James Miller


Monday, January 31, 2005


Animal Rights Protests

Every drug or cosmetic should be labelled as to whether it has been tested or not tested on animals.

Then everybody could make there own choice.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


The FA's Own Goal

So the FA releases a video of the greatest England players without any black players. I can think of several who should have been included. (I won't name my choice, as this would annoy some people! See the problem!) Just another example of corporate thinking, where they don't think of the ramifications of what they are doing.

Any video of this type always raises hackles among any group. For instance, as an Ipswich fan, I would be annoyed if Terry Butcher or Kevin Beattie were not included. I've no idea if they were. Portsmouth fans would probably object if Jimmy Dickinson (Who?) were not to be included.

So I just can't think how annoyed people are as no black players are included.

It would have been much better if they had made a video of the most significant England players. In that way they could include anybody they liked even if they only played one or two games, but then went on to have an immense impact on the game. Brian Clough would have been in that category.

So next time when they release something as sensitive as this, lets hope that the FA puts out something with which everybody can be pleased.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Not the Last Guantanamo Detainees

So the Americans think that last four detainees to be released, should be kept under very strict surveillance. Why?

After all 9-11 was caused in part by the total lack of security at US Airports. Or so the major report said in the US.

These guys will probably end up in somewhere like Broadmoor as people just can't take indefinite detention. So what should we do?

1. The first thing is we must allow e-mail and telephone information to be used in Court cases. The police are in favour, but the security services are not. But then the security services didn't get any sniff of 9-11, so perhaps their judgement is flawed.

2. I would also be in favour of publicising much more security information. Again the security people wouldn't want this, but I would better be forwarned.

3. The other thing is to get terrorism into perspective, by publishing the full death statitics for the UK. When you compare deaths from the tsuanami and those in the Sudan to terrorism, you realise how important terrorism is in the scheme of things. You are much more likely to die in a DIY accident.

4. We must also do something to combat all fundementalists, be they Muslim, Catholic, Protestant or Atheist.

But I doubt this government would want to let us off the hook of fear that keeps them in power.

Remember too, that there are still several foreign nationals with British residency in Guantanamo. We must not forget them.


Furry Steering Wheel Covers

I thought they had died.

But there on a Vauxhall Tigra was one of those awful, slippy, pink Bri-Nylon covers. It looked new too!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Technology and the Police

Speak to any policeman and they will tell you that their biggest problem is paperwork. Has much changed in the thirty-five years since my mate Pete was the collator at Cannon Row? I suspect not much!

Michael Howard said today that he will not be implimenting the MacPherson Report with respect to filling in a forty question form for everybody stopped by the police. He probably is right, but then he won't be making the decision.

Take the latest mobile phones, which have built in video cameras and they are linked through a system with endless bandwidth. Or so we are told!

Can't we give policeman a little button hole camera with a red light, so that every time they stop someone, they record it and show it live centrally. Judging that the average policeman would only stop a few people each day, I don't think it would be too onerous.

But think what it would do for security on the street? Would criminals want to be photographed as they stood waiting for someone to mug? Would drunks having a fight stand around, knowing that the policeman approaching them is filming the incident?

I doubt it!


Why I Won't Vote for Michael Howard

As someone who has spent most of his life voting Tory and who's father did too, I find Michael Howard and most of his policies unacceptable. He was on Radio 5 this morning and despite a very pleasant performance he added another couple of reasons :-

1. His new asylum policy is unacceptable and also on his part hyprocritical. We must welcome people just as our forefathers did, as this gives us the vibrancy that makes Britain great.

2. Some of his tax ideas are good, but he must remove Inheritance Tax, as basically it costs a lot to collect and some of the best brains in this country are used to avoid it. Removal would free up land and houses for development, as many worthwhile developments are performed at the best time for Inheritance Tax, rather than what would be best for housing needs. Removal would also attract rich individuals to this country for their later years, just like they go to Monaco or Italy now.

He should say immediately that it will be consigned to the dustbin of scientific incorrectness.

3. He has said nothing about Guantanamo. America's detention is illegal and very racist.

4. He is in favour of identity cards. I suspect that we'll all have to vote Liberal Democrat to get rid of that one.

5. And then there's Iraq. Blair took us into that war on a fraud and when it was revealed he still said we should have gone in. If we had done things properly and with care, Saddam would certainly be gone by now and Iraq would be a lot peaceful by now.

6. He also disclosed in his interview that Trident is up for renewal during the next Parliament. He would renew it. Why? Who's going to bomb us now? Suppose it's a stupid Russian terrorist trying to make a point about Chechnya. Do we bomb Grosny or Moscow?

Keep a few bombs to be delivered by aircraft, but Trident? No!

7. I think we ought to join the Euro. He doesn't.

8. And Shengen! Why should we be second-class citizens in Europe? Not much chance of support on that one.


Fined For Eating an Apple

According to the Daily Express, someone has been fined fixty quid for eating an apple. Their story also said it cost the police ten thousand pounds to get the evidence.

Perhaps it is ridiculous, but isn't it outrageous that people are still allowed to smoke whilst driving.


Guantanamo Detainees

So George Dubya is releasing the last British detainees from Guantanamo. About time too!

Where is the strident talk from British politicians on this one?

So they were black, Muslim, poor and possible a little bit stupid in the first place. What would have happened if they had been white, from Surbiton and had been to a decent public scholl like Fettes?


The Cost of Spam

The best estimates say that there are fifteen billion spam e-mail messages a day.

According to the US Census Bureau there are nearly 6.5 billion people on this planet. So we get two and a half messages sent every day for everyone there is! If we assume about a billion Internet users, then everyone gets an average of fifteen messages.

Now if every one of these messages takes an average of ten seconds to deal with and this costs just a penny in terms of time and extra hardware and software, then the worldwide cost is about £55 billion in a single year. This estimate is probably on the low side as a lot of spam messages are destructive and cause severe computer problems and hence are much more expensive to fix.

How far would this money go in fixing the world's problems?


Three Cheers for Bill Gates

Well done for giving all that money to immunise children world-wide against disease!

Monday, January 24, 2005


Wetherspoons Bans Smoking

A pity it's by 2006, but great otherwise!


Affordable Housing

The solution is not to build houses with conditions, but to build many more houses, so that prices are driven down.

Not a vote winner though!

Interesting if you want to make house prices rise, then you let in lots more immigrants.


Michael Howard's Asylum Policy

For a start he's being a hypocrite, as he's the son of immigrants. The same would apply to me, as one family line is Jewish and the other is Hugenote.

But also, he's wrong, not only on the moral issue, but also on the facts.

For a start the largest number of immigrants into this country are people like French, Spanish etc., who have been in the EU for some time. Also, as predicted by Robert Winder in his excellent book, Bloody Foreigners, economic migrants from elsewhere will start to decline, as a lot of the reasons to come to the UK are not so attractive. (According to the UNHCR numbers are down 20% for Europe over two years!)

So go away Mr. Howard and think again!

It's sad that the once great Tory party that I used to support, has joined the strident ranks of the tabloid commentators.


Twenty Four Hour Drinking

It's funny but don't the facts get lost in the rhetoric. When Michael Howard allowed drinking in the afternoons in the late 1980's, there were predictions of town centres full of drunks. Where are they?

So I suspect that this one will go the way of that fear!

But, we must do some things to protect those that might be affected.

1. Local licencing must respond to complaints.
2. There must be adequate public transport to take people home after a night out.
3. Would not a limit to the number of people allowed in each licenced premises be a good idea? Perhaps it would mean that licencees had to use better ways of getting more money out of drinkers. Like food!

But above all we must enforce the rules that are already there. Like if you're drunk, then you don't get served.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Peter Sutcliffe

Why all the fuss about his visit to see where his father's ashes were scattered?

I'm with Lord Woolf on this one!

"A democratic society is to be judged not by its success in catering to the needs of its privileged members or even its average ones. Instead, look at how it treats the poor, the disadvantaged, the ill - and the unpopular"

Unpopular, cruel, nasty etc. Sutcliffe may be, but that doesn't mean we have to show our own inhumanity by treating him with the same attitudes he showed his victims.



It is so sad that Bush has been elected again.

If we take his attitudes to global warming, death penalty, human rights for his own people, attitude to trade etc. he is so out of step with values that have been centre stage for almost a century.

And I didn't even mention Iraq!

I speak not as someone of the left, but as someone who comes from the scientifically correct centre.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


Who Needs a 4x4?

We live on a stud and thus would have more need for a 4x4 than most.

But we don’t have one and neither does our stud groom. They are only bought for style.

Friday, January 14, 2005


Space Research

Years ago at school in North London, where incidentally Simon Mayo’s father taught geography, we had a large telescope. This inspired me with a love of astronomy, physics and all things scientific.

About thirty years ago, I developed Artemis, the software to manage large projects and it was used on about half of all the world’s major projects, including such things as North Sea Oil, the Channel Tunnel and the Space Shuttle. I’ve also been involved in other scientific developments, that have and will benefit many.

Without that inspiration from astronomy and space, I would not have led such an interesting or fulfilling life.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Global Warming

Why are so many people in denial about global warming?

