Monday, 25 July 2011

They Just Don't Get It Number 3,652

MPs call for energy doorstep mis-selling compensation.

Fair enough, the energy companies'  practice of hiring people on commission to pressure sell their products is a bad thing because 40% who change switch to a worse tariff. The practice of customer churn does nothing for the energy market, either for suppliers or consumers. Far better for all concerned are fixed or capped tariffs for two or three years. Consumers get reasonably priced energy and price stability and suppliers get profitable long-term customers.

Within a few minutes, price comparison websites can find the best tariffs dependent on one's usage found on bills. For people without interweb access, there should be a duty for suppliers to advise them of their most appropriate tariff.

The elephant in the room in this report is the politicians refusal to see any link with those works of fiction that appera every four or five years just before general elections, party manifestos. If they were subject to the same regulations as company prospectuses, many honourable members would be serving time. Remember back in 2008 when a UKIP member sued the government for breach of contract over Brown's failure to hold a referendum on the Euro Constitution/Treaty? Counsel for the government, ie them against us, said:

"A manifesto promise is incapable of giving rise to a legally binding contract with the electorate. It is a point which is so obvious that I don't want to labour it."

A quote which manages to encapsulate the innate arrogance of both lawyers and politicians.

But if politicians could be sued for breach of contract, HM Taxpayers would pay damages to themselves: unless some way of bankrupting party donors could be devised by the courts outside of the vested interest of the politicians. That would be a good day in court.

Monday, 18 July 2011

That Anglo-French Entente Cordiale Thingy

Brazil is about to build four conventional submarines and one nuclear hunter-killer in a Brazilian dockyard with French assistance.

That's the French with whom Britain has been getting ever closer defence-wise since the 1990's. The Royal Navy has no aircraft carrier in service at present and will rely on an unreliable French carrier, the  Charles de Gaulle to supplement the four Typhoons at RAF Port Stanley if the Falkland Islands are threatened by Argentina again.

Brazil supports Argentina's claim to the Falklands and won't allow British government ships to dock there.

From this we must conclude:

a)  France puts its interests first however much the gullible idiots who  holiday there pretend otherwise. Remember Concord(e)?;

b)  France will not make the Charles de Gaulle available if needed;

c)  The United States will not assist Britain this time;

d)  The UK cannot afford to run one or two aircraft carriers of its own to ptotect the property rights of 3,000 people who make no contribution to their own defence beyond the Falklands' TA.  Taxpayers' money is there to pay for international aid (the groundnut scheme again and again and again) or the interest on money borrowed to lend to failed eurozone countries not to keep our armed forces permanently equipped at wartime levels.

e)  Foreign policy and defence capability need to be realigned. If we can't afford to do it properly, we shouldn't do it. We have more horses than helicopters in the army and thus are very good at parades.

This is available to buy for about £6 million.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Fox Terrier?

TERRIER® wordmark is a registered trademark of the Secretary of State for Defence. So, if you capitalise a seven letter word for a type of working dog, you know who's Army will come around for the copyright fee for its tracked armoured combat engineer vehicle costing £300 million for sixty vehicles. In-service date is now 2013.

Why does a word need to be trademarked? Did Messerschmidt build a Me Spitfire? I reckon the MoD Procurement are worried that Farrow & Ball market a paint called Terrier and instead of sending something to dig gun pits in a faraway country, 20,000 litres of emulsion will be air-dropped from a C-17. Not a terribly good idea, unless Terrier paint is blood red. That would scare the bejabers out of the natives on the ground if the lids popped off.

BAE's Director of Corporate Responsibility said in 2006 "We all have a duty of care to ensure that from cradle to grave products are being used appropriately and do not do lasting harm." When a company that makes things designed to kill people better than its competitors says that with a straight face, I give in.

F***WIT® wordmark is offered gratis to the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

I was finally able to photograph this visitor at 17:40 this afternoon. Seconds after this photo the wood pigeon jumped onto the birdbath and shooed the woodpecker away. I shall refill the fatball feeder tomorrow morning as I've seen the woodpecker on it several times. The problem is that the sparrow squadron eats like horses - four new inch. and a half fatballs on Tuesday morning were all gone by this morning. If they weren't so much fun, I'd begrudge their greediness.

BBC Journalists On 24 Hour Strike

The news programmes are better today.

Stop The World I Want To Get Off!

One moment the press are all pervy about Pippa Middleton allegedly not wearing knickers at her sister's wedding, the next they are hot and bothered about Brazillian knickers being a half-million (so that's how many a brazillian is) success story for M&S. I'm glad I don't buy newspapers anymore. Is the concentration on gossipy nonsense an indication of more women in editorial positions in the media or an assumption that their lip-moving "readers" are only interested in pap as the real news would scare them, make them take to the streets and .... stop buying!!!!! Aaaargh, turn the container ships around , religion, consumerism and greenism have failed, the drones are finally thinking for themselves. They will realise that those in charge are no better than them and, in many cases, much worse. Democracy rooted in debt and state violence is as tyrannical as the alternatives that have been invesnted to subjugate the majority to the will of the elites. Only when ordinary voters directly decide to, for example, borrow  more money to give to the IMF to lend out to other voters thereby making the money creating elites richer,will they be free and democratic.


