Thursday, 30 June 2011

The BBC respond re my Gerry Adams complaint

Finally I have had a response to my compliant about Gerry Adams being the chosen expert voice to comment on the Queen's upcoming visit to Ireland. My original complaint was made on 5th March and followed up on 14th March. Here's the BBC's latest response:
'Dear 5 Live listener


Thank you for your further e-mail regarding BBC Radio 5 Live broadcast on 4 March 2011.

Firstly I’d like to apologise for the delay in our reply. Please be assured your concerns were raised with the relevant editorial staff.

We must stress that the BBC makes no editorial comment or judgement on the views expressed by Mr Adams or any public figure whose opinions feature in our news coverage or programmes.

Although some people believe that a programme or news bulletin should not allow certain figures or groups to air their views, we feel that it’s better to include many viewpoints wherever possible. This may include hearing opinions which some people may personally disagree with and we recognise your views on Mr Adams and his role in the Northern Ireland conflict.

To provide some context, this very brief contribution (18 seconds long) was heard during a summary bulletin providing one aspect of reaction to the Queen’s visit. During very short bulletins such as this, we often only have time to use one clip. This was the only occasion on this date that in covering the story we used Gerry Adams in a news bulletin.

During the rest of our coverage in programmes – ‘5 Live Drive’ for example - and bulletins, many other Irish perspectives were heard, from journalists, academics and politicians alike. ‘5 Live Drive’ heard from our Royal Correspondent Peter Hunt who put Mr Adam’s views into context, detailing the majority of the Irish population’s opposition to his take on the visit.

As previously mentioned, we have a duty to reflect all relevant views when discussing a subject and Mr Adams represented opposition to the visit at that time. Some of his views are also shared by a section of the Irish population, albeit small.

We strive to cover subjects with due impartiality, across our coverage and over time. We therefore believe we reported on the Queen’s visit and the reaction in Ireland in a fair, accurate and impartial manner.

Should you now wish to proceed to the second stage of the complaints process, it's now open to you to write to the Director of BBC News:

Helen Boaden


BBC News

Room 5601

Television Centre

Wood Lane

London W12 7RJ

Should you choose to escalate your complaint our procedures stipulate you do so within 20 days of receiving this correspondence.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.


Liam Boyle

Senior Complaints Advisor for News and Current Affairs

BBC Audience Services'

I was going to respond but I have had a response to another complaint that I feel deserves more of my time... More about that tomorrow!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The BBC respond!

The BBC have deigned to respond to one of my complaints; it's a brush-off not too surprisingly. I will blog it later of course.

It is noticeable that the complaint I made that I think points out cast-iron proof of anti-Israel bias has not elicited a response. I will give them another week and then try and accelerate the process...

"I like the bass; I like the buttery, biscuit bass"

Master Chef doesn't get bassier than this!

Actually the Lords communications committee ate wrong

The BBC report that:
'The BBC's complaints process is "convoluted" and "overly complicated", a group of peers has said.

The Lords communications committee said it was hard for viewers, listeners and web users to know whom to contact. and proposed a complaints "one-stop shop".

Part of the problem was that the roles of the BBC Trust and watchdog Ofcom overlapped, the report added.

The BBC Trust said new chairman Lord Patten was looking at the issues as part of his review of BBC governance.'
Actually Apart from the question of who to complain to, the process of complaining is pretty easy. What's hard is getting a reply and what's all but impossible is getting a reply that accepts fault on bias and addresses how bias could be avoided in the future.

The BBC is biased by nature and its biases are obvious to anyone with any independence of thought. Until the BBC accept this fact and work to counter it, they will not be worthy of anything other than my scorn.

Justin Webb and BBC bias in reporting on American politics

David Preiser's piece at Biased-BBC deserves your attention, so read it...

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The best 'planking' photo ever?!

Thanks to Laura Robson on Twitter for the spot.

Is this really the ninth most important Middle East story at the moment?

The BBC report as the ninth most important Middle East news story at the moment that:
'An Israeli couple have been given suspended jail sentences in Poland for the theft of artefacts from the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, officials say.
The nine items, including spoons and a pair of scissors, were found in their luggage during a routine check as they prepared to board a flight to Israel.

The couple admitted taking the items during a tour of the former concentration camp, now a museum.
They are expected to pay a contribution towards the preservation of the site.'
Is that really a headline news story? Are there not more important things happening in the Middle East than this? Or are the BBC just desperate to have a bad Israelis story up on their site every day?


If you are walking or cycling through Putney, beware the flying ants that seem to be everywhere....

Monday, 27 June 2011

The one hundred and thirty-seventh weekly "No Shit, Sherlock" award

This week's award goes to Sky News, The Guardian and the head of a bank for combining to produce this Tweet & article:
'GUARDIAN FRONT PAGE: The head of a leading bank warns of repossessions if rates interest rise #skypapers'
A rise in interest rates will cause a rise in repossessions - "No shit, Sherlocks"

The internet resource we have all been waiting for...

HotAir have found another of Barack Obama's misspeaks, you know the regular Barack Obama verbal errors that the BBC and other Obama supporting media ignore.
'President Obama made an amusing slip of the tongue last night while discussing the Middle East during a fundraiser in Austin.

"Internationally, we've gone through a Teutonic shift in the Middle East that could have enormous ramifications for years to come," he said.'
The White House amended the transcript the next day to note that Obama meant tectonic, not Teutonic.

Every mistake of George W. Bush's was pounced on by the BBC and other left-wing media; oddly they show absolutely no interest in reporting Barack Obama's frequent misspeaks.

I promised you a resource though... The resource is this:
'Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well.'

Ed Balls infection cleared; I hope

As you can see my Twitter feed has my logo restored; hopefully that is the last time Ed Balls infects my Twitter feed, my blog or indeed public life in this country!

How have I been infected with Ed Balls?

My Twitter logo appears to have become infected by Ed Balls...

How did that happen? More importantly how do I get it back to how it was?

Now why would the Chinese want to ensure the survival of the EU?

The Telegraph report that:
'The Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, has thrown the eurozone a vital lifeline and pledged to buy billions of euros of European debt to keep the single currency project alive. '
So why are the Chinese so keen to ensure the survival of The Euro and thus the European Union? Why are they announcing support for The Euro at almost the same moment that they announce that they will stop buying US debt? Do the Chinese see the EU project as the sort of nascent superpower that they would prefer to do business with than with the USA? A non-democratic (maybe even anti-democratic) superstate, run by a small elite and administered by apparatchiks whose first loyalty is to the EU not their own country; hard to see why the EU appeals to the Chinese isn't it?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

That's the way to tell them...

Ronald Reagan had comic timing.

EU extravagance

The EU 'need' a larger headquarters and back in 2004 they ordered one. Now the plans have been made public and at a time when national governments and more importantly ordinary people across the EU are having to tighten belts, our EU masters have no such plans.

The design was presented to David Cameron and the other EU leaders at a summit in a brochure rumoured to have cost £100,000 itself. The building is budgeted to cost £280 Million; I bet it costs more.

What a waste? Of course. But whilst the Euro collapses alongside Greece, the EU-philes are still out there, indeed Tony Blair has lifted his snout just long enough to talk up the EU on this morning's Politics Show. The oh so pro EU BBC are already reporting what he said thus:
'Former prime minister Tony Blair has said there might still be a case for the UK joining the euro in the future.

He told the BBC he did not agree with people who argued joining would be a disaster, but there had to be a compelling economic case for doing so.

He said he believed the euro would eventually resolve its problems and the case for Britain joining may become "compelling ... at a certain point".

David Cameron said it would be a "dreadful idea" for Britain to join.

The prime minister, in Brussels for an EU summit where Greece's debt crisis is among items on the agenda, said: "Britain is out of the euro - I think we will stay out of the euro and certainly as long as I am doing this job there is no prospect of Britain even contemplating joining the euro."


Mr Blair told BBC One's Politics Show, in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday, he had backed the idea of Britain joining the euro when he came to power - but had accepted that the conditions had to be right.


