the world it is clear that the Earth’s climate is going through a fundamental change, and so rapidly it cannot be explained by natural causes. This is a man-made phenomenon,” Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said.
That's an opinion, not evidence

(12 )The air we breathe has been growing more humid over the past few decades. Warmer air contains more water vapour, the invisible moisture that gives the feeling of humidity. More worrying, water vapour is also a greenhouse gas, so it traps solar heat in the atmosphere, stoking up the warming effect of man-made climate change. And the rise in humidity is matched by the world getting wetter, on average.
Actual data shows the relative humidity has fallen 21% since 1948 in the upper troposphere where the models predict the greatest feedback.

(13)Precipitation worldwide has increased by 2 per cent since 1900.
Dr Mike Hulme says that There exists no widely accepted reliable instrumental global-mean precipitation record comparable to the surface air temperature record covering the last 100 years. so an accuracy of 2% is not supportable, the best estimates are it is somewhere near stable,

(14)The jet streams in the northern and southern hemispheres have shifted towards the poles by about 70 miles. These rivers of wind at about 9,000m (30,000ft) mark the clash of subtropical and polar air masses and are the key to driving much British weather.
The jet stream has always moved about - no evidence that it has permanently changed.

An hour with a cup of tea, two aspirin and Google and that is that, not one of the facts gets even anywhere near proving man made global warming. Where is the bloody evidence?

Posted by The Englishman at 8:30 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 30, 2009

Truth as a casualty of the war on drugs.

Top U.K. Drug Adviser Out : ScienceInsider

Illicit drugs, science and politics can be a volatile mix, no doubt. So it's not a total surprise that David Nutt, a respected psychopharmacologist at the Bristol outost of Imperial College London, was canned today as the U.K. top drug advisor. His downfall was a paper in which Nutt argued that ecstasy and other drugs caused less harm than alcohol.

Phil Willis, Chairman of the House of Commons science and technology committee, has already released a statement noting he asked the Home Secretary "for clarification as to why the distinguished scientist Sir David Nutt has been removed of duties as Chair of Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) at a time when independent scientific advice to government is essential. It is disturbing if an independent scientist should be removed for reporting sound scientific advice."

Nutt accused ministers of misleading the public. "You are more likely to die riding a horse than you are by taking cannabis or ecstasy," he told BBC radio. "I am not prepared to mislead the public about the harms of drugs like cannabis and ecstasy just to give messages.

Everyone knows that is the truth, even the spit fleckeled knuckle dragging editorial writers in the popular press. The kids especially know it is the truth. The surest way to bring a law into disrespect is to base it on lies.
Good Evening Minister, how good of you to grace our humble entertainment with your presence. Let me introduce to Hempen Rope, I believe the next dance on your card is the Tyburn Jig...

Posted by The Englishman at 8:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday Night is Music Night (Seasonal Evil Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 5:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I fought the Law and the Law won

An Update to my threatened Coombe Bissett Speeding case.
I refused to take the penalty and held out for a hearing in front of the Magistrates.

Today I have received the following;

...the speed limit on the A354 at Coombe Bissett is enforceable for traffic travelling along that route and entering the 30 mph where terminal signs are erected.

The situation is certainly different for traffic joining the A354 via the by-way in question. Wiltshire Council have confirmed that they intend to erect signs at both ends of the by-way in the near future but I am also advised that the absence of such signs does not necessarily provide a defence if you entered the 30 mph limit at that point. It would be for a court of law to decide if the repeater signage was adequate and provided sufficient information to drivers. Nonetheless, I accept that there is an element of doubt and that the usual CPS tests would apply if a court prosecution was under consideration.

In the circumstances, based on your assertion that you joined the A354 from the by-way, I can confirm that on this occasion the Notice of Intended Prosecution will be cancelled and there will be no further
action in respect of this matter.

I think a little celebratory drink will be in order this evening..

Posted by The Englishman at 2:34 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Change (in ones and fives) I can believe in

More than 40 per cent of the President’s top fundraisers are also said to have secured posts in his Administration, from senior jobs in the executive to ambassadorships in countries including Spain, France and the Bahamas.
Robert Gibbs, Mr Obama’s official spokesman, said that many of the White House guests who were also donors were Mr Obama’s close friends:

Of course a Messiah must keep his disciples around him and happy, just maybe it isn't a new kind of politics after all.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Green Nutters Undermine Greenery

Exaggerated claims undermine drive to cut emissions, scientists warn - Times Online

Exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the threat from global warming risk undermining efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and contain climate change, senior scientists have told The Times.
Environmental lobbyists, politicians, researchers and journalists who distort climate science to support an agenda erode public understanding and play into the hands of sceptics, according to experts including a former government chief scientist.
Excessive statements about the decline of Arctic sea ice, severe weather events and the probability of extreme warming in the next century detract from the credibility of robust findings about climate change, they said.
Such claims can easily be rebutted by critics of global warming science to cast doubt on the whole field.

About time there was some slapping down of the Al Gores of this world by the real scientists. For too long the headline grabbing alarmists have been silently supported by reasonable men afraid of appearing to side with the Deniers, when they should have been seizing the middle ground.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This is the Greenmail Crossing the Border


Race to spend £27bn on Scotland to England rail link 'without knowing facts' - Scotsman.com News

MINISTERS are dashing headlong towards paying for a £27 billion high-speed rail link from Scotland to England with only "shaky" evidence that it will get people out of cars and planes, a major report will claim today.
The study, commissioned by the RAC Foundation, says there will be only modest environmental benefits from a new line.
The foundation said "evangelical" politicians of all colours were being too hasty in backing a new high-speed link before the hard facts were known.
But sources at the Department for Transport said the claims were "nonsense", insisting that a new link would take thousands of people off polluting planes.

Hard facts? Investment in railways? Don't make me laugh. The great God of Choo-choos demands our monetary sacrifice at all times, don't mix up religion and reason.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Science Museum - PROVE IT Update

It looks like the Science Museum's Poll has now settled down and presumably all the votes have been verified by an email bounce - not foolproof but as fair as any of these online polls get.
The results are convincingly onesided...


Science Museum - PROVE IT!

823 counted in so far 5631 counted out so far

If you haven't visited the site - "All the evidence you need to believe in climate change" - then please do and cast an informed vote after reviewing their case.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:12 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 29, 2009

It was 40 years ago today..

Happy 40th birthday to the internet
On October 29 1969 , the first Arpanet network connection between remote computers was established.

Arpanet was the military precursor to what we now know as the internet (the term "internetting" would not be coined until 1977).

Anyway, at 10.30pm precisely, the first message was sent over the Arpanet between the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Stanford Research Institute by student Charley Kline. The message itself was the word "login". The "l" and the "o" transmitted without problem but then the system crashed. So, trivia fans, the first message transmitted over the internet was "lo".

It will never catch on...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 28, 2009

A Noble Cause that Lord Stern should adopt

First change the pig’s diet, then change ours
One big obstacle to producing meat sustainably is the EU ban on feeding food waste to livestock. Since the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 it has been illegal to feed swill to pigs, even though swill can be rendered safe simply by heat-treating it. The UN has calculated that if we fed livestock with food waste and agricultural residues, we could feed three billion additional people. Feeding food waste to pigs could also save millions of tonnes of carbon emissions by avoiding the need to produce conventional feed.

From Lord Stern's remarks about meat eating and the divided comments on them let us find one common cause:
British Swill Feeders and Coptic Pigs did an excellent job in producing food from waste, until banned. I'll let His Lordship point out the carbon friendliness of such recycling practices, I will stick to my inborn hate of waste. A few simple regulations and millions of tons of rubbish can be safely turned into bacon. Is there anything nobler than that?

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

Is this the most evil product you can buy?

Carbon%20Salt.jpg
Salt, hand picked on some foreign shore, probably by minimum waged workers and shipped to Blighty, with added carbon - delicious and pretty on my mashed potatoes last night.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Copenhagen Inflation

£18 a pint – 'the price of global warming'
SOARING food prices could leave UK consumers forking out almost £6.50 for a loaf of bread and more than £18 for a pint of beer by 2030, unless urgent action is taken to avert dangerous climate change.
A study for Friends of the Earth by Oxford University lecturer Ray Hammond examining how warming temperatures could affect food supplies said the prices of basics such as bread, rice and pasta could all spiral in the next two decades, leaving millions hungry in the UK. Yields of staple crops are predicted to fall as global temperatures rise, while climate change will put extra pressure on land and resources such as water, with more droughts, floods and extreme weather events expected.

Projected prices of other staple foods in 2030 include: · £6.48 for a 800g loaf of white bread (now 72p, would be £1.44 with normal inflation) · £17.91 for a 1 litre corn oil (now £1.99, would be £3.98 with normal inflation) · £15.21 for 1 kg of basmati rice (now £1.69, would be £3.38 with normal inflation) · £7.20 for 500g corn flakes (now 78p, would be £1.56 with normal inflation) · £16.02 for 24 Weetabix-style biscuits (now £1.78, would be £3.56 with normal inflation) · £18.45 for a pint of Pilsner lager (now £2.05, would be £4.05 with normal inflation) As pressure mounts ahead of the United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen, the report is a reminder that global warming will hit ordinary Britons hard, as well as causing storms, droughts, famine and floods that will affect the developing world.

How long have we got until the Conference, how many more of these alarums will we have to read?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 27, 2009

Science Museum Prove It - you need to vote again


Science Museum - Home - PROVE IT!

Prove%20it.jpg

They are rerunning the vote - I guess they didn't like the answer! - It now has an email verification step.

Since I snapped the page a couple of minutes ago the vote has changed to 2 in 8 out.

Time to stand up and be counted.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:29 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack

A Day on the Downs

Downland%20shooting.jpg*

For thousands of years men have hunted across the Marlborough Downs, some traditions continue. This valley is a short walk from Avebury and is a natural funnel to drive game into from the top of the downs. How many times has this scene been played out before, and how many times will it be allowed to be in the future?

One%20for%20Lord%20Stern.jpg*
One for Lord Stern
Not sure I'm loaded properly for this...


Learning%20to%20count.jpg*
Learning to count

Posted by The Englishman at 4:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Salt Times

Is salt really the Devil's ingredient? - Times Online
The Government wants us to reduce our sodium intake, but studies show that this advice should be taken with a pinch of salt....

Just as Nanny spends lots of money telling us off the papers start to catch up with what wiser heads have been saying for years

Posted by The Englishman at 9:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Stern Brentford Nonsense

People will need to consider turning killers if the world is to conquer climate change, according to a leading authority on global warming.
In an interview with The Times, Lord Stern of Brentford Nylons said: “Wild animals are a wasteful use of water and create a lot of greenhouse gases. They put enormous pressure on the world’s resources."
He said that he was deeply concerned that popular opinion had so far failed to grasp the scale of the changes needed to address climate change, or of the importance of the UN meeting in Copenhagen from December 7 to December 18. “I am not sure that people fully understand what we are talking about or the kind of changes that will be necessary,” he added.

I think that is what he said anyway, so I'm off out to kill as much local wildlife as possible today...

Just because it is better than an old Brentford Nylon's Advert or anything from the noble Lord...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 26, 2009

On TV tonight

Soldiers' Stories - History.co.uk
Soldiers' Stories tells of the troubles in Northern Ireland from the perspective of the British soldiers who served there between 1969 and 2007, the longest continuous deployment in the history of the British Army.
This was a war against terrorists who knew no mercy or compassion; a war involving sectarian hatred and violent death. Over 1,000 British lives were lost in a place just 30 minutes flying time from the mainland.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the British Army’s arrival in Northern Ireland. They were deployed on 14 August 1969, by the Wilson government, as law and order had broken down and the population was in grave danger. Between then and 2007 some 300,000 British troops served in Northern Ireland. Occasionally they were welcomed; more often, they were spat at, pelted with missiles or shot.
So how did it feel to be a British soldier in Northern Ireland? These are their stories, terrible stories of bombings, killings and heartache over three decades, told for the first time from their own perspective.

Having seen a preview I can recommend this, more than recommend, they are required viewing. They do what the blurb above says, and that is something we haven't had in such detail before. And we should have had.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 25, 2009

The Cost of Green Dreams

British business faces a £370 billion bill by 2020 to meet the cost of fighting climate change, according to estimates to be published ahead of December’s Copenhagen climate-change summit.
The amount would mainly cover the cost of building renewable-energy capacity, smart grids and high-speed rail links. About £40 billion would finance upgrades to Britain’s water distribution and treatment networks.
This is only part of the picture, said the report’s author, Andrew Raingold of Aldersgate Group, a coalition of business and environmental groups.
“These are conservative estimates and don’t include the costs attached to deploying low-carbon vehicles and supporting infrastructure such as charging stations. This could add another few billion to businesses’ total liability,” he said. “Businesses will end up footing the vast majority of the costs of combating climate change because the Treasury doesn’t have the money.”
Governments and many experts argue that the economic impact of a warmer climate and the costs industry will bear if the carbon price increases will be much greater if businesses do nothing. “There is actually a big opportunity to make money if we don’t drag our feet,” said Sir Brian Hoskins of the Committee on Climate Change, the government ’s green watchdog.

Has anyone got his number as I've got a bridge I think he might like to buy....

Posted by The Englishman at 10:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

National Trust Innit?

