Archive for February, 2005

Was it me?

President George W Bush of the United States of America

There was an article in the Telegraph entitled How British and American conservatives united to stop Bush endorsing the EU constitution as favour to Blair” and a part of it says:

President Bush’s speech to European leaders last week was toned down at the last moment to avoid giving his support to the proposed EU constitution, after a strenuous lobbying campaign by conservative activists in Washington.

A few weeks ago I looked at the US State Department’s website, hoping for an e-mail address. There weren’t any – but I did find a form where I could submit my comments.

I wrote saying that, if the new constitution is ratified it would mean that Britain would have less than a 5% say in their foreign affairs. I also added a few references where they could go and look for themselves.

It was quite a long message and, at the end of it, I said “You must now wonder about the other 95% of the people voting on foreign policy and ask yourself if you trust the other Europeans to allow Britain to officially support you”.

I never had a reply and thought that some officious bastard had probably scrapped my message.

But did they? Did I actually have a sway on American Policy? Little me, sat slaving over a hot computer in West Finchley?

I will never, dear reader, ever know!

And it’s that which is so bloody frustrating!


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The truth will out.

Growth League in 2004

Whilst our currency is not controlled by the EU we continue to prosper. Why, oh why, do our masters insist on ever closer union from these hopelessly economic countries who, between them, couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery – let alone raise theor enconomies to the level of the US, UK or Canada! You notice I said “masters” and not “servants”? I wonder what made me do that!

Edmund Conway wrote yesterday:

Faster UK leaves euro-zone trailing

THE disparity between the booming Anglo-Saxon economies and the eurozone was confirmed yesterday by figures showing that the UK is growing at its fastest rate since the turn of the millennium and the US is enjoying its fastest growth in five years.

Britain’s economy expanded by 0.7pc in the second quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics. This meant it grew by 3.1pc in 2004.

Now take another look at the illustration above and ask yourself… are we doing better “going it alone” or would we be better off having the bureaucrats running our enconmy from Brussels.

We have to take an interest in the vote on the new Constitution next year! And, we must all turn out to vote. We must do better than the Spanish where only 42% of the population bothered to turn out to vote. A lot is being made of their “yes” vote but if we look at the figures, only 76.5% of 42% voted “yes” or in real terms, the vote was carried by only 32% of the population.

That means only 32 Spaniards out of every hundred thought the EU was worth turning out to vote yes for.

James Chapman a political correspondent yesterday wrote:

THE new EU constitution was heralded as the `birth certificate of the United States of Europe’ last night.

The Tories seized on the remark – made by a leading German politician saying it shattered once and for all the Downing Street myth of the document being merely a `tidying-up exercise’.

Hans Martin Bury, Germany’s Europe minister, said the constitution was more than just a `milestone’.

‘I think it is the birth certificate of the United States of Europe,’ he said during a debate in the German Bundestag. ‘It is not the end point of integration, but the framework for as it says in the preamble – an ever closer union.’

His remarks contradicted those of Jack Straw, who claimed earlier this month that the constitution would mark an end to the-transfer of British sovereignty to Brussels.

What do you think of this, dear reader?


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Am I being vindictive?

I was listening to the news last night about a mental patient who had killed three people and after just a few years was released into the community.

He returned to the mental hospital voluntarily, presumedly because he thought he was a risk to people, but they let him wander in and out of the hospital, completely freely.

He killed again and the person in charge of the hospital came out with the old bloody “We have put in place a system where this couldn’t happen again!”

Am I being unfair when I say that someone responsible in that mental hospital should not only be fired from his post, but must never be allowed into such a position again?

We are surrounded by terrible things happening in high places and all we ever hear is “We have put in place a system where this couldn’t happen again!”

I am sick and tired of hearing this phrase, or similar phrases. And, whenever you hear a spokesman say this you instinctively know that nobody is going to be punished!

Let’s face it, think of your own circumstances, no matter what your job is. If you knew that no matter how many fatal errors you made, you’d keep your job, would you be as consciencious as you would be if you knew that, not only would you lose your job, but you would never be able to get another in at same sector that you were trained to work in?


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I’m a planner

Always have been. My wife and I hold monthly family meetings where we even produce accounts and budgets.

What a bore I hear you say, but let me tell you one thing… we owe nothing on our credit cards, neither do we owe anybody anywhere any money. And I am very pleased to say that I have not paid anyone a penny interest on anything as long as I can remember.

Table Mountain from Blauwberg Strand

My wife and I are off to the Western Cape on holiday in April for three weeks. My old friend from Nottingham is going to join is for the middle week and I am now planning our trip in a spreadsheet.

There is a very good eating out website which covers the whole of South Africa and I am planning our meals for the duration. There are fantastic restaurants out there where you can eat for between 80.00 and 150.00 a head, plus wines which run from 40.00 to 250.00 a bottle depending on what and where you buy. Oh, and if this seems expensive to you, I have two comments to make. The first is the amounts are in Rands which are around 10.80 to the pound! The second is, these are the top class restaurants. You can actually eat and drink for much less. Say a two course meal for two with a bottle of wine for not much over £10.00.

These are expensive holidays, £2,000 just for the flight, car hire and holiday flat, then there is the petrol, eating, drinking and presents. So it pleases me that I have managed to let my house out to a friend from New Zealand for the whole three weeks and he has offered me twice as much as I wanted! If he reads this and knocks me down, I will accept. He will read this and he won’t knock me down! He is generous to a fault. 😉

A Duiker (24 inch long, fully grown deer) – Photo by Andrew Taylor

Anyway I will arrange lunch at a couple of vineyards for the friend who is joining us, and we will go to George for a couple of nights. The first of those days wull be spent in Knysna which is beautiful and I want to show him the duikers (fully grown small deer only 24 inches long) in the Duiker reserve the other side of the bay.

And the second day we’ll go to the Ostrich town of Oudtshoorn where he can see people riding ostriches.

Very heterosexual cheetahs– Photo by Andrew Taylor

And there is an animal farm where he can stroke the cheetahs. There are notices that say “Don’t make any sudden movements and don’t touch the cheetahs around their anal zone!” The mind boggles!

Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn

Then in the afternoon before returning to George we will visit the world famous Cango Caves.

But the rest of the time we will be between Stellenbosch, which when children we used to call it Smellie, although the Afrikaans locals call it Stellie, and Cape Town where we will go up the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and walk around the famous Victoria and Alfred Docks.

I will be taking the camera and will probably take well over 1,500 photographs – maybe as many as 100 plus each day. But when we get back I will work hard at reducing them to around fifty or a hundred. Alas I will probably bore you silly with tales of derring do. No! I will not touch the cheetahs where I shouldn’t!


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2012 Olympics

Can we hold them in London? The short answer is No!

There are some, in fact quite a few, who want us to hold them and then there are most of the pensioners in London who have been “council” taxed up to the eyeballs and just cannot afford the extra £200 that Ken wants them to pay towards the games.

But it is not a question of Ken’s wishes, or even the peoples wishes. If we hold the games, there are certain events that will be forbidden by law to be held in these islands.

As someone, quite rightly, wrote in the Letters page of the Daily Telegraph recently;

“Under the 1997 Firearms Act, the women’s 25m pistol, the men’s 25m rapid-fire pistol and the men’s 50m pistol competitions are all currently illegal on British soil.

Womans 25 metre Pistol event

So unless there is a new act of parliament allowing these events to take place, it will be illegal to hold them here.

I am sure Tony Blair’s government will fudge it but the interesting thing will be, “What will the Conservatives do” in the unlikely event that they will be in power in 2012?

Since Tony Blair promised to get rid of all guns in Britain, the few sportsmen who lost their guns have made no difference to the number. The beginning of an article Killings Rise As three Million Illegal Guns Flood Britain which was written by Jon Ungoed-Thomas reads:

UP TO 3m illegal guns are in circulation in Britain, leading to a rise in drive-by shootings and gangland-style executions, new figures have revealed.

Police are concerned that the amnesty after the massacre of schoolchildren in Dunblane in 1996, which led to 200,000 weapons being handed in, has failed to dent the underworld’s supply of pistols and revolvers. Criminals have maintained a steady flow of smuggled guns from eastern Europe, exhibition weapons reactivated in illegal “factories” run by underworld dealers, and guns stolen from private collections.

The estimate that 3m guns are illegally held in the UK – made by researchers collecting evidence for a parliamentary inquiry into the gun trade – is far higher than previously thought. The vast stockpiles of weapons have fuelled the recent spate of shootings in cities including London, Birmingham and Manchester, where a 17-year-old was killed last week.

The full article may be read from here.

It will be interesting to see what unfolds here. My guess is that they will probably ignore the law and tell the police to do nothing, I doubt whether they will debate in Parliament so they can add a section allowing the present firearms act to be amended so that “olympic” standard events may be held in this country.

Anyway, time will tell.

One law for the rich (or in this case, the powerful politicians) and one law for the poor.


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Watches and shops (2)

I ordered the watch from that shop in Wales yesterday, around lunchtime, and it arrived this morning at ten to eight this morning!

Casio watches have certainly improved since the last time I looked at them. The stainless steel strap was excellent and of a far better quality than I expected.

The manual model number for the Watch is 2870. This means if you log on to their “download Manuals” site at And enter 2870 in the box for “Model No:” and click on search, you will see the PDF manual displayed in your browser.

The watch is pretty large and the strap! The strap! I could almost wear it around my bloody thies. But then all watches with metal straps make them far too large so as to avoid people asking for larger ones. This afternoon I will take it to a jewellers and have a few links removed.

All in all, I am very pleased with my purchase and can recommend Time Zone ( the shop in Wales).


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Exhibition Marketing

I attended the International Direct Marketing Fair this morning and was amazed at how little people involved with marketing knew the correct way to market a stand at an exhibition.

First of all, how not to do it. And to be fair to this company, I only used them as an example because their stand lent itself to a good photograph!

Wegener DM’s stand – Photo by Andrew Taylor

Can anyone spot what is wrong with it? Not obvious at first. But imagine you are walking down the aisles. Unless you are already a client and wanted to talk to them, what is there to encourage you to step onto the stand? Now look at the following stand…

Apteco’s stand – Photo by Andrew Taylor

What do these people do? It’s glaringly obvious. They write software to help a business analyse their marketing operation. So someone who has never heard of the company will step on the stand if they feel the services offered could be of interest.

I saw some really awful stands at the exhibition and very very few great ones. Something I though was unbelievable in a large group of companies selling marketing services of some sort or the other.

But there was one stand where I dallied and, quite frankly, I unhesitantly gave it full marks…

Andrew’s last stand – Photo by Andrew Taylor

Alas they didn’t have a glass large enough!


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