Thursday, 31 December 2009

New Year Resolution And Stories For 2010

Right, let's get the resolution out of the way first, and it won't surprise you to learn that it is nothing to do with smoking. I have only one this year. Well, one and a bit really but the other is more of a stern note to self.

In 2010, I resolve to cease the practice of pointing out which actors are dead when watching non-current films. Apparently, it is off-putting to Mrs P & the little 'uns to hear "he's dead", "she died a couple of years ago", or, as is sometimes the case, "I think he's the only one still alive" while they are enjoying the movie concerned. I'm not as accurate these days anyway, a fact I learned recently when becoming very confused as to the current mortal situation of Charles Bronson and James Garner while watching the Great Escape.

Secondly, I really must make a bigger effort this coming year to leave the lime pickle alone at the curry house. I know it tastes like toilet duck but it always seduces me to have a nibble. Come on Dick, it's about time you took the aversion therapy hint ... even after a few Cobras.

And finally for 2009, it seems many are predicting stuff. Recommended for clever thinking is Man in a Shed, whilst for humour, you could check out A Tory.

The difference between their lists and mine? Theirs might happen, whilst you most definitely will read these stories in the news in 2010.

So, here they are, my awesome foursome.

1) A fire causes an evacuation of Action on Smoking & Health's (ASH) Shoreditch offices. Damage is limited as documents catch fire first, with the smell of burning bullshit so noticeable that the fire brigade turn up before anyone can think to call them. Subsequent investigations are unsure as to the cause of the fire. Some say it was Deborah Arnott's habit of toasting bread by breathing on it, while others point to the regular occurrence of Martin Dockrell's pants spontaneously combusting when he speaks.

2) Labour win the general election after coming up with an ingenious campaigning device of pretending not to be Labour. The tactic, secretly dubbed the 'St Peter defence' by Labour HQ, advises all Labour doorsteppers to ask for votes without mentioning their party. All candidates are registered with their names prefixed by the letter A twice, and advised to urge voters to stick their X next to the first name on the ballot paper. Prime Minister Gordon Aabrown hails the 30 seat majority as a massive mandate for his policies and promptly sells Cornwall to the French in order to pay for a doubling of the Jobseekers Allowance.

3) Teen pregnancies fall significantly as Labour's education policies start to hit home. Studies into the good news discover that, although teens are having just as much sex as before, the level of male youth intelligence is so poor that they routinely forget to come. Ed Aaballs welcomes the figures as vindication of Labour's education targets and promises further reductions once young girls start forgetting where their vagina is.

4) Jeremy Paxman is replaced on Newsnight by the forumites of Mumsnet. Instantly, politicians are left floundering in the face of quite brutal questioning. Vince Cable's reputation is destroyed when he can't give a straight answer when asked which brand of oven chips go best with Iceland choc ice, and David Cameron's election chances are torpedoed when he is unable to identify the wash temperature and cycle applicable to a polyester tie. Similarly, Harriet Aaharman's approval rating tumbles when she refuses an invitation to an Ann Summers party in Slough.

The crystal ball also hints at Don Shenker being recruited by the BBC for a remake of One Foot in the Grave as a hardcore Victor Meldrew with increased misery, and England losing in the World Cup but there being no obvious hate figure, leaving the Sun to just blame Cristiano Ronaldo again.

Remember you read it all here first!

Thanks to everyone who has visited this year, especially those who have brightened many a day in the comments, a Happy New Year to all of you from the Puddlecotes. May your jewel robbing in 2010 be lucrative, and your future as righteous-free as possible.

Bring on the fireworks!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Nice Video, Shame About The Policies?

It has been suggested on Con Home that the Tories might make an anglicised version of this bit of anti-government fun from the US.

I quite like it. But the Tory manifesto is going to have to be quite radical for the message to work exclusively for them. As an anti big government song, it hits the mark, but Dave and his bunch have shown us very little so far to suggest they will be much different, to be honest.

Similarly, unless there is a big surprise in Oliver Letwin's locker, they'd have to scratch the "tell us to behave" line (1:30) entirely. That or boot out James Brokenshire, amongst others, of course.

Dick Out And About: Quote On David Hockney's Today Prog

An incredibly apt (though embarrassing) quote from Krautland, and an audio clip from yesterday's Radio 4 show. (link)

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Only Criminals Are Deterred By Smoking Bans

Finally, the MSM are waking up to the powerful disincentive of smoking bans on visiting your local, err, prison?

No smoking prison sparks drop in crime

A noticeable drop in recorded crimes on the Isle of Man is being attributed to the opening of Europe's only completely no smoking prison.

The number of burglaries has plunged by more than 35 per cent, there has been a 25 per cent drop in the number of assaults and the number of people caught stealing cars has fallen by seven per cent in the past year.

Domestic assaults fell 11 per cent and criminal damage offences dropped eight per cent.

Correlation? Causation? Who knows? However, let's take the assertion at face value for now, seeing as a mirror article in the Mail even quotes a former prisoner who spent six months there.

"As soon as word got round that it wasn't a joke and that all smoking was banned, even in the exercise yard, a lot of people I know started having second thoughts about committing crimes.

It was something they genuinely feared. Not prison itself, but the idea of being forced to give up smoking.

Some of my mates have simply given up crime, whether it be stealing cars, shoplifting to order or burglary, as a direct result of the smoking ban."

Yep, in both reports, it's definitely the smoking ban wot done it, trumpets the obedient MSM.

Yet strangely, whenever the carnage of pub closures is mentioned (52 per week at last count), the press tend to attribute it to just about everything but the smoking ban. It's normally either the recession (of which we have suffered many with no pubs closing), cheap supermarket booze (always been so), or high pub prices (when were they ever cheap?). The smoking ban is sometimes tacked on as an afterthought, but never with any conviction despite the fact that said wholesale closures, both north and south of the border, began in earnest the moment the respective bans were implemented.

The ban's disastrous effect on the hospitality industry is stunningly obvious, with plenty of unequivocal evidence to back it up, but the MSM (and the government) are incapable, or unwilling, to categorically link the two. The reduction in Manx crime is less easily attributable to the ban, but instantly touted in these reports as the only cause.

It's perfectly believable that a non smoking prison on the Isle of Man could be having a noticeable effect. After all, if comfort in incarceration is lessened for smoking ne'er-do-wells, the deterrent is obviously going to be more potent.

But by the same token, isn't it about time the press, the government, and pub fans in denial (you know who you are) admitted that pubs and clubs are also deeply affected by smoking bans, and stopped trotting out the usual refrain that they have 'little or no effect'.

The hospitality industry is in the comfort business, after all, it's what they do. If potential criminals are making life changing decisions to avoid being forced somewhere in which they can't smoke, is it so very difficult to accept that pubgoers can be easily discouraged from voluntarily entering premises, for the same reason?

Ain't That Global Warming A Bitch? (4)

More freezing weather on its way, I see. So be prepared and consider your options early. Do you stay in the car ... or bail?

Monday, 28 December 2009

Doctors WHO And The Duty-Free Menace

The upside down Telegraph has picked up on the latest dangerous puritanism from the world's biggest unelected dictatorship WHO.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended the sale of duty-free wines and spirits be banned.

In a strategy paper, the UN health agency implored governments to curb excessive drinking.

"The harmful use of alcohol can be reduced if effective actions are taken by countries to protect their populations," it said. "Policy options and interventions include taxing sales of alcoholic beverages to, and/or the importation of such beverages by, international travellers."

The Aussies aren't too worried about it. After all, it's not intended to kick them in the metaphorical plums too hard. Nope, the watery eyes and nausea is reserved for us northern hemisphere types ... and Britons more than most.

[An Aussie quangoista] said the plan was more of a bid to curb the massive duty-free alcohol trade in Europe, where people crossed borders just to buy cheap alcohol.

For the apolitical punter, the ability to beano over to the continent, point at things instead of learning a few phrases, cause confusion on their roads, and return with an axle-stressing load of duty-paid booty to make the whole day economically viable, was a major facilitator of the great EU experiment. It was the soothing vaseline applied by europhiles as they gently bent the nation over.

