James Miller


Tuesday, February 28, 2006


4 x 4s

My wife and I live on our stud farm near Newmarket.

We have a smallish estate and a sports car. Both are pretty economical, as why be selfish and contribute to global warming.

But no expensive showy 4 x 4! In the country few people have a need for such a vehicle, preferring to use either a clapped Land Rover occasionally or a more practical tractor and trailer for moving goods about. Most 4 x 4’s seem to be owned by incomers who add little to the life of the countryside.

I also believe that cars that can’t do forty miles per gallon should be made illegal. It may seem harsh, but it would create true innovation in the motor industry.


Success in 2012

If we really want to get success in 2012, then we must play to our strengths.

1. Give money to sports that can deliver; rowing, equestrianism, judo, boxing.

2. Make sure that anybody who comes from nowhere by themselves, like Andy Murray, gets the support they need.

3. Remove all silly rules that affect sports. How about making shooting easier?
4. Provide facilities that we all need.

We must also find ways of motivating people like athletes, who have lots of money but little result.

Monday, February 27, 2006


The Home Guard

My father told me stories of the Home Guard.

But surely nothing is further from our ideas of what it was like, than the story of the Punjabi born, Dr. Dharm Chowdhary, who was the local doctor in Essex and a captain in the Home Guard. Later they named a local primary school after him.

This story is related in Bloody Foreigners, Robert Winder’s excellent book on immigration.


E-Mailing MPs

My MP is in the Dark Ages. I can’t e-mail him!

We should be able to e-mail everybody in government. The technology is there, so that they can all be handled properly and in a reasonable time.

It was all very different years ago. A school in Southgate in the early 60s, we invited all the MPs round and it was an interesting dichotomy. The Labour and Liberal candidates gave the standard party political spiel, but Anthony Berry gave a talk that I’ll always remember. He talked about democracy, why we should get engaged and why we should vote. Even those who would never vote Tory and probably never have since, were impressed.

Perhaps, one of the reasons young people don’t like politicians, is that they never leave the political garbage at the gate.


Pay Audit

We employ about five people and have difficulty getting anybody.

Decent stud people in Newmarket are hard to find and you really look after those you have. Currently we have one woman, who does all the heavy work like everybody else and a female stud manager, who’s worked through the birth of her child, with sensible time off.

Pay Audit! Make me laugh.

The best way to get everybody earning more, will be to abolish all this needless legislation.

Good firms always look after there employees and bad ones exploit them. Legislation makes no difference.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Beer Capital of the World

It has to be Southwold, the home of Adnams.

There is a story, that a friend tells about how when he entered Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which has a sign on entry saying “Brewing Capital of the World”, someone had added “Wot About Southwold?”. I suspect he’d used the aerosol.

Sadly, as a coeliac, I can’t drink beer, but luckily here in Suffolk, we produce the best cyder in the world, Aspalls.

Thursday, February 23, 2006



I have a copy of The Times for July 19th, 1969 in which there is an account of the first landing on the moon by Armstrong and Aldrin.

There is also a report on Decimalisation and Metrication.

It gives a timetable where full metrication would have been achieved by the 1970s.

It is disgraceful that we’re thirty years late.


Camera Phones

My phone is over three years old and needs replacing.

My phone company won’t give me a new phone without a camera. But why should I buy a phone with something I don’t want? Perhaps, I should have a recycled one. But where?


Evidence of Flight Delays

Always carry a camera, so you can take photographs of clocks and the flight departure boards.

Or if you are flying to and from most UK airport, remember that the arrival and departure times are shown on the Internet. So get someone to read the page and print it.

Another good flight tip is to photograph what you put into the case before you pack it. That way if it gets nicked you can make a full claim on the insurance. And anyway these days digital pictures cost nothing.



I live on a hundred hectare stud on the fringes of Newmarket.

I’ve never actually seen a badger on the stud, but a couple of years ago, we had a lot foxes and not many rabbits. It’s funny, but since the ban on hunting, the foxes have all but disappeared and the rabbits have bred… Well, like rabbits.

Could it be that a fox is now worth more to the poacher and the fur trade than it was for sport?

As a scientist I wish I had more than just a feeling about this. But as a countryman, I know something has happened.



British justice has its faults, but I am afraid others are worst.

A friend’s son has been in jail in a European country for a couple of years on a charge that even that country doesn’t think valid, but he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There are many other cases.

No one should be extradited from the UK, without testing the evidence in a UK court first.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006



Just returned.

No ill affects at all. Food was excellent, although I was very careful, but restaurants could all read the celiactravel Arabic documents. One even added a footnote for other chefs.

I shall be writing this up fully later.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Iranian Holocaust Cartoons

Will the protesters in London today be protesting about the contest in Iran for the best Holocaust cartoon and against the excesses of the Iranian and other Islamic nations around the world?

After all most of the nations who still have the death penalty, with the exception of the US and China, are Islamic.

Islam used to be a tolerant religion that was forward looking and in which women were equals centuries ago. With a few honourable exceptions, it is certainly not either these days.

One strange thing is that Iranian cartoon contest is all over the Internet, but not in any of the British media. They must be spineless!

Friday, February 10, 2006



My wife is a barrister and our son is a criminal defence solicitor who acts in high-profile cases. Over the years, I have also counted several judges amongst my friends.

Conversation has often turned towards juries and it is surprising how few times, I have heard anybody complain about the result, even in difficult cases. One judge has told me, that juries are often much more sensible than you would think. He quoted cases, where strictly speaking the defendant should have been found guilty, but morally they should not have been. Some cases like this have led to a change in the law.

