Thursday, August 31, 2006

1000th Blog entry

It looks like Mars Hill will soon have it's 1,000th blog entry, so any ideas or suggestions on what I blog on will be most appreciated! :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blogshares

Courtesy of Kerron, who found this site, concerning a fantasy blog stock market, I thought I would check and see if I was there and I was.
For a year, and I never knew.. :/
Anyhow, was intrigued by the information given, which I will reproduce below (but, unlike Kerron, there were no press releases! :( ):


General
URL
http://paulburgin.blogspot.com/
BSID #
5000437
Valuation
B$10,696.13
Added
17:14 18 Aug 2005
Last Updated
14:08 07 Aug 2006
Status
Available to Trade.
Industries
None[
Vote for which Industry this blog belongs to][Who voted this blog's industries]
Problem?
Report an Error with this listing
Valuations are updated when the blog is re-indexed.
Statistics
Incoming Links
19
Outgoing Links
30
Outgoing Link Value
B$359.87
Market Share
0.00020 %
Statistics are only updated when the blog is re-indexed.
Share Market
You must be logged in to view this information.
Recent buys / sells
You must be logged in to view this information.
Tracking

Click on image for larger version
Inc. Links
Out. Links
Value
Out. Link Value
Market Share
15:53 07 Aug 2006
19
30
B$10,696.13
B$359.87
0.000200595 %
05:25 06 Aug 2006
20
29
B$10,605.60
B$369.16
0.000245457 %
01:16 03 Aug 2006
19
26
B$10,169.91
B$395.00
0.000183062 %
03:55 26 Jul 2006
19
26
B$9,757.87
B$379.15
0.000174681 %
05:24 21 Jul 2006
19
32
B$9,865.65
B$311.43
0.000190338 %
The current value and up to 9 previous values are listed.
Share Tracking
Not enough historical data to graph this section.
Date
Price
05:52 06 Aug 2006
B$2.12
This includes current and previous values for the share price. Up to 10 prices are listed.
Alternative URLs
There are no known alternative addresses for this blog presently.
Top 100 Incoming Links
This is a list of the most valuable incoming links at the time OTHER blogs are indexed. It is indicative of FUTURE value not CURRENT value.
KERRON CROSS - The Voice of The Delectable Left (B$2,296.44)
The Baldock Blog (B$1,509.96)
Mike Ion (B$1,058.77)
Iain Dale for North Norfolk (B$764.00)
normblog (B$725.19)
Jo's Journal (B$691.77)
Jonathan Chilvers (B$498.33)
Rullsenberg Rules (B$483.08)
Thoughts (B$435.08)
Councillor Bob Piper (B$363.58)
Nicola's Blog (B$240.34)
The Done Thing (B$202.81)
Iain Dale for North Norfolk (B$189.91)
Conservative Mind (B$188.09)
Great Britain, not little England (B$136.77)
BrightonRegencyLabour (B$101.29)
Take back the voice (B$98.60)
timrollpickering (B$91.44)
wongaBlog (B$82.12)
wongaBlog (B$44.54)
ContraTory (B$29.66)
Charity Blogger (B$18.73)
All Outgoing Links
This is a list of all recognised outgoing links from this blog. It may not be accurate or complete.
Antonia's blog - www.antoniabance.org.uk
Bloggers4Labour
BrightonRegencyLabour
Clive Soley MP
Conservative Mind
Geoffrey Chaucer hath a Blog
Harry Hatchet & friends
Iain Dale for North Norfolk
Jo's Journal
Jonathan Chilvers
KERRON CROSS - The Voice of The Delectable Left
Mike Ion
Ministry of Truth
Nicola's Blog
Normal Mouth
normblog
One Small Voice
Peculiar Lives
PooterGeek
RecessMonkey
Rullsenberg Rules
Take back the voice
The Baldock Blog
The Poor Mouth
Thirty & Not Growing Up
Thoughts
timrollpickering
Tonguefire
Travis' Place
wongaBlog

As the americans say, "Go figure!"