National Trust rebranded by Olympics firm - Telegraph

In an effort to keep up with the internet age, the defender of Britain's historic legacy is dropping its prefix of "The", switching to lower case letters and jazzing up its brand with brighter colours.
The make-over, which is thought to have cost the organisation hundreds of thousands of pounds, was designed by the same agency that invented the controversial logo for the London 2012 Olympics.
The "tone" of the organisation is also having a makeover in an effort to encourage more young people, ethnic minorities and urbanites to visit historic homes and gardens.
Barney Rogers, a partner at Bureaux Design predicted the organisation could end up dropping "National Trust" altogether and just going by the oak leaf symbol.
"In this day and age people respond better to an image rather than words," he added.

O tempora, o mores! Even the Stately Homes of England are no longer to be sanctuaries.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Remember Fall Forward - your life may depend on it!

BREAKFALLS
Before progressing into takedowns and throws, soldiers must learn how to fall to the ground without getting hurt, both during training and during combat. Each practice repetition of a throw or takedown is a chance for the training partner to perfect his breakfalls....

Fall%20Forward


And if you are older...

Old%20fall
Etiopathology of hip fractures

Etiopathology of hip fractures (Kanis & McCloskey 1996....: the orientation of the fall causes the person to fall straight on his/her hip, the protective flexes fail, the local soft tissues do not absorb the energy, and bone strength is reduced. They also recognized the difference between simple falls by elderly persons and younger persons: the former usually fall laterally on their hip, while the latter fall forward, usually on their hands.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

You are what you eat

Morrissey walked off stage during his set at the Coachella festival in California on Friday April 2009 after declaring he could "smell burning flesh".
According to festival goers who reported his comments on internet forums, the committed vegetarian added: "And I hope to God it's human."

Morrissey collapses during show
Eyewitnesses said the 50-year-old fell to the floor during a performance of his former band's song This Charming Man at Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon. October 2009.
The singer has cancelled several dates this year because of illness.
A Great Western Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "Just after 9pm we got a call to a 50-year-old who was reported to be suffering from respiratory problems and was unconscious.
"We sent a paramedic in a double-crewed ambulance.
"When they arrived they found a conscious patient who was not feeling well at all.
"They made an initial assessment and took him to the Great Western Hospital for further assessment."

I can understand being in Swindon making anyone feel a bit nauseous but rather than take up one of our local hospital beds they should have whisked him round to Sammy's Kebab & Steak House and got some decent grub into him. That would have set him up.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Estate Agent or Climate Scientist - Who is more trustworthy?

A patch of land in one of the world’s most sought-after property locations is on sale for £7.5 million – even though it could soon be underwater thanks to global warming

...experts warn increasingly severe weather conditions and rising sea levels could soon see the spit of land at the entrance to Poole harbour – parts of which are already two metres below sea level – swallowed up by the ocean.
Dr Edward Coombe, a consultant in geomorphology and former lecturer at Oxford University, said: “Sandbanks is a wave-created landform, waves created it and waves will destroy it with rising sea levels.
“This is the question of the inevitable. We are getting more storms because of climate change now. I don’t want to sound alarmist but we have got to face facts.
“The point is that storms can be expected to increase in the foreseeable future – in 15 to 20 years we will probably see some extremely alarming incidents. I would expect the sea level to rise two or three feet in the next 50 years.
“I am not attempting to decry people’s choices of buying land but they need to think about it.”.

Keith Fensom, of Savills, who is selling the site, said: “This flooding argument comes up every now and then and certainly the land is low-lying to the sea but there are defence systems in the sea to stop the beaches from washing away.
“I have worked in the area for 33 years and in that time the beaches have not changed and there has never ever been any breaching of the properties by the sea.”

At this hour of the morning I haven't been able to find an up todate graph of storm frequency so we can "face the facts". The latest I can see on the Met Office site is this:
Recent research on climate change science from the Hadley Centre
December 2003

Storm%20freq.jpg

There's a rigorous argument for you, I would love to see it updated. I recently reported that on digging around the Met Office files I came across this.

nao_djf_barplot_jones_green.gif
nao_djf_barplot_jones_green.gif

So should I spent the £7.5 miilion on the plot or not? Should I trust an estate agent or a climate scientist?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 24, 2009

Search online for "Act on CO2"

Act on CO2

Posted by The Englishman at 11:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 23, 2009

The Evidence That Doesn't Convince

Miliband's lap-dog museum's poll isn't going to plan...

Science Museum - Home - PROVE IT!
is your chance to check out the evidence and decide if you want to back a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen.

349 counted in so far 1505 counted out so far


Do go and vote and keep an eye on the numbers because Milipede is beginning to blub...

Posted by The Englishman at 8:18 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The Real Top Ten Politics Blogs

Iain Dale and his readers produced The Top 100 Political Blogs

Position and last year:

1 1 Guido Fawkes Subscribers:639
2 2 Iain Dale Subscribers:404
3 7 Spectator Coffee House Subscribers:621
4 3 Conservative Home Subscribers:791
5 5 Political Betting Subscribers:1,113
6 4 Dizzy Thinks Subscribers:955
7 - Paul Waugh Subscribers:143
8 13 Tom Harris MP Subscribers:228
9 6 Devil's Kitchen Subscribers:105
10 18 Daniel Hannan MEP Subscribers:420

I have added subscriber numbers from Google Reader - other RSS readers and ways of reading blogs are available - but it shows that there is a free market way of ranking blogs, not depending on votes, and also how few people actually are interested in the Westminster village.

Reordered it becomes:
1 Political Betting Subscribers:1,113
2 Dizzy Thinks Subscribers:955
3 Conservative Home Subscribers:791
4 Guido Fawkes Subscribers:639
5 Spectator Coffee House Subscribers:621
6 Daniel Hannan MEP Subscribers:420
7 Iain Dale Subscribers:404
8 Tom Harris MP Subscribers:228
9 Paul Waugh Subscribers:143
10 Devil's Kitchen Subscribers:105

It would be interesting to expand the sample as I know other UK political blogs have more subscribers , surely Google must have a way of doing so.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Friday Night is Music Night (23rd October Edition)

Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry
El Alamein - Lightfoot
For more details on the wider battle, see Second Battle of El Alamein.
The opening of the battle saw four divisions (9th Australian, 51st Highland, 2nd New Zealand and 1st South African) in the assault on the north of the Axis positions. RWY was in support of 5th New Zealand Brigade (Brigadier Howard Kippenberger) and the aim was for infantry to secure the Miteiriya Ridge during darkness, with the armour to pass beyond them at first light to establish a screen. By now the regiment was equipped with a mix of M4 Sherman, Crusader and Grant (M3 Lee) tanks. On the morning of 24 October 1942, A and C squadrons were ahead of the infantry on the western slopes of the ridge. B squadron had been delayed in the Devil's gardens minefields and had lost numerous tanks. Throughout that day, A and C squadrons engaged German panzers on the plain below, and were in turn hit by anti-tank fire. Initially, the heavier Sherman tanks were not vulnerable to this, but when the German 88mm anti-tank guns joined in they took severe casualties. By midday, the two squadrons were reduced to one Sherman and three Grants and the commanding officer had been badly wounded and evacuated. The 10th Armoured Division was at this stage supposed to pass through and onwards to start the breakout, but seemed to be reluctant to do so.
At 6 p.m. the regiment was ordered to withdraw. It had lost almost all of its tanks and taken 42 casualties killed or wounded. In reserve, the regiment was issued with new tanks, a hasty mix of Shermans, Grants, and Crusaders (types II and III), mostly salvaged from the battlefield and rapidly repaired. Montgomery had been impressed with the performance of 2nd New Zealand Division and wanted them to spearhead the next thrust, but Freyberg was unwilling to do so without reinforcements as his troops had suffered so many casualties. Monty therefore placed 151 and 152 Infantry Brigades under Freyberg's command for the next phase of the battle.

El Alamein - Supercharge
On the night of 1/2 November 1942, the 8th Army attacked again in the north, with 2nd New Zealand Division in the lead. General Freyberg placed 151 Brigade on the right and 152 Brigade on the left. The aim was to attack directly westwards across the Rahman track, with the infantry leading the night assault and 9th Armoured Brigade (now commanded by Brigadier John Currie) again passing through to break the enemy gun line and allow X Corps to break out. The assault went to plan except that opposition on the left was heavier than expected which slowed the advance. As a result the advancing tanks were highlighted against the dawn sky in the east and began to be picked off by Axis anti-tank fire. The Regiment was in the centre of 9th Armoured Brigade, and the CO lost touch with both his artillery support and close anti-tank support. In the growing light, the B squadron commander (Major M.StJ.V.Gibbs) realised that he was in a ring of enemy anti-tank guns, ahead and to both flanks. He gave the order to 'Charge' and B squadron over-ran the anti-tank positions, losing some vehicles but destroying the enemy gun line.
Meanwhile 21st Panzer Division was counter-attacking A and C squadrons and at 4pm the Regiment (now down to four tanks) was withdrawn. 1st Armoured Division from X Corps were just behind 9th Armoured Brigade but there were no liaison officers between the units and 1st Armoured did not take the opportunity to push on through the broken Axis gun-line.



Dispositions at the end of Operation Supercharge

After the 9th Armoured Brigade's action, Brigadier Gentry of the 6th New Zealand Brigade went ahead to survey the scene. On seeing Brigadier Currie asleep on a stretcher, he approached him saying, 'Sorry to wake you John, but I'd like to know where your tanks are?' Currie waved his hand at a group of tanks around him, replying 'There they are.' Gentry was puzzled. 'I don't mean your headquarters tanks, I mean your armoured regiments. Where are they?' Currie waved his arm and again replied, 'There are my armoured regiments, Bill.’

In an account of the battle published to mark its 25th anniversary, Montgomery wrote:
I must mention the magnificent fight put up by 9th Armoured Brigade - 3rd Hussars, Wiltshire Yeomanry, Warwickshire Yeomanry.... If the British armour owed any debt to the infantry of 8th army, the debt was paid on November 2nd by 9th Armoured Brigade in heroism and blood....

Posted by The Englishman at 5:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

easyCouncil - if only

Household to be charged for extra services under new 'easyCouncil' plans - Telegraph

Households will be forced to pay more for extra council services they use, as local authorities start to mirror the approach of budget airlines.

If only they would mirror Ryan Air - cut the "forced" amount you have to pay to the minimum and then give people the freedom to buy extra services if they want them and can't buy them cheaper elsewhere. But that doesn't seem to be what they are saying, they seem to be wanting to keep the rates skyhigh, reduce the services and then force ratepayers to top up their council tax bill if they actually want anything from the council, and only the council will be allowed to offer the services....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Miliband, getting a head in the climb up the greasy pole

David Miliband has become a surprise contender for the new post of EU foreign minister as an anti-Blair bandwagon gathers pace.

Laugh out loud, I suppose his level of competence is appropriate to the EU but why he is still given any serious consideration is beyond me. I wonder what he does that makes all his masters so pleased with him...

miliband%20cocksucker.jpg
"I love it when the creamy stuff comes out the end"

Posted by The Englishman at 7:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Olympic Follies

An artist plotting his own "field of dreams" has won a £460,000 grant – to create a full-size football pitch in a secluded part of a Scottish woodland.
Craig Coulthard, 28, has been selected to create one of 12 artworks across the UK to help celebrate the staging of the 2012 Olympics in London.
The artist, who lives in Edinburgh, will spend the best part of 18 months creating a football pitch in the Borders – which can only be seen from the Edinburgh-London flight path. But the pitch will only be in use for one day – just before the Games – before being left to be "taken over by nature". The games will be played by volunteers who have gained British citizenship since the last Olympics.
Mr Coulthard said: "It's not the kind of project you do without a substantial grant or subsidy, so I was delighted to hear I'd won.
Other winning entries include: three 30ft hand-crocheted lions, which will be displayed in a huge case in Nottingham; an environmentally-sustainable watermill to float on the River Tyne, and the recreation of Coventry icon Lady Godiva as a giant human puppet, who will lead a cast of thousands in a processional performance.

See The Olympics aren't just about wasting our money on sports!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 22, 2009

Question Time - Conviction Politicians

Looking through my stats I notice a sharp peak over the last couple of days of people looking for details of Peter Hain's criminal conviction, you don't suppose someone is preparing a counter attack do you? I'm almost tempted to watch Question time to see if my prediction comes true, but watching a bunch of Socialists (National, Euro, Green or whatever) shouting at each other is not my idea of an interesting evening.

Peter%20Hain%20Criminal.jpg Peter Hain

Posted by The Englishman at 7:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Vote Against Nanny

Mark Wadsworth: Beating fakecharities at their own game...

Visit Alcohol Focus Scotland and vote on the statement "Cheap alcohol is damaging health and society, I support minimum pricing".
We are currently ahead, with 72% having voted "No" out of 900 votes so far.
Bizarrely, you are allowed to vote as many times as you like. They really have thought this one through, haven't they?

74% No now - I wonder how long they will put up with the public having a say...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:17 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Science Museum Fails to Prove It - but ignores your vote anyway.

Science Museum - Prove it! is presenting the evidence for human caused climate change and why we should support Copenhagen.

I've looked through it and I still can't see the evidence - yes the climate is changing, the long term average temperature for the last couple of hundred years is a gentle increase, yes humans have pumped CO2 in to the atmosphere, yes there is a linkage (they are careful not to say what) between CO2 levels and global temperature but none of that is the evidence they claim for CAGW.

Here is what they have to say about the effects we are already feeling:

Earth's rising temperature is causing knock-on effects. Rainfall patterns are changing. After three centuries of stability, sea level is now rising. Ice in the Arctic is melting further back year on year. Extreme weather, such as droughts and hurricanes, is becoming more common or more intense.

