Smash some pumpkins … or whatever.
Archive for General
Smash some pumpkins … or whatever.
I’d like to thank the guys at the company that hosts my website, Runtime UK, for all the work they put in to recovering the database behind it that I accidentally deleted on Sunday evening.
They put in many hours of hard work recovering a database that wasn’t even supposed to be backed up so I didn’t lose the years of material that not only has great sentimental value but also goes some way to charting the history of English nationalism and the (small “c”) campaign for an English Parliament over the last decade for which I am extremely grateful. They even identified a dodgy Ajax script that was destroying the performance of the website to the extent that Google emailed me to tell me there was something wrong with it. This is why it’s worth paying for a good service from a local company instead of the cheapest offering from a faceless corporation. Would the likes of 1&1 or GoDaddy have gone to those lengths to help me? Not a chance.
So thank you Andy and Phill for your hard work and anyone else at Runtime who was involved in my minor (self inflicted) disaster, the doughnuts are on me.
I’ve seen the sad news today that Andrew Ian Dodge passed away on Friday after losing his second battle with cancer.
Andrew was a seasoned campaigner who couldn’t help but try and right any wrongs he came to know of. He had a strong sense of right and wrong and his desire to effect change led him to stand for election as Senator for Maine for the Libertarian Party.
Andrew was a supporter of an English Parliament, a eurosceptic, a prolific blogger and a rock/metal fan. We had a lot in common!
The BBC is asking “Why don’t the English want more power” in response to the Scottish independence referendum in defiance of the evidence that actually they do.
In an article promoting the balkanisation of England into artificial regions, they make the ridiculous claim that 19% of English people support regional government and only 15% support an English Parliament. Toque has been keeping tabs on English Parliament opinion polls since 2002 and not once has support for an English Parliament dipped that low – in fact, in a 2007 ICM opinion poll for the Telegraph 15% supported English independence. Are we to believe that just because people have stopped asking the question in the last year and a half, the support for an English Parliament that has consistently been between more than 50% and almost 70% depending on the question asked has suddenly nosedived to just 15%? That’s rubbish and the BBC know it which is why they’ve left it unsourced.
You can gauge the support for an English Parliament quite easily by just asking any random sample of people – your family, friends or work colleagues – whether they think England should have its own government like Scotland does and unless your circle of friends are ill-informed hardcore British nationalists, most of them will say yes.
The case for an English Parliament does need to be made again because there hasn’t been an effective campaign highlighting the issues and the solution since the Campaign for an English Parliament collapsed into a mere parody of itself a few years ago but support for an English Parliament is still high. Support for regionalisation is still low but increasing in Yorkshire and Cornwall where Labour and Mebyon Kernow respectively are peddling their divisive, anti-English politics.
The message for Yorkshire and Cornwall – and elsewhere in England for that matter – is that an English Parliament and regional devolution aren’t mutually exclusive. There is no reason why Cornwall or Yorkshire shouldn’t have an assembly of its own if that’s what the majority of people there want but that power has to be devolved democratically from an English government, not given away by the British government to frustrate the wishes of the English people. A Cornish Assembly or Yorkshire Assembly could never compete with the Scottish Parliament or Welsh or Northern Irish Assemblies let alone a G20 country but England in its own right would be a G8 country, one of the largest economies in the world. The British government won’t devolve meaningful power to a region and that’s one of the reasons why the regional assemblies were rejected by the electorate but a devolved English Parliament with greater autonomy for county or regional government under that English government could deliver local decision making where it’s more efficient or a national approach isn’t appropriate without breaking up England.
The message for the BBC is that we do want our country back and you can quote all the dodgy, unsourced statistics you want and give as many column inches to the regionalists as you like but you won’t change the facts. The majority of people in England want an English Parliament.
The Spanish government have caused mayhem by stopping every vehicle crossing the Spanish/Gibraltarian border. About 10,000 vehicles were stopped, causing 6 hour traffic jams in the town.
