David Cameron has gone a step further in his embracing of emerging technologies with his new blog site, Webcameron. The first video is up with him introducing the theme and concept behind the site. I shall be registering shortly. Great idea and he should be commended for it really.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Russia and Georgia it seems are on the brink of war this morning. Over the past few days tensions have been increasing between the two states over the arrest if Russian military officers on charges of spying by Georgia. Troops movements by Russia have started along the border and yesterday they pulled 84 Diplomats out of the country. The latter is never a good sign really.
I am not, by any real measure, a psephologist. However, it seems clear that the phenomona of the "Conference Bounce" in the UK is, these days at least, a general universal for the three main political parties. You have a media managed conference, and you see your poll ratings go up. It's unlikely, in today's world of PR that you will see your vote go down, even if you do engage in a bit of mild blood letting, especially if the monopoly broadcaster in the country is largely on your side.
A quick look at the polling data over September shows the effect. The Lib Dems had their conference and perked up. Now Labour have had their conference and it's neck and neck between them and the Tories on 36%. This time next week there will be another poll and it will show the Tory lead regained as the "conference bounce" takes it turn on them.
There's been much said in the past week about the Tory poll lead. I recall someone from Labour saying on Radio 4 that a 8-10 point lead is nothing like the lead Labour had over the Tories in the early 1990s. The argument goes that the polls are meaningless and "the Tories aren't doing as good as we did anyway". Of course, the Labour has, on election day, consistently polled less than the polls say they will, whilst the Tories have done the reverse.
Like I said at the beginning, I am no psephologist, but todays poll is not a particular bad one for the Tories or a good one for Labour. After all, during weekes where you effectively have guaranteed media coverage across the board everyday all day, you'd have to do something utterly silly to not get a bounce in the opinion polls. Arguably carrying out a poll during Conference season is pointless as it does not show the true popularity of any of the parties, it's more a snapshot of respondents short-term memory.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Having been away from the Internet in a real sense for a week I feel a little behind with the news. After all, the radio follows the papers, and the papers print what was online the day before usually, so for me it's still sort of Thursday really.
In one of my reading over people's shoulders mode earlier though I did spy something about the new summary justice powers that the Govrrnment wants to bring in which I mentioned here. I'll be honest I'm not sure I read it right though.
I'm sure someone can correct me but what I thought I saw it say was that muggers were going to be fined £100 instead of being arrested. It's difficult to forget such a pathetic and silly idea you see, but I'm sure it can;t have been true. All I could think of after that was a mugger paying his fine off with stolen money.
Someone tell me I read it wrong. Please?
I have an exam today an d then I'm off to the pub so it's fair to say you won't be seeing that much posting for me. However, I just wanted to post a little something on Web 2.0 because I keep seeing the phrase everywhere and it's starting to irk me, I shall however, try not to rant.
Putting it simply, Web 2.0 is not new. The phrase was born in 1999 by Internet geeks at a conference and was meant as a bit of a way of expressing the difference between static and dynamic driven web content. However, for some reason it has become synonomous with the notion of "user driven" websites like Blogger, MySpace etc.
Blogger and MySpace are not new though. Blogs are not new. They're personal websites just like AOLHomeTown and Geocities were in the 1990s. The interactivity is not new either. Leaving comments on a site is like leaving a guestbook message.
Web 2.0 refers to the underlying difference between static HTML and dyanmically generated html pages using scripting and xml. Please evryone, stop talking about Web 2.0 as if it is a represnetation of some sort opf new communication medium. Fundamentally, the web today is no difference to the way it was 10 years ago. Slashdot has been doing what the fashionistas call Web 2.0 since before the term was even invented.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Following on from James Naughtie making slip-ups about his Labour Party affiliation on the Today programme, his colleague Polly Billington has joined the club too. This morning, in a feature with Labour conference delegates about the leadership question she said to one of the delegates, "where are we" on the leadership issue.
Update: It's been suggested in Comments that I may be misconstruing Polly, so, just in case other are right and I am wrong (which would only be the third time in my life), I decided to grab the audio and listen again. You can grab it here and you need to go about 1:40 to get to the bit.
Polly addresses a Labour delegate by name after speaking with another Labour delegate and says: "Are you comfortable with where we are on the leadership? Do you think there is a smooth transition about to happen?"
I accept I may be reading more in it than there actually is, but I don't think I've unreasonably misconstrued meaning per se.
Apparently this morning there has been a report out into Pentonville prison. They have a rat problem, and no that was not some veiled innsult at the convicts. However, talkking about insults the report also says that prisoners are often insulted and treated as a ower order by prison guards as part of "institutionalised disrepspect".
I can't deny I had a little double-take when I heard that. I may be hopelessly wrong on this, but is not the fundamental nature of the prison officer and prisoner a heirarchical one? Isn't it right that prison guards are above prisoners else we have a situation where, for want a better phrase, the "lunatics are running the asylum"? As to the question of insults, I imagine it's a two way street somehow.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Just read this over at Last Boy Scout's blog. Not, in his own words, an exhaustive lists of the differences between Conservatives and Labour, but a pretty could start. I particularly like the comment regarding Labour's desire to raise the age of cirminal responsibilty thereby writing off a large number of crimes from the records.
I've just found the following interview with BT's futurologist, Ian Pearson. It's an interesting interview which talks about the rise of The Terminator, the future of social communications and introduction of "smart yoghurt". I must however engage in a moment of geek pedantry where Pearson says:
Star Trek got it completely wrong - when Captain Kirk says "Beam me up, Scotty", "Scotty, beam me up" would be much better because it can route it straight through to Scotty, rather than wait until the end of the sentence before it knows who to send the voice to.
Actually, Kirk never said "Beam me up, Scotty" in any episode of Star Trek. He did however say "Scotty, beam me up" in Star Trek IV. So actually, it's Pearson who is wrong, not Kirk. I do of course fully understand that with one single post I've just destroyed what little credibility I may have had.
Just spotted a report on Epolitix which comments on a Times report about Blair's final "in-tray" of work. Number one on his "to do" list in Outlook is apparently, "Incentives for police forces to seize criminal assets".
Can anyone smell a potential conflict of interest there? A 20% cut of seizures perhaps? He's also planning on handing more judge and jury powers to the Old Bill to drag yobs to cahspoints (sound familiar?).
The really good news is that in addition to the headline grabbing crime iniatives, Blair also intends to resolve the Middle East problem. He is Jesus after all, always with us. So it makes sense.
Hat Tip: Croydonian for the Lexus headline.
Peter Whittle, over at the New Culture Forum has written a piece about the news that Mozart's Idomeneo has been cancelled on the grounds that it might cause offence to people. Apparently, there is a scene in it where the "King of Crete holds aloft the decapitated heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad and cries ‘The gods are dead!’"
This is all now just getting rather silly I fear. What has exactly happened to the Age of Enlightenment? Banning art on the grounds that it might cause some group offence when set within the cultural context of the given days dominant political viewpoints? Why are we allowing our values to be degraded on the basis of a narrow viewpoint about personal affront to others?
The headline report this morning on the BBC appears to be the level of debt in the UK. Apparently, according to DataMonitor, the average level of personal unsecured debt in the UK is double the average level of debt in Europe. There have been lots of people on the radio explaining how this is because we in Britain are less debt-averse, we like the offers of credit given to us, we have a "buy now, pay later" culture. All those things are true, but what no one mentioned was Gordon Brown's impact on the stats.
