Sunday, 31 July 2022

Waste - Then & Now

 A friend sent me a YouTube link to a video of East Londoners in 1958.

One thing struck me - a dustman swung a bin on to his shoulders and it was tiny.

The amount of waste we produce has gone exponential. We now have wheelie bins about 4 times the size of the old bins, along with half a dozen crates and bags for the recyclables. Waste has become a waste.


Saturday, 30 July 2022

Benefits of Trade

If there's one thing the Ukraine War is demonstrating is that the desire to go to war is much diminished when countries become reliant on each other for trade. If you want to go to war, the secret is, however, not to let it become asymmetric.

The right-wing, Brexit supporting press is making much of the fact that UK exports to the EU have increased dramatically this year. How can this be possible when firms up and down the country are reporting a huge drop in exports? Well, it's because the Brexit supporting press is being economical with the truth and bending it to suit an agenda.

Firstly, the EU has been getting its LNG from Russia via pipelines and, as a consequence, has no LNG reception facilities at EU ports. To overcome this, the EU is busy constructing LNG reception facilities at several ports but, in the meantime, the UK is sending gas from Qatar to the Netherlands and Belgium by pipeline, primarily because we don't have sufficient gas storage ourselves (1% of UK annual consumption, the lowest in Europe). This is counted as UK exports for reporting purposes, despite the gas not being a UK product. If UK supplies come under pressure in winter, this export category will stop anyway, as confirmed by the UK government.

The cost of this gas from Qatar has to be offset against the price at which it is re-sold to the EU, if indeed it is sold, rather than the UK merely adding a handling fee. It's moot what this profit will be but, at a time of crisis, it can't be huge, yet the full price goes on the statistics for reporting purposes.

Secondly, Britain is shipping arms to Ukraine, via the EU. The value of these arms has to be declared on export documentation, despite them being donated and the UK not receiving a penny for them. This again is reported as valuable exports to the EU and was valued at over £100m in the first quarter of this year alone. That has since increased hugely to £1.3bn - again that goes on the export stats at the full value, despite the arms being a donation.

Thirdly, Northern Ireland benefits from being both in the UK and the EU, and is doing rather well compared with the rest of the UK, much to Brexiteers' annoyance.

There are statistics and there are statistics - and then there's the Brexit press. One has to learn to look at the facts behind them.

Friday, 29 July 2022

The Play Book

I'm currently reading a book by Jennifer Jacquet called The Play Book (how to deny science, sell lies, and make a killing in the corporate world).

It's a tongue-in-cheek manual for big business in how to evade regulation by using lies, deceit and misinformation, thereby gaining valuable time, which enables companies to make billions until the evidence is overwhelming, or they're caught having suppressed truths they already discovered through their own research.

The story starts with Big Tobacco, which denied the link between smoking and cancer for decades, despite knowing of the link themselves - which is what tripped them up.

It then moves on to the billions spent by the fossil fuel industry to muddy the waters on climate change, which is still going on.

The tactics used by these industries are:

  1. Challenge the problem,
  2. Challenge the causation,
  3. Challenge the messenger, and
  4. Challenge any policy to curb the activity.
In achieving these aims, industries use PR firms, mysteriously funded Think Tanks, impecunious scientists outside of the field of interest and journalists who want to raise their profile.

It struck me that this is exactly what the High Priests of Brexit are engaged in - the clue being to follow the money.

Brexit is the brainchild of those who didn't want EU regulation of their fortunes, how they make them and where they keep them. If anything, the Global Financial Crisis was proof positive that regulation is indeed necessary.

If the Brexit High Priests - the very wealthy and the hedge funds - can delay regulation for as long as possible, then they will be free to make billions and salt it away without scrutiny by regulators, just like Big Tobacco and the oil companies. It's no accident that the person who sponsored the Leave campaign is a millionaire and is backed by other millionaires. 

There's no way educated MPs like Jacob Rees-Mogg and his ilk are so thick as to say many of the things they do with any firm belief - they say them while not believing them, as they're necessary to maintain the fiction that Brexit is good. 

Getting the electorate on side was achieved, against the odds, by the brilliant tactic of latching prejudices onto the main objective or ditching EU financial regulations - hence the sovereignty and immigration canards that the far right and far left could hang their hats on to as proxies.

Thursday, 28 July 2022


I was following a Twitter feed where autism was being discussed and an autistic person decried the term 'person with autism', maintaining it stigmatised them, which I found rather confusing.

On looking up the difference between 'autistic person' and 'person with autism', the majority of autistic people, but by no means all, say that autism is something that defines them, like skin colour, gender or sexuality and isn't something that's transient and thus they prefer the identity to come first. It's called Identity First Language. For example, we talk of Asian people, not people with Asianity, or black people, rather than people with blackness. 

One area where this is reversed is the term 'people of colour' being preferred over 'coloured people'. Another is Downs syndrome - we speak of people with Downs and not Downs people, despite Downs being permanent and the defining attribute.

