Saturday, 9 January 2010

Post-2009 Round-Up

I thought I might post a bit on 2009 as regards this blog.

Currently traffic is exceedingly low, not even reaching the dizzy heights of 50 views per day. But hey, I'm not in this for fame or anything, so no great issue with that.

However, I must say thanks to all the people that have links to my blog. Thanks for stopping by and deeming me worthy of a link. Thanks also to those that follow my blog, all 10 of you! A special mention to those of you who comment on my blogs, I do value them.

As you may have noticed, (Well Subrosa's noticed!) I'm on a bit of a roll at the moment, so possibly the blogging juices are flowing again. I think the snow has cheered me up. Personally 2009 has been a pretty crap year, so I've not been in the best frame of mind to blog. Hopefully 2010 will change that. To be honest, in an election year, if I can't find something to blog about regularly I should be shot! Hopefully I can keep all of you interested and coming back for more.

There were some interesting nuggets in the stats for the site: I was visited by people from the Houses of Parliament, the European Commission, and a couple of other government departments. Including an American one that was very interested in a post of mine back in December. I've been visited by policy think-tanks, quangoes, government (and private) researchers and spooks. There are some other interesting developments related to visitors, but I'm currently investigating those. Who said stats are boring!

So, I've ranted for most of the year, been wildly off the mark at times, but also been right on the money at others. I hope 2010 will be just as interesting!

Unintended Consequences.

Another hypothetical scenario for you to ponder:

Right, we all know now there's a link between HPV virus and cervical cancer. I've said before I believe we'll see more links between various viruses and other types of cancer.

Now it seems that cases of and types of cancer has steadily increased since the 40s.

Now then, I just want you to ponder this: I wonder if the introduction of antibiotics on the 40s was a key factor in triggering the increase in viruses? Could removing or reducing bacterial infections have created a niche that viruses exploited? Could those viruses then be responsible for the increases in cancer over the latter part of the 20th century?

Theoretically, lets say that by introducing antibiotics, we not only kill the bacteria we want to, but inadvertantly kill a bacteria that occupies a niche that a virus could exploit. How would we know, because certainly when antibiotics were introduced, the science of wee things like viruses was in its infancy and wasn't as advanced as now? We've only recently discovered the link between viruses and cancer.

Okay, ponder that for a while, now here's another question: what do you think will be the effects of the introduction of GM crops in 40 years time? After all, the science of genetic manipulation is in its infacy and we still don't fully understand the repercussions of introducing genes from one animal directly into another. So who's to say in 40 year's time we don't find some catastrophic downside?


Further on from my thoughts about Sharia law, I want to pose some hypothetical questions:

If you were a country heavily bankrolled (by that I mean a large percentage of your country's wealth is created or owned) by counties that are Islamic, want Sharia law and the Islamic faith implemented in your country and told you to implement it or else they'd pull the plug and wreck your economy; if you were the government and agreed to it, how would you go about implementing it?

Would you just tell the population that "The Muslims are taking over" then hand over the keys to power, or do you invent some false war where we reduce personal freedoms and rights to their level, then deliberately lose the war and let them take over after a supposedly lengthy battle when we don't have the freedom to fight back?

I'm just saying, thats all.

Coming Soon to the UK, Just Remember That

A UK woman has been arrested in Dubai after being raped.

This is one of the things I can't get my head round with the Labour government: we have a government that allows Sharia law to be practised in this country, yet it's cabinet contains Harriet Harman, one of the most rabid feminist women you're every likely to meet. She really must be guilty of the most crass hypocrisy to promote the overtly misandrous policies she does in public, but not to publicly criticise the policy which allows sharia law to be practised in this country, which is institutionally mysogenistic.

Now forgive me if I'm wrong on this, but wasn't the sexual revolution that started in the sixties and continues today supposed to be one of the key facets of equality? Wasn't the pill seen as one of the liberating factors? Why would you give any credence to a legal system that seeks to remove that equality if you claim to be a feminist?

Its a travesty that anyone with the feminist beliefs that Harriet Harman supposedly has isn't shouting from the rooftops that its a crime any woman should be subjected to Sharia law in this country, when we have a legal system that treats women fairly. If you're a woman in her constituency and you are thinking of voting for her come the next election, you should really think about that closely before you place a cross next to her name. Just where do her loyalties really lie?

Weather Chaos: Expect More!

I'm hearing reports that a number of bodies like local councils are having their grit supplies taken over by the government and shipped elsewhere.

So those places that have benefitted from good management and ordered in the right amount of grit, used the grit wisely and still have supplies to last the rest of the cold spell, have been pushed into chaos as the grit they thought they had has been commandeered by the government to be squandered on those areas with bad management who are running out.

You couldn't make up how piss-poor at managing things this government are. If it was a TV series you'd turn over in disbelief. Even "The Thick of It" doesn't protray a government that makes everything it touches a disaster does it?

I've seen and heard a number of reports of this sort. Expect more.

Geoff Hoon: The Wrong Target

Seems that Mr Hoon could face a vote of no confidence from his constituency Labour party. Hmm, sounds like sour grapes to me.

Of course the person that should be facing a vote of no confidence is Gordon Brown.

A case of shoot the messenger?

Friday, 8 January 2010

British Jobs for British Workers? Again?

Remember Gordon Brown's "British Jobs for British Workers" soundbite that bit him in the arse? I'm sure you do. Well, we now have another stab at the rhetoric. This time its "green energy jobs for british workers". This time its just as disingenuous.

I'm in my mid 40s and have a crap short-term memory, but even I can remember that the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight closed last year, due to lack of demand in the UK. Even I know that the government refused to intervene, thereby casting aside British green energy jobs. Even I know that any jobs created by the offshore wind farms will be mainly foreign. Even I know that even though thousands of wind turbines will be planted offshore, it'll still only generate a fraction of the energy required by the country.

We all know that the turbines will be built abroad, the installation engineers will come from abroad, the company contracted to service the wind turbines will be owned by a foreign parent company, as will the company contracted to lay the power lines. Even the generating and distribution companies comissioning all of this will be owned by foreign parent companies. So where exactly are all those British jobs going to come from?

A far better way of spending the money would be to give 100 percent grants to people to insulate their homes and fit energy saving lighting. That way we cut consumption, rather than attempt to keep up with current consumption with green alternatives. This is especially true of the rented sector, where there is no incentive for landlords to reduce costs as they don't pay the energy bills and tenants don't want to spend money doing up a property that isn't theirs. By reducing demand, we reduce the corresponding generating requirement. We also gain security of supply, because we rely less on outside sources of energy.

But hey, thats too sensible for government and all their vested interests.

Winter Feasting for the Blogosphere

This winter is proving a veritable feast for blogs.

You can have a pop at global warming thanks to this cold spell. The BBC even provide a thoughtful piece you can have a laugh at here, where they say the cold snap is still in line with global warming theory. Although to give them their credit, they have dropped the "man-made" prefix.

You might want to take the piss-poor forward planning of government and big business to task, maybe if you lean to the left you might want to rail against the Tory privatisation of the utilities, then here's your opportunity to have a go, as this report details big gas using businesses are about to be rationed, due to the increased winter demand.

I've already mentioned the fact that grit and salt are running out across the country. Again, lack of planning from national and local government.

Oh, and some no-hopers in the Labour party issued a letter four months before a general election calling for a secret ballot on their leadership, but the cabinet failed to produce anyone with the cahones to step forward for the rebels to rally round. Like the cabinet or any other Labour MPs are ever going to grow a spine. Makes Maggie Thatcher's "wets" look positively assertive compared the the spineless, sycophantic melee we have gathered round Gordon Brown at the moment.

So there you have it, lots to rail about, but I'm off to wrap up, stick my nose out into the cold and see if the buses are running to take me to work. First stopped their services in Portsmouth at 3pm yesterday, so I'm  only going to be working until then today, no matter what. The last thing I need is for all buses to be cancelled and have a 4 mile trudge home.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Weather Chaos: Theres no More Grit!

Wednesday morning, after all the snow, I bravely went to work as normal. Well, why not, given that Stagecoach in Portsmouth were running buses (as opposed to First, who weren't). I was greeted with the sight of half a dozen fellow employees sat on the display sofas. Our delivery (which has a 100 mile journey from the distribution centre) had turned back and the majority of employees had sniffed snow and stayed in bed. Even the ones within walking distance.

Anyway, we managed to open the store for an hour or so and served all of 7 customers in that time, so we shut again.

I think I've mentioned before that when I was a kid and we had snow like this, bus routes were the priority and were kept gritted. It seems not so today. Lake Road in Portsmouth appeared ungritted and the bus slithered along it. I saw a gritter on Kingston Road on the way home, but all it was doing was using the snow plough to remove most of the snow. The pitiful dribble of salt coming out of the back could well have been dislodged by the vibration of the truck moving along the road. Certainly the grit spreader attachment wasn't working.

So one can only conclude that the rumours I heard today are true: that grit supplies are running out and that only motorways and major routes are being gritted. There's not enough grit to use on other routes such as bus routes. The fact that the M27/A27 was well gritted as I went to rescue the wife this afternoon and the lack of grit on the roads in Havant seems also to bear this out.

Later on today it will be interesting to see if the buses venture out onto what will now be quite compact snow or or very slippery ice. I may be having my own snow day.


We had a temperature low of -8C last night, as registered on my outside thermometer. Thats pretty cold for somewhere right next to the sea. Further inland must have been worse. All the snow must be sheet ice by now. I'm just about to venture out to see if buses are running and get to work. I may be some time.

The Labour Leadership Letter

So Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt have co-authored a letter to Labour MPs asking for a secret vote to determine whether Gordon Brown stays labour leader or not.

Forgive me if I don't cheer.

Yes, I want Gordoom out of number 10, but to replace an unelected and unpopular leader with yet another unelected leader is for me, the supreme arrogance. If Labour MPs want a change of leader, then they should call for a vote of no confidence and trigger a general election. Yet again, instead they cast you and me, the voters of the UK aside and declare the unilateral right to impose a leader upon us.

Enough is enough. Labour MPs should stop griping and grow some fucking balls. Do whatever is necessary for your party's sake and the sake of the country. End this pitiful mess, relieve Gordoom from his misery and give us, the people that fucking put you where you are now the chance to say who we want running the show.

Far be it from me to point out this could be another of Mandelson's theatrical specials in motion. Winning a secret ballot of MPs would serve a number of purposes: Gordoom could be promoted as a strong, revitalised leader after winning the backing of his party, it gives a sense that he's been elected (except its only by MPs not by us of course) and given some sort of mandate, MPs can look happy and rally round Gordoom with their rictus grins. The electorate would no doubt fall for the hype, but I do wonder how many times the Gordon Brown brand can be repackaged. I mean, he's been the saviour of the world, he's been getting on with the job, he's promised British Jobs for British Workers..... he's had more makeovers than Madonna.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Weather Chaos: Again!

The wife is a carer for autistic adults and tonight she's working overnight because staff haven't been able to get into work due to the chaos caused by the snow. Its higly likely she'll be working tomorrow as well covering absent staff.
I took her overnight clothes to her work, which is 3 miles away. The 6 mile round trip took me 2 hours!!

Now, I must say this, at no point on my journey did I feel that conditions were bad. In fact, I could have happily done the journey in a quarter of the time, except for the poor driving skills of others. It really does seem that Southern drivers don't have the faintest idea how to drive in slippery conditions.

Twice, in my journey, I passed cars that were failing to get up the slightest of inclines, wheels spinning. One one occasion, a car I was following slithered to a halt, front wheels spinning away, after losing grip. After waiting for the driver to realise, ease off the power and regain grip, I indicated, pulled out and overtook the car. My son in the passenger seat noticed the driver was open mouthed as I overtook them where they had failed.

The thing is, it wasn't isolated instances. Time after time, I saw drivers losing grip and instead of backing off the power, they were pressing the accelerator and just increasing the problem.

Southern drivers, please take note: you don't need a 4x4 to get around in this weather, its still within the capabilities of 2 wheel drive vehicles. All you have to remember, is that grip is extremely reduced, so the amount of throttle available to use before the wheels spin up is minimal. So, feather foot the throttle, pull away with minimal throttle; idling if necessary. If the wheels do lose grip, then back off the throttle and control the clutch until the wheels stop spinning and grip is restored. You can drive up icy and snowy hills if you take it easy.

Also remember in icy conditions, you can't rely on ABS brakes. On ice, if the wheels lose grip and the ABS kicks in, it can severely increase your stopping distance. Feather foot the brakes, leave plenty of room to stop, don't go faster than conditions allow you to.

After all of the above, I wonder if I'll get into work in the morning as buses have been cancelled and I don't fancy cycling 4 miles there and back on ice and snow.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Seismograph Twitches

Its started to happen: the first twitches of the needle indicating the financial landslide into global obscurity for the UK happened today.

UK gilts are about as unwelcome as genital warts in the financial world right now, ever since it became clear that Labour's clever financial plan is to run up a colossal debt and then wait for self-induced inflation to sort out the mess.

Okay, at the end of it, our debt will be manageable again, house prices will be affordable again, but we're going to suffer possibly two decades or more of financial strife to pay for one term of incompetent government. In effect, the lifetime of my children, who are now moving into adulthood, will be wasted paying for the excesses of these monumental fuckups.

Thats the legacy of Labour: a whole generation wasted, who will be too old to enjoy it when we get back to the growth levels of the 90s (if we ever get back there). I hope they never, ever, get in power again.

Spies, Spies and More Spies.

The blogosphere and the usual alternative media outlets have for days been reporting that the "underpant bomber" was shepherded onto the flight by a suited man. Not many (if any) of the mass media outlets, to my knowledge have published this information.

The world of espionage is a very murky and grey area. There are no heroes, the lines between good and bad, right and wrong are very blurred indeed. Actions that may be necessary in order to further a goal may not be morally conscionable. Deals are done with the devil, for instance payments made to Taliban insurgents either to allow military supplies to pass through Afghanistan, or just to stop planting IEDs. You wouldn't credit that we are making payments to our "enemy", but thats what happens in the murky world: governments want actions undertaken no matter what the price.

So for instance if the media squawk about paper-thin landrovers being blown up with our soldiers in them, our government will obviously want armoured replacements sent into theatre. However, if the route from the port of landing to the military base of operations is commanded by the Taliban, if you can't muster the resources to air-lift those vehicles over the heads of the enemy, if you are running a limited war on recessionary peacetime finances, what do you do? You make a deal with the devil, thats what you do. It may ultimately extend the war and cost more soldier's lives because now the enemy have money to buy more IEDs and guns, but ultimately the goal of the objective: to satisfy the UK media and to deflect criticism of the government is fulfilled. Thats how these things work, if you let them work this way. Without clear military objectives, with political spin and PR running the campaign, thats what you get. I'm very much reminded of the Vietnam War, which was run far past the point of good sense, for no other reason than to avoid political loss of face.

I'm reminded of this murky world by this report, which details the case of an Al-Queda agent killing CIA operatives in a suicide bomb attack. Why, I don't know, but to me it just has a resonance with the underpants bomber case.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Wootton Bassett

I'm loving the fact that Labour are having kittens over the idea that Islamic fundamentalists might want to march through Wooton Bassett.

They'd rather gnaw off their left leg than cause affront to Muslims, but then again they'd gnaw off their right allowing anything to happen that might mean they lose votes. So Labour are left without a leg to stand on, thanks to their half-baked "multiculturalism". You reap what you sow you moronic arseholes, enjoy!

Banning the march sets a precedent against free assembly, speech and expression that I can't personally condone. Let them have their march, let the newspapers, Sky, BBC and ITV news stay away, let the villagers of Wootton Bassett ignore them with dignity.

Of course instead we know the opposite will happen:

Alan Johnson will make noises about banning the march to big up his profile for the post-election leadership race, but never go through with it because (a) he's incompetant and (b) Labour hate to repress minorities.

The English Defence League will threaten to turn up, which means consequently that the Unite Against Fascism rent-a-mob thugs will turn up, yadda-yadda. Big Police presence, march probably banned but not until the day its supposed to happen, lots of protesters still turn up, fights break out...... it won't be pretty.

Which eventually I suppose will give the government the opportunity to officially close down the public displays of solidarity and respect to those fallen soldiers that pass through Wootton Bassett. After all, every funeral cortege that gets publicity is another nail in Labour's coffin. The Scottish Stalin doesn't like that one bit, it must be eradicated, erased and removed from history. By any means and at any cost.