Saturday, 31 January 2009

Bretton Woods Two, Anyone?

Merkel's trying to push through the idea of an Economic Forum structurally based upon the UN Security Council:

What's the likelihood that Gordon Brown will sign us up for this partisan protectionist-like moment by saying that it's the 'right' thing to do and that he has 'faith' in the 'British' people?

Friday, 30 January 2009

Blair 'Troubled' by Iraq Death Toll

... And so he should be; he was instrumental in causing the chaos and destruction by lying, lying, lying and coercing parliament; lying to the public; lying to the press. Cold comfort for the families of over a million Iraqis who lie dead beneath the rubble of Blair's ideological revolution and for the families of our lads who have had to see their beloved sons sent home in a box. Cold comfort for those of us who were duped, who were ignored when we protested against the war, whose money has gone to pay for these atrocities, whose freedoms have been rendered worthless in the fight against the 'War on Terror.'
Oh well: at least Blair gets a headline out of it.

Delusional Government

Delusion: a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self which is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary.

I saw a rather lurid made-for-television drama the other day about Munchausen Syndrome by proxy - a condition in which injuries are inflicted on another, gradually worsening in severity, to gain attention and/or sympathy. In the film, a mother was making her child ill in order for everyone to see what a good mother she was. Whilst you're untangling that logical progression, I'd like to go one further and compare Munchausen's Syndrome by proxy to the mindset of the government.
It tells you that things like CCTV on every corner, being arrested without charge and having your emails and phone calls snooped on is for your own good because it will make a 'better' kind of society. It tells you that your information should be accessible to one and all without your consent to make your life easier. It tells you that if you're an Oxbridge graduate you're screwed because it's pursuing a policy of 'positive discrimination' against those who are intelligent and well-educated. It tells you that it's going to take all your money to shore up an economy it destroyed and it's sure you won't mind because, after all, you're 'British' and the 'British' are used to being 'resilient'.  (Don't worry that there's no such social definition as 'British' any longer, especially since Brown banished Britannia from our currency.) It makes it quite clear that it's useless for you to protest; and then, when a few things are working well, it tears them apart so that it can be seen to be 'doing' something.

Such delusional behaviour was exhibited, yet again, by Jacqui Smith, who's still trying to flog the idea that people want to be fingerprinted and charged a ton so they can be stopped every five seconds by power-crazed bureaucrats who have the 'right' to make them prove that they are who they say they are... uck. Smith's trying to make out that various cities are really keen to get on board: Manchester's a 'strong contender', apparently. Lucky Manchester. Forget the fact that the public doesn't want them, they're far too expensive, and they won't stop terrorism any more than a passport would. 'I certainly think Manchester will be in the running,' said she. What an honour.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

And the Award for the Straightest Face goes to...

'Olidays Wiv Taste

A holiday firm's been chided for promoting chav-free holidays. Apparently, this is a 'class' issue and 'inappropriate'. How is it inappropriate? Why on earth would one want to defend the feelings of a group which really doesn't give a damn about yours? As they cavort around town centres everywhere, pissed, cross-eyed, feral and obnoxious, their entire vocabulary consisting of glottal stops and 'know what I mean?', puking, reeking, offensive and mannerless, they drive others away from them in droves. 
Too damn' right that this is a class issue. A 'chav' in the context of a social definition shouldn't exist in the first place. This is where justified elitism comes into play. Would you rather aspire to being like Princess Di or Chantelle? To a sink estate or South Ken? A comprehensive or Eton? Similarly, would you want to travel abroad in the company of strident oiks who cover the streets in sick, have stand-up fights and block the traffic, clog the lavatories because they're shagging some random bloke they met earlier, bust your bleeding eardrums by screaming at a 100 decibel pitch and make offensive (and ungrammatical) personal comments about you or enjoy your holiday? This bloody country has become a nightmare of political correctness and utilitarianism: you can't say anything against those who whole-heartedly and often deliberately attempt to disgust you, and there are more of them so their happiness is of greater importance. So, basically, if you've gone to private school you can go shaft yourself; if you've married a footballer and are dripping in Burberry, Well Done You. If there have to be chavs, please let me know where they are so I can avoid them. I have feelings too. 

More on the House of Lords cash scandal today: everyone's 'appalled', apparently, and the question is now being asked: 'can the Lords be left to its own devices?' Of course it can; just boot out Tony's Cronies. No-one's yet made the point (in the mainstream media, that is) that all those accused were bunged into the Lords to ensure the Labour vote got passed through, no matter what. Bring back hereditary peers who at least have a sense of duty and honour, say I; fire Mandelson. Simple.

Heartening news today: the Coroner and Justice Bill is not faring at all well in the Commons. Dominic Grieve's reported response to it is, however, lamentably weak, and seems not to disagree with the idea of extended 'data sharing' (yes, let's all use statisticians' language about our private affairs so that it is disassociated from humanity and, therefore, diminishes in importance) in principle. But then, the Tories do seem to be obsessed with money at the cost (excuse the pun) of everything else, including freedom. Bugger that. David Howarth was much more powerful; seems committed to the fight for civil liberties. The Weakest Speaker award goes to Jack Straw: to paraphrase, 'well, Part 8 will be good because, er, we can help identify deceased people and tell their relatives if we can share data more freely.' Please.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Who Fares Well from Welfare?

....Gordon Brown's hackneyed bleat that the British economy is 'well-placed' to withstand the financial storms has been met with incredulity, gales of laughter and extreme anger; after all, you only have to look at the disparity between the guff he was spouting 3 years ago (we need more risk and less regulation) and today (it's all the fault of those unregulated bankers, the bastards). Labour's ship is sinking - some could call it true Brownian motion. And the proof (should we need any more) lies in the fact that the JSA/IB's being increased by £30 in six months time. There are going to be a lot of hungry mouths out there.

The increase certainly isn't being made out of the good of the Government's - if it can be said to possess one - heart, that's for certain. Kicking the unemployed in the unmentionables has, after all, been one of Labour's key policies since the Cheshire Cat came to power in 1997. Since then, although the Welfare State has seemed to expand exponentially, giving rise to 'kill the undeserving scum and don't spend my money on them' from Joe Averages up and down the country, actual welfare hasn't expanded: not a jot, not a smidgen. What has grown up mushroom-like is the number of jobs and petty bureaucracies behind it. The culture of entitlement extends only to the drones who believe that they should be paid way above industry average salaries with a nice fat pension at the end of their tenure to 'implement government strategies'.

I can't remember where I read that some government office created a whole new project management position to work out the logistics of replacing a printer cartridge rather than nipping out to Staples. For this piece of absolutely eye-crossing insanity, the taxpayer paid: paid through the nose, because a 'Project Manager' draws a bigger salary. Now, extend the same stupidity to the working tax credit system and - bingo! Rather than simply saying 'okay, you earn this much and it's rather pricey for you to live comfortably: why don't we up the personal allowance for people in your position?' Labour introduced around sixteen (correct me if I'm wrong) different tax rebate systems, with their accompanying directors, managers, head office, local branches, admin, customer service etcetera. Which means a lot of jobs to do bugger all.

People on the dole get absolute beans to 'live' on; this country is the meanest financially when it comes to welfare. There hasn't been a significant increase in the weekly allowance (around £60) since Labour came to power eleven years ago, but there has been a significant increase in the cost of living. Out of the £60 you've also got to pay 20% of your rent. And food and clothes etc. Yet the myth is perpetuated that living on the dole is luxurious. That you get 'paid' for being bone idle. I think that it's one of the most harmful systems that exists: soul destroying, and deeply depressing, the unemployed see at every turn just how important they are to the powers-that-be by being told that the equivalent of a £16 year old's monthly pocket money is what the 'government says you need to live on.' Now that the more affluent are being given the boot, Labour's bunging up the weekly allowance. How they must be rubbing their hands with glee: what better than to employ thousands of new staff members to deal with the unemployed?

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Brits Don't Belong

The New Economic Foundation has discovered Britons are the most alienated from their society and their country. The government's not worried, though: they've come out with their usual psychobabblic crap in a statement that says nothing over 3 lines:
"We recognise that young people are a key part of society and play a crucial part in in addressing issues following their communities. That is why the government is working hard to give younger people greater influence over the local decisions that affect them and more opportunities to get involved in their communities."
Greater influence? Opportunities? Tripe!
1) RIPA (
2) Citizen Information Project (
3) Transformational Government (
4) ID Cards (
5) The Service Transformation Agreement (
And so on, and so on. How the dickens are you supposed to empower yourself when you're not given the space or privacy in which to think and your government distrusts you to the extent that it regards each and every one of you as a potential 'national security' risk and, on this basis, pries into every aspect of your existence?
The only opportunities young people have to influence current events under this government is by calling a premium rate number and voting for some drone to win Big Brother.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Measures of Destruction