Not Supermarine Swifts, but Swifts.

There's no better way to spend a warm summer evening than looking up at a flight of swifts wheeling high up, chasing after flies. They soar so gracefully with wings outstretched and then suddenly flap their wings to slow down or turn quickly in order to catch a fly. Wonderful.
And high above them, white airliners scratch contrails into the welkin.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Moustrap Update

Deepest Joy! It works!

The humane mousetrap that I wrote off as a mouse feeder or box for keeping real mousetraps in, worked last night .  On checking  it first thing this morning, I saw a little pinky-brown tail sticking out from under the left hand flap entrance.

He or she was bright-eyed and well fed and leapt out of the box to scurry into the long grass as soon as I opened it in the far Wildwood corner of our garden.

The capture is proof that woodmice read this blog as the conventional snaptraps I left out had not been even nibbled for nearly a week now.

Having rinsed out the trap in dilute Jeyes Fluid disinfectant, when dry and aired, I shall reset it with all the cunning of a carp angler (almost a much cunning as a carp) and hope to repeat the translocation success tomorrow.

Update: Another fieldmouse indeed took advantage of the free meal and subsequent awayday.

Monday, 11 July 2011

News Of The World Grassed Up Jesus

Shocking revelations are emerging that Judas Iscariot was not actually to blame for Jesus being arrested by Roman soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane. Apparently, Jesus's prediction of betrayal at the Last Supper was hacked from the mobile scroll of the apostle Peter by a Pharisee working for the News of the World and was passed on to "sources close to" the same Jewish priests who had paid Judas thirty pieces of silver for the work. Allegedly, the owners of the News of the World wanted to gain influence with the Sanhedrin and become the dominant supplier of Torahs, icons and tryptichs in both the Middle East and the wider market because advertising revenue from town criers and prophets was in terminal decline .
Recent work by biblical scholars suggest that Judas actually killed himself after he discovered that his silver coins had been swapped by the apocryphal thirteenth disciple St Gordon, patron saint of mentals, for a basketful of euros and other worthless papyri.

The Wonderful World Of Beckham

They are callinf their newly arrived daughter Harper Seven. Odd, because she was born at five to eight.

Let's try to understand this. Harper may be in homage to Harper Lee who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird. But that's a book. Highly unlikely.  Seven? That was David Beckham's shirt number when he played for Manchester United and Ingerrlund. Will the next Beckham child be Truman Seeanay?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Question About The News Of The World Journalists

Firstly, I am one-seventh as concerned about their redundancy as I am for the 1,400 skilled engineering workers at Bombardier in Derby who will lose their jobs. But Wapping is in London and journalists have a high opinion of their insular little trade so the coverage overkill was to be expected.

The question that remains unanswered is this: of the two hundred hacks at the News of the World yesterday, only about three were there when the alleged phone hacking took place. Now, one went to prison, one went to work at No10 then resigned, and one has returned from holiday to run the whole business. So what happened to the possibly 197 other journalists? Did some know what was going on and, to quote David Jacobs "Where are they now?"

Is phone hacking continuing? Are private detectives still being paid to get information by any means possible? Why do amateur bloggers have to provide professional journalists with so many uncredited leads?

If journalists consider themselves a profession, then they must undergo deep and lengthy self-investigation to rediscover the reason why they do their jobs and to whom and what they owe loyalty. They will never produce anything as enduring as a railway carriage, but, properly done, their work may last longer than the next recycling collection.

Quote Of The Day

"Publish and be damned!"

Attributed to the Duke of Wellington when Harriet Wilson threatened to publish her autobiography and the letters he wrote to her.

More backbone than brylcreme in him, Dave. And all the other vain politicos wanting publicity are just as bad as you. Look, you are Her Majesty's Prime Minister and they are ginger scribblers and bullies who buy passports of convenience.

What I want is a press that scares government and big business and whose idea of in-depth investigative reporting isn't reading to the end of the press notice. If I want to learn about the doings of instantslebs the Beeb is good enough for that. An Entertainment Correspondent, FFS?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Taking Stock

So let's tot all this up.

Over half our honourable members and noble lords were fiddling the parliamentary allowances system.

The News of the Screws was involved in stitutional phone hacking of just about everyone and Piss Moron was sacked for publishing fake torture photos. The other papers print press notices and Cheryl Cole.

Global warming means colder winters and higher fuel bills to pay for it.

The Metropolitan Police is having another go at investigating the phone-hacking thingy.  Perhaps they will ask for a Mulligan to go over "Cash for Dishonours" again.

Dave the PM says anyone who disagrees with £12 billion foreign aid is hard-hearted yet contracted pensions and care for the elderly in England can't be afforded out of taxation because we are living longer than is convenient for the Mrs Jellabys who only care about people they met on their gap year hols.

Phillip Hammond Transport Minister gives an order to the Hun thereby losing Derby 1,400 skilled jobs and blames the tender terms on the previous government. Grow a pair! Re-advertise the contract you twerp.

