Monday, 31 January 2011

Hang on, I've got the receipt here somewhere.

It used to be so simple, didn't it? Making a financial transaction.

I'd be walking down the street and I'd go past your shop, The Whizzo Widget Emporium and I'd think to myself, 'Goodness me, they are awfully nice widgets, I could do with a new widget, my one's nearly worn out.'* And I'd go in, and I'd buy one.** You'd give me a receipt to prove that I hadn't half inched it and to give me some redress in the unlikely event that the widget you'd sold me, in spite of your intensive QC process, was in some way defective. We'd both be happy.

But it's all changed now. Now, apparently, I have to pay. I have no choice. Whether I want the widget or not. I have to pay for it. It is entirely possible that my life is perfectly comfortable without a widget, but I still have to pay for it, as someone may want the widget, but can't afford it. That annoys me.

What really grips my shits, as I believe the phrase has it, is that if I should then want a widget, I have to pay for it. Again. Even though I've paid for it already. Even though some people still get a free widget.

That hardly seems fair, does it? To be made, forced to pay for it, I'll just about take that on the chin. To then have to pay again, because I actually want to use the service I've been forced to pay for, is just not on.

What am I wibbling on about? This:

Parents who send their children to Kent grammar or faith schools could have to pay to use council-run transport.

Just note the targeting there. Grammar and faith schools. Why them?

Kent County Council (KCC) is considering introducing a contributory fee to help towards the cost of transport from September 2012.

A contributory fee? A contribu-bloody-tory fee? That's called Council Tax you utter mongs. What you're actually doing is surcharging people because their kids were fortunate enough to have the brains to pass the 11+ or because of their religious convictions. Nice. As an aside, I wonder how many of them are kids going to Muslim faith schools. I don't know if there are any in Kent, and I've lived here most of my life, never heard of one. I bet you wouldn't bloody dare.

The council said the charge would be waived for children who were from low income families and eligible for free school meals.

Oh, that's generous of them. So they won't screw some people over twice. Bless.

Here's the best bit:

Parents will be able to comment on the plans in the near future, KCC added.

Oh will they now? Well, that is fucking magnanimous of them, isn't it? Bloody hell, they'll be saying they, like, believe in democracy, and shit, next. Parents will be able to comment! Will they have to go on some opinion forming course first? Because being able to express an opinion is such a ground shaking, pant wettingly new experience for the poor little proles, that they may just expire from the excitement. Have you thought this through? Have you made plans to cope in the event that the brains of these parents start to run out of their ears under the effort of making a comment on council policy?

It'd probably be best to keep it to yourselves that the comments they make will be totally ignored. Just give them a reminder at election time that it is your God given right to govern and they had better bloody vote for you.

Why the hell do people continue to vote for these utter wanks who do nothing but treat the people they are supposed to be representing with such total and complete contempt?

* You dirty minded little bastard.

** And, because you are a nice, decent person, you'll do this with wonderful customer service. Attentive when I need you, with deep and impressive knowledge about your widgets, but otherwise leaving me the hell alone unless I really look like, or ask for, your help.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

This couldn't have come at a worse time.

I'll let you in to a little secret. I don't like petrol and diesel. It is dirty, dangerous, expensive and props up some pretty horrible regimes. It is also finite, the world economy is hitched to a resource which has a limited life. To be so dependent on one commodity is madness.

So when I see this, it gives me cause for hope:

British scientists 'invent artificial petrol' that could cost just 90p per GALLON (and there's no carbon).

Great stuff. Nice to see we're still good at something in this country. It is possible that this could have a groundshaking effect on our way of life.

Artificial petrol that costs 19p per litre could be on forecourts in as little as three years.

British scientists are refining the recipe for a hydrogen-based fuel that will run in existing cars and engines at the fraction of the cost of conventional petrol.

With hydrogen at its heart rather than carbon, it will not produce any harmful emissions when burnt, making it better for the environment, as well as easier on the wallet.

The first road tests are due next year and, if all goes well, the cut-price ‘petrol’ could be on sale in three to five years.

It really would be fantastic news for most people. The benefits to the individual's pocket are obvious, for industry, the reduction in costs is just as beneficial. It will bring prices down at the point of delivery of raw materials, it will do the same for transporting the finished goods from factory to the marketplace. It will reduce prices at the marketplace, but will allow an increase in profit margin once those savings have been factored in. Lower petrol prices are good news for everyone, except the petrol producers. That is another benefit, the production of a viable synthetic alternative to oil based fuels will break the chokehold that OPEC has on the world.

Even the greens will be happy.

Or will they?

For true environmentalists this has surely got to be a bit of welcome news. For the normal member of the public who is a Friends of the Earth member, for example, they will no doubt be delighted at the reduction of carbon emissions. I don't buy into the whole AGW theory, but many do, and if this satisfies those people, then it satisfies me.

But for the big ecoloons, the ones who lobby governments and influence policy, this is very bad news as the public are about to learn the truth.

The reason petrol and diesel is so expensive in the UK at the moment is not because of the base cost per litre, but because of the tax, and the tax on that tax, that is imposed by the government. We are told that one of the main reasons for this tax is because of the damage to the environment which using petrol and diesel causes.

Quite how handing large amounts of un-ringfenced cash to a wasteful, inefficient and duplicitous State apparatus is supposed to save polar bears has never been made entirely clear. One thing that will become clear is this, once (if) the use of this fuel takes off, the government will have no option but to tax it to the same eye-watering levels as they do now.

Then the gig will be up, the public will realise that they've been played and that the ecological reasoning behind the taxation on fuel has been an excuse, and the government (of whatever colour when this stuff hits the forecourt) will blow their green credentials out of the water as they continue to harvest huge amounts of unjustified cash from the alternative to petrol that we've all been told needs to come. Meanwhile, the ecoloons will spin against and defame the new fuel, dreaming up reasons as to why it is just as evil as what went before, lest the government cut their funding. They will continue to demand the government hands over wads of our cash so they can then lobby that same government.

