July 14, 2013
NHS - Genocide
The NHS’s medical director will spell out the failings of 14 trusts in England, which between them have been responsible for up to 13,000 “excess deaths” since 2005.
Prof Sir Bruce Keogh will describe how each hospital let its patients down badly through poor care, medical errors and failures of management, and will show that the scandal of Stafford Hospital, where up to 1,200 patients died needlessly, was not a one-off.
June 23, 2013
NHS - Scales Drop From Media Eyes
Imagine if an airline crashed 10 planes each year, killing 3,000 passengers in avoidable accidents; after its most disturbing disaster, wiping out 1,200 people, the two managers responsible were promoted to the firm's top jobs – one as chief executive, the other in charge of safety. Then it was discovered that the company silenced whistleblowers while covering-up serious failings that led to fatalities.
It is fair to assume there would be an immense public outcry. The airline would be grounded, the managers deservedly hounded into prison. Politicians would demand the overhaul of an industry plainly suffering profound structural flaws.
Yet this is precisely the scenario in our hallowed National Health Service, while Britons cling to a nostalgic notion that this creaking, outdated institution is the envy of the world.
March 15, 2013
Dr Robert Lustig, scourge of the sugar industry, is over from America to attend a symposium on junk food and mental health. ...... Lustig is not an easy man to dismiss ... “He’s a scientist. He’s entirely evidence-based and he’s scary — but we need to be scared,” Charlie Powell, campaign director for Sustain, says....
he set out his argument in Fat Chance: The bitter truth about Sugar. Now, he has a taste for campaigning. Lustig is taking a master’s at law school to learn how the courts brought down the tobacco industry. “It’s going to happen to sugar too,” he says. “And I want to use my science to be part of it.”
According to Dr Lustig, the Darth Vader in our daily diet is fructose — the molecule that makes all things sweet, whether that’s white sugar or brown, honey, maple syrup or agave nectar. ....
And what about diet drinks — with artificial sweeteners and no fructose at all? (This is the week designer Marc Jacobs launches his limited edition Diet Coke cans to celebrate 30 years of the drink that fuels the fashion world.) Here, Lustig declares himself an “agnostic”. “We don’t have the data,” he says. “Until we understand how sweeteners impact our energy consumption and our propensity for chronic diseases, how can I recommend it?” He does point out that the large-scale switch to diet sodas has not impacted obesity rates. “This is a theoretical construct, but it’s possible that when you put something sweet on your tongue, your body gets ready to metabolise it, your pancreas gets ready to release insulin — and the sugar never comes. What do you do? Go and find something sweet to eat?”
Other than abstaining from juice or fizzy drinks, Lustig advises everyone to exercise and eat more fibre (palaeobiologists believe cave-dwelling Man ate about 100g of fibre a day. Our median consumption is 12g). “I’m not the food Nazi,” he says. “If you make sugar safe and rare, once a week, as a treat, your liver can keep up. ...
Did you spot it? Diet drinks with no sugar are as bad for obesity as sugary drinks, therefore it is the sugar that is bad for us....
November 28, 2012
Please Lie To Me Plead Pathetic Scots
SCOTRAIL has sparked a flurry of protests after explaining to passengers that a body on the line was the reason for hold-ups to services on an Edinburgh main line.
The national rail operator has been criticised after sending out a message on Twitter about delays on lines servicing Edinburgh Park.
In a short statement sent to more than 25,000 followers on the social media forum, the company said: “Owing to a person hit by a train at Edinburgh Park the line is blocked.”
Commuters and followers unhappy with the blunt announcement immediately took to Twitter to vent their feelings.......Mental health campaigners have seized on the social media faux pas......
Grow up FFS. People jump in front of trains and die. Horrible, tragic. etc but it happens. When you are waiting on a cold platform in the rain you have a right to be told why the train is late. Or do you prefer to be lied to by the authorities in case it offends you ickle-little bunny ears.
November 9, 2012
Free To Choose Only What We Make You Choose
Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said the "shocking" amount of sugar in many foodstuffs was hidden from consumers, but was so great that ministers had to intervene.
Burnham said: "Consumers need more help to choose health. But there should be some maximums for sugar, salt and fat. I think I have been persuaded of the case for this.
"Voluntary efforts [by producers to reformulate] have not worked and it's time for a different approach. There are some products on the market that are so full of salt, sugar or fat they are unacceptable and they have to be brought in line.
Don't you just love the condescending "consumers need more help" in their choice of foods and we are going to give it to them by banning some of the choices because they are stupid and we are clever.
November 8, 2012
Lung Cancer Costs and Benefits
Research author, Dr Jose Leal, from the Health Economics Research Centre, University of Oxford, said: "Lung cancer costs more than any other cancer, mainly because of potential wage losses due to premature deaths from people in employment - about 60 per cent of the total economic costs - and high health care costs."
The link gives no more details apart from revealing it is a European study.
If we are going to be mercenary and count the cost to the economy of cancer then we should also count the benefit. Premature deaths of people in their fifties and sixties is probably an economic benefit not a cost. No pension to pay out, no long term care in the nursing home, no free bus passes to hand out and so on.
Does the full study include these benefits or is it it just a scary number exercise.
And against that supposed cost of £2.5 billion we could offset the £12.1 billion that tobacco pays in tax each year.
November 6, 2012
Peak Car Theory
Years of falling traffic volumes suggest that car use has passed its peak and may have entered a long era of decline, a growing body of officials from the Department for Transport and London’s City Hall believe.
The implications for how cities are designed and streets are used are enormous if car use really has passed its tipping point. Supporters of “Peak-Car” theory see a future in which the inner cities are given over to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, and café culture replaces car culture.....
Experts say that local authorities and politicians could create a virtuous circle by providing safe and plentiful provision for cycling, walking and public transport, which would accelerate a natural change in the way we travel....
...proponents of “Peak Car” say that it is more than a recessionary blip. The evidence seems most compelling in London. Data compiled by Transport for London show that traffic has fallen almost every year in the past decade.
In Central London, traffic fell by 19 per cent between 2000 and 2009.....
...TfL says that in Central London car capacity has fallen by 30 per cent since 2000, with road space given to wider pavements, bus lanes and pedestrian areas such as on the north side of Trafalgar Square and at Piccadilly Circus....
The DfT predicts that the number of cars on the road will rise to 38,191,302 by 2035 from 28,467,300 last year. The growth is largely down to an expected 10 million increase in the size of the population. Miles travelled per car are expected to rise by just 2.6 per cent by 2035.
If the politicians balk at radical change, the cost of doing nothing will also be high. The DfT’s forecasts predict that average delays on the roads will have increased by 54 per cent by 2035 and that traffic will be travelling 8 per cent slower because of congestion.
So in fact "Peak Car" only applies in central London where they have closed a third of the roads and unsurprisingly the number of cars has fallen. The rest of the country is still enjoying the personal freedom a car gives when they can afford it.
That is the trouble about London based journalists who bicycle to work, they don't get out much to see the real world..
October 22, 2012
Smart Meters At Work
Energy minister John Hayes gets on the internet, clicks a mouse and instantly turns off the electricity being used to charge up an electric car 15 miles away. At the same time, he can shut down a fridge and a water heater in a house three miles away. History may record his activation this week of a rudimentary smart grid of two buildings on the Isle of Wight as the start of a power revolution which its advocates hope will spread across Britain and vastly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and electricity consumption.
This is what the whole "smart meter" push is about, handing over your on and off switch to the politician in charge of energy so he can mange your demand to match the power his windmills are pushing out.
October 17, 2012
Hoplophobia at WH Smiths
A reader writes:
Dear Mr Englishman -
You may be aware of WH Smith's recently implemented policy of restricting the sale of shooting and country sports magazines to the over 14s, apparently in the mistaken belief that nobody under this age is allowed to possess or use a shotgun or firearm. By declaring the activities of the law abiding and generally peaceable shooting community as unsuitable for minors, they demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the discipline and respect that our sport encourages in young people. They also include the target shooters....how quickly Richard Wilson's Gold medal is forgotten.
It is interesting to note that motoring magazines, including those that encourage acne riddled youths to infest supermarket car parks and race around town centres, are not similarly limited to those over the legal driving age. Nether do they seem too concerned about teaching children to massacre virtual humans by way of computer and console gaming titles. This might lead us to conclude that the campaign by Animal Aid, at best ill-informed and at worst riddled with lies and half truths, has in fact hit the mark and the management of Smiths have swallowed their blathering hook, line and sinker. (On reflection a poor choice of idiom...fishing magazines will no doubt be next)
The chicken nugget generation of our inner cities may have no interest in where their food comes from, but I'll be buggered if my daughter will grow up thinking that meat grows in plastic wrappers and pest control is some kind of adult vice. As she will almost certainly grow up to be a world class shot (she is only just four, but I can see the potential already) I cannot sit back and let a business as significant and influential as WH Smith condemn our sport, our lifestyle as aberrant and something to be hidden away.
May I ask that you use your considerable influence and respect to publicise this issue and perhaps encourage your loyal followers to consider lending their name to this petition: Petition | WHsmiths: Retract Policy on Sale of Shooting Magazines | Change.org
September 21, 2012
Charlie Richardson - The Video Biography
Close, very close.
August 16, 2012
Totnes - No To Choice
The locals of the Devon resort have gone to war – with Costa Coffee. But why are they desperate to stop a branch of the giant chain opening up in town? And can they win?
Scary big bad wolf coming! If you don't want it then let it open and don't use it, they will soon run away with their tail between their legs if it loses them money. But what? You are afraid if people are given the choice they will prefer to go there than than the hand knitted tofu and acorn coffee shop they currently have to use? You don't people to have the choice?
More on Totnes here
July 10, 2012
Advice to travellers - Please show your appreciation of officials by handclapping
Fed up with having to queue for hours at passport control at Heathrow on returning from holiday?
Then here’s the good news: there is a new way to jump the line and leave the airport faster. The bad news is that the new way to jump the queue is to get yourself arrested for taking part in a slow hand-clap in the arrivals hall, resulting in your being carted off by your collar in a Black Maria to a police station; with luck quite near your home.
Immigration authorities have grown so rattled by outbreaks of slow hand-clapping among frustrated travellers that they have told police to issue cautions, and even to make arrests, if they sense that the anger might suddenly boil over into a dangerous spasm of civil disobedience.
Of course the other option of actually doing their jobs quickly and efficiently isn't a possibility.
June 14, 2012
Top Plod Pleads Trust Me With Your Data
The police must have access to all modern data. It really is a matter of lives and deaths..
communications data has played a role in every big counter-terrorism operation over the past decade and in 95 per cent of serious organised crime operations. A quarter of Metropolitan Police Service requests for access to data in the past five years have been in murder cases.
However it is not just serious crime where this type of data is invaluable. It is regularly used to tackle criminals whose activities affect the wider community, such as repeat burglars, robbers and drug dealers. Put simply, the police need access to this information to keep up with the criminals who bring so much harm to victims and our society.
Gaining access to communications data is no longer a sophisticated means of gathering evidence. Just as mobile phones, e-mail and social media have become part of our lives, so this kind of work has become part of daily policing....
I fully support public debate about this issue and understand concerns about privacy. That’s why I think it is really important to be clear: I do not see this proposed legislation as being more intrusive than the laws we currently have. Police already have access to communications data; the problem is that for some services it is not currently collected and stored by the service provider.
In the UK we police by consent. This phrase is used often, but I firmly believe in it. That’s why we would use access to any further information responsibly, fairly and proportionately.
The proposed changes do not give police unlimited access to new forms of data. Nor will the police routinely store this information. This is only about ensuring that if and when we do need it, we know the data has been stored by the service providers....
This is not about giving the police or anyone else greater power; it is about giving police access to information that will help us to catch criminals, protect victims and keep the public and our communities safe.
Bernard Hogan-Howe is Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
It is all about murder and terrorism and then he drops in "
it is not just serious crime where this type of data is invaluable. It is regularly used to tackle criminals whose activities affect the wider community, such as repeat burglars, robbers and drug dealers. Put simply, the police need access to this information to keep up with the criminals who bring so much harm to victims and our society.
Gaining access to communications data is no longer a sophisticated means of gathering evidence. Just as mobile phones, e-mail and social media have become part of our lives, so this kind of work has become part of daily policing"
Routine in other words.
May 18, 2012
Not A Nanny State
New parents will be given government advice on changing nappies, breastfeeding and “baby talk” under a multi-million pound initiative to support family life.
A £3.4million digital information service, which begins today, will provide free email alerts and text messages with NHS advice “on everything from teething to tantrums”, Mr Cameron said.
Separate pilot schemes will offer couples with young children free parenting classes and subsidised relationship counselling to help cope with “tiredness” and “mess”.
Launching the initiatives, Mr Cameron said he “would have loved” more advice on how to look after babies before becoming a parent for the first time.
“Parents are nation-builders,” he said. “It’s through love and sheer hard work that we raise the next generation with the right values.
“This is not the nanny state; it’s the sensible state.
Thank goodness he put me right, for one moment there I thought it was literally a Nanny State.
April 16, 2012
Whose Money Is It?
....if you think the principle of the government butting out of your life is so valuable that ministers should just stand by and allow you to burn your own money..(This is a point of) view which really stuns...
Yes Damian I do believe that the Government should butt out of my life if I want to set fire to a pile of fivers, or spent it on women and song, or buy a racing bike or even splurge out on a copy of the Guardian.
And that makes me an extemist?
April 5, 2012
Shock Research - Poor People Buy Cheap Food
Customers of cut price supermarkets are likely to be heavier and fatter than those who shop at expensive city centre stores, say researchers....
There was a "strong interaction" between education levels and discount shopping. The association between shopping in a hard discount store and greater body weight was "markedly stronger for lower education levels" said the researchers. Conversely, people who shopped in organic stores were much more likely to have a lower BMI and slimmer waists.
Strategies targeting food-buying behaviour in specific supermarkets may be an "efficient strategy" because supermarkets "are the very place where dietary preferences are concretely materialised and translated into a definite set of purchased foods", they said.
Ghastly fat stupid people, we must tell them what to eat and buy, so they can become slim, rich and and beautiful like us.
February 16, 2012
Tweet Truth Shocker
Despite the tragic nature of the incident, the official Twitter account told customer to “Go to the pub - things will be rubbish for at least the next hour."
And when another commuter enquired if the victim had survived, the firm responded "nope" before saying "Can't stop someone jumping off a platform in front of a train I'm afraid."
Go to the pub - is there any better advice in the circumstances? That's the problem and the value in using social media for companies - real people say real things rather than PR speak days later. Of course the twit will now be disciplined and another chink of reality closed.
February 10, 2012
Police negotiators attend scene after man reported to be acting suspiciously
I presume he asked for a salad...