But it right sticks in the craw of the healthmonger bandwagon post-Lisbon, so it's got to go.

The problem is that no national government in their right mind would attempt to legislate on such a universally popular 'perk', much as the EU would blanche a little too. But the WHO can. Not for them the tedious rigmarole of seeking re-election. Their global power is in inverse correlation to their non-existent democratic accountability.

In short, you can't touch them, yet their pronouncements most certainly touch all of you.

The government, of course, will throw their hands up and tell you that there is nothing they can do. It will be an 'international convention' which can't be avoided. Don't shoot the messenger, and all that.

The fact that government appoints delegates to the WHO, and could, if they so choose, impede such nonsense, will be conveniently omitted from press releases. After all, why should you be told that?

Still, perhaps this is just alarmist talk. It's possible that the WHO may be persuaded out of such an action. It just takes someone with some guts to stand up to them. We just need the right man for the job.

If, as seems likely, [Liam Donaldson] is moved out of Richmond House next year, a plum job awaits him at the World Health Organisation. In which case it would be a fitting ending for a man who thinks in terms of populations. The most far-reaching of public servants would at last get to serve the most far-reaching of publics.

Nothing to worry about, then.

Not Very Labour, Is It?

Proposals to suspend the internet connections of those who repeatedly share music and films online will leave consumers with a bill for £500 million, ministers have admitted.

Yes, it's hardly an earth-shattering notion that government meddling quite often leaves us all to pick up the tab, but this one is a trifle different.

ISPs say that such interference with their customers’ connections would add £25 a year to a broadband subscription.

Ministers have not estimated the cost of the measures but say that the cost of the initial letter-writing campaign, estimated at an extra £1.40 per subscription, will lead to 40,000 households giving up their internet connections. Impact assessments published alongside the Bill predict that the measures will generate £1.7 billion in extra sales for the film and music industries over the next ten years ...

Now, at the risk of being dubbed simplistic, this not only goes against all previous government initiatives to increase the number of homes with online access, but also appears to be the very antithesis of fundamental Labour beliefs. In effect, we are seeing a Labour-backed redistribution of wealth from the proletariat ... to wealthy industrialists.

And there are frantic machinations by Labour to get this crammed in before the next election. Not very 'Labour' at all, is it?

There has been a lot of talk about Mandelson's cosy acquaintance with David Geffen, but why would such a relationship result in a socialist government abandoning one of the prime motivators underpinning its movement?

You may have noticed the elipsis in the above quote. It's there to delay this bit. Drum roll please.

... as well as £350 million for the Government in extra VAT.

The answer couldn't be as simple as 'KERCHING!', could it? Could it?

Just saying. You see, Labour's ideals are one thing, but their almost psychopathic addiction to stealing our money is far more powerful (especially with a leader desperate to claw back some meagre scraps of his erstwhile financial respect).

I mean, just imagine the diversity consultants, tobacco control officers and other assorted public sector paper clip sculptors that 350 mill could buy, eh?

BoJo Shoots 'Em Up

My my, Boris Johnson is in a mischievous mood today.

This zap gun beats previous laser guns because its pioneers have understood that you won't really run, you won't try, you won't hurl yourself that extra yard into the ditch unless you fear the tingling zap of retribution. You can't win, you can't hit your enemy, unless you are willing to expose your own breastplate. And isn't that the truth that every child needs to learn? That you can't win unless you are willing to risk the pain of rejection.

All common sense, of course.

But, advocating toys that administer an element of pain to kids? Proud recommendation of stereotypical 'boy toys' almost in response to the recent lefty 'pink stinks' campaign, along with an implied rejection of the guardianista-led concept of gender neutrality? Yes, all of that.

And interwoven in a tale which also hints at gun ownership and repeal of the hunting ban. With one of their hated 'toffs' safely ensconced as Mayor for another two years plus, it's enough to get Labour's back office into an impotent frenzy.

You can almost hear Boris chuckling as he wrote it.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Overthinking Buck-Passers Of The Week

Because it's really that important.

A bingo caller has been advised to stop using phrases such as "two fat ladies" for fear of offending his audience.

A council spokeswoman told the East Anglian Daily Times: "In particular with John being a councillor we have to be politically correct."

She added: "It is very sad because it is part of the fun of bingo but unfortunately in today's society people take it literally."

And why do people take it literally in today's society? Simply for the fact that they have been systematically conditioned to do so by a succession of overpaid and underworked politicians and local burghers. National and local legislators who have filled their days, which would otherwise have been empty, by dreaming up new offences to place in the minds of a public who would never have had the time or imagination to think such things a problem before.

They have to be PC, as they claim, because their profession invented it, incubated it, nurtured it, and expanded its remit to such an extent that every minor, and even inconsequential, aspect of the community is infiltrated by the political class's promotion of intolerance and self-absorption.

It's not unfortunate that the public take such things literally, it's instead scandalous that such ideas of offence, where none is remotely intended, were planted in the minds of society, by overthinking councillors and MPs, in the first place.

The Lost Joys

Perhaps it's a self-employed thing, but I tend to be stubbornly resistant to illness while the world is assiduous and active. The moment total relaxation sets in, so does the bastard lurgey.

Sniffles arrived Christmas morning and, after consuming each of the 15 items on the festively-adorned dining table, the ensuing 40 odd hours were reduced to a sluggish torpor with my energy level not much above that of my cat the day after he had been drugged for his knackers to be cut off.

In hindsight, it was only the loud application of energetic early 80s punk and new wave that drove me through cooking the Christmas dinner anyway. If Mrs P hadn't been at the in-laws with the little Ps, and the non-headphone ban on Siouxsie, PiL, Toyah, The Tubes and Buzzcocks had still been in effect, they probably would have been served up oxtail soup and toast instead.

Boxing Day was a dead loss too. Alternating between involuntary shivering and equatorial heat flushes, my legs doggedly refused to give up on a strict work to rule policy, while the other Puddlecotes played a Wii dancing game so energetic that just the possibility of my being invited to participate was almost enough to induce tears.

With symptoms faded, a return to the keyboard sees an RSS feed with over 500 unread items, and a quick read around the blogroll reveals that the righteous have been spending Christmas Day issuing fucking press releases. The saying does mention 'no rest for the rancid, hideous wicked' though, or something like that, so we shouldn't be overly surprised.

I've much catching up to do and would seem to be in a touchy mood, with little things jumping out of the page and being extremely irritating. Such as this.

If the sentence is carried out, it would be the first time an EU national has been executed in China for 50 years.

EU national? Has post-Lisbon federalism kicked in to this extent already?

Expect some Tim Worstall style brevity from here in the next couple of days if this mood lasts.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Letter To Santa Revisited

Just a bit of running around to do today, distributing bags of presents, collecting a tax-efficient box of tobacco, and no doubt enjoying the odd mince pie on my travels. Then the decks are cleared for a right royal day of seasonal excess tomorrow.

Merry Christmas to all who visited my grumpy grotto in 2009, may your seasonal cheer be unfettered by the righteous, and may your celebratory cup runneth over throughout the holiday.

Considering last year's readership here could have comfortably fitted inside a VW Beetle, here is another airing of my letter to Santa on this day in 2008. He singularly disappointed last time out, so fingers crossed he bucks his ideas up tonight.

Dear Santa,

I'm turning in soon and will have my stocking at the end of the bed. I would have put it above the chimney but it could pose a fire risk which health & safety have told me is a no-no, I hope you understand.

It will mean that you have to climb the stairs to my bedroom. My partner is in the bed with me so I'd advise you to notify the police before your visit, in case an anonymous passer-by reports you as a sex pest.

It also means that you will have to deposit your kind gifts to the bedrooms of my two children. Obviously, this means that you will be left unattended with them, so could you please make sure that you have your enhanced CRB clearance with you before entry. If you do not yet have one, don't worry, it only takes about 3 months to come through once you have paid your £36 fee and filled in the necessary documentation.

The kids have both asked for Doctor Who stuff, but as you know, these are licenced products from the BBC so I hope you have their permission before your elves start running off thousands of Dalek voice-changing helmets. We are living in litigious times so it's best to make sure the paperwork is in order.

I understand that you may like to park your sleigh on the roof, but I'd advise against it as if you loosen a tile which falls off and hits someone, I will get sued and I will blame you to save my own finances. Best park it somewhere on the street but please remember that some areas are permit-holders only, so you could face a £50 fine if in the wrong bay (£30 if paid to the council within 14 days).

I have to remind you that the Government recently brought out rules on how to treat pets, so please make sure your reindeer don't appear distressed. The Government say that they won't levy a fine, but the RSPCA will use the guidelines to bring a prosecution against you. I wouldn't like you to go through that seeing as you are giving us loads of stuff for nothing. Just be careful, that's all.

I usually leave you some sherry and a couple of mince pies, but you seem to be a bit obese which we are told is very wrong, so it'll just be a couple of Ryvitas this year if that's OK. Oh yeah, and the sherry isn't happening either. Firstly, you're driving which means you will definitely kill someone and lose your job and vehicle according to the advert on the telly, and secondly, I'm sure other, less responsible, people will be leaving you all manner of alcoholic beverages which will put you over your limit of 21 units per week. I'll leave you a carrot smoothie instead.

Sorry, I digress. Once parked on the street, you can access the chimney by erecting your scaffolding to the side of the house. Sorry, you're not allowed to use a ladder to go above the first floor, health and safety has decreed it. It's scaffolding or you will be closed down. The scaffold and platforms will probably need to be inspected by a council employee so please make sure you give them a call first.

Having got the smallprint out of the way, here's what I want for Christmas, my porky friend.

Please, please, PLEASE can we have an end to this hysterical nannying nonsense next year?

On your way back to Lapland, could you please drop something big and heavy, and preferably explosive, on the Palace of Westminster? And if you do, I should be most grateful if you could shout "Ho, ho, bloody ho!" as you do it.


Have it large, all.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Drink Driving Santa

Right. I've watched my first Scrooge film of the season, followed by the Great Escape yet again, after having hit Tesco very early this morning** to get the fridge stocked for the 25th. The office is officially in skeletal mode and the darts is on the telly. It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Remember, though, that while we all kick back and relax at this time of year, for the righteous, it's a finger-wagging extravaganza.

Here are some Canucks being a right yuletide pain in the ass earlier this month.

Santa may be trading in his plates of cookies and glasses of milk and sucking back cold ones this Christmas.

That's the message Labatt is sending after ads surfaced at Mac's Convenience Stores across Ontario saying, "Leave one out for Santa. He's driving," and show a bottle of Labatt's Blue de-alcoholized beer.

But some consumers say it sends the wrong message. "I don't think that's quite appropriate," said Kathleen Clifford, 65, who saw the ad at a Mac's at Gerrard and Mutual Sts. yesterday.

"Children see that and they think we'd better leave beer for Santa instead of cookies and milk." she said. "I have grandchildren and great-granchildren and I don't approve of it. Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy."

Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University said the ad breaks the "golden rule" to never associate drinking with driving in a sales pitch.

"They're positioning that you can have a beer and you're still safe to drive, but they can't control how many of those 0.5% beers people consume," Middleton said.

"They thought being this lower alcohol would get them off the hook, but I don't think it does. This is a silly ad and if they've got a decent product, it should be powerful enough."

To précis, I think this means that there should be no 'merry' in Christmas.

** Ice on the inside of the windscreen - that global warming's a bastard.

UPDATE: Via the Curmudgeon, more miserable Christmas wishes and Chris Huhne hopefully quoted out of context (if not, he is a bit of an idiot).

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Santa Satire Is Snow Joke

VGIF recently highlighted a report in the British Medical Journal arguing that Santa was bad for the nation's health. He quoted all the best snippets in his piece here, but this is one example.

Santa is a public health hazard - promoting obesity and drink-driving, experts have claimed.

Images of a fat, jolly and somewhat tipsy Father Christmas send out the wrong message and could damage millions of lives, they said.

Snowdon ended the article in almost pleading tone.

The full article is behind a pay wall at the moment. I'll read it all tomorrow and it had better turn out to be an elaborate hoax, because if this is meant to be taken seriously, there is no hope.

Fortunately, via antipodean freedom-lover Crampton, the report author, Nathan Grills, explains his bafflement that no-one got the joke.

Most of the 'Santa- A public Health Pariah' article is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. It's a Christmas spoof. It's supposed to be spreading a bit of Christmas cheer, but with a tinge of seriousness to provoke a bit of healthy Christmas dinner table conversation. The BMJ Christmas edition is a special edition with much humour.

Unfortunately, the article has spread like wildfire but it has lost a bit of the Christmas cheer element.

I don't think Nathan quite understands the make-up of humour. A spoof can't readily be taken as a spoof, especially one published in the generally condemnatory BMJ, if it's possible that it could be true.

It would appear that Nathan himself believed that no-one could possibly take such nonsense seriously, but then he is an epidemiologist who is no doubt blissfully unaware of the contempt with which much of the public view some of the guff produced by his colleagues.

Christmas cheer? We suffer these alarmist nuisances criticising every aspect of our lives for the whole of the preceding eleven and a half months, why would we be cheered by Santa being condemned as a public health threat?

It's no more stupid than many other studies we have seen in 2009, so is quite readily credible.

After all, as Crampton points out.

A piece 40 years ago advocating banning smoking in public outdoor places would have been seen as satire too though.

Compared with such lunacy, the idea that Santa is easing your kids into an early coffin doesn't strike one as so bizarre.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Some Are More Equal Than Others

An interesting piece in the Guardian.

A campaign group which claims to represent the interests of ordinary taxpayers is using a charitable arm which gives it access to tax relief on donations from wealthy backers, the Guardian has learned.

Labour politicians attacked the apparent scheme as hypocritical, and tax accountants warned it could breach charity law, which states that organisations may not be charitable if they have political purposes.

Must be Cancer Research UK, surely. £155m in legacies, major gifts and corporate fundraising last year, and with an employee seconded to the department of health, two days per week, in the run up to the vote on tobacco display bans. For which they had a clear political bias seeing as they have only one view on the matter.

No? Why? They do tick all the above prohibitive boxes, after all.

It would be nice if all charities stopped dabbling in politics, but while they do, why the problem with the Taxpayers' Alliance supping from the gander's sauce?

Is it cos dey is right of centre?

UPDATE: Leg Iron has covered this too earlier, in his inimitable way. Such hypocrisy is mercifully very quickly spotted.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

It's Not All Right Then

Iain Dale led off this morning on the case of a teacher who was sacked/suspended (as Subrosa points out, not clear as yet) for offering to pray for a student. Tom Harris tended to agree that it was an over-reaction, before apologising as he hadn't read Bob Piper's blog.

The original story is here, but a swift rundown would go something like this.

Christian teacher offers to pray for the sick child she was employed to teach. Complaint sent to council leading to sacking/suspension and/or investigation.

Dale was annoyed, Harris was perplexed as to why lefties wouldn't condemn. Bob Piper says it's a storm in a teacup.

Nick Yates, a spokesman for North Somerset Council, said: ‘Olive Jones has worked as a supply teacher, working with the North Somerset Tuition service. A complaint has been made by a parent regarding Olive. This complaint is being investigated.

‘To complete the investigation we need to speak to Olive and we have offered her a number of dates so this can happen. At the moment we are waiting for her to let us know which date is convenient for her.’

I see. So the real scandal here is that an employer has received a complaint from a parent about a teacher... and, disgrace upon disgrace... the employer wants to investigate the complaint, and would like to talk to the teacher concerned.

Well, far be it for me to defend the (Conservative controlled) Council in question from an outburst by one of their own party attack dogs... but that doesn't seem to be entirely unreasonable.

No, no, no. It is bloody unreasonable. For the simple fact that the complaint itself is frivolous and should not be afforded the merest whiff of contemplation.

The real outrage is that we now live in a society whereby a family can be so spineless as to feel 'bullied' by an offer of prayer. That they are incapable of just shrugging it off, ignoring the offer, and carrying on regardless. And, moreover, that they should go out of their way to file an official complaint to the council, on such a trivial matter, towards a person with whom they had previously been friendly enough to allow into their home.

Lastly, that the council, whether they had previously sacked the teacher or not, should be taking such mealy-mouthed, self-important and vindictive people seriously enough to launch an investigation.

Just tell them to grow up and stop being so very pathetic.

Bob Piper is a Labour councillor, so it's perhaps not surprising that his stance is to side with the council (even if it is Tory) in creating a load of paperwork and pointless meetings where none should be required. He reckons that because the woman wasn't sacked, well, that's all right then. It isn't.

It's not bullying. There is nothing threatening here. Just a family, emboldened by the hideous society Labour have created, who can't understand that there are others in this world who live differently to them. So they bleat, and moan, and try to wreck someone else's meagre career. We used to, correctly, ignore such nonsense, but now those who are the most selfish in life are given every outlet for their anti-social, and quite staggering, spite.

If they are strong enough to file a complaint to the council, they are strong enough to firmly tell the teacher that her prayers aren't welcome. Just because the teacher hasn't actually been sacked, yet, does not make it 'all right'.

We're Supposed To Pay For This?

Before Rupert Murdoch puts up his paywall on the Times web site, perhaps he should consider investing in a few more decent journalists. You see, there isn't a massive demand for codswallop such as this.

Supermarkets have been accused of encouraging binge drinking by continuing to sell alcohol more cheaply than bottled water.

Yes, of course it's bollocks. In fact, the only way anyone can make such a claim is if they compare like with, err, not like. As Julia Belgutay and Matthew Holehouse have done here - proof positive that two heads are not necessarily better than one if the two are both idiots.

Sainsbury’s in New Cross, also in south London, was selling four 440ml cans of own-brand lager and bitter for 91p and 94p respectively [c. 5p per 100ml]. A litre bottle of Highland Spring mineral water, meanwhile, was on sale for 8.5p per 100ml.

The 'lager' to which they are referring is the Basics range gunk, a brew so weak and inspid that it's nigh on water anyway. The equivalent, obviously enough, is the Sainsburys Basics range water, which will set you back 13p for 2 litres ... or 0.006p per 100ml.

If the journos think that's unfair, they could always have compared Sainsbury's real own brand lager instead. Crown Lager (4x500ml) at £2.49, which at 12.4p per 100ml is actually not cheaper than water.

The rest of the piece goes the same way as a story is conjured up where none exists. And I'm sure they knew.

The Tesco Extra in St Rollox, Glasgow, was offering four 440ml cans of its value lager for 91p. The supermarket charges 85p for a litre of Highland Spring water.

Tesco Value water 13p for 2 litres, Tesco brand lager (4x500ml) £2.39, or 12p per 100ml.

Asda in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, was also selling four 440ml cans of its own-brand Smart Price lager and bitter for just over 5p per 100ml. Strathmore mineral water cost 8.5p per 100ml.

Asda Smart Price water, you guessed it, 13p per 2 litres. Asda's Hollandia lager (4x440ml) £2.00, still comfortably more expensive at 11.4p per 100ml.

I'm sure Morrissons prices will be comparable, but their site is so dreadful that there's no way of knowing without traipsing up there and fighting through the Christmas shoppers. And sod that for a game of marbles today.

Still, I hope the above will put minds at rest, especially those at the righteously indignant BMA.

A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association added: “It is a real worry that you can buy alcohol cheaper than mineral water."

That'll be 'real' as in not real; a 'worry' as in not worrying at all; and 'cheaper' as in more expensive.

And Murdoch expects us to pay for this shit?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Liam Donaldson's Christmas Fantasy

The Mail's highly-paid professional ranter today weighed in with a customarily contemptuous polemic on everyone's favourite lard-arse.

Right on cue for the festive season, the Government's Scaremonger-in-Chief launches yet another tiresome tirade against middle-class drinkers.

This time, we are accused of turning our children into hopeless alcoholics. Our crime is pouring them a watered-down glass of wine with dinner to help them become accustomed to social drinking.

Sir Liam said the idea that 'if you somehow wean children on to alcohol at an early age they won't have any problems' was not supported by the evidence.

'The more likely they get a taste for it, the more likely they are to be heavy-drinking adults or binge-drinkers later in childhood.'

Needless to say, he didn't actually produce any hard evidence, just his usual patronising procession of fatuous generalisations and scare stories.

It's interesting that Littlejohn should mention a lack of evidence, seeing as Lardy Liam was yesterday asserting that the new government guidelines were "rooted in science".

In reality, that is a bit of a push. A lie, if you will (yes, I realise that's nothing new for the fat troll).

Firstly, previous studies have been of the market research variety, not science; and secondly, they showed no link between the 'continental approach' of introducing children to alcohol in the home, and the likelihood of children becoming heavy or binge-drinkers in adulthood.

The research, from last year, to which the rotund one is most likely referring did point out, however, that alcohol abuse was something that happened in continental Europe as well.

Continental Europe is perceived by the vast majority of the sample to have no problems related to alcohol damage, alcoholism, drink driving and so on. Thus, the argument is made that European drinking must be the right way to manage alcohol.

Of course, the misperceptions are firmly based on opinion (perhaps from holidays abroad) rather than from health statistics about mainland Europe.

Well, blow me eskimo-style! Other countries have alkies too? Who knew?

All the report pointed out was the bleeding obvious. That gentle introduction of alcohol to kids, in the home, isn't an infallible means of preventing potential problems in later life. It said nothing about any link between giving a child a watered down Chardonnay and their future of living in a cardboard box and chugging Tennents Super.

But it was never going to say that anyway. Its remit was purely to look at childrens' attitudes to drinking, how they are affected by parental behaviour, and how this is obstructing the government's drive to make us all dreadfully afraid of this heinous drug. Because it's not a normal product, apparently.

Alcohol enjoys a confident place at the table (metaphorically and literally). Drinking alcohol is part and parcel of normal household behaviour for some of the families that were interviewed. For some of the respondents, wine had become just another item, like bread and meat.

The implication being, presumably, that wine is somehow not an item at all. Perhaps it is anti-matter, or a construct of the capitalist machine, or something Doctor Who would use psychic paper to make you imagine, perhaps.

Still, it didn't stop the National Centre for Social Research, in a subsequent report on behalf of the NHS, to make the leap of logic, referencing the study above, that buying beer with your ham and eggs, or letting your kids have a spritzer on Sundays, will lead to them becoming hopeless alcoholics.

Recent qualitative findings, however, have suggested that parents – through the example of their own drinking, by encouraging children to drink in the family setting, or as providers of alcohol – can actually exacerbate the problem of teenage drinking.

Which is not what the study said, nor was such a causation hinted at. The NCSR report didn't establish Liam's link, either. Merely an observation that teens will more likely have had experience of drink - not get drunk, note, just have had a drink - if their parents allow them.

Whether pupils had drunk alcohol in the last week was strongly related to how they felt their parents would view them drinking. Compared with pupils who believed that their parents didn’t like them drinking at all, pupils who felt that their parents ‘don’t mind as long as I don’t drink too much’ were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the past week (odds ratio=3.59), as were pupils who felt that their parents ‘would let me drink as much as I like’ (odds ratio=7.93).

Another statement which could be stashed away in the bleeding obvious file.

And all this to tackle a problem which has, contrary to Donaldson's hysterical ravings, been decreasing in recent years.

Littlejohn may not have looked into the subject very deeply, but you can't fault his assumption about the scientific basis for Lardy Liam's latest temperance rant. Quite simply, there is not a scrap of evidence to back up yesterday's media blitz.

It is also impeccably timed, as Littlejohn mentions. After all, isn't Christmas a time for fantasy?

For The Environmentally Friendly Nympho In Your Life

If, as appears likely, Brown commits to giving billions of our money away in Copenhagen, here's something he can go fuck himself with.