No evidence that rainfall patterns are altering more than they ever have done before, the sea level rise has not accelerated, the arctic ice hasn't melted more for the last two years - not more year-on year - (and what about Antarctic ice?) and hurricanes and droughts aren't increasing. A pretty poor showing for the best they can produce.

Luckily they allow you to say if you are convinced or not.

PROVE IT! is your chance to check out the evidence and decide if you want to back a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen.

Vote No and this is what you get...

"...thanks for being part of PROVE IT! By adding your voice, you're supporting a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen."

That's modern consultation for you...

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

Mandy's Postal Strike

The 1970s revival continues, I'm hoarding tins of soup and looking out a pair of flares...

(Unhappily there is no sign of a Maggie waiting in the wings to take over...)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Book Plug

Looking for Hugh

Posted by The Englishman at 6:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

We are all troughers now

Responsibility has drained away from the British welfare state, leaving a poisonous blend of entitlement and apathy. Middle and high earners, who could and should be independent of public welfare, instead use their political weight to extract “their fair share” from government, through universal benefits and near-free higher education.

Reform is arguing that us middle class troughers should be denied our benefits, or expect to pay up for them. Fair enough, but the middle classes feel that they have already paid enough and it is only fair they get something back, by fair means or foul.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Reformer of The Year


Reform : Reformer of the Year 2009

Throughout the year Reform celebrates the leading figures from politics, journalism and policy who have advanced the reforming agenda.

They are asking for your vote - there is one name that should be the clear winner in my mind - Heather Brooke - go and give her some support.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 21, 2009

Trafalgar Day

Even though it is many years since I ironed my trousers with horizontal creases I think it is time to splice the mainbrace...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

In for Hatter's Sake

Half in, half out of Europe – that’s great if you’re Norway
As Lisbon reopens the old splits, there is an alternative to full membership. But would it work for Britain?
Roy Hattersley
...To the rational observer, half in and half out seems exactly the right place to be — for Norway. Its economic agreement with Europe does come with strings attached, but none of them binds Oslo to policies that damage its national interests. Its relationship with the EU is exactly that which, 30 years ago, stickers in thousands of British motor-car rear windows were demanding: free trade without political union.
For Norway, Edward Heath’s promise has been kept. There has been “no unacceptable loss of sovereignty”. But as Norwegians will happily agree, Norway is special. An à la carte Europe is not available to Britain, although in Bergen and Oslo last week I dared not say why. Half in and half out of Europe is a status for small countries happy to remain on the margin of big decisions.

So the benefit we get from Europe is that clapped out political losers can posture and pretend they have influence, I wonder why Roy Hattersley thinks that is a price worth paying?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sceptics are Flat-Earthers


'Deny climate change? Then you're as ignorant as those who think the world is flat' - Scotsman.com News

CLIMATE-change sceptics are as ignorant as people who believe the earth is flat, according to one of Scotland's most influential conservationists, Professor Colin Galbraith, director of policy at Scottish Natural Heritage.
Of the sceptics, Prof Galbraith said: "They also believe the world is flat. I'm absolutely scathing of them. The more people that ignore this, the worse it will be. They should open their eyes. There is evidence all around us. "It's not about climate change happening in 20 years' time. It is happening now."
A Cardiff University survey earlier this year suggested one in five people were "hard-line sceptics". Men, people who lived in rural areas, older people and high earners were the most sceptical.
Professor Des Thomson, policy and advice manager at SNH, said he thought it was "dangerous" that people were continuing to question the evidence.

How very dare you question the evidence we say is all around you!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

October 20, 2009

Was it worth it?

“Was it worth it? Those horrific wars with Germany, the empty chairs at a million tables, the near-bankrupting of the once-great imperial Britannia? Would Winston Churchill, whose life overshadows so much of the story, now look back on it all and shudder? That's perhaps the biggest underlying question behind the story of the British between the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the Second World War.”
Andrew Marr writing in Radio Times, speculates that the wartime prime minister who led Britain to victory in World War Two, would have been less than impressed with today's "vulgarity".
“He would have been bemused by today's vulgarity, hated our music, raged against Brussels (he was above all a parliamentarian) and stomped angrily at American rewriting of wartime history. I don't think he would have been very keen on the surveillance society, either.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Cause and Effect in the Classroom

British children worst for not switching off the lights and leaving television on standby - Telegraph

British children are the worst in Europe for switching out lights and saving electricity, despite knowing the most about climate change, according to a new study
Joan Ruddock, the Energy and Climate Change minister, also called on families to take action.
“With climate change on the national curriculum, British children will get a better understanding as to why it’s important to switch off lights and computers when they’re not in use. Considering around 40 per cent of carbon pollution is a result of personal choices, there is huge potential for everyone to start bucking the trend," she said.

I'm always happy to hear teachers preach on with their stupid trendy ideas because kids react against them. The hippy kids had despised the tweedy old buffers banging on about how they had fought the war for them; the yuppies against the tie-die drips in the staff room in the seventies; the crusties against the "enterprise curriculum" the Tories introduced and now the greens rule the roost the next generation will despise their vacuous ideas.
But Joan Ruddock, could you resist her appeal? Gordon can't!

Gordon%20Brown%20Kisses%20Joan%20Ruddock%202007.jpg

Posted by The Englishman at 7:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

One more for the road?

100,000 will die in next decade due to drinking - Telegraph

Alcohol related deaths have trebled in the past 25 years to reach 8,999 last year.

I love the precision in that figure, no reckless rounding up of numbers to make a political point for them!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 19, 2009

Maldives - Latin for Ill Gotten Gains? Again

If you were as annoyed as I was by BBC and other reports on the Maldive Government underwater cabinet meeting publicity stunt (to highlight the threat from rising sea levels) you might like to read this: Sea Level Scam - Buy the Truth or this from Watts Up

My own contribution to this naked attempt to mulct our money by greenmail is to continue to propagate the equally scientific etymology that Maldives means "ill gotten gains" - mala, feminine of malo, bad (from Latin malus): dives, rich, opulent, wealthy

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

Tally Ho!

Climate change protesters bitten by police dogs - Telegraph
Chief inspector Linda McCarthy of Nottinghamshire police said on Sunday: ''There have been reports of some protesters receiving dog bites and other injuries as a result of a concerted effort to pull down fences and enter the site.
One protester, Laura McFarlane-Shopes, 23, wore a bandage on her arm to cover a bite she had received from one of the dogs.
She said: "We were near the fence and some people were trying to get over. I was just in front of them.
"Horses and dogs started charging down. Police shouted that they were coming.
"They let the dogs on to me and one leaped up and bit my arm."

And in other news:

The Press Association: Tories pledge to repeal hunting ban

Ecoprotestors sound even better sport than foxes....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Brownian Scareware

PM warns of climate 'catastrophe'
"In Britain we face the prospect of more frequent droughts and a rising wave of floods," Mr Brown is expected to tell delegates.
"The extraordinary summer heatwave of 2003 in Europe resulted in over 35,000 extra deaths.
"On current trends, such an event could become quite routine in Britain in just a few decades' time. And within the lifetime of our children and grandchildren the intense temperatures of 2003 could become the average temperature experienced throughout much of Europe."

The other top story on the BBC this morning is: Millions tricked by 'scareware'

Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 16, 2009

Friday Night is Music Night (The First Time Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 4:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fox Hunting

Fantastic Mister Fox is the most poisonous and insidious piece of misanthropic, animal rights propaganda PETA never wrote. Its politics more closely resemble that of a rabidly townie, leftist vegetarian who believes that property is theft, meat production a vile perversion and pest control a form of racist genocide, than of some lovably eccentric children’s author.
And, as per ruddy usual, all the baddies have been given English accents while the goodies speak with American ones. I wonder whether I can coax the kids into not wanting see this one and coming with me to see that apparently brilliant new war movie about bomb disposal teams in Iraq instead…
Then again, incredibly annoying though I now find Roald Dahl’s deeply dubious animal rights politics – which surface again in The Twits, by the way – I can’t honestly claim they’ll do the world’s impressionable youth any harm....Never put me off foxhunting, though, did it?
James Delingpole

I believe my half term treat will be to be allowed to take the Englishettes to watch the film, deep joy!

Posted by The Englishman at 7:10 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Met Office Storm Graph

Digging around the Met Office files I came across this.

nao_djf_barplot_jones_green.gif
nao_djf_barplot_jones_green.gif

I hadn't seen it before, but I swear I had heard them warn us of increasing storminess due to Climate Change....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Price of Oil is Blood in St James

Yvonne Fletcher and the betrayal of justice - Telegraph

British prosecutors were told more than two years ago that they had sufficient evidence to charge two Libyans over the killing of WPc Yvonne Fletcher, according to a leaked report.
The fact that no further progress has been made despite the report will raise fresh questions about the nature of Britain’s vexed relationship with Libya since diplomatic relations were restored in 1999.


We should have burnt the bastards out of the embassy not let them go in the first place, and not forgotten this outrage when Gadaffi was making up with us and splashing cash to make friends with us.

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

EU Compulsory Indoctrination

MEPs call for compulsory 'EU lessons' in schools - Telegraph

Leaders of the centre-right EPP grouping in the European Parliament say there should be compulsory classes for 14-year-olds in all member states.
The calls are being led by Mario David, a Portuguese MEP: "All the debates about the constitution and then the Lisbon Treaty showed a great deal of lying, cheating and mistrust about the EU."

I think he meant "by" the EU not "about"...

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

October 15, 2009

Met Office Precipitation Figures - More Questions

The Met Office produces two monthly records of precipitation for the England and Wales (they also do subsets):

The first one is ;
England & Wales Rainfall (mm) - Areal Series, starting from 1914
Allowances have been made for topographic, coastal and urban effects where relationships are found to exist.
The 30 year averages have been derived from 1km grids, whereas the rest of the values have been derived from 5km grids.
Seasons: Winter=Dec-Feb, Spring=Mar-May, Summer=June-Aug, Autumn=Sept-Nov. (Winter: Year refers to Jan/Feb).
Data is provisional from May 2008 & Spring 2008.

This is the data that has the curious properties discussed in the post below;

I haven't found the raw data or the adjustments that have been done to the raw data to produce it. But the Met Office also publishes the HadEWP data
Monthly England & Wales precipitation (mm). Daily automated values used after 1996.
Wigley & Jones (J.Climatol.,1987), Gregory et al. (Int.J.Clim.,1991)
Jones & Conway (Int.J.Climatol.,1997), Alexander & Jones (ASL,2001). Values may change after QC.

This goes back to 1766 and maybe is closer to the raw data.

Rainfall measuring is pretty basic stuff and adjustments for the factors mentioned above would be thought to be fairly long term and steady.
As we are looking at the summer and winter rainfall I thought it would be interesting to see the difference between the two sets of figures for the two seasons. The graph below is simply the Areal figure taken away from the corresponding HadEWP figure (My simple spreadsheet is downloadable here Precip Diff txt)

Precipitation%20Difference.jpg

Both sets of figures are meant to be measuring the same thing, do they both rely on the same raw data? Why do they vary so much in their difference from year to year? Is that due to different adjustments being applied? Why is the Areal series making winters drier on average recently? What is the real figure for rainfall? And why is it so difficult to know?

UPDATE

Let us assume that there is an annual adjustment to the raw data which gives the difference between the Areal and the HadEWP figure (it is more complicated than that but that is close enough for a thought experiment) The difference of the summer and winter figures for each year should be the same or similar not as shown above.

Eyeballing the graph it seems the figures for the summer and winter differences recently are becoming out of sync.
If you muddled up your Decembers you can get a much better fit.
Winter 1996 should be Dec 1995 + Jan 1996 + Feb 1996 If you make Winter 1996 be Dec 1995 + Jan 1995 + Feb 1995 and then you compare it to Summer 1996 and so on until the 2008 you get this graph.

Precip%20Diff%20Shift%202.jpg

That looks a better fit - but it isn't the only way to get a better fit. Other ways of doing year shifts give similar results. Just swapping the sign of the winter difference from 1990 also works And maybe a better fit isn't logically needed. It is a mystery to me.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

+++ Concerns with Met Office Precipitation Data +++

UPDATE - Tim Legg of the Met Office has kindly provided an explanation - see below.

(This is a guest post from a scientific reader)

The UK Meteorological Office has a file summarising average UK precipitation available on its website at: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/seriesstatistics/ewrain.txt

This file gives average precipitation, month by month from 1914 until 2008. The data is presumably calculated from spot measurements at a number of weather stations, which are combined using assumptions about the rainfall etc over the whole country rather than just at the weather stations. Such a combination and averaging seems reasonable.

In addition, the Met Office displays on its website the following plot: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/science/monitoring/CR_data/Monthly/EWP_seasonal1.gif

This plot seems to be making some sort of climate change case. It raised some concerns in my mind, including: averaging over a 4-month winter, including March, and a 2-month summer, rather than the usual 3-month periods; normalisation with respect to the average for each 'season' over the period 1961-90, which introduces a zero re-basing and a scaling. Having looked at the input data, there is also clearly some heavy smoothing in time, which is not mentioned, described or justified.

Investigation seemed appropriate, on whether the effects shown in the Met Office plot were as obvious with 3-month seasons and with absolute values for precipitation.

The simpler presentation is shown here:

ewrain_w01_plot5.jpg Click for larger ewrain_w01_plot5.jpg

Which shows precipitation for winter (Dec-Feb) in red and for summer (Jun-Aug) in green. The changes obvious in the Met Office plot are not nearly so obvious in this plot of the less processed data, though there is some lowering of summer rainfall from around 1975 to around 2000.

