Friday, 1 January 2010

Some good news to start the new year

Well I'm glad that one's gone. I won't tempt fate by saying 2010 has to be better as I made that mistake last New Year's Day. However, my instincts tell me it should be better and this feeling is in part due to something I read in this morning's Torygraph. It would seem that Peter 'Prince of Darkness' Mandelson has managed (note the word 'managed') to negotiate an indefinite exemption from an EU Directive (sounds softer than law, doesn't it?) that means we can keep the pint, mile and Troy ounce. Our masters in Brussels have yielded and we can now carry on drinking beer and cider from pint glasses and keep listing distances in miles on our roadside signs. It's a small victory against the long march towards European political union, but a happy one. I'm sure it's no skin of the noses of the gauleiters in Brussels and a small price to pay to keep the natives happy. Cheers!


  1. I'm struck by the thought that if the Lisbon Treaty hadn't been signed we wouldn't have had to negotiate to decide how we want to measure things in the UK.

    Happy new year to you TM. I hope this one is better than the last one for you.

  2. I hope this year is better for you mate :)

    Take heart, we can still buy beer in pints here in Au :)

    Infact Guinness and some boutique beers are sold in pint bottles :) I actually had a pint of pale ale (by little creatures brewery) last night, was a good taste very much like the UK ales, Au beer is sooo different, most of it is larger.


    Kat from Perth.

  3. You are probably right. Britain is a theme park now, but what do we have left? If we don't keep our traditions we have nothing.

  4. Try looking to the future. The past has gone wiht the wind of change. It will never come back. The future does indeed contain a lot of foreigners but there's nothing you can do to change that. You'll just have to get along with them.

    If you have nothing but your traditions, don't you think that there's something seriously wrong with the way you have managed things as a country? The future is going to happen. You can't stop it however much you may like to do so. The sensible thing is to be positive and constructive about it.

  5. And damn democracy and political accountability?

  6. The UK is in no position to give lessons to anyone about democracy or accountability!

  7. Chris in Melbourne1 January 2010 at 21:21

    Is there something in the water in Spain?

  8. Nd the EU knows all about deemocracy and accountability? Don't make me laugh!

  9. "They turned our yards into meters and our pints into litres. But they will never take away the British sausage!" - Yes Minister

  10. "1lb Sausages please.
    It's Kilos now.
    Alright, a 1lb of kilos then."

    (Some British comedian,also from a few years back.)

  11. I love that Yes Minister episode.

  12. "They" messed with our distances and other measurements in the early 70's...I was in grade 7--I now know neither system! The "powers that be" tried to eliminate all things imperial but it didn't work. Canada is officially metric but we're really dual.

    "they" said that metric is easier because it is based on 10 and most of Europe was metric.

    I use whatever is easier for me. I can fruit in pints and quarts but milk & pop are bought in litres, I weigh myself in pounds but buy my meat slices in grams and my roasts in pounds. Measurements are still imperial...kilometres is still elusive I still convert to miles and I bake/cook in cups and teaspoons.

    Oh, and temperature is mostly Celsius but some are still Farenheit.

    A really awkward system eh?

    Happy New Year and lets expect to have a great year!

    Libby and it's still cold in both farenheit and celsius!

  13. Morning XTM!
    If that publication is the Torygraph, what does that make the Guardian?


  14. Good afternoon ETM - with best wishes for 2010 from the Chelsea Gang and I - we have been missing - excuses etc - up a mountain without Wifi (how rude of the Swiss not to provide this service) etc etc.

    Hope that you had a good one and that 2010 will see the return to health and perhaps wealth!

    Best wishes from Cats' Mother

    ps purrs to Whisky from the Gang who have been over-indulging in turkey and prawns.

  15. Democracy in the UK? ROFL. The UK's legislature has a House of Lords whose members are appointed personally and for life by the prime minister, apart from a couple of dozen bishops who have absolutely no place whatsoever in a modern parliament. And now I come to think about it, the PM appoints the bishops too! Then there is the House of Commons, twice as big as it needs to be, dysfunctional with its medieval procedures, and quite impotent because the power in the country lies partly in the government (executive), which is accountable to nobody because it has the House of Commons under its thumb. Then there are the British media, awful without exception, which tell the government what to do, either directly or by whipping up the populist hysteria of the mob, or else try to bring the government down, either directly or by whipping up the populist hysteria of the mob. The media that exercise this power (which is unique in Europe) are, of course, totally lacking in any democratic legitimacy and are accountable to nobody. Local government has ceased to exist in the UK in any meaningful sense.

    The Lisbon Treaty has finally come into effect, thank heavens, despite British attempts (yet again) to use it as a tool to wreck the EU. One result is that the EU is now more democratic, with increased powers for the European Parliament, greater involvement of national parliaments in EU legislation, and the right for EU citizens to have any matter raised in the EP if they can gather a million signatures. Unlike the fornmer Nice Treaty it also provides a simple mechanism for a member state to leave the Union. Perhaps the time has come for the UK, which whinges and moans constantly, opts out of everything in sight, and then lectures us about how to do things, to avail itself of this possibility and go and join the USA, as it clearly wants to do. Why not? There'll be 500 million people on this side of the Channel cheering you on your way.

  16. Oh for goodness sake... shut up! You're deliberately misunderstanding me or just plain thick. I do not support the UK government or the political system it administers. For the record, I love the varied cultures of the world (Europe especiually) but I don't wish to be drawn into a fascist state that's so morally bankrupt it's not had its accounts signed off for years. I simply want to return to the easy going country and rule by common law that we used to have before Ted Heath betrayed our nation and forced us to turn our back on staunch allies like Australia, New Zealand and Canada. You may enjoy being so judgemental sat in your expat exile, but some of us have to carry on living in this increasingly illiberal state. Now shut up and pour yourself a beer. I'm bored of you.

  17. Chris of Melbourne2 January 2010 at 16:21

    Hi XTM!
    Been up all night reading the Spanish papers for a clue on how to run a country, but with little strange or startling leaping out that's much different.
    Reading the ABC, which I am assured is one of the leading papers it is filled with grizzles, and news of the air traffic bods striking and the 'fat controllers' on the railway system pulling the pin! Added to this is the indignation from Editorial to pleb contributors re aspects of the EU, Lisbon and various other meddlesome connected thingies. Hands Off says one piece. Still,I 'spose if you an automaton this is construed as progressive and the fabulous sweet,harmony and light of a perfect place to be. Don't think all the Spanish populace agree however.
    Theme Park? Plenty of the real ones in Spain!

  18. God created Australia so that he could store some common sense there and retrieve it for the rest of the world once the PC madness had passed.

  19. I'll never give up my pint. Even though it only has 16 ounces. Happy 2010!

  20. XTM

    You have done a splendid job of exposing the gastronomic deficiencies of the NHS. More power to your elbow - and as I know from having visited the country recently, there are plenty of pubs that could do with your comments.

    But if you choose to venture into the field of internet politics, especially of the polemical British Nationalist variety, then you are going to come across people who actually have the facts at their fingertips. The kitchen is hot -- OK for cooks but not for others who can't stand the heat.

    Like you I thought that 2009 would see an end to my problems, and like you I was wrong -- though not so spectacularly! I sincerely wish you a speedy recovery and the very best to all your family.

    PS @Chris of Melbourne. ABC is anything but progressive. It's the ultra-conservative daily for those people who wish that Franco was still running things. A bit like the British Daily Telegraph.

  21. Chris of Melbourne2 January 2010 at 22:39

    Chris of Melbourne
    @ Lavengro, 21.16

    Un idioma nunca es suficiente!

    You stated in your earlier post that only the British Press has the 'unique' ability to tap into the hysteria of the hoi polloi so it sort of mixes up your message to call the ABC non progressive if they don't fit your claim. So what about El Mundo?
    Incidentally, Franco did one thing at least which was to rekindle a sense of national pride. Pity if that's all lost by subservience to some one size fits all grand plan.
    A Hereditary Monarchy, with a constitution only since 1978, I suppose you have been doing OK.
    But admit them or not Spain does have problems.
    Just a look at the latest available figures suggest that 19.8% of the populace are below the poverty line: 69.5% of recordable employment is in services. Better hope that the Poms keep taking their holidays and eating Tapas there!
    I too have had 'pub lunches' in the UK, I always enjoyed mine, but maybe they are practicing for when the place is completely beggared due to the arrant nonsense of the EU etc.

  22. Chris,

    Franco rekindled a sense of natonal pride? He waged war on his fellow citizens and ruined his country. He also made it easier for Hitler in his conquest of Europe.

    By the way, just to be boring and factual, if you define a poverty line you will inevitably find people below it. Obviously, because if you don't there's no point in defining it in the first place. Just how many people you find below it, and what proportion of the population they represent, and what conclusions should be drawn from that statistic, are matters for further consideration.

    And before you say it, I admit that I am an intellectual -- I take the trouble to think about things. I live in Europe. I have gone native. I have escaped from stupid Britain.

  23. Chris of Melbourne3 January 2010 at 00:40

    @ Lavengro 23.35

    Re Franco, mine is an objective, not subjective,view derived from available historical notes. I have no personal axe to grind. Perhaps they could do with your input.

    Factually, the figures that I quoted are not some figment of my imagination but are endorsed by the forces in charge of such matters of which I understand Spain is a participant.
    An example with regard to distribution of family incomes would be the use of the Lorenz Curve.

    They say Spain is pretty, 'tho I've never been.

  24. PS

    The Great British Sausage (aka in Yes Minister as the high-fat offal tube) is in itself a reason for gastronomic horror and concern.

    I once asked my butcher here in Spain for some pork mince. He apologised that it was late and his machines were down for cleaning. But, he said, 'I've got some sausages. If you don't mind a few herbs, I'll open up some sausages for you.' Which was what he did -- his sausages contained 100% minced meat.

    When the British bakers went on strike, a French chef commented, quite reasonably, 'The British have no bread. So? They can eat their sausages.'