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Friday, 31 July 2009

The war on motorists continues

Nottingham council's "workforce parking levy" which was due to come into force in 2012 has been approved by this anti-motorist Labour government. The "levy" means that commuters who drive to work face having to pay a new stealth tax of up to £350 a year. The scheme will start by charging only those companies who have more than 10 parking spaces set aside for staff. The initial charge will be £250 a year, rising to £350 within two years. Of course companies will be able to pass on the annual charge to the employees, the council and government don't care who pays so long as they get the money.

I wonder how many large and indeed small companies will leave Nottingham as a result of this measure?

Brown v Cameron - The debate

Even though Gordon Brown has nothing to lose, I still think that he won't have the courage to enter into a debate with David Cameron; as the PM is, above all else, a monumental coward.

What interests me is who will chair/moderate the debate, because that role will have a large part to play in shaping the debate. The BBC would be the natural home of such a debate and David Dimbleby the obvious choice as chairman. If David Dimbleby is put forward then David Cameron's team must veto the choice. The video of Harriet Harman controlling David Dimbleby was one of the most eloquent insights into the relationship between Labour ministers and senior BBC journalists/presenters that I have ever seen. The video shows Harriet Harman silently but firmly using touch to instruct an obedient David Dimbleby to try and stop Ian Duncan Smith from embarrassing the government. Absolutely disgusting and I know that I have seen that sort of thing before on Question Time, if only I could remember when; I think it was Harriet Harman that time as well.

Here's the video again, it deserves wider playing... Maybe someone could ask David Dimbleby about it at the next Question Time...

Just because you purchased it doesn't mean you own it

I see that Steven Metalitz, the lawyer who represents the MPAA and RIAA wrote the following in a letter to the top legal advisor at the Copyright Office:
"We reject the view that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works. No other product or service providers are held to such lofty standards. No one expects computers or other electronics devices to work properly in perpetuity, and there is no reason that any particular mode of distributing copyrighted works should be required to do so."

What absolute rubbish.

Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel

Not that you would know it from The US Department of State's Jerusalem Consulate website. From this you might believe that Jerusalem was a Palestinian city, maybe that is now US policy but has anyone told the Israelis. Apparently:
"All Jerusalem offices are united under the authority of the U.S. Consul General, who heads an independent U.S. mission that is the official diplomatic representation of the United States in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. The Consulate General also provides services to American citizens in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. Throughout its history, staff of the Consulate General has included Christians, Muslims, and Jews, demonstrating that people of different faiths and nationalities can work together in peace in this region."
Interesting and rather unsettling.

Sir Bobby Robson RIP

Sir Bobby Robson has passed away at the age of 76 after losing a long fight with cancer. Bobby Robson was a great football manager and the most successful England manager since Sir Alf Ramsey, taking England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1990. Bobby Robson always seemed a nice gentleman, he will be missed.

That David Cameron interview

Brackenworld has the full transcript and it's more interesting than you might think.

The Top 10 Political Blogging Tricks

Not mine, what would I know? But Charlotte Gore's from her blog. I think they might be somewhat tongue-in-cheek...

My favourite top trick:
"#8. Blog Design REALLY MATTERS

To be a truly successful blogger you MUST:

- Lots and lots of advertising. Sign up with Google Adwords, Message Space and every other thing that’ll have you. A blog without adverts doesn’t look professional.

- Lots of buttons, widgets and if your blogroll doesn’t have at least 200 links then you’re going to look like a noob. Don’t be a noob. Think of it like modding a car. If you can fit it, you should fit it, because the more junk the MOAR AWESOME your blog is."

Excellent stuff and of course tip 11 is to post a witty post on blogging and hope to get picked up by other narcissistic bloggers, hey it worked!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The nasty word


All day long the BBC (and others) have been trying to create a fuss over David Cameron's use of the word "twat". How terrible, how unacceptable, how rude and such a bad example to set the youth of this country etc.

Maybe the BBC should take a look at the sign outside the hotel in episode 11 of Fawlty Towers; a sign that reads "FLOWERY TWATS"; I don't recall any fuss being made after any showing of this episode known as "The Anniversary".


I wonder if there is any video of a senior politician setting an even worse example to the youth of the UK? Oh yes, here it is, not that you will ever see it on the BBC...
That's the truly disgusting video of Gordon Brown picking his nose and wiping the results on his tie... whilst sitting on the front bench as Tony Blair answers PMQs. It takes a truly odd person to do that and not realise that they might be seen; weird, really weird.

Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

The news that Sir John Chilcot has said that Tony Blair would be among those asked to give evidence and that he did not expect anyone to refuse does not fill me with great confidence. Unless Tony Blair and others are under oath, wired to a polygraph and given a sodium pentothal injection first, I will find it hard to believe their version of events.

"With the Democrats you can be sure, where there's smoke, there's fire, and they are working overtime to hide it."

An interesting article at American Thinker entitled "The Alchemy of Democrat Cover-ups". Some incidents are mentioned that I had no idea about including the Sandy Berger shredding affair.

Labour MP Stephen Pound said: "This is a cringeworthy, patronising attempt by a middle-aged man to convince listeners he is 'modern'."

Further to "twatgate", The Sun report that:
"Labour MP Stephen Pound said: "This is a cringeworthy, patronising attempt by a middle-aged man to convince listeners he is 'modern'.""
I wonder if there are any cringeworthy photos of Stephen Pound? Oh yes here's one...

How about an example of Stephen Pond swearing on the radio, surely that could never have happened...

"In 2003 BBC’s Today Programme asked its listeners to suggest a law that they would like to see put onto the statute books. The BBC received 10,000 nominations and five were short-listed, from which listeners then voted to select their preferred choice. Stephen Pound agreed to sponsor in parliament whichever idea eventually won the final vote. On 1 January 2004 it was announced on air that first place with 37% of the vote had gone to the proposal to authorise homeowners to use any means to defend their home from intruders. (The controversial farmer Tony Martin was still very much in the news.) Stephen Pound’s on-air reaction to the result was that, "The people have spoken - the bastards"."
Odd how Stephen Pound's history is not brought up when he decides to opine on matters of moment. Oh well only another 10 months before Stephen Pound is out of a job as MP and we never have to listen to his views again.

The Great Repeal Bill

Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan have put together a Wiki to see what restrictive laws and regulation are believed to hamper individual freedom, civic society and business. Take a look here and contribute, this is the sort of thing that David Cameron's incoming Conservative government should do in the first 100 days. Turning around the economic mess that Gordon Brown has created will take a very long time and be painful and unpopular, this repeal bill would be very popular indeed.

"Dickie Davies Eyes" found!


Half Man Half Biscuit's "Dickie Davies Eyes" - sheer genius and I am instantly back in 1986 - lighter, hairier and wearing a lot more black...

"Mention the Lord of the Rings just once more,
And I'll more than likely kill you.
"Moorecock, Moorecock, Michael Moorecock"
you fervently moan.
Is this a wok that you shove down my throat,
Or are you just pleased to see me?
Brian Moore's head looks uncannily like London Planetarium.

Chorus:
And all those people
Who you, romantically,
Like to still believe are alive,
Are dead!
So I'll wipe my snot
On the arm of your chair
As you put another Roger Dean poster
On the wall.

God, I could murder a Cadbury's Flake,
Then I guess you wouldn't let me into heaven.
Or maybe you would 'cause their adverts promote oral sex!
A Romani bint in a field with her paints,
Suggesting we faint at her beauty,
But she's got "Dickie Davis Eyes!"

Chorus x 2"

The Labour/BBC narrative

This BBC report has all the hallmarks of a joint Labour/BBC operation. The article starts:
"It is "unacceptable" that two million pensioners in the UK are still living in poverty, a group of MPs says.

The Work and Pensions Committee says the figure is a third lower than it was in 1997, but wants ministers to commit to ending pensioner poverty altogether. "
Sounds laudable? But what is the definition of "pensioner poverty"? A little further down we learn that
"One in five pensioners in the UK are classed as living in relative poverty. "
So "pensioner poverty" is a relative measure; relative to what? If it is relative to other pensioners then how can "pensioner poverty" ever be ended?

The article includes this:
"Committee chairman Terry Rooney said: "The government has committed to eradicating child poverty, now they need to commit to eradicating pensioner poverty."
I know "child poverty" is a relative measure and so eradicable, is the same true for "pensioner poverty"?

The BBC bring in a quotation from the Labour minister who is willing to spout some tractor stats:
"Responding to the report, Pensions Minister Angela Eagle said more than 900,000 pensioners had been lifted out of poverty since 1997."
A definition of "lifted out of poverty" would be useful and also a figure for how many pensioners had "fallen into poverty" since 1997; somehow I don't think Angela Eagle is quoting a net figure.

Of course this story is really about something else entirely; it's about Gordon Brown being able to say that whilst Labour wants to end "pensioner poverty", the old-Etonian Conservatives want to impoverish all pensioners. The BBC know this and are happily complicit.

"Offensive"? (update)

Further to this from yesterday, it now seems that:
"A ban on police officers wearing Union Flag badges to support UK troops was scrapped yesterday.

Scotland Yard chief Sir Paul Stephenson intervened hours after the Daily Mail revealed that the tiny emblems had been outlawed."
A quick victory for common-sense.

An end to hot food on BA short-haul flights

Alex Masterley has picked up on BA's decision to
"scrap all meals, except breakfast, on its short-haul flights. Passengers on flights after 10am, which last less than two-and-half hours, will only be served drinks and snacks, andwill not have the option to buy food."
Quite rightly Alex Masterley points out the difference between cost-cutting and service cutting but I have a different angle. Mrs NotaSheep and I usually try to fly British Airways whenever possible as the service and punctuality seems to be better than on the "cheaper" options whilst the cost once "extras" have been taken into account tends not to be too far away from the cut-price (and services) airlines. One thing that really annoys me about BA though is their cheese fetish. The number of short-haul flights where cheese is in every food option or on some occasions in the only food option is ridiculous. I am allergic to cheese and find the smell of hot cheese totally revolting, so being on a short-haul BA flight when warm mini-pizzas are served is no joke; time to lock myself away in a toilet.

So I applaud BA's decision; it may be wrong from a service and economics point of view but for me it works...

An example of the tech magazine love-in with Apple

Tech magazines like Stuff and T3 just love Apple's products, nothing can match the awe and excitement that greets the new iPhone or iTouch. The sheer amazement as Apple introduce such world beating features such as a semi-decent camera or the ability to "cut and paste" is both palpable and pathetic. So I was interested to read this month's T3 (September 2009!) and especially its review across pages 96 & 97 of "Urban satnav". Each of the 5 main devices gets a short review and then a "LOVE" and "HATE" summary. Did I say "each of the 5"? I mean each of the 5 apart from the Apple solution, for at the end of that review the magazine just cannot bear to have a "HATE" section and so have two sections headed "LOVE".

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Michelle Obama's team

The following is a list of the people being paid by the US taxpayer to assist Michelle Obama in her unpaid position of First lady

1. $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)

2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)

3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)

4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)

5. Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

6. $90,000 - Medina, David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)

8. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)

9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)

10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

11. Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)

13. $60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)

14. Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)

15. $52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)

16. $50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)

17. $45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)

18. Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)

19. $40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

20. $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)

21. Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)

22. Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)


Hillary Clinton had three assistants, Jackie Kennedy one, Laura Bush one and prior to Mamie Eisenhower social help came from the President's own pocket.


Thanks to Theo Spark for the spot.

"Children are a lifestyle choice"

Indeed they are and Devils Kitchen explains why...

Soft jobs or non-jobs?

This pathetic excuse for a Government is now set on spending £1 billion on creating tens of thousands of "soft" public sector jobs for unemployed people including dance assistants, tourism ambassadors and solar panel engineers. The Telegraph reports that:
"The taxpayer-funded jobs are being created by councils, quangos and charities under a Government scheme to remove 150,000 people from the unemployment register over the next two years.

The first 47,000 jobs in the scheme, costing about £300 million, are to be announced on Wednesday by Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary."
Yes this Labour government, who have bloated the public sector to unprecedented levels, have now decided that the best path to follow is to bloat it some more. A non-job is not a job it is a way of reducing the unemployment figures and maybe persuading people provided with such non-jobs to vote Labour in order to keep their jobs.

What more strokes will this Labour government try and pull next?

"Offensive"?

The news that Police chiefs have banned police officers from wearing Union Flag badges in support of British troops because they have received a complaint that these badges are "offensive" does not surprise me in the slightest. These tiny badges, that cost £1 with the proceeds going to charity, must really offend the sort of politically correct types that now infest the UK's police at the highest levels. 12 years of Labour government and the political interference in the police that that has involved, alongside the twin cultures of political correctness and appeasing minority views have left the UK's police forces unsure as to their priorities or their loyalties. Any incoming Conservative government as well as clearing up the financial mess that Gordon Brown will leave in his wake, will also have to take radical action to reverse many of the social policies that have weakened the cohesiveness of the UK itself.

Forecasting

The Met Office's excuses that its forecasting of a "barbecue summer" was only to give journalists an easy headline does raise questions over the purpose of the Met Office. However their failure to forecast weather trends for a summer season did not start this summer.

In 2007 the Met Office forecast:
"The summer is yet again likely to be warmer than normal. There are no indications of a particularly wet summer."
In fact it was the wettest summer for England and Wales for 95 years and temperatures were below average.

In 2008 the Met Office forecast:
"Summer temperatures are likely to be warmer than average and rainfall near or above average."
In fact 2008 was one of the wettest summers on record in the UK with high winds and low sunshine.

This year the Met Office forecast:
"Warmer than usual with rainfall average or below average".
So far we have had a few hot weeks and then a lot of rainfall, so much rainfall that reservoirs are once again full in the middle of summer.

The Met Office try to explain that that seasonal forecasting is in its infancy and is a cross between climate change prediction and forecasting tomorrow's weather forecast; apparently the Met Office is really good at those two predictions...


If the Met Office has now failed on three consecutive summer forecasts to get close to reality, then why should we place any credence on their climate change predictions?


The Guardian reported in 2006 as fact that:
"Scientists know a lot about how events will unfold...which means that whatever we do, our climate destiny is fixed for the next few decades... Rainfall will decline in the summer and the increased deluges in winter will struggle to replenish thirsty reservoirs because much of the water will run off the baked ground."
"Scientists know... climate destiny is fixed... Rainfall will decline in the summer..." It's all rubbish folks; most of these scientists are not predicting based on science, they are designing science to fit the desired predictions.

Look at some facts and figures, read around the subject and learn that Climate Change is a conspiracy not a science.

Simon's Cat is back


I thought that I had blogged some of the Simon's Cat cartoons a while back but I can't seem to find them, that's blogging, so here's the latest.

Peter Mandelson's Newsnight interview - a proper fisking

A proper fisking will follow, the interview and its introduction is worthy of full attention.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

"The burden of evidence required on each side is "essentially" the same"

The BBC report Home Secretary (and the BBC's new favourite Labour minister) Alan Johnson as saying re the upcoming extradition of Gary McKinnon that:
"Home Secretary Alan Johnson told them the 2003 treaty had simplified extradition procedures while safeguarding defendants' rights.

