Monday, October 31, 2005

You are as good as you feel.

Maybe it is just me. I read this story about how the economy will be stronger in the new year.

Reading the story and the facts seem to be missing. But, they are not. It all appears to be based on a 'optimism index' which shows a rise of 0.8% in 4 months. Which implied a 3% rise in the second quarter of 2006. I'm not a economist so maybe I shouldn't be commenting but this does seem to be based on some sort of wishful thinking. On the optimism of those surveyed and, less so, the researchers.

The doom and gloom talk about consumer uncertainty, I'm certainly uncertain. High prices of oil, I don't see it getting any better due to Iraq, Iran and the fact our petrol stations are investing in new signs to cover over a pound a litre. Manufacturing output down. Now that did surprise me. I wasn't aware we had a manufacturing base now. Only joking.

So, I'm not convinced we have weathered the storm. We may be getting on with it while the storm is still raging but we are not clear yet and more small firms will bite the dust next year.

In saying that, the researchers are from BDO Stoy Hayward. This company has won a couple of awards for best fund and best management earlier this year. I hope this means they know what they are talking about.

Couple this with the story about education it makes me wonder what is going on? Two good news stories in one day covering areas where there seems to the layman to be little improvement and no sign of any either. I hope they are both right. I'm not holding my breath though.

An honest mistake Guv.

I wasn't going to comment on the latest from Blunkett regarding his business dealings. But his latest 'honest mistake' made me laugh. Read here. It appears he has had so many 'honest mistakes' that it is unbelievable he is still has the power that he has. Auntie Bliar is not going to make a decision but instead passes it over to someone else who will probably raise a commitee to investigate. This will take so long all of us will be discussing his current 'honest mistake' when a decision is made.

What is it about this guy that makes him so protected? Does he have something on Bliar? Who was that having sex after the election in 2000?

Inefficient and unaccountable. Business as usual for the Home Office.

I found this on the extradition of a suspect terrorist to be typical of the sort of thing our Government is doing. Read this on our latest cock up in the War against Terrorism.

Seems we have held this guy since May 2002 without charge. Another of the untried held under the Terrorism Act. An extradition for him was raised correctly but we took too long to process it that he has exceeded a three year time limit we put on it.

Ah well, these things happen in a country such as ours. If it had been Syria or Iran there would be an outcry about protecting these people and keeping then from Western justice. Because it's us it counts as a simple cock up.

They are blaming a 1999 law for the delay in processing the extradition. It should have taken 18 months to process but we failed after three years. Seems the law was so poorly thought out that it was repealed in 2003 and replaced with another. Funny how a law can be replaced but still cause so many issues. Seems like the new one wasn't so well thought out either.

So what are we going to do. Hold him under our laws? Our laws say he should be sent back to him home country.

From what I read he is accused of attacks planned against Europe. Can't another country request his extradition? Surely our paperwork would already be set up. It will probably still take six months though. I wonder if the time spent in our jails comes off his eventual sentence?

Assuming he is found guilty of course.

Doesn't matter who you vote for. They always get in.

'Doesn't matter who you vote for. They always get in.'

Can't remember who said it but it certainly fits in with the current feelings on Democracy all over the world.

It was thought with the fall of Communism that things would be different in some of the modernised Soviet satellite states. It appears not. Read this about the Ukraine Governments broken promises. Still the same but with different faces and the people feeling disenchanted.

But at least they had a choice. That is what democracy is all about.

Still targeting the weak.

I notice we are now looking at single parents in our clampdown on social services. Read here.

This one has always confused me. I live in an area that used to have a nickname 'pram city' due to the number of young mums here so I have seen the single parent families issue at close hand.

Often ill-educated they see getting pregnant as a viable career. They get a council home, money to spend and free time to do what they want.

On the other hand we offer then slave wages to which they have to commit to at least 20+ hours a week. By the time they have paid baby sitters, travel, rent and their council tax which they are now liable for, they are worse off than being on the social.

Paying tax credits and other such financial incentives was seen as a success because some, not all, went back to work. That was most likely to be the ones with local jobs and parents or grandparents to babysit while they were out. It actually gave them extra money in their pocket. The others however would still have been worse off.

Now the intent is to bully them back to work. They will probably get a few back to work which will be applauded. Possibly because of the extra jobs this will create in interrogators. The social impact of putting single parents under such stress with nowhere to turn will be ignored.

Yet another PR exercise.

Pensions. I'll worry about that later.

A new report on the pension row seems to indicate that there is no pensions issue. Read here.

Now since I read this article on Spiked which confirmed, in a much more supportable way, part of my view on pensions in the UK.

My view is that there is a pension issue but it is only in the Government funded one SERPS. Private pensions will be OK generally. However, the Governments view on pensions is that if you don't bother saving for the future the Government will pay it for you and if you save they will screw you so much you will be little better off than if you had not bothered. Remember that by default we all pay into a pension scheme via NI.

This leads to the situation where some people continue doing what they do today. Pension sorted via SERPS. Spend everything now and don't worry about the future. Have a good time while you can. Others, who can think, say 'Why bother saving extra?' They can save at the detriment of the present only to be shafted later and be no better off than if they had not saved. Finally, there is the really rich, who it does not impact. If you are in this bracket you are OK. Just make sure your investments are not pensions and you will be fine.

The general public therefore seem to being pushed into a corner, save and miss out on today, it won't make much difference in the future or don't save and we will look after you. This of course puts more strain on the Government scheme and now it is starting to hurt. It's hurting now because of all the other inefficiencies in the Government so it's been raised as a future problem. The other thing is that because actions in this area take decades to come to fruition they need to be carefully considered but that does not seem to be a criteria for Government.

The only real concerns for private schemes are corrupt or inefficient administrators or Government and a stagnant economy. Economies change dynamically and are generally OK but it needs to be considered they are also influenced by Government.

Now our lowest common denominator Government is starting to look at reducing the cost of the reforms in social services and this will include pensions. Unfortunately, they are a great believer in means testing and more Government so they will likely bring more private pension users actual incomes down. Hopefully, it will likely be sorted, one way or the other, by the time I come to retire. It's years away, I'll worry about it later.

We can hardly wait.

I see the contest for the Tory leadership is entering it's exciting stage, read here, and it apppeeeaaaarrsss......


It's all working OK now. So don't worry.

Research at Cambridge University has shown that today's teenagers are moe literate than ten years ago. Read the story here.

What! That contradicts everything we have been reading about over the last five years from the Government, employers, schools and what you see in real life. What is going on?

Looking at the news article seems to indicate that this global pronouncement is based on one year, 2004, sampled with 1994. 1994's samples being considered a downward trend from 1980.

Plus, these results seem to be from the cream as the pupils that produced them are still in sixth form and going on to University. Employers have not yet seen the impact. Now, I don't know what percentage that is but reality tells me that if the whole year had shown improvement then most of them would be on the job market now. And probably being head hunted by employers.

So, I am drawn to the conclusion that the increase since 1994 must be a small one and still lagging behind the highs of the 1980's. 1994 must have been a really poor year for employers.

So, all in all, still goes to show you can prove anything with a bit of applied research, not publishing details and making general sweeping statements.

Was the report done by one of our 1994 subjects?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Voting with your feet.

When I spotted this regarding US army recruitment a while ago I wondered what was happening to recruitment in the UK. Now we have a report on what has happened with recruitment for the Territorial Army.

For those not in the UK the TA is like the US national guard but without the latest toys and the money. TA soldiers are part time and can be called up as reservists for the normal army and the TA is part of the regular army not a separate organisation. They have fought and have given their lives in Iraq over the last few years. 5% of the UK deaths in Iraq have been TA. People in the UK call them weekend soldiers as they have to make a minimum commitment to training of about two weeks full time with several evenings and weekends totaling about 27 days and they don't have the same working requirements such as being liable to be shipped out at a moments notice but besides that it is similar to the real army and just as hazardous.

Seems that while the normal rate for people leaving the TA was 150 per week it has been running at 600 per week since their return from Iraq in 2003. Making the TA undermanned by over 14% as it is short 6,000 from it's 41,610 staffing requirement. Recruitment is also down to 600 despite a £3M campaign.

Seems people are not willing to give up their lives for the causes our glorious leaders are putting people in the firing line for. They are voting with their feet.

So recruitment not up to staffing level, more troops requested for Iraq and Afghanistan and now Bliar is threatening Iran. How old is Bliar's son? Would he be interested in signing up? No. I thought not. He has a cushy job lined up for him in the states as an intern. I understand it is an acquired taste, Euan. You'll get used to it. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I didn't feel a thing.

It appears the criminal charges against this Lewis Libby in the US is a wound to the side of Bush.

Another one? He seems to have been wounded more times than I can recollect but still never appears to have wavered from his path or even paused to inspect a wound. I think he is like a big Ogre in the way he takes blow after blow after blow, oblivious to the impacts, and keeps plodding along all the time wondering what he is going to do next.

It looks unlikely he will ever get a fatal blow, America, like the UK, seems to lack any party in opposition, and thus I see him fading out at the end of his tenure with a big smile on his face and his middle finger up at the world.

Time Travel. A regular thing for the UK.

Reading this safety appeal regarding the clock changes in the UK. This appeal seems to happen at this time every year.

I must confess this moving back and forward through time sound quite Sci-Fi but in reality just seems to cause confusion and, according to safety groups, deaths on the roads. To most of us it's simply running around changing our clocks with either an extra hours lie in or getting up and hour early according to our body clocks.

However, this one looks slightly different as they seem to be proposing moving the times to allow us more evening time and then go back to the resetting the clocks every six months.

If we need to move the time to give us more daylight in the working day then can't we do that as a one off and then just stick to the hours we have? Changing the clocks does not increase the number of hours of daylight just when it is.

And, it appears one place is already fed up with it. The Shugborough estate in Staffordshire is keeping BST when the rest of the UK moves to GMT on the 30-Oct. I'll go down to our offices there and see how they explain being late to the local management. I'm sure that will go down well.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Titles updated.

Just spent a happy couple of hours updating the titles on the articles after getting told off. I'll keep them updated from now on.

I've also discovered that this changes the URLs so the links I've got throught and any external links are all 404s. Ooops. Sorry. I'll fix my links.

Playing Politics at our expense.

I don't know about you but I think Boris Johnson is stupid. He votes both 'Yes' and 'No' to a bill he doesn't agree with. It's exactly the same as abstaining. Yet, he does not like the bill and did not want it to become law. He should vote 'No'. When it is discussed again he can explain why and it may be amended. But this is just a cop out. I hope his constituents vote the same way when he is up for reelection. I vote for Boris because he voted 'No' in that bill I cared so much about. Then, making the vote invalid, I voted for the BNP because Boris voted 'Yes' to the bill I cared so much about. And they wonder why the Tories are not getting anywhere. Oh, and that includes David Taylor too. Are they supposed to be playing games while we pay them? It may be a game to them but to others it will become harsh reality.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Iranians don't like Israel. What a shock.

Could this false surprise be the start of the public opinion push against Iran?

Let's face it there is nothing there that is new. Iran, and most of the other Arab states, would love to see Israel wiped out. At least these guys are being honest about their opinions. Unlike most of our politicians.

Look at what is happening over there. Israel gives up land as a compromise but they still want more. These people, who are getting our support, will not be happy until Israel is no more. If I was the Israeli PM I would have made a condition on giving up the land of terrorist attacks stopping and would now be taking them back. Unless there is a full agreement that the compromises are made to stop attacks then what is the point. This is what happens when world opinion is siding with the terrorists agenda. They see it as encouragement and each concession is a victory in a skirmish which will lead to victory in the battle. This way we will push Israel's backs against a wall and we know how they like to come out fighting. Let's see how those 250M+ Arabs do against the 10M+ Israelis especially now we have decimated one of their supporters. Israel would go without the US support but they would not go quietly.

I'm seeing spots. Why is that?

For all you security and privacy conscious people out there. And I hope it is a lot of you. Read this update from the Electronic Frontier Foundation on how we are being monitored via printers. And you thought you were just paranoid. The US government, and ours no doubt, uses yellow dots from generally available printers to track documents.

The EFF is a legal group which looks after public interests on Privacy and takes the US Government to task on many Privacy related issues. Most things are of interest to us in the UK. Mainly because of groups like this the US gets away with less than the UK.

It at least shows consistency if nothing else.

I felt a bit happier with my lot after reading this. It made me feel that Bliar seems to be cocking his EU Presidency up as well. No plan, just a promise to sort out their issues in two months and grumbles from the ranks. It actually says holding the Presidency does count. Well, looks like this will be the first one where nothing is done that benefits the home country. Yippee. At least he is consistent. LOL.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's like falling off a log.

Modern Art. Easy as falling off a log. Again I'm inclined to sue but to be honest I would likely fail this one due to so many other people doing it.

Why do we shoot down these people?

The report into on of our most succesful head teachers came out after a three year investigation and recommended no criminal charges. It was on our local news last night and the lady in question gave a convincing explanation for her actions in spite of the news guys continual chasing of a single point. 'Do you regret any of your actions?' Of course she does now but probably not what you want to hear. They get a 'Yes' and then ask 'If you agree, as you have done, your actions were suspect, why should you keep your job?'

This woman took on an underperforming school. Brought in people she has worked well with before and in 10 years turned it into one of our most successful schools. She was rewarded for this by being made a Dame and a nice wage hike.

Then three years ago someone blew the whistle and accused her of nepotism. That started a three year investigation that discovered;
1) She hired her sister. Ten years ago.
2) She hired another friend. Ten years ago.
3) She paid a friend consultancy money for work. Work he was qualified to do and he did a good job at the market rate.

How much did a three year investigation cost? One that took way too long. One that concluded that damning criticism was due and that was serious and continuing lapse of judgment. But, could not recommend prosecution. Let's face it the facts are these and she had an answer for every one. I suspect the only one she would have done differently was the consultancy but the costs were said to be the same as other quotes so it was clearly not fraudulent.

She, and the others, have been suspended for a year on full pay. The local authority has taken over the running of the school. I wonder how they faired during that time. Probably not a lot of difference because it takes time for these things to filter through. I'm fairly confident it won't be in a +ve way though.

Now the governors are reviewing the situation. I would imagine that they would be happy with a school that was doing so well when others are going the other way. But, people are finicky.

I'm sure there will be other schools who will pick up her contract if they let her go. Actions speak louder than words and she has shown what she can do.

Do Hitmen exist?

Are there any real hitmen in the UK? Every one seems to be an undercover copper like this. Surely, if they didn't go around offering their services there wouldn't be a market and they could, God forbid, get back to some real work like arresting kids on scooters or chasing motorists.

Impact of our economy on real people.

Just reading this about house repossession. It was interesting to read the comments. All blaming the mortgage lenders and the home 'owner'. It is true that you can get mortgages that are too high. We have more debt on average than you should have and it is so easy to get loans nowadays. So in some respects they are not wrong. However, one thing they never seem to have considered is that mortgages are only one millstone around your neck. But, one you used to be able to budget for. I remember my parents saying 'We will have to tighten our belts for a few years' meaning wage increases will soon bring back a better standard of living. OK, you lost your job you were in trouble but in today's climate with council tax increases, new NI contributions, fuel and power cost increases, saving for pretty photo cards, etc. our salaries have in fact dropped in real terms. Taking many who could afford to pay a mortgage below the line where they now can't. That is what is fueling the increase in repossessions.

Got to laugh at the end poverty calls. We are creating it here at home. Let's look after our own first. When we have no poverty here then we can help others on the planet.

Reality starts to bite. Not us yet but it will soon.

Oh, what a surprise! Police need more funding with the new laws they have to regulate. This plus our new KGB style homeland security force and the increased detention costs not even taking into consideration 90 day detention. How did they think they were going to fund all this? Such is the thought process behind our Government. A combined IQ normally associated with microscopic pond life.

Here, I have an idea. To ensure our Police can do these important tasks within the same funding they have now why don't we stop prosecuting some of the lesser crimes. Like burglary, road stops and drunk driving. Oh, wait a minute we are already not doing them. Burglars get a slap on the wrist if we can be bothered. There are fewer road stops and checks for unsafe vehicles and drunk drivers because we can make more money, Oops, sorry, more effective use of our money by automating things. So they are already covered. So we are looking at violence then. How about if you hit someone but it only causes a visit to hospital, must be loads of them. That would save some costs.

I would suggest the crimes that impact the least people but that surely would exclude terrorist attacks and most of the ASBOs they want to concentrate on. How many drunks so we have in a day who kill or hurt someone. How many are killed by terrorist attacks, excluding those we put in the line of fire? What are people main concerns? Life and limb. What do we do to protect them? Nothing. We are too busy ensuring nobody shout out at our lords and masters while they are giving a speech. What do they do to ensure we can defend ourselves? Nothing, because we might hurt one of the bad guys. That's a No No. Their lives are more important than ours. They have to make a living somehow.

Let's make you look bad unless you do what we want.

Read this about a proposal for ISPs to state on their website if they block access to Child Porn sites.

Child Porn, a hobby that seems to have more supporters in all walks of live than fox hunting and the Opera. Yet, like drugs it seems to be illegal with an uncountable number of followers prepared to break the law to meet their needs. Plus, of course, those who fall foul of the law through stupidity such as photographing their own children in swimming pools. Some people! Don't they know there are perverts out there. Oh, of course they do, they are one now and are on a list to prove it.

Child Porn is one of those things we appear to be in two minds about. We think it is immoral to do anything to children but at the same time we are happy to let them starve by the thousands, be maimed to earn enough to live or fight in wars. I, however, think that if enough people want it in a democracy should it not be legal? My vote is no, but it appears that there are quite a few out there who would vote for it. Luckily, we don't live in a democracy. The will of the people is irrelevant.

Now forgive me for being stupid but I thought it was pointless trying to monitor Child Porn sites. They move around all over the place. Having someone advertise on their website is another way to force them to waste resources on a PR exercise. They seem to think that, like the Government, they can just hire extra people to perform this task, no matter how ineffectual it is. Cost doesn't enter into it.

However, I loved the bit where it says 'Most illegal child porn sites are monitored by police'. That must be to frighten people off. If not, then why don't they just visit everyone who has been on the site. Raid them the next day. It can't be too sophisticated. They don't need weeks of planning just someone going round, arresting them and looking on their computer. Instead, let's give them time to move them to a secure location, encrypt them and distribute them amongst their network of like minded people.

Parental control. Not of kids, because we can't do it, but of schools.

Parents given control over schools. That will work out well. How are they going to do that? It may simply differentiate class in schools. How many people are really in the position to make a decent go of this? Being involved in arranging a school fair and attending a few meetings is hardly grounds for actually making real decisions that will take years to prove themselves. Just ask our Government. They, with no experience and common sense, managed to screw it up. How are the common laymen to do any different? I know I couldn't.

Now maybe it's just me with rose tinted spectacles but what was wrong with the schools in the 60s, 70s and 80s. They handed out education and taught many skills. There was much less absence and rowdiness. Employer's knew what they were getting when the got a list of qualifications.

My kids have just come through school. They are forced to take a language so missed out of something they can actually use. Coupled with the fact they are given limited choices in their options so they end up with a miss mash of qualifications some of which are not relevant to their needs. Now they are talking about deferred success. Luckily I missed that. Poor souls are in for a big shock when they try and get a job.

Like everything else in this country education has been used at a PR exercise by politicians for years and like everything else the Government influences it does not deliver what it is supposed to either.

I did think privatising them would be a good idea and fund then by results on basics and everything. But the government could screw that up too by requiring so many conditions it will be impossible to get a decent education.

What they should do is stick them in school. In general leave the junior schools as they are. Maybe enhance some basic skills like reading and basic maths. In secondary schools start by teaching them the basics, Basic Maths, English, PE and some basic problem solving sciences and electronics. Then in the year 8, give them a more detailed mixture of sciences and other subjects. Followed by years 10 and 11 with their choices. Advanced maths, Chemistry, Physics etc. Let those that don't want to attend attend something else where they won't impact on students who are willing to learn. Perhaps flipping burgers at the local burger bar would do. In case you are wondering how we do this, it's simple. We pay the kids to go to school. No more money for the parents via social services. Kid goes to school and is being educated equals Kid earns real money for his living expenses. Suspension is without pay. Kid doesn't go to school then no money so they have to get a job. Screw them, let them screw their own lives up and not impact on those willing to learn. It'll cut down bullying as well.

Then make the exams something worth working for. No deferred success. I want to be an aircraft designer. I need Maths, English, Physics and Electronics. Yippee. I got a pass in English and deferred successes in the others. I'm clearly qualified. Nope!. Let them learn the realities of life while they can do something about it before they leave school.

We would ban them but their already illegal. So let's ban something related instead.

You have really got to question the logic behind our politicians.

Gun crime is going up and because of the use of illegal weapons they want to ban currently legal weapons such as airguns and BB guns. Therefore making more illegal weapons out there.

Knife crimes are going up so they start looking at banning knifes and swords. Chefs have already said that there is no need or the general public to have access to really big knives and cleavers and they would know.

That poor kid had her face slashed with a razor blade. Well, we have electric razors now so we can ban all cut throat razors and anything with an open blade in it.

People have been killed with golf clubs and snooker cues. We don't really need them they are just for fun. If they can't play good then we need to ban them as well. The golf guys will lose their sport and the snooker guys can use wooden stakes instead, well, for a while anyway because someone is bound to get a splinter or something.

That guy was shot and killed in Birmingham so we can ban all handguns. Oh, wait a minute we tried that and it didn't work. Gun crime is actually gone up and now you have a greater chance of being shot than you did before. Thanks for that. I feel at lot happier knowing I have a greater chance of being killed but at least I'm not breaking the law. Not yet anyway.

UK laws are already the most draconian in the civilised world. Yet, interestingly enough in countries, real democratic countries, where the people get the choice they vote to keep them despite the lies and myths put about by the anti-gun lobbyists. It just goes to show you that right is not might but instead he who shouts loudest.

It all comes down to the Politicians Dilemma.
This has happened and it makes us look bad.
We must do something to make ourselves look good.
This is something to do.
Therefore we must do this and say it will solve the problem.

Don't ask any questions and confuse the issue with facts. Let's just go on the say so of a few with a lot of moral indignation and big mouths. They are making a big fuss so no need to check the data because they have said it and the papers seem to agree with them. No right thinking person would want it to happen again so everyone thinks this is a good idea.

Speeding again.

How did this guy escape a jail sentence? He was traveling at twice the speed limit yet was only fined £200 with another £300 costs. Read the story here.

Animal Crackers.

Rome has granted animals some interesting rights. In the kind of laws I would expect to see in the UK pretty soon. Pushed through by people who would rather see people die than animals. I discussed this earlier while I was out with some workmates. One of them has about 50 cats ranging from some kittens to some real OAPs. She thought it was a good idea so I enquired how the extra people they were taking on were going to ensure compliance. I suggested that they could stop every dog they seen and asked them using this nifty bit of kit. Then I thought it's the dogs that are not out and about. This means they will have to comb the dog records and visit each home. Then ask the dogs. What if your dog says it is not getting out enough but you take it out the recommended number of times? Can dogs take an oath in court? This would require sweeping changes in our legal system. Ordering one to sit must be tantamount to abuse. How do you put a lead on it when that is infringing it's rights.

I seem to remember the same issue with kids. You couldn't smack them so now they are out of control. Will it be the same with animals.

I can just see it now. Man talking to Police. My dog just wants to bite people so to ensure it is kept happy I let it chase after the paper boy this morning. That little B4$%^&d pedalled so fast my dog was out of breath before it could really maul him. I want you to take the lad to court and make an example of him when he recovers from his wounds.

But it's not all bad news. According to what I can work out you can still have them put down. Suggestions are that you do it before you get to court so they can't testify against you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

2000 US lives wasted in Iraq. A number Bush wants to ignore.

Although the text says it is not a milestone. It appears to be one to me. 2000 US soldiers killed in Iraq. What a waste. And Bush and his cronies say it is meaningless and laugh and joke about other things.

Out playing today. With things that go bang.

Been out shooting today with my son. Had a go at Clay Pigeons. Introductory lessons. It was fun. I think I will take it up as a hobby. My son isn't so sure though. He enjoyed it but he can't get there without me and we can't get on without booking in advance. It interferes with his love life. I'm going to apply for a license then we can go when it is more convenient because I won't need a hand holder.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Postcode Poverty. Like seeks out like.

This is interesting. They call it Postcode Poverty. Sounds bad but what it actually means is that like people band together. If you are in a low income area the chances are you are on a low income the same as everyone else. A middle area will have low and high earners and someplaces will be full of high earners.

I really don't see what they can do about this but it doesn't surprise me that they will get involved in social engineering like this.

Does this mean that they will open up their own communities to Croatian asylum seekers to kick start this? Somehow I just get the feeling they mean the rest of us have to.

Anarchy in the UK revisited.

Hot topic still on the news is the disturbances in Birmingham. More trouble has occurred. With guns and petrol bombs. The news reports there are two dead but there is only one mentioned on the BBC site.

The community leaders are calling for calm. I watched them discuss it last night on the TV. It was quite interesting. 'The elders will discuss it and come up with a way forward'. Sounds like something out of Charmed. It harks back to the old tribal ways which are not applicable any longer. The young ones, who are causing all this, no longer listen to the elders who they see as out of touch and unwilling to change. Elders who are in this position because of power and money. Amazingly, almost exactly how everyone sees politicians. Do this, do that, don’t answer back and we know best.

The young have no input and are seen as hot headed, lack consideration and are selfish. Interesting enough the same as the young in the rest of the UK. It seems the young are integrating well enough. Seems like it is the elders themselves that are not integrating too well. The young run around in their own social groups until they are old enough to appreciate the status quo. Then they join in. Undoubtedly in a similar way to the way Charles Clarke changed from when he was in university to being a supporter of Bliar's new Terror laws.

It reminds me of a similar, but much less serious, issue of music idols. In the olden days it was Elvis with his hips. Should be banned. The young loved him. Then it was Black Sabbath with the subliminal soundtracks and now Marilyn Manson and 2.5 pence or whatever. The people who loved Elvis hate these new bands and want them banned. They don't even see the irony in the situation as their roles are reversed. Ah, but it is different, they say. Of course it is. It always is.

Looks to me like the terrorists are winning. They have changed our way of life and are systematically destroying our freedoms. All with the investment of a few home grown amateur terrorists. Our responses to these guys are going to create a revolution in the UK. These disturbances are only the first bubbles as the pot heads towards boiling point with the heat full on.

Politicians out of touch. Again.

Brazilians vote to keep guns. At least they had a choice. And I was under the impression Brazil was an oppressive country. Oh, how far we have traveled in so short a time.

Stop and Search eroding trust?

Interesting question this. Do search powers erode trust?

Not in my opinion. I think a Police officers right to search someone is a requirement which is actually badly managed by the Police forces. The rules could be tightened up and still leave latitude for a reasonable search.

Stop and Search under the Terrorism Act must therefore be a Police Officers wet dream. It's a get out of jail card they can use any time they want. No need to justify it and I bet they don't even get asked to do so. If they catch anyone with drugs, a knife or anything then in they come. It must be improving the detection rates tremendously. Won't catch any terrorists though. It seems Hampshire have used this 4400 times since July 2005. Wonder how many of those were arrested under any terrorism law? Sorry, shouldn't ask that. It seems to be irrelevant. How many were subsequently charged under a terrorism law?

It's the abuse of search powers that erodes trust. More and more people are becoming concerned about the way this country is turning into Soviet Russia. It won't be long before even those sheep who say 'If you have nothing to hide it is not a problem.' will be thinking again. The Jews walked meekly into the camps in the 1940s. I bet they thought the same way.

Won't be long before every citizen scurries the other way when a copper comes along. Even those with nothing to hide. Based on this I vote we don't put more coppers on the beat.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Anarchy in the UK. The first bubble.

The hot topic at the moment is the unrest in Birmingham. Read more here. It's about 100 miles from me.

Seems that one man was killed, which doesn't sound like much but what was significant is there were a few shots fired. Two people were shot, one a copper. I appears he was shot with a BB gun. There were several arrests.

The trigger appears to be the accusation that a young girl was raped. No crime has been reported though.

This area is one of the areas which has been predicted as an area of high tension. It looks like a few people got involved with the intention of causing trouble and came tooled up. I think this will be the future for areas of high tension. A trigger, a disruption and a few arrests. With a few people getting killed each time. In the UK we are a bit more reserved and so it is unlikely we will have a full scale riot at this stage.

I wonder if this group is one of those who feel safer under Bliars draconian laws. Perhaps not.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Impulse buying. A typical shopping trip for me.

Went out looking for an air rifle for my son while I can still buy one. He has expressed an interesting in getting one so I want to make sure he does it right. As usual I went off target and bought an air pistol instead. I used to enjoy that when I was younger but I'm clearly rubbish at it now. Hand shaking all over the place. I'll have to go back for the rifle sometime but I really need to take my son to ensure whatever is bought is OK for him. I'll take him next week when we have some time. Never know I'll probably get an interest myself and get back into it while I take him to the local club.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Rewriting History. The power of the winner.

I read this and was slightly interested in the political act of rewriting history. This discovery was done pre Nazi and a legitimate discovery is being written out for this guys political leanings.

I'm not sure that the Nazi's contribution to medicine was that great but one thing is certain a lot of lives were lost in generating the data. I remember reading many years ago that certain discoveries were made during that time that have been a great help in the fight against nature and could not have been easily replicated, even now.

Star Trek, in it's own way, visited this complex area. Another war criminal had developed a cure for this disease, or injury, I don't remember and the character, a main player wouldn't take it because of the way the discovery was made. Luckily, being fiction, it all worked out in the end. Point made, cure not used, and victim OK.

My view is that what is done is done. Make the guy a war criminal fine. imprison or execute or whatever to give a punishment. But use the data otherwise all those victims died for nothing. Let their deaths have meaning.

Teachers regain some rights. Finally a step in the right direction.

About time. Teachers now are getting rights in their fight against unruly pupils. Maybe it will help stop things like what happened to this brave girl. Here is hoping her attackers gets a decent punishment. Unlikely in this society but we can only hope. Bring back the birch I say.

With a bit of luck parents could soon get the same rights.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pesky rules and regulations.

Courts releasing Terrorist suspects on bail. This is why our Government want to hold them for 90 days without charge. The legal process seems to step on what our law enforcement want to do and it's clearly upsetting to them that they have to put up with that pesky due process of law.
I still think it is a draconian law working towards anything the Nazi's and the Soviets could do. It's only a first step of course till all British Nationals can be treated like foreign nationals with detention without charge and punishment without trial. He is charged with a crime that carries a life sentence. No evidence can be supplied because it would compromise our sources. But, the law will say that it is sufficient for the prosecution to know that and not have to supply it in public debate. Any defense? Against what? Can't tell you. OK so no defense then?

Keep it at 14 days and before they start holding them longer they must have something that they can use to convince a judge that they can be kept. Charge at 14 days with whatever you have and then you can have some more. Otherwise it is no different from grabbing someone off the street and then spending 90 days interrogating him before freeing them. Who wants to lose three months out of your life because you didn't look a copper in the eye or something?

Deadly force against man with table leg acceptable. If you are a copper.

Two coppers who shot a man carrying a table leg are not to be charged. Read this. Now up to a point I can understand that people make mistakes and sometime things happen like this. But, what I do find strange is the statements they make like the CPS said 'there was insufficient evidence to rebut the men's self-defense claims'. Huh, mmmm, I think that might be because they wasted him. Now I seem to remember that many, many, people are behind bars for lots of crimes, some less serious than murder where there was less information than that available here. One law for the police and one for us. Remember Tony Martin. He did fear for his life and over a long period of time. His crime appears to be he left a witness. His compassion was his downfall. A lesson I'm sure a lot of people learnt.

Ayn Rand.

I was browsing the web and came across a couple of bits of interesting philosphy from a writer who I had not heard of before. Her name was Ayn Rand. She died in 1982. More details on her is available here. I'll put a couple of quotes in where I think they are appropriate. Here is one to get started.

[On three of the rules governing the mechanics of compromise]
1. In any conflict between two men (or two groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins.
2. In any collaborationbetween two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins.
3. When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side.
-- Ayn Rand, "The Anatomy of Compromise," Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

A Political Vacuum

Read Sean Gabbs opinion on Politics in the UK here. It is quite interesting.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I don't understand they say. It's because you can't see outside the blinkers.

I was reading this report about one of the July 7th bombers. It spoke quite well about Mohammed Sidique Khan's integration into Western society, how he was know as Sid and how they could not understand his behavior leading up to the 7th July bombings. Plus, they had concerns about the wall of silence.

I was a bit concerned about that. I think I understand in a way and can even see the chain of events that could lead to the bombings. Not that I agree with the bombings but I can see how you can justify them in their minds. And, I can understand the wall of silence. Why can't they?

First of all let’s start with his conversion to Islam. His parents didn't force him to go nor did they ensure he grew up with a strong faith. Sounds OK because he chose his own way as every single one of us do. The gay boy whose father disowns him wasn't forced or encouraged, the robber whose parents never stole in their lives. All of these are people growing up and making their own choices based on what they believe they can do and get away with. We all have a line we will not cross. For each of us it is in a different place. He listened, believed and was converted. The same as many others convert over their lives, Cat Stevens for example. Both to and from Islam.

Being a believer in Islam is one thing but being a bomber is a step further. Not however too big a step as we would think. When Iraqi massacre II started. Many were outraged. It was seen by many as an aggressive move into the oil fields of the Middle East with the plus of revenge for GW Bush. Bliar and the others followed like puppies when they knew that Iraq was no threat to us. Some people, myself included, felt so outraged we talked about it a lot and pointed out how our country is ran by liars and war criminals. Others, like Sid, decided to take more drastic steps. Why the difference? Well I have kids and a job, so does Sid. I have a loathing for our political elite, so does Sid. I don't know what lies after Death and consider death to be an ending. Sid did and, regardless of whether his beliefs are right or wrong, he just knew that it was simply a step on a path. Death is just the beginning type of philosophy. He was making a point just like I was.

He has crossed a line I have not yet reached. I'll write about it and whine to everyone I know but I'm not ready to give my life up yet. Sid was prepared to give his life up and did.

The choice of target is logical in many ways. Many see the British people as condoning the attacks on Iraq. Mainly because when the opportunity arose we voted them all back in. Plus, there are certain facets in our society that actually believe what our politicians say. They believe Iraq is behind 911, has hidden WMD and organised the attacks on our society. They believe so much they are willing to commit our armed forces into their country to fix it. Would they be willing to go themselves? That is an interesting question. Some people are and do, some abroad where the fight is, some bring it here. Plus we kill innocent civilians, partly because we can't tell the difference, partly because we don't care. So civilians it is and they are seen as an easy target. After all most are without the protection of an ID card, although exactly how that works is beyond me at this point.

Others see politicians as the targets. However, I think they perceive politicians to be too well protected. No simple ID card for them. They have SAS, SO19, dragon’s teeth, protective cordons plus the ID card. The Fathers 4 Justice and Pro Fox Hunting protestors attacks in the House of Commons has shown how difficult it is to really protect a group of people who are prepared to do a bit of planning and preparation. A few individuals maybe but a whole group.

The wall of silence. Would you speak openly to someone about your children knowing that to do so could add them to a list which could easily lead to their deaths or arrest and imprisonment without charge? Nobody wants to believe their children would do anything bad. But at the same time they don't want anything to happen to them. I'm a bit concerned my son doesn't speak to me about everything he used to. Does that mean he is considering terrorism? Most likely not but any concerns are enough for a stay at Her Majesty's pleasure. I think I'll just keep quiet about any concerns I have. Journalists are certainly not impartial. The number of cases where they have given evidence and their increasing casualty count shows that they are not considered so either.

Each incursion into our freedoms and atrocity committed brings everyone that little bit closer to their own line. Some will never reach it, but, more and more will. If I ever reach my line and life has less meaning then I'll not be blowing up civilians. Where is the nearest CSA office? Being law abiding means I can't get a gun. When that restriction is removed it seems that anyone can get one.

If people always paid a price for their decision then maybe, just maybe, they would be a little bit more careful on what they did. That is the basic theory behind all our laws. I have to consider every time I do things, even nowadays bringing up children have long term implications on your freedoms. Every move I make when driving can be scrutinized with 20/20 hindsight and I can be punished financially or restriction on my freedom such as going to jail. Unfortunately, none of these bombers have to worry about that. They are long gone to where they can't be touched.

Every action has a reaction, except, of course, for our leaders. The worse they can hope for is lack of votes or someone writing bad things about them. But, it can't continue forever. Nazi UK is not too far away and we are walking with our eyes open.

A group of 20 prepared to give up their lives, if necessary, with a strong leader. This country could be changed completely. And there seems to be hundreds of people willing to die for a cause.

It won't be long before we have our own Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. That will be an interesting day. The world would change.

You can't be trusted but we can.

Cool. Read this. Another lost gun. I like it where we are not responsible enough to own these weapons ourselves but when we were I don't remember people leaving them all over the place.

How can you lose an SA80? It is a true rifle. Not one which could slip into a pocket or fall out of a holster. At least with a pistol, like the last one lost, I can see it getting mislaid. Don't understand what it was doing out and getting laid down for though. There must be more of these armed people in plain clothes than we originally thought. Maybe soon it will be all armed forces and all the police. I'll feel a lot safer then. I can just see it.

Man 1 in plain clothes who is really a copper, 'Hey you, you dropped a cigarette stub.'

Man 2 in belligerent tone, 'That wasn't me'

Man 1, shoots Man 2 in the head three times.

Man 1 at scene ten minutes later, 'I approached him for committing a crime and was about to arrest him under section 235643567, Paragraph 462357626 of the Terrorism Act 2008. The part about flammable materials. He was very aggressive, he had clothes on which could have concealed a bomb and I thought he could be a suicide bomber so I removed the threat.'

Man from IPCC, 'Sound like you did the only thing possible.' 'It was unfortunate that he was wearing baggy swimming trunks which could have contained a bomb and was too aggressive to approach.' 'These things happen in a society such as ours.' 'This country is much safer now he is out of it.'

Journalist embedded with IPCC 'Police officer shot terrorist suspect in self defense while making arrest.' 'File it under uninteresting'.

Evolution is not history but is still going on.

I was reading this about 'Zombie Worms'. Thought I was going to discover that George Romero was not as far out as we hoped.

Anyway it was to do with marine worms, which wasn't as big a disappointment as you might think as I had a few in my marine fish tank and found them interesting. They are nice to look at although they don't do all that much beyond deploying feather like arms to collect food and, er, well that's it. They look pretty though.

My thoughts were more along the lines of this is what evolution is about. Everything changes and new species are created while old ones, those that can't adapt, are destroyed. Perhaps we should be creating giant museums of life that will go extinct in the wild instead of proposing we reduce our society to a handful of self dependent villages so we don't impact natures balance. It's funny with all the destruction by nature that is going on we still think we can control it and stop it's relentless advance. When we are a few villages and in the next ice age we will see most of the species we are worrying about wiped out and wish we had at least kept the method to keep ourselves warm before we succumb.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Huh! What does that mean?

I won't bore you with the details in the story. It's to do with the Iraqi voting and irregularities. I read this paragraph and just couldn't help but laugh.

The commission said in some areas nearly all votes indicated a "yes", and in others a "no".

Well what a shocker and a totally meaningless statement. Now I read it after typing it isn't as funny. Oh well.

Story can be read in full here.

Boy's and their Toys.

Now we know why Bliar was targeting the under 10s. Read this about a weapons stash in a kids room.

They are the biggest culprits in gun crime as I surmised. :)

Oh! Unspent money the Government has it's eyes on.

Been busy today and just got in. Though found this on my travels on £2.4B unspent Lottery funds.

I don't see what the problem is. We already waste it on 'cultural' causes. What that means is a show that nobody wants to go to and needs everybody paying to make ends meet like the Opera in London. If we rush to spend the money the chances are it will be wasted. To be honest I would think it should be better spend on hurricane relief or something than just be wasted.

On the other hand if it isn't spend our greedy Government will dip into it to fund a pensions increase for the useless and pampered among us. By that I mean our delightful MPs.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Computer woes. I'm getting fed up.

Not having much joy with my system. Roll on a decent version of Linux.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Computer woes, again.

Spent all day trying to get my system to work. I've been on a few newsgroups and visited a few sites. The consensus is that it's a HW problem but it seems strange to me. I've ran memory tests, checked the disks, swapped memory cards around and generally just trying things.

I'm currently rebuilding my system, on a new HD, and checking if it is SW related.

Hopefully it will be fixed tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Oh, if only I could write.

Read this on the Terror laws. The writer is a more articulate than I am. Get it?

Plans for my computer systems.

One of my systems is an Athlon 64 which I picked to do video editing on. Unfortunately, there is a problem on it where when I am installing something it raises CRC errors on extractions from the cab files. Bring back simple installs is what I say. The more complicated to you make it the easier it seems to screw up. It fails and then uninstalls the application. Bit of a problem because it's an upgrade and has made my previous version unusable.

Tried to look on the Microsoft site. What a nightmare. You need Javascript and ActiveX enabled and I don't have them on. I found that a rebuild every few months was stopped by disabling them. It means my systems don't get protected against everything but seems they don't need it as much with them disabled and I check and download the ones I need. I call it lazy programming but I suspect they are doing other things and need the access. I'm not paranoid for nothing.

I wish they would hurry up and come out with a version of Linux that installed as easily as Windows. I'd be on it in a shot for most of my systems. I'm looking now at changing my servers to simplify them. I've two main ones, one a file server with about 1Tb on it and the other is a Web server with MySQL on. I can replace the file server with a nice new NAS box from Netgear. That will clear one server but only once the disk sizes get to reasonable costs for 500Gb. The NAS box only takes two drives. My current server has four. The next I can already convert to Linux but I need the Windows version until I can relocate my encrypted container files which is using some old software. I've got to decide on what new software I can use. PGP doesn't do much on Linux so I'm leaning to Jetico or I could just keep the containers on the NAS box and use the web server just for web and SQL work.

But, I'll never get round to that while I can't install my editing SW. Maybe it's time for moving disks around and see if it will install on a non AMD system.

This is unfit for human consumption. Let's give it to the third world.

The US is being a bit two faced here. The UK meat is not fit for US consumption because of fears of BSE but OK to send on to a third world country for consumption.

The US knows it is safe but won't eat it. How would you feel if you were the third world country getting it. Wow, meat rejected by the US for safety reasons. Makes me feel really wanted.

Friday, October 14, 2005

You only need bait when you are hunting.

Read this on married women gaining weight.

They have taken the facts and come to the wrong conclusions in my opinion. I think it is that they are all nice and slim until they capture their man. Then they don't need the bait so let themselves go to pot.

Only a thought.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It didn't work before but let's keep trying.

Got to love the consistency. There are plans afoot to limit airgun sales to registered dealers. That of course will only be the start. This hobby will go the same way as handguns with none being allowed and rifles restricted unless you are licensed and approved.

All triggered, sorry about the pun, by the unfortunate death of one boy in Scotland by a dozy man who is now, rightfully, in jail. Although probably not for long enough. Best bit is, at 27, the killer would still be able to buy a gun with these new laws in place and so it proves, yet again, that the target for this is not what is being shouted about but a more systematic policy of discrimination against all who believe in this sort of hobby.

It's because air guns are seen as a weapon by the authorities and a death is seen as a totem for them to dance around while they call for more and more restrictions to be placed on all weapons.
Soon the only hobbys left will be reading, approved books of course, and jigsaw puzzles.

Well, I'm off to buy an air rifle and pistol while I still can. I'm not falling into the trap of being left out again.

It's called risk assessment.

Interesting one this about to many disabled people on a plane. Although it is unfortunate, you can be sure if there was a problem and they had to evacuate they would have required assistance and RyanAir would be in big trouble if passengers needed assistance and it wasn't available. I'm sure they had assistance to get on and off the plane as it was.

I think RyanAir needs to sort out it's procedures for this type of passenger to make sure the embarrassment don't happen again but in this day and age of risk aversion then I don't blame them. It would be better to pay compensation or some fine than to fall foul of the H&S executive.

Plus I think for anyone from a Society with the word Blind in the title should be more realistic and accept that assistance may be required for some circumstances. I know they don't like to think of them as disabled unless they are after some concession like access but they need to be aware that saying so does not make it so. RyanAir can cater for disabled people but up to a limit.

Widening the scope on crime. Because everything is sorted on what we have now.

Cool. We must be really clamping down on crime. We are so good at resolving crime we are now targeting under 10s in our new laws. But, hold on, our prisons are so full we will need to release people on tags according to this. Now, we can't build our way out of this. Where have I heard that before? Of course we can, the Americans have done it. We must be close to them on percentage points now. Let's build more prisons.

Before we do that though. Let's look at who is in prison. Is it the guy who broke into and entered a group of houses late last year, Nope, he got tagged anyway. What about the guy who was drunk and disorderly and smashed up the car earlier this year. Nope, he got a pitiful fine instead. Wait, it's the guy who protested about his poll tax, the guy who got caught with a little bit of dancing powder, the guy who defended his house against burglars, the latest guys who got snatched under the terrorism bill and held incommunicado for fourteen days soon to be three months.

If they actually put in prison those that should be in prison then there would an immediate fall and plenty of room to ensure that those that broke the laws went to jail. Now when I talk about laws I'm talking about real laws, not the latest PR gambit from Bliar and co. Put the burglars in jail, evaluate the druggies, ones who do no harm but have a smoke should not be in jail, those that have a smoke and then rob houses to feed the habit should be but only for robbery. The Lotto rapists should not be a problem due to his winnings because he should still be inside.

Plus, if I remember correctly, was it not worked out that tagging didn't work. Jail them and keep them in. Build more jails to house them. Take crime off the streets.

I think the only people who are in jail and should be in jail are the murderers, rapists, and really violent offenders. The rest seem to be borderline. Plus, those that go to jail seem to have no fear of going back in general. They don't want to, of course, but the thought of it doesn't make them stop. Maybe a year in an Iraqi type prison would make them think about it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

This woman must have really small hands.

I nearly died laughing. Read this about drugs found at Boy Georges pad.

"That is a sizeable amount of drugs," said Maggie Gandasegui from Manhattan's Special Narcotics Prosecutors office talking about Boy Georges stash.

The amount. 3.5 grams. Now, I don't take drugs nor agree with them but, I don't see 3.5 grams being sizeable. What a PR exercise. She must be up for promotion.

If 3.5 grams is big to Ms Gandasegui have I got something to show her. Nudge, Nudge.

Looks like there is a bit of a clampdown on stars and drugs at the moment. My offer to Kate still stands but George is on his own. Call me sexist if you will. It's what I am.

A punishment suitable for a child.

Just reading this about Youth Prisons.

The National vice-chairman of the Prison Officers Association said that they 'were not able to exert discipline because the current practice was to treat 15 to 17-year-old offenders as children' and they were 'terrified of rocking the liberal boat'.

What a dilemma! Is that not the same issue that is taking place up and down our country? The one that hits the very fabric of our society. Legislation forbids certain actions and damn the repercussions. It can take years before it comes home to roost but it's certainly here now.

It also made me think about what we class as children. Why are children in Prison anyway? Then when you look it's the 15 to 17 year olds who are classed as children but are probably what most of us think of as hardened criminals. You see they start on a life of crime at 9-13 and discover that there is nothing that can be done to them. The Police don't chase them, and if they do, when they catch them nothing happens. A pitiful few hours of fear then nothing. Do Gooders blame the parents and help protect them from their actions. They clock up years of driving bans when age already has them off the road. It's their parents who get the punishment. Wham!, then they hit 15/16 and the protection just vanishes. The Do Gooders just walk away and the full force of the law now falls on them. At this stage they know nothing else but crime and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get out of.

Although I don't like to I agree in a way with Bliar. We need to do something about these young offenders. But, happily, I disagree with the way to do it. I think we should start by defining exactly what it means to be a child, ages 0-17. 18 is where we are all adults. Then sort out appropriate punishments for each age group. Get child psychologists, parents and children’s groups involved in the process and make sure parents get some form of punishment they can allocate made available from an early age. Including corporal punishment. Put the power back into the parent’s hands.

My only fears are that the next bunch of parents are the ones who have grown up with no discipline. There is a complete generation of children who have grown up with no discipline and a complete generation of children already who do not have any future because they know nothing but crime and are ill educated due to other policies.

Can we recover from that? As a society we can, if we actually change the course we are taking now. But we need to ensure we something about this lost generation, if we can.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The wheels of Justice move incredibly slowly.

This lawsuit against the Danish PM for the Iraqi war would be worth watching if it wasn't going to take so long.

Let's pick on the weak and helpless first.

I notice they are also looking at people on invalidity benefits as part of their crusade on social security. I would have thought it was worth a look but they need to ensure that they don't use their normal sledgehammer approach.

Now, who is going to grasp the nettle and look at the families on the social with twelve kids and an income of more than most families could ever hope to achieve. I would give benefits and allowances for two kids max. Limit it and you will find that these families will disappear as they will have to pay for the kids themselves. It won't be easy but it needs to be done. While people in good jobs earning the taxes to pay for this don't have kids the people who's job it appears to be to have kids are racking in that money.

Let's see them find the balls to sort that out.

What a big box she has.

I'm considering suing. Read this abou modern art. Now that looks exactly like my spare room but on a much larger scale. If only I had thought to market it.

And they wonder why the commoner finds art so airy fairy.

And, wait a minute. How the hell can you fail Art at school when almost anything is now artistic impression?
'This canvas shows my inner soul when I am at peace.' 'It's blank.' 'Exactly, my soul is at one with the universe.' 'Good call. An A grade for you. Well done.'
'What's this it looks like a baby pooped on this and then rubbed it in.' 'Exactly, this shows what you feel when you are abused as a child.' 'Good call. An A grade for you as well.'
'Ah!, a landscape of a local tourist spot. Looks, excellent.' 'It took me three weeks to do this, including weekends.' 'Good but shows a lack of imagination. A B grade for you.'

Bring back real art.

A national disgrace.

I like the way they put this. Benefit fraud and mistakes are astronomical.

If you look at it as a percentage it is about 3%. I wonder how that relates to shops. I would imagine that their theft and error rate would be about the same. Big organisation, big inefficiencies and big losses.

Interesting that it doesn't go into how much we are saving because we make it difficult to claim, they just don't know it is available or we interrogate them so much they give up. Total costs would be much higher I would have thought. Read this.

There are more details here on the issues with the tax office. The sheriff of Nottingham part if you will.

Now bear in mind they are expecting us to invest billions in an ID card part of which is aimed at reducing fraud. This is fraught with difficulties and could very well being unworkable but we are going forward with this KGB style card regardless of practicalities.

What are they doing about ineptitude? You know, the other half of the waste and also partly the reason the fraud is undetected. They have probably spent hundreds of pounds on new memos telling the staff they should follow procedures. What is the point in that. By fixing this part of the problem they would undoubtedly reduce fraud as well.

Simplify it. Make it leaner, smarter and more efficient. We still might be paying £109B but at least we can reduce fraud and inefficiency and get the payments out on time and efficiently review changes.

Only Government can get away with ineptitude of this magnitude without some sort of censure.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Backing your Government. Pity it's not here.

Well looks like the common and garden Iranians are supporting their Government against the UK according to this. We think the Government is hardline and their people don't think they are doing enough about it. How about that for a hardline stance? Do we really want to screw with these guys?

Wish I was so confident in my Government doing the right thing.

To die like a Dog. But, dogs are not allowed to die like that.

A Euthanasia Bill is being debated by the peers.

Now, I feel it is about time we sorted this out. Many people have died in painful ways that would have lead to prosecutions if it had been a dog. Others have relatives who have broken the law to aid in a dignified exit.

The downside is we must ensure that people lives are still protected and that becoming a burden is not an automatic death sentence. We need to make sure that relatives are out of the loop in this process. If the person has expressed a requirement via a living will then it needs to follow an independent process.

My biggest concern is for people, like me, who think they are never going to die. They won't prepare one of these living wills. Then when it hits them and they decide they want to go with dignity they can't. There must be more of that than people who have the foresight to make living wills. They need to be included too.

My view is that there must be certain clearly defined criteria which must be met before euthanasia is considered. Then if the person has expressed a desire then give them the pills. Until then it should be off the table.

Criteria to include;
1) They have no chance of recovery from their condition.
2) They are in pain and suffering on a continual basis.
3) They have brain damage that leaves them vegetables.

This must be verified by at least two doctors one of whom is totally independent of the hospital itself and a member of a medical body just for this task.

Not saying it is perfect but we should not just open a route to allow old people to be put down just because they are a burden.

The biggest burden they seem to be is of cost. I really feel for those who have worked hard all their lives and then find they have to pay a fortune, about £2K a week, to stay in an old folk’s home and see their houses being sold to pay for that while those that have not saved a penny are looked after. It seems that it is pointless saving, buying a house or a pension when you can spend, spend, spend and be looked after all your life. What an incentive to take euthanasia and leave something to your family. Unfortunately, some people want their parent’s money more than their parents. It does not bode well for those parents. There must be a better way.

No compromise. Kick the new Terror bill out.

I love compromises. They always remind me of the Spitting Image sketch where David Owen and David Steel were discussing who the leader would be of their new political party. David Owen suggested a compromise of a name from each candidate. He suggested a surname from one and a forename from the other. He offered his name, Owen, as surname and would take David steels forename, David. Therefore the next leader would be David Owen. It was a Spitting Image classic.

Now we are talking about compromise on the terror legislation. What exactly does this mean. Three bullets in Jean Charles de menaces head instead of seven. A month in custody with no charges or recourse for Walter Wolfgang, the labour party heckler, instead of three.

These laws will be a nice add on for the new ASBOs we are talking about. Cause any trouble and be arrested under the Terrorism Act and held without charge for a while. Released with no apology. How many people have been arrested since 2001 and released without charge?

The old communist regime had nothing on us. We are showing them how they should have gone on with it. They just were ahead of their time. They needed better technology.

Crime Lords are getting younger every day.

The talk on the TV over the weekend has been about the ASBOs for under tens which is linked to Bliars respect laws. Read more here.

Now correct me if I am wrong but I keep hearing from politicians that crime is going down. The fact that crime figures is going up is because of the way they are reported. New laws on everything from talking to actually killing people are reducing crime remarkably. We know this because the politicians say so.

Why then, with crime coming down so well, do they have to target under tens? I would have thought a very small percentage of crime was done by them. Wait, I get it. Silly me. Think about it.

Crime rate in the over tens is coming down. Bliars laws are doing so well that the overall crime figures are coming down. Therefore with no change to the under tens. Their percentage has increased even if crimes remained the same. Therefore, they must be committing most of the crimes now. That's why we want to ban BB guns, water pistols and the like. Let's raid their homes and drag them away at six in the morning for possession of a plastic gun. That will teach them respect for the law.

Bring back the death penalty is what I say. It's about time we got rid of this scourge in our society.

But, wait a minute. If kids are now liable for criminal activity even though the existing laws say under tens are not old enough to have responsibility. Is that going to change? If they are made responsible then does that mean they get some of the perks of being adults? How about voting, driving, leaving home. I bet not! Therefore, yet again the parents will be punished.

Government makes law that says you can't smack your kids. Kids run riot and call abuse every time someone chastises them in any way. Government then says 'You need to control your kids or you will be punished' Then they punish the parents. Imagine if the police were told they couldn't touch anyone. I wonder what that would do for crime? Politicians really are out of touch with society.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Another thing to feel guilty about.

This makes an interesting read on Child Abuse.

I've been feeling that way for a while now. We are taking the extremes of a few, who should be punished, and covering most parents. You can't take photos of kids having fun. Hell, they are not allowed to have fun because a weirdo may be watching. Good news is that when we have real virtual reality they will all disappear into their houses and you will never see them again. Then they will become couch potatoes. We need to get a grip and stop all this over reaction and encouragement. Punish the few, yes few, who do abuse their kids but leave the rest of us alone.

Seems I am so cynical because I was abused as a child. Seems I was denied what many children were not. I was never beaten up, sexually abused or mistreated in any way. I had a great life as a kid. Not everything I wanted but everything I needed. My parents were not rich in any way but money was prioritised. Home, Food and Clothing. Extras were extras. This seems to put me outside the norm. I can only blame myself for anything I get up to. My parents never prepared me for life with an excuse for my behavior. I have complained to them but they just smile and their eyes turn up in their head.

Only problem is I'm bringing my kids up the same way. I blame it on my upbringing.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Getting away with murder.

Now this case about a husband being stabbed by his wife may set a dangerous precedent if only because of the comments associated with the verdict.

Now it sounds like an accident to me so I'm not really all that concerned about this case.

What does concern me is that it is a recipe for getting away with murder. An abusive husband. Verbal abuse is now worse as physical abuse. Kill them, claim you didn't mean to and you get away with it. Another victory for the feminists. When are our legal guys going to grow balls and stop this one sided attack.

It was intolerable but tolerated for years. If she was so concerned about verbal abuse why was she still with him? Using 'cruel words' apparently warrant a death sentence. What exactly are cruel words. 'Fat cow', 'Old bag' although clearly not nice don't warrant such a punishment in my view. He refused to undergo therapy, whoopee doo dah, kill him then. Why not 'I'm leaving you if you don't go for therapy'

Yet again we see males as the aggressors every time. Women can kill and get away with it but can you imagine if it was the other way around. The feminists would have a field day and this guy would have been sent to jail.

It is about time that killing aggressive husbands, boyfriends etc. is not just shrugged off. They need to leave them. If they are stalked or whatever we already have laws for that that can stop it or put them away. But to be judge, jury and executioner then getting support from our society is going to far.

Oh! The punishment. Bush must be quaking in his hand crafted boots.

Slap in the face? How can allocating a peace prize be a punishment to Bush? Bush and Bliar were nominated for a peace prize not so long ago so it shows how close Nobels are to reflections on life.
I think they must pick out the clearly crazy ones like Bush and Bliar and bin them then pick the actual winner out of a hat.

Now if they had given it to someone who was against the war and was arguing with Bush and Bliar that might have been a slap. Someone like Saddam or the president of Iran. But, a slap Bush would not even detect without advice from a committee unless God whispered to him.

We can't stop living because of risks.

Now, I'm all for punishing the guilty. I fully believe in making people accountable for their actions and believe that at the moment there is a culture where the people at the coal face get the bullet for those above them. That is not right.

Now read this. It is proposing that 'Justice has not been done'. Maybe not. In this case I believe that there is little more that could have been done against senior management but if they had been convicted it would have sent shock waves through our entire country. With undoubtedly a lot of bum covering at great impact on finances and innovation.

Think about it. Companies spend millions evaluation risks. They catalog them and allocate a risk and cost benefit analysis. They they work a way round them at minimal costs and off we go. From now on, if directors were liable, then all risks would need to be closed. An impossible task but every effort would have to be made to minimise them.

Let's take the train example again. A risk is there is a faulty rail as in Hatfield. So what do we do. We check each one. How often? Do we need a man walking in front of the train checking each rail? What about invisible faults? What does the rail making company say? 'Every rail needs an X-ray analysis after every ten trains have passed over plus a replacement rail every hundred trains.' Huh? Oh, they don't want to get sued either so they are being ultra careful.

What about Government, our troops went on their Iraqi visit with insufficient body armour. It was stated publicly and ignored. Mr Hoon made that call. I see jail time coming. Wait, can we even have an army? One risk is a soldier is killed from enemy or US friendly fire. (Sorry couldn't resist). Who sent the troops in? Jail for you Mr Bliar.

Bit of a side track here. In one of my previous jobs I had a company car. The new MD decided he wanted to get all the company car drivers evaluated. Our FD and myself were evaluated by an ex-copper road safety expert. I got a good score. Silver Advanced Driver potential. Who would have thought it? A couple of days later I was talking to the MD while we prepared for a meeting with a customer. I asked him why he was doing this? His reply was that he felt that as an ethical company we needed to take care who had company cars and that they were capable of handling them. I then asked what would happen if I had failed the test. He said he would have removed my ability to have a company vehicle. I then asked about the contractual issues. After all my contract said I was entitled to a car. He said 'or money and the contract does not say it is your choice.' Fair enough. Was everyone taking the tests. Yes, had to keep it fair across the board. So I asked about our sales reps. One in particular had had several crashes over the years and I was convinced he couldn't see properly but was a whizz with blobs. He said 'Them too.' I then said they needed cars, money was not an option. Didn't want then turning up in Ferraris, Maseratis or Bond Bugs. Seems he had not thought that far. Quick check with personnel and it was 'We couldn't remove their cars because their contracts didn't allow it as long as they have a UK license'. So I said we would be evaluating them and if they failed we would still allow them on the road with a company car. Wouldn't that be interesting if someone was killed and it came out in court? We knew but did nothing about it. Headlines 'Company knew crazy driver was unfit to drive but let him drive anyway'. Funny, but nobody else sat any driving tests after that. Must have been coincidence. Some things are better not known.

Anyway, back to the point. Making a life worth something would be a start. It would give a figure to fit into the risk analysis. Minimum of £1M each or their expected life salary. Accountants and MDs can work with that. Alternatively, we can tighten the law up. However, it needs to be tempered with documented evidence that makes sense. In this case a rail is faulty. There needs to a be a process for identifying such rails and tools and processes supplied to do so. Someone checks them. Fault found. It escalates. Someone makes a decision and they are holding the ball. Decision levels need to be defined so the right people make them. Once the directors are holding the ball. Funds will appear. If not that section of track needs to shut down and appropriate penalties paid. We of course will go the whole hog and I have no doubt operational costs will go up all over the country but what the hell? We have banned guns to save, exactly how many lives? So increasing costs by 10 to 15% to save more lives should fit in with our current policies.

I don't see anything happening here we talk about this every time something like this happens. Money talks so it stops there. It would have a major impact on the economy so maybe a committee will be set up to investigate what could be done. Maybe they will even come back with something reasonable.

I can hear voices telling me to kill people.

Wow. It's all coming true now. Read this about God telling Bush to invade. I remember something like this with James Anderton, the GM Chief Constable. God spoke to him too. He seems to have vanished without trace. We can only hope. Oh, by the way, what happened to Son of Sam? Is he a presidential advisor now?

Anyone remember Bill Hicks. He was a brilliant comedian until he died of pancreatic cancer in 1994. One of the funny bits, no pun intended, is his comments on Bush senior and the Iraq War I are just as true today with his unholy offspring Bush Junior and Iraqi War II. Listen to some of his humour and make up your own mind. Over ten years later and his words are still true. A true genius.

With God speaking to Bush it reminded me of Hicks. One of his routines was of Fundamentalist Christians in the White House. People who believe the bible is true including the fire and brimstone ending waiting with their finger on the button. 'Tell me when, Lord. Tell me when.'

It would be comic if it wasn't so true. Especially with half of the US seemingly the same.

Moving the Goalposts for more votes.

I hate the principle of this proposal to increase the amount of time a victim can sue. It's another knee jerk reaction by our politicians to what is perceived as a vote winner.

Now, I'm all for crime and punishment with the punishment being something worthwhile. My concern with this sort of thing is that by political whim the sentence can be increased at a later date and after the criminal has even been released. That isn't right. Sentences need to be full and up front as a deterrent. Plus, it should not be related to your bank account. Mmmm. John down the road has a few bob. The rape laws in the UK require very little evidence if I'm prepared to stand up and make myself a victim. I can then sue him and live happily ever after. No point in chasing Dick for rape and my bruises as he has no money.

Punishment needs to have an end date. These rules are in place for a reason and would not be revisited if this guy didn't have a lot of money.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A quick puff. Not quick enough mate.

This policy by Nottingham Council on smoking breaks should be worth watching as it could set an interesting precedent.

I've often myself, a non smoker, watched smokers going away for a 'fag break'. It seems that management in their wisdom have gradually moved the places where you can smoke until now it takes a short flight in a VTOL plus a brisk walk to get there. Then they complain because people leave for a significant period of time. Now, I hate the smell, but I'm of the opinion that most smokers are considerate. Just don't try and stop them having a fix. I don't know any heavy drug users but I can imagine from watching a smoker being deprived of his fix. My view is that you allocate a covered space just outside a door for them to smoke. Something they can get too quickly and get their fix. Then treat it like any other break. No big deal nothing to get worked up about.

The smoking policy Nottingham Council is proposing is unlikely to happen where I work. The bulk of our senior managers smoke. Now, One, they put in very long hours anyway. Two, they run the company. Three, they make all their decisions out there so they are working. Gives them time to think. There was an episode in Friends where the decisions were made by smokers and non smokers missed out. It was funny but it kind of rang true for me. My manager used to listen to all the facts then go for a smoke and come back with his decision. Other smokers of course had extra time with him, last minute manipulation, while they all smoked. Many times I have been asked to go for a walk to discuss something. That means go for a smoke while we discuss things. I don't get smoked on while we talk and we are working so I don't see a problem. If I was smoked on I would certainly say something.

Soon, we will be timing peoples toilet breaks and tea breaks. Press a button at your desk for a toilet break, number one or two or a cuppa. Different timings you see. Little buzzer goes off and the clock starts. Now that would kill me. If I'm thinking I like to get a cuppa. Some days I can have two or three, others, I've drunk so much I need help to lift the empty cardboard cups and my buzzer would sound like I was playing a heavy metal song on it.

I think we are getting beyond a joke when we start looking at these sort of responses to things. We put in ramps for disabled people, we put in parking spaces for car users,bike stands for bikes, heating, cooling, air con, food and drink machines, etc. So, why can't we cater for smokers?

Now the downside. It is a council. A bunch of useless inefficient clowns at the best of times. This is probably an efficiency drive and PR exercise for them as part of their objective setting exercise. So go for it..... Smack them smokers into place force them to find decent places to work. Will they ever manage to get rid of the inefficiencies in the council? I'm not going to hold my breath as it's unlikely when this is where they are starting. Try looking at your social workers, your housing dept, your highways dept..... Need I go on.

Southern Superstitions.

I thought this about rabbits was a joke at first. But nope it wasn't.

At least someone with influence is paying attention.

This is the role of the Lords. To act as a buffer for personal agendas.

The Lords being made up of people with very little to prove. They, generally, look at things from the countries view. Of course, they as everyone else have personal bias, but they don't need to get re-elected nor do they need to stay on the right side of the current Government.

However, this takes time and it's the reason that the Parliament Act was proposed. It was to enable a fast response to threats that needed action prior to the time taken for the process to go through both houses.

It's the Act abused by Bliar to push through something as important as the Fox Hunting Bill to make some political points.

I think Bliar will use the Act to push this one through.

My view is that three things need to happen when a new Government gets in.

1) It reverses every decision made via the Parliament Act and raises a normal bill for each one through the normal route. If it fails that route within six months the law is cancelled. If passed then it continues as per the new bill.
2) We use it to but Bliar on trial over the Iraqi War. Did he know the evidence was false? Did he see this as his chance to get blooded? (Isn't that a Fox Hunting term?) Did he do it to get his name in the history books? If so, he should be prosecuted for treason and murder. Treason because he has put this country at risk. Murder because our guys, guys who put their lives on the line to defend us from invaders, have been killed because of it. Oh, and treason is still a crime with the death penalty. It won't get used because all our Government would be scared it would be used on them as well and we wouldn't want to set a precedent would we.
3) To repeal the Parliament Act itself and create a new act with much shorter process times where both houses agree a bill needs to be processed fast and still allow it to go through both houses. If it is for the benefit of the country then it is unlikely to be held up at either house.

Unfortunately, I don't see 2) happening but we could at least do 1) and 3).

Guilty regardless of the verdict.

This report is disgraceful on two fronts.

First this report says there was abuse but surely it is up to a court to make the final decision. I'm sure people will never guess who these people are after all these communities are absolutely massive. Everyone within a hundred miles will know who these people are. This should not be allowed.

Second, this report implies that incompetence ruined the case. If so I hope heads will roll and senior heads at that. Too many front line cannon fodder are given the boot and the true culprits are untouchable. If senior heads rolled then their replacements would certainly do something about it and fast too.

The case was dropped by the prosecution service. I assume because they believed they did not have a case. If everything is as black and white as this report makes out then surely that would have constituted a case that would have held up in court.

I feel that they are saying they should have removed the children even with the fact they didn't have sufficient evidence. Not enough evidence to prosecute but enough to remove the children. How can that be?

Why is it everything in this area seems so screwed up. They remove kids with very little evidence. Screw up entire families. Answer to nobody. The cry is always 'What about the children?' I believe they should be top priority but there must be other ways. How about more proactive monitoring in-situ? How about actual evidence rather than anonymous hearsay? This is an important area and should be working properly.

Is anything working properly in this country?

Friendly Fire Isn't.

Seems that being an ally to the US is still very detrimental to your health. It makes other people hate you and want to kill you and it also makes you vulnerable to 'friendly fire' incidents. Makes you wonder exactly how these troops are deployed and the rules of engagement. Funny though, I've thought about it and don't remember one single instance of a US soldier being killed by friendly fire from an ally. Does that actually happen?

Stating the obvious, yet again.

Health warnings on SUVs. Read this. My only comment is that unlike cigarettes the health warning is wasted on the purchasers. It's the poor guy in the street who will be looking at a label on the front of a car saying 'Being hit by this vehicle can be hazardous to your health'. I'm sure the last thought through their minds is likely to be 'No sh...........

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Government ineptitude or Government as usual.

Lisa, my daughter, has just received a letter from the employment office. She asked me to look at it because she couldn't understand it. Considering they send these forms to a wide variety of people I though they made very little sense.

It started by saying;

'I am writing to tell you your change of circumstance does not effect the amount of Income Support we pay you.

This means you will continue to get £22.22. per week' (The two amounts she was quoted are made up here as £11.11 and £22.22)

Sounds OK. The next line says.

'From 27th July 2005, your income support will change to £11.11 per week. This is because there is a change to your circumstances and the amount the law says you need to live on

From 17th August 2005 we will continue to pay you £11.11 a week. This is because a change in your circumstances does not effect the amount of support payable to you.

From 24th August 2005 we will continue to pay you £11.11 a week. This is because a change in your circumstances does not effect the amount of support payable to you.'

Finally, a future date.

'From 5th April 2006 we will continue to pay you £11.11 a week. This is because a change in your circumstances does not effect the amount of support payable to you.' (How do they know that? These guys must be ex British Intelligence.)

Then it goes on about how you will get your money, how it is worked out, really simple two line calculation that is meaningless and a section on how to appeal.

What does it actually mean? She had no idea how much she is supposed to be getting now. I think she is getting £11.11 per week with back money owed from Jul-2005. The calculation, delivered today, the 6-Oct-2005 was dated 28-Sep-2005 and only covered the dates 20-Jul-2005 to 26-Jul-2006.

If she needed that money for, well hell, selfish and stupid things like food and clothing she would only just now be getting it. Lucky for her she has a dozy father she can still scrounge things off.

It is no wonder people who could claim are put off and the poor and vulnerable are missing out on some money which would make an impact on their lives. Plus people who are entitled to the money and need it have to wait until the behemoth starts it's work. In some cases crime beckons as a way to plug the gap which should not exist. Then they end up on the wrong side of the law. The best bit is that a hint, an anonymous phone call, anything at all and the money stops till an investigation is made. Which can leave people penniless. It's a disgrace.

There should be something done about this whole area. I'm for simplifying the lot and to make up for the increase in costs, as claims increase, we get rid of bureaucrats running it.