The middle classes have been attacked by Labour - again. (Gasp.) This time, it's not because they've got nice windows and don't live in the middle of a sink estate. It's because (shock horror) they might have a large glass or two of wine when they get home from work. (Cue outrage!) Of course, this can't be allowed to happen. Being middle class is absolutely indefensible by socialist standards and actually enjoying it is a shootin' offence; having enough cash after tax to squander on a nice bottle of Chateauneuf after a long day engaged in designing a new hospital or representing a human rights case or asking 200 people to say 'aah' is, well, criminal. There's no other word for it. Otherwise how could the cartoonish Dawn Primarolo come up with such guff as 'initial tracking from our Units campaign, launched in May last year, shows more people know how much is safe to drink and know how many units are in their drinks.' Reading this, I have the sneaking suspicion that she's got her press release mixed up with that of Weightwatchers. The bottom line is that the so-called 'recommended' amount's a load of old tosh - it's evident that 50-60 units a week will start to curl your liver, but 22 for a woman? come on. This is just another example of the Nanny State butting in; and it certainly makes me want to head down to the off-licence and buy my weight in Petit Chablis. Hopefully others will be popping corks all over Middle England tonight and toasting the un-Gay Gordon's downfall.

Free Speech? Not Bloody Likely

I've written elsewhere about the need to teach children how to reason from cause to effect rather than applying the pseudo-scientific 'let's start at Page 259' mimetic approach to learning: it's like coming in on the punch-line of a joke. Now, though I'm a fan of Conservative Home and the 'better' kind of Conservative values - privacy, small state and proper competition within a free market (rather than corporation-dominated laissez faire) - certain things have shown up recently which I find extremely worrying because they're so lacking in basic logic that they'd make the average child ashamed to be associated with its elders. So lacking that they've made me change my (already trembling) political allegiance altogether; as of this afternoon, I am a proud member of the Libertarian party.

The first of these is Cameron's meeting with DEMOS. Cameron's now talking about 'progressive Conservativism' to a group of Liberal/Leftwingers. 'Progressive' and 'conservative' are antonyms. Contracting them effectively removes the possibility of any meaningful dialogue whatsoever. You either support personal freedom or state interference: there is no middle ground. You might as well abolish politics altogether. Of course, this was noted back in the US in the 1970s when the prospective Communist Party candidates gave up because all their socialist ideas had already been seamlessly worked into the Republican and Democrat party lines.

'Red Toryism' is the second: a bizarre contradictory conglomeration of principles including a challenge to 'centralisation, monopolisation and speculation' which might alienate some Thatcherites (how? How could this possibly be?); an assertion that the Left stands for atheism, statism and individualism (there are plenty of c(C)onservative atheists; allow each to their own, as long as they have learnt about thoroughly that against which they are fighting), three things that ought to be examined separately; a break from neo-Thatcherist economic policies (without which we would not have had the years of relative financial comfort after the previous disastrous Labour government) and then, defying all logic, a promise to create a living wage rather than a minimum one! Minimum wages are exceptionally bad for the economy because they prevent the creation of jobs; what on earth will a living wage (and who is to determine what comprises it) do? 

All these projects seem designed to do are to confuse one part of the electorate and cosy up to the other. Conservatism and Liberalism don't go together - if they do, then neither are holding to their original political positions and are, instead, toeing a Third Way. The Third Way, if you recall, was popularised by Blair. It has created the kind of creeping strangulation of civil liberties and privacy against which so many angry Britons are justifiably militating against. Clause 152 of Part 8 of the Coroners and Justice Bill seeks to make data-sharing 'easier' - as if RIPA didn't enable diverse government bodies to snoop at will - and to allow private as well as public bodies to access the most personal information about us. This must not be allowed to happen under any circumstances. If you value your liberty, write to your MP today and demand that the Bill be scrutinised. And keep a close eye on the Conservatives; they could represent a greater nightmare than that which we face already.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

The Insanity Continues

Even watching football is a criminal activity, it seems:

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Visual Metaphors for a Speechless Nation

So many satirists, political commentators and Joe Publics compare Gordon Brown to Hitler, Stalin et al, so I'm not going to bother going down that road; this image from the 1930s speaks for itself. It is a perfect visual metaphor for the appalling abuse being perpetrated by the State against the people: the population of the UK handing over their money without any end in sight. Excepting, of course, the fact that this money is being handed over willingly, a nice little 'backhander' to grease the wheels of government, whereas the UK has no choice about handing over its money, be it in the form of taxes or bank bailouts. 
The irony of our current situation seems to have escaped the majority thus far. In simple terms, imagine you lent someone a quid. They gave this money to someone else who really needed you to help them out (so, in effect, the bloke who borrowed the quid's acting as an intermediary), who then gave bits of your quid to all his mates and told you to bugger off. No-one paid you back; far from being grateful, they charged you interest on the quid that you'd lent them. An incredible scenario. Now compound it: you didn't lend them the quid, they took it. They told you that it was for your own good. And, having taken it without your consent ('stealing'), they then told you that you would not only have to pay the aforementioned interest on it, you'd have to keep paying. And keep paying, and keep paying, and keep paying, as long as 'they' said so. For at least the span of your lifetime. Your children would be required to pick up the shortfall.
If you consider that the majority of taxes go, not as is commonly (and naively) assumed into the public coffers to do Good Works such as maintaining hospitals, roads, the police and armed forces, but to paying the interest on loans to our government, which in turn then borrows more money (usually from next year's Budget allocation) you can see what kind of a pickle we're in. There's nothing left. Kaput. Nada. Zero. Brown's blank cheque is not the 'right thing to do', as he parrots, over and over again. Let me repeat: there's nothing left. And the mountain of personal debt under which the population is buried is only going to increase exponentially as the public debt mounts.
There aren't many ways around the current situation, apart from creating jobs through massive building schemes or declaring another war, thus creating jobs in munitions factories and the armed forces. And, excepting perhaps the owners of Raytheon, it's pretty unlikely that the people want another lengthy war. What we need is urgent action now. Systematic plans to regenerate industries at home. Making British manufacturing happen on British soil. Removing, with a single slash of a pen, all those non-jobs for amateur civil servants to snoop into the private lives of citizens and using the freed up capital to create jobs that actually have a purpose. Lowering taxes for low income jobs to unexceptionable, if not non-existent levels. Paying the best educated BEd/PGCE graduates the best salaries for going into the worst schools and employing their own methods to transform mini-Borstals into grammar school equivalents. Ceasing the attempt to bully the people into to buying, buying, buying to 'get the economy moving again' but rather to encourage them to save for a rainy day; to attribute value to money, dignity to home ownership, temperance and fortitude. Demand our politicians be accountable. They owe us not only their positions but their entire futures; they are there by virtue of our grace and goodwill and, should they err, must be removed from office. In the coming days and weeks, the country will want to turn to the polls: Labour's days of stonewalling are over. And let their successors inspire our nation to restore pride and to face the coming days with resolution and courage and, above all, unity.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Leave Them Kids Alone

The Government is saying that home-schooled children are at greater risk of abuse or neglect than state-educated children because they can't keep an eye on them. The Times, today, reports that "the review follows mounting concern from local authorities that their overarching duty to promote or protect child welfare is undermined by the present rules, under which responsibility for a child's education rests squarely with the parents." 
Plato's Republic imagines a group of ideal rulers, the Philosopher Kings. These exalted beings, possessing unimpeachable morals and complete control over the citizens, take a child at birth and decide whether it has a gold, a silver or bronze soul, the metals being equivalent to rank: gold is the highest, bronze the lowest. From that point on, the citizen's place is absolutely fixed in society: the Philosopher Kings' word is final. The parents' wishes or desires for their children are unquestioned, irrelevant; once the child has produced, they have fulfilled their purpose. They have created another citizen of the state.
The scheme being contemplated by the Government is a gross abuse of parenthood itself. Not content with infantalising the adult population, it is attempting to take control of the child in every conceivable way from the moment of its birth to that of its death. In this scenario, the power of local authorities would be greatly extended to create a database of those children being home-schooled and '... to take appropriate action if a child is not getting a "suitable" education"', including being able to enter the home in order to ensure that the parents are sticking to governmental criteria. But what does the government deem to be suitable, quite aside from all the human rights and privacy issues? Surely the reason that children are home-schooled is not to force them into arranged marriages, as the Children's Minister is suggesting, but because the parents despise the state of the educational system?
School standards have been slipping since the 1950s - on average, an 11-year-old child then could competently polish off today's 15-year-olds' mathematics homework - and have declined to such an alarming extent during this government's tenure that children are wearing stab-proof vests to school in case of an incident. Children are being taught according to 'themes', coached for exams rather than being taught to reason from cause to effect, and are subject to minimal discipline. Entire swathes of history have been discarded; a child does not even need to know how to read a score to pass GCSE music these days, and some examiners have even passed candidates who have written their English papers in 'txt spk'. Given this truly appalling state of affairs,  is it surprising that intelligent, socially-aware, intuitive parents would rather teach their children according to good, old-fashioned methods rather than send them through a metal detector each morning?
In creating an aura of uneasy suspicion and fear around the 'dubious' methods used by parents who at present are not answerable to local authorities, Baroness Morgan will undoubtedly receive an all-too enthusiastic response to her request for yet more intolerable meddling into our personal affairs. She will not consider, for example, that those who have chosen to home-school their child will have carefully assessed the tremendous responsibility and drain on time, energy and resources that invariably result; rather, her 'suggestions' that 'in some extreme cases home education could be used as a cover for abuse' or that 'some parents were suspected of pulling their children out of school to make them look after young siblings' are nothing more than insinuations, and nasty ones at that. The problem is that in order to refute such rumours, people will be forced to open their doors to a Government that lives up too well the the adage of 'a fearful master and a dangerous servant'; it fundamentally distrusts the idea that any child could be taught to think beyond the reaches of the state in case it might disagree with or challenge its authority. It is prepared to pass draconian legislation in order to impose control over this rebellious segment of the population. 
Washington goes on to say: 'government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is force.' But force may only be used meaningfully against those prepared to accept it. Rather than fearing those who distrust government, distrust a government that would instill fear through force. Actively respect the individuals who fear it, and join them in challenging it. 'Fear of the state is in no sense coercive,' writes historian Jeff Cooper. 'It is, to the contrary, the healthiest political philosophy for a free people.'

Monday, 19 January 2009

Beastly and the Beast

So, Hamas has said that it's going to re-arm, ceasefire or no. Palestinians returning to their flattened houses in the Gaza Strip will be really gratified to know that the homicidal monsters in their midst who like to mix their fighters in with school-children so they have more martyrs to show the cameras are trying to provoke Israel again. Hamas just loves to engage in combat with a nation which they have described in their Covenant and on the media as one which they're trying to wipe out entirely, no matter what the cost to others. After all, they don't see bringing up children to believe intifada is best, that women are mere baby-incubators, and that there's no individual, only the Palestinian 'organism' (I doubt Fatah supporters and ordinary Palestinian men, women and children who are trying to get on with the often tricky business of day-to-day living would see it that way) as child abuse. I do: being brought up to hate defies logic, and I'm all for teaching children cause to effect and vice versa as soon as they're able to speak; Platonic dialogues, Aristotelian metaphysics and Arabic philosophy (from Kindi-Suhrawardi) by the time they start school. There's no excuse for leaving children dumb and ineffective against the ideologies of powers that be, whether they're good or bad. We quote Voltaire ad nauseam (I disagree with everything you say... etc) without really considering the meaning of that phrase. Why would one wish to defend anyone whose opinion is predicated solely upon the emotional ideologies that have been embedded into their subconscious? I'd borrow the end of Tom Stoppard's response to Voltaire: 'I'd attack to the death your right to say it' - whether you are correct or not. Learn first, ponder greatly, reason wisely - and then speak your piece.

Kenneth Clarke's back on the Bench - huzzah, say I: it's about time that we had a flamboyant, outspoken Labour-hater in the limelight. I hope that he does a Humpty Dumpty on Mandelson and Brown: their bloated, smug, posturing self-righteousness needs to be smashed irreparably. It seems also that he's agreed to toe the Party line on Europe; hope that he'll keep to his promise. If only Redwood had been brought in and David Davis - one of the few men in the country who will act on principle, rather than popularity - returned as Home Secretary. We're in for interesting times; something to alleviate the encroaching tides of penury on long, Arctic evenings.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

The Headlines You Wouldn't Normally Read

There are 3 days to go until President-Elect Obama's inaugurated. Hopefully addressing the following will be at the top of his agenda:

Still think you're supporting the right side, Annie Lennox?

Stock up on tins, buy a baseball bat and bury your gold under the floorboards.

Why not just hire mercenaries instead of recruiting soldiers? After all, everything else is contracted out:

We complain about the presexualisation of our children. What about grooming infants for armed combat?

This Week's Sewer Awards

1) David Miliband. According to his Wikipedia entry, 'whilst Environmental Secretary, [he] called for all 27 nations of the European Union to unify in backing proposals to cut harmful emissions by 30% by 2020.' What about harmful emissions from his own mouth? The Oxford/MIT-educated MP for South Shields declared this week that the 'war on terror' launched by Bush et al is pointless. Well, no-one's going to disagree with that: a war on 'terror' by definition will last forever because there'll always be someone militating violently against the status quo somewhere - good news for arms manufacturers. However, Miliband wins the sewer award because of his shameless attempts to pass the buck: he could hardly condemn the invasion of Gaza to weed out Hamas on the one hand whilst supporting the invasion of Afghanistan to weed out al-Qaeda on the other.

2) Harriet Harman. Shame On You. Content to sacrifice everyone else's rights as long as her own are protected - remember how she took MI5 to court for spying on her when she was on the NCCL? - born to a non-conformist family which includes the luminary Lord Longford, she's now attempting to force prospective employers to discriminate against the well-educated and articulate. Rather smacks of Sudan, to my mind, where the only qualification you need to fly a plane is a primary school certificate. How exactly Ms Harman is going to achieve her goal of dragging the entire nation down to the gutter is unclear, as it's unlikely that any employer in his right mind is going to hire a surly oik to liaise with a sophisticated international client base. Of course, it would be asinine to suggest that early state schooling could play a more integral part in ensuring a child meets its potential (if it has any, that is), such as resuscitating the 3Rs, strict discipline - rather than 'respecting' the little dears' feelings - and even nationwide elocution lessons so that everyone speaks the Queen's English in a business context and their own dialect at home. Harman is unable to stop herself meddling, though, and thinking she knows what's best for everyone, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. 'They want to work', she stated coldly, slashing a red pen through Lone Parents' allowances.

3) Conservatives who claim that we live in a 'democracy'. What, have you skipped over to Left-of-Centre? Are you to allow the arch-Nemesis Blair to win? The kind of 'democracy' trotted out at every turn is social democracy, a Continental pro-Marxist attempt to harmonise socialism and capitalism, more commonly known as the 'Third Way'. One of its fundamental tenets is to uphold the integrity of the Welfare State. We've seen just how much this government upholds the integrity of the Welfare State - by expanding it so monstrously, and by devaluing good competition in terms of justified elitism (little things like aspiring to a decent education rather than the local comprehensive, eating with one's mouth shut rather than emulating a cow/Jade Goody. That sort of thing) that it's often easier to stay on the dole than to attempt to find a job. Indeed, working part-time can often net you less ready cash than JSA/Housing Benefit, with the added benefit that you don't have to get up in the mornings to do a job which is so mind-numbingly tedious that you want to perform surgery on yourself for some light relaxation. Anyway. We don't live in a democracy - we have a Royal Family. We don't live in a democracy - our government's forced us into a Marxist nightmare and would love to erase the Royals to complete their vision of Utopia. When it comes to the next election I want to vote for a party with libertarian leanings, not for more of same. There's no such thing as 'socialism with a human face', chaps.

4) Whichever fool it was at DWP or DEFRA or whichever acronym's in favour this week who thinks it's a good idea to put calorie counts on menus. Sewers! Not only does it standardise food to a revolting degree - can you imagine the Roux brothers painstakingly measuring out their oils, herbs, butter and spices out into tiny cups so that every portion is exactly the same? - but it'll put people off eating out altogether. Yet another example of the government doing our thinking for us. Common sense *should* dictate that if it's got cream in it, you're going to pork up, unless you suffer from hyperthyroidism. D'oh.

5) The pro-'democracy' (did I mention that I hate that word) crew who are rubbing their hands in glee since it's been revealed that  Prince Charles calls a friend 'Sooty' and Prince Harry made *that* comment about a fellow soldier. Despite the fact that Ahmed Raza Khan said Prince Harry's not racist, the anti-elite mob are still baying for blood; what better opportunity could there be, save for images of Ma'am beating the corgis, to get rid of privilege in the shape of the HofL? One wonders how many more examples of 'anti-democratic' behaviour will be coming out of the Palace/Sandringham etc in the coming weeks. One more step towards removing the last piece of valuable heritage that we have left in Britland: the Royal Family.

6) Jacqui Smith (previous holder of my No.1 Sewer Spot for the past 52 weeks). She won't let MPs publish their expenditures. Why not give them a flat allowance and let them do what they like with it within reason - no hookers/cocaine on the taxpayers' money, please - and be done with it? I haven't really got anything against MPs not disclosing their till receipts - if they're not fiddling the expenses, why should we know about it? - but what does irk me is that, once again, this monster in polyester suiting has gone against Parliamentary procedure. Shame the CID doesn't march in and drag her off for crimes against humanity - us.

Any more nominations for Sewer of the Week would be gladly received.
Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat -Ralph Ellison