If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

It's Grand ...

Well, I have just been told by SiteMeter that the number of visitors to this blog has just passed the one thousand mark - 1,023, to be exact. In a way that is disappointing, as many of the blogs I read count that number of visitors per day, whereas I have been posting here for about 5 months. And yet, it is also utterly amazing. To someone who was raised in an era when newspapers and television were the only source of news and opinion, the advent of personal blogging is revolutionary. And I haven't been trailing my skirts round the internet whoring for visitors, either. I have told one or two people (literally, one or two) and have included the blog in my sig line for the half-dozen or so forums that I contribute to. So the fact that people have clicked on me and read what I have to say over a thousand times is quite incredible.

Thank you all for visiting this blog, and I hope you found something to amuse or annoy you while you were here. Either is fine by me.

And apologies for the paucity of posts in the last few days. Sometimes, I get the bit between my teeth and post a torrent of stuff in the space of a few hours. At other times, I just don't feel the urge. Once or twice I have posted something 'because I haven't posted in a while', but they have never been memorable. So now, if I have nothing to say, I keep quiet.

It's not that there hasn't been anything to comment on; far from it. I intend to post something about the climate change email scandal before long. But recently, I don't feel that I have had anything worthwhile to say beyond what I have already read on others' blogs, and so I have kept my thoughts to myself.

So, to close, a small item that the unenlightened amongst you may find amusing:

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Bike Report

Well, the good old XT got me to work and back this week without drama. It started when I asked it to; it ran properly; and it didn't break down. The engine is also noticeably smoother (which I put down to cleaning the camchain adjuster) and perhaps slightly more powerful (which may well be the result of cleaning the valves and piston, and lapping the valves in properly, as there was evidence that one of the inlets was not seating).

One small concern is the behaviour of the bike when you shut off the throttle. Normally (on all XTs I have ridden, and on this one up to now), shutting off the throttle causes a massive amount of engine braking - so much so that, in normal riding, use of the brakes is quite a rare event. This engine braking seems to be severely reduced, to the point where I am using the brakes far more than usual. Since the brakes are fairly crap since I fitted the new pads (off eBay, never again), this is a cause for concern.

Also, the idling is not the steady and reliable thing it used to be. Whether it had been ridden ten yards down the drive, or fifty miles at top speed, stopping and idling just meant an immediate and steady thump-thump from the engine, and a crisp response when the throttle was twisted. I've had so many bikes in the past that didn't do this, that I really valued the reliability of it. Now, it is stalling occasionally when I release the throttle, and the idle speed is a bit variable, both with choke and without.

I did take the float bowls off to check the float heights when the carbs were off, but I don't think it is that. The only significant thing I did when I had the engine apart was to dismantle the rather complex throttle cable arrangement, which uses two cables, one to open and one to close. They are adjusted by a rather crude arrangement of locknuts and screw barrels. I suspect that I have not adjusted this back to how it was.

It is unlikely to be tackled today, as it is pouring with rain outside and blowing a hooley, but I now have some clear tubing to rig up a temporary fuel tank, so that I can make all the adjustments in real time, and not have to put the fuel tank back on after each twist, turn and nudge.

If tomorrow's clear, that's where I'll be.


I've just visited Halford's (being the only emporium that approaches the description of 'Motor Factor' round here these days, after the closure of three other outlets, one a complete treasure for the mechanically-minded, and sadly missed) this morning, to get some cable-ties and a couple of bits and bobs.

And there, before my very eyes, was a whole rack of 'Wipes'. Wipes, you know, as in 'Baby Wipes', or those delicately-labelled 'Moist Wipes' (arse, emergency, for the use of). There were:
  • Leather Wipes
  • Carpet and Seat Wipes
  • Dashboard Wipes
  • Glass Wipes.
All identically-packaged, distinguished only by the colour, and I would guess containing exactly the same product, perhaps with a slightly different formulation in the moist bit and a different aroma. And there, at the end of the row, in a display of its own:
  • Sat Nav Wipes.
Takes niche marketing to a whole new level.

Harriet's Forward Planning

Following on from the previous post, I see Our Harriet has been planning this for a while:

From June 2008 - "Ahead of a Commons Debate this week, Minister for Women Harriet Harman will today visit HMP Holloway, the UK’s largest all woman prison, as she takes part in Government’s new drive for fewer women to be sent to prison."

It's OK, love. They don't put people in prison for using a mobile whilst driving. Yet.


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Harriet, a criminal? Say it ain't so!

The Times is now reporting that Harriet Harman, Minister for Being Nasty to Blokes, is to face charges for motoring offences.

Harriet Harman’s political future was in the balance tonight after she became the first Cabinet minister in living memory to face criminal charges. The Crown Prosecution Service said Labour’s deputy leader would be prosecuted for allegedly driving without due care and attention and driving while using a mobile phone.

Now, as we have recently seen many of these greedy hypocrites have got away with fiddling tens of thousands of pounds from the public purse, by simply having to give an apology to their friends (the apology was due to us, you theiving bastards, not your partners in crime). So Harriet would appear to be fairly unlucky here. But apparently there is enough evidence to support a charge, and the CPS think that a prosecution would be in the public interest, so it's handcuffs and a scarf over the head for our Harriet on her next court appearance.

To be honest, I can't wait. Not for her to get the punishment she deserves, as that will never happen, but to hear her whinges and wheedles as she defends her conduct. Think of that vile Scotland woman, with her 'technical breaches' of the law, and her 'unintentional' actions. She is reported to be denying the charges, so she'll have to come up with something. Since there were apparently several wintesses, she will have to either a) come up with a really good excuse, like Gord phoned her up and offered her the Chancellorship, and she crashed the car from shock, or b) - my bet - discredit the witnesses as Tory stooges and Daily Mail readers. That would be New Labour's style. She'll get off, but it will be fun to see how she does it; and I can imagine it will drive another nail into the coffin of Labour's chances at the election.

But before the case comes to court (if it ever does - there's many things a former Minister of Justice can do and strings they can pull), I just want you to think of what might have happened if you or I had committed the same offences that she is alleged to have committed.

You are driving along a busy street, talking on your mobile. You are distracted by the conversation (as the Government has always argued that you must be), and you drive your car into a car parked by the side of the road. You attempt to drive away, but a crowd gathers. You wind down the window and shout "I am Fred Bloggs, you know where to find me!" and drive away without leaving your name, address and insurance details with anyone, as the law demands that you must.

Now, call me an old cynic, but I think you or I would be treated quite harshly. Minimum £60 and three points for the mobile; perhaps £500 and another three points for the Driving Without Due Care. However, I would be the most worried about the third charge. Leaving the scene of an accident is, quite rightly, a serious offence, and I would expect a large fine and a ban at the very least, and possibly a prison sentence somewhere in the background.

What's that? They are not charging her with leaving the scene? Oh, that's all right, then. Perhaps she didn't. Perhaps she's still there.

She'll either get off on a technicality, or she'll have a light rap across the knuckles for being careless. And in either case she will carry on as before, utterly without any shame. There won't even be an apology, much less a resignation. After all, laws are for the little people, aren't they? (And her a socialist and a believer in equality. Tchah.)

And, of course, there is the traditional Labour mistreatment of words.

Ms Harman strongly refutes the allegations.

If she wins in court, she will have refuted them. What you mean is she has denied them. Very different things.

The first cabinet minister in living memory to face criminal charges. An immediate resignation and a quite retirement from public life for a while might have earned her some respect. But on past form, she will bluster on, and it will all be a misunderstanding, a foregiveable lapse, or a Tory plot.

I despise these people.

Monday, 16 November 2009

RIP Edward Woodward

Great actor, and I'm sad to see him go, but ...

How are future generations going to describe a fart in the bath?

Welcome, visitors

This blog is now approaching its 1000th visitor, which is somewhat amazing. I know some of those will be me, before I learned how to set the site meter to 'ignore owner'. But that's an awful lot of people who have stumbled (some deliberately, mostly accidentally) on my ramblings.

Geographically, they range from Gatton, in Queensland, Australia to Mountain View in California, and in between they represent Hong Kong, Madrid, Hamburg, Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, Dublin, Virginia, Nashville, Ontario and a lot of other places in between. And a special mention to East Sussex and Cambridge. You know who you are.


The funniest thing is to look at the search terms in Google that brought some visitors here.

The bizarre:
The Golf Ball Potaote [sic] Crisp
Flymo Vision 380 Test
Gloria Smudd

And the more reasonable:
Motorcycling quotes
Lyrics Flowchart
Do people have a right to strike
Going fast and getting nowhere (well, yes).

So, if you are here from Google on a wild-goose chase for Piedmontese after-dinner mints or biodiesel lawnmowers, or if you just stumbled upon this little corner of instability by complete accident, or even if you came here on purpose ...


The Brylcreem Bounce

Ok, I'm certifiably bonkers, but ... bear with me.

I was driving home this morning after doing my lecturing gig at the New University, and a jingle came into my head. Don't ask me why, for I know not. But in the 70s, there was an advert for a men's grooming product called Brylcreem, I'd say 'ask your grandad', but I understand that Brylcreem has undergone a bit of a revival recently, so maybe the cultural reference isn't so obscure. The ad showed lots of men with greasy quiffs, and was accompanied by a jingle:

A little dab of Brylcreem on your hair
Gives you the Brylcreem ... bou-ounce!

The word 'bounce' was sung as two syllables, with the first glissanding from a minor to a major third, and the second back on the tonic. I can hear now the rather strained mid-Atlantic accent of the singer, and the tune and tempo, note for note. And I can also remember the version we, as skoolboys, used to sing:

A little dab of Brylcreem on your stairs
Makes your Granny ... bou-ounce!

Now, I know that this is only humorous in the 'you had to be there' sense. But what puzzled me for the next twenty miles was -

Where the hell was all this information stored? Which part of what I laughingly call my 'brain' was host to the chemicals and charges and switches and zaps that went together to recreate this resoundingly stupid jingle? I don't believe in homeopathy, and I won't accept that bits of my 'brain' had this memory in their - er - memory, without there being some physical manifestation. If I think of it as an audio file on a computer, then I suppose we are dealing with something around 200Kb, or the size of a meduim-sized photo. Oh, and another 200Kb for the skoolboy version. And this is real data: if you were unlucky enough to have me in your living room at this moment, I could sing it to you, with a fairly faithful rendition of tune and tone of voice. In other words, it isn't virtual data - it is realisable in the real world.

I suppose, in computer terms, it is a small file somewhere in an archive folder, which can be retrieved and replayed by the right combination of search terms and commands.

So - where was it? Where?

And also, while we are on the subject, where are all the other stupid, inconsequential, trivial, nugatory, negligible (except that they aren't, in the strict sense of the word) and irrelevant memories that I can recall if the circumstances are right? The rather fatty taste of a cheap ice-cream when I was on holiday with my parents in Cornwall in - let's say - 1960? The sound of the crowd at a firework display on the same trip (oooh on the way up, ahhh on the way down, since you ask - something which has proved useful in all sorts of situations)? The feel of the front doorstep (Cardinal Red) on the backs of my legs when I used to sit there talking to the girl next door at the age of nine?

It's all there.

(And why is it that I can remember the precise details of the transmission arrangements of Emilio Largo's yacht Disco Volante in Fleming's 1961 novel Thunderball (the Shertel-Sachsenberg system, if you must know), when more recent and significant information, such as the date of the Health and Safety At Work Act, is always just beyond reach, and I need to look it up? Again.)

It strikes me that the human brain is impossibly complex and labrynthine - especially when it can be used to question and examine its own workings, as it is now.

Testing, testing ...

After a few tweaks and adjustments, the XT has now passed its informal roadworthiness test - can it get me to the A40 and back without a) breaking down, and b) backfiring?

The answer is yes.

So it is back to commuting duties for the doughty trailbike. If a friend came home from hospital, you would surely feed him or her on some nice easily-digestible food and not expect the coal brought in or the lounge decorating for at least a week. But I'm afraid for the poor old trailie, it's back to work.

I'm glad about that.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

It lives again!

The XT, bless it, is finally back on the road. Or, at least, running again with some nice new shiny bits.

To recap - when I bought the bike, the exhaust pipes were tidily finished in matt black. I knew what had happened: all mild steel exhausts rust, and painting them only improves matters for a few weeks. I knew this is what the seller had done, but it's what I would have done too - make the bike look its best for sale. I therefore had a new set of headers in my mind as a future purchase from the word go. Motad do some nice stainless steel ones for a bit over a hundred quid, and I had planned to get some of these as a Final Solution.

So when the bike started backfiring a few weeks ago, I strongly suspected rust holes in the exhausts. Sure enough, there were parts of the headers you could almost poke a finger through. So I ordered the Motads, and the next weekend planned to do the swap. It should have been simple - unbolt rusty ones, remove, put new ones on, bolt up, off you go.


Nothing in life is ever as simple as you think it's going to be, from marriage to choosing a pair of shoes. And so it was with the XT. The first stud (out of 4) sheared off in my hand when I tried to take the bolt off. I should point out that trailbike exhausts work in the most inhospitable environments. They are alternately heated to several hundred degrees and cooled back to room temperature; they are immediately behind the front wheel and get all the road crud and (in winter) salt sprayed on them directly at high speed (trailbike mudguards are more to protect the rider than the machine); and no-one ever looks at them until they go wrong. So corrosion here is pretty much the order of the day.

So I ordered four new studs, and some nice stainless nuts to go on them, rather than Yamaha's patent 'special nuts' that are priced as if they were solid titanium, and go rusty faster than the eye can see. And the next weekend (you can see why this takes so long), I took all the studs out and tried to remove the headers. Nothing. They were as firmly stuck into the cylinder head as if they had been welded there. Nothing for it - the cylinder head would have to come off, and the job would be done on the bench, where mighty tools can be wielded and room to manoeuvre can be had. But I was totally without success. Normal tools, then big tools, then a hammer and chisel, then an angle grinder, then all of the above plus heat from a propane torch. Nothing. I couldn't even shift either of them a millimetre. It was getting to the point where I feared I would cause some damage, and alloy cylinder heads of discontinued Japanese bikes are not particularly cheap.

In the end, I had to take the cylinder head to a man. He used an oxy-acetylene torch to basically burn them out, which I would not have had the equipment, skill or courage to do. Now, while the head was off, it made sense to reseat the valves, as an inspection and a test with a thimbleful of petrol showed that they were ever so slightly leaky. So, valves were reground and cylinder heads and pistons were decarbonised. But when it came to putting it all back together, I realised that the rubber and metal bits that mounted the carbs were not, in fact, supposed to be in two pieces but in one piece. I had taken them off a bit clumsily, and I had parted the rubbery bits from the metal bits. Not clever. A bit of research in the parts catalogue revealed what they should look like, and ten minutes on eBay got me some replacements. (Apparently, this is a common occurrence, which made me feel a bit better.) The head was duly refurbished and put back where it should be - on top of the engine, tightly bolted down.

So today, after the rains of yesterday, I was out on the back drive, tool kit in hand, ready to mount the final assault on the North Face of Yamaha. The carbs went back on without a murmur (after I had dismantled the airbox to make room - ah, so that's why the mounting rubbers broke) and everything else just slipped into place. Engine back together, petrol tank temporarily mounted, ignition on, and ...

Brmmm. Or, rather, ka-bang, ka-bang, ka-bang, as I had not put the new exhaust on yet.

I am now 56, and I have been tinkering with engines and mechanical things since I used to help my Dad 'do the car' on a Sunday morning when I was about six. So that's 50 years of fettling, fossicking and furgling where a sensible person would say 'take it to the garage, pay them some money, and stop worrying about it'. And yet I have never got over the thrill of putting something back together and hearing it start again.

New exhausts on, all the panels back in place, and final adjustments made, and I started it again. I let it idle (quietly, now) for ten minutes or so to let all the gasket compounds cure and the smelly smoke to burn off.

And then it started to rain. Brilliant, brilliant timing.

Here's what the new bits look like:

A quick test run tomorrow (I have the afternoon off) and then if all is well the XT will be back to commuting duties. I have been using the Pan to get to work while the XT has been indisposed, but it's not been much fun. Faster, yes; more comfy, yes; better weather protection, yes. But it's not fun in the way the XT is. It has no character and no soul. It's impressive, even awesome (I still can't get over how quick it goes, and how well it handles), but the XT is fun, homely and begs you to love it.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Friday 13th survived once again

Wow, what a ride home last night! To start with, torrential rain, which had wet the inside of my visor when I was walking to the bike from my office. Not in itself a problem, I might add, but then there were gusty winds up to, acording to the BBC, 85 mph. The Honda is the worst bike I have ever had for reacting to side-winds (it's all that weather-cheating plastic), so that made the ride a little more entertaining. Then, of course, it was dark, and so visibility was a real problem. I ride home along the A40, which is busy at that time of night with commuters and ferry traffic, and I was facing a constant stream of headlights. Normally, the visor will clear of raindrops if you can get up to a decent speed. Self-cleaning seems to happen at about 55-60 mph, but there was no hope of achieving that last night. So I was wiping the visor constantly, but to no avail, because the worst of the water drops were on the inside. Every approaching light was refracted into a hundred small points of light across my area of vision, which gave me no chance to adapt my eyes to see the detail of the darker bits. And, of course, the dark bits are where the hazards lie.

After all the rain of the afternoon, the road was covered in water, and in places the puddles spread from the verges to meet in the middle - and this is the A40, remember, the main road into West Wales. I tried to travel in the centre of the road to avoid plunging into deep water, but that put me directly in line with the bow-waves thrown up by vehicles travelling the other way. It was almost comic, like having buckets of water thrown over you. There was so much spray being thrown up by the car tyres that all cars were invisible below the window-line.

It was, you might say, conducive to concentration. In fact, I would say that it was the worst conditions I have ever ridden in. Colleagues can't believe that a sane human being (or even me) would want to ride a bike in weather like this. I was constantly fending off comments all day:

Bet you're not on the bike today, har har.
But of course.

OK, it was a bit of a challenge, but then physical challenges are quite rare these days, what will all the safety rules and the we-must-eliminate-all-risk lobby. I admit it, I enjoyed it.

And, of course, if I had gone to work in the Mundaneo, I wouldn't be writing this.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Remembrance Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae, May 1915

Remember that:

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Poem of the Day

I couldn't resist nicking this:

On Bonfire Night, On Bonfire Night
It’s time to set the land alight:
So load the faggots, pile the wood,
Stack the logs and stack them good!
Pile on effigies and guys
Of MPs who we all despise:
Put Mandelson and Brown up there,
With smarmy grin, put Tony Blair;
And heap the brushwood, build the pyre,
Strike the match and light that fire.

Upon each hilltop, fell, scarp, peak ‘n’
Tor we’ll light a cheery beacon
Where hated Parliamentarianism
Is met by stark incendiarism;
(Remember, Member, your offences -
We know you fiddled your expenses…)
And we’ll line up to light the torch,
To make the MPs singe and scorch,
Who’ll be first to strike the tinder
And burn each MP to a cinder?

Their tricks sent each and every peasant
Into rages incandescent;
Let’s stuff those dummies! Pile ‘em high,
Then launch them up into the sky
And laugh as all their stupid masks
Explode among the firework-sparks;
But can such jolly conflagration
Appease our bitter consternation
As we stand shoulder next to shoulder,
To watch those ‘Honorable’ Members smoulder?

The voters’ mood is clearly fervent
And keen to torch a ‘Public Servant’!
Once lit, among the fiery lumber,
Will MP Dumb and MP Dumber
Seem slightly less detestible
When proved to be combustible?
We loathe them all, across the board;
Each Member, unelected Lord,
And Baroness, all need a rocket
For stealing from the public pocket.

Shall we look on with gleeful gaze
As Ministers are set ablaze
And the tiny guy of Hazel Blears
Explodes to rounds of raucous cheers?
Shall Jacquie’s guy, stuffed all with porn,
Be left to smoulder on the lawn?
Shall Harman’s, wearing dungarees,
Stay smoking gently in the breeze?
And Jack’s, for it is stuffed with Straw,
Remain a-blazing upon the floor?