Can't see any problem with calling people by whatever term they want to be called but, given the fact it's not homogenous, it's fraught with logical traps that you don't know you're walking into until someone accuses you of using an inappropriate term.

As for not using Identity First Language being stigmatising, I simple can't see the connection.

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

White Family Adverts

Of late, advertisers have been rather keen to show diversity and use ethnic actors within their adverts. The things is that they're all rushing to do it at the same time, with the result that the all-white family has been replaced by a mix of ethnicities in the majority of adverts. 

However, in a rush to be more inclusive, they're pissing a lot of people off and generating some rather distasteful commentary with people complaining it's not actually representative of British families.

Strangely enough, these same people were silent when central casting white families or actors were impossibly gorgeous, slim, happy, had perfect children, expensive cars, lived in perfect homes and holidayed in the Maldives, thereby not properly representing British families at all. 

I wonder why seeing mixed race families annoys these individuals so much, or is that a stupid question? I've noticed the trend, but it doesn't annoy me - they're just people.

Where I do have problems is where white people in history are portrayed by non-white people. It throws me in terms of the actual history of the time and the role of non-whites in white society at he time. Perhaps I shouldn't have such issues, but I do. Given enough time, I will probably not find it as jarring as I currently do.

There again, historical dramas are more drama than history and it depends on context. Seeing a Jodie Turner-Smith as Anne Boleyn as a central character is not as jarring as seeing so many people of colour portraying nobs in the latest adaptation of Austen's Persuasion, which is set in a time when racism was rife. It does, however, generate debate, which is healthy.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022


In the 60s, Hay and her sister remember their aunty Mabel digging up horseradish on the common outside the house. However, when Mabel died the location of the plants was lost. This was compounded by the annual mowing of the common, which was usually at a time which prevented the horseradish plants from growing to a suitable size to be easily seen.

However, this year the cut was sufficiently early to allow the plants to grow - and I found them yesterday.

Now we know where they are, we can harvest them annually again and continue the family tradition.

I had actually bought a tame horseradish plant, which was my guide for the wild ones. The tame one has done incredibly well, having taken over the area in which it was planted and is about 4 feet tall.

Monday, 25 July 2022

Race to the Bottom

The spectacle of the Tory leadership campaign would be funny - if it weren't so frightening. The candidates have been trying to outdo each other in trashing the party's record since 2010, writing the Labour Party's script while doing so.

The entire process has comprised candidates vying with each other to see who can portray themselves as being worse than Johnson while promising to deliver the most damage to the UK in the short time available before the next General Election - the greater the damage, the more they'll appeal to the Tory Faithful. Campaigning, as Johnson proved, is very different from governing - he was in campaign mode 100% of the time; permanently over-promising and under-delivering, if delivering at all. His Net Zero strategy was a prime example - a populist statement lacking any detail of how it will be achieved, as evidenced by a High Court ruling last week.

It wouldn't surprise me to hear one of the two remaining candidates suggesting that small kids are sent up chimneys again, or proposing the introduction of lopping off hands for the first offence of theft. The knock out blow, and I'm waiting for Truss to come up with it, would be the reintroduction of the death penalty. That would go down a storm at the Tory Party Conference and guarantee her a standing ovation.

Both have promised a bonfire of remaining EU rules - ones concerning worker protection and suchlike. Rather than getting rid of EU rules, perhaps they would be better placed getting rid of swathes of homegrown NHS bureaucracy and bumf to streamline it and tackle the waiting list. The amount of form-filling that needs to take place may well be justified in times of underemployment, but certainly not now.

How Truss can come from being a Remainer, and then take her brain out - especially in the face of all the evidence to date - and profess her Brexiteeriness, can only be interpreted as naked ambition rather than an intellectual decision. She needs to be very careful, as Rees-Mogg needs a new Brexit Traitor to not deliver his impossible-to-deliver-Brexit, and she fits the bill perfectly.

As for Johnson himself, rumour has it that he's been personally training crack, Ukrainian troops, who are fanatically loyal to him, ready for a military coup. He was actually photographed at one of these training events last week.

There's even a suspicion that the London heatwave fires were started by him so as to clear space for his new palace - the Domus Aurea, which will be decorated in gold leaf wallpaper in the best dictator chic fashion.

He's hailed as a charismatic vote winner, but that was before he gained his liar's crown; I very much doubt he would find himself with an 80 seat majority if there were an election tomorrow. Ironically, the Tory Party's only hope against utter decimation would be Proportional Representation.

It's an utter shit-show - a race to the bottom.

Sunday, 24 July 2022


A quick note for Lynda G, who commented on yesterday's post - yes, we already use drybags, but given they're perched on the back of our kayaks, they're only of use when we make landfall and not when on the water, as reaching for them while waterborne would upset the equilibrium of the kayak. For little items needed en-route, I use both a small, screw down compartment in the centre of the kayak (just large enough for a mobile phone), or a dry pouch round my waist.