Oh, it may drop the price by 15p or so a litre, but more importantly than that, it will help turn the spotlight on the people who view us as revenue cows ripe for the milking.

Friday, 28 January 2011

All Hail the Green Hero.

Yes, good old Genghis, terror of Asia. Here was a man good at his job. He (I'm assuming with a little help from his mates) managed to off an estimated 40 million people. Hitler? Stalin? Pol Pot? Hah, novices compared to old Gen.

We'll never see his like again. Hopefully.

Well, I say hopefully, but for some it seems that isn't the case. It isn't just in Mongolia for reasons of national pride.

You see;

Genghis Khan's Mongol invasion in the 13th and 14th centuries was so vast that it may have been the first instance in history of a single culture causing man-made climate change, according to new research out of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.

But surely that's a bad thing, right?

Unlike modern day climate change, however, the Mongol invasion cooled the planet, effectively scrubbing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

Still a bad thing. Does that mean he was responsible for the mini-ice age then? What a bastard.

In other words, one effect of Genghis Khan's unrelenting invasion was widespread reforestation, and the re-growth of those forests meant that more carbon could be absorbed from the atmosphere.


Well, I suppose we're all told we can make a difference individually. If you buy the theory of AGW. I'm not sure I do.

But the message here is clear, genocide is fine because it stops global warming.

Give me strength.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

What goes around comes around.

Lord Prescott criticises Met's handling of phone-hacking inquiry.

Courtesy of This Is London.

"I just don't trust the Metropolitan Police to conduct a proper inquiry," he said.

"I can't trust them to carry out a proper inquiry and that's why I asked the courts for a judicial review on the Metropolitan Police and the way they've conducted investigations."

You reap what you sow, John. This sort of thing was fine all the time your lot were holding the Commish's leash, but now the other lot have got their turn, all of a sudden a politically directed police force ain't so much fun, is it?

Did you really think that Cameron would allow the sniffer dogs to be set free whilst his comms bod was in the firing line? Would you have done it? No. Of course not.

Thing is, you had 13 years to make sure this sort of thing could never happen, but you embraced the concept of being able to call the shots over police actions completely, without hesitation and without reservation.

Tough shit.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Delusions of the Criminal.

What a shame to see Tommy Sheridan sent down for three years today. I hope he enjoys his first night in Barlinnie.

I just couldn't help but respond to his reaction to the verdict and sentence.

This multi million-pound prosecution will separate me from my wife and child and that will be heartbreaking.

Well, yes. But it could all have been avoided if you hadn't, you know, lied through your teeth in court.

But I will continue to fight a system that protects the real criminals - the rich and powerful.

Ah yes, the old Socialist mantra, rich equals evil. But where do you draw the line? Let's take Lord 'Sirallun' Sugar. As he's so fond of telling us, he started out selling tat from the back of his van in the East End, with a 20p loan from his old man, or something. At that point he was poor, he then progressed to being comfortable, before arriving at the station marked rich. But where are the dividing lines between the three? At what point did he become criminal in his richness? Who did he injure or hurt whilst he followed his programme of selling cheap electricals?

Does one become rich when say, ooooh, I don't know, £200,000 pounds falls into your lap? £200k which you got by lying?

I have today instructed my solicitor to lodge an appeal against conviction.

As is your right. I don't think you'll win though.

But also to launch legal action against the News of the World, the Metropolitan Police and Glenn Mulcaire over phone hacking.

And what in the wide, wide world of sports does that have to do with you being the most terrible liar?

In addition my solicitors will begin to contact a dossier of Scottish names handed to them of those whose phones may have been hacked.

May have been hacked? May? Angus McTavish. That's a Scottish name. Jock Campbell, there's another. Do you have any proof? It'd be terrible if you found yourself on the end of a defamation suit, wouldn't it?

Andy Coulson may have resigned for the second time but if he and others are not above the law then it is time that they faced justice.

Again? What does that have to do with you being a liar, liar pants on fire?

That chapter is yet to be written.

Yes, and we'll enjoy reading it hugely, I could do with a laugh.

His wife is equally as loopy.

Tommy has dedicated his life to helping others.

Yes, as long as they sing the hymns they are told to. He's also dedicated his life to helping himself of large amounts of Rupert Murdoch's cash, by telling the most awful lies.

The real reason why he's been imprisoned today is because he has fought injustice and inequality with every beat of his heart.

No, the reason he's been imprisoned today is because he is a bloody liar, and lied under oath, whilst taking someone else for every penny he could get. But hey! It's OK, because they are rich, and therefore by Tommy's definition, criminals.

But it won't be long before Tommy is back stronger and continuing the fight.

Yeah, about three years. Continuing the fight? Against what? Strengthening his already fleeting relationship with reality?

She then went off to have a few miniatures of Famous Grouse and Remy Martin she happened to have lying around the place. (possibly)

His mates are snivelling as well.

Solidarity will continue to give our full backing and support and backing to Tommy, and in particular to Gail Sheridan and the family at this difficult time.

Well, with a name like Solidarity, you couldn't very well not, could you? Come back and say hello in three years, see where you are then.

Neither Tommy Sheridan nor Solidarity will be broken. We stand, as always, in solidarity.

Oooh, does that mean you're all going to get an arsehole like the Japanese flag as well?

Solidarity condemns as barbaric and draconian the sentence imposed today on Tommy Sheridan. We believe the lengthy jail term imposed by the judge is vindictive.
Possibly, but then for some reason judges take a dim view of people standing in their courtroom, promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth and then committing perjury. It annoys them. It's a funny little thing, but that's just the way some people are.

