Monday, June 30, 2003 - Margie Burns

This lot sent me one of their articles today concerning the Bushes...the site is pretty good, and the name refers to the long-gone leftist movement in the 1890s in America. (A lesson - you can have left-wing populism too, not just Richard Littlejohn..)
I'm considering giving them a permanent link and reposting the article, but this obviously had to wait for Ranter security checks to be completed - as they say, on the net no-one knows you're really a dog, and that goes for nutters, anti-Semites, conspiracy weirdsters etc. Initial examination was pretty clear, but then I found this....

"When I wrote my earlier articles on remote control, I was inclined to discount the issues surrounding pilot capabilities. I was concerned that readers would give the benefit of the doubt to the "terrorists" and believe that they somehow managed to carry off the mission in spite of their lack of training. However, I received the following mail from a reader, who convinced me that this is a serious problem indeed for those who believe the official story.

While in the Air Force I worked on heat-seeking, video, electro-optical, and laser-guided air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and bombs. As a profession today I work in computer network engineering. As a hobby I am an avid fisherman very familiar with the concepts of GPS. From my perspective it would be a piece of cake to build a back door access into an aircraft's avionics and sieze control of the vessel."

Yes. 767s really can be secretly controlled via the internet. You may believe that if you wish. From there, it was no surprise to find that it was all a Jewish conspiracy orchestrated by Israeli companies involved in phone billing. If you want to be taken seriously, Margie Burns and, don't write this sort of shite. It's a pity about, but this sort of thing is a class-A discrediting factor. In all, a waste of good bandwidth.

Friday, June 27, 2003


We now have comments again, courtesy of

Reconstruction and Security in Iraq

The deaths of the 6 military policemen in al-Amara have pointed up just how dangerous and - especially- unpredictable Iraq has become. Despite the weird, heroic old-empire nature of the incident - the last stand in the police station against a thousand-strong armed mob - it shows yet again how politically and technically poor the Anglo-American administration of Iraq has been. Paul Bremer, the US civil governor, is quoted as telling a WEF meeting in Jordan that one of his first priorities is "diverting people and resources from state enterprises to more productive private firms...ending special deals and subsidies to force state enterprises to face hard budget constraints". What is wrong with the man? Can he not look out of the fucking window? There is no "more productive, private" power or water company to supply Baghdad. How could massive reorganisation possibly help those infrastructure enterprises - on top of everything else? What if the Free Democratic Iraqi Parliament - whenever Mr. Bremer decides the natives are sufficiently evolved to elect it - doesn't want its water privatising? Who the hell would buy a broken power network in a country without a worthwhile currency or a government, where they shoot at you?

There were several all-defining problems to be solved as quickly as possible after victory, and these were in effect the establishment of order, the rapid re-establishment of essential services, the establishment of a meaningful money, and the setting-up of Iraqi involvement in government. In the famous phrase, speed was more important than accuracy. Without water, power, transport, basic policing and a real currency, nothing will happen but further degeneration. With them, recovery can be dramatic, as shown by the example of the 1948 currency reform in Germany. (The potential for recovery was perhaps best shown by the farmers trying to get into Basra to market whilst fighting went on.) The importance of political representation really ought to be obvious. These four tasks should have been planned, not as a cheese eating civvie afterthought but as an integral part of the military operational plan and just as well as the military ops were. Now, months later, despite lies from Bremer and spin doctors, there is still 5 hours of power (if you are lucky), dodgy water, broken transport, three different and hyperinflationary currencies (different denominations of notes have different market values that are different from their face values, just to help), and anarchy. The only worthwhile money in Iraq was the so-called "Swiss dinar" issued by the Kurds, but using this would have been politically foolish. Dollarising - the Texan, macho, tough, healthy, non-European, non-deviant I'm-jest-a-kindly-homespun-nigger-burner solution - is even worse (imagine what your friendly local imam would say) and has the disastrous fault that US monetary policy is not and cannot be set for Iraqi conditions. It would also mobilise the pay of the US administrators and soldiers, creating that depressing phenomenon of a post-conflict ghetto economy serving rich foreigners with imported goods and drivers (why can UN officials never drive their own brand-new white Landcruisers?) whilst creating yet more inflation. What is needed is a New Dinar - what better symbol for the new Iraq? Given the sheer quantity of Saddam shinplasters in circulation, there would have to be a limit to conversion or (better) some mechanism to taper the conversion out, thus preventing a burst of inflation. Backing this could have been a financing facility - on the IMF perhaps - secured against oil revenues to provide immediate funding for reconstruction and government wages.

