Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Gordon’s stealth tax raid on the pensions of the poor

More of the ramifications of Gordon Brown’s infamous final budget slowly sink in. This time it’s the pensions of the less well off that take a pounding.

One wonders why these things only seem to really dawn on people once they are actually happening to them, it would appear that people just don’t have the sense to get out from under a falling piano when they see one. Or simply don’t recognise what they are seeing until it is actually affecting them.

The government is always banging on about the ‘pensions hole’ after Gordon brown personally helped create it with his infamous £5billion-a-year state stealth raid on pensions in 1997 where he abolished tax relief on dividends paid into pension funds.

This lead to the collapse of hundreds of final salary pension schemes and resulted in huge numbers of workers being worst off. It means unless everyone now has to make a bigger contribution or there would be rather less in the pension pot than had been expected - and the state was worried about having to support this, after having caused it.

A bit like spending the rent money on gin and then worrying about the landlord’s knock on the door.

All of this would not be so much of a problem if the state ran an honest pension scheme, with real money in it, that the contributions were actually invested in - but no they have a system where those who pay taxes have to cover the cost of pension contributions out of their taxes, less workforce, less tax.

When Gordon brown combined the bands that applied to the lowest paid, the lowest tax bands from 10% and 22% both to 20% it affected the amount of tax relief on low paid pensions in some cases dropping it This means that any of the poor who actually gained anything out of the change to 20% who was investing say £200 a month now has to cough up almost £50 a year more (£48) just to avoid loosing ground on their pension pot.

So if Gordon Brown, or any of his NL cronies wants to shake your hand on the run up to the Local elections, keep your other hand on your wallet and check you still have your watch afterwards and if they tell you they care about the poor and lower paid remember pension contributions and the abolition of the 10% rate that has not gone away, despite the spin.

Monday, 28 April 2008

UK Tabloid Titillation EXPOSED!!

It is interesting to note that lower end of the UK MSM are at it again.

Not content with secretly filming, distorting and ‘exposing’ the private life of Formula One boss, Max Mosley, they now have their hooks into Lord Laidlaw.

Billed as “A TOP TORY PAYMASTER!” they seem particularly fascinated by the involvement of an allegedly “TRI-LINGUAL BISEXUAL!”, giving the vague impression that being “TRI-LINGUAL!” is some sort of sexual practice, or preference ;-), rather than a sign of intelligence.

In the case of Mosley it seems they distorted the details and falsely reported them to talking heads, who then foolishly give them outraged quotes in return.

In the case of Laidlaw they conveniently tuck the fact that he has also funded inner city academies and youth projects for disadvantaged children way down the story, after the presumably politically motivated, “TORY PAYMASTER!” stuff.

He certainly is a significant donor to the Conservative party, but what has this got to do with the price of fish?

Is it really the business of the Tabloids what someone does in private? As far as I am aware he, like Mosley, has committed no crimes. On the contrary he actually appears to genuinely want to do good. One suspects the press may have sailed far closer to the wind in that respect in their efforts at privacy invasion.

Apart from the fact that unconventional sex was involved Laidlaw has done nothing more than arranging a venue and some professional entertainment. One can see, in this case it might concern his wife, depending on her views of life, but not the rest of us.

Why is it acceptable for the press to trumpet people’s sexual preferences to the world when they are doing no harm? Would they do the same if they had pictures of someone famous on the WC? Quite possibly, one begins to suspect.

These were consenting adults who were presumably enjoying themselves drinking champagne, good wines and in some cases providing a service they were being paid for. Honest value given for honest value received.

Eating chocolate for science

It’s a dirty job – but somebody’s got to do it and it is for science.

A team at the University of East Anglia are searching for 150 women to each chocolate for a whole year! The team are trying to establish if compounds present in chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease. The women will have to eat specially formulated Belgian chocolate.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

How the mind set behind the New-Labour project stifles dissent.

This is an interesting post. I recommend you read it all.

For me the sentence: “The solution is to create an ethic according to which any deviation from the consensus is treated as opposition to 'egalitarianism', to 'progress', and to 'fairness'.” said it all.

Just about a perfect summation of the UK’s New-Labour and their cheerleading ‘Islington Tendency’s’ modus operandi.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them”

Thomas Sowell

Why Gordon axed the 10p tax rate

The current fuss and hot air generated by Gordon Brown’s axing of the 10p tax rate is truly amazing.

The New-Labour rebellion over it for one. These are the same planks that were making like performing seals with much clapping and ‘hear hear’s when their master and then leader in waiting, Gordon Brown, actually did the dirty deed in his last budget as chancellor.

What is also amazing is that most of the pundits and commentators only get half the picture. Gordon Brown may lack bottle to do stuff in the light of day, but he has considerable animal cunning and likes complex double and triple bluffs concealing much of what he does in the hope no one will ever notice, let alone call him on it.

A number of them have noted that the changes coincidentally leave those on low incomes with no children much worse off. They have all the pieces but seem to fail to fit all the pieces of the jigsaw together.

It also shows how few pundits read this blog ;-) as I pointed what follows out at the time.

So - let's set the picture and go over it again. Cue wobbly fade…

Before Gordo’s last budget there was much rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth over ‘Child Poverty’. New Labour had foolishly promised (though why breaking some promises should bother them more than others is not clear) to halve child poverty in Britain by 2010 - and there was no way they were going to meet that target.

Now New-labour were presumably too stupid to realise this is effectively impossible when they set this target. But because of the way the formula is calculated ‘Child Poverty’ is defined by a moving set of goalposts. If you were to somehow magically increase the household incomes of all families, every single one, who fall within the definition at midnight on Sunday - and then re run the figures the poverty line would have increased and you would still have children living in ‘poverty’. You can do the sums for yourself if you care to.

So what has this to do with the abolition of the 10p tax band? Well there is one way of getting a temporary boost to the child poverty figures. It is a matter of percentages. If you take from the really poor who it would take a lot of cash to lift out of actual poverty and give that to those who are not so badly off just below the ‘poverty’ line and only need a little to lift them out, then you can keep the goal posts more-or-less where they are and improve the figures no end. It works especially well if you mostly just take from those poor who have no children.

One suspects it is far from a coincidence that Gordon Brown, knowing he would be judged on New Labour's rash promises on ‘Child Poverty’ decided to do the one thing that could easily improve his figures and might be made to look like a tax cut. Rather like a magician drawing your attention to his right hand whist his left does the real trick.

So it looks suspiciously like just another, albeit particularly dodgy, case of New Labour manipulating figures to pretend to be accomplishing something.

If it is true then it shows the his truly cynical nature, the true depths to which he is willing to sink and puts the lie to any claims he may make to actually care about the poor.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Study claims millions of the UK’s working class ‘wrongly’ think they are middle class

There is some absolute drivel written about ‘class’ in the UK. Today the Telegraph adds some more horse manure to the compost.

They are reporting money­ claim that around 15 million people - a quarter of the population - are in denial of their true working class status. They apparently base this on income alone.

They probably didn’t notice that virtually everyone works these days (except for the State’s Welfare clients). So by certain definitions that would make virtually all of us ‘working class’.

If you are talking in terms of aspirations and outlook then things probably tend to flip the other way, though many who like to think of themselves as ‘working class’ would hotly deny it. One suspects that by this measure then much of the population is firmly middle class.

In any event, historically speaking, when the classes really still existed, Britain had always been relatively open to mobility between the classes.

Money­‘s study seems to be largely based on income alone and puts the average income of a ‘working-class’ household at £23,000 a year and a ‘middle-class’ household at £33,000 for middle-class homes. To be ‘upper middle class’ you need a household income averaging around £52,000 a year.

This is, to put it kindly, twaddle. There will be many who see themselves as working class who might regard as ‘upper middle class’ and many who see themselves as middle class the study would claim were working class.

Who appointed as the arbiters of the UK’s fading class system. Just a new version of U and non-U speech. Or maybe reading entrails…

Friday, 18 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ I want for our country enough laws to restrain me from injuring others, so that these laws will also restrain others from injuring me. I want enough government, with enough constitutional safeguards, so that this necessary minimum of laws will be applied equitably to everybody, and will be binding on the rulers as well as those ruled.

Beyond that I want neither laws nor government to be imposed on our people as a means or with the excuse of protecting us from catching cold, or of seeing that we raise the right kind of crops, or of forcing us to live in the right kind of houses or neighbourhoods, or of compelling us to save money or to spend it, or of telling us when or whether we can pray.

I do not want government or laws designed for any other form of welfarism or paternalism, based on the premise that government knows best and can run our lives better than we can run them ourselves. And my concept of freedom, and of its overwhelming importance, is implicit in these aspirations and ideals.”

Robert Welch

WHO seeks to persecute law abiding drinkers

“A New world authoritarian order?” He types, from his secret, heavily armed bunker, somewhere in Texas ;-)

Sounds rather like what ‘they’ would like to brand as the stuff of paranoid right wing survivalist imagination – but is it really?

Consider the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) Who say: “health is a shared responsibility, involving equitable access to essential care and collective defence against transnational threats.”

One suspects they would have used the word ‘collective’ in place of shared if they hadn’t used it later in the sentence.

Their ‘commissar’ of substance abuse is one Dr Vladimir Pozniak, Coordinator of the Psychoactive Substance Abuse programme.

They have produced a report published in the magazine New Scientist.

Basically the report argues that because of the bad effects produced by alcohol on non-drinkers (third party damage), i.e. Drunks occasionally becoming violent, destructive or noisy. That these effects of over indulgence in alcohol should be vilified like the so-called ‘dangers’ of passive smoking. Presumably with the aim of creating similar draconian legal controls.