It will reinforce the widespread view that this is the culmination of a brutal vendetta carried out by the rich and powerful against Scotland's most prominent socialist.

Widespread? Amongst whom? What's it like in the land of talking trees and chocolate bees? I was talking to a colleague who is as red as red can be, and even he was chuckling about it, saying how it had cheered him up.

Not all of his former mates are so keen though, there's the frantic sound of back pedaling here:

Today's proceedings finally end the ill-advised action Tommy Sheridan initiated six years ago in suing a tabloid over allegations he knew to be true.

He alone is responsible for where he sleeps tonight, no-one else. He pursued legal action full in the knowledge he would lie in court.

He asked his closest political allies and friends to join him in that crazy strategy and then turned on us because we refused.

He still shows no sign of taking responsibility for his own actions.

Quite. The most sensible thing that has been said from those around this ridiculous caricature of a man in a long, long time.

Seriously Tommy, give it up. You're starting to look properly mad here, real dressing up as Napoleon and persecution complex stuff. You gave it your best shot, I can't blame you for that. You've got through more briefs than Nick Faldo has had golf clubs, but you've lost, you deserved to lose, you were always going to lose. You're one step shy of being carted off to the McFunny Farm.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Why would they do that?

Tens of thousands of Belgians have staged a march to call for national unity and demand a government after seven months of political impasse.

About 50,00 people joined the "Shame: no government, great country" march in Brussels, organisers said. Police put the number at 34,000.

I went to Belgium for the day just before Christmas. It was bloody unbelievable, they'd had months of no government, and the roads were open, trains were running, cafes and shops were open for business, the busses worked, police were patrolling, streets were clean. It was a nightmare, the whole fabric of society had come crashing down because there wasn't a bunch of grey suited men and women sitting around telling everyone what they should do.

Oh, what am I thinking? That isn't the sign of a society in meltdown because there wasn't a government, that is the sign of the fact that not having a government made absolutely no difference to the lives of the ten million or so who live in the country, a country that, some people would have you believe, is so ridden with mistrust between the Flemish and French speakers that a repeat of Yugoslavia in the 90's, but with fewer hills and more chips, is just an offensive joke away.

I am amazed that the EU didn't come in and declare Belgium to be something along the lines of the District of Columbia, or the Australian Capital Territory and place it under direct EU control. They've missed a trick there.

Here's a newsflash kids, a lack of government doesn't mean living in Somalia. Here's a few stories I've lifted at random from Google with a three word search '[name of country]', 'government' and 'criticised'. Let's see what's been going on, shall we?

Canada's government has been criticised for spending huge sums to host G8 and G20 summits at the end of June, including two million dollars on a fake lake inside the media centre. (08/06/2010)

An Australian government proposal for a mandatory web filter has been criticised by key internet players Google and Yahoo as a heavy-handed measure that could restrict access to legal information. (24/03/2010)

South Korea has been heavily criticised for burying up to one million pigs alive as it grapples with a foot and mouth disease outbreak. (07/01/2011)

A well-known Nazi hunter criticized a Latvian court Tuesday for allowing a procession to commemorate the day in 1941 when Nazi troops entered the country's capital after ejecting the Soviet Union's Red Army. (29/06/2010)

The above stories make you wonder how we cope without governments. I really feel for the Belgians, having to live without a proper government. It must be really hard for them. [/sarcasm]

My mind goes back to the election when both the Tories and Labour were warning about the disatisfaction of a coalition government. We needed, by all accounts, a strong government. That would have been best.

Best for whom? Those forming the government, without doubt. For the rest of us? Belgium would suggest it doesn't make a great deal of difference. Indeed, not having the endless initiatives, policies, back tracking, u-turns, arguments, waste and everything else that goes with a 'strong' government, looks like a marked improvement to me.

I reckon we've got enough laws to be getting on with thank-you very much. Once you've covered the biggies, the rest is farting about on the margins, and politicians are too caught up in the notion of 'legacy' for my liking.

No, not having a government didn't seem to bother the good people of Bruges one bit as far as I could see.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dropping the bomb.

The bomb has finally been dropped in the department and the job losses are coming. It'll make the papers, when it does, the Daily Mail may very well explode. There's going to be some fairly large job losses at a number of sites. As fas as I can tell it is the front line, those sat in the comfy chairs seem to be unaffected.

I'm unsure how many will actually be kicked out, they're giving the opportunity for those who want to walk, to walk with some dignity. Morale is so low that I'd be surprised if the offer wasn't over-subscribed. It's been coming, it's been expected and yes, it does suck. But that's life. It is unfortunate that there will be a number of people who I respect who will be lost. These people are worth their salary, and I'll miss them.

By lucky hap, it looks like Wolfers unwittingly moved himself into a bomb shelter a couple of years ago, I'm glad about it. I've had some plans in case the worst happens, but I'd rather stay in at the moment, I enjoy my job and in the last couple of months it has become very interesting and delivered a steep learning curve, one that I'm finding challenging. This is most welcome, my worst nightmare is becoming an automaton, marking time.

We've a new manager of my unit, he isn't quite God, but he's enough nous and political capital in the office to safeguard his staff. Looks like I've a 3 year reprive until the next swoosh of the axe. He's blunt, direct and has upset people. Some of those people didn't deserve to be upset, and it could have been handled better, but I don't blame him completely, he's been handed a unit in a department (but not an area of work) which is alien to him, with no knowledge of the people working there and a number of cherry bombs with fizzing fuses around him.

