March 24, 2011
"Alcohol apocalypse" - Hark to new call..
Scotland faces alcohol apocalypse - Elish Angiolini - Scotsman.com News
SCOTLAND'S top law officer has hinted that she backs an increase in alcohol prices to help prevent a looming "apocalypse" from soaring drink sales.
Ms Angiolini said the measure was for the Scottish Parliament to decide, but it was "common sense" to make alcohol less widely available.
Talking about criminal court cases, the law officer went on: "What I see now, in many of the cases, are both the accused and, indeed, victims purchasing very substantial quantities of very cheap alcohol.
"It could be a variety of the fruit-flavoured ones as well as strong vodka, which is consumed in quantities on a night out, which quite frankly are fatal, and it is a matter of surprise that the individuals are not just witnesses in a case, but that they are actually living to tell the tale.
Fatal amounts, but they live! That Buckfast must be truly miraculous.
It seems according to Google timeline she has coined a new phrase "alcohol apocalypse". Expect to hear it often.
March 9, 2011
The Dose Makes the Poison
There is no safe dose of alcohol for these reasons:
• Alcohol is a toxin that kills cells such as microorganisms, which is why we use it to preserve food and sterilise skin, needles etc. Alcohol kills humans too. A dose only four times as high as the amount that would make blood levels exceed drink-driving limits in the UK can kill.
Replace the word "alcohol" with "salt" to see what nonsense that is;
Acute oral LD50 for male humans for sodium chloride is 1 gram per kg.
http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/SO/sodium_chloride.html if 100 75kg men selected at random each eat 75 grams of salt in one hit, 50 will die, assuming no follow up medical care. Average salt intake is about 7.5g per day. 10% of the lethal dose of a bug killing chemical.
Average oral acute LD50 for men for whiskey is two bottles, each of 26 ounces or 750 mls, drunk quite quickly, 600mls of alcohol. Average daily consumption 30mls. 5% of the lethal dose of a bug killing chemical.
Or take caffeine, spinach, Vitamin D....
Although most people do not become addicted to alcohol on their first drink, a small proportion do. As a clinical psychiatrist who has worked with alcoholics for more than 30 years, I have seen many people who have experienced a strong liking of alcohol from their very first exposure and then gone on to become addicted to it.
So in fact you haven't seen anyone "addicted" from the first drink, just they liked it and then became addicted.
The supposed cardiovascular benefits of a low level of alcohol intake in some middle-aged men cannot be taken as proof that alcohol is beneficial.
Not proven because only epidemiological association and not a randomised trial. Just like the thousand other health claims we are bombarded with every day. I have a feeling the danger from smoking is only a epidemiological association and no human randomised trials have been done either.
He may be using the word safe to mean entirely devoid of any risk, but that isn't useful. Crying wolf on risks is counter productive to warning about real risks. Hark unto Paracelsus
March 4, 2011
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, also concluded that just thinking about words related to urination triggered the same effect.
Their findings contradict previous research which found people who are forced to “restrain themselves” put more pressure on their brain and found it difficult exerting self-control
I'm not sure that late at night in the pub with a bladder backed up to my eyes I have made the best decisions in my life, when I have woken up with them in the morning "words related to urination" often come to mind.
February 21, 2011
False Alcohol Argument Syndrome
Experts warn of lives lost to drink - Scotsman.com News
The liver death rate in the UK is 11.4 per 100,000 people, more than double that of the other countries with similar drinking cultures and genetic backgrounds, such as Australia, Holland, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.
That's the key statistic that is being used today by a prodnoses demanding a clampdown on booze.
But surely it is saying that the high death rate has nothing to do with booze if similar populations taking a similar dose have widely different outcomes. It would suggest some other factor at work.
What that might be or whether the stats are faulty I don't know, but I do know a false argument when I see one.
But there is some good news:
But there are fears among professionals in the field about plans which will see councils take over responsibility for public health in local communities. A poll of members by the Faculty of Public Health found that one in seven was considering leaving the field because of the reforms, while three per cent had already decided to do so.
February 14, 2011
The ban on designer party drug miaow miaow has failed to reduce its availability and may even have driven some users to harder drugs, according to a new report.
The only surprise is that it is reported.
January 27, 2011
When I rolled in from the pub last night Mrs E was watching young Emily investigating young people drinking;
I can't think what made me pause and watch a little as she prattled on about the need for minimum pricing (without mentioning the problem of the EU making that illegal) and watched in amazement as caring ambulance people looked after feckless drunks.
The solution isn't minimum pricing, it isn't more education, it is enforcing the law that has been around for over 100 years.
Licensing Act 1872 Penalty on persons found drunk (Section 12) Every person found drunk in any highway or other public place, whether a building or not, or on any licensed premises, shall be liable to a penalty..
Section 1 Licensing Act 1902 provides: If a person is found drunk in any highway or other public place, whether a building or not, or on any licensed premises, and appears to be incapable of taking care of himself, he may be apprehended and dealt with according to law.
Prohibition of sale of liquor to persons declared to be habitual drunkards
Section 6 of the Licensing Act 1902 provides: Where a person is convicted of an offence mentioned in the First Schedule to the Inebriates Act 1898 and such person has, during the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of the offence, been convicted on three occasions of an offence mentioned in the said Schedule, the court may order.....
Get tough on the drunks who cause the problems. We don't need more handwringing legislation and prohibitions, we need someone to enforce the ones we already have.
July 16, 2010
City of Culture Shibboleth
Department for Culture Media and Sport - uk city of culture
Derry to be UK City of Culture 2013
My apologies - I had bet myself that the BBC would be on the "Derry" side and Her Majesty's Government on the "Londonderry" side. Strange times and bedfellows...
But any excuse to showcase the wonderful Undertones...
April 15, 2010
Who says our soldiers don't get enough compensation?
A single mother who sued the Army after alleging that she had received inadequate assistance with childcare is seeking £1.14 million pounds in damages, it emerged yesterday.
The Army was found to have made “disproportionate” demands on Ms DeBique, who was recruited from the Caribbean island of St Vincent in 2001. She argued successfully that she was expected to be ready to deploy at all times but immigration rules prevented her relatives from helping her with childcare.
Tilern DeBique, 28, says she was forced to leave the Army because she was expected to be available for duty around the clock.
She was formally disciplined when she failed to appear on parade because she had to look after her daughter.
She was told the Army was a 'war-fighting machine' and 'unsuitable for a single mother who couldn't sort out her childcare arrangements'.
For £1.14 million she could have a level 2 injury, say "Loss of both legs above knee", a level 3 and a 4 injury, say "Loss of both arms below elbow", and a level 5, 6, 7, 8 ,9. and 10. Plus a couple of 11s - say "Severe facial scarring which produces a poor cosmetic result despite camouflage." and a "High velocity gun shot wound, deep shrapnel fragmentation or one or more puncture wounds (or all or any combination of these injuries) to the head and neck, chest, back, abdomen or limb, with damage to one or more vital structures causing permanent significant functional limitation and restriction."
And there would still be the loose change to pay for a level 12, 13, 14 and 15 injury...
March 3, 2010
Death by Memo
A WOMAN lay injured at the bottom of a mineshaft for six hours because health and safety rules banned firefighters from rescuing her...a memo from Strathclyde Fire and Rescue chiefs four months earlier had banned the use of rope equipment for lifting members of the public to safety, the inquiry was told.
Christopher Rooney, the first senior fire officer at the scene, admitted it would have been possible for his crew to have rescued Mrs Hume from the shaft, had it not been for the memo.
During the hearing, solicitor Gregor Forbes asked Mr Rooney: "On the basis of the manpower and equipment that you had available, is it your view it would it would have been possible for the firefighters to have brought the person to the surface before the mountain rescue team?"
He replied: "Yes, I believe so."
The now-retired fire officer said the memo had been circulated around Strathclyde Fire and Rescue stations in March 2008.
Mr Forbes said: "Your position is that, while you were supplied with safe working-at-height equipment, while this could be used to bring up firefighters, it could not be used to bring up a member of the public."
Mr Rooney, 51, told the inquiry at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court: "Yes, that's correct."
All 18 firefighters at the scene were trained and capable of using the equipment, he added.
Of the memo four months before the incident, he was then asked: "If Mrs Hume had fallen down the shaft on 13 March, instead of 26 July, you could have used a lowering line?"
Mr Rooney replied: "We could have."
September 28, 2009
Loaves and Fishes
Beer will be served in mugs containing two thirds of a pint, unwrapped loaves of bread will be permissible in any size and small measures of wine will be legalised to assist with tasting sessions.
New weights and measures regulations will soon make a bonfire of many existing controls.
The changes were announced in the Government’s response to a consultation by the National Measurements Office. Lord Drayson, Science and Innovation Minister, said: “There is no question of replacing the British pint, but introducing the option of a new imperial measure is good news for consumers, providing them with more choice.
Loaves have been standardised for 750 years but the Government is to set bakers free by allowing them to sell sizes other than the usual 400g or 800g. That will encourage the growth of speciality and artisan breads. Customers will be told the size they are getting.
More choice, hurrah! But as long as I'm told what I'm getting why can't I get any size I choose? Why does Lord Drayson have the final say over how large my drink may be?
September 17, 2009
The Slop Hits The Fan
A Neapolitan sunset has nothing on the colours of hospital food, as anyone can see who has followed a fascinating new game called Hospital Food Bingo, which, as we report today, has been invented by an unfortunate but resourceful patient somewhere in the South West.
The vivid peas burn green against saturated carrots nestling next to something yellowish that might be fish in breadcrumbs. The wisely anonymous blogger, known only as Traction Man, does not mean to denigrate his medical care, which he calls superb, but makes the goal of the game to identify the dishes that he captures daily on his mobile phone.
Good luck with lunch today old friend after you have been rumbled across all the papers...
UPDATE - And now on must see video
September 8, 2009
MOD Pen Pusher Defends 77,000 Other Pen Pushers
Royal Navy and RAF 'outnumbered by MoD civil servants'.... the number of civilian officials (86,620), was about 12,000 more than the Royal Navy (34,830) and RAF (39,260) put together....The focus on MoD civilian manpower at a time when the Army (99,920 strong) is stretched by the commitment to provide 9,000 troops for Afghanistan is likely to be an issue between the Conservatives and the Government in the build-up to the general election next year.
The MoD hit back, saying it was wrong to suggest that civil servants “just pushed pens”. It said: “The Armed Forces are supported on the front line by civil servants. These are not just men and women sitting behind desks. We are talking about the thousands of scientists who design protective equipment such as body armour or research antidotes for troops under biological attack, not to mention the MoD police force or Britain’s Merchant Navy — the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
Me thinks the MOD desk jockey complains too much - Most of the research was sold off as QinteQ some time ago and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) only employs 3,500. (DARPA - the US equivalent only employs 240). So that leaves 83,000 who aren't designing body armour or tweaking microbes.
Which still leaves about 77,000 pen pushers...
September 7, 2009
Dib Dib Dib, Get your lovely knives here!
Give Your Baby the Best Start At The Knife Show
"Train up a child in the way he should grow, for when he is old he shall not depart from it."
-- Proverbs 22:6
In this day and age, parents have to be ahead of the curve. Dangers have to be identified and addressed. It's difficult to predict what will happen or when it will happen. Threats to our children are everywhere - in the street, at school, in the home, even in church.
We at the Knife Show know how worrying modern parenthood can be. In addition to talks and seminars on basic knife skills, we believe an armed child is an aware child. Your child's peers will most likely be carrying weapons in the future. Protect yourself and your child by equipping them with the necessary foundations for self-defence and security. It will keep the peace and give you peace of mind.
Please see our child coordinators on the day for a timetable of programmes geared towards the younger attendee...
I have a suspicion that this site is not "for" the Defence Show. Shame, I would have gone.
August 17, 2009
An ideal world
David Bartolo, a consultant colorectal surgeon said: "Food is to some extent toxic to us so it is a matter of getting the right balance.
"People should increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables they eat, take exercise and not eat red meat every day. In an ideal world, if we were living like our ancestors, it would be a treat eaten perhaps once a week."
I suppose it depends on your definition of "ideal". Living on scavenged left overs and nuts and berries fails mine.
August 4, 2009
At Times Like This You Need a True Friend
Dogs may be man's best friend, but there is another species that has been with us for at least as long, and that has, arguably, made a greater contribution to human happiness and welfare than any quadruped. The species in question, the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, may be less cuddly, but thanks to the deceptively simple conversion of sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide, it has an almost symbiotic relationship with us. The discovery of fermentation several millennia ago led to two practices that lie at the heart of what I believe makes us human: baking and brewing.
August 3, 2009
Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, lest thou be consumed.
..a matter of clear and pressing importance.
...the persistently flagrant disregard of the local health teams’ concerns and requests...
Dr Sam Guglani Consultant Oncologist
Kate Gegg Tobacco Control Lead, NHS Gloucestershire
Sister Anne Elyan
Dr Sean Elyan Consultant Oncologist
Dr Sally Pearson
Dr Shona Arora Director of Public Health, NHS Gloucestershire
It must be serious for such highly paid specialists to take the time to write to the Times.
It's some cigarette butts in a shop window display, but then they are also disgusted because the shop "aligns reflecting “real life” with its declared position as “outfitters to the gentry”." And that must not be allowed, especially when they have demanded it stop.
In other news The Times reveals Conservative plans to squeeze the NHS budget. I have an idea.
August 1, 2009
No one ended up only injured so success for Health and Safety
The change in policy was disclosed at the inquest of a man who was knocked into a ditch by a car and whose body was left in 18 inches of water for three hours before being rescued.
Yesterday's inquest heard how Mr Malton, a mechanic, was walking home on an unlit road to the village of Crowland on May 13 last year when he was hit at about 40 mph by motorist Peter Western.
The father-of-three was thrown into the ditch, where he was knocked unconscious and suffered broken ribs but was not fatally injured.
Mr Western called for an ambulance but told by the operator to remain in his car, the inquest heard.
Two crews of retained firemen and more than 10 police officers arrived at the scene, and started placing a ladder on the bank.
Fire group manager Edward Holliday decided that they should wait for the specialist water rescue team of firefighters to arrive from Lincoln, more than 50 miles away.
"I made the assessment that it would be inadvisable to enter the dyke until a properly trained and prepared crew arrived," he said.
Mr Malton's body was finally recovered by boat at 2.18am. The inquest heard how he would have been after 10 minutes in the water and a post-mortem examination concluded he had died from drowning.
That's health and safety for you, drown in knee high water as the professionals look on.
July 28, 2009
Imperial Stout - That's the stuff.
The Aberdeenshire-based micro-brewery BrewDog yesterday unveiled Tokyo*, an oak-aged imperial stout with a staggering 18.2 per cent alcohol content.
Each 330ml bottle will contain the equivalent of six units of alcohol – twice the recommended daily limit set by health professionals.
But James Watt, 26, who formed the brewery two years ago with fellow former Peterhead Academy pupil Martin Dickie, claimed the heady beer would help to promote responsible drinking.
He said: "The beers we make at BrewDog, including Tokyo*, are providing a cure to binge beer drinking. At BrewDog, we are determined to revolutionise the UK beer scene.
"Mass-market, industrially brewed lagers are so bland and tasteless that you are seduced into drinking a lot of them. Our hardcore beers are loaded with flavour, bite and body, so consequently you drink less of them."
But health professionals and politicians were united in condemning the brewery's latest creation.....
But they are right, completely and utterly correct. It is the same with food such as cheese, a small lump of really nutty handmade cheddar satisfies far better than a quire of Kraft slices.
Bring it on, I would love to try it.
July 21, 2009
Appalling lack of knife culture in the young
Debenhams said that four years ago it sold equal numbers of knives and forks, but in the last few months it has sold about two forks for every knife.
Experts said they feared the trend could result in knives becoming an implement used only on special occasions.
Ed Watson, spokesman for Debenhams, said: "Our research indicates that the trend toward fast food is the biggest culprit for abandoning traditional etiquette. The popularity of eating food in front of the TV may also be having an impact."
20 per cent of those asked sat down to eat together just once a week or less. The poll also found children often had meals alone in their bedrooms while watching TV or playing computer games.
Of those who did eat together, TV was the preferred dinner guest, with 75 per cent eating while watching it.
Of course it is better to eat without a knife than wield one like an American. If you can't use cutlery properly you might as well eat out of a bowl on the floor.
I like a bit of fun, I do, but....
The sculpture was towed by tractor 150 yards out into Weymouth Bay at low tide and unhitched in the dead of night. When the tide fell in the morning the creature appeared to be emerging from the waves.
Brendan Webster, a member of the Weymouth and Portland council, said that it had no choice but to remove the dinosaur on health and safety grounds. “It arrived unannounced and without permission,” he said. “We had to remove it as soon as possible because of the potential health and safety hazard to swimmers and beach users. We are not averse to a bit of fun in Weymouth — it just needs to be done safely.”
Weymouth, holiday list, crossed off.
Impotent Rage Against The Machine
Councillor Mike Raeburn, convener of Grampian Fire and Rescue Joint Board, has accused programme makers of being "totally irresponsible" and is asking Scotland's transport minister, Stewart Stevenson, to intervene.
The councillor has demanded details of its safety management structure, but claims the BBC has refused to release it to him.
A Scottish Government spokesman said it was determined to reduce accidents on Scotland's roads
No worries, with Scotland's insane energy policy no one will be able to watch moving pictures north of the border in a year or so.
July 16, 2009
Mr Pullman, who stressed he had a "non-existent" criminal record, said he was prepared to give up speaking in schools to make a stand against Britain's creeping surveillance culture.
He said: "It is insulting and I think unnecessary, and I refuse to be complicit in any scheme that assumes my guilt."
He, and the other authors supporting him, can afford it financially and reputionwise unlike the thousands of others who help in schools. His stand is on their behalf and very welcome.
July 14, 2009
Little Ray of Sunshine
Sunshine is not the main cause of the most dangerous form of skin cancer, according to researchers, who say some warnings about the perils of sunbathing are scaring people unnecessarily.
If only someone would tell all the yummy mummies at every "nice" school where at the first hint of a ray of light the little darlings are coated in more oil than a cormorant on the Torrey Canyon and dressed in the Boden Burqa of pretty printed gingham. Combine that with faddy diets it is no wonder rickets is returning.
July 7, 2009
Norfolk Plod - "incorrect and inappropriate"
Insp Dave Buckley, of Norfolk Police's Hunstanton and Burnham neighbourhood policing team, said in a statement: "We gave permission for the organisers to create a scarecrow of a police officer - but the owner of the scarecrow used a plastic drinks bottle to symbolise a speed radar gun.
"As a result an officer removed the scarecrow as it portrayed an incorrect and inappropriate message to passing motorists. We appreciate the spirit of the family-oriented festival but our priority is the safety of motorists.
"Speed radars are used to prevent casualties on our roads and to address the irresponsible actions of motorists. They should not be re-created by the roadside in jest."
And exactly which law was broken?
Waiting for The State to take Care of Us.
Mr Holmes, one of the most dedicated anti-smoking campaigners of the past quarter of a century, said he usually protests outside London's High Court.
He said: "I've stood outside the High Court for 14 weeks.
"Everybody totally ignores this message.
"All you have to do is to ban tobacco and stop actors smoking in films... the biggest threat to children is tobacco addiction... we employ Government to take care of us."
Sometimes the cliché, "Get a life" is the only apposite response
The Dangers of Waiting for The State to take Care of Us
Man died of heart attack while paramedic conducted risk assessment - Times Online
Mr Adams, a chauffeur for the Metropolitan Police, dialled 999 complaining of breathing problems and chest pains just after midnight on June 29. He was told by the operator to leave his front door open so an ambulance crew could get to him quickly.
However, a paramedic who arrived six minutes later and saw the door open feared that the property was being burgled. He stayed on the doorstep carrying out a “risk assessment exercise” before calling police for support. When he entered the property, 16 minutes after arriving, he found Mr Adams in the front room of his home in Morden, South London. Mr Adams was not breathing and was dead when he reached hospital.
July 2, 2009
The Manifesto Club, a libertarian campaign group that compiled the book from pictures sent in by members, says in many cases the signs do not warn of real dangers.
And with their loud colours and hectoring tones, the book says, the notices disfigure buildings and public spaces.
The Manifesto Club getting attention again, they are obviously catching the mood.
I seem to remember when I walked down to the pub to see in the New Millennium that there was a strident safety notice disfiguring the countryside by the canal bridge, and when I walked back refreshed a couple of hours later it was no longer there. An excellent start to the new age I thought, but it has all been downhill since then.
June 26, 2009
No ID, No Cash
A MAN who won £100,000 on a National Lottery scratch card cannot collect his winnings because he does not have sufficient identification.
William Hamilton was told by lottery company Camelot that he had to have a bank account so they could pay out.
When he tried to open an account, Mr Hamilton was told he needed a driving licence or passport – neither of which he possesses.
Hamilton, 52, has been left wondering when he will get his hands on the cash. "I've never had a driver's licence, I've never been overseas, so I don't have a passport, and I don't have a bank account of my own.
"I've got a letter addressed to me from Servite housing, from Greenwood Personal Credit, from Dundee Sheriff Court, as well as my health card from the NHS, my birth lines and a passport photograph signed by my GP. Apparently, that's not enough for Camelot or to open an account, but I can't do much more than I've already done."
Welcome to the wonderful new world of ID.
June 19, 2009
Invite - I'll be there in spirit if not in beer.
Save Our Pubs & Clubs: AmendTheSmokingBan.com, with Antony Worrall Thompson at:
The Buckingham Arms
62 Petty France
on Tuesday 23 June, 11.00am-12 noon.
June 14, 2009
Comment Central - Times Online - WBLG: Is this the least politically correct, most bizarre children's toy?
At only $12.95, the ‘avenging narwhal play set’ comes 'with four magic tusks… to impale the cut animals of the world, specifically baby seals, baby penguins and koalas.'
So, so many questions… Exactly where in the natural world, for example, does a narwhal find itself within fighting proximity of a koala?
The company dutifully point out that its not suitable for children under three.
Brilliant - it is several years since I last bought from Archie McPhee but their stuff was always great. In fact the darling Englishettes were enjoying their Strawberry Jelly turned out from the Brain Mold only yesterday, and fighting over who got the speech centre....
June 9, 2009
£½m an hour goes up in smoke - Scotsman.com News
SMOKING costs the NHS more than £5 billion a year – up to five times the previously accepted figure, researchers have said. The researchers, from the Department of Public Health at Oxford University, also calculated that almost one in five deaths in 2005 was due to smoking. One in four men and 23 per cent of women are smokers, based on 2005 figures, the paper noted. But the authors warned that their figures were an underestimate.
Betty McBride, policy and communications director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We are now spending over £5 billion a year dealing with the health consequences of smoking. This is money being drained out of the NHS as a direct result of something we have the power to prevent.
Pile the numbers up, one in four smoke and only one in five die from it, back to the abacus and find some more, there is work to be done.
June 4, 2009
Guilty of future criminality
Officers are targeting children as young as 10 with the aim of placing their DNA profiles on the national database to improve their chances of solving crimes, it is claimed.
The alleged practice is also described as part of a "long-term crime prevention strategy" to dissuade youths from committing offences in the future.
A Metropolitan Police officer made the claims after figures were released showing that 386 under-18s had their DNA taken and stored by police last year in Camden, north London.
The officer said: "Have we got targets for young people who have not been arrested yet? The answer is yes. But we are not just waiting outside schools to pick them up, we are acting on intelligence.
"It is part of a long-term crime prevention strategy. If you know you have had your DNA taken and it is on a database then you will think twice about committing burglary for a living.
"We are often told that we have just one chance to get that DNA sample and if we miss it then that might mean a rape or a murder goes unsolved in the future."
I seem to remember measuring the shapes of noses had a similar rationale.
June 1, 2009
DOA doesn't affect the bonuses
Patients forced to wait hours in ambulances parked outside A&E departments
An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has found that thousands of 999 patients are being left to wait in ambulances in car parks and holding bays, or in hospital corridors – in some cases for more than five hours – before they can even join the queue for urgent treatment.
Experts warn that hospitals are deliberately delaying when they accept patients – or are diverting them to different sites – in order to meet Government targets to treat people within fours hours of admitting them.
That is what happens when targets rule and sense goes out the window. The Englishman's top health tip of the day - avoid ambulances. "Scoop and Go" - review the literature, ask any doctor, just get to the hospital as fast you can. Don't let the paramedics "Stay and Play", get bleeding all over the hospital floor and they won't let you die in reception as it ruins their results.
May 20, 2009
Policing the Streets of Swanage
Swanage Town and Herston striker Jamie Holland lost the wager that he would be the season's top goal scorer and as a punishment he is supposed to jog into the Dorset resort in his underwear.
When police heard about the stunt however they told the club not to do it...Inspector Chris Weeks, told the Dorset Echo: "A Police Community Support Officer with the Swanage Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team spoke with the club.
"He explained that good natured events of this type have the potential of getting out of hand and he advised the club the runner should wear shorts."
Our streets are safe again, thank goodness.
May 19, 2009
The Holy War against Salt
The FSA warns that more than 20,000 Britons a year die prematurely because of the high level of salt in their diet.
The war against salt is almost evidence free and inexplicable unless you credit the idea that it is a war against pleasure.
Sandy has dealt with salt many times - check it out there.
So who is behind this latest scare promoted by the FSA? Step forward "Mike Rich, executive director of the Blood Pressure Association". Who they? Charity No: 1058944 The accounts are here. I haven't had time to read them fully, but it looks as though the majority of income doesn't come from concerned citizens but from the lottery, Dept of Health and the FSA.
Another one for the Fake Charities site?
May 15, 2009
Wild West Law Needed in Bristol? The View From Texas
Brazenly breaking into a house in broad daylight, these two burglars don't look too worried about being caught.
And perhaps with good reason.
Despite this clear picture of the pair forcing a rear window open with a crowbar, the serial offenders have both walked free from court.
Matthew Clark, 28, and Stefan Poyster, 21, stole £1,400 of belongings from the three-bedroom semidetached house.
This image of the criminals in action was taken by a neighbour, who also alerted the police.
But despite the photographic evidence, Clark and Poyster escaped a custodial sentence.
The pair, who have a history of drug abuse, admitted burglary but walked free from Bristol Crown Court with a suspended sentence and supervision order.
Their victim Simon Duffy, however, lost a plasma television, a computer games console and a laptop in the midday burglary in Little Stoke, Bristol, last month.
Clark removed a double-glazed window and made off with the haul of electrical equipment while Poyster kept watch.
They then sold the stolen goods to buy drugs and gamble.
But the photographs provided to police by a neighbour were not enough to persuade Judge Simon Darwell-Smith to send either of the men to prison.
When you have finished grinding your teeth, please note the following:
Under Texas state law, if you were the lady with the camera, you could have shot both the little shits dead, and would not have been prosecuted -- indeed, you COULD NOT be prosecuted, under the "Neighbor Protection" law. Here's how it works.
Let's say I know I'm going to be away for a while -- at work, on holiday, whatever -- and I ask you to "look after my house" while I'm gone.
As your neighbor, I actually have more latitude in dealing with criminals on your property than you do. And the fact that one of the criminals was carrying a crowbar -- well, that's a "lethal weapon" under the law.
So if Camera Kate had been instead Pistol Patricia, in Texas, both those criminals could now be dead -- and all the cops would be able to do is congratulate her for her tight grouping (which, in our neighborhood, they would do anyway).
Sometimes, we colonials get a few things right...
April 30, 2009
Alcohol Stats - the bitchslap
Transposed statistics -Times Online
Sir, Professor Ian Gilmore (letter, April 27) tells us that all but one liver-ward patients with alcohol-related liver problems were daily or very frequent drinkers, and deduces that “Middle England” drinkers are ending up on liver wards by regularly consuming what some might consider to be moderate levels of alcohol. Unfortunately, the deduction is misleading.
The premise shows that if one is a liver-ward patient then the probability of being a daily or frequent drinker is very high. But it says little directly about the probability of being on a liver ward, if one is a daily or frequent drinker — which is surely what one is interested in. This mistake has arisen sufficiently often for it to be given a name: the error of the transposed conditional.
Professor David J. Hand
President, Royal Statistical Society
Swine Flu - Round up the usual prejudices
Factory farming, blah blah clah - not a jot of evidence I can see - the problem is as he says when "animals exist alongside crowded human habitations, the potential for disaster is vastly greater. "
March 23, 2009
Boys should be boys
BBC NEWS | Health | Eczema cases rise dramatically
The highest rate was in boys aged between five and nine. One potential explanation for the rise is increased frequency of bathing and use of soap and detergents.
Poor bloody kids, boys between the age of five and nine should only have a brief passing acquaintance with soap and water, it is all part of the feminisation of childhood...
March 19, 2009
Forget Bankers Pay - Here Is The Real Scandal
The head of a hospital trust where at least 400 patients may have died because of appalling emergency care is understood to have received pay rises totalling more than £30,000.
The salary of Martin Yeates, chief executive of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, increased from a pay band of up to £140,000 to one of up to £180,000 over two years, while standards at the trust deteriorated.
Last August the governors’ nominations and remuneration committee doubled the salaries of other non- executive board members. Toni Brisby, the chairwoman, went from £20,144 to £40,000 for 3½ days’ work a week. Other non-executive directors, who worked 2½ days a month, were awarded rises from £5,875 to £12,000. Ms Brisby resigned this month and Mr Yeates has been suspended on full pay...
A report by the Healthcare Commission found “shocking and appalling” standards of care for patients admitted through A&E from 2005 to 2008. Investigators estimate that between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected.
The commission was heavily critical of the trust’s board, which it said had been focused more on finance, targets and achieving foundation trust status than on patient care.
And that tells you the complete story.
March 13, 2009
Little White Spoonfuls of Happiness
According to researchers salt puts people in a better mood...The study by scientists at the University of Iowa found that going without salt could even make people depressed....
Professor Kim Johnson, who carried out the tests on rats, found that when the animals were deprived of salt they lost pleasure in things they normally enjoyed, such as having a sugary drink.
Prof Johnson said: "Things that normally would be pleasurable for rats didn't elicit the same degree of relish, which leads us to believe that a salt deficit and the craving associated with it can induce one of the key symptoms associated with depression."
Happiness inducing is a feature; think of someone sprinkling salt on their chips, they will be smiling; think of a whey face health food fanatic spurning the salt, do they smile?
Let's be reminded of the truth behind the Salt Scare:
...the best science for nearly half a century — including the government’s own findings on examinations reflecting 99 million Americans; more than 17,000 studies published since 1966; and even a recent Cochrane systematic review of the clinical trial evidence — fails to support the hypotheses that salt reductions offer health benefits for the general public. Cochrane’s reviewers specifically concluded that such interventions are inappropriate for population prevention programs.
It’s not just that the salt reductions being proposed will be costly programs that won’t be of much help to people, but that they could hurt people.
So salt is cheap, harmless, makes us eat more vegetables and makes us happy - what's not to like?
"This suggests that salt need and cravings may be linked to the same brain pathways as those related to drug addiction and abuse," Prof Johnson said.
Uh-oh I can feel some more expensive research and treatment programs coming on....
February 28, 2009
Cpl Beharry became the Army's most high-profile war hero when he was awarded the VC for "repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour" for the two rescues "despite a harrowing weight of incoming fire".
Yesterday the 29-year-old, who is still a serving soldier, displayed the courage which earned him the country's highest honour by standing up for the thousands of servicemen and women who are still suffering from post-traumatic and combat stress, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a candid interview, Cpl Beharry broke his silence to reveal that almost five years after he suffered severe injuries saving his friends, he is still racked by mental anguish and excruciating pain. While he is aware he has received first-rate treatment, he has spoken out on behalf of less high-profile service personnel, criticising the fact that charities have been forced to step in where the Government has failed.
Robert Marsh, a director of Combat Stress, the charity that offers a lifeline to thousands of veterans suffering from PTSD or associated conditions, said they had seen a 53 per cent increase in new veterans in the past three years. In the past year alone, they have treated 3,700 new veterans.
"Most people do not come forward for an average of 14 years after they have left the services so there is a problem storing up for the future," he said. "Combat Stress is working hard to reduce this time lag because by the time we see them they are on their uppers.
"To have someone like Johnson Beharry VC talking so candidly helps normalise this condition for other veterans and, we really hope, encourages them to come forward."
February 27, 2009
Custard down your vest
"When moved slowly, the molecules will slip past each other, but in a high-energy impact they will snag and lock together, becoming solid," said Richard Palmer, who invented the gel. "In doing so they absorb energy."..The substance relies on "intelligent molecules" that "shock lock" together to absorb energy and create a solid pad. Once the pressure has gone they return to their normal flexible state.
"intelligent molecules my arse - they are just stuffing the vests with custard. Non-Newtonian fluids have given me and my loved ones hours of fun but don't over-egg the discovery.
(My secret plan for untold wealth is to patent sleeping policemen filled with such a gel, drive over slowly and they will ooze flat, try to drive too fast over them and they will set solid..)
February 17, 2009
The Sheriff and Outlaw
Anger as sheriff jails man who threatened drug dealer and destroyed heroin stash - Scotsman.com News
Peter Drummond, 26, took the law into his own hands after his brother-in-law became addicted to the drug.
He went to the home of John Nellies and berated him for causing misery to families before flushing five bags of heroin down the toilet, Perth Sheriff Court was told.
Drummond, who was reported to the police by one of Nellies' customers, shook his head in disbelief as he was jailed for two months by Sheriff Robert McCreadie....
But Sheriff McCreadie ignored the plea and told Drummond he should have contacted the police. "You can't take matters into your own hands the way you did," he said.
Obviously The Sheriff doesn't subscribe to Peelian Principles
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.
Law and order has become a state monopoly...
February 16, 2009
Pilots Battle ID Card Pilot Scheme
Flights at risk as pilots refuse to accept 'demeaning' ID cards -Times Online
Thousands of flights could be cancelled in a dispute between pilots and the Government over the introduction of identity cards.
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said that its members – 84 per cent of the commercial pilots in Britain – would not co-operate with Home Office plans to make airside workers “guinea pigs” for the cards.
Balpa said in its submission: “It is clear that the Government's staged introduction of biometric identity cards first to overseas students, then to migrant workers and then for aviation workers, represents a way of picking off what are seen as easy targets.”
“Forcing pilots to have ID cards is an affront to the people who for years have been, and continue to be, at the forefront in the battle against terrorist outrages.”
The pilots are the first non vulnerable group to be picked on, let's hope they stick to their objections and start the scuppering of this scheme.
February 13, 2009
Sometimes Punishment Not Understanding Is Called For.
Caustic soda rapists’ sentences to be reviewed - Times Online
The jail sentences of three men who gang-raped a 16-year-old girl and doused her in caustic soda, leaving her disfigured, are to be reviewed to decide if they were unduly lenient.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the Attorney-General, referred the cases of Rogel McMorris, 18, jailed for nine years, Jason Brew, 19, and Hector Muaimba, 20, both jailed for six years, to the Court of Appeal. The victim, who had a mental age of 8, was attacked in Tottenham, North London. The rapists used their mobile phones to record the girl’s suffering and hoped that the caustic soda, a powerful corrosive, would destroy evidence. They also poured water on her, intensifying the burning.
Six years would be about the right length of time if I was in charge of their gaoling, the sorry remains of their flayed corpses would be ready to be cut down by then. But then scum like that make me come over all medieval....
February 8, 2009
Freedom of Movement to be Watched
THE government is building a secret database to track and hold the international travel records of all 60m Britons.
The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details for all 250m passenger movements in and out of the UK each year.
So inured have we become to the creeping approach of a total surveillance society that we will just shrug and turn the page to this news...
February 6, 2009
Olympic Dash Thru Cash
The contingency fund for the 2012 Olympics construction project in East London has been reduced to £500 million as organisers fight the recession, government figures revealed.As it is used up, there are fears that the overall £9.3 billion budget will be inadequate.
Olympic chiefs argue that most of the extra costs will be offset by money cut from elsewhere, with £193 million of savings identified.
I think they will need to save a lot more than that, it is time Boris got a grip, two hours and a fat red pencil and he could save billions...
February 4, 2009
Are fit people dull? Yes, next question please.
Fit people are generally very dull and spend most of their free time staying fit and not eating nice things. You will probably live longer being fit. But the increase in your lifespan is unlikely to dramatically outweigh the amount of time you spend exercising. And you don't enjoy exercising; that's why you are unfit.
Discretionary time is like discretionary spending, it is the bit we enjoy and makes the rest worthwhile.
You spend eight hours a day sleeping and abluting, ten hours a day working and travelling, two hours a day on duty in the home and two hours faffing about; which leaves only two hours a day which are actually yours to enjoy. If you then spend one of those doing something you don't want to do like running in a gym you are halving your "real life". And no amount of being a scrawny old bloke dribbling soup for a few extra years is going to make up for that.
February 3, 2009
There's Snow Business Like Snow Business
Harry Haddock asks; show me a cost / benefit analysis of providing an extreme weather capable infrastructure that will only be used once every 18 years against the proven cost of a day off work to the taxpayer
Well here's an idea that used to work eighteen years ago when we last had snow. Every autumn the council would ring round builders, forestry workers, farmers, anyone who might have a big bucket loader and say, "If it snows, we'll give you a call and you can go out and clear the roads and we will pay you x an hour, OK?"
