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Saturday, 16 January 2016

What they aren't telling you about TB in London

Disease, overcrowding, filth, poverty, squalor and ignorance have not ever been strangers to London. Ever since the city started to draw the poor and aspirational, first from the counties, then Ireland, France, Germany and the low countries, those fleeing pogroms in Russia and Poland, and last century from the Commonwealth, slums, poor housing and wildfire plagues have been the consequence. At a time when the authorities don't take public health seriously any more, our old enemies are making a comeback. The University of London has found east London buses irredeemably infested with the eggs of lice, scabies mites and bedbugs. And more worrying, parts of London now have higher TB infection rates than many third world slums. With the risk of multi drug resistant strains going undetected and gaining a foothold that will make it impossible to contain or eradicate. 

Nic Connor for Breitbart explains the official 'leaks' that admit the link between TB and immigration. But the real story - because of the political and cultural implications - has remained under wraps. Here you have it in two maps;

My solution? Use the market. Newham is the new property hotspot, with developers and investors tripping over themselves to buy. What no-one tells the poor urban professional moving there is that they now live in an area with higher TB rates than Ukraine, Sudan, Iraq, Ethiopia or Liberia. Republishing the GLA TB map (top) as widely as possible may just, perhaps, prompt some official public health action.

But I doubt it. And when Cholera, Typhoid and Diptheria join TB and parasitic infestations, and Guardian readers start dying in pools of their own lung-blood, I'll try to refrain from saying I told you so. 

Coe squirms, Brammall gurns

There is a certain joy in watching Coe squirm as he attempts to persuade us that he either didn't notice a $25m bung from Putin to the IAAF, or if he did notice it he didn't connect it to the discontinuance of an investigation into drug use by Russian athletes, that he knows nothing of any wrongdoing and anyway he's an ex-athlete so he must be innocent, yeah? To be frank, it's a bit like watching a younger Sepp Blatter doing the same press routine. Exactly the same faux-outrage. They could have been schooled by the same press training firm; Armstrong Media, perhaps. 


There is also joy at the news that FM Ld Brammall has been cleared of the nasty smear against him by a disturbed individual. Field Marshals never retire, so Lord Brammell remains a serving soldier into his 90s. His best moment, though, was as a young whipstring of 82 when he decked the loathsome and odious Greville Janner in the Lords during a row over Palestine. The nation would have rejoiced more fiercely, I feel, had his lordship followed up the punch with a kick to the goolies as Janner lay on the floor. Incidentally, the Corbyn-dag and Labour's noncefinder-general, Watson, signally failed to support measures for Janner's prosecution. Child abuse is OK for the Comrades, apparently. 


Night time temperatures here are regularly -5, and next week will be down to -17 to -20. Folk just take it in their stride. It's odd to see the 'Britain freezes in -1C misery' headlines and I'm astonished that Network Rail has continued operating in such Siberian conditions. I can raise a laugh over here by explaining that in the UK all soil and waste pipes are run on the outside of the houses, and in the event of a mild frost the entire nation can't use their toilets. 

Mixed news about my meadows, uncut and ungrazed for several years. Very steep and now too tough for the balkenmäher, they pronounce. Even the village ace on these ancient Allan-scythes, whose loss of a leg in a hay-related machine accident reputedly gave him the opportunity of a new prosthetic limb 150mm longer than his surviving leg, allowing him to walk upright whilst mowing slopes, shakes his head. Goats, they pronounce, or better still, sheep. So off to eBay to find half a dozen Swaledales ...

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Poland, Hungary securing the outer Bolgi

Much is being made by the EU-tame media of recent events in Poland. The current story being spun quite effectively is that a benign liberal EU is helping rescue the people of Poland from a malevolent right wing government. As you'd expect, this isn't really true. Matthew Tyrmand gives an excellent countervailing explanation on Breitbart; that the Polish government is only securing democracy against the unelected apparatchiks of the EU. While not wholly true, it does demolish many of the specious justifications being advanced by the EU for 'intervention'. Or as the UN would say, 'unlawful interference with national sovereignty'. Twenty minutes on the English-language Polish forums will show these things are far more nuanced and more complex than ever our own media report. 

Hungary has also been subject to 'correction' of policy errors by the EU, and you will recall that the UN even gave sanction to its most junior executives to criticise human rights in Hungary when that nation closed her border to violent rapists migrants. 

I think what we're seeing now with Hungary, Poland, the Czech republic, Slovakia and possibly the Balts is the formation of the putative inner and outer Bolgi of a two-part Europe. The great danger of course is that membership of this outer EU is being offered as a  Cameron victory-lite; the UK has nothing at all in common with the eastern nations except a dislike of Brussels. Our only sensible option is out altogether. 

You can tell quite a lot about folk by their reaction to the news that 4,000 tipsy cyclists were imprisoned by the previous left-liberal-proEU Polish regime. OK, they only get jail time for a second or further offence, but how many times have I rowed back to a mooring after a few pints? Jailing intoxicated cyclists is alien to England, but most Poles consider it reasonable. It's hard to judge what happens in the eastern states by our own standards; travel and transport may be extraordinarily rapid, but cultures take much longer to change.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Same trough, different pigs

The Austrian version of our 'snouts in the trough' goes 'Same trough, different pigs'. Demonstrating that there is a certain universality of contempt for all those who enter politics in order to enrich themselves; we've seen 'em all, the lying simpering Straws and Hoons caught on camera selling their honour, the thieves, expense bludgers, home swappers, peculators, fat-fingered mendacious scum scrabbling at the national till, placemen, cheats, frauds, swindlers and crooked chiselers. Such people make up much (but not all) of our parliament. Yes, there remain some honourable members and some do manage to see out their parliamentary career sans wealth, sinecure or fame, earning our respect and honour.  

Amongst them however are not the 25 ex-coalition ministers named by the Mirror today. Nor the 50 or 100 ex Labour ministers not named by the Mirror who have done exactly the same. I'd love to kick their fat privileged egregious arses all the way down Pall Mall with my alpine mountain boots, but am going to have to content myself with piling the odium on their foul and meretricious reputations. 

You are scum. We loathe you. 

God, we need to reform that Augean stable.