Let us not forget, as we are so often told, that interest rates are at record low-levels. This is rolled out as if it is, by necessity, a good thing. The argument goes, interest rates low, mortgage rates low, people not in negative equity like under the Tories, therefore low interest rates are good. Here's the problem though, when interest rates are low it discourages saving, and encourages debt. Larger debt, in reverse to low interest rates, is not by necessity "bad", but, when looked at in the totality of government policy it does become something of a concern.
Under Gordon Brown's chancellorship we have had laws which make personal bankruptcy easier for example. No longer does declaring oneself bankrupt ruin you financially for years. We now have a situation where one can run up huge debts, declare themselves bankrupt, wait a year and then start all over again. Easier and cheap credit, as a result of low interest rates, encourages people to get in over there heads, and the Government has provided them with a way of getting out of that debt quickly and easier.
What's more the tax credit system, by encompassing ever larger groups of people inside the Treasury hand-out scheme, discourages saving by design. If you are a low paid family who receives tax credits you dare not save money else your credit is reduced. The system encourages spending over saving at a time when it's clear the future of pensions for those very people is in question.
Yes, we have higher levels of insecure debt because of our cultural differences with Europe. But let's not forget that this Government has done nothing to encourage prudent fiscal management by the individual and has, in fact, irresponsibly encouraged a "think in the short term because in the long term you're dead" culture.
It seems all the papers this morning have chosen to allude to the Sinatra analogies for Blair's messianic swansong yesterday. Our dearest Polly is not thereforeunique in use of metaphor when you place alongside her mainstream media colleagues.
Actually, she's not unique when you place herself against her colleague from a few weeks earlier. This morning Polly said, "Regrets, he had a few, but then again, too few to mention." On September 13th, Simon Hogarth said about Blair's TUC speech, "Regrets, he had a few. But then again, too few to mention." Plagiarism of plagiarism! How quaint.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Apparently the 320 TV monitors in the Scottish Parlaiment at Holyrood started advertising porn channels, and included the channels in their channel list. The channels included were Red Hot Wives, Playboy TV and Spice Extreme.
According to officials at the Parliament the channels were not actually accessible and have now been removed. A spokeswoman was quoted as saying: "There is no way anybody could watch porn in parliament."
I'm sure they could on a PSP or the Internet if they really wanted too. What I wonder is how accidental this actually was? According to the spokeswoman the channels were "added by mistake to the TV feed", but I doubt that sort of thing happens by mistake.
Sounds like someone having a laugh to me. It's the sort of thing that I would do if I thought I could get away with it!
Earlier on today, Iain commented on a picture of the Spectator editor, Matthew D'Anacona and the bookshelf behind him. I fear my rather meagre bookshelf may indeed be equally unsound, although I should stress the one called Palmistry belongs to my wife. There is one edited by Iain underneath Celsius 7/7 so hopefully he'll let me off for the sheer volume of left wing stuff. In my defence I did study Politics at University, so most of it was required reading.
I'm not going to write about Blair's speech because I've not heard it or read, and to be frank, I doubt I could summarise it better than Guido has. However, what I will comment on is Baroness Amos' speech which, like Ruth Kelly and John Reid before her, has questioned the value of multiculturalism. In her speech she said:
"Has our tolerance of difference led communities to live separate lives? Isolated from their neighbours and from the wider society. Lacking common bonds and mutual connections which could break down suspicion and misunderstanding. How far should we go in allowing special treatment for the ethnic, cultural and religious traditions of our communities? What are the limits to our tolerance and how might those limits be exercised? How do we deal with those who turn our tolerance against us? We need to have an open discussion as a party and as a wider society about who we are and what we believe in as Britons."
I can't say I disagree with her at all, but what I find most interesting is the lack of people standing up and screaming "racist". If a Tory had used the exact words above last year they would have found themselves subject to charges of racism and extremism. In fact, it happened to a Sunday Times journalist during the local elections.
Whilst Baroness Amos is absolutely correct to ask these questions, we should also be asking ourselves why it is not acceptable to ask such questions until the Left decides it wants to ask them. As more and more senior people on the ruling Left begin to ask these questions the Right has been asking for some time, perhaps we should, at the same time, seek to remove the political intolerance that exists when those on the Right question the Left's "received wisdom" before they do?
It appears that the Afghan President Karzai and Pakistan's President Musharraf are at loggerheads. Apparently, Karzai has blamed Musharref for the resurgent Taliban on the basis that he has not done enough to deal with madrasahs used as training grounds. In response, Musharref basically said that Afghanistan intelligence was rubbish. Specifically he told a New York audience that:
"Intelligence -- to be effective -- should be immediate. Nobody, no target, sit there waiting for you for three months [saying], 'Come and catch me.' If you give telephone numbers which are three to six months old, this becomes ridiculous. And this is exactly what happened. [Karzai] gave these numbers to me when he came [to Pakistan] with his intelligence boss also sitting on a presidential visit. And he handed over this file to me. Right in front of him I actually was extremely rude to his intelligence boss. I said: 'Is this your sense of intelligence that your were waiting for a presidential visit to hand over this file of numbers to me?'"
Handbags at dawn clearly. In other news, Dick Armitage has said that he never threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age".
Quote sourced from Radio Free Afghanistan
It appears that Cherie has been caught out saying a lot more than just "well that's a lie". Croydonian has posted about the Evening Standard reporting that whilst Brown's speech was being delivered yesterday she went past the Communication Workers' Union stall, waved her arms around and said "This is all rubbish..... Anyway, you lot should be supporting Alan Johnson". Why am I not surprised that someone in Downing Street wants Alan Johnson?
In an interview this morning with James Naughtie (who didn't slip up like yesterday), John Hutton was asked directly if would stand for the leadership. His answer was interesting, he said "I'm not answering that question yet".
Translation: "We're still in the early plotting stage and I'm not sure if I've got the signatures. Give me time"
The story about Cherie's comment is apparently all over the fornt pages instead of Gordon. I imagine she will be happy. The most amusing thing from it all is the apparent line that Downing Street put out to the lobby yesterday. They said that rather than saying "well that's a lie" what Cherie actually said was "well, can I get by". Then they said she didn't in fact say anything at all.
All rather hilarious to say the least. Interestingly, from what I've just been able to read in a few papers, the line doesn't appear to actually deny Cherie was in the location that the Bloomberg journalist was when she said she overheard her.
Odd that, given Cherie is a lawyer, there have been no libel claims thrown out yet. If it's so clearly untrue you'd have thought Cherie and Tony would go for it given the size of the mortgage.
Another day in Guildford begins with yet another two hour session of the Today programe. Apparently there are to be strikes in the NHS today by delivery drivers. I'm not going to pretend to know all the details to be honest, save to say that from what I do know this is about outsoricing the delivery of "things" within the NHS.
I'm going to presume that those "things" are medical supplies, drugs, and other stuff that people like DHL specialise in. In fact, the name DHL was mentioned on the radio so I;m guessing they are the provider. It sounded very much like the issue for the strikers was that their jobs were being transferred to a private company.
Unsuprisingly, what with me being a Tory, I'm not quite sure why this deserves strike action. I understand the whole "NHS is not for profit" argument very well, but we're not talking about private medical care, we're talking about the people delivering cardboard puke trays to hospitals. It makes perfect sense to have someone working to a Service Level Agreement which, if not met, will lose them the contract.
I note that there will probably not be a follow-up striuke once this stuff has actually been fully out-sourced according tothe radio. If it's so much of an issue for the Unions you'd think they'd plan more wouldn't you?
Monday, September 25, 2006
What can I say, The Times has excelled itself with the image choice for its "Cherie calls Gordon a liar" article. Who needs caption competition when they make them themselves?
Not for the first time James Naughtie has made a slip of the tongue showing his party political affiliation whilst presenting the Today programme. In the past he's said "when we win" whilst interviewing a Labour politician about the General Election, and this morning, whilst interviewing Gordon Brown he raised the question of the Iraq war and said "there are people in this party" who are against it.
Surely, if he were being "impartial" he should have said "there are people in the Labour Party"? By saying "this" he effectively included himself in it. Obviously this isn't to be surprised, everybody knows Naughtie is a Labour Party stooge, but you'd think after being caught out before he'd at least try a little harder not to do it again.
I couldn't help but laugh when I heard James Naughtie talking about party political financing and then interview someone from the "Unlock Democracy" group who apparently support state funding of political parties. Unlock democracy by making the taxpayer pay to stop politicians being corrupt? Genius!
Joy of joy, I'm on a training course in Guildford this week. This means instead of the nightmare of the tube I have the nightmare of the M25. It also means that I don't have a paper to read, I have the Today programme to listen to.
The first thing in this morning's show that caught my ear was a paper roundup at 6:30. Reference was made to a Guardian article that showed "research" that when Bulgaria and Romania become part of the EU the inevitable migration exodus will hit Italy, Greece and Israel, rather than Britain.
I may of course be being utterly cynical, but I can't help thinking this sounds a bit like the argument given when the other eastern europeans countries entered the EU. Back then, rather than being told of research showing migrants would go elsewhere we were simply told the numbers would be insignificant. Anyone who questioned it at the time was labelled some sort of rabid racist.
Don't get me wrong here, I have nothing against immigrants at all. In fact, I'm glad that people want to come here and work. What bothers me is the fact that these jobs have to be taken up by economic migrants when the number of unemployed steadily rises. Unlike the old cliche of "bloody foreigners stealing our jobs" we should be saying "bloody lazy Brits refusing to take jobs"
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Looks like the Unions have hit the ground running in trying to flex their muscles at the Labour Conference. Apparently Unions bosses have been trying to get a policy commitment to reintroduce a mandatory 14 year prison sentence to the Corporate Manslaughter Bill which was first presented to Parliament in July. The Government is threatening to pull the bill completely unless the Unions back down.
Anyone who watched the news last night will no doubt be aware that the Stop the War Coalition held a protest march at the Labour Conference in Manchester. The thing is, besides Stop the War being a front organisation for Trotskyites and Islamists, I just don't get why they exist and how they actually think they represent even a sane position.
For a start they want the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan. Apparently the country is lawless and it's all our fault, if only we would leave you see it would become a law-abiding utopia. Who wants to bet that if we did leave Stop the War would start blaming us for not seeing through our responsibilities and leaving the country lawless?
Then there's Iraq, they want us to withdraw all our troops from there too. The reason? Well we're there illegally you see. Apparently, because the UN did not give us permission to go there to remove a brutal dictator we've broken something they call "international law". The fact that our presence there now is mandated by the UN is not good enough because we didn't get permission initially. Presumably then we can leave and then go back and that will be ok?
So what if there were a hundred thousand at the protest? So what if Tony Blair's sister-in-law was there mouthing off about crusades. The protest represented little more than the militant politically powerless extreme left who have betrayed their own roots by throwing their lot in with homophobic misogynist theocratic fascists. You couldn't make it up really.
Apparently the results of a survey by the Association of London Government into the new powers that have been bestowed on Livingstone will be released tomorrow. Word is they're not exactly positive towards the idea of dictator Livingstone.
There are already cross-party supported mutterings against Livingstone's powers in Camden, and these survey results will show a similar backlash across the London boroughs to the concentration of power in the Mayor office.
According to an article in this morning's Sunday Times, Alan Johnson "will not officially confirm" his leadership bid but "he has already registered the website names Johnson4leader.com, Johnson4leader.org and Johnson4leader.co.uk". Now, whilst that is not entirely accurate as it is not Johnson's name that appears as the registrant, the implication is blindingly obvious.
Unless the Sunday Times has made a serious editorial mistake, then David Taylor was asked to register the domains by Alan Johnson's office. Making the claim that he was "not working for Alan Johnson or working for anybody else working for Alan Johnson", an outright lie. It will also mean that he didn't make his "own decision to buy these domains", and that there was indeed a "Machiavellian plot".
Of course the Sunday Times may well have made a mistake. But I find it unlikely they would be so matter of fact without being certain. What I don't get is why the apparent lies surrounding the domains and the wider plot have been conveniently ignored. After all, if Johnson wants to be PM, then the deception surrounding this whole thing surely bring his integrity into question?
It seems that Alan Johnson will just be the continuance of New Labour spin by other means.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
There appears to be an awful lot of "discussion" about whether the Top Gear show is irreesposible, whether it's failed to adhere to Health and Safety etc etc. Richard Hammond, and I'm pretty sure he will agree with this sentiment were he to ever read it, is an individual. He chose to get into that rocket powered dragster, no one forced him into it. The BBC is not irresponsible for allowing him to do it, and the idea that there are health and safety worries is classic nanny-statism.
Anyone who watches Top gear knows that the presenters are all petrol heads of the highest order who love power and speed. Richard Hammond would've got into the dragster even if the BBC had said they were not going to film it. That's the type of bloke he is. If we start saying that the show is irresponsible, then we might as well stop showing F1 on the TV too, after all those guys are driving at 200mph and can crash just as easily.
All this discussion around the circumstances of Hammond's accident seem to ignore the vital factor that he took the decision to do it. If in the past we'd been as obssessively risk-averse as we are today, we'd never have broken the sound barrier, gone into space, got to the moon. Taking risks is a natural human instinct. We should stop obssessively restricting the freedom of human action otherwise the nannying will hold us back.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Apparently there has been some backlash to the Today programme's bizarre decision to give Abu Izzadeen - the fruitcake that heckled John Reid - the oxygen of publicity. I grabbed the transcript from The Times website and just couldn't help myself! My comments are the ones in red (as if you won't know!)
John Humphrys: You said to Mr Reid how dare you come to this area. I suppose I should suggest to you how dare you suggest he shouldn’t. No John, you should suggest to him that he's a loony.
Abu Izzadeen: My address to Mr Reid was primarily to deal with his behaviour in the past year and his previous position as Defence minister [sic].
He has been killing Muslims abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, I didn't realise he had it in him! and as Home Secretary he has been presiding over the arrest of many Muslims so Muslim's should be expempt from arrest? and in that light how dare he come to address the Muslims.
His view is nothing more than to ask the Muslim community to turn in on itself and spy and do the police’s job unless of course their job requires them to nick a muslim.
It was outrageous to see someone like John Reid it was a doppleganger? who has been presiding over so many attacks on the Muslim community come and address us as if he is our friend. Agreed, it's outrageous that someone should impersonate a secretary of state and get away with it! He is the enemy towards Islam and Muslims. So let me get this straight, rather than "an" enemy he's "the" enemy towards Islam? Has anyone told Osama this?
JH: How come Mr Reid was given a pretty sympathetic reception at this event? Because with the excpetion of loony tunes everyone else was chosen by his aides?
AI: The British Government always have a policy of divide and rule do they? say's who? you? a random nobody who converted to Islam and got himself on the telly? …But for the general masses, those that have been arrested, those that have been targeted by the police, it’s not going to wash. Frederick Engels eat your heart out!
JH: How can you presume to speak for the general masses of Muslims – you’re not elected to any post. Neither are you John, but let's be honest you make the presumption at least once a week.
AI: We are not talking about elections. He was . I’m a Muslim and your point is?; I work with the community so do hookers , I live in the community so do drug dealers, John Reid doesn’t doesn't what? Live with hookers and drug dealers? And I’m telling you we have had enough. my desire for life is ebbing away too.
We’ve had enough of the police raids as have all the drug dealers no doubt! (although I bet if they read this they'd agree with me) , enough of the shooting in Forest Gates you're just being melodramatic now , enough of the arrests inside Walthamstow, inside restaurants what even if they're guilty?, under the guise of your war against terror which everybody knows, Muslims and non-Muslims, is a war against Islam yeah man, we just want to arrest Muslims, that's like why so many are still freely walking the streets. If only the government would spend more money on the police then we could arrest all of you! Internment is the future!
And I’m telling you something - if they don’t stop this there’s going to be a very strong reaction from the community so we have to do what you say or else?, maybe not from me on an individual level you not got the bottle then?, but people have had enough.
JH: What do you mean by that, a very strong reaction? John, trying to play the faux naive Louis Theroux doesn't work for you. Just say what everyone else is thinking. "Are you threatening us?"
If you’re going to talk terrorism you have to look at Tony Blair because at the moment, the biggest terrorist is George Bush and his side-kick. How does looking at Tony Blair help us see George Bush?
JH: Well let’s talk about 9/11 and the terrorist attacks that have happened since then including the one in this country which killed a large number of British people, including some Muslims. Nice John, you've just let him lead you onto the territory he wants to rant about. Who's actually doing this interview?
AI: How many people died in 9/11 – 3000…let’s give a nice round figure of 5000 people…Since 9/11 the British Crusader wasn't that a bike by Raleigh? forces and the American Crusader that sounds like a Christian rock band forces…they have killed in the bombing campaign alone some said 70,000 inside Iraq, some said 100,000... nice, "some said", who's "some" then? Your mum?
You can see the Muslim community worldwide are suffering from many 9/11s and many 7/7s throughout the Muslim world. They are? I've not seen passenger airlines flown in to skyscrapers on an ordinary Tuesday morning.
That’s why the real terrorist is Tony Blair. He is a murderer with blood on his hands of Muslims in Afghanistan, Muslims in Iraq… cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo
JH: …Are you telling me that 9/11 and the subsequent attacks, including the attack on this country, are justified? Of course he is John, your listeners are not stupid.
AI: I’m talking about the reality of Muslims being attacked after 9/11 "reality" is such a losse term, but that's not what you were asked. The numbers of casualties are much greater on the Muslim side. Back to your mum again I see.
JH: I’m asking you whether they were justified?
AI: Why don’t you ask the terrorists they're dead. Those who took out the operations but they're dead, we should ask them why did you do so look, I don't mean to be rude but unless you're about to tell us you're Doris Stokes (and you are wearing a dress so you might be for all I know) we can't really ask them because... well.. like I said twice already.... they're dead …there was video released by Mohammed Siddique Khan children read this site I couldn't possibly go there [leader of the July 7 bombers] after 7/7 oh that video where he explains clearly why he did those. It’s not for me to justify or to condemn… I hope all the murderers out there are listening. All you have to do is make a video explaining why they "needed killing" and it will be fine.
…Mr Reid is a tyrant actually he's Home Secretary, you're bestowing on him power he simply does not have…when Tony Blair says this evil ideology he is talking about Islam actually he's talking about Islamism which is different, the former is followed by people of faith, the latter is followed by loonies like you. There are tyrants, enemies to Islam, enemies to Muslims. There can be no debate and discussion we've noticed that, hope you don't mind if we play by the same rules, oh but wait you do apparently, as they say, "shit happens", when they kill Muslims, when they murder Muslims. They needs to stop that immediately then we can open debates." Right, so we do what you tell us and you won't try and hurt us?
JH: Are you honestly telling me that your view on this is the only view in Islam because I have talked to a large number of very serious Islamic figures...who tell me that is not that case….?" To be fair John most of the ones you speak to are Islamist sympathisers. Admittedly they don't advocate blowing us up, but they do tacitly support the notion of an Islamic state.
AI: You may bring someone to you who says the British Government is the best in the world…I couldn’t care less you've probably noticed, but the feeling about you is mutual. The reality is Tony Blair is an enemy to Muslims, an enemy to Allah, and those who believe otherwise…they should really wake up and smell the coffee again with the stimulant references, just say what you mean, you want to kill us, be honest with yourself man …the reality is so clear, even the blind man can see when they kill Muslims they go under the guise of the crusade. Long Live King Richard! Wait, no, what year is this again?
When the British forces go into Afghanistan, Iraq, they go as Crusader forces... has anyone ever told you that you're a bit chicken oriental?
JH: If this country is so offensive to you…you don’t have to stay here you can go somewhere where there is Islamic law…" John, it would excite your listeners more if you were to say "why don't you just fuck off". It would probably get a round of applause too.
JH: You want Sharia law in this country? ….If you want to change the way this country functions, why can you not do it in a democratic way…?
AI: Democracy means sovereignty for man; and as a Muslim, we believe sovereignty for the Sharia Sharia is not though Allah, you just crucified (sorry) your own argument, who wrote Sharia? Man. You're talking bollocks, therefore I would never take part in democratic principles why because you'd rather take part in a different man made sovereignty? Rather I will work to change society in accordance with Islamic methodology.
JH: You will not observe the democratic process?
AI: We observe Islamic rules wherever we are.
JH: The Islamic process but not the democratic process?
AI: That’s right, yes. Translation: I'm a death worshipping fascist
I've just spied that Iain has posted says that the 10th October will see the launch of the first Internet TV channel in the UK, 18 DoughtyStreet Talk TV.
18DoughtyStreet Talk TV will broadcast for four hours a night, Mondays to Thursdays, from studios in London’s Bloomsbury with a mix of live and pre-recorded programmes. It aims to break the mould of current affairs television with a mix of opinionated and controversial programming.
In a groundbreaking initiative the station is building a network of 100 nationwide and worldwide citizen journalist reporters, each equipped with their own camcorder, which they can use to film reports for 18DoughtyStreet to broadcast.
At the heart of the station will be a website of blogs and daily votes. Comments left on the blogs will shape the content of the programmes. The daily votes will help determine which news stories headline every programme. Programme presenters will have access to the blogs during live programming, with the viewer seeing the blog next to the live streaming screen on their computers. All programmes will be available for download after livestreaming.
The channel’s founders believe that conventional political TV has let down its audience by dumbing down political debate to the lowest common denominator. It believes that no political party truly understands the electorate’s disappointment with the current state of politics. It aims to be an anti-establishment channel – championing rebel opinions in all of the mainstream parties and constantly questioning authority.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
It would appears that the Labour Party is offering everyone free webspace. All you have to do is hit, for example, this and you'll be presented with a page that looks like that below:
Isn't that nice of them? It appears you can pretty much do "anything.anything". Have fun kids. Remember though that it might just be an email address harvesting tool!
Update 20:18 : I was considering writing a technical reason why it redirects to labouronline.com but it would be horribly boring so I'm not going to. I've just had a word with someone I know and they've told me that the "www.labour.org.uk/firstname.secondname" is on their conference pass.
