Saturday, 31 March 2007

Tension growing between Britain and Iran?

The British sailors and marines held captive were shown on Iran television. The British Government condemned this as “the sailors being paraded on television”. The Iranians said the tape, showing the prisoners eating, was released to reassure their families that they are being well looked after.

I want to see a jingoistic free account and analyses of events. But once again the British press appear to be acting as the willing tool of Government propaganda. They shout “Is the Government doing enough to free our troops? “.

I am yet to see a forensic examination of the facts as stated by Britain and Iran. What do we know?

The Ministry of Defence says:
  • At 07:39 hrs on 23 March 2007 a merchant ship located 1.7 nautical miles (3.1km) inside Iraqi territorial waters was boarded by crew from HMS Cornwall. The operation was observed by Cornwall’s Lynx helicopter.
  • Communication with the boarding party was lost at 09:10
  • The Lynx returned to the scene and reported the two boats were being escorted by Iranian Navy vessels toward the Shatt al Arab waterway
  • The British state the Iranians first claimed the incident occurred at a location within Iraq waters, but corrected this to a position 1 nautical mile (1.9km) from its first position and within Iranian waters.

While the British Government is ignoring the fact, it must be noted while reference is made to distances from the boarder; agreement has never been reached between Iran and Iraq on the position of the boarder. Making definitive statements and basing a case on a location 1.7 nautical miles from a disputed and undefined boarder doesn’t stand-up to close scrutiny. A fact identified by Russia at the UN Security Council discussions on Thursday.

From known facts, it is obvious the boarding of the merchant vessel was ineptly planned and executed:
  • Why didn’t HMS Cornwall see the approach of the Iranian boats on its radar?
  • Why did the Lynx helicopter have insufficient fuel to remain on patrol? (The Lynx had returned to Cornwall for refuelling, at the time the Iranians captured the sailors).
  • Why was there a failure in the communication system between Cornwall and the two patrol boats?

In an attempt to get an alternative prospective, yesterday I looked at the following Middle East news organisations:

Bahrain Tribune - no reference to the story
The Daily Star (Lebanon) - ditto

Middle East Times (Egypt) - a report that Iran says Britain exploited UN; and second sailor ‘confesses’.

Gulf News Online (UAE) - nothing in the headlines, but at the bottom of the page a link to an Iranian statement why the release of the woman captive has been put off

Arab News (The Middle East’s Leading English Language Daily) (Saudi Arabia) - At the end of a long report of a news conference given at the end of the Arab Summit at Riyadh, quote:

Asked about the Kingdom’s stance on the 15 British soldiers who are withheld with Iranian officials, Prince Saudi described it as “unfortunate.”
“We do not need any things to add to the already inflammatory situation in the region,” he said. He said he extended his heart out to the families of the captured British sailors

Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran) - reported on a telephone conversation between President Mahout Ahmadinejad and the Turkish Prime Minister, quote:
During the telephone conversation, Ahmadinejad underlined that the British troopers have for many times in the past violated international rules and conventions and illegally crossed into Iranian borders.
Despite their official commitment to avoid repetition of such illegal crossing into Iranian land and territorial water, the Britons have resorted to fabricated hue and cry instead of apology for their action and of helping resolve the issue through diplomatic channels, he said.
The Turkish premier, for his part, called Britain's threats for freezing ties with Iran as a "mistake" and urged the Iranian officials to permit Turkish ambassador to Tehran to meet the captured British sailors in an effort to foil the ongoing false propaganda.

In a separate report on the telephone conversation between the Iranian and Australian Foreign Ministers to discuss the arrest of the British sailors, quote:

The Iranian foreign minister hoped that the British officials will avoid the hue and cries launched by the media, which will make the issue more complicated.
"Iran welcomes pursuance of the issue by Australia if it can help Britain to act reasonably," he added.

Clearly in the Middle East the affair is seen as a low priority event. Even in Iran they are trying to cool the situation. Perhaps its time for the British to keep “Macho man” Blair off the TV and apply some quiet diplomacy. As for the British press, as can be seen from today’s copy of the Sun, it’s starting to lose interest.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Don’t apologies for the past, deal with the present.

There have been events this month to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of passing the “Abolition of the Slave Trade Act” by the British Parliament on 25th March 1807. The act only abolished the trading of slaves in the British Empire. A further 26 years passed before the “Slavery Abolition Act” was passed on 23 August 1833 outlawing slavery in the British Empire. Slaves in the British Empire were finally emancipated on 1st August 1834. The event is commemorated by the Gothic space rocket shaped, Buxton Memorial Fountain located, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament, in Victoria Towers Gardens.

There have been calls for the British Government to apologies for the slave trade. On behalf of who is it meant to apologies? Me, my ancestors?

It is not my intention to make any excuses for the slave trade, or in anyway deny or justify the appalling atrocities that were committed. But when considering whether the Government should apologies; the slave trade needs to be considered in the context of conditions existing at the start of the nineteenth century. What were my ancestors doing in 1800? Boys and girls as young as five years old, could be sitting in the dark breathing in coal dust for 18 hours each day, working as trappers, opening and closing the heavy ventilation doors underground in coalmines. Their father would probably be working at the coalface while their mother dragged the coal out in large pans. The slave trade helped to finance the Industrial Revolution. But British citizens were as much victims of the “Revolution” as were the slaves. It brought misery and a dramatic decline in both the quality of life and life expectancy to the vast majority of the populace. It would be an insult to the memory of my ancestors for the Government to apologies on their behalf for the Slave Trade.

Afro-Caribbean and African Americans view white people as the sole guilty party in the slave trade. But they were only the final link in the chain, their involvement starting at the coast of Africa. The slaves were brought to the coast by Africans. The Ashanti people, of modern day central Ghana, under the leadership of their Paramount King the Ashantihene were active participants in selling their enemies into slavery.

Let us not forget the atrocities of the past, but we need to focus attention on the present. It is estimated, worldwide at the start of the 21st century there were 27million slaves, twice the total number of slaves deported from Africa during the two centuries of the transatlantic slave trade. According to the International Labour Organization there are 246 million children engaged in exploitative child labour. About 1 million children, mostly girls, are exploited every year in the sex industry.

The two hundredth anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act should not be celebrated, while so many remain in servitude.

I finish by giving first hand account of modern day slavery. In a village midway between Kumasi and Ejisu in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. A Kumasi based lawyer represented a man from the Upper Northern Region of Ghana. Unfortunately the man couldn’t pay his fee, so he gave his 10 year old son to the lawyer to work off the debt. Thirty years later he still looks after the lawyers goats and lives in a little room, no larger than a cupboard. He will be relieved of the burden when the lawyer dies.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Exiles Exiles

The old board is down again - may it rest in peace. Move your belongings to the new address.

This is the new permanent home of Exiles Exiles:

Hope you will keep paying visits to this blog.

Never mind the content.

I think this blog is taking over my life. If I’m not thinking about a topic to write about, it’s actually typing out the blog. Then looking for a suitable photo. If that’s not enough someone leaves a comment that they like the content of the blog, but hate its appearance. Says it scares people off. The blog has had about 2600 hits in three months; I wonder how many of those visitors are now traumatised by the shock of seeing the blog? At this very moment people are seeking counselling for post-traumatic stress syndrome. I can’t allow humanity to suffer. Also looking after my own interests - I don’t want to be sued, for causing someone psychological trauma - I thought I should alter its appearance.

Changed the text font, then the font size, neither change was successful. Then I tried changing the colour scheme. Finished up altering the blog layout. Still not the desired appearance. Then took a leap into the dark, without a safety net, and changed the photograph in the blog header. Still not happy. But I’ve got to get a life, can’t spend my life stuck behind this computer. Apologies to those still shocked by the appearance - but get over it! Into every life an ugly blog must fall.

I miss the old photo. An iconic silhouette of a section of London skyline: November sunset, with The Palace of Westminster and St Steven’s Tower. The new photo isn’t so easily recognisable, doubt if anybody will recognise it. A clue - the spec on the screen about half an inch up from the bottom and two inch from the left isn’t dirt on your monitor. About two years ago the object was put up for sale for £1. This blog can be relied upon to provide you with trivial pieces of information.

Did you know YesBut is the anagram of “Tubeys”?

“The Tubey crafts in Totally Tubeys are a fun way to enhance your storytime and craft programs with creative ideas for each month of the year. Each storytime includes an annotated bibliography, activity ideas and a Tubey pattern with instructions. The Tubeys are made from readily available and inexpensive materials: bathroom tissue tubes or tubes from other paper rolls. Totally Tubeys! is recommended for anyone working with children in preschool to grade three, but the Tubey crafts can be enjoyed by children of all ages! Grades”.

Did you know YesBut is the anagram of “Steuby”?

John J Steuby Co. have been manufacturing screw machine products since 1962.

Did you know YesBut is the anagram of “beusty”?

In the language of the Marawko tribe, from central Amazon basin, “beusty” means doing something useless, i.e. a trivial pursuit. It is also their word for blogging.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Ready Steady Watch & Listen

Every weekday afternoon Mrs YesBut settles down to watch Ready Steady Cook. The resulting impact on me can only be called a Crime Against Humanity.

She sits there pen and notepad at the ready. For some peculiar reason she invariably views the program with the sound off. Perhaps she thinks she is keeping her viewing addiction a secret. But the result is she has to guess the ingredients used.

Each week a new ingredient is added to the shopping list. The kitchen cupboard is full of unopened bottles of vinegar: red wine, white wine, balsamic, bottles of mustard: French, whole grain. There’s a piece of blue stilton cheese in the fridge, that’s been there so long we regard it as a member of the family.

The ingredients are harmless as long as they remain in the cupboard. It’s only when they immerge into the daylight that they become dangerous. I wouldn’t mind so much, if I had pre-warning of an experimental dish being placed before me. At least then I could prepare my taste buds. But as it is an innocuous plate of food is placed before me, only to send shockwaves through my palate to my brain.

“What was THAT?”.

Hurt look on Mrs YesBut’s face, “You don’t like it?”

“I might. But just give me a clue of the ingredients so I know what I’m supposed to be eating”.

I said Mrs YesBut watches the program with the sound off. This can result in some unfortunate mistakes being made. Steaming fish wrapping it in cabbage leaf instead of a (I can only guess at what leaf should have been used but it certainly should not have been cabbage). The use of horseradish and mustard cheese instead of stilton. The list goes on and on.

At least I could prepare my self when steamed fish with rice covered in gravy was placed before me. But no such warning was given when I took a mouthful of sweet rice, only to realize it was impregnated with pieces of ginger. I'm more an egg and bacon man. But the last time I had that, the bacon had been marinated in honey and mustard.

Ainsley Harriott you might have a smile on your face, but I’m the one suffering the consequences of your actions. O.K. it wouldn’t be so bad if Mrs YesBut watched the program with the sound on

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Weekly shop.

Sunny crisp Tuesday morning, ideal for doing the weekly shop.

Clutching the shopping list, written in Mrs YesBut’s own fair hand, I go to the supermarket on Tuesday mornings. With a list I know (well can guess) what I need to buy. Typical items on a list:

Butter - the one I use for cooking

Vinegar - not the one for chips, but the one in a tall bottle with a green top

Soap powder - not the one you bought the last time, but the nice soapy one.

How can I go wrong? I have an image of the store in my head - first pickup the TV magazine, straight across the aisle collect flour, tea up to the end turn left collect eggs, down the next aisle peanut butter and marmalade across the main aisle for toilet-paper , , , , ,. It’s easy.

But not this morning. I heard those dreaded words coming from Mrs YesBut’s direction
“Do you want me to come with you?”.
Sounds like a question - answer definitely NO. But I’m not stupid, that was a declaration not a question.
“Yes, that would be great to have your help. Have you written a list?”
“There’s no need, I know what we want”.
The sun is shining but those words cast me into the deepest gloom.

Arrive at supermarket. First stop pickup TV magazine.
“Do we need tea?”
“Um I don’t think so”
“No I think maybe we are alright for flour”.
We stand in the middle of the main aisle as Mrs YesBut tries to remember what she wants. She says decisively:
“Cheese, yogurt and butter”.
So off we go to the far end of the shop. But when we get there:
“We need Lemon & Ginger herbal tea”
“I asked if you wanted tea“
” You didn’t ask if we wanted herbal tea”
“But tea is tea”.
I leave Mrs YesBut standing blocking-up the aisle deciding which type of yogurt to buy, while I go back to collect herbal tea.

When I get back Mrs YesBut has disappeared, find her in the meat aisle.
“Did you bring Self raising flour?”
“You didn’t say you wanted flour!”
”Of course we need flour”.
Back I go again mutter, #*+#, mutter. When I get back she has disappeared once again. Find her, giving advice to a young mother on how to rear her baby.
“You’ve only brought one packet“
“Well as I’m here today to help you, you might as well get another packet of flour”
“Well I’m only trying to help, it will be less for you to carry next week”.
If this continues I will not survive to see next week.
“Now before I wear a trench in the aisle, do you want plain as well as self raising, baking powder, sultanas, milk, sugar . . . .?”
“There’s no need to lose your temper, I’m not going to come and help you again”
“Yes please!!”.

The weekly shop which normally takes 15 minutes, is completed in just over an hour. But now I have to go back again, because we forgot to buy bread.

“Yes, dear I’ll switch off the computer, and go and buy bread”.

Monday, 26 March 2007

More press hype?

Was the murdered Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer the primery target or was he used as a warning to others?

It is supposed hoodlums lost a lot of money when Parkistan was beaten unexpectedly by Ireland. Would that be sufficient reason to have the coach murdered? For what benefit - punishment or to prevent him disclosing information?

To fix a match isn’t easy. It takes a number of players, both bowlers and batsmen to participate in throwing a match. Why go to all that trouble? With spread and spot betting, match fixing is unnecessary. It’s much easier to fix small aspects of a game: the number of wides bowled in an over, the number of catches dropped. Easier to arrange, and less likely to be detected.

There is a lot of speculation over what Woolmer knew, and what he was going to disclose in his next book. Without casting dispersions on the dead, he had a history of being touched by the shadow of corruption. Woolmer was the coach of South Africa when the team was captained by the late and disgraced Hansie Cronje (he was banned for life in 2000, for his involvement in match fixing - he died in 2002 in a light aircraft plane crash).

Lets assume he was murdered to prevent him disclosing information in a book he was yet to write. The book wouldn’t be published the next day, or the next week or even the next month. Why murder him in the full glare of the ICC Cricket World Cup? It doesn’t make sense. He could have been disposed of after he returned home to South Africa and the hit made to look like a robbery that had gone wrong.

Lets assume he was murdered as punishment and a warning to others. If that was what was intended, the reverse has been achieved. “Match fixing” and all the other scams have been placed in the forefront of attention of the cricketing authorities, the police and the press. If two wides are bowled in an over, that bowler will immediately be under suspicion. The murder has probably frightened off players from participating in spread betting fixes.

The murder is likely not to be associated with match fixing or spread betting. One thing that can be said with confidence, no England player can be accused of corruption - they are so bad, there’s no need for them to throw a match.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

They are at it again!

The press and ITV News are at it again. This is the headline of today’s News of the World.

So Friday night Prince Harry was in Boujis nightclub with Natalie Pinkham (who ever she might be).

Early Saturday morning he left via the backdoor only to be confronted by a pack of paparazzi. Harry lost his temper, so what, big deal. Now if one of them had stuck his camera in my face, I would have shoved his telephoto lens where the sun doesn’t shine.

In a few months time Harry will be deployed with his regiment to Iraq. This week we saw the news conference given by the United Nations Secretary General being disrupted by a mortar bomb. There is no safe place to hide in Iraq. Harry could be coming home in a flag draped coffin. He doesn’t have to go - as third inline to the Throne he could have been given a safe desk job in Whitehall. But he demanded to go with his men.

In tonight’s ITV News, after reporting the nightclub incident, the question was posed “Is he fit to lead a troop of soldiers in Iraq?” Now at this point I must refrain from writing what I would like to write and apply some self-control - but take it for granted expletives have been deleted. ITV News you pompous farting dollop of dung, get off your high pseudo moral high horse, and cut the boy some space.

Is ITV fit to provide a news service to the Nation? YesBut who can blame me for being grumpy and farting.

Dyslexia rules KO

The television program listing magazine ‘What’s on TV‘, has in its description of tonight’s ITV1’s 9.00pm program Northanger Abbey‘, quote “ A naïve young clergyman’s daughter . . .”. We could ask how young is the clergyman and why is he judged to be naïve? In reality the clergyman is neither young nor naïve! It’s is his daughter who is young and naive. This unfortunately is a typical example of present day sloppy writing.

OK, people in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones - my blogs are not so much peppered with bad spelling and poor grammar as splattered with them. My excuse is dyslexia. What is the excuse of the ‘What’s on TV’ writer and its Editor?

Dyslexia and the way it manifests itself is very interesting. In my case my brain refuses to acknowledge the existence of certain words. (The following sentence is going to be difficult to type, because it contains those no no words). “I thing throw traing I can over come dyslexia.” . My brain always confuses throw & through and think & thing. The trouble is spellcheck doesn’t pickup the error, unlike with “traing”. My brain detects patterns in words, and decides, it can save time by dropping letters. Just typing the last sentence it deleted a ’t’ in patterns and a ’p’ in dropping. And on every occasion (just then it had a problem - should it be double ’c’ or ‘s’?), training comes out as traing - why bother with the second ’in’!

The old brain is easily confused. Walking through Westminster, I always question the origin of the street name 'Old Pye Street'. Is the street old or was it named after an old pye? And what or who was pye? Was there a Mr Pye or is it an example of a dyslexic sign writer and it was meant to be pie? But what was so important about an old pork pie that it has a street named after it? Or was it a steak and kidney pie? Yet again there could have been a Mr Pye. But I still don’t now if the pye or street is old.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

It wasn’t like that

Thursday, ITV news reported it had been found the Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer had a broken bone in his neck. At the same time BBC Radio news reported Bob Woolmer did not have a broken bone in his neck, it stated the rumour had been traced to a “rouge” policemen. Which report was correct?

On Friday the Jamaican police made the shocking announcement that Bob Woolmer had been murdered. He had been strangled in his hotel bedroom early Sunday morning. To be fair to the BBC, on Thursday the police stated they were investigating a suspicious death, they denied it was murder. The murder brings into stark reality the corruption that is a cancer at the centre of World cricket, or is it?

I would like to examine the confidence we can have in news reporting. We watch television news, listen to news on the radio and nod our heads in agreement; feel shocked at reports of tragic events. We believe what we see and what we hear.

I have been either centrally or on the fringe of about five news stories. On each occasion, irrespective of whether it was an account on TV or the newspapers, the accounts were at best only 50% correct. A few of the basic facts reported were correct, but the interpretation was distorted. What was more disturbing, was the additional unconnected information provided to support the reporter’s interpretation.

For about twenty years, between the mid 70s and 90s I was working overseas, where news came via a small short wave radio. I listened mainly to the BBC World Service. The problem with the BBC is it has a rolling news service, so every half hour you hear the same report. To relieve the tedium I would spin the dial and listen to Voice of America (VOA) or on occasions other stations including Radio Moscow, and the Dutch overseas broadcasting station.