More importantly, the winter and summer plots overlap almost exactly for the last 5 years: 2004 to 2008. It stretches credulity that such an effect is really present in the average UK rainfall.

Extraction of some of the data file ewrain.txt, with some extra values, shows the following, which confirms that the problem is not with calculation or display of my plots:

Year Winter Precip (mm) Summer Precip (mm) Absolute Difference (mm) Ave (mm) of Winter & Summer Difference as %age of Average
2004 283.1 275.9 7.2 279.5 2.58%
2005 187.1 182.4 4.7 184.75 2.54%
2006 160.0 158.8 1.2 159.4 0.75%
2007 341.3 342.2 0.9 341.75 0.26%
2008 288.6 289.6 1.0 289.1 0.35%
It is also the case that the winter and summer values are, within close rounding errors, the sum of the values for their appropriate months (taking account that winter includes precipitation for December of the preceding year). Thus, the cause of the problem is unlikely to be simply a cutting and pasting mistake, and also unlikely to be a single trivial mistake in a spreadsheet formula or similar computation. In any case, it is disappointing that the problem was not discovered prior to publication of the data, by simple checks such as the above .

This problem is of some concern, especially if this data is relied upon in using recent weather trends for meteorological forecasting and for significant policy on national water management and emergency planning for flooding. There are also implications for forecasting of climate change.

[ends]

Coincidence or cock-up?
More data from the Met Office is available here and is waiting to be crunched...

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/science/monitoring/CR_data/Monthly/HadEWP_act.txt which is also Monthly England & Wales precipitation (mm) gives a different picture ...hmmmm

UPDATE - more in newer post

UPDATE - From the Met Office:

I have just spent a little time looking at the monthly and seasonal
rainfall data which you were talking about in your email yesterday.

I have looked at the monthly totals, and the seasonal totals for DJF and
JJA calculated from these. The monthly totals themselves are all quite
different, but my calculations of the seasons (as the sum of three
individual months for each) do agree with yours, and I have to agree
that the similarity between each winter and the following summer for the
last 4 years or so is uncanny. But I can see no way that, given the way
things are calculated and the checks I have just made, the seasonal
totals can be incorrect. So as far as I can see it is just a
coincidence.

I also have access to monthly rainfall totals for 2009 so far for
England & Wales, from which I can tell you that I calculated DJF (last
winter) to have had a total of 207.5 mm, and for JJA (this summer) the
total was 263.7 mm, so the apparent correlation has now broken down.

Regards,
Tim Legg National Climate Information Centre (NCIC)

Scripts below:

# File: ewrain_gplot01.txt
# Last modified: 2009/10/14
# Author: xxx
#
# GNUPLOT script to plot various data in Met Office file 'ewrain_w01.txt',
# which is an edited version of the file available at
# http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/seriesstatistics/ewrain.txt
# Edits just render comments onto '#' lines, repeat column label comments
# and put dummy value into column 14 of first plot line (for year 1914).
#
#
cd "~/Desktop/ewrain_091014a"
#
#
set title "UK Absolute Precipitation (Dec-Mar and Jul-Aug)"
set key left top
set xlabel "Year"
set ylabel "Millimetres Annual Precipitation"
plot [1900:2010][0:1200] \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:18 with lines title "Total", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:($14+$4) with lines title "Dec-Mar", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:($16-$7) with lines title "Jul-Aug", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:($18-$2-$3+$14-$13) with lines title "Total (from Dec)"
pause -1 "Plot 1: UK Absolute Precipitation (Dec-Mar and Jul-Aug)"
#
#
set title "UK Absolute Precipitation (Standard Winter and Summer)"
set key left top
set xlabel "Year"
set ylabel "Millimetres Annual Precipitation"
plot [1900:2010][0:+1200] \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(($18)) with lines title "Total", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(($14)) with lines title "Winter", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(($16)) with lines title "Summer", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:($18-$2-$3+$14-$13) with lines title "Total (from Dec)"
pause -1 "Plot 2: UK Absolute Precipitation (Standard Winter and Summer)"
#
#
set title "UK Precipitation Proportional Change (%) WRT 1961-90 (Dec-Mar and Jul-Aug)"
set key left top
set xlabel "Year"
set ylabel "Percentage Change from\nAverage Annual Precipitation 1961..1990"
plot [1900:2010][-100:+100] \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(100*($18-906.5)/906.5) with lines title "Total", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(100*(($14+$4)-323.7)/323.7) with lines title "Dec-Mar", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(100*(($16-$7)-139.0)/139.0) with lines title "Jul-Aug", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(100*(($18-$2-$3+$14-$13)-906.5)/906.5) with lines title "Total (from Dec)"
pause -1 "Plot 3: Precipitation Proportional Change (%) WRT 1961-90 (Dec-Mar and Jul-Aug)"
#
#
set title "UK Precipitation Proportional Change (%) WRT 1961-90 (Standard Winter and Summer)"
set key left top
set xlabel "Year"
set ylabel "Percentage Change from\nAverage Annual Precipitation 1961..1990"
plot [1900:2010][-100:+100] \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(100*($18-906.5)/906.5) with lines title "Total", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(100*($14-250.5)/250.5) with lines title "Winter", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(100*($16-202.8)/202.8) with lines title "Summer", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(100*(($18-$2-$3+$14-$13)-906.5)/906.5) with lines title "Total (from Dec)"
pause -1 "Plot 4: Precipitation Proportional Change (%) WRT 1961-90 (Standard Winter and Summer)"
#
#
set title "UK Absolute Precipitation (Standard Winter and Summer)"
set key left top
set xlabel "Year"
set ylabel "Millimetres Annual Precipitation"
plot [1900:2010][0:+500] \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(($14)) with lines title "Winter", \
'ewrain_w01.txt' using 1:(($16)) with lines title "Summer"
pause -1 "Plot 5: UK Absolute Precipitation (Standard Winter and Summer)"
#
#

