Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

Monthly Archives: June 2011

A Heartfelt Thanks to the #J30 Strikers

This blogger would like to put on record his sincere thanks to those who are striking and protesting today.

For those of use who grew up in the Eighties, we had the miners’ strike. In earlier decades there was the Winter of Discontent and various other spells of industrial unrest. Each of these episodes served as a reminder to each generation of the menace that trade unions can be, when their leaders put their own egos and political dogma above the interests of their members. Therefore, I am grateful that today’s action is being held, as it helps to make the case for tougher union legislation and so strengthens the Government’s hand in this regard. This will ultimately encourage inward investment and thus create jobs and tax revenues, rather than continue to drain the Treasury as your current position would entail.

I would also like to thank the unions for choosing the one issue that has alienated more of the public, and more solidly turned the non-public sector workforce against the cause of the #j30 activists, than any other: your pensions. I checked by pension forecast this morning, and mine will be worth a fifth of yours when I retire, so my sympathy with your cause is entirely non-existent. One negative factor in my case is the money that my fund has been losing for the last 13 years when Gordon Brown – who most of you probably supported – abolished the tax credit reclaim for pension funds. That’s £5bn+ a year which has effectively gone from my pension into yours, which probably explains why the unions weren’t protesting then. Where were your calls for solidarity between workers then, eh?

United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer Gor...

Gordon Brown, pensions thief. Where were the unions?

I know you don’t like references to ‘the real world’ to describe life outside the public sector, but your delusions that you are actually garnering anything like the support that your BBC comrades are telling you, shows just how out of touch you are with those who – remember – ultimately pay your salaries and underwrite your premier league pensions.

Oh, and don’t try diverting my attention by banging on about the pensions of FTSE100 company directors. With just a few exceptions, I don’t have to buy their products or services. If I don’t pay your salaries, however, I go to prison. In any case, if you want to talk ‘fat cat salaries’, let’s talk about your general secretaries salary packages.

Finally a quick, and genuinely non-ironic, thank-you to two sets of teachers. One group are those who are enabling our local primary school to remain open with most classes still sitting. Even if we don’t agree on the pensions thing, I respect you for not putting our children’s education at risk for the sake of this dispute.

The second thank-you is prompted by the placards and tweets doing the rounds today, along the lines of “if you can read this thank a teacher”. I would therefore like to thank the teachers as my private prep. school who did just that. Funnily enough, I don’t ever recall them going on strike …


Environmentalism Fail (no. 94)

Queue of aircraft for take-off including jets ...

"They could always pave over the front garden..."

So apparently there are too many aircraft waiting around for a landing slot at Heathrow.

Who, as they say, dathunkit?

Options to expaned Heathrow, either through a full-blown third runway plan or simply making more efficient use of the existing runway capacity, have been fought and rejected. This is because, as we all know, aircraft are Evil, Very Bad for the Planet, We Must Think Of The Children, etc, etc. Such is the attitude that has survived through to the Coalition, with the third runway – finally floated by Mandelson of all people – killed off in a gesture aimed at buying a few votes in west London fighting climate change.

So, while competitors in the market for business traffic and international hubs like Schipol, Frankfurt and Paris CDG have more (and increasing) capacity, we pat ourselves on the back for being so green (in both the policy sense, and that of naivety). Well, now we can be very pleased with ourselves: 190 tonnes of fuel and 600 tonnes of CO2 wasted every day. Well done Luddites, you can now return to your caves satisfied that you’ve done your bit for our grandchildren … who will be living on the continent, or the US, or Far East, or wherever all the business will have moved to.

Yes, but, but … aircraft emissions are bad, so let’s not encourage them, eh? This is the same logic that gave us, under dear old John “Bonker” Prescott, anti-car policies such as maximum (and meagre) parking standards incorporated into the planning rules. Thus we have more recently built housing and commercial developments with roads clogged up with parking, and cars driving round and round, looking or waiting for a space, coughing out emissions (or simply wasting fuel, if CO2 isn’t your thing). Perhaps LHR could take a leaf out of the response of some householders and pave over the front garden.

Or perhaps Boris’ island isn’t such a bonkers idea after all….

Christopher Shale Is – Sorry, Was – Absolutely Right

There are a number of reasons why I will be blogging under a pseudonym, but I don’t expect any to include the conspiracy theories that a few amateur commentators will be floating (without too much seriousness, one would hope) after probably the most bizarre political story of the year.

A close political ally of David Cameron has been found dead in a portable toilet in a backstage area at the Glastonbury festival.

Christopher Shale, the 56-year-old chairman of the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association (Woca), was found dead on Sunday morning.

Cameron said he was “devastated” by his friend’s death, which came hours after Shale was quoted, in a Conservative strategy document leaked to a Sunday newspaper, as saying the Tories had come across over the years as “graceless, voracious, crass, always on the take” and needed to radically change.

As a tired old party hack who is now a member of the party simply by dint of not getting around to cancelling the standing order, two things strike me. First, that it takes a tragedy like this for a senior Tory to saying something kind about a member of the voluntary party, when for so long CCHQ has plotted to centralise and cut the legs from local associations.

Second, that Mr Shale’s criticisms are right on the nail. Joining the Conservatives is little different to singing up to the most irritating junk mail company in Christendom. The ordinary member gets little through the post from the party – local or central – that isn’t a plea for more money; whether it’s the tiresome local association’s raffles and rip-off beetle drives, or yet another smart-arse mailshot tapping you up for another donation.

The more enlightened local branch will hold an annual free bash for all the deliverers, whereas others grumble when their councillors don’t turn up at every poxy branch coffee morning and buy a book of raffle tickets.

Update: Via Guido the full memo is here.

Nice Of The Old Bill To Turn Up, Isn’t It?

It’s odd how the term “Robocop” is popularly used (beyond the films themselves, obviously) to describe some sort of super-human police officer, when with current technology a robot is more likely only to do exactly what it is told to, with little display of initiative or intelligence.

Which is the more appropriate application of the moniker I leave up to you.

In totally unrelated news, I was struck by the statement made by Ch. Supt. Mulligan, Ian Hislop lookalike and commander of Salford’s finest following this week’s incident where an intruder was fatally stabbed by a householder.

“We believe there’s no ongoing threat to the community as a result of this incident”.

Well, that’s a relief. The good people of Salford can go about their business without worrying that householders are going to jump the garden fence and stab them to death in the street, or ruthlessly cut them from ear to ear next time they pop round for a cuppa.

“We attended that incident and then shortly afterwards … we found a 26 year old male who’d suffered a stab wound and who unfortunately [sic] later died at hospital.”

Indeed. It seems the late Mr Bennell was already known to the local constabulary and magistracy, being on bail for another job from a few weeks’ ago.

“…I can reassure the community that there’s a significant police presence in the area”

This made me chuckle. Why would the “community” need reassurance exactly? Or are we talking about the burglar community – sorry ‘burglar’ community? Just how will racking up the uniforms’ overtime this month in any significant way help the investigation, or leave the locals with any impression other than “if they can pull this many lids onto the street today, why not last night?”

At least let us hope that the householder in question didn’t make the mistake of old Tony Martin, who not only as good as announced beforehand that he was going to bag himself a pikey, but also had something of a face for radio, limiting his usefulness as a cause célèbre.

On ‘old school’ retired copper once told me that if we ever found ourselves dishing out some summary justice to a burglar, the important thing was to stay calm and make sure it looked like self defence (which, ahem, of course it would be wouldn’t it *wink*). Then again, old school coppers didn’t have to deal with taxpayer-funded yoomanrights lawyers and weren’t so keen on paperwork and finding reasons to book some extra hours instead of actually catching criminals….

A Message From Ken Livingstone

Wow. I don’t know what to say.

Actually, that’s  lie. This little message was left on my answerphone:

“Hello, my name’s xxxxxxx I’m calling on behalf of the Ken Livingstone for Mayor campaign.”


“Ken’s asked me to give you a quick call to ask your opinions on London …”

Oh, has he really? How could he not have read the less than complementary things this highly regarded and respected blogger I have ever said about Ken (too many to link to)?

“… and if you have any main issues or concerns at the moment.”

Funnily enough yes. Particularly the concern that there might be a theoretical chance that he could get in again. I could have a moan about some things that Boris hasn’t done yet (getting a grip on TfL for one) but he has still done a far better job like Ken did.

“We’ll call you back at a more convenient time.”

Yes, try 4th May 2012 – I expect Ken will have plenty of time to call me in person then.

Prince Philip At 90 … And the BBC Still Doesn’t Get It

Prince Philip, Patron Saint of the Harmlessly Politically Incorrect

Prince Philip, Patron Saint of the Harmlessly Politically Incorrect

I am pleased that the first post of this blog should be to mark the fact that the Duke of Edinburgh is 90 today. I wish a very happy birthday to His Royal Highness. One of the few of us who can speak his mind, exercise some old-fashioned no-nonsense officers’ mess humour and get away with it … unless you write a blog under a pseudonym, I guess.

Now a Royal event involving Prince Philip is too good an opportunity to miss for the BBC who, true to form, have done a fine job today of reflecting the views of the British public banging the anti-monarchist drum. On Radio 2 this lunchtime, Jeremy Vine has some republican whose name I cannot be bothered to look up, facing off against Peter Oborne.

Have they not learnt from the Queen Mother’s death, or the Royal Nuptials of last April? In both cases they got it wrong, thinking it a good time to give a leg up to miserable and humourless republicans. Are they really sure that such a minority viewpoint should get so much airtime? Can you possibly imagine them giving a spokesman for Better Off Out or the People’s Pledge – movements which represent a far greater constituency among popular opinion – getting behind a BBC microphone every time some news came out of Brussels?

You’d never know that recent polls have shown a vast majority in favour of the monarchy. Of course, where the pollsters went wrong was not conducting the survey within 400 yards of Broadcasting House (or Shepherd’s Bush, or wherever up north they’ve sent the Beeboids).

Whatever. 90 years of upsetting Lefties? That has to be worth celebrating. Congratulations, sir.