The last time I looked drink driving was illegal in much of the world. As is criminal damage and assault.

That law abiding people should be effectively punished for drinking because of the mere possibility of it impacting on someone else. They emote about violence and damage to unborn children, the latter presumably from pregnant women drinking excessive alcohol.

This smacks of the Fascist-Lite, excessive authoritarian legislation for something that is already covered by law approach, so beloved of New-Labour.

WHO’s proposed solution? Why penalising everyone who dares to want to have an alcoholic drink. The wider “medical community” allegedly backs this.

Effectively nothing less than punitive taxation, artificial price controls and state restrictions on availability - on a global scale.

Who pays for this organisation? The taxpayer that’s who…

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Mental health connection to girls ethnic clothing

A new study by Queen Mary University of London has raised some interesting questions. It suggests that in the UK Bangladeshi girls who wear ‘traditional’ clothes suffer from fewer behavioural and emotional problems than ones who wear more mainstream clothes.

This apparently only applies to females and nothing equivalent could be seen in the mainstream community.

It is extremely doubtful that the actual clothes make any the difference, and the report does not claim it does. There is likely to be some indirect link.

One of the authors of the study, Professor Kam Bhui, , felt the result was "surprising", having expected the reverse. He conjectured the reason could be:

"Traditional clothing represents a tighter family unit, and this may offer some protection against some of the pressures that young people face.

"What it suggests is that we need to assist people who are moving from traditional cultures and becoming integrated into Western societies, as they may be more vulnerable to mental health problems."

One wonders if it has occurred to the reports authors that yes traditional clothing does indeed indicate a tighter less integrated family with more ‘traditional’ attitudes towards females and all that that implies.

Bangladeshi girls that don’t resist this come under less pressure from their families. They are often resident in effectively ghettoised areas, where this is the prevailing attitude and may well attend schools containing a significant number of girls from similar backgrounds.

Girls from traditional families under these circumstances that choose to step outside the somewhat narrow confines of this, to embrace a more mainstream ‘western’ lifestyle are surely more likely to come under increased pressure from the family, face the possibility of disapproval, loosing family support in some cases - and in some extreme cases even the possible threat of honour killing.

These factors are bound to undermine their equilibrium.

A comparison with girls of more mainstream integrated Indian decent might prove instructive.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Alarmist predictions of 5 foot rise in sea level

According to a report from a UK/Finnish group sea levels could rise by up to almost 5 ft (4 ft 11 ½ inches) by the end of the century.

But ‘up to’ clearly includes any figure below that, including no discernable difference at all.

Apparently the team has built a computer model that can reflect the relationship between temperatures and sea level over the past 2000 years.

For the model’s predictions outside normal parameters to work it has to be accurate outside the parameters. It is simply not possible to test it against reality without data and many a model that accurately reflects relatively chaotic behaviour within certain bounds fails singularly when taken outside them.

It is an fact that global temperatures were significantly higher than current levels, between the 9th and 14th centuries. A period of some 500 years when temperatures were warmer than those today, what does the model say about sea level and ice cover during that period?

There is also the fact that the data on temperature predictions fed into such a model has to be accurate for it to be accurate. GIGO as they say.

The fact is that the global temperature of 2007 was statistically the same as 2006 and 2005 and every year since 2001. Unless the IPCC does a Robert Mugabe on the figures ‘global warming’ appears to have, for the moment at least, halted .

What happens next is anybody's guess - and that’s really what it is, a guess.

It could warm up to something more like it was back in the middle ages, it could remain stable, conceivably it could drop. Whatever happens it will sooner or later change, one way or the other.

That’s what climate does - and has done since long before humans learned to harness fire.

Maybe politicians on the AGW bandwagon should think twice about bio fuels and punitive taxes before they cause a crisis of their own, a food crisis.

Mind that’s no reason not to cut pollution, or build nuclear power stations, or develop compressed air or hydrogen powered transport. That makes sense anyway.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Quote of the day

" The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

" Tolerance and freedom of thought are the veritable antidotes to religious fanaticism."

Paul-Henri, baron d'Holbach (1723-1789)

Suspect attempted mass murderer’s self justification full of holes

I happened to catch the confused pathetic inept and juvenile attempt at self justification of the would be mass murderer Ahmed Abdulla Ali’s so-called ‘martyrdom’ video on TV yesterday.

I noted he was careful to try to address certain points. He was for instance anxious to point out that he had not been ‘brainwashed’ and was "educated to a high standard" and "old enough" to make his own decisions. Though age and education are no bars to ideological blindness and confused, illogical thinking.

Brainwashed? Certainly there is something peculiar, or out of the ordinary in the way strong belief can, in certain individuals, often combined with prejudice, hatred or racism, allow them to justify terrible crimes against others to themselves, that normal decent people would baulk at.

