Friday, February 23, 2007

Kinord Sunset

Kinord Sunset
Originally uploaded by fitaloon.
I will be away from my computer, and probably any other for a day or two so a little peaceful photo taken last weekend to look at whilst I'm away.

Blair's other Mass E-Mail

My understanding is that our glorious leader has never attended the return of bodies or attended the funeral of members of the Armed Forces killed in Iraq an Afghanistan.

Hat Tip to Beau Bo D'Or

Happy Birthday Noddy

Just a quick one to say Happy Birthday to Big Bro. Did I mention his age, put it this way he is nerarer to 50 than 40.

After the polite intro, Could I recommend the following Noddy song by Mr Ian Dury (Did I mention he went to our School). This song is not recommended to readers under 18 or of a sensitive nature.

ON THIS DAY | 23 | 1959: Macmillan and Khrushchev talk peace

Holyrood - Jibe earns lawyer rebuke

I made a promise to myself yesterday I wasn't going to do Holyrood blogs anymore but this one is a beezer.

According to the Scotsman:

A SENIOR lawyer to the Holyrood inquiry has been disciplined by the Faculty of Advocates over a remark about a civil servant involved in the project.

John Campbell, QC, was found to have breached the faculty's code of conduct after giving a speech in 2004 which referred to Barbara Doig, the Holyrood project sponsor, as a "librarian".

Mrs Doig lodged a formal complaint with the faculty about what she believed to be disparaging remarks about her. Yesterday, the faculty confirmed it had ordered Mr Campbell not to make any more comments on the case.

Well isn't that terrible after managing (or not) to waste more than 400 million of our money she doesn't want to be called a "Librarian". A very restrained tag in my humble opinion. On the Dole would be a more suitable job.

Perhaps we could seek compensation from her for wasting our money.

Some more details on Mrs Doig:

Barbara Doig was the project sponsor of the Holyrood building during the formative years of the project, taking over in March 1998. She was at the centre of the decision to reinstate Bovis Lend Lease to the shortlist to manage the project. Bovis went on to win the contract.

She was publicly criticised for her role in the project by Lord Fraser.

Mrs Doig returned to the Executive's research department before retiring early at the age of 58 two years ago on a good final-salary, civil service pension.

One comment from JayJay in Glasgow on the story says it all.

Mrs Doig could have perhaps explained, in mitigation, her extensive experience in managing large scale building projects.
Since she presumably had zero skills to offer in the construction sector, and is presumably a Civil servant of some sort, I think it would be fair comment to liken her to a librarian. She's certainly closer to that than to a construction professional!

The Scotsman - Jibe earns lawyer rebuke

How to spot Potty Neighbours

According to the Scotsman the possible signs of a cannabis-factory house include:

• Windows are permanently covered

• Comings and goings at unusual times

• People do not live there and only visit to maintain the premises

• By-products such as used fertiliser removed in black bin-bags or laundry bags

• A vent protruding through the roof of a rear window

• A pungent smell

• There may also be noise from the cooling fans.
Also if your neighbour is called Dave and hugs hoodies it may be another clue.

The Scotsman - Leafy suburbia: Coming to a middle-class house near you ... the cannabis factory

Twice as many Scots die from drink than in rest of the UK

As a resident of Aberdeenshire I might feel better about these results than some others in Scotland. Apparently:

Fifteen of the 20 local authority areas with the highest alcohol-related male death rates were in Scotland, with Glasgow top of the league with 83.7 deaths per 100,000.
The figures also revealed wide variations across Scotland, with Aberdeenshire reporting a death rate only a sixth of that in Glasgow.

But it is a Scottish disease that is killing nearly 2400 people a year here. To put this number in context it is is about 8 times the number killed in road accidents, which is much more widely reported on. Drinking too much is often joked upon in Scotland but the truth behind the jokes is appalling.

Don't forget this disease has no respect for wealth, creed or colour.

The stark statistics above are the most visible part of the damage that drinking can create - but behind the figures are real lives that have been destroyed and grieving families devastated.

The Scotsman - Twice as many Scots die from drink than in rest of the UK

More UK troops for Afghanistan

After our "Glorious Leader's" amazing revelations on the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq we find out the real reason why this is happening.

Just 24 hours ago Mr Blair announced to a shocked and awed Commons the withdrawal from Iraq of 1600 troops. No mention that 1000 more would be going to Afghanistan. No this was left to one of his toadies to announce the next day.

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said:

"the move showed that British forces were too "overstretched" to carry out duties in both Iraq and Afghanistan."
Let us hope they all return safely.

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | More UK troops for Afghanistan

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Violence of the Lambs

Following on from Yesterdays Sheep post, today's one may appeal to those of the Kiwi variety again. Those of a sensitive nature should look away.

Hat Tip to Womble's Rants

Harry and Iraq

I must admit I'm in two minds about whether Prince Harry should serve in Iraq.

On the one hand I think it is right that he should defend his country and be on the front-line and on the other I can see the dangers that he might bring to his fellow Officers and Men.

On balance I believe he should be there, if his exact location can be kept fairly secure, and thus does not make him the target of attacks by the terrorists who are causing all the trouble in Iraq.

Also the example of him actually serving in Iraq will be good both for all the armed forces but also for Britain as a whole.

I wish him the good luck he deserves for his bravery and that he returns home safely to his family along with all the others who are serving with our Armed Services in these troubled times.

The Prince of Wales - A joint statement from the Ministry of Defence and Clarence House about the operational deployment of Cornet Wales

Free Speech - Egyptian blogger jailed for four years

So much for free speech!

Egyptian blogger jailed for four years The Register

Not me Guv - Blair defiant over Iraq security

I see our glorious leader has assumed no responsibility for the situation in Iraq, He said

" he bore no responsibility nor would he apologise for the "terrible" security situation in Iraq. "I don't think we should be apologising because we're not causing the terrorism. "It's being caused by internal extremists who are linking up with external extremists. And 80-90% of that violence is in or around Baghdad and it's being caused deliberately in order to stop the government of Iraq - which 12 million people voted for - from functioning."
So his lack of forethought prior to the Invasion of Iraq should not be taken into account. Did he think that the extremists would sit on their thumbs and say thank you. This man is beyond belief and must be got rid of as soon as possible. When will Gordon Brown have the balls to stand up and say it's time to go Tony.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Blair defiant over Iraq security

£16 million saved on Holyrood!

Apparently, as well as being pig ugly, the final bill for Holyrood will be 414 million pounds, but lucky us they have managed to save 16 million on the final total.

Not bad considering the initial estimates from this inept parliament were between 10 and 40 million pounds. So they have managed to save what it should have cost, what an achievement. Best of luck in governing this Country.

Here's a masterful understatement from the Presiding Officer George Reid:

"The Holyrood saga has been a long haul, it's been wearing, it has also been damaging, in my view, to Scottish self-confidence in our ability to run our own affairs. And that is why I use the word 'closure' today in its full double meaning."

Reading a little further it is revealed that
No-one responsible for the rise from the first estimate of between £10 million and £40 million to the eventual total lost their job.
If this had been anywhere in private industry the people responsible would have been sent on there way without thinking, but when you and I are paying nobody takes responsibility.

Just as a final note it's interesting to note that the total VAT payable to Mr Brown was in excess of the 40 million top estimate.

Holyrood seeks 'closure' over its £414 million fiasco

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

For Ovine Lovers (Aberdonians)

A website especially aimed at Aberdonians. Though, apparently, New Zealanders like their sheep more than Dons Supporters.

New Zealanders flock to The Register

Warning after Scafell baby rescue

Amazing what people will do to try and kill themselves these days.

I have no problem with people climbing mountains, but when they put other people at risk you have to question what they were doing.

Mind you Scafell Pike is only a wee bit of a hill.

Warning after Scafell baby rescue

Are you being Monitored?

Apparently there were 439,000 requests made to monitor people’s telephone calls, e-mails and post by secret agencies and other authorised bodies in just over a year. Now if I can work this out this means that about 1 in 140 of the population has been monitored.

Agencies that can monitor the above include: MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, the signals intelligence centre in Cheltenham, as well as 52 police forces, 475 local authorities and 108 other organisations such as the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Services Authority.

So look around you and wonder who is being monitored and why. You must know one of these people.

Privacy row as checks on phones and e-mails hit 439,000-News-UK-Crime-TimesOnline

MSPs' expenses soar by twice rate of inflation to £9.8m

I see the pigs trough that is Holyrood managed to increase expenses for MSP's by double the rate of inflation despite the following warning last year from Tom McCabe, the finance minister:

"We do not want to consume any more precious resources or employ any more staff than necessary. We will be looking at cutting duplication and bureaucracy to ensure we have more efficient and effective public services."
Obviously these words were taken to heart by our wonderfully useful MSP's.

The Scotsman - MSPs' expenses soar by twice rate of inflation to £9.8m

I did it my way - So bugger the rest of you

Worth a read, what initially comes through is that Tony believes he is right about everything and bugger the rest of you. More later.

Exclusive: Tony Blair's Exit Interview - Newsweek: International Editions -

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blair announces Iraq Withdrawal to Media.

I see our "Glorious Leader" is announcing his plans for withdrawal from Iraq.

Tony Blair is expected to announce a timetable for the withdrawal of UK troops from Iraq.

The prime minister is due to make an announcement in the House of Commons on Wednesday in which he is expected clarify the details.

Mr Blair is expected to say hundreds of troops will return from Basra within weeks with more to follow later.
As usual the announcement is made first to the newspapers and media rather than to Parliament. Not surprising this as the "Glorious Leader" seldom wants to be associated with debates on Iraq in the House of Commons.

As usual the details are leaked to the press with no real substance and are probably aimed at quieting his back benchers after todays bad news in the Polls.

From what little details are available it looks like the promised withdrawal will be longer and slower than expected, though I'm sure this will be glossed over.

As my wife wrote on Political Betting

"Whatever decisions this government have taken over Iraq, it has been been for their own political agenda rather than the good of the Iraqi people or the British military"

"I have concerns about how much involvement the commanders on the ground in Iraq have had in the withdrawal details and media operation before this announcement was leaked."

"Before every newspaper in the UK has it on their frontpage, I hope that the MP’s sitting in the chamber remember that comment (A Downing Street spokesman said: “It is right that the prime minister should update Parliament first").when they read about before they troop into the HoC tomorrow!
Still never let it be said that Blair has ever shown any regard for the British soldiers and their families injured or killed, or parliament when he could not be bothered to even turn up for the last debate on Iraq. Watching the panarama programme last night I was struck by how little media coverage has been given/allowed or figures issued for the casualties in Iraq.
Obviously the "Glorious Leader" will be hoping that this announcement will be part of his legacy as Prime Minister, unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth, his legacy will be Iraq but it will be a hollow legacy.

His real legacy will be how he brought us into the war via a series of lies and half-truths, His legacy will be the hundreds of thousands of dead civilians because of a horrific lack of foresight, His legacy will be the thousands of dead soldiers and allied personnel and finally his legacy will be the grieving families of all the British Armed forces killed in Iraq.

Let us hope that this withdrawal is accomplished safely and that Iraq will be a more peaceful place.

Perhaps I am cynical but tomorrow may also bring other announcements that may not reflect well on the Blair government.

UPDATE 21-02-2007 12:48

Amazing as prophesied by my Wife and agreed by me news of further interviews in the "Cash for Honours" scandal is released this morning. Oh what fortuitous timing. This continues the unbelievable stench that now surrounds Mr Blair.

Let us only hope that withdrawal from Iraq has been properly discussed, correct strategies have been developed and politicians have not been forcing the pace.

BBC NEWS | UK | Blair 'to confirm Iraq timetable'

"Hilarious Hewitt"

So according to the slightly less than 'Hilarious Hewitt' the NHS will balance its books this year and should show a slight surplus.

But again as usual looking a little closer it is the usual lies, deception and creative accounting that is the face of this corrupt government and its leader Tony Blair.

Basically money has been held back centrally and training stopped or curtailed. In addition to this some NHS regions and trusts have just stopped doing work for the last weeks of the year to stop them running up larger deficits.

All this is doing is giving an appearance that the books are balanced, whilst in reality problems are being stored up for later. This is typical of the disintegrating government that we must now suffer.

As Andrew Lansley, Shadow Health Secretary, said:

"Labour are able to claim that the NHS will finish this year in surplus, but the surplus they have generated is a sham.

"There are more NHS organisations, saddled with worse deficits, than there were last year.

"Patricia Hewitt's skin is being saved only by savage cuts to centrally-held budgets, which will all need to be restored in the years to come."
Liberal Democrat spokesman Norman Lamb added.

"A lot of trusts were being forced to take very tough measures to get their finances back on track.

"The impact on patient care around the country could be very damaging."

More reading on this here.

Many NHS trusts face growing debt

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by fitaloon.
Taken during a walk round Loch Kinord.

Scottish Wolf

Originally uploaded by fitaloon.
Just a wee pic for a Sunday morning.

Maybe we will be seeing them in Scotland some time in the future.