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JULY 2004

Tuesday 27 July 2004 - rain for some, drought for others

Two thirds of Bangladesh is underwater from recent heavy rains and floods, the capital, Dacca, is half submerged in the sewage that has erupted from the drains and hundreds are already dead, more will die soon from disease. India also is being hit by the same floods, and monsoon rains are due, along with Himalayas ice melting as well and adding to it.

In Iraq, the Marsh Arabs using water another way and are restoring the marshes. After the war, they began returning and breaking down the barriers built by Saddam, allowing water to again flow freely in a region where people had lived on small islands and moved around on thin wooden boats for over 2,000 years. Satellite images show that about a fifth of the marshes were reflooded as of last April, the U.N is supplying aid and money to finish the job by removing the dams. The marshes had largely dried out with the consequent loss of wildlife species as well as the Arabs, but now the water's back, they will all return and the ecological balance, which the Marsh Arabs had lived with rather than destroying, will become restored eventually. The Earth heals itself if left to do so.

Wildfires are blazing in France and Portugal. Hundreds of firefighters battled forest fires across Portugal yesterday in a heatwave which has brought temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). The tourist region of Faro on Portugal's southern coast was hardest hit, with more than 150 firefighters working in mountains near the spa town of Monchique, a spokesman for the national emergency service said. Across Portugal, hundreds of firefighters backed by water trucks, helicopters and a plane were battling to contain blazes, with the districts of Porto and Vila Real also hit. Portugal is recovering from huge fires last year that destroyed 13 percent of its forests and woodlands.[PlanetArk] While wildfires swept through the Bouches-du-Rhone region of southern France at the weekend forcing the evacuation of 2,000 people and destroying 2,500 hectares (6,178 acres) of brush, fire officials said.

While in China, the anti-aircraft battery and rocket launcher at Xiangshan aim straight into a flight path that cuts over the northwestern corner of the Chinese capital. As Li Ruqing proudly shows off the weaponry, he casts an eye across the courtyard at a padlocked shed where chemical-tipped shells and missiles are stacked at the ready. "There is a 30 percent chance we use them tonight," he says. He's a "weather modifier" - his weapons disperse chemicals into the sky and his targets are waterlogged clouds. Cloud seeding, as Li's work is termed, is increasingly common in China, where a chronic drought grips the North and hailstones ruin countless acres of crops nationwide every year. "Our main job," he says with the focus of a seasoned field commander, "is the prevention of hail ... If there is hail heading for Beijing, this is the last line of defense." Li commands three installations like Xiangshan, or Fragant Hills, in northwestern Beijing where, when the clouds are thick and when he's sure there are no planes overhead, he opens fire on the sky with special rockets to make it rain. So it's war then.

It's good to have chosen the right barricades in the continuing download wars. At the heart of the way people share music, the peer to peer revolution is all but won. Having thrashed around trying to stop sharing, the music biz is being overtaken by the technology and downloading is increasingly becoming the way to go. With computers and iPods there is a decreasing demand for CDs and this has been blamed on peer2peer downloaders. Most of these pirates are just swapping tracks, something people have done since tape recorders were invented. As someone said, we've all paid for tmost of the 'old' records we download, by buying the vinyl record or the CD or in many cases both. New music is alive and well on the web and peer2peer merely helps them get the publicity denied them by the record companies who determine what music will be offered for sale. This is democracy in action.

The power is disappearing from the centre out to the consumers and the big fat cats don't like it. Expect more squealing about lost profits and benefit concerts for ageing pop stars [in their 40s] who are down to single million figures and are suffering stress related illnesses. On the money scene, those who can afford buy their tracks online with the card and download albums. They like to shop, they are not going to download all night with frequent pauses for big files. What's money good for if you can't spend it? There's no flexibility in the mindset of old money, or even newly aquired riches often, but change happens by the millions of individual actions, many seemingly trivial, which add up to something very different happening.