The burden of evidence required on each side is "essentially" the same, he added."
Really? I suppose this one boils down to Alan Johnson's definition of "essentially", somehow I don't think it's the same as mine... Would Alan Johnson care to comment?

Temporary marriage or rape?

This story has been around for a week or so and I have not previously posted it as I thought it would get picked up by the MSM, it hasn't so I will give my thoughts.

JPost report the story of a serving member of the paramilitary Basiji militia who admitted to some pretty horrifying crimes:
"He said he had been a highly regarded member of the force, and had so "impressed my superiors" that, at 18, "I was given the 'honor' to temporarily marry young girls before they were sentenced to death."

In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a "wedding" ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard - essentially raped by her "husband."

"I regret that, even though the marriages were legal," he said.

Why the regret, if the marriages were "legal?"

"Because," he went on, "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their 'wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die.

"I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over," he said. "I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her." "
Horrible? But not a word on the BBC or any other major media outlet, that I have noticed.

Oddly any claim against Israel is pounced upon by the BBC and a great amount of space is allocated to it but when it is a Muslim country... nothing at all.

The hatred shown by many at the BBC towards representatives of Israel is nothing short of disgusting and is another reason why the BBC cannot be allowed to continue in its current biased form.

Barack in "mom jeans"



That is a picture of Obama in those mom jeans. Here is a piece from America entitled "Did Obama's mom jeans prevent him from throwing a strike?" that may explain the issue.

Now Greg Morton has followed up his "Obama Man" song with "Obama in mom jeans" and it's rather a good pastiche of Neil Diamond's "Forever in Blue Jeans"...



Here is the original "Obama Man" song to the tune of "Candy Man"...


"Who can take tomorrow, spend it all today?
Who can take your income and tax it all away"

"Moderate"?

Yesterday I blogged about the Labour idea of talking to moderate elements of the Taliban, presumably those who want to use only small stones to kill adulteresses. So it was with great interest that I read in The LA Times that:
"Cleric who negotiated Taliban-Pakistan peace deal is arrested - B.K.Bangash / Associated Press - Sufi Mohammed, in glasses, is shown in April after an address to supporters in Mingora. Pakistani authorities said he was detained without incident near Peshawar.
Taliban-aligned Sufi Mohammed arranged a truce in the Swat Valley, but militants have since reneged on the deal. Mohammed, father-in-law of a Taliban leader, is accused of militancy and violence."

Moderate from what angle? Once again we have a Labour government of appeasers and fools (often both) who believe that we can negotiate with people who hate us and want us dead.

The forty eighth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

This week's award is so "No shit, Sherlock" that I may enter it for my annual award...

It goes jointly to Ofcom and the BBC for the Ofcom report being given huge publicity on the BBC this morning that tells us the simply incredible news that:
"Broadband users are not getting the speeds they are paying for... Nearly one fifth of UK broadband customers on an eight Megabit per second (Mbps) connection actually receive less than 2Mbps... "


Advertised broadband speeds are not achieved in real life?

"No shit, Sherlock"

What "threatens peace" more?

The BBC faithfully report that: "India's launch of a nuclear-powered submarine is a threat to regional peace and security, Pakistan has said.".

Of course to the BBC any action by a democratic non-Muslim country is suspicious and open to complaint. Whereas any action taken by a Muslim country is innocent and purely defensive. India, like Israel, is at the front-line of the fight against Islamic terrorism and yet the BBC like most of the media and much of the UK parlaiment would rather side with the terrorists and their supporters than their victims.

How much lower can they go?

Almost every day this Labour government manages to surprise me with how low they can stoop in getting more petty, more mean or more incompetent. This time it's the news that the MOD are going to the Court of Appeal to try to significantly reduce the compensation awarded to two injured soldiers. Both had their original measly payouts increased due to complications, but the MOD is now arguing that they should only be compensated for their "original injuries".

So what are the MOD arguing over? Millions like they have wasted on poor procurement and fitting up new offices? No... the injured soldiers were initially awarded £9,250 and £8,250 respectively, but they appealed to a tribunal and the amounts were increased to £46,000 and £28,750. So this pathetic, armed forces hating Labour government, are arguing the toss over £57,250! I don't care if it might "set a precedent", these soldiers are putting their lives on the line having been sent to war by this Labour government. The awards are pathetically pusillanimous by civilian standards and it is an insult to our armed forces and the whole country to try and get the awards reduced. The fact that no minister would even come on the Today programme to defend the position shows the courage of the Labour ministers who spout platitudes about supporting our armed forces but in reality...

Please note that the Minister of State for the Armed Forces,Bob Ainsworth, featured in the recent MPs expenses scandal. He was criticized for allegedly excessive claims for repairs to his second home and in 2007-8 he claimed the maximum permissible amount of £23,083 for second-home allowances, making him the joint highest claimant. Bob Ainsworth was also one of the 98 MPs who in 2007 voted to keep MPs' expense details exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. So does Bob Ainsworth think it right that his second home allowance for one year is worth more than the partial disability of two soldiers?

One Americanism that is really getting my goat

If I read or hear the expression "stepping up to the plate" one more time I may scream. I have never liked its usage in a British context and like it even less when it is used with reference to cricket. There is something deeply wrong about using a baseball metaphor in a cricket setting. That the Americans expend so much time and energy following what is essentially a game of rounders is inexplicable enough but for the British to then use language from a girls game to describe the requirements of the greatest sport invented - cricket - is just plain wrong.

The BBC have long loved this baseball derived expression; part of the US obsession that they have where American words and phrases are new and exciting and therefore usable as often as possible. However the usage seems to be spreading it even making the Telegraph sports section at the weekend.

Let's drop this ugly Americanism and see if we can have more references to "sticky wickets", "play a straight bat" and maybe even "bat for the other side".

Cockpit view of a Space Shuttle landing




Thanks to Theo Spark for the spot.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Vote: Your top 10 political blogs

Click here to vote in the Total Politics Best Blogs Poll 2009

As this blog sinks down the monthly Wikio Political Blogging charts, breaking my heart as every months rankings are released; I notice that it is time for Total Politics's blog poll for 2009. It was the surprise appearance of this blog in Iain Dale's 2007 political blogging list, after just a few months of my blogging, that gave me the impetus to take blogging more seriously/waste more time writing instead of working.


So here are some questions that you might be asking regarding voting in this poll and my answers:


Why should I vote?


If you appreciate this blog; whether for its incisive comments on political matters, for its regular highlighting of the faults of Gordon Brown & the other people who runruin this country every day or even for its regular publishing of photos of a scantily-clad Lily Allen then do take the time to vote for it. The higher this blog appears the more I will post... Is that really an incentive?


How do I vote?


Email your ten favourite blogs (ranked from 1-10) to toptenblogs@totalpolitics.com


Are there any rules?


Here's Total Politics' rules:
1. You must vote for your ten favourite blogs and ranks them from 1 (your favourite) to 10 (your tenth favourite).
2. Your votes must be ranked from 1 to 10. Any votes which do not have rankings will not be counted.
3. You MUST include ten blogs. If you include fewer than ten your vote will not count.
2. Email your vote to toptenblogs@totalpolitics.com
3. Only vote once.
4. Only blogs based in the UK, run by UK residents are eligible or based on UK politics are eligible.
5. Anonymous votes left in the comments will not count. You must give a name
6. All votes must be received by midnight on 31 July 2009. Any votes received after that date will not count.



Go on vote, you know you want to...

I am not a terrorist

I am not a terrorist, I am a photographer.

"Increasing concerns about terrorism, paedophilia, health and safety, personal privacy and plain old paranoia about pretty much anything Her Majesty’s subjects get up to has resulted in a deep mistrust of photographers.

Police routinely invoke anti-terror legislation to prevent photographers from carrying out their work, and photojournalists are constantly filmed at public gatherings and their details kept on an ever-growing database. Tourists, particularly foreign tourists, are also targeted by police, as was the case with an Austrian father and son recently who made the mistake of photographing a building of an extremely sensitive nature—Walthamstow bus station.
Put simply, Britain has become a no-photo zone, and so if you fail to comply, you may find yourself liable to attack, arrest or harassment. Recognising that Britain is not the only country where such a draconian anti-photographer culture is developing, the British Journal of Photography is beginning an international visual campaign to raise awareness.

Over the next year we hope to gather thousands of self-portraits of
photographers-professional and amateur—from around the world,
each holding up a white card with the words, ‘Not a crime’ or ‘I am not a terrorist’. "

"gullible or vindictive"/

It's a tough one... The Register reports that:
"The government faces accusations of technical incompetence and waste after it went to the High Court to shut down the Fathers 4 Justice website, wrongly claiming campaigners had threatened to publish the home addresses of 237 judges.

Lawyers for Matt O'Connor, the controversial group's founder, are now preparing action against the Ministry of Justice to recover costs and damages from taxpayers. He alleges civil servants failed to perform basic checks on the origins of the threat before launching a legal attack."
Read the whole story and wonder at the IT expertise of this Government; poor, very poor.

Operation destroy Cameron

A Channel 4 programme not one of the BBC's, but I am sure the BBC will find a way of publicising it. The Independent report that:
"When Boris met Dave will dramatise the school and university years of the Conservative Party leader and his friend and political fellow-traveller, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. This period in the two Old Etonians' lives is widely known for an infamous mid-Eighties Oxford University photograph, which shows the pair posing in the blue tailcoats and mustard-coloured waistcoats of the notorious Bullingdon Club.

The 90-minute documentary will be shown on More 4 in the autumn, prompting complaints from Tory MPs that it may influence voters in the run-up to the next general election. Philip Davies, a member of the House of Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, said the timing of the programme left Channel 4 open to "accusations they are pursuing an agenda". "
The "left" in the UK are worried that despite all their hard work of destroying the credibility of the Conservative party, the voters are turning to that party. The answer - go into overdrive, attack on every front, after all to let the "nasty party" back into power would be a crime.

Tron's back


Tron is back and the CGI is somewhat better than in the original!

Where does Lord Bhatia live?

I ask because it seems that he cannot remember. Another of Tony Blair's peers whose peerage was entirely not linked to his being a Labour donor and whose activities since are I am sure beyond reproach.

"Lord Bhatia... has lived with his wife in a £1.5m home in southwest London for 20 years. Almost two years ago he decided to “flip” the designation of his primary residence to a two-bedroom flat in Reigate, Surrey, which has been his brother’s home for three years. The town is a mile beyond the M25 motorway, a boundary used by peers to define whether they live outside London for expenses purposes.

By saying the Reigate flat was his main home, Bhatia was able to claim lucrative “overnight” allowances from the Lords. Peers whose main home is outside the capital are able to collect £174 a night as reimbursement for the cost of a hotel or maintaining a second home while attending parliament.

Bhatia could not remember the address of the flat when repeatedly asked last week. He had to look it up and even then misspelt the name of the block. A neighbour could not recall him living there, but Bhatia insisted he had spent many weekends at the flat and said he intended to move there with his wife when he sells his family home. "


"Bhatia is a 77-year-old Labour party donor who sits as a crossbencher. He is a successful businessman who has been prominent in several charities. After being made a peer by Tony Blair in 2001, he went on to lead the Edutrust Academies Charitable Trust which was formed to open and run city academies. He quit the board of the trust after a government inquiry found evidence of financial and governance mismanagement at the charity. "

Labour appeasement

I am not a happy NotaSheep this morning. The news that our Labour government wants to talk to "moderate" elements of the Tailban is not surprising but Douglas Alexander's comments this morning left me very angry. Apparently this tactic worked in Northern Ireland. If by worked he meant that we released a lot of convicted murderous terrorists, gave areas of our cities over to gang rule and allowed terrorists and their supporters to be elected into public office, then this tactic worked. I prefer to think of it as appeasement.

I presume that if people like Douglas Alexander had been in government in the early 1940s they would have been pushing for talks with "moderate" members of the Nazi government and making pathetic comments about the feelings of the relatives of the war dead.

Just when I think that this vile Labour government could not get any worse, it manages it.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

To raise VAT or not to raise VAT, that is the question

And the arguments seem to be within the Labour cabinet. Harriet Harman is reported to have said that the increase due for 1 Jan is "under review". Alistair Darling talking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show said it would "definitely" return to its original higher level of 17.5 per cent on 1 January.

Hmm "definitely"; when was the last time someone said "definitely" and then had to change their mind? Will the "definitely" stay definite as long as it did for Lord Malloch Brown?

So will Alistair Darling stick to his guns and behave like a "congenital idiot" or give in to pressure from above and show that he has the backbone one would expect from someone who has made the journey from being a supporter of the International Marxist Group, the British section of the Trotskyist Fourth International, to senior Labour party politician.

That wedding video

The West's misunderstanding of Indian music in one piece of video


This is from the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh organised by George Harrison and has one of the funniest lines that I have ever heard. Ravis Shankar introduces from around 2:30 and the line is at 04:43....

Lily Allen reinterpreted


Lily Allen gets the 'Angelic Children' treatment

Thanks to MuuMuse for the spot.


And for the Lily Allen version - Live and recorded...

Lily Allen's "Chinese" live


Lily Allen's "Chinese" album version

Are yesterday's "reds" today's "greens"?

A good article by Antonia Senior
in The Times comparing yesterdays reds with today's greens. Do take a read:
"The word evil is used advisedly. Both the green and red positions are infused with overpowering religiosity. Dissenters from the consensus are shunned apostates. Professor Ian Pilmer, the Australian geologist and climate change sceptic, could not find a publisher for his book Heaven and Earth, which questions the orthodoxy about global warming. He is the subject of hate mail and demonstrations. It is entirely immaterial whether he is right or wrong. An environment that stifles his right to a voice is worse than one that is overheating."

Jeremy Clarkson says it like it is again

In February Jeremy Clarkson called Gordon Brown a "one-eyed Scottish idiot", a purely factual statement:
"one-eyed" - Gordon Brown is indeed blind in one eye
"Scottish" - Gordon Brown is undoubtedly Scottish
"idiot" - Gordon Brown is in many people's eyes a complete and utter idiot. After all what else would you call a man who tells the markets that he is going to sell a couple of tons of gold on a certain day? I would say that "idiot" is quite mild.

So now I read that Jeremy Clarkson has called Gordon Brown a c**t, the dreaded 'C' word. This seems fair comment although not strictly anatomically correct. The usual suspects are complaining but then there are certain people who will not be happy until Jeremy Clarkson is kicked out of the BBC.

Harry Patch RIP

Harry Patch, Britain's last survivor of the World War I trenches has died at the age of 111. Harry Patch was wounded in 1917 during the battle of Passchendaele, which he remembered as "mud, mud and more mud mixed together with blood."

Happy Birthday Sir Mick

Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger is 66 today; Happy Birthday Mick.

Here's the Rolling Stones's first single, played on vinyl...



Here's the Rock 'N' Roll Circus version of "Sympathy For The Devil" where a sub par Mick still looks great...



And one of my favourites "You Can't Always Get What You Want"...

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Lily Allen covers the Kaiser Chiefs!

Mark Ronson - Oh My God

Mark Ronson featuring Lily Allen - "Oh my God"


The Kaiser Chief's original version


Sorry Lily but I prefer the Kaiser Chief's version, although you, and your cartoon alter ego, are easier on the eye than Ricky Wilson.

