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August 31, 2010

Let me tell you about Sally Brown....

Sally%20Brown%2020.jpgLabour-founded alcohol body calls for UK-wide price limit - Scotsman.com News
A price limit on the sale of alcohol should be brought in across the UK, a commission set up to find new ways of tackling Scotland's drinking culture said today.
Commission chair, Professor Sally Brown, also argued their approach would mean extra cash raised from any increased drink prices would go to the public purse, not retailers or producers.
Professor Sally Brown is not the obvious person to tackle Scotland’s binge-drinking culture. The 74-year-old retired professor of education and grandmother of seven cheerfully points out that alcohol is not her area of expertise. These days, she considers a small sherry an indulgence. She is, however, the Labour party’s choice to chair its commission on alcohol...She was not given freedom to choose the commission’s members, the litmus test of a truly independent body. “Labour chose the members,” she says.
In fact, half of the commission’s members are Labour politicians

Professor Sally Brown could be described as an ‘academic’s academic’ as she has worked her way up through the ranks, she has chaired every imaginable university committee and she has an outstanding record of publications. However, her contribution to public service goes much further as her work has influenced the work of teachers, young people in general, those with special educational needs and indeed our society as a whole.

She could also described as bloody nuisance playing the politician's dupe about subjects she knows nothing about - but that would be unfair....

Let me tell you about Sally Brown....


Posted by The Englishman at 7:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bjørn Again - Or Not


Bjørn Lomborg: $100bn a year needed to fight climate change
Exclusive 'Skeptical Environmentalist' and critic of climate scientists to declare global warming a chief concern facing world

Lomborg denies he has performed a volte face...."If the world is going to spend hundreds of millions to treat climate, where could you get the most bang for your buck?" was the question posed, he added. "This is not about 'we have all got to live with less, wear hair-shirts and cut our carbon emissions'. It's about technologies, about realising there's a vast array of solutions."

Maybe not such the U Turn that the Guardian hopes it is - notice how he defines the question he answers, it presumes that the money is going to be spent, so why not see what the best way of spending it is. And that is carry on innovating.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 30, 2010

Why the Left are boring by Charlie Brooker

Charlie Brooker | Buzzwords for blowhards | Comment is free | The Guardian

Conservatives, generally, are far more adept at politically reframing concepts by giving them snappy-but-misleading nicknames than liberals. "Loony left". "Boom-and-bust". "Flip-flop". "Ground Zero mosque". All simplifications or outright lies – but they worked. Like advertisers, the right seems breezily unconcerned about the truth of the slogan, provided it rings up a sale. They slap the words "fun-size" on the packaging and wait for the public to buy it.

The left, meanwhile, tends to respond by flinging back tired old insults. Bastards! Fascists! Racists! .....

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

Greens Campaign Against Greens

Activists call for a block on biofuel stations in bid to protect forests - Scotsman.com News

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have called for a block on biofuel power stations in Scotland to avert the destruction of African forests.
Friends of the Earth Scotland said proposed projects on the west and east coasts should not go ahead because of the potential environmental damage, branding the developed world's approach as a "neo-colonial land grab".
The environmental campaign group has released research that looked at 11 African countries and found at least five million hectares of land - an area the size of Denmark - is being acquired by foreign companies to produce biofuels mainly for the European market.

Muted Hurrahs! Some of us have been saying for a while that there is a conflict between Global Warming Greenery and real Environmentalism. FoE think this circle can be squared if we all stop driving round and start living in yurts. If we could continue their education and persuade them that is not a practical solution and wealth creation is then who knows what they would be campaigning for next.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Starving in Hospital


Elderly patients are being left to starve to death in hospitals, a shocking report reveals today.
More than 200 die from malnutrition every year with 180,000 leaving in poor condition.

And even if they let you eat undisturbed it is often near inedible

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

August 29, 2010

Beyond Derision

Liberal guilt? Good for you | Theo Hobson | Comment is free | The Guardian

To "suffer" from liberal guilt means that you are somewhat uneasy about all sorts of awkward things that it is tempting to harden your heart against, like global injustice, global warming, racism. It means that you are troubled by the stubborn persistence of our class system, though you personally have done fine by it. It means you sometimes worry that you might be prejudiced against all sorts of people. It means that your vague patriotism is laced with uncertainty about whether our ancient constitution is able to be truly inclusive. It means, for goodness sake, that you fail to be completely fatly smugly relaxed about this problematic world we inhabit. Is that really so shameful and wet, so laughably mentally effeminate?

If this little parade of privileged anxiety fills you with derision, then you are a Tory.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Damson Snow Recipe

Damson Snow Recipe

Today I have mainly been making Damson Snow - an ancient 16th Century recipe we all love

1lb of Damson
Cup of cold water
4 oz of honey or 3 of sugar
1/4 pint of Double cream (I have heard of yoghurt being used instead)
2 large egg whites.

Stew the damsons in the sweetened water (adjust honey/sugar to taste, it wants to be pretty tart.)
Pass through a colander to remove stones and allow to cool.
Whip the cream lightly, mix it in.
Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and then fold in. Don't over mix at this stage, should be like pink and white snow. Put into individual glasses and keep cool.

Looks and tastes fantastic and with the bumper year of damson we are having there is no excuse not to make it.

Posted by The Englishman at 9:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 28, 2010

RIP Hope

Hope Bourne - Telegraph

Hope Bourne, who died on August 22 aged 91, was an author who celebrated life on Exmoor, where she lived for more than 60 years.
To her, untamed nature was not just something she desired, it was also a means of testing human resilience and ingenuity.
At Ferny Ball she kept bantams. A small but wiry figure, she was often seen in pursuit of wood pigeon, deer, rabbit or hare, wielding her American-made .22 rifle or 12-bore shotgun – "What one didn't get, t'other did," she would say. To feed herself, as well as shooting for the pot, she fished and grew vegetables. She ate 1lb of meat a day (some of which was none too fresh) and drank from a stream...
Throughout her life she earned a small amount of money by helping farming friends, tending their stock and helping out during the lambing season. Her income was usually about £100 a year, of which she saved nearly half, claiming to live on £5 a month, most of which went on cartridges...
Hope Bourne once declared: "I'm bloody-minded. My independence is the most important thing in the world to me: freedom and a vigorous outdoor life."

Posted by The Englishman at 7:36 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 27, 2010

Friday Night is Music Night (Old Delta Blues Edition)

Pinetop Perkins - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pinetop Perkins (born Joseph William Perkins, July 7, 1913) is an American Blues musician. Perkins, whose specialty is the piano, currently shares the distinction with one of his lifelong friends, David Honeyboy Edwards, as being the eldest living Delta blues performers who continue to tour and perform from the past century...

