Friday, December 31, 2010

Some predictions......

Morning all, seeing as the New Year is upon it is now the moment for that time honoured tradition of predictions for the year to come and a look back at the abject failure of the predictions I made last year. Now, as luck would have I had a 100% hit rate last year as I didn't actually make any predictions, so go me! So let's see if I can repeat that success this year.
  1. The Coalition will fall and a minority Tory Administration will stumble on for a while. I don't know why I think this, but I just have a feeling that a set of events will lead to the end of the Coalition. A handful of resignations on the one hand, and some Tory rebels on the other.
  2. A male member of Parliament will tell everyone that they want to be called Loretta and start coming to the House dressed in drag causing much merriment at first for all involved.
  3. We'll still be in Afghanistan by the end of the year.
  4. Three famous people will die suddenly and in quick succession and everyone will be muttering knowingly that "everything comes in threes".
  5. Kauto Star will win the rescheduled King George VI Chase and seal his place in horse racing folklore - AP McCoy will be happy to having been the jockey.
  6. Liverpool FC will not be relegated but it will be a really close call. Evertonians will continue to offer counselling advise on dealing with mediocrity after greatness.
  7. England will struggle to qualify for the European Championships with everyone blaming the manager and no one blaming the players.
  8. There will be guilty verdicts in the cases of certain expense dodging MPs but the sentences will be lenient causing outrages about double standards.
OK, that's your lot, back in a few days.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tidings of joy and all that s***

Morning all, if you're reading this on the day it appeared then you're a sad sack. However, now you're here we might as well continue.

So, in light of the recent "coming out" of Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans, and to celebrate the creation of "Parli-Out" for all the lesbian, gay and trans-gender politicians out there (I believe the correct acronym is LGBT), this year's Christmas song is below. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ed Miliband - serial killer look

Must................................... speak............................ slowly......................... with............................ overlong................. pauses................. Must stare...................... intensely...................... and scare................... children.

Now Guido noted it as "Son of Brown", but I'd say this may in fact be in a different league to Brown entirely. I just hope he never has access to weapons, close combat or otherwise..

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Liberal Conspiracy reported to the Charity Commission?

On Tuesday, I posted about the rather amusing lack of success that Sunny Hundal, Liberal Conspiracy and the anti-cuts campaign, "False Economy" had in trying to get a political song to the Christmas number one. Putting that aside though, it appears that the story does not end there.

It's come to my attention, that the details of the Liberal Conspiracy post, and in particular the part quote below, has resulted in a formal complaint/letter being sent to the Charity Commission alleging a possible breach of charity law.
All proceeds from the sale of “Liar Liar” will go to charities helping victims of the cuts. Assuming a 79p sale price, Crisis (23p each time), Disability Alliance (23p), our campaign site False Economy (16.5p) and Women’s Health Matters (16.5p) will benefit.*
The complainant has noted that "False Economy" is not a registered charity, and given its overtly political purpose is very unlikely to ever pass the test of being considered charitable.

So, by claiming that the recording is being sold exclusively for charity, while admitting to skimming off one-fifth of the purchase price for a political organisation with non-charitable status and objectives, it is contended that Liberal Conspiracy (and potentially False Economy too) are in breach of Charity law.

Fun, fun, fun huh? Will be interesting to see what if anything comes of it.

* At the time of the original post I noted the absurd and idiotic idea that 100% of a sale price on iTunes goes to the artist anyway.

Just a thought but.....

Ed Miliband has made a statement about a scheme called "Bookstart" which is being scrapped,
"This Conservative-led government knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. The abolition of Bookstart will deprive children of an early opportunity to discover the joy of reading.

"It is one of the programmes introduced by Labour of which I am most proud. It was a gift from the government to the next generation.
Errrr what's wrong with going to a public library?

Update: Looks like they;re actually only cutting 25% of this, and Bookstart is not being scrapped at all. From the Booktrust website:

As a charity Booktrust does not make a profit so materials are sourced at very competitive prices and this keeps our costs very low. For instance, central funding from the taxpayer is only 25% of the retail cost of delivering Bookstart. This is thanks to our sponsors and to our charitable status."

Christmas is evil!

I always knew it to be true, and these nice sane people have shown me the way.

Saying this, it's Christmas right, so best go off and get pissed one last time before I get a raging hot poker up my arse!

Note: Feel free to call them and leave a message. Try not to be abusive though.

What's wrong with Newscorp owning all of BSkyB?

After left it a day or so, I'd thought now would be a good time to mention Vince Cable and the "Murdoch" nonsense that is sweeping over so many lefties at the moment. First of all, I must say that I don't really understand the visceral Murdoch hating types and the whole "Murdoch == evil => all things owned by Murdoch == evil" equation that goes on in their minds.

Yes, I have seen Goldeneye Tomorrow Never Dies, but I know it's a film, not a documentary.

So anyway, I'm a little confused about why there is so much concern about Murdoch owning the whole of BSkyB and not 39.9% of it. If someone would like to explain what actual difference it will make to what people can choose to watch I'm all ears.

I've heard some suggestions that it will mean that Sky News, for example, will become severely partisan and right wing like Fox News. Fair enough. How though does this effect the fact that BBC News 24, CNN, and others will still exist not just on the Sky platform (which isn't free) but also the Freeview platform?

What's more, what does it actually matter if that did happen? If you don't like it. Don't watch it. Anyhow, I seriously want to understand why it is that Murdoch owning all of BSkyB when he already has effective control over the whole thing, is something that shouldn't happen.

EXCLUSIVE: Some people who work together don't like each other

It is with shock that I have to reveal a reality that you may not have been aware of. Politicians from different political parties slag each other off behind closed doors - even when those two different parties are in a coalition together.

I realise that this may be thoroughly shocking to you. You may have been thinking that there was general harmony and unity between the two parties of the Coalition. That the goldfish bowl had gone around full of car keys and different people had gone off to different rooms for full scale "coalition building".

Sadly this was not to be. You see, I know it's difficult to believe, but actually, whilst they may be working together, they don't all necessarily like each other. This is of course not like the real world of say business for example, where, as everyone knows, there is no slagging off of people privately to colleagues whilst smiling sweetly and not rocking the boat to their faces.

So anyway, there you have it. I hope this has not spoiled your day and the illusions of group sex group hugs.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So much for "Ed's Pledge"

Following on from yesterday's post I was mildy amused to read the following on Ed Miliband's website
"I pledge that if I am elected leader of the Labour Party I will campaign for Labour’s Minimum Wage Act to be fully enforced so that employers must pay their interns what they are due."
It tickled me you see when placed next to this job advert for interns on the "Labour Yes" campaign that Ed Miliband has endorsed,

We are currently looking for interns to help with this campaign... Internships will be unpaid but successful candidates will receive a daily lunch allowance and travel expenses within London (zones 1-6).
Good to see Ed is capable of practicing internally what he preaches for externally ain't it?

Update: Even members of Ed's own front bench shadow Health team are advertising for unpaid interns.

Oh to be a SpAd huh?

Interesting, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, John Denham, is looking for a SpAd to assist in policy review and general work of shadowing the Business, Innovation and Skills department.
  • The successful candidate will need:
  • A strong knowledge of public policy as well as Parliamentary and political processes,
  • A strong record of research and policy development in a fast moving environment,
  • Excellent media skills with a record of working in a high-paced media environment,
  • Possess excellent communication skills with the ability to prepare written and oral briefings for senior stakeholders,
  • Have substantive experience working within a political environment, and
  • Possess exceptional organisational and decision making skills.
So, no business knowledge required for a job that will involve formulating Labour business policy!

Surely though there should be a skill requirement for the ability to spot a hidden microphone though?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A living wage or a minimum wage Mr Miliband?

Just saying,
  1. Ed Miliband supports and campaigned for a living wage that should be set at £7.85 per hour in London and £7.60 nationally.
  2. Ed Miliband supports the alternative vote and support the Labour Yes campaign.
  3. The Labour Yes campaign is an associated supporter of the wider Yes to Fairer Votes campaign.
  4. Yes To Fairer Votes advertises for staff on £5.93 per hour for 40 hours per week.
Will Ed demand they pay the phone bank person more, or won't he?

Pierce Watch.... some more

I didn't notice this until someone pointed it out to me, but following on from the earlier post about Andrew Pierce paraphrasing and not copying my posts now, there is another little tale in his column.
Feisty new Tory MP Priti Patel has uncovered revealing answers about the costs to the taxpayer of enforcing daft EU directives, which most other European countries ignore. The answers, published in Hansard, reveal that Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has signed up to an order promoting the use of renewable energy. It will cost £19.85 billion to put into law, and will save £11 billion. And I thought David Cameron was a Eurosceptic.
No doubt this is just yet another coincidence and totally unrelated to reading my post that detailed that little nugget.

Serious errrr victory for Sunny Hundal and "hacktivism"?

You may or may not have spotted this, but back on December 12th, Sunny Hundal, Editor of Liberal Conspiracy and self-proclaimed "hacktivist" put out a call to his comrades, Get ‘Liar Liar’ viral to Xmas no.1; out today!.
Liberal Conspiracy was the first to publish Captain Ska’s Liar Liar video in October this year.

It’s now gotten over 100,000 views on YouTube, and there’s a campaign to get the song as the Christmas no. 1. It is released today on iTunes. The viral hit will go head-to-head against the X-factor winner for the number one slot.

All proceeds from the sale of “Liar Liar” will go to charities helping victims of the cuts. Assuming a 79p sale price, Crisis (23p each time), Disability Alliance (23p), our campaign site False Economy (16.5p) and Women’s Health Matters (16.5p) will benefit.
Now, putting aside the utterly idiotic belief that 100% of the sale price of a song on iTunes goes to the artist, how did this little "hacktivist" campaign against the evil baby-eating bastard cutting Government get on?

Did it smash it's way to the top and beat that other bastard Simon Cowell with his "not proper music"? Ermmm, no. The "viral" campaign to get to the Christmas Number One, managed to get to Number 89.

Andrew Pierce - paraphrasing

Congratulations to Andrew Pierce, or whoever his little Muppet is that does the copy that he signs his name against in the Daily Mail. Last week he effectively published a cut and paste of one of my posts.

This week he's moved on to paraphrasing and citing anonymous sources at the NUS. That it appears to be similar to my post is purely coincidental I'm sure.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Olympics 2012 advertising - how will it work?

OK, I changed my mind on the previous post about not blogging this weekend. Can't sleep you see, have a temperature, think I might have flu coming on (joy!). Anyways, thought I would post about something that was in the news a few weeks ago and caused some expected outrage about the Olympics in 2012.

THe story was that part of the deal of hosting the Olmypics means that French is the first language, and that Parliament has drawn up legislation to criminalise what is called "ambush marketing".

This is where there are powers to seize, or refuse entry to someone who might be wearing clothes that advertise a brand that is not an official sponsor of the games. Likewise, there are requirements to seize control of all advertising outlets in train stations, airports and on the roads, to ensure London is only shown adverts for the games sponsors.

What I'm confused about is how they're going to Police this exactly. It's already been mentioned that replica football shirts have sponsors on them, are they really going to arrest someone wearing a football shirt who has to venture into an area near where the games are being held?

More so is this though. This idea of ambush marketing, how, pray tell, will it work for businesses that have distribution services that are branded but are not sponsoring the games? Take for example Tesco, they have stores all around London, at least one within in spitting distance of the cycling velodrome. Will their lorries be considered to be breaching advertising rules?

What about the black cab owners who have signed multi-year deals about the advertising on their cars? What about Foxton's estate agents and their branded Mini's that shoot around the city to property viewings? What about KFC and Burger King lorries? They're a direct rival of McDonalds who are a sponsor, are they expected to deliver in "plain clothes lorries"?

