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October 31, 2012

New York Flooding - Up to the 1609 tide mark!

Superstorm Sandy: the morning after feeling for battered New Yorkers | The Times

Waters from the Hudson flooded Ground Zero, while the East River crept half way up Wall Street. “The water came up to the old historic tide mark from 1609,” a resident in her 60s said. “It reached Pearl Street, which was where the oyster beds were on the old shoreline.”

But, but I thought the sea level was rising to swamp New York...

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October 29, 2012

Thanks Cherie!

Lord Coe reveals how Cherie Blair won us the Olympics | The Times

Cheers, Cherie | The Times
Mrs Blair’s role in securing the Olympics may improve her battered public image.

It seems that Cherie Blair’s name should be added to the list of those who can claim some credit for the triumph of the London 2012 Olympics. According to Lord Coe, whose autobiography is serialised in The Times today, the then Prime Minister’s wife played a key role in London winning the contest to stage the Games.

It says something about the generosity of Lord Coe — and the secret of his success and the success of the Olympics — that he has found reason to give credit for the London Games to so many people, even some unlikely ones.
There are so many people to thank for securing the Games and making it such an unforgettable summer. .....

My normally neatly ironed copy of The Times has been screwed up and chucked of the Breakfast Room table to be trampled on by the dogs. For the first time I miss the incontinent cat who died last week.
The cover alone featuring Lord Sebum in his tight shorts was enough to turn the bacon to dust in my mouth but on opening the paper to see this leader illustrated with large photo of Her Ladyship it was all too much. At least I know my pharyngeal reflex still works.

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October 24, 2012

"Good Hunting" - 70 Years Ago Today

70 years ago this morning the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry were advancing against German Panzers and 88mm anti-tank guns at El Alamein in operation Lightfoot.

As a flavour of the battle here is a report of their second engagement.

Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry History

By the 29 October the Regiment were back with the 9th Armoured Brigade in reserve. The battle was still very much alive although the positions had remained unchanged from the 24 October when the Regiment were withdrawn. The tanks with which the Regiment had been re-equipped were far from new, many of them were the patched up casualties of the battle....

For the next phase of the battle the 2nd NZ Division had been reinforced by 151 and 152 Infantry Brigades from 13 Corps and also the 23rd Armoured Brigade; the divisional task was to mount and execute, on their own, a single 'punch' to a depth of 6000 yards through the German front line, the resulting breach was then to be exploited by the reserve Corps. For this operation General Montgomery was prepared to accept 100% casualties. The Regiment, now under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel A. M. Gibb, along with the Warwickshire Yeomanry and the 3rd Hussars would spearhead this attack, the Regimental objective was little more than a point on the map just to the north of Tel el Aqqaqir. At 0145 hours on the 2nd November, B Squadron lead the Regiment across the start line in column, proceeded through the minefield and through the leading infantry of 151 and 152 Brigades who were defending the forward edge of the minefield. BY 0615 hours the squadrons had fanned out with B Squadron under the command of Major Gibbs in the centre; in the half light the crews of the leading tanks could just see fleeing enemy infantry as they tried to avoid the tank tracks.

The B Squadron advance had taken them into the middle of an encirclement of enemy 88mm anti-tank guns, to halt the advance would clearly have been fatal so Major Gibbs gave the order to charge. Many tanks were destroyed and many gun positions over-run and already the enemy were starting their counter-attack from the south west.

By full daylight the Regiment was slogging it out in a tank versus tank battle with B Squadron with its Crusaders, reduced to one tank that could still motor. On Orders Major Gibbs withdrew the Squadron with many of them sitting on the one tank whilst others walked. For his bravery, both during the advance and in the final withdraw, Major Gibbs was subsequently awarded the DSO.

At 1600 hours the Regiment was withdrawn from the battlefield and its four remaining serviceable tanks were sent over to the Warwickshire Yeomanry where they fought until the battle was finally won two days later. The Regiment had fifteen killed, twenty seven missing and twenty wounded. There can be no finer tribute to the Regiment's achievements than the words of Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein recorded in 1967. " I must mention the magnificent fight put up by th 9th Armoured Brigade - 3rd Hussars, Wiltshire Yeomanry, Warwickshire Yeomanry - If British armour owed any debt to the infantry of the 8th Army, the debt was paid on 2 November by the 9th Armoured Brigade in heroism and blood."

