Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas to all

It’s that time of year again. December the 25th. Christmas Day.

So I take the time to wish a Merry and Happy Christmas to all readers.

For many who celebrate Christmas the rush to get everything in place is now done. What has been left incomplete will have to be managed without and it is time, hopefully, to Celebrate the birth of Jesus and to enjoy the company of friends and family and a meal together.

For many the sense of comfort will seem stronger for contrast of warmth light and company indoors while the cold and snow and long nights are kept at bay outside.

Generally it is true. There is a sense of good will to our fellow men, throughout Christendom, even amongst those of a more secular leaning, even amongst those of some other religions.

A powerful example of this was during the Great War (WWI), the so called “Christmas Truce” all along the Western Front around Christmas of 1914. This was not an official truce, more a ’grass roots movement’.

It would be truly wonderful if that sense of good will, capable of briefly holding at bay a full blown World War, could hold for the rest of the year.

Alas there are evil individuals and groups filled with hate who make that unlikely.

Although we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December the 25th, it is quite unlikely that he was actually born on that date, That is simply the date the early church picked to mark the occasion. Unlike Easter, where the date is accurate, according to the Lunar Calendar.

The date of Christmas Day probably owes more to the fact that most pagan religions had a feast and celebration around that time to mark winter solstice and the fact that days were at last getting longer again and there was the distant but real promise of spring and summer to look forward to.

New converts would have been very reluctant to give up such a highlight and so it is likely the early church decided against forcing potential converts to have to make such a choice.

The relationship between the date and the actual solstice may have been further altered by use of a calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC called the Julian calendar that was much better that what had been used before but was still slightly inaccurate over centuries.

Some orthodox Christian Churches still use the Julian calendar to calculate December 25th and celebrate Christmas. That corresponds to around January 6 or 7 of the Gregorian Calendar. So they have their Christmas 'late'.

The Julian year was around eleven minutes longer than the actual solar year. It might not seem much, but it adds up to a gain of about three days per 400 years - and drifting of the calendar against the seasons.

This was later compensated for with another calendar reform that introduced the Gregorian calendar that we use today and ‘lost’ or shifted back some calendar days.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Two wolves and a sheep plan a menu...

The British public, or certain sections of them, often display sheep-like qualities. Much encouraged by British politicians who would prefer to (if your forgive me) to be able to pull the wool over their eyes on demand.

British politicians seem truly terrified of the prospect of the prospect of an armed informed electorate and encourage the sheep to bleat to that effect whenever possible... along with the familiar mantra of wondering why the innocent would ever object to the surveillance society.

The citizen is in practical terms strongly discouraged from defending themselves, their family, friends and property by the police and the way the courts administer the law. Citizens are often actually advised against trying to tackle anti social behaviour by the authorities.

People who do tackle burglars in their own homes seem as likely to end up being prosecuted by the authorities and sued by the burglar for having thir human rights infringed.

Now there is yet again more talk of rationalising the admittedly overly complicated UK gun law. This time yet again after a rampage. Whatever the outcome it is practically certain to only restrict legal gun ownership and use further.

The fact of the matter is of course that the practical result is the only section of the population who have no problem acquiring and owning firearms are those who have less qualms against ignoring the legal niceties... essentially the “Criminal Community”.

It is relatively easy to rent or acquire a weapon illegally. It is the law abiding citizen who is disarmed. Such laws mean little to those who hold them in contempt.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

FIFA foe fum Pantomime season

The initial furore over the abject failure of England's bit to host the soccer word cup has subsided.

New things take attention away from it and it sometimes seems that there is quite a limited public attention span for such things. Politicians and officials probably rely rather strongly on that. I imagine Joseph (Sepp) Blatter and his cronies are... having arguably decided attack is the best form of defence.

England's bid to host the soccer world cup was solid. It offered a concentration of some of the finest actually existing venues anywhere on the planet. There is a transport infrastructure and the country is stable.

It seems unlikely that, all else being equal, the bid should have secured more than two votes. while there is no guarantee of victory it seems unlikely such a solid bid would fare quite so badly.

One might also wonder at the countries FIFA actually selected, Russia will need to do a fair bit of building and one wonders at the attraction of a tiny hot middle eastern state such as Quatar with very little soccer related infrastructure that if built might be considered to be overkill, given their population (less that that of the county of Derbishire., much less than the City of Birmingham)

It seems clear more than two votes had been confidentially promised to the England bid team. At least 6 to be precise.

It says something that the English Football Association's acting chief Roger Burden, known for being 'above board', has unequivocally stated that he can no longer trust members of Fifa.

Three prominent members, Nicolas Leoz, Issa Hayatou and Ricardo Teixeira are implicated it taking money from a Sports Marketing company in exchange for being awarded contracts.

There is a strong suggestion, apparently backed by evidence that FIFA is blighted by dishonesty, and corruption.

Now Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, (allegedly one of those who had indicated, apparently inaccurately if they did, that they would support the England bid) has justified what looks suspiciously like a planned 'revenge' by claiming: "Fifa could not have voted for England having been insulted by their media in the worst possible way." "... To do so would have been the ultimate insult to Fifa."

It is perhaps time the England no longer lent FIFA credibility by taking it seriously.

In any event England are unlikely to get a look in. Members of FIFA have apparently taken against England because the UK press reported on some of their corruption.

One suspects it will likely be a cold day in hell before FIFA gives England the time of day, let alone anything else. Seeing England have little to loose it would seem to make sense to take the lead in an unenviable task and to do its best to unrelentingly root out any corrupt individuals and attempt to force some real anti corruption rules upon FIFA.

Unleashing if not the dogs of, war, then the press, upon FIFA. Possibly even with a quiet information related nudge or two from MI5.

It might also be worth seriously considering starting something like a Commonwealth Football cup. Maybe put our money where our mouth is and show how things can be done.

Possibly it could be based around nations, possibly around teams. Possibly best of all more on the lines the FA cup. We should ensure it is absolutely honest and above board. Matches could be played in many nations improving the game across the board and earning smaller nations the chance to earn money also to develop and showcase talent. It could be a fresh breeze and good for the game.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Taking the Wikileak II

Initially I was fairly convinced that the denial of service attacks Wikileaks complained of were more likely to be a result of the massive number of hits generated by huge international interest in the site than a denial of service attack.

I am more fond of the idea of occam’s razor than of conspiracy theories. I really don't think most of the supposed possible conspiracists are smart or watertight enougn to have a hope in carrying them off.

I am still fairly certain that much of Wikileaks DOS type problems were/are generated by massive and continuing interest in their site, just search engine traffic is likely to be enough to cause problems.

Having said that it does seem they may be subject of a concerted campaign to silence them, or at least make it so much bother keeping going they are rendered ineffective.

PayPal has made it more difficult for people to make donations, by permanently restricting their account. MasterCard is apparently restricting payments to the site and their Swiss bank, PostFinance has closed Julian Assange's account. we are apparently expected to believe this is all a pure coincidence and all alleged to be unmotivated by any political consideration.

What is the old saying? "Once is chance. Twice is coincidence - but three times is enemy action."

Then there is the problem Wikileaks seem to be experiencing with finding hosts and with their domain name.

I still believe that some of what they are releasing should not be easily available, or necesarily in the public domane at all. I worry it may risk lives.

It does seem that, less through any conspiracy than simply by, frankly p*ing off a lot of powerful people and interests, 'They' may really be out to get Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

It all sows a seed of doubt about the attempts to extradite Assange.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Quote of the Day

"No public man can be just a little crooked"

Herbert Hoover

"Never esteem anything as of advantage to thee that shall make thee break thy word, or lose thy self-respect."

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Monday, 6 December 2010

Will that be eat in or takeout?

It seems it's official - According to Wikileaks anyway, Saudia Arabia is basically funding Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, to the tune of millions of dollars.

Not the Saudi state, officially at least, though it might be said there is a blurring between the stae and certain individuals there. It is reportedly through companies/charities/groups within Saudi Arabia. This region is the seat of the extreamist Whabbi funamentalist Islamic sect.