Will certainly be interesting to see what is and what is not considered advertising when the time comes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tim Ireland tells lies shock!

NOTE: The title of this post is a sarcastic replication of Tim's own post about Iain Dale linked below.

This is a very short post. Tim Ireland has just posted claiming Iain Dale has lied. This morning Tim said the following on Twitter,
@IainDale thinks I'm trying to chase him off Twitter, and that I cost him his chance to be an MP

@iaindale If you would care to deny implying if not claiming that I cost you your shot at a certain seat, then let's have it.

So, privately, @IainDale claims I cost him a shot at becoming an MP. When I reveal this, he cries 'nutter'. But he can't deny it.
Tim has since quoted from a confidential and not-for-publication email thread that was started by me, and sent to Tim, Iain Dale, Sunny Hundal, Justin McKeating, Shane Greer and Richard Barthlomew.

The quote forms part of a wider very adult discussion about how there were clearly cross-wired and that whilst Tim felt his actions were justified, the nature of them could have make someone feel harassed. During that time Iain said,

I didn’t apply for several parliamentary nominations in the wider Guildford area because I was convinced Tim would turn up at them and ruin my chances (Woking being the main one, I remember). You may think that is preposterous, but when you are feeling stalked or harassed, that’s how you think.
This does not equate to Iain saying Tim has "cost him his chance to be an MP", it simply equates to Iain deciding not to apply for one of a few hundreds seats up for selection near Tim, although this is, of course, "spin" in Tim's eyes bu the only one spinning what was said to something else is Tim.

Anyhow, this post is not about that really. It's about something else Tim has said in that post, and I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing it repeatedly from him because it is a lie. Tim has stated in his post,

A police investigation is in progress. Iain Dale refuses to cooperate with this investigation
This is not true. Tim Ireland is a liar.

You see, in that same confidential email discussion, and I have asked Iain permission to publish these words, Iain said,

[Excerpt 1] If there is a police inquiry underway I will happily talk to the relevant officer if I am given his name. I have never, contrary to what Tim alleges, refused to cooperate with the police. I have never been contacted by them.

[Excerpt 2] If it is indeed the case that the Police will not take this seriously because of anything I have said or written, then I am perfectly happy to have a conversation with Guildford Police. I have never refused to take part in an investigation (which has in the past been alleged). All I need to know is who to talk to. Or Tim is perfectly at liberty to give them my numner[sic]. I know he has it. That was a lame attempt at humour.
So you see, Tim Ireland is lying when he says Iain refuses to cooperates with a Police inquiry. He offered, more than once, in that email discussion to speak directly with the Police involved, but Tim would not give him any details and insisted that Iain deal only with him. That is the truth.

Disclaimer: Yes Iain is a mate. If Tim wants to attack him with statements that are true then so be it, but if he's going to lie and use an email I started to try and help his situation then I'm not going to stay quiet.

Comments will be posted, but may not appear instantly as I have more important things to do on a Friday night. Am logging of "teh Interwebs" now! (17:13)

UPDATE (to the soap opera): Tim has now posted an update to his post calling me "hostile". It's fair to say that yes, this post has been hostile because Tim has taken a part of an email discussion that was started in entirely good faith to help him, and use it as ammunition against Iain to suggest malign intent and other assorted falsehoods.

Yes, this is naval gazing by bloggers, but frankly, that email was only ever sent because it seemed things were now getting completely out of hand. Tim was publicly accusing all manner of people of being directly or indirectly involved with what was happening to him, although its worth noting privately that the discussion was much more tempered than the vitriol displayed in public.

Someone in the comments has asked for a run-down of what has happened because it now seems so convoluted it doesn't make sense, I may try to give it a go one day, but even I struggle with it.

The bottom line in my view is that it's one massive vicious circle that has been made worse by external events. Tim objects to being called obsessed or a stalker, but in the pursuit of trying to correct such characterisations has basically created a perception amongst his targets and some wider public audience that is exactly what he is.

The private email discussion that has been alluded to did go over this somewhat, but didn't get anywhere. There was a moment early on where it seemed it might, and that some sort of hatchet burying statement could be achieved. A joint statement that acknowledged that Tim wasn't a stalker because of what he was trying to do, but also acknowledged that his actions could lead to that sort of perception being created by Iain, but it didn't happen.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ainsworth "gets it" on drugs... others don't

So Bob Ainsworth, former Defence Secretary and one time junior Home Office Minister has sanely said,
"It is time to replace our failed war on drugs with a strict system of legal regulation, to make the world a safer, healthier place, especially for our children.

We must take the trade away from organised criminals and hand it to the control of doctors and pharmacists."
Quick off the blocks, the Tory press office for Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton and Uttoxeter, the secretary of the APPG for the Misuse of Drugs and Alcohol, pumps out a quote,

'No wonder drugs policy was such a mess under Labour when a Home Office Minister wanted to legalise heroin. Drugs cause crime and can devastate communities. Ed Balls and Ed Miliband must distance themselves from these dangerously out of touch comments.'
A quick look at Portugal shows Griffiths' ignorance for what it is. They decriminalised everything and guess what, user rates declined. The idea that hundreds of people out there are gagging to take drugs but don't because it's illegal is utter nonsense.

The only one "out of touch" here is Griffiths. Ainsworth is saying what any sane person knows to be the truth.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ed Miliband's Policies for Britain

The Tories have done a wheeze and are selling a book in their online shop called Ed Miliband’s Policies for Britain for just £5,
Featuring 204 blank pages, this stylish A6 guide to Ed Miliband's Policies for Britain is the perfect stocking filler. With an attractive cover starring the new Labour leader, and every one of his policies outlined in detail inside, it's the must-have present this Christmas!
I'm not sure what's funnier, the idea or the fact they're charging a fiver for a blank notebook with a picture of Ed Miliband on it.