The State, The Citizen And Booze
The UK Government and the Scottish Government are both concerned about the amount of alcohol that is consumed in these isles. It is not clear that they should be. The policies which they have adopted and which they propose are inappropriate. They do not cohere well with any plausible notion of what a proper relationship between a state and its citizens should be. They appear arbitrary, whimsical and paternalistic.
Governments have a legitimate role in passing laws regarding the production, sale and consumption of alcohol. However, governments in general often pass very bad laws regarding alcohol. Such laws often have unintended consequences. The instance of prohibition in the US is one of the best examples of a policy that had disastrous consequences.
David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond are united in supporting the dubious policy of minimum pricing with regard to alcohol. It might or might not turn out that such a policy would have good effects and no bad ones. However, public policies cannot always be justified merely in terms of their outcomes. It matters why things come about. It matters what is done, why it is done and how it is done.
The state ought to treat citizens impartially as autonomous, rational adults. It should not treat them as children or as mere means to their political ends. The actual and proposed policies regarding alcohol consumption are misconceived.
• Hugh McLachlan is professor of applied philosophy in the Glasgow School for Business and Society at Glasgow Caledonian University
January 29, 2012
The Wind Farm, The Professional Archaeologists And The Undiscovered Inconvenient Monuments
... a look at an area of moorland which had been fenced off at Bancbryn as part of the wind farm development on Mynydd Y Betws. This development has caused considerable local disquiet for a number of reasons and some of those actively campaigning against the wind farm wondered whether the archaeological work in advance of the development had been carried out properly. .... There are currently three scheduled monuments on Bancbryn and we decided to head straight there. What we found certainly justified the trip. Within moments we had identified several sites including a number of stoney mounds, a few hollows, a line of pits with associated banks and leading into and returning out from the fenced off area - a line of stones. In amongst these archaeological features but significantly not actually touching any of them were the scars of archaeological trenches indicating that excavation had indeed happened but appeared to have missed all the visible archaeology. ...
The 700m long stone row is probably the most important of the features we found and as it is associated with over 30 cairns some of which are kerbed it seems to form the focus of an incredibly important ceremonial landscape where the form of space between the numerous earthwork and built elements are as integral and important as the earthworks themselves....
Helen contacted the local archaeological trust to inform them of our discoveries. They were initially very dismissive of our claims saying that the hillside had been extensively studied. Eventually they agreed to accompany us on a visit and a date was set. On the morning of Monday 16th January we met up on site. We asked if an earthwork survey had been conducted as part of the archaeological evaluation and were told that they had not felt it necessary since the "desk based" assessment had not indicated there was a need. We expressed our dismay at this decision and we then proceeded to the site. We showed the DAT officer the features we had identified and he explained to us that they had not been found previously because the area had been under thick vegetation. ...
... for the sake of clarity let’s just accept the explanation that this area adjacent to three scheduled monuments was covered in a high sward of vegetation making it impossible to see the archaeology hiding beneath. If this was the case why on earth was the vegetation not cleared? After all a brand new road was going to be built which was to be capable of taking lorries each weighing over 100 tons, this was serious civil engineering not some puny track for a bloke on a pushbike then. Surely construction works on this scale would have a somewhat negative impact on any archaeology which might have inconveniently stumbled in the way of such progress....when one is in the ‘last chance saloon’ as archaeologists we must remember anything we miss will be lost for ever, so surely we should try extra hard to record everything that is visible and ensure that the site record is as complete as humanly possible? It is difficult to believe that it is acceptable in any way to squander such a chance by not carrying out an earthwork survey first and then during the works failing to ensure that the archaeology is even looked at properly. If such work had been carried out in this instance and had been looked at, it is tempting to speculate the various features would have been spotted immediately. After all it took us less than 5 minutes to spot four separate monuments. ....
The other great sadness is that the archaeological profession in Wales has seen fit to ignore us. Finding archaeology would appear to be a crime. Community Archaeology – I think not. First they refused to accept that you could have found something then they exclude you from the process – perhaps because you questioned the strategies which precipitated the situation. ...
Perhaps this experience is considered a threat? Who knows – we certainly don’t. Perhaps it was because we were accompanied by wind farm observers? Perhaps it’s because we live in the area and overlook the hill? Or might it be that they would rather not have admitted to missing such an obvious and potentially important archaeological monument? Could it be a combination or all of these things or perhaps something else entirely appropriate?....
January 18, 2012
When Do Humans Come Into Being?
A town football club faces eviction from its ground under an eccentric clause which stated the lease would expire 21 years after death of King Edward VII's last grandchild.
... the wealthy local woman who bequeathed the ground to the club in 1922 included a condition which said the land should pass back to the town 21 years after the death of King Edward's last grandchild, who became King Olav V of Norway.
The deadline, which passed yesterday, has proven controversial and the debate over the club’s future is far from settled.
The key clause stipulates that the 21-year limit should run from the day of the death of the last descendent who was “in being” at the time it was signed.
The club’s lawyers point out that the 7th Earl of Harewood, George Lascelles, had been conceived and was a few months from birth at that stage and therefore, they argue, can be considered to be “in being”.
Lord Harewood, a cousin of the Queen, died aged 88 in July last year, which, according to the club’s argument, means the lease should run for a further 20 years....
Conception or birth or somewhere in between? It's not just football clubs that want to know.
January 17, 2012
The Actual Nanny State
...the Prime Minister has now endorsed an 80-page guide on how to feed toddlers, including “actual size” diagrams of the perfect plastic plate.
Designed for nursery staff who have already received two years’ training, the guide contains useful, if rather basic, information on why it is good for children to eat fruit (for vitamins) and why they should not eat too much sugar (it rots their teeth).
There is a helpful reminder not to feed shark to toddlers, along with exhaustive analysis of the correct portion size, illustrated with pages of thumbnail photos. For those who have forgotten what meat actually is, the definition is there in the “glossary of terms”, which also includes an explanation of the words “week” and “avoid”.
For a Government seeking to cut form-filling, there is a surprising amount of it in the Eat Better, Start Better guide, including a menu planning checklist, with 78 boxes to fill in....
The link seems not to be working this morning so I can't find out why we shouldn't be feeding sharks to toddlers...
January 11, 2012
Hospital Food - The Spend
At least 30 hospital trusts, almost one in 10 of the total, spend less than £5 a day on breakfast, lunch and dinner for each person in their care.
The statistics, placed in the House of Commons Library this week, drew allegations from patients' groups that nutritional standards are slipping as managers strive to save money....
The Western Sussex hospitals trust said that its spending figure was so low because of disparities in the way the NHS data had been collected. Paul Hatcher, the trusts’s director of estates said: “Unlike other trusts, the figure represents only the cost of ingredients, and not the total spent on sourcing, preparing, cooking and serving food and drink. If those costs are included our figure would be around £8 per patient, per day.”
Email The Telegraph with your experience of hospital food: email@example.com
So if you buy in chips then your spend will be higher than if you buy in new potatoes and lightly boil them and serve with butter and a sprinkle of parsley. As ever stats can deceive but the underlying state of hospital food is a scandal, as we know.
Unhappy Crying Babies Recommended
Breastfed babies cry more, laugh less and generally have “more challenging temperaments” than formula-fed infants, a study has found.
But mothers should learn to cope with such behaviour, rather than reach for the bottle, according to researchers. Infant irritability was said to be a natural part of the “dynamic communication” between mothers and babies, while bottle-feeding was akin to “comfort eating” – producing quieter and apparently more content babies who may be over-nourished and putting on weight too rapidly.
The findings may help explain why so many mothers give up on breastfeeding after a short time, despite the strong health message that “breast is best” for growing infants.
Study leader Dr Ken Ong, from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge, urged mothers to persevere despite the difficulties and seek help if they need it.
I'm sure HE is all in favour of screaming babies from the comfort of his lab. Mothers and fathers maybe more pragmatic and shouldn't be made to feel guilty for making their babies happy.
January 9, 2012
Boyle on Groupthink Law
“It’s basically an attack on freedom of speech. It’s the ruling classes telling the working classes what to say and think.
“Will middle-class rugby fans be arrested for singing anti-English songs? The idea is laughable.
“Supporting Rangers, being in an Orange Lodge, that whole life – that’s a valid culture. Supporting Celtic, waving a tricolour because your parents are Irish – that’s a valid culture.
“You can’t come in and say that the opinions those people hold, the songs they sing, the language they use, is inferior and invalid.”
In the interview published in The List magazine, he added: “An anthropologist studying an aboriginal society would be really careful about making those judgments, but here we have a ruling class that has internalised colonial attitudes and says, ‘ban songs, ban words’.”
And it's not just the working classes who are being ordered what to think.
Watch Your Drapes
Asian interlopers exude chemical that could ruin your curtains
LadyBIRDS not LadyBOYS - I was worried there for a minute....
December 31, 2011
Fat As Bad As Climate Change
Smoking, drinking, diet and lack of exercise needs to be addressed, NHS Future Forum warns...
The Lancet medical journal has conservatively estimated that, on present trends, by 2030 obesity in the UK will have produced 5.45m cases of diabetes, 330,000 more people with coronary heart disease and stroke and 87,000 extra cases of cancer, which together will mean a loss of 2.2m quality-adjusted life years in the population, and costing the NHS another £2.2bn a year on top of the existing huge price of tackling obesity-related illness.
Alan Johnson, then health secretary, described obesity in 2007 as a problem "on the scale of climate change".
Couldn't have put it better myself.
December 28, 2011
Cameron On The Booze
The Daily Telegraph understands that the Prime Minister personally ordered the radical “big bang” approach, which will be included in the Government’s forthcoming alcohol strategy.
Pne would have thought he has more important things to worry about rather than knee jerking to fabricated statistics. A prudent politican might consider monitoring how fabulously well the Scottish experiment is going for a year or so first...
December 9, 2011
Jonathan Waxman The Fat Taxman
So should the State dictate how many sausage butties I have for breakfast? Should the Health Minister be e-mailing me about my five-a-day broccoli and bananas? Yes and yes. Because my “freedom” has repercussions, not just on my health but on the rest of us. Private lifestyle choices have a tremendous effect on the public purse.
Not only do we need to ramp up the public health campaigns that encourage us to ditch the doughnuts. But we will have to go further and ban adverts for high-fat foods. It is wrong that manufacturers can produce mayonnaise with a 70 per cent fat content, so we should tax food laden with saturated fats.
Some will argue that this is an affront to personal freedom. But the people with the least ability to make informed choices are the poor, who happen also to be more likely to smoke or be fat. Food is a class issue and it must be made easier for the poorest in our country to eat well.
So let the State intervene and let us all take responsibility too. Be thinner, be healthier and maybe you will be happier in your later years.
Jonathan Waxman is Flow Foundation Professor of Oncology at Imperial College London and author of The Elephant in the Room
Happier if Waxman and his ilk constantly lecture, tax and ban?
I don't think so.
December 2, 2011
At St Pauls All Are Equal But Some Are More Equal Than Others
It was on Tuesday evening, after the campers had gathered for a meeting about money in their unofficial conference space, a Starbucks, that the equal people first came to blows with those who, to some minds, are more equal than others....
During Tuesday’s meeting, the camp’s first aid team and “tranquillity” team, which is responsible for welfare and night patrols, had asked the committee for £1,200 to buy equipment including walkie-talkies and trauma kits for treating stab and gunshot wounds....
Last week, the committee said that a drop in donations meant that it would have to be “stricter” about funding. The camp’s bank balance was £12,000, Ms Jones said yesterday, including £8,000 in an account held by the London Camp for Climate Change and £4,000 cash in a secure location off site. She added that about £25,000 has been donated to the camp by well-wishers since it formed seven weeks ago.
As tensions rose at the meeting, Ms Jones was implicitly accused of using the donations to fund flights to New York, prompting her to storm out in exasperation at the “wild rumours”. The first aiders and the tranquillity group stood down in protest at their treatment by the “elitist” committee, though both have since reformed....
...an anonymous whistleblower said: “About two weeks ago we had £21,000 in donations and there must have been more now but they said there would be no more money for the food tent or the tranquillity tent and that the legal team couldn’t use taxis or buy stationery....
She said the two main leaders were two veteran anarchists in their 40s or 50s, and three people in their 20s. “Paul [in his 40s or 50s] has written a charter which gives all the power to a tiny group of people,” she added. “We are all calling it the Animal Farm manifesto. They are always smartly dressed. I don’t know how they manage it when we are all camping, and they go off and have these secret meetings at Starbucks. A small number have decided they are more equal and are controlling the rest of us.”
November 24, 2011
Sweeney Remake - No!
A film remake of The Sweeney will feature the new ST version of the Ford Focus
Flying Squad detectives Jack Regan and George Carter (Ray Winstone and Ben Drew taking on the roles made famous by John Thaw and Dennis Waterman) will drive the hot-hatchback as they give chase to London's criminals.
NOOOOOO! This is how it should be done. Long shots of real cars.
More below the fold.
Get Your Trousers On, You're Nicked!
The closing credits...
The closing theme really shows why The Sweeney is in a class of its own; after the fireworks of the opening credits and a rollercoaster ride as the plot plays out, this poignant close brings us right down to the reality of a hard, unforgiving world.
Power Churnalism Pwnd
WORKERS are saving up to £110 a year by charging mobile phones, iPods and other gadgets at work rather than at home.
A report has found that one in five people deliberately recharges their phone in the office in an effort to avoid rising electricity charges at home, adding £1.5 billion a year to employers' power bills.
Six years ago, the low-cost airline Ryanair banned its staff from charging their phones at work, claiming that the extra cost would impact on fares.
Luckily one of the readers of The Scotsman is a touch more cynical of this PR churnalism than the journalists.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 12:26 PM
£1.5bn? Sounds like figures made up on the back of a beer mat after a particularly liquid lunch. That's 49% of the workforce allegedly charging phones at the workplace at least occasionally = 14.24 million workers. £1.5bn = £105.34 each, or say £2.24 per working week. At say 26p per kWh that's 8.6kWh on average per week. So even if the chargers are plugged in constantly for a 35 hour week, that suggests they have an average power consumption of 250 watts each. Sound likely? Chargers only use about 5 watts when they're in use.
(I'm not sure where he gets his 26p a kWh from, I guess that that is over double the real cost so that means twice as much power used as he works out, meaning it is even more bollocks.)
November 16, 2011
Inside Your Own Car - Ban!
Smoking in cars should be outlawed to protect children, says BMA | Society | The Guardian
The British Medical Association (BMA) is urging ministers across the UK to extend the ban on smoking in public places introduced in 2007 to all vehicles in a further effort to protect people's health.
