Monthly Archives: November 2011

There are more questions that answers.

There are a lot of charities about. Name a subject area and there will be at least one charity, which is delivering some sort of response to it. Having said that I’ve not heard on a charity, which supports bloggers. I suspect that there may be one somewhere though. I’d like to sign up with the blogger charity and receive care and support for my blogging activities.

There are plenty of opportunities to donate. Lots of people with collecting cans. Charity shops. TV and radio appeals and disaster appeals.

I was wondering if some of these charities actually promote a culture of dependency? The charities exist to do good work and employ people to deliver said good work and on that basis they have to find the money to pay them. They do this by finding funding which fits with their target area of operations. Does that mean they become rent seeking to a degree?

If you consider the giant charities they tend to work in areas such as cancer research, homelessness, Africa and the environment. In many cases they have been doing this for 50 years or more and they suggest that progress has been definitely been made. Less people die from cancer so they must have had an effect? Perhaps they have. How easy is it to actually define what effect has been attributable to the cancer research charities activities?

Are the problems in Africa so severe, complex and impenetrable that significant steps haven’t been possible in at least 50 years? People there still go to bed hungry, don’t have electricity and the infant mortality rate is still truly appalling. They are probably much better than ever but they are still a million miles away from where they should be.

Perhaps the model for charities is just plain wrong. Yes I know that they’re do fabulous work but where is the incentive for any of us to complete a task on the basis that we will make ourselves unemployed or even worse make our workmates and friends unemployed as well? If you are self-employed you live with that all the time and you manage by winning more business in a competitive marketplace. If you work for a charity you are constantly chasing the next big grant or donation.

Another question is how many charities close each year because they have overcome the problems, which have previously threatened their clients? There must be charities, which have closed for the best of reasons – they have completed the job. It’s done. Finished. Or perhaps they morph into new charities, which use the experience and skills they have build up over the years?

There is another question about charities, which I am intrigued by. To what extent do they exploit their staff? Now don’t get all the shocked and indignant. Is it not part and parcel of the work that you go the extra mile to do more good, to help the unfortunates or speed up the necessary cure? People don’t generally gain employment with a charity on the basis of a significant salary paid at a rate well above the going rate for that they do. No. They do the work because they feel it is their calling and they will do the best job possible and describe their work to friends and relatives as being “rewarding”.  Supermarkets, the government, the local council don’t accept “rewarding”

The charity sector is huge now, both as an employer and from a money employed point of view. It’s an industry. I return to my original question then. Do charities promote a culture of dependency or do they feed their own need to survive? Are the two one and the same?

There are more questions that answers.

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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in General


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Committee behaviour

I caught the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee questioning of James Murdoch on the evening news a few days ago. We all knew he was being brought back because there was “discrepancy” between some prior employees versions of events and Mr Murdoch Jnrs. The previous appearance you may remember, had the custard pie or modern day equivalent foam on a paper plate sort of pie, moment.

It was appalling. Rupert Murdoch was “pied” in a room in Portcullis House, that’s just across the Square from the Houses of Parliament. Now regardless of what “Rupert” knew or didn’t and his questioning and everything else this incident made the whole process look amateurish.

The security in Portcullis House allowed a man to get a foam pie on a paper plate or with constituent parts to make a pie once he was inside past security. So the security was rubbish and a silly wee man with a hunger for publicity, his own anyway, demonstrated the complete inadequacy of security and ensured the days proceedings would be remembered for all the wrong reasons. The clips of the attack are still pretty popular on You Tube. The star was Wendi Deng, old Rupert’s younger wife who got to the attacker quicker than the Polis. How embarrassing for the Westminster set.

My next exhibit of silly wee men is of course Mr Tom Watson Labour MP of  “You must be the first mafia boss in history who didn’t know he was running a criminal enterprise” fame. In one sentence the man managed to make the whole committee look like school playground bullies. Mr James Murdoch was faux shocked and appalled and called on the Chairman to take some sort of action. Too late.  However not to be outdone Louise Mensch, a Tory MP, commentedRight, so far you are coming up empty* to which the committee sniggered. Practiced one liners abound. Who’s next to have a go no need to be hard enough.

The gravitas and seriousness of the events, which required the investigation by this “committee”, some of whom look as if they may need to be “committed” was gone. These self same committee members are MPs who represent their constituents who expect them to behave in the manner of an MP which include a certain decorum and of course decency. Okay that last bit about decorum may well be completely wishful thinking but you have to hope.

It would seem that the Murdochs bring out the worst in people although these “people” are perhaps making the most of the current situation. Now step forward the final exhibit of morality, tact and modesty – Mr Hugh Grant. You will remember him from films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, About a boy etc. etc. His diverse acting abilities allowed him to portray a young, upper class and foppish chap. Oh wait! That’s the same part he’s always played. The same character. A major talent indeed, just nobody mention that lady in LA. Ssshhhhhh…

Mr Grant has decided that it’s time he spoke out about the raw deal that the gutter press give celebrities such as him and the Leveson Inquiry is the vehicle he has been waiting for. No mention of the press he chases when he’s publicising a new film mind. That’s different. The press go too far when they sniff a story apparently. He may be right. But “yi fly wi the craws.yi git shoat wi them anaw”.

He suggested that the Mail on Sunday hacked into his mobile phone. They say they didn’t. He’s a hero. He’s widened the net. The BBC like this.

The Guardian must be quaking in their boots. It won’t be that much longer before this spills over and they are caught in the net. Indignation? Oh there will be bucket loads of it. They will whine. They will throw mud around. They will be like rabbits in headlights. Their readership numbers will dwindle further. Smug smiles gone.

Then there’s the BBC. They will also reap what they sow.

Of course there are far more important things happening in the world right now but, hey, who cares, right?


Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Politics


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100 not out.

This is my 100th blog post. It seems like no time at all since I was writing the first and it’s been a pretty enjoyable few months.

What drove me to starting a blog? That’s easy. Two things really. The first was being arrogant enough to think I could write interesting enough stuff that people would read and then keep coming back for more. The second reason was Global Warming.

I used to pour over quite a few blogs trying to keep up to speed with what was happening in the sceptical AGW camps. I still do to an extent, although I think we are quite a ways down the road for the scam being recognised by enough people to be exposed as a failure. The next step was to  leave comments on those sorts of blogs and then I expanded into more general politics.

There has been such a lot going on. Lots to have opinions about.

I have to once again recognise the patience and support of my wife. The time required to blog isn’t insubstantial and she is supportive of me writing. Also Subrosa has been great and very supportive having published one of my blogs every Wednesday for quite a while now. There have been a couple of times when the reaction to my writings for Subrosa have been subject to a bit of heat under some commenters collars. I never set out to write anything, which might upset people, but it kind of comes with the territory since it’s all about opnion.

There is still much work to be done by bloggers and lots of words to be thrown at pages. I have learnt a lot and I still have a huge amount to learn.

The discipline of writing is difficult to achieve. It’s easy to start articles and then think that’s poor and abandon them. Thankfully, I do that very rarely now, not because the articles I manage to complete are amazingly fantastic. No I complete more of them by at least having a structure and a central topic, which is at least reasonably understandable.

There have been days when a blog item goes ballistic and I get a huge amount of views. Those days are wonderful but they need a reality check as I know the viewing figures will drop off to a much lower level. The overall trend is up which is the aim. I’ve bigger and grander writing plans but I don’t see myself stopping blogging, even if no one reads what I write.

So onwards and upwards for the next hundred articles. I’ve no doubt that the happenings in the world will continue to stimulate lots of debate and discussion of which I hope to take a small part.

Thanks constant reader, for reading my stuff and please keep on doing so and tell me when I get things wrong.


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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in General


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Shooglie peg…

Sunday morning. In days gone by the Sunday Times would thud onto the mat and I’d make my way downstairs to get it. The pressure of having so much reading to do, such a lot of words to get through. I’d head for the kitchen and make toast and cheese with coffee and tea and either meet my wife at the dining room table or take the paper and wildly exotic food back up to bed.

I’d start with the Sunday Magazine then swap it for Style before hitting the Review section and then into Scotland before the main pages and then financials. I’d previously taken the Observer until just after the fall of the Berlin Wall and then tried Scotland and Sunday. I liked the Finance Editor in The Observer, good comment but don’t ask me to quote a single word he wrote. The Scotland on Sunday, parochial, way, way, way too feminist and poorly written.

I don’t have time to read a newspaper during a normal day. I have a book on the go constantly and I have magazines and the web oh yes and I work and blog. As I may have mentioned before I’m no fan of the BBC and BBC Scotland in particular. However, the BBC trades on it’s worldwide standing as a quality broadcaster and the implication of a chartered requirement to ensure balance.

As has been discussed in so many blogs the BBC do not know the meaning of balance, they demonstrate bias continuously. Take Friday nights news. Amongst the normal drivel we get an item on the IPCC Report, which was leaked earlier this week.  I can’t think of one report I’ve read about it from bloggers of both the warmist and sceptical sides claiming anything other than it’s a major pull back and the extravagant claims of the past years have not just been dropped they’ve run away at some speed from them, apart from the rent seekers anyway.

The BBC News at 6:00 have a different view. We are to expect many more extreme weather events. Cue pictures of flood, famine, drought etc. etc. from all round the world. They reiterate the sureness of this by giving percentage certainties and stick on an additional bit of information that hurricanes might actually be fewer. Then a chap from that Climate Research Unit in Anglia is shown saying that we can’t link any individual event to anthropogenic activities. Good grief. I’d guess that the BBC will still keep ranting on about climate change for a long time to come. The fun may well be enjoying so many people having to find a convenient out, wriggling out of it or trying to deny how enthusiastic they were at the time.

However, events closer to home have really exposed the BBC and the Scottish press for what they are. Unionists. Not only Unionists but arrogant elitists unable to recognise the legitimate views of the Scottish people. The Scottish MSM – shame on all their houses.

Biased BBC has a very fine article with great quotes which covers the performance of the Scottish BBC in it’s pursuit of it’s own political aims. Quality broadcaster? No. Arrogant propagandists? Yes!

What will BBC Scotland look like post Independence? Out on a limb. Based in Glasgow, left leaning, dubiously funded from a system, which is not sustainable. Not a place to be I’d suggest. Shooglie peg BBC Scotland!


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SNP worries.

This article was written for the Subrosa Blog and is reproduced here with permission.

All that was needed was for enough of us to vote Alex and we’d be off. And we did. Naff helicopter moments apart, things went fairly swimmingly. In power! A more than workable majority won. (If we all sit nice and still and quiet we’ll maybe be able to hear dear old Malcolm spinning in his grave or having a good laugh at how things worked out for his party).

There was of course the opening of parliament with Queenie present and then there was a lull. The opposition girded their loins, considered their options and started shooting themselves in the foot. Not to be outdone, those spiffing chaps from Westminster steeled themselves and set to rubbishing everything that wasn’t Union friendly. On every occasion both sets of chaps and chapessess decided to say something to the press, they got it really, really wrong. It was as if they were doing a party political broadcast FOR the SNP. Everything they said boiled down to the Scots being too daft, too poor and too frightened. Excellent for the SNP.

Then another lull. Well it was holiday time you know.

Then we’re back. And things started to go a bit less well. It was nothing to do with the opposition. It was all to do with the SNP.  The adversarial system used in our Parliament is old, tired and negative whilst our parliament is very new, shiny and should feature modern debating with a new approach to governing Scotland. The SNP looked like the tired old, established and completely lost London parties when they should have looked fresh. The SNP should be using a different approach to politics, which is unlike any other political party.

Sadly it’s beginning to feel like we have a new set of the same sort of politicians we have always had. You know the type. They don’t answer the question they are asked they answer the question they wanted to be asked.

The SNP have to get their act together. So here’s a list of things they need to do with some urgency, according to me anyway.

The SNP are not the Labour party so they really should stop doing the silly leftie things the Labour Party would do if they were in charge.

They should not introduce any policy, which is based on being the first to do it or being the toughest in the world or any other stuff like that. Posturing isn’t an option. What is an option is mainly doing things that will result in better lives for the people of Scotland.

Ditch the hippy renewable energy policy. Just stop. Now. There isn’t a day that goes by now when someone somewhere is pulling out of renewables or are demonstrating it is the most expensive energy production EVVAAA. Evidence is beginning to suggest that the new IPCC report will not be the soaring endorsement of global warming it has been in the past. So, invest the money in real long-term quality projects which will deliver real energy as cheaply as possible for the Scottish people.

I don’t smoke or drink so it bothers me not what fags and mans beer cost. Forget plain fag packets and minimum pricing for alcohol. People will get alcohol one way or another. They’ll get it over the border in England. They’ll make their own. They’ll bring it back from Europe. You will enrich Tesco, Asda and their big mates and anyone else who has a license to sell alcohol. A licence to sell alcohol will become a license to print money. It’s not the job of the state to set prices.

People don’t buy fags because they like the colourfully designed packets. They buy them because they like smoking them, that’s the fags not the packets, mostly anyway. You will drive them to buy from dodgy sources who will greatly benefit from plain packets. You will make it easier for bootleggers to sell their version of cigarettes whilst paying no tax.

If the SNP are serious about Independence then being in the EU just isn’t an option. The events of the past few weeks, not to mention the events of the next few months will make it a disastrous move. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Germany will recognise Scotland as a positive member of the EU? For how long? Just long enough to sign us up. Then who cares as long as we pay the bill every month.

There’s the new Forth Road Bridge too. There are other cheaper ways to achieve a higher traffic flow. Add other lanes. It’s been done in loads of other places. The cost of the new bridge is ridiculous in the present climate and probably would be in any financial climate. They’ll argue that it’s a capital project and it will create jobs. Maybe it will. How about duelling the A9? How about a dual carriage way all the way from Edinburg to Newcastle? How about investing in at least one project for every town in Scotland? Statement not big enough? The intent would be bigger and viewed much more positively by the Scottish people.

Get on with pushing BP and anyone else interested to start producing shale oil and gas. Get the North Sea really moving.

But mainly do something. Live up to the hype. Be bold. Deliver.

I dare you Alex.



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Posted by on November 19, 2011 in Politics


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And you thought life was easy

Life is complicated. You probably spotted that some time ago. Nothing is simple.

Except that isn’t true. We do stuff all the time which is pretty complicated but we never give it a second thought. I can prove that to you now. You will almost certainly have been driving at some point and suddenly thought “I don’t remember driving that last bit of road”. It happens once in a while. You have managed to drive for a bit without being fully in tune with actually dong it. You do it on automatic pilot.

Your brain is good at and can instantly switch you back on to driving if something needs attention. Kind of like radar like. It sounds very dangerous but it’s a well know fact that it happens. We get away with it because we are “conditioned” to do it. We do some things a lot and we become programmed to do it. Nice and simple? Only because we don;t think about it.

This sort of fascinates me. Not the doing it automatically which is pretty scary. No. It’s the bit about doing things and not really appreciating what we are actually doing. You could argue that we do it automatically without too much planning and you’d be right. What happens when you have to someone else involved? You don’t sit them down and tell them every step required to achieve the thing you want to do. Of course not. Unless, for example, they work for you in a nuclear power station or other things which put you in a spot. When there is a lot at stake we go to the lengths necessary to ensure things work.

Just to demonstrate the complications of life here’s a diagram which records the steps necessary for you to make a cup of coffee. The red steps are the steps your wife or your Scottish Granny may suggest to you as being important.

Trying adding having a biscuit or making a slice of toast too. You’ll be up to an A3 sheet of paper very quickly. Follow each step all the way through, like buying the stuff you need and recycling the packaging once you’ve used the stuff inside and you’ll be on your way to quite a few A3 sheets.

And yet we manage all that very, very easily. Well, maybe a few fallouts etc. along the way but all things considered we do okay.

Double click on the graphic below for a full size version.

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Posted by on November 18, 2011 in General


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It’s been a toxin day again.

The latest gem from the BBC was that smoking in cars is very dangerous when children are on board. Again we have this mythical “second hand smoke” thing and, of course, since it’s an enclosed space the damage is even greater. There’s also a mention of toxins. These toxins present on all the surfaces of the interior of the car and in the air are transferred to the child.

The suggested solution is a complete smoking ban in private cars. Smoking fags are also distracting in cars so that’s another good reason to ban them. Sneezing, children, other people, BBC news on the car radio things happening outside the car are all distracting but they aren’t going to be banned.

Does anyone know of anyone who has died because of second hand smoke? Where are the people who have cancer because of second hand smoke? Where are the children who are seriously ill because of toxins they inhaled or ingested when in a car with someone smoking fags? Before you reach for the keyboard asthma doesn’t count.

So why am I still alive? My Dad smoked all his life. I grew up in a house where smoking took place a lot. Lots of men smoked back then and there wasn’t a week that went by when my Mum and Dads friends or relatives didn’t visit and they would smoke. People smoked in buses and trains and my Dad smoked in the car with my Mother, Sister and myself in it. No one batted an eyelid.

Going to a pub or a club and was smoky. We managed just fine. It was the norm. So for at least 20 years I was exposed to second hand smoke a big percentage of the time. Yet here I am sitting typing this. I don’t smoke. That was my choice. I don’t mind if people do. I never minded the smoking areas in restaurants. I was always appalled at the smoking areas in airports. They were squalid pens. The terrorists get taken to nice rooms, the smokers had to endure nasty smelly pens and being punished because they wanted to smoke.

At high school we had a lecture about smoking. A person came and ranted about not smoking and how smelly and dirty it was and showed us two cross sections of real lungs in glass cases. The smokers lung was brown looking and the non-smokers was red. I did mention this to my Dad. It’s a fairly effective propaganda technique used by the nanny goody two shoes brigade. Show someone a threat to their loved ones and they’ll react to try to reduce the risk. He was fairly calm and suggested that it might be more complicated then they had suggested.

My dad smoked untipped, tipped and roll-ups and even a pipe for a wee while. He saved up large quantities of Embassy coupons. He gave me the cards that sometimes came free with fags. He smoked fags in France and Spain, which were extremely smelly, but they were cheap.

Did smoking kill him? Who knows. Did it help kill him? Who knows?

The real problem here is tolerance. Over the years tolerance levels in society have slowly been ebbing away. It’s not just smoking. It’s drinking mans beer. It’s eating fatty foods. Not to mention the continuously creeping political correctness, over the top health and safety, racial issues, religious issues etc. etc.

I’ll finish with an oft-used method employed by the anti-everything brigade. They trumpet the fact (as they see it) that people who smoke and drink too much (what’s too much?) cost the national health (that’s you and me non-smokers and moderate drinkers) a fortune. Those same easy target groups pay into the NHS via the tax and duty they suffer on the fags and mans beer they buy.

The people who don’t eat properly (what ever that means and is) also cost the NHS money although a lot of the costs are apportioned to being over-weight (what’s an ideal weight?).

Way, way, way, too many nannies. Way, way, way, too many people who want nannies.

If we are old enough to pay tax we are old enough to make our own decisions and make sure we don’t impinge on the rights of our fellow citizens.

Ever heard of live and let live. Liberty? Personal responsibility?

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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Politics


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