Friday, May 30, 2008

So......

Does this mean that it's only dogs that are banned by I can ahem *cough*?


Assuming the lights are off and no one can see me of course?

Minister says Suffolk drivers are pissheads

Well, not directly, but Jim Fitzpatrick at the Department of Transport has put out a press release with the top introduction line of,

- MALE DRIVERS IN SUFFOLK MOST LIKELY TO FAIL BREATH TEST-
I'm sure the men of Suffolk will not be insulted by the implication that they're all a bunch of pissheads that like to drive their cars when inebriated. Interesting to note that bar Ipswich, Suffolk is a very blue part of the country. I wonder what John Gummer and Tim Yeo think of this indrect slur on their constituents?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nearly the weekend!

I leave you today with a tune and equally superb video by Styles and Breeze. The hardcore remix is better though. Today has very much been a Darren Styles day.

I wonder what Harriet Harperson would think of that video?

I'm going to Hell anyway....

So I will post this now and have done with it. I just received a press release for the Department of Health which had the following title.

"Europe's biggest employer - The NHS - pledges to cut its carbon footprint"
My first thought? Well that's easy, just let everyone die and then there will be less breathing and thus less CO2 being exhaled. Would save alot of money on beds and employing people. Double bubble!

Now please excuse me, I have prepare for an eternity of hot pokers and general punishment from the might Satan.

The Max Hasting photochop was worse!

Remember the post below? It appears that the original Mark I photoshopping on the Daily Mail site was even worse.

Anybody remember the theme tune to the Addams Family? We love Thing!
Hat Tip: The Fink

Standpoint

Last night saw the launch of the new monthly journal Standpoint and whilst I wasn't able to stay as long as I would have liked I did manage to grab myself a copy which I started reading on the train as I trundled off home. Some of the comments about the magazine that appeared on Conservative Home prior to the launch were quite negative I have to say, basically along the lines "oh great a neocon mag" or "dead tree press will never learn".

Well I hate to, shall we say, piss on their fire, but this is not just some neocon magazine that will fold. The first issue has some of the most superb quality writing going. Cogent arguments are put forward on all manner of subjects, and it is anything but a "let's invade Iran".

There is a masterful dissection of how the West has failed to acknowledge the seriousness of the rising power of the Kremlin and its oligarch style of capitalism under the title "Putin's New Evil Empire". It argues that the Kremlin has built its inlfulence not only on the West, but in the West as well. For me personally the article reminded me of something I wrote two years ago arguing that

Our foreign policy complacency has resulted in Russia being able to leverage more real power than they ever could on Western Europe. We should not be fooled by a bear in sheeps clothing.
It's not just politics though, there is also an excellent piece on science by Michael Hanlon, the science editor for the Daily Mail which talks about the importance of the Large Hadron Collider to phsyics and humanity. I posted about the LHC in a deliberately alarmist way. The point that Hanlon makes in his piece is brilliant though.

Now, before anyone asks if I am on a retainer seeing as I am carrying adverts for the magazine as well, no I am not. but I am taking out a subscription to it because it is a really good read, and I can see it be highly successful across the country, especially in the University libraries where it will sit with other journals. Read some of the articles on their website if you don't believe me.

How will these concessions work with transparency?

In a couple of weeks time Gordon Brown is going to face yet another challenge to his authority in the Commons over his desire to increase detention without trial to 42 days. According to report in the Times he is also ready to offer concessions to his backbenchers to try to avert a disaster.

The thing is, one of this apparent concessions will be 'the need for a parliamentary vote approving the use of detentions powers within in a week of their first use and making their operation subject to judicial review'. Now I might be wrong on this, but if you say that Parliament has to approve their use does that not imply some sort of open debate about an ongoing investigation and case, and will that not therefore undermine any potential trial?

After all, if MPs have to vote to approve the power use they will also have to know the full details of the case in order to make the decision, which would put details in the public domain. What's more, what sort of vote would it be even if they surmounted any potential prejudgment of a case? It would surely have to be a free vote, as you can't whip MPs on something like this right?

To be honest, the concessions look more like panicked desperation. He doesn't want to have to climbdown for the Nth time, so he's offering concessions that I can't imagine working in a Parliament which is meant to be transparent by holding open debate.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Photochopping Max Hastings..... badly

Whatever is happening with Max Hasting's spare hand and arm in the Daily Mail here? Just look at the bleed on his arm and the fact he has a waist the size of, well, it's a zero surely?

Click image for larger version
I've now started wondering whether size zero men, like size zero women have a 'low sex drive' as the Mail reported. Only Mrs Hasting will knows of course, and seeing as she says a flower named after him should be "a rock rose or a prickly pear" I think I'll just stop right there.

Mind you, don't you also wonder where his arm and hand might have been originally? What was the reason they felt the need to change it? The mind boggles! Now please excuse me I have to go and disinfect my brain with bleach to purge images that I did not need, nor have any desire to retain.

One for Photoshop Disasters no?

Party websites through the ages

There's an interesting post over on the Political Wire blog that looks back in the Internet Archive to see what the political parties websites look like when they first appeared on the web.

Unsurprisingly, the Conservative Party were "late to the game" having registered a domain in 1996 but not seemingly putting anything on it, so the first archive was in until November 2000. Labour and the Lib Dems were ahead of their game, although they did seem to have a fancy for the horrible use of background images from Frontpage Xpress!

Labour Party 1996

Conservative Party 2000

Lib Dem 1996

Hat Tip: Political Wire

What does the F stand for?

I thought I might just mention this in case anyone has not read Private Eye in a while. You see, in a recent copy they had an interesting observation about how Mussolini ruined the economy of Italy by borrowing lots and, in order to get things like roads built, went to private business and struck a deal for them to build it and the Government would pay them back each year by installment. This meant that the total debt and cost of the projects were not on the balance sheet and so the economy appeared in much better health than it actually was. It was fascist economics at it's very best.

Those with a keen eye might right now be thinking 'oh my doesn't that sound familiar and awfully similar to Brown's PFI strategy?' and you would be right to do so. It is exactly what Brown as Chancellor has done to the country. The F in PFI as Private Eye noted might in fact stand for something other than 'Finance'. Food for thought huh? Ciao!

Welcome to Fascism 2008 style

It's almost a clcihe - or perhaps it is - to say that we live in strange times but clearly we do. After all, the environmentalist lobby, which largely consists of those who consider themselves on the Left, and in most cases are actually the far Left, are calling on the Prime Minister to face down fuel protests for the sake of the planet.

In effect what they are saying is that the loss of jobs in the haulage industry and the loss of wealth creation to the nations econmy can go to hell. People don't matter, only the planet matters. Presumably in their heads all those that lose their livelihood can simply be lumped on benefits insteads.

So much for the desire for full employment and the need to ensure 'workers' rights huh? These are the same people that will stand on the soapbox and scream about the rich and here they are calling for measures that will make those who not rich even less rich, and in many cases unemployed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ill....

