Youthful Revolution

There used to be a time when protesting caused changes. When a massive show of anger by the people caused politicians to stop doing what they were doing. I wouldn’t say they changed their minds because I honestly don’t think that’s what happens. Politicians cow down to massive disruption because they fear for their own futures and it makes them look as though they listen.

In 1981 there was the Brixton Riots. I remember the news of these. It scarred my impression of Brixton for a long time. But at then end of the riots there was an inquiry and things changed. The racist policy of stop and search was covered with a new code of conduct for the police. It didn’t do enough and nearly twenty years later the Macpherson Report pretty much said that lots of the previous recommendations had been ignored and the police were still institutionally racist. I guess change is slow, but it does happen.

The Poll Tax riots of 1990 caused the eventual downfall of the Thatcher government and the Poll Tax was removed by John Major and replaced with the council tax. In this situation the riots changed the direction of the government.

On the 15 February 2003 easily over one million people marched through London to protest the imminent Iraq war. Those people were right. But it did fuck all. Look at the shit we are in now with the middle east.

On 10 November 2010 over half a million people marched against the conservative policy of austerity [which has killed thousands]. It did fuck all.

On 20 July 2019 London’s streets were filled with people protesting the imminent leaving of the EU by the UK. Regardless of the fact that pro-Brexit marches can only get a few hundred people together this march has done fuck all.

When the political class is as entitled as they are [consider Rees-Mogg lying on the benches] then they don’t give a shit about what they are doing to the country. They will carry on with their idealistic policies whatever happens because there are no consequences to them. They don’t give a flying fuck about the poor, about the weak, about those struggling. They have a complete lack of empathy. They just don’t understand what actual real fucking life is like.

So. The world and this country needs to change. Radically. We can look after everyone while at the same time making sure that things will work for the future. It is possible. But it isn’t possible with the current political leaders in power. Revolution is needed. A fully written constitution and a decent respect for all people must happen.

Time to be revolting.

What The Future Looks Like

Dead. I hope I’ll be dead before the Water Wars start. That’s what I spend a lot of my time thinking about. There’s an impending doom heading for this planet and I’m just hoping I’ll miss the worst of it. I’m scared for my kids and the shit they are going to have to face. I feel helpless about it all and would rather live on in ignorance. But, I can’t, I probably should do what I can. But it’s too late.

I don’t have hope.

At this time I think the world is just past the positive-feedback-loop of climate change. Maybe forty years ago we could have made changes that would mean we could have stopped the current warming and saved the world. But I honestly think we’ve gone too far. Humans have known the problems of climate change for all of my life time. But no one has really done anything about it. My evidence that we’ve known comes from rock band Testament. They wrote a song for their 1989 album Practice What You Preach called “The Greenhouse Effect”. I learnt about this stuff when I was at school in the 1980s.

See the burnt earth and the figures crucified by the inaction of the older generation. I am part of that generation now. I’ve done nothing. I’m not sure I can do something. Our world is ruled by short-termism politics and individual gain. Those in charge don’t give a shit about the future. If they did they wouldn’t keep the ruinous policies of today. We have cars, planes, lorries, ships all burning carbon based fuels. We have homes where electricity is from carbon sources. Heating is from carbon sources. This world is slowly dying and those in charge can’t or won’t see it. It’s actually beyond them.

We Are Fucked
We Are Killing Ourselves

Unfortunately for the population of this strangled planet anything done now is likely too little too late. I’m convinced we have already passed the point of no return. There are no noises of politicians actually doing anything to solve this. They sit there probably thinking the same as me – “hopefully I’ll be dead”. Here’s a list of things we can’t solve:

  • Burning carbon based fuels
  • Melting of glaciers around the world
  • Ice sheets melting
  • Thawing of the tundra
  • Plastics getting everywhere
  • Ocean life dying
  • Reefs dying
  • Acidification of the oceans
  • Warming of the oceans
  • Increased storms
  • Fresh water supplies dwindling

Ideal feedback model.svg
By Me (Intgr) – Own work, Public Domain, Link

The positive feedback has started. Any actions we take now will only mitigate the changes. We might be able to slow it down. We might be able to stop the warming at a level that means only a billion dying but I suspect that’s not going to happen. I am not hopeful about the future of humankind.

Even that megaband Metallica wrote a song in the early 90s about how the world was fucked. It’s called Blackened.

I suspect we all like to think that in the future we will live in a lovely village:

A Village
A Village

Or maybe our future is more Blade Runner? Living in massive urban areas with amazing culture and increased wealth extremes?

The City
The City

Unfortunately I honestly think our future looks more like Mad Max.

The Wastelands
The Wastelands

Now it’s time for the young to rise and claim the Earth as their inheritance and remove the ruling classes from power. To save the world needs complete revolution. A massive change in the politics. A move to more future planning and doing the right things.

My parents’ generation did nothing and they’ll be dead soon.

My generation did nothing and I don’t think I can tell you how sorry I am for that.

Worldwide revolution is needed. Government for the future.

I don’t have hope.

Inverted Layers

As mentioned previously in these hallowed communications I do feel privileged to live in this area. I don’t really live here by choice but the countryside is lovely and quite varied. The view out the back of my house is open and wonderful. I can see over the fields, down to the river Medway and then the rising hills of the northern edge of the Weald Of Kent.

I try to make the point of looking out over the fields first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I get to see the world change colours through the seasons and every now and then I see some amazing things; hot air balloons, satellites, Spitfires, migrations etc.

Yesterday there was a phenomenon I hadn’t seen before. A layer of mist had gathered over the fields in the hollow just north of Bushy Wood and looked spooky. That wasn’t the strange thing.

Spooky Mist - wide (ish) angle
Spooky Mist

When you look more closely at the layer of mist you can see another layer hovering above. It’s clearest to the right in the picture this side of Bushy Wood.

Mist Layers
Mist Layers

If it’s still not clear enough for you then I’ve circled the thing below:

Inverted Mist
Inverted Mist

It’s quite fascinating and I guess I was impressed enough with it to go and take a photo and then write about it on here. I don’t think it’s something I’ve observed that often because it stuck out at me and really made me try and think about what is going on. I didn’t come up with any answers to that. I did want to get out there and walk through to see what it looks like from within though, but I didn’t. I’m saddled with things like work that I’m required to do.

One day this view will be gone because, as far as I know, then entirety of what you can see in the pictures will become houses. The local area council have a requirement for houses and rather than put them anywhere near the more expensive areas of the borough they have decided to build on fields at the northern tip of their area. The bit no-one cares about.

TMBC Planning
TMBC Planning

From the above diagram you can see where the development is planned relative to where all the money is within the borough. Anything south of the M20 has plenty of money, it’s the posh bit. The area within the circle is mostly working class small villages filled with Victorian houses. The road connections are poor and they plan to build ALL OVER THE FIELDS. There are plenty of brown field sites around where the local industry has died but I guess that’s more expensive than developing fresh green fields into housing.

Now, this is where I struggle a bit because I know that development is needed. I know that these things are required. I’m happy for changes. If they wanted to put wind turbines in those fields I’d be happy. If they wanted to make a small development I’d be happy, I mean it might improve the parking around here. But they plan to put in 1,514 dwellings. I suspect there are only a couple of hundred in my village at the moment. Have a look at the following map:

Bushey Wood Development Area
Bushey Wood Development Area

That little pink bit in the middle is the existing village. That purple bit? It’s all the development area. Fucking huge isn’t it? Also, the lower part is flood plain. As I said earlier I don’t want to be a NIMBY but it needn’t be that large. This is a lovely area of the countryside. Not in twenty years I fear. The character will be altered beyond belief. It’ll change the whole feeling of the area. I want to point out that a small development, maybe even doubling the size of the village would be more acceptable. Not this monstrosity.

The area of land is owned by Trenport. Want to know how you know they could be dodgy? They don’t have a website. Google it. There isn’t a Trenport website. There are some other development sites but nothing about the company itself. The registered office address is:
2nd Floor 14 St George Street, London, W1S 1FE
I suspect the company is into some clever tax planning because there are another seventeen companies based at that single address. Trenport is a private entity. I suspect it’s a cleverly structured company to reduce its “tax burden”. The company seems to be owned by that Barclay family who live on Brecqhou and have ruined the politics of Guernsey. Please see the magazine Private Eye for more information about the Barclay brothers and what they do to locals.

I have very little faith in the borough plan and that any company behind the development will pay its fair share of tax.

Advertising

In my few years as a skeptic I have started to make complaints about false advertising. It’s important that someone does this as advertising is a self regulated industry. Adverts aren’t checked before being shown, they are only investigated if someone complains about them. This is why Ryan Air have made outrageous claims and then been told to remove adverts, but by that point the adverts have done their job.

The Advertising Standards Authority “regulates” advertising but they only check something out if there’s a complaint about it. I’ve seen Virgin Media complain about BT Broadband adverts and vice versa.

Virgin Media rulings here.

BT Broadband rulings here.

You can see it’s like inter-ISP warfare with each company making outrageous claims and the other deciding to take them to the ASA.

In principle the ASA covers things like TV, print media, and internet advertising. Also they cover any claims made on websites and posters and leaflets. The cover the UK. There can be some issues where a website based in another country fails the basic standards of human decency but the ASA can’t do a great deal about it except inform their counterparts in the host country. Other countries sometimes don’t give a shit about the quality and factualness of advertising.

If there are specific claims in an advert then the company must have specific evidence to back those claims up. So, if I make ethically sourced soap then I must have the evidence to back up that claim or I risk censure by the ASA. I can still make those claims, I just need to worry about a complaint being made. You might argue it would be unethical for me to make false claims but you obviously don’t understand “marketing”.

Some words have no real meaning in term of advertising:

  • “wellness” isn’t defined in law and means nothing
  • “nutritionist” isn’t a protected term and anyone can call themselves one
  • “health balance” is bullshit terminology
  • “natural” doesn’t mean shit
  • “energy” doesn’t mean what you think it means
  • “traditional” isn’t
  • “good bacteria” it depends

And so on. When products or companies use certain words you might think they mean something specific but they don’t. The companies rely on the fact that you will think they mean a very specific thing but in law and advertising they don’t. How often do you hear the term “energy-balance” or similar? You might think it means something specific but it is a bullshit term and so advertisers can use that whenever they want.

Advertisements can’t make specific medical claims unless they have specific medical evidence and this is how the ASA became the arbiter of what is and what isn’t science in this messed up world. Let’s start with an hypothetical:

Suppose I had magical healing hands. I might use a radio advert to claim I can improve your energy-balance [means nothing] and that you will feel more relaxed and ready to take on the world [also means nothing].

Healing Hands Therapies

None of the claims in that advert mean anything specific in terms of advertising. It is perfectly ok to use that advert. I haven’t made any specific claims and I haven’t used any protected terms that mean real things. Now imagine if I made the following advert:

Healing Hands Therapy will improve your life-balance and also cure your arthritis. Our therapies are so powerful they can cure colic and even remove cancers.

Healing Hands Therapies

Those are some very specific claims and so I need to have evidence to prove that those things can be cured with the healing hands modality. If I can’t provide evidence to the ASA for the claims I have made then I will be expected to remove the advert from circulation. Meanwhile thousands of people may have heard the advert and be gullible enough to think it works.

SINCE THE 1930s NO ADVERT, by law, IS ALLOWED TO CLAIM TO BE ABLE TO CURE CANCER.

I have made two complaints to the ASA. One was a product advertised in a magazine and it claimed to help with teething issues with babies. It was a necklace for the baby made from amber beads. Now, I’m pretty sure putting something around the neck of a baby is pretty bad but then claiming the vapours it releases as it is warmed by bodyheat calm teething pains is utter bullshit. Like this one on a page I just found:

Amusingly on this page, just before the reviews section, the company makes clear that they aren’t responsible for any claims made in the comments. This is a lovely get-out clause but I think they are wrong. The company is publishing the comments on that page and so they are responsible. The comments clearly imply that people buy this shit for teething issues with very young children. Don’t put things around a baby’s neck.

My complaint to the ASA about the original company was upheld and they were told not to advertise in that format again. But, as we know with Goop, there’s an awful lot of bullshit out there and plenty of people unaware of how sciencey sounding claims might be bullshit.

I also made a complaint about a leaflet I found in a children’s nursery. It was for the John Wernham College of Classical Osteopathy in Maidstone. They made specific medical claims about osteopathy and they are wrong. I complained to the ASA and the College had to provide the medical evidence for their claims. They could not because Osteopathy is bulshit. The ASA told them they had to remove the leaflet from circulation. However all those leaflets were already out there.

The “College” still runs. I’ve just browsed their website and I can’t find any dubious claims, only a rather large amount of bullshit non-specific language.

A few years ago the British Chiropractic Association [chiropractic is like osteopathy but even more bullshit] sued Simon Singh for a minor comment he made. Eventually the BCA lost the case and had to withdraw all the claims they make. At the time they sent an email out to their members saying that chiropractors shouldn’t make any medical claims on their websites and to remove those claims. A computer specialist created a program to scour the internet for chiropractic pages, search them and look for certain medical claims. There were plenty. That person then reported all those chiropractors to local trading standards. Here’s The Guardian article about that issue.

It is only by having astute members of the public that harm within adverts can be defeated. Please be aware of the problems with advertising and please take take anything you see advertised as legitimate.

Hyper

A while back I started listening to audiobooks in the car. It started with books for the whole family and for long journeys. I pay a monthly fee to Audible to use the service and from that I get a “credit” each month to buy a book or audible title.

I have listened to the Percy Jackson series of books after the recommendation of a friend from Coventry and I just about tolerated those books. I am not a fan of the writing style of the author and really struggled to keep interested in those books. By the way, a friend from Coventry is just that, a friend, from Coventry.

I thought it worthwhile to start listening to books when I’m on my own in the car to compliment my podcast selection. I wasn’t really sure about what to read until I heard an advert for The Great Courses on the Scathing Atheist podcast. That made a lot of sense. I don’t necessarily have the time to keep reading books about sciencey stuff but I do tend to have quite a while driving the car. I have a yearning to keep learning, to keep trying to understand the world, all the while safe in the knowledge that when I die all that knowledge and learning will be made pointless from a universal perspective.

I chose to listen to a series of lectures on a subject I knew about to see if I could work with the audio medium. It was a trial series for me to decide if it was worth going with other lecture series.


Einstein’s Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition

By: Richard Wolfson, The Great Courses

I really enjoyed the lecture series and I learnt quite a bit about the history of the laws of mechanics. My knowledge from this has even informed my day job. This series of lectures is about twelve hours long in sections of thirty minutes. The whole system worked well.

For my next choice I decided to go for something with world history and also economics. If I could find a series that covers the world’s economy then I would also learn about the history of the world as the two are so perfectly entwined. A long while ago I had listened to the History Of The World In 100 Objects from the BBC and I was fascinated by how much trade is a central part of human success and history. Searching Audible I found the following:

An Economic History of the World since 1400

By: Donald J. Harreld, The Great Courses

It’s a series of lectures just over twenty four hours long. It took me a while to get around to listening to it and then months to get through the whole thing. It was well worth it though. Totally fascinating and perfect as a brief history of humankind along with plenty about the interconnectedness of economic success. I would suggest everyone listens to it. I don’t know enough about economics to know if the lectures are unbiased towards particular policies but my feeling is that all discussions were balanced.

My latest book is:

Hyperion

by Dan Simmons

I have read the paper copy of this book and it amazed me at the time. The whole Hyperion series was a massive operatic exploration of space and humans. I can’t wait to visit the stories again.

Dan Simmons is an author who has really made his mark on me. The first book of his I read was Carrion Comfort. I was in a real horror book phase as a late teenager and his book was a distraction from the standard Stephen King books and the scope of this book amazed me. From this I then read Summer Of Night. At some point I read Hyperion and then the sequels and they are a brilliant selection of science fiction.

Dan Simmons along with Stephen King and Iain M Banks are a few of the authors whose work has made me really challenge myself and think about the grander things in life. All of them are well worth reading. I shall probably devour the rest of the Hyperion series once the book is complete.

The Prologue [cue Up Pompeii sniggers] of Hyperion brought back so many memories and the horror of listening to descriptions of the Shrike! For many years the Shrike was such a figure in my conscious that a tattoo was considered, perhaps that will happen again?

Over-Acting Joystick

Do you ever watch action movies and wonder where reality ends for them? It’s always the little things for me. Those small aspects of controlling mechanical objects that films like to exaggerate and mess up. But, it’s not just film, I see this sort of thing in kids cartoons and other media.

Last night I was watching a submarine based film. It was terrible and had loads of parts to it that I hated. But in it they had a small rescue sub piloted by two submariners. While driving this craft along they, on more than one occasion, had to turn “harder” and then ever “harder”. So, what did they do? They pulled harder on the joystick and made grimacing faces to show that this took more effort than normal to turn this tight. What shit.

Here’s some explanation. When we [humans] first made mechanical devices we had rigid linkages to the control systems and if it was going to take more effort to move the control system then we would have to put in more effort to our hand sized device be that a control column, wheel, or pedals. There used to be a direct mechanical connection from one end of the system to the other. This is fine for objects requiring little force to move control systems as humans can provide that force for a limited time.

Then, over time, our mechanical devices became larger and required more force input to move the control systems. Engineers and designers soon realised that the pilot/driver/controller couldn’t provide all the force [push or pull] required to move the control surface and so they needed help. Also, if large effort was required over a long period of time the pilot would become physically tired very quickly. So, powered control systems were invented.

When a pilot/driver/controller moves the control stick/wheel/pedals they actuate a motor which helps to turn the control surface or device. Now, it starts to get a little complicated. There is required a certain level of feedback force to the pilot through the control column so that they can “feel” what is going on with the aircraft/sub/car etc. This amount of feedback is controlled very carefully to ensure that the pilot can understand what’s happening to their craft while also allowing them to maintain a high level of work without becoming over-tired.

So, in the submarine movie they had the pilots obviously physically straining trying to turn this craft but that would not be the case in real life. Once the control column is moved as far as it will go there is nothing else you can do. It wouldn’t take that amount of effort to maneuver and you can’t turn a little tighter by grimacing. It’s bullshit.

This trope is similar to driving fast in a chase. It always seems the vehicles have another gear to change in to or the driver can put his foot down more. If you are being chased why aren’t you going as fast as possible from the very start. It’s lazy filmmaking because they could do other things to make the action interesting. The producers just settle for the easy.

So, as a rough guide to powered control systems and feedback devices I would suggest that anything before 1950 would require effort to move a control surface. That is a very broad brush. Many bombers had powered control systems and so it’s not the absolute guide but it does set a rough idea of how to spot the crap in a film.

EM Warnings

You know how it is. You are having a short break on a motorway drive and pop into the service station for a drink and a comfort break. It is the adverts directly above the urinals which seem to show the worst of mankind. I’ve written about this before in a communication about shaming farts. This time I was at Southwaite Services just south of Carlisle. I saw this advert above the urinals:

5G Bullshit
5G Bullshit

You are very welcome to go and read the stuff from the following links if you wish:

I have some things to say about all this. Let’s start off with some science about electro-magnetic radiation. This is a form of energy that extends from long wave radio waves to gamma radiation. It is a very large spectrum and our visible light takes up part of it.

Long wavelengths can travel a long distance and through lots of stuff. We use them for communicating with submarines and ships a long way away. Radio waves we are familiar with and they carry information like TV or audio signals. Infrared we feel as heat radiated from objects. Visible light humans can see, some animals can see higher frequencies but not us. All of the wavelengths/frequencies mentioned so far are called NON-IONISING RADIATION. Each photon doesn’t have enough energy to knock an electron out of its orbit in an atom and so up to violet light can’t caused any molecular changes, they, by definition, can’t cause cancer. They might warm you up a little but that is all.

All the stuff in the ultra-violet and beyond is the nasty stuff. It can cause cancer because each photon contains enough energy to knock electrons out of their orbit and therefore could cause molecular changes. This could cause a DNA change in your cells and, if it happens right/wrong, then could cause cancer. Here’s the easy bit:

UV Rays cause cancer. UV is BAD for you.

When you get an X-Ray at the dentist or hospital the radiographer or dentist will leave the room when the photograph is taken. Why do they do that? Because being exposed to X-Rays is bad for you. Each X-Ray you have increases your chances of cancer by a little. But, the information gathered from the X-Ray can do far more good than the increase in risk of cancer and so we elect to have them done. It’s similar to going somewhere by car – you know you will get there in a short time and in comfort but we balance that with the risk of being involved in an accident, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Right. Point number One. Radio and Micro waves can’t cause cancer. The worst they might do is cause a very slight heating which is less than what you get by exercising and is easily carried away by your blood.

Next, the slightly tougher issue. EM sensitivity. This is the situation where people are convinced that their health is detrimentally affected by EM radiation enough for them to notice. I have to be quite specific in the language I use here because the illness that people feel from this is real. The cause of it is not. I do not want to be dismissive of their illness, they feel what they feel and they blame it on all the EM in their surroundings. People with EM Sensitivity do feel what they report and so the illness is real. It’s just not caused by electro-magnetic radiation.

There have been studies completed where patients who claim EMS have been put in a shrouded room and then told when a wi-fi transmitter is turned on and off. They then report their symptoms in line with when they know the transmitter is on. Here’s the thing: they report symptoms even when the wi-fi transmitter is NOT turned on but they are told it is. Their symptoms are psychosomatic. This is not to belittle their illness but to point out that the cause is not what they think it is. Read this over at Science Based Medicine.

The people who claim that 5G will ruin lives are wrong. They are scaremongering and therefore adding to a problem that doesn’t exist. They are pushing ideas out to people who are sensitive to suggestion and causing more problems than they can fix.

I am still quite convinced that the amount of EM radiation humans absorb is mostly from natural sources, the sun and radio waves from stellar sources. Being in the home means that you will absorb a certain amount but go outside and this home-based absorption is insignificant. See this page from the World Health Organisation.

If mobile phones and wi-fi caused lots of issues with human health then where is the epidemic? Mobiles phones and wi-fi is everywhere and I don’t see the epidemic anywhere. For around thirty years these technologies have existed and we aren’t getting ill.

5G will be safe.

Poe’s Law

I keep thinking back to this news item from ITV. I mean ITV is a trusted source isn’t it? It seems ridiculous to me that a new member of the government in our current times would insist on a particular style guide for his staff.

The problem with this news article is that it’s so ridiculous that it could be true. It might have been made up but we all know Rees-Mogg is a prick of the highest order and so this could be true. I’m just not sure. This news article could be a case of Poe’s Law in action.

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won’t mistake for the genuine article.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

While Poe was talking about creationists being fucking stupid his views have been converted into a law stating that in some cases extreme sarcasm is indistinguishable from the real thing. This is what I think has happened here. Someone has cleverly taken the concept of Rees-Mogg being a fucking prick and gone extreme. Seriously, let’s look at the things he wants done:

All non-titled males are Esq. – fuck you, what a singular stupid fucking thing to say. Jesus Christ, this is fucking entitled bullshit in the highest.

No comma after “and” – of course you use the Oxford comma, it’s there to make sure you have clear intentions in your language. We’ve developed this wonderful thing called language to be able to communicate clearly and we can make our words mean the correct things. For an example – Rees-Mogg is an entitled prick.

Check your work – this man is really telling his staff of professionals to check their work? Really? Does he employ monkeys or something? You would think that people already know how this type of stuff works. Arrrrrgh.

Could someone please stop the planet, I want to get off.

Marginal Error

Aside from the fact that the news this country has a new Prime Minister who is a racist liar I was bothered by the phrasing on BBC News last night. I haven’t really watched TV news for a long time, I find it patronising and reliant on the personal story rather than the facts, I don’t enjoy watching it. I viewed a little on catch up last night just to see what they said about the tory party leadership result.

BBC News Maths Problem
Marginal Error

Boris Johnson won by a MARGIN of two to one.

Now, what the actual fuck does that mean? I mean, I’m not happy Johnson won but that’s the shitty system we have. I’m really asking what does the phrase “by a margin of two to one” mean?

Does it mean that Boris got around 66% of the vote and Hunt 33% [or thereabouts]? In which case the margin is 1/3 of the electorate or you could even say the majority was 100% of Hunt’s vote. What you can’t say is the MARGIN was a ratio of 2:1 without DEFINING what the other side of the ratio is. Fucking hell, people need to understand that maths and words have meanings.

My instinct is that these numbers are the relative share of the vote, but the news chap doesn’t say that. He says MARGIN. The margin is the majority? I don’t know. How is margin defined in this case. A quick inspection of Wikipedia has the definition that MARGIN is the percentage of the difference relative to total turnout.

So, I think it would be best for the BBC and other news outlets to have used the phrase:

Mr Johnson won with a margin of around 33% of the turnout.

Cold War Jets

SR-71A with Habu Pilot @ Mildenhall

In around the year 1988 my friend and I travelled to the back garden of someone in the village of Mildenhall to camp for the weekend. The purpose was to spend the weekend at the Mildenhall airshow, which I had been to before but was important for a few reasons:

  • Aircraft
  • Military aircraft
  • Military might
  • Blackbird
  • More planes

When you are a plane nut then airshows are where you get your kicks. I can’t help what I like and planes have troubled me all my life. It’s possibly due to growing up underneath the flight path of Stansted Airport in Essex. It could be because of my dad who was involved in the industry when I was young or it could just be that an aluminium tube filled with people and fuel doesn’t really have any business being six miles up off the ground.

Somehow Alan and I had found the number of someone who lived near a walk-in entrance to RAF Mildenhall [actually a USAF base] and we had booked to camp in her garden. Then, each day of the show we walked in. My memory of the charges is not great but I seem to think we got in for something like £5 each whereas a car for the day was £40. I suspect those prices are wrong given what prices were like in the 80s but I can’t remember. I do know it was dirt cheap to walk in to the show rather than drive.

SR-71A with Habu Pilot @ Mildenhall
SR-71A with Habu Pilot @ Mildenhall

There’s only a few things I can remember from the airshow. I sort of remember the Blackbird flying, it was a privilidge to see that. I also remember both AB and I watching a helicopter display, possibly an Apache, when it did a form of a wing-over or loop. Both, AB and I were amazed and clapped. There weren’t many who joined in the clapping, only those in the know.

Red Arrows Cross Over @ Mildenhall
Red Arrows Cross Over @ Mildenhall

The Red Arrows were there, of course, I I’m not sure if this was before or after I had been to Cyprus, porbably before and so I was still excited by them. The above photograph was beautifully timed by me.

My father must have found the original negatives of these photographs as he has scanned them inot his computer. I suspect there are some more picture lurking in a box somewhere and I’ll have to keep scanning his computer to see what I can find.

Here are some more photographs from those days. They aren’t very good but them photographs weren’t back in the 80s. I wasn’t great with a camera and with only 24 or 36 shots on a reel of film you were very limited in what you could take.

AB and I had a great time at the airshow. It was a really good experience and well worth the camping and entrance fees. I do feel it’s a bit of a shame that the number of airshows has decreased over the years, but these beasts were probably also a show of strength during the cold war. They were interesting times and maybe I should be glad we don’t currently need massive forces to prevent mutual destruction [it feels like it’s heading that was again though].

Addendum: I have had confirmation of aircraft types from a US source: