Monday, 30 June 2008
I started this blog last year as a bit of fun, a diary that was open to the blogosphere. I've blogged on topics I've been interested in and sometimes I've received comments for which I'm very grateful.
But what pisses me off about the blogosphere is the cliqueyness of it all. I've been different all my life and as a result, despite my best efforts, have suffered ostracism and isolation. I thought that in the darkness of cyberspace all were equal but experience has proved otherwise. If you're not accepted as a protege of the top rank of bloggers then you are out in the cyberwilderness. Theo Spark is a notable exception and I am deeply grateful for his assistance and encouragement. But others, like Mrs Dale, Remittance Man, Laban Tall and EUReferendum either treat my contributions with disdain or fail to give the courtesy of hat tips. I am disappointed by you. I expected more.
I will continue with Gallimaufry & Chips but it will become a private blog on 1 July. I will remain in the public blogosphere as a commenter but under a new nom de plume. To all those whose comments I treasure, good luck and thanks for all the fish.
Sunday, 29 June 2008
I'll be keeping my eye on the Witham-SV site where redundant SAxon APCs have recently turned up.
With the blinkered mindset that ensures promotion in any groupthink organisation, the Army are considering more 6x6 Mastiffs, 4x4 Ridgebacks that weigh about 25 tons and 15 tons respectively to replace the 3.6 ton Snatch. I applaud the desire to procure Rolls-Royce quality but wish it could be combined with Jaguar agility. There are several possible replacements for the Snatch in the 5-6 ton class with Nato Stanag 4569 Level 2 protection like the REVA and RAM2000. Will these be considered?
Alternatively, and most improbably (because they frighten horses), why not procure several squadrons' worth of 4-6 seat helicopters with decent hot and high capability? Very few helicopters have been lost to land mines. And it's safer to carry troops in several small helis than one Chinook/Merlin.
That's fine with me as I define myself as an English Patriot and Global Free Trader. The watchword of our foreign policy should be "Mind Your Own Business" and military intervention should be undertaken only where English interests are directly threatened. Otherwise, the age old English skills of trade and compromise ought to be the main weapons in our armoury.
"Mind Your Own Business" also accepts that, although foreigners have many things to be admired, they also have many disagreeable habits. Now, it's all very well to get up on our hind legs and point this out to foreigners but they are seldom grateful to have their deficiencies remarked upon and still less to have them corrected for their own good. So, let's just let them work out their problems themselves. We have done it ourselves several times.
So when you next hear the taunt "Little Englander" , smile genially at the misguided busybody, wave back and return to the crossword or lawn mowing.
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Friday, 27 June 2008
Thursday, 26 June 2008
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Anyway, after years pretending there is no problem ($10 barrel oil time, for instance), our government is finally wakening to the need to replace our obsolescent generating capacity. It will be necessary to build several nuclear power plants simultaneously with the construction of 12,000 wind-turbines. The 1.6 gW EPR design * likely to be chosen is presently being built in Finland and France and construction is behind schedule because of quality control problems in welding and concrete pouring .
Poor quality control in the construction industry is an age old problem. In the nineties, the Latham and Egan Reports came up with solutions to modernise the industry. When I worked as an administrator in two construction departments I was amazed by the "que sera" culture that commissioned endless surveys and was then delayed by "unforeseen ground conditions", that specified 50 mm and more tolerances on drawings, and produced "as built" drawings because the design couldn't be constructed except at much greater cost (because of a skills gap).
The nuclear power plants to be built in the UK for EDF, EON and Centrica will ideally be project managed in the construction stage by a company from the aerospace or ship-building industry because UK construction companies will need to be very closely supervised and upskilled. The first plant will obviously take longer to build because a skillled workforce and supply chain will need to be trained and subsequent plants wil be built more efficiently. But continuation of workload (instead of an order glut) and the size of the workforce are government-sized problems that should have been tackled but were instead ignored by "schools and hospitals" focused ministers. Westinghouse Electric Company, the BNFL-owned nuclear power construction company was sold to Toshiba in 2006.
Buy candles and a multifuel generator to prepare for the next decade.
* nuclear power plants have a 90% capacity factor , ie a 1.6 gW power station will produce .9x24x365x1.6gW = 12,614.4 gWh per year. A 1 mW wind tubine with a high range capacity of 35% will produce 3,066 MWh per year. Off the top of my head, one EPR power station generates the equivalent of over 4,000 windmills.
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
So depressing and rather dull. I have a cunning plan to improve things. (Nude women's tennis is on other websites, thank you). Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam Tournament still played on grass, the others having clay and artificial surfaces. So Wimbledon is the only tournament that plays lawn tennis. Why not use this difference to our advantage by introducing a rule that only wooden small headed rackets may be used? Cricket has its famous Law 6 and has recently agreed that bats may only be made of wood.
The net result for Wimbledon Lawn Tennis will be a return to the great days before super servers stood on the baseline and slogged and returned until the opponent made a mistake. Imagine the thrills of players racing all around the court, having a smaller sweet spot on their rackets and so the really skillful players, instead of the merely strong and skilful, win.
And our strawberries are having a bumper year and, thanks to the frogs, no slug damage. The blackbirds haven't seen them yet. Bliss with creme fraiche.
Monday, 23 June 2008
A gentleman called Marc Wadsworth has just got another gentleman called James McGrath (any relation to the cricketer?) sacked from his job as Boris Johnson's Chief Political Advisor (why does a politician need a political advisor anyway?). Apparently, when Mr Wadsworth quoted a Mr Darcus Howe (worth a google for past form on muggers) that the election of “Boris Johnson, a right-wing Conservative, might just trigger off a mass exodus of older Caribbean migrants back to our homelands”.
He [Mr McGrath] retorted: “Well, let them go if they don’t like it here.” McGrath dismissed [the] influential race commentator Howe as ‘shrill’.
I'm sorry but how is the above retort racist? If people do not like the policies of a democratically elected government or local authority they are still allowed to leave this country of their own free will as this Telegraph article shows. Or they can vote the corrupt bastards out at the next election. I can't find any trace of an article by Mr Wadsworth berating Nulabour for not accommodating the lifestyle choices of the 2 million British-born emigres since 1997. And describing Mr Howe as "shrill" is a personal opinion, albeit one contrary to the Glorification of Lefties, Suppression of Dissent Act, 1997.
And so Mr McGrath has quietly departed the crease after a highly questionable decision by the umpire with only a few runs on the board. Imagine the brouhaha if Boris sacked some pro-Castro, Chavez, Che, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao or Lumumbaists on the entirely justifiable grounds that their politics were not consistent with working for a democraticallyaccountable local authority.
Chalk one up to Freedom of Speech, Left Wing Style.
* not an Architect who would be able to prepare an aesthetically pleasing, space and layout-efficient design of individual merit instead of a combination of features picked from the autocad's library. For the sole reason of good design I would prefer to live in the suburbs of Brussels where architects can be sued for plagiarism - that doesn't half encourage imagination and talent.
btw I'm posting this again because I only get one post a day advertised by Witanagemot (But I'm very grateful for that one) and I reckon this is more important than GB in SA.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Anyway, I thought about the scene between Mark Lester as Oliver and Harry Secombe as Mr Beadle in the film Oliver:
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Friday, 20 June 2008
On 1 July France takes on the presidency of the European Union. Its primary job will be to rescuscitate the defunct/glitched Lisbon Treaty. Here is a diagram showing CPR (do not try this on someone unless trained or under the supervision of an authorised person).
Take the treaty and alternately harangue and bribe the Irish electorate until a Yes is heard. Pace yourself to the rhythm of Beethoven's Ninth. Then ignore the Irish. If this procedure fails you may attempt French kissing to elicit a positive response as shown below : If done correctly this should result in the English getting screwed and the problem is solved.
Happy Birthday Grandad! I bet you are looking after everyone's gardens up there and peeling the praties for Granny.
"Nobody should be in any doubt at all about our commitment to Afghanistan.
We believe it is of fundamental importance to our own security to stick with it and see the job through."
In July 2006 Tony Blair pledged whatever was required and said "work being carried out in Afghanistan by the British troops was "absolutely vital" for the future of the country and wider international security...If the Taliban get a foothold back in Afghanistan, then the very reasons following September 11 why we had to go into Afghanistan will all reappear with all the consequences for our own security and the security of the wider world."