Staying in bed

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How refreshing to be in a win/win situation

Hardly surprising really, but the papers are full this morning with rumours of plots and potential leadership "dream tickets" for the Labour Party. The most interesting in all this sudden panic within Labour surely has to be that the Tories are in a virtual win/win situation.

If Brown is ousted, or if he steps down for the "good of the party" then it's highly unlikely a General Election won't be called when the new leader takes the helm. True, they don't have to have an election, but to change the PM twice in the space of a year without one wouldn't be an easy thing to get away with.

It's very unlikely in those circumstances that they could hold on to power if there was an election this year. The other option, to say "carry on Gordon" would end up looking just a carry on film if the recent few months have been anything to go on.

Brown is one of the Tories greatest assets and to have the option to chip away at him and bring about a long slow political death in 2010 gives the Tories the time to carry on development their policy platform. Seems quite weird for there to be a fork in the road and know that either will have a positive political result.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Still fixing the laptop......

Am getting there...... slowly.

Back later.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Liquid lunch....

All, I shall not be blogging today other than this post. Am meeting up with Adam from thecrossedpond.com blog (good for US politics) who I've not seen for errrr... well bloody years, so shall be having a liquid lunch and then shall avoid the keyboard.

I shall of course be raising a glass to Edward Timpson and the 17+% swing to the Conservatives in Crewe and looking forward to the long weekend of hell that Brown will face. No doubt the briefing against him has already begun in ernest. Tomorrow will see a post of a geeky nature as per previous comment regarding database and monitoring.

Update Saturday: Using phone... b0rked laptop. Fixing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who are the skrulls in the Cabinet?

Ever heard of a Skrull? No? Not a comic book fan then? Well, the Skrulls are a Marvel Comic invention. They're not very nice and they're shapeshifters.

More importantly, in the latest issue of Captain Britain and MI:13, there is a guest appearnce from Gordon Brown. Apparently, three of his Cabinet turn out to be shapeshifters as well.

Feel free to speculate on which memebrs of the Cabinet you currently think might actually be secret aliens sent to infiltrate earth in preparation for invasion.

Tory data cock-up/loss

Just a quick post regarding the news that the Tories in Crewe managed to send 8000 voter records - presumably canvassing forms as voting intention has been reported to have been included - 'by mistake' to a Radio station in the Isle of Man.

Whoever did it is a moron. I can't really say it fairer than that. Slaps all round should be forthcoming from the Information Commissioner. Cock-up, or conspiracy, sending the things was moronic, and the person that did it was a moron. No ifs. No buts.

A follow on from my Times article

For those who have read my article in today's Times I will be doing a slightly extended version of the article tomorrow morning hopefully which will cover off all the things that I couldn't put into the article because of word limits.

There are a multitude of other technology reason why having a monitoring system for all Internet traffic is a bad idea, ranging from the fact that it will become a target for hackers, to the fact that those with something to hide will just find a way of getting around monitoring if necessary. Remember that the network is global. There is no "Fortress UK" on the Net.

More tomorrow. Work calls today.

TPA says 'Vote Tory or Lib Dem'

There is an interesting, and highly targeted online advertising campaign going on in Crewe from the TaxPayers Alliance. They have taken adverts out with the local press advocating that the electorate should vote for either the Tories or the Lib Dems as they represent better value and lower taxes. The advert(pictured at the bottom of this post), carries quotes and images of both Cameron and Clegg.

What is interesting in comparison is that the parties have not been quite so georgaphically aware in their online campaign. The Tories have been running adverts on Googles, but most of the people that will have seen them will not even live in the consitutuency and probably live in London.

The parties could learn alot from the TPA about how to push your message online in a highly targeted manner. It's also interesting to see that the TPA is pushing a campaign for tactical voter to cause maximum damage to Brown.

Two observations

I have just two tiny observations this morning befopre I get to work on a server that is being moved. Firstly, I have just been informed through correspondance that at an airport in Ireland the security checkpoint appeared to be only inspecting the bags of those with an English accent whilst all Irish accents went through fine. This I found rather ironic.

The second observation is that Eurovision is on this weekend, and I'm sure friends of mine will be having parties (mostly gay men to be honest). I sincerely hope whilst watching the words "since when was Azer-bloody-bajan in Europe" are uttered. Seriously, I don't mind them being in it, I don't really care, but perhasp the organisers should consider a name change for the contest?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Not bought, but sold out in the UK (and proud!)

Having once had green hair, and still having the word "punx" tattoo'd on my arm (yes it's sad and cliche I know, but I was young and stupid like Paris Hilton and that video) there will always come a time when one should "sell out" as it were, so I figure, why do it in a small way? Surely better to go out in style?

So what better way could there be than to lose my cherry as it were to that paper of record, The Times. Can I just say thanks to the comment editor, Danny Finkelstein and his colleague, Robbie Millen for giving me the opportunity.


I won't reproduce the whole thing here, as you can read it on their website and add to the ever increasing bandwidth of the Internet that the Government will never seriously be able to monitor.

Now you must excuse me, this sell out has to open a bottle of Bulmers and enjoy himself as he watches a penalty shoot-out!

Interesting correlation

Blue line - Tory Government opinion poll tracker 1992-97
Red line - Labour Government opinion poll tracker 2005-08
Hat Tip: The Fink

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ouch!

Have just been watching the debate on the Human Embryology Bill which is now discussing abortion.

Putting aside that Dawn Primarolo has been refusing to give way to a number of MPs that disagreed with her which she has now U-turned on after a mild rebuke from the chair.

What rather impressed me most was the Tory frontbencher Mike Penning for giving the House a tale about when he had his vasectomy. He explained how he had to see a number of doctors before he finally had "the snip" which he stressed could be reversed, albeit a "very painful" procedure.

I was going to do a post that "took the piss" out of him as it were, but then someone I know pointed out that perhaps that is not actually how vasectomy works!

Dipping a toe into the abortion question

This whole abortion debate has become very odd. Apparently it seems that if you support reducing the time limit on abortion from 24 to say 22 or 20, you are, invariably, just a secret anti-abortionist, in bed with anti-abortionists, or worse still are not being honest with scientific knowledge or what the 'medical profession' says. Oh yes, you're probably a God Botherer too.

Now you may be wondering why I chose to use quotations around 'medical profession' and there is a simple reason to be honest. The phrase, just like the language that is used when talking about climate change, is being thrown out in this argument with the subtle subtext that there is that mythical type of knowledge called 'scientific consensus'. If you listen or read the things being said about abortion you will always see the phrase trotted out as if its presence alone can make an argument right.

The problem is, having read too many articles in the last few days on this subject, what I can see is not the overwhelming view of the 'medical profession' being in agreement. There have been things said and things written which do not all sing from the same hymn sheet. As such whilst one should read and assess what is being said, it would be unwise to stand up and say the medical profession says X, when evidently they don't.

