Monthly Archives: March 2012

Gorgeous George Galloway

It may be that the election of  “Gorgeous George Galloway” in the Bradford West by-election has proved a significant point; namely that the vast majority of voters in the UK are sick to the back teeth of the three main political parties. The voters decided that George was a better bet than the rest because he did not represent one of the three established parties in the UK.

George winning required him to cross the racial/ethical divide and garner support from people with significantly diverse views. In recognising the commonality of voters rather than exploiting their differences George managed to get back to Westminster to the apparent joy of the rest of the members, okay I made that last bit up. Perhaps voters have truly reached the point of no return?

The last general election showed how little the policies of the three main parties differed. The result was a non-result, in as much as no party had a real majority and so we ended up with the coalition of the Tories and Libdems. It didn’t bode well when one of the first things they did was to decide on the next election date, which was, of course the last possible day for a full 5-year term. When this was announced I can’t remember any politician standing up and saying that the date had been set but this would be subject to the agreement of the British people. Such is our woeful lack of democracy.

The behaviour of the LibDems immediately showed how power hungry they really were and the subsequent shedding of supporters has been incredibly destructive for them. They have made themselves unelectable. The Tories then went on to demonstrate how out of touch with reality they are and how they are lacking in real intellect and do not possess any real imagination. They have amply demonstrated in the past few months that they have no real awareness of how to govern. They are making themselves more unelectable by the day or perhaps that should be “sound bite of the day”

Next up is Labour. Ed Milliband. Labour left a colossal mess which was not entirely down to them but which their previous policies made much worse. Their attempts to provide an opposition to the coalition have been woeful. But how can they offer opposition when their position is so similar to the Tories and the Libdems?

In Scotland the SNP did the impossible just like Gorgeous George. They won against all the odds. The won because the voters were so fed up with the three main parties. It looks like the new game in town for politicians, is not to belong to one of the three main parties and then the likelihood is that you could well get a result and end up with a ticket for the gravy train.

Can the three parties reinvent themselves? Unlikely. The choice between different parties is barely visible not just in the UK but in many countries around the world. That being the case how will voters react? The number of people voting has already shrunk to a concerning degree and this can’t really continue for everyone’s sake.

Ideally, the availability of either independent or small party candidates might force a change which could result in the three main parties being side-lined. There is a working model of this already. The LibDems are in freefall, it will take them a long time to rebuild but they are accustomed to being on the fringe rather than in the spotlight so that shouldn’t be a major concern for them.

Bottom line? The main parties aren’t going to go out with a whimper and they’ll fight tooth and nail to keep the status quo.

It could get dirty, very dirty!

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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Politics


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Thanks all


Thanks to everyone who hit my blog yesterday and over the past couple of weeks. The daily hit rate has soared!

Today I will be mainly running between appointments until lunchtime when I shall collect Mrs TT and head for a nive relaxing cafe lunch along with everyone else in Edinburgh and their friends family and hangers on from all the place!

I shall blog a bit later today and I will also cover more than one topic. I was at a gig last night and I’m at Docs this morning so plenty to rant on about.

Marys Kinky Knickers need to be folded up and put in the knicker drawer and I’ll be following The Apprentice from next week onwards. I’m going to mix the political stuff with the currently popular. This won’t win me any prizes but I’m not in this for prizes. Inform and entertain maybe? As if. I’ll write what I can and see where it goes from there.

There’s nothing like a good plan and this is certainly nothing like a good plan.

Thanks again.

May your Friday be easy and your weekend absolutely fabulous!


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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


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It’s Craven of the BBC.

On Sunday nights episode of Country File John Craven, of Newsround fame, was strutting his stuff. He does this most weeks and it’s almost always the same basic story, the same basic message and he has the same sort of basic approach and references.

Last night it was “The Drought”. The Drought is a very bad thing, as long as you live within the drought area. Reservoirs are at their lowest ebb for many a year. Farmers are wringing their hands and contemplating doom and gloom.

Johns first point was to recognise that famers are hard done by as far as water is concerned. They don’t use as much as people think and when the going gets tough they are the first to get their supplies reduced. This is a tragedy since we all rely on farmers for our food.

John interviewed a farmer using his trick of asking pointed questions to get the farmers to say what he needed them to say. Then he brought out a woman from the Farmers Union who said that farmers were already considering what to grow based on water availability. She rhymed of a number of things including “biomass”.  So that means that farmers will grow biomass which will be used in “green” power stations in order to keep the money rolling in. This means that crops, which will be used for food and for animal feed, will not be grown. It just gets worse.

Next part dealt with how we can make more of our water. A chap who knows a thing or two about water said we’d have to use less. Apparently we each use 160 litres of water each a day so we need to take less time in the shower. We need to put bricks in the cistern in the toilet etc. etc. etc. Although he didn’t mention it we could also import or produce our own version of the environmental toilets they have in the USA. When they flush they use a lot less water, which is a good thing. It would be better if they actually worked and didn’t require two flushes, which uses more water than a “bog” standard toilet.

Then a chap from a fake charity came on and started lecturing about how much water is used in the wrong way and how much water is used in concrete which then is used for homes build on the flood plain. Too many people also, drinking and using too much water.

Then John comes out with the phrase that everyone has been waiting on. Climate change will make things much worse. This is the bottom line. Climate change cannot be ignored. It is the one true God. It has to be worshipped and evangelised.

At no time did anyone mention immigration, the shameful lack of investment in water infrastructure, storage and distribution going back many years, the lack of expanding storage and distribution, reasonable demand increases, the lack in addressing water loss through leaks and the fact that we all pay and have paid water rates which have not been used to invest correctly in the infrastructure because profits have to be made.

John Craven missed all of this. He missed the truths and spent his time on camera taking about “effect” not “cause”. John Craven with his nice homely jumpers. John Craven who first brought news to children. Cuddly John Craven. The level of reporting was no better than the worst reporting carried out on slebs by the News of the World. Facts? Let’s not let those get in the way of a good scare.

Give it up John. If you can no longer either recognise the truth from the froth or be able to present the facts such as they are it’s time to shuffle off and reflect on your previous and distant successes.


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Pants for the memories.

If memory serves me correctly I think that ladies underwear used to be mainly bought at Marks & Spencers (M&S). They were so good at providing said undergarments that it was rumoured the Queen herself, bought her underwear there. She may have sent someone to do it for her and I feel it may be unlikely that M&S had one of the big shield things (suppliers of good quality knickers to the Queen) outside the branch the Queen bought them in.

In my minds eye I imagine that ladies under garments at that time may well have been extensive, white and built for comfort rather than speed. They probably lasted a long time and were never hung outside on the washing line for decencies sake.

M&S may have changed in a number of ways since those days however. It may even be the case that quality has been somewhat reduced as has the amount of fabric employed in controlling ladies nether regions.

I think a company called Playtex may have made additional items, which added further support and control. I’d even be prepared to suggest that they may well have made girdles which provided 24 hour support? Perhaps? That seems an awfully long time to need support? Perhaps ladies, at that time wore them in bed? Perhaps the rather more modest required times meant that ladies wore all their clothes to bed or even more clothes to bed than they wore during the day just to ensure modesty was maintained at all times?

I am however, far from an expert on anything female. I shall offer up one piece of possibly very important advice with respect to girdles. Do not place a girdle, be it used or otherwise on an open coal fire. One of my grandmothers did this (everything went on the fire in those days) and it set fire to the chimney. There were serious concerns about the fire brigade being called (albeit from a call box five minutes away) but the shame of several large chaps arriving in a showy fashion and having to extract said foundation garment from the fire before rushing it out into the garden and hosing it down liberally on the lawn whilst the neighbours looked on demanded a more demure approach. Fire retardation was carried out by said Grandmother throwing sugar on the conflagration until it went out along with the chimney. Sugar as a fire retardant, who’d have thunk it?

Things have changed. Bras have been burned (maybe even on an open coal fire). Tights have been hoicked. Cleavages have transpired and teetering in high heels has become de rigueur, mostly but not universally just for the ladies.

Ladies underwear has become less in all meanings of the word I’m reliably informed by those who know such things. Apparently there are many purveyors of fine ladies underwear who can fit any parts into any garments, which are desirable. These cost money however, but then you’d guessed that already as, if you are a lady or a chap with a penchant for the feel of silk and lace on your buttocks as you go about your business, you’ll perhaps have handed over significant amounts of your hard earned cash to purchase articles of a frilly and unsubstantial manner for your or your significant others enjoyment. And why not!

May I take a moment here just to advise, as if it’s needed, that gentlemen should never, ever, ever, ever be encouraged or indeed allowed to venture into a “men only” pre-Christmas evening opening at a scanty panty emporium. The only outcome will be outrage. Either the purchased garments sizes will be way too big or the frillies themselves will be from the “trollop” section, surely an instant reprimand waiting to happen following a less than triumphant gift opening by wife/girlfriend/partner/lover/ on Christmas Day.

The latest purveyor of ladies underwear is of course Ms Mary Portas. Mary has previously been known as Mary Queen of shops, Mary Queen of Charity Shops and Mary Portas: Secret Shopper and has given us much improved charity shops, much improved small retail businesses and much improved ladies fashions in department stores. Well done her.

Mary’s pants brand is endearingly called Kinky Knickers. Your Granny wouldn’t have approved of a name like that! Well not in public at least. It’s a good name and the packaging reflects that sort of 40’s/50’s seaside cheekiness. It’s a bit of fun don’t you know.

Mary’s pants do not offer copious amounts of fabric or support and may not cover flesh to the degree considered appropriate in bygone years although they have more to them than a postage stamp seized piece of fabric and a lace, which seem to be fashionable at the moment. They are made in the UK from lace sourced in the UK, by UK workers. Whilst that might be unsurprising to some readers based outside the UK it is surprising for those of us who live here.

So all and all it’s a spanking wee project. Let’s see what comes of it.

Will Mary expand into bras (Kinky Knockers) or thongs (Kinky Flossing)?


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Mary’s Kinky Knickers (a parady to the tune of Bobby Shaftoe)

And now for something completely different. Mary Portas Pants or her Kinky Knickers  or even her bottom line. Ah but you say… this isn’t different. Well it is. It’s on the subject of Mary Portas Pants but this time it’s humour. Okay you’ll be the judge of that and that is just fine by me.

This is a bit of fun or it’s supposed to be. Just to make sure you can enjoy the full thing, here is a link to a cover of Bobby Shaftoe so you can sing along. If you feel you could provide a better version or a completely pristine version please let me know and I’ll link to it. If you use the words please include a link to this blog.

I may try to get a copy of this parody to Mary herself. I know she’s a very busy woman. All those bottoms to cover and so little time to do it! I’m sure she’ll mange to cover quite a few. Many in fact.


Mary’s Kinky Knickers (to the tune of Bobby Shaftoe)


Mary Portas she makes pants,

Creates jobs with little thanks,

Making things in the UK

Very well done Mary.


Kinky Knickers made with lace

Puts a smile on a ladys face

Slightly big plenty of space

Mary Portas panties


Seven sewers skilfully sewing

Keeping pace with orders soaring,

Profits grow so no more moaning.

Marys Kinky Knickers.


Buying British if you please,

Stops jobs going overseas

No more need to buy Chinese

Well done Mary Portas.


Now that knickers have been conquered

What’s the next thing to take forward

Lots more jobs to aim towards

Arise Dame Mary Portas.



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How would we cope.

How would we cope without politicians, health professionals and “the righteous” telling us what we should be doing?

It’s a major question. There isn’t a night that goes by without someone saying, “the government need to do something” on the news or on a programme of some description. Of course by the evening we have been bombarded constantly by newspapers, the radio, TV and all other communications means that for every apparent need there needs to be action which requires legislation to ensure that “we” tow the line and behave as the politicians, health professionals and “the righteous” deem that we should.

No surprises there then.

Of course there are many, many occasions; well let’s just be frank here, it’s almost all occasions isn’t it that we are being told what to do.  Mostly there is no clear evidence or real need for anyone to intervene. If it’s a non-problem then we don’t need a non-solution.

The politicians, health professionals and “the righteous” don’t see it this way and today on the early morning news we hear that Call me Dave has decided to go with a minimum price of 40p for a unit of alcohol. The reason given is that this will reduce “binge drinking” and address the growing alcohol based problem whilst also saving 3000 lives a year.

So once again, all the people who do not over-indulge in their use of alcohol will be forced to pay more for their chosen tipple.

Firstly, there are already laws, which can be used to ensure alcohol abuse is reduced significantly.  If anyone is behaving in a manner which is violent or inappropriate the Police can and do take them to the cells. They do not do this to the degree that they should and they do not enforce the law as they should. (Yes I know they are statutes and not laws but that’s another post altogether).

Secondly, there is little agreement of what a “safe” amount of alcohol intake actually is. It changes from day to day.

Thirdly, it is not for the government to tell shops how much they should charge for any product or service. The government is there to ensure consumers are not abused they are not there to dictate pricing policies which will directly increase retailers profits.

Fourthly, have they heard of prohibition, which took place in the USA? Lesson learned is a much over used and abused mantra but I’d suggest the politicians, health professionals and “the righteous” learn from that experience and quickly.

Fifthly, how will they police people bringing alcohol into the UK from the EU? EU rules allow free movement of such goods as long as duty has been paid at the point of sale

Sixthly, is this minimum pricing legal within EU law?

You may be surprised to hear that I do not drink. This is through personal choice rather than personal experience. I do not expect other people to not drink alcohol. Each to his own. Live and let live. We can all live without the excesses, which take place every weekend, and we take steps to avoid it. It would be good if it stopped.

I doubt that minimum pricing will work anyway. People will make their own from kits until Call me Dave puts more duty on those and then they’ll improvise. Organised crime will also start to import and /or manufacture and sell out the back door of white vans. People will manage. The politicians, health professionals and “the righteous” will of course deem it as a huge success regardless of any information they receive from anyone to the contrary. The evidence will be clear but perhaps not as clear as it should be. Graphs will be produced which will show falls in problems, which may not be as accurate as they should be.

Three thousand more people will be walking around alive 9on the planet each year because of this legislation. According to the hype and the following “evidence” once it’s been established or investigated.

My mantra is increasingly – why are we putting up with this?

Why indeed?


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Cute cat video.

I like cats; I’m less keen on dogs. No real idea why though.

We have a couple of cats. We have a 5-year-old tomcat that weighs in at 7Kg and is a big cat by any standards. He’s a cool dude. Not keen on being handled though and he’s too big to argue with. He had an unfortunate time when he was a kitten. His previous owner had an issue and the police handed the cat into a local cat place. We took him although he gets a bit snarly at times. Not his fault though.

He likes curries, pizza, fish in batter, which tells it’s own story. We were going away on holiday a couple of years ago and he was going to a cattery, which was on the way to the airport. He doesn’t travel well and gets carsick. The cattery person told us to spray the box with w pheromone spray, which would calm him, and to not feed him the night before.

We did this and he went out at 4:00 am, as is his want and came back in plenty of time for us to set off. We were about half way or so to the cattery when he was sick. Projectile obviously, which only just stayed in his box. Chicken korma. He must either have mooched the remnants of a last nights meal from a neighbour or eaten from a discarded tin tray. Not pleasant.

The star of the video however is our young cat who is part Bengal. She is so speedy and she talks a lot. We’ve no idea what she says although we can guess I want food and water noises and it’s time for some of that nice cooked chicken screeching!

She’s pretty bright although the video may not reflect that. She will be getting out soon so she may well gain enough savvy to know the difference between a real threat and an inanimate threat. Time will tell.


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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Cats, General


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The mystery of the pants that Mary Portas made.

In the last post I described how there may have been a problem with Kinky Knickers sizing. An email had been sent to Liberty to complain about the sizing information being less than accurate to start with although it seemed to have been sorted with more information appearing on the Liberty website.

A very helpful reply was received from Liberty as follows –


Thank you for your email.

I am sorry that the sizing is not accurate. While we are sorry that any item sent to you from Liberty was not as expected the sizing issue was only discovered when our customers received the items and fed the information back to us. We were given the sizing information by the brand and assured this was correct. We have communicated this error to all future customers once the error was recognised.

We would be happy to arrange a refund of the item for you. At present we do not have any available to offer you and exchange. Please let me know how you would like to proceed. I can arrange a collection of the unsuitable goods at our expense.

Sorry for the inconvenience caused.

Kind regards,


Online Customer Services
Liberty Ltd
Regent Street

I say again that I really want Mary Portas and her team at Kinky Knickers to be successful. It would be great, wonderful,l amazing if they can do it. It was never going to be easy. Manufacturing is very difficult to get right. It’s easy to have a disaster but like most things in life it’s how the disasters are handle which defines how resilient the business is.

There are so many positive and worthy reasons why this project should succeed, not least because there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people willing Mary to succeed, see those young people continue in employment and convince a few people to bring back some manufacturing to the UK.

What will the nest step be? Will there be any recriminations? How will Mary handle it?


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Taking a Liberty with Mary Portas’s pants.

Last nights episode of ‘Mary’s bottom Line’ on Channel 4 was very interesting. Issues were raised as to the quality of the lace, which was provided by the Nottingham lace maker, deadlines were closing in and training and actual production was becoming more of an issue.

Mary went out and did her thing, which is selling her brand concept to stores with the hope that they would order “Kinky Knickers”. The first stop for this was Liberty. If you haven’t visited Liberty it’s a large department store, which sells a lot of big name brands but does it with a lot more panache and gravitas than almost any other store you may have bought from.

Mary spoke with one of the head buyers and after a bit of theatrical humming and hawing he agreed to not only but 500 pairs of Kinky Knickers but also to hold the launch of the product in the store. Much joy from Mary at this point and deservedly so. I’ll return to Liberty in a moment.

Next up John Lewis, Boots and others, which netted total sales of almost 1500 pairs of Kinky Knickers and the feeling was that for now, at least, sales aren’t going to be a problem. Getting them made and delivered looked like being more of a problem given that the launch date was to be the 14 February and Liberty were giving over a whole window for the launch.

Yesterday I mentioned that there might have been some issues with the Kinky Knickers sizing and quality. This has turned out to not be the case. The issues seem to have been created by Liberty who had put incorrect sizing information on their website. Now this may have been due to information provided by Kinky Knockers or it may have been due to Liberty. Either way an email has been despatched to Liberty to point out the error of their ways and to seek some sort of recompense for the mis-sizing information. I will keep you informed as to progress or not before next week’s final episode.

It’s obvious that Mary has much to learn about the manufacturing process, regulations and the overall complexity of it all. This is not a criticism. There is no reason why Mary should have known about all of that, it’s only when you have to do things you then learn what is truly involved.

The overall aim to develop UK manufacturing is very valuable and necessary and the drive to improve the UK economy will no doubt benefit from this if enough existing manufacturers bring their production back to the UK (Michele Mone for example, Dyson too). Consumers will pay a little more for products if they are UK designed, sourced and manufactured. The short section of the programme which covered the visit to the Barbour manufacturing plant in South Shields showed that, at least to some degree, manufacturing can work in the UK.

On a much more serious note the use of the word gusset has now reached 4 utterances over the first two episodes and quite a number of ladies bottoms were on display also, although there were no lingering camera shots in slow motion al a Baywatch. Whew!


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Are Mary Portas’s pants pants?

Short update on Mary Portas and her attempt to make and sell completely UK made ladies pants.

It would seem, following testing, which has been carried out, that sizing may be a bit generous shall we say? A further issue seems to be that as the day progresses the pants loose their integrity as in become less hugging shall we say. (The reason for this however, is not the fault of Mary Portas or her manufacturing or quality processes)

I’d like Mary to succeed with her pants. The aim to source the materials and produce them 100% in the UK is very good indeed. But they have to deliver. Mary was aiming to make them as good if not better than the best global brands. She may have a way to go as things stand at the moment as far as her distributors are concerned.

Tonight’s episode should be interesting. She also Tweets @maryportas.

I’ll be interested to see if she is on top of the pants situation and things are going pretty well.


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