Which political party

The BBC's coverage of the New York/New Jersey corruption story runs true to form. There is absolutely no mention of the political affiliations of the "Three mayors from the state of New Jersey and two members of the state legislature (who) were among those held.". From that omission it would seem fair to assume that they were Democrats because on previous form their party affiliations would have been identified clearly if they were Republicans. The sheer relish with which the BBC explain the involvement of rabbis and links to Israel also contrasts starkly with the way crimes involving Imams are reported.

The BBC never too proud to show its political and religious biases.

Hold on that might be an unfortuante analogy

The Telegraph reports re the timing of the planned increase in VAT from 15% to 17.5% at midnight on 31 December this year, that Michael Ward (the MD of Harrods) said that only a "congenital idiot" would raise VAT just as the January sales started.

A few points, some practical, some not. First the January sales start before January now indeed last year the sales started before Xmas itself. Second the problem for stores in applying the price changes resulting from this VAT rate changes across all of their SKUs on a Bank Holiday will be enormous, I used to work in retail IT and this would have been a nightmare to organise both in system terms and on the shop floor. Finally if Michael Ward thinks only a "congenital idiot" would make such a change, then he may have a problem with this Labour government.

I don't shop at Sainsburys but if I did this might persuade me to stop

I don't shop at Sainsburys but the news that they are to use motorbike-riding traffic wardens to patrol its car-parks and fine customers £50 if they misuse the disabled and parent and child parking spaces would be a factor in deciding me to shop elsewhere if I did. That and their alcohol sales policies speak of a Supermarket who wouldn't want the custom of a childless, able-bodied customer, preferring those with children. Fine I will continue to take my above average weekly shopping budget elsewhere.

Even more totalitarianism at the checkout

This is yet another in the long line of stories that I have published on supermarkets and their weird over-application of bans on selling alcohol to minors. You can see the last such of my postings here. This latest story is from a Sainsburys in Melksham in Worcs, where a 43 year-old RAF squadron leader was prevented from buying three bottles of wine with his shopping because he was accompanied by his 17 year-old son. As is often the case, the store manager backed his member of staff. A Sainsburys spokesman now says that the cashier asked for identification because the teenager had "presented" the wine by placing it on the conveyor belt, thus making it looks as though it was the teenager buying the wine. Now I rarely go to supermarkets but when I do it seems commonplace for children to help their parents by helping take the shopping form the trolley and placing it on the checkout conveyor.

These storied are not just about the application of licensing laws they are also about controlling the public. We can't be allowed to assume that we can buy what we want, we have to be allowed to do so by the store and the government. One final thought, and it is just a thought, I wonder if Squadron Leader Mark Giles was identifiable as being in the military and if this was some sort of anti-war stance taken by the cashier... Just wondering.

Nigel Farage and UKIP may be ready to take on the bias of the BBC

Whilst David Cameron's Conservatives still seem to think that if they are nice to the BBC then the BBC will be nice to them, a delusion worthy of Gordon Brown, UKIP may be ready to take the fight to the BBC.

UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, is reported to have said (my emphasis):
"UKIP'S best-ever by-election performance in Norwich North has been soured by the BBC's stubborn refusal to give the party's result the recognition it deserves.

The result could have been even better had the BBC not refused to give Glenn Tingle and UKIP the airtime it deserved, preferring to allow a minor party such as the Greens on television panels and radio discussions.

Nigel Farage is furious at the snub.

He said: "There is a clear bias in the BBC against the UK Independence Party and this result shows that they are wrong in freezing us out of key political television and radio programmes."

"We've shown in Norwich North that we are a major player on the UK political scene and that our performance in the European Elections, where we recorded the second highest percentage of vote among all the parties, was no fluke.

"We have arrived and the people have shown that they agree with our politics. If the BBC doesn't like that, well tough. What it does mean is that the left-leaning programme producers who dole out the air time will be forced to give us parity with the three other major parties.

"I personally will be taking this to the highest echelons of the BBC and finding out who decided we were not to be part of the Norwich North coverage and what is to be done about it.

"This situation, where one of this country's major political parties is simply ignored, should never happen again.

"If the BBC bosses spent less time working out their expense claims and more time listening to the people of Great Britain, they would realise that UKIP is experiencing a continuing swing in support that all the other parties would die for.

"With a General Election due at any time, we will demand that the BBC afford UKIP the same broadcast rights as the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems.

"We'll be looking at what needs to be done to make the BBC sit up and take notice, because so far, our complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

"Maybe they'll listen if their funding is threatened? We'll look at the prospect of a mass refusal to pay the licence fee if that's what it takes.
It's already on the agenda for debate at our annual conference in September.""

When did Gordon Brown become Chancellor of the Exchequer?


The saviour of the UK economy used to try and imply that before he took control the UK economy was in a dire state and that the boom was down to his economic genius. Now even the most blinkered of commentators realise this was bullshit and the BBC had the above interesting graph to illustrate the point. Look, the economy started it's long period of growth in the second half of 1993, just a year after John Major won his first general election (something that Gordon Brown will never manage).

The BBC report that:
"The UK economy contracted 0.8% between April and June, more than double the figure economists had expected.

While an improvement on the previous quarter, the figures may indicate that the recovery could take longer than previously had been thought.

The contraction was much less than the 2.4% seen in the first quarter but was still above analysts' 0.3% prediction.

The latest figures take the annual rate of decline to 5.6%, the biggest fall since records began in 1955. "
And manage to find someone at the Treasury willing to make a ridiculous prediction:
"Liam Byrne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said that he was cautious but confident that growth was going to return at the end of the year.

"We are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination, but what today's figures show is that the pace of the downturn is easing," he said. "
So the decline hasn't stopped, but the rate of decline has eased, wow I feel better already, don't you? The biggest decrease in the UK economy in over 50 years and Liam Byrne tries to look on the bright side of life.


Look folks the UK economy is severely screwed and the public finances are in a far worse state than this most disingenuous Labour government will admit. In the last (delayed) Budget, the government forecast that the UK economy would decline by between 3.25% to 3.75% in 2009. With the fall to date that would mean around 1.5% growth in each of the next two quarters to get back to that predicted level of decline. That is just not going to happen and that means that spending cuts, rises in taxation and maybe running to the IMF look even more likely. So when will Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling come clean as to the real state of the UK's finances? My feeling is that they won't and that it will be left to David Cameron and his Chancellor to reveal the true figures soon after they are elected next May. The true figures will be a real shock to the general population but they must be revealed and the blame for the appalling state of the UK economy laid squarely at the feet of Gordon Brown. One of the aims of the first 100 days of a Conservative government is to ensure that the truth about Labour's mismanagement of the UK's public finances becomes known to everyone so that the bile that the BBC will try and throw at the incoming Conservative government will be diluted by the truth.

Lord Malloch Brown tries to square the circle

Lord Malloch Brown tries to talk his way out of a real problem for him & Gordon Brown and more importantly the UK armed forces.

Lord Malloch-Brown, Daily Telegraph interview, 17 July 2009:
Question: "Are our troops under-resourced?"

Answer: "We definitely don't have enough helicopters."


Lord Malloch-Brown, BBC interview, 22 July 2009:
"I actually didn't tell The Daily Telegraph that there weren't enough helicopters in Afghanistan."


What do you think?

The BBC and its very different treatment of UKIP and the Greens

Yesterday I mentioned the way that the BBC had, as usual, portrayed the Greens as the fourth party of British politics when it has become increasingly apparent that UKIP has overtaken it. Today I read that Dan Hannan feels similarly:
"Several weeks ago, the BBC decided to start running stories about how well the Green Party would do at the Norwich North by-election. It is far from clear whether programme editors thought that this would happen anyway, or whether they hoped to make it happen. After all, what minority candidates most crave is airtime: to be treated as mainstream, and so to anticipate the “wasted vote” argument.