David Honeyboy Edwards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
David "Honeyboy" Edwards (born June 28, 1915) is a Delta blues guitarist and singer from the American South.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Good News for a Hungry World

Science cracks code to feed the world | The Times

New and improved varieties of wheat that will help to feed the world have been promised by scientists after the staple food’s genetic code was read for the first time by a British team.
The achievement will transform plant breeders’ ability to develop hardier and higher-yielding strains of wheat, leading to greater food security and lower prices, researchers said.
Insights from the genome sequence of bread wheat will identify genes that control critical traits such as drought and salt tolerance, disease resistance and grain production, which can then be bred more easily into new varieties.
The research will also assist the development of genetically modified wheat, which remains one of the few important crops to which biotechnology has yet to be applied.

Excellent news - and what will be the reaction of those great green humanitarians who campaign against GM - “Whoever makes two ears of corn, or two blades of grass to grow where only one grew before, deserves better of mankind, and does more essential service to his country than the whole race of politicians put together” - (Jonathan Swift)?
I doubt it.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Don't waste time teaching French

Weimar Republic GCSEs and the tragic decline of French in schools – Telegraph Blogs

The decline in foreign languages is a genuine tragedy for British society, leaving a generation culturally isolated from the glories of French and German civilisation. With it they have lost direct access to the greatest literature, philosophy, art, music and archaeology in the world....One cannot truly be European without understanding French.

"Literature, philosophy, art, music and archaeology"? Literature? I suppose I missed out reading Henri Charrière in the original, apart from that..... Philosophy, the tedious musing of left-bank intellectuals - piffle. Art? I don't need to read the label to appreciate or otherwise daubings, ditto Music. Archaeology, a touch of Roman or Greek might come in handy, digging up Gauls and Huns is not the finest timeteaming there is.

French isn't needed for business, or pleasure, in Paris it is a given that Le Vice Anglais is what is required by a chap late at night so the there is no need to be able to read the menu. And in my experience in the bars of Arromanches in June '94 shouting "Zwei Bier, bitte!" got service and attention quicker than anything else.

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

By George it is St.Patchy

Rajendra Pachauri innocent of financial misdealings but smears will continue | George Monbiot | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Patchy and Teri ask KMPG to clear Patchy's name over earnings. KMPG ask Patchy and Teri how much Patchy earnt. Patchy and Teri tell KMPG, who write it down without auditing it, Georgie then waves KMPG's homework around as proof that anyone questioning Patchy's probity is an evil denier.

North to play next.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2010

Maybe a title change for the UK market?

Posted by The Englishman at 11:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Questions on Public Funding With Obvious Answers Pt 94

Composers in residence: does every council and coal mine need one? | The Times

As traditional funding dries up, public bodies are becoming the new patrons of the arts. Is it cash well spent?
The current vogue, however, is to parachute a composer into the most incongruous, unmusical environment imaginable: coal mines, hospitals, borough councils .... But with austerity knocking at the door of public funding, are composers in residence a justifiable expense or a dispensable eccentricity?

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

The Visitors I Get on My Farm

Crop circle conundrum - Telegraph

Crop circles were revealed as a hoax almost 20 years ago, so why do so many people still flock to Wiltshire, convinced of their extraterrestrial powers?

Ask Francine what she gets from the circles and she replies: ‘A sense of wonder. Which is something not many people feel these days. We’re so dull, so suspicious, so limited in our way of thinking.’ She speaks, tenderly, about the beauty of the circles, of how the lain corn seems to ‘flow like water’, of how each formation teaches each person something more about the field they’re expert in: the American Indian finds a message from Gaia, the Tai Chi guru a new form of Tai Chi, the physicist – well, one physicist said to her: ‘Quantum physics? Forget quantum physics. This is far beyond.’
As for mathematics, earlier this year a formation appeared at Wilton Windmill, which seemed like Euler’s Identity, one of the most beautiful equations known to man. Alas, one mathematician pointed out that the formulation was so executed that its translation from binary code was altered from an ‘i’ to a ‘hi’, which could, the mathematician said, ‘be somebody’s idea of a joke’. Worse, the ‘h’ could be a nod to Planck’s Constant – and planks are used by human circle-makers to create their formation.
No wonder Francine is suspicious of the media, and certainly of me. ‘My hopes,’ she says, sweetly, ‘are not very high for this interview. We tend to have very inaccurate, depressingly trivial articles on crop circles.’
But at least she’ll be interviewed, unlike Michael Glickman, a long-term luminary of the circle scene, whose mathematical interpretations of the phenomena are far too abstruse for me. Instead, he lets rip with a majestic telephonic tirade. ‘The media are stupid, narrow-minded, bigoted and boringly predictable. I want nothing more than sensible treatment of the most important event on planet Earth.
'The hoaxers are the most constant con tricksters and liars in the world,’ Glickman says. ‘They are out fundamentally to deceive; we are out fundamentally to tell the truth. Hoaxers have never made a circle of quality. We’ve seen what they can do and it’s crummy. It’s the difference between a five-star meal in Lyons and a Big Mac.’

Walks away innocently whistling....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Call for GM

Henry Miller | Comment is free | guardian.co.uka sensible and safe policy that permitted more genetic engineering in farming"

The commentators are going mad...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another IRA Priest

Scotland's own 'IRA priest' who escaped justice 37 years ago - Scotsman.com News

The revelation this week that a Catholic priest in Northern Ireland, Father James Chesney, got away with the murder of nine people as the architect behind the bombing in Claudy in 1972, finds an echo in the case of Father Bartholomew Burns in Scotland.
In both cases a Catholic priest dispensed with his vows to assist a terrorist organisation while the hierarchy, in the Chesney case, colluded in a cover-up, while in Glasgow they stopped just short.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 25, 2010

Not as green as I thought I was

Energy-saving LEDs 'will not save energy', say boffins • The Register
Federal boffins in the States say that the brave new future in which today's 'leccy-guzzling lights are replaced by efficient LEDs may not, in fact, usher in massive energy savings.
This is because, according to the scientists' research, people are likely to use much more lighting as soon as this becomes practical. The greater scope for cheap illumination offered by LEDs will simply mean that people have more lights and leave them on for longer.

After twenty years of enduring dark corners in the kitchen I put up two new rows of spotlights - these are additional lights - and today bunged in ten 3w LED lights. I figured they are going to be on everyday for most of the day so the investment will pay for itself. So the boffins have proof from me...

According to Tsao and his colleagues at Sandia, the fraction of gross domestic product spent on lighting has remained constant as candles were replaced by oil lamps, then again in the transition to the gaslight era, then yet again with the arrival of electric lighting. What changed with each of these innovations was that lighting became more and more common.

(UPDATE -24 hours later - one of the LED bulbs has failed and fused the house...)

Posted by The Englishman at 12:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Dog Law Reform

Call for action over dog ownership
Animal charities and leading trade unions have joined forces to call on the Government to improve laws on dog ownership..