In his book "Royal Wilts" Lt.Col.P.W.Pitt records the battle more personally.

Soon after the tanks emerge from the barrage the Squadron finds itself approaching the Rahman Track. Then, as the silvered telephone posts which run along it become dimly visible and the daybreak sharpens their outlines, the trouble starts in earnest when they mount the crest of a very slight rise they are in the midst of it. Below then the Boche is dug in. His position is formidable. His strength is terrific. This is the real thing.
The Squadron Leader thinks quickly. He must in a situation like this. A few moments hesitation may spell disaster. Summing up his chances he glances from left to right along the horizon where the dawn has brought the rim of the desert into shadowy view. Flash, flash, flash . . in a great semi-circle the guns of the enemy wink viciously back at him as great balls of fire seem to leap out of the sand and hurtle towards the oncoming tanks. Some miss their mask and bounce on the sand, to die out gracefully like fireworks in the sky, others land with a sickening metallic clang on the Crusaders and explosions add dull thuds to the pandemonium of sounds that fills the shattered air. This is not the sort of resistance that can be brushed aside. Those shells are fired by the dreaded 88 millimetres
and guns of even heavier calibre. B Squadron has bumped right into the middle of the enemy’s main gun line
It is neck or nothing now. That gun line must be smashed at all costs. The forward Troop Leader has also summed up the situation and has slewed his troop to the left. The Squadron Leader quickens the pace of his own tank and takes the lead in the old fashioned cavalry style. His mind is made up. There is only one way to deal with this situation. He gives the order— Charge.’
He should, of course, have used the expression "Over-run". He is now commanding tanks, not horses, but the slip is natural enough, although there is a deal of difference between a cavalry charge and its mechanical counterpart. The former is full of romantic associations and a man can do great deeds when his blood is up in good company with a stout horse between his knees. But, normally, there is little romance about a mechanised operation. These men are cooped up in steel prisons which are packed tight with high explosives. Each tank carries enough petrol to burn down a house and the air is thick with missiles. Nostrils are filled with the reek of engines and fumes of oil. Throats are choked with dust. It is a cold-blooded business, this grinding into the night in a mass of metal. Everything in a tank, like everything in a battlefield, is hard, hot or harmful . . excepting human flesh! There is iron to bruise, steel to cut and fire to burn. But no romance,
Nevertheless, a dash of the old cavalry spirit infuses the men of B Squadron as the order to charge comes over the air. A Crusader has a fair turn of speed and the lust of the chase is added to their excitement, for the hunt is on. Chaos ensues, therefore, as the squadron breaks formation and races recklessly into the German gun-line. Every man is keyed up to the highest pitch and every tank is extended to its limit. Wherever a flash is seen in the sand, there lies a gun-pit, and after those flashes go the Crusaders. With all weapons blazing they thresh about and mill around, flat out in circles, to crush the Boche guns out of action. The pace is terrific. It cannot and does not last long, with both sides losing so heavily in the dust and smoke-laden din
Unbelievable things are happening if we could but see them. Already the enemy guns are badly mauled. That "nice little tank screen" is in reality very formidable. It is officially described, later on, as composed of twenty to twenty-five 88 millimetres, ”supported by a vast number of smaller guns.” Official reports are not given to exaggeration and understatement is usually one of their characteristics.
And guns are being literally over-run by tanks for the first time in history. Here, as just one example, is an impression of the sort of thing that is happening all round us.
A subaltern sees through his glasses that the crew of an ‘88 millimetre, “ upon which he has set his heart, are busily engaged in firing point blank at another B Squadron tank. So he stalks them from a flank.
The British tank is blazing back gamely but its guns are hopelessly inaccurate on the move and the shells fly wide of the gun emplacement. Its machine guns, too are giving a lot of trouble. The German 88 millimetre is also shooting wild. The subaltern holds his fire. So far he has been unobserved whilst the Germans battle with the enemy to their front. Then the Boches get a lucky hit. Flames spurt from the British tank. Its petrol is on fire. The crew leap out as the tank goes up in a bright flash of flame and is crowned with a great cloud of dove grey smoke. The German gunners rush for their machine guns, but, as they train them on the escaping British crew, the subaltern takes a hand. -This is his opportunity. He is close enough to the gun pit now to fire right down into it and he lets fly with his Besas at the Boches. There are four of them, and, for a few moments, they cling, as though magnetised, to their machine guns. Then, realising that they can’t possibly get back to their big gun, they flee in an access of terror. The Crusader races after them, its zipping bullets claiming first one and then another. The remaining two fling themselves on the ground and clutch cravenly at the sand. But their fate is seated. The charging metal passes over them as the huge tank slews round and makes once more towards the now deserted gun.
Up till now this Crusader has been charging blind at German gun-pits, but this 88 millimetre is dug in eight feet deep. It is a formidable obstacle. So as the tank approaches the edge it checks and hesitates, as though measuring its distance. Then it advances more gingerly. Its nose hangs for a moment over the side of the emplacement—reaching towards the great breech of the German anti-tank gun. A few more inches. As it dips, it thud-jangles upon the “ 88 millimetre. The engine races slightly. Metal grinds on metal. The stout steel from Krupp’s crumples like cardboard beneath the massive weight of the British tank. Slowly, slowly . . with great effort the tank struggles astride the wrecked gun. It grunts furiously and seems to look up towards the further side of the gun-pit. Then it gropes for a way out. It gets a purchase on the lip. Again it roars and snorts and makes a fearful noise. The earth gives. Cascades of dust fall into the pit. Gradually the tracks get a grip and the great beast seems to scramble up the side. Now it is out, a crumpled mass of steel behind it, where once was a deadly gun. The Crusader appears to shake itself after this encounter as though looking round with a snort. What’s the next job? It moves on once more towards the centre of the battle.

Meanwhile the Squadron Leader has lost control. It is every man for himself now, but he is worried about the petrol supply. His tanks have been running for fully twelve hours and they can’t have much fuel left. They won’t be able to keep this sort of thing up much longer. The Besas, too, are giving trouble. They keep jamming and, in the midst of all this hell, men have to keep getting out of the tanks and freeing them with ram-rods. This, and a thousand other dangers, add to the critical nature of the battle....

My father's tank brewed up and he had to cut his driver's arm off to get the driver out. He stayed to look after the wounded man rather than return to the British lines, sheltering beside the burning tank until he was picked up by the Germans to become a POW for the rest of the war. The driver and him met again at the 50th Anniversary Dinner in 1992.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 23, 2012

Wilts Plod Injustice

Steve Fulcher's suspension: there’s nothing intelligent about this injustice - Telegraph

In a speech on crime yesterday, David Cameron said he wanted to see “no-nonsense policing” and a law and order system that is “tough but intelligent”. Yet tell that to the family of the murder victim Rebecca Godden-Edwards, denied justice by the courts; or ask Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher of Wiltshire Constabulary what he thinks, as he sits at home after being suspended from his job despite finding Rebecca’s body.
The story of what has happened to Det Supt Fulcher would drive anyone to despair for the sanity of our legal system....

Already driven Boss, already been driven there.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 22, 2012

Smart Meters At Work

Can the Isle of Wight start a power revolution? | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Energy minister John Hayes gets on the internet, clicks a mouse and instantly turns off the electricity being used to charge up an electric car 15 miles away. At the same time, he can shut down a fridge and a water heater in a house three miles away. History may record his activation this week of a rudimentary smart grid of two buildings on the Isle of Wight as the start of a power revolution which its advocates hope will spread across Britain and vastly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and electricity consumption.

