Milk, Milk, Milk!

Milk, Milk, Milk!


Don't want to read my thoughts? Go straight to the synopsis/TL;DR

Ok, so Grandad is on his high horse again! This time it's about milk.

For several years now farmers have been paid a dwindling price for their milk. It is now at the point where up and down the country farmers are taking the situation into their own hands by taking all of the the milk from supermarket shelves.

There are 2 questions that we should be asking.

  1. Are we willing to pay more for our milk if it means keeping British dairy farmers in business?
    Please fill in the simple poll form to the right and we will see the general consensus together
  2. What can we do to help the farmers out

Are you willing to pay more?

Here's the £64,000 question: Are you willing to pay more for your milk if it supports UK farmers? Currently many of them are going out of business as they are paid less for their milk than it takes to produce it.

What can we do to help UK farmers?

I've tried, oh how I've tried

That's right: I've already tried to get more farmer friendly milk.


Tweets: I have sent a number of tweets about this subject and I have to say that the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers have been no help whatsoever.

Here are some examples

Research: I did a bit of research into how to get more “ethical” milk but there was hardly any information out there at all. All I could find were suggestions to visit Farmer's markets etc. This is all when and good when you aren't working every day but it's quite hard to fit in with a full work schedule and a family. We did try and we at least found our local farmer's market (which is awesome by the way). The problem is that they only had about 5 x (2L) bottles of milk at a time and we need that many per week.

The one thing I did discover is that Marks & Spencer pay the best price to the dairy farmers that they use. For this reason I bought our milk from M&S for several weeks until I stopped taking Rowan to school and then it was again inconvenient for me/us to get it from there. As this press release states:

An image of a glass with milk being poured into it

Just a glass of milk

“This increase will be welcomed by all M&S dairy producers. The M&S milk pricing model, Milk Pledge Plus, provides us with a transparent and fair price that reflects the cost pressures we face. It returns a market-leading milk price in exchange for market-leading farm production and health and welfare standards, and is a great example of a retailer working with producers in a mature way to deliver consumer benefits from a supply chain in a sustainable way.”

Milkman: My latest effort is to try and find a local milkman (or woman of course) who can deliver the milk to us. Whether that be delivering a job-lot weekly or daily.
I have emailed one milkman (with no reply) and I'll email more tomorrow.

Do you have any suggestions

How about you folks out there? Do you have any suggestions on how to get milk that will not bankrupt our National farmers?
I don't want to pay pittance for milk for high corporate supermarkets who drive their suppliers out of business. I saw in a BBC interview earlier an Asda spokesman say that it was the farmers own dairy that they owned that set the price. Whilst this may be correct it is big corporations like Asda who drive the price down with their massive buying power.

Synopsis TL;DR

The UK farmer's are being driven out of business because supermarkets use their “super” buying power in order to drive their purchase price down.

There is no-where near enough information out there about how to go about giving our farmers the business that they need. I have tried several methods of acquiring milk from more “ethical” sources but as yet I have not found a decent sustainable alternative for the working family.

I am too busy to travel miles and miles in order to pick up milk. I want to pay more so that I can give more value to the farmer's of this great Kingdom.

If you didn't read the rest of the article then I urge you to fill in the little poll on the right of this page in the sidebar. It will help us to find out what percentage of my readers would pay more.

Lastly: As I want as many participants in the poll as possible don't forget to share this post so that together we can get the widest possible coverage for the poll as possible.

Thanks; and once again it's over to you.

And Another Thing #2… Speaking up


Ok: so today’s complaint is about the state of humanity.

Today I saw  on the news footage of a man being denied entry to a train in France because he was black. The taunters were British football fans (Chelsea) and pushed him back out of the train when he tried to enter as well as singing racist songs.

Ok: that’s bad but what bothered me is that there are people stood around doing nothing about it. What could they do I hear you ask. well: they could have told the trouble makers that they were in the wrong; they could have stood side by side with the black man showing solidarity; they could have done anything except just standing there.

I have already told Rowan (my 5 year old son) on many times that if he sees something is wrong it is his duty to do something about it: whether it is helping somebody who is being picked on or telling somebody they have dropped their money. He has also seen me do this on several occasions and after each and every occasion I have reaffirmed our responsibility to help others in need.

If you want to watch the footage for yourself then here is the BBC news link. So what can you do if you see something wrong? I beg you! If you see something happening that you know to be wrong, please do something about it. Don’t just stand by and let society deteriorate into one were people don’t give a shit about each other.

By the way, for the people who say that I shouldn’t be calling a black man such a thing and instead should call him coloured or something similar then I say get a life. In my mind it doesn’t matter what you call people it is the intent behind it. It is similar to the situation when Prince Harry called his army friend his “Little Packi Friend”. I can see why some people would take offense to this but the point is that his “Little Packi Friend” didn’t take offense to it, it was and probably still is a term of endearment. Should be stop calling old people old because some take offense? I don’t bloody know I’ll let you all decide that, after all I have digressed from the original subject.

As always your comments are always welcome.

And another thing #1… HSBC, Daily Mirror


OK, so what is it with big business and getting away with it.

When I listen to big business and the likes talking about things they have been caught doing I’m reminded of one of my favourite 80s song by Electronic where it says “I’ve been getting away with it all my life”.

If anybody is caught then it’s as if they can say “We have changed our ways” and expect to get away with it. I wrote this post with HSBC in mind and regarding the recent tax evasion issues. However listening to the BBC ten o clock news tonight I hear about the Daily Mirror saying that it is sorry for tapping into peoples phones and it has not changed it’s ways…what’s that you say: “turn that music down”, ok, 2 seconds…

I’ve been getting away with it all my life…all my life

Ok, the music’s off, now back to the discussion. What sort of government lets these people…wait: people is such a sort word…let’s call them Bastards, yeah. What sort of government lets these bastards get away with this corruption.

If I didn’t pay my tax bill I would have my arse thrown in jail so fast I wouldn’t have time to say “…but I’ve changed my ways”

…rant over: please carry on with your normal business!

Can You Blame Cops After They Shoot Someone

Can You Blame Cops After They Shoot Someone

Death News Opinion War

After catching a post about an American Police Officer shooting dead a 12 year old boy who had a “toy gun” I thought it about time I made my thoughts know on this and subjects like this.

Nearly every comment on the post was very critical of the Police Officer who shot the 12 year old & obviously there were questions such as:

  • Why didn’t he wait more than 2 seconds?
  • Why couldn’t he see it was a fake gun?
  • Why didn’t he ask questions first & shoot later?

…and so on.

Put your self in the cops shoes

You are now that Police Officer

Ok, are you ready? Let’s go!

You’re in your patrol car when it comes through on the radio that a member of the public has reported there is someone in a park with a gun. When you get to the scene you see a boy (well a 12 year old) with a gun & he immediately points it at you. You haven’t had a chance to examine the weapon yet so you don’t know the state of it. Now the 12 year old is no longer a boy: he is pointing a deadly weapon at you & is now a threat to your very life. Your training kicks in & you fire two shots in to the suspect to neutralise the threat.

Wow. It all happened so quick – but what options did you have really?

A sign saying 'possibilities' on numerous arrows

Lets take a look at some of your options.

Let’s get the ludicrous one out of the way. When the call comes through on the radio you think “I’m not going to see to that, are you mad!”. Obviously that would [hopefully] never happen. If it did you would last a week as a Law Enforcement officer at the most.

Option 1: “He looks like my boy!”

You pull up at the scene and get out your car in order to assess the situation. You see a 12 year old boy immediately raise what looks like a weapon to face you. Your a father of a 12 year old yourself & you think “he looks the same age as my little boy. This can’t be right”.


The 12 year old who looks like your little boy pulls the trigger & kills you.

Option Conclusion

As a professional Law Enforcement officer you are paid to make quick decisions & tough choices in very little time. Maybe that wasn’t a real gun that he had but you are paid to protect your own life as well as the lives of others. If you wait to make the decision to fire you are putting your life & the lives of others at risk.

Option 2: You jump out of the way

You pull up at the scene & get out of your car in order to assess the situation. You see a 12 year old boy immediately raise what looks like a weapon to face you. You would like to talk to him & ask him some questions. You decide that it would be wrong to shoot without asking the right questions so you dive behind your car & try to talk to the boy.


He sees a lone female walking by & shoots her instead.

Option Conclusion

Now that an innocent member of the public has been shot because of your inaction everybody is pointing out that a 12 year old has exactly the same potential to fire a weapon as an adult. Everybody is pointing to examples such as the Columbine high school massacre & a family no longer have their Mother; Wife & Daughter.

The above examples are just that… examples & of course they are worse case scenarios. However; If a member of the public is believed to be in danger, a Police Officer’s duty is to:

  1. make split second decisions
  2. formulate an immediate plan of action with the best information available at the time

If you would like to know my experience of these situations then read about my experiences below

Put yourself in their place for a change.

Tell me: what would you do in this situation? Would you do any of the options above or would you have done something different?

What are Police Officers paid for?

Police Officers are paid to protect the public: that includes everybody from themselves to people who try to kill them. It is of course best to diffuse situations before taking permanent action such as discharging firearms, however, there are situations where their lives & the lives of others are under immediate threat. In these situations their job is to preserve life.

We have to put our trust in someone

Who exactly do you want to protect us and keep us safe at night? I will assume that as a responsible law abiding citizen you want the Police Department to protect you & keep you safe when you’re in bed at night.

Should the Police even carry firearms?

If you live in the United States of America or indeed many other countries then Police Officers are armed as standard & it's a way of life. Whether this is right or not is not for this post but consider this. In a country where guns are so easy to get hold of is it right that you ask the Police Officers protecting you not to carry them?

In the United Kingdom & many other countries we do not have armed Police Officers as standard but this debate does crop up from time to time.

Airsoft guns are not toy guns

Image of a toy gun that looks very real

Can you tell if this is a toy gun?

A lot has been made in the comments of the mentioned post that this was a toy gun. Let’s get this right: an airsoft gun is not a toy gun. It has the facility to fire projectiles. People are hurt every day because others think that air guns are safe. My own cat lost its eye after being shot with an air gun.

Air guns still kill

Last year in my very own local City a man was killed with an air rifle

…& what about bank staff?

Staff who work in financial institutions such as banks & post offices aren’t trained to spot air guns. A member of staff who has an air gun thrust into their face may have the same nightmares as one who has a real gun thrust into their face.

Are Body Cameras An Ideal Solution?

In the UK some Police Forces have started experimenting with body-cameras. Although freedom activists aren’t too happy with this they have to ask themselves what they prefer. I however believe that this is an ideal solution and would stop many complaints from members of the public.

My Own Experiences

As a former soldier in the British Army there have been occasions when I have had make rough decisions. I can say from personal experience that although I was fully aware that an individual was someone’s Son, Husband & Father that completely changed when that individual became an immediate threat to either myself or anybody else. I could have asked questions first & shot later on several occasions but that was not an option. Failure to act on my part could have meant that someone else could have been killed.

I totally sympathise with any Police Officer who has to do this terrible act. With regards the incident in Ferguson, Missouri I totally understand when Office Wilson says that his conscience is clear. When you do your job properly & you fire your weapon as a last resort you DO have a clear conscience. There is nothing else you could do & like I said before… a lack of action could easily mean that you or other die.


The Police Officers who are charged with your protection have much training & they are paid for their work. If you do not like the Police Force or the way that they are doing things it is your responsibility to write to your MP (In the UK)/Congress person (in the US) or other elected representative. If you live in a country without elected officials then you’re basically out of luck… sorry!

The next time this happens you should stop and think not only of the conciquences of any lack of action but about what options an individual had before taking a life. You should ask yourself who you want protecting our streets. On one hand do you want a body of weak Police Officers who let themselves be walked over all of the time? This would be the outcome of a Police Force that gives people the benefit of the doubt all the time.

On the other hand do you want to get rid of the Police Force and have a gang of Vigilantes patrolling your neighbourhood. I don’t know about you but that IS NOT OK with me.

What do you think? I’m keen to know what you think & maybe what you would have done in the example above.

Black Friday Blues

Black Friday Blues


Today many retailers in the UK adopted an American tradition: Black Friday. In what may have been a coordinated campaign several major supermarket chains had sales that were so silly they were irresponsible. Police had to be called to various locations & there were many fights & acts of violence.

So why has an American tradition turned into an opportunity for decent British citizens to be ashamed of their fellow countrymen/countrywomen?

A brief history of Black Friday

There are rumours (which I believe started on Facebook) that Black Friday is a term from the days of slavery when slave traders used to try & sell off their remaining slaves before the winter.

The truth is that the term “Black Friday” was’t used in general terms until around the 1950s; a full century after slavery was abolished.

Since then it has many meanings ranging from:

  • A term used by Philadelphia Police to describe the sales on the day after Thanksgiving.
  • A day when people would call in sick in order to get a “shopping&rduo; day off of work.

For quite a few facts that you never knew on Black Friday Visit the page on Black Friday.

Was there a Black Friday in the UK last year?

Actually: were the first in the UK to offer Black discounts as they started offering discounts in 2010

It looks like Black Friday is here to stay. Let's just hope that the health & Safety Executive take a look at the practices used by retailers such as Tesco & Asda this year & conclude that next year there must be systems in place that will keep the shoppers safe. My suggestion would be security guards/stewards & barriers. More realistically there could be a ticketing system similar to the one used in many Argos stores.

Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come and we won’t see Black Friday in the UK again.

Irresponsible retailers

This year there have been several scenes that the major retailers should have anticipated. By not having enough staff on to deal with their sudden increase in traffic these retailers have broken a basic rule of business: keep your customers safe.

I feel for the people who were attacked today simply for purchasing a TV. It would not surprise me (in this age of litigation) if these retailers didn’t see any legal action against them for a range of claims.

Ashamed to be British

Scenes like this…


…make me ashamed to be British. What happened to queueing, remember that? It’s the art of waiting in line until those before you have finished fulfilling their requirements & needs.

Upon viewing scenes like this my immediate reaction was to feel disgusted that fellow Human Beings could act in such a way. Were they trying to buy discounted food in order to feed their family on a very tight budget? No…they were trying to get their hands of cheap underwear; TVs & the like.

A 72” TV for a 5 year old’s bedroom anyone?

Yesterday whilst I was waiting for my son’s school to open it’s I overheard a “parent” telling her friend that Asda was to be selling off 72” TVs & she was thinking of getting one for her child.

Her child is in my son’s class & so is only 5 or 6. Our 5 year old son doesn’t even have a basic TV in his bedroom. If he did he would fall asleep watching TV every night. Instead he has books and toys in there.

I mean, come on! Who on Earth buys their 5/6 year old a 72” TV for their bedroom? No doubt it is to go with their consoles & all their bloody killing/war games.

Rant over: carry on!

Is it Anti-British not to wear a poppy?

Is it Anti-British not to wear a poppy?

Facebook Opinion War

Yesterday I witnessed a post that chastised an Irish Football player who plays for a British football team for not wearing a poppy. The posts main image was a head shot with the word “traiter” written on his forehead. The post text then went on to say

“He refuses to wear a poppy on his football jersey….name and shame…..disrespectful, ignorant, anti-British”

And then call for the club in question to sack him. They obviously haven't considered the legalities of sacking somebody for refusing to wear a charitable emblem.

I had until this time respected this Facebook group and also followed them on Twitter but as soon as I commented on their post I “unliked” and left the group.

A poppy is a personal choice

Whether to wear a poppy or not comes down to personal choice and should not be dictated by the minority or even the majority. The moment that it becomes a sense of social duty to wear a poppy the poppy itself loses all of it's meaning.

A poppy is meant to reflect an individual's personal remembrance of the fallen from all the wars. In my opinion it is not only meant to remember those of British origin who have lost their lives. No doubt the Facebook group fails to recognise the work done by members of other nations Armed Forces as part of the British Nation. In my mind poppies represent respect and remembrance for all those who have fought and fallen in order to save their way of life. Be they British servicemen killed in Afghanistan; German soldiers killed in the World Wars or even members of the Zulu nations in the late 19th/early 20th century conflicts.

Personal Remembrance

After spending 2 years of my life on tour as part of the British Army I have lost several friends and I am sure that like me they did not fight for people to be forced to wear poppies.

An image of rows of poppies

Picture courtesy of The Royal British Legion

No Remembrance Ceremony for me today

Unfortunately today I am choosing not to go to the remembrance ceremony that I usually attend in Barnsley Town Centre. I instead shall be watching it on BBC TV. Does this make me Anti-British too? If people choose to feel that way then so be it. As it happens my 5 year old son is doing his favourite impression of Satan this week and it would be selfish of me to go up to the war memorial and leave my wife to cope with the situation alone (well…she would have the dog). I normally got for a few pints afterwards with my neighbour to celebrate the lives of fallen friends as is tradition. I’m sure those have fallen will understand my decision to stay at home and support my wife.

I haven’t even bought a poppy this year yet

As of yet I haven’t even bought a poppy this year. Does this mean that my employer should also sack me (ok, I’m self employed so that doesn’t count). As it happens I like to buy my poppies from a certain old veteran that stands in the centre of Barnsley each year as he is a pleasure to deal with. The fact that I haven’t seen him yet would mean nothing to this Facebook group. I have however purchased a British legion t-shirt and car sticker which are both still in their wrappers but the poppy watchers will not see this.

I wear poppies throughout the year. When I am having a bad PTSD day or to commemorate a certain anniversary. A have a many poppies placed throughout my home and I often get weird looks from people when I wear a poppy in March. No doubt they want to know why I am wearing a poppy when it is not November.

A poppy is not just for November

An act of remembrance is not just for November: it is one that can be carried out anytime to show that we are remembering the fallen.

An image of the Cenotaph

Picture courtesy of The Royal British Legion

Are poppies losing their meaning?

When the wearing of poppies becomes a social task and something that one thinks they should do because that is what is expected of them then it loses it's meaning.

Barnsley Veteran refuses to wear poppy because of MPs

This year as Mark Ansell tweeted a Barnsley Veteran will no longer wear poppies as he believes that MPs have hijacked the who thing. After watching the video feed I have to agree with his sentiments that the wearing of poppies is becoming the expected thing. I do not agree with him regarding MPs hijacking the occasion but then I believe that unless one has suffered human loss due to war then they can never understand and can only sympathise with those who have.

So is it Anti-British not to wear a poppy?

Well… you decide. My opinion in that it is neither ant-British nor dis-respectful. There may be many reasons why people are not or don't wish to wear a poppy and I along with many many others fought for the right for the individual to make that choice all by themselves.

Rant over so enjoy the rest of your day

A rant to the Web Development community

A rant to the Web Development community

Web Development


  1. Ok, let’s get started
  2. A bit of background
  3. So what did I create previously?
  4. What am I complaining about?
  5. But Wait! (a glimmer of hope maybe?)
  6. So how should it be done?
  7. So what do I want?
  8. Rant over

Ok, let’s start

Let me start by saying that I know I’m using an existing theme but I needed something to put a blog on so I used an existing theme….so what.

A bit of background

I am about to become a freelance PHP Web Developer and so I thought I’d get around a few places in my local are a and meet some guys (& girls) that I’s been following on Twitter for a while.
I decided that I would visit Genuis Division in Barnsley as I had been following Craig Burgess on there for a while. The visit itself was very fruitful. I was made to feel very welcome by 4 very nice gentleman. What would have surprised my wife is that although the 4 of them were self confessed ‘Geeks’ not one of them had a Star Trek uniform on…anyway, I digress.

By the end of the visit I had a much firmer idea of my route into the webdev community & I knew that my months of trying to get my head around around the ins and outs of the design process were waisted. As Craig and Richard (their Techincal Director) pointed out – I should concentrate on what I am good at & what I enjoy doing. Common sense stuff of course but one that I possibly just needed to hear from an external source.
I knew when I got home that I had to clear all of this design nonsense out of my head and concentrate on the PHP side of things as I had now been focusing on design for a few months.

Kinda how I felt

Kinda how I felt

I posted a thread on a popular webdev forum about what project I could undertake in order to brush up my OOP skills. The majority of the replies that I got advised me to create my own framework. I took this advice & quickly set about Googling a few tutorials for how to create a framework.

Until this point I had not been a fan of frameworks per say as I found them overkill for the projects I had previously created but when I did start looking into it I was shocked.
The more I looked into frameworks the more I thought to myself “Hang on! I’ve already done this and been criticised for it”

So what did I create previously?

On the same popular forum around a year ago I posted my own files for review. I now know that this was the basis of a framework. Admittedly, looking back on the code it could do with a lot of improving and more abstraction but the basics were there. The framework had 5 or 6 classes that I used and covered everything that I needed including security, database handling, HTML output, templating facilities and more. Had I got a few words of encouragement, I may have continued to develop this framework and stick with OOP.

So what am I complaining about

I’m complaining about the critique process that many employed. The tone was a very negative one with comments made such as “Not quite sure why you’ve put it in a class to be honest”. Not one single person included a positive comment. This in my opinion leads to much dis-heartening and people giving up. This included me as a justified comment could have gone a long way to encouraging me to continue with the project. If someone had written something along the line of “You have the start of a framework there, if you continue along those lines & study the architecture of some of the popular frameworks you could have a good framework there”.

Success or Failure?

Photo credit: Cobrasoft

Another example

On a different forum I posted a general question on whether or not developers kept their files (not the files directly accessible via HTTP requests) in a non-accessible directory (i.e. sub root). The comments were generally good & polite but there were a few that told me in no uncertain terms that I was an idiot to keep files sub-root and there was no benefit in it. I didn’t dignify them with a response but I did know the benefits of this practice thanks to Chris Shiflett‘s Essential PHP Security book (non-affiliated link) which I bought a few years ago.

Yet Another Example

On the 13th December, 2012 Harry Roberts posted a tweet which I believe was also trying to get to the same thing as I am complaining about here. He tweeted:


Hacker News in a nutshell: Dev 1: ‘Hey I made this, it took me a year and you can have it for free!’ Dev 2: ‘Your screencasts sound bad.’

In this example. a little encouragement would have been a good thing – I haven’t seen the post to which Harry was referring to but it seems that the same theme of comment keeps popping it’s ugly head up.

But wait!

There was also a direct message waiting for me to look at. On reading it I as quite impressed. It was commenting on my profile & the fact that I used an outdated IDE (the profile hasn’t been updated in a while) but the sender framed it in such a way as to not have a negative tone. He then went on to suggest good IDEs etc.

So how should it be done?

In my opinion critique is an art form in itself but a lot of it is often down the attitude of the person critiquing. Instead of just offering negative comments why not frame a comment constructively. Image…We could even give its own name: we could call it something like “Constructive criticism” instead of ‘being an arsehole’.

Simply typing “How to criticise” in Google shows that the top article has several suggestions. As an ex-military instructor I use the 1st type of critiquing: one that is referred to by many including @CarriganGlen, a good friend of mine and former army buddy as a “Shit Sandwich Motivational Technique”. It allows critique to be given but not in a wholly negative manner.

Craig Burgess commented on a recent podcast saying that

As somebody who’s spoken in a public capacity a few times, … the pressure is massive. And 1 negative comment can crush you.

This shows what I have mentioned previously: that negativity can have an effect on one’s attitude and ambition to carry on with a project.

So what do I want?

It would be nice if people learn to critique properly – doing otherwise can only result in self-perpetuation negativity. I suggest that people think before they critique and carefully frame their words as to not be offending or be overly negative.

Rant over

Well that’s it folks. If you got to this point in the post I want you to do 3 things for me.

  1. Give yourself a pat on the back, you did well.
  2. Leave a comment if you have anything to add
  3. Make yourself a brew, you deserve it

By the way, please feel free to Tweet about this post to the wider webdev community.
Thanks again.