Friday 22 April 2011

I Hate Batteries!

So my old car has sat most of the winter because the little remote thing, of which I only have one, had a faulty button. Sometimes it unlocked, sometimes it didn’t. If the cat sat on the car’s roof the alarm went off and sometimes the button silenced it, sometimes it didn’t. As some steaming  pillock of a designer had decided to provide only one button, which sets/unsets both the immobiliser and the alarm it was totally impossible with an erratic malfunctioning button to know what state the car was in! The fact that there is no visible dashboard light to even warn when the (auto setting) immobiliser was set just made it more of a gamble, having got into it without waking the street then sometimes it would start, sometimes it would churn round uselessly. I despair of designers!

As Saab are one of the most expensive main dealers I found a spare remote, then spent hours trying to find someone who could code it. Nope! It might be the same system as a Vauxhall but the Saab software is locked to Saab’s electronic analysis machines. Dear Saab. I don’t want to steal it just want to drive the damn thing without being held to ransom for a trivial bit of programming.

Eventually I found a helpful lock specialist, they couldn’t re-programme it, but could repair the faulty button (thank you Longton Lock Centre) and collecting the rejuvenated remote I dashed off home to test it. Nope. It seems to click at the right times but the car battery is flat and doesn’t want to take a charge. Presumably months of very cold weather and little use have damaged the battery, so the car is back on ‘hold’ until I get a new battery.

No matter, there is plenty of work to be done around the house, so out comes the cordless electric drill and the new door lock to be fitted. I drill half a hole then the drill stops, battery flat! Into charger with it, while I flatten the spare battery on the second half of the hole. Looks like age or winter killed the drill batteries too. About half a hole or three woodscrews seems to be their limit. Of course all cordless drills use different battery packs which are often more expensive than the drill complete. So that can wait.

Never mind. The trees and garden looks beautiful so I’ll take some pictures, or I would if the camera worked, but the batteries are flat. No matter I have more ready charged, but they won’t work for more than 5 minutes either, then the camera dies with a picture half saved and the memory card and existing pictures can only be rescued on the computer. Two or three years use and rechargables lose most of their capacity.

This is the technology that is meant to replace petrol and diesel in our cars and allow us to travel to work and visit friends or go on holiday.

Dream on greenies!

Thank goodness the bottle opener is manually operated!

Tuesday 19 April 2011

The Referendum nobody cares about

We are now approaching the date for the referendum on AV. The politicians are full of it but even they seem completely unable to find a positive aspect to either outcome. All the prattling is negative and sniping at the opposition. We are told it will let in nasty fringe parties like the BNP or make for ‘weaker’ government (how I wish, so weak they didn’t exist would suit me!)   If this referendum is so good and meant to be so good for our democracy why is all the canvassing so negative?

So what if it does allow an occasional 'nasty' fringe candidate or a totally loony environmentalist into Parliament, they would have to work hard to be loonier and nastier than some of the present or recent incumbents? We may abhor some people’s views, whichever political extreme they come from, but since when does a once-free democracy like ours choose a voting method on the basis of deliberately censoring and excluding fringe parties? That is what is being argued for!

The papers and TV news are similarly full of AV. If there was any way such a voting change could make any real difference or have any real impact it just might matter, but it won’t. Our political classes are now so self-obsessed, so out of touch with real people, and so hard driven by a heady mix of self aggrandisement and love for EU and world integration that it makes not a jot of difference how we vote for them. Whatever the system we will only get a slightly different mix of the same we-know-best-and-will-ignore-you politicians.

There may be minor differences between parties. If one lot end up with more lobby fodder they will throw slightly more of our money at new schools and benefit claimants while the other lot will pretend to be more responsible and shuffle taxes around and prattle on about immigration. But even if they wanted to they can’t do anything significant because the EU won’t let them. It makes no real difference to ordinary people like me, how we vote for the political elite when all three main parties are cut from slightly different shades of the same cloth

The mainstream media have long since colluded with this farce. Pages full of AV voting rubbish. It's no great loss because otherwise they are full of X Factor, the royal wedding, and similar trivia. Or pushing the latest wheeze of the health and control agenda, the familiar tobacco control, booze drinking, food freshness, and all the similar nannying  and nudging that has become part of our daily lives. They don’t bother to even report about the political issues that matter. 

Changing the voting system won’t make a bit of difference, the AV referendum is only being held to keep Clegg happy and more importantly pretend voters have power. It's main purpose being to distract us from the referendum we do all want, the in/out of the EU one. That’s the one they dare not permit to happen.

Saturday 16 April 2011

Are Politicians really so Stupid?

Some difficult family matters have taken my time this week but I have been listening to the news on the way past.

We had Cameron prattling on about immigration and why it should be controlled. A very populist sentiment with many people, but a moment’s thought makes it obvious the damage is long done and he can’t do anything about it. As long as Italy gives temporary residence to North African refugees and the EU continues to expand eastwards we have uncontrolled borders and a continuing influx of people able to claim benefits, housing and help from the UK taxpayer. While the European human rights act is raised above the needs and rights of the native population then he can’t do anything about many non-EU arrivals either. He waffles on similarly about controlling EU budgets, opposing votes for prisoners and all sorts of stuff where similarly he has no real control because that power has long been given away.

So why do politicians say these things and pretend? Are they really too stupid to realise that they are powerless or that we won’t notice the broken promises? Much as I despise many of them I personally don’t think they are. Individuals may be a couple of slices short of a sandwich, but the powers that pull their strings are not, the body politic is not stupid.

Could it be simply populist rhetoric? On the basis of increasing their popularity while they hope and assume nobody will see the reality that belies their words. Do they assume that we will approve their supposed position, think positively of them, and by next week a new issue will have made us forget their vacuous assertions of this week? I expect there is an element of this, just as there are parts of society intellectually feeble enough to be swayed by it, but again it doesn’t explain why they say and do these things.

The more likely explanation is that they are working to an agenda. It all seems idiotic and nonsensical from here and looks as though they have no plans or visions, but that’s because we don’t fully understand what their agenda is. What looks stupid, contradictory and out of touch with reality is usually being done to pursue hidden goals, and indeed often to disguise those goals. Why, for example, at a time when climate science’s alarmism over man-made warming has been severely discredited, and industry needs every helping hand it can get did Osbourne introduce a carbon tax during the budget?

The problem is that we don’t know those goals. Self aggrandisement and personal profit are obvious but there has to be more, and the EU is generally held up as the driving force. All our main politicians are pro EU integration (or have been bought into the cause) so we need to look at EU plans to see how some ‘local’ developments and pronouncements fit, and we can find a very good fit for much government activity.

Cuts to the armed forces mean that any military action has to be a co-operative EU activity where states share resources, and this is exactly what is happening. The discussion about 2 year MOT tests has little to do with freeing motorists, it brings us into line with the EU norms. Our NHS is being reorganised to be more like continental Europe. The carbon tax is the EU’s intended vehicle to enable direct EU taxation, it is mostly hidden from public view and can be collected separately to other taxes. Raising speed limits on motorways, well of course it brings us into line with France and Germany.

And so it goes, everything the political elite do and everything they say has to be seen in the context of their real agenda. Start doing that and all sorts of things begin to make sense.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Happiness Happiness

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess
I thank the Lord I've been blessed
With more than my share of happiness

 So sang Ken Dodd in a simpler era.

I heard this morning on the BBC early propaganda broadcast that an organization called Action for Happiness has just been launched. Sponsored by a somewhat bizarre mix of The Dalai Lama, Carol Ann Duffy and Alain de Botton.

I will restrain my cynical tendencies with regard to the coincidence of Cameron’s previous vacuous uttering’s about a happiness index being as important as financial ones and I will try to put aside thoughts of fake charities, vested interests and social diversions.

I will also assume that their image of happiness does not consist of us sitting around and gently exercising on the weed free grass outside our zero carbon eco-caves watching the pretty windmills turn lazily in the warm breeze, smiling as we eat our salt reduced, low fat, allergen free, non-alcoholic 5 a day meals.

Maybe their idea of happiness is similar to mine, a society where people have maximum freedom, where their wishes are respected and where people show respect for and a lack of interference with, one another and other life choices. Somehow I doubt it, and their ten keys to happier living do little for my confidence, but until my cynicism is confirmed I’ll wish them well.

Friday 8 April 2011

The Denormalisation of Pleasure

Having succeeded in driving smokers outside and turning them into social pariahs the campaigns against drinking, fast foods and various other of  life's pleasures are now gathering pace. 

Today yet another scare story about how anything beyond the smallest drink consumption causes cancer. Their claim is that about 4% of certain cancers are caused by excessive drinking, but as usual in such reports they don’t say how they arrived at the definition of excess or calculated their figure. Nor do they explain how countries like France, with more of a drinking culture than the UK manages to have lower cancer rates. They seem blind to the fact that many people who do drink to excess do so in combination with other life situations, whether depression or homelessness or a poor diet, that would increase their cancer risk irrespective of alcohol.

As is so often the case this research is backed by the World Health Organisation, who are rapidly getting a similar reputation for agenda driven alarmism as their discredited IPCC. And of course such a report is followed by the useful idiot choir of bansterbators like Sir Ian Gilmour and the Alcohol Health Alliance and other fake charities who start wittering on about how regulation is needed.

Yes of course too much alcohol can cause you problems, so can too much sun or too much water or too much horse riding or too much coffee or too much skydiving or too much sex or too much of anything! Basically being alive involves doing things that have a risk, often things that have to be done to stay alive carry a risk and most assuredly most of life’s pleasures do.

I am pleased to know, if only someone would make an honest assessment, what the risk is for any activity then I can decide for myself if the pleasure justifies my doing it. The rest of the choir can just go away, preferably to somewhere hot and unpleasant and carry out some sort of self inflicted painful procedure. I am up to here with do-gooders, bansturbators, nannies and people trying to inflict their own agenda’s on my behaviour Be very sure there is an agenda.