Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday 29 March 2010

Highland Council wind turbine planning decision

Highland Council Planning Committee finally decided, with only 8 councillors present, not to object (by a vote of 6-2) to the 33-turbine windfarm proposal for Dunmaglass Estate, near Loch Ness, 15 miles south-west of Inverness. The issue, because it is a major project, will now be decided finally by the Scottish Executive (aka 'Scottish Government').

Reading some of the reasons for non-attendance at this crucial planning committee meeting given by various of the councillors (see linked article above) reads like the apochryphal 'excuses' given by those wishing to avoid jury service! In any case, I think the project should go ahead, even if I think we are fooling ourselves if we believe that nuclear power is not the real way forward. I certainly don't have the objections on aesthetic grounds to wind-farms that some say they have as I think modern wind-generator towers are very attactive and quite elegant in their form - I see quite a large wind-farm far in the distance from my Nairn home whenever it is reasonably clear and I think it adds to the interest of the landscape.

Saturday 27 March 2010

The Conservatives start to 'stick it' to Labour - and about time too!

At long last, some hard-hitting Conservative campaign ads. which high-light just how awful Brown (and before him Blair) and Labour have been for Britain:

One of Brown's first acts when Labour came to power in 1997 was to punish private sector pension schemes, transforming a very healthy pension industry into a basket case with huge deficits:

Brown has presided over a huge increase in the country's national debt and seems determined to continue borrowing to fund his mad politically-driven agenda:

Brown's much-vaunted "end to boom and bust" has produced the biggest bust/crash (or whatever you want to call it) in 80 years and brought with it catastrophe for younger people seeking jobs and a sound future:

These are apparently 3 of the 7 advertisements which Saatchi are producing for the coming fight for the country's future. The other 4 anti-Brown posters will cover the following topics:
- I let 80,000 criminals out early;
- I doubled the tax rate for the poor;
- I lost £6 billion selling off Britain's gold;
- I increased the gap between rich and poor.

It would be great to be able to say that some of these statements are inaccurate, but the horrible truth is that they are but a few examples of the havoc caused by Brown and Labour, which the Conservatives will once more have to sort out (just as they had to do when they last took power in 1979 after an earlier period of gross Labour mal-administration).

Spring forward, Fall back - 2010

During tonight clocks will go forward by one hour throughout the EU and we shall all 'lose' one hour of sleep.

In the UK this will mean a shift from GMT [Greenwich Mean Time] to GMT+1, otherwise known as BST [British Summer Time].

In Spain, where I am now and for the next few months, clocks are already on GMT+1, otherwise known as RST [Romance Standard Time] or CET [Central European Time] and will go forward tonight to GMT+2, known here as RST+1 or CET+1.

Clocks will go back in the Autumn, in the UK and Spain and elsewhere in the European Union, on the night of 30/31 October 2010.

Information for the UK for this and the next few years is available here - see near the bottom of the page under British Summer Time.

Information for Spain for this and the next several years is available here - see near the bottom of the page under the section Cambio Horario España 1940-2010, although the years 2011 to 2015 are covered too provisionally.

There's a nice map here covering the whole of Europe in the Telefonica website I used above for the time-change in Spain. There's also a page of useful information in this same website giving details of time-changes for 2010 throughout the world.

Have a great Summer!

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Stephen Byers 'sleaze-bucket' extraordinaire

[Ex-?]Labour and ex-Cabinet Minister Stephen Byers latest 'fall from grace', along with his [ex-?]Labour colleagues Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon is merely the latest sign that this Labour government stinks and has no place in our national politics.

Almost 5 years ago I wrote a couple of blog articles about Stephen Byers's last brush with the truth (a concept he seems to be bizarrely ambiguous about) - see here and here. This related to the collapse of Railtrack in the aftermath of which this former Transport Minister was forced to admit to lying in the High Court in London:

"It was not a truthful statement and I apologise for that. I can't remember the motivations behind it."

- and that last bit about not being able to remember the motivations behind it made me cringe for him then, just as it does now. All three of these crooks are saying they have 'done nothing wrong'. Serial liars, the lot of them!

PS/ I already signed Guido's petition to Her Majesty the Queen last night, seeking to have Stephen Byers stripped of his membership of the Privy Council - see article here. If you wish to sign the petition too, please click here.

Friday 19 March 2010

It's been a great week for Gordon Brown ... not

Couldn't have happened to a nicer person, could it?

- most amusingly the hero of Nairn's own 'blogger-in-chief' and 'bottom-feeder', Charlie Whelan, features prominently toward the end of the video, with the 'contradictions' (surely not 'lies'?) of his commentary cruelly highlighted.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Gordon Brown - Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

I've known, everybody has known, for years that our illustrious Prime Minister is not well-acquainted with basic concepts such as 'honesty' and 'truth'. Today, at long last, he has been FORCED into admitting in Parliament that he is .... a LIAR! He did not do so willingly, nor did he do it with good grace. He is despicable!

Read some press comment about it:
Telegraph - Gordon Brown in 'humiliating climbdown' on defence spending
Guardian - Gordon Brown backtracks on claim of annual forces budget rise
Mail - Gordon Brown's apology had shades of a child drinking cod liver oil
BBC - Brown misled Iraq inquiry over defence budget - Cameron
FoxNews - British Prime Minister Brown Admits Misinformation on Defense Spending to War Inquiry
Reuters - Brown forced to change stance on army spending

You get the picture? This deplorable man has at long last been forced to acknowledge, however grudgingly, that he actually made a mistake. Deliberate or not? Well, I have my views on that subject. Basically he will say whatever he thinks is to his political advantage, true or not, if he thinks he can get away with it - and this time there is incontovertible evidence that he has been telling 'porkies'. Retired military personnel have been claiming for years that Brown was responsible for under-funding the military whilst he was Chancellor and he always rebutted their comments. Now we know they were correct and he was wrong. It is quite probable that people in our military have been killed as a result of his 'prudence'. Well, we know all about that - our economy is in ruins thanks to this odious man's twisted view of the world. Pah! Prudence? Don't make me laugh!

Remind me, why is this man still our Prime Minister? Surely to goodness there are a few decent, honourable people in the Labour Party with the guts to rid themselves and us of this liability! I do hope that the British people take it out of Labour's hands at the coming General Election and throw him out of Parliament and Labour out of power for a very long time!

Culture in Nairn - "Mr Write" - 31st March 2010 - Little Theatre

I came across a theatre review in the Scotsman about a couple of plays recently performed at The Tron in Glasgow by the NTS (National Theatre of Scotland). The review mentions that one of the plays "Mr Write" is touring Scotland over the next few weeks and mentioned Nairn as one of the venues. A little research reveals it is to be performed at 7pm on Wednesday 31st March at The Little Theatre - ticket availability is on the Nairn Drama Club website here.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

"The Tories open fire on Unite"

Excellent article in today's Coffee House from The Spectator, exposing the malign influence of Charlie Whelan's (*) Unite union on Labour and on national politics, indeed on the government of this country - hell-bent on wrecking havoc on BA - although it's just possible that 'ditherer Brown' has been panicked into begging his Unite-paymasters into some kind of climb-down, or at least a slightly more reasonable posture.

(*) As an aside for any Nairn readers, the editor of the Spectator, Fraser Nelson, is a worthy product of Nairn; Charlie Whelan apparently lives in the area, and was trumpeted recently by Nairn's bottom-feeding 'blogger-in-chief' for having walked on Nairn beach with his dog - big deal! Charlie Whelan walking on anyone's beach is not, in my humble opinion, anything to be proud of or to trumpet loudly. It's all a question of priorities and, dare I say it, judgement in what what one chooses to blog about; I've been discreet about my views on this matter (the lack of judgement of Nairn's 'blogger-in-chief') until now, and there are a number of documented examples that spring to mind, but I have grown tired of my reticence - that is now over!

Social delimitations in Paris ... unnervingly accurate!

This amusing social categorisation of Paris, partly by arondissement and partly by general area, is uncannily perceptive:

(shamelessly 'filched' from the excellent l'Homme est un concept blog)

I particularly like the dismissive tone of "Personne n'y va" - absolutely true in my experience and as for the area classified as "Coupe-gorge" the very few times I ever passed through that area I did feel rather out of place, to put it mildly. As for the areas outside Paris, the general attitude of Parisians is "who cares", as exemplified by the classifications there. Whether I fitted in entirely with the "Chalalas" classification of the area where I lived is anyone's guess - lol.

Monday 15 March 2010

What exactly is an "education services apprentice"?

This is a genuine query, not a flippant comment. It relates of course to the job-title of the late Danus McKinlay, a young gentleman who collapsed and died outside the headquarters of Glasgow City Council, where he had been employed in that role. His boss, and the person who apparently hired him, Stephen Purcell, the former leader of Glasgow City Council, resigned that day for what at the time were said to be 'stress-related' reasons, without further elucidation, but which it has since been alleged (I am not sure if the reports are accurate or mere tittle-tattle) related to an addiction to the drug cocaine. It is being said that Mr Purcell and Mr McKinlay were 'close pals', which seems to be a euphemism related to the fact that Mr Purcell is apparently gay.