Of course equally I'm not saying either side is right per se. Just that to pretend there is consensus is to misrepresent the reality of the diversity of view amongst doctors and their peers. The question we should be asking therefore is why the differences? Can it all really be explained away by the easy and lazy ad hominen arguments of 'pro-life loony', 'religious nutjob', or 'secret anti-abortion agenda'? I don't think so, because there are some of us in the middle who actually have views that are based on the ethical questions of 'how do we define viable?' and 'what rules should apply to our actions when we have defined what viable means?'.

Laying my cards on the table I should say that I have always been rather proud of the settlement that Britain achieved on abortion. Rather than muddying the waters like Roe vs Wade does in the US, the matter was resolved by agreeing that abortion should be illegal if the child can survive outside of the womb (as well as some other exceptional circumstances of course). The argument today for me as it stands is about that question, not about whether some of the people supporting a reduction in the time limit secretly want to end it altogether.

We have heard over the past few days, from the likes of Dawn Primarolo and assorted commentators, that the 'survival rate' for a child at 23, 22 or 21 weeks has not changed since 1990 when the time limit was reduced from 28 weeks. In today's Times David Aaronvitch argues that if 'viability' has not changed then people supporting a reduction just "don't like abortion". I'm not sure anyone could be more wrong if they tried frankly, because there is a slightly more sophisticated way of looking at this.

The way to look at this is best illustrated, ironically enough, by an anti-death penalty argument. Given that the most ardent of pro-choicers (who incidentally wind me up just as much as loopy pro-lifers) tend to be ardent anti-death penalty advocates as well, so it seemed rather fitting. You see, when it comes to capital punishment, the miscarriage of justice, the mistake, the hanging of just one innocent man is a powerful argument against its presence. The argument is made that the risk of that happening, and we know it has, is to great for the state to commit homicide.

Now take that principle and think about viability in conjunction the 'survival rate' of premature babies. Surely, unless the rate is zero, then that is evidence that a foetus can be viable. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean that all are viable, after all, not all babies are even viable when they're born normally, although the majority are of course. The thing is, if we take the principle that one mistake in the matter of capital punishment is a risk to far, then should we not be applying that same principle to how we define the very notion of 'viability'?

If just one premature foetus survives at 21 weeks, then is it not correct to say that a foetus can be viable at 21 weeks and as such the state cannot take the risk of making a mistake like it does with its fully developed adult population when it comes to criminal justice? You don't have to be anti-abortion or a pious religious nutjob to support reducing the limit at all. After all, if it is better to let a guilty man go free than to execute an innocent man, shouldn't we take the same view on the matter of whether a foetus is viable?

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Dunwoody Action Plan to slate the Government (and Mum)?

I've just been having a little peak at Tamsin Dunwoody's "action plan" should she get elected in the Crew and Natwich by-election and she seems to be, dare I say, inadvertantly denouncing her mother's tenure as the MP for the seat for the past few decades. Apparently she will,

• Take back our streets from yobs and underage drinking. admission of her mothers and Government failure?
• Restore pride in our town. For too long the Tory Council has dragged its feet, we need to sort out the town centre. do we really believe that if her mother was alive today she'd not be bigging up her achievement in restoring pride to the town?
• Fight for a fair deal for local families with well paid, skilled jobs, and training opportunities. ergo local families are not well paid, don;t have skilled jobs and have limited training opportunities? If that is a description of a decade of Labour success then I don't know what would be a condemnation.
• Campaign for a sensible approach to immigration that takes account of genuine concerns. make all the bloody foreigners and poles carry ID cards? Pass the dog whistle please.
Is she really "a Dunwoody after all"?

Brown at Zeitgeist

At last Gordon Brown has actually delivered something without looking wooden. They need to get him to walk about a little less though I think.

Shame that he talked about the need to stand for flexible free markets without protectionism and thenhe started talking about "interventionist" politicians and seems to have forgotten that the EU is a huge protectionist racket. He did crack a good gag about "anti-globalisation" protesters.
Hat Tip: Coffee House
Update: Fraser Nelson has noted how the gags were the same rehashes even if they were funny.

Bzzzzz... repetition of new!

I note that Matthew D'ancona over at the Coffee House is wondering if Brown is embracing "wiki-politics". And now we have a new Ask the PM section on Youtube where you can submit you're own video questions.
Gordon would never do well on Just a Minute though if he's going to insist on repeating words like "new": "I'm delighted to launch this new exciting new initiative" - quality

I;m thinking their is much scope for fun and hilarity here. They have no control over video responses after all, it could get very messy. As the Kaiser Cheifs would say, "I predict a riot!" (or a quiet but hasty retreat as Brown falls flat on his elbow yet again).

The Britishness Debate

It's an old gag really, but if it helps to add to the "Britishness debate" that Gordon is so desperate to have then the following should help anyone understand what being British mean.

Being British is about driving a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then when travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab. Then when you get home sitting in a Swedish chair to watch American T.V shows on a Japanese television.

Only in Britain can a pizza get to your house quicker than an ambulance. Only in Britain do Supermarkets make sick people walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, whilst healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front of the store. Only in Britain do banks leave both doors open and chain the pens to the counters.

Only in Britain do we leave cars worth thousands of pounds on the drive and lock our junk and a cheap lawn mower in the garage. Only in Britain do we have disabled parking spaces in the car park of a Skating Rink.

Frank Field might work for Cameron?

Frank Field has been answering the questions in this morning's Independent. He's called for Brown to bring back Blunkett, Byers, Milburn and Charles Clarke into the Cabinet, which, to me at least, seems more like a way to make Brown even more likely to be ousted. After all, three of the four had to resign if I recall correctly, one of them twice.

More interestingly, Field appears to have indicated that he might jump ship to the Tories if Cameron were to offer him a job if the Tories win the next election. In response to the question he said, 'David Cameron will not be in a position to offer me a job, but thanks for putting the idea in his head'. Whenever there is a 'but...' you will usually find the more honest answer huh?

Field also made it clear that in his view history will judge Thatcher the finest PM when compared to Blair. Can't say I disagree with that assessment.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Government endorsed "five a day" diet?

The love of my life and I have been discussing the whole "five a day" campaign by the Government to make us eat more fruit and vegatables and have come up with the perfect diet.

1) White wine (white grapes)
2) Red Wine (red grapes)
3) Gin (juniper berries)
4) Vodka (potatoes)
5) Cider (apples)

This may fly in the face of the Government's announcmenents and recommendations on drinking alchool, but I reason that one out of two isn't bad! What say you?*
* Please note, Tim Ireland and his decidely idiotic and stupid reasoning about alcoholism have no place in this thread.

How can someone called Tamsin accuse others of being posh?

There is something very strange going on it Crewe isn't there? Take a look at Tamsin Dunwoody's campaign website. The dominant meme, as has been widely reported, if "Tory Boy Timpson", and the website doesn't even tame things down. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite so negative.

What is most astounding is this charge that Edward Timpson lives in a mansion. Where does Tamsin live? Oh that's right she lives in an ever bigger mansion. Even more so, this whole "toff" angle is rather ludicrous is it not from someone who is actually called Moyra Tamsin Dunwoody-Kneafsey, who's grandmother was Baroness Phillips?