In recent weeks Spanish police have entered Gibraltarian waters and shot at a jetskier, Spanish fishermen have entered Gibraltar waters to try and disrupt work on an artificial reef which will stop them illegally fishing the Bay of Gibraltar and Spanish fighter planes have “buzzed” the Rock.
The British government have complained and told the Spanish not to do it again which means bugger all because the same thing happens every time they do it and they take no notice. The Royal Navy need to take a nonsense approach to incursions into Gibraltarian waters and fire on any ship that illegally enters the Bay, be it police, military or civilian. And if the Spanish government wants to cause trouble at the border then let’s block it from the Gibraltar side too but selectively so it only inconveniences the Spanish. Gibraltar buys more from Spain than Spain buys from Gibraltar and Spain is broke whereas Gibraltar isn’t.
Maggie’s funeral was on the telly today while I was cooking my lunch and it occurred to me that these kids protesting about her time in power before they were born are going about it all wrong.
If they really want to make a statement they need to converge on London, pile up bags of rubbish in the street and stop everyone from working for more than 3 days a week. They could maybe spend all their benefits on junk and then take out some payday loans to pay their bills.
That’ll send a clear message to everyone how badly they yearn for a return to the golden age of pre-Thatcher socialist England.
Margaret Thatcher died peacefully this morning after suffering a stroke.
Baroness Thatcher was a controversial character, loved by the right and viciously hated by the left. She started off well but during the later years of her term in office the line between strong leader and stubborn dictator were blurred.
While there will be partying in the streets by left wing politicians and trade unionists, most will be saddened by her death. I grew up in a household that suffered by Thatcher’s later policies and she was certainly far from popular in our family but as time has gone on it is clear that her successors all, without exception, pale in comparison. I would rather endure a decade under Thatcher of old than a year under these LibLabCon cretins.
I really didn’t want to do this but thanks to the dimwit English Democrats political brain, Steve Uncles, claiming on one of his Twitter accounts that I have been kicked out of the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) I now have to explain why I left.
Before the current Chairman, Eddie Bone, became the Chairman we had some run-ins over some pretty shocking decisions which he somehow managed to convince the National Council were good ideas. The most notable one was the switch to monthly Direct Debits for collecting membership subscriptions which was agreed despite it being explained by the Treasurer at the meeting that the CEP would have needed something like 100,000 members to make it break even. This was really the start of a sustained period of financial mismanagement that continues to this day by both the Chairman and the NC.
A clique quickly formed around Eddie and NC meetings rapidly turned into rubber stamping exercises for decisions already made by this inner circle of NC members. Dissent was frowned upon and half the time at NC meetings were consumed with vigorous sales pitches for what had already been agreed outside the meetings.
Eddie set up the Workers of England union and took on an expensive office and then tried to convince the NC that the CEP should move in to it and share the costs. The cost was unsustainable – the CEP was already losing money and members year on year and thankfully sense prevailed for the time I was on the NC despite repeated attempts to get the CEP moved into the Workers of England office.
Eddie became Chairman in a two horse race between him and myself. I didn’t want to be Chairman but nobody else put their name forward and a number of NC members (the ones outside the clique of course) were so concerned at the prospect of Eddie Bone as Chairman that they asked me to put my name forward. David Wildgoose asked me to support him as Vice Chairman if Eddie was elected as Chairman so that he could try and moderate him which I did.
Following Eddie’s election as Chairman (one member of the clique was given a number of proxy votes from NC members who turned up to meetings so infrequently I’d never even met them) the clique became more important and no decisions were made at the NC. Any disagreement with what had already been decided before the meeting was met with quite strong defence and it was clear that differing opinions were not welcome. The Chairman’s job quickly (and unofficially) became an Executive Chairman’s job and unilateral decisions were made not just about the running of the campaign but about spending money. This is against the CEP’s constitution and MOA but pointing this out got myself and others nowhere, just further ostracisation.