"We believe that irresponsible dog ownership, whether it is allowing dogs to stray, be dangerously out of control or indiscriminately breeding them, causes significant problems for the safety and welfare of both humans and animals. Current legislation is proving inadequate in many cases to ensure sufficient protection."
"We believe that both the provision of sufficient resources at a local level for local authorities and the police, and updated and consolidated legislation that has a genuine preventative effect, are needed to address this problem.
"We call on the coalition Government to act and bring forward legislation that addresses these areas effectively."

All the usual suspects clamouring for more control and money. All preventive laws and bureaucracy. If your dog causes a nuisance or worse (without reasonable excuse) you should be liable to be prosecuted or sued, and that is the deterrent against owners allowing the situation to arise. If the law is unclear on that then change it.

(Reasonable excuse - during the day anyone has a right to walk up to your front door and shouldn't get bitten but if someone climbs over your back fence in the night.....)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2010

Welcome A New BBC Science Reporter

BBC News - Geoengineering 'not a solution' to sea-level rise
By Katia Moskvitch
Science reporter, BBC News

"Science Reporter"? Didn't she used to just be the Russian reporter? Now she is a "real" journalist I suppose she can report Science as well as anyone - After all she wrote a defining report on Nuclear Power, with lots of stuff from Wikipedia, I would give a GCSE pass at least....

Posted by The Englishman at 11:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Wrong question on superglued protesters

BBC News - How do you un-glue a protester?

The question I want to know is WHY un-glue a protester?. Leave them stuck to gates and walls for as long as possible, maybe even place baskets of rotten fruit nearby for passer-bys to hurl....

Posted by The Englishman at 10:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

6lb 1oz who cares what that is in Euro speak?

David Cameron 'thrilled' at birth of baby girl - Telegraph

6lb 1oz - no metric equivalent mentioned anywhere, hurrah!

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

A little truth emerges from Ulster

Claudy bombing report released - live updates | UK news | guardian.co.uk

• Catholic priest James Chesney directed 1972 attacks
• Northern Ireland Office and RUC hid truth for fear of civil unrest

Posted by The Englishman at 12:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Troop Training


Travelling to STANTA training camp in East Anglia the documentary shows the gruelling training undertaken by the recruits, some of whom as young as 18. They rub shoulders with ex-pat Afghanis and Gurkhas currently employed by the army to act as Afghani citizens, Taliban and suicide bombers.
The camp is designed to exactly replicate army strongholds in Afghanistan with scenarios ranging from; discussions held between Commanding Officers and local elders to heavy mortar fire and suicide bombers. At one point a local woman with her seriously injured child comes to see the medics extremely distressed, the medics having to come to terms with the truth that there is nothing they can do for the child.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bishop Bashing on The Box

BBC iPlayer - Newsnight: 23/08/2010

Bishop Hill was invited to appear on Newsnight to talk about the Pakistani floods and climate change.

The boy done well. And he completely failed to be a tin hat wearing denier which will upset some - he actually finished by admitting he didn't know!

In fact the whole segment was pretty well balanced and interesting. Human influence in the formation of floods is mainly things like cutting down too many trees in the wrong places. These are the environmental wrongs that should be campaigned about!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Universities Discriminate Against Thickies - Shock Claim By Teachers

University candidates selected on their GCSE results - Telegraph
Pupils who fail to excel at their GCSEs are being discriminated against by universities, leading teachers have claimed.

Maybe, just maybe, Universities are looking for more rounded intelligence than is demonstrated by passing three highly coached for exams. And that is wrong?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 23, 2010

Moonbat - Deniers are Unscientific Oil Funded Monkeys

For deniers, politics beats the science. George Monbiot - The Guardian

The further to the right you travel, the more likely you are to insist that man-made climate change isn't happening. Denial has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics.
It is also true that in some respects an antagonism to climate science is consistent with rightwing – especially neoliberal – politics. The philosophy of the new right is summarised by this chilling statement from Václav Klaus. "Human wants are unlimited and should stay so."
The politics have been shaped around the demands of industrial lobby groups – which in many cases fund those who articulate them. Rightwingers are making monkeys of themselves not just because their beliefs take precedence over the evidence, but also because their interests often take precedence over their beliefs.
A fully referenced version of this article can be found on George Monbiot's website

"The further to the right you travel, the more likely you are to insist that man-made climate change isn't happening. Denial has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics."

To expand: The further left, the more likely to believe. If denial has nothing to do with science then the whole spectrum of belief and denial also has nothing to do with science, belief in man made climate change has nothing to do with science.

And why is noting "human wants are unlimited" chilling?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:41 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

If you are reading this in a council office, please take the rest of the day off.

Consultants 'insult' council staff productivity / Britain / Home - Morning Star
The study published on Friday by management consultancy Knox D'Arcy argued that over two-thirds of the working day of junior council staff was "lost."
It claimed that the 68 per cent of working time that was not spent productively was usually as a result of poor supervision.
The research also promoted private businesses by saying they typically had more robust systems that generated more personal accountability for performance.
Improving productivity within local government could "significantly offset" the government's deficit reduction cuts and ensure that the same amount of work could be done with 500,000 fewer staff, the research claimed.
GMB union's national secretary Brian Strutton said: "This is fabricated nonsense and the unfounded attacks on council workers and other public-sector workers should stop.
"It is absolutely ridiculous and very insulting to claim that 500,000 council staff are doing nothing.
He added the constant attacks on public-sector workers were "sickening" for all the hard-working council staff working for local communities on low wages.

Let me agree with the gentleman on my left. These attacks must be stopped. It is far better that council staff do nothing, look out the window or surf internet porn all day. When they go about the council's business they cost, inconvenience, harass and blight the productive and private sectors of the country. Of course it would be better if they joined that sector but idling in the office is the second best option. Please don't encourage them to start doing any work.

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

Squeezing Workers for One More Drop (and I give The Devil a Wallace)

Motorists face £250-a-year tax to park at work
Initially, the parking levy was seen as a way to tackle congestion and cut carbon emissions. Now, there is growing evidence it is also being seen as a source of extra cash.
Experts on local government believe that authorities may have little alternative but to turn to drivers as a source of income. “Councils are going to look at that kind of a thing as an option,” said Caroline Green, a policy consultant with the Local Government Association. “Traditional forms of money raising will not be sufficient.”

"Authorities may have little alternative" - I can think of one very easily - cut back on spending, especially as the money raised will be wasted on "transport initiatives" otherwise known as subsidies for middle class cyclists and fare dodgers.

UPDATE - I note now that DK beat me to it (My excuse is that his opus hasn't yet shown up in my RSS reader) so I award him a Wallace

Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Top Jokes

Top ten best and worst jokes from this year's Edinburgh Fringe . . . - The Scotsman

The best...
1. Tim Vine: "I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again."..

. . . and the worst
Emo Philips: "I like to play chess with bald men in the park although it's hard to find 32 of them."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ladybird Collecting

Villager held for firing warning shot at gipsies - Telegraph

Neighbours said that Christopher Bayfield had been plagued by break-ins and trespassing in the grounds of his home in the village of Swavesey, Cambs, in the days leading up to the incident on Thursday.
The village was described as in virtual lockdown after more than 1,000 travellers descended in 200 caravans on a 30-acre field next to Mr Bayfield's family home..he is understood to have taken his shotgun and gone to investigate after hearing noises from an outbuilding late on Thursday afternoon.
Seeing the children among the trees next to his garden, he is said to have fired a single shot and shouted for them to leave his land.
Members of the religious group said that the children – a five-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl whose families had been attending the festival – were "collecting ladybirds".

I've had ladybird collected here as well, one must have been on those cans of diesel, maybe there was a whole colony in the steel beams, of course it would be cruel not to collect the ladybird habitat along with the bugs, wouldn't it....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 22, 2010

Speed Cameras Aren't The Answer

Ashley Brixey - life is precious - Brake the Road Safety Charity
Ashley was killed 2004 aged 20. He was in a car being driven by his friend
His mum Clare tells her story...
Ashley’s friend Richard got into the driving seat - twice over the legal driving limit and with an abusive level of drugs in his system after taking ecstasy.
Richard lost control of the car on a left-hand bend, and the car went up an embankment, through a garden fence and landed upside down in a swimming pool.

A terrible tragedy. Clare Brixey is now campaigning for the retention of Speed Cameras in Wiltshire, using her bereavement as a reason.
She is wrong, old fashioned policing might have caught or prevented her son taking a lift with a prat, a speed camera wouldn't. The diversion away from human policing to using mechanical devices is part of the problem, not the answer.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:08 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

John-Paul Flintoff Wants To Be Known

Tow-surfing: why are the tides turning on us? | The Sunday Times
Geologists believe waves are getting higher, and that rising sea levels pose a devastating threat to shipping and the world’s largest cities
John-Paul Flintoff

Everything in the oceans seems to be rising: wave heights, sea levels, surface temperatures, wind speeds, storm intensities, coastal surges, tsunami risks. “Now is the time to prepare for great floods,” a July 2009 editorial in New Scientist advised. “The future of the UK’s coastal cities is in jeopardy due to rising sea levels,” reported Lloyd’s. Similarly, nine out of the world’s 10 largest cities are located on low-lying coastal land.
It is believed to have been a tsunami, caused by a landslide, that drowned the land connecting Britain to mainland Europe 8,000 years ago.....

John-Paul Flintoff "wants to be popular and interesting and well known, but...felt dismayed: how little there seemed to be"..about him on the web.

Maybe he ought to expand his biographical details - for instance he is rightly proud of his Holland Park Comprehensive education but less forthcoming on his studies at the London College of Printing and University of Bristol as background to him being a leading light in green reporting.

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

Burke on Climate Change from behind the paywall

These disasters are a taste of a hotter world. So why the silence? | The Times

Tom Burke Visiting professor in environmental science at Imperial and University College London

Floods, heatwaves....All these events are the consequence of a shift in the jet stream that is disrupting weather patterns around the globe. No one could claim that they were, however extreme, a result of climate change. No single set of weather events can ever be attributed to climate change. But it is now well beyond reasonable doubt that what we have witnessed this year is a foretaste of the 4C hotter world we now seem determined to explore.
Working on climate change, I imagine myself at times transported by a time machine back to Germany in 1936. I know what will happen next. All the signs of that catastrophic future are already visible.
The people I speak to treat me with kindness. They listen to what I say. They agree such things are possible. But they do not think they will happen here. The more agitated I become at their calm confidence in the constancy of the present, the more concerned they become about my welfare....

And that is because he is confusing weather with climate. Terrible weather kills people, climate doesn't. If he was campaigning for us being being better prepared to deal with catastrophes then people wouldn't smile and pat him on the shoulder. Campaigning about switching off lights when people are drowning as a way of helping them is madness.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 14, 2010

Climate Change is so last year! Biodiversity is where it is at now.

Plan to sell off nature reserves risks 'austerity countryside' | Politics | The Guardian

In advance of a major United Nations report and conference this autumn on the mounting global loss of ecosystems, species and genetic biodiversity, the UN's natural environment chief also warned the UK government against cutting biodiversity.
"It would be very short-sighted to cut biodiversity spending," Ahmed Djoghlaf, secretary general of this October's UN Convention on Biological Diversity, said. "You may well save a few pounds now but you will lose billions later. Biodiversity is your natural asset. The more you lose it, the more you lose your cultural assets too."
Defra and Natural England said it was too early to comment on the outcome of the autumn spending review, but a Defra spokesman said: "Defra is fully committed to tackling the loss of biodiversity, as demonstrated when enhancing biodiversity was set as one of Defra's three key objectives in the recent strategic reform plan.

- What he said!

Biodiversity is the new slogan - Diversity - we have all been trained to celebrate that - Bio - we all love Bio products. It has got to be a winner!

Posted by The Englishman at 12:39 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 13, 2010

Friday Night is Music Night (Gladrags Edition)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 12, 2010

Wiltshire Speed Camera Partnership Scrapped - A Nation Mourns

From: wendy.packer@wiltshire.gov.uk
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2010 09:30:52 +0100
Please find attached a press release on the closure of the Camera Safety Partnership.
It is disappointing that the funding of the partnership from Government has been reduced this year and is uncertain for 2011/12, but this is just one of the austerity savings that have been made to reduce the Nation’s debt. Wiltshire Council has to make 25% savings over the next four years and is unable to absorb the effect of the reduced Government grant that funds the partnership.
The Police will continue to enforce speed limits in the ways described in the press release.
Dick Tonge
Cabinet Member for Highways.
Wendy Packer
Democratic Support Officer

I have no idea what a Democratic Support Officer does or why Wiltshire Council needs them, but it obviously doesn't include supporting the actions of our democratically elected government as it tries to reign in the increasing bloating at Council level. "It is disappointing" may be her view but it ain't everyones...
And as for "Austerity" - don't make me laugh. A couple fewer cherries on top of the cream cake isn't austerity.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Munich Re News

Global warming blamed for weather disasters doubling in 30 years | The Australian

THE number of weather-related disasters has more than doubled in the past 30 years.
And global warming is the only logical explanation, according to a comprehensive analysis of storms, floods and droughts by Munich Re, the reinsurance company, which found 385 such events in the first six months of this year - the second highest in any January to June period since records began in 1974.