This is what the whole "smart meter" push is about, handing over your on and off switch to the politician in charge of energy so he can mange your demand to match the power his windmills are pushing out.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:37 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Poppy Sellers In A Multicultural City

Royal British Legion minders for young poppy sellers - Telegraph

The unprecedented security will be provided for young Army cadets in Bradford, West Yorks, after the attacks on teenage collectors.
The security chaperones will accompany the volunteers, aged between 10 and 17, amid concerns many are now too frightened to participate in fund-raising efforts.
From this week they will be shadowed by motor enthusiasts from the Legion’s Riders branch, many of whom are former members of the Armed Forces, following the series of incidents last year.
Those attacks left the local Legion branch horrified and forced Army officials to visit schools to stress the need to honour the fallen and overcome cultural barriers.
In one incident, a 13 year-old Army cadet, Bethany Holmes, was spat at three times by a group of younger Asian boys while collecting for the first time.....

Certain words will not be used in reports of this outrage, let us just say that one of the cultures that predominates in Bradford doesn't commemorate the sacrifice of our armed forces. Which opens the door the the odious Nick Griffin to make political capital.

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

October 21, 2012

Shooting News

Defra killed Cock Robin | The Sunday Times (£)

THE environment ministry licensed the killing of two robins and a wren with semi-automatic weapons after the tiny birds were declared a threat to public health.

Semi-automatic? I gather air-rifles were actually used.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:29 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 18, 2012

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there

Elvis meets Priscilla Beaulieu : Elvis Presley Biography : Official Elvis Presley Fan Club

Priscilla Beaulieu Presley (born Priscilla Ann Wagner on May 24, 1945, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American model, author and actress and the only wife of Elvis Presley.
Priscilla was 14 years old when she met Elvis in Wiesbaden.
In Germany, Priscilla would hang out at the Eagles Club, a place for eating and entertainment. According to Priscilla, she'd often just listen to the juke box and write letters to her friends. One day, a handsome man looking somewhere in his mid twenties approached Priscilla. His name was Currie Grant. He asked Priscilla, 'How'd you like to meet Elvis Presley? My wife and I are good friends of his'.
Of course Priscilla agreed, and the night she was to meet Elvis, she wore a white and navy sailor dress.
Elvis lived off base in Bad Nauheim. On the evening of Sunday, September 13, 1959, Currie, his wife, and Priscilla drove for forty minutes to get to Elvis' house. Out of nervousness, Priscilla didn't speak much.
When she finally arrived, entered the house, and met Elvis, he'd taken a liking to her right away.
He even seemed to be trying to impress Priscilla with his songs he'd play her.
After the first night of meeting Elvis, Priscilla couldn't concentrate on school, but she told nobody that she'd met Elvis, because as she thought, 'Who'd believe that just last night I was at Elvis' house?'
Much has been made of the fact that Priscilla was only 14 when the pair was introduced, but the young girl was mature for her age, and Elvis was mindful of the implications of the situation.
Priscilla was photographed by the press at the airport when Elvis left for America, and some of those photos ended up in Life magazine. Beyond this, there was surprisingly little publicity about their relationship.
After Elvis was discharged from the Army, his only contact with Priscilla Beaulieu was over the phone and by mail. Two months shy of her 15th birthday, the blue-eyed brunette with the turned-up nose remained in Germany when Elvis departed for the United States.....

And then there was The Killer....

Quick someone tell the tabloids!

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

October 17, 2012

RSPB Wants Its Own Swan Mincer

€˜RSPB wants to erect a wind turbine that will kill birds€™ claim protesters - Environment - Scotsman.com

RSPB Scotland has submitted plans to Aberdeenshire Council to install a 62ft high “domestic” turbine at its Loch of Strathbeg reserve, near Crimond, in Buchan.

The reserve is home to almost 300 species of birds during the year and in winter tens of thousands of geese, including up to a quarter of the world’s population of pink-footed geese, visit the loch.

Aedan Smith, RSPB Scotland’s head of planning, said the report ­assessed the risk to pink-footed geese as one death every five years and one death every 2.5 years for whooper swans. These deaths rates, he stressed, would have no impact on the conservation status of either species.

He added: "The purpose of the turbine is to try and improve the environmental performance of our estate.