He's given us a degree of insulation, but I have no doubt that his protection comes with the expectation that we actually deliver in a meaningful sense, rather than in a nebulous, fuzzy management speak sense. This is uncommon in the civil service. I actually find it quite refreshing. I like the idea of having to figure out how in the hell I'm going to do something, it is infinitely preferable to working down a list and ensuring every box is ticked. More responsibility, more flexibility and more freedom. Excellent. More pressure, higher expectations and not as much money. Well, them's the breaks. I know a good thing when I see one, so I'm going to make sure I roll my sleeves up and do my damndest to ensure that this new regime is a success. The short term future is dodgy, ride this storm out and who knows where I could be in ten year's time. It is exciting, but it won't be a free ride.

I hope you'll forgive this departure into the personal. I try to avoid blogging about work, because it could get messy, however I always try to be objective and balanced when I do. It isn't all bad, although it could be better and some managers do their best to make it worse, they actually seem to relish the prospect of telling good staff that they're surplus to requirements, when their performance should leave them on shaky ground themselves.

I just want to let you know that the civil service isn't all about box tickers, diversity officers, outreach coordinators and the feckless and incompetent. Although God knows they exist in big enough number. There are staff who do care about their work, and completely understand that we work for you. It is a shame that this attitude seems to become less common the further up the foodchain you go. Then they think they work for the ministers and secs of state. They're wrong.

On the day when the bomb is dropped a new toy appears, on the wall of the foyer of the building there has appeared a monitor; it details the amounts of energy used, CO2 expelled and electricity bill for the building for a rolling 24hr period. I don't know where it gets its data from, probably some wonk sat in an office typing in numbers at random. The Ecoloons have broken through into the world of Sir Humphrey. The best bit? It isn't just a monitor, it is a top of the range touch screen computer, almost like a wall mounted I-Pad. The device is locked though, the only application it will run is the green deity's counter of guilt and doom. God knows how much it cost. I'm sure the irony of the expenditure on it won't be lost on the staff who are ruminating on their future.

The fat remains to be trimmed, unfortunately the butcher is careless and he's hacking off a lump of fillet steak.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Laugh? I almost did.

Got a few things to talk about, but seem to be having problems pulling my finger out.

Many thanks to a Twitter correspondent who pointed me in the direction of this website, which has caused me a degree of mirth this evening.

The best efforts thus far (with captions):

The full body search left Ed shocked and unable to walk properly for several hours. 

As the minute silence falls around Whitehall and the Cenotaph, Ed realises he forgot to turn his phone on silent.

After years of frustration and fantasies, Ed finally got his chance to make the move on Harriet Harman.

Ooooh, actually, no. That last one made me feel a little queasy.

I'm errm, I'm just going out to get some air.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Revolution or coup? What's the difference?

Events in Tunisia are certainly interesting. I've a good deal of admiration for the Tunisians, they've decided that enough is enough and they've had all they're going to take, thank-you very much.

But. . .

What's really going on here?

The BBC are talking this evening of shock as one of the most 'stable' (in the words of the BBC) regimes in North Africa and the Middle East has evaporated right in front of our eyes. Talk of stability unsettles me, it was almost as if stability is the most desirable quality in a country, even if that means that the regime in question is a hateful and oppressive authoritarian one.

The Beeb is also talking of concern about a domino effect running through similar regimes in the region, or perhaps concern from within those regimes, I shouldn't imagine the population are concerned about their current president heading for Saudi at short notice at all.

But what have we actually seen in Tunisia?

A number of commentators and media outlets are rejoicing in a glorious, and in the grand scheme of things, bloodless revolution. I'm not so sure. This is a president who has been in power for 23 years, he has gone back on his promises to limit his number of terms in office, he has put the police in his pocket and his family in top jobs. He has put in a successful tourism programme, and, from what I can work out, diverted most of the funds into his own bank account. This is not a man who will abandon ship without good cause.

An afternoon or two of protests do not bring down regimes, otherwise we would be looking at very different regimes in Thailand and Iran right now. It would appear we've seen the aftermath of a private Ceacescu moment here. Ben Ali has obviously turned round to check that the army were behind him. Unfortunately for him, they were, with weapons drawn, loaded, cocked and pointed at him.

This is no revolution, this a coup. Revolutions are far from being a panacea. Whilst there's initial joy at the toppling of an old regime, you can never be sure what you're going to get to replace it. Iran is a fine example, the Shah was a bloody disaster, but who really wanted the alternative? That is the problem, you replace one lot of catastrophic, power-hungry, ruthless maniacs and substitute them for another set. At the start, everyone is very happy, then the grumbling starts. The grumblers get clamped down on, denounced as counter-revolutionaries bent on the reinstatement of the old regime, whether it is true or not. The majority go along with it, no-one wants them back, it may taste a little nasty, but these are dangerous times. As the dust settles more people get locked up. Things don't improve, and the new regime start locking up or killing more people, after all there's nothing wrong with the system, it's the new one, the one they've brought in, so it must be the people who are the problem.

Before you know it, the new regime is just as bad as the old.

A coup is seldom any better, as in Tunisia, the military step in because someone has to fill the vacuum, and we don't want the nutters coming in. Elections are promised in a number of weeks, once the dust has settled, once things become stable. Weeks turn into months, months into years. The dust never settles sufficiently for the Generals to be certain things are safe, or the public seem to support someone that the Generals don't consider appropriate to run the country.

The military in Tunisia, stood behind a prime minister who seems to have spent most of his career being nothing more than an ornamental rubber stamp for Ben Ali's presidential regime, have declared that there will be elections in six weeks or so.

Hmmm, we'll see. History suggests that Generals get a taste for running countries, especially as they have such a large and well trained staff to ensure things are just so.

