Archive for January, 2011

Shocking News!

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, Even Stevie Wonder Saw That Coming, Rantings with tags , , , , , , on January 31, 2011 by awickerman

For those of you who are unaware of the gripping read that is Inside Housing, the premier social housing website, you are missing.. almost bugger all actually. I was unaware of it till this beauty came to my attention; The government has withdrawn funding from the pathfinder housing scheme. What is the pathfinder scheme? Well it’s;

These nine organisations were established by the Labour government in 2002 with a 10 to 15-year mission: to tackle what had become widely accepted as a signficant problem in housing markets and communities in traditional Labour heartlands.

So a Conservative-Lib Dem government has cut funding to a pet scheme of John Prescott that was designed purely to channel tax payers money to Labour voting heartlands. I am indeed shocked. Shocked it’s taken them so damned long to cut the funding.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do think large areas of Labour voting heartlands could do with being demolished. I just don’t think the people in the houses should be allowed to leave first. Anyone who genuinely looked at Gordon Brown and thought; “Yes, he should be allowed to continue as Prime Minister” and voted accordingly deserves to have their house demolished on top of them.

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Another London Transport Mystery Explained

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, The Underground, Tunnels with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2011 by awickerman

Do you have a burning desire to check people’s tickets on public transport? Do you want to spend all day standing on a bus or train and argue with commuters and passengers about whether or not they have a valid ticket? If so become a Revenue Protection Officer! And for god’s sake work for those idiots at Transport for London who’ll pay you more than anyone else would dream of.

If you ask those nice chaps at the Department of Eduction, through the yoff orientated Job4U site, they will tell you a Revenue Protection chap could earn £14,500 as a new entrant, up to maybe £22,500 for a senior role.  The Transport Skills Council agrees and give the helpful advice that about £17,000 is what a trained, post-probation officer should expect, though I suspect they may have added an extra ‘0’ on the starting salary. That or they think the starting salary really is £145,000 which looks a bit steep even by TfL standards.

With that in mind how much do you think TfL pay a new starter? No, it’s more than that, it is in fact £30,150, rising to £34,141 after 1 years probation, plus of course 30 days holiday and a final salary pension. For this you will have to do a 36 hour week, earliest start of 6:30, latest 22:40 and no night shifts (fair enough, who’d want to revenue protect a night bus?) and ping around London on various bus routes. In the unlikely event you can’t imagine what the job involves there is a hand youtube video explaining it.

Neither the work nor the conditions are worse than a revenue inspector anywhere else in the UK would experience, yet they pay more than double what everyone else does. This is just one of the reasons why the ‘Bus’ part of TfL requires a subsidy of £600 million a year,  but don’t expect anything to be done about it. After all if people asked questions about salaries rather than just brutally cutting the network someone might ask questions about why Paul Hendy is on £430,000 despite being an idiot, why so many of his minions have to be paid over £100,000 despite a track record of incompetent failure or why we need a £75,000 Head of Behaviour Change Programme.

I’m sure it doesn’t need saying that Revenue Protection Officers are, of course, covered by that friend of the traveller Bob Crow and his loveable funsters at the RMT. However it’s only in London that he’s managed to gain such hansom remuneration for his members. Explanations vary. You could believe that only in London were management stupid enough to grant such pay rises, you could say that only in London is public transport important enough to allow a union to blackmail people or you instead note that all the payrises occurred under that union favourite Ken Livingstone who probably just hurled money at them as payment for that support. And frankly if you don’t think it was option 3 you should take a long hard look in the mirror, and then look at this marvellous Kabul time-share opportunity I have for you…..

Endearing Spam

Posted in Even Stevie Wonder Saw That Coming, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , on January 17, 2011 by awickerman

While clearing out the spam comments I came across this beauty. You can almost taste the desperation and as such I feel I should share it with a (slightly) wider audience;

It’s so hard to get backlinks these days, honestly i need a backlink by comments on your blog / forums or guestbook to make my website appear in search engine. I am getting desperate Now! I know you’ll laugh while reading this comment !!! Here is my website penis enlargement I know my comments do not relate to the topic, but PLEASE HELP ME!! APPROVING MY COMMENT!
Regards: HonestMan2011SPH

While doubtless produced by some form of automated system I prefer to cling to the idea of some poor bugger having to post them all by hand and getting increasingly desperate to sell some dodgy penis pills lest he be forced to go and get a real job, all the while failing to realise that gainful employment would be both more lucrative and less actual work.

Fun places to work #1

Posted in Engineering, Irregular Features, Mining, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2011 by awickerman

The wonderful town of Asbest, a Russian one-industry town dedicated to the mining of Asbestos, the clue is in the name.

Leaving aside the whole ‘It’s an asbestos mine’ thing Asbest manages to be particularly horrific as the mine is on the edge of the town.

Beautiful hey? As an added bonus read this old article from Slate,where every local appears to be intent on boring the reporter to death by explaining the many different types of Asbestos and why you wont automatically die just by living in the town. All of which may be true, they certainly mine the least dangerous type of asbestos, but it is all a little ‘The lady protests too much’.

So there is Asbest, a town where the only industry is mining and processing Asbestos and the entire population will bore you to tears trying to desperately convince you the place isn’t instantly fatal. Yet another place to avoid seeing before you die. And to avoid after death as well to be frank.

Another Wickerman Volunteer

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Posts that are far longer than I first intended, Rantings, The Wicker Man list with tags , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2011 by awickerman

So a Labour MP manages to irritate me and neatly explain why I will never vote for the current version of the Labour Party and think less of anyone who does. Her particular words of wisdom;

An MP has backed calls for the DNA screening of all men in Bristol as part of the hunt for the murderer of Jo Yeates.

That MP being Kerry McCarthy who, quite aside from anything else, is in favour of ID cards, against a proper inquiry into Iraq and felt she was worth £175,000 in expense last year making her the joint 35th greediest MP which, given the intense competition among the money grabbing rat bastards in Westminster, is quite an achievement.

But back to the point, she now wants to DNA test 150,000 men (420,000 people in Bristol city, half are men, 30% of those are either very young or very old). As she herself says;

“Quite how the police would organise this I don’t know,” she added.

Which tells you all you need to know about the Labour way of thinking, it’s the announcement and the press statement that matter. ‘Sending a message’ and all that jazz not actually getting anything done, unless of course it’s raising taxes, pissing money against the wall or starting wars in foreign countries, in which case go for it.

I don’t really need to list out all the problems with this monumentally bad idea, but I will because what the hell?

  • Does the killer live in Bristol City or the outskirts? What if he’s just outside the catchment? What if he’s in Greater Bristol (pop 1million)? or Bath? Despite the best efforts of many governments, petrol is still affordable and despite Network Rail’s work to the contrary there are still trains in the South West.
  • How the hell do you actually arrange testing that many people in anything like a sensible time frame? Do you stop every single other DNA test in the country or accept the wait and take months. Also how do you pay for this, sure the testing will be relatively cheap (assuming you get a bulk discount) but the manpower of door to door swab testing 150,000 people is terrifying.
  • How do you handle those who refuse? I know I would on principle and there would be others. As far as I can tell the standard police line from past mass trawls is ‘We treat them all as suspects, investigate them and then arrest them’. That’s a hell of a lot of extra work and manhours and you’ve just spent the entire police budget on DNA testing. Plus it is just begging for an Independent Police Complaints investigation and alot of wrongful arrest suits. Hell they’re already facing one from the landlord, do they really want more?
  • Related point, what if the killer isn’t stupid enough to hand over their DNA? There will be others and surely you can’t treat all of them as suspects. Actually scratch that, she was one of the Labour MPs in favour of 90 days without trial so she probably would lock everyone up.
  • Finally (though I’m sure there are others) are you sure on the suspect? What if he is over 70 or under 16, it’s not unknown and you’ve just added a few thousand more targets, plus terrified half the tabloids with ‘Police DNA testing 13 year old boy!’ headlines, which will go down well. And you are sure the killer is a man aren’t you? After all the reports say there wasn’t a sexual element, so how are jumping to the conclusion the suspect is a man again?

Now to be fair the idea has worked in the past, the article mentions the murder of Louise Smith where the killer was indeed stupid enough to give his DNA despite moving to South Africa. But that was back in 1998 (1995 for the crime) so why such an old example? I know why the BBC mentioned it (Beeb supporting Labour idea non-shocker) but why such an old one, surely it must have been tried since?

And of course it has, it just hasn’t worked. Here’s one of the more recent goes from only last year, the case of Michelle Samaraweera who got a blaze of publicity and a big DNA sweep but to no effect. Hence why they relaunched the murder enquiry a few weeks back. There are of course others and as far as I can tell none successful, perhaps why the poor BBC article writer had to go back over a decade in order to find something positive to say about the idea.

For all my many, many, many doubts about the current mob in government it’s incidents like this that remind me to thankful that we don’t have to have idiots like Kerry McCarthy in power any more. Because truly the Wicker Man would be too good for them.

This is all getting confusing

Posted in Alas the Mystery Remains Holmes, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , on January 9, 2011 by awickerman

So the South African National police commissioner is in hot water over a spectacular piece of racism;

“A monkey came all the way from London to have his wife murdered here. Shrien thought we South Africans were stupid when he came all the way to kill his wife in our country. He lied to himself.”

This in reference to the honeymoon murder where the bridge died while touring a dirt poor township in less than obvious circumstances. Though I must say if you decide to go off on a midnight tour of one of the most dangerous parts of a country that isn’t safe to begin with you probably deserve anything you get.

Anyway so far so unexpected, however the commissioner in question is General Bheki Cele who, as the name indicates, isn’t the sort of senior apartheid era white chap you associate with such things. This leaves me somewhat confused, is it OK for black African chaps to call dark skinned people monkeys? I’d have thought not, but then I get confused about the whole language of racism thing anyway so what do I know?

My preferred interpretation is that he just an idiot promoted to that job because he has mates in the ANC rather than any actual ability, however I fear that in itself is probably racist.

Frankly the sooner this gets sorted the less confused I’ll be.

Property Puns

Posted in Engineering, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by awickerman

Further to the last post on puns in the world of large London towers I present this beauty from Property Week. Commenting on the Shard tower poking further up into London, and on Simon Jenkins making an even bigger tit of himself than usual, this wonderful headline emerged;

No need for Shard-enfreude

There is nothing more that need be said

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