Wednesday, April 29, 2009

May 5th 2009: Stop Breathing Day

As much as I hate the waste of money Early Day motions are they do provide me with amusement so I shouldn't complain. Bob Spink, Independent/UKIP depending on the day of the week, has tabled a motion that says,

That this House notes there are over five million people in the UK with asthma and over one million of these are children; further notes that children with asthma may be excluded from academic, physical or social activity in schools; welcomes Asthma UK's upcoming initiatives, such as World Asthma Day on 5 May 2009, which will highlight the experiences of people with asthma; and calls on the Government to improve support for children with asthma.
I now have visions of asthma sufferers around the world meeting up in flash mobs having left the brown and blue inhalers at home. They're all going to do a 200 metre sprint and collapse enmasse gasping for air, just to highlight the experience of people with asthma - the only problem is no one will notice because we'll all be dead from swine flu.
Note: I suffer from asthma and find smoking helps me greatly.

Resign petition goes top....

It's official. The most popular petition on the Number 10 website is the one calling for Brown to resign.
Do add you name and be counted.

WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! part III

Ahh the 1970s... such fun!

You have to love conspiracy loons though!

If you want to read something then take a look at this feature piece in today's Times by David Aaronvitch titled "9/11 conspiracy theories: The truth is out there...just not on the internet".

As one would expect, as I do when I post this, the comments have people saying that the conspiracy theories are credible because, for example, Aaronvitch does not "de-bunk the credible points - WTC7; high temps; impossible collapses;etc".

There is bugger all to that of course, because the clever scientific type engineer guys over at Popular Mechanics did it already and even published a book on it.

The point I would like to make on Aaronvitch's argument is not that I wish the conspiracy theorists would not be there, but rather that its great they are they because we can all chuckle at the death-defying leaps of logic that are made when the existence of a conspiracy is the default assumption being made.

Cue conspiracy loons.

Swine Flu Twitter Panic

WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!
On a serious note, swine flu has shown just how crap Twitter really can be. See here for interesting article.
Image from xcd

.gov.uk or .org, it wouldn't make much difference

As some will know, very soon we'll have a Supreme Court - website to be www.supremecourt.gov.uk - and during a debate on the subject in the House of Lords a question was raised by Lord Henley about the domain it would use, specifically that it will sit within the gov.uk TLD.

It was raised because it was thought that has a Supreme Court and therefore separated power from Government it ought not be using gov.uk for its website or email address. Lord Bach, at the Ministry of Justice wrote to Lord Henley after the debate clarifying the use of gov.uk noting,

I have taken this point up and there are very sound reasons why gov is a part of the address The Supreme Court needs to operate on a very secure, robust and resilient system It will need to handle sensitive information in a secure envronrnent including the provision of remote access from a range of locations. The use of the Government Secure Internet (gsi) meets those needs in the most cost effective manner. To create a secure system of similar resilience and capability would significantly increase set-up and future running costs.
Reality check. It's a domain name that points to an IP address, ergo, you could a bloody .com if you wanted and still have it working from within the GSI. No need for a new system at all with extra running costs etc etc.

NOTE: I am not saying I agree with Lord Henley. More that the argument that a different TLD such as .org would require a whole new network to be built to sit beside the GSI is bollocks.

A step closer to salvia divinorum scheduling

Having already had a motion tabled about it last October, questions are now being asked of the possibility of scheduling salvia divinorum - part of the mint family which ioncludes cat nip (drug for cats).

I guess it's only a matter of time now before the sale of leaf extract for crazy adrenaline trip junkies will be made illegal. However, the response says that the Government’s position "will be informed by Advisory Council’s advice", and they don't normally follow that.

Personally speaking I've never understood the logic of making plants illegal. One this is for sure with salvia, you'll never hear of someone smoking it and going postal, they won't be able to move when it rips them out of reality.

Those are big toddles?

A reader spotted the following poster from a Barnardo's campaign in a bus stop in London. The title alone is iffy, but what the kids are carrying is even more dodgy!

Fail!

E&T might not be a rotten borough for much longer

Danny Finkelstein has written an interesting piece in this morning's Times about the apparently rotten borough of Erith and Thamesmead, but I feel I must correct him on something, or at least point if not correct point out something anyway. In the piece Danny says,

It just so happens that in the modern Borough of Bexley lies one of the safest Labour seats in the country. Labour will hold Erith and Thamesmead at the next election even with Gordon Brown as leader, that's how safe it is.
This is, both true and not true in my view. Yes, its certainly true that E&T has traditionally been a rock solid Labour seat. John Austin's current majority is 11,500 which seems like a sure fire winner for them, hence Danny's comment.

However, there are some important considerations that you have to take into account with the new boundary changes. They are minor changes but could be quite significant and make that majority, in theory, less from the starting point.

The seat is actually split between the London Borough of Greenwich, and the London Borough of Bexley, and the changes to the boundaries have meant that the solidly Labour ward of Glyndon on the Greenwich side has been lost. Meanwhile, at the same time, wards that are solidly Tory on the Bexley side have been added to the constituency, I'm thinking here of Northumberland Heath, Belvedere and Lesnes Abbey.

Effectively, and using the last council election results, of the eight wards that make up the constituency you have a notional Tory majority in the four wards on the Bexley side and a Labour majority in the three wards on the Greenwich side. At the same time as this, the Greenwich side, specifically Thamesmead has seen a massive increase in owner-occupied property that is experiencing negative equity since 2005. The point here is anger toward the Government. Additionally the Tories scared Labour in Plumstead ward and polled strongly into second *cough that was me*.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying that the Tories are going to romp home in Erith and Thamesmead. However, as I said the other day, I will not be surprised to see the seat become marginal after the election, nor would I be surprised if there was a "rogue swing" against Labour. It's worth noting as well that in Thamesmead there is a solid community party as well that polls well in local elections and could easily squeeze the vote at the expense of Labour.

The point that Danny was making was of course much wider than this, and was essentially about the fact that in safe seats the local party, not the people, choose the MP. In fact, the argument reminds me of something Sir Humphrey once said,
"The argument that we must do everything a Minister demands because he has been 'democratically chosen' does not stand up to close inspection. MPs are not chosen by 'the people' - they are chosen by their local constituency parties: thirty-five men in grubby raincoats or thirty-five women in silly hats. The further 'selection' process is equally a nonsense: there are only 630 MPs and a party with just over 300 MPs forms a government and of these 300, 100 are too old and too silly to be ministers and 100 too young and too callow. Therefore there are about 100 MPs to fill 100 government posts. Effectively no choice at all."
It's not just the Labour selection in Erith and Thamesmead that's worth watching in my mind, because the election itself will actually be much closer that it is instinctively thought.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ewan who?