The No S**t Sherlock Awards and Other Tales

Kerron has done a fine post in one go on two subjects on which I wanted to blog today. Inadvertent spoiling with finesse :D
I agree with the various comments made that Charles Kennedy's drink problem was a tough situation for all concerned. After all it is not as if those of us in the other parties are unfamiliar with it. That said, Iain Dale is right on this issue, they should have tried to remove Kennedy sooner, no matter how difficult, painful, and how much they liked Kennedy personally (and Charles Kennedy can be a nice guy!)
As for the Conservatives, well hindsight is remarkable, but it would have helped when they took this view when it was most needed, not when they are in opposition and desperate to return to power. I don't doubt Cameron's sincereity, but he should realise just what sort of party he is heading and that they are increasingly fed up with him.
Which leads me to Sir Alfred Sherman (incidentally I would like to know who wrote his Wikipedia entry, looks a bit biased). Looking at the obits, I notice he was a former Marxist who became very right wing (which shows a lot about what sort of person he was). Arrogant and rude, he argued with colleagues and friends, as well as enemies, and seemed to hold that naive view (prevailent among the monetarist apostles and marxists) that if only measures a, b, and c would be brought in, everything would fall into place, people would co'operate, and we would have a perfect society. He was also one of those Thatcherites who had difficulty with the words "understanding" and "consensus", as Ridiculous Politics mentions:

Mr Sherman was noted for giving an interview to Pravda in which he said "As for the lumpen, coloured people and the Irish, let's face it, the only way to hold them in check is to have enough well armed and properly trained police." During the furore that followed, Sherman merely complained that the quotation missed the word "proletariat" after "lumpen", and denied using the phrase "well armed".He then went on to work for Serbian war-criminal Radovan Karadzic.Charming people, these Tory advisors.

Ah well, C'est la vie! :/

Which Muppet Are You?

Via Jo:

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.
You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.
Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.
Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More YouTube moments

Hopefully this will work. Brilliant Spitting Image mickey take of USA for Africa's "We Are the World"

Popular Blogs at Bloggers4Labour (Week 8)

Disclaimer: As Jo has pointed out, these are the Top Ten with the most recommended posts. The Top 10 Bloggers at B4L this week, as voted for by fellow bloggers are:


1) Labour Humanists (Same place)

2) The Daily (Up one place)

3) KERRON CROSS - The Voice of the Delectable Left (Down one place)

4) normblog (Same place)

5) Harry's Place (Same place)

6) wongaBlog (Same place)

7) Take back the voice (Has returned to the Top 10)

Jt 8th) Recess Monkey (Up two places), Skuds' Sister's Brother (Down one place)

10) Ridiculous Politics (NEW)

For the curious, I am now in 16th place

Stupid Articles

Check out this piece by Antonia.
I read the Guardian article myself, but was at Greenbelt at the time and, my internet access was a bit more limited then.
Thing is, over the past thirty years, political parties (once elected into office) tend to stay in power for a long time. Now sooner or later Labour will lose a general election. That's democracy, that's even, dare I say, healthy, but from a Labour point of view (and those who have benefitted under Labour), it is best that this happens as far away in the future as possible, because once the Tories get back in, there is no telling how long they will be there, and how much damage they will do once in office!
Labour must undergo an internal revolution whilst in office and put forward the full radical commitments it was made to do for the 21st century, before it is ready to leave office. The more difficult it is for the Tories to reverse our policies once they get back in, the better!

Greenbelt 06 Part VII (The Aftermath)

After all that I am rather flaked!
Yesterday afternoon, I went to see a talk on "God Bless Adam and Steve?". Initally I didn't want to go, feeling that whoever was speaking and whatever view would be taken, the arguments would be selective and emotive. But some of my friends were going and I was persuaded. It was from a pro gay perspective, and, unfortunatley, some of the arguments were selective, but not emotive (fundamentalists will refuse to listen if you are emotive, whereas they might if you argue dispassionatley from a Biblical perspective), and it was thoughtful, considerate, and insightful. I would go further on this, but it opened me up to new ways of thinking on this issue and I want to dwell on that a bit more first!
Then, apart from attending an Eight PM comedy event at "The Winged Ox" and spending time with my friends Aidan and Katie, along with Katie's friend Sarah, that was it.
A bad night, the chap who snored like a pnuematic drill in a nearby tent was still at it, and this morning I sadly packed away my things, although I was glad to be going, feeling tired and wanting to go back to normal life again. It's not like the days when the Subway Writers Group was in full swing, but C'est la vie!
Left Cheltenham at Nine and got back home by midday. Nice to have a proper wash and not constantly being on my feet going from one event to another.
As for the Lewis talk that some asked about, it was a screening of Beyond Narnia,which was shown in the New Year on the BBC. I watched it then, but only caught the tail end of it. It starred Anton Rodgers as C.S. Lewis, and what I liked about it is that it a) was far more accurate than Shadowlands , and b) was filmed at the actual places where Lewis would likely be found in Oxford, i.e. The Eagle and Child scenes with the Inklings were actually filmed there, and scenes set in The Kilns (where Lewis lived and now preserved by the C.S. Lewis Foundation) were actually filmed at the house itself. Plus it was an overview of Lewis's whole life, and not just his time with Joy Davidman Gresham
And I think that is about it, oh and just to mention that below are photos I was unable to upload at the time. One of the crowd at the Sunday Communion Service, the other of the seminar presented by Steve Turner
And so, from Greenbelt 06, or rather from home, adieu!














Jim Wallis on YouTube

(YouTube)
For those who are unfamiliar with him, here is a YouTube video of him speaking at Capitol Hill
I was hoping to find a video of him on The Daily Show, but C'est la vie!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Greenbelt 06 Part VI (Beatles, C.S. Lewis, Presbertyrianism, and other things..)

Well I went to see a talk on "God's Politics" by Jim Wallis yesterday, which was worthwhile. I had heard the stuff before, but his call for left leaning evangelicals to stand up and get involved was somewhat timely.
Then I went to see Steve Turner's seminar on "The Gospel According to The Beatles". Bit of a queue to get in, as it was a high maintenance event, but no girls screaming and pulling their hair! ;)
As it was, Turner mentioned some of the obvious, such as the influnece eastern religion had on some of their songs, but that it never directly affected their work (i.e. The Beatles never wrote a direct song on Transcendental Meditation). He also pointed out the influence of Christianity on their work, albeit rare and reluctantly done perhaps.. (such as Let It Be). He also mentioned the little known fact that John Lennon nearly became a Christian in the late 1970's, only to be dissuaded by Yoko
A couple of hours and I am at the CSM Youth Social at the Organic Beer Tent, where we discussed student politics and other things which I cannot remember (and I am sure that has nothing to do with the cider I had! ;) ), before some of us left to see a C.S. Lewis biopic.
Today, and I went to a seminar on "Can a Presbertyrian be Prime Minister", which was fascinating stuff (was also amused to see Douglas Alexander in the audience ;) ), followed by a talk on freedom in Christ by Father Timothy Radcliffe of the Dominican Order.
And now things are winding down. The next time I will be blogging will be when I am home and dry. I love it here, and it has been good to meet with a variety of old friends, but I am a bit tired and want to go home tomorrow.
Sign of age perhaps! ;)
Will try and upload some of the photosof Greenebelt, that I have been unable to (as of yet), a.s.a.p. (Esp as I cannot upload photos at present, so bear with me)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Greenbelt 06 Part V (Taize, Daniel Beddingfield, and morning services)

Well I went to a film review yesterday afternoon, which was cool, although the DVD for Munich wouldn't work, but it was a reminder of how many good films I have been missing, such as Good Night and Good Luck.
Other than that it was a quiet Saturday, although there was a rather moving Taize-style service I went to in one of the main buildings. Very emotional for me. Partly because it made me face up to one or two issues that I have been struggling with in my head, partly because of the style of service, and partly because it is the first time I have been to a Taize style service since Brother Roger's murder.

After that, going to see Daniel Beddingfield in concert seemed a little... well you know (he's the distant figure under the spotlight BTW).
I wasn't too impressed, but some good songs there and I would have liked to have stayed with my friends, but for the fact that I had been up since half past six that morning.



And today!



Well a nice photo from outside my tent, and a morning service at the main stage, with Norman Kember doing one of the readings. Saw Stephen Timms in the crowd as well, so it was nice to know he wasn't one of those VIP's who came and went.
And later? Well will see Jim Wallis give a talk and at 7:30 will be at a CSM social
For more on Greenbelt, you can look here .







