Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sympathetic Modern Poetry

This has been doing the rounds in military circles. You may be (my ego tells me) a wider audience:

Just sat here lurking around and thought of a few lines to update the immortal poem:

I went into a gastro pub to get meself a meal,
This pay as you dine you see it ain’t no real good deal.
The quality is pretty pish, and quantities are dire,
Whoever got rid of t’Catering Corps, has left us in the mire:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy is well paid";
But nobodies getting shot at Westminster, they’re just getting laid-
There ain’t no band begins to play, my boys, which means we have less medics,
And boys get harmed in Snatches and still there are few credits.

I were sent into a war as lairy as could be,
Wi’ no proper role or kit, and nobody backing me;
They sent me to Afghanistan or into South Iraq,
But there weren’t ever near enough of us, to get ‘em back on track!!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy get on wi’ it";
But there’s "No more money in the pot," when the fan is hit by s***-
The fan is hit by s***, my boys, the fan is hit by s***,
It's "Carry on and do your best”, when the fan is hit by s***.

Those lads that you depend on, and fund them on the cheap,
You treat ‘em all like s*** and bugger the mission creep;
Don’t worry that they live in slums, and will do yet for years,
Why should we treat ‘em any different, why care about their fears,

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy 'ow's yer life?"
Well life is crap he says, according to the wife-
Life is crap he says, she’s gone home to mum, I’ve said goodbye t’wife ,
O life it's crap he says, when JPA fucks up your life.

No one likes us, what do you care, when we’re back in camp,
Trying to * your daughters, drinking, and swinging on a lamp;
But we save your arrse so many times, and do your dirty deeds,
But all you do is cut the money, and it’s our family that bleeds:

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy plug that dyke,"
But it's "Please to fill those sandbags, sir," when there's flooding and the like-
And fight those fires, my boys, you cannot go on strike,
Do some other fuckers dirty work, covered in the dung and shite,
When foot and mouth, or other mess becomes the country’s plight.

You talk of cuts, reorganisations, savings and the like;
But it’s getting to the point where we’ll all be on our bike.
Sort out the quarters and the compensation, and prove it to our face,
Give us our own hospital, your treatment of our wounded is an absolute disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "the best little Army that there be!"
But the Covenant is nearly busted; Labour’s done that to us don’t you see?
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' platitudes to appease;
But Tommy, he ain’t blind - you bet that Tommy sees!

The author is a poster on Arrse, "Minnesota_Viking" and can be found here.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hello Girly

This is just so much fun.

To boost sales, Sanrio has also recently launched a slightly raunchy range where Hello Kitty cheekily displays her knickers.

Errm. Hum. "Missing the Point"(TM) (and

We (blokes) don't give a shit about the cartoon kitten. Really. Honest. Swear it on our mothers'1 graves and all. The whole ****ing point was always to get young2 females to display their knickers. Normally, it has to be said, by throwing them artistically over their shoulders while yelling "Take me, big3 boy".

While researching this article, your scribe would like to admit being slightly surprised by the "Hello Kitty" vibe, moderately embarrassed by the "Hello Kitty" panty liners, but this (NSFW) was fine.

Update: This is even better. The "Hello Kitty assault rifle". I know I can't have one but ...

Update 2: Here is the home for all men (or women, though they are somewhat rarer) who cannot get their brains around the phenomena that is "Hello Kitty". Welcome to "Hello Kitty Hell".

1. Once we've killed 'em for the 'surance, 'course.

2. But legal. Honest!

3. Yeh, I know. "Fat chance". Thanks.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More interfering poliscum.

Would you not just leave well alone?

Scottish banknotes should be legally protected in England to stop them being rejected, it has been claimed.

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrats' Scottish affairs spokesman, said it was time for a change.

The status of Scottish notes as "Bills of Exchange" is absolutely fine. People generally take them off me, without no problems in the last 5 years (and that one was brand new). They clearly recognise you as horribly shifty and fundamentally untrustworthy - i.e. a politician. Which shows how good a judge of character most people are!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Finally a quiz

That says the "Right Things"(TM) about me. "Right", in this (and every other) case of course meaning that it agrees with what I think, rather than bearing any perceivable relationship to reality (h/t Martin):

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 60% Conservative, 40% Liberal

Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

This one, getting back to normal, is off by at least 471/2% - or, maybe, it is the effect of Christmas (or the gin!):

You Are 52% Cynical

Yes, you are cynical, but more than anything, you're a realist.
You see what's screwed up in the world, but you also take time to remember what's right.

PS - I really, really loath Internet Explorer. "Working" - that's the excuse for not watching endless "Morecombe & Wise" Xmas "Special"s on DVD, anyway - on my father-in-law's box which is just about coping with running W2K and IE6. Yuck.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


What is it about politicians that they find the concept of "property rights" so difficult to get hold of? Tim blogged about the effects of the tragedy of the commons on the "Common Fisheries Policy" and now Wee Alex has apparently said (of the Lewis chess set):

he found it unacceptable that the pieces were scattered around the UK.

That would be, Alex, because they are owned by different organisations or people - who can freely choose where and how they are kept. I can understand why the people of Lewis would quite like them back but you are hardly going to be spending your own dosh getting them back, are you?

PS - What game of chess do you play with 93 pieces? Not the one I learned, that's for sure.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Light blogging

While I spend Christmas hiding from the monster-in-law (and her cooking). Still, pretty much anything is edible after a 1/2 bottle of gin :(

Friday, December 21, 2007

Amazon "Explore Dissimilar Items" Utility

Okay, so the great office cleanup continues and, as absolutely appropriate for the last working day before the holiday, our cheap shredder packs in. So we need a new one.

Amazon is a surprisingly good source of office kit (best value, we have found, for printer spares), so worth a try. An initial search troughs up a piece of Draper kit - which looks less tough than the one that just expired.

"Explore Similar Items" - worth a try? You tell me!

Back to "Google is your friend", which takes me to this, which will do until I can convince Mrs S-E that her company needs to buy one of these:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Blast from My Past

Helping Mrs S-E clear up our shared office space, I came across this little ditty from my ancient (so ancient it has been run off on a Gestetner machine - remember them?) past:

In the beginning was the Plan. And with the Plan, at the start of all, were the Assumptions.

And the Assumptions were without form and the Plan was completely without substance.

And the darkness was on the face of the workers and they spoke unto the Heads of their Departments saying "It is a crock of shit and it sinketh unto the very heavens!"

And the Heads of Department went unto the Area Manager and sayeth thus: "It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odour thereof."

And the Area Manager went unto the Divisional Director and sayeth unto him "It is a container of excrement and it is very strong, so strong such that that none here may abide by it."

And the Divisional Director went unto the Employee Relations Manager and said unto her, "The voices of the workers have spoken and they say that the Plan is a vessel of fertilizer and none may abide its strength."

And the Employee Relations Manager went most speedily unto the Human Resources Director and sayeth, "It contains that which aideth plant growth and it is mightily strong."

And the Human Resources Director crept on his belly to the Managing Director, for such is the way of the servants of HR, and said thusly: "It promoteth growth and it is very powerful."

And the Managing Director did meet with the Board, upon the very heights of heaven, and the minutes were engraven on tablets of the whitest marble and the record did show that he spake thusly: "This powerful new Plan will actively promote the growth and efficiency of the division and of this area in particular."

And the Board did gaze upon the vastness of the Plan and ignoreth all of the Assumptions. And they believed that the Plan was good and so the Plan became Policy.

And the stench became most mighty and the Assumptions were thrown down. Yet the workers laboured still in the reek, complaining bitterly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Clegg Scuppers Bid for Democrat Nomination

In a move that probably won't surprise Lib-Dim supporters used to their leaders doing everything they can to prevent the party gaining even the faintest sniff of power, newly anointed poster child and amateur cat herder, Nick Clegg, scuppered his chances of the Democratic Party nomination as US Presidential candidate by admitting his atheism:
"I have enormous respect for people who have religious faith, I'm married to a Catholic and am committed to bringing my children up as Catholics.

"However, I myself am not an active believer, but the last thing I would do when talking or thinking about religion is approach it with a closed heart or a closed mind."

ProGoditarian party hopeless and mind-numbingly dull author Jeffery Archer impersonator, Bloke Hickathingy called for Clegg's immediate lynching as a "disgrace to lying poliscoundrels everywhere" later adding that, if this sort of honesty caught on, he would have to hire more professional liars PR people. Well known extreme cultist and low flying Clinton wannabee, Twit Dimley added, "There shall be no religious test for elected politicians. Ain't it peachy the Founding Fathers never heard of my lot. I thank Smith that this atheist scum Plugg will never be elected to any office of insignificance."

Current President, His Imperial Chimpness W the Junior, refused to comment but a spokesman later informed this channel "It's not his fault. Dick's a Republican. He knows you should light cigars. No interns were harmed in the making of this mistake."

Highly successful caretaker leader, Vince Forgotten-His-Name Already, criticised his new leader for using a single word answer to any question.

A survey for this channel discovered that 93% of British Archbishops really, really didn't care and were getting back to putting the Christmas cards up as soon as we got off the phone.

The Tautology of the Minimalist Socialist State

Alex Hilton is in a fairly significant huff having been the subject of an unusual breach of civility from the normally mild Iain Dale. (Ed notes: because Alex is a lefty blogging twat, of course.) Now, normally, I would completely ignore this declaration of all out war from one of nu-Labour's highly trained pygmy attack shrews, even one who is a demiclone of the Millibore.

But, being slightly bored and even more averse to finding some housework to do, I decided to wade into the morass of imbecility that is "Comment is Free" (Ed notes: "of Sense, Substance and Spelling") and see just what had provoked Iain's ire. I found it here.

Now plenty of people have already embarked on pointed critiques of this obviously-still-hungover metro-socialist drivel. I particularly loved richmanchester's comment on the clear priorities of the C19 down-trodden - Alex was quite obviously right in his certainty that the agricultural labourers of Tolpuddle were martyred (although they weren't, exactly, they were transported not hung, but that is the sobriquet that history has bequeathed them) and the Manchester and Salford Trades Council organised the first Trades Union Congress for:
social causes against racism, sexism and homophobia

Still, what actually makes this a work of virulent knobbery is not his assertion (in the best Neil Harding or Kezia Dugdale "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie - out, out - err, oh - still her fault" mode) that Toryism is evil - it is his entirely unwarranted contention that socialist does not imply statist. While I will admit that socialist does, absolutely, not require authoritarian (nagging is enough), the basic underlying socialist principles require a larger and a more interfering state than libertarian or even conservative ones. I would recommend Chris Dillow's excellent book "The End of Politics" to anybody interested in this.

From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need."

Karl Marx, 1875, "Critique of the Gotha Programme"

The basic principles of modern British socialism, because that is what the Milliclone was whittering about - communal ownership (of labour, values and aspirations, as well as capital), redistributive (if not actually punitive) taxation, of equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunities - these all require state interference. And for the state to effectively interfere, it must set targets and it must measure against them. And that takes people - non-productive, inefficient people and, in Britain at least, relatively highly paid and very well pensioned. And, because of the inefficiency, it is not about raising the standards of my local secondary school until they are the same as Eton - or of the laughably named "Adam Smith College" until it is the same as Edinburgh - regardless of the amount of money thrown at them. Unfortunately it is about dragging down excellence to mediocrity, about ensuring that the pampered child of the doting middle class has no better start in life than drug-dependent child of a serially-engaged benefit junkie.

So the size of the state increases, as does the number of people dependent on its direct beneficence. As the number of people who depend on the state increases, so do the arbitrary ways that it can wield its power. Soon, it will wield the state's ultimate sanction, death, for merely trying to help yourself.

Now, he tries to justify himself by referring to the "free market". This is, of course, making the usual politico's confusion between the political term "free market" - i.e. no interference from government - and the much more important term, as far as economics is concerned, "efficient market". The purpose of an efficient market is to reach the optimum balance of exchange between seller and purchaser. Clearly, governments can interfere with this - for reasons good, arbitrary and bad. There are many other things that also interfere - poor communications (especially for perishable goods), inefficient transportation, criminality of all sorts (although how exactly you differentiate this from political activity, I leave as a matter for the reader) and social or cultural pressures. Pretending that "government involvement" in a market, or the lack of it, is the sole governor of market behaviour is abrogating far more effect to our politicos that they deserve but, then, that's Alex for you.

Ed Clarke
and His Imperial Satanic Majesty both have thoughtful (and, obviously, for DK, somewhat sweary) posts on state centralisation - read them. Ed does slightly miss the point though - it isn't Tesco-isation. Tesco, for all its faults (and, if you happen to be reading this anyone from Tesco in Cumbernauld - you are going downhill fast, especially for fresh fruit and meat - but that may just be location, location, location) is not a bad supermarket - as its profits show. The food is reasonable, there is variety of qualities and quantities, they provide free ATMs and a reasonable invasive snoopery incentive scheme. What you were actually searching for, Sir, is NAAFI-isation. Now, anybody who has ever been in a Naafi shop in the UK, Germany or Iraq knows just how bad they generally are. About the only thing you can say that they generally have a reasonable selection of a trashy CD players and lads magazines. Opening hours are shite and prices are high. British government run, you see - it isn't inevitable - the various US PXs range from the surprisingly nice to the absolutely superb, the Canadian CANEX system is really effective (if never the size of the Yank malls) and the charity ECHOS restaurants are amazing.

You see, all twat's "modern british socialism" boils down to is an endless kiddy's whine of "it's not fair", backed up by all the coercive power of the modern bureaucratic state. I'll answer it the same way I do my son: that's right. Life isn't fair. Grow up and get on with it.

The Tories aren't evil - government is evil. That is why we need to restrict it to the minimum necessary to ensure a viable state.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Iraqi Interpreters Speak

From, without wishing to be rude, the "horses' mouths":
The two interpreters in Syria described why they had to flee for their lives.

"Three guys with machine guns attacked me inside my house," Latif told me, "and of course they knew I was an interpreter.

"They stole everything but I begged them to leave my family alone. They said - we're going to take your son ... imagine the terror of that!"

Latif had worked for the British for three years and it was only because the militia heard that soldiers were in the area that they ran out of his house and his son was saved.

"We feel the British forces are responsible for our lives," said Amir, whose father had insisted he leave before the militias put a bullet in his heart.

"We need asylum anywhere, but we hope it could be Britain."

With thanks to Panorama. Now go and visit Dan and then write to your MP.

Divide and Conquer

One of the tools abused endlessly by the charlatans that rule us is "special treatment" (good or bad) for specific groups. After all, we are all "minorities" if you slice the cake thin enough ... (for an example "reductio ad absurdum" Oxbridge and Eton educated multi-millionaire Dukes are not exactly common!)

