Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

The trouble with the way we’re governed

The flaw in electoral majoritarianism (“democracy”) is that you end up with a gang of con-merchants running everything.

Discuss.

I was prompted into posting this by this FT article criticizing the SNP’s record in power while praising its ringleaders as “capable politicians”.

That’s the whole problem, isn’t it? They can “campaign”, and wheedle, and wind the electorate round their little fingers, gradually increasing the power they’re elected to wield, but they can’t actually administrate anything. Indeed, blinded by their own prejudices, pet theories, ideologies, and bees in their bonnets, they’re actually the last people any sane manager would pick to do his job. And as long as they can deflect attention away from their failures, and the blame away from themselves – which, as noted, they’re really good at – things keep getting worse until nobody can ignore it any more. At which point, whoever happens to be holding the parcel at the time gets all the blame while the rest get off more or less scot-free.

Well, That About Wraps It Up For Allah

Quran

Fragments of the world’s oldest Koran which was found in Birmingham last month could pre-date the Prophet Muhammad, according to scholars. The pages were discovered bound within the pages of another Koran from the late seventh century at the library of the University of Birmingham.

The pages were carbon dated by experts at the University of Oxford, which showed it could be the oldest Koran in the world. But now several historians have said that the parchment might even be predate Muhammad, and could rewrite the early history of Islam.

Koran found in Birmingham thought to be the oldest in the world could predate the Prophet Muhammad, scholars say *

If true, it would prove that old Mo was not only a paedophile (and I don’t see his face being printed up next to Jimmy Savile on the front cover of the Super Soaraway Sun), but a copyright infringer of epic, nay near biblical proportions.

The reason that the discovery is important is that it undermines a central tenet of Islam, that the Qu’ran (literally meaning “the recitation“) is the orally received word of god as revealed to Mohammed over a 23-year period by the angel Gabriel.

Now I don’t know about you, but if someone told me that he’d been listening to god through the medium of an angel then he would be deserving of a one-way ticket to the funny farm, with a nice white, rear-locking overcoat to match.

So, how long do you reckon it will be before Keith Small and the other eggheads from the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library start getting death threats? I suspect the fatwa’s in the mail guys, because if Salman Rushdie can get one for something as trivial as publishing a bit of fiction, then attacking the foundation of Islam itself is bound to catch the attention of latter day jihadis seeking a ticket to paradise, a golden palace with servants and 72 virgins (gender unidentified to the writer at the present time).

* – The source of this story is The Times rather than the Mainly Fail, but given the paywall over there I’ve had to use the more disreputable source. For those who have a subscription, it is here.

 

PEGI

I recently bought a Kindle Fire HDX. Now, obviously I wanted some software for it. So, amongst other things I got the WPS suite. It’s like Open Office and shares files with MS Office and is totally free for Android so what could go wrong?

It has a PEGI rating. PEGI is Pan-European Gaming Information. It is a bit like the BBFC for games. Except it isn’t just games. It is pretty much all software. Yes, even a spreadsheet. Now, seeing as Dougie Howser, MD doesn’t live in this house (as far as I am aware) and when it installs it tells me the PEGI rating which is “3″. Now up to a point I understand why “Grand Theft Auto” gets a rating but an office suite? How many pre-schoolers use office software? Or are there “baby farms” of four year-olds doing the accounts? We need to know about that. And what their rates are.

Baroness “Irritable” Jowell.

It would appear Dame Tessa is going to get a cat-skin windcheater.

Apparently this is courtesy of Ed Millipede. But not just him. Alan Johnson who I vaguely figured as being on the vaguely saner side of Labour (Jezza has raised the bar somewhat) said this of Baroness Jowell (possibly soon to be the mayor of London she is to be made a peer of the realm for services to… er… Apparently the 2012 Olympics),

Now don’t get me wrong here but… Yes, she did deliver the Olympics (sort of) but they made an utter hash of the legacy including not having the faintest idea what the fuck to do with the stadium despite a number of London football clubs wanting to buy it but this was verboten for reasons undisclosed. I am right here? I’m fairly sure West Ham and Spurs were interested at least.

Anyway Johnson, having a moment felt the need to email this to his literal handful of fans…

“Tessa is a star. She is Labour’s Kylie – everyone loves her and she only needs a first name. She has a remarkable way with people that generates real affection…”

This is Tessa Jowell…

Due to her new enobling (she is already a dame) she is campaigning for the Mayorship under the tag, “A Lady for London”. I apologize to anyone who has now puked on their laptop. She insists you don’t have to call her Baroness Jowell, “Tessa” will do. How gracious of her!

This is Kylie Minogue…

I think someone should have gone to Specsavers. I mean one is the globe’s sweetheart (and the Madonna you don’t wanna kick) and the other is Tessa Jowell.

I am not condoning anyone kicking Madonna. Just that you do think of it don’t ya? And in a back alley, after dark with nobody else around… Well anything could happen. Those cobbles can be slippy.

My preference II

Jeremy Corbyn?

I remember during the miners strike, the one where Arthur Scargill used the NUM to destroy to coal industry, all my lefty friends were in love with Jeremy even way back then. I thought they were batshit crazy then, and I think anyone who supports him now is still batshit crazy.

No, I do not want to see him elected so he can destroy the labour Party. Nor do I want see him even render Labour unelectable for a generation. If this walking, talking streak of insanity becomes leader of the party his very existence will normalise the lunatic policies so beloved by his followers; we will watch them being espoused in Parliament and on Question Time, and Dave and his bunch will start looking like a reasonable alternative.

Corbyn’s very presence, as leader of the Labour Party, on our television screens and in the newspapers, will make dragging the country back to rationality just that much harder.

If you have joined Labour in order to vote for this bloke, hoping to stuff the party in doing so, please don’t.

Please.

My preference?

Scott Walker or Ted Cruz. For VP? Carly Fiorina or Allen West, although West is probably running for the Senate.

Ten things I hate about modern life.

In no paricular ordure.

1. Trackpads on laptops. Why? Everyone accursed enough not to have a Trackpoint uses a mouse instead which utterly defeats the object of HOTAS. This is why Nick rolls with a Thinkpad – well one of the reasons. And why are they – especially on larger – 15.6″+ – machines always so far to the left?

2. Sleeves. Now don’t get me wrong because a well executed tattoo by a talented artist can be a thing of beauty but a bog-standard design in that “fading Bic” colour is a travesty. This goes especially for forearm tattoos – the “sleeves” I mentioned. It is not a statement of individuality, it is not beautiful and just cheap and tacky. Put it this way. I buy T-shirts from Primark but a T-shirt isn’t for life. The worst I have seen is a bloke who has a tat of an olde fashioned pocket watch on his lower left arm. Roughly where I wear my Casio or Omega. Looks Magic-The-fucking-Gathering with forearm hair growing through it. A close second belongs to a morbidly obese woman who frequents the Co-op qv) and has in faux gothic script tatted on the back of her neck (at the exact aim point for the axeman) the names of her children. I assume they are her children – Bernadette and Jake. God help them. I didb’t because they were shop-lifting at the time and I’d be an accessory and I don’t mean a set of cuff-links but rather linked cuffs if you catch my drift. The mama (who just killed a man – would’ve done it with ease by reverse Asian cowgirl) in question (who was squired by a bloke who made a whippet look like a Pignoramus wrecked but don’t they always – I suspect in his youth he was never allowed on bouncy castles or something – that’s Freud that is). She also had a cartoon dog paw print behind her right ear. I leave that as a puzzle for the reader.

3. MSM reportage on anything to do with aviation. Things like this happen all the time. Prince Harry was never an Apache pilot. He was a WSO. Prince William didn’t go solo within his first week with the RAF but don’t let the facts interfere with the story! He had his first flight but it was clear as the light of day there was someone (by which I mean an RAF instructor) with him. Tell that to Dick Witchery of the BBC (the Royal Arse-Cleaner Pursuivent – who even manages to be gracious to Our King-in-Wanting). Of course getting these dull “nerd” things wrong doesn’t really matter. Yes. It. Does. To me anyway. I should have a clip-book of such tumescent aerial-reportage cock-ups but don’t because I just lose the will to anything when I see or read them.

4. Going tie-free. Like Elsa or Fletch or something. This is trending (and has been for some time). If you wear a suit and a formal type shirt then wear a bloody tie otherwise you look like a Greek politician. I know where it comes from. It’s desperately trying to say I’m one of you and I’m going to weally, weally work on this. By which, in the case of Greek politicians, means attempting to dig upwards. And if the mardy, hairy-backed, fuckers think they are getting the Elgin Marbles back they can field soldiers in pleated skirts with pom-poms on their shoes. Oh, they do that already. Job done!

5. Hipster beards. You might have a top job in the “creative stuff”* and a flat in Hoxton increasing in bubble “value” faster than the Central Bank in Harare can print toilet paper bank notes but you shall always be a bell-end to to. To me, you shall always be a bell-end to me… to me… to me… When the crash comes they’ll have a MacBook and no way to power it and I’ll have a lump hammer. And a Gillette.

6. Russell Brand. This is almost like firing a GAU-8 at a hamster that pissed on the mat. Well, he won’t do it again. People take Brand seriously. He is apparently a recovering “sex-addict”. How? He looks like a tramp’s mate. He looks like he needs a tick bath and a carstrion (not an sp – I have yet to work the details but it involves his syphilitic area and a V8 (not the vegetable drink) – but he is apparently “cool with the kids”). He’s allegedly a comedian. Never made me laugh – not once – but he did make me reach for two spoons and a rusty agricultural implement and… [legals!]. I would like to take his “Booky Wook” and do something interesting** with it. It would not be over quickly and, alas, he would probably enjoy it (the dirty, dirty trumpster (Or Trumpster) he truly is. The obvious Crapocalypse Now for Brand could only be avoided with enough Corbynite***.

