Friday, July 30, 2010

Bring The Marmalade

A major fire has stopped production at the Warburtons bread factory in Greater Manchester.

It's more of a toast factory really.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mother Of The Year

Some people really do need to be dragged out the back and shot:

When Ken Anderson was just 15, his mother, Shirley, made it clear: She didn't want him anymore.

Ken's father, a long-haul trucker, had been transferred from Osoyoos, B.C., to the province's Kootenay region. Although their marriage was rocky, Shirley followed, taking second-youngest son Darryl with her.

Ken was left behind. He had plenty of time to think about it as he wiped bug splatter off car windshields and pumped gas at the local station to make a buck. He says he can't even remember how many couches he slept on, or how he kept himself going. He just knows he never got to go to a prom, finish high school or even think about college.

The way he sees it, he never really had a mother.

On Aug. 3 and 4, Ken, now 46, will face off in B.C. Supreme Court against the woman who gave birth to him.

Shirley Anderson, 71, is suing Ken and four of his five siblings for parental support. The case has been dragging on for years, but the August hearing should complete it.

Shirley has dusted off a little-used section in B.C.'s Family Relations Act that legally obliges adult children to support "dependent" parents.

Seriously how can a law like this even come into force? I was going to ask what kind of person would even have the chutzpah to demand support after abandoning their children but obviously it is the sort of person who abandons their children in the first place.

The Many Tentacles Of The Calamari Owned Government

I see that President Ahmadinijad of Iran has denounced "Paul the Psychic Octopus", who famously predicted 8 games out of 8 at the World Cup. What does this tell us about the Iranian president? Mostly that he is taking his favourite propaganda a bit too literally:

He doesn't really get the idea of metaphors.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

George Monbiot Has A Point

Kind of. His column on speed cameras does make a good argument as to why they are a good thing and the coalition is making a mistake by not funding them:

In every other sector, Conservatives insist that it is daft for human beings to do the work machines could do. In every other instance they demand that police officers be freed from mindless tasks to spend more time preventing serious crime. In all other cases they urge more rigorous enforcement of the law. On every other occasion they insist that local authorities should raise revenue and make their schemes pay for themselves. But it all goes into reverse when they are exposed to the beams of a fiendish instrument of mind control.

The moment they pass through its rays, Conservatives turn from penny-pinching authoritarians into spendthrift hoodie-huggers. They demand that a job now performed consistently and cheaply by machines should be handed back to human beings, who will do it patchily and at great expense. They urge that police officers be diverted from preventing serious crime to stand in for lumps of metal. They insist that those who break the law should not be punished or even caught. They clamour for councils to abandon a scheme that almost pays for itself, and replace it with one that requires constant subsidies.

Whilst it is true that some speed cameras are sited in such a way as to make it difficult to see how they contribute to safety many do genuinely slow traffic down in areas where high speeds are dangerous.

In 13 years of driving I've been caught by a speed camera once, so they are fairly easy to cope with if you drive sensibly aren't they. They do cut accidents when they are in the right place and don't require a huge amount of funding.

Naturally Moonbat being Moonbat he does throw in some idiocy at the end of his column:

The real reason why Conservatives hate the enforcement of speed limits is that this is one of the few laws which is as likely to catch the rich as the poor: newspaper editors and council leaders are as vulnerable as anyone else.

Yes that's exactly what Conservatives do, gather in secret places to plot to punish the poor at the expense of the rich....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oooh He's So Butch.

In the comments below Yaffle points out more evidence for the "Putin is Gay" casefile:

No doubt further picture will emerge of Vlad the Impaler attending events dressed as a cowboy, a Red Indian and a builder.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Worst Answer Ever?

Student politicians aren't easy to like and this one certainly isn't doing himself any favours:
It wasn't until a cheeky grenade was lobbed in that there was the night's only shocking incident. Candidates were asked "Which politician do you most relate to and respect... in Northern Ireland?"

Given that he was speaking in a room of Thatcherite right-wingers, Ben Howlett's attempt at getting the Fenian vote look spectacularly inappropriate. He cited Gerry Adams as "a conviction politician". Some were left speechless that Howlett, who had used a photo opportunity just 48 hours previously with Lady Thatcher to promote his campaign, endorsed the man who chaired the IRA Army Council that sanctioned the assassination attempt on her at the 1984 Conservative Party Conference in Brighton that left senior Tories dead and disabled for life.
Oh well there's a future political career down the drain.

The Police- An Observation

There are some very cute PCSOs in Northampton.

Friday, July 23, 2010

History Fail

Michael Tomasky gives his readers a quiz to test their historical knowledge. Question 1 is:

1. Arguably the first great work of history in the Enlightenment era was by Edward Gibbon and in six volumes described:

a. The Greco-Roman wars
b. The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire
c. The "Mohametan" conquest of Iberia

He believes the answer is so obvious that "If you didn't get this one, you should have stopped right then and there.". However Edward Gibbon did not describe the "Rise and Fall" of the Roman Empire but the "Decline & Fall" as the name of his great work indicates. Gibbon starts at a point where Rome was near the peak of its powers.

I Know That They're An Aphrodisiac But Really!

On the one hand I do feel sorry for these fishermen:

FISHING bosses have BANNED moving oysters from southern England after thousands of the shellfish contracted HERPES.

No oysters are being allowed to move in or out of a major breeding area in a desperate bid to stop the disease spreading.

The lock-down has sealed the mouth of the Thames Estuary from Kent to Essex.

Local fishermen are fuming that they will have to stop fishing for the tasty catch — which sell for £3 each in posh restaurants — until the outbreak is dealt with.

But really they shouldn't have been fucking the molluscs in the first place.

Strange Day

I saw an old headmaster of mine today with his wife who was also a teacher. I hadn't seen either of them since leaving the school back in 1990 when I was ten years old. I recognised him instantly even though he is 70 now, although I only recognised her because she was with him. I didn't approach them but they looked at me as though they thought they half-recognised me. Then we went our separate ways after a brief moment of reconnecting with a time that is now gone.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We're Scum- Vote For Us.

Hey it turns out that the secret to electoral success isn't trashing your own supporters, your own legacy and pandering to people who will never vote for you.

Who knew?

The Conservative Party in the UK never did learn that lesson, during 13 years of opposition they kept electing leaders who apologised for being Tories and agreed with all the premises of the Labour Party (the terrible 1980s*, aren't Tories evil racist homophobes etc) before having to abrupt U-Turns before the general election and appeal to the core vote on immigration and crime after having already implied that doing that is reactionary and nasty.

* Historically Labour have been quite good at retroactively painting periods of Tory rule as being oppressive, impoverished and shameful even when the figures and contemporary feelings showed the opposite was true. Not many people seem to realise that the 1950s were a an era of growth and prosperity or that in the 1930s the Baldwin government largely avoided the extreme economic decline that hit the USA and continental Europe.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


There can be few people more deserving of the title "hero" than this anonymous Wikipedia vandal, although landmine disposal experts are a close second:

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was left embarrassed after receiving an award from the South African government with an unwanted nickname, seemingly taken from his altered Wikipedia entry.

Blatter, 74, was announced on the South African presidency's website as "Joseph Sepp Bellend Blatter" after picking up the Order of The Companions of O R Tambo award for his contribution towards the 2010 World Cup.

A saboteur is believed to have altered his profile on Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia

Ironically this means that the Wikipedia entry was more accurate than the official record.

Never Bring A Hosepipe To A Deluge

Hosepipe ban and flood warnings for the SAME region as heatwave and storms combine
Quite right too. Surely if there's a risk of flooding using a hosepipe will only make it worse, if my bathroom were flooded I certainly wouldn't start running the taps.

Monday, July 19, 2010

PM Refuses To Meet Fantasists.

One thing that Cameron has done which I do approve of, is publicly refuse to meet a quartet of retarded US Senators who want an "investigation" into whether BP was involved in the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber last year.

Given that there is a complete lack of evidence to suggest such a conspiracy it is clear that the Senators are indulging in irresponsible demagoguery to capitalise on BP's (deserved) unpopularity over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico the Senators should be considered to be on a par with truthers, birthers and people who insist the moon landings were faked.

Update: As Matthew points out in the comments, David Cameron has now caved and is going to meet the tinfoil hat wearing senators. So reverse everything I just wrote about Dave.

The Big Society

I have almost no idea what it is or whether it is a good thing, so if you do know what it's about do let me know.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hours Of Fun

Test your approximate number sense here. Supposedly this tests your innate ability for mathematics rather than what you've learned.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Abolish The Monarchy

As a right of centre individual I'm supposed to support the monarchy I guess, however the only reasons I can think of for keeping it are:
  1. The Queen is pretty good, and Prince Phillip is awesome.
  2. It provides a link to the Commonwealth.
  3. It really pisses off dreary class warriors who make up most of the republican movement.
Those aren't strong reasons though. When I look at the downsides- the inevitability of a buffoon like Prince Charles becoming King, the lack of accountability, the minor & ex royals who milk their connections, the endless fodder to the tabloids and the democratic deficit- I just think those seem stronger than the positives.

We've had a republic before during the protectorate so it wouldn't be a wholly revolutionary concept.

Interview Of The Day



Friday, July 16, 2010

Labour Leadership

Who I want to win: Ed Balls, a divisive figure who will keep Labour on the margins.

Who should win: David Miliband, he's a bit weird and has a habit of speaking in meaningless generalities but he seems determined to fight on the centre ground rather than appealing to the base.

Who will win: Ed Miliband, he will hoover up the second preferences from any other candidate.

Who should have stood: Alastair Darling, he is a much more substantive figure than any of the candidates. The economic woes were largely the result of his predecessor as Chancellor and he appears to be an honourable individual (resisted pressure from Brown & Balls to cook the books according to Mandleson's memoirs) apart from a bit of flipping.

Putin: Still Quite Gay

Going on a date with a Hollywood bachelor to watch men getting sweaty. Yep he's still gay.

Irony Bypass

A newspaper is outraged over companies trying to exploit public interest in Raoul Moat to make money.

According to a google news search the paper in question, the Daily Mail, has run 62 stories about the pathetic inadequate in the last 4 days.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

'Craven, Complacent, Conceited & Catastrophic'

The coalition's commitment to reducing prison numbers has been presented as being something surprising and out of character for a Tory dominated government. However this is only because people make the mistake of believing what the Tory's say rather than traditionally do (with the notable exception of Michael Howard). Stephen Pollard reminds Telegraph readers of one of Margaret Thatcher's Home Secretaries:
One only needs to turn the clock back a few years to the tenure as home secretary of one of the most craven, complacent, conceited and catastrophic public figures of recent years: Douglas Hurd. As home secretary he presided over record crime increases, allowing more criminals to roam the streets than any of his predecessors and ruling out any notion of reducing crime. Lord Hurd's philosophy was Conservative penal tradition at its worst: that the purpose of policy was to stem the increase in crime. The thought of reducing it was laughed out of court.

No liberal penal idea was too much; any idea of punishment didn't bear contemplation. As home secretary, from 1985 to October 1989, Lord Hurd set out to reduce the prison population. The consequence was a rapid increase in crime. In 1985 there were 46,800 prisoners, rising to 50,000 in 1988 as judges responded to the consequent crime wave. But rather than back the judges, he cut the prison population so that it fell to 45,600 soon after he left. Police-recorded crime increased from 3.6 million in 1985 to 4.5 million in 1990. Yet even today he still bangs the drum for reducing prison numbers as chairman of the Prison Reform Trust.

When Labour claimed that a Tory government would take us back to the 1980s I was delighted, unfortunately the one aspect of the Thatcher government that the coalition seem to want to emulate is their strategy on crime, where the brilliant idea of not locking up convicted criminals led to a surge in offending.

Ken Clarke attributes the fall in crime from the early 1990s to his success as Chancellor rather than Howard's tenure as Home Secretary. However it is noticeable that the recent recession saw a drastic fall in the homicide rate to its lowest point for almost 20 years so it isn't really clear cut that economic growth reduces crime.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Taxing Issues

Can't really argue with this, the greed and avarice of the British taxman is costing this country the opportunity to host major events because our courts have quite bizarrely allowed a system to evolve where the inland revenue charge people on their global endorsement income, to the point where they can end paying more than 100% of their UK earnings in tax.

I don't see how it can possibly be enforceable though, what obligation would a foreign athlete have to provide the Inland Revenue with their financial details?

Would they start asking for international sports stars to be extradited to face trial if they don't disclose their total earnings?

Go Watch

Those lovely people at Channel 4 put some of their old programmes on YouTube where they can be watched for free. This includes the awesome Garth Marenghi's Dark Place, which is one of the best TV comedies of the last decade but which wasn't really as popular as it should have been. So go an watch it:

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6.

If you haven't seen it then go and do so now.

I said "NOW!".

Monday, July 12, 2010

Break Up The School Year.

I was reading something about the effect of being born at the right time of year has on a child's chances of becoming a professional footballer- my view is that the evidence for such an effect is pretty strong even if the biggest populariser of the idea, Steve Levitt, probably bungled the data by lumping together a bunch of countries where the cut off date for school is at different points in the calender.

Anyway sport is trivial in the grand scheme of things so that isn't too important, except for the fact that it reveals a more important underlying truth- that being born later in the school year hinders children's development more generally:

Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies two years ago found only 53% of girls and 47% of boys born in August reached the expected educational level at age seven in state primary schools in England, compared with 80% and 70% of those born in September.
So if we want to increase standards in schools and help all pupils achieve their potential, why not split the school year up? Instead of each class consisting of a cohort born within a 12 month period, why not have them born within a 6 month period? It might be more expensive, although only for smaller schools, and it would probably require a rejigging of the whole school calender, but there isn't any reason that should be set in stone. The expense may be offset though by having fewer behavioural difficulties and needing less in the way of additional assistance for late born children as they will be less likely to be misdiagnosed as having special needs.

Plus we could end up with a better football team!

We're Doomed- Somali Terrorism Edition

I've blogged almost incessantly about the terrorist threat posed by Somalia. Actually I wrote one post 4 years ago predicting that it would be a problem but even so I believe that I was right and the terrorist attacks in Uganda by Somalian Islamists would appear to bear that out.

More serious from our point of view is that, as Ed West points out, if Somalian militias are going to strike outside our borders then we have a problem. You can argue that the solution is to simply stay out of Somalia and therefore not provoke them but with the piracy and harbouring of Al Qaeda suspects that may not be possible.

The most prominent Somali exile in the West, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, has repeatedly stated that the clash between modernity and traditional values keeps that community isolated and that we, the West, have to work to assert the value of our own values and not go in for the multicultural hogwash of pretending that all cultures are equal and need to be conserved. Otherwise the social and economic statistics will continue to tell a dsimal story and will fuel terrorism.

Polanski Let Off

A court in Switzerland has decided that film director/ child rapist Roman Polanski will not be extradited to the United States. At least the whole affair has lifted the lid on how many in both politics and the entertainment industry will tolerate almost any behaviour provided that it is done by someone that is a member of their tribe.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Profile In Courage- Hain On Hain

Peter Hain pays a heartfelt, generous and emotional tribute to the courage of Peter Hain, here. It's hard to suppress a tear:
Even worse, the leader of the demonstrations was "one of their own", the son of white South African parents who had been jailed, banned then forced into exile, a teenage activist named Hain.

Noble Lies

One of the staples of US feminism is the Superbowl violence myth, this is the claim that during the Superbowl there is a surge in domestic violence cases of around 40%. This is completely untrue and has zero basis in fact. Which is why it is disappointing to see that our own police forces have been promoting something similar- the World Cup domestic violence myth, something they also peddled 4 years ago.

Christina Hoff Summers writes:
Could the World Cup Abuse Nightmare be a copycat fraud?

“A stunt based on misleading figures,” is the verdict of BBC legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg and producer Wesley Stephenson. They recently investigated the alleged link between the televised World Cup games and violence in the home for their weekly program Law in Action. On June 22 — day twelve of the 2010 World Cup — they aired the story. It included an interview with a prominent Cambridge University statistician, Sheila Bird, whom they had asked to review the Home Office study and its finding of a 30 percent increase in domestic abuse. She found it to be so amateurish and riddled with flaws that it could not be taken seriously. The 30 percent claim was based on a cherry-picked sample of police districts; it failed to correct for seasonal differences and essentially ignored match days that showed little or no increase in domestic violence.
There's a very telling quote that says so much about how our modern police forces work:
The motives behind the British scare are harder to fathom. It was not the work of feminist hard-liners but rather of a network of government bureaucrats, social-service workers, police personnel, and public officials — including the new home secretary, Theresa May. History offers many examples of depraved societies pretending they are better than they really are. England, an enlightened and humane country, is perversely fascinated by stories that falsely depict its citizens as corrupt and degenerate. Those behind the exaggerated crisis are not going to recant in the face of mere facts. When the BBC investigators presented Carmel Napier, the deputy chief constable of Gwent, with the evidence that the study she and her colleagues were promoting was specious, she replied: “If it has saved lives, then it is worth it.”
The attitude of Carmel Napier- that what is expedient is preferable to what is true- is one of the reasons behind policing disasters like the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes or the fatal beating of a passerby at the G20 summit, when the police were more interested in spinning a yarn than establishing the facts.

As the article points out, it probably doesn't save lives anyway, seeing as it encourages victims to blame their plight on an external factor like the World Cup rather than being in a poisonous relationship with a thug.

Failing Upwards

The foster carer who was struck off for "allowing" the 16 year old girl in her care to convert from Islam to Christianity has won her appeal against the decision. This is of course good news as it was a disgraceful decision by Gateshead Council in the first place- the idea that state bodies should consider it their duty to uphold religious strictures against apostasy is extraordinary- but this is one of the most depressing sentences you will see:

Gateshead’s decision was quashed by a court in Leeds last week, prompting criticism of the former head of its children’s services, Maggie Atkinson, who is now Children’s Commissioner for England.

The sort of people responsible for this kind of thing aren't simply a few bad apples, they are the people who are so respected in their field that they get promoted to national roles where they can influence policy.

The carer isn't the only victim in all this, they actually took another child whom she was caring for back into care, which given the outcomes for children in care is tantamount to child abuse, yet the person responsible for this is now the "Children's Commissioner" supposedly upholding the interests of children.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Vote For Me, I'm Very Needy

I know this blog isn't as good as it used to be, but I'd still appreciate anyone's vote in the Total Politics blog poll.

I shall of course be engaging in ballot stuffing that Robert Mugabe would blush at but even so your votes would be much appreciated.

The deadline for submission is the 31st of July.

I'll be voting for a bunch of people too.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Too Hot.

I'm sweating like Gary Glitter at a school sports day.

Coroners- A Request

If I should happen to die in a bizarre masturbation related incident, could you maybe respect my dignity and be discreet about it and maybe not let the national press know how I popped my clogs?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Oink Oink

Why is that the word "greed" is seldom used to describe subsidy junkie like this? Create your own sentence using the words and phrases "snouts", "troughs", "special pleading", "whining" and "luvvies", this will save me the trouble of writing anything more.

Subsidising British films has led to 100s of crap movies that no one wants to see and serves little purpose but to keep Danny Dyer occupied in shitty gangster flicks.

I've used this quote before but it remains telling:
Stephen Frears recalls meeting him soon after [Gordon Brown] had announced a big increase in money for films. "Do you know what you've done?'' the movie man asked. "Created a rush of absolutely terrible British films?'' the benefactor replied, laughing.

Strangely Arousing

I can't be the only person to find this video strangely arousing:

I'm just the only one willing to come out and admit it.

Paul The Octopus

Like everyone else I have been impressed by the uncanny predictions of "Paul the octopus" who has managed to correctly predict every single Germany game at the World Cup so far. As pundits go he is certainly more charismatic than Alan Shearer. However:

Bookmaker William Hill is so impressed by Paul's predictive powers that it was offering even odds that he will pick the winner of the final on Sunday, between Spain and Holland.

So William Hill are offering even odds on an event with two possible outcomes, that doesn't really sound to me as though they are impressed.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Feeding The Ego.

Am I alone in thinking that the press coverage of narcissistic nutjob Raoul Thomas Moat is exactly the sort of coverage an inadequate like that would love with heroic talk of "last stands", "Killer on the loose" etc?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

People I Have An Irrational Dislike Of- Part 5

This is back to being completely irrational unlike previous entries which many thought were actually quite rational- People who wear "designer glasses".

They just radiate a sense of being slightly too pleased with themselves with their supposedly stylish specs perched on the end of their noses. Anyone who spends that much time picking a pair of specs deserves a slap.

More Than Buildings

With the school buildings budget being cut expect to be deluged with stories about classrooms with leaky roofs over the next couple of years.

I have to say that judging from my own experience at school the importance of shiny new facilities is vastly overrated. Some of the best schools had primitive labs that predated the discovery of electricity and so many mobile units that they resembled a former POW camp or a Butlins. Whereas having modern buildings was no guarantee of actually being any good.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Uruguay Vs Netherlands, Settled In Song

To mark tomorrow's match between these two countries here's a couple of songs. First up is a 1960s Uruguayan band "Los Shakers":

And here is 1970s to 1990s Dutch indie band Bettie Serveet:

Much Appreciated

Thanks for that.

Hooray For Touts.

I can see why touts can be dangerous in football, where sometimes rival fans have to be segregated, but elsewhere I can't see any sensible reason to ban them. If the organisers of Wimbledon have undervalued their product then why shouldn't someone reallocate the tickets to the people who want them most?

Surely someone's willingness to pay is more important in determining their eagerness to see the event than how fast they can dial a hotline.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Unfortunately Shooting Tony Blair Is Wrong

Much as I dislike Tony Blair this seems unwise:

The Foreign Secretary said the public must not be forced to pay more than is "absolutely necessary" for police protection, which Mr Blair is given during private holidays and international business trips.

His comments came after it was disclosed that Mr Blair’s Metropolitan Police protection squad ran up a £5,000-a-week expenses bill over the past year.

Making political capital out of the cost of protecting political rivals is incredibly stupid. there are undoubtedly people who would like to murder Tony Blair- Islamic radicals, Serbian nationalists, me- and if politicians don't get protection from potential assailants then in future our politicians will have to think of their personal safety when making decisions then they will inevitably have to pander to violent groups in order to ensure their own safety.

Stay Classy

The last parliament was collectively disgraced because of how various members exploited their position for personal advantage. Thankfully a new intake of MPs ensures that this is a thing of the past.

Louise Bagshawe, Tory MP, A-list candidate and 'chick-lit' author sets the tone for the new parliament:

For the MPs gathered in the Commons to debate the possibly rather dry subject of the Energy Bill, it was an unexpected interruption.

One minute Louise Bagshawe, a newly-elected Tory and 'Cameron cutie', was discussing solar batteries.

The next she was happily plugging her new novel Passion, written as part of her other career as a successful author of 'chick-lit' fiction.

The 39-year-old mother of three told MPs to buy her book, which, she reminded them, had just won a literary award for romantic fiction.

Oh well.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Away Till Sunday

Not that anyone cares judging by how comments have dried up this week.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Awesome Suction Power

What 13 year old boy would create a device which has incredible suction power, then use it to climb walls?


I Know You Are

Politics can be very playground at times:

The health minister, who called the Speaker a “stupid, sanctimonious dwarf”, has apologised – but only to short people in general.

I don't really object because Bercow is just that.


Is there an quivalent of the Dunning Kruger effect for alcohol? I can't help noticing that people who inform the world of their capacity to consume alcohol are almost invariably complete pissheads.