Wednesday, 29 December 2010

But who decides?

Let's see how this 'Big Society' thing works shall we?

People could give to charity every time they use bank cards in shops or at cash machines, the government has said.
 So you mean beyond the collection tins on many shop counters, the charity muggers on the high street, the envelopes dropped through your letterbox and the door to door collectors, the government has decided we need more opportunity to give to charity?

They could also be prompted to give money when they fill in tax returns, or apply for passports and driving licences, the Cabinet Office suggested.

We're already prompted to give money when we do all those things, that's the reason we have to do those things in the first place. What they mean to say is we could be prompted to give more money.

Lottery winners would get thank-you letters from ministers if they donated large sums to good causes.

Oh, that would be the icing on the cake, wouldn't it? Only a politician would think that winning a lottery prize would be made better by some arseclown, who is probably due to be sacked, voted out or convicted of stealing the equivalent of a nice lottery win from the taxpayer, sending a letter telling you what a good little drone you are.

But here's the thing, who decides what constitutes a 'good cause'? Of all the big charities, the only two I have any faith in are the RNLI and Help for Heroes. As far as I know, neither of these two take any cash from taxes. Both these charities save lives. Both these charities stand for what I believe charities should do. I'm betting that the 'good causes' the politicians have in mind are probably made up of the usual suspects: the RSPCA, who seem to no longer really care about the animals, all they care about are prosecutions and taking people to court to make them donate. The NSPCC, who spend most of their time spreading fear about noncism and picking the very lowest of the low hanging fruit. ASH who, well, go see Dick and Leggy.

To me, this looks like a scheme to get even more money out of our pockets and into those of organisations who already take a hefty portion of their income from the tax pot. You and I are well aware of the fake charity scam, but the vast majority of people aren't. When the subject arises and I explain my objections, I am looked at as if I've just said the moon is actually a giant vanilla cheesecake and the Royal Family are alien zombie robot lizards from space.

'But, but, they're charities.' It does not compute. It's kinda like pointing out to a seven year old child that Father Christmas doesn't exist. The bottom lip goes out, it is contrary to the evidence available. The TV goes on about him, he saw him at the shopping centre, the toys from Santa arrived the previous Christmas, even the mince pie and carrot were reduced to crumbs. So how can this be the case?

Here's a line to strike fear into all our hearts:

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said it was not an attempt to "compel" people but to encourage the "big society" agenda championed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

And we all know what happens when government calls for something to be voluntary, optional or safe-regulating, and the preferred choice is not taken up, don't we children? Yes, that's right, they'll just pass a law.

The Big Society is goverment telling us 'give us your money, and we'll decided where it is best spent, once we've taken an admin fee, natch.'
Where's the difference?

Friday, 24 December 2010

A Christmas Message.

From Sir Norman Tedium-Custard, Head of Department.

Dear Staff,

It is at this time of year that I find myself looking back over the past twelve months at the challenges we have faced and the progress we have made. This year it is a matter of considerable pride to me that this department has performed in the best traditions of the civil service. We have been given a number of new policies to implement by our new coalition government, all of which we have been able to studiously ignore whilst persuading the minister that we're doing exactly what he wants. The fact that we've been able to do this whilst significantly increasing the tedious form filling required by our customers and stakeholders and ensuring that our most vital staff are the ones staring down the barrel of job cuts, thus entering the festive period with a wonderful feeling of dread, shows that this department is well ahead of the game.

I appreciate that some of you are fearful about what the future holds, but as I said we're all in this together. Well, you are, I'm not. I've decided it is now appropriate for me to spend more time with my pension, chalet in Chamonix and beach house in Bermuda, so at the ripe old age of 55, I'm taking retirement in the new year. I'm looking forward to pottering about the garden, supervising the staff as they re-plant the orchard, repoint the paving around the swimming pool and put a new roof on the stables. Don't worry, I'll have plenty of work to do, especially when I take up my six figure sum, three day a month non-exec post at MegaCorp in the spring.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome my successor, Dame Greta Arseclown-Um Bongo who is moving up from the second in command position in the Department of Equality, Diversity and Political Correctness. I'm delighted to relate that she's already informed me of her intention to completely change as many of our systems of work as possible in as quick a time as possible, whilst at the same time cutting back on the training resources available to you and making the new policies completely impractical for your daily work lives. I know that she's a strict disciplinarian who will not accommodate any dissent or debate while she is ruthlessly following her own agenda. It promises to be an exciting time.

All that remains is for me to wish you an agreeable winter holiday period, free of overt religious overtones, unless you are not Chrisitian, in which case I'm sure the department will spend a good deal of time and effort promoting the deity of your choice. Eat moderately and plainly, or you may find that our colleagues from the Dept. of Health have no option but to withold treatment from you should you become ill. The same goes for drink as well, so it is best avoided. I am hopeful that you all manage to get your families around you, and hope that you bear in mind your diversity training when old Uncle George starts making his racist comments over the Iceland Christmas buffet which I'm sure all you little people bung in the oven for Christmas.

And please remember, if you do have to smoke at home over Christmas, that you should exit your property and walk to the end of the garden path so as to comply with the policy in place at work. I am a senior civil servant and thus know what is best for you.

I'll be eating, drinking and smoking like some deranged Regency period socialite, but then private medical healthcare cover for life is part of my settlement.

Have Fun!

Sir Norman Tedium-Custard.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Oh no! Whatever shall we do?

I used to like the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, I especially enjoyed the episode where Francis, the elder brother, incited his classmates at the military school he attended into participating in a hunger strike. The reaction from the Commandant in mocking tones was, 'Ohhhh, make it stop.' He then went on to tuck into a nice big dinner.

Resistance is not futile. But you have to be a bit smart about what form your resistance takes.

Students occupying a University of Kent building to protest at education cuts and the rise in tuition fees say they are prepared to continue their sit-in over Christmas.

Ooooh, ouch. That'll have Dastardly Dave and Nasty Nick feeling very morose as they tuck into their organic, ethically sourced, environmentally sustainable turkey on Christmas Day.

The university, which is shutting for Christmas on Wednesday, said earlier it would seek a possession order.

Some of the students who originally took part in the sit-in have now returned home for the Christmas holidays but those who remained said they would stay put.

They've started to cut and run.

The students demanded that the vice-chancellor Julia Goodfellow should publicly condemn, through the university website, the Parliamentary vote for the rise in tuition fees and the proposed cuts in education.

They also demanded that she retract herself as signatory of a letter published in the Daily Telegraph on 8 December.

But maybe she doesn't agree with your point of view? What would your reaction be if the VC witheld your degree certificates until you publicly declared your support for the budget cuts and the increase in tuition fees? You'd be up in arms, wouldn't you? So what gives you the right to hold a gun to the woman's head?

If you disagree, then fine. But that's life, there's plenty of stuff this government is doing that I disagree with. What you are demanding is that people have their money taken off them, under threat of prison, and given to you. Why? Because you feel you are entitled to other peoples' money? My only demand is that the State gets the hell out of my life.

Anyhow, word has reached me from contacts at UKC of some very depressing news. Apparently, this sit in does not cover going out of the building for a shower, they've been doing that, and security have been letting them back in to resume their protest. And the same has held true for going for a cigarette.

Yes, smoking.

They've occupied a building, and so annoyed the university authorities that they've had to apply to the courts to resolve the occupation. But they've gone outside for a smoke?

Give me strength. Did the stormers of the Winter Palace wipe their boots before going over the threshold? Did the leaders of the Solidarity movement moderate their language to stop the communist government of Poland getting their feelings hurt? Did Bolivar use wooden swords and pop guns so his imperial overlords wouldn't suffer any nasty injuries?

For God's sake, when did our students become so supine and spineless? Where's the devil-may-care attitude? Where's the 'fuck you, I won't do what you tell me' sneer? Where's the passion?

I could weep for what our students have become. I may not agree with them, but if you're going to break the rules, then break them.

Just for that, I hope they stay in over Xmas, and I hope the VC cuts off the heating, electricity and water in the building.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Ramblings of a madman.