One of the key things about class warfare against the so-called "toff" is of course hereditary privilege. The Left hates it, and yet here we have a woman that is acting like she is the heir to the seat. If you don't believe that her line is to play on her family name then just take a look at her website.

More than once she appears to be ending her leaflets with the line: "Tamsin Dunwoody will always stand up for you and your family, she’s a Dunwoody after all."

Tragedy!

What is it about revelations of Gordon Brown's apparent musical tastes that tickle me so much? Apparently, Robin Gibb has said that Brown is a big Bee Gees fan. How helpful of Gibb to let us know that Brown enjoys listening to "Tragedy" and "Staying Alive", they must keep him going. Add to that some appalingly depressing Coldplay and it might explain why everything he touches goes bad.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Watch this.....

Ask yourself this. Do you think he sounds like he means it, or do you think he sounds like someone that is reading a script and probably hates the fact he is doing it?

Seriously, Blair had the "touch". He could, like Cameron in my view, make people feel like he meant what he was saying. Brown on the other hand just appears to have a T-shirt on that says "spinner r us" all the time.

The Reality of Zimbabwe

Before reading on and clicking on the links, if you can't handle graphic pictures of gore, blood, and general mutilation caused by violence to people, and I mean more than a bloody nose, then just don't do it. If you're at work it's probably not wise to click either.

Warning over, the editor of ConservativeHome, Tim Montgomerie, has published two images that were taken in Zimbabwe of what happens to someone that doesn't support Robert Mugabe. The person in question is called Memory, and she had her buttocks repeatedly thrashed by wooden poles because she was an Opposition supporter.

This sort of brutality really does put into perspective the very concept of 'torture'. We hear so very often that Guantanmo Bay is an affront to human rights. One thing is for sure though..... they don't do this.

ConservativeHome should be praised for publishing images that the mainstream media would, and to be honest, could not. If an example were needed where the Internet rises above the mainstream media in it's capacity it is something like this.

In a deep hole with a Cottager?

It's well known that Stephen Pound MP is a Fulham FC fan (OK, stop laughing now), but he's shown just how much of a Cottager he is by tabling the following motion in Parliament.

That this House recognises the extraordinary achievement of Fulham Football Club in securing Premier League football for next season; and salutes manager Roy Hodgson and owner Mohamed Al Fayed while noting that survival and success can be achieved despite a near universal opinion to the contrary.
Now, putting aside how he is yet again up the arse of Fayed, it's one of the signatures on it that amused most. You see, it's Alan Meale, the Labour MP for Mansfield. Mansfield Town FC managed to get themselves relegated this season out fo the Football League.

What sort of message is Mr Meale trying to send to the football team that represents his consitutuency? Not very supportive is it when you place Mansfield's performance in context with the motion?

Of course, Mansfield is an old mining town I believe, which means they're used to being in deep holes. The question is whether Alan Meale is used to being inside a deep hole with a Cottager like Stephen Pound. Of course, the motion might really be about Brown, "noting that survival and success can be achieved despite a near universal opinion to the contrary", the problem is "Brown" just leads the way to even more innuedos (that's enough Ed!)

What's the point in ordering them to pay costs?

So the High Court has ruled we can see MPs detailed expenses on second homes. What caught my eye however was the bit of the report that said,

The Commons authorities have also been ordered to pay at least £33,500 in costs.
So let me get this straight. That is taxpayers money being paid from one pot into another pot belonging to state. Isn't that a zero sum game really?

They may have been ordered to pay £33,500 in costs, but in reality its been the free use of court's time because the overall amount of money that the Government holds remains the same doesn't it?

No suprise but....

According to the Politics Home opinion tracker (provided by YouGov), the economy has now overtaken the environment as the number one issue of concern to people. Global warming and the environment in general has taken a massive dip as people react to the politically infamous "pound in their pocket".

Joan Bakewell fans the politics of envy flames

According to Joan Bakewell the reason that "toffs" are not unfashionable anymore is because we all like to wear lots of bling as status symbols. Ergo, being rich is acceptable. However, read on in her column which is about nothing more than envy politics.

She argues that being a "toff" (a perjorative term of course) does not exclude you from being the right person to carry out a job. Nor does going to Eton. However, if everyone around you went to Eton then it is bad. She then says in closing,

David Cameron is rightly credited with charm and understanding. But he comes from a tiny elite. As I hope Crewe will tell him, it's time he looked further afield.
Yes, he does come from a small circle, but one look at the guys diary and travelling around the country suggests that he already is looking much further afield.

What school someone goes to is utterly meaingless. I bet Bakewell would not deploy the same logic if there was a small circle of influential politicians that all went to the same comprehensive.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Not stalkerish behaviour at all

Please note that this post is no longer valid and the contents below have been retracted as a sign of good faith. Why Tim Ireland chose to go to this court case is unknown and whilst some may describe the behaviour as "stalkerish" it does not follow that this makes Tim a "stalker". Tim also did not manically edit Wikipedia.

All Comments have been disabled and will no longer be visible.

Blogging about blogging is so boring I know, but one of my blogging mates was in court today up on a drink driving charge. Guido didn't get sent down, but did lose his license, get put on curfew and other assorted wrist slappings. I can't link to his post because I am blogging via email, but if you go and read there is something interesting in it.

You see, Guido's fan Tim 'I'm Not an Obsessive Stalker' Ireland turned up at court to watch from the Public Gallery. Now doubt of course done in the name of reporting the news and not because he is utterly chicken oriental. No doubt this post will be seen as an attemtp to smear Tim Ireland's good name, or some equally absurd conspiracy will be invented with an essay to accompany on his blog.

Update: As predicted Tim Ireland has now claimed that those who did not blog about Guido going to court were involved in a "conspiracy of silence". Note it's his word conspiracy now, so he can't accuse others of calling him a conspiracy theorist when he himself says that a conspiracy existed.

There is also some of the most ludicorus reasoning I have ever seen displayed. For example we have this juicy piece of idiocy: "If drinking causes problems, then you have a drinking problem. If drinking causes serious problems, then you have a serious drinking problem.". That's a bit like saying "I am holding a pen and there are no bees here. Therefore this pen protects me from bees".

Frankly, a muppet has better reasoning capacity than Tim's latest and rather pathetic jaunt into obsessive posting masquerading as serious argumentation. And no Tim, you won;t be able to post a comment here if you try.

UPDATE 10/03/2010:

Tim has had a hissy fit about a comment below that references Wikipedia because he's being hassled by a group of teenage girls online. There is another post somewhere on this site where I retracted the point about wikipedia edits in specific relation to Iain Dale et al.

I can't find the link now but Tim is a fucktard who thinks that because three words or so exist on the Internet about him buried in an obscure post on a website their removal will stop him being hassled for being a cock.

That Tim's behaviour towards some people is viewed in a negative light is not something that Tim notices so, to keep the whiny little cock happy, I am fully retracting that Tim "maniacally edits wikipeda" and instead wish to replace it with the following.

Tim creates websites about people he doesn't like politically and goes after them in a way on his blog and by other means which has resulted in him being perceived by some as mildly obsessive and possibly stalkerish. Whether he actually is either of these things is purely a matter of personal opinion.

Tim feels that my comment, because others have repeated it, is putting him at risk and wants it retracted here not just where it was retracted before. Previously this was not necessary and the original retraction was enough, but events which have seen teenage girls say nasty things to him have made him, as one might say, "have an eppy", so I am more than happy to retract it here too as I have done so elsewhere before.

I do, of course, have no expectation that Tim will remove the malicious insinuations, and implied mistruths/lies formed by intellectually deficient leaps of logic about me which appear on his site relating to things like me calling his house and talking to his wife, and that I illegally "blagged" his phone number.

N.B. This update is of course not enough for Tim, because, unsurprisingly, it;s all too late. As I say, it wasn't a problem before when it was retracted elsewhere, but when it became a problem again it was a bloody outrage.

P.S. Tim has now taken issue with the reference to "civilians" in the comment below. This is because Tim, when getting his teeth into something is like a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with lock jaw and about as intelligent. Thus he moves his rantings on. Of course, whatever happens it will still be "too late" and thus here endeth the lesson for today.

Twitter + Bash == Bad Idea

This guy has been looking at the CPAN module for Twitter and noted that the rather amsuing possibility of writing a script to allow you post to Twitter from the command line and then setting the following,

PROMPT_COMMAND='history | tail -n 1 | /path/to/twitter_post.pl'

Do that, and as he says, people really will know what you're doing RIGHT NOW! If you don't get it don't worry, it is quite amusing though. Made me laugh anyway.
Hat Tip: Dean Wilson

Kinnock Defeats Maggie Thatcher at the 1987 General Election

If you like fantasy then you might want to buy this new game called Prime Minister Forever where it actually can happen.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pointless legislation....

I'm glad to see that pointless legislative proposals have not been lost since Blair went. Apparently every worker is going to get the right to request time off to train. This is like the right to request flexible working.

This sort of nonsense is the very worst kind of gesture politics and frankly, it is utterly meaningless. You already have that "right" to do this, it's called opening your motuh and having a conversation with your boss. The boss doesn't have to listen, and under Brown's proposals he doesn't have to listen either.

Still, it makes politicians on high slaaries feel like they're actually doing something when in truth they're not.

There's a hole in my budget

The £2.7bn tax rise

Whilst many people are talking about the £2.7bn "unfunded" tax cut that Darling announced yesterday, and the fact that the Government has just neutralised the argument they always make against the Tories, it's worth noting that this isn't really a tax cut but is instead a deferred tax rise.

Were this measure being funded by surplus money on the balance sheet, or by genuinely cutting spending, then it would be a tax cut, but it isn't. It is being funded by BORROWING. When the Government borrows money what it is really doing is saying it is borrowing non-existant money from us... the taxpayer.

It is not "tax and spend" anymore, it's "spend then tax". That is the result of using borrowing to fund things. It is a way of deferring the problem of raising taxes - and hopefully you will be able to defer them long enough that you will lose power, and then the Opposition will be forced into corrective and unpopular measures.

Here therefore is a little prediction for you. Watch the Pre-Budget Report after the summer veryclosely. If there are not lots of tiny incremental increases buried deep in the appendices that conveniently adds up £2.7bn I will eat my hat (I would have to buy one first of course).

The Sun has only got it half right this morning. Yes it's a by-election bribe, but it 's also money that he's going to have claw back in a later budget with different rises. Like I say, we don't have a "tax and spend" Prime Minister, we have a "spend then tax" one instead. At least with the former you know what is happening, with the latter it is all done by stealth.

Asset or liability?

Best not let Gordon go to Crewe when his own PPC doesn't want to even say whether he is an asset or a liability huh?

Hat Tip: The Crown

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

WTF?

I went out this lunchtime to buy some new laces for my trainers. I visited a sports shoe shop, along with three high street named sports stores. Not one of them sold laces. They sold lots, and mean ltos of trainers, but when I asked for laces I was told no.

When I stood their looking bemused that a shop that sells pretty much nothing but shoes and trainers didn't sell laces, I was the one who then received funny looks. Is this a sign of New Britain under New Labour, where no one buys laces and just buys new shoes instead because they don't know how to lace up shoes anymore?

BBC inflates Lib Dem and Green Mayoral vote?

The table below is taken from London elect and shows the break down results for the Mayoral contest the other week.

Now compare that with the table on the right taken from the BBC website. See how they've just added the first and second preference votes together of the top four candidates (rather than just the top two), thereby over-inflating the Lib Dem and Green result even though the second preference votes were thrown away and are not counted in the contest?

It gives the rather odd impression that Brian Paddick received close to a million votes when the truth is he really only got just under a 250,000 and and was thereby knocked out of the race at that point.

Sian Berry meanwhile only received 77,000 votes rather than 409,000. Adding the second preference votes on to anyone other than the two main candidates is a tad misleading isn't on Aunties part?

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm not lazy, I'm just old!

OK, so a mild breach of the rules about spending Parliamentary allowances (that's taxpayers money to you and I) on your website isn't that bad. But a friendly and self-styled "avid reader" of this blog has contacted me about the Labour MP, Frank Cook's website. You see, Frank has said that the site is "FUNDED THROUGH PARLIAMENTARY ALLOWANCE" which means he has to follow some rules (pictured).

Use a party political logo are allowed if they are "proportionate and discreet", however, the rules do state that the website should make clear that any complaints about content be made initially to the Director of Finance and Administration at the House of Commons (which for example, is what Frank Field MP does on his website.

However, like I say, I'm not really bothered by the minor rule breaking. I can even let go the rather party political feel to the whole thing. What I found more amusing personally was the page giving information on surgeries.

Gives a new meaning to the tag line at the bottom of the page saying "...for the whole Borough" doesn't it? On the plus side he has tabled 103 Early Day Motions in the last 18 years, although it's a little concerning that according to his own website at least, he managed to not speak in a debate from 2004 until 2007. Does anyone know what the record upon Parliamentary inactivity actually is?

Most hilarious comment of the day (so far)

Was in conversation with a mate this morning who happens to be a Labour member, activist etc. He's been out of the country for the last twow eeks and the subject of Crew and Nantwich came up. I noted that it was looking likely that Labour would lose it and he said,

"If we do it will be to the Lib Dems, you're coming third... the Crewe by election is between Labour and the Lib Dems"
Certainly made me giggle. I expect to see a graph with "it's a two horse race" shortly.

Thoughts you don't need

The front page of the Times this morning reveals that Blair and his wife Cherie did indeed conceive their fourth child Leo whilst staying as guests of the Queen at Balmoral. Apparently 'she had not packed her contraceptive eqipment'.

Two things spring to mind at such a statement. First, is the word 'condom' considered to graphic for the front page of a paper of record like the Times, or should we assume that 'diaphragm' was just a step too far perhaps?

Second, she's just told her child via the national newspapers that he was not meant to happen really and was just an accident due to her lapse in memory, presumably because she is 'not superwoman'. Still I'm sure they can afford to pay for him to see a good therapist and deal with any issues such things might cause.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A weekend of woe for Brown

What a strange doublewhammy weekend of memoirs we have. Yesterday the story was the news that Cherie Blair was publishing her memoirs six months early and having the serialised in the Times. Today we the start of John Prescott's autobiography being serialised in the Sunday Times.

I imagine there two ways you can look at this. My first impression yesterday was that Cherie Blair's helpful contribution to Brown's premiership did not really reveal anything we didn't already know. All it did was confirm what was believed to be the case.

The same is largely true for Prescott too it seems. The general thrust so far is that he played the peacemaker in the Blair/Brown axis more than once. Prezza has also confirmed that Brown would have moody fits of silence in meetings and then would 'explode like a volcano' later on.

Again much of this is not new news, but the real impact has to be the timing. Is it a bizarre coincidence that two of the closest people to the most significant political power relationship in the last decade just happened to publish and serialise in apparent unison?

Only they know the answer, but, at a time when Brown is suffering so badly, with ICM calling a 'dead man walking', it is difficult not to ponder upon whether the timing represent a quiet revolutionary fightback by those who consider themselves victims of a Brownite coup that they knew would be a disaster.

With ICM now saying that the Crewe and Nantwich by-election is virtually in the bag for the Tories, a weekend where people that were on the inside start to push the line that Brown is, in effect, mentally unstable, how long will it be before even more talk of a leadership challenges surface. As Prescott once said, the 'tectonic plates' are moving.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

No blogging this weekend....

The sun is out after all, why would I blog?

Friday, May 09, 2008

What a great Friday it turned out to be!

The words "top" and "story" in sequence have just turned what was a bad Friday into a very good one indeed.

Sky News
See yesterday's post here for details.

DWP statement on data security breach

The Department of Work and Pensions has issued a statement after The Register followed up my post from yesterday which revealed that the morons in the department were bundling passwords in the same packaging with encrypted data disc and sending them off to others.

The DWP spokeswoman told El Reg,

We take the security of individuals' data extremely seriously. We have carried out a major review of procedures around the transfer of data to ensure the security of customer information. We expect all managers to monitor the application of our security controls and ensure that the correct action is taken in all cases.
I think, when you cut through the PR-speak, that basically means "we don't comment on leaks especially when it's true"

Redundant Politician auctioned on eBay

Not many bids so far. Cue jokes about being "full of hot air" etc etc.

Bid on ebay

Are they lining up the men in white coats?

It's been known for some time that the Labour Party are bordering on bankruptcy as the Daily Mail reported yesterday. According to the Mail Labour are,

"facing a financial crisis as they make a desperate bid to put off £10million in loan repayments. The party are running out of money and are £20million in debt as they struggle to pay back loans made by wealthy businessmen in the run-up to the 2005 election."
Tribune goes even further suggesting bankruptcy is a very real possibility as there are fears that will refuse to sign off the books later this month and "declare the party insolvent" instead.

I mention this simply because yesterday a motion was also tabled by the Labour MP for Stroud, David Drew that states,
That this House congratulates Mind on its report, In the Red, which explores the links between debt, poverty and mental ill health; calls on the Office of Fair Trading, relevant government departments, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, statutory agencies using bailiffs, banks, creditors, energy and water companies, primary care trusts, local health boards and others to consider carefully the report's recommendations; commends the Financial Services Authority for supporting Mind's work to help people with mental health problems and debt to take control of their finances; and wishes Mind every success in developing its programme of financial capability workshops and website information and advice service.
They're not concerned for their own sanity and Gordon's are they? There is talk that Gordon is cracking up after all, perhaps there is a fear that a look at the accounts will push him over the edge so its best to praise Mind now so that they can get a good deal when the straightjacket arrives?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

*** DWP staff breach data security rules ***

I've just been forwarded a copy of a rather interesting email that appears to have been sent by a Security Advisor at the Department of Work Pension to staff reminding them of the security polcies around the transfer of public data of a sensitive nature. It appears, as the email states, that some people at DWP are complete morons (emphasis mine).

Following the HMRC incident last November, increased security measures have been put in place for dealing with data transfers both clerically and electronically.

All staff should be aware of Security Notices 02/07 and 03/07 that were issued by the Departmental Security Team in December. This guidance covers data transfers and use of courier services. Information in these notices should be adhered to, in order for us to protect our customer information and the integrity of the Departments’ Security practices.

I have been advised of instances where password protected data has been sent out with the password being sent separately as detailed in Security Notice 02/07. However, once the data and the separate password are received, staff are then forwarding the data and password on together, this defeats the purpose of the security measure entirely.

Could I ask you to remind staff of the heightened security surrounding data transfer and ensure that data and passwords are sent separately.
Idiots, morons, fools, etc etc. Don;t worry about ID cards though. It will be impossible to hack!

Food for Thought?

The front page of the Independent (pictured) has amused me greatly. It makes the point that there is a global food shortage and Britain throws away loads of fresh food every day - the headline being 'What A Waste! The Scandal of our Throwaway Society'.

If you're wondering why this caused such merriment at such an early hour it's because I just couldn't help flipping the point over in my head and pondering on what the Indy headline would be if we were not throwing away the fresh food and eating it instead?

'Botchulism Britain - The Scandal of a Society Poisoning Itself' perhaps? 'The Out-of-Date British Way of Life - How Britain is slowly eating itself to death' maybe? What about 'Supermarket Salmonella Sweep - How the food retail giants force us to eat off food by hiking prices '?

You get the point I hope. Yes, we throwaway a lot of food each day. However, that's because firstly shops have no choice if the 'Use By' date passes. They cannot legally sell it. They can't even give it away to charity, and let's be honest, if they did, a paper like the Independent would lead on 'Helping the Homeless? - Scandal of supermarket giants that poision the soup kitchen'.

The second, and more individualistic reason we throw so much away is because of that little 'Use By' date again. We have been so infantilised by state regulation that most people just read the date, check the calendar, then chuck it. Having the knowledge to know when something is 'on the turn' or, when something will be OK if you cook it properly has been lost to lives indirectly and unconsciously ruled by regulations.

Some years ago we just had 'Best Before'. That essentially put out the message 'you should eat this before this date but if you eat it afterwards that's your choice and we're not responsibile for it if you get ill'. When they introduced 'Use By', which is an order rather than an advisory note, we deferred responsibilty of that decision to eat to the regulation itself that brought the labelling requirement in.

Ironically it was a regulation brought in, as ever, to protect the public in the great paternal/nanny state. The consequence being that those who would no doubt vehmently oppose the repealing of 'Use By' on health and safety grounds, now find themselves moaning that we all follow the instructions and chuck the stuff away so we don't potentially get ill.

Frankly this is the best example of the Law of Unitended Consequence I've ever seen.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Absurdity of the Day

It's in all the papers. If you're not from the EU and you're a footballer, you won't be able to play in the Premier League unless you pass a basic English language test. These sort of policies are absurd for two reasons.

