My wish for 2010

It is a great shame that in many countries, puppets are deemed far more relevant than real people.

It is an absolute abhorrence that an Actor/Actress is paid more to pretend to be someone than the real person doing a real job.

Why are puppets paid more to pretend than real people to actually do something useful?

Does an actor/actress really believe them pretending to save someones life, is worth more than someone actually saving a real life? Does a pretend soldier really think they are of greater value to society than a real soldier being shot in the battle field, screaming an real agony and actually bleeding to death?

Does a pretend fireman in all honesty think they are worthy of an accolade for following a directors direction and getting in to no harms way, when a real fireman really does save people, risk their life and all with nothing more than a pittance in relative salary.

It is a sad state of affairs when as a society the pretenders are valued more highly than the realists, but this is our Society.

I have many wishes for the new decade, but of relevance to this post:

I wish people would stop shelling out vast sums of money to watch plastic people play out pretend roles, whilst begrudging paying more tax to financially support real people doing real jobs.

Do we really live in a Society in which serial murderers can't sell their story but a pretend person can be paid millions of dollars for pretending to be that murderer?
read more “My wish for 2010”

Lest MPs forget - Remembrance Sunday - No expenses for wreaths

Ed BallsImage via Wikipedia

MPs are quick with their Public Service Announcements, so I thought it may be helpful to make an announcement for MPs as we begin November.

Remembrance Sunday Wreaths are not reclaimable expenses.

The excuses of 'claimed in error' don't wash and never have. Amongst others Ed Balls and Boris Johnson have managed to try and slip this expense past the tax payer.

Remembrance Sunday is not a day to go out and buy a wreath then bill it back to the tax payer.

So just to re-iterate, if you wish to make a donation, or purchase a Remembrance Sunday Wreath, pay it out of your own salary, not out of the taxpayers.

Enough of their pathetic excuses, claiming this type of expense is perhaps as morally low as any of the excessive claims have been.

Lest We forget - in the case of Balls and Johnson, I won't.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Lest MPs forget - Remembrance Sunday - No expenses for wreaths”

Is the FSA for real?

The FSA, that long discredited regulator is coming up with farcical ideas as they reach the end of their lifespan.

We have had a suggestion that bankers bonuses should be regulated, which is highly fashionable at present, but based on little reality. We have the FSA championed by the Darling, suggesting that if the banks went back to pre-1985 Big Bang, then there would never be another bail-out needed and we have the FSA once

City of LondonImage via Wikipedia

again supported by Brown, supporting loan regulation.

I am no fan of bankers, but it would be nice to have a little reality.

Bankers bonuses: The bonuses are approved by shareholders. If the shareholders do not wish to take the risk profile suggested by the Directors, there is a simple way to achieve change. Vote against the Directors resolutions at theAGM . But of course the Shareholders have historically been the pension fund managers who sit as non-execs of the banks. However there have been numerous proposals put forward regarding shareholder revisions, but theFSA choose to ignore this reality. In today's climate, the banks who are causing the greatest concern are the banks in which the tax-payer holds a significant shareholding, so the answer is to ensure the tax-payers vote No. But dear old Darling doesn't like simple answers as it clears the decks to easily and the mainstream media just love to hate anyone, so tarnish all bankers with the same brush. The banks who took no funding do not deserve any cut back on bonuses, but that doesn't suit the climate.

Dividing the banks, so that there will be no further bail-out: What trite rubbish, where do Governments and the largest businesses secure complex financing? Funnily enough it isn't from a retail bank. However Darling, Brown and Myners would have us all myopically walk in to a situation that the banks are split as per pre-1985 and all is hunky dory. Let's run that one again, A.N. Investment bank fails, on which the US Government, China, the UK Government and Unilever are reliant on a syndicated finance agreement and the Government would just let it fall like a ton of bricks? How stupid is Darling, or how stupid does he think the population is? Failing retail banks are a problem for the general public, but failing Investment banks are the death knell to capitalism.

Tightening credit, there are a myriad of examples here, but let's take a simple one:

Joe Bloggs earns £100 000 a year and wishes to purchase a property, which is a little run down for £250 000 but he also want to spend £50 000 on refurbishment. Under the proposed FSA rules he could borrow a loan for a house valued at £300 000 on his salary, but borrowing £250 000 plus £50 000 to refurbish the place is an unacceptable Loan to Value, so is a no go: absolute madness. He therefore needs to borrow the additional £50 000 as a personal loan over perhaps 10 years at a far higher rate of interest and monthly repayment than borrowing that money as part of his mortgage.

One more example: Jane Smith has a house valued at £140 000 which is mortgaged at 100%, she also has credit card debts of £10 000 and a personal loan for £5 000. Is the FSA suggesting that LTV is the absolute measure of credit worthiness? What about Andy Pandy, who has no house but want to borrow £2 000, should his personal loan be asset backed?

It is all good knock about media stuff, but the crew running the regulators really need to join up their thinking a little.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Is the FSA for real?”

The FTC endorsement guidelines

It has been a while, since I was here, life has been a little busy.

I thought it may help readers of this blog and other bloggers, to put up the ftc guidelines on advertising and endorsement. Unfortunately they are yet another example of yet more red tape in a world full of red tape.

Each video is different

Here is the link for the pdf of the text to the guidelines in detail

happy reading.

Oh and by the way, I get a small commission if adverts on this site are clicked, but I was not paid by the ftc, or even sent a thank you note or any sort of acknowledgement. No coffee was offered, Green card, free flights, visitors visa, luxury hotel, or even dingy hotel stay. No meetings with any individual, corporate or governmental agency were promised as a result of posting this article. I was offered no inducement, no pork barrel legislation or even primary legislation was discussed, promised or offered. In fact I have had no contact with the FTC in relation to this article and have received nor been promised anything at all in fact in return for this public service announcement. (I think that just about covers it).

Come to think of it, why haven't I been paid for writing about an alien Governments legislation?

read more “The FTC endorsement guidelines”

Has google become too clever?

Less an irritation than my usual posts, rather a simple question. Has google lost sight of the user?

Personally I am a google fan and welcome areas such as Wave, Android, Squared, Analytics, [show options], gmail, pages, wheel, blogger, maps, earth, etc. etc, etc. but there is a not so glamorous side, which includes the cookie which sits on your computer unless you opt-out, the new google 'wiki'. Neither the glamour nor the darkness are really the purpose of the post. Who uses al

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

l this stuff and why is Google constantly releasing more and more?

While I don't consider myself a geek (well perhaps I am a bit geeky as I live on the computer and am an alpha tester by 'index finger reflex' - that well known medical condition) I like to try out all this stuff, I work with most of it and I use a lot of it, which is great for me as a user of google services. Google docs, makes my life easy, igoogle makes my home page useful, google reader keeps me up to date, but really who uses this.

In conversation with 'normal' users of the web, there is little comprehension or interest that a google search can be in "" with a +, with a -, with a square 10 page view 100 page view, news, blogs etc. etc. etc.

Google works because it retrieves what people want easily, their little 'darkside' moves are hidden, their added value is hidden. I am of the opinion that those who support Google are those of a Geek disposition, each process adds revenue to Google for sure, as we the geeks find ways to optimise, utilise, advertise the medium of communication we select, but does the average user really know that Google Earth and Google Maps are different products showing different things? The answer is by a short straw poll, absolutely not. I had a recent conversation with someone who constantly talked of google earrth, but was referring to google maps.

Does that confusion matter? No, of course it doesn't, Google was mentioned and from the Google perspective, that is all that mattered.

Who actually subscribes to the Google blog? Lonely hand raised over here.

I am not whinging about google as I like much of what they do, but on speaking to casual internet users, google remains the box you type in your search term and perhaps a gmail account, but not much else. Google marketing needs to get its ass in gear, there is a whole world aside from the geeks.

Nowun Till, brought to you by another Google product - Blogspot

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Has google become too clever?”

Some songs are just so complete

Kate Miller sums it up with a great parody of friends on facebook

read more “Some songs are just so complete”

Ann Minch sums it up

Sometimes there is nothing to add....

read more “Ann Minch sums it up”

MPs Second Homes

MPs second homes remain a bug bear and now that politicians have started to filter back to the fray with their conferences, it would be good to hear at least one of the parties talk about the scandal of MPs expenses.

No doubt the fond hope politicians have, is that their abuse of expenses will have been forgotten and they can concentrate on more important issues such as clinging on to what so many believe is their career.

Many MPs do have a need for accommodation closer to London I don't argue against that point. (Other than the whole system is wrong, but that is well know by blog readers). But taking the starting point that we do have this system and we do have Westminster, there can be little doubt that MPs need to be able to get to there.

What is absolutely wrong, is that MPs purchase property, which is subsidised or paid for outright by the tax payer and the MP then takes the profit. This is completely different to House flipping, which is circumvention of Capital Gains tax payments. MPs use the system to make fat profits out of taxpayers when they sell the property the tax payer has paid for and this is plainly wrong under even the most cursory of glances.

There is no excuse at all for MPs being permitted to take 100% ownership of a home which is paid for out of public funds. This abuse must be stamped out immediately.

MPs must not be permitted to deflect the argument, by saying they now no longer are permitted to flip houses, that is a personal tax issue. They must not be able to pocket the profits on a house sale which has been funded in anyway by allowances.

An MPs second home paid for by taxpayers is not an MPs home, it belongs to the taxpayer.

image ( 'Going Once' Colour Edition by STATIC) courtesy of another wall
read more “MPs Second Homes”

Strictly Come Dancing Interviews

Strictly Come Dancing heading for BBC One and BBC HD on Friday 18th September, 8.30pm with the second show on Saturday 19th September, 7.25pm.

Pre-show thoughts by the dancing celebrities

read more “Strictly Come Dancing Interviews”

Political spin and fetish porn

Yet again the political parties are sound blasting about Public Sector spending after the election and once again listening to politicians thinking they are being clever by refusing to talk about what they will actually do is becoming increasingly annoying.

Political media advisers live in such effective sound proof boxes, that I don't think they can even hear what they themselves are saying. While the Conservatives are unclear about what they will actually cut, we at least know they are going to make cuts, but the Labour Party - no idea what their plans are.

Like a broken record, they all pound out the mantra 'difficult decisions' what on earth does that actually mean?

Politicians need to start engaging with the general public, discussing the issues, not politicians wish to lecture on, but the issues on which people want answers. The more political media advisers decide on the next 'headline' the less relevance it has and the less credibility the politicians have to a wider audience.

There is no point in politicians trying to engage each other in debates, when neither of them actual listens to what another politician says, particularly when that debate is not something which resonates with the general public.

Many people would like to know what cuts are intended and when, then a serious debate can develop, meanwhile the politicians want to sabre rattle over whether a 'cut' is going to happen or whether a 'cut' is only a tightening of the belt, it is fatuous and whilst appearing glossy to those in the Westminster cesspit is as edifying as watching '2 girls 1 cup', I wonder if that particular cesspit would have made for a more appropriate location? (If you haven't seen the clip I don't recommend it).
read more “Political spin and fetish porn”

I want to become a corrupt official

A great video by the journalist Zhang Jun which was originally running on the Southern Metropolis Daily has subsequently been removed, was looking at what young children would like to do when they grew up.

It was all going well until:
appeared on screen, at about 2:03 in to the video.

Earlier children had said the usual things, I don't know, a photographer, a painter, a pilot and the ubiquitous fireman.

The star of the video declared:

I want to be an official

The reporter questioned: 'What kind of an official'

To which she smilingly replied: 'A corrupt official, because corrupt officials have a lot of things.'

Her smiling response is superb.

Acted or real, it makes for great viewing and sadly shows corruption is not unique to British Politicians.

The video edit is classic irony as the final pupil says that she would like to become a music teacher and fades out to her rendition of Jasmine Flower.

read more “I want to become a corrupt official”

Is this research?

I heard about the Dishonesty research that was recently conducted by Brunel University and was as amazed as many people I spoke to about the findings of the researchers, so was all set to write a scathing article about Moral turpitude and the country having the politicians it deserves.

However, I wanted to find the research material the paper had been based on and found the website on which this survey had been conducted, the study is still open, so I decided to take the test and it really didn't seem to be based on very much at all.

The website itself highlights the 'wall of shame' and 'confessions' so automatically the site is goading the respondent that 'dishonesty' will give you a reward by showcasing your sins.

~Saw-whet Owl - Facing Backwards~Image by ~Sage~ via Flickr

The survey itself is also hardly robust. A selection of 5 video clips are offered, with drop down responses on offer. Some scenarios are clear cut, but too many require context, as in 'does your employer permit this to happen'.

There are questions on taking things from the stationary cupboard. When I ran an office based business, I explicitly gave staff permission to use company stationary, in a limited way, for personal use. So the 'is this right or wrong' had no context.

Having completed 5 videos the respondent has the opportunity to take another set of 5 videos ad infinitum as far as I could tell. The videos changing based on what appeared to be a random selection as occasionally videos previously seen were re-presented.

While the study received much publicity, I am unconvinced about the robust nature of the study.

Is there a possibility that 'scientific study' and 'Research material' is taken too much at face value.
read more “Is this research?”

blue pulse

read more “blue pulse”

North Korea and enriched Uranium

It always seems to come as a surprise to the UN that North Korea is continuing with its development of Nuclear weapons and the response by the UN is pretty well the same. More sanctions.

I don't quite know who the politicians think sanctions hurt, but they can't really expect the leadership of any country against whom sanctions are imposed to find life too difficult and certainly not in comparison to the general population of the country on which sanctions are imposed.