First sign of snow and the go signal, every man jack of a loader driver was out there, me included. Capital cost to the council, zero. Standby costs, zero. If it didn't snow, no charge. Of course such an unregulated approach can't work now, so all those JCBs sat idle on abandoned building sites in London stayed idle whilst the roads remained blocked.
Carol Thatcher may be banned by the BBC after tennis ‘golliwog’ remark - Times Online
Neither the BBC nor representatives of Chiles and Thatcher were prepared to name the tennis player who was under discussion. Her friends said that she had been referring to the player’s hairstyle...
Such coyness, noah idea at all who she was yannicking on about?
Health Fascism creeps in again
Workers face smoking ban while in NHS uniform … even at home - Scotsman.com News
Gordon Stephen, the employee director of NHS Grampian states in his report to the board: "The aim of the initial tobacco policy was to ensure that 'all NHS Grampian premises become smoke-free within a very few years' and that the provision of smoking areas was only an interim measure."
Mr Stephen admits: "The removal of smoking areas and smoking rooms and perception of a complete ban may be seen as contentious, particularly on humanitarian (sic] grounds." But the policy should apply to "all staff wearing NHS Grampian uniform or NHS Grampian badge at any time, or representing NHS Grampian on or off NHS Grampian premises during their working hours".
Neil Rafferty, a spokesman for the pro-smoking organisation Forest, said: "To suggest that a member of staff cannot smoke during what is effectively their own time, during breaks, is tantamount to health fascism.
Cameron Fyfe, one of Scotland's leading lawyers, said: "To say that you can't smoke in your back garden, just because you happen to be wearing an NHS uniform, is going to be challenged. A member of staff would say, 'My human rights are being violated here and that, outwith the premises of my employment, I am entitled to do anything I like so long as it is legal'."
January 16, 2009
Flight 1549 Map
USAir Flight 1549 Flight Data Mapped and Google Maps Mania has produced a simulation of the crash for the Google Earth Browser. (Two versions of the simulation, one with the New York 3D buildings turned off and one with the buildings turned on. The 3D version can seriously lag on slower computers.)
That's cool - shows what a silly idea it is to have a major airport next door to a major city, no one would suggest building one like that now would they? Because if there hadn't been a bit of open water a skilled pilot found to land on what would have happen?
December 31, 2008
Lean and Hungry
but the bard sayeth; "Yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much : such men are dangerous."
I would tend to trust the Swan over modern researchers were it not obvious that the leading lights of our generation are the stick thin models and actors who though they are desperate to bray their opinions to an eager audience quite obviously are incapable of rubbing two thoughts together in their shrivelled craniums.
December 11, 2008
Doctors Kill 40,000 a Year
The hidden death toll from errors by NHS staff - Times Online
The National Health Service is still struggling to ensure safe, personalised healthcare for patients, despite years of a record level of funding, a watchdog has reported.
While dramatic improvements have been made on waiting times and infection rates in the past five years, doctors and managers are “only just out of the starting blocks” in making sure that treatment is as safe as it could be, the Healthcare Commission said.
Health analysts estimate that mistakes by hospital staff could result in as many as 40,000 deaths a year. But there is still a crucial lack of data on medical errors and the harm that they cause.
Smoking ban prevents 40,000 deaths
over the next ten years.
Professor Robert West, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco studies at University College London's Health Behaviour Research Centre said: 'I never expected such a dramatic impact.'
So if the Health Service just got its act together a little bit and prevented just ten per cent of it deadly errors it would save as many deaths as the smoking ban is claimed to.
December 8, 2008
He Should Blog Instead
Plumber Martin Solomon, 62, was heard by neighbours as he shouted 'foul and offensive language' at his TV, magistrates in Stroud, Glos, heard.
His ranting put him in breach of an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) which had been imposed at an earlier hearing to try to stop him shouting and swearing at the television whenever he disagreed with a programme.
Simon James, defending at Stroud Magistrates' Court, said: "Mr Solomon often drinks more than is good for him.
"He will have a drink and will return home.
"Then he will put on the television and if someone on the TV says something that upsets him, he will swear at the TV.
Well that is me done for then....
December 6, 2008
Why, if there are more officers than ever, do we feel we hardly ever see them on the streets? Why are police stations too far away, closed at night or shut down altogether? Why, when the police tell householders not to tackle burglars, but to dial 999 and await the officers' arrival, are they are greeted with a hollow laugh?
An institution that a few years ago was held in public esteem is now derided, even feared. There is a feeling that the police are not on our side. And this is largely the fault of some of the country's most prominent senior officers. ...
Police chiefs have supported every encroachment on civil liberties: the expansion of the DNA database to include innocent people, ruled unlawful this week by the European Court of Human Rights; the increase of detention without charge to 90 days and then, when that was rejected, to 42 days, despite clear parliamentary opposition; the extension of summary powers to arrest and fine on the spot; bans on happy hours, ID cards and many more...
In a lecture last year, Sir Ian Blair claimed the country had to be clear about what it wants from the police - to fight crime, or fight its causes; to help build stronger communities, or to undertake zero tolerance?
"The silence can no longer continue," he said. "The citizens of Britain now have to articulate what kind of police service they want." For once, he was right.
December 4, 2008
Virgin Exploitation Film Slammed
In teaser adverts promoting its "Whopper Virgins" challenge, the fast food chain describes how it sought out farmers in rural Romania, Thai villagers and residents of Greenland's icy tundra to compare its signature burger with arch rival McDonalds'. The "undeniable" results of the chain's "unbiased" global research – which involved "13 planes, two dog sleds and one helicopter" – will be unveiled in a documentary next week, according to the website Burger King Whoppervirgins.com
But critics have slammed the campaign as insulting and exploitative.
"It's outrageous," Sharon Akabas of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, told the New York Daily News. "What's next? Are we going to start taking guns out to some of these remote places and ask them which one they like better?"
Marilyn Borchardt, development director for Food First, called the campaign insensitive. ...
"It doesn't get much more offensive than this," noted The Inquisitor blog. "If visiting poor people in remote locations, some who would be at best surviving on below poverty levels and throwing a burger in their faces isn't bad enough, it gets better, because they also ask the Whopper Virgins to compare the taste of the Whopper to a McDonalds Big Mac as well.
"It's hard to place exactly where this begins on the level of wrongness."
So if I'm a poor peasant living on dried goat dung and lichen and someone offers me not one but two burgers what am I going to feel? Not hungry for the first time in ages I expect. The hysterical anti-burger campaigners, I'm loving it. Does eating tofu give you a sense of humour bypass?
November 27, 2008
Save The Pub
# To stop plans to increase beer tax by up to a third
# To enforce existing laws – not create new ones - to deal firmly with irresponsible drinkers and premises
# To end the irresponsible promotion of alcohol in supermarkets, pubs and elsewhere
# To trust responsible adults to make informed choices about what they drink, not punish them for the actions of an irresponsible minority
# To support the British pub as a vital part of social life in local communities.
I think we can all sign up to that.
November 25, 2008
Yet doe I feare thy Nature, It is too full o' th' Milke of humane kindnesse
NHS want to close smoking room for terminally ill patients in Birmingham - Sunday Mercury
POLITICALLY correct NHS bosses in Birmingham are battling to ban a smoking room for terminally ill patients – forcing them to be turfed out into the cold to enjoy their final cigarettes.
The Government’s Smoke Free legislation, which came into force last July, banning smokers from lighting up in restaurants, clubs and other workplaces, clearly states that care homes and hospices treating cancer victims in the final stages of the disease are exempt.
But when board members of South Birmingham Primary Care Trust, in charge of the unit, heard of plans to upgrade the smoking room with a new ventilation system, the whole scheme went up in smoke.
Bureaucrat Dr Chris Spencer-Jones, South Birmingham public health director, ranted against the renovation plans, saying he did not care if lifelong smokers were dying, he still didn’t want them smoking indoors.
“It doesn’t matter if patients might be terminally ill,” said Dr Spencer-Jones, who also heads the British Medical Association’s (BMA) national committee for public health.
I note the good Doctor's Areas of Special Interest are:
Asylum seeker/refugee health
Joint working (social services)
Medical workforce issues
End of life issues
His previous includes:
HEALTH MATTERS: Getting a move on over people's bad habits; Smoking, drinking, a poor diet and lack of exercise can all pose a serious threat to public health. Health Reporter Emma Brady spoke to Dr Chris Spencer-Jones about calling time on these bad habits ... and supermarkets selling alcohol.(News) - The Birmingham Post (England)
What a nice man he is.
H/T Leg Iron
November 13, 2008
Today's Featured Article
Nazi Germany initiated a strong anti-tobacco movement and led the first public anti-smoking campaign in modern history. Anti-tobacco movements grew in many nations from the beginning of the 20th century, but these had little success except in Germany where the campaign was supported by the government after the Nazis came to power. It was the most powerful anti-smoking movement in the world during the 1930s and early 1940s. The Nazi leadership condemned smoking and several of them openly criticized tobacco consumption. Research on smoking and its effects on health thrived under Nazi rule and was the most important of its type at that time. Hitler's personal distaste for tobacco and the Nazi reproductive policies were among the motivating factors behind their campaign against smoking, and this campaign was associated with both antisemitism and racism.
The Nazi anti-tobacco campaign included banning smoking in trams, buses and city trains, promoting health education, limiting cigarette rations in the Wehrmacht, organizing medical lectures for soldiers and raising the tobacco tax. The Nazis also imposed restrictions on tobacco advertising, tobacco rationing for women, and smoking in public spaces, and they regulated restaurants and coffeehouses....
Thank goodness that that sort of Health Fascism was defeated even at the cost of millions of lives....
October 30, 2008
Wussies on the High Seas
Seems some shipping lines are hiring contractors to protect ships and crews, especially around Somalia. With some of the usual "Oh NO!"
Mody says armed guards onboard ships may encourage pirates to use their weapons or spark an arms race between predators and prey. Currently, pirates often fire indiscriminately during an attack but don't aim to kill or injure crew.
That is because they want to hold the crew hostage, though if they are firing indiscriminately then they aren't aiming at anything...
David Johnson, director of British security firm Eos. "But if you have guns onboard, you are going to escalate the situation. We don't want to turn that part of the world into the Wild West."
Oh yes far better to just hand over the keys and allow yourself to be dragged off to some desert hell hole. I don't think so. There is a method of dealing with pirates that has been tried and tested over many years and it isn't that. Surrender may be the preferred course for ships run by Johnny Foreigner but I would hope anything flying the Red Duster would be aiming to blow them out of the water.
I blame it all on ships not having enough rope and masts these days....
October 29, 2008
Fatty Balls Imprisonment Plans For Millions To Help Them Make The Right Choice
Teenagers should be forced to stay in school at lunchtimes to stop them going out for junk food, Schools Secretary Ed Balls said yesterday.
He also called for councils to stop takeaways from opening near to schools.
He added: "Temptation can be hard to resist but we owe it to future generations to help young people make the right choices about how they want to live their lives."
And you can fuck off too Ed Balls, lock people in, and remember under the new plans people who are old enough to marry are forced to go to school, and prevent businesses opening where the demand is and than call that helping people make the right choices, it is beyond parody.
10 Million People to be Re-educated by The State
More than 10 million 'drinking at hazardous levels’ - Telegraph
A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) yesterday warned the NHS is failing to deal with the scale of the problem.
It says that three times as many patients should receive advice from their GP on how to cut down their drinking.
The report also found that around a quarter of local healthcare trusts did not know how many people in their area are drinking too much.
Four in ten Primary Care Trusts also admitted that they had no strategy to reduce excess drinking.
Professor Ian Gilmore, from the Royal College of Physicians, said the report made “sobering” reading.
He added: “It is clear that the NHS needs to urgently 'up its game’ both in investing in alcohol services and in having sensible strategies to make sure the investment is well spent.”
Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat Shadow health spokesman, said "... ministers should not shy away from enforcing more responsible regulation of alcohol sales.”
Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, will say:"...just as it would be wrong in a plural and democratic society to require broadcasters to produce programmes that meet government objectives and promote social behaviour, so it is also wrong for broadcasters to produce programmes that legitimise negative social behaviour.”
Oh just fuck off the lot of you. It isn't about preventing the "15,000 deaths", it isn't about preventing the harm that feckless drunks do, it isn't about wondering why so many people use a glass of cheer to deal with the stress of living. It is all about increasing the stress by regimenting, by controlling, by regulating the proles with constant preaching and penalties.
And Jeremy Hunt you get this month's doublespeak award for pretending to be for freedom of speech but in the same bloody sentence contradicting yourself. Wrong to have to promote good behaviour but also wrong to promote bad, therefore the broadcasters will have to choose to only promote good. Some free choice that is.
Jumping on the Brand Wagon
When is a joke not a joke? The answer is simple - when no one laughs. Comedy is quite different from other art-forms... No one hears a line that fails to raise a laugh and says, yes, that's me, I have no sense of humour. We don't think it's subjective. We take refuge in the same attack: it's not funny. If the joke doesn't work for us, we deny its very existence as a joke.
Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross are experiencing the aftermath of a joke gone horribly wrong. What do you get if you cross a Spanish waiter with ill-judged prank - 10,000 complaints and rising. After a series of on-air phonecalls to Andrew Sachs, the 78-year-old actor, about a liaison with his granddaughter, the two face calls for their resignation, an Ofcom inquiry, even a suggestion that they be prosecuted. Why are the British public, normally so proud of their sense of humour, not laughing?
Gordon Brown and David Cameron jumping in now, just like most of the 10,000 offended people I doubt if they heard the broadcast, they are just offended by the reports of what they should be offended by. I didn't hear it either, there is very little that could induce me to listen to the whiny bore that is Brand, but obviously some people find him funny. He is paid handsomely to put on an edgy out-of-control act, and if it brings him vast amounts of sex, drugs and rock and roll, well good luck to him. He delivered. Don't shoot the messenger. The blame lies higher in the food chain.
Of course that we are forced on pain of imprisonment to pay for such acts is another matter, and one that Gordon, Dave and the 10,000 won't be complaining about.
October 24, 2008
The striking mural, painted under cover of darkness, was intended as a stinging criticism of Big Brother society. So it will come as little surprise to its creator, Banksy, that bureaucracy has ordered the removal of one of his largest works.
The Times has learnt that Westminster Council has demanded that a mural by the pseudonymous graffiti artist, a 7m (23 ft) criticism of Britain’s CCTV culture, must be painted over. While other authorities have turned a blind eye to Banksy, the council said yesterday that it would remove any graffiti, regardless of the reputation of its creator.
People who buy homes near church bells or cricket pitches then complain about the noise should just tolerate it, the High Court has ruled.
Rushden Town cricket club was blocked from putting up practice nets because the local council feared the sound of leather on willow would annoy neighbours...
Sense at last, though down here the councillors worry more about the sound of willow on leather.....
October 23, 2008
Local Speeding News
....6% of accidents are caused by people breaking speed limits and yet almost 100% of the government's road safety money is being invested in speed cameras.. recent changes in the way that government handles the huge amounts of money that these things make has led to common sense starting to prevail
Councillors in Swindon have voted to stop funding the town's speed cameras. The Wiltshire town's borough council is believed to be the first in England to withdraw funding for fixed cameras. The revenue from fines generated by the cameras goes to the government, but the Conservative-led borough council pays £320,000 a year to maintain them.
Swindon may be a dump but it has always been a car friendly dump, which is why if I am forced to shop I tend to go there. Other towns please note.
October 22, 2008
The new five-a-day recommendations.
Do five simple things a day to stay sane, say scientists - Times Online Connect Be active Be curious Learn Give
A “five-a-day” programme of social and personal activities can improve mental wellbeing, much as eating fruit and vegetables enhances physical health, according to Foresight, the government think-tank. Its Mental Capital and Wellbeing report, which was compiled by more than 400 scientists, proposes a campaign modelled on the nutrition initiative, to encourage behaviour that will make people feel better about themselves.
Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will
enrich your life and bring you support
Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make
you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness
Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on
them helps you to appreciate what matters to you
Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and
satisfaction brings fun and confidence
Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is
Critics of the recommendation said that the Government and health professionals ought not to be prescribing individual behaviour in this way. “The implication is that if you don’t do these banal things, you could get seriously mentally ill,..."
Five-a-day fruit, three-a-day cereals, or is that five-a-day carbs? I'm lost already in the "recommendations" that are being pushed at us. I'm assuming if you fail to satisfy the triage nurse you have been following them then the chances of being allowed to see a doctor are "reduced" in our brave new world. But even in my most satirical moments never did I think I would see a five-a-day for thinking happy thoughts and helping little old ladies across the road. Traa-la-la-la what happy bunnies we must all be.
October 20, 2008
Petition to: ensure that the Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, The Rt Hon. The Lord Coe KBE, the Chairman of the British Olympics Association, The Rt Hon. The Lord Moynihan, and the Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, The Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, will be jointly and severally responsible for any expenditure in excess of the budget for the London 2012 Olympics confirmed by The Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP on 10 December 2007. | Number10.gov.uk
Sign away, we can live in hope!
When Graphic Designers Cock Up the Annual Report
Birmingham International Airport - Report and Accounts 2007-2008
...Safety & Security
The Airport’s focus on safety and security issues continues to be one of the highest priorities...
As the photo in the brochure shows....
Obviously she was travelling alone....
New Olympic Event, the Begging Bowl Race
About £550 million of government funding has already been allocated for Stratford Park and the infrastructure for the Olympic Village, including electricity cables and water supply. But an extra £850 million to £900 million still had to be found for the village through a mixture of funding from housing associations, private investment and the taxpayer. So far no money has been guaranteed from either the private sector or housing associations...
An ODA spokesman said: “More public sector investment will clearly be needed for the Olympic Village, given the problems in the banking sector and the deterioration in the property market. This would be an investment in a long-term housing asset that can then be sold in the future.
It is not a bloody investment, if it was an investment that promised a decent rate of return then the private sector would do it, it is yet another subsidy that you want for your fascist drugsfest.
October 18, 2008
Give them an inch
Councils will be banned from taking the so-called "metric martyrs" to court for "essentially minor offences" such as selling goods weighed in pounds and ounces.
Good news if it is true, the bastards will still try and control in any way they can...
October 15, 2008
Don't Mess With a Granny
It was an unequal chase: a 68-year-old grandmother against a teenage thief who had just run off with her bag.
The bag-snatcher had no chance.
As he and his two accomplices ran away, Mrs Lane set off in pursuit, chasing them 100 metres across a park and into the grounds of a hotel. Despite wearing sandals, the 5ft 6in (1.68m) tall grandmother managed to catch up and grabbed one of the youths by the collar. The youth, aged about 15, dropped her bag and begged to be let go. All three escaped empty-handed....
However, Devon and Cornwall Police warned members of the public against following Mrs Lane's example. A spokesman said: “Generally, for safety reasons, we do not actively encourage this kind of behaviour, as you never know what could happen. But we understand this woman is a former cross-country runner and did not feel able to let it go.”
