James Miller


Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Clarke's Problems

As Mr. Clarke represents an East Anglian constituency he ought to take a leaf out of the region's biggest industry; horse racing.

All horses are chipped, so that they can be properly identified. The technology works well, is pretty foolproof and has now been applied to successfully to other animals such as dogs and cats.

So why not chip all prisoners, so they can be properly traced? The scanner would of course say Murderer, Rapist, member of the BNP, human rights lawyer, investigative journalist etc.

Come to that, why not chip everybody, so that the Police can see where we are at all times?

I can just see Mr. Blair holding a screaming Leo whilst he shows how chipping is important for the nation's health!


Lost Prisoners and the ID Card Database

Am I alone in wondering that as the Home Office can't be trusted to manage a database of about a hundred thousand prisoners, what hope will it have in managing one of over fifty million ID card holders?

As someone who has been writing computer database programs for more than thirty years, I am sure it will not work. Partly because any decent self-respecting programmer would not want to have such a millstone on their CV, but mainly because large numbers of individuals will not co-operate with it at all.

There will also be those like me, who will be a problem for the database. I have been known as James Miller for nearly forty years. It is a very common name and one that is in various security databases all over the world, because not all James Millers behave how states want them to. But my real name is Graham. I suspect that as my ID Card will have to be Graham Miller, then I will not co-operate, as everything I do will have to be in my old, unwanted and hated name. Many of my friends don't use their first name and would be horrified, if a faceless bureaucrat insisted they do. Letting us change our names would of course invalidate the system.

I also know that for matters of terrorism, security and crime, the Internet and all its related web sites and programs, offers a more responsive and reactive solution to the problems of identity. Provided of course we can get inter-government co-operation to cut the levels of spams, phishing scams and frauds.

I am a betting man and I've put money on the next Home Secretary scrapping the ID Card system and spending the money on something that will work.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Cherie's Hair Style

So Cherie spent £7,700 on her hair stylist during the last election.


She should have spent some of that on a bottom transplant. Have you seen her in a swimsuit? Talk about fat!


Abortion and Chastity

Can the Pro-Life people have it both ways?

We are now in the position in South Dakota, where abortion is to be banned. So many will think that this is a good thing, as abortion is taking a life.

I would argue that abortion is a sad thing, as it shows that something has gone wrong, rather than it is a definite choice. Would any woman who planned a baby want an abortion? Only where circumstances have changed drammatically or the baby would be severely handicapped perhaps.

But most of these Pro-Lifers are also against sex before marriage and a lot are against contraception. They may be able to behave responsibly, but what about those who can't.

As an aside here, we had three childen in four years. It is not difficult for many women to get pregnant!

So what we must do, is make sure that everybody has access to reliable contraception and they are fully educated about sex.

Then perhaps the need for abortion will fade away. But it must always be on the statute book and fully legal, as on balance, like many difficult issues, it does more good than harm.

But if South Dakota does ban abortion, then it will only ban it for the poor and those that can't can't afford to bring children up properly. Those with money will go abroad to Canada or Europe. So in fact one of the outcomes of an abortion ban, will be to produce more children, at the bottom end of the intelligence scale.

Do we really want to do that?


Happy Birthday, Liz

I think we're all in favour of wishing the Queen a Happy Birthday today.

Let's hope she makes the big 100.

I should also apologise for treading on the Queen in the paddock at Newbury racecourse. The horse we were with got a bit upset and reared and so I stepped back. The Queen was behind me and she had a similar problem with another horse. I trod on her feet.

Oh dear!

Before I could stutter anything, she just smiled warmly and turned away.

What would have happened if I'd accidentally trodden on any of our oh so precious New Labour Government?


Oil Price Up Again - Yippee!

Am I the only person who thinks that a rise in the oil price is a good thing?

If the price rises, the tax rises so a sensible government would cut other taxes. This one won’t.

But it makes us all take those decisions should do anyway. I’ve swapped my guzzler for a more frugal car, double-insulated the loft, have started to think about a wind turbine etc.

If we all did that we’d all have a better lifestyle.


Sex Offenders

I am married to a barrister and our son is a solicitor, so I have spent a lot of time in the company of judges and other lawyers. I am also a statistician.

If you look at child abuse most of it occurs within the family and a lot is undetected until many years later, or there is a divorce or break-up.

So the Sex Offenders Register may catch those that are obvious, but are we spending too much time concentrating on those we know about, rather than using such things as education and health professionals to make sure the abuse doesn’t happen in the first place.

I also do a lot of work on spam-reduction on the Internet. If governments, such as the US, China and Russia, would impose the rules that the EU has done, it would cut one of the delivery channels for much of the filth on the Internet.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


NHS Budgets

I often wonder if NHS budgets are not flexible enough.

We now have to spend money on Herceptin, which will have to come at the expense of other services. Herceptin will probably come under the drugs budget and every other department will fight that they don’t have to give money to the Pharmacy to support this treatment.

Perhaps, for example all cancer treatment should come under a defined cancer budget. Thus, the person in charge can use the resources flexibly as the needs require. For instance, I heard from a heart surgeon, that due to modern methods, he is doing much less surgery than he was five years ago. Has the money been reallocated successfully and quickly?

Or has it just disappeared into some black hole, as if it’s not spent, it’ll be lost?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Non-Existent Illnesses

I am one of the moderators on an Internet group for coeliac disease.

Time and time we hear stories of people, who have been wrongly diagnosed and given many inappropriate drugs. Often these are anti-depressants, as one of the symptoms of undiagnosed coeliac disease is mild depression. The only cure is a gluten-free diet.

One wonders how many people are given drugs, for this and other diseases when the solution is something much more mundane, like diet, exercise or giving up smoking.


M & S

I am a coeliac and M & S’s stand on additives, salt and unexpected ingredients has been a godsend. As an example, now that they have Simply Food in train stations and motorway services, I can now get nutritious snacks on the move. I couldn’t before as most snacks are gluten-rich sandwiches and burgers.

I wrote to Stuart Rose about this and got a detailed letter from him explaining their policy.

Basically, they seem to be listening to their customers, whereas others in the retail sector are pushing a top-down policy, that may work in some less-health conscious parts of the country, but doesn’t in others.

Monday, April 10, 2006



Some years ago, I heard a story about a party of Royal Engineers, who ended up on an island in the middle of a river, during a fierce battle. On the island was a maternity hospital, but most of the staff had fled leaving a group of very frightened pregnant women.

The Engineers did in fact help out and no babies were lost. They had no drugs at the time, but according to the story, they had plenty of champagne in the cellars. So they used that.

Whether the story is true, I do not know, but I did hear it from someone who had been through many of the worst horrors of World War II. He just used the story to illustrate the madness of war!


Good Behaviour

Am I not right in thinking that some actors and footballers have been vilified for their clean-cut and do-good images? Is that mainly because the tabloids can’t find anything unworthy to print?

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Joint Pain and Stiffness

About ten years, I started to wake up in the morning getting stiffer and stiffer, with pains in my joints. I was also very inflexible and needed at least an hour to get myself into gear.

Since then I’ve been diagnosed as a coeliac and have been gluten-free for about two years.

I no longer have the morning stiffness. I particularly noticed it this morning when I got up at four and drove a lorry down to Hampshire immediately. I couldn’t have done that five years ago. I’d have had to have two cups of tea and an hour doing something before I could drive something heavy.

Has anybody else noted the same symptoms or lack of them?

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Ted Ditchburn and Pat Jennings

I’m lucky in that I saw two of the greatest goalkeepers of the second half of the twentieth century several times.

Ted Ditchburn was one of that select class of goalkeepers who could win games. In 1957, I saw Spurs play Newcastle and quite frankly in the first half they were crap. Except Ditchburn, who managed to keep the score to one-nil. The great Jackie Milburn even put a penalty wide! Whether Ditchburn had frightened him into believing that he’d save it, I don’t know, but he missed by a mile. I actually wrote a fan letter to him at the time. I was 10.

I also saw the young, Jennings at Spurs. Legend has it that he saved most of the penalties in the first few years at Tottenham and we all marvelled at his one handed takes of crosses. Without doubt he was the greatest goalkeeper the world has ever seen. England would have one World Cups, if he’d been English.

I now support Ipswich and you might (or might not) be interested in these two snippets.

