Monday, 31 March 2008

An Epiphany

With thanks to the excellent Tim Worstall for highlighting it , I have just read a brilliant article that explains my failure in life.

Yes, I am incompetent and proud of it!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Heathrow T5 Friday Update

The big question is: " Can Londoners run anything properly?"

Did BAA and BA RTFM? Have they tried switching it off and on again?

"It's doin' me 'ead in. What are you lookin' at? This is a faairmily fing, right!" said a spokesman.

The Millenium Dome, the Wembley Stadium fiasco and overrun and the incredible expanding Olympic budget are all failures that the nation has celebrated in recent years.

To save future embarrassment, anything with more complicated controls than an on-off switch should be relocated to the Midlands where common sense and practical skills are present.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Heathrow Terminal 5: Doh!

Unfortunately, the first day of public use of the new Terminal 5 at Heath Row Aerodrome (first aircraft to land in 1946 was a Fairey Firefly) didn't quite go to plan. Yet it worked so well when the Queen came earlier this month.

Heathrow used to be owned and run by the British Airports Authority plc which was sold to a Spanish company (taking advantage of tax breaks in Spain) and changed its name to BAA. So if you are a luggage-less passenger repeat the names of the airport operator and the airline that uses T5 as you wait.

Baa, Ba, Baa, Baa, Ba, Baa, Ba.

You will either be offered free drinks or arrested by armed police. In Brown's Britain guess which.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Someone Explain What Des Browne Does

News Item 1
photo thanks to RAF (Gulf War 1991).

RAF bans pinup nose art from aircraft in case it offends women (no reports made) or muslims (what doesn't?)
News Item 2

(contents not included)

The RAF launches a bikini with diamante roundels (yes, I hadn't noticed them until I read the words). Still, I suppose it's an improvement on the old WAAF "passion-killers". Where does one attach one's wings?

So Des, being a man of conscience who does what he's told to do or doesn't have to depending on who tells him, (confusing isn't it) has apparently taken the line that the bikini's ok because it can be sold to someone. Morale and tradition isn't important because the PC brigade can bully to get results in the short term.

Let's have this printed on every bomb dropped in Afghanistan. He will never get a pint in Kabul again.

Removing Enamel Paint fron Acetate or Styrene

Just a quick post to say that if you squirt a citrus oil based domestic cleaner on acetate or styrene and brush the painted area with an old toothbrush, you will then find it very easy to winkle out the paint with a wooden cocktail stick. Rinse in cold water and repeat until all the paint has gone. Just remember to test on a scrap area first just in case and never use any tool harder than the plastic you wish to clean.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A Bit of Balance Please

The Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP has discovered one of the few remaining pleasures left to rural folk. According to the Sun and the BBC, over the Easter weekend, a group of travellers built an encampment on land next to the Jowell-Mills weekend cottage, described as worth £1,000,000 (but now probably rather difficult to sell even with a glowing HIP).

The Sun and several commentators report that the land is zoned for agricultural use and therefore its development as a caravan site contravenes planning law and is unlawful. Apparently, the Human Rights Act 1998 will help the travellers stretch matters out for eight years.

Up to a point, Lord Copper. Previous experience in Bulkington, North Warwickshire suggests that the matter can be resolved a lot faster if the legal process is followed exactly by Stratford on Avon District Council. At the same time the welfare, health and education needs of the occupiers will be assessed by the appropriate Council Officers and their reports passed to the Council Legal Officers. By doing things properly, eviction, if that is the preferred option, should take less than a year.

My advice to the homeowners and landowners in the area if you haven't done so already is, increase your security, block off field entrances with bunds or heavy plant, move your livestock and garage all vehicles. Contact your local police station to see if a farm watch ring has been set up. The increased security is needed because criminal elements will be attracted to the area because they know that blame and suspicion will fall wrongly on the Gysies.

Having had unhappy professional experience dealing with travellers illegally occupying public land I must say that the quantity of tree clippings, builders' rubbish, gas bottles, scrap metal, scrap furniture and large amounts of excrement left on unlawful sites makes quotes from cleaning companies appear extremely good value.

Please let me stress that the Romani Gypsy community is not to be confused with travellers, Irish or New Age . As with all people, the vast majority of Gypsies are a credit to this country. They are clean and tidy and do a fair day's work for a fair day's pay and move on to land with the owner's permission and leave when they promise. They generally keep themselves to themselves. You may not wish to live next to them, but to be honest there are few people different to oneself that one likes nearby.

It appears from the surnames given in the reports that the families are Gypsies. As noted above, I respect Gypsies as they have lived in England for over five hundred years and many, though a sadly dwindling few, still have the knowledge, passed down orally, of our natural environment that the majority of the rest of us have forgotten. Their lifestyle is not to everyone's tastes including mine but their numbers are manageable even if more winter and temporary site places than caravans are necessary because their clannish nature means that certain families do not share with others. The main cause of the problem is the hundreds of thousands of Irish Travellers in England. They are completely different from Romani Gypsies. Note that the Irish Government do not classify Travellers as an ethnic group but as a social grouping.

What I hope this news item will do is start a debate about more sensible, sustainable land use in rural areas. Local people and their families are largely priced out by second-homers like the Mills or commuters to big cities. Increasing life expectancy and family fragmentation means that more homes are needed. There should also be space for Gypsies.

Dawn Primarolo's Great Idea

Cigarettes to be banned from public display. That will discourage teenagers from buying them. Well it works with illegal drugs.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Fairchild XC-120 Packplane


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ecr7u-Z1Q3Y

With thanks to Bomberguy

Religions should stay out of politics

Someone called Cardinal Keith O'Brien , the Roman Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, has laid down the line for Catholic MPs in a sermon about the Human Fertilisation andEmbryology Bill.
With the greatest respect, he should keep out of politics. If he wishes his medieval ideology to bee more than unaccountable moral blackmail he should arrange for priests to stand for Parliamentary seats in elections. Then he would deserve to be heard. Otherwise, why shouldn't humanist MPs investigate the unproved claims of all religions? It is ironic that as much effort is devoted to protecting cell clusters as was used to mask the activities of perverted child-molesting priests before the evidence was so overwhelming that action had to be taken. Isn't the real truth about all religions that they seek power over people in this world in return for the "promise" of life in the mythical next one?

Friday, 21 March 2008

Formula 1 TV Coverage Bad News Good News

Motor racing is the most futile boring waste of time since Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings (three rings to let me know you've got there safely). So the BBC spends £200 million for five years' coverage. That's nearly seven Jonathan Rosses a year. And there were no other bidders so Auntie Beeb increased ITV's previous £150million by another £50 million. Famous accident survivor Richard Hammond is expected to front the broadcasts because of his empathy with the racing-car drivers. (Not because he was allegedly a scalextric pilot).

So I ought to be outraged at this example of profligate waste by a publicly-funded body - but at least the BBC didn't blow the money on shoes instead given the number of women in its top management posts. Instead, I'm content because the spendthrift splurge has pissed off the "incredibly bright" Mary-Anne Sieghart in the Times. Result! Blokes 1 - Bluestockings 0.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Ama Sumami RIP

Ama Sumami, the terminally ill kidney dialysis patient deported to Ghana has died.


I am so demoralised by the self-serving anomie of the Brown/Blair Nulab regime that has defaced the good name of my country over the past eleven years that the words of the statesmanlike Rt Hon Edward Balls MP suffice: "So What?"


I didn't expect Sir Saint Bob Geldedoaf or Bonio to dip into their capacious pockets to help because their self-appointed task is to tell the rest of us to give our money.


But if an MP had put her on the payroll and helped someone outside their family/ex-family circle, I would have been happy to see some public money mispent in a good cause for once.

Just A Diversion On The Road To Dhimmitude

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, probably did not have the recent case of IC, an autistic twenty-six year-old of Bangladeshi ancestry with a mental age of three when he made his comments about Sharia law in the UK. At the behest of his parents, IC had taken part in an arranged sharia marriage ceremony by telephone with his fiance in Bangladesh who would then be able to obtain an entry and residence visa. Thankfully, three judges sitting in the Court of Appeal upheld the primacy of English Law and refused to recognise the sharia "marriage's" validity. Apparently, if the marriage had been consummated, the "wife" would have been guilty of statutory rape because of the inability of the husband to give proper consent.