I cannot remember the exact news story, but it occurred around about 1976 ~ 77. The BBC reported on the event; which naturally I believed. The VOA report was in close agreement with the BBCs’, but Radio Moscow’s was a complete contradiction. I wondered, why Radio Moscow would think that people would believe such blatant lies. Some months later the truth immerged and was reported in the press and the BBC - they matched almost exactly the original Radio Moscow report!!

In 1982, during the Falklands Islands War, the BBC reported the British had bombed Port Stanley airport placing it out of service for the Argentineans. Yet during the same time Argentinean TV was showing news footage shot in Port Stanley and flown out of the airport! The truth was, while the airport had been bombed it had not been placed out of service.

There is also another factor which adds to the risk of distortion of news reporting, and that is the introduction of the 24hour rolling news television channels. To grab the interest of viewers they need news. They need new news and often. This has resulted in off the cuff reporting without the time necessary to perform background research and verification of facts.

YesBut just because you see a reporter standing in front of a camera at the scene of a news story; it doesn’t mean he or she knows the facts; or what is reported is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Location, location, location.

I’m always pleased when I see in a TV program or film a place I know, but I am even more amused when it’s transposed to a different location.

Last night on ITV1, in The Bill a police car is seen speeding along Wormwood Street, in the City of London, with the “Gherkin” Swiss Re Tower in the background, to turn a corner allegedly into a square, only to draw up at Victoria Embankment Gardens over a mile away. That wasn’t the only occasion the good folk of Sun Hill had a problem with geography. The suspect was reported to be at Charing Cross Station only we, see Smithy searching for him in Liverpool Street Station - what the heck they’re both stations!

In the 1962 film “Only Two Can Play” Peter Sellers is seen boarding a bus outside the main library in Swansea to go on the short journey to Town Hill. People in West Wales were puzzled why the bus is seen doing a detour, for there it was 15 miles from its supposed route, going around the roundabout in front of Llanelli Town Hall.

But I consider the classic geographical manipulation occurred in John Wayne’s 1975 “Brannigan”. Jim Brannigan is an Irish Chicago cop who goes to London in search of an American racketeer who fled the United States to avoid appearing in front of a grand jury. In one scene John Wayne is seen driving a big red Cadillac convertible, which looks more like an aircraft career than a car. The car drives south over Tower Bridge - south is the preferred direction for film makers as it allows them to show the Tower in the background. Leaving the bridge the car immediately enters Trafalgar Square - YesBut now that really is slick driving, even for John Wayne.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Shut that door

Everybody has their own inherent set of rules of acceptable conduct. Things we consider appropriate, and things we wouldn’t (under normal circumstances) do. However these intrinsic rules are by themselves insufficient. To survive society needs to define additional codes of conduct - without these there would be anarchy with everybody doing their own thing.

On Monday I made reference to probably the most controlled group - Buddhist monks (bhikkhus). In the Theravadian tradition which predominates in Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka, monks have to comply with 227 rules. The rules literally control every aspect of a monks life, what he wares, when and what they eats, etc. They were proscribed by the Buddha over 2500 years ago, and they evolved out of necessity. An event occurred that could have disrupted the harmony of the Sangha (community of monks) and the Buddha proscribed a rule.

A full description can be seen in “The Patimokkha Training Rules Translated and Explained by Thanissaro Bhikkhu”

Remember each rule came into being following an incident. Given that, the mind boggles at some of the things that must have occurred to produce the following rule, quote:

Should any bhikkhu — participating in the training and livelihood of the bhikkhus, without having renounced the training, without having declared his weakness — engage in the sexual act, even with a female animal, he is defeated and no longer in communion.


Detailed commentaries were produced to interpret the rules, I quote Bhikkhu Thanissaro:

The term sexual act refers to all kinds of sexual intercourse.

The full penalty under this rule applies to any voluntary sexual intercourse with a human being, a "non-human", or a common animal, whether female, male, neuter, or hermaphrodite.

Performing the sexual act with a dead body — even a decapitated head — also entails the full penalty if the remains of the body are intact enough for the act to be accomplished.

The rule also includes two examples of "self-intercourse": A bhikkhu with a supple back takes his penis into his mouth, and a bhikkhu with an unusually long penis inserts it into his anus. Both cases carry the full penalty, which shows that one's own anal and oral orifices can fulfil the factor of object here.


The key factor in applying the rules is intention.

I quote again from Bhikkhu Thanissaro:

Lastly, the Vinita Vatthu (commentary) to this rule includes an interesting case that formed the basis for an additional rule:

"At that time a certain monk had gone to the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood at Vesali to pass the day and was sleeping, having left the door open. His various limbs were stiff with the 'wind forces' (i.e., he had an erection). Now at that time a large company of women bearing garlands and scents came to the park, headed for the vihara. Seeing the bhikkhu, they sat down on his male organ and, having taken their pleasure and remarking, 'What a bull of a man!' they went on their way, taking up their garlands and scents."

The bhikkhu incurred no penalty, but the Buddha gave formal permission to close the door when resting during the day.


So let that be a lesson, if you are having a little nap in your garden shed, make sure the door is closed.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Blogs, Message boards and Holes

Last night I was thinking what shall I blog about tomorrow. This morning I woke up with the idea to write: possibly about the subjects people blog about or examining aspects of morality - specifically why is some behaviour morally acceptable while others aren’t? Then there is the question, why do people commit immoral actions, even knowing to do so would be breaking the law? Why are people paedophiles? Is it nature or nurture? Then I thought I had written on the subject before. When I scrolled through my previous blogs to check, I noticed there were a number of comments I hadn’t responded to. Each day I normally check back a number of blogs for comments. But it appears I haven’t been as diligent as I should.

So the first thing I must do is apologies to all those who have taken time to leave comments, and I have failed to post a reply. Sorry - wrist duly slapped.

Then when I looked at the blog this morning, I saw a message from Gadget to say both Exiles Exiles and Jezza’s Exiles message boards were down. So I left a quck blog to let people know, and give the opportunity for people to leave messages.

Gadget asked about the heating, which should have been switched off Monday to repair a leak. As I said previously never plan - it never works out. The men are still leaning on their shovels waiting for the young lad who uses the pneumatic hammer to come back from the café with their teas. I think there’s a problem in deciding where to dig - a case of don’t dig it there dig it elsewhere. But the elsewhere is out on the pavement and you can’t dig up a pavement without prior Council consent. So the lad with the teas came back, but the whole lot disappeared to the betting shop to wait for the consent. Now every cloud has a silver lining, while the Council procrastinates we have heating. With a bit of luck spring will come before they get around to granting permission. Meanwhile the lads are happy in the betting shop.

Now I’m getting close to a rant about pavements. There are companies in this country making a vast fortune allegedly repairing pavements. They throw a dollop of sand under the paving stone. The next day it starts rocking again, and back they come to “repair” it again. Nice little earner.

Can it be the reason the message boards went off line, was someone digging up the pavement cut through the power supply to the boards. This blog will never go down its internally powered by farting.

Exiles Exles - come out come out where ever you are!

There seems to be a problem this morning logging onto Exiles Exiles message board.

For all those frustrated members sitting there at their keyboard, with itching fingers, make yourself at home and post comments on any subject of your choice.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Mystery tour of Blogland

Yesterday afternoon being too cold and wet to go for a walk, I decided to go on a mystery tour around “blogland”. The navigation system used was Google Blog Search, and the initial direction was set by the first words I heard on the TV after deciding to go on the journey, they were “proves nothing“.

Google took me to my first stop at “Skeptico - Critical thinking for an irrational world

Visit this blog if you want to perform some intellectual gymnastics, especially if like me you haven’t heard of Schrödinger‘s cat. I left the comment “The blog certainly gave me something to think about”.

For my onward journey I selected at random from the blog the word “irrational”.

My second stop was “Desperate Irrational Exuberance

Don’t ask me what this blog was about, I left the comment “Let me know when you get around to writing the article”

I chose the keywords from the blog “Batman trades

The third stop was “legionofdoom.cheeksofgod“.

Here I entered into comic book land, but this is a serious examination of the Sci-fi genre, with a review of Batman: Under the Hood. A great critique, so good in fact that there is no longer a need for me to read the book.

The keywords chosen for the next stage was “red hood

The fourth stop was at “forevergeek

I felt I had been trapped in a comic book vortex, for again I was confronted with reviews of comic books. I had fallen into a World I was previously unaware of.

The keyword that jumped at me from the blog was “bad week”.

The fifth stop was at “The Volokh Conspiracy

The blog is dedicated to examining the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy applied by the American forces to homosexuality. It seems to be a hypocritical policy. “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell“- see no evil speak no evil hear no evil - but it’s not that its: don‘t tell me, don‘t show me.

The key word for the onward journey was “significant and growing

I remember hearing a couple of weeks ago the percentage of web sites dedicated one way or another to sex, I forget the exact number, but it was extremely high.

But it was not until I arrived at my sixth stop, that I had my first sex encounter at “Making Love Sustainable

On reflection significant and growing would be everyman’s dream! The blog page I read dealt with the topic “Sleep or Sex” (no question mark). Five ideas are given “to find a way to enjoy an intimate life given the general level of exhaustion that we live in. I thought it was worth pointing out “Sex can be a cure for insomnia”.

The next keyword chosen randomly from the blog was “prioritize

The seventh stop was at “Kevin Marsh

The blog page detailed a method devised by a web page developer to prioritizing work.

Many years ago I developed my own golden rule. I apply the rule of three: the first request I throw in the waste bin, the second request I put in my pending tray, the third request I respond to. A very affective self filtering method: 70% drop by the wayside at the first stage, 70% of the remaining drop by the wayside at the second stage, so only 9% of the original requests need be dealt with.

The keyword entered for the next step was “quick estimate”.

The eighth stop was at “

This was a very interesting blog about the spiders (robots) used by search engines. Unfortunately the content soon went straight over my head. To be honest I could only leave a token comment “I think most bloggers love to have spiders crawling all over their blog.”

The next keyword entered was “English factory

The ninth stop was at “Aiden Brooks Trainee Chef

This is a really well designed web page, looks good. Yesterday’s blog looked at the end of production of HP sauce in this country, the sale of the Patak’s food brand and the apparent incorrect entry in Wikipedia that Ovaltine is an American product.

The blog failed to point out, in Thailand Ovaltine is a breakfast drink, to give you energy for the day. While in this country it’s a bedtime drink to help you sleep. So why don’t the Thais fall asleep at 8.00 am?

This was an interesting blog, well worth visiting on a cold wet Monday afternoon. There was only one comment I could possibly leave ”How can HP sauce be produced in Holland - sacrilege.”

The next keyword was “classic piece

The tenth and final stop was at “Hullabaloo

The blog looks at the way Americans try to visualise themselves as modern day Spartans. My final comment of the tour was “Leave what was Sparta to the Spartans, be proud of your own culture.” A weak comment, but after such a long journey it was all I was capable of.

The keywords chosen randomly from the blog and to be entered on the next tour by YesBut of Blogland are: “defensive wall”.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Reaction and results

Last week I wrote about living in our self created world; where we place such importance on our own thoughts and ideas, where we feel emotions in response to other people’s actions.

In reality even in our “own world” very few things are important.

Do you believe me? Take a few minutes and make a list of all the truly important events in your life.

At the onset you might think it will take longer than a few minutes - but you will find the list will not be as long as you first thought. If you just examine this month - what have been the three most important events? How important do you consider them to be now compared to the time they occurred?

On Saturday, for two hours my attention was fully focused on one event. I recall during that time I experienced: anger, joy, frustration, exhilaration, anxiety, pride, indignation - you name it; I went through the full spectrum of feelings. The event? I was watching the Wales vs. England rugby international. That event has now past into history, probably by the end of the week I will have forgotten the score.

I have been told that we will not have heating for most of this week, resulting from the need to shutdown the system to repair a leak. If the weather forecasters are correct, by tomorrow night I’m going to feel mighty cold and probably very miserable. If the work drags on I’ll probably feel anger. But next month it will all be forgotten.

We respond to events, because that’s human nature. But most reactions to events are transient and very few will result in permanent effects. But there are events that have a long term residual influence. Someone - in your opinion - offends you, they do you an injustice. And the memory of that event gnaws and burrows into your soul. There it can fester and grow. It soon can dominate your life. But analyse what has happened. There is the event > the reaction to the event > reaction to the reaction. It’s like a family feud; the Jones’ hate the Williams’ yet the original cause will probably have been forgotten. It’s the same with our personal reactions: we nurture, we excuse our own behaviour and find plenty of reasons to damn the antagonist. We carry the reaction around with us. I’m reminded of the story of the two Buddhist monks. Buddhist monks are not allowed to touch females; even to take something directly handed by a woman is prohibited.

Two monks were walking from one monastery to another when they came to a river. An old woman was standing on the bank. One of the monks asked what was troubling her. She said she had to cross the river but was frightened she would be swept away. The monk told her to take his hand and he would guide her across. The other monk object, reminding him of the rule forbidding him to touch a woman. But the monk ignored the warning. The three crossed the river, when they got to the other bank the monks and old woman parted company. The two monks walked on in strained silence. Finally the monk who guided the woman across turned to his companion and asked what was troubling him. He chastised the monk for breaking the rules of conduct. The other monk smiled and said “I let go of the old woman’s hand when we reach the safety of the bank, why are you still clinging on to her?”.

But isn’t it human nature to react to events? Yes - but there is no need to continue to cling.

The secret is training oneself to realise the instant you react to an event. At that point rather than clinging or trying to subjugate / obliterate the memory, examine it. Look at how the reaction feels physically - is there tightening of the chest or stomach? What thoughts are being generated? Most occasions, you will soon realise it actually takes an effort to retain the reaction - step back and you can witness it fading and disappear.

Having said that, I recognise there some events which are so traumatic the individuals psyche is changed forever - but thank goodness those occur infrequently.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

France 2007 RBS Six Nations Rugby Champions

Five weekends and fifteen games later, it’s all over and France is the 2007 RBS Six Nations Rugby Champions.

But what a final Super Saturday, with three teams fighting for the title. First into the ring was Ireland vs. Italy in Rome; they had to win by a large margin to put the championship out of French reach. With 80 minutes up, instead of being contented with the margin they had Ireland went for another try, only to fail and see Italy score a try, making the final score Italy 24 - 51 Ireland. The gauntlet had been thrown down; France would have to beat Scotland by 24 clear points to win the championship.

France looked to be cruising easily towards to a well deserved Championship. Then in the last few minutes of the game Scotland scored a try to reduce the margin to 20 points and give Ireland the Championship. We then saw a sustained French effort - with 80 minutes up, they had to ensure the ball remained in play and score a try. Under the pile of bodies on the right, is the French hero Elvis Vermeulen scoring the try which gave France the Championship.

All eyes then turned to Cardiff for the Wales vs. England match. England could still win the championship if they beat Wales by 54 clear points. Not a realistic possibility, and even less so when Wales went 15 to nil up.

In Wednesday’s blog I unfortunately said, Shane Williams had the opportunity to make himself Prince of Wales - I must have put a jinx on him. He did his normal electric runs, but instead of passing the ball for what would have been certain tries he held on hoping to score himself. As a result, at half time instead of being well out of reach Wales were only 3 points ahead.

But another Prince of Wales was crowned. With a contribution of 22 points James Hook was magnificent as indeed were the Welsh pack.

At the end, but to the relief of the Welsh Nation and particularly the Welsh Coach Gareth Jenkins, Wales won 27 - 18, avoiding the Wooden Spoon.

The Welsh fans were overjoyed, you would have thought they had won the championship, not narrowly missed finishing up with the wooden spoon

At the end of the day, in an empty stadium the French team was presented with the trophy.

Now we look forward to September & October and the World Cup.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Sod's Law

March has felt more like May. Last Sunday people in swimming suits were sunbathing on Hampstead Heath. Mind, only the English would think 16°C was a heat wave.

But since mid February its been great to walk through the parks. The flowers have been out a month earlier than last year. People have been pursuing outdoor activities. The couple on the right were not contented with a mere sand castle. And it brought such joy to passers by. By the following day the River Thames had reclaimed its own and there was no indication the dragon had ever existed.

But all good things come to an end; the weather forecast from tomorrow is winds coming down from the Artic, resulting plummeting temperature and snow. Great we can play snow balls. Now you might detect YesBut isn’t his normal Grumpy and Farting self. True its an exercise in positive thinking. Though I don’t think its going to last long - in fact I know it isn’t going to last. Yesterday afternoon, the hot water/ central heating system sprung a leak.

A clear case of Sod’s Law: the weather has been abnormally warm for nearly two months, and when the temperature drops the central heating system breaks down. And no it cannot be a simple easy to repair leak, it’s not only under a concrete floor but also under a wall. It’s going to take two days, of pneumatic tools hammering at the floor and wall before they can even get to the pipe. We’ve been warned that we will be without heating and hot water till Thursday - something has got to go wrong, so I’m not anticipating we will be back to normal next week.

If I haven’t died of hypothermia by Wednesday, YesBut will be in a very bad mood, which might not be a bad thing - all that indignation is bound to generate internal heat.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Every picture tells a story.

The last couple of days the blogs have been far too serious. Especially as it’s Red Nose Day, let’s lighten-up a bit.

The Metropolitan police demonstrate its new “Hands-off” approach to policing.

Following a number of incidents which have resulted in the Police incurring bad publicity, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, has order his officers to exhibit more of their feminine side.

This picture deserves a caption but I can’t think of one.
Click on comments and post your suggestions.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Why Trident is not required.

Yesterday with the assistance of the Opposition, the Government won the House of Commons vote to commence the design of a replacement Trident missile system. Ninety-five Labour members joined with the Liberal Party to vote against the motion.

I wish to thank Dowelld for the thoughtful and well presented comment posted on the “Greenpeace demonstrate against Trident renewal” blog. It has stimulated me to give more thought to the Trident missile system replacement argument.

Trident supports argue that the choice is: either replace the existing Trident system in 17 years time, or leave the UK vulnerable to nuclear attack by a rogue or unstable State. In the debate, other options have been ignored.

Why Trident? Trident was the replacement for the Polaris missile submarine-launched system. Why Polaris? At the height (or should it be depth) of the Cold War, both sides had over kill. Russia had sufficient intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to wipe out the UK. Great Britain had its own missile system, however if Russia set off a pre-emptive strike it could wipe out all the British and USA missiles before they could be launched. So the West didn’t have an effective deterrent system - but neither did Russia.

It was thought, peace could only be maintained if the West had a deterrent - hence the development of a submarine launched system. The theory being, Russia wouldn’t set off a pre-emptive attack on the West, if it knew even if both the UK & USA were obliterated, a retaliatory attack would be launched from a fleet of nuclear submarines patrolling the World’s oceans.

The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties (SALT 1&2) and the subsequent Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) resulted in the cap being placed on the number of warheads and ICBMs the signatories could deploy.

