Number of the Month

June  2008

Genius or God?

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast; 
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree!
Joyce Kilmer 

A tree is a remarkable thing. It manufactures and maintains itself using only solar energy, carbon dioxide, water and a few trace elements. It is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It dominates what is left of the landscape, a lord of creation: but no more!

The man who invented global warming has now invented an artificial tree, a giant that will replace the old fashioned variety. The design is a little light on detail, such as how much energy and the dreaded carbon it will require for its manufacture, how much energy it will use while in operation, what it will cost to maintain. Nevertheless, it will no doubt grace the landscape along with those beautiful windmills that cover up the nasty old views of old fashioned nature.

It is rumoured that the same inventor is about to produce a machine that manufactures milk and prime steaks from grass.

O brave new world that has such people in it!


The unacceptable face of  Christianity

The Bishop of Stafford


Shock horror! An MP talks sense

House of Commons debates

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Members of Parliament (Pay and Responsibilities)

Peter Lilley MP -

In virtually every occupation, it is recognised that pay should reflect responsibilities. If people receive more responsibilities, they get higher pay. If they move to a post with fewer responsibilities, they expect to receive lower pay. The same should be true of Parliament. If, as is contemplated under the Bill that deals with the European constitutional treaty, this House hands over more of its powers to European institutions, MPs' remuneration should reflect that diminution of their responsibilities. If, on the other hand, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has promised, Parliament regains some powers, such as those over social and employment policies that were conceded in the Amsterdam treaty, that should be reflected positively when MPs' pay is assessed.

This issue is important because Parliament is considering transferring a significant slice of its powers on energy, foreign policy, immigration and several other areas to European institutions under the Lisbon treaty. A substantial transfer of powers has already occurred under previous treaties, and this House has ceded powers on a lesser scale to devolved Parliaments and to the judiciary under the Human Rights Act 1998. The German Government estimate that more than 80 per cent. of German laws are now decided at a European level. Our own Trade Minister has admitted that

"around half of all UK legislation with an impact on business, charities and the voluntary sector stems from legislation agreed by Ministers in Brussels ."—[ Official Report, House of Lords, 29 June 2006 ; Vol. 683, c. WA184.]

I have heard hon. Members claim that only 10 per cent. of our laws are made in Brussels —a figure that they attribute to a Library paper, but that paper says no such thing. It remarks that the number of statutory instruments laid under the European Communities Act 1972 amounts to about 10 per cent. of all the statutory instruments passed by the House, but points out that EU statutory instruments typically enact a whole directive, which is often the equivalent of an Act of primary legislation, whereas domestic statutory instruments implement regulations. To compare the two is like comparing apples and pears, or rather pumpkins and pears given the disparity in their size. It also ignores the most plentiful fruit that comes from the European orchard—regulations, most of which are never considered by this House and which hon. Members find difficult even to obtain.

The total scale of EU legislation is enormous. Last year, the EU passed 177 directives, which are more or less equivalent to our Acts of Parliament, and 2,033 regulations, which become directly enforceable in this place, not to mention 1,045 decisions. Even that huge tally ignores the extent to which our powers are diminished by our inability to do things that we would like to do because they would conflict with European law. When I was a Minister, officials would frequently say, "No, Minister, you can't do that", because something was within the exclusive competence of the European Union.

If the Lisbon treaty goes through, a further salami slice of powers will be transferred to the European institutions. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Ms Stuart) , who served with distinction on the European constitutional convention and who knows more about the implications of the Lisbon treaty than almost anyone else in the House, except for my right hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) , recently told the Fabian Society:

"If the Treaty of Lisbon is ratified and devolution...continues apace, in fifteen to twenty years this House of Commons will have only two raise taxes authorise war".

She went on to say that we are making "fewer and fewer decisions that matter" to people's daily lives, and that she could not tell her constituents that the buck stops here.

