Friday, January 30, 2009

Hazel Blears' kinky sex life?

Other blogs are carrying the quote from Hazel Blears that
"Campaigning is like sex – if you’re not enjoying it, you’re not doing it right. It should never be a drudge."
So I take it from this we can deduce that Hazel Blears' husband quite often slams a door in her face during sex (kinky) and says "fuck off I don't care about politics"; in between which she gets chased or bitten by dogs that should have been put down (is that legal?); as well as regularly being told that "you're all the fucking same I prefer the BNP, they have the right idea"?

Just saying like.


All I could think about was Trigger Happy TV and the classic "HELLO! I'M ON THE TRAIN!" moment when I heard that awful bloody ringtone on Brown's mobile.

The Prime Minister has a Nokia that must be at least ten years old. This is presumably because he breaks them so often he's just being sent refurbs by his service provider.

Don't get caught short on a South London tube

Below is a map of toilet facilties on the Tube. Clearly it is not advised to find yourself needing the loo if you are in South London.

TfL Toilet Map

Department of Health admits consultations are pointless

At least they're being honest right?

Translation: We were going to have a consultation but decided against it because we were never going to actually do what anyone asked anyway. We'd already made our decision so what woudl be the point? We're so confident of our own greatness that we're even going to admit that our consultations are pointless as well.

Monkey see, monkey don't

I'm thinking that Theresa Villers little research monkey should be paying more attention and reading documents in full before writing letters.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the research underlying figures 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 in his Department’s publication UK Air Passenger Demand and carbon dioxide forecasts. [250357]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The research underlying figures 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 of “UK Air Passenger Demand and CO2 Forecasts 2009” is set out in chapter 2 of the same report, with further detail in annexes A-D.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Personal bankruptcy specialist goes....

I couldn't stop laughing when I learned about this. The screenshot below is from Companies House and the opne in yellow is one of those specialise companies that help people declare themselves bankrupt (thanks to Gordon Brown's legislation that made it easy).

You couldn't make it up!

Anonymous Tory insider does some stirring in the press?

I've just receieved a press release from Standpoint Magazine about two exclusive articles written by an anonymous Tory insider that effectively calls on Cameron to sack Steve Hilton because he is overrated and instead look towards the underrated Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home instead.

Sounds like someone is seriously stirring to me, and I doubt that Tim will be particularly pleased to be the subject of the article even if it is bigging him up. After all, Conservative Home has gone from strength to strength and has achieved considerable access. An article like this might set back what has been achieved because there may be those that think it is sneaky maneouvering within the sub-text.

No doubt such an article will help Standpoint to get noticed a little more too, not that I would ever be so cynical as to think that it could in anyway be designed for such a purpose natch!

Apologies for the lack of links but am posting via email so can't do any at the moment.

How to fail a philosophy course?

Clearly this Philosophy Professor in Hawaii is not amused and is getting stressed by the nutters that take his course.

Second Home Allowances for Civil Servants?

The expenses of MPs and their use of allowances to maintain more than one property is well known, I was until today though unaware that a number of top brass civil servant also get benefit-in-kind second home allowances from the public purse too.

David Nicholson for example, received in 2007-08, a £37,600 second home allowance. Meanwhile Dr Bill Kirkup, Director-General, Clinical Programmes at the Department of Health received £25,800 for his London pad.

Meanwhile,. Chan Wheeler, the American and former Commercial Director at the Department of Health received a relocation package of £41,900 and a second home allowance of £90,600.

How many more top brass civil servants are receiving these sort of benefits in kind from the departments they work for I wonder?

That UN school that was bombed in Gaza?

Via Croydonian we have a rather interesting piece in the Canadian Globe and Mail. The bottom line? That story about the UN School that the Israeli's bombed in Palestine may not be quite as accurate as initial reports claimed.
Most people remember the headlines: Massacre Of Innocents As UN School Is Shelled; Israeli Strike Kills Dozens At UN School.

They heralded the tragic news of Jan. 6, when mortar shells fired by advancing Israeli forces killed 43 civilians in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The victims, it was reported, had taken refuge inside the Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, a facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency....There was just one problem: The story, as etched in people's minds, was not quite accurate.

Physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses, including a teacher who was in the schoolyard at the time of the shelling, make it clear: While a few people were injured from shrapnel landing inside the white-and-blue-walled UNRWA compound, no one in the compound was killed. The 43 people who died in the incident were all outside, on the street, where all three mortar shells landed.

Stories of one or more shells landing inside the schoolyard were inaccurate.

While the killing of 43 civilians on the street may itself be grounds for investigation, it falls short of the act of shooting into a schoolyard crowded with refuge-seekers.
Read further here.

World War II Russia - Then and Now

Ignore the fact the site is written in Russian, the way these photos have mapped scenes WW2 onto how the area now looks has created something pretty impressive and spooky at the same time. The text under the first normal photo reads,
Each day we walk along thus the streets, dying on which its defenders thought about us. On us, which with it was not judged see. But we can and remember!

See more of them here.

Bailout Question of the Day

From teh incredible edible interweb!
Why not give money to homeowners to pay off their mortgages, instead of giving money to the banks? The banks get the money anyways, two birds with one stone, everybody wins. Please educate me as to why this is a bad idea.

DCMS does and doesn't know what IT projects it has?

In response to a question from the Cardiff Central Lib Dem MP, Jenny Willott, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport appears to have dropped quite a clanger about the mess of their IT arrangements. When asked what ICT projects they have run from 1997, Junior Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe said,
My Department does not keep a formal register of IT projects.
A startling admission that they have bugger all records or idea what is going on in their department when it comes to projects they themselves have started. However it gets better. In the follow up question, Willott asked what ICT projects the department had abandoned since 1997. The response?

My Department has not abandoned any ICT projects since 1997.
If you have no formal register of projects how can you know with certainty that nothing has been abandoned?

The old lines were always doomed to eventual failure

The Speccie CoffeeHouse blogger, Peter Hoskin has written an interesting piece about how Labour's strategy is stuck in the past. It's a good point really, that the when the Labour Party essentially believe that the Tories are "retreating" to where they were in the early 1990s they should therefore argue along the lines of "Labour investment versus Tory cuts".

As Hoskin points out though, the news from the likes of the IMF about the depth of the UK recession, and also from the Institute for Fiscal Studies about how spending must be reined in, you have to wonder whether this strategy will have any chance of working. More so though for me, there is aparticular demographic that Labour are missing a trick on, and that is the first time voter at the next General Election.

Think about it for a moment. Unless you're born inot a deeply politically active family, you don't really become politically conscious until what? Ten years old at the very earliest perhaps? There is going to be a great swath of new voters out there who will only ever have really known Labour in power, the memories of the early 1990s will not ring for them, so the salience of the term "cuts" will not conjure up the same disingenuous images.

This is something that I have argued with Labour friends for some time now. That the tried and tested arguments of the 1997, 2001 and (at least in some respects 2005) are not going to work when they go for a fourth term, precisely because the "remember what the Tories were like 20 years ago" line just won't resonate anymore. This should be obvious to the Labour strategists given the clear evidence that the Tory brand has been, as it were, decontaminated.

This self-evident change, and also demographic change appears to be passing them by though. They have failed to notice, as Peter says, that there is a contradiction between the "belt-tightening" argument they acknowledge and make towards the many, with the profilgate Government spending argument made by the few. Meanwhile, the generation born in the late Tory years, but becoming politically aware in the the Labour years, stand there and shrug their shoulders when they get told how evil the Tories are.

The once simple mantra of "after 18 years of Tory rule" is going to replaced by "after 13 years of Labour rule", and for some reason the Labour Party just don't want to see what is coming and instead fight the battles of the past which have no credence for so many anymore. UK Plc is verging on bankruptcy, we all know it, and everytime we hear Brown tell us otherwise or boast about how he is leading the world we just laugh at the absurdity of it all.

MoD says installing a single computer is an ICT project

Have just been looking through Hansard and I spy Quentin Davies is talking absolute complete bollocks in response to a pretty ordinary question. He was asked what ICT projects the Ministry of Defence and its agenc ies were currently carrying out and started his response by saying,
An ICT project can vary from installing single computers and software licences to major programmes, such as the Defence Information Infrastructure.
Yes that's right, the MoD apparently consider plugging in a single computer to be a "project" - presumably with a project manager attached to draw up a gantt chart of each step involved for each individual cable.

I bet you can't guess what comes next now that Davies has set up his neat little pile of poo to start with can you? Yes, that's right,

Details of all the ICT projects being undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and each of its agencies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
If ever there was an example of a Minister deliberately finding a completely crap reason not to answer a question then this is it.

London Midland - A joy?

Upon learning London Midland had a new timetable, the secpnd in a month, I asked about ommissions that meant I couldn't tell which was the most direct into Euston. In response I was told by London Midland staff.

If its here and its moving I would just advise you get on it. You can never be too sure if the next one will turn up these days
Not bad I thought given the season ticket price went up by £400 this year to just £4200, and for that I get to sit on the floor (carpeted natch). I think the word 'bastards' springs to mind.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Brown said nothing

Quite literally, all he kept saying were the words "doing nothing". Is that the extent of his brieifngs prior to PMQs? "Don't worry Gordon, if in doubt just slap the "doing nothing" line out, the more we sya, the more people will believe it". It wouldn't have happened with Blair.

One thing is for sure, you can really tell that Brown has zero experience of the real non-political world. Unlike Blair who had to become a barrister first and learn to think on his feet, Brown is nothing but a robot that has been fed one brief and boy is he going to stick to it.

"This is wrong, but it does happen" encouragement?

The end of the Parliamentary session, and the prorogation of the House has always interested me when it comes to what appears to be its use as a tool for avoiding questions. I was therefore rather interested to read this letter from Chris Bryant to Harriet Harman about written questions and prorogation.

The letter below is essentially one which says "oh you mustn't use it to avoid answering questions, but feel free to give a standard 'we don't have the time before prorogation' answer for the entire last week of Parliament if you like".

No doubt some will disagree with that, but the letter has an obvious sub-text to it. Explicitly telling the departments not to use it to avoid questions and then letting them know they can essentially use it as an excuse for an entire week is an interesting juxtaposition.

It's basically tacit encouragement!

Home Office: Come fly with me?

As is commonly known these days, the Labour Party, during the finanical crisis, have taken the decision to try and create a narrative that the Tories are the "do nothing" party. This policy comes through in everything they say, even down to official Government press releases which make a point of stressing the words "real help" all the time.

It seems to me though that perhaps the Tories need to find some other narratuves to label the Labour party as well, and having just seen the figures in Hansard for how many air miles were travelled on domestic, short-haul and long-haul flights by the Home Office last year I think obvious choice is the "do as we say, not as we do" party.

Last year, the Home Office, achieved the staggering figure of 3,115,863 air miles on domestic flights alone. Meanwhile the Home Office did 1,626,114 miles on short-haul and 3,980,766 on long-haul. Apparently this is OK though because the Home Office "ensures the Department offsets carbon dioxide emissions from its official air travel."

Frankly this is beside the point. We, the proles, are constantly being told that climate change is going to kill the entire world. That we should avoid unnecessarily wasting energy, certainly not take domestic flights when the trains will do. We're bombarded with adverts about "Acting on CO2" and here we have the Home Office doing the equivalent of about 12 round trips from London to Edinburgh every day for a whole year?!?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tories going agile on IT development?

I've only actually seen the briefing on the new Tory Party proposals for IT projects in Government so can't comment as yet in absolutely full detail. However, on the base of it the main recommendations should be welcomed I think.

For a start, using more Open Source software is never going to be a bad because in procurement terms it can save you masses of money. Sadly there are too many project managers out there who think the bigger the price tag the better software. Not true.

One interesting point of the briefing is the pro[posals to make sure that Government delivers smaller iterations in development and scope of projects. This makes perfect sense. Large centralised projects always overrun, always overspend, and invariably fail to deliver what they are meant too.

I am reminded of something I wrote two years ago about what a Tory Government should do and these proposals of spliting things into modular components fits in well with that.

Who's driving?

Ever wondered what it looks like to sit in the cockpit of the space shuttle whilst in space?

Click here High res

Note: I know that when in orbit no one needs to drive. I'm not that stupid.

Labour List: Literally Champagne Socialists!

From today's Labour List, LunchtimeList

I'm not sure which is sadder. Having to pay people to comment with free booze, or choosing a type of free booze that provides such an easy gag!

Is the Labourist Editor a guy called Matthew Birks?

A few posts ago I posted about a new website called "No Fourth" which has clearly been set up to paraody the Labour Party's "Go Fourth". It has been brought to my attention by Jag Singh that the site sits on exactly the same server as the Labour List copy, Labourist.
dizzy@desktop:~$ host has address
dizzy@desktop:~$ host has address
Coincidence? Maybe. There is a guy called Chris Birks that is linked to Conservative Future. A relative maybe? Who knows!

UPDATE: I see Labourist's navbar has started to link to No Fourth as well.

UPDATE II: As pointed out in the comments, each "slice" of hosting on the provider for these sites gets it own IP address so the fact they share an IP means either (a) Labourist and Nofourth are run/designed by the same person or (b) Labourist has provided free hosting to Nofourth.

UPDATE III: Matthew Birks has posted a comment on Unity's blog saying he has nothing to do with Chris Birks, but no denying he has anything to with Labourist. It's also worth noting that Chris Birks also appears to have been fibbing somewhat about his former life as a BNP activist before joining the Tory Party.

Justine Greening enters Plain English Award candidate

The following "question" from Justine Greening MP appears in Hansard.
Click image for larger version

First prize of being generally smug about it if you have a clue what she is talking about! Personally I think Jim Murphy's answer was quite amusing too - reading between the lines it just screams "do your nerdy researchers have nothing better to do?".

No Fourth Campaign

Labour's John Prescott and Alistair Campbell have Go Fourth - "The campaign for a Labour fourth term". Now there is also No Fourth - "The campaign against a Labour fourth term".

The site says it "is a privately run service and is not funded or sponsored by any political party." The domain was registered by someone called Matthew Birks - no idea who he is though.

Throwaway Thought of the Day

A quick throwaway post first thing in the morning, but isn't it rather funny that had the four Lords that have been accused of dodgy dealings been Tories, Cameron would have be labelled a ditherer amongst all other things for not having suspended the whip pending investigation by Labour. Gordon brown on the other hand does nothing and there is not a peep of comment about it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Could the DEC ask for better coverage?

Could the cliche that there is no such thing as bad publicity be anymore true for the DEC Gaza appeal and the BBC? The BBC refuses to broadcast the appeal because it has (rightly or wrongly) concerns about it potentially breaching its impartiality obligations. BBC News editors then make the refusal a massive row, run it at the top of many of its radio and news broadcast over a number of days.

Could the DEC have asked for better and wider coverage than that? Seriously. They wanted a quick video slot to broadcast an advert apepaling for help which most people would probably be boiling their kettle during anyway. What they've got is round the clock coverage for four days instead, where BBC News basically slates itself whilst simultaneously bringing the appeal to an even wider audience.

I would be most interested to see how much money they actually raise compare to what they hoped to raise with the original broadcast that was refused.


This little one was left in a comment the other day but I was lazy and didn't follow it up until today. I give you Head O State. Every girls dream surely?

Capitalism! Don't you just love it?

Wonder how successful this was?

Via Flickr

Wait for the whitewash and the spin

I don't know, I turn off my laptop and refuse to watch or follow the news for the weekend and what happens? Corruption scandals that's what. The news that Labour peers are accused of offering their services to amend laws in retrun for fees is not really that surprising. The surprising thing is that at last someone has, at least if the allegations are true, been caught out doing it.

Nor was I surprised to hear the Labour leader in the Lords was planning her own inquiry and then swiftly said that the peers in question had been "entrapped". We can all guess what that inquiry is going to conclude then. Don't be surprised either if we start to hear snippet of positive stories from the Treasury about plans for tax cuts or the raising of tax threshold in the Budget.

The bottom line is that Downing Street will want to bury this story as quickly and as swiftly as possible, and if that means creating a few stories to knock it down the agenda then they'll do it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tory MP calls for pedicab ban

Tory MP for Ilford North, Lee Scott has tabled a motion that "calls on the Government urgently to ensure that all pedicabs are removed from the streets before the UK experiences a tragic incident like the one in Seattle."

On this sort of logic shouldn't he be calling for cars to be banned too? I quite like getting in a pedicab when I need to get to the train station in London. It's relaxing and fun, and I take the risk, just like if I get in a taxi, that their maybe an accident.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility from Tories? What's more, given Lee Scott is enthusiastic for laws to combat climate change shouldn't he be in favour of "carbon-free" transport solutions?

Labour Party Political Broadcast 2009

Found this on Iain's blog. Nifty little video.

Quote of the Day

From former Spanish PM José María Aznar López on whether the current economic crisis signifies a failure of the free market.
It is certainly not a failure of the free market, but a failure of the current mechanism of state regulation and intervention in a sector which is already highly regulated, the banking system. It is the same with politics - democracy is not discredited merely because a bad government has been elected.
Spot on.
Hat Tip: Croydonian

Was it because of Editorial differences?

This is the last post about Labour List contributer Tom Miller for a while I promise. I just found the top Twitter update in this screenshot rather amusing, that's all.

No more for a while now, going back to Hansard to see what nuggets of incompetent Government I can find. There is always something in there!

It's just an @ sign with two words surely?

Back in October I posted about how Gordon Brown had scrapped the use of email as a way to contact him. OK, fair enough, he probably wouldn't read it personally, but even the White House has a means of email contact, so for Brown to not bother is pretty poor show.

Strangely, whilst scrapping the email address, Downing Street has been busy working on, amongst other things, YouTube videos, and it even has time to post on Twitter and yestedray, in relation to the email address issue Downing Street said the following to tiredoflondon.

Yes, that's right, they said that the Prime Minister having an email address was "under development" and that they "want it to look good".

REALITY CHECK: It's a bloody email address! It's a word followed by an @ and then your domain. It's been around since the 70s. Blair was accessible after a campaign run by Tim Ireland, so why can't they just create a form that send to the same bloody mailbox. It's a basic web form, it what way must it "look good"?

As for being "under development", the Downing Street website is just running a Wordpress installation. It basic bloody PHP and sending mail in it is a noddy thing to do. Not to mention there are modules for Wordpress anyway! Maybe Tim ireland can set-up this address on his old domain and embarass the Downing Street web team into action? It's not like it will take long.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh no my daughter is a Tory!

More Obamamania?

This is known as the "Obaba" spycam belt (link), but something tells me the designer was thinking of something else when they designed the motif and then picked the name, no?

Will it ever end?

When transvestites attack?

Surrealism is alive and well in Tennessee!

Labour spamming bloggers and breaking their own spam laws?

It's rare that in the space of just week I would twice post something that wasn't negative about Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads and also link to him, but he makes a very good point here and interestingly it's of a similar angle to something I posted about TfL some time ago.

The long and short of Tim's post is that the Labour Party are spamming him with emails he didn't ask for. Justin McKeating of Chicken Yogurt has received them as well.

The thing is, it's not just left-leaning blogs that have been getting these mails. I have received at least two of these emails in the past four months. Like TfL emails, there is no unsubscribe option to the emails.

Make your own 3D Obama Art Cube

If the Obama branded phone from Kenya wasn't enough silliness for you, how about this? A DIY Obama art cube.

Just print, cut and glue!

Cluevoid of the Week Award

This morning I posted about an article on Labour List where some random non-techie called Tom Miller said that Tories just don't get the Internet and are out of touch on technology matters. Tom has a blog which is so poorly coded it asked for a Twitter API login - nice blocky table layout too.

No doubt he will edit the page shortly and add the word "beta" to justify his newly appointed "Cluevoid of the Week" award. Also rather amusing that this man who says Labour "get" the Internet would have a Twitter profile that blocks anyone from following him. How webliciously 2.0!

UPDATE: Bless his cotton socks, Tom Miller, has posted a "rebuttal" to the post about Google searches. He notes that if a web user takes the time to click the "pages from the UK" button on Google UK Labour List is top. Problem is, most people don't do that initially.

Meanwhile Derek Draper, who doesn't care about what bloggers might think because he's building a site for 60 million people don't you know, has posted this Twitter update.

Let's just remind ourselves of what Derek said on Saturday night when he was drunk and leaving comments on this site.
Don't any of you realise that I don't care what you think? Why would I? Why should I?
In the words of Jim Royle. Don't care my arse!

Update II: Another rebuttal from Miller, amusingly noting that Twitter updates for Draper are automatic but he is the editor. That would be the man in charge of editorial control who says he doesn't care about what people say but then approves the post anyway. Heh! Now I must go to my basement.

Bernard Jenkin will be pleased!

From today;s Hansard:
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his policy is on the provision of naturist beaches.

Barbara Follett: My officials have consulted colleagues in DEFRA, the Department responsible for beaches, who have advised that there is no specific policy on the provision of naturist beaches. However, The Marine and Coastal Access Bill will provide for a new right of access to the English coast and the expectation is that most beaches will be included within this, which will not affect any existing rights or permissions for naturists that may exist on the coast.

DEFRA officials are arranging a meeting with British Naturism to hear their views on the coastal access proposals.
Will it be a naturist style meeting I wonder? Wonder what Bernad Jenkin M thinks?

If its old then personal data security doesn't matter says DWP

Data security is always going to be a hot topic given the sheer amount of people's personal identifiable data has been lost by the Government in the last couple of years. In light of the HMRC scandal the Government launched a new investigation, and the Cabinet Office now has guidelines for accreditation of systems that hold personal data.

However, it would appear that these new requirements are not being applied on old systems if the words of the Department for Work and Pensions minister, Jonathan Shaw are accurate. When asked by Mark Harper MP in Parliament why the "customer information system does not meet Cabinet Office rules for personal data" he replied,
The Cabinet Office's requirements for accreditation apply only to IT systems which were introduced after 1 July 2008.
So essentially the Government have decided that any system holding personal data that is over seven months old doesn't need to meet the supposedly "tough" new accreditation requirements.

Calling something "beta" is an excuse for releasing crap code

There have been some amusing developments in the last 24 hours for the Labour Party's latest online strategy it seems. Yesterday, Ed Miliband, "launched" LabourSpace via the Labour List website. The problem, spotted quite clearly by people in CCHQ, was that the site had been in existence for over two years already, and had already been launched/relaunched once before at the 2008 Spring Conference as PuffBox noted at the time.

The quick press release put out by the Tories essentially saying "yet more relaunches" was then quickly rebutted by another article on Labour List penned by some guy called Tom Miller, where he argued that Tories just don't get the internet, or understand technology having spoken to the Labour Party. They told him,
"It has been standard practice for years with websites. We put the website online in beta before officially launching it - a practice followed by, among others, Microsoft and Google."
Tom Miller then followed up with this wonderful "yes man" comment which didn't stop to think about what had been said and how accurate it actually was.

This is a sensible point. Have the tories really never heard of Beta sites? Did they really fail to notice that, erm, this was one? In total fairness, the header section of LabourSpace has made this apparent to anyone with half a brain for a very long time. Perhaps half is too much?

“We are launching it officially today and getting the message out there that this is a great opportunity for people beyond the Labour Party to have a say in what they think should be in the next Labour manifesto.”

In other words, the launch is taking place as the development phase ends. Disgraceful!

For a start… well, [Tories] just don’t get the internet, do [they]?
I found Miller's response particularly amusing, and also worth commenting on because looking at his biography suggests that he is a God of Technology. A recent Law and Politics graduate, since when he has worked for the Labour Party, done a bit of public affairs and is now settled as a CLP campaign organiser in Woking. Clearly a man with ample knowledge of technology and development strategies.

The fact is is that Labour's "rebuttal" is stupidly wrong, and so to is Tom Miller's cheer leading of it. It is not "standard practice" to slap the word beta on something and then release it for public consumption. That is actually what is called "bad" practice. The argument that Google do it is also crap because, as Larry Page himself said, "it's really a messaging and branding thing". As for Microsoft doing it, they have beta releases by invite of software, not "chuck it on the web and slap the word beta on it" (see Windows 7 beta release currently for reference).

Lets get something clear right now, the only reason for slapping the word "beta" on anything is to allow oneself to release crap code and simultaneously say "we take no responsibility for this crap code". To argue that because Google did it, and continue to do with their stable production-ready Gmail platform is a flawed argument, because, if you want you can sign up to Google Labs and test real beta features in Gmail.

What the Labour Party rebuttal and the commentary by their technology whizzkid Tom miller tells us is, in fact, that they don't get he Internet or technology and are more than happy to throw shit code on the web and then when anyone says "hey this is shit code" they hide behind the whole "it's only beta".

However, lets take the Labour Party on their word for a second. Apparently it's been in beta for years and now it's production ready for official launch. Interesting therefore that it now says "Beta 0.2" on the site. What I'm wondering is why Tom Miller, who gets the Internet and technology and is by no means "out of touch" has not picked up on the version numbering?

You would have thought he would right given he's so "with it". 0.2 is not a production ready version number. To anyone with half a brain, to use Miller's own words, you're not ready for the big time release of code with an "official launch" - which Labour said they did yesterday - until you get to 1.0. If you're still on 0.2. you most certainly have not come to the end of a "development phase" and you're still in the "half baked code" release stage.

As I said earlier, the defence that slapping "beta" on something then releasing it to the world is standard practice is crap. It's bad practice, and it has been helped along by the likes of Google doing it for branding reasons and prats that work in public affairs who think they get technology because they know how to click the Start button start bandying around terms they really have no knowledge of and then blur the line between good development and bad development.

Being in beta means it is not ready. Having an "official launch" and being on version 0.2 is an even bigger joke.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Draper SEO'd by insignificant bloggers

How funny, if you type the title of a Labour List post into Google, the prettier looking Labourist comes first and second with poor old Dolly's "website for millions" in third.
Probably something to do with lots of 'insignificant' blogs with high ranking authority linking to them instead of Dolly.

UPDATE: Bless his cotton socks, one of Labour List's writers, Tom Miller, has posted a "rebuttal" to this post. He notes that if a web user takes the time to click the "pages from the UK" button on Google UK Labour List is top. Problem is, most people don't do that initially.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Whose economic analysis do you trust more?

Gordon Brown telling you that the UK is "best placed" to weather the economic storm? Or Jim rogers, George Soros's partner and mega-millionaire commodities uber-guru, who has said
"I would urge you to sell any sterling you might have... It’s finished. I hate to say it, but I would not put any money in the U.K."
I know who I'd trust more.
From Bloomberg via ConservativeHome

UPDATE: Crown Blog has the video.

Barclaycard: We won't take your money and we'll charge you interest at the same time

Many moons ago I had a Morgan Stanley Platinum credit card, at some point it became a Goldfish card and then suddenly it became a Barclaycard. My dealing with the first two companies was a pleasure, the call centre was in Scotland somewhere, the staff were friendly, and if they couldn't help you they could pass you to someone who could. Then it all changed when Barclaycard took over.

Barclaycard, as some might know, are one of those companies that has relocated its call centres to India. Probably Mumbai or Bangalore, who knows, and it is an absolute mess. Now don't get me wrong about Indian call centres in general, some are great. Well, at least one is great because it was the one I worked with for a few weeks helping their esclation teams understand the concept of ATM networking in relation to semi-LLU broadband offerings. If you're ever in Bangalore I suggest visiting the nightclub Spin.

However, I digress, Barclaycard. What a complete shower of excrement their call centre is. It is staffed by what I can only refer to as process monkies*. There is a process, they follow that process, there can be no deviation from the process no matter what the customer explains, and for me it has just reached a level of absolute insanity.

This morning I rang Barclaycard to make a payment. A signifcant payment in fact as I was going to pay off the entire balance of the card which is quite a large figure. However, due to some delays with Barclaycard's fraud team and some disputed payments on the account I owed them a payment.

So I went through to the payment team and they asked how much I wanted to pay them. I told them I wanted to pay off the card and what was I told by the girl at Barclaycard's Indian call centre? "Sorry, I can only take the minimum payment from you, that is my boundary".

It is an understatment to say that I was stunned at this. Barclaycard were telling me that I was not allowed to pay off my card balance. I was told that I would have to wait for 24 hours until the minimum payment was processed before they could allow me to pay them anymore money.

Now normally I wouldn't mind this, but given that interest on a credit card is compound and calculated on a daily basis, this would mean that Barclaycard would be calculating another day of interest on my significant balance and applying it to the account. Will I get that interest back? Unlikey I was told.

When I asked to be put through to the Complaints Department I was told there wasn't one. I was then passed to Customer Services where I was placed on hold for 20 minutes before I spoke to someone who again informed me that I was not allowed to pay off my card in full today and would have to wait until tomorrow.

Barclaycard, I look forward to paying off my card and telling you to take your account and shove it up your arse. If I borrow money and I don't pay you you can bet that you will be hassling me for repayment. When I call you to pay you money I don't expect you tell me I cannot.

* The term monkey refers to the role and the lack of lateral thinking required, not the race of the staff before anyone screams and gets hyper-excited.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nothing new from Miliband for over a month?

We often hear some politician in the Government somewhere telling us how climate change is "one of the biggest issues to face our generation" - or words to that affect). Funny then that the Department of Energy and Climate Change seems to do so little to inform the public of this.

The website is virtually empty and its not been updated for over a month. The "What's new" section was last modified on December 15th. So I guess that there is nothing new at Ed Miliband's department.

Run out of ideas perhaps?
From a reader via email

Will Mandelson be providing advice?

Last week, the Labour MP for Wolverhampton South West, Rob Marris wrote to the Solicitor-General asking "what steps she was taking to she is taking to prevent mortgage fraud". In response he was told that,
In November, the Attorney-General's new agency, the National Fraud Strategic Authority, published a national action plan to bring together the public and private sectors to tackle mortgage fraud.
This got me wondering, are they planning on inviting the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform to use his wealth of experience to get involved in this action plan?

So much for being "gifted and talented"?

The other day in Parliament, Michael Gove MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families asked a question about "gifted and talented" pupils GCSE achievements. Now for those wondering, the Government defines someone as "gifted and talented" if they have
"one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop these abilities).
This is an important defintion to be aware of when you see the response the Education Minister, Jim Knight, who said,

In 2007, a total of 11,628 (14.3 per cent.) gifted and talented pupils did not achieve five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades A* to C, including English and mathematics. These figures relate to pupils at the end of key stage 4 in all maintained schools.
So, almost 3 in every 20 pupils that are singled out as being "gifted and talented" are not actually achieving very much which raises the queston, just how low is the bar really set these days?

Quick comment on Ken Clarke

I see there is an awful lot of fuss about the return of Ken Clarke to the Shadow Cabinet this morning. No doubt there will be plenty of frothing by commenters on Conservative Home about it. Personally speaking it seems to me to be a perfectly sensible thing to do.

At a time when the Tories main line of attack economically on Brown is about his failures that helped make the credit crunch worse then why not have the man that kickstarted Brown's boom on the frontbench?After all. we often hear talk of the golden legacy that was left to Brown in 1997, perhaps it's time to have comment from one of those responsible in a position a bit more important than 'fat cigar smoking chap on the end'?

Of course, the danger will be if Clarke goes off-piste on Europe, something the Labour Party would love him to do. I fully expect to see Peter Mandelson to challenge Clarke to agree with something EU related in the hope for a split.

P.S. I see the bank bail-out last year was a roaring success.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fisking Dolly

Bless, Derek Draper decided to reply to my post from yesterday and I thought his amusing rantings deserved a fisking. It is Sunday morning after all, so here goes.
Boy, the British blogosphere! What an introduction I have had. Never have I experienced such a self-important, self-regarding, self-obsessed group in my life.
Hang on a second, are you the same Derek Draper who told an undercover reporter that "there are 17 people who count. And to say I am intimate with every one of them is the understatement of the century."?

No wonder the British Blogosphere is such a tiny, tiny, tiny ghetto. Don't any of you realise that I don't care what you think? Why would I? Why should I?
Who said the British blogosphere wasn't tiny? What's more, if you don't care Derek why are you wasting your Saturday evening writing 400 word rants on sites of such insignificance? Normal ordinary people go out on a Saturday night or just get rat arsed at home..... uh oh now there's a point..... you're weren't drunk typing were you Derek?

LabourList is designed (wait for it) for real people.
What, as opposed to holograms? Derek, "real people" don't give a flying fuck about politics. "Real people" have "real jobs" and "real lives" that involve getting up at 5am, cramming themselves on to a train, working all day, sometimes under the threat of redundancy.

You're about as real as an Action Man complete with little blue plastic pants, eagle eyes, and a cord that can be pulled from your neck so that you repeat the line over and over again. You're part of the political class who has total disdain for us proles unless we agree with you.

We are aiming at hundreds of thousands of Labour-minded people who want to partake of politics online, almost all of them for the first time.
Well that's lovely for you Derek, who suggested you weren't trying to do that then?

You all think I am trying to join your little band but I am not - who would want to? Why? You totally conflate the idea of being part of a sub group with using a particular medium, in a particular way, to leap over that group to the wider world.
Oh dear oh dear. Who ever said anything about thinking you wanted to join a little band Derek? No one is conflating anything, all that has happened is that you have been laughed and pointed at on a number of insignifcant websites which you don't care about so much that you just had to reply to them.

We have been going ONE week, our traffic far exceeds our expectations. We are only a beta site, our marketing, advertising and PR has barely rolled out, much of what we are doing - content, moderation etc. is experimental so that we have ironed out all sorts of issues before we launch on the 12th February to an entire country of potential readers.
Oh right, so your blocking the entire country of potential readers of your site until Februrary 12th? I didn't realise. That's awfully clever of you. Oh no wait, this is the Internet, you've already launched but, being all techie, you've slapped the word "beta" on because "hey that's what they like do in technology right?". Get a grip.

People who aren't "bloggers", don't know what "wordpress" is, do not know and will never, ever know who Tom [sic] Ireland or Dizzy or any of you are. I am aiming for the mass market where, to all intents and purposes you all don't exist.
Mummy, the nasty man said I don't exist! I think I'm going to cwy! Jesus wept, is this the same person who at the beginning of his petulent little rant accused the British blogosphere of being self-important? Derek you're living in a fantasy world if you think you're going to engage with anyone who isn't already engaged in some way with Labour politics.

And please, sweetie, don't fool yourself into thinking that there is a mass market of people as yet untapped out there in the "real world" that gives a toss about you, me or any of this web politics bollocks. Telling me that I don't exist is like preaching to the converted, the Internet and politics is a niche market not a mass market.

Some of us little self-important types have of course been lucky, some of us have written commentary for the national press, appeared on Sky or the BBC doing the same, but the truth is ordinary "real" people couldn't care less, they're more interested in Simon Cowell - and quite right too, he's honest after all.

While you are all poring over what I am doing because it is 100 times more interesting than any of your own ultra-minority antics, I will be building an online community of Labour-minded people - thousands of them.
Oh this is priceless. You make accusations of self-importance and then start tubthumping about how simply smashingly superduper and interesting your website is? Are you self-medicating on Valium or something?

Oh yes, and please stop throwing around figures like "thousands". They don't impress me, they don't make you big and special. No one is their traffic count. It's like the sad little online forum member who has the highest post count and thus thinks they are special because of it. It's largely meaningless.

Does the 25,000+ monthly readership of this site make me special? No. Do the 250,000+ absolute unique visitors in the last 12 months put me in an elevated position of authority? No. I'm just a bloke with a website that can happily walk along the street without being recognised because I'm still nobody. That's called being a "real" person Derek. It's great, you should try it some time.

When that has been achieved - and we have hit every stage and target we have set ourselves thus far - you are all going to look very silly. But no-one apart from us will ever know.
Well for a start Derek I didn't say you wouldn't achieve what you set out to do. However, this is essentially an IT Project and you are from the Labour Party, so let's not get carried away now. As David Miliband once told the BBC, you don't exactly have a "fame for competence with IT projects".

So, please, do keep blogging about me and Labourlist. The saddest, no, I mean, really, really sad thing is, - and this is the fundamental lesson I have learnt in these short seven days - you really seem to have got nothing better to do. I'm sorry guys, but its pathetic.
Yes Derek, I have so little better to do that, unlike you, I wasn't wetting my panties like a girl on a Saturday night and ranting on a site which I allegedly hold to have no significance, nor one that I cared about, or should care about in anyway.

Remind me again Derek, what's pathetic? The fact that I went out and spent the evening with 200+ real people at a party, or you, getting ever so upset and angry because someone pointed their finger at you and laughed.

For someone in politics you're not very thick skinned are you. Is that because your only experience has revolved around general aggression and getting your own way when you were officially spinning?

Now you'll have to excuse me, as a blogger I am clearly sitting at my computer with my underwear around my ankles and I must go and find some porn to watch, the pressure of all this is just getting too much for me and I need some sort of release.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama branded phone?

This is just getting silly now, a Kenyan mobile company has apparently release a special Barack Obama branded phone.
Via Cellular News

Draper gets copied and Irelanded

Harold Wilson famously said that "a week is a long time in politics" and if the cliche is true for politics its also true for the political blogosphere I guess. In less than a week, Derek Draper has managed to set up a website that had the potential to be something quite good (not very pretty design excluded) which has then turned into a transparent centralised Labour project that doesn't credit its contributers.

What's more, Draper has proved that he's little more than an egotistical "don't you know who I am" type which has then resulted in his entire content being reproduced on a much nicer looking site without the "nazi admin" tendency called Labourist.

It is a rare moment when I decide to link to Tim Ireland but he has had a rather interesting email conversation with Derek Draper about some of the issues surrounding the site's comment policy which I too posted about the other day.

Incidnetally, should anyone be wondering what my comment policy is here, it is whatever I decide at the time. Largely this means that everything goes through unless I think it might be libellous or its spam. Very occassionally I might reject a comment when I can't be arsed anymore or you're a Zionist conspiracy theorist.

Note: The link to Labour List is being changed to Labourist instead.

Friday, January 16, 2009

At last some energy policy sanity!

I'm really interested and looking forward to the Labour response to the Tory Policy that has just been announced by David Cameron on building decentralised energy in the UK. Since 2006 I have posted four times about the need to decentralise energy, which is actually a Greenpeace idea originally, because it would produce self-sufficiency and better use of energy and also increase wealth for individuals with combined heat and power.
The fact is, using carbon sinking technology alongside decentralisation, whilst also using traditional methods as you build these systems is the most sensible way. This is not really, in my mind at least, about protecting the environment, its about using money more efficiently and allowing each of us to make money from renewable energy sources.

Online Tory Policy Launch Live

Hopefully this will work, give it time. Click the button and the webcast will start at 1:30pm apparently.

Why are they never happy?

Yet again I am a little bit under the weather, this morning I woke up to make the lovely journey into Euston only to start retching in the shower and throw up in the sink after getting out. However, having slept for a little while, most the day so far, I feel a little better.

Now, excuse for not rapidly posting stuff aside, I just have one question to ask, which is why are lefties never happy? If people make profit they're evil capitalist, and now I've learned that even if a business decided to make a loss on something it is equally wrong in their eyes.

Veteran Left wing MP, Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a motion you see slating businesses in the food industry for selling below cost. He'll be calling for price controls next, and in the current climate I wouldn't be surprised if there were loons who would agree.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Was it a nice watch?

Alan Duncan came under quite a bit of pressure last week with anonymous briefings against him suggesting he was going to be demoted from the Shadow Cabinet. I mention this because I found it mildly amsuing that on the Register of Members Interests he has recorded
Gift of a watch from the Government of Oman.
Now I always thought traditionally you got a watch when you retire. Do the Government of Oman know something we don't?

Update: Going on at least one of the comments I may need to start using [sarcasm][/sarcasm] tags.

Stealing guns from Government?

The figures may be small in this little table but is it not a littlwe worrying that the Ministry of Defence is having so many guns stolen and lost each year? Rough and dirty calculations work out to about two guns a month going walkies from the MoD.

When will Mandelson U-Turn on the Post Office?

The Early Day Motion tabled by Labour MP Geraldine Smith which opposes the Government's proposals for selling off part of Royal mail has now managed to secure 85 signature at the last count. Compass, the left wing think tank predicted that it would attract around 100 signatures and it is close to achieving that.

The list is full of ex-Ministers and former Secretarys of State so it is by no means a list of the usual suspects anymore. The question is when will Mandelson U-Turn? Will he try to ride it out and persuade some of them to abstain rather than see the Government defeated, or, worse for Brown, have to rely on the Tories.

The latter is an important consideration, Blair had to rely on Tory votes for his education platform. The question is, will Brown, an instinctive tribalist, be able to stomach relying on the party that he says will "do nothing" doing "something" for him?

I reckon there will be a U-Turn but it will be spun as something of course.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lansley slaps Bradshaw

There is an hilarious post on the Spectator Coffee House blog with a letter exchange between the Health Minister Ben "I used to work on the Today Prgramme but the BBC isn't biased don't you know?" Bradshaw and his Tory opposite number Andrew Lansley MP.

Lansley replied to Bradshaw thus,
Ben Bradshaw MP
Minister of State for Health Services
The Labour Party Head Office
39 Victoria Street

14 January 2009

Dear Ben,

Thank you for your letter of December 2008. Since you omitted reference to our commitment to further real terms increases in health spending and my determination to secure improving outcomes, I must conclude your letter was merely a political stunt. So I will treat it with the disdain it deserves. Haven’t Health Ministers got better things to be doing?

For the sake of public interest, I am making this letter available to the media.

Yours Ever,


Andrew Lansley CBE MP
What was he replying too? Well it was this little piece that displays the strategy that Labour wish to take on this issues. Basically, take a statement and then leap to some randomly chosen conclusion about how the Tories are going to ruin the country, eat babies etcetera.
Andrew Lansley MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
House of Commons

December 2008

Dear Andrew

I am writing to you about a crucial decision we face in 2009: to continue to invest in the NHS in difficult times, or to make deep cuts that would damage our health service.

As you will be aware, as part of the fiscal stimulus we announced that we would bring forward £100m to upgrade up to 600 GP surgeries to training practices.

I am disappointed that your party have opposed this action. It is crucial that we bring forward investment to ensure that we come out of the downturn sooner and stronger and ready to take advantage of the upturn.

As you will be aware, in addition to opposing this investment, David Cameron announced earlier this month that your party will be committed to spending less than Labour at the next election, meaning further cuts to key services.

"We will not match Labour's new spending plans for 2010 and beyond."
David Cameron, Speech to the LSE, 9 December 2008

Given the level of public concern about these key areas, I hope you will be clear whether you support our investment in the NHS or David Cameron's cuts.

Because of the public interest in these issues, I am releasing this letter to the media.

Yours sincerely

Ben Bradshaw MP

Minister of State for Health Services
Bradshaw's letter is more transparent than a set of crotchless panties really.

Two houses and girly pictures?

This morning I posted about a Hull City Councillor who appeared to be leading a double-life as a "semi-professional" glamour photographer online under the pseudonym of Seamus Hull. The Hull blogger, John Hirst of Prisoners Voice has been following up today and has discovered more after speaking with the councillor.
UPDATE: I have spoken on the phone to Sean Chaytor's father who has issued a denial, and Sean Chaytor has a message to call me back, however he did say that he does some photography work unpaid for friends etc.

UPDATED UPDATE: Sean Chaytor telephoned me, and initially denied the site had anything to do with him. I pressed the issue and got a confirmation that it was his. He said: "Sad, isn't it?". I disagreed, saying it was more about whether it was a business and not declaring the interest. He categorically denied it was a business and therefore was not required to declare it as an interest.

Since speaking to Sean Chaytor, I received an off the record tip off. Basically, it is alleged that rather than live with his father at a Hull address he lives in Beverley with his wife and children. This raises the issue of using a Hull address to qualify for election, whilst allegedly living outside of the Hull council area.

UPDATE: Sean Chaytor has since informed me that the house in Beverley is owned by his wife, and that officially he lives at the hull address. They are not separated. He also stated that upon the advice he received from the council, he has now altered professional to amateur photographer on his glamour model website.
So, first a denial, then an admission, then an admission that it's a bit sad, then a revelation that he might in fact be pulling a fast one and not actually be eligible to be a councillor.

John Prescott was from Hull and called "Two Jags" and now we have a councillor from Hull who might aswell be called "Two Houses". I do wonder how his Labour coleagues would feel about him taking glamour pictures for free though.

Personally I have no problem with it, but then I'm not a councillor in a party that prides itself on being against anything which could be seen as anti-feminist. No Christmas card from Harriet Harman for this councillor methinks!

I have to admit that Laura ain't bad though.

Are Nortel Networks about to file for bankruptcy?

Rumours abound that Canadian based Nortel Networks - makers of lots of switches and network devices - may be about to file for the Canadian equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and receive a Government bail-out.

Not sure how many jobs Nortel have in the UK but if it happens there could be quite a few job losses I imagine as they have a few offices here.

Update: It started going wrong for their share price in a big way in September. $12 a share to about 40 cents in just 12 months. Wonder if Brown visited the offices?

UPDATE II: 11:33am Ottawa Citizen reports "Nortel to seek bankruptcy protection" referencing a report in the Globe and Mail.

UPDATE III: Am thinking this will mean quite a few jobs in the UK for sure.

UPDATE IV From comments. The Brown Curse took ten years

It would be nice to know what it is for surely?

Yesterday in Parliament, the Solictor General Vera Baird made a written statement to the House on behalf of the Attorney General which said,
The Solicitor-General (Vera Baird): My right hon. Friend the Attorney-General has made the following written ministerial statement:

"Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £15.45 million will be sought in the spring supplementary estimate for the Serious Fraud Office. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £10 million will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund".
Don't you just love the way they can just say "oi, we need an extra £15 million. Give us the nod" with absolutely no explanation of why they have to raid a contingency fund. Why have they overspent? What is the extra cash for? Surely someone will ask?

Does your wife like photography? Click click? Nudge nudge?

Has a Labour councillor from Hull City Council been hiding from his electorate that he's has a sideline business in topless glamour photography and carries it out using an assumed identity online?

According to Councillor Sean Chaytor's declaration of Members' Interests the only employment or business he carries out is as an Administrative Officer for the Court Service.

However, someone by the name of Sean Chaytor from Hull ( suggests there is only one) operates a semi-professional glamour and lingerie photography business using the pseudonym Seamus Hull. Are they one in the same?

Seamus Hull's profile appears on with pictures by him of the lovely "Laura" however, the Google cache reveals that on November 1st 2008 the "real name" on the profile was Sean Chaytor. Why the change?

Seamus Hull (aka Sean Chaytor) also promotes his business under this assumed identity at the Pure Storm modelling website for models and photographers to gain business. Should anyone be in doubt about Sean Chaytor's use of the online pseudonym Seamus Hull then a quick look at the HP's Support forum should allay any fears that the psuedonym and the name Sean Chaytor are linked.

So it's clear the name Sean Chaytor and Seamus Hull are linked, the question is whether Sean Chaytor is the same Councillor Sean Chaytor? Unfortunately the councillor was not availble on his mobile to confirm or deny that this glamour photography business was his; or to explain why, if it was him, he had failed to declare it on his public Council records.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Did they ask the parents to use the baby footage?

Yesterday the Tories released the following video which - having asked someone in the right place the question - features the child of parents supportive towards the Conservative Party (with full permission), rather than just a random agency baby.

Today Labour List has posted a "rapid rebuttal" to it with this, author unknown.

The question that springs to my mind therefore is, did anyone think to ask the parents (or seek out the relevant party) whether it was OK to use the footage of the child given it was not just some anonymous agency child?

I think this raises an interesting question in the online video world. Is all fair in love and politics? If the parents gave permission for the Tory party to use their kid, because they support the Tories, is the child then fair game in a "rapid rebuttal" video from Labour, or the Lib Dems or anyone else for that matter? Are there ethical concerns?

Interesting times I think.

NOTE: The rebuttal video was by a user called jumpingjaysus0001 who has only five videos, all anti-Tory.

Should Mandelson resign his peerage if he leaves Government?

This is the question that Gordon prentice has asked, albeit indirectly, in a motion he has tabled.
That this House believes that individuals who are given peerages to enable them to serve as Ministers in the House of Lords should relinquish the peerage on leaving the Government.
I guess this would also include Digby Jones too. Is it right that someone given a seat in the Legislature and made a Minister by patronage should keep that seat for life once they leave the Government? Whether it be by virtue of the ballot box on the composition of the Commons or simply an end to their role in Government?

Labour List is not censoring comments

There has been a few complaints since Derek Draper posted on Labour List explaining that the comment moderation policy would be ruthless and that in "order to ensure an insightful, engaging debate we will also place other comments judged to be grossly unintelligent or obtuse or trolls in our trash can."

The thing is, for those complaining it is not strictly true, if you have a look at the post and go to the end of it there is a tick box that says "show trash comments". Check it and you get to see everything that has been considered "unintelligent or obtuse or trolls" of which some are not.

Is that censoring? No. Is it a bit stupid to let people see what you arbitrarily reject? Probably.

UPDATE: Click here to see all the comments that got deleted on Peter Mandelson's post which argues that in "new media command and control doesn't work". Oh the irony! Even Tim Ireland's perfectly reasonable comment got canned.