James Miller


Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Wind Farms and Seals

There are reports today that seals are affected by the offshore wind farms at Scroby Sands.

Would you want a noisy neighbour like those?

Of course not! The sooner we realise that wind farms are not only noisy, ugly and intrusive, but also they are very uneconomic.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


BBC's New Weather Forecast

So the North doesn't like it!

Tough! We in the south generate most of the money the UK earns and those in the north, especially around Newcastle, Scotland and Northern Ireland seem to be able to spend it!

So don't we deserve preference on the weather forecast?

Friday, May 27, 2005


The New EU Constitution

We need a much more comprehensive reorganisation of our relationship with Europe, rather than this dose of deckchairism, that is going on at present.

We must join the Euro and Shengen Agreement, and we must consign an awful lot of duplicated and unnecessary legislation to the bonfire of history. If we don’t act in this forward and radical way, then in ten years time, Europe will have become one of the poor men of the world, as jobs, ideas and people will go where they have true freedom.

By the way if we had the vote in the UK, I'd vote against, to give the smug git a kick!


Funding Research

Peter Cotgreave in the FT makes some interesting points, but he doesn’t make any comment on what I believe is one of the major costs of R & D, that is nearly always ignored.

I should say that I’ve been one of the prime movers in two very successful projects; a software system for managing projects and a metered dose inhaler for asthma drugs. The major difference between the two projects is that the former was just about writing better software, whereas for the inhaler about two thirds of the development money was spent on IPR, patent agents and lawyers.

Is it any wonder that some of the UK’s major successes in recent years have been in software, where you just get on and do the job, without worrying about IPR?

Instead of subsidising promising inventions with grants, the Government should subsidise patents and provide the first stages of advice and protection for UK-based individuals and research.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Liverpool wins the Champions League

Last night, I was working with a client. We decided to set up a test and then go and have a drink and watch the Liverpool and AC Milan final.

We left before half time with Liverpool three down and I took the train home early.

Imagine my surprise when I got in the car to find it three all and heading for extra time. Well the rest is history!

As someone who spent four years in Liverpool, I know the city well. It's biggest characteristics are bloddy-mindedness and surprise!



Here in the part of the country that generates all the money, Morrisons has gone down like a lead balloon.

Pile it high and sell it cheap, may work up north, where they want to eat pies and get obese, but down here we want interesting and proper food.

Also we have Waitrose. Interestingly, the Safeway stores that were sold to Waitrose by Morrisons seem to be doing very well. As is Waitrose as a whole.


PayPal Scams

In the last four days I've had thirty spoof PayPal messages.

All are obvious fakes and most go to an e-mail address that has nothing to do with any PayPal account.

Are the spammers so stupid, as the fact that you get that many messages, from different people must alert you to the fact that is attempted fraud?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


The NatWest Three

I’ve appeared as a witness in a US Court in a serious case. The system is not one in which I’d like to be a defendant.

It is outrageous that any citizen of any country be extradited to the US unless the the evidence has been fully tested in a court in their country of residence.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Arsenal Wins - Ha! Ha! Ha!

What a crap final, but then the best team won! (If you're wondering, I'm an Ipswich fan, who used to support Tottenham in my youth! So why should I favour Arsenal?)

Not on the field of play, but who wants a hated team, owned by a man hated by most of their supporters to win! And of course he's a Yank to boot. Now I have several friends who are American, but it still doesn't alter the fact that America is well past its sell-by date and needs to reform. How about doing away with the death penalty, SUVs, obesity and George Bush for a start?

How long before Glazer fires Paul Scholles? After all his miss from the penalty was why Manchester United lost.

And how about Fergie? He should go as it was all his fault that they didn't have any luck!

As someone who supports a real team, I can only chuckle.


Eurovision Song Contest

I doubt no-one except me are watching this.

Basically, it’s a contest to find the best song of a certain type in Europe, in which all the countries in Eurovision enter a song. (Eurovision is a collective of all the European countries for broadcasting purposes. It also includes such as Israel, Turkey and Lebanon.)