It is interesting that Saudi Arabia, like Kuwait and some other ostensibly 'friendly' middle eastern states seem to be more keen on dealing with internal terrorism, when they can't risibly blame it on westerners allegedly blowing each other up in fatal disputes over alcohol smuggling.

They seem far less keen on dealing with what amouts to the export of terriorism and steming the flow of funds to it from it's citizens.

One presumes one reason is these states feel they are less likely to suffer the effects of terrorism themselves - if it takes place off their own soil. If they allow what might otherwise be an internal problem with their own dissidents who might destabilise their own regimes to be safely occupied much further away, targeted agaisnt western 'infidel' interests else where.

One wonders, given this apparent massive terrorist funding through Islamic 'charities', how much of their funding is actually due to the trade in drugs and goods counterfeiting that western governments seem keen to blame it on - and why they are.

A continued uniterrupted supply of supply of oil might be a good reason. with the added bunus of providing a nice justification for new laws and powers.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Quote of the Day

"Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint."

Daniel Webster

"Just because you can doesn't mean you should."


"Restraint is a measure of intellectual acuity and self-control.
The ability to place thought before action."

Wes Fessler

"Self-righteous people can talk themselves into forgetting they
are part of a civilization. They can then feed on that culture,
bringing it down. It's happened many times in the past.
It could happen to us."

David Brin

"Honesty is the cruelest game of all, because not only can you
hurt someone - and hurt them to the bone - you can feel
self-righteous about it at the same time."

Dave Van Ronk

Taking the Wikileak

It is becoming difficult to decide if Wikileaks is, on balance, a force for the betterment of mankind - or the reverse.

I must admit that I was initially inclined to the former view, but of late I am somewhat reluctantly coming round to the latter.

Now I am naturally inclined to see something like Wikileaks as on the side of the angels, so that is really saying something. I have no doubt that if people discover incompetence wrongdoing or cover-up in the organisation they work for they should be able raise the matter and get it addressed internally - and if not to blow the whistle on it.

What has really pushed me into mentally classifying the Wikileaks site as a net disbenefit is the release of the US diplomatic communications.

There seems to be something irresponsibly, parochially naive about the mentality behind these releases the site have made, something self-congratulatory and it is an interesting choice of news organisations Julian Assange has chosen to share the greater details with.

One suspects it says something about his politics. Being suspicious, one wonders if any cash or quid-pro-quo is involved.

I find it difficult to imagine these releases of diplomatic information will not ultimately cost actual lives.

It may be Wikileaks is of the view you can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs. There are a disturbing number of people who seem to take that view. I can’t help feeling It a bankrupt, lazy, way of thinking, from a site who’s’ only real justification is taking the moral high ground.

Apologists have argued that US Diplomats should be more careful about their cables.

This is disingenuous. Diplomats are there to smooth situations and argue a countries part... well diplomatically with foreign powers. They are also there to give their own government a warts and all accurate clear eyed view of things. To do less would be a disservice to their nation and make for improperly informed faulty decision making.

They must be brutally honest in their assessments with their own government – not ‘diplomatic’.

It is not even as if we don't all know such frank assesments are made in private, or as if we don't all know the value of tempering our public utterances, unless we are so socially inept for it to be classed as a 'condition'. The mere fact that such communications exist can hardly be cause to lay them bare. They may on the face of it seem two faced, but there needs to be some greater over-riding need.

To argue they should be more careful suggests either a flippant, possibly deliberate misunderstanding, or the sort of thinking that can justify stealing someone’s TV if they forget to lock their door when they go out.

To me it all seems uncomfortably like someone overhearing a husband and wife privately discussing a used car salesman, his merchandise and their available cash in the middle of making a deal – and then shouting it out to all and sundry including the staff in the car dealership. Basically a pretty scummy thing to do in those circumstances.

Politicians have denounced the site, some suggesting it be classed as a terrorist organisation. Intriguingly one of those particularly incensed is Representative Peter King (New York), possibly suffering from a serious case of double standards, is calling for Wikileaks to be designated as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization" and outlawed in the US.

A long supporter of the political wing of the IRA he might know a thing or two about “foreign terrorist organizations”...

On balance it is probably not a terrorist organisation. Although one fears there can be little doubt that some of the information they release will be of succour and assistance to terrorist organisations and powers unfriendly to the US.These latest releases seem more akin to spying than to terrorism. The documents were clearly stolen. Wikileaks will argue what they are doing is justified in the greater public interest.

It may have been true in the past. In this and in recent instances that is surely questionable. One wonders why no one has attempted to legally gag the site as might be a newspaper. One wonders if that is largely to avoid inflaming conspiracists imaginations.

Interestingly Wikileaks claimed to be under ‘cyber attack’ just prior to their releasing the information. A denial of service attack they claimed. This is where multiple botnet controlled computers are made to access a site in huge numbers. Assange seemed to imply the US might be behind the ‘attack’ attempting to ‘silence’ the site.

It all sounds most ‘conspiracy theory’ish until, if you have even half a brain, you realise there would have been massive worldwide interest in the site after they touted the so-called release. This would have resulted in huge numbers of people attempting to access the site, especially just before the information was published as they kept checking back – Still it helps pump Assange’s ego and publicity machine some more.

No deliberate ‘denial of service’ just overwhelming interest. Weirdly many media outlets uncritically pass the denial of service clams on unchallenged, don’t reporters have any understanding of the net?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

A Happy Thanksgiving to any US Readers. Have a great holiday here's hoping you enjoy it and you get to spend it with those you care for.

Every now and then it is good to take a moment and reconnect with some of the main reasons why we bother at all. Friends, Family, children, the home... Be glad we made it through another year, be grateful for what we have and remember those who ca't be with you, for small, big, or more final reasons.

Also here's a grateful thought for those who have given their lives to allow things like this moment of thought, to protect our way of life.

What is this doing to democracy?

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, or rather their pet Lawyers, went to court and actually argued that no one sensible believes manifesto promises. The phrase used was that they were “not subject to legitimate expectation.”

Fair enough It seems. No one can claim they weren’t warned.

Really - voting slips and manifestos should carry a public health warning stating it clearly, possibly with graphic pictures of something like - the Ark Royal being broken up, A harrier Jump Jet being scrapped, or a student turning their pockets out.

Up to now we had to put up with Labour telling us that an EU constitution was not a constitution if it was an identical document... but they called it a treaty instead. We could imagine the other parties might have more respect for the democratic process or the truth.

I must admit I was sceptical of Nick Clegg, once he took the same line as Labour over that “treaty” in Lisbon.

But now it seems that coalition is a marvellous excuse to chuck out your principals and firm “watch my lips” promises. You can handily blame it on the other party in the coalition.

So we are treated to a positive Christmas market of pork pie salespersons. Nick Clegg supporting hikes in university fees despite signing some pointless piece of paper that he would oppose them. We see good old Dave Cameron not only back pedalling on his talk of no more giving up sovereignty without a referendum. Now apparently the EU Constitution Lisbon “Treaty” can’t be pulled out of, or re negotiated.

But more telling he is making agreements to pool our armed forces with the French - Again with not a hint of consulting the citizenry.

And given that the only really credible (before he got his hands on them) armed forces in Europe are British and the French then that is basically what would comprise a European Defence Force. Well we can see where he is going with that.

So basically - any promises, no matter how apparently firm, that any politician makes in order to get you to vote for them are just not to be believed. They will be dumped for the sake of expediency at the first hurdle. It seems there can be no doubt that the only reason to “Watch their lips” is to be able to spot when they are - lying.... through.... their.... teeth.

The question is: What does that do to the democratic process? How does someone who is not dangerously self destructively naive actually decide who to waste their vote on vote for?

When they do get in and utterly fail to do what they promised, even if they do the exact opposite, you have absolutely no comeback - apart from voting for some other collection of proven liars, when it suits them, every 5 years or so.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Quote of the day

"Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint."