"Now I don't actually take the view that some people take, that Britain joining the euro, in the past or now, will be a disaster. However I always said, unless you can make a compelling case for it economically you were never going to win a referendum on it.

"And the case for Britain joining isn't compelling. Now it may become that at a certain point."


Mr Blair said the problems with the eurozone were "fundamental" and there had to be changes - to align fiscal and monetary policy across the single currency area, and to make changes in those countries with problems.

"If people are retiring in their 50s on large salaries in the public sector, in circumstances where, in the end, you know, life has changed, demography has changed, people are living longer and so on - at some point you've got to reform."

But he said he did not think the euro would collapse, adding that the logistics of recreating individual currencies were "immense".

"For Europe, no I don't think they're going to give up the single currency. Now that's not to say there aren't huge issues to do with how you get through the next months." '
I presume that The Politics Show will not question Tony Blair too hard about his enthusiasm for the Euro. Questions like 'would the UK be better off now if it had joined the euro?' will not be asked. Questions like 'does monetary and fiscal union mean that political union is inevitable?' will also not be asked.

The BBC is pro-Labour and pro-EU, so Tony Blair will have got an easy ride this morning and this anti-Labour and anti-EU NotaSheep will not raise my blood pressure by watching the interview...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Stopping ignoring the members

Ed Miliband we are told thinks that while the New Labour project won three elections, it also "shut the door on the party and ignored what its members were saying." So how has Ed Miliband decided to rectify this situation? By abolishing elections to the Shadow Cabinet and appointing members himself...

Now I have no problem with Ed Miliband deciding he wants to appoint his own shadow cabinet rather than accept those that his MPs elect. At the moment I believe his supporter are in a minority in the shadow cabinet, there being more David Miliband supporters. This should be no surprise as David Miliband beat Ed Miliband in the MPs section of the leadership election, Ed winning because of the Trade Union vote. However Ed Miliband and his supporters should not try to pretend that this decision advances democracy in the labour party, it doesn't. It shores up his authority and may well help him create a shadow cabinet in his own image but increase democracy; no.

Some Ed Miliband supporters do admit this, here's Lily Summers aka @_Lilykins on Twitter:
'@notasheepagoat It's not about being democratic. It's about being in the best position to win the next general election.'
The worry is for too many in the Labour party that is all that counts. In fact you could say the same about introducing postal votes - well they may not help democracy but it is all about helping Labour win elections. Likewise unfair constituency boundaries?

Another Obama misspeak that the mainstream media will ignore

From Black Five
'The President addressing the 10th Mountain Division today at Fort Drum:

"First time I saw 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq. When I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there. I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously."

As we all know, SSG Sal Giunta, of the 173rd Airborne, was the first living recipient (2011) of the MOH who fought in Iraq/Afganistan. SFC Jared Monti, 10th Mountain Division, was KIA in Afghanistan in 2006. He was posthumously awarded the MOH by Obama in 2009.

How does the Commander-in-Chief mix these heroes up? He put that medal around Giunta's neck and he stood with Monti's parents as they grieved. These fallen heroes leave such a great legacy, and we should know all their names. The ironic part of the speech, and this comes after the announcement of the politically pressured drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, was Obama's closing remark, "Know that your Commander-in-Chief has your back."

It shouldn't take a teleprompter for the C-in-C to get it right.'
And Theo Spark has the video...

I have blogged many of Barack Obama's misspeaks that the MSM have ignored; totally unlike the way they obsessed over every slip of George W. Bush's tongue and still do re Sarah Palin. I don't think I ever noticed the BBC report Barack Obama's 57 states comment or his putting 2008 not 2011 next to his signature when visiting Westminster Abbey.

For those of you who rely on the BBC or other Oabama worshipping media for you news, here's some video that you might have missed...

How many states Barack, how many? But George W. Bush is the idiot and Barack Obama the genius sent to save us?

Don't forget example that the BBC seemed to miss:
Apparently Barack Obama said the following during a recent interview:
"Throughout our history, America's confronted constantly evolving danger, from the oppression of an empire, to the lawlessness of the frontier, from the bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor, to the threat of nuclear annihilation. Americans have adapted to the threats posed by an ever-changing world."
"The bomb" that fell on Pearl Harbor? Does he know anything about the history of the "57 states" of America? Where does he claim to have been raised? Hawaii?
Ah but that Barack Obama is a great orator; really?

But he has a lawyer-like management of facts; really?
From June 2008:

'"And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo. What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated."

Quite right, who could argue? Well there is just one tiny flaw in Barack Obama's argument; the 1993 World Trade Center bomb-builder was one Abdul Rahman Yasin and he fled the United States after the bombing, to live as Saddam Hussein's guest in Baghdad, Iraq. He disappeared during the US lead invasion and is still at large and very much wanted by the FBI.

So did the US arrest those responsible for the 1993 attack? NO
Did the US put them on trial? No
Are they in US prisons, incapacitated? No

He's dynamite with facts this Barack Obama isn't he?

Can we expect any UK media coverage of this? Not on the BBC that's for sure.'

 Will we ever read Mark Mardell or any of his colleagues discussing Barack Obama's mistakes? Somehow I think not.

"You're not listening to our orders..."!

Boing Boing have a very disturbing piece of video from the USA.

'When police cars, lightbars on, pulled up outside her house in the middle of the night, a Rochester woman began filming the traffic stop from her front yard. She was arrested and taken to jail by a police officer who first said she was "anti-police," then claimed to feel "threatened" by her; and ultimately told her that he didn't have to explain himself at all. Her arrest, which required the officer to enter her property without permission, was on a charge of "obstructing government administration." [Indymedia]'
"Now it is 1984
knock knock on your front door..."

"You're not listening to orders..." Scary stuff...

And when the locals got together to meet and discuss Emily Good's case the police took action - read here.

Al Jazeera's odd choice of word

Al Jazeera Tweet:
'Israeli soldier spends fifth year detained'
Yes that's right, according to Al Jazeera Gilad Shalit has been detained! Funny, I thought he had been captured by Hamas terrorists and held for five years without any contact with the outside world, without any communication with the Red Cross in contravention of the norms of international law and civilized behaviour.

For more about Gilad Shalit please read these articles as youwon't learn much from Al Jazeera or the BBC.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Parody porn - a step too far?

TV and film parodies are one thing but parodying the Royal Family in general, 'William and Kate's wedding' in particular; isn't that a step too far? Judge for yourself at the definitely Not Safe For Work Strictly Anywhere - 'A Royal Romp'. Here's the blurb:
'Movie Duration: 0h:44m
Royally Fucked! Raise your glasses please for this royal occasion where we witness the beautiful union of Willyam and Kate. Catch a glimpse of the passion following the announcement of the royal engagement. See the glorious wedding day with Queenie and Prince Charles. Watch out for Chelsea as she finds more than a cocktail sausage under the table. The country rejoices and to top it off the two bothers play a game of swapsies and enjoy a real royal gangbang! Now this is a monarchy to be proud of!'
The cast? Only two 'actors' get pre-billing: Megan Coxxx and Michelle Moist
We are not amused? Aroused?

I think BlackBerry are trying to make a point

The BlackBerry PlayBook supports Flash unlike the Apple iPad

This chap's not so convinced...

Vile, vile, vile

Not a good morning, I have just read this piece at Harry's Place and am so depressed at the state of this country and the way that Jews are being increasingly considered fair game. I hold the BBC responsible for much of the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK; their endless vilification of Israel and portrayal of the Jewish state as solely responsible for the woes of the Palestinians and most of the troubles in the Middle East has created the climate in which anti-Semitism flourishes.

You should read the whole Harry's Place article; here are some extracts:
'Imagine if a person were to march purposefully into a London library – perhaps the Camden one – and accost the librarian thus:
“I cannot seem to find any books explaining the negative impact of African immigration on European Civilisation. Perhaps you could order a book called “Are Blacks Destroying Britain?”. Here are the publisher’s details.”

Now imagine that the librarian agreed, and within a week or two the book was on the library shelf.

