Sunday, 28 September 2008

Topsy-Turvy Government

It is odd that our government has recently divested itself of our stake in British Energy, thus placing all the UK's nuclear power-stations in the hands of French state-owned EdF, while at the same time buying up failed banks run into the ground by gambling chimps who waltz away stuffed with bonuses.
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

Is the Sub Prime Problem Being Looked At The Wrong Way

From what I've heard, read and seen the credit crunch began when banks in America lent money to people who weren't good credit risks to buy houses to live in. Those mortgages were bundled together with slightly better ones, sliced, diced, squeezed, spread and reformed into securities that were then sold to clever grown-ups in big banks around the world for folding money. Despite, it now turns out, nobody having the slightest idea how much the securities were actually worth except everyone else in the class has got them. Now that banks have suddenly realised they all bought magic beans, due diligence has returned with a vengeance and they refuse to lend money to anyone because they've got sub-prime securities and they won't get their money back. So the entire capitalist economic system has gummed up like something very complicated with gum in it. And the only thing that can ungum things is a massive amount of public money injected into the system by means of the US Treasury or Bank of England buying the sub-prime securities and swapping them for fresh, real money. Unfortunately, the only way the Treasury can get hold of the money (because tax won't be increased, alegedly) is to borrow it from those banks whose refusal to lend it to each other has caused the credit crunch.
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.

Large Hadron Collider Results

It would appear that £4 billion has been spent to produce an anticlimax which isn't actually a little bit of a little bit of an atom but just the announcement that the experiment designed to break things has broken itself. Good job the LHC wasn't started up at Christmas as the disappointment would have been magnified by the shops being closed. The scientists and engineers at CERN will certainly need their Plumber's Higher Diplomas to get the thing working again for next year. I reckon that scientific experiments like this or Mars Beagle should have been called OOPS or SODIT so that anything other than a complete write off could be deemed a success. Small wins, as a boss used to say (mind you, she was an idiot).

Monday, 22 September 2008

There's Not Enough Lamp Posts In Mayfair And The Square Mile To Give Bankers A Proper Thank You

Peter McKay puts it perfectly in today's Daily Mail. String Them Up!

Olympic Prudence Petitition

Good news. My e-petition to the Prime Minister has been accepted at last.

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:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/OlympicPrudence/

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

Hairy Posterior And The Bung Of Desperation

Ordinary former destitute single mum (aah) and now £560 millionairess J K Rowling has given Gordon Brown and NuLab £1 million as a token of her thanks for doing so much to alleviate child poverty. I don't think she'll have to shop at Aldi as a result of giving the money away.
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

National Interest And Post Office Closures



Funny how Gordon Brown invokes "national interest" to ignore competition legislation so that Lloyds TSB can take over HBOS and prevent a mega-Northern Rock catastrophe yet the network of Post Offices is undergoing vicious pruning. Is it not in the national interest for pensioners, disabled people and everyone else to have access within walking distance of a wide range of banking, utility and government services? Or does national interest only extend as far as the jobs of Bank of Scotland workers (and I hope that any redundancies will be voluntary) in Scotland and how that affects the electoral prospects of Labour in Scotland? Remember that Gordon Brown signed the 1988 Claim of Right and declared and pledged that the interests of the Scottish people shall be paramount in all his actions and deliberations.

Say No to the Double Crossers!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Lawn Edging

Since Monday I have mostly been lawn edging.
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

Honour Our Ghurka Heroes

I originally posted this on 21 March but have decided to repost it on this day that Gurkhas went to Court to seek what should be the bare minimum this country owes her loyal friends. Three Cheers for the Gurkhas! Three Cheers for Joanna Lumley!
Here's a simple message to the thick-skulled self-interested mediocrities who are collecting their ministerial salaries and other perks in this country:



http://www.vchero.co.uk/

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

That Titantic Simile

"Rearranging the deckchairs on the Titantic" must be used at least as often as "The elephant in the room" in articles about the Brown Sunday Pub League in the Local Park ship (it is that far away from Premiership) and why not as Barry Norman never said.
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?)

