Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The New Al-Qaeda Threat - Exploding Breasts

I don't believe this for one minute, but so-called terror exports reckon that women are having bombs implanted in their breasts to bring down planes. Oh dear. I guess that means the idiots at Heathrow will now be insisting on hand-examination of all breasts that pass by them. My favourite complaint letter of all time is one I wrote to BAA after a particularly nasty experience at Terminal 3. I received a full apology from BAA's chief executive which I had laminated and take with me every time I go to the airport!

I doubt that I'd get away with writing a thriller with terrorists using exploding breasts, though I did once write an episode of The Knock based around a plot to smuggle heroin into the country inside breast implants. And that was based on fact!

Anyway, here's the latest story. And if you are worried about flying next to a woman with large breasts, just ask her if she'd mind you giving them the once over, just to put your mind at rest...

Breast-implants packed with explosives could be used by terrorists to blow up an airliner, experts have reportedly warned.

Radical Islamist plastic surgeons could be carrying out the implant operations in lawless areas of Pakistan, security sources are said to warned.

Explosives experts have reportedly said just five ounces of Pentaerythritol Tetrabitrate packed into a breast implant would be enough to blow a “considerable” hole in the side of a jumbo jet.

It would be virtually possible for airport security scanners to detect the explosive if hidden inside a breast, medics have said.
Joseph Farah, a terrorism expert, told The Sun: "Women suicide bombers recruited by al-Qaeda are known to have had the explosives inserted in their breasts under techniques similar to breast enhancing surgery."

Plastic surgeons may also have inserted the chemical into the buttocks of would-be suicide bombers.

The discovery was reportedly made after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a London-educated Nigerian, attempted to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas day with explosives packed into his underpants.

Hours after his attack failed, British intelligence services reportedly picked up “chatter” from Pakistan and Yemen that alerted them to the bizarre new method.

One plastic surgeon told The Sun: "Properly inserted the implant would be virtually impossible to detect by the usual airport scanning machines.

"You would need to subject a suspect to a sophisticated X-ray. Given that the explosive would be inserted in a sealed plastic sachet, and would be a small amount, would make it all the more impossible to spot it with the usual body scanner."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rough Justice

Rough Justice is already to go but won't be in the shops until July. I think it's a great read, with Dan Shepherd having to investigate a rogue TSG unit. I think it's the best Shepherd book so far, and the longest at 502 pages.

I'm just about to start the next Shepherd book, though I still don't have the plot fixed. It'll come - hopefully!

The TSG is very much in the news this week as Sergeant Delroy Smellie goes on trial for assaulting a woman at the G20 summit in London last year. The TSG is great with nicknames but I figure they didn't have to put much thought into this guy's name. I'd never get away with a name like that in a thriller, either for a cop or a villain.

Sgt Smellie (he he he) is claiming that he mistook the carton of orange juice the woman was carrying as a weapon. Oh dear. One would have hoped that our elite police would have been better trained than that. I have to say the fact that the video of the assault is on YouTube for all to see does make it difficult for Sgt Smellie (he he he) to mount any sort of defence. Have a look. He doesn't look like a man in fear for his safety. I know the police were under a huge amount of pressure that day, and I have no sympathy for protesters who vent their anger on the police, but Sgt Smellie (he he he) would clearly be more at home handling a riot in Nigeria than a demonstration in London. I was brought up to believe that a man should never hit a woman, no matter what the provocation.....

There's no jury in court, just a judge, which is probably a good call from his defence team.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lone Star Book Signing

On Saturday I did a book signing in Bangkok with two of the city's most famous writers in residence - Christopher Moore and Dean Barrett. We were in the Lone Star bar in Washington Square, a Bangkok institution.

They both shifted a stack of books though sadly I only sold two copies of Private Dancer! I got 600 baht, my drink cost me 120 baht and my taxis cost me another 120 baht. I made 60 baht profit. Which is actually less than the cost of printing the things, so I was actually down on the day! Lots of people shook my hand and said they had read Private Dancer and loved it, though!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Interesting Junk Email

This is an interesting one.....I think it's from the gambling website. The so-called system is based on 'doubling up' and has lost many a fortune!

yeah finally :)
thanks a lot mate! you really saved my life, and I swear on my life I wont exploit your system,
i also want a steady monthly income rather then one big shot
I just registered and started 1 hour ago, so far so good, will let you know later..