7. The last tine I saw Blondie I was told to sit down. I could have a drink but only in the bar and having a fag was verboten. As was standing-up. It was at The Manchester Apollo in the C21st. Clearly not at CBGB in the 1970s. Just a couple of years earlier I’d seen Blondie at the exact same venue and I was down in the mosh pit gyrating like an antic with a pint and a fag about 3m from Debbie who had a voice like a siren (air-raid – in the best way – Gods she still had it) and she was giving it utter welly with Destri, Stein and Burke et al kicking in. There was no agro (indeed a very jolly time was had by all) but second time around… Well, fun cannot be allowed. So I must sit and watch and applaud at the designated points like it was the Royal Opera in Convent Garden (not an sp) rather than watching a punk/new wave band. I sentence the idiots behind this to ten years cleaning the toilets at CBGB in NYC. Starting in 1976 and continuing until the arse-end of never. I got told to sit down by a twat in a high viz jacket. The only bugger who ought to have been seated was Clem Burke – the drummer.

8. UK immigration. Oh, where to start! We make perfectly qualified, English speaking folk jump through unmitigated (and very expensive) hoops to live here whilst giving jihadi nutters free-reign and a council house for their spawn of evil (I think that is TM for the Daily Mail). My brother’s girlfriend is having antics with the Home Orifice over whether she can live in Sunderland (have you ever been to Sunderland? Just don’t). She’s from Tokyo (odd that seeing as Nissan has a huge factory near Sunderland but monies changed hands), is self-employed (she is an extremely good glass artist) and has a PhD. You might think she’d be automatic but nyet! Meanwhile, Makem-land fills with the arse-end of Bedlamites for whom shoes are an innovation. They send them to Sunderland because no other person in anywhere close to their right mind wants to live there. She does because it is home to the National Glass Centre which of course makes sense for her. Sunderland is still a shite-pit of the second water (Hartlepool beats it by a whisker to the first water) and then there is Siloth which is beyond any rational desciption. If not exactly the arsehole of the Universe it is well within farting distance.

9. Airports. Regular readers will know I love ‘planes. For my birthday my wife got me a flying lesson in a Tiger Moth. That was cooler than a polar bear’s nadge sack. Now I had to empty my pockets but just so (in case of jiggery-pokery) my loose change, keys, whatever fell onto some Cambridgeshire bumpkin (or future Tory MP – though they tend to do PPE at the other place) so fair enough in an open cockpit aircraft. It was great but I’m not talking about that now. No, getting on board was dead straightforward. Getting on the Jet2 757 from Manchester to Paphos was a frigmarole as it always is. Do you feel safer because they X-ray your belt? I am never flying Jet2 again. They were delayed both ends and the landings were “interesting” (much more so than in an 80 year old biplane on a grass strip). My wife complained about lack of leg-room and she’s 5’1″. They didn’t even manage to seat us together on the outbound so we couldn’t even bitch about it. And a can of Coke was three quid. It was like a tenner to buy a model 757 in Jet2 colours, “To commemorate (should that be “commiserate”) your unforgettable flight”. There were asylum-seekers in the undercart bays who had a better time of it. And they didn’t have their belt’s X-rayed. At Manchester, Terminal 1 (I think it was T1 – I was past caring by the time of the Security Opera), they have something that looks like an Orgasmatron (I’m not making this up) from the Woody Allen movie “Sleeper”. That is for trans-Atlantic flights, apparently. The DHS insists. Land of the Free and Home of the Brave indeed. The sum total of the camel-fuckers achievement in aerospace is kite-flying and the Taliban banned even that so I guess a flight of B-52s came as a bit of shock. I tell a lie. The Iranians have built the Q-313 which is essentially a warmed-over F-5 of 1950s vintage. The Israeli Airforce F-16 jocks must be defecating in mirth.

10. The Co-op. Now I know we have a “free market” and all but alas, where I live, there is no walking distance alternative. It is more sh’ite than an Ayatollah. I walk down there a few days ago for some dried oregano. A normal thing you might think. “There is no call for it so it has been discontinued”. The staff are rude to the verge of surly, the produce is past “use by” by the time you get to the door, the cash machine insists on telling you that they are, “Here for you for life!” shortly before telling you it ain’t got any tenners and just after, as part of the “Here for you for life!” schtick offering Co-op funeral services. Irony is not something they do. Or herbs. Or sometimes beef, or lettuce, or cucumbers or aubergines or bread. You know – the true exotica. The sooner they bite the dust the better and Sainsburys or someone who knows a thing about retail moves in the better. Truly they are the dog in the manger and not a cute pup at that.

So, that is my rant over. Sorry I haven’t been with you for a bit but I have been playing with Sid. Sid Meier that is and not a euphemism for going to Wankershire on the one-armed bus. Once I get Mind/Machine Interface sorted (‘copters!) I am going to give that utter villain Chairman Yang of the Human Hive a beating he shall not forget. He shall be captured and placed in the Sphere of Doom. It will not be over quickly and he will not enjoy it (I will though – Yin and Yang – he won’t find it amusing though – frankly that joke is below even me). He can even have oregano on his final pizza (for that was what I wanted to make – Skeletor’s Gran (aka Mary Berry) be at peace). I have orbital hydroponics on a laptop. Unlike the Co-op where they are still at “finding your own arse with both hands” foundation level GCSE. I have seen GCSE maths papers for basic level. They were (I am not making this up), “Jane, Abdul and Simon are looking at a clock because they must get on a train and wondering what time it is?” This is accompanied by a picture of the heroic trio looking at a clock. 11 years of neducation and they are still trying to teach kids how to use an analogue clock. Hell’s Teeth! I was 15 when I saw that and was coding fractals in Amiga Basic from some stuff I found in an old copy of Sci Am (back when it was still worth reading).

*Always reminds me of a quip from Philip Marlowe who remarks (I forget what about or in which book by Chandler but it is there) that he had, “Never seen so much misuse of intelligence outside of an advertising agency”.

**In the Chinese sense.

***A rare metal ore that is only found under the sociology departments of places of higher neducation. That makes no fracking sense of course. But it doesn’t need to For it is true. I wasted so many years study on science when I could simply have defined my own parameter of what is true and than merely make it so.

A brief example of how the collectivist left can use even free market points to their advantage.

Putin’s boy, Max Keiser, has been in Chicago recently. He and his charming wife were discussing the dire fiscal situation in the city, and in the United States (and the word) generally (I do not do “links” – and I would not “link” to these people anyway).

Mr and Mrs Keiser correctly pointed out that the Chicago government pension schemes are underfunded – that there is not the money to pay for the promises made to various groups of government workers by the Chicago government.

However, rather than blame the wild spending government of Chicago for making impossible promises (in return for the political support of the unions at election time – over decades) Mr Keiser and his lady wife blamed “low interest rates”.

Again they, quite correctly, made the observation that it is government intervention (the Federal Reserve monetary policy) that keeps interest rates low – but then made the jump of claiming that the promises of the Chicago government (and Welfare State governments generally – around the world) could be kept if only interest rates were allowed to rise.

Two free market points – pointing to the House-of-Cards nature of government pension schemes and pointing to the wild monetary policies of Central Banks. But used to make a leftist point – that all the wild promises could be kept if only interest rates were allowed to rise……

Of course the promises could NOT be kept – indeed the government schemes would collapse even quicker if interest rates were allowed to rise, because the stock markets would collapse and the whole bubble economy would also collapse (eventually it will anyway – but if interest rates went up it would happen at once).

However, Putin’s boy does not tell his viewers that – he, instead, tells the people of Chicago (and Greece and …..) that they could all live in a magic Fairy Castle held in the air by Moonbeams, if only it were not for (you-guessed-it) “the rich”.

The same Class War Marxist crap that the left have been pushing for ever (before Karl Marx, Rousseau did it – it goes all the way back to Plato). But with a “free market” mask put on it.

Screwing the Copperopoly

I Hate BT

I hate British Telecom aka BT, the UK’s national telecoms provider with a visceral hatred that is usually reserved for mother-in-laws and cheating ex’s.

Back in 2002 I bought a new house in Stevenage, all well and good, but needed a phone installed, fair enough, only problem was only BT installed lines to new homes and required a fairly sizeable fee and minimum 12 month phone contract.

So much for deregulation and the end of BT’s Telecom monopoly.

Anyway, a couple of years later deregulation did indeed come knocking on our door in the form of a deregulated service from Tiscali, which was much cheaper as we didn’t use the phone much for anything except the internet. I signed up for 12-months with a price promise – so for 12-months it was at a guaranteed price and lower than BT. So far, so good.

I was somewhat chagrined then when I received a letter from BT to say “New BT Together Option 1 price reduced by £1.00 per month” so the service I’d just dumped was now slightly cheaper, but the corker was they we’re raising their line rental price by £1.00 per month.

Net effect BT customers no change, deregulated customers who didn’t want BT or directly use their services get stiffed for an extra quid a month.

Now don’t get me wrong, I could easily afford the rise, but it was the sheer deceitful effrontery of the thing. My anger knew no bounds and included letters to the CEO’s of both BT and Tiscali as well as an official complaint to the regulator who dismissed the connection between BT customer pricing and line-rental pricing, pleading ignorance being preferable to the hard work of monopoly investigation.