I thought it telling when he said that: ”"This the opportunity to punish and humiliate the kuffar (all non Moslems), to teach them a lesson they will never forget.” this would appear to indicate a deep religiously based hatred of all who do not share his particular beliefs, or surely he would not have used those particular terms. It is reasonable to conclude he felt that Kuffars needed to be taught a damned good lesson, simply for the crime of being Kuffars.

The thing that really struck me as undermining his whole house mental of cards was that he justified the evil he planned on the basis that the public had collectively voted for the government who were apparently oppressing his people’s lands.

His peoples lands? He lived and had made a home in the UK. He had benefited from this. He no doubt expected to enjoy and in fact did and still does benefit from the rights and protections that come with that. Among other things it allows him to plead not guilty in the face of what amounts to his own self made recorded confession.

He complained that the public hadn’t protested sufficiently against, presumably the removal of Saddam Hussein, or possibly the situation in Israel.

That they were willing to pressure the government over fox hunting, but not over his perceived persecution of Moslems. "You don't care about the Muslims that are being killed."

This sounds rather like a set piece of anti Western Democracy rhetoric circulated by hate mongers that he was not bright enough to see through. It is paranoia to suppose that bad things that happen to people who also happen to be Muslims take place because they are Muslims.

It does not follow at all that simply because there were protests and because a fox hunting ban was imposed the British public does not care that Muslims, or anyone else, are being killed. It is a Non-Sequitur and is easily shown to be the lie it is by the outcry over the killing of Muslims in the Balkans when British troops, together with other western troops including American troops, were sent in specifically to prevent this. He conveniently chooses to ignore this, or perhaps never picked it up in the course of his vaunted ‘education’.

Any deaths in Iraq are squarely at the door of the insurgents many coming in from outside the country who seem to be doing to prevent it ever getting on it’s feet. Western troops would have been long gone by now if it were not for this. It is the insurgents who are deliberately slaughtering presumably fellow Muslims wholesale.

If he felt that further demonstrations (because there were demonstrations) might have helped he could have organised a pressure group, peaceful protests, lobbying. He chose not to do this.

He also fails to follow his own distorted logic to it’s conclusion. It is probable he would have had the opportunity to vote. By his own logic he is as ‘responsible’ as any other member of the electorate for the wrongs he apparently perceives. By his own logic he is just as deserving of ‘punishment’.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Quote of the day


I MET a traveller from an antique land,
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away...

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Sadly it doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination to substitute Mugabe for Ozymandias…

No relief in sight for the people of Zimbabwe

All the evidence indicates that Zimbabwe’s opposition the MDC won a convincing victory across the board in their elections, both parliamentary and presidential. No one other than an inhabitant of Planet Mugabe can be in any doubt of it. Anyone who claims otherwise is doing so disingenuously.

This clearly came as a horrible shock to Zanu-PF and their incompetent president Mugabe – he obviously hadn’t done quite enough to rig the elections, possibly even being stupid enough to fall for his own lies.

Still ‘nil desperandum’. He has successfully kept the official result from getting officially released and is clearly gearing up for a ‘run off’ election where he really does the opposition up like a kipper - no half measures this time. There are reports of police recruits retroactively filling out pro Mugabe ballot papers by the thousand whilst the actual papers go permanently missing. Also reports of opposition supporters being severely beaten and even killed

Once he has enough of these retroactive votes Mugabe will be able to claim a run off and then God help the opposition.

Meanwhile most of the surrounding states seem to be quietly complicit in this selling the citizenry of Zimbabwe down the river. One wonders if it is because of some misplaced sense of solidarity or if they are terrified that if they cast the first stone their own glass houses will be just as vulnerable as Mugabe’s

Sadly it increasingly looks as if there can be no resolution to this matter that does not involve bloodshed and further enormous damage to Zimbabwe and to some extent damage to southern Africa as a whole. The longer this goes on the worse it is likely to be for all.
Maybe those enabling Mugabe right now should think about that, eventually it could cost them their lives.

Brown blamed for economic problems

The Conservatives are blaming Gordon Brown for the present economic crisis.

Given that the current chancellor is effectively his glove puppet and prior to that, for a decade or more, he had his hands firmly on the economic tiller of the UK this is not unreasonable.

More to the point he is part of a party apparatus and world view that erodes our rights and liberties on an almost daily basis, all for our own good mind - because we just don’t know any better, or for our own safety to protect us from the CRIME and TERRORISM they are so ineffective in stemming.

So the Conservatives can go ahead and pin the blame on Gordon Brown and New Labour. They are right and welcome to do so.

Unfortunately the Conservatives and particularly David Cameron do not stand out as an immediately obvious alternative. Certainly it would be difficult to imagine they could fail to make a better showing in many areas, not least economics. But one looks at them as an alternative government more because they are the contender with the best likelihood of finally prising Gordon and his cronies out of power.

At the moment the Conservatives seem more a most likely much less bad alternative, than as something to actually actively seek for themselves.

Their chief attraction is that they are the most viable alternative that is not actually New Labour. Damned with faint praise.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ One showing is better than one hundred sayings.”


...or “A picture paints a thousand words”

Can a child really be detained for being overweight in London?

I heard something disquieting on the radio. It was Friday just before 2 pm, one of those radio phone ins on LBC.

The caller Identified himself as a Metropolitan Police Officer. The discussion was centred around how much police time is taken up with paperwork – A truly staggering amount these days by the sound of it.

What concerned me was when the officer mentioned some sort of initiative called something like ‘Every Child Counts’, you wonder who thinks these ghastly titles up.

He was holding it up as something that eats up police time unnecessarily, but as he explained it, it sounded more than a little sinister. It bothered me that he was apparently quite willing to implement it with little concern for civil liberties, but only objected to it as a poor use of police resources.

The idea is apparently some draconian Nanny State version of concern for child welfare.

The scenario offered on the radio was: An officer sees a ‘child’ (presumably anyone apparently under the age of 17) they judge to be overweight out in public on their own.

Said officer Stops the child (on what grounds was not made clear). The child would be required to provide full details of name age address, parent’s details, etc. – again why on what grounds?

The officer would then feed the details into the ‘system’ for onward transmission to social services and possibly interview the parents, presumably after having taken the child home.

There may be more criteria involved, time, location, age. But from what the officer said it could as easily happen to a 12 year old child minding their own business on the way to a football match, in the park, on a Sunday afternoon.

If this is actually the case then it is absolutely outrageous. Truly an example of the burgeoning New-Labour fascist state at work.

A young person, detained, though presumably not officially arrested unless the officer is doubtful of the details given to them, prevented from going about their lawful business – apparently for the crime of being a little overweight.

It would be interesting if anyone can verify this or deny it.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.”

Lyndon Johnson

Local Council use anti terror legislation to spy on ordinary family over school application

This is not the first time this blog has touched upon the UK’s sinister (but innocuous sounding), Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Now don’t get me wrong - in this day and age there may be a place for some of the draconian measures within it. But only if kept under the tightest controls, left exclusively in the hands of the police and security services - and fiercely overseen and regulated.

As was predicted, this slapdash piece of state control legislation is being used by local councils - and who knows what other jumped up junior clerks, to spy and intrude upon ordinary people - on us.

It seems Poole Council are getting into the James Bond business, spying on school children and their parents. Petty beurocracy given powers far beyond their remit or capability.

If this act gives them the powers to do so, when it was railroaded through on the basis of countering terrorism, then it is simply yet more of New Labour’s Fascism-Lite (or maybe not so Lite anymore) at work; and deeply, morally, wrong. It should be repealed, or amended beyond recognition at the earliest opportunity.

It is part of the same mind set that uses so-called anti terror legislation and the police to violently eject and bar an 82 year old who speaks up for what they believe in from a party conference and heckled a minister. The same mindset that wants us all to have to carry ID cards to prove we have a government granted right to even exist.

It is supposed to be the other way around, we the citizen are supposed to grant the government the limited right to exist for around 4 years.

Make no mistake. If legislation exists it will, sooner or later, be used. None of us should countenance any legislation without keeping it in mind that it may be used - not as allegedly intended, or advertised, but on ordinary people.

Not just mad bombers, or criminals who ‘deserve it’ but people like you and me.

How long before they use this and other legislation to spy on you over something like your council tax, or a library book or parking ticket, for all we know they are already…

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

King James Bible - Genesis 3.7

Olympics will ‘rebound’ says Rogg

It is difficult to tell about Jacques Rogge, head of the International Olympic Committee. Maybe in an Ideal world the ideal of the founders of the Olympics might actually hold sway and the games wouldn’t be inexorably bound up with the world of politics.

On planet Earth it is - and to pretend otherwise is to be blindly idealistic and naive. Mr Rogge may be many things but it is doubtful he either of those. It is unlikely he would have been able to work his way into the position he holds if he were.

According to the BBC he has told a meeting of national committees in the Chinese capital that they “should assure their countries the Games would succeed.” I hope that is a misprint and he actually said “be assured”. But equally we know they will anyway and it could be his Freudian slip showing.

We all know that the Chinese state will ruthlessly assure the games are not ‘blighted’ by further protest, once they are under their control ‘in house’ so to speak, no matter what the cost, we have heard their representatives say they will ‘show no mercy’ to anyone who attempts to disrupt them anywhere they hold sway.

Chinese security officials have already behaved like “thugs” according to Lord Coe - and that is in the West, what they will feel free to do on their own turf is anyone’s guess.

Rogg is also reported as having said the games will “rebound from crisis" after days of protests along the torch route. The crisis will certainly be less obvious, as mentioned, anyone brave enough to protest, once the route is under Chinese control will most likely never be able to be seen by the media and will be dealt with swiftly and mercilessly if they do.

Any such protesters will require incredible courage and must be aware their efforts will be a forlorn hope and the price for making them will be high indeed.

The athletes will be happy to turn a blind eye. It is their moment in the sun - and many of them are insulated in their world of sport.

So on the surface things will look ok and that is what Mr Rogg and the Chinese Government want. That way they can pretend to the world under the cover of a threadbare fig leaf.One wonders if the then head of the International Olympic Committee Count de Baillet-Latour was equally concerned the 1936 Olympics should go off without any hitches. They went off well by all accounts.

Strangely, threadbare pretence seems to satisfy them - and the many dispicable and unpleasant leaders and governments on the world stage, such as the likes of the ‘democratic’ Robert Mugabe.

Surely they don’t imagine they are really actually fooling anyone?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Under age drinking in the UK - Then and now

It seems the Police have been cracking down on under age drinkers country wide. Around 25,thousand litres of alcohol - mostly beer and cider - were seized from around 5,000 ‘youths’, during a two-week operation involving 39 forces across England and Wales costing £700 thousand.

A Home Office spokesman boasted that information gathered by police during the operation would help them target individuals and trouble spots in future.

Sadly, this very comment, if anything this is an indication of just how bad things have become.

Minimal research informs that twenty years ago the officers who patrolled an area made it their business to know all their trouble spots and the individuals who needed targeting.

They acquired the information in their day to day patrolling and in conversation with their colleagues and the public. It was their bread and butter. They passed this information to someone who collated it, verified it, developed it and re distributed it.

Twenty years ago youths obtained alcohol, usually in the form of cheap lager, beer or cider, by means of either purchasing it from dodgy off licences of indirectly by getting, one way or another, older customers to buy for them.

Once obtained in sufficient amounts the ‘youths’ would have favoured haunts where they consumed it. Officers worth their salt would just happen to drop by to or discourage sales, visit the haunts and thus render them less attractive by their presence and take anyone too objectionable home to their parents.

This would be as effective with those who were not fond of authority as they would prefer to avoid a visit by the police and equally effective with many other households because of the embarrassment and would prefer to avoid a visit by the police in such circumstances.

So nothing has changed then – apart from the fact that it seems the police can effectively no longer just cart drunken youths directly home to a ‘place of safety’.

Much too much red tape - targets, ‘rights’ (courtesy of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown) and convoluted Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE courtesy of Maggie Thatcher) rules, for that now – Oh and according to the home office, who are admittedly probably pretty out of touch with real policing, , it apparently takes £700,000 pounds just to find out something that used to come automatically.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.”

Philip K. Dick

“ When you argue with reality, you lose - but only 100% of the time.”

Byron Katie

Diana Inquest ‘unlawful killing’ by Driver and Paparazzi

The result is in for the inquest on Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. The latest figure I heard for UK public money spent in relation to the deaths to date is £10 million. The chance of this being the final figure is I would suggest vanishingly small. This presubably does not include French Taxpayers money also spent.

The decision? What most rational individuals had concluded was the case within a very short time.

A driver who was under the influence in a heady atmosphere who liked to pump his own self importance by dropping hints. A ravening pack of paparazzi. An escape plan that didn’t come off and probably didn’t allow for the drivers impairment and was agreed not allowing for it. All these factors came together disastrously and randomly with a difficult section of road resulting in a crash.

The driver’s condition, behaviour and the behaviour of the paparazzi being the primary causes and being so reckless, so negligent, ("gross negligence") as to be unlawful.

The driver paid the ultimate price for his folly along with two of his passengers and is beyond the reach of the law. The paparazzi have successfully muddied the waters so it is impossible to tell with sufficient certainty who out of them were to blame enough to be prosecuted with any hope of success.

There are already indications that Mohammed Fayed is not satisfied with this result - But then he never will be satisfied with anything that fails to absolve him, if it’s the truth or not.

The fact is that driver of the vehicle who according to best evidence had drunk a fair bit and was on pills, was his man. He had apparently OK’d the plan that resulted in the crash with Fayed Senior. It seems that Dodi Fayed also checked in with him and agreed it.

Mohammed Fayed is, in a significant part, much of the reason the investigation has dragged on for so long and cost so much. The ‘if onlys’ must be eating at him and one can’t help but sympathise, for all that his behaviour in court and out, in relation to the matter, appeared so bizarre - But that doesn’t entitle him to cause the waste of any more public money.

Leave it to the tin foil hat squad now. If Mohamed Fayed chooses to become one with them then that is his mistake and his choice.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ A government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.”

Ayn Rand

Police threaten to shoot legal team seeking order to release election results in Zimbabwe

Things do not look good for Zimbabwe.

Clearly its ruler Robert Mugabe and his cronies have no intention of giving up power. They have used the police to prevent opposition legal representatives entering court to apply for an order forcing the release of presidential election results. They went so far as threatening to shoot them if they went into court.

Zimbabwe is effectively close to being a police dictatorship, masquerading as a supposed democracy, where the results can be faked, as it’s ruler wishes. He seems to be taking a leaf out of the EU's book having presumably noted how they handle referendums.

Something went wrong this time, maybe Mugabe and his government actually believed their own lies, they misjudged the strength of feeling against them, the people briefly actually got a chance to really express their will and they lost badly. They are now working out how to correct that.

Sadly all this is apparently being silently colluded in by South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki, as the man most in a position to actually do something to actually help the poor people of Zimbabwe. Also to a greater or lesser extent by most of the other African states.

Things do not look good for the people of Zimbabwe.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Flushing duals for Africa

I was listening to the radio the other day. Radio 2, Steve Wright. There was a discussion about duel flush WCs. Between Steve and a female who seemed to hold stronger opinions. I missed who she was.

Both seemed pretty positive about the idea of the dual flush WC on the grounds that it saves water - and indeed what’s not to like?

They then got onto the subject of the possibility of using ‘grey’ water, or rainwater for this purpose.

It certainly would save on drinking water, if the technology were there at a reasonable price – and I am not talking about a rustic bucket by the WC sort of thing here.

Where it all went wrong for me was when the female remarked that it was (and I am paraphrasing here) almost morally wrong to waste good drinking water flushing toilets in the UK when there were children in other parts of the world dying desperate for clean drinking water.

Why do people say stuff like that?

The implication clearly being that we, as wasteful westerners, were somehow hogging the drinking water for ourselves. Now I apologise to her if I misinterpreted her comment, but that’s what it sounded like to me. A logical fallacy a Non-Sequitur.

I thought Doh! “Eat it all up there are starving children in - Wherever…”

I immediately had a vision of how we might measure all the drinking water saved with dual flush WCs, and put it into tankers to freight it to somewhere like Africa. I suppose we would have to build giant ships along the lines of the old sailing (low carbon footprint) tea clippers largely constructed out of wood (for sustainability) to do it. With modern technology you wouldn’t need a huge crew or to climb masts, electric winches and computer technology, powered by solar panels and wind turbines (sustainable energy) could handle it.

No, Sorry – Yes it makes good sense to only use what water we actually need to. To be efficient with it’s use - But our water usage does not deprive anyone elsewhere. Drinking water availability is down to things like climate, geology, technology, political stability and good government.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ Don't interfere with something that ain't bothering you none”

Cowboy Proverb

“ There's always been some moron - who usually went by the name of 'producer' - who would have to justify his existence, and interfere.”

Frank Tashlin

Royal Mint monkey with UK coinage

The Royal mint has proudly announced a complete re design of Britain’s coins. To which the immediate response is why?

It is the first change in coinage since decimalisation was imposed on the UK in 1968 and will no doubt be accompanied by similar confusion in the elderly.

Clearly this will be more expensive than simply leaving the coinage as it is and appears to bring no benefit whatsoever. Business as usual for the British State under New-Labour then.

The Royal Mint’s chief executive Andrew Stafford, came up with the pathetically inadequate excuse (I bet he’ll get an unreasonably huge productivity bonus at the end of the year too) that:

"We had to make sure that the coin design was true to the heritage of British coins and gave fresh inspiration and modernity to something that has been in existence for 40 years."

Doh! No - You didn’t: “Fresh inspiration”? “Modernity”? I am not usually drawn to using such language in ‘print’ but... What absolute Bollocks!

As far as I know there was no universal clamour to change the existing coinage. It works perfectly well as currency, we all recognise it. How about changing all the road signs while you are at it, or switching to use a different alphabet while you are at it.

Apparently they had a competition (a pretty quiet one by the looks of it) and someone came up with re cycling the idea they used to use with card collections like the ‘Man from Uncle’ and ‘Batman’ ones of yore, part of a picture on one side that you need the complete collection to assemble.

Apparently the winning design was inspired by the thought of drunks in pubs trying to assemble the image.

So presumably Stafford feels that the heritage of the British State is fractured , maybe he is not so wrong there.

How about Britannia? That is certainly true to the heritage of British coinage, maybe with a raised hemline and a kick ass attitude a-la girl power?

Or better still - how about not wasting taxpayers money on an utterly pointless exercise? How about, just for once, not 'fixing' something that isn’t broken.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.”

Xenophon (431BC-350BC)

“ Accuracy of statement is one of the first elements of truth; inaccuracy is a near kin to falsehood”

Tryon Edwards

Report claims home birthers at greater risk if transferred to hospital

Sometimes one wonders at what otherwise presumably professional people do with statistics.

Researchers writing in the journal British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG) examined all home births over a decade.

They apparently feel the study indicates there could be ‘serious risks’ for the baby when mothers who chose a home birth are transferred to hospital.

The implication being that home birth is the problem aspect.

The problem is the data is self selecting. They are examining births that have to be transferred to hospital because they have got into trouble serious enough to require it. Also they are not really comparing like for like.

