All entries for March 2007
March 29, 2007
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6505807.stm
Apparently David Cameron’s much-heralded wind turbine has had to be removed from his roof after only a week after it was put in the wrong place. According to the Beeb, planning permission was granted only for the turbine to be attached to the chimney, but the contractors were concerned that the structure of the chimney wouldn’t be able to support the turbine. Being cynical and anti-Tory, I’m strongly tempted to see this as a metaphor for Cameron’s environmental policy as a whole; a whirling device supposed to generate power being grafted onto a structure not capable of holding it up.
March 23, 2007
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6482981.stm
Breaking news from the Beeb is that the Pakistan Cricket coach, Bob Woolmer, who was found unconscious in his hotel room on Sunday morning and later died in hospital was murdered by ‘manual strangulation.’ This is orders of magnitude uglier than pretty much anything else to happen in the world of Cricket within my memory; that someone should actually be murdered (presumably in connection with the game in some way) in such a vicious way for reasons associated with what is supposed to be a peaceful, civilised game is almost unthinkable. Up until now Woolmer’s death had cast a shadow only over the World Cup, now the entire Cricketing world is in the shade. Obviously Cricket needs to be gone through from top to bottom to examine how tragedies like this can be avoided in the future. A very, very sad day for Cricket.
March 19, 2007
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6465579.stm
Tony Blair’s announcement today that public services should be ‘truly personalised’ in order to help ‘empower’ (how I hate the way they use that word) people is vintage New Labour bollocks. As far as I can see, in common with pretty much every other policy announcement Blair has made since 1994, it is the usual combination: 50% stupid gimmicks, and 50% meaningless management-speak drivel and abuse of the English language. According to the Beeb’s report of the announcement, proposals include possible eBay style satisfaction ratings for schools and hospitals, telling patients how much a visit to their GP costs the NHS, and greater use of IT to allow parents to check up on their kids’ progress at school or to make appointments with their doctors. Now, whilst theoretically some of these may be a good idea (albeit one I would never trust the government to implement given their record in the area of IT projects in particular), it does strongly suggest that they’ve given up on the idea of actually providing high quality services, preferring instead to allow the middle classes to choose the ones which haven’t been run into the ground quite so much by the persistent interference of Whitehall. It’s also very interesting in the context of Adam Curtis’s The Trap which was broadcast yesterday which included a section on the government’s method of managing the NHS which included very interesting examples of the ways in which government targets and league tables were circumvented and ended up leading to increased bureaucracy to administer.
March 15, 2007
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6453499.stm
According to the Beeb, Gordon Brown is planning to sell off the right to collect at least some of the estimated £16bn students owe to the government. Why do I have visions of the debt being bought by some evil parasite like Smallweed in Bleak House? Doubtless for people who don’t pay up it’ll be bailiffs galore.
March 08, 2007
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6431005.stm
The Tory Shadow Home Affairs Spokesman Patrick Mercer has been forced to quit after he said that being called a ‘black bastard’ is a ‘normal part of army life’ for black soldiers. Now, this may or may not be true, but being true isn’t the same as being acceptable. After all, signs on guesthouses saying ‘no blacks or Irish’ used to be a ‘normal part of life;’ does that make them acceptable? Jim Crow Laws in the Deep South used to be a ‘normal part of life;’ does that make them acceptable? Once again a top Tory shows idiotic and illogical bigotry to try to argue that racial discrimination isn’t a problem that anyone should be dealing with. If what he says is true, the army should be doing its utmost to stamp such things out, not blandly dismissing them as a ‘normal part of life.’ Then, the second part of Mercer’s idiocy, moaning about ‘idle’ BME soldiers using racial abuse as a ‘cover’ would also become irrelevant. And we’re asked to put cretins like this in government.
March 01, 2007
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6406699.stm
According to the article linked above, John McCain is standing for the Republican nomination for President. Although apparently Rudolph Giuliani is currently ahead in the polls. This conjures the very interesting (and satisfying for a European lefty such as myself) image of conservative southerners in 2008 having to choose between Hillary Clinton (who is anathema to them) and Rudi Giuliani, a liberal Roman Catholic from the North-East. There’ll be some very interesting expressions on the faces of people going in to vote in some places, I’ll bet. :D