It is too easy to throw brickbats and not hand out credit where it is due. I try to redress that balance wherever possible. So this afternoon I doff my cap to Vince Cable, who has proven himself to be even more deluded than Gordon Brown, and that, dear reader, is no mean feat.

It has been a funny few weeks for Vinnie, first there were his frankly bizarre attempts to block the election of Andrew Withers as the leader of the Libertarian Party. Quite why he thought that a cabinet member gets to rubber stamp the appointment of officials to a party he is not a member of will probably remain a mystery.

Then this morning, the Torygraph broke the story of Vinnie's even more bizarre claims to a couple of undercover reporters that he could bring down the government. Alone. Hubris which conjures up images of Ron Burgundy in my mind. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing Vinnie could bring down is himself.

Well, true to form Vinnie has moved from tittle-tattle territory into barking at the moon, batshit mental. Quite why the Telegraph held this portion back, I don't know, but Vince has also declared war on Rupert Murdoch, this is jaw droppingly bizarre, given that the EU, an organisation he probably thinks about whilst masturbating furiously in bed, has given Murdoch's take over of BSkyB the green light.

He really does think he is the law. Although this seems to be the mark of the big 3 (plus the Greens and the BNP); the rule of law is vital, up until such time as it becomes inconvenient.

I'll bet the Tories are delighted.

He thinks he can win. I think he's a mentalist.

All the fears about the Lib Dems are being realised, to see the fall of Neil Clark (or whatever his name is) and Vinnie C from national treasures to national pariahs in the space of a couple of weeks is remarkable. The pair have overseen the total destruction of their party, and as the Tories are hopelessly, helplessly wedded to them, I find the whole scenario sweeter than honey.

Perhaps a collapse will force Miliband minority out into the open and actually make him act like a leader? This would be a good thing as I'm convinced he's a trade union stooge who is desperately out of his depth, his continued silence on everything is most annoying. Once he opens his trap, Labour will be back in the shit again.

Wonderful. Do keep it up chaps. Who needs Corrie and Eastenders when real life is so riveting and amusing?

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Who is at fault?

I had either the good fortune, or bad fortune, I haven’t made up my mind yet, of listening to some half-wit chuntering away on the wireless last night.

The poor old sod was stuck in his car on the M6 near Wigan in the snow, having travelled about a quarter of a mile in about three and a half hours.

One feels a degree of sympathy, as it would appear that our transport system is, once again, completely unprepared for the winter weather we tend to get in winter.

My sympathy began to waver when I heard his plaintive cries about lack of action, lack of information (it’s snowing, you’re on the motorway, traffic has stopped, use your imagination – in this case a jack-knifed HGV) and that calls to the Greater Manchester Police non-emergency number had resulted in referral to the Highways Agency. Well, it wasn’t an emergency, so that sounds about right to me.

Apart from it could have been an emergency.

You see, despite advice from a copper with scrambled egg all over the peak of his cap, the usual stuff, you know, ‘the weather is very bad, do not travel unless it is a matter of life or death’ that was given out that afternoon, this man was in his car with a colleague of his who was eight and a half months pregnant.

No, he wasn’t taking her to the hospital in an act of fraternal solidarity. He was giving her a lift home, and found himself stuck in the snow, with a very pregnant woman, returning from their office Christmas party.

My sympathy evaporated quicker than a Scottish footballer playing in a Qatari world cup match when I discovered they were estate agents.

So, senior copper says stay at home, and what do you do? Take your pregnant colleague out into the snow to attend the office shindig?

And you have the nerve to demand to know who is at fault for your current predicament?

OK, here’s how you find out. Whilst you're sat behind the wheel of your immobile car, the fuel tank indicator needle inexorably drifting to the red ‘E’ as you keep the engine running to power the blower, look up at the centre of the top of the windscreen. Just tilt that mirror until you see a face in it. That is the person at fault, you utter, utter mong.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The beauty of crowds.

The term 'flash-mob' usually conjures up images of people stripping a store of its contents en masse, or a lightning strike demonstration by a group of concerned individuals.

I like flash-mobs, I may not agree with something they are demonstrating against or for, I certainly don't agree with a pack of criminals picking some poor sod's shop clean, but I do like the dynamic, especially in terms of demonstration, where a group of people can turn up and leave the authorities completely exposed and unprepared for the crowd. There's something energising about it, even if it can result in destruction of property and vandalism. I suppose my delight comes from the fact that some people still realise that they can get together and organise themselves without the all pervasive hand of the State coming in to co-ordinate.

There are many motivations for flash-mobbing, and the below is one of the most beautiful I've seen, or more correctly perhaps, heard. The motivation here is commercial, it is clearly a low-cost, viral ad. But it is a thing of rare beauty.

Sit back, watch, listen, enjoy and think how thrilling it must have been to have had that going on about you with no warning at all.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Just take it.

I don't have any horses. Not one. Therefore, for me to pay for a stable, hay, oats and a stable lad would be a ridiculous waste of money. Thus I do not pay for these.

I am thankful that my health has always been good, however the time may come when I need to make use of the National Insurance contributions that are taken from me, without so much as a by your leave, every month. I'd be very annoyed if I needed the service having paid all this money, only to be told that I was prohibited from using it.

Dick Puddlecote has highlighted the following:

It's been coming for a while, but NHS West Kent have become the first health authority to actively pursue a comprehensive policy of restricting treatment based on social criteria.

The policy document states that:

From this month, patients who smoke and need planned surgery will have to complete a NHS Stop Smoking course before their operation.
Patients who are clinically obese or with a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30 will also have their surgery delayed and will have to carry out a weight loss programme. Health bosses said that losing the weight would reduce the length of hospital stay and lessen the risk of complication.

It's a good job I don't live in Kent. . .

Oh, bugger.

That's alright, though, there's no way that anyone else in the county would do the same. It isn't as if savings have to be made to accommodate the legions of non-surgical management and outreach diversity equality community bollock juggling officers is there?

Oh, bugger.

I would raise merry hell if he were denied treatment. Leave aside the anti-smoking dog whistle for a moment. I pay my NI contributions because I am forced to. If I were not forced to, I would take out a cheaper, better, private healthcare package. I would pay a premium for this as I would declare my smoking.

As a smoker I also pay a premium on top of the NI contributions to cover my NHS treatment in the form of the duty on the tobacco I buy.

So I pay for a service, and am then told that even though I pay for it, I am to be denied treatment? There's a word for that, it'll come to me in a moment. . .

Ah yes. Fraud. That's it.

Oh don't worry, I am but a filthy smoker, I deserve everything I get, I am untermensch. If you drink alcohol, or eat food that does not fit the dictated standard, they'll do the same to you, too.

Yeah, OK, snort with derision. Don't believe me, I really couldn't care less. When they go after the drinkers, they don't mean you, you who sit there with your glass of Chianti classico riserva with your dinner, they mean the chavs who get dosed up on slut petrol before hitting the vertical drinking establishments on a Friday night. When they go after the fatty food eaters, they don't mean you, you who eat your filet mignon with duck fat chips, they mean the pram faced single mums who serve up fat and salt ridden microwave meals to their multi-coloured offspring in the estate on the other side of town seven nights a week.

Sail on, it has nothing to do with you, you're a good boy or girl, you do what you're told. I am evil, I deserve to be turned away. I should probably be chained to the hospital gates to act as a warning to the others like me.

Scum, scum, scum. I'm scum.

Fine. Well, Leg-Iron has hit a nerve with me, and I'll act like fucking scum. You'll not like it, but then I couldn't give a toss.

Don't take my money, eject me from the game and still expect to play nicely. It ain't gonna happen, chum.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Yes, but what does it mean?

I'm sat here watching the students, and some of their hangers on, attempting to recreate the poll tax riots. And failing. A couple of pointers for them:

  • If you want to go for it, you'll have to take the majority of the population with you. From the feedback I've seen, you don't got them. 
  • If you want to go for it, you need to hit hard and hit early before the police get themselves sorted. 
  • If you want to protest about the government not taking money from everyone to pay for your BA in Hollyoaks in its entirety, then don't start waving anarchist banners about, that isn't how anarchism works. Anarchism is the total absence of government. No government means you pay for the lot. 
  • Get some decent slogans, your ones are pathetic.

Anyhow, it is obvious that the trouble makers are a minority, and I have no doubt that the event has been hijacked to an extent by a group of people who just like smashing stuff up, but then that's life.

My attention lies away from the demo in London though, it is directed towards the left wing politicians, and the media, especially the BBC. One word has been trotted out ad infinitum today, and I'm struggling to put it into any meaningful context. The word? 'Progressive'.

Listening to Radio 5 in the car (the only option down here because music radio, endlessly playing the same 5 shite songs all day bores the arse off me) 'Progressive' is used in a positive sense. This policy is not progressive. One can only draw the conclusion that a progressive policy is desirable.

To me, progressive suggests a journey. But progressing to what? To my mind, a policy which moves us towards a country where the endless interference by the State is curtailed, where the freedom of the individual from mindless regulation and incessant and invasive monitoring is enabled is progressive.

What we have here is a demonstration from people who want the government to force us, under threat of imprisonment, to hand over our cash, via them, to fund the desire of some individuals to go to university. That, to me, is not progressive, it is reinforcing the idea that the State must take from the whole of society to bankroll the desires of one group.

As an aside, I think the whole thing is too broad, as is always the way with law these days. I'm actually quite happy for my taxes to be spent on the education of those who would leave Uni with degrees in subjects like medicine, engineering, the sciences - stuff that benefits the economy and the country as a whole. If we can be world class in these areas, we will all reap the benefits. However I do object to the idea that cash should be taken from me to fund what is little more than a lifestyle choice from people who will study degree courses that will not really be of any benefit to the individual, let alone the country as a whole. As a general guide, any subject which has the word 'studies' in the course title. I also have concerns over 'ology' if not prefaced with the two letters 'bi', I'll let 'archae' slide as well, as long as we don't get thousands of them.

I digress. Progressive is a weasel word, used to disguise the real feeling the user wants to impart.

Progressive is a word that you will rarely hear someone outside the left use, when it is used by the left, I can only imagine that the thing they want to progress to is, well, it doesn't bear thinking about.

What they mean is 'fair'.

Fairness is a subjective term. Is it fair that students will have to cough up? Well, if you're about to embark on a university course, it doesn't seem fair at all. If you've left school at 16, trained as a plumber and have just struck out on your own with no or little help, then it seems perfectly fair.

So, can we stop the use of this word? Perhaps the term 'weasel word' isn't quite accurate. I prefer a term like 'cattle-prod word', a term that is couched in such a way that one is designed to feel guilt about going against it. It is a form of bullying and is used to suggest that we are all moving forwards together. To be frank, it makes me shudder.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I'll not bloody bother then.

I was going to write something about Wikileaks and the arrest of Assange.

Dick Puddlecote has written a bloody brilliant article on the story, so I'll not even try. I'll just shut up and sit down.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

For The Death Of The Game.

I've been a bit slack recently. I've been doing mental gymnastics for the last couple of weeks. The axe has finally fallen, thankfully I've been spared, this time. What does not make it comfortable for me is that some good people will lose their jobs and in close proximity for me. Whilst I'm relieved that my execution has been stayed for the present, it is tinged with the very real sadness that when the process is completed some people for whom I have a good deal of respect and admiration will be gone. It sucks, but that is the situation and nothing will change that, I say this in the knowledge that one day, and that day may come soon, I may be amongst their number. This is not sanctuary, it is merely temporary respite.

It is not bad news, however. My office has been reorganised and our remit and way of working completely overhauled. It is going to be challenging, and there's a lot of new stuff to learn, but I'm looking forward to it.

I mention this to explain my recent silence on here. I've not had the drive to do anything for the last few days, all my mental energy has been taken up trying to understand the lie of the land in my Brave New World.

I'm directing my attention to the big story of the week, even if a number of you will reject it as an irrelevance. We've had a former MP pleading guilty and waiting to see what his future will be, another has been stripped of his seat and banned from standing for election, the students continue to demand that money be taken from other people and given to them and some odd people have decided to superglue themselves to a clothes store in London, because they don't hand over more money than they have to. Probably because they'll see it disappear into the pockets of students.

But let's be frank, the big story has been the awarding of the world cup finals tournaments to Russia and Qatar.

The spilling of bile over this in the British media has been quite surprising, yet at the same time utterly predictable. My reaction has been to prickle at the lack of transparency and yet to remain stoic about the situation.

I can't get too animated about it as FIFA are a private club, they do not take any of my cash. However I know corruption and injustice when I see it.

Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president has now done his job, he's been the power in the game since he was FIFA Secretary General and playing nominal second fiddle to the equally repulsive Joao Havelange, the man whom he subsequently replaced as President. He is, without doubt, an Adidas placeman and has delivered on his promise to take the World Cup to places it has never been before. We only need to look at his record since his star began the rise to its zenith and where the World Cup has set up camp:

1994 - USA
1998 - France
2002 - Japan/South Korea
2006 - Germany
2010 - South Africa
2014 - Brazil
2018 - Russia
2022 - Qatar

He's always been about taking the tournament to new territories, and with the exception of France (who had not hosted the tournament since 1938) and Germany (who hosted in '74) the tournament is breaking new ground. Brazil may be an established footballing power, but it is a power base which has existed in the European leagues for the last 40 years, domestically the league is a disaster with crumbling stadia, poor attendence figures and last minute rule changes to the already labyrinthine relegation system to prevent the big names from suffering the drop. Brazil may have hosted the tournament in 1950, but it is a very different world now, and recent gun battles between a very eager police force and exceptionally violent drugs gangs highlight what a dicey place Brazil can be if you don't have serious cash to hide behind. I have yet to see any evidence that Brazil has the infrastructure to host the tournament.

The tournaments held in the US and Japan/South Korea were logistically excellent tournaments. Football is the only show in town in Korea, as evidenced by their continued qualification since the 1986 tournaments, but one would hardly call them a powerhouse. Football is far from the sport of choice in the US and Japan, and yet both have stable, successful and credible leagues which hold their own. The legacy of the tournaments being held in those three countries can be reasonably called a success.

Then we come to South Africa. Thankfully the disasters which were predicted never materialised, (and they may not also materialise in Brazil), but one wonders what the legacy of the tournament will be. One may always associate South Africa with the money rich white sports of rugby union and cricket, but football is massive in South Africa, but the national team has a patchy to poor record and their club sides, whilst attracting enormous support, do not have the same pedigree as their rivals in Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It will always be the lot of African clubs to see their brightest talents head over to Europe at the first opportunity. I don't see how the legacy of the tournament will change South African football in any meaningful sense. However, Blatter was elected on the back of a strong African vote, and having pretty much gone back on his promise to gift the finals to Africa in '06, it would have been political suicide to have them go anywhere else, and to be fair, where else in Africa could they have gone?

Blatter had hitched his wagon to a World Cup world tour, and now the increasingly bizarre circus has to follow the pattern. This is how we find ourselves looking towards Russia in 2018, no world cup in Eastern Europe thus far, so off they go. Given that Russia has recently been (unsurprisingly) described as a mafia state in the wikileaks story, you can only imagine what happened behind closed doors and hotel bars (incidentally, IOC members can no longer even accept a drink from a campaign team following the reformation in light of the Salt Lake City vote rigging scandal) to secure the tournament's journey eastwards. Abramovic was involved, and nothing he's involved in can be described as transparent.

Then we have the utterly ridiculous decision to award the tournament to Qatar in 2022. Qatar, who have never qualified for a major tournament, who have a domestic league populated by a parade of creaking hasbeen superstars making one last massive payday, who have a landmass 100 miles by 50 miles and an average summer temperature that will fry an egg in three minutes. The options are, play at 6am, play at 10pm, play in nothing but air-conditioned indoor stadia, or as has been suggested, play the tournament in January and February.

Herein lies the very dangerous game Blatter and his 23 chums are playing with their own positions, let alone the future of the sport. By choosing Russia, they've ridden roughshod over not only the English, but also the Portuguese, Spanish, Belgians and Dutch. Granted the Sunday Times and Panorama stories did not help (but then would we moan if the papers had broken the story of MP's expenses two days before the election? No, of course we wouldn't), but there is only so much the established European powers will take. Suggesting holding the world cup in January and February, slap bang in the middle of the European season (when a number of the leagues will only just have come out of an inconvenient winter break) will cause uproar, and if Blatter is trying to annoy the national federations in Europe, then he's going the right way about it.

Similar for the 2022 award, Australia had by far the best bid, and of course the world cup has never been to Oceania (yes, pedants, I know the Aussie federation is part of the Asian Confederation, but still, Australia is in Oceania), and one only has to look at Sydney's handling of the Olympics, Melbourne's Commonwealths and the regular rugby and cricket world cups to understand that the Aussies are probably the best in the world at putting this sort of thing on. To award the tournament to the Qataris in the face of this, and perfectly credible bids from the US, Japan and South Korea (bidding individually this time round) was a slap in the face to four of football's most dynamic and fastest growing markets. There is no good reason, sporting, economic, logistical or in terms of intangible 'legacy' to award the tournament to Qatar, none whatsoever, and if anything this decision is more perverse than the decision to go to Russia. I am more angry for Australia's injustice than I am for the one perpetuated against England, and get the impression that some serious money has changed hands.

So, if FIFA is so corrupt, and I believe it is (read Foul! by Andrew Jennings), and if they piss off the European powerhouses of England, Italy, Spain and Germany, and if they piss off the emerging markets of Australia, USA, Japan and South Korea, how much will it take for those federations to sit down around a table together? How difficult would it be for them to call Argentina and Brazil and form a footballing G10? How difficult would it be for them to say to FIFA 'actually, we won't be entering your world cup, we're starting our own?' How long would it take for pretty much every other federation to follow them? How long would it take for Nike, Pepsi and Burger King or Pizza Hut to come in and supplant the domination of Adidas, Coca Cola and McDonald's in FIFA?

Of course FIFA would lash out, they'd ban players, not just at international level, but also at club level. Rebel? UEFA will ban you as well, no Champions League for you. Listen to the clubs revolt, look at the sponsors leaving UEFA in droves.

The result? The death of football. We'd go from a corrupt, money grabbing and unaccountable organisation, to a corrupt, money grabbing and unaccountable organisation which would be smaller and exclude all those who don't bring anything to the table. Do you think Manchester United want to be playing Wigan, that Barcelona want to be playing Osasuna? Of course not. Do England want to play qualifiers against Montenegro? Do Brazil really want to go Peru? Not a bit of it.

They'll organise their own show, and it'll be skewed for them. It'll be every two years. It'll be on pay-per-view, and the revenues will be astronomical. The small clubs will die, the small nations will be excluded. And the death of the game will be complete.

It will all be down the corruption and self-serving attitude of those who claim to act 'for the good of the game'.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Snowed in.

Mentally as well as physically.

Normal service will resume shortly. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Friday, 26 November 2010

And so it begins. . .

Doesn't take long for things to unravel, does it? And the Euro, and perhaps the EU, is starting to look like Fraudley Harrison one minute into the third round with David Haye.

The natives are getting restless in Ireland, which is encouraging as their method of showing displeasure is pretty much the same as ours. Demos in Athens are all very well, but the song has remained the same, it takes a steely determination to change the game rather than hysterical displays.

What is galling in Ireland is that despite Fianna Fail (and how apt that name seems now) managing to wave goodbye to two thirds of their market share, the locals have plumped for Sinn Fein, a party which, as far as I can make out, is as slavishly devoted to the EuroProject as any you care to mention. Just as with the SNP, they demand independence (and will kill for it) so they can hook their wagon up to an even more overpowering organisation. England may have been a bad neighbour in the past, but the EU will not rest until they become completely homogenised Europeans. No more green, no more Gaelic, no more St. Patrick's day, just the blue rag with the yellow stars.

The Portuguese and the Spanish must have very twitchy chocolate starfish. The Swedes, those paragons of social-collectivism have come out and basically said that the piggy bank is now empty. Sky have been pointing out the yield numbers on Spanish and Portuguese bonds heading north at an alarming rate as the crowd, in a panic, sprints from Dublin to Lisbon and Madrid. It will take only one member to refuse to cough up for everyone else to follow suit, although I didn't think for one moment it would be Sweden, I was thinking of the Danes or the Germans. Once a bailout is refused, the gig is up. All the little boys in the gang will get very worried, because they know that when the fecal matter collides with the rotating air-cooling device, the big hitters will sprint off towards the horizon. Indeed the Czechs are already making noises about getting the hell out of Dodge, and the Bulgarians, new boys who must be on their very bestest behaviour in the new school are grumbling as well.

True to form, the BBC are at pains to point out leaving the Euro would be like, really difficult, and y'know, really expensive. Whereas what Ireland and Greece are going through, and what looks likely for Portugal and Spain is a walk in the bloody park and as free as a bird.

Is this how empires end?

Even if this isn't the coup de gras, the EU will be so badly wounded that the merest knock could finish it off. It won't be pretty, and I'd much rather that the EU was wound up by referenda in the individual member states, but we have to be realistic, the powers that be would never allow it. What they can't control is the markets and the markets do not like what they see. This isn't down to a financial accident, it isn't bad luck, the whole show has been built on a foundation of sand and the hope that nobody realises the Emperor is striding around bollock naked. What the EU mandarins want, almost as much as complete, unaccountable power, is cash. Without cash they cannot feather their own beds or grease palms and hand out bribes to their drones.

Make the EU bleed to death financially. I'll not be mourning.

To get all geeky for a moment, this reminds me of the Genesis planet in Star Trek 3. Created by accident when the Genesis device goes off in a battle, Ceti Alpha 5 is transformed in an instant into a habitable planet, only to tear itself apart a few months later because of the instability of the 'ingredients' in the device. Sounds like the EU to me, in geo-political terms it was cooked up in an afternoon and will fall apart just as quickly. It is unfortunate that this result in great discomfort for many people.

So obsessed have the Manadarins been with rushing headlong to the gate marked 'Statehood' that they've built a shack, and what happens to a shack when it suffers a direct hit from a hurricane?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

An interesting diversion.

My computer game consumption is very limited indeed. I'm not into the first person shooters where one runs around a virtual Afghanistan with a load of people online, they just don't do it for me. Racing games interest me for about five minutes but then lose their appeal, likewise football games in the mould of FIFA and PES, I just get bored of them.

I return time after time after time to Football Manager, the depth of the game and the almost endless scenarios and variables keep me hooked, it truly is a masterpiece. The Civilization series is also wonderful, the idea of founding a nation in the stone age and progressing it to the near future, with a simple research system, diplomacy, espionage and war is brilliant.

Beyond these two, I don't really play anything else.

The other day I downloaded a game called Rulers of Nations, which is by a small developer from France , it bills itself as a 'geo-political simulator', and it is proving to be very interesting. At the basic level the premise is that you take over the reigns of any of 165 nations and run the country. I've only had a little time to tinker about with it, in parts I'm almost overwhelmed by the detail of the game, the international trade section is really quite complex. In other parts I'm a little frustrated by the lack of detail in some areas, social policy and income tax for example are a little blunt for my liking.

The real problem I've had is that my desire to effect massive changes, especially when I possess the body of Cameron (although the picture is obviously him, all the politicans have fake names), leads to massive unrest, it would appear that change in this game has to be gradual, almost as if you are creeping up on your goals without anyone noticing. In my first game as PM of Great Britain I lasted about 6 weeks until the cabinet resigned pretty much en masse and I faced a vote of no confidence in the House.

Of course, it could be that game is skewed to the statist agenda and that the only way of running a country, as far as the game is concerned, is to run it in a mirror image of France. If that is the case, then I'm wasting my time.

One thing that was hugely entertaining was taking over in Pyongyang, only for the army to come knocking on the door and saying 'you're coming with us, pal' when I tried to bring in a free press. . .

Monday, 22 November 2010



Would a mass cash withdrawal bring down the banks? 



Next question?

And they say the BBC is being dumbed down. . .

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Rest in peace.

The Republic of Ireland, which died today.
Born in 1921 after a difficult pregnancy, the Republic of Ireland quickly became popular around the world. Famous for her literature, music, gastronomy and friendly nature, she was especially well regarded in the United States of America, New Zealand, Australia and Canada where her unofficial birthday of March 17th was celebrated with gusto.

She was a fine sporting competititor as well as a participant in the field of culture, and her output in sports and the arts belied her resources and standing in the world.

Her early and middle years were marked by an uneasy, some would say, abusive relationship with her church. It was a testament to her strength of spirit and courage that she was able to assert her own rights and beliefs whilst maintaining a close relationship with the church that had harmed her.

Relations with her half sister, Ulster, were more troubled. Regular bickering had almost escalated into full scale violence on a number of occasions, as both sisters dragged old indiscretions and arguments to the fore in a manner which gave friends and family great cause for pain. Thankfully, towards the end of her life, relations between the half sisters, who shared a common mother, were better than they had been for longer than anyone could remember.

In 1973, she married infamous bigamist, European Union. At first the union was very fruitful, especially for Ireland, and she blossomed, becoming one of the most successful wives in the household. However, following the taking of a dozen new wives by European Union in the early part of the century, Ireland found that she was no longer the youngest, prettiest wife and the relationship started to suffer. In 2008 it appeared that the relationship had broken down, however Ireland reconsidered divorce, admittedly under pressure from her husband, in 2009.

Her last days were marred by financial problems of the sort which sadly also marked the demise of fellow wife Hellas. She died in her sleep last night, just shy of her 80th birthday. She is survived by 4.4 million children, and will be missed greatly by countless millions more around the globe.

The funeral will be a private affair. Please, no flowers.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

But how? Surely this is impossible?

A Kent pub is reopening for business after villagers gave it a facelift in just one week to prevent its closure.

I wonder what help they had?

More than 100 residents donated their time and money to refurbish the pub.

What? No grants, no loans from the council, nothing like that?

They were encouraged to take action by resident Eileen Dickinson.

But how did Eileen Dickinson manage to do this? Surely this sort of thing can only be done a council employed community cohesion officer or a fourth sector volunteer coordination manager or something?

She said: "I've lived here for 20 years, and in that 20 years I've seen seven businesses disappear, and I wasn't prepared to sit back and let this happen again."

She added she decided to muster up as much support as possible, and 120 people came forward.

I'm amazed the BBC has covered this story. This is an example of people getting together, off their own bat, identifying a problem and then setting out to solve it.

No doubt that if the council had become involved, there would have been conditions attached, the whole thing would have taken six months as everyone involved would probably have had to have been CRB checked, in case anyone brought their kids along to do a spot of painting, and then they would probably have had to have sourced their materials from a preferred supplier at four times the market cost. At the last moment the plug would have pulled, or their licence revoked as it would probably have been offensive to Muslims, too near a school, not had a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender engagement policy, or something else.

This will never do.

I wish them and their pub well.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

And on the pedestal these words appear. . .

You worked hard and saved your money. You'd been aware for a little while that you'd outgrown your current home, it didn't have the facilities you need, it was getting a bit creaky and was a little cramped. You'd found out about a new house that had been built on the other side of town. The previous owners had only used it for a couple of weeks before they realised that they didn't really need it anymore and couldn't afford to run it.

Granted the new house was a good distance from your traditional home and wasn't in the best area of town, plus it certainly wasn't cheap, but it fitted the bill. You were just about to finalise the deal when the current owner said 'I know you're paying a lot of money for this place, but even though you're buying it, you're not allowed to change any of the decoration, you can't put up that conservatory you were thinking about and three or four times a year you and your family have to get out of the house for the night so my friends and I can have a dinner party in your dining room.'

As a result, you walk away and the current owner still has this huge house on his hands. He doesn't live there, the lights are turned off most nights and the bill to stop the house falling into disrepair slowly bankrupts him. The house is very high cost and as it isn't being looked after, it becomes a risk to the public who have to pour money in to stop it falling onto neighbouring properties. The current owner is now quite happy, the public pay for the upkeep, don't change the wallpaper and still let him have his dinner parties.

What am I going on about?

The Olympic Stadium, of course.

Tottenham Hotspur have been looking at taking the site over once the games are finished. White Hart Lane just isn't suitable for a Champions League calibre club any more, and the Olympic Stadium was one of the options they were looking at. To be fair to Spurs, they've also got plans for a new ground adjacent to their current site which are quite advanced, but as a sensible business, they've looked around to explore all options.

For what it is worth, I don't think a move to East London is a good idea for Spurs. You can't just uproot a club from one area of town and drop them in another, especially when the area they would be going to has their own very well established club, who are a huge part of the fabric of that area of town and also have designs on the stadium themselves.

This is ridiculous though:

Tottenham's proposal to take over London's Olympic Stadium with AEG after the Games in 2012 is "completely unacceptable" to UK Athletics (UKA).

Along with West Ham, Spurs have been named as a preferred bidder, but their plan to "rip up the athletics track" is anathema to UKA chairman Ed Warner.

"It is [essential] for Tottenham and AEG to go back to the original promise made in 2005," Warner told BBC Sport.

"That was about UK Athletics being at the heart of the Olympic Park." 

Well, if you want to be at the heart of it, then you pay for it chum. Don't be selling it off to the highest bidder and then demanding that they accommodate you. It doesn't work like that.

This is an 80,000 seater stadium, that will make it the third largest stadium in England, not even Manchester United have a stadium that big. Spurs themselves are talking about reducing the capacity by 20,000.

What's the issue here? Why can't they just play behind the athletics track? Because put simply, an athletics track is deadly to the atmosphere in a football stadium. Supporters of both Juventus and Torino hated the lavish Stadio delle Alpi in Turin when they played there as it put the support miles away from the pitch and the atmosphere dissipates into the air. Espanyol, who played at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona have recently moved into their own gaff and are much much happier to have the running track gone. Bayern and 1860 Munich were also delighted to leave the bizarre Olympiastadion in the city for the purpose built Allianz Arena, although it has worked out less well for 1860 who are still tenants.

Running tracks around football pitches just don't work.

You may hate football, but I would still suggest you'd recognise the ridiculous situation whereby someone buys a property for their own use, only for the previous users to impose conditions of use once the sale has gone through.

Why don't UK Athletics just use the site themselves? Because they just cannot afford it. The current 'home' of athletics in this country, Crystal Palace (National Sports Centre) has a capacity of 15,000 which can be extended to 24,000 with temporary seating. How often is it used? Not very. With the AAA championships, occasional Grand Prixs, the Diamond League meeting and if they are lucky the very occasional European and or World Cup, probably about eight to ten times a year where they have the prospect of having anything approaching a decent crowd. Running a stadium is an expensive business, and with such a paltry selection of events, there's no way they can break even, let alone turn a profit. The Diamond League is the closest thing to the Olympic games, the world's top performers meet up to compete out of their national vests. I can't find the attendance figures for the Crystal Palace meet, but I'd be amazed if it played to a full house of 24,000, athletics just isn't a big draw. Everyone's interest peaks once every four years but after that it slides back into obscurity behind both rugby codes, cricket and the behemoth that is football.

We hear a lot about 'legacy'. Well I'm afraid the legacy will be a parade of barely used sporting facilities which will never again experience the glory of the olympics. Without Spurs, or more likely West Ham, taking over the stadium, the people of Stratford will be left with a huge stadium which sits empty. West Ham seem to be accepting of the idea of a running track, but I'll tell you this, their passionate support will not like it one iota, and they will not be shy in letting Sullivan and Gould (the club's owners) know that the track has to go.