Fast forward a few years and the book is still there. It is found by a black grandmother scanning the shelves for something to read. She objects, but is fobbed off with the excuse that the librarian who ordered the book no longer works there. They apologise to her, but she feels the issue is bigger than that and wants to take it further. When challenged, local councilors responsibly for overseeing he library service refuse to discuss the matter. The national media isn’t interested.

Let’s face it, it’s unimaginable. Were such a book to be found on the shelves of a British library, there would – rightly – be an almighty stink.

That is, unless you altered one detail: the book was about Jews. Then, it seems, local politicians and journalists can’t see what all the fuss is about. Here’s the story (from London24, because apart from the Jewish Chronicle, no one else thought it was worth covering):
Grandmother Gillian Freedman was left shaking after she spotted the offensive item entitled ‘Are Jews Responsible for 9/11’ in the library.
She raised the matter with Camden Council and the head of library services. Both have apologised by email and admitted that is was an error.
But Ms Freedman is upset that Cllr Jonathan Simpson, the new chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee for culture and environment, has refused to discuss the matter at a public meeting.
Ms Freedman, who lives in Hampstead Garden Suburb, is concerned that the emails could be deleted and that it needs to be recorded in public.
She said: “With Camden’s anti racist, anti discrimination policies in the borough – which I applaud – it is a complete shock and disgrace to find that they have spent our rates on a blatantly anti-Semitic tract.
So, what’s this book about?

Here is the ‘Product Description’ courtesy of
ARE ENGLISH JEWS RESPONSIBLE FOR 9/11? AN EXAMINATION OF THE HISTORY, PROBLEMS, AND CAUSES is a timely book for understanding Global Terrorism. In a daring foray into examining causes for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States of America, Devdas Pradesh dives into a difficult question that has not yet been asked in a serious way. Were English Jews somehow a contributing cause for the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, DC? In the process of addressing the question, Pradesh tackles interesting aspects of English Jewish history and experience. Particularly insightful is Pradesh’s discussion of the development of Jewish self-understanding on individual and communal levels within the Jewish communities in England in light of the larger, global context of Jewish history. This book is informative and provides much food for thought and discussion. Anyone who has any interest in the causes of 9/11 cannot go without reading this book. This book can be used as a source of discussion in book reading clubs, high school settings, and church settings. This book can also be used to complement college level courses on Terrorism, Conflict in the Middle East, Jewish Studies, and History.
Hang on a minute? We got that from Amazon? Why yes! They stock three editions, hard cover, paperback and Kindle eBook. Amazon stock a wide range of titles from the racist fringe publishers, The Hermit Kingdom Press.

So does Tesco!

Including this one: Why I Hate Israel.

So, a book explaining why hatred of Israel is justified and to be encouraged in a post 9/11 world can be bought from everyone’s favourite supermarket. You can earn club-card points...


So there you have it folks – books about how evil the Jews are, from a fringe conspiracy-nut publisher, found their way into public libraries, supermarkets and major online retailers in Britain.'
Imagine the outcry if books blaming Muslims for all the  troubles of the world were found in a Camden library. Imagine the outcry, the protests, the pickets, the claims of Islamophobia, the apology, the removal of the book. But in this case it's just Jews, so fob off the complainer and trust that most Jews are so apathetic and scared of reprisals that the matter will just disappear.

Too p***ed off to post any more at present and may take the rest of the day off in fact.

Are you going to Wimbledon today?

Are you going to Wimbledon today? Do you have tickets for Court Number 1? Do you want Laura Robson to win her match? Do you think that there is more than a touch of gamesmanship about Maria Sharapova's 'grunts' after she has hit the ball?

If you have answered yes to all of those four questions then why not follow Alex Masterley's advice and '... grunt just as Sharapova goes to hit the ball.'

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Why can't some lefties answer a question but instead resort to abuse and/or censorship?

Recently I have been in Twitter discussions with @RichSwitch - Rich Williams. @RichSwitch tweeted about #TorySleaze resulting from David Cameron's criticism of run away dads. I pointed out to @RichSwitch that there were plenty of sleazy Labour MPs and Ministers. Anyway the conversation went on a bit, I tweeted:
'@RichSwitch #Torysleaze Archer not in same league as Maxwell. Aitken not even playing same sport as Mandelson.'
'@notasheepagoat: @RichSwitch Once again: define sleaze and was there no Labour sleaze 1997-2010?'
Rcih Williams didn't like my questioning him and amongst his replies (most of which he seems to have deleted, or at least they don't appear in my 'mentions' column any more) was this one:
'@notasheepagoat Like I said, I've made my point. You obviously can't accept it for whatever reason. Typical of Tories.'
That was at 00:25 when I was apparently a Tory.

Anyway I've been hard at work today and what do I find when I get home and log on to TweetDeck?
'@notasheepagoat You're getting a bit hysterical now. Maybe that's why you hide behind an anonymous profile! My guess is you're in the BNP'
I said nothing hysterical but maybe Rich is a little sensitive about Labour sleaze, preferring to think only of Tory sleaze and certainly not define what he means by sleaze. That was at 10:35, so within just over 10 hours I have apparently moved form Tory to BNP, which would be quite a journey.

1 minute later he tweeted this:
'@notasheepagoat If you can't engage in debate without getting personal, people will do to you as I am about to do. Hit block. Cheerio!'
Again I had said nothing personal but I suppose this looks good to Rich's followers, especially as he seems to have deleted most of his tweets to me. So the man who accused me of 'getting personal' when I hadn't then decided to brand me a BNP member; odd how the some people on the left 'think'.

So I am banned from following Rich Williams on Twitter and I doubt that he will come to my blog but in case he does and for the avoidance of doubt - I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the BNP. I have never voted for the BNP and am about as likely to vote BNP as I am to vote for the Labour party; one party seeming rather racist to me, the other having ruined this Country.

Cheerio Rich, I suppose its easier to correspond only with people who share your world view rather than engage in intelligent discourse - Typical Socialist!

Celebrating a mass-murderer

In the last few days I have seen two rather odd examples of the way that a dictator considered a Communist can still be revered in a way that Hitler could (quite rightly) not. Westminster University is holding an exhibition called 'Poster Power: Images from Mao's China, Then and Now' at its 309 Regents Street building. Here's the blurb:
'Posters from Mao’s China exercise an enduring appeal to audiences across the globe, more than sixty years after the events that produced them. They are revisited in modern and contemporary Chinese art and commercial design, and curated in exhibitions in China, the US and Europe.

So why does imagery produced to support a revolutionary ideology half a century ago continue to resonate with current Chinese and Western audiences? What is the China we see between posters of the Mao years and their contemporary consumerist reinventions? How do we explain the diverse responses such imagery evokes? And what does the appeal of the posters of Mao’s China tell us about the country’s ‘red legacy’?

Poster Power explores some of these questions through setting up a visual dialogue between posters produced between the 1950s and the 1970s and their echoes in recent years. With posters from the University of Westminster’s Chinese Poster Collection, Chinese video art, documentary film, photographs, and contemporary items such as playing cards and nightclub advertising, the exhibition invites viewers to explore the posters’ ambiguities of appeal to their audiences. As visual reminders of both autocratic rule and exuberant youthful idealism, they evoke diverse responses, challenging the idea that Cultural Revolution poster propaganda transmitted a single, transparent meaning. These posters’ capacity to inspire ambiguous responses opens up new narratives of what remains a complex period of China’s recent past, and sheds light on its changing significance in contemporary China.'
Why not a word, nor even an allusion to the around 50 million people killed by the Chinese regime since 1949? why not a mention of the many millions tortured by the Chinese regime and forced to give up their "intellectual" jobs to work on the land as "workers", would that not have resonance for current students? Why not a mention of those killed around Tienanmen Square? Why not a mention of the invasion of Tibet and the destruction of so much Buddhist life? Why not a mention of the human rights abuses that occurred around the Beijing Olympics?

The other example was in an antique shop the other week where there was a small number of photos of Chairman Mao in a case and nobody seemed to think this was odd.