The case for upgrading the Trident system is said to be the need to main a nuclear capability as a deterrent against a yet to be identified rogue State(s). While the USA, Russia and China might not take steps to prevent a country developing a nuclear capability, it is virtually certain they would not allow any country to build up sufficient stocks that it would constitute a threat. Consequently the UK does not require a submarine based system, a land based deterrent system would be sufficient.

By far the largest proportion of the Trident system cost is required to build and maintain the submarine fleet. A land based system could be built and maintained for a fraction of the cost. The UK could have a truly independent nuclear deterrent system, to counter any threat from a rogue State. And the money saved could be used to update conventional weaponry and equipment.

Because a land based system could readily be designed and built using tried and tested technology, the decision to commence designing a system could be delayed until at least 2015, without compromising the safety of the UK.

Yet again the Ministry of Defence mandarins are planning to equip the British forces to fight the previous war, while leaving it ill-equipped to counter the present and future threats.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

God bless the Prince of Wales?

Monday night’s Dispatches program on Channel 4 had the title “Charles: The Meddling Prince”.

Let me make my views on the Royal family perfectly clear - I am not a Royalist. If there is to be a Prince of Wales, it should be a honorary position probably held by a member of the Wales Rugby Team. Past holders would have been: Phil Bennett, Barry John, Gareth Edwards, etc. I hope when Wales play England on Saturday Shane Williams will qualify for the title.

Returning to the Channel 4, its own description of the program, quote:

“Prince Charles will one day be crowned King of England - a position which by constitutional convention is politically neutral. But in this six-month investigation, Dispatches reveals a number of serious concerns: the extent of his political ambition and interference, the measures his office have employed to silence critics and questionable financial arrangements, which raise questions about his suitability for the throne and the future of the monarchy.”

It has been some time since I have seen such a biased and onesided presentation of a case. It was amusing to see (unelected) members of the House of Lords complaining about Prince Charles campaigning activities. The main complaint being he has undue influence over Government Ministers. If this is true, then I would be extremely concerned, to think the Ministers are so easily influenced. Are we to believe that if Charles was against the invasion of Iraq Tony Blair would have told Bush, “Hu sorry and all that, but the Prince will not let me come out to play”. If he is writing too many letters to Ministers, the solution is simple - they should treat his views as they do public opinion, and ignore him.

The program accused the Prince’s senior aid of making an official complaint against Professor Edzard Ernst of Exeter University as a result of which he nearly lost his job. The Professor was asked by the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health to review a draft report on whether alternative remedies were cost-effective and should be funded by the NHS. The Professor was asked and readily agreed to sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose the content of the draft to third parties. He broke that agreement when he discussed the report with the Times Newspaper - and that was the reason for, in my opinion, a legitimate complaint.

There can not be a critical program about the Royal family without some reference to their extravagant life style, the rules which allow members of the Royal Family to avoid paying tax and whether they are value for money. Are they any different to any other wealthy family?

The program did not have a single interview with a supporter of the Prince’s case. They did however make selective reference to a document prepared by the Prince’s aids denying the charges made by the program. If there is to be trial by TV then let it at least be fair and unbiased, with both sides allowed to give evidence and importantly question and examine the validity and accuracy of the evidence presented against them.

I have recently been the victim of summary justice. When the verdict and sentence was made public, even before I was informed that I was accused of a misdemeanour. Subsequently I was informed I could make a defence case but I was denied access to any evidence.

Is this the future of justice in the UK?

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Greenpeace demonstrate against Trident renewal.

This afternoon, at enormous expense, YesBut sent Grumpy & Farting’s ace photographer with his box camera to London to photograph the demonstration at the Houses of Parliament.

Three Greenpeace demonstrators have taken up residence on the boom of a crane used by the project to repair Westminster Bridge. They are demonstrating against tomorrow’s debate to renew the Trident missile system.

The banner reads “Tony loves WMD”

At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them

Viewers watching last nights news broadcast were privileged to witness a scene filmed on the arid planes of Afghanistan. As flag draped coffins were loaded onto a Hercules transport plane, ranks of soldiers stood to attention paying respect to two fallen comrades. In turn soldiers paid tribute to two fallen heroes. As the transport plane flew over the assembled forces the pilot dipped its wing in salute.

In the First World War the British Army were described as lions lead by donkeys. Fortunately they are still lions; unfortunately they are still lead by donkeys. The British Army is poorly paid, inadequately equipped and their families are housed in substandard houses. But the greatest indictment against the donkeys is the way they have fail to look after wounded soldiers.

The armed forces are poorly served by both the Civil Servants and Ministers of the Ministry of Defence. This Whitehall office block remains in a time warp. It always prepares and plans for the previous war. In the opening months of WW1 soldiers were expected to charge on horseback German artillery. It is a recognised fact that in Iraq and Afghanistan British soldiers are sent out on patrol in Land Rovers - perfect for the Yorkshire dales, but not when coming under hostile fire and roadside bombers.

Tomorrow the House of Commons will debate the replacement of the Trident System. A system designed to meet the needs of the Cold War. Again the Government want to spend £30 Billion on a system designed to fight a previous war, (it is estimated the system will cost £100 Billion over 50 years). In the future, who will the Trident missiles be used against? They say rogue states, such as Iran and North Korea. In the future rogue states will not have to develop nuclear bombs and intercontinental missiles.

Look at one event in November 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian ex-spy was poisoned with polonium -210. Traces of the highly radioactive metalloid were found in several locations in London. A rogue state could bring any city in the UK to a stop by simply having a suicide bomber walk its streets. No bomb would be detonated but the radio active source they carried would contaminate everyone they came into proximity. Over the next few days, people will start to feel lethargic and nauseous; soon the hospitals would be overwhelmed by people suffering from nuclear radiation poisoning. Under those circumstances a nuclear submarine with a missile system patrolling the Atlantic or Indian Ocean will be as useful as a sieve to carry water.

But don’t worry the Government is putting in place a system to prevent such an event - Identification Cards!

Monday, 12 March 2007

I get my dessert.

I am totally opposed to bribary, I consider it unethical. It must be opposed at all costs. But it must be recognise people have their price.

Meadow is one of the founder members of Exiles Exiles message board

Meadow was delighted when she entered exilesexiles in Google to see reference to YesBut’s blog Grumpy & Farting, which mentioned Meadow and Exiles Exiles.