# File: ewrain_w01.txt
# Last modified: 2009/10/14
# Author: XXX
#
# GNUPLOT data file, which is an edited version of the file available at
# http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/seriesstatistics/ewrain.txt
#
# Edits just render comments onto '#' lines, adds line of column numbers,
# repeat column label comments, and put dummy value into column 14 of
# first plot line (for year 1914).
#
#
#England & Wales Rainfall (mm)
#Areal Series, starting from 1914
#Allowances have been made for topographic, coastal and urban effects where relationships are found to exist.
#The 30 year averages have been derived from 1km grids, whereas the rest of the values have been derived from 5km grids.
#Seasons: Winter=Dec-Feb, Spring=Mar-May, Summer=June-Aug, Autumn=Sept-Nov. (Winter: Year refers to Jan/Feb).
#Data is provisional from May 2008 & Spring 2008.
#
#Col1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
#Year JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC WIN SPR SUM AUT ANN
1914 50.9 87.0 115.8 32.3 47.1 56.6 97.1 63.9 48.1 62.4 110.3 190.8 328.7 195.2 217.6 220.8 962.3
#1914 50.9 87.0 115.8 32.3 47.1 56.6 97.1 63.9 48.1 62.4 110.3 190.8 --- 195.2 217.6 220.8 962.3
1915 105.3 129.0 36.2 37.3 64.3 33.3 123.0 76.2 39.4 71.4 73.5 182.7 425.1 137.8 232.5 184.3 971.6
1916 58.6 129.4 97.9 47.9 70.7 63.7 51.3 89.2 54.8 142.1 110.1 90.4 370.7 216.5 204.2 307.0 1006.1
1917 58.2 30.9 67.0 55.0 61.7 65.7 64.3 172.8 54.8 130.7 61.7 43.1 179.5 183.7 302.8 247.2 865.9
1918 90.1 67.8 39.2 56.0 57.7 31.5 110.1 60.7 186.2 72.1 67.3 123.2 201.0 152.9 202.3 325.6 961.9
1919 117.7 71.4 122.1 62.6 26.6 37.0 58.3 79.1 53.7 65.4 71.2 143.9 312.3 211.3 174.4 190.3 909.0
1920 111.3 49.9 91.0 119.0 75.2 61.9 133.1 48.0 69.0 67.8 45.3 91.4 305.1 285.2 243.0 182.1 962.9
1921 110.5 8.7 64.5 32.6 47.8 10.3 31.0 98.2 38.5 51.7 65.2 80.4 210.6 144.9 139.5 155.4 639.4
1922 107.2 95.0 69.6 77.4 33.2 39.6 119.0 96.6 80.6 33.1 47.1 118.7 282.6 180.2 255.2 160.8 917.1
1923 62.4 153.5 48.3 67.9 67.3 20.5 76.7 95.0 82.9 137.2 92.5 96.8 334.6 183.5 192.2 312.6 1001.0
1924 91.3 24.3 36.2 73.0 122.0 63.1 110.4 96.3 111.9 126.9 73.0 123.3 212.4 231.2 269.8 311.8 1051.7
1925 79.2 124.0 31.2 71.0 100.5 4.0 69.3 86.7 95.1 106.0 70.3 94.8 326.5 202.7 160.0 271.4 932.1
1926 110.6 78.3 24.5 65.4 67.1 73.0 73.6 71.5 53.9 86.6 162.1 23.3 283.7 157.0 218.1 302.6 889.9
1927 90.8 76.8 86.8 56.8 35.8 98.7 96.2 135.0 142.3 76.0 100.5 77.2 190.9 179.4 329.9 318.8 1072.9
1928 160.7 81.3 76.7 39.0 37.1 98.4 56.9 93.1 32.7 142.2 121.4 84.9 319.2 152.8 248.4 296.3 1024.4
1929 46.4 28.4 10.7 30.8 57.7 46.5 67.1 73.9 27.6 125.2 196.7 184.8 159.7 99.2 187.5 349.5 895.8
1930 131.4 23.7 64.7 71.3 57.0 37.7 108.6 108.4 109.0 98.8 125.1 100.0 339.9 193.0 254.7 332.9 1035.7
1931 78.9 81.3 21.9 89.9 87.6 95.2 108.9 115.7 72.2 35.4 137.0 46.7 260.2 199.4 319.8 244.6 970.7
1932 93.1 8.4 59.7 83.0 122.2 33.9 101.0 47.1 92.5 154.6 61.6 51.4 148.2 264.9 182.0 308.7 908.5
1933 69.3 96.5 74.1 35.4 53.2 57.4 60.0 31.7 53.2 105.0 44.8 25.7 217.2 162.7 149.1 203.0 706.3
1934 81.5 11.6 71.5 72.1 44.3 43.6 42.3 81.1 69.5 84.9 56.9 177.8 118.8 187.9 167.0 211.3 837.1
1935 43.3 102.6 25.4 98.6 33.1 95.5 23.3 58.1 136.2 131.7 143.2 90.8 323.7 157.1 176.9 411.1 981.8
1936 122.1 71.8 60.1 50.4 30.2 94.9 135.4 33.2 90.8 62.7 102.3 95.4 284.7 140.7 263.5 255.8 949.3
1937 125.9 135.9 87.3 77.3 71.5 41.6 64.1 39.1 61.9 80.0 49.6 93.9 357.2 236.1 144.8 191.5 928.1
1938 110.7 34.0 18.9 6.9 70.8 60.0 86.6 84.6 58.6 131.5 122.8 108.9 238.6 96.6 231.2 312.9 894.3
1939 154.3 60.5 57.9 64.0 31.0 62.8 133.1 72.9 31.9 111.3 154.6 60.1 323.7 152.9 268.8 297.8 994.4
1940 70.3 74.0 76.4 59.1 40.7 21.2 109.2 16.8 52.2 107.1 184.0 74.0 204.4 176.2 147.2 343.3 885.0
1941 83.8 97.1 86.4 39.9 59.8 33.3 70.8 116.8 19.8 83.7 79.9 53.8 254.9 186.1 220.9 183.4 825.1
1942 102.8 29.7 63.8 41.7 99.7 18.5 74.8 87.3 68.3 95.7 40.0 104.7 186.3 205.2 180.6 204.0 827.0
1943 148.7 49.1 25.9 36.8 82.8 62.1 55.8 85.7 88.6 86.4 67.9 51.4 302.5 145.5 203.6 242.9 841.2
1944 85.2 41.0 12.0 56.1 39.3 63.6 71.3 75.4 106.0 116.2 153.3 73.5 177.6 107.4 210.3 375.5 892.9
1945 80.5 82.0 34.8 43.7 80.2 81.6 65.5 69.1 64.1 105.9 17.9 99.1 236.0 158.7 216.2 187.9 824.4
1946 90.4 87.6 37.3 44.7 71.1 84.3 75.1 136.1 126.7 37.4 158.3 97.4 277.1 153.1 295.5 322.4 1046.4
1947 80.4 50.1 163.5 79.6 57.7 64.9 69.6 12.9 50.6 19.4 81.7 78.4 227.9 300.8 147.4 151.7 808.8
1948 176.7 50.2 39.3 51.9 65.5 92.1 46.0 114.2 75.4 75.0 57.3 114.2 305.3 156.7 252.3 207.7 957.8
1949 44.2 42.5 41.8 68.2 64.8 19.1 53.5 54.3 47.2 152.9 111.3 88.7 200.9 174.8 126.9 311.4 788.5
1950 38.1 141.6 41.8 73.3 50.9 46.9 98.5 124.8 132.7 46.7 143.5 69.2 268.4 166.0 270.2 322.9 1008.0
1951 92.8 109.8 111.6 71.6 78.3 32.4 48.7 128.7 83.7 31.5 179.8 103.8 271.8 261.5 209.8 295.0 1072.7
1952 86.5 25.5 71.5 58.9 66.1 54.9 34.9 103.2 87.2 106.3 90.3 86.8 215.8 196.5 193.0 283.8 872.1
1953 32.4 51.7 30.2 73.4 58.8 63.3 97.4 84.8 84.5 70.2 74.2 35.0 170.9 162.4 245.5 228.9 755.9
1954 63.6 81.8 76.1 16.6 77.2 88.7 88.7 120.4 93.8 129.5 169.1 93.0 180.4 169.9 297.8 392.4 1098.5
1955 81.5 60.8 54.5 35.9 101.3 85.1 27.8 28.2 51.4 71.4 61.4 107.8 235.3 191.7 141.1 184.2 767.1
1956 117.6 24.7 32.7 39.2 24.4 68.7 101.7 152.9 90.4 56.3 33.5 105.0 250.1 96.3 323.3 180.2 847.1
1957 78.0 93.8 71.0 9.9 46.5 49.1 108.4 105.2 127.5 78.0 60.9 79.3 276.8 127.4 262.7 266.4 907.6
1958 89.7 119.7 43.7 29.3 81.7 107.2 96.8 97.0 123.5 83.9 55.1 100.3 288.7 154.7 301.0 262.5 1027.9
1959 101.0 11.2 68.3 80.2 28.3 45.8 66.4 34.4 8.4 89.1 123.3 166.0 212.5 176.8 146.6 220.8 822.4
1960 127.0 83.1 49.1 48.1 42.0 49.5 111.7 106.5 110.0 166.9 150.9 111.9 376.1 139.2 267.7 427.8 1156.7
1961 112.9 69.6 15.3 95.4 37.9 37.8 66.2 80.7 76.4 116.6 60.6 95.5 294.4 148.6 184.7 253.6 864.9
1962 110.0 37.8 42.5 69.5 65.2 19.6 56.4 110.1 100.2 37.2 68.3 71.3 243.3 177.1 186.1 205.7 788.2
1963 28.1 32.1 101.9 78.4 51.8 81.0 53.2 98.2 68.7 59.5 155.2 28.6 131.5 232.2 232.4 283.4 836.8
1964 27.1 30.9 87.5 63.2 58.2 72.1 52.6 52.2 34.9 61.9 59.6 105.3 86.7 208.9 176.9 156.4 705.5
1965 100.2 15.9 69.9 60.6 61.0 71.6 96.2 70.3 131.3 34.3 104.2 165.4 221.4 191.5 238.1 269.8 981.0
1966 55.5 121.5 37.7 100.7 69.9 81.6 73.9 99.5 51.5 121.1 80.9 113.2 342.4 208.3 254.9 253.5 1007.0
1967 62.5 91.4 54.6 44.0 133.7 38.9 63.3 74.8 100.5 172.7 71.7 76.7 267.1 232.4 176.9 344.9 984.8
1968 81.8 44.1 61.2 64.2 73.0 82.9 97.1 65.3 141.5 93.1 67.6 78.1 202.6 198.3 245.3 302.2 949.9
1969 96.1 66.8 70.1 56.3 110.2 56.1 63.2 71.6 41.3 19.5 130.2 87.1 241.1 236.6 190.9 191.0 868.7
1970 108.8 83.9 62.1 86.3 23.7 43.4 70.5 79.2 66.6 62.8 167.6 50.7 279.8 172.2 193.1 297.0 905.5
1971 107.1 36.3 65.4 49.9 46.5 96.2 42.7 108.2 25.2 73.8 91.2 39.1 194.1 161.7 247.1 190.1 781.5
1972 100.9 74.3 76.4 69.0 74.0 77.2 55.1 37.0 39.3 34.9 103.2 109.1 214.3 219.4 169.3 177.4 850.5
1973 45.7 43.0 25.1 65.5 78.2 56.1 85.9 65.8 77.9 53.0 53.9 69.6 197.9 168.8 207.8 184.8 719.7
1974 129.2 104.7 44.7 13.2 40.4 63.0 75.9 88.6 143.1 90.0 122.8 81.3 303.5 98.3 227.4 355.9 996.9
1975 123.2 30.2 75.0 67.6 42.4 19.9 65.4 51.0 102.0 35.5 73.2 50.0 234.7 184.9 136.3 210.7 735.2
1976 61.3 41.9 46.5 20.1 62.0 18.1 30.6 25.3 147.9 148.3 81.9 87.8 153.2 128.5 74.0 378.1 771.7
1977 96.4 134.6 73.5 51.6 48.8 82.4 24.8 93.5 42.5 69.7 105.1 92.5 318.7 174.0 200.6 217.3 915.3
1978 109.3 79.1 81.9 48.4 40.4 59.8 83.8 64.7 55.2 18.8 62.3 161.7 280.9 170.7 208.2 136.2 865.3
1979 81.1 59.1 122.9 64.2 113.6 36.1 32.8 90.8 42.5 75.1 91.0 159.6 301.9 300.7 159.8 208.5 968.8
1980 75.9 90.7 98.8 16.7 29.0 117.4 64.2 88.6 65.9 128.1 90.5 81.5 326.2 144.5 270.2 284.5 947.3
1981 58.8 53.6 156.2 56.6 87.8 47.0 52.4 41.4 140.9 124.6 70.9 90.1 193.9 300.6 140.8 336.5 980.3
1982 76.3 48.6 100.6 22.4 42.3 117.2 34.4 83.9 78.7 117.4 126.1 104.9 215.0 165.4 235.6 322.1 952.9
1983 103.7 38.8 65.6 101.6 110.3 35.6 34.7 32.9 99.5 84.3 49.6 111.2 247.4 277.5 103.2 233.5 867.9
1984 142.7 56.6 58.5 10.4 58.3 42.7 25.9 56.9 114.8 98.8 142.8 79.2 310.5 127.1 125.4 356.4 887.4
1985 71.3 28.4 65.5 68.9 64.6 93.8 71.2 115.9 44.8 47.7 76.1 126.5 178.9 199.0 280.9 168.6 874.6
1986 119.8 16.5 78.5 82.7 85.2 42.0 54.1 115.8 24.1 95.2 122.4 142.0 262.8 246.4 212.0 241.6 978.2
1987 29.7 58.6 89.0 63.1 45.3 104.3 72.1 66.4 64.6 165.0 79.3 64.3 230.3 197.4 242.7 308.9 901.6
1988 153.0 63.4 101.8 40.2 58.9 38.4 127.5 84.1 62.7 88.8 47.8 45.1 280.6 200.9 250.0 199.3 911.7
1989 46.0 87.5 90.7 81.9 20.1 54.9 37.2 57.0 40.6 96.8 60.1 132.9 178.7 192.7 149.1 197.5 805.7
1990 131.3 140.7 22.7 38.1 24.2 70.7 34.2 46.2 52.2 101.0 65.9 99.5 404.9 85.0 151.1 219.1 826.7
1991 91.1 63.7 74.2 69.2 13.9 92.7 67.7 30.4 61.9 76.1 93.2 48.9 254.3 157.3 190.8 231.2 783.1
1992 47.8 46.3 83.5 72.3 48.0 38.2 81.6 127.7 90.9 83.1 136.8 82.3 143.1 203.7 247.5 310.7 938.5
1993 110.4 15.2 25.3 91.2 86.5 64.0 80.6 53.1 110.2 87.0 71.7 162.7 207.9 203.1 197.8 268.9 958.0
1994 119.8 79.7 93.4 72.1 59.8 35.5 45.1 69.8 102.5 94.7 83.7 137.9 362.2 225.4 150.5 280.9 994.2
1995 156.0 110.9 65.5 26.2 47.5 22.4 39.0 10.3 109.8 55.8 80.5 81.5 404.8 139.1 71.6 246.1 805.2
1996 62.1 81.6 42.1 49.3 56.0 29.1 40.6 78.7 33.7 88.3 124.5 51.7 225.2 147.4 148.4 246.4 737.6
1997 13.8 116.6 30.7 24.2 72.9 123.8 47.3 91.9 35.0 66.7 113.5 105.0 182.1 127.8 263.0 215.1 841.2
1998 116.0 22.7 96.5 121.8 32.5 124.3 58.5 50.2 92.3 161.1 83.9 90.9 243.7 250.8 232.9 337.3 1050.6
1999 133.9 51.3 70.9 74.9 57.6 82.0 24.1 103.0 119.0 81.9 64.2 151.1 276.0 203.4 209.1 265.1 1013.9
2000 54.5 96.1 38.0 132.5 83.8 47.6 62.3 66.4 121.5 180.1 174.8 136.6 301.7 254.3 176.3 476.4 1194.3
2001 74.2 96.3 91.3 98.1 42.5 41.9 74.0 86.1 81.3 131.6 67.7 44.3 307.0 231.9 202.0 280.6 929.2
2002 95.1 140.7 49.3 53.7 93.7 57.4 83.3 67.3 34.8 133.3 154.1 128.5 280.1 196.8 207.9 322.2 1091.3
2003 86.1 38.8 38.9 45.4 74.6 67.2 75.6 17.6 36.7 57.7 100.1 100.3 253.4 158.9 160.4 194.5 739.1
2004 124.0 58.8 53.9 78.5 45.8 58.5 68.5 148.9 65.9 148.5 52.6 69.2 283.1 178.3 275.9 267.0 973.1
2005 67.6 50.3 52.0 74.5 47.6 56.6 66.3 59.5 68.4 121.9 90.0 68.7 187.1 174.1 182.4 280.3 823.3
2006 35.0 56.3 93.5 46.0 109.5 25.6 43.1 90.2 74.9 117.7 110.2 129.8 160.0 249.0 158.8 302.8 931.8
2007 110.5 100.9 62.7 12.6 110.1 149.0 136.0 57.2 50.6 47.3 73.1 99.7 341.3 185.3 342.2 171.0 1009.7
2008 145.2 43.6 99.3 68.0 67.1 63.1 107.1 119.3 104.8 111.8 87.8 63.9 288.6 234.4 289.6 304.4 1081.1
#
#MIN 13.8 8.4 10.7 6.9 13.9 4.0 23.3 10.3 8.4 18.8 17.9 23.3 86.7 85.0 71.6 136.2 639.4
#MAX 176.7 153.5 163.5 132.5 133.7 149.0 136.0 172.8 186.2 180.1 196.7 190.8 425.1 300.8 342.2 476.4 1194.3
#6190 90.3 64.6 73.2 60.1 63.4 63.7 62.3 76.7 78.3 86.5 91.8 95.6 250.5 196.8 202.8 256.5 906.5
#7100 94.5 67.5 73.8 60.8 59.3 66.1 57.5 72.2 80.3 93.2 93.6 101.8 263.8 193.9 195.8 267.1 920.7
#
#Year JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC WIN SPR SUM AUT ANN
#Col1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Blogaction!

Posted by The Englishman at 10:22 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Beckett and Benn - Wasters

Defra squandering millions as Rural Payments Agency nears collapse - Times Online

Taxpayers are to be landed with a £622 million bill for bungled payments made to farmers after reform of the Common Agriculture Policy four years ago, according to the National Audit Office .

The scale of chaos and administrative failures at the Rural Payments Agency, which distributes £1.6 billion a year to English farmers, and lack of oversight by ministers is outlined today in one of the most damning audits produced by the public spending watchdog.
The inefficiencies are starkly illustrated by the estimated £1,743 cost to process each farmer’s claim for cash, a rise of 20 per cent in four years. This is six times the £285 cost for administering payments in Scotland.

The average amount paid to about 107,000 English farmers is £15,300 a year. However, the watchdog found that there were substantial overpayments — totalling between £55 million and £90 million — but the data was so unreliable that the auditors were unable to find out the precise sum. Some claims were validated 11 times by different officials and still the payments were wrong.
Many of the problems are due to the complicated payment system chosen by Margaret Beckett...
The latest study found that officials may again be keeping ministers in the dark over the true state of the payment process and the mistakes that are embedded in the expensive computer system.

Extra staff costs have already cost £304 million. About £280 million has been set aside to pay Brussels penalties for administrative errors and late payments to farmers. Costs for the IT services are already above forecasts. A contract with Accenture has cost £84 million for the past two years, yet the agency told MPs that it expected to spend £36 million in that period.
The NAO has found that some 100 Accenture staff are working full time for the agency with a salary of some £200,000 per person in the financial year 2008 to 2009....

It stops short of calling for heads to roll but raises serious questions over the future of the agency and the scrutiny of its operations by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Nick Herbert, Conservative Rural Affairs spokesman, called for a fundamental overhaul of the agency to “get a grip” on farm payments.

“Vast sums of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on excessive administration costs and fines to the EU, yet typically ministers who should be held accountable for this dismal state of affairs still refuse to accept their responsibility.”

Maybe if Defra and its ministers stopped waffling on about climate change and prosecuting farmers for ignoring the psychological needs of a cow and got on with doing their jobs we would all be better off.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Charity begins where?


Taxpayers set to hand Lloyds another £5bn - Scotsman.com News

Lloyds' charity covenant 'safe for nine years'
Hundreds of Scottish charities face an uncertain future after Lloyds said it was to cut its foundation's funding – which is worth at least £6 million a year – in the wake of the financial crisis.
Mary Craig, chief executive of the foundation, said the bank would need to give almost a decade's notice if it wanted to change its funding arrangements.
Ms Craig said: "The last thing we want is a public fight with the bank. We tried to avoid this.
"The bank can only get out of the covenant if they give nine years' notice."