FT.com - Munich Re reports a €1.2bn ($1.6bn) first-half net profit,
Munich Re said it remained on track to achieve an ambitious target of a €2bn net profit this year – a possibility that seemed to have receded after high-cost catastrophes.
“We have had above-average [casualty] losses in the first half but that is part of our business,” said Nikolaus von Bomhard, chief executive. The company also said climatic conditions meant that the north Atlantic hurricane season until the end of the year might also bring more storms than usual.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Climate Change Concern Is Not Environmentalism

'Environmentalism' can never address climate change | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Environmental issues take a very specific shape. The thing is, that shape doesn't fit climate change. Climate change -- or rather, the larger problem of which climate change is a symptom -- isn't like the issues that American environmentalism evolved to address. The solutions that American environmental politics are capable of producing are not commensurate with the scale and scope of the challenge climate change represents.
What needs to happen is for concern over earth's biophysical limitations to transcend the environmental movement -- and movement politics, as handed down from the '60s, generally. It needs to take its place alongside the economy and national security as a priority concern of American elites across ideological and organizational lines. It needs to become a shared concern of every American citizen regardless of ideological orientation or level of political engagement. That is the only way we can ever hope to bring about the urgent necessary changes.

It isn't about the environment, it is bigger than that, it is about changing the whole world to think like we think. Not in a political sense, it crosses those boundaries, it is a a religion! Believe!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 11, 2010

A Mouse Maybe a Mile Away

Of mice and Morrisons | Blog | Retail week

We really are into the depths of silly season now, and my eye was caught today by a story on a planned Morrisons store which a local council’s planning officers has recommended is rejected because dormice might be present on the site. They’re not even sure they live there, but apparently some have been found 2 kilometres away.

The story is funny and has a cute picture of a dormouse on it, but there’s a serious issue which is that retailers which are trying to create jobs and prosperity are coming up against crazy nimbyism from planners at a time when those jobs are needed more than ever.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Memo to Greg Barker @DECCgovuk - Scrap It

Business facing a wave of green taxes - Telegraph

Thousands of British businesses will be liable for significant fines and charges under a new government “green tax” scheme.
The imposition of new charges and fines will put pressure on firms at a time when economists are warning of a “double dip” recession as companies, consumers and the public sector all cut their spending.
Business leaders criticised the CRC — which was created by Labour but implemented by the Coalition — as “complex and bureaucratic”. One accused ministers of swinging “a big hammer” at companies and questioned whether it would have any environmental benefits.
Greg Barker, the energy and climate change minister, who is overseeing the scheme said yesterday: “I understand the original complexity of the scheme may have deterred some organisations and I want to hear suggestions as to how we can make the scheme simpler in the future.”

Greggy Baby, just scrap it, it won't help the environment one iota, it will cost jobs which your bosses won't like, but I'm wasting my time, I forget you are "Minister of State for Climate Change". What bloody hope have we got....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:45 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Guardian Green Uses Discriminatory Name Calling

Autism can be diagnosed with brain scan – study | Science | guardian.co.uk

Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition caused by abnormalities in the development of the brain that affects around half a million people in the UK. The vast majority of these are male, and diagnosis usually involves a lengthy process of interviews and personal accounts from family and friends close to the patient.
The IoP team scanned the brains of 20 healthy men and 20 men with ASD......

Men with ASD are fucking healthy you discriminatory prat. Oh look the writer is Alok Jha science and environment correspondent at the Guardian, specialising in green technologies.
Just because people with ASD see the world a little differently to the Empathetics doesn't mean they are unhealthy. Some of us might think their outlook is a damned sight healthier than a Guardian journalist who specialises in green technology.
(Obviously some ASD men are crippled by autism, but the article is talking about people who are hard to diagnose, ie they are in the mainstream. The same can be said for those with Empathy Spectrum Disorder, except the extreme weepers and gnashers of teeth become Environment Experts...)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wrap up warm against global warming warn doctors

BBC News - Climate change 'will increase heart deaths'

Many more people will die of heart problems as global warming continues, experts are warning.
A study in the British Medical Journal found that each 1C temperature drop on a single day in the UK is linked to 200 extra heart attacks.Last year's low temperatures saw the highest number of "excess deaths" - the number of those who perished over and above what is normal for the time of year - for nearly a decade.
The 36,000 "excess deaths" in England and Wales during the winter of 2008/09 represented a rise of nearly 50% from the previous year.

In an accompanying editorial in the BMJ, Dr Paola Michelozzi and Manuela De Sario, of the Lazio Region Department of Epidemiology in Rome, say; "Actions to reduce greenhouse gases based on lifestyle changes at the population and individual level may have substantial benefits for health and climate protection.
"For example, lowering saturated fat intake by reducing consumption of animal products is a healthy food choice recommended in prevention guidelines for coronary heart disease and a recognised strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emission," they say.

Ellen Mason, of the British Heart Foundation, said: "Although the increased risk is small, if there is a nationwide drop in average temperature it could equate to a significant number of heart attacks each day.
"This timely piece of research reminds us that older people and anyone with heart disease should keep warm in their homes after the summer draws to a close."

Experts don't you love them....

Posted by The Englishman at 6:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 10, 2010

So step, one, two, three, knee, one, two, three, and ball change

EuNegotiaiton.gifEuropean Union pushes for right to levy taxes directly on British - Telegraph

The EU hopes that the plan, to be unveiled next month, which could see new taxes on air travel and financial transactions, will give it more independence and fund controversial expansion proposals.

Osbocleggeron will huff and puff and promise vetos, lines in the sand, EU will back off, victory declared and then one day there will be an environmental levy deducted from our wage packets which happens to go direct to the EU because global warming can only be tackled by it and not nations.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 9, 2010

Arctic 5 degrees hotter in 2010 than average - The Times

Huge iceberg ‘could be sign of Arctic warming’ oceanographers warn | The Times

There is little doubt that the Arctic is warming — 2010 is more than 5C (9F) warmer than the average between 1950 and 1980 — but the exact causes of the glacier’s increased speed are uncertain

Someone ought to tell the Danes who actually measure the temperature that 2010 isn't actually the coldest for a while as the pesky data says....

(As a print subscriber I have free access to the online version, I haven't been linking to it as linking to behind paywall articles is bad form. But in the last month or so the warmist alarmism has been growing, it is almost as though some vested interest is pushing an agenda, safe from the slings and arrows of online sceptics..)

Posted by The Englishman at 7:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What you are not missing in your super soaraway Times

Home-grown melons to go on sale as Britain warms to exotic crops | The Times
Paul Simons - August 9 2010
Melons grown in the Midlands are about to go on sale in supermarkets, thanks in part to the warming climate. They may conjure up images of Spanish fields under blue skies and blazing sunshine, but England’s first commercial melons are being grown outdoors in Lichfield, Staffordshire, in an area better known for pick-your-own strawberries.
Stephen McGuffie, the grower, is successfully producing cantaloupes and watermelons using polytunnels to protect them from wind and rain, as well as to raise temperatures.

Melons are the latest exotic fruit to be grown and sold in Britain | The Times
Jessica McArdle - September 25 2007
- farmers growing melons in Kent will come as little surprise....

Even less of a surprise in 2010 then....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

It's hot, hot, hot in the The Times this week!

