Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Do you want to bet £50 Gordon?

What do you say Gordon, "of course"; £50 says you won't...

Climate Change the con uncovered

"The scary red line shooting upwards is the one Al Gore, Michael Mann, Keith Briffa and their climate-fear-promotion chums would like you to believe in. The black one, heading downwards, represents scientific reality."

This should be the chart that shows Climate Change to be as factual as leprechauns.

It would seem that much Climate Change "research" has been based on less than accurate or honest science. In a nutshell the same small rigged samples have been used over and over again to produce highly questionable results.

For more detail I recommend:
For a seriously good article that draws together science and much of the history that I have covered previously I recommend James Delingpole in The Telegraph. It is this article that provides the quotation I used under the graph at the top of this blog piece.
For highly technical I recommend Watts Up With This where Steve McIntyre explains the science and statistics.
For a decent but not too technical explanation try The Register

I leave you with the words of Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson when he appeared in front of the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year:
"There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth’s temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.” Patterson asked the committee, “On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century’s modest warming?"

Prof Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and "hundreds of other studies" reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth’s temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun.

The end of the line for Gordon Brown?

When James Naughtie gives Gordon Brown a relatively hard time in an interview, as he did on the Today programme this morning, it looks that Gordon Brown's time may be up. However this does not mean that the BBC is moving, like The Sun, from supporting Labour to the Conservatives. What it may mean is that the BBC has realised that the best way of keeping the Conservatives out is to have Gordon Brown replaced by a more (could there be a less) congenial and credible Labour leader. When James "When we win the election" Naughtie is anything other than totally supportive, is there any hope for Gordon Brown?

One might almost feel sorry for Gordon Brown were he not a complete and another disaster for this country.

Two final words on the Today interview this morning; first that Gordon Brown just trotted out his favourite lines from previous years, it was like listening to a Gordon Brown tribute act. Second that for once I agree with Gordon Brown, Labour are like "insurgents", seemingly dedicated to the destruction of the UK economy.

The Sun deserts the Labour party

The headlines this morning revolve around the Sun newspaper's decision to drop support for Gordon Brown's Labour rabble and start supporting David Cameron's Conservatives. The announcement is being given much coverage because The Sun newspaper likes to portray itself as the paper that decides elections. In truth The Sun follows the electorate as much as it leads them, Rupert Murdoch always likes to be on the winning side but it does have a role to play in helping to mould the perceptions of its readership. Any newspaper that could convince the working man that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were honest decent men could persuade their readership of almost anything.

Labour are claiming that they don't care about the newspapers. Remember this is the political party that set out to control the media agenda from the mid 1990s and only now are finally losing control. "The Grid" is all but a busted flush, just like its masters - Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell.

In truth this decision has been a long time coming. Post the 2005 election afterglow, The Sun has been moving from supporting Labour to Conservative since late 2007 and I have been reporting this move here. It started with turning against Gordon Brown as the perception of him changed from prudent economic mastermind to wasteful incompetent.
In November 2007 I blogged
"Today it seems as though the Sun newspaper maybe about to turn on Gordon Brown, the hints have been there before but today that point is noticeably closer."

In March 2008 The Sun was still able to report seriously that:
"GORDON Brown today gives Britain his personal guarantee he will save the nation from financial meltdown....“My guarantee to the British people is that we will hold on to stability in these latest tough times."

In May 2008 I reported on a Trevor Kavanagh Sun column that seemed to echo one of my own and I concluded
"I am glad that Rupert Murdoch's tabloid paper is finally turning against Gordon Brown and the Labour party. Maybe the powers that be realise that Labour are a dead duck party. Read the whole article it's not the article that a Labour supporting paper would carry."

In August 2008 I reported The Sun comments that
"Gordon Brown has a reputation for dithering. He has added to it this week. And by doing so he has made David Cameron look like a credible leader."

In February I blogged that The Sun was about to swap sides and that
"today is not a moment too soon for Mr Brown to say sorry to the British people.

And walk out of Downing Street for good." I concluded "If it was indeed "the Sun what won it" in 1992 then I wonder if it will be again in 2009/2010. "

In March I concluded that
"Rupert Murdoch is moving his forces away from New Labour and that is the biggest signal that he has read the mood of the Country and he is moving to align himself with winners not losers. "

In May I wrote
"The Sun newspaper will never be behind the curve if it can help it so today's article entitled "Give Britain an election... now" is a real end of the line for Gordon Brown and the Labour Party."

Later in May I reported on Nick Robinson's claim that
"The Tory leader has struggled to get much attention for his call for a general election to elect a new Parliament to go along with a new Speaker. This, despite the fact that he is working in partnership with the Sun. "

In June I blogged about another Trevor Kavanagh article that included this call
"If you are a jaded but loyal Labour supporter, sitting on your backside is a form of protest, too. But as this newspaper argues today, the best way to get your message home - at least on Europe - is by using your ballot paper and voting Tory."

Finally in June I blogged about The Sun's reporting of the chaos as the heart of the Labour government
"George Pascoe-Watson has really turned on Labour with today's piece:

"LABOUR was in chaos over spending last night after accusing the Tories of planning cuts — only to admit they will have to do the same.

Children’s secretary Ed Balls said Labour would INCREASE spending on schools and hospitals after 2011 by cutting payments to other areas like defence.

But he was slapped down by one of his own Cabinet colleagues — with Deputy Chancellor Liam Byrne saying Mr Balls had no “crystal ball” and was WRONG to make the guarantee.

The amazing clash came as Labour was accused of LYING over its plans. "


"Climate change is the biggest threat facing the polar bear. A reduction in sea ice makes access to prey more difficult for polar bears and means many cannot put on enough weight to survive the summer season."
I thought polar bear numbers were increasing...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

What if the Twitter 140 character limit was extended to real life?

Thanks to Funktards for the spot.

The funding industry

The BBC are excited to report that:
"Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, the top secret code-breaking hub of World War II, has been awarded nearly £500,000 of lottery funds.

The development money from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help the historic site become a world heritage and educational centre.

It is the first step towards a target of £10m to completely revamp the site. "
That's odd I thought, why would the money come in two tranches; first £500,000 then £10,000,000? Bletchley Park News seems to have the answer:
"The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given the green light to the Bletchley Park Trust to work up plans to help transform Bletchley Park into a world class heritage and educational centre it was announced today. Development funding of £460,500 was awarded to help progress their plans.
The HLF first-round pass* means that the Bletchley Park Trust can now progress to the second stage of the HLF application process. They have up to two years to submit more detailed plans and apply for approximately £4.1 million of HLF support that they are seeking for their £10 million project.


*A first-round pass means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and they believe it has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals.

However, a first-round pass does not guarantee the applicant will receive a grant as the second-round application will still be in competition for funding, and no money is set aside at this stage. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.
On occasion an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme."

Am I right in my reading that the £460,000 is to fund the application for the £10,000,000 of funding? Does it really cost that much to fill in an application form and send a business plan? How much is this funding acquirement industry worth per annum? What percentage of Heritage Lottery Fund money is spent on such funding compared to what is spent on actual projects?

A DNA databse of everyone is a good thing but identifying physical features breach human rights?

You know the arguments advanced in favour of the DNA database so why did Nottinghamshire police refuse "to take the man's distinctive birthmark into account - in case it infringed his human rights"?

The fifty fifth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

This week's winner is the former footballer Dwight Yorke who has described his former partner Katie Price/Jordan as 'vain and infuriating'.

"No shit, Sherlock".

Gordon Brown's record

Edward Heathcoat Amory in The Mail points out the truth about "What has Gordon Brown got to show for 12 years in power?". Here's an extract:
"Twelve years ago, Gordon Brown rose, brimming with self-confidence, to deliver his first Budget speech to the Commons as New Labour's Chancellor of the

Today, as he fights for his political life with a make-or-break speech to the Labour Conference, we look back at what Mr Brown said ... and whether he delivered.

THEN: 'The Chancellor is first and foremost the guardian of the public finances – the people's money ... Public finances must be sustainable over the long term ... I will ensure an historic break from the short-termism and expediency that have characterised the recent fiscal policies of our country.'

NOW: This year Britain will borrow £225billion, and Labour plans to increase the national debt to £1.4trillion by 2013. It has yet to set out proposals for cutting spending.

THEN: 'The objective behind our two-year-long corporate tax review has been to develop a tax system that encourages personal savings.'

NOW: The savings ratio – the percentage of our income that Britons save for the future - fell from often over 10 per cent under the Tories to 2 per cent and lower during the last few years of Labour government as ministers destroyed all the Tory tax incentives for saving.

THEN: 'Many pension funds are in substantial surplus ... so this is the right time to undertake a long-needed reform ... with immediate effect I propose to abolish tax credits paid to pension funds and companies.'

NOW: This reckless pensions tax grab is calculated to have knocked £100billion off
the value of British pensions and contributed to death of the final-salary scheme – in the private sector at least."
Read the whole piece and have it to hand when Gordon Brown gets up to deliver his speech to Conference, full of the usual 'brownies' and unsubstantiated attacks on Conservative policy.

The wise elder statesman - Neil Kinnock

Following Neil Kinnock's interview with James Naughtie this morning explaining so reasonably how wonderful Gordon Brown is, I thought people should be reminded of Neil Kinnock in full intellectual flow some years ago. Do also note how James "If we win the election" Naughtie tries to help him out and gives him a second go at the whole interview before broadcast.

You can hear the interview here.

I wonder if James "If we win the election" Naughtie would take the same line now with David Cameron as he did then with Neil Kinnock?
" you said quite rightly, look it's not our problem, we wouldn't be here if we'd been imposing our policies for the last five years, it's up to them."

Bolstering Brown

Take a listen to the 07:44 piece on the Today programme with Neil Kinnock. It was billed as
"One opinion poll has put Labour in third place behind the Liberal Democrats. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under pressure to make the speech of his life to rally support within the party. Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, who had his own painful tussles with the electorate, discusses how to change the opinion of those who do not warm to a leader."
and was a very soft interview allowing Neil Kinnock free reign to make the most absurd assertions about Gordon Brown's abilities without any real challenge. Gordon Brown was we were told the right man to deal with the Country's economic problems, the fact that Gordon Brown was the man who caused most of them with his stoking of debt in order to engineer an endless boom was ignored. Listening to James Naughtie and Neil Kinnock chat away it was clear that the BBC is in 'bolster Brown' mode and will remain so right up until the Labour party elect a new leader.

I wonder if, on the morning of David Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party conference, the Today programme will have an interview with a Tory grandee who will be given five minutes to explain why David Cameron is best suited to being Prime Minister. I doubt it but even if there was such an interview I wonder whether the Today presenter will be as amenable to the assertions being made as James "If we win the election" Naughtie was today.

An odd choice of emphasis

Take a read of this BBC article and wonder at the way that the Palestinian view is taken as the truth and only the Israeli view questioned.


The BBC report that:
"Gordon Brown is ready to debate with David Cameron on TV not just during the general election campaign but before it, the BBC understands."
I wonder is that connected with the latest Ipsos Mori survey that puts the Conservatives on 36%, Labour on 24% and the Liberal Democrats on 25%.

Desperate times mean desperate measures; after all what has Gordon got left to lose?

Monday, 28 September 2009

Why Gordon Brown thinks Labour should be re-elected

Gordon Brown and his chums seem to think that the government that got us into this economic disaster should be the ones trusted to get us out of it. Why?

If Labour now claim that can cut spending and leave front-line services untouched, then are they not tacitly admitting they have been wasting money for the last twelve years, otherwise why was the waste not cut years ago, or even better not allowed to build up in the first place.

An anniversary missed

The news that Iran has test launched some more ballistic missiles and has at least one more nuclear enrichment plant than had previously admitted reminds me that today is the anniversary (in the Jewish calendar) of the Yom Kippur war.

In 1973 on Yom Kippur (6 October that year) the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, the day when all Jews are meant to fast and spend the day in solemn repentance, Egypt and Syria opened a coordinated surprise attack against Israel. Many Israeli soldiers had gone home for the holiday and Israel was more vulnerable than normal with much of its military on leave.The equivalent of the total forces of NATO in Europe were mobilized on Israel's borders. On the Golan Heights, approximately 180 Israeli tanks faced an onslaught of 1,400 Syrian tanks. Along the Suez Canal, 436 Israeli defenders were attacked by 80,000 Egyptians. The armies of Egypt and Syria were assisted by around 18,000 Iraqi soldiers and sundry Iraqi MIG jets. 3,000 Saudi troops assisted the Syrian defence and a small number of Kuwaiti soldiers participated. Libya had been funding the Egyptian armed forces for a few years prior to the attack, allegedly to the tune of $1 billion. Other North African countries responded to Arab and Soviet calls to aid the Egypt and Syria: Algeria sent three aircraft squadrons of fighters and bombers, an armoured brigade and 150 tanks, approximately 1,000-2,000 Tunisian soldiers were positioned in the Nile Delta, Sudan stationed 3,500 troops in southern Egypt, and Morocco sent three brigades to the front lines, including 2,500 men to Syria. In addition, Lebanese radar units were used by Syrian air defence forces and the Lebanon also allowed Palestinian terrorists to shell Israeli civilian settlements from its territory. Palestinians fought on the Southern Front with the Egyptians and Kuwaitis. Even the Jordanian armed forces participated albeit reluctantly in the war on Israel. It is belived that Pakistan and Cuba sent troops to join in the destruction of the Jewish state.

The United Nations kept very quiet when the Arabs armies, supported by the Soviet Union invaded Israel. In fact the UN kept quiet right until Israel turned the war around, pushed Syria and Egypt back and had isolated the Egyptian Third Army and were in a position to advance on Damascus. Then the UN called for a ceasefire.

You may find it interesting that October 6 is a national holiday in Egypt called Armed Forces Day, it is a national holiday in Syria as well. There is also a 6th October Bridge in Cairo and the cities 6th of October City and 10th of Ramadan City.

There is not a word about the anniversary of Yom Kippur war on the BBC news website, maybe they will commemorate it with some anti-Israel articles on 6 October.

State control it's what 'fascists' love

News this weekend:
a) Passengers from England landing in Scotland are being asked to show their passports 'as part of the fight against terrorism'
b) Two working mothers have been banned from looking after each other's toddlers because they are not registered childminders
c) Adults who look after friends’ children on a regular basis are being forced to register with Ofsted under new legislation. They must complete a criminal record check, learn first aid, take a childcare course and even follow Labour’s “nappy curriculum” for under-fives
d) A mother-of-two was threatened with arrest for theft and criminal damage after weeding out a dead flower from a council-owned border

State control it's what fascists love and this government are more akin to fascists than any UK government that have gone before.

Iran - Two completely unrelated stories

News that the Iranians have been building a secret nuclear reprocessing plant near the 'holy city' of Qom and that Iran has tested two short-range missiles and announced plans for a controversial long-range missile test are of course completely unconnected.

Gordon Brown's Andrew Marr interview on Sunday - the health bit

The above is the 'health question' extract.

This is what I blogged on Sunday and note that the video shows that Gordon Brown, despite his claim, did not answer the question about painkillers or "pills to help them get through".

The transcript of the interview can be found here. Here's the relevant part (my emphasis):

If you were an American president, we would know all about your medical history. You were asked in the States about your eyesight, and I think the reason you were asked is because people were wondering whether that would be a reason for standing down at some point. Let me ask you about something else which everybody has been talking about out there in the Westminster village, which a lot of people in this country use prescription painkillers and pills to help them get through. Are you one of those people?


No. I think this is the sort of questioning that is …


It's a fair question, I think.


… is all too often entering the lexicon of British politics. I have had very serious problems with my eye. I lost my eyesight playing rugby. I had three major operations and they could not save my sight. I then had exactly the same thing happen to my second eye. I had the same retinal detachment, I had the same fear therefore that I would lose the sight in that eye, and I had to get a very big operation to deal with that. And every year of course I have to check, as I did only a few days ago, that my eyesight is good and there has been absolutely no deterioration in my eyesight and I think people should be absolutely clear that although …


(over) What about my other question?


I answered your other question. Although I have problems with my eyes and it has been very difficult over the years, I think people understand that you can do a job and you can work hard. And I think it would be a terrible, terrible indictment of our political system if you thought that because someone had this medical issue, they couldn't do the job. So, Andrew, I think these questions, these questions - of course you might be right to ask them, but I think when people ask questions about these things, particularly about my eyesight, I feel that I have done everything to show people that I can do the job even with the handicap that I've had as a result of a rugby injury. "

Gordon Brown quite clearly did not answer Andrew Marr's other question and so the Prime Minister of the UK quite clearly lied.

Was Gordon Brown that swift to take revenge

Barely hours after Peter Mandelson said he would be willing to serve under a Conservative government for the good of the Country, I read that
"Business Secretary Lord Mandelson was initially refused entry to the Labour Party conference in Brighton because of a problem with his security pass.

A security guard called a police sergeant to verify his credentials, BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg said.

Lord Mandelson had to wait 10 minutes at the conference's security entrance before he was allowed to enter. "

That'll teach him to upset Gordon.

The new 'Chuckle Brothers'?

Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson seem to be looking forward to alternative careers in stand-up comedy. Just this weekend we have had Gordon Brown semi-pre-announcing that he will introduce a bill to commit all future governments to reduce the UK debt; that's really rather amusing since he's the moron who constructed an economic boom on the foundations of public and private debt. We also learned that Peter Mandelson would be willing to put his unique talents and “experience at the disposal of the country” should the Conservatives win the general election.

Has, ha, ha, ha; well it would be funny were it not for the fact that these two have another eight months to ruin the UK even more than they already have.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Letter of the week

"SIR, For the benefit of his party conference next week and for the rest of us, could Gordon Brown complete the following sentence: "I claimed £36 per month for a Sky Sports package that was wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred for the performance of my parliamentary duties because..."
David Saunders
Sidmouth, Devon"

From Saturdays Telegraph

Odd Google searches (and others)

I have ceased to be surprised to see that every day at least two people come to my blog having searched for "Felicity Kendal nipple" or similar since that Good Life scene is quite well known and she is still thought of as a bit of a babe by men of a certain age. However I was a little surprised to see that someone came to my site having googled "felicity kendal porn". First because I doubt that she has ever done "porn" (The Camomile Lawn is not porn) and second because I have never associated Felicity with porn before. This blog still came second in the list of results.

Someone also found their way to my blog having searched on Virgin for "does germany have a trade descriptions act ". Again I have never blogged about this subject but there I am at position 7 because of a joke involving the phrase "Trade Descriptions Act" and my showing of the Monty Python Greece 1 : Germany 0 Philosophers football video. Odd thing searching the internet!

Rewriting history BBC style - Gordon Brown on the Andrew Marr show

The BBC report that:
"Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that there has been "absolutely no deterioration'" in his eyesight.

He discussed his "handicap", which resulted from a childhood rugby accident, with Andrew Marr in Brighton prior to the Labour Party conference. "
Is that all that Andrew Marr asked about in that segment of the interview? Watch the interview here and you will see what Andrew Marr actually asked. He brought up the eyesight question and then said
"Let me ask you about something else...A lot of people in this country use prescription painkillers and pills to help them get through, are you one of those people?"
Gordon Brown decides to talk about his eyesight but not a mention of painkillers or anti-depressants. Andrew Marr says "What about my other question?" And Gordon Brown replies "I answered you're other question" Really, did you, when?

Do watch the whole interview and you will see a very determined Gordon Brown try and bluster his way through the interview. Note the fake smiles (when he remembers), the sweaty forehead, the fake sincerity, the dodgy statistics, the usual evasive answers and the confusion in the eyes that Andrew Marr is daring to ask difficult questions. The sweat really starts to pour when the interview moves onto Gadaffi, Libya and al-Megrahi. Now watch Gordon Brown's face when Andrew Marr starts to ask the questions about his health, juddering jaw, puzzlement and disbelief for a start but also a sort of fear that the question asked might be too specific to wriggle out of. Of course this was Andrew Marr and the questions were vague enough and not pushed hard enough to give Gordon Brown enough wriggle room.

News related bloopers

"Keep fucking that chicken" - I presume he meant plucking, but is there even an expression "keep plucking that chicken"? Maybe Ernie Anastos could explain

Here's some more news related bloopers to cheer up a dismal Thursday

"Nice melons"

"Tourettes Weather Man?"

"Tourettes News Anchor"

"The wromg video, but rather apt"

"Oops and onto the Web"

Couldn't see that coming...

"Baroness 'did not see passport'"

The BBC report that:
"The former housekeeper to Attorney General Baroness Scotland has claimed the peer never asked to see her passport before giving her a job.

Speaking exclusively to the Mail on Sunday, Loloahi Tapui, an illegal immigrant from Tonga, claimed she was given work after a 10-minute interview. "
Now that is odd as Baroness Scotland has been claiming that she did see the passport but forgot to take photocopies. So who do we believe the illegal housekeeper or a Labour Minister? No contest is it...

Loloahi Tapui says she is willing to take a lie detector test to prove she is telling the truth, is Baroness Scotland willing to do the same?

Do I smell the fragrant smells of burning underwear and hastily applied whitewash?

Saturday, 26 September 2009

"Ministers back PM pre-conference"

The BBC report that "Ministers back PM pre-conference" but the facts are not as impressive as the headline. Which Ministers have the BBC found that are prepared to back Gordon Brown?

"Schools Secretary Ed Balls said the prime minister's "authentic" approach would find favour with voters.

The Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said Mr Brown was "the right leader".

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said Mr Brown had "nothing to fear" from a TV debate between the party leaders."

So the only Ministers prepared to back Gordon Brown in public seem to be his closest ally Ed Balls, one of the few ministers who those who know of him detest as much as Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson, the living piece of slime that is Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown's general election campaign manager Douglas Alexander - impressive?

What is even more impressive is this
"Meanwhile, ex-deputy PM John Prescott has accused Labour MPs of defeatism."
Could it get any worse for Gordon Brown? I think it probably will despite the best endeavours of his supporters of the BBC.

Barack Obama has a "photo face"

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

One result of "change"

"We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power."

So white people, regardless of how good they may be, must "step down so" "more people of colour, gays" and "other people" "can have power." And thereby "change the problem" of whites running the show.

Ready for "change"? Mark Lloyd, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Chief Diversity Officer, a.k.a. the Diversity Czar, quite clearly is.

Double charging?

I hear that the Royal Mail is set to introduce "The Timed Delivery Service" which will ensure that post will be delivered within a 15 minute time-slot six days a week. This will cost businesses, for it is they this is aimed at, £262.50 a month. My advice to businesses would be to arrange to collect your post from the sorting office, I believe they do not charge for this and that there is less chance of post going astray.

Of course I am so old that I remember the days when I could almost set my watch by the the postman's deliveries to my parents' house. Mind you in those days there were two deliveries a day, Saturday and Sunday collections and post rarely went astray. Seems like another world...

Why "double charging"? Well the Royal Mail will now be charging the sender of the post to send it and the receiver to receive it...

Peter Mandelson and Oleg Deripaska

Peter Oborne is interested... see "Deeply disturbing questions over Mandy's oligarch" the second item in the column.
"It is almost now a year since the connection between Mandelson, then EU trade commissioner, and Deripaska first became public knowledge.

I found the details shocking then, and I still find them shocking today. Many profoundly important questions remain unanswered, such as: Why is Deripaska denied a visa in the U.S? Why did Mandelson accept hospitality from such a figure, especially since Deripaska is an aluminium tycoon with a keen interest in breaking down trade barriers with Europe.

Why did Mandelson lie - saying that he had made only a fleeting visit to Deripaska's yacht when, in fact, he stayed several days?

If any readers can cast any light on all this, I would be keenly interested."

A special "No shit, Sherlock" award

A special "No shit, Sherlock" award goes to one of the UK's least intelligent politicians ever to hold high office, John Prescott. He has at least worked out that Harriet Harman has a problem and so opined
"I suppose, if I was being honest about it, I think too much of the emphasis has been on female rights, which I have supported all my life, and we're not getting other messages across"
"No shit, Sherlock

Explosives hidden "inside" his body

I read this BBC report with a sense of 'where on earth did he hide the explosives' but all became clear at the end, I think!

"Security and intelligence experts are deeply worried by a new development in suicide bombing, the BBC has learned.

It has emerged that an al-Qaeda bomber who died last month while trying to blow up a Saudi prince in Jeddah had hidden the explosives inside his body.


Experts say it could have implications for airport security, rendering traditional metal detectors "useless".


Peter Neuman of Kings College London says the case will be studied intensively, and that there are "tremendous implications for airport security with the potential of making it even more complicated to get on to your plane".

"If it really is true that the metal detectors couldn't detect this person's hidden explosive device, that would mean that the metal detectors as they currently exist in airports are pretty much useless," he said.

The bomber was a Saudi al-Qaeda fugitive who said he wanted to give himself up to the prince in person.

The prince took him at his word and gave him safe passage to his palace.

But there, once he got next to his target, the bomb inside him was detonated.

Miraculously the prince survived with minor injuries, but footage emerging this week shows a sizeable crater in the concrete floor and the bomber's body blown in half.

It is believed the force of the blast went downwards which is why only the bomber died"
How long before we all have to 'bend over' for an 'internal examination' before clearing security at airports?

Autoplaying videos - how to stop them

I have had a few regular visitors complain about auto-playing video clips on this blog.

This is interesting, in a geeky sort of way, because I hadn't noticed that any annoying video was autoplaying on my site. But that could be because the only browser I normally use is Firefox with the Flashblock add-in. This add-in allows you to choose whether to play flash video or audio files, so nothing autoplays.

If you find yourself suffering with this problem then I suggest you swap to Firefox and Flashblock.

If you are an Internet Explorer then I believe Pop Up Cop and Stop Autoplay will do the job, although I have tried neither.

Of course another alternative would be mute your sound-card or turn off your speakers temporarily!

Mugabe has built up a 10,000-acre farm of seized land

I am not surprised to read in The Telegraph that: "Robert Mugabe has built up a secret farming empire from land seized from at least five white-owned businesses". The man is a crook and deserves the opprobrium of the world but whilst South Africa support his regime he will stay in power, whilst much of his population starves.

Fancy an apple? But green or red?

How about both?

It's a chimera Golden Delicious grown in Kent and you can read more here.

Economic recovery?

Thanks to Eye on the World for the spot.

Interactive map of 1868 London

More here.

Thanks to Theo Spark for the spot.

Friday, 25 September 2009

It's the rapping pussies

The "meow mix"


I am so glad that I don't have children and so don't really have to pay to much attention to what this article is complaining about.
"Alarmingly, these seemingly innocuous bracelets have been linked to gradations of sexual behaviour. Each colour denotes a physical act, from a hug or a kiss to showing body parts, to other acts that would make many adults blush.

If someone breaks the band off the wearer's wrist, the wearer supposedly has to offer the physical act that corresponds to the colour of the band.

A gold band entitles anyone able to snap it off to all of the sexual favours represented by the other bands."

The bit that caught my eye was The Mail's helpful guide:

Black: Sex

Blue: Oral sex

Pink: Flash body parts

Purple: Kiss

Orange: Love bite

Yellow: Hug

Gold: All of the above

(Meanings may differ around the country)"
Leaving aside that the colours don't seem to be particularly representative of the acts, I am confused by "Meanings may differ around the country". Surely "Oral sex" means the same in all parts of the Country or am I being over-pedantic?

Have BA lost the plot?

£60 per seat per route to reserve a seat, are they mad. I fly BA a lot but this could tip me over to another carrier.

Story details here or here.

Never too young to be brainwashed in the land of the Obamamessiah

This is a seriously scary piece of video, the cult of the "Dear Leader" seems to be gathering pace in the USA.

Thanks to Donal Blaney for the spot.

The fifty-fourth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

This week's award goes to the BBC for the news story heading "Iran 'concealed nuclear facility'".

Nope I never saw that coming, didn't the BBC?

"Iran has been accused of concealing a second uranium enrichment plant in defiance of international calls for transparency over its nuclear plans."

"No shit, Sherlock"

That Hamas Charter

I have blogged about the Hamas Charter before, most recently here, and so was interested to read Harry's Place's "A conversation with Anas AlTikriti. An excellent piece of persistence by Dave Rushmore exposing Anas AlTikriti's dissembling.

Are things about to get even worse?

I have dire news:
"WITH unemployment expected to reach three million by the end of next year, economists were last night warning of Billy Bragg.

The dire financial climate means there is now a greater chance of the communist singer-songwriter than at any time since 1987.

Dr Tom Logan, of Reading University, said: "Two years ago I said if we did not exert greater control over monetary policy we would simply be creating the perfect conditions for Billy Bragg.

"By next April we could find ourselves in the middle of a nationwide tour involving the Communards, the Style Council and - just saying it makes me want to die - the Blow Monkeys.

"And every show will begin with George Monbiot reading a poem about how the trees are not unemployed. Holy Jesus Christ almighty, it must be stopped."

Professor Bill McKay, of University College London, said: "The core economic purpose of any Labour government is to prevent Billy Bragg.

"If, as it appears, we are returning to a cycle of boom, Bragg and Jimmy Sommerville's excruciating falsetto, one is forced to ask the question, 'what is Gordon Brown for?'."

Professor McKay added: "If I so much as hear the introduction to Between the Wars, I swear to God I will throw myself under a horse."

The Daily Mash is the source.

Funniest line of the day so far

"Accuracy and impartiality are at the heart of BBC News and what's key to us is that the people working for us produce and deliver high-quality news that our audiences trust and value."
That from an unnamed BBC spokesman as quoted by the BBC as they try and deny that they are biased towards the Labour party.

Lily Allen quite music for acting

The Mail claim that :
"Lily Allen is quitting her music career to concentrate on acting.

The 24-year-old singer announced there will be no follow-up to her second album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, and said she has no plans to tour again in the near future."
I am devastated but look forward to more revealing photos of Lily Allen the actress rather than Lily Allen the musician.

John Bercow shows some balls

I hear that Speaker John Bercow has said that Lord Mandelson, the First Secretary of State, and head of an enormous Whitehall "Empire" should be subjected to regular public interrogations from MPs. Quite right too, not that he ever gives a straight answer to a straight question...

Spot the connection

Yesterday Shriti Vadera leaves Gordon Brown's government for a post at the G20.
Yesterday I wonder if she is "joining the G20 as a preparatory move to getting Gordon Brown a job at the G20, maybe a top job."
Today I read on the BBC that: "The G20 will play a larger role in guiding the world's financial system, the US says, giving emerging economies a bigger say. "

Wheels within wheels, it doesn't matter how badly Gordon Brown screws up the UK economy, he'll still get a good job with a supranational organisation. In fact if/when David Cameron becomes PM it is quite possible that he will have to deal with Tony Blair as the President of the EU and Gordon Brown as President of the G20 - not a pleasant thought and not a state of affairs that will in any way allow David Cameron to run the UK as he and the UK electorate wishes.

Question Time - 24 September 2009 (update)

Unfortunately I could not watch this live last night, well past my midweek bedtime so this is as-live from iPlayer...

Fraser Nelson is editor of the "right wing" Spectator; are journalists like Kevin McGuire or any from the New Statesman or Guardian described as "left wing" or even "Left of centre"? Where is the centre in the BBC mind?

1st question is on the Obama snub and linking to al-Megrahi.
Why is it that when Harriet Harman speaks I get so irritated, it's an incessant whine of righteous indignation with scarcely a pause for breath. Fraser Nelson asks the questions that David Dimbleby should ask but Harriet Harman ignore them.
Lord Heseltine who has a great understanding of how things work seemed to put his finger on the al-Megrahi release factors and on the fiction of the "special relationship".
David Laws speaks sense on the reality of Libya.
Fraser Nelson again asks Harriet Harman the question about releasing al-Megrahi, David Dimbleby re-asks it, the audience demands an answer but Harriet Harman plays the UK government minister cannot comment card. Michael Heseltine points out the stupidity of that line but Harriet Harman sticks to her line despite having it pointed out that Ed Balls had done so. Michael Heseltine calls it a Labour split.

2nd question is on whether Baroness Scotland should lose her job
David Laws remind everyone of Harriet Harman's attempts to exempt MPs from FOI legislation and says yes she should go.
Lord Digby Jones agrees and spots the disconnect between the governed and the governers.
Harriet Harman tries to justify her colleague staying in post as it was just a "mistake", "no financial gain", "administrative error". "Lawmaker can be lawbreakers"? from DD?
Michael Heseltine has known Baroness Scotland for a long time but points out that she is the architect of this law, good point, and he is right that she should have gone for the purposes of accountability.
Fraser Nelson brings up the disconnect point.
Angry lady in audience and Harriet Harman shows she doesn't even know the fines for the crime, you might have thought she would have done a bit more research.

3rd question on whether Nick Clegg's conference speech has furthered Lib Dems prospects
Lord Heseltine lays into the "mansion tax" and points out that £1 million is not the cost of a mansion in London but a normal house.
David Laws makes a totally fatuous point about only paying only if over £1 million. But does then attack Lord Heseltine for the Council Tax.
Lord Digby Jones supports the taking out of tax of the low paid, quite right too; isn't that part of IDS's policy?
Harriet Harman despite being reminded of the question.
Fraser Nelson shows his speed of thought by replying to David Dimbleby's calling him "Nelson" by calling him "Dimbleby". DD takes it quite well.

4th question is on the closure of the Jungle camp and reducing illegal immigration into the UK
Question about what is being done about illegal immigrants already in the question and daring to mention the BNP. Harriet Harman evades the question and attacks the questioner for quoting the BNP favourably. Harriet Harman gets very indignant and refuses to have "any truck with the BNP" and so avoids answering what the government is doing about illegal immigrants already in the country.
Fraser Nelson makes the point that I made the other day.
Another question from the audience about the benefits given to immigrants.
Lord Heseltine points out the lack of effective border controls that exists and that the people are mostly economic migrants, much to the upset of David Laws who gets on his Lib Dem high horse.
Digby Jones knows what the French are up to in Calais area and he is right.

Question 5 the "funny one"
Or not...

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Question Time tonight - 24 September 2009

Panellists tonight are:
Harriet Harman (Labour Cabinet Minister and potential candidate in any Labour leadership election)
Lord Heseltine (ex Conservative Minister and Euro-enthusiast, usually invited onto BBC programmes when mischief over "Tory splits" over Europe are required to take the attention off of the collapsing economy, Gordon Brown's latest PR disaster and/or the latest ministerial scandal/resignations)
David Laws (Lib Dem MP for Yeovil)
Lord Digby Jones (Ex Director of the CBI and one of Gordon Brown's GOATs. He was the man who said of his brief time in government that it was "one of the most dehumanising and depersonalising experiences" anyone could have, and that he had been amazed by how many civil servants he thought deserved the sack)
Fraser Nelson (Editor of the Spectator and one of the few journalists with the balls to ask Gordon Brown a difficult question and push the point)

When the Question Time panel has two right of centre politicians (if Michael Heseltine is indeed right of centre) then there is always a reason. Watch Harriet Harman and her occasional puppetDavid Dimbleby try and expose "Tory splits" so as to take the attention off of Labour's problems.

I wonder how the Question Time audience will be made up tonight...

Here's Fraser Nelson asking the difficult question and Gordon Brown answering a different question.

And here's Harriet Harman controlling David Dimbleby...

What are they trying to say in this NHS anti-smoking advertisement?

Possibly the weirdest advert I have seen for a while and of course paid for out of our taxes.

Rat or pathfinder?

Many are saying that Shriti Vadera's resignation to work for the G20 is a case of a rat leaving a sinking ship. In this case I think not. Shriti Vadera has been very close to Gordon Brown for quite some time; I think it more likely that she is joining the G20 as a preparatory move to getting Gordon Brown a job at the G20, maybe a top job.

It must be nice to be in the loop!

Is the Question Time audience biased?

With Question Time returning to our TV screens tonight, a comment made by host David Dimbleby in a Sunday Telegraph interview caught my eye.
"And no, he insists, the audience isn’t biased. How can it possibly be when it is carefully selected to represent as broad as possible a cross-section of society?

For the 150 places on each programme there are an average 500 applicants. These applications are then vetted by a ‘professional woman’ who spends an entire week sifting through them.

