Monday, 28 March 2011

How To Tackle Violent "Anarchist" Demonstrators

Peaceful protest is a right that should remain available to everybody. Even, pace BBC and Police, the EDL whose demonstrations are such a drain on the public purse because rival fascists seek to prevent them by violent means.

However, when criminal damage or violent disorder takes place the right to protest is superseded by the necessity to keep the Queen's peace. I'm in favour of inserting the provisions of an updated Riot Act into the Public Order Act 1986, giving a Magistrate the power to order a hostile crowd to disperse peacefully within an hour by reading its proclamation.

If protestors refused, then they would be sprayed with water from water cannon. The Police could then arrest people who fluoresced under UV light.

Sentencing for public order offences ought to become more flexible and imaginative. How about withdrawal of student loan facilities?

What Do They Teach In Schools These Days?

Watching the coverage of the Miliband March Against The Actual Increases In Public Expenditure But Changes Within Departmental Budgets And Yes We Would Have Smaller Cuts But They Wouldn't Cost Any Marchers Their Jobs on the BBC News Channel I spotted a red flag with a yellow hammer and sickle and the words Communist Party.
The Communist Party. Not the New Communist Party nor the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), but they might have been there as well. Digressing, don't they believe in Unity Is Strength anymore?
The Communist Party. I am of the generation that remembers 9/11 as the evening the Berlin Wall began to be knocked down (for the benefit of youngsters, 1989, the same year that the last hosts of the Olympic Games murdered thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tianmen Square, Beijing). That was the Communist Party of China that did that.
Are people so thick that the lessons of Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968), Poland (1981) have already been forgotten? No, make that the whole of the Soviet Union's history and the postwar history of Eastern Europe. March with BNP or EDL banners and the Pavlovian training kicks in to produce a three minute hate from the BBC. Spout extreme left wing nonsense or wear "ironic" CCCP clothing and you are right on and green and cuddly.
Someone once wrote in a history essay that those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them. That is not true of course, except for exams. However, I consider that the excellent work of the Holocaust Educational Trust in keeping alive the story of the shoa among schoolchildren ought to be copied in order to educate children about the equivalent evil of communism. Definitely something that Michael Gove should pick up and force past the barbwired minds of the teaching unions.

As a footnote, is anyone interested in a March Against Paying Interest To Overseas Owners Of UK Government Bonds That Costs £44 Billion A Year? £44 Billion? That's enough to send everyone to university free or care for our old people.

Update: A Good Thing - I don't reckon they read this blogpost though.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Libya: A Necessary Intervention But Not A Worthwhile One.

Sometimes one has to do things that are not in one's best interests but which one's ethics make one do. The Libyan No Fly Zone is a case in point. Britain has no historic links with the country beyond the North African Campaign, a short term UN Mandate of Tripolitania (the western half) and the location of one of the penultimate time Britain set the world absolute speed record. Apart from that, Libyans are just the people who killed WPC Fletcher and blew up the Pan Am 747 over Locherbie. Let them kill each other and sort it out themselves would be the cold, logical response to the rebellion. After all, oil is just sticky black gunge until it's sold for folding money, which can then be exchanged for exploding stuff we make. Trade is amoral: so long as the price is right and contracts are observed, business is done.

However, I consider that the West has to set an example and help the underdog because our civilisation and ethical code is superior. The rebels cannot rely on the Arab League to help because "so long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous, and cruel." Arab policy and African policy is to side with the bloke with power and ignore right and wrong. The chap with power doles out money and weapons to his fellow tribesmen. Any problems can be blamed on the Iz-Ray-Eeelis or Whitey (from whom another dollop of misplaced guilt aid will be given). We have to help even if it means spending money we can scarcely afford on weapons and aircraft.

It's as if one was driving along a country road and saw a traveller's caravan on fire. One would naturally first call the fire brigade, but the human instinct to save another life would kick in as well. Imagine the only liquid one  had was a very nice case of claret  in the boot. Obviously, it would be preferable to process the claret through one's kidneys before dowsing the flames, but if the situation required it, the contents would go straight on the fire. One wouldn't expect gratitude for a good deed, indeed one might be berated for getting  involved, but the imperative of saving life trumps everything else. It's what makes our society the best. It's what makes the West the best. And if anyone disagrees, well, they can start paying the bills. And I hope that DfID will be picking up the tab for the NFZ, after all it is aid to foreigners.

