Wednesday, 29 July 2009

A Modest Proposal

It's all fine and dandy for Alan "Labour's John Major" Johnson to say that he is happy about the population of the UK to rise from about 61 million to 70 million. as he and the rest of the political nomenklatura will be safeguarded from the effects of government policy while the rest of the country is forced to live closer together. While the population of the UK is forecast to rise the population of England will rise disproportionately: indeed so unpopular is Scotland with immigrants that living there will fast track naturalisation. And where will the extra ten million go with all the proposed windfarms filling up the countryside?
This statement of the bleeding obvious from a Judge and the "British" Council's proposal to outsource 100 jobs to India has got my little grey matter working on a modest proposal to solve the immigration problem and, coincidentally, improve the welfare of deserving foreigners.
I propose a pilot scheme of Offshore Immigration. People wishing to migrate to Britain for economic or asylum reasons will instead be located in parts of Africa or Asia rented from the local kleptocracy and managed by a charitable trust without government funding. Favourable leases will be granted to companies wishing to establish manufacturing factories using locally-sourced raw materials and taxation will be kept to a minimum. Compulsory English language and culture training will be provided and after ten years' satisfactory service all migrants will be eligible to apply for British residence conditional on the availability of long-term jobs. Migrants will be able to return to their countries of origin at any time and remittance of salaries to boost their homeland economies.
It may be argued that it is unfair to migrants to disallow their residence in England's green an pleasant land but they would still obtain considerable security and economic advantages. Just don't call the offshore economic areas colonies.

Michael Yon Online Magazine

Just in case there is anyone left who hasn't seen the excellent photos and reports of the War in Afghanistan on his website, may I recommend Michael Yon Online. Oh, and because he doesn't get a telly tax to regurgitate MoD press notices, donations to keep him going are very politely requested.

Please May We Have A Revolution?

Three things I read today make me really angry . This, this and this. And this. The people "in charge" are having a laugh at our expense aren't they?

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

British War Aims In Afghanistan

What's wrong with accepting that the majority of people in Afghanistan and the Third World in general are content to live in the seventh century, just as many people in the west read the bible literally or have no greater cultural desires than X-Factor or Emmerdale? Why can't large tracts of the world be established as cultural protection reserves* where indigenous peoples can live out their lives free of western liberal enlightenment, science and technology? Without that care the particular knowledge of societies handed down through hundreds of generations will be lost for ever. The reserves would be sustainable because a lack of modern medicine, electricity, etc would limit population growth. Should anyone wish to leave and live in the west they must agree to accept our values and renounce theirs.

* Yes, just like the Savage Reservation in Brave New World.

Taliban To Be Granted Liberty Of Luton?

In an attempt to improve community relations in Luton, it has been proposed that a band of Taliban terrorists/fighters will be accorded the honour of a march with AK-47s and RPG-7s through the City of Luton when they next visit the city to renew their Housing Benefit and Income Support claims and pick up free prescriptions for their extended families.

For Health & Safety reasons the suicide bomber squad will not take part due to the risk of them incuring ankle sprains and other injuries by walking in flipflops on potentially wet road surfaces.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Helicopters For Swine Flu Victims

Chinook and Merlin helicopters will be provided to swine flu victims as part of a government plan to obtain good headlines regardless of sense and cost. People with flu symptoms will be asked to phone a hotline which will allocate a contract number for a Flu Friend to collect a helicopter from either the Boeing factory in America or AgustaWestland in Yeovil. Flu Friends should have a minimum of 250 hours' on either type and be prepared to wait up to two years for delivery.

Defence Minister Identification Quiz

Which of these is Bollock"Bob" Ainsworth, the 23rd least important cabinet minister?
Personally I would have more confidence in Captain George Mainwaring as Minister of Defence and Chancellor of the Exchequer. I can imagine him dismiss Gordon Broon's mistakes ("Mr Mainwaring, I've sold the gold reserve") with "You stupid boy!"

