Sail Ho?

I read that a couple of people with more money than sense have put up rather a lot of money so that the yacht Gipsy Moth IV will stay in Britain, rather than possibly be sold overseas.
Now I know a little bit about the sea, and small ships, boats and yachts, so I probably find myself in a minority by plaintively asking,”Why the fuss?”
After all, that yacht, is just a collection of timber, steel, aluminium, concrete and fibres, sailing loosely in formation. It has no intrinsic value whatsoever, being as it is some forty-odd years old, and in sad need of a lot of cash being slathered all over its wooden ribs. The ‘donation’ of more than £250,000 will enable the old boat to go sailing once more, but again, and again, the question nags at me, “why spend all that cash on an old boat when you could buy a new one for very little more?”

The simple truth that it was the Man who sailed that voyage. It was Sir Francis Chichester who battled the seas, the winds and all the elements on his voyage. The yacht was just the collection of timbers and canvas which carried that single-minded man as he won out against all the odds. Having been in very large ships, I have also sailed in very small craft, of a similar size to Gipsy Moth, and it is the sea which is your opponent. If you look ‘up’ at a wave whilst on the bridge of a modern ship, just think of the power bearing down upon a puny yacht in the same seas!

England fought the French with old ships of the line, and won, but that was because of Nelson, the crippled sailing genius and his men of the Royal Navy; the government of the day was too tight-fisted to pay for new vessels. ‘Victory’ remains as the only reminder of that Navy, but only because there are sufficient sailors who have fought to keep her in dock.

Gipsy Moth should have been let go, to sail on until she disappeared of old age and fading fortunes.


Pour slowly, and the colour alters imperceptibly!

When a liquid, or a potion, or any mixture is guaranteed to be 100% pure, that is commonly accepted as being ‘the real thing’. There can be no substitute for adulteration, no dilution is permitted; there are definite restrictions on advertising a compound, or a mixture, or any substance which contains less than the agreed ingredients in correct proportions; because to allow this would be to accept that the lesser product is as efficacious, or as potent, as ‘the real thing’.

As with chemistry, so with politics. Our system of political representation was developed over centuries of trial, sometimes of error; but always of retaining the items which worked, discarding those which did not meet with expectations, and ensuring that the People were at least governed and kept safe. Many politicians enter their field because of a sense of justice, many others because of a sense of injustice, whether experienced by a few, or many. But the people whom I write about today are mostly failed politicians, remnants of times past, of egos too big for their boots, of blunder, bluster, avarice and bigotry!

I refer to the present House of Lords, not the past. In my own lifetime I have watched as the finest Second Chamber in the world has become dilute, stained, and as more than a few have noted, a political laughing-stock. In most of the last century, we in the United Kingdom had a gathering of people who were beholden to no one, who were independent of thought and politics because they owed no-one any favour because they were there because of their birth, not because of political influence. We had scientists, philosophers, engineers, businessmen, artists; people of enormous talent whose experience was freely available to scrutinise and reform legislation put forward by Members of the Commons. And, folks, it worked! Because they had the time, because they were beholden to no whim of a political party, they gave value and indeed benefit to a political process which stood in great need of it.

It is true, not all Members were hereditary. The Crown retained the right to establish peerages, who then retained the hereditary principle, but it was not until 1958 that Life Peerages were established. These posts were established ostensibly to overcome the alleged inability of Peers to attend Parliament regularly, with the attendant problem that the ‘backwoodsmen’, those who attended infrequently or hardly ever, could wreck any legislation by appearing out of the blue, as it were, and with a majority demolish years of work by both the Commons and by political draughtsmen.

But if you now look at the make-up of the Lords, dominated as they are after the gerrymandering techniques of the Labour years, yes, and of Conservative times as well; by failed politicians of all hues, of people who can and will be told, ‘vote our way’, and will follow the strictures of a Party and not an opinion, knowledge or a conscience. On the Labour side of things, we see the Welsh windbag Kinnock, Lord Levy, one time money bag-man to Tony Blair, two prime examples of reward for failure. We see Pola, Baroness Uddin, but not for a while, because she has been banned from the House for what should have been called theft and fraud. Alongside Uddin are two more prime examples of Labour’s prescience in political honour distribution, Lords Paul and Bhatia, who have also been fined large amounts of money for similar offences to Uddin, but were not banned because they admitted their wrongdoing. We also see Baroness Floella Benjamin, but nobody knows really why! Name after name, of people ennobled for entirely the wrong reasons, or for the right reasons if you are of that mind.

