James Miller


Friday, March 31, 2006


Satellite Navigation

Tomorrow, I shall be taking a horse to meet her husband somewhere in deepest Shropshire.

I will do what I always do. Make sure I have an up-to-date map and print off the detailed instructions for the last bit from the Internet. I then learn it properly, so that I don’t get lost on the way. And of course during the drive, I will listen to 5 Live for any traffic problems.

Who needs satellite navigation? As with most things, do the preparation first.


Lawyers, Dentists and Legal Aid

This is all part of the Government’s plan to cut costs.

My wife is a long-serving barrister who does important family work, such as adoptions, custodies and sorting out the money after divorce settlements.

She used to do Legal Aid work, but now the rates are so low, that unless it is very convenient at the local County Court, she avoids it. Most barristers do the same, so these people who need to be adequately represented either do it themselves or use lawyers that are by no means the best.

This parallels the dentistry you are talking about.

Those that can’t afford it, will have to do without. After all most are at the bottom of the pay scales or are unemployed and have been completely abandoned by this cynical government in many ways, as there are not many votes in looking after them.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Security Services

Is it surprising that the security services didn’t know about the July 7th attacks last year?

The more you entrust security to a secretive organisation that does not interface with the public, the less likely they will get meaningful information from the public.

I’ve worked in very secret industrial research establishments and visited many. In the most secure, there are few employed directly in security, as everyone who works there does their little bit.

So, if we want to protect ourselves from bombings and criminals, we must all be vigilant. Unfortunately, this government has managed to alienate large sections of the population, so people now do not feel part of society. Until they realise that we’re all in it together and treat us as responsible adults the situation will get worse.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Parking at Royal Free Hospital

If you were building a new hospital only an idiot would build it in the one of the most densely populated and expensive parts of London. But it’s there now and if you visit for longer than an hour, you must use public transport. After all the hospital is very close to the tube!

A few years ago, our granddaughter was born in the Royal London and because she had a serious condition, she was there for a couple of months. Most of the time we all visited using public transport, as it was so much more convenient.

It’s actually quite rich how people in London moan about hospital parking, when here in Suffolk we are fifteen miles from the nearest hospital and have no alternative but to use a car. Even then parking in Cambridge is bad and usually requires parking and then using a bus.

So it may have been unfortunate for the lady who complained, but as she said in the end she used a taxi.


Cycle Paths

You may laugh at cycle paths, but isn’t it about time that cyclists used the proper ones correctly.

Several times, in the last few years, I’ve been nearly mown down on the pavement by reckless cyclists. Often when there is a perfectly well laid-out and marked cycle path a few metres away. The worst area is around Great Portland Street in London, where the council spent a fortune laying out separate cycle lanes and cyclists still jump lights, go against the traffic and ride on the pavement. If you complain, then all you get is abuse.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Ban Smoking

Smokers should be licensed and they should only be able to supply their filthy habit from special shops on production of the licence.

In Scotland, you’d make sure the only shop was at John O’Groats.

Seriously though, if you don’t find a way of really reducing the number of people who do smoke, the ban is a waste of time for smokers. But as a non-smoker I really want to keep smokers away from me. I went into a pub in Bury St. Edmunds recently, where the smoke was so thick, I left immediately. Yuck!

Friday, March 24, 2006


Downloading Films

It will happen, but who will pay £20 for it.

I wouldn’t.

My wife and I go to the cinema about twenty times a year and with a curry afterwards it is an experience even after a bad film.

How would you feel if you paid £20 and the film was rubbish?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


The Budget

What a nonentity!

Brown did nothing to help Britain into the twenty-first century. He should have :-

1. Increasing fuel taxes so that those vehicles that create large amounts of carbon dioxide are really punished.

2. Increased the tax breaks to encourage people to work at home. He actually made it less likely.

3. Abolish Inheritance Tax and put say tuppence on the higher rate of Income Tax. Think of all those useless and highly paid advisors would be out of business and how many rich people would come to the UK to retire.

There are lots more, but they'll do for a start.

He should also give a Budget speech that actually says what's in the Red Book, which is the real budget.

Heaven help us with this devious idiot is Prime Minister. I just think he might never be it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The Weather

Every so often the BBC weather for Cambridge states that the temperature in four days time will be much better. This morning it was showing 12 on Saturday. Now it’s 9.

Is this a plot by the met office to keep us cheerful?


Cash For Coronets

Whether this phrase was coined by John Pinaar of the BBC or not, it's a great way to describe the Labour Party's funding solution.

Monday, March 20, 2006


In Memoriam

My cat, Ruth, just walked in from a night of keeping the rodents out of the farm buildings with a black arm band on.

She believes that Humphrey, the Downing Street cat, set a very dignified example of how to behave in life and was a credit to all cats. At least he knew how to treat her owners.


Loans and Politicians

Why would you lend money to a politician?

Because you like them! Give it a rest.

Because they'd do you a favour! Of course. Supposing you were a widget manufacturer and the government wanted to buy a million, then the odd political loan or donation might help.

For a knighthood or a peerage. Lloyd George had a scale for this. Surely, there isn't one now. But if you want one, then perhaps that load could just swing it.

Years ago, when I wrote Artemis and created Metier, we did something that had never been done in the UK before. We created a world-class company in seven years, that was responsible for the planning of half the major projects in the world.

We can count no honours at all. But we did win two Queens Awards.

Perhaps we should have made some political donations.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Deaths of Horses At Cheltenham

We have had horses in training for many years.

Two horses, Don’t Shoot Fairies and Sunshine On Me won seven races between them and retired sound.

Don’t Shoot Fairies then had a heart attack and the other fell and broke her back. Both accidents happened in quiet fields.

Remember that thoroughbreds are pretty highly tuned animals and despite the fact that many live to their mid-twenties and beyond, some suffer serious problems much earlier in their lives.

But that doesn’t mean that we should reduce the risk. As many have said this week, fields were perhaps too big, horses weren’t good enough and the going wasn’t the best.

As to the going, just look at the state of the pitch at Ipswich. I’ve never seen it that bad. Racecourses are also suffering.

As an aside, Vague Shot is still going at 23, so you win some and lose some.



No matter how you spin it, this bunch is as bad as any we’ve had before.

Politicians must be seen to be totally honest and they must communicate much more with the general public, rather than showing the distain for them.

Blair has retreated into his fortress and knows he’s right and the public is wrong. Mrs. Thatcher did the same and fell.

If I was Prime Minister, I would walk from Downing Street to the Commons, use public transport to visit my constituency and make sure that every query from the public was answered honestly. In other words I’d be open with the public. If Blair had been open, would he have gone into Iraq?

When one does that, I’ll vote for them.

We need a complete attitude change by politicians.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The BBC's Left-Wing Bias

Of course the BBC has a left wing bias. My next door neighbour was until a couple of years ago, the Deputy Governor of the BBC. He was left leaning. To the left of the Tory Party!

Seriously though, the BBC is seen as left wing, because ITV has to be to the right to get all that capitalist advertising. Channel 4 balances that by getting all the champagne socialist advertising.

The trouble with the BBC is it deals in facts and fence sitting. Put facts in front of bigots and you’re always accused of bias.


Nuclear Weapons Replacement

I used to be a great believer in nuclear deterrent.

In fact my software was used to plan the Chevaline project, which was the updating of the Polaris missiles by the Callaghan government. That project was so secret, very few people still know of it. We certainly don’t want another uncosted, secret project like that, where politicians do what they think is best.

Now, I think it is an irrelevance.

The most likely people to attack us will be stateless terrorists, probably with a dirty bomb.

It would be far better that we spent the money saved in two ways; better conventional forces to sort out trouble spots and better intelligence to make sure we don’t get another Iraqi face and stop the terrorists before they strike.

Monday, March 13, 2006



I’ve found a constructive way of recycling is to put the rubbish on eBay. It’s amazing the silly prices people will pay for things that ten years ago would have gone on the dump.

Interestingly, for those of us in the middle of nowhere the only council service we use is the refuse collection. At that price in the council tax, they should separate it for us.


Blair is Right

Sir Ian Blair was right to tape record his conversations with the Government.

I’d do the same. I’d also count my fingers and check rings after shaking hands.

Friday, March 10, 2006



Did I hear right?

Is this mumbo-jumbo going to be part of a GSCE syllabus?

I thought April Fools Day was a couple of weeks away?

Thursday, March 09, 2006


John Promfumo

John Profumo paid a heavy price for his indiscretions. Certainly, a lot more than one would these days.

I'm reminded of a joke.

Christine Keeler goes to the doctor, complaining of a splinter in her c**t. After examination the doctor says it’s not a splinter, but the whole ruddy cabinet.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Coeliac Disease

I am a coeliac and according to statistics, the number of people with the allergy could be as high as 1 in 100.

Interestingly, when a coeliac is diagnosed and sticks to a gluten-free diet, their health and consequently drain on the NHS drops dramatically. There is also a lot of misdiagnosis of coeliacs, many of whom are put incorrectly on anti-depressants.

I would suggest that improvement of coeliac diagnosis in the NHS, would improve the standard of living for many and on the other hand cut costs to the NHS.



I was brought up nearly 60 years ago to have no truck with racist views. I couldn’t really, as I’m part-Jewish and part-Huguenot.

What worries me about censoring people with such views is that it gives them credibility. It also means that where race is linked to disease, as in diabetes and sickle cell anaemia, that the research often gets downgrading and has difficulty in being taken seriously.

So if we have statistics that we don’t like, then we should attempt to verify or disprove them and then act responsibly to sort out the problem.

I also remember a Panorama program some years ago, about the messenger of the body. It concerned a vet at Glasgow University, who challenged the established view. So much so, that he was not allowed to give papers at conferences. In the end he was right.

So to impose censorship is actually counter-productive in many cases as well.

Remember what George Bernard Show said - “All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


The Future

Last night, I went to a meeting at the University of Hertfordshire to celebrate 40 years of their computer science course.

The four main speakers were :-

1. Dr. Vint Cerf of Google
2. Gareth Mitchell of the BBC
3. Peter Cochrane of ConceptLabs and late of BT
4. Mike Newton, late of Dell and Apple

A lot of fascinating things were said, but think about this one.

In ten years time, you will be able to buy an iPod, that can hold every recording of every piece of music written. In twenty years time, it will hold every film ever made.

Who’d be a record company? Sell Sony, EMI etc. now!


Tessa Jowell

I read in the papers on Friday, that the guy who owned the garage where all the money from the Kentish Heist was found didn’t know anything about it.

Was he Tessa Jowell’s brother?

Saturday, March 04, 2006


England Cricketers in India

I don’t know how many follow cricket here, but England are playing in India at the moment.

They have been ravaged by injury, so gave a debut to Mudhsuden (or Monty) Panesar, a Sikh born in Luton, just north of London. He is the first Sikh to play cricket for England.

Although thought before this match to solely a spin bowler and a complete rabbit of a batsman, he managed to help England to a very reasonable total with a last wicket on 66. He then took two important wickets and bowled forty overs in the Indian first innings.

The talk in the UK (and Indian) papers is that England have at last found a decent spin bowler. Puns are abounding including “The Full Monty” and “Monty’s Double” etc.

I do think, that sport can be the best antidote to all forms of racism.