----- Original Message -----
From: "ricochetcass77"
To: "douglas"
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:24 PM
Subject: Re: Re: yo mate

yo mate, ok I`ll give you my trick but if you give it someone else I`ll fuckin kill you :)
you know in roulette you can bet on blacks or reds. If you bet $1 on black and it goes black you win $1 but if it goes red you loose your $1.
but I found a way you can win everytime:

bet $1 on black if it goes black you win $1

now again bet $1 on black, if this time it goes red (or one of 2 green fields) bet $3 on black, if it goes red again bet $8 on black, if red again bet $20 on black, red again bet $52 on black (always multiple you previous lost bet around 2.5), if now is black you win $52 so you have $104 and you bet:

$1 + $3 + $8 + $20 + $52 = $84 and you won $52 + yours $52 = $104 So you just won $20 :)

now when you won you start with $1 on blacks again etc etc. its always bound to go black eventually (it`s around 50/50 and you always bet around 2.5, I never had more then 7 reds/green in the raw and possibility to have 9 times the same color is like 1/milion) so that way you eventually always win. But there`s a catch: if you start winning too much (like $1000 a day) casino will finally notice something and they can ban
you. I was banned once on royal casino. So don`t be a greedy asshole and don`t win more then $300 a day and you can do it for years. And remember it`s not a "win 30k in one day" trick, it`s a way to get a steady income of around 5-8k bucks a month for a next couple of years tax free :). I think bigger casinos know that trick so I only play on smaller ones, right now I play on gold vip casino: for around
6 months, I win $100-$200 (MAX $350!!!) a day and my account still works. You`ll find roulette there when you log in go to "specialty" section - "american roulette". And don`t you dare talling about it anyone else, if too many people knows about it casinos will finally found a way to block that trick. If you have any questions just drop me a line here or on skype.

c ya

----- Original Message -----
From: "douglas"
To: "ricochetcass77"
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 1:39 PM
Subject: yo mate

please tell me when you will send your roulette trick?
You promised to send it few weeks ago :(


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Gordon Brown Wants To Give Me Money!

This just landed in my emailbox!

Our associate has helped send your first payment of US$7,500 to you
as instructed by Mr.James Gordon Brown the British prime minister after
the last G20 meeting that was held on April 2nd in London, making you one
of the beneficaries. Here is the information below:

AMOUNT: US$7,500

We have been informed to keep sending you US$7,500 twice a week until the FULL
payment of (US $360,000.00 Dollars) is completed within 6 (six)
Months. Please send your Full Names via Email to:

Mr Garry Moore
Tel: +44-702-408-1854
United Kingdom, England.

First Class Research By A Brilliant Young Scientist

Way back in the far distant past I was a biochemist and was actually published in Nature. I lost my copy years ago and every now and again I would Google to see if it was on-line but it never was. But today I went looking for it and it's there. Wow. Thirty years ago. But seeing the paper brought it all back. I was so nearly a scientist. The main reason I didn't continue my scientific career was because I met an Evening Standard photographer in a pub in South London and he opened my eyes to what fun journalism was!

(Dr) Pam Waddell Is An Idiot

(Dr) Pam Waddell is yet another academic with too much time on her hands. According to her 'research' one in ten school pupils think that Buzz Lightyear, the enthusiastic animated hero in Disney's Toy Story, was the first man on the Moon. Others thought it was Luke Skywalker.

(Dr) Waddell (I can pretty much guarantee she's not a real doctor) released her 'research' as a publicity gimmick to publicise National Science And Engineering Week.

What (Dr) Pam doesn't get is that more than one-in-ten school pupils have a decent sense of humour and recognise stupid questions when they are asked them. I am pretty sure that all kids are aware of who Buzz Lightyear is but thought it would be fun to pull (Dr) Pam's chain. And does anyone really believe that any child actually thinks that Noel Edmonds invented the telephone? Well, (Dr) Pam does!

She's obviously the type of reseacher who releases 'statistics' and 'information' as a way of promoting her cause. Expect to see her promoting global warming before long!

Anyway, here's the story -

Buzz Lightyear has finally found the true recognition he craves throughout the animated children's film Toy Story.

According to one in 10 school pupils the CGI character was the first man on the moon.

In their minds it was Buzz, not Neil Armstrong who first took one small step for man.

They could be forgiven. At least Buzz, with his motto To Infinity and Beyond, is an astronaut - of sorts.

Other children taking a science test thought Sir Richard Branson, the legendary American cyclist Lance Armstrong and even the Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker were first to the moon.

Dr Pam Waddell, of Birmingham Science City looked at answers given by 1,000 primary and secondary school children in the tests, in advance of National Science and Engineering Week, which runs until March 21.

She said: "While some findings raise a smile, it suggests that school children aren't tuned into our scientific heroes in the same way that they moght be to sporting or music legends."

That's something of an understatement when it comes to the question of who invented the telephone. Three quarters of pupils gave the correct answer: Alexander Graham Bell.

But others said Charles Darwin, Noel Edmonds and even The Queen.

A third of boys thought Isaac Newton discovered fire, while others said it was DNA, the internet or the United States (it was the theory of gravity, if anyone is wondering).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nightfall Cover - Getting There

Hodder made a small change to the new Nightfall cover at my suggestion - I thought that Nightingale should be wearing his raincoat! We've decided not to go with Steve Leather and to keep my name as Stephen Leather, which is probably a good idea in the grand scheme of things. I've been head down editing the second book in the series, Midnight, and should hopefully be done by Sunday. I'm moving around a couple of big chunks which is a headache, but it will make the story flow better and increase the pace - I hope!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Great News For Burglars!

You couldn't make this up, could you? Our criminal justice system really is a joke.... we put pensioners in prison for not paying their council tax but burglars shouldn't be given jail sentences?

Burglars should not be jailed unless they cause damage or hurt someone when committing their crime, Government advisers said yesterday.

The Sentencing Advisory Panel called for judges and magistrates not to hand down prison sentences to ordinary burglars who were responsible for 'minimal loss or damage'.

But even criminals who operate in gangs or steal large sums of money may walk free under the guidelines, which suggest 'community' punishment for many offenders.

The recommendations contradict last year's ruling by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, which stated that jail should be the 'normally appropriate' punishment for convicted burglars.

Instead, the Sentencing Advisory Panel said yesterday that 'any starting point for domestic burglary should be non-custodial'.
Damage, harm to householders or other factors making the crime more serious should make a jail sentence more likely, it suggested.

But its report acknowledged that some experts had expressed 'grave concern' over the advice.

The recommendations to let burglars walk free come as, for the first time in several years, burglaries are increasing.

Police recorded more than 284,000 burglaries last year, a one per cent increase on the previous year, and the Panel report said the crime was 'still sufficiently common to affect many individuals and households'.

Read more:

New Jack Nightingale Cover

Hodder have come up with a new idea for a cover for the mass market paperback of Nightfall, and I think it looks great! And I might be in for a name change and use Steve Leather for the Nightingale books. That's just an idea at the moment but I think it might help differentiate the NIghtingale books from the Dan Shepherd series. We'll have to decide soon because the Nightfall paperback is due in the shops next month!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Elizabeth McGlynn Is A Moron

Some people really shouldn't be allowed to be teachers - why would anyone think that this was a sensible way of teaching eleven-year-olds?

Maybe the police should lock her up for a few days as a role-playing exercise? Might teach her a thing or two....

A group of primary schoolchildren were left traumatised after their teacher told them they were to be taken away from their families during a bizarre Holocaust classroom 'game'.

Pupils became hysterical after a number of them were separated and told they were being sent away or might end up in an orphanage.

The terrifying ordeal was meant to give the students at the Lanarkshire school an insight into the horrors faced by Jewish children during the Second World War, when they were plucked from home and sent to Nazi death camps.

But the ill-conceived exercise, which was sprung without warning on the children at St Hilary's Primary School in East Kilbride last Thursday morning, went badly wrong with many pupils, aged just 11, reduced to tears.

Deputy head teacher Elizabeth McGlynn was responsible for segregating the pupils and telling them they were to be sent away.

One angry parent, who has lodged an official complaint about the project, told how the 'barbaric' role play left children crying their eyes out in class.

In a letter sent to council bosses, the unnamed mother said: 'Mrs McGlynn told the children they would probably have to be sent away from their families and that their parents had been informed about this and knew all about it.

'When one child asked if that meant they might have to go to an orphanage, they were told that might be a possibility.

'At that point many of the children became very distressed.

'One boy kicked his chair over, one was angry and demanded to speak to someone in charge but most were crying on a scale ranging from mildly to severely.

'Their ordeal lasted between 12 and 15 minutes before the children were informed that it was all an act but that the role play would continue until lunchtime.'

One girl said her classmates began crying when Mrs McGlynn told them she had a letter from the Scottish Executive saying nine children had to be separated from their classmates.

She told the shocked youngsters those who were born in January, February and March had lower IQs than other children, 'due to lack of sunlight in their mother's womb', and that they had to put yellow hats on and be sent to the library.

The mother added: 'When I asked why on earth they thought it was appropriate to deliver a role play situation to the children in this way, Mrs Stewart informed me that they didn't inform the children beforehand.'

Read more:

People Who Really Need To Get Lives

I saw Avatar in 3D in Leicester Square, London, and thought it was a great cartoon. I saw The Hurt Locker on a plane flying to Bangkok and thought it was a brilliant movie. I think I met Ms Bigelow in LA years ago when she was married to Cameron. Didn't like her. But I'm glad she won the Oscars....

These people, however, really need to get lives... but they might be joking, I suppose....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Vigilantes - A Judge Speaks!

The Judge who protected the killers of little Jamie Bulger (horrifically murdered when he was just two years old) has said that they themselves could be murdered if their new identities were revealed. Finally a Judge who understands!

But here's what I don't get. If you went along to the police and said you thought you might be burgled, do you think they would put a cop outside your house? Of course not. If you were scared of walking home at night because you were scared of being mugged, would they have a cop walk home with you? Of course not.

So why is the British Government spending millions of pounds protecting these two killers? Yes, if they were out on their own they might or might not be killed. And if they were killed then the killers should be prosecuted. Who knows, maybe they would be given a few cushy years in an open prison with Playstations and trips to see Manchester United before being given new identities! But that is how the system should work - when someone does wrong they are punished. It's not the job of the police to predict who the victims are going to be!

I really don't understand why the criminal justice system is bending over backwards to help Jamie's killers but doing so little to help his family.

This from The Guardian -

The judge who granted anonymity to the killers of the murdered two-year-old, James Bulger, warned last night that Jon Venables could be murdered if his new identity is revealed.

Baroness Butler-Sloss defended the need for secrecy, echoing the position of justice secretary, Jack Straw, who was supported by MPs from all parties for his refusal to bow to tabloid media demands for the immediate disclosure of the reasons for Venables's recall to prison.

The crossbench peer and former president of the high court's family division, who granted Venables anonymity on his release from prison, stressed "the enormous importance of protecting his anonymity now, and if he is [again] released, because those who wanted to kill him in 2001 are likely to be out there now".

Monday, March 8, 2010


Finished the first draft of Midnight, the new Jack Nightingale book. 108,546 words. I reckon it's great but then I always do when I've finished a book. I'm sending it to my agent today and he and I and a terrific writer he has at the agency (coincidentally called Peta Nightingale!) will work on it over the next few weeks. With the Dan Shepherd books I tend to do very little editing but the Nightingale series is very different and is much more of a collaborative process. Midnight won't be on the shelves until early next year so there's plenty of time!

There won't be any great celebration because there will be several drafts to come, followed by the publisher's edits followed by typesetting. Plus I now have to dive straight into the new Dan Shepherd book, based around Somalian pirates and an al-Qaeda plot to bring a dirty bomb into the UK. Lovely.....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

FInal Stretch

Just hit 107,000 words on the new Jack Nightingale book and with any luck the first draft will be finished today. Whew. It's taken quite a bit longer than I anticipated but I think it works really well.

I think it will probably be called Midnight because much of the action takes place at the witching hour!

Nightfall, meanwhile, has just been give a great review by Terry Halligan on the website, which was gratifying!

Leather, Stephen - 'Nightfall'
Hardback: 448 pages (Jan. 2010) Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton ISBN: 1444700626

This exceptional latest thriller from Stephen Leather introduces Jack Nightingale as his new hero. Jack's whole world is turned upside down when he learns he has inherited a huge country mansion from a father he never knew he had. Unfortunately, with the legacy has come a terrible curse.

This unknown father has sold Jack's soul, at birth, to a devil and this entity will collect its due debt at midnight on Jack's thirty-third birthday (some three weeks away). Every relative that Jack has, is found dead in mysterious but explainable circumstances. Usually, in each case near the dead body is a curse written in blood saying "Jack Nightingale you are going to Hell", which scares Jack extremely.

Consequently, he is drinking much more than normal and he finds it very difficult to concentrate on his daily business as private detective when he thinks he may only have three weeks to live. He was formerly a London Metropolitan Police armed response negotiator until two people died in mysterious circumstances on his watch and he abruptly resigned.

He finds himself investigating any lead connected to the deaths of his relatives and a friend that has died. Jack is a confirmed atheist and does not usually believe in Hell, or in fact Heaven either, but whatever the explanation, a lot of people that he knew well and he was close to, are being found dead in the most brutal manner.

The rest of the story is a desperate race to find a way out of avoiding his final damnation (if he accepts a belief in such a thing). To this end he consults priests, both Anglican and Roman Catholic for clearer explanations of his predicament. The story speeds on to a completely unexpected finale.

This extraordinary thriller is very reminiscent of the novels of Dennis Wheatley such as The Devil Rides Out, The Satanist etc, but is updated for the 21st Century, as of course Wheatley was writing from the 1930s onwards. The author has applied his usual in-depth research techniques to his subject very well and makes reference in passing to several websites dealing with subjects such as Satanism.

I could not put this book down it seemed until I reached the final page, I was so gripped by the desperate race to prevent Nightingale's damnation. It is a complete change of genre for this author and I wonder whether he is going to use this new occultism style instead of the manner he has used for his previous twenty novels.

All in all the book is quite outstanding and quite a departure from the tried and tested formula he usually employs with his previous hero Dan "Spider" Shepherd, the ex-SAS super-cop.

Terry Halligan, England
March 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Amnesty International Are Idiots!

I bet you thought Amnesty International was a charity set up to help political prisoners? That's what I thought, too. But nope, they are yet another charity that loves to get involved in issues outside its remit.

This was on the news yesterday -

Human rights activists have staged a "die-in" to highlight the number of women who die in childbirth around the world.

Around 100 supporters of Amnesty International gathered outside Liverpool Street Station in London and about 60 "died" at the rate of one a minute during the hour-long protest.

A spokeswoman said: "Global figures show that approximately one woman dies every minute because of preventable causes related to pregnancy."

She continued: "Women in sub-Saharan African and south Asian countries are most at risk, and very little progress to reduce the number of deaths has been made in the past decade.

"Today in 2010, the global commitment made through the UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce the rate of women dying in childbirth remains the most far off target."

The organisation's UK director, Kate Allen, said: "The current situation is unacceptable. Pregnant women should not be denied their basic rights to healthcare.

"There needs to be a greater political will both in the UK and globally to put an end to this scandal.

"At Amnesty we are asking members of the public to sign a Mother's Day card to each of the three main political leaders in the UK calling on them to act now."

The spokeswoman said 250 signatures were obtained during the event.

The fact that 100 supporters only managed to get 250 signatures in Central London shows that the great British Public realises what a nonsense the campaign is. And that maybe Amnesty International should be spending its money the way we expect them to - helping political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. Until then, they won't be getting any of my money. Idiots.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our Justice System Sucks!

Will someone please explain to me what is happening to our criminal justice system?

Two stories from today’s paper. A TV producer who filmed himself in bed with his girlfriends gets eight months in prison. And a moron who killed a police dog with his car and injured two police officer while three times over the limit gets a suspended sentence. The only thing I can think of is that it reflects the way our country despises the middle classes while it bends over backwards to help our growing underclass.

I am starting to think that vigilantism is the way to go and am thinking of starting a new series based around a guy who has had enough and goes on a Death Wish-style rampage giving villains their just desserts. We’ll see.

Just passed 101,000 words on the new Nightingale book. All going well.

Anyway, here’s the two stories (both from the Daily Mail). See if you think it’s fair:

A womanising BBC producer who secretly filmed himself having sex with a series of well-known TV and radio presenters was jailed for eight months today.

Benjamin Wilkins used a camera hidden in a smoke alarm to tape his sexual encounters with a succession of women that he lured back to his flat.

He was caught when his girlfriend - and mother of his child - discovered a box of DVDs hidden in his loft and called the police.

Judge Roger Chapple told the 37-year-old he had 'betrayed' the trust of his victims.

The judge said the effect on the women who had been filmed had to be considered when sentencing Wilkins.


A joyrider has walked free from court after killing a police dog and injuring two officers in a road smash while three times over the drink-drive limit.

As his 12-month prison sentence was suspended at Newcastle Crown Court, Sean Lawson, 20, shouted ‘Get in!’

Prosecutor Geoff Mason told the court that the trail of destruction started when a VW Passat was rammed by a car in the Benwell area of the city on November 9 last year.

As the owner got out to chase two men, others jumped into the man's Passat and drove it away.

Later that night, a police officer spotted the stolen car with Lawson driving and, when he tried to pull it over, he put his foot down and accelerated away.

He then lost control, mounted a pavement and just avoided slamming into some houses.

A police car tried to box the car in but he rammed it, forcing it backwards down the road.

It was then spotted travelling on the wrong side of the road round a blind bend with no lights on doing 60mph.

Lawson again lost control and missed hitting another police car by inches.

He then drove at 90mph on the wrong side of the A695 dual carriageway, still with no lights.
Lawson then pulled a hand-brake turn, causing another collision with a police car and a dogs van.

A stinger device was then used to stop the VW Passat, which by now had its bumper hanging off.

Two police officers were also hurt in the incident at Blaydon, Gateshead. One of them needed physiotherapy to chest and back injuries.

One police dog suffered a broken back and had to be put down, while two others were injured.

Lawson, of Prudhoe, was found to be three times over the drink-drive limit during the car chase and on Monday he admitted aggravated vehicle.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work, a curfew and three-year driving ban.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bad Statistics, Bad Journalism

I was a scientist (a biochemist as it happens) before I was a journalist, and it's always annoyed me the way that statistics are often manipulated by vested interests and that journalists don't do enough to stop them.

I saw the following story in The Daily Telegraph and it annoyed the heck out of me!

HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age worldwide, the United Nation HIV/Aids agency has said.

One of the most significant factors contributing to the spread of the deadly illness is that up to 70 per cent of women worldwide are forced to have unprotected sexual intercourse, UNAids said.

The UN Aids agency and Annie Lennox, the Scottish singer, unveiled a five-year action plan amid a two-week conference in New York.

The UN Millennium Development goals, adopted in 2000, included halting and reversing the Aids pandemic by 2015.

But Michel Sidibe, the executive director of UNAids, said the agency's latest report in December showed the proportion of women infected with HIV has risen in many regions of the world over the past 10 years.

According to the agency, HIV is the leading cause of death and disease worldwide among women of child-bearing age from 15-49.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 60 per cent of people living with HIV are women, and in southern Africa the prevalence of HIV among women aged 15-24 is on average about three times higher than young men of the same age, UNAids said.

Nearly 30 years into the HIV epidemic, Mr Sidibe said, growing inequality between women and men and human rights violations against women including "brutal rapes" and trafficking for prostitution are putting women and girls at greater risk of HIV infections.

Now, here's the thing. I think it is possible that the headline is true - that Aids is the leading cause of death and disease among women of child-bearing age in the world, though I have to say that maleria and TB are more likely candidates for the title. But what is absolutely true is that it is the situation in Africa that is the cause and that in the grand scheme of things rape and human trafficking have virtually zero influence on the spread of the disease.

I went online to the UK's Office Of National Statistics ( and looked at their data. The numbers of deaths through Aids is negligible for women of child-bearing age in the UK, well below suicides even, and well, well below real killers such as cancer and accidents.

Aids might well be a terrible disease, but shame on the UN for releasing skewed statistics and shame on the Daily Telegraph for not calling them on it and just repeating the propaganda parrot-fashion!

And don't get me started on the whole global warming nonsense where we have all seen how so-called scientists play fast and loose with statistics!

One Of My Favourite Complaint Letters - To British Midland

I wrote this back in 2002 and never got an apology or compensation. I wanted to sue British Midland but my lawyer wasn't enthusiastic. I've pretty much flown Aer Lingus to Dublin ever since. Come to think of it, I have a few Aer Lingus letters of complaint on file!

Anyway, here it is:

March 23, 2002.

Sir Michael Bishop,
British Midland,
Donnington Hall,
Castle Donnington,
Derby DE74 2SB,

Dear Sir Michael,

I am writing to complain in the most strongest terms about an incident that happened today at your sales desk at Heathrow Terminal One. As a direct result of the actions of your staff there, I was caught up in a fracas in which two men were injured and several innocent passengers came close to being hurt, myself included.

I joined a lengthy queue at the sales desk at about 4.50pm to pick up a ticket for flight BD 133 to Dublin. The queue was moving very slowly, mainly because so few members of staff were working at the desk. At times there were only two people on the terminals with more than twenty passengers waiting. At 5.10pm I went over to speak to a member of the British Midland staff, Ms Rossiter, at the Stand-By desk. I explained that passengers were getting frustrated at the delay and that she should speak to her manager and get extra people on the terminals. I explained that late arriving passengers were jumping the queue, meaning that the rest of us were not getting attended to. She said she would inform her manager, Mr Geoffrey French.

Ten minutes later, a fight broke out among two men at the front of the queue. The two men punched each other in the face, a woman was knocked over, and at one point one of the men picked up a metal post used as a barrier and swung it around, trying to hit the other man. The pole narrowly missed hitting me.

I was almost knocked to the floor in the fracas, and several other passengers, including young women, were pushed over. Your staff made no move to break up the fight, it was left to two other passengers to risk their safety and pull the two men apart.

The police were called and the two men were taken away and questioned. I then spoke to the manager, Mr French. I explained to him that the reason for the fight had been an argument about the queue and that I had earlier warned Ms Rossiter that there was a problem in the making.

Mr French could not have been more unhelpful. He said that he was well aware of the problem, but that he was not prepared to put more people on the terminals. He said the more people who complained the better so that his bosses would appreciate that there was a staff shortage. I said his attitude was not that of a competent manager and that it was his inaction that had led to the dispute and the fight. He simply shrugged.

I then went back to Ms Rossiter and confirmed that she had spoken to Mr French and that he had told her that he was not prepared to put more staff on the terminals. It was Mr French’s inability to manage the situation that led to the fracas in which myself and several other innocent passengers were almost hurt.

I for one will not order British Midland tickets over the phone again if it means I have to queue at the Sales Desk, and frankly I am reluctant to fly with an airline which employs men like Geoffrey French. In view of recent events, security should be a priority for airlines, and what happened to me today was an absolute nightmare. I am still shaking as I type this.

I am this week leaving for a business trip to South East Asia. On my return I expect to find an apology waiting for me, and an offer of substantial compensation. In the absence of either I will be instructing my solicitor to sue British Midland for the personal distress I was caused as a result of your staff’s actions.

I look forward to hearing from you,