Glasgow politics have always been somewhat mysterious to me - Labour's dominance of that city's politics for DECADES left it with huge stocks of poor-quality, poorly-maintained public housing and major debt. The usual way that socialist regimes founder. It is also a place where 'cronyism' seems to be an established way of life. Glasgow has always struck me as being rather like Chicago - a largish city run by an entrenched clique with a lot of murky issues under the surface. In this particular case there are allegations flying around that donations to the Labour Party 'machine' in the city were related to large contracts awarded by the city to a donor's company, mingled with suggestions that 'blackmail' may have been involved.

As for the suggestion by one blogger that '18-year olds don't simply drop dead' for no reason, in fact this is is not so. I know of a number of cases where young men have collapsed and died suddenly for seemingly unexplained reasons; it is rare, but it does happen. I haven't heard of the same kinds of incidents happening to young women, but perhaps they do for all I know. In any case, none of the querulous argy-barging between Labour and SNP supporters about that particular aspect of this case should mask the fact (which I suspect Labour badly wishes not to be the focus of attention) that Glasgow politics are decidedly dirty and murky with a lot of vested interests coming into play, if reports I have read over very many years are true. Will the bulk of the good citizens of Glasgow ever vote anything other than 'Labour'? One of the great mysteries of the universe is why they have stuck with these shysters for so long - probably they know no better. I'm not mad enough to think they might ever vote in numbers for the Conservatives of course (too much 'folk history' and myth there, I'm afraid), and naturally I don't relish the thought of them ever going SNP, but even the pallid LibDems would be a somewhat less self-destructive option I'd have thought. As I say, one of the (to me) great mysteries of the known universe ...

Sunday 14 March 2010

Nairn boy done good ...

There's an interview with Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson in today's Independent on Sunday, apparently the first he has ever given about himself.

Amongst what is a very readable article, one interesting (to me) snippet of information emerges - that Fraser Nelson was actually born and had a part of his schooling in Nairn, before attending Dollar Academy when his father was posted to Cyprus (the article doesn't say so, but I'm speculating his father might have been in the RAF?) and I suppose this latter accounts for his somewhat 'posh strangulated' Scottish accent. I had always imagined his roots were in one of the more salubrious parts of Edinburgh or Glasgow. Whatever, his politics are certainly on the right track as is his capacity to high-light the many deficiencies in the current Labour government's economic and social policies. I agree with him that his is far too valuable an intellect to 'waste' on becoming a politician (not that we couldn't do with some more of this commodity in politics, too), when he can be of far more utility in providing intelligent and credible commentary on politics and economics from the outside.

Saturday 13 March 2010

Narcissism from small-minded 'Nairnites', local and overseas. Yawn ....

I repeat a 'Tweet' I just made in case visitors don't happen to notice the tweets in the column at right:
"Word reaches me that an expat 'Nairnite' (devotee of the bottom-feeding 'Gurn from Nurn') does not care for my blogging. In a word "Tough"!"
- as I mentioned a few months back, no Nairn-based blog is currently in my blogroll; I see no reason at present to modify this policy.

Currently, and for the next few months, I am in Spain so will probably be blogging little or nothing about Nairn, or the UK for that matter, until the general election is declared, when I will no doubt become a little more animated in this blog, even though I won't be voting as I won't be there to do so and haven't organised a postal vote. My vote would make absolutely no difference in the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey constituency of course; it's not the right sort of 'marginal' for that.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

A change of scene ...

The long winter in the Highlands of Scotland may not be quite over yet, but for me it will be so on Thursday, when I start the journey south to my home in Spain for a few months. The first part of the trip will take me beyond the 'snow fields' of the Grampians (with a bit of luck) and on down to the southern Lake District, where I will be spending a night on my way to Portsmouth to catch the Friday evening ferry for Bilbao.

After two nights of hopefully not too rough weather crossing the Channel and the Bay of Biscay the vessel is scheduled to arrive on Sunday morning and then it will be on to the motorway to make my way to a south-eastern suburb of Madrid where I shall be spending Sunday night, before continuing in the direction of Valencia, then Murcia, en route to the house which, with a bit of luck, I shall reach mid-late afternoon on Monday, with pleanty of time to do such mundane things as get to the supermarket to do a little food-shopping for a few basics for the first day at least.

I've just heard that the weather in the Mazarrón area, close to where my home is, continues cold, windy and wet. Ah well, we'll just have to hope that Spring will soon be on its way there too and of course the average temperatures are somewhat higher than here, so that is always something to look forward to. Meantime I thought it would be pleasant to open a bottle of champagne this evening to celebrate my imminent departure as obviously alcohol will be off-limits for me tomorrow evening, ahead of my fairly early start on Thursday morning. Eagle-eyed readers may notice that I have anticipated my arrival in the Murcia Region of Spain by amending the sub-heading of this blog a few days 'before the event'. Hasta luego!