Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Don't mess with a bus driver!

Mrs R spotted on this on Fail Blog the other day, and thought it said something about being careful where you park as well as something about bus drivers whose feet might land on the wrong pedal.

She hadn't any idea how to use it, and maybe link to something else. So it was a bit ironic that later the same day she noticed that a lot of other blogs had linked to a video showing how an, as yet unnamed, elderly man who got his arm trapped in a tube train was subjected to some quite horrid verbal abuse by a TFL worker. It's here, and is quite slow to load because there are over 600 comments.

Talking about being caught off guard by London traffic, and using a rather tenuous link, there is of course Boris almost getting squashed by a car after it had been hit by a lorry. It's here.

Mrs Rigby thinks that one particularly interesting thing about all these videos is the list of comments. Fail Blog generates slightly amusing ones; Boris and his lorry got comments about all sorts of stuff including speed bumps and personalities, but nobody seems to viciously condemn either him or the driver.

In contrast the comments beneath IanfromLondon's video are at times quite unpleasant and threatening - and many come from people who claim to work for TFL and who therefore are responsible for running our tube trains. They could of course be lying, trolls are an internet nuisance who cause trouble, but Mrs R thinks there are too many for them all to be spoof comments.

People who work for TFL are meant to be helping passengers (whose fares pay employees' wages) get from a->b as quickly and easily as possible. In short, they're supposed to be providing a service. If a passenger gets hurt surely the best thing to do would be to make sure they're okay rather than push them around, especially somebody who's over 50. There's no sign of the TFL employee checking that the man's arm isn't bruised or broken. No suggestion that he might need help to get onto the next train and be sure of a seat. No offer to take his name and address, or even make a record of his complaint. Instead there's a threat to call the Police, followed by a suggestion that he should be pushed under a train.

You know, sometimes Mrs R is quite pleased she doesn't visit London very often, but even so she's had plenty of bad experiences when using buses, trains and coaches. Too many to mention just now, but she does wish that TFL and other "public transport" employees would realise that they are the public face of the city. They should sometimes look across the Channel where they will see transport that's efficient, clean, punctual and very, very cheap that's run by staff who are helpful and polite and who will mostly speak English as well as their own language.

Ever had a feeling of déjà vu?

The title is, of course, taken from Monty Python.

Mrs Rigby was quite surprised to read that some Members of Parliament
have discussed using parliamentary questions to reveal the financial details of Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry, including how much the former civil servant is being paid for his work.
Hence the feeling of déjà vu. The earlier results of the same sort of thing were less than good.

Today also sees the release of another list of BNP members, said to include all sorts of "establishment" figures who should probably be censured or dismissed for belonging to something Mr Hain says is an illegal political group - at least it will be when his new bill becomes law.

Mr Hain wants to stop a member of the BNP appearing on Question Time, but the BBC disagrees and so do their lawyers. Mrs R thinks it's quite an interesting idea really, to say a political party is illegal, especially when it's only a few months after a legally held European Election when enough people voted BNP for them to win seats as MEPs in Brussels.

That's the same Mr Hain who started off as a Liberal then switched to Labour, was found guilty of criminal conspiracy in 1972, used to be in the Foreign Office and more recently resigned because of financial irregularities, but he is back again - thanks to Mr Brown. He seems to be joined to Westminster by a piece of elastic.

And finally, a bit more déjà vu from the Home office. They've managed to lose maybe up to 40,000 illegal immigrants, but obviously they don't know how many. Mrs R reckons it's probably loads and loads more. Maybe they should've handed out some shiny ID cards at Calais perhaps, maybe it would have made them all stand still long enough to be counted!

Winners and losers

Mrs Rigby isn't the only person to have noted the slightly acidic expressions on the faces of runners up in an American University Beauty Competition. She thinks it's a pity that these girls haven't learnt how to be very good losers, and notes that some of the audience voted with their feet. Instead of applauding the winner ...
... as the pictures were being taken, several dozen spectators walked out of the university’s main auditorium.
It really isn't a very good example is it, especially at a university that claims to "promote diversity and education among minorities".

