Category Archives: Thinking allowed

Your number’s up

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[N]ow all of you from countries that take pride in your national identity take note. It is now officially illegal to have British, English, Scottish or Welsh flags displayed on your vehicle number plate or for that matter French, German or Italian flags displayed – but it goes without saying that you can have the European Union flag.

Thousands of ordinary motorists have been unwittingly breaking the law after this mendacious Government back tracked on a promise to legalise the display of National flags on vehicle number plates. Ministers had said they would take action to exempt British drivers from European Union inspired legislation, which also outlawed the Cross of St. George, the Scottish Saltire and the Red Dragon. But of course that promise was never kept and it is only now that the true purpose of this legislation has been revealed. This absurd fiasco means that for the past seven years motorists with national flags displayed on their number plates have unknowingly been risking prosecution, a fine of £1,000, an MOT failure for their vehicle or a stop note and an overhaul failure on their taxi if they have the temerity to display a national flag on their number plate and indeed some motorists have been successfully prosecuted for this.

Under the current regulations in their original form, the only insignia allowed is the 12 star circle of the European Union. Motorists have to choose either a plain plate without a symbol, or one with the European Union emblem and the letters GB on the left hand side. Of course, these so called ministers, who think they are speaking for the whole country, claimed the move was justified, as English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland symbols would only confuse the police forces of other European Union countries. How can these Ministers even contemplate this thinking? Do England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland not exist then? This shows you how far the corrupt European Union has intruded into the workings and laws of ordinary citizens all over Europe.

When the entire population has been given a criminal record and is on the National Register Database, will our wonderful politicians finally be happy and sleep peacefully? Is this some sort of master plan to stamp out any last vestige on national identify or pride?

Gordon Brown and his fellow European bureaucrats’ should note that people want a national identity, going down this long slippery slope increases jingoistic feeling and an attitude of Little Englanders. Stop it now before it is too late, because across Europe we have some serious identity problems, your well paid gravy trains are not worth it.

The most dangerous single organism on earth

the-end-is-nighYou have gone back to work to find another round of redundancies being announced; your investments have disappeared with the morning mist; and are waiting for those credit card bills to drop on your doormat.

It could be worse, far, far worse. As a diversion from CabbieBlogs’ Weekly Whinge, spare a moment to reflect on Thomas Midgley an American mechanical engineer turned chemist.

[W]hile lauded at the time for his discoveries, today his legacy is seen as far more mixed considering the serious negative environmental impacts of his innovations. One historian remarked that Midgley “had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth history.”

In December 1921 Midgley discovered that the addition of tetra-ethyl lead (‘TEL’) to gasoline prevented internal combustion engines from ‘knocking’. The company dubbed the substance ‘Ethyl’, avoiding all mention of lead in reports and advertising. Oil companies and car makers, especially General Motors which owned the patent strenuously promoted leaded fuel as an alternative to ethanol or ethanol-blended fuels, on which they could make very little profit.

The subsequent addition of lead to gasoline eventually resulted in the release of huge amounts of lead into the atmosphere, causing health problems around the world. Midgley himself had to take a prolonged vacation to cure him of lead poisoning. “After about a year’s work in organic lead,” he wrote in January 1923, “I find that my lungs have been affected and that it is necessary to drop all work and get a large supply of fresh air”.

In April 1923, General Motors created the General Motors Chemical Company to supervise the production of TEL by the DuPont Company, and placed Midgley as vice president. However, after two deaths and several cases of lead poisoning at the TEL prototype plant in Dayton, Ohio, the staffs at Dayton was said in 1924 to be ‘depressed to the point of considering giving up the whole tetraethyl lead program.’ Over the course of the next year, eight more people would die at DuPont’s Deepwater, New Jersey plant.

Dissatisfied with the speed of DuPont’s production using their ‘bromide process’, General Motors and Standard Oil created the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation in 1924, and built a new TEL plant using a more dangerous high-temperature “ethyl chloride process” at the Bayway Refinery in New Jersey. Within the first two months of its operation, the Bayway plant was plagued by more cases of lead poisoning, hallucinations, insanity, and then five deaths in quick succession. On October 30, Midgley participated in a press conference to demonstrate the “safety” of contact with the substance. In this demonstration, he poured tetra-ethyl lead over his hands, then placed a bottle of the chemical under his nose and breathed it in for sixty seconds, declaring that he could do this every day without succumbing to any problems whatsoever. However, the plant was decisively shut down by the State of New Jersey a few days later, and Standard was forbidden to manufacture TEL there again without state permission.

In 1930, General Motors charged Midgley with developing a non-toxic and safe refrigerant for household appliances. He (along with Charles Kettering) discovered dichlorodifluoromethane, a chlorinated fluorocarbon (“CFC”) which he dubbed Freon. CFCs were also used as propellants in aerosol spray cans, metered dose inhalers (asthma inhalers), and more. In recent years CFCs have been attributed to causing severe damage to the Earth’s ozone layer.

In 1940, at the age of 51, Midgley contracted polio which left him severely disabled. This led him to devise an elaborate system of strings and pulleys to help others lift him from bed. This system was the eventual cause of his death when he was accidentally entangled in the ropes of this device and died of strangulation at the age of 55, and they say there is no justice in this world.

Such is life . . .

Survival of the Fattest

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When Charles Darwin proposed his thesis that breeding selection was predicated on the most able of a species wanting to mate to the exclusion of less developed members of their species to cope with the rigors of life he could not have foreseen today’s Homo sapiens.

Well I think that the time has come to re-examine Darwin’s hypothesis. You see the most successful country ever to have existed on the planet is America, and the first thing you notice on arrival there are bums – they are enormous. Also the most successful television programmes from that country is full of fat people, just think of Opera Winfrey’s guests.

[N]ow come back to England (because that is what this blog is about). Who is the most successful at breeding? Is it the stick thin models, the City career people spending their spare time in the gym? No, its chavs, fat mum, frail looking dad and very fat kids, loads of them. Oh! And the pit bull terrier looking about the brightest of the bunch.

In fact if this current trend continues within a generation only the fat will be left. And that neatly bring us back to Darwin.

Scientists (or would it be twitchers) could sit in their hides observing the behaviour of the overweight chavs and study their unique language, almost unintelligible to anyone outside their sphere.

Unfortunately this also has a more serious side that the Karen Mathews trial has brought to the public’s attention. She watched Jeremy Kyle and not Opera.

While those with a body mass index of under 18.5 would be put on the at risk register and would slowly fade away going the same way as the dodo.

White Bikes

They are becoming a familiar sight alongside many British roads. More than 100 old bicycles painted white and chained to lamp posts and railings have sprung up at ‘danger-spots’ over the past year.

Dubbed ‘ghost-bikes’, they have been put there to warn motorists approaching dangerous bends to look out for cyclists and, in many cases, have been left at locations where riders were killed.

[T]he UK campaign was started by road safety campaigner Steve Allen after his friend James Foster was struck by a drunk driver doing 55mph on a 30mph road as he cycled in north London. Angry at what he believed to be a lenient sentence, Steve set off on a quest to highlight the dangers for cyclists on Britain’s roads.

Mr Allen established a United Kingdom branch of Ghost Bikes a group that operates in 43 countries. Picking up the bikes for a pittance from landfill dumps and scrap metal merchants he painted them white in his back garden. Now more than 100 of them are to be found in London, Oxfordshire, Manchester and Brighton, although local councils have removed many of them.

One of the white bikes is on a junction in Hackney, North London. It was erected in April after the death of cyclist Anthony Smith, 37, who was crushed by a lorry.

CabbieBlog for once does not have much to say, just it’s a pity these selfish drivers that I see every day on London’s roads didn’t for one moment think what these bikes mean. Keep up the good work Steve.

Potpourri of Whinges

Easy Riders

It’s about time other road users where allowed into bus lanes. They should also have the same restrictions on their use; while at present different vehicles are permitted into them. All bus lanes should be open for licensed black cabs (well, I would say that), also why are motorcycles not allowed to use them? But please, just keep out the mini cabs.

Young Blades

The further Americanisation of London is continuing along with the graffiti, crap mini cabs and a falling currency against the Euro. We now have the roller skaters ‘reclaiming the streets’. Every last Friday of the month an army of skaters converge on London’s night scene, carrying loud music players with marshals illegally directing traffic at road junctions and even sometimes a police escort, I have even seen The Boys In Blue skating alongside these twits. What’s the next move towards America; do I start speaking Spanish, not know my way to any major hotel and eat bagels for breakfast?

Road to Riches

Does anyone think that road space should be allocated according to your financial standing; it’s what you expect from a military junta in Africa, where the cost of disruption is measured only by the amount of bribes that have to be paid to corrupt local officials.

I guess our attitude is that we don’t like being pushed around just because someone has more money and thus more political clout than everyone else.

So what is happening at the Scotch House in Knightsbridge? The road has been reduced in width for over a year, traffic has been re-routed around a succession of cranes, lorries and skips and the traffic queues back for miles for most of the day and night. Why? Are we getting a new hospital, police or fire station?

That will be a no then, because all of this chaos confusion and serious disruption to millions of Londoners and visitors; is to facilitate some super rich property company to build some seriously expensive apartments, (rumours of £100 million for the penthouses abound), to sell for enormous profits to rich Arabs.

Maybe it’s not like America we are becoming, but Zimbabwe, now there’s a thought for you as you eat your cornflakes at breakfast.