Sunday, 31 July 2011

It may not be THE answer, but it is AN answer.

Top Gear got me thinking this evening. For those of you who didn’t see it, Clarkson and May conducted an uncharacteristic sober and objective review of the two 100% electric offerings from Nissan and Peugeot. Nicely made cars, on the expensive side (the Peugeot especially which was monumentally ugly and prohibitively expensive for what you get at £30k) but the consensus was positive. Except for the electro-motors Achilles heels – range and charge rate.
The distances that electrical cars are capable of covering are just too limited to be of practical use for anyone looking to cover much more than 30 miles a day, and the charge times (around 12 hours from flat to full charge) are just too long for most users.
With the best will in the world we have to accept that reserves of oil are very definitely finite, bugger the ecological aspect, just for logistics and economics we need to develop alternatives and develop them now.
I’m far from convinced that electrically powered cars are the answer. Not just for reasons of practicality, but also the cost of the unit, the cost of charging (they have to be charged from the mains and electricity bills are soaring almost as much as the charges we see for petrol and diesel) and the fact that the electricity has to come from somewhere. The juice flowing from the wall to the car does not magically appear from nowhere, there is a power station at the end of the line, either burning coal or gas – themselves using limited fossil reserves, or nuclear. Nuke stations I have no problem with, but plenty of the people who will gladly shell out the extra for a leccy car will have a very real problem with it, and sorry, wind and solar just ain’t gonna provide the power.
James May reasonably made the point that Honda have the answer in hydrogen powered cars. Yes, getting the hydrogen into a tank and powering a motor isn’t an easy task, but is it really much more difficult than the extraction, refining and distribution process for crude oil?
In the short term, if we do need to wean ourselves off petrol electric cars then electric is the only answer, if only we could get around the range and charging issues. Well, that and the decidedly ecologically unfriendly way the cars have to be made.
The Top Gear guys came up with the tongue-in-cheek idea of running a dodgem style wire grid over the top of the road. Obviously and intentionally ridiculous. But there is a solution to the problem, and it is a very old solution as well.
Back in the days before cars and trains there was a network of horse drawn stagecoaches around the country, in order to keep to some semblance of a timetable, once you factored in the bloody awful roads, cracked wheels axles and people holding you up for your lupins, at points on the route, the tired horses would be changed for fresh ones with the old horses being stabled, given some oats and some kip before being hitched to another stagecoach when they were ready.
How difficult would it be for the car producers to use a battery of uniform dimension and connection? How much of a cushion against the oil running out would it be for the petrol stations and oil companies to offer a service where you pull up onto the forecourt, remove your expiring battery, place it into the charging rack, take a fully charged one, insert it into the car, pay up and drive off?
Yes, there would be logistical issues, but surely it couldn’t be that difficult, could it? The USB has done the same for computing, why not a similar interface for cars?
Just saying.
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Housekeeping notice.
I am naturally uncomfortable about the moderation of comments here (the new .com site). I’m perfectly happy for people to disagree with me, I don’t mind if you want to call me an idiot – although I’d prefer it if you qualified the accusation.
Been having a few problems with spammy comments on here, you can stick your hair straighteners, webcams and sleeping aids where the sun shineth not. As a result, I’m engaging the least worst option on here. That being your first comment on here will be held for moderation – unless you do something completely overstepping the mark, it will be passed for publication. Once your first comment has been approved, your subsequent comments will be posted without the rigmarole. I don’t like it, but I’m already getting narked off with removing comments from spammers. If you want to advertise on here, feel free to drop me an email, I’m sure we can come to some mutually beneficial arrangement.
As for the old blogspot site which is acting purely as a mirror to guard against any unforseen tech issues – the comment capacity will now be disabled. Traffic for the two sites has now reached parity, and I’m expecting the .com site to get more traffic from here in. So if you’ve something to say please come and say it over at, more people will read it, the comments over at the old house will not be imported, and it will make me feel special.
Cheers old chaps and chapesses.
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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Somehow I doubt it.

At first it sounds like an attention grabbing policy, that a petition delivered to Parliament containing 100,000 signatures will have to be considered for debate. But there are far too many weasel words in it for my liking.
I’ll hand you over to the loving embrace of the BBC (emphasis mine):
It allows popular petitions to be discussed by the backbench business committee of MPs, which has the power to propose debates on non-government matters.
So, if you get enough people together, there is the chance that your petition might be discussed by a backbench committee who might propose a debate which will be subject to the usual whippings and even if they did make it through a vote would then besubject to committee hearings, secondary debates and the Lords where if it survives it will probably be changed beyond all recognition.
To be honest this sounds more galling to me than just being told to sit down and shut up. They ask for our opinion, will make the flimsiest attempt to consider it and then punt it out of play while turning to us and sneering ‘well, we considered it, prole. What more do you want?’
Labour has said the petitions could lead to debates on “crazy ideas”.
Which I take to mean any idea they’ve not come up with.
It is lip service at democracy when not actually providing any at all. I’d be happier to see a policy of bit of legislation that means the submission of a petition of, oooh, let’s say, 1.5 million people forced the holding of a referendum.
There are currently two newspaper campaigns that have risen on the back of this. The Sun, ever the moderate, wants a debate about bringing back hanging. Forgetting of course that the ECHR precludes the death penalty. It is not a petition I would sign at any rate.
The Daily Express, slightly smarter than The Sun, has a petition calling for an EU membership referendum. This is a referendum I will sign. Assuming the debate is successful and we pull out of the EU, no doubt the Express would then start another one for the return of hanging.
However I really think it makes no odds. If you want out of the EU, I’d urge you to sign the Express’ petition anyway, just to send a message if one really were needed. But be under no illusions, the answer will be ‘nah, we don’t fancy it.’
The bunch of bastards sat in Westminster couldn’t give a damn about our opinion, and asWitterings from Witney points out, are starting to get spooked by us. Our best hope for getting out of the EU is to vote UKIP en-masse (unlikely) or wait for Cyprus, Italy and Spain to bring the whole house of cards down (much more likely). The problem with the latter is that it will cause us significant pain.
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Learning to count.

No laughing matter, although I suspect someone has done something a little foolish having had a one or two drinks too many. No, this isn't denormalising drinking, it is an illustration of making a choice, or series of choices, and dealing with the consequences. Doesn't make the events any less tragic for those concerned, but if my suspicion is correct, then the individual in question has but one person to blame - themselves.
Anyhow, what am I blithering on about? This story from the Kent office of the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation. I've taken a screenshot, as I suspect there maybe some hasty editing before long:
'After being hit by up to several vehicles'? Well how many is that then? I'm assuming the progression is thus: one - a few - several - lots - shitloads.
Also available on the new 

Be not afraid.

A commenter in the article below has asked if the link to at the top of the page, under the header is genuine.

It is indeed genuine.

There was an issue with Google/Blogger the other day which lead to this blog being taken down for a while, and I'm not confident that it won't happen again and happen permanently, so at great expense (well, about £20) I bought the address and have moved in over there.

At present I'm mirroring that site over here (except this post), and I'll keep updating over here for the next month. After that I'll be dumping some code over here which will automatically re-direct to the new site when you come here, and this site will survive in a state of stasis.

All the articles that are archived over here have been imported along with links, images, videos and comments. However, any comments you leave here now will not be recorded over at the new place.

I love having all you guys and girls coming over to read my ramblings, and whilst I'm not even close to being in the Premier League of blogs regarding traffic, I'm proud of the readership I do have and would very much like you to come over to the new house for a look around.

I'll repeat the appeal for my dear readers to bookmark the new site and for you lovely bloggers to update your blogrolls to reflect the changes.

No, it isn't a scam, no it is isn't a virus. Be not afraid.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Compare and contrast.

Now, he’s a very naughty boy. I may occasionally talk about lamposts and piano wire, but I don’t for one moment counsel such a course of action. You can’t go round inciting people to murder and expect to be given a free pass. And even accounting for:
Bilal Zaheer Ahmad, 23, from Wolverhampton, was also sentenced for other terrorism offences.
We have to assume that as these ‘other terrorism offences’ aren’t disclosed in the article that they aren’t sufficiently sexy or, dare I say it, explosive to bother about.
12 years does seem a little steep, mind. Trying to get someone to off an MP is one thing, actually making them do it is another. Given that no-one is in the dock on a charge of conspiracy to do so, or on a charge of actually doing it suggests he wasn’t that effective.
In what has been a bad news day for my fair city of Canterbury, I cannot help compare the sentence handed down to Ahmad with the sentence handed down to our former Sheriff:
It turns out he’s got a young girl to undress and sit on his lap, he also seems to have, somehow, managed to get himself into a situation where he’s been able to grope a woman under her clothing, and also whilst she was in bed. I’m assuming he wasn’t in the bed at the time. Then there’s the 11 charges of indecent images, including sado-masochism being visited upon one poor child that he’s also been convicted of.
Fisher [. . .] was jailed for a total of 15 months and banned him from working with children for 10 years.
Really? 15 months?
I’m not going to blame the judge as she has a framework she has to work from, but it doesn’t seem right to me that writing about killing MPs is in the eyes of the courts almost ten times as worse as actually engaging in a physical act of sexual abuse against a child.
Something is very wrong here.

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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Seen in a Canterbury underpass.

Superb stuff. I could go on about graffiti as an art form vs. graffiti as vandalism, but I won’t bother. You either get it or you don’t.

Also available at the new

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

And another one.

Wolfers' note: Also available on the new 
Isn’t it weird that when Ken Clarke starts banging on about the right to defend oneself that we now start getting cases that fit the bill?
Attempted? He’s dead mate. Anyway, I thought this was a defensible course of action now. Scrub that, I thought this had always been a defensible course of action.
Cecil Coley, 72, is in police custody today after dramatic scenes at a florists on Shewsbury Street, Old Trafford, at 9.40pm last night.

It is understood the shop was closed at the time and Mr Coley, a well-known Jamaican man known as ‘Papa’ in the community, was playing dominoes with a friend inside when two men armed with. . .
(wait for it)
. . . guns broke in.

A struggle followed which saw one of the raiders, a 30-year-old man, fatally stabbed in the chest.
So, two strapping young blokes, tooled up with shooters (as I believe the criminal fraternity phrase it) burst in on an OAP and get stabbed? You’re not supposed to lose when you bring a gun to a knife fight. He probably died of shame.
A second man, who was wearing a mask, was seen running away from the premises.

It is thought he went to Manchester Royal Infirmary later where he was treated for a stab wound.
Fair play Papa, is what I say.
A police source said: “Early indications are that this is a robbery that has gone wrong.”
No shit.
The shopkeeper was described by residents as a regular church-goer who had run the shop as a fancy goods store for 40 years before handing it over to his children and retiring six weeks ago. They have been running it as a florists.

Local resident Leon Richards, 33, said: “He’s a proud man, very proud of his family. He used to go to the local church regularly and was a real part of the community.

“He is a quiet man, but a good man. He never caused anyone any trouble, he just got on with his business.”
Excellent, so when he’s described as being ‘well known’ in the community that isn’t code for him being some Yardie honcho. Well known would appear to mean a decent, respected and admired gentleman.
Perhaps if we get three of four more of these cases, and if, as is right, no action is taken against those who are defending themselves, the message may get back to the sort of sub-human scum who think it is OK to rob 72 year old shopkeepers at gunpoint. The message? Your turn to be scared.
Free Cecil Coley. Free the Manchester One.

Are you excited, peasant? Well why not?

Wolfers' note: Also available at the new 
Pravda is almost exploding this morning, you see it is a year until the Olympic Games starts. The breakfast show seemed to be coming from the olympic park on Radio 5, and there have been regular live links to the venues on the TV breakfast show. I've learned that the stadium is quite big, the aquatic centre has a pool, and, wait for it, hairdryers in the changing rooms! We've also learned that the site isn't finished yet.
The media is trying to chivvy us along on a wave of faux excitement, yet surprisingly, not everyone is feeling it. I'll let Christina Ohuruogo take over:

Whaaaaaaaat? The ungrateful little bastards. This has all been for them. This will be the event of their lives, and they're not interested? Do you think the politicians have railroaded this through for their own satisfaction and vanity? No. It's all been for the kids. Bloody hell.
Ohuruogu told the BBC: "I've seen, not apathy, but it is like, 'We don't take part in sports, what's in it for us?'.

I'd love to see your definition of apathy then, because that sure sounds like it to me. Shall we investigate why the kids don't take part in sport? I'm not sure if I'm certain what the answer is, is it because most of our playing fields have been sold off and had houses built on them? Is it because on the remaining patches of land signs spring up saying 'no ball games'? Is it because anyone who wants to run a kids sports club is treated like a prospective paedo and has life made as difficult for them as possible? Is it because parents and kids are conditioned to think that as soon as they set foot out of the house that the child will be leapt on by the pack of nonces lying in wait in the bushes at the end of the road? Is it because the government is so keen to harvest our taxes that it makes it impossible for women (or indeed men) to stay at home to raise the kids due to an eyewatering cost of living and guilt trips about not going back to work as soon as the umbilical cord is cut?
And she added: "The general impression I get is that they are not really interested.
"I am fortunate enough to have been to two Games so I know how brilliant it can be.
"They don't really see what is there for them. It is very hard to get people to understand how amazing it actually is.

Well, Christine, sweetheart. I'm sure when you're training seven days a week with a definite goal in mind and you then find yourself wearing the national vest in a full stadium with the gaze of the world's media on you as you get a gold medal it is pretty fucking amazing. But if you're a 14 year old abandoned in a sinkhole school with a system that couldn't give a damn about you, no future or aspiration surrounded by debt and urban decay, I'm not sure how interested you're going to be in the 5km steeplechase.
"It is almost like it is for everybody else: people who are athletes, the sponsors, the older generations, all the ones who have money.

Well, I'm sorry, it is. The games are all about corporate money. It's the only way this behemoth will return any of the piles of cash it has had poured down its maw. The irony being of course that the people of London have had their taxes ramped up to pay for this, assuming the games return a profit, and there's a decent chance they will, I can't help but wonder how much of a tax cut the people of London will receive.
"I think that is a shame and there is more that needs to be done over the next year to make sure we include our all young people."

Yes, absolutely. But how do we do it? I'm not sure, but I'm certain it isn't this:
Earlier this month it was announced 2,000 people aged 16 and 18 were being sought to help out at the Games alongside the 70,000 adult volunteers.

A separate scheme will create young ambassadors from across the country whose challenge will be to help increase participation in sport and physical education.

Other school programmes include lessons in entrepreneurial skills, citizenship, healthy lifestyles and the Paralympics.

Oh, Jesus. Really?
So, you're after two thousand kids to 'help out'? I'm guessing they'll get the job no-one else wants. I'll guarantee you this, you'll not see a 16 year old showing the VIPs to their seats in the royal box for the opening ceremony. Before the men's 100m final starts you'll not see a 17 year old stood behind the blocks collecting the kit or manning the little warning markers they put up for a false start. Unless these kids know they stand a fighting chance of getting some of the good stuff, they ain't going to be interested.
Then we get on to 'Young Ambassadors'. I'm always naturally hostile towards anyone who is nominated as an ambassador if they don't work at an actual embassy. You want to know who'll get into that gig? I'll tell you, it will be the kids doing their politics and sociology A-levels who want to go to Uni to do their politics degrees who can then go into the party machineries. You're breeding the next generation of party drones.
And for those who don't have the wit or inclination to be part of the machinery? The citizenship lessons and health nazi bullying.
This isn't a global sporting event, this is social engineering.
Still, only 380 or so days until it is over. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Moving on.

Well, after yesterday's scare and some swearing, hissy fits, tantrums and despairing phone calls to Brother Snowolf (he really knows his shit and I'd have been hopelessly lost without him, here's to you, Bruv) I've grasped the nettle and migrated this place elsewhere as I'm afraid I just don't trust Google with data and I don't trust them not to screw things up.

Sooooo, announcing the launch of the lovely new for all your politico-lupine blogging needs.

I'll be mirroring each site in the other for a week or so, just to cover any teething troubles, but I'd be most 'umbly grateful if you'd update your bookmarks to the new gaff (although I understand I can insert a bit of code on Blogger that should auto-direct) and if you are a lovely, lovely blogger wot has me on their blogroll, I'd be pathetically grateful if you'd update that. If you don't list me and I don't list you, then drop me a line at my lovely new email address, and we can indulge in some mutual ego massaging.

Oh, and take your shoes off in the new place, the carpet is very expensive, very vulgar shagpile and I don't want you bastards treading crap into it. OK?


The site seems to be going up and down like a tart's knickers at the moment, Brother Snowolf reassures me this is something to do with the DNS needing to settle down. I don't know what they are, but they sound like a right bunch of bastards.

Monday, 25 July 2011

A word of warning.

A heart stopping moment over in Wolfers' Den this evening, with some very colourful metaphors pouring forth from your's truly. For a while Blogger/Google saw fit to delete my blog.

I was advised by Brother Snowolf that this was to do with using a nom de plume on here, Google+ and with the gmail account associated with this blog and having more than one email address associated with all three. Apparently Google have now decided that they ain't too keen on pseudonyms, which is odd given their statement on freedom of speech when you sign up to Blogger.

Anyhow, if you're blog using Blogger and use Google+ or Gmail and want to avoid the whole falling pit of stomach feeling thing, you may be well advised to tweak your Google+ account or perhaps do away with it all together. Similarly if you use Gmail for your blog, you may want to consider going to Hotmail or some other free webmail provider.

It's made me consider moving this whole show to a server off Google, I shall be making investigations.

Many thanks to Dick Puddlecote on Facebook, and @AmbushPredator, @CaptainRanty and @thickey on Twitter for their moral support and practical advice during my hour of panic and need.

Extremism begets extremism.

The events in Norway have been truly shocking. There is no excuse, and can be no excuse for the actions of Anders Behring Breivik, no matter how frustrated and fearful he is of Norway's future.

He is, by common consensus, something of a nutter. That's an argument it is difficult to mount an argument against. Right minded people do not explode car bombs outside office buildings and go on shooting sprees at youth camps.

I thought that the Prime Minister and Justice Minister of Norway conducted themselves with great dignity during the press conferences the evening of and day after the atrocities, many leaders of many countries would have reacted with rage and fury, lashing out at targets they imagined to be responsible, it is a great credit to Norway that their politicians were able to keep cool heads in the direct aftermath.

Unfortunately not everyone has been able to demonstrate the same, and have demonstrated an extremist leaning themselves. As this man was anti-EU, (an organisation that Norway is not a member of and is unlikely to join), and so the pro-EU lobby has been quick to insinuate that anyone who opposes the EU is just like this nutter and would explode bombs and shoot children at the earliest opportunity. It's a disgusting way to do business, but that's the EU for you.

Sky News have been running the English Defence League logo on their TV graphical sidebar in relation to this story this morning. This is also not helpful. I've little time for the EDL, there's a few things about them which don't sit well with me, but I'm not about to associate them with a mass murderer, if anything I think Unite Against Fascism are the more likely to do physical harm to people.

Of course one of the hallmarks of UAF is how they demonstrate their opposition to fascism by preventing people from expressing their opinion and threatening or using violence against those who they don't agree with when they won't do as they're told and shut up. So on balance, I'd say I have the merest fraction of respect for EDL whereas for UAF I have none at all.

But that's the media for you, EDL don't like the EU or Islam therefore it is reasonable to lump them in with this mentalist. Lazy, sloppy. The bear baiting has started as well. Just wait for the discussion shows on radio and TV, and watch the extremists having their leads slipped on the air. I'll assure you this, no-one who is going to condone Breivik's actions will get anywhere near a microphone or the phone in studio switchboard, however plenty of people will be given free reign to demand that Breivik be subject to some sort of summary 'justice', that he must be barred from speaking in his own defence, or at all, and that the death sentence is the only just one in this case. They will demand that people who are anti-EU, anti-Islam or just hold views that are nebulously labelled as 'right-wing' or even against whatever it is these correspondents believe in, are subject to some sort of control, monitoring or censorship. They will see nothing wrong in that. Because they will not consider that the same could be extended to them, or anyone. This is a bad man, so why go to the expense of a trial? Why should his mad ramblings be entertained? Why should those who think like him be allowed to speak and write without control?

The answer is simple, because as soon as you withdraw that right from one person, you withdraw it from all. Yourself included. Never underestimate the ability for politicians to turn your own weapons against you. Once you declare someone as extremist and shut down their ability to speak, the easiest thing in the world is for you to be declared the same and suffer the same treatment.

Freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial are vital, even if it means that occasionally someone will write something you don't like or stands up in court and says something you find offensive. Your views are reasonable, aren't they? Of course, they're yours. But what happens if all of a sudden someone denounced them as extremist, and the moves you advocate now have been put into practice? What then?

No, the correct response to extremism is not extremism.