I've just read this little press release from the Ministry of Defence and my mind is boggling a little at why there is such fanfare at such an absurd way of doing things.
Basically, we're spending £2Bn on transport aircraft for the RAF (wonder if they will have explosion suppressents in the engine) which will be, according to the statement, delivered "early next decade". I'm not sure if that means 2011 or 2017 mind you. My guess is that if they're not ready by 2011 it will have meant 2017.
However, what I found more confusing is that apparently the components for the planes wings "are arriving in Bristol from a network of suppliers spanning seven European countries, Malaysia, South Africa and the United States".
We will then put them together into wings and then they'll be sent to Seville, in Spain so they can be attached to the rest of the plane - which will presumably be flown back to the UK?
Is it any wonder it's costing so much bloody money? The question is, why would anyone build something like this in such an inefficient way? I wonder if Lord Drayson has shares in a shipping business?
I've just been directed to the following site with an application called Torpark. It's a web browser designed to run off a usb stick which will set-up a tunnel route out of a corporate network and make your browsing completely anonymous, and what's more it's released under the GPL.
Accoording to a report in this morning's Times a group of Russian oligarchs are investing $100m to set up a university to teach the next generation of russians how to become billionaires.
Modules on the degree courses will apparently include:
- How to bribe an official
- How to ensure plausible deniability in cases of murder
- How to launder large somes of illegaly obtained money
- How to crush local liberty through criminal power.
Tomorrow, rather than Home Secretary John Reid attending the meeting of EU justice ministers in Tampere, Finland a junior Home Office minister, Joan Ryan is being sent instead. On the agenda of that meeting are plans to remove the National veto on matters of criminal justice and instead use qualified majority voting.
With the exception of the Guardian the press is reporting that Britain is about to give up the veto and acquiese to the EU on this subject. This will essentially create an EU wide justice system and introduce aspect of the EU Constitution by the back door. The Guardian's line is that John Reid is leading the fight to save the veto. However if that is true then why is he sending a junior minister to negotiate on Britain's behalf?
There is though also an important constitutional point here. The Coronation Oath taken by the Queen, who remains the embodiment of sovereignty in this Constitutional Monarchy whether one likes it or not, dictates law and justice is "executed in all judgments, to the monarch's power". Law and justice executed by the power of qualified majority voting of 25 european nation states is completely unconstitutional. The loss of the veto will - by stealth - effectively abolish the monarchy and Crown as the sovereign power.
I realise that all sounds rather melodramatic, but the consitituional implications of handing control of criminal justice and law over to qualified majority voting is immense. Ok, so it won't actually abolish the presence of the monarch, but it will make the point of the monarch and Crown utterly meaningless in terms of where sovereignty lies.
Spotted this little treasure on the TV last night. A new computer game called Just Cause which is all about, so it seems, playing the part of a socialist revolutionary akin to Che Guevara whilst running around with guns shooting people.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind a good shootem-up. It's the overt political dimension to the good guys versus bad guys that bothers me really. Fighting against political oppression is not the preserve of the Left.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I've just heard a rumour that the three people arrested at last year's Labour Conference for vandalising a Countryside Alliance stall (and previously mentioned by Iain Dale here), have received letters from Kate Hoey and the Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance allegedly requesting payment of £1000 each for the damage they caused. The letter from Kate Hoey is said to express disappoint that party members would act in such an intolerant way. I can't say I disagree with her if it's true.
Update 23:01: It appears that Iain also got tipped off (although I did post first so there! :p). The only difference is he got sent the letters. I shall have to have a word with my snout!
OK, what colour blind designer is in charge of the offcial Conservative Party website? Seriously, it's rubbish. I realise that might sound a little blunt but choosing a putrid green colour for the links when the colour used in the text of the logo makes the entire site clash. It's made especially worse by the addition of a bit of blue text here and a bit of grey text there. It looks more like green for green's sake than anything else. (click image for larger version)
The public have a right to know surely?
Sadly not my joke, I stole it from someone
Also in today's Times, Danny Finkelstein has written a piece regarding Clare Short's call for a hung parliament. In it he highlights the paradox of political behaviour these days arguing that:
"Voters and the media ask parties for total unity and want MPs to be completely authentic. Politicians are simultaneously expected to say exactly the same thing as every other member of their party and to be true to themselves. This is obviously impossible.... Bridging the unbridgeable contradiction between unity and authenticity has turned politics into an elaborate game for insiders."
Personally I think that this is a very good point, excellently made, and I'm not just saying that because he gave me a complimentary quote for my banner. However, the implications of addressing the problem seem to me to be far more significant.
If politicians are only able to genuinely "re-connect" with the electorate by having the freedom to say what they believe rather than falsely maintaining an air of unity, does that not mean the abolishment of the whip as a concept to some extent? Does it not also imply a rethink, perhaps a regressive rethink, of the very role of political parties in Britain today?
Daniel Finkelstein has certainly highlighted the problem, is the solution a return to a Parliament of individuals rather than party political robots?
It's been reported in The Times today that the fomrer Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has defended the Pope for his “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech. I can't say I disagree with him. What is of particular interest is Carey's taken up of the "clash of civilisations" argument and the idea that the problem is with the inherent political nature of Islam itself. He said:
"The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power."
The article in the Times also points out that the Pope has received contact from Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to murder John Paul II in 1981. From his Turkish prison he has apparently written tot he Pope urging him that he writes "as one who knows about these matters very well...Your life is in danger. Don’t come to Turkey — absolutely not!"
Now I realise that some find the "Clash of Civilisations" thesis difficult to stomach, but it occured to me on the train that if ever there was a physical clash rather than a battle of ideas that it would require a catalyst. If Agca's words were to become prescient in Turkey, could Benedict XVI become as historically significant as Archduke Ferdinand?
I don't wish to sound like Cassandra here, but I do wonder what the ramifications would be if Benedict XVI were to meet an untimely end at the hands of Islam?
Last night meeting of Battersea Conservative Association has apparently picked it's final list of three (plus one reserve) for their Portillo hosted Open Primary. I don't know which one is the reserve, but apparently fellow blogger, James Cleverly made the cut. The other three are, so I'm told, are Bagshawe, Gyimah and Ellison.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The tail-end of Hurricane Gordon is apparently going to hit the south-west in the next day or so. A sign of the country's decimation to come?
I finally read the Government's "Vision Statement" for information sharing, and what an utterly horrible document it is too. Under the apparent guise of the necessity to share infromation, it outlines how the Government intends to breach the Data Protection Act to help them pinpoint social exclusion. What that actually means is identifying those it wishes to intefere with so it can socially engineer them along what it decides is the virtuous path.
What's worse though is the section titled "Exploring greater infromation sharing with the private sector". Not only do they want to further intefere in the lives of those it considers require interference, but they want to extend the information sharing policy out into the private sector. The Government already excuses itself for potentially failing to protect our data and now it wants the right to just give it away?
All of this is being done in the supposed name of necessity to protect us and fight crime. But as William Pitt the Younger said, "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves".
Hat Tip: Croydonian for the Pitt quote
An interesting (maybe) conference coming up in the next month at Portcullis House called Parliament and the Internet. If I can blag my way in I may write a little review of it. All sounds quite interesting, although I worry when people talk about "converged services" because as a sysadmin I just hear "single point of failure" instead.
How odd. After a weekend in which Alan Johnson has been priased across the media for being such a nice bloke all of a sudden he's being hounded for letting his political advisors sping some school results. This happens the day after policy wonk John Hutton starts to be touted as the Blairite candidate for the leadership.
Now, call me a cynic if you like, but something smells funny there. I'm not doubting that Alan Johnson, and his office, spun school results to "bury bad news" as it were. That sort of thing is par for the course from this Government as a whole.
However, if you were someone desperate to become leader of the Labour Party (and thereby Prime Minister) who would you rather go against in an "open contest"? An affable ex-postman or a wooden policy wonk? Personally I'd rather have the policy wonk, but then I want Gordon Brown to win.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Unlike Guido I'm not going to tell the seppos to go home. I'm betting once they start reading they'll be leaving of their own volition out of sheer boredom. Still, it all pushes the traffic up I guess.
It's been reported today that the Lib dems want to introduce quite significant sliding scales of road tax dependent on emissions. The result is going to be that an oridinary family saloon like a Ford Mondeo will cost around £800 per year to tax. The argument being put forward is that this sliding scale will encourage people to drive cleaner cars. The problem is though, the cleaner the car is, usually also means the smaller the car is. Try having a family four and a Toyota Aygo.
There are though, I think, some unintended consequences of such a policy. What impact will it have on the second car market and car disposal market for a start? After all, a low earning large family, that requires a larger car is most likely going to buy a second hand one. By nature a second hand car will be less green than a newer one and will have the added impact of carrying a large tax tag.
If a car is in say the £1,500 tax bracket, what happens to it when it's market value reaches £1,500? This is a classic Lib Dem policy that sounds great in theory but could actually have disasterous impact in practice. There's not only the punishment for families but there is the added impact on a second hand car market which is the only place some people can even afford to buy a car.
It appears that Richard Tomlinson, the ex-MI6 spook, has started a new blog and has published chapters from his novel "The Golden Chain" on it. On his latest blog post he says:
Here's the remaining chapters of "The Golden Chain". I want to get them up on the Internet quickly before the police can start tricking the French authorities into arresting me. I've also written to the French police to give them a link to this blog, so that they can look at the evidence themselves rather than relying on a highly exaggerated international warrant from the British police. This is just a draft, and it is not finished yet, so don't start picking holes in it yet! And this is all I have done so far, I have no more chapters.
To read more click here
Ahoy me hearties! There are many strange Internet phenomona out there. At the same time as the Internet brings a mass of information sources ever closer to the masses, it a can also be used to promote ideas that are deliberately silly. The subject of this post is such a phenomonon.
You see, tomorrow is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Invented in 1995 by two americans, John Baur and Mark Summers, they picked September 19th (the birthday of Summers' ex-wife) as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate.
Wouldn't it be great if Charlie Kennedy spoke like a pirate tomorrow in his speech? People might actually take them seriously if they did.
What on earth is going in the Labour civil war? Yesterday, and today, there are reports that John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is now being touted by people as the "Stop Gordon" Blairite candidate. Sorry, John who? Ok, yes, people said the same thing about Cameron, so stranger things have happened, but it all seems rather odd.
After all, the obvious "Blairite" candidate has always been Alan Johnson, at least it always was. English, working class lad made good, affable, generally perceived as a bloke you could have a beer with. Now compare that to John Hutton, an academic policy wonk. Is this some sort of practical joke on the papers?
I wonder though why, if it isn't a joke, there would even be a desire to downplay Alan Johnson. Clearly the perception that he may have been planning a campaign won't have helped Johnson, but John Hutton?
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Following on from the post below I have just come off the phone with David Taylor. I introduced myself as I always do and then asked him straight if he was working for Darren Murphy.
His initial reaction was to say "who told you?". I repeated the question and he said "I'm not saying anything". When I asked him if that was a denial he said "I'm not saying anything". I again asked if he was denying it, he again said "I'm not saying anything".
Make your own mind up. It could all be bollocks, or it could be that Paul Linford is right.
Update: A comment has appeared below purporting to be from David Taylor. David, if, as you say, this is all nonsense, why did you not say that to me? You didn't ask me where I "got this rubish[sic] from" either. You said "who told you?" like someone in shock, and then kept repeating "I'm not saying anything". If you're denying it then fine, but why not just deny it in the first instance on the phone? Especially when I asked you twice if you were denying it. I gave you a closed question for a reason, all you had to do was say "Yes".
Incidentally, you say you question the sanity of your "accusers", but I should stress that I've not actually accused you or anyone of anything. I've simply presented an allegation I heard whose veracity I acknowledged was in question. The above post is little more than a log of the process I've gone through in trying to find out the allegation's validity.
Did a former Number 10 spin doctor ask David Taylor to register the johnson4leader domains? Is that former spin doctor now working for Alan Johnson in his spare time?
These are the two questions I've been asking myself since I heard an allegation that a former political communications advisor to Blair, Darren Murphy, allegedly asked Taylor to register those domains.
I tried to call David Taylor earlier to confirm whether this allegation was true, but unfortunately the phone line was dead when I tried.
Anyone who goes to any of the conferences this year should, one hopes, come away knowing a little more about political blogs than they did when they arrive. At least that is the hope with the release of a pamphlet by the Godfather of political blogging Iain Dale.
The pamphlet, another first for the UK, is titled "Iain Dale's Guide to Political Blogging in the UK" and featured Dale's Top 100 political blogs in the UK, as well as Top 100 listing for the three main political parties and the non-aligned blogger.
In between the ranking lists are short pieces that can be best described as blog posts, by a number of people including Francis Maude, Adam Boulton, David Milliband and of course Guido.
The most surprising thing about the pamphlet is that Iain managed to find 400 blogs to rank and categorise in the way he did. That in itself is an achievement. For me personally the highlight is reading David Milliband's comment and then reading Guido's.
What sticks in my mind most is Guido talking of Milliband's blog being "as politically honest as Pravda in the days of Stalin... his blog is more about bridging the gap with people who agree with him... Worst of all he hands down his wisdom in a smug self congratulatory tone. His is a master class in how not to blog."
Overall the pamphlet is informative and given my position in it I'm hardly likely to complain about it.
The Glasgow Sunday Mail's Westminster correspondent, Rob Gibson, says he has uncovered a "web plot for Blair's 'only friend' to run against Brown for leadership..... One source said "friends" of Johnson had already registered websites called johnson4 leader.co.uk, johnson4leader.org.uk, johnson4leader.com and johnson4leader.org.".
What is it about non-English sunday papers stealing stories and claiming them as they're own? There's clearly a celtic conspiracy story in this somewhere! I've also just noticed that Kevin Maguire made passing reference to the domains in Wednesday's Mirror. Whilst he didn't mention the site at least he didn't try to claim the discovery as his.
On Friday, the blogger and journalist that is like a "fine wine", Paul Linford, wrote an insightful piece that used my post of last Monday about the johnson4leader domain names as a starting point. The main thrust of his point was to ask why the mainstream media seemed to be ignoring the story. After all, it's not much different to the Portillo phone lines story back in the 1990s, and David Taylor can be linked to Alan Johnson through Hull and some other websites. In his post Paul asks,
Could it possibly be that the papers have ignored the story because they hate the thought of the leadership contest turning into a foregone conclusion, and are themselves desperate to promote Johnson as a credible alternative?
At first I wasn't too sure about the idea. I find it hard to imagine all the lobby hacks and political editors conspiring in such a way, but then everyone knew Charlie Kennedy was an alcoholic, and that Prescott was playing hide the sausage with different women and they didn't report it, so perhaps it could happen.
That idea became a little less fanciful this morning when I read a feature piece in today's Sunday Times. The piece is basically a glowing profile about what a nice bloke Alan Johnson is. Working class hero, anti-intellectual, man of the people, high-flyer etc etc. Perhaps they really do want him as the credible alternative to Brown?
What I want to know is, if he does decide to stand, will he use the domains? Here's a prediction, I think he will use them, but I think we're going to see a line about cyber-squatting by David Taylor (which could yet be the truth). Rumour has it that Taylor is going to be in lots of trouble with Welsh Standards people soon anyway.
I've just read the following disturbing article over on Mac Geekery. Basically, by design, when you install packages under OSX part of the process can use a mode which allows it to run with elevated super-user privilege.
Therefore, and Mac Geekery have provided proof of concepts, someone could quite easily create and distribute an application which, when installed, could create itself an account on the machine, change the super-user password, hell, anything really.
Mac Geekery have provided short term solutions to this, which is basically avoid downloading and installing things that are not from reputable sources. Long term Apple will need to ammend the process so it at least prompts for a password before an installer starts acting like God on people's computers.
I've just discovered a site called Silicon News which basically aggregated all the Tech RSS feeds you can possibly think of. I don't necessarily expect many of the people that read this site to be regular vistors there, but I just saw a headline I have to share.
Apparently, the hard drive company Seagate, have announced they will have a 3.5 inch drive capable of holding 2.5TB available by 2009. That sort of data capacity combined with size could have unbelievable impact on the storage market. Right, I'll shut up now.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I've just noticed that last night a farewell post was made by David Cameron on his India blog. In the post he has responded to a number of the questions that were asked of him during the trips. It's good to see that he's done this, and also good to see that he's responded to the questions that were posted by LabourHome members as well.
One of the responses was to my question regarding the contradiction between the protectionist attitudes of the EU, and our desire as a nation to open up greater trade with India and other non-EU nations. In his response he committed to "press much harder for the EU to open up trade".
Other response suggest that an announcement on immigration policy is imminent, and the carbon emmission cost of the trip will be off-set via Climate Care.
Good God! The Pope has apologised saying he "is very sorry that some passages of his speech may have sounded offensive to the sensibilities of Muslim believers". Now I'm not stupid, I can read between the lines and can see that's a non-apology apology really. However, the very fact that the Vatican decided to go into PR mode and try and put out a message of "apology" has played right into the hands of the lunatic muslim fringe.
Take a look on the BBC and you'll see that Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have seen the non-apology apology for what it truly is, a sign of weakness. They're now saying it doesn't go far enough and they want a genuine apology from the Pope in person.
The Vatican have sadly brought this upon themselves. They should've ignored the "protests" rather than appeasing them. I'm no papist, but the small amount of respect I did have for the Pope as just evaporated with his reactionary attitude politically-motivated Islamist opinion.
Today, Iain Dale posted his Top 100 Conservative Blogs. This blog was placed in the list at #5 which I can't deny I'm very chuffed with. This is about my fifth or sixth blog in as many years and it's probably my 15th website I think. In all my other incarnations I usually either got bored or just found myself writing with no audience so I didn't see the point.
This time round has been strinkingly different for some reason, and I'm not quite sure why. I've had a bit of a rollercoaster ride with this site over the past month or so, going from 150 hits a day to over 2000. The vast majority of that traffic increase is due to Iain and ConservativeHome linking here, so I owe them both thanks really.
There are also many from my links list included, with Croydonian at #14, Eu Serf at #24, and Last Boy Scout at #57, . Iain has also written a Non-Aligned Top 100 and Anyone But Ken managed to get itself #54 spot.
You can always trust a random politician search on Ebay to throw up something either interesting or worryingly disturbing. This morning it's the latter rather than the former as I discovered this little auction for "Tony Blair in Drag" playing cards.
An entire 52 card deck (plus Jokers) of photoshop madness that are - to be pefectly honest - a little creepy to look at. Don't panic, there's more than one auction available! Perhaps some can buy a load of them and flog them at the Labour Conference?
The civil war at the heart of the Labour Party goes on it seems. This time Brownite Minister, Geoff Hoon, has used Friday's Evening Standard as a platform to have a pop at Blair and call for him to step down sooner rather than later. Hoon told the Standard he thought if Blair went next May it would be too late.
"Having set the outer limits of how long he is staying, that still leaves questions in the context of the elections in May. A lot of people will be asking if it makes sense for him to carry on through those elections,"
I wonder what odds you can get on Blair resigning at the Conference podium?
I felt there was a need for balance, so here's a little quiz for all the theologians out there! Who's God is More Vicious?.
I make no guarantees that the linked site will not offend you.
I'm a little confused this morning. You see, I woke up and read that the Deputy leader of Turkey's ruling AK party, has said that the Pope "has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages... [and] is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini." I then decided to read the speech to see what all the fuss was about, and thus I am confused.
It appears that, in a very boring and long speech about, amongst other things, rejecting religious violence, the Pope quoted an obscure 14th century Christian Emperor, Manuel II Paleologus I'm not going to quote what was said because it should be read in context to the lecture to be understood fully and I cannot cut and paste out of the pdf.
As you can imagine, the reaction over at place like MPAC is to be expected. It's quite clear that few over there have actually read the lecture and instead are simply reacting to deliberately misleading reporting of it. In fact that seems to be the case for most of the over-reaction. Frankly it's absurd.
What's more worrying though is this dominant view that freedom of thought, expression and speech is somehow not applicable to comment about a long dead man who said he was visited by an angel and told to write a book. We all know what would happen if someone did something like today don't we?
Friday, September 15, 2006
Fellow blogger James Cleverly has just posted about a Cameron interview given to the Real Business website. Cameron talks about such things as seriously "pruning" the DTI and on Europe he says the party's
"key commitment is to get back for Britain our opt out from the social chapter," as it's "through the social chapter that so much of this legislation is coming. It is all very well Blair going on in the European parliament about the failure of the European social model. He signed up to it."
Click here for more.
I've just been directed to a blog called English Russia, the "About" page says:
English Russia is a daily entertaiment blog devoted to the events happening in Russian speaking countries, such as Russia (Russian Federation), Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, etc. Everyday something interesting happens in the countries occupying 1/6 of the populated world. We are here to inform you about it.
Have to say it's actually very good hence I'm plugging it. I've always loved Russia ever since I visited the country just after the bloodless coup. An amusing blog to be sure.
An unbelievable question I know, but as one blogger as kindly pointed out, all you really is a bit maths, a little science and, of course, a Rich-Tea biscuit.
This is why we have big fences around power stations kids.
Was sent this link yesterday. It appears that Ben King (a comment poster who just happens to be a journalist at over at Channel 4) has drawn up "Scrupulously balanced" balanced list of the 20 most influential bloggers in Britian separated into four categories of five. Conservative, Lib Dem, Labour and Non-aligned. The list appears to be in a similar vein (although obviously smaller) than Iain's soon to be released "Guide to Political Blogging in the UK".
Your's truly has been ranked at number 5 by Ben King, which I thank him immensely for, quite humbling really. I'm sorry to anyone who finds me difficult to understand when I talk technically though, I try to keep to it to the minimum. Anyway, thanks again to Ben.