Admittedly, declaring wars kept Parliament pretty busy under the previous Prime Minister, as does raising taxes under the current incumbent of No. 10. However, our constituents want us to wage fewer wars, raise fewer taxes and focus on the huge range of issues that affect their daily lives, over which they assume and hope that we retain the powers that they pay us to exercise on their behalf.

Few voters, or even Members of this House, fully realise how many powers have been, or are about to be, transferred elsewhere. There are three reasons for this. The first is that Governments of all persuasions deny that any significant powers are being transferred. The second is that, once powers have been transferred, Ministers engage in a charade of pretence that they still retain those powers. Even when introducing measures that they are obliged to bring in as a result of an EU directive, they behave as though the initiative were their own.

Indeed, Ministers often end up nobly accepting responsibility for laws that they actually opposed when they were being negotiated in Brussels . They took the rap for costly and troublesome home improvement packs—which have added to the woes of the housing market—even though they were actually mandated by a Brussels directive. Similarly, they took the rap for fortnightly bin collections, hospital reconfiguration and a number of other measures, even though they had all been triggered by directives from Brussels . At first sight, it is odd that Ministers—who, in this Government, are not normally slow to blame others—should nobly defend and accept responsibility for Brussels' legislative progeny, in whose conception they have often played little part. They prefer to claim paternity rather than admit impotence—the fate of the cuckold across the ages.

The third reason is that the transfer of power occurs not all in one go but by a process of salami-slicing, and it is easy to close our eyes to what is happening. As a result, there is a danger of Parliament sleepwalking into becoming little more than a provincial assembly. If that is what is happening, we should be paid accordingly—just as district councillors get less than county councillors, and county councillors get less than Members of the devolved Assemblies.

I do not have a masochistic desire to see MPs' pay cut, but I want still less to see our powers diminish. The best way to prevent the latter might be to link pay to responsibilities. I do not know any Member of Parliament who entered Parliament to become financially better off. None the less, just as the prospect of being hanged in the morning concentrates the mind wonderfully, so the prospect of finding our pockets a bit emptier at the end of the month—and having to justify that to our spouses—might wake up those who have shut their eyes to what is happening. If we do not face up to what is happening, we will find ourselves being progressively relegated to what Bagehot called the dignified part of the constitution. As Tony Benn once rhetorically asked:

"I wonder how long it took for the yeomen of the guard to realise that they were no longer part of the regular army."

My Bill is designed to provide a wake-up call whenever we risk going further down that route, although I accept that it has little chance of becoming law in this Parliament. Those who support the transfer of power from here to supranational institutions should logically accept that our pay should reflect the diminution of our responsibilities. But, strangely, all the Euro-enthusiasts whom I asked to sponsor the Bill declined to do so without explaining why. Too many Members are happy to avert their eyes from what is happening, so long as they retain the prestige and emoluments that were appropriate to a fully sovereign Parliament. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

If any Labour Members oppose the Bill, I hope that they will come out and object to it here and now, rather than trying to dispose of it by subterfuge one Friday morning. I look forward to hearing them argue for having their cake and eating it. I doubt that they would convince many of their constituents that, unlike any in other occupation, MPs' pay should be divorced from their responsibilities

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Acknowledgement to Malcolm Wood of UKIP for the tip



Why did your bending author find this upbeat story about his alma mater so depressing? Possibly because words like “scholarship” have been removed from our vocabulary and consigned to history. Yet another vital aspect of our culture crushed between the twin jaws of a vice; socialism and Thatcherism.


Some of the world’s finest views of rolling green countryside are threatened with being subject to ugly scarring as a sacrifice to a bankrupt religion and a demonstration of the power of the Supreme Soviet in Brussels . The beleaguered historic Saxon hill fort town of Shaftesbury will be dominated by ugly, noisy structures higher than the Statue of Liberty. What it is all for?: an intermittent power source that is idle for 75% of the time and 1.5 million GBP a year of taxpayers’ hard-earned in the pockets of Ecotricity (why is it that all the big scams these days are prefixed by eco-? Eco-towns for example). Like most of modern policy, it makes no sense at all.

It is at Silton in Dorset , a few miles whence comes Number Watch. Over the last decade rural life has been under relentless attack from a hostile government, the beauty of the surroundings being one of the last remaining consolations. Now the Philistines have that in their sites. Good luck to the brave residents of the area, who are putting up a strong fight for the homeland that they love, but they are up against and implacable and malevolent enemy and their chances do not look good.


Bureaucrats like BIG

These three words explain much of what is going on in the world today – failed giant computer projects, the EU Supreme Soviet in Brussels, anything sponsored by the UN etc. The epitome of this trend, however, is to be found in Britain’s National Health Service. Money poured in by the Government immediately translates to growing bureaucratic empires and the least consideration is given to the customers. Nothing illustrates this principle better than the new proposals for “polyclinics”. What people value from what remains of the GP service is having someone accessible who is familiar with their case history. As always the people most disregarded are rural communities. The closure of small hospitals not only forces them to travel longer distances for treatment, but the round trip for ambulances (when one is available) means that emergency cases have a much greater risk of serious damage or death before arrival.

The Government, in its usual devious way, says that such services will be additional and not replacement (Oh yeah? Just as surveillance legislation was only going to be used against terrorists.)

As always the politics is surrounded by pretence. Ministers try desperately to create the impression that the policies they are defending were thought up by themselves. If these are not the result of EU directives, they are the product of endless manoeuvring by secretive British bureaucrats. The wrecking of out of hours medical services is a case in point. The BMA, in trade union mode, celebrated a great victory when it turned down an offer it was never intended to accept, resulting in an unbelievably expensive, dysfunctional and bureaucratically-controlled system that at best puts people in fear and at worst kills them.

One of the problems is that external “experts” brought in (journalists like to call them “Tsars”) invariably go native. Such was the case with LORD Darzi, a health minister and consultant surgeon, who felt able to put aside his Hippocratic Oath for the sake of bureaucratic convenience.

It all brings to mind a comment made long ago by a British Council official in Malaysia – “The way things are going, we will end up with just one scholarship, but it will be superbly administered.”

The bureaucratic ideal would be one giant polyclinic, perfectly administered, with minimum inconvenience caused by patients, who would be discouraged from attendance.

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It’s the Greenery, stupid

A selection of headlines from the Daily Telegraph (print edition) of June 10th:

 Collapse of home sales is worst for 30 years
Disposable income falls at the fastest rate since the 1970s
Used cars to lose a quarter of their value this year as motoring tax proposals take their toll
Jobs fears as house sales plummet
Cities weigh up road pricing
Flagship eco-town could cause extensive flooding, says expert
Price-hit Americans urged to grow food
Fuel protesters bring chaos to Spain
Trading frenzy points to rate rises
Saudis in bid to calm oil market as protests over price gather pace

OK, as is frequently proclaimed, some of it is down to the activities of cowboy bankers, but the pachydermatous cliché in the room that is never mentioned is that most of this is precisely the intended outcome of green policies. These policies have two main themes – the return of mankind to the Stone Age and the imposition of authoritarian socialist rule. Greens attack the Western economies on a broad front, but they also brandish a trident of three sharp prongs:

Promotion of taxes
Promotion of generous tax-funded subsidies for impractical energy sources
Prevention of the development of local realistic energy sources

To bring down a modern state you merely have to deprive it of energy, which is why so much effort goes into propping up the global warming myth in defiance of overwhelming contrary evidence. The ludicrously expensive biofuels project has the satisfying by-product of fostering both inflation and civil disturbance, all grist to the revolutionary mill. In short it is Greenflation.

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Of course, given the fact that the British Government is afflicted with monetary bulimia, it did not need a second invitation from the Greens before implementing draconian tax rises. That they had most impact on the  hardest-pressed members of society was of no account.

"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge. 
"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. 
"And the Union workhouses?"  demanded Scrooge.  "Are they still in operation?" 
"They are.  Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not." 
"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?"  said Scrooge. 
"Both very busy, sir." 
"Oh!  I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge.  "I'm very glad to hear it."

"A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket!" said Scrooge

Original cartoon by Joseph Di Nicola ©

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Strictly for the birds

When Horatio Nelson clamped the telescope to his sightless eye and proclaimed “I see no signal” he became a model for a later generation of “scientists” and the environmental journalists who feed off them. A classic example of the genre appeared in the Telegraph, The Times and, no doubt, all over the place.

Only two months ago we remarked on the cause of the decline of songbirds and its concerted cover-up by the environmental establishment. Now, yet again, we are told that it is all down to factors such as climate change and habitat loss. Well, there’s a surprise! Studiously ignored is the pachyderm in the parlour that is the relentless increase in raptors and scavengers, protected from traditional control by self-styled “bird lovers”. Not only are there more hawks and crows, but those notorious nest-raiders, magpies, have reached pestilential proportions. We have taken it upon ourselves to drive them away from the blackbird nest in our bay tree.

It appears that the reason blackbirds are under threat is that they have genetic commonality with declining species such as song thrushes. How indirect can you get? What they have genetically in common is that they sit at various high points on their territory and advertise their presence in the loudest possible manner. As we asked in April “How few songbirds does it require to raise a family of sparrow hawks?”

Footnote: Our man in Puerto Rico rightly draws attention to the first correspondent to the Times article, Pauline, who demonstrates that ordinary folk are less blinkered than modern scientists and journalists.

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At last! A politician of principle and courage

David Davis has resigned over the erosion of civil liberties, which brings us to:

Our surveillance society

Young England - what is then become of Old
Of dear Old England ? Think they she is dead,
Dead to the very name? Presumption fed
On empty air! That name will keep its hold
In the true filial bosom's inmost fold
For ever. The Spirit of Alfred, at the head
Of all who for her rights watched, toiled and bled,
Knows that this prophecy is not too bold.
What - how! shall she submit in will and deed
To Beardless Boys - an imitative race,
The 'servum pecus' of a Gallic breed?
Dear Mother! if thou 'must' thy steps retrace,
Go where at least meek Innocency dwells;
Let Babes and Sucklings be thy oracles.
William Wordsworth

It is staggering what damage can be done to a nation by a decade under an insouciant leader. Now most Britons believe we live in a surveillance society. Can anyone possibly have any doubt? We never hear the anthem Rule Britannia any more, because its rousing cry of Britons never shall be slaves is no longer anywhere near the truth.  This is now the most spied upon nation in the world. There are currently one thousand spy cases a month, not involving criminals or terrorists, but ordinary people, who were once regarded as innocent until proven guilty. Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus are consigned to the dustbin of history (not that new recycling bin but the old one for garbage). Personal data are being passed around among various authorities without any control. We are now threatened with identity cards that are to be the ultimate mechanism for intolerant authoritarianism.

We are now governed by a covert network of anonymous officials in Brussels, Westminster and the Town Halls, elected representative being reduced to the status of ciphers. Every national institution is corrupted by the authoritarian ethos, even schools and universities. The sort of thing that now passes as university research is students examining the contents of people’s bins. The Regulation of Investigatory Power Act (Ripa) is an assault on human liberty that would have been inconceivable ten years ago. The second biggest New Labour lie was that it would only be used against terrorism (the biggest was that the Lisbon Treaty was quite different from the failed constitution).

At the heart of this problem is the decline in standards of political life. Politicians are more concerned with their own security and perks than they are about the loss of liberty among those who elected them. They have casually cast off the powers that the electorate granted them, giving away them to an authoritarian socialist hegemony in Brussels, ruling by means of diktats that they call “directives”, unchallenged by the parody of a parliament, whose members wallow in their own corruption. Our own parliament is a meaningless talking shop, bowing to the executive when not grovelling to the European bureaucrats. The opposition, in particular is a vacuous sham, more allied to the former Danny The Red (now Danny The Green) than they are to the likes of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. They prefer to do nothing and wait for their turn at the trough, as the most incompetent and corrosive government ever to afflict these benighted islands collapses in a mire of its own creation. Winston Churchill swept away the post-war Labour Government with a telling campaign against The Snoopers: no hope of that now.

The police are kept off the streets by being kept in their nicks, filling in forms, while all sorts of dubious characters are given the right to extort instant fines from people, acting as judge and jury. Secret agents, yet another bunch of wage parasites preying on the groaning taxpayer, ply their trade with no form of monitoring or control, such as the Police Complaints Authority. They have no qualifications or training, but absolute power over hapless citizens. Innocent parents were spied upon for days by secret agents of Poole Council. We have more CCTV cameras than any other country in the world, though for the purposes of crime prevention they proved to be a fiasco.

Most sinister of all is the appointment by Peterborough Council of bounty hunters, who receive no salary, but are awarded a share of the booty.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
George Orwell

Original cartoon by Joseph Di Nicola ©


The people speak

The Irish have spoken!

Every time the people are given the chance to speak, they reveal the chasm between themselves and the new political class. In general elections they simply stay away. In surveys they dismiss official scares, such as global warming, as of low priority. Whenever the question of enlarging the powers of the anti-democratic EU is put to them, they reject it.

It was a declared intention of the EU puppet masters that the not-a-treaty should be so obscure as to be unreadable. This was a major part of their undoing in Ireland . Though, if it were understandable, the unravelling could well have been even more spectacular.

Fear not. The EU will continue with their project to recreate the Soviet Union . They have never paid any regard to the wishes of the people before and they are not going to start now.

Likewise the establishment media, being fully paid up members of the political class, have almost universally rounded on David Davis. In fact, the biggest media mogul of them all, Rupert Murdoch, is likely to put up his own cat’s paw as a candidate in opposition. Talk to ordinary people in pubs and you get quite a different view.

The gulf widens.

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The chasm yawns

Just when everything looks dark and drear, the sheer commonsense of ordinary people shines through to give a modicum of hope. Despite a tsunami of one-sided propaganda from the political class, which includes the establishment media, the population is still unconvinced about the putative threat of global warming. That people can see through the deceit, even when deprived of access to the evidence, is a remarkable testament to their communal wisdom. It is significant that doubts are greatest among the educated.

The gulf between the dominant caste and the population has never been wider. There is little doubt that if people had not been robbed of their referendum they would have seen off the threat from the EU Supreme Soviet. Only five Conservative MPs voted against the Climate Change (Economic Suicide) Bill, which indicates that they were the only ones who actually looked at the evidence.

The question now is whether people can find a means of expressing their will before the iron curtain descends upon Europe.

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Footnote: Common sense from an MP. How rare!


Telling it how it is

John Coleman  summarises the whole scam with precision and brevity.


Daft idea du jour

All the papers latched onto this one – residential buildings with separately rotating floors. All rather reminiscent of the enginasters. Architects are rather different. They have seven years training, after which they are unable to calculate, for example, the stress in a simple beam.

Google “flying generators” and you get 1.7 million links. The idea has been floating about for at least seven years, since the birth of Number Watch, which has visited them periodically. Have you ever seen one? Perhaps, surprisingly, they have not yet found a solution to the problems we have noted before. Meanwhile, how much money has been put in by hopeful investors? We live in a new age of fantasy.

Just think of the some of the services you have to provide in such a building:

Electricity (not just piddling windmills and solar cells, but a reliable supply)
Water (fresh in, foul out) no leaks
Communications (radio, telephone, TV, internet, control of rotation)
People (without the risk of crushing them) and fire escapes

Of course, there are immediately obvious potential engineering solutions to each of these problems, provided that money is no object, but how reliable and maintainable could they be? Just putting a simple sensor on a rotating shaft is a non-trivial problem; take it from someone who has done it more than once. Just imagine having a hundred people’s sewage above you, switching on and off as they pass the outlets. And when they get fouled up there is no getting a little man to poke a cane down them. All the electrical connections will require something like slip rings; a nice idea, but buggers to maintain. Then there are little thing like bearings, lovely until they go wrong. Dismantling a car engine is one thing, but a building? The little man with the oil can is gong to be awful busy.

Our natural schadenfreude encourages us to hope that these edifices will be built, but experience suggests that, after a few millions of investment down the line, the possibility of such entertainment will recede.


Stark staring bonkers!

Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

Once again Christopher Booker ploughs a lone furrow, telling the truth about the ruinous windmill fetish (further sane comments at EU Referendum). 100 billion extracted from the defenceless populace to build religious monuments that are worse than useless, they are positively disruptive, is a certain route to economic disaster. It would make more economic sense to put a million people to digging holes and another million to refilling them. At least that would have the advantage of keeping the expenditure inside the national economy and would not render the grid uncontrollable.

Almost the entire political class has isolated itself not only from people, but from the laws of physics, economics and common sense. Even without this calamity, the electrical supply is condemned to collapse because of a decade of Government neglect and inactivity. Increasingly insane directives from the all-powerful EU bureaucracy are driving an entire continent into poverty and chaos.

And those monuments will stand, disfiguring what was once some of the most beautiful landscape in the world, as a testament to a generation that lost its collective mind. Danny the Chameleon (once the Red now the Green) will have achieved his original aims of bringing down a civilisation, without the need to expend a single bullet or bomb.

Number Watch has been pointing out the madness of our lack of power planning ever since its inception, but the new establishment are deaf to intimations of reality. When the final crunch comes, will there be anyone left to say “It’s the Greenery, stupid”?

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Twenty years of demagoguery

He made a prediction and it did not happen. Fair enough, that is how science progresses, but any relationship between the Hansen phenomenon and science is rather remote. His latest calling down of fire and brimstone is upon the wicked oil executives, who are allegedly stoking up infidel opposition to the true gospel of the global warming catastrophe to come. That this is not true is evident from the greener-than-thou advertisements put out by that industry. They know a good racket when they see one and if there are a few billion taxpayers’ dollars on offer they want their share of them. They are, however, likened to the tobacco giants who so misled the public. Yes those were liars; but so were their opponents, led by the EPA, and they turned out to be better at it. The current big lie is that all the sceptical commentators are in the pay of the nefarious industry.

Hansen’s answer to it all is to call for an inquisition (he is a bit late into that game, by about five years). “May you have what you wish for” is an ancient curse and it would be satisfying to see Hansen have his day in court.

The reason that Monty Python’s dead parrot so rapidly became a dead metaphor is that it encapsulates the modern political phenomenon of lying with a straight face, when all parties involved know that it is a lie (It’s not a constitution, it is just a treaty). So now, when we are told that Global Warming isn’t dead, it’s just restin’, we accept it as just a normal part of the political process. Formerly it would have been regarded as an example of the fifth of Langmuir’s laws of bad science.

It is quite extraordinary that this sort of activity should fester within the world’s most notable scientific and engineering organisation. Anyone who has had the misfortune to have been reluctantly involved with such a weirdo will feel the embarrassment for all those genuine professionals whose ingenuity, among many other achievements, put a man on the moon. They obviously tried to subject him to some sort of control, quite properly in a tax-funded, non-academic institution, which led to his wild claim to being censored. He must be the least censored person on the planet, thanks to his friends in high places.

Perhaps the world will one day be grateful to the brave band of volunteers, who have at last got together to provide an audit of the activities of such fanatics. Owing to the efforts of the likes of Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts, we have been able to penetrate the unscientific veil of secrecy behind which they brew their spells and hokum. Not only are the standards of software production and maintenance way, way below the standards officially embraced by  NASA, some of the procedures are unbelievably bizarre, including even the Orwellian process of systematically rewriting the past.

A phenomenon indeed!

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Number of the month – 20

In celebration of the anniversary of Hansen’s famous presentation to Congress, this has to be it.



Note: The policy of Number Watch has now been amended and financial contributions are solicited to enable it to continue an independent existence.





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