We came back a day early from Pembrokeshire yesterday as the weather broke and it started to pour down. We were just going past Swansea at 3pm and hit what I assumed to be the tail end of the Dover queue.

We did, however, manage a bike ride into Pembroke and back before we returned home, thereby completing a 3 day triathlon - one day of walking, one of kayaking and another of cycling. We went to Pembroke via Lamphey. where we visited the ruins of the Bishop of St David's Palace.

On using the electric bike, which I hadn't used for a while, I noticed the front wheel, although usable, was quite badly buckled - a consequence of No.2 Son being knocked off it by a car in Chipping Sodbury High Street a month ago. The insurance company of the bloke who knocked him off is playing hardball, denying their client has any liability and refusing to send him the CCTV footage and witness statements, claiming they can only send them to his solicitor. This is an obvious ploy to deter him, a university student on a grant, from making a claim, I told him to quote the 1988 Data Protection Act, whereby an individual has the right to access any information that is held about them by another party. They got a bit flustered at that and said they'd get back to him.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

Pembrokeshire Kayak Path

Yesterday we decided to kayak the route we'd walked the previous day - Freshwater East to Barafundle Beach. It's been a while since we last had the kayaks out, as we've mainly been staying inland and haven't had the opportunity, nor the weather. 

It was the best enjoyment I've had in a long time. I thought Lee Bay in Devon was good for kayaking, but the Pembrokeshire coastline in this area is simply stunning.

Paddling while using a mobile phone to shoot photos and videos is fraught with danger - I must get myself a hat-mounted Go-Pro camera.

On the outward journey we hugged the coastline. Hay then proceeded to have a swim at Barafundle, while I went on the inspect a rather attractive, arched rock formation at the southern end of Barafundle Bay, colleting her on the way back. 

We called in at Stackpole Quay for a cream tea at the National Trust cafe before heading back to Freshwater. I decided to make a beeline for our final destination, but got caught by tide and wind, having to head inland and hug the coast after nearly being swamped by a roller cutting across my direction of travel.

It took roughly the same time as walking, but there were no uphill bits to give my right knee gyp. A thoroughly satisfying day - much better than walking.

We're thinking of selling the 2 one-man kayaks and getting a two person jobbie, which will give us a better power to weight ratio, as well as some additional cargo carrying capacity. To get the kayaks the half mile from the caravan park to the beach, we used a small trolley that sits in holes in the bottom of one kayak, tying the other to the top of the first kayak. That meant, obviously, that the trolley had to come with us on our excursion - and I pulled the short straw, having it strapped to the arse end of my kayak, where the wheels got a bit in the way and slightly chaffed my arms as I was paddling (not badly).

The next thing I want to do is get a very large Ziplock bag into which I can put the electric bike and tow it behind me, the air in the Ziplock providing sufficient buoyancy to keep it afloat....

Friday, 22 July 2022

Pembrokesire Coast Path

We're currently away in the motorhome, back in Pembrokeshire.

Did a walk yesterday along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path from where we're staying in Freshwater East, out to Barafundle Beach and back.

I think my walking days are drawing to a close, as I appear to be suffering from patellar tendinitis, which gives me gyp when walking up steep inclines and steps. It's the same knee that clicks when I go downstairs, which is probably cavitation and (apparently) nothing to worry about.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Let Battle Commence

When doing some shopping in Aldi I noticed they were selling a 12m Battle Rope for £30. "Mmmm," thinks I, "I might get one of those."

A Battle Rope is a long rope that's attached at mid point to an anchor point on a wall. You grab both ends and then waggle your arms up and down in a snapping motion, transmitting a sine wave to the rope. This, allegedly, gives you a really serious upper body workout. 

The perfect place to install the Battle Rope is on the wall between what will be my garage and my workshop, on which work is set to start again in August.

Studies have shown that a 10 minute Battle Rope workout, 3 times a week, significantly boosts metabolic burn resulting in high heart rates and energy expenditure. Given I can no longer run, due to a recurring pain in one foot, I'm prepared to give this a go once the garage and workshop are completed. I don't want to attach the Battle Rope to the wall just yet, as there's very little stability in the wall till the roof goes on and I don't want to risk pulling the damned thing down.

I have literally done no exercise at all since Christmas and so the flab has been increasing at a slow rate. This can't be allowed to continue.

Just had an idea for a mobile Battle Rope anchor point! 

The car's towbar.... 

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Fakery to the Last

It was amusing to watch Johnson hosting his last Cabinet meeting on the 6 o'clock news last night, wittering on about his Net Zero climate change promises. Of course, it was all for the cameras, as usual, and he was lying his ass off.

