The Anonymous Widower

The Bailing of Abu Qatada

In some ways this might be the best thing, as I suspect that it will be easier to monitor him outside of jail than inside it. I also think inside of jail, it will be easier to convert people to his stupid views. Various reports have shown that jails are a fertile recruiting ground for extremists of all kinds.  And not just Islamic!

If we can’t pick up all conversations and communications, we aren’t as bright as we think we are. But he’s made some powerful enemies, who don’t have any qualms about killing who they want to.

And I don’t mean the US! They could get him to a US court very easily if they wanted to, because of Blair’s one-sided deal over extradition.

Our biggest problem, will probably be stopping someone killing him. After all, every right wing nutter might think, they could have their five minutes of fame. But then most of them aren’t that brave and don’t like the thought of life in jail. Indiscriminate car and parcel bombs are  more their style rather than targeted assassinations.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | 2 Comments

Liverpool Bring On A Cat Against Spurs

After a few minutes tonight, a cat managed to get on the pitch at Anfield.  It’s part in the game is summed up in this text commentary from the Guardian.

16 mins: “Would it be unfair to say that the stray cat has already shown more awareness in the penalty area than Andy Carroll?” asks Michael McCarthy, not alone in comparing the two. It showed a good turn of pace and its movement was decent if unconventional, but it also showed a very limited grasp of the offside law and offered limited aerial ability. I’m giving Carroll the nod here.

13 mins: The cat has now been removed, quite gently, by a burly steward. Carroll celebrates this with a couple of tasty touches.

11 mins: There’s a cat on the pitch. It’s currently settled in Tottenham’s penalty area. Not a fox in the box, but not too far off.

I can’t ever remember seeing a cat on the pitch before, although a fox did sneak into the Oval.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Sport | , , , | 1 Comment

King’s Troop Say Good-Bye to St. John’s Wood

Today was in some ways a sad day, but also a proud one, as the King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery marched through St. John’s Wood for the last time, as reported here in the Westminster Chronicle. They were on their way to fire a salute in Hyde Park to mark the start of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

In the next day or so, they will ride to their new purpose-built barracks at Woolwich.

Tomorrow, they will probably be on most front pages.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

One Rule for the Council Leader Another for 11,000 On Council Waiting List

If you read this article in the Daily Mail, you’ll understand the overwhelming sense of not playing fair, I got from seeing a report on this on the BBC London News tonight.

There’s an old phrase about justice not only having been done, but having seen to be done!

I of course don’t know the ins and outs of Liam Smith’s case, but having had housing difficulties many years ago, I can sympathise with those on the waiting list. If as the BBC says Mr. Smith earns enough to rent in the private sector, he should do the decent thing  and stand aside for one of the less fortunate in his borough.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Should We Ditch Huhne’s Wind Power Policy?

There is an article in The Times today from Dieter Helm, who is Professor of Energy Policy at Oxford University and a Fellow in Economics at New College at the same University.  So he should know what he is talking about. in fact, if you can get hold of a copy of today’s Times, the article on page 22 is a must-read!

He questions Chris Huhne’s energy policy of building lots of wind farms, especially as it will lead to higher energy bills against a background of falling gas prices. As gas is a fuel that creates less CO2 for the same amount of energy than coal, it would seem to me to be sensible, that whilst we wait for nuclear to come on stream, we use gas in the interim, as obvious low gas and electric prices will be a stimulus to the economy and our wind farms will do little to reduce the amount of world-wide CO2 emmissions, as China and India are commissioning a new coal-powered power station every week or so.

He finishes with a lovely quote.

Ministers who try to pick winners should remember that losers tend to pick governments.

He also indicates that energy and climate change policy needs substance, to make it a  workable one, that is believable to the man on the Dalston omnibus.

In my view that means scrapping expensive, inefficient and unsightly wind farm proposals, use more gas and build nuclear power stations for our long term needs. I am also a strong proponent of building a large tidal power station on the Severn, with an international airport on top.

It would also stimulate the country, if our electricity and gas bills were reduced.  The higher they get, the more likely it is that jobs needing a lot of energy will be exported to where energy is cheap, like India, China and the United States.  So we’ll get more global warming from their new coal-fired power stations.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Airlines Knew What Service Meant – 3

This is a third tale from about 1985 and again it concerns British Airways, but I suspect in those days any good airline did their utmost for their passengers, as it was cheap positive publicity.

A friend, his wife and another couple had gone for a weekend in somewhere like Malaga.  They had worried about actually getting there, as the French air traffic controllers were having one of their periodic bouts of industrial action.

They werent’t particularly bothered, as if they didn’t get back on Monday, Tuesday would do.

On the Monday, various tour reps arrived at the hotel and said that everybody would get home, but it would be a bit late and they would be picked up from the hotel at the expected time.  But the British Airways rep told her charges to wait in the hotel and they’d be picked up three hours before the flight was to leave.

So about nine, they all trooped onto the coach for the airport, where chaos reigned, as no flights were going back to the UK, due to the French. At midnight, they were called to the departure lounge and pretty soon were on their plane.

They’d been expecting a 737, but the plane was a wide-bodied Tri-Star, which BA filled with other passengers caught up from the Sunday or at the chaos at other airports.

Once airborne, the pilot explained the Tri-Star by saying that the French weren’t allowing any planes through their airspace, so they’d used the longer-range Tri-Star and filed a flight-plan on the way out to Bermuda, with Malaga as the alternate. Then halfway across the Atlantic, they’d declared  a minor emergency and as they were just north of Spain, requested they go to the alternate. He said the flight home would be a bit longer, as they were totally avoiding French air-space.

It must have used a lot more fuel, but there were lots of contented passengers.


February 6, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

When Airlines Knew What Service Meant – 2

In about 1979 or so, we ad an awful Christmas Eve in the UK, which meant that lots of aircraft were frozen to their stands at Heathrow and nothing could go in or out.

At the time a colleague in Metier was in Amsterdam and needed to get back for Christmas. He got to Schipol and there were massive queues as no planes were flying to the UK, because most airports were shut. But instead of giving up, as they do these days, British Airways managed to get a Tri-Star to Schipol from somewhere.  But where was it to go? It then turned out that the then small East Midlands Airport was open and during the afternoon and evening, it shuttled passengers across the North Sea.  The last flight arrived in England at three o’clock in the morning, as they kept the airport open late, so as not to ruin Christmas for the passengers. The airline is supposed to have commandeered all the coaches in the area to complete passengers journeys.

But everybody had a good Christmas and British Airways got a lot of publicity.

I can’t imagine it happening today! In fact today, there are reports of incoming passengers to the UK,  stuck in places like  Barcelona and Shannon.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment