The Liberals running Stockport council are very liberal with the Council Tax when it comes to schemes likely to yield a lot of free lunches, like the plan to blow £500 million on another unnecessary remake of Stockport's centre, but stingy when it comes to essentials. Street lighting, for instance.
Despite warnings of dire weather, Romiley survived the snow in the last full week of the month in good order. Days did begin with snow-covered pavements but even when the sun decided not to put in an appearance, the snow had all vanished by lunchtime even in areas not considered important enough by the Council to receive the odd shovelful of sand and salt mixture. Gardens, shed roofs and wheely bins retained a white covering but it soon disappeared from the roofs of buildings, suggesting either poor insulation or an ambient temperature a few degrees above zero.
The European Union has obliged airlines, including the el cheapo ones, to abandon their 'hard luck' policy for passengers whose flight is delayed and passengers who are bumped off a flight. In future, they will be entitled to refreshments and overnight accommodation, or alternative transport to their destination.
Europropaganda is bad for you
The European Commission is conducting a propaganda war against myth-makers in the British press. It assigns myth status to the news that the EU will ban advertising slogans such as: 'Guinness is good for you'. But it turns out that the EC propaganda is full of lies.
Spain delivers 'don't bother me' vote in its EU constitutional treaty referendum
Electorate : 35,000,000
The match remained close and even until the fourth quarter, when the New England Patriots scored twice and the Philadelphia Eagles faffed about instead of going hurry-up. So the 24-21 final score looks a lot closer than it really was.
The US space agency will not be sending another mission to replace worn-out parts on the Hubble Space Telescope to extend the working life of the most successful piece of kit ever placed into orbit. A service mission using the space shuttle is out of the question now that it has been reclassified as too dangerous to place in an orbit any distance from the International Space Station.
Memories of past space missions
The continuing success of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity set the BlackFlag News Science Editor thinking about the Soviet planetary explorers of the Lunokhod series. There is masses of stuff available from NASA about what its rovers have done, but very little was heard of what the Soviet vehicles achieved over 30 years ago. So, some history:
Happy birthday to Pluto
Clyde Tombaugh discovered his new planet 75 years ago this month and Pluto has retained its secrets. Astronomers still not sure what Pluto is made of, how it was formed, or why its orbit is so different from those of the other eight planets. There are those who argue that an object smaller than Earth's Moon (left with its own moon Charon) is really a Kuiper Belt Object rather than a proper planet. But the good news for those who wish to see Pluto retain its status as a planet is that the sizes of KBOs seem to have been over-estimated. No doubt more will become clear in 2015, when NASA's New Horizons mission reaches the edge of the solar system.
British astronomers from Cardiff University have announced the discovery of a brand new galaxy (pictured left) which is invisible and contains no stars. Which leaves the rest of us asking, "How the hell did they find it?" or "Who the hell's going to believe a silly story like that?"
Richard Pashley, a professor of physical chemistry at the Australian National University, has found that air dispersed in water 'glues' dirt together by surface tension. But if the water is degassed to remove dissolved air; a complicated process involving repeated cycles of freezing and thawing the water while keeping it under a high vacuum; it becomes as effective for suspending grease as a water/detergent mixture.
How can customers in pubs stay awake all day and all night to take advantage of New Labour's compulsory 24-hour drinking laws? Simple! The American brewer Anheuser-Busch is selling beer containing caffeine. Two standard cans provide the caffeine equivalent of one cup of coffee.
"We're in the club," says North Korea
North Korea has announced its membership of the 'We've Got The Bomb' Club. Its nuclear weapons were developed as self-protection against the United States.
The dash to digital continues and those Luddites who are still using the analogue TV services will find their screens going blank from 2008. The abolition schedule is as follows:
The biggest product recall in British history involves more than 350 products suspected of containing the industrial dye Sudan 1. The red dye, used to make chilli powder look bright red but illegal in the EU zone, causes cancer in rats fed massive doses of it. Nobody knows if Sudan 1 causes cancer in humans and it is likely to be present at 'undetectable levels', somewhat like the 'active' ingredients of homeopathic 'medicines'. Customers are advised to panic only if they think they can make a claim for compensation.
. . . to those citizens of Iraq who dared to go out and vote. Democracy can be a pretty daunting business, especially if the likes of Prez Bush and Vice-Prez Bliar have anything to do with it!
It is well known that the first dodgy Iraq dossier was based on a 10 year old thesis trawled from the Internet and the second dodgy dossier, which contained the case for war in Iraq, was created by Alastair Campbell in Downing Street rather than by Joint Intelligence Committee head John Scarlett, its supposed author.
Late Winter Bonus
BlackFlag News would like to offer its readers yet another literary adventure in the form of Romiley Literary Circle's Story of the month.
by Corin Pecuniary
The author thinks his title works a whole lot better than that of the US TV series 'NUMB3RS'. He describes the story itself as 'a corny pastiche'.
Category : 21th Century Crime/Police Procedure
EasyJet is introducing a £10 booking fee for its formerly free and easy flights. But it's not being called a booking fee. Those who take advantage of the scheme to secure a seat in a favoured part of an airliner are being encouraged to think of themselves as queue-jumpers rather than people who plan ahead.
Edinburgh has voted 'No!' to congestion charging. 75% of the 300,000 people consulted turned down the opportunity to pay £2 per day to enter two charging zones. The council hoped to raise £760 million over the next 20 years; which is a hell of a lot of free lunches for usual suspects down the drain.
WORD OF THE MONTH
Plandemonium n organized chaos
"If the British people paid for the war that liberated Iraq, then the British people should be allowed to vote in the election to decide who administers that country." This important point of principle was opposed vigorously by the Bliar regime but a High Court judge ruled in favour of the British people when the matter was brought before him on the Friday before the Iraqi election.
Nobody has been paying much attention to Chris Smith, MP, since he got the sack as Culture Secretary. So he's trying to get himself noticed by telling everyone who will listen that he's been a plague carrier since 1987. Probably because he thinks some scurrilous rag was about to 'out' him.
Those opposing New Labour's extension of the class struggle by banning fox-hunting hit a brick wall when they tried to persuade the High Court that the 1944 Parliament Act is illegal. But they were encouraged to press on and appeal because there might be a human rights issue involved, which is peculiar to say the least.
The Land Registry has launched a website which promises 'easy' on-line access to details of more than 19 million properties in England or Wales. So it sounds like the place to be for nosy people who want to know who owns what and, more importantly, how much they paid for it.
File a tax return online? Forget it!
People trying to file a self-assessment tax return at the last minute have crashed the Inland Revenue's website.
An award for unprofessionalism in radio broadcasting has been made to J. Dimbleby for chairing items on Auschwitz without knowing how to pronounce the name of the place. "Where is Ow-switch?" listeners were left asking themselves. "Somewhere near Ipswich?"
Growers in Yorkshire's Rhubarb Triangle between Leeds and Wakefield are seeking protected region status from the EU. They are after 'appellation controlée' status to distinguish their product from inferior Dutch imports, which have about as much taste as bland Dutch tomatoes.
Hawkshead is stepping into the breach left by one of New Labour's excessively politically correct quangos, which decided not to fund free guided tours of the Lake District as they don't attract enough elderly, disabled asylum seekers. The Lakeland clothing firm will sponsor the popular tours for 12 months to give the organizers time to set up a self-financing support scheme.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has issued some advice for Pancake Tuesday. Customers are advised that frying pans are hot and may cause burns. The same applies to carelessly tossed pancakes, which can burn body parts on which they land. Margarine or butter dropped on floors can make cooks slip and injure themselves. And straying too close to a gas jet may set clothing on fire.
Twisting the tail of the cheeky sod
The royal wedding announcement was made a week or so earlier than planned to stop Vice-Prez Bliar dead in his tracks. The Vice-Prez tried (unsuccessfully) to make himself the centre of attention at the Queen Mother's funeral and the Windsors decided on a pre-emptive announcement to prevent him from trying the same trick over Prince Chazzer's big day. The announcement also took the steam out of this month's New Labour weekend election jamboree, which was seen as some pay-back for the large number of occasions on which Mr. B. Liar has been insolent to the monarch.
Gazundering is back in fashion again. Property prices have reached such unrealistic levels that a significant proportion of first-time buyers are doing it. Dropping the price offered when contracts are about to be exchanged is effective, but the vendor is liable to rip out every fitting not specifically named in the contract, including light sockets. So gazundering is good news for cowboy electricians, at least.
The government seems to be doing its best to come up with the most meaningless political slogans of all time. BlackFlag News would like to try out this one to see what sort of impact it has on our readers:
The Royal Mail loses its monopoly at the end of this year and rival companies will be allowed to collect and deliver ordinary letters in 2006. But before anyone starts cheering, this means that the Royal Mail's exemption from having to charge VAT on its services will have to go.
You're on your own now, mate!
The government is selling off the Green Goddess fire engines which, with crews from the armed forces, have served so gallantly through fire brigade strikes.
The Sudan 1 Depreciation Society says, "Better dead than red!"
BlackFlag News would like to apologize on Vice-Prez Bliar's behalf for the Black Death.
p.s. Vice-Prez Bliar would also like to apologize to the iceberg which was assaulted by RMS Titanic.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Crooks In Action
The European Union is promising to do something about the criminals who send out emails about bogus lottery wins and extract cash from the gullible as 'administration fees'.
Our planet goes though climate cycles, which are controlled by the Sun's output of energy, Earth's orbit and its orientation to the Sun due to the tilt of its axis. Ice Ages have alternated with warmer periods throughout our planet's history. And by rights, we should have been heading for another Ice Age for the last four to five thousand years. But it's not happening.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
If you phone an 0870 or 0845 number, be prepared to be ripped off! Calls to these numbers are described as 'national rate' and 'local rate' respectively but they will cost customers a whole lot more than calls to a specific area or local code (e.g. 3p/minute for both during the day on an ntl line).
Killing burglars is okay official!