Ever since I have been on a mission to avoid or evade the egregious line rental. Which brings me to my current predicament. How to get some element of Internet into my new flat in Perth, Scotland without paying line rental. As a laugh I checked the broadband comparison sites

Excellent Deal

£48 ($75 USD, $102 AUD) as an introductory price for the first year seemed a pretty good deal, but somehow I am dubious, lets click on the “Show Details” box for lurking heffalumps…

Not Quite So Excellent Deal

Not quite so good when you add in the £16.99 ($27 USD, $36 AUD) per month subsidy to BT’s copperopoly is it? £48 per year suddenly becomes a whopping £251 ($392 USD, $534 AUD) per year. It is this back-door mugging that I find most offensive and this is but one example.

Over the years I have developed a variety of solutions towards this such as wireless extenders capable of accessing a free wifi signal from up to 1 kilometre away, to using a mobile dongle from 3-mobile (£10 for 1GB of data within 30-days)

The solution for the new flat is a bit simpler, it is 30-yards from a pub with a strong wifi signal from “The Cloud” pub wifi service (a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s Sky empire), will give me unlimited access for £6.95 ($11 USD, $15 AUD) a month.

Sure, it’s not dedicated and it depends how much it’s being used by pub users, but its a lot cheaper than BT line rental on its own, never mind the internet element.

So fuck you BT.

* The guy from the official regulator OFCOM told me a genuine consumer complaint on the grounds of “anti-competitive exclusionary behaviour” was virtually unheard of, which was why he contacted me directly to verify the complaint.

Original text of my complaint

(more…)

Computers in this house…

I did a little audit this morning. My wife and I have approximately 6 desktop machines in various states of repair (got to get onto those), three laptops, two Kindles, two smartphones (which are computers essentially), a ZX Spectrum in Gateshead, a camera with GPS (very handy – where did I take that picture? – well it tells me to arc-seconds – Jebus wept). Just the laptops would make Alan Turing weep tears of blood. I suspect I am not unusual here. I have a plan. I can get Lenovo to supply me (and I have sold my soul to ‘em – I’m typing on a Thinkpad by them) which is to get a trio of Lenovo Intel Core 2 Duos for GBP89.99 a throw and do some Folding at Home. Or maybe something else. There was (is?) an outfit sponsored by Oxford Uni (the other place) and IBM for something similar but I is buggered if I can recall the name. Having said that if I can cure cancer in my shed (for that is where they shall reside) then I shall be proud. If you can recall the name please let me know for the screensaver is much cooler. And I used to have it installed before Thalia went TU (that’s a tech term BTW). I did work my way through the Muses (and me with a comprehensive edumaction!). Some I sold or gave away. Some did go twat-wise (another techie term). I love the things. They make me, me.

No! They made me glorious. I got a Speccy thirty-ish years back. That was wonderful. Computers had been things that Bond Girls tended and I was playing Manic Miner. Wow! I learned BASIC and Pascal and Fortran on the little beast hooked-up to a 14″ Ferguson B&W TV and a tape-recorder from Dixons. It was well cool. When I went to University in 1992 I had to learn to program to drive a robot around. I excelled. I knew what I was doing. I had written the thankfully forgotten game “Orc fighter” so I knew my stuff. My classmates were astonished but I had that key advantage. I had a Lego robot whizzing around. That was cool and people say physics is dull? Not for me. That was much more fun than Swift’s juvenalia or Thackeray’s senilia. It was like stuff, cool stuff. OK, some of the labs were dull. I could live another thousand years without attempting the Guoy method for measuring magnetic susceptibility again. That was bloody dreadful. It really was but there are always bones in the sweetest fish. And building a pico-Tesla magnetometer and knowing exactly who of the lecturers was turning up tardy to the car park was more than a compensation. That cost roughly 5 quid (not of my money). But if Dr Kent was late, I knew. Bloody Hellskis that was sensitive. My lab partner once approached it with a screwdriver and it went FSD. Cheers Rachel. Not only did she dump me for a twat from Macclesfield (of all places!) but she all but knackered my magnetometer.

Nice machines at the Uni of Nottingham – 386DX40s (this was ’92 to ’95) with more interfaces than you could shake a stick at. We also had BBC-Bs for data logging.

I grew up with computers. They are me. People ask me “Why?” and I can’t answer because I just know the answer. They are me. I am nearly 42 (the answer) but I have been surrounded by computers since I was a kid. Since I first played with a Commodore PET and fell in love. I drew a picture of a Chieftain tank in ASCII. I was that sad and have only become sadder.

Weird isn’t it? I am looking down at my Kindle Fire HDX which is a computer only not in name. It cost less (no adjustment for inflation) than my ZX Spectrum did in the ’80s. Wow. I mean Wowsers! That was thirty years ago. I had just spent an hour (just an hour – this isn’t chemistry which is glorified faffing if you ask me) fixing it up despite the ‘structions in very obscure English. Oh, China! “Please to be appointing the USB port”. AKA “plug it in”. I know computers and I am wired on them. From Augsta Ada and Babbage’s cogs to Win 10 count me in. That is why I give ‘em names. My first PC was Urania. I am typing on Athina. (and yes the translit is more accurate than Athena – I know my Greek – physics.). The Kindle is Loki BTW. I’m gonna rebuild Urania as Urania III. I have a weakness for classical female names. Who doesn’t? These things are to us what steam engines were to George Stephenson (who lived walking distance from where I grew-up. They are to me what jet engines were to Clarence L “Kelly” Johnson. Except he was a genius. Bugger.

Hell, but I can program a RS-232 interface in machine code (I could anyway, once). And I could make that little Lego thing do St Vitus’s dance. I just love these things.

I adore them. They are not means of communication. That is a horrid myth. I didn’t do an A-Level in maths but I had an Amiga and I programmed fractals on it out of Sci Am. I taught myself maths. One BSc in Physics and a (fully funded) MSc in Astrophysics later and I think I proved myself. Now I mooch in Ruby and stuff. But seriously mooch. I get to be a proper programmer then bread and cheese will end-up on the table.

10 PRINT “Nick is Great”
20 GOTO 10

I have moved on a bit since then. And I am not blowing my own horn (it would put my back out) but celebrating the sheer fact that I was fortunate to be born in an age and a place where these things I quite simply cannot imagine my life without existed. I couldn’t have invented them but can I use them – yes! Aeroplanes and computers. How the devil did humanity manage for fifty thousand years without them.

I also want to build a Tesla coil. Just for the hell of it. And if it kills squirrels then like whatever. The cat is way too smart to get in the way.

I’ll keep the computers away. This will be purely analogue. Of course many will object to me “wasting ‘tricity” but fuck ‘em. My follow-up will be an Alcubierre Drive. Now that is a bit of a tough call. I mean I’d have to create negative mass for a kick-off. But Barnard’s Star in hours… Kicks HS2 into a most cocked hat. It is a fucking railway. 200 years after Brunel and the politcos haven’t got over it (one was run-over at Rainhill). And don’t talk to me about Skylon A1 or C2. Just don’t. They want to spent ten times the amount on a Stephenson gauge railroad but can’t fund a variable cycle aerospace plane. That fucker could get from Bristol Internal Spaceport (how cool is that?) to Sydney in four hours. And that is on an arctic great circle so as to not piss the Russians off but at that height and speed it ain’t MH17 is it? So fuck ‘em.

I’m a techno-fetishist. I make no apologies. Fuck railways (other than to tie Corbyn to the tracks and ride a shitty commuter train over his beardy commie corpse, back and forth) and build Skylon. But do any of our PPE elites have the imagination? No. Oh, fuck no! Wall, stand against and I’ll get the rifle.

Is she accepting the consequences though?

“EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who plans to tour the damage personally, said Tuesday in Washington, D.C., that she takes full responsibility for the spill

Does this mean she will accept being bankrupted by the millions in fines, and willingly go to prison, or is this meaningless hyperbole?

Ya think she will even resign?

Want to make book on that?

Cartoon of the Week.

Hamas

Pretty straightforward right? Everyone here can see what the joke is, er… Hamas can’t. Well we know they hate cartoons, but who knew they had no sense of humour? Smile

Amnesty

Jobs Americans Won't Do.DocA,8:8:15

Robert Conquest RIP.

The finest Historian of his generation, and a gutsy one too. He told the truth about Lenin and Stalin and the Terror that was the Soviet Union, at a time when many on the Left refused to believe it (and many still do) or if they did believe it, thought that you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs… Er 100 million of them.

To Stalin one death is a tragedy but 20 million a statistic. Yep that’s your warm cuddly Communism for you, raw in tooth and claw.

Meanwhile our own dear Comrade Corbyn continues his march to become leader of the Labour Party. There is a saying… If you do not know your history you are doomed to repeat it. You can bet your house (and you may have to) that Jeremy hasn’t read a word of Conquest’s The Great Terror.

RAFF Protests Halite Decision

Unfortunately they’re doing it wrong.

For once Residents Action on Fylde Fracking and I have something in common.  Sort of.

Who is Halite?  Once calling themselves Canatxx they are the people who want to store pressurised gas in salt caverns slap bang in the middle of a geologically unstable area, full of brine wells, a collapsed salt mine and geological faults, in my neck of the woods.  The YouTube video I have linked to will explain why 40,000 local residents have been fighting for years to resist this insanity.

There are no weasel words like might or could or maybe.  Brine wells at Preesall have collapsed in the past and one is in the process of collapsing.  The depression in the ground is growing fast and an entire field has been lost to it already  Another well is filled with God knows how many tons of mercury sludge courtesy of the now departed ICI.  Just image what will happen to the water table if that bad boy collapsed.  And Halite want to store pressurised gas right next to the brine well field.  Let’s not forget the partially collapsed salt mine.  And did I mention the natural faults that gas can migrate along?  Well it needs saying over and over.

Anti-fracking campaigners have reacted with anger and frustration at a Government decision to allow a controversial gas storage facility on the Fylde Coast.

And I agree with their reaction.  Three applications from Canatxx/Halite have been rejected by local government because of the real danger of catastrophe yet some cretin in central government has given the green light to this insanity.

Energy minister Lord Bourne has, on appeal, granted permission to Halite to create a huge underground gas store in salt caverns at Preesall despite three rejections of the plan and massive public opposition.

Now residents and campaigners opposing shale gas say that decision by the Department of Energy and Climate Change was undemocratic and bodes ill for their own battle against energy company Cuadrilla.

But this is where my strange comradeship with RAFF and their associate anti-fracking groups parts way.  You see their “protest” appears to be purely selfish.  They don’t seem to care about the real dangers of the Halite proposal.  They only seem to care about how it will affect their own cause and how they can exploit it.

Two bids by Cuadrilla to test frack on the Fylde were rejected last month by Lancashire County Council, but the shale gas explorer could yet appeal to a Government inspector.

It’s not about Halite, you see.  It’s about Cuadrilla and the appeal they will no doubt be submitting.  A real danger has been hijacked to support an anti-capitalist cause that really would benefit all if fracking were permitted to go ahead.  That really piddles me off.

Barbara Richardson, from the Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “We are appalled by this decision to overrule local democracy and fear that Westminster will try and intervene in the fracking debate too against the wishes of the people and elected representatives.

What Barbara doesn’t tell you is that Mike Hill, who was campaigning on an anti-fracking ticket, was wiped out during the GE by the Tory incumbent who I believe is actually pro fracking.  It seems that democracy is something of a loose concept in Barbara’s world.  At this point I will add that the proposed Roseacre site is highly problematical because access will be a nightmare and Barbara does have a point.  However there is no such problem with the Plumpton proposal which I support and Barbara doesn’t.  She is opposed to fracking absolutely.

“We elect local councillors (parish, borough and county) to represent us and this is democracy in action. Local people understand local issues and the will of the people.

Yeah, I saw how the craven sods at Lancashire County Council were cowed by a few tens of anti-fracking protestors and voted against the advice of their own legal department.  Democracy my left nether cheek.  Perhaps you think the 40,000 plus local residents fighting the Halite plans can be co-opted by proxy to your own cause, eh Barbara?

“To blatantly ignore this is sheer arrogance and a recipe for disaster. We will stand with the people of the Wyre.

That’ll be a “yes” then.

“They have spent years to successfully defeat this, with good grounds, and even had the support of the Planning Inspector as well as local councils. They must be absolutely devastated.

We are devastated and we are still fighting.  But Barbara, where were you and your pals all those years we were fighting Canatxx?  How come we get your support now?

“Fracking is an altogether different game as it could affect over 60 per cent of the UK, and should Westminster intervene again, I am sure it will have serious repercussions.”

Whereas gas storage is a dangerous game and has the real potential to affect more than 60% of the residents of Fleetwood, Knott End, Presall, Stalmine, Steynall and parts of Thornton if the storage caverns rupture following the collapse of a brine well (it has already happened in the US which is why storage of the type proposed for Preesall has been banned in the US on safety grounds), the gas escapes and finds an ignition source.  All thanks to Westminster intervention.

All that seems to bother Barbara is the precedent set by overturning a decision made by local government.

Alan Tootill, from the Preston New Road Action Group, said: “This confirms our worst fears.

“This government has no concern for local democracy and local decision-making.

“Over 40,000 people objected to the Preesall applications and three times the plans were turned down at local level.

I didn’t hear your voice raised against the initial Canatxx/Halite proposals either Alan.  I don’t recall you standing up at the many meetings and voicing your concern.

There is also a familiar name mentioned in dispatches.  You’ll find her in the comments below the Mike Hill post.

Tina Rothery, from Residents Action of Fylde Fracking, said: “It is awful news not just for the people of Wyre but for the rights of local people anywhere in the UK.

“That central government can overrule the clear will of the people and their Council that has three times rejected this application, makes a mockery of our ‘democracy’.

“Many of us have been fighting to keep fracking out of Lancashire for nearly four years now and the recent support of Lancashire County Council was very welcome; with this announcement today though at the overturning of the decision on Halite, we are of course deeply concerned about what will happen next in this campaign as well.

See what I mean?  They’ve tagged on their anti-fracking campaign to the Halite fight.  I know Tina by sight having seen her on TV and in the papers several times but I don’t recall seeing her at the Stop Canatxx meetings either.  All of a sudden the Canatxx/Halite cause has become the No Fracking cause.  At least in the anti-fracking eyes.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said: ‘This decision raises big questions about the Government’s commitment to local democracy because this facility was turned down several times before Westminster stepped in to make it happen.

Then maybe Friends of the Earth ought to hand back the millions in taxpayer money, whether taxpayers agreed with it or not, that has been handed to FoE by various governments over the years.  It’s obviously a matter of principal after all.  But I guess, like Barbara, your perception of democracy only goes so far, eh, Tony?

“This must not be repeated in order to force fracking on Lancashire after the county refused to swallow the hype from central Government and the fracking industry.”

“This must not be repeated in order to refuse fracking on Lancashire after the county swallowed the hype from minority anti-frackers and the Big Green industry.”

There, fixed it.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Bourne, who is the Minister responsible for energy planning consents, said the Halite plan was strategically important for the nation.

Yeah, because what the Scammell truck would a Professor of Law know about geological faults, collapsed mines. the unsuitability of layered salt beds, unsafe brine wells and other unimportant shit that affects the lives and safety of tens of thousands of locals?  Oh and we’re considered an area of Special Scientific Interest too because of the rare fauna and flora living in and around Morecambe Bay which will be grossly affected by the brine outfall. Why, after so many years,  has central government, after even that towering intellect, John Prescott, recognised the serious flaw in Canatxx/Halite’s planning applications, suddenly made this perverse decision?  Well I have a theory.

Wyre has been a marginal seat for a long time.  Since 1997 it has been tinkered with twice which gave us Hilton Dawson (Lab) a decent MP who worked hard for the constituency before resigning and returning home to his native Northumberland. Then came Ben Wallace (Con) who also fought hard on the Canatxx front and moved over to the newly created Wyre and Preston North in 2010.  Despite Labour stacking the boundary decks in its favour we got Eric Ollerenshaw (Con) clinging to his seat by the skin of his marginal teeth, only ever rebelling (well abstaining really) against the Tory whip once but who still recognised the dangers posed by the gas storage proposal and added his effort to the fight against corporate venality and stupidity.

Then in May, 2015 we get Cat Smith (Lab) also on the slimmest of majorities, with her BA in sociology and gender studies who, while paying lip service to both the anti-Halite and anti-fracking camps, clearly hasn’t got a bloody clue what she’s talking about.  Perhaps, once in a while, when she isn’t too busy identifying herself as a Christian, socialist, feminist, republican, trade unionist and LGBT, she’ll pick up and read The Idiot’s Guide to Wyre Estuary Geology so she doesn’t look a total fool and will finally be able to tell the difference between a landslide and a great big Scammell off sinkhole.  Meanwhile we get the standard leftie gobshite response to Lord Bourne’s decision by calling for the “launch of a new action” and “seeking urgent clarification” rather than going up to the idiot and hitting him with FACTS.  But then she did previously work for Jezza Corbyn so she quite possibly has a good grounding in political stupid.

And my theory?  Well Lord Bourne has nasty previous when it comes to the opposition.  He plays very dirty tricks and then lies about what he’s done before being forced to come clean.  Ask Rhodri Morgan.  Lord Bourne got handed this particular chalice when it turned out that Amber Rudd’s brother , Roland, heads a lobbying company, Finsbury, that numbers Halite amongst its clients.  Given Bourne’s scandalous history could the recently tinkered with constituency returning a Labour MP be an underlying reason for his perverse, against all common sense decision?  I think we should be told.

Here’s the “offical” reason for the decision.

He said: “Investment in new energy infrastructure is essential if we are to keep the lights on and bills down.

“This is a major project which will benefit the local economy by creating jobs and stimulating businesses.

Yes, we’ve seen how central government keeps the bills down with bills hiked up to feed the heavily subsidised and deeply despised renewables monster.  As for the local economy, destruction of the environment aside, there may be a temporary injection of jobs to construct the storage caverns and build a pipeline to connect with the main grid at Garstang.  But honestly, long term, how many people will it take to press a button at the control station in order to release or store gas?   Three hundred?  Four hundred?  Try a handful.

What is the impact of millions of gallons of concentrated brine that Halite propose to pump into the sea off Anchorsholme as they carve holes in the salt?  What will happen if the geology ruptures a cavern and the project goes sky high tits up?  The infrastructure to deal with an explosion doesn’t exist.  There are mainly small villages and narrow country lanes in this part of the world.  That is providing, of course that no structure damaged in the blast doesn’t block those narrow country lanes and blocks access to the grossly inadequate emergency services.

Oh and the storage capacity that Halite proposes will give a close to zero contribution to keeping the lights on.  Selling the gas back to the grid at premium rates will keep bills down how?   The man is a moral bankrupt and a weapons grade pudendum

“Gas is also the greenest fossil fuel and helps us lower our carbon emissions, which is important in the UK’s move to a cleaner energy future.”

I agree but what would be the point of pumping gas from underground only to pump it back underground?  The only people to benefit from storage is Halite who will buy cheap and sell at a premium rate at great risk to the locals.  Halite propose to do it here because back in their native US they would be given very short shrift.  You see storing gas in layered salt, most particularly anywhere near a field of brine wells (we have more than a hundred of them), is banned because it is demonstrably unsafe and a threat to life. Is that what Bourne calls stimulating businesses?

And if he really believes that gas is the greenest fossil fuel will he be insisting that the Drax power station will be converted to gas instead of burning CO2 producing wood pellets from felled US forests?

No?  Thought not.

%d bloggers like this: