Higher Food Prices

There\’s a very simple solution here you know?

Food prices are accelerating at their fastest rate since records began, fuelling a rise in the average family\’s shopping bill of £750 a year.

A very simple solution indeed.

The CAP costs an average family of four in Europe £16 a week in taxes and higher food prices.

£16 a week is £832 a year.

Thus, abolish CAP and you\’ll cancel out food price inflation. A good reason to do it, no?

Godders Speaks Out!

Brown\’s job loss claim "nonsense"

Claims by Gordon Brown that Britain needs to be part of the EU or 3.5 million people risk losing their jobs were dismissed today as "mind bogglingly dumb."

UKIP MEP and economist Godfrey Bloom said the claim was so daft he didn\’t know where to begin pointing out its nonsense.

"I will give Gordon Brown £1000 if he could point to any private sector job which would be lost as a consequence of Britain leaving political union with Brussels and joining EFTA" he said.

"Such a statement as his is on par with someone addressing the NASA conference and claiming that the moon was made of green cheese.

"Apart from the fact that we have a trade deficit with the EU, does he really think that companies such as Mercedes would stop trading with Britain if we governed ourselves?

"We have a trade surplus with America and yet we aren\’t in political union, and I\’m sure I\’ve seen people driving Japanese cars and yet we don\’t let them make our laws for us.

"Mr Brown really needs to go back to his book on \’economics for dummies\’ because the man does not have a clue."

"Given that the Commission have estimated that the cost of EU regulation on business is £405 billion a year, I would say that businesses would weather the storm better without that millstone around their neck."

The Marmalade Scandal!

There\’s more to this than meets the eye, you know?

As many of you will have been painfully aware, in Britain, sales of marmalade are in decline. While the attention of the nation has been focused on such diversionary chimeras as Iraq, the Iowa caucus and Britney Spears’s mentalness, marmalade has been going the way of the pikelet, piccalilli and Gentleman’s Relish. It is becoming an anachronism in the brash new world of the energy drink, the breakfast bar and Coca-Cola with vitamins in. It is facing gradual extinction.

Galvanised by this slow-moving preserve tragedy, David Atkinson, of Premier Foods – the manufacturer of Frank Cooper’s, Rose’s and Golden Shred – has announced an important change: marmalade is to be renamed “orange jam”.

“We’re looking at ways of making marmalade more accessible,” Atkinson said. “The challenge is to entice a new generation.”

The thing is though, you\’re not allowed to simply change the name like that. Ooooooh, no, there are laws about what is marmalade and what is jam. Very important ones too: it\’s a criminal offence (not a civil one) to breach them, with up to 6 months in jail and or a £5,000 fine to breach them.

Yes, it\’s our old friend, the jams, jellies, marmalades and sweet chestnut purees (including extra jams and extra jellies) where these are for human consumption but not in the preparation of fine bakery wares, pastries or biscuits. Here\’s the Welsh version. Yes, of course, it all comes from the European Union.

Our marmalade description:

A mixture, brought to a suitable gelled consistency, of water, sugars and fruit pulp, fruit purée, fruit juice, fruit peel or aqueous extract of fruit or any combination thereof, in every case obtained from citrus fruit, such that the quantity of citrus fruit used for every 1000 grams of the finished product is not less than 200 grams, of which not less than 75 grams is obtained from the endocarp.

Doesn\’t that make you feel better? That the governing body for 450 million people went to such lengths to protect you from marmalade which only uses 70 grams of citrus fruit endocarp? Further:

The following additional ingredients may be used, to the extent stated below:

essential oils of citrus fruits: only in marmalade and jelly marmalade;

So, orange jam may not contain essential oils of citrus. No, really, it is very important indeed. So much so that 27 national legislatures, any number of devolved ones and at least ten thousand politicians, with their assorted hangers on, secretaries, mistresses and toadies, should pass such a law. For what perils would accost us all if you were to spend £3 on a jar of orange jam which contained essential oils of citrus? As opposed to £3 on a jar of marmalade which did not?

Well, quite. People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough politicians stand ready to violence to the law on their behalf.

Rape is not Rape

One of the more pernicious ideas of modern times is that all rape is rape, that all and any sex (although rape is more properly thought of as a crime of violence, of power over someone, but that\’s another matter) against the will of a woman is the same and must be treated and punished equally. Finally, even The Guardian is getting the point that this isn\’t actually the way to deal with it:

A more fruitful approach might be a two-tier offence, with the highest penalties reserved for "aggravated" rapes, allowing juries to convict in more typical cases without fearing that this would lead to the maximum life term.

Currently, when tried, the possible sentence for a drunken misunderstanding over consent is the same as that for a violent stranger rape. No wonder juries are hesitant to convict. A gradation of offences will do much to remedy at least that part of the problem.

That is, an acknowledgement that not all rapes are equal.

Sigh

Clause 42 of the criminal justice and immigration bill, which comes before the House of Lords next week, provides that appeal court judges must not rule that a conviction is unsafe if they think "there is no reasonable doubt about the appellant\’s guilt". On the surface, that seems to be a reasonable law. But it is not. It is objectionable on three grounds: it is contrary to the rule of law, it could encourage unacceptable conduct by the police, and it is unnecessary.

There are good reasons why democratic countries lay down rules and safeguards governing the way criminal investigations and trials are conducted. The rule of law is about the principle of fair trials and due process. It includes the need to ensure, as far as possible, that the innocent are not convicted, that no one should be found guilty unless there is unpolluted evidence against him or her, and that there is an adequate system of appeal. Such principles distinguish democracies from totalitarian states. Diminishing the appeal court\’s powers to quash convictions is a breach of the rule of law.

The real problem is "no reasonable doubt about the appellant\’s guilt".

If we haven\’t followed to rules, rules which are there to enable us to make a decision with no reasonable doubt, then how can we have no reasonable doubt?

Dear, Dear Maddy

What would we do without her?

Secondly, the coverage shows how quickly the west reverts to racism. Why is the word "tribal" only used to refer to Africa? Why don\’t we talk of Belgian tribes or Middle Eastern tribes? No, only in Africa is inter-ethnic violence cast as "ancient", immutable tribalism, associated in the European mindset with barbarism and irrationality.

She then goes on to give an accurate descsription of the way in which the violence in Kenya has been caused and the way in which it is playing out. For example:

This is the region where Kikuyu, the biggest ethnic group who have done the best since independence, acquired land in the 60s dispossessing the Kalenjin – a grievance that has festered unresolved ever since.

Err, tribalism.

Except for this bit of course:

What we are seeing in Kenya – and in other unstable developing countries – is how human beings behave when faced with the kind of chronic insecurity that globalisation is incubating the world over.

Had to get that bit in, didn\’t she? Quite amazing to think that it\’s globalisation, that is, that you no longer have to depend solely upon local resources, which is driving battles over local resources like land.

Quite

The satirist Chris Morris is planning, we learnt at the weekend, to make a new programme sending up Islamic terrorists in the manner of Dad\’s Army. "Terrorism isn\’t about religion," the proposal for the programme says. "It\’s about berks." Amen to that. It\’s about time it was said, and said loud and clear.

Worked for Oswald Mosely:

But years before, in 1938, Wodehouse showed us what he really thought when, in The Code of the Woosters, he gave us Sir Roderick Spode, leader of the Black Shorts, an unambiguous skit on Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists.

When Bertie Wooster acts, as ever, the turning worm, he says what Wodehouse thinks about Nazism, fascism and all such forms of extremism, and also what the British themselves naturally think about such subjects and such people. “The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting ‘Heil, Spode!’ and you imagine it’s the voice of the people. That is where you make your bloomer. What the voice of the people is saying is: ‘Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?’ ”

Spode is comic, Mosley was comic to the British,

It\’s not that they don\’t like it up \’em, it\’s that they can\’t take people laughing at them.

The Hereditary Principle

Tony Benn loves to use the analogy of the Hereditary Lords as being like getting on a jet plane where the pilot has been chosen because his father was a pilot. He means that it is so absurd that of course you wouldn\’t do things that way.

Ed Gardner, who has now turned 20, is believed to be Britain\’s youngest commercial pilot.

He got a job at Titan Airways the day after he received his licence and within days was crewing with his father, Bob, 55, a captain.

Mr Gardner, from Stebbing, near Great Dunmow, Essex, said: "I started flying at 14 – that is the youngest you have to be to learn.

"I flew solo at 16 and got my private pilot\’s licence on my 17th birthday.

Quite.

Selina Scott Speaks Out!

In a thinly-veiled swipe against some younger women presenters, Miss Scott told The Daily Telegraph that the BBC and other news operations were more interested in "presentation over substance".

"So often you see people coming through the system without a strong journalistic background, who haven\’t covered a wide range of stories," she said.

"Women are taken on because they are intelligent and good-looking but not because of the experience they\’ve had in breaking or covering stories."

Highly snigger worthy. Hands up everyone who thinks that Selina Scott would have been employed as a newsreader if she had looked like Margaret Beckett?

A Third of Food Thrown Away!

Err, hellooo?

A staggering £8billion-worth of food is thrown away in Britain every year – a third of everything we buy, according to campaigners.

And most of the 6.7 million tons of food we discard from our homes each year – enough to fill Wembley Stadium eight times – could have been eaten, according the Government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap). And the startling figures refer only to waste from households – when waste from businesses is included the numbers will be considerably higher.

For every three bags of shopping brought home, one ends up in a landfill. Experts said too much food was being thrown away because consumers let it go off in the fridge or cupboard, or portions are too big and leftovers are simply binned.

Didn\’t we go through all of this a few weeks ago? Included in that "one third" is potato peelings, cabbage stalks and tea bags? So that this figure is, at the very best, extremely misleading?

As well as the cost, the wasted food is a major contributor to the production of greenhouse gases. Most of the food thrown away ends up in landfill, where it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

And that methane is, by law (2004 Landfill Act) collected and used to generate energy: it supplies 30% of Britain\’s renewable energy. Not to note that is extremely misleading….to the point of (almost) being a lie.

Wrap is something of a problem as an organisation anyway. They\’ve produced a report which is really rather good. They measured the emissions saved by the recycling that we already do. They were really rather open and honest about it all: recycling aluminium cans is a great idea, saves money and emissions. Turning green glass into roads increases emissions. However, far too many people use this report to argue that further recycling will save further emissions: this might be true, certainly, but it also might not be. The report certainly doesn\’t prove it. Whether reycling something is a good idea or not (on financial, or emissions grounds) depends upon what it is, what is the current disposal method and how you\’re actually going to recycle it. Unfortunately all too many are infected with the idea that if some recycling is a good idea (which it is) then all recycling must be, which simply isn\’t true.

Think of it this way: my ingestion of 2,000-3,000 caloriues a day keeps me fit and healthy (I do quite a bit of exercise so that higher number is OK). This does not mean that my ingestion of 4,000-6,000 calories a day would also keep me fit and healthy.

So with recycling: more is not necessarily better. And Wrap seem to have morphed from an organisation writing a decent report about which types are a good idea to one which says that all are.

 

 

More Sir Ed

Sir Edmund – God bless the man – came from a simpler, earlier age. His subsequent mission to the Antarctic with Vivien Fuchs, incidentally, provided The Times with its most inadvertently entertaining headline ever, for which we might also remember him: “Hillary Fuchs off to the Pole”.

MPs\’ Pay

MEMBERS of parliament could lose the right to vote themselves pay increases under plans to link their salaries directly to the earnings of judges and other senior public sector staff.

Gordon Brown, the prime minister, is understood to be “sympathetic” to proposals that would ensure the pay of MPs is in step with that of judges or senior doctors, most of whom earn at least £100,000 a year.

Hmm. Let us think about this for a little bit, shall we? A judge will have had to go through a number of qualifying stages. First to become a lawyer. Then to actually become a good one (no, they don\’t promote the dunderheads). A working career of 20-30 years perhaps, being monitored all the while. Then there will be, at some point along the way, trainee judgeships: things like a part-time Recorder (something Cherie Booth has done, as an example). Finally, our lawyer, who has done this part-time judging so that people can evaluate ability to do the job, might get appointed. And, at least usually, take a pay cut when becoming a judge.

Doctors? To become a senior doctor (or a GP), you first need to get top end results at A level to even get into medical school. Then there\’s the first degree and some further years of training. 7 in total I think it is. Plus some further years of on the job training to get to the point where one is indeed making that fabled £100k. Something like a decade all told: less time than a judge, certainly, but then one is not taking a pay cut when reaching that peak.

And to become an MP? Well, let\’s be honest about this, shall we? For most of the UK constituencies are in fact one party states. Aberystwyth (or however you spell the damn place) or Islwyn will elect a donkey as long as it wears a red rosette. Hull East is coming up for selection and everyone knows that the Labour Party nominee will become the MP. Similarly, if Boris wins the Mayorality and leaves Henley, no one thinks that anything other than the Tory Party hustings will determine who the next MP is. Thus for most (many?) MPs, certainly those who actually expect to make a career of it in a safe seat, becoming an MP is about greasing up to the small number of people who determine who the nominee is for a certain party in a certain seat.

And the argument is that this skill should be equally rewarded as the other two?

I think not.

NIMBYs Come in Many Flavours

Leading the campaign is Fred Lambton, grandson of Lord Lambton, the former Tory cabinet minister who lived out his life in Tuscany after resigning from the Heath government over a call-girl scandal.

Others include models Rose Hanbury and Zita Lloyd; Joseph Getty, grandson of billionaire Sir Paul Getty; George Frost, son of Sir David Frost; Rollo Weeks, an actor; Arthur Jeffes, a polar explorer; Marissa Montgomery, founder of the Pussy Glamore lingerie range; and members of such society families as the Guinnesses and the Heskeths.

The Save Siena group claims there are already enough airports within driving distance of the city to serve its 55,000 population. The streets are crowded each summer for the Palio, a medieval horse race around the Piazza del Campo, a square which has been declared a world heritage site by Unesco.

Lambton, 22, heir to the Earldom of Durham and stepson of Jools Holland, the musician and television presenter, said: “I spent a lot of time out there when my grandfather was alive and I have seen what the airport would do.

Macrobiotic

Whole Earth released the findings of a poll which found that two-thirds of respondents were baffled by the terms \’sustainable\’ and \’genetically modified\’ and almost half thought that \’macrobiotic\’ meant a type of bacteria – I won\’t sneer because I had to look it up too.

Hmm, I just vaguley assumed that it was some hippy dippy nonsense and that I didn\’t need to know any more than that.

Followers of the macrobiotic approach believe that food and food quality powerfully affect health, wellbeing, and happiness. The macrobiotic approach suggests choosing food that is less processed and more natural, and employing more traditional methods of cooking for family, friends, and oneself. One goal of the macrobiotic philosophy and practice is to become sensitive to the true effects of foods on health and wellbeing. In this way, one goes beyond rules and regulations concerning diet to choosing foods that sustains one\’s health. Dietary guidelines help one to develop sensitivity and an intuitive sense for what sustains one\’s health and wellbeing in diet as well as in relationships and activities. Macrobiotics emphasizes locally grown whole grain cereals, pulses (legumes), vegetables, seaweed, fermented soy products and fruit, combined into meals according to the principle of balance (known as yin and yang). Dietary recommendations include whole grains, such as brown rice, and other whole grain products, such as buckwheat pasta (soba); a variety of cooked and raw vegetables; beans and bean products, such as tofu, tempeh and miso;; mild natural seasonings; fish; nuts and seeds; mild (non-stimulating) beverages, such as bancha twig tea; and fruit. Nightshade vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant; also spinach, beets and avocados are forbidden (or used sparingly) in macrobiotic cooking, as they are considered extremely yin[3]. Some macrobiotic practitioners also discourage the use of nightshades due to the alkaloid solanine, thought to affect calcium balance.

Having looked it up it is indeed hippy dippy nonsense. So much for first impressions then.