I wonder if they got permission to use his picture for commercial purposes?

Implementing EU Directives: The cost

Ever wondered how much it costs us, the taxpayer, to implement the various directives that come out of the EU? Well, thanks to Priti Patel, the MP for Witham, we can get an idea. She's been writing to all departments it seems and asking them,
how many EU directives are pending transposition into domestic legislation [in the] Department; and what estimate [has been] made of the cost of each such transposition.
Brace yourself. OK, are you ready? Let's start will the small ones.

Eric Pickles' Department for Communities and Local Government has just the one EU Directive pending transposition, it is "Directive 2010/31 /EU on the energy performance of buildings". Apparently, "it is estimated that it will cost £2.5 million to transpose this directive into domestic legislation."

The Department for Health has still to transpose Directive 2010/53/EU (which sets minimum standards across the European Union for the quality and safety of organs intended for transplantation) in law. They're not sure of the exact cost but operating the law "may be between £0.5 million and £2 million per annum".

However, my absolute favourite has to be one from Chris Huhne Department of Energy and Climate Change. They have lots awaiting transposition with costs as yet to be confirmed, but there is one, Directive 2009/28/EC, which is about promoting the use of energy from renewable sources (sounds like legally required advertising doesn't it?) which they do know the cost of, and, helpfully the alleged cash terms benefit.

This little treasure will cost £19.85 billion to transpose into law, yes, £19,850,000,000, and the benefit? Well that's going to be £11 billion, which by my simpleton GCSE maths means it's being implemented at a loss of £8.85 billion. Bargain!

[sarcasm] I would like to make it clear right now that the EU is not an expensive waste of money at a time when we're cutting the deficit. It is absolutely vital to the UK, it really is. [/sarcasm]

Will the anti-cuts campaigners call for such transpositions to be halted? Probably not.

David Morris MP: "arggghhh I might lose my seat!"

Interesting Early Day Motion tabled by David Morris, the Tory MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.
That this House notes that a number of constituencies and council wards have large but transient student populations; further notes that these students are entitled to register to vote at either their term-time address or their permanent address; believes that this short-term population can often outvote the permanently settled communities; further believes that it is unfair for a community to be outvoted in this way and resolves that students with both permanent and term-time addresses should be required to vote at their permanent address.
Absolutely nothing to do with the fact his majority is 866 in a constituency with wards in the City of Lancaster, and area which also happens to encompass Lancaster University with an undergraduate population of around 14,000 you understand.

Absolutely NOT!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Carrot and errrrr needle?


Visualising Facebook connection density

Click Image for Larger Version

London school hires out hall for funerals?

The cuts are certainly kicking in education it seems, so much so that at least one school is allegedly hiring out its hall at the weekend for funerals.

Apparently, according to one concerned parent, Cannon's High School, in Edgware, has had funerals being held on its property on two occasions, body, open-coffin and all.

Ordinarily, you might not think this is a problem per se, but the "events" have been allegedly held at the same time as extra-curricular Sunday teaching at the school. This has meant some kids have witnessed the coffin, people in black and all that goes with funerals. Not an image that many parents may want their kids witnessing you'd think.

I wonder how much the going rate is for a wedding or a bar mitzvah?

How many right wing blogs will die this week?

So, the news has finally been announced over at PoliticsHome that Tory Bear is dead, and Harry Cole has been resurrected as himself and the News Editor on Guido Fawkes with assorted media whoring to boot (bookable for sound opinions here.

The question is, is this the only right wing blog to close down this week? There is another rumour, which I can reveal, that the big beast blogger, Iain Dale, may also be about to give up his keyboard and blog in favour of his LBC radio show and other interests.

I imagine there will be a few lefties out there that will rejoice at the news, and some who will be thinking "but who can I bang on about now?", but hey, life goes on.

If Iain does quit, remember that you heard it here first.

UPDATE @ 11:20: Iain Dale has quit.

John McDonnell - ever the weird lefty!

I do love lefties sometimes. No honestly, I do. What I love most is how they're often vehemently opposed to something as a matter of principle, and then in the next breath demand something be done as a matter of principle but which can only really be achieved by breaking the earlier principle they were annoyed about - alternatively known as "shifting the goalposts".

And so we can to today's example, the ever lefties John McDonnell who has tabled an Early Day Motion, currently signed by partner in crime, Jeremy Corbyn, stating,
That this House notes with alarm what many believe is an attempt to drive out ethnic and religious minorities from Iraq, which they have inhabited for millennia, including Christians; considers that the Iraqi political establishment has failed to live up to its legal obligations to protect these minorities; and calls on the Government, as a major protagonist in the war on Iraq, to fulfil its legal and moral responsibilities to ensure that the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief is adhered to, especially for those minorities driven out of areas controlled by the UK during the official occupation of Iraq.
Yes, that's right, John McDonnell now wants the British Government to interfere in the sovereignty of Iraq, something he didn't like before, and, even better than that, he seems to think that they should do what he didn't like before precisely because they are partly to blame for the current situation having done what he didn't want them to do before but wants them to do now.


ASH: Pro-smoking lobby are 'terrorists'

Recently, in Holland, there was a change to their smoking ban. Holland was, until a month ago much like the UK in that smoking was banned in public places. However, they decided, perfectly reasonably, to amend the law much like the Spanish did and make the rules be based on the size of the bar (743.5 sq ft), and in Holland's case where it was staff solely by the owner.

This morning they were discussing this on Today on Radio 4, and as you'd expect they had someone from the anti-smoking authoritarians Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) - who is also involved in the commercial operation GASP - to tell us all how it was the "thin end of the wedge" and the influence of tobacco companies.

All pretty standard stuff, as I'd expect, but then came something that made the jaw drop. She said that those who campaign for the freedom to smoke and the amendment of blanket bans are engaged in a "terror campaign". Honestly, she really did say that.

I'm not sure when Simon Clark and FOREST were put on the proscribed terrorist list, but I'm sure they'll be very proud to know that their campaigns are being equated with the IRA and crazy Islamists on national radio.

Note: Will add audio when it becomes available. Also, have edited post slightly as was not 100% sure if the woman was from ASH or GASP, but have been reliably informed she was from both.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Andrew Pierce - thief

Having just got back from the most surreal primary school Christmas play I have ever been too, it's time to compare and contrast the following:

Dizzy Thinks 23/11/10:
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has a dedicated civil servant working on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012? Not particular shocking really, but there is an oddity.

According to an FoI release, one of the roles of this civil servant is the development of equalities impact assessment for the Queen's celebratory bash. Why does a celebration for one person need an equalities impact assessment?

Mind you, as an eagle-eyed reader put to to me. Perhaps it's because she's (a) a woman, (b) a pensioner, (c) dependent on state benefits, and (d) married to an immigrant?

Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail 13/12/2010:

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has a dedicated civil servant working on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. One of the roles of the civil servant is the development of an ‘equalities impact assessment’. Why does a ­celebration for one person need an equalities impact assessment? Is it because she’s a woman, a pensioner, relies on the state for handouts — and is married to a foreigner?
Did you get bored of nicking stuff from Guido and decide to move on? Any chance of a cheque for me and my eagle-eyed reader to share?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chasing Rainbows?

I've not quite finished it yet due to work commitments, but I just wanted to plug Tim Worstall's latest book Chasing Rainbows prior to reviewing it properly.

Initial impressions are that it takes the orthodox arguments about what to do to tackle "climate change" and turns them on their head. It's not a book interested in the science question i.e. believer vs sceptic, but rather one that takes the sensible view that a "greener" world is in itself no bad thing, but that the ends to achieving it we're currently following might not actually get us there.

Anyhow, a proper review will follow shortly.

Is entrism about to make a comeback?

Unless you live in a box, you'll all be aware that yesterday, approximately 0.01% of the population took to the streets of London to protest about tuition fees. You'll also know that some of that 0.01% weren't really there to protest, but instead came along to "smash shit up" complete with their hoods up and faces covered.

It's likely, if you listen to the likes of Aaron Porter from the NUS (who oddly is being touted as a modern Che Guevara which is either a compliment or insult depending on what your moral view on mass murder in the name of politics is), then you'll no doubt hear something along the lines of "this was a tiny minority amongst a majority who were peaceful" etcetera etcetera.

As David Aaronovitch from the Times, and former student agitator commie noted on Twitter last night though, when you look at the pictures and footage, "it doesn't look as though the rioters were a 'tiny minority'. Quite a big minority". One of the thing I couldn't help but notice myself was the placards that many of those having a ruck with Police were carrying though, emblazoned with the words "Socialist Workers Party" along the top.

Now, naturally, it may just be that the SWP (who it's worth adding are as mental as mental monkey in a mental institution) had been distributing their "Fuck Fees" posters to the useful idiots pouring into London, but you can't help but think when you see the very same people throwing stones and sticks at Police horses, that perhaps it is not so simple.

There has been quite a lot of talk from some on the Left about how we're entering a period like the 1980s again. They argue that this is evident by the anger that people feel about cuts and the Coalition programme to fix the biggest budget deficit the last Labour government left behind. However, there is another analysis to be offered I'd say.

Yes, it is like the 1980s, but not because some delinquents decided to smash up windows and use a fence as a battering ram on the door of the Treasury, but rather because the militant Left appears to be back, and appears to be relishing in the fact that the useful idiots on the moderate Left, and the non-political ASBO carrying hoodies, are providing them cover to create civil unrest. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy for the militants.

Right now, it's not absolutely clear how it will pan out on other issues, but I imagine that yesterday is not the end of things. There will be more riots to come, but they will not be started by those who want to protest, rather they'll be started by those who want to be violent, because if they do so, they know that it will cause a reaction from the Police, and that will cause a reaction from others, and before you know you have an absolute shitstorm and a false historical record that can be written when the pendulum swings back to the Left in elections.

Today the militants will be laughing about and joking about "smashing the evil capitalist state and its Tory scum Government" whilst no doubt munching on MacDonald's breakfast and Starbucks coffee.

There is a political question though. What will Ed Miliband do? Will he face down what could spell the beginning of Militant's rebirth and entrism? Or will he dither on whether to condemn or support? Currently there is no statement on the Labour website about the violence of yesterday, which suggests, possibly, that Miliband is stuck in that 1980s rut where the question "is political violence ever justified?" is haunting his thinking.

Will he expel any Labour members that are shown to have be involved in the violence?

The problem he has of course, is that it is not only the sudden increase on left wing violence that will cause him a headache, but rather the rise, respect and popularity being given to certain commentators on the Left who are either apologists for violence, or play the "see no evil other than that of the Police".

Sunny Hundal and Laurie Penny are a case in point, both have positioned themselves on the edge of the Far Left, and both are popular and influential with the Left as a whole.

Last night was a good example of the agenda these types want to push, where Sunny Hundal posted on Twitter asking for "videos or pictures of appalling behaviour by the police today". We're going to hear a lot about how the public are rising up and the Police are oppressing them in the coming months, but what need to happen is for someone to call the "police state" line for the bullshit it is.

Did the Police hit anyone who was a genuine peaceful protester? Probably. Is it regrettable? Of course. But don't expect for one minute to hear the Far Left acknowledge the context and escalation of events that lead to such things, or the role that they and the even more extreme loonies play.

Let's be clear. There were people yesterday who went on to the streets for a fight. However few they may have been, once it kicked off it was going to escalate and people who were not there for violence would end up "defending" themselves against the Police, and the Police would end up "defending" themselves from them, and, before you knew it, it would become a riot and containment would be necessary.

A wet dream scenario for the far Left and their perception agenda of the state as an oppressor of free protest.

The Police, of course, are in between a rock and hard place when fences are ripped up to use as weapon; things are set on fire; and missiles are thrown. What, exactly, do they do? If they do nothing they'll be criticised by the far Left as being totally unprepared and lacking control. If they try to contain the protest and the violence, they're the fascist bullyboys of the Tory scum in Parliament.

Yes, this sort of thing happened in the 1980s, but let's not forget that even though today's militants' predecessors did similar things, they lost, and ensured 18 years of Tory Government. The British public may have had some sympathy at first but it soon ebbed away at the ballot box as Labour support nosedived.

There are lines that should not be crossed you see, and when they are, failure is guaranteed. Taking a piss on the statue of Churchill or swinging from the Union flag on the Cenotaph being prime examples.

It's a cliché to say that we learn lessons from history, the question this morning is whether Ed Miliband will learn the lesson and cut the proverbial head off the basilisk that may just be waking from its sleep?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christians repent and vote Yes to AV!

Not my words, but the words of Jonathan Bartley,the co-director of the Christian think-tank Ekklesia, who also, entirely coincidentally, and totally randomly managed to accost David Cameron in the street during the election campaign on the matter of disability education at just the moment live broadcasters were available.

Apparently, Christian must vote for the Alternative Vote in the referendum to atone for their sins and, check this, if they don't, churches will burn.
One hundred years ago, the suffragettes set fire to churches. The churches cannot afford to be burnt once again.
Ahh but Dizzy I hear you cry, you've removed the quotes from the word "burnt", to which I admit yes, I did, but only because he added them after His Grace pointed out this ridiculous hyperbole from Bartley (who is anything but a politically neutral animal), as the Google Cache shows (screenshot avilable on request naturally should it be required).

Such deception, and from a Christian too! For shame! Boo! Hiss! Now please excuse me, I have to get finishing my copy of the Necronomicon muwaaahhhhhhah!

Radio Caroline: A thought?

Have just spotted the following Early Day Motion (one signature only).
That this House expresses its disappointment that, having pioneered commercial radio in the UK and for the past decade being a fully licensed broadcaster, Radio Caroline, a cornerstone of British radio history, has been denied by Ofcom the opportunity to secure a medium wave frequency from which to broadcast; regrets that as a result its devoted listeners are confined to listening to Radio Caronline via the internet and unable to enjoy its musical offerings in transit; and calls on Ofcom to exhaust all avenues in making the provisions available for Radio Caroline to celebrate its 50th birthday in 2014 by broadcasting on a medium wave frequency which, it appears, is unwanted by both BBC and commercial operators as a broadcast platform.
Now, wouldn't it just be quicker, and easier, for the original pirate radio station to be a pirate radio station again and just broadcast at will? They're still off-shore after all.

Women no longer necessary?

I am, of course, being facetious with the title, but I was amused to see how the tide may have turned. For year the most ardent radical feminists out there have believed that men are not actually necessary anymore, especially thanks to the amount of sperm held in freezers around the world.

Well, it seems that reproductive scientists in Texas have produced male and female mice from two fathers. Oh yes, father-father offspring in mammals has been achieved, and thus it can be said in response to the crazy Harpersons that: We don't need* woman anymore

* Need does not mean we don't want before anyone gets uppity.

Terrorists or normal people?

Click Image for Larger Version


Student loans are not "real" debt

Yesterday, the BBC's Nick Robinson interviewed Nick Clegg about tuition fees and during the grilling he raised the point that the real issue for students is debt and the fear such a prospect brings.

May I take the opportunity to be the first to shout the word "bullshit" on the premise of Robinson's question?

Look, debt is scary, yes, but its only real debt that's scary. Thats the kind of debt that is owed and is expected to be paid back whether you're employed or not. A student loan is not like that because, in theory, you could never actually pay a penny of it back and there will be no knock on the door by bailiffs wanting your telly and it will be written off after 30 years.

Incidentally, Labour's latest decision to support a Graduate Tax is bloody idiotic too. As I said before,
It will be the bag carrier greasy pole types, the policy wonks, the NUS presidents and the assortment of other "never done a proper job" politicos on crap money with great quality degrees who'll be subsidised by the graduates from crappy ex-polys with a Desmond, who then work their balls off to earn as much as they can in an area with no relevance to their education.
I'll be glad when this vote is over.

Cablegate - CGI

Next Media Animation does it again!

12 year-olds to the rescue!

You know the world has gone truly nuts when a serious thing like Wikileaks and the arrest of Julian Assange find themselves defended by a bunch of children that normal spend their days playing first-person shooters online and saying "ROFLL!!!!11111" alot.

And so it was yesterday when lots of kids who had installed LOIC, took it upon themselves to become part of a voluntary-bot net and send lots of traffic at Mastercard's website causing it to be inaccessible for normal everyday users.

Of course, the press has had a field day suggesting that everyone involved is some sort of dark art hacker with immense technical knowledge. No server was it seems, actually compromised, no security was broken.

No. What they did was equivalent to knock down ginger en masse. They rang the doorbell of over and over again making sure that kept on answering and thus didn't have time to answer the genuine people ringing the doorbell.

This was no "mass hack". It wasn't even a crack. It was a bunch of script kiddies who feel big, clever and important when they follow the point and drool options in a programme they downloaded.

I greatly look forward to some of the arrests that may follow when we see 12 year-olds being raided by the FBI... let's hope they're tossing off to pr0n at the same time just for added embarrassment.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wikileaks irony?

Is it just me, or is there something quaintly ironic about the fact that when the Swedish prosecutor first issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange in August (yes the rape allegation is not new news), it got slammed for making the arrest warrant public?

It's probably worth noting, that the day after issuing it they revoked it, dropped the charge of rape and then carried on investigating and issued it publicly again some time later.