This video clip was promulgated on the same day that, in a detailed judgment and order published yesterday, amid the UK's first ever red alert for extreme heat, the High Court held that the proposals for achieving Net Zero were too vague to enable the statutory targets to be met and that the report placed before Parliament lacked the specificity necessary to meet the Secretary of State’s duty to inform Parliament and the public of his plans.

Oh, quelle suprise! The lying charlatan went out as he came in.

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

The Unattainable GT6

My regular reader will be aware that I've been looking for a Triumph GT6 to rebuild and renovate. On Monday, one of our contacts ('our' being my mate and I, working in the car trade) were offered a rather nice GT6 to sell on behalf of the owner.

I wish I had £13k to buy this example. OK, the paint has been blobbed on and has rubbed off in a few places on the bonnet, but it's easily fixable by someone who knows how to spray a car - like me.

I made this little video of it.

Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for my R129 Mercedes SL500's loom to be rebuilt before I can sell it. Without that being done, and the consequent misfire, I'd be lucky to get £5,000 for it, but with the loom rebuilt it's worth at least double that. Then there's the fact we have to pay our builder to finish the workshop and garage in August, leaving me a tad short of ready cash.

All this means I can't afford a near-perfect GT6 at this time. In any case, I'm more interested in a solid, but tatty shed of a car that I can lavish time and attention on, which would be more like £5-7k.

What I particularly like about the GT6 is the fact that the engine can easily be worked on, as the bonnet forms the entire front of the car.

Then there's the shape, which is a little more redolent of an E-Type Jag than the MGBs I've previously rebuilt. GT6s were called the Poor Man's E-Type when they came out.

Finally the 2.0L, 6 cylinder Triumph Vitesse engine that it uses was a gorgeous little powerplant in its day.

Having chrome wires and a Motolita steering wheel makes this example quite desirable, if non-standard for the year. The lack of A/C could be combatted by the installation of a Webasto sunroof, although I dare say purists would disagree with cutting holes in the roof.

It has a few issues, such as rattly suspension bits and track rod ends, but as I said, there's nothing terminal - it passed an MoT in June and drives well. It also has an overdrive.

It is, however, a 1972 MkIII, which is not as desirable as the earlier MkI or MkII. 

Here's an example of a MkII.

A more rounded back end (the MkIII has the rear end of a Triumph Stag) and more lavish chrome.

The MkIII, being less desirable, is an ideal project for conversion to a 2.5L Triumph TR6 engine, if you can find one. Even better, although very difficult to shoehorn in, is the Rover 3.5L V8 SD1, as fitted to the MGB GT V8. The V8 can be fitted within the existing metalwork, but only with some modifications to the bonnet; however, most conversions are performed by lowering the chassis at the front so as to avoid spoiling the lines of the bonnet and making it look like a dragster.

Monday, 18 July 2022

Smoke & Mirrors

I have one remaining pension pot left that I'm not drawing a pension from yet. I say one, but earlier in the year I amalgamated about half a dozen disparate pensions into a single pot with Aviva and drew down the tax free 25% to part fund the new static caravan we bought as a rental investment. I got a statement about the fund performance a few weeks ago.

In March it was worth £160,032 - by June it was worth £146,049. That's a drop of 8% in 3 months and needless to say, I won't be using it to draw an annuity anytime soon.

If this is a harbinger of the long term prospects, I'd have been better off cashing in the lot, paying the tax and buying some classic cars in need of a bit of TLC.

I saw an advert for some investment vehicle called Zopa last night which was making a big noise about getting a whopping 1.8% interest if you lock your money away forever. Remind me again what the inflation rate is?

If hedge funds can make a fortune from volatile markets, why can't my pension provider?

Sunday, 17 July 2022

The Root of Brexit

So Sunak is wooing Brexiteers - that rapidly diminishing tribe - by promising to scrap a swathe of EU regulations, specifically those that affect the financial sector.

This is the crux of Brexit and why the very rich were so keen on it in the first place - they don't want oversight of their murky affairs.

I seem to remember a thing called the Global Financial Crisis, which was caused by - you guessed it - a lack of regulation.

It would seem that many just won't learn.

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Trimming My Bush

I had a slight accident when trimming my moustache and consequently had to take the cheek hair down to the wood.

However, the hair left on the upper lip is so long, a bit like the Mr Pastry moustache - a reference that will be lost on anyone younger than me (but think John Bolton) - that it created its own scaffolding and can easily be swept to the sides and now, miraculously, manages its own erection without the need for wax, which pleases Hay no end, as the wax does have a habit of rubbing off on my pillowcase, making it look as if a tramp is sleeping next to her.

Friday, 15 July 2022


So, we're in for another heatwave. I'm alright (Jack) as I have my aircon unit upstairs; however, it got me thinking about a few things.

Firstly, Hay has a hideous habit of opening windows and doors in the evening, even when it's still blisteringly hot outside, and I'm constantly arguing with her about why she insists on doing this. I remind her of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and, as a scientist, I expect her to understand, which she steadfastly refuses to do, even when I let her try it once and we ended up sleeping in an oven upstairs. I will only open doors when the temperature of the patio outside our French doors drops to either the same as, or slightly lower than the inside temperature (I have an infrared sensor), and it works. Any air coming into the house first has to pass over the patio and, if it's warmer than inside, it will heat the house.

The major problem we have, as I've said before, is that with the vaulted ceiling upstairs, combined with black, slate roof tiles, the heat builds up, even with the layers of Celotex, with nowhere to escape because of our bad window design.

Secondly, I'm doubtful about the old wives tale of hanging up a wet towel or blanket to aid cooling. A room in a house is a closed system and the 1st Law of Thermodynamics states that, within a closed system, energy cannot be created or destroyed, except converted to another form of energy. If the evaporated air could condense and then be decanted outside the closed system, then yes, there would be a cooling effect, but not otherwise. Also, a wet towel would increase the humidity, making it uncomfortable.

Thirdly, it seems pointless to me to be running an air-source heat pump on cloudless days in summer, when the solar thermal system heats the water to scalding temperatures. Yes, it will work overnight and the dawn, but we use little hot water then and it doesn't take long for the solar thermal to kick in.

The other day I ran the aircon for most of the day, but the air-source had tripped. My electricity usage was less than a day when the air-source is running. I'm going to keep the air-source switched off while we have the heatwave, as I'll be running the aircon most of the time.

Fourthly - tinted windows on cars. While they can block light hitting the interior, they get damned hot themselves. I would hazard an educated guess that for a car with a light coloured interior, such as light grey or buff, they heat the car interior, whereas with a dark interior they would aid cooling by reducing the absorption of heat by the seats and fascia, despite their intrinsic heating.

I performed an experiment on my Ford Galaxy yesterday, which has deeply tinted windows in the back, and here are the temperature readings after leaving it in the sun (side ways onto the sun) with the windows shut:

The inside temperature on the headlining throughout the car was 46 degrees.

Front: clear glass 45, seats in sun 65, seats in shade 42
Back: tinted glass 55, seats in sun 40, seats in shade 40

It does show the tinted glass gets 10 degrees hotter than clear glass and a prima facie justification for tinted glass in a car with a black interior, although I need to find a similar car to mine with no tints to do a comparison.

Thursday, 14 July 2022


Pundits have been pondering the paradox of Rees-Mogg and Dorries fawning over Truss when she voted Remain. Agreed, she's now a Brexiteer, but that's more to do with opportunism - you don't go from knowing Brexit is bad to believing in sanctioning your own country, especially after what's happened since 2016.

Writing in the Times, Daniel Finkelstein has nailed it - they're setting her up as the next Traitor to the cause.

Herewith the summary on The Knowledge, a new news organ that, in their words, makes the important news manageable. 

The fantasy world of the Tory right: 

The Tories have an “incredibly destructive tendency”, says Daniel Finkelstein in The Times. Whenever a leadership election comes around, the right of the party picks someone who “isn’t really right wing” and supports them as their candidate. When the anointed one then fails to live up to the right’s impossible expectations, they are accused of “betrayal”. It happened with John Major, Boris Johnson and Theresa May. Their latest “traitor-in-waiting”? Liz Truss. The Foreign Secretary has been heartily endorsed by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries as “probably a stronger Brexiteer than both of us”. Which is, of course, nonsense. Truss forcefully backed Remain in 2016 – indeed, she gave “one of the best speeches” of the whole campaign. 

“Real Brexit” is for the hard right what “real socialism” is to the hard left – an “abstract, undefined idea, always a little over the horizon”. All the problems with Brexit, we’re told, are because we haven’t “tried the real thing”. Again, it’s nonsense. And it’s setting up the next leader to fail. The right will be similarly disappointed when its other pie-in-the-sky demands aren’t met: when tax cuts don’t pay for themselves; when government policy doesn’t stop migrant Channel crossings; when the Northern Ireland border problem doesn’t just “disappear”. And as long as the gap remains “between what they expect to happen and what is remotely likely to happen”, the right will continue “electing leaders and feeling betrayed by them”.

This analysis, I think, is spot-on.

What's certain about all the contenders is that they're in campaign mode and, if they've learned anything from Boris Johnson, that means promising all manner of things they know to be impossible. The only exception to this appears to be Sunak, who is showing signs of responsibility, although he is still, inexplicably, wearing his Brexit suit from 2016, despite events having proven his hopes ill-founded and naiive. 

There again, like Rees-Mogg, he was a hedge fund manager before entering Parliament and hedge funds are about the only entities that will profit from Brexit as they make money from market volatility. Hedge fund also don't like regulation of their activities, which increased after the 2008/9 global financial crisis, which was caused by - want for it - unregulated markets.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Clean Air

I've noticed a sharp rise in my solar panel electricity generation during the lockdowns.

Here's an enlargement of the particular time period.

The charts show annualised generation and the start of the lockdowns coincide with a sustained and uncharacteristic period of increase, which I can only attribute to cleaner air and more sunlight getting through.

There are numerous studies that show solar generated output to have increased by various amounts during the pandemic. In my case, the increase was just short of 8%.

It just goes to show how much pollution there is in the air from traffic.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Charge of the Light Brigade & Custer's Last Stand

In order to stand any chance of election as Conservative leader, every single contended has to maintain the fiction that Brexit isn't actually Wrecksit. No contender that reveals the fact that the Emperor's clothes are totally illusory stands the slightest chance of a vote. They will therefore be rushing headlong into a Charge of the Light Brigade or Custer's Last Stand.

As we get closer to a General Election, it will become increasingly apparent that Brexit continues to lead to the decline of the UK in all respects. This will fatally wound whoever wins the leadership election and is PM at the time.

Given the foregoing, whoever wins the leadership contest is entering into a game that will last only to 2023 at the latest and will be, in the words of Gerald Kaufman in the 80s; "Writing the longest suicide note in history."

Ben Wallace, having voted Remain, has recognised this and has consequently, and sensibly, ruled himself out of the current race. However, mark my words, he will run after the Conservatives lose the next General Election, serving as opposition leader for an entire Labour term, hoping to become PM in 2027/8.

Monday, 11 July 2022

Camshaft Lamp

 The plans for a camshaft lamp aren't progressing that well.

I used an angle grinder to remove one end of the camshaft and found what at first glance looked like the tell-tale traces of a small, cylindrical rod that went through the middle. On the basis of this, I removed the other end a few days later, only to find it was indeed solid all the way through.

It is possible that grinding the ends off fused any internal rod to the ends, but grinding a bit more on the flat and banging away with a pointed thingy and a lump hammer didn't produce any results in terms of dislodging a potential central shaft.

Now I could simply put the flex along the exterior of the camshaft, or get someone to gun drill the length of it, but the former is unsightly and the latter is likely to be rather expensive, so I'll continue my search for a hollow camshaft.

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Regaining Trust

What does the Tory Party need to do to regain the trust of the electorate?

A leader has to emerge who isn't afraid of the ERG and is willing to speak the truth - that truth being that they were sold the Brexit pup by a serially lying charlatan who didn't even believe in it himself, but used it as a means to achieve power - power he was ultimately too flawed to wield properly. The fact Johnson is a liar is not a matter of opinion, it's a proven fact and the very reason the Parliamentary Tory Party wants shot of him.

Yes, there was the slenderest majority for Brexit, but the form that Brexit should take was never debated, nor the consequences, which were spun as Project Fear, which is now undeniably Project Reality. More now have come to the conclusion since 2016.

Of course, the emergence of a leader with the balls to do what's politically and economically necessary isn't going to happen at the present time - fanatics from the ERG are still spreading misinformation that the deluded soak up - and the deluded are predominantly Tories. Any new leader is constrained by circumstances and will have to go with the flow. Any MPs showing real leadership potential were thrown out of the party by Johnson.

Every member of the Cabinet is tainted by support for both Brexit and Johnson. Not one of them has the guts to spill the beans about there not being a single benefit to Brexit'; the Tory support based isn't yet ready for truth and still cries out for more lies to balance the truth. Additionally, Cabinet members were not selected for their expertise or probity, but because they were sycophantically loyal. What will happen is that we'll limp along for another 2 or 3 years with the dead weight of Brexit dragging the country down further into the gutter under the leadership of someone who knows Brexit is shit, but can't say so for fear of losing support. That support, however, will gradually wane as we approach a General Election. It's a one way path.

Any real leader would need to bide their time and accept that the Tory Party is inexorably destined to lose the next election as the situation deteriorates, possibly to the stage of civil unrest, like the Poll Tax Riots. That will be the time to step forward and inject some realism into the party. It would appear Ben Wallace has realised this and has withdrawn from the race for the poisoned chalice.

Then there's the matter of the Tory Party - the party that's done its best to marginalise and disenfranchise non-whites and has a longstanding problem with Islamophobia - having the choice of 4 (possibly more) non-white candidates. While the Parliamentary Party may whittle it down to 2 candidates, they may both be non-white, which may be a bridge too far for the wider party membership - and certainly for the wider, Tory-supporting electorate. That said, Tories have shown that they're fully willing to trash the pillars of Conservatism, and indeed the country, to achieve the destructive Brexit they want, so they may even bury their Islamophobia and vote for a Muslim leader, providing he or she is seen as a rabid Brexiteer that's happy to keep pressing the self-destruct button.

As for Suella Braverman - that's just a joke too far. She's despised in legal circles for her partisan advice as Attorney General. She has QC after her name, but that's an honorific given to all Attorney Generals, whether they took silk or not, which she hasn't. 

She's not incompetent on a Nadine Dorries scale of incompetence, but she gave legal advice that was designed purely as cover for Johnson's worst excesses - advice she knew to be false; Machiavellian advice. She's dangerous and she's ostensibly a fanatical Brexiteer. I say ostensibly, as no sensible person is a Brexiteer - politicians are fake Brexiteers and they use Brexit as a vote catcher, as Johnson did, but the vote catcher is based on lies.

Grant Shapps has launched his leadership campaign by saying; “I have not spent the last few turbulent years plotting or briefing against the prime minister. I have not been mobilising a leadership campaign behind his back.” Why ever not? Johnson was an absolute disaster, totally corrupt, a moral and ethical vacuum, simply the worst PM ever to hold the office and a national security risk, yet Shapps was content to let the guy continue in office against what's plainly the wishes of the majority of the Parliamentary Party. He's shot himself in the foot with stupidity if he thinks that's going to win any favours from backbenchers in the first round with that statement.

Yes - it seems the contenders are vying with each other to see which can appear to be the biggest bell end. The problem they all face is that the Parliamentary Party and the winder party have opposing agendas - the MPs don't want a Johnson facsimile, whereas the wider party does. Contenders have to show two faces simultaneously.

Whatever happens, we're in for a chaotic period till the next General Election as none of the candidates can display any leadership, even if they have it - for now they are forced to appear as facsimiles of Boris Johnson, and we know what that means. The failure of Brexit to deliver any benefits is being blamed on everyone, except Brexit itself - civil servants, lefty lawyers, the BBC, Remoaner Tories, Durham Constabulary, Meghan Markle, gravity or even the Pope - the usual suspects that the likes of the Tory propaganda machine  (Daily Mail, Sun, Express) deems to be traitors. It's like 1950s McCathyite USA.

Labour too is scared to mention that the Emperor has no clothes, but mainly because it understandably doesn't want to be dragged into a Brexit row until the runes are self-evident to even the most fanatical that Brexit is to blame, rather than Covid, Ukraine, traitors, baying mobs or the EU itself. It's a long-term strategy, but it annoys the hell out of those who have seen the light since the ridiculous notion of Brexit was first mooted.

Someone noted that Boris Johnson is the 3rd PM brought down by...... Boris Johnson....

Saturday, 9 July 2022


My mate left me in the lurch. He wanted some fertilised chicken eggs and incubate them so his kids could see the process of chicks being hatched. 

As he didn't have an eBay account, I ordered them for him, but they arrived the day he was going on holiday - so I'm left with them.

I ordered half a dozen of them and they have to be turned three times a day while being kept at 37.5 degrees C. Luckily he had sourced an incubator I could use.

Had they been peacocks I'd have kept one or two - they could handle the cats quite easily. Not so sure whether they could handle the foxes though. I quite fancy a peacock or two about the estate.

Thank God he's coming back tomorrow.

Friday, 8 July 2022

Early Crocosmia

We have masses of crocosmia planted in the gravel between the house and the limestone paths and patios around the house. They usually start blooming in late July or early August, but this year they're starting to bloom 3 weeks early.

They're not that long-lived, but give us a magnificent display for 3 or 4 weeks of the summer.

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Key Points

 Key points from overnight reporting:

  • PM denies ever having met with Truth.
  • PM denies mass resignations from his government.
  • 1922 Committee looking into having Boris Johnson sectioned as a narcissistic sociopath or, failing that, bringing in an exorcist.
  • Being convinced he can beat Suella Braverman, Larry the No.10 Cat announces his entry into leadership contest.
  • Fearing Suella Braverman could win the leadership contest, the 1922 Committee has asked Boris to stay on.
  • Sacking of Gove results in Johnson appointing Bob the Builder as Levelling Up Secretary.
  • Danny Boyle announces plot development for a new film - Carry On PM.
  • Her Majesty was caught smirking.
  • Theresa May hospitalised with severe case of the giggles.
  • Many Tory MPs on record claiming Johnson has a 'mandate from the people', thus demonstrating that candidates need a basic GCSE in how Parliament works before standing as an MP.
  • Nadine Dorries now has 20 government portfolios and has submitted a letter of no intelligence.
  • Johnson considering appealing to the ECHR and American Supreme Court.
  • Carrie Johnson seen buying wallpaper steamer from B&Q.
  • Argentina has taken advantage of the confusion and annexed the Scillies. The Irish say the Scillies belong to them.
  • Johnson to bring in agency Ministers.

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Brexit Strategy

Starmer is coming under fire from some quarters about his Brexit stance. However, these critics are simply too impatient and lacking in understanding of  the necessary steps - we can't just cancel Leave and expect to be where we were pre 2016.

Yes, Brexit has been a disaster for the UK, and continues to be so, but a vast swathe of the electorate is still firmly wedded to it, regardless of the pain it inflicts on the country. When you think about it, for the average person, Brexit has made little difference to their daily lives, except if they've had cause to travel outside of the UK. The full effects will take a long time to be felt, and there has to be no doubt in minds that Brexit is the cause, rather than the myriad other possible causes that Brexiteers desperately hang on to, such as Covid or Russia's incursions into Ukraine.

The road to re-joining the EU is long and tortuous and I can't see it happening until after the Conservatives are out of office and not even in the Parliament after that - it will be some time in the 2030s. There are sequential steps to be followed and they can't be circumvented. There are also numerous obstacles.

The UK has to focus on fixing its current problems first, which are more pressing - we cannot join the EU while flat on our backs and supplicants. We must bring something positive to the table to help persuade the member countries that we are worth the effort, the most important of which is international standing and reputation for sticking to agreements. The NI Protocol, for example, is actually benefiting NI, so best left alone.

Even then, the EU is highly unlikely to want to admit a country that remains destabilised and divided on the issue of the EU. They would want to see a referendum demonstrating at least a 60% support for re-joining and the likes of Farage relegated to permanent obscurity. They will not want a repeat of 2016 every decade or so. A supermajority may even be a requirement.

Then there's the small matter of joining the EU necessitating adoption of the Euro, which could be a huge stumbling block, as well as possibly having to join the Schengen area, losing all opt-outs and the rebate. These are issues which could further destabilise the Re-join vote.

Lastly, Boris (if he survives) still has enough support to galvanise the waverers in any General Election, so Starmer cannot afford to hand him a victory on a plate while the causes of the UK's woes are still up for debate and he insists on twisting the facts.

Starmer is playing the long game, and correctly so, no matter how much it frustrates the hard-line Remainers. It's called strategy - softly, softly catchee monkey. Do not doubt Starmer's conviction, nor his strategy.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Fuel Prices

I've done a small calculation based on when petrol was £1 per gallon, which was 1979, and the prices both last year and currently. The increase in prices were then compared with the increase in average wage then and now.

As you can see from the chart above, fuel followed roughly the same multiplier as the average wage between 1979 and 2021, but has recently jumped from a multiplier of 5.41 from the 1979 price to a phenomenal 9.0.

Monday, 4 July 2022


I sometimes wonder when the internet will become sentient.

Fanciful? When you think that any AI that does become sentient will in all likelihood be connected to the internet and therefore have access to the sum knowledge of humanity, it doesn't become that fanciful.

One can just hope that this AI would have the intelligence be able to sort the good stuff from the crap, like the digital versions of the Daily Mail, Express, Sun, GB News and YouTube conspiracy theory sites. Any AI coming across that pile of poo might think humanity ain't worth saving - or worse still, believe it. 

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Enemies of the People

I was thinking about what the Tories and their right wing client journalists have considered to be enemies of the people, and the list is growing by the day:

  • Lawyers,
  • Judges, especially those on the ECHR,
  • The law itself,
  • The Church of England,
  • The Royal Family,
  • Select Committees with a majority of Conservatives on them,
  • Universities and academic in general,
  • Teachers,
  • Doctors,
  • Nurses,
  • The Bank of England,
  • The BBC,
  • Channel 4,
  • Naturally, the entire EU and all Remainers who point out the logical inconsistencies within Brexit and the pure vapourware it is.
Can you think of anyone else who is the enemy du jour? At this rate it's going to be the Tories on one side and every single institution in the UK and internationally on the other. It's getting desperate for them as they're running out of enemies to create.

However, a group of incompetent Cabinet Ministers, who are entirely dependent on a corrupt, amoral and incompetent PM for a good proportion of their salary and their job, as no-one else will employ them, express 100% confidence in him.

Saturday, 2 July 2022

I'm At My Tailor's

Continuing the theme of the Chairman's tips for saving money.

Most of you who know me realise I hardly, if ever, buy new clothes, preferring to purchase everything at charity shops, which have seriously improved their lines in the last decade. It's not unusual to find brand new M&S or Next clothes that are either end-of-line or slight seconds for a fraction of the normal retail price.

My mate phoned me the other day while I was purchasing a selection of shirts at my local St Peter's Hospice charity shop, which does an excellent range of clothing - I told him to call me later, as I was at my tailor's.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Three Course Meal

Here's the Chairman's tip in these cash-strapped times for still enjoying a meal out.

So who among you ever has a three course meal at home? I think we in the Chairman's household have a dessert about twice a year - and one of those occasions is Christmas, when it's obligatory to carve off more Christmas pudding than you can actually eat.

It's the same with starters - I can't remember ever having a starter, unless we're treating friends to a meal at home, but why we do it is a mystery - it's just something that's expected when having friends round. 

So, there's your saving - eat a restaurant meal as if you were at home and simply have the main course. You'll save yourself at least a third of the cost, if not more.

For an additional saving, if you don't regularly have wine with dinner at home, don't have any wine with your restaurant meal. That could be another 25 % saving on the full cost of a three course meal.