And here is a photo of the best place for teas and coffees and general chill out. The Tiny Tea Tent.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Greenbelt 06 Part IV (Tomaito and Tomato)

Was the theme of this morning's discussion between Stephen Timms and Jim Wallis, hosted by the Christian Socialist Movement.
It was amicable enough, although the audience warmed more to Jim Wallis, esp with his comments that if the american right spent more time worrying about Darfur than Iraq, things would improve. He was thoughtful and gracious about the PM though, pointing out that he felt that he was being sincere about Iraq and that he was in a difficult position.

As for Stephen Timms, he mentioned the importance of a strong cohesive unity between Christian groups, and indeed between interfaith groups, and both mentioned the importance of everyday life. Jim Wallis mentioned that Americans care more about what the British think than we realise, and it was all very civil, apart from one rant from someone asking a question, which rapidly became a speech, demanding to know when Stephen Timms was going to either, leave the Labour Party, or help drive that "coward" out! That is when Jim Wallis intervened and leaped to Blair's defence.


(Where I write up my blog at Greenbelt)

This afternoon I will be attending a film review in the big screen area and you can find out more about what is going on here.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pluto Downgraded

(BBC Online)
Well I am a tad disapointed and I can see why NASA are miffed (having sent a probe there already, which should arrive in 2015), but look on the bright side. Less complications and Holst's Planet Suite is no longer one track missing! ;)

Greenbelt 06 Part III


Have arrived!
Although there was lack of sleep and rushing around first thing to start with! Left at 9:30 and got to Cheltenham at about 12:30 this afternoon.









Already I have been to an event (courtesy of the Church Times) hosted by Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion
(where he read some of his poems and excerpts from his forthcoming memoirs. Very moving and vulnerable stuff) and tommorow morning I hope to see a discussion between Jim Wallis and Stephen Timms and I will let you know how that went!
As for now, am tired and, after meeting some friends at the Tiny Tea Tent, will call it a night.




Nice view of the racecourse from where I am writing this though! Even in the dark!

Bloggers4Labour Social


Well I was one of the first to arrive (I think Kerron and Andrew at Bloggers4Labour were first) and we were swiftly joined by Andrew at WongaBlog , Luke Akehurst, two of the chaps at Let's Be Sensible, Andrew Brown, and some chap who reads Fiskin Central)
Conversations ranged from how insufferable the hard left were, Labour Party Conferences, the future leadership challenge, David Tennant, just how scary is Live and Let Die?, and vegetarianism.

As per usual we did feel slightly lost as a male only group, which doesn't do justice to our assertion that blogging is not a male domain. So please ladies, it would help a lot if you were able to turn up next time and for another thing some of the conversation would not degenerate into crass humour, the way it did in some quarters (I didn't start it! Nor incidentally did Kerron, who was the first to leave)
Kerron has already blogged on this and you can find his account here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Romance of Names


Playful Adonis Undertaking Loving


Via Rullsenberg Rules!

Tom Cruise Dropped By Paramount!

During Roman times, when an Emperor or any other high ranking person recived the acolades of a crowd, a close aide would remind them "Remember you are but mortal!" A good piece of advice that is still relevant today.
What some film stars, and politicians, seem to forget, is that they are dependent on the goodwill of the general public (which is why some film stars, and yes politicians, dislike them!), so with this in mind, holding to a belief (however dubious) and being public and open about it, is one thing. Shouting down TV interviewers on a particular issue (in this case pharmaceuticals), putting up a Scientology tent next to the set of a film you are working on, (which given the said person's wealth and fame can be intimidating), and other similar minor misdemeanours, adds up to something else!

Another Check Up at the Dentist

(nostalgacentral.com)
Further to my first check up, I have just come back from my six monthly check and I am fine. My teeth just needed a bit of a polish and, nearly didn't mention out of sheer pride, a minor filling.
It's not bad, it's white and therefore hardly shows on my teeth, plus I have no discomfort (only the mild feeling, as if I have a strand of cotton wool on the tooth), but this is the first time I have had a filling and another aspect of pride about my dental condition has been ruthlessly dealt with. Another sign of being over 21!
Still I have survived, and am now going to spend the rest of the day packing for Greenbelt, before setting off for the Bloggers4Labour social!