Anyone remember the Tory deputy treasurer Johan Eliasch who became one of Gordon Brown's GOATs on climate change? Seems that Gordon was so impressed with him he couldn't even say his name without phoentic help.

Amusingly the webmongs at Downing Street uploaded a speech without fixing the little helper for Gordon, so it read

And I am pleased that Ewan Ellios (phon) is working with us specifically on the issues relating to forestation.
At least they're being transpearent [sic]!

Petition fail... will no one support Brown?

How sweet. Someone has set up a counter-petition to the one calling for Brown to resign on the Downing Street website. The petition asking Brown to resign currently has 20,395 signatures whilst the counter-petition has a grand total of errr six, five of which are joke signatures.

This could turn into a nice little signature race though!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tracking Swine Flu

Given that WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!111!!!, here is a useful map to track the suspected cases of swine flu and the confirmed cases.

Did I mention that WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!111!!!

Dan Hannan - remix

Not a bad remox of Dan Hannan's tour de force from a new right of centre blog called Keep Right Online. Levels are bit crappy with the backing track, but the overall message that the current Government sucks comes through.

I sinerely hope that Dan makes a move into Parliament rather than the EP asap.

Twenty First Memes

I'm on a day off so I will humour Iain and his obsession for list (joke mate ;-)) and do his "Twenty Firsts Meme" which he tagged me in.

First Job
Delivering the Bucks Advertiser every Friday

First Real Job
Technical support monkey in the heady days of the Internet boom. Windows 3.1 and winsock...seeeeeexy!

First Role in Politics
Data-entry for a day on Charles Kennedy leadership campaign for the Lib Dem. Left the office above a garage in Pimlico because the people there were just bitching about competitors constantly and smoking a spliff seemed fair more appealing. Did nothing politically for the next eleven years.

First Car
Orange mini city, 750cc. I drove it into the ground.

First Record
Our House by Madness

First Football Match
Coventry vs Everton, was a boring 1-1 scoredraw.

First Concert
Guns n Roses at Wembley stadium (the proper one) in 1992.

First Country Visited
France, camping holiday.

First TV Appearance
Children in Need. I walked in front of the camera whilst Gaz Top was doing a live piece on BBC1. I was greatly amused.

First Political Speech
First what? I don't do speeches. I did a presnetation at school once about visiting Alcatraz if that counts?

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend
Errr, not sure, I guess a girl called Zoe Green probably.

First Encounter with a Famous Person
Jimmy Saville at the Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville. There are picture but they won't be posted.

First Brush With Death
Pulled the handbrake up on a bend in the Mini just to see what would happens. Was hilarious but very stupid.

First House/Flat Owned
A place in South-east London.

First Film Seen at a Cinema
Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan. I fell asleep and I'm ashamed of that fact.

First Time on the Radio
That would be arguing with James Whale when I was a student. I was, inevitably, wasted at the time.

First Politician I Met
David Liddington MP. I still have the letter he sent me explaining why the Government wouldn't make prescriptions free for cancer sufferers. Interestingly the Government have just made it so and I support it.

First Book I Remember Reading
It was called "Look" and each page said the word "Look" and there was a picture of a caqr that got longer and longer. I was four and I learnt the word "Look" from it.

First Visit to the London Palladium
Sadly I am not that old, so I've nevr been and probably never will.

First Election
I couldn't vote in it, but 1992 was the first one I stayed up for. I always remember John and Norma Major at the window of Number 10 with someone holding up letters saying "JM is PM".

I will now tag the following bloggers to do this, although I expect some won't. Tom Watson, Adam Boulton, Bob Piper, Nadine Dorries and Croydonian.

Not a simple sailor anymore huh?

The Security Minister, Lord West I see has been named as the Minister who bet against Gordon Brown winning an overall majority during his summer bounce when he initially took office. Some will remember that West got slapped down in November 2007 and made a U-Turn on terror saying,

"Being a simple sailor not a politician maybe I didn't choose my words well...Maybe my choice of words wasn't very clever."
Methinks though he is no longer a simple sailor and is a politician given the way he has denied the betting story saying,

"I have never placed a bet at all while a minister ever on a political issue."
Note the words "while a minister"? Lord West became a Lord in July 2007 and has been a minister, specifically, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Security and Counter-terrorism at the Home Office since August 2007 according to Theyworkforyou.com.

Plenty of time to place a bet and still be within the boundaries of the non-denial denial no? Simple sailor he is no more! A very clever choice of words.

UPDATE: It has been noted in the comments that West became a minister on 29th June 2007. I'm not sure that is correct. He was announced as a minister on that date, but he did not become a Lord until the 9th July, so he cannot have officially been a minister in June. Announcing someone in an office and them officially taking that office are not the same thing. Much like when you get told you've got a job but you don't officially have it until you actually start doing it. Hence, a clever choice of words.

Fashionably late but....

Both Guido and Iain have pushed this rather neat petition on the Number 10 website that simply calls on Brown to resign. Do stand up and be counted.

It has gone past the 12,000 mark now and apparently featured on the Today programme, if it could beat the million then who knows what might happen.

The whole point of petitions is to express a view and try to bring about change. At the same time, Downing Street likes to talk ab out wanting to hear what the people think and listening to them. Will Brown listen if 2 million sign a petition calling for him to go?

The only way to find out is to sign it.

Parliament says PGP told them PGP was incompatible?

Back in March I posted about how the Parliamentary IT Network was saying that Pretty Good Privacy encryption, a desktop application, was not compatible with the Parliamentary VPN and so members were advised not to install it and install the recommended software instead.

