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Should the good burghers of Hammersmith & Fulham be worried?

Sunday, June 20, 2010
Spotted while out and about:

And a late breaking 1960 Hansard nugget:

Smell Nuisance, Tees-side

Mr. Chetwynd asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what action has been taken in the last year to find out the causes of the tom-cat smell which periodically afflicts Stockton-on-Tees and the Tees-side area; and what is being done to remedy this situation.
Sir K. Joseph (Yes, HIM)  This smell has not been reported since 1957, when the source was traced and interim remedies applied. These temporary measures have been replaced during the past year by permanent measures which have proved effective. There are occasional complaints about a fish-like smell from an amines plant. Remedies have been applied with success, but complete elimination of smell at all times cannot be guaranteed.

And because it would be selfish not to share this:

The Wikipedia Metal Umlaut article.  The related links are near as dammit pure gold too.

Anyway, I'm going off reservation for a bit, so blogging will be non-existent for a bit.  'See' you when I'm back, meanwhile comment moderation will be on.

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The long-awaited DPRK Vs Brazil match report

Thursday, June 17, 2010
And they have not let me down (too badly):

"The league match of the 2010 World Cup between the DPRK and Brazil took place at dawn (Pyongyang time) on Wednesday.  From the outset of the match the two teams fought a seesaw battle. The DPRK footballers created good shooting chances, not losing their confidence even after losing two goals.
At about the 88th minute of the match Jong Tae Se headed the ball before passing it to Ji Yun Nam who powerfully kicked it into the rival's goalmouth, scoring a goal.
The DPRK team will meet its Portuguese rival on June 21".

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One for all the DPRK 'fans'

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Just seen this at the BBC website.  The blighters do not appear to provide direct play urls for videos, and this will not work outside the UK.  That apart, enjoy.

And this, gifted to me by Dizzy, because he's a preux chevalier:

While I'm awaiting a KCNA report on yesterday's game, revel in the adventures of the Taedonggang Combined Fruit Farm:

"The Taedonggang Combined Fruit Farm in the Wonhung area of Pyongyang has increased its capacity five times..The farm, with well-arranged and vast orchards, ring-shaped roads and waterways and fruit tree nurseries, has put fruit farming on a scientific, intensive and modern basis...The apple slices are turned out through such processes as washing, separation, hot-air drying and vacuum frying and finally packed".

Still nothing from KCNA, but it might be a bit like this, as found in The Guardian:

"Victory!" screams the front page banner headline of North Korean daily the Pyongyang Democrat, above a report outlining how the Democratic People's Republic of Korea torpedoed hapless Brazil in a 29-0 rout, in which bespectacled man of the match, chairman of the National Defence Commission, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, supreme leader and midfield general Kim Jong-il scored 28 goals, with his late father eternal president Kim Il-Sung chipping in with a victory-sealing 30-yard surface-to-air missile in injury-time.

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The trouble with Wikipedia

While trying to discover the age of Lt Col Derek Wilford (I have failed, thus far), I stumbled upon a page category in wikipedia called 'Massacres in Northern Ireland'. 

Not immediately recognising all of the named events, I have done some clicking through, and with one exception, all of the events are what might be termed Orange / British on Green. One might think that the Omagh bombing would rate as 'a massacre', what with 29 dead, but apparently not.

Perhaps I should join the select few and do a bit of editing.


A vintage Hansard trawl, featuring 'the truth about the navy', troublemaking foreign types and mudguards

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Cost over-runs - a lot older than government IT projects.  At least 150 years older....

COLONEL WILSON PATTEN ....During the lifetime of the late Sir Charles Barry various steps were taken more or less ineffectually, in order to ascertain when the Houses of Parliament would be finally completed. Like the clock just alluded to by the hon. Member for Peterborough, the Houses, commencing at an estimate of £750,000 had already cost the nation £2,400,000. Now, at the death of Sir Charles Barry it became an object of special interest to the public to know whether the works wore completed; if not, how much remained to be done; and what would be the extra cost.
My wicked fellow republicans:


said, he would beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether more seats round the larger trees in Kensington Gardens and the Parks can be placed there for the accommodation of the public; also, whether the large piece of ground lately used as a reservoir for one of the Water Companies, opposite Grosvenor Gate, can be thrown into the Park for the use of the public; and whether the unsightly iron railing round the Statue of King Charles I., at Charing Cross, might not be advantageously removed? 