I know Alan Milburn is always mentioned as a Blairite outrider but I have to say I nearly fell off my seat on the bus when I read his latest comments in the Telegraph this morning. Speaking at the Institute of Directors yesterday he said, and I quote:
"Ownership works. It enhances responsibility. After all, nobody ever washed a rental car. For these reasons I believe both employee share ownership and home ownership need to be extended far further, driven in party by tax breaks."
Obviously some think this is part of a game by the ultra-Blairites in the Labour Party to force Brown's hand on his reform agenda. There are others who think this is part of Milburn's own leadership bid as well. But let's be honest, few in the Labour Party appear interested in supporting such a sound agenda as the above remarks implies.
Hell - dare I even say it - but, it sounds more like Milburn is preparing the way for a Damascene conversion of Woodwardian proportions. The way the Labour party is navel-gazing at the moment, and the way "renewal" appears to be code for "regression", it's unlikely to feel a very homely for people like Milburn in the not too distant future.
The above has been submitted to LabourHome here.
On the Left in Britain we have a Labour Party leader who doesn't want to quit but his party wants him too. Whereas on the Indian Left, we have the 93 year-old Communist Party leader who wants to retire but his Party won't let him.
You couldn't make it up I swear!
The day after I slag off Beta Blogger the main one dies and Beta stay up. That'll teach me!
This is not meant to be a rant but I feel compelled to write about it. I have just come off the phone with my bank. The reason I called them was to confirm that someone who called me yesterday did indeed work there. Why would I want to do that you may wonder, well, the conversation yesterday went like this:
Bank: "Hi, this [bank name ommitted], is that Mr Dizzy?"
Bank:"Hi, before I go on can you confirm your date of birth for me please"
Me:"errr... no. I can't actually"
Me:"Well how do I know you're from my bank? You could be anyone"
Bank:"Well I need to identify you before I can talk to you about your account"
Me:"That as maybe, but my personal information is for me to identify myself to you when I initiate the contact. Not the other way round"
Bank:"OK, well I guess we can't discuss it further"
Me:"That's fine, I will call the branch tomorrow"
This sort of conversation is not exclusive to my bank. In fact it's becoming more and more commonplace these days for organisations to ring you and ask for your personal details in order that they may identify you.
The more people blindly accept the voice on the end of the phone is telling the truth, the more companies and banks will think it is an acceptable practice which it is not. Given the rise of ID theft you'd think bank's would know better.
The news yesterday that Clare Short would (probably) not stand at the next election was all over the papers last night. It wasn't stepping down that was the matter of discussion per se but more her comments about how she wanted a hung parliament that grabbed the headlines.
According to reports she's now facing potential expulsion from the Labour party for speaking out as she did. Thus creating an annoying independent brummie MP rather than an annoying Labour brummie MP.
Apparently the Director of the Midlands Division of the Labour Party has formally requested to the Chief Whip that they expel her from the party, and the matter has also been referred to the general secretary of the Labour Party.
I'm not quite sure whether the former is particularly significant, but the latter probably is. The current General Secretary is Peter Watt, and from what I've heard he's quite the Blairite and probably the man behind the "Wolfgang" Blacklist that Iain Dale blogged about earlier this month. She doesn't stand a chance really, but where will she go next I wonder? TV? God help us if she does.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I've just spotted this post over at Paul Linford's blog. It appears he's moved over to the new beta service from Blogger. As a techie when I hear the word beta I have a tendency to recoil in fear at what might happen when "undocumented features" appear. I was going to post a comment on Paul's blog saying this but when I tried I got the following response:
HTTP method POST is not supported by this URLI rest my case.
According to ePolitix the first Cabinet meeting since all the fun and games of last week was this morning. The spin being put out is basically that Blair told the Cabinet they should "focus" on governing.
But the PMOS went on to say that the meeting "was a business-like, focused cabinet". This neatly translates to "you could cut the tension with a knife and we're not actually going to be able to get anything done." I wonder if he can make it to October?
Anyone who just happened to notice my highly amusing bit of code the other day should now be under no illusion that I am not an utter geek. The reason I say that is to justify poking around the Whois database looking for any other interesting domains after the other day's little discovery.
What I found yesterday was, I have to admit, mildly interesting. It appears that one of Alan Johnson's constituency neighbours (and semi-namesake), Diana Johnson makes use of the domain "dianajohnson.co.uk". The domain itself redirects to her website hosted on the Labour Party's main site.
Now, the person that registered Diana Johnson's domain (presumably with her consent) is someone going by the name of Andy Platt. When I first saw the name it was familiar to me but I couldn't place it. Then I remebered... it's the same name that appears on the Whois database for "libdemwatch.co.uk". Could it be the same person? Well, there's an Andy Platt referenced as the designer of Revolts website, which is linked to Hull University, and he lists a domain of "ilovefizzypop.co.uk" in his email address.
ilovefizzypop.co.uk was purchased through UK2 but, interestingly, it's records are handled by the same third party "secure" provider as the dianajohnson.co.uk domain ("000025.net"). Coincindence? Possibly. However, in turn 000025.net actually use another third party called Dnszones.net (are you getting confused yet?), and Dnszones.net tracks back to a company called UH Hosting in Luton. UH Hosting just also happens to be the company that looks after libdemwatch.co.uk. Now, assuming you followed that, what it means is that it's extremely unlikely that the Andy platt that registered libdemwatch.co.uk is a different Andy Platt to the one who registered dianajohnson.co.uk.
Now that we've connected those dots it's get a little better. If you have a look under the "Links" section of Diana Johnson's site you'll notice she's linking to... LibDemWatch. Now the last time I looked LibDemWatch as a domain was dead. However, it appears to have been resurrected... well... sort of. When you hit LibDemWatch you are redirected to Yellow Peril.
Yellow Peril sits under a domain name of fourthterm.net (good huh?), which, is registered by DomainsbyProxy (a company one uses to hide the true ownership details of a domain). This company just also happens to be the registrar of a domain called Natwatch.org, an anti-nationalist party website. Why do I mention this? Well whilst it all maintains plausible denialibilty, both Natwatch, and more importantly, Yellow Peril are allegdely run by none other than.... David Taylor.
So let's just recap for those that have glazed over and to whom I apologise profusely.
1: The person responsible for Hull MP, Diana Johnson's website is called Andy Platt.
2: Andy platt also own the domain for LibDemWatch.
3: This explains why LibDemWatch is linked to from Diana Johnson's site.
4: Andy Platt has redirected LibDemWatch to Yellow Peril a site allegedly associated with David Taylor.
5: David Taylor has registered domains for Alan Johnson's leadership bid.
6: Alan Johnson also just happens to be an MP from Hull.
You do the maths.
Update: It's been suggested in the comments that the above are "tenuous" links. There are however no allegations being made above. There are merely interconnected points from an exploratory journey, that is why I told others to "do the maths". The whole often has a tendency to be greater than the sum of its parts.
Update 2: Andy Platt - bless him - appears to have redirected www.ilovefizzypop.co.uk to this very post. To be fair I'm actually quite pleased I've upset him enough to make him do it really. If anyone is angry about it though you can write to him at his address here. Notice below the different server addresses for Andy's site and mine. If you're going to try and be 1337 Andy, at least try to do it properly. Otherwise you just make yourself look silly.
-bash-2.05b$ telnet dizzythinks.blogspot.com 80
Connected to blogspot.l.google.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
-bash-2.05b$ telnet www.ilovefizzypop.co.uk 80
Connected to ilovefizzypop.co.uk.
Escape character is '^]'.
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