Daniel Webster

"Just because you can doesn't mean you should."


"Restraint is a measure of intellectual acuity and self-control.
The ability to place thought before action."

Wes Fessler

"Self-righteous people can talk themselves into forgetting they
are part of a civilization. They can then feed on that culture,
bringing it down. It's happened many times in the past.
It could happen to us."

David Brin

"Honesty is the cruelest game of all, because not only can you
hurt someone - and hurt them to the bone - you can feel
self-righteous about it at the same time."

Dave Van Ronk

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Be upstanding for Mayor... Ronnie Cray

Thank goodness for the European Courts. An idiot’s idea of “Human rights” that keep armies of parasites at the public trough. And also for useless, craven, UK politicians.

It seems the unelected legislators who make up European court of human rights has decided it is unfair that criminals actually serving time are not allowed to vote. Do any of these judges have cousins who are of course “legitimate businessmen”?

Who brought the case before them? Would you believe it was almost literally... “Heeeeer’s JOHNNNY!!!" A "mad axe murderer” by your average man’s definition, who has been let out? And yes his name really is John and he killed his landlady with a genuine axe and then pleaded guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility.

You couldn’t make it up and be believed.

The UK government appears to be actually going along with this piece of insanity. For fear the Human rights industry will hit them with huge claims on behalf of the poor deprived inmates.

We can all imagine the likelihood of the French government going along with that – for about a millisecond!

They would probably simply shrug in that Gallic way and do just as they pleased, as they do over anything else that comes out of the EU that does not suit them. And the EU would do nothing.

So if our pointless politicians do go along with it, presumably the crooks will get to vote in the constituency where they are actually incarcerated, if that’s what they want, it being their place of abode. There are 48,000 of them concentrated in various places

The only exceptions will be those who commit the two truly terrible crimes of non-payment of debts or God forbid - contempt of court..

Presumably they will be able to vote in National, local council elections and parish council elections...

Presumably they will vote for candidates that suit them and as a block, given the way things work.

Cameron was making noises about making the local police chief an elected official.

So how long before local Councils in large prison’s catchment areas are packed with ex and unconvinced criminals. You know.. “legitimate businessmen” like Al Capone, or the Crays..

The question we need to ask ourselves is once what amounts to the mafia are in charge will they prove more effective that the political elite? Will the average citizen be better, or worse, off.

Compare the relative prosperity of Southern and Northern Italy.

One thing you can bet - the dustmen won’t go on strike any time soon - unless they are told to.

Meanwhile how long before the EU Court of Human Rights demands the vote for those they really have so much more in common with than anyone else - the clinically insane...

Another brick in the wall?

Cameron and Sarkozy have signed a deal to share military resources. It was kept pretty much off the public’s radar until it was a done deal. Did parliament get any say so?

It seems Cameron has locked the UK into it for the next 50 years. It is not clear if it can be got out of.

It is doubtful if any of the UK’s politicians will ever seriously try.

Cameron is busy trying to spin it up into great news and it is for the pro EU political elite.

It is difficult to reconcile this with his earlier bluster about not signing away any more of the UK’s sovereignty without a referendum. But this will be yet another instance where a slight change in the newspeak name of the thing magically utterly transforms it, so an old promise can be safely ignored and discarded. He is taking a leaf out of Gordon Brown’s book, on the Labour Party election lies manifesto.

What it actually is is a tacit acknowledgement that thanks to his incompetent butchery of the UK's defence capability the UK is no longer capable of acting effectively on the world stage without support.

What it actually means is that the UK can now no longer act militarily, in many respects, without France’s agreement.

A mutual defence pact is one thing, even military co-operation, or joint expeditionary forces - but signing over a veto on when you use your military to a foreign power is a whole other ball game, more akin to treason.

Not that UK politicians have not been happily signing away sovereign power for decades, so he can reasonably expect the supine UK electorate to put up with that as they have done with so much else that more self respecting citizens would do something about.

Sadly it is probably unlikely there will ever be a tea party movement in the UK.

What is Cameron’s agenda? One suspects ever closer European integration and the construction of a seed of a EU military. How long before a "money saving treaty" with Germany comes along?

Then there is the argument that can now be used by the political elite that If co-operation works in this areas then why not others? They will then subtly suggest, as they so often do, that it will allow ‘Europe’ to be more ‘independent’ of the US.

US politicians still somehow happily seem to imagine the EU is an unmitigated good thing for the US, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Is it that they think they know the nature of the beast? It wasn’t so long ago they thought it was a good idea to fund the Taliban...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Good money after bad

What is the point of politicians? I am sure they have their own reasons for being (Power? Money?) - but what is the point, the benefit, from the average citizens perspective?

Take David Cameron as an example. The EU wanted to increase it’s budget. As a negotiating position it suggested 5.9%. He was not going to stand for that – he said.

Now if you were thinking of buying something and there was a haggle possibility just you know the salesperson will ask double and let the unwary tourist knock them down and think they got a bargain. Did Dave never buy any jewellery for his wife in Greece?

This was of course readily agreed by the European Commission and rubber stamped by the European Parliament to keep the gravy high speed train rolling and would have cost the UK an extra £900m per year until it was put up again the following year.

The UK contributes a ridiculously large share of the operating costs of the EU. Who knows they might have been stupid enough to just go along with it.

So David Cameron makes militant noises and sets off apparently like St George himself to do battle with this hungry Wurm that nests on a pile of taxpayer’s gold.

Sadly the EU is an organisation it would be difficult to argue is fit for purpose, one who’s finances have, as far as I can tell, never been signed off as honest and above board by any accountants.

Put bluntly no accountant who wanted to stay in business, or to be able to portray themselves as honest, or marginally competent, is willing to chance their reputations and the prospect of doing time by signing off on them.

Now a question immediately occurs - well it would if you were not carefully steered away from it.

Why is it - when every European government is having to reduce their expenditure and operating costs - the EU feels the need to increase theirs, without apparently noticing everyone else is having to retrench.

So what was the result of all this tough negotiation, this rhetoric and spin? Was the budget actually cut, or even frozen - as it should have been if the EU reflected the states that make it up.

What did you expect? The budget was increased anyway of course, but by a mere 2.9% In real money 3% instead of 6%.

Dave Cameron is presumably not actually stupid so he must have some idea of the haggle, that suggests he knew quite well that 6% was a starting point. Maybe he thinks we are stupid.

The UKs massive contribution to the EU is a luxury it can’t afford, let alone increase. Even the EU recognised the UK had been rooked when it gave Thatcher a reduction in contributions, disguised as a face saving rebate. A rebate that Labour later pointlessly gave away big chunks of. Still it was only taxpayers money – plenty more where that came from.

How those European politicians must laugh when UK politicians turn up offering yet another opportunity to be fleeced yet again.

So Cameron comes back having committed the UK to pour a staggering extra £400,000,000 down the EU pissoire - and tries to spin that as tough negotiating! As some sort of great victory! Can’t afford too many more "victories" like that.

Getting back to that original question - What exactly is the point of David Cameron?

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Back to the Future?

East Belfast movie maker George Clarke was going through a Charlie Chaplin box DVD set about a year ago when he noticed, right at the beginning of a clip he was watching, a woman walking by looking for all the world as if she were chatting on her cell phone/mobile/handy.

It seems replaying it and zooming in did nothing to alter that impression either.

So - could it be a sneak preview of a futre Dr Who companion?

One with the DR's special tweaks that lets cell phones work accross time?

Or maybe a member of security staff from the USS Enterprise quietly chatting with the ship on her communicator whilst it was on an adventure in the past. Who knows could the man in the hat be a shot of a heavily disguised Spock with a hat covering his ears and eyebrows...

It is not likely it could actually be a current cell phone running on the current systems. They require an extensive infrastructure to make them work, with a network of arials to allow them to connect through to the provider's exchange and route the call on to the recipient.

Still there are other possible explanations - maybe time traveler with a walkie-talkie..