If neither club moves in, who do you think will pick up the tab?

Let's just see what has happened to the stadia for the last few Olympic Games:

2008 - Beijing - Recently used as a snow theme park - plans to turn it into a shopping and entertainment complex. - White elephant.

2004 - Athens - Sometime home to Panathinaikos, AEK Athens and Athens 2004 football clubs. Occasional atheltics use.

2000 - Sydney - Athletics track removed, used for soccer, rugby, Aussie rules and cricket. No call for huge atheltics stadium.

1996 - Atlanta - Atheltics track removed, renamed Turner Field, now baseball specific stadium for the Atlanta Braves. - No call for huge atheltics stadium.

1992 - Barcelona - Now lying empty following the departure of RCD Espanyol, hosted the 2010 European Athletics Championships to very sparse crowds. - White elephant.

In every case they have either been reconfigured, because once the games have gone they just don't need a 60,000 + seater athletics stadium, or it sits as an empty venue which is used occasionally and without  success.

The legacy of the olympic games will be a huge white elephant, soaking up millions of tax payers' money and standing as a monument to the hubris and vanity of the politicians and athletics administrators.

My name is Ozymandias, King of kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

And that's not all. . .

Let's see, what missiles are being thrown our way today?

People who are exposed to the second-hand smoke from others' cigarettes are at increased risk of hearing loss, experts believe.

Oh good, it is nice to see they believe in something. They probably decide they believe in Father Christmas around 23rd December. Where is this item of research from? Which august publication has this startling revelation?

The latest study in the journal Tobacco Control, involving more than 3,000 US adults, suggests the same is true of passive smoking.

Obviously no vested interest here then.

"Hearing loss can often be very frustrating and lead to social isolation, if not quickly addressed. 

Good, because I'm not bloody listening to you.

"Before you next light up a cigarette, consider how it could impact not only on your own long-term hearing but your friends' and relatives' too."

OK, will do. But not as much as I'll consider how it will impact your vision, when I stub it out on your cornea, you utter mong.

Meanwhile, over at Harvard. . .

Mothers who puff a pack a day or more while pregnant run a 30-percent higher risk of having kids who become criminal offenders, according to a study published Tuesday…

Well hang on, what about control groups? What about mothers who visit McDonalds throughout pregnancy? What about mothers who had a drink every day? What about mothers who wear odd coloured socks? What effect do they have? I think we should be told.

Elsewhere, Hugh Jarse of The Institute of Mythical Anthropology and Zoology said this:

'Passive smoking attracts goblins and imps to the house, and smoking when pregnant increases the chances of your newborn being replaced by a fairy changeling by up to a percentage I'm just about to make up. It also makes you very greedy. Dragons smoke all the time, and those selfish bastards are obsessed with gold. I am getting paid for this, aren't I?'

I made one of those studies up, I'll leave it up to you to guess which one.

You have the power.

It is important to know what you can do and what you can't. OH for example has run a couple of articles on this very point. I neither condone nor condemn Holby's suggestions for behaviour. Your rights are not conditional upon anything, written down, they are a simple statement of fact. How you use your rights is up to you.

Don't assume that people in 'authority' will always play by the spirit of the rules, if not the actual rules themselves. Whilst 'they' may not actually be breaking any rules, some people will attempt to use your ignorance of the rules to get the better of you, or by hiding things in plain sight to trip you up.

As Ambush Predator pointed out the other day:

She said: ‘We couldn't believe it and were annoyed that other people in our group got in. I would like to know what we can and can't do.

So go and find out then. No-one is going to tell you, you'll have to do some research and some reading, no biggie, just takes a little thought. It is in nobody's interests but yours, so don't expect anyone to take an interest other than you.

However it does not follow that people in authority WILL attempt to hoodwink you or bully you, but one should be aware of the potential. Always think before you act or speak, and as a general rule of thumb, if you're not sure, do and say nothing.

The Libertarian Party blog has posted up a notice from an acting police inspector about the fitwatch website. Now, I've little time for the students and their protest. Firstly because they are asking for money to be taken from people under threat of imprisonment to give them a material advantage over others. That sounds like extortion to me. Secondly, as soon as you start throwing objects at police officers any sympathy I do have vanishes.

The police often get it wrong, usually in the Senior Management suite, occasionally on the ground. I believe that when they get it wrong in the nice big leather chairs it is because they are self-serving, promotion chasing opportunists who neither understand nor care what is happening on the ground. When individual officers get it wrong on the ground it is in the main, I suspect, because there is no chance for them to keep on top of the endless parade of new legislation which makes little or no sense. To keep on top of it all would probably involve a police officer being in the classroom for a fortnight every month. There will of course be a number of people in the uniform who are completely unsuited to the job through attitude or aptitude.

However the vast majority of police officers you encounter will be trying to do their best in very trying circumstances with nowhere near the resources and support they need.

On this occasion, the police inspector has got it very wrong.

- IP

To whom it may concern at Singlehop

Op Malone

In connection with our criminal investigation into registration or use of the domain name set out in this letter, we hereby confirm that:

* The domain is being used to undertake criminal activities.
Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice, contrary to Common Law
We hereby request Singlehop to de-host this website for a minimum period of 12 months. Please note that this request will be also sent to the domain name registrar for the website. You should provide the following contact phone number, email address and reference number to the registrant: 0207 230 8100


This website are committing offences of attempting to pervert the Course of Justice under Common Law. The website is providing explicit advice to offenders following a major demonstration in Central London. The demonstration was marred by violence and several subjects have already been arrested with a major police operation underway to identify and arrest further offenders.

The person controlling these websites has posted material held to be contrary to Common Law within the UK. Therefore to prevent the domain names from being used in crime we request that the domain name is suspended for a minimum period of 12 months (or until expiry of the domain name if earlier).

This common law offence is committed where a person or persons:-

(a) acts or embarks upon a course of conduct
(b) which has a tendency to, and
(c) is intended to pervert,
(d) the course of public justice.
Registrant Information for
Registrant : [DELETED]

All other personal details withheld

Registered on : 17-Nov-2008

Authority to close the website and IP address given by

Will Hodgeson, Acting Detective Inspector
Metropolitan Police
CO11 Public Order Branch

Many Thanks in Advance

Yours faithfully

DI Paul Hoare

Police Central e-crime Unit (Computer Crime Unit)
SCD6 Economic & Specialist Crime Command,
Metropolitan Police.
1st floor, Indigo Block, Cobalt Square
1 South Lambeth Road,
0207 230 8100

As Guthrum points out, there is no word for any magistrate, judge or court. I'm sorry, but in this country you cannot restrict peoples' freedom of expression on the word of an acting inspector, it just doesn't work like that.

But go back and actually read what the statement says. Go on, I'll wait. . .

Did you see it?

We hereby request Singlehop to de-host this website 

Request. There is no order, no command, no obligation. A request. But if you got that letter, would you see it that way? Unlikely. It is hidden in plain sight. I said the police officer got it very wrong. Well, not wrong, he's perfectly within his rights to ask the host of this site to take it down, but without an order from the court, the host is well within their rights to decline.

Not just in situations dealing with the police, but with every authority figure you come into contact with, every contract you sign, every time you agree to something, take the opportunity to consider what is going on and what has actually been said or written.

Don't assume that people you deal with have your best interests in mind, because likely as not, they don't.

Don't think 'Oh, but they wouldn't do that.' Because they would.

Look out for yourself, because nobody else will. If you are ever uncomfortable with a situation, say so and state that you will pause the situation until such time as you find out your rights and the truth. Power companies calling at your door to get you to switch providers are a good example of this. Don't get your rights from them, don't get their 'truth', find it out for yourself. For 99% of things to happen to you, you have to consent. So withold your consent until you are absolutely sure about the consequences and recourse available to you.