The IT news website, The Register followed up the story as they too were slightly confused by the response. PGP told them that they couldn't see why their desktop application was incompatible. John Callas, the CTO of PGP left comments, which is common for him to do, on my blog and elsewhere stating,

We look forward to talking to PICT or any other PGP user to resolve any deployment issues and use PGP effectively in their environment. We welcome PICT or anyone else to contact PGP Corporation's technical support directly, or to contact me personally and I will direct the appropriate people to resolve this issue.We look forward to talking to PICT or any other PGP user to resolve any deployment issues and use PGP effectively in their environment. We welcome PICT or anyone else to contact PGP Corporation's technical support directly, or to contact me personally and I will direct the appropriate people to resolve this issue.
I remind you of all this because the story has developed some more as Francis Maude has been asking some follow up questions. First he asked whether members could use PGP to encrypt their emails and the PICT said,
PICT's encryption services do not cover Members' emails once they have left the parliamentary network. Members' ability to install their own email encryption software was covered in the answer referred to above.
Now I don't get this answer at all. As was said, PGP is a desktop application which you use to encrypt emails that are plain text. once encrypted the email is still plain text but if you open it without decrypting the text first its gibberish. The suggestion here seems to be that you can't send gibberish over the PICT VPN - which to me sounds like errr... gibberish.

Next Francis Maude asked for the technical reason that PGP was not compatible with the PICT VPN. Apparently,
PICT was advised by Pretty Good Privacy Corporation that their product was not compatible with the versions of VPN software in use by Parliament.
That's funny, PGP seemed to tell the Register, and their CTO comments seemed to imply, that this was the first they had heard of it. Is someone lying here or has a call centre script-based support monkey told them some rubbish? The plot thickens! Finally, Francis Maude asked the PICT what the technical encryption standard int he software they recommended MPs to use was,
Following industry practice and as a policy PICT does not disclose information about the security products in use within Parliament.
OK, I understand why you might say something like, but then again, this is a network that allows anyone to plug remote device in so can MPs really rely on the PICT security policy?

No one loves them...

Spotted this one last night and it made me chuckle.

Most inappropriate logo EVER?

An actual logo designed in 1973 for the Catholic Church’s Archdiocesan Youth Commission. It won an award too.

Via Andrew Sullivan

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Google celebrates the birth of signals

Today is Samuel Morse's birthday and Google is celebrating.

Targeted Advert Fail

Debt Management Office goes missing>

How amusing, I just tried to browse to the Treasury's Debt Management Office website, but it seems they may have not paid the bill?

It's not 1997 anymore

The Mail on Sunday is in fine form today, and, in the interests of balance, is not just having a pop at Labour but is raising the question of whether there is any truth in claims that people in Cameron's inner circle paid for a bit of S&M with a high class hooker. What I wonder is though is whether it will actually matter very much if she does (a) name people and (b) it is true. Sex scandals are great, we love them, but when they;re about people's actions almost 20 years ago, will they have (a) resonance in a wider way?

Of course, people will say, "remember Back to Basics?" but the whole point there was that the sex scandals when placed against the misinterpretation of Major's words, were able to be used to say "these people are hypocrites". No such juxtaposition exists today with policy that I can think of. Add into the mix that it far easier and plausible for an voter to go "politician a,b and c are fiddling expenses, ergo all politicians are fiddling expenses" than it is to go "politician a,b and c like to tied up and whipped, ergo all politicians like it a bit kinky", and again I wonder how important it is.

We should also take a look at the TV Schedules these days as well. Has anyone not noticed that documentaries on kinky sex practices have normalised what might have once been considered deviance? Channel 4 has had a number of shows in normal viewing hours normalised everything from butt plugs, to dildos, to gag and ball sex toys. It's not just TV either, Ann Summers shops exist across the country on high streets and in shopping centres. There are no blacked out windows anymore, people mill about in the places looking at all manner of orifice insertion devices.

If such thing were not considered OK then the shops wouldn't thrive, but they do, suggesting a current MP that had kinky tendencies would get a shrug and a "meh" from most people, perhaps with a little giggle of course. Is anyone really outraged that the Home Secretary's husband watched a porno? No. What they don't like is that they paid for it. Had he paid for it himself it wouldn't be half the story it was.

That doesn't mean of course I won't giggle if the names do come out. The real question is will it harm electoral chances, and lets be fair, the vast majority of those who wouldn't vote Tory won't care anyway, and those who would probably hate the Government sufficiently more to let it slide.

It is not 1997 anymore.

Who is the Minister that bet against Brown?

Amusing and interesting tale in this morning's Sunday Times about a Labour Minister who has apparently placed a bet against Gordon Brown winning an overall majority. He placed the bet when Brown was having his initial bounce after gaining office and got decent odds it seems.

How very loyal it is when one of your own team bets against you. The question is, who is it? How much did they bet, and what is 'substantial' win they are set to gain if the bet pays off? I ask these questions because my mind is thinking it is someone who is in a marginals, thinks they are going to lose, and might be setting themselves up with a little bit of cash for the time they're looking for work.

Any ideas on who the mysterious Minister might be cam be posted in the comments. It's time for wild specualtion dear readers.

Tessa Jowell implicated in 'bribery' allegation?

Given that Mr Tessa Jowell is in prison for bribery it comes as something mildly amusing this morning that Tessa Jowell herself is facing accusations of bribery in the ongoing debacle of the Labour Party selection protest in Erith and Thamesmead (see here for details).

Of course, for those that don't that area of London, it is a weird constituency because it sits half in the London Borough of Bexley and half in the London Borough of Greenwich. It is a complete hole of a place too and I have to admit I'm so glad I don't live there anymore. It's not the first time allegations of iffyness have surfaced in the area either.

I always remember a post by a local blog that illustrated (below) a web that existed for the development of the area and its connections to the local authority (Thamesmead is on the Greenwich side) and the Labour Party.

Obviously Len Duvall is no longer the chair of the MPA and I'm not sure if he's the leader of Labour on the GLA either, but he is the AM for the area still. None of this actually proves any wrongdoing of course, but in light of recent allegations in the area I thought I would offer some further context for the area that is having issues right now for Labour.

The current problems in Erith and Thamesmead, if they are not resolved for Labour soon, are certainly not going to help them out. The Bexley side of the constituency has exceptionally strong organisation for the Tories, and the Thamesmead side, whilst having a lot of social housing, also has a large population facing negative equity.

Technically speaking, E&T is a safe Labour seat, and the former MP, who was I think originally just John Walker - he became John Austin-Walker for a time and then just John Austin, which as luck would have it pushed him to the very top of the ballot paper - should have no trouble handing over the reigns to whoever emerges.

Saying this though, E&T has always in my mind been one of the potential shock seats. This is because of the amount of owner-occupied housing increase in the area, coupled with the negative equity issues, and not only that but the general anger locally at the massive amount of international fraud that emanates from there (see here for more details).

Oh yes, they also have the largest sewage works in Europe there (pictured), which, in the summer, means the area does quite literally stink.

