James Miller


Friday, April 29, 2005


Traffic Jams

In a few years, will we wonder what the fuss was all about?

I’ve worked at home since 1972 and in that time, I’ve developed two world class businesses. If people were to use the Internet and work at home one day a week where they could, it would probably take away many of the jams.

It’s also happening now!

Since the turn of the year, when I travel to London on business, the car park I use at an Underground Station is getting more and more empty spaces. Can this be because people are using the Internet more?

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Are RFID Tags an Invasion of Privacy?

Some think that knowing where something has been, will give the supermarkets too much power!


But you could argue that so is the Post Office, where every piece of mail you get could be easily logged. Add to that your telephone company, your mobile phone operator or your Internet service provider!

There is also a class of shopper for whom the supermarkets know a lot more about their purchases. These are the on-line shoppers, such as my wife and I, who regularly use two different chains for most of our groceries. Without RFID, they know exactly what we buy, when we buy it, when we like it delivered and how we pay for it. Some fairly simple analysis could produce a very detailed profile, especially when linked to details of our property.

We have not been pestered with any offers and I actually feel that the supermarkets are actually holding back from what they could do, so as not to cause any annoyance or invasion of privacy.

Consider our basset hounds, who eat between them one jumbo tin of meat every day. Or 365 tins a year! Where is the special offer of six months supply at a hefty discount? This and many other similar offers, would be to their advantage too, as they could be delivered directly from the manufacturer, without any intermediate handling.

So the tags may be an invasion of privacy, but one that may actually be in the customer's interest!



A candidate for UKIP in Blackburn shows why we should all ask the important questions of that disgusting party.

She was blaming the parking problems on the EU. This was because the unelected regional assemblies insist that we are charged for it. And who's responsible for those assemblies? The EU of course.

What crap!

Whether we’ll get a sensible answer to any of our more important questions is another matter.



I can’t understand why you don’t have more people on the program who are pro-immigration.

I’m a typical London mongrel, whose father’s family were Jewish and came here in the 1840’s to escape persecution. My mother’s family were French Hugenotes and came for similar reasons about eighty years before that. Immigrants have always enriched these islands and especially as we have always had a large amount of emmigration, I can see no reason to not encourage more immigration.

The interesting thing is that according to Robert Winder, the pressures that have encouraged immigration of late are now decreasing. We also have the Scots who are perhaps the only people in the UK who need more people, saying why doesn’t the immigration come there.

I can only put this very general unwelcoming attitude down to self-interest and racism.

As an aside, my great-great-grandfather came to work in the fur trade. Should I be sent back as that is rather non-PC these days?


Tax on Aviation Fuel

At present about £8-9billion pounds is raised by Airline Passenger Duty!

I’m all for tax on aviation fuel, but only if the Airline Passenger Duty is removed. That would make it fair and it would not put up the costs greatly at all.

It'll never happen as the Americans (Yet Again!) will never agree.

Hence the silly Airline Passenger Tax! Why not have one on trains too! Or you pay a charge every time you get into your car!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Whingeing Scousers

So Liverpool are annoyed they won't be in the Champions League next year unless they finish in the top four of the Premier League, even if they win the cup.

They should realise that rules is rules and also that lawyers are lawyers and they'll have a field day if Liverpool win the Champions League and Everton come fourth in the Premiership.


A Big Plane

The A380 Airbus has now started it's flight test programme and it'll be interesting to travel on one.

Comment is saying that the plane is only 20% British and that's just the wings. But remember the engines are made by Rolls-Royce!

Apparently, the plane does about 95 miles per passenger to a gallon.

Best of luck to the plane and Airbus.


A Big Hole

I am intrigued at all the fuss about the Channel Tunnel.

Let's face it, it's bankrupt and should be put out of it's misery. Then someone can buy the assets at a reasonable price and really make it sweat. For instance, it doesn't run at anything like capacity, due to the pricing policies that seem to be designed to drive business away.


Elaine Page's Age

Just a simple correction to clear up her age. Some sites say she was born in 1948, some say 1951.

It was 1948, as she was in the same class as my wife at St. Mary’s School in East Barnet.


Melinda and Melinda

Here at Cambridge in the UK, we have not seen Melinda and Melinda, despite having two multiplexes and an arthouse cinema.

Any idea why?

As most of the rest of the UK has seen it and I would have thought that as the home of a famous University, Cambridge would be an ideal location to show the film.

Monday, April 25, 2005


The Most Disgusting Way to Eat Sausages


I found this on Musks web site. Obviously, you can substitute their gluten-free sausages and I would use Aspall’s cyder!


What is the North For?

Figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research shows how dependent the North of the UK is on handouts from the South!