So whether the government and the public like it or not, if you examine the evidence, you will find that juries on the whole do a good job. Finding a better system will be a very hard job.

At least in this country, if a jury do make a mistake, then their decision can be appealed. And as we have no death penalty, the tragic miscarriages of countries like the United States, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia are avoided.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Food Labelling

As a coeliac, the most important thing is not the fat or sugar content, but the allergens.

Interestingly, most of the companies mentioned, who have broken away, are bad on their allergen levels. They are all non-UK companies, who want a world-wide solution and standard products.

If they are putting this information on the front, then the allergens should be there as well. I bet they don’t do it.

An aside to this is M&S, who have been running a campaign on openness and freedom from unexpected ingredients like allergens. Is it any surprise that their food sales have risen dramatically.



Before we decide whether we hang, flog, incarcerate, give community sentences, fine or just let people off, we need to see the statistics.

How many people are in jail for violent offences? 90%? 10%? We don’t know.

How many are in jail for not paying a TV licence?

When the government publishes honest statistics with the cost of each method of punishment, then we should decide how we punish people.

I also believe that if no violence has occurred, then the cost of punishment must not exceed, say ten times the cost of the offence. So if you don’t pay your TV licence, then the punishment costs can’t be greater than £1250. It would create some very innovative punishments.


Implications of the Jenkins Trial

With the new Legal Aid proposals from Lord Carter, would someone such as Sion Jenkins, have been able to get sufficient Legal Aid to mount a worthwhile appeal?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Do You Want To Live to 100?


When I was about 10, I calculated that at the year 2000 I would be 53. Then that seemed very old.

Now at nearly 59, I don’t feel old at all, but I do play real tennis two or three times a week, walk a lot, keep slim and eat healthily.

I intend to live to a 100.

I also have another important reason.

In the 1970’s I developed the software that has since been used to plan the building of a significant proportion of the major projects in the world, like the Channel Tunnel, the new Hong Kong Airport, the Space Shuttle turnarounds etc. I just want to see if I outlive some of these projects.


Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

I swapped to these a couple of years ago.

They use less electricity, but I don’t seem to change them any less often. (I keep statistics as that’s my business!)


Those Cartoons

So the Muslim interviewed by Peter Allen on Drive feels that no Islamic magazine would publish anti-Semitic material. Then what about the Iranian newspaper that is offering a prize for the best Holocaust cartoon!

Perhaps that is the main difference between the Jews and the Muslims. The former have a sense of humour and can laugh at the ridiculous.


Voting For Extinction

If the government decides we should have large unitary councils based on the regions, we’ll all vote against it. As an example would people from Suffolk sit down with those from Norfolk and not argue. And how would a specialist area like Newmarket fit into an amorphous mass?

Suggesting something like this shows how out of step with the people this government is.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


The Wrong Target

Child pornography is one of the hideous industries perpetrated by spam e-mails. You can also add violence, phishing e-mails, Nigerian 419 scams and many other things that most people don’t want to know about. Many like child pornography cause misery and especially financial misery for a large number of people.

If governments were serious about child pornography, the first thing they should do is to stop spam. Here in the EU we have the will and the means to do it, but without co-operation from the US, China and Russia, we will never stop it.

It also helps to get broadband and keep your virus and anti-spyware software up to date.


ID Theft

It’s never happened to me recently.

But about 25 years ago, I lived in a small Suffolk village, with only about 100 inhabitants. Someone else had the same name as I do. He also had a long criminal record, which caused me a lot of grief as a number of companies managed to mix us up, despite him being twenty years younger.

As an Internet consultant who has programmed systems for accountants that check IDs, most of the problems are down to the large organisations such as banks and credit card companies. Why is it that fraudsters concentrate their resources on two main UK banks? Because their security can’t be as good as the others!

Friday, February 03, 2006


Those Cartoons

I’m getting sick and tired of the discussion about a series of irrelevant and inconsequential cartoons.

To me as a confirmed atheist, this shows how that once great religion, Islam, has now fallen so far behind the rest of the world economically, that they can only express jealous anger at the rest of us.

Muslims should all grow up, modernise and help us solve the real problems of the world like global warming, poverty, over-population, lack of clean water and illiteracy.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Newcastle United

Why do you go on and on about that basket case?

After all, here in Suffolk we have a little team, that has this knack of taking a few pigs ears and making them into silk purses. It’s also won much more than Newcastle in the last 50 years. Who’s got tradition? We’ve even lent some of them, including dear old Bobby to Newcastle and they can’t even make sense of it all.

Perhaps, the most significant football of the week, was the performance on Tuesday of one Danny Haynes. He has now played four times for Ipswich and scored two goals. He has the pace and skill that I’ve never seen in this country in an eighteen year old, with perhaps the exception of Wayne Rooney. Remember too, he came to Ipswich as a central defender and they converted him into a striker eighteen months ago.

He nearly scored the best goal I’ve ever seen. And that includes watching Jimmy Greaves in his prime, perhaps a hundred times.

He took a ball on the left side of the penalty area and then went completely round the outside, holding the ball with the outside of his right foot. i.e. The wrong way! He absolutely cooked Paul Butler for pace, in a way that was reminiscent of George Best. Unfortunately, he hit the bar.

If that goal had gone in a legend would have been born.

So who cares about Newcastle?