"We are calling on UK governments to take the bold and courageous step of banning smoking in private vehicles," said Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's head of science and ethics. "The evidence for extending the smoke-free legislation is compelling."
The government is unlikely to do what the BMA recommends, though. "We do not believe that legislation is the most effective way to encourage people to change their behaviour," a Department of Health spokesman said.
But the BMA hopes that the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, which are pursuing some innovative public health measures such as alcohol minimum pricing and presumed consent organ donation, might take their own action.
The way I read this it is all vehicles, not just cars carrying children.
My guess is the filthy conditions in just one of my local hospitals kills many more than the stale aroma of cigarettes on the upholstery.
November 15, 2011
NSIT - Not Safe In Taxis
By April 2015 it will be mandatory for all of the city's 600 plus cabs to have cameras fitted to record passengers.
A council spokeswoman said the "video and audio would run all the time within the vehicle".
She added: "The risk of intrusion into private conversations has to be balanced against the interests of public safety, both of passengers and drivers."
There is a spot in Broad Street where a stake could be erected and the brushwood piled around for just his sort of case.
November 14, 2011
A Wee Beacon Of Liberty
Take a Liberty has been set up to act as a public forum for people who want to take their liberties back and to prevent the government taking any more of them.
The issue, for example, of seeking to increase the price of cheap booze being a case in point – and it is this issue that has led to us deciding enough is enough. Not only is it bad enough to have such a condescending government wanting to save us from ourselves and treat the poor, in particular, like children, but the pathetic excuse for an opposition suggests there is little or no sense in society, or at least within the corridors of power, of what being an adult actually means anymore.
I urge all north of the border to support them.
Stuart Waiton: Free speech must also mean free singing too - Scotsman.com
ON SATURDAY, speakers from pressure group Take a Liberty (Scotland) were at Ibrox and also an event organised by Celtic Fans Against Criminalisation (FAC).
The intention for me and the other event’s speaker was to put the case for free speech in football. We aimed to argue with the respective fans about why they should oppose the criminalisation of their “enemy’s” songs.
I explained to the Rangers fans at Ibrox that my colleague was at that moment standing in front of a group of Celtic supporters arguing that they needed to defend the right of Rangers fans to sing about being up to their knees in fenian blood. Understandably, my audience could see the funny side of this, as I suggested this may not go down too well with Celtic fans. However, I then noted he would at that precise moment be saying the same to the Celtic fans, except this time about the need for Rangers fans to accept the right of Celtic fans to sing “Up the IRA’’.
The Rangers fans found this less humorous, but they got the point and at the end of the meeting I asked if we could have a vote. Of the 85 people present, only five voted in favour of criminalising some songs. The rest of the audience backed the notion that fans should be free to sing whatever they like without threat of arrest or imprisonment.
Despite there being many things we can all get offended about, free speech, free debate and even the freedom to sing offensive songs at matches is part and parcel of what living in a free, tolerant society should be all about.
• Dr Stuart Waiton is a lecturer at the University of Abertay, Dundee
November 8, 2011
Monboit Asks A Question Of Alan Rusbridger
Is your boss possessed of judgment, vision and management skills superior to those of anyone else in the firm, or did he or she get there through bluff, bullshit and bullying?
November 1, 2011
If Only It Was Run Like McDonald's
A HEALTH chief has accused patients of clogging up Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by treating the accident and emergency department “like McDonald’s”....Mr Farquharson said: “The main challenge is in the increasing number of the public accessing A&E in the first place....
Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients Association, said the NHS should get tough with people abusing A&E services.
She said: “We have got to educate them, to say ‘these are the kind of things you take to your doctor’. We should be saying ‘you have to be registered with a GP and you can’t be accessing treatment from the NHS unless you’re registered with a GP’.”
Bloody customers eh? Turning up and wanting service! Just because they pay for it doesn't mean it is run for them.
October 26, 2011
The Truth of Suppression
All "legal highs" or designer drugs such as mephedrone – now banned – that mimic the effects of established illegal drugs, should be automatically banned, according to the government's official advisers on illicit substances... the ACMD says it necessary to go further and adopt a system similar to the US analogue act whereby substances bearing a chemical similarity to existing controlled substances, such as amphetamines or the active ingredient in cannabis, are banned.
The ACMD report says a different type of drug dealer has emerged. Entrepreneurs are seizing upon the business opportunities. "Many people importing these new substances appear to have had no previous involvement in the illicit drug trade and are just in it to make a quick buck. They have included students who have set up websites to supply nationally and who also supply the local student population."
Roger Howard, of the UK Drug Policy Commission thinktank, warned..."Controlling even more drugs through the drug laws doesn't do anything to help that nor to prevent the harm that might emerge. We need to think differently, about using other controls to bring some discipline to an unregulated market."
There is only one new drug law needed. No one may comment or make any suggestion on drug laws until they have read Chris Snowdon's The Art of Suppression.
A well written, incredibly researched and fascinating book. If the how, why and effectiveness of the state telling us what we are allowed to put into our own bodies interests you, get the book.
(The iea some years ago produced a book on prohibitions, which is available as a free download - also recommended.)
October 13, 2011
The City of Perspiring Dreams Reality Check
NO-ONE has an excuse not to try to earn a living, glamour model turned businesswoman Katie Price told students, as she addressed the Oxford Union.
Stressing the importance of the work ethic during a question and answer session at the ancient seat of learning yesterday, the former pin-up said: “There’s no excuse for people to just get pregnant and stay at home.
“I come from a family that has had to work to earn a living.”
A valuable lesson not just for our privileged students. Is she thinking of going into politics next?
September 20, 2011
Anybody Got A Match?
ilms that depict actors smoking should be handed an automatic 18 certificate, according to research published by the British Medical Journal.
The report, produced by researchers from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, called for movies that feature smoking to attract a similar age classification to those that portray sex or violence.
Cold shower time.
Scot Speech To Be Controlled Everywhere.
Scots who are recorded making threatening remarks anywhere in the world could be hunted down like sex offenders....
The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Bill is currently separated into two parts, with the second offence - making threatening communications - currently restricted to religious hatred.
However, the first part - offensive behaviour at football - also covers offensive remarks on someone's social or cultural group, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sexual orientation, transsexual identity or disability.
Mrs Cunningham told Holyrood's Justice Committee today: "In terms of the second offence, widening that out to include the same categories as the first offence, I have no huge antipathy to that."
The Lord Advocate added: "I'm fairly relaxed about broadening out the second offence, but that is a matter for parliamentarians."
Mrs Cunningham said she was also open to extending the discriminatory remarks to cover those based on age and gender as well to bring it in line with other discrimination legislation.
.... "no huge antipathy"..."fairly relaxed".... Is it only the Scotch who are going to be monitored worldwide for thoughtcrimes, or are they relaxed about the idea of ensuring no body anywhere says anything nasty about anyone.
August 30, 2011
Homeopathy is very low dosages of a bacterium to cure an infection and is common to treat condition like mastitis in dairy cattle.
Welcome back from your hols love. Still not got the hang of looking stuff up or writing proper like, I see. We wouldn't want you to change.
August 9, 2011
So How's That Prohibition Idea Working Out
ABOUT one in 12 cigarettes in Scotland is made and sold illegally - funding criminal activities and costing the government millions of pounds in lost tax revenue.
A survey found that smokers in Paisley bought the highest proportion of illegal cigarettes at 13.7 per cent, while in Glasgow one in ten cigarettes is not bought from legal sources.
Scotland, along with the rest of the UK, is seen as a lucrative target for cigarette smugglers, due to high domestic duty on cigarettes.
"Tobacco smuggling is organised crime on a global scale with huge profits ploughed back into activities like drug dealing, people smuggling and fraud," said John Whiting, assistant director of criminal investigations at HM Revenue & Customs.
Now there's an unexpected result, who would know that punitive pricing and prohibition funds the creation of crime syndicates. Obviously criminals and politicians, sorry I repeat myself, will be clamouring for more prohibition to boost their profits. The obvious alternative is just too silly for words.
August 4, 2011
Lib-Dems Want Your Children
Television and radio advertisements and posters in nurseries and on buses would spell out how parents should play, read, talk, praise, and feed their children every day, under the proposed drive.
Companies that make toys, children’s books and baby food would be encouraged to brand their products with an official logo under the proposed scheme, which is modelled on the successful “five-a-day” fruit and vegetables dietary campaign.
The children’s minister, Sarah Teather, warmly welcomed the proposals, which came from the think-tank, CentreForum....
The initiative would aim to overhaul society’s attitudes towards parenting in a similar way to the change in how drink-driving has been seen over the past 50 years.
The report, Parenting Matters, calls for professional parenting advice to become as widespread as antenatal classes.
But poorer parents need to be “incentivised” to attend courses to help them complete the “five-a-day” essential actions. They could be rewarded for attending classes with higher child benefit payments or annual bonuses, the study suggested.
Baby shops and supermarkets could even offer “loyalty points” under the scheme.
The report acknowledges recommendations are “potentially controversial” and that “interfering” in how parents bring up their children leaves the proposals open to accusations of a “nanny state” mentality.
"Open to accusations"? I should bloody think so, unless you want your child to be a state monitored member of the Lib-Dem Youth Movement.
August 2, 2011
Simms Wrong On Poverty
The relentless pursuit of productivity is socially divisive, environmentally destructive and doesn't make us any happier
This is part of Andrew Simms 100 Months To Save The World series as he tries to persuade us that eating grubs with a stick in our mud hut would make us happier. Twat.
June 10, 2011
What Is a Good Society?
Compass, that lefty campaigning organisation that charges a subscription fee so that Neal Lawson can earn a hefty wedge, is asking people what is their definition of the Good Society.
And seeing as it’s Friday, that afternoon when we’re all looking for something to do to while away the hours until the pub, why not actually go and tell them what you think the Good Society is?
Keeping The Memory Pure
Rockers The Doors threaten Paris bar - FRANCE 24
Lawyers for US rock group The Doors threatened legal action against a Paris bar devoted to the band, saying it did not want to be associated with a drinking establishment, the landlord said Thursday.
Drink, Alcohol, Intoxication, how very dare they associate that with the sainted Jim Morrison and The Doors. What ever next? They will start suggesting something about drugs....
June 3, 2011
This Be The Verse
Proposals include ban on sale of 'adult' pre-teen clothes, and requiring 'lads mags' to sell in brown covers
The proposals come in a long-awaited report, leaked to the Guardian, on the commercialisation of childhood. It was commissioned by Cameron and is due to be published on Monday with strong support from Downing Street.
The report, which was prepared by Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Christian charity Mothers' Union, finds "sexualised and gender stereotyped clothing, products and services for children are the biggest concerns for parents and many non-commercial organisations".
In response to his recommendations on clothing, it is expected that the British Retail Consortium, following consultation with Mumsnet, the web-based parents' forum, will announce a new code next week....
Government to regulate after 18 months if progress insufficient....
Some Labour politicians have, however, called for regulation to be put in place faster.
Mumsnet, Mothers' Union, Non-commercial organisations, Legislation...
May 26, 2011
Don't Get Old in NHS World
Older patients get “appalling” care in some hospitals, including being left so short of water that doctors resort to prescribing it on bedside notes to make sure patients receive enough liquid, the health regulator warns.
Inspections at 12 hospitals by the Care Quality Commission showed that three failed to meet basic standards of dignity and nutrition for patients, and three more raised concerns.
Dame Jo Williams, chief executive of the CQC, told The Times that the failure rates found at the first 12 hospitals surveyed were expected to be “fairly representative” of the NHS, with only half of hospitals meeting essential standards of dignity and nutrition for older people. About a quarter were likely to be breaking the law on standards of care, as set down in the Health and Social Care Act 2008, she added
May 10, 2011
SNP On The Booze
A NEW minimum price for alcohol is likely to become law within a year, after the SNP vowed the measure would be the key priority of its second term in office.
The key priority? The single most important thing the SNP can do to improve the lives of the Scotch? There was I thinking instead of picking a fight with the EU over the right to set prices they might be interested in economic recovery and jobs. Or even energy policy....
May 4, 2011
Plod SWAT In Action
Officers had telephoned the pair to inform them of the complaints and said they would visit to talk to them about it.
They were shocked, however, when a police car and a police van turned up and four officers knocked on the door then arrested them inside their home.
Mrs McIntosh said that after they were arrested, an officer demanded keys to their house, which was searched while they were put into the van and taken to Workington police station.
The McIntoshes were arrested on suspicion of a public nuisance offence, taken to Workington police station and locked up.
Police seized house keys, bank statements and cheque books.
The pair were placed on bail while the Crown Prosecution Service conducted an investigation and four lawyers were brought in to look at the case.
Last month, they were told there was no case to answer and the investigation was handed to Allerdale Council's environmental health team.
The council has also said it can take no action.
Lucky they weren't bundled up into a helicopter and dropped into the Arabian Sea.
May 3, 2011
NHS Epidemic of Plumbum Oscillans
NHS workers take average 11 days off sick every year - Scotsman.com News
This is almost double the 6.4 days taken off sick by the average worker in the UK according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
The most common reasons cited by health boards for sickness absence were anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health issues.
Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients Association, said:"Our staff should not be off with stress and depression. We need to get more staff in so staff are not under as much pressure which means they have to take time off sick."
Scottish Labour's health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie, agreed that a reduction in the number of staff in the NHS in the last year meant significant pressure was piled on those left behind.
She said: "A Labour Scottish government would prioritise the protection of NHS jobs, with no compulsory redundancies for NHS staff, to ensure the delivery of the highest standards of patient care."
Jobs for life and less work to do, not the cure the Private Sector has found works for Plumbum Oscillans. I bet BUPA doesn't have the same problem.
April 28, 2011
The identities of four celebrities who obtained draconian injunctions to hide details of their extra–marital affairs have been disclosed on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.
While Wikipedia's administrators have removed the references from the celebrities' pages they remain accessible in a historic log.
You naughty people. If I cared I would go digging. Solving the puzzle makes it slightly more interesting but the shagging habits of Z listers are still not that interesting.
April 27, 2011
A judge has banned the media from reporting whether or not a criminal court has even sat under a “very rare” secrecy order. The far-reaching order comes amid concerns over the use of super-injunctions in civil privacy cases and will fuel public debate about justice being done behind closed doors.
It appears to fly in the face of the tradition that criminal cases must be heard in public in the interests of justice. Such restrictions are highly unusual and would only be expected in extreme circumstances.
Reporting any details about the order — even the fact that the hearing has taken place — could lead to journalists being jailed or fined for contempt of court.
In the latest case, the defendant is identified on public court papers only by a single initial, with no details of the charge or charges that he or she faces.