Can you imagine the furore if an antique shop had a collection of Adolph Hitler images on display? Can you imagine the protests if a British University held an exhibition of posters from Nazi Germany and did not put them into context?

Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany killed around seven million people and the regime is rightly abhorred. Mao's communist regime in China killed many many more (as did Stalin's communist regime in the Soviet Union) and yet there is hardly a word of protest in remembrance now. Schools teach the evils of Nazism & the BBC raise the subject regularly, and quite rightly so, but the equally (or more) evils of Mao and Stalin's communist regimes are mentioned far less; why is that the case? Maybe it is something to do with the backgrounds of a large proportion of the BBC, Labour Party leadership and educational elite in this country; once a Marxist, always a Marxist?

The BBC and the Jerusalem dog stoning (update)

7am and it seems that the page for the original story  has gone '404'. This is not what should have happened. I wonder how many people will see that this story is still the most read Middle East story of last weekend, look for it, get a '404' and wonder why, perhaps they will suspect a 'Jewish conspiracy'. The original story page should link to, at the very least, The Editors article but preferably a proper apology and explanation.

The BBC are trying to minimise this evidence of their willingness to promote anti-Israeli feeling and it sickens me.

If the BBC wanted to prove it was not institutionally biased against Israel it would release the Balen Report. The BBC refuses to release that report and has spent a lot of licence payers money fighting not to; I think we can therefore draw our own conclusions as to what the Balen Report concluded.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The BBC still not quite there re the Jerusalem dog stoning story

Further to this I now see that the BBC have made this statement:
'Story removal

Nathalie Malinarich | 17:15 UK time, Wednesday, 22 June 2011

You may have noticed a headline in our "most popular" module about a dog being condemned to stoning in Israel. It was followed a few days later by a denial: Jerusalem court denies dog condemned by stoning. The first story has now been taken down. This is not a step we often take so I wanted to explain why we have done so on this occasion. We based our article on sources we have used in the past: Ynet, a popular Israeli website, and the news agency AFP. What we did not know when we wrote the story was that the Israeli Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv had already published a retraction and an apology. We failed to make the right checks. We should never have written the article and apologise for any offence caused. We have kept the story carrying the denial in the interests of transparency.

Nathalie Malinarich is world editor of the BBC News website.'

There are three problems with this. The first is that as of now (19:42 Thursday evening) the original story with its mealy mouthed update is still very much up on the BBC website despite the claim that 'The first story has now been taken down'. The second problem is that the wording of the follow-up article does not sufficiently explain the BBC's 'mistake'. The third problem is that taking the story down and putting an explanation in The Editors section is not sufficient. The original story was the most popular Middle East news story on Saturday and Sunday, many people were misled about Israel and Israelis and will not know that the story was wrong unless they find The Editors article. I would suggest that the retraction is placed as the lead Middle East story for at least two days so it is given at least the prominence that the BBC so oddly gave the original story.

The fact that the BBC were so willing to believe this story that showed Israel and Israelis in a bad light speaks volumes for the anti-Israel attitude that pervades the BBC. The BBC is institutionally anti-Israel and I believe the Balen report would have all but confirmed that, not that the BBC will ever let us read that report.



The Register report something that sounds unbelievable:
'A Minnesota woman who swiped a mink coat and stuffed it down her knickers managed to pull off probably the greatest merkin stunt in criminal history by concealing her substantial booty from cops for a full three days.


After three days in custody, the perp admitted to a detective she'd stolen the coat, but claimed she'd already offloaded it. When the cop responded by promising to dispatch Moreland forthwith to the county jail, he was somewhat taken aback when she "lifted up her dress and pulled out the mink coat from her underwear".

The fact that Moreland was searched for concealed weapons at the time of her arrest makes her mock muff marathon all the more impressive. Bloomington police commander Mark Stehlik attempted to explain the mechanics of the operation thus: "She had modified her underwear. She actually cut the rear of the underwear out so that from the back it appeared she was not wearing underwear and then stuffed it down the front."'
How do you stuff a mink coat down your (however well designed) knickers in such a way as not to be discovered during a concealed weapon search? I had no idea and then I saw the lady's mugshot...
Still tricky but possible...

The one hundred and thirty-sixth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

I know two in one day is hardly weekly but I did miss a week recently.

The Telegraph report:
'Exclusive: female tennis players who grunt too loudly are putting off their opponents and spoiling the game for the millions of spectators, the head of Wimbledon said yesterday.'
Loud grunts from lady tennis players are putting off spectators; "No shit, Sherlock"

I can only watch Maria Sharapova with the sound off.

The one hundred and thirty-fifth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

The Telegraph report the simply shocking news that:
'Pakistani security services have arrested a senior army officer on suspicion of links to a banned Islamist group.'
Senior Pakistani army officers may have links to Islamist terror group, in this case it's Hizb ut-Tahrir but there will be others with links to Al-Qaeda. "No shit, Sherlock"

What's going on at Fukushima and/or Al Jazeera

I have noticed that whilst most of the world's media have stopped covering the problems at the Fukushima nuclear power station following the earthquake and tsunami, there is one media outlet that seems obsessed - Al Jazeera. I am receiving several near apocalyptic tweets a day from Al Jazeera. Recent ones include:

Fukushima: It's much worse than you think

#Fukushima: At least 966 square kilometers of #Japan will be uninhabitable due to the #nuclear disaster.

Officials have finally admitted that 3 #nuclear reactors at #Fukushima experienced meltdown.

Study: There is an unexplained 35% spike in infant mortality in the U.S. northwest after #Fukushima.

Like BP's #oilspill last year, officials initially underestimated the extent of the #radiation calamity at #Fukushima.

So-called 'hot particles' of radiation, emitted from #Fukushima, have continued to fall internationally.

These hot particles of radiation can lodge in the lungs and digestive tract - leading to cancer. #Fukushima

The problems of #Fukushima are 'infinite' because the melted #radioactive cores must be stored 'forever.'

We're still within a crucial period post-#earthquake. A 'very big' aftershock could further exacerbate #Fukushima.

The question will always be: Why weren't #Japan's systems redundant enough? Whose fault was #Fukushima?
So are Al Jazeera the only news agency telling the truth about Fukushima? Are all the rest hiding the truth from the world's populace?  Or does Al Jazeera being based in Qatar, where oil and gas account for 50% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues, account for the negative attitude towards nuclear power?

I guess that's as close to an apology as the BBC will give - Jerusalem dog related

I note that the BBC have added a line to the end of their original piece about the alleged ordering of a dog to be stoned.
'Update 20 June 2011: This report was based on sources usually regarded by the BBC as reliable. In the light of categorical denials by rabbinical court officials, an update to this report has been published.'
The original report stays as it is and you have to  follow the link to get to the correction that I  blogged about yesterday.

If the BBC accept that their 'usually... reliable' sources were wrong in this instance surely the original article needs more than an addendum line. But then that would be if the BBC weren't so set on vilifying Israel at every opportunity.

Carnita Matthews update

At the very end of last I year I blogged about Carnita Matthews the burqa-clad mother of seven who claimed she was the victim of mistaken identity has been jailed for six months for making a false complaint against a police officer. You can read the story at that stage on my blog, including the video that saved the policeman from censure.

Unfortunately I now read that:
'THE Muslim woman accused of lying about police trying to tear her burqa off has avoided jail – because her identity could not be proven.

Carnita Matthews, 47, from Woodbine, in Sydney’s southwest, had been sentenced to six months in jail for making a deliberately false statement that a policeman tried to forcibly remove her burqa because he was a racist.

But judge Clive Jeffreys said yesterday he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it was Mrs Matthews who made the racism accusation because the person who complained to police was wearing a burqa at the time.

The absurdity of the law is that, to reach the level of proof of identity to make the case, Mrs Matthews would have been required to identify herself by lifting her burqa at the police station – what started the uproar in the first place.

More than a dozen Muslim supporters linked arms and began chanting “Allah Akbar” as they stormed out of Downing Centre Court with Mrs Matthews concealed behind them.

Tempers rose and they began jostling with police after several members of the group attacked cameramen.

It marked a stark difference from their behaviour minutes earlier, when they had quietly assembled outside the lifts for prayer shortly after the judge’s decision.

Mrs Matthew’s lawyer Stephen Hopper defended their actions saying: “They are obviously happy with the result and are expressing it in a way that is culturally appropriate to them.”

Judge Jeffreys said yesterday that even if Mrs Matthews had made the complaint, he could not be sure she knew it was a “false” statement.

“I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that she made the complaint,” he said.

“Even if I was satisfied that she made the complaint, I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it was knowingly false.”

Mrs Matthews made the claim in her court appearance last year, saying police could not prove it was her behind the burqa when the complaint was handed in to police. The local magistrate rejected it.'
Now I begin to see why wearing the burqa is so popular; it's a 'get out of jail free' card. I hope the Australian courts realise what they have left themselves open to...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Brian Haw man of peace?

Some video of Brian Haw in action that you won't find on the BBC.

Can I guess your iPhone passcode?


If your iPhone passcode is one of those then you are, according to recent research, amongst the 15% of iPhone users who use one of those codes...

The Jerusalem dog story

Further to this post, it seems that the answer is 'no'. Instead the BBC have decided to report the denials alongside a lengthy repetition of the accusation. Did they not have the space or the inclination to report the full explanation that I managed to find?

How close to Sovereign Debt default is Greece?

Andrew Colquhoun, head of Asia-Pacific sovereign ratings for Fitch, told a conference in Singapore early on Tuesday that the Fitch Ratings Agency would regard a debt exchange or voluntary debt rollover of Greek debt as "a default event and would lead to the assignment of a default rating to Greece."

Standard & Poor have reaffirmed that a voluntary debt restructuring for Greece would probably be deemed a default.

Only Moody’s Investors Service has held back, in so far as they give a Caa1 rating to Greece’s sovereign debt.

All the above is interesting as the technical ways of avoiding default are investigated and explored. I note that the International Swaps and Derivatives Association has said that a debt exchange that extended maturities, rather than writing off debt, would not be considered a default because that would not trigger payment on contracts to insure against default (Credit Default Swaps).

In my view Greece will not avoid default and at that point the Euro currency experiment will fail; maybe the EU with it.

Now what I am about to say may surprise people. I am no fan of the Euro or the EU; I would have voted against the European Constitution/Lisbon Treaty had I been given the chance in the promised referendum, indeed I would have voted to leave the EU if I had been asked. However the collapse of the Euro and maybe the EU will cause misery to many millions of people and Pyrrhic victories are usually not worth it.

Data security and the UK census

The claim:
'Census data security measures

Data security and confidentiality is a top priority for the census. In addition to the strong protection provided by the law, ONS has put in place stringent additional safeguards.

All census employees and contractors working on the census sign a declaration of confidentiality to guarantee their understanding and compliance with the law which makes unauthorised disclosure of personal census data an imprisonable offence.

All staff who have access to the full census data set in the operational data centre will work for ONS.

All staff processing any personal census data will be security cleared to the UK Baseline Standard. This requirement has also been extended to all employees of the supplier and their sub-contractors handling any personal Census data.

Staff with access to the full census data set or substantial parts of it will have security clearance to handle material classified as ‘Secret’.

Underlying security requirements for census data are based upon UK Government Security Guidelines issued by the Cabinet Office and by Communications – Electronic Security Group.

Census data is classified as restricted under the scheme of classification of government information. For more details see the link to Cabinet Office website pdf of classifications.

This classification brings a whole set of standards and safeguards which have been put in place to ensure that the data remains secure. This includes control of physical access to any site or room where the data is kept, secure control of access to IT hardware and of course IT systems.

ONS will control system access rights to all systems and data.

All security measures cover the completed questionnaires, the electronic data set, the website, the archive image system and the communications links relating to any of these items.

All of the electronic communications links over which personal census information will be routed, will be encrypted (scrambled) to the levels recommended by the Government Security Services.

The census security programme is being managed to the framework of ISO27001 - the internationally recognised Information Security Management Standard.

ONS will commission an independent review of systems and procedures covering both its own systems and those of all contractors. These reviews will include systematic checks during the operations. The independent security auditors will be accredited by the government security services to carry out these reviews.

Use of census data and data confidentiality

We have secure systems in which to hold data, with stringent controls and procedures in place. We do not store any financial details, and names and addresses are removed from the data sources used for the day to day production of statistical tables.

The information in questionnaires is used only for census related publications and analyses published for geographic areas. These outputs do not attribute any of the statistics back to specific individuals.

Once the analyses are complete and the information is published, archived copies of the forms will be securely filed away and the personal details they contain will not be released for another 100 years.

All handling and storage of data complies with the Data Protection Act.
Census data and the US Patriot Act

Concerns expressed about the possibility of the US Patriot Act being used by US intelligence services have been addressed by a number of additional contractual and operational safeguards. These arrangements have been put in place to ensure to that US authorities are unable to access census data.

Existing law already prevents the disclosure of census data – it is a criminal offence to disclose personal census data and is punishable by a fine and/or up to two years in prison.

All census data is owned by ONS and all of the legal undertakings of confidentiality of personal Census information will apply to both ONS and any contractors.

All census employees and contractors working on the census sign a declaration of confidentiality to guarantee their understanding and compliance with the law.

All staff who have access to the full census data set in the operational data centre will work for ONS.

Contractual arrangements ensure that only sub-contractors registered and based in the UK and either UK or EU owned will have access to any personal census data.

Staff with access to the full census data set or substantial parts of it will have security clearance to handle material classified as ‘Secret’ under the UK Government’s classifications.

The prime contractor is Lockheed Martin UK Ltd. Additional specialist services will be provided by Cable & Wireless, Logica, UK Data Capture, bss, Steria, Polestar, Oracle and Royal Mail. Lockheed Martin UK will design the processing systems for ONS using its expertise and past experience. The day to day running of operational services will be provided by the consortium of specialist service providers. All of these specialist subcontractors are registered and owned in the UK or elsewhere in the EU.

This contractual structure means that no US companies will have any access to any personal census data.

No Lockheed Martin staff (from either the US parent or UK company) will have access to any personal census data.

All data will be processed in the UK and remain in the UK.'

The reality (?):
This morning I am hearing claims that the hacking group LulzSec say that they have obtained a copy of the entire 2011 Census.

My conclusion:
If true this is more than a little disturbing. Will I have a claim against the Office For National Statistics under Information Commissioner legislation?

Oddly I didn't want to fill in the Census but Mrs NotaSheep got jittery at all the reminders and said that we must do it...

Do you like juicy bits?

For some odd reason this advertisement for Club Orange has 'gone viral'.

'Famous for its refreshing taste and 'bits', Club Orange, for the first time ever, invites fans into its Squeezing Rooms -- the Club's 'Best Bits' HQ.

Employing the sexiest and most skilful (sic) orange squeezers this planet has ever seen, Club finally reveals how each 'bit' is lovingly hand squeezed from some of the world's juiciest oranges by some of the universe's most dedicated fruit workers.'
Oddly I feel like swapping from Tropicana's 'with juicy bits', unless they want to retaliate. Could this be the start of a new Internet juicy bits war? Here's hoping...

2 + 2 = 3.7 at the BBC

The BBC report  Jack Warner's resignation form FIFA thus:
'The man at the centre of recent bribery allegations in world football, Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, has resigned from his post.

He had already been suspended, but now the inquiry into whether he was involved in any corruption at the heart of the game has been dropped.'
I would have thought that the relevant FIFAstatement would have explained better what had happened and maybe why:
"As a consequence of Mr Warner's resignation, all ethics committee procedures against him have been closed and the presumption of innocence is maintained,"

Monday, 20 June 2011

How the BBC are structuring news bulletins

I have increasingly noticed that the BBC run Radio 4 news bulletins like this.
Coalition controversially announced this (slight sneer in voice)... Opposition denounced it (lighter tone)... Opposition spokesman's soundbite 

I first noticed this trend a few weeks ago, now I notice it more and more often. Try and spot them yourself...

If you drive a Nissan Micra...

