Thursday 26 February 2009

Labour's Temperance Policy: It's More Ingrained Than We Thought

Via Tory Bear, it appears to be career suicide to admit to enjoying alcohol in Brown's Labour. Dolly Draper was incandescent at the suggestion.

firstly, you wanna make sure richard desmond's lawyers don't see this rip-off and secondly on my "drinking" you are making a complete fool of yourself. I have never drunk to excess and indeed havn't even been mildly drunk for over twenty years.

Dolly, you should chill out and get comprehensively shit-faced every now and then. It sure blows off the cobwebs. Perhaps the lack of a serious session with Dr Al K Hall is the reason why you're an insufferable, agitated, anal prick with the personality of a spoon, and possessing as calm a nature as an angry hormonal American pubescent in possession of a machine gun.

Drink might make you type words correctly too.

I should be a psychiatrist, me.

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Same Righteous, Shifting Alarmism

If my understanding of economics is to be trusted, the concept of diminishing marginal utility is a bit of a problem for the Righteous. Or, to put it differently, the more 'Wolf!' is cried, the fewer listen. Not only because we've heard it all before, but also owing to the target becoming ever less convincing. In 2005, I was attempting to convince anyone who would listen, that a partial smoking ban wouldn't be acceptable to the Righteous. Following July 1st 2007, quite a few people stated that ASH may as well pack up as they had 'won'.

This is to completely misunderstand the Righteous. They never stop, as Leg Iron would be quite happy to explain to you in his excellent and extensive series of articles about their methods.

For example, flushed by recent success, ASH New Zealand came out with this corker of over-enthusiastic dribble in 2007.

Aotearoa/New Zealand campaign groups are declaring the end game for cigarettes with plans to phase out their sale within ten years. This is the first step in creating a tobacco free Aotearoa/New Zealand.

At the Oceania Tobacco Control Conference being held in Auckland, campaign groups led by ASH NZ, the Smokefree Coalition and Te Reo Marama are announcing the ten year countdown to end smoking in New Zealand.

Public health policies that are proposed include:

• The complete removal of tobacco retail displays
• Plain packaging of cigarettes
The staged removal of cigarettes from sale
• Tobacco tax increases which will double the cost of smoking over the next ten years, with the revenue being used to support smokers who want to quit
• Increased support for smokers who want to quit, particularly improved cessation services
• More alternative and safer forms of nicotine to cigarettes
• Culturally appropriate action toward tupeka kore (tobacco free).

The problem for these swivel-eyed loons is that there really isn't any collective will to push these measures through. This week, they fell at the first hurdle.

No evidence tobacco ad ban works

A call to ban tobacco displays from shops has not got the support of the National Government at this stage, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Key said evidence suggested such moves were not an effective way to tackle smoking as a health issue and he wouldn't support it.

"The reason is there is no international evidence that it actually works, and it's hugely expensive to do it," he told TV3's Sunrise show on Tuesday.

Mr Key is an astute man. He has obviously studied the evidence which comprehensively proves that tobacco display bans do nothing but destroy businesses. The lack of effect in Iceland is backed up by their government's own statistics.

The Icelandic ban, introduced in 2001, has failed to achieve its aim of reducing smoking rates in the country’s under 18s.
In fact smoking prevalence among 15-19-year-olds actually increased from 14.4% to 17.5% in the year that the ban was introduced, official figures from Statistics Iceland reveal. 

In 2002, smoking prevalence among this age group was the highest it had been for five years at 17.%. Today at 15.2% it still remains higher than it had been before the ban.

The evidence from Canada is also particularly uninspiring.

Since only four of Canada's thirteen territories had enacted any sort of a tobacco display ban prior to 2007, it makes it extremely unlikely that the decline in teen smoking between 2002 and 2007 could have been due to such legislation. It should be noted that the rate did not drop at all between 2006 and 2007, thereby ruling out a possible effect from the two territories who brought in a ban during 2007.

If tobacco display bans were effective in reducing the smoking rate, only Saskatchewan (which was the first to pass such a law) has had enough time to see the benefit. As it happens, Saskatchewan has the highest smoking rate of any Canadian territory. One cannot blame the anti-smoking advocates for looking for evidence to support their latest ban, but it seems - once again - that the myth does not fit the reality.

Not that Labour bothered checking any of these facts, of course. They have welded themselves so much to their own government department of ASH, that when the likes of Martin 'Chicken Little' Dockrell squeak that the sky is falling, Labour run around searching for a concrete umbrella.

This quite stunning ignorance of the facts yesterday accompanied the customary arrogant dismissal of a recent Number 10 e-petition on the matter.

In Canada, smoking prevalence among 15-19 year olds fell from 22 per cent in 2002 to 15 per cent in 2007 (Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey) which coincided with a growing number of provinces prohibiting display of tobacco.

In Iceland, prevalence of smoking among 15-16 year olds fell from 18.6 per cent in 1999 to 11.1 per cent in 2007 (European Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs, ESPAD), and the most rapid fall in youth smoking prevalence was seen immediately following this legislation.

swiftly followed by this gem.

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is one of the most respected institutions for conducting important public health research.

Yep. Like Fyffes bananas are one of the most respected institutions for advising on the banning of apple sales.

If our government can't even research statistics properly, it's no wonder at all that we are faced with an increasing burden of outlandish, totalitarian and ineffectual laws, every one of which pisses our tax money down the drain, severely damaging business into the bargain.

There are times when the truth breaks its shackles and tries to leg it into the bright glare of the media, but it doesn't happen often. In fact, only when required to provide reasoning for bashing the unapproved.

A PENDLE man has been spared jail despite his part in an £11million cigarette smuggling scam.

Imran Khan, 30, was one of eight men who helped bring 72million cigarettes and nearly 70kilos of hand-rolling tobacco into the UK.

After the case, HMRC criminal investigator Nick Burriss said: “This was a huge smuggling conspiracy on an industrial scale.

“This type of smuggling robs the community of funds for schools and hospitals as well as having a devastating effect on honest retailers forced to compete with the shadow economy."

Wow! You don't read that often, do you? A government-funded official talking up the benefit to the NHS of tobacco revenues. It is routinely airbrushed out of press releases in favour of the 'smoking costs the NHS £1.7bn per annum' claim, with no mention of the £11bn taken in duty.

Labour were wise enough to understand that the tobacco display ban was a terrible idea, but they had a problem in that Patricia Hewitt is one of them. So is the clinically-obese Liam Donaldson, and Alan 'Dancing Queen' Johnson. To admit that this was a ridiculous move would have been tantamount to a u-turn, and that just wouldn't do. So they delayed the implementation till 2011 (2013 for smaller shops), safe in the knowledge that they won't be in government then anyway, despite John Prescott's wibblings about a fourth term.

It was a face-saving exercise, but why the need to e-mail downright statistical lies to all the signatories on the Number 10 petition? Could it be that Labour are so used to lying now that they truly believe that is the way a UK government should behave? It appears so.

The wolves aren't as scary anymore for the anti-smoking banshees, in fact, their shrieking is only serving to lift scales from eyes all over the world as to how very extreme these people are (checkout the comments on this bollocks from America, for example, where extreme healthist bullshit is presented as fact and promptly ridiculed by all and sundry).

If the Department of Health had any sense they would remove the £191,000 grant they provide to ASH and quietly close them down. Naturally, they won't, and I wouldn't like to see it. The best argument against ASH and their nutjob friends is ASH itself. Their claims are becoming ever more extreme and unbelievable the less they have to attack. If anything, their recent rantings are encouraging those who previously supported them to question their motives and restrospectively reassess the wisdom of what has gone before.

In the meantime, just as a miner will spend less time on a meagre yielding mineral face, so will the Righteous turn to thus far relatively untapped targets.

A glass of wine each evening is enough to increase your risk of developing cancer, women are being warned.

Consuming just one drink a day causes an extra 7,000 cancer cases - mostly breast cancer - in UK women each year, Cancer Research UK scientists say.

There's Cancer Research UK again. Never backward in coming forward to kick your personal choice in the proverbials.

And this really sets alarm bells ringing ...

A Department of Health spokesman said: "There is no completely safe level of drinking ..."

Indeed, they're using exactly the same template as ASH, just in a different context. Without evidence, natch.

There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke

The template is further confirmed with the emergence of a new fake charity, as reported by the BBC today.

Dr Ian Campbell, of the charity Weight Concern, said the findings were "very interesting".

"When patients who are overweight and smoke ask what they should work on first, we've always said smoking as the wisdom has always been that this poses more health risks - yet this study suggests otherwise."

Betty McBride, of the British Heart Foundation, said: "The government need to bring the same level of sustained focus to tackling the obesity crisis it has previously brought to smoking."

The emphasis is shifting. The anti-smoking ranters have hit the buffers as basic economic models of diminishing returns have caught up with them. It's now time for others to suffer the moral whirlwind of the Righteous.

If you backed the likes of the ASH jihadists, but indulge in even just the odd alcoholic drink and/or enjoy unapproved foods to the point of being a trifle lardy, I'm going to enjoy seeing you squirm. The difference is, I will still back you to the hilt in resisting these fuckers with everything I can possibly offer.

It's the correct course of action, or else we are all screwed.

The sky isn't falling, it never was. There are no wolves, just highly-paid alarmists raising scares for a living. They all need silencing, and picking and choosing which freedom of lifestyle you personally wish to defend isn't going to cut it. Stand up to them all or selectively sleepwalk into a nightmare. Your choice.

UPDATE: The England Expects blog has pointed out a very insulting quote in the BBC report on the 'excessive' practice of one drink per day.

One of the researchers did at least say this,

"It is up to individual people to make their own decision. All of us to some extent have to weigh up the risks and take some responsibility for our health," said Dr Allen."

To some extent! No Doctor Allen, it is not a case of to some extent at all. It is just it period. I am responsible for my health, you are responsible for your health, and Uncle Tom Cobbley is responsible for his bloody health.

Where do you think it becomes the responsibility of somebody else? One drink a night, two, three or maybe the whole Hague of 18 pints. At no point do you, you hectoring white coated bureaucratic controllo freak get to decide when you can step in and decide, for me, what is or is not good for me.

Come on then Dr Allen. At what point are you going to lobotomise me for my own good. Just sod off and drown in a pool of your own self righteousness, will you?

I concur. BBPA, BII, CAMRA, are you listening?

Just Say No

The Devil is so succinct on the subject of addiction.

Over the course of nearly twelve years, the NuLabour government has destroyed many of our ancient liberties, ridden roughshod over our privacy, pried into our private lives in unprecedented ways, and soon intends to tag and track every one of us; it has torn down the constitution, displayed utter contempt for Parliamentary democracy, flouted international law and passed a deeply illiberal Enabling Act; it has put in place the highest peace-time tax burden in British history, encouraged reckless borrowing, put in place a regulatory system that has helped to bring the economy to its knees, and pissed away hundreds of billions of pounds of our money in a multitude of pointless and corrupt ways.

What the fuck do they have to do that these morons wouldn't vote for them? Seriously: what the FUCK?

It's a fair question.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

The Importance Of Information

"Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend”

The Art of War, Sun Tzu

There's a lot of fallout from a Blue Square Premier Conference match on Saturday, which saw Rushden & Diamonds beat Weymouth 9-0. A club takeover had failed and all the players were out of contract come Monday morning. A (now very good) friend alerted me to this on Friday and I managed to scrape a fair sum at 6/5 on Rushden as the price was tumbling.

The Times and Mail are reporting how bookies were caned as fans lumped on the opposing team.

When fans of cash-strapped Weymouth Football Club heard the first team was going on strike, they decided to act - by heading down to the bookies.
Supporters quickly realised the club would be forced to field their youth squad in the Blue Square Premiership match against Rushden and Diamonds.
There was a killing to be made and, nine goals later (for Rushden), bemused bookmakers found themselves paying out more than £1million to happy Weymouth fans.

Senior squad members at the club have not been paid all season and they refused to play on Saturday after medical insurance for the match had lapsed.

Online betting exchanges and high street betting shops were inundated with people trying to place bets on a Rushden win, with many being forced to cut odds and then suspend betting entirely.

Weymouth's youth side went on to lose the match 9-0.
More than £680,000 was put on a Rushden victory on the Betfair exchange alone.

The odds on a Rushden win were slashed from an early 15/8 to 5/4 on the night before the game, and they were down to 4/6 before kick off.

Happy Days!

The Guardian and the Independent have a different take on it though.

The Football Association is to question officials at Weymouth and Rushden & Diamonds after suspicious betting on the weekend match between the two clubs.

Weymouth lost 9-0 after their senior players refused to turn out for the Blue Square Premier match because of a dispute over pay.

News of the dispute had spread before the game and bookies took 10 times more than usual in bets on the game – all for a Rushden & Diamonds win. An FA spokesman said: "We are aware of the concerns and we are investigating unusual betting patterns."

The bookies paid out around £1m but Totesport suspended betting on Saturday morning after "smelling a rat".

Totesport spokesman George Primarolo said: "People have got wind of the team news before the bookies have. This sort of thing happens in the lower leagues from time to time."

What's to investigate? The bookies got caught with their pants down. The information was in the public domain on Weymouth's web-site for two days, it's just that their compilers hadn't spotted it. To their credit, the bookies aren't making a fuss, so why are the FA?

Perhaps they have been taken in by the earlier articles stating that it was merely Weymouth fans taking advantage. It wasn't. If they had as much as £680,000 as was cleaned out at Betfair, never mind the sums deposited elsewhere, their club wouldn't be in the mess that caused Saturday's bonanza in the first place.

Information is King. (I'm sure this could also apply in financial circles as well, by the way).

Monday 23 February 2009

London's European Labour Trougher Snorts More Swill

British sitcoms have been suffering for quite a while now through lack of original ideas but TV producers could do worse than read Labour MEP Hairy Moneyball's blog for inspiration. With every post there is another delicious 'chocolate box' gem of comedy.

Yesterday, Hairy seemed to contravene the Labour party line on 'consultations' by having a pop at the way the Lib Dems conduct them.

The Liberal Democrats are trying to block Islington Labour’s free school meals campaign. Instead of supporting children, they want a tax plan to benefit the most wealthy, and they want to keep some of the highest executive councillors’ salaries in the country.

In a PR stunt, they have said they want people to email them and tell them which they prefer. Not very democratic is it? Many pensioners will not have email, nor will many of the poorer people in Islington. Most people do not have school age children so how credible will this “consultation” exercise be?

Cough! Splutter! Did the Europhile porker really write that without even a semblance of irony?

Labour are the arch-fiddlers of democratic process, with a rich history of ignoring those who are affected by their latest tranche of authoritan and idealistic cockwaffle.

If Moneyballs is aware of this, as she should be seeing as she is in the same party, she must be a godawful politician to raise the issue of Lib Dems manipulating consultations, immediately after Labour themselves have been caught publicly doing the exact same thing.

Let's look at the evidence shall we, Hairy?

1) "In a PR stunt, they have said they want people to email them and tell them which they prefer. Not very democratic is it? Many pensioners will not have email, nor will many of the poorer people in Islington."

Hairy snorts that web-based consultations aren't democratic. I fully agree. Here is where the Labour 'consultation' on the hiding of tobacco products was squirrelled away. It was online. Only.

No chance for pensioners or the poor to have a pop at all. Of course, older people and the poor tend to smoke more than moneyed righteous fucksticks like Moneyballs, and would no doubt have been pleased to have their say, but I don't remember Hairy moaning about that at the time. In fact, she is right behind the idea.

I'm sure she meant to post the inequality of that Labour 'consultation' on her blog, she just forgot. She might get round to it one day ... perhaps.

2) Most people do not have school age children so how credible will this “consultation” exercise be?

She's right again, you know. It isn't credible as those who aren't affected are allowed to contribute. Rather like the aforementioned tobacco display 'consultation' where 100% of the population were encouraged (via Department of Health sponsored web-sites) to object to how 22% of the public like to buy a legal product.

What is more, not only did Labour piss all over the poor and aged by their selective placing of a 'stakeholder consultation', they also paid their own satellites to make absolutely sure that moneyed, younger, righteous were fully aware of it.

Well, not all moneyed ones, obviously. Only those that agreed with Labour. The Grocer was worth 25,000 votes but weren't allowed to have their say. What's the point of a public 'consultation' if it might result in something Labour's front bench don't agree with, eh?

Hairy, I think the Lib Dems are just following your party's lead. How fucking dare you talk about a local council circumventing democracy when your party has shown the way nationally? You really are due a visit from a Danish butcher to finally take your lardy arse out of the EU Parliament, slice it thinly (if humanly possible), whilst singing "Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen", before selling it to Tesco so that some wimmin, whose rights you espouse, might grill it and pile the cholesterol nightmare onto our Sunday breakfast plates. With eggs and fried bread.

Now, I gutted this strange representative of British 'gunboat anti-democracy' a while ago, coming to the conclusion that she is taking a hell of a lot of our money for doing ... err ... jack shit. I really must apologise to all of you for my figures. The Taxpayer's Alliance has shown me the error of my ways. She will soon be troughing even more than that. Or could be, anyway, it's up to London-based voters to stop her.

It has been calculated that due to the generosity and laxity of the MEPs' allowances, expenses and pensions system, it is possible for an MEP to personally save enough money to become a millionaire over their 5-year term.

Just a suggestion, but how about voting against Labour hypocrites like this appalling tax hoover come June this year? If you can name a Euro candidate that is less deserving of becoming a millionaire via your vote than the Hairy porker, I'd love to hear of them.

Update: Irony upon irony. The Womble has alerted me that the figures relating to the abuse of our money were passed to the Taxpayers Alliance by a Lib Dem. The self-same party that the porker accused of not being democratic in Islington.

Lib Dem Chris Davies had been allowed to see the report of an EU internal auditor. To see it he had to be a member of the relevant committee, subject himself to a biometrics test, be locked in a room and sign a confidentiality agreement. The EU was desperate to keep the report under wraps. And one year on, we now know why.

Oh dear Hairy, what were you doing for British EU democracy while this was going on?

Comical Warfare

The fearless Metropolitan Police at its brave brave best.

Biohazard officers investigate HP Sauce spill

Police wearing protective suits and breathing apparatus were sent to investigate the spillage of a potentially dangerous liquid which was later revealed to be HP Sauce.

Officers responded after receiving reports that a bottle of brown fluid had been thrown through the window of a parked car on a residential street in Enfield, north London, in the early hours of the morning.

Wearing suits designed to protect against all chemical and biological threats, and with fire crews and paramedics in support, the team examined the inside of the 4x4 where the mystery substance had leaked.

A female officer was even taken to a local hospital as a precaution after getting some of it on her suit, according to reports.

Only later did tests show that the liquid was HP Sauce – a potent condiment but hardly a health hazard.

An eyewitness said: "It was hilarious. What an overreaction – they certainly had egg on their faces by the time they'd finished.

"Maybe they thought the E numbers were a particular hazard."

He added: "The whole street woke up as there were a number of fire engines and ambulances with their lights flashing. The road was sealed off and we all thought we'd have to be evacuated."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'We were called to the scene just after 3am to reports of something thrown into a car, with the car alarm going off.

"With any unidentified chemical spillages we have to treat all incidents equally seriously."

Following the incident, ex-Manchester policeman Gene Hunt said, "What a bunch of fooking poofters".

The HP Sauce bottle in question was astounded at the fuss, querying, "Is it cos I is black?"

Friday 20 February 2009

Safety Advice For Lady Drivers

A little bit of worldly advice for a couple of female drivers I encountered today.

If you see something like this ...

... and I see something like this ...

... but I am close to the narrow bit and you are very very far away, the correct approach is not to violently accelerate towards the narrowing of the road in order to sound your horn/flash your lights and wave your arms/give the wanker sign in unjustified outrage. You wouldn't have got there in time to cause an accident if you were Lewis Hamilton.

I have been driving for 25 years, 15 of those professionally, and am polite enough to smile genially whilst waving sweetly at you (gets 'em every time). One day, though, you will inflict your ill-judged aggression on the wrong guy, who will stop, thereby blocking you off, and proceed to gouge your eyeballs out with a rusty chisel.

Stay safe. Don't act like a psychopathic fucktard and deliberately seek confrontation where none is necessary.

This has been a Puddlecote Information Film Blogpost

Feeding The Hand That Bites

He's a right rebel, that Paul Weller.

Paul Weller could be hit with a fine after he flouted the smoking ban twice during one gig.

Weller was performing at London’s Astoria when he told fans whilst lighting his cigarette that, “This is the best drug known to man!"

Under the new regulations in the United Kingdom, if prosecuted, he could be hit with a £200 fine for breaking the law.

Yeah, Solidarity Brother. Sock it to 'em.

Rocker Paul Weller has faced the second complaint in a week for smoking on stage after he lit up in front of thousands of fans.
Weller and his crew ignored requests not to smoke during two gigs held last week at the borough council-owned K2 Crawley venue in Crawley, West Sussex.

Top work Mr W, you're really sticking it to the bansturbators, and no mistake ...

... or maybe not.

Cancer Research UK has announced today that the UK's legendary modfather, Paul Weller, will appear at their annual heritage music event, Sound & Vision, taking place at the iconic Abbey Road Studios on 26th February 2009.

Paul Weller commented, "I'm proud to be associated with this event and to be supporting Cancer Research UK's amazing work."

That'll be the same Cancer Research UK whose 'amazing work' includes, along with their mendacious chums at the Government Department of ASH, being part of the SmokeFree Coalition which forced through the blanket smoking ban, to which I had believed Weller was giving the finger. They needed money to do so of course, and CRUK provided it in spades, as was boasted in this document.

Objective: To examine how a government committed to a voluntary approach was forced by an effective advocacy coalition to introduce comprehensive smoke-free legislation.

The work of ASH in lobbying for smoke-free legislation was funded by the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK, both of which are also key members of the Smokefree Action Coalition.

I believe this is known as "Feeding the hand that bites you". What a sell-out.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Jackboot Jacqui And Another Consultation Scam

Lawson Narse doesn't miss much. He's picked up on an article at the Telegraph by Alex Singleton that rings some bells at the Puddlecote residence.

Jacqui Smith failed to consult over new anti-photographer law

The Royal Photographic Society - established in 1853 - ought to have been at the top of the list of organisations consulted of how the law would work in practice. Yet the society, which has a Royal Charter, tells me that it has unsuccessfully been trying to meet Miss Smith over the past year, despite the encouragement and help of a backbench Labour MP.

Labour do have a very strange interpretation of the terms 'stakeholder' and 'consultation'. They similarly omitted the views of those who are directly affected by their policies when they 'consulted' on hiding tobacco displays, as I mentioned in December. The Tobacco Retailers Alliance also tried their hardest to talk to Labour, but were swatted away, as reported at the time by Medical News no less.

In a report on the Future of Tobacco Control consultation published on Tuesday 9th December 2008, the Department of Health appears to have deliberately omitted evidence offered by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance.

Ken Patel, Leicester retailer and National Spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, said: "First the Minister refused to meet with retailers, now they have censored our formal response to a public consultation."

Campaign Manager Katherine Graham said; "We are not listed as one of the respondents although our response was submitted by email and also sent by post, so we can be certain it was received. For some reason the views of 25,000 shopkeepers just seem to have been air-brushed out of the consultation report."

Alex Singleton continues,

It is no surprise, given this failure to listen to those who know their subject, that legislation eminating from Westminster has become of such a poor quality. It is, alas, too much to hope that the Home Secretary will repent of her authoritarianism, and repeal this terrible legislation.

It's not just the photography law that is blighted by such 'consultation' that is nothing of the sort. Labour consistently 'consult' only themselves or carefully cherry-picked QUANGOs that agree with their view.

Increasingly, such QUANGOs are couched as 'charities' and furnished with your taxes to lobby in agreement with Brown and his assorted control freaks. If you take a contrary position to Labour, however well-researched and argued, and however historical, honest and popular your organisation, the government-funded nutjobs will prevail. You're screwed.

This isn't just worrying anymore, it's anti-democratic and could even be classed as treason in my book.

Without wishing to bring down a Devil's Kitchen-style shit-storm regarding personal voting choices ... anyone who still intends giving their X to Labour at the next election, is either incredibly stupid, or a 24 carat cunt.

A Burning Issue

One could almost hear the collective outrage as the BBC screened this story on the evening news tonight.

A health and safety investigation has been launched after a 14-year-old girl suffered burns over 70% of her body using an unstaffed tanning salon.

Oh. My. God. The poor child, won't somebody please etc etc etc.

James Hadley, who owns Lextan, the salon which Kirsty used, said he was operating within the law. No-one was at the salon to prevent her from using the beds or stop her from using the booth for as long as she did.

More righteous tearing out of hair. No-one? The poor child, won't somebody etc etc etc.

Back home in Barry on Thursday, the teenager said she took full responsibility for the fact that she should not have been in the salon because she was under 16.

Oh I see. She shouldn't have been there. There were warnings plastered all over the walls, but she ignored them. Good. Hope she suffers, it'll teach her a valuable lesson for the future. Story over then ...

... or, perhaps not.

But she said there should be more controls on who is using the salons.

Err ... pardon? You're 14! When did you become the authority on such things?

"Teenagers are going to push the boundaries. They are going to do things they should not do."

Yes, and when they get burned by being stupid and disobeying the rules, they learn to their cost that the rules are there for a reason. Life has always been that way. It is a perfect example of the saying "getting one's fingers burned". It is nature's way of using pain to warn us that we're being fucking stupid.

But, hold on again, what's this?

Mrs McRae, a health and safety officer, agreed that her daughter was partly responsible for her condition.

Partly? No partly about it. Entirely is the word I think you were searching for. But then, as a fucking health and safety officer, you are paid to apportion blame to anyone and everyone except those who have messed up, aren't you? This is just an extra-curricular 'mates' rates' job.

But she said there should be much more regulation of the salons.

She said she did not believe, even at 16 that teenagers were mature enough to understand the risks they were taking by using these salons.

Again. If they can read, the risks are explained. If they choose to ignore them? Tough.

It's sad that 'Health and safety officer in calls for more restrictions on tanning shops shocker' is not even raising eyebrows here. If I was a cynical person, I'd be smelling something very fishy about it all.

The Vale of Glamorgan council said it was sorry to hear about the incident and a health and safety investigation was underway at the salon.

"The council is extremely concerned about unmanned tanning salons but there is no current legislation in Wales relating to such premises," said principal environmental health officer Rowan Hughes.

Julie Barratt, director of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said it had been calling for unmanned tanning salons to be banned for some time.

The Welsh Assembly Government said it was concerned that young people under the age of 18 were using such tanning facilities but it did not have the power to introduce regulation of the sunbed industry.

However, a spokeswoman said Health Minister Edwina Hart had asked the Department of Health to tighten regulation of the use of artificial tanning devices.

My! This case was rather handy for quite a few authorities, it appears.

Also for the BBC. The trail had run a bit cold since they reported a similar story just three days after carrying Cancer Research UK's annual crusade against tanning.

Perhaps I'm just being idealistic myself, but it all smacks of more approaching state intervention (which will no doubt be well over the top), helpfully stirred up by Comrade Beeb, resulting in more stifling regulation of business, whilst simultaneously excusing crass stupidity.

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Off To The Pub? Wear A Hat

The Mail are one of many to report that deputy Information Commissioner, David Smith, has come out against CCTV requirements for pub licensees.

David Smith, the deputy Information Commissioner, said: "Hardwiring surveillance into pubs raises serious privacy concerns. Installing surveillance in pubs to combat specific problems of rowdiness and bad behaviour may be lawful, but blanket measures where there is no history of criminal activity is likely to breach data protection requirements. Use of CCTV must be reasonable and proportionate if we are to maintain public trust and confidence in its deployment."

It was only Friday that I wrote about this myself. The focus was a Henry Porter article in The Guardian which hinted that there might be a policy by the police to hinder licence applications in Islington if the owner didn't commit to installing CCTV. The police insisted they didn't have such a policy and were at pains to point out that licensing was a local authority matter.

The MPS overall does not have a policy of insisting CCTV is installed within licensed premises before supporting licence applications. However, individual boroughs may impose blanket rules in support of their objectives to prevent crime and disorder and to assist the investigation of offences when they do occur.

So is this saying that Islington do, or don't, employ such rules? The Mail seem very certain.

The blanket policy has been introduced in the London boroughs of Islington and Richmond, where all applicants for permission to sell alcohol are being told they must fit CCTV.

Not personally being a sheep, especially when it comes to the Mail, I like to check these things out myself. It does seem, however, that they may have a point here. It's in the Islington licensing guidelines. [pdf]

CCTV shall be installed, operated and maintained in agreement with the Police. The system will enable frontal identification of every person entering the premises. The system shall record in real time and operate whilst the premises are open for licensable activities. The recordings shall be kept available for a minimum of 31 days. Recordings shall be made available to an Authorised Officer or a Police Officer (subject to the Data Protection Act 1998) within 24 hours of any request.

What's more, this is also mentioned.

When incorporated into the licence or certificate as conditions, they become enforceable under the law and a breach of such conditions could give rise to prosecution.

So, should the CCTV not be available, for any reason whatsoever, the owner would not only be vulnerable to losing his licence, but would also face the threat of prosecution.

To be completely fair to Islington, they do state that these conditions are to be 'volunteered', but the Islington pub owner who highlighted this was made very aware that his licence would be in jeopardy if he were to object.

I applied for a new licence, which requires the approval of a number of organisations, including the police. I was stunned to find the police were prepared to approve, ie not fight, our licence on condition that we installed CCTV capturing the head and shoulders of everyone coming into the pub, to be made available to them upon request.

I also spoke with a friend who is the licensing officer for another borough. Not only did he tell me that there was nothing I could do to overturn this, he also strongly advised me not to blot my copybook with the police by even questioning the request; I would not want them against me in the future.

It seems the guy is completely backed into a corner then. The police can protest their innocence as much as they like, but as long as they refuse to raise concerns, they are complicit.

Islington, of course, have implemented this without any semblance of democratic mandate, and we can't vote out the Metropolitan Police either. Unless I missed it, no party's General Election manifesto has ever carried this particular measure, nor has it been sanctioned by any legislation.

It is a regulation, made up on the fly, which can potentially destroy a business owner's life and potentially lead to a criminal record. Democracy in action? Don't think so.

Sounds like people acting "beyond their authority" to me. I seem to remember I have heard that before somewhere. Oh yes, it's from these smug bastards.

Is this what our country has descended to?

Britain 'Best Placed' To Exit Recession?

I've had an ISA with Legal & General since 2003 for my youngsters when they reach 18 or thereabouts. Needless to say it's doing pretty damn poorly at the moment. In fact, I'd have been better off stashing the folding matter in the airing cupboard, so far. Fortunately, I'm buying units up at alarmingly cheap rates, and considering there is no chance of cashing in for over a decade, I'm quite relaxed about it.

There were a few interesting snippets in the 'Market Overview' though, that fly in the face of Brown's bullshit about Britain being best placed to cope with the 'global' recession.

On the US:

Once US house prices stabilise, banks will find more comfort in lending and the drag on the economy from a lack of ... investment should begin to lessen. Importantly, US firms have been actively cutting costs and increasing productivity during this turbulent period, putting them in a far better position.

On Japan:

While the Japanese economy is not immune to the global economic downturn, the banking crisis has not had as severe an impact as seen in other developed economies. This is because Japan already experienced adjustment during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. The high profile bankruptcies in 1997 triggered high savings levels that remain today. As a result, many Japanese banks are awash with cash rather than highly indebted like their peers in the West.

On Asia:

China looks best placed in the region to stabilise economic growth, but its challenge is to generate enough additional growth from domestic demand to make up for a shortfall in exports.

On the UK:

Nothing positive whatsoever.

New Wetherspoons Pub

The Southport Drinker carries the best pub sign of the century on his blog. He had a swipe at CAMRA too. Mr Puddlecote tends to like that sort of stuff.

H/T The Pub Curmudgeon

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Song For (Righteous) Whoever

Whilst in The Feathers pub (or more accurately, outside it, obviously) following the NUJ knees-up on Monday, we indulged in an interesting music discussion. Since then, I've been musing on how some tracks might be received today.

Red Red Wine, UB40 (1983) - "It is quite simply not appropriate that alcohol should be glorified in this way. Using red wine as a means to ease one's troubles is not to be encouraged in a civilised society. If the rap is included, the drink is mentioned over 20 times. This glorifies binge-drinking and adds up to over 40 units if they are drinking from a large glass. We are very concerned about the message this sends to our children." Don Shenker, Alcohol Concern

Road To Hell, Chris Rea (1989) - "It's all very well moaning about the M25 but road pollution is the biggest cause of global warming/cooling/wetness and he should have got the train." Ken Livingstone

The Power Of Love, Huey Lewis & The News (1985) - "I have written to the EU Commissioner for women to complain about this song's blatant sexualisation of young females. The line 'stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream' is quite unnecessary and portrays teenage girls as being interested in dirty sex with men. This is, of course, not the case at all. It is men, the aggressors, who unwelcomely force themselves on pure innocents. Young girls have no other interests except embroidery, cakes, and condemning catholicism as pure evil (that and lesbian sex, of course, which is perfectly acceptable). I have also asked that beer be banned because men like to drink it." Mary Honeyball MEP (Labour)

Lip Up Fatty, Bad Manners (1980) - "I don't wish to denigrate fat people, but we are facing an obesity epidemic in this country and songs such as this, which appear to trivialise being a fat bastard, are not helpful. I would have preferred it if Mr Bloodvessel had included lyrics that promoted five a day, or the obvious benefits of ballroom dancing. Perhaps he could issue a message to the audience before all live performances that being fat costs the NHS £189bn a year and that they should seek help from a government-funded charity on how to stop choosing what they want to eat. I have also e-mailed Mr Shenker of Alcohol Concern about the song 'Special Brew' by the same artist." Alan Johnson

Dancing On The Ceiling, Lionel Richie (1986) - "Whilst very pleased that 'everybody was having a ball', we are concerned that 'people started to climb the walls' without a proper risk assessment. There was no mention of ladders being used, and if they were, full training should have been given beforehand. It is also mandatory that should dancing have been taking place on the ceiling, that a full scaffold was erected as per Health & Safety legislation. We shall be looking into this matter urgently, in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, to ensure that proper legal process was followed." Health and Safety Executive

Get Outta My Dreams (Get Into My Car), Billy Ocean (1988) - "This song is deeply irresponsible and should be banned forthwith. We are constantly advising that children avoid getting into a stranger's car, but Mr Ocean is glorifying such behaviour with lyrics that are targeted at a young age group. Research funded by us has shown that one in every 3 cars is driven by a paedophile who wants to viciously attack anything that moves." Childline

Play The Game, Queen (1980) - "It's quite wrong for Queen to say 'when you're feeling down and your resistance is low', that you should 'light another cigarette and let yourself go'. We are calling on the government to hide this single under the counter as it has quite obviously been funded by tobacco companies. 106,000 people a minute die from smoking related diseases, or is it 300,000, I can't remember which figure I pulled out of the air last. Besides, it's irrelevant, as smoking isn't a relaxant at all, smokers just think that experiencing relaxation means that they are relaxed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our research proves that nicotine patches are far more relaxing and slightly less costly, at £28 for a week's supply on special offer at all good pharmacies. Get yours now, you know it makes sense (Was that good, Pfizer? Do I get my bonus now?)" A Lying Cunt Martin Dockrell, ASH

Walls Come Tumbling Down, Style Council (1985) - "It's quite clear by referring to 'Public Enemy Number 10' and calling for walls to be destroyed, that this band are inciting terrorism against democratically-elected government officals. Mr Weller has been detained under the terrorism act and his computers have been seized. We are looking into his known associates, but in the meantime, he is being beaten up ... err ... questioned, at Belmarsh prison." Jacqui Smith

Any more suggestions?

Monday 16 February 2009

Next They Came For ...

Another good spot by the Pub Curmudgeon, and accompanied, as always, by his customary common sense.

The latest intrusion of the government into people’s private lives is the plan to quiz jobseekers as to how much they drink. Surely this is entirely people’s own business, and as long as they are able to function in a job should be of no concern to the State. And, if people are unable to work due to alcohol problems, they can claim invalidity benefit anyway. The authorities may claim to be only targeting “problem drinkers”, but how long will it be before people are refused benefits because they exceed the official alcohol guidelines of two thimblefuls every Preston Guild? And who will be next – smokers, the overweight, those who don’t eat their “five a day”?

That last bit made me smile. Smokers being next. For the past couple of years, I've been attempting to wake people up to the fact that the punishment meted out to smokers is just the start, and that drinkers and those who enjoy 'unapproved' food would be next. If you have any sort of vice, you should be worried about the treatment of smokers, no matter your like or dislike of the smoking ban.

It's happening more swiftly than even I imagined.

With the righteous hitting a bit of a stumbling block with regard the hiding of tobacco displays, they have simply moved onto a fresh target using, as predicted, the same template.

In this instance, they can't possibly argue that smoking can be an obstacle to capacity for work, but they can certainly misdirect a sheep-like public into believing the notion that alcohol consumption invariably has that effect. It's an easier target, so they will hit that first. Smokers actually take a back-seat for this particular righteous offensive. Quite a novelty.

The Curmudgeon is absolutely correct that if they get this one through the gullible public, other lifestyle choices will surely follow. (false) Figures will be trotted out about how successful this initiative was and that replication will only be good for the country.

Stopping benefits for those who are taking the piss and are unemployable by their own volition makes perfect sense, but this is nothing of the sort. It is behaviour management, pure and simple, with a large splash of blackmail thrown in.

Section 76 Makes Photographers Snap

Old Holborn and Henry North London have posted some pics already (I spent longer in the pub) of today's NUJ event covered by Comrade Beeb amongst others.

Here are some of mine.

Early doors

Or subtitled, Man walks across London 2012 100 metres track

A scrum of photographers, earlier

OH drew quite a reaction

Justice4Jean delivered a message

"Please stay on the pavement"

I think elf 'n' safety want a word with you, sunshine

Mark Thomas has his say

This guy is really asking for trouble

OH doing his bit for the tourism industry ... signing autographs for a Spanish couple!

And an unrelated WTF photo ...

What was this superb bike doing in Home Office heartland?

Sunday 15 February 2009

Stupid Scotsman

Apologies to those north of the border with a brain, but there really is no other way of headlining the stunning backward nature of articles in the Scotsman.

This is the latest tripe from an organ that excels in producing ill-researched garbage on a regular basis.

Revealed: true scale of nation over the limit

EVERY man and woman over 16 in Scotland is downing an average of 23 units of alcohol a week, shocking new government figures have revealed.

What? Every one? Good effort, but they're not trying hard enough. Fucking lightweights, I did more than that in the past two days! It is truly shocking that Scotland seems to have lost its rebellion. Starting with the scum-sucking cunts at the Scotsman.

Despite maximum safe limits of just 14 units for women and 21 for men, previously secret drinks industry statistics have proved the entire nation is effectively over the limit.

Hold on. Rewind that. Maximum safe limits? I thought they were just 'advisory'. Or have we moved past that now?

Listen, you brazen chimp-fuckers, the limits were made up. They are a fantasy. By just quoting them without cursory examination, you already exhibit severe fuckwittery, but couching them as "maximum limits" makes you a fucktard of the highest order.

Here we bloody go again. It really shouldn't need to be reiterated to someone in the press, but it might be worth your engaging in research before employing keyboard. If you had performed such a function, you might have found out that the proof was in the words of one of the committee that first plucked that 'maximum' figure out of their lardy arses.

The disclosure that the 1987 recommendation was prompted by “a feeling that you had to say something” came from Richard Smith, a member of the Royal College of Physicians working party that produced it.

He told The Times that the committee’s epidemiologist had confessed that “it’s impossible to say what’s safe and what isn’t” because “we don’t really have any data whatsoever”.

2009 translation from daft Jock hacks? 'Maximum limits'.

What sort of cock writes shit like this?

Twenty-three units is the equivalent of around seven and a half pints of 5% lager or six and a half large glasses of typical red wine, although exact figures will vary from brand to brand.

Well, fuck me! I see your point now, you illiberal wankstain. Just under one glass of wine per day is fucking scandalous!

Bruce Ritson, the chairman of the medical pressure group Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, or Shaap, said the sheer scale of consumption meant Scots had to realise excessive drinking was no longer a minority issue.

{Sniff} I think I smell the aroma of a fake charity ... and there, in the public domain, on their own web-site, is the proof.

SHAAP was set up in November 2006 by the Scottish Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties through their intercollegiate group on alcohol.


SHAAP has received start-up funding from the Scottish Government for three years.

Anyway, back to what the taxpayer-funded SHAAP cock-sucker said:

He said: "We can no longer kid ourselves that alcohol misuse is somebody else's problem. These figures show that as a nation, we are drinking well over the limit and we're paying the price with more people admitted to hospital every day as a result of alcohol and the fastest growing liver cirrhosis rate in the world. Overall alcohol consumption must come down."

Says fucking who? When were you elected to dictate on what Scots like to do in their private lives? It is a personal choice, that is to say, it isn't up to you to demand that consumption must come down for others. Sucking up public money to throw back shite like this at people who have paid your wages for the past three years is a bit rich, doncha think?

I'm sorry to burst your particular righteous bubble, but alcohol misuse is most definitely someone else's problem. Your body is your problem, anyone else's is their problem. Or would you rather I turn up at your door and decide what I think is best for you based on my personal preferences? Actually, if it mirrors your attitude, I'd be forcing the opinion of whomever pays me down your righteous throat.

Cue the NHS blackmail.

The Scottish Government has estimated the financial cost of over-drinking – including the expense to the NHS and criminal justice system for alcohol-related disease and offending – at £2.25bn a year.

Is that all? And compared with generated income from duty on Scottish alcohol sales? As usual, those figures seem to have been omitted.

Stupid fucking Scotsman.

Police Separated From State, Another Slice Of The Salami

I hope Letters from a Tory is looking in, as I would love to read a customary quality missive to this guy.

He runs the ACPO, a private company, conveniently squirrelled away from those pesky FOI requests. The Mail has done something that is very rare these days ... investigative journalism. I suggest you read all of this for background.

21 employees, devoid of accountability, without even so much as a single vote between them, helping to dictate Government policy on your freedoms. Lucratively so, too. (Will Davis speak up about this soon? Or has he shot his bolt?)

ACPO Chairman Ken Jones isn't fully happy with that though, he has gone on recoord before asking for even more freedom from accountability.

The best performing police forces should be given "foundation" status to make them more independent

I remember the good old days when the police knew their place as an arm of the public sector. Paid for by us and reporting to us via elected representatives.

Sorry, but a police entity swaying Government without transparent recourse from the public seems, to my mind, to be quite wrong.

Perhaps, seeing as I will be taking pictures of some woodentops tomorrow, in contravention of this shit law, it is inadvisable to be raising such concerns.

Or maybe not. Fuck 'em.

H/T Obnoxio

Saturday 14 February 2009

More Skewed Priorities

Following hot on the heels of the Royal Bolton Hospital a few days ago , another case of skewed priorities from a London NHS.

Confidential and sensitive medical records have been left in an unlocked boiler room at a local hospital, a Sutton Guardian investigation can reveal.

Medical records at Sutton Hospital are easily accessible to members of the public as many are being kept in an unsecure boiler room located outside the main buildings.

The leaky boiler room is housing thousands of patient records, including names, addresses and full medical histories of individuals treated at the 19th century hospital.

A local reporter just walked in.

With a simple turn of the handle I was confronted by a huge pile of documents and boxes of highly sensitive medical records, and not a person in sight.

In two hours there, only one member of staff entered the building, and she did not seem too concerned by a stranger’s presence.

They're right on the ball with less important matters, though.

Who cares about sensitive medical records, eh? You can spend two hours trawling through them without challenge, but smoke in the car park for 5 minutes ...

Friday 13 February 2009

Roll On Monday

Updates may be sparse this weekend. Mrs Puddlecote said something that sounded like Scent Valium Times (I replied that I didn't know what she was talking about and she became incredibly angry. Very odd). Words I could make out being muttered as she stormed out were 'sabotage' and 'PC'.

I shall be attending this event at Mr Creedy's place on Monday though, perhaps you'd care to join in too?

This will be my sole form if ID on the day.

A Pint Of Lager And A Database Entry Please

During a lazy Friday afternoon surf, I stumbled across this piece from Henry Porter in the Guardian.

The police are forcing publicans to install CCTV before approving their licences

On Monday the Guardian carried a letter from Nick Gibson who told how he had taken over a pub in Islington, London, and had to apply for a new licence, which required the approval of a number of organisations, including the police.

"I was stunned," he wrote, "to find that the police were prepared to approve – ie not fight – our licence on condition that we installed CCTV capturing the head and shoulders of everyone coming into the pub, to be made available to them on request."

Porter goes on to highlight why this should be considered a sinister policy if we wish to live in a free society.

It is clear that the police do indeed have an unofficial policy that they implement in a thoroughly undemocratic manner when advising on licence applications – not on the merits of the case but on the applicant's compliance with their policy.

CCTV has its purposes but the idea that someone going for a pint must give up their privacy by having their image taken and stored is repellent to all notions of a free society.

Right there with you, sunshine. It's also repellent that some commenters to the article see nothing untoward with this at all (though perhaps not surprising since this is the Guardian). One such sheep even justifies it by saying that with all the CCTV around, another won't hurt. Apart from somewhat skirting the fact that this is effectively police blackmail of a business owner, what sort of argument is that? "It's OK, you've taken a massive slice of my privacy, you might as well have the rest, I've no need of it now". Good grief.

Gibson has been put in a difficult position and I would expect the council to make the first move to resolve what is a minor but also crucial issue of privacy, which of course is guaranteed to each one of us by the Human Rights Act.

If it fails to do so, he might like to provide a mask at the entrances to his pub with a suggestion that if people want to drink in private they hold up the mask as they pass the cameras.

Perhaps there should be a V for Vendetta evening at the Drapers Arms. If Gibson would like to suggest a date in the next two weeks, I will publicise it.

Well, I'm always up for a bit of masked mischief, especially if there is beer involved. Anyone else?

In the meantime, it is important that the police understand it is not their business to use their influence to make and implement policy affecting people's privacy.

Point well made, but perhaps that should have read "... it used to not be their business ..."

You won't be shocked to hear that Mr Gibson's Labour MP, to whom he wrote regarding the matter, was about as useful as an inflatable dartboard.

Thursday 12 February 2009

Quote Of The Day (2)

By Nigel Farage, commenting on today's robbery of the ING Bank in the Spaak building of the European Parliament.

"Though delighted to hear that nobody was hurt during today's robbery, I suppose the Parliament might now understand how the British people feel"

Again ... how very true (and very opportunistically funny).

H/T England Expects

Quote Of The Day

From Harry Phibbs of the Mail Online.

New Labour gave up independent thinking so long ago they have forgotten how. Control freakery has poisoned their soul - and Labour List is its living (or rather dying) embodiment.

How very true.

Via Tory Totty

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Defeat For The Soviet Republic of Brighton

Some good news! In a rare outbreak of common sense, Britain's biggest bansturbators, Brighton & Hove Council, have been hilariously bloodied in the nose department.

A Government planning inspector has ruled patio heaters an efficient use of energy as he overturned a decision by Brighton & Hove City Council to refuse planning permission for a heater outside a town-centre pub.

The council argued the heaters did not comply with its energy-efficiency policy. But the planning inspector said there was “no more efficient way” of outside heating, and added it could negatively impact trade.

The council rejected the application from the Heart & Hand in North Road to use three heat lamps outside, labelling them “an inefficient, unsustainable and wasteful use of limited energy resources”.

It said they would look unsightly in a conservation area.

A round of applause for Simon Emerson, the sensible guy who told Brighton to shove their idealistic ruling somewhere that really is snug and warm.

The reaction from Brighton was a deliciously humiliating climb-down.

A spokesman for Brighton & Hove Council said: “The policy we used as a basis to refuse the application states the need for energy efficiency in all sorts of developments. We felt that outside heaters were inefficient and therefore conflicted with this policy.

"But, we are happy to accept the decision of the inspector as it provided us with some useful clarification and, as a result, we are not expecting to refuse these types of application in principle in the future.”

Well, I say. What a difference from the arrogant tone employed by Brighton's Green party Councillor, Keith Taylor, back in February. [pdf]

Keith Taylor, Green councillor for the St Peter’s and North Laine ward in Brighton, said: “I have every sympathy for the businesses that have lost money since the smoking ban was introduced. However, pubs and restaurants are going to have to come up with more imaginative ways of retaining customers that don’t involve heating fresh air.

Not any more they're not. Eat cold humble pie with a dressing of ridicule gravy, you pompous, lentil-munching cock.

It's only a small victory though, considering Brighton's incredible history of banning just about everything apart from breathing.

For a start, the open air in Brighton is an entirely alcohol-free zone, and has been for a while now.

Brighton and Hove council has also operated an alcohol-free zone throughout the authority for several years. The police exercise discretion, but in general anyone caught drinking in the streets will have the alcohol confiscated. A spokesman said that drinking would be allowed in open-air cafés spilling on to the streets, but otherwise officers would stop drinkers in parks, squares and streets.

They attempted to implement a smoking ban on bars and restaurants in 2003, and banned council employees from enjoying a beer at lunchtime in 2005.

Brighton and Hove Council has banned its employees from drinking any alcohol during working hours.

All 800 staff at can no longer drink at lunchtime, under new guidelines about drinking at work.

Chief executive Alan McCarthy said the move wasn't in response to any particular problem among employees, but added: "We just concluded that work and drink don't mix and a total ban was the obvious answer."

There was no overall control after the 2007 elections, but the bans just increased in frequency after that.

In October 2007 it was carrier bags,

Brighton has announced its plans to be the first British city to ban plastic bags.
City councillors from all parties have voted to do away with the bags, which have become the focus of green efforts to reduce waste and the nation's carbon footprint.

Then certain styles of music in December,

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: “Whether it’s Jerry the opera or Jerry the rapper, we must ensure that we are preventing criminal offences and not just offence itself.”

Then dogs in February 2008 ... seriously, I'm not messing you about here.

Brighton and Hove City Council has announced plans to ban dogs from beaches for six months of the year.

Dogs would also be banned from children's play areas, some school grounds, small historic city centre squares, such as Brunswick Square in Hove, and cemeteries.

Followed by 'inappropriate' recreational keep-fit clubs in April.

Town hall bosses have axed a child and adults keep-fit pole dancing class - because it is "not appropriate".

Brighton and Hove City Council bosses banned the 'Pole Dancing Passion' sessions from the King Alfred leisure centre - despite granting licenses for six fully nude lap-dancing clubs.

Estate Agents' advertising boards in September.

Brighton & Hove City Council submitted a proposal to extend an existing ban on estate agency boards beyond the city's historic areas at an environment cabinet meeting on September 11.

And even Tesco find it difficult to deal with the south coast burghers, having been banned from selling alcohol in November.

Supermarket giant Tesco has been banned from selling alcohol in a new store. It is the first time the multi-national company has been ordered to keep drink off the shelves in Sussex and only the third occasion in Britain.

That's without even mentioning the aborted plan to ban pavement seating, which, for anyone who has visited Brighton, is the sole fucking reason it has dragged its reputation up from being the dirty weekend capital of the south, into a continental-style relaxation zone.

Brighton has 26 Tory councillors, 13 Labour, 12 Greens, a couple of Lib Dems and an Independent. Quite obviously a lethal cocktail.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Skewed Priorities

Unashamedly linking to a post by a certain Dick Puddlecote on the National Death Service blog regarding this story.

Royal Bolton Hospital 'Lose' A&E Patients' Personal Details

More than 1,000 patients of the Royal Bolton Hospital have been contacted after their personal details were lost near the hospital grounds.

The hospital said the documents fell from a waste container which was taking them to be destroyed on 30 January.

The documents contained the names, addresses and dates of birth of patients who had recently attended A&E and other departments.

The hospital has assured patients their care will not have been affected.

Great. It may well lead to an identity theft though.

It's amazing how little information a criminal needs to steal your identity. These are some of the most commonly-used items:

    Your full name, date of birth and address – data you are likely to carry in your wallet every day on items such as your driving licence

Or just might be picked up off the ground from a Bolton hospital. Why did they not just shred them?

How could this happen? Surely patients' details should be paramount?

Maybe, except that this was what the same hospital was spending its time (and cash, no doubt) releasing to the media the day before the data loss story hit.

Total smoking ban at the Royal Bolton hospital

SMOKING will be banned from the entire Royal Bolton Hospital site from July 1 this year, health chiefs have revealed.

Patients, visitors and staff are already prohibited from lighting up in any of the buildings and under canopies at entrances.

But the new rule means they will no longer be allowed to smoke anywhere in the grounds of the hospital. Hospital bosses say they have taken the decision because they want to promote healthier lifestyles.

Followed by blah blah smoking bad, rhubarb rhubarb non-smokers more equal, wibble wibble we're right-on.


The Green Shoots Of Pubco Defiance?

Having recently touched on the appeasement policy favoured by the drinks industry over Government-approved alcohol unitary intake, it seems I was exasperated at their combined lack of cynicism without being fully up-to-date. I should have checked the excellent Pub Curmudgeon blog first.

There’s an interesting interview with Tim Martin, head of J. D. Wetherspoon, in today’s Sunday Times. While I'm not a great lover of Wetherspoon’s pubs, you have to admire Tim Martin for defying the conventional wisdom of the industry, and it cannot be denied that the company has been very successful within an overall declining market. It is apparently poised to become Britain’s biggest pub chain in terms of sales value, if not number of outlets.

Also good to see him cocking a snook at the ludicrous official guidelines on safe drinking levels, rather than meekly going along with them like his counterparts in other companies:

How much? Probably about 40 alcoholic units a week, he says. He finishes most days with “a couple of pints of Abbot, a couple of glasses of wine”. He rails against the government’s 21-units-a-week dictum. “The doctor who came up with it said there’s no medical foundation to it; 70 to 80 units a week.” As a limit, or a recommendation? He laughs.

I'm with the Curmudgeon in not caring too much for JDW establishments, especially since Tim Martin was sucked in big-time by the anti-smoker hype, but in the drinks war against the clinically-obese Donaldson and his equally puritan chums, Alan 'Let's Boogie' Johnson and Dawn Prim'n'Proper, I'm right behind him.

To paraphrase a Not The Nine O'clock News joke about the Yanks in the world wars, perhaps he has realised he was late for the last battle, and wants to make sure he is nice and early for this one. Keep it up Tim.

Et Tu, Brute?

It's bad enough being a tax scrounger who lies for a living, but the latest disgusting state-funded cobblers from Martin Dockrell of ASH must be stunningly poor if an anti-smoker of over 20 years standing decides to fisk it. Mercilessly.

A few joyous extracts ...

"I take it this means that Dockrell is calling me a denialist and comparing me to AIDS dissidents who still deny that HIV causes AIDS. I also take it to mean that Dockrell is accusing me of being in the pocket of the tobacco companies and acting at their beck and call and presumably -their payments."

"This article demonstrates the religious-like and McCarthyist-like nature of the modern-day anti-smoking movement. If you do not subscribe to the accepted dogma of the movement, even when there is legitimate scientific evidence that brings that dogma into question, you are a dissident and a denialist"

"The absurdity of the article is evident in its implication that I - a strong anti-smoking advocate - am a denialist who is being orchestrated by the tobacco companies to disseminate conspiracy theories."

"Action on Smoking and Health (UK) evidently views the anti-smoking movement as a religion. Any challenge to the doctrines of the religion amounts to heresy. Scientific discourse is not allowed. You have to accept everything anti-smoking researchers claim with blind faith."

"The rest of the story is that the anti-smoking movement is quickly losing its science base. It is becoming a religious-like, McCarthyist-like movement which attacks and attempts to blacklist anyone who doesn't accept the doctrines of the movement. Its personal attacks are on character, not on science, and are doled out based not on the quality of science in the opposing arguments, but the position that the dissenter has taken.

The most important implication of today's story is that this shift in the movement is now evident not only in the informal statements of the anti-smoking groups, but in the peer-reviewed, published literature. Tobacco control as a religion, rather than as a science-based field of public health practice, is now becoming formally institutionalized."

Can Martin Dockrell sink any further into his own excrement? Never forget that the Department of Health pay this pharma sphincter-licker's wages.

I think it's time to write to the DoH and demand an explanation as to why public money is being wasted on offensive idiots who can't even convince those with whom they share an ethos. To be continued ...

Not All Industries Shut For Snow

What sort of shitbag does something like this?

Ice-cold clamper shows no compassion for driver's dilemma

An estate agent had a lucky escape when his car slid off the road, but later returned to rescue his vehicle only to discover it had been clamped. Mark Rigby, 29, of Amberley Gardens, Bedford, was travelling to his office in Allhallows, when his Volkswagen Golf skidded on a patch of black ice.

[Mr Rigby said], "I didn't decide to park it where it was, I was trying to get to our car parking spaces but it slipped off a ramp and I couldn't get it out of the snow.

After I paid for the clamp to be removed it took 20 minutes to dig all of the snow from around the car."

What say the clampers?

A spokesman for SIA Security Ltd said: "We spoke to the driver who said that the car had slid off the road but it is our policy that once the clamp is fitted a fee must be paid before it can be released."

Or, roughly translated, 'computer says no'. It's rather galling that while most of the country had a lie-in, this guy braved the {cough} global warming to get to work and was hit with a £125, yes £125, fine.

Mr Rigby said: "I understand that people have a job to do but you really would have thought that common sense would have prevailed."

Hahahaha ... how long have you lived in this country, Mark?