Similarly, on the Tory side of the aisle, we see patronage at its best, with Baroness Anelay, formerly Chairwoman of the Conservative Womens Committee, with no other expertise to show that her ennoblement was nothing else than a political gesture; and it works, because she is Chief Whip for the Tories in the Lords. We also see Ken Baker, now of course Baron Baker of Dorking, who had also been described as the reason slime gets a good name in Dorking. We hear the names Conrad Black, but we don’t see the good Baron Black of Crossharbour, because he is just about to return to an American prison to serve out the remainder of a sentence for fraud. We note the names by the dozen, of political friends who have served their purpose well in the sleazy art of politics, and now get their rewards in ermine and good tables in restaurants.

By virtue of a single Legislative Act, the Labour party destroyed the whole idea of an Independent Second Chamber, whose role was to scrutinise and remedy legislation placed before it by the Commons, on the grounds that the Lords were not ‘accountable’. Looking as we do now at some 600-odd political placemen, only some of whom are sentient; with a small rump of the hereditary peerage remaining, , would anyone agree that the result of Labour’s gerrymandering has been beneficial to democracy?

The rich are different!

If you have really bad neighbour problems, you have few choices. You can attempt to negotiate with the ‘pikeys’ next door, who probably have no idea that their behaviour is causing distress around them, mainly because they have never been imbued with any sense of civility or courtesy! You can ask your neighbour if he will cut back on the overgrown forest which masquerades as a hedge next door. You can even attempt to get the police to clamp down on the scum who are making your life a misery in the estate which is a no-go area, but don’t really hold out much hope on that score.

The one thing you usually cannot do is ‘move’, mainly because your investment is locked in your house, and no-one will buy into trouble.

Unless you are a Billionaire, and find that someone has photographed your house from a moving car, and then uploaded all your home details onto the Internet, along of course with everyone else’s in the entire city, town or village. Because, if you are a true Billionaire, you can always ‘MOVE‘!


Abandon Hope?

As my regular readers may remember, I worked in South Africa for some seventeen years, leaving only when I decided that the country was changing too fast, too dangerously and to soon.

Some people seem to believe that I hanker for the days of Aparthied, for the rule of the White Man, in that once pleasant and wonderful country. Not so, I accept that, in a Democracy, the majority’s wishes must rule.

All I would ever point out that the day of ‘Uhuru’ has been and gone, the magic ‘votes’ were handed out and used, and all I would ever ask is whether those who voted regard their nation as one of the winners.

Yes, the magic ‘World Cup’ was played and watched by millions, but do the citizens of South Africa now realise that they are burdened with paying the huge infrastructure costs, and the repayment of all those borrowed billions, as well as the huge amounts of cash which were legally stolen by the directors of the Gautrain, for example, while failing to come up with anything else besides a speedy trip from the airport to Johannesburg Central? How about the new airport in Durban, built at huge cost, and for what? Fifteen extra flights from overseas! A new freight depot beside the airport. Yes, and watch how it is being utilised. The rust will grow on the tracks where the cargoes are supposed to run, because the business is just not there!

Turn your eyes towards the hospitals, and watch as they slowly sink beneath the weight of the useless bureaucracy imposed by the Black administrations, and also watch as the doctors, the specialists, the consultants disappear towards Europe, Australia and america, towards a future which is not a lottery of murder, theft and sleaze!

Read the warnings of an eminent scientist as he predicts disease and near disaster if Capital Investment is not prioritized for the Water Industry. I know about water, about sewage and treatment works. They are expensive, and they take time to plan, and build, and commission. If the engineering is not there, the water does not get cleansed, and people start getting sick very quickly. Don’t heed me; heed HIM!

An ‘error’ in Translation

In general, the phrase, ‘A Nation gets the Government it deserves’ ought to be emblazoned, prominently, over the main gates of the Palace of Westminster, and again over the Lobby to the House of Commons within that august structure. Over the time I have been a close observer of the shenanigans happening within those gothic walls, I have seen and heard of many scandals, much deceit, a very few moments of genuine honesty & pathos, and a great deal of pusillanimous speechmaking, angling for personal power and blatant lying untruthfulness.

