Saturday, 22 December 2012

An original thought of defence

It is Christmas yet once again. It is a festive season. I quite enjoy it and always have. I think it is fair to say that I used to enjoy it a lot more. But fret not, I shall take pleasure in being with my family and friends as much as I ever have. Perhaps it will be different this year though, perhaps we might finally reach that crescendo where we realise that lo and behold we already have so much junk in our tiny houses that we really do not need more of it courtesy of the consumer society that we live in. Would it not be nice if we could give away happiness and joy instead of iPods and jewellery. Naturally I realise that this is an inimical part of capitalism but to me at least it seems that we have so much stuff these days that we simply do not need more.

But I digress. My thoughts are on defence. The defence budget is shrinking and this is sad and bad - but does it really matter? The first duty of the state is to protect the people under its aegis. To protect their values and cherish their believes and way of life. A budget must reflect its people. Certainly the welfare budget does. But, maybe, just maybe, the budget is a true reflection of our country these days. The budget is decreased because there is less to defend and protect, not physical things, but abstract concepts like 'family' or 'afternoon tea'. As these concepts continue to crumble then can we really be so surprised that the MoD is reducing the budget, after all, what is there to protect anymore? Our right to binge drink, to not participate in democracy, to shun work?

Friday, 12 October 2012


G.K. Chesterton pointed out that condemning patriotism because it has been cited as a cause of war is like condemning love because it has been cited as a cause of murder.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Mohammed online what a crime

It is all kicking off again. We have seen it before and before we saw it before, we saw it before that. It is becoming a prevalent theme in the world now, not just where there are large concentrations of Muslims but also where there are not. After all, people need to hate, they need to get their daily dose of two-minute hate as was described in 1984 by Orwell. The difference is of course that we are not seeing two minutes now, we are seeing a lot more, and far more violent and apparently because someone, somewhere, in some country, on the other side of the planet (relative to the middle east), had the audacity to post a video insulting Mohammed and thus Islam itself.

Lets do an experiment. I put into google the following phrase "mohammed pictures". Google gives me 46,200,000 results. Lets spell that out: forty-six million results. Now I do not have time to go through all the websites, but whilst we cannot make the assumption that all websites do harbour images of Mohammed, we can be quite sure that the number of images of Mohammed rank in the order of millions.

These have been around for years.

How come no one is getting upset about these images? Google, business savvy as they are, also exists in arabic form. Here is the really interesting thing. If we put in the same search term as above into the arabic Google then we suddenly have 105,000,000 results. That's twice as many as the English version. This is curious indeed. The results would suggest that to an arab speaking audience, there are more images of Mohammed available than there are to an English audience. Naturally we are only speculating as to the content of these 105 million websites, but statistically speaking it is not inconceivable to make such an extrapolation to further the argument.

We are thus in the curious position of exposing abject hypocrisy on the part of the minorities who insist on prevailing a culture of hatred towards, well, anything that in their minds insults Islam (but this, mind you, appears to be just about anything). Now, the western media has almost exclusively been focusing on the producer on the film which supposedly insulted the great swathes of Muslims down yonder (this is of course ignoring the 105 million search results...) - they are trying to figure who had the audacity to make a film criticising Mohammed. That clearly is what we should be focusing on, not that fact that hundreds of thousands of Muslims have gone completely ape-shit over a crappy 14-minute amateur film, exposing the views of one person. It is a bit like last week when we had two unfolding stories: first the tragic brutal slaying of two unarmed police officers in Manchester; the second about a Cabinet Minister who gave a police officer a gob-full out the front of 10 Downing Street. Hardly comparable events, yet a week on and one has overshadowed the other.

With Islam, should one so like to initiate debate one does have to tread carefully, granted, they are far more sensitive about anything regarding their religion than most other theisms.

What all great religions need to understand about the West, as they seem so potent to impress upon us; the sanctity of Mohammed/Islam, we value freedom of speech and freedom of expression just as highly as they value their religion. People dislike me for what I say on this blog, and I patronise most people who hold objectionable views to mine (because they are silly). But, and this is a big but, I do appreciate their criticism when I get it (and that is a lot). I value their opinions because it means I can improve mine - improve, but not change.

If someone insists upon complete and total absolution of their item of virtue, be it religion or e.g. democracy. They must also understand that the sword that they propose to wield in order to defend said institution, will be wielded tenfold by those who do not. The reason for this is simple; most people do not harbour under the illusion that theirs is something free of criticism.

Friday, 22 June 2012

The wisdom of the Duke of Wellington

With the Government insistent that the military must bear its fair share of the budget cuts, relying on an army of part-time soldiers is the only option available, and one the top brass have reluctantly concluded that they must embrace. Indeed, their approach is not that different from the Duke of Wellington’s, when, during the Peninsula War (when the British Army was roughly the same size as it is today), he remarked: “As this is the last army England has, we must take care of it.”

Monday, 28 May 2012

A slow and callous update albeit happy

Dear readers (if there are any of you left),

You will have to as always excuse my ineptitude at posting as frequently as one should, one who is interested in the world and what goes on around us. As players in it we have a duty to take an interest in its functioning (or lack thereof).

This persona has been exceedingly busy the past few months and is currently in the final stages of his degree. Glorious times these are indeed until a research degree starts this autumn which will be even more difficult than this past undergraduate experience has been. Difficult but fun it must be said.

What of politics then? Well, things on that arena seem to be going rather jolly well I would say; the coalition is an utter disaster, voters think the coalition is an utter disaster, the Liberal Democrats will be removed from the face of politics for a generation, the Conservatives will be sorely punished as well come the next election, Labour are doing well because they are not Dave and Nick not because they have anything genuine to say and finally it would appear that politics in the UK has quite lost its way.

Where will it lead? Very hard to say. Disillusionment takes many forms. Not all of them good. It is likely that we shall not see a coalition again for some time. The political cost of entering into a new one would simply not flush with voters. People will surely be reminded of this spectacle whenever they hear the word `coalition' and wince at the mere notion of another one. No, I think we can give the future the benefit of the doubt that there will be no more coalitions for the foreseeable time to come.

So many words have been written by pundits about why the coalition is not working, analysing the relationship between Clegg and his moron Lib Dems, between Cameron and his moron Conservative MPs (none of which seem to have a spine large enough to actually nail their colours to another mast) and not really concluding very much. Well a simple conclusion will be that on current form, being lead by a man so bereft of principles, moral values and general beliefs of a society he wishes to live in, can not lead to victory in a general election. It would be genuinely non-sensical for a common-sense voter to support David Cameron. Equally why anyone would ever be stupid enough to ever `agree with Nick' again is question for that person to answer.

A disillusionment with politics then is seemingly the X-factor of our time. Jeff Randall takes a stab at summing it up rather eloquently in today's Telegraph. Though his is a very very coarse and general description, it does ring so very true for those of us who do not have the luxury of working in a palace courtesy of the Queen. That said, my university used to be very pretty until they tore most of it down, built by the Victorians, and replaced it by those sad edifices of buildings often caricatured by the 60s. Nonetheless, Mr Randall goes through the vices (few virtues of the coalition I am afraid, though if I were pressured into naming one it would be Mr Gove) of this ineptitude personified that is the coalition.

Mr Randall exfoliates it as such...

Well, immigration remains a shocker. The Office for National Statistics says that net migration to the United Kingdom in the year to September 2011 was above 250,000, despite David Cameron’s promise of reducing it to “tens of thousands”. Arrivals are pouring in at nearly 600,000 a year and the majority, 58 per cent, are from outside the European Union. While the number of student visas has dropped, many economic migrants seem to have little difficulty bypassing dysfunctional border controls. The evidence of illegal entry is there for any minister to see – on the streets of London, Birmingham and Manchester. Theresa May talks tough, but her credibility is threadbare. Fail.

Education is a mixed bag. Michael Gove appears to be attacking dumbed down A‑levels, but his colleague, David Willetts, has joined forces with social engineers to debase our best universities’ entry requirements. The problem is not Oxbridge but a comprehensive system which, in far too many cases, delivers abysmal results. Fail.

Following the Strategic Defence Review in 2010, the Ministry of Defence is cutting the Armed Forces by 25,000 military personnel and 29,000 civilian staff in order to save £4.1 billion (about 0.6 per cent of the Chancellor’s annual budget). Meanwhile, we have been left without an aircraft carrier until 2020 and until then will rely on the kindness of strangers. Fail. (It should be said here that this author, 13th, could probably write a book upon that ignominious defence review as could probably a lot of people who care of it - that is how shambolic it was).

 As for policing, the news is no better. The number of officers in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest levels for 10 years. In September 2011, there were 6,000 fewer (down by 4 per cent) compared with one year earlier. Only one of the 43 forces, Surrey Police, increased numbers over that period. On this issue, there is a gaping disconnection between those in power and the people they purport to serve. While the Coalition stresses the need to cut prison numbers and emphasises rehabilitation, voters demand harsher sentences and are deeply sceptical about claims that crime is falling. A recent poll shows that only 13 per cent think that the Coalition has been tougher on crime than Labour was. Fail.

On Europe, Mr Cameron had his chance to call a referendum and flunked it. His pledge to take back powers from Brussels has, so far, been unfulfilled. Fail.

Households are being squeezed by stealth. The Bank of England has been encouraged to print money, enabling the Government to bilk its creditors through inflation: so much easier than paying them back the hard way or default. Despite the myth of “austerity”, real public spending was just £8 billion (1.1 per cent) lower in 2011-12 than in 2009-10. Higher taxes and inflation, not lower spending, are Plan A. Fail.

And what of the Coalition’s minority partners? I won’t insult your intelligence by pretending to understand the average Liberal Democrat’s mindset, but on one issue we can be very confident. When a party’s flagship policy is the abolition of university tuition fees and it later oversees an increase from £3,000 to £9,000, its supporters are unlikely to look favourably on the architects of betrayal. Fail.

After being trounced in the recent local elections, representatives on both sides of government expressed regret that they had not explained their policies well enough. This is self-delusion on a grand scale. The electorate knew precisely what was on offer – and stayed at home. Fail, fail, fail.

Friday, 2 March 2012

A proper raison d'ĂȘtre

To be a man means that you are brave, loyal and true. When you are in the wrong, you own up and take your punishment. You don’t take advantage of women. As a husband, you support and protect your wife and children. You are gracious in victory and a good sport in defeat. Your word is your bond. Your handshake is as good as your word. It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. When the ship goes down, you put the women and children into the lifeboat and wave good-bye with a smile.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The most pathetic British Political Party: The Liberal Democrats

There was me thinking that the wretched AV referendum was the price paid for the boundary changes. The Lib Dems are, for reasons best known to themselves, determined to cement their reputation as the most duplicitous, weak-willed, and incompetent party in British politics.

Perhaps we need to occasionally remind them of this:
- despite spending an election saying they'd back the party with the most votes and seats in a hung Parliament they desperately tried to hatch a deal with Labour
- despite telling voters that tuition fees was such a priority for them it was worthy of its own pledge, when the coalition negotiations got underway they dropped it immediately in order to get a compromise on constitutional change
- despite wearing their green and rural credentials on their sleeve they didn't ask to have a Minister in Defra
- despite voting for the original Health Bill and signing off on it, they then did an about-turn when it looked unpopular
- despite getting their compromises on the Health Bill during the pause, when it was still unpopular they came out against it again
- despite agreeing to the tactics over the proposed EU treaty, when those tactics being played out resulted in a UK veto, they howled outrage

They rank alongside cowards and traitors, and they deserve nothing but the boot come the next election, thankfully the British public seems realise that as well. For that I am glad. It is a quite a feat indeed to be more incompetent, hated and to excite a feeling of disgust, in the contemporary political classes that rule this stupendous country of ours. They arouse nothing but snide remarks and general feelings of derision when spoken of, as they bloody well should. They compound the worst bits of left-wing ideology, at least Labour have some good ideas and have as of late started apologising (very slowly albeit) for their time in office as New Labour. We will never get that from the Lib Dems, they will only be happy when they have managed to drag down all that is good in these lands to their mediocre average level.

One simply asks, is there any pro-British matter that Clegg is in favour of? It appears that he is hellbent on destroying the validity of every traditional British institution and mostly in favour of EU institutions.

There are pejorative words for such people.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

YouGov / Sunday Times Survey Results

This is rather interesting stuff:

Conservatives: 37%
Labour: 41%
Liberal Democrats: 7%
UKIP: 6%
Green: 3%
BNP: 1%

Sunday, 12 February 2012


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Fool of a Prime Minister

David Cameron may set targets for women in boardrooms.

Yes - this makes sense. When the economy is a trillion pounds in debt, all you have to do is put more women in the boardroom and - hey presto! - the whole nation returns to solvency and prosperity!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Bureaucracy in the EU

A comparison of what you might need to know about bureaucracy within the EU:

Pythagorean theorem: ...................................................24 words

Lord's prayer ...................................................................66 words

Archimedes' Principle: ...................................................67 words

The 10 Commandments: ..............................................179 words

Gettysburg address: .....................................................286 words

US Declaration of Independence : ..........................1,300 words

US Constitution with all 27 Amendments: .............7,818words

EU regulations for the sale of cabbage: ................26,911 words

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Curious academic world

It is an absolute mystery to me why Oxford's Plant Sciences division has so many PhDs available whereas Physical Sciences don't have any. What's going on I say? What?

Here's the question of the day boys and girls: why are academics so fucking rude on email?

Thursday, 26 January 2012


An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little..

The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. It could not be any simpler than that.

Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

It is not just Oxford who have lost their glory

This is an interesting story I find on academic standards at Oxford, interesting I find because it resonates very well with what I have experienced during my time at a "top 5" or "G5" university in the UK. It is a depressing picture I will paint for you indeed, very depressing. To say that standards have dropped is a bloody understatement. Standards have not dropped they have quite frankly disappeared.

First of all, to not get a first these days, at least from my course, would place you amongst the failures in this world. That said it is by no means an easy course to get into: you need at least 40 IB points (out of a maximum possible 45) and at least A*A*A with the two A*s in Maths and Physics and the third A-level should preferably be in Further Maths. The graduate tutors struggle to find good people unfortunately. We started of as a group of 80 students. 20 have since disappeared. Some have changed course but most have failed, which means either retaking a year or leaving the university. Most opt for the former but it is out of their own purse.

The status of our coursework is not much better, some of us try to produce original work but are placed in a very depressed situation when one finds that a lot of people have simply copied from the previous years. Seemingly without anyone noticing. This is so common that it is standard now. They have plagiarism software but it is totally useless; you could probably get away with claiming all of MacBeth as your own. It would never notice. Some lab rapports might as well be taken from a standard template. Zero thinking involved, only copying.

Then we have exams. This is the truly most depressing area of them all. Now, the reader should note that your humble narrator is by no means on course for a first. He is a pretty feeble academic superstar, a goon amongst the aces if you will. A first is not his business, he is not that clever. However I do appreciate a good challenge for my brain and we get that sometimes but mostly not. You see the way we and most people revise for exams is not by learning and understanding the material, no, we revise by exclusively doing past papers. Yes, you can throw in a few tutorials as well if you want to mix things up. But first and foremost people do past papers to pass the current papers. This manifests itself in a very strange way, particularly when the examiner has attempted to actually examine us and refuses to be part of the degree making machine. When they truly examine us, when they truly make original questions, people fail. They fail because they cannot think outside the box, they fail because they have learned a model answer and they fail because they have not actually learned anything at all, only a method. A way of doing things, not how or why it works, only that it does. Because that, it in the end, is what goes on your transcript; a mark which says that you know how to do X in Y way. And if Z presents itself you best get another scientist 'cause this one don't know of a method to solve this slightly different problem.

There is nothing original with our degrees anymore at least, they are nothing but certificates with a lot of really fancy sounding names on them.

Oh and I should also mention a really funny quirk; when a majority has failed an exam they scale the marks. Instead of asking themselves why they failed, or if the students genuinely know anything in their respective subject, they scale the marks. An exegesis of the student's actual academic fortitude is ostracised.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Britain will buy French Rafales - guaranteed

This is how it starts, an 'official leak' has been instigated, showing that the Americans have some serious doubts about the F35. As they quite rightly should. That it has reached British media is a coincidence.

Reports on this security level are not just "leaked" as if it were another NOTW story. If it actually were that easy then the Russians and Iranians, the Chinese and god knows who else, would be all over it. In reality this sort of classified information barely gets out of the building in which it was compiled. Hence, this is not a 'leak story'.

We wont be able to buy the F35 simply because it will cost us too much, it is a hugely complex aircraft which might fly some day, but not on their budget nor timeline. It will fly but not under our flag.

As you might understand, this unfortunate situation lends itself to the rather politically embarrassing scenario where we have: two aircraft carriers, one which we have mothballed straight away because we cannot afford planes to fly from it and the other does not have any planes at all because they do not work. What is the quick solution? Navalised HAWKs possibly yes, but they have virtually no weaponry to speak of, pretty A/C though. We could buy Americans F18 Hornets, and loads of them for probably a reduced price. But no, we will buy French because, as you know, we are now in a strategic alliance with the French. This means that they will buy the second mothballed carrier and put their Rafales on them, and we will buy their Rafales to put on ours. A neat but very dishonest solution. As such it fits very nicely with the British political landscape, where there has not been an honest voice since the end of WW2.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

That's fair...

Annual salary of an MP: £65,738

Private, British Army, Level 1: £17,265

Thursday, 12 January 2012

To note

It is in the nature of institutions to seek to extend their power. Always.


£33bn to travel to Birmingham...

Who the fuck wants to go to Birmingham?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Compare the Navies! (no this is not about the movie Avatar)


28,000 personnel
65 aircraft
5 Frigates
3 Corvettes
26 Submarines
24 Fast Attack Craft
98 Large Patrol craft
+100 light missile boat
16 Hovercraft


324,466 active duty personnel
284 ships
3,700+ aircraft
11 Aircraft carriers
9 Amphibious assault ships
8 Amphibious transport docks
12 Dock landing ships
22 Cruisers
60 Destroyers
27 Frigates
75 Submarines

Who would 'win'?