Tuesday 30 June 2009

Mrs NotaSheep muses on relative prize money for Wimbledon prize winners

There is a debate each year on this issue but surely the only way to make this fair is to base prize money at each round on the entertainment value and effort expended by the players. How about basing prize money on number of minutes played rather than male/female?

A website that sticks to imperial measures

DP Review is my favourite camera review website and its review of the rugged Pentax Optio W80 includes this most sensible measurement
"More adventure-proof than ever, this latest PENTAX digital camera is waterproof, dustproof, coldproof, and now shockproof enough to withstand impact from a fall of more than three feet (one meter)."
Three feet, quite right too. I am of an age where I still convert centimetres into inches, metres into feet and kilometres into miles.

Is that a cut?

The BBC report that:
"Schools Secretary Ed Balls confirmed that £200m was being transferred from his department's budget to the DCLG to help pay for new homes."
is that a cut?

Where is the money coming from

As I listened to Gordon Brown's launch of "Building Britain's future" one phrase kept coming into my mind - "Where is the money coming from". The UK is massively in debt, the governor of the Bank of England and the OECD call for spending cuts but Gordon Brown is going to ignore every expert and spend spend spend. Is he that stupid? Is he that delusional? Actually the answer is probably "no". I think Gordon Brown knows exactly what he is doing and the proof is coming out with his guarantees of personal tutors, his guarantees of no more than two weeks waiting times to see cancer specialists. Gordon Brown is attempting to raise spending as much as possible before the general election so that the required spending cuts will be even larger than would currently be required. Thus the Labour party and the BBC will be able to decry evil Tory cuts and as the necessary medicine is administered to the economy, Labour will sit and wait for the next general election when they will try to compare Tory cuts with what life "would have been like under Labour". The trouble is having built up an enormous Labour client state this tactic will probably work.

Cameron on Brown (part 2)

BBC 5-Live faithfully carried all of Gordon Brown's speech before leaving the Chamber before David Cameron spoke; after all why allow the plebs to hear anyone question the "Dear Leader"? So for the record Conservative Home carry what David Cameron said, here's a few excerpts:
"The Prime Minister talks about Building Britain's Future. But isn't it time the British people were asked whether they want him to be part of it? No recognition in that statement that they've been in office for 12 years; No recognition of the catastrophic state of the public finances. The Prime Minister is living in a dream world in which spending is going up, investment is going up, infrastructure is being boosted. When is someone going to tell him that he's run out of money? He talks for instance about housing. Let me just give him one figure. Housebuilding today is at the lowest level since 1947. People are entitled to ask simply what world he is living in. Mr Speaker, I expect, like me, you will be thinking you have heard a lot of that statement before. And that's not just because the Prime Minister ignored your injunction and leaked most of it in advance. It's because we have heard most of it before. How many times has the country been told to expect the Prime Minister's vision? How many times has it been told to expect a string of policy announcements that was going to be bold reform?

Every single re-launch collapses. And today didn't it happen more quickly than usual? At 7.50am, Peter Mandelson took to the airwaves and promptly sunk the whole thing by cancelling the Government's spending review. So isn't what we have today a package without a price tag? It is just a combination of rehashed initiatives, ideas taken from the Opposition, and some timid and bureaucratic top-down tinkering."
"Much of the rest of this programme is just rehashed from previous years. The simplification of our immigration rules. That was announced in last year's programme. The Floods Bill. That was recommended in 2007, announced in 2008, and re-announced again this morning in 2009. One-to-one tuition. The NHS check-ups. Both announced last year. The Constitutional Renewal Bill. That is back for the third time in a row. This time apparently it's going to include Lords reform. But the Prime Minister hasn't been reforming the Lords; he's been stuffing it with his cronies. It's the one area of employment in Britain that's rising."
"To listen to his statement you would think the Treasury was rolling in money. When is someone going to tell him it has run out? Let me read out what the OECD said just this morning. They say the Government has got to be more 'ambitious' and more 'explicit' about the need for spending cuts. The OECD is joining a growing list - from the IFS to the Governor of the Bank of England and frankly half his Cabinet in private - who admit he has got to be straight with people on spending.

So let me just ask the Prime Minister this very simple question. Will there be a spending review before the General Election? This morning the First Secretary said there wouldn't, and then the Treasury said there might be. Who speaks for the Government? Any household or company faced with this level of debt would start to get it under control. Isn't it essential to start reviewing spending now?

If the first big failure of today's announcement is the lack of honesty on spending, the second failure is surely a lack of real reform of our public services. I suppose we should be grateful for one thing. Year after year this Government and this Prime Minister has promoted and defended its targets culture. Today, they have finally admitted they were wrong all along. But make no mistake: these proposals are about top-down bureaucratic tinkering, not real freedom."
Coruscating stuff and not surprisingly not mentioned on the BBC website where the Politics page's top story and follow-ups are:
"Housing tops Brown's policy plans
Gordon Brown proposes rules to let councils give more priority to local people, as he sets out his programme for the next year.
At-a-glance: Draft programme
Nick Robinson: A manifesto?
Watch Brown unveil plans"
The BBC supporting Gordon Brown and keeping David Cameron out of the headlights except when he can be attacked. Why do we have to pay for this bias?

Cameron on Brown (part 1)

"I don’t care what the government does anymore. They can announce cuts, they can announce increases, they can set the whole thing to music and do a karaoke. I have completely lost faith, as has most of the country, in anything this government says. You can see it every week in PMQs when the Prime Minister stands up and says ‘black is white’."
Read more at Fraser Nelson's Spectator column or watch David Cameron at yesterday's morning news conference, here...

Last day of the recession?

Gordon Brown predicted that the recession would be over by the second half of 2009. So if you look at my counter on the right, there is now under a day to go before all will be fine and cuddly under the leadership of Gordon Brown...

OK, maybe not.

Monday 29 June 2009

Murray v Wawrinka and Mrs NotaSheep muses on tennis player's girlfriends

Now who still thinks this is Andy Murray's year at Wimbledon? He didn't look so easy against Wawrinka did he?

Mrs NotaSheep thinks that Andy Murray's girlfriend looks "high maintenance" especially her hair. She also wonders where sportsmen find their identikit blonde "model type" girlfriends. However Mrs NotaSheep thinks that Jamie Murray and his girlfriend look closer and she is not a "clone". Maybe Jamie can't afford a top ranked tennis girlfriend...

Who really is Barack Obama?

Neal wants to know...

Is it really only a week since I posted this speculation?

Bizarre Google search

who shot felicity kendal - Has she been shot? - regardless this blog is the top return for this piece

BBC bias quantified

Thanks to Craig, a regular commenter at Biased BBC we have some analysis of BBC interviewing bias. Craig listened to or watched 81 interviews between 2 June and 21 June and has tabulated the findings. here's a summary of his results:

Six of the highest interruption coefficients relate to interviews with Conservative politicians. The highest was Andrew Neil's interview with Lib Dem Jo Swinson and the highest Labour interview was with Andy Burnham!
Thirteen of the lowest sixteen interruption coefficients relate to interviews with Labour politicians, the other three were Lib Dems.

An interesting exercise would be to look at the degree of bias shown by individual interviewers. Unfortunately only Andrew Neill has enough interviews with members of each of the three main parties in this period to make the analysis workable, as more data comes in this I feel may be the most interesting figure.
Andrew Neill - highest QI and IC in interviews with Jeremy Hunt (Conservative) and Jo Swinson (Lib Dem). Conservative ave coeff = 3.8, Labour ave coeff = 2.7, Lib Dem ave coeff = 3.1.

More data is required before any conclusions can be drawn but this looks like being a seriously useful piece of analysis.

More on Damian McBride

Further to my recent postings on alleged current links between Gordon Brown and Damian McBride (most recent here), I was interested to read in The Observer that Ed Balls had admitted meeting Damian McBride socially:
"Ed Balls has become the first senior Labour politician to admit being in touch with Damian McBride, the disgraced spin doctor, following his resignation over attempts to smear senior Tories.

The children's secretary, a long-term friend of the former Treasury aide and one of Gordon Brown's closest allies... Asked whether he had been in contact with Labour's most notorious pariah, Balls confirmed that he had, but suggested it was purely social: "I certainly wished him a happy birthday. As I said [when he resigned], Damian did a very stupid thing, he's paid a very heavy price, but we all get on with our jobs."

Had he discussed policy with McBride? "Of course not." Although McBride is applying for a job as a school outreach worker, Balls said it was "very unlikely" that they would meet through work."
"Very unlikely", that leaves the door ajar just enough does it not?

The Observer piece ends:
"Tory MPs, however, plan to challenge Balls this week over the nature of communications with the former Downing Street adviser. Senior Tories are convinced that McBride has not been completely cut off from his old circle."

As readers of this blog know, James Duddridge has send a follow-up letter to Gordon Brown asking to answer both parts of the question he was asked at PMQs.

Some thoughts:
Is Ed Balls' "admission" a tactical device to take some of the pressure off of
Gordon Brown, who can now use this "social" meeting as an explanation of "contact".

Will Gordon Brown dare to use an "I answered this question last week" reply if asked at PMQs about contact between Damian McBride and himself. If he tries this answer will John Bercow take any action or will he resort to "It is up to the Prime Minister how he answers questions"?

Sunday 28 June 2009

Don't worry it will make great TV

A bit lower than the reporter was told the Spitfire would fly?

But not as low as this DC3 was when it took off over this unfortunate cameraman

That just doesn't make sense

The Telegraph yesterday was commenting on airline extras and concentrating on Ryanair. Whenever I compare prices between British Airways (my airline of choice) and the "budget airlines" I find that by the time the extras have been added the prices are not too far apart and I'd rather fly with an airline that has a reputation to protect.

One sentence caught my eye yesterday:
"Ryanair is to ban hold luggage and force passengers to carry their own bags on to aircraft in an attempt to cut costs"
Just a moment, if Ryanair ban hold luggage then that leaves just cabin luggage and passengers have always carried that themselves; so what's the change? My guess is that the report is wrong and the plan is actually for passengers to carry their hold luggage to the plane where it is loaded into the hold; thus saving some costs and also sparing passengers' bags from the handling of airport baggage handling. Maybe someone knows the truth or the Telegraph could check their facts and journalist's logic.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Little Boots covers Blur

"To the end" is the track and a nice one, beautifully covered by the delightful Litte Boots.

Glad to be of service

I presume that the visitor to my blog from Saudi Arabia looking for Lily Allen's nipple found what he was looking for here. Glad to have been of service.

Matthew Parris calls Gordon Brown a liar

Matthew Parris as usual writes beautifully , here are some excerpts:
"There’s a rude word that won’t appear in this column. As a child your columnist was taught to avoid it. The word begins with l, and the three-letter version means untruth. The four-letter version describes someone who habitually tells untruths. These terms should hang in the air, on the tip of my argument’s tongue, tantalisingly unarticulated. They should hang unvoiced, too, above the figure of our present Prime Minister.

“In every year in the future,” said Gordon Brown on June 5, “public spending will continue to rise.”

There are a number of things that statement wasn’t. It wasn’t a half-truth. It wasn’t an evasion. It wasn’t a distortion. It wasn’t a sleight-of-hand. It was a far, far simpler thing. It was a flat . . . you know what.


And when you realise that the projected cash totals on which Mr Brown was basing that . . . fib . . . also include the ballooning costs of our national debt, and of bankrolling a growing army of the unemployed, it becomes even clearer that the impression he meant his hearers to gain — that there would be more in the kitty for things like schools and hospitals — was a barefaced . . . misrepresentation.


What a snivelling, broken-backed little attempt at a wriggle-out. Caught in the act of telling a complete . . . whopper, unwilling to admit or apologise, and with nowhere to hide, Mr Brown attempts a new dishonesty: trying to suggest that because the high figure this year includes a lump of spending on something (the Olympics) that won’t be happening until 2012, you could sort of spread the lump forward into the figures for the whole pre-Olympic period, and make the graph continue uphill.

At this point, in any criminal court, the judge would explode with impatience, cut short counsel for the defence and direct the jury to convict. It won’t do — as David Cameron immediately responded this Wednesday.


A desperate man, Mr Brown is now so entirely shameless that he’s planning to keep . . . dissimulating about “Labour investment” versus “Tory cuts” in the hope that the stupid or ignorant will believe him, and the rest will despair of pinning him down and move on."
Who in the country believes the line that Gordon Brown is trying to hold to during PMQs? I don't, most journalists and bloggers that I read don't, even members of his own Cabinet have contradicted his claims. If it wasn't for the BBC still protecting Gordon Brown from full scrutiny of his words even more people would know what sort of a man was their Prime Minister.

South Africa v The British & Irish Lions - Second Test

The First Test was exciting but today's Second Test has been immense, one of the greatest games of Test Rugby I have seen for a very long time.

Lions men of the match are Rob Kearney and Simon Shaw. The former for some spectacular catching of the high ball and the latter for some immense tackling, carrying and heart.

That decision to allow the last Springbok try was the killer blow to The Lions who I really did think were going to do it.

More on the Damian McBride questions at PMQs

17 June and Conservative MP Lee Scott asked Gordon Brown if the government had received any informal briefings from the disgraced former spin doctor Damian McBride. Gordon Brown replied "I have not".

24 June and Conservative MP James Duddridge asked "Can the Prime Minister confirm whether he has had any correspondence, email, telephone calls or texts from Damian McBride since the day he resigned? And just to clear up the confusion there seems to be around this, could he write to the Parliamentary Standards Authority confirming the answer to this question?" Gordon Brown quickly replied "The answer is no" before launching a rather odd little attack on the fact that someone had dared to ask him a question he did not approve of. I queried which question Gordon Brown was answering no to. Was Gordon Brown saying no he has received no such correspondence from Damian McBride or no he won't write to the Parliamentary Standards Authority? It can't be no to the first and yes to the second as that would require a no and a yes answer. So why won't Gordon Brown put in writing that he has received no correspondence from Damian McBride?

I have subsequently been contacted by James Duddridge and he has sent the letter to Gordon Brown, that appears at the top of this post, raising just these points. I have little faith that a satisfactory reply will be received from Gordon Brown but we will see. In the meantime I wonder if another MP will raise the question at the next PMQs and how Gordon Brown will answer such a question.

Hilary Benn contradicts Gordon Brown

On the BBC's Any Questions last night, the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, admitted that his own Department was facing future cuts and would have to prioritise where it spent money.

Any comments Gordon?

Maybe more to the point where is the headline news coverage of this on the BBC? If a Conservative minister says something slightly at odds with the shadow cabinet's stated view then the BBC swing into action explaining why this is indicative of a split party.

Gordon Brown at it again and the BBC are happy to go along with it

The BBC are happy to report another Gordon Brown relaunch. It would seem that our increasingly delusional Prime Minister
"has outlined a four point plan to win the next election including a pledge to make Labour a "disciplined, united and campaigning party".

He said voters wanted to see them clean up politics, help people through the recession and "put forward our vision". "

Interestingly Gordon Brown is also reported as having "said Labour candidates would have to sign a pledge to uphold "high standards of integrity"."

"high standards of integrity" - does that mean an end to lying? More on that subject later.

Only at the very end of the BBC article do the BBC tell the public that:
"He also continued his attack on what he says are Conservative plans to cut public spending by 10% - the Tories deny this and have accused Mr Brown of using misleading figures about his own plans for capital spending. "

Nobody warned us

Gordon Brown has been heard to complain that he should not bear any of the blame for the economic disaster that we are living through as he had not been warned of the impending disaster; in fact nobody predicted it. Of course this, like so much of what Gordon Brown claims, is a lie. Alex Masterley lists some reports of warnings and here they are (my emphasis):

December 2003 and the BBC report that:
"Chancellor Gordon Brown has been warned by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that he risks breaking his own rules on government borrowing.

In its annual assessment of the British economy, the IMF said the government needed to cut its spending deficit.

The IMF also said that further interest rate rises were needed to prevent a crash in the housing market. "

September 2005 and This UIs Money report that :
"BRITAIN'S £1trillion personal debt mountain may be starting to fall apart with dire consequences for millions of households, the International Monetary Fund warned yesterday... Their warning is made all the more chilling because the IMF rarely singles out one country in its report pinpointing the biggest threats to the global economy. This means that its decision to focus on Britain is even more worrying."

September 2005 and The Times reports that:
"GORDON BROWN’S budget plans came in for criticism on two fronts yesterday as the IMF joined Brussels in giving warning that weakening growth will send Britain’s finances billions deeper into the red than he has forecast.

In a double blow to the credibility of the Chancellor’s tax and spending plans, the International Monetary Fund threw its weight behind warnings from the European Commission that government borrowing will remain above 3 per cent of national income up to 2006-07.

As the Commission left Mr Brown chastened with a formal rebuke for breaching the EU’s 3 per cent of GDP cap on state borrowing in the last two financial years, it joined the IMF in predicting that the Chancellor will have to borrow billions more than he has forecast into 2007. "

December 2005 and Forbes reports that:
"The IMF, which angered Brown this year by warning that his deficit projections are too rosy, said there were 'substantial' risks to its growth forecasts, including a property downturn in Britain.

Overall, it said, 'economic stability in the UK remains remarkable'.

But the IMF reaffirmed its belief that Brown needs to get a better grip on his budget.

'Recent deficits, while not an immediate threat to economic performance in a benign world environment, needed to be reined in,' its mission report said. "

December 2005 and the Bank of England warns that:
"in the longer term, some significant downside risks remain. Previous Reviews have noted the continuing accumulation of debt by many borrowers and the aggressive ‘search for yield’ across financial markets. That has fuelled a rapid increase in highly leveraged financial products — a trend which, if anything, has intensified since June. The relaxation of lending criteria in some markets and increased appetite for potentially illiquid instruments suggest that financial discipline may also have weakened somewhat. Previous experience suggests that such developments could herald future problems if assessments of risk were to change sharply."

September 2006 and The Independent reports that:
"A sharp rise in interest rates could trigger a slump in house prices, which are overvalued by "any conventional measure", the International Monetary Fund warned yesterday.

The world's chief financial watchdog warned that soaring prices posed one of the biggest risks to the UK economy.


The fund's warning came as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors revealed that house prices in the UK are now growing at the fastest pace since May 2004 as house prices accelerated for the fifth month running in August. The balance of surveyors reporting price increases in the past three months climbed to 30 per cent in August from 24 per cent in July.

The IMF also said the chances of another rate rise were "delicately balanced" and urged Gordon Brown to use next year's three-year spending review to cut expenditure to prevent a crisis in the public finances."

June 2006 and the Bank of England in Summary warns that:
"Vulnerabilities in international financial markets
• The unusually low premia for bearing risk presently prevailing across a range of asset markets, notwithstanding recent market movements. In part, this may reflect
improved fundamentals and more efficient markets over recent years. But if risk premia rose abruptly, asset prices would fall sharply.
• Large financial imbalances among the major economies have continued over the past six months. These may unwind in an orderly fashion; but there is a risk of disorderly unwinding, which could conceivably crystallise credit and market risks.
Extended non-financial sector balance sheets
• Rapid releveraging in parts of the corporate sector globally — for example, among commercial property companies or arising as a result of leveraged buyouts.
Against a background of possibly underpriced corporate credit risk, this releveraging could widen and deepen over time.
• High UK household sector indebtedness in relation to income. Household balance sheets look strong in aggregate, but there are signs of stress among a minority of households, with personal insolvencies rising sharply.
Structural dependencies within the financial system
Rising systemic importance of large complex financial institutions (LCFIs) given their pivotal position in global capital markets and increasing links with UK banks.
Their balance sheets and risk-taking activities also appear to be expanding.
• Dependence of UK financial institutions on market infrastructures and utilities for clearing and settling payments and financial transactions, whose contingency
plans in the event of any disruption to their services may be inadequately understood and tested by some users."
Do read the whole of this report it is most interesting.

October 2007 and The Times reports that:
"Runaway increases in Britain’s house prices over the property boom of the past 10 years have left the housing market in danger of an American-style slump in the value of homes, the International Monetary Fund said today.

In a bleak warning, the IMF finds that the cost of homes in Britain and other European countries may have become much more excessive than in the United States before the present property slump began there. "

April 2008 and The Times reports that:
"House prices in Britain are among the most exposed in the developed world to a severe slump thanks to the runaway scale of the property boom of the past decade, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday.

In the latest bleak warning over the threat to the economy from a housing market bust, a the IMF identified Britain, with Ireland, France and the Netherlands, as the countries most vulnerable to painful correction in overvalued house prices.

Britain is heavily exposed to an abrupt adjustment in property values because the scale of the huge gains that homeowners have enjoyed means that at least 30 per cent of these cannot be justified by fundamental factors like demand for housing or incomes, the study concludes.

“It is difficult to account for the magnitude of the run-up in house prices,” it said. "

So did Gordon Brown and his highly skilled paid team not read the major UK newspapers, the BBC reports, the Bank of England's reports or those of the IMF between December 2003 and 2008? If they did not read them then they were surely negligent as they should have. If they did read them and did not act then they were surely negligent as why did they not act, did they assume they knew more than the experts? Maybe they really believed that Gordon Brown had abolished "boom and bust" economics.

Friday 26 June 2009

No Reggie, no!

Reggie Yates you pillock. There was Lily Allen leaning forward with top slipping and you warn her that her bits might be on view, tut tut tut. Lily's Glastonbury performance was only so so but I don't think Lily Allen is really suited to the "festival experience", I would have thought she would be more at home in a more intimate venue; I'll let you know after I see her at the Brixton Academy.

Best line of the week

"As a doctor I rarely root for the disease but in your case I'll make an exception"

Scrubs - Episode 107

Juliette can't stand Labour and here's why

Juliette explains why she hates Labour and lists her least favourite Labour people. Take a read of an excellent post, here's an extract to whet your appetite:
"Read the Guardian comment section, and its columnists are constantly warning of the hell that will await us under the Tories. Within months of Cameron acending to power, England will become a nightmarish dystopia of cruelty and evil. Peasants being whipped to death in the street for the crime of pulling a rickshaw too slowly. Babies starving in gutters as top-hatted capitalists whisk past lighting their foot-long cigars with hundred-pound notes. Serfs, vassals and droit de seigneur. People of England, you have been warned.

Well, I hate to burst their bubble, but - unlike the proles in 1984 - I do have a fairly reliable memory. And it tells me that day-to-day life under the Tories was pretty much same as it is now.

Maybe a bit lighter on Diversity Co-ordinators, Traveller Liaison Support Workers and Equality Support Strategic Development Co-ordination Czars.

But what the hell, we survived.

And yes, I know there are statistics showing that there's less crime, safer streets, happier pensioners, better healthcare etc etc etc under Labour. Thing is, you can prove anything with statistics. Literally anything. Especially if you threaten the people producing them with demotion or dismissal if they can't make the numbers go the right way. You can prove that Iraq is a safer place to live than Tunbridge Wells. Or that you're in more danger from a feather duster than a terrorist bomb. Don't believe me, watch The Wire some time.

IMHO, all politicians without exception are dodgy, thieving, lying wankers who care about exactly two things - getting elected, and getting rich(er).

The only difference is that the right are (very slightly) less hypocritical and annoying about it.

And while they're ripping you off, screwing the public for every last penny, not giving a tinker's toss about the poor and needy, crawling up the arses of any dodgy Russian billionaires that happen to bung them a few (milion) quid and scrounging freebies right, left and centre, they don't simultaneously expect you to bow down and worship them as the public-spirited holiest of public-spirited holies."

The "Young Con Rap"

Not for the faint-hearted.

"Yo this ones for all the young conservatives.
Yo…. one time….
I rep the Northeast and I’m still a young con,
Let your voice release, you don’t have to be obamatrons.
I debate any poser who don’t shoot straight,
Government spending needs to deflate,
Your ideas are lightweight,
Ya careers in checkmate
I frustrate. I increase the pulse rate
I hate when,
government dictatin, makin, statements, bout how to be a merchant,
How to run a restaurant, how to lay the pavement
Bailout a business, but can’t protect an infant
Deficiencies are blatant, young con treatment
I stand one man, outnumbered at my college
Thank you Miss Cali for reminding us of marriage
Can’t support abortion, and call yourself a Christian
I support life, you’re a puzzled politician
Terrorists were imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay,
Now they’re in our neighborhoods, planning out doomsday
No such thing as utopia,
no government can control ya, baby ya,
Reap the benefits hard work, self reliant
Listen to Stiltz, my dude’s a lyrical giant
Yo Stiltz… make it two time… please”
“I’m 6′9 head and shoulder above the rest
Liberals playin checkers, I’m playin chess
My conservative view is drill baby drill
You can say you hate me but
I’m praying for you still
My dislike for thee most def is not hyperbole
Taxes are the subject and I will spit them verbally
I’m just livin life a conservative philosophy
Sorry Hilary not a right wing conspiracy
We need more women with intellectual integrity
I’m talkin Megyn Kelly not Nancy Pelosi
My main motto is you best work hard
It’s not the hand you were given, but how you lay down your cards
I don’t speak lies but I spit the facts
28% the new capital gains tax
Porkulus bill lacks a few stats
The more money we spend, the more mine is worth Jack
The Bible says we’re a people under God,
Usin radar for radical Jihad
AIG was hooked up by Chris Dodd
A classy gift ain’t an Ipod
The standards of my crew ain’t republicans dude
I’m reppin Jesus Christ and conservative views
Study history and true conservative moves
Every single time they refuse to lose
I’m starting to see a modern day Jimmy Carter
When really nothin but a Reagan era starter”
“Yo, We americans son
Hit ya with some knowledge
The movement has begun
Everyone can succeed
Because our soldiers bleed, for us
I said it in the verse,
now I’ll say it in the chorus”
“We young conservatives son
Hard work is our motto
The movement has begun
EVERYONE can succeed cause our soldiers bleed, daily
My views are rock solid, no chance you can break me”
“Phase me, make me, into something that ain’t me
Serious c… can’t nobody shake me
great like the Gatsby, poppin posers like acne
Don’t matter if your gay, straight, Christian or Muslim
There’s one thing we all hate, called socialism.
It’s loathsome, and America ain’t the outcome,
Raise taxes on the people,
And you’re gonna feel symptoms, problems
I gotta message for a young con:
superman that socialism,
waterboard that terrorism”
“I fulfill the role that’s inherently mine
Teaching politics through my rap and my rhyme
I’m signing off this track with a question in mind
How will this country get its precious change in time?
Three things taught me conservative love:
Jesus, Ronald Reagan, plus Atlas Shrugged
Saving our nation from inflation devastation
On my hands and my knees praying for salvation”
“Yo, We americans son
Hit ya with some knowledge
The movement has begun
Everyone can succeed
Because our soldiers bleed, for us
I said it in the verse,
now I’ll say it in the chorus”
“We young conservatives son
Hard work is our motto
The movement has begun
EVERYONE can succeed cause our soldiers bleed, daily
My views are rock solid, no chance you can break me"

Thanks to Hurry Up Harry for the spot.

Westminster Whispers on the Speaker's friends and more

World priorities

Dry Bones is a JPost cartoonist

Gerald Kaufman tries to justify his expenses

Pathetic, simply pathetic.

"If I can say so in a very chaste way, I live very modestly. I don’t have much in the way of luxuries."
Not much in the way of luxuries? Two "similar" £8,000 TVs, a £1,500 rug and two £220 lead crystal breakfast bowls. Gerald Kaufman has disgusted me for many years but his whining self-justifications are just pathetic.

Farrah Fawcett RIP

Farrah Fawcett probably the pin-up actress of my era passed away yesterday. Because a major celebrity died shortly afterwards, her death will go pretty much unremarked upon, which is a shame.

In 1978 Playboy magazine called Ms. Fawcett “the first mass visual symbol of post-neurotic fresh-air sexuality.” She herself put it more plainly: “When the show got to be No. 3, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be No. 1, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra”

Michael Jackson RIP

Michael Jackson has died and how do I feel? Sad at the death of a man who seemed a very troubled soul who had been destroyed by fame. Sad at the death of a man who for a time was a creative force who made some perfect pop songs.

To be honest I was never a massive Michael Jackson fan but I did like some of his music and have picked three favourites below. However I find that I have just one album (on vinyl) "Off The Wall" and just one single "Don't stop 'til you get enough" (12").

Jackson 5 - "ABC"

Michael Jackson - "Don't stop 'til you get enough"

Michael Jackson - "Thriller" (Live)

BBC news priorities

Michael Jackson has died and that is the top BBC Radio 4 news story and all other stories are preceded by "in other news". This is not a story worthy of so much attention. Michael Jackson was a superstar of pop but there are more important things going on in the world.

What is more important, the death of Michael Jackson or the news that "total losses from the banking crisis now total $15 trillion"?

What is more important, the death of Michael Jackson or the news that "The government is set to abandon the use of national literacy and numeracy strategies in England's primary schools."?

What is more important, the death of Michael Jackson or the news that "The government has suffered a defeat in the Commons over part of its plan for MPs to hold debates across England."?

Anyone would think that the BBC were using this news story as a way of taking the pressure off of Gordon Brown and the Labour government.

Thursday 25 June 2009

Keith Vaz

I know I have posted this video before but it is good to be reminded of the high regard that Keith Vaz is held in by Alan Johnson and Diane Abbott. As a note it is important to note that I am sure Alan Johnson and Diane Abbott are not the only MPs to find Keith Vaz risible.

Is there a more objectionable current MP than Keith Vaz? Actually I can think of quite a few, several in the current Labour Cabinet in fact, but Keith Vaz must be in the top 10, mustn't he?

iPhone porn

The news that iPhone users are finally able to get pictures of naked girls on their phone thanks to the age-rating of applications that came with the last OS update, leaves me somewhat cold. I suppose it will be a relief to some that they can now look at naked women on the iPhone although I was pretty sure that the internet had the odd nudie photo somewhere on it. So why anyone would pay $1.99 for an application showing pictures of girls who have inadvertently forgotten to put their clothes on I do not know.

For the avoidance of doubt, yes I did use the word "relief" deliberately.

"Seething Wells" is dead

This may mean nothing to 99.99% of my readership but it's my blog and it means something to me!

Seething Weels aka Steven Wells (formerly aka Susan Wells) has died. I learnt this news from The Register which was odd in itself.

Seething Wells was a journalist but "back in the day" he was a Punk Poet of some renown, appearing alongside my favourite of the era Attila the Stockbroker and, amongst others, Porky the Poet who was to become/return to being Phil Jupitus at a later date.

The only piece of vinyl I still have of Seething Wells is his 1982 joint EP "Rough, Raw and Ranting EP/Ranting Verse at Wandsworth" - half his own work and half that of Attila the Stockbroker. Seething Wells' contributions were: Godzilla v The Tetley Bittermen, Police Dog, Cadillacs In Bradford, Agro-Britain and Ha Ha Ha. I must say that I did prefer Attila's contributions: A Bang And A Wimpy, Pap Music For Wreck People, Andy Is A Corportist, I Don't Talk To Popstars, Foyer Bar, They Must Be Russians and Russians In The D.H.S.S.

As I write this it is incredible how many of these tracks I remember some 27 years later. Here is the only one of those tracks that I could find on line and it's a much later recording of Attila the Stockbroker's Russians in the D.H.S.S.

Once again I question why I, a right-winger even in 1981/2, loved the music and poetry of such renowned leftists. And once again I suppose it is because as with Paul Weller, Gil Scott Heron, The Housemartins and Billy Bragg, the left does have the best tunes, if not the best policies.

According to a comment under the Register's story:
"He is on record as having asked for an open coffin in which he is sitting upright, with a mechanised arm moving his hand up and down gripping his artificially engorged deceased todger. I really, really hope he gets this."
What finer memorial could there be?

From Guido Fawkes's site, where I mentioned the death of Seething Wells in the comments re Michael jackson, this comment caught my eye:
"E J Thribb (17.5) says:


Farewell then
Seething Wells
Poet of punk
I thought you were
A village in Dorset
Keith’s Mum says you were
Big in the 80s
But now you are about to become
Much smaller"

Here's some Attila the Stockbroker

"The EU is already trying to progress from Superstate to Superpower - and must be stopped"

Take a read of Sally McNamara's piece entitled:
"The EU is already trying to progress from Superstate to Superpower - and must be stopped"
Battle lines will be drawn soon between an EU Superstate and those countries that want to remain free and when that time comes I know on which side I will line up.

Loyalty to "the Party" is all

The UK in 2009 is resembling more and more the Soviet Union in the 1970s. This Spectator piece reveals via John Kampfner "The price of Mandelson's support" for Gordon Brown thus:
"Not known until now is one vital part of their negotiation. Mandelson – on Blair’s behalf – set down specific conditions for the Iraq war inquiry. The deal, I am told, was explicit. Not only would the hearings be fully in private, but that the committee would, as with Hutton, be manageable. Brown was instructed to ensure that the members of the inquiry would, in the words of one official “not stir the horses”. Brown readily acquiesced. He was not in a position to do anything else. It was a done deal, even before James Purnell sent alarm bells through Downing Street with his resignation on the night of June 4.

Which in turn begs a further question. Why should confidentiality in the Iraq hearings be so important to Mandelson? Again, John supplies the answer:

Mandelson’s involvement in this affair is more complicated. He has personally less to hide than Blair, Campbell and the others who were intimately engaged in the war planning. His motivation hinges around preserving the Blair Brand that he was instrumental in creating. He agreed a year ago to join Brown’s cabinet in order to ensure that the Brand was not sullied. He agreed to prop up the prime minister earlier this month in order to ensure that the Brand was not completely destroyed.

A mystery solved, then – and another shameful chapter in the New Labour saga written. The terms of the Chilcot Inquiry – already unravelling – were initially traded in return for loyalty: no more or less. Gordon revealed that more or less anything was for sale in those fateful hours; Peter revealed where his deepest loyalty still lies. And, to the huge relief of the Conservatives and dismay of many in the Labour ranks, the Brown premiership was salvaged"

Labour's response

This is the Labour party's pretty poor response to the video that the Conservatives produced yesterday which I reported here and repeat below...

Even The Guardian know the truth

Despite Gordon Brown's ever more desperate claims at PMQs, everyone knows that whoever is in power after the general election will haver to make spending cuts. The Guardian editorial today includes this:
"A Labour government would have to make cuts too to bring the deficit under control, as Alistair Darling says must happen. Mervyn King hammered home the point at Commons committee yesterday. Until Mr Brown confesses that this is true, his attacks on the opposition will always be undermined by the facts."

Three years on

Gilad Schalit was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists three years ago today, remember him in your prayers and thoughts today.

Gilad's father has said:
"My wish, today, on the 25th of June, 2009, from every person in the state, man and woman, from children to the elderly, is to close your eyes for three minutes," he told the station. "For just three minutes close your eyes and wait until those minutes pass, and during that time, try to think about what my son, Gilad, has gone through, a young man who is waiting with bated breath - not just three minutes, and not just three hours, and not even just three days, but is waiting in darkness and despair, mentally and physically tortured, to regain his freedom which was taken from him three years ago."

Which is the bigger "Business" story

The BBC's Business news page has as its top story
"Energy customers 'overcharged' - Customers are being overcharged by an average of £74 per household on their energy bills, a consumer watchdog claims."
Which is an important story, but the most important?

It's second story is
"US objects to China's net filter - The US calls on China to scrap its plan to put software that would filter pornographic internet content on its computers."
Which is interesting but hardly that important to UK citizens interested in Business news. Maybe more suited to their Technology news section.

The third most important story is that
"Woolworths returns as online shop - The Woolworths brand begins trading as an online shop, five months after the ex-High Street giant went into administration."
Again interesting but not exactly vital news.

The Other top business stories column comprise:
"Currys firm suffers £140.4m loss
BP names Svanberg as new chairman
Birthdays closures hit 750 jobs
Report critical of Rock response
Jump in H&M sales boosts profits
Toyota to review product ranges "

You have to scroll down past "Video and Audio" news reports on Woolworths again and others and then past "Features, Views, Analysis" before you find in the section "More from Business" these two reports as just headlines:
"Bank chief wants to cut borrowing
UK economy 'set to shrink faster'"

So the news that (my emphasis)
"The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has called for the government to show "greater ambition" in reducing public borrowing.

Plans set out in the Budget to cut deficits were not "clear enough", Mr King told MPs.

He said he was "more uncertain now than ever" on the prospect of the UK making a quick recovery from recession.

Mr King and other Bank of England officials were appearing before the Treasury Committee.

But the governor also said that the speed of any deficit reduction programme would depend on the speed of recovery.

"The scale of the deficit is truly extraordinary. 12.5% of GDP is not something that anybody would have anticipated even a year or two ago, and this reflects the scale of the global downturn, ," he said.

"But it also reflects the fact that we came into this crisis with fiscal policy itself on a path that wasn't itself sustainable and a correction was needed.

"There will certainly need to be a plan for the lifetime of the next parliament, contingent on the state of the economy, to show how those deficits will be brought down if the economy recovers to reach levels of deficits below those which were shown in the Budget figures." "

So the BBC deem that the news that the Governor of the Bank of England thinks that the UK deficit is too high and that the Labour government brought us "into this crisis with fiscal policy itself on a path that wasn't itself sustainable and a correction was needed" is less important than the news that Woolworths is back online and that the US and China are disagreeing over internet porn filtering.

The BBC also think that their business editor, Robert Peston, should report on "There'll be Twin Peaks pressure on George Osborne " rather than Mervyn Kings words; I wonder why?

The Iraq Inquiry must take evidence on oath

There are too many politicians and others who are ready and indeed happy to lie to the public, I can think of one who does it every week on a Wednesday. I not positive that they would not be willing to also lie under oath but if discovered their credibility would be destroyed.

Should all Airbuses be grounded?

American Chronicle reports the accident record of Airbuses and a possible cause; Composites.
"Is Composite Structural Design and Manufacturing Technology Sufficiently Mature To Be Used in Critical Structures on Passenger Aircraft?"

As someone who has a couple of Airbus flights booked for later this summer, I wish I had not read this article. I hate little Airbuses; they have dreadful leg-room and an oppressive atmosphere that is even worse than similar sized Boeing planes.

"Gold, Glad that you're bound to return"

Apparently returning to Frankfurt Airport may be a sensible move as it is to be the first airport with a 'gold to go' vending machine.
"Geissler's vending machine will sell packets containing from one gram for around €30 ($42) at present to five and ten grammes for about €245, along with Australian "Kangaroo" and Canadian "Maple Leaf" coins.

A gramme of the stuff will set customers back by 20 percent less than over the counter at a German bank, but his margin represented just "a nice and reasonable profit" compared with market rates.

Software developed by his firm updated prices every two minutes, he stressed, which meant "we will have nearly a real time price compared with the London gold market.""
I wonder why Germany would be such a good place to sell gold? Would it be because of their experience of hyper-inflation in the last global depression? Regardless of what Gordon Brown foolishly said at PMQs yesterday, inflation will be back and when it returns it will be quicker and bigger than almost anyone believes possible.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Now I see why Gordon Brown and John Bercow get on so well together

It's their sunny dispositions and natural bonhomie, obviously.

Thanks to Iain Dale for the video spot.

An interview that bears listening to

An interview that bears listening to in the one with Michael Mates on tonight's Radio 4 The World Tonight". Fascinating and if what he said so matter of factly is true then the new Iraq war inquiry could be very very interesting in what it tells us about how Tony Blair and Gordon Brown ran the Cabinet at that time.

An empty main residence, now how can that be?

I just can't think of an explanation for this series of events.

Labour MPs Ann and Alan Keen claim £137,679 for a second home near Parliament, declaring their main home to be Brentford, a massive 10 miles from the Houses of Parliament.

Now Hounslow Council have written to the troughing couple telling them that "urgent action" is needed to explain why their main home in Brentford is unoccupied. Apparently they "have been given a month to stop their local council repossessing their home... If the council does not get a satisfactory response from the Keens, it then has the power to issue an Empty Dwelling Management Order which would allow the council to take possession of the property and bring it back into use."

I just don't understand what this all means...

Another Damian McBride question at PMQs this week

Following last week's question regarding Damian McBride and the rumours that he had been in correspondence with Downing Street since his official leaving, a story which I covered here and here, I was surprised to hear the question raised again today.

This time it was Conservative MP James Duddridge (Rochford and Southend, East) who asked:
"Can the Prime Minister confirm whether he has had any correspondence, email, telephone calls or texts from Damian McBride since the day he resigned? And just to clear up the confusion there seems to be around this, could he write to the Parliamentary Standards Authority confirming the answer to this question?"
Now Gordon Brown's reply was odd, he started with what seemed like a firm denial, as he did last week:
"The answer is no"
But the answer to which question was no? Is Gordon Brown saying no he has received no such correspondence from Damian McBride or no he won't write to the Parliamentary Standards Authority? It can't be no to the first and yes to the second as that would require a no and a yes answer. So why won't Gordon Brown put in writing that he has received no correspondence from Damian McBride?

Even more oddly Gordon Brown then went on the attack as he indignantly, and rhetorically, asked the House:
"But isn't it amazing when we're discussing Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and all the major issues that a backbencher can reduce himself to asking a question that was asked last week?"

Does Gordon Brown think that he and the cabal that surrounds him should be able to decide what questions the opposition MPs are allowed to ask as well as what questions Labour MPs may ask? I suppose that when your party is "the political wing of the British people" then surely it should decide what may or may not be asked of it...

The repetition of this specific question about Damian McBride either means that there is a bit of fishing going on or that someone, somewhere has some sort of "proof" that there has been correspondence of some sort between Damian McBride and Downing Street. If it is the latter then next week's PMQs may provide the answer...

Hansard reports the exchange thus: "James Duddridge (Rochford and Southend, East) (Con): Can the Prime Minister confirm whether he has had any correspondence, e-mail, telephone calls or texts from Damian McBride since the day he resigned, and just to clear up the confusion that there seems to be around this issue, will he write to the Parliamentary Standards Authority confirming the answer to this question?

The Prime Minister: The answer is no, but is it not amazing when we are discussing Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and other major issues that a Back Bencher can reduce himself to re-asking a question that was asked last week?"

Here's Bruno

Bruno and friends at the Brandenberg Gate, Berlin.

"...and that is not going to be allowed to happen"

What a curious turn of phrase that was that Gordon Brown used at the end of his "answer" to David Cameron's sixth question at PMQs today.
"These are exactly the public services the Conservatives would cut, and they would cut by 10% savagely; and that is not going to be allowed to happen"
"Not going to be allowed to happen"; what does Gordon Brown mean by that?

"Not going to be allowed to happen"; if the Conservatives look like winning a general election will Gordon Brown not allow that election to happen?

"Not going to be allowed to happen"; do Gordon Brown and his gang have plans ready to prevent the Conservatives from ever taking power again?

You can read the exchange in Hansard here although they report the threat thus:
"Those are exactly the public services that the Conservatives would cut savagely, by 10 per cent. That is not going to be allowed to happen."

The Conservative party ups the rhetoric

Has any major UK political party ever before openly called the Prime Minister of the day a liar? I can't think of an occasion but then this is a very special type of Prime Minister.

The forty fourth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

This week goes to The Telegraph and anyone else who believed that Kimberley Vlaminck had fallen asleep whilst being tattooed. As The Telegraph reveals today:
"the 18-year-old has finally confessed she did not fall asleep, that she wanted all the stars and was "fully aware" of what Mr Toumaniantz was doing. Ms Vlaminck told a Dutch TV crew: "I asked for 56 stars and initially adored them. But when my father saw them, he was furious. So I said I fell asleep and the that the tattooist made a mistake."

So an 18 year old girl made up the story to protect herself from an angry father... "No shit, Sherlock"

Maximum transparency?

Last week Gordon Brown promised that under the new system, MPs expenses would be released under "maximum transparency".

Yesterday Harriet Harman said that "only the barest minimum” of information would be redacted from the next set of expenses. I believe this was to include telephone numbers and credit card bills as examples of data which should continue to be withheld.

Today the truth seems to be that addresses of properties will also be redacted so "flipping" and other address based fraudulent activity will be hidden from the electorate.

Would Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman even recognise the truth if it got up and said "Hello, I'm the truth"?

And all must be equal...

"THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April, for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn’t think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’t think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel’s cheeks, but she’d forgotten for the moment what they were about."

You can read the rest of Kurt Vonnegut's 1961 short story "Harrison Bergeron" here, and then wonder where the left's obsession with equality might really lead us...

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Nice sense of humour Mr Obama

Barack Obama laughing as Wanda Sykes "jokes" that she hopes Rush Limbaugh's kidneys fail, compares Rush Limbaugh him to an Islamic terrorist and says Mr Limbaugh needs waterboarding. Hysterical, absolutely hysterical; Wilipedia says Wanda Sykes "is known for her blunt comedic observations on current events"; I say - no I'd better not...

Met Office propaganda

The Met Office's UK Climate Projections include a "big picture set of "facts", shall we take a look at these "facts"?

1. Climate change is happening and humans are contributing to it.

2. Temperatures are continuing to rise.

3. The current climate change is not just part of a natural cycle.

4. Recent warming cannot be explained by the Sun or natural factors alone.

5. If we continue emitting greenhouse gases this warming will continue and delaying action will make the problem more difficult to fix.

6. Climate models predict the main features of future climate.

Wow, that's an impressive list of facts. Let's look at the proof shall we.

The proof of the first fact that "Climate change is happening and humans are contributing to it" is a pair of graphs that conveniently end in the year 2000. Is there no more current data than that? What has happened since 2000?

The proof of the second fact that "Temperatures are continuing to rise" is a graph showing ever more rapidly increasing temperatures. This is an interesting graph as it shows a drop in temperatures between 1940 and 1950 and slow increases up until 1980. Interesting as that was the period when the increase in CO2 production was at its largest; the world fought a war with massively increased industrialisation and followed the war with a huge further spurt in industrialisation. All that extra CO2 and the temperature dropped and then rose slowly, isn't that odd?

I could debunk the rest of the "facts" but I have work to do. What I will do is point you to four websites that may prove of interest as an antidote to the Met Office's propaganda:

1. Greenie Watch - pay particular attention to the piece headed "Latest British climate predictions are a joke"

2. Climate Feedback - You may be interested to read that:
"But while the projections were originally slated for release last November, an independent committee was convened at the eleventh hour to check out the methodology.

Oxford climatologist Myles Allen was on the committee, and he’s concerned that the results stretch the science beyond its current capabilities. His main worry is that as recently as 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change didn’t think that climate variables could be reliably resolved at spatial scales beyond a couple of 1000kms. And no research published since has challenged that view. "

3. Climate Audit - This is Steve McIntyre's fascinating site and has plenty of graphs (and accurate ones at that) to pore over. Be warned the science is always there so you will need to concentrate, but the truth is not always as easy to understand as the spin.

4. Suface Stations is a site that covers many matters related to the subject of the questionable reliability of the data on which the "science" of climate change is based. maybge a good place to start would be with their page devoted to badly sited measuring equipment. If the equipment is sited badly (and by badly I mean near air-conditioning equipment, barbecues, asphalt surfaces, carparks etc.) then how can the data be relied upon?

Take a look at these sites, read around the subject and discover that the science is not as cut and dried as we are being told it is. Then you can start to wonder why governments, government agencies and super-governmental bodies are so keen to convince us that Climate Change is real, urgent and at least partly preventable.

An Iranian oops that just didn't get reported as widely as it should

AFP reported that:
"Iran's envoy to the UN atomic watchdog caused a buzz among journalists on Wednesday when he apparently misspoke and said his country had the right to a nuclear weapon.

After saying as usual that Iran was only pursuing nuclear energy for civilian purposes, Ali Asghar Soltanieh strayed alarmingly from the Islamic republic's usual line.

"The whole Iranian nation are united... on (the) inalienable right of (having a) nuclear weapon," the envoy to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency said.

He later got back on track, concluding: "We will not deprive our great nation from benefitting from peaceful uses of nuclear energy.""
The Agreed "narrative" is that Iran is not really looking to produce nuclear weapons so the main news media ignored the story.

Deliberately inaccurate charts? Why would the Met Office mislead the public?

The Met Office have produced an easy to use front end to their UK Climate Projections 2009 report. Included is a "How the climate might change in your region" piece of flash programming. This purports to give you graphical data to show how temperature and rainfall may change. I have looked at the London graphs and they are woefully inaccurate:

Average Annual Rainfall is predicted to fall from 640mm to 639mm, a minuscule change but the graph seems to show around a 5% fall.

Average Winter Rainfall is predicted to rise from 157mm to 180mm, a 12.8% increase but the graph seems to show a near doubling of rainfall.

Average Wettest Winter Day is predicted to increase from 14mm to 16mm, a 14.3% increase but the graph seems to show around a 25% increase.

Average Annual Temperature is predicted to rise from 11° to 13°, an increase of 18% and this graph seems to show around that degree of increase.

Average Warmest Summers day is predicted to rise from 31° to 33°, an increase of 6.5% but the graph seems to show around a 25% increase.

So on the five graphs I examined for one region only one was broadly correct, one shows around twice the rate of change, one around four times the rate of change, one around eight times the rate of change and one around 500 times the rate of change.

Why the discrepancy between figures and graphs? Do the Met Office not understand how to accurately present graphical data? Have they deliberately missed out the Y-axis figures so as to exaggerate the changes predicted? If they cannot present results accurately then why should I trust their figures?

Neda Soltani (update)

I hear that the Iranian government have sent out a circular to mosques banning collective prayers for Neda Soltani, the woman shot by a basij member apparently hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house.

Classy, very classy the Iranian government. Maybe Neda Soltani will become the "call" for freedom in Iran.

The house that "tweets"

An interesting home automation and reporting system linked to Twitter. Something tells me that the BBC journalist does not have a technology background, some really dumb questions.

Quentin Letts on the Labour plot to get John Bercow installed as Speaker

Before it became clear that maybe as few as three Conservative MPs voted for John Bercow to be Speaker it was clear to many that the Labour plot to install one of their own as Speaker would succeed. Quentin Letts in The Mail writes:
"There he stood in the big green Chair, puffed up like an amphibian that had scoffed too many vol au vents. ‘My first thought at this time,’ he said from Parliament's bully pulpit, ‘is, as you will understand, of...’ He was going to mention his wife but at this point a female voice from the Tory benches shouted: ‘Your wages.’

The same female voice - Nadine Dorries? - heckled the Father of the House when he announced Mr Bercow's ‘election as Speaker’. The voice cried: ‘As a Labour Speaker!’

Rancour, partisanship, a figure whose political philosophy dodges round the place like a bouncy ball: yes, folks, the House of cheats and nodding oil derricks just got its perfect Speaker. They went and did the impossible. They voted for someone who could be even worse than Gorbals Mick!

Large parts of the Tory benches refused to clap his election and they looked thoroughly sickened, sitting with arms crossed and shaking their heads. Real, gut-churning hatred. Little Squeaker Bercow has his work cut out....

The response among mainstream Tory MPs? I write this having just finished speaking to one. Sickened by Labour's support for a philosophical chameleon on the grounds that he was the ultimate non-Conservative, he called Mr Bercow's election ‘the worst sort of bloody political shenanigans’. There is determination among such people that that another election for Speaker be held at the start of the next Parliament.

Mr Bercow's little helpers, by then, may be thinner on the ground. He may find himself sailing out of that Chair faster than a lump of mashed potato off a schoolboy's fork."

Here's hoping that Labour's latest dirty trick proves as long lasting and incompetently implemented as most of their others have recently.

Some thoughts on John Bercow as Speaker

Wikipedia describe the role of the Speaker and add
"Conventionally, the Speaker remains non-partisan, and renounces all affiliation with his former political party when taking office."
Somehow I don't think that John Bercow will find it all difficult to renounce his affiliation with the Conservative party.

The same Wikipedia article also records that the convention of not opposing a sitting Speaker seems to be one that in recent times has been followed by Conservatives not Labour:
"In General Elections, it is customary for the Speaker to stand without party affiliation. Since parties began being listed on ballot papers, the Speaker's affiliation is shown as "Speaker seeking re-election". In the past few decades, the Conservatives have not stood against Speakers seeking re-election, regardless of their previous political affiliation. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have stood against ex-Conservative Speakers, but not against ex-Labour ones. Plaid Cymru also stood against the Speaker in 1979. Most recently, in 2001 and 2005, the only major party to oppose the ex-Labour Speaker Michael Martin was the Scottish National Party. In the House"
Once again conventions are there for Conservatives to follow and so be restricted and Labour to ignore and so be free. My message to the Conservative party is to stop playing the game by the rules and to realise that Labour fight dirty, and I am afraid, so must the Conservatives.

An urban myth

The BBC Today programme at 08:22 contained a piece billed thus:
"British number one Andy Murray will begin his Wimbledon campaign against American Robbie Kendrick. But is Andy Murray British or is he Scottish? Is it important? Author AL Kennedy ponders whether the definition could change according to his fortunes."
This was the usual, albeit better phrased than normal, piece that explained that when it was unimportant he would be a Scot, when important and winning British and if he eventually lost, a Scot again. This is of course total rubbish. It is a line that has been pushed by the BBC, and others, for some years now and just is not true. As an example, Colin Jackson's Welshness was always to the fore of descriptions of him; whether he was breaking the 110m hurdles world record, winning World Championships or being beaten by Roger Kingdon in the Seoul Olympic final. In Colin Jackson's case maybe his Welshness was over-emphasised as it is believed that he declined to run for Wales in the 1998 Commonwealth Games, preferring to earn some money by running in an event in Tokyo instead. Greg Rusedski's Canadian heritage seemed to be more remarked upon when he was winning than when he lost. It was as if the media wanted to remind us that he wasn't really British if he looked like doing well.

I could go on and on and on, but suffice it to say that in this, as in so many cases, the truth is the diametric opposite of that which the BBC like to pretend.

Does the BBC assume we are all as dumbed down as they would portray us?

The BBC's 07:45 piece on the release of the "War Book" by Sanchia Berg contained an interview with David Young who admitted he had made the joke on a Thursday, that saw the war game move to the start of nuclear warm with the phrase "Sic transit gloria Thursday".

Surely those of intelligence and education would have immediately have got the joke, and those who didn't might have been spurred to look it up and so educate themselves. However this is the new dumbed down BBC, so Sanchia Berg felt she had to explain that it was a joke based on the Latin phrase "sic transit gloria mundi" and that that meant "Thus passes the glory of the world".

It is odd that the BBC seem to believe that they have to explain a very well known piece of Latin profundity to Radio 4 listeners but that everyone listening to 5Live knows every intricacy of the offside rule.

Monday 22 June 2009

William Rees Mogg explains Labour's dilemma over when to call an election

William Rees Mogg explains Labour's dilemma over when to call an election and just like Daniel Hannan he believes its EU related.

"Lisbon is genuinely a federalising treaty, a rewriting of the European constitutional treaty, which was rejected by France and the Netherlands in their national referendums. The treaty transfers power from national parliaments to the Brussels bureaucracy and would make Britain a province of a European state with a European president. The British do not support such a treaty, but have never had the opportunity to vote on it. October 2009 would be the best window of opportunity for Labour. Will Labour sacrifice their best election chance to protect the Lisbon treaty?"

So it's Bercow

So the Labour party leadership look like getting the tame Tory Speaker they always wanted, the chance to pretend that the Speaker is a Conservative not a CINO (Conservative In Name Only) and John Bercow gets a nice fat salary and juicy pension.

Maybe I should stand against John Bercow at the general election, it'd be fun to see him be out of a job in under a year.

Political Betting think that it isn't done and dusted. Oh to see the faces of the Labour left when they see an old-Etonian Conservative leader, an old-Etonian London Mayor and an old-Etonian Speaker. Why do they obsess over educational history.

Unfortunately it is John Bercow, not a lot of resistance as he is "dragged" to the Speaker's chair.

NotaSheep's conclusion - He cannot be as bad as the despicable, biased and inept Michael Martin was, nor as bad and as biased as Margaret Beckett would have been. I just hope that at PMQs on Wednesday John Bercow actually shows some backbone and warns Gordon Brown for lying to the House if he does so.

The first in a series? Somehow I doubt it.

The BBC analyse "The Tories' new EU allies" with all the emphasis that you would expect on accusations of homophobia and racism. I presume that the BBC will follow this report with one on Labour's allies:
"the majority of the Democratic Left Alliance MEPs (Labour’s Polish sister party, allies in the Party of European Socialists (PES) in the European Parliament) were Communist Party members in the 1980s. The Czech Social Democrat MEPs also include a number of people who were active Communists in the 1980s. Mr Bogdan Golik of Samoobrona is a member of the PES. Samoobrona are a populist nationalist left wing party led by the former farmer Andrzej Lepper. Andrzej Lepper rose to prominence by populist grand-standing. He once accused the liberal conservative Civic Platform of having met members of the Taliban in a small Polish village to sell them anthrax. He is said to have worked with the anti-Semitic publisher Leszek Bubel (Stephen Roth Centre). At one point Jean Marie le Pen was his role model (ibid.). He has even, in a qualified way, praised Hitler. He said he ‘At the beginning of his activities, Hitler had a really good programme. He put Germany on its feet and eliminated unemployment … I don’t know what happened to him later ... who had such influence over him that he moved toward genocide’ (Zycie Warszawy, quoted in the Financial Times, 15 April 2004)."

How about the LibDems? I presume the BBC will report
"They sit in the same group in the European Parliament as Latvia’s First Party/Latvian Way. They have demonstrated against gay pride parades in Riga, attempted to ban discussion of gay issues in the media (Agence France Presse, 7 September 2006) and have used exceptionally violent language against homosexuality - one of their leading figures, Janis Smits, whom they succeeded in appointing as Latvia’s human rights commissioner, described homosexuality as a ‘plague’ (Guardian, G2, 1 June 2007). They were re-elected to the European Parliament in 2009. The LibDems are also allied to extreme feminists: In the last European Parliament the Liberal Democrats sat in the same group as the Swedish Feminist Initiative, who believe that marriage is a form of male oppression and so should be banned and that there should be a special tax on men to recompense women for the violence men exclusively inflict on society."

Thanks to Iain Dale for the analysis of Labour and LibDem friends.

Neda Soltani

A previously unknown woman has unfortunately become an internet star. Neda Soltani was protesting in Tehran when she was shot by a basij member apparently hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house.

This video shows Neda Soltani being shot:

This more disturbing video shows her bloodied body and should not be watched by the squeamish:

This video shows Neda Soltani at the protest before she was shot:

I hope that Neda Soltani did not die in vain and that the weak light of freedom is allowed to light up the dark heart of Iran.

Who really is Barack Obama?

World Net Daily have a lot of questions and no real hope of getting them answered.

The Speaker election

First round results:
Stay in:
John Bercow 179
Sir George Young 112
Margaret Beckett 74
Sir Alan Haselhurst 66
Sir Alan Beith 55
Anne Widdecombe 44

Probably Drop out as less than 5%:
Parmjit Dhanda 26
Richard Shepherd 15
Sir Patrick Cormack 13
Sir Michael Lord 9

No huge surprises in the order but Margaret Beckett seems to have received fewer votes than I expected and Sir George Young more. John Bercow got 30% of the vote and unless there is a tactical switch by Margaret Beckett's supporters at an early stage to prevent Sir George Young winning then I expect Sir Alan Beith and Anne Widdecombe to drop out next. If Margaret Beckett's supporters do work this tactical switch then John Bercow would have 42% add in 20 or so from those who dropped out and he's at 46%, so at least one more round looks necessary.

Now who will get the four dropped out candidates votes? I would imagine that a high proportion of Sir Michael Lord and Sir Patrick Cormack's votes will move to Sir Alan Haselhurst or Sir George Young. Ricahrd Shepherd's supporters are harder to predict as are Parmjit Dhanda's.

When Sir Alan Beith and Anne Widdecombe drop out I expect Sir George Young to pick up more votes than Margaret Beckett or John Bercow.