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The Ingrates are free thinkers who are are not troubled by your sensitivities. This web-site is not aimed at children and those possessed of a child-like character. We are also bully and coward resistant and we will fight back!


blog archive 2014

Forgotten expressions in (a temporary) Exile

19th November 2014 13.35 GMT permalink to this post

Forward Ho!

Alex Salmond has said his piece and Nicola Sturgeon has set out her stall and SNP membership has soared. Are you watching, South of England? Oh, no, of course you're not. It lasted more than 5 minutes and now you've lost interest. Davey, Nicky and Eddie have told you it's your turn now and so the lies will continue unabated; Scotland will not get the powers promised, nothing will change in England and there will be a revolution. We will all lose then. Whether it's an ignorant southern electorate voting for the wrong people for the wrong reasons next May or a critical mass not voting at all or Scots taking matters into their own hands, there will be a revolution. Or, Westminster can wake up. Watch this space!

18th September 2014 08.15 GMT permalink to this post

An English perspective

It is earlily quiet in a misty southern morning. People are awake now and finaly aware that something extraordinary is happening 100s of miles to the north. They are frightened. The prospect of them waking up tomorrow to the earth shattering news that the UK will cease to exist is a source of unmitigated horror. I've no doubt that this is true for many Scots too but at least they have 15 hours to do something about it.

This disenfranchised observer assumes the worst but considers the best a very real possibility. If you vote Yes, I will have to work very hard on not making my overwhelming joy obvious. Good luck Scotland.

Simpsons Willie Aye or Die birthmark

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

17th September 2014 08.15 GMT permalink to this post

Will Democracy win in Scotland?

In all 1st past the post 50/50 democratic elections, not voting is a very specific declaration, which states the following:

"I agree to support and go along with whatever the majority decides."

If we get a 51% NO and 49% YES from a turn-out of 90%, the non-voters amount to 10% who support NO. Therefore 61% support remaining in the UK. It is as simple as that. As in all other elections, non-voters (often the loudest complainers) had their say when they decided not to make a choice at the ballot box.

The big dirty secret about democracy is that it is not about freedom of choice, it is about compromise. As responsible adults with 'rights' we have a duty to exercise a hard fought right to select something from what's on offer whether we like the choices or not. Not choosing is letting someone else choose for us, which is a bit childish, isn't it? Once we make the choice we carry on fighting to make the choices better next time.

Scotland, burying our heads in the sand because it is too hard, 'confusing' or even inconvenient is what happens in the south of England at every general election. It is why we have Tories running the things that matter in our great country. it is not a head versus heart argument, that's insulting. It is all head, which is where the emotions live. In the south, they like to blame Scots, imigrants, benefit scroungers and Europe for their woes. It never occurs to them that political apathy is the real culprit, every time.

Scottish ballot box

Don't wake up on Friday full of regret, have yer say either way. The greatest victory of all tomorrow would be a 100% turn-out. If the English were to follow that example next May, Westminster would quake in its boots.

16th September 2014 08.24 GMT permalink to this post

Ten percenters to be given lollies for being good

The Westminster sweety van has stopped in Scotland to talk to 10% of the UK electorate, which is quite a detour for the knackered old converted charabanc that spends most of its time trawling the South for UKIP kiddies. So, what delights is it offering?

Apparantly, if we vote 'No', we can have more sweeties but only if we are good. If we are not good uncle David will not talk nice to us anymore and he will take away our health service. Boo, nasty man. He promises us a 10% say in whether or not we stay friends with Europe a long time from now but only if we don't vote for evil cousin Eddy.

Are we to remain the Ten Percenters, Scotland?

10% downward slope

When it comes to our childrens' destiny, I would rather they had a 100% say in everything. It is ours to give.

15th September 2014 09.30 GMT permalink to this post

Scientific research shows media desperation inversely proportional to validity of argument shock

In an horrific revelation published today in this blog, scientists carrying out a meta-study of bullshit published acrossed all media, have concluded that the more damming the conclusion, the more farmyardy the stench. The scientist behind the leak was so overcome by the stink that she couldn't stop retching as she told us. She had to be sedated as she was struck by the horror that her fellow Scots might be believing that we would be better together because we don't, it turns out, have a single backbone between us. She wept uncontrollably for hours.

Apparently, after having more than a year to think about it, an independent Scotland will lose half its businesses and banks according to clever people who read newspapers with long words in them, presumably because those businesses have no interest in making money from Scottish people anymore. Even more shocking is the revelation that Scottish people living in the rest of the world won't be allowed, by association, to spend their money either. Och well, back to being canny savers in ingrate land then, just have to keep it for a rainy dry day.

There may be some legitimacy in the claim 'cause important nice people on the telly patted our collective heads and said "Now, now, don't worry ittle-wittle Scotland, we will protect you from the bogey man. Just go bye-byes and it will be all right in the morning. I'll leave the hall light on."

The scientists behind the study, in an exclusive revelation, have told the ingrates that a consistent theme across the stinking bog of bull is the undeniable discovery that Scottish people are too thick to overcome the day-to-day difficulties that we might encounter post-independence. It seems that the corruption, self-interest and jobs-for-the-boys scam that constitutes the Westiminster model is only suited to folk who went to posh schools and whose fathers know somebody important.

It seems that we just can't be trusted with money. Who'd'a'thunk it?

A red-headed and ruddy faced spokeperson for Scotland, after smoothing off his kilt pleats and brushing the crumbs from his substantial beard, denied the allegations and sought to reassure a nation that it is not, in fact, congenitally thick or feart.

The ingrates think that if we have just a one less deep fried Mars bar a day and if we each cut back on a bottle or two of Buckfast before breakfast our minds should clear enough to prove them wrong. Come on Scotland, slim down and sobber up, we've got a country to run!

Move along now, nothing more to see here. Thank God we lie to polsters is all I can say, snigger.

11th September 2014 11.32 GMT permalink to this post

BBC transmits vile anti-Scottish bile

In Braveheart, Langshanks says "the trouble with Scotland is, it's full of Scots". In that fiction he then goes about trying to breed us out of existence. It made for great Oscar winning entertainment and successfuly reinforced some stereotypes. Yours truely is still stuck in the deep south and daily I witness bigotry and ignorance based on such stereotypes and other cultural chasms that are what this debate is all about.

People of Scotland, on the BBC news (South Today) last night I heard this, "Get rid of them. Seriously.Sick and tired of listening to whinging Scots. That's the truth of it." It looked like Broad Street in Reading and was transmitted just shy of 12 minutes into the programme. It was said by this brave political illiterate and it was nuanced to say the least. He has chosen to react to a Scottish desire for self-expression with anger in an extremely unpleasant tone, knowing that the whole world can see and hear him.

Reading, Broad Street September 2014

The point is, I hear this all the time and not just since the start of the referendum debate. This man represents the southern masses who currently dominate UK politics. His mindset is that anybody who argues, disagrees or sticks to their guns is a whinger. I would bet he says the same thing about every other current political hot potatoe that exercises his brain cell.

My fellow Scots, next Thursday you have to decide if you want the likes of him to continue to elect a parliament in Westminster that currently dominates Scottish life. I particularly hope that young voters can see that not all English people are cuddly-wuddly lovers of all things Scottish. As you can see, they do not have Scottish interests at heart. That is why Scotland and England need to be independent nations. It is not a happy family and the last thing we should worry about is Dave Cameron's tears. The chap above is, without doubt, heavily influenced by a hugely biased media that does not subject him to any kind of balance but let's not worry about his dysfunction. He will be allright, jack, and will one day understand as an independent England flourishes, I hope.

10th September 2014 10.02 GMT permalink to this post

Light at the End of the Referendum Tunnel

They are still playing the fear card. I've heard many fellow Scots interviewed on radio and television who intend to vote No because there are 'too many unkowns'. These are the very stuff of life, the source of the energy that will blow observers' minds as Scotland builds a nation out of the current mess.

Dodgy Dave Cameron is here with his fellow Tories (Milliband and Clegg) warning us that we risk stepping into darkness. Why, because only Southern English toffs can run a country? As always, the stench of their contempt heavily pollutes the air around them. The sooner they leave, the sooner we can breathe again. Scotland, hold your breath and observe their fear. It is revealing.

Their trained attack dogs in the BBC and elsewhere are polluting the media with thinly disguised lies and misinformation in a propaganda war, the like of which hasn't been seen for decades. Just remember that there is not a problem, obstacle or difficulty that we can't collectively solve once we have the power to do so. This is a vote for the power to fix our own problems, including the ones we cause. It is a wonderful prospect, we make mistakes then WE fix them. That's worth voting for.

Even better, it's an opportunity to make constructive decisions to remove the corrupt from power, including our own. They are the ones with the broadest Scottish accents, shouting the loudest for the No campaign, north and south of the 'border'. For too long, Scotland's future has been in the hands of a very influential minority whose only real interest is their own bank balance. If you think about it, they started it all 300 years ago. They are Dodgy Dave's sycophantic chums and they have had their chance. It's the turn of reasonable folk to grasp the nettle. We'll be glad of it when the dust settles and we are free to dazzle. The stink drifting up from the south then, will be envy. Our response will be pity.

8th September 2014 08.25 GMT permalink to this post

Nationhood and Pride - leaving the handcart burning in hell

It can only be a shock to the politically inept that the polsters can't call it and that there is probably a majority on the yes side. Given such an opportunity in the current economic mess with no prospect of anything other than more of the same, why would anybody in their right mind choose the status quo? Only the Scottish hating south of England would assume that we want what they have, that we know we are better off under their care and that we can't manage without them. This weekend's shock realisation that there is no congenital political apathy north of Watford and that Scotland's choice next week will affect them, is revealing to say the least.