The political side needed only some sort of immediately-begun "advisory council" or whatever, with the specific task of preparing to elect a (say) Constituent Assembly or Constitutional Convention or whatever sounds good in Arabic. If you're meant to be bringing democracy, it helps to have some in your bag on arrival. These ideas are not amazingly novel; but why has so little in terms of practical ground realities been actually done? There was a lot of theology about free Iraq's glorious future, but far too little preparation for actual concrete steps towards it. One can only hope it is not already too late. In general, it bears out the point that in a situation of political war, the division between military and civil policy is a bug, not a feature. The divide is the problem - they have to unite as a single cohesive whole. Which means, clearly, democratic control over the military and, most of all, over the government itself. Montgomery spoke of his disagreement with the concept of "army co-operation": "There are not two plans, Army and Air, but one: Armyair. When you are one entity you cannot cooperate." The same applies to military, police and aid policy if a "war against terrorism" is to be anything other than a succession of futile and counter-productive punitive expeditions, always marching bravely forwards in the wrong direction.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Announcement - Comments currently unavailable. BlogOut may be down - the Ranter is going to look into it.
Picture of the Day.....
There's been a certain amount of terror porn concerning an aeroplane stolen in Angola, which major media have recently picked up on as a supposed "9/11 plot". But the story isn't new, and the reality may be much less dramatic. This was the first report I saw of it, on the 28th of May. Aviation-related sites have been covering the affair copiously.

"It happened on Sunday night, and we were waiting for the international press to get hold of this one.
The 727 is an ex AA one that has been here for a year now.
Story from the guys on the ramp is that it fired up and taxied, no lights, no calls (not that that tower answers you on a good day anyway) and made for 23 in the dark.
As it happens a ruski of some type was finals for 05 so they did a quick turn in the run up bay and back tracked 25 as what was described as very quick and then departed 25 dissapearing into the dark
We laughed well after that, I wonder if there flight had been dispatched.
So if anyone else in West Africa sees a Sliver 727 with Blue and White stripes. Take cash for gas and wave as they depart."

Another poster to on 29th May:
"If I'm not mistaken, that is the aircraft that we ferried from MIA to Luanda for a THIEF known as Keith Irwin out of Jo- Burg. It was an Ex AA pax B-727. That aircraft is a full blown fuel hauler and if in the wrong hands could be a serious threat however, I would guess at this point it was just the repo man claiming his property. Keith Irwin brought a crew of six over from the states to operate this aircraft and after two months on the project, the crew left without collecting a single pay check. He also owed several other people lots of money and may have got in trouble for buying a HOT HF radio, stolen from the Angolan military and they may have had something to do with seizing the aircraft originally. Who knows."

There followed various speculation, and a surprising number of posters declared a grudge against Mr. Irwin. On the latest page, though, we may be approaching the truth (Link):

"According to the private Airclaims airplane database, the 727's current owner is a Miami-based firm called Aerospace Sales & Leasing Co., which bought it in 2001 after it was flown by American Airlines for decades. In 1997, Aerospace Sales's president, Maury Joseph, was barred from running any publicly traded firm after he was convicted of forging documents and defrauding investors by exaggerating the profits of another company he ran, Florida West Airlines. Joseph's son, Lance Joseph, said the company has committed no wrong. He said a firm that had leased the plane from Aerospace Sales -- a company whose name he said he couldn't recall -- had removed the seats and replaced them with fuel tanks. It flew the 727 to Luanda with a plan to deliver fuel to remote African airfields, he said.

According to the Airclaims database, a company called Irwin Air had planned to buy the 727 last month. No more information could be learned about the company.

Helder Preza, Angola's aviation director, told the Portuguese radio network RDP that the plane arrived in Luanda in March 2002, but that authorities prevented it from flying on because "the documentation we held did not pertain to the aircraft in question." Angolan officials also demanded stiff ramp fees as well as settlement of private liens on the 727, Joseph said. Aerospace Sales was settling the disputes and planning to repossess the aircraft and fly it away when the 727 -- one of about 1,100 worldwide -- disappeared, he said."

"In the 1980s, Gabriel was convicted of importing 5,000 pounds of marijuana. He did not return messages left at his office requesting comment, and his attorney, Jack Attias, declined to comment.

Preza, the Angolan official, said that "the owner of the aircraft contacted us saying he wished to fly out of Angola." Then, he added, a man who presented himself as "the legitimate representative of the aircraft's owner'' -- a man Preza described as a U.S. citizen but whom he declined to name -- entered the aircraft. Moments later, Preza said, the man flew the plane away.
"The person who flew out the plane was no stranger to the aircraft," Preza said.
Another twist in the case is that the State Department is asking its diplomats in Africa, in searching for the 727, to ask host governments whether they have any information about two men that its cables say "reportedly" own the plane -- Ben Padilla and John Mikel Mutantu. The men are not listed as owners on any public database, and no other information about them was available."

That from the Washington Post. Finally, though:

"Fort Lauderdale, Florida - The family of a 51-year-old pilot from Miami fears that he crashed while flying a Boeing 727 that authorities say has been missing since taking off without permission from Angola in Africa last month.
Ben Padilla had been hired by a Miami-based firm to repossess the plane after Angola Air failed to make payments on it, Padilla's sister, Benita Padilla-Kirkland, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
His family suspects Padilla was flying the Boeing that took off from Angola on May 25 and may have crashed somewhere on the African continent, his sister said. Padilla is an airplane mechanic and pilot who has flown cargo planes around the world for two decades. "

Grim-sounding, but by today a rumour had appeared to the effect that "the aircraft is back in South Africa with the original owners having been repossessed. Some of the excitement was supposed to have been caused by the plane flying at a very low level with its transponder off which led to the fears of terrorist activity. Allegedly the plane was fueled by one of the companies which was owed money." So, no reason to listen to those "security sources".....

Announcement: You can now join in the ranting thanks to BlogOut comments technology, all posts from now on will have a comments link. Just click on "Shout Out" and rant.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Well, I suppose I really ought to write something vaguely connected to the aims of this blog.....

The reshuffle furore demonstrated a very good political rule, which is that doing something wrong in the right way scores many more points than doing the right thing the wrong way. A paradox which is important at the moment, when the political class spend so much time and energy telling us that - whatever evil horror they have come up with - it's all for the best and the end justifies the means. With any luck, this might supply a little revenge in the end. The decision to abolish the lord chancellorship was a long time coming, but it's basically a good 'un. A judge who is also a legislator, who is also a minister representing a particular party - but acts as a neutral speaker in the Lords. It's not natural. But, Christ, what a mess. The government looked stoopid, chaotic and without command. George Bush's career shows what can be achieved by looking Tough and Resolved and Macho in those of your appearances you can control, however badly things are going in reality. If Tony Blair still believes that a similar leader image will save him, he's got another think coming. Britain doesn't have the tradition of "Supporting our President", in actual fact nothing could be more foreign than US Congressmen clapping the president. And the still-widespread belief in Blair's popularity has been delusional for at least two years - the degree of loathing he inspires in so many people is truly impressive. It was always a feature of politics that, even when everyone else seemed to love him, Blair provoked an unusually savage hatred in some. This has spread, now, well outside the hard-right mind ghetto in which it began.

Strangely enough, it's only now, six years in, that an important feature of the Labour government has really begun to tell. That is the fact that so few of them have serious administrative experience. The emblem of this is the sacking of Michael Meacher from the Environment slot. Meacher, who has done an unexpectedly good job in sticking up for environmental issues, was also the most experienced minister - he had spent 24 out of 29 years in parliament since 1974 as a minister or opposition front bench spokesman. No wonder he knew which civil service bowlers to pull down over the eyes. It contrasts with Tony Blair, who after all has gone straight from opposition to the premiership. And it shows in the periodic, disrupting panics the government is so given to - the reputation for mechanical efficiency and control was always questionable, and the key moments have been marked by unnerving botches, as if no-one in the Blair clique really believes that the state will still exist tomorrow. Rather like a pilot who does not trust the instruments, the PM tends to over-control violently and get into a dangerous spin.

Great blog here.

Exactly. Not only do they treat us like children, they do it to each other as well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Pic of the day...
So what did happen to the Stakeknife case? Mr. Knife's lawsuit intended to force the minister responsible to deny that he was a British agent has begun in earnest, although it's a common mistake to assume that being given leave to go to a judicial review means you're winning. It's not normal, though, for one secret service-related story to be driven off the newspile by another, which is roughly what happened with the dodgy dossiers. At this rate, MI5 will soon be less secret than the cabinet and the world will eat itself with sheer absurdity. Really, though, the Stakeknife affair is a fine example of how hard it is to take a war apart and put it away. There were all sorts of weird spooks and parallel networks, and these things have a tendency to leak back from terrorist wars and poison the commons. France is Exhibit A - the OAS and the various factions in the SDECE and the Securite Militaire came back from Algeria and took France to the brink of civil war. The US had a touch of the same disease over Vietnam, with odd secret service practices turning up about Nixon. We have to avoid it. This is why a serious and painful investigation into what-went-on in NI is so necessary. But at the same time, I can't help thinking that a double standard is coming to exist. Under the peace agreement, not only were the terrorist prisoners released early - at the end of a war, that's what happens - but the so-called OTRs, those who were still On The Run, were also pardoned. So - if you were in the IRA Nutting Squad and tortured an informer to death, and kept out of jail until '98, you are free to pursue a peaceful career - but if you were the informer's handler, you can still be pilloried. Tweegle wibble flarp! Perhaps the truth commission set up by the South African monitors is the best channel for this..

It's one of the many reasons, though, why we need democratic control of the secret services and clear accountability. This is the answer to the contradiction between the dangers of secret power and the reality that agent running and the like are indispensable in dealing with terrorism. In these terrorist times, why not a specific minister for security and intelligence, answerable to parliament and a beefed up, fully elected Intel. and Security Committee? That would also suggest an integrated terrorism policy incorporating intelligence, defence, civil defence and international aid. But the last thing we need is a US-type giant "homeland security" ministry. So it looks like I just contradicted myself. Bugger.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Oh dear....This really is not terribly good. After all, you can be a hard-right gun nut blogger if you want, but saying that "Being right-wing and pro-Bush is the in thing right now. I just hopped on that train." is tantamount to going around wearing a sheep skin and a sign saying "Human Sheep - Seeking Flock Leader!" They're meant to be your own opinions....

Margaret Atwood's article on George Orwell - a true Ranter if ever there was one - in today's Guardian certainly reminded me of a few things. For example, it must be at least 8 years since I read 1984, and my memory of it is startlingly clear. That could perhaps be a definition of genius - the good stuff is what sticks to the brain and stays as clear as stainless. The Junior Spies, the Anti-Sex League, a society built on the rationing of scarcity and institutionalised betrayal, the tired and tiresome officials administering horror - just as new as then. It's not new, of course, these things are the furniture of tyranny. Faintly religious mass bullying groups like Antisex are very familiar indeed - one could think of all sorts of organisations and campaigns that fit the description, going back to Noel Pemberton Billing's semi-fascist electoral campaign in the East End in 1918 with its rants against Oscar Wilde and something called the Cult of the Clitoris. Or the League of Time in post-revolutionary Russia, whose members kept cards on which they recorded what they did every minute of their lives, wearing huge watches, and bullied persons suspected of time-wasting. All tyrannies need to get some of the citizens to sign up to aims that seem at least to be their own. These are the small minded annoyers of the bully state. The block warden, the informer, the youth-league volunteer - have current counterparts in the security obsessives, refugee bashers and the like. People who can't wait for the tyrant to get started.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Picture of the Day.....
Found on a discussion forum...

Go placidly amid the noise and waste,
And remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
Avoid quiet and passive persons unless you are in need of sleep.
Rotate your tires.

Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself,
And heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys.
Know what to kiss and when.
Consider that two wrongs never make a right,
But that three lefts do.

Wherever possible put people on "HOLD".
Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment,
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.
Remember the Pueblo.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.
Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI.
Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
Especially with those persons closest to you;
That lemon on your left for instance.

Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls,
Would scarcely get your feet wet.
Fall not in love therefore; it will stick to your face.
Carefully surrender the things of youth: birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan,
And let not the sands of time get in your lunch.
For a good time, call 606-4311; ask for Ken.

Take heart amid the deepening gloom that your dog
Is finally getting enough cheese;
And reflect that whatever fortunes may be your lot,
It could only be worse in Milwaukee.

You are a fluke of the Universe.
You have no right to be here, and whether you can hear it or not,
The Universe is laughing behind your back.

Therefore make peace with your God whatever you conceive him to be, Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin.

With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal,
The world continues to deteriorate.
Give up."

found on the washroom wall of the Baltimore Bus station 1963.
Not terribly good news in Austria - especially as the weekly Zur Zeit mentioned in the article is still getting press subsidy from the Government.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

IT appears that the NHS is getting its act together about IT. The new plan for the "integrated care records service", which is meant to computerise medical records and admin as a replacement for the current system of little cards that never seem to be where they are needed, has been leaked and seems to suggest that instead of letting computer-ignorant Sir Humphrey write the whole specification, they have decided to write a detailed set of objectives and let the techies get on with it. Mind you - I remember posting on a discussion forum in the autumn of 2001 about this. That was the time Palm had said they were sitting on a hangarful of unsold PDAs, I was of the view that the govt. should have bought the lot at a fire sale price and commissioned the proggies to design the system about them and their functions. But just being right ain't enough...Link.

Further corporate thieving in the huge and annoyingly named US mortgage lender Freddie Mac...but any real change would be commie...Link.

Oh yeah - last night. After the England match, spent drinking heavily with some football team mates, on to the local, where an Irishman was holding forth on Tajikistan, of all places, where he had been working for the UN. Mind you he threatened to become the pub SAS bullshitter - every pub has one - by not wanting to say what he'd been doing. (you were building a road, right?) Claims that Dushanbe is a great night out - good local wine and kebabs - as long as you carry a letter from the British Embassy for the omnipresent political police. Tajikistan is, of course, Russia's closest ally in the region and the base of the 201 Motor-Rifle Division, considered the best unit in Russia. From

"The Russian military is present in Tajikistan at the request of the Tajikistani Government to support the current regime. Russia's 201st Motorized Rifle Division is part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Collective Peacekeeping Force established in 1993. Russian border forces also dominate the multi-national CIS forces guarding the Tajikistani-Afghan border.
The Russian military presence in Tajikistan predates the civil war, and the 201st Motorized Rifle Division had been deployed in Tajikistan since the Soviet period. The Russian Army's 201stDivision, fresh out of Afghanistan, helped ex-communists return to power in May 1992. The resulting civil war claimed between 20-50,000 lives.
In the absence of a strong policy guidance from Moscow, the 201st Division turned into an independent political force. Although the local Russian military in Tajikistan was ordered to stay neutral in the evolving conflict; informally it took side and transferred weapons to the Popular Front. The pro-Communist Popular Front was struggling against the Coalition government formed in May 1992, which included representatives from the Democratic and Muslim Opposition. Without the help of the 201st Division, Emomali Rakhmonov would never have come to power. Russia reinforced the 201st Motorized Rifle Division as fighting in the Tajik conflict worsened and the division became more involved.
Gradually the Russian military presence increased, and the Russian leadership made a series of commitments to defend Tajikistan's borders. In addition to border guards, some 6,000 troops in Russia's 201st Motorized Rifle Division, together with a small number of Uzbek troops, made up the majority of a CIS peacekeeping force in Tajikistan in 1997.
Russia, which already had 25,000 armed troops in Tajikistan, tentatively agreed in April 1999 to the establishment of a military base which would help increase the stability in Tajikistan. The Russian and Tajik defense ministers signed a treaty on 16 April 1999 which granted Russia's military the right to establish a base on Tajik territory and to quarter troops from the 201st Motorized Rifle Division at that base for the next 10 years. The provided for the construction of more permanent headquarters for the 6,000-7,000 troops of the from the 201st Motorized Rifle Division already deployed there. The bulk of Russia's troops in Tajikistan are stationed near Dushanbe, Qurghanteppa (close to the Uzbek border), and Kulob (near the Afghan border). The new base will most likely be built somewhere between these three cities."

According to our man, "there's a lot of people shot running away on the Afghan border." Due to drinking with the Irish, I have a head like a dirty, rotten, cheesy, obscene foot today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Meanwhile, the Chinese continue with their increasing taste for gigantic projects - Three Gorges Dam, Hangzhou Bay Bridge - and space. Perhaps fitting to remember that the UK once had its own space programme
Much respect to the ManifestBorder blogger, who covers US immigration news. Apparently some horrid gang of ultra-patriots have been preparing their own TV-equipped remotely piloted drones to seek those "trrriss wetbacks" in the killer deserts. Like yer local radio-control plane club gone fascist. Mind you, with the US Border Patrol, the vigilantes, the illegals and the activists out laying caches of water for them, those expanses of cactus must get like Waterloo Station with guns.
What a morning! The sun was shining, the world not much worse than the day before, and Ian Duncan Smith was flopping about the floor of the Commons like some sort of horrible laboratory mutant fish fallen from its test tank. He made a frantic attempt to trap Blair on European policy, trying to make him admit to having a policy of "wait and see". For those without long memories and deep knowledge of British politics, the last PM (John Major) declared that "wait and see" was his Europe policy. Anybody not knowing that would have found the session utterly incomprehensible. Of course, Major's wait-and-see really meant never - because the Tory mass led by Mr. Duncan Smith would not allow anything stronger. And that was what Blair stuck on him. IDS had trodden on his own landmine. He got up, though - pushing the point that when Blair joined the Commons, the Labour manifesto included withdrawal from the EC as it then was. (We are speaking of 1983 here..) Blair then produced a bomb from his briefcase - declaring that IDS is a member of CAFE, Conservatives Against Federal Europe, an organisation advocating UK withdrawal whose website now says that they have closed down "while IDS is party leader". Flip! Flop! Choke! A (non-mutant) fish for that researcher!

It was a big show from the PM - just a terrible pity that he's far too unprincipled to face up to Britain's big problems and try to look like a socialist. But, on the other hand - the govt supposedly wants to create an insurance system for company pensions rather like the US Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. The business press have been savagely opposed to this sensible and yes! goddammit socialist scheme on one of finance's favourite excuses, the wondrous concept or maybe even immaculate conception of MORAL HAZARD. This may not be what you think it is - haven't we all met people who could be called moral hazards? In this sense it means that, if pension payouts were guaranteed, then company bosses would be more likely to run off with the cash. Great. So - it's so much better now, when they do it and leave workers with nothing, because whatever morals they might have are all right? It's a power issue, like all issues worth discussing. While the powerful have ownership control of pensions, and only "independent trustees" - read other dodgy City cash grabbers - can counter this, it is very clear and evident that pension theft will always happen. Better still than the proposed insurance would be to separate the pension scheme from the firm, and give the members a large majority on its board. That way no boss however vicious could nick a penny. Too simple.....

Speaking of Prime Minister's Questions, as we were, I've just started reading Nigel West's book on the VENONA codebreak. Here is a description by a defector of one way the Soviet Union had of producing random numbers: "A room full of women calling out numbers constantly"

Apart from being a vision of hell on earth, who would say this could not be a description of our democracy in action? "3. 457! 78.9465!......0. Mr Speaker! Mr Speaker! 3.697! 0.0021! Will the Prime Minister admit that the treatment of my constituent's leylandii dispute by Tiresome Borough Council..The situation in Palestine..Why do we not have a statue of Gerry Adams/Ian Paisley(delete according to prejudice) in the Queen's bedchamber...In my view, anyone advocating the Common Market is a terrorist...21.6!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Well, so we won't be joining the € after all. Hardly a shocker - after the weeks of tiresome spin dickering, perhaps we need a new word for an announcement that declares nothing new. A claptrap, perhaps. The scary bit was this morning's BBC Radio 5 phone in, riddled with oddsters and the terminally scared. Like the surreally camp bloke horribly concerned by "Shipping all our gold and convertible currency reserves to Germany". So - if we joined the euro, what would we want with reserves? To defend the value of a pound that didn't exist? The other curious thing was his apparent belief that somehow the money would be spent, instead of mouldering in vaults. In fact, through the workings of the European System of Central Banks, the reserves are mostly held in the national central banks - just the name on them changes. A typical pity, though, this 50s-ish virility contest about symbols. A reporter at the joint Blair-Brown news conference was very concerned that the government might "try to fudge the question in a referendum by muddling it with continued membership of the EU" - that the government would do something so risky in the face of the frog bashing Murdoch press shags the imagination.

BTW, hope you like the clock...the "mad Kiwi" is the fella who is building a cruise missile in his garage. The site is a tech newsletter he edits - lots of interesting stuff including jet-propelled go karts.
The Yorkshire Ranters were a loose group of far-Left troublemakers who went about the country shortly after the Civil War, spreading dangerous ideas about common property, the equality of citizens, the need to destroy the priests' doctrine of sin, and similar stuff. The movement was centred about Kildwick, not far from where I was brought up. They were fairly similar to the Diggers over the border in Lancashire, whose most famous leader, Gerrard Winstanley, is the icon of this period of revolutionary ferment. (He's buried in Barnes, Surrey, of all places, and got a mention on a statue in St Petersburg after the Russian Revolution.) Their style is familiar to anyone who has ever encountered a ranting Yorkshireman - firebrand rabble-rousing at meetings summoned in pubs. This blog is meant to have some of the same character.

kostenloser Counter