First, they are divided on party political lines; then by age, by sex and by ethnic make-up (the last weighted according to the broadcast location: for example, more blacks and Asians for an inner-London programme than for one in Cheltenham). "
Let's examine that defence quite carefully.

"the audience isn’t biased. How can it possibly be when it is carefully selected to represent as broad as possible a cross-section of society?" - On what basis is it selected?

"For the 150 places on each programme there are an average 500 applicants. These applications are then vetted by a ‘professional woman’ who spends an entire week sifting through them." - Just one woman, what information is she in possession of in order to select the chosen 150?

"First, they are divided on party political lines" - On what split? On basis of seats in the House of Commons at the last election? This seems unlikely with the composition of audiences during the years of Conservative government when the audience was clearly anti-Conservative and pro-Labour. On the basis of the percentage of the popular vote cast at the last general election? Again seems unlikely for similar reasons to above. On the basis of votes at the last major elections? This seems unlikely as otherwise there would be a strong Conservative/UKIP majority in the audience. On a 30% Labour, 30% Conservative, 30% Lib Dem and 10% other basis (or similarly ad-hoc percentage split)? If so why? This guarantees a majority left of centre audience; oh hold on that might be why. If the audience is meant to be representative then how many UKIP and BNP supporters are invited as compared to Greens?

"then by age, by sex and by ethnic make-up" - Based upon what factors? The last census or what?

But what of the man himself, where do David Dimbleby's political loyalties lie?
"Does this mean that over the years he has managed so perfectly to hone his position of neutrality that he no longer has any political views of his own?

‘I do have very strong political views,’ he says. ‘But as with most people, I’m a muddle of opinions, with views that don’t tally precisely with those of any particular party. I never tell anyone how I vote. Not my children. Nor my wife.’"
Whilst I do not know how David Dimbleby votes, I think it safe to assume that he either doesn't vote Conservative or is desperately over-compensating for doing so.

Here's some video of the great Question Time presenter being controlled by a Labour cabinet minister and obeying almost immediately...

Some interesting videos re the United Nations and "Durban 2"

"Durban II Debate, U.N. Human Rights Council, March 2009 Session: After Libya praised Durban Review Conference (Durban II) that it chairs, and Iran and Saudi Arabia announced more money for Durban II--while China and Cuba lectured to the world on discrimination--UN Watch exposed 3 myths of Durban II, exposing pernicious provisions in new text. "

Iran and Keeping Jews out of Durban II

Durban II Dispatch: Libya on Trial

Geneva, Switzerland

Libya was chosen in 2007 to chair the preparatory committee for the UN Durban Review Conference--notwithstanding the irony of an egregious human-rights violator chairing a human rights conference. For the past three days, the committee has been holding sessions to finalize the conference's draft statement, upon which many countries will base their decision whether to attend the conference this week. On Friday, the last day, NGOs were given 30 minutes to weigh in.

Amidst the anti-Israel rants from all the usual NGOs, Libyan ambassador Najjat Al-Hajjaji (who was chairing the meeting) gave the floor to UN Watch...

But sitting in their chair was not Hillel Neuer, the group's executive director and usual mouthpiece, but Ashraf El Hagog, the Palestinian doctor who was falsely accused of and sentenced to death for infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV (along with five Bulgarian nurses). El Hagog and the nurses were held in Libya on death row for nine years, mistreated and tortured, until their release was negotiated by France last year.

"Madame Chairman," El Hagog began, staring steely eyed at the Libyan ambassador. "I dont know if you recognize me. I am the Palestinian medical intern who was scapegoated by your country, Libya, in the HIV case in the Benghazi hospital, together with the five Bulgarian nurses."

Al-Hajjaji immediately started banging her gavel. "Stop... stop.... I ask you to stop," she yelled, first looking miffed, then exasperated. "You are, you are not addressing the agenda item... I will allow you to resume only if you address the agenda item we are discussing." The room immediately fell silent.

El Hagog, being coached by Neuer sitting next to him, tried to introduce some amendments to the statement "based on my own suffering," and was again interrupted by Al-Hajjaji banging her gavel. But he continued recounting the story of his torture, then said, "All of this, which lasted for nearly a decade, was for only one reason: because the Libyan government was looking to scapegoat foreigners. Madame Chair, if that is not discrimination, then what is?" After listing the amendments, he concluded: "Madame Chair, Libya told this conference that it practices no inequality or discrimination. But then how do you account for what was done to me, to my colleagues, and to my family...?"

At this point, Hajjaji recognized a point of order from ... the Libyan delegation, who said that El Hagog was not speaking on the correct agenda item. Hajjaji used the objection as an excuse to move on to the next speaker."

Again with the penis?

Another person has found their way to my blog via a Fredie Flintoff penis search, this time someone searching in French - andrew flintoff nu with penis - And this blog is number 9. Fox Sports Australia is number one for their Ashes preview, by the look of the players, from 2007; and the word penis appears nowhere on that page...

Children's TV Palestinian style

"Nassur: “There won't be any Jews or Zionists, if Allah wills. They'll be erased.”
Saraa: “They'll be slaughtered.” (Manhurin naher)
Nassur: “And just like we will visit the Qaaba [in Mecca]... everyone will visit Jerusalem.”
[Seven-year old Palestinian child on phone tells how his father, a member of the Hamas Al-Qassam Brigades, “died as a Shahid (Martyr).”]
Nassur to child on phone: “What do you want to do to the Jews who shot your father?”
Child on phone: “I want to kill them.”
Saraa: “We don't want to do anything to them, just expel them from our land.”
Nassur: “We want to slaughter (Nidbah-hom) them, so they will be expelled from our land, right?”
Saraa: “Yes. That's right. We will expel them from our land using all means.”
Nassur: “And if they don't want [to go] peacefully, by words or talking, we’ll have to [do it] by slaughter.” (Shaht) "

For more on the indoctrination of the children of Palestine, take a look here and here.

Thanks to PMW for the spot.

100% right but for 100% the wrong reason

I understand that the Egyptian culture minister, Farouk Hosny, has been defeated in his bid to become UNESCO's cultural head, beaten to the role by the Bulgarian Irina Bokova. I heard that Farouk Hosny then made what I thought was an obvious but nonetheless 100% correct statement when he accused the United Nations of becoming "politicised".

However Farouk Hosny then blotted his copybook with his assertion that he lost because of "Zionist pressures". Those pesky Zionists get everywhere, don't they?

You may remember Farouk Hosny, he's the delightful character who last year said he would burn "Israeli books in Egyptian libraries". Culture Minister? I suppose in Egypt remarks like that run in his favour as much as to his detriment.

The United Nations is becoming dominated by an Islamic/African bloc which singles out the only democratic, multi-racial country in the Middle East with freedom of religious worship for all, Israel, for censure whilst ignoring the inequities and crimes against humanity perpetrated by many of the bloc's members.

"Special relationship"? Even Barack Obama knows a lying loser when he sees one

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear; has Gordon Brown destroyed the UK's influence in world affairs so much that the UK now ranks below Japan, China and Russia in Barack Obama's view? The BBC report that:
"White House officials rejected repeated requests from Britain for a formal meeting between President Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, it has emerged.

The prime minister's team were "frantic" after being unable to secure the talks at the UN summit in New York, a diplomatic source has told the BBC.

However, the president held private meetings with the leaders of Japan, China and Russia. "
That this was true would be humiliating enough, albeit understandable bearing in mind Gordon Brown's performance over the release of al-Megrahi and increasingly ridiculous position over Labour cuts in the run-up to his volte face. However what makes the whole story even sadder for the UK, because this knave represents the UK whilst he is Prime Minister, is that the Number 10 spin machine got into gear (a very low and slow one) and a Downing Street spokesman said that reports of a snub were
"completely without foundation" and that the men had had a "wide-ranging discussion following last night's climate change dinner".
Even the BBC could not resist reporting that
"It has emerged this was a few minutes of conversation in a kitchen at the United Nations. "
The UK under Gordon Brown is reduced to grabbing a few words in a kitchen rather than a proper meeting. I bet the leaders of Japan, China and Russia were met in a more dignified setting. For some odd reason I have a mental image of a sweaty, desperate Gordon Brown following Barack Obama out of the dining room and cornering him in the kitchen to rant away asking why "you never call, how can I make things up with you and please don't forsake me for David Cameron."

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

How many sexual partners have you had?

Lloyds Pharmacy are trying to get some publicity with their sex degrees of separation calculator, but it is sort of fun. Mind you can you remember a) every partner and b) how old they were when you first "enjoyed" them?

Jimmy Carter the question that should be asked

For context read this.

Thanks to Theo Spark for the spot.

What is a peer?

Anna Raccoon has the requisite definitions.

Here's an extract:
A Peer – Oxford English Dictionary definition.
1 A nobleman.
2 A man who holds a peerage by descent or appointment.

A Peer – Nu-Labour definition.
1 A man or woman elevated to the peerage by their Nu-Labour cronies.

2 A Woman who a-peers to break the law when in fact only ‘in technical breach’ of the rules.

3 A Woman who a-peers to make ‘an administrative technical error’ when finding herself on the receiving end of the ’stronger message that such behaviour is both illegal and unacceptable’. (Hansard April 2004)"

The return of "spotted dick"

The BBC report the welcome news that spotted dick is back on the menu in Flintshire council. Spotted Richard or Sultana Sponge will not be used instead regardless of the "immature comments" made by some customers.

Apparently the council's chief executive, Colin Everett said:
"Although the majority have seen the humorous side of the story, the impression given in the media that the council might have been 'politically correct' has led to some derision and, sadly, to a number of abusive letters being sent in from across the country."

He said Flintshire was a "sensible" council and catering staff had used their initiative in ordering the name change following the "childish comments of one regular customer".

He added: "In full agreement with the catering management Flintshire County Council will observe proper tradition and refer to all dishes by their proper name.

"Spotted Dick will be back on the menu under its proper and proud name. In future, any customers who act in this childish way will be asked to behave properly or will be refused service.

"Let common tradition and common sense prevail."
A storm in a steamer...

It's OK, Gordon Brown isn't retiring

Any Conservatives who might have been worried that their greatest electoral asset, Gordon Brown leading the Labour party, might be about to resign on the grounds of ill health can cheer up. The Telegraph report that:
"Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, has brushed off suggestions that he should quit ahead of the general election, declaring: "Of course I'm going on."

Unconfirmed reports have suggested Mr Brown might use ill-health as an excuse for standing down before the poll, and former Cabinet minister Charles Clarke said he should go "for his own dignity".

But in an interview for the New Statesman magazine, Mr Brown said he was "pretty determined and resolute" to carry on.


Asked about his leadership, Mr Brown said: "Of course I'm going on. I mean, for goodness sake, I wouldn't be having this interview with you if I wasn't determined to get my message across to the British people.

"I hope that people will see by my actions the determination I have to work not just on behalf of the Labour Party but on the behalf of the British people."

Challenged to give a "cast-iron guarantee" that he will lead Labour into the election, he responded: "The issue at the moment is that the Labour Party has to take this country through a very difficult time and I think we'll be judged by results.

"I've got a job to do ... So I'm pretty determined and resolute."

He dismissed recent reports that his predecessor as prime minister saw him as "a quitter, not a fighter" who might duck the election, telling the New Statesman: "I don't think Tony Blair has ever said that." "
There is of course one fly in this ointment; can we really believe a word Gordon Brown says?

Why are they so set on coming to Britain?

The Mail reports the determination of many residents of "The Jungle" to make their way to Britain. Why are they so keen on coming to Britain rather than France, Italy or Germany?

A very brave man - Hillel Neuer

Hillel Neuer is an executive director of UN Watch and is a braver and more controlled man than I would be in the circumstances in which he often finds himself. Here are some videos of Hillel Neuer in action defending Israel from religiously motivated attacks.

The first video is a much shown one of Hillel Neuer exposing the hypocrisy of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2007. For the first time ever, the Council president, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, rejects the speech as "inadmissible" and shows a singular lack of tolerance.

The second video is of Hillel Neuer taking on Sudan, while its friends (Syria, Saudi Arabia and China) deny that atrocities are taking place in Darfur.

The third video is of Hillel Neuer challenging the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour on the UN's upcoming Durban II racism conference.

What a brave man to work in the cesspit of hatred for Israel that the United Nations has become.

Proud to be second

It is polite for a gentleman to come second and this gentle NotaSheep is proud to coninue that tradition on Google. If you google - labour conference 2009 agenda - then the first site returned is The Labour Party's 2009 Annual Conference site, the second link returned is to my piece on their agenda, third is a link to Labour's Vote 2009 site.

Question Time is back for a new series

To celebrate, the BBC have put up some video of "Question Time's top comedy moments". Apparently containing:
"Some comedy moments from the last 30 years of Question Time with Boris Johnson, Bernard Ingham, Jo Brand, Ted Heath, Alan Taylor, Arthur Scargill, Shirley Williams and Alan Clark."
Now the line from Alan Taylor is priceless
"To tell you the truth, I don't think anything about it at all... No if you think I'm going to start thinking about this problem, you're very mistaken"
The BBC also link to some recent programme highlights but not to the most revealing piece of Question Time video ever seen, which I first blogged about in July and repeat here in all its glory. It is Harriet Harman instructing an obedient David Dimbleby to try and stop Ian "A quiet man" Duncan Smith from embarrassing the government.

Now that's a video, that whilst not "comedy", certailbly bears repeating.

Further thoughts on Baroness Scotland

This case gets more peculiar the more one thinks about it.

The BBC report that Baroness Scotland
"told BBC News: "I have been given an administrative penalty. This is not a case of a criminal act, this is the case of failing to photocopy a document which I absolutely accept was wrong and I have apologised for that wholeheartedly.

"This was a woman who was working locally, she was married to a solicitor. I believed the documents that I saw on their face value.

She added: "I did believe the woman that I employed was honest, and honourable and entitled to be here. That was a flaw and I have therefore absolutely accepted that for this technical breach, administrative breach I should be penalised."

Hold on is that right? Was she really penalised for not photocopying a document? Surely she was fined for employing an illegal immigrant because she did not carry out the proper checks. As I pointed out earlier
"Baroness Scotland's cleaner was apparently originally here on a student visa and then apparently overstayed the length of her visa. This would mean, I assume, that on the relevant page of her passport would be the student visa stamp stating clearly she wasn’t able to work.

As I understand the case, Baroness Scotland is saying that this was a "technical breach" because
"I did check absolutely everything. The critical thing is having checked, each employer is asked to take photocopies. I didn't take photocopies. I absolutely believe she was bona fide"

So Baroness did check all the relevant documents but neglected to take photocopies? If that is her defence then surely it means that one of the following is true:
1) that Baroness Scotland looked at the passport and either didn't spot that it was a student visa and that the visa had expired, which would make her incompetent (after all immigration related employment law was her area when she was at the Home Office)
2) that she did not look at the relevant page on the passport and has therefore lied to the UK Borders Authority
3) she did look at the page and it had been altered"

Oddly Baroness Scotland refers to "this document" but there is no single document that would have proved eligibility to work in the UK. The Home Office Guidelines (all 80 pages of them) go into seemingly endless detail about what steps need to be followed in order to prevent one from employing illegal immigrants. Could the government's chief legal adviser not follow the rules? Did the government's chief legal adviser not have the time to follow the complicated procedure? If the government's chief legal adviser cannot follow them or finds them to onerous then what about the rest of us who do not have the government's chief legal adviser's finely tuned legal brain?

The aforementioned Home Office document has a section entitled "HOW TO CHECK THAT SOMEONE IS ENTITLED TO WORK IN THE UK." Let's take a look at part of that section:

"Step 2
You must take all reasonable steps to check that the document is valid and satisfy yourself that your prospective employee or current employee is the person named in the document, and check that the documents allow them to do the work in question.

For each document presented, you should:
check any photographs are consistent with the appearance of the employee (this means you must see them in person); and check any dates of birth listed are consistent across documents and that you are satisfied that these correspond with the appearance of the employee; and check that the expiry dates of any limited leave to
enter or remain in the UK have not passed; and check any UK Government endorsements (stamps, visas, etc.) to see if your prospective or current employee is able to do the type of work you are offering; and satisfy yourself that the documents are valid and genuine, have not been tampered with and belong to the holder; and if your employee gives you two documents which have different names, ask them for a further
document to explain the reason for this. The further document could be a marriage certificate, a divorce decree, a deed poll or statutory declaration.

Step 3
You must make a copy of the relevant page or pages of the document, in a format which cannot be subsequently altered, for example, a photocopy or scan.
In the case of a passport or other travel document, the following parts must be photocopied or scanned: the document’s front cover and any page containing
the holder’s personal details. In particular, you should copy any page that provides details of nationality, his or her photograph, date of birth, signature, date of expiry or biometric details; and any page containing UK Government endorsements indicating that the holder has an entitlement to be in the UK and is entitled to
undertake the work in question.
Other documents should be copied in their entirety.
You should then keep a record of every document you have copied.8 The copies of the documents should be kept securely for the duration of the person’s employment and for a further two years after they stop working for you. By doing this, the Border and Immigration Agency will be able to check whether you have complied with the law or are liable to pay a civil penalty if they detect anyone working illegally for you."

I am confused Baroness Scotland is claiming that her only infraction was not to photocopy the documents, something that is covered in Step 3. But surely Loloahi Tapui was not entitled to be working in the first place. If that is the case then the omission to photocopy is irrelevant, the problem is with Baroness Scotland not checking the documentation.

Let's take a look at Step 2 more closely and in bits:
"You must take all reasonable steps to check that the document is valid and satisfy yourself that your prospective employee or current employee is the person named in the document, and check that the documents allow them to do the work in question."
Did Baroness Scotland check the validity of the documents? If she did not then she failed to "take all reasonable steps". If she did then how did she not spot that the visa had a) expired and b) was a student visa?

"For each document presented, you should:
... check that the expiry dates of any limited leave to enter or remain in the UK have not passed; and check any UK Government endorsements (stamps, visas, etc.) to see if your prospective or current employee is able to do the type of work you are offering; "
Again did Baroness Scotland carry out these checks? If she had she would have seen that the visa had a) expired and b) was a student visa?

As I said previously she has not claimed that the documents had been altered so did Baroness Scotland look at the passport and either not spot that it was a student visa and that the visa had expired, which would make her incompetent, or did she not look at the relevant page on the passport and has therefore lied to the UK Borders Authority?

The Home Office document states that:
"Under section 21 of the 2006 Act, an employer may commit a criminal offence if he or she knowingly employs an illegal migrant. On summary conviction, the maximum penalty an employer may be given will be a fine of no more than the statutory maximum for each person employed illegally, and/
or imprisonment for up to 6 months. Following conviction on indictment, there is no upper limit to the level of fine that can be imposed, and the employer may also be subject to imprisonment for up to two years."
If Baroness Scotland did examine the passport as she claims then surely is she guilty under this section?

The BBC, as usual, is accepting flimsy assurances from Baroness Scotland and is not asking the hard questions.

Baroness Scotland helped push this onerous legislation through Parliament and so should understand it. Why should she not be held to the same standards as the rest of the UK's businesses and population?

One further question, when did Loloahi Tapui start working for Baroness Scotland? If is was before 29 February 2008 then Baroness Scotland's case should be under the 1996 Act.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Dumbed down US education

UC Berkeley, "for real"?

Baroness Scotland - a question

Something doesn't smell right about this story.

Baroness Scotland's cleaner was apparently originally here on a student visa and then apparently overstayed the length of her visa. This would mean, I assume, that on the relevant page of her passport would be the student visa stamp stating clearly she wasn’t able to work.

As I understand the case, Baroness Scotland is saying that this was a "technical breach" because
"I did check absolutely everything. The critical thing is having checked, each employer is asked to take photocopies. I didn't take photocopies. I absolutely believe she was bona fide"
So Baroness did check all the relevant documents but neglected to take photocopies? If that is her defence then surely it means that one of the following is true:
1) that Baroness Scotland looked at the passport and either didn't spot that it was a student visa and that the visa had expired, which would make her incompetent (after all immigration related employment law was her area when she was at the Home Office)
2) that she did not look at the relevant page on the passport and has therefore lied to the UK Borders Authority
3) she did look at the page and it had been altered

Which of these is Baroness Scotland relying upon?

Maybe someone could raise these points with the "noble" lady should she deign to be interviewed by the media. I suppose that a really suspicious person might deduce that it is possible that Baroness Scotland took no photocopies because she knew there was a visa problem...

First there was Twitter, now there is Twitteleh

Twitteleh - Twitter for your Jewish mother...

Do they ever learn?

To Hazel Blears, Caroline Flint and Bob Quick we can now add the name of Peter Mandelson who was caught out by a gust of wind to reveal the cover-sheet of a Labour Party dossier on attacking the Conservatives. The Telegraph have the story, here's an extract:
"Sent by Steve Van Riel, Labour’s director of policy and research, the memo described the contents of the 12-page information dossier which Lord Mandelson had apparently requested during a phone call with the party worker last week.

This included a summary of the “key things” which Mr Van Riel was “concerned” about and a “month by month” account of potential attacking opportunities, “focusing on the Tories”.

The spin doctor also provided some thoughts on the “strengths and weaknesses” of the Labour operation, and predications on where the Conservatives’ policy focus might fall over the coming months.

Finally, Mr Van Riel included some background on the work of his own team and concluded by suggesting that there were opportunities for Labour over the coming weeks and months to improve the party’s standing.

While some of the words were obscured, the note seemed to imply that the attack operation would concentrate “solely” on the Tory opposition. "

Tony Blair President of Europe?

There has been a lot of fuss recently over the prospect of Tony Blair becoming the first President of Europe. A building to house the President and his team is nearing completion and rumours abound of Peter Mandelson's dark role in propping Gordon Brown up for just long enough to allow the Lisbon Treaty to be implemented. The prospect of any President of Europe is vile enough but the thought of Tony Blair in that role is almost too much to bear. So here's something more humorous...