Firstly the whole EU and non-EU distinction is crackers. Second, the manager of England doesn't even speak English (he is from the EU though so that's OK!).

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The wrong bike for der Führer?

Rude words in the subtitles, but I couldn't help but laugh. This is what happens if you buy the wrong bike for der Führer.

Johann Hari proves he is an idiot and fails geography

This morning, Steve Richards at the Independent failed his numeracy test and now, via Croydonian is colleague, the ever so smug Johann Hari has failed his geography test. On the Indy's blog Open house Johann Hari says,

Boris will forever be the mayor of Zones Four to Six, the chief executive of Watford and Bromley and Amersham.
Johann darling. Amersham may look like it is zone six at the end of the Metropolitan line but it's actually part of Buckinghamshire and in Zone nine you idiot. Perhaps you need a history lesson on the Metropolitan Line as well and where it went too? As for Watford, that is in Hertfordshire and Zone seven.

Where do they find these complete prats? Seriously? If you'e so stupid that you just look at a tube map and assume that everything on it is in London should you really be paid to write for a national newspaper and pontificate your opinion?

What's more Johann, if you think Zone four equals suburbia heaven on earth then I suggest you go and visit Woolwich, plumstead and Abbeywood and inform some of the poorest postal districts in London with the lowest school attainment results that they're actually middle class.

You claim to speak for the poor in London, yet it appears you don't know where London ends, nor do you know very much about the reality of what the city looks like past the end of your "oh I live in the East End it's so raw and working class" nose.

Does Gordon have shares we don't know about?

How odd, Gordon Brown for Britain appears to now be an Italian Conference Call provider. Does Gordon's love for Britain and all that British now extend to Italy too?

via email

Don't believe the hype. It's probably rubbish

As Guido has noted, this whole rubbish tax "U-turn" sounds familiar as it was reported in October that Brown personally intervened to stop the scheme. Thus as Guido and Sam Coates say, he can't U-turn because he's already done it making it just another reanouncement.

However, something which I blogged on the day of the last "U-turn" has been missed. You see, at lunchtime on that day the Government published a response to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on the subject the so-called "rubbish tax".

In that response it effectively said it was going ahead with the scheme by giving powers to local authorities to introduce it anyway. So there wasn't really a U-turn in October, but a neat bit of spin whereby he said one thing to get psoitive headlines and then - via the back door - in an obscure response document, said the opposite. One might even go as far to say that someone "lied".

Given this, why should anyone believe a word Brown says on this subject? The evidence suggests the last time he "U-turned" he'd spun back again without anyone noticing on the very same day. So has he really U-turned this time or is it just more spin so the papers report his (third?) relaunch in a positive way?
Image shamefully leeched from Guido

Steve Richards Quote of the Day

Interesting commentary from Steve Richards in his Indy column about Gordon Brown. It also has a brilliant quote saying,

"Currently a fatal narrative is in place. It can be summarised in three words: 'Brown is a disaster'".
A roaring success for basic numeracy in sub-editing surely? I fully expect some pedant to inform me that 'Brown' is a proper noun and therefore can be discounted as being a 'word', but this morning is sunny, the sky over London is blue as is City Hall.

Sue me!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Weird Wide Web

OK, so clearly I am having a b3ta archive evening as I have been away from the news for days, but tell me, is there anything more weird that a company that takes "factory damaged" coffins and make them in to sofas?
I'm open to weirder suggestions from the floor. However.... should anyone direct me to Real Doll, it's old, I saw it years ago, and whilst it is weird, it's by no means weird enough these days. Coffins as sofas however... now that's a different ball game!

The Truth behind 9/11

MANY WILL HAVE HEARD THE RUMOURS. NOW HERE THE TRUTH!!!!!*

* Caps lock added for comedy conspiracy loon touch. Also via b3ta.

Facebook Reality

Via b3ta

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The long weekend is now here.....

No more posts for the next few days. It has been a hectic couple of days and I'm going to the countryside to relax.

Tumbleweed Central?

Nothing to see here, please move on!

The 'work of change' begins online... are P45s in the post yet?

What a great site it is not to have that smug looking Livingstone starring at me when I go to GLA website.

Now here's a question. When are the P45s being handed out for some of this lot?

Leadership bid rumours on Labour Home

OK< so it;s only Alex Hilton saying it, and he may just have been punked in a "Thatcher is Dead" type way, but according to his post of Labour Home, "rumour has it Jack Straw and David Miliband are considering leadership bids". Should the rumour be anymore than that it wouldn't surprise me.

THe thing that Brown must be realising this morning is that he's not going to be a long-term Prime Minister no matter how many "long-term decisions for the future" he might think he has made. A decade desperately wanting the Crown, and then a short-lived reign.

He really is Macbeth, to Blair's Duncan. Dunsinane Forest (the blonde mop of Johnson) has now moved the question that just remains is who will kill Macbeth and end the 15 year journey that led to power and glory but will end in tragedy.

My prediction is that the Labour Party will not commit fratricide. Instead it will just squabble and fall apart as each faction tries to position itself, and its man, for the coming "morning after the General Election".

The one thing Labour does not want - and it should be looking at the history of the Tories on this - is to go into the next election and win it with a tiny majority like John Major did. If it does it can kiss goodbye to power for a very long time.

Oh what a beautfiul morning!

Should anyone be wondering why I didn't post last night it was because I was a tad drunk in jubilation at the past 36 or so hours and so could not be bothered to go near my keyboard.

It's now Saturday 3rd May and once again it is socially acceptable to be a Tory. Boris Johnson hammered Livingstone on first preferences, and when the second preferences came in made little difference to the hammering.

It is a beautiful morning, the birds are singing and London just seems to have a liberated feeling about it. Very soon we will see the end of posters with the Venezuela flag on it. Now watch Brown and the Government do there best to scupper City Hall doing anything. Wouldn't surprise me if Brown proposed the abolition of the Mayor along with GLA (which a Labour think-tank proposed only last week).

Friday, May 02, 2008

42.9% turnout in Greenwich

Apparently, Livingstone has beaten Boris on first preferences in Greenwich and Lewsiham with 53,000 to 37,000. That will really hurt Labour in an area they should be polling high. Yes, they won, but yes, they won in a way that expresses the disappointment with them. Turnout in Greenwich and Lewisham was apparently 42.9%.

Update: My bad, the figures above were for the GLA member not the Mayor.

*** Len Duvall returned for Labour ****

They have the abacus out at Excel and the result is looking like it will soon be announced. It appears the (current) Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, Len Duvall (also a convicted criminal for carrying an offensive weapon) has been returned. This is the screen at the count a few minutes ago.

Also, I have heard that Richards Even's acceptance speech included the words that this was the "end of Socialism as we know it". Too right!

*** Evans holds Havering and Redbridge ***

78K Conservative
35K Labour

City and East a Labour hold buy 32,000

Greenwich and Lewisham 98% counted

NATO suits cheer the end of Ken

Word reaches me from Trixy that when she informed her father that Ken Livingstone was on his way out that the assorted crowd in Texas (including NATO officer suit types) cheered at the news.