If you are unsure (and it is perhaps good practice even if you are sure), politely and calmly, yet firmly, challenge the person in front of you. Who are you? Where does your authority come from? From which Act of Parliament? What sanctions are available to 'them' if you do not comply? Where is this set out?

Don't be abrasive or smug, point out that you ask because you want to know, to understand. Anyone who is on the level will explain and provide evidence and/or will not object to a delay whilst you establish the facts.

Once they try to tighten the screw, to apply pressure, to hurry proceedings along, to give a garbled or over-complicated explanation, or fail to offer any explanation at all, then it is time for your alarm bells to ring. In the instance of a private company, show them the door, in the instance of the police, say nothing and make sure you get a solicitor who can answer your questions to your satisfaction (remember, the duty brief is not free, you've paid for them via your taxes), and never ever sign anything until you've had the chance to read and digest the document, even if it is only a mobile phone contract, and if the beneficiary is hovering over you to get it done, walk away, they're up to no good.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Well it's failed every other time, so it is bound to work now.

Should the UK tax high-fat junk food to cut obesity rates? 

Oh Jesus, here we go.

Because the increase in tax on tobacco, alcohol, petrol, flying, electricity and gas has slashed the number of people who smoke, drink, drive, take holidays, cook and heat their homes, hasn't it? I mean, why wouldn't it work?

In the same way as taxing cigarettes helped to reduce smoking and related illnesses, could putting up the price of junk food - as Denmark has done - cut obesity rates in the UK?

Whoa, hang on. Taxing cigarettes has helped to reduce smoking related illnesses? Has it? Come on, you are a correspondent for a 'reputable' programme on a 'reputable' broadcaster, so I'm assuming you've referenced or linked to your source material for that, have you?

*scans the article*

No, they haven't.

I went on a day trip to Brugge (the French can sod off, it is a Flemish city, so I'll use the correct spelling, thank you very much) last week. Very nice it was too. Just on the Belgian side of the French border is the town of Adinkerke, it has a most impressive collection of tobacco retailers, all patronised almost exclusively by French and British. Why? Because tobacco taxes drive them there. So I would say that taxing cigarettes has helped to increase the profits of those living on the Franco-Belgian border and reduced the income to the treasury in both the UK and La Belle France.

I digress.

The first thing that struck me on the taxi journey into Copenhagen was how slim everyone looked.
I really had trouble spotting anyone fat.
And the second thing that became obvious the moment I stepped out of the cab and was almost run over by a cyclist, was that the Danes are clearly no strangers to exercise. 

Oh, for the love of God.

I've been to Copenhagen as well. Lovely city, very nice people, the Danes.

One thing I noticed; the national sport in Denmark, alongside eating pickled fish, is . . . smoking.

Prohibition does not work. Minimum pricing is illegal. Taxing junk food, really? Who is to say what counts? Are you willing to take on the legal might of McDonald's when you say their burgers are bad, but the burgers sold in the pub two doors down are ok?

I've an alternative, you could just fuck off and stop trying to make people into little grey miserable clones. Try it.

Oh, and BBC, Panorama markets itself as a news programme. Try covering some bloody news for a change, eh?

Friday, 12 November 2010

Ooooooooooh, scary.

A few people have touched on the Channel 4 documentary last night 'Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story'.

For many, (and if you haven't watched it, the above link is to the 4OD showing, aren't I nice?) the revelations will come as a big shock. No shock here. Although I was surprised to see that the government of the 'liberal', 'democratic', 'free market' United Kingdom actually controls more of its domestic economy than their counterparts in PR China.

It is all over, the only question is do you have the cojones to rip the plaster off, or will you let the wound fester under the infected dressing?

The only person who can make that decision is you. I'll give you a hint; next time you are asked, if you vote Conservative, Lib Dem, Labour, Green, BNP, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein, Ulster Unionist or pretty much anyone else, you'll be laying out the welcome mat for gangrene.

There is an alternative, but if you won't be brave, why should anyone else?

Actually, forget it. Sell your kids into penury, bankrupt your childrens' children. Who cares, eh? X-Factor is on tomorrow night, that's much more important.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

How modern Unionism works.

Make a joke about stoning a leftie. . .

Roger McKenzie, Unison's West Midlands regional secretary, said he had been inundated with complaints from city council workers outraged at Mr Compton's comments and he called on Mr Compton to resign from the council.

Destroy property and throw fire extinguishers at police officers. . .

We reject any attempt to characterise the Millbank protest as small, “extremist” or unrepresentative of our movement… We stand with the protesters, and anyone who is victimised as a result of the protest.’
 As with all authoritarian organisations it is one rule for you, one for them.

(I'll bet poor old Roger was shagged out after chasing round and browbeating all those people into complaining.)

It is not just about remembering, it is also about the future.

Today of all days, this from the unelected head of the corrupt, anti-democratic organisations with designs of consuming a continent in a fashion that easily equals the desires and plans of Napoleon and Hitler is an obscene attack on those who gave their lives on each side, their legacy and the liberty and sovereignty of every pressed member state.

I can't be bothered to do the rest, it makes me very, very angry. This organisation is not about peace, it is about cuckoo politicians clandestinely placing their eggs in the nests of their neighbours.

I despise it, and I despise everyone who has a hand in it.

Unfortunately, I'm starting to fear that my anger is impotent and that the gig is up.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

One way or the other, they'll get it.

Oh, the students.

OH has touched on the subject, and makes some salient points.

Make no mistake about it, one way or the other the only people who will pay for university education is those who get it, either directly as proposed or hidden away in taxation once they get a job afterwards. There will be no escape.

Consider this; why do so many people go to university these days? University used to be for the elite. Elite is not a dirty word, not when it is an elite based on academic merit. Something happened in the 60's and 70's, a section of the (not at all meritous) political elite thought that there was something wrong with working with your hands. It was something to be looked down on, there was something wrong with the working man actually working. The result now is that all children, regardless of ability or aptitude spend their whole lives in school being herded through the door marked 'academic excellence'.

There's a problem with that. Not all kids have the ability to be academically excellent. The solution we had was to lower the bar. The result? Those who are academically excellent find their excellence is watered down, those who are not clutch a fistful of qualifications as valuable as a barrow load of Weimar Republic Marks. This is not fair on either. You cannot have prizes for all, it simply does not work that way. I would love to be able to sprint like Usain Bolt, paint like Da Vinci, think like Einstein or compose like Mozart, but nature did not make me that way, there is nothing anybody can do to change that. Not one thing.

This current education system strives for mediocrity, and does not even deliver that. We have all been turned into apples, all of us. The marketplace is flooded with apples. These apples are so common that they are dirt cheap. How much for a banana? Don't see many of those, valuable things, bananas.

Be a banana.

If I had my time again, I'd have forgotten university, I'd have trained to be an electrician. You work for yourself, you are responsible for yourself, you command your worth. I fell into the trap of believing that university was the only way. I was wrong. Personally I got a great deal out of going to uni, academically it was pointless, a waste of three years.

Oh, to have had a trade. Yes, long hours, hard work. But your work. No office politics, no cuts, no pointless forms, reports, appraisals. I may yet still do it, if given the chop. Invest the redundancy payout in myself.

Why the hell did we do away with our secondary moderns, our polytechnics and replace them with degree certificates mass printed on rice paper? Why do we persuade people that the only choices are between debt ridden graduate or dole cheat? To try to persuade people that with a half-arsed effort they can be Bolt, Da Vinci, Einstein, Mozart? This is madness.

I should have been a banana.

I'm sorry students, but the money isn't there. Take over every building in Westminster. The money still won't be there. Unseat every LibDem MP in the country and replace with a scarlet red Labour MP. The money is still nowhere to be seen.

You are blaming the person who has realised there is a fire. Unfortunately, he hasn't got the guts to shout 'FIRE'. The person you need to blame is the one is the one who set the fire, the one who decided that everyone had to go to university. Who was going to pay for it? I'll tell you this, unless you take the red shilling (and I've never seen a more politically detached generation than this one), once you start to earn and study the deductions column on your payslip, your attitude will change reeeeaaalll quick.