I bet they’re the same people who think that unprotected sex with someone you’ve just met is safe!

Even if we are wrong, which I don’t think we are, then we should take precautions. And that means the Americans must too! They are the real problem, but then they don’t have much low-lying land!


Phone Frustration

Mr. Raj Kothari’s in The Times is very frustrated with phones and call centres. His solution lies in the Internet.

I never buy products, whether financial, travel or otherwise, without first checking the company’s web site. Then I know that if I need service, I can get it generally without hassle after a couple of e-mails.

Perhaps, the most interesting aspect, is that if the service web site is good, then often when you need to phone, the phone service is good too. (Good management?) This even happened with an oft-criticised, no-frills airline, where one quick and friendly call solved a tricky booking change.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


The IRA and the World's Biggest Robbery

So they've been found out! Good!

Ulster is a basket case and the reason it is, is that is economically unviable. It has the highest proportion of Government sponsored non-jobs of any part of the United Kingdom. Everything is expensive, the weather's lousy, etc.

So any bright sensible people have left!

So the paramilitaries of both sides argue over the crime and the drug trade.

It always bothered me that the murderers of the IRA, UVF, UDA etc. were ever pardoned. Murder is murder. The only exceptions are where there is an oppressive dictatorship such as under apartheid in South Afica.

So we pander to the terrorists slap there hands and then they do the biggest robbery in history.

We must be mad!


The Curious Story of Briviclaim

About a month ago, I got an e-mail from a company called Briviclaim. Perhaps not a company but a complete idiot as it was all in caps. Since then I've had about twenty more.

I couldn't work out the e-mail as all they seemed to do was slag off Sir Charles Dunstone, Carphone Warehouse and Opal Telecom. The writer didn't disclose anything about why he was doing this. All very curious!

Nothing too has appeared in the newspapers or on the radio or television.

The last couple of days, I've started receiving reseller report queries from Opal Telecom. I've never been a customer, reseller or anything of that company. I must admit that I'm a happy customer of Carphone Warehouse.

One doesn't like to get paranoid, but what have I done to upset Briviclaim as I suspect they may have made the report to Opal.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


Dummy Credit Cards

Anybody who is on-line a lot gets a lot of 'phishing' e-mails, trying to get details of your bank account or credit card details. Perhaps, it is time to start fighting back.

Why can't a selected group of us be issued with dummy credit card and bank account details that we can use accordingly? Obviously, these could be genuine accounts, but accounts that would never pay any money. But if anybody ever tried to use them, there would be a proper audit trail back to the fraudsters.

Interestingly, it would probably start rows between the fraudsters and the bent retailers they use to process the cards!

Friday, January 07, 2005


Jerry Springer

The BBC is being told by religious extremists and nutters to not show this admirable work. After Sikhs managed to get a critical play stopped, we had all better be on our guard less we have censorship by fear.

Anyway if Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews etc. were all right, then it would be impossible.

I'll take the basic humanity though that's common. But that has nothing to do with religion. It's just the rules that ensure we live a long and reasonably happy life.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Ruth Kelly

I am not a man for religion, although I do go along with the basic moral principles that are shared by all of the world's major faiths.

But when someone like Ruth Kelly has veiws that are against scientific correctness, then I feel that I must protest. I did and wrote to The Times, who published my letter.

Sir, Tony Blair’s appointment of Ruth Kelly as Education Secretary is another of his periodic lacks of judgment.

Of all the ministries, with the possible exception of the Foreign Office, Education and Skills is the one where you must have an open and broad mind, as you will be dealing with a myriad of religions, scientific fact and moral dilemmas.

How can Ms Kelly be relied to give a sound unbiased view on faith schools, birth control and stem-cell research?

I have had some interesting replies. And some that are totally bonkers.

Monday, January 03, 2005



I am strongly against the death penalty.

However, it could possibly be brought back in a virtual way for spammers. They have ruined one of my web sites, by constantly sending e-mails to made-up addresses on the site.

I have written to the US Embassy in London and didne't even get the courtesy of a reply. Why the US Embassy? Most of the crap the site gets concerns Green Cards for the US, crap US Universities etc.

Sunday, January 02, 2005


Homebase and Exploding Lightbulbs - Part II

We've had another two go!

One exploded and I decided to change the anothers for long-life GE bulbs. One of the ones I changed was only partly broken, as all the solder had melted where the glass bulb is attached to the metal part. It came apart in my hands and it was definitely a Homebase bulb.

I suppose that because high-quality light fittings have ceramic bulb holders, that the heat can't get away as well and the bulb just melts.

So I will not be buying any bulbs from Homebase.