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A Game of Soldiers…..


This is Oliver Lyttleton aka 1st Viscount Chandos.

Who he?

Born in Mayfair, London, Chandos was the son of the Hon. Alfred Lyttelton, younger son of George Lyttelton, 4th Baron Lyttelton. His mother was his father’s second wife Edith, daughter of Archibald Balfour. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He served in the Grenadier Guards in the First World War, where he met Winston Churchill, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross.

Chandos was managing director of British Metal Corporation, at a time when it was a major shareholder in “Metallgesellschaft A.G.” a German Industrial giant which financed Hitler’s Nazi party. He also served as Chairman of both the London Tin Corporation and Associated Electrical Industries. In 1970 he was made a Knight of the Garter.

He was Churchill’s minister for trade in the early stages of the Second World War, and as a result of protected occupations act, any man not compelled to join the forces due to critically required trade skills were dubbed to be part of ‘Oliver’s Army’

The title is significant because Lyttleton later became Secretary of State for the Colonies during the early to mid 50’s which coincided with multiple military deployments to quell independence movements at a time when the sun was finally setting on the empire.

Others claim the Elvis Costello song is about Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army.

The lyrics seem to fit the Lyttleton/Chandos theory better.


The Poll Muddle Tartar

God’s Comic

One of my all time favourite songs, set to a really unusual series of old silent movie clips.

It’s weird.

It works.

Accidents Will Happen

This is actually from 2009 but worth recounting nonetheless.

The quote from the solicitor and the final sentence from the HSE are worth their weight in gold.

A FARMER’S wife will receive a £25,000 pay-out from the Health & Safety Executive after falling down a hole while attending a safety awareness day.

Tania Foster’s right leg was permanently damaged after she fell into an uncovered drain at an HSE workshop at Churton, advising 200 agricultural workers how to avoid accidents.

Mrs Foster, of Brook Farm, Capenhurst, was to sue the HSE for pain, suffering and loss of amenity at Chester County Court.

But at the 11th hour the HSE – which does not accept liability – offered Mrs Foster about £25,000 and will pick up another £25,000 in legal costs.

Mrs Foster said: “I really don’t think that, for a permanent injury, that whatever I came out with, is actual compensation for that.”

Mrs Foster was part of a ‘tightly-packed’ group and in conversation with an HSE inspector when she was guided to a ‘use of ladders’ demonstration where she fell down the drain.

She remains on painkillers and must wear an ankle brace 24 hours a day after damaging her Achilles and metatarsal tendons.

“It’s painful but I have still got to get on with my job. My animals still need looking after.”
Mrs Foster said at the time that for an apology and a bunch of flowers she would have let the matter lie but was incensed by the attitude of the HSE’s lawyers.

Solicitor Michael Atkins told her in a letter: “I regret to conclude you were the author of your own misfortune and the HSE cannot admit liability for your actions and their results”.

The mother-of-two, who farms with husband Gary, added: “I will never be able to play tennis again. It’s only a little thing but my kids are both good tennis players and I can’t play with them.”

Tanya Stewart, HSE principal inspector, said: “Health and Safety Executive has settled this matter out of court, on the agreement we do not accept liability.

“Our preparation for the farming event at which the incident took place, included a risk assessment of the farm site and three visits by a health and safety awareness officer.

“The drainage hole is a common feature of working farms and as such, preventative action was not considered necessary for an event designed for farmers, farm workers and farming families.”

Elvis Costello

He’s always been one of my favourites.

Radio Silence?



From yesterday’s Guardian

“The government intends to switch national and regional radio stations over to digital transmission from FM and AM by 2015. But according to an influential committee of peers, there is “public confusion and industry uncertainty” over the plans.

Between 50m and 100m analogue radios will only be able to pick up community stations after the switchover, while car radios will need converters. Critics such as the Guardian’s Jack Schofield say those leading the digital switchover have built their plans around an already-obsolete system (DAB) and have failed to provide listeners with a compelling reason to invest in new sets. The BBC’s recently announced axing of 6 Music and Asian Network – on top of the closure of many commercial DAB stations – has weakened the push towards digital. Last year, 66% of all listening was analogue, 21% digital – half on DAB and half through PCs – and 13% unspecified.”

Nothing is guaranteed to bring out the Luddite conservative in me than stuff like this. I listen to a lot of radio, mostly Radio Scotland and Radio 4,  much of it speech based. At work I have an old music centre which is probably 35 years old, great tone which I use every day. At home I have various radios. The most used is a Sony portable which I can take from room to room. Heck it even picks up Medium Wave for the Radio Scotland fitba’. I have a wee Philips MP3 with radio which I listen to whilst out walking the dog.

Andrew Harrison supported the change to digital on the Today programme yesterday by stating that ‘ the way we consume (radio) is changing’. Don’t you just hate shit like this? When did listeners become “consumers”? When did passengers (listen to the announcements at stations and airports) become customers? Christ! I’ve even heard patients referred to as customers in a doctor’s waiting room!

As usual when the government in their wisdom declare something as obsolete it’ll be the most vulnerable in society who suffer most. Old folk and blind people (two groups who rely on radio rather a lot) will have to shell out a fortune on new sets and will be confused on how to tune the things. At a time when we are trying to reduce waste, I wonder how much space on landfill 100 million radios or more will take up?

I already have a DAB at home. Thankfully it also picks up FM because the DAB signal is pisspoor most of the time.

Finland and Sweden abandoned similar switchover plans in 2005 and shut down their DAB network. Germany has binned their schedule too.

I wonder, reading the Guardian article again if this is an opportunity for community radio to really take off and ease the pressure on landfill?

Society – There Is Such a Thing After All!

Having upset all my Labour supporting friends in recent days and weeks, now its the Tories’ turn (Graeme, Fleet and maybe Richard) I’ve had a look at The Tory Blog and find that the most important thing on David Cameron’s agenda is to ‘repair our society’

Whilst it is heartening to note that the Conservatives now acknowledge the existence such a thing as society (One of Margaret Thatcher’s most notable quotes was that ‘there is no such thing as society’) have a wee look round the site and ask yourself if concern about society and the health service has the ring of truth.

I say no and if anyone is harbouring thoughts of voting for them, watch the Ian Wright video, or indeed the David Cameron one.