"The RSPB as an organisation is becoming increasingly concerned about the effect of climate change on wildlife across the UK and across the world and we are doing what we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

So would he be happy if I shot the odd one as well to feed into my boiler as bio-fuel?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Hoplophobia at WH Smiths

A reader writes:

Dear Mr Englishman -

You may be aware of WH Smith's recently implemented policy of restricting the sale of shooting and country sports magazines to the over 14s, apparently in the mistaken belief that nobody under this age is allowed to possess or use a shotgun or firearm. By declaring the activities of the law abiding and generally peaceable shooting community as unsuitable for minors, they demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the discipline and respect that our sport encourages in young people. They also include the target shooters....how quickly Richard Wilson's Gold medal is forgotten.

It is interesting to note that motoring magazines, including those that encourage acne riddled youths to infest supermarket car parks and race around town centres, are not similarly limited to those over the legal driving age. Nether do they seem too concerned about teaching children to massacre virtual humans by way of computer and console gaming titles. This might lead us to conclude that the campaign by Animal Aid, at best ill-informed and at worst riddled with lies and half truths, has in fact hit the mark and the management of Smiths have swallowed their blathering hook, line and sinker. (On reflection a poor choice of idiom...fishing magazines will no doubt be next)

The chicken nugget generation of our inner cities may have no interest in where their food comes from, but I'll be buggered if my daughter will grow up thinking that meat grows in plastic wrappers and pest control is some kind of adult vice. As she will almost certainly grow up to be a world class shot (she is only just four, but I can see the potential already) I cannot sit back and let a business as significant and influential as WH Smith condemn our sport, our lifestyle as aberrant and something to be hidden away.

May I ask that you use your considerable influence and respect to publicise this issue and perhaps encourage your loyal followers to consider lending their name to this petition: Petition | WHsmiths: Retract Policy on Sale of Shooting Magazines | Change.org

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

October 16, 2012

AGW "Causing More Hurricanes" - The Indy

Global warming is 'causing more hurricanes' - Climate Change - Environment - The Independent

Although scientists were not able to prove that climate change is causing more large hurricanes, they believe the study is consistent with the predictions that global warming and warmer seas could bring about more intense tropical storms.

Some dissconect between the Sub;s headline and the story itself?

Posted by The Englishman at 7:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Tale of Two Graphs

The Mail on Sunday gives David Rose space to repeat old (and wrong) claims that “global warming has stopped”. | Carbon Brief

The graph that Rose should have shown is this one, which shows roughly 0.8 degrees Celcius of warming since the beginning of the 20th Century.


This reveals Rose's statements that "[b]efore [1980], temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years" and that "global industrialisation over the past 130 years has made relatively little difference" are extremely short-sighted. As the Met Office explained to Rose:

"Looking at successive decades over this period, each decade was warmer than the previous - so the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s, and the 2000s were warmer than both. Eight of the top ten warmest years have occurred in the last decade".

If the Met Office hadn't had more important things on their minds couldn't they have said something similar in 1944..

"Looking at successive decades over this period, each decade was warmer than the previous - so the 1930s were warmer than the 1920s, and the 1940ss were warmer than both. Eight of the top ten warmest years have occurred in the last decade"


Whoops - I have been naughty and chopped their graph up - one half shows the entirely natural and unworrying Global Warming from about 1905 until the Forties, the other half shows the recent man-made catastrophic warming. I can't remember which one is which though...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 11, 2012

Penguins Malaria Deaths In London - Could It Be Climate Change?

London Zoo's penguins hit by outbreak of killer malaria - London - News - Evening Standard

Penguins at London Zoo have been struck by a deadly strain of malaria that has killed six of the birds.

The outbreak is being put down to the exceptionally wet and muggy summer which created perfect conditions for mosquitoes which spread the disease.

Ben Sheldon, Professor of Ornithology at Oxford University said: “Avian malaria has been in the UK for centuries. Some birds seem largely unaffected by it and in others it causes high rates of death.

“Penguins come from a part of the world where they wouldn’t have been exposed to malaria. They haven’t had a chance to evolve resistance to it.

“Just like with human malaria the most effective way of controlling it is to stop mosquitoes biting. But we don’t have an equivalent of a bed net for penguins.”

Some people have claimed there has been a rise in avian malaria in recent years due to climate change. But Professor Sheldon said there is not enough evidence to justify these claims.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Climate Change Right Here Right Now

Rising food prices are climate change's first tangible bite into UK lives | Damian Carrington | Environment | guardian.co.uk

The damage wreaked by the dismal summer of 2012 on UK harvests was revealed on Monday and will push food prices up. In these austere times, with food banks feeding the hungry, that is going to hurt.

There are two lessons to be learned. First, the UK is not going to gradually warm into a pleasant Mediterranean climate, with sunny resorts on the coast supplied by burgeoning English vineyards. The heating of the climate system leads to greater extremes in weather and greater damage. Second, with much of our food imported from around the world, the totals we tot up at the tills is at the mercy of global warming's impact on the whole globe.

In 2009, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, Sir John Beddington, warned the world faced a "perfect storm" of food, water and energy problems, due to global warming and the rising world population. The UK has experienced soaring energy bills, droughts and floods, and now crop failures. Beddington predicted his storm would hit in 2030. It may be arriving early and as close to home as your supermarket checkout.

Gosh it was nearly as wet as 1912 and luckily we have global trade and speculation in food to keep us fed and even out the price rises, unless the God-botherers get their way...

And soaring energy bills because of climate change? How very dare he when it is his favoured solution to his favourite problem that is causing them

Posted by The Englishman at 6:52 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 10, 2012

Tory Attacks Soviet Economy Green Ideas Shock

'Soviet-style’ wind farm subsidies to face the axe - Telegraph

Owen Paterson, the new Environment Secretary, who took on the role last month, said wind developers should “stand on their own two feet” instead of asking for money from the state.
He said green technologies such as wind farms might actually have a worse impact than climate change, because they are causing “public insurrection”.
“There are significant impacts on the rural economy and the rural environment, all of which probably weren’t intended when these things were thought up,” he told an event at the Conservative Party conference. “It is not very green to be blighting the economy in one area.”
Mr Paterson said he would write to the Department of Energy with his view on ending green subsidies as part of a Government review of support for renewable energy.
“If you start having subsidies you end up with a Soviet-style system, where politicians make decisions that might actually be better made by the market,” he added.

What an embarrassing security breach, someone has let a Tory get into the Conservative party conference and actually make a speech. Expect it to be denied and hushed up.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Eamonn Butler on Hayek

Friedrich Hayek: The ideas and influence of the libertarian economist (Harriman Economics Essentials)

Hayek and his ideas are still largely unknown even though they have been hugely influential in modern western economies. The average broadsheet reader could probably give a vague definition of Keynsian theory, "spend a bit more on public works when times are tough, build up a reserve when the economy is booming," but would not know where to start with Hayek. Well this is where to start. Whether you think he was right or wrong you should read it to get a broad background understanding. The only warning is that if you have a belief that he is wrong or irrelevant you might start thinking, and thinking that maybe he has the answer. But take the risk, it is an enjoyable read as well as being educational.

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

October 9, 2012

Tories and The Castle Doctrine

Tories go back to basics on right to defend home | Politics | The Guardian

Householders who resort to physical force to deter burglars will be given greater protection from the law, the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, will announce on Tuesday as he abandons the legacy of his moderate predecessor, Kenneth Clarke.
In a sign of Downing Street's tougher approach on law and order, Grayling will pledge to change the law to ensure householders can use "disproportionate" force in certain circumstances.

Conservative Party conference 2012: new right to attack burglars - Telegraph

Mr Grayling said: “The basic premise of the change is to get the law to a position where if you are in your home, and you are confronted by an intruder… then if, in the heat of the moment you use a level of force that in the cold light of day might seem disproportionate, the law will be on your side.”
He added: “You need to look at it that way round because it’s very much about the juxtaposition of the heat of the moment and if you act in a disproportionate way in the heat of the moment, the law will be on your side.
“But if you act in a grossly disproportionate way … I think if the burglar is out cold on the floor and you then stick a knife into him, that, in my judgment would be grossly disproportionate.”

Not just good dog whistle politics but also sensible. With the adrenalin flowing disproportionate may seem reasonable.

Of course what some of us think of as reasonable in the cold light of day might seem disproportionate to Guardian readers and Ken Clarke.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:10 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 8, 2012

EU Climate Spudulike

BBC News - Climate change: EU rebrands green energy campaign

The EU has launched a campaign aimed at showing how low-carbon solutions can improve quality of life.

The European Commission believes that policies to cut greenhouse gases will only work if individuals share the vision of a low-carbon society.

"It's perhaps been a bit too much doom and gloom in the past on climate," one official told the BBC at the launch in London. "We are now emphasising the need to inspire people."

The EU-wide campaign runs until 2014.

The campaign title "Worldulike" will doubtless raise eyebrows. The name is uncomfortably reminiscent of the British baked potato restaurant chain Spudulike.

EU Climate Spudulike: Welcome

The EU Climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, said climate policies would cut local pollution, reduce dependency on fossil fuel imports, improve resource efficiency, save money on energy and even make people fitter if they left their cars at home and cycled to work.

Critics will argue that some of these claims are contestable, but Ms Hedegaard told BBC News: "If we are defeatist over the climate we will get nowhere."

"There are many good solutions out there that other people can learn from. Climate change policies create jobs in Europe in renewable energy and retro-fitting - these aren't jobs that can be exported.

"The UK has enjoyed massive growth in the green economy with 110,000 green jobs. Climate change policies also help us reduce our imports of fossil fuels and help to give us the lead in smart technologies as resources become more scarce."

She said awareness of climate change varied widely throughout the EU. One of her officials admitted that the UK was suffering from something of a media backlash against climate policies because previously there had been media "overkill" on climate. But in some other countries - particularly in southern and eastern Europe - climate was not widely discussed.

When asked whether at a time of recession countries should seek the cheapest forms of energy possible to stay competitive Ms Hedegaard replied that this would result in the EU missing its climate targets.

There are some targets I would hate to miss...

Posted by The Englishman at 7:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 4, 2012

Rural Britain Today

Ratcatcher accused of murdering retired colonel was his lover, court hears - Telegraph

Christopher Docherty-Puncheon who is accused of blasting Lt Col Robert "Riley" Workman, 83, with a sawn-off shotgun confessed that he was in a sexual relationship with the older man.
Lt Col Workman was shot dead with a single blast from a sawn-off shotgun after answering a night-time knock at the door of his rural cottage in November 2004 in what is one of Britain's most notorious unsolved murders.
Docherty-Puncheon denies murdering Lt Col Workman and having a firearm with intent. The case continues.

Stable yard owner beaten with whip in midnight row over thorougbred - Telegraph

Dorothy Rugg-Easy discovered her thoroughbred Stella was missing from the stables last August. She says she entrusted Stella with former employee Ms Beavis under the agreement that she would be able to monitor her care at her stables.
The horse was kept away from the farm at another stables for almost a year before Mrs Rugg-Easy snatched her back on August 7, 2012.
Then just four days after winning back her horse Mrs Rugg-Easy and her daughter and grandaughter were attacked by drunk Thompson when he appeared in their stables - an act Ms Beavis denies having any knowledge of.

Sorry, have I drifted into an episode of Midsummer Murders.....

Posted by The Englishman at 5:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Our Daily Bread; The Essential Norman Borlaug [Kindle Edition] - Free on Amazon!

A great biography of a true hero - and it is free! Go get!

(Not suitable for people of a nervous disposition who think Rachel Carson was a hero)

Posted by The Englishman at 4:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 1, 2012

Eco-State Control

'Discard the ideological trappings of neo-liberalism' | Andrew Dobson | Environment | guardian.co.uk

We need to discard the ideological trappings of an increasingly discredited neo-liberalism – such as the fetish of consumer choice, or the notion of the small state...An active eco-state will never be the whole answer to the epic challenge of climate change, but it surely forms a big part of it.

• Andrew Dobson is a professor of politics at Keele University

Let us guess what part in an active eco-state Andrew Dobson sees himself playing. Is it the night soil man ensuring that his students have productive allotments? No?

And people wonder why some are sceptical about the political background to climate science.

Posted by The Englishman at 10:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack