Thursday 16th August 2007

11:16 pm

Dick Cheney; Proof that conservatives can be wrong (Even though they will never admit it)

Gravatar I saw this on tonight’s daily show (which originally aired August 15th in America). Basically the video is of the interview at the end of the show with author Stephen F Hayes, who was written a new book about the current US vice-President. But before you watch the video, you should know the context. The piece before the interview, entitled Dick doesn’t even know Dick, was about the vice president. Now usually this is about the randomness that the Vice president goes through for members of the public to know very little about him and what he does. For example ...
11:13 pm

rabbit and mouse: on the campaign trail

Gravatar I found this, it made me chuckle. atom.xml
11:06 pm

George Osborne's bizarre economics

Gravatar George Osborne was interviewed by ePolitix today. He said: "Of course we want a very dynamic and successful City of London. But Britain cannot just be the City of London and then 50-odd million people living off the back of those who work in financial services."This is a strange view of the economy. Perhaps the traditional distrust of the City of London as the candyfloss economy was always misplaced. But to see the rest of us as parasites on the financial sector is bizarre indeed. As we seem to be learning at the moment, there is more to the economy ...
10:56 pm

Are Americans really that dim ?

Gravatar I read this article on the BBC with some dismay today. It seem that some Americans are angry with David Beckham and are waving banners and protesting at games because, get this, he is not playing because he is injured. Well David, hang your head in shame. How very lazy. Fancy not playing because you are injured. And what happens on his return ? See the YouTube clip below and find out for yourself.
10:46 pm

"Axe Inheritance Tax" say the Tories. How will you pay for it ? " Um ..."

Gravatar The Tories are sounding more and more like an opposition party with no hope of power by the week. The argument that the Tories cheaply levy at the Lib Dems door as that the Lib Dems can make pledges, but they will never have to honour them. This is why the Lib Dems have since 1992 always had their manifesto audited to check that the pledges can be paid for. So in that light, how do the Tories plan to cover the costs of axing inheritance tax ? Although it sounds like a good idea, particularly if you are rich, ...
9:13 pm

Labour attempt to stop Boris

Gravatar Well if you hold open primaries, what do you expect. At least in America people have to be registered supporters of a political party in order to be able to vote in a primary, but if the Tories persists in having such a silly system then it was only a matter of time before it is subverted and circumvented in THIS way. Yes, I agree, it is childish and hardly raises the bar when it comes to people trusting politicians. but it appears to be within the Tories own flimsy rules, so it is difficult to condemn.
7:11 pm

Big Pharma: Everyone's Favourite Market Failure

Gravatar Adbusters's website has put up a new article by Dee Hon on the subject of the pharmaceutical industry, which gives a nice clear outline of the case against 'Big Pharma'. Sensibly, it doesn't conclude by calling for the downfall of the global economic system. Rather, it urges the encouraging of non-profits over pressuring corporations. Excerpt: In recent years, pharmaceutical companies have
7:04 pm

Tory bloggers highlighted by Guardian Diary

Gravatar The Guardian Diary is currently giving quite a lot of "shout outs" (as I believe they are called) to Conservative bloggers. Yesterday, James Cleverley was highlighted for his comment management (he allowed a somewhat controversial statement about Stephen Lawrence.) Today, the Conservative Home commenters on the use of the word "picanninnies" are singled out for comment, along with Justin
7:01 pm

Who wants Pincohet's old suits?

Gravatar Just think. You would have to be a great fan of Pinochet. And you would have to be the same size and shape as he was. Spooky. Link here:,,2149529,00.html
6:01 pm

The privatisation of warfare and the overstreach of UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan

Gravatar The question of private contractors engaging in military actions in Afghanistan and elsewhere raises a whole barrelful of issues. The privatisation of warfare is something that needs urgent discussion. Who for example guards the guardians? We didn’t get this debate at the time of the strange death of Colonel Westhusing, an US expert on military ethics who was deeply unhappy about the use of ‘Security Contractor’ companies in Iraq…. Of new relevance because of Westhusing’s previous work with General Petraeous, the current US Armed Forces commander in Iraq. And the Iraq government is certainly now unhappy about the western ‘Private ...
5:29 pm

Easier exams make it harder for A level students

Gravatar First, let's get the obligatory photograph out of the way. Thank you. As is well known, all A level students look like this. How did the results of A levels - and to a lesser extent SATs and other public examinations - come to be seen as a barometer of national well-being. When I was at school, these exams were essentially a private matter. You were bright or you weren't, you worked hard or you didn't, and you more or less got what you deserved. Now great issues of public policy are assumed to be involved. The explanation, I suspect, ...
4:55 pm

Tories’ London Mayoral Own Goal?

Gravatar {boris-johnson.jpg} The Cameroonian Conservatives may rue the day that they decided to hold US-style open primaries in their candidate selections. It may have proved a useful gimmick in raising the profile of PPC selections in individual parliamentary constituencies, but it could backfire badly on them in the London Mayoral selection process. According to Paul Waugh in tonight’s Evening Standard, the Labour Party is plotting to sabotage the Tories’ selection campaign by urging Labour Party members to register to vote in next month’s Conservative mayoral primary, to try to stop Boris Johnson winning. Some opinion polls have suggested that Boris is the one prospective Tory mayoral ...
4:50 pm

Ah! That delicate frisson of A-level result lesbionics!

Gravatar I’ve just realised that its taken me until 4pm on A-level results day before seeing my first A-level result blonde (on the front cover of the Evening Standard). A quick skip around the news websites: The BBC has four multi-ethnic girls jumping for joy. Only one of them, however, might be blonde (hard to tell). Cliche rating: 4/5. The Times opts for a classic: two cute blondes. Shame they aren’t hugging, but you can’t have everything. As an afterthought it gives you an alternative picture of some boys, but in case your heterosexuality is challenged by this, click again and ...
4:10 pm

Free tests on electric blankets

Gravatar Do you know an elderly person who uses an electric blanket in the winter? The Council will be checking blankets for free on Tuesday 4th September. It is really worth having this done. When they did a similar check last year they found that 26% of the blankets were unsafe. So do encourage someone you know to phone 8547 5518 and ask for an appointment. Appointments will be made on a...
2:27 pm

Orange telling the odd fib

Gravatar Wandering past the Orange Shop this lunch time I saw this in the window, an advert for the Motorola F3. A pay-as-go phone which costs only £10. But something didn’t seem right, so I took a photo. On the left is the photo, on the right is the offical press photo direct from Motorola. {F3 Orange} {F3 Motorola} Well the image on the left has a nice orange tree on the screen, yet the one on the right looks like a digital calculator. Maybe the press image is showing the screensaver, but no that is the actuall display. It’s the ...
1:30 pm

Hospitals' food hygiene standards criticised

Gravatar SHOCK at food hygiene standards in Bexley hospitals has been expressed following the publication of a survey based on the results of health inspections. Duncan Borrowman, from Bexley Lib Dems, said: "These findings paint a shocking picture of hospital food hygiene in our borough. "Sick people are already vulnerable to infection. They don't need the added risk of food-borne bacteria spread by lax
1:14 pm

Off to bonny Skye

Gravatar {The green arrow marks the spot…} Life is about to get a whole lot busier - I’m putting together proposals at work that will lead to me dumping a huge amount of work on myself (genius!).  I’m also seriously contemplating getting a mortgage, and a place to settle down outside of London for a few years.  Unlike my previous flirtations with house buying, this time I have a financial adviser, mortgage offiers, there have been actual house viewings and all that jazz… rather scary. Suddenly location, location, location is more than just my favourite Channel 4 TV show. So I ...
1:06 pm

The end of grades?

Gravatar Today is A-Level results day, and so thousands of young people across the country can breath a sigh of relief that the wait is over. If you got the grades you wanted, well done. And if not, there are many, many options available, so don’t be despondant. I still have nightmares now about my own A-Level results day in 1999. The results themselves were fine, but the worry remains with me to this day. I occasionally still have dreams where I find myself panicking about the impending results. And it takes me a few seconds when I wake up to realise ...
1:02 pm

McConnell is off to Malawi

Gravatar Former Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell is off to Malawi, he will become the British High Commissioner in 2009 and will take up an unpaid post in Malawi and Rwanda with an aid foundation.
12:50 pm

Help for would-be historical novelists

Gravatar Has all the Atonement activity in Redcar inspired you to start your own historical novel or maybe you have reached a sticking point and need a creative boost? Author Wendy Robertson will be running a half- day writing workshop entitled "The Historical Imagination," at Redcar Library on 15th September. Booking forms will shortly be available from all Redcar and Cleveland Libraries, so if you really want to get that book published, why don't you pop into your local library for a form. The cost will be £5 which will include the highly necessary tea and biscuits to keep up the ...
12:28 pm

Leaving present

Gravatar Campaigns Department gave me a great leaving present yesterday, a Benson Box of Tricks kite, now to get out there in that wind!
12:07 pm

'A' level results

Gravatar Today 'A' level results were announced across the country. Eldest daughter, Jes, added an A in Biology, an A in Chemistry and a B in Italian to her existing A in General Studies. So it is off to King's College Medical School, i.e. Guy's, to study Medicine. So a very public WELL DONE JES!
11:55 am

The funniest US political ad?

Gravatar Joe Trippi says this is the funniest ad he remembers.
11:44 am

MP: Corruption is a crime

Gravatar Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrats’ Shadow Internet Development Secretary, has written an article on Liberal Democrat Voice arguing that corruption in international arms deals should be taken as seriously as other crimes: It’s the only area of crime (other than graffiti!) where - when campaigning against it - I’ve encountered a handful of people saying, “but it’s ok”. Read the article here.
10:53 am

Ivory Towers and Islamism

Gravatar Tony Blair was a very smooth operator, there's no disputing it. One of his biggest successes, from my perspective, was making the idea of civil liberties and the people who support them seem rather wet at best, and at worst crass and inhumane. His typical approach used to be "look, we can have these nice little civil liberties or some people can not get blown up by terrorists." He managed to paint civil liberties as being an optional thing - a luxury we may have previously enjoyed but which now needed to be sacrificed on the altar of the "War ...
10:52 am

...and then you drown.

Gravatar So, it’s A Level Results Day, and I’m personally celebrating three centuries of the newspapers reporting that results are up, they’re too easy and everyone got As. Hooray! I remember my own results day, in the summer of 2001. I was working on Weston beach, and my mum had to pick me up and drive me the twelve odd miles to school. I dashed in, grabbed a paper slip from a desk, and then drove back to work – which was a shame, because my friends got to stand around and look pityingly at those who had missed out on ...
10:46 am

Teenage terror

Gravatar The recent 'teenage terror' stories leave one with an overwhelming sense of despair.In yesterday's Telegraph Jan Moir expressed the collective outrage we all feel ("I've never felt less like hugging a hoodie").  After outlining the closely knit family that has been destroyed in Warrington she writes:To be frank, I don't care how difficult the life of the average hoodie has been, or how much any of these callous youths have suffered at the unseen hands of an absent parent, or general, festering resentment that stems from their troubled home situations.Today, many more commentators address the issue and the associated comments ...
10:37 am

A-level Results day.

Gravatar The day of judgement has come and hundreds of thousands of students up and down the country (myself included) will have raced down to their schools this morning in order to recieve those dreaded A-level results. Well I have been and have been accepted to my personal jubilation by my first choice even though I got a little under the grades required! (The powers of supply and demand once again work in my favour). There were a couple of people crying there as they found out they didn't get the grades they wanted, and there were a few people in ...
10:36 am

Why have BAE got MoD security passes?

Gravatar {Norman Lamb} The Ministry of Defence has handed security passes to 38 BAE employees, giving them acccess to the MoD headquarters at will. The discovery was made by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, who criticised the arrangement. “This demonstrates that there is far too close a relationship between the Ministry of Defence and BAE. This incestuous and potentially corrupting relationship must be brought to an end. BAE’s lobbying muscle helped to bring an end to a major corruption inquiry, which is totally unacceptable.” The Guardian says that the ministry won’t reveal why the BAE staff were given the passes, or ...
10:31 am

Why was the Catholic Church whitewashing Gerry Adams wikipedia entry ?

Gravatar The BBC and other news sources are running the story that the new Wikipedia tool "Scanner" has highlighted that organisations like the US Democrats and the CIA have been altering peoples' information. However, the most odd entry on the list of altered files appears to have been done from the Vatican, which altered a file on Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, to remove any trace of his possible involvement in terrorist activities. We know the Catholic church has proved adept at whitewashing the details of priest involved in child abuse over the years, but attempting to make out that ...
10:11 am

Just how incompetent do you have to be to become a Premiership ref ?

Gravatar A few months ago I reported on the awful refereeing I had witnessed from a Mr Lee Probert, then a referee in the Championship, Jusdging from comments from other and from other related internet sites, I was not alone in believing Lee Probert to be utterly useless. I also, at the time, made the rash and sarcastic comment that "he would soon become a premiership ref", based on his incompetence. Alas, I have been proved right. Watching Match of the Day last night, the Bolton golakeeper cropped the ball, the Fulham player David Haely got a boot to it, knocked ...
10:07 am

The Galaxy in 'win' shock

Gravatar It's taken a few games since David Beckham arrived, mostly with Becks on the bench, for the LA Galaxy to record a win. But last night they managed it, winning 2-0 with Becks as captain and scoring a goal (yep, a freekick). Talking of football and captains, I'm not suggesting this is the answer to all our problems, but Michael Dawson should be Spurs captain in Ledley's absence, not Keane. And I haven't felt like blogging about football since the season started (allegedly, Spurs' hasn't started yet), but can everyone please leave Jermaine Jenas alone? Even when he plays really ...
9:47 am

Johann and Jeff

Gravatar The latest Private Eye has a rather tasty little morsel in its Hackwatch column, regarding young Master Hari. The piece focuses on his well-documented recent tiff with Nick Cohen, but also reveals that whilst a student rag scribbler at Cambridge, he acted as literary researcher for the *ahem* celebrated novelist, Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare.
8:27 am

Independence or bust?

Gravatar Although she does not state it explicitly, Leanne Wood today implies that Wales' Constitutional Convention, agreed under the One Wales pact, is just the first step in a process that will take us all the way to independence. No wonder some Labour figures are unhappy. They are more concerned with what will happen to the can of worms they are opening than with the thought that Wales might achieve parity with Scotland. Writing in the Western Mail, Leanne adopts the language of the SNP to suggest that the Convention will enable the Welsh government to begin a conversation on our ...
8:04 am

Voting starts

Gravatar Postal votes should start dropping through doors in Loughton Alderton ward today. I hope people will lend their vote to me so that the BNP are booted out. I promise to work hard for local residents, keeping in touch through regular FOCUS newsletters and consulting them on issues that concern them. Another Liberal Democrat councillor will provide a stronger opposition to the Conservative run
7:55 am

What would you do if you were in a seven hour meeting about the Olympics?

Gravatar Labour councillor Rofique Ahmed recently faced this decision at a meeting. What did he decide? To sit there saying nothing. Only one slight problem. It was a key planning meeting which had to decide whether or not to grant outline planning permission for the Olympics. And he was the only councillor from Tower Hamlets sitting [...]
7:50 am

John Peel on Elvis Presley: Something frightening, something lewd, something seriously out of control

Gravatar Elvis Presley died exactly thirty years ago on August 16th 1977. At the time I was working at Butlin’s holiday camp, Minehead, feeding the huge beast which was the camp dishwasher and trying to experience some summer romance helped by the likes of “I feel love” by Donna Summer in the camp disco. I turned up for work as usual at 7am and I noticed a fifty-something lady doling out the baked
7:38 am

The barbecuing of Karl Rove

Gravatar Michael Tomasky wrote an excellent article on Karl Rove in Tuesday's Guardian. Sadly, I can't find in on Guardian Unlimited. So a chocolate mouse will go to anyone who can find it on line. The gist of the piece was that Karl Rove had said that, by getting Bush elected in 2000, he (Rove) had started a McKinley-like period of Republican supremacy in the US. (McKinley became President and started a
12:26 am

All Clear in Romney Marsh

Gravatar Thankfully the tests for foot and mouth have proven to be negative on the farm in St-Mary-in-the-Marsh. A great relief for all concerned locally I'm sure.
12:19 am

I think the monkey's a fake

Gravatar Look at those hands. Do you really think it can do its own typing? I think the blog is a human front, trying to con its way into favour in the animal kingdom.
12:05 am

Day 2414: Millennium versus Boba Fett

Gravatar Saturday: The trouble with being on HOLIDAY is that it is difficult to get Daddy to do my Diary when I cannot peel him away from the STAR WARS LEGO! {Posted by Picasa} {Posted by Picasa} The Bounty Hunters... are here... {Posted by Picasa} I know a SONG about that! {Posted by Picasa} {Posted by Picasa} {Posted by Picasa} This ear... {Posted by Picasa} ...goes 'ere {Posted by Picasa} {Posted by Picasa} Who nose... {Posted by Picasa} ...where this goes! {Posted by Picasa} {Posted by Picasa} Snap! Together! {Posted by Picasa} You'd better do my diary NOW, Daddy!
12:02 am

Gravatar OxBrum, the Birmingham Oxfam Group a volunteer group from Birmingham has recently launched a new website at

Previous days:

Wednesday 15th August 2007, Tuesday 14th August 2007, Monday 13th August 2007, Sunday 12th August 2007, Saturday 11th August 2007, Friday 10th August 2007