So I wasn't too surprised to notice, yesterday, several copies of a huge poster bemoaning assault and violence against workers and pointing out that such is a crime. Of course it is. Assault and violence against anybody (and, in some cases, animals, inanimate property and even politicians) is a crime. You are not even allowed to beat the maliciously indigent (I can see the opportunity for an unpleasantly populist change in the law, here) So why single out workers (apart from the fact that they probably are a minority in the blighted socialist wasteland of Falkirk)?

It doesn't matter. It really doesn't. It is the split by specificity that matters. Take detention without charge. The mendacious statists have got it from all sides with their latest plan to increase the detention for terrorism suspects to 42 / 56 / 90 (I forget which number they are trying now) days. Liberty and Amnesty, as you would reasonably expect; the Guardian & senior Labour figures, quite properly but slightly more surprisingly; Polly, her very self; right wingers; left wingers; the previous Lord Chancellor; Tories and Lib-Dims etc, etc. Almost universal condemnation. Why?

Well, not just because it is illiberal and unjustified. Because we all know, like the Serious and Organised Crime Act, that laws initially announced to apply just to terrorists (aka, unless you are Spanish, Islamists, at the current time) will soon be extended to apply to paedophiles (and there won't be too many prepared to speak up for them), murder suspects and, eventually, those merely guilty of embarrassing (or merely interrupting) our politicians.

Divide and conquer. We need to take a stand, one and all, at each and every attempt to diminish our human rights. Guantanamo & extraordinary rendition; suspension of habeas corpus; extended detention without charge; electoral sleaze; banning protests at Parliament - all great ideas of Gordon and his mates.

Update: And I forgot to add - the use of RIPA Part III (whether actually decryption or key requests) against non-violent animal rights activists as opposed to terrorists (Islamist or ALF) or kiddy-fiddlers.

Dolly the Socialist?

I can't be the first to have spotted this remarkable likeness. Enquiring minds want to know just what has Professor Wilmut been up to?

Perhaps it wasn't Dolly's shortened life that persuaded him that cloning was not yet safe?

So on our left we have Iain's "lefty blogging twat" and on the right we have Gordon's spineless blogging poodle.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mind boggles.

Thank God it's Christmas soon. Some (Nigerian?) punter reached here (no, I don't know why here, of all places) with this Google search:

online private email contact of new barristers in london that has not receive scam in 2007

Luckily, as this site doesn't contain the email contact details of any barristers in London (as far as I am aware), none of you are going to receive more 419 emails as a result of this. But I'm sure you'll get them regardless and many of you will deserve them!

Oh, for fucks sake!

Can the turkeys at HMRC not stop embarrassing the country for a couple of weeks, at least? Now, losing a couple of CDs is relatively easy - I have no idea where mine of the Berlin Philharmonic performing the 1812 overture is. They're not big and they're weren't being handled "securely". But this:

Contraband seized by customs officers has gone missing from a secure depot close to Coventry airport.

Police have been called in to search for the goods which disappeared from the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) store before last weekend.

A HMRC spokesman refused to comment on claims drugs, firearms and passports may have gone missing.

Utterly useless cunts. The mind boggles. Let me see, perhaps, "A junior official forgot to lock the door". Still, no chance of any minister resigning over this, or any other, fuck-up.

Much as I appreciate

the cite (Ed notes: any cite - he'll pimp* for Technorati "authority"), why did a rant of mine appear here:

A Victory for Common Sense?

A Victory for Common Sense? By Surreptitious Evil(Surreptitious Evil) … Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, told the Times he did not think the case should have reached court."Many young people download objectionable material from the internet, but it seems if ...

I have not even pretended to write a novel - never mind a "Lesbian and Gay" one.

* Well, I do have my pride.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why would anyone?

I was unsubscribing from receiving ITV spam (and, for reasons best left unsaid, using Internet Explorer to do so) when I saw this:

ITV ActiveX DRM control
Now, what would possess anybody to "click here"?

Update: if you click on the picture it does become readable.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

RIP NHS BlogDoc?

I hope not but this?

If so it is be a tragedy for his friends and family and a significant loss to the UK blogging community.

I wait to see ...

Update: Dizzy thinks it's all a wah. I hope so. Just an idiot with a bad taste joke.

Update 2: As of 9th Jan 2008, he is back and blogging.

Who ate all the pies?

Charlie did!

Give up and just give the mutt his gong. And then go here and enjoy :)

On the Chain-Gang

Well, let's see if we can keep it going. Meta-meta-meta-blogging.

Update: Meta-meta-meta-meta-blogging?

Control Freak states Obvious

Well, well. We didn't know that, did we:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown ... told Commons committee chairmen that public and private firms had to come to terms with IT security issues.

But, just remember, deh Gubbinmunt does it better.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

As I Can Turn Back Time

No, not the musical (if slightly plastic) one:

Lo, "Feel The Power of Socialism" (TM) as the very sun obeys my duly elected democratic mandate to be an utter moonbat:

Venezuela creates its own unique time zone on Sunday, putting the clock back half-an-hour on a permanent basis.

President Hugo Chavez says that an earlier dawn means the performance of the country will improve, as more people will wake up in daylight.


The time change is the latest in a series of reforms implemented by President Chavez, who has already changed the country's name, coat of arms and flag.

At least he hasn't gone completely gaga (yet) and changed the names of any months to honour his mother (although, the way he is going, the huge gilded statue is probably not too far off.)

However, you don't have to go as far as Latin American proto-fascists for this sort of idiocy. We breed them locally, too - Update:

Energy Saving (Daylight)

Mr. Tim Yeo, supported by Mr. Crispin Blunt, Peter Bottomley, Sir John Butterfill, Mr. David Chaytor, Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory, Mr. David Kidney, Mr. Robert Marshall-Andrews, Lembit Opik, Richard Ottaway, Dr. Desmond Turner, Mr. John Whittingdale and Sir George Young, presented a Bill to advance time by one hour throughout the year to create lighter evenings, for an experimental period; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 7 March, and to be printed [Bill 21].

Look. It is simple. The sun reaches its zenith at astronomical noon. Yes, for convenience, we slice the world up into hour or half-hour chunks. Everything else is just human behaviour. And we know how competent governments are at regulating that.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Were CAB doing with 60,000 records on a sodding laptop? I thought these were local centres, managed by experienced volunteers. Why aggregate the case records? Why on a laptop?

'Tis claimed the data was encrypted. That may be a saving grace but it is not an excuse. Morons.

News at 10 and other cultures.

Oh, this surprised me (online here):

Three out of the five British residents imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay may be back in the UK before Christmas.

Like, err, 'Christmas' would matter to a devout Muslim of Salafist or Wahhabi ilk? Or maybe they have a booking on "Liverpool Nativity".

Update: edited for mong spelling of "Salafist".

Clearly a mistranslation

Via somewhere (apologies) to el Beeb:

the grand old man of French letters, 89-year-old novelist and French Academy member Maurice Druon, who in a blistering retort accused Mr Morrison of confusing "culture and entertainment."

"Culture is not determined by this week's box-office returns. Culture takes place over the duration," said Mr Druon, who noted that it was the "fourth or fifth" occasion on which he's taken up arms over the years to disprove an alleged "Death of French Civilisation".

"Disprove"? I don't see any "proof" here. I see a statement - possibly (iff you are French) an authoritative statement. Bit like the Pope speaking ex cathedra, I think or, if you wish to be logical about it, the fallacy of the "argument from authority".

I have to say that I agree with Mr Druon that commercial value does not equal culture (but then neither is brass rubbing.) On the other hand, Mr Morrison clearly has a point that, even if you allow for those starving in garrets in Montmartre, there doesn't appear to be too much recently of lasting artistic or cultural merit from across La Manche.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More Search Engine Sniggering

Apart from the usual incredulity that, of all of the places on the great wide interwebby thing, they should end up here, some words of advice:

"nadine" brick car accident
You may not like her but that's no reason to be violent. Oh, and I forgot, putting quotes around a single word in a Google search is nugatory.

tate & lyle + phosgene production unit

Clearly the next BMA campaign to restrict our life choices. "Don't eat sugar, it's made with poison gas."

reader for hdsd

Took me a while to find one, but the Transcend M2 seems to work for me. Available here. Haven't tried the M3.

royal navy tartan

Unlike Army Regiments, the RN doesn't have an official tartan. Where you are permitted to wear the kilt (Mess Undress and Mess Dress, IIRC), you should wear your own tartan. If you are not entitled, then see if you can get permission to wear the regimental tartan of an affliated Scottish (or Scots Canadian) Regiment.

Update: for mistyping and M3 link.

A Victory for Common Sense?

This, it seems to me, is good news. However, there is always a sting in the special-pleading-because-we-are-the-religion-of-peace tale:

Muhammed Abdul Bari, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, told the Times he did not think the case should have reached court.

"Many young people download objectionable material from the internet, but it seems if you are a Muslim then this could lead to criminal charges, even if you have absolutely no intention to do harm to anyone else.

To paraphrase then - if young people download objectionable material from the internet and that material is illegal merely to possess under the laws of the United Kingdom and they are Muslim then they shouldn't be prosecuted.

As opposed, say, to secular paedophiles - who, mostly, also intend to do no harm to anyone else. But because harm is involved in the creation of the material, in exactly the same way as terrorist videos of bombings that kill innocent children or offering praise and succour to those terrorists, we criminalise it.

Of course, we could try her under Sharia law, where, as a woman, her evidence would be discounted and a "suspended sentence" is hanging?

BBC Inconsistent in Terror 'News'

Compare and contrast this:

On Tuesday, thousands of Spaniards paid their respects to the dead officer in Madrid under a banner which read "For freedom and the defeat of Eta".

With this "On this Day":

ETA carried out its last fatal attack in May 2003.

The group declared a permanent ceasefire on 22 March 2006.

Update your propaganda, please. If you have to have it up there at all, make it consistent.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Two Worrying Driving Schools

Both local:

  • "Happy Hour" - I mean, I know we're all supposed to be alkies* up here, but ...
  • "On-Board Training" - as Mrs S-E said, as opposed to 'Buggered off and left you to get on with it' Training?

* Don't worry, it's 'for' antifreeze not 'is' antifreeze.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Professional Over-Reaction

The Religion of Peace and Tolerance is at it again:

The protesters gathered in Martyrs Square, outside the presidential palace in the capital, many of them carrying knives and sticks.

Marchers chanted "Shame, shame on the UK", "No tolerance - execution" and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad".

Can we possibly stop supporting these barbaric medievalists with UK taxpayers' cash?

The UK record is strong: it disbursed some £110 million of humanitarian and development assistance to southern Sudan since the Oslo conference in April 2005, where the UK pledged £317 million in aid to Sudan over three years (2005-2007). To date we have spent £290 million in the whole country and stand to exceed this pledge. This includes £47 million, which is channelled through the Multi-Donor Trust Fund over three years (2005-2007) and split evenly between North and South Sudan.

UK Development Aid Programme in Sudan

  • In the past five years the UK has provided US$667m (£326m) in aid to Sudan, out of a total of US$2201m (£1075m) from the international community.
  • In 2007/08 the UK plans to give about US$228m (£114m).

Thursday, November 29, 2007


You tell me ...

From the Dilbert page.

Is Scott trying to tell us something about geeks?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Surprised or Shocked?

Mrs S-E dragged me away from the computer to read this in today's Scotsman. The mind truly boggles.

Now Scotland's 20,000 Orange Lodge members have been asked to name the superhero. He is appearing on the order's Christmas cards,dubbed "Santa's Little Helper", and features in children's pop-up books on the history of Orangeism. There are also plans to use him as a logo on pencils and erasers.

But I see a problem:

We face the same problems as any other youth organisations, such as the Boys' Brigade or the Scouts, in appealing to youngsters once they hit puberty.

I am sorry - I can't see how this:

is going to appeal to "post-pubescent" youth. Especially not when the standard of modern cartoons has been set by, for an example of interest to the post-pubescent, Angelina Jolie, in Beowulf, in 3D!

I also feel the need, despite it coming from the other side of the bigot divide, to point out that the battlecry "Paddy Power" may be seen as a breach of trademark.

Update - of course, that second pic was appropriate for male (or lesbian) youth. The young ladies (and any gay youth) can have a very-happy-it-was-a-cartoon Ray Winstone. I would also point out, to those of the non-heterosexual persuasion, that they may want to very carefully scout out the attitudes of their local Orange Order branch before thinking of joining. And then going elsewhere and doing something sensible.

More on the Iraqi Interpreters

Just in case either of you don't check Dan's site regularly, he has a new post up with some details of the emails he has been receiving.

Now, if there had just been proper records kept (and somebody didn't post them from Washington to London) and our political class had the slightest sense of honour ...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The evils of pervasive computing ...

Electronic pal spills beans on cheating wife. Read and enjoy.

Email is not the only way

To transfer data across a network. Honestly.

Blind Optimism?

This morning, when I got to this computer, my screen saver had crashed. As this particular device is a rather beaten-up (although originally well-specced) dot.compost laptop, running a Windows OS, this is hardly a surprise.

However, I am running BOINC and the application that had crashed was the UK Met Office climate prediction model. This needs nearly a month of dedicated processor time and is hideously sensitive to errors - both mathematical and operational. It is the latter that seems to be the problem to my contribution (the former may render the whole thing pointless). Both file-system glitches and other errors - this morning's was an illegal memory access - regularly ruin runs at these extensive file sets. For comparison, Seti-At-Home takes under 6 hours per work-package and, on my (albeit much newer and considerably faster) Mac, Einstein@Home packages take about 10 hours.

Here is the dilemma - splitting up the calculation sets / work packages into smaller will clearly result in some loss of efficiency. However, given the (linearly increasing with duration?) chance of failure and the associated loss of the already committed calculation time, there must be a maximally efficient package duration? Especially as you are having these things run on machines where you, the organisers, have minimal control over patching and other operating parameters, I would expect this to be much less than 633 hours ...

Techie note: neither the number of cores per processor nor the number of processors are particularly relevant here (except as they take the normal work load of the machine) - it is the actual elapsed time duration of the specific work that is important, not the package throughput

Data Loss - Part Ye Third

Yesterday, I opined:
the poor bod who actually did this is likely to be some form of IT or audit minion

Yes, indeed - an IT minion. And in preventative custody. That is, preventing him from telling the truth until the spin has been properly sorted out. Poor bugger.

Update: Oh, and the Information Commissioner's press release has been stealth updated again, and now mentions PWC. Again, without mentioning that they got it wrong. If that's how the openness and transparency watchdog behaves, admittedly for a completely trivial mistake, then God help us (as we are seeing) when things go badly wrong.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Data Loss - Reprise

Okay, so we seem to have (from the best figures I can glean), approximately 25 million sets of personal data. Within that, it appears to be (this will be updated as I can):
  • 11 million families Update: not sure now whether this is the number of adults or the number of household records (you can have child benefit paid split between carers if the child spends time living in more than one household, and you can also change who it is paid to ...)
  • 14 million children
  • 7¼ million bank accounts. Update: Sandra Quinn, APACS spokes-weasel, said on MoneyBox (Sat 24 Nov) that there were 7.3 million accounts notified to the banks through APACS. I'll take that as confirmation of this figure.
Now, of its self, those figures are interesting - it's free money, not means tested, paid to mum and not strongly audited (at least, Mrs S-E's never has) so there seems little incentive to fib - the average family with children under 16 (or slightly older) has 1.27 of them and 34% of mums really don't want the money paid into a bank account. But, security questions:
  • Why on God's green Earth did the NAO need, or think they wanted, the entire database? I appreciate that they have a duty to ensure that public funds are properly managed but surely that could have been done with summary data and some spot checks? Update: Apparently, they didn't want the personal data - but that still makes it even more dubious why they couldn't use summary data (i.e. I can think of reasons why they would want the personal data, just not ones legitimate to the NAO role.) Update 2: from Hansard - seems to be a proper explanation to me - Edward Leigh hairs the public accounts committee - h/t Roger Hird - (Ed notes - except, of course, that under the DPA, your NI number is, contrary to Mr Leigh's assertion, personal data, because somebody has the database to turn that back into a reference to you):
Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): I am grateful to the Comptroller and Auditor General and to the Chancellor for briefing me this morning. May I just make one or two things clear from the CAG’s briefing? He requested this information—the national insurance numbers—to create a sample to enable him to carry out the audit. It is clear that the CAG specifically asked that all personal details, bank account details and all that sort of information should be removed before this was sent. That is the most important thing. The National Audit Office simply asked for the national insurance numbers; this had nothing to do with personal details.
  • Ross, on Newsnight last night, said that the database should have been classified as "SECRET". Can't comment on that, because the definitions of UK protective markings are themselves protectively marked :). It would be interesting to find out what the Accreditation Documentation Set rated the system as (I can guess) and how this relates to the new Impact Levels ... (Will post an IL definition table if I can find it on the web).
  • Was backup software involved? If so, why was this not set to decrypt by default?
  • Why was this not transferred over the GSI or xGSI (Government Secure Intranet)?
  • What involvement, if any, did Aspire (the Cap Gemini SPV that runs HMRC's IT) have in this saga?
  • Why all the delays? (Ed: Actually, I know the answer to this one - the "shoot the messenger" culture endemic in modern Britain - private as well as public sectors.)
Security red herrings (IMNSHO):
  • "Junior official" - the poor bod who actually did this is likely to be some form of IT or audit minion, almost certainly not an Oxbridge classics grad (or even, horrible to have an almost job-relevant qualification, a PPE grad), acting on the commands of their superiors.
  • Lost in the post - yes, it went in the Government internal mail. Why? Have you ever tried to get first class posting, never mind recorded / registered post from a large bureaucracy? Generally, the only way to do it is to go to the Post Office yourself and try to claim the cost back on expenses.
  • Quibbles about refunds of any fraud or suing the taxman. The former will happen, the latter can't - see here.
  • Fines for HMRC - the large fines against banks were levied (IIRC) by the FSA, who have no authority over HMRC, as opposed to the Information Commissioner, who has a different penalty regime (largely, and reasonably effectively against large organisations, name and shame).
More news:
  • The Information Commissioner speaks:
Richard Thomas, Information Commissioner, said:

“This is an extremely serious and disturbing security breach. This is not the first time that we have been made aware of breaches at the HM Revenue and Customs – we are already investigating two other breaches. Incidents like these illustrate that any system is only as good as its weakest link. The alarm bells must now ring in every organisation about the risks of not protecting people’s personal information properly. As I highlighted earlier this year, it is imperative that organisations earn public trust and confidence by addressing security and other data protection safeguards with the utmost vigour.
  • But why does he mention a KPMG review? Jane Kennedy said (on Newsnight which I caught online) PWC? Do we really need them both? Update: Seems to be a typo in the IC press release - Kieron Poynter, mentioned as leading the study for KPMG, is Chairman of PWC UK. Update 2: And the KPMG mention has been removed from the online press release (without acknowledging the change).

HMRC and their CDs

I would watch here and here.

Update: And I wouldn't listen to Mark Serwotka who said "this is proof that civil servants do very valuable jobs." No. I don't think so. Screwing up so publicly is hardly a "valuable job".

Update 2: Mrs S-E has just told me that PWC are going in to do the investigation. So we can all sleep easily. Where are the Met CCU or SOCA?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mark Ward talks (security) bollocks

RIPA Part III. You have been warned about it for some time. It is now in the mainstream news. However there are some small accuracy issues ... Well, we can't ask those loyal public servants at the BBC to get everything right:

If those receiving the letters do not comply with the request or a formal S49 notice they can be imprisoned for up to two years.

Err. No. Complete bollocks, in fact. The penalty for failing to comply with a formal S49 notice can be up to 5 years imprisonment if the case relates to nation security under s15 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (thanks, Richard), with 2 years and a fine, as the maximum for other cases.

However, that is just pedantry. Your egregious failing is not pointing out the maximum penalty for failing to comply with a request from the CPS (or anyone else, for that matter) for key disclosure (or just decrypting the data) is that you then get issued with a formal S49 notice. With the previously mentioned penalties. FFS it's not hard.

And, as the activists in question appear just to have had letters from the CPS as opposed to formal notices, the whole thrust of your article is wrong. And, as walking on a cycle path can be spun as terrorism, I'm sure that animal rights activism (some of whom have history with mail-bombs and other violence) can be readily pigeon-holed as national security, so your numbers are crap too. Well done, the main-stream media. Perhaps, Mark, you might want to get a job as a facts-researcher for Polly?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tagged and Bricked

Well, I have finally been caught with the 10-bricks meme. And I have been thinking about it. I could, relatively easily, jot down 10 left-of-centre politicians or political commentators and all of my reader would have been content - not exactly intellectually exercised, but content. So, here is a slightly more thoughtful list. Please feel free to assume that there are plenty of poli-scum that I would include given a little more venom and a larger supply of bricks.

  • 10. John D Morris. President of the "Institute for Creation Research". For a lifetime of labo(u)r to convince America that stupid children are better than skeptical ones. Your brick, Dr Morris.
  • 9. Dalia Grybauskaitė. You probably won't have heard of this lady from Lithuania but she is the "European Commissioner responsible for Financial Programming and Budget". That would be the European Union that hasn't even managed to get its internal auditors to sign off its accounts for 13 years on the trot: "errors of legality and regularity still persist in the majority of EU expenditure." I will admit that it isn't all Dalia's fault - she has only been there since 2004 but, my dear, you are in the chair so the brick you get.
  • 8. Terry. Come on, you know who. The fattest moron in Paisley. A brick unto thy face, foul beast.
  • 7. Tom Cruise. Just stick to acting. I want to hear about your nut-job religion even less than I do Jamal's. A brick for you.
  • 6. George "Pussycat" Galloway. Splitter :) Just for showing that ridiculous though the British political class are, there is always some cretin who can drag them further into disrepute. Here's your brick (at para 8.)
  • 5. Nadine Dorries. Not for her opinions on abortion, or even for the errors in her minority report (see 7.) - I am happy for people to have beliefs different from mine and to make mistakes, honest or otherwise. No-one's perfect. This is for making a mistake, realising it and then running away to hide - you are an elected MP, you utter, utter scum. And all of those of you who get their knickers in a twist about blog comments policies can award yourself an honorary brick here too. Then grow up.
  • 4. Michela Morleo. You've not heard of her either, have you? Well, just in case you thought that because it was il-liberal statist bollocks, it was the work of nu-Labour (Dawn Primarolo, honorary brick just for existing) or Professor Mark Bellis, or even Karen Tocque, this young lady is the "Alcohol Research Manager and Press Lead Club Health" at the North West Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, who produced this crap. You are the worst sort of joyless statist, an evangelical commissar of the Brownite Soviet. Just learn to shut the fuck up and take your brick.
  • 3. Mohammed Al-Fayed. Look, I'm not going to say much here because you've got almost as expensive lawyers as this crook (no, not Tim). Shut up about Diana. It was a car crash. You're driver was drunk. It was an accident and, for those who actually knew her or your son, a tragedy. Have two half-bricks.
  • 2. The Great Clunking Fist. After painfully raping us in the wallet for 10 years, he is now trying to rape our minds and, if he could, our souls. To paraphrase Trixy: Fuck. Off. Right. Now. And. Die. You lying, evil, lapsed-Presbyterian cunt. Here's your brick.
  • 1. David Cameron. For concentrating on being trendy instead of making the Tories electable. For not realising that your policy of scaled dis-engagement from Europe cannot work. For letting Brown get away with it. For just being so smug. Get a back-bone and take your brick.

