Surrey foot and mouth outbreak

Animals on a farm in Elstead (for everyone else in the country, that’s ‘near Guildford’) have tested positive for foot and mouth disease.

Elstead is about 6 miles from here… and please stop looking at me like that.

UPDATE (11:42pm) – Well, there’s a bloody tragedy… Iain Dale missed out on a Newsnight appearance as a result. Diddums.

[I’d say something about old cows here, but there are rules.]

UPDATE (4 Aug) – Morning. We’re not the happiest village going, but things are civilised and safely squared away so far. Oh, and despite what the earlier Surrey Ad article might have suggested, the outbreak was not in Elstead, but in Normandy… which is about 6 miles from here.

UPDATE – The Cranleigh Show is still going ahead… minus the livestock (but including horses).

UPDATE (5 Aug) – Finally, some much-needed assistance… for those who are struggling to make this Gordon Brown’s fault:

Independent – Countryside in crisis: Outbreak linked to leak from foot and mouth laboratory: The outbreak of foot and mouth disease that was yesterday devastating the British livestock industry for a second time in a decade seems to have been a spectacular “own goal” by the animal health industry. Last night, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that the strain of foot and mouth disease found on a farm in southern England was identical to one used at a nearby laboratory. This raised the prospect of the outbreak being caused by a leak from one of the facilities most concerned with trying to defeat the disease. The only two laboratories licensed in this country to work with live foot and mouth disease virus are at Pirbright, Surrey, within three miles of the infected farm.

UPDATE (6 Aug) – Of course, only a hardened cynic would mention lessons learned during the recent flooding

BBC – Livestock missing as show goes on: With no cattle, sheep or pigs making themselves heard around the showground, the secretary of the 2007 Cranleigh Show, in Surrey, said it had been a “very quiet” affair this year… Conservative leader David Cameron was attending the event alongside Tory MP Anne Milton, whose Guildford constituency covers Cranleigh.

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Down with this sort of thing

Independent – Heathrow puts up legal barricades to keep away protesters: If you’re a member of the National Trust, the RSPB, the Woodland Trust or Friends of the Earth, then you could be banned from Britain’s biggest airport. And the Piccadilly line. And parts of Paddington station. And sections of the M4. All because the authorities want to halt a protest against climate change…

This is what breeds when you let the little outrages slip past you, folks. See how cheeky they get?

UPDATE – See also; Guardian and BBC

Posted in The War on Stupid | 1 Comment

Alastair Campbell update

Please check the relevant page for an important update as we come to the end of Alastair Campbell Can Go F**k Himself Fortnight.

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O… M… G…

(puts head in hands)

Emap have just scored one hell of a two-fer… not only did they ask for permission and yet totally screw it up on one image, they also nicked another image without asking and printed a picture of a teenager’s penis in the process.

As I’ve hinted before, I think there’s a way for Zoo and similar lads-mags/rags to handle this sensibly and still make money hand over quivering fist… but I’m less inclined to tell Emap about it as each day passes. For starters, they promised me my cheque over a month ago.

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I told you I’d be keeping an eye on him…

Israel: Blair seeks new premises, asks neighbours to make nice
London: Blair secures new premises, asks neighbours to spread ‘em

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The plight of the Iraqi interpreters

Things for you to do today:

1. Read this or this
2. Write a letter to your MP
3. Blog the text of your letter (if you have a blog).
4. Sign here, please.

My letter email follows:


First, apologies for the email; I would have preferred sending a letter, but time is of the essence and I’ve already wasted a day.

I come to you with a unique and dual opportunity; the chance to actively prevent further needless deaths in Iraq and to preserve what little remains of the moral authority we pissed away when we invaded that same country.

Here is the situation in a nutshell:

The UK is refusing asylum status to Iraqi translators who aided the British forces.

Why do they require asylum? Well, their lives are in danger… because they aided the British forces!

Helpfully, the Home Office has turned them away and suggested they instead ‘register with the UN refugee agency’… so these people are now in a position where they wait to see which will arrive first; their paperwork or the friendly neighbourhood death squad.

I am hoping that you will see the moral and practical implications of our turning our backs on these people. Myself, I’m of the view that asylum status should be automatic for them and for their families.

If you hold the same view, I urge you to act on it with all speed… i.e. before the ability of our armed forces to protect these people erodes any further and/or the upcoming summer holiday swallows the issue whole.

Tim Ireland

If you require further information, these are the best links for you to follow:

UPDATE – Click here for the reply.

UPDATE (07 Aug) – I’ve updated this and a further post where possible/applicable, as we are in the main talking about interpreters rather than translators.

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | 7 Comments

The. Hamster. Is. Back.

Charge your coffee-cups, good people, and prepare to toast the return of CuriousHamster.

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Vocal impressionist(s) wanted

We’re on the lookout for a vocal impressionist (or two). Range will probably count for more than accuracy.

See Colin for details.

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Another busy Monday

- Bloggerheads was brought down this morning… by flooding! Cheers, God.

This campaign to support Iraqi translators deserves your support, but my letter will have to wait until tomorrow. [Worth adding from Justin; It is best that those of us deciding to write a letter do so in a personal fashion – form letters and mass-mailouts are frowned upon by our elected representatives and often end up in the bin.]

– “I am spending today helping commemorate the tenth anniversary of the end of the Rwandan genocide” says the ever-humble but three-years-late Toryblogger Iain ‘Action Man’ Dale without being pulled up on it once in an 80+ comment thread… proving that you can get by on very little research if your cynical publicity stunt tugs hard enough at the heart-strings.

– Speaking of heart-strings… this lovely item from Justin compels me to link to this excellent piece by Septicisle… and this one.

– Paul Staines greatly amuses me… some people will do anything to sell revive a book, but this is the first time I’ve seen someone boasting that they’ve managed to get 100+ people to pledge money… in theory only.

– I meant to blog this last week, but got distracted; Tony Blair had three conversations with Rupert Murdoch in the nine days before the invasion of Iraq. There’s an older article that deserves to be twinned with this one; not one of Murdoch’s editors opposed the invasion. I think the man deserves to be billed as an architect, myself.

– Still on Murdoch, here’s a little quote for the people who wave The Simpsons in my face as ‘proof’ that Murdoch isn’t the world’s most manipulative twunt:

“The show’s had its ups and downs. It had a couple years there where it grew a bit dark, but we sort of got them out of that.” Rupert Murdoch

– I meant to blog this the week before last week, but got distracted; the Bush administration has been gagging the surgeon general! A round-up relevant of editorials can be found here.

Tim Worstall sparks an intelligent debate on cannabis.

– And, finally, before I rush out that door… Slaughtering virtual bunnies is preferable to downloading porn. Discuss.

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