Richard Wright was a very good goalkeeper. Note the was! He has never had any confidence since he broke Luc Nellis’ leg a few years ago. It was a complete accident as they went for the same ball, but he has never commanded the area since.

Watch for Shane Supple. His display to win Ipswich the Youth Cup was a case of where goalkeepers do win matches.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Smoking, Attacks and the Death of a Nurse

As I understand it, the poor nurse who was killed went outside for a cigarette.

Is the new anti-smoking legislation going to increase attacks such as this, because it will force more people into vulnerable situations?

As smoking is such a big killer anyway, I hope that organisations such as the NHS, will help their staff to quit their filthy habit.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Panic Over Bird Flu

I am a engineer, scientist and statistician.

We are panicking unnecessarily over bird flu.

That is not that we shouldn’t take precautions, create stock-piles of Tamiflu, have contingency plans for what to do if the virus mutates and have indoor storage for outdoor birds. But we should still eat properly-cooked eggs and chickens, as if we don’t we’ll heap more misery on our poor farmers.

But so far the virus has not mutated as it did in 1918. Incidentally Aspirin was a pretty good antidote to the flu as it lowered temperature, so linked with other modern medicines, the deaths would not be as bad as then. If it does mutate, it will do so in a country like Vietnam or Turkey, where people are not informed and they live intimately with their birds.

If the mutated deadly virus did get to the United Kingdom how many deaths would we accept?

At present it has only killed dozens of people around the world.

Compare that with the 1,600 people who die every week because they smoke.

We are panicking about the wrong target, yet again!


Vitamins and Cancer

If you look up folic acid and other vitamins on reputable web sites such as the University of California at Berkeley, you will find evidence that shows that there may be a link between folic acid and a reduction in certain cancers such as breast. This comes from a large study involving over 30,000 nurses.

This is possible, as folic acid and other vitamins have a strong affect in making sure that cells reproduce properly. This is why folic acid is recommended for pregnant women, to help the baby develop correctly.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Hose Pipe Bans

It’s obvious isn’t it!

Many of my friends have gone to water meters and saved a lot of money. All except one and he has an amazing garden.

So perhaps we should ban gardening instead.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Political Reform

I don’t often agree with Billy Bragg, but he is right to suggest that the Upper House is based on proportions of votes. The problem is that no British politician would accept that without completely neutering the House as well.

After all, how could you get legislation through without the support of one of the other parties?

Sounds like co-operation to me!

On the subject of political funding, why don’t we have a box on the Electoral Roll form about how we would like our proportion of the funding to be spent. We could tick Labour, Lib Dem, Scot Nats, Tory, BNP etc. Of course there would also be the ability to write in a party name and a “none of the above” box as well.


Inheritance Tax Should Be Killed Off

I’ve been against this for years, not because I would benefit from its abolition or because I’m getting to that age, when I should start to do something about it. But because as a control engineer by training, I just think it does untold secondary damage.

Consider :-

1. How many bright minds are employed on both sides of the Inheritance Tax War in avoiding and collecting the tax? Abolish and they’d have to do a proper wealth creating job.

2. The tax raises about half the amount Air Passenger Duty does!

3. According to a survey by the BBC, many people would prefer to replace it with say 2p on Income Tax. I’ve got an e-mail from a former Tory Treasury Minister who believes the same.

4. How many large houses in a bad state that are inhabited by an elderly couple or a single pensioner are not developed because they’d prefer to leave their children a wreck, so the children could make the profit?

5. Perhaps some of those put out of work by the abolishing of the tax, could work out sensible development schemes that would create the houses we need and give the owners a good standard of living.

6. If we abolished the tax, how many rich Italians, French, Germans and other citizens of the EU would come to the UK to enjoy the remainder of their lives. I’ve been here nearly 59 years and it’s a great country, if you ignore the Iraq War, identity cards, stupid planning regulations, Chelsea FC and a few other things.

7. Hopefully these retirees would create a few jobs. All my rich elderly friends are still at it creating new businesses. Why shouldn’t they do it here?

8. How many inventors and entrepreneurs would come, knowing that they could leave everything to their descendents?

So it’s a very wrong tax that is well past its sell-by date.