Only one song of note ever won and that was Waterloo by Abba. It was the song that inflicted them on the world. (See Priscilla for what I mean!)

I don’t think anyone takes the contest seriously. The BBC employs an Irish commentator called Terry Wogan who just takes the piss out of it all!


Last year Ukraine won and so this years contest is being held in Kiev. It seems that this may well be the biggest event that has ever happened there since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union and it’s doing everyone there a lot of good.

I’m a great believer in rewarding countries or helping them by giving them cultural and sporting events. Look at what the Olympics did for Barcelona. It was a derelict industrial city and now it’s brilliant! I hope the World Cup helps South Africa too.

So perhaps it isn’t such a bad and derided contest after all.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Milk Sucks

Why did the BBC give the idiot promoting Milk Sucks so much free advertising?

I’m a coeliac and find that I can only stay healthy on a balanced diet including milk and meat. So according to him, I’m supposed to be ill, just so that animals can live pampered lives.

Bugger off!

Anyway where do you get B12 supplements from? Probably liver!


Tomorrow's Cup Final

I'm quite looking forward to the Cup Final tomorrow.

1. Will the real fans of Manchester United do something to disrupt it?

2. Will Malcolm Glazer or any of his sons or cohorts attend?

3. Will Fergie drop a bombshell and resign after winning the Cup?

It's going to be interesting.

But I'm with Greg Dyke on this. I doubt Glazer will have anything to do with Manchester United in a couple of years.

I wonder if anyone is doing a book?


Cutting Fuel Consumption

I know it wouldn't work, but why not put a load cell by each petrol pump.

And the more your car weighs the more you pay for the fuel!

That would get home to the owners of urban tanks, that they ought to get something more frugal!


Call Centres

They're criticising them again on Radio 5.

Don’t know them all! But!

I phone three companies quite regularly. Their call centres don’t require lots of button pushing, perhaps one level and then I get an operator who knows what he’s doing, because he’s based in the UK. They also all take time to make sure my query is satisfied. That’s why I keep doing business with them.

The companies are American Express, O2 and Ipswich Town FC. The latter has a queue at busy times, but always tells you how many are waiting, so you know whether to wait.

Only one has every phoned me and that was AMEX. I said I don’t like it, so the polite operator, marked me as not to be called. They’ve never called me again, except once on a security issue!

So don’t use that big tar brush!

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Disposable Versus Real Nappies

We brought up three children, thirty years ago in London. Disposables were just coming in, but we used real ones, which forgetting all the other things, I’m sure the children found much better.

But we were lucky enough to find an affordable nappy service, where the dirty ones were taken away and delivered clean each day. It couldn’t have been more convenient and as we were flat broke at the time, it couldn’t have been much more expensive than disposable nappies.

So let's get real about nappies!

Disposable nappies have their place, but for general use for all sorts of reasons, the proper ones are so much better!


Road Signs

Years ago I drove in New York State. Wouldn't now, as I don't go to the US because of their support of the death penalty, Iraq, steel, trade policies, films etc. etc.

At each junction there was a simple sign that showed what is available within a mile or so. Gas, Food, Lodging etc.

A similar system is also in operation on parts of the A1.

But why can’t we have these signs at all junctions on the motorways, so that we don’t have to use terrible and overpriced services.

As an aside, I am a coeliac and need a gluten-free diet. I have yet to find a services in the UK, that understands my needs or even stocks something suitable by accident, so I have to either take food with me or go searching.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Kylie's Cancer

My heart goes out to Kylie, but then as she's caught it early, it is unlikely she'll look back on it in ten year's time as anything but a painful annoyance.

The fact she seems to have caught it early is the most important thing, as I believe that the surgery is the most important and that add-ons as chemotherapy and radiotherapy although powerful, are not as good as getting all the cancer out in the first place. And you stand much more chance before it's grown and spread!

She's also fit, which studies show is a great help in fighting cancer.

Also, if you read the press over the last few months, anti-cancer strategies and treatments are coming thick and fast, so that if you take the same disease now and in ten years time, now it might be serious, but in ten years it will be trivial. So if you can survive a few more years, your prognosis must improve.

Good luck to Kylie and all the other sufferers.


Hotel Thefts

Over the years we’ve left the odd things in hotel rooms. They’re never found.

What took the biscuit was my wife took her jewelry out of the safe and put it on the table in our room in Italy last weekend. For some reason we never put it in the hand baggage and it was left behind.

Phoning within twelve hours, the hotel denied they’d found anything. It was a Relais and Chateaux too!

Typical. But I suppose they assume you’ll just claim on insurance.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Land Rovers

Greenpeace have invaded Land Rover to protest at their fuel consumption and the fact that 4x4's aren't the most environmentally friendly of vehicles.

In the last ten years or so, I’ve had three Land Rovers.

Despite owning and living on a stud in the depth of the countryside, we have now decided that we can do without a large 4x4, prefering a medium sized estate instead.

The reason we changed - Fuel consumption.

I don’t often agree with Greenpeace, as I consider myself to be scientifically rather than politically correct. But in this case I do!

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Glazer and Manchester United

Before I continue, let me say that I'm not a Manchester United fan and never have been. As I'm an Ipswich fan, I have little love for the team from the north.


What is happening to them with Glazer is a disaster for English football! And probably Manchester United in particular!

Let's look at a few dispassionate statistics :-

1. All successful clubs have a pretty good relationship between club owners, directors and fans. Even if say after the selling of a star player they get a bit rocky. But look at Everton this year. They sell Wayne Rooney and then come forth in the Premiership. Are the fans happy now?

2. No owner of a football club, except possibly Manchester United, has ever made any consistent money.

3. Football is a business where costs are pretty much fixed, whereas players can desert at a whim and income can vary very much with success on the field.

4. Many of the non-core and hardline supporters, support the team that wins.

5. Football sponsorship has a strong negative response. For instance, a lot of Spurs fans won't have O2 mobile phones as they sponsor Arsenal.

6. Fans aren't as loyal as clubs would believe they are!

So given that why did Malcolm Glazer want to take over Manchester United?

1. Ego plays a part, especially as a lot of his advisers said no!

2. He obviously believes that he can make money! But that means renegotiating the TV contract to the detriment of the other clubs and would even Chelsea and Arsenal allow that?

3. But has he been pushed into the position where he has to make a bid? Perhaps so! If Magnier et al had offered him three pound a share would Glazer have taken it? They are very bright Irishmen and know the problems they would have got if they'd taken on the fans. A nice profit without risk is what they have taken and good luck to them!

The interesting take on the deal was from Keith Harris, who organised the takeover of Chelsea by Abramovich. Chelsea were in debt to a substantial level, whereas Manchester United were debt-free. After the Glazer takeover, their positions will be reversed. So this obviously reduced budget may well mean that the best players will come south to Chelsea and Arsenal, as after all London is the capital and has the best nightclubs, shops, restaurants and women!

So if they are not doing well on the field, how many of their peripheral fans will desert them too?

But this will not be the only pressure on Glazer, as the hardcore fans are not happy :-

1. Suppose fans decide to go to matches, but not buy any merchandise or hospitality. How much would that cost?

2. Suppose fans decided to wear T-shirts openly hostile to Glazer. What would he do, ban them from the ground? After all hostile T-shirts could be a strong revenue earner for the fans groups.

3. Suppose fans decided to create an unusual atmosphere in the ground. Perhaps, they stayed quiet. Would Sky want to show a really dull match?

4. Would Ferguson stay? After all he nearly went a few years ago and perhaps now, he might decide not to take the hassle.

5. Would the top players stay? They can virtually do what they want now and would they work for an American, who upsets people.

There are a lot of if's and but's.

Glazer's trick will be to create a global brand that brings in enough money, before the fans sink him by destroying his revenue stream.

The future will be interesting! Let's hope that football wins!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


One New Law

I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of where the government raises money and where it spends it!