Don't fall into the trap. Evaluate your situation. What will you do with that degree, what will you actually do with it? Unless that degree will give you access to a career path you have decided upon, civil engineer, vet, biochemist, doctor, ask yourself, is this worth the money?

Don't view this as a tax, don't view this as being screwed over. View the student loans people as a silent partner in You Ltd. This partner will want his investment back. Look at your place in the market, will this investment you are making in yourself produce a worthwhile return? If not, say 'I'm out', go and play to your strengths. You could have three year headstart in experience and valuable knowledge over your competitors.

There is always more than one route to the top and it may not pay to follow the herd. They may be heading to the slaughterhouse.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Not the worst.

Come and eat at Wolfers' Steak and Seafood Restaurant. We're not the worst eatery in town, we will cook your food the way we think you should have it, not the way you want it, and only some of our customers have gone home with food poisoning. No, we don't give refunds.

If you saw that as an advert for a restaurant in the local paper, you'd probably take your signficant other to another place in town for that intimate meal, wouldn't you?

And yet this week we've seen the main parties engaging in advertising just like that. Labour are up in arms because Cameron's communication pixie may or may not have known about phone calls being hacked whilst he was editor of the NOTW.

This is the sort of thing those nasty Tories get up to, they point out, completely ignoring the fact that they wanted access to everyone's calls, texts, emails and browser history. 

Real questions must be asked about Cameron's judgement in employing this man.

The LibDems have been furious, furious at the actions of Phil 'Custard pie' Woolarse who has now found himself shunted into the gravy train sidings, if not removed from the line completely. Why, I find myself asking, did they not suspend him from the party as soon as the story broke? If I were accused of an illegal act at work, I'd be suspended from the get go, not once the judicial system had had its say. Of course like the other disgraced Labour (former) MPs, he stamping his feet and whining, he'll fight it every inch of the way. The message is the same, they don't contest that what they did was wrong, they just believe that because they are who they are, they should escape any punishment for their acts. These people are important, dammit.

Serious questions must be asked about Miliband's judgement in appointing this man as shadow immigration minister whilst all this was going on.

But of course, the Lib Dems have form in this area. As Guido pointed out in 2006, Simon Hughes, who was so visible in the brooding tutting and shaking of head stakes when the verdict was announced during the week, is not beyond sticking the boot in when the referee's attention lies elsewhere when he feels like it as well.

The message from the big three? Vote for us, not because we've anything to say or offer, but because we're not as bad as the others.

If only there was a party where you could vote for a candidate who has never been involved in an expenses fiddle, has never twatted some bloke at a karaoke evening, has never told lies about an opponent, has never made snide insinuations about their sexuality, or never hacked into someone's answerphone.

Oh look, there is. There is a party that will give you something to vote for, rather than pointing out a bogeyman to vote against. And if you're lucky enough to be one of Phil Woolas' ex-constituents, you'll be able to vote for them soon.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

No, no, no, no. That's a no.

Another assault on our God given rights today. This is not a civil liberty, this is not a 'nice to have in the ideal world', this is not an 'only if you qualify.'

This cannot be taken away. It is not in Parliament's power to remove from us the inalienable rights which were granted to us by God before Parliament came to be.

When Louise Casey says that:

"We should not view the right to a jury trial as being so sacrosanct that its exercise should be at the cost of victims of serious crimes"

She is attempting to usurp God, she is placing herself above the concept of the Almighty creator that is so important to the constitution of the country. She is also portraying herself as one of the most disgusting, odious, objectionable people in the country.

Victims' Commissioner? What? We are all victims if this is introduced. If I were to be tried under this scheme by a Magistrate, I would find myself in Court refusing to comply or cooperate and shouting, very loud, that my God given rights had been infringed by a body which has no power to do so.

Perhaps the money spent on this department would be better spent on the Police or Courts Service, because I'll tell you what victims want; they want the criminal who has wronged them to be caught, arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to a proper punishment that is really, properly proportionate to the offence committed. What they don't want is another self-important, attention whoring, mindless fucking quango headed up by another poorly tailored suit of toss all with a mouth that looks like a slit in the side canvas of a curtain sided artic.

Got it?

Just in case you are in any doubt, here is the clause of Magna Carta, which has served us perfectly well for the last 795 years, written in a plain style of English that is easy to understand, salient, concise and quite beyond anything that a shower like Louise Casey could write if her miserable, insignificant and pointless life fucking depended on it:

No free man shall be captured, and or imprisoned, or disseised of his freehold, and or of his liberties, or of his free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against him by force or proceed against him by arms, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, and or by the law of the land.

Fuck you and the broomstick you rode in on, Casey.

You want to do away with this for the sake of expediency? I'll tell you this, doing away with the right to trial by jury (yes, even in the case of like, really complicated fraud trials) is but one step removed from sweeping away innocent until proven guilty.

Monday, 1 November 2010

What a waste of bloody money.

It is bad enough that money is taken from our pockets and pissed up the wall with gay abandon on projects you'd never even be able to dream up, let alone support. It is even worse when you willingly surrender your income for a service and then find that you've been stabbed in the back.

What am I going on about? This:

Staff at Breckland Council will no longer be paid for the time they spend smoking after the proposals were given the go-ahead.

Simon Clark, from smokers' lobby group Forest, said everyone was entitled to a break during work.

That's old news. We've heard this story before. But here's a new spin:

The group described the plan as "tyrannical", but council management, unions and workers backed the change.

Council management I'd expect no more of. Workers come in the same group as 'the people' in Righteous speak, they are a homogenous mass, of one opinon and utterly identical to each other. But the unions? What the fucking flying fuck?

I don't even know where to begin. I really don't.

Firstly, I bet I can guess which unions are involved in this, at least two of them, and they are biggies.

What the hell? Are members paying their subs only to find that when management penalises people for engaging in a perfectly legal activity, an activity which sits very much in a bracket with other perfectly legal activities, the unions actually support it? As the bloke from Forest says:

Some take coffee breaks others go out for a cigarette.

In the old, old days, you could smoke at your desk, but they are long gone. I don't object to that. In the old days there was a smoking staff room where I worked, people would take their work in with them, so the loss to the business was nil, now we've been sent outside, from our sealed and vented room which no non-smoker had to go into, and having been sent outside we find ourselves being penalised for doing what we've been told to do.

Ah yes, but you don't have to smoke.

True, but then I don't drink tea or coffee, you don't have to drink it either. So why the fuck aren't you clocking off when you go out to get your umpteenth fix of caffeine of the day? Oh, they'll come for you eventually, your addiction will become as anti-social as mine, make no mistake, they're coming. Don't come crying to me. You've spat in my face, when your time comes, I will point, dance and laugh at you until I'm sick.

I'm getting side-tracked here. For a union to take subs from members under the pretence of representing their desires and interests, and then to arbritrarily abandon those members, members who are engaging in an activity which harms no other members, nor the union as a whole is a sickening betrayal.

I disagree with the TUC affiliated unions on a good number of subjects, but give them their due, they will support (by and large) the terms, conditions and rights of their members, even when those demands are excessive, outdated and completely against the interests of the public that fund them.

But this? This is a total betrayal, and if were a member of one of these unions, I would be livid.

The thing is these unions, the really big ones, I'm talking PCS and Unison here, the two I'm convinced are behind this capitulation, aren't really about staff in the way unions were when they first came into existence. They are more about politics than staff t&c's, it is the members' job to pay their subs and then dance to the tune which is played for them.

How loudly would they squeal if a clock was put on the computer terminals in the office to measure how much time was spent on ebay or slebrity news websites? How high would the pitch of that squeal get if that time was then knocked off staffs' flexitime?


Treacherous, spineless, hypocritical cowards. The fucking lot of them.

If you are a member of the union(s) behind this capitulation and you smoke, make no mistake, this will not be confined to one anonymous district council in Norfolk, it will come to your office soon and the precedent has been set. Be a good drone, pay your cash and do what you're told. They know best. Not you.