Taxpayer gives to Lloyds who give to their foundation which doles out money to their favoured charities. I think I get it and that is why I always tell charity chuggers that I have already given.

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

The Arctic Ice Is Still All Going To Melt Real Soon - Consensus

The Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free and open to shipping during the summer in as little as ten years' time, a top polar specialist has said.
"It's like man is taking the lid off the northern part of the planet," said Professor Peter Wadhams, from the University of Cambridge.
Professor Wadhams has been studying the Arctic ice since the 1960s.
He was speaking in central London at the launch of the findings of the Catlin Arctic Survey.
Professor Wadhams said: "The Catlin Arctic Survey data supports the new consensus view - based on seasonal variation of ice extent and thickness, changes in temperatures, winds and especially ice composition - that the Arctic will be ice-free in summer within about 20 years, and that much of the decrease will be happening within 10 years.
"That means you'll be able to treat the Arctic as if it were essentially an open sea in the summer and have transport across the Arctic Ocean."

A new "consensus" view...Campaigners are taking this latest research to the Copenhagen climate conference in December in hope that the evidence will convince world leaders to take action in cutting carbon emissions.

I looked at the Catlin Website and only found their July report, is this an update since we now know that there was a "rebound" in ice area this summer. For the record here is their conclusion back in July.

Catlin Arctic Survey 2009 Ice Report – June 09
Some science partners of the Catlin Arctic Survey have suggested that the 2009 summer minimum ice extent may make a slight recovery on 2008. This is hinted at in the prediction of multi‐year ice extent ... And the seemingly thicker First Year Ice measured by the Catlin Arctic Survey team may also be connected to this.
If this is the case, it would be evidence against the tipping point theory and the more short term predictions of ZIC. It may be a rebound after a below average decline, but it should not be mistaken for the start of a long‐term recovery in Arctic Sea Ice.
The latest conclusions from the OUTLOOK group in 2008 suggest that the ice extent will decline in irreversible steps after each warmer summer, rather than following a tipping point, or exponential decline. If there does prove to be a summer minimum recovery in 2009, it should be considered in this context.

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

October 14, 2009

Global Warming Causes New Type of Rain

'Monsoon style' floods to hit Britain - Telegraph

Lord Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said Britain is experiencing a "new kind of rain" in the summer that is putting cities at increasing risk, especially London.

EWP_seasonal1.gif

More details of this type of rain are available here or if you want to play with a set of numbers go here

Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Brown Envelopes in Parliament

Gordon Brown's authority in crisis over MPs' expenses - Telegraph

The Prime Minister's own MPs began openly defying his call to pay back expenses claims, while some Cabinet ministers blamed him privately for allowing Sir Thomas Legg's investigation to run out of control.

If you are facing redundancy in May next year keeping a few grand in the back pocket is a sensible idea. What's he going to do about it anyway?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Slash History


Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who wrote the code that transformed a private computer network into the web two decades ago, has finally come clean about the about the infuriating // that internet surfers have cursed so frequently. What is the point of the two forward slashes that sit directly infront of the “www” in every internet website address?
The answer, according to the British scientist who created the world wide web, is that there isn’t one.

Now browsers automatically put them and the http in we tend to forget them but in the early days of t'internet they were important. I had an internet company called http://www Ltd which we sold back in 1996.
The problem with the slash was no one could agree the name and then some geeky guy would start calling it a Solidus and another even geekier guy would respond...
The names solidus and shilling mark have the same background. In the Commonwealth of Nations, before decimalisation, currency sums in pounds, shillings, and pence were abbreviated using the '£' symbol, the 's.' symbol, and the 'd.' symbol (collectively £sd) referring to the libra, the solidus, and the denarius. The 's.' was at one stage written using a long s, ∫ that was further abbreviated to the ⁄ symbol, and suppression of the 'd.'; thus '2 pounds, 10 shillings, and 6 pence', often written as £2 ⁄ 10 ⁄ 6 (as an alternative to '£2 10s. 6d.'), and '6 shillings' would often be written as 6 ⁄ -. This usage caused the names solidus (given the abbreviation's historical root) and shilling mark to be used as names for this character.
The solidus is used in the display of ratios and fractions as in constructing a fraction using superscript and subscript as in 123 ⁄ 456 , or on the same level as in 23 ⁄ 50.
The solidus is similar to another punctuation mark, the slash, which is found on standard keyboards; the slash is closer to being vertical than the solidus. These are two distinct symbols that have entirely different uses. However, many people do not distinguish between them, and when there is no alternative it is acceptable to use the slash in place of the solidus.
Typographers should note that both the ISO and Unicode designate the solidus as FRACTION SLASH U+2044 and the slash as SOLIDUS U+002F. This contradicts long-established English typesetting terminology.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 13, 2009

The Cost of Green Motoring

UK Government: Per Mile Tax Would Solve Global Warming

A UK government group today released a proposal that would impose a per-mile tax on motorists to rescue the planet from an imagined catastrophe.
"Evidence in this report suggests that road pricing would result in a significant emissions reduction (e.g. around 6 MtCO2 in 2020) if there were no offsetting reductions in other aspects of transport pricing (i.e. fuel duty, vehicle excise duty)," the report explained. "The committee recommends therefore that the government should seriously consider road pricing."
.. In addition, the group proposed reducing the national 70 MPH highway speed limit to 60 MPH and using GPS-enabled devices to cut off power to engines attempting to exceed existing limits.

"Given that the 70 mph speed limit is an existing policy, the committee believes that the government should seriously consider enforcing this, either through the current enforcement mechanism, or through rolling out Intelligent Speed Adaptation technology to both new and existing cars," the report explained.

Another 4.6 million drivers would be forced to go through "eco training." Taxpayers would also heavily subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles and the new infrastructure that would be required to recharge them. The report explained that batteries for an electric vehicle with an 80-mile range cost $13,000, while those of a vehicle with a 200-mile range cost $42,000. As most consumers would refuse to spend such a premium, the report recommended £9.8 billion (US $15 billion) in subsidies to promote the technology.

"Implementation of the required measures to achieve budgets would in some instances save people and businesses money and in total cost less than one percent of GDP," the report explained.

In other words, the whole suite of CCC proposals would cost the British economy a total of $26,800,000,000. Chapter six of the report is excerpted in a 4mb PDF file here.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Video Times

Soaring CCTV cameras ‘are costly, futile and politically motivated’

CCTV fails to cut crime and the technology needs to be curbed in Scotland, where the number of cameras has almost doubled in the past six years, a leading academic has said.
Mike Press, who has spent the past decade studying how design can contribute to crime reduction, told The Times that the expensive policy is politically motivated and ineffectual. He also warned that it can have the opposite effect of that intended, by giving citizens a false sense of security and encouraging them to be careless with property and personal safety.
“We should, as a society, question why we have got it,” said the professor of design policy at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. “Our civil liberties have been crushed and trampled upon and compressed and this is part of that. We have yet to see it have any positive impact. I think we should have a moratorium on it.”

And not just in Scotland.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

He made them, high or lowly, And ordered their estate.

Dr Rowan Williams: 'Dig for victory over climate change and grow your own food

Dr Williams said he recognised that many jobs in developing countries depended on exports of fresh produce, but it was a mistake to encourage those countries to base their economies on unsustainable practices.
“I don’t want to create an instant crisis in those economies but that’s the direction, a steady move away from it. You want to ask what is it doing long term to a Kenyan economy that becomes dependent on what are effectively cash crops for export.”
He said that Britain had to get back in touch with the “natural rhythms of the seasons ... the fact that the Earth turns, things grow here and not there, now and not then”. He added: “More people ought to have allotments. It’s part of reconnecting — the sense of connectedness to natural processes.”
The Archbishop was playing his part, he said, by consuming vegetables from a plot in Lambeth Palace. His family also received regular deliveries of locally grown produce.

That's nice, The Bishop in his Palace has his food delivered to him but the serfs should scrabble in the mud for their turnips through the winter. A return to the natural order of things. And of course we don't want those brown chappies to get used to selling stuff for cash and raising themselves out of poverty when we have a stockpile of Christian Aid goats to send them do we?

And today's hymn is:

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Peril in the Valleys

Flock of sheep bursts into flames after gas leak in Jordan - Telegraph

I think I've got that video, bought it at a carboot sale near one of Jacqui Smith's residences, they should have used more lubricant.

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

A Trafigura Scandal

Guardian Gagged from Reporting Parliament - Guy Fawkes' blog reports on an extraordinary turn of events, so extraordinary that Iain and others ask bloggers to highlight it.

I have kept away from Trafigua stories because many years ago I used to know a couple of the founders, and only last year enjoyed a drink with one. So my opinion is biased.
I had found a friend a job with them and was angling to give up my life of being drunk on the farm and joining the trading community. I even got to know one of their PAs well enough to give her a kitten, my intentions weren't just work orientated... And then one of the bastards shagged her on the board room table.
I dusted my hands of them and returned to a happy life of being drunk on the farm. Now this opprobrium has crashed around their billionaire lifestyles with model wives in gorgeous homes around the world I bet they are sorry...
I know I am.

(They are watching us....Blog post 6:28 am - read via a Google alert for Trafigura at 6:36 am, stiff letter to follow at?)

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

October 12, 2009

Tonight I have mainly been boning my leather

boning%20boots.jpg

Traditional deer bones are available here if you don't have a dead deer handy, though the bone I use is a home grown pig bone.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

MPs Return - Video News

The Press Association: Expenses row rages on as MPs return

MPs are returning to Westminster after the long summer break to find the expenses row still rumbling on.

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

Taxpaying Woooos

Why I love paying tax
Caitlin Moran
Every time I write out a gigantic cheque to the Inland Revenue, I get a bit excited. Woooo! I go. What a seriously grown-up thing to be doing! It’s like drinking whisky, buying an engagement ring or chopping down a tree... On this basis alone, I find it exhilarating. I kind of want it to hurt a bit. I feel like The Joker facing down Batman: “Come on — stick National Insurance on top of it! I can handle it! VAT me! VAT ME!”
But you know what would, in a single stroke, make tax-paying much more popular in this country?
A receipt. After all, whenever I’ve just blown £227 in Waitrose and feel a bit alarmed by it, it’s oddly comforting to read through the receipt and say to myself, “but at least I have a lot of yoghurt now”. Similar comfort would be experienced by the taxpayer if, in exchange for a large cheque, one was simply issued with a print-out of what you’d just bought yourself: £2,000 for the NHS, £600 for streetlights, £2 for Prince Andrew, etc.

And of course, once you’ve got a receipt, it’s much easier to claim a refund . . .

On that I can agree, if we could see what we were buying there would be a queue round the block to the refund counter.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Smart Spy in every home

Smart meters could be 'spy in the home' - Telegraph

Smart meters could become a 'spy in the home' by allowing social workers and health authorities to monitor households, adding to concern at Britain's surveillance society.

The devices pave the way for a national 'smart grid', backed by David Cameron's Conservatives, which would use the data to manage national demand more efficiently and advise households when it is cheapest to switch on appliances.
In its impact assessment, however, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says there "is theoretically scope... for using the smart metering communications infrastructure to enable a variety of other services, such as monitoring of vulnerable householders by health authorities or social services departments."
It adds: "Information from smart meters could also make it possible for a supplier to determine when electricity or gas was being used in a property and, to a degree, the types of technology that were being used within the property. This could be used to target energy efficiency advice and offers of measures, social programmes etc to householders."

" theoretically scope" means "will definitely" - another reason to invest in your own generator...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:25 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 11, 2009

Larry Moran defends The Faith

Sandwalk: Average Annual Global Temperatures and IDiots
Larry Moran Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.
Here's a chart of the average annual global temperature change over the past 150 years. I don't know about you, but to me there seems to be a bit of a trend.
The highest recorded temperature was in 1998 and last year the temperature was 0.08ー lower than the year before. Nobody with an IQ over 50 thinks that the temperature has to increase every single year in order to demonstrate global warming.
tmp.jpg
Speaking of IQ, the BBC "climate correspondent" just wrote an article for BBC News: What happened to global warming?.
....
It's actually not quite as bad an article as it sounds. There's some interesting discussion about short-term trends and how to predict them. Unfortunately the author leaves the impression that global warming may not be caused by humans. In seven of the past eight years the global temperature has been higher than it has ever been except for 1998. Isn't that worth mentioning?
The interesting thing about this is that the exact quotation above is presented on Uncommon Descent (a creationist website) under the same scary title: What happened to global warming?. There's no additional information to put the headline into context.
Why is there a correlation between the rejection of evolution and the rejection of other scientific discoveries? Isn't it obvious? The IDiots are not in the business of promoting the scientific theory of Intelligent Design Creationism. Their goal is to discredit science and they'll try anything at all to advance that goal.

I hope Prof Moran is better at Biochemistry than he is at logic. I know it is slightly different on the left side of the pond but I don't see much correlation between creationist IDiots and Sceptics over here. Over here there is more of a correlation between people who reject faith based creationism and those who demand to see the evidence of Man Made Global Warming. But even if there is a 100% correlation over in Toronto it is not relevant as to whether it is unfortunate to question whether Global Warming is man made.

And his graph is one of the pieces of evidence that opens up that question. How does the pattern of that graph correlate to CO2 emissions? Very poorly. Others may argue it correlates better with sun spots or hem lines. Or maybe it is just a natural warming that is going on? Maybe the human influence on a natural process is only marginal?
The scientific position is to always be sceptical and question and reject faith led pronouncements.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:42 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 10, 2009

Blair shaken.