  • And as Trixy wanted to be tagged, wasn't, so went ahead anyway, consider yourself post-article anointed. And RFS, please.

    Not a Gentle Morning

    I do dislike people saying profound things, stupid or intelligent, on the radio as I am just waking up. It disturbs my equilibrium. Similar to waking up to a proper alarm, or to the unpleasant realisation that you have massively overslept on a day where you have significant commitments.

    So, this morning, when I thought I heard one of the usual islamo-facist apologies for terrorist scumbags from the MCB saying:

    There is such a thing as manners and civility.

    I was none too impressed. This being from an organisation that wants us to lock away our daughters, ban music in schools, mandate Salafist propaganda in school libraries, allow a religious interpretation of "child abuse", thinks we are fascists etc, etc. How mannerly and civil. Of course, my first thought was to dash here and rant but then that usually ends up unpublished, so I went to Radio 4's listen again function.

    • Oh god, sodding cartoons again.
    • A muscial about the cartoon controversy. Hmm, given that music is haram anyway, I can really see the "Religion of Peace" taking this well.
    • This Swedish bloke, he really doesn't understand our Muslim brethren, does he? It's "had its time"? The cartoon controversy? Let's be honest, they are still mad at the Jews for them rejecting Mohammed in the early 7th Century. It may be out of the media but you can be sure there is a wild-eyed fanatic somewhere desperate for a non-religious education so he can work out how to spell "Lars Vilks" for carving into a block of C4.
    • OMG, the triumph of a liberal (socialist, anti-dogmatic, Enlightenment) education over common sense. It's called the scientific method - observe the world; develop a theory; make some testable predictions; experiment and see if the predications come true or not.
    • Humour. They don't do humour. "Dogs" as a pun on "Cats"? You should be able to criticise religions? The same rules for Islam as for Christianity and Judaism? Absolutely. Sharia - it's the same rule :)
    • So there is S-E's theory of comparative religions: islamists have no sense of humour. Therefore they aren't going to like this. Let's see ...
    And the rebuttal:
    • Still can't make the MCB guy's name out.
    • Yes, Lars is doing it to demonstrate his and, by extension, our freedoms, you pillock.
    • Of course the "prophet is much loved by Muslims". As is Christ by the Christians, Buddha by the Buddists, the patriarchs by the Jews, oh and the American flag by the Yanks.
    • Ah, yes, the famous "War Against Islam". Shown so convincingly by our attacks on the core Islamic state - Saudi Arabia, our refusal to defend the Islamic state of Kuwait, the war we are waging against Indonesia. Yes, clearly.
    • His intent is "clearly to provoke"? "To create mischief"? No, you got it right before. It is to demonstrate that he is living in a free, post-Enlightenment, secular state. We have to tolerate all sorts of crap here (Hizb ut-Tahrir, of course, not his Grace's excellent blog.)
    • "In Europe, of course, we have the freedom to satirise. We have that right to offend." Good. Wonderful in fact. My theory is clearly bollocks and I can get on with breakfast. But, wait ...
    • "There is no obligation to offend." So what isn't mandatory is forbidden? I seem to recall that Jared Diamond used that as the basic distinction between tribal and civilised modes of behaviour.
    • "There is such a thing as good manners. There is such a thing as civility." My quote - nearly.
    Manners and civility.

    It would be civil for you to recognise the ancient freedoms of this country instead of insisting on ramming some Wahabist interpretation of C7 desert culture down our throats. It would be mannerly to consider your demands for special treatment in the context of your contribution to British society - which, at the moment, seems to consider solely of complaining about it.

    I would, normally at this point, consider repeating the words of somebody even you infidels consider to be a prophet "let him who is without sin, cast the first stone". I mean, this is mannerly and civil, is it? And, I note, uncriticised by the MCB. Then, casting stones is something Islamic states have quite a bit to say about (as well as these interestingly undeserved judicial punishments). Please note, unlike a (probably crap) musical or the horror of having boys and girls in the same swimming pool, uncriticised by the MCB.

    You bunch of ignorant medievalist terrorist-succouring peasants.

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    A Woman Scorned

    Trying to get over her Wotan fixation, Polly is now offering her own brand of strange advice to those perennial wall-flowers of Westminster politics, the il-Liberal anti-Democrats:

    So while the big beasts shrink their apparent differences, here is not just an opportunity but a positive need for a Lib Dem resurgence. The vacancy is waiting, if they choose a leader to seize it.
    Now, telling a political party that they need a charismatic leader with ideas, convictions and the backing to drive those through to policy hardly takes the brains of a Milliband but

    But the party's usefulness is not to propose policies it has no power to implement.

    Isn't it? I thought that was the great use of minor parties in a democratic state. Come up with good ideas, represent those not targeted by the main parties, get your policies adopted by the government. Anyway:

    Its one useful mission is electoral reform, to break the centrifugal voting system that compels all parties to seek just 8,000 swing centrist voters in key marginals.

    Excuse me? Exactly how is this not a "policy it has no power to implement"? And, let's be honest, it isn't "all parties" seeking those voters, frankly. I am fairly sure that UKIP, the Scots Nats, Plaid, the Irish Parties, the SSP etc, etc, have pretty much no interest in those 8000 swing centrist voters, unless they are part of their core constituency? So, in Pollytics, "all parties" is clearly synonymous with the Gordo and Dave show. Ah, well.

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    You Might, I Don't

    Johann has a rather too inclusive view of "we":

    If the wife-beater/rapist/attempted murderer can write novels, kick a ball, create songs or pose as a liberal politician, we treat their misogyny as an irrelevance or, worse, as a laddish affectation imbuing them with the testosteroney tang of authenticity.

    Now, Johann and his metro-socialist media crowd might feel that way but let us consider his examples:

    Mailer. Nope. I don't idealise Mailer. I wasn't forced to read his novels at school and I have no interest in reading them now. I didn't know that he beat his pregnant wife and nearly killed her (I am assuming that as this has passed the Indy's lawyers this is an accurate reflection of the facts), nor did I know that he said women are "low, sloppy beasts; they should be kept in cages" but as I had no opinion of him before I just have a low opinion of him now.

    Best. Now, I did know Georgie-boy was a wife beater. I also know that he was a great footballer but I, unusually for a bloke, think professional soccer is a massive waste of time and money. I definitely don't think that his skill made up for his failings as a person. His alcoholism may have provided a reason, rather than an excuse, for some (although not all) of them - that just makes him sad, or even tragic, rather than evil.

    Tupac Shakur. If I have a low opinion of professional footballers, my opinion of (c)rappers is at a distinct nadir. I haven't followed this guy's career but, let's say, it doesn't surprise me. The endless misogynism of male (c)rap music singers is hardly news. His singing hardly excuses his rape.

    Clinton. Well. I am not entirely convinced of his guilt but neither am I convinced of his innocence. He is clearly an enthusiastic womaniser but, if he is a rapist, let's have him tried and, if found guilty, punished.

    Johann may well go to parties where people believe:

    "Let the bitch die," Mailer growled, his hands covered in blood – and still we applaud him to the grave.

    As far as I go and, as far as I am aware, my friends would agree, we would certainly applaud him to the grave, as the best place for him. Johann, I think I might have better taste in mates than you. Maybe you should hang around with a few more right-wing libertarians :).

    I can play too.

    Having read this, I thought I would check, so some advice for those who got here via search engines:

    • for "camels arseblog", try here.
    • "can sms messages be used as evidence of court" - I will assume you meant "in court", as judges tend to exist independently of you, or I, having texts about them. So, "Yes", at least in the UK and other jurisdictions I have dealt with anyway, ymmv. Regardless, there are the usual restrictions on chain of evidence and there are, because SMS is not a synchronous comms mechanism, issues with using them to prove timelines.
    • "germanification of h" - were you looking for "ß"?
    • "jockstraps for protection" - yes. They finished as a fashion item at the back end of the 16th Century.
    • " phone" - no, not here. Here or you could email them.
    • "tesco jewish-in malaysia" - Well, I buy bacon at mine, so certainly not radical orthodox.
    • "828ee8abd01183fa0b43e5dab7796fd3" - I think you have quite specific needs that may be better catered for on Usenet.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Cool Stuff

    Via DK - websites as pictures:

    I'm sure I'll find a use for it sometime :)

    Edited to add two from work (but still not sure this is of much use?)

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    Reading Age

    Via Mediocracy, the "Blog Reading Level". I used to work for a company that insisted that anything you wrote scored below xx (I forget exactly what) on one of Word's readability metrics (probably the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level). So I loath this sort of trivialisation, especially as I agree that if you can say something in a concise and simple manner, you should.

    Anyway, I got:


    So I better stop reading this as I am clearly too ill-educated to be capable.

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    More polymath

    I'm more than a bit behind, so this is from Tuesday's broadcast from the Minister for Correct Thought (my emphasis):

    In non-religious primaries 20% of children have free school meals, but only 11% in Church of England schools, 15% in Roman Catholic schools and 3% in Jewish schools. But look at the damaging reverse in Muslim secondary schools: 34% are on free school meals, compared with 15% nationally, dangerously segregating Muslim children by class as well as by race and religion. Geography anyway segregates them, but faith schools make it 10 times worse.

    Okay. Statistics time. Put your hand up if you are having difficulty following me. I will, for the purposes of this demonstration, accept her statistics.

    Now, first we have an incorrect comparator (pace endless comparisons of male full time and female part time wages) - %age of children in some denominational primary schools versus different secondary schools. Hmm. We may already be on dangerous assumptions territory here.

    Then, okay, we have children in Muslim secondary schools 2.3 times more likely to be on free school meals. Cause, or effect? Are poor Muslim parents more likely to think that a madrassa-style education in 7th Century Arab lifestyle choices good for their childrens' futures than their more successful co-religionists? I don't know. Neither does she.

    10 times worse? Now how did she calculate this? I have tried to get the stats but was not willing to stump up $15 for access to possibly relevant papers. Is she suggesting that Muslim geographical segregation is of the order of 3.4% (or 1.9% - using the difference between her Muslim figure and her national figure)? I don't know. Neither, I strongly suspect, does she.

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Praise the Lord

    I see that the Phelps family's personal church, Westboro Baptist (Ed notes: I would strongly recommend staying away from that link and, if you have one of those accelerator programs that pre-download links, I apologise for the fouling of your hard-drive), has finally got both barrels. Being America, of course, through the legal system.

    They are truly sad people and, like the SCOundrels, deserve what, barring appeal, they appear about to receive.

    Now, all we need is for some of their victims to complete the quote ...

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007


    From here:

    Bonuses that hit an epic £14m last year may drop this year,

    I think you may be out by a small thousand-fold. An excellent achievement, even by your standards (although Bishop Ussher still, for me, holds the record at over 800 thousand-fold.)

    but not because managers or CEOs are doing their job less well. Sub-prime mortgage lending in the US is hardly their fault. This will show that the "performance-related" bonus culture is nonsense.

    Err, nonsense. It could be either because companies have less profit (possibly) because of the general market conditions, therefore (quite rightly) less in the bonus pool or because bonuses may be tightly linked to share price, therefore the general fall in the market does actually count as "doing their job less well" (their job being to increase the market value of the shares) even if it is "hardly their fault".

    Update: Edited to correct my math - £14b is not 1000% of £14m, it is 100,000% - therefore her error is 99,900% rather than my initial 999%.

    Sunday, October 28, 2007

    Academics on Age

    Ming the clam is 'oldest animal'.

    A clam dredged up off the coast of Iceland is thought to have been the longest-lived creature discovered.

    Scientists said the mollusc, an ocean quahog clam, was aged between 405 and 410 years and could offer insights into the secrets of longevity.

    Of course, the good academics of Bangor University weren't thinking, at all, of the quite-possibly-a-wee-bit-too-old-for-his-comrades MP for North-East Fife? No. Surely not.

    Thursday, October 25, 2007

    Shock and Awe

    Johann Hari speaks great sense (he may have been under the influence when he wrote this):

    If Christian fundamentalists were doing this – as they used to, and would like to again – none of us would hesitate in erupting in rage. But because Islamic fundamentalists are doing it, we feel awkward, and fall silent. The difference is the colour of their skin. There's a word for this: racism.

    Read the rest. There should be one law for all and it should be impartial - race, religion, sexual preference, riches and all.


    Not as egregious as her but (a letter in today's Scotsman, regarding the Gould report - may appear here eventually - try here, bottom letter):

    Everybody to blame but nobody accepting blame. I understand former prime minister Neil Kinnock was involved with the company supplying the electronic counting machines that had a part in contributing to the shambles. As the machines were not fit for purpose has the government been refunded for the contract?

    Sheila Clark
    Dean Park Crescent

    Now before I ask our Greek friend to go and administer a little correction to reality, I have three questions for your good selves:

    1. Given the list of people (leaders of the Labour and Conservative parties) who, post the election of Maggie, could have filled the role of Prime Minister (note the capitalisation), did Sheila pick the worst one to promote?

    2. Why the hell did the Jockman print this without noting the error?

    3. Do any of us think that a government contract would allow refunds for mere 'unfit for purpose'? For examples, the SA80, the Scottish Parliament building, almost any computer system but particularly the CSA ...

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    You couldn't make it up ...

    We know that the government despises the Armed Forces and begrudges every penny (of ours) they have to spend on people or kit, we know that recruitment is so difficult that large numbers of Commonwealth citizens are now in the British Army (mostly) - yet numbers are still falling.

    And now look at this:

    Where a member of our Armed Forces is medically discharged as a direct result of injury sustained during operations, the requirement for them to have completed four years service in order to qualify for settlement will normally be waived.

    If any cases of service men or women being refused settlement are as a direct result of injury sustained outside operations, we will look at them on a case-by-case basis.

    Remembering that, for the Home Office (as deportation after deportation to evil regimes has shown) 'on a case-by-case basis' means 'repeatedly denied at endless levels of bureaucracy so that you give up before you get to court where we might be forced to obey the law'.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    That's Fine Thanks

    For supporting the incompetent Jockanese Nu-Lab monkeys through their first taste of not-quite ultimate power:

    His one attribute was that he had a very catchy nickname 'Ming' at least we in Scotland know what 'ming' means don't we.

    Now, for a self-appointed champion of political correctness, Our Hero is quick to abandon this when it comes to his no-longer political friends. Now, if I was to call Wendy of the ilk of Alexander a "deeply despicable cunt of buffalo-faced imbecility", the only difference between Terry and me would be my reliance on overt comment rather than obscure innuendo. Right or wrong, that makes me honest (ha, ha) and him a two-faced socialist spunk-rag (Duh!)

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    An American Trys (and Fails) Metaphor

    Checking Pat Condell's ever insightful Liveleak video blog, I noticed a comment from "The Angry American":
    The only question is how many times will you need to be hit in the head before you realize that you’re on fire?
    Err, what? I understand vaguely what he is trying to get at but how about "how hot does it need to be before you realize that you're on fire?" or "how many times will you need to be hit in the head before you realize that telling your girlfriend that 'No, it's your bum that makes itself look big, not the dress' was a bad idea"?

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    Fighting Talk?

    Shotgun and I clearly do not agree on everything but, in this case the Iraqi employees campaign - hence his comments on this blog. His latest sets out his reasons, so let's try to respond ...:

    The plight of British servicemen is only a small part of my objection to this shameless campaign.

    The Iraqis must take respnsibility for their own people; why are we in any way to blame?

    People may dispute just how much control the coalition currently allow the Iraqi authorities - more in the South East (i.e. the British sector) and North (the predominantly Kurdish areas) but, taking that aside, the people we are campaigning on behalf of are those who have been placed at significant risk because they have worked for the British Government (military or civil) or British sponsored or supervised sections of the coalition effort. It is the increased risk because of working for us that justifies the moral indignation - rather than the overall security in Iraq or any particular bit of it. Our moral obligations under the latter are also being ignored by the Government and the Immigration Service but that is an entirely different matter.

    Resttlement could be achieved anywhere in Iraq, which is a very large place.

    Iraq is, it has to be said, rather large. It is also composed of tribes and factions who really don't like each other, therefore resettlement into Baghdad for some-one from Basra may be more "from frying-pan into fire" than resettlement to a place of safety. There is also the issue that, as the UK Government, the only place where we have the right to offer relocation to is the UK. If people choose another location and can get (or we can facilitate) the appropriate permissions, that is clearly an option. However, first, we need to agree the moral imperative to assist and begin implementing it practically.
    British soldiers must take complete and utter precedence; you may find this distasteful, but I would put British lives before Iaqis.

    At no point did I (or have I heard anybody) suggest that the efforts on behalf of the Iraqi employees should take support away from British troops. I would find it difficult to do anything other than equate the value of a life with any other - and the responsibility of the UK Government is to its employees. That applies whether they are British or not, and whether they are military or not.
    Where is the campaign, as vociferous and passionate as this, to bring British servicemen home?

    Surprisingly, all over the place. Not, admittedly from me but that is because I believe that regardless of the wrongs and wrongs of the initial invasion, having made a mess of the country and its infrastructure, we have an obligation to help restore the Iraq to being a functional state.

    This is an admission of defeat at a time when we should be trying to raise moral.

    I disagree - no more that Operation Trident is an admission of defeat by the Met Police - it is doing something about a specific circumstance.
    It is a serious and callous insult to previous British servicemen who have died and been injured to allow, and campaign, Iraqis into the UK because it is too dangerous for them in Iraq.

    Is it? Most of the servicemen I have spoken to (admittedly, none of them had been killed in Iraq) support fair treatment for Iraqi employees at serious risk. If they don't feel insulted, why are you so insulted on their behalf? We also have to remember that it is also the families of the British employees at risk - operational service posts in Iraq or elsewhere are not accompanied - therefore there is a wider hazard to the locally employed civilians than too British servicemen - especially now that there are very limited deployments outside of the main Basrah Airport location.
    What about other Iraqis? Hundreds die every month; are these not deserving?

    Are they deserving of protection - certainly. Should people be campaigning for the coalition powers to keep trying to improve the rule of law throughout Iraq - certainly. What is the level of specific responsibility of the British government - less than for its current or ex-employees, in my opinion.

    The same Iraqis under threat of death should be working for and protected by the new Iraqi authorities, and if they are not, why not?

    And so on and so on.

    Because the new Iraqi authorities have not fully established the rule of law in Iraq. We can argue about why this is - some will be the fault of the coalition, some the fault of foreign jihadis or governments. Many Iraqis, in government service, have loyalties to militias, tribes or other factions. Many do not yet have the training or equipment necessary to play their full part. Some, hopefully not many, are unwilling to risk their lives (although merely placing a police or Iraqi Army uniform on is quite a dangerous activity) to protect the British employees.

    To suggest they must come to the UK because it is too dangerous for them in Iraq is probably the worst insult I can think of to British servicemen who are serving and have served in Iraq, and while you say tow wrongs don't make a right, which I agree with, it is still a wrong that shouldn't be added and built on from the original; let's not make the second wrong.

    I can, without too much effort, think of many worse insults. I also believe that providing sanctuary (whether or not this is asylum, indefinite leave to remain, relocation to another safe country) is a moral responsibility for the GCF and his darlings who are at the head of the pyramid responsible, to a significant degree, for the risk of torture and death that these people face.

    If you truly believe the rubbish in this campaign, then campaign as vociferously that we have been defeated and the troops should come home immediately. I don't see that there is a specific plight of these people, and don't believe there is one that exists above and beyond what already exists in Iraqs back streets and what everyone is subject to. Yes, they are targeted, but so are millions of others.

    They are specifically targeted because of their status as current or previous servants of the Crown. Being barely able to speak English, I never had much contact with interpreters but Mark Brockway did. Look at his website,, for some details of the risks being currently run.

    If you and others campaigned to have them resettled in Iraq, or the Jordan or where-ever, then fine I am with you, but back to the UK because it is to dangerous for them? I think that is unacceptable, and that is not an immigration view. Too many are using this as purely a campaigning issue for bloggers and don't care what the issue is, but it is a strong issue, and has raised their profiles, and that is what counts for them. (I don't include you in that)

    It comes back to the responsibility of the British government. Clearly, in an ideal world, the generic we should be able to ensure the rule of law in Iraq and this problem would go away. That is not a practical short-term option (and part of that is due to piss poor planning by our and our allies governments). Therefore, we need another option and the one available in international law is refugee status & political asylum - and we can only offer these in our country. Hopefully, eventually, it will be safe for people to return but I want them to be alive to do so.

    Some may be in it for less than 100% altruistic reasons but I haven't seen any evidence of this. Most of the bloggers concerned are micro-traffic people like me, or are already 'famous' for the depreciated definition of it as applies to bloggers: Manic, Justin, Rachel etc. Personally, I have not spent too much time peering into the souls of the bloggers concerned (and there wasn't nearly enough time in the pub after the meeting broke up.) From long conversations with Dan, and hearing Mark (who isn't a blogger), I am sure of their motives.
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