Edinburgh South Election

I voted for the SNP this election. I wasn’t terribly impressed by their “we don’t want any cuts” idea, it seems to me if you’re in massive debt you should get rid of that debt as soon as possible. But they remain the party that I find myself in agreement with most often and I was very annoyed at them being left out of the leaders debates, the London establishment really doesn’t understand that the party of government should have a say in the main election event.

Voting over I decided to tick off another of the items on my list of things to do before I die and attend the election count for Edinburgh. Kindly the SNP invited me to attend to keep an eye on the counters and make sure they were treating everyone fairly. Turn out an election count is mostly boring. Even the political speaches at the results announement are nothing more than a poor-man’s Oscar thanks.

It’s a busy event, there are at least 65 staff for each constituency on the night and Edinburgh has 5 constituencies. Then there are all the party hangers on who are tasked with keeping an eye on the counter or keeping up spirits for their tired out candidate. There are also press and tele cameras around the place.

As a couning agent my job was to look over the shoulder of the counters as they unfolded the votes and take a rough count to get a feel for which wards are popular and which unpopular with the party I happen to be helping. I’m not sure why they can’t just get the counts listed for each ward officially but seems this low tech low reliabiliity approach is the preferred way.

First unfolding done and suddently everybody stops for lunch. In the middle of the night. Hungry work all this unfolding paper.

The second round of counting starts sometime after midnight when the papers are actually sorted into piles for each party. The occational “none of the above” or even full essay written on the voting paper provide occational humour.

Around one in the morning the higher profile candidates arrive. Colin Fox has been around all night making sure every one of his meagre Scottish Socialist Party votes gets counted properly while Alistair Darling can wander in (followed by a large number of press photographers) much later happily assured he’ll manage to win without any effort.

Around three in the morning the results start getting announced. Alistair Darling was entirely right to assume he’d win without bother. His Labour supporters all look like they would fit much better into the Tory party, polished shoes and all. He didn’t bother giving any more than one sentence for a speach before rushing off to try and pretend he was still in government. Best speaches for the night came from the various socialist parties who seem to have spintered into multiple factions again following Tommy Sheridan imploding. One of them had the microphone turned off while talking all because he wanted to make a serious political point rather than thanking his election agent and dog for helping during the election, shame.

No loony politicians in Edinburgh (a shame, they often make the best ones) but Leith constituency did sport the curious Liberal Party (unrelated to Lib Dems), various socialists and some bloke who claimed to be campaiging for the “great British pound”.

Four sets of results in and Edinburgh remains strongly Labour, infact even stronger than the start of the night. Quite mystifying, presumably people want to keep the Tories out. Only my own Edinburgh South is unfinished. SNP man Sandy Howat turns out to be good crack and quite perceptive but the early count showed he was in poor fouth. Tory bloke failed to make much progress, so there is some sense in the world. The piles of votes in the centre of the counting hall show Lib Dems and Labour to be exactly even. The candidates are called into the centre to be shown the results. The Labour man hugs his agent. Lib Dem Fred Macintosh seems to be talking to the returning officer and before long a bundle recount is in order. An hour later that finishes with more talking and muttering in the centre and a full recount follows soon after. By 5 in the morning most people have gone home but eventually the cheer goes around the hall from the polished show crowd with the Labour rosettes.

Edinburgh South results. Poor old Fred Macintosh who put so many leflets through our door every day lost by 300 votes. Mystifying indeed. Sandy Howat of the SNP moaned about how the country had rejecting the Conservaties but it seems by that logic they wanted Labour. Trouble is the English had a different idea and now David Cameron is Prime Minister. Fooey.

BCU Advanced Whitewater Safety and Rescue

I did the BCU Advanced Whitewater Safety and Rescue course with Steve MacKinnon (H2O Outdoors) and Dave Rossetter (Standing Waves, RCO, SCA, BCU, most everything). The course follows on from the basic Whitewater Safety and Rescue with more jumping in rivers, pulling people off rocks and running after boats. Here are my notes for my own benefit and anyone else who cares to read them.

We talked about safe paddling, how preparations for a safe trip have to be made from the start. The most useful bit of kit for a river leader/rescuer seems to be the 5 metre length of climbers webbing tape, often tied together to make a sling.

Creating an anchor is important for attaching ropes to boats or people. You can create one by tying the length of webbing strapping carried by all river leaders around a rock or tree. Tie it with an overhand knot or an overhand rethread water knot (stronger but harder to undo).

Climbers webbing/tape sling tied with an overhand knot.
Tied with a rethreaded water knot

You can wrap the webbing around the anchor three times using the two untied loops as the anchor point, this is wrap 2 tie 1 and is usually more than is necessary for a kayak.

Using a chair as an anchor with wrap 2 tie 1 (trees are more common than chairs when paddling though)

attaching your throwline to an anchor will create a pulley system for pulling a heavy object such as a person or boat.


This is a basic 1:1 pulley, it offers no paticular advantage compared to just holding the rope except a change of direction may be useful depending on the terrain


Here we’ve added a loop in the pulley, it means the holder does not have to hold full tension to keep the rope in place, however it can get tangled


Here we’ve added an italian hitch a much better way to create a belay to allow the holder to lose tension without slipping (but it does allow to move the rope backwards if needed).

A prussic is a ~1metre length of rope which is tied in a loop (with a double fishermans knot), the rope’s diameter should be smaller than that of your throwline rope. You use a prussic to tie a prusik knot with your throwline rope to act as a ratchet to allow the rope to be reset in position without slipping back under load. (I’m unclear why the BCU mispells the length of rope compared to the name of the knot but they seem to do it consistently).

A prussic

To pull a heavy load (e.g. pulling a full boat off a rock) you can create a pulley system. A 3:1 pulley system is made with an anchor, a throwline’s rope, pulleys, karabinas and prussics.

a 3:1 pulley system attached to an anchor (the chair) and tied with a clove hitch at the bottom. When pulling from the rope at the top the rope at the bottom (attached to your heavy canoe) will move with 1/3rd the effort compared to a straight pull and will move only 1/3rd the distance (if the boat is stuck on a rock this is often enough to get it off). Once the pulley has been pulled through the bottom karabina will have moved up to the top one and it can not be reset.


This pulley system has a prusik knot attached instead of a clove hitch at the bottom. Once the pulley has been pulled through the bottom karabina can be slid back down the rope to continue pulling more.

Here we have added a second prissic tied with a one way prusik knot called a Klemheist, this will stop the pulley being pulled back if you stop your load, however the knot is likely to get tangled in the pulley and a second person is needed to stop this happening.

Instead of a prussic you can use webbing tape to create a criss cross knot that does the same job

When helping a person down a slope you can attach the rope to their harness on their lifejacket. When raising you can put a rope around their body and hold with karabiner and clove hitch. Ropes used by canoeists aren’t suitable for a vertical lowering, only an aid on a slope.

When climbing down a bank you could lower a person down as described above or you could just attach a rope at the top (not to the person) and use that to help stabalise. Can lower boats using the 1:1 pulley system shown above. You can use alternate ends of the rope for each boat, lower on one end then next boat on the other end which is now raised.

When rescuing a person stuck in the middle of a river usually the first task is to create a stabalising line. Throw or row a rope across the river upstream of the victim (attach two together if on a wide river) and walk down to the victim. You can get it under his arms by pulling tight which will push it under the water briefly (you could also just push down with a paddle blade from the bank). In most cases a stabalising line is enough to allow the victim to save himself.

if you have to send in a person to help the victim use a V or Y lower rescue. Two throwlines are attached to the rescuer’s harness, lose end of one throwline is taken across to the other river bank. The rescuer swims in upstream of the victim and is lowered down the river current by those holding the ropes on the bank. In a Y rescue only one rope is attached to the rescuer and the second rope is attached with a karabina to the first, giving more of a vector to pull the rescuer over.

If you only have access to a single bank you can tie two throwlines together with a sling and have two people throw it over the victim to loop him.

A synch is a rescue system using four throwbags and four people, two on each bank. Two throwlines get stretched across the river from opposite sides on either side of the victim and attached to each other on the opposite bank. The attachment points then each get another throwline which acts as the reset/delay lines. The main lines get pulled tight to create a loop around the victim, the delay lines can be pulled to withdraw the loop or adjust its position.

A person trapped in a river being rescued by a synch. 1 & 3 are main lines, 2 & 4 are delay lines. This is only useful if you have people on both banks who know how to do this method of rescue.

When chasing a boat down a river which has been separated from its paddler you usually want at least two people, one can scout ahead for danger or opportunities. First thing is to turn the boat upright making it easier to move. Can use a sling to move it.

When rescuing a swimmer from the bank with a throwline (or sling) it is important to shout instructions at the person, often to the point of being aggressive and bossy (you can appologise for being rude once they are safe). You need a good stance. A second person can hold you if you have poor footing, or can hold the rope if poor grip or load is too heavy (and a swimmer in a rapid is a very heavy load). Always hold the rope with thumbs upwards (fingers and wrists turned down). A second rope can be added to the first one to act as a vector pull.

holding a rope in a z-grip with thumbs up

throwline with vector line, the vector line makes it much easier to pull the victim to the bank

Live bait means jumping in the river to grab hold of a swimmer in a current. The rescuer has a throwline attached to their life jacket harness. Jumping in too late is better than too soon, the victim can get tangled in the rope if you jump in downstream of them.

Once the victim is at the bank he may need some first aid or comfort. You can use spraydecks or life jackets to provide padding and insulation from the ground. Airbags make for good pillows. Your ever handy tape/webbing sling can be used as a tie for a leg splint or an arm sling. Airbags can help pad out the splint or sling too. A victim who can’t walk can be carried with slings.

Anti Trident Demo in Edinburgh

Went to the anti Trident demo today run by Scotland’s for peace. Quite a quiet affair walking up the high street, could have benefited from some drums. Alex Salmond spoke first, made me happy to live in a country where the first minister still goes on peace marches.

Oor Alex.


On Having a Birthday on Christmas Eve

My birthday is on Christmas Eve. Every year I get asked by people if this is annoying because people are distracted and I might get one present where otherwise I would get two. Actually I find the opposite is true. On Christmas Eve people are in the mood for a celebration which is due to come, they’ve done all their Christmas preparations and bought any food they need, most people are on holiday and many who aren’t normally in Edinburgh have back here to visit their family. So there are usually plenty of people around with nothing better to do than have some fun. I find few people only give me one present, quite the contrary it means people who wouldn’t have given me anything do give me something. My facebook wall has never been so busy with good wishes (it’s still not going to make me use facebook, humbug) and IRC has been full of birthday pings.

Yesterday I went sledging, this morning I had breakfast brought to me in bed, I got lots of lovely present from lovely people and we went to see Avatar which is Hollywood doing what it does best (doubling the economy of New Zealand). Tomorrow I’m going for a canoe in an open canadian. Christmas can be fun.

Whitewater Guide River Ericht

Today I paddled the River Ericht. We lost a boat after a rescue took longer than it was possible to go chasing after it 🙁

There’s no guide to the Ericht on ukriversguidebook so here’s one I’ve written which I’ll submit to him.


Level: There is a SEPA gage on the river, anything above 0.9m is paddleable. http://www.sepa.org.uk/water/river_levels/river_level_data.aspx?id=14956
Length: 5km
Time: 1 to 2 hours
Grades: 2/3 (5)


The Ericht put in is from the old section of A93 which is now a gated road two miles north of Blairgowrie. Access to the road is from the north end, once you get onto the new section of A93 watch for a turning on the right opposite a sign marked “Manor Farm Private”. There is an unlocked gate with an SCA sign 20m into the road. The road is no longer maintained so watch out for trees, mud and leaves. Park in the layby 100m north of the closed metal bridge. It is a steep 50m long scramble down a muddy bank to a small eddy in the river, use ropes to get the boats down.

The get out is river left above the weir at Keithbank Mill, walk along the path and over the footbridge to Keithbank Mill (now luxury flats) where you can park. Cargill’s Leap is just below Keithbank Mill and is avoided by all but the daft. An alternative get out is to paddle into Blairgowrie and get out above or below the bridge.


The first 2km is grade 2 with limited gaps for breathers/rescues. The lines are clear and there are few hazards.

Beyond the the A93 bridge there is a final grade 2 rapid before the river goes up a notch and becomes fairly constant grade 3 until Keithbank Mill. Bigger waves and steeper rapids including a broken weir, the unstable confluence with Lornty Burn coming from the right and a pipe crossing above.

The weir at Keithbank mill has a steep angle and best avoided (the normal take out is above it). Shortly after is the grade 5 Cargill’s Leap which includes two narrow channels both with hard recirculation below. The top narrow channel has a chicken shoot on river right but it ends directly in the recirculation which will push you onto the stone bank.

The weir at Blairgowrie is reported to be paddleable and a surf wave appears below the bridge at hight levels.


Cargill’s Leap is a notable hazard and counts the death of one paddler researching for the SCA’s Scottish White Water guidebook.

The section above the get in from Bridge of Calley includes the scenic but hazardus Craighall’s Gorge. This is hard to portage and once features on the BBC’s 999 programme after novice paddlers got stuck and had to be rescued by climbers.


Open Whitewater Maps, coming soon

Copyright Jonathan Riddell 2009, may be freely copied with the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Scotland Licence.

UKCC BCU Level 1 Coaching Course Notes

I did my level 1 canoe coaches course at Glenmore Lodge with Dave Rosseter (who seems to have a large chunk of the market). This includes a day doing the Foundation Safety and Rescue Course. Here are my notes for my own use and anyone else who cares.

Fundamentals of coaching. Coaching priorities are (in order of importance): Safety, Enjoyment, Learning. Safety involves a risk assessment, which can be site specific and can be dynamic (i.e. thinking about risks).

Foundation skills of canoeing are: Posture, Contact Points, Power Transfer and Feel.

There are different teaching styles.

Direct instruction is when you tell people what to do. Pros: Control. Cons: Not student led.
Practice, where you keep doing something. Practice akes permanant (can be good or bad). Can be boring.
Self Check. Give some check points and ask them to see if they are doing it. Gives independence. May do the wrong thing.
Guided Discovery. Ask them to work out how to do something. Gives ownership of learning. Enforces habits. Time consuming.

When observing canoeing look for Body, Boat and Blades. Think about the indicators for a good stroke.

During a rescue the order of importance is: Self, Team, Casualty then Equipment.

Rescue techniques from low to high risk are: shout, reach, throw, row, (go).

When leading remember CLAP: Communication, Line of Site, Avoidance and Position of maximum usefulness.

Learning Styles: Pragmatist (wants to know why, likes feedback and confirmation), Activist (jumps into it, likes discovery), Theorist (wants the technical information), Reflector (sits back and observes, likes demos).

For demos, can separate example and description.

A good coach will be able to teach Technical, Tactical, Physical and Phychological capabilities.

Canoeists First Aid Course Notes

I went on a first aid course held by Leo Hoare of Getafix, the course had an ourdoor activities theme and included plenty of scenarios to get into practice should a problem ever happen. Here are my notes for my own purposes and incase anyone finds them useful.

The definitive first aid manual is the one by St Andrew’s Ambulance. Everyone should have it. Sp Services good place to buy equipment.

Strong waterproof boxes for first aid are from Pelicase.

Items to carry:

  • Asprin, for heart attacks
  • Phone
  • Asthma inhailer, blue (prescription only, find a friendly doctor)
  • bandages
  • wound dressing
  • sterile water and/or wipes
  • scissors
  • dermabond glue (alternatives to stitches, only if far away from help, very expensive)
  • plasters, waterproof
  • paper stitches/steripads
  • torch
  • triangular bandages, preferably made of canvas and oversized for canoeing
  • disposable gloves, for hygene
  • glucagel for hypo-diabetic fits (or sugar)
  • duct tape, useful for everything

When dealing with an incident remember priority: Self, Team, Public, Casualty

Check vital (life) signs.

  • Level of counciousness – alert, vocal, pain (pinch ear hard), unresponsive
  • Breathing – ear to mouth, hand on tummy for 10 seconds. Gurgling not good, put on side. Rasping, side, clear mouth. Panting, could be shock, check for bleeding
  • Pulse, check for 15 seconds and x4. Typical resting pulse is 60-80, children/fat people 90+, athelites down to 30. Hard to find and fast suggests blood loss. Slow and easy to find suggests head injury.
  • Temperature, check under arm
  • Colour. blotchy suggests alergy. grey or white not good. too red could be CO poisoning, asphyxiation, sunburn. Check inside lip on dark skin.

When attending a casulty the ABCs are:

  • A: Alert, Airway, Assess, Ambulance
  • B: Breathing
  • C: Circulation, Catastrophic bleeding, Cold, Colour, Capillary Refill
  • D: Deformity
  • E: Evaluation, Emotion/TLC, Environment

For chocking: 5 back slaps, 5 abdonimal thrusts

CPR: 30 chest compresses @ 100/minute, 2 breaths

broken rib, tape fro spine to check to hold a bit. Flail broken rib, nasty

Puncture wound – stop air getting in, duct tape it.

Protruding object, leave it in, pad round it and bandage.

Heart attack, get them sitting up, give asprin.

Sprains need Rest, Ice (cover in tea towel to stop frost burns), Elevation, Compression.

There is no way to tell between a sprain and a break except an x-ray.

For broken/sprained arm: lower arm, sling infront of shoulder; higher arm, sling behind shoulder.

Broken colar bone use figure of 8 sling.

Don’t put a dislocated shoulder back in. You can put back in a dislocated finger but you have to be confident when doing it, pull hard.

Diabetics can be high or low on sugar. Hypo (low) acts slow, drunk, give them sugar. Hyper (high) jump around, give them insulin injection. For an unconcious diabetic where it’s unknown if too high or low smell their breath, if pungent and sweet then too high, else too low.

Epileptics, don’t go in a closed canoe.

Allergic anaphylactic shock has a closed airway and dilated bloodvesels. Give adrenaline injection, gives about 45 minutes of recovery time. Put their feet up,

Scottish European Election Results

I went to see the European election announcement. SNP were out in force. Labour kept a low profile. Lib Dems and Tories both managed to claim victory despite losing. BNP racists didn’t get near a seat but were depressingly high compared to some of the other small parties.

Cheesy bunch.

More photos on Flickr

European Election in Scotland

My voting paper came through the door. There’s a long list of parties to chose from, some of whom I’ve never hard of. What’s depressing is the lack of political campaigning and news coverage. I’ve had lots of political leaflets through the door recently, but none of them have mentioned any EU policities. EU policies are hard to come by since the parliament is only a revision chamber (although this should change a bit if the Lisbon treaty comes through) and there’s no democratic government, but they could at least try.

I looked up all the (non-fascist) party’s websites and they’re all sadly lacking. I was most impressed with the lib dems who have a readable one page summary and Scottish Greens who actually put their manifesto PDF online. Scottish Labour have an interesting list of 100 things their MEPs have done, but no mention of what they will do. All the parties have videos, which are all entirely uninteresting, they’re about UK or Scottish issues and nothing to do with Europe.

EU Profiler is an interesting site which quizzes you on what you want and returns parties. I’m between SNP and Lib Dem. I’ve put my cross on the paper for SNP. The Lib Dems lost my vote by saying they want more military funding, while the SNP remain pleasingly against nuclear weapons (not that it’s an EU issue). SNP MEPs have also been very helpful to me in the past when I’ve written to them.

The postal ballot paper is far too complex, it involves reading lots of disjointed text and pictures, tearing in some places and not tearing in others. It’s also not single transferable vote, you only get to chose for one party and they chose the candidates for you.

If only one of the parties had mentioned they were against software patents, I’d have voted for them unreservadly.

Curiosities of Politics

This isn’t an easy admission to make, but I read the News of the World website. The first thing that’s curious about the site is that even the scant amount of non-celebrity stories in the newspaper are really hard to find on it, it really is all celebrity non-news focused. Eventually I find the story about my MP Nigel Griffiths who has been photographed with a woman in her underwear in the House of Commons. Well, allegedly, the photos are of someone sticking their leg outside a door. He isn’t actually in any of the photos. And even if you were drunk and seduced by a suspiciously keen women wouldn’t you realise something was up when she started sticking her leg outside the office door where a photographer happened to be? It feels a lot like a set up to me but why then would the paper sit on the photos for six months. I don’t understand it.

There’s a European election in a month but from the activity of the parties you would never know it. Alastair Darling sent a constituent communications leaflet round saying he was “determined to do his bit” to help people in these hard times, like giving money handouts to pregnant mothers. Governments handing out money always seems like a desparate attempt to get votes. As Chancellor it would seem he could “do his bit” by fixing the economy, but that wasn’t mentioned. All very strange but not as strange as sending your constituent communications leaflets to the wrong addresses, I live in Nigel Griffiths’ constituency, no wonder the economy is screwed. Oh and no mention of European elections.

SNP sent me a begging letter for money (I’m a party member, they do this frequently) claiming they needed it for the European elections, then go on to give a questionnaire about council matters. Curiously off topic. Lib Dems sent round their newspaper which I usually quite like (as propaganda goes), again minimal reference to European elections. I watched a Tory party election broadcast with David Cameron, entirely about UK issues and barely a mention that there’s an election coming up. It’s like the parties just have nothing to say on the topic.

The only party I have had anything from which is actually about the elctions is UKIP. The usual Europhobic scaremongering with a picture of (Conservative party man) Winston Churchill on it. Just how stupid are these people? Winston Churchill was the first person to suggest a “United States of Europe” and was all for integration. Meanwhile the fascist BNP has voters who don’t exist.


I bought a shares ISA today. This is a horrible gamble. Last year I bought one and of course it’s worth half the price now than I paid for it. But hopefully this means the stock market is at a low and it’ll get better. Or maybe not.

How I Eat, Suma and East Coast Organics

Food is useful stuff, it’s handy to have around. It’s also expensive and quite precious so it’s a good thing to consume it properly. I buy most of my food from Suma a wholesalers who specialise in wholefoods, organic and fairtrade. It’s a vastly cheaper way of buying food because it comes delivered in bulk at wholesale prices. We tend to group together purchases with friends so the minimum order (£250) is easy to reach. The food is mostly simple stuff, grains and pulses but I also get sauces, drink concentrate, chocolate and others. It makes it cheap to buy organic and fairtrade food and although it takes up storage space it does mean much less hassle for going out to the shops every week.

For fresh food I get a vegetable box from East Coast Organics. I get fruit and eggs in it too. I’ve actually no idea how the value compares against supermarkets but it also saves me going to shops, ensure I always have fresh food needing used up and helps the local economy more. The veg mix is often fun and interesting, I’ve never had a brocciflower before using this box scheme for example.

East Coast is a biodynamic farm. I’m reliably told this is a silly Rudolph Steiner thing which is no good whatsoever except for marketing to Steiner School parents. Fairtrade is undoubtably a good thing although I tend to buy local or European in preference to far away. Organic is probably good for biodiversity but it is a deliberately more inefficiant way of farming, so could be said to be quite selfish. I don’t eat meat at home, I consider it a luxury given how much energy and space resources are needed to grow it and only eat it in luxury situations such as restaurants.

Jury Service in Scotland

Edinburgh Sheriff Court called me up for jury service. This is an important responsibility, but because you are not allowed to discuss the trial as a juror there’s no information out on the internets about what happens and no guidance about how you should come to a decision. I turned up and was surprised to find the viewing seats were full. Scotland has a (large) jury of 15 but the pool they are picked from on the day was about 50, I didn’t work out why there needs to be a large pool to pick from since we are already picked from the electoral register at random. We shuffled in and I was surprised we were amongst the accused, the claimant and both their families. Fiscal and lawyer and clerk muttered in hushed tones to each other in turn and wandered in and out the room. We were dismissed and told to come back later. We came back for more of the same and were dismissed again.

After some lunch we reconvened and were told he had decided to plead guilty to some of the accusations and the crown had accepted the plea and this was the reason for the delays. The Procurator Fiscal read out to the judge who the accused was, a gent who lived with a woman and acted as father to her children over about 15 years. She read out his various sexual abuse acts in technical detail to the Sheriff all of which was very uncomfortable to sit through. A woman stormed out shouting “burn in hell”. The claimant ran out in tears. The accused had originally said he didn’t remember any of the incidents and suffered from blackouts after drinking. To some of the questions he had given no response. If he had continued to insist on his innocence and I don’t know what the correct way to make a decision would have been. The circumstances seemed to point to guilt but how could I say which of the particular incidents with no evidence and no witnesses except the claimant did or didn’t happen without letting prejudices (fat skinhead paedophile) get in the way?

The Sheriff called for reports from social services for guidance in sentencing, she said he may get a prison sentence for these serious crimes. I wonder if the claimant will find justice to be served and I wonder if the accused will get help for his problem, I suspect neither is possible. Justice is hard to get right and I’m a bit relieved not to have had to make such a decision without any guidance.

Nice to be popular (unless you’re Yvette Bettley)

It’s nice to be popular, my blog’s traffic has increased from about 150 readers yesterday to 100 times that today. Amongst the people looking to my blog for gossip on poor old Yvette Bettley the polis woman who is illegally a member of the BNP are someone at the Scottish Parliament (they got in first) followed by someone at gsi.gov.uk (could be any government department). First press on her case was from Trinity Mirror Group with the Torygraph later in the day (who have now published the article talking about “helpful bloggers” but sadly also making the defaming comment that Quakers are typical BNP members, grr).

People have also been searching for other names on the list, including the pagan chap and the witch. I wonder if any of them are vanity searches of people checking how far their new reputation has spread.

There’s a real danger of these poor innocent racists being harrassed unfairly, so I’ve gone out of my way to ensure that the local ones won’t be.

They are still people!

Wikileaks gets BNP member list

The excellent Wikileaks got hold of a list of BNP members. Is there a racist in your street? Now you can know.

The well informed Lancaster Unity blog has some (occationally over optimistic sounding) coverage.

Out of about 12000 records, a depressing 56 members in the EH area, including a chap called Roderick E. Riddell living in Maxwell Street not far from me. No relation fortunately.

An A.R. Williams from Devizes is listed as “Hobbies: amateur radio & ‘church-crawling’. Quaker attender”. Creepy. I e-mailed his meeting suggesting they have a chat to him about the equality testimony.

There’s a polis woman Yvette Bettley listed as “Discretion required re. employment concerns” (Police are banned from BNP membership), the same comment is by a couple of others.

More comedy is Rod Chapman from Dereham listed as “Window cleaner. Former pig farmer. Pagan prison chaplain. Hobbies: growing mistletoe, rune making (wood).” I wonder how one gets to be a Pagan prison chaplain, hopefully the prison will kick him out. Jason Cotterill-Attaway from Nottingham is listed as “Interested in disabiity rights and setting up a British Pagan group” and there I was thinking pagans would be all happy and inclusive. Paul Shaddick “describes himself as a witch: potential embarrassment if active”.

Matthew Jenkins of Ilminster was apparantly “embarrassed by revelations in Private Eye re. councillors”, I wonder what that was.

While it’s fun to look for the interesting characters on this list, most of them will be “skinhead oiks” (I know, I lived over the road from them for some time) Hopefully this leak will stop some of these racists paying their membership next year.

Update: this blog post has been pleasingly popular, thanks Google. Wikileaks got a bit overloaded so you can find the list here or from this torrent. More fun is a map of BNP members near me.

My previous posts on the BNP Tipton: vote against racism, Racism at Westmorland Teebay, BNP out of Princes End, Tipton, Sandwell and Facist Pub Burned Down.

Hilary Benn in Leith

Went to see Hilary Benn in Leith last night. It’s always great to see politicians, especially senior ones like him, come and meet the public in ways which aren’t primarily for press coverage. The turnout was maybe 100 people which I think was disappointingly small. It was a question and answer session about the environment. He started with a short introduction to the issue, and he’s obviously a good speaker as you would expect from a top politician, almost too good and sometimes spoke so loud and strictly I felt a bit uncomfortable in my seat.

The answers were a bit disappointing though. He started off badly when someone asked about the environmental legacy of the Polaris nuclear weapons submarines which are still at Rosyth and he replying about the tactical justification for a new nuclear submarine system rather than about the environmental nuclear issue it leaves behind. Other questions were answered more directly. Ones which stood out include should we count energy use per person or per country (per person means that a country can’t just move dirty industries abroad), he said no. How can the government reconcile building new airport runways with not destroying the planet? He said people want to fly, that’s fine but then less carbon needs to be emitted elsewhere. What about plans to build new coal power stations? Carbon capture may save us all there.

He was optimistic about the future and told us all to not be so pessimistic. You could easily consider that to be apathy on his part, or more likely the everyday needs of governments to not do things to annoy their voters like tax air travel to the extent that it would make a difference. The other problem to getting stuff like that done is keeping the UK competitive against other countries who’s voters are equally short term minded. I can see why these guys get voted in, but I’m far from convinced it is going to save the world in time.

Facist Pub Burned Down

Walking along the road in Glorious Tipton the other day I smelled smoke. Seems the fascist Lagoon pub was no more.

This newspaper article gives a nice overview of the area. Arson, squatters, stupid Tory councillor, fascist councillor, fascist pub, machete attacks. I wonder who the “they” is who Beatrice Owen says is dumping derelict houses on her ward. I try not to be snobby, but it’s just so hard.

Things I Like

Some of the little pleasures in life I like:

Digital radio. Especially Chill Radio, BBC 7 and BBC World Service.

Amazon Marketplace, helps you get rid of stuff you’ve used and much less hassle than ebay’s time limited method, also cheap things to buy.

A slice of ginger in a glass of water. Very refreshing.

Freshly made home cooked hummus. Nothing nicer.

Cycling to places you wouldn’t otherwise go. Cramond Island and Roslin Glen are a couple of nice examples.

Innocent Smoothies on a hot day.

Wheetos. Top breakfast cereal.

Yann Tiersen and Martyn Bennett, my favourite musicians.

A game of squash. Playing with bouncy balls for grown ups.

Sandman comic books by Neil Gaiman.


Utterly bemused by London voting for Boris. Crazyness.

In Glorious Tipton the normally Labour/BNP fight was lost to a Tory.

I can’t work out why people think David Cameron’s party will do anything better than Gordon Brown’s.

Scouts Drop Promise and Law

Edinburgh Scouts have merged with the surrounding areas to create the all new South East Scotland Scouts. Queue new website complete with Content Management System cleverness. Unfortunately my suggestion to release the site content under a creative commons licence was rejected with “that is not appropriate”. Back when I was a Cub I promised “To help other people” and we tried to follow the law of “Think of others before themselves”, it is sad to see that this has been dropped.