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Ground Hits Plane Video

The second rule of flight is that every aircraft is always able to reach the ground. Take a look at this video of what appears to be a Pitts Special ending its display unconventionally by shunting a car. I once saw a K-13 glider shunt a Montego a couple of yards after ground looping. Amazingly, it appeared the K-13 escaped with just a dented nose and a shattered canopy but a full engineering inspection was merited. What annoys me is the amateur, nay ignorant, style of the report by the Beeb hack. What does "the bottom frame off the airplane" mean? The undercarriage, the undersurface of the fuselage, the lower wing or all three? And given that the BBC is the British Broadcasting Corporation, what is an airplane when the proper word is aeroplane or aircraft? Arrgh! Flying can be reported properly by the BBC as this post shows.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The BBC Drops a Clanger With Torchwood, Children of Earth

Torchwood Children of Earth, the 5 part mini-series was well up to its usual standards, although the central characters ("Captain"* Jack, Gwen and Ianto) were easily out-acted by everyone else from Peter Capaldi downwards. Within its genre of trashy scifi it is good and I enjoyed it, watching the first three episodes back-to-back on iPlayer.
One thing made me laugh, however. The original dozen children abducted by the alien 456** species to act as drug implants (ugh) were secretly provided by the British Government of the time in return for a virus antidote. It was clearly stated several times that the handover took place in 1965. 1965! When was Harold Wilson's Labour Government*** in office? 1964-1970! So the BBC is accusing Labour of perpetrating the most ghastly crime against the weakest members of our nation, not only that the children were from a Scottish care home. Could Torchwood be evidence that the BBC is attempting to curry favour with its next licence setter, the Tory Party? After all, changing the original abduction date to any time between 1951 and 1964 would have been easy for the set dressers and costumiers (because no changes were needed).

* Why "Captain" when he wears RAF Group Captain / ROC Observer Captain rank slides on his greatcoat?
** Why did an alien civilisation capable of interplanetary flight use a radio wavelength to communicate with earth instead of the much better DAB? Probably because DAB is crap, by and large.
*** Which promoted the "white heat of technology" ie cancelling TSR2 and AW681. Still, the Open University is excellent and Harold kept us out of Vietnam and Europe.

The Party Wall etc, Act 1996

I've been concentrating on other more presssing things lately (the title of this blog will give a hint). In general, the PWA , despite it emerging from the Gummerite Department of Environment, is a pretty good piece of legislation. Essentially an updating of a 1938 Act that originally applied only to London, the PWA now applies to England and Wales as well. It is necessary in a small, overcrowded island where they're not making land anymore. It enables property owners to develop their property while at the same time protecting the interests of adjoining owners and keeping 98% of developments out of the courts thereby saving time and money. One or two party wall surveyors are appointed to draw up a schedule of condition of the properties with photos and produce a Party Wall Award setting out things like order of work etc. The common law duty of the owner to the neighbour is thus formalised and clear, agreed evidence is available in case anything goes wrong with the build.
As is made clear in the excellent explanatory booklet for the layperson, the owner must serve either one or two months' notice on the neighbour before starting works. Of course, with the neighbour's written consent, work can start earlier. But, here is the flaw in the Act. Although it states in the Act that the owner must serve notice, the only recourse for the adjoining owner in those cases where the neighbour fails to serve notice is to obtain an injunction to cease work until the PWA procedure is carried out. Failure to obey an injunction is contempt of court which may result in a fine or imprisonment. However, injunctions cost about £1,000+ and one may have to return to court to have one enforced - more expense and bother. Compare this arrangement with the duty of the adjoining owner to allow the neighbour's surveyor and builders unobstructed access onto his land for working and placing foundations. Refusal to comply is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 (s.16 PWA, 1996).
My modest one clause amendment to the Act is the creation of the offence of failing to serve proper notice on an adjoining owner. The punishment will be on the same level 3 scale as obstructing or hindering.
And yes, if you are wondering, our delightful neighbours attempted to foist a ten day take it or leave it otherwise any damage is your responsibility letter on us back in May. Their PWA surveyor apponted by their solicitor, they are really that nice sort of people, was still waiting to be formally appointed last week. Their builders dug out a trial pit on the boundary to assess foundation depths on Wednesday (still not filled in) without notice - I thought works were starting prematurely, to be blamed in reply by the husband for causing a three month delay to works. My advice to any neighbour of property developers is to read the links, and consult a RICS PWA surveyor as soon as possible if you think your neighbour can't be trusted to treat you as they would expect you to treat them. The building owner pays for both parties' survey costs (indeed with reasonable neighbours a single PWA surveyor is sufficient) so you have nothing to lose.