The police are continuing their inquiries.
When they have finished stuffing their faces with doughnuts I suppose. Roll over, be a victim is the official advice. Some Grannies take a different view...
October 6, 2008
The Morning After Driving Sense
Britain is to become the only European country that allows motorists to have at least one alcoholic drink and still be legally fit to drive.
The Times has learnt that the Government has changed its mind about reducing the limit from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, despite evidence that a lower limit would save 65 lives a year.
Road safety groups.....
blah, blah blah - make up some numbers, scream at everyone, etc. But for once the Minister makes sense:
"We are not convinced that dropping to 50 is the right answer. Drivers who are between 50 and 80mg are not the ones we are most worried about. It’s the ones above 100.
“If you look at a comparison with other countries which have 50 rather than 80, our safety levels compare very favourably.”
And the important point about the level is this:
...the Government will avoid the awkward question of whether to introduce a lower penalty for registering just over 50mg. At present, anyone caught drink-driving serves a minimum ban of 12 months. Most countries that have lower limits only fine drivers and give them penalty points for minor breaches.
A ban is disproportionate for a lower level breach, but the safety nazis won't countenance anything less. If they proposed a slap wrist for a 50-80 breach their case would be much stronger but they can't do that because they are safety nazis.
October 5, 2008
Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain.
GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, has already been given up to £1 billion to finance the first stage of the project. Hundreds of clandestine probes will be installed to monitor customers live on two of the country’s biggest internet and mobile phone providers - thought to be BT and Vodafone.
Officials claim live monitoring is necessary to fight terrorism and crime.
Time to crank up the spam creator, a couple of million emails everyday mentioning Gordon, pitchforks, tar and hempen rope seem to be called for. And for homework today take a course in Steganography and learn how to use it
October 3, 2008
Temerarious Advice from the H&S
Helen Reynolds, a health and safety officer with Lancashire Constabulary, said that the current phrase, which praises officers for acting “with no thought to his or her safety” should be toned down.
She suggested changing the words to "fully recognising the risks to their own safety".
Surprisingly I think she may have a point, bravery isn't about acting when unaware of the danger, that is foolhardiness; bravery is about being aware of the danger and then risking it.
September 26, 2008
Hairy Lefty Fund Management Part Two
Church of England admits profiting from short selling - Telegraph
Managers of the Church's £5 billion investment portfolio have lent shares, for a fee, to traders who can then make huge profits by betting that the value of the stocks will fall.
The Anglican Church's shrewd fund managers have achieved an impressive 9.5 per cent average annual return on their assets over the past decade.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, described short sellers as "bank robbers and asset strippers" earlier this week....
For some reason I think I trust the fund managers more than the Archbishops....
September 25, 2008
Stop people like me being bossy says Hazel
People working in the National Health Service and local government should leave working-class people to manage their own lives...
Um, nothing about patronising prats in central government then Hazel? Do you actually realise how people see you and your ilk?
September 19, 2008
Something for the weekend Sir?
September 15, 2008
Shock Horror - Heterosexual Catholic Priest Beds Mature Woman
An Italian husband returned home early from work to find his wife, 37, in bed with their local priest.
Details of the incident in Chioggia near Venice emerged on Sunday in Italian newspapers and the local bishop Angelo Daniel has now confirmed that the adulterous priest has been sent to another parish for "reeducation".
Disgraceful, you can't have Catholic priests taking Milfs to bed, there are traditions they have to follow....
September 11, 2008
The parents of a London barrister shot dead by police fled a courtroom and his sisters broke down in tears after they were attacked by lawyers for asking too many questions about his killing.
Look, Plod isn't used to the relatives of those it shoots being well educated English speaking professional people. Why can't they just shut up, and trust the State and not ask awkward questions?
September 10, 2008
Nice way to spend the money
The National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has come under fire in recent months for the time it takes to decide which drugs can be given on the NHS and for rejecting some life extending medications as too expensive.
Official figures show that Nice spent almost £3.4 million, 10 per cent of its budget, evaluating new drugs and technologies last year.
But the organisation spent around £4.5 million, 13 per cent, on communications.
The Tories, who uncovered the figures, claimed that they showed that the body was wasting money on "spin doctors".
Judging by those figures NICE's total budget is £34 million, and NICE are complaining that the figures are wrong because testing drugs is done by the "R&D section of the Department of Health" and doesn't show up on their budget. So what exactly does NICE do with all that dosh, especially as Scotland seems to get on quite well without NICE determining which drugs its patients can have.
September 9, 2008
You must remember this.
The findings suggest a key vitamin found in the foods helps to prevent brain shrinkage, which has been linked to memory problems.
The vitamin, B12, found in meat, fish, fortified cereals and milk, is crucial to the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of a healthy nervous system.
Research has shown that many elderly people have low levels of the vitamin.
And it's in beer - one pint supplies 50% of your RDA of B12, so two pints a night sounds about right. Though for some reason the spoilsports at the NHS caution "The vitamin B12 found in beer, fermented foods and yeast is not a reliable source of this vitamin." Typical, you always get let down by promises in pubs. So I suppose if it isn't reliable then just to make sure you need to double the dose...
September 8, 2008
A violent schizophrenic was taken on trips to the cinema to watch horror films by staff before he escaped from a low-security hospital near Bristol and raped a 14-year-old girl, a court has heard.
Darren Harkin, 21, was also allowed to build a vast collection of horror and pornographic DVDs while being detained for stabbing his six-month-old stepbrother to death in his cot.
The judge said the case highlighted a number of concerns including why Harkin, who had a history of absconding, was moved to a low-security unit, why staff waited nearly half an hour before telling police about his escape, and why neighbouring police forces were not alerted.
A number of concerns? A number of fucking concerns? I should bloody think so. There should be P45s being mass stamped for everyone involved after they have explained in person why their unbelievable behaviour and laxness has resulted in a schoolgirl being raped. And as for the choirboy, he obviously is beyond being ever being safe to be released. I used to know an ex-marine who had then been a "nurse" at Broadmoor for ten years, he had got to know all of them, all the never-to-be released ones, and his opinion having dealt with them and on reflection of the options was simple - hang the lot of them.
September 4, 2008
Jordan's Horsey Love
Well it is easier with this....
Today, at the Burghley horse trials, Ms Price will be unveiled as the face of Hoof, a campaign run by the British Equestrian Federation.Even that old curmudgeon Mr Free Market might be persuaded to watch some donkey walloping if it features Jordan, in fact I think he may already have the video....
It aims to challenge the widely held perception that London is a difficult place in which to pursue a career in three-day eventing.
August 31, 2008
Neck and neck
Professional jockeys are turning up to ride at leading race meetings while under the influence of alcohol, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
You mean there are some who do it cold stone sober? Now that is brave.
August 21, 2008
As I half listened to the news on the wireless last night there was some pressure group spokesman insisting that travel bans should be extended not just to convicted kiddy-fiddlers but also to suspected ones, who the police haven't been able to prove guilty of anything yet. Of course he was unchallenged on this and it sounded almost like a sensible bit of crime prevention that would save children, but the sheer totalitarianism of it all made me search for it online to bring to you. I found instead that Spiked had published a whole article that says it better than I could.
...the British political elite and sections of the media clamouring for new laws and restrictions to keep the likes of Glitter under their watchful eye. If his case ‘proves’ anything, it is that the paedophile panic, so passionately indulged by our leaders, is a threat to the sanity of society and to civil liberties, too.
(And on the Glitter hysteria why not invite him back to put on a concert, the Century Range at Bisley would be a suitable venue...)
August 18, 2008
Breaking the rules
Petty bureaucrats are a necessary evil. But we must instruct them in when to use their initiative and make exceptions
...a quotation from Marcus Tullius Cicero: “A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures, whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?”
My only quibble is that the quote seems not to come from Cicero but from Taylor Caldwell in her novel based on the life of Cicero A Pillar of Iron (1965), p. 451...
August 15, 2008
Health and Safety or Saving Lives - which is more important?
A volunteer coastguard crew face disciplinary action after going to the rescue of a teenage swimmer in a boat that had recently been repaired and was awaiting a seaworthiness inspection.
The four crewmen were on duty at Hope Cove in South Devon when the 15-year-old girl was swept out to sea by a powerful rip tide. They braved heavy surf to launch their 17ft rigid inflatable.
The girl was rescued by a diver and the coastguard crew brought her ashore.
The boat had been out of service since June and the 11-strong crew, fed up with waiting for it to be repaired by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), spent £2,000 of their own money on the work. But the repairs had yet to be approved and the boat - which has rescued more than 120 people since 2000 – was languishing in the boathouse at the pretty fishing village awaiting a further inspection.
Within three hours the boat was towed away by a senior MCA officer and is now locked in a garage at their office five miles away in Kingsbridge.
A spokesman for the MCA said: “The health and safety of the boat crews and those who they may render assistance to is of paramount importance. We have identified serious breaches of health and safety procedures and they are currently being investigated. The boat has been stood down for a further eight weeks while we investigate.
Know your limit
...a white circle with a black diagonal across it.
You certainly need a masters degree in advanced semiotics to work out what it means - technically “national speed limits apply”. This is the most stupid and unhelpful sign on our roads. It should be scrapped.
But you can't replace it with one that just says 60 or 70 - because if you towing a trailer, or you are in a van or an articulated lorry the national speed limit isn't that. And that is why lorries hold you up as you speed off on holiday.
August 1, 2008
Live and Let Live....
Police were alerted at about 4am today that shots had been fired in the areas. Officers attended and found a man injured outside the Live and Let Live pub in Romford Road
July 30, 2008
Homicide in pink and blue.
Under one of the amendments now up for discussion, a man who kills his wife for infidelity will be convicted of murder, straight up. As Ms Baird put it: “The days of sexual jealousy as a defence are over.”
But at the same time as making it more likely that men who kill women will be put away for life, another proposal would make it less likely that women who kill men will be convicted of murder. If a woman does away with her spouse on the basis that he abused her for years, she would no longer have to prove that she acted on the spur of the moment. She can claim “fear of serious violence”.
The trouble is that these changes give the impression that the law would regard one kind of domestic violence (by women) leniently while viewing another kind (by men) as beyond the pale. The fact that they are being fielded by a trio of feminists such as Mses Harman, Eagle and Baird doesn't help matters. This, you feel, is the feminist take on murder.
..cases - they should be judged on their individual merits. And that means, I'm afraid, doing away with the mandatory tariff and giving judges discretion over sentencing.
Quite - everytime the Government imposes mandatory tariffs you make bad laws, because all cases are different and the punishment should fit the crime.
July 24, 2008
Every Click You Make, Every File You Take, We'll Be Watching You
Parents whose children download music and films illegally will be blacklisted and have their internet access curbed under government reforms to fight online piracy.
Households that ignore warnings will be subjected to online surveillance and their internet speeds will be reduced, making it very difficult for them to download large files.
The measures, the first of their kind in the world, will be announced today by Baroness Vadera, who brokered the deal between internet service providers and Ofcom, the telecoms body.
Internet users could find themselves the subject of “traffic management”, meaning a sudden curtailment of their internet speeds, and “traffic filtering”, a careful monitoring of the media files downloaded to an account to check whether they have paid for them.
Britain’s six biggest service providers - BT, Virgin Media, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse - have signed up to the scheme. In return, the Government has abandoned a controversial proposal to disconnect broadband services for users who had been caught out three times.
The joys of monitoring our internet access - it's for the musicians now, but how soon before it is for inappropriate websites that promote terror, hate, racism, xenophobia, not saying very nice things about the French and disrespectful thoughts on our Glorious Leader.
Time for a refresher...Hiding Your IP Address, Anonymous Internet Surfing HOWTO
July 23, 2008
Assaulting the evidence
Breakfast cereals, bread and cheese are among 80 everyday foodstuffs that should have further cuts made to their salt contents, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
New research carried out by the FSA on nearly 700 British adults showed that average salt intake was 8.6g per day - significantly higher than the Government's national target of 6g, or one level teaspoon.
But reducing the average daily intake to 6g could prevent about 20,200 premature deaths every year from strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, according to the FSA.
Hogwash - Strong recommendations for universal sodium restriction are not supported by strong evidence. - if you don't believe me then Dr. Hillel Cohen of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NYC and author of several health outcomes studies of the NHANES database, delivered a PowerPoint presentation recently to the Canadian Society of Clinical Nutrition's annual scientific meeting in Toronto. CSCN has rendered a valuable service by putting the presentation online.
July 22, 2008
They have been the butt of jokes, and even the most agile of their number have seldom been regarded as paragons of physical virtue.
For all John Bonham’s thunderous half-hour solos behind Led Zeppelin, and Keith Moon’s frenzied skin-bashing with The Who, neither man - nor the generations of drummers who followed them - was ever recognised as a finely tuned athlete....
....sports scientists have concluded that drummers are comparable in their physical prowess to world-class sportsmen. ...the music world is divided between fitness freaks and those with less spartan lifestyles.
“The hotels all have gyms now and you get those who get up early and work out and those who get up at midday with a hangover,” he said. For his part, Dr Smith believes that he will soon be providing nutrition and fitness support to any number of musicians intent on prolonging their careers.
The late Keith Moon, whose manic performances seemed to create enough energy to power the national grid, was once Clem Burke, the veteran Blondie drummer's idol.
“These days, I say he taught me what not to do. He was very physical but he basically killed himself with excessiveness,” said Burke.
And that is why Moon is a legend, we want our Rock and Roll heroes to provide vicarious thrills for us as we lead our humdrum lives - we don't want them to be clean living gym rats - or at least I don't.
The Nitrate Scare Continues
The indispensable Christopher Booker and Richard North have written the nitrate story. The story begins with scientific advice based on the expert view, widely current twenty years ago, that nitrates used in farming and getting into the water supply would cause both a rare condition called "blue baby syndrome" and also algal blooms in estuaries. The European Commission responded by enacting 91/676 which prohibited farmers in "nitrate vulnerable zones" (NVZs) from growing certain crops or spreading muck on their fields for several months a year. This would, among other things, require the farmer to provide storage for the forbidden muck, at considerable cost. That cost was no doubt a good part of the reason why 13 out of the 15 European members have not implemented the Directive and are threatened with legal action by the Commission.
The European Court of Justice in turn came to criticise the British government for not designating enough NVZs and threatened a fine of £50 million if the Directive were not fully enforced.
Meanwhile, however, science had moved on, as science sometimes does. Nitrates were judged not actually to cause blue baby syndrome, and the algae in estuaries was attributable to phosphates rather than to nitrates - so, as I say, I gather from Christopher Booker, whose comment on the fact that the Directive remains in force is the best summary of my argument: "Once a directive is issued, it is virtually impossible to repeal."
Once a directive is issued, it is virtually impossible to repeal
No less rigid, however, is the position of the British government, which has refused to contest the Directive, as it could on the basis of the EU's 2000 water directive, which would permit Britain and other countries to cancel NVZs on health grounds, thus averting both a fine and a costly burden on farmers.
The reason Britain sticks with this absurd Directive, suggests Booker, is that in 1991, at the height of the nitrate scare, the government forced the 29 newly privatised water companies to install de-nitrification plants, which have so far cost shareholders ｣3 billion. To abandon the Directive on nitrates might thus open Defra to compensation claims.
Defra rumbles on and is extending the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones to cover 70% of the countryside, imposing costs and restrictions on farmers. They have dropped the claim now that Nitrates are bad for human health it is just a wish to provide pure water. The result will be that less food is grown at greater costs.
I'm against pollution, and polluters should pay but it should be proportionate to the harm they cause not based on some scare that was debunked many years ago.
July 21, 2008
Twinkle Twinkle Hurray!
Twinkle twinkle Northern Star - Scotsman.com News The North Star has thrown astronomers into confusion with some unexpected activity.
The star is not, it seems, quite as constant as was previously thought.
Polaris had long been known to be a Cepheid variable star, changing in brightness about every four days. But in recent decades astronomers have noticed the star's vibrations were dying away.
Now they have been stunned to discover the star seems to have come back to life again.
Dr Alan Penny from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews said: "One hundred years ago Polaris varied by 10 per cent, but over the last century the variations became smaller and smaller until ten years ago it only varied by 2 per cent.
"It was thought the structure of the star was changing to switch off the vibration. Yet the team has found that about ten years ago the vibrations started picking up and are now back up at the 4 per cent level."
"Now we know it's doing this we will watch it for another 100 years and see what it does," he said. "We have found something new that we need to understand. That means we can make progress. We are very excited when we are proved wrong."
I was going to mock his pleasure at finding work to do for the next 100 years, a good pension policy! But his proper reaction of joy at being proven wrong is so refreshing and welcome I can only share it with him.
That is how a scientist should react. - if only it was more common, in say, the climate research field.....
July 20, 2008
Kim du Toit points out:
that Britain is about to ban brooms. No, really:
I think we can all agree that this is ridiculous, and a fine example of Nanny Gummint run amok. But that’s not the real point.
Carpenters and woodworkers have been told not to use brooms to sweep up sawdust because they are considered dangerous under “ridiculous” new health and safety guidelines.
How is Cherie Blair going to get around if brooms are banned?
As Oscar said I wish I had said that...
July 18, 2008
How to live to 100 - emphasis on live
A smoker who has 10 cigars day and enjoys a whisky with his morning tea has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Since his first puff in 1917 he has smoked 153,000 cigars and 715,400 cigarettes and drunk a shot of whisky in his morning cup of tea every day since the age of 24. He has not suffered any serious health problems related to smoking or drinking.
His mother-in-law got him hooked on whisky, which he drinks without fail as soon as he gets up, before he has even had breakfast.
"She said the best thing for a woman is for her to drink whisky before she does anything, every day," he said. "I don't feel my age. I've still the mind of a young man. But if I had the company of a good woman, I'm sure I'd feel 40 years younger in a flash."
And if that story doesn't cheer you up then the door is over there....
In 1970 the average UK nine-year-old was free to wander 919 yards – a ten-minute walk – from home. By 1997, that figure was 316 yards, and by 2007, the boundary had moved to just outside the front gate – classed as a no-minute walk.
Not allowing children to indulge in unstructured "free play" could harm their ability to form social relationships and hamper their chances of boosting creativity, the report said.
Sue Palmer, Edinburgh-based education expert and author of Toxic Childhood, said children not being given the freedom to play outside alone was "one of the most worrying factors of modern life".
"The potential effects of over-protecting our children are disastrous," she said.
"They need to develop independence during their childhood. That means developing social skills, confidence, resilience and being able to cope with what life throws at you."
With the press claiming there is a pædo round every corner middle class parents are over reacting, leaving the streets free for the feral kids from the underclass. And so the spiral descends. If kids can't wander down the street at the age of nine no wonder they never grow up, acting as teenagers until they are thirty in their jeans and trainers going from one drossy course at a drossy "university" to the next whilst sponging off the state and their parents.