No comment yet from the ABC but in similar circumstances Vickie Pollard might say "Yeah but, no,but yeah, but no, but that is soooo unfair, like."

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Macca Stumps Up £24.7 Million In Divorce Settlement

Call me a romantic but wouldn't it be perfect if Heather Mills found love on the rebound with Mohammed El -Fayed ?



Anyway, the legal bit.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

A Moment of Respectful Reflection Please

HMAS Sydney has been found off Western Australia. The ship sank with all hands after an extremely close range engagement with the German raider Kormoran on 19 November 1941. The Kormoran also sank.

RIP

Monday, 17 March 2008

A Question For The Banking & Finance Industry

With the fall-out from the credit crunch continuing unchecked, when will the whizz-kids of the financial services industry admit, first to themselves and then publicly, that they aren't as clever-clever as they convinced themselves and the rest of the world to be. Anybody can keep winning at roulette for as long as the ball stops rolling into the right spot, but when the run of luck ends, they're just the same losers as the rest of us.

Update: Our bankers (cockney rhyming slang for the wealth generators of the Square Mile) are not losers like the rest of us. Come up with a money-making wheeze like a Passchendaele veteran's that sinks like a bear with lead shoes and the banks get a bail-out from the Bank of England. If a bank's decisions lose it money its shareholders should reach into their pockets.

photo thanks to www.funcasinoforhire.com

Tibet: Where Did Ethical Foreign Policy Go?

Fifty-seven years after China invaded the peaceful independent state of Tibet on 7 October 1950 and imposed a ruthless policy of sinofication which involved destroying the Bhuddist monasteries and killing, torturing and imprisoning thousands of monks there have been sporadic demonstrations against Chinese rule in the meantime. The Chinese police and army have so far killed at least eighty demonstrators during the latest round of protests.

When Labour won the election in 1997, Robin Cook promised an Ethical Foreign Policy. This was soon ditched because it clashed with the Blessed Tone's Hotline to God. The foreign policy changed to What Can We Do To Get A Good Front Page In Tomorrow's Daily Mail? Realpolitik meant that if China, Russia or Africa supported a corrupt tyrant then he was safe. So no humanitarian interventions in Zimbabwe, Dharfur or Burma. And now Tibet because of those Olympic Games ( motto: Libri, Solidi, Denarii) and all those cheap Chinese goods keeping the consumer boom going and without inflation.

So what is the point of the UN? What is the point of diplomacy? What is the point of His Holiness The Dalai Lama meeting the Snotgobbling Bottler (if our popular Gordon can find the time in his diary in between running everything?)

Friday, 14 March 2008

MPs Allowances - A Modest Proposal

Instead of paying £10,000 for a new kitchen in MP's London pieds-a-terre and subsidizing their mortgages (which henceforth must be with Northern Rock Bank), would it not be better for Palace of Westminster authorities to negotiate a bulk rate for MPs to stay at, for example, Travelodges in London?

And MPs could be provided with ID cards entitling them to free healthy-eating lunches and dinners in the several Palace of Westminster restaurants.

The jobs of their researchers (presently recruited at the whim of the MP without the straitjacket of diversity targets) should be assessed (or JSAPed in the vernacular) and paid according to House of Commons Library pay scales.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Initial Thoughts On That Darling Budget

Hmmm, increase tax on alcoholic drinks and cigarettes to increase Child Benefit and Working Family Tax Credit. Well call me cynical* but the increases in benefit and tax credit will mainly go towards the increased cost of fags and lager.


Except for that section of the population, the BBC dares not name, which forbids alcohol and has larger than average families and is opposed to Nulabour's foreign policy.


Still, the BMA are happy with the increase in the cost of booze (hint to BigPharma: gifts of cases of medicinal "elderflower" wine will encourage prescription of patented medicine). It's just a pity the Treasury can't work out how to tax the c.diff, e. coli, MRSA or plain excrement, urine and blood that decorate our world class hospitals.




* I had Cynical written on my JobCentre name badge.

Goldsmith's Proposal for an Oath of Allegiance

One Jelly-bellied Flag-Flapper Lord Goldsmith has come up with 134 pages for another,Gordon Brown, on his favourite subject of "Britishness".

Actually all subjects of Her Majesty the Queen within Her Realm already owe allegiance to Queen and Country. An oath of allegiance is as unnecessary as putting United Kingdom on our postage stamps. I think it deeply hypocritical that the very same mob that enforced the discredited dogma of multi-culturalism should attempt to drape themselves in the very flag they eschewed for the red flag when there was more money in trendy communism than gorging at the croney capitalist trough now at our expense.

How about this oath for MPs: "I am not ashamed to be seen in public with disabled and disfigured servicemen and I will ensure they are treated and cared for the rest of their lives as I would wish to be."

I think his idea for a British National Day to celebrate being British is a good idea. We could have a Party and drink too much or moan about the rotten weather. On reflection, let's kick this idea into the long grass.

Mind you, The Pheasant's Revolt would be A Good Thing to celebrate, although anti-terrorism legislation would be invoked to prevent glorification of Wat Tyler.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

What other sort of WW2 bomb should one worry about now?

Update 13 March : UXB made safe with a controlled explosion 2:49am this morning. From hazy TV report it would appear to have been a Luftwaffe SC50 general purpose bomb or a similar C50 incendiary. Apparently the fuse was underneath the bomb as it lay. Presumably either pigsticked or removed and detonated with a small bit of plastic. Will update with more details when known. Anyway, many thanks to 11 EOD Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, Vauxhall Barracks, Didcot and 5131 (Bomb Disposal) Squadron, RAF Wittering (they were allowed to wear their uniforms in Coventry!)

Update 14 March: detonated 2:41am with plasic explosive in a mortar tub in a hole by Royal Engineers not RLC as blogged earlier. Nice video of blast! Worth waiting a few days for the details from the Coventry Telegraph.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

There Are Limits To American Jurisdiction

I received an email from Egg yesterday. It included these paragraphs:

"We are also getting in touch regarding some changes to the Egg Customers Relationship Agreement. Summary of changes to your Egg Customer Relationship Agreement: effective dates of changes and changed conditions.From 21 April 2008, we are making changes as a result of Egg becoming part of the Citigroup Inc. group of companies. The changes mean that we need to tell the authorities – the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – about any money made here in the UK by U.S. persons. The changes are to Condition 14 of the Customer Relationship Agreement and are shown below.

"Condition 14.2The following is a new Condition (applicable from 21 April 2008) 14.2 You acknowledge that you are not a U.S. person as defined (We define a 'U.S. person' as: a U.S. citizen; someone who holds a current valid green card; or a 'resident alien' (to see the full definition of 'resident alien' please go to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc851.html)). You agree to contact us immediately or at least no later than 30 days if you are or your status changes any time in the future to a U.S. person. You agree to complete and return to us immediately any relevant U.S. tax or waiver documentation that may apply to you from time to time.

The existing Condition 14 is now renumbered as Condition 14.1.

For more details of your own accounts, go to http://e-mail.egg.com/a/hBH1Ru7AcPxCHB15haAApinJ01d/egg3 and select 'your accounts'. If you have any questions about this email, or any of our products and services, contact us using the details shown on the right.
Best wishes
Tharsim Basi
Savings Product Manager
Egg Banking plc"

Now, I admire the United States and I like Americans in general (although they aren't as likeable as Canadians), but the presumption contained in the new condition stuck in my craw. We're friends and allies, but I am a British Subject of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I do not acknowledge anything the US Government says unless I am on American soil. If this is about American tax-raising then I am none of Uncle Sam's business (although how ironic). Naturally, I sent a stiff email to Egg drawing their attention to the provisions of the Data Protection and Human Rights Acts. If Egg even hints to the US Government that I exist then they are writ fodder.

You know, in such circumstances, even I can see why much of the world is pissed off by the apparently unconsciously selfish, good-natured, well-meaning arrogance of the United States Government. And following a recent ruling, American Courts can ignore the fact that a foreign defendant has been kidnapped in order to stand trial. Like Tony Blair, assuming you are doing right is not the same as doing right. It's not the best way to make friends amongst people who are hostile or at best ambivalent.

May I offer this advice to reasonable Americans (the vast majority): don't give power to anybody who believes that might is right or that ends justify the means. Please act with the wise counsel of great yet modest Americans like Jefferson, Lincoln, King who showed the world that a broader path is a better path and set an example that others wish to follow.

Update 11 March: I received a curt reply from Egg stating that the condition only applied to US citizens - so why make it a condition for all customers?
Update 2 12 March: the blogosphere's answer to the Skibbereen Eagle gets a scalp . Don't pull the sleeping lion's tail.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Proms Director Orders Orchestras Not To Wear Black Tie and Evening Dresses In Westminster

Following a public outburst of "verbal abuse" against the 109 year-young Proms Festival from a cross section of the village of Westminster, a Mrs Margaret Hodge, the Director of the famous BBC Promenade Concerts is reported to have ordered orchestra members to refrain from wearing their famous penguin suits outside the world famous Albert Hall to avoid any further incidents.

Members of the several London-based classical orchestras are famed in the city for never ceasing to play, being ready to scramble from the Wigmore Hall to the Royal Festival Hall at a moment's notice with instrument case in tow, and often moonlighting in recording studios.

A former musician said that Mrs Hodge was not only cross but rude and stupid as well. "The Proms is the most inclusively British annual musical event yet works by British composers are a tiny minority of those played. I think Mrs Hodge prefers to hear singing like a cat in a mangle and instruments like an armful of fishing rods thrown down a flight of stairs."

On hearing of the alleged incident and uniform ban, Prime Minister Gordon Brown apparently said "Just give me five minutes without some brainless twat opening her mouth without putting her brain into gear. I like the Proms and so did Margaret Hodge last year according to her blog.But can I sack her with Harriet Harman on my shoulder?"

As with other stories nothing will happen to improve matters. "Handcart for England?"

Friday, 7 March 2008

The Grand Old Clegg of Hallam

Poor old Nick Clegg of the LibDims who is now being adversely compared to the great Charlie Mingus Campbell's Soup. When the sandal wearing beardies were refused a vote on EU membership on 26 February, Gladstone's successor staged a walk out of MPs from the House of Commons' Chamber, presumably to "prepare for government". Then yesterday, when they were refused a vote on EU membership, instead of beating "Putin" Brown's regime on a vote on the EU Lisbon (Constitution That Dare Not Say Its Name) Treaty by joining with the Tories and Labour patriots, Calamity Clegg told his fellow expenses-claimers to sit on their hands and abstain. Liberal England is puzzled. There is no puzzle: the people of the UK will not be allowed to vote this country out of the EU. There are too many professional politicians either on the gravy train or with seat reservations for it for principles like independence or democracy to count.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

I worked next to someone who'd have believed this nonsense

Have a read of this posting from Mr Freemarket . It sent a chill down my spine because for over a year I had a desk at work next to a chap who really put the mental into fundamentalist and removed any fun. I have spoken to thousands of weird folk over the years but only two put me in fear of the integrity of my skin. Both were religious nutters. Anyway this chap would sing hymns to himself, look at me menacingly and ask me the meaning of the word pernicious. Paradoxically, he took great delight in breaking wind beside me as offensively as possible. He was saved though, apparently. Not an easy character to judge, which is why I mistakenly told the Jesus in a pub with an Irishman, Scotsman and Scouser joke. They each buy him their favourite drink and afterwards Jesus comes over to thank them by curing with a touch; the Scotsman of his bad back, the Irishman of his dodgy knees - and the Scouser says "Eh, hands off whack, I'm on Incapacity Benefit!" Well that went down like a priest on a choirboy. "It's blasphemous to tell jokes about the Lord Jesus Christ" he said.
So the moral of this posting is why are the Pure in Heart So Often the Mean In Spirit?