SadButMadLad's Blog

Just another blog complaining about anything and everything

Archive for September 2010

Acorn Close, Barlby

A primary school in Barlby, near Selby, just south of York has taken leave of their senses and given into to a few obnoxious residents who complained about noise levels. Obviously everyone in the blogosphere and in the MSM are going WTF! Has the world gone mad? Have the rights of a few old people* living in Acorn Close, Barlby trumped the rights of dozens of young kids who need to exercise?

Yes is the answer. It’s all down to 13 years of political correctness where everything has to be fair and everyone has human rights. This means that the human rights of someone who buys a house near a school gets it into their head that they have a right to complain about the noise levels of kids playing. This is kids playing at lunch time. The middle of the day. When right minded people are usually at work.

But why did the council get in touch with the school and raise the noise issue with them? Are they politically correct left leaning councillors? Not quite.

Even though Labour have been in power nationally for 13 years, this is a Conservative council since 2003. But local councillors are just politicians like MPs. Those councillors who do have power, the ones on committees, like to keep their empires and enhance them. Being Tory or Labour doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. They all care about themselves and not their electors.

The other factor in how the council reacted is the council officers. These are employees of the council and are not elected officials. These are the real poison in councils. These people are the ones on excessively high salaries (some CEOs of councils are paid more than the PM) who bow to no one, not even councillors. These are the ones with real power. These are the ones who are the left leaning politically correct busy bodies even if the whole council was comprised of Tory councillors. These are the ones who make life awkward and difficult for anyone with any common sense.

So the council, read council officials who have nothing better to do except create work for themselves to justify their existence, raised a meeting with the school and told them that they had received complaints about the noise. They did this because they had a duty to react after any complaint. This means they react without thought. So the council officials have pretty much told everyone that they don’t have any common sense and didn’t talk to the complainants to ensure that they really had a reason for making their complaint. No, what they did is go straight to the school because that way they can have a meeting because having meetings means that they can discuss the issue and pass the buck on to someone else. In this case the school.

So the school gets the story from the council that complaints have been made. And the council have probably talked up the issue because a silly little complaint would be worth having a meeting about would it? So the school hears the story as a major complaint has been received by the council, that the council have had to think about noise abatement orders (a way of making the issue bigger than it is and scaring the school further) and possibly call in consultants (more scaring about the thought of expensive consultants) to check the noise levels with their fancy machines.

The school’s board now have to react because they have been passed the buck by the council. And they are worried that they might incur extra costs if they don’t follow the council’s advice. This is advice from a person who probably has no legal background nor intelligence. The only thing they have was perceived authority based on FUD. The school’s board, who don’t have the background nor experience of how to handle such situations as they are only ordinary people wanting to do best for the kids, do what they can only do in such situations. Issue a ban as that is what they’ve seen loads of other organisations do in such situations. They can’t talk to the complainants, because the council wouldn’t tell them who they are because of data protection issues (amazing that organisations use this when they don’t want to do something, but freely ignore it when it’s our data they lose). They can’t negotiate with the householders who live on the other side of the fence. An acoustic fence mind you. They can’t find out what’s causing the irritation to the householders to work out if its a particular thing or just the noise in general. So what they do ban noise making activities. They stagger the kids playtime – this only lengthens the noise making period. They ban hard ball games – as if that making more noise than kids screaming.

This will not solve the problem as the complainant (there will be a key person, the other two are just hangers on) will probably not be satisfied till the school is shut down. They probably lived there for many years, years before the school was built in 2002. They probably didn’t want the school then. Rather than move, they demand that their human rights are taken into account and that they are more important than the human rights of dozens of kids. They were probably the single person who complained when they school put in a planning application for an extension in 2007. This ties in with reports in some newspapers that the noise level increased due to “funnelling” after the recent redesign of the school. And this redesign and extension must have been big to change the noise levels so much. You would think so. But in fact it’s a single class room. Not even two story. And conditions were imposed as part of the planning including the installation of an acoustic fence. All I can think of about the noise objection is that this was put in by a very pedantic NIMBY. How does a single class room extension make the slightest difference to noise levels outside? Does a single classroom extension suddenly increase the number of kids at the school to unimaginably high levels where the noise levels are unbearable.

Unlike a lot of journalists, I’ve did a quick bit of research. Only five minutes mind. I’m not paid to do this kind of work. Amazing what you can find out on Google and some thought.

Oh, and have a look at the attached picture and see how many houses are near the school. The green line is the acoustic fence. The red box is the single classroom extension.

North Yorkshire Planning Committee report on Barlby Primary school extension – 2007

GoogleMaps of Barlby Primary school

* I’m only assuming that it is old people because they stereotypically are the ones who are at home during the day and who can be arsey enough to make a complaint. I make this assumption from Streetview where I notice that the houses in the local estate are predominately bungalows and houses have very neat front gardens. The are other possibilities, but pensioners are my guess.

Update: More info on BBC news item here, and Guardian article here.

Written by sbml

September 18, 2010 at 00:04

Homeopathy is a religion?

A quicky stream of consciousness post here.

Homeopathy is the practise of using a diluted upon diluted upon diluted upon diluted chemical with the expectation that even though it has been diluted to the point of nothingness the original chemical has transferred its molecular properties to the water. The scientific principles behind it are pretty much non-existent. Well, not pretty much. None at all. Especially when you take into account placebo effects.

Therefore the people who think that homeopathy works must have some faith in the medicine that they are using.

Now faith is a belief that is not based on proof. Exactly what religion is. Therefore you can deduce that is a religion and should be treated as such. Shops such as Holland&Barrett are therefore their temples and should be excluded from business rates and other commercial considerations. They can also use laws against religious hatred to protect them from the ridicule that they get from scientific people.

But then this leads on to other thoughts.

Faith explains why Christians and Muslims and Jews (other religions do exist) believe in their god(s). They have a faith that is based on nothing much more than something which makes them feel good. Some religions use moral superiority as the feel good factor, others use peace and goodwill, whilst others use to explain away all the random acts that nature instills on the world. And because their faith is based on nothingness (just like homeopathy’s nothingness) there is no way you can argue with them to tell them that their belief is stupid and illogical. Nor can you tell them that their faith is wrong and some other faith is the one and true faith.

All that you can do is accept that they have these weird faiths. They should be protected from persecution since physical harm is not to be condoned in any form. Maybe they should be protected from ridicule too, but I don’t think so. If their belief in their faith is strong it will naturally resist all attempts of abuse. Therefore any religious person who demands legal protection by such forms like religious hatred laws is a person who is unsure of their faith. Such people should be helped by their group to better understand their faith. They should not force their religion on others who don’t belive in it. Because asking a person of another faith (or non-faith) to stop the ridicule is basically telling the other person that they have to recognise the faith as something tangible – when it isn’t – it’s based on nothingness. It also requires the other person to acknowledge that the faith of the first person which is pretty much forcing the religion on the other person.

Free speech allows people to speak their mind, which also means people can have weird beliefs. It does not allow people to force their beliefs on others (who might not have any faith or an opposing faith). They can argue and debate, but as part of this give and take, they have to accept that ridicule is part of the debating process.

Ridicule can take on many forms. It can be as simple as jokes. It can also be as complex as the destroying the faith’s principle articles of faith in various manners. So destroying pastilles of Rescue Remedy because you can prove that they don’t actually contain anything other than sugar is just as valid as destroying a book because you can prove that it doesn’t contain any facts. A person who believes in homeopathy shouldn’t care that their precious pills have been shown to contain nothing as that is what they believe in. A person who believes in a god shouldn’t care that a copy of their precious book has been shown to contain nothing of fact as that is what they believe in – non facts.

The world is such a complex place with all manners and forms of faiths being mixed up and forgotten about and created that it is impossible to allow faiths to have any form of protection. It’s not like the past where groups could keep to themselves because there weren’t any forms of easy transportation or communication. Not allowing demonstrations of non faith also means that it could be denying one religion their form of belief. When you have Christians believing that Jesus is the messiah and Jews believing that the messiah hasn’t arrived yet and Muslims believing that Jesus is just a normal person you can see that conflict with religious hatred laws will arise straight off the bat. A Muslim laughing and joking about Jesus not being special could be locked up for religious hatred. A Christian taking the piss out of a Muslim for thinking that Mohammed is special when it should be Jesus could be locked up for religious hatred. A scientist laughing and joking about the Jews belief in the Old Testament could be locked up for religious hatred. In return a scientist should expect to be made a laughing-stock by religious people for thinking that the universe created itself and is made up of strings.

This is what free speech means. The right to be made fun of, to be ridiculed.

So it what longer than a quicky post, but it was a stream of consciousness going from homeopathy to faith to religion to religious hatred to free speech.

Do practitioners of homeopathy not wash their hands? After all, diluting the germs with water makes them stronger, right? The more you wash, the more powerful they become!

Written by sbml

September 12, 2010 at 15:48

Pay more for food?

In repsonse to one of Timmy’s posts where he quotes from an article by Jay Rayner in the Guardian.

Look at the bags of perfect fruit, shiny, unblemished, the supermodels of the apple world. They only look like that because of the grading out of fruit which, while perfectly edible, is not comely enough for harried shoppers. … Which goes some way to explaining why Britain, a country perfectly suited to growing apples, now imports 70% of those we eat. …  but it is possible to reverse the numbers so that only 30% come from abroad, if we stop being obsessed over the look of the fruit and are prepared to pay more for what we buy, so that fruit farmers could invest in new varieties and the best storage techniques.

I don’t think we should be obsessed about paying more for our food. We should be obsessed about paying less. Paying less for food which doesn’t meet the exacting standard set by the supermarkets. Do we really need tomatoes that are within 1% of a specified size or they are thrown away – literally. Farmer’s aren’t paid for this food that doesn’t meet the standards.

Supermarkets have specified these exacting standards because it makes their job easier since they only need to have one price for a particular foodstuff. The consumer, given a choice about quality but no choice about price, will always choose the better riper rounder more colourful product. The supermarkets use this in their argument about why they do what do they do, but it’s a false argument.

If instead farmers were paid for this “lower quality” but still acceptable foodstuff, then they would be making more money. Maybe not at the same margin, but it’s still extra money which they aren’t getting at the moment. And consumers would win as well as those who are having to cut back their spending can still afford their food. Is it really necessary for everyone to have exactly the same quality of food?

Written by sbml

September 12, 2010 at 12:43