Saturday, June 30, 2007

Man's jewel in the crown

Blogging has been light of late- not only have I been dipping into Second Life, but also had my head buried in a book.

Not just any book, mind you. This is a coffee table book Par Excellence about my favourite topic- old theatres. It is called Saving the Gaiety and is all about the delightful little gem on the Isle of Man, the Gaiety Theatre on the sea front in Douglas. It is written by Mervyn Stokes, the most enthusiastic man on the planet for the Theatre.

The piece de resistance of the theatre is the auditorium ceiling which also includes a central stained glass rose light, shown above. The photo below (from the site of the decorative plasterers) puts it into context and a more sumptuous interior would be hard to find outside of a Royal Palace.

There is more to a Theatre, however, than just the interior fantasy world of rococo fibrous plaster. It is also a dream factory and has a full set of Victorian theatre equipment, much of it salvaged and restored by Dr. David Wilmore from other theatres contemporary to the Gaiety (opened in 1900) or even earlier.

It also has the only working Corsican Trap in the world, (click here to read about it and see a video.)

In 2000, I attended a Frank Matcham Conference organised by the Matcham Society in Douglas, arranged to tie in with the Gaiety Centenary. David was only a toddler then, so he spent most of the time with Karen on the beach at port Erin, whilst I attended fascinating presentations about life in an architectural practice, the skills of decorative plasterwork and how to conserve the past. It culminated an a fascinating tour of the Gaiety where John Earl, former Director of the Theatres Trust, was given the opportunity to try out the Corsican Trap. (Although it never happened, as it would have been against elfensafety, wink wink.) Mervyn also proudly showed us his most recent acquisition, the original 1911 Vanity Fair Matcham cartoon, immediately recognisable to Matcham lovers everywhere. I believe that it belongs to Mervyn but is on loan to the theatre.

Anyway, we hope to return to the Island next summer, we have found a great holiday cottage (that even features wireless broadband!) and I owe Mervyn a Pint. I just hope they have some decent shows on next year, the programme for this summer looks a little thin.

(If you want to see more of the Gaiety, there are great 360 degree views here.)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Bum fluff

Two weeks since I shaved my head for charity and it is rapidly growing back, at least in the places where I still had hair! It is a lot finer at the temples and top, a Number 1 everywhere else, "a typical Copper" according to BloggerWife.

Going bald certainly draws your attention to everyone else's haircut, I never quite noticed how many blokes have a similar cut & a bit of a beard to distract from the shame of early/late/any onset MPB*.

It was interesting how the smoothness rapidly became the feel of velcro, then fuzzy felt, then satin velvet. Even with two weeks growth I can still feel the heat of the giant plasma screens at work, or the cold air in a draught.

I raised £402.77 by the way and did a bit of Diabetes Awareness in the process. I'm just waiting for a Company Cheque to send it off.

*Male Pattern Baldness.

Recommended Album

Blogger Havering On has a great puff for Dan Fogelberg that got me thinking about my own select list of classic albums. My own recommendation for June is No more fear of flying by Gary Brooker.

Released back in 1979, GB is the immediately recognisable voice of Procul Harum and this was his first (& arguably best) solo album. It is a great mix of styles and I love it as a car CD. It isn't too easy to categorise but the Amazon reviewers paint a good picture (and all rated it five stars). My favourite track is "Old Manhattan melodies", the sort of song you have to listen to all the way through as a complete whole from opening note to closing chord. Close second is "Pilot" and "Angelina" was covered by others being a mellow version of Mambo number 5 in its sentiment. Honorable mention must also go to "Say it ain't so Joe."

Buy it! You know you want to...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Spectator Freebie

As there is a possible postal strike, the Spectator have decided to make this week's issue free to view online.

They said I could tell my friends about it, so have a look here. No logins or registrations.

I liked the cartoon on page 35.

Wemberley! Wemberley! Wemberley!

I'm told of an umusing cock-up in the design of the new Wembley Stadium. George Michael was the first non-sport stadium gig recently, but when the big trucks turned up, they found that the opening was three inches too low to be able to drive though onto the pitch, resulting in the need to unload and decant the gear.

Apparently it would have been high enough but there was a slope and they ran foul of trigonometry.

Red faces all around...

On the internet, no-one knows you are a dog...

Anonymity is a curious thing. Many of us want to be famous, but on our own terms. Some seek the life of a recluse whilst the rest of us are somewhere in between.

Back in the 1940s, The American psychologist Abraham Maslow put forward the theory known as Maslow's hierarchy of needs, often referred to as Maslow's triangle or Pyramid. At the base of the pyramid are our primal requirements to survive- eating, sleeping, breathing and so on. The next layer is the safety layer- the security of having somewhere to live, employment, good health and such. Above that is the need for belonging, satisfied by friendship, family and intimacy. The fourth level is labelled esteem and relates to self esteem and respect. We want to be accepted by others, to be recognised as good at what we do and to mix with others of equal calibre. There is the shallow version of this that goes under the title of "Celebrity" where people are accorded fame, respect and glory, often for extremely fatuous reasons (think big brother!) many people can't cope with this if they have low self esteem and end up on a self-destructive spiral.

(There is an apex to the triangle known as self-actualization but whilst worth a look that isn't particularly pertinent to this post).

Now, in order to be famous, it was always necessary to be well known. There used to be one notable exception to that- the non-de-plume of an anonymous author. However, with the advent of the Internet, the ability to be an unknown is much more available, but it is far too easy to compromise the cloak of secrecy. Two examples spring to mind, one of them funny.

Here in Morley, a couple of years back, someone set up a website and forum known as the LS27 group. (LS27 is the postcode area of Morley within Leeds). The unknown person did it chiefly for the purposes of winding people up. It became apparent, however, that this person was the same individual who had been impersonating others on a mailing list, by creating various hotmail accounts in the names of others and then posting inflammatory remarks. He gave himself away by his writing style and a consistent quirky use of punctuation. (He also gave himself away by registering the domain in his own name and address!). Events took a sinister turn when someone who had been fixated on somewhat in postings got attacked on the way to work one morning and the police took an interest. I have no idea if there was any connection but the site was quickly pulled. There was a bit of a repeat performance earlier this year on the Town Council mailing list and that was pulled too.

The other (and funnier) example was on a now mostly defunct mailing list known as Tabslist, a backstage UK Theatre list with several hundred techies on it. Every list is obliged to have at least one eccentric, and ours was an Am Dram man known as Frank. He often had controversial views and could generate huge quantities of frustrated angry argument over topics like whether you actually needed ultra violet light to cause fluorescence. Anyway, another list member, exasperated by Frank's entrenched opinions, did a bit of online digging on him and was bemused to find that he had posted (once) to a Sado-Masochism Usenet newsgroup. It further transpired that he was a regular there under a pseudonym (and alternative email) but had inadvertently posted from his normal address.

His unusal activities laid painfully bare (ooh err!), he gradually went quiet on the Tabslist scene, especially whenever he was dismissively referred to as "Spanky" in replies.

And the moral of the story is? It is much harder to live a lie, as you have to be on your guard at all times and inconsistencies or simple errors will eventually catch you out.

Now blogging has many people in the shadows. Some do it because they have to or they would probably lose their job (David Copperfield, Walking the streets), some do it because they can be much more offensive and rude than would be otherwise possible without the cloak (Devils Kitchen, Mutley). Others do it to adopt a persona they would much rather be. (Chip dale? discuss!) I imagine a few do it because they don't want their mates or immediate family to know it is them, for whatever reason.

I have personally dabbled with anonymity previously mainly for the purposes of lurking in things that I am vaguely interested in but don't necessarily want to get roped into (or sometimes, roped into again after previous involvement). I have never felt a particular urge to set up a furtive hate site but there again perhaps I've never quite felt strongly enough!

Moving on to second life, anonymity rises to another level. You get to choose your name (freeform first name, a large list of last names). Many bloggers have chosen the name "Writer". I personally chose "Furse" as W.J. Furse and Co. of Nottingham built the original post-war Delicolor systems, an on-line badge that I adopted for quirky reasons a decade ago. You get to choose what you look like, which can closely resemble real life, or can be wildly different. You get to choose how much information you reveal about yourself, from nothing to everything.

So, when you talk to somebody, how do you know they are what they say they are? When you are flirting with that real stunner, could she really be a spotty teenage boy with bad breath in his back bedroom in Luton?

The simple answer is you don't, but as ever, it is harder to consistently lie than to just be yourself (which comes easy!) so you have to use your hunches. As the punchline of the famous joke goes, "You shag one sheep..."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blogpower Awards approaching

I'll be at the Blogpower Awards at 2pm Morley time on Sunday. Note to would-be burglars- I'll be at home as well, because it is happening in a make-believe place.

I've been dipping in and out of the place and chilling with some other bloggers. Here is Ozzie Jocko doing a Mick Jagger impression. Nice Clobber, Mate!

Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances...

Well, our PresidentPrime Minister has stood down, to be replaced by someone different, but just as damaging. I've had a lot in my inbox about this, but two particularly caught my eye...

The first is a rather uncomplimentary. What could Tony have done to deserve this? Oh, hang on...

Tony Blair: The Traitor Departs
by Sean Gabb

As I write, Tony Blair is about to stop being Prime Minister. I have waited ten years to see this day. I will celebrate later today by opening a bottle of champagne. In the meantime, I will make the briefest possible farewell to the man.

I am told Mr Blair has a heart condition. I hope this kills him within five years, and that no day between now and then will be other than filled with pain. I hope that fears of being arrested as a war criminal will keep him from seeing anywhere nice in Europe again. I hope that his lecture tours of America will be ruined by popular demonstrations against him and by the tort lawyers. I hope his new job as an envoy in the Levant will end in bitter disappointment. I hope his business ventures will all end in disaster. I hope that death, when it comes, will find a man broken in body and soul.

Of course, he could not have completed the transformation of England into a panopticon police state without the collaboration of an entire political class, and the indifference of the human sheep in the street. Nor could he have taken us so disgracefully to war but for the greed and stupidity of all around him, and for the moral cowardice of the chiefs of staff. But for ten years, he was in charge of things, and he did more than anyone else to drive them forward. It is only fitting that he should receive the greater part of the moral blame.

I have done with the man. I wish him dead, but only after much suffering. Better still, I wish he had never been born.

The second is a warning from the Adam Smith Institute that westminster isn't quite the desirable area it sounds:

By the way, it may be Gordon Brown's dream home, but Downing Street is in a seedier area than folk imagine. In a council house just over the back fence lives an extended family run by a grumpy old woman who keeps a pack of fierce dogs. Her husband makes racist comments and a local shopkeeper says he murdered his son's girlfriend – but the police do nothing. Most of their kids have broken marriages, and their grandchildren are always out clubbing. They all live off the state, and every day the papers are full of their excesses. Who'd want to live near Buckingham Palace?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Exclusive footage...

The blogpower awards ceremony rehearsal. It could have gone a bit better, but it'll be alright on the night, we hope...

Hat tip the Splund, as mentioned by Tom Paine.

An expected visitor

I'm typing this with very foggy vision after having had a retinal screening this morning. (It is routine for diabetics). The process uses eye drops that dilate the iris for ease of taking images but everything is now blurry and dazzling. I'm not allowed to drive for the rest of the day and I recall as a child how such eyedrops were standard peocedure at the clinic or opticians.

Last night, I dipped into Second Life and noticed that Welshcakes Limoncello was online, somewhere. She joined us up on the Lastditch Airship (named after her) but by some quirk of the teleporting, found herself above us in amongst the gasbags. I eventually tracked her down (by flying up) and coaxed her down into the bar area, falling out myself in the process.
Here is a snapshot of us chatting. I expected her to have fairer hair than that but I imagine she will be fine-tuning her appearance until the awards ceremony on Sunday. (I'm the one with the Penguin). On seeing the snapshot, Mrs. Grey questioned why we both had breasts. My pointing out that mine were Pecs hidn't cut the mustard...

...and just to keep David happy, here is Ben the dog.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A blast from the past...

I have been contacted via Friendsreunited by someone called Bruce. I am not certain, but it might be the legendary "Toota" who I blogged about recently in a post called Idiot-Head. Scott Adams frequently talks about affirmations, where if you think about something hard enough, it often happens. Maybe the power of TootaVision is strong in me.

In the meantime, here is the latest Eepybird world record Coke & Mentos video.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

On the road again, naturally

In the Sunday papers, there are numerous adverts for all sorts of turns, some big, some trying to make a comeback.

Last week, a minor tour by 70s oddball Gilbert O' Sullivan appeared.

I first recall him being on the telly dressed in schoolboy shorts, pudding basin haircut and flat cap, generally playing slightly maudlin songs vamped on an upright piano. His voice was nothing special and he always sang with the use of a Copicat, a simple multi-head unit that used a tape loop to give a simple harmony effect. (I knew all about them because my mate Stew's mum had one for club singing).

I didn't find the music particularly good at the time, but warmed to him during my year in Saudi, when one of his songs featured on one of my favourite so-called "Heavy Slow" compilation cassettes. I would never have described him as "Heavy" but to the Arabs who pirated the tapes, they probably neither knew or cared.

Gilbert re-launched himself after a couple of years, changing to woolly jumpers and a more sensible haircut. Howeevr, he never quite reached the heady heights of the early 70s.

He is still going with a loyal fanbase and will be touring in the Autumn. I don't think I'll be dragging myself up to York though.

This is my favourite song of his, sans cloth cap I'm afraid.

Two "Gays" and a "Sex"

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

(Well spotted Jocko).

Update: It seems to randomly find different words it doesn't like- Punch & Hell are now on the list.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Another Meme- five things

I've been tagged by Cheeky Chip, who is promising us a new improved site shorty.

What were you doing ten years ago?

Commuting to Galway on a doomed software development project.

What were you doing one year ago?

Getting very cross with BT over a big network project.

Five snacks you enjoy

Samosas, Pork Scratchings, Kettle Chips (Balsamic Vinegar), Twiglets (original), Twiglets (spicy)

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics

Angie (Rolling Stones), When (s)he shines (Sheena Easton), Company (Dean Friedman), Still you linger on (Andrew Gold), Every day hurts (Sad Cafe)

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire

Buy & restore the Newcastle Paramount
Visit Tokyo Disneyland
Become a space tourist
Take up flying
Buy a Hot Air Balloon

Five bad habits

Prevarication, hubris, eating too much, not exercising enough, being absent minded

Five things you like doing

Live shows, stagecraft, reading, blogging, theme parks

Five things you would never wear again

Kipper ties, Purple shirts with round collars, Hawaiian shirts, Platform Shoes, School uniform

Five favourite toys

My former lighting rig, The Hi-Fi, the Radio Station, the PC, the camera

and I tag... Jocko, NotSassure, LastDitch, Bag and Imah Gynoid- because I keep bumping into them in Second Life.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cheeky Monkeys

I received a packet at work today, from a well known IT Power system manufacturer.

The address label said-

Extra Large Ian Grey


It did have a free T shirt in though.

Keys to the Kingdom

Several years ago, whilst on a holiday to florida, I took my mum on a backstage visit to Walt Disney World. It was shockingly expensive (although not so bad now at $60), but for me it was worth every penny to see behind the mirror.

Along the way, we were allowed to pick up cards called "7 Guest service Guidelines" I reproduce them here.

-Be Happy...make eye contact and smile!

-Be like Sneezy...greet and welcome each and every guest.Spread the spirit of hospitality...It's contagious!

-Don't be out Guest contact!

-Be like Doc...provide immediate service recovery!

-Don't be Grumpy...always display appropriate body language at all times!

-Be like Sleepy...create DREAMS and preserve the "MAGICAL" Guest experience!

-Don't be Dopey...think each and every Guest!

Little Chef take note.

It isn't a castle!

We went to Castle Howard for the first time on Sunday. The interior was screaming out for some photos, but it was not permitted, alas. The Great Hall was absolutely stunning and this picture doesn't do it justice. I did get a few unusual snaps, though.

A nice cameo of Karen and David

A tiny little frog on the path.

An unexpected statue of Pumbaa, the Disney Warthog

A Faberge' egg on the roof...

...and an egghead, reflected in the Temple window.

Here was a Brass Band performing in the Stable courtyard. Theyr'e looking for Cornet players, apparently.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Gordon Brown Meme

Daily referendum is pushing his luck...

2 things Gordon Brown should be proud of:

- getting way with it
- see above

2 things he should apologise for:

- Introducing IR35 (Turnover Tax)
- Scowling at IR35 protestors

2 things he should do immediately when he becomes PM:

- Sort out the East Lothian Question
- Fall on his sword

2 things he should do while he is PM:

- See above.

I tag the same lot as the post below, because I can't be arsed to type it all in again, or think of some other ones.

Eight random facts

I've been tagged by Daily Referendum.

I'm supposed to post these rules: one, each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. Two, people who are tagged need to write their own blog entry about their eight things and post these rules. Three, at the end of your entry, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names/pseudonyms/blogs. Four, don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

OK, here goes, they are pretty random...

1) I once filled the Lower VI Form Tea Urn with Dry Ice during a school break (Dry Ice is solidified frozen Carbon Dioxide). It was three feet deep and poured out of the door down the staircase like a waterfall.

2) I once joined a conga across the stage whilst Chas & Dave were playing. I dropped a lump of dry ice in Chas's Pint Glass on the way past.

3) When we were married, we hired a double-decker bus to take us and the guests to and from the Register Office.

4) I was given a Sinclair Black Watch for my Eighteenth birthday.

5) I once got drunk with the Manager of the Birmingham Odeon.

6) Julian Clary told me ll about Fanny, the Wonder Dog.

7) I watched Live Aid in Bahrain.

8) I once went for a Cowboy Breakfast- my horse was called "Rebel".

I tag the following: Last Ditch,Lizbet,Visions of Bradford, Mediocracy, Andrew Allison, Scottish Ozzie, Curmudgeon and Kev. Sorry folks.

In the virtual doghouse

I'm in the doghouse again, as I managed to scrape Karen's car this morning. (Call that a Scrape? It is more like a bloody gouge! now Grovel!) Anyway, I went to a virtual doghouse in second life, as there wasn't anyone around Blogpower hall. The dogs are sweet, but $1,500 each. (LastDitch has a cat). You could get dinky dogs in a bag for $300, but I gather they are for Celebrity WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends).
I did nip over to Brighton Pier to have a look.

Whilst I was there, I got buzzed by a Seagull. Nothing changes!

If the Blogpower awards are a big success, this will make a good venue for next year- The Hollywood Bowl.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In the doghouse again...

My senior moments reach new heights (or is that depths...)

This morning, I managed to come to work carrying two packed lunch bags- mine AND Karen's.

"You've excelled yourself this time..."

Short term memory loss is becoming a bit of a problem! It might be blood sugar related, I hope so.

Meanwhile, I was perusing the Guido Fawkes blog of political rumour & scandal- and the banner advert cought me eye...

Deja Vu

I was composing a post about what happens on father's day in Chez Grey, then I noticed I had essentially blogged about it last year- the same routine as Mother's Day.

As well as my breakfast pancake (with bananas, raisins and a strawberry slice for the nose) I also got a Homer Simpson card (which said Woo Hoo! inside) - and the Borat DVD. I'm not certain if I'm looking forward to watching it or not...

Monday, June 18, 2007

More from second life

Second Life is a bit loopy. You can change your appearance to look like anything you like. Here I am relaxing in LastDitch's Beach House, looking rather Foxy.
Newbies land on Orientation Island. Here are a lot of new folks trying to work out what the hell to do. I had to wait for a German flasher to clear off before the snapshot, he was exposing an unfeasibly large todger.

I also checked out a few random places. This was an indoor theme park, great name for a ride!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Virtual slaphead.

Last weekend, for my work charity publicity poster, I sent off a picture to baldyguy to get an idea what I'd look like.

This is what I got back:

A favourite photograph

David as an older chubby baby...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

In another galaxy far, far, away...

I've been spending a bit of time in Second Life getting used to the controls and tweaking my Avatar for the Blogpower Awards. Tom Paine has been very helpful to a number of us, showing us around and tolerating our newbie incompetence.

This afternoon, we went on a virtual Gondola ride round Venice and crashed a Mercedes.

He mentioned a while back that he has a Tardis in his garden- he certainly does. You have to be a Time Lord to fly it though!

He also showed us his party piece- arriving in an additional Tardis (or two).

No sign of the Chipster yet. I'll make a deal- I'll grow a rug for the awards- if he wears a Tuxedo.

"I question the educational value of this assembly"

The NED show came to David's school last week and now the whole place is Yo-Yo crazy.

There is a serious message behind it:

There were three types of Yo-yos available- a £5 standard one, a £7 Boomerang (it winds itself back up) and a £10 de-luxe with ball bearings. DVDs and accessories were also available, at what looked like $1 = £1. David asked for a Boomerang one which involved a pocket money advance.

NED appears to be big business in America.

You know you are a success when you get parodied by The Simpsons...

Saturday flashback

Every now and then, a cracking song comes along that is just a smidge away from being a real classic.

When the Look performed this in 1981, I gave it 8/10 for the playout spiral on the Single.

When Men without Hats did this in 1983, I gave it 8/10 for oddity.

When Nick Kershaw this song back in 1984, I gave it an 9/10 for catchiness.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Temporary slaphead

I did my charity stunt today, a full depilation.

This is me just before the start.

The first cut is the deepest...

Flag of St. George...

Dr. Steve the Physicist removes the quadrants

...and Graham does the actual shave.

Come on Anthia, give us a twirl...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How much?

David being a Traffic Warden?

We found the dressing up corner in the Servant's Quarters in Harewood House, a room with dozens and dozens of call bells at soffit level. This was the only bit of the house where you were allowed to take photographs.

David also tried on a Top Hat...

...and we played Old Maid.

What is that?

It is a space tower at the Yorkshire Planetarium.

Outside the star theatre is our giant rocket tower climbing frame. Sharing the same dimensions as a Shuttle rocket booster, this frame, brought over from the United States, has been a great success for all ages. The challenge is to reach the top by climbing through layers of elasticated bands. It sounds easy …. but it isn’t

The bottom inflates (for safety) and you climb through the straps to the top where you slide down the slide- except that it is still in the Docks at Hull.

Punch the air!

The Blogpower Awards have now closed. There have been some shenanigans and unpleasantries (see Crushed by Ingsoc's post here for a bit of an overview) but I am delighted to have come first in the best blog name category and to have come second to Dead as a Dodo in the best Blogpower Blog. (the truth is that I came third, but James Higham has decided to withdraw in order to defuse any (wrongful) accusations of impropriety as the awards organiser).

Congratulations to everyone else who deserved it, I'm looking forward to the forthcoming awards ceremony. They kept the idea a big secret but it is up now on pageflakes.

In a word- inspired...

(Punch the air! is a John Shuttleworth Catchphrase)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I can't go back to savoury now...

John Shuttleworth laments the ethical dilemmas of the dinner table.

(Now downloadable (for wonga) HERE.

(Hat tip: Ken Worthington)

Google moves the mapping goalposts

Google have mapped five American cities right down to street level. The five are downtown New York, San francisco, Denver, Las Vegas and Miami.

You ran read about it at The First Post, my refreshing daily online read.

I may never make it to Denver, but at least I can take a virtual walk outside.. (Click on street view and drag the little yellow man over to the red A splodge.)

It is very similar to the Newcastle Paramount, hence the fascination.

(Image from the Rocky Mountain chapter of the American theatre Organ Society).

Road pricing chaos?

Peter Cochrane is a futurologist that I have a lot of time for. Whilst we've never actually met, we have exchanged emails on various topics over recent years and I follow his writings with interest.

he has a sort of Blog (although it is more of a column) on and whilst his busy schedule makes his posts sporadic, they are always worth a read, including the convoluted route the column took to get back to the office.

Today's column is on the subject of road pricing. he thinks that technically it could work, but that a sustained campaign of technical civil disobedience will eventually blow it out of the water. You can read it here. (Also check out his commenters).

Having had a large part of my career dealing with Telcos and their monstrously complex (& not particularly accurate) billing systems, my own view is that the charging will be the achilles heel- it will cost more in managing the huge number of justifiable complaints about wrongly charged journeys. Of course, as it will be run by a state monopoly, that won't bother them seeing as how the taxpayer pays, until the whole edifice topples over with the weight of all the administrative baggage and the politicians get massively trounced at the next election (if we are still holding elections by then).

Imagine the London Oyster Card scheme, then raise the complexity level by about a thousand. I don't even think the national grid has the power capacity to run all of the Data Centres required.

Meanwhile, us law abiding folk should look into updating our vehicles...