Technology leads as ever, the vinyl millionaires just took their eye off the ball. Change happens much more quickly these days, vinyl is already a collector's item, some of them quite valuable, but they aren't for playing, just keeping. CD will follow them at least as a major music/data distribution medium. Home burning for the car will continue as long as cars, and for backing up stuff that could disappear in the ashes of your hard disc, but the way music will be distributed is by downloads now DSL is more or less standard for connections.

Musicians need to get it together to sell directly to their listeners, it can be cheap, as the artist will be getting the whole price rather than the record companies' 5%, so volume doesn't have to be that high to make a living. Way to go. Why hasn't someone formed a musicians collective web presence with a database, samples and download. You could have all the bios and pics desired, the whole thing could be a selectable jukebox virtual album experience, or just a quick thumbnail and download for those in a hurry to load it on their iPod on the way to the beech. There could be a dedicated music search engine with only artists, bands and titles in its database, open to anyone, and a peer2peer interfact to manage the file downloads along with online paying. If it isn't already happening, it will be soon.

Monday 26 July 2004 - writing it how it is

Writing skills seem to have returned and I'm bashing the keyboard as never before. I could accomplish so much more if I didn't have to work for a living. Rather frustrating typesetting other people's words when there are so many wanting to burst out of my head. Martin Amis never had this problem. Of course, if I was organised, I would allot a certain amount of time each day when I would 'write', but if only life was like that, neat and compartmentalised. My experience is that it is anything but. Things can materialise from nowhere to knock your routine sideways, take away your concentration or demand immediate attention.

I've also been exploring some blogs and many weird sites on a wide range of subjects, always off-the-wall, and highly entertaining. I have uncovered lots of things I was unaware of, it never ceases to amaze me the sheer variety of ideas humans can dream of to rip each other off. Some go to extraordinary lengths; pages of increasingly crazy ideas, mixed in with quotes, pictures and animations, but there's always a book with further revelations and 'facts' to buy online, or a donations button to 'support this site'. Others, utilising the whole new-age vocabulary, promise perfect health and reversal of aging through dietary supplements or shares in a too good to be true offshore bank paying 100% interest. I shall add some links here to some of the more interesting/crazy ones, but anyone going to visit should boost their immune system first and make sure the bulllshit detector is working.

And slowly you get a bigger picture, illustrated by exploring the links the site has, of how they all seem connected one way or another. Some are clearly scamming. They are fishing for the one visitor in a million who has enough credulity and ready cash to be sucked in and fleeced. Some have clearly made a career out of the peddling of crazy ideas, and invest a lot of work in it. Conspiracy is at the heart of it, which is apt really, exploiting the very suspicions about other humans which these modern day snake oil salesmen are exploiting! David Icke is a good example of high energy, meticulous research and a prolific book output allied to probably one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories yet dreamed up; alien lizards came to planet Earth aeons ago and have successfully interbred with humans, these mixed DNA individuals are 'superior' to mere hominids and are in control of every country [Yes, Bush is one of them apparently and inexplicably, I think he looks clearly simian], can shape shift at will and are to be outed in his many books which, it is claimed, produce the 'facts' he has assembled since he first came out with this idea and lost his job as a TV sports reporter. My theory is that he took acid and no one was around to prepare him or reassure him and he came to the erroneous conclusion that what had happened was that he had been enabled to 'see' through the disguises of the lizard hybrids, when he was only having powerful hallucinations. Having a media 'name' helped him get published and sold a lot of the books of course, a distinct advantage to us nameless identities. It's now got to the point where, with Big Brother and similar shows, nonentities can overnight become recognised faces and from there they can move on to almost anything they have a minor talent for, whether that be pop, movies, more TV appearances perhaps on the innumerable quiz shows that obviously have a constant demand for new product to put before the viewers, or, of course, writing a book. Fame is now sought for its own ends, not the result of something you did that was in some way extraordinary. And even if you come close to being convicted of fraud with secret signals on 'Who wants to be a millionaire', you still have a future in showbiz despite being universally despised as the seedy liar who everybody recognises, and your list of well-paid engagements just grows and grows.