Of course there is the alternative that it is just coincidence, or someone who is hard of hearing, or even a hoax, by whoever put the original DVD together, we all saw Forest Gump at famous historical events, computing has moved on since that movie was made.

Even so, it fires the imagination dosn't it?

Monday, 18 October 2010

Quote of the day

Dane - Geld

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: ~~
"We invaded you last night-we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: ~~
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: ~~

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"

Rudyard Kipling

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Spin me right round baby, right round

One of the few legitimate functions of government must surely be defence of the nation, or what is the point of it at all?

No it seems the UK State is reneging on even that basic duty. The coalition Government is attempting to spin a poorly though out attempt to save money as only an 8% cut in defence spending.

This is not really the case of course, but why did we ever expect honest dealing from politicians. When all is taken into account it is at least a 15% cut.

This after years of sustained, one can't help but suspect, essentially ideologically driven government neglect - and despite spin to the contrary, continuous real cuts in defence spending, even in a time of actual war thanks to the previous government.

It was to be hoped that things might have changed with the removal of the incompetent Labour administration but no.

These reductions from a government that is for some insane reason ring-fencing foreign aid budgets in preference to maintaining a credible defence capability, a government that seems to be surrendering the UK's ability to project any credible force globally.

One might be tempted to wonder if this is part of some cunning backdoor pro EU defence force thinking - but alas suspects it is more just simple lack of foresight, incompetence and a lazy hope that the US can take care of the bad guys out there for us (that seems prevalent in so many governments throughout the world) - whilst of course looking down their noses at the US for being willing to actually grasp the nettle.

It isn't as if the UK is unable (despite successive governments discouragement and denigration of them) to produce brave men and women ready to fight and chance dieing in the nation's interests.

Nor is it there is not the know-how and skills to equip them.

Or even as if there isn't the will within the population.

As usual it is politicians who fail to actually reflect the will and desires of the people.

So tell me - How does this 'democracy' stuff work exactly?

Friday, 17 September 2010

Good Intentions?

The UK Coalition government are desperate to save the pennies.

We all know why - Mainly because Gordon Brown and the Labour Party did the political equivalent of getting a terminal diagnosis and then going on a credit card spending spree.

Unfortunately they didn't have insurance...

Now we are all going to have to pay for it - In a way it is fair enough - as collectively we enabled them to do it to us by voting for them... Oh except we never did vote in Gordon did we? But yes we did vote in Labour.

"Not in my name" - as they say.

So the Coalition are scrabbling around for Ideas - and I am prepared to believe for the moment they at least have good intentions - but some of the stuff they come up with seems just stupid or suicidally desperate - and we all know what the road to hell is reputedly paved with...

Firstly, why on earth are they ring fencing foreign bribes.. er aid.

They are planning on blowing some £7.8 billion on it this year. This is a huge amount - and charity, as they say, begins at home. Anything that is not a strategic policy aimed at propping up friendly states, or ensuring terrorism is suppressed should be cut to the bone.

What are they planning at the same time? Oh yes. To damage our armed forces and nuclear deterrent while we are fighting what amounts to two wars.

Reward those who are willing to defend the big society with their lives by making them unemployed!?

Wake up and smell the coffee people.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Something worthwhile?

The new administration has done something worthwhile. Or it will if it follows through with it You might say it has justified it’s existence.

More than the previous administration did during its entire tenure anyway.

What? - You may ask.

They are to abolish New Labour’s fascist ID card system and the sinister national Identity Register.

Let's hope they make moves towards dismantling the system designed to nationally track all under 18s too.

Further promising indications towards the restoration personal liberties and freedoms are that they are considering making changes to how the National DNA database is administered and functions.

One hopes that before too long there will be a move to purge the records of innocent people that Labour were so keen to collect. The police never kept innocent people’s fingerprints, elimination prints were disposed of after use. There is no reason why DNA can not be treated the same and it might make people more willing to provide it for elimination purposes if they knew it would be disposed of after.

It looks as if the biometric passport may also go the way of all flesh and public CCTV cameras may be reigned back to some extent.

If the coalition administration actually manages to deliver on any of these it establishes it as more concerned for the citizen’s liberty and rights than the previous authoritarian Labour administration.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Last one out the box close the lid

What a difference a day makes - as the song goes.

It seems the UK is to have a coalition government.

Things looked pretty bad over the last day or so. This by contrast to that seems not quite so worrying.

We are seeing a hint of light at the end of the tunnel and hoping against hope it is not the 17:15 to Cambridge and we are not all about to become the stuffed toy on the front of the dust cart, to mix and match metaphors.

Suddenly being polite and reasonable seems to be the order of the day. I do wonder about the timing of Gordon Brown's resignation and if it's timing was designed to strain the chances of a Liberal Democrat/Progressive Conservative Coalition.

Suddenly everyone is busy saying what a statesman he was as if he was dead, I guess he is politically - so I shall refrain from mentioning any inconvenient truths, the gold reserve or pachyderms quietly milling about in the corner of the room.

Experience suggests that the chances are a coalition is likely to come apart at the seams. Driven apart by internal fault lines when push really comes to shove - look at the Lib-Lab pact. Things are certainly going to get difficult before they get any easier, are the Lib Dems up to it?

Still maybe Cameron and Clegg are really serious about government in the national interest and may really be able to drag enough of their parties along with them.

One way they could save a huge amount of money would be to demand Thatcher's negotiated payments discount back from the EU that Blair blithely gave away. Maybe ask for a bigger one of their own.

The UK pays a disproportionately large amount in to the EU to pay for civic improvements in the likes of Portugal and allow French farmers to continue to live in the manner to which they have become accustomed, etc.

Not likely to happen one suspects what with Nick being a Europhile, still it would plug a big hole in the nation's finances.

Maybe we’ll get the best of both Liberal Democrat and Conservative policies and less useful ones will somehow cancel each other out.. Keeping each other honest with each party will acting like the other’s watchdog.

Maybe to save money they will have to hold back the expansion of the state and buy us some breathing space. Maybe some of them will actually even want to do that. Shame that the Liberal Democrats, like Labour and in favour of robbing the dead in the form of low thresholds on inheritance tax. Penalising the south disproportioantely.

I am keeping my fingers crossed - but I am also keeping an umbrella handy against the chance flying pigs coming home to roost turn out to have minimal bowel control.

Goodness knows we need politicians to get over confusing the national interest with their party's interest or even their own personal interest. The thought of them actually doing it seems almost too much to hope for or to actually believe.

Still, they say a cynic is a disappointed optimist, It seems there is a tiny bit of optimist left in me that can still occasionally and probably briefly surface...

It’s only a tiny ‘Obama moment’ of hope that I’ll probably pay for later.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Jumped or pushed?

Well – He of the clunking fist, the old lady dissing, Gordon Brown himself is offering to resign, for the good of his party.

And all the pundits are going “Really!?!” amazed - at least the CNN ones seem to be.

How is this anything other than to be expected?

Gordon knows perfectly well that he has, whatever Labour spin MDs may try to say, led his party to a pretty bad, not to put too fine a point on it, defeat.

The only thing that kept the “dead man walking” actually walking, were the electric shocks supplied by the Dark Lord and puppet master himself – Madleson.

Really it was a choice of jump or be pushed.

Someone had to be the fall guy for what they could see was coming. The Labour leadership was a poisoned chalice no one sane wanted before the election... once they decided they had little chance of an outright victory.

They must all have been thinking “Let's fight like hell for what seats we can save, let Gordon take the bullet and maybe let Dave Cameron make himself seriously unpopular trying to sort the mess we made out - Back in 5 years time”.

It didn’t work out quite like that and now it is a real mess.

Labour clearly had no chance of hooking up with the Liberal Democrats while Gordon was in nominal charge, given his reported relationship with Nick Clegg. Could not make a majority with the Liberals either, not without minority Nationalist parties - and that would be an unstable mess that would barely have any majority anyway.

Maybe on alternate wednesdays if they were lucky.