Update: Mail on Sunday apologised it seems

Jonathan Shepard - Marathon Man

People who run marathons even for charities in my view are crazy (in a good way crazy rather than a Gordon Brown way crazy). Saying this, good luck to Jonathan Shepard from Tory Radio this morning.

Friday, April 24, 2009

WTF?

Greggs the Baker (greggsthebaker) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Greggs the Baker's profile here:
http://twitter.com/greggsthebaker

You may follow Greggs the Baker as well by clicking on the "follow" button.

What a waste of public money

The image on the right is from Facebook (friend suggestion redacted) which shows an advert for the Policing PLedge which links here.

The Policing Pledge can also be known as the statement of the bleeding obvious about what we expect the Police to do anyway.

The question is why waste public funds on advertising on Facebook in order to tell us that the Police now pledge to catch criminals? What were they pledging to do before exactly?

Cabinet Office launches anti-violence campaign

In light of the recent revelations in Bloomberg about the need to be cautious of "flying nokias" and laser printers in Downing Street, the Cabinet Office, in conjunction with leading public sector trade unions, has launched a new internal poster campaign similar to a campaign in the NHS.

It's been reported that Police officers will be requested to cover up their badges when dealing with suspected office abusers.

Boombustastic!

Who needs polling when you have Google?

Google Suggests is a very useful little tool. It can produce some funny things, and with the right terms it can give you an indication of what wider opinion is, based on the most popular "zeitgeist"searches out there on the big bad Internet. So let's see what people are searching for when they search/ask about our three main party leaders.


Translation: What does the blind moronic, traitorous lying prick who is also an incompetent idiot think about Israel?


Translation: It doesn't really matter what he thinks about Israel or Gaza because he's a hotty. Woof! Woof!


Translation: What does he think about Israel?

Conclusions: No one likes Gordon Brown; people fancy David Cameron and Nick Clegg is just a politician. Israel is a bloody important issue for webmongs thanks to the "is" in the search term. I wonder what our friends at Political Betting will make of that?
Google Suggests FAQ

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Has the Home Office put out an APB for Brown?

According to the Home Office there has been a rise in "theft from the person" but its the Notes to Editors that amused me most.

Theft from the person mainly comprises stealth theft (involving no force and where the victim was unaware of what was happening at the time).
Presumably this is a euphemism that they've put out an All Person Broadcast and warrant for the arrest of Lithium Brown?

Evidence of BIG government from the Government

If you ever wondered how BIG the government has become then never fear, the Government will tell you. They've introduced YAW* which included a dictionary of buzzwords so you can understand what in the hell they're banging on about, and it is, to say the least HUGE.

What they don't mention is how much it cost to produce this pointless little dictionary that essentially googles for external sources.
* YAW = Yet Another Website

Desperately seeking a recession

So, right now there is a recession going on that will be deeper and longer than anything in the 1970s, 80s or 90s, right? And the public finances are in the most dire state since the end of the Second World War and unemployment has passed 2 million whilst worklessness is above 5 million, correct?

OK, so answer me this, where is it? Where's what you say? Where is the recession around me? Where are these great swathes of unemployed? Don't get me wrong, I don't disbelieve the economy has been buggered harder than a rent boy, I'm just having trouble getting my head around where the dire situation really is in front of me, and trying to understand why that is.

After all, think about it for a second, in the 1970s we had massive three day weeks across the country. Power cuts. Strikes that left the rubbish uncollected and dead unburied. In the 1980s we had riots, we had boarded up shops, and whole towns with almost 100% unemployment. This time round, which is apparently much much worse those visible realities are not nearly as clear are they?

Feel free to correct me on this. Perhaps its just where I live and what I do to earn money that is causing this confusion in me. Don't get me wrong, I know there are businesses closing like Woolies etc, I know that people are being made redundant, but even so, it still doesn't feel like were in the hole that we clearly are in, and I want to know why that is.

I have this theory, which I discussed briefly with a friend the other day - who basically had similar feelings that it really didn't feel like we were in a worse situation than the 70s, 80s and 90s even though we know that we are - the theory goes like. The recession of the 00's (notice we've had one a decade for the last 40?), is one that happening in a largely private employment economy which is diversely spread geographically, so the effects, which are severe when we talk about raw numbers, are being more geographically spread with the result that you don't see the recession quite so much.

Has anyone else noticed the strange way we're in a complete and greater mess compared to previous messes but it just doesn't feel like that when you walk out and about on the street? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say "oh it's not that bad" more that whilst it is really bad the perception of that bad through your own eyes doesn't look anything like the times which were apparently not nearly as bad.

I want to know why, or perhaps its just me and the handful of people I've spoken too?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We know you were thinking it Adam

Hat Tip: Crown Blog

Some Budget Thoughts....

So, having been busy for the afternoon with things in my personal life I have now heard the details of the Pawnbroker Budget. I'm not all surprised by the news that we're going to pop off down the pawnbrokers again and see what we can get for UK Plc. Frankly, does anyone think that a man who has spent the last decade borrowing to spend - I refuse to use the word "invest" - is going to suddenly become frugal? Anyhow, here's my own summary.

50p Tax Rate: I've always believed that if the Government ends up taking more than half of what you earn it is, in principle, wrong, however much that might be. When you factor in NI on this it's a piss take really.

It's pretty clear that move was one of those political ones designed to make the Tory Party either back it or scrap and create a dividing line, with the added bonus of putting Cameron into a possible "row with the grassroots" scenario.

My view is that it should not be a "first Budget" repeal priority, after all Thatcher didn't go hell for leather straight away, but there should be a strategy for wholesale income tax reform that moves the low end out completely and flattens it for the rest.

Car Scrappage Scheme: Absolute total bollock. This move will not help either the sale of new cars or the big car manufacturers for the simple reason that only complete idiots buy brand new cars these days. Anyone sane waits six months so the "new" car they buy is effectively "old" because of the plates and is thus a shedload cheaper.

The minute you buy a "new" car and drive it off the forecourt it loses at least £2000 in value. Six months down the line it loses even more once the plates change even if it's only got a 100 miles on the clock. I'm yet to see anywhere how a "new" car is actually defined. After all, what if you had a car that had 10 miles on the clock but was ten years old and had never been owned into the system by anyone other than a dealer?

My guess is that this will apply to only absolutely brand new cars on the current and latest plates, and as I say, very few people buy those, and if they do you can pretty much guarantee the one their trading in, assuming they even trade anything in, won't be some ten year old clapped out motor. Now, given that most dealers will give you a "guaranteed £1000" anyway, this policy seems like little more than headline grabber that will have bugger all impact.

Fuel Tax: This one is going to kill them, big time. I predict that in the pre-Budget Report the changes are frozen for political expedience. I just passed a forecourt where unleaded was 99.9p a litre and it has been rising steadily for the past month. There will be backlash from consumer and haulage yet again.

Stamp Duty Holiday: No one is selling and no one is buying at the moment because they're watching prices fall and they're waiting. At the same time they're worrying about their jobs. Utterly meaningless.

Closing Tax Loopholes: How bloody long have they been saying they're going to do this? Oh yes, that's right, ten years. Do you believe them now?

More tomorrow.

The Budget can wait.....

More important things on my To Do list today than listening to a Scot tell us what another Scot wants to do to bugger the country up. Might comment later or tomorrow.

No historical relevance?

Have just read an hilarious post about making St George's Day a national holiday on Labourhome. It;s not the argument about St George's Day that is hilarious but the following comment in the post,

Personally, I'd like to scrap the random bank holidays we have now and have meaningful holidays which have some historical relevance instead.
Random holidays with no historical relevance? Errr lets see...

  • New Years Day: Hardly random, the full cycle of the planet around the sun and the beginning of a new cycle. Plus everyone has a hangover and wouldn't want to go to work.
  • Good Friday: Not sure if there is any history around this one, something about some carpenter meeting his own working implements I think. Oh yes, and also the beginning of the pagan Spring Equinox weekend.
  • Easter Monday: That'll be the day of ascension but more accurately the anglo-saxon pagan festival of the Spring Equinox. No historical relevance to England there whatsoever!
  • May Day: Anglo-saxon pagan festival.
  • Whitsunday: That will be Pentecost then and the coming of Christ in the form of flames. Also timed around the Spring Equinox though.
  • August Bank Holiday: I'll give them this one, random summer day off but boy do we all love it. Reading Festival anyone?
  • Christmas Day: Celebrating strange birth of already mentioned carpenter. Held during the Winter Solstice a great time of historical merriment for our Anglo-Saxon forefathers.
  • Boxing Day: Actually known as the Feast of St Stephen with bugger all historical relevance at all.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for another national holiday to celebrate England's Turkish Patron saint.

Brown goes into advertising

What better advert is there?

Cruel I know, but I couldn't resist... I suck at flash though.

UPDATE: Here is the embed code if anyone wants it.

Brown says "constituency be damned"

I know I've not really commented on the proposals that Gordon Brown has made for expenses so I thought I would just pass a little comment this morning. All power to the Liberal Democrats for the line that these changes will bring the Brussels Gravy Train to the UK.

THe problem Brown has with these proposals is they stink of desperation rather than anything else. Just a few weeks ago he was saying that the review should take place first, now, in the wake of his office being in negative headlines he's changed his mind and it's so transpearantly [sic] spin as well as half-baked.

You can kind of see the logic of thinking it would work as a solution to pay MPs allowances based on attendance. The problem is, what about the work they do that does not involve Parliament? I;m thinking here about their BLOODY CONSTITUENCIES. Aren't these proposals just going to discourage them from even spending time there?

Let's get something straight, the "expenses rows" do not relate to the legitimate use of monetary resources for Parliamentarians to do their jobs. It relates in the most part to where certain MPs have blatantly bled the system for what its worth by getting second homes on the taxpayers and making huge capital gains from it.

You can fix that issue in a stroke by saying that no one is allowed to supplement a second mortgage on a property and that they can only use such allowances for rental payments for either an office or a place to sleep. At the same time there needs otbe checks so that this is not abused by, for example, a spouse getting a mortgage and then renting the property to their MP other-half.

Oh yes, and they should start taking packed lunches to work. That's what the vast majority of us proles do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Darling picks up Mr Jacqui Smith's briefcase by mistake

Lunchbox by Ben Westwood

Jesus chooses "whump" sound effects

Oh lordy, this has to be the most amazing flash intro on a website ever. The scary thing is, it's not for a computer game, it's for some real church type organisation.

Turn the lights down low. Turn up the volume and click here. Fear God and Jesus and their "whump sound effects!

Greatest website intro EVER!

Brown: Bonkers, mental, weirdo

Watch this and tell me this man is not a bit chicken oriental. Look at the mad way he smiles and goes from being solemn to bouncing about like fucking* Tigger.

The three terms in the title don't do it credit. He's a bloody embarassment. Total gimp.
* Rare moment of proper swearing in main post. It's Gordon's fault.

Why we love Google?

No matter what you search for Google knows what you're really thinking and offers to take you there instead. That is why we love it.
Via email

The Great Philosophers discover Interweb messageboards

Yestedray I posted a video that summed up the way comments tend to work on teh Interweb. Basically, high minded, seriously intellectual debate liberally spattered with accusations of homosexuality, racism and references to Ron Paul. Today we have a rather amusing take on what a discussion between some of the great philosophers might look like on a message board.

Click the Image for Readable Version
Well it made me laugh anyway.

A timeless 'anti-politics' song?

Funny how a song written in the 1980s can remain so salient today. You don't have to like Bragg's politics to appreciate this one.

A plague on all their houses?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Where's Charlie (on Wednesdays)?

The Fink has found himself stonewalled on the question of whether Charlie Whelan has a pass for Downing Street and if he will still be attending the Wednesday morning meetings there in light of him being implicated - if only by CC - in the email smear scandal.

The fact that Downing Street have rebuffed Danny on what is essentially a pretty benign question, but one that is also in the public interest, suggests that the answer might just be a tad embarassing. Time for a little FoI into the Cabinet Office methinks that will ask, Where's Charlie on Wednesdays?

See also Where's Charlie Part I and the mysterious case of the missing spin doctor.

We didn't start the flame war

I do love the way they capture the puerility of teh Interweb. Funny because it's true!

Administrator required for Liam Fox MP: Apply Within

You'd think, with all that money coming in (approximately £350K), Liam Fox could afford staff to file the reports to the Electoral Commission on time wouldn't you? I mean, over five years in some cases? What's happened, has he lost the receipt book down the office sofa or something?

Perhaps he could ask Peter Hain for advice on submitting donations in on time?
Source: Electoral Commission

Organised Anarchy?

You have to love the oxymoronic concept of having to register for an Anarchist Conference don't you?

Organised Anarchy! We Love It! It's like soooooo anarchic!

Would you pay for blogging advice from Dolly?

There's a rather intresting event in the offing coming up if anyone is interested. PR Week - current political story uber-scoopers, are holding a New Media in Practice conference. According to the blurb on Haymarket Events the second session sounds like it could be scream,

Gain An Insight Into The Mindset And Activities Of Bloggers And Citizen Journalists And Get The Tone Right To Achieve Maximum Coverage For Your Brand

  • Perfect your blogger outreach strategy: how can you find and engage with relevant independent and non-independent bloggers online and build relationships with the organisations publishing the blogs
  • How do you best communicate with bloggers, what information do they need and in what format?
  • How can PR professionals facilitate positive public opinion of their product and encourage citizen journalists to advocate their brand?Tap into the increasing numbers of citizen journalists and interact with their online activity: do they signal the death of the ‘traditional journalist’?
Derek Draper, Editor of labourlist.org and Psychotherapist with diy-therapy.com
Who better to offer advice on how to blog huh? Am slightly confused as to where the "take orders from Downing Street, call your opponents racists and smear their extended families" bit of the session is though.

No Internet access? Click here

Loving this one from Zonealarm.

Click Image for Larger Version

Reminds me of the time many years ago when I started in IT and was doing email support. We did chuckle when an email saying "Help!! I can't send emails!".

Friday, April 17, 2009

The failure and complicity of the Fourth Estate

Should you read any commentary today then the piece in the Times by Guido on the Downing Street email scandal and the complicity of the Lobby in perpetuating this sort of thing is well worth a look. There will no doubt be some who think I'm linking to it because he's a mate, and yes, there is an element of that I guess, but it's the argument about the relationship the Lobby has with those it reports on that is key. The conclusion? The Lobby system of the Fourth Estate is rotten at the core.

That is of course a slightly generalised point, there are exceptions where some in political reporting, as even Guido points out, are not all that bad. Fraser Nelson, Peter Obourne, Martin Bright amongst them have taken a hit on their access in order to report the truth. Too many of the others though just seem to sit and lap up whatever they get told, and when this is pointed out to them, the reaction is a sneering attitude of "look at the silly bloggers in their bedroom, they just don't understand the important work we do".

This reality was proved to me only recently when I met a Whitehall editor of one of the nationals who I shall not name for fear of being sued due to possibly inaccurate recall. He told me that he was a fan and started to ask me what the next big scoop was and what I had. On reflection, I think he was probably probing to see if I knew about Paul's big email smear scoop, however, it was when I told him I knew bugger all that the conversation became interesting.

He asked me how I did it. H ow I managed to get original stories that his paper and other papers and broadcasters then picked up on ran with - a mainstream media hit as it were. When I told him that I read through the information published by Parliament daily each morning; scanned the departmental websites for freedom of information request responses; sent sporadic FoI's into departments asking questions that might elicit interesting answers and wrote my own little programmes that could pattern match other available information online, he was taken aback.

Here was I, some little nobody, actually doing some real work, in my own time for gratis. I was not having cosy little lunches with politicians, I was not connected into the political world with hundreds of sources here and there. I was just using my nose to smell out the shit, and then writing about it. He gave me his card, I threw it away when I left to catch my train.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying they're all bad. There are some that are. There are some that have been tipped off by me about a post which has then turned into something big and I've got bugger all credit for. There are others though, and they know who they are, who have not done that and have been happy to help me out when I've had something where the pieces fit but standing it up won't quite work, they are the good ones and as I say, they know who they are.

The point I guess I'm driving at it, is that Guido is right. The vast majority of political correspondents and reporters are failing us because they don't really report anymore, they just repeat. Whether its a smear here or there, or just a press release that has been taken at face value without a critical eye added. Deadlines, copy, and filling column inches take precedent over seeking out the truth. It's truly a shite state of affairs to be in.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Snatch Wars.....

Guy Ricthie's Snatch meets Star Wars (warning, naughty words within)

Via b3ta

Nick Who?

Poor old Mr Clegg, only one person out of ten knew who he was straight away and another couldn't remember his surname, the rest didn't have a clue.

Via thisisBristol

Should Derek Draper read his own book?

If you fancy a good laugh in the morning, then I strongly recommend reading the reviews of Derek Draper's new book "Life Support" over on Amazon - clearly it's a highly popular book. What I find personally amusing is that Draper has written a self-help book with the following chapter titles.

and...I believe the correct phrase is "Physician heal thyself"
Hat Tip: Via email

Update: Some more reflections on the book from Jonny Mac

Matthew Parris has a tale for Gordon Brown about saying sorry

In today's Times Matthew Parris tells a great historical tale.

Twenty years ago a political aide working at the heart of the office of the leader of the Conservative Party was exposed as having dispatched a wholly inappropriate communication. It was to a woman who had written complaining to Margaret Thatcher about her council house.

The aide had replied that she should be grateful to have a taxpayer-subsidised house at all. Splashed across the press and coming as it had from the Boss's office, the letter was rude and stupid.

Thatcher knew what to do. “I'm so very sorry” was a headline on the front page of the Daily Mirror on March 30, 1979. She had sent by courier a handwritten apology to the woman. Explaining that she had known nothing of the letter (this was true), she described her own anguish at its contents. “I can only apologise,” she said, and then, again, “I'm so very sorry.” The aide (who was leaving the office anyway) was told that if the media asked, they'd be informed he had been sacked.

Hopefully, Labour printed three million copies of that Mirror page as an election leaflet. But the offended lady's response had helped to kill the story: “I feel the apology is justified and I'm pleased Mrs Thatcher was brave enough to own up,” she said.

That aide was me. I had wanted to defend myself by publishing the woman's first letter, but Margaret Thatcher's reaction was unhesitating.

Say sorry, fast, unconditionally, before anyone asks us to. Then shut up.
Brown did say he admired Thatcher for her conviction, shame she had more than him.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Draper admits to setting up Red Rag site?

There has been a little bit of talk today about where the registration of the Red Rag website came from, with the Times running a piece noting that the House of Commons was given as an address. However, also in the Times and the Guardian, Derek Draper appears to have admitted he set the site up saying (my emphasis),

"I honestly cannot remember whose idea it was to set up Red Rag. It took five minutes to grab the name. It was a good name, but almost all my energy was devoted to making LabourList work."
Draper also reckoned in the Guardian that it was the first he heard of it when McBride emailed him. According to Draper, McBride's emails in January "came out of the blue".

