Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Update 24 April 2010 : I read in today's Times that Melanie Reid suffered a fall from her horse on 4 April causing her to suffer a broken neck and back. She dictated an excellent article about the accident and her subsequent treatment. The prognosis for her recovery at this early stage is pretty good and she is realistically positive. Despite my acerbic comments about her on JobCentrePlus above, I offer her my best wishes and hope that she is able to get back in the saddle as soon as possible. Reading her article again I know that she will not give up trying.
Sunday, 28 December 2008
But one item of news cheered me up: I call it the Bridport Spirit. Small, isolated examples of individuals standing up against alien cultural oppression will snowball into bigger and bigger victories until the evils of Nulab, Common Purpose and the European Union are driven from our shores and every English Man, Woman and Child can stand up free of the shackles of beeboid orthodoxy. Beacons of Hope and Common Sense fuelled by numerous copies of government propaganda, gudelines, strategies, framework documents and all the other unsustainably vacuous toss of years of business school nonsense will light our way into the future. England will make and sell things that hurt if you drop them on your toes instead of being the dodgy bookmaker of Europe.
* As Kenneth Horne described it " Half starved and scared to death."
Friday, 26 December 2008
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Sunday, 14 December 2008
person 1 to say or write it;
person 2 to understand it exactly as person 1 means it.
If person 2 does not umderstand exactly what person 1 means then there has been a failure of communication. It is the responsibility of person 1 to ensure that his message is properly understood by his audience.
I read this interesting snippet about DAC Cressida Dick*'s evidence at the Inquest in yesterday's Daily Mail:
She denied that she gave an order that Mr de Menezes must be stopped from getting on to a train at Stockwell 'at all costs' and also denied instructing the firearms teams to use lethal force to stop him.
Miss Dick told the inquest that she ordered armed officers to 'stop him' from getting on the Tube. She said: 'Stop is a phrase we all use all the time to detain, either to talk to someone or to arrest them. I was asking for what you might call a conventional - albeit aware of the risks - challenge from the firearms officers.'
Miss Dick described Mr de Menezes as 'the victim of some terrible and extraordinary circumstances' and said she did not think any officer did 'anything wrong or unreasonable'.
Well that's alright then. As Charlie Croker famously said to a subordinate in different circumstances:
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Take a look at this graph from Yahoo Finance . Call me cynical but doesn't a falling Pound mean that the rest of the world is losing confidence in it?
And here's another one from Yahoo Finance showing the Pound's collapse against the Euro. Looks like a converging trend to me.
The good news is that sterling is maintaining its parity against - see Yahoo Finance again - the Zimbabwe Dollar.
The sci-fi character my personality is most like according to the answers I gave to a few questions. Apparently, it's John Sheridan.
An experienced survivor who has maneuvered around many obstacles, you are looked up to by those who rely on your good judgment.
In the last few years, we've stumbled. We stumbled at the death of the president, the war, and on and on. When you stumble a lot you tend to look at your feet. Now we have to make people lift their eyes back to the horizon and see the line of ancestors behind us saying, "Make my life have meaning," and to our inheritors before us saying, "create the world we will live in."
John is a character in the Babylon 5 universe. You can read his biography at the Worlds of JMS fansite.
Haven't these people ever tried fishing?
With thanks to Prodicus
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Let every town and city in England follow Preston's lead. Make criminals clean every inch of the ground under the supervision of hard-working street cleaners (now that is real public service). Let's make 2009 the year when public drunkenness becomes as much of a social taboo as admitting that football is boring. I don't mind drinking, in fact I don't mind drinking a lot but I don't like people who can't hold their drink. I like people who drink and can still engage in meaningful conversation (which includes listening quietly) or play a game of cards, darts, billiards or dominoes or whatever (skittles for captain haddock no doubt). And best of all I like people who drink with a meal or snacks (pork scratchings, seafood, or best of all good crusty bread, a fine cheese and decent firm, pickled onions*). Good food is vital for social drinking.
* not forgetting thick slices of cold meats with the appropriate condiments: eye-watering mustard and horseradish sauce, richly-complex cumberland sauce and a weapons-grade chutney. And pickled onions for the vegetarians.
Let's have some classic Rambling Syd Rumpole from Round The Horne to cheer Our Brave Matelots with a salty mouthful or two of naval slang
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
I went in this morning at 10:30 with six packets to be sent. There were three customers ahead of me and one assistant on. The first customer had decided to cash up twenty bags of loose change from a church christingle service or something on Sunday. While she was being served the first parcel collection of the day was removed by a Royal Mail driver. The next wanted to send assorted size cards but hadn't sorted them out and also various cards to abroad. The third wanted to buy a card and some sweets. When I finally got to the counter at 11:00 there was a queue of about a dozen people behind me stretching to the door. Being an unselfish sort, I suggested that I leave my bag of packets with some cash to be stamped when the workflow eased off and another assistant was due in. No problem, give me your phone number and we'll call you so you can pay by debit card which we prefer. So I departed, thinking that I would be back as soon as the last person in the queue had been served. I had saved the people in the queue five minutes' waiting.
Fast forward to 3:00 pm and I have another packet to send and still no phone call from the post office. So I walk in and find six people in front and within a couple of minutes another six behind. The Royal Mail driver comes in for the second parcel collection. The assistant opens the door to hand the sacks out, sees me and says "I'll serve you right after Glenys" As there were five possible contenders for that title, I said "Don't worry, call me when you a free." I don't like to queue jump: I'm not an OAP.
So at 4:30 pm the phone rings "Come up immediately." I go to the post office to find my packets haven't been stamped yet - I have to put them on the scales myself. The owner says that when the volume of customers eases off she will be able to have lunch. Yes, I have worked without a break many times in a Jobcentre as well but keep that to myself as I did not profit from the number of customers I saw. So after six hours' delay I was finally able to message my customers that their items had been posted.
Was I right to feel that I had been treated like shit? Or is this par for the course for people without sharp elbows? The problem is that having been treated for depression, were I to assert my rights, doubtless the Police firearms team would peremptorily murder me in order to get back to the office for their paperwork, tea and bacon sandwiches.
Monday, 8 December 2008
"The headmaster announced at assembly that he'd heard some of the boys were planning to sneak off for the afternoon to watch the [Scotland-Italy World Cup qualifier] game on television and that would not be tolerated. But he said if there were any boys who were desperate to watch the game, they should come to his office after assembly to discuss it."
"Some of the boys went round, thinking the headmaster might put a TV in one of the classrooms. Instead, he got them in one by one, gave them a good belting, and told them if they tried to play truant that afternoon, they'd get another belting every day for a month."
If true, the perpetrator should be dragged out and shot in the gutter both for the duplicitous misery he inflicted at first hand and then through Brown on the rest of us. What a sick, twisted, perverted evil bastard. From Fife Today I learn that:
"The late Robert McGowan Adam (1906-90) was headmaster of Kirkcaldy High School from 1948 to 1971 and cared much about education in Fife."
If so, he had a funny way of showing it. I hope he drowned in shit.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
His wonderful new plan to allow "hard-working households" to take a six-month mortgage interest holiday for up to two years to avoid repossession of their homes looks too good to be true.
In the first place there are scores of mortgage interest protection plans out there for responsible people to buy along with house and contents insurance. I remember most of the nicer people in the Jobcentre on the other side of the desk had signed on for Jobseekers Allowance in order to claim against their mortgage interest insurance policy. Provided they satisfied the conditions for JSA, every two weeks we would complete a form for them to send to their insurers which stated they were looking for work as the policy required. No charge on the public purse.
For claimants on income-based JSA (and with savings of less than £16,000), the DWP pays average interest for the mortgage after 39 weeks in most circumstances. Here is the rubric.
It is clear that the logic behind this scheme is simply that £1 billion is a cheap price to mollify Middle-England/Worcester Woman/Mondeo Man voters in the run up to the next General Election when many Labour marginals will be at stake. Most people who might need it will already have MIPP and will not qualify. Somehow, when people realise that their mortgage holiday has ended and they are left with a larger monthly repayment to find (because the deferred interest and the capital will accrue interest during the holiday) in order to stay in their less valuable houses (because this scheme won't increase prices) , I reckon they will be extremely reluctant to pay the extra tax to pay the interest on HMG's increased borrowing. And not repaying the capital sum won't do much for increasing the amount of liquid cash in the financial system - the reason why the banks were bailed out by the Bank of England. But by then Labour hope to have squeaked through for another four years' of loot and pillaging.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Monday, 1 December 2008
I understood, believed and practised the Northcote-Trevelyan (and their successors) philosophy of Civil Service impartiality because it was fair and made sense. The Civil Service was like cricket umpires, there to make government run effectively whichever party was in power for the fun of the game. And just as cricket and sport in general has become more "professional" ie nastier in recent years, so politics and government has also. When once a batsman would walk before waiting for the umpire's finger, today ministers and whips use every trick of the Nixon-Stalin-Macchiavelli manual to stay in (money) power at the expense of the opposition. Special Advisers have mushroomed during the NuLabour years and the Government Information Service has become horrifyingly politicised (eg Campbell's souped-up 45 minute Iraq dossier and Tom Kelly " Dr David Kelly was a Walter Mitty character"). The rules of the game have changed. Play cricket if you pad up and walk out to the crease but politics a la Brown has become seal clubbing. And so when EURefendum writes this Colonel Blimpish tosh I have to say, look the battle being fought in Parliament is too important and too vital for the old, superseded rules to apply. If Brown wins again then the European/Global project will be unstoppable without bloody and protracted civil war which nobody wants. If the Tories form the next government the immediate situation and policies might not be to the purist tastes of Dr Richard North and Peter Hitchens, for example, but they will be a step in the other direction or even just a slowing of the rate of change. And that can be built on. But petulantly saying that because a particular party is not 100% to your taste it is wrong is like refusing to catch a bus because it doesn't drop you at your door. The only form of politics where you get all you want when you want it is dictatorship.
And so in this radically different and dangerous world the certainties of yesteryear no longer apply. I would not encourage any civil servants to break their position of trust and advise the raising of any concerns with management with trade union support to resolve matters but if their consciences preclude alternative actions then, in the present circumstances, leaking material embarrassing to Labour is acceptable. Leaking material prejudicial to national security (national interest has been confused with party interest) is a different matter. Remember, Labour politicised the Civil Service with SpAds and politically acceptable senior civil servants, so they are only getting a bit back of what they dished out. If you take the EUReferendum point of view then you might agree that it was right for police in the Channel Islands to continue to work for the Nazi occupiers as the Germans became the governing authority when the islands were surrendered.
Sometimes desperate measures are needed in a fight for the survival of the independent English way of life and, being too young to have voted for or against membership of the EEC, EC or EU or whatever, we should all begin by renting the DVD of V for Vendetta, reading a biography of Ghandi and shouting "I'm mad as hell and I won't put up with this any more". England can mind its own business once again but the weapons and tactics to fight the peaceful war against those who wish to remove our special identity and turn us into identical global producers and consumers will require stronger stomachs to use them effectively. When the war for freedom is won then Northcote-Trevelyan can come back into the room.
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
I intend to post on the efficacy of such things as the pedal-powered Powerplus Gazelle generator once I've sold enough to buy one. In the meantime, keep well, warm,safe, and unless you are a Nulab politician, your job.
Friday, 21 November 2008
Honestly, if it wasn't for important questions like Yorkshire Puddings, I would stop blogging and just read Old Holborn instead.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Remember the old socialist slogan "Unity Is Strength"? Well "Diversity Is Power" is the new version for those who seek to control society by fragmenting it and removing trust. Totalitarian government prefers regulation, which it enforces from above, to trust, which individuals develop from the grass roots upwards.
Please state which county you live in or from which county you derive your culinary style.
More conventional divisions of England place the border between the Humber or Wash and Severn or the real Watford Gap where proper custard on puddings ends. I reckon that North Staffordshire is the southouthernmost county with pudding apartheid but I welcome all comments.
How wonderful and versatile is the humble batter mix - from YP to pancakes to toad-in-the-hole - surely three recipes that can hold their own internationally. And, digressing slightly, what about the Staffordshire oatcake, that perfect accompaniment to a cooked breakfast or the thinking person's wrap when filled with bacon and chaze, duck* - honestly, that overhyped Mexican tortilla rubbish or those dreadfully grey, hard and dour Scotch oatcakes are no comparison.
*duck is the standard term of endearment in the Potteries or Five Towns (why did Arnold Bennett omit Fenton?) or Stoke-on-Trent. Chaze is the local pronunciation of cheese just as watter is water.Many would say the the best tasting oatcakes are from Hanley but the shop owners are apparently Port Vale fans** so I can't give them 10/10 :-).
** Didn't I just write about my dislike of football in the previous post? Well, call me contradictory but I support Stoke City in a let's hope they stay up in the Premier Division, I'm glad when they win sense but never in the actually watching football sense of proper supporters.
And so Port Vale are always second to Stoke City except when they are playing someone else (and as there's a couple of leagues in between them, that's most of the time now). Well, at least Port Vale aren't Manchester United....
Monday, 17 November 2008
Cap the ticket price to see a football game at £5.
The salaries of players and managers may need to be reduced as a result.
But it will benefit fans at a time of economic belt tightening.
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Mr Blackwood complains that the interviews were information gathering exercises without time taken to sympathise with him. That is how it is meant to be. Claim processers and Advisers have to obtain specific information on a person in a time set by senior management and they are penalised if the procedures (ie boxes are not ticked) are not completed in time or the target number of interviews per week are not met. Don't bother to argue that the customer was late or unprepared or hostile, the performance indicators must be met so that good statistics can be fed up the line to senior management.