The table is simple and shows Public Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP. Highlights are Northern Ireland at 67, the Northeast and Wales both at 59 and Scotland at 52. Against this the Southeast, London and East Anglia are 33, 34 and 37.

Oh Dear!

Couple this with the fact that there is only one hi-tech business in the top 100 outside of the Southeast and that is Sage.

Why should we subsidise people, if they won't even create anything worthwhile?

I suppose the answer is that most of the areas with the exception of Northern Ireland vote Labour. So subsidy equates to votes for Blair. Or the loonies in Ulster!

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Edward Upson

Not perhaps a lasting hero! But we never know!

But he did score a marvellous goal in the last minutes of extra time so that Ipswich won the FA Youth Cup last night. Not bad for a 15 year old schoolboy from Bury St. Edmunds, making his first appearance in the Cup.

I wonder if he's related to the Arsenal, Birmingham and England player, Matthew Upson?

Friday, April 22, 2005



I’d like the UK to be independent.

But in thought! And not follow policies that haven’t worked in the past.

How about :-

1. Abolish Inheritance tax and put 2p on Income Tax
2. High Energy taxes.
3. Abolish local taxes
4. More parking and trams to city centres
5. Subsidied taxis
6. Membership of Shengen and the Euro
7. Everything in MI6 and MI5 to be published on the Internet!
8. No identity cards for people, but very tight ones for vehicles

I doubt I’ll see the sort of free country that attracted my ancestors here in the early 1800’s.


Spring Conservatives

Round here we're being asked to vote for a Spring Conservative. Is that a rebranding like New Labour?

Monday, April 18, 2005


Melinda and Melinda

Why is it that the Cambridge area has not been able to see this film?

It’s been out for months and it’s not come to any of the cinemas locally.

Is it that here in this part of East Anglia, we are considered to be very sensitive? Or are we just being ignored as we always are?

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Nell McAndrew's Marathon

Not a bad time at all for Nell in Sunday's London Marathon of just over three hours which means she will be in the Elite group next year.

Is this the fastest time, by someone with breast implants?

Friday, April 15, 2005


Copying the Work of Others

It's all the rage these days at Universities. But it’s wrong!

I design software and don’t even look at what others are doing. That way I never get accused of copying and I think I design a better product.

If I employed a graduate, who had got their good degree by copying, then they wouldn’t last long with me!


Energy Taxes

Now this is very much a political hot potato.

Remember Gordon Brown said that he'd halve the very sensible VAT rate on electricity and gas. It helped New Labour win the 1997 General Election.

I'd make Energy Taxes high and use the money raised to increase tax thresholds and minimum benefit rates.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Inheritance Tax

It is an expensive tax to collect and it creates an army of leeches, who try to suggest increasingly complicated ways of avoiding it.

So don't tinker with it and abolish it immediately.

1. It will cost a few billion.
2. There would be a lot of job losses in the tax avoidance business, so some of the best brains in the country could do something more beneficial.
3. If we abolished Inheritance Tax, then a lot of rich Europeans would come here to spend their last days.
4. But one benefit that would happen is that the elderly who live in large houses would seriously think about redevelopent, rather than trying to leave it all to their children.

But the biggest reason for abolishing it would be that countries like Italy have affectively abolished it already. So we'll have to do it anyway!

How would you pay for it?

The easiest way would be to perhaps put one or two pence on the higher rates of Income Tax say for those earning over £50,000.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


MG Rover

I drive a top of the range MG and have done for three years.

Would I buy another if the factory was saved?

As the factory will always teeter on the brink of failure as there are no new models in the pipeline, second-hand values will be very poor, even if the cars were excellent.

So I won’t buy another. Sad but true. And everybody else would make this decision.

It would be better to spend the money on making sure that more long terms jobs are brought to the West Midlands.



Taxation pays for everything and whether we like it or not, we have to pay taxes.

But can we arrange taxes so that they are efficiently collected? And as fairly as possible!

Remember the dog licence! This was 37.5 pence and actually cost more to collect than it brought in. And most people didn't buy it.

There are a lot more dog licences in the Government's tax armoury.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Traffic Cameras on Motorways

They're putting a load of these on the M4, so how about some traffic cameras on the M11?

They would of course have stopped the accident that killed someone last night and has been holding everybody up all day!

By the way were any foreign lorries involved in last night's accident?


William Brown

An obituary in The Times was a true memorial to William Brown. A man, who’s creations we’ve all seen and admired. These include virtually all the major bridges in the UK and abroad!

But it is a sad fact that in this country, people such as William Brown are never recognised by the politicians with the knighthoods and other honours they deserve.


A Radical Alternative

This general election is boring!

Where are the truly radical ideas that will create a truly Great Britain.

Over the next few days I'll post a few ideas.

You should always start with objectives. And are they obvious?

For instance, we all want a higher standard of living for ourselves and our family. This means good housing, jobs, education, transport systems and health service. We also need crime to be at a low level.

Every other thing we say like low taxation, good public transport or pro/against the death penalty are subsidiary objectives.



Never had a meal there before but went to a very nice place called the City Bar.

They understood about gluten free cooking (and vegetarian and vegan) and said they could serve me. They did with a rather unusual Polish dish of minced beef, rice and onions, wrapped in a cabage leaf with cheese on top. Can’t remember what they called it but it began with a G.

They also served a decent cider!


Truck Drivers Hours

Another driver killed on the M11 this morning.

Was the driver foreign? And how come three lorries collide on the three lane section at five in the morning on a clear warm night?

Sunday, April 10, 2005


School Elections - What's New

Radio 5 Live led today about a mock school election.

We had these type of mock elections at Minchenden Grammar School in the early 60’s.

We also had the candidates address us and it was interesting the different attitudes they took. I still remember the late Anthony Berry giving a very good speech on democracy rather than spending all time plugging the party line.

Interestingly someone quirky and more relevant always won.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Marcus Trescothick

Just heard about Marcus’s megraine problems on Radio 5. Hope he gets better quickly.

But his symptoms sound very much like mine. I used to get megraines as a child and then occassionally until after I passed fifty, when they started to get worse.

It turned out that I have been a coeliac all my life and now nearing fifty-eight, I’m fitter than I ever, with my real tennis handicap going the right way. All I have to do is avoid wheat and barley, which means I can’t eat bread or pasta and drink beer. The latter is not a problem in Suffolk as we have the admirable Aspall Cyder, which round here we believe is the best in the world. Obviously in Somerset they would disagree.

Apparently, if you are a coeliac you get lower doses of important vitamins and this can cause the headaches and other symptons like mild depression. All of these have now gone from my life and I can also spend time in the sun much easier, as my body seems to regulate it’s temperature better.

It’s also something that doctors ignore, as it is usually associated these days with children.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


The Price of Petrol and Diesel

The higher it goes the better, as this is probably the only way people will economise on use and cut global warming.

Let’s hope it squeezes the US until the pips squeak.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Jeb Bush Celebrates the Pope's Death

Florida Governor Jeb Bush this morning told reporters that he had considered staying this evenings scheduled execution of Glen Ocha to honour the memory of the Pope, but that he decided not to. Ocha (pronounced "O'Shea"), who has legally changed his name to Raven Raven, is a suicidal and mentally ill man who waived his appeals and is scheduled for execution at 6pm today in revenge for his murder of Carol Skjerva.


Grand National Coverage

Judging by the number of my friends who will be watching the Royal Wedding, I’m sure it could be shown profitably on BBC 3 or BBC 4, thus leaving BBC 1 free for one of the best days of the year!



I was in my doctor’s surgery last week. Of the sixteen or so people in the waiting room, I was the only person who wasn’t seriously overweight.

Lifestyle goes a long way!

Also as someone who was part of a team that developed a new treatment, I believe that some drugs never succeed without a lot of marketing money. A lot of good ones don’t succeed and a lot of bad ones do!

Monday, April 04, 2005


Terri Schaivo and the Pope

It’s always struck me that the Religious Right and their ilk are a bit paradoxical. If you are so “Right to Life” over such things as the Schiavo case and abortion, then why are you for the death penalty? The Catholic Church is consistent in that it’s against all of them!

I come from a different perspective in that I’m a mongrel born of someone who threw bricks at Mosley, who had a strong Jewish ancestry and my mother, who came from a long line of Hugenote craftsmen.

I just want to live as long as possible as there is nothing there! If there is, I’ll be pleasantly surprised!


Truck Drivers Hours

My wife, Celia, had an accident a couple of years ago with a foreign truck driver who according to the Police was clearly at fault. No action was taken and she was unable to get any payment for the serious damage, so lost some of her no claim bonus.

There was another incident recently where a foreign driver killed someone whilst working illegal hours by fiddling his tachograph. From his picture in the paper, she thought it was the same driver.

Round here at the junction of the A14 and the M11 there have been several very serious accidents involving trucks. The police have not released whether the trucks are foreign registered or not. But I suspect that some are, as some of the worst driving I’ve seen on the A14 has been of trucks registered outside of the UK. Being left hand drive doesn’t help either.

If we are going to have these regulations, as I think we should, then the hours must be properly enforced. Perhaps this means that all trucks must have a satellite system that logs the hours and automatically issues stop orders and tickets.