Blair denounced by father of soldier killed in Kuwait
Peter Brierley, whose son Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley was killed in an accident in Kuwait in March 2003, told Mr Blair at the Guildhall: “I am not shaking your hand. You have got blood on it.” Onlookers said that Mr Blair was led away looking visibly shaken.


Posted by The Englishman at 12:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Very Late Friday Night is Music Night (Birthday Girl Request Edition)

Don't ask, just enjoy...

Posted by The Englishman at 12:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 9, 2009

Friday Night is Music Night (All the Mod Cons Edition)

From the album All The Mod Cons - H/t to commentator Jim for the tip.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

4 out of 5 Guardian Readers would repeal the Hunting Ban

Would you support the repeal of the law banning hunting?
78.6% Yes
21.4% No

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

Peace Prize

On my way to an appointment I drove through Wootton Basset today. The crowds were beginning to line the street behind the Honour Guard of the RAF Regiment. There were the flags and blazers of the British Legion, leatherclad bikers in a group, and families with arms round each other.

Mum's tears as heroes bodies are flow home to Wiltshire (From This Is Wiltshire)

The mother of a British squaddie broke down in tears and cried: ''I just want my baby back'' as his body was repatriated to Wiltshire from Afghanistan today.

Guardsman Jamie Janes, 20, died in an explosion as he tried to clear a way for his comrades in the troubled Helmand Province on October 5.

His body was arrived home alongside that of Acting Corporal Marcin Wojtak, of 34 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment.

Ironically, they were repatriated on the day Barack Obama - commander in chief of the American-led war - was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

I turned the news off on the car radio in disgust.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

David Cameron and all the Mod Cons

BBC - Newsnight: Michael Crick: What's in a party name?
... how often he used the term "Modern Conservatives", and used it as a means of showing the modernised Cameron party is much more compassionate and inclusive than Conservative Party of Margaret Thatcher and others....
Indeed the thought occurred to me - is the phrase being tested? And might "Modern Conservatives" be slowly adopted as the party's unofficial title in the run-up to the election?

Mod Cons? Brave rebranding or a step too far? But worth a punt on buying up variations of it..

www.modcons.org.uk and www.themodcons.org.uk coing to a browser near you soon...

Posted by The Englishman at 11:07 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Scare tactics to push for higher prices

Climate change sceptics are to be targeted in a hard-hitting government advertising campaign that will be the first to state unequivocally that Man is causing global warming and endangering life on Earth.

The £6 million campaign, which begins tonight in the prime ITV1 slot during Coronation Street, is a direct response to government research showing that more than half the population think that climate change will have no effect on them.

Ministers sanctioned the campaign because of concern that scepticism about climate change was making it harder to introduce carbon-reducing policies such as higher energy bills.

The advert is here, don't blame me if you punch the screen.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:09 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Cameron Speech - The Boy Done Well

Well, not mad but impressed.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Costless Green Jobs


Cost of going green: £7,000 a home - Scotsman.com News

IT WILL cost £16 billion to make homes in Scotland energy- efficient over the next decade, according to a new report....
Elizabeth Leighton, senior policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: " Scotland's homes account for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore making them low-carbon is key to Scotland achieving its 42 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.
"Improving home energy efficiency is a win for not only for carbon savings but for lifting people out of fuel poverty and creating thousands of green jobs.
"The £16 billion price tag sounds a massive sum, but it would be spread over a decade and the cash will come from a mix of sources including energy companies and householders as well as the public purse."

Create lots of new jobs and the poor old householders won't have to pay for them because the money will come from the energy companies and the public purse!
Stick to the wrestling love until you grasp the simplest basics of how the economy works.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 8, 2009

The Green Religion

Climate change beliefs 'like religeon' (From Oxford Mail)

An executive sacked from one of the UK's biggest property companies began his defence today of an employment tribunal decision that he can claim he was unfairly dismissed because of his belief in climate change.
Tim Nicholson, 42, from Oxford, says his views on the environment are so strong that they led to clashes with other senior staff at Grainger plc.
But the ruling is being challenged by Grainger on the grounds that green views are not the same as religious or philosophical beliefs.
Representing the company, John Bowers QC said: "A philosophical belief must be one based on a philosophy of life, not a scientific belief, not a political belief or opinion, not a lifestyle choice, not an environmental belief and not an assertion of disputed facts."
Mr Nicholson claims that his views on climate change affect his whole lifestyle.
In a witness statement to the previous hearing, he said: "I have a strongly held philosophical belief about climate change and the environment.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Times Green Lies

Watts Up picks up on the Northeast passage story

One newspaper is making the most of this “first ever event”, according to a story in the UK Register:

The Times has liberally papered London underground carriages with a fascinating new ad campaign. One poster shows a ship navigating some treacherous icy waters, with the accompanying copy reading:

Climate change has allowed the Northeast Passage to be used as a commercial shipping route for the first time.

times_climate_change_northeastern_fail.jpg

According to the ad copy:

To help you navigate the changing world we have more dedicated science and environment correspondents than the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail or Independent.

Only one problem: The Northeast Passage has been opened for commerce since 1934 – and never ‘closed’.

Readers, especially those in the UK, I’d like to make a suggestion. Let the Times know they screwed up, not only for the journalistic failure, but also for the touting of the failure as advertising. Letters to the editor, letters to the managements, and to the advertising office might be a good start. If nobody calls them on it, they’ll never learn.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/tools_and_services/services/contact_us/

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/tools_and_services/services/advertising/

There’s also the UK Advertising Standards Authority, that works to keep advertising legal, decent, honest and truthful. The ad being run by the Times is failing most of those points. Here’s where you can complain:

http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/how_to_complain/


What I find interesting is that none of the other papers have picked up on their competitors ignorance, obviously staying within the green camaraderie is more important than humiliating your rival...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

In the dark is green still green?

Environmental activists claimed a major victory last night when plans for Britain’s first new coal-fired power station for 30 years were shelved after a sustained campaign.
An E.ON spokeswoman admitted that the delay meant the existing plant at Kingsnorth would stop generating electricity before a new one alongside it could open. She said: “The recession will buy everyone a lot of time to iron out details. The plant was going to open around 2012-13 but we are not going to make a decision on whether to open it for two to three years and it would then take around four years to build.” She said that the future of carbon capture and storage CCS, which is extremely expensive and has yet to be shown to work commercially anywhere in the world, partly depended on the price of permits to emit carbon.

A green victory - it might not have been their naked stunts that stopped it but it is their stupid theology that ramped up the costs. When the lights go out we know who to blame.

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

French Culture

Frédéric Mitterrand, France’s culture minister, was under pressure to resign after it emerged that he had admitted to paying “young boys” for sexual acts while on holiday in Thailand.
“I got into the habit of paying for boys...All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market excite me enormously.
“One could judge this abominable spectacle from a moral standpoint but it pleases me beyond the reasonable.”
Mr Mitterrand, who joined the cabinet in June, was considered a great catch for Mr Sarkozy and proof of his “open” style of government; the minister comes from a grand Socialist family and is admired by many in the Left-wing cultural establishment. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the first lady, was said to have had a hand in his nomination.

Only under pressure to resign, and fighting back against it. After all this revelation was in his autobiography that he published a few years ago and no one raised a squeak about it then. That's european sophistication for you...

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

October 7, 2009

Conservative party conference: full coverage

Conservative party conference: full coverage - Telegraph

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
No, no

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Posted by The Englishman at 10:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Coombe Bissett Speeding

An update on the Coombe Bissett speeding case I am facing. I still have a few days to roll over and pay the fine or I can go to court.
I think the email trail below shows my thinking and may be of interest to others.

(Just in case let me make clear I'm not a lawyer and you shouldn't rely on my opinions, especially if you get caught in Coombe Bissett and want to claim you drove in via the Old Blandford Road...)

To Nick Blencowe (Acting Inspector in charge of Wiltshire Speed Cameras)

Please could you confirm to me the speed limit in force on The Old Blandford Road in Coombe Bissett - Map reference SU098238 to SU108264 When it leaves the A354 at the southern end it is a Byway Open to All Traffic without illumination or any signage so I believe it is 60mph (for cars, other vehicles as usual) As it approaches the village it transforms into a tarmac road, still without illumination or any signage.
On inspecting it today I was unable to spot any Terminator signs for the 30 limit that is in the village. Please also confirm that this entrance to the village either has no signage or where they are.

Thank you

(Nick kindly inspected the road and replied by phone that there are no terminator signs there.)

My Notes:
The speed limit in Coombe Bisset must be set by a TRO because they have repeater signs, and it is illegal to have 30 repeater signs on an illumiated road that is automatically a 30.
I entered the village via The Old Blandford Road from outside the TRO area.
There are no paired signs there to indicate the start of a restricted area as required.
It is a Byway Open to All Traffic which means it is a highway with all the rights and obligations of any other highway.
It is not a cul-du-sac as it opens onto a non restricted highway at the southern end.
Absence of signs is a valid defence.
http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/faq.htm?id=52 gives some more details Wilts Safety Camera team should remember the A303 Folly Bottom pre-trial review hearing at Salisbury Magistrates Courts on 17 February 2005 where they had to withdraw speeding prosecutions because of inadequate signage.
I would hope they would want to avoid a repeat of that case.

Dear Ms Butcher (Officer in charge of Conditional Offers)

I'm surprised to receive a COFP from you today. As your literature makes clear about the COFP - "mistakes can be very costly and result in a loss of revenue upon which the Unit depends."
You will also be aware that the WSCP made a costly mistake on A303 at Folly Bottom in 2005 because of inadequate signage.
Coombe Bissett also has inadequate signage;

If you enter Coombe Bissett via The Old Blandford Road, a highway classified as a BOAT which isn't a cul-du-sac but comes from the main A road south of the village there are no paired terminal speed limit signs:


Direction 8 of Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002
states:
2) In accordance with the following provisions of this direction and the provisions of direction 9, appropriate signs to which this direction applies shall be placed to indicate the point at which a restriction, requirement, prohibition or speed limit app lying to traffic on a road (in this direction and in direction 9 called the "relevant road") begins.
(3) Subject to paragraphs (4), (5) and (6) and to direction 9, a sign to which this direction applies shall be placed on the relevant road at or as near as practicable to the point referred to in paragraph (2) -
(a) where the relevant road has only one carriageway, on each side of that carriageway...

Quite clearly The Old Blandford Road entrance to Coombe Bissett fails this Direction of having a 30 sign on "each side of that carriageway"
"at or as near as practicable to" where the speed limit begins.

The speed limit is unenforceable.

Let's try to avoid another costly mistake and embarrassment.


Nick Blencowe's reply:
I do not accept that the 30 mph speed limit on the A354 at Coombe Bisset is unenforceable due to lack of signage on the Old Blandford Road By-way. As I explained, I have referred the matter for expert opinion to clarify the situation but it is my belief that there is sufficient information to make road users joining the A354 at that point, aware of the 30 mph restriction.

My Reply:
I'm not a lawyer so I will forward your email to my solicitor for his comments but your reference to "sufficient information" brings to mind Coombes v DPP [2006] EWHC 3263 (Admin) (20 December 2006)
URL: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2006/3263.html where the Court emphasised that the test of signage was one of "adequate guidance".

However Paragraph 15 of the judgement reads:
The direction for the placement of the traditional roadside speed limit signs is Direction 8. This requires the placement of traditional signs (670) on each side of the carriageway at the point at which the speed restriction starts.

Paragraph 26 makes clear that the Judge did not express any view as to whether in this case the relevant obligation to erect and maintain traffic signs in such positions as may be requisite in order to give effect to the Directions was fulfilled or not.

So I think we can see that Coombes shows that paired signs are required even though in that case it was not a material fact.

I wouldn't therefore expect you to rely on Coombes for any precedent that signage merely has to be adequate when the judge clearly sets out a requirement that wasn't followed.

----

A second reply in response to a phone call from Nick:

Thank you for drawing my attention to the Shersby speeding case in Sussex.
Reading the judgement by Judge Roger Ede I think it is good news for all of us.

Mr Shersby argued that the speed limit was unenforceable because minor roads leading onto the stretch of road he was caught on didn't have terminal signs. However he admitted he hadn't entered the area by those entrances and had actually passed a pair of terminal signs.

The Judge said: " he was "not concerned with the case with the hypothetical case of a motorist who may have entered the speed restriction imposed by the Order without having passed requisite signs" and that "I see nothing inequitable or unfair in my taking this approach as the hypothetical motorist I have referred to may well have a defence to a charge of speeding if what Mr Shersby says is true. But that would be for another court on another day to decide on that case's own facts. As a consequence, I do not consider it necessary for me to decide whether the other routes referred to by Mr Shersby were roads or not or had the requisite signs or not"

From that I think you can take the message that even though the entrance to the Coombe Bissett speed limit via the Old Blandford Road doesn't have the required terminal signs it doesn't necessarily mean that the speed limit is unenforceable for vehicles that enter it along the main road where there are signs. So by dropping my case you would not be opening the floodgates to similar cases.
And of course it is quite obvious that the Shersby finding is no precedent as I did enter the area through an unsigned entrance.

Mr Shersby also passed up to seven repeater signs whereas the survey of Coombe Bissett from the Old Blandford Road entrance shows that the first repeater sign is at the junction and is side on to emerging traffic and so unnoticeable. The second sign, on the east side of the road, is in a hedge, a hedge that has been cut back and the sign spruced up since the date in question, and the third sign, on the west side of the road, is at the lay-by where the camera van was parked, again the sign has been improved and being on the opposite side of the road it would be hidden by oncoming traffic. So the argument of adequate signage doesn't apply either.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 6, 2009

Anyone But Brown

A Times Populus poll suggests that the Tories may only be doing well under David Cameron because of Labour’s unpopularity

Cameron is a plus, but support for Labour is rooted in dislike for Tories - Times Online *

68 per cent still believe that the party does not seem to have changed much under Mr Cameron and is doing better “mainly just because the Labour Government has become so unpopular”.
That ties in with an earlier Populus poll indicating that about 30 per cent of Tory voters are doing so as a vote against Labour, and only 30 per cent as a positive vote for the party. Forty per cent say that it is a bit of both.

All that wonkery, marketing and brand placement and yet all they actually need to say is "We are Not Labour" to have the same impact. You would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

*
(That's The Times headline and while it does point out that applies in the soggy left the main thrust is how support for the Tories is rooted in a dislike for Labour - I think the sub has it mixed up.)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Europe - a small union far away of which we know little

Nasty or nice? David Cameron needs a clear blue message
Support for the Tories is fragile. If voters believe that the leader cannot keep the Right in check, they will desert him
Rachel Sylvester

The rows over Europe matter because they reinforce the view that these are the “same old Tories” who are self-indulgently obsessing about their private concerns.

Europe is not a self-indulgent private obsession, it is not a how many angels on a pin head row it is the biggest bloody question are politicians are faced with and wanting to sweep it under the carpet so it doesn't frighten the voters is pathetic.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Snoopers Game

The internet is about to get a new reality game, known as Internet Eyes, that already has civil rights groups up in arms on account of the fact that you’ll be cast as a ‘remote snooper’ who’ll get paid cash for spotting real crimes via CCTV cameras installed in shops and shopping centres through out the UK.
The Internet Eyes internet ‘game’, which is the brainchild of David Steele, Tony Morgan and James Woodward, and which is set to be rolled out across Britain by December, with a worldwide rollout following in 2010, will pay out up to a purported £1,000 should users report crimes, via SMS, seen via live CCTV streams streamed directly via the Internet Eyes site to their computers at home with then ‘game’ awarding points for confirmed crimes and deducting points for mis-reports.
Civil rights groups, as you’d except, aren’t in the least bit happy and claim that Internet Eyes will ‘encourage people to spy and snitch on each other’ which, pinch me if I’m wrong, is the whole premise of the game, isn’t it? (10 points there for stating the bleeding obvious).

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

October 5, 2009

Manchester Fudge

Too late for the Tories: Czechs dash hopes of delaying EU treaty - Times Online

Vaclav Klaus: "I am afraid that the people of Britain should have been doing something really much earlier and not just now, too late, saying something and waiting for my decision"

The loyal Tory bloggers will be saying "don't rock the boat" "victory isn't certain" "Dave has given a clear commitment and it is unreasonable to have two policies at once".
Bollocks.
Dave's promise is a cop out. We all know the it is almost certain that the Treaty will have been ratified before he gets in power. That is one of the reasons the Blairites are keeping Brown in power and encouraging the poor old chap to keep on right to the end. So refusing to discuss the likely outcome is a cowardly cop out. I don't blame him because he has a split party and his lust for power means he can't do the honourable thing and use the conference for debate rather than acclamation.
So while some may hold their noses and pretend all is right with the Tories I won't and will join with others and declare "NO REFERENDUM ... NO VOTE"

Posted by The Englishman at 6:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Closed Shop

Unregulated legal fringe is risk to public, says Lord Hunt of Wirral
Consumers are at increasing risk from a growing “fringe legal market” in will writing, probate work and claims handling, says a report due out today.
In the report seen by The Times, Lord Hunt calls for an extension of the regulatory “net” to any area of activity where “consumers currently enjoy no regulatory protection”. He adds: “I perceive a serious breach of both the public and the consumer interest in any area of activity that looks or ‘smells’ like a reserved activity but is allowed to go unregulated.”

Back to the old days when you couldn't just pick up a will pack or tenancy agreement in WH Smiths and the simplest contract had to be considered by your local solicitor for several hours before he would have it drawn up. Now why would a lawyer recommend to a bunch of lawyers that only lawyers be allowed to do all legal work?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Arctic Ocean Litmus Test

Arctic Ocean acid 'will dissolve shells of sea creatures within 10 years' - Telegraph

Waters around the North Pole are absorbing carbon dioxide at such a rate that they will soon start dissolving the shells of living sea creatures.
The potentially disastrous consequences for the food chain have been highlighted by Professor Jean-Pierre Gattuso of the National Centre for Scientific Research in France.
Their forecasts suggest that by 2018, 10 per cent of the ocean will be corrosively acidic, rising to 50 per cent in 2050. By 2100 the entire Arctic Ocean will be inhospitable to shellfish, they predict.
"Over the whole planet, there will be a threefold increase in the average acidity of the oceans, which is unprecedented during the past 20 million years,"

"corrosively acidic" "dissolving the shells" "threefold increase in the average acidity" - It's going to turn into battery acid!

I can't find his research but an article he is lead author of updated on 3rd October 2009 says the pH of the Oceans was 8.18 in pre industrial times, 8.09 in 1990, projected to be 7.93in 2065 and 7.84 in 2100. So not quite Haighian Acid Bath that the Telegraph science writer suggests.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 4, 2009

Irish Surrender

Deep down, the Irish have never really wanted to be independent

Far to the land of slaves and fens;
A servile race in folly nursed,
Who truckle most when treated worst.
- Dean Swift

Posted by The Englishman at 7:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Scottish Jobs For Scottish Workers


Hero Shinwell 'incited racist Clydeside mob' - Scotsman.com News

His hallowed status in Labour history may be tarnished by new revelations unearthed by Stirling University historian Dr Jacqueline Jenkinson. "Manny Shinwell was one of those who campaigned to stop black sailors getting work. His radical seamen's union, the BSU, openly banned black members. It was felt they were keeping Scots out of jobs when they returned from service in the First World War, and lowering wages."
"Shinwell gave quite inflammatory speeches in which he condemned the employment of black sailors in the merchant fleet."
"He played a celebrated role in the protest in George Square on 31 January 1919. But just a week before, on 23 January, he also played a key role in a very violent attack on 30 African sailors. "
"Newspaper reports tell how he spoke to 600 sailors and it was quite a rabble-rousing speech about black and what he called Asiatic, or Chinese, sailors. This led to around 30 black sailors being chased by a baying mob down James Watt Street. They tried to take refuge in a sailors' retreat in Broomielaw, but the mob smashed all the windows and they were turned out on to the street."
Some of the black sailors were attacked and they fought back with guns, shooting one of the mob. One black sailor was singled out and attacked with knives, leaving him with a gaping wound in his back. The police eventually stepped in and arrested the black sailors, with the wounded man taken to court before being allowed hospital treatment.
Fellow historians have supported Jenkinson's view that discrimination against black sailors on Clydeside has been "glossed over".
Professor Elaine McFarland, a specialist in modern Scottish history at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "Red Clydeside does have this dark, racist underbelly, and there has been a reluctance to expose it.
"It may be due to the political leanings of some historians, but there has been a sentimental view of those who took part in Red Clydeside.
"

Scratch any socialist and there is a racist National Socialist not far under the surface.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Squeezing us dry

Treasury to miss out on billions over 50% tax - Times Online

The Chancellor said last week that the 50p income tax rate for those earning more than £150,000 would raise £1.1 billion, but figures revealed yesterday suggest that he expects to lose £2.5 billion as many of the 350,000 higher earners take action to avoid, through legal means, paying the rate by working fewer hours or moving abroad.
It emerged yesterday that HM Revenue & Customs was preparing to spend a quarter of its £4 billion budget to crack down on tax evasion, but accountants said that that would do little to validate the 50p tax rate. Angela Beech, a tax partner with Blick Rothenberg, the accountant, said: “Some of our clients are already talking about leaving the country, while others are looking to retire early or cut their hours to reduce their income.”
However, the Treasury expects the tax take to rise from 31 per cent to 38 per cent in 2011, when new rules will make pension contributions much less tax efficient.

You can only milk a cow for so long before she gets fed up and kicks the cluster off.

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

Smart Meter's Dumb Idea

Smart energy meters in homes could be hacked - Telegraph

Experts say the compulsory monitors, designed to reduce energy consumption, could be programmed to cripple the national grid or to steal valuable household data, breaching the privacy of millions.
They also pave the way for a national 'smart grid', backed by David Cameron's Conservatives, which would use the data to manage national demand more efficiently and advise households when it is cheapest to switch on appliances.
However, smart meters can be infected with a 'worm'...

And the worm's name is Miliband - remember the purpose of these meters is to enable the man in Whitehall to control your electricity usage "advising you when to switch on appliances", that's advice with their finger on the switch, turning down the juice when the wind turbines don't work, rationing you to one bar on your fire...

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

October 2, 2009

Friday Night is Music Night (Spot the Star Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 1:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Message to All Fenian Scum from An Englishman

Are you going to roll over today and let the foreigners take over your country? I thought you had more balls and pride and fighting spirit than play at being the politician's poodles. Where's your fucking fighting spirit gone? All that talk of honouring the heroes who fought for Independence is so much guff when your masters in Brussels wave a few euros at you.

"From Devoy to O'Neill and John O'Mahoney, To Joe McGarritty and Michael Flannery, Sedition's our tradition and it won't just go away, Say it loud, say it proud that I will stay an,
Unrepentant Fenian Bastard, Unrepentant Fenian Bastard, Unrepentant Fenian Bastard, Respect to all who refuse to be mastered"

Posted by The Englishman at 6:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Return of Kim du Toit


...just when you thought it was safe to browse the internet:

Allow me to welcome you to The Kim and Connie Show on BlogTalkRadio.


Links to the show itself are on both websites, but at BlogTalkRadio, you can use the "press to talk" button (if you have a microphone hooked up to yer puter) and call in for free.

The show debuts on Saturday 3rd October, and runs thereafter every Saturday and Sunday evening at 6pm Central US (midnight your time, I think -- it changes to 1am when America reverts to Standard Time, but I was never any good at relative arithmetic). If you miss the show, you can still listen to the archived copy, at your leisure.

Also: Facebook, if you're that way inclined. There's also Twitter, but I don't have the faintest idea how that works.

A listen to look forward to. I will even try and get a microphone working on my computer to harangue them about their woolly liberalism. The microphone I used to have no longer works since that unfortunate incident...

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

Nothing to watch on the box

The girls of the Castle are complaining that the Freeview box no longer works properly even after retuning. I guess I need to pay the price of progress and buy a new one. I gather it needs to be HDMI, and needs a HDD. Is that right? What else do should it have? Any suggestions of what to buy?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:13 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 1, 2009

The Votes That Really Matter

This is an important week for the politics and policy of Britain, but not for any reason connected to the froth of party conferences, prescription drugs or Sun editorials. The reasons lie across the sea in Ireland and across the channel in Germany, in the choices being made by voters there. Those votes can — and should — alter the choices and opportunities faced by Britain and, crucially, by its likely Conservative government.

Tomorrow a couple of million Irish voters will seal the fate of the Lisbon treaty, the document that hardly anyone has read and which will determine the powers and institutional structure of the European Union for at least the next decade. Having rejected the treaty in a referendum last year, the Irish are being sent back to the polls in order to give the right answer — from a European point of view — bribed to do so only by some “clarifications” about what the treaty will do and by a promise that Ireland can still send a Commissioner to do a non-job for plush pay in Brussels.

The whole charade should anger anyone who cares about democracy, and indeed about Europe. A constitutional exercise that when it began in 2001 was supposed to make the EU more democratic, transparent and comprehensible to its citizens is doing just the opposite.

And it's No, Nay, never, No, nay never no more ...

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

The cupboard is bare

Labour plans to halve Britain’s deficit with spending cuts and asset sales worth £75 billion without resorting to further tax rises, The Times has learnt.

Senior ministers are demanding that the pay of judges, top civil servants and NHS managers be frozen within weeks as the cuts package begins to bite. The remaining five million public sector workers can expect only minimal rises, union leaders have been warned privately. They had told the Prime Minister that protecting existing jobs was their chief priority....
Cabinet ministers are also being pressed for a list of possible privatisations. They believe that sell-offs, particularly of property, could significantly reduce the deficit. Ordnance Survey is among the state-owned bodies being considered for sale, although ministers acknowledge that it will be difficult to ensure best value for such sell-offs given the state of the economy.

Gordon's has been watching too much Cash in the Attic as he cowers in the bunker. Billions pounds worth of Government property isn't going to be sold before the election, the civil service will make sure of that as they want to protect their own empires. The Unions own the Labour Party and will not allow job cuts. The 50% tax rate won't increase tax receipts, and the economy won't grow to increase taxes either. This is just desperate floundering.

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

Today's Reading


Labour rips into media over 'bias and propaganda' - Scotsman.com News

Matthew 26:52
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

John Gill's Bible Commentary
Ver. 52. Then said Jesus unto him , etc.] That is, unto Peter, put up again thy sword into its place , or sheath. This Christ said not only to rebuke Peter for his rashness, but to soften the minds of the multitude, who must be enraged at such an action; and which was still more effectually done by his healing the man's ear: and indeed, had it not been for these words, and this action of Christ's; and more especially had it not been owing to the powerful influence Christ had over the spirits of these men, in all probability Peter, and the rest of the apostles, had been all destroyed at once. For all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword .

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