With a certain amount of help from Evan Davis, I’ve been able to get most of what I want, but it was very very difficult. For instance do you know that the government raises three times as much from Air Passenger Duty than Inheritance Tax?

Just as I have to publish a simple set of accounts for the Inland Revenue about what I earn and my expenses, then so should the government publish a two page report for us, its shareholders!

So let’s have that enthrined in law!

We’d all be surprised and possibly horrified!


The Tsunami and Krakatoa

I've just read Simon Winchester's excellent book on the explosion in 1983 of the volcano at Krakatoa.

Simon wrote his book in 2003 and it is very interesting to compare probably two of the worst disasters of recent times.

1. Krakatoa directly killed about 30,000 people, whereas the tsunami of 2004 killed at least 250,000. This is partly accounted for more people living in vulnerable areas, but also because the wave produced by Krakatoa did not kill many people outside the local area. As an example only one person was killed in Sri Lanka or Ceylon as it was then called.

2. Krakatoa was known to be likely to erupt and had been rumbling heavily for some months. Because the tsunami was caused by an underground volcanic explosion, no warnings could be given. Incidentally, Krakatoa is now monitored so that if it does blow again, we will hopefully get some warning.

3. Krakatoa was one of the first major news stories to be broadcast around the world, as the telegraph network was fully in place. Actually, Reuters weren't the first this time, as the local Lloyds agent got the message to The Times first!

4. The Dutch raised money to help the victims as most were in its then colony of the Dutch East Indies. A lot was badly spent! I hope that isn't a foretaste of what is happening now!

We now know that Krakatoa and the volcano that caused the tsunami both lie on the same fault and are just two of many active volcanos. All of these should be mapped and monitored, so that future tragedies are minimised.


Legal Aid Fees

Once again there is a spotlight today on the legal aid fees on a few number of high profile cases.

This gives rather a wrong impression as for many bread and butter cases where lawyers involved fees have now gone so low, that no lawyer of any worth ever wants to do them!

I should know as my wife has several times come home after a tiring journey to Lincoln or Luton for a family case and perhaps a fee that after her expenses is probably less than three figures. And moan about it something rotten! It probably doesn't bother her that much as she does do bigger private cases, where the fees are more in line with her nearly thirty years experience!

But we can push the fees down too far!

Consider that now young lawyers do not want to do legal-aid cases as they can't afford to these days with all of the costs of University and training. So those that do are often quite frankly crap! That's another of her complaints, that often she spends more time in court than is really needed because of incompetent lawyers! Or even worse incompetent litigants in person!

It is said that more money will be put towards family cases. But then the usual caveat must be attached to all promises of this lying government.

If not, then there will be fewer and fewer competent lawyers who will want to handle these sort of cases. Remember too, that many who do now are in their fifties and would hope to retire soon. (Not necessarily all will, as this government has shafted pensions!)

So we'll end up with a lot more inadequate solutions for families, a lot more badly brought up and treated children, more child poverty, more domestic violence etc. etc.

But then this government only cares about its friends.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


EU Working Time Directive

What a load of old rubbish!

I generally work about ten to twelve hours every day, but then I'm self employed. Why should anybody tell me what to do? I also work from home which makes a lot of difference as I have no travelling!

On the other hand, if I want a day off I take one. Or a holiday!

The real trouble is many people work long hours and have no choice. Especially where health and safety is involved. For instance lorry drivers should be restricted to forty eight hours and these hours should be properly checked. Is it a coincidence that some serious accidents have been caused by foreign drivers who had been driving for days.

Also others take three hours or so to get to work! Should that count as working hours? They should work over the Internet when they can to improve efficiency and cut down hours.



The usual load of cranks saying it's all wrong are on the Radio today after the BMA have recommended vaccination against hepatitus B. One even suggested that he hadn't had a jab and used homeopathy. Perhaps he's been lucky!

Just type Maurice Hilleman into Google. He developed most of the vaccines and no-one has ever heard of him!

But everybody has heard of the scientists who rage on against vaccination. And Mr. Atkins and his useless diet as well!