The government has changed its mind and announced that it is okay to zap a burglar in your home using your weapon of choice as long as you can argue that you used only 'instinctive and reasonable force'. Problems can arise, however, if a householder chases a burglar with intent to apprehend him/her. Rugby tackles and a single blow are permitted. 'Greater force' could lead to prosecution.
The United Nations has always reeked of hypocrisy but the stench of corruption is taking over big-time. A report by the chairman of the US Federal Reserve is saying top UN officials and French companies all took bribes from the UN 'oil for food' programme in Iraq during the Saddam Hussein era. But will anyone get the sack or even be obliged to surrender the loot? Don't hold your breath, folks! Benon Sevan, the head of the programme, who explained away $160,000 in his bank account a present from his auntie in Cyprus, is claiming that he is being scapegoated.
The Russians aren't as good at getting away with things as they used to be. First, they were put in the frame for poisoning (non-fatally) the current leader of the Ukraine and now they've been accused of gassing to death the prime minister of Georgia. The KGB ain't what it used to be.
The various bits of the IRA are in a strop because they pulled off a massive bank robbery in Ulster, denied it and no one will believe them. But the good news is that they now know how Vice-Prez Bliar feels when no one will believe his lies.
"Life is endlessly complicated if you're a bureaucrat with no sense of humour and even less sense of proportion."
New Commish of the Met Sir Ian Blair decided on something really dramatic as his first act in office. He changed the font of the force's motto from one that looks like handwriting to a plain, sans serif font.
High street opticians are ripping their customers off big-time. They are buying mass-produced Korean spectacle frames at £1-2 each, adding lenses costing less than £1 per pair and charging their customers £75-99 for the completed pair of specs.
The International Olympic Committee is setting itself up for mockery by banning refreshments when its members visit the countries bidding for the 2012 Games. When IOC members take a bribe, they demand a whole lot more than a free lunch. And if the IOC thinks cutting out the small things will make the rest of us think they've solved their endemic corruption problems well, a field day for the mockers!
All you need is influence
Israeli PM Ariel Sharon has been handed a 'get out of gaol free' card over charges involving laundering illegal campaign funds. His son, Omri, has volunteered to take the flak on behalf of the family. The official verdict on his dad is that everyone knows what he did but the evidence is lacking.
How curious! Gerry Adams has insisted that his sector of the IRA wasn't involved in the £26 million bank robbery in Ulster but he's no longer denying that the head office of the IRA was behind it. Which is about as close as his sort gets to a confession.
Sinn Fein to disband. Gerry Adams has declared that any members involved in criminal activities must resign; which will leave insufficient people to keep this particular sector of the IRA viable.
The French finance minister Hervé Gaymard has been obliged to quit over his freeloading. Although he owns an apartment in Paris, he had two apartments knocked into a single luxury duplex and moved his family into it. And he had the cheek to insist that the French taxpayer paid €15,000 for the cost of the conversion work, plus €14,000 per month rent plus further unspecified expenses.
INITIALS OF THE MONTH
GOSH good sense of humour, slightly twisted!
US Prez Dubya Bush has been told to back off after making threats of violence against Iran and Syria. He has been advised that nuclear weapons in these 2 countries would balance the threat of the nuclear weapons which the United States helped the Israelis to build.
The latest craze in Poland is looking for what the Communist era files say about people. Details of secret agents, employees of the secret services, informers and victims of the regime have found their way, mysteriously, onto the Internet. But there is no indication of who belongs to which category. Which leaves lots of scope for speculation, accusation and trouble-making.
The French moan about franglais, the Germans about denglish; now, the Japanese are at it. Their language police are claiming that most Japanese people can no longer speak their own language properly and they are becoming increasingly unable to read and write kangi, one of the main scripts. Foreign words, teenage slang and computers all share the blame for the slide towards English as a global language.
Some headbangers are describing Ellen McArthur's record-breaking round the world sail as "A great sporting achievement". Which leaves normal people asking, "Where the hell does sport come into it?"
The Windsor Building, the tallest in Madrid, did an impression of the Towering Inferno; ironically, while it was being refurbished. The blaze proved a great attraction for locals and tourists alike, who were all hoping to see the 32 storey structure come crashing down on its neighbours. Unfortunately for the rubber-neckers, the steel framework of the building proved a little bit too strong.
Publishers worldwide are worried about falling sales but firms in the United States might just have realized what went wrong: the public got fed up with small books printed on shoddy paper with type that needs a microscope to read.
The government thought it would be a good idea to send every household in the land advice on what to do in the event of a major terrorist attack (and how often do they happen?) as part of its feeble attempts to justify its illegal war in Iraq.
Interesting question: what happens if Vice-Prez Bliar runs out of sand for drawing lines in?
Anyone who wants to object to a 24-hour drinking licence for a pub or club will have to live within 75 metres of the premises. Objectors who live 76 or more metres away will be dismissed as 'irrelevant'. Further, local councillors representing people within the 75-metre circle will not be able to speak up for their constituents at council meetings as they will be judged to have a 'prejudicial interest' in the matter rather than relevant local knowledge.
Your family ought to be better off after all the extra taxes you've paid.
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