Unless the Liberals and Conservatives can come up with something that is not Schizophrenic any coalition they make will not be able to last, or function effectively either.

Maybe what we really need is a general election?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


There is something inherently dishonest about the Liberal Democrat's current attempt to appeal to voters.

They are desperate to keep facing in both directions and be all things to all people, including new.

Nick Clegg and his advisors are perfectly well aware that for many disaffected Conservative and Labour supporters an x in their box is a protest vote against their own parties.

Many disaffected Conservative supporters could never bring themselves to vote Labour, but feel it is important to vote, so they vote Liberal, less so in a general election that in Local elections, but they definitely do it.

The same holds true for disaffected Labour supporters. They also can convince themselves that the Liberal Democrats are enough like Labour to vote for them.

So Nick Clegg's dilemma is he needs support from both disaffected Conservative and disaffected Labour supporters. To do this he has to play coy with who and what the Liberal Democratic Party are.

Even today on the eve of the election when directly asked Nick still desperately avoids answering that question as to who he might support in a hung parliament.

He needs Conservative Supporters to see him as practically Conservative and a potential partner to a Hung Parliament Conservative Government and Labour Supporters to see him as practically Labour and a likely potential partner in a possible hung pearliest Labour government.

Obviously the two positions are mutually exclusive. One group of supporters that he is so assiduously attempting to woo are going to be severely disappointed if there is a hung parliament.

Nick Clegg of course wants to put off betraying them and blowing his carefully implied political fellowship until after they have voted for him and it is too late.

If he can get his hands on power just once for just long enough he can push for whatever change in the electoral system most favours his own party at the expense of the others and possibly the UK too.

The Liberal party is dreaming being serious contenders - for the fist time since the Great War.

Oh... remember how sanctimonious Nick Clegg was over Gordon Brown's Gillian Duffy open mike gaff? He had his own moment, maybe he should have been a little less self satisfied about Gordon's

Janus, or Ianus, was the god of gates, doors & doorways, bridges and passages of beginnings and endings. He was also the god of the entrance of the home.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Elections - A bed voters will have to lay in afterwards

It is finally election time in the UK. The date has been set for May 6 and currently there is much talk about the possibility of a ‘hung’ parliament.

This is a parliament where no party has a proper working majority - so basically they are usually pointless, weak, ineffectual and short lived.

There is talk amongst the MSM pundits that some voters may actually be hoping for a ‘hung’ parliament. I wonder if it has been explained to them it does not involve nooses and the lamp posts of Westminster as some sort of public participant entertainment of the type previously associated with Tyburn.

Why? Well it’s since the first televised ‘presidential’ style debate (that were not really debates as such) between the leaders of the parties, Nick Clegg, the leader of the unofficial “None of the above” party. The Liberals, who should not under any circumstances be confused with ‘Laissez faire' Liberals, is benefiting from doing quite well in them and from managing to distance himself from much of the recent corruption and the government’s incompetence.

It is worth noting that there is nothing to stop any, or all, of the parties changing their leaders immediately after the election, as the party leaders are chosen by the parties and are not presidential candidates at all and not voted for by the people.

UK voters, ignorant as many are, should bear in mind they are actually voting for their local MP, who again can switch parties if they wish, just as soon as they are elected if they so desire.

They are not voting for next British Prime Minister.

It will now be in Nick Clegg’s interests to be a little coy as to who he might be willing to do a deal with to help form a government in the event of a hung parliament.

Why? - Because many of his potential votes will be from disaffected Labour and Conservative voters who convince themselves in their disillusionment with their own parties that Liberals are practically the same thing. He will want to keep them all thinking he is the next best thing until after the election. Much like the Welsh and Scots Natonalists who in addition care very little about anyone outside their own areas.

The Liberals can’t be both - and someone will end up being disappointed, possibly both Labour and Conservative supporters who vote Liberal afterwards in the harsh light of day.

Liberals don’t do too badly in local elections where they can’t do harm on a national level with some of their more half-baked ideas.

That is the problem. If we think of it in evolutionary terms, some of the weirder ideas they have tucked away (think harmful genes) have never needed to stand the harsh light of day and never to date had the chance to do any real harm and harm the fitness of the organism that is the UK by becoming active.

I don’t mind what they may do to the Liberals themselves - Mostly keep them out of power since after the first world war so far.

I do care what they do to the UK, as I live in it.

I care in much the same way as I would if I were floating in a small boat taking on some water with some bright spark who thought it might be a good idea to poke holes in it with a screwdriver in order to let the water out…

Sunday, 4 April 2010

"Fire up the Quattro Bolly"

Up till now I wouldn't have actually really questioned the Milliband Brothers intelligence, only their good sense.

Seeing them launch their latest poster attack on David Cameron by trying to compare him with Philip Glenister's no nonsense cop character Gene Hunt from the popular TV series Ashes to Ashes made me do just that though.

Now I can see where they are trying to go with it. Labour see the 80s as unmitigately bad with Maggie in power and all that. I am not sure we all hated the 80s like Labour, but Labour certainly did, so they are probably making the mistake that we will all think 80s were entirely bad.

I know the 80s wern#'t perfect by any means, but the thing is the country also kind of turned it's self round and we beagn to feel just a little bit better about ourselves for the first time in ages too.

What Labour seem to have missed is that the character of Gene Hunt is really a kind of hero. Whatever else he is A. Incorruptible B. Tough C. Direct D Kickass and C Pretty Cool, etc. none are things that I had particularly previously associated with Dave the bloke.

Quite Frankly if Gene Hunt were running for PM he might well get my vote.

Up to now I couldn't help feeling Dave's greatest asset was that he was sligtly less awful and possibly slightly less incompetent than the clunking fist Gordon Brown. Who knows.. maybe he does share some of those characteristics with Gene Hunt :-)

If I were the clunking fist I would think twice about putting the Amaising Millibandis in charge of any more posters. It seems the Tories were quick to both spot and take advantage of this spectacular own goal and have gleefully hijacked it.

“Fire up the Quattro Bolly" - If anything it’s well overdue for change.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Labour's abrupt 'U' turn on no impropriety claim

The clunking fist Gordon Brown, was busily dismissing demands for a Whitehall investigation into the Byers, Hoon, Hewitt, etc. and the secret political influence for cash scandal, one strongly suspects hoping to sweep it under the carpet as soon as possible.

"Nothing to see here folks, move along please..."

He was desperately claiming it was not necessary to have a formal inquiry into whether Government ministers changed policy after being approached by bought colleagues.

Amid demands that the Prime Minister order a formal enquiry Brown let it be known he was "satisfied" that there had been no impropriety on the part of ministers in the Transport and Business departments. A spokesperson said "The Prime Minister has seen the statements from the departments and is satisfied that there is no impropriety."

Well it seems that after Byers and his chums were outed by the Channel 4 programme which secretly recorded the former ministers and everyone could make their own minds up directly the pretence could no longer be kept up.

One wonders how happy Mandleson and Adonis were to have been implicated in the matter, and how much truth there was in the original claims.

One wonders if Byers is now falling on his sword having belatedly realised he has transgressed against omertà. It must have finally dawned on him they know where he lives...

Those involved have finally been suspended from the Parliamentary Labor Party. Apparently the party's chief whip, Nick Brown finally decided enough was enough after back bench pressure, probably largely motivated by fear of the electoral damage Labour might suffer over the matter if they carried on pretending such behaviour was acceptable.

Maybe one day these so-called honourable gentlemen Wouldn’t that be refreshing…

Meanwhile... I am also contemplating the acquisition of a reinforced umbrella against the day geneticists develop a winged pig :-) In the previous case I am not planning on holding my breath waiting as the need for that umbrella is sadly probably far more pressing.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Crooked influence peddler's looking for buyers?

Well Labour’s former Transport minister the Honourable Stephen Byers along with some of his colleagues, Former Labour ministers the Honourable Geoff Hoon and the Honourable Patricia Hewitt have been caught in a sting operation touting for business.

