Thursday, 8 June 2006

We're all going on a Summer Holiday

Yes. Last post for a bit. We are off to the West Coast of Scotland. Fresh fish and assorted seafood. Sunsets to die for. Scenery that is 'Colour by Technicolour' re-defined.

No mobile phone coverage for miles and miles. Cars so scarce in some areas you would think that Armageddon had come.

Back in - oh, I don't know. Ten days if all goes well. See you when I get back

NHS in a sick state

We have all been focussing on the deficit in the NHS. This, however, is not the greatest example of waste on a shocking scale. This shows the money lost by incompetence. The casual attitude to a very considerable sum of money "it's only 1%" is stunning. 1% it may be but it is a hell of a lot of money that could be better used elsewhere in the system or, even better, not abstracted from the likes of you and me.
The high point of my civilian career saw me in charge of a budget of just over £8 million. Much of that was fixed for items such as rent, commercial rates and staff costs where there was little or no managerial talent required. Other items, both Capital and Expense, had to be summarised, costed, proposed and fought for as much as 4 years ahead of committment. I had a good level at which I could authorise expenditure but anything not budgetted led to a long and bloody battle. The budget was on constant audit of actual against budget costs and I was called to explain items on a fortnightly basis. This is not (only)(just) self-aggrandisment but as background to my being unable to see just how things could go so wrong.
It would seem there is a lack of financial control. Trusts have very large budgets but these come from cost cenbtres which are easily controlled - if anyone chooses to do so.
The waste is immense. I've spoken to IT professionals involved in the NHS. There is a small circle of companies that do this work. Designers writing software yesterday for ward cleaning schedules are today getting to grips with sophisticated algorithms for brain surgery. None can have the spread of knowledge required and that have to rely on the user specifying what the programme should do. Excellent doctors have difficulty - it seems - in relating their dreams to reality and programmes as delivered either fail altogether or are little better than the pencil and paper systems they were meant to replace.

Over the top or below the belt?

I've made it clear that as and when - or if - the time and situation arises, I will arrange my own departure from this mortal coil/vale of tears. If I can find a doctor to 'help', so well and good. However, this proposal - which I am hereby naming the 'Shipman Solution' seems a tad too extreme for me. At a personal level, fine. There must be many who will be horrified and scared at the proposition. That is where it is a step too far. Some things we do not wish to know.

Wednesday, 7 June 2006


One of the blogs I read (no - I'm not going to link it; he's seen enough nutters already!) just happened to mention the two Canadian lesbians seeking judicial review about their partnership akin to marriage. Nothing extreme in his views. His comment box was overfilled with postings such as this.
That the posters held strong objections to something they see as undermining marriage is OK by me. What cracks my walnut, is the archaic language used. Clearly, they are denied the right of personal expression and are forced to rely upon doctrine.
That it comes from a group with 'Protestant' in it's title amuses me. Most of us think that the Roman faith is quite dogmatic. I'm tempted to start grafitti "Loyola was innocent. Jesuits OK"

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

Cartoon moment

View my airforce army troops men comic (make your own HERE)!

Take Five

I can understand what Wandering Brain is saying in his blog. I have almost identical thoughts and reservations.

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The Wandering Brain sets out his stall

Electronic Friends Part the Second

I wrote a few days back about Electronic Friends.

Seems I'm not the only one to notice how these work. The bit below comes from something I have just read.

This is the first time that an entity hitherto known to me only in the disembodied typewritten word has presented himself in the flesh, so to speak. In other words, he's the first real live blogger I've ever actually met in person!

We sat on my deck with refreshments and chatted about everything under the Sun that we like: computers, cameras, cars, blogs, our respective locales, life in general - oh, did I mention politics? We dual-computed and showed each other pictures. I conned advised him on a lovely route to take when he heads back east. Death Valley is involved, so if we don't hear from in the next few weeks we'll go look for his bleached bones. Dibs on his Exploder.

He's a nice guy. We had a great visit and he's welcome back any time.

We correspond all the time over these internets with folks we don't know much about: what they look and sound like, where they live, etc. None of that really matters. We find folks far removed from us that are of like mind and intellect, a nation-wide linkage if you will, and we know from this that we are not alone in our thinking. To get to actually meet one of the best of 'em, not to mention actually liking him, was a big thrill.

Seems I've lost the link to where I got this. Sorry guy but good perception skills.

Can you show me to the Exit door please?

If I still retained any of my Get Up and Go, I'd be on the next 'plane, boat, unicycle or whatever out of this damned morally defunct country. My rant is made worse by an old friend who has just emailed me from a mountain top outside Sedona, Arizona but it is basically prompted by moves from Swiss Tony (B Liar) the car salesman. He and his equally corrupt mate from Ireland are asking Dubya to allow Sinn Fein/IRA to resume collections in USA.

Thankfully, one of the Shaved Chimp's men is resisting. B Liar will win of course - who could resist that simpering look, the rolled up sleeves, the mug of tea in hand style more commonly seen amongst pseudo-males who hang around outside public lavatories in parks.

To reward the front men of a vicious organisation to cease their illegal actions is, in my book, recognising moral blackmail in its most corrosive form. " Please stop hitting me" "I've stopped - now give me your money"

It's not as if I can adjust my position to take account of the supposition that, surely, this bastard will be deposed in the near future. Glib talk of Conservative Opposition overlooks the fact that there is no Opposition. Any so-called other party that fails to make as little ground with the assistance of all the latest sleaze revelations as has Cameron's is as effective as disk brakes on a toboggan. The husband of Big Bag Mouth is set on establishing a precedent that will annoy us even into the future. A state funeral for Maggie Thatcher. He cares not a lesbian's tit about her departure. He will ask for the same treatment when his time comes. Well, sooner the better say I. Just a shame I do not have a plot of small-holding so that I might offer burial space in the pig wallow.

I am off to take my tablets and go into the rubber-lined room.

Gawd blimey guv!

I never imagined that I would feel the need to run a preview of a play on the London stage. However, that day is now.

Means little as a preview to someone looking in from goodness knows where in the world but it captures perfectly the spirit and style of the town where I was raised - or, should that be 'was dragged up'?

Whilst the period of the play is long lomg after Romford had it's influence on me, I can see all the things I recall.

Monday, 5 June 2006

Can you prove it's yours?

Public service announcement!

One hears much about lack of police attention in the event of a crime. Thankfully - touching wood and crossing fingers - I cannot comment. Given the figures for crime, looking at force strengths and committments and the paperwork they face, I believe that we cannot be getting the service we used to.

One thing that just might assist in attracting their attention is to inform them that property stolen from you is readily identifiable in the event of recovery. There are various hi-tech ways of doing this but maybe the easiest is to log the necessary details with a central database that can be accessed by police.

Have a look at the blog.

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Know what you have. Simple and effective.

Service message

Disregard what follows. I'm told it will drive the web spiders mad and spread my word in search engines.
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Soldiers! Don't you love them.

Bit of a military day today - don't know why. Maybe because I'm feeling in need of some of that military sense of humour. Hope those who never served understand this one.

Just what the soldiers need!!

Someone knew what would happen

Even someone with my modicum of Middle East experience knew what would happen if we went into a Arab country as invaders. Our Government had a reserve of excellent knowledge available to it from those who had served as their representatives in Islamic countries - the so-called 'Camel Corps'.

So, nice to see what that old warhorse TE Lawrence (of Arabia) had to say. Shame that Dubya and B Liar did not have the Lawrenc of Arabia video to hand.

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See how The Grauniad tells it.

That shooting

My Guest blog this time round got my attention by the phrase about normal Press reaction 'lets find the liar in a blue uniform and blame him'' However, his blog is more than a glib quote.


Read all about it!

Sunday, 4 June 2006

Telling Times

The Times has a name as the newspaper of record. If it happened - it's there. If it's there - it is what happened.
Sad then to read this account of how standards slipped in a overseas edition.

Lesson planning

I think these are five lessons from Iraq for America. However, if Toothsome Tony thinks that we should accept too many of them as lessons for us, we will get into an even worse mess.

Still, doubtless, the Pope is praying for him. I see that old satchel mouth got to go along along on a freeby.

Get digging

Down at the beach today exercising Old Pointy Nose the dog and came upon a guy with a metal detector. I saw him pick up and examine three ring objects which he put into his pocket. He saw me looking and said something about what a lovely looking dog I had.
I told him that as he seemed an intelligent person, I would ask him a question. What did he find with his machinery?
Seems that in just one 3 day period last Summer - just after a holiday weekend - he had found over £137 in just a two hundred yard stretch of beach. Only three days ago, he found seven £1 coins all together. He showed me the rings and they were nicely engraved but well corroded. He also produced a pre-decimal three penny piece that was the same sort of shape as the current 50P coin.
We discussed the life of a detector man. Seems he comes across quite a few interesting items on the beach. When I thought about it - which is rarely - I had imagined that detecting in a newly ploughed field would be more productive given the extent of warlike action over our landscape. Seems that one could spend one's while lifetime in a ploughed field and get nothing.
All that knowledge from just a snide remark. Great value.
What a wonderful world we live in!

No meat-ing of minds

I am a meat eater. Lots of it. Rare and bloody or well done and crisp. All offal accepted.

I cannot understand vegetarinism. Usual claim about 'Nothing against them but...'

Not all people are as tolerant as I am!! (not)

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More tofu vicar?

Customer Service

Just a small item that some of you might like - especially if your work brings you into contact with the public. If it is Joe Public in a stress situation; here is a fine basic course in how to deal with them

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A guy with a lot of right ideas in facing up to the public?

Dirty linen in public

Just wondering if the Guvmint has found that event that will divert attention away from all that nasty Prescott sort of stuff?

To what end?

I'm quite happy to be called a sort of latter day Luddite. It took a long time for me to make the effort to become even moderately computer literate. I took up a PDA as a nice shiny toy/gadget long before I admitted that it was an asset.

So, that may be why I just cannot see the point of the research in my Guest posting. I assume it took up the time of learned individuals. These things cost money. Their site is pleasantly low-geek. But, can anyone tell me - to what end? What or whom does it serve?

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See if you can see a need for this

Paint it black

In the absence of any credible independant information, I have no views on the whys, whats and wherefores of the actions of the US Marines in Iraq. The whole concept of war is mad. Dealing with a civilian insurgency brings weapons of death closer to both sides than any World War ever did. Western worlds may claim to have very high moral standards and, in general terms, are way above the almost ritual slaughter that passes for life in Iraq. Who knows what the effects of this total lack of respect for the sanctity of human life on the part of their enemy can have on those who have just witnessed the violent death of a comrade. Is someone who may have dealt out death without justification at very close range any more guilty than one who sits 50,000 feet above the ground and uses so-called 'Smart' munitions?
However, that said, I can appreciate the validity of what this guy says about the spin-offs that will result.