If you drive a blue Nissan Micra and you pulled slowly out of a garage onto the northbound A1 across two lanes of traffic into the outside lane before driving at a steady 30 miles an hour in a 50 miles per hour limit causing cars to brake and/or swerve to avoid you; please don't do it again!

Are sea levels rising or are the figures being 'adjusted'?

'Is climate change raising sea levels, as Al Gore has argued — or are climate scientists doctoring the data?
The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group decided in May to add 0.3 millimeters — or about the thickness of a fingernail — every year to its actual measurements of sea levels, sparking criticism from experts who called it an attempt to exaggerate the effects of global warming.
“Gatekeepers of our sea level data are manufacturing a fictitious sea level rise that is not occurring,” said James M. Taylor, a lawyer who focuses on environmental issues for the Heartland Institute.'
Hot Air  have the details and this explanation:

'Why the revisions? Apparently they claim that it’s because of glacial isostatic adjustment. Basically it describes the gradual, slight rise of continental land masses which means that the ocean basins can hold a bit more water. (Again… who knew?)
So it looks like the institute decided to fudge the sea level data a bit to represent how high the levels would be if land wasn’t rising also. I don’t know about you, but if the major concern is ocean levels rising and swallowing up the coastlines, I’d think you’d want to measure the actual ocean levels, no?'
Badly positioned weather stations, disappearing weather stations, 'adjusted' temperature records (always upwards) and now 'adjusted' sea level rises (upwards again) - it's all looking a bit 'dodgy', isn't it?

The greatest piece of overtaking in Formula One Grand Prix history?

Nigel Mansell's ballsy harrying and overtaking of Gerhard Berger on the last lap of the 1990 Mexican Grand Prix at Peraltada. On worn tyres and having just been overtaken by Berger, Mandell will not give in and, I  think, mesmerises Berger with that both sides feint before making his move. Those were the days of proper Grand Prix racing and overtaking, now they need artificial aids to allow cars to get the extra power to overtake; pah! Mansell, Senna and Prost would make mincemeat of Button, Hamilton and Vettel.

Aircraft Carriers, Harriers and the truth

Commander Salamander seems to think that Liam Fox and the MOD may not be telling the whole truth; have a read.

'Just two weeks before QE2 ends, Russia becomes third major country to announce it will dump U.S. Treasury holdings'

Hot Air have the worrying story, sourced from Zero hedge:
'Just in time for the end of QE2, when the US needs every possible foreign buyer of US debt to step up to the plate, we get confirmation that yet another major foreign central bank has decided to not only not add to its US debt holdings, but to actively sell US Treasurys… The WSJ reports that “Russia will likely continue lowering its U.S. debt holdings as Washington struggles to contain a budget deficit and bolster a tepid economic recovery…”'

Will the BBC be printing an apology

The BBC are still featuring on their website the story  that:
'Jerusalem rabbis 'condemn dog to death by stoning'

A Jewish rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a stray dog it feared was the reincarnation of a lawyer who insulted its judges, reports say.'
This was the most popular Middle East story on Saturday and Sunday and still shows at number three of most shared stories.

There is just one problem, the story is not true. Harry's Place explain that:
'Ma’ariv, the newspaper which first broke the spiel, has now apologised... saying the rav had said there is no basis for abusing the dog, not halachically and not logically. The rav had also said that city hall had sent their dog catcher to collect the dog from the premises of the beis din. The newspaper apologizes for the misleading headlines from when it was reported.


Here’s the Beis Din’s statement.

It makes it very clear that there is not a shred of truth in any of the story at all – except to the extent that a bitch (not a dog) turned up in a court room, and a load of kids turned up and shouted excitedly. Then the dog was taken away by the municipality.

They point out that one would only believe such a story if you knew nothing at all about the Jewish religion. That is a very fair point indeed.

They’re in a suing mood.

Note the highlighted passage for a little ascerbic judicial wit (via Google Translate):

BS, Sivan Tsha”a, June 02
Earlier this month, published in various media about the dog enters the court during deliberations, and as it were condemned to stoning with stones by the judges.
You can check and appraise how the case swells and loses sense of proportion between the publication of the next – in order.
Initially it was reported that the Court value “soul patch” roll was a dog.
Again reported that the children were asked to throw stones make up the soul.
Third dog sore that pelted to death!
And so on

It never happened. His fame has brought great damage to rabbis and judges who work voluntarily in court twelve years in a row without receiving pay at all.
Media outlets that published it, and ask for a response, or get the following response and ignored her, got all the writings of legal claim of defamation.

Due to the general public, he had no knowledge of Jewish customs, and accidentally falls absurd plot, the court issued a detailed denial communication these words:

“It’s bitter humor who invented the story, a bad joke and pointless is not even funny. He invented it, perhaps because he wanted to confuse anyone who heard him, or embarrass him in ignorance, no doubt thought that his words be taken seriously.
There is no basis for such a thing, do not adequately and reasonably. Does not exist and not exist stoning dogs or any animal in the Jewish religion, never in the Temple and as Abraham. No such idea appears not turn not prophets or in print. It just sucked the imagination, never happened.

The only true story is, that was a bitch – not a dog as told, but – a bitch is pregnant.She went into court and found a corner seat. And children in the neighborhood of Meah Shearim, who have perhaps never seen a dog and saw the dog on the street before going in, delighted and rejoiced and cheered, and were outside the court sounds of a cheer and applause from the children who arrived without exaggeration surprised by the hundreds, just hundreds of children came to see the dog. Maybe they used to see stray cats, but the dog did not see, they have no where to see it.
The only action taken after the dog came in and sat comfortably and calmly side, dial 106 the focus of the Jerusalem Municipality, to send the inspectors in charge of getting the dog and take it. You can check the focus.
Any addition to this simple story, is that if imagination and bitter humor of whoever invented it.
In other words, no talk of reincarnation, a lawyer was never mentioned before or after 20 years, did not patch, not beckoned on punishment, rather than stoning or stones.

Such inventions certainly belong on the type of blood libel, and I wonder what the inventor had stopped him in his humor and not described at this point that we slaughtered the dog and collecting the blood in a jar next year to use it Llist commandments [better: "to use it to knead matzot"]. (Something the whole world knows he’s a common story and it never happened). ”

In addition to his mother:
Court stayed the same afternoon, scores of litigants who were invited for the day.You can find out from each according to the lists that appear Biotzmn Court, was there anything with the dog coming! Anyone would say there was nothing.
Whereas the defamatory smear meaningless dog seemed stoned or was instructed to stone, and the like, not backed any of the media of any witness or a single hearing!
This shows for itself.

Secretariat of the Court.'

Will the BBC be updating their story any time soon or does the current version fit their narrative somewhat too well for that to happen?

Whose Social Security number is Barack Obama using?

The above advertisement appeared in The Washington Times National Weekly 11 Apr 2011 page 5.

It is odd how this story keeps appearing but is never addressed by the Obama team... or is it?

Thanks to SCRIBD for the scan.

Do you spot a pattern?

First Macmillan Cancer Support and now the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is odd, well not that odd, how Dr Rowan Williams, who describes himself as a 'lapsed' Labour Party member, is portrayed by the BBC as an independent voice.

Monday morning catchup

The usual story, too many tabs and too little time:

1) Edmund Conway in The Telegraph argues that it would be best if Germany left the Euro rather than Greece. It's a point of view. What I wish is that the EU-fanatics who connived to let Greece enter the Euro, despite knowing that it's economic figures were fiddled to meet the convergence criteria, are  made to apologise for their stupidity.

2) Wake Up America has a story of education in the USA.

3) The Algemeiner has news of Yale, anti-Semitism and Jewish donors.

4) The New York Sun compares
'Two pulchritudinous ones... Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.

5) HotAir discusses the coming ice-age, for more look here.

6) Guido Fawkes in The Guardian explains what he thinks happened at PMQs last week. For my take, read this.

7) Andrew Lilico at Conservative Home explains the 'Twenty things Westminster needs to know about Greece and its debts'; it's not a cheerful read.

8) Elder of Zion has some pictures that show the true state of Gaza; warning not for the faint-hearted.

9) Andrew Grice in The Independent thinks that Ed Miliband and Ed 'second choice' Balls are divided over apologising for over-spending. You will not be surprised to learn that Ed Balls does not want to apologise for anything.

10) Finally World Net Daily has a story of an odd twist on the Obama birth-certificate story.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Nicely done music video

Queen's 'Killer Queen' performed by eight FreddeGredde's.

Thanks to Theo Spark for the spot.

Two Israel related stories/posts that might be of interest

Busy day today, so here's two articles that may be of interest:

1) An article in the Jerusalem Post that is as depressing as any I have read, outside of my blog. Here's something to ponder on:
'As for Pakistan, the US’s assassination of Osama bin Laden last month exposed the dirty secret of Pakistani military collaboration with al Qaida for all to see. This week’s arrest of five Pakistanis accused of acting as informants to the US in its bid to locate the al Qaida chief is further proof – if any was needed – that the $21 billion in military and economic assistance the US has showered on Pakistan since 2002 has bought it precious little in the way of strategic support or partnership from Islamabad. Recent reports indicate increased concern that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal may eventually fall under the control of al Qaida sympathizers.'
The pasages about Iran and Yemen are no less depressing and the conclusion reached is this:
'What this means is that – as was the case in May 1967, when the combined Arab armies gathered with the express purpose of wiping the Jewish state off the map – today again, Israel is alone at its hour of greatest peril. All of the lesser threats now gathering from Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey will become insurmountable if Iran becomes a nuclear power.

As was the case in May 1967, Israel has arrived at a do-or-die moment. And we should all pray for the strength and courage of our leaders, our soldiers and our nation at this time.'
Israel won in 1967, I do not believe that she will do so again in 2011/12.

2) As Israel heads for extinction, David Isaac fears for the future of Christianity in a more and more Islamic Middle East. The Lebanon is used as an example and it is a very good sighter as to what is happening in the rest of the Middle East now. Here's a good summation:
'The Christian world did nothing for Lebanon’s Christians. It did nothing for Iraq’s Christians. It will do nothing for Egypt’s Christians. The reason, for the most part, is that the Christian world has stopped considering itself Christian, whereas the Muslim world has not stopped considering itself Muslim.'
And here is the conclusion:
'The Arabs never lost that feeling that they should rule by divine right. Indeed, in the midst of an Islamist resurgence they believe this more than ever. The Christian West, on the other hand, has replaced its Christianity with a toxic blend of multiculturalism, environmentalism and assorted politically correct pieties.

Given the imbalance, which side do you think will win?'

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Quiz time - What's the plane and what film does a plane of this type appear in? The answer.

The plane is a Thurston Teal TSC-1A Teal. A plane of that type is the plane flown by Edward Woodward, playing Sergeant Howie, at the start of the wonderful 1973 film 'The Wicker Man'. If you have not seen this film then you really must; it's a classic and very, very odd and disconcerting. It also has some lovely naked dancing and singing by Britt Ekland. Please do not confuse this film with the dreadful remake starring Nicolas Cage.

Here's Britt Ekland in her unforgettable role in that film

And here is the NSFW video that I mentioned

Now do you want to see the film? There is a lot more to the film than delightful nudity, prepare to be shocked and scared...

SOAS and who is accorded the benefit of freedom of speech and who is not...

Providing private tuition to Mutassim Gaddafi, the National Security Advisor to the Gaddafi regime - no problem.

Giving ex-Pakistan dictator General Pervez Musharraf to speak to students despite being accused of complicity in murder, warcrimes and more - no problem.

Inviting al-Qaeda's Anwar al-Awlaki to speak - no problem.

Giving a platform to Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi who has advocated suicide bombing, has told students he “longs to be a martyr” and that Israel “must come to an end” - no problem.

I could go on and on with the examples of 'no problem'; but some of SOAS's students found their limit this week when as The Standard reports, they 'stormed a university building and demonstrated against David Willets speaking on their campus... a student of politics and persian, said: "We were demonstrating against tuition fees, cuts and changes that are to be made to the education system."'

So allowing supporters of terrorism to speak is fine but a Conservative minister; no way.

It could be that the protester quoted above also protested against one or more of the above named speakers. It could be that there were equally vehement protests against the above four speakers. It could be; but somehow I doubt it.

I am number 10 in Belgium!

Google Belgium - What does it mena to be British and this blog is at number 10!

'It's a fact' - Is it really?

The Daily Mail yesterday included a for and against letter in answer to the debate question 'Is Nigel Lawson right on climate change?' Here's part of one of those letters:
'Let's be clear; it is a fact that climate change is a greater threat to the world than international terrorism. It's a fact that we are only 20 years away from fossil fuels running out. It's a fact that we have already passed peak oil production. It's a fact that the UK is 80 per cent dependent on fossil fuels...... Lawson's premise of cutting back on environment policy to ave our economy will be academic if we no longer have  a planet to live on.'
Wow that's a lot of 'facts', I wonder how many are actually substantiatable? The writer of that letter is Alan Aldridge and he signs himself as of 'Romay Renewable Energies, Crawley, Sussex'. So no financial axe to grind there then as a company who describe themselves as 'one of the UK’s leading domestic and commercial renewable solution providers who design, supply and install renewable energy systems' pushes'facts' that are anything but facts.
Let's look at Alan Aldridge's 'facts' and see if they are anything of the sort:

1) ' it is a fact that climate change is a greater threat to the world than international terrorism - This claim is hard to prove one way or another but having lost a friend to Islamic terrorism and having witnessed Islamic terrorists planes flying into the Twin Towers and killing thousands I am sceptical of this 'fact'.

2) 'It's a fact that we are only 20 years away from fossil fuels running out.' - Not true and I cannot see how such a claim could be justified. There are reserves of oil that have yet to be exploited, when the price is right they will be extracted. The worldwide reserves of shale oil and gas dwarf current oil reserves and could fuel the world for many years. The doom-mongers have been warning of fossil fuels running out since the 1960s, it has not happened yet and won't for a lot more than 20 years. I am willing to make a bet with Alan Aldridge that fossil fuels will still be being produced in 25 years time; will you accept a £500 bet Mr Aldridge and an apology from whoever is proved wrong?

3) 'It's a fact that we have already passed peak oil production.' - Peak oil was first claimed to have been reached in the 1960s and the same claim has been regularly made ever since by those with an axe to grind. The proponents of the passing of peak oil often ignore the prospect of new discoveries of oil and the advances in extraction techniques. We are probably close to peak oil but that does not mean the same as an end to oil production.

4) 'It's a fact that the UK is 80 per cent dependent on fossil fuels' - Absolutely not correct; I make it over 90%. However the solution is not increased reliance on largely unreliable and expensive wind power. Nuclear has a large place in our futures along with energy conservation.

I make that four 'facts' of which one 'fact' is unsubstantiatable, one 'fact' actually an underestimate but I disagree with the implied solution, one 'fact' that may be close to be being correct but is not as important as it sounds and one 'fact' that is laughable wrong. Nice try Alan Aldridge, will you agree to my wager, after all you know that 'It's a fact that we are only 20 years away from fossil fuels running out'.

Anyone else feel like having a bet with Alan Aldridge?

I have contacted Riomay with this comment:
'In a letter published in The Mail on friday your Alan Aldridge made four main claims of 'facts'. I disagree with the veracity of all of them, you can read why here -

So will Alan Aldridge take me up on my offer of a bet regarding his laughable 'fact' that 'It's a fact that we are only 20 years away from fossil fuels running out.'

I am willing to make a bet with Alan Aldridge that fossil fuels will still be being produced in 25 years time; will you accept a £500 bet Mr Aldridge and an apology from whoever is proved wrong?'
I wonder what the response will be?

Friday, 17 June 2011

Quiz time - What's the plane and what film does a plane of this type appear in?

Answer tomorrow night.

Released 30 years ago last Sunday

The Specials - 'GhostTown' - 30 years ago last Sunday, 12th June. How old does that make me feel? One of the all time classic singles.