We are running out of excuses to deny global warming | The Times
Paul Simons August 7 2010
It is easy to get carried away with headlines about heatwave records and blame it on global climate change. Yes, the extraordinary catalogue of weather records across the world so far this year is breathtaking, but let us not forget that only a few months ago half the world seemed to be buried in snow and all the talk was of the end of global warming.
It is the global temperature over decades that counts in climate science, though, and the trend is unmistakable — temperatures are rising. The trouble is, the idea of climate change has been badly tarnished by the “climategate” e-mails and the UN climate conference in Copenhagen that ended in fiasco last year.
We are running out of excuses. Blaming it on natural vagaries of the weather is stretching coincidence. The only suspect that fits the crime is carbon dioxide and its greenhouse effect. If the predictions of more intense heatwaves, monsoon floods and other extremes come true, the climate change theory will be proved true. The problem is, it may be too late by then.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 8, 2010

Eat Dirt

Farmers hold clue to vaccine against E coli - Scotsman.com News

THE secret of how to beat a deadly food poisoning bug may lie in Scotland's farmyards. Scientists have found that up to a fifth of Scottish farmers are immune to infection with E coli, which is spread mainly through cattle dung.
In a previous study of farmers in England and Wales, the researchers found that around three per cent had immunity to E coli 0157.
But in the Grampian region - thought to have one of the highest rates of the infection in the world - results have so far suggested a much higher rate of antibodies.

Low level expose giving immunity or Darwin at work? Knowing the state of some farmyards I am not sure it isn't the latter.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Swindon Speed Numbers

Speed camera switch-off sees fewer accidents - Telegraph

Accident data shows that in the first nine months after the devices were scrapped in Swindon, there were 315 road casualties in the area as a whole, compared with 327 in the same period the previous year.
In total there were two fatalities – compared with four in the same period previously – and 44 serious injuries, down from 48.

I am not sure that these figures would pass a proper statistical significance test as a proof, but they can be called at least indicative.
And proof that the turning off the cameras didn't lead to an immediate massacre of the innocents.
If there had been a slight rise in accidents I'm also sure that the Speed Camorra would not be urging restraint on the use of the numbers until a longer period has been recorded. I seem to recall this was an experiment that was too dangerous to run in the first place.

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

UEA researchers "distorted the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be".

BBC apologises to University of East Anglia for "incorrect" remark - University of East Anglia (UEA)
The BBC has apologised for an "incorrect" remark made by John Humphrys that UEA researchers had "distorted the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be".

No apology from this website for using that headline

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

August 7, 2010

Wine and Circuses

Why everyone can find the circus but no one can find the farmers’ market - Telegraph

Farmers markets' are struggling to survive because of an ‘outdated’ law that makes it illegal for stall holders to advertise locally – even though circuses and ploughing contests can put up temporary signs.

I think I would prefer to go to a circus, or even a ploughing match, rather than trudge round stalls selling over priced Spelt bread buns, misshapened carrots and fatty burgers from pigs with names. Even so it is an example of regulations we can do without.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Answer of the Olympic Zil Lanes

Right turn ban on Olympic VIP lanes - Telegraph
It has triggered fears that the creation of so-called "Games Lanes" will create traffic chaos in the capital...lengthening journeys for Londoners, while members of the "Olympic Family" are sped from the heart of the capital to Stratford.
A spokesman for the ODA justified the restrictions.“The Olympic Route Network is critical to the success of the Games. Where measures such as temporarily removing right-hand turns are necessary, we will ensure there is an alternative, safe route available to road users.

The Romans had an answer ....The late Roman writer Vegetius, referring in his work De Re Militari to scythed chariots, wrote:

The armed chariots used in war by Antiochus and Mithridates at first terrified the Romans, but they afterwards made a jest of them. As a chariot of this sort does not always meet with plain and level ground, the least obstruction stops it. And if one of the horses be either killed or wounded, it falls into the enemy's hands. The Roman soldiers rendered them useless chiefly by the following contrivance: at the instant the engagement began, they strewed the field of battle with caltrops, and the horses that drew the chariots, running full speed on them, were infallibly destroyed. A caltrop is a device composed of four spikes or points arranged so that in whatever manner it is thrown on the ground, it rests on three and presents the fourth upright.

Chariots, limos, Antiochus and Mithridates, corrupt fat fuckers and Seb Coe; they are all the same to two bits of bent wire...

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

Do you like Hospital Food, pal?

Hospitals named and shamed for bad food - Scotsman.com News

Hairmyres Hospital, in East Kilbride, which was given the worst rating in the survey, recently came under fire for offering a menu that included sausages, bridies, beans and cottage pie to patients recovering from heart surgery. Many of the meals at the hospital are cooked in Manchester and then reheated on site.

Best wishes to our friend Mr exTraction Man in his recovery, and power to his elbow in his campaign on Hospital Food

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

August 6, 2010

Friday Night is Music Night (Howling Edition)

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

Tan Hill Fair Day

Grubbing Out the Past
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 10th January 1996.
In August last year, thirty lean, sun-tanned, scruffy people pulled their handcarts, goats, donkeys and bow-topped wagons to the top of Tan Hill, near Devizes in Wiltshire. They claimed that a Royal Charter, issued in 1499, entitled them to hold a fair at Lammas on the summit.
The police arrived in six riot vans, three dog vans and a helicopter. As the revellers trooped back down the hill, the officer in charge said “When will you people realize that this is Wiltshire, and you don’t belong here?”
The hippies at Tan Hill were removed, the police said, because they posed a threat to the land.
The Tan Hill Fair eventually took place not on the hilltop, but in a green lane two miles away. For three days 200 people rode horses with painted flanks and plaited tails, drank mead, danced to the music of fiddles and mandolins and ate fat hen picked from a nearby field in set-aside, before they were thrown off by the police again. Something happened in those days which subtly changed the lives of everyone who roistered there. It is hard to tell what it was, but it felt like the future, swimming up slowly from the depths of the past.

As the local farmer I was chatting to the hippies in the green lane under Tan Hill and was invited up to a very enjoyable evening with them on the top of Tan Hill....
We got on well because I had evicted a fat faced youth with dark curly hair who they claimed had a bus that mummy and daddy had bought him to play being a hippy in, and he was just a pain in the arse, asking questions and writing stuff down. As far as I remember he was the only one evicted, as the hippies told him, "This is Wiltshire, and you don’t belong here. Go and play at being a crusty somewhere else."
I often wonder what became of the obnoxious little git, and almost miss the old hippies and their herbal excesses.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Now Wash Your Hands

What's the carbon footprint of … drying your hands? | Environment | guardian.co.uk

'What's the greenest way to dry my hands?' is a frequently asked question, so I'll answer it...:
Zero CO2e: letting them drip
3g CO2e: Dyson Airblade dryer
10g CO2e: one paper towel
20g CO2e: standard electric dryer

I can sleep easy now that is answered, unlike the other night when, after an evening's refreshment, my scientific curiosity got the better of me and I investigated whether the Dyson Airplade in the pub bog was any good at drying the drip off the old bell end....