***** 75,000 majority for James Cleverly *****

Bexley and Bromley

29K - Labour
105K - Conservative

Update: I beat Dale on this one by THREE minutes!

Exclusive inside track from Team Boris

Have just been on the phone to Team Boris as we await the news. Spirits are high but they are also by no means complacent whilst waiting for the official result.

However, I can tell you that Team Boris is saying they are "really hopeful the rumours about the results are true" and that if they are it has come about because the "truly hard work" that they have put in in London has "paid off".

Friday's Videos!

The election has meant that Friday fun with videos and music hasn't happened yet, so here it is! First the most amazing luck escape from Le Mans!


And then second we have The Cure and a song that sums up my mood today!

City and East GLA declaration imminent

The first declaration from the Excel count centre is apparently imminent. Expect a Livingstone win and expect much analysis of the split of the first and second preferences.

CCHQ in the raw. A moment of political history

Anyone who has ever read a political [auto]biography or the like will know about the glossy pages in the middle that have relevant pictures in them. Sometimes there are two sections if the biography spans many years, or events of serious and significant importance.

In years to come I have this strange feeling that May Day 2008 will be such a day. It will mark a point in the history of the Tory Party where it finally recovered from the reality of losing in catastrophic style in 1997.

Tim Montgomerie, the editor of Conservative Home happened to be in CCHQ last night for that moment and he got some brilliant photos of that, in my personal opinion, capture brilliantly the tension, the atmosphere and the reality of that was being echoed across the country down to grassroots level of a night where it suddenly felt really good to be a Tory again.

There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that whatever happens at the next General Election, these pictures will be used in a book that chronicles the rise of David Cameron and the rebirth of the Tory Party in the post-Thatcherite and post-Blairite era.

Be under no illusions, there will only ever be the "Brown Years". Brown, like Major before him (who was immensely under-rated due to events), will not be a man that ever has the word "era" after his name.

Whether Cameron will achieve such things remains unknown, but the pictures portray not just an emotional reality, but an historical one too. I believe the popular phrase is "tipping point".

Andy Coulson listen to Eric Pickles

Francis Maude smiles. A rare moment I believe, but the picture captures the atmosphere in the so-called "pod"
The key here I think is to remember that whilst the Labour line has been to do their best to say this will put Cameron's policies under the spotlight, what they've failed to "get", and this si something Blair would have, is the old fashioned "wind of change".

Mind you, one Labour Cabinet member did get it when he said that people see their "tax bills are going up, that their fuel prices are going up, that their utility bills are going up and they want to know that we're doing more to help them through difficult times and that we are on their side." It's the little things we react to Mr Balls, did you not realise that whilst you were in working out your neoclassical endogenous growth theory?
Pictures from Conservative Home

Some results.... (not complete count)

City and East - (80+% counted) Ken wins on first preferences

Greewnich and Lewisham - still counting, Ken leading 60:40 on first preference

Bexley and Bromley - (80+% counted) Landslide Tory victory

Havering and Redbridge - (80+% counted) Landslide Tory victory

Lib Dems falling apart in parts?

I mentioned earlier that the Lib Dems were not having fun in South-East London, well I've just heard that in some parts they are seriously worried because they're barely holding on to third place.

I've also just had a conversation with someone else which follows neatly on from my last post about why the count wasn't started until this morning. They said that it is now becoming painfully slow in the count centre.

Whether that means they just don't have enough machines, or because there are too many ballots that cannot be electronically read I don't know. There does though seem to have been some sort of breakdown in the counting systems as we should really have been getting some hard results by now.

The person I spoke to said that if he gets out of there by midnight he will be very surprised.

Why did the count start this morning?

Ben Brogan has noted it just before I was going to, but I have just come off the phone to someone at one of the London counts and it is looking very likely that we're going to have wait quite some time more than the original prediction of an 8pm result.

The question this raises for me is that, given there is electronic voting, why on earth did the count not start at 11pm last night? So far the count has been going for about nine hours. That is one hour less than the ten hours that were wasted doing nothing between 10pm last night and 8am this morning.

Brain Paddick is in the building!

Email just in that Brian Paddick has entered the Excel count centre and looks "resigned". Meanwhile, have also just heard that Iain Dale will be doing the newspaper review for half a hour tonight with Yasmin Alibi Brown on Sky News. That will be amusing to watch to see the sour look on her face.

The Fink Blog Round-Up

Danny Finkelstein over at the Times Comment Central has an excellent post that is being updated throughout the day by the Comment Central team and his colleague Alice Fishburn. It is linking to all the blogging that is going on about the London election count. Political blogging about the political blogging as it were. Great idea.

Live Blog VIII: BNP think its a fix!

Have just received word from the count that BNP members are openly discussing their concerns that the ballots have all been deliberately doctored to stop them receiving any votes. Reality check time. You're not receiving votes because you're a bunch of white power socialist dickheads that are led by a guy with a gammy eye who looks a bit odd.

Thinking about it though, that's mildly amusing because if you just dropped the "racism" bit you could join the Labour Party and then you'd receive votes and on today's performance you'd still be in a similar position with your conspiracy theory and leader!

Billy No-Mates changed his name?

Do we think he's single, and has no family and no friends?
Source: Crewe Herald

Update 15:56: All change! He now has friends!

Live Blog VII: Some news from the Excel count

According to Sky News, the turnout for London was 45%. I don't know where they have got that figure of course, but as Iain has noted on his live blog post, it is "good for the Tories because it means that turnout in inner London must have been much lower than in the outer Tory boroughs."

Have just been speaking to someone at the count at Excel and Iain's point may hold true. According to my source, the City and East GLA seat, which Labour is leading by about 65 to 35, is also the count that is farthest ahead.

The seat has apparently managed to count almost 50% of the vote so far, whilst the other seats being counted at Excel - that's the outer-boroughs - are only on the 38% mark. This would suggest that the turnout in the inner-borough of City and East is significantly lower than the others.

The real difficulty with the count though, and figuring out the actual figures is that there are only screens showing bar charts for the actual results. This means that you know who is "winning" but have to estimate by what margin. Given this the Lib Dems are getting confused and assuming that they're much closer than it looks because the graphs must be faked.

Speaking of the Lib Dems, here's some rather amusing news from the Greenwich and Lewisham count for the London List member. They're being beaten by the Greens.

There's a conspiracy!!!

A strange comment appeared ALL IN CAPS this morning on the last post that said:

mckenzie said...

40% OF BALLOT BOXES BROKEN INTO OVERNIGHT IN LONDON. WHAT A HUGE DEMOCRATIC VICTORY.

IF THIS IS WHAT YOU ALL WANT THEN GOOD LUCK.
I may be widely speculating but could this mean that Winston Mackenzie, the independent Mayoral candidate that can't decide what party to be in, might not be doing so well and is looking for an explanation?

Winston, I need to know! Was that you that left that comment?


 

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