Judges often impose orders banning the reporting of matters heard in criminal courts to prevent prejudicing juries in future trials, to protect witnesses or in the national interest. But the name of defendants, the charges they face and the dates of any future hearing are made available to the media to enable the evidence and legal argument to be reported when the order is lifted. The media is also given the information so that it can seek to challenge the restrictions.
The latest order — which has drawn comparisons with Franz Kafka’s 1925 novel The Trial in which a bank clerk, Josef K, is unexpectedly arrested and tried for a crime that is not revealed to him or the reader — also prevents the reporting of whether a hearing has taken place, the name of the lawyers involved if a hearing has taken place and any details of the order itself. The Times has ensured that it has not identified the geographical area of the hearing, the court, the judge, the case name or the identities of the lawyers involved.
It was meant to be a warning, not an instruction manual.
April 18, 2011
Pardon me Boy, but the Chattanooga Choo-choo is way out of line
I seem to have upset some railway fans by reminding them that it is an outdated technology. I wasn't able to answer them here or over at Longsider's as we were away for the weekend.
We drove a 100 miles to some friends, it took about 2:30 hours. I note that if I wanted to repeat the journey this afternoon by train we would have to get six miles to our local station and a similar distance by taxi at the other end. The train would take 3:51 and cost £63.50 for cattle class - a fairer comparison for comfort would be first class at £127.00, so for the four of us it would cost £500.
My car costs were a lot less than that.
Any speed comparisons with railways assume you want to travel from and to stations. It is door to door time that counts and railways lose to cars and long distance coaches nearly always.
(To answer the critics to get to York from my local station by rail is 4:17, by car from my home 4:20 according to Google maps).
The comparison for commuter travel should be against specialist coaches running in coach lanes.
To take an American example - The Lincoln Tunnel provides a dedicated bus lane, in the direction from New Jersey to Manhattan, during the morning peak hours of 06:10 am to 10:00 am. During these four hours, the typical flow is 1700 buses, each carrying on average 36 passengers.
I make that 61,000 on one lane through a tunnel. Waterloo doesn't manage double that on all its lanes. (Land value taxation on the space anyone?)
Look at the photo above from Google of Paddington station and the A40 - which one is moving more people? Go and search the line, look at other stations, you will see the same thing - the tracks are nearly always empty because you can't get the density of traffic onto rail that you can on road.
Safety - comparisons of safety are difficult because on roads we have traffic, including walkers and cyclists who not comparable to the rail network - the comparison should be with trunk roads and motorways and the figures and caveats are here. It is a wash.
But one area where rail is detrimental to public safety is the cost of safety measures. Lives are worth about £1 million in terms of public spend to save, that's not my figure that is what as a society we act as though we believe and the is the figure the Government uses in pricing road safety. On the railways figures of £30-50 million spend to save one life are mooted. Which is an extraordinary waste. That safety money could save 29 more people if spent on roads.
Coach - Full Coach: 26 grams CO2 per passenger mile
Car - Four People: 86 grams CO2 per passenger mile
Train - Average occupancy: 96 grams CO2 per passenger mile
London Underground 127 grams CO2 per passenger mile
Rounded figures from DEFRA July 2007 Report: Passenger Transport Emissions Factors.
So not cleaner, not faster, not more convenient, not cheaper, so what are trains better at?
I'm sure they can figure in the transport mix somewhere but at the moment they are worshipped beyond reason, maybe only Freud could explain.
April 17, 2011
Oh Yes It Did
Look at the figures: - Transport Watch UK
April 10, 2011
Cut Red Tape By The Yard
The metricators are having a field day getting all over excited about moving the UK into oh-so-efficient European harmony where everything is measured with reference to Napoleons todger.
The view that it should be left up to consenting adults to decide how they want their cabbages weighed doesn't seem to be getting much of a look in.
Do please help.
April 6, 2011
Four Top Salaries With Not Enough to Do
Climate change, ill health, and conflict -- Jarvis et al. 342 -- bmj.com
Climate change, ill health, and conflict are interrelated, so collaboration between medical and military professions is needed
Damage to the fabric of human society is bad for human health. It can occur for reasons other than war. A recent report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has highlighted that the effects of climate change will present a threat to collective security and global order in the first half of the 21st century. This will limit access to food, safe water, power, sanitation, and health services and drive mass migration and competition for remaining resources. Starvation, diarrhoea, and infectious diseases will become more common, and neonatal and adult mortality will rise, as a result of conflict. In accordance with this, in 2004, seven of the 10 countries with the highest mortality rates in children under 5 were conflict or immediate post-conflict societies.
The IISS report states that “The earth is warming, and has been for at least a century,” with this being “directly attributable to the increasing emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.” As a result, “Climate change may already be changing weather and precipitation patterns” and will continue to drive extreme weather events and changes in water resources (through flood, drought, and …
Doctors must take a leading role in highlighting the dangers of climate change, which will lead to conflict, disease and ill-health, and threatens global security, according to a stark warning from an unusual alliance of physicians and military leaders. Lionel Jarvis, surgeon rear admiral at the UK's Ministry of Defence; Hugh Montgomery, professor of human health at UCL, London; Neil Morisetti, rear admiral and climate and security envoy for the UK; and Ian Gilmore, professor at the Royal Liverpool hospital.
Ian Gilmore - I thought he claimed alcohol was the biggest threat to human health? Or was that yesterday's scare?
March 30, 2011
Kate Humble's Bum Idea
Kate Humble, the BBC wildlife presenter, wants visits to the countryside to be mandatory for schoolchildren and is to take the matter up with the Education Secretary.
Speaking to Radio Times, Humble said that the countryside is “great for your brain and great for your soul and great for your bum”.
I'm still looking for a photograph to illustrate her proposition that the countryside is good for her bum.
But just because you enjoy something doesn't mean it should be made compulsory, please.
And now back to the picture search....
March 10, 2011
Don't let the door hit you on the back as you go
Civil servants can currently take early retirement at the age of 55, or 50 if they are in a scheme which closed in 2006 and have more than five years’ service.
"The BMA believes that an increase in the normal pensionable age for existing NHS staff would be unacceptable. There would be a real risk of a staff exodus, as doctors in their fifties – many of whom are eligible for voluntary early retirement – consider their futures.”
So if you don't let us retire we will leave? And the problem with that is?
March 7, 2011
Zander of the LSE - Innocents Shouldn't Be Let Off
No, no, no: not guilty does not mean innocent | The Times (£)
Michael Zander, QC, Emeritus Professor of Law at the London School of Economics
Theresa May’s case for slashing the number of names on the DNA database is nonsensical
Theresa May was talking nonsense. She (and her advisers) should know better. It is nonsense because no one knows the number of arrested persons who are innocent. Someone who is arrested but not charged, or is arrested but not convicted, may be guilty. Indeed, it is reasonable to assume that a considerable proportion — perhaps a majority — are guilty even though for one reason or another they are not convicted or charged.
In most cases even someone who has been acquitted cannot properly be described as “found innocent” — though journalists commonly fall into that error. Occasionally, notably through DNA evidence, it is established that the acquitted person is in fact innocent. Usually, however, all one can say is that the defendant was not convicted. A Not Guilty verdict means not proved beyond a reasonable doubt to be guilty. That verdict covers everything from “completely innocent” to “lucky to get away with it”.
Misuse of the word “innocent” is not a minor matter. The word has a heavy emotional charge that is capable of affecting policy decisions. The cry that “innocent people should not have their DNA profile on the database” is far more appealing than “people who may or may not be guilty should not have their DNA profile on the database”.
The case for having DNA profiles of people who have been arrested on the database is very simple. Whether or not they are convicted this time, it may help to convict them next time.
He's the top legal brain at the LSE where it might be thought he would be better spent looking at innocence and guilt at the moment. I think what he is trying to say is that dodgy people get off when jolly nice policemen and lawyers like him know they are wrong-uns. So lets forget all this "innocent" stuff and tag them with having a guilty look about them.
If he wants to make the case for a universal DNA register then why not make it as Theresa May's proposal is to merely to shorten the time those charged and found not guilty have their DNA stored.
February 11, 2011
Trouser Snake Oil Salesmen
Boots the chemist is facing an inquiry by the advertising watchdog into health claims it makes for alternative remedies that are not backed by scientific evidence...continues to sell a £19.91 “Ladycare menopause relief magnet”, worn in women’s knickers, although it has removed unsubstantiated claims that this can treat hot flushes, mood swings, weight gain and low libido and it is no longer on special offer.
Lady Care meet Prince Albert, I know you will be attracted to each other...
February 4, 2011
Plebs Getting Spoilt - Government Acts
Eat shoots and leaves - but in the right order - Scotsman.com News
RHUBARB is in and strawberries are out. Scots would only tuck into "in season" produce under the latest plans to transform the nation's health and eating habits.
Dubbed "Eat In Season", the government hopes it will lead to people eating better food, saving money and adopting a more "sustainable" lifestyle choice.
The government believes shoppers have become spoiled by supermarkets shipping in all kinds of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables all year round.
Haggis, 'neeps and porridge only until August then.
February 1, 2011
Sushi "Coordinating Conjunction Of Your Choice" Nudes
South Africa's ANC deplores 'sushi on models' after scandal - Telegraph
South Africa's governing party has pronounced that eating sushi off the body of a model in a bikini is politically incorrect.
African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe is unequivocal: "This act is anti-ANC and antirevolutionary. This act is defamatory, insensitive and undermining of woman's integrity."
Mantashe adds: "The ANC is not into nightclubs or partying, but it is a revolutionary movement."
I'm worried about that coordinating conjunction "but". It seems wrong, or is the revolutionary movement their equivalent to partying; "There is no wine but we have beer". Or did he mean "because"; "We don't party because we are a miserable bunch of Trots".
As if I didn't have enough else to worry about.
January 24, 2011
Traction Man on The Telly
Dispatches reveals investigates the shocking truth about catering in the National Health Service. More details about the programme, and when it's on, will be announced soon.
Reporter Mark Sparrow spent 10 weeks in traction eating NHS food. He thought it was so bad that he set up a blog ( Notes from a Hospital Bed (opens in a new window)) to record his experiences. He photographed and filmed dozens of meals. When he was released he set out to discover whether what he had gone through was a one-off or symptomatic of a deeper problem.
January 17, 2011
One Puff And You Die
BBC News - Smoking 'causes damage in minutes', US experts claim
This study suggests the damage begins just moments after the first cigarette is smoked.
January 16, 2011
Private notes kept by Churchill’s doctor reveal how the prime minister’s work and character declined under the strain of war.
The previously confidential records reveal a leader whose work deteriorated and whose character suffered because of “years of stress” that left him with “an intolerance of criticism and bad temper”.
Churchill’s decline was exacerbated because he “never nursed his physique” and failed to “listen to advice”, according to Lord Moran, his personal doctor for 25 years.
Just think what he could have achieved if he had eaten his five a day and laid off the baccy and booze. Can you imagine him in lycra grinning like a loon as he cycled to Parliament. Thank goodness today's leaders listen to their quacks and aren't like him.
Out of Flavour
Retailers are increasingly selling dishes as 'meat-free' as vegetarianism is seen as "outdated" and unfashionable.
The shifting trend has frustrated some vegetarians, who fear it will become harder to find dishes that are completely free of animal products such as gelatin or Parmesan cheese.
Liz O’Neill, head of communications at the Vegetarian Society, said: “We’re definitely not this year’s flavour."
Flavour, not this year, not any year...
January 1, 2011
Have a Healthy New Year
Your prescription for 2011 is…
… be slightly overweight, don't exercise too much and stop peeling your fruit and veg. Follow these seven simple steps to better health....
The new emphasis is on waist measurements: men can be content if their waist is less than 38 inches and women should be happy with a waist of 34 inches or less. Keeping our waist measurements lower than those of our hips is a practical aim for everyone.
The current advice is to exercise to breathlessness (it doesn't matter what you do – anything you continue to enjoy) for around 30 minutes, and avoid exercising more than three or four times a week.
December 28, 2010
Watching Your Drink
Under the scheme, bottles would bear a printed barcode enabling authorities to track whether legally bought alcohol has been given to youngsters.
The scheme, which is already being piloted in problem areas of Dundee, involves the police seizing alcohol from under-18s and then using the coded bottle labels to trace where the drink was bought from.
Officers then use CCTV from the shop to identify who bought the drink........
It is already happening, this isn't some Orwellian warning.
Luckily every fortnight respectable citizens put empty bottles outside their houses in green bins. Decanting your hooch into a bottle from the vicar's doorstep seems even a better wheeze than picking off the barcode label.
What are the chances that this ability to track alcohol purchases to customers is picked up by the Health Nazis, for our "own good"?
December 24, 2010
Flop Your Meat Out To Keep The Peace
Want to avoid family fights this holiday season?
Try placing the turkey, ham or preferred meaty main course right in everyone's view.
Results from a McGill University study, released Monday, suggest that people — men, anyway — become less aggressive at the sight of meat.
The results run counter to what Frank Kachanoff, a researcher with McGill's psychology department, anticipated.
December 23, 2010
Tis The Season To Feel Guilty
Healthy eating really can help people live longer, according to new research on diets.
A study comparing the diets of 2,500 older Americans found that "high fat" eating individuals were 40 per cent more likely to die over ten years than those who preferred "healthy foods"
The "high fat dairy products" category had higher intakes of foods such as ice cream, cheese, whole milk and yoghurt, and lower consumption of poultry, low-fat dairy products, rice and pasta.
A 37 per cent higher risk of dying was associated with the "sweets and desserts" cluster, and a 21 per cent increased risk was linked with the "meat, fried foods and alcohol" diet cluster.
In total, 374 of the study participants made "healthy foods" a predominant part of their diet, while 693 preferred "meat, fried foods and alcohol".
The latest findings on diets and health expectancy appear in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Except they don't - they will appear next month:
All press releases are under strict embargo until the first of the month at 12:00 AM EST. We will provide journalists and editors with full-text copies of the articles in question prior to the embargo date so that stories can be adequately researched and written.
So science by press release again - nice juicy story to fill out the holiday pages and induce guilt in the overstuffed revellers. But no chance for anyone to fillet the study as it won't be available until the New Year.
December 16, 2010
Fifty a day and you will live for ever
Around 33,000 lives a year could be saved if everyone in the UK followed dietary guidelines, research suggests.
Eating five portions of fruit and veg a day would save 15,000 lives, including 7,000 from heart disease, almost 5,000 from cancer and around 3,000 from stroke
Another 4,000 deaths would be prevented by sticking to dietary recommendations on fibre; around 7,000 from watching fat intake and 7,500 by reducing salt
The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, was based on a computer model linking food consumption with mortality from heart disease, stroke and cancer.
"According to our model, the biggest impact would be eating more fruit and veg. But this doesn't mean you should just stop at five - the more the better."
Ah, the "model says" - and the relationship is more is better in an unbounded way, sort of an artificial x=2y way rather the more natural bell curve response most nature studies have . Funny actually studying real people give a different answer.
BBC News - Five-a-day has little impact on cancer, study finds
The study of 500,000 Europeans joins a growing body of evidence undermining the high hopes that pushing "five-a-day" might slash Western cancer rates.
The team, led by researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York, took into account lifestyle factors such as smoking and exercise when drawing their conclusions.
But writing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, they said they could not rule out that even the small reduction in cancer risk seen was down to the fact that the kind of people who ate more fruit and vegetables lived healthier lives in many other respects too.
December 9, 2010
Would bring tears of joy to an old Cavalry Man
December 8, 2010
Met Office Triumphs Nearly Correct Forecast of Over Eight Hours
Pressure was growing on the Scottish government tonight after the country's transport minister appeared to blame the wrong kind of weather forecast for the travel chaos that brought much of the central belt to a standstill in heavy snow.
Police were today still working to clear hundreds of vehicles stuck or abandoned on key routes. Some travellers endured 15 hours trapped in their vehicles on Monday night as snow, ice and freezing fog left many major routes, such as the M8 and M9, impassable.
The Scottish transport minister, Stewart Stevenson, initially insisted that the authorities had done a first-class job in the face of "unforecast and extreme weather". He told BBC Radio Scotland that the government had prepared for one set of weather but "the advice we were working on did not meet the requirements".
Forecasters, however, insisted that snow warnings were made on Sunday night and Monday. The Met Office, which the Scottish government uses as its source for weather information, said no one should have been surprised.
"Warnings went on to our public website at around 8.40 on Sunday evening for heavy snow starting at 5am," said Met Office spokeswoman Helen Chivers. "The amounts were for 2cm to 5cm overall with up to 10cm in some places." She said 5cm of fresh snow fell in Glasgow and 7cm in Edinburgh. There were reports of 12cm falling in Livingston.
Wow! A forecast over eight hours ahead of a blizzard. What more could you expect for the measly millions the Met Office costs?
My bunch of seaweed is frozen solid hanging outside the porch and is covered in white stuff, so relying on that I have no idea what the weather today is going to be.
December 7, 2010
Stephen Neary is a 20 year old man with Autism trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare.
It is a story that should be trumpeted from the front page of every main stream newspaper – but it won’t be. They will keep silent.
Please read the rest.
November 29, 2010
The Battle of Cable Street
The shuttered grocer’s shop at 375 Cable Street sits between an off-licence and a housing estate in East London. On the face of it, this is an unlikely front line for the Government’s drive to make the nation healthier. Yet, as Andrew Lansley puts the finishing touches to a White Paper, which he promises will bring a “radical new approach to public health”, this empty shop is the sort of place the Health Secretary will have to consider.
Plans to be announced tomorrow will transfer responsibility for public health from the local NHS to councils. For parents, it comes down to something as concrete as this: will the planning authorities let a fast-food takeaway open outside the gates of your child’s school?
For the experts, nudging people might not be enough. Sometimes they need a shove, such as banning junkfood adverts on television before the watershed. “Any one thing isn’t going to do the job,” Professor Davies said. “Regulation is not your first port of call, but it does need to be there when you need it.” Supermarkets and off-licences will be banned from selling cut-price alcohol. The Home Office is to announce plans under which the minimum price for a litre bottle of spirits would be £10.50 and for a 20 pack of beer £8.50.
The pricing is based on a formula whereby shops will be unable to sell alcohol below the cost of duty on the drink plus VAT. Ministers are also considering imposing higher taxes on super-strength beers.
Nanny is back but speaking in a posher voice....
November 22, 2010
Rarely Pure Never Simple
Heroin shortage in UK is 'putting lives at risk' | Society | The Guardian
Hospitals are treating a growing number of drug users who have overdosed on heroin mixed with other substances by dealers because of a huge shortage of the opiate across the UK.
The shortage has been linked not to seizures of the drug by law enforcement agencies but to a fungus that has blighted this year's poppy crop in Afghanistan, reducing it by half.
Among heroin users commenting in online forums about the drought, one long-term user said: "I've never known anything like it in 30 years."
There is one simple answer to such problems. And then there is what our leaders do.
November 12, 2010
"Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"
"Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really,"
Reported to police...racially motivated and incitement to murder...Arrested .... 'suspended indefinitely' from Conservative party
I didn't realise anyone actually read twitter, luckily there is none of that rough talk on the blogosphere...
Happiness is a warm app
Track Your Happiness App
Using your iPhone, you’ll be notified by email or text message and asked to report how you are feeling and what you are doing.
So if you're an Apple user you sign up for this app, and the results are:
Participants said they were distracted no less than 30 per cent of the time during every activity, except making love, when they were more focused than usual.
"A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.
"Mind wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness.
"In fact, how often our minds leave the present and where they tend to go is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged."
Strange people these iPhone users, I think if I was making the beast with two backs and my partner's iPhone started trilling and asking her how happy she was my distraction level might rise and my happiness decrease. And if she started texting back I would know the handcuffs weren't on tight enough.
October 11, 2010
Yummy Mummies Cost More
Ethical labels add millions to cost of food
The Soil Association, the leading organic certification body, for instance, charges about £650 a year to a food company, while the Marine Stewardship Council, which promotes sustainable fishing, charges up to £1,200 a year.
Many charge a royalty fee on each item sold as well as, or instead of, an annual fee. This involves the food producers having to pay a small cut of the sale price.
These include a fee of 0.03 per cent levied by the Soil Association, 0.5 per cent by the Marine Stewardship Council, and 0.3 per cent levied by Freedom Food, a scheme run by the RSPCA, the animal charity.
Next they will reveal that designer labels make shoes and clothes more expensive...
Luckily Lidl labels are so full of Polish and Greek there is little room for such fripperies in my larder.
October 2, 2010
If You Aren't Free To Wear What You Want, What Freedom Have You Got?
Two French female students have made a film of the pair of them strolling through the streets of Paris in a niqab, bare legs and mini-shorts as a critique of France's recently passed law.
Calling themselves the "Niqabitches," the veiled ladies can be seen strutting past prime ministerial offices and various government ministries with a black veil leaving only their eyes visible, but with their long legs naked bar black high heels.
There that should upset the all the different shades of repressive twats who want to pass laws as to what someone can wear.
(The original video has a modern beat combo soundtrack so I prefer the old lechers at the Torygraph music dub)
September 29, 2010
Police pledge swifter response to racism and homophobia than 'ordinary' crime - Scotsman.com News
Police will stress to officers that victims from minorities suffer more when a crime is motivated by prejudice than a member of the general public would from the same offence.
But do they?
The psychological suffering from a crime is often compounded by the inability to understand why one is a victim.
The fear of random violence, or what ever, and the inability to reason why the criminal did what they did prey far more on the mind I believe.
If the scumbag is a paki-basher the poor bloody victim knows they did nothing wrong and has some explanation of the crime and insight into the mind behind it that makes it easier to deal with. An unexplained kicking or turd through the letter box leaves the victim wondering why and when it will happen next without a clue as how to avoid it.
Simply treat all crimes the same.
September 24, 2010
Was uns nicht umbringt, macht uns stärker.
Full, filthy extent of Delhi disgrace exposed - Scotsman.com News
COVERED in filth and debris, with some areas cordoned off with tape...
Just like the London Marathon route after the runners have passed, defecating in the gutters. I don't know what they are complaining about or are they just a bunch of overpaid delicate flowers?
Sound advice for the jobless
I've seen her picture...
September 15, 2010
Nef Knows Best
Cambridge, university city of ancient colleges, spires and towers, of hidden gardens and river vistas, is betrayed by its high street shops, a new report claims.
Their lack of variety, and their domination by big chains, make Cambridge Britain's top "clone town", says the New Economics Foundation.
Five years ago the foundation came up with the concept of clone towns – urban areas which had lost their identity as global and national chain stores drove out local businesses.
A spokesman for Nef, Paul Hurst, said: "This is a warning that local diversity needs to be actively maintained and supported and won't necessarily survive on its own."
I'm sure Nef have wonderful plans for mandating what shops selling what goods are allowed to open where. The public is so stupid they don't know what they want and they must be told!
August 23, 2010
1. Tim Vine: "I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again."..
. . . and the worst
Emo Philips: "I like to play chess with bald men in the park although it's hard to find 32 of them."
August 8, 2010
THE secret of how to beat a deadly food poisoning bug may lie in Scotland's farmyards. Scientists have found that up to a fifth of Scottish farmers are immune to infection with E coli, which is spread mainly through cattle dung.
In a previous study of farmers in England and Wales, the researchers found that around three per cent had immunity to E coli 0157.
But in the Grampian region - thought to have one of the highest rates of the infection in the world - results have so far suggested a much higher rate of antibodies.
Low level expose giving immunity or Darwin at work? Knowing the state of some farmyards I am not sure it isn't the latter.
August 3, 2010
and the animals looked from pig to man
From The Sunday Times
October 18, 2009
Manchester to ban cheap drink
The move by Greater Manchester will increase the pressure on Gordon Brown to follow medical advice and raise the price of alcohol.
Express.co.uk - Greater Manchester to ban cheap alcohol
A ban on cheap alcohol in Greater Manchester could provide a blueprint for the rest of the country, echoing plans announced last week by Home Secretary Theresa May for a crackdown on binge drinking.
July 25, 2010
Pc David Copperfield is on the case
July 18, 2010
Bring me my arrows of desire!
....Forget what the guardians of our health tell you. Ignore the pinched diet jeremiahs and the skinny cardio-thoracic surgeons; bypass surgery has advanced to such a point that it's practically routine these days. For what is the point of a life lived without fat? Fat is good. Fat is great. Fat is where the flavour is. Without fat a piece of meat is just so much stolid, worthy protein; a joyless celebration of earnest activity rather than the greater virtues of sloth and indulgence. Sure, fillet steak may be the most expensive cut of the cow, but it is also the dullest. It is Mogadon made flesh. Give me a thick-cut sirloin, with its heavy, buffed amber ribbon at its back every time.
Give me lamb breast, with its crisped, friable outer layers, which, when hot, melt on the tongue. Give me a duck with tits like Dolly Parton, its outside as sweet and caramelised and crunchy as a candied nut. Give me plump capons and geese, and sausages that leave a puddle of something shiny on the plate when you puncture them, just ready to be mopped up with the pad of one (fat) finger.
I would go off on one now about the whole pig thing – bacon rind and crackling, slices of black pudding dotted with granules of fat like diamonds in a mine – but I think you know about that already. Suffice to say that a pig without its fat is like Angelina Jolie without the looks: not worth bothering with.
There is to me no sadder sight than a plate of roasted meat from which its owner has systematically excised every trace of glistening fat, the unwanted bronzed skin piled up on the rim like the debris left at the side of a motorway after a nasty car crash. There is always a pinched expression that goes with this process, the look of someone who has the stench of something unspeakable in their nostrils. I want to shout "you idiot" and chuck my knife in, give those exquisite, slippery pieces the love they deserve.
Sheer poetry, and Sunday Lunch to prepare....
July 16, 2010
Dr Russell Viner and colleagues from the UCL Institute of Child Health in London say that the weight of a child by itself is not a reason for child protection staff to get involved.
But in an article on what they accept is a potentially contentious issue, published online today by the British Medical Journal, they suggest that it may be appropriate to consider the child protection register if the parents consistently fail to change the family's lifestyle and will not engage with outside help.
"Removing children from their parents may not help obesity. There are few data on the weight of children in public care," they say. A recent study found that 37% of children in care were overweight or obese – but almost all of them had put on weight after they were put into care.
Strange the state is so keen to lecture its subjects but doesn't seem to worry about its own charges....
July 13, 2010
Duc de Coutard fears for the peasantry
This Tory bonfire of regulations lets the rich foul the poor with impunity | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
Take out the referee and crises will erupt in public health as in banking. And the state will eventually pay to put them right
Poor wee Georgie is scared of the dark and wants Nanny to stay by his cot.....
July 5, 2010
Hurrah for Nonna
BRITISH holidaymakers heading to Italy this summer may be advised to keep an eye on public notices after as numerous councils have brought in lists of silly laws.
Power-crazed mayors are enforcing a zero tolerance summer across the country after being given sweeping new powers to protect public security as well as clamping down on illegal street selling.
Among other edicts that have amounted to the ultimate "stato di nonna" - or nanny state - are bans on public kissing, sand castles, noisy sandals, lawn mowers and leaving a towel unattended on the beach to bag a top spot.
I'm not sure I don't rather approve. Obviously I don't mind sand castles but the rest ruin sea side holidays, especially the noisy sandals...
July 4, 2010
Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make
A PROPOSED £9 billion network of “smart” electricity and gas meters will hand the government and power companies detailed information about people’s lifestyles, privacy campaigners are warning.
The systems are so sophisticated they will reveal when people are at home, what sort of appliances they are using and even indicate their diet.
Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, said: “You can tell when people come home, when they eat and whether they tend to cook microwave food or on the stove.”
A similar scheme in Holland was halted last year after a legal ruling that compulsory smart meters would breach privacy rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The British proposals involve installing the meters in every home by 2020. Such a grid could dramatically reduce energy consumption and David Cameron has described it as “the internet for electricity. . . that will deliver a genuinely low carbon world”.
The current preference is for meters to feed information about household energy consumption to a centralised database every 30 minutes. This would be managed by Ofgem, the energy regulator, and pass information on to power companies.
From behind The Sunday Times paywall - can't find a way to even link to it.
Figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph have revealed that local authorities issued more than 1,240 fixed penalty notices last year for breaking rules on recycling and putting out rubbish.
Councils are issuing fines of up to £110 for such infringements as putting their bins out for collection at the wrong time, over filling bins, or putting recycling into the wrong boxes.
As well as the fines, local authorities have issued 24,914 official Statutory Notices last year threatening householders with fines. A further 45,010 warning letters were also sent out pointing out breaches in bin and recycling rules.
Councils insist they must enforce rules on recycling to ensure the government can meet European targets on reducing the amount of rubbish which goes to landfill.
Environmental wardens, nicknamed the "bin police" are sent out to look for infringements and in some cases have rummaged through people's rubbish to inspect the contents or even to find documents linking the rubbish to householders.
The councils job is just to collect the rubbish, if they want to sort it into neat little piles to ship to Brazil then that is up to them. All they are doing is increasing fly-tipping, rats and resentment.
Friendly Eyes Watching Over Your Driving
Intelligent cars will report accidents to authorities - Telegraph
Intelligent cars fitted with aircraft-style black boxes that can send video footage and information about driving behaviour during accidents to the police and insurance companies are being developed by computer scientists.
Remember your car may well already have a "black box" which is ready to grass you up...
Automobile Crash Event Data Recorder Some airbag modules have an added feature that allows them to store sensor data received by the module during an airbag deployment or near-deployment. These airbag modules, equipped with a Event Data Recorder (EDR) function, are often referred to as a "Black Box." Although, the airbag module is not a " Black Box", in the true sense of the term, this descriptor helps simplify the explanation of this device. Airbag modules with this EDR function do not record large amounts of data over long periods of time. However, they do record data from up to six sensors for a period of up to five seconds before an impact.
You are being watched as you drive.
July 2, 2010
Precautionary Principle Works (for shareholders)
The government's response to the swine flu pandemic was on the whole proportionate and effective, an independent review said today, but there are still lessons to be learned from the alert, which cost £1.2bn.
The taxpayer footed the bill which included 20 million unused vaccines.
GlaxoSmithKline made £883million from sales of the drug last year but insisted the Government complete the deal even if the vaccines were no longer needed.
Dame Deirdre Hine's independent review team said: "The lack of such a clause exposed the exchequer to some risk."
They could not reveal how much money would have been saved if there had been a break clause in the contract because of commercial confidentiality.
Dame Deirdre said: "I think we have got to set these figures, which seem enormous, against the potential for saving lives.
"Although we can't identify the number, there probably were lives saved of very young people, young children and so on."
Dame Deirdre said the Government's response to the possible pandemic was "proportionate and effective".
I hate to think what a disproportionate response would have cost.
June 24, 2010
Would you like extra grease with that?
A DOCTOR has called for greater focus on providing nutritious hospital food after her husband was served bridies and beans in a ward hours after he was admitted with a heart attack.
As well as the bridie-based meal, the GP was offered helpings of sausages, cottage pie and haggis.
Dr Campbell, 46, attacked the standard of catering, claiming that in some cases the food was "unrecognisable".
I will admit my ignorance in not knowing what a bridie was - it seems to be a Sweaty Cornish Pasty. But I doubt the hospital version is as welcoming as a proper one.
One for the Traction Man I think.
June 21, 2010
NICE Lies on Heart Disease
It says “toxic” artificial fats known as trans fats, which have no nutritional value and are linked to heart disease, should be banned.
It says there are about five million people in the country suffering the effects of cardiovascular disease — a “largely avoidable” condition that includes heart attacks, heart disease and stroke — and that it causes 150,000 deaths annually. Nice says 40,000 of these deaths could be prevented, and hundreds of millions of pounds saved, if its measures were introduced.
The guidance, which was commissioned by the Department of Health, also recommends that:
• Low-salt and low-fat foods should be sold more cheaply than their unhealthy counterparts, through the use of subsidies if necessary;
• Advertising of unhealthy foods should be banned until after 9pm and planning laws should be used to restrict the number of fast food outlets, especially near schools;
• The Common Agricultural Policy should focus more on public health, ensuring farmers are paid to produce healthier foods;
• Action should also be taken to introduce a “traffic light” food labelling system, even though the European Parliament recently voted against this;
• Local authorities must act to encourage walking and cycling and public sector caterers must provide healthier meals;
• All lobbying of the Government and its agencies by the food and drink industry should be fully disclosed.
Prof Klim McPherson, the Chairman of the Nice Guidance Development Group and professor of epidemiology at Oxford University, said: “Where food is concerned, we want the healthy choice to be the easy choice. Going even further, we want the healthy choice to be the less expensive, more attractive choice.
“Put simply, this guidance can help the Government and the food industry to take action to prevent huge numbers of unnecessary deaths and illnesses caused by heart disease and stroke.” The average person in Britain consumes more than eight grams of salt a day. The body only requires one gram to function. Targets are already in place to reduce salt consumption to six grams by 2015 and this should be extended to three grams by 2050, the guidance says.
There is no evidence on the NICE website to back this up, just a cosy notice of an embargoed press conference.
Of course we all wait for the evidence before judging, won't we but I notice one phrase - which I have tracked down - NHS Choices - What are trans fats? They have no nutritional value.
They may not be good for you, they may taste like axle grease, but they do have nutritional value, they supply energy and their break down will result in stuff the body can use, and misuse.
The claim they have no nutritional value is a lie, pure and simple. And I will bear that in mind as they preach to me.
June 9, 2010
Evidence Based Policies
Ministers have been told to respect independent scientific advice and to base more decisions on sound evidence, in a drive to transform the Government’s relationship with science.
Principles that give expert advisers the right to disagree publicly with government policy have been incorporated into the code of practice for ministers.
Excellent - now all we need is for the scientists to actually rely on sound evidence rather than being policy driven as well.
Nanny On The Naughty Step Please
Warning: the nanny state can seriously improve your health - Health News, Health & Families - The Independent
The "nanny state" mostly gets a pasting from critics who dismiss government efforts to make us fitter or slimmer or healthier as unwarranted intrusion into individual's lives.
Today, the critics get their comeuppance with research showing that nannying works. In the first year after the smoking ban was introduced in July 2007, the air in bars, restaurants and offices suddenly became sweeter – and more than 1,000 heart attacks were prevented.
Researchers, from the University of Bath, who examined hospital statistics for England found there were 1,200 fewer admissions for heart attacks in the 12 months after the introduction of the smoke-free law.
Yaa Boo Sucks - Nanny was right, how could any one argue against her? And her new plans for more restrictions.
Emergency AMI admissions in English hospitals
2003/04: 60,680 (a fall of 1.33%)
2004/05: 58,803 (a fall of 3.1%)
2005/06: 55,752 (a fall of 5.19%)
2006/07: 53,964 (a fall of 3.21%)
2007/08: 51,664 (a fall of 4.26%)
As you can see, the decline in admissions in the year after the smoking ban was larger than the year before but smaller than the year before that. In fact, the average in the previous two years was 4.2%—almost exactly what it was in the year after the ban (4.26%).
Faced with this evidence, from a nation of 49 million people, what else can you do but hold up your hands and admit that smoking bans have no perceivable effect on a nation's heart attack rate?
So what's Gilmore's conclusion?
We therefore conclude that the implementation of smoke-free public places is associated with significant reductions in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction
June 4, 2010
Happy New World
People with Asperger's, a mild form of autism, tend not to attribute events in their lives to a "higher power or supernatural force,". Conversely, the tendency of supposedly healthy people to see "intention or purpose" behind random events may stem from an overactive "theory of mind," the innate ability to sense perceptions, emotions and intentions in others. Faith is a pathology, and so is the lack thereof. Basically, we're all nuts. Who could disagree?
Autism test could make the condition 'preventable' - Telegraph
But now researchers at Imperial College London have discovered a potential way of spotting the disorder in children as young as six months old.
That would mean that intensive behavioural and social treatment could begin before the disease has caused any permanent psychological damage.
With millions of mostly boys being diagnosed with "Autistic Spectrum" this worries me. I'm not talking about the full blown rocking in the chair software geek type just what used to be just be the average stand offish masculine type. They are now labelled and will be made to conform to the required more emotional submissive status the state demands.
June 2, 2010
New Super Nanny - Addicted to our Cash
Doctors should ask patients about their drinking more often, says Nice - Telegraph
The advice over patients and their drinking habits are being issued to doctors as part of the first ever official medical guidelines from the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) on how to deal with the country's spiralling drink problems.
One in four people - a total of 10 million - is estimated to be putting their health at risk by drinking more alcohol than the recommended limits.
UK-wide crackdown on alcohol looms to close cross-Border loophole - Scotsman.com News
David Mundell MP, minister of state at the Scotland Office, said this was an area where the two administrations could co-operate to mutual benefit, if the Scottish Parliament goes its own way.
"I represent a Border constituency (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale) and if we do have very different pricing (in Scotland and England], the main beneficiary would be Asda in Carlisle. That's the reality of going down that route.
A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: "Using the tax and duty system to target problem products would avoid indiscriminate collateral damage that unit pricing could cause – and any increase in revenue would go to the Exchequer to help tackle the deficit."
I thought we had voted this lot out.
May 26, 2010
Cry Freedom, over a rather decent glass of wine
Join The Free Society and other groups for a series of cutting edge debates. Venue: the Institute of Economic Affairs, 2 Lord North Street, Westminster, London SW1
Enjoy pre-event drinks courtesy Boisdale of Belgravia. Then engage in rigorous discussion with leading writers, journalists and opinion formers.
June 3, 10, 15, 24, 29
Entry to all debates is free
Strictly RSVP only
or telephone 01223 370156
May 24, 2010
It asks what sort of country do we want to live in.
I'm worried that there may be a secret camera watching me down the barn, stroking my collection of hempen lengths; " Soon, my lovelies, soon".
May 21, 2010
Coalition Mach Frei
We will ban the sale of alcohol below cost price.
We will review alcohol taxation and pricing to ensure it tackles binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries.
We will overhaul the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, any premises that are causing problems.
We will double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000.
We will permit local councils to charge more for late-night licences to pay for additional policing.
We will promote better recording of hate crimes against disabled, homosexual and transgender people, which are frequently not centrally recorded.
We will introduce a system of temporary bans on new ‘legal highs’ while health issues are considered by independent experts.
If that is increasing freedom and personal responsibility for our own actions then I'm Mary Poppins.
May 17, 2010
The Reformation 2.0
Just when they have sorted out the number of angels on a pinhead now they are upset over who says "Take, eat: this is my body".
Luckily technology has the answer:
Robot conducts Japanese wedding
Wine in a vending machine, bread in a bin with a strict sign about using tongs and I think we have solved the whole troublesome priest thing.
April 9, 2010
Council Parking Fine Mess
Islington Council (Case number 2070232277) heard by the Traffic Appeals Service between June and September 2007.
In this case Islington Council had not only issued a parking ticket to itself, but then pursued itself at the Parking Adjudicator and then asked for costs against itself! (To ask for costs the council must believe that it acted wholly unreasonably or vexatiously against itself!)
The decision of Mr. Adjudicator Gerald Styles on 13th September 2007 clearly points out that the council cannot sue itself but the fact that he clearly did not collapse laughing and managed to dictate his decision is a tribute to his professionalism.
The Royal Borough of Kingston (Case 2020054621) issued a parking ticket against a vehicle it had hired and not only pursued itself at the Parking Adjudicator but won its case and had to pay itself the parking ticket!
Tto take a case against itself to the Parking Adjudicator the council has to follow 14 separate steps to get to that stage and another 4 steps to ask for costs!!
1. Issue the parking ticket to itself.
2. Appealed to themselves.
3. Considered and refused the appeal.
4. Notified themselves that the appeal is refused.
5. Issued a Notice to Owner to itself.
6. Appealed against the Notice to Owner to itself
7. Considered and refused the appeal against the Notice to Owner
8. Refused the appeal and notified themselves that the appeal against the Notice to Owner is refused
9. Appealed to the parking adjudicator against their own refusal to cancel the parking ticket!
10. As appellants received notification from the parking adjudicator of the date and time of the hearing of the appeal.
11. As defendants received notification from the parking adjudicator of the date and time of the hearing of the appeal.
12. As defendants submitted any evidence to the parking adjudicator.
13. As appellants received decision of the parking adjudicator
14. As defendants received decision of the parking adjudicator.
15. As appellants applied for costs against itself to the parking adjudicator
16. As defendants received details of costs application by itself from parking adjudicator
17. As appellants received costs decision of the parking adjudicator
18. As defendants received costs received decision of the parking adjudicator.
April 8, 2010
The 5.78703704 × 10-5 hertz Fallacy
This well-conducted study collected data from a large population across 10 different countries and specifically assessed the effect of fruit and vegetable intake on overall risk of cancer. The authors say that the relationship between diet and incidence of total cancers is less frequently studied than that between diet and individual cancers, and that results in this area have been inconsistent. This particular study found only a borderline reduction in risk of cancer with increased consumption of fruit, vegetables and total fruit and vegetables.
A commendable article from the NHS on the survey, you can almost hear their teeth gnashing as they admit that the five-a-day bossy campaign is almost a waste of time, and they point out there may be other benefits and problems with the survey. But the big point is that this was claimed to be a certainty, and it ain't
Google Search - five a day
= 5.78703704 × 10-5 hertz is the top result - geeks rule!
April 6, 2010
Det Insp Fred Karno in Charge
Graham Taylor, 50, chased the two offenders from his newsagents after they stole two bottles of spirits before spotting the officer in a marked patrol car.
Mr Taylor said he then called 999 and was assured patrols had been sent out.
But it was claimed the officers in question missed the radio call as they were celebrating a colleague's retirement inside the station.
Mr Taylor said he went to the station and was met with a car adorned with pink balloons and shouts and cheers coming from within the building.
A Humberside Police spokeswomen said: "It is disappointing to hear that Mr Taylor feels he was given a poor service from Humberside Police.
"feels he was given", it is all about hurt feelings, a bit of counselling and all will be well.....
April 2, 2010
Luvvie Cuts - Why Not?
The Anish Kapoor-designed, ArcelorMittal Orbital will soar above the London Olympic Park, dividing opinions, enraging taxi drivers and garnering nicknames. Personally, I love 84 per cent of it — the bit that was paid for by ArcelorMittal, the company owned by the steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, which is spending up to £16 million on it. I am substantially less enamoured of the £3.1 million bit that we are paying for. Could it just be a few feet shorter with the company picking up all the bill?
We are deep in an era of big public works of art and expensive subsidies. The four arts councils for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland receive £521 million of taxpayers’ cash and £168 million from the lottery....
The DCMS announced yesterday a £50,000 grant for a charity called Culture24 to develop smartphone apps that allow people to find the nearest art. In the event that you must know, without delay, the whereabouts of the nearest Picasso, this is for you; £50,000 may be a tiny sum, but if there’s a market for this app, it will be made. If not, why is the Government supplying this middle-class toy?
So if we start with this ridiculous app and move on to scrap all government spending on art, what will happen? Will cultural Armageddon follow? Defenders of subsidy argue that it would mean the end of “innovative” art. But too often “innovative” is a euphemism for “rubbish”.
Excellence would survive. The Mountaintop, the surprise winner of Best New Play at this year’s Olivier Awards, received no subsidies. It succeeded because it was good.
The argument that the creative industries require subsidies because they contribute to the economy is a circular one. Taxpayers fund art that generates profit that pays tax to fund art. Eh? Besides, out of every £1 given by taxpayers to fund the arts 10p goes on administration. How many of the much cited economic powerhouses in the sector are subsidised and how many the product of unaided cultural entrepreneurs?
American art and culture thrive despite the lack of subsidy....
I can understand why people are passionate about this, and why special interest groups are so vocal. I would like to argue the case for some cash to be thrown at really important art — ie, the stuff I like. But that would mean funding opera, young writers and free museums but allowing ballet and most installation art to face the wolves of unfettered market forces — and that makes no sense at all. In the arts debate, head must rule heart and fiscal ruthlessness must prevail.
March 23, 2010
Bohemian Badgers Rhapsody
“This would be genocide. To me, countries do not matter; badgers are not British, they belong to the world and they belong to everyone.”
He said that it made no more sense than if it could be proved that by killing all ginger-haired people smallpox could be eradicated.
Thanks Professor for the insight, just don't let your hair go grey in a streak....
Photo - Not a Pair of Badgers,
Or is it?
Pre-emptive self defence against a soft drink
A police sergeant twice struck a female G20 protester with a metal baton in what he said was "self-defence" after mistaking a carton of orange juice in her hand for a weapon, a court heard today.
Delroy Smellie, 47, a sergeant in the Metropolitan police, said he lashed out at Nicola Fisher, 36, in a "pre-emptive strike" during a confrontation outside the Bank of England on 2 April last year.
No comment as the case continues
March 15, 2010
Country is going to the Poodles
When Marilyn Hebbron bought her house by the green in a Hampshire village she had not planned to become a crime-fighting pioneer.
It was only after she was kept awake night after night by youths who congregated on the green, and woke up morning after morning to find the green littered with bottles, drug paraphernalia and occasional comatose teenagers, that she decided to act.
She rallied her middle-class neighbours in the village of Four Marks and organised street patrols...She said: “Parties were being held until 4am on the green with lots of noise and inappropriate sexual behaviour. Come daylight teenagers would still be lying about on the roads.
Bloody incomers ruining the traditional rural way of life with their la-di-da oh so bloody nice, just a glass of Pinot Grigio, lace curtain twitching, pursed mouth tutting views of life. What are the local kids meant to do now if they can't party with lots of noise and "inappropriate sexual behaviour" on the village green?
March 11, 2010
You Be The Judge
The launch of an interactive website, You Be the Judge (http://ybtj.cjsonline.gov.uk/) will give the public a chance to pass their own sentences on real cases, working through mitigating and aggravating factors. The aim was to help the public to understand that sentencing was not just an arbitrary decision but a difficult and complex process, based on many factors.
Fun for the whole family - I've got the black wig on but I can't find the hang'em all button....
March 9, 2010
How do you like your eggs in the morning?
A high-calorie diet around the time of conception — and regular breakfasts — might increase the odds of a boy while women with a lower energy intake were more likely to give birth to a girl.
There has been a small but consistent decline of about one per 1,000 births annually in the proportion of boys being born in industrialised countries, including the UK, over the last 40 years.
Some researchers have suggested this could be because women have been consuming low fat foods and skipping breakfast, among other things.
The "harm" to baby in the headline seems to mean the extra risk it might be born male.
March 7, 2010
Bang Tofu King Rights
VEGANS and teetotallers are to be given the same protection against discrimination as religious groups, under legislation championed by Harriet Harman, the equalities minister.
A code of practice explaining the legal implications of the equality bill states that religions need not be mainstream or well known for their adherents to gain protection. “A belief need not include faith or worship of a god or gods, but must affect how a person lives their life or perceives the world.”
The code, drawn up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, singles out vegans, who do not eat any animal products or wear leather, as meriting protection from religious discrimination.
Do hard drinking carnivores also merit protection, or are they not girly enough to need it?
Quotes of the day
Raedwald: I've said before, anyone can make whatever 'lifestyle choice' they like, so long as they pay for it themselves. They can kill themselves with cocaine, overdose on rent boys, pickle themselves in Bollinger and bear bastards enough to staff a laundry - but don't ask me to live a frugal, industrious and responsible life to pay for it. Because I've had enough.
I Wish I Had Said That -
Yes, it would be nice to have evidence-based policy-making. But even if we can't get that, perhaps we can do away with policy-based evidence-making.
March 2, 2010
Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 at work
Police used terror legislation to stop ex-RAF engineer in Kidlington (From Oxford Mail)
Stephen Russell, 59, spotted police swarming Kidlington High Street while he was on a trip to buy fish and chips and, as he had his camera with him, he took four photos because it was unusual to see so much action in the centre of the village.
Watch the video to see what happened next in our free and pleasant land.
February 22, 2010
Topping terrorists, on whose authority?
The ethical question over the morality of killing terrorists seems to be the same as that raised in killing tyrants. Traditional Catholic teaching is to be found in the writings of the great medieval theologian St Thomas Aquinas. He considered it legitimate to kill a usurper, but only under a mandate from a legitimate authority. Murder requires an express mandate before a private person can lawfully kill even a tyrant. ..The Protestant view is more utilitarian.
In the Reformation period, most of the leading Protestants were surprisingly strongly in favour of killing tyrants. The Scottish reformer, John Knox, affirmed that it was the duty of “the nobility, judges, rulers and people of England” to condemn Mary Queen of Scots to death. One leading German reformer, the “mild Melanchthon”, argued that the killing of a tyrant is the most agreeable offering a man can make to God.
The right to free yourself, do you need permission from "authority" to do so or not? That is the crux of the question, and the clue as to history of subjugation.
As to the right to free yourself from the tyranny of terrorism, whose authority should we ask for permission? I think the Torah probably has a pragmatic answer to that as well.
February 20, 2010
Beware Big Brother in Your Car
I have been pleased with the downloaded Mobile GPS Tracking Service on my Blackberry for my morning stroll around the estate, the instant and average speedometer brings out the competitive streak in me.
So as I had a long journey yesterday for someone else I thought I would try it out tracking business miles in the car.
Fantastic, works a treat except...
Cars, and mine in particular, often over estimate speeds by about ten percent. You see this with Sat Navs vs the dial. It hadn't struck me before that this means that they overestimate mileage driven by a similar amount. So the 102 miles the car told me to charge at 40 pence a mile is actually only 94 miles according to GPS. As an employee I know which reading I will put on the sheet but as an employer I think I know what I would be fitting in the reps cars...
February 18, 2010
Our Right To See How Our Money Is Spent
The Government had ordered local authorities to disclose the earnings of all executives after concerns were raised about the size of pay increases granted to council officers.
But local authorities claimed that the pay disclosures would leave their staff vulnerable to reprisals from taxpayers. They argued that officers would be subjected to “personalised attacks and mischief making”.
But if they are so confident that they earn the money and are good value why are they worried? They are confident, aren't they?
February 17, 2010
Targets Surpassed, Problem Worse
Eight out of ten men and almost seven in ten women will be overweight...The report comes as the Government launches a new campaign to urge adults to lose weight and get healthy.
It includes suggested “swaps” such as swapping watching a favourite sport on television for taking part, increasing fibre intake by choosing brown rice over white, or swapping bigger plates for smaller ones to choose smaller portions of food.
Television and poster adverts will be shown from this Saturday.
Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, said that the Change4Life campaign had surpassed all its targets for the first year.
I know the Times headline should read 2020 but the fact it doesn't just underlines the whole irritating irrelevancy of this tosh.
February 11, 2010
Smiting the house marked with the Blood of the Lamb
A headteacher who became embroiled in an animal rights row after sending a lamb hand-reared by her pupils to slaughter has resigned.
Shame, she sounds like the sort of head teacher many schools need.
But what is this about calling it an "animal-rights" protest. What rights of Marcus the lamb were abused? His transformation into chops is what happens to millions of animals every year. If you argue all those fluffy lambs have their "rights" abused then fair enough, but why pick on just one to justify a campaign of hate and vilification? It is actually nothing to do with rights, just sloppy sentimentalism transformed into ugly acts.
Drink Policy Based on "No Evidence"
ONE of the scientists whose research has underpinned the Scottish Government's push to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol admitted yesterday there is no evidence to show the controversial policy would work.
Sheffield University senior lecturer Dr Petra Meier told Holyrood's health committee the effects of the SNP's minimum pricing policy were "like the weather forecast" because her work was just "a model" of what might happen.
No, really? Just a guess based on your prejudices? More like a "climate" forecast than a "weather "forecast I think.
February 8, 2010
Ruddy Duck Shooting
A controversial UK cull of ruddy ducks, a US native that has been compared to a "feathered lager lout" for its displays of thuggish and amorous behaviour' - its mating call sounds more like a belch, it boasts a penis half the length of its body and, after mating, it ignores its partner - has cost the British taxpayer more than £740 for each dead bird.
Figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that shoots of the chestnut-coloured bird have cost taxpayers £4.6m, yet only 6,200 have been killed.
And to think that in the real world people pay £25 a bird to shoot duck, and provide all their own equipment. For some reason I feel a kindred spirit to the poor ruddy duck, but if we are going to persecute them then I don't see why we should so handsomely subsidise someone else's sport.
January 23, 2010
Friendly eyes watching over you
Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the "routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.
Where can I buy a burka to wear, or should I just stick to the hoody?
Choice, who would choose it?
But while the ability to choose is generally a good thing, too much freedom of choice is crippling us with indecision and making us unhappy, claims the new research.
Choice can also foster selfishness and a lack of empathy because it can focus people on their own preferences and on themselves at the expense of what is good for society as a whole.
Professor Hazel Rose Markus, the author from Stanford University's Department of Psychology, said: "We cannot assume that choice, as understood by educated, affluent Westerners, is a universal aspiration, and that the provision of choice will necessarily foster freedom and well-being...among non-Western cultures and among working-class Westerners, freedom and choice are less important or mean something different than they do for the university-educated people.
There, there, you poor people and you brown people, you don't really want "choice", it's only us clever rich people who want it and it doesn't make us happy. So let us take all that nasty choosing away from you and we will make you happy with what we give you.
January 22, 2010
Give us today our daily bread
One in five adults think they are allergic to food, with most stating a wheat intolerance as the problem.
However, when they are actually tested just two per cent have a genuine allergy or intolerance, a report from the University of Portsmouth said.
Half of the population believe wheat allergy or intolerance is common but in reality it is as rarer than peanut allergy which has recently been found to hit only one in 50.
The researchers said that 4.5 per cent of people thought they were allergic to wheat where as studies in children had shown that in reality less than one in 200 actually had a problem.
The figures did not include coeliac disease where the immune system does not function correctly.
The Wheat Hypersensitivity Report was commissioned by the Flour Advisory Bureau.
I often wonder when I see some stupid woman going on about her delicate system and how she can only eat handpicked sun flower seeds if she is also allergic to slap round the head as she drags her sex back to Victorian vapours incapacity.
(If you are allergic, you know it, it is not a vague feeling, feed me a fish paste sandwich and don't try and get in the way of me rushing to the door.)
January 19, 2010
Big Brother Fightback Stickers
We have thousands of stickers and we want to give them away so that you can name and shame the everyday invaders of your privacy.
Send them your name and address...
January 15, 2010
According to my notebook you are nicked
Mr Vaughan was quoted in Jane’s Police Review lamenting that “security considerations” meant someone would have to do his shopping for him in future.
Alan Fry, the chief executive of the police authority, said: “He was misquoted and the word security was never used. The headquarters in Bridgend is directly opposite a large Tesco and he was used to popping out to buy a sandwich and he was saying he may not be able to do that now because he does not have time.”
A spokesman for South Wales Police said that Mr Vaughan had written to Jane’s Police Review asking it to publish a correction.
Chris Herbert, the editor of the magazine, stood by his story. He said: “We don’t make quotes up. If it is in the story he said it, and there will be a shorthand note.
“It sounds as though he didn’t like it when he saw it in print and is back-pedalling. We haven’t yet heard from South Wales Police.”
Good job no one is going to get banged up as they argue over who said what in an interview, who would you trust to be telling the truth?
January 13, 2010
Wiltshire Safety Camera Unit on Doughnut Patrol
Three of them in shiny new Hi-vis jackets outside Sainsbury's in Chippenham this morning, I don't think they had stopped to buy new shovels, do you?
The Bottle Talking
Alcohol abuse 'costs every Scottish adult £900 a year'
An independent study commissioned by the Scottish Government has assessed the costs of alcohol abuse to the NHS, police, the economy and families.
It found the total annual bill was between £2.48bn and £4.64bn, with a mid-point of about £3.56bn.
The cost of crime caused by alcohol was £727.1m, while the price to the economy was £865.7m.
The researchers also attempted to estimate the "intangible" cost in terms of human suffering, such as the effects caused by losing a family member to alcohol abuse. This was put at £1.46bn – 41.2 per cent of the total.
The report said it was estimated that just over a million people – about a fifth of the Scottish population – were drinking at hazardous levels, defined as above 21 units for men and 14 units a week for women.
It also estimated that around 230,000 people were drinking at harmful levels – over 50 units per week for men and 35 for women.
Ms Sturgeon said she believed the report added to the evidence in support of minimum pricing.
They are not letting up are they, the barrage of lies and fake statistics against alcohol grows daily.
January 11, 2010
Arizona Happy Snaps
Although about 700,000 tickets have been issued since Arizona’s 76-camera plan was rolled out last year, a mere $37 million of the $127 million in fines and surcharges has been collected. That is because Arizonans have realised that they can simply ignore tickets sent to them in the post, and the authorities cannot prove that they have received them. Unless the tickets are served in person — something Arizona cannot afford to do — they become void after three months.
Arizona was the first state to commit to the technology under the then governor Janet Napolitano, now the US Secretary of Homeland Security.
The new governor — Jan Brewer, a Republican — is openly critical, and agrees that the scheme was introduced more to raise money than to prevent accidents.
Motorists have shown their opposition to the machines in other ways, too — such as placing large cardboard boxes over them, decorating them with sticky notes, attacking them with pickaxes and, in one case, setting off the cameras while standing in front wearing a monkey mask.
January 10, 2010
Don't snigger, you'll be arrested.
The 45-year-old IT company manager, who does not want to be named, was arrested in front of his wife and young son, was fingerprinted and had his DNA taken.
It came after staff at Rother District Council in East Sussex declared the phrase “It’s the “do as you likey” attitude that I am against” – sent in an email to their planning department – was potentially racist because “likey” rhymes with the derogatory word “pikey”.
A council spokesman said: “As far as we were concerned it was an offensive comment, so we got in touch with the police.”
Possessing a friend who uses words that might rhyme with a word that might be offensive - I plead guilty.
December 22, 2009
Passing by on the other side
“My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift,” he told the congregation. “I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.
“I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices. I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.
“I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay have created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope.”
Arguing that society had failed the needy, the Rev Tim Jones, or Father Tim, as he styles himself in a nod to Rome, 41, continued: “My advice does not contradict the Bible’s Eighth Commandment because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich. Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift.
I wonder if there is any lead on the roof of the Church of St Lawrence in York? I'm sure the Rev Dim Tim wouldn't object if I turn up in the Transit and strip a bit off, the C of E is a large wealthy national business after all.
Maybe he should study the Words of the Gospel of St Margret before blaming society for failing the needy:
I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand"I have a problem, it is the Government's job to cope with it!" or"I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!" "I am homeless, the Government must house me!" and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation.
December 17, 2009
More Christmas Cheer
Dr Nathan Grills from Monash University in Australia said the idea of a fat Father Christmas gorging on brandy and mince pies as he drove his sleigh around the world delivering presents was not the best way to promote a healthy and safe lifestyle among the young.
Writing on bmj.com, Dr Grills said: "Santa only needs to affect health by 0.1 per cent to damage millions of lives."
Dr Grills carried out a review of literature and web-based material to assess Santa's potential negative impact on public health.
Dr Grills claimed Santa also had the potential to spread harmful diseases.
"If Santa sneezes or coughs around 10 times a day, all the children who sit on his lap may end up with swine flu as well as their Christmas present," he said.
Australia must be a wonderful place where there is no one ill so Doctors have time to carry out such research.
Full of Christmas Cheer
“Alcohol has a ruinous effect on the foundations of adult life,” Professor Sir Liam Donaldson said. “We see the tyranny of alcohol on our towns and city centres and too often childhood is robbed of its clear-eyed innocence and replaced with the befuddled futility that comes with the consumption of dirt-cheap alcohol.”
Setting out his final report, which is to be the backbone of a public health campaign next year led by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, he said that parents supported his proposals for an “alcohol-free” childhood.
The report, the most comprehensive review of scientific evidence to date, was based on an extensive public consultation.
Bollocks, it is based on extensive consultation of fake charities and campaign groups. Any time they ask real parents they get told to get their noses out of our lives.
Parents should avoid exposing them to “alcohol-fuelled environments” or family events where drinking was the central activity.
Does that mean I can ban Cousin Gwen from bringing her bawling brats over on Christmas Day?
December 14, 2009
He only made one mistake...
A millionaire businessman has been jailed for attacking a man who held his family hostage in their own home - while the criminal went free.
Munir Hussain, who was threatened at knifepoint and tied up by a gang of masked men in his living room last year, was told he must go to prison for 30 months to preserve “civilised society”.
But Walid Salem, a criminal with more than 50 convictions, was handed a two-year supervision order for his role in the break-in at an earlier hearing.
Sentencing, Judge John Reddihough told them it was his “public duty” to jailing Munir Hussain for 30 months and his brother for 39 months.
"It may be that some members of the public, or media commentators, will assert that the man Salem deserved what happened to him ... and that you should not have been prosecuted and need not be punished,” he said.
"However, if persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice take its course, then the rule of law and our system of criminal justice, which are the hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse."
In these parts we keep a shovel handy as we believe the 3-S treatment of offenders preserves civilised society quite nicely without pompous fools in wigs having to get involved.
December 11, 2009
Squabbling over the teat
December 10, 2009
Stocking Filler Books
Pearce worked for 30 years as a war and foreign correspondent and was injured when BBC Kabul correspondent. He thought he knew what dangers in the work place were, but was amazed by the health and safety dangers lurking in Britain and wrote this entertaining collection of the best stories this year.
He also wrote a book about the past 10 years of function creep called Whose Side Are They On? based on his knowledge of oppressive regimes. It details the growth of the rule book and
army of enforcers that is now invading the lives of ordinary Brits, introduced through the loophole of 'terrorism legislation'.
I'm sure most of this is familiar to us here but I might send a copy of one or two of them to my politically correct relatives.
And no I haven't been paid for the advert...
December 9, 2009
Bad news for Chocolate and Flower Shops
The campaign is calling for amendments to be made to the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill, which is currently going through Holyrood.
A new offence of "facilitation of the sale of sexual services" would be defined using an amendment to the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act.
December 8, 2009
Libertarians, aged hippies and the privileged are the enemy of the poor and Big Brother
...this fashionable paranoia about data and surveillance goes well beyond annoyance at petty officaldom, and has become something of a mindset, as we will be reminded later today. The occasion will the publication of the Government’s response to last spring’s semi-apocalyptic Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust’s report, Database State....
Michael Wills, minister at the Cabinet Office, introduces his reponse to Rowntree. And what I think he pretty clearly shows is that the original report contained several key errors, a host of unsubstantiated assertions, some fairly dodgy references and a number of unfortunate omissions.
Mr Wills also accepts that government must take blame for the poor level of debate because it has too often been “overly defensive and dismissive of criticism. Government believes it is acting benignly and legally and has not adequately recognised the fears of those who believe this is not the case.”
But his overall point is this: proper use of new technology by the State allows a far more effective delivery of services to those that need them and a much better level of information about what is happening in society so that needs can be predicted and met. For the poor at any rate, such benefits are more than speculative.
Oddly, the Rowntree Reform Trust, which is largely run by Liberal Democrat grandees, gives as its objectives the promotion of civil liberties and social justice. I think the libertarians, the aged hippies and the privileged have taken over the argument and that their cultural preferences have tilted the balance against social justice. Of course, the rich have themselves; the poor have only the Government.
Us privileged old libertarian hippies, we really hate the poor, treating them as equals, capable of making up their own minds, free to choose when if we cared we would realise that they are too poor to be capable and we should watch over them and cosset them all day, every day and make all their choices for them. They are poor, what need have they got of rights when the State is their one true friend, protector and provider?
Geldof on State Kidnapping
Relocation and Leave to Remove: A Report by The Custody Minefield
Foreword by Sir Bob Geldof. Formal Release Date 7 December 2009
I can hardly read the literature on Family Law without simultaneous feelings of an awful sadness and profound rage. Sadness at what has been done to our children and their families and deep rage for our Family Courts and the inadequate practitioners that work within it.
In the near future the Family Law under which we endure will be seen as barbaric, criminally damaging, abusive, neglectful, harmful to society, the family, the parents and the children in whose name it purports to act. It is beyond scrutiny or criticism and like a secret society its members – the judges, lawyers, social and child “care” agencies behave like any closed vested interest and protect each others’ backs.
The court is entirely informed by outdated social engineering models and contemporary attitudes rather than fact, precedent rather than common sense and modish unproven nostrums rather than present day realities. It is a disgraceful mess. A farrago of cod professionalism and faux concern largely predicated on nonsensical social guff, mumbo-jumbo and psycho-babble. Dangling at the other end of this are the lives of thousands of British children and their families.
Here is one more report that empirically nails the obvious fact that to remove a child from their father (in the hugely vast majority of cases), their grandparents and other family, their school and friends, is wholly destructive to a child and its family.
How much longer must we put up with the state sanctioned kidnap of our most vulnerable? Because in effect that’s what “Leave to Remove” amounts to. How much longer do we tolerate the vested interest intransigence of the appalling U.K. Family Justice system? How long before just one of them admit they have got it ALL wrong and apologise to their myriad victims?
This report is important, timely and vital. To accept its findings, which could have and should have, been conducted at any time in the past 30 years, is to accept the awful conclusion that rather than Solomon like resolving our tragically human disputes with understanding, compassion and logical pragmatism the courts have consistently acted against society’s interest through the application of prejudice, gender bias and awful impartial cruelty.
This report proves it. May God forgive them. I won’t.
Bob Geldof (December 2009)
December 2, 2009
Command and Control of your Kettle
Yes, because they will enable the man at the other end of the wire not just to read your meter but also to control your usage. Miliband's hand will be on your power switch, turning it down when his windmills fail or if he thinks it is unfair that you can afford to have an electric blanket when millions are freezing.
November 28, 2009
Time to reignite the war on planners
Urban planning has led to shoddiness, squalor and ugliness in our cities. Let’s throw away the rulebook and allow people to build where they want
The suburban semis built between the two world wars were one of Britain’s great social successes — liveable, adaptable and well-built. The onrush of pebbledash and privet was halted by a hysterical but influential pro-Plan campaign. Suburbia lacked the imprimatur of design intellectuals. Yet it was, and is, a land of hope and aspiration.
Today, because of Plan, about 40 per cent of the cost of any new house goes on buying land and getting planning permission. So present-day “executive homes” are often on cramped sites, compared with Non-Plan interwar semis. Meanwhile, to make up for the lack of other homes, about a quarter of a million people — more than the population of Milton Keynes — live in caravan parks....
In the worship of Plan, there’s an arrogant assumption that someone knows what people want, better than the people themselves. But in his Maxims for Revolutionists, Shaw wrote: “Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.”
Once upon a time — before the clunking fist of Plan — if houses were needed, then houses were built, mostly by small-scale firms, often employing less than ten men. Thus were created those Non-Plan suburbs so derided by planners and cultural commentators, but in which more than one in five of the population live. Suburbia is the classic national compromise between town and country, and between privacy and price....
The time has come to cut the Gordian knot. Repeal, or drastically curtail, the planning laws. Let building-for-people recommence. Some precious zones should be preserved, many of them already national parks. Otherwise, houses should go where the demand is. Most would be spec-built. Only the most adventurous or the most hard-up people would venture into self-help. But they shouldn’t be vetoed.
There’s one glimmer of hope. Throughout the generations, the Conservative Party has risen to power on the back of promises about homes — from Lord Salisbury’s Villa Toryism in the late 19th century, through Anthony Eden’s “property-owning democracy” mid-century, to Margaret Thatcher’s “right to buy” offer in 1979. At present, David Cameron’s party offers only a hair shirt of cuts, cuts, cuts. Does the electorate really want nothing but that? Last weekend’s Ipsos MORI opinion poll, showing a narrowing gap between Tory and Labour to just 6 per cent, seemed to say, “No: we want more.”
A hair shirt and a home: that’s much more appealing. I’m no Tory. But as a libertarian I say : Let’s raise the banner of Non-Plan.
The minute control that the planners have over us all, boasting of social engineering, changing behaviour towards their ideals and forcing millions of us to live in squashed unloved homes is a huge scandal. And the All-right-Jacks in the CPRE and local action groups are as guilty as the spotty faced socialist in the planning department.
There is only one use for the planners, and that is to ensure that come the glorious day there are enough lampposts to go round.
November 25, 2009
Paid Expert Disses Unpaid Experts
Wikipedia is routinely cited in online articles as a substitute for explanations of concepts, events and people. It has thereby coarsened public culture. It is an anti-intellectual venture to its core.
Knowledge is democratic in the sense that no one has the right to claim the last word. Wikipedia is democratic in the different and corrosive sense that anyone can join in regardless of competence.
Dear old Olly Kamm banging on yet again as only a left wing intellectual expert can about how horrible it is that amateurs should be allowed to voice an opinion.
Of course he is right some parts of Wikipedia show that the loudest voices and most obsessive contributors become the arbiters of truth. That there are many Wikipedia articles that are scrupulous, balanced and fair treatments of their subjects. But these are liable to be overthrown at any time by an editor with an idée fixe and an empty life. Some might mention Climate Change as an example.
But better that than having only the regurgitated opinions of a Press Baron's Hireling.
November 17, 2009
Online Poll Update
How are our favourite polls going?
Alcohol Focus Scotland seem to have given up asking if a minimum price should be set - they were badly losing last time I looked - they are now asking if the calorie content should be shown on packaging. Fairly uncontroversial but the Nos have it by a large majority - Doesn't anyone want nannying?
And as for the Science Museum "Prove it" Poll - I can't get through....
Pinging www.sciencemuseum.org.uk [18.104.22.168] with 32 bytes of data:
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Ping statistics for 22.214.171.124:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),
But the Google cache from 17 Nov 2009 15:16:16 GMT shows:
4806 counted in so far 7406 counted out so far
November 16, 2009
Physician Heal Thyself
The Faculty of Public Health is in the news today again demanding more restrictions on booze. They have a blog - Better Health For All where the tag cloud shows they witter on about Swine Flu, Alcohol Binge Drinking, health practioners, US healthcare and the big one Climate Change.
They are so concerned with Climate Change that they have launched their message, not once but twice on Youtube: The 5 minute version has been eagerly devoured by 71 people, the 2 minute one by 52 people:
Now I have helped them publicise it maybe you could leave them a comment as no one else seems to be interested in what they are saying.
I couldn't find where they worry about the 3000 deaths in English hospitals "as a result of patient safety incidents", or the superbug deaths or the 300,000 people suffer from a healthcare-associated infection every year - 8 per cent of all hospital patients or the up to 20,000 deaths a year from infections not being monitored by the NHS.. Maybe they would be better used scrubbing wards instead of arranging agreeable conferences to discuss "big issues"...
November 10, 2009
Every Breath You Take
The government is proceeding with plans to compel communications service providers [CSPs] to retain electronic data beyond that required for commercial purposes, and make it available to the security services, police and other public authorities, despite substantial opposition. The plan will see CSPs retaining details of all emails, phone calls, texts and other electronic communications – but not their content.
The proposals are expected to cost £2bn to implement over 10 years, with no indication of any payments to CSPs to offset costs.
Officials also rejected inserting an independent judgment into the process – similar to the requirement for police to obtain a magistrates' signature on a search warrant - claiming it would "impair the effectiveness of the techniques in question" without protecting privacy.
The document spelling out the outcome of a consultation on the proposals complained they had been "widely misrepresented", insisting communications data "is a vital tool for public authorities who protect the public" and must not be limited to dealing with the terrorist threat but extend to crime, public health and public safety as well.
"public health and public safety as well" - I think that means your own private health and safety as well, wouldn't want you ordering too many extra large pizzas would we?
Every breath you take and every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take, I'll be watching you
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay, I'll be watching you
Oh can't you see you belong to me?
Mr FM's Golfing Holiday in Scotland
Golf club under attack over shooting of foxes - Scotsman.com News
Gourock Golf Club, in Inverclyde, has brought in the gunmen to kill the animals after members complained they were ruining the 18-hole course.
Last night, activists condemned the club for being too keen to "shoot to kill". John Patrick, of Scotland For Animals, said: "This is a worrying development, as it could set the mark for how premises and businesses deal with so-called 'pest problems'."
He added: "There are several effective and humane methods of discouraging foxes and other animals from entering land.
"Hiring marksmen to creep around in the dead of night blasting bullets about the place isn't one of them.
I've never played golf but I was hoping they were allowing members to pack something other than clubs in their trolleys, it might have made the game a bit more interesting.
November 2, 2009
An Elegy for Freedom
The Devil's Kitchen: Farewell freedom—it was nice knowing you expands on Worstall's post on the misuse of POCA - The right to search homes, seize cash, freeze bank accounts and confiscate property will be given to town hall officials and civilian investigators employed by organisations as diverse as Royal Mail, the Rural Payments Agency and Transport for London.
To answer the Devil's question, I'm stockpiling the hempen, but I think we will need a whole lot more.