March 18, 2009
Bosses to blame for ‘Third World’ hospital: Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust - Times Online
Appalling standards of care that may have contributed to the deaths of at least 400 patients at a hospital trust were missed repeatedly by managers and regulators, it was disclosed yesterday.
A report by the Healthcare Commission into death rates at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust found that receptionists were given responsibility for carrying out medical checks and patients were left screaming in pain for hours.
The report, the most damning yet compiled by the commission on an NHS hospital in England, raises serious questions about the monitoring and regulation of the trust, which was awarded elite foundation status and continued to receive positive annual reports despite its many problems.
Obviously the trust was good at filling in the right forms, which are the only sort of important indicator of how well the trust was performing. I doubt if patients had been able to vote with their wallets that it would have not been noticed for so long. Any private company that killed 400 people and caused untold agony and anguish to thousands would be in court, with the management rightly looking forward to prison, any bets on that happening here?
August 4, 2008
Flower Power to Beat Gun Crime?
Scientists have perfected the technique of “tagging” bullets with microscopic specks of pollen from the oriental lily (Lilium orientale) and the white trumpet lily (Lilium longiflorum) which will stick to the hands of anyone who handles them.
The research team is now extending its work to see if the “nanotags” can also be attached to knives....
In addition to the pollen, cartridges would also be coated with a slightly abrasive chemical coating which would strip off tiny skin fragments of anyone handling it. This would increase the chances of DNA being retained on the cartridges.
The coating and tags could be altered between batches of bullets and manufacturers to ensure that cartridges would have a chemical signature....
The technology could be in use within a year, but its usefulness in detecting crime will require a major diplomatic effort by ministers to persuade other countries to require their ammunition manufacturers to use it.
Most of the 9mm ammunition recovered by police units is manufactured overseas. Criminals have also resorted to making their own bullets.
My local milsurp dealer (before he was banned) used to wash great quantities of 7.62 in acid in his cement mixer, came up nice and shiny and his overseas clients never knew better....
May 1, 2008
Let's not squabble over money for the Olympics pleads Olympic fat cat.
LORD Sebastian Coe, the London 2012 chairman, yesterday said the organisers of the Commonwealth and Olympic Games should rise above squabbling over funding and work together to create a great sporting legacy.
"The argument over the money is a matter for the two governments to resolve," he said.
"But I don't think we would have this argument if it was a hospital or an art gallery. For some reason, people see sports as an added-on extra....
Strange that isn't it.
March 5, 2008
Trebruchets and Cannons, now we are talking security measures.
The headquarters of Joe Weston-Webb’s portable flooring empire is protected by security fencing, motion-sensor lights and CCTV cameras.
None of these conventional measures has deterred arsonists, however, and in desperation, Mr Weston-Webb has now fortified his defences with less orthodox technology left over from his time as a travelling showman.
A 30ft Roman catapult, loaded with chicken droppings from a nearby farm is primed each evening. And a cannon, which Mr Weston-Webb once used to shoot his wife across the River Avon, will fire a railway sleeper if triggered by an intruder....
Nottinghamshire Police said yesterday that they would send an officer to offer advice on “conventional security techniques” and on the use of “reasonable force”. Mr Weston-Webb promises to be reasonable. “We are putting a rubber block on the end of the railway sleeper,” he said. “It should just knock an intruder down.”
December 31, 2007
What you are not missing by staying in tonight
How I hate the human race
How I hate its silly face
And when I'm introduced to one
I wish I thought what jolly fun
I thought the poem was Belloc, but I can't trace it. Mr Google throws up the preposterous suggestion it might be by Sir Walter Raleigh, thus:
I wish I loved the human race;
I wish I loved its silly face;
I wish I loved the way it walks;
I wish I loved the way it talks;
and when I'm introduced to one,
I wish I thought what jolly fun.
I don't believe it.
Bi Cyclist Tales
A joke that will sicken cyclists | Alison Steed - Times Online
OK, I admit it, I like Lycra! I know that may seem bizarre to many of you who chug around in your cars, but as a cyclist it is something I could not do without. And if you agree with Matthew Parris, who wrote on these pages that we deserve to be “decapitated” for wearing bright, clinging colours, then tell that to the families of the 150 people a year who die in cycling accidents.... but not by piano wire.... and on and on she goes, I thought she was going to be calling for new laws to make it illegal to mock push bikers. So who is this Alison Steed? I wondered. A quick google and I come across this wonderful story - I have no idea if it is the same bicycling - emphasis on the bi - Alison Steed or not, but I hope it is.
The truth about my lesbian divorce | the Daily Mail
...three months on, the 'marriage' of Daphne Ligthart and Liz King - triumphantly celebrated as one of the first of this country's same-sex civil partnerships - is in tatters amid accusations of infidelity, lies and betrayal.
Two weeks ago, keep-fit fanatic Liz moved out of the couple's home after falling for wedding guest Alison Steed, who is separating from the man with whom she has lived for 16 years.....At the reception party, at Churchill's pub in Ashford, Daphne noticed that Alison Steed - one of several guests invited from the local athletics club, Ashford Tri,(giggle) where Liz was a member - looked rather depressed.
"She had come on her own without her boyfriend,"(fnarr fnarr) Miss Steed, the 33-year-old, who works in the media seemed to wish the couple well....
But it was the discovery of a pizza box in the kitchen at the end of March, and Liz's admission that Alison had cooked it while Liz had been upstairs taking a bath, that finally tipped Daphne over the edge....Liz told Daphne it was because Alison was splitting up from her boyfriend, with whom she shared an Edwardian home near a Kent hamlet called, ironically enough, Cuckold's Corner..."She swore on our dogs' lives that it was a friendship." (howl)
As Daphne recalls: "I said to Liz that I thought Alison was meant to be straight, and that she had never been with a woman before."
To which Liz is said to have replied: "She's doubting her sexuality."
After that sharp exchange, Liz left for the night, apparently to see Alison. The following morning, she returned home to admit that she and Alison had shared their first kiss.
"She said they had a kiss and a cuddle," says Daphne. "I asked her what kind of kiss and she said it was a French kiss.
"I said: 'Why are you doing this? Is it just exciting?...
(Cue music, curtain fall and credits)
Gratuitous Photos of Pretty Girls
These are, in order, the top beauty icons of 2007 as named in the Superdrug poll: Keira Knightley, Kelly Brook, Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby, Gemma Atkinson, Alesha Dixon, Lily Allen and Jordan.
The story is crying out for a few illustrations but do you really want to see a bunch of high maintenance "tits on sticks" at this time of the morning? Where are the real women? Over to you Theo.
December 30, 2007
SEX education lessons should be given to schoolchildren as young as five as part of a bid to combat soaring levels of teenage pregnancy...
Sex education failing to halt teen pregnancy - Telegraph
Sex education initiatives are failing to control the spiralling teenage pregnancy crisis, ministers have admitted for the first time.
Teenagers have no problem knowing what goes where, and how it works. In fact judging by the
videos scientific research they have a damn sight better idea than the grown ups. Telling them to wear a condom in kindergarten isn't the answer. They are choosing to get pregnant, now the reasons maybe stupid and due to their paucity of aspirations, or because they want a council house as the Daily Mail would say. But it is rarely anything to do with not knowing enough about sex.
‘Down in one’ drinks curbed - Times Online
DRINKS firms will no longer be able to market products as “slammers” or “shooters” from midnight on New Year’s Eve under a new code of conduct designed to curb high-speed “down in one” drinking. Even ads that show a drinker’s head tipped back too far as they put the glass to their lips will be covered.
A votre sante!
Egé szé gé re!
Za vashe zdorovye!
December 29, 2007
Motorists could be banned from smoking behind the wheel of their own cars while driving them as part of their job, it has emerged.
Cigarettes are banned in company cars when passengers are carried, which means taxi drivers cannot smoke. However, sales representatives still can light up if they are the only person using the vehicle.
There is greater confusion when it comes to private cars. Smoking is banned if the vehicle is mainly used for work - but not if it is mainly private....
Action on Smoking and Health welcomed the idea...
smokers could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.
Prof Richard West, the Government's leading smoking adviser, has called for a complete ban on smoking at the wheel.
He said: "It may seem draconian but the Government should legislate."
And come the New Year the French will be banned from smoking in their bars... Oh for the Glorious Day when the air is putrid and choking with the toxic smoke of the burning pyres of politicians, pokenoses and parliamentary paper.
December 27, 2007
B of the Bang goes the Games' Budget
‘Bang’ ends with a whimper as spikes fall foul of health rules - Times Online
A sculpture created to mark the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester has been declared unsafe...
The vaulting ambition of the 180-tonne structure, a starburst of enormous metal spikes that dominates East Manchester, was designed to seal the artist’s reputation. But his company is being sued for negligence and breach of contract by Manchester City Council. The council says that the structure remains unsafe. Four years after it was due to be completed it remains fenced off....a sorry sight on the periphery of Eastlands, formerly the City of Manchester Stadium.
Discarded metal spikes lie on the ground and, for a short period, the road had to be closed to traffic because of safety fears.
Meanwhile, costs spiralled from an estimated £750,000 to £1.42 million – because the successful bid did not include the cost of installation. The opening was put back from July 2003 to January 2005. But within two weeks of the opening, spikes began to fall off,...Sir Howard Bernstein, the council’s chief executive, said: "We want a lasting memorial to the Games."
Who can deliver Sebastian Coe’s Games promise? - Times Online
Fears that London 2012 will fail to deliver on its promise of rejuvenated participation after the Olympics were raised yesterday by leaders of the two marquee Olympic sports..
Our promise in Singapore was that we’d use this as an inspirational tool to re-engage the youth of this country and the world. That is a really tough call. But who is joining up the dots for all this to work? Where is the drive?”
I have no idea of what a "marquee Olympic sport" is, sounds a bit camp to me. But this guff about inspiring and re-engaging yoofs worldwide is just another excuse to suckle the public teat. If they just concentrated on putting on a bit of a show as the drug addled "atheletes" hop, skip and jump then the Olympics might be interesting; there would be no role for the boring smug git Smeg Coe, apart from being a javelin catcher; and there would be chance that the whole circus would cost less than £20 Billion
Rising security costs threaten to break the Olympic budget - Times Online
There is a 20 per cent chance that the £9.3 billion total budget will be exceeded, the Government admitted yesterday.
You find me a bookmaker that will accept those odds and I will be down there with a wheel barrow of fivers to say that if it is properly audited the cost will be double that, minimum.
Union warns that wildcat strikes could hit Olympics - Times Online
London Olympic projects could be hit by widespread industrial action and wildcat strikes.., Ucatt, the building union, has given warning....Work on building the main Olympic stadium and other projects is due to begin in the spring.... Alan Ritchie, the Ucatt general secretary, said: “My union is 100 per cent committed to the London Games being a total success. However, I fear...
Get your snouts in the troughs boys, everyone else does and there is no reason why the brickies shouldn't as well. It is badly run with a pressing timetable, it won't be hard to squeeze them a bit as they panic it won't be finished in time.
December 26, 2007
Happy PC Holidays
For decades, children have enjoyed singing about the little donkey which is said to have carried the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem.
But one group of young singers was ordered to change the traditional lyrics of the Christmas song - because they were said to be "too religious".
Instead of "Little donkey, carry Mary safely on her way", the youngsters were told to sing "carry Lucy" for fear of offending non-Christians. The incident, at the school's Christmas concert, appears on a new calendar alongside 11 other examples of extreme political correctness from around Britain.
More here - H/t Jos
December 24, 2007
No X factor
They are defined as Generation X but today's 20- to 40-somethings could soon be equally known as "Generation with no sex".
For those born before the 1960s, the invention of the Pill awakened their sense of sexual adventure. ... teenagers and those in their early 20s, .. are increasingly using sex as entertainment thanks to the internet, according to Edward Laumann, the professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, who conducted the research.
"It's clear that, while Generation X has sex, obviously, it's probably not as much or as varied in styles as that of their parents or today's teenagers and students," he said.
I think I'll give some yoofs a high five tonight as us old farts giggle at the losers in their carefully pressed jeans, oh so ethical lifestyles and boring lives in Barratt Homes. Still I see in other headlines there is hope for our rural northern friends:
December 22, 2007
BBC NEWS | Wales | 'Atheistic fundamentalism' fears
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has described a rise in "fundamentalism" as one of the great problems facing the world.
He focused on what he described as "atheistic fundamentalism". He said it advocated that religion in general and Christianity in particular have no substance, and that some view the faith as "superstitious nonsense".
As well as leading to Christmas being called "Winterval," the archbishop said "virulent, almost irrational" attacks on Christianity led to hospitals removing all Christian symbols from their chapels, and schools refusing to allow children to send Christmas cards with a Christian message.
He also said it led to things like "airlines refusing staff the freedom to wear a cross round their necks" in a reference to the row in which British Airways (BA) suspended an employee who insisted on wearing a cross necklace.
The horror of it! And how many 'planes have been flown into buildings in the name of Dawkins? How many non-believers have been put to the sword by other non-believers for not believing in the wrong sort of god? How many sectarian conflicts simmer and boil over on the finer points of Charles Darwin?
December 21, 2007
Men Jeer, Women Pity
BBC NEWS | Health | Humour 'comes from testosterone'
Men are naturally more comedic than women because of the male hormone testosterone, an expert claims.
Men make more gags than women and their jokes tend to be more aggressive, Professor Sam Shuster, of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, says.
The unicycling doctor observed how the genders reacted to his "amusing" hobby.
Women tended to make encouraging, praising comments, while men jeered. The most aggressive were young men, he told the British Medical Journal....
He suggested men might respond aggressively because they see the other unicycling man as a threat, attracting female attention away from themselves.
"This would be particularly challenging for young males entering the breeding market and thus it does not surprise me that their responses were the more threatening."
Umm - the day I feel my chances of pulling are threatened by a prat on a pole will be a sad day indeed.
December 19, 2007
Two Britains on the road
Only honest drivers get fined | Ross Clark - Times Online
As the police and the DVLA between them attempt to police the roads by remote control..why bother taking a driving test, buying insurance and registering her vehicle at all when she could look forward to years of road-hogging and illegal parking with minimal chance of being caught?
It is scandalous enough that the personal data of millions of British driving test applicants have gone missing on a computer disc in America, but even worse is the failure of the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) to keep accurate data in the first place. There are at least one million drivers on the roads who needn't worry about the DVLA spewing their insurance details to potential criminals — they don't have any insurance. Similarly, the owners of 820,000 vehicles need not worry about their names, addresses and registration details going missing: the DVLA has admitted it doesn't even have the information.
Drive along a British road and it is easy to imagine that everything is under control: reckless motorists will quickly be trapped by speed cameras, unregistered and stolen vehicles will soon be scooped up by the numberplate recognition cameras now fitted at every petrol station. The reality, of course, is that a system of traffic policing that is ever more reliant on the recognition of numberplates is only as good as the database of vehicle owners that sustains it — and that is next to useless. It is fine for catching out honest, if careless, drivers, yet the growing population of motoring outlaws gets to drive with impunity.
I remember taking the ferry over to Rosslare, and because my car had low ground clearance I was down on the commercial deck with the Transit vans. Of the eight that surrounded me only two had tax discs. If you are middle class you worry about such things but in today's Britain if you slip below the radar, stay there.
December 18, 2007
The Faggots of Radio One
Radio 1 bosses have bleeped out the word faggot from the song, for fear it will offend homosexuals, a spokesman said: "This step has been taken as this is a word that members of our audience would find offensive."
Well in the hope I offend the faggots in charge of Radio 1 here it is...
December 15, 2007
To the point
I was going to blog on the Home Office announcing that it plans to go ahead with a proposal to ban what they are calling 'cheap imitation Samurai swords'
But I needn't bother as Simon Clark has it done it far better than I would have done.
December 13, 2007
Avoiding the EU Landfill Tax caused the F&M outbreak
Contractors ‘sold top soil contaminated with foot-and-mouth virus’ - Times Online
The second wave of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Surrey is likely to have been caused by contaminated soil from the Government’s Pirbright scientific research laboratory, an official inquiry has been told.
It is alleged that contractors working on the £121 million modernisation programme at the laboratory collected soil contaminated with live virus at the site and sold it as top soil. ...
The allegations, if proven, will bring new embarrassment to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Under government guidelines, waste from any site dealing with live disease viruses requires a disposal licence from the Environment Agency, but Defra, which took charge of the modernisation works at the laboratory, appears to have overlooked the need for such a licence in this case.
Top soil is sold for £10 a cubic yard and a lorryload would be enough for 20 cu yards or £200. The cost of dumping in a landfill site would be £2 per cu yard for inert soil or £40 for 20 cu yards.
But given that the Pirbright laboratory was handling live virus and there was potential for hazardous waste, the landfill charge should have been at least £24/cu yard or £480 for 20 cu yards.
To correct The Times those charges are just the Landfill Tax rates - the owner of the hole in the ground would also charge for the use of his hole.
So yet again we see how the mad EU mandated Landfill tax causes flytipping and pollution, this second outbreak has cost a minimum of £100 million so far...
Scotsman.com News - 'Racism' on trial… or a hammer to crack a nut?
AN ELDERLY taxi driver held in a police cell for 12 hours after he used racist words in front of his white passengers has told of his relief at being cleared of criminal charges.
The accusations, by the wife and daughter of a former Labour MP, Jane Ross, the wife of former Dundee Labour MP Ernie Ross, and her daughter, Karen Girolami, sent the great-grandfather, who has an unblemished record, into a spiral of depression.
Last night, politicians and campaigners welcomed the decision, describing the determination to prosecute in the first place as "crazy".
A legal expert said Mr Young's case threw up questions over the definition of racism, and a spokesman for Help The Aged Scotland said it demonstrated the challenge to older generations in keeping pace with changing definitions.
Mrs Girolami, 41, told the court: "He said 'it doesn't matter where they come from because P***s are P***s, C******s are C******s, d*****s are d*****s'."
Now that is disgraceful, Scots with their glottal stops are hard enough to understand at the best of times but to start spitting out asterisks is beyond acceptability..
December 12, 2007
The Perils of Being Sober
Bugger bugger bugger - I have done it again, a repeat of last spring. Tripped over the bloody dog, (are you sure no one wants to buy him?) Not a drop had passed my lips all day, you only hurt yourself falling when you're sober; drunk, two flights of stairs, you pick yourself up and only worry about the bottle that broke...
As Dr. Kim pointed out ligaments are plastic not elastic, once buggered always buggered. As the old RSM said - Pain is just an unwelcome call from your neurons, treat like you do when the bank manager calls, ignore it.
At least the Brazilian Strap-on is providing relief...
December 10, 2007
Safety of our troops is paramount
The "snaps" have had to be removed from more than 650 Christmas crackers being sent to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan because of regulations on the carriage of "explosives".
The original plan was for the troops to receive a cracker to pull with their turkey dinners.
"The troops will just have to go 'bang' themselves when they pull them."
Phew - you can't be too careful can you?
December 7, 2007
You Can't Do That!
I'm going outside, I may be some time
It was good enough for Churchill, but now it’s a crime
The puritans in Whitehall say I’m lower than slime
So I'm going outside and I may be some time
December 5, 2007
Excuse me Sir is that a Police baton or are just pleased to see me?
A MALE stripper accused of possessing offensive weapons while he "masqueraded" as a policeman was dramatically cleared of the charges against him yesterday.
In a decision described as a victory for common sense, a sheriff dismissed the charges against Stuart Kennedy, 24, who uses the name "Sergeant Eros" while performing his police stripogram act at hen parties and other functions.
He was arrested on 17 March outside Aberdeen's Paramount Bar after he has spotted in the street by two female police officers as he was about to do his act. He was wearing a police uniform and utility belt, which contained the batons. .. legal submissions by his solicitor, Iain McGregor, ... submitted that Mr Kennedy had been legally entitled to have the batons in his possession, provided he had reasonable excuse for doing so. The two batons, he said, were "merely props" in his act as a male stripper.
MSPs described the case as an "extraordinary waste of time and money".
Grampian Police and prosecutors had alleged Mr Kennedy - who has spent 41 hours in police custody and appeared in court eight times in connection with the matter - was guilty of offensive weapons charges. This was because his act involved having two police-style batons and an unidentified spray.
"No-one likes to be imitated for entertainment purposes, but just because something annoys a police officer does not make it a crime. In fact, here there is no crime whatsoever."
"It is a shame that a few officers with uniform egos can bring a force into disrepute and waste so much police time and that of the already overstrained justice system."
December 2, 2007
Market Day Blues
The centre of a busy market town was brought to a halt at the start of the Christmas shopping season - by a small refrigerator.
Firemen, police and ambulance crews descended on the high street in Marlborough, Wilts,...Fire crews from up to 20 miles away converged on the hotel and an environmental protection unit from Warminster was also called in as police closed off the surrounding streets.
But after an extensive search of the building on Friday the source was found to be ammonia leaking from a small fridge used for storing sandwiches.
As my local shopping town I know how Plod loves to panic and close it down, the hours I have wasted as some Part Time Dibble has been waving his badge about to save us from some imaginary danger so thank goodness I decided against going there yesterday and to use t'internet to do my shopping - as are so many others
November 29, 2007
Personal Data Insecurity
Patients' confidential medical records are regularly being accessed by people who have no right to them, research by the BBC has revealed.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that in the last year there have been several data security breaches in the West.
Confidential medical records should only ever be seen by doctors and nurses who are working with the patient concerned, with the government spending some £13bn to digitise the medical records of every patient in Britain.
By 2010, the NHS Care Records scheme aims to have an electronic NHS Care Record for all patients. The record will detail the key treatments and care given to each of the NHS's 50 million patients.
I'm not that keen on any nosey parker being able to see what I was treated at the clinic for, but I'm told spreading all out personal data as far and wide as possible is all for our own good. It might be easier if they just burnt it to CD and dropped it off in a post box...
November 19, 2007
Pulling a Sicky
Almost two thousand people who are too fat to work have been paid a total of £4.4 million in benefit, it emerged last night. Other payments went to fifty sufferers of acne and ten incapacitated by leprosy.
...The complete list of the 480 different illnesses and complaints for which people received incapacity benefit in February were released by the Department for Work and Pensions. More than £2 billion was paid in 2006-07 for mental health complaints, including £518 million to those with what are described as “unknown and unspecified” diseases.
Overall more than £1.1 billion was paid to people suffering from a depressive episode plus a further £276 million to the estimated 116,000 claimants with “other anxiety disorders” and £122 million to the estimated 50,000 suffering from a “reaction to severe stress”.
A total of 15,600 people received benefits for “malaise and fatigue” and a further 8,100 for “dizziness and giddiness”. The figures disclose that 4,000 claimants had headaches, 2,700 migraines and 1,890 suffered from eating disorders. About £100,000 in benefits went to those with acne and a similar amount to 60 people with “nail disorder”. Nausea and vomiting cost £2 million in benefits for 900 people.
Makes me ill just thinking about our tax money being shovelled at these malingering lead swingers, do I have to go work this morning now?, especially as I'm feeling a touch of "nausea" from enjoying a proper weekend..
November 18, 2007
Sic transit gloria mundi
THEY are on the front line of the war on terror, but German pilots facing the Taliban are insisting they stop at tea time every day to comply with health and safety regulations.
Today's Lesson is taken from The Second Book of Samuel, Chapter One Verses 19 - 27:
1:19 .... how are the mighty fallen!
1:20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
1:27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
What's pink and wet and hairy on the outside? - Alex Salmond
TO lose one spin doctor is unfortunate, to lose two is careless. Scottish Labour's media operation was in meltdown last night after the party lost its second top spin doctor in as many months.
Matthew Marr, press adviser to party leader Wendy Alexander, quit his £60,000-a-year post after becoming "tired and emotional" at a glittering awards ceremony and loudly describing Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, as a "c***".
Now that is a proper awards ceremony, I wish I had been there, I would have poured a couple more large ones and encouraged him to say what he really thought!
American readers may care to read Kim's magisterial etymology of C*** and how it differs here to there.
November 15, 2007
Railways should have died with Brunel
History was made yesterday as the first Eurostar train left St Pancras. With a top speed of 186mph, it arrived in Paris two hours and 15 minutes later.
And it still is a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century problem. You still have to get to some god-forsaken part of London, previously only visited for contacting Ladies of certain persuasions, for the privilege of spending the equivalent of Chad's GNP on a ticket for a train that leaves at a time that suits it rather than you; "check in" so long before you could have driven to Dover in the time; face the prospect of Gordon's new railway station strip searches ; spend three hour cooped up in a metal tube with consumptive mobile phone addicts, drinking brown sludge for £5 a paper cup which slops down your trousers as tourists with backpacks push past, and for what? You end up in France, if you are lucky!
Misery as rail strikes bring France to halt - Telegraph
November 14, 2007
You can't trust shoppers not to buy the wrong stuff
Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary told the justice committee at the Scottish Parliament: "We do need to change our bevvy culture in Scotland.
"Alcohol is not just an ordinary commodity to be picked up unwittingly and thrown in a supermarket trolley along with a pint of milk and packet of tattie scones.
"That means it should not be promoted or sold as such."
Poor old Kenny, bottles of "Heavy" just jump into his trolley when he isn't looking, this drink just gets every where, we need to save the shopper from it. so the Scottish Government plans to restrict the display of alcohol in stores. The changes will bring an end to techniques such as "cross-merchandising" where, for example, beer is placed next to barbecues. Supermarkets will instead be forced to sell alcohol in separate areas, specifically marked out in a store plan. . They will get onto having to have permits and ration cards for it next year.
November 13, 2007
A 66-year-old man shot himself in both his legs Saturday afternoon while trying to loosen a stubborn lug nut with a 12-gauge shotgun...
The man had been repairing the Lincoln Continental for two weeks, and had removed all the lug nuts on the right rear wheel except for one.
"He's bound and determined to get that lug nut off," Wilson said, who did not know how long the man had been trying to free the lug nut.
"Nobody else was there and he wasn't intoxicated,"..
Haven't we all been there when faced with an awkward nut....
November 9, 2007
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
NONE of the 17 commuters who witnessed the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes heard police shout a clear warning before opening fire, in stark contrast to evidence given by eight officers.
The report also stated that while police were allowed to return to base, refresh and confer, civilians were expected to make statements in the immediate aftermath of the trauma at Stockwell station without being allowed to speak to each other.
However, the report stated, all the passengers were clear on one point: "It is perhaps significant that none of the 17 witnesses recall hearing the police officers shout 'police' or 'armed police' immediately prior to the shooting, whilst the eight police officers on the train recall either shouting or hearing this.
"Those officers have been interviewed under caution concerning allegations they conspired to pervert the course of justice."
Sir Ian Blair was criticised yesterday for blocking an independent inquiry into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, but the embattled Metropolitan Police Commissioner insisted again that he would not resign.
Do you think I'm going to criticise the Plod? They were happy enough to gun down someone even though no officer "made a positive identification" so do I want to walk around with "Target" printed on my forehead?
Visiting a chiropractor for a bad back is a waste of time and money as spinal manipulation will not cure aches and pains, says a study.
Researchers looked at the difference in recovery from lower back pain after a variety of treatments, including painkillers and manipulation.
They took 240 volunteers who had visited their GP with lower back pain and gave them anti-inflammatory drugs and spinal manipulation or a fake treatment.
There are two reasons why I still go to a chiropractor - firstly it works for me, he knows the exact spot to tweak. And secondly last time I had a serious back problem I couldn't get to see a doctor for a minimum of three days ( I gave up) which I would have needed to do to get a appointment to then go and see a specialist which would have been any length of time in the future you care to mention. My chiropractor made time to see me immediately, and that was £30 well spent. But then he isn't part of the NHS.
It might be that a naked oriental girl walking up and down my back in high heels would also hit the spot, in which case I would use her. It wouldn't be classified as medicine but as the patient I'm only interested in the outcome. The only problems are it would cost more than £30, it doesn't seem to be available in Devizes and Mrs Englishman and the Taxman might not believe it is an essential expense....
November 8, 2007
Sacrificing Liberty for Security
Moves to increase the period that terrorist suspects can be held without charge will go ahead despite all-party opposition to the plans, Jacqui Smith told the Commons last night.
The Home Secretary said that, while she was still trying to secure a consensus on a package of antiterrorist measures, she was not going to wait until further attempts were made to inflict atrocities and bring panic to British streets.
Earlier, Ms Smith told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There is a strong chance in the future we will need more than 28 days." She added that the terrorist threat was "serious, sustained and growing".
However, when questioned on whether there had been any cases so far where the 28-day limit had been insufficient, she admitted: "There has not."
Ms Smith was unable to say how long suspects should be held, but Downing Street clarified the government's position by saying ministers wanted a maximum of up to 56 days.
politicalbetting.com asks "Could Davis claim his fourth home secretary scalp?"
.This inflamed DD, who turned on her, teeth bared, like a dog with the hair standing up on the back of his neck. “She seems to have managed to pick this number out of the air!” he cried, referring to 28 days. “The highest number in the free world! The highest length of time for people to be held without charge in the free world!”
Gods Wonderful Railway
A sign of the times: brazen contempt for you and me | Heather Brooke: Thunderer - Times Online
After you read this you'll see them everywhere - like a newly learnt word that crops up all over the place when previously you could swear you'd never seen it before.
Signs of disrespect (SODs) are found in all the worst public institutions. “D*n't t@ke !t out on our staff,” shouts one in lurid purple and yellow on the Underground. They are everywhere, from hospitals and council offices to the security queues at Heathrow and Gatwick.
When you see one of these bossy, passive-aggressive signs threatening the public with prosecution or arrest, you quickly know two things about the institution you're dealing with:
1) They're lax about punishing those who break the law. After all, action speaks for itself, only inaction needs PR.
2) Customer service is diabolical or non-existent. People are loath to resort to violence and generally do so only when all other avenues of protest are shut. These organisations have pushed people to their limits.
But instead of sprucing up their act (which would require effort and a change of attitude), these institutions menace the public into accepting their unacceptably poor standards.
Yes, it's often said that the British are a nation of yobs. But what's more striking is the sheep-like docility with which the average British customer accepts jaw-droppingly bad service.
Two bloody hours I wastes at Paddington last night as they tried to find a "train manager" so we could depart. Of course I didn't complain to the poor bloody staff stuck on the train with us, it is fucking incompetents in the offices who ruined 600 people's evenings who ought to feel the wrath of my ire. The sooner they concrete the whole bloody lot over the better, preferably with the senior management underneath.
November 7, 2007
Save the Spotted Dick
Traditional puddings such as spotted dick, treacle tart and jam roly-poly are disappearing from the dinner table.
They are now a rarity on restaurant menus and diet-conscious diners have made some of the stickiest sweets endangered species, according to new research for Premier Foods.
It shows that the average British household eats a traditional hot pudding less than once a year
Now that is grim news - even if you don't steam your own spotted dick which can take hours the microwave means it is a dish that can be heated up in seconds - so no excuses about lack of time please.
Recipe below - of course.
The 1961 edition of Mrs Beeton says that you can use either beef or mutton suet in pudding but that beef is better. Pre-shredded animal or vegetable suet is available in packets in shops. However, if you’re feeling a yearn to be especially authentic, then ask your butcher for the suet. To prepare it for cooking you’ll need to remove the skin and fibrous tissue. Sprinkle it liberally with some flour and then shred or cut it into flakes before chopping it finely. More flour comes in handy if the suet gets sticky and starts sticking to the knife.
170 g currants
340 g plain flour
2 rounded tsp baking-powder
1/4 tsp salt
140 g finely chopped suet
a dribble of milk to mix
Sift together the flour, baking-powder and salt. Mix in the currants and the suet and then add enough milk to make a soft, but firm dough. If you slip with the milk and the mixture feels too sticky, use a bit more flour to get the consistency right. Form the dough into a roll and place it in a well-floured pudding cloth or a large piece of baking parchment. Roll it up loosely and tie it firmly at both ends so it looks a little like a Christmas cracker.
You can either steam the pudding over a pot of boiling water for about 2 1/2 hours or you can drop it into the pot of boiling water and simmer it for 2-2 1/2 hours. If you’re going to do the latter, I’ve been advised that using the pudding cloth (or a clean tea towel) instead of the baking parchment gives a much better result. Serve hot with lots of custard. Perhaps wise to also wait a couple of hours before going swimming or indulging in any other strenuous exercise. A nap might be a good idea.
November 3, 2007
US anti-gay church that demonstrates at military funerals fined $10.9m - Times Online
The grieving father of a dead US soldier has won nearly $11 million (£5.2 million) in damages against a fundamentalist church that disrupts military funerals in the belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality....
It was unclear whether the plaintiffs would be able to collect the damages awarded. Before the jury began deliberating the size of punitive damages, District Judge Richard Bennett noted that the size of the compensatory award “far exceeds the net worth of the defendants”, according to financial statements filed with the court....
Forget trying to get the cash I think they should just drive on over to Westboro with a wrecking ball, drum of petrol and a box of matches, and just raze the whole bigoted establishment to the ground.
November 2, 2007
LONDON'S police chief has dismissed demands for his resignation after his force was found guilty of breaking health and safety laws in the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes.
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said it was a one-off incident on an "extraordinary day" and that no individual was to blame. "Sometimes that's what happens,"....
Yep, seven dumdum bullets at point blank range into the head can be interpreted as an offence against health and safety, but accidents happen so don't blame me seems to be his attitude.
Notes to Editors
1. Section 2(1) of the HSW Act states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health safety and welfare at work of all his employees."
2. Section 37(1) of the HSW Act states: " Where an offence... committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly."
3. The maximum penalty in the Crown Court for contravention of Section 2 and 37 of the HSW Act is an unlimited fine.
But not for one of the Government's own; taking responsibility, being personally culpable, doing the decent thing, these terms simply don't compute....
Beer Better Than Water - Official!
HAVING a beer after exercise could do you more good than drinking water, a new study suggests.
Beer can help someone who has sweat regan liquid better than water, the bubbles help to quench thirst and the carbohydrate in beer help replace lost calories, Spanish researchers say
Sometimes it is worthwhile not questioning "medical" research too much and just accept its recommendations. This typing is bloody hard exercise I tell you, off to the fridge for me!
November 1, 2007
The number of drivers caught by speed cameras has fallen for the first time, according to government figures which reveal that widespread complaints about excessive enforcement have finally forced a retreat by police and local authorities.
The Australian approach has a bit more subtlety ...
But even that can cause problems....
When a woman wiggled her finger at Simon Jardak as he drove along a road in Sydney three months ago, he saw red.
Instead of shame-facedly taking his foot off the pedal and slowing to a sedate pace, he hurled a bottle at the woman through the window of his car.
"She started doing that hand gesture, you know, the RTA one," Mr Jardak told a Sydney court.
"And it offended me… because of, you know, she implied I had a small penis."
Yep, sounds like it works then....
(I have found it also works whenever I see a politician or campaigner lecturing me on how to live - they are just compensating for having small dicks. (True story - I know a blustering ex-army officer who likes ordering people about - a girl once told me she wasn't sure if he had made love to her or not as it was "so small she couldn't feel a thing". I have job keeping a straight face whenever I meet him.... )
Enjoy your bacon sarnie this morning with a clear conscience
Millions of people are at risk of getting cancer unless they slash levels of alcohol and red meat in their diets, medical experts have warned in a landmark study.....
I have actually downloaded the report , all 537 pages of it. It is a vast data dredge. I have failed to spot any Relative Risks which approach 2 - (an increase of 100%) - In epidemiologic research, [increases in risk of less than 100 percent] are considered small and are usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, statistical bias, or the effects of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident. [Source: National Cancer Institute, Press Release, October 26, 1994.]
Of course if we want to really save "10,000 deaths a year from cancer" according to a report four years ago by Professor Karol Sikora we just have to improve our healthcare to the European average for cancer treatment. That is 10,000 that die because of the NHS and the unique way it is run. And as he says in response to this report;
THE World Cancer Research Fund has dramatised the "bullet points" and has exaggerated the risk by saying, for example, don't eat bacon and processed meat. Small amounts of these won't do you any harm - it's only harmful when you eat a lot of fat, with no fibre, no fruit and no vegetables.
It is true that people who eat a lot of meat and fatty meat - the sausage-and-chips culture - eat less fruit and vegetables and that is probably why they have a higher risk of cancer. It's not the meat itself that is doing it.
There is nothing new from this report and it has created an awful lot of stress amongst people, and cancer patients now feel that if they'd only eaten more sensibly in their lives they wouldn't be in the situation they're in.
Yesterday in my clinic I had patients asking exactly that and it is not really very helpful. A third of all cancers are dietary related but the message is very complicated. We've all got to eat and it's a matter of balancing foods that are good for you, such as fruit and vegetables, and the foods that may be bad.
This report is scaremongering without really any data whatsoever and that upsets people. It is not going to change people's lifestyles. It will make people worry unnecessarily. ..
The moor is my castle
A mother said farmers have been given "a licence to kill" after magistrates cleared a former army marksman of animal cruelty for shooting dead her son's Dalmatian puppy.
Terence John Blackburn, 73, of Myrtle Farm, Cross Roads, Keighley, shot Bandit, a nine-month-old puppy belonging to Sebastian Beckett, 14, after seeing two white dogs chasing his... pregnant ewes - seven of which later died - into woodland at his farm. He shouted and screamed at the dogs and they ran off, the court heard.
... then (he) took a rifle and three shotgun cartridges back to the Denholme farm.
Why do I have feeling at this point that the reporter hasn't got a clue - rifle, shotgun carts...
Mr Blackburn's solicitor Robin Frieze asked the farmer why he had shot the dogs. He replied: "For the simple reason that I knew they would go back for my sheep."
Mr Blackburn, who has been a farmer for nearly 60 years, said it was the first time in two decades he had had to kill a dog. He said: "It is shocking. It is not our job to kill livestock, it is our job to keep them alive. I don't know a farmer who loves shooting a dog. It is not the dog's fault. It is the owner's."..
The magistrates decided that the RSPCA had not proved that Mr Blackburn had broken the law when he shot the dogs.
Chairman Glynis Wilkinson said Mr Blackburn "genuinely and reasonably" perceived the dogs to be a threat to his sheep and their unborn lambs.
Following the verdict, Sebastian Beckett's mum, Dot Hardaker, of Ogden Lane, Denholme, said: "I am utterly gutted. The magistrates have given farmers a licence to kill as far as I am concerned.
"I am proud of my son for wanting to tell what happened that day. He was very brave but now he is very upset."
Dot Hardaker points out:.. the puppy was on a lead and the dogs had been out of my sons sight for only 10/15 minutes..
the facts, they were out for 30 minutes..
I would like to state catagorically that my dogs were never near sheep, indeed the nearest sheep of Mr Blackburns were in a field over 50 acres away as stated in his statement, the dogs had been playing and bouncing about on the moorland which is adjacent to my back garden unsupervised for just over 10 minutes.
October 31, 2007
Lamarckian Logic for the Health Police
Science: Grandfather made me what I am - Telegraph
When we think about inheritance, what usually comes to mind is the way our DNA carries information, with parents' genes affecting things like their children's eye colour, height, and intelligence....But, in fact, your life has been directly influenced not just by the genes but by the experiences of your grandparents - what they ate and what they did.
This could mean that your health was partly determined before you were born, even before your parents were born, according to the science of epigenetics....
Marcus Pembrey, a professor of clinical genetics at the Institute of Child Health in London, ..looked at evidence from the Avon Longitudinal Study, (which) showed that factors such as smoking may have an effect across generations...
...importantly, Prof Pembrey's research allows us an insight into coming generations: a major cause for concern, given that stories about binge drinkers, obesity and younger smokers are never far from the headlines.
"We are all guardians of our genome," says Prof Pembrey. "The way people live and their lifestyle no longer just affects them, but may have a knock-on effect for their children and grandchildren."
It is not just for your health but "for the kiddies" tm and " for the kiddies' kids" tm that we are going to stop you eating, drinking and doing what you want to, how could you be so cruel to doubt this evidence.
The case for a one way ticket
Serial sex offender ‘can stay because deportation would breach his rights’ - Times Online
A serial sex offender is to be allowed to stay in Britain because deporting him to his native Sierre Leone would breach his human right to a family life, an immigration appeal court has ruled.
The Home Office wanted to deport Mohammed Kendeh, who has been assessed as having a “high risk of reoffending”, to his home country.
Kendeh, 20, who has admitted assaulting 11 women in the past five years and has committed other offences including robbery, burglary and drug crimes, is currently on remand in prison awaiting trial for robbery.
And what of the human rights of his future victims?
October 28, 2007
They don't like it up them...
Using the No To Knives Website
The Rules: -...nor may you create a link to any part of our website other than the home page. We reserve the right to withdraw linking permission without notice.
Whoops - sorry - but WTF are the Royal Armouries doing involved in a wussy campaign like this - I mean don't they celebrate the freedom we enjoy, bought at heavy cost, by the use of cold steel?
h/t Cyn Lib
October 27, 2007
The Hotel Bike
Man who had sex with bike in court - Telegraph
A man has been placed on the sex offenders’ register after being caught trying to have sex with a bicycle.
Robert Stewart was discovered in his room by two cleaners at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr, south west Scotland, in October last year.
On Wednesday Mr Stewart admitted to sexual breach of the peace in Ayr Sheriff Court, where depute fiscal Gail Davidson described how he had been found by the hostel workers.
She said: "They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply.
"They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white T-shirt, naked from the waist down.
"The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex."
Both witnesses, who were extremely shocked, notified the hotel manager, who in turn alerted the police.
Mr Stewart was placed on the sex offenders’ register but his sentence was deferred until next month.
Correct me if I'm wrong but he was in a private locked room not harming anyone - what has he done wrong? Weird yes, and how you have sex with a bike is beyond even my sleazy imagination. (Maybe on the bicyclist bloggers can tell me). As the great PJ said ;" There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL."
What's the difference between a bike, a rampant rabbit, suspender belts, or a pair of crimson size 4.5 Manolo Blahniks with a four inch heel and diamanté encrusted straps, to mention objects purely at random. What squelchy things people do in private is none of my business, or the State's.
First they came for the bicycle users, etc.
Insert rugby/football joke of your own choosing about Scots being unable to cross white lines on the pitch....
October 25, 2007
Sharing Bansturbation Files
Isn't 'illegal' banned already then?
Freedom for Health
Karen Jochelson, a research fellow, said: "Those who have a lower life expectancy have it because of a range of factors.
"But the nature of people's jobs also has an effect. If you have autonomy and control over what you do, you tend to be in better health.
As other studies have also shown it is not just the job you are in, it is your whole way of life - being told what to do, being forced to do things, being unable to choose not only gives you poor health it kills you, to use the tabloid expression.
Far more than any amount of salt, lack of cycling, pesticides in meat being bullied and coerced is damaging to health. Being spied on, niggled at, harassed by agents of the State ruins you. Not just the Health and Safety fascists but the whole damn lot of them are bad for you.
Speck of Humanity
THE parents of a baby who weighed 1lb 3oz when he was born after just 23 weeks and five days in the womb said yesterday that their son was a "fighter" and was putting on weight...
His father, Jamie, 30, said: "He is now as big as my foot, which is size 12." But he added: "We are still taking every day as it comes. Graiden is being given round-the-clock care. Incubators give him steam baths to prevent his paper-thin skin from cracking and he is also on a ventilator.
Mrs Eldred added: "We were told that our baby did not have a big chance of survival, but we thought if he was born alive it would be because he was obviously a fighter.
"He is beginning to look like a really sweet baby, but he is still so very, very, tiny. We are not out of the woods yet, but Graiden is determined."
Health Minister Dawn Primarolo says the government does not believe there is sufficient scientific evidence to lower the legal abortion limit of 24 weeks.
She said nothing had persuaded the Department of Health that survival rates had improved for extremely premature babies born before that time.
Nadine Dories brings us the background to that statement:
..The RCOG Committee which drew up the guidelines, that regulate the abortion industry is made up mainly of abortion providers, both on a large and small scale....Militant, pro-abortion groups are also advisors, but in the name of balance, no pro-life groups.
Almost every person on the committee has a vested financial interest in ensuring that the number of abortions which take place in the UK remains amongst the highest in Europe....
I believe that the RCOG may have deliberately attempted to mislead the Science & Technology Committee in its submission.
It failed to mention the Hoekstra study which demonstrates how with good neonatal intervention, 66% of all babies (that is babies born naturally because there may have been medical complications not healthy babies aborted) at 23 weeks live.
It failed to mention how in the UK at good neonatal units such as UCH London and Hope hospital in Salford, 43% of 23 weekers live.
Instead it chose to quote a study which averages out births at all hospitals across the UK, which puts the figure at 10 -15%.
The RCOG also failed to quote any papers linking abortion to pre-term delivery which had been published after 2003 and completely ignored the recent peer reviewed acclaimed study into foetal pain produced by Dr Anand.
The RCOG also went foolishly further than this and have in a very childish way claimed they are not aware of Dr Anand on their web page.
Dr Anand is the world's authority on foetal pain - it was his work at Oxford in the 1980’s which resulted in all neonates being given anaesthesia for general surgery today. Until he produced his work it was thought that neonates could not feel pain, by measuring stress hormones he proved otherwise. Dr Anand has been published world wide.
The RCOG web site stating that they are unaware of Dr Anand is the equivalent of a group of mathematicians asking “who is Einstein?”
October 24, 2007
A Doctor Writes
Sir, Many Times readers will have enjoyed their weekend all the more as a result of the allegation that safe limits for drinking, developed in 1987, have “no firm scientific basis whatsoever” (report, Oct 20).
However, this is far from the case. Twenty years ago we knew that there is wide individual variation in sensitivity to alcohol, probably largely genetically determined. In the future we may be able to quantify an individual’s risk of cirrhosis, suicide or alcohol dependence from his or her genes, but until then the only way to avoid harm reliably is to stick to these clear and still valid limits.
Many drinking hazardously, up to about 2.5 times the safe limits, will escape damage but some won’t. ...
Professor Ian Gilmore
President, Royal College of Physicians
So the guidelines were "Fake But Accurate"... but don't worry because we are going to genetically profile you and then really be able to tell you what to do...
October 22, 2007
Health and Safety Silly Bunt
Firefighters have been told they cannot use their ladders to take down festive bunting because it is too dangerous.
Ampthill held its annual Gala Day in July and to mark the occasion the historic market town was festooned with colourful bunting.
In previous years fire brigade officers have pitched in after the event to help remove the decorations.
But this year, nearly four months later and the bunting is still in place.
Former Mayor Cllr Mark Smith said: 'The reason the festival bunting is still up arises from the fact that due to local health and safety advice the local fire brigade is unable to take the bunting down.'
Disgruntled resident Charlie Garth said: "What the blazes. I'm sure our brave firemen aren't frightened about falling off a piddling little ladder. They have never looked afraid of heights to me.
"After all they are used to climbing giant turntable ladders with choppers in their hands and rescuing cats from the tops of tall trees."
Deputy chief fire officer Graeme Smith said: "Yes it sounds like the world has gone mad. Firefighters will climb ladders to rescue people from burning buildings but not to remove bunting after a festival.
It isn't just that "it sounds like the world has gone mad" - it has. Don't they ever do training exercises of climbing ladders, couldn't they do that in the high street....
*Silly Bunt? The Monty Python origionation is below as an educational service
Agent: Ah Hello, I'm Bounder of Adventure.
Customer: Hello, my names Smoketoomuch.
C: My names Smoketoomuch, Mr. Smoketoomuch.
C: I'm sorry?
A: You'd better cut down a little then.
C: Oh I see, Smoketoomuch so I'd better cut down a little then.
your name all the time.
C: No actually. It never struck me before. Smoketoomuch. Tahaha
A: Anyway, you're interested in one of our holidays are you?
C: Yes that's right, I saw your advert in the bolour supplement.
A: The what?
C: The bolour supplement.
A: The colour supplement?
C: Yes that's right. I'm afraid I can't say the letter B
C: Yes. Its all due to a trauma I suffered when I was a
Schoolboy. I was attacked by a bat.
A: Ah, a cat?
C: No a bat.
A: Well can you say the letter K?
C: Oh yes, Khaki, Kettle, Kipling, Kuwait, Kings Bollege Bambridge.
A: Well why don't you say the letter K, instead of the letter C?
C: What, you mean spell bolour with a K.
C: Ah that's very good. I never thought of that before. What a silly
A: Now then, er, about the, er, about the holiday.
C: Yes well I've been on package tours many times before and so
your advert really baught my eye.
A: Good, good, jolly good.
C: Yes, you're quite right, what's the point of going abroad if
you're just another tourist carted around in buses surrounded
by sweaty miners sons from Kettering and Boventry with their
bloth baps and their bardigans and their transistor radios
complaining about the tea, ooh they don't make it properly here
do they - and stopping at endless Majorcan bodegas selling fish
and chips and Watneys Red Barrel and calamares and two veg and
sitting in their cotton sunfrocks squirting Timothy Whites sun
cream all over their puffy raw swollen purulent flesh cos they
overdid it on the first day.
A: Absolutely, absolutely.
C: And being herded into endless Hotel Miramars and Bellevueses
and Bontinentals with their International luxury roomettes
and draught Red Barrel and swimming pools full of fat German
businessmen pretending to be acrobats forming pyramids and
frightening the children and barging into the queues. And if
you're not at the table spot on 7 you miss your bowl of
Campbells Cream of Mushroom soup - the first item on the menu
of International cuisine.
A: Absolutely, well what we'd like....
C: And every Thursday night there's bloody cabaret in the bar,
featuring some tiny emaciated dago with 9 inch hips, and some
fat bloated tart with her hair Brylcreamed down and a big tits
presenting flamenco for foreigners. And then an audio-typist
from Birmingham with flabby white legs and diarrhoea trying
to pick up hairy legged wop waiters called Manuel.
A: Will you be quiet!
C: And once a week there's an excursion to the local Roman remains
where you can buy Cherryade, and melted Ice Cream and bleeding
Watneys Red Barrel.
C: And one night they take you to a typical restaurant with local
atmosphere and colour and you sit next to a party of people
from Rhyl who keep singing "Torremolinos, Torremolinos".
A: WILL you be QUIET!.
C: And complaining about the food.. ooh its SO greasy isn't it.
You get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with
an Instamatic camera and Dr Scholl sandals and last Tuesdays
Daily Express and he drones on and on and on about how Mr Smith
should be running this country, and how many languages
Enoch Powell can speak and then he throws up all over the
Cuba Libres. Then sending tiddly postcards of places they don't
realise they haven't even visited.... to all at number 22,
weather wonderful, food very greasy, but we have managed to
find this tiny little place hidden away in the back streets
where you can buy Cheese and Onion crisps and Watneys Red
Barrel. And spending four days on the tarmac at Luton airport
on a five day package tour with nothing to eat but dried BEA
type sandwiches and you cant even get a glass of Watneys Red
Barrel cos you're still in England and the bloody bar closes
every time you're thirsty. And the kids are crying and vomiting
and breaking the plastic ashtrays and they keep telling you
it'll only be another hour although you know damn well your
plane is still in Iceland and it has to come back and take
a party of Swedes to Yugoslavia before it can come back and load
you up at 3am in the morning. And then you sit on the tarmac
for four hours because of 'unforseen difficulties', ie. the
permanent strike of Air Traffic Control; and when you finally
get to Malaga airport and everyones swallowing into Vioform
tablets and queueing for the bloody toilets and queueing for
the bloody armed customs officers, and queueing for the bloody
bus that isn't there waiting to take you to the hotel that
hasn't yet been built. And when you finally get to the half-built
Algerian ruin, called the Hotel del Sol, by paying half your
holiday money to a licensed bandit in a taxi; there's no water
in the pool, there's no water in the taps, there's no water in
the bog, and there's only a bleeding lizard in the bidet!
And half the rooms are double booked and you can't sleep anyway
cos of the permanent 24 hour drilling of the foundations of
the hotel next door. You play while appalling apprentice
chemists from Ealing pretending to be hippies, and middle-class
stockbrokers wives from Esher, busily buying identical holiday
villas and suburban development plots just like Esher, because
the Labour Governments got in again.
Meanwhile the Spanish National Tourist Board......< fade out>
October 17, 2007
The Fridge Police are coming - be afraid, very afraid.
BBC NEWS | Health | Obesity 'not individuals' fault'
Individuals can no longer be held responsible for obesity so government must act to stop Britain "sleepwalking" into a crisis, a report has concluded.
...it was clear that government needed to involve itself, as on this occasion, the market was failing to do the job, Sir David King, the government's chief scientific advisor said.
Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said the government would be holding further consultations to decide how to proceed
So it is society that forcefed me that supersized burger yesterday was it? The statists are on the march to attack any freedom we have to make choices.
Cancers and what you eat - the truth
Junkfood Science: JFS Exclusive: Part Two of the country’s largest clinical trial on healthy eating
Briefly, more than 19,000 women in the intervention group endured intense behavioral interventions to encourage “healthy eating,” and they watched what they ate for more than eight years (reducing dietary total fats and saturated fats, eating 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables and 6 or more servings of whole grains per day). In the end, none of the expected benefits of “healthy” eating were realized.
There were no significant differences in the incidences of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks or strokes, or weight changes, among those who ate a restrictive “healthy” diet and the control group (29,294 women) who ate whatever they pleased.
... Since then, secondary analyses have been combing through the study data trying to find some correlation between diet and cancers. ...The researchers looked at the incidences of about thirty different invasive cancers, verified by pathology reports..They statistically compared the number of cases among the group that ate the “healthy” diet to the number in the control group. What did the data show?
There were no statistically significant differences for any of the cancers. Eating “healthy” versus eating whatever they chose made no tenable difference in any of the cancers.
Of course that isn't what you will read in the MSM which leeches off the vast "healthy eating" industry.
October 16, 2007
A must read - simple as that; I can't even begin to summarise it, except to quote her final paragraphs:
The take-home message is that the soundest science for decades supports eating normally, enjoying everything, and not worrying so much. When we enjoy a variety of foods from all of the food groups — as most everyone naturally does when they’re not trying to control their eating — and trust our bodies, we’ll get the nutrients we need to prevent deficiencies. And that is the only thing that nutritional science can credibly support. The rest is dietary religion.
Health is not evidence of moral character and pristine diets. Don’t let anyone try to scare you, threaten you, or get you to believe that if you don’t eat “right” (whatever their definition) you’ll get fat, cancer, heart disease, or die sooner. There is simply no good evidence.
Hazardous Drinkers Live Longer - Official
Drinkers in middle-class areas are more likely routinely to consume “hazardous” amounts of alcohol than those in poorer areas, research published today shows.
Social drinkers who regularly down more than one large glass of wine a day will be told they risk damaging their health in the same way as young binge drinkers.
The figures will be used by the Government to target middle-class wine drinkers and to make drunkenness as socially unacceptable as smoking.
Dawn Primarolo, the Public Health Minister, said: “Most of these are not young people, they are ‘everyday’ drinkers who have drunk too much for too long. This has to change.”
The Times gives us The 10 Local Authority Areas with the highest levels of hazardous drinking, as a percentage of adults aged 16 and the ten local authority areas with the lowest levels to which I have added life expectancy figures from the National Statistics Website
Runnymede 26.4 - 78.7
Harrogate 26.4 - 78.6
Surrey Heath 26.0 - 79.1
Guildford 25.5 - 79.4
Mid Sussex 25.5 - 78.6
Mole Valley 25.5 - 79.5
Leeds 25.3 - 76.2
Elmbridge 25.3 - 79.7
Waverley 25.2 - 78.9
Woking 25.0 - 79.2
Slough 16.2 - 77.3
Wolverhampton 16.2 - 75.1
Barking and Dagenham 16.1 - 75.3
Boston 16.0 - 75.7
Lewisham 16.0 - 75.1
Tower Hamlets 15.9 - 74.9
Hackney 15.7 - 75.1
Redbridge 15.3 - 77.5
Waltham Forest 15.3 - 75.4
Newham 14.1 - 74.9
Isn't it strange that the first hint of a health correlation like that which involves being able to tell people to stop doing something is proclaimed from the rooftops, but Prim Dawn spins it the other way.
October 15, 2007
Takes the cream
"The government is not and will not be telling people what kind of milk to drink, people need to make their own decisions."
Have you tried to buy unpasteurised milk lately?
Lardarse Danger - the next Algore film?
The public health threat posed by obesity in the UK is a "potential crisis on the scale of climate change", the health secretary has warned.
Do they mean ‘as big a crock of shit’? « Nation of Shopkeepers
Now we have our statist masters warning of a new threat to the future of mankind itself ~ obesity. Apparently, it’s a ‘potential crisis’, on the scale of AGW, that can only be solved by, yes, you’ve guessed it, throwing lots of tax money at it. It needs a ‘action plan’ or a ’strategy’.
Now, the cynical side of me switches of at this point. As soon as I saw the BBC / Nu Labour alliance approaching this from a ’should we a) spend more money, or b) ban something?’ angle, my brain stored it away under the ‘bollocks’ category.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
October 14, 2007
Roll over Darling
Replacing taper relief with a flat 18% rate will mean an 80% rise in tax bills for some entrepreneurs and investors.
Business group leaders met at the CBI's London headquarters on Friday to hammer out a strategy. Darling's abolition reverses what was seen as one of Gordon Brown's most business-friendly policies.
Darling came under pressure to alter the tax break because it allowed some private equity partners to pay just 10% tax on seven-figure pay packets. But outright abolition will catch family business owners, entrepreneurs and early stage investors seen as vital to the UK's economic future.
A kneejerk reaction to a headline about a handful of people will be disastrous. Already there is very little incentive to be an entrepreneur, I know I can't be bothered to carry on, and without that spark the economy withers.
IN THE annals of medical history, this could go down as one of the most effective but stomach-churning treatments ever devised.
Scientists seeking a cure for a deadly superbug have successfully treated patients using human faeces.
Trials in a Scottish hospital have shown patients suffering from the Clostridium difficile bug can be cured using 'donor stool' administered via a tube through the nose into their stomach.
I think I would prefer to die.....
Strictly no vinegar at conker championship - Telegraph
Today, the Ashton Conker Club in Northants holds the annual World Conker Championships, rules is rules. Baking or soaking is banned (indeed, competitors are not allowed to use their own conkers, instead picking them at random from a bag).
The string – 8in long, no less – must not be knotted or tampered with. Repeatedly tangling strings brings disqualification. And games have a strict five-minute time limit.
It may be something of a relief, then, to find that the Health and Safety establishment is easing off the conkering heroes. Perhaps trying to shake off its killjoy image, a team from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health will instead be lining up to take a crack at the title.
Conker posed by Kim.
October 13, 2007
Yo Ho Ho
This year councils must use a pressure gauge to individually test every bolt holding a cable or light fitting to a wall.
Only fully insured professionals can hang the lights and workers must use expensive hydraulic platforms to do the job because ladders are not deemed safe.
Not nearly as unsafe as the rope and tree I am assembling for the elfin safety officers...
October 12, 2007
A US University has suspended a student after he sent emails suggesting that incidents such as the Virginia Tech massacre might have been prevented if students were allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Masters student Troy Scheffler was told he had to undergo compulsory "mental health evaluation" before being allowed to return to class at Hamline University, Minnesota. Scheffler declined to go along with this...
Yep you would have to be mad to believe this.
October 11, 2007
At least Harold Shipman only killed 250
Appalling standards of care and a catalogue of failures contributed to the deaths of 331 patients in the worst outbreak of a hospital superbug ever recorded in the NHS, a report has found.
Crowded wards, a shortage of nurses and financial problems led to 1,176 people contracting Clostridium difficile over two and half years at three hospitals in Kent.
Though the superbug was rife on the wards, managers failed to act. Isolation units were not set up, nurses were so rushed they did not have time to wash their hands and patients were left in soiled beds.
Bedpans were not decontaminated properly and beds were not cleaned as well as they should have been.
The health watchdog, the Healthcare Commission, concluded that the infection probably or definitely killed at least 90 patients and was a factor in the deaths of a further 241...
The report said some patients at the hospitals run by the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Hospital Trust should have made a full recovery from their initial illness. But they caught the bug and died. Police will determine if there are grounds for criminal charges.
In May 2004 the chief executive of the trust, Rose Gibb, told the BBC she had known about the cleanliness problem for six months. But by September last year the hospitals were in the grip of their second outbreak.
Ms Gibb resigned on Friday before the release of the report. The commission found cases where the patient probably died as a result of their C.diff infection but it was not mentioned on the death certificate.
Imagine if a private company killed that number and just bleated about a lack of money, would they be rewarded with barrow loads more dosh?
Cutting the strands of the mutual neighbourliness
HOUSEHOLDERS should consider carrying out a risk assessment before allowing their neighbours to cut down trees, health and safety chiefs said last night.
The suggestion came as it emerged that a Scottish landowner was being investigated after an elderly friend died while chopping down trees for firewood on Malcolm Forbes' estate in Aberdeenshire.
Mr Forbes said: "[Mr Bremner] wanted some firewood, which was a reasonable request from a friend and neighbour.
"A police investigation was launched and the police closed the file and decided it was a tragic accident. Now the HSE has decided to waste taxpayers' money, which I'm extremely upset about.
"I'm not going to do anyone a favour if this is the result. It is ludicrous.
"Someone has their priorities wrong if taxpayers' money can be spent [on this].
"It is a very sad reflection indeed that those who have authority in such matters allow yet another strand of the mutual neighbourliness that binds together those of us who live in rural areas to be weakened." ...
Mr Bremner's partner, Violet Smith, said: "The HSE are going overboard.
"If James was still alive he wouldn't have wanted this. The police said it was an accident and what more can you do? Nothing will bring him back. I just hope this investigation will be called to an end.
" I do not want Mr Forbes to be prosecuted over this. I don't blame him in any way. He was only doing James a favour."
She said Mr Bremner had known what he was doing and had been involved in such work all his life.
Triplicate forms and box ticking isn't how it works in cases like this, trusting an old boy to do what he has been doing without fatal injury for all his life seems quite reasonable. Doing people favours makes for communities, on one hand the government chucks money at fatuous "community" schemes on the other any real genuine community spirit is bound and strangled with red tape.
October 10, 2007
Guns in Space
Russia is sending its first cosmonaut for 20 years into space without a “space pistol”.
Yuri Malenchenko will join colleagues on a flight to the $100-billion International Space Station (ISS), but he will do it without the specially-designed weapon.
Created in 1982 and in service since 1986, the TP-82 pistol was not primarily designed to fend off hostile extra-terrestrials.
Instead it is meant to protect the shuttle’s crew after landing in a hostile environment back on earth.
The unique pistol has three barrels which fire hunting rounds as well as rifle bullets and signal flares. Its butt serves as a machete and a spade.
However, the gun's original ammunition has deteriorated so much it is no longer viable and no new bullets are available.
Nevertheless, the cosmonaut won't risk going into space completely unarmed. "Malenchenko will be taking with him a simple pistol.," a Russian space programme source said.
His will not be the only weapon on board the flight. ISS crew commander and US astronaut Peggy Whitson will be wielding a "kamcha" - a traditional Kazakh horse-whip
They used to be armed in case they landed in China, but now what a let down. And what an interesting sounding gun - thank goodness Google translates from the Russian...
MC-82-hunting manual Trehstvolny pistol, a part of the set-SONAZ (Small Arms Nosimogo emergency reserve), which armed Russian cosmonauts for the protection of animals and dangerous criminal elements, earning hunting food and lodging light signals visual observation when landing or privodneniya in quiet areas.
October 6, 2007
Taking the Piss
Boots Expert Sensitive Refreshing Facial Spritz
The £3.99 product is part of the Boots Expert range, described as "the definitive answer to those everyday health and beauty problems we all suffer from, but keep putting off.''
On the back of the 150ml can, the manufacturer boasts of the beauty benefits of the product, which includes protecting skin from "dryness''.
It reads: "Sensitive skin needs extra care throughout the day which is why this gentle facial spritz is specially formulated to refresh and hydrate.
"Hypoallergenic and fragrance free, it instantly cools and freshens skin, helping to protect from the drying effects of central heating and air conditioning.''
It also adds that it is lanolin-free and has been "dermatologically tested".
Shoppers who examine the contents on the side of the Expert Sensitive Refreshing Facial Spritz have found it contains only "aqua". Boots admits that the spray is 100 per cent water.
That Bastard Jesus
A senior American cardinal has asked Jews to reconsider descriptions of Jesus as a "bastard" in exchange for a softening of traditional Catholic prayers calling for Jews to be converted to Christianity.
I'm afraid I flunked my Theology exams but surely Jesus was a bastard. I don't remember the scene where Mary is all dolled up in white and the Old Archangel takes her up the aisle to make an honest woman of her, do you? Maybe our Cardinal friend should be a bit more tolerant of bastards and not worry if his little hero is one as well. (Or will he be issuing Catholic fatwahs against me now?)
October 5, 2007
All the King's Horses and All the King's Men
BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire |
Police in a Wiltshire town, Tidworth, have asked shops not to sell eggs to anyone who appears to be under 18.
"If youths attempt to buy them and you have CCTV then let us know and we can identify them," PCSO Jemma Clarke said.
"We know most of the kids around here and if we can identify them then we can go around and offer them some advice," she added.
Ah Tidworth! Home of the feared Scrambled Egg Army Units, quaking in their boots at the thought of underage egg buying with a PCSO ready to put on the blues and twos and race round to "offer them some advice".
Fat chance of dying from Aids
Junkfood Science: It’s better to die of HIV than be fat? provides a disturbing example of myths surrounding fat, but it’s a haunting example of how fears of fat can be deadly, especially for those most in need of sound information and our care and compassion.
The Associated Press’ science writer reports:
Obesity a problem in HIV population
...AIDS researchers and advocacy groups say the waistlines of HIV patients are growing right along with the girths of uninfected Americans as the disease shifts from a death sentence to a chronic condition....Doctors say there's a growing need to screen people with the AIDS virus for obesity, which raises the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems. ....
“It would be very sad to survive HIV and die of something else that was preventable, said [Dr. John T. Brooks, an epidemiologist at] the CDC....
Few HIV-positive people would view it as tragic that they’re able to live long enough to die of old age-related chronic diseases like everyone else!
People, with and without HIV, eating normally will be a wide range of sizes: some fat and some not. So, what these researchers are actually proposing is that fat people undereat, and eat less than we all need for good nutrition, in order to try and be thinner than their natural genetic makeups. But the real issue here isn’t that promoting weight loss and thinness is based on unsound science, it’s that it ignores the most significant concerns for the welfare of HIV-positive patients:
The evidence unfailingly shows that being fatter and gaining weight and having the best nutritional status is a huge survival benefit for HIV-positive patients, whereas undernutrition or losing weight prior to the onset of AIDS greatly reduces chances of living.
And shouldn’t helping them live be a greater priority than what their figures look like?
Yet, as is typical with press releases and media writers when it comes to 'obesity,' no attempt was made to question these recommendations, to examine the science and present a balanced viewpoint, or to recognize that presenting such claims to the public could put the lives of millions of people in jeopardy. .....
Recent research from Singapore published in HIV Medicine found that undernutrition and low BMIs at the time of starting antiretroviral treatments reduced their effectiveness and significantly decreased survival.
Oh, but they’ll be thin!? What does it say about our culture that a trim figure has become more important than doing what is best for the health, quality of life and welfare of people?
Whether it be HIV, cancer, kidney or heart disease, dementia, or countless other medical conditions, letting kids grow up, or giving birth to a baby; fearing fat can have deadly consequences. We won’t hear that from mainstream media, though. It’s up to us to advocate for ourselves and for each other.
Happy to do my bit in advocating Junkfood Science as an essential read in the battle against ignorance and hype that engulfs us everyday.
NHS - Failure as usual
150 health centres, 100 GP practices, a £100m injection - Times Online
Lord Darzi’s review, Our NHS, Our Future, promises a fair health service for all, tailored to the individual patient, and delivering safe, effective and innovative care.
NHS may be sick, but this won’t cure it | Nigel Hawkes: Analysis - Times Online
Take a blank canvas. Talk to 1,500 NHS staff. Spend 12 weeks thinking hard. And then come up with the ideas you first thought of.
That, in a nutshell, is a brutal but not inaccurate summary of the review of the NHS by Lord Darzi of Denham, published yesterday.
Astonishingly, it identified as problems exactly the same things the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary have themselves been talking about for months: access to family doctors out of hours (Gordon Brown) and MRSA (Alan Johnson). Surely, in a system that now costs £90 billion a year, employs 1.3 million people and treats a million patients a day, Lord Darzi might have identified issues not already flagged up in a hundred tired political speeches?
To a tiny degree, he did. He correctly points out the glacial slowness of the NHS to adopt new ideas or buy into new technologies.
He then goes on to propose the wrong solution, a centralised health innovation council to “champion” change.
Such bodies have come and gone as swiftly as the dew on an autumn morning.....
Perhaps the most depressing thing of all is not what the report says, but the reaction to it.
Almost all the great and the good who have backed every half-baked intitiative for the past decade emerged to say how pleased they were.
Not only has the NHS stifled good healthcare; it has bought off those who are supposed to act as candid friends, and made them complicit in perpetuating its failures.
October 4, 2007
GAS-ELECTRIC hybrid vehicles, the status symbol for environmentally conscientious Americans, are coming under attack from a group that does not drive - the blind.
Because hybrids make virtually no noise at lower speeds when they run on electric power, blind people say they pose a hazard to those who rely on their ears to determine whether it is safe to cross the street or walk through a carpark.....
Officials with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) are quick to point out that they are not advocating a return to non-hybrid vehicles. They just want the fuel-efficient hybrids to make some noise.....
"To further expose millions of people to excessive noise pollution by making vehicles artificially loud is neither logical nor practical nor in the public interest," said Richard Tur, founder of NoiseOFF, a group that raises awareness of noise pollution.
A man walking in front with a red flag and a hand bell should solve the problem.
Show some fighting spirit
The petty bureaucracy of local authorities and the police threatens to halt Remembrance Sunday parades, Service veterans said.
Organisers of one parade on Nov 11 have been warned by their local council that they face a ｣54 an hour charge if those taking part litter the streets during the ceremony commemorating war dead.
Police are also demanding that "risk assessments" are carried out before the parades are allowed to go ahead.
Just tell them to "fuck off". Just form up and parade, what are they going to do about it? Send them scampering back to their rat holes with their tails between their legs.
October 3, 2007
If you go down to the woods tonight....
Four firemen who disturbed an outdoor gay sex session have been reprimanded and heavily fined after they were accused by one of the participants of being homophobic.
The firemen shone their torches from their engine into bushes on the Downs - an area of parkland in Bristol said to be popular with people engaging in late-night outdoor sex known as "dogging" - interrupting the four as they were involved in a gay sex act.
One of the group later contacted the AIDS charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust, who advised him to make a formal complaint.
That led to the firefighters being suspended while a three month investigation was carried out.
Two of them have now been fined up to £1,000; one has been demoted in rank and the other given a written warning. Each of them has also been ordered to attend a two-day ...equality conference being held in Bristol next week, entitled 'Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexuals and Transgender Equality in the Fire Service - an absolute taboo?’....
The fines are to be donated to a nominated gay-rights charity. The charity under consideration is the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG)...
Bingo! I have just scored a full card in the PC Watch Bullshit Bingo Competition!
October 1, 2007
Brave New Dawn to Wiltshire Health Care
The units run by Wiltshire Primary Care Trust, include those at Devizes, Marlborough, Melksham, Warminster and Eastleigh Surgery in Westbury.
Minor injury units will now be provided at Trowbridge Hospital, which will open 24 hours a day, and at Chippenham Hospital, where the hours are being cut to 7am-1am seven days a week. Other units are available in surrounding counties.
The decision was taken by Wiltshire Primary Care Trust.
Like many other Trusts, it is struggling to reduce debts - it went £20m into the red.
But managers insist that they have patients' best interests at heart.
"The rationale," a spokesman said, "is not about saving money, but about modernising services to provide care which is fit for the 21st Century, and which allows more people to be treated outside of hospital settings."
Health Minister, the Bristol South MP, Dawn Primarolo. "Wherever possible we have to take services closer to patients in the community," she says, "but we won't always be able to do that.
"The total quality of care that is available is much better," she says.
Having local Minor Injury Units has probably saved the lives of two of children, if they had had to be driven that extra twenty miles before initial treatment I think there is every likelyhood they would have died. So this morning I wake up and Wiltshire has one, just one, 24 hour unit. And that is at Trowbridge Hospital which is due for closure in 2009.
Do you know how big Wiltshire is? How long it takes to get from one side to the other? The local response teams aren't working yet. So you lying sacks of shit don't tell me it is all about Patient Care, you have fucked up an already fucked up system, quite an achievement that! Quite simply people will die, but as they will be DOA the new super system won't record them as hospital deaths. In a just world Dawn Primarolo would be lying in the middle of Salisbury Plain with a sucking chest wound between her wrinkled dugs trying to gasp out how being thirty miles from help made the "total quality of care much better."
September 24, 2007
Strangled by red tartan tape
RED tape is holding Scotland's economy back, according to the man heading a team of experts charged with reviving the country's economy.
Speaking for the first time in his role as chairman of the new group, Sir George Mathewson, the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, said bureaucracy was the main reason growth in Scotland lagged behind the rest of the UK.
He caused a storm during the election by speaking in favour of the SNP and yesterday he said there was no reason Scotland should not be independent.
He said corporation tax, which is currently reserved to Westminster, is "worth examining". The tax is lower in Ireland and there have been calls for Scotland to be able to lower rates to attract business.
I'm not sure why this is seen as a Scottish problem, unless the SNP send out even more forms than Her Majesty does down here - it is a British problem and causes people like me not to bother to grow businesses. But if they want business to grow north of the wall cut some taxes and see what happens!
September 23, 2007
Cherrypicking the news
September 21, 2007
Shoot'em up Day
The citizens of Alberta just aren't going after big game at the pace they once did, according to the government of the western Canadian province, but a remedy is in the works.
The province has designated September 22 as its first "Hunting Day," an attempt to lure the video-game generation off the couch and into the great outdoors.
Ted Morton, the province's Minister of Sustainable Resource Development -- and an avid hunter -- said a generation is being lost to television, computers and shopping malls.
"Hunting is more fun (than video games) and a lot healthier," he said.
Catherine Zeta Jones and a Donkey - Shock Picture
File under Telegraph Watch - she might have an "s" on the end of her name but there is only one of her, and once my bleary eyes cleared it seems the Donkey is unconnected to her surprise or face...
Tim Ireland has gone up the Arsenal
Chicken Yoghurt » Public Service Announcement
Tim Ireland’s Bloggerheads site is currently down after his webhost pulled the plug.....Craig Murray and Tim Ireland made blog posts concerning Alisher Usmanov. It is these blog posts that were objected to by Usmanov’s lawyers.
Boris Johnson, Bob Piper and Clive Summerfield have lost their sites for the simple reason that they were hosted on the the same server as Craig’s and Tim’s sites and went the same way when the plug was pulled. They are NOT associated with the dispute with Alisher Usmanov in any way.
Take it as read that I'm outraged as any other about this - it is bad enough that blogs are silenced after making allegations, when the blogs firstly allow full right of reply and secondly remove the material objected to. But then for the host to pull the plug on other sites - or have they handed over the box? - is simply indefensible. And when one of the blogs is that of a campaigning MP and candidate in a election m'learned friends ought to get involved on the other side to cry political interference.
Don't expect Freedom of Speech over here in this benighted corner of the EU, which is why I'm proud to remind everyone that this site is hosted and published in the USA.
As AOL reports Mssrs Google still have the Bloggerhead post in their cache so are Schillings going to chase them a well? And The Times still carries the story, why not them? It wouldn't be they are just picking on the little guys, would it? As AOL says "for all their claims that Murray is libeling their client, Schillings has not actually sued Murray for libel. They have told anyone who will listen that Murray's book, Murder at Samarkand, is defamatory against Usmanov, but it's been out for more than a year, and they have never taken any legal action against Murray. Instead, they seem more focused on getting any mention of Murray and his allegations against Usmanov removed from the web -- and as the Streisand Effect teaches us, that's pretty much impossible.
If Murray's goal was to make Usmanov look like a thug, then mission accomplished, and it may be why the remaining Arsenal board members are redoubling their efforts to prevent Usmanov from taking over the club. If Murray ever finds his way back to the Internet, this story could get even nastier. Let's just hope nobody finds any polonium-210 in their soup because of this.
UPDATE - Wonko has more
September 20, 2007
BBC Bans Konnie Huq's Pussy
Socks, the Blue Peter cat who could cost BBC staff their jobs - Times Online
The television programme Blue Peter was accused yesterday of deceiving children for the second time in a year as the BBC removed staff blamed for a series of phone-in scandals that have damaged its credibility with the public.
A former producer on the children’s show, Britain’s longest-running, has been suspended after it emerged that production staff had ignored the result of a viewer poll to choose a name for the Blue Peter cat last year.
Socks was the name chosen for the Blue Peter cat by the programme’s producers, although insiders said that the decision was taken because the most common name selected – a variant on Puss – was deemed to be inappropriate.
Oh, even The Times has come over all coy, let me guess what what word came to mind, oh I already have....
(Picture - Public Domain)
September 18, 2007
Australian navy pays for breast enlargements - Telegraph
The Royal Australian Navy is under pressure to explain why it has spent tens of thousands of pounds paying for female sailors to have breast enlargements.
Bloody unnatural I call it - in my time before the mast proper sailors didn't take any notice of that sort of nonsense, not with girlies anyway...
Months locked up on the sea with just your shipmates for company, why wouldn't you want them augmented?
I note, as I expected that Theo is well ahead of me with this news... funny that.
September 17, 2007
Monday (17th Sept) at 2030 BST on BBC1 you can watch a programme about the police. It's going to be called "Wasting Police Time" and it features yours truly being interviewed by the great Jeremy Vine about police-type issues. It promises to be the best police programme for some time (apart from World's Wildest Police Chases, obviously).
Watch the programme and find out all about what it's really like in the police
And now everyone can call him Stuart....
Not even the 36-year-old's closest colleagues knew he was responsible for the blog, which was written under the pen-name of PC David Copperfield and has received over one million hits since he started it.
'Waste of time'
In his blog Mr Davidson outlined the "madness" of his target-driven duties in a place he called Newtown, which he has now disclosed was Burton-on-Trent.
Speaking openly for the first time, he told Panorama he was frustrated with bureaucracy and paperwork.
"The public think that we solve burglaries, the public think that we're actually on patrol accosting thieves and people who are up to no good," he said.
"But what we actually do is attempt to meet government statistics by solving trivial crime."
Staffordshire police said analysis showed officers spent 62% of their time out of the station, but it accepted they have to deal with too much bureaucracy and they're working to change it.
Mr Davidson, who received two commendations during his four years in the force, said about 80% of what he did "was a waste of time".
"I thought nobody else can be doing things that are so insane," he said.
"But it transpires that there are thousands and thousands of other police officers out there doing exactly the same kinds of things
"It depends on the nature of the offence of course, but you arrest somebody and it'll take you the rest of the shift - say eight to 10 hours - to deal with that if it's even remotely complicated."
Mr Davidson said he was sometimes tempted not to make an arrest because processing it would mean so much time off the street.
He is quitting the force in Britain to join the police in Canada.
September 16, 2007
I'm going to keep shouting at you until you listen
Four out of 10 people do not know that fat and sugar can be bad for them, government research has shown.
Figures from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) show that 42 per cent of people do not know that foods high in fat and sugar should only be eaten occasionally.
One in five people believe that if they eat enough fruit and vegetables it will counteract any harm done by unhealthy foods.
Almost as many think they can eat as much fat and sugar as they like, as long as they exercise.
Oh I wish they had asked me! I love confusing survey companies. But what we have here is Dr Bean Sprout complaining that after "decades" of giving out health advice the great British public has shut its ears to him and is giving him a good ignoring. So his answer - more and louder hectoring!
"Today the FSA launches an "eatwell" plate which shows the proportions of different food groups that should be eaten in a single meal.
It shows that fruit and vegetables should make up one third of a meal, with another third devoted to starches such as potatoes, rice and pasta.
Milk and dairy should constitute 15 per cent of the plate, meat and fish 12 per cent, while fat and sugar combined should make up just eight per cent of a healthy meal."
Internet handshake extends the human touch - Telegraph
Scientists have developed a means of shaking hands across continents by using the internet to transmit such properties as grip, movement, even skin texture.
Scientists have developed a means of shaking hands across continents. Using the internet, the new technology can transmit such properties as grip, movement, even skin texture - everything, in fact, but actual physical contact.
A device that allows computer users to "feel" things online means that old friends thousands of miles apart could shake hands for the first time in years, a mother could soothe her child's troubled brow from miles away or even send a kiss via the web.
Yep, it will be a winner, but not for the sweet reasons above. The only adage worth listening to when predicting technology is "Follow the Porn".
September 15, 2007
Local Hospital Disgrace
Blood-stained cupboards, dirty bathrooms and neglected patients are just some of the things health watchdog Mary Wilson found on a trip to Great Western Hospital.
"We heard stories about nurses seeing patients 20 minutes after they had pushed their buttons and one patient even claimed that there was blood all down the bedside table.
"I spoke to some patients who had asked for blankets and four hours later the nurse threw them at them and told them they'd have to put them on the bed themselves."
She claimed one patient she met endured almost a five-hour wait to go home after being discharged because doctors hadn't prescribed him with the drugs he needed to continue his treatment at home.
This is now my nearest hospital, half an hour away if I drive very fast. Only 5 years old, brand new, every gizmo the health professionals wanted, no excuses. It's not the building, its not the lack of resources it is the management of the staff.
September 14, 2007
A team of researchers scoured the annals of Britain's culinary history to find the definitive list of the oldest recorded recipes.
Records show nettle pudding to be the oldest, closely followed by smokey stew, meat pudding, barley bread and roast hedgehog.
The research revealed stuffed dates and elderberry patina was a familiar feature of Roman meal times. The Romans also introduced the idea of beating eggs to make custards, cakes and fruit breads, with the added flavour of sweet fruits and nuts.
Favourites such as pancakes and pottage, a thick soup or stew, have survived changing tastes and fashions and still feature on menus today.
Roasted hedgehog is not the only recipe to have failed the test of time. Others that have disappeared from the British dining table include garum and liquamen, sauces made from fish guts and heads; smokey stew, a combination of bacon and smoked fish; meat pudding, a mix of offal, fat and herbs; barley bread, a form of unleavened bread; and in mitulis, a Roman version of moules marinière.
Recipes below - I must get the fire started.
THE grandaddy of haggis, faggots, sausages, black and white pudding. Eaten since Neolithic times (6000 BC), it was a simple mix of meat - mainly offal, some fat, which would have been regarded as a real luxury, and herbs.
1 sheep's stomach or ox secum, cleaned and thoroughly scalded, turned inside out and soaked overnight in cold, salted water; heart and lungs of one lamb; 450g/1lb beef or lamb trimmings, fat and lean; 2 onions, finely chopped; 225g/8oz oatmeal; 1 tbsp salt; 1 tsp ground black pepper; 1 tsp ground dried coriander; 1 tsp mace; 1 tsp nutmeg; water, enough to cook the haggis; stock from lungs and trimmings
Wash the lungs, heart and liver (if using). Place in large pan of cold water with the meat trimmings and bring to the boil. Cook for about two hours.
When cooked, strain off the stock and set the stock aside. Mince the lungs, heart and trimmings. Put the minced mixture in a bowl and add the finely chopped onions, oatmeal and seasoning.
Mix well and add enough stock to moisten the mixture. It should have a soft crumbly consistency.
Spoon the mixture into the sheep's stomach, so it's just over half full.
Sew up the stomach with strong thread and prick a couple of times so it doesn't explode while cooking.
Put the haggis in a pan of boiling water (enough to cover it) and cook for three hours without a lid. Keep adding more water to keep it covered.
To serve, cut open the haggis and spoon out the filling."
My Weekend Reading
iea ::: institute of economic affairs
They Meant Well, Government Project Disasters
How is it that so many major, government-sponsored projects can lose so much money? As the title of this book makes clear, the answer to this question does not lie with malign intentions on behalf of their promoters in government. In a highly readable but detailed account of the history of six major government project failures, D. R. Myddelton shows that failure results from mismanagement, lack of clear lines of responsibility and lack of accountability. These problems have their roots in the wider economic problems of undertaking quasi-commercial ventures in the public, rather than in the private, sector. This results in well-meaning politicians and government officials wasting huge sums of taxpayers' money....
September 13, 2007
Permission to shave, sir? No! - Times Online
RAF soldiers have been given permission to grow bushy beards for tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Scottish airmen in Kandahar bear a more than passing resemblance to their wild Pashtun counterparts complete with wavy beards and ferocious moustaches.
In what is believed to be a first for the RAF, several airmen were asked to grow their facial hair because it is considered a mark of authority in Afghanistan. The men, from RAF Lossiemouth, credited their facial hair with enabling them to command respect from the Afghanistan people.
Senior personnel also said that their presence had helped significantly to reduce the number of rocket attacks on Kandahar airfield.
Their success would come as no surprise to the leaders in the American Civil War it is harder to find a picture of a general from the century conflict without a beard than with one. In fact, the beard was once the only universal item in every military organisation across the world.
From the time of ancient armies until recent memory, the beard was standard issue among soldiers. In modern combat, the act of shaving was set aside mainly for gentleman officers, who regularly shaved even their heads and eyebrows.
But by the time of the Second World War, armies had banned beards for reasons of uniformity, hygiene, discipline, or tactical demands such as the proper fitting and seal of a gas mask.
Think of The Thin Red Line and the fearsome bearded Highlanders. It is about time the fighting troops dropped the effete practice of scraping their faces to give themselves girly skin and reclaimed beards from the tree huggers.
September 12, 2007
State seizure of kids to save them from a double whopper
a Freedom of Information investigation of councils in the UK has just uncovered that three more children have been taken away from their parents and put into government care...because they are "too" fat.
According to a BBC investigation, at least 20 child protection cases this past year have involved a child’s weight. Details on most of these children’s situations and their fates are unavailable.
But government programs aren’t the only interests behind these actions, which some view as thinly veiled threats to parents to shape up their children or else.
Dr. Capehorn’s name will be familiar to Junkfood Science readers. The UK press quoted him repeatedly when the young girl was taken from her home by the Cumbria Council earlier this year. He has been proposing that fat children be placed into government custody and taken from their parents. He made a motion at the British Medical Association’s annual conference in June that obesity be considered a form of parental neglect. According to the National Obesity Forum, he told the BMA:If a child who is stick and bones turns up at a GP’s surgery or a at a hospital, there is immediate outrage. Health visitors and social services are called in and a court will decide if that child should be taken into care. But the same alarm bells don’t ring with an obese child even though in the long-term they are as much at risk of serious health problems as a child who is seriously under-nourished. Dr. Capehorn appears to be on a tireless mission to lock up fat children, but there’s more behind his interests in promoting fears of fat and threatening such dire consequences for those failing to be slim. The Independent made a brief mention that he “runs an obesity clinic in Rotherham, South Yorkshire” in a story last summer. But he isn’t your ordinary weight loss doctor.
Dr. Capehorn has been a long-time member of NETWORK-Lipolysis, a coalition of aesthetic lipolysis injection practitioners and core of NETWORK-Aesthetics. He is also a member of the International Society of Lipolysistherapy.
NETWORK members practice lipolysis injections as perfected by Dr. Franz Hasengschwandtner of Austria, one of their members. Lipolysis injections involve injecting a cocktail of chemicals that includes phophatidylcholine into fat areas of the body to “dissolve” the fat. The reality of this quack practice was reviewed here......
Isn’t it reassuring to know that medical associations and government agencies have given platforms to such experts in childhood obesity?
And the media laps it up.
And, more incredibly, that they think anyone would actually believe any of this....
Normal, healthy, growing children have always come in a diversity of shapes and sizes. Fewer children are sickly from childhood diseases or starving today, raising the average population statistics upward slightly. No wonder our children are healthier and living longer than ever! But those trying to convince us of a childhood obesity epidemic are the ones failing to recognize how absurd their definition of "obese" children has become. Growing numbers of parents aren't buying it, as they see their naturally fat children eating and active and just as healthy as other kids. Hysterical headlines driven by vested interests cannot change reality, create a nonexistent crisis, or make sound healthcare policies.
Ah, but it is all about conformity to the ideal world, a world where diversity is "celebrated" except where it doesn't fit with the PC health fascist view, whatever the evidence. Whatever belief of what the harmful outcome of being a fat kid is, we know exactly the outcome of being taken into care - drugs, the dole and death.
Cut the fat - NHS
Britain's health service is failing to provide a world-class service to patients despite record levels of Government investment, a landmark report on the state of the NHS has concluded.
Record increases in staff pay, a plethora of Government targets and the demands of a growing obesity epidemic are all threatening to overwhelm the service, according to Gordon Brown's former adviser, Sir Derek Wanless.
His report found that most of the extra £43 billion pumped into the NHS by Labour in the past five years had been spent on large pay increases for doctors, nurses and consultants that had not yet delivered any substantial benefits.
And as a fig leaf they are putting the blame on "obesity" - expect the war on "lifestyle choices" to be intensified. The report actually says: "The Health Committee estimated the economic cost of obesity at between £3.3 and £3.7 billion in 2002, with around 30 per cent of these costs falling directly on the NHS. Increasing levels of obesity will mean higher costs in future."
So fatties cost a billion, I'm not sure if their premature demise which cuts NHS and pension costs is figured in, but let us call it a billion. To put this in context in 2002/3, again from the report, the actual spend on the NHS was £66.2 billion (total UK health care spend in 2007/8 will be around £113.5 billion - , which includes an estimated £17 billion attributed to private health care. As a percentage of UK GDP, total spend on health care in 2007/8 will be around 9.3 per cent, (at 2002/3 prices))
The problem isn't the bloated populace but the bloated system. A system that will fatter and more intrusive as they order us to obey their whims.
September 11, 2007
Bras are failing to help women enjoy exercise and lead a sporting life, a study shows...
As a public service may I remind my readers of the virtual bra bounceometer where you can dial in the size of boobs you have/desire and see how they swing with and without proper support...NSFW
September 9, 2007
Yummy Mummy Bansturbation
Ban the rotten lot | Rachel Johnson - Times Online
...a veritable smorgasbord of E-numbers, sugar, fat, and almost worst of all, salt,....children can’t be in charge of their own diets. But neither can their parents and neither, to be frank, can Ed Balls. The consumer is sovereign, not the parent nor the politician...
As we cannot police our children 24/7 and many parents themselves won’t protect them from this habit, I see no alternative but to ban all these additives
So just because she can't stop her own children eating sweets she wants to ban me from making the choice of what to feed my own.
(Oh and on the salt issue - read M H Alderman's Nature commentary which as Saltsensibility says: points out that the entire relationship is due to the fact that those who ate more salt ate more food. Adjusting for caloric intake wiped out the significance of the relationship. Nor was there any difference between the high-salt and low-salt groups in terms of preference for adding salt at the table. Alderman pointed out that those consuming more salt and calories may also have had more adequate intakes of other vital, growth-related nutrients, but that the study did not include these data. Thus, Alderman concludes that the data "support the Cochrane Collaboration conclusion that there was not sufficient evidence for a general dietary recommendation to reduce sodium intake.")
| News | This is London
Failing to follow a healthy lifestyle could lead to free NHS treatment being denied under the Tory plans.
Patients would be handed "NHS Health Miles Cards" allowing them to earn reward points for losing weight, giving up smoking, receiving immunisations or attending regular health screenings.
Like a supermarket loyalty card, the points could be redeemed as discounts on gym membership and fresh fruit and vegetables, or even give priority for other public services - such as jumping the queue for council housing.
Tories unveil plans for energy regulations - Telegraph
The Conservatives will unveil tough regulations on televisions, fridges and other household appliances this week as part of a plan to make Britain a world leader in energy-efficiency, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
Under the proposals, caps would be set on how much energy all electrical appliances can use. Goods exceeding those limits would be banned from sale after a set date
The report says that while some progress has been made on making electronic goods more efficient, these gains have been largely undermined by the sharp increase in household goods in recent years.
It is said that if all of Britain's 25 million mobile phone chargers were left switched off, the unused energy could power 66,000 homes for a year.
The review is also expected to unveil a series of green taxes, such as VAT on domestic flights and a "per-flight tax" on airlines. The report will also call for a moratorium on airport expansion and incentives for domestic air passengers to switch to trains. Higher taxes on 4x4 vehicles are also expected to be discussed, along with proposals to make cycling more -attractive.
Road Cycling is dangerous
What the official statistics say:
"Per kilometre travelled, pedal cyclists are 14 times as likely to be killed or seriously injured (KSI) in a road accident than car drivers."
In the UK, one human life is usually valued at around 1 mln pounds - these are the money "worth" spending, in order to save one life. ..A person, who decides to move from bus commuting to road cycling increases the risk of death on the road by two orders of magnitude.
In case of bicycles, the cost of lost lives per kilometre is over 4 pence (cars: 0.3p).
This result is not surprising. Modern cars are much safer than ten, twenty years ago...Bicycles are primitive vehicles... which is probably why they appeal to the low wattage brains of the Toryban Green faction. So fall off your bike you will get helath club miles knocked off your card and be treated at the back of the queue, no? If a cyclist pay your own way in health costs by a road tax, no? Are we appealing to to logic or the vaguest of greeny ideas......
September 8, 2007
My local Health Service
Health Crisis Day From Hell For Desperate 999 Staff (from The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
The initial call from Trowbridge to ambulance control was received at 4.16pm. The male patient's condition was categorised as Category B, which means the condition is non-life threatening and an ambulance response should reach the patient within 19 minutes.
But the target was not met and at 5.11pm the patient's family rang back to say his condition had deteriorated.
Ambulance control recategorised his condition as Category A, life threatening, where an ambulance should be sent within eight minutes.
The only available crew was in Devizes and they reached the patient at 5.29pm but there was nothing they could do.
It is understood the man died from a heart attack.
To further compound the family's distress the Great Western Ambulance Service despatched an ambulance crew to the home the next day by error.
They are closing all the local hospitals, (hospitals which were originally paid for by local fundraising) and promise us we can rely on mobile response teams if we can't make the half hour journey to the nearest sawbones. Am I reassured?, am I fuck!
The Answer is "Yes"
Wouldn’t you feel safer with a gun? | Richard Munday - Times Online
Despite the recent spate of shootings on our streets, we pride ourselves on our strict gun laws. Every time an American gunman goes on a killing spree, we shake our heads in righteous disbelief at our poor benighted colonial cousins. Why is it, even after the Virginia Tech massacre, that Americans still resist calls for more gun controls?
The short answer is that “gun controls” do not work: they are indeed generally perverse in their effects....
...We are so self-congratulatory about our officially disarmed society, and so dismissive of colonial rednecks, that we have forgotten that within living memory British citizens could buy any gun – rifle, pistol, or machinegun – without any licence. When Dr Watson walked the streets of London with a revolver in his pocket, he was a perfectly ordinary Victorian or Edwardian. Charlotte Brontë recalled that her curate father fastened his watch and pocketed his pistol every morning when he got dressed; Beatrix Potter remarked on a Yorkshire country hotel where only one of the eight or nine guests was not carrying a revolver; in 1909, policemen in Tottenham borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by (and were joined by other armed citizens) when they set off in pursuit of two anarchists unwise enough to attempt an armed robbery. We now are shocked that so many ordinary people should have been carrying guns in the street; the Edwardians were shocked rather by the idea of an armed robbery.
If armed crime in London in the years before the First World War amounted to less than 2 per cent of that we suffer today, it was not simply because society then was more stable. Edwardian Britain was rocked by a series of massive strikes in which lives were lost and troops deployed, and suffragette incendiaries, anarchist bombers, Fenians, and the spectre of a revolutionary general strike made Britain then arguably a much more turbulent place than it is today. In that unstable society the impact of the widespread carrying of arms was not inflammatory, it was deterrent of violence.
As late as 1951, self-defence was the justification of three quarters of all applications for pistol licences. And in the years 1946-51 armed robbery, the most significant measure of gun crime, ran at less than two dozen incidents a year in London; today, in our disarmed society, we suffer as many every week.
Gun controls disarm only the law-abiding, and leave predators with a freer hand......
September 4, 2007
Research we couldn't live without
A study of more than 1,000 famous musicians from the past 50 years has found that they are almost twice as likely to die early compared to the general public.
No! You don't say...
"Collaboration between health and music industries should focus on improving both pop star health and their image as role models. Public health consideration needs to be given to preventing music icons promoting health-damaging behaviour among their emulators and fans."
Note to researchers - look up the word "vicarious", as we drag ourselves through mundane life often the only appeal of some stars is the pleasure we get from vicarious depravity. If Pete Docherty was a spokesman for the five-a-day vegetable campaign do you think a) we would ever have heard of him, b) he would have gotten to shag Kate Moss?
(And talking of looking up words, I hadn't realised before that Vicar and vicarious come from the same root, I must have nodded during that classics lesson.)
August 30, 2007
Only criminals would object to a DNA database, wouldn't they?
Junkfood Science: Ingsoc
...While national security or science for the common good might sound like noble reasons for governments to gather genetic material of its citizens, that’s not what this is really about. And the potential for abuse and financial and political gain go far beyond anything George Orwell even envisioned.....As one of the public commentators at the Times insightfully noted: “They want your DNA because of all the information it reveals about you. As the human genome is decoded, government, employers, insurance salespersons, banks, and everybody else will be able to read what diseases you are genetically predisposed to and make decisions affecting you without your control. Government et. al. will have this increased power over you, but you will not have any more power over your government. In fact, it is just one more means of rendering you helpless and vulnerable to the whims of bureaucrats who have their own interests in mind, not yours. Eventually all people will be monitored and controlled from cradle to grave - the journey of which is adjustable by those with enough power.”
This is so much bigger than public health and safety.
August 26, 2007
Gun Crime - Causes and Correlations
I think the sad events of this week prove yet again that it isn't guns that cause gun crime but the wearing of garish polyester football shirts. It seems all victims and suspects of gun crime wear them.
My suggestion to solve the problem is a simple law that states guns may only, and can be freely, carried by wearers of natural fibres; cotton shirts, silk ties, wool, waxed cotton with leather boots etc. (A small amount of Goretex could be permitted as proper dubbin is hard to find).
August 25, 2007
Infamy, Infamy, they've all got it in for me!
The Other Side of Kim du Toit
Don’t Even THINK Of Drinking Here
It would seem that friends have been mentioning my intemperate habits today
The view this evening as The Englishman & I drove down to the pub across the fields.
August 24, 2007
State Confiscation of Kids
Children taken from parents and adopted ‘to meet ministry targets’ - Times Online
Record numbers of young children are being taken from their parents and adopted - sometimes unjustly - to meet government targets, it is claimed today.
Each year some 1,300 babies under a month old are placed in care before adoption, compared with 500 when the Government came to power, BBC Radio 4’s Face the Facts claims today.
The programme is told that there are now more than 100 cases of possible miscarriages of justice in which children have been forcibly or unjustly adopted.
It says that the number of parents in England who have lost their children, despite insufficient evidence that they were causing them harm, has reached record levels.
One reason, according to social workers, is that they are under pressure to meet government adoption targets – in line with ministers’ policy for more children in care to be adopted.
At the same time, it is claimed, parents are not always given a proper chance to challenge adoptions because of the short time limit for appeals and the secrecy of the family courts.
Where's the Save Maddy campaign for these kids? Taking kids away from the poor, disabled misfits because they fail to match a social worker's expectations is not as newsworthy, but just as heartbreaking. But then we live in a State that believes in social engineering and that all your kids are belong to it.
August 23, 2007
Summer Camp - The sort I wish I had gone to.
What do you mean its a hoax, eh?
Thanks to a Canadian reader for sending it to me, and the outraged reaction...
Geriatrics, once more into the breach!
Spark me up: Stones flout ban at O2 concert - Telegraph
The Rolling Stones will not be prosecuted despite repeatedly flouting the smoking ban during their first concert on home soil since the new law.
Although Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood lit up time after time on stage at the O2 Arena in London on Tuesday night, Greenwich borough council said nothing could be done because fans at the 23,000-capacity venue had not objected.
The council said it had warned them not to smoke on stage.
The Devil's Advocate: A man's got to do what a man's got to do
...For eight years, 79-year-old June Turnbull has tended a flowerbed alongside the road that runs through her Wiltshire village. And then someone grassed her up to the Health and Safety Nazis......
Luckily, Mrs Turnbull, who pays for the plants out of her pension, is made of sterner stuff than the wimps who cravenly caved into things like the smoking ban. “They can send me to jail if they like,” she says. “I just want to be left alone to do it.”
That’s the spirit. We need to rebel against nonsense like this. And who better to do it than grumpy old folk?
PERHAPS THE veterans of Horwich, near Bolton, might take a leaf out of Mrs Turnbull’s book. There they’ve cancelled this year’s Remembrance Sunday parade after police refused to conduct the usual rolling road bock system and insisted on road closures and marshals … at a cost of £18,000.
I have an idea. Why doesn’t the British Legion just march on regardless? These people handled Dunkirk and Burma. Two spotty 16-year-old beat bobbies eating sweets and swigging Dandelion & Burdock aren’t exactly going to be much opposition.
The only way to deal with the choking grip of the jobsworths in the Turkey Army is to defy them at every turn. Civil disobedience should be the order of the day. Bring it on.
Maybe we will be saved by the old people, instead of silver surfing why don't they go out there and enjoy being cantankerous to the petty officials? Most of them enjoy being rude, given the chance, and what else have they got to do apart from dribble soup down their cardies as they watch Carol Vorderman? The patronising gits in the councils don't know how to deal with independent old people, it is a "non-compute" error that some don't depend on the council for their every whim. So reclaim the streets with your zimmer frames and if some should fall in the struggle, well in what better cause?
Dulce et decorum est pro illegitium carborundum mori.
August 22, 2007
Council lacks Market Skills
A branch of the Women's Institute has been told it cannot organise a market in a town square - despite a charter from Henry VIII granting permission to hold one there "forever".
"Devon county council told us there was no legal mechanism for closing the road."
Markets had been held in the square for centuries, she said.
"We have a charter signed by Henry VIII saying we can have a market three days a week 'forever'," said Mrs Roberts-Wake.
"It would not affect traffic through the town because it is a market square."
Yep, little old town, big open space in the middle called the Market Place, thousands of them all over England. But a bit of a puzzle for the local council, never come across that before....
August 21, 2007
BBC NEWS | Magazine | Is assault lawful when protecting someone?
Assault is against the law but what if it is committed to protect someone else?
Protecting the vulnerable is considered a key tenet of a civilised society, but recent events have shown that intervention in an effort to uphold community values can come at a very high price.
"There's the concept of self-defence in case law that extends to defending not just one's self and one's property but also ...to anyone else, including a stranger."
... But the advice from police is unequivocally against intervention. A spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers says they have only one instruction - call the police.
And a Home Office statement said: "The public should not intervene in any situations of any criminal activity. They may put themselves in danger, exacerbate the situation and ultimately be acting on the wrong side of the law."
Those who have stepped in have sometimes found the authorities interpret events in an unsympathetic way. ....
What ever happened to The nine policing principles by Sir Robert Peel/
... Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence
No longer, we must be good little proles and cower in our burrows and leave it to the forces of the state to keep us safe and grateful...
Cuts Causing Deaths
Hospital downgrades 'could kill thousands' - Telegraph
A study has found that the further patients travel in an ambulance to reach hospital the more likely they are to die.
Its authors say the findings show Government policy-making "may be driven by anecdote or supposition" rather than based on evidence of what is best for patients....
The A&E research is published in today's Emergency Medicine Journal and says that mortality rates increase by one per cent for every extra 10km travelled.
I used to have two A&E departments locally, one 6 miles, one ten. Now the nearest is a half an hour drive away. The official position is that the ambulance that will drive out to me will have a paramedic on board now, so I am not to worry if I don't make it to the A&E within the Golden Hour. Bollocks. In the US scoop and run is the norm, and its what I have done for my kids. That's me slewing to a halt outside the entrance and dripping blood all over the reception desk. Despite their tuts that I should have left it to the "professionals" it embarrasses them to have someone die in the waiting room so normally a "real" doctor can be persuaded to leave his cup of coffee and get to work.
And politically here's an issue for Cameron to really get his teeth into, will he have a bulldog bite or is he more the Golden Lab type?
August 19, 2007
CE marked - easy if you have got a printer....
Fake safety permits that allow China’s toxic toys into Britain - Times Online
THE forgery of British safety certificates is rife among Chinese factories exporting toys to Britain, according to businessmen involved in the trade. They say the frauds include altering the date of tests on toys and using computer graphics to change “fail” to “pass”.
“Fake certificates are rife,” said a British buyer who sends millions of pounds of goods to the UK every year.
The certificates, coded EN71... Hang on a sceond, what's all this about "British safety certificates", British this and Britain that. As Christopher Booker points out the system (was) devised by the EU to guarantee that toys (and many other products) comply with safety rules.
Since Brussels took over competence for toy safety from national governments in the Eighties, its system relies on manufacturers labelling their products with a CE mark (for Communauté Européen). To justify this mark, the makers are supposed to have their products independently tested; and once an imported product bears the magic CE mark it cannot be inspected at the port of entry, or checked out by national inspectors.
The EU loves to boast of how its system is respected all over the world, but it has one fundamental flaw. There is in fact no way of guaranteeing that a product has been properly tested. All too often, not least in China, fraudulent CE marks are slapped on products indiscriminately, reducing the system to a charade.
CONTROVERSIAL feminist Germaine Greer sparked uproar yesterday when she claimed that Princess Diana was a "devious moron" who came to a "sticky end" after messing up her life.
File under Bears - Woods, Pope - Catholic and does Dolly Parton sleep on her back - oh, except it doesn't do to insult the saintly.
August 18, 2007
Kewl Slo-mo Bullet Blow Outs
Whoops, Sorry, Gunz is bad, baddy, baddy.
August 15, 2007
A female patient has died after an attack by a man being cared for in the same psychiatric unit despite long-standing government pledges to end the use of mixed-sex wards.
Elderly people suffering abuse and neglect in residential care homes - Times Online
Elderly people are suffering from abuse, neglect and malnutrition in hospitals and care homes, according to a report by peers and MPs.
BBC NEWS | Health | 'I was shocked by the lack of care'
Sue McMahon's father Wallace Beaumont went into hospital in Greater Manchester in February 2005 aged 87 with slight breathlessness...
"The staff thought he had come from an old people's home but he had been completely independent, a smart gentleman who always wore a blazer and tie," she said.
"He had travelled abroad with family only months before and had until eight months before been the sole carer of our mother, who had Alzheimer's.
"I went on the ward the next day to find him sat on a chair near the door with his coat, hat and clothes in a bag as if he was leaving, but the staff told me he got upset if he was asked to go back to his bed and they didn't have time to talk to him so they left him there all morning in his own faeces.
"He stayed in hospital for several weeks - he lost a lot of weight and he was dirty - I changed him each time I arrived.
"He went to a temporary ward where no-one knew his history and just assumed he was a dirty, incontinent old man with dementia and wasn't worth bothering to keep him clean or take him to the toilet.
Discovered in pool of his own urine - Telegraph
Marilyn Payne's 75-year-old father Dennis was discovered in a pool of his own urine, with a pressure sore "the size of two fists" on his back, she decided enough was enough.
Mr Payne, a resident at Southover nursing home in Maidenhead, Berks, was admitted to hospital in a condition which doctors said was commonly associated with wartime trenches. He was suffering from gangrene, septicaemia, dehydration and malnutrition.
During his first two months in the home, which has since been shut down, Miss Payne noticed he was losing weight, often partly dressed and sopping wet. When she complained to the matron she was told she was "upsetting staff".
Miss Payne, left work to look after him, took him home and cared for him until he died in 2002.
It used to be "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." but when we abdicate that responsibility to the all caring state we are expected to trust in the system and not question it. Do, loudly and often.
August 13, 2007
Guilty until proven otherwise
BOSSES of a laboratory at the centre of Britain's latest foot and mouth outbreak are in "a state of denial" over their involvement in the scare, furious government officials claimed last night....
Merial chiefs have consistently refused to accept responsibility for the episode, provoking frustration among government officials who are desperate to trace the source of the virus and prevent a fresh outbreak.
"No one can say with absolute certainty where this virus came from," one official said. "The state of denial over this is not helpful."
Oh come on, they are an AMERICAN (well not really) PROFIT DRIVEN COMPANY as the BBC shouts repeatedly, of course they are guilty, it can't be the Government lab can it, they should just accept the blame whatever, cough up the compensation.....
August 11, 2007
The Seeds of Revolution
FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES brings us the local news:
A pensioner has been told she must stop tending a public flower bed unless she agrees to wear a fluorescent jacket, put up warning signs and use a lookout. June Turnbull, 79, of Urchfront near Devizes, has nurtured the blooms on the plot for eight years. But now she is being told to obey health and safety rules after being spotted by a county council official.
(More) For Mrs Turnbull, the order to comply has simply planted the seeds of rebellion.
"They can send me to jail if they like," she declared. I just want to be left alone to do it.
"It is a very pretty flowerbed. I have tried to make it look very natural."
Mrs Turnbull, who is registered disabled since contracting polio in her youth, considers the flowerbed her patch.
She pays for the plants from her weekly pension and cycles the halfmile from her house to tend them whenever she can.
Residents credit her with transforming the flowerbed into a gorgeous focal point, which helped Urchfont win the title of Best Kept Village in Wiltshire two years ago.
The parish council will meet next month to decide whether to defy the Wiltshire authority's demands.
Quite - what exactly are Wiltshire County Council going to do? Install a spy camera to watch out for when this lovely old disabled lady ventures out of her door with a trowel in her hand? And if they catch her what are they going to do?
The quiet yeomen of England have had enough and while the pitchforks are still in the barn the kowtowing to "authority" is over.
To watch the local news showing her and the flower bed try this link
August 2, 2007
Thousands of arthritis sufferers will be denied treatment with proven benefits by a decision not to pay for a new drug.
Guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the watchdog that controls access to drugs on the NHS, will recommend today that the drug does not represent value for money, although it has been shown to improve dramatically the severest symptoms of arthritis in almost half of patients.
Abatacept, which has the brand name Orencia, is the latest of a new generation of drugs to be blocked by NICE on the ground that it is not cost-effective.
About 400,000 people in the UK have rheumatoid arthritis, of whom a tenth (40,000) have a severe form. Many benefit from a class of drugs called anti-TNFs but about a third do not. This group, of around 12,000 patients, could potentially benefit from new drugs such as abatacept....
Of course this advice doesn't apply in Scotland - not that the Media are reporting this. No wonder The NRAS are complaining to the House of Commons...
...NICE's role is increasingly being dominated by economics arguments rather than an evaluation of the therapeutic benefits (short and long-term), with innovative and effective licensed medicines not being recommended by NICE on predominantly cost-effectiveness grounds.....We are concerned about the inequities that persist between England and Scotland, both in terms of the absolute decisions being made and in terms of delay in reaching decisions. It is well documented that the NICE Multiple Technology Appraisal (MTA) process takes a minimum of 54 weeks in theory, and often much longer in practice. By contrast, the Scottish Medicines Consortium's review process takes only 4-6 months. ...
Whilst a NICE decision is pending, patients are further disadvantaged as a consequence of the phenomenon known as "NICE blight".
Old Timers Disease
WHEN lottery winner Derek Ladner posed for photographs holding a cheque for nearly half a million pounds he thought he had hit the jackpot. But as Camelot officials waited for another winner to make contact they were unaware he was standing right beside them.
Mr Ladner, 59, who admits he has a track record of forgetfulness, had a duplicate winning ticket for the same £2.5m National Lottery draw in his wallet....He said: "I looked in my wallet and there it was. It was an exact duplicate. I thought 'crikey - I've won twice'.
"I realised that I must have bought two tickets in that week - I honestly can't remember doing it. ...
Mr Ladner, a delivery driver from Redruth, Cornwall, who was due to retire on Friday, said he will not return to work.
Sometimes, just sometimes, advancing years and the old memory going have advantages....
August 1, 2007
Fake TV - Shock Horror
Faked death scene brings new television furore - Times Online The new furore over television “fakery” ....
Simple question: Have you ever been featured in, on the sidelines of, or simply watched a "factual" feature being made for the screen? Probably yes, and you will have seen the shots being rehearsed, retaken and before transmission edited. Did you think that yours was the only documentary that was "faked"?
"Put him in the round house till he gets sober"
Police and retailers are backing proposals for short-term “Tesco jails” for shopping malls and major sporting venues as a way of speedily dealing with shoplifters, drunks and football hooligans.
Nothing new -
Village lock-ups were temporary holding places for detaining people in rural parts of England and Wales.
A typical lock-up was a small building of varying shape - some round, some polygonal, and some square in plan with a single, or sometimes double cell. They were usually built from bricks or large stones, although many built in areas where brick and stone was not readily available and therefore expensive, were built in timber. Their greatest fascination is in their shape, many featuring a dome or a spire - the lock-up at Castle Cary includes a domed roof that is often claimed to have been the inspiration for the design of the modern Policeman's helmet.
Village lock-ups have a variety of names: guard house, watchhouse, blind house, kitty (Cockermouth) clink, bonehouse, bridewell, cage, jug, lobby, gaol, and roundhouse. The term ‘clink’ derives from the Clink Prison which stood in what is now Clink Street in London’s Bankside. It was the private prison of the Bishop of Winchester serving his London manor: the Liberty of the Clink. For almost 300 years, it was used to hold martyrs, debtors, whores, thieves and even actors. The Bishop also retained the privilege to sanction other punishments, including the stocks, the ducking stool and whippings.
Lock-ups were often used for the confinement of drunks who were usually released the next day or to hold people being brought before the local magistrate.
Over 200 lock-ups are currently recorded in England and Wales, with many clustered in Essex, West Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and a high concentration in Wiltshire and Somerset.
Somehow I don't think the new ones will be as well built as the old ones - here's one of my local ones at Bradford-on-Avon:
July 29, 2007
Maybe one thing good will come out of the Olympics
MINISTERS are planning a relaxation of post-Dunblane gun laws to help British pistol-shooters compete successfully at the 2012 Olympics, it emerged last night.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is pondering a new proposal that will allow dozens of Britain's top pistol shooters to hold and use their weapons on British soil for the first time in a decade, to maximise the nation's chances of winning medals at the London Games.
The remarkable blueprint, thrashed out by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in consultation with British shooting groups, would grant up to 50 sports pistol shooters temporary exemptions from the 1997 legislation rushed into force following the Dunblane massacre. The permission would run out after the Olympic Games had finished...
Gill Marshall-Andrews, of the Gun Control Network, said: "It might not seem a controversial move to make, planning a short-term exemption from the legislation, but it will be greeted with horror by everyone concerned about the spread of guns in society.....
How to prevent the Doctors killing you in Hospital
SEVERELY burned Glasgow Airport attack suspect Kafeel Ahmed is being kept alive on the orders of MI5, senior police sources have told Scotland on Sunday.
Ahmed has third degree burns to 90% of his body and virtually no chance of surviving but insiders claim the security services are keeping him alive to avoid a backlash from radical Muslims.
Ahmed, a doctor at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, has been in a coma since the incident and most burns experts believe he is already effectively dead. But last week it emerged that special shark skin implants costing £20,000 were being used to treat his injuries.
A senior police source said: "It has been made very clear to the doctors by the 'powers that be' that they are to do anything and everything to keep Ahmed alive."
Maybe that is the only way to survive being ill in an NHS hospital, get a couple of large men in suits and dark glasses have a quiet word with the staff.
July 27, 2007
Police officers armed with bolt cutters had to be called in last night to help government officials seize Shambo, the sacred Hindu bullock wanted for slaughter...
The action comes after the multi-faith community finally lost the High Court bid to save Shambo. The assembly appealed for co-operation, but the monks warned that officials would have to interrupt worship to remove the animal.
Supporters from around the world had been taking part in a pooja ceremony to celebrate the sanctity of life at the temple enclosure in Llanpumsaint. "They will have to physically desecrate a temple to get him," said one of the monks, Brother Michael,...
As the bullock was finally driven away Brother James shouted, with tears flowing down his cheeks, "Goodbye Shambo, come back as a human next time."...
You would have to have a heart of stone not to feel a teensy bit sorry for these hippies with their made up religion losing a pet, never easy. But well done the Welsh Assembly, many of whom probably know the joy of bonding with animals, to uphold the law in the face of the epidemic of "religious rights". We shouldn't persecute religions but neither should what you claim your imaginary friend says mean you have special rights.
July 26, 2007
The Case For Local Authority Cuts
Cato-at-liberty is shocked to discover that:
Massachusetts requires hairdressers — yes, hairdressers — to be licensed by the government.
And in this country?
Licence - hairdresser - Google Search
Hairdressers and barbers are required to be registered with the local authority. Following an application an Officer will visit ...
The Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 has eliminated the need for hairdressers to be registered,
You do not require a licence or registration in order to trade as a barber or hairdresser in Newcastle
All Hairdressers and Hairdressing premises must be registered with the Council. Council byelaws cover the hygiene and cleanliness of ...
To operate a Hairdressing Salon within the Doncaster Metropolitan Borough, you need to be registered.
The Leicestershire Act 1985 means hairdressers in Rutland need to be registered,
And so on....
That's clear then - how do those customers in areas of the country survive where the reckless councils let people cut hair without being inspected first?
Less Nanny, More Matron Please
BBC NEWS | Health | Hospitals 'do not probe drinking'
Most A&E departments in England do not identify problem drinkers or offer them long-term help when they seek treatment, a study says...This did not appear to affect treatment on the spot, but meant people were not offered sources of long-term help.
Of course while Nanny is worrying about the demon drink she can't deal with:
Patients pay the ultimate price for NHS errors, says watchdog - Times Online
Thousands of patients are feared to be dying needlessly every year because of poor communication between hospital staff, faulty equipment and a lack of skills.
An analysis of errors has found that some staff failed to make basic checks and that others did not see that their patient’s condition was quickly deteriorating, with fatal results.
Every year about 13 million people are admitted to acute hospitals in England and Wales. Estimates of the number of deaths due to medical errors vary between 800 and 34,000 a year, but the true scale is unknown because NHS staff are often reluctant to report mistakes and close calls.
The agency said that 1,804 serious incidents were reported as resulting in death in 2005, with 576 of these cases being avoidable.
As Camilla Cavendish says:
Hospitals must be taken to the cleaners -Times Online
In the week that Bournemouth council banned the issuing of armbands at its swimming pools, for fear of spreading germs, we are told that 60,000 hospital patients this year will catch the superbug Clostridium difficile. While one part of the public sector is infected with a virulent strain of health and safety disease (let’s call it HSD), another – the part that is supposed to look after our health – seems strangely immune.....
Cases of “C diff”, as it is known in the trade, have risen by 22 per cent in the past year, affecting more than 15,500 people over 65. It is not always lethal: in 2005 it was mentioned on 3,697 English death certificates (MRSA was mentioned on 1,512). But those figures understate the problem, because hospital-acquired infections often go unmentioned as a factor in death. The campaign group MRSA Action UK believes that many deaths that are listed as organ failure will also have involved MRSA.
It is generally agreed that the UK’s performance in combating these bugs lags behind every other European country except – oh, here’s a comfort – Romania....It is trickier to isolate patients in the NHS because it has far fewer empty beds than almost any other Western health service. That is a direct consequence of the determined reduction in hospital beds from almost 300,000 20 years ago to 175,000 last year. At Stoke Mandeville, where at least 33 and possibly 65 people died from C. difficile in 2004, staff claimed that they could not isolate patients because of budgets and waiting-time targets.
The fact is that a clean hospital is a well-managed hospital. Infection control is not impossible. What it really boils down to, in the words of Georgina Duckworth, of the Health Protection Agency, is “running a tight ship”. Only a well-managed hospital will get a grip on superbugs. And the fact is that there are still far too many poorly managed hospitals. The superbugs are not only a problem in themselves – they are also a symptom of what is wrong with the NHS culture.
When voters said that they wanted to bring back matron, they did not mean “appoint someone with the title of matron and ask her to build partnerships with team members towards a better future”, which is pretty much what happened in 2001. They wanted someone with the authority and willingness to tell others what to do.
The Healthcare Commission report published this week contains some telling quotes from NHS employees. “It’s difficult to enforce authority like it was in the past,” says one. “Staff have so many rights, unions, human resources,” says another. And the report concludes that “overly authoritarian or hierarchical styles of management” can now be perceived as “bullying”.
Outside the NHS, health and safety is being enforced maniacally. There is no shortage of bossy enforcers to remove your rubber ring. I never thought I’d say it, but we need a bit more of that in the NHS.
July 24, 2007
Despite the new popularity of the environmental cause and the drive towards recycling, the idea of a throwaway society seems as entrenched in Scottish culture as ever. It is an attitude that John Ferguson, waste and resources manager at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, is passionately trying to change....Mr Ferguson said the need to deal with rubbish responsibly should be taught in citizenship classes in primary schools to "instil these values" into children. But many people appeared to have "switched off" from the environmental message and firm action had to be taken.
"That gets you into the realms of a much more punitive and legalistic civic society. I don't like that, but I'm not sure how else we are going to change people's behaviour," he said. "We need purges in areas and just start handing out spot fines and do it en masse in certain areas, at certain times of day. But it's always a tricky one. Politicians don't like that and I can see why. I don't like it, but how else can you do it?"
The number of attacks unleashed by householders upon binmen has almost doubled within the past year.
Refuse collector: 'Bin rage' assaults on collectors double
70 of 230 local authorities said their binmen had been attacked by frustrated householders
A rising number of residents are lashing out at refuse collectors in frustration at finding their bins still full because they have failed to follow strict recycling rules....
Lee Marshall, the chairman of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee which advises councils on waste issues, said: "There is no logical reason why anyone should attack a binman.
"Councils design their schemes to be as simple as possible and, at the end of the day, are trying to save the environment for future generations. How can that be a bad thing?"
I wonder if it ever crosses their minds that it is the sanctimonious nit-picking bureaucratic system that is maybe a tiny bit at fault here....
July 23, 2007
During a real flood event: We will erect the flood barriers when weather data and river levels indicate that flooding is imminent.
The rescue operation in one part of Britain turned to farce when vehicles carrying barriers to protect residents from floods became stuck on flooded roads.
Parts of Worcester and nearby Upton-upon-Severn, which were still recovering from the earlier floods, were left defenceless after the temporary barriers failed to reach them because the vehicles could not get past waterlogged roads and congested traffic.
Both towns suffered severe flooding with residents being trapped and having to be evacuated.
Maybe that nice Mr Miliband should have spent more time worrying about the state of his department and less about the state of the climate and his progress up the slippery pole.
July 20, 2007
German Shows Me The Way Home
German crop pattern enthusiast Jozef Cene ended up in a swirl himself when he mistook a canal for a road - and drove straight into it.
To make matters more embarrassing for the tourist it was revealed that he is a policeman back home in Berlin.
Mr Cene had spent Friday evening having a quiet drink and chatting with other crop circle researchers in the Barge Inn at Honey Street.
On leaving he surprised customers sitting outside the pub by driving his car up to the canal edge....
One onlooker said: "He looked to the left and looked to the right to check nothing was coming, indicated to turn right and then the car leapt into the canal."...
Police were called and breathalysed Mr Cene, who was not over the limit.
PC Mark Fiander-Lewis said: "The driver stated that he mistook the muddy and dark canal to be an extension of a wet Tarmac track and continued to drive straight over the bank and into the middle of the canal.
That is the same canal I have to pass over on my way back from the pub... but why breathalyse him? Nothing illegal about driving pissed on private land, or water.....
Jonathan Ross cleared over Nigella obscenity - Telegraph
Ross told the TV cook she was a "Milf" during an interview on his BBC1 chat show Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. He did not spell out what the acronym stood for - but many viewers would have been aware of its meaning.
In the same interview, broadcast in December 2006, Ross insulted vegetarians by saying: "Serve them f***ing right" when Lawson mentioned they would be unable to eat a Christmas dinner containing roast potatoes cooked in goose fat.
He also stated that if anyone offered him goose for Christmas lunch he would "s*** on their couch".
A viewer complained about the use of "foul language and inappropriate references".
Eh? Complaints when for once the BBC is broadcasting three simple true statements - well maybe not the "shag on the couch" - I hope it was "shag", when I first read it I thought it was "shit", the reference to goose etc, and that isn't nice. In fact I think to get that thought out of my mind I should follow the lead of Stumbling and Mumbling with some "Gratuitous Nigella"
What a lovely pair, of pictures.
July 18, 2007
July 17, 2007
Grab n'go bags
You may want to compare the Australian recommendations against Kim's
July 15, 2007
Bound not Bond
Scotsman.com News - Red tape stops checks on nine out of 10 terror suspects
SUSPECTED terrorists are slipping through the net because security services and police are so badly bogged down by bureaucracy, intelligence sources have claimed.
Special Branch and MI5 officers are forced under human rights laws to spend hours form-filling before carrying out the most basic surveillance tasks.
The problems are made worse by undermanning and mean that only a handful of the estimated 150 Islamic extremist suspects in Scotland are under constant surveillance.
We have discovered serious misgivings among officers about manning levels and the law under which they operate, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
We can reveal that:
• Getting permission for the most basic surveillance operation, such as observing a building, takes up to half a day of paperwork and referrals to senior officers;
• Authorisation for a full-scale surveillance operation, such as following a suspect, can require up to three days of bureaucracy;
• If requests are rejected, officers have to spend around three or four hours filling in forms to explain why;
• Keeping one suspect under 24-hour surveillance takes between 24 and 36 highly trained staff, but there are thought to be just 250 Special Branch officers in Scotland;
• Health and safety regulations mean officers are generally restricted to working maximum shifts of eight hours;
It was all so much easier when we could rely on Big Tam and his rule breaking ways, even if he is only armed with a Walther LP53 air pistol....
Doctors: we must all donate organs - Times Online
THE chief medical officer wants everyone to be treated as organ donors after death unless they explicitly opt out of the scheme.
Sir Liam Donaldson believes the shortage of kidneys, livers and hearts is so acute that the country needs a donation system that will presume patients have given consent for their body parts to be transplanted.
Those who wanted to opt out would have to register in a similar way to those who now carry organ donor cards. This could be done through a central NHS database or through other documentation, such as driving licences.
Such a fundamental change is likely to prove controversial as critics claim it gives the state new powers over people’s bodies.
So we will have to carry our ID cards even after death to keep the State's thieving hands off our property, and if I don't own my body then I am a mere slave.
July 14, 2007
Here is the news (as we want to report it) | Uk News | News | Telegraph
This week the BBC was forced to apologise to the Queen for falsely claiming that she stormed out of a photo shoot. We shouldn't be surprised, says former producer Antony Jay. In this exclusive extract from a brilliant new CPS pamphlet, he argues that the anti-establishment views at the heart of the corporation have always dictated its mind set
I'm too hungover to wade through three pages about "the Guardian, Channel 4, the Church of England, academia, showbusiness and BBC News and Current Affairs, who constitute our metropolitan liberal media consensus - though the word “liberal” would have Adam Smith rotating at maximum velocity in his grave. Let's call it "media liberalism"." and how it sets the agenda. Some of us have already noticed and have a shorter answer, but it is good to see it being covered by an insider.
July 12, 2007
Not Safe For Work
Out of Hours
Health Crisis - Service Far From 24hour (from The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
None of the 11 teams of health professionals set up by Wiltshire Primary Care Trust are working extended hours, it was announced today.
All were due to operate from the beginning of July, 24 hours a day, but that was changed to 7am to 10pm due to staffing difficulties....However Devizes is being covered from 8am to 9pm.
The teams comprise nurses, therapists and support workers who treat patients at home and are being set up as community hospital beds across the county are closed down.
Despite having had five months to prepare for the introduction of the teams the unions said the PCT had not interviewed staff about their roles.
Following more talks with union representatives the PCT will hold one to one meetings for staff in the next month.
If staff are going to have to change their shift pattern there would have to be a three-month consultation.
Devizes Hospital was the first to lose its beds at the end of June. The setback to the teams will not stop the impending closures of a number of community hospital beds in Melksham, Warminster, Trowbridge and Chippenham in September.
Gabrielle Tilley, senior district nurse and co-ordinator of the Devizes neighbourhood team, said: "Patients will continue to be the focus of everything we do.
It is no wonder that Numberwatch has diagnosed me as suffering from
Acairasthenephobia, Ah-kai-ras-then-eh-phobia, n, a fear of falling ill out of hours (Gr negative prefix A; cairo (or kairós) - right time; asthenes - ill; and phobia, qv).when this is the state of my local health service.
The true state of the NHS
Scotsman.com News - Scotland - One in ten Scottish hospital patients 'suffering infection'
9.5 per cent of people in acute hospitals had a healthcare associated infection (HAI) such as MRSA. A study by the Hospital Infection Society from February to May 2006 found that 8.2 per cent of patients in England had an HAI, 6.3 per cent in Wales and 5.4 per cent in Northern Ireland. Experts and campaigners last night said that HAIs continued to be a problem because of poor hygiene in hospitals and a lack of isolation facilities.
Here's a suggestion, everytime a bloody doctor or health expert appears to lecture us on the risks of modern life give'em a bottle of Dettol, a bucket and mop and tell them to go and clean their own filthy hospitals first. Matthew 7:5 and all that - Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
And it might be worth just checking out the leading private hospital provider Bupa's MRSA rate in comparison. It is a big round zero for MRSA blood infections in 2006. It is nothing to do with hospitals in general, it is how they are run.
July 11, 2007
The secret’s out. Don’t waste public money on sport -Times Online
Will spending more public money on sport help to tackle obesity? No chance. Gerry Sutcliffe, the new Sports Minister, will soon discover one of Whitehall’s best-kept secrets: sporting participation has not budged since 1994 despite an extra £3 billion of investment through the lottery and millions more from the taxpayer.
Couch potatoes have long felt aggrieved at having to subsidise the healthy choices of others but this statistic will give them an even bigger reason to march upon Westminster (if they can heave themselves off the settee). It is now clear that the great sporting experiment of recent years has failed to deliver the change in attitudes that was promised and has simply provided cheaper access to sport for those already familiar with the concept of exercise. The net result has been a super-size redistribution of wealth from the fat to the fit.
.... Ministers and lobbyists often argue that increased participation in sport could eliminate (or significantly reduce) the £3.3 billion annual cost to the economy of ill health, healthcare costs and lost output as a result of physical inactivity.
It is an argument with everything on its side except evidence. There are good data to suggest that regular exercise reduces such conditions as heart failure, diabetes and certain types of cancer, which would take some of the strain off the NHS and increase productivity and tax receipts. But what about the increased number of sports injuries? And what about the gargantuan extra costs of public pension provision and long-term care for the sporty types who survive into an ever riper old age?
When all long-term costs are taken into consideration, the financial benefit to the Treasury of increased participation is far less than is claimed in the platitudes that pass for argument in sporting circles. So in such circumstances public expenditure could only be justified on financial grounds if there were a direct and powerful impact upon participation. And this is in the context of sporting administrators splurging billions over the past decade without generating a single extra participant.
We should not make the mistake of supposing that the London Olympics will provide a miracle cure. The 2012 Games, which are likely to cost £9.3 billion, will do nothing for participation if previous Olympics are anything to go by. .....
If people want to hop, skip and jump then let them do so, at their own cost. Why should I be mulct to pay for their pleasures, they don't subsidise mine.
July 10, 2007
Riding the range
BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire | Farmer's concern over rural crime
A farmer has spoken of his concern over an "epidemic of vandalism and theft" on his organic farm and other small holdings in Wiltshire.
(Pertwood Organic Farm covers 750 hectares)
Wilfred Mole is calling for the problem to be dealt with otherwise farmers will face financial hardship.
Back in the bad old days, before Pertwood became organic I used to flog pallet loads of pesticides to them so I know it was a big farm. When Mr Mole bought it a year or so ago he may not have bought it all but to equivocate it to a small holding is plain silly, but to the BBC "organic" means cuddly small farmers handmilking goats in their amusing ethnic clothing, not a £10 million business which actually farms professionally and produces an excellent consistent product.
Mr Wilfred Mole is South African, judging by his accent. I am sure as an experienced South African farmer he would welcome, as would all farmers down here, a more "robust" approach to the problems of trespassers and thieves.
July 9, 2007
Tag and brand them to save them from slavery!
Every child who enters Britain ‘must be tracked to thwart the slave trade’ - Times Online
Every child entering the UK should have their biometrics taken in an attempt to stop the trafficking of children for sex, domestic slavery, street crime and drug smuggling.
The plan to track children after they enter the UK comes in a Home Office-sponsored study, which admits that human trafficking is now a “real and significant threat” to the country.
Children were being forced to work in cannabis factories, beg on the streets, turned into domestic “slaves” and drawn into the sex trade and benefit fraud, the report says
It is fine to take their biometrics but how does that help the concerned citizen or policeman in the street, what they need is some sort of visible symbol like a coloured triangle sewn to their clothes, in fact I think a system has already been worked out... Red was for Communists, Social Democrats, anarchists, and other "enemies of the state"; green was for German criminals; blue was for foreign forced laborers; brown was for Gypsies; pink was for homosexuals; purple was for Jehovah's Witnesses and black was for asocials, a catch-all term for vagrants, bums, prostitutes, hobos, alcoholics who were living on the streets, or anyone who didn't have a permanent address. The "work-shy," or those who were arrested because they refused to work, wore a black badge...
July 8, 2007
Be un-British urges Gordon's Sailor
No sooner do I post that Squealing and snitching are "unBritish" than Gordon's pet seaman called on people to be "a little bit un-British" and even inform on each other in an attempt to trap those plotting to take innocent lives.
"Britishness does not normally involve snitching or talking about someone,"
Has he cleared this with the Jelly Bellied Flag Flapper himself?
Tim Worstall comments about the promised 15 Year Fight Against Terror!
Now you're talking about somewhere near the rest of the natural lives of a good portion of the citizenry. You're also talking about a period of time long enough that we will, all on our very own, change the society irreversibly. After a 15 year period where civil liberties are so curtailed, after we have become a nation of snitches who have given up our freedoms for security (if indeed the latter will have been achieved) then who really believes that we'll get them back?
I cannot speak for everyone, of course, but I think I would rather live in a free society which included the possibility of my being blown up than to surrender said freedom for the rest of my life.
I couldn't agree more, and bonus points to Tim for not trotting out the old quotation about liberty and security, giving up one, deserving neither, attributed, probably erroneously, in many forms to old Ben Franklin himself...
July 7, 2007
Where's the Piano Wire when you need it?
The Live Earth concerts take place tomorrow with a series of gigs across the globe broadcast live on the internet.
Organised by Al Gore, the environmental crusader and former United States vice president, the star-studded concerts are being held to highlight the threat of climate change.
Madonna will headline the concert at London's Wembley Stadium.
Sometimes I'm glad I live far from the Great Wen - to my London readers - enjoy! I can't make up my mind as to which event will be more drug addled...
I will be making do with the village flower show and a few pints of local Wadworth's Beer.
July 5, 2007
Flavonoid of the month
Organic fruit and vegetables may be better for the heart and general health than eating conventionally grown crops, new research has found.
A ten-year study comparing organic tomatoes with standard produce found that they had almost double the quantity of antioxidants called flavonoids which help to prevent high blood pressure and thus reduce the likelihood of heart disease and strokes....
Plants produce flavonoids as a defence mechanism;....
Yep, Flavonoids are natural pesticides....
Flavonoids, including isoflavones, are natural components in our diet and, with the burgeoning interest in alternative medicine, are increasingly being ingested by the general population. Plant phenolics, which form moieties on flavonoid rings, such as gallic acid, are also widely consumed. Several beneficial properties have been attributed to these dietary compounds, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic effects. Flavonoid preparations are marketed as herbal medicines or dietary supplements for a variety of alleged nontoxic therapeutic effects. However, they have yet to pass controlled clinical trials for efficacy, and their potential for toxicity is an understudied field of research....... While most flavonoids/phenolics are considered safe, flavonoid/phenolic therapy or chemopreventive use needs to be assessed as there have been reports of toxic flavonoid-drug interactions, liver failure, contact dermatitis, hemolytic anemia, and estrogenic-related concerns such as male reproductive health and breast cancer associated with dietary flavonoid/phenolic consumption or exposures.
Natural doesn't equal good, plants don't actually want to be eaten, and take steps to prevent it. But to be safe I will boost my flavonoid intake by drinking red wine rather than eating ugly carrots.
British Gun Bloggers are Warned
Gun Culture Comments
The End Of My Gun Culture?
Just had a visit from two uniformed officers. Reason? My firearms renewal, but more significantly this blog. It seems that my crappy little corner of the blogosphere has come to the attention of the police, and they don’t like it. Specifically mentioned was the piece regarding the British Association of Women in Policing, where the woman wanted smaller guns for women officers, this didn’t go down well apparently despite my admission in the piece that my comments were flippant
Take that as a warning any gun owning bloggers, you are being watched. (As Lurch points out under our rules it is right that enquiries are made as to the fitness of mind of a FAC holder, but his flippant fnarr-fnarr post doesn't seem the product of a sick mind.)
July 4, 2007
I have been enjoying a couple of days peace from the BMA and other Doctors hectoring us about lifestyles, because "Doctors know best" and are all saints who want to save us from ourselves.
July 2, 2007
VCs and the BBC
Your search - Corporal Bill Henry APIATA source:bbc_news - did not match any documents.
June 30, 2007
An Ancient Prejudice Returns
Ironically I enjoyed my first legal cigarette in a pub for many years when supping with the Devil the other night. I thought I ought to remind myself how bloody good they taste and fitting they feel when drinking with chums at the bar, before that pleasure is denied us. And it was a Lucky Strike....
As you sniff along to her memory with ageing rock stars playing "for the children" console yourself it is just what she wanted as she donated her septum for the benefit of Columbian Farmers.
June 28, 2007
Royal Mail wrote to a Sussex woman asking her to trim her bush on health and safety grounds.
The lavender bush in her garden was said to make it difficult for her postie to get to her letterbox but Mrs Marie Zadeh said the request was absurd. She said it may simply be because it had been in flower but could see no reason why it might prove a hazard to a postal worker.
Royal Mail said they regretted the inconvenience it may have caused but said the bush was overgrown and posed a hazard.
It is unclear whether Mrs Zadeh has timmed (sic) her bush. Or whether she has dyed it...
June 25, 2007
Raindrops keep falling on my head....
Tepee holes put damper on an elite experience - Times Online
The aphorism that money cannot buy you happiness has rarely been felt more keenly than at the luxury tent village at Glastonbury Festival. Revellers who paid £1,650 to hire a traditional Native American tepee were furious that organisers had no way of stopping rain cascading through the hole in the middle of their tents.
Unlike traditional tepees, which have a fire in the middle to keep the damp out, Glastonbury’s tepee village is banned from lighting fires for safety reasons..... I know schadenfreude is not nice, but the idea of Piers and Emma decamping from Fulham to play at being hippies for the weekend and ending up wet and cold is just delicious..
June 24, 2007
BBC NEWS | Scotland | Sporran wearers may need licence
Kilt wearers could face prosecution if they do not have a licence for their sporran under new legislation which has been introduced in Scotland.
The laws are designed to protect endangered species like badgers and otters,... They also apply to other vulnerable animals like deer, wildcats, hedgehogs, bats, lynx, moles, seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises.
The regulations require anyone who owns any part of a protected animal to obtain a licence.
And so the madness spreads.
June 22, 2007
Bin Bug Problems by the cwt
Government has not 'weighed up' the real problem. Metric Martyrs reveal how rubbish 'stealth tax' will backfire
The EU Landfill Directive is getting the Government and Local Authorities into an absolute state of panic. They are descending into laughable chaos mode with some of their suggestions. Locks on wheelie bins, microchips to record data from households refuse disposal and so on. The pragmatic reality is that all of this is completely unworkable and the public, yet again, are way ahead of the politicians.
However, one aspect of all this seems to have been missed. Forget the increase in fly-tipping that will ensue, the fights in the street with the refuse collectors, dumping rubbish into other peoples bins and the horrendous cost of administration which will end up with more reams of paper for recycling. This one is the most fundamental.
If you are going to charge or fine people for the amount of unrecycled rubbish or waste they dispose of it will have to be weighed.
If money is involved, either as an incentive or as a penalty, then the determination of weight becomes a 'prescribed use' under the Weights & Measures Act 1985 and is subject to controls. We are surprised that the Government are not aware of this. They were acutely aware when prosecuting Steve Thoburn and the other Metric Martyrs. The same controls required for buying a pound of bananas in pounds sterling are the same controls required to determine whether someone will be rewarded or penalised for recycling. The Weights and Measures Act cannot be disapplied because it is a local authority doing the weighing.
It appears as though the Weights and Measures and Trading Standards authorities at both local and national level are acutely aware, but are responding to queries with vague answers about standards and regulations but there is little factual information as to the feasibility of the application. However, engineers we have consulted see the practicalities of attempting to deliver such a service an impossibility. Weighing machines will have to be calibrated in a similar fashion to shop scales. Operators will have to be fully trained, and householders may insist on being present at every 'transaction.' What about the practical problems of weighing the rubbish on dark, winter mornings with a howling gale?
The underlying principle is that wherever the determination of weight involves the exchange of money ( and in this instance 'payment' can be in the form of either an incentive or penalty), then the instrument used to determine the weight must be controlled by the requirements of the Weights & Measures Act, and all the controls involved - type approval, in-situ testing and regular certification by the Trading Standards Officer for the area concerned would have to be undertaken.
Metric Martyrs spokesman Neil Herron states: " Yet again, we see the Government coming up with policies that will not see the light of day because of the operational and implementational impracticalites. The public meanwhile grows increasingly angry that we are governed by such buffoons who, if they spent 5 minutes with us in the real world, would realise that what they are suggesting is laughable and unworkable. Like the Home Information Packs and Road User Charging they will ignore the public and press ahead until they are forced into another embarassing U-turn some many months and many millions of our hard-earned tax pounds later.
Pity they also didn't listen to us when we told them it was wrong to criminalise a man for selling bananas by the pound. Now the same legislation they used to prosecute the Metric Martyrs is going to see their recycling scheme consigned to landfill."
Metric Martyrs Defence Fund
12 Frederick Street
June 20, 2007
Prison Overcrowding - solution?
Up to 25,000 prisoners a year will be released early under an emergency scheme announced yesterday to ease the jail overcrowding crisis.
Well apart from laying the blame at NuLabour's door for not being able to perform one of the basic functions of government, providing a justice system which includes building enough gaols, is this really the only solution? Only yesterday we were told about a Child Pornographer scumbag who is just been locked up for the rest of his natural; some might suggest that there is a cheaper option for the likes of him involving a length of rope; just saying you know.
June 19, 2007
For My Welsh Readers - A Nightmare...
Pay to Display?
Waterstone's admit charging to promote books | Uk News | News | Telegraph
For £45,000 per book, Waterstone's, the document suggested, would place six titles in windows, front-of-house displays and in a national advertising campaign.
For £25,000, the chain allegedly offered to feature a title in a front-of-store bay as a "gift book", and at tills. For £17,000, a book, it was claimed, would be displayed as one of two titles billed as the "offer of the week" for one week in the run-up to Christmas.
A payment of £7,000 would allegedly ensure a book was promoted as a Paperback of the Year and be mentioned in newspaper advertisements, while £500 would see a book appear in Waterstone's Christmas gift guide, complete with a bookseller review.
Oh grow up! Have journalists never heard of slotting fees or allowances? The money that manufacturers have to pay supermarkets to get their products on the shelf, and how much they pay determines where on the rack they are? For many supermarkets it is as an important an source of revenue as the actual sales receipts. Is it because books should be holy and untainted by sordid commerce or is it that the art grad journalists are bog ignorant of commerce?
June 17, 2007
Glass Fearing Wussies
In Texas, you need to register the purchase of Erlenmeyer flasks or three-necked beakers. The same state where I do not have to register a handgun, forces me to register a glass beaker....
Hey Kim, how about moving over to Blighty where we still have the freedom to buy scary flasks without a licence?
June 15, 2007
Let's all pick on the fat kid.
Take obese children from parents, say doctors | Uk News | News | Telegraph
Severely overweight children should be taken from their parents and put into care, doctors said yesterday as it emerged that obesity had been a factor in at least 20 child protection cases in the past year.
In the most extreme cases, where parents refuse to improve diets, social services should intervene to protect children's long-term health, doctors said.
...Dr Colin Waine, the chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said it was vital that parents woke up to the dangers. "If parents are given appropriate advice and choose to ignore it, this does have very serious consequences for that child," he said.
"The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is rising in children and this will have disastrous consequences on the quality of their lives."
And putting them into care, where if they are not buggered senseless, gain a drug habit, taught to be petty criminals or driven to suicide means they escape just with their minds fucked up, wouldn't have consequences? Or is it just that the State knows best?
June 13, 2007
No Pain No Gain
The Devil's Kitchen doesn't hold back in his condemnation of Midwives, NSFW, and Dr Crippen also opines on why he has an inbuilt antipathy towards midwives and I know that, once again, I will be criticised for expressing it. But, as I have said before, if you could access the comments on Doctors.net.uk on midwives you would know that my feelings are shared, to a greater or lesser degree, by many doctors. I merely express in public what many others will only say in private.
The problem with midwives is that many are well meaning Guardian readers. They believe that nature is good, that getting in touch with real childbirth with pain is wholesome for the soul. I wonder if they go to the old woman in the village for natural root canal work or do they avail themselves of the wonders of modern dentistry. Of course their medieval prejudices are supported by many mothers who romanticise childbirth, normally right up to the time the contractions start really hurting. Time to cut the crap and view birthing as just another medical procedure like having your piles cauterised, up in the stirrups is no time or place for aromatherapy candles and whalesong music.
June 12, 2007
Coming back out of that yonder zone
Muslim women abuse soldier at troops hospital | the Daily Mail
British Army officer has been abused by Asian women while on a hospital visit to troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Company Sergeant Major Neil Powell was surrounded and heckled by three young women in the unprovoked verbal attack at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
The women, in traditional Asian dress, ranted about the presence of British troops in Muslim countries.
The incident took place in a public area of the hospital used by both civilians and military personnel.
In recent months the standard of treatment for soldiers at Selly Oak has been widely criticised. Military personnel have called for greater protection and privacy away from civilian patients and visitors....
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer said: "We have reason to be extremely cautious about the security of wounded British soldiers and those who care for them.
"Earlier this year, we were told there was a detailed plan to capture a soldier in Birmingham and torture him.
"This incident demonstrates that our troops and their welfare staff are vulnerable. This is an issue we ignore at our peril."
CSM Powell said: "There was a minor incident. Sorry, I am not willing to talk about it. My concern is the morale of the fighting troops.
"I have my own opinions and part of my job is to address those opinions, but I also have a chain of command."
In recent years defence chiefs have closed military hospitals, which benefited from greater security, to cut costs.
So far no surprises, a professional response from a CSM to the way we treat our returned wounded. But even I was shocked by the shrill response from the Labour MP for Selly Oak, Lynne Jones who "refused to back calls for more secure facilities for troops.
She said: "The soldiers seem to want a little empire consisting of their own designated staff and facilities, a fiefdom.
"The point of basing the Centre for Defence Medicine at Selly Oak was to make the most of the range of experience here. The priority should always be the standard of clinical care.
"When I’ve visited the military ward it has been cluttered with staff."
June 10, 2007
The Lisa Simpson Head Olympic Logo - a sign for our times
Revealed: the ad men behind the logo fiasco | Uk News | News | Telegraph
It can now be revealed that the man who led the design team that created the logo is Patrick Cox, the executive creative director of Wolff Olins, an Islington-based brand consultancy with links to the Labour establishment.
Until Monday, when Lord Coe unveiled the new logo and hailed it "a brand we genuinely believe in" - something of a minority view as it turned out - Mr Cox's career had been glittering. His track record boasts triumphs for...Product Red, the anti-HIV campaign launched last year by Bono, the U2 singer.
Since being unveiled on Monday, the logo, reported to have cost £400,000, has faced worldwide ridicule. The design guru Stephen Bayley called it a "puerile mess". The less generous said it looked like the efforts of a delinquent graffiti artist. MPs called it "childish and ridiculous". The logo was condemned by the group Epilepsy Action after it was revealed that at least 22 people had suffered seizures while watching flashing animated footage of it.
To avoid further damage to the London Olympics, the organiser of an online petition against the logo stopped collecting signatures after getting 48,615 signatures in two days.
The Sunday Telegraph has learned that the logo was developed in conditions of such secrecy that most of Wolff Olins's 180 London staff knew little or nothing about it, with the few given security clearance referring to the project only by a codename. Wolff Olins representatives are still forbidden from discussing the project.
In overall control of the "brand project" was Brian Boylan, 61, the chairman of Wolff Olins who has worked at the company since the late Sixties.
In that time, Wolff Olins has built impressive links with the Labour establishment. Sarah Brown, the wife of Gordon, the prime minister in waiting, started her career at Wolff Olins after leaving university.
Michael Wolff, the company's co-founder, was credited with creating Labour's red rose symbol in 1986, and in 1998 its representatives were called upon by Tony Blair to be part of a group of "creative thinkers" helping to "rebrand Britain" and create the brief, heady days of "Cool Britannia".
Mr Boylan is a member of the Tate Modern Council and serves on the board of the Government-funded Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.
He is understood to live in a £1 million gated townhouse near Primrose Hill, north London. His neighbours include writers Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller.
David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, Peter Mandelson, the British Commissioner for EU trade, live nearby....
How nuLabour! how Tony! Even down to the "Sofa Government" way of working, and how Gordon! Yesterday, however, there was no sign of Mr Cox, who is in his forties, at the London home he is understood to share with his wife and two children. "I haven't seen him for four or five days," said one neighbour, "pretty much since that awful logo was released. And how much I hate them and everything they leech off us for.
June 9, 2007
Don't hurt out of hours
Now I'm bloody angry, I'm a patient man, it takes a lot to get me angry but this morning I have had it.
Last night my sprained back went into spasm so I spent half the night face down in the Axminster in agony. My child bride ministered pain relief and eventually I was able to crawl, literally crawl, back into bed.
This morning I decided I needed some muscle relaxant. My Doctors don't do a Saturday surgery so I thought lets go to my local Hospital:
Treatment service for non life-threatening injuries including stitches for small cuts, limb sprains, minor head injuries, burns etc
Had to ring them up to find out when they open as they don't put that on the web. Went into an empty waiting room with two nurses drinking coffee. "Sorry we only deal with injuries, not illnesses"
"But I've injured my back"
"Here's a number to ring the "out of hours doctors", sorry it is all we can do. You could try taking Ibuprofen and paracetamol....."
No one answers the "out of hours" line so I go the supermarket to get more tablets - "Sorry you can only buy 16 of each".
Can't bloody park anywhere so drive for miles to the next supermarket to stock up on more. 16 will barely get me through a day. Mr and Mrs Stupid and their son Chavhead Stupid keep blocking the aisles as I try to hobble past them, their deciding whether to have lard or dripping flavoured crisps being too important for them to move out the bloody way.
Store manager at Morrisons has the brilliant idea of putting the back rub ointments on the bottom shelf, yes the one you have to bend double to get at if you are looking for something for your back!
Maybe I should ring the vets and say the dog has a bad back - I would get seen within the hour and proper medication prescribed.
So all I can do now is pop pills for the weekend and swear at the television.
TESCO staff threatened to call cops when Andrew Williamson tried to buy EIGHT pasties.
Taxi boss Andrew, 48, was told to put two back because there was a six-pasties-only rule.
And when he argued, staff at the supermarket warned they would call police....
Dad-of-four Andrew picked them up for a family tea for eight people. He said: “I was stunned when the till girl said I could only have six....
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We operate a commonsense approach to multi-purchasing to ensure the widest range of products is available for everyone. We would like to apologise if Mr Williamson felt mistreated and for this inconvenience.”
That is a use of the word "commonsense" I haven't come across before. I'm sure old Jack Cohen would have tried to sell him sixteen, but then he didn't have much time for rules...
June 8, 2007
Proud of exciting news that hundreds of thousands wait in agony for months
Hospitals with a year-long waiting list | Uk News | News | Telegraph
Almost half a million NHS patients are waiting more than a year for hospital treatment, official figures showed yesterday.
One person in eight who is admitted to hospital for a non-emergency procedure has to wait more than 52 weeks between being referred by a GP and being treated. There are also large variations in waiting times across the country.
The figures were revealed yesterday as Andy Burnham, the health minister, claimed that the Government was on track to deliver on its "historic" promise effectively to abolish hospital waiting lists by the end of next year. Previous waiting list figures have not included so-called "hidden waits" including those for diagnosis and referral between hospital specialists.
Mr Burnham said: "These are very exciting set of figures of which the NHS should be very proud
My back slipped out over the weekend and so yesterday morning I rang my specialist - a chiropractor who has been tweaking it right for many years. I saw him at 12:00, paid my £35 and we were both happy. I can see him again next Monday, if I want to, as he will make time before he rushes off to catch a train at 10:00 in the morning. Never even occurs to me to see what the NHS could do, I don't keep an appointments diary that far into the future.
June 7, 2007
Millions in NHS savings ‘should have gone on jobs and services’-Life & Style-Health-TimesOnline Patricia Hewitt was accused yesterday of aggravating regional inequalities in NHS care to meet her promise to stem health service deficits in the last financial year....
A leaked e-mail, reported yesterday by The Times, suggested that in addition to lost jobs and raids on training budgets, the climate of cost-cutting has stalled progress on the flagship policy to ensure no patient waits longer than 18 weeks for hospital treatment.
The e-mail, sent out to trusts with advice on how best to deflect media interest, showed that just 48 per cent of patients are currently being treated within 18 weeks from GP referral.
Meanwhile if I need treatment locally...
Strong Opposition At Hospital Cuts Meeting (from This Is Wiltshire)
A public meeting held in Marlborough last night to oppose downgrading services at Savernake Hospital gave a clear mandate to the Town Council - tell health chiefs there is strong objection to all the proposed cuts.
Wiltshire Primary Care Trust, as part of its Pathways For Change health service shake-up, has said it is closing ... the Minor Injuries Unit...at the new £10 million hospital completed two years ago..
Mr Lefever said there would be nothing to prevent the community financing and running its own MIU similarly to the way the Air ambulance is publicly funded.
"Could we not do the same to provide an MIU?" he asked.
Obviously it is our fault for being a Tory area.....
June 4, 2007
The Twenty Twelve Gold Mine Protection Racket
1 (1) There shall be a right, to be known as the London Olympics association right, which shall confer exclusive rights in relation to the use of any representation (of any kind)...
For the purpose of considering whether a person has infringed the London Olympics association right a court may, in particular, take account of his use of a combination of expressions of a kind specified in sub-paragraph (2).
(2) The combinations referred to in sub-paragraph (1) are combinations of-
(a) any of the expressions in the first group, with
(b) any of the expressions in the second group or any of the other expressions in the first group.
(3) The following expressions form the first group for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)-
(b) "Two Thousand and Twelve",
(c) "2012", and
(d) "twenty twelve".
(4) The following expressions form the second group for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)-
(f) sponsor, and
(5) It is immaterial for the purposes of this paragraph whether or not a word is written wholly or partly in capital letters.
(6) The Secretary of State may by order add, remove or vary an entry in either group of expressions.....
22 Enforcement: power of entry
(1) A constable or enforcement officer may-
(a) enter land or premises on which they reasonably believe a contravention of regulations under section 19 is occurring (whether by reason of advertising on that land or premises or by the use of that land or premises to cause an advertisement to appear elsewhere);
(b) remove, destroy, conceal or erase any infringing article;
(c) when entering land under paragraph (a), be accompanied by one or more persons for the purpose of taking action under paragraph (b);
(d) use, or authorise the use of, reasonable force for the purpose of taking action under this subsection.....
So mention the "Summer of 2012" in the wrong way and the Rozzers will be breaking down your door....
And don't forget that "2012" is a registered trademark, so what the fuck we are going to call the year between 2011 and 2013 is beyond me.
It is all about "Respect the Games' Marks" and other waffle dreamt up by Wolff Olins who seem to have several different websites:
The flashy one - http://www.wolff-olins.com/
The boring one - http://www.wolff-olins.com/newsandpress.htm which has a homelink -http://www.wolff-olins.com/index.htm which is broken, though they do have a version of it which sums up all their brand awareness and expertise... http://www.wolff-olins.com/text_index.htm.
Do Squirrels Screw In The Woods?
TRAPPING is cruel, shooting is tricky and poison is dangerous. If only there was a way to stop the grey squirrels advancing through Britain from breeding in the first place.
That was the thinking behind a government project aimed at protecting red squirrels from their foreign cousins by giving the grey invaders contraception.
But the £1 million project is set to end in failure and disappointment because the pesky creatures just won't take the pills....
The three-year project is part of a study funded by the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Forestry Commission. Separate trials have focused on giving contraceptives to wild boars and parakeets.
Although animal rights groups have backed the use of contraceptives, the squirrel trials, using captive greys, are taking place at a secret location due to fears of attack from animal-rights extremists.
No it isn't April 1st.
The Forestry Commission used to offer a sixpenny bounty on squirrel tales - a simple market mechanism that could be reintroduced except ..
But Natalie Smart, of the SSPCA, backed the criticism of the plan. "Offering a monetary incentive to kill doesn't make good sense,'' she said.
But Ross Minett, director of welfare group Advocates for Animals, said: "There is no scientific or ecological justification for this. Even when millions of pounds are spent over a number of years, it's next to impossible to cut the number of grey squirrels. This will lead to carnage in the countryside."
June 2, 2007
...new figures show that the Health Department significantly underestimated. The Department of Health estimated that the bill for the ban, that comes into force in a month's time, would run to £1.6 billion.
Initially, it set aside £1 million for "education/communication" on the law, but now admits that the total budget for advertising the ban on television, billboards and leaflets stands at £8.7 million.
It also calculated that enforcement would cost no more that £8 million. However, it has already allocated £29.5 million to local authorities to train and hire enforcement officers.
Most significantly, it estimated the implementation costs for workplaces would be "minimal".
How do think Sam Walton would react to a marketing department that budgeted £1m for advertising and then spent £8.7m (at least), the same "oh it doesn't matter, it's for people's own good" as the NHS? I thought so, that is all you need to know about how the NHS is run. And of course they also forgot about the birds - will the RSPB start a "Keep Smoking" campaign?
Birds are picking up discarded cigarette butts and using the smoke to fumigate their wings of parasites, experts said yesterday.
Rooks have been spotted swooping on to the tracks at Exeter St David's railway station in Devon and placing their wings over the smoke to collect the fumes underneath.
Your NHS, please pay again
Senior doctors are to propose that health care should be paid for through a compulsory NHS income tax....
A motion to be debated at a British Medical Association conference will suggest a means-tested system similar to those used in France and Germany.....
Contributions would vary according to income, meaning high earners would pay more.
The French pay premiums amounting to almost 20 per cent of pre-tax earnings while in Germany the proportion varies according to different providers but averages at around 13 per cent.
This equates to about £10,000 and £6,500 respectively for some one earning £50,000 per year....
About 200 of the country's leading doctors attending the BMA consultants' conference on Wednesday will debate a motion stating: "This conference believes that a means-tested compulsory form of national insurance be set up to fund the NHS."...
"The fact that the system is tax-funded and so centralised has led to something which is totally dysfunctional and increasingly unsustainable.
"Such a system will always be inefficient and will never deliver the care people aspire to."
Maurice Slevin, a leading cancer expert and founder of the Doctors for Reform campaign group, said: "The fact is the current system isn't working. The cost has more than doubled in real terms.
"The only thing that has improved is waiting times have reduced but everything else has got worse.
"We've paid for a Bentley and got a clapped out Mini. We have a large nationalised system with no mechanism to provide incentives to do things in a cost-effective, efficient manner."
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "Record investment and reform is delivering a first class NHS for patients."
I'm obviously too tired and hung over to understand why a centralised compulsory "national insurance" or income tax based on the amount you earn is going to be so much better than the present system of a centralised compulsory "national insurance" or income tax based on the amount you earn in reforming the NHS.
June 1, 2007
Beddybies time, Nanny will tuck you in
Firemen are facing disciplinary action after they were accused of sleeping on the floor of their station instead of on new reclining chairs.
Three men are being investigated for "involvement in the use of unauthorised rest facilities". A colleague called it "bureaucracy gone barmy".
Firemen are entitled to three hours' rest during a 15-hour night shift.
Fire chiefs are looking into claims that they defied orders to rest on the £400 reclining chairs, which were installed as a replacements for beds in Greater Manchester's 41 fire stations last year. It is claimed that they broke regulations by deciding it was more comfortable to use sleeping bags and bed down on the floor....
Anita Wainwright, the service's director of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Risk-assessed facilities have been provided for rest only, not sleep. However, if a firefighter were to doze off on the rest facilities provided, a common sense approach is adopted."...An internal memo, issued last year, gave guidelines on how to rest at fire stations and warned of "random inspections" and threatened anyone caught out with disciplinary action.
Kevin Brown, of the Fire Brigades Union, said: "Firefighters make life or death decisions every day, but they appear to be being treated as fools."
Next to come "Dream Monitoring" - any firefighter dreaming of any sexual matter in a workplace environment will be compulsory re-educated....
May 30, 2007
Gratuitous Demeaning Allison Stokke Picture
A month ago, Allison Stokke was an ordinary sixth-former with a special talent: pole vaulting.
A two-time California state champion and national record-holder, she was serious about her chosen sport, which had earned her a university scholarship. But then she made the “mistake” of posting a three-minute interview about her technique on the internet video site YouTube.
Within days, pictures of her, innocently taken at a track-and-field event, were on the internet and being leered at by tens of thousands of men all over the world on websites that have nothing to do with sport....
"..it just all feels really demeaning,” Ms Stokke told the newspaper. “I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it’s almost like that doesn't matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me.”
Oh yes they do, and with a good agent I'm sure you can get over the feeling as thousands of newspapers illustrate your distress with pictures and cash payments...
Entertainment News - Talentless Tosser Show Returns
Reunited Police begin world tour | Entertainment | Reuters
Every frigging breath they take whining about Roxanne is a waste of oxygen, rather than watch the bloated ponces I would rather have my eyelids stapled opened and strapped in a chair in front of the telly for this.
Burnley Express Latest Entertainment News - Big Brother back
Robocops on the beat
The white shirt and black tie of the British policeman is known the world over.
But a force is preparing to be the first in England to drop the traditional uniform for front-line work in favour of something more comfortable...
Ian Arundale, the deputy chief constable of West Mercia police, which operates in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire, said: "After body armour was introduced to protect police and community support officers out on patrol it became apparent that the traditional white shirt and clip-on tie was no longer a suitable uniform for front-line officers.
"Overall the responses to the new under-body-armour shirts have been incredibly positive and the shirt was well received by members of the public with people commenting that the shirts looked very smart, more up-to-date and made officers seem more approachable.
Dressed all in black wearing body armour, more approachable? Are clip-on ties really that scary in comparison. May be they should have got Hugo Boss to design them, at least they have a history of stylish designs...
May 26, 2007
Mad Bint Alert
The Devil's Kitchen appeals
Rachel North is being stalked by some mad bint who absconded, after being convicted in absentia of harrassment. Quite apart from this woman being a nutjob and, of course, the fact that this libertarian is a big fan of the rule of law, Rachel's one of us and I would advise you to go and read Rachel's appeal....
Basically, the idea is for us to look out for this loony... in the real world, not virtually. Especially in cyber cafes in London and North Oxford, and in the East End streets, where she wanders, drinking cider.
Iain Dale also appeals but not so colourfully, as do may other bloggers. I'm not sure how many of my readers frequent these metropolitan locations but you never know...
May 25, 2007
Gedanken-Fick Women #
Pregnant women and those trying for a baby should avoid alcohol completely, according to new government advice.
It replaces existing advice that one to two units such as a couple of glasses of wine per week is acceptable.
The change follows concern from some sectors that there is no safe amount of alcohol that mothers-to-be can drink....
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says there is no evidence that a couple of units once or twice a week will do any harm to the baby.
The Department of Health said the revision was not based on new scientific evidence but was needed to help ensure that women did not underestimate the risks to their baby.
It now says pregnant women or women trying to conceive should abstain from alcohol. ...
Women who are already pregnant and who have followed the earlier advice "will not have put themselves or their baby at risk", the Department reassured.
So no evidence - just connecting the awful results of FAS with a couple of drinks.
Paracelsus, A sixteenth-century Swiss chemist , wrote:
German: Alle Ding' sind Gift und nichts ohn' Gift; allein die Dosis macht, dass ein Ding kein Gift ist.
"All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous."
That is to say, substances often considered toxic can be benign or beneficial in small doses, and conversely an ordinarily benign substance like water can be deadly if over-consumed.
But so what - our nannies prefer to panic millions of women and shovel blame on them - I've not met a woman who didn't admit that she had a few drinks before she realised she was pregnant. Poor sods then spend years panicking that they damaged their baby when there is NO EVIDENCE that moderate drinking causes any harm.
# - Gedanken-Fick? - see http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfuck
THIS is truly shaming. A Victoria Cross hero Gurkha has been banned from living in Britain 'because he has no strong ties with UK' according to the Daily Mail.
Tul Bahadur Pun's extraordinary act of valour while fighting the Japanese during World War Two even won him royal admirers. He was invited to the Queen's Coronation and had tea with the Queen Mother. Yet despite his illustrious service record, when the ailing 84-year-old former Gurkha soldier applied for permission to live in Britain he was refused by government officials. Amazingly, British officials in Nepal told the wizened old warrior who put his life on the line for King and country: "You have failed to demonstrate that you have strong ties with the UK."
I need to go outside for a calming breath of fresh air and look longingly at that unused length of hempen rope in the barn, one day my lovely, one day...
May 24, 2007
Traffic wardens are to be given head-mounted video cameras
What larks, what opportunity! Do you think I will be nabbed for "Anti-social behaviour" if next time I meet a sad nark patrolling the streets in the rain I start swinging on lamp posts and tap-tapping in the puddles doing my best Gene Kelly impression....
May 23, 2007
Soapdodgers in Danger
GERMAN authorities are using scent tracking to keep tabs on possibly violent protesters against next month's G8 summit - a tactic that is drawing comparisons with the methods of former East Germany's secret police.
Scent samples have been taken from an undisclosed number of people believed to be a possible danger to the forthcoming summit so that police dogs can pick out the perpetrators...
Surely it doesn't need much training to smell an unwashed demonstrator, you can normally pick them up from a hundred yards away - though of course at an international meeting the French delegation will now be running a risk of being bitten on the ankle as well.
May 22, 2007
Anything to Declare?
SCIENTISTS have discovered a new potential use for Viagra - preventing jet-lag.
The anti-impotence drug helped hamsters recover more quickly when their sleep patterns were disrupted by bright light...However, the drug only worked when applied before an advance in the light-dark cycle, equivalent to an east-bound flight.
Thanks, that is all we need, all those business men boasting how they have just arrived on the "red-eye from NY" sporting huge woodies as they have their breakfast meetings in Slough hotels. Maybe Spearmint Rhinos should start opening earlier...
May 21, 2007
A National Disgrace
To honour those who have valiantly fought for our country but are not treated as the heroes they truly are...
Safety standards set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNRP), which apply in the UK, state the amount of energy absorbed from an electric field or radio wave cannot exceed two watts per kilogram when averaged over 10 grams of tissue.
The Panorama researchers found the radiation levels in the Norwich classroom were 600 times lower than this guideline.
Vivienne Baron, of the campaign group Mast Sanity, said: "Many people have already fallen sick as a result of exposure to this microwave technology.
"Parents have not given consent for their children to be guinea pigs."
However, Prof Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, said: "Wi-fi is a technique using very low intensity radio waves.
"Some people suspect a non-thermal interaction but there is no evidence to suggest that this exists and indeed it is unlikely.
"Radio waves and other non-ionising radiations have been part of our lives for a century or more and if such effects were occurring then damage or other untoward effects would have been recorded and studied."
Oh for feck's sake, yet again we are teaching the children that primitive superstition against the magic of science outweighs any form of rational argument in favour of progress - give them all crystals to wear round their necks and brand them as sheep for life.
May 18, 2007
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to oppose calls by police to introduce blanket use of plastic glasses even in pubs and other licensed premises with no history of violence. We feel blanket bans on glass are unnecessary and will have a detrimental effect on the licensed trade and the drinking experience of the millions of law-abiding pub goers in well run establishments up and down the country.
Wadworth's 6X in a plastic glass - the idea is too repellent to contemplate. I would like to go back to my pewter mug but "the nick and the froth" meant I was always getting short measure. (nick and froth n. c.1600 - a dented pewter mug and excessive foam on the ale, both diminishing the quantity of liquor contained within it).
From the nick and froth of a penny pot-house,
From the fiddle and cross,
and a great Scotch louse,
From committees that chop up a man like a mouse
May the Good Lord preserve us
May 17, 2007
Are Police Going Undercover in the Bush?
Unhappy Brisbane residents may have to put up with a nude car wash offering x-rated services, after police and Brisbane City Council both said its operations were beyond their control.
Local councillor David McLachlan spoke out about the Bubbles 'n' Babes business on Tuesday, using a council meeting to complain of inaction from police and council officers.
...police investigations to date had found the business was not involved in anything illegal.
"We'll continue to monitor the situation but anything we've investigated so far has been lawful," he said.
The operation offers a topless car wash for $50 and a nude car wash with x-rated show included, for $100.
Superintendent Campbell would not speculate on what activities would be considered unlawful or how police planned to monitor the business.
"We did not receive any complaints about the operation itself that required a police response and investigation," he said.
"We have received information from the community that it exists and that it's there."
He rejected claims of a police cover-up.
But the local squad cars are all bright and gleaming..... sounds like the Police and most residents have better things to do and are happy to let others be, the true sign of a civilised society.
May 13, 2007
Give us this day our daily bread.
The latest study in the news, said to “confirm the health benefits of whole grains,” gives us another look at meta-analyses and chance to see just how shaky the science is behind many of our popular beliefs about “healthy” eating.
One of the most popular beliefs is in the special health-promoting properties of whole grains and dietary fiber. Refined foods are supposed to be “bad” for us and if we listen to today’s popular diet doctors and government spokespeople, white foods are nothing short of deadly and should be eliminated from our diet!
Yes, Get Whitey! He is bad, bad, bad, if your bread doesn't taste and look like sawdust you are going to hell my son.
For those interested, here are some fun facts we don’t often hear. Soluble fiber fibers are found inside plant cells and include pectin, dextrin and gum. Fibers in the cell walls of plants that are water insoluble include cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Like these researchers, when we think of “healthy” sources of fiber most of us think of foods like those listed on this government website (grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits).
You can bet that coffee, for example, isn’t included in most dietary fiber or wholegrain studies, even though a medium cup of coffee has 3 grams of soluble fiber — as much as an apple! Nor is beer, which has significant amounts of dietary soluble fiber and would make just as much sense. And while these beverages aren’t seen as “healthy,” we are quick to pay dearly to guzzle down “healthy” functional drinks containing the very same soluble fibers. Jellies are never included, even though they’re thickened with natural pectins. And what about guar gum, which is commonly used to thicken and keep our favorite puddings and ice creams creamy? Without soluble fiber ingredients, like locust bean gum, carageenan and guar gum, these foods would separate and become grainy messes. But the fiber in “bad” foods doesn’t “count” — even though it’s the same thing! :)
So beer and nachos with gallons of dip (full of guar gum), followed by ice cream is a way of getting my daily fibre, maybe I am a health freak after all!
Filling Gordon's Hole
GORDON BROWN was accused by the Liberal Democrats this weekend of carrying out a £3 billion stealth-tax raid on British pensions and funds.
The Lib Dems claim that changes to the rules governing empty-property rate relief will wipe some £3 billion from the value of commercial properties owned by British pension and life-insurance funds, which control £250 billion of commercial buildings....
Under the new system, office and shop landlords will have to pay rates on properties that have been empty for three months or more. Previously, they had to start paying only when properties had been empty for six months.
Industrial property owners will have to pay rates on properties that have been empty for six months or more. Before, they did not have to pay any rates on empty industrial buildings. ....
Void periods are often necessary to allow landlords to refurbish buildings when a tenant leaves, and if a tenant goes bust it can take several months for the landlord to get the property back from the administrator or receiver and find a replacement....
Oakeshott said: “Six months is a reasonable time period to re-let an office block or shopping centre — three months is not.
“Reducing the time period for voids on offices and shops is a tax hitting well-managed pension-fund property.”
He added: “This shows that the Treasury has no idea how the property market works ...
Oh yes they do, they spotted an opportunity to tax something that had been missed before so they did, as long as they get a bit more in the short term to fill Gordon's yawning chasm now they don't care about the future consequences. Trying to arrange a new tenant, even after one has been found takes months as the professional leeches of lawyers and estate agents take their time so this will reduce the mobility in the market. And if empty industrial sheds are to be taxed then where will be the reserve that is built and ready for businesses to expand into? It all acts as a brake on the economy.
May 11, 2007
Councils that introduce fortnightly rubbish collection will have to have a programme to tackle fly-tipping, Lord Rooker, the environment minister, said yesterday.
He said that he was concerned that there had been an increase in fly-tipping where collections were fortnightly.
Hang on - haven't the councils all been saying there is "not much increase in fly-tipping" when they are promoting their AWC schemes. Just like there are no more rats or malodors....
May 10, 2007
Family Feast - King's Arms, All Cannings, 23rd June
Every Christmas, a remote pub in Northern England - the Tan Hill Inn a remote pub along the Pennine Way - serves a traditional holiday meal consisting of pate, turkey, roast beef, trimmings and pudding, under its "Family Feast" menu.
According to reports on Thursday, however, American fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken is suing the Tan Hill Inn for trademark infringement over the company's own "Family Feast" -- a cardboard box of fried chicken and french fries, coleslaw, potatoes, gravy and a 1.25-litre soft drink bottle.
A spokesman for KFC was quoted as saying in The Times: "'Family Feast' is a registered trademark of Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Limited. KFC devotes significant resources to promoting and protecting its trademarks."
The idea of a KFC Family Feast makes me want to vomit sickly sugared water and prepubescent chicken gobbets all over any kindly white haired Colonel I see. I'm sure the Tan Hill Inn serves a proper family feast, as does my local pub. I'm all for protecting intellectual property but when a common phrase is trademarked then bollocks to them. So why not join us at a "Family Feast" of chilli at the King's Arms 23rd June? No reconstituted crap served.
May 2, 2007
Under the thumb
Hidden mini-cameras and microphones that can eavesdrop on conversations in the street are the next step in the march towards a "Big Brother" society, MPs were warned yesterday.
Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, said a debate had begun about whether listening devices should be set up alongside Britain's 4.5 million CCTV cameras....
He said it was arguable that surveillance in Britain - which is greater than in any other democratic nation - may already have gone too far. It was crucial, he added, to ''proceed with caution'' to avoid creating a climate suspicion.
MPs told Mr Thomas that their constituents were keen on CCTV, which they found reassuring.
That last sentence can be parsed in different ways:
Constituents who MPs have talked too find CCTV reassuring, in which case everyone else needs to let their MPs know their feelings.
MPs find the idea of CCTV reassuring and so do their constituents, of course MPS like the idea of anything that keeps their sheep like voters under the thumb.
MPs find the idea of their constituents being keen on CCTV reassuring, the sheep are happy.
Which ever one it is you have a duty to inform your MP of your views.
It's down to me, oh yeah
The way she talks when she's spoken to
Down to me, the change has come,
She's under my thumb
Yeah, it feels alright
Under my thumb
Her eyes are just kept to herself
Under my thumb, well I
I can still look at someone else
April 30, 2007
First they came for the smokers
Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, said yesterday that it was "perfectly legitimate" for NHS trusts to refuse some treatments to heavy smokers or patients who are obese.
The 1944 White Paper, A National Health Service, set out the two guiding principles. Firstly, that such a service should be comprehensive, with all citizens receiving all the advice, treatment and care they needed, combined with the best medical and other facilities available. Secondly, that the service should be free to the public at the point of use.
It is no longer. Smokers pay through the nose for their pleasure, always being told that the money is needed because they will burden society, but even that is irrelevant. If the NHS starts picking who it chooses to treat then its slim raison d'être ceases. They start with the smokers, the unfashionably fat, who's next. I bet it isn't the bloody joggers with fucked up knees or yuppy rock climbers who are just as responsible for ruining their bodies as Mrs Miggins and her 40 Lambert and Butler a day.
April 27, 2007
Rising Crime in Wiltshire
The number of crimes committed across Wiltshire and Swindon rose by 7% last year, according to latest figures.
Violent crime increased by 15% and the number of domestic burglaries was up, but there was a fall in sexual and drug offences and thefts of cars.
There has also been a fall in the number of incidents people can be bothered to report to the police, unless you need a docket for an insurance claim it just ain't worth it - as Numberwatch found out. The head rozzer on the TV this night was putting the rise down to new ways of recording the figures and alcohol - as though it was the first time anyone in Wiltshire had had a drink.
Clear message to the local police: a little less money spent on the like of Salisbury Diversity Forum and more on thief taking.
Con pan y vino se anda el camino
Parents who give alcohol to children under the age of 15 - even with a meal at home - should face prosecution, a charity says today.
An Alcohol Concern spokesman said: "It is legal to provide children as young as five with alcohol in a private home. Raising the age limit to 15 would send a stronger message to parents of the risks associated with letting very young people consume alcohol." It is illegal to buy a drink in a pub under 18, but a 16- or 17-year-old can drink wine or beer if having a meal with parents.
It is a parent's duty and right to introduce their children to the joys and dangers of drink. It is one of the few europhile sentiments I agree with that we ought to be more like the continental cafe culture and gently introduce children to a glass of wine at a meal.
I remember my eleven year old shocking the owner of Juicy Lucy's Steakhouse and Grill in Colorado when, knowing he had been skiing in France previously, she asked was there anything he missed about France compared to the USA - " a glass of wine with my meal" was his answer. I think I was looked at as though I was a child abuser from that moment on.
April 26, 2007
The Drugs aren't cheap
...there are thousands - at least 16,000 elderly people - who are going blind because they cannot get a cheap treatment that is readily available in other countries, from Germany to Mexico to Pakistan.
These British people are losing their sight not just because of NHS underfunding, but mainly because of the incompetence and statism of the system. The world is going dark for thousands of elderly people because we won't let clinicians make independent decisions, and because of the indifference of the Government to an electorally insignificant minority.
Mr Devier fought in the RAF. He has contributed to the NHS all his life, and yet he has no choice - if he wants to save his sight, and if he wants to stay with his wife - but to dig ever deeper into his dwindling savings and pay for exorbitantly expensive private treatment.
Today, he is due to have another injection in an eye, in the hope of alleviating his wet macular degeneration. That injection alone will cost £1,793. In an effort to save his sight, he has now spent approaching £8,000, and he is not a rich man.
I suppose it is irrelevant that he once risked his life for his country, but I find it utterly incredible that we are posing these alternatives to a man at his time of life - cough up, or say goodbye to your eyes.
What has gone wrong with our priorities, when we can allow comparatively affluent people to have essentially cosmetic operations on the NHS - wart removal, tattoo removal, varicose veins - and yet we cannot find the cash to save an old man's sight?
It is bad enough that we live in an age of the postcode lottery, and that there are people over the river in Berkshire who are getting the injections free, on the NHS. It is outrageous that Oxfordshire has the lowest per capita health funding, receiving only 85 per cent of the per capita funding of the next most cash-starved area; and it is, of course, wrong that life-prolonging medicines of all kinds are available free in Scotland - subsidised by the taxpayers of England - and yet are denied to the English on grounds of expense.
And the Tory policy on this is what? More of the same, thought so.
Boris goes onto make another point:
But the real scandal is the way the political masters of the health service are so supine in dealing with drug companies and in getting a good deal for patients.
Today Mr Devier will be injected with Lucentis, a drug which is made by the prodigious Californian company Genentech..Genentech makes another drug, Avastin, and though Avastin is technically a cancer drug, it is now widely agreed to be just as good as Lucentis at treating wet macular degeneration....There are only two differences between them. The first is that if Lucentis were free on the NHS, it would cost about £750 million a year, whereas Avastin has been on the market as a cancer treatment for years, and would only cost £4 million a year for eye patients across Britain....Mr Lavin can give Avastin to his private patients, and he buys it in from Florida at a cost of only $30 a dose. But he cannot give it to NHS patients, because the second difference is that Lucentis is licensed for eye use in this country, but Avastin is not. And why not?
... there is no way on earth the Pharma boys are going to seek a licence for Avastin,...And yet what no one seems to understand is that it is entirely open to the NHS to call the bluff of the pharmaceutical giant. There are plenty of unlicensed drugs already being used, or rather, licensed drugs being used for other purposes. Patricia Hewitt could get a grip and tell the PCTs to use Avastin, even though it is not licensed.
But Hewitt dithers and passes the buck. She blames Nice, or the drugs companies, when it is up to her to step in. But she won't, because of the incompetence of the Government in dealing with the money-making necessities of the pharmaceutical companies, and because of her own blindness to what is going on in the NHS.
Yesterday I linked to a story of how Walmart sre bringing down the price of prescriptions and providing local clinics, I think what Boris is bumbling towards is a call for more of a Walmart frame of mind in our masters who run the NHS. Old Sam would squeeze the Phama boys balls so tight that the drugs our old people need would be as cheap as Smarties.
(Of course bringing the rigours of the marketplace to the NHS is not Tory policy so all Boris can do is bitch and groan not tell us how the Tories would solve the problem.)
April 25, 2007
The turn of an ankle...
A POLICE offensive in Iran against women who are greeting the arrival of warm weather by showing a little more ankle than usual was reinforced yesterday with a warning of a draconian new punishment.
Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran's prosecutor, said women who repeatedly flouted the strict dress code may face a long banishment from the Iranian capital.
"Those women who appear in public like decadent models endanger the security and dignity of young men," he said. "If primary punishments are not effective, repeat violators may receive up to five years' exile from Tehran."
Poor weak and feeble Iranian men that they need such protection. As my photographic evidence shows it is essential that women cover their ankles to prevent "endangering the security and dignity of young men", now if they are also wearing riding breeches, a tight white cotton shirt or a low cut chemise and carrying a small whip I think we can all be safe in knowing that men will be safe from any impure lascivious thoughts. I know I am, or will be after the cold shower...
April 24, 2007
The price of milk in the shops has risen roughly 20% in five years, from just over 44p a litre in 2002 to just over 53p in 2007. Yet the price paid to farmers has fallen.
In 1995, producers got 24.5p a litre for their milk; the average today is 18p a litre, which represents a loss of more than 3p on every litre...
Yields are typically 9,000 litres per cow per year, not the highest known since some farms have now broken the 10,000-litre barrier, but a long way above average and spectacular compared with a decade ago, when average yields were nearer 5,000 litres per cow. Thirty years earlier, average yields were 3,500 litres...
Kemble Farms heard last week that it will get a rise of roughly 1p a litre, but that will move it only from loss to break-even. Few believe the dairy industry's problems are solved.
"We either pack up or intensify further," says David Ball, one of the directors of Kemble Farms. "We've already increased output 15% in the last year. We could keep more cows, and get a further 25%. We're aiming for 10,000 litres a year per cow in the next few months. We would be driving every-thing, the animals, the plant, to the maximum. In a factory we are used to that idea of 24/7, but with animals and land there are other considerations. We resist treating animals like machines."
Kemble Farms has high standards of animal welfare - it is audited by RSPCA Freedom Foods. But as Mr Ball explains: "From the consumer point of view, dairy equals cows in nice pasture - and we're being driven away from that, until we follow the poultry world."
The irony for Colin Rank, one of the family that owns Kemble Farms, is that his cows drink water from a Cotswold spring that he could bottle and sell for 80p a litre. "We're giving it to cows and devaluing it by turning it into milk. Like all dairy farmers we could pack up tomorrow and do something better with our capital, but we do it because we have an emotional investment in the land and the animals. And we know there's a market for our product, if only the market worked."
It seems the market is working all too well, but farmers are resistant to listening to it. In far too many cases the derided "hobby farmers" aren't the ones buying up the old farms to keep the wife's horses on but are the farmers who carry on milking cows and working all hours in muck and poverty.
April 20, 2007
Eating less salt can cut cardiovascular disease risk by a quarter and fatal heart disease by a fifth, work shows.
The ideal daily intake of salt is no more than six grams and ministers want everyone to achieve this by 2010.
Experts already know that too much salt can raise blood pressure and high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The British Medical Journal study now gives the evidence behind this link and quantifies how much harm salt can do.
People who significantly cut back on the amount of salt in their diet reduced their chances of developing cardiovascular disease by 25% over the following 10 to 15 years.
And their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease went down by 20%.
All of the 3,126 people studied by the US team from Boston had had high-normal blood pressure, or "pre-hypertension"....
Oh - so this was a study on sick people who had a particular problem that makes it more likely their ticker will go pop already. As John Brignall was saying only yesterday with regards to HRT:
There are at least two well known confounding factors to which such an observational study such as this are prey:
If the therapy is successful then the patient will have a marked change of life style.
The reasons for which the therapy was prescribed in the first place might well pose a risk factor.
So what we have here is a flim-flam study that manages to have both of these confounding factors. interestingly Professor Graham MacGregor, a consultant in cardiovascular medicine at London's St George's hospital and chairman of the Consensus Action Group on Salt, said: "This is a very important study.
"It shows that if people reduce their salt intake it will reduce the number of people suffering from heart attacks, strokes and heart failure. We did not have that type of evidence before.
I wonder if he will reissue his book now: The salt-free diet book: An appetizing way to help reduce high blood pressure. You will note he is now admitting his hugely successful campaign had "no evidence" before - and to be frank I can't see much has changed. "In our study of 3,126 one legged people we found that removing their crutches lead to them falling over more often, therefore everyone should use crutches all the time." When you consider the research that has gone into the anti-salt message then if this is the best they can do then it is pathetic. Any risk that is so hard to "prove" ain't much of a risk.
My copy of The Times this morning covers it whole front page with this scare (the online version differs) ; it reports that the conclusion is much less definite than the headlines suggest:
“Our study provides unique evidence that sodium reduction might prevent cardiovascular disease and should dispel any residual concern that sodium reduction might be harmful,” it concludes. - the Salt Manufacturers point out "“The research only relates to subjects who already have high blood pressure. Most people have acknowledged for some time that such individuals may be advised to restrict their salt intake with their GP’s advice.
“What the evidence does not prove is that salt reduction will have any significant health benefits for the majority of us.”
Quite - I have always have a sneaking feeling that the anti-salt brigade are haunted by the idea that people might actually be enjoying their food instead of only eating through gritted teeth what is "good for them."
The two real salt health stories are the importance of iodised salt in the diet to prevent stupidity and salting your veg so kids eat more of them.
Iodine Deficiency is the primary preventable causes of mental retardation, and salt iodization is a proven cost-effective solution. Although a minute quantity of iodine ensures a person's iodine adequacy, iodine deficiency remains a major public health problems in 130 developing countries, affects over 740 million people, 13% of the world’s population.
Yet we have the means to prevent it – small quantities of iodine at low cost- through iodized salt. Salt iodization is the most logical and effective solution to IDD because it is consumed gradually, and is safe, sustainable and inexpensive (US five cents per person annually).
April 19, 2007
Giving him his 15 minutes
The Times Online.
On one hand be all concerned and report on the hurt and harm airing the video the little prick made, on the other hand grab the viewers who want to watch it. So the next sad loser who can't make it with a real flesh and blood woman knows his masturbatory message will be aired to one and all, while the media can bask in the glow of self righteous anger and more advertising. I believe it was Sir John Junor who coined the phrase that there was more honour in being the piano player in a brothel than being a gutter journalist
HRT - risking it
Millions will die from HRT or something according to the headlines - Not so fast says our resident expert:
There is no reason to suppose from these tacky observations that any women at all have been killed by HRT.
Nursing an ambition
Patients are at risk of malnutrition because of a shortage of nursing staff to feed them properly, a survey suggests.
Almost half of the 2,000 nurses questioned by the Royal College of Nursing said that they did not have enough time to make sure that patients got their meals and were able to eat them because they were too busy.
Too busy doing what? What is more important for a nurse than keeping her charges alive? But this horrifying charge of nurse inattention is being brought to us by the Nurses Trade Union.
It is estimated malnutrition costs the NHS £7.3bn a year.
Professor Alison Kitson, the RCN's executive director for nursing, said: "Nurses really do care deeply about this but to ensure that good patient nutrition happens, it needs to be a priority for everybody in the system from the catering staff through to chief executives.
"Only then will nurses be able to break through the obstacles and get the time and resources to ensure better patient care."
The RCN has launched its Nutrition Now campaign to raise awareness of the problem
I see now, the nurses are using the thought of starving patients in their campaign for more money and status.
April 18, 2007
Food price rises on their way
So the food we feed the pigs, poultry and cows is going to be a lot more expensive! I know food only makes up a small proportion of the RPI but when the basics go up the effect multiplies up through the system.
Of course it doesn't help that farmers like me only grow crops on 69% of our arable land - the rest is in "environmental" schemes for the benefit of the birds (7% is "set-aside" - which is managed for environmental benefits, the rest in actual bunny-hugger schemes.)
April 17, 2007
Half a pound of tuppenny rice..
Millions of patients are "unlikely" to see any "significant clinical benefits" from the National Health Service's £12.4 billion national computer system by the time all of the money has been spent in 2014, MPs warn today.
Half a pound of treacle.
The Commons public accounts committee found that pilot projects on the National Programme for IT were already two years late and there were fears that the project would cost £20 billion - more than three times the original contract cost.
That’s the way the money goes,
Edward Leigh, the committee's chairman, said: "This is the biggest IT project in the world and it is turning into the biggest disaster. This report is a massive wake-up call to the highest reaches of Government. It goes right to Cabinet level."
Pop goes the weasel....
Shiny suited politicians just love shiny suited IT salesmen who promise to take all their problems away if only they will invest in the latest shiny machines, so much easy than tackling the problems directly. A billion here, a billion there, soon you are starting to talk real money...
April 15, 2007
Local Pubs For Local People
Eight-thirty on a Saturday night and the pubs are filling up in Lewes.. There's a pub to suit most tastes in the East Sussex town. But the most popular of the lot, the Lewes Arms, which is normally packed on a Saturday, is all but empty. The only regulars here tonight are standing outside in the drizzle with placards and leaflets, politely requesting potential customers to boycott both the 18th-century pub and its owner since 1998, Greene King plc.
The main room, with its bare boards, sash windows, open fireplace, high-backed settle, dartboard and notice declaring that anyone using a mobile phone must buy a drink for everyone in the pub, is deserted. So is the backroom with its old photos and naval memorabilia. Only the tiny front bar, with a window giving on to the lane leading to the town's Norman castle, is occupied - half-a-dozen loud characters who seem to have been there some time. One spots my notebook and bellows: "Wanker!" The thirsty stranger might conclude it is better to go elsewhere.
Hundreds of regulars already have. They have been boycotting the 220-year-old pub since December 11, when Greene King, despite a petition signed by 1,200 locals, including Lib Dem MP Norman Baker, withdrew Lewesians' favourite tipple, Harveys Bitter, from sale.
Harveys has been brewed a few hundred metres away, beside the River Ouse, by an independent family firm since 1790. It was voted best bitter in 2005 and 2006 at the Great British Beer Festival. In the Lewes Arms, as a "guest beer", it outsold Greene King's own IPA, brewed in faraway Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, at least four-toone. But GK, as supplier as well as retailer, made more from every pint of IPA sold than Harveys. Get rid of Harveys, the thinking went, and the locals, after a bit of grumbling, would switch to IPA and GK would make more money. But it hasn't worked out that way. ...
Takeover by Greene King usually spells death for local brewers. In 1999 it absorbed Morlands of Abingdon, closed the brewery and moved production of famous names such as Old Speckled Hen and Ruddles to Bury St Edmunds (or "BSE" as GK-haters call it). The Ridleys family brewery in Essex was acquired and closed in July 2005; Hardys and Hansons followed. ...
Ruddles, Kimberley, Old Speckled Hen and Greene King IPA... they are all brewed at the same giant plant in Suffolk.
But this dispute is not just about beer. Across Britain the traditional "community" local is under threat as never before....
All this character seems in danger of being lost. ... "The most important thing about it is that all the activities have been devised and run by the locals themselves. They haven't been imposed by managers 200 miles away deciding, say, that because it's St Patrick's Day all the staff are going to dress as leprechauns in standard uniforms issued from headquarters."
Pub owners are also worried about the smoking ban that comes into force in Wales on April 2 and in England on July 1...840,000 who currently don't visit pubs because they don't like smoky atmospheres say they will after July 1. Greene King intends to encourage them, according to its chief executive, Rooney Anand, by pumping "industrial scale air fresheners" through pubs as part of what it calls "Operation Clean and Fresh".
Anyone who prefers the aroma of an industrial air freshener to the natural smell of a pub can piss off, and take the Suffolk horse urine with them, whatever it is labelled as. If you don't like a village pub as it now is then the village pub still wont like you after your prissy laws have stopped old Tom enjoying half an ounce of shag in the corner as he has done for fifty years.
April 14, 2007
NSFW - the ultimate act of good mothering.
What I am vexed with is the idea that, by having an early abortion, a woman is somehow being unfemale and, indeed, unmotherly. That the absolute essence of womanhood and maternity is to sustain life, at all costs, whatever the situation.
My belief in the ultimate sociological, emotional and practical necessity for abortion did, as I have mentioned before, become even stronger after I had my two children. It is only after you have had a nine-month pregnancy, laboured to get the child out, fed it, cared for it, sat with it until 3am, risen with it at 6am, swooned with love for it and been reduced to furious tears by it that you really understand just how important it is for a child to be wanted. And, possibly even more importantly, to be wanted by a reasonably sane, stable mother. Last year I had an abortion, and I can honestly say it was one of the least difficult decisions of my life...I knew I would see my existing two daughters less, my husband less, my career would be hamstrung and, most importantly of all, I was just too tired to do it all again.
...I would like to see a time when abortion is considered an intelligent, logical, humble, compassionate thing to do. I would like abortion to be considered as, perversely, one of the ultimate acts of good mothering.
As Larkin said:
This Be The Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.
The question is, just because you believe you will fuck up is that reason enough to abort the child?
As an unwanted bastard my answer has to be NO, your mileage may vary.
April 12, 2007
FORMER Army major Charles Ingram was today found guilty of assaulting a 13-year-old youth....
He said after the verdict: "I just cannot belive they came to this verdict after the main prosecution witness lied. It means every yob in he country can get away with it.'' Giving evidence via a video link, the boy had told prosecutor Colin Meeke that he and four friends were walking along the High Street when he saw Ingram jogging towards him.
The boy said he was going to cough at Ingram as he went past, a joke in reference to Ingram's conviction for fraud on the TV quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The boy said he covered his mouth to cough, Ingram ran on a few yards, stopped then jogged back, grabbed him by his clothing and pushed him against the wall of a house.
But when questioned by Mr Berry, the boy agreed a lot of what he had said in the statement he had made to police and told Mr Meeke in court was a lie.
He agreed he had not covered his mouth but had coughed into Ingram's face, at less than an arm's length.
Charles Ingram said ": He assaulted me by deliberately aiming a single wet cough into my face and spreading his germs onto me.”
I saw his tongue during the cough and despite wearing iPod earphones I heard the cough as a sharp, loud crack.
"This shocked and intimidated me. Despite the peak of my baseball cap, I felt his spit spray into my face.”
"I wanted to go back and have a word with him because I didn't want it to appear that what he had done was acceptable behaviour."
"I thought he was going to push me against the people behind me and possibly into the road and I grabbed his clothing to prevent him continuing his assault on me."
"The things I have heard about this boy are absolutely shocking. This boy was not born to do these things to me. He learned them from his parents."
Ingram was given an absolute discharge.
Charles Ingram is no hero of mine but this conviction is an absoloute mockery. Only days ago Home secretary John Reid said: “Tackling anti-social behaviour, creating a more respectful society and re-building safer communities is a priority for this government.
“And I am heartened that every day more and more members of the public are working with the police and local councils right across the country to take action against anti-social behaviour and stand up for the rights of the law-abiding majority."
And today's lesson is when a yob spits in your face is to turn the other cheek or face prosecution.
April 10, 2007
Last night (Easter Monday Public Holiday) at 10:00 we noticed one of our elderly cats couldn't stand up, rang the vets who cheerfully opened up the surgery and by half past the poor old Moppet was being examined by the vet in spotless surroundings. Sadly she had a thrombosis and we had to have her put to sleep as that seemed to be the kindest choice of the options we were given. We brought her home by 11:00
Over in another part of town my eldest son was striken by severe abdominal pain down on the lower right side. The doctor was rung at 10:00 but of course was unavailable, at 11:30 his mother was still waiting to see if she was to be allowed to take him to hospital that night to be examined.
Says it all about health care doesn't it.
April 5, 2007
Hickory, dickory, dock
A vet in England may dock a dog's tail as long as it is no more than five days old and its owner has provided the following evidence: the dam of the dog (so the type may be ascertained), a completed statement by the owner and a shotgun certificate...
Have they gone mad? It is hard enough getting a shotgun certificate for a fully grown dog, but for a five day old puppy? Don't they live in the real world?
In Wales the word breed is used rather than type, which appears to mean that if a dog is not of a pedigree listed in the regulations its tail may not be docked. In Scotland there is a separate Act which bans docking for any reason. In Northern Ireland tail docking is legal.
Oh bloody typical of the Welsh to demand ethnic purity, don't want any of those English Springer Spaniels coming over, waving a leek and singing "My hen laid a haddock, one hand oiled a flea", and the Sweatys banning anything they can, while good Ulster folk fly the flag of freedom.
April 4, 2007
It's Chocolate Sunday, what is that all about?
“ Brits will on average be enjoying over 3.5 eggs each over the Easter weekend alone. But over a quarter don’t know why handing them out symbolises the birth of Jesus. . . .” Press release from Somerfield, April 3
The press release was written by Hayley Booth, 30, of the PR agency Brando. Ms Booth, who was privately educated, told The Times that she had corrected the release as soon as she became aware of the error.
Sometimes even a escaping from a state education isn't enough...
March 30, 2007
All you need to know about the state of NHS hospitals
Fewer than half of NHS staff members would be happy to be a patient at their own hospital, according to an official survey by the health service regulator.
More than a quarter, 27 per cent, said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: "I would be happy with the standards of care provided if I was a patient in my trust".
Only 34 per cent said they would be happy to be treated, five per cent would be "very" happy with the prospect and 33 per cent could not decide.
March 28, 2007
The State is here to look after your children...
Checks will be made on all children to identify potential criminals under an extension of the "surveillance state" announced by Tony Blair.
A Downing Street review of law and order also foreshadowed greater use of sophisticated CCTV, an expanded DNA database and "instant justice" powers for police....
The Government believes children can be prevented from becoming offenders if early intervention is targeted at those who displayed certain traits. These include having a short attention span or living in a deprived environment.
Vulnerable children and those at risk will be identified by "trigger" factors such as parents in jail or on drugs.
They will be subject to measures including home visits from specialists.
But the Government says the net should be cast as widely as possible "to prevent criminality developing".
The review document added: "These checks should piggyback on existing contact points such as the transition to secondary schools."
The plan will be underpinned by a database for all children from next year.
It will contain basic information identifying the child and its parents and will have a "facility for practitioners to indicate to others that they have information to share, are taking action, or have undertaken an assessment, in relation to a child."
The database was developed to prevent another tragic death such as that of Victoria Climbie but now appears to be the basis for cradle-to-adult monitoring.
What do you mean you are surprised at the Government setting up a database for one "honourable" purpose, who could have been so heartless to object to it?, and then using it for more sinister purposes..
March 27, 2007
Hurrah for Judges - Protecting us from patronising interference with the right of autonomous adults to make personal decisions for themselves"
A drunken woman can still consent to sex, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday....
Otherwise, "provisions intended to protect women from sexual assaults might very well be conflated into a system which would provide patronising interference with the right of autonomous adults to make personal decisions for themselves".
Benjamin Bree, a university-educated computer software engineer from Southampton "of excellent previous character", was told after an appeal hearing earlier this month that his rape conviction would be quashed. He had served nearly five months of a five-year sentence.
For one young man a nightmare is largely relieved, for the rest of us a glimmer of hope.
March 26, 2007
See, I told you it was harder to find than bloody Manhattan
...then there was Realdus Columbus, who in 1593, a century after his namesake discovered the New World, claimed to have made the far more momentous discovery of the clitoris.
Health and Safety isn't about saving lives but following rules
A fireman is facing disciplinary action after plunging into a river to rescue a drowning woman.
Tam Brown, 42, is the subject of an internal investigation by Tayside Fire and Rescue because he breached safety rules during the rescue in the River Tay in Perth.
He spent eight minutes in the cold water and at one stage feared that he would be swept to his death. But after dragging the 20-year-old woman to safety he was told by his employer that he had acted improperly by risking his life.
Mr Brown, who has 15 years’ experience as a fireman, was hailed as a hero by the young woman’s family but Tayside Fire and Rescue said that he had broken the brigade’s “standing instructions” on safety procedures.
He said yesterday: “I was expected to watch that young girl die in front of me.
March 25, 2007
Spring up, fall down
Did you forget to change your clock this morning to keep Scottish Schoolteachers happy?
Light bulb jokes
How many people it takes to change a BBC lightbulb?
The member of staff left in the dark would need to find a clerk to get a reference number so that the repair could be paid for, then report the fault to a helpline. An electrician would ask the store manager for the part and install the bulb, making a total of five people.
And to think npower sponsored the BBC ten pounds for every lightbulb joke it told on Comic Relief day..
March 24, 2007
For the Man who has everything
Stolen from http://www.nkme.co.uk/strange/
March 22, 2007
The Black Helicopters are coming
Pilotless helicopters will be tested by police on Merseyside in the fight against anti-social behaviour.
The drone aircraft will keep watch over football matches and trouble hotspots.
Fitted with CCTV cameras and weighing 1kg - about the same as a bag of sugar - they are controlled by officers on the ground.
The force is considering using them to monitor large crowds
Will my tin foil hat protect me?
March 20, 2007
Taking Freedom Lesson From The Chinese
The UK government faced questions on school fingerprinting in the House of Lords yesterday, led by the accusation that they had a worse track record on civil liberties in this regard than the Chinese.
Baroness Joan Walmsley, Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, said the government should look at the Chinese example.
"The practice of fingerprinting in schools has been banned in China as being too intrusive and an infringement of children's rights, yet here it's widespread," she said, calling for the UK to ban school fingerprinting unless parents opted into it.
Lord Adonis said they were taken to control the issue of library books, taking registration or dishing out school meals. In the latter instance, he said, children who take free school meals would be able to do it without anyone knowing if they bought them with a fingerprint rather than a voucher, and so avoid any stigma that might be lumped on them for being poor.
All you need to know - go and read.
March 19, 2007
Be a Real Man, put a finger up your bum!
Prostate Cancer Awareness Week (19-25 March 2007)
Don't be shy now....
Or maybe hold onto your dignity and manliness....
Michael Baum is in fighting form. The emeritus professor of surgery at University College London, and leading expert on cancer, says he would like to give the ‘self-appointed custodians of men’s health’ a ‘bloody nose’. He’s talking about those men’s health groups, men’s health magazines and men’s health officials in the pay of the government, who are constantly advising men – through TV ads, glossy posters in GPs’ waiting rooms, information-laden beermats, drop-in advice centres at football grounds or celeb-backed ‘awareness campaigns’ – to get in touch with their bodies and their wellbeing. ‘You know what they’re doing, don’t you?’ he says. ‘They are trying to make men into women. They are trying to whip up the same kind of hysteria about health that bugs women amongst men as well.’
March 17, 2007
Sad and Angry
January 21, 2004
A failure of common sense.
Settle down class!
Meadow, what is the odds of rolling a six on a die?
Right, what are the odds of rolling double six?
1/6 times 1/6 so 1/36 sir.
Now I have rolled a six with this die, what are the odds of rolling a six again.
Meadow - you are a miserable worm - Tompkins, what is the answer?
1/6 again, sir, they are two unconnected events. Actually sir it might be a bit less as the die might have a propensity to roll sixes!
To accuse a mother of murdering or deliberately harming her children is about the most heinous accusation you can make. Over the last few days we have discovered that not just one or two women but hundreds of women have been accused, found guilty, and jailed or had their children taken away from them for such crimes and the miserable worm Prof Meadow has been using very strange arguments as a professional witness in such cases.
Meadow, what is the odds of Sudden Infant Death occurring?
Now one child has died of SID what are the chances of a second child in the family dying of SID.
1/8500 times 1/8500 so 1/73 million sir
Meadow - you are a miserable worm. Can a real expert give us the answer?
1/8500 again, sir, they are two unconnected events. Actually sir it might be quite bit less as SID is thought to be influenced by environmental and genetic factors and so after one death the same factors apply to other children and makes them at high risk. In fact the figures from the Care of Next Infant charity (CONI) show after one cot death the risk of a second actually increases to one in 200.
But Meadow still is fixated on mothers commonly hurting and killing their children. His inability to understand basic statistics is enough for me to distrust him completely. My gut instinct tells me he is wrong in many other particulars. And his ignorance has had devastating effects.
At the time I linked to a report of Sally Clark's trial written by her father, Frank Lockyer, QPM (Queen's Police Medal), a retired chief inspector of police, today I sadly and with considerable anger link to Sally Clark's obituary.
March 16, 2007
She wants it
Misty 69 wants you to fill her box
Troubled Diva (AKA Mike) has just released the launch of the 'Shaggy Blog Stories' and I'm in there! So get over there and buy the book, tell all your friends to buy the book, and tell everybody you know about the book, either via your own blog or by pestering random strangers into submission!
And as I promised yesterday, I am 'auctioning off' a few treasured items here today,
March 15, 2007
La Vache Qui Rit
Farmers in Liechtenstein can no longer feed cannabis to their herds under new rules in the small Alpine state.
Traces of the drug found in hashish have been filtering through to the milk of dairy cows fed with the hemp plant.
The levels breach the maximum limit set by the new rules - which say animal feed must be free of any element that could have an ill effect on humans.
The rules to be introduced in March are to bring Liechtenstein in line with standards in neighbouring Switzerland.
Hemp will also be banned from the diets of meat herds, although reports say there is no clear evidence that THC - the active substance found in hashish - can filter through into meat.
So no more "Happy Meals" either then....
"Pain will be you constant companion, Sir, make him your friend"
Strangely the bruising on the ankle has gone down a lot but has started appearing on the toes, or is that gangrene?
Pain is just information, you can ignore information, can't you?
Scrap the Railways
Rail passengers face annual fare increases above inflation for at least the next decade to help to pay for 1,000 new carriages on overcrowded routes.
Surely either there is market driven unfulfilled demand in which case the extra passengers carried should carry the cost or this is just another admission the whole rail system is leech on the public finances and should be scrapped.
Remember it is inefficient, dirty and dangerous - but loved by those who believe in controlling the people. See http://www.transwatch.co.uk
March 14, 2007
Form Filling or Feeding, which is more important?
Age Concern wants an army of volunteers to feed elderly patients who might otherwise go hungry because nurses are too busy to sit with them at mealtimes.
The Government is considering introducing a "red tray" system for patients who need help with their feeding. It would signify that the tray should not be removed until a patient had finished eating or has had help to finish a meal.
The plan is being considered at an emergency meeting on malnutrition in hospitals today but Age Concern say it is not enough and hospitals must also launch large-scale volunteering programmes in which vetted members of the public would feed patients.
A spokesman said: "A lot of hospitals don't have the staff to feed patients properly, and volunteers are the way to support assistance with feeding."
Today's meeting comes six months after Age Concern launched its "Hungry to be Heard" campaign, which said that six out of 10 older patients were at risk of being malnourished while in hospital. Nine out of 10 nurses admitted they did not always have time to help patients with eating.
May I make a modest suggestion? I would have thought ensuring that patients had adequate nutrition was one of the most important priorities of nursing so why not get some of the NHS staff we pay for to do it, and leave the non-essential duties to one side.
I had to pop to my local Minor Injuries Unit on Monday, luckily it hasn't been closed yet. I was seen very quickly but before I could be seen the nurse had to fill out a four page form. I think my theatrical groan of pain as she got to asking my ethnicity and religion made her reconsider her priorities and leave the form and come and see what my problem was. As she said, the forms seem to get longer and she couldn't see what the purpose of them was, unless it was to generate even more statistics and targets....
Government Mandated Babbling
The new Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum lays down how children are expected to develop from birth to the end of the first year of compulsory schooling, the year in which they turn five. The document, which has the force of law, was published yesterday..
Between eight and 20 months they should begin to "enjoy babbling and increasingly experiment with using sounds and words to represent objects", it says.
By three years and four months, children will begin citizenship lessons so they understand that "people have different, needs, views, cultures and beliefs, that need to be treated with respect".
And it seems most of our leaders are still "babbling", if only we could get them to move onto the finger painting curriculum target then there might be a hope that eventually they could progress to meaningful adulthood.
March 13, 2007
Buying a Subsidy
City dwellers are making huge profits out of an EU loophole that allows people who have never set foot on a farm to claim European farm subsidies.
The loophole allows investors to become classified officially as farmers and then buy the right to receive annual EU subsidies to cut agricultural production. Because the subsidies are decoupled from the land they relate to, investors do not need actually to own the ground they are claiming for or even go anywhere near it.
The profits to be made are enormous, with investors potentially increasing their capital nearly fivefold in 5 years.
Auctioneers and brokers who used to sell cattle and farm-land are now focusing their attention on selling the rights to receive European taxpayers’ money — known as entitlement trading — in what one described as a “ferocious” market with the rights to subsidies “flying off the shelf”. ...
British farmers claim around £5 billion a year of the subsidies in return for which they are meant to make environmental improvements to the land.
However, many are using their new right to sell the subsidies in order to raise a lump sum when they retire or to pay for new equipment.
What bollocks, there isn't a loophole. The system was deliberatly designed to be decoupled and tradeable in the hope little old farmers would take the money and run. Most of them haven't ben able to retire because they haven't got any spare capital. This scheme allows them to trade five years future income for a lump sum, and for Johnny Red-Braces to risk his money on an uncertain income stream. The fact that even though the "profits are huge" "demand outstrips supply" the prices are poor - £130 per hectare, and you get £624 per hectare back by 2012 - shows the risks involved.
Walk the walk
New research claims to have discovered that making yourself attractive is as much about how you move as how you look.The Telegraph's Science Editor, Roger Highfield, explains the theory.
How true, I noticed a Milf the other day, quite sweet I thought until she walked away from me with a gait that suggested she was carrying a hod load of bricks through thick mud.
March 12, 2007
How to cure MRSA - shut the hospitals
Thousands of patients are at risk of contracting MRSA and other deadly "superbugs" because more than half of NHS hospitals are overcrowded, it is claimed today.
New figures show that 216 trusts in England - about 52 per cent of the total - have bed occupancy rates of 85 per cent or more - well above accepted safety levels.
The hospitals suffering overcrowding include 95 trusts where occupancy rates have soared to 90 per cent or more.
The Government's infection-control experts have warned that hospitals need to force occupancy rates below 85 per cent if they are to win the war against MRSA and other superbugs such as Clostridium difficile.
Of course this won't be a problem in the Kennet area soon because to make the NHS even better they are closing my three local hospitals Devizes, Melksham and Trowbridge; if there is no traffic and I can drive then I can just about get to the next hospital in an hour, of course I can't park there as that would be environmentally unfriendly, but so what, it is still the envy of the world.
The Church of England is facing an embarrassing test case over whether mobile phone masts on steeples are illegal because they can relay pornography.
The church's highest court is to hear an appeal after a diocesan judge ruled that churches were "wrong in law" to "facilitate the transmission of pornography, even in a slight or modest way".
Stuff like this filth:
How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.
Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak....
Enough, next they will encouraging the common people to read and printing presses all of which encourage the spread of porn...
March 11, 2007
VETERANS from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering flashbacks, trauma and panic attacks are being told to wait 18 months or longer for treatment on the National Health Service.
Many of the ex-servicemen with posttraumatic stress should be given priority under government guidelines, but are being told that they must wait for treatment, in some cases for up to four years.
But don't worry according to The Times the cabinet is on top of the problem:
THE government is considering a new scheme to improve the National Health Service: encouraging doctors and nurses to smile at patients.
The proposal was presented at Thursday’s cabinet meeting as the culmination of six months’ work by the brightest minds in Downing Street.
Ministers were told that an Ipsos Mori survey had shown people remained dissatisfied with public services despite the billions of pounds Labour has spent on them. Ben Page, chairman of Ipsos Mori Social Research Institute, told ministers the public wanted to see nurses smile more and to “give the impression of caring”.
The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.
They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !
They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."
They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.
They strove to stand to attention, to straighen the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.
The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.
"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."
The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made - "
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!
'The Last of the Light Brigade' was written by Rudyard Kipling to highlight the plight of those who survied the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade.
March 8, 2007
Blame the Kiwi Fruit
Parental trust in organic food could be a reason more children are suffering from allergies, an academic has suggested.
Jonathan O'B Hourihane, a professor of paediatrics, told peers yesterday that nearly half the population is now prone to allergies. But while many follow the accepted advice to eat a varied and fresh diet, it is the sheer variety of fresh foods now available that may be to blame for the prevalence of allergies.
"The impression that organic or exotic fresh food is better for children may by linked to the appearance of allergies to foods that would have appeared bizarre to previous generations," Prof O'B Hourihane said.
I don't know what evidence he has but he seems to be a specialist in the area, an interesting idea and one new to me.
March 7, 2007
The Cult of Thuggee Rules
A cattle market worker with a lengthy history of violence was jailed for only two years after killing a pensioner with Alzheimer's who rebuked him for urinating in public.
The family of the pensioner told of their anger last night after learning that Steven Chapman could be free within 20 months. Chapman carried out his attack after deciding to relieve himself outside a supermarket in the middle of the day.
Benjamin Kerr, 78, remonstrated with the 22-year-old, who threw him to the ground.
Mr Kerr suffered a broken rib and died in hospital 13 days later after contracting pneumonia. After the attack, Chapman and his friend Christopher Thurley walked into the supermarket and stole some alcohol.
As they left, they stepped over the stricken pensioner....
As we are always told "Don't get involved, leave it to the professionals with their blues and twos." If this thug had killed a copper do you think he would have been treated so leniently? But the point is that a civilised society is one where everyone takes a responsibility, and that the "system" backs them up, and doesn't spit on the memory of a decent man.
My local NHS
Olive Roberts, 79, and her husband of 57 years, Ronald, 81, both have wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in Britain.
They were told that they needed urgent treatment that could save their sight. However, if they wanted the treatment quickly, they said they were also told they would have to pay for it privately, even though the drugs were licensed for use on the NHS.
The couple said the drug treatment they needed would cost each of them £600 a month, over a period of up to two years. They could not afford two treatments, so they agreed that Mrs Roberts should have the drugs because her sight was deteriorating faster.
The couple, from Malmesbury, Wilts, applied to the PCT for funding two months ago, and the Royal National Institute for the Blind campaigned on their behalf. Last night, the Kennet and North Wiltshire PCT said in a statement that it had met yesterday to discuss the case and it had agreed to fund Mrs Roberts's treatment as soon as possible...
"While this is good news for Mrs Roberts, this is one victory for one individual. Around the country, 80 per cent of PCTs are still not funding sight-saving treatment, and each day, 50 people with wet AMD in England risk losing their sight to this condition because they can't access treatments on the NHS."
Pay your stamp all your life, and when you need help, and need it fast it isn't there unless you are very lucky.
March 3, 2007
Leave your computer and go outside
For the first time since 2004 the UK is set to bask in the spooky reddish light of a full lunar eclipse, so step away from your computer and hope for clear skies.
This Saturday night (3 March) the Earth will move between the sun and the moon. The Earth will cast its shadow on the moon, leaving our largest natural satellite to bask only in refracted Earthlight, which it reflects back to us in all its bloody glory.
The actual colour of the reflected Earthlight depends on the condition of the Earth's atmosphere, particularly its dust content. It can be anything from a deep coppery red to a dull grey.
Proceedings begin shortly after 8pm, when the moon moves into our planet's penumbral shadow. It takes a little over an hour for it to move into the darker umbra, but this stage should begin by half past nine, and reach totality by a quarter to eleven.
The eclipse will last for around 75 minutes, finishing two minutes before midnight. The moon will be totally out of our shadow by half past two in the morning.
The weather looks reasonably promising too...ｮ
March 2, 2007
You say Silicon, I say Silicone, let's call the whole thing off
Trading standards officers have confirmed silicone has been found in petrol taken from the tank of a car affected by allegedly faulty fuel.
A 'CONTAMINATED' fuel scare which has affected thousands of motorists may have been caused by silicon....
Dr Pike warned that silicon could be easily confused with silicone, a substance used as a lubricant or sealant in engineering.
Remember only the Main Stream Media has the professional fact checking in place that stops it making silly mistakes like what bloggers and wikipedias do...
UPDATE 18:47: BBC story now changed to Silicon ....
UPDTE 20:00 - BBC story changed again, now "Supermarket cuts unleaded sales" - isn't all this secret editing against the Bloggerheads Rules of Teh Internet?
Cheese Making Surrender Monkeys
French cheesemakers are about to overturn centuries of tradition by ending the use of unpasteurised milk to produce camembert.
Farmers say that consumers are shunning cheese that is made according to age-old processes after a series of food scares, while overzealous health authorities have buried their industry under a mountain of red tape.
However, purists complain that cheese cannot be described as genuine camembert without the uniquely pungent goût that comes from the microbial flora in raw milk — flora now under threat from pasteurisation, thermalisation or microfiltering.
So the hard pressed farmers are attempting to be allowed to bastardise their own produce...
“In the past I suppose we often made cheeses with bacteria in them,” said Calude Granjon, 55, deputy director of the cooperative. “No one knew and no one minded. I don’t think people fell ill from eating them because we were in contact with bacteria and built up our immunity to them. Today, everything is different and we have to accept that.”
French fraud squad detectives carried out a recent raid on the Isigny-Sainte-Mãre cooperative to discover whether microfiltering was already under way. “They found nothing illegal because we are not using this method yet,” Mr Granjon said. “But we are going to use it come what may, because we have no choice, although we are not doing it with a light heart.”
Isn't it wonderful that in France the Fraud Squad will raid a fromagerie to ensure that they follow the rules but the Palais de l' Elysées seems curiously immune...
Olympics to be like the Dome disaster, just bigger and more wasteful?
The man who rescued the Dome today warned the 2012 London Olympics risked being a "complete and utter disaster".
....the London Olympics could be remembered for being "an enormous waste of money", he warned.
The Tory peer told the Lords during a debate on the economic and social benefits of the Olympics that a recent report on the Dome which he and his team wrote and submitted to the government was published last month.
However four key sections and recommendations were either "watered down or eliminated".
Lord James of Blackheath, a corporate troubleshooter, told the House of Lords yesterday that a catalogue of errors led to the loss of tens of millions of pounds at the Dome.
“There would have been a saving of tens of millions without the interference of the Government,” ..
Lord James said that big business, including McDonald’s, BT and British Airways, had run rings round the Government when negotiating sponsorship deals for the Dome. The Dome organisers had negotiated flawed contracts with major sponsors and had ended up receiving a fraction of the money they expected.
“McDonald’s were certainly coming in with a big budget,” he said. “But nobody realised until July the following year that the budget McDonald’s were going to send the Dome: a £3.5 million bill for building their restaurant on the Dome site. It made rather a big hole in the sponsorship.
“Similarly, British Airways and BT both insisted on providing their own staff and then deducted the entire payroll of the staff they had to man the zones at the Dome from the value of the sponsorship they were giving. So there was absolutely no cash value left for the Government as a result of it.
Lord James said that the Dome nearly ran out of money several times and contractors were ineffective. He was furious at the Government’s insistence on doing everything itself because it believed this would be a cheaper approach.
“The obstacle race which Government imposes on the sensible contracting out of essential services — Government believes it can do anything cheaper than anyone else and Government is emphatically wrong.”
Also sourced from The Times
Oh Yes, the Olympics are going to make the Dome look like a mere pimple on the face of Government incompetence, we must be mad.
March 1, 2007
The Pipes, the Pipes are calling...
Hearing experts confirmed yesterday what anybody who has ever stood too close to a bagpipe band has long suspected: the noise they make is louder than a jet aircraft taking off.
The Wick Royal British Legion Scotland Pipe Band will issue all its members with earplugs after the music at one of its practice sessions was recorded at 122 decibels — two decibels louder than a private jet. (The Times)
Any chance of some ear mufflers for any poor passers-by as well?
NHS - Don't be ill this financial year
The survey, published in today's Health Service Journal, shows that 73 per cent of primary care trusts, which run GP clinics and health centres, are already restricting access to treatments. Half are also delaying operations.
Seven out of 10 chief executives said "patient care will suffer"
And the worst part of it is that there is a very real risk of innocent radio listeners being subjected to Patricia Hewitt's smarmy condescending voice as she "responds" to the the NHS meltdown.
February 28, 2007
The Cream of Health Scares
Two of the most popular products in Britain’s vast health food industry come under attack today, as scientists cast doubts on the benefits of vitamin supplements and low-fat dairy products. Research published today suggests that regular consumption of a wide range of vitamin pills, taken by more than ten million people in the UK, may actually increase the risk of dying,...
Women who consume low-fat milk and yoghurt may find it harder to become pregnant, a new study has found.
A team at Harvard School of Public Health found that women who eat a lot of low-fat dairy foods were 85 per cent more likely to suffer from a failure to ovulate.
The finding suggests that the obsession with low-fat foods, driven by nutritionists trying to protect against heart disease and by consumers trying to lose weight, may have a downside.
And even worse they taste bloody awful....
Theat bloody wonderful NHS yet again
Three quarters of hospitals in England are failing to meet standards of quality and safety in the care they provide for children, a damning report has found.
The investigation by the Healthcare Commission, the health services regulator, today says that 70 per cent of 157 trusts scored only "fair" and five per cent scored "weak" when measured against national standards set by the Government, three years ago.
Only four per cent had services that were "excellent".
Oh and guess what "Children's services have long been under-resourced" - yes that is what is needed, more money!
Whilst on our health service and reasons we live in fear let me recommend John's Fear
February 27, 2007
Concrete them over - Part 6
With the Press, the HSE and unions beginning an orgy of investigations into how much more money they can spend on the railways to prevent another death it is important to remember that railways are a nineteeneth centurary answer to a medieval problem (bad roads) - they are an anachronism that needs to be scrapped. As Transport Watch UK - Road/rail comparisons across the UK puts it:
Road/rail comparisons - Summary findings
Very much against public and political sentiment roads managed to avoid congestion would offer 3 to 4 times the capacity to move freight and people at one quarter the cost of rail while using 20% to 25% less energy and reducing casualty costs suffered by rail passengers by a factor of 2.
All for your own good.
England’s country pubs are likely to bear the brunt of any closures after the introduction of the smoking ban this summer, according to Irish publicans.
As pubs prepare for the implementation of the ban on July 1, the warnings from rural Ireland were backed by official figures from Dublin showing that country pubs were shutting at a record rate.
I suppose I will have to drink more beer to keep my local open then, whilst the smokers stay at home beating their children and poisoning their wives (I gather from the impeccable research this is what they do in the few short months they live between taking up the weed and suffering an horrendous death).
February 19, 2007
Jackboots, Frauds and Freedom
As the boots stamp on our human faces - forever, Numberwatch reminds us of the loss of freedom, unthinkable only a few years ago, that we are suffering. He also reminds us of the utter fraud behind the anti-smoking zealots, and why at the age of sixty I fully intend to take up my pipe and tobacco again (if I am still able to and allowed to).
Guns in the neighbourhood.
Gun crime is being exported from the inner cities to the shires, the senior officer in charge of the national firearms policing strategy has told The Times....
A man in his twenties was admitted to hospital yesterday with a leg wound after a shooting on Harrow Road in the west of the capital. It followed the fatal shooting on Saturday of a 28-year-old man in Homerton, East London. Three others were wounded in shootings in Manchester.
The latest attacks came after a spate of shootings in South London in less than a fortnight, including the murders of three teenage boys.
But as the death toll mounted in the capital, Mr Bristow gave warning that the gun problem was moving to the shires. ....
Suffolk police are investigating the murder of a 24-year-old man in a nightclub shoot-out in December. No one has been arrested but detectives believe that the killer is linked to a South London gang.
In Reading, where London gangs dominate the drug trade, a man was seriously wounded in another nightclub shooting in December, and last week gunmen with London accents carried out a number of robberies in Cardiff.
Oh so not quite "out in the shires", in the bucolic rolling acres with smiling yokels, as you might imagine from the headline then.
"The typical pattern is that a crack dealer establishes a trade in an area but, when that becomes saturated, it generates competition and violence between drug dealers and more robust policing. These factors force some of the dealers to go elsewhere in search of new markets. They bring their guns with them.” He cautioned against the view that firearms were only a problem for the black community. “It is much more about where you went to school and whom you hang out with than about ethnicity.”
So let us be honest and use the term the good copper daren't - this is a specifc crime problem of a black sub-culture - to which some non-blacks also belong. The coded reference the politicians use is "rap music". Other crimes come from other sub-cultures but the blanket worry of racist policing prevents action on this particular crime, and pretending that the crime, rather than the criminals, are coming to the countryside is misleading and unhelpful.
February 16, 2007
Thanks are due
Geneticists are shedding light on why some people can't handle their beer, or rather may eschew a noble chalice of foaming chestnut ale in favour of a less challenging sweeter beverage.
Big thanks to a couple of people I failed to sack in a previous life for taking me out tonight in Mr FM's absence (he is on the piste). Much enjoyed and I hope the Ginger Beer doesn't keep you up all night, (as we say down the old East End).
February 15, 2007
Marks & Spencer, one of Britain's largest grocery store chains, announced its plan to hire 1,500 food police to patrol supermarket aisles and lecture shoppers on the contents of their carts. Reminiscent of grade-school Hall Pass Monitors, these health food patrols will donofficial Healthy Eating Adviser badges while harassing customers about the fat, sugar, and salt levels of their purchases.
Not to be outdone, retail competitor Sainsbury's has launched its own set of gastro guards to walk the beat. And the store donated ｣3 million ($5.9 million) to MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition and Do It!), a government sponsored program that trains "food advisors" and deploys them at stores and classrooms. With more patrols, police, and monitors filtering into every aspect of life, the United Kingdom's big brother looks increasingly like a vice squad.
The English city of Bolton is a prime example. The city's director of public health admitted to the town's local paper that "just providing information on healthy lifestyles is not enough." Instead, officials rely on strong-arming citizens through community initiatives. So Bolton health and education officials have teamed up to deploy squads of fat fighters and surveillance teams to local schools. Taking from the workload of local bullies, these groups will actually pull kids out of class for mandatory weigh-ins.
Hattip D Ambler - Comment unnecessary.
Thousands of council staff are being trained to police the smoking ban in bars, restaurants and shops in England.
Ministers have given councils ｣29.5m to pay for staff, who will be able to give on-the-spot ｣50 fines to individuals and take court action against premises.
They will have the power to enter premises undercover, allowing them to sit among drinkers, and will even be able to photograph and film people. ..
Local authorities have been given the power to enforce the ban so it does not consume police time.
A government-funded course is expected to train 1,200 council officers in the next few months with more expected to follow later.
Councils will use these fully-trained officers to brief other staff on how to enforce the law as many towns and cities will have scores of officers patrolling public places.
As few as three uniformed police officers are available to patrol the streets, respond to 999 calls and tackle night-time disorder in some towns and city areas, according to research into the experiences of front-line Pcs.
Well you better hope your mugger dares to light up a cigarette then!
As Mr Sparrow, who tipped me off on this, says "Thousands of council officers will be freed up from other work (what the
fuck were they doing anyway that so important it can just be dropped like that?) and Britain's new securitate will be able to photograph and film people covertly in order to issue summary £50 fines without even a trial.
So that's it. How much longer before the fifth column of council spies will also be taping our conversations and monitoring them for homophobia, islamophobia and inappropriate thoughts or political views?"
Mary Ann Sieghart - I hope you break a leg
Dear Mr Martin, please toe the line
Mary Ann Sieghart
A short news item made me laugh this week. Buster Martin, a 100-year-old man, has sought private treatment after being told that he would have to wait up to three months for an NHS operation on an ingrowing toenail. Mr Martin, “a lifelong NHS supporter”, plans to complain to his MP. Up to three months? For an ingrowing toenail? Listen, Mr Martin, you may be very old, but surely you can remember the time, not so long ago, when people were waiting up to 18 months for a heart operation and often died before they had a chance to be treated? I’m sorry, but “up to” three months for an ingrowing toenail sounds like progress to me.
Made me laugh? The condescending cow - giggle at a poor old man in pain, lets kick his stick out and have a real guffaw as he falls over! Buster Martin is still working so I bet he is a tough old bird and doesn't complain much but to have to "only" wait three month in agony, you have had an ingrowing toenail haven't you Mary Ann?, is a cause of celebration and mirth. Thanks to nuLabour our wonderful NHS is getting even more wonderful. Of course in the US physicians are encouraged to do this sort of thing in their offices.
It is a fucking disgrace he has to wait and even worse for some stupid overpaid commentator to think it all a bit of a joke. I bet she gets paid more for writing this crap than it would cost to treat Mr Martin's toe privately, if she had any decency her cheque would be on the way.
Comments please to email@example.com
Your NHS money at work
SUSSEX An NHS trust that gave a former public health director a payoff of £243,000 after working less than three weeks also paid lawyers £12,000 for advice on how to manage the case.
Sussex Downs Primary Care Trust revealed that it made the payments to Capsticks Solicitors, of London. The legal advice concerned the treatment of Iheadi Onwukwe, 41, who was appointed in September 2002. He worked briefly for Eastbourne Downs Primary Care Trust, which later merged with Sussex Downs Primary Care Trust, and was reported to have been paid a salary for almost three years while on “gardening leave” before leaving his post.
(He) was also paid £325,000 while he was signed off work on 'gardening leave' before leaving the Trust in May 2005.
Gina Brocklehurst, former chief executive of the trust, received £230,000 to leave as part of the reorganisation. It is believed she left the Trust because of a board merger - but then moved to another six-figure salaried job elsewhere in the NHS.
Last year East Sussex Hospitals Trust, which runs both the DGH and the Conquest hospitals, (tried) to keep quiet about a £231,000 pay-off to former chief executive Annette Sergeant.
Not a total waste of money, as far as I can see Dr Iheadi Onwukwe managed to send out a Press Release about children and second hand smoke while he was working, whether he did anything else I don't know.
February 14, 2007
Where Racism Really Flourishes
"An authentic production [of the opera] is a racist production. It has a lot of ideas within it that would be seen in any other circumstances as racist. It is not just a question of the words, it also Puccini's music."
Ooooh "Racist Music",is that too many white notes? Whatever, it is obviously far more important than this report which doesn't use the R word once...
More than 50 years after caste discrimination was outlawed in India, millions of "untouchable" low-caste Hindus remain subject to daily petty humiliations, police violence, rape and even murder, a major new report claimed yesterday.
Research published last year from surveys in 565 Indian villages showed that in 80 per cent of them old practices of untouchability endure and are "profoundly affecting" the psyches of Dalit residents.
It said that Dalit children were forced to sit in segregated sections in village schools while their parents were denied a range of basic rights, including access to water, the right to stage marriage processions and entry to polling booths.
The age-old practice of devadasi or temple prostitution - where a pre-pubescent Dalit girl is married to a deity for the "use" of upper caste villagers - also remains widespread. Indian government efforts to abolish the practice had been "largely unsuccessful", the report added.
In the most serious cases the day-to-day discrimination can take the form of extreme violence, with Dalits being attacked, raped and murdered for protesting against upper caste excesses.
February 13, 2007
If you go out in the town tonight
Despite record numbers of police officers overall, many commanders in local divisions in England and Wales - typically based in a station in small and medium towns - can call on just five or fewer uniformed officers per duty shift, the academic study shows.
Those who are available are often tied up in bureaucracy for up to half their eight- or 10-hour shifts. ...a simple arrest could tie them up for hours and that data for the Home Office was constantly demanded.
All very reassuring isn't it, civilians told to " jump up and down" if they see a crime and not get involved but wait for the police, the police stuck in the canteen filling out a diversity form and Charlie Chav running amok because if he is caught he won't really get punished..
MPs are considering launching their own inquiry and Peter Luff, chairman of the cross-party trade and industry select committee, said MPs were concerned whether the industry was being "socially responsible".
If the committee goes ahead with the inquiry, fashion chiefs could be summoned to give evidence at a televised hearing of the committee.
"I would like to know if young women are being set the right example and whether the industry can be trusted to get its house in order without government intervention," Mr Luff said.
The "caring" voice of Big Brother" who can't leave anything alone! Have they really not got anything better to do than look at pictures of models all day?
February 12, 2007
Playing the man not the ball
Read this before deleting...
The e-mail, sent by its director Martin Livermore, alerted me to the “Frazer Institute Independent Summary for Policymakers (sic)”. This, Livermore stated, was “an alternative, unbiased view of the state of climate change science, for comparison with the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers”.
He was referring to the Fraser Institute, a Canadian free-market think-tank that has received money from ExxonMobil (the SA has not). This institute, like so many others that have pocketed the ExxonMobil shilling, disputes the scientific consensus that mankind is warming the planet. Which led me to ponder who Martin Livermore is, and what his organisation stands for....
According to www.sourcewatch.org , Ascham Associates was founded by one Martin Livermore, who boasts a 25-year record of working for such companies as DuPont and Unilever. Can a person previously involved in “managing major food ingredients R&D programmes” really claim a lofty neutrality on such environmental topics as GM foods?
As luck would have it, we can glean Livermore’s views on just this topic in letters of his published in The Guardian (“Genetic modification is a valuable tool which can be used to produce more desirable environmental outcomes”) and the Ascham Associates website, which dismisses the precautionary principle as “of no help in rational decision-making”.
Reader, I hit “delete”. .
Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic
Argumentum Ad Hominem
Abstract: The argument concerning the attack of a person's character or circumstances is characterized and shown to be sometimes persuasive but normally fallacious.
I'm a Doctor, trust me
Gillian McKeith, the presenter of You Are What You Eatwho is used to pontificating on our nutritional requirements, has agreed to drop her doctor title in adverts.
The self-styled guru has agreed to remove the honorofic Dr from her company’s advertising after an investigation by the industry watchdog.
The watchdog came to the provisional conclusion that the honorific was likely to mislead the public. In a move that will prevent the publication of the ASA adjudication, McKeith Research has “voluntarily” accepted not to call her “doctor” any more. Ms McKeith, who has been censured by regulators in the past, has a distance-learn-ing PhD in holistic nutrition from the American Holistic College of Nutrition. However, it is understood that the ASA thought the advertisements misleading because the college had not been accredited by any recognised educational authority when she took the course...She said: “As far as I am concerned, because of the hard work I have done, I will continue to put PhD after my name and I am entitled to use the word Dr as and when I choose.”
Last November Ms McKeith was censured by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for illegally selling herbal sex pills called Fast Formula Wild Pink for women and Fast Formula Horny for men.
I've mentioned her before as being the most off putting thing on television, compare her looks and diet to those of the Blessed Nigella and you will be dipping your fingers in the cream in no time.
Quo errat demonstrator
Statistics, covering the 12 months to Sept 30 of last year showed a one per cent rise in fatalities with 3,210 deaths. That compares with 3,177 for the same period in 2005.
But in defending the use of cameras, a Department for Transport spokesman said: "These are one off quarterly provisional statistics.
"These things sometimes go up and sometimes go down. We don't know if they are anything to do with cameras, which still play an essential role in maintaining safety."
In one sentence he says they don't know if speed cameras make roads safer or not but then say they are essential for safety. It is a shame the elementary study of logic is no longer taught at school, I don't suppose he has ever heard of the phrase QED because this certainly qualifies for Q E bloody not D.
February 10, 2007
Civil Servant Support Agency
A total of £11.4 million was handed out in bonuses in 2002-03 alone. While a further ｣3.9 million was paid out last year, even though John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, unveiled plans in the summer to scrap the agency.
Special bonus payments were made to 3,600 staff last year, and just under 11,000 other staff received individual performance bonuses.
The bonuses were paid despite repeated admissions by Mr Blair and other senior ministers that the CSA was failing. The agency currently has a backlog of nearly 240,000 cases and more than £3.5 billion of uncollected debts on its books.
Around one in five calculations or assessments are inaccurate and it currently takes around 36 weeks to deal with new applications.
...a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman defended the bonuses. "The bonus scheme, agreed by the unions, rewards the hard work of individuals.
That's alright then, it was "agreed by the unions", what better reason could there be to spunk more of our money away on a unfit organisation, need I hint at what would happen to a similar shambles in the private sector?
Rubbish Tax creeps nearer
Families could be forced to pay a rubbish tax of up to £120 a year under proposals being considered at the highest levels of Government.
Plans to let councils impose a levy on household waste are set out in a restricted policy review document drawn up by the Prime Minister's strategy unit....
The cost would be on top of their existing council tax bills.
Around 30 councils in England have already taken the first step towards such a system by introducing wheelie-bins with microchips
that weigh their contents.
....The plans were criticised last night by the Conservatives. Eric Pickles, the shadow local government minister, said: "There is already massive public resentment at the way working families and pensioners are being punished by punitive levels of council tax. Now every household in Britain faces the prospect of new rubbish taxes on top.
"Bin taxes would be deeply harmful to the local environment by causing a surge in fly-tipping and back yard burning, and cuts to the frequency of rubbish collection are already harming public health due to the increase in smells, vermin and infestations. Is it too much to ask for our streets to be cleaned and bins to be emptied?"
Corin Taylor, head of research at the TaxPayers' Alliance campaign group, said there were growing concerns that Labour's green tax agenda was simply a new way to raise money.
"There are no plans in this document to offset the proposed rubbish tax with lower taxes elsewhere, nor is there any suggestion that households that meet or exceed recycling targets will be given a council tax discount," he said.
A Downing Street spokesman last night played down the strategy unit report. "There are no current plans to introduce a tax on household rubbish," he said.
So it is a done deal then - Downing Street denies: pack of lies.
Rubbish collection is a public health measure as EU Referendum reminds us, not another chance to mulct us in the name of greenery.
February 9, 2007
AN EROTIC BROWNING 12-BORE 'B25' SINGLE-TRIGGER SIDEPLATED OVER AND UNDER EJECTOR.....
February 8, 2007
Kids TV seems to have changed from when I was a lad... NSFW
February 7, 2007
Women in labour could face lengthy journeys by ambulance to distant specialist units under plans which would strip dozens of local hospitals of consultant-led maternity services....
Unusually, the health minister responsible for maternity services, Ivan Lewis, was not present at the report's launch.
Mr Lewis, the MP for Bury South, has been active in the campaign to save the maternity unit at Fairfield Hospital in his constituency....
Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, demanded to know why Mr Lewis was unavailable for comment at the briefing to launch the report, Making it Better for Mother and Baby.
He said the Conservatives had repeatedly asked for clinical evidence to show the need for a reconfiguration of maternity services and the report failed to provide this.
"Government nationally seems to be saying that everything has got to change and smaller units have got to be shut down, while locally, Labour ministers say they don't believe it and it's not justified. There's a hypocrisy in that.
"These changes are being driven by financial deficits in the NHS and this kind of nimbyism displayed by health minister Ivan Lewis and Hazel Blears, the Labour Party chairman, is patronising to expectant mothers who want to access good maternity services within travelling distance...
The youngest Englishette had been born and swaddled within seven minutes of us arriving at our local Maternity unit - the first twinge was less than an hour before hand and by the time we had arranged a baby sitter and I had made a steak sandwich (rare) for myself it was a hectic drive. So I am rather biased in favour of local maternity units, instead of babies slurping out into the passenger footwell.
February 5, 2007
Have a go
This Government won't let you take action against criminals
Here it comes – the advice you've all been waiting for. A Home Office minister is going to tell you what to do about crime and anti-social behaviour. Watch your television screens tonight and you will be given the official word on how you – being the concerned, responsible citizen that you are – can take back control of your neighbourhood in the spirit of that rousing governmental slogan, "Don't moan, take action: it's your street too." Let me give you a preview of what you can hear this evening.
Panorama presenter Jeremy Vine asks Tony McNulty, the deeply underwhelming minister for police and security, what exactly the individual should do when faced with a nasty incident in the street. Should he "step in", in the spirit of that admonition to "take action", this being his street and all?
Mr McNulty replies in a tone that sounds rather less enthusiastic than his Government's slogan: "I think the general line must be to get in touch with the authorities and make sure that, if things are as bad as you paint, the police will be there as quickly as they can."...
What should you do – retreat and call the police? Mr McNulty responds rather confusingly: "I think you should in the first instance. It may well be [that] simply shouting at them, blowing your horn or whatever, deters them and they go away."...
You can "try some distractive [sic] activities". Such as? Mr Vine offers, presumably not without a hint of sarcasm, "jump up and down", and Mr McNulty replies in the best Blairite demotic style: "I would say you know sometimes that that may well work."
Pafuckingthetic - leave policing to the police, teaching to the teachers and politics to the politicians, stay at home behind locked doors watching dross on the telly! No wonder we are in the mess we are in.
As an aside - I note in the village that there is a notice up for the name of the vandal who ripped some wing mirrors off, with the promise of "suitable" punishment in store. Plod has been round asking a few questions as well, I bet I know which approach will work.
February 2, 2007
Suits you Sir
Boys have been warned against using oils or hair gels that contain lavender or tea tree oil after three reported cases of them growing breasts.
If you stink of lavender you might as well have breasts, you great soft jessy....
January 31, 2007
Circa £30K plus benefits
We are looking for a driven, dynamic individual to take the lead in the Forestry Commission for all Diversity & Equal Opportunities activity and policies, to ensure their timely, pragmatic and successful implementation through the business.
Closing date: 25 January 2007
Too late! - with my degree in forestry I could have done that, and I know the Monty Python song by heart as well....
January 29, 2007
Healthy food list to take with a pinch of salt
Shoppers should boycott processed foods that still contain "unnecessary" amounts of salt, a campaign watchdog group is urging.
Some of Tesco's and Sainsbury's own brands are among 10 products identified by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), a health pressure group which claims they have almost as much salt as sea water.
Ah ha I thought a handy list of foods still with real flavour, but apart from the crumpets, which need salted butter on them anyway nothing there that I would even feed to the dog - Tesco "Stayfresh" bread - what else is in that? And the healthy alternative is "Sainsbury's Stay Fresher for Longer Wholemeal Bread"? Sorry not for me...
PA headline of the morning
Cameron crusade for Muslim women
Tory leader David Cameron is to issue a call for an end to the oppression of Muslim women who are prevented from going out to work or attending university.....
Even a culturally insensitive oik likes me knows not to use the C word when talking about Muhammadans....
January 28, 2007
Posted just seven minutes after opening time - normally takes me an hour and a half to work myself up into such wonderful splenic rage...
January 26, 2007
What happened to an Englishman's castle?
Robberies at gunpoint increased by 10 per cent last year in England and Wales, according to Home Office figures published yesterday.
The figures include armed robberies in the street, which rose by 9 per cent, and armed robberies in homes, which almost doubled. The figures, have been falling for the past four years and the sudden reversal will alarm the Home Office.
..killings by strangers have almost doubled to 302 since Labour came to power.
The total number of robberies at gunpoint rose to 1,439 and the number of gun robberies at residential properties jumped by 46 per cent to 645, an increase of 204 and more than five times the level recorded when Labour came to power.
Sleep well, don't forget to lock your door and if you hear suspicious noises remember that the police are only a call away. Where I live there is an 87% chance they will turn up within twenty minutes...
The police said that while householders could use "reasonable force" when confronted by a burglar, their advice was not to intervene.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said in a statement: "You can use force, but it has to be reasonable. Police are restrained by that as well.
Chief Supt Ian Johnston, vice-president of the Superintendents Association of England and Wales, said: "..Iif you are broken into - and I know most people will look at this and say 'It's very good for him to say that in the cold light of day' - really and truly, you should ring the police. You should not approach the intruder."
Senior officers readily concede that the public is sceptical about the speed of police responses and accept that their advice is of little comfort to residents - especially those in the countryside - who hear disturbing noises in their homes during the night.
However, police maintain that if householders make clear that an intruder is on the premises they will respond quickly.
Mr Johnston said: "People will also say - and I have some sympathy for their thoughts - 'What would he do at 2am or 3am when he hears noises downstairs?' I understand that, but we must give that very firm advice - do not approach the intruder."
He added that police were "definitely not" advising people to have weapons in their homes. "We would not tell the public to arm themselves with any weapon, legal or illegal. Burglars could be on drink or drugs and that's why we give the advice we do."
Mr Johnston said the legal situation in Britain was different from that in America. "If someone dared to enter someone's property in the States they would be within their constitutional rights to protect their property. And I dare say people in this country would say, 'What happened to an Englishman's castle?'
January 25, 2007
Have we been conned about cholesterol?
...So how can I say saturated fat doesn't matter when everyone knows it is a killer? Could all those millions who have been putting skinless chicken and one per cent fat yoghurts into their trolleys really have been wasting their time? The experts are so busy urging you to consume less fat and more statins that you are never warned about the contradictions and lack of evidence behind the cholesterol con. In fact, what many major studies show is that as far as protecting your heart goes, cutting back on saturated fats makes no difference and, in fact, is more likely to do harm....
I'm off for Breakfast, I think an extra slice of fried bread is in order!
Snow business like snow business
The M23 from Surry heading into London was closed for two hours after a coach collided with two cars.
Hundreds of trains were delayed and dozens cancelled as the rail network was blighted by frozen points.
Network Rail said that the disruption was mainly due to the failure of the heating systems that are supposed to prevent freezing. Points failure struck at some of the network’s major hubs, including, in London, Clapham Junction, Waterloo and Wimbledon.
Other trains were left stranded after ice on the tracks caused power surges. An estimated 80,000 South West Trains users, a further 60,000 Southern customers and up to 200,000 Southeastern passengers were caught up in the disruption in the morning’s rush-hour, rail operators said. Several thousand passengers on One services between London and East Anglia were also affected.
Gerry Doherty, general secretary of TSSA, the transport union, said: “The number of failed track points is damning evidence that Network Rail did not take enough notice of the weather forecast.
“It’s quite disgraceful that at the first snow the trains come to a stop.” (Times)
Perfuckingthetic, the whole sodding system - according to the Met Office the highest amount of precipitation in the South East was 2.4mm - a tenth of an inch! You will find deeper deposits on Kate Moss's top lip.
Permission is now granted to readers in places like Dallas, in supersizzling Texas, which cope with whole inches of snow better, to roll around on the floor giggling at our incompetence. Of course they are allowed 4x4s to drive though...
Bring on the Curse Of du Toit™
January 22, 2007
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Hundreds of "souvenir" hunters flocked to the Devon coast yesterday as containers from a stricken cargo vessel were washed ashore.
Wine barrels, boxes of perfume and a tractor were among the flotsam on Branscombe beach after the Napoli was run aground.
Police closed the area as salvage teams tried to contain 200 tons of leaked oil. The Napoli, which began to lose its containers when it was left listing after a battering by force nine gales on Saturday night, contains a further 3,500 tons of heavy fuel oil.
Other containers still on board hold agricultural pesticides, toxic liquids and BMW motorbikes.
A total of 200 containers, one holding battery acid, have been lost overboard. Police said hundreds of people had turned up to try to collect "souvenirs". "Of particular interest were wine barrels and bottles of perfume," said a spokesman. "But people are trying to take anything they can get their hands on. Obviously, it is an issue of public safety because we simply don't know what is in a container until it is opened."
If you wake at Midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Five and twenty ponies
Trotting through the dark -
Brandy for the Parson.
'Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Running round the woodlump, if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don't you shout to come and look, nor use 'em for your play.
Put the brushwood back again - and they'll be gone next day!
Five and twenty ponies
Trotting through the dark -
Brandy for the Parson.
'Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
If you meet King George's men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you "pretty maid", and chuck you 'neath the chin,
Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been!
Five and twenty ponies
Trotting through the dark -
Brandy for the Parson.
'Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Giving Responsibility Back to the People
The Conservatives are planning to publish a “green paper” on roads this year which will borrow heavily from so-called shared-space schemes in the Netherlands, where pedestrians, cyclists and cars are encouraged to mingle...
Owen Paterson, the Shadow Transport Minister, visited Drachten and other Dutch towns. He told The Times: “There are some great ideas here which I would like to see in Britain. It’s the opposite of the 1960s ethos of separating cars and pedestrians... Mr Paterson said that putting up more speed limit signs and painting more lines on the road had failed to make streets safer. “Instead of the State laying down the rules, we need to give responsibility back to road users..
I have written before about this "Shared Space" idea - apart from it seeing working in my local town I hope it is encouraged because the idea that "Instead of the State laying down the rules, we need to give responsibility back" might permeate the body politic in other areas as well....
January 21, 2007
The Duke of Edinburgh was at the centre of an animal cruelty row yesterday after a fox was clubbed to death with a flagpole during a royal shoot.
The animal was initially shot and badly injured when it broke cover during a pheasant shoot at Sandringham, the Queen's private estate in Norfolk. The animal lay twitching on the ground for up to five minutes before it was "finished off" by a beater.
Gordon Brown has condemned the manner of fox's death as 'completely unacceptable' and 'deplorable', leaving the Prime Minister isolated in his refusal to speak out.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a news conference with the Egyptian foreign minister on Monday, "We were disappointed there was not greater dignity given to the accused under these circumstances."
Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja said on Saturday evening that the European Union is opposed to the death penalty in all cases - including that of the Sandringham Fox.
"The European Union has always and consistently been against the use of capital punishment, also in this case",
Tony Blair last night broke his silence on the fox's death by acknowledging that the manner of his death was "completely wrong". But he coupled criticism of the chaotic scene with a plea for recognition of the vermin's crimes.
Until last night Mr Blair had refused to comment on the execution, despite a chorus from senior ministers, including the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, and the chancellor, Gordon Brown, who both condemned the filming of the event as deplorable.
January 18, 2007
Snakes and Ladders.
Firefighters on Humberside have been told by their employers that it is dangerous for them to go up ladders.