Mr Cowper
He quite concurred, he might add, with his hon. Friend in condemning the unsightly iron railing which surrounded the statue of Charles I., and he knew of no necessity for its being continued. It was a work of ancient date, and had been erected probably from a feeling that some of the mob might at that time be disposed to mutilate the statue as being an emblem of principles of which they disapproved.
 Maoris, thousands of 'em:


in rising to put a Question on this subject, said the disturbances to which he wished to call the attention of the House had their origin in the circumstance that a native chief had taken it upon himself to endeavour to prevent the sale of a plot of land in the province of New Plymouth, with which the owner was desirous to part. To such interference the Government of the colony could not, of course, submit, and martial law had been proclaimed in the province. The consequence had been that the Europeans had been brought into collision with the natives, and it being recollected that a number of the settlers were at some of the outlying positions, a force of about 265 strong, including volunteers, colonial militiamen, and some men of the 65th Regiment, had been sent out to secure their safety....There could not be the slightest doubt that but for the arrival of Captain Cracroft and his blue jackets— who deserved all honour for their gallant conduct—these unfortunate settlers would have been cut to pieces during that night, being short of ammunition....He had received a letter from a gentleman largely connected with the colony, which stated:— "The European population of that province is only about 3,000 souls. The lands are principally held by the natives, who appear to have been encouraged to resist the sale of them by Europeans of the very vilest character who have settled among them, such as runaway convicts, sailors of different nations, and others, who, preferring a life of licentiousness, have lived among the natives, and encouraged them, not only by their advice but by subscriptions, to resist the Queen's authority."

Sailors of different nations, eh?

Fast forwarding some 50 years, and it is still those dodgy foreigners with their dodgy foreign ways causing trouble to the military and so forth:

Mr. RIDLEY asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention had been called to a case which came before the Rochester magistrates on Tuesday, 7th June, in which a Dutchman named Van Drunnen, in the employ of a Dutch firm of shipbreakers engaged in breaking-up His Majesty's ship "Anson," was fined 2s. 6d. and 15s. costs for assisting British bluejackets to improperly absent themselves from duty at Chatham Dockyard by rowing them across the river in his boat; and whether he would give instructions that in future when any British ships were to be broken up the work should be given to British hands?

 Mr. McKENNA The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. It would not appear that any stipulation such as that suggested in the second part of the question would have any effect in the prevention of such an occurrence as that referred to in the first part of the question, and no additional restriction of that nature is proposed.

Helpful, Mr McK, very helpful.

Big tease o' the day:

Mr. MIDDLEMORE (for Mr. Meysey-Thompson)  asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has read the book styled "The Truth about the Navy" which was issued by Admiralty Order to the men's libraries on His Majesty's Fleet in 1906; whether he is aware that it contains matter of a political character, also sentiments with regard to a friendly nation that might cause irritation; whether he is aware that it contains statements that amount to a defence of Admiralty policy, on which there has been much public controversy; and whether, looking to the fact that these books have been issued to some fleets and not to others, he will order the immediate recall of all these books from the ships' libraries of all the vessels in the Navy?

Mr. McKENNA I believe I read the paper-bound pamphlet referred to in the question two or three years ago, but I have not seen it since, and I am unable to recollect whether it "contains matter of a political character or sentiments with regard to a friendly nation which might cause irritation." As I have no reason to doubt that the title of the pamphlet accurately represents its contents, the statements therein would amount to a defence of Admiralty policy. I do not think the matter is of sufficient importance to justify a consideration of the question whether it should be recalled from ships' libraries.
And can I lay hands on the text of this work?  Nope.

Disturbances in the Euphrates Delta:

Mr. REES asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether he could give the House any information regarding the recent disturbances in the Euphrates delta; and whether the position of the Sheikh of Koweit had been injuriously affected by any of the reported or unreported hostilities between the Arab tribes at the head of or along the southern shore of the Persian Gulf?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. McKinnon Wood) Some hostilities have occurred between the forces of the Sheikh of Koweit aided by Bin Saoud and those of Sheikh Sadur of the Muntafik tribe, after which the former retired. We have no information to show that the position of the Sheikh of Koweit has been injuriously affected by these occurrences.

Not quite 'the mother of all battles' then.

The vexed issue of 'mudguards':

Mr. REES asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider the propriety of requiring the provision in the case of motor-driven vehicles of front mudguards of such a character that vehicles to which they are fitted would push in front instead of overrunning obstacles before them?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Churchill) The question of imposing such a regulation on motor vehicles generally is one which comes within the province of the Local Government Board. But if my hon. 1309 Friend is referring to motor omnibuses licensed in the Metropolitan Police District, the answer is that the Commissioner of Police has from the outset impressed upon proprietors the importance of providing a suitable guard, and has intimated to them that when one is available certain concessions will be made as to the minimum road clearance of these vehicles. No satisfactory device, however, of the nature indicated has yet been submitted to him.

Mudguards?  They sound more like snowplough / cowcatcher type things to me.

Great defunct job titles of our time:

Mr. HUGH BARRIE asked whether it is in contemplation to fill the post about to be vacated by Sir George P. O'Farrell, inspector of lunatics, by the appointment of a candidate who is thoroughly conversant by training and experience with the administration of lunatic asylums and the practical treatment of the insane?

Mr. BIRRELL  Yes, Sir.

Birrell is to be applauded for his brevity.  I envy O'Farrell his business card.

Gratuitous chart o' the day:

Mr. LONSDALE asked the number of persons in Ireland who were boycotted at the beginning of each month of the present year, January to June inclusive, under the headings, respectively, of wholly boycotted, partially boycotted, and minor boycotting?

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Lowering the tone...

Saturday, June 12, 2010
Link 'borrowed' from the b3ta newsletter.  It is a version of 'hot or not' focused on members of the US Congress, and the results of the crowdsourcing are in.

The best lookers, based on the wisdom of crowds, are these two - Mary Bono Mack, Cal (Rep) and Martin Heinrich NM, (Dem):

And the least pulchritudinous, these two - Ike Skelton, Missouri (Dem) and Nita Lowey, NY (Dem):

I reckon that Ms Lowey just looks her age, and there are significantly odder looking people in Congress, but judge for yourselves with vote rigging opportunities here.

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A vintage Hansard trawl, featuring faith healers, missiles and the NUM, inter alia

Thursday, June 10, 2010
Lots of winners from 50 years ago,starting with this:

Mr. Mayhew Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these figures suggest that the Government are not taking full advantage of the enormously increased demand for television material overseas? Will he note that much of the television material exported commercially does little or no good in creating a good picture of Britain? What steps will the Chancellor of the Duchy take to encourage the distribution overseas of television material about Britain of a non-commercial kind?
Mr. Allan  The hon. Gentleman would not expect me to answer that now. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I will certainly see that my right hon. Friend does study this problem when he comes back this week.

I hate to think what the shade of Christopher Mayhew would make of current TV exports. 

Brevity is indeed the soul of wit:

Mr. A. Roberts asked the Minister of Power what consultation he had with the National Union of Mineworkers before appointing the successor to Sir James Bowman as chairman of the National Coal Board.
Mr. Wood None, Sir.

Fifty years of non-progress:

Mr. Strauss

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he will make a statement about the recent visits to the United States of America of delegations from his Department to discuss the revision of the agreement that regulates the air services between the two countries.
Mr. Sandys

On the broader issue raised by the right hon. Gentleman, at different times Britain has advocated multilateral agreements for the relaxation of restrictions generally, but the response so far has not been very enthusiastic. So long as other countries continue to impose restrictions to protect their own airlines, we have to do the same, I am afraid

Depressing, frankly.

More of the brief approach:

Mr. Frank Allaun  asked the Minister of Aviation how much money has been spent on developing and making the Bloodhound missile; and what are the future plans for this missile

Mr. Rippon About £45 million has been spent to date on developing and proving the various Marks of Bloodhound....
Mr. Allaun   Is not this yet another case of the Government spending scores of millions of £s on a weapon which is useless against either missiles or supersonic bombers?

Mr. Rippon   No, Sir.

Handsome devil, isn't it?:

And so to faith healers:

Dr. D. Johnson   asked the Minister of Health whether it is now his intention to admit to National Health Service hospitals healers who claim to cure disease by super-normal means for the purpose of their administering treatment to patients therein.

Mr. Walker-Smith I have not given guidance to hospital management committees, as I consider on present advice that the visiting of patients, is a matter which should be left to the hospital authority's discretion, in the light of the views of the doctor in charge of the particular patient who has asked for the visit. While I do not know the practice of individual committees, they are generally aware of my view.


Mr. Robinson Has the Minister seen the view expressed unanimously by the British Medical Association at its annual conference, condemning the introduction of these healers into hospitals? I do not want to express a view one way or the other about the merits of the Federation, but does not the Minister think that this is a matter in which he should give guidance to hospital authorities rather than leave the decision to individual authorities? Is he aware that these healers are now reported to be present in 50 per cent. of the hospitals run by management committees?

Mr. Walker-Smith I have seen recent Press reports about the proceedings of the British Medical Association, but I have not yet received any representations following therefrom. As for general guidance, if I am right as to the factors governing these cases, it must always ultimately be a matter for local decision, in the light of those factors. Therefore, general guidance, beyond what I have already said, would not appear to be appropriate.
I like this comment:

Mr. Paget As a matter of religious liberty, if someone in a hospital wants a chap to come and pray over him, why should not he be allowed to have him?

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The Labour MPs who did not nominate - a cut out 'n' keep guide

Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Were they too lazy, too stupid, too right wing, too left wing or too scared of causing offence?  Or something else...

  • Graham Allen
  • Nick Brown
  • Gordon Brown
  • Richard Burden
  • Liam Byrne
  • Martin Caton
  • Stella Creasy
  • Tony Cunningham
  • Jim Dowd *
  • Angela Eagle
  • Roger Godsiff
  • Dai Havard *
  • David Heyes *
  • Glenda Jackson
  • Gregg McClymont
  • Graeme Morrice
  • Ian Murray
  • Dawn Primarolo
  • Graham Stringer
  • Gisela Stuart
This has been derived by comparing the list of Labour MPs here with the list of nominators per candidate.  I would not stake everything on it, given Stephen Twigg shows as having nominated Abbott and Miliband sr in Labour List's, erm, lists. Any corrections gratefully received.

Those asterisked were Brown refuseniks in 2007, so either they have not got the hang of this voting business, or they really want to make sure that no fingers can be pointed at them.

Stella Creasy has e-mailed to ask for a correction, so there's a strike through her name now.   She shows as voting in LL's list now, but she did not at the time of posting.  As a sidebar, I thought it was depressing having a PM younger than I am, but having MPs born in years that I remember (1977) is enough to send one off to find a sharp instrument.

A further upmail suggests that LL has been doing some more updating, so I have performed a re-count.


And what has this to do with either Boris or TfL?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Spotted this at my local tube station yesterday:

Perhaps we can look forward to posters in supermarkets urging us to travel outside of peak times or somesuch.

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Technical writing. How not to do it.

Monday, June 07, 2010
As spotted on a packet of satay sauce powder:

It reads 'Dissolve coconut milk powder in 150ml water in a small pan, do not use hot or cold water'.

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Quite astonishing

Friday, June 04, 2010
The Lego / felt tip printer:

Technical questions answered here.

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Unlikely to be true....

Thursday, June 03, 2010
..but worth repeating because it is highly amusing:
Big Bother
Polling Station | United Kingdom

(A young girl of 18 or 19, clearly a first-time voter, skips the line and rushes up to my table.)

Me: “I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait. There’s a line.”

Voter: “I’m sorry, but it’s important! I need to get my ballot paper back. I voted for the wrong person!”

Me: “Alright, give me the spoiled one.”

Voter: “I can’t. I put it in the box.”

Me: “Then I’m afraid we can’t get it back. The boxes can’t be opened until the end of voting at ten o’clock.”

Voter: “But I didn’t know! I don’t want the Conservatives to get in so I voted for [Conservative candidate]. I should have voted for someone else!”

Me: “Um, why did you vote for the Conservative?”

(The girl turns scarlet and looks utterly miserable.)

Voter: “I thought it was like TV where you vote them off!”

(Found at notalwaysright.com, an amusing collection of tales of customer etc idiocy)

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A not quite so vintage Hansard trawl,featuring 'left-wing allegiances' and go-karts

Wednesday, June 02, 2010
This is a good one, trust me:

School Pupils (Political Allegiances
W. Griffiths (Lab,Manchester Exchange)asked the Minister of Education whether his attention has been directed to the fact that at a school, details of which have been supplied to him, security officers have interviewed the headmaster and brought pressure to bear upon him to ascertain from his sixth form pupils the nature of their political allegiances; and what guidance he will give to principals of schools to ensure that, when any approaches of this kind are made, both principals and pupils are aware of the proper procedure for dealing with them.
Sir D. Eccles I looked into this as soon as I heard of it. The headmaster of the school assured me that the statements made in the first part of the Question are entirely without foundation and that no inquiries have been made about boys still in the school. No guidance from me is, therefore, required.

But it gets better

Mr. Griffiths Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that answer is rather worse than I had expected? I am informed that this matter arose in the following way: there is no doubt that the headmaster interrogated one class of the lower sixth containing about 27boys—about their political affiliations, telling them, for instance, that they should not wear the badge of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and warning them of the danger of holding left-wing views">

Sounds like just the sort of institution that Chiswickite Major and Minor should be sent to /tongue in cheek.

Business Firms (Payments to Political Parties)Mr. W. Hamilton asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent payments made by firms to political parties are now regarded by the Inland Revenue as a legitimate business expense for tax purposes.
Mr. Barber Payments to political parties are not regarded as a deductible expense.


Mr. Hilton asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the percentage of Purchase Tax charged on the wholesale value of go-karts used for racing purposes in this country.
Mr. Barber Go-karts are taxable at 50 per cent. of their wholesale value. Mr. Hilton Is it not the fact that other articles of sports equipment, such as tennis racquets, hockey sticks, football gear and the like are not subject to the tax? As go-kart racing is comparatively new and mainly a working-man's sport, will he consider reducing or removing Purchase Tax from go-karts to bring them into line with other sporting articles? Will he also bear in mind that the manufacture of these go-karts is a most useful light industry and would be encouraged if Purchase Tax were removed? Mr. Barber My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer answered a Question on this subject, asked of him by my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Sir A. Hurd) on 10th May. My right hon. Friend said in his Answer that he did not feel able to recommend a reduction in the rate of tax on go-karts, and I am afraid that I cannot go further than that.

(Formatting to be sorted out later - probs with deformatting Hansard text without Notepad)

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Something to make your flesh creep

From KCNA:

"Kim Sun Yong, 36, residing in Central District, Pyongyang, told KCNA that her children owe many things to the state, more than to their parents".

Warned you all, didn't I?

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The briefest of vintage Hansard trawls:

Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Those economic migrants, 1860 style:

"MR. H. B. JOHNSTONE called attention to the fact of some hundreds of English artisans leaving our dockyards for the purpose of obtaining employment at Cherbourg, where it was reported that they were paid much higher wages than they received in this country. In the absence of the noble Lord, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, he would defer the consideration of the question until Monday. 

Sensible fellows, those artisans.

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