Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Getting a true sense of priorities

Some elements of our great & glorious press make our little chests swell with pride at the grasp they have of true priorities. Never mind the floods in Brazil, the tragic death of the 300th soldier in Afghanistan, ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and so on & so on. Yesterdays Daily Mail devoted its' entire front page to the love life of Chris Huhne.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

People in White Houses shouldn't throw stones

Without downplaying the extent of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in any way I am enraged, but not surprised, by the bullying reaction of Obama & the United States mouthpieces in general. BP have handled this all wrong by grovelling. The way you handle bullies is to be aggressive.

Of course BP should, & did, apologise. But the USA should be reminded that when the American owned Piper Alpha platform in the North Sea blew up on July 8th 1988 killing 167 people the British Government didn't go in for hysterical US bashing.

And what about Bhopal where, due to the American Union Carbide's negligence, on Dec 3rd 1984 thousands of 'small people' were killed & many thousands more are still suffering today. And where is the Union Carbide [now Dow Chemical Corporation] $20billion compensation for them whilst the UC Chairman at the time enjoys a luxurious retirement?

And whilst on the subject of 'small people' why on earth did no one in BP have the guts to point out to the Americans that the Chairman of BP is Swedish, who is therefore speaking in a foreign language, & how many pig thick US Executives struggle with intelligible American let alone a foreign tongue.

Following the Piper Alpha disaster the UK government commissioned an investigation leading to the Cullen report. This recommended that a back up system to the main well-head blow-out preventer (for natural gas and crude oil sub-sea well-heads) should be installed in UK waters. This was implemented and anyone who knows the oil business knows that oil companies and operators using subsea systems in UK waters will have emergency well-head shut down, oil spill containment and clean up procedures in place for all their operations as it is a legal requirement. It appears that US Regulators chose not take up this lesson from the UK experience.

The problem with the recent BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was that the sub-sea well head blow-out preventer (the main safety device to shut down the well if there is a failure in the well, pipeline or riser) failed and there was no back up safety system to shut down the crude flow from the well. This failed blow out preventer was made by Cameron, a major US offshore equipment supplier.

We are always hearing about how religious the Americans are. Perhaps they could remember the parable of the mote & the beam.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

What changes?

In June 1954 Alan Turing committed suicide. He was 43 and a man to whom Britain owed an unbelievable debt as a front runner in the cracking of the German codes in WWII and a pioneer of the computer. In 1952 he was exposed as an homosexual and was given the choice of prison or castration by chemical injection. Fifty six years on David Laws commits a silly indiscretion driven by fear of the consequences of his homosexuality and, despite widely acclaimed talent (although not in Turing's league), is hounded out of office by our great & glorious press. Pity one cannot accumulate great wealth by the simple act of being sanctimonious hypocrites.If one could the British wouldn't have a debt crisis.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Ignore the world, we're doing OK

A few minutes ago on BBC Breakfast our Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, pointed out that incidents like the recent Israeli high seas piracy are not in Israels best long term interest. What else, I suppose, can he say? The whole world, except the Government of Israel, wants to believe that this is true & hopes Israel will see the light. Not surprisingly Israel holds a different view because, for the last 40yrs, it has been flouting international law & world opinion & no damage whatsoever has been done to its' interests in any place that matters. There is no incentive whatsoever for the government of Israel to change its' policies & there won't be until the USA, Britain & the EU seriously start to give it a hard time & stop talking nonsense about 'even handedness' & 'both sides' and 'right to defend itself'. I'm not holding my breath. Just try and imagine what would have happened if we had turned the Catholic areas of Belfast into present day Gaza because 'we had a right to defend ourselves'.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


I felt a bit sorry for poor old Gordon during the election but really one shouldn't. Outside 'the dismal science' of economics he really was hopeless. How on earth did he think Sir Ian Blair was worthy of a peerage in the dissolution honours?

The Great Repeal Act

My daughter & granddaughter have the 'flu. Attempting to buy some paracetamol & other palliatives I'm told that I can only buy two packets of such items. Of course I can go back round the supermarket & turn up at a checkout at the opposite end of the line with two more, and then trot round a few chemists and so forth. We may have scrapped ID cards but there is just so much of this trivial, irritating & totally useless legislation that I doubt we will really see much by way of a return of common sense. I did have a fear that if Labour had got back in I might have seen a law passed instructing me to follow a set Government procedure for the wiping of the backside so I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies.

Hague the feeble

Our Foreign Secretary ' -- deplores loss of life'. Whoppee doo. The State of Israel is not going to rejoin the ranks of civilised nations until its' friends muster the guts to give its political leadership a good hammering. The present action should be roundly and unequivocally condemned. No ifs buts or other qualifications.