The business of Parliament, which used to be about how we were governed and how we are to be defended, has been abolished, as many if not most decisions are taken by an unelected cabal of bureaucrats based in Brussels. What we are left with is an expensive version of the deck chairs being moved around on the sun-deck of the Titanic. But the Left still tries to carry on with it’s Big State ideas, always being helpful to the Unions, who after all demand such gratitude without a whisper of the truth, which is simply that behind the modernised exteriors and amalgamations; They, and They alone, are the Paymasters of the Labour Party, the Labour movement and the wider Labour acolytes and hangers-on!

We see the bitter fruits of the Thatcher years, when one fearless woman stood up to the burners, the bullies and the backbiters; Continue reading “An ‘error’ in Translation”

Ted, Ned, and Dave to do the dishes.

Henry V111 and Ted Heath may seem strange bed-fellows, but one oversaw the rise of firstly English and later British Independence, and the other signed it away. The King, the ruler, knew what he wanted and foresaw for his kingdom, and determined to achieve it. He went against Catholic Rome, a faith and belief which he espoused and held to for years, because he saw the downfall of his line in the obdurate attitude of the Papal See on the thorny question of a marriage to a brother’s widow, once he found that this wife would not bring him Princes; heirs to a throne which was rocky at best, and calamitously unsound  on more than one path.

He wanted Anne Boleyn, she would not give him what he wanted without a wedding ring, so he broke with Rome. His further romantic liaisons, after the disappointment with Queen Anne, a wife for whom he had killed his best friend because Sir Thomas More would not make the Oath, all led to disappointment, although he tried and tried again. He established universities, he helped build the first navy; but his greatest achievement was to give England the first Elizabeth, the Queen who would go on to defend her Crown, to build a nation who bestrode the seas, whose trade, influence and plain straightforward bloody-mindedness made Britain a leader amongst the nations of Europe, and the World.

Ted Heath, on the other hand, probably never had a sexual encounter in his entire life, homo- or heterosexual. A ‘loner’ par excellence, his problem probably was that he just did not understand the needs of people who were different to him. The fact that these people were, to themselves, normal, probaly never occurred to a man who had always stood apart from everyone, and therefore had no clue about what was best for them. He didn’t understand working people, he was useless with the Union bosses, he didn’t understand that his own Party were desperate for change, but change they understood. His service in the Artillery during the Second World War proved he was no coward, but his knowledge of that war probabaly coloured his approach to the formation of the Common Market. He probably saw it as a means to ensure that Germany and France could never war against each other, and its enlargement he saw a a proper balance against American domination in both trade and power.

Like Margaret Thatcher, he never understood the truth about Europe, which is that it was a deeply-authoritarian and undemocratic creation, built, peopled and operated by politicians and apparatchiks who instinctively ‘knew’ that their way was best, and their creation allowed for no dissent, no opposition.  He lied all the way to the bank to get Britain in to the ‘Market’, giving away the huge resource of all our fishing grounds away to a bunch of clowns who had never even seen the sea before, and debasing himself, and us, to France to get in on any terms.

When he signed the Treaty of Rome, he threw away our sovereignty, and the talking shop in Westminster cannot get it back, and just about all of them don’t even want to try! The changes from ‘Market’ to ‘Economic Union’ to ‘European Union’ were stealthy, unadvertised and unknown to most Europeans, never mind the British. The pillock who sits in Downing Street is a typical ‘apparatchik’or manager. He is, as most will learn in due course, in love with the ‘idea’ of Europe, and is fascinated by it’s rituals, its pomp and self-importance, and has forgotten the offer of a Referendum on our membership of that dictatorial body, and fervently wishes that the rest of us would forget as well!


George got it about right!

When I read of my country’s Royal Navy being reduced to be a floating hire-rig for passing French and American aircraft, I just wonder why we bother.

We shall be building two carriers, one of which will be immediately mothballed and probably sold-off.

The other will be tied up in Portsmouth for the duration because it will not have any of our own aircraft to fly off it!

George had it about right when he said ““It follows than as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.”- George Washington, 1781

The wild and woolly ways

I used to have a small Limited Company on the register. It wasn’t very big, I only ran it for a few years. I followed all the intricate plans, got myself an accountant, opened up a business bank account, paid my taxes on time every quarter, got all the details in to the accountant for years’ end settling, sent off the file, got the okay from HMRC, paid my taxes. Filled in all the forms, dumped huge amounts of surplus paper received from the same HMRCustoms. Just the same as many other thousands of small businesses. Made a small profit.

Decided to close things down; advised Companies House, advised accountant, advised bank, sent off final accounts, which also advised HMRCustoms that I was closing down. Filled in all the forms, sent off the forms; received acknowledgements: Case Closed!

Couple of weeks ago, got a ‘Penalty Determination’ from the Tax Man, saying I, or at least my Company, owed them £400.00 for late payment of yearly tax information. Through my accountant, I protested somewhat vigorously that my company was closed, I had no company bank account, they had got the wrong guy!

This afternoon, I received another letter from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. It was headed ‘Amended Penalty Determination’, and stated that I owed them £0.00.

Strange, weird and wonderful are the ways of Government Departments. They can’t even apologise graciously, and admit they got things wrong!


Video Nasty!

Just for a change, I am posting on Debt. Not Credit Card debt, or Mortgage Debt, or even straight-forward Hire-Purchase Debt.

No, I am talking about Real Debt. We have been living beyond our means for too long, and the train is about to run into the buffers; as is demonstrated by this short video from the Taxpayers Alliance. If there were classifications for online videos, this particular effort would have a XXXXXXX classification, because it is so true, and so very scary!

Go and tell it to the marines!

Leafing through the smaller sections of the Sunday Times, and came across an advertising supplement for Abu Dhabi, in the Emirates. Yep, that’s the ones, sun, sea, dust, oil, money, shit, slave labour, get-rich very quick and lose it all at the whim of some rag-head who has just learned to use toilet paper!

Now I accept that it all is a bloody advert, but can you expect anyone seriously to accept at face value the sentences written about the political and media make-up of Abu Dhabi? Does anyone with an I.Q. above single figures read the words. “The Ruling Family are chairman, C.E.O and chief operating officer of Abu Dhabi Inc……the board of loyal subordinates who implement policy without approval from elected body. There are no political parties. The press is owned by the ruling elite, and are uncritical of it”, without going back in time to the days of, well, not Stalin, but maybe the Austro-Hungarian empire?

Can’t provide any links, as the Times keeps most things locked behind a firewall, but I will attempt to describe one advert.

It depicts a three-storey office in the late evening.

The lowest office window is illuminated, showing one male worker looking upwards over his shoulder at his compatriots on the first floor. The two occupants in that office are depicted also gazing upwards, presumably in dumb awe, amazement or reflected glory at the office on the second floor; because that is where all the action is!

We see a female wearing a ‘hijab’ or headscarf standing behind a second woman. But this woman is unveiled, ‘how forward-thinking and noble these people are’, the picture seems to be asking? In front of the second woman are two men, one bowing forwards while shaking the hand of; who else but the robed Arab who is the benign ruler of all he surveys.

All hail to ADCB wealth management!

Big Phuqing Deal!

Foe; or Friend?

I watched Sunday evening what should have been an interesting documentary on the story behind the raid on the Moehne and Eder dams in 1943 . I wrote ‘should’ because it was of course ruined by the narrator, the ‘sopping wet’ Martin Shaw of ‘Judge Deed’ fame. A typical wringing-wet liberal of the soft-left kind, he gave the impression that, during his retailing of the story of the Dambusters, his sympathies were all with the bloody Germans.

The documentary began with the technical details of the raid, of how the plans to destroy the dams were actually thought of in 1936, of the fact that the actual bomb details were classified until 1973, so the film version was completely different. That sort of detail was interesting, and the documentary itself was well-made, with Martin Shaw in a light aircraft retracing the training flights over the Derwentwater reservoir was both facinating and enlightening.

Not so the time of the film where the crew were filming the scenes of the results of the bombing. The Eder dam was breached, and the water onslaught completely devastated part of a town some four miles downstream. An elderly German woman, a survivor of the attack, was interviewed, and told how she and her family had survived by running uphill, away from the water; but described how another woman and her four children died in the flood, along with a man who went back for them. But Shaw was shaking his head and waffling on about how the Germans who died were not the ones who were directing the war, they were not Nazis, they were the same people as now were our allies.

What utter bullshit! The German nation embraced Hitler and his Nazi philosophy because it placed them in the winners seat; winners in the march towards a prosperity, winners in the race to persecute the Jews, winners in the Nazi philosophy of ‘Lebensraum’ with land grabs in Alsace, in Czechoslovakia and in the Ruhr. The Germans cheered their Nazi leaders to the rooftops, and they were behind them all the way. Through Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland and France, the Panzers and the Blitzkrieg of the Luftwaffe marched, drove, flew and killed. They were only stopped at the Channel by the luck which gave Britain the chance at Dunkirk to rescue her stricken armies. After that, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the terror bombing and the deaths of thousands of British civilians. I didn’t hear Martin Shaw commenting much on the suitability of the Germans as ‘partners in peace’ in those dangerous days!

Most of the dead were forced labourers from Poland and Russia, so Martin Shaw was distressed at that as well. I don’t think he would have been a conscientious objector, but all that death disturbed our man of high moral standards. If the war could have been carried out without all that death, blood and genocide, I think Mr. Shaw would have been happier!

Memorial; or Mawkish?

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.

Thomas Gray. Elegy in a country churchyard

I have written of many things, of actions, of political promise and deceit, of the lunacy of modern life, of the wonder of a tiny premature Grandson, of love, of honour; but not many times of death. Death is the one mystery which is still, even in this secular Society in which we live, given honour, remembrance, wonder and gratitude. The death of a lover, or a family member who was loved, is still the one cause in which all these four Nations of ours unite. While I spurn and deride the false silences demanded by European Union apparatchiks for those such as the Tsunami dead, I accept the tributes given at the Cenotaph by Royalty and the marching Veterans as honest, as well as the similar memorial services the length and breadth of this nation. You will probably note that I dismiss almost without exception the presence of politicians of whatever hue who attend these mournful remembrances; as there are very, very, very few politicians who live up to either their promises or their published expectations.

There is a small North-Eastern town in England which I used to call home, despite working far away so long ago. In that town there sits a small Catholic church, with cemetery adjacent. Within the confines of that Cemetery lie the mortal remains of my beloved sister, who died at the age of sixteen from leukaemia. Her death shattered my Dad, who never completely recovered from her loss, and my Mum wasn’t much better in her grief. There is just a green sward where she lies; no stone, no winged angel, no border resplendent with flowers; because her face is before me as I write these lines. We three remaining brothers need no chiselled granite to remind us of our sister, and so it is.

But perhaps we three are in the minority, as many do need a permanent reminder, a true memorial, to the child, the mother, father, brother, to those who have gone before. And there is nothing; I repeat nothing, mawkish, overly-sentimental or over-the-top in holding to the memory of one who has died by erecting any memorial, stonework or statue in a cemetery which the family wishes to do so.

So when I heard the placid tones of Dr. Richard Pratt (by name and nature, if ever) decrying the intent and actions of a family who have placed a stone image of their dead son’s dog on his Cumbrian grave, I decided to write these few lines to place my own point of view. I accept that most people, in these days where probably the only times they enter a church or churchyard is for either a wedding or a funeral, a memorial is fitting if it reflects their memories of the one who died. They are just not interested in the Churchyard Regulations, which were of course written and approved by a group of Churchmen, approved and deemed fitting to their idea of what is acceptable within the confines of a Churchyard.

The friends and relatives who mourn the loss are just not interested in the views of a Church who, for so long now, has usually ignored the views and needs of the laity. Who decides what is acceptable in a memorial? Are the views of a group of old men who have probably forgotten what an honest emotion is all about to take precedence over a family who remembers their son in the only way they know, which was together with his beloved dog?

..and you are the father!

I note that Natasha Kaplinsky, the former BBC , and now Channel Five newsreader is to end her service with the TV station at the end of 2010 ‘by mutual consent’.

Now normally I pay very little attention to the high-paid ‘celebrity’ broadcasters we see swanning around these days, mainly because their lives, and the retailed stories around those lives, mean very little to the likes of myself.