Bliar's Back

And up to his old tricks!

The idiot Blunkett is being given the plum job of ruining pensions, just like he ruined the justice system!

And now we have more cronies in other jobs!

Hopefully, his troops will be less compliant this time.

But what we need is a truly radical government that will give us much less regulation and much more freedom.

Fat chance!

Try typing Bliar into Google!

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Kitchens Direct

If they have made 26m calls and there is approximately 15m homes in this country, that is two calls each. And that between November and February according to the Manchester Evening News!

Can that be effective marketing for a start?

I doubt it, but I suspect that the OFCOM report will do wonders for their business!

By the way, I note that their web site has nothing about the OFCOM ruling. Why not phone Kutchens Direct on 0800-123321 and ask why?

Incidentally they also don't have an address or an e-mail address on the site. I suppose this is so they don't get junk mail and spam! Talk about hypocracy!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Liverpool 1 - Chelsea 0

Great! And I'm an Ipswich supporter! But I did carry my wife out of Anfield when she fainted in the late 60's!

It proves that dodgy money can buy you gorgeous, submissive women, but it can't buy you success on the football field.

Liverpool didn't have the possession, but they did have the passion and they won!

Pass the sick bucket, Abramovich! Who's to blame for this fiasco?


Magazines in Rural Areas

The small newsagents are whingeing that the supermarkets are getting better discounts on magazines.

So what!

We have no newsagents around here, ten miles from Newmarket and Haverhill, so we have to travel to buy them anyway!

Most of the magazines we want we subscribe to by post.

So I don’t think the story has a very sound ring to it here in Suffolk.


Spicing Up The Election

This election is very boring because people are prepared to vote for liars!

So lets give everyone a second vote, which they can use in any constituency they want!

So supposing everyone decided that Mr. Bliar was not the person to be elevted and gave their second votes to someone else in Sedgefield. He! He!

It would really make elections fun!

Who would get your thumbs-down?


Medical Records

I am a coeliac and have to have regular shots of vitamin B12. Remember, that no matter what health shops tell you B12 only comes from food like liver, eggs and a few other things and injections. You can't get it in tablet form.

Anyway, I'd forgotten to have my shot and phoned the doctor to find out when I had the last one. It was December, so the surgery phoned back to say the doctor will do it on Thursday. Good service!

There is a lot of talk about computerising medical records. My GP's seem to be very much that way now with all letters scanned etc. And of course she lets me see what's been said about me!

So why not put them on-line so that I can access them over the Internet?

They'll be a fat chance of that!

Monday, May 02, 2005


Horse Racing and Parking

With Parking in the news today, I wonder if the fact that race courses have free parking, means that their attendances have risen so much over the last few years!

There were certainly a lot of people at Newmarket over the weekend, who didn't watch the racing! Why pay twenty five pound or so to go drinking?


2000 and 1000 Guineas

So Coolmore won both! Good luck to them in some ways, but wouldn't have been nice if one of the two hundred to one shots, Rebel Rebel and Kandidate, had won the 2000 Guineas on Saturday. Or perhaps if the horse bred by Louise Parry, Saoire, had been placed.

Interestingly, I would suspect that John Magnier and his friends, are very bouyant and happy. What does this mean to how they will act over Manchester United? Will they decide to take Glazer's shilling or will they feel that his bid is in trouble and decide to sit tight, so they can get his shares at a knockdown price?

I don't know! But I certainly wouldn't play poker with any of them!


Radical Parking

We need a radical approach to parking that punishes the conistent offenders and rewards the generally law abiding.

1. More proper park and rides like Cambridge. Here they go right through the city from one side to the other, which gives stops all over the centre and no bus parking problems.

2. Much more parking at train stations. How many times do you want to use a train and the car park is full?

3. Fractional parking systems based on text messages, that change by the minute and give the first ten minutes free. They're working in Holland and some parts of London.

4. Doubling of parking fines. Tackle the persistent offenders.

5. Every year, one parking ticket can be cashed in against your road tax. Reward the careful, who get the occassional one.