Mr Blackwood would have liked more time spent helping him with his job search. Update: no he wouldn't. So in return for Jobseeker's Allowance the taxpayer should accept his word that he was looking for work without the adviser checking. Some people claim JSA and live off their savings or spouse's earnings while indulging in their hobbies. Well, as he can string words together into a sentence and doesn't fall off his chair, the policy is that he cannot receive additional (outsourced) help until he has been claiming for six months. Unless he is disabled, ex-services or non-English speakers or out of prison or a drug addict in which case immediate referral is available. I would bend the rules as often as possible for clients like Mr Blackwood by referring them under one or other of the first two categories - it helped them and helped me because I scored more points if they got jobs.
One unsavoury aspect of the procedures and performance driven culture was the belief that a certain number of claims were fraudulent because the claimant was working. Suspected fraudsters were called in for random mandatory interviews to disrupt their lives and induce them to sign off. Because say, 4% of claimants in a sample had been discovered to be working and claiming (easily done because of the complexity)and inefficiency of the benefits and tax credit system) then at least 4% of claimants had to be made to sign off through more frequent attendance interviews. If that target wasn't met, then the adviser assigned this additional and difficult task (because additional interviews had to be shoehorned into an already full diary pre-filled by others) had failed to meet a performance target which affected the annual appraisal and pay increase.
So to any customers of Jobcentre Plus who feel they aren't carried the extra mile in their difficult job of finding a job, please understand that better service costs more and that the staff want to help but can't. Blame James Purnell instead of shouting at the equally stressed and demoralised person across the desk whose biro you take.
Friday, 14 November 2008
However, I'm puzzled how the DWP were able to terminate the procurement process midstream, albeit with significant bidding compensation to Paypoint (just like the £5million Virgin got in the failed Northern Rock privatisation), and hand the contract to 2015 to the Post Office. I thought that the EU Procurement Directive banned practices like this. As always where the EU is concerned, please go to EUReferendum to get the definitive answer. Forelock tug to Dr North. It would appear that governments can ignore EU law at will.
On a personal note, I remember the time spent in the Job Centre by everyone encouraging customers to open a basic bank account or a Post Office Card Account in the months before giros were phased out. I'm glad that effort hasn't been wasted.
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Forelock touch to The Englishman for this story.
Please take this opportunity to sign the 10 Downing Street OlympicPrudence Petition in the right hand column which asks for Mrs Jowell and Lords Coe and Moynihan to be jointly and severally liable for any budget overruns.
So, let's see Leon's VK Scene from Bladerunner (available in a range of versions from all good dvd and video suppliers, or you could download or rent a copy). It's a great film and one of my favourites.
*Koppen Climate Classification hot desert.
Actually, it's much deeper.
Anyway if you are worried about the weather in the Midlands' premier city please check with the excellent Bablake School Weather Station for urban weather or Coventry Airport EGBE for that rural weather.
Monday, 10 November 2008
Read this five page story by Herman Melville and this Emo Phillips joke with an open mind:
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"
He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"
He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"
Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over
Saturday, 8 November 2008
I wish him, his family and the American people the best of luck for the future.
I wish we in England had someone of his calibre instead of the sixth-form debating society of Cameron, Clegg and Brown and so on down the ranks who vie with each other to outdo their condemnation of Ross and Brand while ignoring the important questions they have no influence over nor genuine interest in. As Sir Winston Churchill might have described them, "mice in hobnail boots". How's that Hazel?
Friday, 7 November 2008
"Mrs Palin was also revealed to be under investigation by state lawmakers over alleged abuse of power.
She was accused of violating ethics rules when she fired the state's top law enforcement official, allegedly because he refused to sack her former brother-in-law. Mrs Palin denies any wrongdoing."
And this is what the New York Times wrote on 3 November:
"ANCHORAGE — A report released on Monday by a state board found that Gov. Sarah Palin did not apply improper pressure to try to dismiss a state trooper who was her former brother-in-law and did not violate state ethics laws in the firing of her public safety commissioner."
I couldn't find a similar report on the BBC News website. Why?
It makes me wonder what the 175 extra BBC journalists were actually doing in the USA* - it would appear they were certainly not reading the online editions of the major newspapers. At least Adam Smith or Steve Zackaranda, formerly of the Birmingham Post group, was honest about his journalistic endeavours/ cutting and pasting from the BBC in his tired and emotional Youtube resignation video. With thanks to The Daily Pundit.
*very nicely, thank you.
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
What is needed is a public inquiry into the whole sordid financial sector from Treasury, Bank of England and FSA downwards, followed by some exemplary prison sentences for the guilty men. Returns for shareholders and rewards for senior managers should be bread and water rations until the taxpayer is repaid every last penny. And then a properly staffed and paid* regulator should watch it like a hawk.