During his reign as Chairman, the CEP’s reserves of about £10k have been spent and with pretty much nothing to show for it. The “battlebus” (a flat bed truck with an apex on the back) has been used infrequently and presumably sits on the Chairman’s drive. As far as I’m aware it is still legally owned by the Chairman despite the CEP being a limited company and able to own property and the Chairman of the English Democrats, Robin Tilbrook, made a considerable donation towards its cost in exchange for his party being able to use it as well.
On that note, I raised concerns about the English Democrats using the “battlebus” and pointed out that it was only a matter of time until a journalist noticed they were using the same truck and linked the two together and by extension, linked the CEP with Steve Uncles, the BNP and the England First Party as well as the English Democrats. This was dismissed of course and recently the CEP was mentioned for the first time on Hope Not Hate’s website because of its links to Steve Uncles, the English Democrats and the BNP (England First Party have all but disappeared).
At some point during all this I gave up going to NC meetings and gave notice that I would resign from the NC and would reduce my patron membership of £100 per year to the standard membership of £20 per year until I saw the CEP spending money properly. My resignation wasn’t accepted as the NC decided it could scupper the talks that were ongoing with UKIP over an English Parliament policy and as an English Parliament is something immensely important to me, I allowed myself to remain on the NC on paper but didn’t attend any meetings or comment on any NC business unless it was something that was of dubious legality. There was no sign of improvement in the way they were spending money so I cancelled my standing order and allowed my membership to lapse. This should have resulted in my automatic removal from the NC but they decided not to remove me from the NC because of the work they were doing with UKIP. I again allowed this to happen because the cause is more important to me than the Campaign.
However, when the Treasurer reported that the CEP had spent so much money there was only enough left to keep the Campaign ticking over and doing no campaigning for 18 months I took the decision to assert my resignation and insist on having myself removed from the list of company directors. I had no involvement in the CEP, I had ceased to be a member and I abstained from attending and voting at NC meetings and was certainly not going to be listed as a director of an insolvent company.
After I had successfully been pushed out of the CEP attention was turned to Mike Knowles who was constructively (and unconstitutionally in my opinion) dismissed from the NC. The purge complete, the NC has descended into secrecy and members are not allowed to know what decisions are made and what their money is spent on. Campaigning is virtually non-existent and the Chairman is the only public representative of the CEP. The money has almost all gone – spent on admin, subsidising the Workers of England union office and paying expenses for the Chairman and his friends who have been employed to do work that never seems to be done.
What has the CEP achieved for all this money they have spent? The Chairman has contributed to a couple of newspapers and on each occasion has displayed a serious lack of understanding of the constitution and of devolution which is slightly worrying for a campaign group that exists solely to advance the cause of constitutional change to bring about devolution for England. The judgement of the NC and the Chairman has been terrible in terms of how the Campaign is run, how the membership’s money is spent and in its associations with the English Democrats. The CEP has turned from a campaign into a think tank but without the vital ingredient of any think tank which is a panel of experts in their field – all those people have left.
So that’s the reason I left and the reason I’ve not publicised all this until forced to by Steve Uncles? Twofold really: firstly because I have no desire to damage the CEP out of spite and secondly because if the CEP goes into administration before we get an English Parliament or an alternative civic nationalist campaign is set up to replace it, the English Democrats will end up as the only organised voice of English nationalism and that really doesn’t bear thinking about. As I said at the start of this post, I really didn’t want to do this but Uncles left me with no choice.
Only days after putting an Endomondo widget on my sidebar to show everyone what a good boy I’ve been doing regular exercise I’ve had to stop after mysteriously spraining my ankle.