Or shall someone run to douse the flames
And shout a list of Members’ names
Who haven’t picked the public purse?
(Or anything remotely worse
Than scoffing freebie food all day
To supplement their meagre pay)
Would this list water down the spite
T’wards those who have been set alight?
Would Prescott seem less of a bag
If he had just the single Jag?

Take that clown Brown, who couldn’t risk it
And dared not name his favourite biscuit,
Is he OK because he paid
Back money used to hire a maid?
Shall we forgive those flipping gnomes
Who swapped their first and second homes?
Shall we say “Yes, we’ll pay for you
And pay much higher taxes too
As long as you can keep your moat
Weed-free so that your ducks still float.”?

Perhaps we’d better light that fire
And blue touch-paper, then retire
To somewhere safe to watch the glows
Build up until the whole thing blows
Those sorry bonfire-guys sky high
And if the real guys wonder why
We cheered as our guys blew away,
Remember, Member, Guy Fawkes’ Day,
When we commemorate a plot
To get rid of you shameful lot.

On Bonfire Night, On Bonfire Night
It’s time to set the land alight:
So load the faggots, pile the wood,
Stack the logs and stack them good!
Pile on effigies and guys
Of MPs who we all despise:
Put Mandelson and Brown up there,
With smarmy grin, put Tony Blair;
And heap the brushwood, build the pyre,
Strike the match and light that fire!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

E-petition response

Long ago, I signed the No. 10 petition "Resign". The wording of the petition was:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign.”

I got my response today. It said:

The Prime Minister is completely focussed on restoring the economy, getting people back to work and improving standards in public services. As the Prime Minister has consistently said, he is determined to build a stronger, fairer, better Britain for all.

Perfect New Labour. Doesn't address the issue, full of platitudes we have heard before, empty cadences that ultimately remind one of a Labour Random Phrase Generator. And, at the bottom of it all, hogwash. It simply isn't true. They know it; we know it.

What about this:

The Prime Minister is completely focussed on creating enough misinformation and confusion so that Britain might sleepwalk into a fourth Labour term, to pursuing a scorched-earth economic policy in case the Tories do get in, spending taxpayer's money on lunatic feel-good schemes that have a take-up in single figures, and pissing our money up the wall on his clients in the public services and the benefits office. As the Prime Minister has consistently said, he is determined to leave a weaker, more divided, more unhappy Britain for all.

And it's 'focused', by the way.

The heroism of New Labour

It's been doing the rounds in the blogosphere, but I thought this deserved as much exposure as possible. From returning Iraq soldier Chris Finney:

“I have found the return to civilian life humbling. My George Cross counted for little when I tried to find a job in the middle of a recession. The usual grumbling by soldiers at the politicians who determine their fate has for me hardened into real anger. When I left the Army, I qualified for a resettlement allowance of just £500. In contrast, MPs who leave the Commons receive between 50% and 100% of their annual salary to help them ‘adjust’ to live outside Parliament. Where is the fairness in that?

What makes me even more furious is the lack of respect shown by the Government to those who have paid the highest price and made the ultimate sacrifice: the war dead. Why is there no Minister in attendance when our fallen heroes from Afghanistan are brought home to repatriation ceremonies at Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire? I couldn’t believe it when I read that Gordon Brown had phoned Simon Cowell to ask how Britain’s Got Talent contestant Susan Boyle was when she had a breakdown. He doesn’t phone any of the bereaved families. I thought that was absolutely disgusting, a real slap in the face for the parents of the hundreds of soldiers killed.”


Labour just don't like the military, that's all. They are either officers (Sandhurst, plum in the mouth, elitist) or other ranks (unreconstructed macho males who probably support the BNP) - neither group fits in well with NuLabour's dream of a touchy-feely socialist paradise where All Shall Have Prizes. It goes a bit against the internationalist grain, too - we're supposed to be comrades with the Iraqi people, not shooting them. The only use the military have as far as NuLab are concerned is in carrying out the wishes of their poodle-masters in the US, and then at the least cost and with the minimum of equipment or support.

This kind of thing makes me ashamed to be British.

A bit like the thing with the Gurkhas. Truly shameful. Roll on 2010 and let's get these despicable turds out of government.

H/t to Guido.
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