Blair said the NATO forces must stay in the country. "It is of huge significance to the whole security in the world," he said. "It is part of a NATO mission and we should see it through."
On 23 November 2006 the Daily Mail reported equipment shortages.
On 17 June 2008 the casualty toll in Afghanistan reached 106 as 4 soldiers are killed by a bomb blast in a Snatch Landrover that Richard North of EUReferendum blogged was lethal two years before. The blame is shared by the Politicians racing into an underfunded war without thinking and the Top Brass wanting to save their spendiong money for toys they wanted instead of vehicles that were needed.
And what of Tony Blair's son mentioned in August 2006? Did he go to Afghanistan like Prince Harry? England is a free country with volunteer professional armed forces and newly commissioned officers only get £23,475.24 plus allowances. What sort of a house would that buy?
I only hope that people don't buy into the old canard that because so many have already died in Afghanistan it would devalue their sacrifice if we pulled out now. Just think how many soldiers lives will be saved if the Afghans are allowed to get on with their tribal primitivism and religious fundamentalism with just the occasional intervention of Hellfire or Tomahawk missiles guided to their targets by UAVs if terrorist training camps are set up outside Pakistan again. The frontline of the next war is the workstations of our UAV pilots or the operations rooms of our ships and submarines. We must secure our national borders and control entry to preserve our national security. Building toilets in Helmand may tick Nulab luvvies boxes but does nothing to prevent an attack on innocent Britons at home by malcontents jizzed up with DVD or internet rants.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
1 How can the Fleet Air Arm and the Aviation navale, the Aeronáutica Naval and the Forza Aeree of the Marina Militare use the same ship for landing and taking off from when they drive on the wrong side of the road?
2 If the Royal Navy becomes part of the proposedEuropean Fleet, will it be abbreviated as EU-RN or am I just taking the piss?
One query: will Abu Qatada have to use some of his 2 hours a day out of the house allowance to put the bins out - can't he be deported for putting stuff in the wrong bin?
* I don't think Al-Qaeda frequent Starbucks "£2.50 for a cup of frothy coffee? I despise your infidel dcadence!"
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Monday, 16 June 2008
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Saturday, 14 June 2008
Now, imagine that the Tories had passed a law that allowed for the detention without trial of officials of the responsible trade unions until their members returned to work.
Just how many of the 316 MPs who voted for 42 day detention of innocent people on suspicion of terrorism grounds would argue that the temporary suspension of the trade union officials' civil liberties was a necessary measure to avert a national crisis and prevent loss of life?
And how many of the 646 MPs would be forced to endure starvation or candlelight like the rest of us?
When David Davis announces he is resigning his seat to fight for re-election in the honourable cause of civil liberties like Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, the Bill of Rights, he is derided by the political intelligentsia for personal vanity and grandstanding as if the ordinary citizen does not bother about constitutional rights and wrongs so long as photographs of convicted terrorists can be shown on the Six O'clock Hate/News.
When the Speaker leads a publicly-funded attempt to block the publication of selected MPs expense claims (but fails thanks to clear-sighted Judges).
When Stuart Wheeler has to seek a judicial review over the government's refusal to hold a referendum on the Lisbon EU Constitutional Treaty despite that being a manifesto promise.
When the EU is already ignoring the Irish No vote on the Treaty and pressing on with the project to denationalise Europe.
That the Peasant's Revolt took place 627 years ago about this time of the year.
I am disgusted by the news that a Sikh war memorial has been desecrated in Coventry by sticking a pig's head on it. In effect, they have also vandalised the monument in the Memorial Park or the Cenotaph because the remembrance by one community of its sacrifice in war is part of the city's and nation's remembrance. So I'm very angry and sad in equal measure.
Anyway, here's a picture to commemorate the vital role of Sikhs in the service of the Crown up to the present day. I know my Granddad, ex-8th Army, was always proud to march with his comrades on Remembrance Sunday.
Sikh Troops in Burma 1945
Friday, 13 June 2008
I can reveal that one of the first things I was told after signing the Official Secrets Act was
The canteen was two floors up and they sold delicious pork pies. As for files, well, one had to develop a working knowledge of the relevant sections of the Departmental Security Handbook (kept in a safe) very quickly. That's why I find it hard to believe that the files could have been handled so carelessly. It's as inconceivable as letting the stationery cupboard run low of treasury tags or T&S claim forms. Or not taking credit for a junior member of staff's excellent drafts.