As it stands the particular conclusion mentioned above can really amount to little more than a pointer to a possible direction for further research. Something as easily arrived at by educated logic. It is largely useless - and it needn’t have been, if those conducting it had planned more carefully and harvested the right data. One fears to some extent it is time and money not used to the best advantage it could have been.

Only around 15% of home birthers actually have problems that require they transfer to hospital, for second time mothers the risk is lower.

A valid comparison would have been to look at how women who elected to give birth in hospital, with no contra indications prior to giving birth, fared against women who elected to give birth at home with, no prior contra indications, fared.

One might expect to see that the possible wait and journey to hospital might disadvantage home birthers who got into trouble, compared to Hospital birthers who similarly got into trouble - but it is possible this could be offset by other factors, such as the risk posed by antibiotic resistant infections and other infections present in hospitals, or possible closer individual attention during the initial stages.

Whilst the actual report is more balanced, the BBC headline is dubious in that it baldly states “Home birth to ward increases risk”. It is actually misleading as this is by no means proven, or evident, even from the report. An accurate headline might have prefaced it with “Report claims”.

Amnesty say Olympics are actually making things worse in China

One hears much guff that engaging the Chinese Government over the Olympic Games. There has been much talk about the possibility that the presence of western media (around 20,000 reporters) might help improve China’s human rights record.

It was not a good sign when British authorities, apparently colluding with Chinese oppression, decided to force UK athletes to sign a gag order, preventing them criticising the Chinese government, before they will allow them to attend the games. Why they felt it necessary to do this when other countries did not remains open to question.

Now it seems this may not necessarily result in an improvement after all. According to Amnesty International it is in fact making things worse.

Clearly the Chinese authorities see the prospect of any dissent as an embarrassment and are ruthlessly pre-emptively suppressing anything, or any one, that has the potential to flair up in front of the western media before they get there in numbers.

One only has to look at how they ejected reporters from Tibet and manipulated reports and figures. down playing the number of Tibetans killed by a factor of 10 or more. Or the vast numbers of troops they have sent into the country to suppress the native population.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Quote of the day

“ To prejudge other men's notions before we have looked into them is not to show their darkness but to put out our own eyes.”

John Locke

Some imagine, some are more equal than others - but whom?

The Guardian today carries an article indicating that gay people feel that they are discriminated against because they are gay with the headline “Homophobia rife in British society”, one presumes it is a genuine report and not prompted by the date.

Schools seem to particularly come in for criticism as do the NHS - and the main political parties are mentioned.

All this, not on the basis of any actual quantifiable discrimination, but what homosexual people imagine might happen if they were, for instance apply to run as a Conservative, or New Labour MP. Talk about a story based on nothing but vapours and imaginings. Apparently 61% expected discrimination from the Conservatives and 47% from New Labour – ‘expected’, it says it all. This is based on prejudice alright, prejudice amongst what may be described as the Gay ‘Community’.

One should not forget that people do treat other people badly specifically because of their race, sexuality, etc. and this should not detract from that – but this report is more a problem with how people are imagining they will be treated, not with how they are actually being treated..

One should also keep in mind that someone can dislike someone else who is also male, or female, gay, or straight, black, or white, just because they are objectionable, unpleasant, or difficult, etc.

Apparently there was a perception that gay people might not get as good a service as presumably heterosexual people might when accessing emergency NHS care. I don’t personally recall my sexuality ever being relevant, or even being mentioned on any of the occasions I have needed to use casualty. I don’t understand why anyone else should feel it would.

One thing I have noticed - anecdotal evidence suggests, employees of some public bodies and companies sometimes feel their particular race and sexual orientation can detrimentally impact on their prospects. Male heterosexuals for instance are often concerned they are less likely to succeed in a job application. Gay men suspect they may be correct. None will risk speaking openly about it. Many now refuse details of sexual orientation, or even go so far as to misrepresent them in the ‘equality’ section of job applications. This has the potential to foster resentment.

Perceptions cut both ways.

Gordon Brown to introduce death penalty for SPAMing

Today, in an eye catching new initiative, designed to ’reconnect’ with the ordinary citizen, UK PM Gordon Brown announced that; if re elected, New Labour would seek to re-introduce the death penalty, specifically for spamming.

A New labor think tank has produced a report recommending a graded series of offences. The most serious being sending out, or causing to be sent out, more than 100,000 SPAM emails, faxes, letters, or text messages.

A YouGov poll commissioned by the think tank showed levels of support for the initiative at over 96%. The reports authors believe support was only that low because some respondents didn’t feel the proposal went far enough.

Dr Frank N. Steen representing the the BMC accused the government of being short sighted, as they appeared to be missing the opportunity to harvest the organs of those found guilty, for transplant.

Government spokesperson Paul-Edward Legg said: “The key part of the legislation is that this should only target unsolicited communications. We are working on a definitive definition of SPAM”.

“We foresee potential problems with this proposed legislation, if it is not carefully framed, as we carry large amounts of unwanted junk mail.”, stated Post Office representative, Aprille Jape.