Monday, 29 December 2008

Spot the Successful Peace Envoy

The peace envoy, putting in the hard yards.

The result of all that clever work.
Damn, he's good! A wonderful diplomat and such a transparently honest man. A grateful nation should buy him another house.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Gotta Love the Catholic Church

A Happy Christmas from Idle.

I trust you will all be clean and well-groomed for Matins on Christmas Day.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Friday, 12 December 2008

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Next Year's Model

Click on the pic for larger image and so you can read the text. Didn't the Tuscan just buy one of these in the East Midlands?

UPDATE: The launch of this model has been cancelled and replaced by The Bankrupt, an exciting new model that utilises all the parts we can find in the inventory. All GM's Senator models are to be recalled and scrapped, by way of showing dissent.

UPDATE 2: The launch of The Bankrupt has been cancelled with immediate effect. The new model, sponsored by the US Treasury, is provisionally named the Last Chance Saloon.
(I'll get ma coat)

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Dealing With the Economic Downturn


Mr Brown's efforts have no immediate effects, but he's hopeful.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Spirited Democrat v Chippy EU Bullies

You do not have to be a political anorak to read the following and feel your blood boil. I would run across a busy motorway to punch the bog-trotter Crowley on the nose; I'm not too fussed about his dead relatives, I have to say. Perhaps I plugged one in a firefight in the early eighties in Armagh.
Thankfully, the man pictured is a proper geezer. The Czechs take over the EU presidency in January.

Excerpts from the transcript of a meeting between Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, and members of the Conference of the Presidents of the European Parliament, Friday 5 December 2008, Prague Castle.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit MEP: I brought you a flag, which, as we heard, you have everywhere here at the Prague Castle. It is the flag of the European Union, so I will place it here in front of you. It will be a tough Presidency. The Czech Republic will have to deal with the work directive and climate package. EU climate package represents less than what our faction would wish for. It will be necessary to hold on to the minimum of that. I am certain that the climate change represents not only a risk, but also a danger for the future development of the planet. My view is based on scientific views and majority approval of the EP and I know you disagree with me. You can believe what you want, I don't believe, I know that global warming is a reality.
Lisbon Treaty: I don't care about your opinions on it. I want to know what you are going to do if the Czech Chamber of Deputies and the Senate approve it. Will you respect the will of the representatives of the people? You will have to sign it.
I want you to explain to me what is the level of your friendship with Mr Ganley from Ireland. How can you meet a person whose funding is unclear? You are not supposed to meet him in your function. It is a man whose finances come from problematic sources and he wants to use them to be funding his election campaign into the EP.

President Vaclav Klaus: I must say that nobody has talked to me in such a style and tone for the past 6 years. You are not on the barricades in Paris here. I thought that these manners ended for us 18 years ago but I see I was wrong. I would not dare to ask how the activities of the Greens are funded. If you are concerned about a rational discussion in this half an hour, which we have, please give the floor to someone else, Mr Chairman.

EU Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering: No, we have plenty of time. My colleague will continue, because anyone from the members of the EP can ask you whatever he likes. (to Cohn-Bendit:) Please continue.

Klaus: This is incredible. I have never experienced anything like this before.

Cohn-Bendit: Because you have not experienced me..

Klaus: This is incredible.

Cohn-Bendit: We have always had good talks with President Havel. And what will you tell me about your attitude towards the anti-discrimination law? I will gladly inform you about our funding.

Pöttering: Brian Crowley, please.

Brian Crowley MEP: I am from Ireland and I am a member of a party in government. All his life my father fought against the British domination. Many of my relatives lost their lives. That is why I dare to say that the Irish wish for the Lisbon Treaty. It was an insult, Mr. President, to me and to the Irish people what you said during your state visit to Ireland. It was an insult that you met Declan Ganley, a man with no elected mandate. This man has not proven the sources from which his campaign was funded. I just want to inform you what the Irish felt. I wish you that you get the programme of your Presidency through and you will get through what European citizens want to see.

Klaus: Thank you for this experience which I gained from this meeting. I did not think anything like this is possible and have not experienced anything like this for the past 19 years. I thought it was a matter of the past that we live in democracy, but it is post-democracy, really, which rules the EU.
You mentioned the European values. The most important value is freedom and democracy. The citizens of the EU member states are concerned about freedom and democracy, above all. But democracy and freedom are losing ground in the EU today. It is necessary to strive for them and fight for them.
I would like to emphasize, above all, what most citizens of the Czech Republic feel, that for us the EU membership has no alternative. It was me who submitted the EU application in the year 1996 and who signed the Accession treaty in 2003. But the arrangements within the EU have many alternatives. To take one of them as sacrosanct, untouchable, about which it is not possible to doubt or criticize it, is against the very nature of Europe.
As for the Lisbon Treaty, I would like to mention that it is not ratified in Germany either. The Constitutional Treaty, which was basically the same as the Lisbon Treaty, was refused in referendums in other two countries. If Mr. Crowley speaks of an insult to the Irish people, then I must say that the biggest insult to the Irish people is not to accept the result of the Irish referendum. In Ireland I met somebody who represents a majority in his country. You, Mr. Crowley, represent a view which is in minority in Ireland. That is a tangible result of the referendum.

Crowley: With all respect, Mr. President, you will not tell me what the Irish think. As an Irishman, I know it best.

Klaus: I do not speculate about what the Irish think. I state the only measurable data which were proved by the referendum.
In our country the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified because our parliament has not decided on it yet. It is not the President's fault. Let's wait for the decision of both Chambers of the Parliament, that is the current phase of the ratification process in which the President plays no role whatsoever. I cannot sign the Treaty today, it is not on my table, it is up to the parliament to decide about it now. My role will come after the eventual approval of the Treaty in the Parliament...

Pöttering: ... In the conclusion - and I want to leave this room in good terms - I would like to say that it is more than unacceptable, if you compare us, compare us with the Soviet Union. We are all deeply rooted in our countries and our constituencies. We are concerned about freedom and reconciliation in Europe, we are good willing, not naïve.

Klaus: I did not compare you with the Soviet Union, I did not mention the words "Soviet Union". I only said that I have not experienced such an atmosphere, such style of debate in the past 19 years in the Czech Republic, really.

Monday, 1 December 2008

A Public Service

When they are not raiding MPs' offices in the Palace of Westminster under "anti-terror" laws, this is how plod might spoil your Christmas.

I don't know if many or any of this blog's lamentably small readership shoot, but those that do should see this letter that I received today. And those that don't shoot but know people who do, should warn them.

A friend of mine was shooting in Devon last week and he and one of his fellow guns were stopped on the A361 at about 5pm and BOTH were breathalysed on the grounds that even the passenger might be committing an offence if he was shown to be over the limit in charge of shotguns. Both were clear and proceeded on their way. My friend contacted the BASC to find out what the situation would be had his passenger been over the limit. He was told by the BASC that, even if you are over the limit, if your shotguns are "secure" in a car being driven by someone else and you are not being "a danger to the public" you are not committing an offence and the police should not breathalyse a passenger without considerable cause. My friend is in the investigations business and spoke to a police contact who looked into the incident. Apparently the police are targeting 4 x 4 vehicles throughout the country but especially in shooting areas and particularly if they are muddy and it is after lunch. You should warn your clients and friends to be particularly careful as it is not only their driving licences that are at risk. Their shotguns can be confiscated and their permits can also be revoked. Traffic police can (and are) asking if shotguns or rifles are being carried and if so, people are being asked to show their permits. If they do not have them, the shotguns can be (often are) confiscated then and there. We are under enough pressure without further ammunition (forgive the pun) being handed to the antis. Can you see the headline? DRUNK WITH A GUN.