Friday, 20 March 2009

Friday 20/03/09

On Wednesday Sean Hodgson walked free after 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Had the UK still retained the death penalty, this would not be possible. It is precisely for this reason that I am against the death penalty in general. I have to admit to having no problem with the death penalty being used in specific circumstances where guilt is 100% certain (i.e. where there’s speed camera evidence, when I receive poor service in a restaurant or when I simply don’t like the cut of the accused’s jib) – but those instances are rare.

I often wonder whether people would be so willing to convict (as juries) if there were to be a balancing system whereby if it was subsequently proven that there was a miscarriage of justice (i.e. a fit-up), then the sentence would be carried out on the jury itself. There would probably be a good few less strident Daily Mail readers calling for the death penalty.

More fun on the atheist Facebook forum yesterday. Some chap asked why Christians have such a massive issue with homosexuality. I felt compelled to reply that it’s not just Christians and I’d wager that a decent sized proportion of atheists are also homophobic, as atheism isn’t necessarily synonymous with rational or liberal thought. The main difference, however, is that with atheists you know it’s just plain good old bigotry and they at least have the decency to not dress it up in theological dogma and pass the buck to God.

The UK government’s chief scientist, Prof John Beddington, has warned that growing world population will cause a "perfect storm" of food, energy and water shortages by 2030. He maintains that demand for food and energy will jump 50% and for fresh water by 30%. Climate change will simply exacerbate matters in unpredictable ways. He added that improving agricultural productivity globally was one way to tackle the problem, as 30-40% of all crops are currently lost to pests and disease before they are harvested. He’s looking for more disease-resistant and pest-resistant plants along with better harvesting procedures.

I find it disconcerting that no-one mentions fewer people as a viable solution. However, that would damage state pensions, which rely entirely on exponentially growing populations. We’re getting ourselves into a right pickle. Pretty soon we’ll have to start saving for our own retirements, or even go back to the extended nuclear family where the oldies live with the productive youngsters.

For any new readers, I live in an extended family. We all live on a kampong; Hay’s parents (the Caravans) live in the main house, her sister and partner live in the annex next door, and Hay and I are about to build our house in the adjoining field (and are currently living on-site in a mobile home). The benefits are huge:

  • There’s always someone at home to receive parcels, facilitate utility readings or let in the repair men.
  • We have between us the use of 5 cars, so if one breaks down we can usually be assured of a lift or borrowing another.
  • We don’t have to travel miles and take out a whole day to visit relatives on Hay’s side – they’re all on-site.
  • There’s a mutual support network.
  • The Caravans don’t have to worry about becoming infirm.
  • We can all gang-up against the neighbours and intimidate them, thus preventing them applying for Anti-Social Behaviour Orders.

Google Street View is meant to have been launched in the UK. Buggered if I can find out how to use it, or even find it. Google the facility and you are led to a help page which is about as useful as fishing rod in a snowstorm. It shows world places where Street View is implemented, but the UK appears to be devoid of any such locations, despite the news saying otherwise. Doubtless the paranoid will be writing to their MPs and the daily Mail to protest about invasions of privacy. It will be fun to see who has their house removed from it – I know of at least one couple who will be huffing and puffing with righteous indignation.

Actually, if you click on this link you’ll see a photo of our drive (or unmade road, as I prefer to call it). Haven’t a clue who took it, but it is rather nice. Our family compound is at the end of that driveway, just over the common. You can’t quite see the barbed wire and sentry towers.

A Nottingham postmaster in Sneinton, Nottinghamshire, has said he will refuse to serve people in his post office if they cannot speak English. This is based on the simple and inalienable fact that he couldn’t serve them if he couldn’t understand them. He said that he had turned away about six customers after they wasted his time and infuriated other customers because they couldn’t understand English. The stance is understandably very popular with the locals. The Postmaster’s name? Deva Kumarasiri, who moved to England from Sri Lanka 18 years ago!

One customer, Mohammed Ahmed, disagreed. He said that if people come here to work, it's their right to stay, even if they can’t speak the language. Afzal Sadif from the Nottingham Racial Equality Council said Mr. Kumarasiri's stance was unacceptable and one can't force English on people.

Yes you can! The Brits have been doing it for centuries! More than half the world speaks it. It’s the mark of a civilised country.

Why is it that everyone coming to the UK is so consumed by their rights and no-one ever mentions obligations. There again, have you ever heard Col. and Mrs. Blimp trying to be understood in a foreign country – even if they have lived there 20 years? The thing is that when speaking to the Fuzzy-Wuzzies, the Brits speak louder and slower, which miraculously makes them understood. If that fails, putting a vowel on the end of every word most certainly works in the vast majority of cases. Johnny foreigner, on the other hand, just speaks faster and starts waving his arms, which only serves to make him even more unintelligible.

There was a video clip of Mr. Kumarasiri being interviewed, but I couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying – attrocious Nottinghamshire dialect.

May take a rest from posting over the weekend (note the word ‘may’). Hay and I are off to Cornwall to see my boys and celebrate me attaining the age of 54 on Sunday.

16 comments:

  1. Google street view - what fun - you can see our house and the car - HURRAH

    Of course on Google Earth you can see Gavin sunbathing in the garden

    Richard x x x

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  2. I am very much against the death penalty - however I would bring it back for "Parking outside my house when I want to park there" - in fact for that crime I would bring back hanging, drawing and quartering!

    Richard x x x

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  3. If people really don't want to learn English, why do they want to come and live here in the first place? People in other coutries go out of their way to learn it... Think I'll start a campaign - England for the English... But hadn't better go on Google Street, or might get mobbed by foreigners...

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  4. Richard - which car? First or second along the street?

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  5. Go to the camera at 68 Waterloo Road - Norwich. Turn to look at the pub - and - in the side road called Traverse Street - that runs beside the pub - you will see a Black Ford Focus parked outside my house!

    The house beside ours - to the left - which you can't see because of the vegetation - is owned by a 78 year old lady who is unable to get any further into her house than the front hall because of the amount of "stuff" she has. She lives on her front doorstep in a den made from umbrellas and sleeps on the floor at the foot of her stairs. She does not have electricity or gas because she won't allow a meter reader into her house. Nor does she have water as she will not allow a plumber in to fix the leaking pipe.

    As the bins are out it must be a Wednesday morning!

    Richard x x x

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  6. Well, Chairman Bill, enjoy your middle age birthday. YOu're just a babe compared to some of us. Just think this over, as you ruminate about everything else, how is it that English has become the language of commerce and the Internet?

    The Romans tried the same tactics before. Latin is now a dead language.

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  7. Latin is not dead - it is an evolved language and has evolved as all language must that is not to die.

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  8. One of The Chairman's old houses in London from about 15 years ago:

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=shooter%27s+hill,+london&sll=51.543466,-0.182133&sspn=0,359.985151&g=11+fairhazel+gardens+london&ie=UTF8&ll=51.468652,0.0668&spn=0,359.940605&z=14&layer=c&cbll=51.468584,0.066689&panoid=2SPGyR-tzIhI-5IZgTKVYQ&cbp=12,22.727080473020067,,2,-2.744927992429235

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  9. I believe jib-cut offences are punishable by death in some countries. I'll look into it for you.

    In the States there's an economic benefit to not killing people for their crimes; it's cheaper to keep them in jail for the rest of their lives.

    Another solution to the state pension problem would be for people to die younger. I'd be interested to see a government PR campaign along those lines.

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  10. Happy Birthday, TC - As a giftette, here is my Get Out of Blogging Birthday Card for the weekend.

    My OH is obsessed with Google Earth Street Stalker, and charts all the lovely walks we've taken in Paris, particularly.

    I'm just off to see Gavin sunbathing, and the mad wench under the umbrellas, bless her. Have a wonderful weekend o

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  11. Have a good one this weekend. Isn't it great not to have to celebrate a 'big 0' birthday - they are so hateful ...

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  12. Google Street is only available for London addresses at the moment.. no wonder the instructions are confusing! In a nutshell, if you drag the little yellow man and hover him over a map, the streets that are captured are outlined in blue.
    Over-use of this tool gives a whole new level to boring your friends when you return from holiday... "This is the street that is just next to our hotel, and here is the entrance to the restaurant we ate at on Tuesday... Oh look! They still have the plastic bananas outside!"... Zzzzzz
    Enjoy your birthday and have a great weekend..

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  13. Actually Google Street view is available for the following UK Cities/Towns not just London

    Aberdeen
    Belfast
    Birmingham
    Bradford
    Bristol
    Cambridge
    Cardiff
    Coventry
    Derby
    Dundee
    Edinburgh
    Glasgow
    Leeds
    Liverpool
    London
    Oxford
    Manchester
    Newcastle
    Norwich
    Nottingham
    Scunthorpe
    Sheffield
    Southampton
    Swansea
    York


    Richard x x x

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  14. Aha - managed to get my mobile working from the holiday flat on 3G, so I can partake of my favourite habit.

    Many thankd for all the birthday wishes. See you tomorrow.

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  15. Street view is fascinating - it allowed my Mum to 'see' lots of relatives houses without travelling.

    Re homophobia - you are probably right to the extent that anyone may have a aversion to anyone else's habits or behaviour. Where church and atheists part ways is that atheists are more willing to accept that homosexuality is a trait that people have due to their genes where the church folk tend to take it as an affront to God.

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