All entries for April 2006

April 30, 2006

Tracey Temple

Tracey… stop whinging love. You should have known better, and you've made over £100,000 for doing nothing.

Not to mention the fact he's ugly.

Stop complaining!


April 27, 2006

Tony's cabinet play musical chairs

Charles Clarke lets foreigners out of prison.
Patricia Hewitt lets go of reality.
John Prescott lets it all go…

It's not been a good week for the government (when is it ever), but I don't think Tony's going to be sweating too much.

Firstly, Charles Clarke has lost his job. He's gone. Kaput. Never to be seen again (except at the Department for Constitutional Affairs or somewhere similarly useful. The only reason Tony Blair refused to accept his resignation(s) was that he wants to sack the Santa look-a-like when he wants to, not when the Daily Mirror tells him it would be expedient.

Secondly, John Prescott's no great loss. He probably would have been moved aside in the forthcoming reshuffle anyway, considering he's unlikely to stand in the next General Election.

Thirdly, Patricia Hewitt can handle herself. She'll poke her stilettos at the prim and proper nurses, and be over her problems within a week or two. Granted, she's not about to solve the NHS's deficit, but then who is?

So the 'meltdown' predicted in today's newspapers is something of an over-statement. Blair was planning on a reshuffle anyway, and this might have brought it forward. But Charles Clarke was hardly setting the world alight at the Home Office. I expect John Hutton to be sat on that poisoned chalice within a couple of months.

David Miliband'll get the Education brief, replacing Ruth Kelly, who's number's been marked for months.

And as for Deputy PM, Blair might give it to Peter Hain in order to free up the Leader of the House role for Clarke. Hain is Blair's shit-stirrer-in-chief, and having him next door will make sure he's under control, if sufficiently off-message.

Ruth Kelly will probably leave the Cabinet for 'family reasons'. I wouldn't trust her to run a proverbial in a brewery, and nor does Blair.

And I think now's the time to bring Ed Balls in on the action – he'll probably get a junior ministerial role from which to launch himself as a serious candidate for the Cabinet when Gordon Brown takes over.

Blair's probably not worried about the ins and outs of his Cabinet – he doesn't need to keep people happy for much longer (remember my end-of-2006 prediction!).

The forthcoming reshuffle will be more of a chance for Blair to promote the next generation into a position of potential power rather than to bring about any change in policy.


April 17, 2006

The BNP

Damien Green, the Conservative MP, is on BBC News 24 at the moment speaking about the apparent rise of the BNP in the local elections. But rather than take a united multilateral stance on the racist idiots, he seems to be using the story for personal gain.

He reckons that the BNP are doing well in Labour-dominated areas, because of the failings of local Labour-governed councils.

Wrong. The BNP are doing well in those constituencies because the Conservatives are so completely out of the electoral equation there that there is room for the BNP to compete! A BNP voter is much more likely to have something in common with traditional Conservatives than with the Labour councils which Green blames for the BNP's rise.

Regardless, he seemed very petty to be trying to make political capital out of the situation which is bad news for all parties.


April 16, 2006

The way politics should be conducted…?

From AP:

A French MP ended a six-week hunger strike yesterday after a Japanese company promised not to close a factory in his district. Jean Lassalle, who has lost 46lbs (21kg) in the protest, was taken to hospital as the government went into talks with the Japanese company Toyal. Mr Lassalle, 50, started his hunger strike on March 7 to press Toyal to keep its factory, which makes a product used in car paint, in the town of Accous. The company reached an agreement yesterday during talks with the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, saying it would develop the site in Accous, the ministry said.

Firstly, what a brilliant story. I can't tell how big a news story this has been in France, but I suspect if something similar happened over here (I'm thinking George Galloway's a likely candidate) the media coverage would be huge.

Secondly, it's a shame that France's economic nationalism is taking hold even further. The country's politicians seem to be lining up more long-term pain for themselves, seemingly with the backing of much of the country's media and its people. How many successful (practically, not academically) economists has France produced?

Thirdly, if this was America the whole problem would be solved simply by the MP ensuring some tax-breaks for the company, and if it was the UK the MP would get the company to sponsor a school and return the favour with knighthoods and lordships.

Fourthly, a paint-product company? Wow, how many jobs are at stake because of a product used in car paint? I'd love to know.

And finally, should we be encouraging this kind of proactive politicking here in the UK? Should we demand to see the Clare Shorts and Boris Johnsons of this world going on hunger strike for the causes of Iraq and polygamy? I think it would make politics far more interesting. Imagine the hustings meetings before the general election:

Constituent: "Mr Sutton-Sloane, what have you done for the constituency of Badgerington in the last five years"

MP: "Well I've shaved my testicles for poor people, drunk rat urine for a cancer charity and abstained from sex for five years!"

Constituent: "What cause was the abstinence for?"

MP: "Ah that was simply because my loyal wife is over the hill!"

I know I'd vote!


June Sarpong: HOW ANNOYING!!?!?!

  • Talking all over her interviewees
  • Screeching like a strangled sparrow
  • Repeating her interviewees' answers

Feel free to add your own reasons for HATING June Sarpong.


Imbecile of the Week #2: Arrogant Americans

Writing about web page http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/15/AR2006041500902.html

From today's Washington Post:

Verra Budimlija was once a classic fan of Prime Minister Tony Blair — she's 40, a well-educated advertising executive, the kind of voter who propelled Blair and the Labor Party to power in 1997. Not only does she live in Islington, a Labor stronghold where people took to the streets to celebrate Blair's generation-shifting election, she lives in the very brick house that was Blair's at the time.

Just because you're too lazy to use vowels, doesn't mean we are too! Imagine the interested reader who searches on Google for the 'Labor Party'. Idiots.


April 15, 2006

Politics Books for Sale

Political Theory from Hobbes
"Karl Marx – Selected Writings" (2nd Ed), edited by David McLellan (2000/2003)
RRP = £22
My Price = £8

"Political Thinkers", by Boucher and Kelly (2003)
RRP = £23
My Price = £8

"The Social Contract and Discourses", by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Everyman edition)
RRP = £5.99
My Price = £3

"Reflections on the Revolution in France", by Edmund Burke (Penguin Classics)
RRP = £8.99
My Price = £4

"Two Treatises of Government" by John Locke (Cambridge: edited by Peter Laslett)
RRP = £8.99
My Price = £4

Politics of the UK
"Developments in British Politics 7" by Dunleavy, Gamble et al (2003)
RRP = £14.99
My Price = £6

States and Markets: An Introduction to International Political Economy
"Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics", by O'Brien and Williams (2004)
RRP = £18.99
My Price = £7

"The Theoretical Evolution of International Political Economy", by Crane and Amawi (1997)
RRP = £17.99
My Price = £7

All books are in good-to-excellent condition. If you're interested in any of the books, e-mail me at c.doidge@ (warwick) (dot ac) (dot uk) or send me a message through the blogs.


April 14, 2006

Contradictory Pope–babble

The Pope (apparently) said of genetics in his Good Friday speech that:

[we should not] modify the very grammar of life as planned and willed by God

Q: If we're all made by this God bloke, then surely our ability to play with genetics is because of the way he made us? In which case, shouldn't the Pope be taking up this issue with his employer?


April 11, 2006

Letter to the Guardian

Letter printed in The Guardian, 10th April 2006

Dear Sir,

As dedicated student journalists, we were disappointed to read that the prestigious Guardian/Sky News Student Media Awards 2006 were again discriminating against student broadcast journalism.

Student broadcast journalism is thriving, with student TV quickly catching up with nearly half a century of groundbreaking student radio.

But it is upsetting to find that the Student Media Awards do not reflect the hard work of people working in radio and TV, as the name 'student media' (and its sponsor Sky News) suggests it should. Many of the judges work in broadcast media, and we're sure they too would wish to see the awards become less exclusive.

May we suggest that in future years, at least some of the categories are explicitly opened up to work from all forms of media, thereby representing the full range of the industry which MediaGuardian is unique in promoting. Otherwise, shouldn't they be called the 'Student Press Awards'?

Yours,

Chris Doidge, Adam Westbrook and Jimmy Buckland


Logic

  • US makes growling noises at Iran
  • World oil prices rise over fears of collapse in Iran's oil supply
  • Oil companies' profits go up on back of higher oil prices
  • Oil companies give money to US government and political parties

Is it really very cynical to wonder what causes the US to make angry noises at Iran?


False Alarm???

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4898398.stm

The 'working hypothesis' in Whitehall is that the swan that died of the 'deadly strain of bird flu' may have been washed up from another country.

The type of H5N1 it had was identical to the one found in Germany, and it seems as if the failure to find any other dead swans in Scotland suggests this may well be a one-off that was swept ashore by the tides.

So does this mean we're going to have all of this hullabaloo all over again when the UK does actually have bird flu!?!

And does this mean that the concern was all a fuss over nothing?

I've not seen this news reported on TV yet, but I'm willing to bet that it won't get the same attention in the media that the initial 'outbreak' did.


April 10, 2006

Ming, Ming, Where are you Ming?

When Charles Kennedy disappeared for months at length, we knew it was because he was 'tipsy'.

But why Menzies Campbell has copied his schedule is a bit of a mystery… surely he realizes the Lib Dems only 'went dark' because their leader couldn't think of anything useful to say.

Certainly, you wouldn't expect to hear any new policy announcements so far away from a General Election. And to be fair their website has lots of recent press releases about dentists, Airbus (see below), hospitals in Wiltshire and other exciting issues.

And it's not implausible to suppose that Ming is buried away working away on the local election campaign.

But come the elections, people are going to be asking why they should vote for the Lib Dems when they haven't done anything recently. We need a few soundbites here, a little publicity there, or else the media will be forced into treating things as a two-horse race.


April 08, 2006

Bird Flu

Geese find cure for bird flu

When was the ground lost?

Listening to David Cameron give his Spring Conference speech in Manchester, the thing that strikes me is that he is walking all over traditional Labour territory without anyone fighting back.

On the environment especially, Cameron isn't promising policies, but an approach which Labour should have been advancing for the past nine years, but have failed to do so.

For the Conservatives to be so far ahead of the government on this issue suggests that something has gone hurrendously wrong in the Labour Party. Is it a conflict between the DTI and DEFRA? Is it the Chancellor putting his foot down? Have they simply taken their eye off the ball? Who knows.

But listening to Cameron (who so far has been impressive), I don't see how Labour will fight back against the Tories come the next election now that it is Cameron, not Blair/Brown, who rhetorically appears to be a policy innovator, even if that means stealing Labour's traditional clothing.


April 07, 2006

Imbecile of the Week #1: Daily Mail Columnist

Ladies and gentlemen, I present this week's Imbecile of the Week, a new feature inspired by the first entrant into this hallowed hall of idiocy…

Stephen Pollard
Mr Pollard writes for the Daily Royalist Mail, as well as in his blog

One such entry rails against the blatant lies spread by the Guardian over a story in Israel. Mr Pollard's point is that the Guardian (who he suggests lie about Israel on a regular basis) must be lying because what they say is contradicted by a Pro-Israeli newspaper. Now I'm not pretending that I know which is correct. But clearly Mr Pollard has no more reason to believe the Israeli newspaper than he does the Guardian, other than his own bias.

Another entry, which appeared in the Mail, explains how it is almost impossible to overstate the chaos which has engulfed the Labour party. But you can bet he'll try.

Another entry details why editors shouldn't be allowed to edit...

And here the fool fails to realise that the two sets of statistics he claims are contradictory are in fact anything but.

Oh, and he thinks McDonalds is one of the greatest achievements of mankind

According to his biography he went from being Research Director at the (left-wing) Fabian Society to Chief Leader Writer on the Daily Express… Quite an impressive u-turn.

Do send me your nominations for Imbecile of the Week. I have a nasty feeling the Daily Mail may be revisited again soon…


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