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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.

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Heating at Heathrow

Posted in And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, Engineering, Tenuous Link of the Day, Tunnels with tags , , , , , , on December 21, 2010 by awickerman

As is painfully obvious Heathrow Airport doesn’t have heated runways, but then the excuse goes that back in the 1950s when they built them (and the 1970s when they rebuilt them for jets) how could they have known Global Warming Climate Change would cause so much snow?

It’s a good answer, only slightly undermined by the fact that 1968 saw the construction of the Heathrow Cargo Tunnel which, due to a fairly steep slope at one end, has an under road heating system to keep the approach roads ice free. A system they still keep in operation to this day and one which is working perfectly (Though sadly the surrounding roads are still buggered and the airport is frozen, but that’s not the point right now.)

Worth bearing in mind next time BAA put up a spokesman saying ‘It wasn’t worth money investing in equipment when we didn’t get heavy snow and bad winters’, because clearly the tunnellers they employed disagreed. Sadly the runway chaps, as always, just couldn’t match those high standards.

Imagine? No I’d rather not thanks.

Posted in Inappropriate Songs for a Wedding, Irregular Features, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , , on December 9, 2010 by awickerman

This chap sums up the full hypocritical horror of Imagine better than I ever could.

Frankly it’s enough to make you grateful someone stopped John Lennon before he could write anything worse….

A question of language

Posted in Alas the Mystery Remains Holmes, Engineering, Irregular Features with tags , , , , , on November 14, 2010 by awickerman

Last week we were working on a large tunnelling job which required some street works. It was (and still is) a bugger of a job and we’ve gone through countless iterations; we’re on Option 19 of the alignment, each of which had several sub-options. As a result it is hardly surprising that when a particularly difficult problem, on a tricky street, was resolved one of the team felt moved to say;

“At last, they’ve come up with the final solution for Jews Row.”

Now admittedly it could be worse, a lot of the other sites just get reduced to the just the first word, but the question does remain; can you ever use the phrase “Final solution” in any context without getting someone looking at you in a slightly odd way?

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