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Austin Allegro

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Everything posted by Austin Allegro

  1. That may be the case with recent additions to the EU such as the former soviet satellite states. However, countries such as the UK joined what they thought was a trading agreement, transferring trading priorities from the Commonwealth to continental Europe. All the movement towards a United States of Europe was done incrementally, with each step (Maastricht, Lisbon etc) being sold to the British people as being nothing to worry about, just a fine tuning, etc. Some people did try to warn about this (I think Norris McWhirter tried to sue the British government for treason because he said the common market over-ruled British sovereignty) but were dismissed as nutters, racists etc.
  2. Good analysis. What you describe is a nightmare scenario for EU-philes leading up to a UK referendum, because they don't want people to see a country leaving the EU and then having a boom. They have to maintain the idea that leaving the EU will cast them out into utter darkness.
  3. BBC should slim down to two TV channels, BBC4 and a combined version of the content of BBC1 and BBC2. Keep radios four and three, and possibly two. Ditch everything else; it's all done just as well by commercial companies.
  4. I had to laugh last night at the BBC news. They had some correspondent going round the slums of Dhakar in Bangladesh showing how millions of pounds of British aid to the country were worth it because they'd built three public toilets. No attempt at investigating what else the money goes on, as far as I could see; just lots of feelgood shots of kiddies and 'empowered' women.
  5. I wonder that too. However, Victor Orban (Prime minister of Hungary) tried something similar last year and was so overwhelmed by popular protest that he backed down. That said, the Brits are in general quite happy to pay for stuff unnecessarily. If the government proposed an internet tax to keep the internet safe from racism and sexism, a lot of the Stepford Students generation would probably think it a good idea...
  6. I can imagine a large operations room with one of those big wartime battle maps, not of Germany but of Birmingham...with a lot of stressed out Indians pushing with rods not models of tanks and planes, but little dinky toy cars and constantly talking through headsets like Lt Uhura out of Star Trek...'But sir, I am assuring you that your car should now be arriving in IKEA in Sm...Smith...Smegwick...yes, Smethwick that is what I am saying...please don't be shouting at me I am only doing my job...
  7. Good point...the car starts acting oddly, so you press the 'support' button...the loudspeaker crackles loudly and some Vivaldi plays then you are connected to 'Arthur' who has a distinctly Indian sounding voice. There's a lot of noise in the background and a two second delay when you speak to him. He switches to 'guided control' and starts steering you through the streets of Surbiton. It's all going well until you crash because he's mixed you up with the map for Islamabad.
  8. Honda c50! Luxury! I make do with a 25 year old second hand bicycle. However, I am able to borrow a relative's 17 year old Japanese hatchback if necessary! It doesn't bother me because I only have to work 3 days a week from home and can jet off for a frugal few weeks in the sun whenever I like.
  9. At least we live in a society where you can still opt out of this nonsense if you wish. The financial independence/early retirement extreme movement seems to be gaining strength in the US and is starting in the UK too. I downsized to part time work years ago and have never felt better. I don't have a smartphone, crackberry, etc and my colleagues know I won't work outside contracted hours. If you're in your 20s you have a big advantage over people like me (I'm in my forties) who only 'saw the light' a few years ago.
  10. My thoughts exactly. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book of power. It reminds me of the Parliament Act 1911 (1 & 2 Geo. 5. c. 13) which basically said that the House of Lords is still the upper chamber unless the Commons says it isn't. You can't have a golden rule if there can be a permanent, standing exemption from it.
  11. I noticed Mr Osborne using that phrase beloved of Mr Brown. It was like that scene in 'Animal Farm' where the pigs and the humans become indistinguishable from each other!
  12. But say you're in a long line of traffic and you see a kindly old lady in her Austin Maxi sitting patiently waiting to get into the stream of traffic, unable to do so. You flash your lights and nod her in, and she gets to the bingo on time. That wouldn't happen with an auto-car because it couldn't be programmed to make those sort of random human decisions. It would only work if all cars are automated and the entire flow of traffic is regulated. On a more serious note, say your passenger has a heart attack. You know the hospital is just a few miles away along a stretch of 40mph road. In that situation, I wouldn't hesitate to drive at 60mph on that road with my lights on, sounding the horn, to get to the hospital. An auto-car wouldn't do that and the alternative would be to stop the vehicle, call an ambulance and wait for it to arrive, in which time the person may be dead. I suppose there could be some sort of emergency override that allowed the car to break speed limits, but how would you stop it being abused?
  13. The 'we're out of recession' meme seems to be widespread now. It gets challenged in the comments sections of news websites, but less so in the mainstream media.
  14. This is why I believe we won't have mixed-use private auto-cars and manual cars on roads together. Eg an auto-car will not be able to do the little things that keep the traffic moving. They won't be able, for example, to let drivers into streams of traffic, or drive on the wrong side of the road to pass an obstruction, etc. It will only work on designated roads, bus lanes or motorway lanes with complex monitoring systems, just as fast motor traffic is only allowed currently on certain types of road where pedestrians and cyclists are not permitted to travel because of the problems of safe interaction.
  15. Much of the scenarios described already existed in the UK for many years. From the late eighteenth century to the mid twentieth century, transport was effectively 'automated' because it was only possible to travel long distances by stage coach, inland/coastal waterways, and railways. All those systems were heavily regulated. Any other journeys were done on foot, by horse or by bicycle, because there was no need to travel further than a few miles. I heard on the radio that in legal terms, auto-cars correspond to a lot of old laws about horse drawn vehicles, eg, an auto-car that had a software meltdown and ran someone over would be viewed more or less in the same way as a horse that bolted and killed someone, as sometimes happened in the old days. The idea that you can just jump in your own machine and drive anywhere in the country is a relatively new one and it has a law of diminishing returns; eg the more people want that 'freedom' the less it becomes freedom, because the transport system becomes totally clogged, as it almost is now. I think what we'll see is initially, driverless cars and lorries on the motorway network, which is already heavily policed, monitored and controlled. Manually driven cars will gradually become less and less viable because it will just become too much of a chore to do it. Eg, boy racers will not be able to bully people out of the outside lane because the driverless cars will just refuse to pull over. The Clarkson style egotism which keeps the car culture going will no longer have an outlet. Instead it will be more about the luxury type of autocar that you have; there will be huge opportunities for moneylenders by building ever bigger and more luxurious mobile home type autocars - maybe they'll even replace houses and we'll just drive round the M25 all our lives! If you think about it, we wont' even need roads. Drone technology will allow floating cars to travel along designated routes through fields etc. The big problem I think will be if the authorities then say well you don't need roads; you must travel on these monitored, controlled systems and if you try to get round it by riding a bicycle or walking, well, you're obviously a terrorist and we'll ban bicycles.
  16. Reminds me of the old Bernard Manning joke. 'I keep meself fit, oh yes. Every morning when I get up, I punch the bag around for a bit...then she wakes up and makes me a cup of tea.'
  17. Good point. Ben Elton wrote quite a good play called 'Popcorn' about someone like that, but I think it was based more on Quentin Tarantino.
  18. 'Ah so, Mr Fergus, you very populah man in China. Make everbody laugh with comedy ploglamme, where you pretend play piano all wrong and dress up like fat lady and make joke about mother-law. But why you change name from Les Dawson?'
  19. It's usually pointed out this is to allow for parking, but I wonder if a lot of gardens also get paved over because people are just too busy on the work-consume-work treadmill to have time to do any gardening.
  20. The music industry seems riddled with these kinds of stories. It's almost like a curse. Look at the case of Adam Faith for example. He was a successful teen idol singer in the 60s, a moderately successful actor in the 70s and then became a financial advisor - only to go bankrupt owing millions.
  21. And who could forget 'Bruno'? He certainly had a 'single issue'... (Younger viewers may not recall this poster. He was a rather troubled individual who had a penchant for doing things with his umbrella you definitely shouldn't do, and I don't mean opening it indoors. He disappeared after he made death threats to an HPC meeting, and received a police caution as a result).
  22. I used the term 'leftist' because I think one was a Lib Dem and the other was Labour, ie, both were to the left of Mr Howard. I haven't heard the term 'rightist' before so that's why I didn't use it, but I've made a mental note of it.
  23. What happened to 'Injin'? He used to post reasonably sane stuff that would then descend into a hobby-horse argument about states and national boundaries being artificial constructs.
  24. I visited Universal Studios theme park in the USA in 2001. On the 'Terminator' ride, while we were queuing there was a short film about the totalitarian future that the ride takes place in. A TV announcer said 'government control of the internet has helped made it safe and reliable!' Quite prescient, I thought...
  25. It's no worse than most 'studio' flats which are basically bedrooms and kitchens combined.
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