I created this montage of images from the Kore...Image via Wikipedia

Perhaps the intention really is for a bloody civil war to ensue, with UN peacekeepers riding in like knights in shining armour to condemn war atrocities clear up the dead bodies and tut, tut about the chaos.

Maybe it is in some bizarre belief that the leadership of the country will take the sanctions hit first and decide to cow-tow to the diktats of the UN, or more honestly the diktats of the US in their ever increasing desire to run the world.

I wonder sometimes if the political leadership of the US are just desperate to have the stamp of 'Empire' written in history books about the USA some time in the future.

A small country, targeted by the USA really only has one form of protection and that is Nuclear Weapons. With little doubt were it not for the nuclear weapons in Pakistan, the US would by now be fighting to overthrow the Government in Pakistan claiming a crusade against terrorism.

They may have flown missions in to Pakistani airspace and killed many people in the process, but having been told to back off, the threat of the nuclear trigger has made them listen. Would they had that threat not been there? I doubt it very much.

What does the UN and in particular the US expect the North Korean leadership to do? Hand over the reigns of power to a democratically elected Government? Do they really? Do they expect the political leadership of North Korea sit around waiting for another American led invasion?

Not only does political power breed arrogance it also breeds contempt towards other people. Just because the US is contemptuous of the North Korean leadership, doesn't make the North Korean leadership stupid, so they take action which they believe will stall an invasion and all the evidence suggest, if you have nuclear weapons, you are suddenly not such a roll-over.

The response to this reaction being, 'let's impose more sanctions'. After all they have been so successful in the past?

The aggressive machismo of American military power has so far resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and the displacement of millions of people.

After 8 years of failing to build an Empire, it is long past time the US headed back to their apple pies and white picket fences. The world was a far better place 8 years ago and when the US gets back inside its borders, perhaps they could this time decide not to fund international terrorists.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “North Korea and enriched Uranium”

Strictly come dancing swhirls back to the screens

Away from the politics for a change to a much lighter subject, in fact can you get lighter than light entertainment?

The BBC are once again running with Strictly Come Dancing, which achieved a peak viewing of 13 million people.

Dance has always been a feature of BBC broadcasting.

The schedule for September 1, 1936, 'Here's looking at you' features Carol Chilton & Maceo Thomas - Creole dancers & singers - amongst others. The earliest broadcasting recording known to exist from a 1933 programme 'Looking in' includes 'the Paramount Astoria Girls' a dance troupe.

Strictly come dancing, has in the minds of the Judges been a competition to find the most proficient dancers, many viewers take a contrary view and see the programme as entertainment, voting for the celebrity they like best and not necessarily for the best dancer.

The competition returns to the BBC in September, with new line-up of dancers, some new judges and a new format.

The competition for viewers continues to heat up and the BBC have appointed Headstream for the PR this year.

For the lowdown on this years programme here is the BBC link

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Strictly come dancing swhirls back to the screens”

Kennedy dies memories go fuzzy

Kennedy, who has just died, is now being lauded by many politicians.

This video remembers Mary Jo Kopechne, who died 40 years aged 28, when Kennedy left her to die after he drove his car over the bridge at Chappaquiddick

Back in March of this year Gordon Brown announced that Kennedy had been conferred an honourary knighthood, which caused considerable derision.

Kennedy was the man who said Protestants who didn't want a United Ireland, should leave for the mainland and equated the presence of British Troops akin to American troops in the Vietnam.

Kennedy died would been more than enough news coverage for this man.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Kennedy dies memories go fuzzy”

NORAID, Scotland and the USA

A broad range of people in the USA are jumping on an anti-Scottish bandwagon as they disagree with the position taken by the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, over his decision to release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

While I can understand the decision is divisive, many people supporting fully the decision, others oppose vehemently, what I find particularly galling is the stream of bile which is emanating from Political figures in the USA.

Lieberman, an independent senator called for an investigation into the release, adding the release was a "real setback for the anti-terrorist cause".

Democratic Senator Cardin, said: "The terrorist shows no compassion and to give him a compassionate release was wrong. 'I think it's very serious and I think there should be consequences.'

Mueller, head of the FBI said the decision had made a mockery of justice and given comfort to terrorists around the world.

These may be views which hold a certain amount of resonance to many people. But I would just like to take a step away from the rhetoric and look at recent American terrorist support.

NORIAD- In May 1981, the U.S. Department of Justice won a court case forcing Noraid to register the Provisional Irish Republican Army as its "foreign principal", under the Foreign Agents Registration Act 1938.

Noraid hugely successful fund raisers in the USA, provided many believe, substantial funding for the IRA to purchase arms. Noraid openly expressed support for the IRA but said it gave money for humanitarian aid,denying donations were used for the purchase of arms.

The Irish Freedom Committee still posts on the front page of its website:

The Irish Freedom Committee® (IFC) is an American-based human rights activist organization. We oppose the 1998 Stormont Treaty with Britain-- disingenuously titled the "Good Friday Agreement" or "Peace Process"-- as it is a British-imposed document which has nothing to do with peace, but is designed only to shore up Partition and to strengthen British rule in Ireland.

John McDonagh while chairman of the IFC was able to distinguish between IRA bombs and the World trade centre attacks saying: 'There's no comparison. I don't think it's in the psyche of the Irish to become suicide bombers. The IRA gives warnings before its bombings. What happened here brings it to a whole new level.'

The Irish Freedom Committee is committed to the pursuit of TRUTH with JUSTICE in a Free, United, Sovereign All-Ireland Republic.

US-Ireland Alliance, which has a facebook group with over 1 000 members entitled:

Supporters of the IRA (Irish Republican Army)

The Mission of the IRA is to free Ireland from British rule and give Ireland back to the Irish. The IRA is devoted to freedom and justice for the Irish people. We must fight back against centuries of rape and pillage. IRA Forever!!!

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” -John F Kennedy

I suggest before the head of the FBI starts calling Scotland a country which supports terrorism, he may well be better advised to look at some of his own countries organisations.
read more “NORAID, Scotland and the USA”

EU election monitors - Afghanistan a fair vote

Well if the EU, with absolutely no vested interest in the election outcome, claim it was a fair vote, it must have been.

Apart from the small issue of their problem with voting in the South of the Country, but hey that doesn't matter, it is all about the count. Oh the indelible ink problem? Never heard of it. Thanks to the EU commission for the endorsement, but some of us actually have a brain.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “EU election monitors - Afghanistan a fair vote”

Politicians in a social network

The concept of British politicians understanding social networking, is perhaps one of the greatest jokes this year.

We have MPs who don't understand the contempt with which they are held, voting as Speaker a man who held a Directorship of a Caymans Island registered Company and flipped his houses, while at the same time they pretend to push hard for a change in off shore tax-havens whilst lambasting house flippers.

Perhaps they really are too thick to understand how to fill in their expenses claims.

The Labour Party has chosen a woman by the name of Kerry McCarthy, as their 'New media expert', it would appear from that choice, she is the Labour Party 'expert', I could find people expressing more coherence drunkenly swaying at a late night party.

Already dubbed by many of her fellow MPs as the twitter Tsar, which to be fair to her she doesn't like. 'But we are getting back in touch', her colleagues proclaim. Tsar - some basic knowledge of history would indicate how far out of touch and offensive this term can be.

But still they push forward, with the Labour Party anointing Kerry as the Guru on 'new media', although she seems to think that social networking consists of twitter, facebook, linkedin and a nod to Youtube, hardly new media.

Twitter, according to McCarthy is the place to be, Facebook is just a place to communicate with friends and linkedin is the place for professional contacts. The opines of an out of touch politico.

Apparently, according to the 'new media' expert you and I will head off and find these politicians on their blogs and social networking sites, while all they have to do is sit and wait for our visit.

They want to teach us how to use the internet responsibly, they don't even appear to understand what it is?

If McCarthy really expects people outside the Westminster tent to engage with Politicians and in particular the Labour Party she needs to learn about Social Networking. To dismiss Facebook as a no go area demonstrates how ridiculous and out of touch politicians really are with the real world.

I doubt many politicians will understand the satire, or references to social networking on the following video.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Politicians in a social network”

ASBOS and social dileniation

The thrust on ASBOs, since they first emerged always seemed to be they were a law focussed on people in Social Housing, leaving louts in private homes largely untouched.

As the regulations on ASBOs have been developed and the focus of the legislation has become more illuminated, I am drawn more towards this conclusion.

Much emphasis is made on ASBOs about how those with the orders can find themselves thrown out of their rented accommodation, in some attempt to show the orders have some teeth.

I decided, that my perception needed a little more investigation, so contacted the Home Office to obtain some statistics, particularly in relation to the % of ASBOs cited against people living in Social Housing and as to how many ASBOs were instigated by Social Landlords, as other than the Police and Local Authority they are the only people able to instigate an ASBO.

While I was delighted with the speed of response by the Home Office statistics office, only a matter of a few days, the content was depressing.

'...Information is not collected centrally about the characteristics or circumstances of persons issued with an ASBO. ...'

In other words, the Government is continuing to pursue a line that ASBOs are effective because people can loose their homes, on an assumption, without any supporting evidence that ASBOs are directed at those living in Social Housing.

This is classic class warfare being conducted strangely by a party which claims to have equality at its heart.

We have a disgraceful situation in which a law enables Social Housing tenants to be evicted from their property, but homeowners can not be sanctioned in the same way.

This really is an us and them piece of legislation.

Why is it, that if I live near to someone who is of 'anti-social' (I will leave the term hanging in its connotation)and they live in Social Housing I can contact three sets of people to have action taken and if they continue to cause a problem they may be evicted, not on breach of tenancy agreement grounds, but on breach of ASBO grounds. However if that same person lives in private accommodation. I only have two ways to take action and that person can't be evicted on the grounds of breaching the ASBO.

I am not talking about changing the status of ASBOs to include legislation to enable state confiscation of homes for ASBO breaches, I would be one of the first to condemn such a move.

I am however disgusted to be living in a country in which the less well off face a set of laws, set by the state, not a question of access to representation, that doesn't apply to those who are better off.

As the Home Office Stats office doesn't have any available information on the social backgrounds of those with ASBOs, why does the Governnment and the Home Office in particular continue to focus sanctions against those who live in Social housing, while avoiding any meaningful sanctions against those in private accomodation?

I could imagine the 'disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' had ASBOs been introduced with the ability to evict home owners but not Social Housing tenants.

We already live in a fragmented Society with rafts of people being left to sink, legislation such as those which framework ASBOs are unforgiveble.
read more “ASBOS and social dileniation”

Stiletto heels and the work place

The TUC have decided to raise an issue which is creating something of a divide in the views of both men and women, with the divisions not coming across on gender lines. The TUC have put forwards a proposal that stiletto heels should be banned from the workplace, on the grounds of health and safety.

As an advocate of retaining freedom, I believe the TUC is sticking its nose in to an area in which they have no real business to concern themselves. I have visions of our ever protective Labour Government deciding this would be a good bandwagon to jump on, requiring all high heels are sold with a stamp on the soles, or more likely across the heel and uppers, stating these may cause a health risk.

In practical terms, High heels are not appropriate in all work places, but that goes for Ties for men. Is the natural development of this type of legislation that we should all turn up to work in Maoists suits?

Certainly there are many people who feel that a female dressed in high heels does not project a professional image, but that is for the individual and employer to deal with.

The aspect of work attire, is an ever present conundrum for individuals and employers to negotiate. The timing of the proposal sits neatly with the Liberal Democratic party proposal on photoshopping advertising, with the claim that photoshopped adverts put pressure on women to conform to an idealistic 'standard'.

A similar argument of pressure in attire can be fashioned for high heels. While many people have commented that heels provide them with a sense of empowerment and confidence, many are arguing it looks sexy, which appears to be, for many roles, perhaps a reason that they are inappropriate and are irrelevant to work place standards. The idea that a High Court Judge is wondering if they look 'sexy' while in court, would raise alarm bells for many.

Tory MP Nadine Dorries said the extra height can help women in the workplace. She added: 'I'm 5ft 3in need every inch of my Christian Louboutin heels to look my male colleagues in the eye. If high heels were banned in Westminster, no one would be able to find me. (source Daily Mail)

This type of comment, doesn't, I think, help in any way. I fail to see any need to mention the shoe manufacturer, as it brings the level down to, I wear more expensive clothes than you, once again bringing the issue of dress code down to a battle of wallet and idolatry.

Wearing of high heels in the work place should not be an area in which the TUC get involved. The spurious argument some are making is that for them to be making any comment is sexist, is fatuous.

Those who have concerns with 'image projection' should reign back their horns a little. The issue is being raised on Health and Safety grounds and this is an area in which legislation is rife and becoming ever more encroaching. Those who like the idea of freedom to wear what ever they and their employer deem acceptable, need to listen to the grounds the TUC are taking a stance. Don't let the health and safety creep take away all our civil liberties.

The issue of clothing in the workplace is and should remain, in the majority of cases an issue between employer and employee, not a concern for the Health and Safety police.

Image source China culture center
read more “Stiletto heels and the work place”

Censoring airbrushed photographs in advertising

The Liberal Democrats are calling for advertising aimed at people under the age of 16 to be completely prohibited from airbrushing adverts, or for a disclosure notice to be placed next to the adverts aimed at older age groups.

This is yet another example of MPs desire to meddle being without the slightest thought. Jo Swinson claims that "Liberal Democrats believe in the freedom of companies to advertise but we also believe in the freedom of young people to develop their self-esteem and to be as comfortable as possible with their bodies, without constantly feeling the need to measure up to a very narrow range of digitally manipulated shapes and sizes."

The top picture is of Jo on the liberal democrats campaign for Gender Balance

The one, below, is not quite so posed, any reason the lower photograph isn't that being used, it appears to be the same clothes, so may have even been taken on the same day?

The idea that digitally enhanced photographs can somehow be controlled by legislation, speaks volumes for the simplistic notion MPs have of what really matters.

Are the Liberal Democrats suggesting that make-up shouldn't be worn by subjects in photographs, what about lighting effects, backgrounds, the pose itself? When will MPs stop trying to interfere with the minutiae of everyone else's life and get on with proposing policies for aspects which matter.

The suggestion that the use of airbrushed images in advertising is somehow corrupting misses the point. They need to look at what they are trying to achieve and work to a solution from there. The easy headline of banning airbrushed photographs will do nothing, if they are trying to stop people feeling the need to look one way or another. The product being advertised is the core issue, not the image surrounding it. Though that is not in any way to suggest they need to stick their noses into product advertising, it is intended to demonstrate the backward thinking of Politicians.

An advertising agency would work round such a ridiculous legislation, with consummate ease and the Lib/Dem objective, ridiculous as it is, would have been missed by a mile.

Thanks Jo, but no thanks, enough meddling. Time to change the image on the gender balance website, as it appears to contravene a few of these policy document guidelines.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Censoring airbrushed photographs in advertising”

Eco-friendly manufacturing on a small island

Perhaps it is just me, but the name kind of gives it away. The Isle of Wight,

located just off the Southern coast of mainland Britain. Being a small island, it requires that virtually all manufactured items be transported by sea off the island, many transferred to road and rail freight from nearby Portsmouth and Southampton, or in to larger ships for onward distribution.

The development of an eco-energy plant on a location with difficult transportation issues would not seem to be a long thought out strategic location. Be that as it may, Vestas, a Danish business set up a wind turbine blade manufacturing unit on the island, Vestas Blades, together with a research and development facility.

Vestas deem that the Northern European market and in particular the UK wind turbine market is in such a poor state that it is no longer viable to produce the blades on the island and have decided to shut down the plant.

As a result of such a large employer closing down on the Island, the workers, supported by trades unions have been fighting to keep the factory open. As part of the protest about 25 workers became involved in a lock-in, which is now resulting in a legal battle by Vestas to force the sit-in to end.

While I may not be the greatest fan of trades unions and fail to get it that when a business decides to shut a unit, the employees deem that the business should stay open regardless of any financial losses being made by the business, I do however fully support the rights for people to demonstrate, so can kind of get my head around the sit-in.

What I don't understand is why this protest has brought Green demonstraters to the proceedings. So called eco-warriors have joined the demonstrations over the shut down, despite the fact that Vestas have indicated there is no market in Northern Europe and they are planning on expanding the US operation, whilst increasing the R&D facilities on the Island.

The Government, has offered to inject money in to the plant, but Vestas have made a commercial decision that the plant is not viable.

If the eco-warriors wish to protest about the issue, they need to look, not at Vestas, but the 'nimby' attitude across much of the UK. It is council planning and local residents committees who are stopping the development of wind farms, not companies like Vestas who are actively engaged in the business. The big energy companies make great noises about eco-friendly power generation, but do very little to force the issue, so perhaps a word in their ear may be more useful.

The eco-warriors should be supporting the development of the R&D facility in to wind power generation, not bemoaning the loss of a manufacturing plant located in an ill-conceived location.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Eco-friendly manufacturing on a small island”

While politicians talk, businesses act

Street Sleeper 2 by David ShankboneImage via Wikipedia

In September 2008, Gordon Brown made great play of a £285 million Mortgage Rescue Scheme, which would save 6 000 homes from repossession.

Eventually in January this year, the scheme was actually launched and so far the grand total of six homes have been helped.

Businesses on the other hand are actually getting on with things and as a result, approaching 1 000 homes a week are currently being repossessed.

When pressed on the numbers of homes which had received help from the scheme, Mandelson wouldn't be drawn on a figure, when he was told the number was six, his response was a cringing, 'you have scored your point'.

That Mandelson is back in office is a scandal, about which I have written previously, that he sees the fact that a 1 000 homes a week are being repossessed and only six families have actually been helped as a 'point scored' says all you need to know about the state of British Politics.

While politicians rush to take the microphone and grab a few seconds air time to announce yet another 'policy' the world continues around them, a fact of which they seem completely oblivious.

Homeless families are not 'scored points'. Mandelson may have friends who lend him money to buy houses, while he investigates their probity, he may get away with forgetting to inform the Britannia Building Society about the 'deposit' being a loan, but that is not the way for most people.

Politicians talk about doing things, Banks repossess homes and families are destroyed. Not scored points, but real people.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “While politicians talk, businesses act”

Bercow looks above the parapet

Bercow, the new speaker of the House of Commons, has noticed that people are pretty fed up with the £25 a day unreceipted subsistance allowance that went through on a nod and has decided to call for a meeting of the members estimate committee next week.

Already Nick Harvey is claiming the story of the allowance has been blown out of proportion and all this was agreed way back in March.

Strange how MPs have been managing to claim on this allowance, but none of them actually bothered to pipe up and mention that the subsistance allowance didn't require any receipts. Even stranger it wasn't until the story gathered pace today that Bercow noticed the problem.

Who said Politics in the UK couldn't become more odious?
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Bercow looks above the parapet”

The Government does care about military personnel, really

The decision by the MoD to appeal against payments received by service personnel, is being excused by the MoD as a necessary process to validate legislation.

While the Government continue to protest that they support service personnel, their comments and actions hold little confidence in wider circles. While politicians and Senior Military personnel wander around attempting to out shout each other, the reality of death and injury on the battlefields continue.

The MoD is taking to the Court of Appeal cases against two servicemen:

Light Dragoon Anthony Duncan, was originally awarded £9,250 which was increased to £46,000 by an appeal tribunal, for injuries received in Iraq.

Royal Marine Matthew McWilliams was awarded £8,250, increased to £28,750 on appeal.

The deaths of two more British soldiers in Afghanistan were announced yesterday, bringing the number killed in July to 22.

Increasing number of service personnel are dying and being injured, yet the platitudes offered by politicians do nothing to appease the concerns being expressed by the General Public. This own goal by the MoD will do nothing to restore any confidence.

Of ongoing concern will be the fate of soldiers who develop mental health problems on returning home.

The closure of the Henderson Hospital last year, which was a world renowned therapeutic community for people with disorders including post traumatic stress, which was opened in 1947 to help soldiers returned from the Second World War, with the ramification of curtailing expenditure on service provision and research, is a clear demonstration that the Government is more interested in saving money than ensuring the infrastructure is in place to assist wounded and mentally scarred service personnel on their return from active service.

read more “The Government does care about military personnel, really”

Don't let foreigners use the NHS - but let us use your hospitals

The clarion call from the right wing of British Politics, which seems to include everything in mainstream politics, is that foreigners are using up valuable resources in the UK and of particular concern is the over use of NHS resources.

I wonder how these people feel, now that a British patient is being treated in a Swedish hospital, for swine flu.

There are five specialist beds in Britain for the technique, known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), at a hospital in Leicester, but they are currently all taken, so this woman was flown into Sweden, where she is now receiving treatment at Karolinska University Hospital in Solna.

View Larger Map

It would be interesting to take a straw poll on those who object to foreigners using NHS resources, on whether British Nationals using valuable resource in foreign hospitals is acceptable, or should this woman just have been left to see how it all turned out?

The NHS is in the process of making contingency plans to fly a limited number of swine flu patients to European hospitals if Britain’s intensive care services become overwhelmed.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Don't let foreigners use the NHS - but let us use your hospitals”

Political amnesia

The Norwich-North by-election has thrown up an interesting phenomena, so the reports from mainstream media would appear to suggest.

Political commentators tend to congregate around political activists and forget the world is far wider than myopic interest groups, reading and listening to comments pre and post election saw a focus on the 'Ian Gibson' effect. The suggestion in the world of political punditry suggesting that the fact that Ian Gibson had been axed by the Labour party caused great resentment in the constituency, with people feeling it unfair that he had been singled out by a Gordon Brown vendetta, for being an Independent minded MP.

Ian Gibson voting record Publicwhip
From -------To -------- Rebellions --------------- Attendance
5 May 2005 8 Jun 2009 63 votes out of 897, 7.0% 897 votes out of 1047, 85.7%
7 Jun 2001 11 Apr 2005 52 votes out of 953, 5.5% 953 votes out of 1246, 76.5%
1 May 1997 14 May 2001 16 votes out of 1067, 1.5% 1067 votes out of 1273, 83.8%

Elliot Morley who was also axed, shows few rebellions

From ------ To --------- Rebellions -------------- Attendance
5 May 2005 still in office 5 votes out of 760, 0.7% 760 votes out of 1113, 68.3%
7 Jun 2001 11 Apr 2005 6 votes out of 766, 0.8% 766 votes out of 1246, 61.5%
1 May 1997 14 May 2001 5 votes out of 864, 0.6% 864 votes out of 1273, 67.9%

Which leads the 'vendetta argument' a little thin.

The argument continues other MPs, who are closer to Brown, did far worse and didn't receive the same treatment. It may be true, but does that mean he shouldn't have been axed?

Great play was made on some reports of the lone protester at the celebrations, that this was emblematic of the true feeling in Norwich, that this 'hard working' MP had been hard done by. A lone protester does not make for a rational argument.

Brown may well be hugely unpopular, there may well be many MPs who committed far worse infractions, but that shouldn't leave political commentators in a state of denial.

The simple facts are that Ian Gibson let his daughter live, rent-free, in a flat largely paid for out of expenses, and then sold it to her for below market value. The claiming for a second home for his daughter is and was untenable.

We hear how 'hard working' he was. This has become the mantra of the Labour party spin machine, based on political village gossip, that really everyone in Norwich North thinks he was a good man. We had the absurd sight of Geoff Hoon, on Question Time, defending Gibson on the grounds that he was hard working, this is the same Geoff Hoon, who was found out to have been claiming allowances on two 'second homes' of course by mistake and was forced to return an overpayment, claimed £400 a month in food allowances, lived in a grace-and-favour apartment in Whitehall yet claimed costs for his home in Derbyshire which he flipped within months of losing his grace-and-favour apartment in 2006.

Being hard-working is not in itself a virtue, Bernard Madoff, was by all accounts a very hard working man, unfortunately for those he ripped off, he was a man busy committing financial fraud.

The closed political circus are attempting to make the Labour defeat in Norwich-North to be an opportunity to blame Brown for yet another problem in the Labour Party. Brown may be totally discredited, the Labour Government out of steam and out of touch, but Gibson was the man claiming irregular expenses and it was right he was axed. It was his choice to stand down prior to the election, a good thing I would hasten to add. As a result of the by-election one bad apple has been thrown out of Parliament and that is a good thing, it is a great pity that more do not resign, have not yet been prosecuted and are not being sanctioned.

Irrespective of the size of the indescretion, any discredited MP who is out of office is a good thing. Were the mainstream media commentators to get their noses out of the Westminster trough and smell some real air, they may well also be celebrating this fact.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Political amnesia”

Ed Balls and literacy levels

Ed Balls, has set himself up with a twitter account, which in itself is in my opinion a good thing, as he exposes himself to immediate reaction to his comments and a way for people to directly communicate with him.

Increasingly MPs are doing this in the UK and theoretically it can only be to the good. However in exposing themselves to this level of scrutiny, they also need to take responsibility and be aware that their actions on Social networking sites, provides an insight to some of their actions they may wish to keep out of the public glare. In other words, they should behave responsibly.

Today saw Ed Balls, make a bit of a twitter gaff. He evidently decided that he needed to generate more followers, so set himself up with one of those 'get lots of followers on twitter' sites. The value of which is a different debate and open to personal preference.

Having decided to join one of these sites, a twitter user needs to know exactly who they are dealing with. Not only does the particular site in question, require your log-in details for your twitter account, itself something that can be problematical, but in this particular instance the 'contact us page' leads to a 404 error page, the 'about us page' tells you nothing about the company itself, but is full of typographic errors.

XXX (site name removed as I have no wish to promote this site) is a tools website for twitter. Here you will gain more followers for your account. This concept is quit simple and works very well. The 1st thing you will need to do is login your account (The same info as your twitter credentials) Then after loging in your taken to page with a list of vip members and regular members. The vip members are paid members and will gain the most followers on our site. Right now vip members are getting anywhere betwenn 400-1500 followers a day. The regular members are free members. Before anyone can join this site you are obligated to click and follow all the vip members and the last 20 regular members. After doing the following you can then join the site to get more followers.

These two problem pages should lead to alarm bells, but evidently to Ed Balls this wasn't the case. So he decided to sign up for an account, despite not reading the terms of service, which do actually lead to a link with some meaningful, if incorrectly spelt information. It is only a 7 point terms of service, so hardly onerous.

1. You agree to submit your twitter accout credentials.

2. You agree to allow us to store your account information in our database.

3. You agree your account will be used to automatically tweet an update on your account for promotional purposes every 6 hours with the exception of VIP members.

4. You agree upon loging in you allow us tweet an update on your twitter for promotion.

5. You agree when buying vip there are no refunds or returns what so ever.

6. You agree to allow us up to 6 hours to put your twitter user name on the vip section.

7. You agree if you spam our site you will be banned from our service forever with out hesitation.

But Ed appears not to have read this and when the spam messages began to appear:

I just become a member of this AWESOME site that gets you TONS of followers: http://XXX

unsuprisingly followers were not amused.

He was suprised by this, sending out the following message:

Apologies to all.. I followed a link and it has spammed everyone. Still learning.. RT @deburca: Be aware of all of these automated tweets!

I accept people make mistakes, yes even I do, but this process provides an insight into the mind of this man.

He doesn't check site validity prior to signing up, he doesn't read T.O.S. despite them being very simple and easily seen.

I wonder whether Ed Balls is someone we should trust to prepare and scrutinize legislation. If he can't read a 7 point Terms of Service, how on earth does he manage with reams of documentation?

Is it any wonder the Learning Skills Council overspend occured? Balls introduced legislation to raise the education leaving age from 16 to 18, yet failed to give schools and colleges the money they needed to make these reforms a reality.

He has shown himself someone as not fit to tell other people how to use the Internet, as he doesn't grasp the reality of not checking out a site, or the need to read the T.O.S.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Ed Balls and literacy levels”

The wasted 16 million pounds and the missing Minister

The investigation into the collapse of MG Rover in 2005, which resulted in the loss of 6,000 jobs at the plant was finally completed 4 years after its instigation a

MG Rover GroupImage via Wikipedia

t the cost of £16 million.

Just when it appeared that some questions would be answered about the Phoenix Four, the SFO were asked to investigate the collapse, leading to the report being suppressed.

As this is a fairly significant issue in the UK, it is right that the Government are called to explain their actions. But this being the UK, it really isn't as simple as that.

Due to the archaic structure of Government, Ministers can be and are appointed, who have not been elected to office. It is not possible to question unelected Government Ministers in the House of Commons. This may seem perfectly reasonable to the knuckle heads in Parliament, but it is not an acceptable position.

The more unfortunate aspect in this particular case, is that the Minister who can't be questioned is none other than Mandelson.

Mandelson, is the man who was ousted from Office twice due to irregularities in his conduct. Who the voters of Hartlepool threw out at a General Election, then reappeared as one of Blairs special appointment's as a European Commissioner and has now resurfaced under the Brown administration as the Minister of all he surveys.

To Mandelson and the Politico commentators, his re-emergence, is a source of great amusement. His appointment and reincarnation is not in the least amusing. This is a man who has an unquestionably murky past, who at one time was borrowing money off friends to support his lifestyle, but now seems to have vast tracts of wealth, while he has not held a position with a large enough income to explain his largess.

The continued lack of accountability by the Government, which in this case is explained away as 'oh well he is in "the other place"', which can't be seen by the myopic political pundits as anything more than, 'that is the way it is', is untenable.

We require an accountable Government which means Ministers must be open to questioning in the democratically elected chamber, by democratically elected MPs. Anything else is not acceptable. The obfuscation that these ministers can be called in for questioning by committees is not good enough. There are times and the MG Rover situation is one of them, when Ministers need to be questioned straight away.

The appointment by Brown of someone that the people of Hartlepool didn't think was fit to serve them, as an unaccountable Minister has brought the farcical situation whereby Ministers can't be questioned, to a head.

The UK has the facade of a democracy, but in reality, we have a largely unelected and unaccountable Government.
read more “The wasted 16 million pounds and the missing Minister”

Police dogs found dead

Nottinghamshire Police Force have had a complaint filed to the IPCC after two police dogs were found dead in the back of a Police Vehicle on a hot summers day.

The marked police car was parked in the HQ car park of the Force. Whilst the case has been referred to the IPCC no-one has been suspended.

The incompetence of the Police doesn't come as any great surprise, I sincerely hope the RSPCA do push for a prosecution of the Officers involved.

The callous disregard by the Police of animal welfare, resulted in the Animal Welfare Lay Visitor Scheme. The operation of the scheme is the responsibility of the Police
Authority, and that responsibility is exercised, in consultation with the Chief
Constable. The AWLVS appears to have become yet another PR stunt, with no teeth.

The death of animals, particularly dogs, in vehicles during hot weather, is page 1 of the common sense guide to animal welfare, why and how these two dogs died is still being investigated.

Nottinghamshire Police Force need to get their act together. Police Officers are not above the law and this case should lead to a prosecution.
read more “Police dogs found dead”

Michael Jackson, a suspected paedophile

I had wanted to avoid posting about this man, but unfortunately he keeps getting comments.

He is a suspected paedophile, the US justice system seems to operate on a 'Are you a celebrity' , a la Simpson and Jackson.

If you fit the criteria of being a 'celebrity' the fact that evidence points to guilt, counts for nothing.

American seem to forgive crime: Dear old Phil Spector took decades to get to court, Roman Polanski, still wanted on paedophilia charges in the USA, but managed to get an Oscar in 2002 , OJ 'not guilty' made the rest of the world snort, not to mention his slow-mo car chase. Try it one day and the US cops will get you off the road fast as hell unless you are perceived as a 'celebrity', they then managed to find him innocent. Strangely enough where is he now?

Jacko the wacko paid off a family, why?

He got to court and was found innocent... any ring of Simpson?

Now he is dead, suddenly he was sorely misunderstood, a man with problems, but his music was great.

I have no time for it, he was a suspected paedophile and in the light of his actions probably more than suspected.

I have no eulogy for this man, as the world stands today, Jacksons death is nothing I mourn.

The world is a better place for dead paedophiles, not that I would possibly suggest that paedophilia and sweet innocent Michael Jackson and the pay off was in any way related.

read more “Michael Jackson, a suspected paedophile”

testing pixelpipe

Having attempted a direct post on blogger using the android phone and failing as I was unable to type in the post area, I am now trying using the pixelpipe app.

read more “testing pixelpipe”

Election of the Speaker of the House of commons

Members of Parliament just don't understand the Public mood and are today running a farcical election for a discredited role in the House of Commons.

The election of a new Speaker is an absolutely farcical situation, as the role of the Speaker needs reform not just a new face.

Amongst the urgently needed reforms of the role of the Speaker includes the function as the Chair of The Members Estimate Committee, which should not remain in the remit of the House of Commons. The Members Estate Committee considers matters relating to MPs’ pay and allowances on behalf of the House of Commons.

The front runners for the position include: John Bercow, A regular house flipper and a man who is a consultant to a Cayman Island registered business. One tax break after another, just the style of speaker we need; Sir Alan Beith, who together with his wife claimed £178 000 in second home allowances including a claim for a £5 457 kitchen. He also claimed just over £6 000 in food expenses between 2005 and 2008, what a breath of fresh air he would be; Margaret Beckett, claimed for almost £11,000 in gardening expenses, including £1,380 for plants, she said that a £600 claim in 2005, which was rejected by the fees office, had been 'a mistake', funnily enough she had made three similar claims between 2001 and 2003, sounds like just the decent, honest hardworking MP to head the Members Estate Committee we need.

Members of Parliament almost daily are managing to show complete contempt to the British Public, the farce of the election of a new Speaker being just the latest in a long line. The body politic becomes more remote and less relevant to the needs of the United Kingdom as each day passes.
read more “Election of the Speaker of the House of commons”

Part 2 of the Civil Contingencies Act and Swine Flu

After a lengthy delay, I finally received a response to my question posed in April about the CCA as to:

- Whether, as part of the planning for a declaration by the World Health Organization that this is a flu pandemic, the Government is considering activating Part 2 of the CCA

- if the CCA does form part of the strategy to deal with the pandemic (if declared), at what level of infection in the UK is the Government intending to enforce this Act?

As you can tell from the question, this was posed some time ago, as the outbreak has now been confirmed as a pandemic.

Gillian Merron, Minister of State in the Department of Health, who responded to the enquiry stated that the DoH, Health Protection Agency and Cabinet Office are working together to ascertain at what level of infection Government intervention would be necessary and when and how to bring forward legislation to manage public resources, adding Part 2 of the CCA is one option for delivering some of the measures under consideration.

Gillian further comments on the 'triple lock' mechanism which would need to be met before Part 2 of the Act was brought in to force. These test being:

- an emergency that threatens serious damage to human welfare, the environment or security has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur

- it is necessary to make provision urgently in order to resolve the emergency

- the emergency regulations are proportionate

Whether or not Swine Flu reaches the stage whereby Emergency Powers under the CCA is invoked or not, is something of a sideline. The real concern, is that an outbreak of Flu is deemed by the Government as a potential trigger for the Act to come in to force, which demonstrates, the way in which legislation introduced in a climate of 'fear' becomes a dangerous tool in the hands of politicians.

The 2004 revision of the CCA Scope of emergency regulations provide draconian powers to the State; the General Public have no safeguards or rights when the Act is enforced.
read more “Part 2 of the Civil Contingencies Act and Swine Flu”

Did political parties forget there was an election?

In the run up to the recent Euro and local council elections, the apathy displayed by political parties was all too apparent.

No one canvassed at the door and only the Conservatiove Party bothered to post any information about the local election candidate through the door. The leaflet presented gave absolutely no contact information for the candidate. After numerous calls to the Conservative central office, the Local Party Office, which was shut, the local Conservative club and the office in the House of Commons of the local MP, I eventually received a call from the candidate.

I attempted to make contact with the prospective Liberal Democrat for the seat and although I managed to speak to the leader of the Liberal Democrats for the local council and elicited a promise of a returned call, I received nothing back at all.

The Euro elections fared no better, again no canvassing.

An information leaflet from the Green Party came with a telephone number. I called to ask a question and was assured I would be called back, of course I wasn't.

I spoke to UKIP, who also provided a telephone number on their leaflet, my question was met with a response that the policy in question wasn't actually currently formulated, but a working party was considering the issue. At least I received a reply, useless though it was.

The Conservative party leaflet contained no telephone number, but at least there was a number on the central party website. Once again a promise of a returned call resulted in nothing.

The Labour party leaflet provided an sms service, but no telephone number, scouring their central website gave no contact telephone number.

The liberal Democrats couldn't be bothered to send through a leaflet.

The Christian Democrats managed to get a leaflet through, but again there was no contact number.

That was the extent of the interest political parties had in obtaining my vote.

Until such time a politicians do more than pay lip service to communicating, I fail to see what and how they intend to 'engage' the general public.

For the record: I didn't vote and never have done. I do not support the UK Democratic system, which is neither Democratic nor representative.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
read more “Did political parties forget there was an election?”

Civilised interrogation, most people call it torture

Americans hang your heads in shame, this has been done on behalf of 'freedom'.

read more “Civilised interrogation, most people call it torture”

The UK is just an American State

Diego Garcia, the island which has been used for extra-ordinary rendition, is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, an archipelago of 55 islands which covers 54,000 sq km of ocean. The islands have a land area of 60 sq km.

The territory is overseen by a Commissioner and Administrator who are based in London. The Commissioner's Representative in the BIOT is the commanding officer of the British Royal Navy Party at Diego Garcia and who serves as the Justice of the Peace.

In the mid-1960s, Britain secretly leased Diego Garcia to the United States for 50 years, in exchange for a discount of US$11million on Polaris nuclear submarines. The deal was not disclosed to the US Congress, the British Parliament, or the United Nations. A memo from then Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart to Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1969 admitted that the payment was kept secret from Parliament and the US Congress.However, America accepted only on condition that the islands were uninhabited. As a result, over the next few years the 1 200 inhabitants of the Chagossian Islands were forced to leave and sent to either Mauritius or the Seychelles in 1971, Britain made it official with an Immigration Ordinance denying the Chagossians the right to return. In 1978 Chagossians were each paid twenty pounds in compensation.

The constitutional arrangements for BIOT are set out in the British Indian Ocean Territory ( Constitution) Order 2004 and related instruments. The 2004 Order gives the Commissioner full power to make laws for the Territory. A series of UK/US Agreements regulate matters relating to the use of the Territory for defence purposes, such as jurisdiction over US military and other personnel.

Despite numerous court cases, which appeared to set the Chagossians able to return home in 2008 the Foreign Office successfully argued, that allowing the Chagossian islanders to go back to their Indian Ocean homes would be a "precarious and costly" operation, and the United States had said that it would also present an "unacceptable risk" to its base on Diego Garcia.

While Diego Garcia remains leased to the USA, Britain retains no control over the island, nor over the whole of BIOT. The fact that BIOT law is meant to be precedent in the Islands, yet evidently is interpreted to suit American desires, is a sad indictment of the way the UK continues to cede to American supremacy over the Sovereignty of the UK.

The Government has claimed 'the UK expects the US to seek permission before rendering detainees through British territory'. The US evidently don't really care what the UK expects as it has transpired that at least two rendition flights landed in Diego Garcia, about which the US didn't bother to inform the UK.

Having broken their lease by not informing the UK of this use, the US should be kicked off the island, but of course that wont happen.

The British Government used Orders of Council rather than statute, to continue to following the American demands in 2004. Jack Straw, then Foreign Secretary, signed the exclusion orders. He was subsequently asked how he now justifies the decision to deny the Chagossians the right to return to their home. He replied ‘..It was a difficult decision with two alternatives: whether to do it by Orders in Council or by statute….it was simpler to use Orders in Council...’ He was then asked ‘..Do you think the Chagos islands decision should have gone at least before the the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons?’ Mr. Straw replied ‘In retrospect, yes. I think, with the benefit of hindsight, that what I exchanged was speed for legitimacy.’

The British version of elected dictatorship is discredited both in domestic and international affairs.
read more “The UK is just an American State”