Should Gordon Brown Create A People's Court To Quell Dissent In Nulabor?

Following the establishment of islamic sharia courts across England, rumour has it that Gordon Brown is considering establishing a People's Court to sentence Labour Party Members guilty of the anti-Nulabor crime of Wehrkraftzersetzung ("disintegration of defensive capability") or disagreeing with him.
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.

Battle of Britain Day Wings Appeal


What a good decision HRH Prince William has made to train as an RAF SAR pilot next year. There will be vacancies in 2010 as UK based crews are posted to Afghanistan to fly transport helicopters.
It will be interesting to see whether he willl fly SAR modified Merlins or Silorsky S-92s (like HM Coastguard). Although the the nearly fifty year old Sea King design has performed suberbly during its service career, it would be ironic if Prince William were to fly the same type (albeit a different mark) that his Uncle, the Duke of York, flew twenty-six years ago during the Falklands War.
Anyway, please click on the photo of the Spitfire or Hurricane to link you to the RAFA's Wings Appeal.

Monday, 15 September 2008

VAT And the "Free" House Insulation

Just as HMRC takes 17.5% VAT on flood damage repairs so it charges VAT (abeit at a reduced rate of 5%) on house insulation work. So whatever the weather the Taxman wins!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Scientists Announce Creation Of A Brown Hole

Astrophysicists today revealed that a collapsed minor star known as a brown hole* has been discovered in the Downing Street arm of the SW1 galaxy. Large amounts of recently created money are being sucked in only to instantly vanish from sight. Several previously untracked red dwarves close by have momentarily appeared from the blackness of unexplored space to be disintegrated by the brooding mass provisionally named Brown Sub-Prime 2007-2008.
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.

A Lesson From History For Gordon Brown

The events of the past few days, weeks and months brings to mind the Norway Debate on 7 and 8 May 1940 in the House of Commons which is still its Finest Hour.

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

A Cynical Thought

After dishing the dirt on Ivan Lewis in the Mail on Sunday for saying off-message things about Our Dear Leader, are the Brownies behind this story in today's Daily Mail that links to popular Keith Vaz? What wrong did he do to deserve it?

Gordon Broon's Insulation Wheeze


Our Dear Leader has produced a sustainable alternative to fibreglass wool or beads to insulate your cavities and lofts:




Apply in 30 cm thick layers or as much as you can get while stocks last at the warehouse. Also suitable for mixing with kitchen waste to produce excellent compost to replace those parts of your garden washed away by the floods.

Things To Do On Gardening Leave If It's Too Wet To Mow The Lawn

Number 1:

Join the Uganda Police Force. It has a strength of some 36,000 male and female officers and the full range of specialist departments that are needed by any modern police force to carry out its duties effectively. As the Uganda Police Force Mission Statement states:
"It is the mission of the Uganda Police Force to safeguard the lives and property of the people we serve, to reduce the incidence and fear of crime, and to enhance public safety while working with the diverse communities to improve their quality of life. Our mandate is to do so with honor and integrity, while at all times conducting ourselves with the highest ethical standards to maintain public confidence."


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

Did Gordon Brown Send Kim Jong-il A Get Well Soon Card?




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

I've Had An Idea That Might Work

And make the country a better place. When I was in the Civil Service I either did jobs or knew of jobs that in all honesty were unnecessary but had always been there or were not that vital. The sort of job that was vital to whoever did it of course but which the rest of the building would not really bother about if a flood swept in and out scouring away all trace of the work that had been done in that section.
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.

Large Hadron Collider

I'm not going to comment on the Large Hardon Collider except to say I hope Gordon Brown doesn't send a letter of encouragement to its British team members - no need to worry about bog awful weather or the credit crunch if the curse of Jonah helps create a black hole on Wednesday.
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

2012 Olympic Spendathon

I submitted an e-petition to the 10 Downing Street website last week and received the following nonsense this morning:

Hi,

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?

Miserable Stoat Loses In Straight Sets



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.
Murray has allegedly made it quite clear that he values winning the US Open above Wimbledon (must be the All-England bit), is Scottish first before British and has no regard for England. So why on earth do the BBC persist in their attempt to get English people to support him? He will never match the affection that Jeremy Bates and Tim Henman stirred in the hearts of English tennis fans. We knew deep down they wouldn't win yet their annual ephemeral successes followed by depressing failures on the holy sward of SW19 accorded them champion status in the English pantheon of decent chaps who tried hard but were never quite good enough on the day.

Why The Left Attack Sarah Palin

Because they have read the wikipedia entry on Senator Joseph Biden . He has been a senator for Delaware since 1973 and a lawyer and county councillor before that. So confident is Senator Biden of becoming the first Roman Catholic Veep that he is continuing with his Delaware Senatorship re-election campaign just in case.
Isn't there an old poker saying that one should always stake high when one has weak cards?

Potting On Clematis Cuttings

I took advantage of the good weather this morning to pot on the twenty or so clematis cuttings that I took about six weeks ago. The cuttings were from semi-ripe material measuring about 2.5 inches below a leaf node. I trimmed the leaves, put a couple of inch long shallow vertical cuts into the lower end and dipped the cutting into hormone rooting gel, tapping off the surplus before placing four cuttings around the edge of three inch pots filled with a mix of 50:50 seed and cutting compost and horticultural grit. I gave the pots a good watering with rainwater then put freezer bags over them to create a micro climate, securing with postman's rubber bands. They then went in the greenhouse. I checked the pots every fortnight for rot and rooting from the base, turned the bags inside out and blew into them to boost carbon dioxide and resecured them over the pots. Anyway, today the roots were poking through the pot holes so I put the well rooted cuttings into 6 inch pots with cutting compost and drainage crocks and split bamboos to climb up. another good watering and back into the greenhouse for growing on.
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

Any Palaeologists Out There?

Did the Stone Age end when a group of shamans looked at the liver of a sacrificed goat on the stone altar and unanimously stated "To prevent another Ice Age you must stop using flint and instead make all your tools and weapons from bronze which doesn't anger the weather gods."

Governor Palin And Creationism

Well if she wants to believe that she can. However, just as using 22/7 as an approximation for pi is only good as far as rough carpentry, so creation stories from whichever religion are little use when studying biology at any academic level. To anyone who is prepared to look with their eyes open the evidence for evolution by natural selection is abundantly available.
As I said at the start of this post, people can believe in creationism and intelligent design if they wish but if America wants to avoid being Sputniked again, it should not grant religious stories the same status in schools and universities as rigorously examined scientific theories.

IPCC Chief Says Go Vegetarian And Save The World From Climate Change

Rajendra Pachauri, a vegetarian, will tell normal people tomorrow to eat less meat because cows (which aren't eaten in India, just used as extremely efficient sources of inefficient and smoky fuel pats) produce methane which is 23 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide, although clouds of dihydrogen monoxide molecules also cause global warming.
A word to the wise, Dr Pachauri: the population of the Republic of India in 1947 was about 345 million; today it is about 1.132 billion. Might the increased population around the world have affected global temperatures and sustainability more than the naughty aid-providing capitalist West?

Saturday, 6 September 2008

England 2008

What's the connection between these two stories A and B ? That's right, they could only happen in England. I don't like the country ****ed up by NuLab anymore but it was and is my country and I loved it. And did the lawyer in question receive life-threatening and disabling injuries?
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.

MP Takes Jar Of Coffee Mate On Hiking Holiday In Colombia


Ah, Colombia, Land of the White Powder known as Cocaine. So what does Tory MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant (is that a wig?) carry in a jar in his rucksack. Coffe Mate. Imagine the fun and merriment that ensued when his hiking party met the Colombian Army. BBC Midlands Today reported the story. "It's Coffee Mate" "I not your mate, senor. Sargento get the rubber gloves."

The worrying thing is, if this amiable cove doesn't appreciate that carrying white powder in Clombia is suspicious, what is he prepared to vote for?

Bush Flying and the de Havilland Otter


If you like Governor Sarah Palin, you'll love this website about bushflying.

Amazing Avro Vulcan Stories

The Avro Vulcan is an amazing aircraft. The world's largest tailless delta wing jet bomber. The thinking person's B2. Designed and developed in the late forties and fifties, it carried the UK's nuclear deterrent until the RN's Polaris subs took over in 1969, became a low level bomber and maritime reconnaissance aircraft in the seventies, dropped its first bombs in anger after record breaking non-stop flights from Ascension Island to Port Stanley during the Falklands Conflict in 1982 just as it was meant to be retiring, then stooged around for a couple more years as a stop-gap air-refueller until final retirement. Such was the public's affection for this amazing aircraft that the RAF kept one flying for airshow appearances until 1992. It appeared doomed to be a museum piece until the magnificent efforts of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust and Sir Jack Hayward put XH558 back into the air in 2007.

But amazingly:

1 Vulcan pilots and co-pilots were trained to fly the aircraft to their targets on instruments with blinds pulled down on the small cabin windows to protect their eyesight from nuclear flash. In case the flash zapped their eyes, aircrew were provided with pirate eyepatches to protect one eye. If needed, the patch was swapped to the damaged eye and the sortie continued. In addition, it was assumed that the Vulcans' stations would be wiped out by Soviet attack (to counter which rapid take offs from dispersed bases were frequently practiced) and so target radius was extended because nuclear missions would be one way. But the best evidence of the crews' courage and dedication was the willingness of the backseat navigators to fly without ejection seats, having to rely on the pilots letting them bail out before they banged out. At low level this arrangement placed a huge ethical dilemma on the pilots. But the Treasury was happy with the cost-cutting design.

2 To provide Vulcans with a stand-off attack capability before Blue Steel and Skybolt missiles were available it was suggested that Folland Gnat fighters armed with tactical nuclear bombs were fitted, one underneath each wing on the Skybolt pylons and a third recessed in the converted bombay. The Gnats would not have been used as McDonnell Goblin-like parasite fighters but their pilots would have had similar chances of returning home.

3 To enable Vulcans to withstand a Soviet attack on their bases and runways, a project was sketched to fit ten rocket engines into the bombbay to allow aircraft mounted on vertical launch platforms to zoom up and away like missiles with delta wings. Conventional Vulcan take-offs appeared to be nearly vertical to spectators anyway so it's a pity this idea was never tested out and filmed (but without a crew). The noise would have been amazing.

If you have other stories about Vulcans or the other V-Bombers please let me know.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Londoners Complain They Have To Pay For The London Olympics

Typical. Since the 2012 Games are to be held in London with the exception of the rowing (Eton College), mountainbiking (Essex) and sailing (Weymouth and Portland) events* and all the building work is taking place there, the Cockneys ought to pay for the blessed thing.
We Midlanders remember the farce of the England national football stadium project when local councils were encouraged to spend money developing a design next to the NEC and Birmingham International airport and station. Unknown to all except the FA and MinSport, it had already been decided to build the new stadium at centrally placed Wembley in North London.

Can I be excused games please and read in the library instead?

*Update: football will be played at stadiums throughout the UK except NI despite the fact that there will be no Team Yuk playing - all the little boys have to have their own teams.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Proposed Windfall Tax On Monopoly Sets

In order to pay for the up to £175,000 (shouldn't that be £175,000 or less?)Stamp Duty Holiday, the sell a bit of your house to the council so you can afford that plasma screen, lager or foreign holiday plan or the subsidize spec builders, buy-to-lets and greedy banks plan, someone close to the Treasury has a very prudent idea.

(photo snatched from Guido Fawkes with thanks)

Research has found that about 500,000 Monopoly sets are sold in the UK every year. They each contain £15,140. That is a total of £7.57 billion of untaxed income. A one-off 20% windfall tax would yield the Exchequer some £1.514 billion to pay for additional government spending at this time of global economic difficulties for the UK. Just remember the last time you played Monopoly - did the banker need all the money? Remember, paper money is all about trust. So long as you trust a seller to accept it you will accept it yourself.