We have a young fledgeling blackbird living in our garden who shows no sign of wanting to leave as long as we continue to put food out for him and has become so used to us that he won't budge even if we approach within a few inches. He seemed to appear too young as if he'd left the nest before being able to do anything more than land safely, and has been in the garden for ages, his parents seemingly unable to find him. His wing feathers seem a bit small and his tail a bit ragged still, but with good feeding he is looking better every day and should, I hope, fly off soon, although I expect he won't go far from such an easy food source. He tolerates the sparrows who come to feed at the same place, but won't have an other blackbirds or thrushes near it and chases them off - he's developed a good roadrunner style that quite disconcerts them. The other evening I put some leftovers out and saw him sitting in a small bush inches from my face. I spoke to him and he listened, did his slow bird blink from back to front, and then a little chirp. Communication! I replied with a whistle and he spoke again. Yet wild and able to fly away now as his trips to the top of a high fence prove. I feel priviledged to be so close with a wild creature and not scare it into flight. We just worry about the cats though, birds need to be wary and fast to escape their automatic feral pounce. Our cat is confined to the house and a poop tray until the bird - Ruthin - is fully grown and flight assured..

20 July 2004 - There's a Gaffa Tape mountain, I'm sure of it.

The Bliar gang are issueing a booklet at a cost of £6 million plus to alert us to the dangers of terrorist attack and give us useful advice on how to survive. Not having had a copy thrust through my door yet, the danger of a muslim attack on Leominster being somewhat lower than central London or Manchester, I am only going on what the media make of it so far. There's seem to be an inordinate number of references to Gaffa Tape, bloved of roadies the world over, and panic buying of the stuff could lead to world shortages causing all manner of accidents on stages where musicians will trip over the leads usually safely buried under tunnels of the stuff and suffer serious injury, unless there's a mountain of the stuff somewhere in a series of warehouses. The pamphlet [apparently] encourages the stocking up on essential foodstuffs, water, torch batteries, candles, tins of beans and gaffa tape. Could Fony Tony's investment portfolio contain some clues for the singling out of these commodities for encouragement? We are told that this wonder tape is proof against chemical and biological agents, those very things they couldn't find in Iraq, and it is to be used liberally to seal your home if the warning is given. Picture families all over the country gradually running out of air while eating beans and burning candles, the result could be worse than a terrorist attack as millions of houses explode in methane splendour. It's a bit like getting inside a large plastic sack [don't do it children!] and waiting for someone to remember they are there and sound the all clear. Of course, all we have to go on in the UK for this kind of thing is endless episodes of Dad's Army, which are likely to see yet another re-run, this time under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Misinformation. I predict survival sops selling camouflage uniforms and other stuff for boys to play SAS, will be experiencing some panic buying as well, as inadequates all over the country persuade their wives that they need compasses, trip wires, Swiss Army Knives and face paint in order to survive what is clearly now World War Three.

Friday 16 July 2004 - it never rains but it pours

BEIJING - A storm is brewing in China as drought-plagued regions accuse each other of stealing clouds for rain-seeding. With the help of modern technology, scientists can fire rockets filled with various substances into light, fluffy clouds to make them rain. 'But the practice has caused considerable controversy in recent days, with some saying that one area's success with rain has meant taking moisture meant for one place and giving it to another,' the China Daily said yesterday. The row over rainclouds was particularly heated in several cities in central Henan province. 'Meteorological officials in Zhoukou were soon accusing their counterparts in Pingdingshan of overusing available natural resources by intercepting clouds that would have likely drifted to other places, say, like Zhoukou,' the newspaper said. Much of China is short of water and cloud-seeding is common, especially over major cities. This is from Planet Ark at

Seems some folks are getting more rain than they know what to do with however, in Tokyo- hundreds of residents sifted through the wreckage of their mud and debris-filled homes yesterday after torrential rains in northern Japan killed 11 people. Adding to the misery, further storms were predicted for Friday. Unprecedented downpours this week caused swollen rivers to burst their banks, touched off landslides in Niigata prefecture, forced thousands to evacuate and left thousands more trapped in their homes awaiting rescue. More than 13,000 households were evacuated in Niigata, people waiting in public halls and schools for the waters to recede. So far the death toll is 11. More than 430 mm (17 inches) of rain had fallen in some parts of the region since Monday night. While rain had largely stopped by Thursday evening, a Meteorological Agency official said rainfall of up to 25 mm (1 inch) an hour might hit parts of Niigata on Friday. Torrents of water rushed through parts of Nakanoshima this week after a river burst its banks. The house of somebody I don't even know came floating onto my property," an elderly man said. More than 10 helicopters were sent by the military and local governments to help rescue efforts, and rescuers - including members of the Japanese military - laboured through the night to remove people from their homes. By Thursday morning, all those left stranded in their houses had been rescued.

Britain's Science Museum says it is considering a radical way of paying its hefty energy bills - using visitors' excrement. The central London museum said it was considering taking the waste from its 14 toilet blocks and converting it into electricity. With almost 3 million visitors each year there is the possibility of huge savings on electricity bills. The museum said the plan would be to siphon off waste from the toilets, store it and then turn it into electricity using a microbial fuel cell. The power produced from the excrement of 100,000 visitors could produce enough to power 500 light bulbs, while also breaking down harmful organic matter. Indian peasant farmers have been composting theirs and their animals excrement for decades, providing themselves with with gas for cooking and heating. Good to see the 'developed' copuntries are starting to catch up.

Wednesday 14 July 2004 - same old whitewash

Lord Whitewash has concluded his report and, surprise surprise, the government didn't exagerate claims about WMD, didn't lie and cheat and are whiter than white. Nothing new there then. Funny, but I don't think the public will be terribly impressed by this gang of establishment toadies and their attempt to get Phony Blair off the hook. It was clear [as I wrote at the time] that Blair had made a deal with Bushmonkey and was determined to have a war at all costs, and distorted any vague 'intelligence' to his own ends - seemed like a good idea at the time.

The committee whose job it was to examine the issue concluded that it was all down to the spooks getting it wrong, and no one is to blame so no need for there to be any resignations. So the Iraqis will get no apology for the death and destruction poured down on them by the perverts of the coalition armed forces on behalf of the far worse perverts who run our government, and it was all just a matter of getting rid of Sadam Hussein for them. Shame about all the blood chaps, here, let's help you mop it up. And don't worry about the bill, we'll get it back in oil. Unfortunately, almost all our elected representives went along with it, uncritically accepting what was an extremely dodgy justification, the tories also enjoy a way, especially as it's never them getting their linms blown off - something that's still happening in Iraq on a daily basis.

See the 'temporary' barriers round the Houses of Parliament are being strengthened and made permanent, got to protect the politicians at all costs, and when the next attack comes, they will prat on about 'the evil' of innocent people being targeted. You can't put concrete barriers round everything though, so ordinary citizens will just have to take their chances, and remember who put them in this situation.

Hallo [I thought] an email from me old mate Alistair in the inbox, my spirits rose, and then I realised that the contents had been slyly resorted into 'sender' order rather than 'date', and it was one from months ago. One of the jokes computers play on us from time to time to show us who's in charge really. As if I needed reminding.

Thursday 8 July 2004 - the news just gets worse

Two lots of news in the last few days that seriously affect all estimates of global warming. The first is the results from a decades long survey of sunspot activity using ice cores taken from the polar caps. The conclusion is that the sun is at its hottest for a thousand years [due to frequency of sun spots] so the amount of heat hitting the Earth and contributing to the equation is greater than had been realised. The second is that peat bogs have been discovered to be breaking down, due to increased temperatures, and are leaching into rivers. That means localised pollution of water of course, but more importantly, it means huge amounts of carbon will be released into the atmosphere as the peat decomposes, adding to the greenhouse effect. It's all getting a bit circular, or, rather, it's becoming more apparent that the process is circular. Each effect feeds into the whole and is in turn affected by it. Estimates of the time scale are going to have to be revised, downwards. No longer is it sufficient to talk, as most politicians still do, of the next century, or even 2050. It's getting closer folks and nothing we can do will stop it. It's doubtful even that we can affect it much with such measures as reducing carbon emmissions, using renewable energy etc. After all, it took a couple of hundred years of pollution and willfull ignorance to get here, and anyway, looks like it's business as usual for most people - jet off on holiday, drive the car everywhere, consume, get drunk, forget it's all going pear-shaped. I wonder if, in the middle of a swarm of lemmings, there's a few that are aware that they're all heading for the river...

The gales in the UK have been fierce but nothing we aren't used to - in the middle of winter. Some trees down [usually falling on cars, who says trees aren't sentient?] and power off to hundreds of thousands of homes. It's the temperature drop that's so harsh, it really does feel like winter. And meanwhile, Miami swelters in the heat and people barely have the energy to email friends...;-)

Just found out about some caves not a great distance from where I live and I plan to make a trip to explore. As I've been setting lots of publications on hunter gatherers recently, my mind drifts to a possible future when hunter gathering becomes the way of life again. Of course, caves won't be needed as there are enough piles made of stone to house the few post undustrial savages, until they too crumble into the dust of centuries, their remnants discovered by some future archaeologists looking for signs of the early origins of homo sapiens. Perhaps we should be leaving indelible messages in the caves explaining how we fucked up the planet.

Strange things have been happening since I reinstalled my system on the new hard disc. Probably an innocent explanation, even though it would only be understood by techies. One thing is that after reinstalling PCCillin which I had running for ages before, it seems to have taken on a Chinese persona; the logo displays Chines and the help pages are all in Chinese, yet all I did was download an update from their site and install it. Nowhere did I claim to be Chinese. Another thing, Internet Explorer seems to have developed a split personality and now thinks it's Windows Explorer as well. It refused to let me see the contents of a folder because it senses a threatening piece of ActiveX code within it and won't even let me delete the offendng file because I can't see it. I click on IE and it loads Windows Explorer with the desktop displayed rather than the familiar web browser. And this after I downloaded an upgrade from Microsoft. Makes you wonder.

Tuesday 6 July 2004 - the day that the rains came down

Taiwan has recently had 22 inches of rain in three days. Mudslides and floods have killed a few people and made thousands homeless. The UK is about to get heavy rains and high winds tomorrow lasting several days, the wrong time of year with crops vulnerable in the fields, easily beaten down or washed away. Global warming seems to be cropping up increasingly as a topic, but few are putting it together and attitudes to the causes and the behaviour that is at the heart of it continue along the same myopic path. China is embarked on massive road building and at the same time the UK is trying to cram more cars onto the existing motorway network by opening the hard shoulder in some cases, to ease the flow. The M6 is breaking up from the load - especially the huge trucks necessary for the consumers to continue their daily habit - and major repairs are planned soon. There's never a good time, but difficult to lay tarmac underwater, so not yet.

The internet is such a wondrous resource, an unbelievably huge database crawled incessantly by search engine bots in their tireless hunt for snippets. You can type anything into any search engine and it will come up with dozens if not hundreds of hits. Try your own name, or a friends. Try something totally bizarre, or banal, the bots will find it everywhere. Apart from the sites which have a word in their intro para, there are all those which contain a reference. However remote, the bots will find it, and so fast it's staggering.

The internet is another replica of the world, there's all the avarice and greed, money obsessiveness and quakery, dumb ideas and people out to rip you off or send you viruses. Still they come, so easily detected that I have to do something stupid to get one past my firewall and virus software. But the .pif.scr extensions give them away, why don't they realise that, these half witted savants with hatred in their hearts who get off on the thought of causing mayhem [they rarely do], their lives must really be sad. It's akin to posting shit through someone's letterbox and running away. Except that most of the letterboxes are sealed from them and any shit quickly disposed of. Virus spreads are getting rare purely because more and more people have taken it on board to get protection so the infection ceases to spread and dies out like any virus. Pity the same can't be said for asian bird flu which still keeps flaring up and threatens one day to get it's survival act together [they mutate really fast] so it can jump between humans and the air industry will take it anywhere it pleases. Big population centres? Easy!

Monday 5 July 2004 - disaster strikes and is never expected

Last week my hard disc failed on bootup, losing everything that wasn't backed up, and costing me in time and money I couldn't afford. A week's work was lost entirely and I've been working all hours just to get back to where I was. Some things are gone forever as I had failed to back everything up; two books I was writing, letters and other archived stuff, useful utilities and documents, I can't even remember immediately the extent of what's lost but will discover gaps as time goes on. Finding fonts is another nightmare as the ones needed to complete work are always the ones that weren't in my collection but were specialist fonts found on the net as needed.

So much effort is needed to install everything again on a new disc, set up mail clients and browsers so they work with the settings they once had, stuff you cope with at the time and immediately forget once it's done - life's too short and my memory too inadequate to try to retain it all. As any hard disc problems I've had have always been software related in the past and something I could cope with, I was unprepared for a total physical loss of a hard disc ... that awful sinking feeling when faced with a black screen and a blinking cursor, no familiar desktop with icons ... and I knew immediately that it was beyond my skills and called in the computer doctor who just moved in down the street. He was unable to rescue it, but did confirm that it was a dead disc, installed a new one, and mentioned the possibility of a specialist lab being able to get the data off it for a price, in the region of a thousand pounds!

So I'm out of pocket - there's never a good time for disaster to strike but this was a particularly bad time with money at an all time low - and short of time like never before. A week lost and the disc was barely a year old - 1 year's warranty of course, and anyway, the disclaimers always stress that no liability for data loss or consequential damage is accepted. It will take several more weeks before it's all back to normal, and probably months before I can re-write the book that was nearing completion, it's all in my head but the process of getting it out is always hard work and time consuming.

The lesson is, of course, back up frequently. Something I've heard and read for decades but which I've never really taken that seriously in the past, life was always too busy, and as with, I suspect, most people, I had neglected it, backing up completed work, but never ongoing and never regularly enough. Not any more. If I had had everything but everything backed up, a new disc could have quickly been up and running and it would have been as normal in a matter of hours. I have a spare hard disc which will serve as a mirror in future, everything will go on it, however seemingly unimportant. Really important stuff will also be backed up on CDs.

Sunday 4 July 2004 - throwing the baby out with the bath water

The politically correct are at it again over smacking children, and the NSPCC is at the heart of it. Immersed as they are with child abuse, they are seeking to get a law passed which would make every parent who smacked a child a criminal. They see abuse, and jump to the erroneous conclusion that any physical punishment leads to it, as if most normal people can't be trusted not to get carried away. This is a wrong conclusion and illustrates how far they have become removed from natural behaviour. All mammals chastise their young, it's a part of parenting that is designed to rear young successfully so they survive and are socialised. We are no different, there are situations where smacking is not only natural but is essential to guide the child into proper behaviour that respects others and is not life threatening.

Clearly it is not helpful to smack a small baby who has little experience and is just a set of desires and impulses prompted by the selfish gene. But children learn fast and the selfish impulse has to be moderated or the child will grow up [if it survives] to be a selfish adult unaware and uncaring of other's feelings, and we see the results of the move towards this 'protecting' of children everywhere; the temper tantrums, the violence towards parents and other adults if their selfish desires are thwarted, the anti-social behaviour which makes the lives of many a nightmare, the almost feral children who just don't know how to behave reasonably and roam the streets out of control with the parents unable to exert any influence on them. All the result of the undue attention to children's rights that has been growing over the last few years. A child threatening another's throat with a broken bottle in the street was told to desist by an adult, it's reply was 'you can't tell me what to do'. A proportion of accusations of abuse by children are subsequently found to be lies, they have learned that it's a weapon against adults. Many teachers careers have been ruined by false accusations by children who were not the victims these child-care professionals imagine them all too readily to be. And that's not to say no abuse occurs, merely that it's a mistake to believe it's as widespread as some would have us believe.

It's all a question of common sense and avoiding a black and white approach which lacks any subtlety. Children can misbehave, their desire for self gratification can lead to not only anti-social behaviour but also downright dangerous behaviour because they lack the experience of adults about a dangerous world. A quick smack to an exposed leg or arm is not the same thing as an assault, it is not gratuitous violence that will lead to worse. If a parent is loving and caring [and the vast majority are] a smack serves the two functions of stopping them and making them think, and making the point that their parent's love is not to be used against them. It gives the child a limit, it reinforces rules essential if they are not to grow up a monster with no regard for others. I speak from experience [I wonder how many 'child care professionals' actually have experience as parents rather than a set of theories] and there are times when only a smack is appropriate. It does no harm, it doesn't cause them permanent emotional damage, it merely cuts short any nascent tendency to behave in a way that is just not acceptable. And it works. No child I have ever known, my own or others, has ever turned out to be a bully or violent sociopath as a result. No child ever thought a smack meant their parent didn't love them.

It's around the ages of two to five that smacking is appropriate. Before that there isn't intentional behaviour the child cannot control, only first level desires. After five, the child should have taken on board what is expected of them and what good behaviour is and is also capable of reasoning and of understanding other punishments for straying way out of line. We see the results of the move from the strong discipline of our parents generation all about us; the child throwing a tantrum in the supermarket who continues no matter what the parent says or does, unless they give in and buy them the goody they've set their minds on. I've seen children kicking and biting parents and other children, and nothing happens. They learn from this that they can behave just how they like and nothing will happen, down the line, they will still not have learned and could end up in prison as a result of this selfish attitude which believes no rules apply to them. A three-year-old in a temper is not open to reason, they can't be talked out of it, although they can be bribed, something that is increasingly used by parents out of desperation. This then leads on to worse behaviour in the future.

Wolves [and other canines] grab the youngster by the neck and shake them, other mammals use similar chastisement, using the teeth where we use our more dextrous hands. Perhaps if smacking were banned parents would resort to the more basic method and fasten their teeth round the little darling's throat. The law would have to be amended to include this.

But the PC luvvies at the NSPCC can't see any of this, they seem to live in an imaginary world where children are all reason and fairness and all adults potential abusers, no half measures, no subtleties. Their website doesn't have any way to send them a message, just ways to donate money or report abuse, along with a load of pretty obvious stuff about parenting which other mammals seem to manage quite well without. Could it be that we lack even the most basic instincts to raise our young? Of course it's better if you can bring children up safely to be thoughtful, caring individuals able to survive in the world and interact successfully with others of their species. Some children are easy, never have the impulse to do something that's sheer madness, never want to bite the other child or bully them out of a coveted possession or treat, if your child is like that it's a bonus. Most children will occasionally behave in such a way that their life is at threat or they are hurting another, in these cases it is not just the easiest way to smack them, but the best way. It works, it solves the problem there and then and we all move on. If upset by it, it can be followed by cuddles and reassurance. It's no big thing, it hasn't hurt them let alone permanently scarred them, they are happier children for knowing where the boundaries lie, they learn from it just as they learn from touching stinging nettles or hot things, which may harm them more than a smack ever could.

It seems that for once this government is holding out against the rising tide of PC and opting for a retention of the law that allows reasonable chastisement, fearing, of course, that if they went along with this ludicrous idea they would alienate most sensible parents [voters] who neither want to harm their children nor see them turn into selfish violent brats.




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