My favourite Specials track is this though - 'Too Much, Too Young'

'You've done too much
much too young
Now you're married with a kid
when you could be having fun with me!
Ain't he cute?
No he ain't
He's just another burden
on the welfare state

Call me immature
Call me a poser
I'd love to spread manure in your bed of roses
Don't want to be rich
Don't want to be famous
But I'd really hate to have the same name as you
(you silly moo)

You've done too much
much too young
Now you're chained to the cooker
making currant buns for tea


Ain't you heard of the starving millions
Ain't you heard of contraception
Do you really a program of sterilization
Take control of the population boom
It's in your living room
Keep a generation gap
Try wearing a cap'
Ah those were the days, I may go off for a quick bit of skanking now; good exercise!

BBC and MPs legal problems

The BBC still have their story about Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen and the now dropped sex assault case as story number four on their politics page. Nothing as yet about Ed Balls' appearance in court today re his outstanding debt problem.

I wonder why a Conservative backbench MP's legal problems, even when the case is dropped, are featured so prominently by the BBC but those of the Shadow Chancellor are not mentioned at all? One might almost think that the BBC were biased in favour of their friends in the Labour party...

Fisking Ed Balls

Not me but Fraser Nelson who has responded to various Tweeted requests and fisked Ed Balls' recent speech. Take a read and wonder why the BBC never raise these obvious failings in his memory and/or logic.

Here's a graph to remind youof the economic record of Ed Balls...

An open letter to Macmillan Cancer Support (update)

Following PMQs I posted an open letter to Macmillan Cancer Support:
'Dear sirs,

I have long been a supporter or Macmillan Cancer Support as I have been impressed by the work that your organisation does with cancer sufferers, including some friends of mine in their last days of life.

However I am afraid that I will no longer be supporting your charity following the way that your spokesman Mike Hobday seems to have coordinated his appearance on The Daily Politics show with Ed Miliband's attack on the government at Prime Ministers Questions. I am disgusted that a charity would enter into the political arena but not too surprised as I learn that Mr Hobday is a former Labour Party staffer and councillor, as well as standing for Labour in Welwyn Hatfield at the last general election. I further read that 'Hobday just admitted to Sky that he was “pre-warned”'

My contribution to Macmillan Cancer Support was not huge but I did also recommend your charity as 'one of the good ones ' to friends and colleagues; that I will no longer do either. I will transfer my money to a non-political cancer charity; perhaps you could recommend one.


NotaSheep MaybeaGoat'
Somewhat surprisingly I have received a reply from  Hilary Cross:
'Thank you for your open letter to Macmillan. I am really sorry you feel you can no longer support us. We rely entirely on the generosity of the public to provide our vital services to people affected by cancer - so thank you for your support in the past. However, we do feel we've been misrepresented and I would really like to put the record straight about the accusations being directed at Macmillan. I would encourage you to look at the response from our Chief Executive on the Guardian website ( At the end of the day, our priority is the up to 7,000 cancer patients who will lose over £90 per week at a time when they are most vulnerable. We will continue to represent their needs, without fear or favour.'
It seemed only fair to read The Guardian piece by Macmillan's Chief executive Ciarán Devane and I reprint that here:
'Macmillan Cancer Support's purpose is to improve the lives of people affected by cancer and we do that without fear or favour.
We are completely independent of all political parties but talk regularly to MPs about the issues that matter to cancer patients, their families, friends and carers. We do not align ourselves with any political party and we flatly deny these allegations of political bias.
To suggest we have been involved in a "political stitch-up" simply does not reflect the facts. Let's get to the specifics of how we have been campaigning on welfare reform.
Macmillan has three goals for the welfare reform bill:
1. Ensure people with cancer continue to receive critical financial support for as long as their disability limits their ability to work.
2. Ensure people with cancer can receive financial support to help with the extra costs of being disabled as soon as their support needs arise.
3. End the current unjust system where the type of cancer treatment someone receives affects how they are treated in the welfare system.
We have been raising these three issues with the government and in parliament for many months. The Guardian actually wrote a story in March about how 30 cancer charities had written to Iain Duncan Smith, secretary of state for work and pensions, asking for changes to the bill.
We have been working closely with MPs from different parties – Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat – while the bill went through committee, briefing regularly and supporting various proposed amendments. We have also had regular meetings with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officials.
In advance of the bill's report stage on Monday, we put out a briefing to all interested MPs. All the DWP ministers received this briefing last week.
The briefing praised ministers for instructing Prof Harrington to look at which cancer patients undergoing treatment should be put automatically in what is called the employment and support allowance (ESA) support group. It also said we were still concerned that there had not been sufficient movement from the government on our other areas of concern.
We also put out a press release making clear that if this bill comes into law, nearly 7,000 cancer patients could lose up to £94 a week. Our estimates have now been pored over and ministers have more or less admitted we're right.

The story was picked up by various national papers on Monday. Ed Miliband's team also picked up on the story and contacted us for more details. We sent them our press release and briefing. Both were up on our website. To accuse Macmillan of collusion on this basis would be to accuse virtually every campaigning charity – and probably most large organisations – of collusion.
There were three things we knew Ed Miliband was doing on Wednesday at which he could have mentioned Macmillan's campaign – prime minister's questions, a webchat and the report stage of the bill. We did not know when or how he would raise our concerns. We asked his team if it was likely to be PMQs and they said they did not know yet either.
We prepared a generic press response and waited. Naturally, we were very surprised that Miliband decided to use all six questions during PMQs to highlight our concerns over the bill.
The call from the Daily Politics television show to our press office came immediately after the opposition leader sat down. Mike Hobday
We also immediately put out our a prepared press release knowing it would be a big story.
I spoke with Chris Grayling, employment minister, later in the day making clear we were keen to continue to pursue the same constructive discussions with government to address our very real concerns about the welfare reform bill.
After the report stage, we praised the government for announcing they are willing to continue listening about disability living allowance reforms.
Last week, both David Cameron, and the secretary of state for health Andrew Lansley, stood up in the house and highlighted the support we had given the coalition government over NHS reforms and the Cancer Drugs Fund.
Actually, it was Mike Hobday who very publicly praised the government. He did so because the government had got it right.
We all care passionately at Macmillan and the most important thing in all this is that up to 7,000 vulnerable cancer patients – and hundreds of thousands more disabled people – are going to lose up to £94 per week unless the welfare reform bill is amended.
As a cancer charity it is our duty to speak up for them. As the bill enters the Lords we will be talking to Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and cross-benchers telling everyone the same story in the hope that as many peers as possible will support people affected by cancer.
Ciarán Devane is chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support'
There are quite a few points that I think need addressing but here are the key ones:
Ciarán Devane writes that 'Mike Hobday, our head of campaigns, policy and public affairs, was five minutes away from Westminster.' Was this entirely coincidental?

'We are completely independent of all political parties' But employed a former Labour staffer and parliamentary candidate as spokesman? Did you expect complete political independence from him? Do you think you received complete political independence from him?

The question surrounding 'pre-warning' seems not to have been comprehensively addressed. Are you calling Guido Fawkes a liar for writing ' Hobday just admitted to Sky that he was “pre-warned”'? 

Anyway I have taken a look at Macmillan's last set of accounts, which are for the year ending 31st December 2009. The income spread looks good in that the money is raised from proper sources not just from the government's coffers. However in 2009 £1.211 million was received from Government and a further £934,000 from the Scottish 'government', only 2% which makes Macmillan way better than some Fake charities such as Oxfam; although Fake Charities still describes Macmillan as 'fake', albeit somewhat controversially. The breakdown of expenses to 'charitable spending' is not too bad either, so I cannot really quibble with how Macmillan is run either. The highest earners are not ridiculously paid for running such a large organisation although the 'retirement benefits' seem to be an area that needs reexamination; most private sector defined benefit schemes have been closed why should a charity's higher paid employees not have to suffer along with those who contribute to that charity?

I await answers to these questions before I will consider supporting Macmillan Cancer again, in the meantime Marie Curie Cancer Care will get an increased donation.