The BBC obliged. Lord, how it obliged. Throughout the campaign, it ran programmes with Conservative, Labour, LibDem and Green spokesmen. Now don’t get me wrong: I rather like the Greens. But there was no basis to the claim that they were the fourth party, either nationally or locally. The last test of electoral feeling was June’s European election. The United Kingdom Independence Party won 13 seats and came second; the Greens won two seats and came fifth. In local elections on the same day, UKIP beat the Greens in most Norwich North wards.

UKIP activists politely drew these facts to the BBC’s attention in the hope of fairer coverage. They misunderstood the Corporation’s mindset. In Beebworld, Greens are essentially nice, and deserve a fair crack of the whip. But UKIP are anti-immigration, anti-Brussels and, worst of all, sceptical about climate change. They are not Our Sort Of People, and should be covered accordingly, if at all.

Newsnight, Look East and Radio 4 all chose to disregard UKIP and treat the Greens as the main story. Three days before the poll, the BBC’s Eastern region TV held a hustings meeting for four candidates: Conservative, Labour, LibDem and Green.

What was the result in the event? UKIP won 11.8 per cent of the vote - comfortably ahead of the Greens and remarkably close to the LibDems (or “worryingly close” as I just heard a Radio 5 Live presenter put it).

Did our state broadcaster apologise for its mistake? No, alright, that would have been expecting too much; but was it, at least, a little abashed in its tone? Nope. It simply edited UKIP out of its coverage. On the one o’clock news, a little bar chart came up to represent the results: blue for the Conservatives, red for Labour, yellow for the LibDems and, er, green for the fifth-placed Greens. The party that had come fourth, and been just 800 votes behind the LibDems, wasn’t represented. Nor was UKIP mentioned on the contemporaneous radio news."

The customers strike back (part 2)

Example 2: Jason Leonard's secret videoing of service staff at his Toyota dealership after he became suspicious of theft from his vehicle at Hampton Toyota...

Video 1 - "Pills"



Video 2 - "Free Coins"



Video 3 - Watching porn on the diagnostic screen has been withdrawn...


And this is Hampton Toyota's response...



It's always nice when the customer wins...

The customers strike back (part 1)

Canadian musician Dave Carroll's experience, or rather his guitar's experience, at the hands of United Airlines baggage handlers lead to lengthy discussions with United's customer relations team and their Ms Irlweg. The story is all over the internet as is his song... "United Breaks Guitars"

Friday, 24 July 2009

Nick Robinson desperately spinning for Labour

Nick Robinson looks increasingly desperate as he tries to spin for Labour. Let's ignore his habit of seemingly only blogging on days when he can post anti-Conservative angled articles. This morning he posted this humorous piece about the likely spin that would be employed by each of the three main parties after the Norwich North by-election result became known. It's quite a good idea and one that I have toyed with before, although Nick Robinson's is not a great example of the genre. His piece is harsh on the Conservatives, soft on Labour, fair on the Lib Dems and as is usual at the BBC treats the Greens as the fourth party of British politics.

Then the result of the by-election was declared and Nick Robinson had to post again. This time he had to accept, presumably through clenched teeth, that:
"A massive 16.5 swing, not far short of what they got in Crewe and Nantwich, will allow the Conservatives to say that this is much better than the results I alluded to in my earlier post.

Labour, on the other hand, will point out that the swing originated largely from a collapse in their vote (-27%) and much less by an increase in the Tory vote (just 6.5%).

The truth is that Mr Cameron has done more than enough to look on course for an election victory and Labour has done badly enough to fear that one is inevitable. "

Here's the result:
Chloe Smith (Con) 13,591 (39.5%)
Chris Ostrowski (Lab) 6,243 (18.16%)
April Pond (LD) 4,803 (13.97%)
Glenn Tingle (UKIP) 4,068 (11.83%)
Rupert Read (Green) 3,350 (9.74%)
Craig Murray (Ind) 953 (2.77%)
Robert West (BNP) 941 (2.74%)
Bill Holden (Ind) 166 (0.48)
Howling Laud (Loony) 144 (0.42%)
Anne Fryatt (NOTA) 59 (0.17%)
Thomas Burridge (Libertarian) 36 (0.1%)
Peter Baggs (Ind) 23 (0.07%)
Con majority 7,348 (21.37%) 16.49% swing Lab to Con
Turnout 34,377 (45.76%, down 15.33% on gen election)

So what do we see? First of all a collapse in the Labour vote, I wonder if they will return at the general election or are they lost for a while yet. A Lib Dem vote that seems not to have benefited from the Labour collapse. A Conservative vote that is increasing but not spectacularly. UKIP and not the Greens are once again shown to be the fourth force in British politics, maybe the BBC could take note. A UKIP vote that increased without adversely affecting the Conservative vote. Minor parties and independents still doing better than in previous elections, will that continue to the general election?


As an aside what was George Galloway doing on Question Time last night? His Respect Party is a very minor party, certainly polling fewer votes than the BNP who I don't recall ever having anyone on the QT panel. Was he there as a serious politician or a celebrity; either way I, for one, would rather not see him again.

Gordon Brown's rise to power explained

Can Gordon Brown's rise to power within the Labour party really be explained by Erasmus's saying: "In the land of the blind the one eyed man is King."?

Was the Labour party so bereft of talent that a man, who seems to have little understanding of economics and confesses to being poor at mathematics, can become Chancellor of the Exchequer and then Prime Minister. Maybe another quotation may help: "You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time." That was Abraham Lincoln.

In Gordon Brown and Labour's case since 1997 maybe the quotation should read: "You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time. However you should be able to fool enough of the people enough of the time to get re-elected, especially if you have enough of the media on-side."

The compassion of Sharia Law

This story is from earlier this year but I think bears repetition. A Saudi woman was gang-raped by 5 men, an ordeal that lasted a whole night and even made her pregnant. Saudi Arabia's Sharia Law finds her (an unmarried woman) guilty of adultery and sentences her to a year in prison and 100 lashes. Being a merciful and compassionate system, the flogging will be put off until after she gives birth.

Here's the source of the story, The Mail> and how it was reported:
"Saudi judge has ordered a woman should be jailed for a year and receive 100 lashes after she was gang-raped, it was claimed last night.

The 23-year-old woman, who became pregnant after her ordeal, was reportedly assaulted after accepting a lift from a man.

He took her to a house to the east of the city of Jeddah where she was attacked by him and four of his friends throughout the night.

She later discovered she was pregnant and made a desperate attempt to get an abortion at the King Fahd Hospital for Armed Forces.

According to the Saudi Gazette, she eventually 'confessed' to having 'forced intercourse' with her attackers and was brought before a judge at the District Court in Jeddah.

He ruled she had committed adultery - despite not even being married - and handed down a year's prison sentence, which she will serve in a prison just outside the city.

She is still pregnant and will be flogged once she has had the child. "

How lovely, how compassionate and just the sort of legal system that we need in this country. So where were the shrieks of protest from human rights groups that seem to accompany any less serious stories coming out of Israel, the US or the UK? Or is Islam still protected from criticism by unspoken fear?

The BBC and the Norwich North by-election

The BBC Today programme's coverage (or what I have heard of it) this morning has been most odd. It seems that the BBC's Norman Smith believes that senior Conservatives view the poll as a "must-win" and that "anything less would be a significant reverse that could bring the Cameron juggernaut to a shuddering halt".

Oddly I don't remember such qualifications being placed on a Labour win a Conservative seat during the long run of seats won by Labour during the period 1986 to 1997. Then the emphasis was place on the Conservatives unpopularity and the Labour party gaining seats.

Let's take a look at the Langbaurgh by-election of 1991. Then the Conservatives lost their seat by 1,975 votes. The Conservative vote diminished by 2.6% and Labour's increased by 4.5%, the swing was 9.1%. Maybe someone at the BBC could show me how this was reported at the time as an unimpressive swing to Labour, not enough to guarantee a general election victory and a disappointment to Labour. Maybe this BBC person could also show where the by-election was described a "must-win" for Labour.


The BBC are institutionally biased against the Conservative party and without fairness and impartiality they have, in my opinion, forfeited their right to state funding via the licence fee. The time for words has passed, the time for action is now.

Lord Malloch Brown on tape. Where does this leave the Foreign Office/Gordon Brown defence?

On Wednesday night, Lord Malloch Brown claimed on the BBC that he had been misrepresented in an article in The Daily Telegraph based on an interview with Mary Riddell. He even claimed that:
"For whatever reason, the Telegraph journalist chose to elide two different statements about different issues."
Unfortunately for Lord Malloch Brown, the Foreign Office and the malignancy that lies at the heart of British politics - Gordon Brown - The Telegraph's Mary Riddell has a tape of her interview with Lord Malloch Brown and unsurprisingly Mary Riddell and The Telegraph did not misrepresent the Foreign Office Minister's views.

Here's the audio, the key part is from 00:42.

Here's a my transcript of what I believe was said:
Mary Riddell - "... but are they under-resourced for a start?
Malloch Brown - "We definitely don't have enough helicopters but we've been screaming about that... you need, above all else, mobility"

When this story broke it was obvious that the Foreign Office row-back on what their minister had said was a political decision to minimise embarrassment to Gordon Brown. At the time I blogged:
"Maybe some clarification is needed. Was Lord Malloch Brown misleading The Telegraph or is the Foreign Office misleading the BBC? Surely it must be one or the other... "
Maybe after the ridiculously long summer holiday this could be a question that Gordon Brown is asked; not that we will get a straight answer.



The Telegraph's story on the tape can be read here.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Is there a successor to the SR-71 Blackbird?

My recent post about the SR-71 Blackbird lead me to some speculation about a successor plane; variously known as Aurora, SR-91 and

Here are some interesting links:
BBC Newsnight
Detailed speculation
More detailed speculation

Is the EU going to become the new USSR?


Nigel Farage on the EU's symbols of nationhood and how it is evolving.

Happy holidays

To all you lovers thinking of wending your way to the Maldives later this year do note that around 180 men and women are awaiting flogging after being sentenced by informal Islamic sharia courts and criminal courts for having sexual intercourse outside marriage. And in case you think such sentences are not carried out then you should read this Amnesty International report.
"Amnesty International has received credible reports that an 18-year-old woman was flogged in public on 5 July this year. She received 100 lashes after being accused of having sex with two men outside of marriage. Local journalists reported the woman fainted after receiving the lashes and was taken to hospital to receive medical attention"
Paradise in the sun? Think again and take your holiday somewhere more enlightened; may I suggest the Caribbean - but not Cuba (politically anything but free) or Jamaica (somewhat homophobic).

A murderer is to visit the scene of his crime

I am sickened to read in The Mail that:
"The man who blew up a Brighton hotel in the IRA's most deadly attack in Britain has been invited back to the city for the 25th anniversary of the blast.

Patrick Magee killed five people when he planted a bomb at a hotel hosting the Conservative Party conference in October 1984.

He almost succeeded in assassinating the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher and killed government whip, Sir Anthony Berry, with his 30lb bomb.

An official commemoration marking the bombing is being planned at the Brighton Grand hotel and will be led by the Tory peer Lord Tebbit and his wife Margaret, who was paralysed in the blast.

They will unveil a memorial plaque on 12 October, 25 years on from a bomb blast that shocked British society."
So one of the men who committed mass murder (5 people is a mass, right) is to visit the scene of his crime. Who on earth is inviting him?
"Sir Anthony's daughter, Jo Berry, has invited Magee after they became good friends since his early release from prison in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday agreement.

'I'm sure it [inviting Magee] will be a controversial move but I've thought long and hard about it,' said Ms Berry in the Independent.

'The reason why I feel OK about inviting Pat down is because the film is bigger than the two of us and it is about creating something positive from conflict. Pat's in a very different place to where he was 25 years ago.'"
Oh excellent, one
of the murdered's relatives, that's a nice touch. Anyway, why isn't Magee still in prison for this act of premeditated mass murder? Oh sorry he was released early under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, that was the piece of vile legislation that saw the release of murderers and other criminals so they, their associates and bosses could serve as politicians in Northern Ireland and beyond. They were released so that Tony Blair could look good by claiming to bring peace to Northern Ireland when in fact he had just sold out a part of the UK to terrorists and related scum.

Is there nobody who sees Macgee for what he is? Well there is:
"The invitation is likely to cause controversy, not least for Lord Tebbit who has said he can never forgive Magee.

He said he would only want to bump into the Irishman 'with a heavy truck'.

Margaret and Norman Tebbit were buried under tonnes of rubble as the ceiling above them collapsed. It took firemen hours to reach them and both were severely injured.

But while Lord Tebbit recovered fully from his injuries, Margaret has been paralysed from the neck down for the past 25 years and has needed round-the-clock carers.

Exact plans for the official commemoration at the Brighton Grand have still to be finalised, but Mr Tebbit and his wife will unveil a memorial plaque. Invitations have also gone out to fellow survivors."


I hope that Magee does not even try to turn up at the Brighton Grand commemoration in October, and if he does I hope someone ushers him away, as to my mind his presence their would be a vile act. After all do we invite John Demjanjuk to commemorations at the Nazi Sobibor death camp? Do we invite Oskar Groening to Auschwitz for commemorative ceremonies?

The sound of Gordon Brown getting his excuses in early

Gordon Brown seems to have accepted defeat in the Norwich North by-election:
"I agree that for these reasons - someone who is popular locally this is a unique by-election. I hope people who are Labour voters will come out and vote Labour.

"But I think people do understand the uniqueness of this by-election resulting from the Parliamentary events that came before."
So if/when Labour lose this formerly relative safe seat they will blame anything but the unpopularity of the Labour party and its increasingly hated leader. I wonder what their excuse will be when/if they hold a by-election in Michael Martin's old seat, something that they are trying their hardest to avoid at present.

Labour education cuts

Despite Gordon Brown's ever more ridiculous claims that his government is planning no cuts, the truth is seeping out. Today The Telegraph reports that:
"Despite Gordon Brown pledging to safeguard spending on schools and universities, government documents show that the total education budget will fall by £100 million after the next election.

The disclosure is in statistics that detail the true scale of the Government’s budget reductions for the first time.

Published without fanfare on the Treasury’s website , they show that, throughout government, spending will be cut next year, in real terms, by 0.7 per cent, or almost £3 billion.

The Home Office, the Department of Transport and the Ministry of Justice are among 14 of the 23 departments that will see their budgets fall. The deepest cuts will be made to Lord Mandelson’s Business Department (24.6 per cent) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (22 per cent), according to the documents.

However, it is the drop in education spending that will prove most controversial.

According to the figures, which are adjusted for inflation, total education spending will fall from £85.1 billion in 2009-10 to £85 billion in 2010-11."

Unfortunately because of the way this country is run there will be no formal way of questioning Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson or Alistair Darling about this news until October; but more on hat subject later.

Statistics re Immigration and housing

A couple of weeks ago the BBC splashed the conclusions of a EHRC's report that: "Claims that immigrants are given unfair access to social housing have been discounted". The Today programme gave over its prestigious 08:10 slot to a discussion between EHRC director of policy, Andrea Murray and Housing Minister John Healey and the report was used as evidence that to suggest otherwise was really just racist. So it was with interest that I read today that:
"In a further embarrassment for the EHRC, its recent claim to have demonstrated that there is "no bias in allocation of social housing to immigrants" has been referred to the UK Statistics Authority by a think thank that alleges that the figures used to back up this assertion were baseless."
Oddly I cannot see this piece of news being reported by the BBC at all; I wonder why?

Do the pennies add up?

For the second time in a month I have filled my car with petrol, noted the cost and then found that the price charged was a penny more than was on the pump. Now who complains over a penny on a £50+ petrol bill, not me? Even more oddly, when I get back to the pump the total now reads the penny higher figure.

So what's happening? Is this a scam or are petrol pumps now adding fuel after the nozzle has been holstered? I know it's only a penny per transaction but if it's on every transaction every day...

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The real impact of wind farms

Consulting group Pöyry have produced a study called "Impact of Intermittency" for various power generators and others such as the National Grid and Centrica at a cost of more than £1m. This report examines the electricity generating state of play in 2030 after a huge increase in wind power generating capacity.


James Cox, one of the report's authors says:
"Our worry at the outset of the study that the very dynamics of variable wind output would challenge the system operators, has moved to concern that the economic environment for thermal plant will be highly challenging."


One problem is that huge and unpredictable variations in the amount of energy being produced by wind farms would combine with much more regular changes in demand to produce an energy market described in the study as "volatile". If there were enough traditional power stations to cope with the rare (but certain) calm periods then some of these power stations would almost never be in use. They could go long periods of time without running in a producing mode for more than a few hours.

So in order for energy companies to build the thermal plants who need to exist just to cover the calm periods when wind farms will be unproductive, they will need to be able to charge outrageous prices during the brief periods when they were actually in operation. According to the report's authors:
"In our opinion, it is likely that the sort of price 'spikes' needed to reward the risks for such plant will stretch the market design to its utmost... Equally a market with spiky and volatile prices is one where the risk of operation is greatly increased: it is unlikely to send clear economic signals to new investors."


A translation would be that nobody would want to build and maintain a power station with no reliable idea as to how how much income it would generate in any year. How much would the spot price for electricity be allowed to increase before the government of the day had to intervene?

So why would anyone build a new fossil fuel power station? When the inevitable early-evening winter calms hit in the 2030s, there will not be the spare fossil fuel generating power stations to provide the backup and so there will be reduced voltages and then power-cuts.


Wind power is a scam; it is being used to generate money for the wind power producers but little reliable electricity for the public. The fear of man Made Climate Change has so warped our priorities that we face electricity shortfalls just to satisfy the Green movement who will never be satisfied. The only ways to ensure electricity production are to increase the funding to find oil (a hint, look in Uganda), increase nuclear power generation, increase power saving measures and stop wasting money on wind power.

How long will the recovery take?

The BBC report that:
"The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) sees total UK GDP falling 4.3% in 2009 before growing 1% in 2010 and 1.8% in 2011.... The research body sees income per head - GDP per capita - taking until March 2014 to return to the level it was in the first quarter of 2008, when the recession kicked in. "

Alex Masterley sees it differently:
"The research body sees income per head - GDP per capita - taking until March 2014 to return to the level it was in the first quarter of 2008.

Except that doesn’t mean you will be as well off. Assume that inflation runs at 2.5% for each of those 6 years and you will be 16% worse off than now.

It would take another 15 years of GDP growth at 1% higher than the rate of inflation to bring us back to the same GDP per capita in real terms, or 2034."

2014 or 2034? And that doesn't take into account the very real prospect of inflation much higher than 2.5% in the near future...

"definitely"?

The BBC are keen to report that
"Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch Brown has rowed back on comments made in a Daily Telegraph interview that the UK did not have enough helicopters.

With a political row over helicopters on-going, he had said "we definitely don't have enough helicopters".

However in his "clarification", issued by the Foreign Office, he said there was "without doubt sufficient resources" for current operations.

...

"On the issue of helicopters in Afghanistan, I was making the point - as the prime minister and commanders on the ground have also done - that while there are without doubt sufficient resources in place for current operations, we should always do what we can to make more available on the frontline."

Chancellor Alistair Darling has said the Treasury had never refused requests for more equipment or troops. "

Let's examine the original comment and the row-back. The original comment was that "we definitely don't have enough helicopters", no room for doubt there, "we definitely don't have enough helicopters". The row-back is less explicit: "without doubt sufficient resources". So how do we have "sufficient resources" but "definitely don't have enough helicopters". Maybe some clarification is needed. Was Lord Malloch Brown misleading The Telegraph or is the Foreign Office misleading the BBC? Surely it must be one or the other...

As for Alistair Darling's comment is that since he became Chancellor or for how long before? Does it include 2004? Really? Are you sure?

Shh don't tell Gordon

I read that:
"Pakistan's president, Asif Zardari, has been accused of suffering from a sense of humour failure after banning jokes ridiculing him. "
You just know that Gordon Brown would love to pass such a law.

In the meantime:
Q. How many Gordon Browns does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. Because of Labour investment there are more lightbulbs than ever before. The real choice is between Labour light and Tory darkness.


Still not seen this video on the BBC, I wonder why not...

Rolling a Vulcan


Wow, that's impressive for a long range strategic bomber.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The forty seventh weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

This week's award goes to the esteemed blogger Iain Dale for his piece entitled: "Labour MPs Say One Thing & Do Another".

"No shit, Sherlock"

The future of "going down the pub"

Banned has a piece of "satire" that I fear may be too close to the truth: "I went to my old pub, now restyled the Community Cohesion Center or CCC4U in that snappy Nu Labour way, it used to be 'The Railway Tavern' but now it is 'The Gordon Brown'. That's its pub ( sorry ) CCC4U sign up there ^ flapping in the wind.

On my way in I signed the register and declared that I had read and understood " For The Purposes Of The Act " the various notices and warnings in the lobby.
Banning of gambling or gaming ( incl 'small monies'), banning of music ( whether electronic, recorded or sung ) as Un-Islamic; the mug-shots of 1,538 local Alcohol Restriction Order Violators, that members of HM Forces were unwelcome, that I agreed to CCTV images being recorded of me and my Anti-Social Behaviour, that I had read and understood the Health And Safety Issues surrounding ordering alcoholic beverages in a Public Place, that I was reassured by the Foundation Certificate In Basic Food Hygiene that the chef had attained even though I did not fancy the Tofu Burger on offer; that I, as a responsible Adult of NOT LESS than 21 years of age, undertook NOT to supply alcohol to third parties ( sinisterly known as " buying a round " ), that I had NOT arrived at the CCC4U "The Gordon Brown" by car or motorcycle, that I had NOT had a previous alcohol experience in the past 48 hours, that I was NOT responsible for the welfare of ANY CHILD AND/OR ANIMAL upon my return home and that I understood that NO Ungovernmental conversation would be tolerated.

Once past the Customer Service Guarantors I purchased my alloted 2.8 units of alcohol ( to be consumed in NOT less than two hours) and rang the bell to enter the 'Alcohol Abuse Closet' which is where you go in case any Teetotal Non-smoking Vegans ( " Preferred Patrons " ) are offended by our behaviour. Luckily none were there today so I quaffed my pint of Guinness and half a bitter shandy in peace and enjoyed some much needed, if cramped, Social Inclusion with my peers but the mood was broken when the PCSO arrived to check the register against our voluntary ID cards...
"

More of Lily Allen's nipples




Enough?