Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And in the news...

A few items in the news recently have caused a few eyebrows to be raised. Well, 2 at least.
First there is the execution of the British man in China for drug smuggling.
Now, I personally stopped supporting the death sentence about 15 years ago but it has to be said:
China makes and operates Chinese law. If the Chinese government was to kick up a stink because a Chinese man in London was going to prison for eating his family's dog, the British government would be bloody quick to tell the Chinese to keep their beaks out.
Secondly, there has been a lot of stuff about this man having Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression as it used to be known). A bit of digging reveals that this seems to be the diagnosis of a forensic psychologist, hired by the charity Reprieve for whom I have the highest regard. His diagnosis came not from interviewing the man but from speaking to Chinese Embassy staff and talking to people who knew Mr. Shaikh. Almost as good as the on-line swine flu diagnosis service.
Third, this man had 4Kg of heroin in his bag and he claimed he knew nothing about it.
Hang on. 4Kg in my money is 8.5 lbs. Imagine if someone had stuffed 4 bags of sugar in your bag without you knowing about it.
Isn't it likely you would think "Hmm. This seems to be a bit heavier than when I packed it"?
Bipolar Disorder causes extreme mood swings. It doesn't cause terminal stupidity.
Anyway, what about the shrieking from the British government about rights, liberty etc?
Who the bloody hell are they to shout, having turned this easy-going, freedom loving nation into what is possibly the most repressive regime this side of Iran?
Get arrested for taking photographs. Get your face on one of the umpteen million CCTV cameras now decorating the country. Get your DNA placed on the police database, guilty or innocent. Get arrested for making a peaceful protest on the grounds it is too close to Parliament.
Better yet; live in London and be shot dead at point blank range for looking too foreign or walk home from work, through a demonstration, say something out of order to a police officer and be dead within the hour.
Note to our government: Get your own house in order before getting high and mighty with Johnny Foreigner!

Next item to catch the eye; Metropolitan Police (Met for short). To anyone out there who is not familiar with the name, they are the people who populate Scotland Yard. They police London.
Today, it was revealed that last year the Met spent more than £6m on air travel.
Most of these flights were domestic, within the UK. They averaged 5 flights per day from London to somewhere within the country. A country which is less than 1,000 miles from end to end. 11 of these flights were from London to Southampton, a distance of 90 miles. This journey can be made by train and will take around 90 minutes. The trains leave from Waterloo which is a quick tube ride from Scotland Yard. Now figure out the time needed to get to Gatwick airport, check in, go through the security business, fly there and then get from the airport into Southampton.
A bloody sight more than 90 minutes! They are buggered now though; I believe the airline that used to run flights between these 2 cities has given it up.
Just remember; the Met Police is the police force responsible for policing London.
Not the entire continent of Europe!

Nuclear Power is creeping back into the headlines. Today, it is in the form of a group or two who want to stop the proposed new power station at Hinckley Point. One lot says it is unsafe, the other lost say it will be a nuisance.
You can't win, can you?
There is a huge clamour to get rid of coal, oil and gas fired power stations on the grounds they .... well they do all sorts of things. Acid rain, global warming, stop the hens laying etc etc.
Now here is a real example of the lunatics running the asylum. These Luddites have persuaded governments everywhere that bloody big, ugly, noisy wind turbines are the answer. Wrong! What they fail to mention is that these things are so inefficient, they can only be commissioned with the help of big, juicy government subsidies. And, just when you have decided to ignore the subsidies, along comes another problem. It doesn't blow gales of wind every day which tends to leave these monsters looking rather limp and useless. Ah ha! There is a solution to this problem; they have generators on stand-by to fill in the gaps. These generators are coal, oil and gas fired power stations which can not be switched on like a bathroom light. They need to be brought into operation over a period of time as they all need to do the same thing, boil a bloody big kettle to generate steam to turn the turbines. The only way for these power stations to be available to compensate for a flat calm is for them to be running 24 hours per day. Which puts us right back where we were at the beginning. Except we now have the enormous cost of the "wind farms" to bear.
Yippee! Everyone's a winner! Well, except for you and me, the gullible tax payers.
For Christ's sake government, stop fannying about and build the nuclear plants, rip out these turbine plantations and be done with it.

Finally, a headline that caught my eye this evening was on the BBC web site. It referred to a feature thus; "The sights and sounds of well-known figures who passed away in 2009".
They (whoever they were) didn't pass away. They died. What has become of our language that we are now scared to say "died"?
It gets worse, doesn't it? Today, we refer to certain school kids as "special needs" kids. In my day they were known simply as twats. Having been a rather well known exponent of the art of being a disruptive bugger at grammar school, let me tell you something. We never had disruptive disorders or attention deficits. We had tossers. Anyone whose attention was found to be wandering or deficient in any way was quickly snapped out of it with their desk lid being slammed smartly and loudly (or a well aimed board rubber), causing a sudden awakening, accompanied perhaps by an "out of bottom" experience.
Note to any UK politicians reading this; watch out, you are about to feature in these pages in the coming week!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What goes around....

I am not sure whether the global loony tunes quotient is increasing or my grumpiness is becoming more acute.
Whatever, here's a spot more for you.
Tell you what; I shall begin with a spot of schadenfreude, otherwise known as "what goes around, comes around".
An item in today's news says that the government of the Yemen is appealing to the West for help in the struggle against Al Qaeda. Small, smug smile crosses my face.
They say there may be around 200 to 300 Al Qaeda members in the country. Well, who let them in? I have checked my diary and it certainly wasn't me. Was it then you, dear reader? No, I thought not.
But why a smug smile, you ask.
Back before a lot of you were born, this boy arrived in the port of Aden (in 1966 actually) as a teenaged soldier, just out of training. I then spent most of the next year putting up with the antics of the local bad boys, who threw bombs, rockets, AK47 rounds etc at us on a daily basis.
This was done with the open support and connivance of the government of....Yep! Yemen.
Sadly, the purpose of our being in the bloody dump in the first place was to try to help the locals organise a proper government, with democratic ideals and all that other fancy Western stuff.
The Yemen government was pretty much a collection of tribal oiks, who frankly had not moved much beyond the 18th century. In their endeavours, they were supported, quite openly, by that other bastion of civilised, democratic behaviour in the Middle East, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. Nice lad, President Nasser; in addition to his years of interference in Yemeni affairs, keeping the civil war well stirred, he was responsible for gassing as many as 1,500 Yemenis, mainly in 1967. Not much said about that at the time, nor later.
Still, while the local numb nuts were throwing their hardware at us, including tactics such as throwing hand grenades into school buses, we also had to tolerate the bloody Yanks interfering.
At that time the USA was on a Brit Bashing drive, mainly at the UN. The cry was heard over and over again from the Yanks; dismantle the British Empire (they hadn't noticed this had already been done some years earlier). Independence for all British colonies etc. (Don't anybody mention the colonisation going on under the Stars & Bars at this time!).
It didn't matter what we did, the cry was relentless; end British Imperialism. An eerie foretelling of what was to come in 1982 when we fell out with Argentina over the Falkland Islands.
Well, some years later, that smug smile crept out for an airing. In October 2000, the USS Cole was attacked by a suicide bomber in the port of Aden. Now, I do not condone this sort of attack, nor the loss of life and injuries caused by this kind of action but I had to smile to myself as the first military unit to come to the aid of the Americans was a frigate of the Royal Navy, HMS Marlborough.
How ironic! The US government spent ages telling us to get out of Aden, turning a blind eye to the daily terrorist attacks that we suffered, then they move in and get some themselves! Terribly sad for the US servicemen who were killed and maimed. (Having had mates killed and maimed in that same place, I can sympathise with those guys). Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick for the American politicians.
So there we are; a good example of what goes around, comes around. In both cases, governments which had spent a lot of time and effort deriding and, in the case of Yemen, killing, British servicemen, come to the British for help.
Err Why?
I know the phrase "sod off" doesn't translate at all well into either American or Arabic but surely it is time our politicians discovered a diplomatic term to cover this?
This and other current cock ups are of your own making. You didn't want to listen when the Brits tried to explain the facts of Middle Eastern life to you.
Get on with it!
More ravings tomorrow.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mad as Bloody Badgers

Well, someone out there is stark raving mad. The sad thing is, the numbers seem to be rising.
Within the last few days, a nutcase tried to blow his leg up on an aeroplane heading into Detroit.
Of course, this has prompted reactions from the various authorities, including the following:
Canada has decreed that all arriving aircraft will have to sit on the tarmac for an hour before anybody can get off. Oh! That is clever! Exploding leg nutcases will never figure out that the time and place to detonate his leg will be somewhere other than on the runway in Canada.
The President of the USA has ordered a review of airline security. This apparently includes a ban on leaving your seat in the final hour before landing. Hello! These headbangers have no particular desire to leave their seats, unless it is through a gaping hole in the fuselage which they had recently created.
Not only can you not leave your seat; you are banned from having a blanket on your lap during this final hour. So; you can't go to the toilet for an hour but, should you piss yourself as a result, well you can't hide your shame under a blanket either!
The UK, at the behest of their American masters, has introduced matching restrictions which include a limit of one piece of hand baggage. Well, that will fix everything, won't it? If the next nutcase should try a similar stunt, he will be thwarted by the fact he will be unable to hide his exploding leg in a briefcase.
The British authorities, again at the behest of their American masters, have announced that Britain would consider having "more in-flight air marshals". Just the job, eh? If the exploding leg fanatics don't get you, the stray bullets whizzing around the cabin will!

It is not only the aviation/security sector that attracts loonies. Far from it.
Look at the example in the news today of a bingo caller in East Anglia being told to adjust his vocabulary to suit political correctness.
I kid you not! For years, people have become used to the cry of "Two fat ladies" when the 88 ball is drawn.
A spokeswoman (bloody hell! shouldn't that be 'spokesperson'?) from Sudbury Town Council said "In particular with John being a councillor we have to be politically correct."

Other items in the news today include an item about a heroin user being tested for anthrax.
Be honest; who actually thinks we should give a toss whether this herbert has anthrax or not, as long as he keeps it to himself. If you are stupid enough to stick needles full of crap into yourself, what possible difference could the odd spot of anthrax make? (Other than saving us tax payers a bloody fortune on your fruitless re-hab courses).

Not only does the UK have its share of nutters; I see in today's news that eunuchs in Pakistan are to "get their own gender". Where does that line get drawn? Will we end up with a selection of genders from which we can choose, regardless of what biology says we are:
Male; Female; Eunuch; Undecided; A bit of this and a bit of that; Jedi?????