Monday, 31 January 2011

New Blog Design

I thought I'd copy Wrinkled Weasel's idea and have a thorough change of look.
This is probably the only blog made from wood so it's sustainable and, if you have the right software loaded, probably smells of sawdust. Mmmm..... However, despite the easypeasy Blogger templates and tools, I still spent a couple of hours fiddling with it because of the 95:5 rule of anything. 5% of the work takes 95% of the time and effort. That 5% was the choice of fonts and colours. I'm a bloke, that oughtn't matter, but it did. So I'm happy with it for now but I wonder if a blackboard design would be simpler and purer.
I now understand the why the inventors of WD-40 (mmmm.... that and Ducktape are vital - one to loosen the other to join together, the yin and yang of DIY) were obsessed with perfection. WD-27 onwards were probably good enough but they were only happy to sell WD-40. I bet a bloke's working in a lab on WD-168 as I write. Would it be more powerful or able to loosen more things? We may never know.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Parliament Should Grow Up

Because of a resolution passed on 2 March 1623, it is technically impossible for MPs to resign their seats. Unlike hereditary peers, life peers may not disclaim their titles.

Under the Representation of the People Act 1981 MPs can be disqualified if sentenced to twelve months or longer in prison. Unless they are found guilty of treason or a special Act of Attainder is passed, life peers retain the right to sit in the House of Lords.

To leave the House of Commons an MP must apply to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for an office of profit under the Crown because that is forbidden by the Act of Settlement 1701. Two are available: either the Steward and Bailliff of the Manor of Northstead or the Crown Steward and Bailliff of the Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham. As they are sinecures, MPs are eminently qualified. The posts are awarded in rotation and the appointee holds the office until another MP bails out.

At the moment Gerard Adams is the SBMN and Iris Robinson the CSBCH.

What a load of nonsense. If MPs wish to resign, let them. If life peers wish to disclaim their titles (they'll regret it when they're in a queue), let them. If a life peer is sentenced to a year or more, his or her peerage must be revoked.

Actually, life peerages should be abolished and replaced immediately with single parliament peerages, just as was the practice 500 odd years ago. For the next parliament, ie from 2015, the House of Lords should be reduced to 100 members all elected for terms of five years starting from two years after the Commons Election.

To compensate for the reduced recruitment pool (puddle) of potential Ministers from Parliament, why not appoint properly qualified candidates as temporary Privy Counsellors accountable to either House? Committees would investigate all ministerial appointments. Parliament would be refocused as an instrument to hold the government to account instead of a greasy pole to the Cabinet.

Although I consider parliament must be reformed and modernised, I disagree with the present Squeaker's prep school master's self-chosen garb. A clown should dress like a clown.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

WTFQI

QI mentioned a 92 year old Japanese bloke who survived both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks and, it being a light entertainment programme, the guests made a few jokes about it. The bloke's family thought that was a bit ott so the Japanese Embassy complained and the BBC made a grovelling apology.
What The Fucking Fucketty Fuck! When the Japanese apologise for their war crimes and atrocities (or standard operating procedures) from the Nanking Massacres, through the Burma-Siam Railway prisoner genocide, etc, etc,etc, and actually pay reparations or compensation to convince the rest of the world they actually mean their apology (ie by using not words like "unfortunate episodes") then they can expected their thin skins and selective amnesia to be respected.

Neighbours From Hell

Neighbours From Hell is an excellent website for anyone faced with the misery of people who make their lives a misery. It offers information and support based on their bitter experience of its forum members. Knowledge is the key to resolving problems peacefully and legally. Go along here and hopefully 2012 will be a better year at home and in your neighbourhood.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Why Are We Treated Like Children By The NHS?

Spending on food and groceries in the UK in 2010 was £150.8 billion.

NHS spending was £119.81 billion.

The Health & Social Care Bill was published today. It aims to give GPs control over 80% of NHS spending in England (so MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland shouldn't vote ion it if they have any respect). If the Bill becomes law all 151 Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities will be disbanded and replaced by GP-run commissioning bodies, probably using many of the same staff made redundant from the PTCs and SHAs.

If taxpayers are allowed to spend £150.9 billion of our after tax earnings on food with only the Food Standards Agency and Council Environmental Health and Trading Standards Departments giving the lightest of assistance, shouldn't we also be able to decide for ourselves how to spend our smaller NHS budget? GPs are, after all the people from whom the Department of Health is considering removing the responsibility for ordering flu vaccines. In the Civil Service, looking after the stationery cupboard was a motivational task given to the dimmest of staff (I consider myself the exception), so if GPs can't manage to delegate that task properly why give them more work? I would prefer my GP to spend more time discussing my symptoms (one illness per appointment please) or me having the right to book myself an appointment with a consultant direct after an interweb Q&A. Put Mary Portas and Sir Gerry Robinson in charge!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Politician Fees

The House of Commons ought to become self-financing. I propose to charge all MPs a Politician Fee of up to £9,000 per annum in order parliament. The PF will only be repayable after the MP has retired or been beaten at an election and has a consultancy job/directorship with a bank, FTSE company, or firm of lawyers.
Politician Fees are fair because MPs build up a lucrative contacts list during their career that is unavailable to non-MPs. They will discourage people who view politics as an easy way to drink and party away five years at the voters' expense and by attracting only the most committed people who "want to make a positive difference" the number of ridiculous joke laws designed only give MPs something to debate on telly and vote on will be reduced.
MPs ask me what they are meant to live on during their parliament. Er, the Honourable Members should get a part-time job. there's twenty-three bars and restaurants in the Houses of Parlliament so plenty of nearby work available - it's not as though Australian and South Africam MPs will be on back-packing holidays all year. As the Member for West Bedfordshire and Tuscany was recently reported in Hansard as saying in his maiden speech, "Do you want that cola supersized, Sir?"

Muslims and The Dinner Party Test

So, roast pork is off entirely, but I'm not having that halal meat, it's cruel. Vegetarian will suit everyone, then.
Best not put Mr & Mrs Uddin next to Mr & Mrs Herzogstein. How is Mrs Uddin going to manage the nut and brocolli casserole wearing a niqab?
Friday night's a no-no.
Simples

Change The Record, Baroness Warsi

My sort of failure isn't rewarded with a peerage, so what do I know? I readthat Baroness Warsi is scheduled to spout nonsense today. Why do so many Muslims live in the UK? They haven't been kidnapped and brought here against their will (that traffic tends to be eastbound, for "cultural" reasons). The reason why Muslims live here is because it is still by a very long chalk better than the shitholes with Muslim governments. Three words: Tunisia, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Four words: other Muslim ruled countries . Britain is a place where the rule of (non-sharia) law operates and property and liberty cannot be confiscated on a whim. That's why people came, knowing they had far better opportunities than their neighbours in countries granted independence. When terrorists (of whom the BBC dare not speak their name) slaughtered 52 people in London in 2005, did the alleged bigotry of the British erupt into a violent retaliation against Muslims? No. It wasn't as if Sunnis had murdered Shi'ites or vice versa or both had murdered members of smaller Muslim sects or, ignore it as much as you will, Iraqi Christians or Egyptian Copts. The bare fact that Baroness Warsi refuses to acknowledge is that Muslims are not victims. She and most of her co-religionists are constitutionally incapable of self-criticism or accepting constructive criticism from others. If something goes wrong, it is the fault of the Americans, Israelis, British, Sunnis, Shias, anyone other than themselves. Western society is not perfect by a long way but accepting that is the first step on the road to improvement.
So, Baroness Warsi should look in the mirror and ask what she can do to improve things instead of stirring up trouble. Begin by talking about people who are a positive example like Lance-Corporal Jabron Hashmi, to every Briton. Then, acting and speaking like a Conservative in the old sense and demonstrating she loves her country, respects its history and traditions, and aspires to an even better future. And if she can't do that, she should put her miniver trimmed red robe back on the rack and "find a better 'ole."
Update 16:43 20 January 2010. Clear evidence of prejudice against Muslims.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sneaky Peek From Alastair "Crowley" MacDonald's Diary Vol 2


* Photo credit: London Evening Standard with thanks

So unpopular with the public was Tony Blair that there was real fear that he might be lynched when he visited our troops in Afghanistan. For public relations and fritness reasons it was impossible to surround him with armed Met Police. "Sarf' of the Thames, no way, Guv. Besides them Squaddies shoot back." Consequently, a secret plan was hatched by successive Defence Secretaries, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Army top brass to deny ammunition and, where possible, shooty guns in Afghanistan, by means of the logistics supply system. In return, jobs would be guaranteed for Brigadiers and above and spending would be increased on horses (must have more horses than helicopters) and big green tanky things in case Russia had to be invaded.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Barack Obama Is A Lovely Chap Isn't He?

Barack Obama is a lovely chap and a true friend of Britain as this video shows (scroll in 2:42). Isn't amazing how a country goes from being Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys to "We don’t have a stronger friend and a stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy and the French people. We have cooperated over the last several years on dealing with a global economic crisis, dealing with the challenges of terrorism, dealing with a range of geopolitical issues from the Middle East to Iran to Afghanistan" in eight years by doing foutre-tout.
In order to avoid a visit from the POTUS's licenced thugs who read everything about Mr ultra-sensitive in order to protect democracy and free speech in the world, I will refrain from making public my views about the Ted Williams looky-likey that America elected. Let's hope the rumours about Yanks thinking irony describes a metallic finish is true.

PS I was recently looking into soldering techniques on Youtube. Only an Australian was able to correctly pronounce solder/soldering with an L istead of DD. Soddering? What's that? Practice on "mirror" and "squirrel" until you've elected a woman as Prez who isn't Sarah Palin or Hilary Clinton. You need someone sensible.

How To Scare The Ignorocrats

Richard North wrote a splendid piece in the Mail on Sunday recently about politicians, councils and companies that don't give a damn about us. The politicians live in virtual gated communities of thought where opinions travel only one way, from them to us. How odd that Jack Shit spouts out about gangs ofAsian men grooming vulnerable white girls for prostitution and rape and the BBC follows his lead after years of three wise monkeying. Suddenly, it is permissable to speak truths, tamer versions of which cost Ray Honeyford his career nearly thirty years ago. They are Ignorocrats.
Today EON became the sixth energy supplier to anounce a price increase despite wholesale gas being cheaper than in 2008. But we have a competitive energy market in which suppliers are free to set approximately the same price as everyone else. As North wrote, it's called churn, because the customers that move to another supplier will be replaced by other dissatified customers from "competitors". Let's be honest, the only real competition in oligopoly markets like energy, telecomms, supermarkets, ie essentials, is the salary and benefits they offer to their nomenklatura at the top. Banks are the same, heads they win, tails you lose double. In fact the whole financial services industry is run for its benefit. How many dead-certs have they flogged that turn out to be also rans that struggle to pay out what you paid in (after deduction of their opaque charges)? They are Ignorocrats.
The "Honourable" Eric Ilsley MP today pleaded guilty to three charges of false accounting amounting to £14,000 of taxpayers money. How many of his, mainly thick admittedly, constituents earn that much a year? Yet he still sits in the Motherf****r of Parliaments claiming salary and expenses whilst his fellow members moan about filling out expenses claims instead of voting the scum out of the trough. They are Ignorocrats.
And when opinion polls are taken to assess what people really want: capital punishment for murder, proper immigration controls, leaving the EU, warm pensioner or windmills for speculators, if the answer isn't what the narrow centre-left wealthy elite agree with, it is condemned as "populist" or the rantings of Daily Mail readers. Of course, all the left's nonsense is reportly reverentially as if directly quoted from the koran.
When criminals want better conditions they riot and burn down their prisons. When Councils want to "save" money because of the "cuts"or spend it on their pet nonsense, they close down care homes for the elderly. Would pensioners get better treatment if they didn't go gentle into the night? The Ignorocrats are very selective in who they listen to.
It is no wonder that demonstrations turn violent or nutters attack politicians in these circustances. I do not condone violence, even the state sanctioned violence against the Countryside March, but people get frustrated when their opinions are ignored by the Ignorocrats living behind sound-proofed triple-glazing.
My suggestion to open the window peacefully is a simple one that doesn't require marching, which will only be countered by police violence and spun disfavourably by the media whores of the Ignorocrats, eg if one of the million marchers was a week late returning a library book twenty years ago then the other 999,999 will be branded as worse than the German burners of the University of Leuven library in 1914.
Instead, everyone stays indoors but signs up online or by post to pool their energy requirements so that energy brokers can be instructed buy the combined amount on the wholesale market much cheaper than the Ignorocrats deign to charge. Commercial users can do it already as this example illustrates. According to my energy bill I used 19,000 KWh of gas last year. That means if two and a half million conumers combine we can negotiate on equal terms with big users in the wholesale market.
And once the energy oligopoly is smashed, it will be time to move on to other sectors. The Co-operative or Mutual power of millions of individuals will scare the big companies. Controlling shares in banks could be acquired and the banks then broken up into smaller, less powerful, entities. Train tickets could be bought in bulk. Airports could be bought by passenger and airline mutual societies.Million Person on Ten Million Person groups could be set up to lobby the Ignorocrats in Parliament to act on single issues. They would not be like parties which bundle a set of policies together, some of which you might not agree with but accept on the majority is good enough principle. The power of the individual multiplied many times far exceeds the actual weakness of the faceless mass of people.
By taking charge in the ways described above, the individuals that make up our country wouldn't need to rely on the First, Second or Third Sectors to act on our behalf. There would be no need for a Big Society. We would be free. And the Ignorocrats fear that most of all.

Monday, 3 January 2011

How That Archers Episode Ought To Have Gone

I do hope Nigel Pargetter recovers from his fall off the roof of Lower Loxley - David "Mind The Gap" Archer should have slipped instead. "OOOooooh Deeeaaavid" as the annnoying Ruth Archer would say.

This is my scenario for a fitting 60th anniversary episode, Helen Archer is diagnosed with pre-eclampsia by Richard the Vicar's madwife daughter. An ambulance is called but icy, ungritted roads foil its arrival. Only non-drinking Hindu solicitor Usha Gupta can drive Helen Archer to Felpersham General. They exit like a pig with a gippy tummy only to meet Ruth Archer giving Pip Archer some driving practice coming the other way. Well, it's a good job that ambulance had been called earlier. Dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum....

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Let Them Learn Building Maintenance As Part Of Their (Extended) Sentence

I have no sympathy for the crims who rioted and burnt down their accommodation etc at HMP Ford. The poor lambs' yuman rites will be infringed if they aren't moved to the nearest 5* boutique hotel or spa resort by nightfall (make sure they get replacement tellies and iPods as well) and vampire lawyers will jump in to help them blag tax money on a contingency fee. Tough. I suggest that Clarkey stubs out his stogie and watches The Dirty Dozen for policy inspiration. Not the capital punishment (we can't expect too much sense from the Hep Cat too quickly) but the scenes where the temporarily reprieved prisoners jump down off their truck at the new training camp. Instead of huts (I slept in nicely modernised* ones at RAF Cardington) they are confronted by piles of building materials. Major Reismann (Lee Marvin) tells them that they will sleep out of the rain after they have built the huts themselves - after each day's training. As Clarkey might say "Niiiice." If they don't like it they can always vote for someone else!

Send a few dozen old shipping containers to site to get them started:



And if they haven't got running water or no CH? Well, how about release and tagging in Northern Ireland or a frozen boiler condensate outlet pipe for a dose of freedom?

*modernised, ie individual rooms and no coke stoke at the end. Luxury.