Why isn't the intervention worthwhile? Quite simply, worthwhile wars in which Britain is involved are either self-defence or for the benefit of countries that speak English, play both cricket and rugby union and Canada. They are countries that help us in return.

Digressing slightly, the lessons of Tunisia and Egypt have been ignored by the Hamas terrorists. FFS, if they want to convince a democracy that they want a peaceful solution to the Palestinian question* then peaceful demonstrations works better than blowing a bus up or mortaring Israeli civillians.

Finally, one good thing about the Libyan NFZ is that if Gadaffi and his regime are toppled, then the disgusting stain of the conduct of the Blair-Brown-Salmond regimes' appeasement of the criminal will be cleansed from England's Colours.

*which ought to be: why don't they accept they lost the land in war just as their ancestors conquered it?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Operation Ellamy - What A Daft Name For A War

Ellamy. It sounds more like a Z list sleb's sprog or the subsequent chav copy name. Something to be put in those daft big wheeled buggy prams. Ellamy Hydrangea Smile Sleb. Sixteen years on, tattoos, TV chat show and Priory clinic holiday. They haven't got the right sort of people in the MoD codeword office anymore.
Remember the classic operations: Chastise, Overlord, Market Garden, Mincemeat.  What's wrong with Operation Hannibal or Payback?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Was This Why Germany Abstained On The No Fly Vote?

The Seventieth Anniversary of the Deutsches Afrika Korps arriving in Libya?

Cable Reaches Japan Nuclear Plant

I read this headline on the BBC News Site and my first reaction was give the man a bucket. Well, he did say in December last year that he had the nuclear option.  Reading further, it turns out it's a power line.

Good luck.

Update: the BBC rotters have edited the title on the original page overnight. Wish I'd screengrabbed the page.

Update 2: I found another page, linked and screengrabbed:

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Some Questions

About the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

1  Were they modified to solve the  faults of the General Electrics Mark 1 design that were identified in 1972 and 1980?

2  Why are the Japanese relying on manned helicopters and water cannon to cool the reactors and spent rods? Japan is the world's biggest user of industrial robots because of labour shortages and consequent high wage rates. Japanese popular culture is very big on robots. Surely, working in nuclear reactors was the most obvious use of unmanned or autonomous vehicles/robots. An unmanned Chinook could be flown from Nevada on waterbombing sorties without fear of radiation poisoning and then buried when the job's done. If drones can zap terrorists in Pakistan then why can't they pick up buckets of seawater?

3  Is the lack of Black Swan thinking  or ignoring known risks the secondary cause of the problem? I've worked with civil engineers and while they are excellent at civil engineering, they are extremely narrowly focussed thinkers. That's why they learn at least as much from bridge collapses as in the laboratory.

Sometimes I think that scientists and engineers are as much of a danger to the planet as religious nutters.

Update 18/4/2011: Robots from Qinetiq

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Libyan No-Fly Zone Is A Job For The Arab League.

The Arab League. Pretty self-explanatory. The Libyan Air Force consists of perhaps a couple of dozen seventies technology Sukhoi Su- 22 ground attack aircraft and some attack helicopters. The Egyptian Air Force has over 200 latest model F-16C & Ds in service. Combine these with a USAF, NATO or even Saudi AWACS flying outside Libya and there will be no Libyan aircraft in the air in a day or so. A couple of dozen Russian made MANPADS supplied to the rebels would be more effective than the ZPU-4s. The Americans and French discovered that quad fifties were excellent against attacking infantry.
On the ground the rebels sorely need tactical advisors (was this what the unlucky SBS team was intended for?), not merely to show them how to defend and attack economically, but also to advise them how to construct IEDs to deny pro-Gadaffi  armour and trucks use of the road "network". A couple of IEDs front and rear of an  approaching column would allow free range for a half dozen Toyota Land Cruisers armed with heavy machine guns and RPGs to make bounce attacks out of the southern flank. Everything needed was learned in the Western Desert Campaign of 1940-43. Even I have read most of it. One lesson is that, except in unihabited parts of the desert, getting rid of insects was just about impossible. Hands had to be held over mugs and mess tins constantly to avoid sharing with a mouthful of flies.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Roll On 22 May 2011!

These aren't religious nutters. I ought to tolerate their sincerely-held beliefs but I can't do so with a straight face. At least when scientists predict the end of the earth their estimates provide me with the necessary few billion years or so to finish everything without hurrying. And if I survive the sun's expansion across the solar system, I have a few more billion years to look forward to before entropy and a cold universe turns life into a wet Sunday in Aberystwyth.


Dear me. The apparently urgent Operation Al-Need to land a diplomat and "special forces" by helicopter in rebel-held Eastern Libya at 2 am last Friday was approved by our 14 pint (half pint) Foreign Secretary. Even Minging Campbellsoup, the Limpdim foreign affairs "statesman" (why are all former Limpdim leaders except Charlie Kennedy lauded as knowing their way around the globe?) has criticised the fiasco, and he's part of the Coalition. If anyone landed without notice on the lawns of Gallimaufry Towers in the early morning, I wouldn't be inclined to get the dates and goat stew ready; instead, a brick through the cockpit window and a pack of hungry badgers is worth a thousand words, though only two are neccessary.

One thing fashionably-maligned Field Marshal Montgomery was good at, as was his counterpart Field Marshal Rommel and just about every other German from unteroffizier upwards, was planning battles methodically. He was hated for it by the brigade level and above former cavalry chaps whose limited grasp of strategy was mainly learned from fox-hunting. It's all very well claiming that even the best plans fall apart once the enemy gets involved (they're allowed to do that in a war), but the planning process is a formal, flexible tool to gain an overview of the whole situation. Initiative, courage and elan are very noble military traits but phoning up beforehand to check is one of those boring things for which not even the Americans award a medal or a badge. Muddling through is wasteful and unnecessary.

Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Lessons will be learned. And then forgotten.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sky At Night 700 Not Out

With due acknowledgement to Sir Patrick Moore.

It's the 700th edition since 27 April 1957 tonight and Sir Patrick Moore's 699th. Well done! He's not just an accomplished xylophonist as the drawing above illustrates.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Happy 75th Birthday Supermarine Spitfire

On 5 March 1936, test pilot Joeph "Mutt"* Summers took K5054 up for her first flight. "Don't touch a thing," he is reported to have told Chief Designer R J Mitchell and the small gathering of Supermarine staff after he landed. Twenty-two thousand more Spitfires and Seafires were built and, even though Hurricanes shot down more German aircraft, it won the Battle of Britain in the hearts of the British People, which is what really counted. The Spitfire is probably the most "right-looking" ever aeroplane, even knocking Concorde into second-place, so it is therefore the best ever aeroplane according to the first law of aircraft.
The Spitfire was Mitchell's second attempt at fulfilling a specification for an interceptor fighter. He was unhappy with his first, the Supermarine 224, an unwieldy obsolescent donkey of an aircraft, and persuaded the Supermarine Board to let him have another try. This produced the Spitfire.

I may have mythologised the actualite slightly and leant too heavily on The First Of The Few as an unimpeachable source, but that's the gist of things.
Ideally, production of the Spitfire would have ceased with the MkIX and replaced with licence-built Merlin Mustangs able to escort Bomber Command on daylight raids and help the fighters of US 8th and 9th AF beat the Luftwaffe fighter force more quickly. But hindsight is always 20/20.
The greatest gift to the RAF and Britain was that Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo was not Secretary of State for Air in the mid 1930s. Otherwise, Fighter Command would have been equipped (or not) with 95% new SE5as each costing as much as a destroyer to keep aircraft factories open.** Whereas the Westland Wapiti rehash of the De Havilland DH-9A was good enough against tribal troublemakers, against the Messerschmitt Bf-109E and combat-hardened Experten nothing less than a thoroughbred would do.

Thank you RJ Mitchell, thank you Supermarine, thank you Spitfire and happy birthday. I hope to hear the spine-tingling sound of Merlins and Griffons and look up to see that beautiful elliptical wing for many more years.

*"Mutt" Summers was so called, not because of the comic-strip character "Mutt" of "Mutt and Jeff" or because he was deaf, but because of his habit of taking a pre-flight leak against the tailwheel like a dog or mutt. A full bladder is potentially fatal in a crash.

** the Nimrod MRA4 development contract was signed by this accomplished presenter of tv train programmes in 1996. I accept that the obsolescent Whitley and Battle were produced long after they were needed, but they did enable a massively increased workforce to be trained to build better aircraft. 

Friday, 4 March 2011

Why Can't England Be Like Greenland?

Not the world's largest island that isn't a continent,  as that would require canalisation of our western and northern borders and an awfully large (785,363 sq.miles) extension around our coastline, but an amendment to our constitutional position (last) in the United Kingdom. The other home countries have a Parliament or Assemblies with devolved spending and legislative powers. England has the Westminster Parliament with only 533 of the 650 MPs representing English constituencies. 117 MPs from Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland can vote on matters affecting English people. Neither they nor the English MPs can vote on devolved matters in their countries. Memo to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya: this is "democracy".

What I propose is that England becomes an autonomous country within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK would retain control of foreign affairs, security, and financial policy but England would be able to secede from the European Union if a referendum willed it.The Barnett Formula would be replaced by a new system of equal support based on actual population figures, thus England would receive its fair 83% of public spending.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Do You Know This About Meat? Update

On 13 February I posted about the exemption under the slaughtering of animal regulations for Kosher and Halal requirements. The exemption from stunning before slaughtering was specifically for food for Jews and Muslims. So it is unlawful to slaughter meat for other people except as prescribed in the regulations. Yet many restaurants, takeaways, supermarkets and butchers offer kosher and halal meat for sale. There is no requirement to prove adherence to either religion when buying such meat.
I sent an FOI request to DEFRA to enquire how many prosecutions there had been since 2000 for breaching the regulations. This is the relevant section of its reply:

"I can confirm we have reviewed our record of prosecutions under WASK (Welfare of Animals Slaughter and Killing) and we have no record of any prosecutions  involving the Schedule 12(2) requirements conducted by the Department since 2000."

Either the regulations are obeyed  in law and spirit or there have been infractions but no prosecutions. That's fair enough as there are two sizeable hurdles to clear in the prosecution process:

1    Is there sufficient evidence to enable at least a 50% chance of conviction;

2    Is prosecution in the public interest?

If the matter is not prioritised then investigation and obtaining evidence to build a case will be under-resourced. The question of whether prosecution is in the public interest is a political one. Does the government want to potentially offend the loud Jewish and Muslim lobbies?  The wrong end of the stick will be grasped and it will be wrongly claimed that human rights about religious freedom are breached by stricter control of the animal slaughter and killing exemption. Or can mainstream animal welfare activists be bought off with the cynical wording of Schedule 12(2) within the WASK regulations?

So it would appear that a soft-pedal approach is applied in this instance. However, another paragraph of the FOI reply states:

Regulation 1099/2009 is here. It's got added derogation and subsidiarity to protect slaughter in accordance with religious rites to protect Article 10 Human Rights. Note that there will be full consultation with all interested parties before any final decision on implementation takes place. Your comments as an individual carry the same weight as those of an organisation.

As I wrote in my previous post I disapprove of the unconventional slaughter methods on moral grounds, but do not seek to have the exemptions repealed because I respect the beliefs of the communities that require slaughter by religious methods and wish that the number of farm animals so slaughtered is kept to the necessary minimum. If you agree, please contact the Animal Welfare Team at DEFRA to register your interest and views. If selling off the Forestry Commission in England was U-turned so quickly, we have a chance here. Welfare of animals should be one of the pillars of the Big Society.

No-Fly Zone Is Still A Non-Starter

I hope Dave hasn't been emboldened by the success of the risky Hercules flights into Libya to rescue mainly British oil workers and a dog. Just imagine if the aircraft had suffered a puncture or if the accidental rebel groundfire had killed aircrew or brought the Hercules down. Result = propaganda opportunity for Gaddafi and £45 million hull loss. So whilst congratulating the efforts of the RAF and RN, my previous opinion holds firm.

What would a No-Fly Zone involve? Apart from the fighter aircraft required, AWACS aircraft would be needed to manage to battle area, tanker aircraft would be needed to refuel the fighters and AWACS. Add Combat Search and Rescue Helicopters and MV-22s in case a plane goes down and you have something about half the size of the RAF. It's not as if the African Union is in favour of doing anything.

Finally, don't start one job before you've finished the other. Contrary to the PC view, multi-tasking isn't efficient. For the benefit of the Cabinet: AFGHANISTAN and IRAQ.

Update: 3 March. Dutch helicopter crew from HMNLS Tromp captured at Sirte. Let's hope they're released soon.