Friday, February 13, 2009

Away To The Hills

Inshallah by this time tomorrow we'll be in the Lakes, and on Saturday in Strathspey, assuming the weather forecast (rain for Scotland on the weekend) is correct. But it'll have to rain a lot to wipe out all that wonderful snow.

Unless the climate changes of the last 25 years can be reversed, the long term outlook for Scottish skiing is bleak.

Alex Hill, the chief government adviser with the Met Office, told The Scotsman there was no future for skiing in Scotland because climate change would see winters become too warm for regular snowfall. However, although members of the ski industry agreed that climate change was having an impact, they said the industry could survive.

But Mr Hill said: "Put it this way: I won't be investing in the skiing industry. The amount of snow has been decreasing for the last 40 years, and there's no reason why it's going to stop now. Will there be a ski industry in Scotland in 50 years' time? Very unlikely."

Met Office climate predictions, seen by The Scotsman, suggest that, by 2080, the average winter night-time temperature in the Highlands will be 2C, compared with -2C at present.
He's right and all. In the 70s there was snow on the tops all through summer, and in the winter snow stayed for weeks in the Highlands and Borders. The skiing was reliable and a lot of people learned there. The Reo Stakis group developed Aviemore (admittedly with some pretty cruddy architecture) as a winter resort, just as winters disappeared - when we first visited as a family in the 90s the ice rink (now closed) had seen better days - as, one felt, had the whole place. We had one half-term week in around 2002 with no snow at all.

But there's an awful lot there as of now. The boots and skis are packed - I just can't wait.

Let's hope the sun's output diminishes a tad and/or we get another Maunder minimum. Living things can survive cold, but not too much heat.

Blogging will resume next weekend, God willing.

Quote of the Day

Ross, on the murderer who kicked a man to death for his cigarettes and is now invoking human rights legislation in an attempt to impregnate his new wife, despite being banged up :

"I think the best hope now is that the courts refuse to let him reproduce on the grounds that he's a smoker"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frozen Washing on the Curate's Line

The Martyrdom of St Yazza :

"tell me you aren't ashamed at what our country has become when a middle aged muslim woman of Asian descent can be treated like this. She was questioned at length by plain clothes police officers who never once told her who they were or why she was being questioned."
I listened to the video, most of which was a moan about how "I love this country but ...", then we got to the facts. She was taking an internal flight, there was a mix-up and her tickets weren't kosher for the flight she was trying to board, so she was taken aside and asked a few questions. No abuse, no threats, no shouting.

I had a similar interview leaving Heathrow for NY on Pan-Am, a year after Lockerbie. I'm presuming the Libyan visa in my passport was the catalyst. They were perfectly polite, I answered their (reasonable) questions and away I went.

This really is a tsumami in some Earl Grey - and Iain Dale, what's all this about "we should be ashamed" ? Are you arguing that middle-aged, middle class Muslim women should be exempt from the (tedious but probably necessary) airline security checks the rest of us go through ?

I love Yazza like I love Melanie Phillips, but both can on occasions see "oppression" when it's not there.

There's enough of the real thing about without nonsense like this.

What a strange way to spin a story.

The UK’s official statistician weighed into the debate about foreign workers yesterday by highlighting the growing numbers of immigrants getting jobs while the British workforce declines.

On the day that figures showed the number of people unemployed at a 12-year high, the Office for National Statistics chose to reveal that the number of foreign workers increased by 175,000 to 2.4 million last year while the number of British workers fell by 234,000 to 27 million.

Karen Dunnell, the National Statistician, sought to focus public attention on the contrasting fortunes of foreign and British workers as the country slipped into recession. Her intervention came as construction workers took part in wildcat strikes at power stations in Nottinghamshire and Kent, angry about jobs going to foreigners.

I see. The figures aren't the important thing, it's that they were released. Que ? I think FWIW that it's 'deeply unhelpful' to characterise telling the truth as a move in some political game. Obviously that's the way

LORD TRUSCOTT, one of four peers named in the “lords for hire” scandal, has taken at least £70,000 in allowances for overnight accommodation in London while staying at his home in the capital.

Truscott, 49, now receives £28,000-a-year tax free by telling House of Lords’ authorities that his main residence is a modest flat in Bath, Somerset.

He uses the allowance to maintain a £700,000 flat he owns in Mayfair, central London, with his Russian wife, Svetlana. He bought the property in Bath months after becoming eligible to claim the allowance.

Lord Paul of Marylebone, the billionaire steel magnate and Labour donor who is nondomiciled, is one of a number of other peers who take advantage of the perk.

The deafening silence on the issue at PMQs yesterday seems to be confirmation that they're all at it.

THE financier who has been appointed to protect taxpayers’ money in Britain’s bailed-out banks is a former trustee of a secretive Liechtenstein bank accused of facilitating massive tax evasion.

Glen Moreno, who chairs the powerful body that oversees the government’s £37 billion shareholding in the banks, was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds during a nine-year association with Liechtenstein Global Trust (LGT), a private bank based in the tax haven.

The disclosures are an embarrassment for Gordon Brown, who last week criticised offshore tax havens and called for international action to stamp out tax evasion.

What with James Crosby, Gordon seems to be an expert at hiring foxes as poultry management consultants. But it's this that really bothers me :

The SNP has demanded an inquiry after it emerged that a record of everyone who voted in last year's contest in Glenrothes has gone missing.

All of the major parties, including Labour on election night itself, had predicted that the Nationalists would win the seat, which borders Gordon's Brown's constituency.

Instead Lindsay Roy, Labour's candidate, swept to victory and dealt a stunning blow to Alex Salmond, the First Minister and SNP leader, who had confidently predicted victory.

The result was a huge fillip to the Prime Minister, who broke with convention and risked his political credibility by joining the campaign trail with his wife, Sarah.

Thus far UK electoral fraud has been confined to Ulster Republicans and other minority communities with a tradition of same, although I wouldn't put it past some well-meaning liberal types to lose a few boxes of BNP votes and think they were protecting democracy - after all, we've all been taught what happened in Germany. The worst the Labour leadership (as opposed to their local party machines) have done is to turn a blind eye. This would be different, and a very worrrying sign for our democracy. I hope and pray that Mr Cock-up is responsible here - but it's not good that we can even entertain the idea of Scottish Labour taking the Mugabe route to electoral success. Not so long ago it would have been unthinkable. It isn't now.

Oh, forgot to say. Remember the liberal myth of Superbowl violence, which inspired our PC police into campaigns against World Cup Domestic Violence ?

Meet the rugby equivalent - Six Nations Domestic Violence 2008. And Rugby World Cup 2007.

Police are launching patrols in the south Wales valleys during the Rugby World Cup to allow them to respond quickly to domestic violence.
Reality trumps satire yet again.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Have You Seen This Benefit Cheat ?

This woman, using the obvious alias 'J. Smith' is wanted for claiming over £116,000 of State benefits on false pretences while working as a Secretary in the Westminster area of London. If you see her, do not approach her - she never goes anywhere without her minders.

Instead, ring the number of the new Benefit Fraud Reporting Hotline - and do the taxpayer a good turn !