Whether of course this is the evil smearing work of dark forces as conspiracy loving loons like John Pilger would have you believe; or whether Assange really is a bit ff a perv remains to be seen.

Feel free to read/translate the various statements from Sweden's official prosecutor here.

Maybe Ken Clarke should reform prison bureacracy as well?

Ever wondered how long it might take Ken Clarke to find out how many prison officers it takes to change a light bulb? No? Well consider this for a moment, the answer is potentially two months.

You see, if you were Ken Clarke, and you wanted to know the answer from HMP, then HMP is going to need to collect some data, and that means they need to invoke the Dat Gateway Service Approval of Data Collections process, which means lots of forms to fill in, impact assessments to be made, meetings to consider, and then meeting to approve the data collection proposal; careful though, you may need to make a complete business case too.

This is complicated stuff people!

The good news people is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is possible for a minister to find out just how many prisons officers it takes to change a light bulb, they need to be patient though.
"Requests are considered monthly with a deadline of the last Friday in each month. Most requests are expected to take between 2 and 3 weeks from receipt of the Initial Request Form to approval of the collection. The most complex requests which require referral to the Performance Sub-Committee may take up to 6 weeks to complete."
Alternatively they could put in an FoI request which are exempt from this process, although that doesn't mean it will not take just as long to get a meaningful reply though.

A tip of the hat to a reader for spotting this wonderfully convoluted process.

You can't apply rationality to the irrational

Which ever bright spark came up with the idea that taking benefits away from a smackhead will make them think twice before they get out the silver foil or a spoon and cook up a little bit of opium heaven needs their head testing.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not suggesting that you're average unemployed junkie should be allowed to get some of his weekly smack quota subsidised by the state, rather it's the idea that such a subsidy is an incentive to carry on is simply ridiculous.

Let's be clear for a second, being a smackhead requires commitment to the cause, and the smack is what makes the commitment strong. When someones body is screaming out for a hit, it's unlikely that taking away that person's dole is going to make the body stop screaming and the compulsion to satisfy it less.

It's all well and good to talk about a "carrot and stick" approach when you're dealing with fully-functioning rational human beings. However, a dependent heroin addict who's going cold turkey isn't exactly the most rational of beings, especially when there is a much more appealing option available than a carrot.

This is just another case of politician failing to "get" drugs.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

When is a bribe not a bribe? When it's a "woo"?

How funny, on the one hand, the Sun is complaining that the Russians winning the 2018 World Cup was a an outrageous "stitch-up" and then on the other hand, and same day, has a story that says,
ANGRY Boris Johnson has taken revenge on the FIFA fatcats who wrecked our 2018 World Cup dream - by scrapping a luxurious hotel freebie [during the Olympics]..... The Dorchester offer was intended to woo FIFA chiefs ahead of Thursday's vote in Zurich on who would get the 2018 World Cup.
Errrr "woo"? I think what you mean is "bribe". Shouldn't we stop the moral indignation and just accept the fact that we were too tight with our "wooing"?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The irony of the Topshop protests

I hear that yesterday, some "campaigners" managed to cause a high street clothes store to close (Topshop) and all because they think the store, or more rightly the guy that runs the store is not paying enough income tax because his wife lives in Monaco (no doubt in a tiny house which cost a fortune*) and quite legally gets a dividend.

It's an odd one to me, because legally speaking it isn't true at all, and more specifically, the targeting of the store completely negates the amount of taxation revenue such stores generate for the Government through things like, corporation tax, income tax for staff, employers NI contributions; employees NI contribution; Council Tax; energy levies; VAT on sales; VAT on energy; VAT on fuel; Fuel duty in distribution etc etc.

The irony of protesting about "missing tax revenue", which results in a major high street store having to close its door and thus not generate tax revenue is delicious though, don't you think?

In a sense, the protests are not really some evidence of a mass radicalisation of people looking for tax fairness, but rather evidence that the young people who demand free education lack the self-awareness to spot the rank hypocrisy of their own actions.

There is a small part of me that wants them to carry on and be even more successful, just so at the end of it all it can be shown that by causing these stores to close they reduced the tax receipts to Government by more than they claim is owed. Now wouldn't that be really fucking funny?

Oh yes, one last though. Have none of them noticed that the Arcadia group stores all trade online as well? You might be able to cause the doors to close by blockading them, but unless you're going to break the law by a Denial of Service Attack on their sites, you're probably not going to stop them trading.

* It is a myth that people who live in Monaco all live in huge mansions. Many of the super-rich pay millions for property that would be worth only £100K in the UK. David Coulthard for example owns (or at least did) a pokey flat where his balcony view is a brick wall, and it cost stupid amounts of money.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Tory Party feeds me kebabs, pizza and booze

I've just read this post over at Iain Dale's about a story by Sam Coates in the Times which notes the Tories paid £29,000 to MessageSpace who provide the adverts on this blog.

Apparently (and I admit I've not read the piece because I refuse to pay), this means that the Tories are essentially bankrolling right wing blogs by paying them "thousands" *yawn*.

It's true, I sold out, and I thank the Conservative Party greatly for supplementing my salary with an additional 0.4% - the kebabs, pizzas and booze were enjoyed greatly Sam, really they were.

HTC - possibly the greatest tech company in the world?

It's not often I post about a specific company, and it's even less often that I would praise a company but today I would like to say the following. HTC are absolutely, unbelievably brilliant. I own a Google Nexus One which I have hacked, rooted and generally played about with. The thing is, in order to do this you need to unlock the bootloader of the phone, and when you do this, you are presented with following screen.

Note the words "unlocking the bootloader will void any warranty on your phone".

Anyhow, the power button, which is also the wake button, on my baby started to play up. Having done a little bit of research, it seems that this is a design hardware issue on phones built before April 2010. Essentially the button has a dodgy ribbon attached. It wasn't long before the button didn't work at all.

I was able to mitigate this by putting a custom rom on the phone that allowed the trackball to wake it, but I still had the problem that if, for some reason the phone turned off I was going to have Hell getting it back on again. So I phone HTC Europe to get it fixed.

Now clearly, I have bnroken the warranty on this phone, so I was fully prepared for the "oh you're warranty is void you're going to have to pay". I was completely upfront with the service centre telling them I had voided the warranty by unlocking the bootlader, but I made clear that i would flash the phone with a standard non-root Rom before sending it back.

The call centre said that even if I did this I would still have to pay for the repair and I would be contacted before it was carried out to say how much it would cost. Fair enough I thought, I accept that I voided the warranty, so be it, I love the phone enough to spend money on it.

So UPS come and pick it up last Monday, I track the phone via HTC's website into the repair centre, I hear nothing so I call them eventually, and get told it's being tested and I will receive an email about charges. I wait a few more days until this morning, and I get no email, so I call them again to be told the phone is with UPS and is on its way back to me and am given a tracking number. No charge, fixed under warranty.

Now you might think I was just lucky, but having looked about online a bit more, it seems that HTC have done this a number of times for many people. A company that honours the warranty for a hardware issue when technically they were totally within their rights to charge me is a company worth dealing with I say.

HTC, you rock.

Bollocks to the moaners....

Morning all, apologies for the moan but I feel I must get something off my chest. I am sick to bloody death of hearing people on the TV, radio etc asking the question:

"Why is it that a little snow in Britain causes chaos yet countries like Russia (cheating bastards), Sweden etc can cope with it?"

This question is pretty much wheeled out every time we have snow, much like we wheel out the same questions about dumbing-down when exam results come out, and yet the answer is so painfully obvious.

Countries like Russia (did I mention they're bastards?), Sweden, and even US states like Washington DC, New York and Illinois, know that each year, without fail, they're going to get a shedload of snow. I don't mean 5cm-10cm, I mean proper snow (see picture for illustration of real snow). Now, because they know its coming and they can guarantee its coming, they invest in the means to deal with it because they know they have too.

In Britain though, snow is not guaranteed every year, nor is it very often heavy, and again,by heavy I mean really heavy, not just a foot deep. So we don't invest because the cost benefit balanced against the risk of it happening just isn't there. OK? What is the point in investing millions at say Gatwick when, as it stands, the risk of snowfall in a year to the scale that will require a runway be shut down is so minimal?

You may not like it, but it's just an economic reality.

Likewise, the reason the trains have problems comes down to whether it is worth investing millions against the possible risk of line closure over a period of maybe five days, that may not even happen anyway. The reason Sweden and Russia can still run their trains is because all they're decisions are based on the knoweldge that they will have snow, whilst ours are based on the knowledge that we might, maybe, possibly, probably not have snow.

So please, stop bloody moaning and deal with it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

HMS Invincible being auctioned - Dear Santa?

Anybody want an aircraft carrier? Bid now or add it to your wishlist, because the MoD is auctioning it online.
Bugger to find moorings for it though huh?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

SOCPA restrictions on protest to be repealed

Following on from the last post it also seems that the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill 2010-11 will be repealing the restrictions on protests that were introduced under SOCPA. Section 139 states,
(1) Demonstrations in vicinity of Parliament: repeal of SOCPA 2005 provisions Sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (which regulate demonstrations and use of loudspeakers in the vicinity of Parliament) are repealed.

(2)The public assemblies in relation to which section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 applies, as a consequence of the repeal of section 132(6) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, include public assemblies which started, or were being organised, before this section comes into force.
I'm thinking a few people might be happy with that, although I don't know if it will go far enough for some.

Camping in Parliament Square to be banned

Interesting, the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill 2010-11 is going to ban people camping in Parliament Square. Section 141(2) states,
For the purposes of this Part, a “prohibited activity” is any of the following—

(a) operating any amplified noise equipment in the controlled area of Parliament Square;

(b) erecting or keeping erected in the controlled area of Parliament Square—
(i) any tent, or
(ii) any other structure that is designed, or adapted, (solely or mainly) for the purpose of facilitating sleeping or staying in a place for any period;

(c) using any tent or other such structure in the controlled area of Parliament Square for the purpose of sleeping or staying in that area;

(d) placing or keeping in place in the controlled area of Parliament Square any sleeping equipment with a view to its use (whether or not by the person placing it or keeping it in place) for the purpose of sleeping overnight in that area;

(e) using any sleeping equipment in the controlled area of Parliament Square for the purpose of sleeping overnight in that area.
No more messy Brian Haw types it seems.

The Gary McKinnon solution?

One of the latest disclosure by Wikileaks that is doing the round today is the news that Gordon Brown personally appealed to the US Ambassador to resolve the Gary McKinnon case and allow him to face justice in the UK. By all account the US gave him a flat refusal.

The conspiracy theorists are suggesting it seems that this appeal by Brown took place around the same time as Scotland were pissing off the yanks by letting the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi free because he only had a few months to live (still alive I think). In other words, the yanks took the "fuck you" approach as payback.

Now, whether that is true or not is irrelevant really, but may I offer a suggestion to the Home Sceretary and the Coalition on how to deal with this extradition issue? Why not take the US approach and just say errrrr.... "no you can't have him, bugger off"?

Of course, there will be some who wring their hands and say "we can't do that, we signed a treaty" but may I remind them that treaties are not documents that exist forever, they can be broken, and, let's be honest, what do we think the US is going to do if we did flip them the proverbial bird?

Seriously, are they going to get Delta Force to perform a covert extraction operation to get McKinnon in jail? Are they going to send some CIA spooks on a "hood him and squirrel him out of the country" type op? It's highly unlikely I'd say, especially if we banged the guy up instead anyway.

Naturally, if you buy the conspiracy theories, and you're one of those people convinced that the US is evil, then you'll probably think it's probable, I imagine the sane though, who don't think Spooks is a documentary series would not.

All we've got to do is grow some balls and say no.