July 15, 2008
Reasons to slap a steak on the BBQ - No.94
Research showed that last year, one in 20 would-be donors were unable to give blood because the haemoglobin in their samples were too low.
"If you are rustling up a barbecue, remember to pick foods which are iron rich in order to keep your blood healthy.
"Meat such as lamb and beef are perfect for barbecuing and contain lots of iron.
July 14, 2008
The Olympics Kill Santa
China has cracked down on foreign visitors lest they disrupt the Olympics. Indeed, the West faces a shortage of kitsch this Christmas because the bulk of its decorations and many of the cheap toys exported from China are bought in Yiwu, and unless orders are placed very soon it will be too late.
As much as hate the pink fluffy tat that fills The Castle it makes the Englishettes happy at not too heavy a cost to my threadbare wallet. Unlike the fascist celebration of drugs and freaks that will pollute our airwaves at some stage this summer.
July 11, 2008
Gov wants Yoof views on ID Cards - why don't you pop over and help them out...
ID Cards - mylifemyid
Welcome to mylifemyid - the site where 16-25's can have their say about identity issues in the UK. A few simple things to remember:
* We want to know what you think, so contribute contribute contribute. Don’t be shy..
......;You are not eligible to vote in this poll...
I wonder what if I try to register and say I'm twenty...
....Great. I'm pleased to say that you qualify to take part in the research.
And they have a forum as well! - let's see my user name is "The Englishman" and my password is "harry" - I shouldn't forget them now...
(Sometimes I'm not sure they really have a clue about verifying and securing IDs...)
July 7, 2008
Glamourising Smoking - the naughty Internet
In its report, ‘Forever Cool’, the BMA challenges the UK Governments to demonstrate their commitment to protecting children’s health by introducing policies that will help reduce smoking prevalence with the aim of making the UK tobacco-free by 2035.
The proposals include calling on film censors to take pro-smoking content into account when classifying films and introducing laws so that all films and TV programmes which portray positive images of smoking are preceded by an anti-smoking advert.
The BMA report shows that despite some of the most restrictive tobacco legislation in the world, young people in the UK are still exposed to creative marketing strategies such as elaborate point-of-sale displays, attractive pack designs and evocative brand imagery – all this serves to reinforce the habit as being ‘forever cool’. There is also very little regulation of the internet which is commonly used by young people....
- Ooops I'm supposed to be regulated by the quacks, "for the childrens sake" (tm)
5.1 Limiting pro-smoking imagery in entertainment media
The evidence base shows clearly that smoking in films is widespread, promulgates a misleadingly positive conception of tobacco use and encourages youth smoking. The research base is less well established for other media, but the precautionary principle compels us to assume that depictions on television and the internet and in magazines will also be influencing young people.
..The internet raises particular concerns in this respect due to the difficulty in regulating the content of websites. There is clear evidence that pro-smoking imagery is very extensive on the internet, and is frequently linked to tobacco purchase opportunities, sex and excitement. This material, including social networking sites and user-generated video sites, is so pro-smoking that senior figures in tobacco control have suggested that the tobacco industry may be behind it.
Sound familiar? No evidence so invoke the "precautionary principle" and use activist smears as evidence that evil multinationals are behind it all. But luckily there is some good news....
The advertising of tobacco products on websites is prohibited by EU directive 2003/33/EC which bans the advertising of tobacco on websites, except for the sole purpose of business-to-business promotion.
July 4, 2008
Don't take more water with it.
People carry bottles of water everywhere, sipping from them continually. We’ve become obsessed with our pee. More incredibly, so have our employers....companies offer water points, send emails to coax workers to drink water, distribute water bottles, and post pee charts in the bathrooms to check the color of workers’ urine. Yes, pee charts. Bosses actually think it’s their business what you do in the privacy of the bathroom. Don’t laugh,
Companies have made workers’ bathroom business their business. Drinking 8 (8 ounce) glasses of water — known as 8x8 — has become a key part of preventive health and workplace wellness programs. Like many other aspects of these wellness programs, their claims to prevent chronic diseases and promote optimum wellness have little credible scientific support.
But how many people know that the roots of this adage aren’t in science, but vitalism and nostrum remediums? How many know that after centuries, there’s still no medical evidence for the belief that normal, healthy people all need to be concerned about drinking more water?
As ever Sandy does a sterling job demolishing the myths - read the rest so you can giggle at those poor saps who can't walk 200 yards up the street without rehydration, I actually think the constant sucking at "sports" bottle is a dummy (or pacifier) substitute as they have failed to grow up.
(As a note as we don't talk about 8oz glasses over here I had never heard of the 8x8 campaign, I suppose we are lucky it hasn't gone metric and called the 275x275 rule, encouraging us to drink 275 275millilubes (or whatever the metric for 8oz is) a day.
July 3, 2008
The NHS in Scotland - Labour celebrates the waste
A LUCRATIVE new contract for Scottish GPs that gave them a 38 per cent pay rise over three years has failed to reduce health inequalities or improve access for patients.Proud of the NHS at 60: new Labour for Scotland
A damning report today reveals there has been only limited progress for patients in several key areas – despite the contract costing £160 million more than anticipated.
Our National Health Service is 60 years old on 5 July 2008, so let’s celebrate one of Britain’s most treasured institutions, that’s touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Thanks a million
June 30, 2008
82% think the NHS wastes a fair amount, or more, of money.
Barely one in five people believe the Labour party will deliver a better health service over the next ten years, the You Gov poll shows.
The Prime Minister hopes Lord Darzi's package of reforms will transform Labour's fortunes and restore the party's reputation as guardians of the NHS on its 60th anniversary.
The results of the poll show he Tories have a clear lead on health policy with 31 per cent of people saying they would do a better job of running the health service, compared to 23 per cent who think Labour would deliver on the NHS.
Sixty-nine per cent of people said reorganising the NHS is more important than spending more on it, up from 38 per cent in 1998. Only 24 per cent now want more spent on health, down from 59 per cent a decade ago.
Seventy-eight per cent of voters believe the NHS has too many managers.
And despite the billions Labour has poured into health, the new poll shows that public satisfaction with the NHS is dropping.
Some 44 per cent of people said they think "a great deal" of money is being wasted in the NHS. Another 38 per cent said a "fair amount" is wasted.
People have seen through the NHS scam, its the beginning of the end. It is a shame the Tories don't recognise that.
June 29, 2008
Bootleggers on the Scottish Border
Asda chiefs said there was "nothing to stop" them – and other supermarkets – building new warehouses in northern England and transporting alcohol ordered on the web direct to homes in Scotland.
Asda is the first of the big four supermarkets to break its silence over the SNP plans, announced two weeks ago, which include measures to raise the drinking age in off-sales to 21, and to set a minimum price on all alcohol, with each unit being sold at no less than 35p.
Rob Chester, head of licensing at Asda, said: "There is nothing to stop companies looking at expanding their home shopping network or opening up depots just south of the border and delivering to homes in Scotland."
Paul Kelly, the store's corporate affairs director, added: "The big point here is that these measures will actually hurt the poorest.
"Low income Scottish consumers will pay for this. These plans could create two classes of customer: some who are reliant on the local supermarket because they use cash and others who will get deals over the internet."
He added: "The well-off person in Bearsden will be OK. But a poor family in Dundee will pay. It is about a £10,000 a year person being punished for wanting to have a drink at the end of a week. That is the unintended consequence of what is being proposed."
"Unintended consequence"? I'm not so sure. Nanny always bullies the weakest first.
June 25, 2008
Wanted Dead or Alive
Police have defended the issue of a photofit of a suspected robber which does not show his face.
Detectives are hoping to capture a villain who robbed a 98-year-old woman of her life savings.
Scum, the photofit looks reasonable enough to me, anyone who looks like it should be shot on sight. No point in taking any chances.
June 23, 2008
You say Potato, I say Potatosaurus
Azmina Govindji, from the British Dietetic Association, said many people considered potatoes to be a vegetable...More than a third of those asked said that they believed that a baked potato counted as a portion of vegetables. Another five per cent identified chips as a vegetable.
Silly old me, of course potatoes aren't vegetables, they are animals.
June 19, 2008
Real Rockers Drive Jags
Troubled rocker Pete Doherty spends almost £100 filling up his gas-guzzling 3.6litre XJ6 Sovereign, which does just 20 miles to the gallon.
And he pays another £180-a-year on the ageing motor's road tax, and an estimated £100-per-year on engine oil.
Today a pal revealed Doherty was ''p*ssed'' about the cost of fuel, but said he refuses to buy a more economical car.
"Pete isn't really the sort of person you'd expect to drive a hybrid-type car - he's a wild man of rock, after all.''
How unlike Coldplay's Chris Martin! How refreshing in this sanctimonious world.
June 16, 2008
Filthy Hospitals - No Change There
More than a quarter of health trusts in England are failing to meet basic hygiene standards, official figures show today.
The Healthcare Commission reports that no improvement has been made on a year ago.
In total, 103 out of 391 trusts admitted they did not achieve the minimum requirements, brought in by the Government to help combat the hospital superbugs, MRSA and Clostridium difficile.
More than 8,000 deaths were related to MRSA and C. diff.
Still the good news from the figures is that 93.2% do comply with the requirement to "challenge discrimination, promote equality and respect human rights."
And over in the private sector you can look up the MRSA and Clostridium difficile infection rates as well - and as far as I can see they are both a big round zero for 2007 - and they even give handy hints as how they achieve it. May I suggest someone from the NHS reads them. MRSA Info Clostridium difficile Info
June 15, 2008
Rubbish News - Resistance To The New Regime Will Be Crushed In The German Way
The fines could be levied on anybody who bars entry to their property or obstructs a town hall official, or who "fails or refuses to provide facilities or assistance or any information".
Guidance sent out by the House of Commons Library in April states that the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act and the 2005 Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act allow inspectors to enter premises. The guidance adds: "This legislation may give authorities the ability to look through people's bins to investigate an environmental offence."
Obstructing such inspections risks a criminal record and a fine "not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale" – currently £5,000.
Separate documentation uncovered by the Conservatives has established that householders can face fines of up to £1,000 if they put out rubbish at the wrong time; put waste into the wrong type of bin; leave rubbish outside a wheelie bin; fail to close the lid on the bin; or put the bin in the wrong place.
Cuts to weekly bin collections have boosted vermin to levels last seen in the Victorian era and raised serious health risks, the pest control industry has warned.
Rat, mouse, fox and cockroach numbers are reaching record levels, while bins are becoming infested with maggots as rubbish stands for longer in hot weather.
The introduction of fortnightly bin collections by hundreds of councils has seen pest control call-outs soar, while Jeyes, the manufacturer of the disinfectant used in First World War trenches, said sales had risen by 82 per cent since the change as people tried to rid their bins of maggots.
The increasing infestation rates are putting families at risk of infections such as salmonella, E-coli and hookworm, say specialists.
Monthly collections were "inevitable" as the rate of recycling increased, said Phillip Ward, the head of waste programmes at the government-funded Waste Resources Action Programme (Wrap)...
Mr Ward said: "People don't like change so there will be resistance. But they will get used to it and we will eventually catch up with countries like Germany."
Advisory - Used hempen rope cannot be put in the green recycling bin as it has been in contact with vermin, it should be placed in th brown bin.
Too Young To Drink - Old Enough to Vote SNP
UNDER 21s will be banned from buying alcohol at supermarkets and off licences under a controversial plan to shake-up Scotland's drink laws.
Over-18s will still be allowed to drink in pubs and bars but ministers are said to be insistent on the need for radical reform of off-sales, arguing that "enough is enough" in the battle to bring an end to Scotland's "booze culture".
Along with the increase in the age limit, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill will also propose setting minimum prices for alcohol and banning three-for-two and buy-one-get-one-free deals.
Let's just cut to the chase and introduce ration cards for alcohol only redeemable at government shops, and why stop there? Do the same for chips and cakes and anything else.
But if the SNP don't trust young people to buy a can of cooking lager why do they trust them vote?
"While 16-year-olds can pay taxes, get married or serve in the armed forces, they effectively have to bite their lip when it comes to decisions that will affect them.
"At the very point that society expects young people to assume many of the responsibilities that come with adulthood, it is only right they also get the right to vote.
"That is why I am happy to announce the Scottish government's support for reducing the voting age to 16.
June 13, 2008
Why No Bansturbation Over Nipple Rings?
The rising popularity of body piercing could "place a significant burden on health services for many years," a public health official has warned.
According research by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), one in three young people aged 16-24 have experienced medical complications as a result of having a part of their body pierced.
One per cent of all piercings have resulted in a hospital admission.
As much as a tenth of the adult population has been pierced somewhere other than their ear lobe, according to the survey.
Nipples were the most popular spot for men, who were also twice as likely as women to opt for genital piercing.
The most common complications were swelling, infection and bleeding with almost half of tongue piercings causing problems - the worst record by far.
Urgh, I have no idea why people want to put nails through their bodies, though I understand that the stud in the tongue indicates the inclination to provide extra pleasure in certain ways; and of course a Prince Albert is simply a sensible restraining strap for those who wear tight cavalry trousers, and don't wish to offend the ladies (or so his highness claimed).
And frankly if what people want to do with their own bodies, however much it revolts me, is non of my damned business. But with the health fascists clammering for bans on anything potentially harmful why do piercings get a free ride? What have they got that conker trees don't?
June 11, 2008
Dancing round swords and bans
The Ghillie Callum, or sword dance as it is better known, has now been defeated by red tape, according to dance judges who have cancelled its performance at a Highland games, claiming a licence is now required to "transport a dangerous weapon"...
However, it would appear that the judges, who did not wish to be named, or quoted, are mistaken. The Scottish Government, under the Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Act 2007, plans to establish a scheme for the licensing of knife-dealers with a view to restricting the sale, hire, lending or giving of swords and bladed weapons.
But the act is not yet in force and will have specific caveats to protect the use of swords for religious or cultural reasons. A Scottish Government spokesman said: "When we do bring forward restrictions on swords, the legislation allows defences for religious, cultural and sporting purposes among others."
I have a feeling they can thank our brother Sikhs and their duty to carry a kirpan for the caveats rather than the ancient traditions of the Scotch with their predilection for swords, dirks and skean dhus
June 10, 2008
Drugs Kill People - Including British Squaddies in the Futile War Against Drugs
The private warning from UK diplomats emerged as Gordon Brown insisted that British troops would stay in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future despite the UK death toll in the country reaching 100....
"I have said that Afghanistan is the noble cause of the 21st century and I passionately believe that," Des Browne, the Defence Secretary told BBC radio.
We come armed to destroy their traditional livelihoods and wonder why they fight back..
June 6, 2008
Ἐν οἴνῳ ἀλήθεια as the Greeks said
RED wine may be the next best thing to the fabled elixir of youth, new research suggests.
A compound in the skin of red grapes has been found to curb the effects of ageing, even when taken in tiny doses.
...Whether or not resveratrol can extend lifespan will require further study, say the authors.
I bet it does, I'd volunteer to help but I don't like the sound of the phrase "tiny doses".
June 4, 2008
Choosing Porridge As The Soft Option
Tens of thousands of prisoners are opting not to apply for early release amid allegations that Britain's prisons are now so comfortable that they are effectively "expensive bed and breakfasts".
The figures were released on Tuesday by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, who also disclosed that dozens of people have been caught trying to break into prisons over the past few years....
Between 2003 and 2008, 42 individuals were detected attempting to break into prisons. The number of prison break-ins has increased from five in 2003-04 to 19 over the past year. Most were people breaking into open prisons...
Glyn Travis, the assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers' Association, said: "It tells me there's something wrong in society when people are breaking into prisons to bring in drugs, but the prisoners are quite happy to stay inside."
Inmates at a top security prison recently told Mr Straw that conditions there were like a "holiday camp".
"Prisoners receive a wage for being in prison, they receive a bed, a TV in all cells, Sky television in most areas for recreational use, free telephones, breakfast in bed on many occasions, cash bonuses for good behaviour," said Mr Travis. "And prison staff are forced to deal with them in such a subservient way. It's ridiculous."
Prison only works if people don't want to go there more than they want to commit a crime. You can reduce the latter a bit by teaching them basketweaving, or what ever, but facing a realistic chance of being banged up somewhere unpleasant is the real crime preventer.
June 3, 2008
I have an idea how to cut waste
Residents moving into new homes in South Cambridgeshire are told they have to pay for one green recycling bin and one black rubbish bin, which cost ｣60 each.
Some people felt the price was too high and bought cheaper bins on the internet from a firm in Germany.
However, when the council learned of the purchases, the residents were told the German bins would not be emptied. One of the residents has reported the council to the European Commission for blocking trade...
Sue Ellington, who is in charge of environmental services, said the charge was to recoup some of the cost of supplying bins to new homes, which amounts to between £40 and £60 per bin.
She said: "It's not a stealth tax. We're trying to get people to cut waste.
"Controlling the supply of bins helps do that."
No, it just encourages fly tipping - councils were given the responsibility to collect rubbish because of public health, not to make money, not to impose a green ideology but to ensure as a public good that waste was dealt with correctly.
June 2, 2008
Stiff Upper Lip - that's the way.
Britain's traditional stiff upper lip may be a better strategy for dealing with shock than letting your feelings spill out, a new study claims.
The popular assumption is that talking about a terrifying experience, such as a terrorist attack or natural disaster, can be therapeutic and helpful.
But new evidence suggests "getting it off your chest" may not be the right thing to do....dividuals who bottled up their feelings ended up better off. They suffered fewer negative mental and physical health symptoms than people who were willing to talk.
The results have important implications for expectations about how people should react to collective trauma that affects a whole community or nation, said the researchers.
It also called into question the pleas made to people caught up in shocking events to come forward and "open up".
Thank God for that, especially if it means they stop doing it on television so we can "share the pain". Though I suppose there will be Stress Experts all over the airwaves this morning earning a crust by sharing the pain of being found out that they are just bloody nuisances.
June 1, 2008
Ironing on Ice - Not for Dope Heads
IT IS among the most unlikely of sports to have a brush with drug-related controversy.
Over the centuries, curling has developed a reputation for being a genteel game played by middle-aged couples. But, in a move that has raised eyebrows at bonspiels, Scotland's curlers are facing random dope tests....
"I'm sure a lot of people will think: 'Why would anyone try to use drugs to cheat at curling?' But we can't afford to be complacent. We are taking this very seriously."
Unlike us southerners watching it on the telly, you couldn't watch it sober, could you?
Rubbish Cover Up
Ministers tried to cover up a Government-funded report which linked fortnightly rubbish collections with an increased health risk from rats, flies and seagulls, The Sunday Telegraph has established.
The report found that ending weekly collections would "significantly alter the pest infestation rates and hence the disease transmission at source", while vermin and insects could be "encouraged into the home environment".
However, the Government kept the £27,000 study, by the Central Science Laboratory, under wraps and ministers were only forced to release it when the Conservatives tabled a series of parliamentary questions.
In June 2007, Ben Bradshaw, then an environment minister, claimed there was "no evidence in published studies" to indicate a link between cutting collections and increased risks to health.
Do you see what he did there? He didn't publish the report so there was no "published study". Benny Boy wasn't lying you see but you might think he was misleading Parliament...
May 31, 2008
Dim Prawnarolo bansturbation
Distinctive packaging for cigarettes may be replaced by plain black and white lettering under Government plans to reduce smoking, it has been announced.
A red packet of Marlboro or a gold Benson and Hedges wrapping could become a thing of the past after research showed children easily identify brands and link smoking to being "cool".
The new consultation, launched to mark World Tobacco Day, also includes banning the advertising of cigarette papers and other smoking "paraphernalia".
Dawn Primarolo, the public health minister, said: "Protecting children from smoking is a government priority and taking away temptation is one way to do this.
"If banning brightly coloured packets...helps save lives, then that is what we should do."
Treat the whole populace as kiddies who can't resist bright shiny things, condescending cow!
Plod, common sense not targets!
Officers are having to put Home Office targets before serving the public and are becoming increasingly alienated from ordinary people as a result...
A leading police chief has given notice his force would not pursue "misleading" Whitehall targets, but allow officers to better prioritise their time.
In a move which is apparently backed by three other constabularies, the head of Surrey Police said he wanted to return to "common sense policing".
Acting chief constable Mark Rowley admitted that his force - currently joint top of the police force league table - would slide down the rankings as a result.
But he said it was not always "sensible" to spend time recording, or issuing penalty notices for the most minor offences.
Instead a return to "common sense" and "discretion" for officers was required he said.
"Quite simply, local people's safety, confidence in police and their satisfaction when they call us for help are more important than misleading targets," he said.
Is the tide turning at last?
May 28, 2008
Not a real University bans university tradition for Health and Safety
A university has asked students to refrain from throwing their mortar board hats in the air to celebrate graduation in case someone gets hurt.
Anglia Ruskin University formerly Anglia Polytechnic... that explains it....
May 27, 2008
Knife Ban and Cricket Bats
Eight years ago a councillor was killed by a man wielding a samurai sword in the office of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones.
Anyone found guilty of importing samurai swords will face up to seven years in prison and an unlimited fine.
With calls for the law to be extended to banning knives ever more vocal it is worth remembering that it has been said before that it isn't the knives and swords that are the problem and the logical progression is to call for the banning of cricket bats...
An illegal immigrant beat a student to death with a cricket bat in an apparently motiveless attack
I note I have previously postedThe Official Explanation of the Ordinance against the Possession of Weapons:; still chilling reading explaining why it is important to the state to disarm the people..
May 26, 2008
A little piece of old England and if we are not careful we will lose all our rights
Bunting that has fluttered above visitors to a village festival for the past 43 years has been taken down because of "ludicrous" health and safety fears... Old black and white photographs, thought to date back decades, show union flag bunting strung above dozens of villagers marching proudly through the village.
Another, taken on June 9 1907, shows a marching band standing beneath bunting hanging between two buildings....
Leigh Trevitt, 40, a parish councillor who has lived in Hatfield Broad Oak for 15 years said the whole village was furious about the lack of bunting.
Mr Trevitt, the director of a paper company, said: "We use common sense when we put up the bunting. Of course we are concerned about safety, but there has never been any accidents. We are talking about a piece of string with flags on it, nothing heavy, it's ludicrous.
"Our village is a little piece of old England and if we are not careful we will lose all our rights."
May 25, 2008
A MULTIMILLION pound scheme has been launched to halt serious alcohol problems before they take hold in drinkers who are unaware they are exceeding safe limits.
Doctors, nurses and dentists across Scotland will be trained to quiz thousands of patients about their drinking habits and offer counselling to those breaching safe levels.
Women who regularly drink more than three units a day and men who drink more than five will be subjected to a 'brief intervention', where NHS staff will warn them about the dangers of alcohol, ask them to cut back on their drinking and tell them to return for a follow-up appointment...
Despite it emerging last year that guidelines on safe alcohol consumption are not based on clear evidence, the strategy is using the 1987 figures because no credible alternative has been provided by researchers....
Health boards have a target of offering up to 150,000 Scots identified as 'hazardous drinkers' help ranging from leaflets and guidance to extensive counselling...... Paying GPs up to £200 a patient to carry out brief interventions and monitor progress;
Health boards are expected to meet targets in line with other responsibilities and will be accountable to the Scottish Government if they fail..
Incentives matter! Looks like the Doc will soon find enough patients to justify £200 in the back pocket and the bureaucrats will fulfill their target - that is what really matters! Maybe they should start cutting down on targets, istead of four a day get it down to one or two, and then try to go cold turkey and spend a whole week without reaching for a target....
A former paratrooper who had a sex-change operation has won a £250,000 payout for hurt feelings after being ordered to wear a man’s army uniform.
Jan Hamilton, formerly Captain Ian Hamilton, was awarded the sum by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in an out-of-court settlement after claiming that she was humiliated by the order.
The size of the payout will outrage veterans who have received far lower awards for being injured in the line of duty. Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, 23, who lost both legs and suffered brain damage after triggering a Taliban landmine was initially offered £152,000. Although described by doctors as the worst injured soldier ever to survive, the MoD only raised his payout to £285,000 after a campaign from soldiers’ families.
According to current MoD settlements soldiers receive £57,000 for the loss of a leg and £285,000 for the loss of both arms or legs.
Yesterday Hamilton said she was happy with the settlement. Of the payouts to other soldiers, she said: “I count my blessings I came home in one piece. My thoughts go out to anyone serving out there in a uniform.”
I bet they do, Love....
May 23, 2008
Recycling Bins too Dangerous for Refuse Operatives.
Thousands of residents are being told to help empty their own wheelie bins because they pose a potential health hazard for binmen.
Council officials...claim that the bins are at an "awkward height", making it difficult for binmen to remove the containers – for cans and glass - without a risk of strain and injury.
However, residents say the request is disgusting, asking why they should have to lift containers deemed too heavy for manual workers.....
Julie Ward, 40, a resident from Cross Hills, North Yorks, said: "When I think about it, I crack up laughing. The binmen are being lazy. It's just so annoying that we've got to start doing half their job for them."
Jean Ainsworth, 80, added: "I only put the rubbish out once a month because the pods are too heavy for me. It makes me wonder what I'm paying council tax for."
May 22, 2008
Yates's Wine Bar
HE WAS the government adviser on alcohol abuse who couldn't say when. Paul Yates is used to lecturing on the dangers of drunkenness, but yesterday the academic heard a sheriff cast doubt on his testimony and so found him guilty of twice drink-driving.
Do as I say etc....
I only feature this story because I wanted to use the headline - tsk to the sub editors for failing to do so, at least they managed to use Act now to save drama school
May 20, 2008
When the state fails to protect us
Daniel Sweeney had the misfortune to be confronted by a self-professed thug who had been out of control since the age of 11, when he first carried out a frenzied stabbing...
Cornelius first hit the headlines in October 2000, when, as an 11-year-old, he carried out a knife attack on a girl of nine.
He abducted the girl from her grandmother's house, stabbed her eight times – narrowly missing the artery in her throat – and left her for dead near the Fountain Park leisure complex in Edinburgh.
He was not prosecuted for attempted murder because he was shown to have a mental age of less than eight, the age of criminal responsibility.
Cornelius was dealt with at a children's panel hearing and ordered to spend 17 months in secure accommodation.
However, he was released after only eight months,....
If the State won't protect us from these thugs, then the bargain that we forswear our rights to self defence in return for its protection is broken.
May 16, 2008
Health and Safety Advice - "tuck the thin leather strap up inside the helmet"
Police officers have been ordered not to wear the chin straps of their traditional Custodian helmets because too many wear them "inappropriately" on their bottom lip.
West Midlands Police chiefs sent an email to all male officers after reports that some were balancing the thin leather straps on their mouths or pretending they were "some form of fashion accessory".
The officers were told to "tuck the thin leather strap up inside the helmet", or face disciplinary procedures.
Stuart Hyde, an assistant chief constable, said the decision was made only after taking "independent health and safety advice"...
At least it will make it easier to knock off a Policeman's helmet on Boat Race night....
May 12, 2008
Caring for the wounded
Despite assurances from ministers and hospital managers that the care for servicemen at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, was now excellent, Capt Martin Hewitt said the "truth" about the continued poor care for troops had to be exposed as it was "unacceptable".
I think I tend to believe him rather than the ministers.....
May 9, 2008
If you go down to the woods tonight.
A police force has admitted it is powerless to break up illegal raves - because it is too dark when they are in full swing.
Chief Supt Ellis told the meeting: "We will wait until daylight hours for reasons of health and safety before making interventions."
Scary going into the woods at night, can't do that; not with motorists to catch, we can do that as we munch donuts sitting in our nice warm cars....
May 5, 2008
How not to sell books
The booksfromscotland.com site was launched in December 2005 with £100,000 from the Scottish Arts Council. It was billed as a "one-stop shop" for Scottish writing.
And this week its owner, Publishing Scotland, saw its SAC annual grant increased from about £200,000 to £260,000 for "further development" of the site.
But The Scotsman has learned that despite its reported target to sell 15,000 books annually, the site has sold books at only a fifth of that rate.
£260,000 to sell 3,000 books? Marketing costs of £87 per book? And this is only for the website! Haven't they heard of Amazon north of the border - or even Borders north of the border? A cynic might suggest that this shows the difference between private enterprise and suckling on the public teat.
May 2, 2008
Save the Game
For many fans and players the 'trial' of the ELVs next season is a betrayal of the game they hold dear. Some of the of more contentious changes have been dropped, but the new laws fundamentally change the game we have played and watched from childhood. The reason is TV money...
I propose that a mass demonstration to the ELV is staged on September 13th, 2008...
April 30, 2008
RESIDENTS of the Greek island of Lesbos have launched a legal case against a gay group, insisting they are the real Lesbians.
Two inhabitants of the island of Lesbos along with a member of a nationalist pagan association today launched a legal case to ban the Greek Gay and Lesbian Union (OLKE) from bearing the name "lesbian".
Lesbos was the home of the poet Sappho, who expressed her love of other women in lyric verses written in the early sixth century BC.
Lesbos residents now suffer "psychological and moral rape" from the "seizure" of their island's name by gays, said the activist Dimitris Lambrou, in a text titled The Misfortune of Being Lesbian, published on his website.
I can here the arguments now.
"GIs (geographical indication of origin) inform consumers that a product has been produced in a particular place and that it benefits from certain characteristics peculiar to that place. In the sense that GIs operate to restrict who can use them, GIs are similar to trademarks.
Place names that could become GIs are in fact prohibited from being registered as trademarks (as per Article 3(1)(c) of Directive 89/104/EEC).
The global framework for the protection of GIs is laid down by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which requires member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to legislate for their protection. Within the European Union, GIs are governed by EC Regulation 2081/92 (the GI Regulation). This divides GIs into protected geographical indications (PGIs) and protected designations of origin (PDOs).
Look is it coz you're a Lesbian you won't sleep with me or just you don't fancy me?"
April 22, 2008
Local police commanders are to decide who has priority for mobile phone network access in the event of a disaster such as the 7/7 London bombings.
Under the Mobile Telephone Privileged Access Scheme (MTPAS) priority can only be activated by the police’s “gold commander” – the person who co-ordinates incident response.
Previously, privileged access was controlled centrally from the Cabinet Office. The new system is designed to provide a more agile response, according to Nigel Brown, head of resilient communications in the Cabinet Office.
“We want to help our responding community to have the best access they can,” he said.
Oh yes, "community" - what you mean is "Officials", the community will have to go fend for themselves as the prioritising and evaluating teams congregate and conduct evaluations before acting, without the annoying populace getting in the way by self organising and responding..
The Olympic sport of lying and squandering
It soared from £4billion to £9.3billion, but a Commons report unearthed further bills of £3billion.
They include £2billion for “staging costs” – like hiring venues such as Wimbledon and Wembley and paying staff – plus the £650million cost of buying the Olympic Park land, says the Public Accounts committee.
Olympics minister Tessa Jowell said: “We are financially on track.”
Yep, on track for £20billion plus..
April 20, 2008
Liz Hurley's unmitigated hell
Ship shape: Liz Hurley is back in her bikini - Times Online
“Shooting bikinis is now my life, which, as you can imagine, is unmitigated hell,” she says, in her golly-gosh diction, which is peppered with words like “unpleasant-making” and “jolly”. “I can’t think of anything worse in the world than another bikini shoot – and I’ve got two next month. It’s unbearable, and I bring it all on myself. I’ve got nobody else to blame. It’s literallah torture.
Grin and bare it old girl, it is a public service you are doing
April 19, 2008
The Telegraph tries to unspin some old wives' tales and so does The Times....
Good to see The Times giving a little space to debunking myths about diets and cholesterol, breast examination and so on, and even the dangers of sex....
Research shows that the chances of a 50-year-old non-smoking male suffering a heart attack is about one in a million in any hour. Having sex increases these odds to two in a million, but doubling a barely existent risk means that risk is still negligible.
Any related myths? That sex is a form of exercise. In fact, it equates only to climbing two flights of stairs.
Two flights of stairs? I must be doing it wrong, I prefer to take the lift anyway....
April 18, 2008
And they sneer at McDonald Degrees, let's have more graduates who are trained to deliver that level of customer satisfaction.
One blogger tells us more than 403 MSM outlets
Does a single drink a day really raise a woman’s risk for breast cancers? That’s what 403 media stories (and counting) have been reporting, based on a new study said to be “the largest of its kind.” But not all studies reported in the news are worth taking seriously or let worry us. Here’s why this one shouldn’t have even registered on our radar....
Sandy as ever does the hard lifting on this story, unlike the credulous newspapers who lazily just rewrite a press release...
...this paper came with a press release. Science doesn’t issue press releases. Marketing departments do that.... it was released directly to the media. It bypassed the scientific community altogether, as well as any expert critical analysis......this study was not even published... anywhere. It was presented at a meeting. It hasn’t been peer-reviewed, nor is the study available for healthcare professionals to evaluate its methodology or findings for themselves. .... it was a data dredge looking for correlations, the associations found must be tenable — above random chance or computer modeling error — meaning, at least several times over null. In this case, they were unable to find a single genuine correlation. According to the press release, one drink/day was associated with a 7% increase in relative risk for developing this type of breast cancer over 7 years. Three drinks was associated with a 51% higher relative risk compared to nondrinkers. Nowhere close to viable links. This study was a nonfinding....Not only were the authors unable to find a viable correlation, even using poor-quality data, we have no information on if they even adjusted for the other factors that might play a role in explaining this correlation.....There was simply no credible evidence presented to base any fears or make any reasonable conclusions.....
Is there a body of research giving us reason to fear that moderate alcohol consumption increases our risks for breast cancer or premature death? Far from it.... no meaningful association between alcohol (or any food) and incidences of 17 cancers....
The strongest evidence we do have is of marketing. Epidemiological correlations are most readily misused for marketing because statistical associations can be, and have been, drummed up to implicate virtually any and every aspect of our diets and lifestyles with some deadly disease. Epidemiological correlations have been twisted into causations and used to convince us that health is a matter of personal responsibility under our control, and to blame people’s “bad” behavior for any health problems they develop
A call to arms against the miserablists.
European Union and United Nations officials are plotting to make drinking as socially unacceptable as smoking.
Hectoring campaigns over “passive smoking” are credited for Europe’s almost total smoking ban. Now alcohol is in the sights of the public health miserablists and they have invented the concept of "passive drinking" as their killer argument.....
The link made by between alcohol and crime today, whether violence or child abuse or other social ills, follows not from hard facts but from an outlook that sees human characteristics as damaging in general. And if human beings, particularly when under the influence of stimulants, are destructive, then, the argument goes, social intervention must follow. The idea that almost any activity – drinking, eating, speaking, even thinking – can cause harm is often blown out of proportion and used to generate frightening figures and policies.
The sheer absurdity of the idea of “passive drinking” would be funny if the public health lobby was not so powerful and unpleasant. I found that in a twist of irony, probably lost on po-faced public health types, that the expression "passive drinking" seems to have originated as a spoof in two Peter Simple columns in the Daily Telegraph....
It is no longer a joke or satire – do read more here on Spiked. We need to stand up to these people.
April 13, 2008
Brief Encounter with Health and Safety
When Michael Leventhal, a London publisher, wanted to impress his date on her birthday, the longest champagne bar in Europe at the new St Pancras station seemed to be the perfect setting.
Leventhal asked whether he could bring a candle and have it surreptitiously placed on a cake, brought to the bar and presented to his companion when she was least expecting it.
In its 140-year history, St Pancras has survived steam trains, bombing raids and a massive electrification programme - but a candle was too much. Leventhal was baffled to be told that a full risk assessment of the 4in children’s candle would have to be made before it could be allowed on the premises....
Leventhal was shocked by the response - not least because St Pancras was built at the height of the steam age when blazing furnaces filled the station every day....If permission had been granted, a spokesman said, a fire extinguisher would have had to be on stand-by in case the candle burnt out of control.
The date, in February, went ahead but without the cake and candle. The couple found themselves in an empty bar staring at a parked Eurostar. She is no longer in contact with him.
They could make it into a film...
April 2, 2008
Italian efficiency to the rescue of Terminal 5
British Airways is sending thousands of suitcases by lorry to a warehouse in Milan because its staff at Heathrow are unable to cope with the backlog of at least 20,000 bags
Oh, I am looking forward to the Olympics, are we sure it isn't too late to let Paris have them?
March 31, 2008
Who said Formula One was boring?
At one point the wrinkled 67-year-old—who publicly likes to give the impression he has put his father's evil legacy behind him—yells "she needs more of ze punishment!" while brandishing a LEATHER STRAP over a brunette's naked bottom.
Then the lashes rain down as Mosley counts them out in German: "Eins! Zwei! Drei! Vier! Fünf! Sechs!"
67 years old, and still at it! There is hope for us all yet.
Murder Map of Old London Town
I An Englishman's Castle: Murder she wrote I complained that The Telegraph hadn't produced a decent map showing the murder concentration in London. Very clever reader Tim A has done so and you can Download the kml file here.
Carry On Sausage
No - I'm not even going there... My friend Mr FM has texted me that he is still in San Francisco, though without revealing if he still has flowers in his hair, so I will leave those jokes to him.
March 30, 2008
Murder she wrote
All they have done is stick pins in the map to show where the boroughs are, what they need is a map which shows density of murders byt different size circles, numbers of corpses or what ever. The information is all there waiting for someone to produce it...
As The Telegraph notes:..statistics compiled by the Metropolitan Police Service revealed that more than half of murder victims in the capital last year were from ethnic minority groups....The murder rates, when mapped out, reveal that a large number of homicides take place in socially deprived neighbourhoods.
The middle-class enclaves of Harrow, Richmond, Merton, and Kensington and Chelsea, did not witness any murders last year.
Baltimore can do it - why can't we?
UPDATE: Very clever reader Tim A has done so and you can Download the kml file here.
March 27, 2008
But would Douglas Bader have worn one?
The Royal Air Force is celebrating its 90th anniversary with the launch of a "show-stopping" diamante-encrusted bikini..
The RAF Collection website, which sells the bikini online, describes it as a "show-stopping bikini (which) will make anyone's head turn, yet which is distinctly tasteful and flattering to the figure". The garment is also available through mail order.
The RAF advanced into new territory with the launch of a new leisurewear fashion range a year ago, when another bikini, decorated with a pink and blue version of the RAF roundel, was launched.
I've always said there is something a little odd about the crabs...
March 24, 2008
DNA fairy stories
A new DNA technology hailed as having the potential to solve thousands of murders, rapes and other serious crimes could lead to innocent people being convicted, one of Britain’s most respected forensic scientists has warned.
DNAboost, a computer software program that unravels DNA samples where a surface or material has been touched by more than one person, should be subject to widespread testing among the scientific community before it is introduced for use by police across Britain, according to Professor Allan Jamieson, director of the Forensic Institute in Glasgow. His concerns about another method of DNA detection, low copy DNA, led to the collapse last year of the trial of Sean Hoey, the Omagh bomb suspect, and to the technique being suspended by police forces.
The software has already been piloted by four police forces in northern England, at least one of which has praised it publicly and claims it has provided more “hits” on possible suspects.
In their haste to use nice comfy scientific DNA testing instead of having to go out in the nasty wet weather to do some real detecting it isn't just the guilty who have something to fear.
March 19, 2008
Health and Safety Warning
March 17, 2008
£700 an hour, for every hour she was married
And in other news Kim Du Toit launches an attack on women who sleep with men for money...
March 16, 2008
Shannon News Roundup
The Press Association: Shannon 'back where she belongs'
Shannon's mother Karen said: "When I first saw Shannon again I was overwhelmed - I just couldn't stop crying, knowing she's back where she belongs and she's safe.
Rescued schoolgirl put into police protection - Scotsman.com News
SHANNON Matthews was last night taken into care by police and social services...
Enough! I'm bored already but I do note that the Sunday Papers in Dewsbury are carrying a new advert:
March 14, 2008
A rise in drug-related deaths in Brighton this year has led police to warn users about heroin purity.
Yep, the war on drugs is working so well that the price has dropped so much it isn't been cut with so much crap and users aren't expecting it to be so pure. Of course if it was legalised then none of these deaths would have occurred as the strength would be advertised on the outside of the packet....
March 12, 2008
Cheese Making Surrender Monkeys
Cheese traditionalists have won their battle to make Camembert producers use unpasteurised milk to obtain the prestigious AOC label.
Normandy's cheese and milk producers have voted in favour of making the use of untreated milk obligatory, in keeping with a recipe given to Marie Harel - an inhabitant of the village of Camembert - by a priest fleeing French Revolutionaries in 1791...They said the newer techniques wiped out the flora found in raw milk which they argue gives it its distinctive farmyard flavour..
This puts an end to a year-long "Camembert war" that has raged between defenders of old-fashioned Camembert with its distinctive aroma and two cheese multinationals, who argued that using raw milk, or lait cru, could present a health hazard.
"It's a relief", said Thierry Graindorge, whose family has been making Camembert for three generations.
"We wanted to maintain our cheese making values in making traditional Camembert, whose unique qualities are appreciated by so many.
"Raw milk makes a big difference to the taste and provides a very strong link between the consumer and our local soil."
Excellent news, very little beats a good cheese running off the plate. One of the joys of the King's Arms is the platters of free cheese and biscuits late on Friday night, of course the health Nazi's prevent the cheeses being kept as the landlord would like, insisting they are refrigerated, but they soon warm up as we sup on Wadworth's fine ales... whoops, sorry Kim!
March 10, 2008
Crackdown on Crack dealers
THEY were Glasgow's hard men, feared and reviled by everyone they met and living up to their reputations as Scotland's most dangerous criminals. Each had a nickname as sharp as the blades they used: the Godfather, the Licensee, the Torturer.
Oh no, not another story about Speaker Martin, .... no of course it isn't...
The authorities estimate there are 400 organised crime bosses in Britain, with an amassed criminal wealth of about £440 million.
A million quid each? Not much of a "don"; a big house in Essex, a couple of flash cars and diamanté collars for the dobermans and there is not enough to bling up the bird. Sound like someone is talking up your small time tealeaf to make their job seem more important...
As part of a crackdown, Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, has proposed new offences of directing or being involved in organised crime.
The planned new laws were endorsed recently at the second meeting of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce, which brings together organisations such as the Crown Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, the SCDEA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and the Scottish Prison Service.
The government is also planning to add new offences indicating a criminal lifestyle to the Proceeds of Crime Act,
March 9, 2008
So much better than spending it on nasty pointy things that might hurt someone....
MEET the gang 'cos the boys are here, the boys to diversity train you.
Defence chiefs have caused widespread outrage with plans to spend £5m on actors to help spread the message of tolerance throughout the armed forces.
The 2008 version of It Ain't Half Hot Mum will visit military bases throughout the UK and abroad, performing self-penned sketches and plays on the theme of "equality and diversity".
But as evidence of over-stretch and under-equipping of British forces mounts, the move has been widely condemned by politicians and military insiders as a ridiculous waste of money.
Tragic losses blamed on equipment shortages include the death in Basra in 2003 of tank commander Sgt Steven Roberts, who handed over his body armour to a colleague shortly before he was shot. In 2006, the death in Afghanistan of paratrooper Captain James Philippson was partially blamed on shortages of night vision equipment and machine guns.
Despite the controversy, documents seen by Scotland on Sunday reveal the MoD has invited firms to bid for a contract worth up to £5m to provide "drama-based interventions" – sketches and plays – for equality and diversity training.
March 7, 2008
The French Filly Health Plan
French women are becoming increasingly assertive in their sexual habits, while one-in-five younger French men "has no interest in sex", according to one of the most comprehensive surveys of the nation's love lives.
No wonder French women look so disgustingly healthy, and the men wan and pathetic.
Carla Bruni recently declared monogamy "terribly boring" and spoke in relaxed fashion about her numerous past conquests, including Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton.
"I am a tamer of men, a cat,.. I am faithful... to myself. I am monogamous from time to time but I prefer polygamy and polyandry [its female equivalent]."
You can do the google search yourself, you pervs. OK, OK, here you go.
The Bishop, his chaplain and Uganda
A bishop at the centre of a row over the break-up of his marriage is facing a potential boycott by members of his own clergy following rumours about his friendship with his aide.
The Rt Rev Carl Cooper, the Bishop of St Davids, 47, has repeatedly insisted that nobody else is involved in his separation from Joy, his wife of 25 years with whom he has three children.
But many of his clergy and parishioners were angered by his decision to take the Rev Mandy Williams-Potter, his chaplain, 38, who is also the bishop's press officer, and is separating from her husband Christopher, on a mission to Uganda last year.
DISCUSS UGANDA: vb. British. to have sex. A euphemism coined in the 1970s by the British satirical magazine 'Private Eye.' It has become one of the magazine's long-running jokes and is said to stem from a party at which a female journalist was alleged to have explained an upstairs sexual encounter by saying 'We were discussing Uganda.' (Idi Amin’s regime was in the news at the time.) The term 'Uganda Affairs' is also derived from this source." From the "Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne (Pantheon Books, New York, 1990).
March 6, 2008
London’s ambition to hold the first car-free Olympics in 2012 is being undermined by the International Olympic Committee’s demand for more than 3,000 chauffeur-driven cars for dignitaries, officials and corporate sponsors.
These cars will have access to a network of dedicated lanes, which will be closed to other traffic for up to two months. Up to 3,000 sets of traffic lights will also be adjusted to ensure that the IOC’s fleet has fast access to all venues.
Those whom the IOC insists need cars, in addition to receiving free access to public transport, include the 110 IOC members, 400 presidents and secretary-generals from the Olympic committees of the 200 competing nations and 450 senior executives from corporate sponsors. None of the 10,500 athletes will have access to the 3,145 cars and will instead travel on a dedicated fleet of coaches.
The eight million spectators will not be able to travel by car because the Games venues will have only a small number of disabled parking spaces.
If Londoners put up with the Drugfest Czars in their Zil lanes then we have finally lost. Get making those caltrops.
March 4, 2008
Running the NHS is like steering a supertanker. It responds with majestic inertia to a whirl on the wheel, but before you know where you are, you are ten miles out to sea.
Given a simple objective, the service seldom fails. But it can easily overcompensate. Two years ago the order went out to balance the books and save Patricia Hewitt’s job as Health Secretary.
The books have been duly balanced, though Ms Hewitt was still cast to the sharks. But, having eliminated the deficits, the NHS is now heading for an embarrassingly large surplus of almost £1.8 billion this financial year.....
The cost savings were made in 2006-07 by squeezing emergency care, reducing the prices paid to hospitals for such care and cutting staff by 8,500 ....
So, the impression that the NHS has suddenly become much more efficient is, alas, an illusion. It has jammed on the brakes, squeezed its staff and denied some patients the care they would take for granted in other countries.
As a result, it is in surplus. But it won’t last.
Time to break up the supertanker and create a fleet of smaller more responsive craft.
March 3, 2008
Health Warnings to be stamped on toast?
DAIRY foods could soon have to carry cigarette-style health warnings in a bid to slash Britain's soaring levels of obesity and heart disease, according to a report yesterday.
According to the trade magazine the Grocer, the government's Food Standards Agency is considering using shock tactics to persuade Britons to cut down on their consumption of saturated fats. The crackdown could target a wide range of regular snack staples such as cheese sandwiches and hot buttered toast,...
Hot buttered toast? They are going too far now! Mrs Englishman tries to do the best for my heart carefully draining off the fat from my morning rashers of bacon, what she doesn't realise is the saved fat is ideal for making fried bread when she is out of the house....
February 29, 2008
The state of my local Hospital
When I was taken ill, I was taken to an accident and emergency department in a hospital not in London but in the West Country. I can tell your Lordships only that it is a miracle that I am still alive. It was exactly as the noble Baroness described the hospital down in Maidstone in Kent. I will not tell your Lordships which hospital I was in, but the wards were filthy. Underneath the bed next to me was a piece of dirty cotton wool, and there it remained for seven days; the ward was never cleaned. It was a gastroenterology ward, with lots of people with very unpleasant infectious diseases. The ward, the tables, the beds and the bathrooms were not cleaned. I was extremely infectious at that time and no precautions were taken with me at all. The staff were furious when my wife wanted my bed cleaned when it clearly needed cleaning. I was just lying there, a pathetic person. It was appalling.
The nurses, who probably are the most important people in this complex area, were what I would describe as an accurate reflection of many young women in Britain today. What do I mean by that? I shall now break your Lordships’ rules and read the next bit, because I thought very hard before I wrote it. The nurses who looked after me—not all of them; we should never generalise and there were one or two wonderful ones—were mostly grubby, with dirty fingernails and hair. They were slipshod, lazy and, worst of all, drunken and promiscuous. How do I know that? If you are a patient, lying in a bed and being nursed from either side, the nurses talk across you as if you are not there. I know exactly what they got up to the night before. I know how much they drank and what they were planning to do the next night, and it was pretty horrifying.
My bed was next door to the nurses’ station, so you could see how the whole place was being run. Actually, you could not: I have seen lots of things being run, but after a week, I could not tell you who was in charge. I had absolutely no idea who was telling who to do what. My view is that nobody was telling anybody.
The man opposite me was dying. I imagine he died two or three days after I left. I do not know what he was dying of because he was not doing a lot of talking. But I do know that he virtually died alone. The nurses thought that he was a nuisance. They changed his bottle, gave him his pills, occasionally fed him and propped him up. But basically this man died alone in a British hospital in the 21st century, and I had to watch him do it, which was pretty unpleasant.
When I fall ill that is the hospital I would get taken to, and it is exactly as he described.
February 28, 2008
Curing the NHS with cash
The report from the National Audit Office called the new GP contract a "poor deal" for taxpayers which has failed to bring the substantial benefits envisaged for patients.
Overall, the new contract cost the Government £1.76 billion more than expected, mainly due to surgeries achieving higher scores than predicted on performance-related pay.
The report comes after a bitter row over extending opening hours from 8am to 8pm and at weekends, which GPs are currently voting on.
Under the new contract, responsibility for out-of-hours care automatically went to primary care trusts and as a result GPs, including part-time doctors, now work an average of 36.3 hours a week.
The report said GP partners are taking more of the practice income home as salary and are seeing fewer patients on average per week, down from 122 in 1992/93 to 88 in 2006/07.
They earned on average £113,000 in 2005/06, but many took home far more.
Good luck to them, I am glad to see the Tories have come up with a radical answer to the problems of the NHS - throw more, much more money at it! An extra £28 billion a year! Hurray, trebles all round, unless you are a patient that is.....
Where the bloody hell are you? Hiding behind the sofa!
An Australian family whose pet guinea pig, cat and dog were eaten by giant pythons menacing their tropical home fears their children could be next on the predators' menu.
The Peric family watched in horror this week as their much-loved Chihuahua was swallowed by a 16.5 ft long scrub python on the verandah of their home in Kuranda, Queensland....
Mr Douglas, a snake handler at the Australian Venom Zoo in Kuranda, near Cairns, took the python away. He believed it had stalked the Chihuahua over a period of several days.
It would then be released into a national park; there was no question of killing it.
"These pythons used to feed on wallabies but now they feed on cats and dogs in suburbia," said Mr Douglas.
He said Mr Peric's fears for his children were well founded. "A snake of that size is quite capable of killing a small child."
And they banned guns in the country? And they think that is a good thing? I have only been to Australia for one hour in my life, with things like that crawling around I wouldn't set foot outside the airport unless I had at least two heavy lumps of iron hanging off my belt.
The BBC has launched its biggest ever drive to recruit from ethnic minority groups, as it attempts to counter criticism of a lack of diversity.
Just 4.4 per cent of BBC managers are from ethnic minorities, far below its target of seven per cent, set by Greg Dyke, the former director general who described the corporation as "hideously white".
So are is the BBC a bunch of racist bastards?
The UK population has 7 per cent (4.6 million) belonging to non-white ethnic minority groups. (2001-figures)
But we are only talking of managers here, people what have worked for the corporation for some time, we hope.
Due to a high net birth rate and the demographics of international migrants, the UK's ethnic minority population is younger on average than the White population. In 2004, the median age for White people was 40 years, compared to 27 years for ethnic minorities.
So "Suits" who are more likely to be 40 than 27, will quite fairly be whiter than the average.
And then revealingly there are the wishes of the minorities themselves:
36.1% of Chinese students interviewed were studying for business-related degrees, compared with 30.8% of Asian and Asian British students and 14.9% of white students.
White students were far more likely to be undertaking humanities or liberal arts degrees (48.4% of them were doing so) compared with Chinese (23.6%), Asian and Asian British (25.5%) and black British students (38%).
The survey also found that 32% of graduates with a Chinese background rated investment banking as the ideal industry to enter, compared with just 8% of white students.
Chinese graduates tended to favour employers in the financial sector, ranking HSBC as their top choice, followed by the US investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
White graduates tended to favour public sector work, ranking the BBC as the most desirable employer ....
February 25, 2008
Soldiers are also to be given morality instruction by Army chaplains who are being trained to provide guidance in ethics and morals. Soldiers who shine in the morality stakes will be awarded with good-conduct chevrons: upside down stripes worn on the left sleeve of their dress uniform. The practice of presenting chevrons to the best-behaved soldiers has passed out of use in recent years.
A simple guide for the goody goodies is here
My prediction is that in these modern caring times we will see a Carbon Footprint, or similar, badge being awarded soon, how much more reassuring rather than horrible "Wound Stripes" and the like.
The booming Fairtrade industry is a hollow "marketing device", according to a top economic think-tank.
A report by the Adam Smith Institute says the work of the Fairtrade Foundation does not promote long-term economic development and leaves most third world farmers worse off.
"Fairtrade is a nice idea, and it is great that so many consumers want to help the poor in the developing world. But it is important that we ask whether Fairtrade really helps. After all, 'Fairtrade' does not mean anyone who gives better terms to third-world farmers. It is a particular brand, which competes with other ethical schemes and charities for people's money.
There are a number of inconvenient truths about Fairtrade. Indeed, on closer inspection it may not be that fair at all. It only offers a very small number of farmers a higher fixed price for their goods. Given the way markets work, these higher prices come at the expense of many other farmers, who – unable to qualify for Fairtrade certification – are left even worse off.
More importantly, the Fairtrade scheme does not aid economic development. It sustains uncompetitive farmers on their land, holding back diversification, mechanization and moves up the value chain. In doing so it denies future generations the chance of a better life.
The fact that will surprise consumers most, however, is that only 10 percent of the premium they pay for their Fairtrade products actually gets to the producer. The rest goes to people further along the retail chain.
Fairtrade's success rests on its skilful advertising and its ability to persuade corporations, schools, towns and even nations to 'go Fairtrade'. But when you look at the evidence it is clear that for all its good intentions, Fairtrade is not the only way to make a difference, and it is not the best way either."
You can download the whole report here as a PDF.
Of course to offer your guests non Fairtrade coffee down here in the bleeding heartlands of middle England is akin to admitting you keep a brace of picaninnies chained up in your basement for your debased pleasures. But truth must out.
February 23, 2008
The DNA register, the fight is on.
A senior police officer called for a new nationwide DNA database....
European judges could strip the profiles of more than half a million people from the national DNA database on privacy grounds — undermining its growing value to police as an investigative tool.
As two sex killers caught by the database were jailed for life yesterday and a senior detective joined calls for a universal register, the European Court of Human Rights will hear a case that could mean 560,000 DNA samples being destroyed. Two people charged with offences but never convicted will ask the court next week to remove their records from the database. If they succeed, 13 per cent of the 4.3 million profiles collected since 1995 would have to be destroyed.
BBC NEWS | UK | Mandatory DNA database rejected
There are no plans to extend the DNA database to contain information from all people, the Home Office has said.
Looks like Plod is pushing hard for the DNA register, a couple of swabs is so much easier than going out into the cold and looking for other clues. And why should the innocent worry about being tagged and bagged, if they have nothing to hide, etc etc.....
February 19, 2008
Nurse - the medication!
The alleged plot involved Prince Philip, Prince Charles, British, French and American security services, the French judiciary, ambulance staff, pathologists, newspaper editors, two former Metropolitan police commissioners, the Princess’s sister and brother-in-law, the former British ambassador to France, and the Princess’s lawyer, among others, and it was sanctioned by Tony Blair.
The motive was racist...
Hey Mo you forgot to include me - I've still got the white fiat in my barn...
February 18, 2008
Easter-egg wars between high street stores and supermarkets have broken out once again this month. Cadbury said its recommended sale price for its best-selling eggs - all containing between 180g to 195g of chocolate - was £3.15. Yesterday these products were on promotion at Woolworths (£1) and Tesco (four for £3). Easter is the biggest chocolate-selling period of the year after Christmas.
Thanks to the Guardian for telling me that people buy chocolate at Easter, what would we do without professional journalists and their research? And look what those naughty naughty supermarkets are doing! Cutting prices, I forget is that bad because it is forcing kids to become fat, making the supermarkets obscene profits or putting the hand crafting chocolatier out of business. Whatever, it must be stopped!
February 17, 2008
Professor Julian Le Grand - Tit
A reader writes:
Did you not pick up the £10 license fee to smoke. Dear old Tom in our local
pub, gave up coming to the pub after July. He was a veteran of Dunkirk and
of D-Day 1. He used to enjoy coming to the pub in the evening and smoking
his pipe of Digger Shag. But not anymore. He died last week of boredom,
stuck in his house because he could not go down the pub to socialize. 80
pubs a week close now. The families don’t come in. Our local closes at 10.
0’clock on Fridays now. Because no one is there.
An Englishman’s Castle notices this?
I did notice it and Professor Julian Le Grand's plan for a smoking permit has rightly received a proper kicking all over Blogistan. There is little I can add to help heap odium onto his obnoxious head except to make an exception to my general rules on the blog and be gratuitously offensive to his sensibilities.
(Apologies if it upsets you as well.)
February 12, 2008
"Have a Go Hero" jailed.
Jail for fed-up father who drove his van at armed thug in a fit of rage - Scotsman.com News
A FATHER was jailed for three years and eight months yesterday after he "lost it" and drove a van at a knife-wielding thug.
A court heard 47-year-old Stephen Armstrong's life had been made a misery by vandals, and he was terrified when the drunk confronted him with a knife and a baton. He believed it was connected with the painting of gang slogans on a fence near his home.
He drove on to a pavement and hit the 22-year-old, who was seriously injured and spent six weeks in hospital.
A judge was urged to show mercy to Armstrong, a father of eight who had stopped working to care for his ill wife, and Lady Smith said she accepted there had been "serious provocation". But she went on: "However angry you were and however justified your anger, what you did was certainly not justified at all.
"You quite deliberately used your van as a weapon…
Yes and he should have reversed back over him again, several times.
It was only six months ago that Gordon Brown was praising another Scot who took the law into his own hands and gave a terrorising scumbag a good banjoing. And now we have a decent man jailed for nearly four years ...
Armstrong, lived in a respectable residential area where people took a real interest in their families and property.
Unfortunately, steps at the bottom of the cul-de-sac had become a meeting point for "all sorts of ne'er-do-wells, hooligans, drug-takers and drunkards" from other areas. Mr Smyth said these people, mainly boys, had made life a misery for the residents, and there had been dozens of reports to the police about antisocial behaviour.
On 11 April, Armstrong learned that 6ft-high slogans, including "Welcome to Hell", had been painted on a fence, and he caught two boys, one of whom he knew. He went to that boy's father, and the father immediately ordered the boys to paint over the graffiti.
"We have an individual trying to deal with the vandalism and he does so in a perfectly sensible and civil manner. There's no bullying, ranting or raving. On the contrary, he seeks the assistance of the father of one of the boys," Mr Smyth said.
"It is quite clear that anyone in that situation is facing a risk…of violence, repercussions, retaliation and so forth."
The following evening, Armstrong was about to go shopping in his van when he saw the second boy with the 22-year-old man in his street. He heard a bang on his van. He got out to remonstrate, and the man took out a knife and an extendable baton from the back of his trousers and swung them at Armstrong.
Mr Smyth said it had been a reasonable inference that the pair, one of the vandals from the day before and somebody armed with lethal weapons, were there to cause trouble.
He said: "He was shocked and terrified. (The man] smashed a window of the van and moved off. The accused was shaking with nerves. He got into the van. He indicates he lost it for that moment…fear, rage, shock, all produced this momentary act of recklessness. This is a very human reaction to an event about which he had not the slightest warning. He was going about his lawful business. He did not seek trouble."
Lady Smith said the victim had suffered a broken leg and collar bone and a punctured lung, and had been
She told Armstrong: "In the cold light of day, you realise the appalling nature of what you did and you have shown genuine remorse. I take account of the extent of the provocation…there seems no doubt he presented weapons at you and he deliberately broke the window in your van. You were entitled to be angry and affronted, but not entitled to respond by wielding your van as a weapon at him. You were not entitled to subject him to this terrible assault."
Mrs Armstrong last night questioned how the family would cope with her husband behind bars.
She said: "I have really bad arthritis and so Stephen takes care of everything – all the bills, the kids, taking them to and from school and to their football.
"He gave up his job – he had been an electrician and a publican – when my arthritis got really bad. He's just a great guy, and it's just not fair."
February 11, 2008
The Perils of Drinking
INTELLIGENT people are at higher risk of suffering from alcohol problems than their less gifted friends, a study by the Medical Research Council has found.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, have surprised the researchers, who expected clever professionals to know enough about the damage caused by alcohol to avoid overindulging.
Last year we also learnt the richer people drink more and that people who live in "hazardous drinking" areas live longer:
Maybe there is something more than a correlation going on here. My own thoughts are that if you are bright and understand what is going on around you in this country the only way to view the future with any sort of equanimity is through the bottom of a glass.
February 10, 2008
What profiteth a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?
British athletes will be banned from competing in this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing if they criticise China's totalitarian regime.
The gagging order has been imposed by the British Olympic Association. Competitors who break the rule will not travel to the games or, if they are already in China, will be put on the next plane home.
Is there any doubt that the Olympic movement is the most morally, financially and ethically corrupt scam in the world? No wonder London has welcomed it to its blackened heart.
February 6, 2008
Failure to grass on the Council's say so.
Kate Badger was charged with 'knowingly causing the deposit of controlled waste, namely an apple core, on land which did not have a waste management licence'
She denies that charge and a second charge of failing to provide information about who actually did throw the apple.
Let's just pass over the nonsense of the council chasing an apple core thrower (alleged) through the courts and look at that second charge: failing to provide information about who actually did throw the apple.
WTF? Is it a criminal offence now not to grass up your friends?
If a person fails to provide relevant information, prosecution will normally be pursued. If the information is of vital importance to the Council's activities, an injunction should be sought requiring the offender to provide the information. Where the information is required by way of a formal notice, failure to comply with the notice will normally lead to prosecution.
Didn't there used to be a right to silence, or did I dream it?
February 5, 2008
Survival kit for the urban jungle
Special packs containing lollipops, flip-flops and condoms are being handed out to late night revellers in Swindon...The goodie bags also contain a bottle of water to counteract dehydration and a personal attack alarm...
Councillor Colin Lovell said: "This project is a demonstration of the holistic approach we take when dealing with the night time economy in Swindon to ensure it is a safe place to enjoy."
Not quite the "holistic approach" I take when packing a bag to survive a night in Swindon, I would tend to favour something a bit more robust than lollipops and flip-flops. Can you guess what the flip flops are for?
February 4, 2008
Wendy Woes, Harman next?
Scottish Labour leader faces new inquiry into donations | Special Reports | Guardian Unlimited Politics
The Scottish Labour leader, Wendy Alexander, has refused to resign after it emerged that prosecutors are to launch a new investigation into her failure to declare nearly £10,000 in donations. She brushed off the investigation as a "distraction", insisting she did nothing wrong....10 donations of between £950 and £999 last autumn...She refused to explain why neither she nor her campaign aides had declared the donations when she first received them, and had waited more than two months before approaching the Scottish parliament's standards office for advice.....She was also pressed yesterday to explain why those donations were needed, as she went into the leadership contest unopposed.
10 donations just under the limit she thought would mean she had to declare them...some coincidence....
February 3, 2008
Real Men Like Short Fags
A quick fix for outdoor smokers - Times Online
NIPPING out for a quick smoke is about to become even quicker. Philip Morris, the tobacco giant, is planning a “snack-size” cigarette for the smoking-ban age.
The compact cigarette will be shorter than existing brands but just as smoky: it will deliver the same potency while taking less time to puff.
It ain't hard to make fags shorter and have more umph, just cut the filters off. Maybe we will return to those halcyon days when real man's smoked Woodbines
An early brand of cigarette, enjoyed by the labouring classes of Northern England from the 19th Century onwards....
Despite the remarkable success of Woodbines they were still only smoked by the labouring classes. The “lah-di-dah” demographic, with their fast cars, long fingers, and disposable incomes preferred other, newer brands, like Lambert & Butler, or Regals. These brands were seen as having an aura of sophistication and class. Market research by Woodbines Cigarettes Ltd. found that that most people associated the filter on these brands with refinement.
Woodbines Filters were launched in the summer of 1961, with limited success. Worse, previous
addictsconsumers of regular Woodbines were changing brands mostly to the even stronger Capstan Full Strength brand, feeling betrayed that “their” cigarettes had gone posh, and sold out its working class roots. It was in vain that Woodbines executives pointed out that the filters were, in fact, made of asbestos dipped in creosote. Regular gasperssmokers also complained that the filter interfered with the bitumen taste, and prevented the coal dust from entering the lungs. Although bored economic historians have guessed that the influx of cheap foreign competitors at this time caused as much harm, it was believed that this decision had wounded Woodbine Cigarettes Ltd. Sales slumped, profits nosedived and crucially the image of the product was tainted, perhaps beyond repair...
January 31, 2008
Where Have All The Cowboys Gone
Rodeo riders, the last surviving champions of America's Wild West spirit, are being told by health and safety experts to swap their stetsons for protective helmets.
We need real men facing real danger for the good of our spirit, and for our dreams.
Baby It's Cold Outside
Britain’s growing café culture and taste for alfresco drinking and dining may be under threat from MEPs who want to ban the patio heater.
A vote in Brussels today is expected to call on the European Commission to abolish the heaters to help to tackle climate change. Such a move could cost the pub and catering trade dear.
Pubs spent about £85 million on patio heaters after the smoking ban was introduced last year. Besides forcing smokers into the cold there is concern that a ban on patio heaters could bring a significant cash loss to pubs, cafés and restaurants.
The hospitality industry has estimated that if only 10 per cent of Britain’s pubs offered outdoor facilities a ban could cost £250 million a year...
Using government figures patio heaters accounted for 22,200 tonnes of CO2 , 0.002 per cent of total emissions in Britain.
Philip Sellwood, chief executive of The Energy Savings Trust, said it was not good enough to wait for the rest of Europe. “We need UK action now. ... We know that a third of pubgoers are choosing pubs where there is a patio heater, but why not just wrap up warm instead if you need to go outside?”
January 28, 2008
Posters for charity event deemed 'anti-social' - Telegraph
Villagers have been barred from putting up posters inviting people to charity events because it is "anti-social".
Volunteers in the hamlet of Misterton, Somerset, regularly use the village hall for coffee mornings and jumble sales to raise money for good causes.
Because of the building's isolated location they often put notices up around the village to drum up interest for the functions.
However, they were threatened with prosecution after local council officials discovered notices pinned up on a lamp post advertising a children's charity bingo.
Ah, lamp posts and council officials, the two go together like a rickety chair and a length of hempen rope. I'm sure the locals know the difference between flyposting and local notices, and I'm sure they can manage to deal with the problem without a man in a hi-viz coat helping....
January 25, 2008
An Irishman's home is his castle
A millionaire businessman singlehandly fought off three armed burglars after they put a knife to his teenage daughter's throat, he told a court.
Bernard Dwyer, 51, who runs a construction business, said he believed they would all be killed and decided he "would rather die like a man than a dog" defending his family.
Mr Dwyer, who was raised on a farm in Ireland, came to Britain with only £30 in his pocket and worked as a labourer but is now a successful businessman with contracts all over the world, said:..
"These b**tards were out of control. We were going to die anyway, that's what I thought.
"I thought if I am going to die then I would rather die like a man than a dog. The guy was standing over me with the gun and I thought if I can move the gun with my arm and make the bullet go into the wall I could come up and bash him."
"I hit him several times, I hit him plenty,"
"So we had another bout of fisticuffs," said Mr Dwyer, "But this time I’m in charge of this battle. I let the door go and let them fall in and then, bam, had a go at them again.
"I have never used a weapon in my life and it was a great feeling. I grabbed the gun and bashed it across the knuckle-duster guy.
"Next thing is they took off and I chased them down the stairs. I bashed knuckle-duster man with the gun and I broke the handle on his head."
January 23, 2008
Watch before it is banned
With the ban on smoking in public places now in place in Wales, and the wish by thousands of smokers to kick the habit as a result, children and young adults will see less smoking around them. However, they are still exposed to smoking on TV and are likely to take up the habit as a result. BMA Cymru Wales believes that broadcasters have the responsibility to banish smoking from the screen.
Quite - who wants disgraceful examples like this?
and blatant exploitation...
Written consent needed from illegals before we can detect them
The French have banned Brit border guards at Calais from deploying immigrant-hunting gamma-ray scanners, claiming they breach EU health and safety regulations and can only be used with the intended targets' written permission.
According to the Evening Standard, the scanners have proved somewhat successful in cutting the numbers of illegals entering the UK via France, contributing to an 88 per cent reduction in those reaching Dover in 2006.
The machines, costing ｣2m a pop, sweep along the exterior of lorries, revealing any illicit human cargo within, but deliver "less than a thousandth of the background radiation" anyone in their path would normally receive in a year.
Of course the French don't want them to tarry in France, far better to let them carry on over to us.
January 18, 2008
Ah Ha my hearties - cutting down on the Pirate menace
A village amateur dramatic group performing Robinson Crusoe has had to tell police about the use of plastic swords because of health and safety fears.
The Carnon Downs Drama Group, at Perranwell, Cornwall, must lock up its two plastic cutlasses, six wooden swords and a toy gun when they are not in use and appoint a "responsible guardian" for them. A co-director, Linda Barker, said: "In some scenes pirates hit each other with frying pans and saucepan lids but there's no problem with them.
The group said it informed police about the use of replica weapons after studying new health and safety guidelines and new legislation to crack down on violent crime.
January 16, 2008
Risk assessment watchdog set up to halt march of the nanny state - Times Online
Unnecessary warnings that bags of peanuts “may contain nuts” and overly protective rules banning conker fights in schools will be targeted by a new watchdog intended to restore Britain’s spirit of adventure.
Gordon Brown is so concerned that the cotton-wool culture is denying people the freedom to enjoy themselves that he has asked the watchdog to report to him personally.
Hurray, rehang the bunting, bring out the conkers, build the bonfires, oh hang on...
Mr Brown’s response to such killjoy acts is not to halve the number of health and safety officials or revise the hundreds of regulations introduced under this Labour Government.
The Risk and Regulation Advisory Council has been set up in response to recommendations from the Better Regulation Commission that it has replaced.
The body for common sense will be set up alongside a national campaign to emphasise the importance of self- reliance and a sense of adventure. It is intended to engage the public, and remind them that the Government is not responsible for every accident or piece of bad fortune that befalls its citizens.
Oh, so it just yet another shuffling of the commissions, all of which have to report to Gordon personally (who said he wasn't a control freak), with a primary purpose of preventing us suing the Government when it cocks up.
January 14, 2008
Back to the Future for the Police
SOME of Scotland's most crime-ridden areas have seen a massive reduction in offences following the return of bobbies on the beat.
Now all we have to do is return policing to Peel's Principles and we may be making progress..
I make no apology for reproducing them yet again:
The nine principles by Sir Robert Peel
1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.
3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.
7. 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
8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
January 9, 2008
It's cold - put another Granny on the fire.
BBC NEWS | England | Manchester | Plan to recycle crematorium heat
A crematorium in Greater Manchester is proposing to recycle the heat generated when its furnaces are cremating people's remains.
Excess heats is produced by special equipment to filter emissions, such as mercury from people's fillings at Dukinfield Crematorium.
Tameside Council believes that this extra heat could be used to warm the crematorium's chapel.
That isn't very ambitious - look at this very informative site (totty alert) - Cremation and the Environment
The heat from the furnaces of the two crematoria in Helsingborg and Boras in Sweden is being piped directly to district energy companies. One local energy company heats 60,000 homes and estimates the crematoria have supplied about 10 percent of its needs.
How many people are they burning?
HatTip Mr Plod
January 2, 2008
NYPD keeps up the pace as murders fall to historic low - Times Online
Police plan to flood the toughest areas of New York with new recruits in an attempt to drive down the crime rate to historic lows as the city celebrates a record drop in murders in 2007.
New York, once dubbed the murder capital of America, recorded fewer than 500 murders in a single year for the first time since reliable record-keeping began in 1963. In the final hours of the year, the 2007 tally stood at 492, compared with the record high of 2,245 at the height of the crack epidemic in 1990.
Adding to residents’ sense of security is that fewer than 100 of last year’s murders were random killings by strangers.
Police on the streets = reduced crime, not hard is it.
The Future of Healthcare is in your hands
Millions of people with arthritis, asthma and even heart failure will be urged to treat themselves as part of a Government plan to save billions of pounds from the NHS budget.
Instead of going to hospital or consulting a doctor, patients will be encouraged to carry out "self care" as the Department of Health (DoH) tries to meet Treasury targets to curb spending.....
• Using relaxation techniques to relieve stress and avoid "panic" visits to emergency wards....
The Prime Minister claimed the self-care agenda was about increasing patient choice and "personalised" services.
But an internal Government document seen by The Daily Telegraph makes clear that the policy is a money-saving measure, a key plank of DoH plans to cut costs....the plan would provide doctors with an excuse for ignoring the elderly or those with debilitating, but not life-threatening long-term conditions...
Increasingly the NHS is only interested in the exciting bits of medicine where they get blue flashing lights, sirens and the chance to run around a lot shouting like they do on the telly, and second role as nanny of the Nation where they can sit high up in their office block without ever having to meet the smelly and frankly unhygienic patients and issue them with advice, diktats and warnings to change their lifestyles.
January 1, 2008
Only the crumbliest flakiest legislation
A total ban on adverts for unhealthy food and drink products around TV programmes for under-16s has come into force...
You wouldn't want the youngsters to get the wrong sort of idea about pleasure - how did I ever survive...
More? A trip through memory lane....