* I am not a number but 6 x 7 = 42. So what does 7 represent?
Thursday, 12 June 2008
£200 million of extra Northern Ireland spending for nine DUP votes * to save Gordon's neck works out at £22.22 million each. That puts Margaret Beckett's £6,500 rockery into perspective. Or looked at another way, it's over £4.75 million for each of those 42 very expensive days. Send the bill to Anne Widdecombe** who will just have to write more novels.
* Hat tip to Steve Green's Daily Referendum for this figure.
** will David Cameron remove the whip from this anti-foxhunting figure of ridicule? She was the only opposition dupe, ie non DUP MP, to vote for this obscene publication.
Yes we do have freedom of speech in this country, but only if you are licenced to use it. And if you have that licence you can get away with anything so long as you say sorry*. It's ironic really that in a truly equal society Phillips would have been disemployed by the "Great and the Good" liberal intelligentsia** at the same age as Mr Honeyford.
*except that the heirs of Hitler and Stalin would never accept an apology from an ordinary person.
** ie those mainly upper class lefties who despise everything British and especially English.
Update 14 June: Apparently, more documents were found on the same train. Someone was either extremely forgetful or disgruntled. I recall SH instructions were to keep files locked in a twin buckled briefcase (we had an ER cypher on our obsolete office briefcase which wasn't strictly allowed because it drew attention, but our jobs were 99.9% boring) and the case had to be held at all times. And that was just for the lowest grades of restricted files.
Operation Mincemeat was the codename for the successful ruse to place a Major Martin RM in the Atlantic off neutral Spain carrying documents hinting that Sardinia might be attacked instead of Sicily.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Monday, 9 June 2008
That is courage, Mr Brown and it is demonstrated every time a patrol goes out.
Sunday, 8 June 2008
My point is that it is ironic that an icon of Liberation will now only be found in museums and as airshow flypasts whereas an aircraft redolent of Nazi Germany will carry on towards its thousand years' airframe life.
Saturday, 7 June 2008
Chinook HC2 at RAF WAddington Airshow 2004 with thanks
I rushed to blog about the handling of the RAF's eight special forces Chinooks contract with a criticism of the delay taken to rectify the fault. Since then, I have read the NAO Executive Summary and the full report (click on link from here) and a blogpost from The Remittance Man.
Now RM is an excellent blogger but suffers from two biases: engineers are brilliant and civil servants are not. From his writings I assume that RM has never worked in a British government department and so his knowledge of how things are done in the civil service is based on "Yes Minister". I worked in two departments with a variety of engineers, civil, mechanical, electrical you name it. Except for the standard number of tossers one finds in any profession, they were all highly qualified and experienced and at least the equal of their counterparts in the private sector from whose companies projects were commissioned to avoid the problems of in-house work. But the massive culture-gap between the civil service and private industry was the dominance in the contractual process of the private companies' lawyers. The civil service took the view that the best people to draw up and negotiate engineering contracts were engineers: this was on the basis that the aim was to achieve the best outcome for the public purse. The contracters took the view that profit was key and any chance to increase profits with extra uncontracted work or variations was to be stalked, pounced on and exploited to the maximum. Remember that the Latham Report stated that the building and construction industry spent more on litigation than R&D. So the assertion that civil servants are inherently incapable of managing complex projects is founded largely on comfortable myth and unscrupulous private companies.
And then, most shockingly, is the way that the RAF's worst flying accident in recent years has been forgotten so completely by the media and blogosphere. on 2 June 1994, Chinook ZD576 with 4 crew and carrying 25 senior Northern Ireland intelligence experts crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in thick fog killing all 29 on board. Initially pilot error was blamed, but problems in other Chinooks upgraded by Boeing of engine power delivery delays and false warnings which may have been caused by control software prompted a lomg process of reversing the initial findings.
According to wikipedia:
" Upgrade problems
The FADEC engine control software was being upgraded on all RAF Chinook aircraft, as part of an upgrade from Chinook Mk 1 to Chinook Mk 2 capability. The Ministry of Defence successfully sued Textron, the manufacturers of the system, after a near-fatal Chinook crash caused by an uncommanded engine run-up in 1989.