This is why I'm so concerned with how the EU is going. The bigger and more invasive the EU becomes, the larger the vacuum that will be left when it falls apart will be and if we don't get out before that point, then things could get very nasty for us. When it happens there will be a mad power rush (depending on how much national sovereignty is left) to fill the empty space, and it will be filled by swivel eyed revolutionaries declaring enemies of state and undesirables or by Generals who always seem to go a bit loopy when it becomes their job to sit in a palace, rather than guard it.

Either way, it is bad news. The EU will fall apart, history tells us this. We've seen empires of antiquity, we've seen Oriental dynastic empires, we've seen Catholic and Muslim empires, we've seen Francophone empires, we've seen empires where the sun never sets, we've seen empires which we were told will last a thouand years, we've seen empires of the proletariat, they've all fallen and it has always ended in disaster to a lesser or greater extent. The EU is just another empire. A little different to the rest, but an empire nonetheless. All empires fall.

What we have seen in Tunisia is what happens when an unthinking, unfeeling, unpopular regime crosses a line the population will not tolerate. How long before the empire we find ourselves in reaches that point? What happens in the weeks and months after the army take their cue from the population remanins to be seen, I just hope the Tunisians don't find themselves going from the frying pan into the fire.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


I will admit that my attention has been lying elsewhere this week, so my thanks to 'Bill' in the comments in the article below for drawing my attention to it.

It does indeed sound like as heroic a rescue attempt as that of the Chilean miners, but we've heard nothing about it. I'll resist the urge to get my tin-foil hat out and speculate as to why that is.

Anyhow, I give you the Okhotsk Sea Crisis:

Yesterday, the Russians were talking about the rescue operation moving into the final, crucial stage, as the combined force of the two biggest icebreakers in the region moved in to try to extract the 32,000-ton Sodruzhestvo (pictured) from ice captivity in the Okhotsk Sea.

The latest report informs us that the icebreakers
Krasin and the Admiral Makarov have in fact reached the Sodruzhestvo, now confirmed with 348 crew members on board, and have started to lead her out to free waters. The route has been carefully planned, after extensive reconnaissance by helicopter. The pressure is on for a number of reasons, not least because meteorologists are predicting  that the weather will worsen sharply in the next two days. Winds are expected to strengthen and visibility to drop.

Do go over, read the whole thing, and ask yourself the same questions I am asking myself.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Crisis of confidence.

I think I'm losing it folks. I just don't know where to start.

Another politician, this time a sitting MP, pleads guilty to pilfering on a pretty grand scale. Of course this story has been running for ages now. But really, an elected representative shamelessly stealing from the public? In 21st Century Europe? Really? I am still shocked by this. How dare they? It is easy to say this and that about our politicians, but the realisation that our political class really are that venal, that arrogant is a betrayal which makes me as sad as it does angry.

Yet, a stupid sixth form student, who has shown genuine remorse for his actions, backed up a mother who must have searched her soul to the very depths before advising him to turn himself in has been sent to prison for two and a half years. He undoubtedly deserves prison time, but does he deserve more than a man who stole with such ruthless, methodical cynicism? I would submit not. And he never tried to argue he was above the law. Yes, he could have killed someone, but he didn't. Yes, he took the right to peaceful protest and stamped all over it, but pretty much every government has done worse in our name.

Like trying to stop people receiving vaccinations against a disease we're all told to be very very very scared of. Really? What do you want to do? Hang on to the vaccine so people you don't like won't get it?

The BBC, the organisation which perhaps represents best the modern attitude of equality, diversity and a whole host of other left wing policies has been found guilty of age discrimination (and in my opinion, were lucky not to be found guilty of sex discrimination as well) in such a fashion that the Guardianistas would have been screaming for blood had it been any other organisation or business in the country. Really? Really? I mean, how? Or is this another case of rules only applying to the little people?

Then to top it all, some complete arsehole has stolen a meerkat from my local wildlife park, a place I am very fond of, because. . . well, why? Why would you steal a meerkat? Lovely little buggers they are, very endearing, and yes they are high profile because of the advertising campaign, but as a house pet? No. That's not going to work. They are social animals and I should imagine when in distress will make a real mess of someone's house. I fear that when this becomes apparent in the next couple of days, the poor little sod will end up dead in a dustbin.

What I want to know is this, has the world really gone totally barking? Am I the only sane one about, or is it me that is the nutter? Because I'm having real trouble squaring this circle.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Now there's an idea.

The murder of Jo Yeates has shocked and gripped the nation in equal measure. Following a flurry of early activity, the news from the local police has dried up. It would appear that perhaps the odd, eccentric landlord public school teacher with mad hair didn't do it after all.

The thing is the longer the case goes unsolved, the more unlikely it is that the killer will be caught.

If only there were some way of approaching this problem. . .

Ah, here we go. Here's a cracker.

calls for the DNA screening of all men in Bristol as part of the hunt for the murderer of Jo Yeates.

Bloody police. Get out there and do the detective wor. . . hmmmm? What? Not a policeman? Must be some kind of criminologist then.


Well. . . who?

A MP has backed calls for the DNA screening of all men in Bristol as part of the hunt for the murderer of Jo Yeates.*

Oh God. Hang on, this murder, where did it take place? Jesus, it was Brizzle, wasn't it? Bristol MP. . . I've a bad feeling about this. . .

Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy said if police thought the exercise was worthwhile she believed most men would understand why they were being asked.

Oh fuck. It had to be, didn't it?

What about the men who didn't understand, Kerry? Hmmmm? What about the men who would view it as a gross invasion of their most personal, private possession? Or don't they count? Does your 'all men' stretch to, ooooh, let's say Stephen Williams, Lib Dem MP for Bristol West? Is he a suspect now?

She said DNA testing had proved useful in other murder cases.

Well, yes. So does a person standing over the body with a smoking gun shouting 'I done it! I killed 'em! They had it coming and I don't care who knows!' Is there any way we could organise that?

