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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Cathy's latest newsletter from Zimbabwe

Cathy Buckle is again writing from Zimbabwe, her letter is below.

Dear Family and Friends,
Africa Day dawned fine and clear in Zimbabwe. There was neither water nor electricity and it was a crisp, cold morning. For some this was a public holiday destined not to be spent in the sun or garden or relaxing with a book. This was to be a public holiday spent in a queue at the post office trying to do motor vehicle licensing. Arriving at the Post Office at seven thirty in the morning there were already five people in front of me and it wasn’t long before there were another five behind me.

When you queue in Zimbabwe it is customary not only to see how many are in front of you but to make sure people agree with your position in the line so that the inevitable queue jumpers don’t get a chance to push in. Everyone in the Africa Day queue had a weary look on their face. We had all been in this same place trying to undertake this same task more than a few times in the last couple of weeks. It was my fourth attempt and this time I was determined to succeed.

In order to reduce the number of illegal vehicles and forged licence discs on our roads, authorities have come up with a whole new licensing system. It is laborious and time consuming to say the least.

An official A4 size form has to be obtained, filled in and signed for each vehicle. Original documents and photocopies of every log book and insurance document have to be provided and then comes the hard part: you get in line at the post office. Unbelievably this massive national task is not to be staggered over weeks or months but has to be completed in a fortnight: bring on the national migraine headache.

Lies, Damned Lies and our opponents (mis)use of statistics

The following article, reproduced by kind permission of the author, Tony Brown, appeared in the last edition of Independence the magazine of the UK Independence Party.

Faced with losing the battle for public opinion, our opponents especially the Lib Dems, have begun to peddle a combination of inaccuracies, half truths and fallacies.

They suggest that we cannot leave the EU without losing vital market access, jobs and trade and will be subject to retaliation. Actually, this is nonsense:
  • For the UK to leave the EU is technically very simple: the United Kingdom parliament simply has to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and subsequent amendments through a short new Act of Parliament: it could be done in a single day if the British Parliament so willed.
  • There is a procedure but we do not require either the Permission of the EU or for the Lisbon treaty to include such a facility.
  • This is made even simpler by our correct decision to stay out of the Euro and the Schengen agreements on the abolition of border controls.
  • There is no evidence whatsoever that we would face the kind of retaliation with which the EU enthusiasts seek to frighten us. Do they seriously imagine that the day we left, British trade would ground to a halt? But that is what they imply with their use of statistics about our trade.
  • In fact, we run a trade deficit with the rest of the European Union of over £14 billion (2009).
  • By contrast, we run a trade surplus with the rest of the world.
  • As we buy more from the rest of the EU, than they buy from the UK, the EU cannot "retaliate" without losing much more than it might gain. This is best illustrated by imagining the Germans choosing to give up the sales of all those BMWs, Audis and Mercedes which fill our roads or French, Italian or Spanish farmers giving up the sales of brie and other cheeses, Iberian or Parma Ham, paté, Cava, Champagne, Burgundy ... the list is far too long to set our here but the message is clear.
  • These claims about EU retaliation and British trade and jobs being lost make no logical sense and are scare-mongering nonsense deliberately designed to frighten and mislead the people of our country.
  • They even get basic facts wrong: whatever Sharon Bowles' office may say, Switzerland is not a member of the EEA but has its own set of entirely satisfactory bilateral trade agreements with the EU.
  • In fact free from the shackles of EU membership, we would re-acquire important rights which we have currently lost.

The young Cowboy learning the trade

A young cowboy, sitting in a saloon one Saturday night, recognised an elderly man standing at the bar who, in his day, had been the fastest gun in the West.

The young cowboy took a place next to the ol'-timer, bought him a drink and told him of his ambition to be a great shot...  "Could you give me some tips?" he asked.

The ol'-timer said, "Well, for one thing, you're wearing your gun too high tie the holster a little lower down on your leg."

"Will that make me a better gunfighter?" asked the cowboy.

"Sure will," replied the ol' man.

The young man did as he was told, stood up, whipped out his .44 and shot the bow tie off the piano player.

"That's terrific!" said the cowboy.  "Got any more tips?"

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Magnificent piece, huge cast, Triumphal march . Verdi - Aida Opera

Well, another surprise to prove Ampers' Rants is truly eclectic. I am sure, even if you do not like Opera, you will enjoy the magnificent trumpet playing, and the graceful women dancing as Radames, with his soldiers, make their triumphal return to Memphis marching through the city of Memphis (Egypt, not Tennessee).

I often play the full opera, but wouldn't impose it all on you, dear reader.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Blackadder and Baldrick explain the Euro

Thanks to Captain Ranty's website - and he got it from somewhere else, here is the explanation which you should find fascination.

The Euro, Explained

Baldrick: What I want to know, Sir, is before there was a Euro there were lots of different types of money that different people used. And now there’s only one type of money that the foreign people use. And what I want to know is, how did we get from one state of affairs to the other state of affairs?

Blackadder: Baldrick. Do you mean, how did the Euro start?

Baldrick: Yes sir.

Blackadder: Well, you see Baldrick, back in the 1980s there were many different countries all running their own finances and using different types of money. On one side you had the major economies of France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, and on the other, the weaker nations of Spain, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal. They got together and decided that it would be much easier for everyone if they could all use the same money, have one Central Bank, and belong to one large club where everyone would be happy. This meant that there could never be a situation whereby financial meltdown would lead to social unrest, wars and crises.

Baldrick: But this is sort of a crisis, isn’t it, Sir?

The CIA know all about you, and you have given them the info in the first place!

I have come across a great "spoof video" which I show below.

There are two points I want to make about it.

First, many people have been taken in and believe it was true, however if you watch the video carefully, there are several give-away comments that show tongue-in-cheek comments.

Secondly, althopugh this is a spoof, one is reminded of the old saying, "many a true word is spoken in jest" and one wonders whether intelligence services - and not just in America - use Facebook to glean information about their citizens.

Now enjoy the video...

Extracted from the new rule book of our counter-spy and terrorist unit, MI5

MI5 have issued new rules of conduct for agents this week.

They may no longer get drunk, consort with 
prostitutes or rent boys, or go to strip clubs.  

The rules say that from now on, if agents feel 
compelled to engage in such behaviour, they 
can stand for Parliament like everyone else.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

An impossibility - a politician with common sense - oh it's Nigel Farage!

This is Nigel at his best, telling the EU what is happening as they don't appear to have a clue themselves.

Tell it as it is Nigel:


Monday, 21 May 2012

I hated shaving! At least until now.

Over the years I have always purchased the best electric shaver on the market. Until recently I used the top of the range Braun shaver and could shave my difficult beard in about six minutes flat.

Then Panasonic bought out their range. I have a lot of Panasonic items as I like the gear Panasonic produces. I have a Panasonic TV, Video recorder, Breadmaker, Microwave and Camera. Panasonic are seldom first to market but they evidently study the market and they bring out a better version.

Over the last year I have kept my eye on their shavers and when my Braun started slowing down, I purchased the top of the range Panasonic with five shave blades. Around £320 but Amazon were selling at £220 so I took the opportunity of saving £100.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Fifteen excellent jokes - well, I hadn't heard them before!

 Some excellent jokes, from Larry, our man in Indiana!

The Dumb Kid

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, "This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you." The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, "Which do you want, son?"

The boy takes the quarters and leaves the dollar. "What did I tell you?" said the barber. "That kid never learns!"

Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store & says, "Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?"

The boy licked his cone and replied, "Because the day I take the dollar, the game's over!'

Supporting the Family

A newly engaged couple were having dinner with the bride-to-be's parents. Things were going smoothly until her father decided to find out a little more about her fiancé.

The prospective father-in-law asked, "Young man, can you support a family?"

The surprised groom-to-be replied, "Well, no. I was just planning to support your daughter. The rest of you will have to fend for yourselves."

The Blonde Mortician

A man who'd just died was delivered to the local mortuary wearing an expensive, expertly tailored black suit. The female, Blonde mortician asked the deceased's wife how she'd like the body dressed and pointed out that he looked good in the black suit he was wearing.

The widow, however, said she always thought her husband looked his best in blue and she wanted him in a blue suit. She then gave the Blonde mortician a blank check saying, "I don't care what it costs, please have my husband in a blue suit for the viewing."

When the woman returned the next day for the wake, she was pleased to see her spouse was dressed in a handsome blue suit with subtle chalk stripe. And the suit fit perfectly.

The new widow said, "Whatever this cost, I'm very satisfied. You did an excellent job, and I'm very grateful. How much did you spend?"

To her surprise, the Blonde mortician returned the blank check saying, "There's no charge."

"No, really, I must compensate you for the cost of that exquisite blue suit."

"Honestly, ma'am, it cost nothing. You see, a deceased gentleman of about your husband's size was brought in shortly after you left yesterday. He was wearing an an attractive blue suit. I asked his wife if she minded him going to his grave wearing a black suit instead. She said it made no difference, as long as he looked nice. So, I switched heads."

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Just this very minute ordered my new mobile phone

Amazon are taken advance orders at a price a tad under £500. So, I have just ordered the 16GB one.

The way I look at it, as 4G won't be here, in the UK, until at least 2013, 16GB will be more than enough for the first year. If I need more then, the 64GB Micro SDCard prices will be right down to around £25. And, 80GB will be more than enough.

I saw this on the Internet which lead me to believe that date:
Ofcom has announced that superfast 4G networks could be delayed due to legal and technical issues. The auction of the 4G spectrum, which decides how the newly available bandwidth is to be divvied up, was set for the first half of 2012 but looks likely to be pushed back.
We are nearly at the end of the first half of 2012, and absolutely no news of the 4G auctions. So this is looking likely.

Anyway here are the full specs of the phone:

The French are coming... The French are coming... Now it's our turn to welcome them!

9:30PM BST 12 May 2012
The annual mass exodus from the French capital sees the city's inhabitants while away the August heat in the countryside.
But this week many of the biggest earners across the Channel have been mulling a départ which could be rather more permanent.
The toppling of Nicolas Sarkozy by François Hollande, the first socialist president to lead the country in 17 years, has sent ripples of fear through the wealthier arrondissements of Paris.
Their new president may block the eurozone austerity advocated by Germany's Angela Merkel, but he is not opposed to his richer citizens feeling the squeeze.
 Mr Hollande plans to implement a 75pc tax rate on earnings over €1m (£800,000), on top of a 45pc rate for people making €150,000 or more. He is also expected to raise "wealth taxes" on property assets and end his predecessor's tax incentives to lure bankers back home.
In addition, France's high earners feel increasingly unwelcome in a country now led by a man who has admitted: "I don't like the rich." So where are they looking? London. It comes as no surprise – while Hollande prepares to raise taxes, over here David Cameron is cutting the 50pc tax rate for income above £150,000 to 45pc. "I have already worked in London and lived in South Kensington," said one French banker who expects to return to the UK over the next three months. "The question is how much of Hollande's rhetoric will materialise into policy."

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Lies, Damned Lies and our opponents (mis)use of statistics

- By Tony Brown - this first appeared in The Independence - the UKIP magazine.  Tony has given me express permission to publish it:

Faced with losing the battle for public opinion, our opponents especially the Lib Dems, have begun to peddle a combination of inaccuracies, half truths and fallacies.

They suggest that we cannot leave the EU without losing vital market access, jobs and trade and will be subject to retaliation. Actually, this is nonsense:

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Another of Cathy's letters about life in Zim(babwe)

Zimbabwe update

Cathy Buckle is again writing about life in Zimbabwe, Cathy's letters earn me some of the highest hit rates on this blog - her letter is below:

Dear Family and Friends,
Nothing about our thirty-second Independence day in Zimbabwe seemed real this year. It was a gorgeous day under a bright blue sky and warm sun. Heavy dew covered the early morning landscape and an extravaganza of birds were busy harvesting seeds from the golden grass and carrying fluff for their nests. Everywhere the aloes and indigenous succulents are throwing up enticing spikes getting ready to show off their glorious winter flowers: orange, yellow, delicate purple and rich, creamy white.

For me Independence day started with the drudgery of bucket filling because, perhaps as an Independence present, there was water coming out of the taps. It was the first time in three days we had had water.

It was neither clean nor clear but it was water and the fear that it wouldn’t last long became reality when the taps had already run dry before midday.

The second Independence day present was electricity. Amazingly we had woken up to find the power on and this meant chores: ironing, cooking, charging batteries, catching up on computer work. Like the surprise appearance of water in the taps, we knew the electricity probably wouldn’t last long but at least it stayed on until sunset that day.