Pedalling what political influence they have secretly to the highest bidder.

In his own words he was like “A cab for hire”.

He had boastfully claimed during a sting operation that he had surreptitiously engineered a deal with Transport Secretary Lord Adonis over the termination of a rail franchise contract. And that he had persuaded the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to alter food labelling regulations on behalf of a major supermarket chain.

The chance of these being the only former ministers currently doing this are, one suspects, vanishingly small.

In an echo of the moral ambivalence MPs so amply demonstrated at length when caught fleecing the taxpayer by dubious expenses claims that would have resulted in any normal employer suspending the miscreants. Certainly reporting likes you or I to the police, probably followed by sacking.

He and his colleagues are insouciantly claiming they have done nothing wrong and they had complied with all the rules.

If that is the case it is simply another example of how endemic the failure of MPs moral compass is

After being confronted Byers tried to claim he was not actually like “a cab for hire” after all and that he had in fact “exaggerated”. Well we know that - his lips must surely have been moving when he was speaking after all. It is a polite way of putting it.

Those less inclined to be kind to him might interpret this to mean that the man is a self confessed liar..

The problem is deciding exactly how he is lying.

Lying to cover up his secretly influencing legislation for money?

...Or lying to all comers about how he can, for a sufficient bung, influence legislation to his potential customer’s advantage?

Difficult call...

Monday, 22 February 2010

A future - but would it really be fair for all?

It seems that Labour, or rather the ideologically dedicated ;-) Saatchi and Saatchi, have come up with an election campaign slogan.

'A future fair for all'

Apparently it is supposed to capture Labour and particularly the (possibly literally) clunking fist’s "own personal point of view”.

No wonder they want to distract us from looking at their record in power with airy waffle of the future. A future they know will involve tax hikes and spending cuts that they are even now allowing to grow larger as they try to play them down dragooning their pet economists much as when they wrongly as it turned out attacked Geoffrey Howe.

“Fairness” is one of those Labour newspeak words like “Community”.

As near as I can tell, to Labour and their fellow travellers, fairness essentially means that no one should be allowed to succeed more than anyone else. The thought seems to be that if someone does, or aspires to do so, then it is somehow unfair. They are somehow “unfairly” taking advantage of, intelligence, hard work and plain good luck, or possibly that of their parents in order to succeed.

Essentially to cut people off at the knees so to speak in order to prevent them standing head and shoulders above anyone else. Because to their minds the very act of doing so is of course “unfair”.

S&S’s director of strategy to Richard Huntington would like us to believe that the new slogan “highlights that change is a process”. Really?

Apparently it also rather worryingly “locks together a destination for Britain”

Oh and it seems outrageously contends “that the future for Labour is for the many, compared to the Conservatives”, where he would have us believe the future would “always be for the few."

So then, they are apparently (and possibly allowing their Freudian slip to show) taking a leaf out of the early Russian communists little red book.

Up to a certain point in 1903 they were part of the relatively innocuously titled “Russian Social Democratic Party”. A minority, who didn’t feel they were necessarily destined for success there, going on the way they were, spit away from the party and formed a breakaway group.

Much like our Gordon it seems they presumably cunningly and misleadingly, (rather than ironically), they referred to themselves as “members of the majority”. Possibly in order to sucker those who don’t look too closely at such claims and go with the feel of a slogan rather than it’s relationship with reality.

The Russian word for “members of the majority” is of course Bolsheviks, after 1917 they managed a much longer stint in power than Tony Blair ever did. Such an extended term in power is surely the stuff of the clunking fist’s private fantasies.

It seems to me more realistic to argue that if you want a future where you really do have a fair chance to succeed, without the ball and chain of the incompetent nannying of the repressive Labour state dragging you down then the last thing you should do is vote Labour.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Climate Change

With the recent UK Met office predictions of Barbeque summers and mild winters that don’t materialise, the subject of ‘Global Warming’ never seems far from mind these days.

Belief in the theory influences may public decisions and where much public money is expended.

Possibly even Met office predictions, confounded by cool damp summers and frozen snowy winters. Predictions, it has been suggested, that are influenced by an evangelical conviction in Anthropocentric Global Warming of the Met offices boss and his hiring policy.

Lots of shorthand terms are bandied about. “Global warming”, “Climate change”, etc.

So lets examine the facts. Climate Change is an incontrovertible fact. There is overwhelming evidence accrued over years and over recorded history to back it up.

At various times the earth has lazed under balmy tropical temperatures over much of it’s surface, at others ice has covered vastly more of it’s surface than it does today. There is evidence that the climate has swung from warm to cold and back again countless times.

It did so before mankind existed and could not possibly have influenced it. It has continued to do so since he walked the earth, again before mankind could conceivably had any impact on it.

So then, climate change incontrovertibly exists - and would still exist if mankind had never existed, it will continue if we were to cease to exist.

What causes it? Well probably a complicated mix of many things. How far the earth is from the sun, cloud cover, the arrangements of the continents, sunspot activity, volcanic activity, how much dust and particulate matter is in the atmosphere to list a few.

Even Mars apparently undergoes variations, these must surely be entirely natural. It is difficult to imagine one or two solar powered rovers having much impact on climate.

It is questionable that we and so-called climate scientists have the definitive answer to all the causes of climate change and how they interact. To be honest I suspect if they are honest they are still trying to work it out.

Now currently all the evidence suggests we are in the middle of a series of coolings and warmings that fluctuate over millennia, with smaller fluctuations, or beats within the larger ones.

Most of recorded history happens to have taken place within a period of warming where the ice sheets retreated and vast amounts water, locked up in ice sheets on the land melted and the sea levels varied as water was added to them and some parts of the earth that had been squashed down under the weight of miles of ice rebounded and rose and surrounding areas that had been pushed up correspondingly sank.

One suspects we have been able to advance and support increasing numbers at least partly because warming of the climate has helped us survive and prosper.

So global warming? Yes that too must exist along with global cooling and the current warming has been going on since before the start of recorded history.

35,000 years ago, not so long in the grand scheme of things, There was ice sheet just north of where London is now. To the south tundra with caribou. There was no north sea or channel.

The ice began to melt, things began to get warmer. If that hadn’t happened then right now, where I am just now you could probably see a wall of ice.

This was not influenced by Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal four wheeled drive vehicles, or by the methane emitted by cows that went into their burger chains. Maybe planes full of teeming bison, caribou, wooly rhinoceros and mammoths are just as windy…

The logic is inescapable global warming can and does happen absolutely independent of the influence of mankind.

Left to it’s own devices it is overwhelmingly likely that some time in the next few thousand years things would have all changed round and started to get colder again.

The earth has seen much colder climate than it is now, but it has also seen much warmer, even in recorded history.

There have been little fluctuations over the last few thousand years that made things more or less comfortable for humans.

Most recently there was what is known as “The little ice age” a cooler period where the river Thames in London froze regularly enough for there to be annual ice fares held on it. When we regularly had snow.

Before that, around 1,000 years ago, there was what is known as “the little climatic optimum”, when the climate in Greenland was relatively balmy and vineyards did well in England.

So the real question is have our actions had any effect on top of all that? Over and above the large natural fluctuations that are incontrovertibly continuously taking place even now.

Can we really definitively spot anything we may have done to influence the climate amongst the complicated backdrop of what we know must be naturally varying the climate? Do we really know enough to be able to?

It seems we can’t really fully understand the natural mechanisms yet so we are left trying to spot trends in statistics and trying to work out if they correlate in any way and if any do is it direct or indirect. One suspects there is a lot of interpretation involved.

It is interesting to note even the UK’s Met Office, prominent proponents of the theory of manmade global warming doesn’t seem to be bale to get it right, having apparently got their long range forecasts wrong for the past decade by it seems inflating expected temperatures in line with theory and being consistently disappointed.

One thing that concerns me, as (I like to think) a reasonably educated and informed and logical layman are the instances of mistakes, exaggerations and possibly outright fraud in the so-called science of man made global warming. From sea level ‘adjustments’, to models that produce a hockey stick, no matter what data is input, to the scandal of the recently leaked emails.

Speaking of which it has now come out that Professor Phil Jones’ Climatic Research Unit according to the Deputy Information Commissioner Graham Smith committed offences from 2007 to 2008 under section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act in that they intentionally prevented the disclosure of requested information.

They have apparently only avoided prosecution because of the way the statute of limitations on the offences are being generously interpreted.

There is also now an independent review chaired by Sir Muir Russell attempting to establish if there is evidence that data was manipulated or suppressed in a way which was "at odds with acceptable scientific practice".

These are cutting edge so-called climate scientists of world renown who have committed offences by concealing or destroying data that they feel might me ‘misleading’ and who are apparently essentially suspected by the authorities of fiddling their results.
These same results are certainly still being used to bolster warmist claims/predictions.

Then there is the sheer vitriol, name calling and reflexive denigration heaped by all ‘believers’ (including the PM recently) on anyone who remotely seems to question the warmist agenda or theory. I don’t trust it.

That to me reeks of the rage and offence taken by a true believer when their deeply held religious or political beliefs are challenged.

It is my experience that the word of such people is not particularly reliable. There is a danger that their deeply held beliefs may make it seem ok to basically lie to bolster their case, especially if they are convinced they are right anyway.

The data in the IPCC reports is now revealed to be of extremely dubious merit, especially concerning dodgy claims of the rate of deglaciation. So dubious that scientists are daring to complain about a lack of proper peer review.

If these claims and it seems others as well are not to be trusted then just how much else that comes out of the IPCC can be?

So for myself I find myself in the position of being unable to trust the so-called data, those ‘climate scientists’ who earn a good living out of the theory and the politicians who find it such a good excuse to raise taxes and enact progressively draconian laws. I am also equally unsure of the motives of many deniers. I am left in a position of not knowing what to believe either way on the anthropocentric theory.

These are many of the same politicians who brought us WMD and the 45 minute deployment claim. It could be those claims were over egged too.

Of course the argument will probably be settled in 25 years time. Either the warmist predictions will have come to pass or not. If they are still arguing by then with nothing definitive to show then the theory is probably wrong in some way. I still wonder exactly what is responsible for the cycle of ice ages.

So meanwhile what to do?

Well it seems to me that we do need energy self sufficiency and it is desirable to avoid air pollution. We don’t want to be breathing smog, chemicals, particulate matter. It might also be good to avoid deforestation and the loss of species and complex habitat involved.

So in some respect it would seem to be desirable to proceed with developing green power generation and energy self sufficiency regardless of the accuracy of the theory of manmade global warming or not. I do feel strongly it would be very desirable to avoid crippling our economies with prohibitive taxes and red tape while doing it , especially after the recession has focussed our minds.

Maybe better if done with logic and honesty, without the largely unnecessary argument and without the quasi-religious zeal and vitriol. Done efficiently and cheaply. There could be manufacturing and employment benefits too.

Clearly the existing wind technology is not nearly as effective as is generally advertised by the warmist camp as it can only harvest energy when the wind actually blows and then only in proportion to how much it blows. It occurs to me that if it was used to pump water up a column or compress air it could at least be used to store energy from a windy day until it was needed.

Tidal energy is ever present unfailing and surrounds us. It would seem a far more reliable bet Unfortunately the energy harvesting technology seems much less developed and effective.

Finally there is the nuclear option. Personally I believe this can fill the looming energy gap, exacerbated by green Luddite resistance to the construction of new power stations, particularly nuclear. More effectively and efficiently and much sooner than anything else.

Currently the entire volume of high level nuclear waste from the entire life time energy use of a single individual takes up a lump of matter about the size of a household roll of duct tape.

The merits, benefits and dis-benefits of nuclear energy are material for another entire post.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Democracy at work?

Earlier this month I posted on Lord Moynehan’s proposed bill to give the police the power to raid homes in order to search for so-called "performance enhancing drugs". Allegedly to prevent cheating at the 2012 Olympics.

I took my own advice and wrote to Eric Pickles Chairman of the Conservative Party and Conservative MP to voice my concerns. Nothing like going to the top.

He replied fairly promptly and actually answered the basic thrust of my letter, so good for him in that. The relevant section of his reply was as follows:

“I understand your concerns about this issue. Whilst I believe these measures are necessary to safeguard against the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport, it is important that they are not used unfairly against members of the public who have been prescribed these drugs for genuine medical purposes.

Please rest assured that my colleagues and I will press the Government to ensure that these powers are used for their intended purpose.”

Do you know... I really don’t think he did understand half my concerns about the issue based on his response.

Sports are a game. There may be money tied up in them, a lot in some cases - and prestige, but they are in the end still a game.

What’s more they are essentially a private arrangement between individuals, or groups of individuals, who agree a set of rules they will abide by. It may even go so far as being a contract, but that is still essentially between the individuals involved.

If someone cheats on those rules then it is a matter for all the other participants and the organisers. The governing bodies of the sports. The rest of us may form opinions about what was done and the people who did it, but that is it.

Even if the state decides to organise a sporting event it is still essentially a private matter.

I, like the overwhelming majority or citizens, have entered into no agreements. I am not involved in it, except possibly to be inconvenienced by it when travelling and directly, or indirectly, involuntarily having to pay towards it.

Also possibly watching a fraction of it on TV, after having paid again to do that too, either by means of the UK TV tax, or directly to one of the other content providers.

I don’t care particularly strongly about the games, not nearly so much as I do about how much I pay in tax. They let them use advanced materials and equipment in some events.

If they gave athletes carte blanche to use performance enhancing drugs as much as they liked the performances might even be more entertaining. They would certainly be on a guaranteed level playing field then… except some would not have so much money to put into training and equipment or time. Maybe they should insist on equal funding as well.

The thing is the staggering majority of us are not a part of it or involved in it in any realistic sense any more than we would be involved in horticulture if we had a day out and visited a country fair that had a vegetable growing competition.

It is simply wrong for the state to pass any law relating to the rules of a private competition. Would the government seriously consider making a law to ban overacting on the football pitch? Giving the police the power to curtail a footballer’s thespian leanings?

You can hear the catch slogan now… “Two to five for taking a dive? – It’s the LAW”

So… no Mr Pickles. If you believe for a second the measures are necessary then you clearly feel the state has far more right to interfere with my liberty than I do.

The state has no business whatsoever attempting to safeguard against the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport.

It is interesting to note the measures are proposed by an unelected Tory Lord who is completely unaccountable to the electorate. And that Mr Pickles, occupying a safe Tory seat as he does, is effectively only practically accountable to the Tory hierarchy.

The legislation in it’s very conception is anti democratic and authoritarian.

As for his assertion that “I will press the Government to ensure that these powers are used for their intended purpose”, at best I fear this simply demonstrates grossly misplaced optimism on his part.

We are all well aware that very little recent legislation that has been passed granting powers to the police of councils or virtually any public body has actually been used as they were allegedly intended. In practically all cases there has been creep. As I mentioned in my previous post on the subject and my letter to Mr Pickles.

So from his letter it seems he has a touchingly misplaced faith at variance with the observed facts that this legislation will, unlike most other recent legislation not be abused by those executing it. Plus a certain authoritarian belief that the state has a God given right to be intrude where it should not even be considering intruding.

Is it worth telling him do you think?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Bookie always wins

Here is an excellent example of why, when I was young, my Mother always advised me never to bet my money.

The house always wins.

This is the cautionary tale of hapless punter Cliff Bryant who trustingly placed an accumulator bet with British Bookmaker Ladbrokes that snow would fall on 24 towns and cities across the north of England on Christmas Day.

Well as it happened he was right, but like one or two insurance companies Ladbrokes were reluctant to pay out when they realised it would cost them £7.1 million - So they found a handy technical reason to avoid it and refused.

They were happy enough to take the bet, but when it came time to actually pay up they said they had accepted the bet by – get this ‘mistake’ and so would not be honouring the bet. Apparently it was somehow against their rules, even though they did take the bet.

Magnanimously they are willing to refund the punter back his original stake.

Curiously and it seems foolishly I had expected better of Bookmakers than politicians. I had thought they might actually honour their promises.

Now it seems to me that if they had honoured the bet it would have been a massive boost for their credibility and good publicity. Probably over a year it would have netted them what it cost and more.

As it is they now have a reputation of not honouring their bets, of welching - and who would trust someone with a bet who has so spectacularly shown they don’t always honour their bets?

So, next time you are thinking about placing a ‘fun’ bet, or any bet, especially with Ladbrokes, perhaps you would be better advised to think twice and spend your money on something you might actually get when you part with it.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

All wind and no Substance?

An article in the Sunday Telegraph (Jan 10th) by Cristopher Booker made almost as a throw away aside, an excellent point about the relative merits of various forms of alternative energy.

Now before I go further I should make my own views on the matter clear. I believe the UK should have, as a matter of national policy, complete energy independence. Further I believe it makes sense that this should be as clean as possible. This reguardless as to weather the theory of man made global warming is right or not.

Mr Booker’s point concerned power generation by wind turbines. He pointed out that the recent cold snap had effectively been largely windless. The point being that wind generation is not necessarily to be relied upon. Even over an area as large as the UK you can suffer a massive drop off of the power wind generators are capable of delivering.

One wonders why those who promote wind turbines so often quote near maximum out put in their figures, it would be more honest and accurate to quote averages, andy one who ever tried to fly a kite as a child knows that some days you can and some days you can’t.

If we had been reliant on wind power this winter we would have been in deep trouble.

So what can be relied upon to deliver power?

Well there are the tides. They are driven by the sun and moon and unless there were a disaster of unimaginable proportions are regular and utterly reliable.

Then there is nuclear energy. This is the route the French took decades ago, French steely self interest being less inclined to wilt before short sighted nimbi left/green luddite foot dragging.

It is interesting to note that the main reason our power generation capacity is not effectively carbon free right now is because of the Greens.

That is why not only are we not carbon free - we are in danger of soon being in a position of being unable to service our full power needs. We already have to buy nuclear generated electrical power from France.

I have said before. Surely we can use existing defunct deep coal mines to sequester spent nuclear material?

What is to prevent us building nuclear power facilities underground near the top of such mines and sequestering the spent fuel deep in the geologically stable depths of the mines. If there were ever a leak it would be contained underground and no spent fuel would need to travel overland.

It is also worth noting that recent evidence suggests that low levels of radiation may be far less dangerous than originally supposed at the dawn of the atomic age, even Green Patriarch and possibly now former poster boyJames Lovelock is now in favour of generating electricity by means of nuclear energy

With enough spare power capacity the possibility opens up of generating hydrogen from seawater in sufficient quantities to substitute it for petrol in internal combustion engines. The technology to burn Hydrogen in an internal combustion engine is relatively simple and could easily be adopted.

The only emissions from vehicles running on hydrogen would be water vapour then those inclined to hate 4WD vehicles would need to find some other excuse to do so. I suspect we can be assured they would do so.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Another brick in the wall

Here is yet another truly sinister piece of proposed UK legislation and it goes to show that it is not just Labour who has little concern for citizens rights.

Tory Lord Moynihan has drawn up a draft Bill to give the police powers to search for performance enhancing drugs.

His ostensible reason, he claims, is to help prevent Olympic athletes cheating with performance enhancing drugs come the 2012 Olympics.

This sounds almost acceptable - if you are the sort of person who does not bother to to think to closely about these things.

The first thing to consider about any legislation is how it might go wrong because it has been poorly drafted.

It is unlikely the bill will be able to distinguish between ordinary citizens and athletes, let alone Olympians.

Also this relates not to so-called illegal drugs whatever you consider the merits or otherwise of prohibition. This relates to drugs which it may be perfectly legal to posess, may even be medically necessary for some conditions, but that also may enhance athletic performance.

My elderly mother is on steroids of some sort. She is therefore certainly in possession of what might be considered “performance enhancing drugs”.

The second thing is to ignore the claimed reason for it and consider what powers it will actually give to the state and it’s increasingly politicised police ‘service’.

You can be absolutely certain, whatever the ostensible reason for the additional powers, the police, or anyone else given them, will be using them to the fullest extent that is possible.

If you doubt this you only have to look at the lawful, but effectively misuse, of legislation that has resulted in the police harassing innocent photographers.

Or the violent ejection of an elderly Labour Party conference attendee from Conference when he made the mistake of criticising the Government.

Or the hundreds of incidences of local councils misusing anti terrorist legislation to spy on people’s refuse bin use, or where they live.

So what will this proposed piece of authoritarian legislation do? Apparently it will allow the police to raid a place of residence, for no better reason than to seize perfectly legal (if performance enhancing) drugs.

Another significant chunk of your and my right to live unmolested by an increasingly authoritarian state being gradually and stealthily stolen away while you don’t notice - and it is just too much bother to make a fuss over such a small thing.

Why this time? For the truly world shattering and absolute necessity to make it a little bit more difficult to cheat at sports. Even if it were instead supposed to save lives it might be a price too high to pay

You should be concerned. Don’t just sit there. Take 5 minutes to actually do something. Complain to your MP. It is easy and completely free, just go to the ‘They work for you’ site. Enter your post code plus a few details and the site will forward your note to your MP.

If you can’t think of how to put your objection then just paste this in:

Dear Sir/Madam/etc.,

I am writing to you as my MP, my representative in Parliament to make you aware of my strong objections to Lord Moynihan’s draft bill that proposes to give the police powers to search residences for, otherwise legal drugs, that enhance athletic performance in time for the 2012 London Olympics.

Even with safeguards this legislation poses a great risk to our rights and liberties. It is a case of the proverbial hammer being used to crack the nut. All in the name of sports.

Many people require these so-called “performance enhancing” drugs on a daily basis for their health. Such legislation could theoretically mean police would have the power to search the homes of many people who have nothing to do with the Olympics.

We have seen a number of recent instances where other supposedly laudable, but draconian, legislation has effectively been trivially misused in ways we were assured would never occur when the legislation was passed, take the matter of councils spying in on household refuse for but one instance. I am sure like the rest of us you must be well aware of others.

If these powers are granted they will inevitably be used and more.

Can you please advise me, in clear language, weather you intend to represent me, my views and oppose this legislation, or not.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to your reply.

yours faithfully

#your name here#

Quote of the day

"The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to "create" rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting."

William J. Brennan, Jr

"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."

Abraham Lincoln

Monday, 4 January 2010

I told you so

I don't generally crow about "I'told you sos", but it seems the UK has just had the coldest December in 30 years. Now it is January and the Met Office are now predicting yet more snow and sub-zero temperatures. More Severe Weather warnings have been issued.

This is a world away from from the mild winter predicted earlier.

One suspects the sharp contrast between the long term forecasts and the actual weather we get may be driven by more a tendancy to slant long term forecasts towards the warmest possible outcome, based on a conviction of the reality of global warming and maybe a problem with connecting possible climate change with actual climate.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Well it's the new year - Happy New Year one and all!

Traditionally the new year is a time when we make resolutions - and generally fail to keep them :-)

Why do we do this?

It probably stems from that feeling of renewal, the fresh start. The old year is tired and worn out. It may be it went well, it may be it was a dissapointment, it may have been average with both good and bad.

Henry Ward Beecher said: "Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past."

However 2009 was we draw an artificial line in the... snow? Ahead there are no footprints, what is in front is virgin, unspoiled territory waiting for us.

The moving finger has not writ... yet. We can have a hand in what is writ if we care to. That is the sense that drives us to make resolutions.

The fact is that is true... every... single... day.

Welcome to the first day of the rest of your lives, It will be true of each new dawn we see. Always there is - potential. The trick is to remember it and not loose the wonder and the will.