In the south of England, where there is generally 'no point in voting' for anything, they are slowly realising that they too could benefit from a similar choice. Scotland, we are leading the way and we must not let them down. Stay strong.

My fellow Scots, if you are wavering, despairing or overwhelmed by the choice you have to make, please at least make a choice. Consider this: what is the default position? Not voting is the same as voting No, remember. There is no 'Maybe' option in the ballot box. Every unconstitutional last minute offer by the Desperate Together campaign exposes their weakness. They are offering UK-lite because they think it's all about money 'north of the border' and that our abhorance at every other Tory neglect won't matter when our pens hover over the ballot paper. They still don't understand.

It is 300 years since we were last able to call ourselves Scottish knowing that meant we were in charge of our own destiny and not just the poor relation reliant on hand-outs and hand-me-downs and pity or disdain, whose only pride comes from a rare sporting victory. Scotland, a sovereign nation and full member of the UN, imagine that!

20th August 2014 09.31 GMT permalink to this post

South of the Border - political sterility in suicide attempt shock

The BBC is covering (quietly) a report that sums up why Scotland should not contemplate for one second maintaining the status quo. The agent-provocateurs behind the survey are asking questions they know to be misleading in order to stir up the masses. It is the same technique used to persuade us to despise imigrants and 'benifit cheats'. Leaving aside arguments about the much higher income per head generated by the people of Scotland, they conveniently forget to mention how much higher the costs are in a country that is predominantly rural, on a scale they have nothing to compare with south of the border. In select rural English and Welsh areas the cost per capita is also higher but are they considering reductions on spending in those areas?

Of course not because this survey is not about real economic options, it is about negative association. Scotland=costly=Gordon Brown=blame them for our problems. Let us free the poor deluded sods from their concerns and look after our own taxing and spending based on our own political priorities, using our own money as we see fit. The truth is that per-capita Scotland currently subsidises English and Welsh rural areas and poor inner city areas. The irony, in encouraging Scots to vote yes, will be beyond their ken, bless. Only a political set up organised by the Twitter generation could so easily shoot itself in the foot. Silly kiddies.

12th August 2014 12.54 GMT permalink to this post

Blurring the issues - still!

So, my fellow Scots, all we've got to go on is the cynical reporting of the NO dominated media and its lacky polsters. It is all down to the undecided or the 'reticent' or the 'away an' poke yer nose' as we like to call them in Ingrateland. We don't believe it, everybody has decided, of course they have. We just don't know the numbers yet and we won't until after the 18th as it should be, in a secret ballot. Those of you wavering though, at risk perhaps of moving to the dark side after reading some heavily emotively weighted article, stop a moment and breathe.

The most important and only significant decision to make on that date is who do I want to make decisions politically for Scotland in the future - us or them? Every other issue does NOT have to be decided or known now. There is plenty of time before Independence Day and for the rest of free Scotland's future to get it right. Do not let the southern English risk-aversion disease prevent us from moving on. This IS the time, now. NO is a vote for never ending regret. Scotland, be brave!

14th May 2014 10.15 GMT permalink to this post

A web of deception

It is infuriating every time any of us discovers or uncovers deception. That high-quality (Swiss made) white good I bought that failed 5 months into a 2 year manufacturer's warranty and the subsequent British aftersales non-service I recently experienced. The time wasted arguing, negotiating and generally dealing with it is the source of my anger. It is the same with the buttons falling off some very expensive shirts and the never ending con that masquarades as an energy supply business or a UK immigration policy or 'Free' schools or a lack of house price or rent control.

I am being lied to, treated with disrespect, every day and the worst of it comes from the mouths and pens of hemp-sandled wearing, cycle riding, communist lunatics hell-bent on destroying human progress in the name of a lie of their own making. The sense of rage I felt when I first realised this truth more than a decade ago has left me with a cancer inducing background rage I can't shake off because they don't stop. I have read many books, scientific papers, analysis, much opinion and I have used my own brain and I remain staggered by how successful this political campaign has become. And the ignorant drones call me a denier, an insultingly ironic abuse, which they market as intelligent criticism.

From everything I have read about the great science being done to understand this complex world's climate, there can be no doubt that man made CO2 is no threat to humanity or the planet but the extended green family is. They do not care at all for habitats, the aesthetic, lifestyle or bio-diversity. They care only for their next mortgage payment and the gravy-train they ride to its payment. They are selfishness defined with maximum predjudice and I say it to their faces. The most detructive force on earth is ignorance and we are having to fight it these days on so many fronts and I am called the denier! Say that to my face and I will react appropriately.

It is tragic that Alex Salmond has to appease these bastards and the europhiles whose votes he will need to give Scotland the opportunity to vote them off the agenda once and for all, come Independence Day in two years.

16th April 2014 12.32 GMT permalink to this post

The military establishment waves its willy

The UK navy now openly confesses to a complete lack of strategic planning capability or any ability to respond flexibly to political change. This is worrying from a current UK or future Minnie-UK perspective. I can't think of a better reason to separate out a Scottish navy, army or airforce. Scotland will then be able to get on with the business of organising its own defence without this staggering level of incompetence hanging over us. Thanks for the tip Admiral. What's next? Air traffic control, Coast Guard, lighthouses? The establishment look down from such a height that they have lost sight of the busy, intelligent, creative people far below, who don't require their advice.

19th March 2014 12.45 GMT permalink to this post

Westminster, unclever!

The Lib-Con nexus keeps rushing out future UK policy promises prematurely in a desparate bid to match SNP policies, presumably in the mistaken belief that these issues (childcare for example) are primary considerations for the Scottish electorate. They are wrong just as they have been with their abominably negative attempts to mis-lead the people of Scotland over currency etc.

I am sensing a change, a new softly-softly trend probably based on a collective Whitehall realisation of the true implications for the Former United Kingdom (poorer, less significant in the world and directionless) while Scotland (richer, more significant in the world and going somewhere) flourishes. They are hunting for scraps instead of realising that the country north of the border is politcally distinct and sick of being so contemptuously ignored and taken for granted.

It is too late Dave-Nick. The debate is about the fundamentals; it's about democracy and representation; freedom and self-determination; national pride and self-respect; social conscience and equality; honesty and integrity; it's not about tax reductions.

18th March 2014 15.05 GMT permalink to this post

Tony Benn

I met Tony Benn, briefly, at one of his book promoting talks. He was and will continue to be a political exemplar; a sincere man who could not simply be defined in terms of his political allegiances. A man who understood that in politics, as in life, trends die quickly while substance endures. He also understood the nature of sacrifice. He walked the walk.

24th February 2014 14.35 GMT permalink to this post

What's Good for the Goose

The break up of the UK will be just that. There will be two new nations created: EngerWalesNILand and there will be Scotland. Scotland will firmly oppose the use of the name UK for GB and NI as the name of the new non-Scottish entity. Great Briton will no longer be anything but a description of a land mass. England+ will also have to apply for membership of the EU, UN, Nato, IMF etc., surely, it will no longer be the nation that joined these clubs, anymore than Scotland. The badly named Bank of England is partly 'owned' by Scotland, so England does not get to dictate currency arrangements. The Union began with a Scottish King, so Scotland should be the prime residence of the monarch. All the oil is Scottish, there will be no discussion and 10% of what is left of the British Military (at the time of cessation) will defend Scottish oil. If we cannot have free trade than we cannot have free movement of anything else, either way. The people of Berwick and the area between there and the border north of the tweed will be encouraged to determine their future at the ballot box.

In England, politics lessons should become compulsory for children and adults until they all pass a test confirming their right to ever express a political opinion in a public place. Exemptions should be put in place for anybody born outside of England, who by definition, have a better understanding of politics.

Scotland will retain her 10% share in all British dependencies and all British government land and property across the globe. Scotland will retain 10% of all UK investments (and debt) home and abroad, including military, crown and other state owned land. Any part of the north of England that is tired of the dominance of the south over their culture will no doubt be moved by the separation to think of there own future. As Scotland rapidly rises up the global wealth tables, she will remember the bitterness of the divorce and act accordingly when her neighbours seek help, particularly if it is help to leave the bitter self-indulgent dominance of the south. Need I go on?

If, after a yes vote, any serious attempt is made to stop or significantly delay Scottish freedom, there will be very serious long-term consequences. I, for one, will consider it a declaration of war. David Cameron and his ilk are making the mistake of not knowing their enemy, which is essentially the problem in the first place. Scotland is another country on every level. We comprehensively reject the politics and culture of the south of England. Get over it! Scotland has no other way of being free of the palpable tyrany of the status quo.

Nobody else gets a vote on any matter of self-determination anywhere in the world, stop acting as though you have such a right, England. e.g.- the Arab Spring, South Korea, The Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Iraq, Israel, Palistine, Syria, Venezuela, South Sudan, The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and every former colony. Don't turn this into a blue beret UN issue before or after the vote. There will not be a happy ending for either side.

17th February 2014 11.35 GMT permalink to this post

Scepticism is good, people

The only situation where scepticism is inappropriate that I can think of is in church. In science it is vital that researchers test each other's work with maximum predjudice, never mind scepticism. Why do we, Britons, find it so easy to take exception to labelled groups in what amounts to nothing more than the misuse of a word? It's about politics of course. The average Briton is subservient and knows his/her place and will try to avoid public criticism of their 'betters'. We avoid at all costs being seen to be trouble makers and, whatever we do, we must not use words the posh kids used at school. Most Britons, as evidenced by their lack of a presence at elections, citing claims of 'it don't make no difference anyways' (in the Sarf of Engerland particularly), don't engage at all politically. The last thing they are going to do is make any kind of reasoned criticism. Therefore, scepticism is bad. A cynical media machine acting on behalf of the warmistas exploits this ignorance. Don't be taken in fellow ingrates, scepticism is good.

The truth is, it is OK to openly question those our taxes pay for and those our votes elect. We are their collective boss. They are not in charge of us at all, especially not our thoughts and opinions. Be sceptical of them first, which will inevitably lead to scepticism of their 'science' and expertise. They would not be so violently critical if they were standing on solid ground, whatever they are talking about. When they (and many of them have) forgotten who pays whom, democracy itself is on shaky ground. Don't even mention the unelected agitators who pull our representatives' strings and have had such an absurd level of influence over them.

I might as well exhort prayers to a deity, I don't believe in, to try to gain some leverage in this God-forsaken debate, but wait, that's what they do and it appears to be working! There must be a God, therefore there must be man-made global warming. Oh, lord, please don't punish me; I was convinced evidence was more important than faith. Hairy people in sandles were too stary-eyed and ranty-preachy and they just asked me to believe so that I would save the world. There were signs everywhere that they must be wrong but I should have listened. Why didn't I listen! We're doooomed Mr Mainwairing, we're doooomed. 'Who do you think you are kidding Mr …'

10th February 2014 14.30 GMT permalink to this post

Dramatic flood response tactic change

It is interesting that as the threat of floods extends into the South East and suburbs of London that a very different response is emerging. Suddenly we have military personnel scattered along miles of the Thames. Other parts of this site describe Scottish frustration at the South Eastern domination of British politics and it seems cynical to link the two issues here. Nevertheless, I will. A COBR committee has met and established that the greatest threat to the Tories comes from the Thames flooding west of London. The general response will now improve and a great deal of effort will be put into reducing the impact. The people of Somerset and elsewhere will be glad of the knock-on effect, even if the rest of us are still nervous about how our taxes are being spent or what else will be cut to pay for it.

7th February 2014 15.30 GMT permalink to this post

Cameron chooses battle site carefully

Narrowly missing Scottish soil, Cameron chooses to launch his first clumsy salvo north of the border in the shadow of the gay beaters and gas salesmen; the legacy of London 2012 bolstering his spirit. Say it to Alex Salmond's face Dodgy Dave, I dare you. It seems your swagger is not as confident as it was only recently.

Scotland cannot be distilled to a mere brand (a Victorian plaything), don't you know. We are a proud nation in the process of deciding when to cut the apron strings of our foster mother. It is not a good time to patronise us. A word to the wise speech-writers and their ilk - expats are often the most patriotic and they are unlikely to carry out your dirty work. Your Scottish heritage is urging you north, Dave. Do you feel yourself being torn asunder? Blair had the same problem, you know. His recent experiences might help broker a deal with Alex that could see you meet for face to face discusions about discussions about a debate. You could get a Nobel prize and remain leader of the Conservative and former Unionist party and despite everything, pigs might fly.

Incidently, the constant barrage of slurs, lies and political mischief made at the expense of Gordon Brown exposes the truth of how you view your heritage. It is nothing more than a convenient plaything for you ilk. Your voters in the south had no problem blaming Gordon Brown because his Scottishness was not hidden. Like Blair, yours is in reality, non-existent and Gordon's self-sacrifice, which saved this nation, will not be forgotten north of the very real border. Don't bring the spin, lies and stench of superiority when you finally do find the nuts to venture north Dave. Don't mistake those few values we do have in common with Toryism. At the moment your contempt is giving us more reasons to leave. Try and think of something positive, a good reason for Scotland to stay, rather than an endless litany of reasons for England to keep us tied to the politics of fear.

6th February 2014 12.33 GMT permalink to this post

Humanity - the most natural thing on earth

I have been chewing this particular fat for some time and I must now share, although, I'm fairly sure I may have said something to the same effect on a previous incarnation of this whine sheet.

I am talking about the ludicrous notion that Humanity is somehow separate from nature or the environment. We are in nothing more than a fairly advanced state in the evolution of DNA. All the other branches of the natural selection tree are at different stages in the same evolutionary process. Our peculiarly communicative hands-on interactivity does not make any aspect of what we do unatural, no matter how invasive, destructive or technologically focused. If a future consequence of everything we do is that little other flora or fauna exists on earth but us, we will simply have reached an unlikely evolutionary plateau. We will probably then die off.

Life will evolve again from the microbes that we will not have killed off or that are parasitical within us. After a few 100s of millions of years or however long it takes a new diversity will emerge. The planet will be, beyond question, absolutely fine. Even typical warmistas, whose greenism is the very poisened air they breathe, cannot truely imagine that scientifically minded (sceptic) non-followers of the 'movement' actually don't care about habitats or eco-systems, surely, and it doesn't matter is we don't. In any case, the above extreme scenario is highly unlikely, not withstanding the unpredictable, such as pandemics, meteors or alien invasions, which will also not destroy this planet. They, like us, will change aspects of it, which in turn will only be temporary. Even with an unimaginable future new evolution the physical folds, cracks and collisions on geological timescales of the surface will change everything as we know it in any case.

'Environmentalists' and their apologists are merely concerned with there own lives and how they imagine it being conserved for their own progeny. It is NIMBYism, nothing more, even if we are wrong and they are right about the CO2. Their insecurities will be affecting all aspects of their childrens' lives with far greater consequence than the worst they imagine CO2 could ever do to this massive heavenly body we all live on. The big question of our times is this - do the psychologists ask them 'how that makes them feel' when they express their green anxieties and if not, why not? And, if the mind doctors are not rounding them up to ask them that deeply probing question, what's going on?

30th January 2014 12.49 GMT permalink to this post

Golden Ears

I have a few thoughts on the quality of audio recording I feel a need to share. I am lucky to be possessed of golden ears and a burdensome weight of modesty. I know this, not based soley on my 80's career as a sound engineer (of no particular note), but following a similarly dated revelatory epithany when I first heard vinyl played on true audiophile equipment, having previously been impressed by one of those new fangled CD thingies on inferior equipment. It was far more significant an experience than the difference between LowD and HighD TV or even grainy cinema 4K for that matter, not to mention driving with or without my glasses.

My subsequent obsession with such equipment did not last the decade. It's an expensive business and my bank manager excorsised me of the habit and I moved on from the music business. Until recently I have been putting up with a poor music system helped a little by a pair of half-decent headphones. Now I have a new portable toy capable of playing FLACs and have spent weeks making 'backups' of my entire CD collection in this format. I have previous experience of the iPod MP3 quality-holiday that so many rely on as their benchmark these days, sorry souls.

I know from tertiary level study and experience that a CD's sampling frequency (rate) will capture the entire (human hearing capable) audio spectrum reliably (a mathematically provable thing) but I also know that the 16bit resolution is wholly inadequate and inferior to the human ear's sensitivity. This is why on half-decent equipment you don't need golden ears to hear the difference. An analouge recording done well and pressed with care and precision on good vinyl and taken good care of, must sound better than a 44khz, 16bit CD, all playback equipment being equal. However such a quality of record is rare and, on the other hand, music digitally mastered at a much higher frequency and resolution, converted to analouge and pressed to vinyl will also sound better than a CD. The artefacts caused by harmonics beyond human hearing will make it onto the vinyl more effectively than at the very limited CD resolution.

I am comfortable with my opinions, the theory and endless listening experience to know that the above should be beyond debate but, of course, it isn't. However, what interests me at the moment is more esoteric than that. I am sweating my way up a steep learning curve getting used to the tools I need for transferring CDs (and vinyl) to the PC and my DAP and all the format choices I have. I have oodles of memory on both PC and DAP but I want to make the best of it in terms of efficient use of space at the best possible quality, so I have chosen to use the lossless format FLAC. The tools I am using ensure that it is highly probable that the audio being transferred to the FLAC files is better than I would experience on an average CD playing set up. This is due to the manner in which the audio information is extracted, ensuring that no error correction is needed, which is always employed during normal CD playback.

I am rapidly homing in on the point of this post, stay with me. FLAC is lossless. It takes that accurate audio information and removes stuff, such as complete silence, and keeps all the non-silence. It results , for my CD collection, in files between roughly 400MB and 600MB - a space saving of up to nearly 50%. This is good, even with huge storage devices, waste not want not. Then I read an item online about a chap who had carried out double blind tests under good controlled conditions comparing FLACs with uncompressed Wav files, claiming the Wavs sound better. I trust that he and the others who took part are convinced of this but I don't know what FLAC making software he was using and I can't find the article anymore.

I am not going to copy all the CDs again, or even just one of then, to find out for myself. My FLACS sound amazing. Now I just need to get on with the business of converting (again) all the albums into directories of album track FLACs instead of the whole album FLACs I rushed headlong into making over the last six weeks, which my DAP finds hard to navigate. I have found another tool that does that conversion painlessly, losslessly and swiftly, which helps enormously with inter-us-relations, chez Ingrate.

Edit November 2015

Experts disagree with my assertions above about 16bit resolution - bring it on!

22nd January 2014 11.45 GMT permalink to this post

A pyrrhic victory, for now

John Brignell has nothing else to say on the subject of climate change and who would blame him. Anybody in need of a true understanding of the 'science' behind this nonsense and so much else should have a good look round Numberwatch. There are many people like John Brignell, whose conclusions are the same and whose efforts will probably never attract a much deserved gong, and for which a heavy personal price will undoubtedly have been paid. You will find links to their hard work on our 'favourites' page. We, the Ingrates, salute you.

16th January 2014 08.40 GMT permalink to this post

The decline of social conscience

Surely there can be no doubt that the correlation of the inexorable rise of reactionary selfishness and the unsavoury need to blame anybody else for everything is no coincidence. I blurt out this unscientific claim because I was reminded yesterday by the ever observant (and very scientific) John Brignell that I keep meaning to say something about the politics of blame and responsibility, specifically in the NHS context.

With politics, as with life generally, we strive endlessly to find acceptable places to draw our lines. This is often based on political bias or predjudice or our cultural training or upbringing. It usually boils down to the psychology of habitual thinking and an inevitable lack of careful listening. Well that certainly sums of yours truely. It is the very essence of politics that a policy balance has to be found that will keep enough of the masses calm enough for long enough to sustain the status-quo. No political choices are ever made based on what is actually right and best for the voters. Such is the nature of democracy.

The point is that as the media grapple with every slight variance from this delicately chosen path and attempt to stir the aforementioned masses into buying their biased wares, more weight and credence will be given to every non-story that threatens the balance. This helps exert influence over the waverers to keep them on the path or steer them back to it. We feel reasured whenever we find a point of view that resonates with our own and are threatened by everything else.

I read yesterday on social media a missif by a relative decrying the habits of the obese, who 'should pay for their own medical care'. They said more, which could indicate that their superbly dry sense of humour may have been at work. In any case, it got me to thinking about Daily Mail readers and their ilk and the ill-thoughtout places they draw their political lines. This line seems drawn in a strange place: 'If you eat too much, whatever the underlying cause, you should pay for your own medical care'.

So here's a list, drawn from that same strange mindset, for them to throw their toys out of the pram about, of other equally ill-considered places to draw the line where the NHS (tax payer) should not have to bear the burden:

  • people who choose to go abroad to places where notifiable diseases are rampant, who catch them
  • people who get shot or otherwise injured when travelling to dangerous places
  • morons on safari
  • people who engage in sporting activity and are hurt
  • people who take their fitness fetish too far or not far enough and suffer injury
  • people who claim whiplash
  • children encouraged to exercise in the back garden on the trampoline or similarly, obviously unsafe apparatus
  • people injured by their own dangerous dog, or any other pet
  • horseriders, who could have walked or driven
  • deaf people who listened to too much loud music in their youth
  • smokers
  • drinkers
  • injured burglars
  • people with brittle bones who got get out of bed in the morning
  • diners who choke on expensive food
  • anybody poisened by fast food
  • anyone whose health is compromised following any sexual activity beyond the age of 30
  • women who get pregnant and regret it
  • the children of people who regret having them
  • cyclists
  • motorcyclists
  • speeding drivers
  • pedestrians who go near roads
  • anyone who catches any disease in crowded mass transit systems or any other public place
  • anyone who carelessly chose not to be born in this country and brought their unpleasant ailments with them
  • idiots who engage with the violent
  • protesters, especially of the 'no fracking' variety
  • people who partake of any activity that involves the slightest perceptible risk, such as being alive - there is a choice
  • people who choose to remain a burden to the state despite their obvious genetic flaws

Need I go on?

For the stupid who have misinterpreted any of the above, I am saying that it is all a choice. The vast majority of treatement in the NHS is a result of the sufferer's own behaviour. They should all pay if that is how you want to choose where to draw your political lines but, wait, they already do, through a lifetime of taxes or their parents' and grandparents' taxes or their grandchildrens' taxes. The entire fabric of the NHS didn't pop up in a single user's lifetime. Despite the propaganda, most people don't cost the NHS much in their lifetime. Perhaps they shouldn't pay? Perhaps they shouldn't pay for the existence of the military or the police or schools if they have no need of them. If they don't like any of it they should, of course, vote for the other guy but it's far more likely they won't vote at all. Beats me!

13th January 2014 15.20 GMT permalink to this post

The evolution of Cool

The word 'cool' has apparently been around for nearly 100 years provably, probably longer, unwritten, in its meaning of something along the lines of a thing or circumstance mutually perceived to be 'not square', 'down' and 'hip' or alternative and disturbing to the 'man', who perceives me to be the little people. Its meaning has evolved to a grossly ironic parody of this; something along the lines of - 'I feel an almost masturbatory desire to congratulate you on having the same desire, taste, understanding, belief or level of cynicism as I have despite me being one of the little people', which makes me sick.

Today, I realised that another meaning has emerged, one of contempt. As in, 'OK I'll do that, cool', when told the correct way to go about getting what they want and discovering that no amount of phoney, smiley charm can bypass the tight audit controls, in place for very good anti-fraud reasons. It now means, 'I am cool (an impossible to quantify quality) because I am better than you tiny minded little people who are making me do things the hard way, as opposed to the superior way I had righteously assumed without first checking, in order to establish my obvious sneeringly condecending superiority as I waft imperiously into your small space'. What a turnaround! I wonder what a mess the Victorians would have made in their insistence that the word can only ever refer to things of low but not cold temperature as they began the butchering of our once glorious language.


9th January 2014 08.30 GMT permalink to this post

Mark Duggan and the 'need' for vengeance

As is so often the case when somebody's beloved son dies in unsavoury circumstances, a road side shrine has to be built and maintained, indefinitely; protestations of his cherubic character have to be voiced; campaigns have to be mounted and blame has to be apportioned, anywhere other than where it belongs. This is the process of grief. The Duggan family and friends are, unsurprisingly, stuck in stage 2 (Kübler-Ross_model) without realising they need professional help, not just answers, and they will stay there without it. The answers they really need will not come form lawyers, appeals or agent provocateurs in the media. They will come from their own hearts.

Points to note, objectively:

  • We have a justice system, including inquests, that, despite the best efforts of successive governments, clings on to the basic principles of fairness.
  • The jury must be allowed to decide whether or not they, as individuals, have any doubt and if they have the slightest they must never risk (potential in this case) the freedom of the accused, whatever their personal feelings.
  • The system will allow for changes in that decision, should new evidence justify it.
  • No amount of chest-beating and ranting or wailing will change the facts, as heard by any jury and the laws they must be guided to abide by.
  • The implication that the armed police officer in this case was willing to kill someone on demand is terrifying for this nation and clear thinking tells us we must assume this is not the case unless unequivical proof to the contrary exists, which must be beyond doubt.
  • The threats issued to court officials and jurors is an example of the kind of cowardice that must never be allowed to inluence any decisions other than the strengthening of security in courts. Everybody carrying them out should be prosecuted, whatever the 'delicate' nature of the circumstances.
  • The bereaved need more than legal advice, which always has its own best interests served whatever the outcome of its advice.
  • Let's have a campaign to wipe out organised crime across the nation/s. That would be an appropriate response in this case.

3rd January 2014 10.30 GMT permalink to this post

God, rid us of the self-righteous, please!

I have no recollection of Greenpeace candidates standing at the last election. This stinking rich organisation that constantly pops up in the media to represent 'the planet' or its evil, misguided population, claims to be some kind of arbiter on all things environmental. A bunch of self-appointed pirates and a noisy rent-a-mob representing nobody but themselves spend billions in donations telling us what is good for us, is what they actually are, not to mention - unmitigated arrogant egoists.

If you want to represent me, get my vote! They won't even try, of course, because there is no substance to their claims and importantly, in a democracy, no consensus, which is ironical considering that they believe such an illogical thing exists in the world of 'climate science'.

Incidentally, this rant is aimed at all who would claim to speak on my behalf as they go about their pointy elbowed business for whatever cause, especially when it's an all too obvious attempt to distract from guilt. Without exception, the do-gooders always do no good at all and frequently do irreparable harm with their ill thought-out policies, campaigns and nimby rants. Each and every cause they represent is an attempt to undermine all principles of democracy and freedom. They do this because they live in a paranoid state of constant fear, where their personal experiences or beliefs are extrapolated out of proportion in cathartic desperation. It is not the democratic way, despite all its failings, and we should stop this sickness from spreading further.

Of course, I sympathise with the pain and loss that often leads to the creation of these campaigns but they are not the way to bring about change in a democracy. No matter how distasteful, there is always more than one side to an argument and all sides should be heard to avoid inevitable, eventual injustice. Unless you have given me a direct chance to respond to the question, you do not have the right to provide an answer on my behalf. I can assure you that my beliefs about any matter are as strongly held as yours, whoever you are.

Our true representatives often, weakly in the face of a mis-interpreted silence from the masses, respond with their support for the cause. They find this particularly easy if the 'solution' removes freedoms or taxes from the non-complaining masses. If like me you find this constant errossion horrifying, say something! Remember, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (whatever their gender) do nothing.

2nd January 2014 11.35 GMT permalink to this post

Whining about train fares

There is no question that the privitisation of the UK railways was a huge mistake. The continued lack of tax pound subsidies is also a mistake but why do we get these regular waves of frenzied media attacks on fare rises? Easy, the media, particularly in the South East, rely heaviliy on trains. Just an observation. If they relied on cars, as most of the rest of us do, we would have better roads, more car parking, easier town access and less mis-guided worry about their effect on the environment. If only they spent more time in sub-standard hospitals… ; if only their relatives lived in sub-standard care homes… ; if only they actually cared about eco-systems, habitats and endangered species…. It's time for a campaign to restore the good name of journalism but we'll first have to de-programme the masses so that they realise there is a problem.

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