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

Amazongate II - The scary sequel starring Angelina Jolie

Climate change could destroy 80 per cent of rainforest by next century - Telegraph

Asner and his team made their findings by looking at global deforestation and logging maps from satellite imagery, and high-resolution data from 16 climate-change projections worldwide.
They then ran scenarios on how different types of species could be geographically reshuffled by 2100.
The results showed only 18 per cent- less than a fifth – to 45 per cent – less than half- of the plants and animals making up ecosystems in tropical rainforests may remain as we known them today.
Daniel Nepstad, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, which studies climate change in Massachusetts, said: "This study is the strongest evidence yet..."

What even stronger than the evidence used in Amazongate? The evidence seems to consist of looking at Google Earth and extrapolating data 90 years into the future.
I have just done the same in a similar experiment and I have mapped Angelina Jolie's movement around the world, and I have charted the history her new sexual relationships and in 2010 she will be in Wiltshire and it will be my turn!
(Of course she has been happily married now for a few years and so the number has been at zero for new relationships. My super-secret Mannoscopic data process "hides the decline" and the graph continues to reach dizzy new heights.)
((Of course in 2100 she might not be looking so hot so I might have to refuse the offer, but the possibility of such a mitigation strategy preventing it happening is not a reason for us not to spend zillions now to prevent it happening))
(((Of course I will still be up for it, just I might choose not to.....)))

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 5, 2010

What would you call Global Warming?

Is it time to retire the term 'global warming'? | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk

As its 35th 'birthday' approaches, is it now time to drop the politically charged and scientifically limited term 'global warming' for something else?
But what are you thoughts - which term do you prefer? Or perhaps you have a brand new moniker you wish to introduce to the world?

Posted by The Englishman at 9:58 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Pewsey Music Festival


Pewsey Music Festival
Great line up of bands in aid of local charities.
The poster says it all I think....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Russet Burbank Clones Flood Food Chain - Won't Anyone Think of The Children?

Send In The Clones

What Is A Clone?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thousands Die, Wrists Slapped

Nurses suspended at scandal-hit hospital - Telegraph

A total of 15 nurses have been suspended for failing to improve standards at a hospital where as many as 1,200 patients died due to "appalling standards of care".

Suspended. Gosh that is harsh. Imagine an oil company that killed 1,200 customers at one site due to negligence. Do you think those responsible would just be sent to the naughty step and told to think very hard as how naughty they had been?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

56m NHS.ORG pages and all of them....

NHS spends millions on websites that fail patients, says government report
The NHS spends up to £86m a year on thousands of websites that are difficult to find, badly designed and irrelevant to patient needs, according to a leaked government report.
The Department of Health's digital communications review, circulated internally in June, identified 4,121 NHS websites – but noted that more than 1,000 were no longer accessible.
A layer of NHS bureaucracy, represented by websites built by primary care trusts, foundation trusts and strategic health authorities, received "almost no recognition" from the public. "The question is raised why these sites were developed in the first instance," the report says.
Experts say the problem is that user experiences of the web are shaped by buying air tickets, booking seats at the theatre or ordering from supermarkets.
"The problem with most NHS websites is that you the patient cannot do the things you want to do, like booking a doctor's appointment or requesting prescriptions or getting someone to give you a call about a problem," said Jon Hoeksma, editor of E-Health Insider.

Book seats at the theatre - no problem. Book a visit to the operating theatre - no can do. I wonder why that is.

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

August 4, 2010

Weather News

Unusual weather divides Britain - Telegraph

It has been a tale of two summers this year with the south and east of the country enjoying glorious sunshine, while the north and west suffered another wash out.

I keep forgetting as I look out across scorched brown dusty lawns and stubble fields (the wheat harvest is nearly finished) that our northern brethren are not so lucky. But they will survive, just as we are surviving in the south. The variation is of course a magnitude higher than any predicted climate change which will end civilisation.

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

Our Daily Bread

Britons to pay more for a loaf of bread as wheat prices jump - Telegraph

As I was saying seven years ago - this is bollocks: ...the price of wheat is still lower than it was twenty years ago. So I started to look on the web for what is going on. I came across this snippet from Italy: "The price of bread depends almost entirely on items other than the cost of wheat, and it is totally unjustified to say that there could be price rises due to the drought. About 1 kg of wheat (800 gr. of flour) is needed to make 1 kg of bread. Wheat costs 16-18 cents per kilo, whereas bread costs 1.50 euro per kilo, with wheat representing only 12 pct of the finished product price. Hence, an improbable 20 pct increase in the price of wheat would lead to a 2.4 pct price rise of bread.
Similar situation for many other products such as pasta, fruit juices, wine, milk, cheeses, meat, fruit and vegetables: the price paid by customers is from 2 to 10 times greater than the one paid by producers for the raw material, and is often due to industrial processing, packaging and transport. "

In a local churchyard Wiltshire folk record the price of bread:
1800 bread was 3s 4d per gallon; 1801 bread was 3s 10d per gallon; 1904 bread was 10d per gallon; 1920 bread was 2s 8d per gallon after the Great War; 1946-48 bread was rationed – subsidised price 2s 1d per gallon; 1963 bread was 5s 4d per gallon; 1971 bread was 8s per gallon – decimal currency; 1984 bread was £1.80 per gallon.
2000 bread was £3.72 per gallon.
A gallon measured the dry ingredients to make eight standard loaves so I make the 2010 price £10:40 (according to The Telegraph's pricing).

My 1982 copy of Nix has milling wheat at £121.50/Tonne - The record high recorded yesterday was £148/t.

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

DNA in Food Shock

Clone-derived meat entered UK food chain last year, says FSA | UK news | The Guardian

The mad scientists are slipping DNA into our food, we are doomed. Next it will be in our fruit and veg.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 3, 2010

Wiltshire Speed Camera Partnership Scrapped

Wiltshire Police - Camera Safety Partnership to close

Following a meeting of the Chief Executives of Wiltshire and Swindon Camera Safety Partnership a decision has been made that the partnership will close..".Although the exact date for closure of the unit has not been established at this time we believe that it will be towards the end of October this year and that this will be a phased process."

Cash is king and when that dries up so do the cameras....

Posted by The Englishman at 1:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Independent Mulls How To Force People To Accept Dross

Leading article: Our education system sullies all - Leading Articles, Opinion - The Independent

How should society prevent parents cheating over school catchment areas?
The ideal solution is to improve the quality of schools across the board to a degree where wide disparities do not exist between them. That will not happen in the short term; indeed Michael Gove's proposals to allow some schools to apply for Academy status is more likely to increase the problem than ameliorate it.
Some have suggested allocating school places by lottery, to give all children an equal chance of getting into the best schools, around which houses cost on average £25,000 more than comparable homes outside the catchment areas. But that too is problematic. A school may end up rejecting a pupil who lives next door while bussing in children from the other side of the town. Social engineering by bussing does not have an attractive track record.
Still, a child who gets a place in a sought-after school as a result of parental dishonesty takes the place of a child of honest parents who haven't tried to fiddle the system. Headteachers and those who administer admissions policies must apply and invigilate them rigorously.

Of course it is unfair that some morning papers are well subscribed and some aren't. Some people cheat the Independent of its readership by nipping into the shops and buying the Sun, some even brazenly subscribe to The Telegraph. The worst case cheats buy the Independent and then read something more interesting over somebody's shoulder on the tube. Strict quotas must be established and enforced that ensure the right proportion and social mix of people have to read the Independent every day. It is too big a problem to leave to the market....

Posted by The Englishman at 7:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Spying Councils Slapped

Councils warned over unlawful spying using anti-terror legislation - Telegraph

It is estimated that tens of thousands of Britons have been subjected to covert surveillance operations by Town Hall officials who suspect them of offences ranging from dog fouling to putting bins out on the wrong day.
Ripa was introduced in 2000 to give the police, security services and the Revenue and Customs service powers to spy on people in the fight against crime and terrorism.
But Councils have been accused of using the legislation as a “snooper’s charter”.
Miss Paton’s victory represents the first time the powers have been challenged at an open hearing and with the Government promising a review of the Act, councils are being warned they could soon lose the powers.

A small victory against Big Brother, maybe the tide is turning a little.

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

Climate costs

Cash cuts and the cold snap put roads in crisis - Scotsman.com News
SCOTLAND is in danger of losing the battle to maintain its crumbling road network because of impending spending cuts after the worst winter in 30 years, motoring groups and politicians have warned.

The cost to the taxpayer of meeting Scotland's climate change target has been put at about £8bn by 2020

Whether that includes any money to repair frost damaged roads is not clear....

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

and the animals looked from pig to man

From The Sunday Times
October 18, 2009
Manchester to ban cheap drink

The move by Greater Manchester will increase the pressure on Gordon Brown to follow medical advice and raise the price of alcohol.

Express.co.uk - Greater Manchester to ban cheap alcohol
A ban on cheap alcohol in Greater Manchester could provide a blueprint for the rest of the country, echoing plans announced last week by Home Secretary Theresa May for a crackdown on binge drinking.

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

August 2, 2010

RSPCA Clone Clowns

The RSPCA is complaining that it is rumoured that a a "cloned" cow is no longer in the laboratory but actually producing milk for your breakfast.
I thought I would check why they are complaining as I presume they aren't suggesting poor old Daisy is being whipped and sent up chimneys instead of being allowed to chew the cud in peace.

RSPCA GCSE Education - Background information provided for students

The cloning of animals involves subjecting them to painful and distressing procedures, and is of serious ethical and welfare concern for the RSPCA for several reasons:
....while being cloned, animals experience life in a laboratory, in the same conditions as any research animal, which are far from ideal in terms of space and providing animals with the ability to express normal behaviours
creation of 'copies' of pets, successful sports horses, and endangered (or even extinct) species is completely unacceptable - there can be no justification for cloning animals to improve performance, or for 'recreating' a pet, when there are thousands of unwanted cats and dogs who could be given a loving home instead.

"No justification for cloning animals to improve performance"? Let us ignore their baseless dismissal of the pet idea (The RSPCA seems happy enough to shoot pets that stray into its care anyway) but look again at the performance quote. We are not talking racehorses we are talking milking cows, goats that can survive better on saline scrub, pigs that produce healthier bacon, replacement human body parts. No justification?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:05 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Why BP should revert to Europaische Union as its name.

BP urged to resort to its former name - Scotsman.com News
EMBATTLED oil giant BP is reportedly facing pressure to rename its US petrol stations under their old Amoco brand

I was hoping they were suggesting going back to Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC), even though I doubted that it would be a massive PR success. The British Petroleum brand was originally created by a German firm, Europaische Union, as a way of marketing its products in Britain. During the war, the British government seized the company’s assets, and the Public Trustee sold them to Anglo-Persian in 1917.

So let BP go back to its original name Europaische Union, it could even use the initials and see how the Americans, and British, like it then!.

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

Good enough for Churchill, good enough for me.

Churchill reined in army enthusiasm for fox hunts in the Rhine | UK news | The Guardian

Churchill was not known as an animal rights campaigner. One family photo from shortly before the war is of his wife, Clementine, cuddling a pet fox bred on their estate; but a 1948 portrait shows him riding with the Old Surrey and Burstow foxhounds. "The League Against Cruel Sports had been in correspondence with Churchill since the 1920s," explained a spokesman. "He was no big fan of fox-hunting but he regarded himself as a libertarian and wouldn't want to ban it."

Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 1, 2010

Peres mistakes me for an Hungarian Nobleman

Fury as Israel president claims English are 'anti-semitic' - Telegraph
Shimon Peres said England was "deeply pro-Arab ... and anti-Israeli", adding: "They always worked against us."
He added: "There is in England a saying that an anti-Semite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary."

As any educated fool knows it was Joseph Eötvösz, a Hungarian nobleman, who coined that rib tickler in the 1920s. Of course in Bradford they may laugh at little else apart from ancient middle European bons mots but I haven't heard it before.
Some Englishmen may especially dislike Jews, the Lawrencian public school homo-erotic worship of the noble desert dweller and distaste for trade and money dealers still has a toehold in the Foreign Office, but in the real England I don't come across it. We just dislike all foreigners equally.

Posted by The Englishman at 5:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

On Rape Knives, CCTV and Environmentalism


For your agricultural edification the vertical cutting bar this side of the combine is a "Rape Knife" used to cut through the leaning stems of Oilseed Rape, or other crop, to enable a clean edge to the harvested area. The CCTV camera on the other side of the combine watches the edge from the previous pass and steers the combine to inch accuracy to ensure the whole width of the combine is actually cutting the crop and not missing any. No more human inefficiency in modern agriculture!
The crop yield is monitored continually and mapped using GPS and next year the field will have its fertilizer tailored according to the output with the applicator altering rates as it travels across the field. Ensuring optimum usage and no waste.
Progress cuts inputs and maximizes outputs. Real environmentalism rather than muck and mystery.

Posted by The Englishman at 12:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Political Geek Picture Quiz


I noticed in Devizes a still used letterbox for The Department of Employment and Productivity - what era was that from?

Posted by The Englishman at 10:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Forces of Dark

A dark ideology is driving those who deny climate change | Robin McKie | Comment is free | The Observer

Scientists' warnings – that without action the world will get at least two degrees hotter this century – have been obscured by a small group of ideologues who believe individual liberties are more important than any other cause. Our planet may burn, millions may die, and cities such as Moscow and New York may smoulder, but at least we will be free of petty regulation and bureaucracy. It seems a stiff price to pay.

Those bastard libertarians behind the sceptic movement - y'know they opposed communism as well, the bastards. Just because they didn't think putting up with its petty regulations and bureaucracy was worth it to save the world then either.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack