November 2007

Pro Referendum Rally

There is a Pro Referendum Rally this Saturday the 27th October, 12.00 noon at the House of Lords. Unfortunately the troops seem split as I want a referendum thinks that there will not be enough people so neither supports nor advertises the rally. We are going to see what happens and shall let you know.

Post referendum rally

The rally audience seemed to consist of a mixture of eurosceptic organisations. I did not know that the communist party was anti EU but I have the leaflet to prove it.

Killer question

Archived Stop Press article

Sir Ian Blair,public figure Sir Ian Blair,public figure I've never taken part in a pub quiz, or even seen one for that matter, and I don't really like pubs. But I am an inveterate dreamer, so I say, imagine the tension after an evening, with scores level, as two teams square up to each other for the final question down at the local on quiz night. There is much pride and reputation riding on the result of the match. The audience has watched in awe as questions on Latin and obscure elements from the periodic table are dealt with at great speed and with effortless confidence, almost arrogance. The question asking for the name of the first astronaut to be heard whistling while in space takes a little longer, and some conferring but not much longer. These people are amazing, it is both a privilege, and shaming, to be in the same room with them. Then comes the killer question, "name the last public figure to resign as a consequence of public outcry, and a sense of duty". The clock can be heard ticking, far away irreverent traffic continues to make a noise, closer, tears are held, but only just, in check. The listener becomes aware of their breathing as if part of a Buddhist relaxation technique. Finally defeat is acknowledged, the clever are humiliated and even the distant relatives of the contestants admit to being gobsmacked.

Trashing the seas

Save the shrimp

Shark, IndonesiaShark, Indonesia

The RSPB (Royal society for the Protection of Birds) and other organisations sent in a 30,000 signature petition to 10 Downing Street requesting a Marine Bill in the Queen's speech. I regret to inform you that no such Bill has been read out and that consequently our seas will remain in a parlous state for the foreseeable furure. There is a Marine (draft) Bill which will involve yet another consultation but probably no action. The Common Fisheries Policy encourages commercial fishing by big business both in EU, and world waters. Many other countries such as Japan, Russia and South Korea are just as bad. The difference is that the EU claims huge environmental kudos. It is a disaster but there is one ray of hope, this is New Zealand.

Saving General Musharraf

Archived Stop Press article

Decorated, but without honourDecorated, but without honourWho would know the thinking behind the recent decision taken by General Musharraf to allow the state even more powers in Pakistan?

If seven maids.....

Archived Stop Press article

Welcome to ZimbabweWelcome to Zimbabwe

'If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,' the Walrus said,
'That they could get it clear?'
'I doubt it,' said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

Grave concern

Archived Stop Press article

gravestonegravestoneI gather from Hansard that John Mann MP has found that there have been but two deaths in 28 years from falling gravestones. Indeed it was Mr Mann who had to put this on record, in fact answering his own question in the House of Commons,as there are no centrally and officially collected figures. Mr Mann is annoyed that, in view of this number, the responsible authorities continue to act irrationally and lay the stones flat, despite the low risk of their falling. Is this another example of the rampant health and safety mindset that has done so much to skew decision-making in the UK? As I type, our neighbourhood is in the third week of what sounds like an artillery battle, but is really the run up to Guy Fawkes' night. I'm grateful to Mr Mann for shedding light on this gravestone matter, and had Guy Fawkes got his way I imagine many more than 2 people would have died as a result of the explosion he planned. I've no idea how many people die each year as a result of fireworks, perhaps Mr Mann could ask? My point being that the 'authorities' always seem to concentrate on the most bizarre things, while leaving other matters untouched. I wonder if Guy Fawkes had an opinion on this? History does not record if he did, ah well.

Greening Britain?

Another fine mess

Ribble ValleyRibble Valley

The EU's 1999 Land Directive is part of the green credentials of the EU. On the positive side the aim is admirable, namely to force governments to recycle waste, save energy, reduce emissions and protect the environment. However, as with many of such edicts there are unintended consequences and things are rarely as simple as green campaigners would have us wish. It is as if anyone who criticises such simple solutions is an 'environmental denier' and wants to ruin the environment. However, there is always another side of the coin and this side may be equally important. There have been protests and pages of newsprint regarding the great bin debate. Should they be collected fortnightly or weekly? Should there be charges? Only now is the mainstream media mentioning that this is a result of the landfill Directive and Britain's belated awareness of this.