Ms McCarthy said she believed the majority of people would be sympathetic to requests for DNA samples.

Do you Kerry? Do you? But what of those who are not? I would be amongst them. Would my lack of ovine acquiesence lead to my arrest under suspicion of murder? Or would I be charged with obstructing an officer? How about failing to do what an MP says? Is that an offence yet?

She added: "But rather than taking DNA just from men in the Clifton area, where the population is somewhat transient, the operation should be widened to include the whole of the city.

Well why stop there? Who is to say the killer is still in Bristol? They could be anywhere in Somerset. What about England, the UK, Europe? They could be anywhere, Bristol has an airport and a docks, they could literally be anywhere in the whole world.

Hang on, we don't know that the killer was a man, should we perhaps get DNA from all the women as well? They'll understand, and you can't be too careful. They could take yours!

"Quite how the police would organise this I don't know," she added.

Yes, I've a man for that sort of thing. Just be a good chap and go and sort it out won't you?

Perhaps some sort of database?

We've been here before, haven't we?

Kerry, sweetheart, there's a reason you are out of power. Actually, there's scores of reasons you are out of power, but this is one of the biggies. The Coalition maybe a foetid crock of fly blown, greeney mucus ridden diarrhoea induced shit, but they are so monumentally superior to you (and please, take this personally, I'm not talking about your party here, the Coalition are only marginally superior to them) in almost every respect that the words to allow me to express the contempt in which I hold you simply don't exist .

But then, I'm a man, so I'm probably in the frame for every case of rape, murder, child abuse and cattle rustling in my area as far as you're concerned.

*We'll leave aside that that should be 'An MP' for the moment.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

All men have secrets and here is mine.

As the old Smiths song goes.

What's it called? Oh yes, What Difference Does It Make?

The Daily Express is getting a tip of the hat from this quarter today for publishing a 24 page supplement, calling, demanding even in some places, begging, for the UK to leave the EU. You can read it in PDF format here.

There's nothing I'd like more than to see us leave this hateful, spirit crushing, anti-democratic, Maoist, Stalinist, corrupt, venal, unaccountable, arrogant, misguided, incompetent, divisive, evil organisation.

So, as old Steve asks, what difference will this make?

It will make none.

At all.


The Express claim to have 150,000 signatures calling for a referendum.


How many attended the anti-war marches in London that day? A million wouldn't be too far from the truth. What effect did they have? None. Two, three, four, five million? It matters not.

Our politicians will not listen. They have no intention of listening.

The Express claims they'll name and shame. So what? What do the politicians care? How many were named and shamed by the Telegraph over expenses? How many lost their seats as a result? We've just had one sent down. Only then was he kicked out by the Labour party. Only then.

We've just had another stripped of his seat and barred from standing for election. He was only then kicked out of the Labour party. Only then.

We've three other politicians awaiting trial on charges of stealing from us. Have they been expelled from their party, even in the face of public opinion?

They don't care what you think or what you want.

Why should they? They get their money. They pass on their work to Brussels and get handsomely recompensed for their inaction.

What do you do? Every five years you go out and vote for them.

You are trapped in an abusive relationship and all you do, time and again, is send the message that their behaviour is acceptable.

If you really really want to get out of this organisation, then voting Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, SNP, Green, any side of the divide in Ulster or Plaid Cymru means you are placing a shotgun to your foot and pulling the trigger. As far as I know there are only 4 parties who want out; BNP, UKIP, English Democrats and the UK Libertarian Party. The BNP have obvious downsides and I'm not entirely convinced with UKIP.

So, the chances of a referendum being offered, let alone carried are somewhere between slim and none.

What are the alternatives? Bombs and violence? Making things go bang and hurting/killing people certainly isn't my bag. You can withdraw from the system as Old Holborn and Captain Ranty intend. It may be possible, it may be not, only time will tell. But even then, all you're doing is extricating yourself. It doesn't help anyone else. I don't criticise them for it, but there it is.

All we can do, barring a startling and most unlikely turnaround at the ballot box, all we have to do, is wait. We may have to wait a while. But the whole edifice will come crashing down, and when it does, watch out because it will be damn ugly. It will bankrupt us all. It will make the great depression look like a golden age. The benefits cheques will bounce, the public sector will be unpaid, the police and courts will not be able to cope with complete and violent anarchy. It will be Lord of the Flies on a continental scale.

You can blame the EU, you can blame the Commission, you can blame the domestic politicians. If the majority (as the Express claim) want out in this country, then the majority had better stop voting for the parties who publicly and clearly state their support for 'le Projet'. Because when it all comes down the only people we will have to blame will be ourselves. We've known for a while what's been going on, really, in our heart of hearts, we've known.

We've not had the guts to step into the booth and vote differently. We may have walked to polling station with the intention of doing something different, but not dared once we had the ballot paper in our hand. Lord knows, I've been guilty of that myself. We've been conditioned by the media and the politicians to believe that not to vote for the big 3 (and/or nationalists in Scotland and Wales) is very naughty, and we mustn't be naughty, or we'll be punished, the nasty man will come get us.

Guess what? They are the nasty man, and they have us in a vice-like grip.

We don't have to tell them, we have to tell ourselves: the politicians and civil servants work for us. If they are incapable or unwilling to do that, then they must be removed. The only person with that power is you. Do you have the cojones? 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Oh. Yes of course.

These people run a country.

Saudi Arabian officials have "detained" a vulture on accusations of being a spy for Israel, media reports say.

The griffon vulture was carrying a GPS transmitter bearing the name of Tel Aviv University, prompting rumours it was part of a Zionist plot.

Wha. . . how . . . but. . . you're kidding? You are kidding, right?

Last month, Egyptian officials implied the Israeli spy agency Mossad was to blame for shark attacks off its coast.