But if we delve just a slice below the surface, we see a pattern which has emerged over the lifetime of the three Labour Governments, and a small revolt against that pattern by at least one employer who is demanding, rightly in my view, at least a small return on the investment of cash paid to this particular ‘broadcaster’.

It seems as though our Natasha has actually spent over a year of her three years with the TV station on Maternity leave, due to giving birth to two children. She commenced her stint at channel five with a £1 million deal, but took a pay-cut to only £700,000 upon her return after the birth of her first child, as she would only be doing one broadcast an evening. She promptly fell pregnant again with her second child, and took a further six months off work, as she was legally entitled to do so.

She returned to work this month, but in the meantime, guess what? Channel Five had got itself a new owner; in the form of Richard Desmond. With most remembering Desmond as the ‘Porn King’, with such broadcasting gems as Dirty Talk, Filth, Red Hot Mums and Red Hot Fetish in his stable named Portland, not too many remember him as the ruthless, cost-cutting buisnessman he really is. Not many realise that he has pulled the Daily Express back from the brink by ruthlessly slashing costs and jobs, to the effect that the Daily Express is now financially viable. It is in fact Desmond who has really placed the blocks under Natasha’s career, because he isn’t seeing any return on his investment.

But I now come to the point of my little screed, which is this; for Natasha, replace her with any fecund female in a responsible position within a company; replace Desmond the multi-millionaire with any medium-sized business, and you get the same outcome! Because the woman in question chooses to have a child, she removes herself from her employment whilst on full pay for up to six months, and the Company has to pay for a replacement during her absence, and then has to employ her once more at the end of her maternity leave!

No wonder young women are being discriminated against in the workplace. No wonder companies large and small fight shy of promoting females of child-bearing age, because they just start to see a return upon their usually-heavy investment in training or recruitment, when the woman goes off to have a child!

I am not against maternity leave, or benefits accordingly. I am against a State which states that employers have to like it or lump it, because most of them will take the second option!


Now everyone lift together!

My mate was asking why I was hesitant about lifting a heavy box off the ground, and I replied, “You’ve just got to know your limits, if it’s too heavy, I’ll get hurt, and there ain’t no insurance covering me right now!” He asked why I was always cautious about lifting, and my mind went back to a summer’s day in 1963, in one of the many docks in Liverpool, I was just returning from a spot of leave, so the basic mistakes had been made before my taxi came onto the dockside. Our ship was due to load a whole heap of really heavy equipment, ready to be taken to Romania for some engineering manufacturing exhibition, and the main pieces had duly rolled up the quay side during the morning.

The heaviest piece was a huge gearbox weighting approximately twelve tons, and all preparations were being made to arrange the lift. We were fitted with what was called a Samson mast , and from the base of the mast a huge steel Jumbo derrick was pivoted, so as to be both lifted up and down, and swung from side to side. The lifting capacity of the electric winches was aided by a four-link pulley block system which, as you will remember from your schooldays, gives an eight-to-one advantage; so by placing a two-ton pressure on the cable, it  was able to lift a theoretical sixteen tons off the ground. So there they were, all the slings were attached, all the derricks were manned, and the lift began. Unfortunately, the only man who knew all about the capacity of the winches was me, and I was still in the taxi, heading from Lime Street station out towards the ship.

So the lift commenced, but the lifting winch was still in high gear, which meant that there wasn’t a great deal of torque, or turning power, available from the motor, so with the extra strain on the supply, the main fuse blew, the brake slapped back on, and the load stopped about two feet off the jetty. The stand-by electrical officer, on duty of course, rewired the fuse, slapped it back into the holder, the signals were given once more, and the lift crept skywards, still above the jetty of course when the fuse blew once more, It blew three more times before the third mate had a spectacular brainwave, or so he thought. “Hang about,” he called, “Our Leccy,” meaning me, “Our Leccy always puts the main winch into double gear before lifting anything heavy!”

Now he was quite correct in this statement, but what everybody forgot was there was twelve tons still hanging off the derrick by a multiplicity of wire rope. So the stevedore foreman finds the proffered sledgehammer, stands on top of the winch, and gently taps the gear lever into neutral, before preparing to drop the winch into low gear. Again, remember what everyone had done of course was to forget about this huge weight suspended off the overhanging derrick, which itself had a diameter of about three feet, so you can imagine its’ weight alone, and everything was being held still now by the brake on the winch. So far so good! Unfortunately, the stevedore then uttered the immortal words, “Spin it a little, and I’ll mesh the gear into low!!” The winch controller was moved, and the current went towards the motor, but also of course lifted the brake off; the immense weight of the derrick plus the gearbox, which I later worked out as loading seventy two tons apparent weight onto the winch drum pulled the winch drum the wrong way, and the whole load slowly and majestically headed straight back down onto the low loader which had transported it on to the quay side, everyone hid, the rope was eventually stripped right off the winch drum which continued rotating for a good five minutes under the immense momentum of the derrick plus gearbox heading down, the main derrick hit the ship’s side and bent over, and that was when my taxi came around the corner!

Getting warmer?

Global Warming Crap

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Here is his letter of resignation to Curtis G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society.

Dear Curt:

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists.

As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example: About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate.

The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.

In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.

To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.


Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk and Why Flip a Coin

An inconvenient truth for Al Gore.

Yeah, we all agree, but how much?

The photo is one of the iconic images of the last century, when a set of ruthless terrorists contrived to load a bomb on board a Pan-Am jet, and it detonated above the sleepy small town of Lockerbie in 1988.

I will not delve into the murky stories behind the release of the so-called ‘dying’ bomber, save to say that he still seems smiling and alive.

But I would comment upon the new-found friendly relations which seem to be bound together with the release of that murderer. I am of course talking about Libya, its leader Gaddafi, his links and friendship with top figures within the IRA/SinnFein leadership, his love of democracy, at least his idea of democracy which involved evenly spreading body parts all over Northern Ireland, and his present buddy-relations with the British Government.

Here we have a man with a truly psychopathic personality, a dictator whose very word was enough to sanction the deaths of all those people on the ground, and in the air above Lockerbie, but also of an innocent policewoman, shot down on the road in front of the Libyan Embassy building while guarding that same building against protest. After many years of espousing terror, and terror factions throughout Europe, he suddenly ‘sees the light’, allegedly gives up his ‘weapons of mass destruction’, and is welcomed into the community by not other than Tony Blair.

Yes, he has paid ‘compensation’ for some victims; yes, he did surrender two men accused of the bomb plot, yes, he has ceased his funding and supply of terror groups, but is he to be trusted?

When his daughter, during an interview, comes out with the statement: “ Megrahi’s cancer is not the result of divine intervention – although the fact that he has continued to stay alive might just be.  ”We have always viewed him as a detainee, not a prisoner, as there is no evidence that he commited such a crime,” she says, adding that he deserves compensation for being locked up unjustly. “But it is terrible that there are politicians who are demanding to know why he is still alive. They have forgotten that it is an act of God. Nobody dies before his time.” She also claimed that “” Thatcher really spoiled my childhood, and I will never forgive her, no. As for Reagan, that is the route of Allah, he went crazy and got Alzheimer’s. That is his punishment, I think.”; are we then to believe that all the leopard’s spots have been removed, or just a few?



There are many acceptable definitions of this word, but the one which caught my eye was “A group of usually two to six male lions that drive off and replace the male lions in a pride in order to mate with the females and protect the resulting offspring”.

In more earthy terms, one group gets together and plans to screw all the other members or residents, after supplanting the original dominating group.

While I wouldn’t class Chris Huhne as an Alpha lion, as he seems to me to be reminiscent of a jackal, his intentions are, during his Telegraph interview, fairly clear. He wishes to shatter the Coalition government from the edges, as does a jackal from the edges of the herd, by separating the weaker members, isolating them and, of course, destroying them. An ultra-typical Liberal Democrat, who occupies a Cabinet position only because Clegg won out against Cameron from a point of view of numbers as against seats obtained during the election, he sits smugly sniping against the decisions made by his Cabinet colleagues without any worry of retaliation, because Clegg is too worried what would be the result within his own Party if he sent Huhne back to where he belongs, which is probably selling sandals to the faithful.

What Dave Cameron should do is to put the hard word on Nick Clegg, to make him pull Huhne back into line. But he won’t, because he is too worried about his own right-wing, with a cheesed-off David Davies slavering in the wings for another chance at the leadership!

I reckon that the Conservatives should kick the snivelling Lib-Dems back out into the wilderness, govern as a Minority, and dare the Libs and the Labs to vote them down. As I wrote, I reckon, but since we live in ‘compromise times’, we’ll probably see the slow watering down of the necessary decisions on the Economy, because the Conservatives are shit-scared of the likes of Huhne reneging on just about all decisions necessary to bring us back to reality!


Affix Feather Here!

I was going to make a few sarcastic comments about the lunacy of a Radio reporter describing the contenders for the new Turner Prize this morning as my first post on the new ATW, but then I read of the sorry State of this Nation, and decided to concentrate on this instead.

aUnion Jack

The flag up above is the Union Flag, under which our forces fought, and died, so that good might prevail over evil. We did not know, when War was declared in 1939, how evil the Nazi regime really was, but the reasons given, which was that we had a Treaty with Poland, and Hitler had invaded that Nation, was good enough for the British government, and the British people.


The flag depicted at the side, is of course, the symbol of the Third Reich, both instantly recognisable and universally detested. Some seventy years after the Battle of Britain was fought, the ones who personally fought those who marched, flew and sailed under that evil symbol are rapidly getting fewer each year. Time does that to we human beings. But the memory of that crooked cross lives on, and for good reasons.

We must ensure that the Liberty which many thousands died to protect is never diminished in any way whatsoever; which is why I write of the utter stupidity and gross cowardice of the Cawthorne Jubilee Museum’s chairman Peter Kilner. The Museum had planned and built an exhibition which commemorates the 70 years since the Battle of Britain, and also of  the role the village and its residents played in World War Two.

In amongst the exhibits was a large Nazi flag, stating, rather obviously, ‘this is what we fought against’.

But someone was ‘offended’, and since that is so terrible, the offending flag was covered up with a Union Jack.

Sometimes, when the nights are dark, and I remember what it was that drove those thousands to fly, fight, shoot and kill under the Union Flag, I really do despair of this Nation!

Hi Suzi; Howya Doin?

The Charity Commission holds the banner of freedom high, at least ‘Freedom’ as it is defined by, The Charity Commission; who else?

The same Commission who threatened a large number of independent schools that unless they toed the line, and walked ‘exactly’ as Dame Suzi leather desires, they will lose their tax-exempt status.

Suzi, for those who aren’t too familiar with her name, title, politics and work ethic, might care to know that she has three children, all who go to private schools, as did the fair Dame, as well as half of the members of the Charity Commission. A card-carrying supporter of the Labour Party, Dame Suzi has also been Chair of School Food Trust, Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority,  Deputy chair of the UK Food Standards Agency,  Chair of Exeter and District Community NHS Trust, Research officer, Consumers in Europe Group, as well as now being the Chair of the Charity Commission.

So here’s the thing, when did she find the time to give Religious, and hence tax-exempt status, to the Druid Network, and do  they deserve it?


The question no-one seems to have asked, in this brave new world of Bebo, Facebook etc., is the one I asked myself when I first heard about them.


“Why give up your personal privacy, contact details and everything which is private to you, in order to show the ‘world’ that you have, or can ‘boast about’, ‘X’ number of ‘Friends?

Are you so insecure that you need the electronic obeisance of classmates, office colleagues, random strangers, who are told by your ‘Page’ that you will be ‘shopping’ or ‘drinking’ at certain times of the day or night?

The article about Mark Zuckerberg is more than slightly tinged with a vicious envy; of a kind of “If I were him, how different would it be!”. He is, after all, only being a businessman. He told all the subscribers who handed him all their personal details that he would be marketing them off to others who would use them as advert bait! They knew, or should have known, exactly what he was planning to do with a database which now extends into the billions.

Readers who browse my posts and blog know exactly what I want them to see, and nothing more. Some know where a photo might be found, but it was placed there by myself. No-one knows what my kids look like, no-one knows what my grandsons look like, or where they live. Many people have a very good idea about my political beliefs, but that is because I write about them, in order partly to stimulate debate in this apathetic island nation of ours! Some may know which City I live in, but that is all they know, and not many people can market or sell my likes and dislikes, because I take very good care not to give out such detail. If I place a link, it is because I am advertising something, nothing more, nothing less!

With ‘Facebook Friends’ like that, the question may be asked, who needs enemies?