IDS plans to offshore DWP jobs to Bangalore to help indians called Fred practice their Hindglish on jobless British people with high blood pressure.

And I'm still angry about bailing out the bankers, going to war in Iraq on the basis of lies and flogging gold off dirt cheap.

Who the f**k are the grown-ups who left these tossers in charge of us? That's right, it's you and me.

Time for a People's Revolution. I want Peter Finch to say:

Isn't John Frost better than every politician around today?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

MoD Loses Track Of £6.3 billion Assets

It's not lost, they are just "temporarily unsure of the exact position", a distinction anyone who has ever studied navigation appreciates.

The are two reasons for the discrepancy:

1   No major losses recently like Atlantic Conveyor in 1982 or COD Donnington the following year to blame missing kit on.

2    Camouflaging so much equipment. It stands to reason that it will get lost. Compare the two photos below:

Monday, 4 July 2011

Prince William P2 In Canadian Forces' Sea King Ditching Training

The Royal Canadian Navy acquired 41 Sikorsky CH-124 Sea Kings (as they became in 1968) in 1963 and due to government dithering the 28 survivors are still in service today with 12 Wing Air Command based at Shearwater. Thanks to the sterling efforts of ground engineers putting in 30 manhours of servicing for every flying hour, the old girls are still flying. Despite this, 40% of sorties are cancelled. To mitigate the risks involved in ditching due to engine failure (there's an awful lot of water in Canada), every year crews are trained how to ditch safely on the freshwater Morris Lake (to minimise corrosion). All gaps in the airframe are sealed with tape to prevent water ingress during the practice flights.

This is how it's done.

The BBC report of Prince William's ditching practice. That's him in the lefthand seat, helicopter captains sit on the right because that's how Igor Sikorsky originally laid out the cockpit of the WS-300 nearly seventy years ago.

Nicholas "Ginger" Witchell, the BBC Royal Reporter and Nessie expert, claimed that the Canadians were the only organisation to do Search and Rescue by alighting on the water. Presumably, the cabin door is opened to allow waves to roll in and capsize the aircraft. Nick, Nick, Nick, if the Sea King ends up in the drink, its crew need to be winched up by another helicopter. You may have got mixed up with the old Sikorsky Pelican operated by the US Coastguard that would land on came water if absolutely necessary.

The good news is that the CH-148 Cyclone will replace the Sea Kingas the Canadian Forces shipboard helicopter ( ie its equivalent of the FAA's Lynx and Merlin) in the near future. It's a pity that the Royal SAR pilot wasn't allowed a flight in a Canadian Forces CH-149 Cormorant aka AW101 Merlin. But given the undecided PFI or not PFI question of the RAF/FAA/MCA's own SAR Sea King/S-92/AW139 replacement scheduled for 2016 - Eurocopter EC225 or Sikorsky S-92 but not the AW101 Merlin, allowing the Duke of Cambridge to fly in a contending aircraft was probably vetoed for political reasons.

Sunday, 3 July 2011


We keep the garden bird food tubs in the shed and a couple of weeks ago the lid of the seed tub wasn't tightly resealed after refilling the bird feeders. This evidently tempted a harvest or wood mouse in through the ventilation gap between the walls and roof for a snack. My position on mice is: in the garden, "Hello Mickey" , but in the shed, garage or house "Exterminate".  The garden covers a much larger area than the house and the back of the borders are virtually undisturbed from year to year.  That's fair. Mice are nice to look at but they are incontinent, leave droppings, their hair smudges walls when they brush past (and mice like to stay close to walls) and they carry a nasty flu-like virus. So wear rubber gloves and disinfect surfaces well if handling them.

So to battle with my rodent foe. A rule of thumb is if one is caught there are two about, if two are caught in two days there's four etc. So I decided to invest in a humane mouse trap that could catch up to ten at a time. The PoW squeakers could then be released in a nature reserve a mile away or quickly neck-stretched.*

Here's the galvanised metal humane trap with clear plastic panel on the lid and ample ventilation holes. There are two entrances and mice walk up a pivoted flap into the bait area. When they put their feet on the flap to leave its outside end pushes up pushing up a metal door which prevents exit. The trap resets itself.

(Yes the shed is carpeted for insulation and also has net curtains for security)

Unfortunately, the mice didn't read the instructions or perhaps we have very clever mice in Coventry. Result is night after night of trap empty of bait and mice. It works with some mice but not others according to the reviews on Amazon. I will use it as a storage tin for my new traps.

So I bought three proper mouse traps from Ebay. Baited with slivers of fig roll (to stick well on the bait spike) they have caught two mice in one night.  I secure them on old ice cream carton lids so they don't spring around when triggered and also because it's easier to place them without accidently setting them off.  I shall continue setting them out in the shed against the wall along the mouse run until I have two free nights without catching anything. I'll be glad of that because I don't like killing them even when necessary.

Don't read  below if you don't want to know how to humanely despatch a mouse.

*To do that, quietly calmly quickly pick the mouse up by its tail with one gloved hand and gently grasp the mouse's head with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, simultaneously pulling down and twisting slightly. The mouse's back legs will judder momentarily but it's already dead. Double-plastic bag it in and bin it straight away.