Good idea, but, more thought needed.

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The government plans to arrange school Olympics to reintroduce competitiveness into our schools. Can't say I blame them, though I do wonder why it is that politicians have to meddle so much with education, I suspect it's because it's all they have left to meddle with, the EU pretty much runs everything else.

As the fall-out from England’s World Cup defeat continues, the Government insisted the reintroduction of highly-competitive sports days and inter-school tournaments would help push children “to be the best” when they grew up.
Under new plans, schools will be expected to compete against each other in an Olympics-style event, covering sports such as football, athletics, rugby, swimming, tennis and cycling. 
Some £10m will be spent creating a local league structure for primary and secondary schools. Winning teams will compete in 60 county finals before going on to a national final.
Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, insisted the move would “get rid of this myth that competitive sport is bad for children”.
“We have to realise that sport is a good thing,” he said. “It does not damage your self-esteem, it helps to strengthen your self-esteem because sport is often about picking yourself up, which is what I guess we are doing today [after England's World Cup exit].”
He added: "Sport - whether you win or lose - teaches young people great lessons for life. It encourages teamwork, dedication and striving to be the best that you can be."
But the move has been criticised by head teachers who said it risked being derailed because of a lack of money and the amount of time spent preparing for exams.
First off, something has to give in the education "industry" the Labour obsession with exams and weird citizen/sexual/environmental education policies has to go. They were never necessary and took up time that could have been spent actually teaching kids something useful (No, learning about global warming climate change and carbon isn't, nor is exploring "alternative" lifestyles) these were something that only a left winger could come up with and were viewed as cultural imbecility by most normal people, but as schools and the ministry of education were mostly filled with left wing doctrinaires in key positions, there you go.
Also needing to go would be SAT's, they aren't necessary and take too much time, let teachers teach, not prepare kids for exams, at least not until they actually need them.
Better yet, get the state out of education, simply have business and industry leaders tell school exam boards what they are looking for and have the exams when they leave set up accordingly. Hint literacy and numeracy good, citizenship useless. The Swedes showed us the way to go on this, it works well, so lets copy it.
Yes competitiveness is a good thing for kids to learn, that there are winners and losers and how to cope with victory and defeat, it teaches you about life. That was wrecked by socialist education theories where there were no winners or losers and left kids very unprepared for real life once they got out into the world.
Get rid of all the political rubbish, get rid of the idiot exam culture and get back to simply filling kids heads with knowledge, the system will sort itself out quite quickly.

Then and only then, will teachers have the time to do other stuff like school Olympics
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Well played Germany

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Well it's all over for another 2 years at least assuming we qualify for the European Championship and with this squad not even that's guaranteed, certainly not if they play like they played in this world cup, I hardly think the mighty Wales are quivering in their boots at that performance.
No doubt there will be massive inquests and a lot of shouting over what went wrong, but it can be summed up fairly easily, We Weren't Good Enough! Not by a long way and not even enough to go down fighting. Oh sure some could point out the disallowed goal might have changed the nature of the game, it might have, but that wouldn't have improved our dreadfully playing squad for the next round. These players do well in the premiership, however they are surrounded (and I suspect carried) by talented foreigners too. Rooney might just as well not have turned up and don't get me started on Heskey!
It seems once again that only the England fans have the passion and belief in our country, certainly our squad doesn't seem too. The flags will be packed away and people will feel robbed, not by Germany, but by the England squad. Germany showed us how it can be done, will we learn? I suspect not, we never do.
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An English science triumph

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Kew gardens, doesn't exactly trip to the tongue as a forefront of science really, yet they lead the way in discovering new species of plant life and more importantly re-discovering thought to be lost species, preserving them and nurturing them back to merely rare.

The Parsley Fern, which is only known to grow on Ascension Island, was declared extinct in 2003 after not being seen since 1958.
But scientists leapt into action after four of the plants were found halfway down a ridge of a mountain on the volcanic British overseas territory. 
They used ropes to get to the ferns twice a week so they could water and weed them until they spored.
The spores, which have only a 24 hour lifespan, were then packed in a sterile container and flown four thousand miles to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire before being transferred to Kew Gardens.
The spores survived and are currently growing in Petri dishes at the centre.
The plant has delicate, yellow-green leaves, which give it its name as they resemble miniature sprigs of parsley.
Dr Phil Lambdon, botanist with the UK Overseas Territories Programme at Kew, and local conservation officer Stedson Stroud were routinely looking to rescue plants as part of the UN's International Year of Biodiversity when they made the discovery.
They found the fern, Anogramma ascensionis, as they surveyed the knife edge ridge of a mountainside in the volcanic landscape in the South Atlantic.
Colin Clubbe, leader of the UK Overseas Territories Programme at Kew, said: "It is very unusual to see an 'extinct' plant come back to life, as it were, and is cause for great celebration.
No doubt some will see this as a waste of time and money, yet I have to admire all they went too to preserve a long thought lost species. Hopefully they'll be able to find some places to replace it from their labs and it will make a come back on Ascension Island and perhaps elsewhere. Some discoveries are worth the money, even if all they do is make us feel good about ourselves and our world unlike global warming climate change.
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Right, we've reclaimed the flag, now lets go for the anthem.

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One of the more pleasant aspects of "world cup fever" has been the almost total resurgence in the use of the Cross of St George to support the England team, even if a lot of them look a bit odd with "England" printed across them. Still in one sense that's what football fans do, you see it on the banners at the matches with various home towns or teams written on them. Still looks a bit odd and makes me wonder just how intellectually challenged some fans are though. It's also good that the flag itself despite attempts by various left wing groups and the odd newspaper to associate it with what they term the "far right" and anyone with any sense terms the racist left (check the BNP manifesto, it reads like old Labour) The clue is in the name British National Party, so guess which flag they use? Although the party itself is predominantly English, it is a unionist party and most football fans wont have much if anything to do with them, they just want to support their team and despite the attempts by the MSM tabloids, most English don't hate foreigners although at times the choice of songs they sing can be either amusing or embarrassing, still mocking the opposition is something all fans do.
So, now we have our flag, how about an anthem, recently the Commonwealth Games Council for England conducted a poll of members of the public which decided the anthem for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The three options were "God Save The Queen", "Jerusalem" and "Land of Hope and Glory". Jerusalem was the clear winner with 52% of the vote. Seems like a good choice though trying to get England football fans to sing it might be more tricky, rugby and cricket fans perhaps not so. Still I'm sure it can be done if the will is there and I believe it is fast approaching, it's even getting a mention in the UK Parliament.

Parliament should debate the case for an "English national anthem" that fans can sing at sporting events like the World Cup, a Lib Dem MP has said.
Greg Mulholland said it was "frustrating" to hear fans sing God Save The Queen in South Africa as it was the anthem for the United Kingdom.
He told MPs there should be a "properly established" anthem for English teams.
For the first time, Jerusalem will be played to celebrate English winners at this year's Commonwealth Games.
The anthem was chosen for medal ceremonies at the event in Delhi - ahead of the God Save The Queen and Land of Hope and Glory - after a public vote backed by Commonwealth Games England.
Historic decision
Mr Mulholland raised the issue during Business Questions in Parliament, where the government sets out future business for the weeks ahead and MPs can call for debates on chosen subjects.
He has raised the issue before, claiming that English fans are at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts in Wales and Scotland.
While Wales has its own national anthem, Scottish football and rugby fans have sung the unofficial Flower of Scotland since the 1990s and this was chosen for the Scottish team at the Commonwealth Games following a similar public vote.
Mr Mulholland told MPs "it was wonderful to see the Cross of St George flying" after England's victory over Slovenia, which booked the team's place in the last 16 of the competition.
But he added: "However, it is still frustrating to see England singing the wrong anthem, the anthem of the United Kingdom.
"Following the historic decision to use Jerusalem at the Commonwealth Games, can we now have a debate about properly establishing an English national anthem for when England compete as opposed to the UK."
In response, Leader of the House of Commons Sir George Young said he had raised an "important issue".
Decisions on which anthems should be played are taken by national sporting associations.
So, it's up to the sporting associations and that's where we need to apply pressure against a no doubt "British" rearguard action. Again it is a fight that I believe can be won and certainly needs to be won, with removal of various "UK" ties the English and England can prosper and a true national identity can emerge distinct from and different too the British one, hopefully without the jingoistic overtones and often overt racism of a past imperial age.
I believe a new and refreshing flowering of English identity is on the cards, hopefully without the idiotic tabloid racism and without ties to the British past, as I've said before Britain and Britishness are tainted good in the eyes of the world, which isn't to say that there wasn't some good done in the name of Britain (slavery for one). Those times are past now and it's time and past time that England takes its place in the 21st century.
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Just stop it!

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I was out shopping today and couldn't help noticing the tabloid headlines.

Herr we go, again = The Sun
Jermania, now it's er Germany = The Mirror

Dear Lord, the puns are bad enough but the jingoism is embarrassing. No wonder certain people hate England, it's borderline racist and seriously wrong. England put in a reasonable performance against a rather poor Slovenian side and the gutter press are bigging it up as if it was a classic. Germany are a totally different kettle of fish and one of the better looking sides in the competition which has had a good few non performers go out (Yes we're looking at you France) as well as the odd upset (Hello Italy). I'm not saying England will lose and go out, but, the tabloids are making it seem as if this will be easy, it wont, matches against Germany seldom are and I doubt we'll manage a 5:1 thrashing this time.
The insults against the Germans are not helping and quite frankly a disgrace and make the English look like a bunch of racist idiots, despite it being the British press. No wonder "Anyone but England" becomes a way of life for some people.
With friends like the tabloids, the English are accumulating enemies we don't really need.
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State pensions look as if they are heading towards being withheld at least until we reach 70. I can see the point, people are living longer and originally the pensionable age was set at 65 for a very good reason, as that was the average lifespan.


Millions of employees who are not saving for their retirement will be enrolled in company schemes under a radical shake-up of pensions which eventually could see most people working into their seventies.

In a landmark announcement intended to herald a new era of shorter but wealthier retirements, the Government will encourage people to work for longer by making it illegal for companies to force staff to give up work at 65.
At the same time, the age at which employees can claim the state pension will rise to 66 as soon as 2016 for men — 10 years earlier than the last government had decreed. 

The Coalition is to consult on the most appropriate pace at which to increase the retirement age even higher in line with rising life expectancy.
The outcome is likely to be that, by the second half of the century, most people will work into their seventies.
In return, workers would receive more generous state pensions boosted by membership of company schemes, into which employees will be enrolled unless they opt out. Those reliant on state pensions will benefit from the restored link between pensions and earnings announced in this week’s Budget.
Life expectancy is currently 77.4 for men and 81.6 for women. At present rates, there will be three people in their nineties for every newborn by 2050.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told The Daily Telegraph that the radical pension reform he will oversee was designed to “reinvigorate retirement”. 
 Now this is an area in which I'd like to see the pen pushers of the public services lead the way, not those involved so much with the physical stuff, (though if they are still fit and able why not) but the desk jockeys who inhabit the bureaucratic world that makes ordinary life such a joy. No longer getting a 2/3rds of earnings at retirement at 55, but being required to go to 70 till they get any money off the state (yes we pay their pensions as they do not contribute anything like the amount they take out) like everyone else. Naturally if you have a private pension you can go earlier if you want, but the public service pension will not be available to you till you reach 70.
To be honest I can't see any downside here.

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The ABE's will just have to wait

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Still a lot of improvement needed, but much better.
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Just for once don't let us down!

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I love watching football, from kids and adults playing in the park right up to champions league. The skill level of course is highly variable but the passion and commitment isn't, at least usually.
I've felt very let down by the England team over the last 2 matches, I've seen pub teams with more zest for the game playing in my local recreation ground. These England footballers seem to have forgotten that it is England they represent, not the F.A. not themselves, but England and the fans, not "this country" or "our country" but ENGLAND! We expect them to show some pride in this, some passion, a sense of commitment, not the stumbling and lethargy of the last 2 matches.
No doubt eventually the real reasons for such a poor performance of late will come to light, but most fans feel very let down anyway and wont accept anything other than the fact that you showed a total lack of commitment to them. You were booed off the pitch in your last match and struggled to understand why, it wasn't because all you could manage was a draw, it was because you didn't look like you were interested in playing! You treat the fans and your country with contempt, whether willingly or not and we expect so much better than that. Perhaps patriotism is an unknown concept for you in your high paid pampered life but it isn't for the hordes of England fans who have draped their cars and houses with our flag, they love their country in a way you seem to have forgotten. We want to believe you can do well, we've seen you play well for your club sides so know you can do it. So for once show some bloody pride and don't let the English down.

If we are to be coming home tomorrow at least let it be because we went down fighting!
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Harriet Harman believes what Osborne did was reckless.

Harriet Harman has called the coalition Budget "reckless" and said it would lead to thousands losing their jobs.
The Labour leader said the programme of spending cuts and tax rises announced by George Osborne would hit the poorest hardest and jeopardise the recovery.
The proposed rise in VAT to 20% was "unfair" and contradicted pre-election statements by the Tories and Lib Dems that they had no plans to increase it.
The Budget was driven by "ideology not by economics", she told MPs.
Among a swathe of tax and benefit changes designed to reduce the deficit, the main rate of VAT will rise from 17.5% to 20% from next January. Public sector pay for those earning above £21,000 will be frozen for two years and child benefit frozen for three years.
Mr Osborne said the measures were "tough" but were needed to "pay the bills for past irresponsibility" and put the public finances on a sustainable footing by the end of the Parliament.
The answer is of course in the last sentence. Past irresponsibility...

2 wars we're still paying for, not only in blood.
The dumbing down of education and the production of a largely illiterate underclass.
English patients dying because of Labours NICE policies.
A country mired in debt because you hadn't a clue how to be "prudent"
A never ending litany of stupid laws and losses of freedom simply to keep us in line.
The growth of the BNP

The encouragement of multiculturalism that has born a poisonous and corrupting extremism within our midst as those who will not adapt and integrate with us demand we adapt to them.
Ditto equalities rights.
Generations left to become welfare junkies instead of desiring work, we pay them not too.
The EU taking more and more of our sovereignty.
13 years of broken promises, including a referendum on Lisbon.
Nepotism running wild in giving out PPC's and quango places. (Yes we're looking at you Harriet)
Leaving a man in charge who has now vanished and is rumoured to be receiving mental health treatment.
You spent 13 years gradually sliding this country into bankruptcy and despair, 13 years of draconian New Labour misrule, Harriet Harman, that is your legacy and that was reckless, not the steps necessary to put it right!
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Riding the Tiger

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It's always nice to see someone's true colours being dragged kicking and screaming into the light, literally in this case.

A man was being questioned today after gangs of youths attacked police officers following an anti-racist march, Scotland Yard said.
Cordons were set up to stop people going up Whitechapel Road, in east London, because officers feared random attacks on members of the public.
The scenes followed a rally, organised by Unite Against Fascism, that attracted several thousand people.
It was organised in response to another rally planned by the far-right English Defence League (EDL) which was called off earlier this week.
A police spokesman said yesterday's UAF rally was "well organised and well stewarded" but a group of young men gathered outside the nearby East London Mosque in response to rumours the EDL were planning a protest.
He said: "The group numbered up to 300, who were very volatile. Despite continued excellent attempts by stewards and representatives from the East London Mosque to control the crowds, even placing themselves in danger, there was the risk of serious disorder.
"Police officers were attacked by the crowd at points throughout the afternoon. One member of the public was attacked at random by members of the crowd as those gathered surged up and down the Whitechapel Road.
"In order to prevent injuries to the public and officers, and serious disorder, police withdrew from the immediate area and a series of filter cordons were put in place. The cordons were used to prevent access to parts of Whitechapel Road due to concerted efforts by the crowd to attack people at random."
The cordon was in place for two hours.
One person was arrested for assault and was being held for questioning.
A spokesman for Unite Against Fascism said around 5,000 took part in the march from Stepney to Whitechapel.
He said: "I heard there were a few nasty scuffles between local youths and police but certainly the demo was very positive and a really good vibe."
So, Moslem youths decided to attack the police and ordinary people at random, the UAF were stirring up trouble in the area and oddly enough there was no sign of the EDL, who had cancelled their march as the main aim of banning a lunatic Moslem preacher had been achieved. Strangely enough the police even retreated at one stage allowing the extremists control of the area. Only one arrest though, yet when the Moslems against Crusaders held their little spat in welcoming troops home there were 2 arrests of two English people who objected to their vile insults.
I'm beginning to wonder just what it will take to bring a police crackdown on the real extremists. Extremist Moslems and the UAF have time and time demonstrated their contempt for law and order, for ordinary people and seem to be the modern day version of a rent-a-mob. These people, not the EDL are a threat to the UK, they are the ones rioting, they are the ones using violence against ordinary people. They are the voices of hate on today's streets. Yet our toadying politicians do nothing, many have even given their assent to the leftist UAF including David Cameron. Yet ordinary people now wonder just who the enemy of society is, certainly it doesn't appear to be the EDL whose aims as far as I can tell appear to be the removal of extremist Islam from England and who seem to have members from all parts of society in their group, including oddly enough a couple of Muslims.
Seems to me the real fascists are in the UAF and Extreme Islam.
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Model Portfolio is Finding Right Photographer

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Before any new model begins his or her career in the modeling industry, the most important concept for them to grasp is their modeling portfolio. An industry standard for any modeling hopeful, the portfolio embodies the person's photogenic qualities showing, different characters, age range, and personality. The process of creating your modeling portfolio takes time and skill to perfect, but when done correctly, can open many doors into the industry, and jump start your career.

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Transference of pariahdom

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There were a few comments around the blogosphere about the CEP's decision to have a go at the Scots ABE "joke" Many thought it OTT and a waste of time and that humour shouldn't be constrained by the use of the blunt instrument of the law. Wonko defends the actions of the CEP quite adequately here though.
The problem as I see it though is that there is a transference going on from British to English. At one time the British were seen throughout the world as the "enemy" still are in Hollywood movies where the bad guy is frequently a Brit, something to do with the accent. However, Brit usually meant English, the terms were interchangeable to a greater or lesser extent. Scots were Scots and Welsh were Welsh, but the English were (and are) British. Pre 1997 because we only had one parliament to rule us that was acceptable and the English got on with the odd nationalist sentiment from Scotland and Wales with an occasional raised eyebrow. However after the Scots and Welsh gained a measure of political independence it became apparent to the English that they were being sidelined by the process, Scottish and Welsh MP's forced legislation on the English that a majority of English MP's had voted against. Some sought to justify it by pointing out Thatcher's foisting of the poll tax on Scotland when a majority of Scottish MP's voted against it, whilst conveniently forgetting that we had one parliament at the time for all the UK as well as the fact that it was Willie Whitehall (a Scotsman) who encouraged Thatcher to do so. Still again since when have 2 wrongs ever made a right? Justifying something because of a past wrong is in the end both petty and demeaning and there are certainly enough past wrongs to go around. As Sir Terry Pratchett puts it "Remember the atrocity committed against us that will forgive the atrocity that we are going to commit today! And so on! Hurrah!" That's the mindset that a certain type of nationalist has, from past military defeats right back to imagined slights and includes to some the "anyone but England" joke. To some including many English it is funny, but to others it's deadly serious and anti-English racism has seen kids attacked for wearing an England tee shirt, women attacked for their accents or people forced out of their homes because they are English. It's not just a Scottish thing though as evidenced by Obama's attack on British Petroleum causing a rise in anti-English (note not anti-British) sentiment in the States.
This is one of the reasons why England is trying to re-assert its own identity, to look to its own history and disentangle itself from Britishness. Despite the best efforts of politicians and other unionists, Britishness is a tainted brand and that's why it is no longer accepted by many of the English as a description of themselves. When eventually the UK breaks up (and it will) perhaps the intense rivalry felt by the minor constituents in the Union will recede and it will become more like England/France which is humorous on both sides and perhaps we can simply get on with things without recourse to the more extreme nationalism that rears its ugly head from time to time.
However the days of the English accepting the sins of the British are going now and the other components of the Union will find themselves reminded of their part in the overall sins. We were all British once.
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No wonder they're worried

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The public sector is worried, they know that public spending cuts are coming and they know that they are in the frontline to be hit. Some of us also suspect that the middle management will also try and make sure that it is frontline services that are hit hardest to try and create some sort of outcry. The Unions too will no doubt try to flex their muscles though I suspect they're starting to realise that the only sympathy they are getting is from public servants. There are many reasons for this, but this is the main one...

Public sector workers are paid 30% more than those in the private sector but in a lifetime will spend nine fewer years at work, a new report has said.
The Policy Exchange think tank says employees in the public sector enjoy better pay and pensions, shorter hours and early retirement.
The organisation found that in a lifetime a person in the private sector will work 23% more hours - the equivalent to 9.2 years extra work.
It said this was due to shorter holidays, later retirement and a smaller likelihood of going on strike.
The report says average pay is now £22,417 in the public sector and £19,932 in the private sector.
It states that between 1997 and 2007 public sector productivity fell, while productivity in the private sector increased by nearly 28% - leaving the former only two-thirds as productive as the latter.
The report also puts the true size of the public sector at over seven million people, with the number of employees growing five times more quickly than in the private sector between 2002 and 2009.
Policy Exchange director Neil O'Brien said: "To get things back under control, we should freeze the public sector pay bill in cash terms for the next four years, taking the pay bill back to where it was in 2003 in real terms.
"We should also follow the example of Ireland and other European countries, and ask public sector workers to pay some more towards their pensions."
Mr O'Brien told Sky News: "What's happened over the last 10 years is that the number of people in the public sector has expanded much more quickly than the number of people in the private sector and their pay has also increased much faster so overall the pay bill in the public sector has increased three times faster than in the private sector."
The TUC's general secretary, Brendan Barber, has accused the think tank of providing "deliberately misleading statistics".
The union said: "Public sector pay is higher because it has a much greater proportion of skilled and professional workers such as teachers and doctors than the private sector.
"Lower paid jobs such as cleaners and care assistants have been privatised, while the big growth in public sector employment under the last government was among professionals."
So, they work less and get paid more, retire earlier and get generous pensions, can't see a problem here can you? Well the TUC donkeys can't anyway, they harp on about professionals, teachers and doctors, sounds good, but the vast majority of civil servants aren't teachers or doctors, they're pen pushers in the various ministries. Teachers and doctors too could be made self employed, make it easier to weed out the bad ones for one thing, they simply wont have their contracts renewed, all the state would need to do is provide the heads of schools and hospitals with a budget, it would be up to them how they spent it, though in the case of Heads, this could be done via the proposed voucher system. Being forced to justify their positions on a yearly basis would certainly knock the leftist stuffing out of teachers, market forces have a tendency to do just that, a survival of the fittest.
That's all well and good though as doctors and teachers are frontline services, they aren't the areas the public want to see the axe fall. Where the public want to see swinging cuts are in the non jobs, quango's and fake charities. Diversity co-ordinators, race relation counsellors and translation services. The threefold growth of management in ministries and hospitals, these have to go, before a single doctor, nurse or teacher goes. Get rid of the red tape and those who gorge on it, get the professionals out at actual work rather than filling forms. In the 1880's the entire UK civil service running the Britain and the Empire was about 2000 people, now the UK tries to run on 7 million, something has to give and it has to be the public sector.

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What the hell is going on?

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OK, we're still in it, we can even win the group if (and now it's a big if) we beat Slovenia.

Why are we still playing carthorse Heskey? The man has two modes, forward and fall over, neither of which are suitable at an international level, he's also way too slow. He also no longer has any goal scoring pedigree at international level, nor can he get a full time place in a premiership squad. Peter Crouch at least can score at international level and looks a better player, if he's given a chance.
What The Hell is wrong with Rooney, he looks lethargic and not interested in playing at all, passes going astray and frankly seems only to be in the squad because of his name. The only reason he got away with it against the USA was because of Greens howler.
Gerrard and Lampard, neither plays well together as previous England managers have found out. Play one or the other, not both, Gerrard for preference.
Take the captaincy off Gerrard and give it to Terry, the man's a philandering idiot, but at least can captain without losing form.
Stop playing 4 4 2, it doesn't work, it makes us predictable and most top teams in the premiership don't use it, preferring 4 3 3.

Dear God! Most of the English expect our team to play with pride, with courage, with zest and energy. We know we're not the most skilful of sides or the most talented, but we do expect our overpaid bunch of primadonna's to reflect our passion for the game. No we don't expect them to win it, but we do expect them to go down fighting!
Instead if it doesn't improve we'll go out with a whimper and I will find that very hard to forgive.
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Right, lets try this again. Come on England!

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Our footballers, who are in South Africa
England is your name
Our World Cup has come
let glory be won
In Cape Town as it is in Wembley
Give us today a longed for victory
And forgive us our doubts
As we forgive those who score against us
Lead us not into offside traps
But deliver us to victory
For ours is the dream
the hope of the glory
For England
For ever
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Patriotism, Jingoism and Nationalism

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What is it about England that brings out such hatred in some people? Some hate the patriotism that often occurs  when the English are involved in sporting events, equating it to nationalism and/or jingoism, yet are quite happy to see other nations and fans flying their flags. However when they see the English do the same, they hate it because the English must all be BNP supporters, hypocrisy writ large if ever there was a case. They even have all the trite leftist phrases down including the right wing bit (as if the BNP were ever right wing) and can't seem to recognise that the only bigotry on display is their own.
It of course goes further, Julie Burchill in the Daily Mail positively froths at the mouth in the hope that England will go out of the competition quickly so all those horrid little Englanders will get rid of those awful dull St Georges flags and go back to the inclusive majesty of the Union Jack. (strangely enough the flag of the BNP) Of course in Burchill's case it's simply beyond the pale that anyone but a bunch of hooligans would love their own country rather than be British like her.
So, yes, however cross it might make you, I will count the days until England come home with their tails between their legs once again, and the St George's cross - temporarily hijacked in the name of football - is replaced once more by the brave, beautiful Union Jack as a flag the nation can really be proud of.
Once again proving there are some who simply don't get it, people who count themselves as English, now rarely count themselves as British, not any more, not since Britishness was hijacked by the Labour party in an effort to regionalise, marginalise and remove the name of England from the UK. If asked, you'll probably find that the only British thing about them is their passport. These are the people who may have a flag of St George on their cars or draped on their house and will shout to the rooftops their support for England in the world cup, yet a quick check would no doubt prove that they don't have a union flag in the house, nor would have a use for one if they did. Are they racist? Possibly, nay probably some are, yet 6 doors up from me is a house draped in the Flag of St George and the family living there? Well they're from the Indian subcontinent, but they are supporting England in the world cup because it's their team and their country.
And that's what the haters are missing, it's not about racism, jingoism or extreme nationalism, it's just ordinary people being patriotic about their team and the country they represent. They can't accept that England fans come in all shades of colour, religion or political status, to them all England fans are the same, nasty vicious closet (at best) racists. They see something they don't understand about a country they loathe (it used to be Britain, but that changed) and they tar the ordinary people with the broad brush of stereotypical racism, no doubt it makes the British feel superior, if making them look like bigots themselves in the eyes of ordinary folk.
I just wish that people would get off the backs of the English for doing what other nations do, it's no different to Brazilians, Uruguayans, Italians, Germans etc flying their flags and supporting their teams and wanting them to win. In that, the English are no different to anyone else. Nor is it arrogance to believe or state that we're in with a chance, ask any fan about their team and you'll get such statements, even though most fans are well grounded in reality and know just how well their team will actually do (As a Newcastle supporter I know this all too well) but you always live in hope and you never abandon that hope either, not till the final whistle.
It would be nice for a change for the English to be left to be English, to support their team through good and bad without the baggage of other peoples hypocrisy and bigotry being transferred to them.
Hating the English seems like hating the USA to be an acceptable form of bigotry for some people and that needs to change. They, not the English, need to grow up.
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Human wrongs

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One of the biggest problems with the human rights act introduced to give Tony's Mrs an income is that it only looks at individual rights, that is the rights of the the person bringing a case where they claim to have had their rights breached. It isn't there to protect the majority, it's there to protect individuals, often criminal individuals and often their rights are deemed equal to everyone else. That's why you get cases like this, which puts a "terrorist suspects" human rights ahead of common sense.

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that an order which forced a terror suspect to live 150 miles away from his family breached his human rights.
The control order forced the suspect, known as AP, to live under a 16-hour curfew in the Midlands while his family lived in London.
Seven judges agreed unanimously that this breached his human rights.
AP is on bail pending deportation to Ethiopia. His curfew under immigration law is longer than the control order.
Control orders were introduced under 2005 anti-terrorism legislation.
They enable ministers to sign an order to place a terrorism suspect under close supervision that some say is similar to house arrest.
In 2008, AP was ordered to live in the Midlands to keep him away from Islamist extremists in London.
His lawyers argued the control order isolated him from his family and breached his right to liberty.
Delivering the verdict, one of the seven judges, Sir John Dyson, said the home secretary must find out the effect of a control order before imposing it.
OK, so no reason is given as to why his family couldn't visit him, he's under the order because he's liable to be deported and the police don't want him associating with extremists. Yet his rights trump all that and he's to be sent back to a place where he can mix again with extremists.
Once again a potential risk to our society is using the HRA to make a mockery of what ought to have been an obvious solution to a possibly dangerous situation, it's not as if the guy is a citizen either and is about to be deported, assuming he just doesn't vanish anyway.
The HRA needs to be scrapped or amended to take into account the rights of the majority to live without fear of a minority, it's been used and abused to allow some very dangerous individuals to walk free amongst the population and has given our security forces headaches as they try to keep tabs on them.
Now from a libertarian aspect the suspect should have a lot of rights and freedoms, however under a libertarian state he probably wouldn't be here as he'd get no benefits save what he'd earned himself, you come here, you work or you starve/rely on charity. It's not the job of the state in a libertarian society to feed you, keep you or house you. There are few rules under a libertarian state, but what there are, are rigorously enforced. You break the law and the state comes down on you like a ton of bricks and if you aren't legally here you're gone, no appeals.
I think a serious rethink of what is and isn't a human right needs to be done, but until we leave the EU, that's not going to happen and cases like this will occur on a regular basis.
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Speaking for the Queen

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It always amuses me slightly when people put words or thoughts into the press about what they think the Queen should or shouldn't be saying or thinking, amazingly enough those words and thoughts match to perfection what they actually think. This is especially so for politics, where the Queen has to be apolitical (despite no doubt having strong opinions on politics and politicians), yet those who are politicians, their hangers on and their pets  believe they have the right to be extremely political when it comes to just what, how and who the Queen should see or be seen with.

Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, has been invited to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party hosted by the Queen, The Times has learnt.
Mr Griffin has obtained invitations for himself and three guests in his capacity as the North West’s MEP, in a move which last night provoked concern that other guests would boycott the event.
His possible attendance plunges the palace into fresh controversy over its attitude to Mr Griffin, who has been convicted of distributing material likely to incite racial hatred.
He attempted to attend one of the Queen’s garden parties last year, but withdrew after an eruption of public outrage. It was suggested that his presence would tarnish the Queen’s reputation.
This may be so, however as an MEP he has the right to obtain invitations for himself to such parties and no doubt some of those who would boycott the event because of this would would do well to remember that as an MEP, Griffin has a legitimacy in votes behind himself that others invited lack.
Other MEPs and opponents of the far-right party warned that Mr Griffin’s invitation “utterly compromised” the Queen and risked politicising the annual event.
And their invites don't somehow? 
Each year British MEPs are entitled to two tickets to one of the Queen’s three garden parties at Buckingham Palace.
Ah, he's entitled, so he asked?
It was unclear how Mr Griffin obtained four tickets, which he announced during a BNP supporters’ dinner at the weekend. In a video seen by The Times, Mr Griffin produced the invitations in front of his guests, prompting loud cheers and claps. He told the gathered crowd that he, his wife Jackie and their two daughters, Jennifer and Rhiannon, had been invited to the event on July 22.
Unclear? He's entitled, yeesh!
“So my guess is the six o’clock news on Thursday, July 22, might have a little bit about the British National Party,” he added. So we’re gonna [sic] be back in the news.”
Last year Mr Griffin sparked anger when he said that he would attend a party as the guest of Richard Barnbrook, who had obtained two tickets in his capacity as the BNP’s representative on the London Assembly.
However, Mr Griffin withdrew after the Greater London Authority warned Mr Barnbrook that his nomination would be reconsidered if he continued to exploit it for publicity. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, had expressed concern about Mr Griffin’s attendance.
A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace confirmed that an invitation had been issued this year. She said that Mr Griffin was eligible to nominate himself and the Palace would not discriminate against democratically elected representatives.
As I said, he's entitled.
Searchlight, the organisation which campaigns against the BNP, said it was “bizarre” that Mr Griffin had received an invitation when his party had been soundly rejected by voters at the general election.
Er he's entitled as an MEP, not because of his performance at the general election.
Claude Moraes, a Labour MEP for London, said that the move “deeply politicises and embarrasses the Queen”.
You've asked the Queen then?
“She has been forced into an extremely difficult situation. I would expect some people to boycott the party. If people knew about this it would clearly spoil the occasion for a lot of them.
“It has utterly compromised the Queen and she is made to feel that she has to make a political decision.”
What was that about him being entitled to ask? The Queens apolitical credentials would have been more compromised if she'd refused, that then would have been a political decision now wouldn't it?
Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP who trounced Mr Griffin in his bid for the seat of Barking and Dagenham, said: “It sickens me that Nick Griffin uses his elected position to gain access to the Royal garden party.”
And other MEP's haven't of course?

You just got to love that stench of hypocrisy coming from the political class when someone who in their position as an MEP asks for and gets something they are entitled too. Perhaps if the political class weren't so far up each others arses and did something about the reasons for Griffin's rise to power this wouldn't have happened. As it is, the Griffin invite can be traced right back to those politicians who decided to put the needs of their pets and immigrants seemingly above that of the native population. So, the BNP got 2 seats as MEP's because of this neglect and as MEP's they get certain perks, one of which is an invite to the Queens garden parties, whether the Queen likes it or not (Though Prince Philip might be delighted, who knows)

They put the Queen in this position and payback is a bitch as there is absolutely nothing they can do about this one.
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English Heroes #7

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An occasional series recording Englishmen, women and children who have done great things for themselves or others and reflected well on the country of their birth.

Step forward Alex Rowe, Newcastle-born and Gloucestershire-raised.

Amid the pomp of the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris next month, Alex Rowe, Newcastle-born and Gloucestershire-raised, will be invested as a Chevalier of the L├ęgion d’Honneur for his service in the French Foreign Legion.
It is an honour unheard of for an English legionnaire, but Adjudant-chef Rowe is frank: he would much rather have joined the British Army. While his twin brother, Mark, was accepted into the Royal Engineers, Adjudant-chef Rowe was rejected because of a childhood detached retina.
The decision still rankles. While he speaks matter-of-factly about quelling African rebellions and escaping death in a Taleban ambush, mention the British army and he suddenly becomes animated. “I became a sniper, this is the point,” he said, his accent veering between Geordie and French. “You can’t get into the British army because you’ve got a f***ed eye, and you become a sniper in the French Foreign Legion. Something’s gone wrong there.”
Not just a sniper, but one of the most highly decorated of all legionnaires. He has seen action in Bosnia, Kosovo, central Africa, the Ivory Coast and Afghanistan, winning an astonishing five citations for bravery. In his first interview, he told The Times: “Most guys will have one citation, some will have two. Three is very rare. Five is . . .” here he tailed off into a very Gallic shrug. “But I haven’t done anything more than my job.”
A very brave man and an example to all who would give up at the first hurdle, rejected by the British army this Englishman was forced to go abroad to prove his worth. Five citations for heroism in one of the elite armies in the world.
Although he feels neither “One hundred per cent British” nor French, he has never taken out French citizenship and admitted frankly: “I would still have still preferred to have been a British soldier. I have a good life these days, but I’d be at least a colonel in the Parachute Regiment by now — if I was still alive, of course.”
Alex Rowe, this blog salutes you, you're a brave man and an example to us all, the British may have rejected you, but the English never will.
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Equality stupidity

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We have armed police, I wish we didn't but life itself and the various extremists groups around the world as well as occasional nutters have made it necessary. The personal guard we provide our leaders are also armed and well trained, they are not simply going to start firing at random, however when they do draw their weapon, they expect to hit a target and for it to go down and stay down. That's sort of the point really, well you'd think so wouldn't you...

MEMBERS of Scotland Yard’s elite bodyguard unit are being armed with smaller, lighter “baby” guns as part of a drive to attract more female officers.
The move is aimed at recruiting bodyguards with smaller hands. However, critics fear that it could hamper close protection officers who guard the Queen, David Cameron and other VIPs if they have to fend off an attack from terrorists or a lone gunman.
“It’s a disadvantage because the smaller guns have less firepower and are less accurate,” said a police firearms expert.
Supporters deny the Yard is putting political correctness before security. They say the change is part of a legitimate attempt by Metropolitan police bosses better to reflect the community.
So in order to have diversity and equality, the personal guard of political and state leaders are to be armed with a gun that has less hitting power and is less accurate.

Words fail me.
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Bloody Goalkeepers!

Ban those bloody Vuvuzela's too*

That is all.

 *Yes I know, their gaff, their rules, but seriously annoying nonetheless.
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Come on England!

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Once more onto the pitch 3 Lions on your shirts

Nobly suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous refereeing decisions.
Representing this royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Our Jerusalem
The envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Cry God for a win, England and St George!

Apologies to the Bard and Blake
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Dream on

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If people could predict football results as easily as say figuring out how much change they have in their pocket then the football pools would have gone out of business before they'd even had a chance to get going. Yet this guy is already predicting England's world cup exit.

Dr Ian McHale has converted a well known mathematical model to predict which teams are most likely to progress through the competition.
The "ordered probit", used in business and medicine, shows that England has a six per cent chance of winning the tournament. 
That means it will win its group stage, then beat Serbia in the second round before narrowly succumbing to the French in the quarters.
The model, similar to one believed to be used by bookmakers, does not just take into account the form sheet but also the luck of the drawer.
It predicts that Holland are the favourites with almost 12 per cent chance of lifting the Cup narrowly ahead of Spain and Brazil.
Dr McHale, a sport statistician at the University of Salford, said: "England have an easy run up to the quarter final and then it is a very level match with the French. Unfortunately even if they win that they meet Brazil or Holland."
Dr McHale, whose work featured in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s magazine, predicted the form of the teams by studying nearly 9,000 matches over the last eight years and comparing this with their Fifa world ranking.
He then played the form books through a million different scenarios using the statistical model which showed the most probable progression of each team.
The results follow closely the bookies although Holland jumps from fifth ranked to first ranked because of recent improvements in form. That makes them a good bet at the current 10-1 odds.
In the rankings England drop from 4th favourites to sixth under the system but France jump from eighth to fifth.
Portugal, which is officially third ranked ream in the world, is ninth favourite because it has such a tough drawer.
You know it's bad enough that the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish are fixated on our early demise but statisticians too? Hasn't the guy heard of lies, damned lies and statistics? Football is so much more than columns of figures to be number crunched and spew out a predicted result. Every football fan knows upsets happen and prays it isn't their side on the receiving end as you usually don't hear the end of it for years, decades sometimes. We still get the occasional mention of the 1950's USA upset here, wonder what the good Doctor would have made of that.
Most England fans have figured we wont win it, though we'll do our best to cheer our side on and keep our fingers crossed after all, upsets do happen and we do have a reasonable squad who did very, very well in the qualifiers and whilst we may not be as good as say Spain or Brazil, all they need is one bad day, a bit of bad luck or a set of poor refereeing decisions to ruin their tournament as well.
What I and others want from England is that they play with pride and passion, with a bit of fire in their bellies, something that has been missing from England squads in major championships since the 1990 World Cup.

As Sir Terry Pratchett wrote: "The thing about football - the IMPORTANT thing about football - is that it is not just about football."

Statistics can never take that into account.
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What on earth has he been smoking?

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Football, I'd hoped to avoid the subject for blogging after my last little foray as I enjoy watching the sport and enjoyed playing it when a lot younger. But I can't believe this...

DAVID Cameron yesterday announced that he would be flying the flag of St George over Downing Street for the World Cup and called on MPs wherever they come from in the UK to cheer on England.
With England the only team from the home nations in the World Cup in South Africa, Mr Cameron has made the unprecedented decision to exchange the flag of England for the Union Flag which normally flies over Downing Street.
Mr Cameron's comments came during Prime Minister's Questions after an appeal from a new Tory MP to get properly behind the team.
He was urged to show his support for the English team by Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-on-Avon), who said: "I ask you to do a great thing for the people of England and cut through the bureaucracy and nonsense and fly the flag of England over Downing Street for the duration of the World Cup."
Mr Cameron replied: "There was some question that this was going to have a cost impact but I've managed to cut through that and I can say that at no additional cost to the taxpayer the flag of St George will fly above Downing Street during the World Cup."
Then, pointedly looking up at the SNP members, he added: "For the purposes of this I'm looking at all the benches here and I'm sure that everyone in this House, no matter what part of the United Kingdom they come from, will be cheering 'come on England'."
If ever I needed a clue that Cameron does not understand both football and the English in relation to the rest of the UK that was the defining moment.
  1. Football fans do not support their nearest rivals to win anything, it's a bit like trying to get Newcastle fans to cheer Sunderland, Celtic/Rangers, even Millwall/Charlton it just doesn't happen.
  2. England are not Britain, it's not like the Olympics where the whole of the UK are involved, it's just one country England, not Scotland, not Wales and not Northern Ireland and expecting them to support us is is ridiculous, they don't particularly like us as a country in the first place.
  3. The very fact that England are there whilst the other home countries failed to qualify is not going to make their fans transfer allegiance, they'd rather we all failed than one rise above the others, it's a type of tall poppy syndrome.
  4. Anyone but England has more or less been the Scottish motto since 1998 when England have qualified (save Euro 2008) for every major competition and they haven't, they find this hard to forgive, we aren't supposed to be better than they are (in their eyes) and it has since been adopted by the Welsh and possibly the Irish.
  5. We're English, not South Scottish or Eastern Welsh, we wouldn't support them and they don't support us!
 Then, pointedly looking up at the SNP members, he added: "For the purposes of this I'm looking at all the benches here and I'm sure that everyone in this House, no matter what part of the United Kingdom they come from, will be cheering 'come on England'."
They wont, nor do I expect them too, it's possible Cameron was just in a jokey expansive mood, however that was an insult to the Scots and would have been taken that way by some. We might get a grudging "Well done" if England do win it, though I wouldn't place money on that and I know they'll be dreading it if we do win as 1966 will be nothing compared to what will happen for the next 50 odd years. Mostly they'll be hoping that we fall flat on our faces, it's what rival fans do.
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Bonfire of vanities

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It never ceases to amaze me, both about Labour and socialists in general, in their inability to get their heads around whose money they were actually playing with. It's like dealing with demented toddlers in a sweet shop who are prepared to gorge themselves until sick without realising the consequences to those who have to pay for the gluttony and waste.
They have the keywords down pat though, fairness, equality, social justice, poverty etc. Yet never do they realise that those of us who earn in the real world (not the public sector) do not like the idea of the state picking their pockets to pay for these concepts.

Half a million of the poorest families will be denied free school meals by deep cuts in welfare spending.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, indicated yesterday that some departments would lose up to 20 per cent of their budgets when he laid the ground for a four-year austerity programme to last the whole Parliament.
Even social security spending will be included when every Cabinet minister will have to go before a panel of colleagues to justify every pound they spend. Mr Osborne said that the task ahead represented “the great national challenge of our generation” and that after years of waste, debt and irresponsibility it was time to rethink how government spent its money.
As he was announcing the spending review, which will cover the four years from next April, details of early cuts began to emerge. 
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said that he was scrapping plans by Ed Balls, his predecessor, to extend free school meals from next term to 500,000 of the very lowest paid.
The decision will cost families earning less than £307 a week about £600 a year, equivalent to a penny rise in their income tax for each child.
Mr Gove said that he had to make the savings to protect the overall schools budget. But his move was criticised by poverty campaigners who said that it raised questions about the Government’s commitment to reducing child poverty and protecting the poorest from cuts.
Children whose parents are on income support or jobseeker’s allowance will continue to be eligible.
Mr Gove said that Mr Balls had underestimated the costs. It would cost £125 million initially, rather than the projected £85 million, rising to £350 million in 2012-13 rather than the £215 million for which Mr Balls had planned.
The Child Poverty Action Group said that it was “stunned” by the move, which would have lifted 50,000 children out of poverty at a stroke.
OK, first off the measure hadn't been introduced, so what the poorest families haven't had they'll never miss, bit like PAYE.
Second, this was a bribe pure and simple to Labours core support, a vote for us and we'll give you more money in your pocket, they knew fine well that those who had to pay for this weren't going to vote for them anyway.
Third, should Labour not get elected, cutting this measure would get them the headlines of "cruel Tories" that they wanted, so essentially a win, win scenario for them.
Fourth, the Child Poverty Action Group is a fake charity, funded by the government taxpayer to lobby the government on behalf of the government and stuffed with bleeding heart Labour placemen. Closing them down would save the government at least half a million in grants, possibly up to £2.5 million.
Fifth, Children whose parents are on income support or jobseeker’s allowance will continue to be eligible. So those who are at the bottom of the food chain will still get this support.

Now where Labour got it wrong was by creating a system so complex that even where they were picking the pockets of the taxpayers (child tax credits) to give to the poor (If you could count on someone earning over £45k being poor) that they had a massive bureaucracy to administer it, this cost money that really could have gone to the poor and made the taxpayer better off by not having to fund it anyway. So great was Labours need for money that even those on minimum wage paid tax only to get some back if they had kids via a convoluted bureaucratic nightmarish system. There are far easier ways to do it including raising the tax allowances of working parents with children. But again Labour were deluded enough to see the public sector as part of the economy, rather than a drain on it, besides all those public sectors were likely to vote labour otherwise it might be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

So it's no good the Labourists and socialists screaming about cuts, they created the mess we're in where the government ended up paying out a third more than it was taking in. They can scream about the evil Tories, but they were responsible or rather irresponsible enough to believe that the money would never run out. It's time for the UK to pay the piper and the only way we can do that now is to cut away some of the flesh rather than trim the fat, in some cases the limb will have to be removed to pay our debts. This is what Labour and the socialists forgot, there's always a price to be paid for spending what isn't yours.
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An English country day

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I've always enjoyed walking with my good lady and my dog in the English countryside. Yesterday we wandered up to Capstone Country Park, which is about a mile away as the crow flies and about 2 miles in the car. A lovely blustery day too with the usual English can't make its mind up weather. We weren't expecting the incredible sight of these fellows though.

Miles and miles of daisies, not the small ones but Ox-Eye Daisies for as far as the eye could see.

The dog loved it and it was just wonderful to see as it was unexpected.

To finish off we passed a briar rose, the scent simply stunning.

There are days I hate what politicians have done and plan to do with my country and there are days like yesterday when I felt more at home in my land than ever before. I believe days like yesterday are worth fighting for, that an independent England with her own Parliament is more necessary than ever. Yesterday just reconfirmed in me what it is to be an Englishman in England, it doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me.
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National pride, or is it?

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Well, come Friday it all kicks off, though to England fans Saturday is the important day as we take on the USA who despite the fact that their country doesn't really take football of the proper kind seriously calling it soccer, will be no pushovers either. You'd think though from the national press that the whole of England had gone football crazy and to a certain extent we have, though there are the usual bunch of naysayers and deniers who can't stand the game and the ridiculous amount of hype that goes with it and will usually try and find somewhere to go to ignore it. I'm still waiting for the usual world cup free hotel offer in the MSM, there's usually at least one.
There's also the viral going around about anyone patriotic enough to fly an England flag from their car as having a small dick. No doubt there is a lot of bandwagon jumping going on, it usually happens with people who know nothing about football yet will suddenly become experts every couple of years during the World or Euro cups.
It also annoys the hell out of our Celtic neighbours who didn't qualify yet have to put up with "English" Mars Bars though it's probably more down to a mix up in suppliers rather than a heinous plot to rub the Celts nose in it. But you also have some of the Welsh up in arms over the fact that British newspapers can't tell the difference between Britain and England and why should they be having to read about Rooney and co in their newspapers, though I suspect this is more down to the fact that many papers simply don't do local editions anymore, North and South if you're lucky, the clue is probably in the "National Press" description. Though we even have the Cornish contingent mystified as to why people there would support England (Hint they think/know they are English, so get over it) they're trying to put it down to tourists, but sadly know it probably isn't and resort to having facebook groups showing a burning flag of St George then bitterly complain about the abuse they get from English Nationalists abusing them for doing so. Not as if they'd care to see the flag of St Piran burned symbolically now is it? But they can't see that, it's just the arrogant English stomping all over their "Nation"

Yet the odd thing is, the World Cup does bring together the English Nation, all the diverse parts of it. Those who would support Pakistan/India in the cricket tend to support England in the football because it's our national game. Muslim kids who wouldn't normally be allowed to dress "crusader style" will happily mix with other kids in their England tops and the nation as a whole hangs on the efforts of 11 men kicking a ball around a field and will discuss to death the various aspects of last nights match. If England do well and get past the qualifying stages into the knockout part then the tension racks up again. people will take sickies to watch a match, companies (smart ones) will provide TV coverage in their canteens, even schools will do so despite the disgust of some parents.

So for those who prefer to sneer, remember that it's only for a month and then things go back to normal, the Left will go back to trying to stomp out nationalism everywhere, radical Islamists will foment trouble and demand special treatment. The government will continue to dance to the tune of the EU. The great depression will bite even harder and the government will tax us to despair trying to cover the debts of New Labour. People will stop being so friendly and the nation will look a little drabber till the next tournament when the patriots and the naysayers start all over again.

As for the Anyone but England brigade, fine, not as if we expect your support, so do tie a knot in it and let us get on with enjoying ourselves without the constant carping from the sidelines, we know you don't like us, but frankly we really don't care, not now. And please ignore the ridiculous attempts by the British press to get your countrymen to say they'll support England, we don't support you any more, so why should a Scotsman, Irishman or Welshman support England if they don't want too, not your country is it?

Will England do well? Yes, they'll reach the knockout part at least.
Can England win? Yes, though not easily.
Will England win? Probably not, but they'll make a good account of themselves, doing as well as Italia 90 or better with some luck.
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Spiteful and deceitful

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Yes as the post title alludes to it's about Gordon Brown and Labour, though it could easily have read petty and pathetic. Now I know the Prime Minister is well paid and I know that David Cameron is a millionaire, however what Brown did just before leaving office underlines just what Labour were and are about.


Gordon Brown's last act was to deprive David Cameron of hundreds of thousands of pounds 

Gordon Brown's failure to turn up for the State Opening of Parliament may well have been because he couldn't look David Cameron in the face. Mandrake hears that one of Brown's final acts in the Downing Street bunker was quietly to organise a pay cut for his successor which he must have known would leave him out of pocket to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
On Brown's orders, the Prime Minister's remuneration package was cut from £194,000 to £150,000, but this was done with such stealth that no formal announcement was ever made.
Indeed, I am told that Cameron entered Downing Street blissfully unaware that he would, as Prime Minister, be earning only marginally more than he had as the leader of the Opposition.
One imagines that the poor chap must therefore have set about implementing his pre-election pledge of an across-the- board cut in ministerial salaries of five per cent with a heavy heart as this took his salary down to £142,000.
Over the course of a five-year parliament, I calculate the personal loss to Cameron will be in excess of £250,000, and this is not counting the pension benefits.
"This was pure Gordon," harrumphs my man in Whitehall. "Quite prepared to make the big sacrifices – so long as it wasn't him who actually had to make them."
OK it's not as if Cameron needs the money and it's not like savings wont have to be made, but this was done deliberately as a swipe at the next Prime Minister of a party that Brown hated to the core of his being. It was this hatred that wrecked the economy as more and more taxpayers funds were channelled into Labour core areas and benefit drones. It was this hatred that saw immigration spiral out of control to rub the Tories noses in multiculturalism. It was this hatred behind the deluded "Tory Toff" campaign and it is a hatred that is prevalent in the Socialist left throughout the country, it seems it isn't about what they can do to improve the country, but more about what they can do to thwart, destroy, impede and disrupt Tory policy, they are in a sense defined by their hatred, rather than their desire to do what's right.
Until Labour can move away from the politics of hate they'll never be a suitable  government for this country even if they do manage to regain power.
The best option perhaps for England will be independence from the UK, that will remove much of Labours powerbase from England and leave the other nations to put up with their economic imbecility and cultural hatred of any right leaning political party to the point of being ready willing and able to destroy an economy and import voters simply to keep out another political party.

Update, Mr Eugenides sums it up far better than I.
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Fellow blogger Anna Raccoon is being targeted by a particularly unpleasant bunch of conspiracy lunatics. Whilst I don't agree with everything she writes, her integrity and honesty has never been in question in my mind. This blogger can do nothing more than offer the good lady unhesitating support in her campaign to uncover the truth.
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Article 39

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I'm a minarchist libertarian, it means that I believe we should live under the most minimal of states, that government should be defined and confined to certain areas of defence, aggression against a person/fraud basically just there to protect the life, liberty, and property of individuals. Part of this defence means that people have the right to trial by jury and when this is set aside, alarm bells start ringing for me, especially when it's set aside for things like cost.
A judge has ordered that a libel trial being brought by the bodyguard of Michael Jackson against Channel 4 is to be heard without a jury.
The controversial decision by Mr Justice Tugendhat comes just two weeks before the trial and has raised fears about the future of juries in libel cases. The trial involves allegations of dishonesty and fabrication by the programme makers and has already run up £3 million in legal costs.
But the late decision by the judge, who was concerned that a jury would add to the costs, has alarmed media lawyers. Matt Fiddes’s legal team has lodged an urgent appeal, to be heard early next week, which will be a test of the right to a jury in libel cases.
Trial by jury became a pretty explicit right in one of the most influential clauses of Magna Carta, signed by King John. Article 39 of the Magna Carta read: Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut desseisetur de libero tenemento, vel libertatibus, vel liberis consuetudinibus suis, sut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum, vel per legem terrae. It is translated by Lysander Spooner in his Essay on the Trial by Jury: "No free man shall be captured, and or imprisoned, or disseised (To dispossess unlawfully of real property; oust.) of his freehold, and or of his liberties, or of his free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against him by force or proceed against him by arms, but by the lawful judgment of his peers.
It is one of the most basic and ancient rights of free Englishmen and one of the founding rights of the English Constitution. Mr Justice Tugendhat has decided that one of our rights can be set aside because it will cost too much and much as I'm for saving costs this is so, so wrong on so many levels. If a judge can set aside trial by jury for one thing, sooner or later some judge may decide it can be set aside again for say a complex murder trial. We already have enough trouble with "Family Courts" removing children "at risk" on the say so of experts without going down this route.
There are many cases when the Jury contrary to the actual facts has decided that someone is innocent or should be set free, this is often enough in the case of self defence, yet if you remove this safeguard, the full hammer of the law will come down, there will be no compassion and eventually no justice, merely rule of law.

If Mr Justice Tugendhat gets away with this it will be a very bad day for justice in England.
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Not guilty

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The tragedy in Cumbria has sparked off the usual debate on the MSM and the blogosphere about gun control. There have been the usual calls for a complete tightening up of guns despite the UK having some of the most stringent gun control laws in the world to people like me who believe that it is the stringent controls that have put most guns into the hands of criminals, lunatics and the police.
Now I'm not saying that situations like Derrick Bird wont ever arise, fact is that despite our strict controls he was able to get guns and use them and I doubt any stricter legislation would have prevented this from happening. I've used guns since I was a teenager, from air rifles/pistols, through to shot guns and strangely enough haven't shot anyone yet, nor do I have any intentions of doing so. What I do with the guns I own are target shooting and clay pigeon shooting and the shotgun I use for the clay pigeons is kept at the gun club and not in my house. I do have 2 air rifles here which I use for target practice, again though I've never shot anyone with them other than vermin. I'm not unique in this either, my brother in law is also part of the hunting and shooting brigade, save he hunts animals for food and whilst he's an ex red cap I'm fairly sure he and his mates haven't shot anyone since leaving the services, though possibly they did whilst serving.

Thing is making it tougher to own a gun only works with honest people and it's not like you can uninvent them either. So by banning access to guns all you do is spoil people's enjoyment, people who never have and never will be a danger to the general public. It will also move guns into the hands of the criminal element, even more so than it has now, though anyone in the know can get a handgun if they really want one. Besides, as our "friends" in the religion of peace have shown us, you don't need guns to kill people, a bag of fertilizer and some glycol-ether based fluid is enough to give you quite a boom for your buck. Oh yes and banning knives has worked so well too.
Banning never works, all it does is either force the ban of choice into the hands of the criminal element or makes the general public criminals. Much as I'm for the relaxing of gun laws in the UK, I'm also aware of the culture we have here, a gradual relaxing coupled with social change might be enough, but whichever way we go, you'll still get people like Derrick Bird, if it wasn't a gun it would be something else because in all of us there's a switch from normal to insane, the circumstances are just different for us all.
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In their efforts to make society fairer the left came up with a few ideas, such as removing all competition from schools, multiculturalism, diversity and equality. They got it wrong of course mostly because they approached it in the socialist way. So they left us with failing schools, unfit pupils, no go areas in our cities, various pressure groups determined that they should be first among equals and generally destroying society from the inside out. Some might think that was their plan, but considering their competence I doubt it, more like an unexpected outcome.
However they're still at it as witness this article in the Telegraph.

Harriet Harman, Labour's acting leader, has called for half of the party's shadow cabinet to be made up of women. 

Miss Harman said she wanted the rules revised for shadow cabinet elections to make sure there was a 50-50 split between men and women.
''It's time for Labour women to step out of the shadows,'' she told the national conference of Unite in Manchester.
Miss Harman told delegates Labour now had 81 women MPs, more than all the other parties put together.
''Labour is the only party in parliament which speaks up for women in this country. We have some excellent experienced women and some brilliant new women MPs.
''We still do have twice as many men MPs as women. The Labour men are great - but they are not twice as good as the women.''
The acting leader said rebuilding and renewing Labour following the election defeat was an important task, stressing that the party must ''listen and learn''.
She continued: ''Our biggest loss of support was from hard-working families who, worried about housing and jobs, felt insecure and concerned about immigration.
''Now there is our chance to debate these issues throughout the party and through the contest for the next Labour leader.''
Now I know women outnumber men 51% of the population is female and I've no doubt that some of them would be very very good at running the country assuming they could be arsed of course. Politics does not seem to attract women in great numbers though, I suspect it's because they have more common sense than men. Yes they're prepared to vote to choose or remove incompetents from government via elections, but anyone who watches PM's question time and the various donkey noises going on in the background would soon be put off. However Harman is falling for the usual socialist bullshit in equating quotas as being fair. Most people understand fairness, however most people would want someone competent to run the country rather than someone who simply ticks all the boxes. New Labour were prime examples of that sort of failure, where dogma trumped ability every time.
So if Harman gets her way, 50% of the shadow cabinet will be women, they might be brilliant at it, I have my doubts though, it may just be that the whole thing is tokenism gone mad and that far better qualified or able people get passed over in the process simply for being the wrong gender, still it's a good way for Labour to store up future trouble for themselves so I guess I'm all for them doing it.

Those who seek quotas should remember that equality cuts both ways and that 50% of the population are actually below average intelligence.
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