EDS-SCICON was given the task of independently evaluating the software on the Chinook Mk2 FADECs in 1993, and according to the House of Commons report, "after examining only 18 per cent of the code they found 486 anomalies and stopped the review". The report also noted that "intermittent engine failure captions were being regularly experienced by aircrew of Chinook Mk 2s and there were instances of uncommanded run up and run down of the engines and undemanded flight control movements". However, this software was being used on operational aircraft.
Chinook tests at Boscombe Down by the MoD in 1994 reported the FADEC software to be "unverifiable and ... therefore unsuitable for its purpose" "
So that's possibly why the MoD/RAF wanted access to the the computer software source code for the HC3. One wonders why Boeing were so unwilling to grant access, especially as bespoke code is written on site at RAF Waddington by RAF software specialists to update Boeing AWACS E-3D Sentry AEW1 aircraft of new threats and other information.
And the MoD has got a lot wiser with contractors: instead of buying x number expensive aircraft or maintenance contracts it writes new contracts to specify a guaranteed number of flying hours and availability. If the contractors want to play hardball... until of course they run to the press with stories of profit squeezes and redundancies because of the wicked MoD.
So, sometimes, just sometimes it's not entirely the fault of the Men from the Ministry.
But this report about the dire state of the French armed forces in today's Daily Telegraph cheered me up no end. Now's our chance, even with Nulabour's attrition of our own forces, to cross the channel by tunnel and ferry and launch a D Day II campaign to regain our birthright.
As Henry V said * "I'll be back." We'd be at the Pyrenees within a fortnight or a week if we pretend to be Germans.
*in an unreleased scene included as an extra in the Director's Folio.
Friday, 6 June 2008
Reading the interview between the lines, it appears that the biggest problem for soldiers is the frequency of tour spent on operations or training away from home. This has increased as the size of the army has decreased with the end of the Cold War and Nulabour has intervened around the world. In addition, unemployment is relatively low. The only solution for the problem is to increase the size of the army and the only way to do that is to increase salaries to compete with other industries for higher skilled men and women (thanks to Nulab's education reforms this pool is shrinking in size). But how can Nulab afford that or sell it to its CND core?
110 aircraft of Nos 1 and 100 Groups carried out extensive bomber-support operations: 24 'Airborne Cigar' (ABC)-equipped Lancasters of No 101 Squadron patrolled all likely night-fighter approaches, so that their German-speaking operators could jam the German controllers' instructions; No 100 Group flew 34 RCM sorties and 27 Serrate and 25 Intruder Mosquito patrols. 2 Intruders and 1 ABC Lancaster were lost.
58 aircraft of Nos 3 and 5 Groups carried out a variety of operations to conceal the true location of the invasion for as long as possible. 16 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron and 6 G-H fitted Stirlings of No 218 Squadron dropped a dense screen of Window, which advanced slowly across the Channel, to simulate a large convoy of ships approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the real invasion coast. These flights required exact navigation; both squadrons had been practising for this operation for more than a month. The second diversion was carried out by 36 Halifaxes and Stirlings of Nos 90, 138, 149 and 161 Squadrons. These aircraft dropped dummy parachutists and explosive devices to simulate airborne landings over areas not being invaded. 2 Stirlings of No 149 Squadron were lost while carrying out this duty.
31 Mosquitos bombed Osnabrück without loss.
Total Bomber Command effort for the night: 1,211 sorties, 8 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost. The number of sorties flown was a new record. British, American and Canadian divisions landed on five Normandy beaches early the next morning."
Thursday, 5 June 2008
""We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations." Winston Churchill to the House of Commons. However, the successful evacuation across the English Channel of 198.229 BEF Troops and 139.997 French poilus, albeit at the cost of all the British Army's heavy equipment and many ships, was, most importantly, not a defeat in the manner of Malaya and Singapore but a withdrawal and that counted for much. As a result of Operation Dynamo a national myth was created from the story of the heroic Little Ships and Tommies patiently queueing shoulder deep in lines for a place on a boat. That myth became the Dunkirk Spirit and bound the British nation together through the darkest times of the war, evolving into the Battle of Britain Spirit.
The facts about Dunkirk.