Because they're madder than Mad Ahmed Al-Mad, winner of Arabia's maddest man competition.

When locals discovered the GPS transmitter, they suspected the worst and handed it over to the security forces, said Israel's Ma'ariv newspaper.

Conspiracy theories quickly began circulating in Saudi newspapers and on websites that the bird was involved in espionage. 

Locals? Why am I getting visions of banjos and albinos here? Is this place twinned with Hartlepool?

Israeli officials told Ma'ariv they were "stunned" by the allegations and concerned that the bird could meet a horrible punishment in the notoriously severe Saudi justice system.

Which just goes to show, there's no nutter as nutty as a religious nutter with a persecution complex.

Give me strength.

That being said, the report is from an Israeli newspaper. In case you hadn't noticed, Israel doesn't do too badly in the swivel eyed barking at the moon stakes itself.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


No ranting, no politics, just our planet at its amazing best.

The 'Fire Falls' in Yosemite National Park are a rum old thing. It's all to do with the angle of the sun hitting the water, the height of the sun, the water not being frozen and the clemency of the weather. Apparently this can only happen in December and/or January. Given the frigidity of the winter in Yosemite, there is no assurance that this sight will be seen whatsoever.

Bloody impressive, eh?

Monday, 3 January 2011

Is it time to leave yet?

2011 has not got off to an auspicious start. The rumblings of discontent are starting to increase in volume. Following on from my previous post, I've seen a Facebook group calling for and supporting fuel protests in the form of refinery blockades, it already has thousands of members, if only 20% of those who support it get involved, there could be sport.

With regard to the VAT increase, Miliband Minority has demonstrated a startling about face in calling the increase 'wrong tax, at the wrong time'. Funny, the ramping up of taxes never seemed to be a problem when his party were in power. To give him his due, he is actually right, it is the wrong tax and it is coming at precisely the wrong time. I've a plan to deal with it, and it is very simple; I'm not going to buy anything unless I absolutely need it. I've learned the lesson about consumerism, if I don't need it, I don't get it. There's a saving of not only VAT but also of the untaxed wafer thin sliver of cash I do have. If I do need it, my first stop will be ebay where I will hopefully be able to find it second hand in decent condition, or from an individual trader who is not VAT registered. If I can't find it there, then I'll have to grit my teeth, but that is only if I absolutely need it.

Of course, Miliband is once again ignoring the elephant in the room. The coagulation will also ignore it, even though this particularly huge pachyderm is their best defence against the VAT rise.

You see when the monocular snot gobbler decreed that VAT would be cut to stimulate the economy, his mouth was writing cheques his arse couldn't cash. EU rules prevent us from cutting VAT, we were merely deferring payment. When VAT went back up, some sort of parity was restored, but the outstanding amount from the period of the VAT deferral was still to be collected. Now Brown's largesse has come home to roost, we have to rake in that defecit, or the EU will point at us and shout 'unfair!'. Of course, once that defecit has been collected, VAT will continue to be collected at the increased rate, because this government, just like every other one that has come before, simply cannot stop themselves from taking our cash under threat of prison and pissing it up the wall like a drunken sailor in a knocking shop.

What Miliband is suggesting is that we should extend the period where the VAT remains uncollected, so that our children and grand-children can be left to pick up the tab. That's fine though, because it allows Miliband to make a point. Fuck 'em, they're only kids.

It would be the easiest thing in the world for the Coagulation to turn around and say 'Sorry, EU rules.' They won't though, that would be unthinkable.

More troubling news from the EU, this time from the current holders of the rotating presidency, Hungary. They've announced some frankly shocking plans about private pensions which probably has Brown banging his head off the table in his psych-ward blaming everybody else for his not having the idea first:

Hungary is giving its citizens an ultimatum: move your private-pension fund assets to the state or lose your state pension.

Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy announced the policy yesterday, escalating a government drive to bring 3 trillion forint ($14.6 billion) of privately managed pension assets under state control to reduce the budget deficit and public debt. Workers who opt against returning to the state system stand to lose 70 percent of their pension claim.

What this means is that the State takes 100% of your pension fund which you surrender 'voluntarily', that money is used immediately to pay off some of the debts, although the Hungarian government, like our own, will also keep spending, spending, spending. Come the time when your pension would have matured, you'll then find yourself on a state pension, which will probably be a pittance, which will have to be paid for by your children and grand-children, who will have the cash taken from them under threat of prison, because the money that was taken 20, 30, 40 years ago is long gone. If you don't pay, then they take 70% off you and then refuse to give that pittance of a State pension which you've been paying for anyway.

Sounds like extortion to me.

Just as Miliband suggests is a good idea, this is spending to ensure that individual politicians remain in clover today whilst condemning the following generations to penury.

Even more disturbingly, there was a little rumbling in the press (not too much though, it would mean pointing out that Elephant again, it must make watching the TV bloody impossible in this room), about Hungary introducing very draconian media regulation and laws on the day they took over the presidency.

The European Union has been thrown into turmoil after Hungary approved a Communist-style media gag just weeks before it assumes the rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc.

It has left the EU in the unusual position of threatening to blackball the country that is set to inherit the presidency on January 1 for six months.

On Tuesday, Hungary's parliament - led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban - approved a contentious new law that will expand the state's power to monitor and penalize private media.

This is in direct contradiction of the EU's own press freedom laws. The fact that we've heard nothing about the EU nixing this policy in Hungary or pulling Hungary's presidency of the EU can mean only one thing; the EU's laws are important only when they feel like it, and this control and restriction of the press is something the EU supports, or at least will not condemn.

Be very afraid people, the mask is slipping, but still the Elephant remains unindicated by the people who do their very very best to act in our best interests and look after us.

My arse.

Is it time to leave this ridiculous organisation yet, or are we still to believe that we'd be left isolated (the Commonwealth doesn't exist), bankrupt (like Norway and Liechtenstein aren't) and unable to trade (where we export bugger all anyway)?

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year - now hand over your cash.

I really don't understand what it is the government intend to acheive. The first day was good, we were told about the scrapping of the ID cards and home information packs, the databases connected to the aforementioned ID cards was to be removed, if I remember correctly the databases concerning children and the retention of the DNA of the innocent were supposed to go the same way as well. Day one was good. It has all been rather downhill from there, hasn't it?

Just as the government that went before it, this government seems hell bent on destroying business, small and large and squeezing a huge number of the population even tighter as the spending budget, which they claim to be cutting, grows at an alarming rate.

I am talking about this of course:

Petrol station forecourts were busy across the country yesterday as drivers tried to beat the latest fuel price rises.

Duty rose at midnight and combined with Tuesday's VAT rise the move will add around 3.5p to the cost of a litre of diesel and unleaded.

Many motorists ar unhappy about the rise, but the real anger is coming from the haulage industry.

Simon Chapman, from the Freight Transport Association, said it is now becoming a political issue.

"The Chancellor is treating the road freight sector as a bottomless well from which cash to bolster the public finances can be drawn," he said.

I see where you're coming from Simon, but believe me, it isn't just road freight which is being milked mercilessly here, this is a tax on going to work for anybody who uses a car to commute, which is most of us. I can see the Righteous screwing their faces up at this, but you know what, I'd love to use public transport to get to work. Really I would. However there is a problem, I work shifts that cover a 24 hour period. When I start work at half six in the morning, there are no busses that cover the 20 mile route between my house and place of work. When I work shifts where I can use the bus, it takes well over an hour and means me turning up either very early or very late, the same goes for the end of a shift, there are either no busses or I'd have to leave early or sit around for ages once my shift has finished.

The trains are even worse, there is no direct train service between here and there, in order to go by train I have to get a train to one of two towns, and then wait at one of those stations for an hour in order to get the connecting train. I would then have to catch a bus from the station to the part of town where my office is, or walk for half an hour. Once again that is assuming that there are trains to catch at the time of day I have to start or finish work.

In short I have no option but to drive.

The AA has a diagram which is quite helpful and is based on the assumption that a litre of diesel (what my car runs on) is 120.9p, I wish.

Assuming this diagram does not factor in today's duty increase and the imminent VAT rise, it means that almost 63% of every litre of petrol goes to the government. Is that not enough? You want more? What for?

Then there's the VAT rise. The introduction of VAT on fuel was a nasty, cynical move. In what possible respect is the heating of one's home and getting to work a luxury item?

This is the story which will run. Cut public sector jobs and the public will support it. Let the students spray paint anarchist symbols all over central London whilst they demand more money is taken from us and given to them by a cash thirsty state. The only campaign or demonstration which has had any effect since the poll tax riots was the blockading of the refineries by road freight hauliers, and they really did have the public behind them.

Everyone dislikes taxes, but the duty and VAT on fuel is nothing but banditry. There is no good reason to attack petrol like this, beyond the fact that it is a resource that everybody uses, either directly or indirectly. So important a resource is petrol and diesel, that a tax on it is the equivalent of a tax on life. It puts up the cost of getting around, it puts up the cost of moving livestock, grain and vegetables from farm to plant, and the cost of moving produce from plant to store and from store to home. These fuel tax rises are the rises that will get the people out on the streets, as the rise impacts on all of us and it is deeply unjust.

The hauliers brought the country to a standstill, and I think they can do it again. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if they gave it a go.

The problem is that as this rise hits mainly individuals, the politicans don't really care. We are just polling station fodder. It is our job to shut up and file through dutifully once every five years and vote for the same old people who will continue to screw us over in the same old ways.

They will listen to 'charity' though. Hot on the heels of the ridiculous plans announced by the idiot Maude, the 'charities' have decided that they don't want these cuts, and don't trust us to donate willingly, even with a 'nudge' from nanny, so they have drawn up a plan of their own to get more of our cash by force.

Charities are calling for a new tax on bankers' bonuses to help protect their organisations from funding cuts.

Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, which represents 2,000 charity leaders in Britain, said such a levy could help prevent thousands of charities closing or cutting services.

How can government cuts possibly hurt charities? Surely their income comes from donation, bequests, judicious investments. . . oh.

No, you see, Stephen, it doesn't work like that. That isn't charity. A charity is an organisation that people give money to voluntarily because they support the aims and work of that organisation. A charity is not an organisation that demands money from the taxpayer, with the government stood behind them like the gutless little bully's idiotic muscle, to do stuff that they think is important. That is extortion.

The fact that you propose this and start squealing like a stuck pig because the Treasury has ever so slightly reduced the amount of publicly funded swill it pours down your throats suggests to me that the public don't particularly care about the 'good cause' you represent, or don't trust you to actually do any good around your cause. If they did, you wouldn't be bleating about horrible cuts because you would have a regular income stream in the form of donations.

Go take a look at the RNLI, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion. They are charities.

And whilst we're on the subject, all you national and local goverment departmental heads, all you CEOs of 'charities', you are ensuring your prophecies are self-fulfilling. You whine that cuts will hit frontline services and those you rely on, and to prove your point you then cut those services whilst ensuring that your equality and diversity community cohesion outreach officers and your six figure salaries, bonuses, company cars (no doubt with fuel cards to protect you against the rise in duty) and other perks are left untouched. You betray the people you have made dependent upon you, the people who work tirelessly for the cause they genuinely believe in (rightly or wrongly) and act in a manner more deceitful and with more venality than any politician. You are a disgrace.

Happy bastarding New fucking Year.