I’m pleased Meadow was delighted. In fact Meadow is so delighted she is prepared to give me ice cream if I mention her again in this blog. Well OK I’ve been bought for the promise of an ice cream; but according to my count Meadow has been mentioned six times, so I reckon that’s worth more than a measly ‘99’. Now shall I ask for a Fresh Fruit Strawberry Sundae with whipped cream or . . .?

Comic relief?

It started last week; continuing each night this week at least one hour of BBC1 programming will be devoted to the Comic Relief fundraising event. It will culminate on Friday night with an eight hour spectacular.

In 2006 £30.7 million was collected and the costs of generating the funds was reported at £6.8 million. Fundraising costs of 22% is good compared to some charities. It is unclear from published accounts whether TV production costs are included.

Two questions:
How much do all the TV events cost? How are the programs funded?

I have no answer. All I know is for nearly a month, there has been a TV Production Village encamped on the south side of the old GLC County Hall, London, producing Comic Relief programs.

Setting aside the Comic Relief organization, how affective are charities in providing sustainable benefits to beneficiaries?

Firstly how much money actually gets through to the targeted groups?

In general 20% or more is spent on fundraising. Another 50% can be spent on administration and management costs. So for every £1 collected about 20 ~ 30p is spent directly for the benefit of the targeted group. At least some money gets through to make peoples lives more bearable, raises the standard of living and improves the quality of life.

Unfortunately worldwide, with respect to community development projects, 90% of all projects FAIL. So for every £1 donated only 3p is spent effectively! What a waste. But why the high failure rate? There are many reasons:

Incorrect projects. A charity or aid organization visits a village; they consult with the locals and then decide what will benefit the village. Notice the Outsiders take the decisions - so from the very start villagers do not have a sense of ownership. In the absence of ownership there is no commitment to making the project succeed - that remains with the Outsiders. Far too often the problem being addressed is incorrectly identified or an inappropriate solution chosen.

For example a charity dedicated to providing water supply to villages set up a program to assist 9 villages. They brought in their drilling equipment and a drilled well and installed a pump in each village. Within six months all the wells were abandoned. Why, surely providing a clean supply of water was a worthwhile project that would benefit all the villagers? The Charity failed to notice the layout of the villages. They were not made up of closely located dwellings; rather the houses were dotted along river banks and in the forest. So a central well only served less than 10% of the community. 90% of the villagers continued to get their water from the rivers and streams.

There was a problem existing in the village. But it wasn’t a shortage of water; rather it was the poor health of the children due to water born diseases. Rather than an expensive well drilling program, all that was required was a campaign to encourage the villagers to boil their drinking water.

Even when the correct project is chosen, they fail. Returning to the well project, no one was made responsible for the maintenance of the pumps and no spare parts were provided. Far too often sufficient funds are made available to cover the costs of setting up a project, with no consideration given to the ongoing maintenance and operating costs. Hospitals are built and equipped and left empty because either there is no trained staff or there is no money to pay their salaries. X- ray equipment breaks down, but there are no trained technicians to repair or if there are technicians no money to buy spares.

Roads are built for villages. Would villagers in the UK be able to organise to maintain their roads? Yet aid organizations build roads in poor villages in Africa, South America and Asia and then expect the villagers to find the finances to maintain them.

Do I give to charities that provide aid to Third World counties? What do you think?

Sunday, 11 March 2007


It has been one of those weeks, where the only reaction to it is having a general rant - so here goes

Either inexplicable or incongruous would be an appropriate description. It’s all down to appropriate language.

I received my energy bills this week, gas & electricity, from British Gas, they were accompanied by a booklet entitled:

“Esbonio eich datganiad ynni”

“Your energy statement explained”

Know why you might ask were they accompanied by a 6 page brochure in both Welsh & English?

The subtitle explains it all: “We’ve redesigned your energy statement so that it’s easier to read and understand.”

So if they are easier to understand, why is it necessary to provide a booklet to explain it?

Out for a walk yesterday morning, I was handed a pamphlet published by NO2ID - only one pamphlet, no need for a second to explain what they were saying in the first.

I’m still to be convinced by the Governments case for having Identification Cards. At first they said it was due to national security, to protect us from suicide bombers. It was pointed out the 21/7 London Suicide Bombers were British Nationals and would have been entitled to an ID card. So the Government switched their argument to the case for their use to prevent social service benefit fraud, but as the pamphlet points out “Almost all benefit fraud is lying about circumstances, not who you are”.

So why is it necessary for me to carry an ID card? The introduction of which the Government admits will cost a minimum of £5.8 Billion.

I thought at least I would finish the week on a high note with Wales beating Italy in the 2007 RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship. But such was the week - no chance. Its not the fact they lost which has left Wales stunned but the events of the final minute of the game. Wales were losing 23 - 20, when they were awarded a penalty. They knew there was only a short time left. They had two options they could take a penalty kick which if successful would give 3 points and so draw the game. Or they could kick to touch close to the Italian try line, and from there score a try and win the game. The Welsh team followed normal procedure; they asked the referee if there was enough time to take the second option. He could clearly be seen saying, yes there were 10 seconds left. So the ball was kicked into touch. Immediately the referee blew his whistle bringing the game to an end and handing victory to Italy. For a few seconds the Welsh team stood there stunned, then their faces changed to anger as they confronted the referee.

I must end this week on a positive note. Despite their anger, frustration and all the other emotions they must have been feeling, they behaved as good sportsmen and congratulated the Italian players on their victory. So I guess there is hope.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Where are they now?

I said never plan nor predict - very true.

Yesterday morning, who would have predicted that by lunch time Jezza’s Exiles message board, would be taken off line. Without prior notification, members were left dumfounded.

They started to drift off to the new board Exiles Exiles

And the older message board Points Aspew

Jezza’s Exiles board
is back on line, but closed.

Who really knows what happened last week. Some people have posted various comments regarding the behaviour of Jezza’s Exiles Site Administer, which I will not repeat. Based on the phrases used and the tone of the emails I received from her, and this is pure speculation, I have the feeling she feels her efforts to setup and administer the board was not fully appreciated. As I wrote two days ago, we all create the world we live in. We make assumptions and judgements, some may be valid others aren’t; but we have to bear the consequences.

I really hope Jezza’s Exiles board reopens. It had over 300 members, 50 of who were active posters. People had formed friendships on the board and it truly was a community. To keep the board closed would be equivalent to bulldozing a country village knocking down its church, pub, village hall, schools and sports field.

I would encourage members of Jezza’s Exiles who have the Site Administrators email address, to contact her and provide words of encouragement to reopen the board.