Saturday, 15 July 2006

Safe to walk the streets?

There are numerous newspaper reports repeating this:

De Menezes police 'won't face charges'
THE Crown Prosecution Service has ruled out the possibility of bringing murder or manslaughter charges over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station. The CPS will announce formally on Monday whether or not it will bring charges. On Thursday it was reported that Metropolitan Police Commander Cressida Dick, who was in charge
of firearms operations, and two firearms officers could face manslaughter
But according to reports today, no individual police officers will
face prosecution and the CPS has ruled out murder or manslaughter
charges after a review of the circumstances surrounding the shooting on July 22 last year. The 27-year-old electrician was shot seven times in the head by
anti-terror officers at the tube station in south London after being mistaken
for a suicide bomber.
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the de Menezes family, told the newspaper the family was likely to be "very unhappy" if no officer was prosecuted..

Well, I have to say I'm not too pleased either. These were armed officers who one assumes went through proper training. They were controlled on the ground by a senior firearms officer. Again - one hopes - trained. Supervision came from a very senior officer. They are allowed to be loose on the crowded streets armed with very effective weapons. They recognise no situation where they have to consider innocent bystanders. I spent a large part of my life armed and amongst others similarly equipped. However, I shall no longer feel safe when I see armed police. This incident has proved that, with a following wind and who knows what pressure upon the investigators, they can get away with murder.

Strange sign

Seems fairly clear to me!

The Camel Corps rides again

Camel Corps was a perjorative term for those senior civil servants in the Foreign Office who had spent all their careers in Arab states as Residents or Agents. They could be relied upon to express the idea of Noble Bedu in place of the Westernised Muslim whenever the motives of their Arb friends were questioned.

I've chosen to re-print an article rather than link to it. It suggests to me that those same attitudes of the Camel Corps ride again - 40 years or so after I first experienced them.

I am no Islamophobe
Martin Bright
July 14, 2006 05:25
It seems I have been labelled an Islamophobe by the Muslim Council of Britain. This stock response to any criticism of MCB leadership is becoming as tiresome as Zionist cries of anti-Semitism when the state of Israel is put under any kind of scrutiny. The reason for its ire is a programme I have helped make, showing on Channel 4 at 7.30pm tonight, about the government's strange love affair with radical Islam. It didn't help that I also wrote a pamphlet for the centre-right think tank, Policy Exchange, making the same arguments. A series of leaked Foreign Office documents, demonstrate that the mandarins dealing with the Middle East believe we have no choice but to engage with the radical religious right, such as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Officials seem to think that Islamists are the coming force in the Middle East and so dialogue is necessary. But what most people don't know is that the same officials, based in a department called Engaging with the Islamic World, also deal with British Muslim issues. My argument is that the government's engagement strategy has become poisoned by the Foreign Office's inaccurate picture of moderate, mainstream British Muslim opinion.My argument isn't with the Muslim Council of Britain, which is merely the Islamist creature of Michael Howard and Jack Straw. My argument is with government ministers who have consistently failed to seek out other voices in the wider Muslim community. I only hope Margaret Beckett takes a good look at the legacy left by her predecessor and seeks out some new partners. It's hard to know whether attitudes in the Foreign Office are changing since the reshuffle, because no minister has been prepared to be interviewed on the subject.
Meanwhile, £300,000 of taxpayers' money has been spent on an Islamist conference in Istanbul, where the head of the Engaging with the Islamic World Group, Frances Guy, held a meeting with the spiritual head of the
Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The leaks show that Qaradawi is considered a mainstream figure by the Foreign Office, despite his support for suicide bombing in Israel, the execution of homosexuals and female genital mutilation.Another figure considered mainstream by the Foreign Office's Islamic Issues Adviser, Mockbul Ali, is Bangladeshi MP,
Delwar Hossein Sayeedi. Among the "mainstream" beliefs attributed to Sayeedi are the following: that Hindus can be compared to excrement; that British troops deserve all that's coming to them in Afghanistan and that US troops in Iraq should convert to Islam or come home in coffins. It turns out that Sayeedi has been granted permission to enter Britain despite the concerns of Bangladeshi human rights groups and will speak in east London and Luton this weekend. The Foreign Office has written to Channel 4 in an attempt to remove all references to Sayeedi from tonight's programme. But the TV channel has been robust in its resistance to official censorship.It would be nice to see the MCB condemning Mr Sayeedi's repellent views, which are the real enemy of Islam rather than crying "Islamophobe" at the least provocation. But, unfortunately, there are still questions to be answered about Sayeedi's association with the new head of the MCB, Dr Mohamad Abdul Bari. Meanwhile, the Foreign Office should be forced
publicly to justify its bizarre flirtation with radical Islam rather than trying
to stop journalists doing their job


Friday, 14 July 2006

The dying Swan

Today’s Telegraph has a fine story in the Business section where it details the fiasco over the building of four new RN ships. Apart from being a disaster in project management terms, it reveals political trickery that is far worse than anything this useless government has been forced to disclose so far. The fact that the Tyneside shipyard is surrounded by constituencies of heavyweight Labour MPs (Blair, Nick Brown, Byers, Mililand and Hilary Armstrong) has nothing to do with the vast expenditure of money to keep jobs alive – they say.

To me, the worst thing about all this is that the Navy had reckoned it was going to get four ships essential to support deployment and Army operations. The vessels are especially designed to transport trucks, tanks and personnel along with the landing craft used to get them from near-shore to dry land. These are delayed. Given that the cost of all four has been expended on just two, there will be pressure to cancel the balance of the order.


All over the bits of my Internet rambling that have a military or political context, there is much comment on happenings in Palestine and Israel. Coming as so much of it does from occidental minds, there is confusion as to what is going on. We cannot understand that the mindset of the area is that negotiation is seen as a position of weakness. Violence and force is what gets attention.

So, I was pleased to find the analysis from a American source that tries to put things into a form capable of being understood this side of the Med. Whether this will have any effect on the real situation I very much doubt. The Arabs will not listen. The Israelis will not listen. Things for them are far too serious other than to deal with what faces them. Now. Without blathering whilst the rockets continue to fall.
Image hosting by Photobucket

If one follows all the links and other bits, this makes things much more clear.

Anyone seen a policeman?

This is a scenario posted by a guy who is in a position to get it right. Seems damned wrong to me. I don’t have any very adverse reactions to rich people giving money to get a peerage but I do know that I would like to get enough staff to cure this sort of nonsense before using them to worry about a lot of toffs who will wriggle out of things anyway.
999 Operator: Police emergency
: I’ve just been punched in the mouth by this bloke up the road.
999 Operator
: Where is the offender now?
: He went home, he lives at number 47
999 Operator
: Do you need an ambulance?
: No, I’m at home now, nothing’s broken.
999 Operator
: OK, we’ll send a unit to see you, as it’s not an emergency I can’t say how long it will take.
Later that night….
Police Operator: Hello Bloggs, sorry we haven’t been able to attend yet, we’ve had a really busy day. Are you home tomorrow?
: Well I was going to a garden party at Buck House, but I can stay home, what time can you come?
Police Operator
: We can’t make appointments, it’ll be when an officer is free.
Next day
Police Operator: Hello Bloggs, sorry we haven’t been able to see you today, we’ve been really busy, what time are you up until tonight?
: I’ll be up until about 11pm
Police Operator: OK, I’ll try and get the night shift to deal.
Next Day
Repeat above conversation for 2-5 days
Next day
Police Operator: Hello Bloggs, sorry, no unit, too busy, etc, etc, can you perhaps come into the police station to make a report
: OK, I’ll call in at 5pm after work tomorrow.
Next day…at the station
Bloggs: I’m here about an assault, can you take a statement or something?
Enquiry Officer
: I can’t, I’d need to get one of the police officers to return and do it
: OK
Enquiry Officer
: Er, there’s nobody free, they’re all assigned.
Next day
Bloggs: Hello, about being punched in the mouth, forget it. I’m fed up waiting. I’ll leave it thanks.
Police Operator
You can’t.
Bloggs: I can’t?
Police Operator
: No, you’ve reported a crime, we need to see you.
: I’ve been waiting for someone to see me for nearly a week. I don’t want anything done any more. You’re obviously busy and I’ve been inconvenienced too much already, just leave it.
Police Operator
: Well if you don’t want any action, that’s fine.
: Great, bye.
Police Operator
: But we need to take a statement to say you don’t want anything done.
: So you weren’t inteterested in seeing me when I reported it and now your saying I can’t just leave it.
Police Operator
: Er, no, we’re not allowed to, we don’t have any choice, actually, neither do you.
: OK, can I make the statement now?
Police Operator
: We’re a bit busy at the moment, I don’t have anyone free.

Hello Hello Hello

The fabled greeting of the comedy copper may be up for a revision. It seems that some of them are concerned at the way young females may introduce themselves after a few drinks - a few too many that is.

My sexual inadequacies

“Do you want a bigger penis?”
“Get Viagra and make her scream”
“Balance a brick on your penis”

All offers I found when clearing my spam trap today.

What a sad life it must be to sit in some drab and dreary office sending out this sort of e-mail. One hopes that their own sex life is properly catered for; there must be little worse than sending out hopes of Nirvana when conscious of even the slightest personal imperfection.

A bigger penis? Bigger than what – or who? Is there some sort of clandestine database where sizes are logged so that the offer goes to the appropriate person? Does it come (sorry – no pun intended) with a money back offer and would I be required to submit before and after photographs?

Make her scream? I cannot know what the objective of the sender may be but it was never the primary requirement of any of my couplings to raise a scream. I did that merely by undressing. If the claims of the bigger penis offer are to be trusted, then surely that alone would suffice. Anyway, there was a recent press report that a woman was served with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order purely because of her reaching the top C note on orgasm. Would I want a lover with an ankle tag tearing my silk sheets?

Balance a brick on your penis? Sounds like fun. I have to add that this offer came with the strap line of ‘Don’t try this at home’. This supposes I happen to have the odd house brick to hand in my boudoir. And what follows the balancing act – would she award points for style as well as execution like some ice dance performance?

So, all in all, there seems little to attract in just these few sad temptations. I’ve left off commenting on the one that claimed their Viagra would let me use my sexual organ as a billiard cue. Just too much trouble applying the chalk I think.

The other thing that comes across is the sexual bias in these things. Man is shown as the failure or the less than perfect lover. None of the propositions were aimed (again – no pun intended) at the ladies. Can it be that they are perfect? Answers on a postcard please.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Oldest & dearest

This is an extract from the blog of a NHS Doctor.

Exactly the sort of thing one needs to read when thinking just how faded one’s health has become in three or four years. And has intermittent abdominal pain.

This is the state of health “care” today for the old and frail. Under the command and control of a “caring” government.

Today I have had people ask whether I think the honours for cash waters are creeping around the Prime Minister’s feet. This article, I’m afraid, was in the forefront of my mind when I answered what I wished was lapping at his toes.

Thursday 13th July
Arthur is 90 years old. He started work aged 14 as an office boy in one of the large UK insurance companies and remained with them until he retired aged 65. He never rose above middle-management, but he retired with an excellent pension. The annuity providers will have lost money on him. During World War II he was in the infantry. He was at Dunkirk, and returned to France with the allied invasion. He went in on “D” Day. Thus he fought for King and Country for six years. He must have had a charmed life. He was unscathed throughout.After retirement he and his wife travelled extensively and both remained in good health until their mid-eighties. Then osteo-arthritis, hip-replacement, benign prostatic hypertrophy, cataracts and increasing frailty. Doreen, his wife, is much the same. She does not have prostate trouble, but still has urge and stress incontinence. They manage. They do not call doctors. I have only been to the house twice in twenty years.Arthur’s arthritis is severe. He has a permanent urinary catheter. With help, and his Zimmer, he can get to the stair lift. He does not believe in staying in bed. He has finally agreed to let his son get some domestic help. A lady comes in every morning to help him get up, and washed and onto the stair lift.Three days ago, Arthur got diarrhoea. Some people will pick up the phone and summon medical help for a bit of damp wind. Not Arthur. So by the time he called this morning, I knew there would be a problem.I arrived to find Doreen downstairs washing trousers and sheets. I squeezed upstairs past the stair-lift upon which there was a smear of faeces. I found Arthur lying on his bed with a pyjama jacket on and no trousers. The sheets and pads upon which he was lying were smeared with faeces. He stood up to empty his leg bag into the bucket at the side of the bed. As he did this, there was a violent, explosive farting sound which seem to go on for ever, but probably only lasted four or five seconds. A little semi-formed faecal residue tricked down the inside of his leg.He sat down again, and looked at me. “She can’t cope much longer.”This is modern general practice in the UK. What can I do for this problem? What can I offer?Well, first of all, I can "check him over". I am a doctor. I do things like that. The diarrhoea is in fact much better than yesterday, and I suspect it is settling down. He is not “unwell”. No temperature. Not dry. Normal blood pressure. Abdomen soft. Not impacted, rectum nearly empty apart from a little soft faeces. Anal sphincter tone virtually non-existent. Shit on his legs. Shit on his sheets. Shit on his blanket. A large plastic bucket of urine by the side of the bed.I can slip into doctor mode. I can send off a stool specimen, and check his chemistry and pronounce on his general physical state. That will make me feel like I am doing something and will make me feel much better.Arthur and Doreen are not coping. Shall I send him into hospital? I can try, but they will not take him. If I speak to the on-call physicians they will say this is a social problem, and they do not want someone in hospital with diarrhoea unless it is medically unavoidable. I can insist on them seeing him, that is my right. But that will mean fourteen hours on a trolley in Casualty before being sent home, quite probably at eleven o’clock at night.Arthur and Doreen need to be in a nursing home. I started the ball rolling on that four months ago and nothing has happened yet. They will only go if they can go together. That makes it more difficult.I can (and have) arranged for more nursing support. The nurses will go in two or three times a day, and the twilight nurses will go in at night. But they will only stay ten minutes, and they do not wash sheets (“not part of our job”). And diarrhoea characteristically occurs just after the nurse leaves, not just before she arrives.I can phone social services. They will give me some numbers to phone to get some paid help in. The family have already done that.Twenty years ago, when I started, I could have arranged an acute geriatric admission for nursing care and rehab. That has all gone now. Hospital beds are full of patients having their varicose vein and hernia surgery done to meet the government’s six month target. There is no slack in the system. There is no compassion. And in any case, with the lack of hospital nursing care, Arthur is safer at home.“Can’t you give me something to make sure this wretched diarrhoea does not come back, Doc?”I wish I could.As I leave the house, I feel ashamed. I feel stressed. This does not fit in with the medical school “problem-solving” hardwiring which, despite insight, I still cannot over-ride.Oh, and I did not stay to help Doreen wash the sheets either. Why should I? It’s not part of my job, you know.

The Reivers

The traditions of the reivers is a fascinating story and well worth reading.

Over towards the West side of the Borders, it is a very black tale with cattle raiding, murderous traditions and almost total lawlessness. Here, around Duns, it never got so serious and the festivities reflect this. We are just getting over tha annual commeration of last week.

The sense of community is very strong. All of the events are extremely well supported. The daily rides attract a good crowd of horse-riders of all ages and abilities. This last week had a small lad who must have been all of four years old being walked astride a cobby little pony. His legs only just reached beyond the saddle.

The shopkeepers enter into things and decorate with the town colours of black and red. There are window competitions for the kids. Fancy dress parades. A free-for-all handball competition in the main square between teams of married and unmarried men. There seem to be no rules - either how the game is played or how many are in a team. The shops in the square have to board up their windows and close for the afternoon.

Things end on Sunday night with a talent competition after the presentation of prizes. Groups of people bring their barbeque kit and set up in the square. This time, here were still small groups talking at 2:30 on the Monday morning. No drunkenness, no yobbo behaviour. Just fun and games.

A community.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Teacher dog

You maybe need to be as daft as I am about dogs to get the full flavour of this story.

Friends have two cottages on the one plot. They live in one and rent the other as holiday accommodation by the week. They are fanatical gardeners and there is one garden for the two cottages. They have a 4 or 5 year old retriever.

They have been getting the garden ready for the village garden day when proud owners open their gardens to visitors, serve cream teas, sell plant cuttings - things to raise money for charity. All very commendable.

The last week's renters had a 6 or 7 year old Boxer dog. A breed known for cunning but not brains. However, this one had a talent. He taught their retriever how to dig for things. In the garden. Under the lawn. Amongst the plants and flowers. Seems the place looked like the Somme.

The owners of the Boxer were mortified. The gardeners cancelled the strawberry and cream order. They are proper dog people and know that there is no such thing as a bad dog. Just bad owners.

I think it all immensely funny. I can just imagine the dog-talk. "Never dug up a garden - getaway!" "No, really, I'm just a sleeping dog" "Come on - I'll show you what you have to do" "Wasn't that fun. How far did you kick back?"

Sunday, 9 July 2006


The saga that is John Prescott shows no sign of abatement. Every day, it seems, another little weight is put into the scales and they are all going on the Down side.

This has led to politicians voicing concern at his being left in charge whilst Lord Tony jets off on his hols in some exotic (and free) locale.

It seems that the prospect of having a liar, a bullying sexual athlete with little idea of statemanship at the helm for a fortnight fills some with fear and anguish.

I cannot see whilst this should be any problem. It works to their satisfaction for the other 50 weeks of the year.

Day dreaming

I suspect that my whole day will be wasted with recurring thoughts about a floating magnetic bed. The first amusing vision involved passion with a well-pierced young lady (that is well-pierced as in metallic enhancements and not in the coarse physical context). Then I added in a male with a Prince Albert amendment. All that within a short while of finding the article.

Given a cost of $1,5 million, I am sure that I will never be embarrassed trying to turn over in my new bed.