Funny, the site was registered in November, some three months previously. Out of the blue my arse.

Another day, another consultation

Does anyone remember the dodgy nuclear consultation that resulted in a complaint to the Market Research Standards Board over bias in questions?

Well nuclear consultation is back. Having established in the dodgy consultation that everyone really wants nuclear, the latest consultation is where to build the 11 new nuclear plants along with who nominated them, and here they are:

  • Hartlepool nominated by EDF Energy
  • Heysham nominated by EDF Energy
  • Dungeness nominated by EDF Energy
  • Sellafield nominated by NDA
  • Kirksanton nominated by RWE
  • Braystones nominated by RWE
  • Wylfa Peninsula nominated by NDA and RWE
  • Oldbury nominated by NDA and EON
  • Hinkley Point nominated by EDF Energy
  • Bradwell nominated by NDA
  • Sizewell nominated by EDF Energy
Who wants to bet that al the sites in that list that already have nuclear facilities will be getting more irrespective of what a consultation might say - assuming its not rigged of course? I wonder if Fluor will get any subcontracts on the gigs?

Reference notes for readers:
EDF Energy: Head of Comms and general lobbying, Gordon Brown's brother, Andrew.
NDA: Headed by Tony Cooper, father to Chief Secretary to Treasury Yvette Cooper, and father-in-law to Ed Balls.
RWE: Also known as N-Power Renewables. Former Head of Comms and Public Affairs, and now three day a week consultant, Stephen Tindale. Former head of Greenpeace and Labour environment policy advisor.
EON: Legally represented by preferred counsel, Justine Thornton, an energy and planning expert, also girlfriend to Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
Fluor: Senior adviser to the management team of the Fluor Corporation, Rt Hom, Ian McCartney.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where's Charlie?

Will Charlie Whelan come out of hiding or does he have something to hide?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prescott: 'Draper must go'

Via Labour Home.

"I am very disappointed by this turn of events. I've always believed as a Labour activist that we should campaign on the issues and the politics. But smear campaigns - be they in the newspapers or on the internet - are fundamentally wrong and only help to poison the political debate.

"I understand one man has left his job at No10 - and quite rightly so. I believe Derek Draper should now follow him too. He is not a paid official or even employed by the Labour Party and was just a voluntary adviser on new media. But I'm sure that that the General Secretary will and should make clear that such advice is totally unacceptable and not wanted.

"We've shown in the last few months that Labour can have a coherent voice on the internet with many left-wing bloggers putting the case and building campaigns, like our successful one against bankers bonuses. But this should not be done at the expense of integrity or decency, which were clearly breached in this matter."
I think that means "bugger off Derek" but I may be wrong.

Missing Spin Doctor: Can you help?

MISSING: Formerly Gordon Brown's personal spin doctor and currently known to be working at the Unite trade union. Charlie Whelan was last seen CC'd on emails relating to a vicious smear campaign by Downing Street against senior Tory MPs.

Charlie is approximately 5ft 11inches, with Brown scruffy hair. If you've seen Charlie then please help. His friends and family are worried about him as he has gone to ground whilst the proverbial shit hits the fan for his political 'friends'.

It is vital that we speak to Charlie to establish if he's OK and well in light of his role in the scandal currently troubling the Government in these difficult economic times. If you have any information on Charlie's whereabouts please get in touch.

Did the smear campaign start months ago? - Story moves forward

Nadine Dorries has just been on BBC Breakfast about the McBride affair and she appears to have moved the "Smeargate" story forward just a bit. She has just told BBC News that she was contacted by the nationals some time ago about the smear against her.

The implication appears to be that someone may have already begun trying to push the smears into the mainstream. This kind of flies in the face of the "they never saw the light of day" line that we've been told over the weekend.

Who was responsible for pushing the story to the nationals? Was it McBride? Could it have been Draper? Might it have been McBride desk buddy Tom Watson? Seems to me this story may very well have more to come.

It's also worth noting that Charlie Whelan was included on these emails. Who was it that paid for the registration the Red Rag smear domain? After all, Unite provide backing for Draper and Whelan works for Unite doesn't he? Thus far he has remained silent for some reason.

Update: Guido notes Nadine's said the same on GMTV before BBC News.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Are they taking the piss?

On a day when the details of the infamous smear emails are all over the news - which included the intended smear that George Osborne's wife was going a bit mental - I found it particularly amsuing to see that the Department of Health issued a press release complete with quotes from Care Services Minister, Phil Hope, noting,

A new vision for mental health and wellbeing

The millions of people who suffer from or might face mental illness at some point in their lives will be the focus of a new strategy, Care Services Minister Phil Hope announced today.

"New Horizons" is a new strategy that will promote good mental health and well-being, whilst improving services for people who have mental health problems. It will build on the National Service Framework for mental health - widely acknowledged as the catalyst for a transformation in mental health care over the last ten years - which comes to an end in 2009.
No doubt cock-up rather than conspiracy, but it says alot about the competence of the DoH press officers in grasping a sense of timing.

Draper's comment about email hacking amused me...

Having been out for the day yesterday, and getting a little bit drunk to the point of falling asleep so it seems, I have now just read Derek Draper defence of the emails from yesterday on Labourlist and this little bit caught my eye.

Imagine if all your emails suddenly became available to people wanting to damage you. That is, of course, the other question that needs to be asked: how were these emails obtained? Was criminal activity and hacking involved? Believe me, these are issues I will be looking at when I return from my holiday. "Blog wars" are one thing but hacking into people's emails is surely a step too far?
I wonder whether Derek is aware that the Government and party that he supports actually has an official policy of reading our emails if it wants? Or taking control of our computers remotely if it suspects us of something?

Putting that aside, I wonder if Derek Draper, or any of the others involved actually realise that sending an unencrypted email is like sending a postcard in the real world. Everyone who handles it along the way from sending to delivery can read it. Whether they actually do or not is another thing, but the idea that you need to be some sort of hacker is classic technofear hyperbole.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mcbyebye

Far to busy to post fully, but what goes around comesn around. Goodbye Mr Damian McBride.

++ Telegraph publishes front page lie from Downing Street unnamed source? ++

It's worth reading Guido's top post, along with the Telegraph front page this morning, along with Iain's comment on it.