Mrs Rigby took a stroll round the internet and was quite surprised to learn that Hampton isn't by any means a new university. According to the Wiki page it was founded on 1st April 1868 by Mary Smith Peake. The university has the motto
"The Standard of Excellence, An Education for Life."
Mrs R can't confirm either date or motto from the University's own pages, although she can find some HU Facts. She's picked a few bits and pieces to quote, you can read them yourselves and form your own opinion.
Hampton University, a dynamic, progressive institution of higher education, is a privately-endowed, non-profit, non-sectarian, co-educational, historically black university. It is located in southeastern Virginia and boasts one of the loveliest campuses in the nation, with a picturesque waterfront and historic buildings and landmarks. Hampton University has grown into a comprehensive university providing a broad range of technical, liberal arts, pre-professional, professional, and graduate degree programs. We also offer cultural entertainment and athletic events keep you in touch with the other students and members of the Hampton University family.
Hampton University is a community of learners and educators. It is a place that will challenge your intellect and nurture your spirit; broaden your outlook and expand your opportunities. A place where you can meet people from a diversity of backgrounds and establish friendships that last a lifetime. HU's strong roots reach deep into the history of this nation and the African-American experience. But the University's sights, like yours, are set squarely on the horizons of the global community of the 21st century.
It is a place that believes in integrity, honesty, respect for oneself, respect for others, decency, dignity, responsibility and fairness.
Their Mission Statement includes this
A historically black institution, Hampton University is committed to multiculturalism. The University serves students from diverse national, cultural and economic backgrounds. From its beginnings to the present, the institution has enrolled students from five continents North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe and many countries including Gabon, Kenya, Ghana, Japan, China, Armenia, Great Britain and Russia, as well as the Hawaiian and Caribbean Islands and numerous American Indian nations.
Mrs Rigby really can't work out how a university with such a diverse background and apparently welcoming ethos can possibly encourage the sort of attitude shown by both the contestants and, presumably, their parents and/or friends when they realised that the winner of the competition wasn't who they expected it would be.
The following day Ms Churchill was heckled at a college football game and a previous Miss Hampton University said she was “very shocked” there was a white winner. “We’ve never had one before,” Patrece Parson said.
They were obviously disappointed, and didn't seem to care how much they might hurt the feelings of the winner who wrote to Mr Obama - and managed to annoy university authorities so much that ...
The president of the university’s student body summoned Ms Churchill to explain herself onstage at a special meeting in the student centre theatre. [Ms Churchill] took the opportunity to apologise and thank the majority of students for their support.
Making the complainant apologise for being upset does seem to be an unusual way of resolving a problem.

Let's scurry back to Britain and see if there's a British parallel to this sort of beauty competition. And there is, because Mrs R can remember that the lovely Rachel Christie recently won the Miss England title, which is probably a whole lot more important than any university's competition. She was lauded as being the "First Black Miss England". Mrs R can't find anything wrong with that, because it's true. There's a whole page of pictures of her and other competitors, and not a sour face in sight. Take a look at The Miss England site - it's a delight to see.

Mrs Rigby wonders if maybe, just maybe, some people in some parts of America can learn something from Britain after all. Wouldn't it have been better if Hampton University could have hit the headlines with, "First White Miss Hampton"? It would have been something of a coup, surely.

Maybe Hampton University, that ...
"... values scholarship, talents and achievement."
and says,
"It is also a place that values character. It is a place that believes in integrity, honesty, respect for oneself, respect for others, decency, dignity, responsibility and fairness. It believes in providing an "Education for Life" to the whole person"
... should also encourage its students to learn how to make a winner feel pleased with themselves and also how to be a good loser.

There is, after all, usually only ever one winner in any competition and many, many people who fail to get through the earliest parts of a selection process. Most of the time these people are generous loser, but every so often it's clear they can't hide their upset, so maybe they should try taking Dorothy Fields' advice in the musical Swing Time, they should learn to - "Pick Yourself up", dust yourself off, start all over again.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Fifty days to save the world ...

Mr Brown suggests that we probably won't, after all, need any lovely new power stations to make electricity to run Britain, because if we don't do something about climate change by 9th December 2009 we'll all either drown or burn.
Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the "impasse".
Maybe those eco-warriors are right after all, maybe the Police should have let them go ahead and shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station instead of setting their nasty dogs with big teeth onto them, because Mr Brown is bound to be right. Al Gore says so.

Aren't we lucky to have a prophet like Mr Brown leading our country, whose foresight will save the world from an environmental catastrophe, in the same way as his financial acumen saved the world (including Britain) from economic disaster.

So you see, Mrs Rigby really hopes that when Mr Brown was talking about his "50 days to save the world" he wasn't referring to the almost 50 days until he and other leaders will be getting together for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen - which runs from 7th to 18th December 2009.

Mrs R wonders which day Mr Brown is due to speak - it wouldn't be 9th December would it?

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Snipping away at Army Cadets and UOTC.

Whilst looking for some information earlier today Mrs Rigby noticed this article in the Telegraph that outlines the extent of the cuts affecting all sections of the Territorial Army.

She notes that amongst other things being put on hold, or reduced, are the youth training branches, namely Army Cadets and UTOC.
£4 million will be cut from funding for school cadet forces. As Chancellor in 2006, Gordon Brown announced the expansion of cadet units, saying he wanted more children to participate in them.
Mrs R knows that some teenagers almost 'live' for their Drill Nights, and will spend hours looking after their kit in the Army-approved way. This alone makes Army Cadets worthwhile, but add in the discipline and teamworking skills they acquire and ... well, it's a heck of a loss, and it's the good kids that suffer.
University Officer Training Corps will also lose £3 million.
Mrs R has heard that UOTC Cadets are expected to carry on "as usual", but will not be paid until next year.

Mrs Rigby has also heard, through the local grapevine, that neither Air Force nor Navy junior training branches are suffering funding cuts, so she is intrigued to know why only the Army is being affected in this way but can't find anything in the online media.

Can anybody help her out?

Strikes and fires.

Mrs Rigby notes that few newspapers have picked up the BBC reports of a Firefighters strike in South Yorkshire, due next week
The FBU said strikes were planned for 24-hour periods starting from 1800 BST on 19 October and again on 23 October.
Mrs R isn't sure who is going to put out fires in South Yorkshire during this time, the BBC doesn't mention any contingency plans, and m
ost people probably know that the Auxiliary Fire Service was scrapped by Harold Wilson, and the Green Goddesses that had been retained by the Army were sold off in 2007, their loss was covered by the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 which makes firefighting appliances available to "others providing emergency cover".

Here's an explanation :-

Section 30: Directions for public safety purposes

54. This section provides the Secretary of State with the power to give directions, by order, to fire and rescue authorities as to the use and disposal of their property or facilities for the purposes of public safety. Such a direction may cover all kinds of property and facilities, whether or not they have been provided as part of a national procurement exercise under section 29. An example of when this power might be used is during a period of industrial action when emergency cover provided by a fire and rescue authority is insufficient and in order to ensure public safety their equipment needs to be used by others providing emergency cover.

It's quite reassuring to know that the military might be able to respond to civil emergencies, having been trained at the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre, which is run by the Air Force. Mrs R isn't sure if the TA would get involved, because they've effectively been stood down for the coming six months.

Mrs Rigby fleetingly wondered if either the Police or PCSOs know how to fight fires - or would the H&S Brigade stop them getting too close to any flames in case they get singed?

Climate protests - just a thought or two.

There is an ongoing protest at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, Britain's biggest coal-fired power station, with protesters from Camp for Climate Action, Plane Stupid and Climate Rush combining resources and manpower. This protest is reported to be an attempt to close the facility down.

Mrs Rigby has mixed feelings about things like this. She thinks it's all well and good to protest, and complain about coal-fired power stations, it's good to worry about the dangers of nuclear power - but there also has to be a healthy dose of realism, and the slimmest chance of success.

Maybe the decision by E.On to scrap postpone plans for Kingsnorth have given them some encouragement, after all, it was reported that
... E.ON said recent falls in demand for electricity had forced it to rethink, but that the plant could still be built if economic conditions permitted.

However, green campaigners were claiming a major victory over what they viewed as in effect a cancellation of the Kingsnorth station ...
Green campaigners need to realise that money's tight, E.On is a German company and if cutting costs and outgoings in UK mean they stay profitable then that's what they'll do - even if it means that our lights start going out.

Mrs R believes that these protesters have to understand that Britain will not function without electricity, and electricity has to be made somewhere. She thinks it's just a bit immoral to use power that's been made elsewhere - where you can't see it happening, and where you can't protest. She also believes there's a difference between protesting because you can, and protesting because you should.

If these protesters have reached Ratcliffe-on-Soar on foot or using pedal or wind power, then all well and good - congratulations to them. But if they've been bussed in, have shared cars or used trains and coaches then they're hypocritical, because each and every one of these forms of transport relies on electricity to get it going - and she challenges these protesters to successfully start any car, bus or coach that has a duff battery, and do it every single time they want to make a journey. The novelty would soon wear off. And Mrs Rigby would like to remind these people that so-called "eco-friendly", battery-powered, cars aren't a true alternative because they get plugged in and use electricity to recharge their batteries and every single component of these cars is put together in factories - and the factories are, guess what, they're powered by electricity that comes from power stations such as the one at Ratcliffe-on-Soar.

Mrs R looked at how these protesters communicate with each other, to organise this and other protests. The information is online, at for example, Twitter, GreenMomentum or The GreatClimateSwoop/ClimateCamp sites. The latter even has live newsfeeds, videos, photographs of this protest - to make sure everybody can see what's happening.

Accessing the internet in UK depends on networks of cables and wires, and sometimes satellites. Computers and mobile phones won't work without help from either a battery or mains electricity - solar power is available to charge/recharge, but can be desperately slow on a cloudy British day.

The bits of wire and other components used to make these things will have been made with the help of electricity - any other form of power would be uneconomical, possibly unreliable and maybe even too slow. They will have been transported and put together by people or machines - with the help of electricity to run air-cleaning systems and conveyor belts.

These protesters might not mind too much if E.On decides to close Ratcliff-on Soar, they'll see it as a victory and they'll go home patting themselves on the back, delighted with their achievements. Maybe they are happy to do without without the benefits of electricity, but they forget about the rest of us.

Few of these protesters will have lived through rolling power cuts, they will not have had to figure out how to get a meal in the dark, with no heat. They will not have had to do their homework by candlelight, wrapped in a blanket to keep warm. These young, fit and healthy protesters forget about the elderly who have their meals-on-wheels delivered all at once, and who rely on their freezers to keep their food safe to eat.

Although these protesters might be delighted by the total darkness and silence that several hours without electricity can bring, would they cheerfully climb to the top of a darkened tower block because the lifts won't work? If not, then why should they force it those who will have no alternative?

It has been suggested that this winter may bring power shortages, although nobody seems to want to take the blame for the lack of forward planning, there are no doubt some who will attempt to shift the blame onto climate protesters for successfully closing power stations, and thus turning out Britain's lights. - And that is the little thought Mrs Rigby would like these protesters to mull over.

Interesting EU petition.

There is an EU petition, mentioned in the Indy, that so far has around 38,000 signatures.
This is where it is
This is the background, which is provided in each of the languages of the European Union. Mrs Rigby has chosen to share the English version :-
Petition [EN]: We, European citizens of all origins and of all political persuasions, wish to express our total opposition to the nomination of Tony Blair to the Presidency of the European Council. To sign the petition, please go to the bottom of this page. follow this link
Whilst she would hesitate to influence, or appear to coerce, anybody who might chance upon this blog post, Mrs Rigby does think it is rather odd that such a huge 'democracy' as the EU does not give its' citizens the opportunity to vote for its' very first 'President'. Instead those already in authority have presumed that they are better placed to make that decision on our behalf.

Because of this Mrs Rigby urges you to read the full text of the petition and then make up your own mind - perhaps mulling over the relative merits of Mr Blair and the other 'candidates' for the job ...

Here's more from the Indy article :-

The alternative front-runners

Jan Peter Balkenende 4/1: Current Dutch PM, a Christian Democrat once described as a 'petit bourgeois Harry Potter'

Jean-Claude Juncker 5/1: Prime Minister of Luxembourg, author of the Maastricht Treaty and therefore creator of the euro

Paavo Lipponen 6/1: Former PM of Finland, a social democrat who supported the Iraq war but is not a toxic figure in Europe

Mary Robinson 8/1: Former president of Ireland and UN human rights chief whose odds at Ladbrokes shortened yesterday

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Blog Action Day 2009 - Climate Change

Apparently today is "Blog Action Day"
"Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be one of the largest-ever social change events on the web."
This year they want the hot topic, discussed by all bloggers round the globe, to be "Climate Change", and they want blogs to register with their site too.

Mrs Rigby notes that quite a few people are already talking about Climate Change, for example Samizdata, which is where she read about this 'action day' - she'd never have heard of it otherwise.

It's interesting that the BBC has decide to join the party, with an article telling us that in a very few years the North Pole will be ice free. Bit of a contrast to last Friday's article

You see, that's one of the problems.

The experts who want to convince us the planet is doomed, and doomed very soon if we don't pay a lot of money into carbon credit schemes, don't keep to their own script. They don't talk about "Global Warming" any more because they realised it isn't happening, although all the populist, high profile, reports say that it is. Today's piece on the BBC is a case in point, it directly contradicts the earlier article. Something within it has also been picked up within the comments on Wattsupwiththat The Top Ten Reasons why I think Catlin Arctic Ice Survey data can’t be trusted

Alan the Brit (06:07:15) :
timbrom (04:07:53) :
“The seasoned Arctic Explorer, who was the first person to trek to the North Pole alone, was forced to continue with just a simple ice drill. During the 73 day trek he took 1,500 readings, often during pitch blackness and with windchill factors down to -70 degree C. The team also took thousands of visual observations to give an impression of how the shape of the ice sheet is changing. ”
“Mr Hadow insisted the effort was worth it. He pointed out that no other readings of this year’s winter sea ice was available to scientists and surface readings can pick up changes in the ice that were not being picked up by computer models.”

Changes like recovery I presume!
Presumably they made those “observations” in daylight or they might have got a rather different impression in the dark! Taking “accurate” readings by torchlight would be tricky in most cases too.
1500 holes/73 days is around 20 holes a day. Is it feasible in those conditions to walk 6km (3¾ miles) per day for 435km & do that back breaking, arm twisting work, day in day out, breaking open the equipment, setting it up, drilling, reading, packing away again, loding up the back-packs, trudging off again, etc???? I am presuming for now that it was all manual work as battery life would be critical in such conditions for power tools. I have my doubts. As I understand it the exteme cold can play tricks with the mind for even the fittest of us, how do we know they were not so affected? Come to think of it, if they were using radar electronics for the first week or so that bumps it up to almost 23 holes a day. (They should have gone a year earlier & they could have hitched a lift with Jeremy Clarkeson & James May in their 4 x 4, although I somehow doubt that those two would actuallly want them aboard.)
Good job the good Professor managed to mention satellite data, or Pen would be right!

Another thing all these experts forget is that not all ordinary people are ill-educated. Some went through school, college or university before government got their hands on the curriculum and started massaging it to suit an agenda. It's very difficult to remove all traces of a good education, and bullying makes some people very stubborn.

There are people who don't trust government, and who don't trust big businesses. There are people who think they can see through global environmental policies, and believe they're just money-making scams. There are people who believe that wind turbines are a visual PR con, costing more to make than they'll ever give back.

All these people get called names by the establishment, they're almost as bad as the 'vile' cigarette smokers.

There are also people who are old enough to have lived through tough times caused by very cold, very long, winters. These people have personal knowledge of the cycles of climate - hot followed by cold - but they only see this data mentioned as an anomaly, because otherwise the upwards graphs wouldn't work. These people don't believe that anomalies cause snow to lay on the ground for several weeks, and normally ice-free rivers to freeze over. They believe low temperatures and climatic conditions cause it.

When people read weather reports of the earliest snowfall for x years they're again sceptical. Maybe the powers-that-be can explain this, reported on Wattsupwiththat
Early start to winter ≈20% of USA is covered in snow already

Here is the accompanying table and discussion:
October 13, 2009
Area Covered By Snow:
Area Covered Last Month:
Snow Depth
0.7 in
0.0 in
728.8 in
Std. Dev.:
2.1 in
Snow Water Equivalent
0.1 in
0.0 in
403.4 in
Std. Dev.:
0.4 in
By way of comparison, here is the October 13th USA snow cover for the last few years:
2003- .7
2004- .3
2005- 1.7
2006- 3.7
2007- .3
Mrs Rigby believes that climate changes, it's been changing for millennia.

Why should mankind be so arrogant, and believe we can mess with what the planet is doing naturally, and change natural cycles solely for the advantage of one single species of animal.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Are MPs revolting?

Interesting choice of words by The Mirror :-

Revolting MPs says they won't pay back expenses (their grammar, not mine!)
Revolting MPs last night threatened to dodge demands to repay thousands of pounds in the expenses scandal.
and in The Times :-

MPs threaten to reject ‘unfair’ expenses report (with a nice picture of those naughty climate change activists!)
MPs will attempt today to dodge demands to repay hundreds of thousands of pounds as the expenses scandal engulfs Parliament once more.
And in the FT there's this article, by Jim Pickard, which I'm sure he/theythey won't mind me sharing. :-

Union of the angry backbenchers - Tory 1922 Committee to meet Labour’s PLP

My sources tell me that backbenchers from the Parliamentary Labour Party are to meet their equally angry counterparts from the Tory 1922 Committee to discuss what to do about Sir Thomas Legg. They are all furious about the fact that his criteria are being applied retrospectively. “Why not just go back and decide that Germany won the 1966 World Cup?”, one asked me.

There was a meeting of 40 or 50 Labour MPs with Nick Brown and Harriet Harman this morning in Room 11 in the House of Commons. They were a tad upset, I’m told. Some were moaning that there were clerical errors in Legg’s paperwork (eg dates were wrong), others that papers had been lost.

Can anyone else think of an occasion when the two groups have gathered together? Curious times indeed. I’m not sure where and when it will happen yet; I’ll update you in due course.


Except they won’t get it. Despite a groundswell of enthusiasm among the Labour ranks for this meeting I’m told that Tony Lloyd, chair of the PLP, has put a kibbosh on it. “The prospect of a joint action…it’s just not going to happen,” says my (more authoratative) source. Could it possibly be that someone has been sat on?

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Prosecuted for criminal damage ... to hamburgers.

It seems that when Stephen Morgan's hamburgers failed to arrive with the rest of his food delivery he did something that has led to a criminal prosecution for :-
criminal damages to hamburgers, worth £5
Stephen will be appearing in Swansea Magistrates Court on 10th October.

Mrs Rigby can't imagine the CPS pursuing a prosecution that is neither in the public interest nor value for money, so presumably the case will either cost less than £5 or assaulting hamburgers is a dangerous pastime. Otherwise it would be a waste of taxpayer's money - right?

Mrs Rigby had a quick rummage through the depths of the internet to see if anybody had been taken to court, and been given a criminal record for something that cost even less. Here you go ...

Court case over 90p Oyster Card bus fare to cost £10,000

Mrs R is delighted by this ongoing vigilance, rapid intervention, charge and appropriate punishment of lawbreakers. She's pleased to know that anybody who breaks the rules or tries to get a free ride will be prosecuted - no matter how little the sum involved. After all, the Rigby family pay their way, so why shouldn't anybody else.

Ah, it doesn't always work that way.

Following Sir Thomas Legg's decision that Jacqui Smith," ... wrongly classified her main family home in Reddich as her second home ..." she is not to face prosecution. Her punishment was to stand up in Parliament and say, "Sorry!" and then go home with a clear conscience, and without a stain on her character. There will be no criminal record for Jacqui Smith for taking around £117k of taxpayers' money, and she's not being forced to pay it back - yet. (Mr Brown might change his mind because Dave C ordered Tories to repay any over-claims or face the sack.)

All this is nice for her and her family, and they won't face penury. No doubt it's something of a relief too, because it would be awfully unpleasant and very demeaning for an MP to be questioned by the Police, have their DNA harvested, and face criminal prosecution. Ah, but it happened to Damian Green, and Jeffrey Archer was sent to prison in 2001, after he was found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice (that's 'telling lies under oath', and 'fabricating or disposing of evidence') - such a terrible thing that prison was the best place for him.

But wait!

It doesn't always work out like that, because although Lord Ahmed killed somebody when he was using his mobile phone whilst driving his car he didn't go to prison. Harriet Harman is said to have driven away after hitting a parked car whilst using her mobile phone, but she might get away with a slapped wrist. A certain Mr Blair is known to have shredded all sorts of documents before he left Downing Street, I wonder why?

Mrs Rigby wouldn't mind betting that Stephen Morgan would be delighted to be able to say sorry, or be sure of getting away with a slapped wrist for assaulting a hamburger, but the Police and the CPS won't let him.

Mrs Rigby believes that it shouldn't matter what political party anybody belongs to, or who their friends are, especially if they've broken the rules and used somebody else's money as if it's their own.
Because of this she thinks it IS in the public interest to at least attempt to recover the money misappropriated and treated as personal spending money by Jacqui Smith and other MPs of all political colours.

We are, as even Gordon Brown himself says, "... facing difficult times ..." and the country's broke. The country's so broke that we're selling bits of it off to the highest bidder.

Wouldn't you think that these MPs would be proud to 'do their bit' for their country? They expect the rest of us to, and to use a phrase oft quoted by a well-known supermarket, "Every little helps!"

Monday, 12 October 2009

Territorial Army loses out to FairTrade

On 10th October the FairTrade organisation carried an article announcing this
The Fairtrade Foundation is celebrating 15 years of the FAIRTRADE Mark with news that the UK Government is to provide £12 million over the next four years in funding to Fairtrade and its international partners
On 10th October our newspapers report this
The Territorial Army has been told to stop training for six months to save millions of pounds from the Army’s budget because of growing financial pressure on the Ministry of Defence.
Mrs Rigby notes that the Ministry of Defence carries no article referring to the cuts, nor does it carry any recent article referring to the well-known fact that members of the Territorial Army are being used on operations overseas, alongside the regular Army.

The Mirror is pretty annoyed :-
Britain's part-time soldiers will be at risk in battle after devastating cuts to the Territorial Army's training budget, experts warned last night.
In a desperate drive to save money, defence chiefs have ordered £6.4million a year to be saved. They have even axed live firing on ranges for the TA.
Just two weeks ago, a TA soldier was shot dead in Afghanistan while guarding his base.
Mrs Rigby knows that her comment about this is late, but put alongside last night's little announcement that bits of England are up for sale to the highest bidder it all smacks of Britain being a "posh coat and no drawers" country.

The British Government is giving FairTrade more than twice the amount that the TA needs - and that money will have been either borrowed or will be fresh off the printing presses as a result of 'Quantitative Easing'.

Brown and his chum Darling know we can't afford overseas aid - but they don't care any more. They know that by sometime next year they're unlikely to be in charge of anything governmental, so it doesn't matter.

Brown seems determined to pretend that Britain is rich. He prances around the world stage telling everybody who'll listen that we're well-off. He tells them that his policies have staved off recession and to prove it he has to send loads of money overseas.

But, surely it's all a long-term con. They know their speeches will be on record for all to see, and so will the proof of their largesse. They're sure to refer to all this once another party holds the reins and has to do the mopping-up exercise and try to find realistic ways of paying the burgeoning bills - including those currently concealed by creative accounting and PFI.

When is Brown going to realise that there's no news blackout? When is he going to realise that the rest of the world knows very well what's happening in Britain and is sniggering behind their curtains?

Brown and Darling refuse to even think about cutting benefit payments. They daren't, because if they did the bubble would burst and the idle would have to think before they spend - and when that happens they get angry and march on Parliament, at least they did last time and managed to bring down a government.

So what does our Labour government do? It tells the world our Army is underfunded, and proves it by shutting down our reservist training - neither of which are particularly clever things to do when you're fighting a war. Then Government announces that it's going to sell off bits of the country, whilst also thinking of new money-raking scams such as fining people up to £1,000 for putting dirty rubbish in the bin.

The country is beginning to feel a bit like a sale at a decaying big house - one that's being sold off to pay death duties. Some are viewing the crumbling remains with dismay, a little surprised by the trash and soiled linen that's up for sale, whilst others are picking over the spoils of our once-wealthy nation, hoping to pick up a bargain that will eventually line their own pockets.

Britain was once rich. Britain was once proud. Labour has destroyed our pride. Labour has spent the country's money.

Labour policies have quietly stoked the flames of dissent, whilst ordering us to be 'inclusive' and introducing draconian laws that stifle free speech - except for the favoured and sometimes violent few who mustn't be upset. Social policies have split the country into warring factions. Labour has encouraged a culture of envy, greed and spite, whilst hiding behind a smokescreen of tolerance and equality.

Labour has encouraged an apologist state, one that denies the good in our past. Britons are ordered to welcome the diversity of incoming hordes, rather than encourage newcomers to assimilate, acknowledge and respect not only our language but also our own rich history and culture. A culture that Labour has done its utmost to dilute - claiming those who cling to our tattered banners are either racist or xenophobic.

Labour, when it eventually falls from power, will leave Britain resembling a dying lion, our proud national beast. Rather like a dead lion Britain will quietly succumb to the circling vultures who care only for themselves.

Bits of England for sale.

The Government has announced, late on a Sunday (article timed 6.56 pm BST in the Telegraph) and the day before Parliament returns from the Summer Recess, that it's going to be selling off bits of England to the highest bidder.

They will be selling :-
Both Dartford Crossings (bridge and tunnel) - part of which were meant to be toll free by now.

The Student Loan Company - that hasn't even managed to "loan" enough money for the current years' students to pay their tuition and accommodation fees.

The Channel Tunnel rail link.

The Tote, about which Mrs R knows absolutely nothing.

A 32% stake in Uranium Mining company Uremco.

A proportion of the state -owned property portfolio - which of course won't cause a property market crash.
They hope to raise a total £16 billion pounds, which should be enough to clear a bit of Britain's current debt - but will leave the country poorer in the long term because income from these sources will no longer land in government coffers, instead it'll go into a private company's pockets. (Mrs R thought Labour preferred socialism to capitalism.)

Of course they won't have made the same mistake as when they sold off the gold, causing the price to plummet, or will they?

Mrs R notes that each of the tangible assets is in England, nothing from either Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland is being sold, and there's no consideration of reducing public spending by, perhaps, reducing payments made to layabouts who can't even be bothered to get out of bed to earn enough to put food on their table.

Asset stripping? Surely not!

Getting cooler?

Tucked away on the BBC Science pages, and 'last updated' at 15:22 GMT Friday 9th October, is an article that's failed to thrill the media, who are instead much more interested in the "Green" protesters who've managed to avoid the Police who guard our Parliament against attack from terrorists, and have climbed onto the roof.

The article is written by Paul Hudson, the BBC Climate Correspondent, and this is part of what it says.
For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.
So all those graphs they keep showing us that say the earth is warming have been porkies? Surely not, "they" are all honourable people, with our best interests at heart.

Now Mrs R can remember being very worried when, in the sixties "they" told us it was so cold because Earth was entering a cooling phase and we could expect a mini-Ice Age. The same sort of thing happened in the eighties, and "they" told us we might be going back to the days of a frozen River Thames - with ice thick enough to hold parties. Anybody else remember?

When "they" first started saying scary things about our climate, mentioning CFCs, the Ozone Layer and so on, Mrs R was slightly sceptical because "they" all talked as if they knew what things were like before. They didn't ever mention that the hole in the Ozone Layer, that could only be seen from space, couldn't have ever been "seen" or measured before we were able to go into space and take a look. The CFCs were blamed for the ozone hole, so they took them out of our fridges and out of our aerosols, and put in something that could go bang instead.

Other stuff has happened, including taking lead out of petrol, which meant other chemicals had to be put into it to keep the engines working, so they invented catalytic converters - which chuck out sulphur dioxide. Mrs R remembers acid rain, and all the damage apparently caused by sulphur gases produced from burning coal - but apparently it's now just fine to have the same gas coming out of our cars - although smoking filthy cigarettes in the wrong place is a criminal offence.

"They" tell us that CO2, the horrible stuff that we all breathe out, has made our planet warmer - because it's capable of trapping heat. But few of "them" ever seem to say that lots of CO2 is good for plants and makes them grow bigger and better, which in turn might mean we can grow more food crops and so feed the world's increasing population of people.

"They" never mention that loads of CO2 might have led to the giant plants that were eaten by the massive plant-eating dinosaurs, and these days they never, ever, mention the atmospheric pollution from volcanic eruptions. They only ever blame mankind, and modern mankind at that, and tell us we're naughty.

None of "them" ever seem to look at history and find information about the Romans being able to grow grapes as far north as Hadrian's Wall. And none of "them" ever seem to mention that once almost all of Britain was covered with a huge layer of ice. None of "them" ever seem to mention continental drift and other geological forces beyond our control, but try to scare us into believing that earthquakes and tsunamis can be caused by too much CO2.

"They" brought in a lovely new law recently that said we'd all got to have energy saving lightbulbs, that contain mercury vapour, but we mustn't have mercury in either barometers or thermometers because it's a deadly poison that pollutes the environment.

Is it any wonder there are sceptics and nonbelievers - but not amongst the young who have been brainwashed by the national curriculum, and are no longer encouraged to think for themselves.

All "they" seem to want to do these days is make us feel guilty and find a way of punishing us, by making us pay lots of money for trying to keep warm in the winter, to have lights that are bright enough to read by, and enough electricity to keep our computers working.

These "green" people, not the ones from Mars, have (apparently) successfully managed to stop the new power station at Kingsnorth - but where do they think we're going to get our electricity from?

Energy supply is critical, British power stations desperately need replacing and here we have a French company (which employs Ed Milliband's girlfriend) deciding Britain doesn't need any more generating capacity - they even say there's been a drop in consumption. (Maybe that was because it was summer!) But, maybe it's because Eon has got plenty of power to spare, but I wouldn't mind betting it'll cost a heck of a lot more for it to cross the Channel once we can no longer make electricity for ourselves.

The new name of "Climate Change" can mean either upwards or downwards - so "they" will be right whatever happens, and us mugs will be footing the bill.

We're going to need that power to keep warm, because Global Warming isn't happening and few houses these days can be heated by either wood or coal - they don't have chimneys, and gas fires don't work without that little electrical spark.

Either we pay more or we'll seriously have to cut back and lose some of the benefits of 21st century life, because the lights will start going out - and very soon too.


Added later.

A post written by Goodnight Vienna on "Calling England" says:-

"In the Times today a curious piece centred around the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. They maintain that in order to meet the targets for CO2 emission reduction, living standards in Britain and the West in general must fall dramatically.
The wealthier parts of the world, including Britain, will have to seriously consider reducing their levels of consumption over the next 10-15 years while we put in place low-carbon technologies.

That may mean having only one car per household, a smaller fridge, buying fewer clothes and electronic goods and curtailing the number of weekend breaks that we have.
Read the rest of it here, and make of it what you will.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Media silence is cold as ice.

Not a peep in the media, so Mrs R will link to Wattsupwiththat and the latest from Antarctica.

Here you go!
The ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history.
Such was the finding reported last week by Marco Tedesco and Andrew Monaghan in the journal Geophysical Research Letters:
Read the rest here

Mrs R wonders why we aren't all being told about this, surely it's good news?

But, umm, mebbe not if you're deeply into carbon offsetting or carbon futures!

You know, Mrs Rigby remembers learning about Tulip Mania with single bulbs changing hands at tens of thousands of pounds each ... somebody got rich. There was a scam called the South Sea Bubble ... it made some people a lot of money. How about Charles Ponzi?

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Quote of the month!

This has to be Mrs R's quote of the month
'It is a sorry state of affairs when a guy can't safely walk down the street in a mini-skirt and make-up without getting grief from some idiot.'
Spoken by Daniel Lerwell, when interviewed about how he and James Lilley had been targetted by drunks while on a stag night dressed as transvestites

Daniel and James are professional cagefighters, their drunken attackers could not lay claim to being fighters of any sort although Mrs R wonders if they have experience of getting away with street attacks.

Mrs R hopes they might now think twice before they confront anybody else.

If so, good! Lesson learned.

Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast the background of these two stories carried in the Mail :-

Transsexual turned down for breast enlargement claims sex discrimination in case that will cost taxpayers thousands

A transsexual who wants bigger breasts must have her plea for surgery on the NHS heard in the High Court, a judge said yesterday.

The ruling is likely to cost the Health Service more than £100,000 in legal fees and paperwork on top of taxpayerfunded legal aid costs for the unnamed transsexual.


Judge Nicola Davies QC declared that the transsexual must have her day in court after hearing that she had undergone 'significant suffering' because she has not had cosmetic breast enlargement.


The transsexual, who has been living as a woman for more than ten years, claims the surgery is essential to her female identity and emotional well-being and that the refusal of the operation is sex discrimination and a breach of her human rights.

Then there's this story:-

Plumber with shattered arm left horrifically bent out of shape has operation 'cancelled four times'.

A plumber whose arm was left twisted grotesquely out of shape in an accident ten months ago has had an operation to correct it 'cancelled four times'.

Mr Eeles claims his first two operations at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, were cancelled due to a lack of beds and operating time respectively.

His third operation in February was postponed after he was found to have high blood pressure, while the fourth, scheduled for May, was abandoned because of concerns about his smoking.


'How the Jobcentre can say I'm fit I don't know. I was on incapacity benefit until a few weeks ago when I went to be assessed by a doctor in Luton.

'He said because I can turn on a tap and I can lift my arm I don't qualify for help.

'Now I'm worried about losing my house. I've got a mortgage on it and there are credit cards debts I'm struggling to pay because I can't work.'

The key difference in treatment, or lack of it, is of course in the text.

Mr Eeles appears to have no right to proper treatment to mend a badly broken arm, even though he has paid his National Insurance and wants to earn a living.

The un-named "C" who is becoming a Mrs is allowed to appeal on grounds of equality and human rights.

There would appear no consideration of either equality or human rights regarding health care of cigarette smokers - unless it means being treated with contempt.