I literally have no idea how I did it as the only thing that happened to cause such an injury was stumbling in a hole on a footpath over a week ago and it didn’t start swelling up until Sunday afternoon. I’ve damaged the tendon or ligament (I forget which it is) that stops you from stepping over on your foot which means that as well as being swollen enough that you can’t see my ankle bone, the bones grinding and clicking and being a bit painful, it’s also wobbly which is making walking a bit of a challenge.
I’m going to try swimming in the morning, it might not go well.
The Olympic Games started today with women’s football and the organisers have dropped a clanger already, displaying the South Korean flag against pictures of the North Korean players who then walked off and only returned to the pitch an hour later when the offending video had been corrected and replayed.
Given that the British Olympic Committee can’t tell the difference between the British and Scottish flag, it’s hardly surprising they’ve managed to insult the North Koreans on day one. Even the name of Team GB is wrong when Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands aren’t part of Great Britain but are represented in Team GB.
Back in January I had a hearing aid fitted after getting fed up of Mrs Sane complaining about me not being able to hear her finally going to get my hearing tested.
The difference it made was astounding – I hadn’t realised how bad my hearing had got. But it did leave me a bit lopsided hearing-wise because the hearing in both my ears is pretty crap, albeit worse on one side than the other.
So I went back to the hospital a week and a bit ago to get a second hearing aid to balance things up and get the T-Loop added to the one I’d already got because it never occurred to me when I said I wouldn’t need to use it how I would use the phone at work!
The second hearing aid isn’t turned up as loud as the first one because my hearing isn’t as bad in the other ear but I can hear at the same volume in both ears and I can tell where sound is coming from again. The T-Loop is also a great invention – I first tried it in the local Co-op and it was pretty amazing to walk up to the counter and be greeted with no sound other than the voice of the girl behind the till.
My desk phone at work has an induction loop in the handset which means I can hear everything loud and clear through the loop in my hearing aid. Sadly my work mobile (HTC Wildfire S) doesn’t work with the loop but I’m sure they’ll replace it with one that does. My HTC Desire worked with it once but I think the amount of times I dropped it must have broken the loop. Luckily it was due for upgrade so the very helpful people at the Three shop in Telford helped me find a new phone that works with my hearing aids, letting me try out lots of different phones until I found the best sound quality (Sony Xperia S).
There are a couple of big problems using mobile phones with hearing aids. The main one is trying to use a phone without a loop – I don’t have those jelly moulds you see on old peoples’ hearing aids, I have a “tulip” end on my hearing aid which disappears into my ear and is barely visible. It also blocks my ear and if your ear is blocked you can’t hear properly (or less properly than usual). Using a phone without a loop means removing my hearing aid and turning the volume up which is hardly convenient.
The other big problem is using a phone with a poor quality loop. They produce lots of noise – so much noise that it’s hard to make out what’s being said at the other end. The Xperia is great with the loop, giving a really clear sound quality as long as the Wi-Fi is turned off otherwise it can be a bit noisy. The new HTC One was OK but not great.
It’s not easy getting used to hearing aids but it’s worth the effort. Itchy ears are a particularly annoying problem, especially if you’ve got sausage fingers like me that just won’t fit down your ear hole! I find that regular cleaning with a baby wipe helps but sometimes you’ve just got to ignore everything that was drummed into you as a child about not sticking things in your ear and have a good scratch with something blunt.
Another annoying problem for me (and I suspect this will only affect you if your hearing aid is amplifying higher pitched sounds) is what beeping things like the microwave, the oven timer, alarms on TV programmes and the chime on clocks do to the hearing aids. Apart from being very loud, it makes the sound distorted and tinny on the hearing aid for a good 30 seconds after it’s stopped, like it’s been overloaded and it needs to sort itself out. And I can’t even begin to describe what a fork scraping on a plate sounds like.
Despite the little annoyances, getting these hearing aids has been a really positive thing. They’re so discrete that most people don’t even notice them. It doesn’t help me to hear in really noisy places like a hall full of chattering people or a train station but in most situations it’s made a real improvement. I don’t know how fast my hearing is deteriorating – I guess we’ll find out next time I have a hearing test – but I can already sign a bit so I’m well prepared!
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands.
It was marked here by remembrance services and in Argentina by sabre rattling speeches by politicians pledging to uphold their illegitimate claim to the islands.
Cast Iron Dave has given a Cast Iron Guarantee™ to uphold the right of Falkland Islanders to decide whether they want to belong to the UK or Argentina – a promise he’s going to struggle to keep now that we’ve decommissioned our last aircraft carrier and we’re reliant on the French for military support.
The closest friendly country (if you can call it friendly) to the Falklands is French Guiana. The closest British Overseas Territory is the Pitcairn Islands which has no facilities that could be used for a military excursion. The closest friendly countries capable of being used as a launchpad for military action are South Africa and New Zealand. Our closest military base is 2,400 away at Tristan da Cunha. The US is siding with Argentina, as is most of South America.
A spangly new destroyer, HMS Dauntless, is on its way to the Falklands and defences on the islands have been bolstered but that won’t stop the continued harassment of Falkland Islanders in non-military ways: threats of legal action against companies doing business in the Falklands, banning Falklands flagged boats from ports and enlisting the help of their neighbours to harass the islanders.
Of course we should defend the right of the Falkland Islanders to choose whether they want to remain a British Overseas Territory or not and everyone has the right to live without harassment or fear but if we are going to make a promise to the Falkland Islanders to protect them then we need to be able to back up that promise with some action. Right now we’re not in a position to do that thanks to the criminally irresponsible behaviour of successive British governments who have run down our military and over-extended our forces fighting illegal and unwinnable wars.
How many times have you been told “it won’t snow, it’s too cold”? Hundreds I expect but has it ever occurred to you how it manages to snow in Antarctica where the temperature never goes above freezing point, even at the coast?
There is only one temperature where it is too cold to snow and that’s -237°C, the temperature at which atoms freeze. The colder it gets the less likely it is to snow but it can snow, theoretically, at as high as +8ºC.
Thanks to the wonders of medical science and an uncharacteristically prompt service from the NHS, I can now hear properly out of my right ear.
Mrs Sane has nagged me for a long time about my bad hearing so a few months ago I went to see my GP about it. A nice student doctor asked me some questions, stuck a tuning fork behind my ear and referred me to an ENT consultant.
A week before Christmas I went to the hospital and had a hearing test which showed a bit of a dip in the mid range which is where human speech is and it drops right off at the high range which is things like running water, rustling paper, birds, etc. The consultant shoved a camera up my nose to see whether there were any blockages up there that might be causing the problem (not a pleasant experience and there was nothing wrong up my nose) and then pronounced that I needed a hearing aid, an MRI and they would send for me shortly.
I was expecting a 6 month wait at least but was pleasantly surprised to get an appointment for a month later for an MRI and then to be measured for a hearing aid the following day. I was even more surprised to actually walk out with a hearing aid on the day, expecting to have to wait months for one to be ordered or for someone to die so I could inherit theirs!
So that was a week ago today and what a difference it’s made. I walked out of the hospital and the first thing that struck me was how loud the world is. I could hear people talking, car doors slamming, birds singing – I really hadn’t realised how bad my hearing had got. It does take some getting used to though. Running water is particularly loud, especially the toilet flushing. I’ve had to ask for a new keyboard at work because the clattering of the nice Dell keyboard I had was too loud and noisy places can be a bit overwhelming.
It’s well worth having though and if anyone is experiencing problems with their hearing I would definitely recommend going to get it checked out. Saying it’s been life changing would be exaggerating a bit but it’s made a real, positive difference. It’s a tiny thing and unless they’re looking for it, most people don’t even notice it’s there. After a while I forget I’m wearing the hearing aid but when I take it out it sounds like I’ve got cotton wool stuffed in my ear. Even after just a week, if I didn’t have it I’d really miss it.