Rudder to Starboard: No, to Port: No, Starboard……Dammit!

The Panama Canal will be turned over to the government of Pa

PANAMA – SEPTEMBER 17: The Panama Canal will be turned over to the government of Panama at the end of this year. A mule, an electric locomotive used to pull ships through the canal, makes its way down the Miraflores lock to await its next burden. Six of the locamotives pull each ship through. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

When the Panama Canal was first opened, the only way that the ships passed through the lock system at both ends of the Canal was to be pulled by powerful electric locomotives; which kept the ships centred within the locks as they traversed, and the ship’s engines were, in fact, shut down during the lock passage. Only when in the Canal proper were the ships allowed to use their own engine power, but the electric ‘mules’ dominated the passage through both main sets of locks. From the earliest management of the Canal, the men who drove the ‘Mules’ have always won in every labour confrontation with the management, mainly because the drivers Union is the strongest in Panama.

So when the new locks were being designed, the Canal management decided that they would give the work to the tugboat skippers, along with ‘judicious use’ of the ships’ propulsion screws, and let the ‘Mule’ drivers rant and rave at the sheer ‘unfairness’ of it all. The Canal guys stated that the tugs could do the job, and the Mules would not be needed.

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Somehow, I reckon that the Canal company is going to have to eat its words, as the tugs are just not cutting the mustard. Picture shows damage to the side of the third ship which has collided with the lock wall, and the bloody new locks have only been opened for about a fortnight!

The only good thing to come out of this mini-problem is the fact that the concrete used to construct the lock walls is tough enough!

Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,

As my blogging mate wrote way back in the mists of time; (well, okay February 2015), the proposal was to introduce the Named Persons Act in Scotland; bringing Orwell’s ideas completely up to date.

With the Supreme Court’s ruling just delivered, the Law has been left in tatters, with such excoriating detailed opinions given within the ruling stating:-

The Court’s ruling has underlined the importance of family privacy. It has been known for some time that health and education professionals in Scotland have been sharing  personal data, with scant regard for the privacy of parents and children, in the belief that the relevant part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 would be brought into force on 31 August 2016.  Now that the data sharing provisions have been found to be incompatible with the right to a private and family life, many parents will want to know whether their  family’s data has been processed unlawfully. They should make Subject Access Requests to ascertain how their data has been processed. It is possible that this will lead to further litigation.

It is now up to Nicola’s bunch in Edinburgh to decide if they wish to input new passages which comply with ‘Rights’ Legislation, or forget the whole caboodle, and pay up the damages to the parents who will be suing!

Well done to the Christian Institute, and well done to the Supreme Court!

My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!

As readers might know, I am a father, and a grandfather; so it can be assumed I know a moderate amount about the privileges and responsibilities of raising children. Gazing as I do at the ranged photos of my grandsons on the mantel, I can recall when my own kids, now obviously all adults themselves, were of a similar age as those photos represent. They were noisy, but mannered; lively, but respectful: and my wife and I ensured that they were loved, and cared for always.

When out together, either shopping or relaxing, we knew where they were at all times; they knew enough about the way that I felt that they would never, ever give us any worry as to their whereabouts, but that did not stop us from adopting the attitude which stated, even in the healthy society which was South Africa, where deviants had a very, very short life span; that no-one would cast an avaricious eye upon the treasures of our lives!

So readers might well understand when I state that I just cannot fathom the mindset which states‘Lynsey Dunn, 28, and step-father Paul Smith, 35, were believed to have lost track of Charlie as they packed up their car to head home after a day at the park’. Bullshit, in ‘effing spades! What parent ‘loses track’ of their child? What man or woman who call themselves ‘parents’ can be so far adrift from reality as to claim to ‘lose track’ of their most precious possession; the fruit, certainly, of the mother’s womb; and the accepted responsibility of the step-father?

P.S. Again with all the stuffed toys and teddy bears: and Interflora shares rocketing once again!

Don’t go near (or swim in, or drink) the Water!

I worked for quite a few years on projects associated with Sewage and Clean Water Projects. Not many people in this modern world realise that the true birth of modern cities and towns, namely the ability to live free from dread disease and plague whilst living in crowded urban conurbations was brought about by the work and investigation of a single London vicar named Dr. John Snow, allied to the genius of an Engineer named Joseph Bazalgette.

Snow deduced that a large number of cholera deaths on the immediate vicinity of the Broad Street public pump could be directly associated with the use of the water from that pump. He wondered why certain men, and their families, seemed to be immune from the dread disease, whilst living next door to those who had died from cholera. Once he deduced that all the men worked for the same company, which brewed beer; he then realised that the men and their families drank water which came from a different source; which had also been boiled. It took a huge battle to make the authorities understand that the pump had been contaminated with human sewage, but once the pump was padlocked, the cholera ceased to spread. Water treatment has come a long way from the efforts of Dr. Snow, but he was the one man who figured out where death was lurking.

Bazalgette accepted the challenge of removing and controlling the huge amounts of sewage, formerly dumped straight in the open sewers and streams which fed into the Thames; thus creating the ‘big stink’. This genius built huge sewage tunnels right along the banks of the Thames, covering them with rocks and bricks; when the new sub-sewage channels were connected to the main tunnels, and the resulting mess of toxic effluent was pumped towards the Estuary and there treated before being pumped into the Thames, the ‘stink’ subsided, Londoners could once more breathe, and Bazalgette gratefully bowed before his Sovereign as he was knighted.

From initiation, through hydraulic analysis, planning and construction, a Main Sewage Treatment works complex, suitable for a city, can take six-seven years to complete; can cost a lump of cash, but is worth the effort. I have been involved in the planning, construction and commissioning processes, and it can be complex, but: it is worth the effort!

So I do wonder why the Brazilians, despite having seven years to plan, develop and build the much-needed sewage complexes necessary to clean up the bays, the beaches and the waters, have done virtually nothing to protect the sailors, the swimmers and the tourists who will, very shortly, be engulfing the crowded facilities of Rio, the possibly plague-born Olympic City?

Mike’s Sunday News Snippets & Commentary

Sunday is, for most of we British, a day of rest, relaxation and ‘catching up’ with family, and with local and national news. We can buy our chosen Sunday newspaper, or watch the extended tv or internet-based news, and soak up what has been happening, secure in the knowledge that there aren’t too many Muslim or Iranian murderous morons lurking around the local McDonalds. So I thought that In would cast my eyes around the world of News, and see what I could dissect.

  • A ninety-two year-old lady died in the North Middlesex General Hospital in Edmonton from complications after a fall. She was told in the kindest manner possible by our wonderfully attentive and dedicated nursing staff, before she fell and injured her leg with a gash which cut to the very bone; that, as there was no-one to help her stand up and move to a toilet, she should just lie there and wet the bed. Makes your heart swell with pride at our wonderful NHS; does it not?
  • When the BBC broadcast the news about an attempted abduction of an R.A.F. serviceman, the words were, to say the least, abrupt and foreshortened. The incident was buried on the fourth story of the England section, despite being newsworthy of a front page slot; and the attackers were not even described at all: just that the ‘Police were seeking witnesses’. The police later issued the following descriptions of the two attackers:- One is described as between 20 and 30 years old, approximately 6ft (1.81m) tall, of athletic but stocky build, with long dark hair and a well-groomed beard. He was of Middle Eastern appearance with dark skin and wore dark casual clothing. The other is said to be around the same age but younger than the first suspect and of a slimmer build, 5ft 10ins (1.78m) tall, and clean shaven with short dark hair. He was also of Middle Eastern appearance and wore a white T-shirt and dark shorts. You would then immediately understand the BBC’s problem, in that ‘MIddle-Eastern appearance’ is ‘media-speak’ for Muslims, and we can’t go blaming anyone from a Muslim background as being responsible, because that might appear to state that Muslims are capable of violence, or terrorism, and that really isn’t so!
  • Seems as though even Kate Moss finds problems when seeking to develop or change a really old and decrepit barn. Seems as though our Kate forgot about the need to look after our bat population: understandable of course, seeing as though batshit reeks with bacteria, and bat urine can ‘mark’ a coat at seventy-five yards. Kate was warned that a proposal to modernise an old barn would be blocked until she proved that the old wreck no longer harboured pipistrelle bats; and that there weren’t any in the barn either!
  • The moral about not defecating on your own doorstep was brought into fine focus when the Shadow Chancellor attempted to distance himself from the bully-boy tactics of Momentum, who had threatened MP’s with de-selection after they voted against Corbyn; despite McDonnell heading the Momentum campaign.
  • So the IOC bottled it, and allowed Russia to send athletes to the Games, but gives final approval to Federations. So, the mass applications of EPO blood doping can carry on, the intake of steroids will increase, the eventual emergence of the Big Pharma Games is almost guaranteed, and the losers: the athletes, the swimmers, the cyclists and all the other exponents of the once-pure sporting activities will gaze sadly at the podiums, peopled exclusively by the new Druggies, the ones who win by any means!

How to steal a Nation

Imagine you wish to be a ‘Democratic’ Dictator, a Theocratic President; an all-powerful leader of a nation which has an overwhelming majority of people whose religion is the same as yours: but has an iron-clad Constitution demanding that that Turkish Nation is run along strictly secular lines. Your national newspapers rubbish your every attempt to make your friends ever richer, they continually attempt to expose the huge amounts raked off in Government corruption.

You plan things carefully; with secrecy as prime concern. You have a large group of malcontents who wish to secede from your Country, and form their own Independent State. You first make peace with them, and lull them with wise words and promises of autonomy, then you engineer many bombing atrocities, whilst blaming your opponents. Give your opponents every opportunity to grab the deadly headlines, by accepting that bombings, the murders, the attacks are all from the bunch, well, we’ll call them Kurds. Then you turn away from the peace talks, blame everything on the Kurds, and attack their bases even over the border.

Then you find that a nation whose borders meet yours is involved in a deadly civil war; and this war is complicated by yet another bunch, even deadlier than the Kurds, are gaining ground within your neighbour’s borders; but because the third group, whom we shall call ISIL, are of the same mindset as yourself regarding religion, you help them; you allow their foreign fighters to pass through your airports on the way to their targets and bases; you allow your son to buy their oil which comes from the fields stolen by ISIL. You state that they are your enemy, but you do virtually nothing except allow millions of refugees to transit your territory.

IT is then that you discover what bad friends they are, because ISIS now commences a terror bombing campaign against your Nation, mainly because one set of fundamentalists dislikes yet another bunch of fundamentalists. So you plan ever more carefully, and bring into the forefront an enemy who used to be a staunch friend, who is now safely in exile in America. You claim that he is funding an insurrection, and attempt to gain ever  more power for yourself, locking up journalists and anyone who has the stones to speak out against you. You are aware that he has, within Turkey, a loose confederation of similar minds, within the police, the judiciary, the lower levels of the Army; but he has never been able to organise anything which would appear even to be a threat.

Your thirst for power is well-known, but you fail, at the last election, to gain the elusive majority which would allow you to modify the Constitution: but you and your followers hatch a devious plan to gain power through the back door, as it were. You arrange for two junior Army generals to gain the idea that, if they strike during your well-publicised summer holiday, the Army will gain power and remove the stains, as they term, of the Islamic rules which you have brought into everyday Turkish life. Now the Turkish Army, a confident, well armed and mechanised force, although a tad uneasy with your ever-present Islamic pressure; really wants nothing to do with a couple of junior staff malcontents, so the back planning goes ahead with a few hundred soldiers, two platoons of tanks, and a few jets and helicopters from the Turkish Air Force. The jets bomb the Presidential Palace, which is a waste of explosives because the President is on holiday. All news stations and TV are off the air, so you, the smartest and possibly most media-savvy President to date, fire up your Facetime app, call the CNN Turkish TV station, which, being privately run, hadn’t attracted the military’s gaze, went onto the air and implored his Islamic followers onto the street, and the rest was just a matter of arresting anyone who was even believed to be in on the coup plot, including large swathes of the military, the judges, firing or suspending all the teachers, and anyone who wasn’t either bearded or not wearing a bloody hijab.

And so it goes, President Erdogan is now invulnerable, he has his ‘State of Emergency’, and he can do virtually anything he wishes. The slide of Turkey from a modern, secular, industrial State to a backward Theocratic State, run along the lines of Iran, will happen, he will unleash the million-odd refugees and head them towards the Greek beaches and borders, causing further creased brows in Berlin, where most of the scum want to go; but nothing concrete about stopping the horde will be achieved, because when 27 countries are asked to do something hard, or brutal, or necessary: they will blink, and talk, and twist in the ‘effing wind!

The only thing which we can do is congratulate ourselves that we are out of this mess, and all we have to do is erect a really good Border Defence system, using sniffer dogs and a really fast X-ray/Infra-red system for the trucks, but possibly with live ammunition on the boats. Turkey is lost; they will never join the EU, but I suppose that won’t worry them too much: after all, ‘It was Written’, and Allah will provide!