That's if Mandelson doesn't steal it first, of course.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

When Religion Goes Bad

The church doesn't do irreverent humour. Well, actually, this one in New Zealand does ... quite a lot (note: lots of clicking and embiggening here).

A New Zealand church has sparked outrage by erecting a billboard depicting Mary and Joseph lying semi-nude beneath the sheets.

But within five hours of the billboard going up in downtown Auckland a man was standing on his car roof painting over the raunchy image.

The Catholic church joined those on the attack, accusing the Anglican church of disrespect.

"It's flying in the face of our 2,000-year-old beliefs," a Catholic church spokesman, Lyndsay Freer, said.

A complaint has been lodged with New Zealand's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Authority ...

What a palaver!

There wasn't as big a deal made of previous offerings from the same church. Like this one advertising their GLBT services with a depiction of a gay Noah's Ark.

Or, my personal favourite, this glorious tongue-in-cheek debate starter about the truth of the gospel.

They have some seriously irreverential reverends in Auckland.

Gawd bless 'em.

Who'da Thunk It?

It made me chuckle this morning, and I was going to mention it anyway, so thanks to the Beeb for quoting Shelagh Fogarty's words in full.

The BBC has apologised after Radio 5 live listeners heard Rage Against the Machine swearing in a live performance of their song Killing In The Name.

As the song was abruptly faded out during the controversial closing bars of the song, listeners heard presenter Shelagh Fogarty say, "get rid of it".

She added: "Sorry. We needed to get rid of that because that suddenly turned in to something we were not expecting.

"Well, we were expecting it and asked them not to do it and they did it anyway"

The offending lyrics?

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me (x4)

And they didn't listen to you, Shelagh? You don't say.

UPDATE: The Beeb are so ashamed that they have posted the whole thing, including the visual from the USA, on their web-site (the vid is rather good).

The X Factor is an ITV show, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with this being prominently placed on Auntie Comrade's front page.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Both Ends Against The Middle

The Telegraph in doom-mongering mood.

Nearly a million drinkers were admitted to hospital last year as new figures show that alcohol-related illnesses have risen by nearly 50 per cent since 2004.

All well and good, but there was no mention of this annotation to the figures on which their report is based.

Some of the increase in figures for later years (particularly 2006-07 onwards) may be due to the improvement in the coverage of independent sector activity.

It's to be expected, really. Manufacturing scare stories while ignoring differences in data collection isn't a new story. The government has been whistling innocently, while looking the other way, as the MSM have been frothing about supply side increases since 2007, too.

Since 2007, the Office of National Statistics has assumed larger glasses are being used and stronger alcohol is being consumed. They now assume that a glass of wine contains 2 units, rather than 1, as it did before. With beer, what used be counted as 1 unit is now counted as 1.5, what used to be 1.5 units is now assumed to be 2 units and what used to be 2.3 units (a large can) is now counted as 3 units.

As you might expect, this has made a dramatic difference to the statistics.

It's quite easy to prove an 'epidemic' surrounding alcohol consumption if one blithely ignores changes in the way data is collected. Especially if both sides of the alcohol equation are adjusted favourably to the government's advantage at the same time.

Time to bring out this graph again, I suppose. You know, just so you can see the appalling increase in alcohol consumption by males and females since 2004 which has caused this carnage.

Terrifying, isn't it?

Doctors To The Climate Change Rescue

Frank Davis has some superb articles pointing out similarities between the outrageous lies sleight of hand used by the anti-smoking theocracy, and the inherent scaremongery and hyperbole surrounding climate change.

He's not the only one to link the two. An article in doctor's journal the Lancet (you remember doctors, they're the ones who used to fix you when you are ill but now preach politics and righteous prohibition instead) has come to the same conclusion.

Climate change can be compared to passive smoking because those who generate the damage are not the same people as those who suffer (in the case of tobacco) or the same country (in the case of climate change)

Additionally, they have thus far both failed to throw up a single verifiable casualty, but are useful tools in attracting research grants ... for articles in the Lancet by doctors dabbling in politics, for example.

There are many similarities between tobacco use and climate change. In addition to causing huge damage to population health, both cause substantial adverse social, economic, equity, and gender effects. Both have long lead times between cause and effect, and both require long-term policies and monitoring systems.

Obviously that will be expensive, but hey, we've got degrees and everything. You can trust us to spend it wisely.

The number of countries implementing the policies effectively is far too low.

It's true because we said it. We're doctors, doncha know.

Negative effects are increasing over time and will have greatest effects in low-income countries and poor populations.

Won't somebody think of Africa//the poor/the chiiildren. Sod it, let's do the lot. Won't somebody think of the poor African chiiildren?

Both issues are influenced by strong vested interests; moreover, delaying tactics and the use of “junk science” by opponents of change have impeded effective policies.

People keep pointing out where we are lying. Please ignore them, they aren't qualified to talk about the subject as it's not their area of expertise ... oh, hold on.

There are important lessons from tobacco control for climate policy. The existing research base calls for urgent, comprehensive, and sustained action.

Urgent, comprehensive, and sustained. Our mortgages and car HP agreements don't pay themselves, you know.

Political will and strong leadership are required for both areas: implementing effective tobacco control policies has taken decades and is far from complete. Additional funding to support action in low-income countries is in the interest of all.

While we're grateful for the cash you bung our way, we could do with more. How much? Well, how much have you got?

The main lesson from tobacco for the Copenhagen conference is that delay in agreeing on international policy and poor implementation will cost countless lives. We must act now in the interests of future generations.

Pay us, or everyone dies. Horribly. And did we mention ... pay us?

In other news, still no cure for cancer.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Take The Green Pill?

Surreal just doesn't cover this ad which appeared in yesterday's FT 'green' supplement (click to enlarge).

Personally, I found the Matrix to be a pile of pseudocrap. Admittedly, a well-conceived and shot pile of pseudocrap, but pseudocrap nonetheless. As such, the pill reference escapes me, as does the particular significance (if there is one) of the film to the contribution of Obama, Merkel and Hatoyama at Copenhagen.

However, if I was asked to take a pill which would help me transfer £200bn, per fucking year, mind, partly out of the economy of a country whose interests I was elected to serve, I'd tell them they're a bit crackers and perhaps their pill was formulated by someone corrupt and stupid.

The ad was placed on behalf of (not linking to them, sorry) who appear to be an anti-globalisation task force, cherry-picked from some of the finest far left gobshites the world has to offer.

Not surprising, then, that they are advocating what can only be described as large scale implementation of a redistribution of wealth policy, on the back of the Copenhagen, err, climate change negotiations.

It's not just capitalism that is globalised these days. Communism wants in on the act, too.

Dick Out And About: Department Of Health Wasting Money ... Again

An incredibly expensive Christmas tree you paid for, and details of the DoH's anti-tobacco spend goes walkabout. (link)

Ginger Whinger

And there was me thinking it was just an amusing Christmas card. You live and learn, eh?

Monday, 14 December 2009

Harsh, But Fair

Bruce Anderson in the Indy.

We have a Prime Minister who would do anything to win the next election. If he could scrape home, he would not care what state the country was in. If he lost, he would have as little interest in Britain's wellbeing as the Hitler of April 1945 did in post-war Germany's recovery from defeat.

Last week, the Irish Finance Minister delivered one of the bleakest economic assessments in the history of democratic politics. He had only one priority: his country's national interest. This week, every week, until the end, the Brown bunker will be scheming and plotting and brooding, in a fug of ill-temper and resentment. The national interest: never be naive enough to look for that in their agenda.

Harsh, Mr Anderson, but a fair application of the journalistic boot to Brown's gonadal area. Especially after the quite blatant political maneouvring of the PBR which seemed to have been drawn up by the PLP desperation committee rather than a Chancellor surveying the wreckage of UK Plc.

This weekend's cat and mouse, Labour/Tory, we're ready/so are we, game of electoral chicken over a possible March election is further proof, if we needed any, of Brown's - and Labour's - treacherous manipulation of the political process for their own selfish ends.

Removing the need for a Labour pre-election budget, and with it the damage that would be done to Labour's vote by actually doing something about the economic catastrofuck they have created, is surely one of the prime motivations behind the idea.

These sickening, self-interested maggots, and their dung beetle overlord, have already lobbed Britain's future self-determination onto the out-of-control EU inferno, against the wishes of the people, and the promises they made to the electorate in 2005. They have ushered in an era of suspicion and paedohysteria whereby all are presumed guilty until proven otherwise. They have destroyed community, social cohesion and quiet enjoyment of life with an overbearing, dictatorial predilection for healthist finger-wagging. While at the same time encouraging the most obnoxious, holier-than thou arseholes in society to be even more assiduous in their interference in the lives of others - a plan at which they intend to throw even more scarcely affordable money in the future.

They could use the diminishing months before the election to rectify these problems. They could have started making cuts in the PBR but resisted. They could have adhered to democracy instead of despatching Brown to squint in a European darkened room as he signed off Lisbon. They could scrap, or dramatically roll back, the remit of the CRB (and cease the endless hilarity at that policy amongst fellow Europeans). They could take their fingers out of their fucking ears and realise that many have different ideas about enjoyment of life than those prescribed by vested interest lobbyists. And they could re-instil the lost British tradition of looking out for your neighbours instead of ratting on them.

They could but, as anyone who has ever received a Number 10 e-petition response will tell you, they won't. Nor do they want to. I fact, they are perversely accelerating their destructive policies exponentially as the general election looms. Shovelling more shit in the cesspool before someone orders them to stop as it's already overflowing.

Instead, this weasel administration merely look for ways of gerrymandering the electoral process to their own advantage. Ways to cheat, ways to misdirect, ways to place a quango barrier between them and the public, ways to gain votes in any snidey way they possibly can without actually listening to voters.

You are not important to Labour. Never have been, never will be. Only Labour, and their dogmatic, selfish pet projects, are important to Labour.

Who Needs Research?

Well, that's another £500,000 spunked up the wall.

From last week.

The BIG Lottery Fund has awarded just under £500,000 to ASH Scotland over the next four years to manage a research partnership with the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The aim of the project is to develop knowledge which will lead to better interventions within homes of smoking parents/carers and better health.

But research takes time, and Labour can't wait.

Parents face ban on smoking in front of children

Stopping parents lighting up at home, or in cars, if they are with their children will form part of an aggressive new anti-smoking campaign to be launched by ministers this week.

Who needs research? Certainly not Labour. In light of this, shouldn't the Big Lottery Fund be asking for their half a mill back?

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Are Our Politicians As Stupid As American Ones?

I suppose we shall soon find out.

Listen, ASH have been lying for decades. It's what they do. But when such mendacity becomes as quite incredibly laughable as this, one has to worry about their sanity.

New Jersey is poised to become the second state to ban the use of e-cigarettes [e-cigs] in public places where smoking is already prohibited, with the New Jersey Senate set to vote today on a bill already passed unanimously by the Assembly.

A primary purpose, says Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the antismoking organization which supplied a detailed report supporting the bill, is to protect bystanders who otherwise are at possible risk from heart attacks, just like those inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke.

More to the point, one must wonder what kind of raving lunatics the poor people of New Jersey are subjected to in their legislature that this law was passed unanimously.

It's not only demonstrably false, but so shot full of holes as an idea that it's difficult to understand how just one person paid by the public to look into such matters could have failed to notice. Let alone every single one of them.

An anti-smoker is appalled. And for good reason. After stating categorically how the ASH claim is physically impossible and rooted in fantasy, he delivers this exasperated plea.

This unscientific hysteria threatens the scientific credibility of the entire tobacco control movement.

I believe it is the responsibility of all anti-smoking groups to speak out against this inappropriate tactic, and publicly refute the claim that ASH is making. By being silent, anti-smoking groups are actually complicit in the deception of the public.

The problem is that the person making these claims is the very same one who kicked off the entire money-grubbing tobacco control exercise in the first place. An ambulance chaser called John Banzhaf who not only uses the most shameful methods in pursuing his own enrichment, but has also become so accustomed to wealth accrued by lying that he is branching out into new areas.

His latest crusade is against McDonalds ... plenty of bucks there for someone employing the correct dodgy science, one must assume.

So why this unsubstantiated attack on the e-cig? Well, he's got to stay true to his sponsors, hasn't he? And Pfizer, who haven't yet manufactured their own e-cig style nicotine delivery device, throw a mighty $100,000 per quarter his way.

Without wishing to be accused (again) of not knowing my subject matter, or of ignoring externalities, I have tended to suggest many times that Banzhaf and his UK-based ilk are merely shills for big pharmaceutical interests before. This is merely further incontrovertible proof that one cannot believe a word that ASH, or any smokefree body, says. It has always been the way, it's just that our current MPs have been too stupid to see it.

As the saying goes, follow the money.

Now, there is a possibility that UK politicians will finally prove themselves to be less gullible, less self-absorbed, and more questioning of the junk science, and motivations of those who promote it, on the e-cig question, but considering the fact that they seem as willing to grab as much cash as they can themselves when the opportunity presents itself, it's a remote one.

Are UK politicians as quite stunningly dense as those in New Jersey? We shall see, but secretly you know that I'm going to be back here very soon pointing out that they are, don't you?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Female Pop Stars Caught Gunning Down Their Audience

Actually, it's worse than the title suggests. The Wail explains.

She's known for pushing the boundaries on what people expect of a popstar, but this time Lady Gaga may have gone to far [sic].

For performing in Canada, the 23-year-old shocked attendees by lighting up a cigarette and inhaling deeply - despite the fact smoking indoors is illegal in British Columbia.

Shocked, they were. Shocked, no less. The Sex Pistols swearing and gobbing were mild in comparison to Lady GaGa unleashing chemical warfare on her audience. Safety consultants around the world are now advising the issue of a bio-hazard suit with every sale of a Lady GaGa concert ticket.

In other news, Lily Allen has also been implicated in this new female-led assault on the health of concert-goers everywhere.

Lily Allen sparks smoking ban row at Liverpool Echo Arena gig

STARLET Lily Allen angered fans after appearing to light up on stage during a city gig.

One fan said she ruined his night because other revellers then started to follow suit.

An investigation is now underway by environmental protection officers after photos surfaced apparently showing the misdemeanour.

One of those present was incandescent with rage at the orchestrated attack, employing a substance which, as everybody knows, was reclassified as mustard gas in July 2007.

Dad-of-two David Hall, 52, who attended the gig said once Lily started smoking others around him joined in.

Mr Hall, a carer from Irby, Wirral, told the ECHO: “Lily sucked a puff of a fag and I thought maybe she’s feeling a bit tense but that was the trigger for people’s cigarettes to come out. They thought ‘because she’s doing it, so can I’. But the cigarettes were waving about in my children’s faces.”

Mr Hall paid £23 each for his wife Nicky, 17-year-old daughter Robyn and son Freddie, 15, to go to the concert.

He added: “We like Lily Allen because she’s a bit of a rebel.

“But it completely ruined the night.”

Immediately prior to his googling 'irony' on his iPhone.

When questioned further, Mr Hall said that references to spending ages giving head, post-coital wet patches, and fucking the girl next door were fine for his little darlings, but this was just too much.

Mr Hall, born in the smoke-filled 50s but seemingly still quite healthy, was last seen disappearing up his own gullible, self-righteous arse.

Johann Hari Hates Big Macs But Tells Whoppers

For a lefty propagandist like Johann Hari, a chance to link the collective Copenhagen gnashing of teeth with an anti-capitalist rant against favoured socialist targets, Coke and McDonalds, was too delicious to resist.

Johann Hari: Leaders of the rich world are enacting a giant fraud

Every delegate to the Copenhagen summit is being greeted by the sight of a vast fake planet dominating the city's central square. This swirling globe is covered with corporate logos – the Coke brand is stamped over Africa, while Carlsberg appears to own Asia, and McDonald's announces "I'm loving it!" in great red letters above. "Welcome to Hopenhagen!" it cries. It is kept in the sky by endless blasts of hot air.

However, according to one of his commenters, the only fraud being committed here is by Hari himself.

As senior programmer on the sphere you complain so bitterly about, I know for certain that there is no coke logo or macdonalds either. Seems like you made the whole thing up (again).

No coke, no macdonalds.
In fact all of the logos move continually, so the bit about " the Coke brand is stamped over Africa, while Carlsberg appears to own Asia, and McDonald's announces "I'm loving it!" in great red letters" is patently false.

The only macdonalds advert is on a macdonalds restaurant 100m away.

But then, the story wouldn't have had the same righteous appeal if Hari had mentioned sponsors such as the prominently-featured Siemens instead. Their global involvement in energy and healthcare isn't as easy to dismiss as irrelevant to COP15 as a Happy Meal is.

As socialists do, Hari seems to enjoy picking on products enjoyed by billions worldwide, simply for the fact that the companies who make them gain huge profits from their success.

In the words of Richard Pryor, Hari should maybe have a Coke and a smile, and shut the fuck up.

Transatlantic Quote Of The Day

"I certainly believe that neighborhood disputes are usually better resolved without firearms being involved."

Colorado District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, pointing out the obvious, in relation to the death of a woman shot nine times by her neighbour. No criminal charges were brought.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Liam Donaldson: Serial Scaremongering Failure

This is priceless from Lardy Liam.

The swine flu pandemic is "considerably less lethal" than feared, chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson says.

"The first influenza pandemic of the 21st century is considerably less lethal than was feared in advance."

It was flu, Liam, no-one has feared flu since German soldiers wore helmets with pointy metal bits on the top.

Well no-one, that is, except Heat magazine obsessed checkout operatives, attention seekers with a runny nose, furrow-browed local council overthinkers, hypochondriacs, panicky gym-addicted health freaks, OAPs who still live in a past where doctors were considered wise, risk-phobic primary school teachers and the kids they infect with their hysteria, people who fall for e-mail scare spam, OCD sufferers who would shame Howard Hughes, sheep, the morbid, Dot Cotton, and just about anyone who takes Casualty seriously.

OK, quite a lot of people feared swine flu. None more so, however, than highly-paid, saggy-arse health professionals called Liam fucking Donaldson. And, do you know what? I think the worries of the former can be directly linked to the quite laughable over-reaction and fearmongering of the latter.

The veritable panic storm whipped up by this hideous over-filled skin sack in April was stunning.

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the government's chief medical adviser, said: "Phase five indicates that WHO considers a global pandemic to be imminent, whereas at phase four a global pandemic is not inevitable. A change to phase five is a signal to countries' governments to ramp up their pandemic preparations – which we are already doing. We have been planning for a situation like this for some years.

Just like the 'look at me' Donaldson-led panic over SARS and Avian Flu. He, remember, was the doom-monger who advocated closing all schools earlier this year. The same guy whose advice to government was, apparently, to prepare the body bags, commandeer mortuaries and dig, dig, dig.

The government is planning to create a series of mass graves to cope with a second outbreak of swine flu in the autumn.

Whitehall officials are also speaking to coffin makers to see if they could meet demands.

Retired doctors may also be called back to work to issue death certificates so GPs can focus on patients.

There was only one person in the UK who created this fear, Liam. It was you. And as UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom pointed out in the summer, you are never correct.

It was the fucking flu, that's all. Yet, on the say so of this serial failure, the more gullible in our society descended into a gibbering, boggle-eyed, head-clutching meltdown.

The rest of us went about daily life without feeling the need to overdose on orange juice, Lemsip and Vicks nasal spray, no matter the increasing urgency of Liam's ego-induced predictions of imminent catastrophe. The Daily Mash put it best in July.

CONCERN was growing last night that the British public is not freaking out quite as much as it was supposed to.

In the last week the government, the media and a range of experts have all thrown more resources at their swine flu panic inducement strategies, including a series of contradictory announcements, random, blood-curdling death tolls and a warning that Britain's fleet of ice cream vans will be needed to store all the dead bodies.

But despite their all-out efforts, millions of people across the country have decided to simply wash their hands twice a day and accept that if they do get swine flu the chances of them dying from it are so small as to be really quite tedious.

Nevertheless the department of health will today urge people to empty their freezers, stressing that is where they will have to store their grandmother until the army can collect her and throw her into a landfill.

Why not just come out and admit it, Liam. You fucked up. Again. Couching your words in such a fashion that it would appear we were all in fear of our very existence is wholly misleading.

You, alone, created the many miles of column copy and the undivided BBC web attention for a good week. It was the word of one miserablist cock, fishing for a WHO placement, against the sanity of those in possession of perspective.

And in doing so, Lardy boy yet again spread fear, panic, costly bandwagon-jumping, and unnecessary anxiety amongst the many who are, unfortunately, led by ignorance, a naïve belief in healthist theocracy, and a lack of a spine.

One can only hope that once Donaldson is kicked out, we get a CMO who will give advice more conducive to the UK public growing a pair of balls. A CMO who can actually see his own without a mirror would be a good start.

Not Good Enough

From the BBC.

UK cities should have more 20mph speed zones, as they have cut road injuries by over 40% in London, a study claims.

There are still accidents, though. However, if we stop fannying about and cut the speed limit to 0mph, road injuries will reduce by 100%.

What are we waiting for?

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Parental Duties

Any parent will know Christmas is on its way when entire nights are taken up by compulsory attendance at seasonal productions which would usually have honest critics scurrying for their derogasuarus.

That was me. Tonight.

Incredibly, this year's offering was surprisingly good. A proper play with no references (as featured in previous school gatherings) to Africans walking miles for water, thinly-veiled health hectoring, or diversity of religion.

Quite the opposite, in fact, considering the set revolved around a typically English Christmas Eve party with labelled empty bottles of booze being pretend poured for 9 year old pretend parents. And the teacher who did all the work was publicly awarded a festive bottle of alcohol-infused fun for her efforts.

Very refreshing. So much so that I exited, past the "International Day" photos, and pictorial depictions of every religion except Christianity, in the reception area, in a right Christmassy mood. It's a nice feeling, I just wish it could happen every year.

As such, this blog has been out of action for tonight, so I can only refer you to Boaty & D, who today carry three excellent posts for your perusal. Most notably, this précis of Labour's term in office.

Our soldiers are fighting a lost cause with Swiss Army knives;
Our education system still can't get more than half the kids to get a C no matter how easy they make it;
Violent crime is getting worse every day;
Our health system has been rated amongst the worst in Europe;
The average couple now pay so much tax that both are forced to work and cannot afford to stay at home and look after their own children;
Our pension system is destroyed, public and private;
House prices are huge - not just because of the population but the amount of stock removed for right-to-buy in a vain hope for a pension;
Food prices are huge because of the absurdity of the CAP and CFP that this spineless party won't stand up to;
The biggest national debt in peace time;
The biggest yearly contraction since 1921;
We can't even have a fucking fag without paying £5 to Gordon and being thrown outside;
We have the most CCTV in the world;
We have 'anti-terror' laws that would make a banana republic blush;
We have so many offenders in prison Judges need to let people off, yet none of them are ever properly punished or rehabilitated;
There is massive unemployment;
The hard right are on the march;
We have whole areas of the country that ravaged with crime and poverty because after 12 years there is still no regeneration;
We owe £178 BILLION.

This is what socialism gets you. Forget New Labour, or Labour or any other name they come up with, it is social-democracy and it has destroyed this country.

Couldn't agree more. Do read the two that follow as well. I'm off to wrap the kids' presents while I'm feeling happy.

They were a bit disappointed with the five pack of Mars Bars last year, so I've upped the stakes ... Fry's Chocolate Creams. Nothing's too good for my two, bless 'em.

The Lord Moves In Mysterious Ways

Holy Cow, sayeth the Telegraph.

'Holy cow' born with cross on forehead

His owner, Brad Davis, told WFSB-TV he thought the marking may be a message from above, though he is still trying to work out what that message might be.

Not thinking outside the box, Brad, are you?

The message is clear. If this cow meets a supernatural being, the chick is toast.

Thanks to fellow jewel robber Mike Furby for the spot

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

What More Proof Does One Need?

Never a truer word spoken by Andrew Alexander in the Wail

Alas, there is something about smoking which damages the mind - of anti-smokers. Normal as they may be in other respects, they rave and rant about tobacco.

And never again will he be proven so spectacularly correct in as short a period of time as today. Evidenced by mouth-frothing from psychopathic smoker hater, Duncan Bannatyne, whose Twitter feed seethes with righteous anger at the impudence of a writer expressing his view that tobacco can be a pleasurable pastime.

Here is a selection of level-headed comments retweeted by Bannatyne, which are obviously not posted by anti-smokers having a rave and a rant about tobacco. Not at all.

"All I can say is good luck to his children in trying to avoid lung cancer"

"What an imbpcile. It's, without doubt, a form of child abuse"

"thats disgusting, weve just stepped forward with the smoking ban and he wants to go backwards!"

"Why does the Mail editor let this tripe to be published!?"

"the man is a idot when i wasa kid my dad smoked in the car he has stoped now the smell made me sick"

"I think people who smoke in cars with children should have their licences taken away. Child cruelty!"

"People like that should be castrated for the good of all children."

Right. So that's thinking of the chiiildren, smoking in cars, and the smoking ban in workplaces covered, with a sprinkling of gagging free press thrown in, gratis. Why? Alexander's article didn't attempt to touch on any of that.

Nope. But the perfectly calm and reasoned Bannatyne did.

Really, Duncan? Where was that bit? I read the whole article but must have missed it. Don't come near your children? Is Alexander a predatory paedosmoker for penning an article in the Wail? Good grief.

Hilariously, Bannatyne chose to post an erudite response (or two) in the article comments. He's rather miffed at being misquoted.

"Mr Alexander has invented what he says 'I look forward to' it follows therefore than nothing he says can be believed. The man has no concept of the damage he is doing to children who need to be protected from hie views on smoking"

Err ... what children, Duncan? Or are you seriously saying that kids should be protected from the written word? I know that is a very emotive angle for anti-smoking nutters, but it's not a catch-all for active smoking. It just doesn't work on that level. To argue against Alexander's wish to enjoy his right to peaceful enjoyment of tobacco, you're going to need to use a bit more imagination than merely regurgitating ASH tear-jerk targeted soundbites.

"Mr Alexander has mis quoted what he calls my wishes and it is therefore not possible to believe anythinbg he says. Children are being damaged by the inhalation of smoke and to back that is a form of chiled abuse"

Again, Alexander didn't back that at all, but hey ho. The misquote is that Bannatyne didn't say he was looking forward to it. Merely that he thought kids should be able to report their parents.

Smoking should be banned in cars, and particularly any vehicle with children in it. On a school visit I met a 12-year-boy who wanted to be an athlete who told me that every morning his mother lit up when she was driving to school, even though he'd begged her to stop. He should be able to report her to the police.

A subtle difference, but one which, according to Bannatyne's logic, means that Alexander's entire article should be ignored.

By the same token, one must assume that wilfully misrepresenting an entire opinion piece, by insinuating that the author is advocating smoking in front of children when he wasn't, renders everything Bannatyne says irrelevant too.

Nice one, Duncan. We've sort of known that for a while, but you can't beat Dragons Den approval for ignoring hysterical anti-smokers. It's the Gold Standard.

So, to recap, Andrew Alexander writes an article labelling anti-smokers as normal people who mutate into Tasmanian Devils when the subject of smoking is raised, at which Bannatyne and pals respond with misdirection, hysteria, ad homs, wild accusations, mistruths and general tearing out of hair.


Sounds Familiar

I'm sure I've seen this movie.

Language teachers Alini Brito, Cindy Mauro caught by janitor having naked romp in HS classroom

Two female Romance language instructors were tossed out of their Brooklyn high school after being caught "undressed" in an empty classroom, sources told the Daily News Tuesday.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Kinnock's Bint: Arrogant, Gravy Train-Riding Arse

Labour's hypocrisy in taunting Cameron over his 'cast-iron guarantee' pledge is already astounding, but when it comes from the wife of a disastrous British political failure, who has since spent every waking hour incubating his (and her) millions from the EU experiment, it is obscene.

Yes, here is Glenys Kinnock, in full flow during an Upper Chamber Q&A, vigorously protecting the financial interests of the Kinnocks the UK.

I cannot help noting that the cast-iron guarantee given by Mr Cameron seems to have somewhat evaporated and been lamely replaced by the pledge that democracy through Parliament will be replaced by democracy by plebiscite on European issues. That certainly cannot be in the interests of the British people.

Yep. That'll do it. The British people being allowed a vote on their future is 'not in the interests of the British people'.

After all, why on earth would we have any significant view of what is good for us? Politicians know best. Especially ones who have garnered an ample fortune from continually denying the voice of the British people.

There really is no point in allowing the public to determine their own destiny in a democracy. That way lies a Kinnock wage cut madness, apparently.

Besides, the EU is the way to more Kinnock cash forward in a democracy. The public's opinions are 'irrelevant'.

... a referendum on continued membership is unjustified, unnecessary and, frankly, irrelevant to the interests and needs of the people of this country.

Irrelevant to the British small business owner bogged down with EU instigated red tape and compliance costs.

Irrelevant to the British employee restricted as to his own choice of overtime via the European Working Time Directive ... if they have a job at all after huge overheads imposed on employers by EU directives.

Irrelevant to British fishermen who are denied exclusive access to British waters in favour of the Spanish (and just about everyone else who fancies a pop), while Norwegians can exploit their own waters freely since seceding.

Irrelevant to British farmers, struggling under the CAP to subsidise non profit-making farmers in other member states (otherwise known as France).

Irrelevant to anyone in the UK who buys products at inflated prices due to the pressures exerted by EU bureaucracy and meddling.

Irrelevant to the London plumber/brickie/leccie who is now unable to compete with a Lithuanian, with free EU access, but vastly differing financial needs as he makes hay for a few years channelling his earnings back to Vilnius.

Irrelevant to the City of London, strangled by envious EU legislation designed to put inferior Frankfurt and Paris markets on an equal footing.

The views of every eligible UK voter. Irrelevant. As long as Glenys and UK political reject hubby are able to trouser their wad.

And, most disgusting of all. Irrelevant even though Labour promised that such views would be given an airing via a referendum which Baroness Kinnock, in her new role as Labour apologist to the Lords, now says is not 'in the interests of the British people'.

This hideous, arrogant, gravy train-riding, treacherous sock puppet didn't campaign against the Labour manifesto when it offered a plebiscite on the EU, but is now saying that referenda are somehow evil. And that you, the voter, are irrelevant.

Baroness Kinnock: Self-serving/greedy/obscene/condescending/ amoral/disgusting snuffler (delete as applicable).

Iraq Revelling In Its New Found Western Freedom

Not content with the wonderful west-inspired smoking ban, as opposed to the one which was imposed by Al Qaeda, the new administration in Iraq has now liberated Baghdad once more.


Baghdad's nightclubs closed in moral crusade

Authorities have closed all Baghdad nightclubs and dozens of shops selling alcohol, concerned for "public morals," the city's governor said yesterday. Police have closed 95 unlicensed clubs and 42 liquor stores since the start of November.

The closures threaten to cut short a brief revival in Baghdad's once-vibrant nightlife as residents began to enjoy some of the activities they were forced to abandon amid the sectarian violence unleashed by the 2003 US-led invasion.

Anyone caught opening a shop or bar without proper permits faces a fine and six-month jail sentence, Abdul-Razzaq said.

Well, if Iraq is going to be a truly democratic country, gotta have permits and righteous clipboard-wielding inspectors.

Though what this all has to do with a Pakistani cricketer, I really can't fathom.