Finally, England should be proud to earn her living by making and selling things other than magic beans.
*ie bonuses for convictions.
Monday, 3 November 2008
I remember a scouse Principal noting on a minute that since the amount of money involved was very small no futher action would be taken because of "de minimus". So, dear reader, I corrected it to read de minimis (de takes the ablative case [plural in the phrase de minimis non curat lex] and not the subjective or vocative) and unfortunately the cock discovered my correction. As a result, Latin was forbidden on minutes originating within his bailiwick. Ironically, henceforward I was persona non grata .
But Latin is a beautiful language whose study, in addition to the pure intellectual joy one gains by mastering it, offers insights into other European languages. If money is wasted on translation services ( if someone wishes to live in England they must learn English) and if even the most Prescottian chav can text abbreviated nonsense on mobile phones (I didn't know that the majority of their users had opposable thumbs) then time should be found to teach Latin in all schools. Or why don't people turn their tellies off when a soap or a phone-in talent/ donkey parade is on and read a book, learn a skill and think for themselves.
Sir Frank Whittle
Heinkel He 178
Dr Hans von Ohain
I'm republishing this post because I've just bought an excellent DVD from http://www.quantafilms.com/ about the greatest son of Coventry for a miniscule £4.99 downloaded or £17.99 if you buy it on disk. There's an article about the making of the DVD by Nicholas Jones in this November 2008's Aeroplane Monthly and Model Engine News January 2008 has more information. And no, I have not been paid by any of the above.
It's proof that if the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Waterloo, the wars of the Twentieth Century were won in the sheds of the Midlands aka infamously as "that area stuck between London and Yorkshire". But the author of that careless slur*, definitely not an aerosceptic in this case, believed this was real. Really, the effects of propellor torque, instant change of cg, roll/yaw coupling, progressive structural failure** leapt out at me immediately shouting CGI***, but then I've seen my balsa and tissue efforts destroyed in a flash many times.
*altered after protest to Paradise.
** So I'm an aeroplane flying jacket? We all have our obsessions.
** *Computer Generated Imagery, ie why Lord Mandelson casts a shadow on telly.
Saturday, 1 November 2008
Don't send British Troops to Congo or Rwanda!
Update: I didn't do anything!
*OK, so Rwanda was a German colony mandated to Belgium by the League of Nations after WWI, but there's still no British connection.
But the truth is that VAT can't be waived without the agreement of the European Commission and the other 26 EU member states. So Alastair Darling announced announced that the Government will waive VAT on the sale of the X-Factor Help For Heroes single, by making an exceptional one-off charitable donation equivalent to the sum of the VAT receipts collected on sales of the single. "I very much support the Help For Heroes campaign and the efforts of the X-Factor contestants. In recognition of this I am proposing effectively* to waive VAT on the sale of the X-Factor Help For Heroes single, and will do this by making an exceptional one-off charitable donation equivalent to the sum of the VAT receipts collected on sales of the single".
So after doling billions out to the banks without a debate or vote in Parliament, the "government" finds a measly £500,000 of taxpayers' money to offset the tax bill to help the recovery of servicemen and women injured on duty. Wouldn't it have been just as fair to put a swear box in BBC Broadcasting House?
When will the media accept that Britain's independence has been prostituted to the EU by our professional politicians of all parties from Heath onwards? Why isn't Britain offended by the explicit messages on Britannia's Grandfather's answerphone saying that Liberty has been shagged by all and sundry?
* my italics
Seriously, please vote for whoever you wish on Tuesday and show the world that the beacon of democracy shines brightest in the USA. It doesn't really matter to me which candidate wins because I place my trust in the innate goodness and sense of the American people that is embodied in and outlasts every President.
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Ah, this is why. Follow the money because it goes back to the beeb.
Why doesn't the BBC take a chance and commission Mr Davies and other excellent writers to produce original scripts? Or reintroduce the single play format instead of countless murder mini-series or cliched agitprop rants? Did the spark of creativity really leave the BBC with James Purnell MP?
For the simple fact is that instead of being stuck somewhere between London and Yorkshire, Coventry is the centre of England and therefore the world. Therefore, London and Bradford are places miles away on the edge of the world for the purpose of paid business only.
It is a truth universally acknowledged by the wise that leafy Warwickshire has all the arboreal beauty of the Garden of Eden and, except for occasional soujourns to enjoy the coastal areas of Devon, Dorset and Cornwall, there is no need to leave Shakespeare's county.
And to show there's no hard feelings from me to the irascible Dr North here's his equally nice garden in faraway Yorkshire. So, when the EU, carbon-warmers, windmills and everything else gets too much go into your own oasis and chop a slug in half with a trowel before watching the birds get on with life without a single Directive.
Digressing, I remember the industrial psychologist at the DWP in Coventry (it was during a training course for advisers on mental illness and Jobcentre customers since you ask) disagreeing with me that access to gardens, parks or open country was an important means of maintaining mental health. And I hadn't even said that religious adherence (the opium of the masses, unless we're talking about the underclass when heroin is the opium of those masses) which he argued was very important was actually a symptom of mental illness (magic invisible friend syndrome).
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Notice the Icelandic male dancers who have lost their shirts and trousers due to the bank crunch. I bet Iain Dale will.
So hands off the land of geysirs and viable cod stocks Gordon Broon. If you want to strut around the world stage looking important and statesmanlike, why don't you order the launch of a couple of Tomahawk SLCMs against the Presidential Palace in Khartoum to help sort out Dharfur instead?
I was minded to write this post after reading an excellent one from haddock on honour which includes a moving letter from an Icelander called Runar.
Why the f*** aren't bankers and regulators and politicians apologising for the £trillion f***-up that those smarty-clever sh** forbrains have created through their shortsighted greed. If anyone else had caused that much damage you can bet that the shares of lampost and hemp rope makers would be rocketing away.
Instead, the Police are training in riot control in case cash points are not refilled or bank cards cancelled and people discover they cannot buy food or petrol even though the price is falling. And on the subject of falling oil prices, didn't the energy companies explain their massive price increases on the alleged linkage between the price of crude oil and gas? When will domestic fuel prices fall?
And why doesn't Broon write the debt off as he was so keen to do with African kleptocracies? Is it because the Icelandic bankers are just incompetent gamblers instead of incompetent, thieving, murdering gamblers as found in Africa? Or is it because a recent party donor has a substantial portion of her wealth invested in sheep's head and geysir futures?
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Sunday, 28 September 2008
If a supermarket chain becomes financially doddery, will Gordon flog off the Royal Air Force to realise the readies to nationalise tens of thousands of trolleys and chillers in order to prevent a catatastrophe in the food supply industry? What is the limit of McBroon's expansionism?
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
My head is spinning so I will write my key point now. The $700 billion will help the banks and bankers get back to making massive amounts of money for themselves. The people defaulting on their mortgages will see themselves made homeless. If all that money can be magicked up to help bankers, wouldn't it be fairer and more sensible to spend it at the other end of the economy to have necessary work done, to create better-paid jobs so that the present sub-prime mortgage defaulters can continue to pay their mortgages. They will stay in their homes, the sub-prime securities will gain some value and can then be bought and sold again and the banks will be able to write off their now somewhat reduced losses against greed and stupidity. Just a thought.
Monday, 22 September 2008
This is the text:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure that the Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, The Rt Hon. The Lord Coe KBE, the Chairman of the British Olympics Association, The Rt Hon. The Lord Moynihan, and the Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, The Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, will be jointly and severally responsible for any expenditure in excess of the budget for the London 2012 Olympics confirmed by The Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP on 10 December 2007.
This petitition will encourage proper financial accountability and rigour for a major public project at a time of unprecedented global economic hardship for hard-working British families. The three key decision makers named in the petition will be incentivised to make prudent long term decisions with other people's money if their assets can be seized by Court Order to reduce any debts incurred.
If you agree to the above, please sign up to the petitition at:
I'd be grateful if you could copy this post on to your own blogs or forward it by email to friends who are British citizens or residents - alas foreigners do no qualify.
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Now, I would normally make some jokes based on the books that J K Rowling wrote but as I've never read any nor seen a minute of the films made from them I will refrain on grounds of complete ignorance.
Instead , may I suggest that if I had £560 million and felt so passionately about child poverty I would use it to set up schemes to alleviate it myself in a similar way to Carnegie and Nuffield in previous centuries. Giving away a tiny fraction of one's wealth to assist the re-election of a political party with a proven track record of spending other people's money (including that of poor married parents and single people with better foresight and judgement) not very well is, I believe, a rather selfish action. But I'm not a half-billionaire so ignore me.
Friday, 19 September 2008
Say No to the Double Crossers!
Thursday, 18 September 2008
The Brown flood of rain has caused the edge between lawn and border to fill in with soil (not good for the mower blades) and get annoyingly ragged and weedy. As it's been dry for the past five days I took the opportunity to do this chore that I thought would take a morning at most. Unfortunately, I must have the estimating skills of an investment banker because I'm just two-thirds done. It's knackering work because I've had to transplant or pot up self-setters* as I work so I admire and envy Toby Buckland's excellent and effortless-looking demonstration available on iPlayer until Friday. (from 22:40). The good thing about gardening knackeredness is that it is compensated by the brilliant smell of the soil and the wonderful assortment of greens that one sees close up . It's a good job well done and the sight of so many earthworms in the friable soil that was once heavy clay proves that mulching with homemade compost in the Autumn is really worthwhile.
*The cheapest and strongest plants so no way do they go on the compost heap.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Here's a simple message to the thick-skulled self-interested mediocrities who are collecting their ministerial salaries and other perks in this country:
Give every honourably discharged Gurkha British citizenship. Give them the same pensions as their British oppos. They and their predecessors have served our Queen and Country since 1814 and have thereby earned the right and our thanks and respect. It dishonours you that these proud and noble soldiers have to protest and litigate for rights that certain Britophobic minorities whom you have cultivated assiduously take for granted.
Right. Get back to reversing the changes you introduced from 1997 onwards but discovered didn't actually work. There's no need to tell the truth because no-one expects that any more from your lot. Dismissed.
These picture links will help you understand. Good. Bad.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
However, to be accurate, one should be aware that the deckchair facilities are in fact owned and managed by a separate company, Sidonia, under a public private financing partnership and that any requests for changes to the agreed seating arrangements would incur a substantial relocation fee. In addition, as Sidonia negotiated a thirty-five year increase only lease contract (with bonus payments for ensuring 95% of passengers who wanted to sit down could do so within a week) with the Titanic owners, rental payments would still be liable even though the deckchairs were two and a half miles under the North Atlantic. And we won't tell anyone about the missing deckchairs unless relatives of missing passengers who were sitting on them ask embarrassing questions in public.
Of course half the crew of the Titantic would always be on a compulsary diversity workshop and the other half would not have received health and safety training to operate the lifeboats (even if the company could afford to launch them - well if you wanted seaworthy lifeboats why didn't you sign up for the Saviorlife Platinum service?)
Once he has completed his anger management course, John Prescott would be a suitable candidate for the post previously held by Roland Freisler in Germany between 1942-45. Any MP found guilty of crimes against Nulabor would be defended at their subsequent trial by the Deputy Party Leader, Harriet Harman, to ensure the sentence passed by the court would be a fair deterrent to any other conspirators. With a 100% conviction rate the scheme may be extended to non-Party members for serious crimes like failing to carry a voluntary ID or thinking the EU, windmills, carbon trading and uneconomic recycling are wrong.
Now is the time for the enemies of the Arbeiterpartei to be smashed like mobiles against the skirting board.
Monday, 15 September 2008
Sunday, 14 September 2008
The existence of the brown hole may explain why the Universe has stopped expanding for the first time since Big Bang.
Asked to comment on the phenonema, the British Prime Minister stated that he had looked through the telescope, had seen nothing and was getting on with the job that hard working British families, pensioners expected him to do at a time of high fuel and food prices prices and and and and and and and ......
* So called because theorists postulate that whereas black holes may have an exit into another universe, once anything is swallowed by a brown hole it's in the shit for good.
Two soundbites from the debate, as we now call them, resonate across the decades to call Gordon Brown's brief and unsuccessful premiership to an end with the same impact they had on that of Neville Chamberlain's.
"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!" Leo Amery MP
"It is not a question of who are the Prime Minister's friends. It is a far bigger issue. … He has appealed for sacrifice. The nation is prepared for every sacrifice so long as it has leadership. … I say solemnly that the Prime Minister should give an example of sacrifice because there is nothing which can contribute more to victory in this war than that he should sacrifice the seals of office." David Lloyd George MP
Sometimes it takes more courage to retire than to stay. Why doesn't Gordon Brown read a few of his books and do the decent thing?
Friday, 12 September 2008
Image copyright Martin Grieve, 21 December 2007, from the FOTW Flags Of The World website at http://flagspot.net/flags/
Certainly a better way to pass the time than sudoku and daytime television.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Kim Jong-il (elected)
Gordon Brown (unelected)
Or was it done by a well-meaning mobile-dodging minion without his knowledge? "Oh no, you fool, why did you send him that one of a grey teddy bear in a hospital bed?" "Do I have to do everything, dumkopf!"
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
And an awful lot of people are square pegs in round holes, wasting much effort and potential happiness in an attempt to beat the moronic bell-curve staff performance appraisal assessment. They are bright and capable, know how to use the photocopier and don't fall off swivel chairs very often. But they are doing jobs they hate simply because of the mortgage and the fact they needn't heat the house while they are at work.
Digressing, using a staff assessment system that expects that 10% of staff are unsatisfactory simply indicates that HR and management are close to 100% useless at recruiting the right people for the right jobs and ensuring they are properly trained and motivated.
Now everybody can think of jobs that need to be done to improve the country and make people feel safer, happier and healthier. My proposal is that suggestion boxes are set up all over the country and a website established to allow people to send in their ideas for work that needs doing. After six months the suggestions could be examined and refined into business plans. Civil Servants would then be offered the opportunity to transfer from their present posts to do the tasks identified. They would work in association with local champions to ensure that demand and inspiration was always grass-roots driven.
The idea needs additional work regarding transitional arrangements and funding etc but a rule of thumb is that most things can be achieved with eager people knowing they are helping others.
As this is a creative idea I won't publish negative criticism until we've thought of plenty of ideas how to put the plan into practice. No need to get too detailed - that's what Civil Servants are for!
Only when we can see the big picture will I begin to investigate the concept logically.
Oh and anyone who says that we have too many civil servants and that they don't work hard will be ignored and instructed to ponder on the first class brains of the private sector banking and finance industries begging for public handouts after blowing their clients' money on punts that hen parties at the dogs wouldn't consider. Remember that the IT data losses have mostly been down to private-sector contractors. Finally, the civil service implements what the politicians decide. And who lobbies and funds the political parties? Private companies wanting influence.
I can't wait for the Horizon programme about the results although I predict that a new, very small particle will be discovered to upset all the carefully crafted theories. It will be dubbed the miliband because it came out of nowhere and is both useless and annoying.
But when the first schedule of experiments are completed I bags the collider to test on a large scale something I and my mates last attempted some 35 or so years ago. The Dinky or Corgi collision experiment was great when we slammed cars into each other head on in the playground. But a million mile an hour closing speed would produce brilliant telly with all the bits flying off - and repeating the exercise with Airfix kits dowsed with flaming lighter fuel is BAFTA worthy- beat that Top Gear.
Did I grow up? Probably not, but I had more fun than those kids who never played with their toys and kept the boxes in mint condition (boxes of all sorts were cannibalised to make garages, space-stations or whatever ) to be sold for silly sums at auction.
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
I'm sorry to inform you that your petition has been rejected. Your petition was classed as being in the following categories:
* Wording that is impossible to understand
Further information: Your title should be a clear call for action, preferably starting with a verb, and not a name or statement. If you wish to edit and resubmit your petition, please follow the following link:
You have four weeks in which to do this, after which your petition will appear in the list of rejected petitions.
Your petition reads:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to: 'Ensure that the Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, The Rt Hon. The Lord Coe KBE, the Chairman of the British Olympics Association, The Rt Hon. The Lord Moynihan, and the Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, The Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, will be jointly and severally responsible for any monies in excess of the public expenditure budget for the London 2012 Olympics confirmed by The Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP on 10 December 2007.'
This petitition will encourage proper financial accountability and rigour for a major public project at a time of unprecedented global economic hardship for hard-working British families. The three key decision makers named in the petition will be incentivised to make prudent long term decisions with other people's money.
-- the ePetitions team
Impossible to understand or the Establishment standing firm to prevent their own kind being surcharged for overspending the little people's money?
Despite beating the unlovely Spaniard Nadal (get some sleeves, por favor) the uber unnlovely Andrew Murray lost most convincingly against the ever sportsmanlike Roger Federer. Well done Roger, five-in-a-row winner of the US Open Men's Singles Championships.
Isn't there an old poker saying that one should always stake high when one has weak cards?
I believe the hard knocks I have experienced in my life have made me better qualified to propagate clematis. Tomorrow I'm taking lavatera cuttings. Like Gordon Brown I'm getting on with the job. But I've got sixteen young clematis plants thriving and he's got Ed Balls and David Miliband. Two words pal: compost heap.
Sunday, 7 September 2008
Saturday, 6 September 2008
As an aside to the second story, a week or so after 7/7 it was decided to hold a practice evacuation of the JobCentre in case a similar thing was tried again -as it was on 21/7. At a meeting of volunteer floor wardens I ventured the suggestion that the public should be advised that the evacuation was an exercise in case, as I phrased it, some of our neanderthal customers took it upon themselves to bring down extract from the building any bmes wearing rucksacks in a selfless action of misplaced courage. Subsequently the Building Manager informed me that another member had staff had taken exception to the term neanderthal, that she had never heard of but assumed it referred to muslims or south asians. To prevent a formal complaint being lodged I would have to apologise in person to all staff present at the meeting who might have been offended. Let's say I was shocked, stunned and utterly demoralised. I didn't want to work with ****ing idiots for colleagues. So if there are any neanderthals reading this, may I say that I respect, value and celebrate your community and the way it adds diversity to Britain. Needless to say, the day after 21/7, the Met got over-excited and shot Mr de Menezes seven times in the head on the tube. If only the unfortunate Brazilian had learned the phrase beloved by management "watch your back" he too would be as safe as those responsible.