The bit in the Telegraph front page I enjoyed most was the lies from the unnamed source (which I'm merely assuming is Damian McBride) that said (my emphasis added),

“To call it an orchestrated smear campaign is ridiculous. It was just some ill-judged gossip between friends which was never meant to see the light of day. They appear to be some ideas — laid out in embarrassing detail — for stories which could appear on a Left-wing version of the Guido Fawkes blog called Red Rag.

They’re all stories which have been doing the rounds in Westminster for a while, written up in a scurrilous style. But the website has never appeared, so it’s hard to see what it was all about.

It’s just embarrassing for Number 10 that members of staff are spending their time sending smutty emails to their mates instead of running the country."
Never appeared huh? So what exactly is this then?

And who owns it?
Domain name:
theredrag.co.uk

Registrant:
Ollie Cromwell

Registrant type:
UK Individual

Registrant's address:
The registrant is a non-trading individual
who has opted to have their address omitted
from the WHOIS service.

Relevant dates:
Registered on: 04-Nov-2008
Renewal date: 04-Nov-2010
Last updated: 04-Nov-2008


So we have a report of a blog that was going to be the left-wing Guido, a Number 10 source saying it never actually appeared, but a blog did appear in November called The Red Rag, no content was added, and it was registered anonymously by someone choosing to call themselves Oliver Cromwell.

That would be Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector and the man that sacked Parliament? How very apt a choice of name. Spinning doesn't really work on teh Interweb because it tends to leave little trails for you to follow - such a shame the Telegraph didn't follow it up.

Is there something Damian McBride might want to tell us?

UPDATE: A rather amusing little video of the events from Tory Bear.

If I was Derek Draper right now I'd be rowing away from the ship as quickly as I could.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A no comment comment on comment

This post is here because apparently I'm a bit of a weasel and weak for saying I won't express an opinion on the death of Iain Tomlinson. What's more, if I won't express an opinion then what is the point of this blog. Well, to deal with the latter, the point of my blog is to say what I want, on what I want, when I want, in whatever way I want.

Now, the reason I'm not expressing an opinion - that is an opinion of either "Bully Boy Fascist Bastard Police" or "Alcoholic protester who got the kicking he deserved" is because I don't want to for the reason being played out across all the commenting rabble of bloggers and commenters on this blog and elsewhere.

If you take a step back for a moment, and then take the the emotion out of it and just observe it for a few minutes you see what it actually is. Simply lots of hackneyed, irritating, typical argue on "teh Interweb" incendiary grenade throwing of black and white opposing political points.

We have hyperbole over here, then hyperbole over there; fundamental threat to free society and democracy here, just a policeman doing his job there; ordinary geezer walking in the middle of a riot cordon minding his own business here, alleged alcoholic provoking the police there.

Tell me, what's the point in holding an opinion other than to note that the Police officer was, on the face the video at least (as I said in my earlier post) just an ickle bit naughty and should be dealt with, but then also noting that you can guarantee how it will all pan out in the end in terms of the endless commentary and words that will said? The comments in my first post alone are evidence of the point.

Frankly, I can't be arsed with it all. Whenever there is a protest of these sorts someone invariably gets hurt at best and at worst dies, what then happens is lots of comment either about how the Police are just doing their job, and one bad egg doesn't mean the whole lot of them are about to do it; or we get told that its just the thin end of the wedge, free society is going to hell in a handcart, and soon they'll be a coup by the Police.

Then, a couple of days pass, some footballer's wife gets her tits out, the new series of I Was A Celebrity Please Save My Career starts and no one gives a shit about it anymore - not that the vast majority of people did really in the first place.

They won't care again until the Public Inquiry, which then brings all the hyperbole, speculation and general Counsel of Despair type crap up again. We then have to put up with it for a few more days until some other more interesting topic, like a dogging footballer or perverted MP makes us much more animated.

Then the report gets published, we go through it all again, with the inevitable screams of "whitewash" by which time the new series of Big Brother starts and then it becomes one of those little Internet anomalies where some loon on a message board sporadically posts, in capitals, "REMEMBER IAN TOMLINSON. THE NEW WORLD ORDER ARE GOING TO KILL US ALL! WHY IS GEORGE OSBORNE GOING TO THE BILDERBERG GROUP? IT'S THE JEWS!!!!!11"

Don't panic, I will pass comment on it again when the inquiry happens, just to say I told you so. And it's worth noting that that will be an opinion.

The way I live my life

The following musical interlude sums up the way I live my life and is a reminder to anyone, in the comments of this blog, or in the wider and real world. Don't tell me what I should or should not be doing. I will probably just do the opposite to annoy you.

Happy Easter!

Labour's (proxy) school budget cutting policy

If ever there was an example of a failure of so-called "joined-up" Government then the cuts in Sixth form funding this year is it. For those that don't know the story it goes like this.

The Government has a policy of keeping as many student in school until they are 18 as possible. This has resulted in a massive spike in the number of pupils taking A-Levels and the number of students that need o be budgeted for by schools.

The Government, via its quango, the Learning and Skills Council, told schools in January they would get X amount of money for the X amount of pupils they would have. Now the LSC have changed their minds and said, oh you can;t have that much money or that many pupils anymore and cut the school's budgets.

The response of the Government is that they have not budgeted for more pupils staying on, even though their policy is to increase the number of pupils staying on. That suggests three possibilities.

Either they thought their policy was just a headline grabbing initiative and wouldn't be taken seriously. Or they're just incompetent and didn't realise that if you increase numbers at schools then budgets need to increase accordingly. Or, the most likely scenario. Both.

On the plus side of this however is the Ed Balls is probably going to be taken to court over it. Just don;t expect him to take any blame, they will blame the quango, because that is what a quango is for.

OMFG they want to make us all gay!

This video is doing the round on the blog right now, it seems the The National Organization for Marriage have decided there is a deep and dark storm coming - the storm being maruading homosexuals in skin tight hot pants who by the very nature of being accorded the same legal rights as married people will infect us all with the gay.


Getting people to appear in their "advert of doom" was difficult it seems though, and the audition tapes of actors trying to feign the sheer scariness of the gay crowd coming to ruin their lives has appeared online too via "End the Lies".


You have to love the way wedge issues in the US get condensed to lowest denominator silliness like this. I sincerely hope there is a response that has a storm cloud dissipated by sunshine which is deliberately camp in content and takes the piss out of these people. The only way to deal with them really is through mockery.
Hat Tip: Crossed Pond and Comment Central.


 

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