Terrorist Fears Descending Into Racism?

Came across this article today and found it rather disquieting. I read a similar one the other day about two asians being searched before being allowed on the London Eye!
I can understand the fears involved, but terrorism is not just the preserve of the Asian Community. I imagine Al Qaeda would love to use a western convert to their cause and that might not be so difficult as some would think!
Let us help and put our trust in those whose job it is to deal with these things and rely less on ignorant fears. A lot of unhealthy prejudices begin with fear and that is worth bearing in mind.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tax

(Wikipedia.org)
So Stephen Byers has fired his warning shot at Gordon, but it seems to have done him little credibility if he had any beforehand!
To be fair (and this is not going to make me popular in some quarters), I have some sympathy with what he is saying, although I am torn on this issue. On one hand one of my grandparents made sure that his will was put into effect within his lifetime so as to avoid death duties. All my grandparents had experienced some form of poverty (and by that I mean real poverty), and after working hard for most of their lives, they deserved the comfort they had. On the other one of my most central political beliefs is that you put into society what you take out of it, and that includes tax of all shapes and sizes!
So on this one I am going to be very annoying and sit on the fence. I don't think inheritance tax should be scrapped, but perhaps a fundamental review and a reform of the law would not come amiss!
As for the Uber Blairites wanting to challenge Gordon and looking for a candidate! If such a cabal exists they would be foolish as I get the impression the electorate, and indeed the Party, are more warm towards Brown than Blair right now!

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part VII: Lisa Rullsenberg

(Lisa Rullsenberg)
Lisa R├╝llsenberg, was nicknamed this in honour of her heroine Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). She was born in Nottingham and somehow has ended up back there. She has done a variety of jobs in teaching and galleries, mostly on temporary short-term contracts. She started her higher education with the Open University in 1990 where she met her partner Neil. She moved to Wolverhampton where she finished her degree and then did an MA part-time at Leeds. In 2004 she completed a PhD at Nottingham on art collector Peggy Guggenheim. Her blog is Rullsenberg Rules .

What made you decide to start blogging?

Rivalry! Seriously though, my partner Neil set up a blog Monday 13 September 2004. He emailed me about it that lunchtime. Apart from thinking his looked way better than mine and had great ambition (see his first post) by 8.45pm that same day (well, that's the declared time!) I had started. Besides, I was just too scared to upload my carefully designed and written web-site I had long worked on at home.

What is your best blogging experience?

Getting mentioned in the Guardian for my remarks on the Tim de Lisle "89 essential albums" list! Not only did I go on to enjoy writing my own 89 albums list, but there was the added thrill that I got mentioned on November 19th. I was also thrilled with the 33 responses garnered by the Desert Island Discs post. And I would also add that I have really enjoyed meeting such great folk in the blogsphere. When JJ and Reidski recently came up to Nottingham and we were due to meet them, I kept getting strange looks from people when I said I was meeting friends that I had never actually met. It was the same with the Manchester blogmeet; and it was especially lovely to see Clare and EineKleine Rob there. Generally, people have been lovely and I have felt priveleged to get to know so many nice folk.

And your worst?

Spammers; people finding you from 'the real world'... the usual fears really. I'm also probably a tad too sensitive to be blogging really, as I can get upset by criticism, especially if I think it's ill-founded. It's one thing to have a different opinion, quite another to miss the point entirely or to just throw insults.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Apart from those mentioned above, I had a cranky rant on the topic of feminism in June 2005 and though I hate responding to those who play slap in the comments box, I did a follow-up post that really buzzed me. I like to drop in an occasional political/social/education rant even if they do bring out some pretty objectional opinions out from the woodwork...

Favourite blogs?

When I did the profile for Normblog, I'd only just started out, but I regularly stroll all my blogroll and even track back to ones that are now defunct but still visible (or I remain in contact with them off-blog). Besides Cloud, JJ and Reidski are well-loved, as are all my other Robs and Bob-related blogs. I still love Kerron's great hair (as well as his blog!) and associates such as your good self Paul; Joe has been a great transatlantic buddy, and how Clare keeps going with all her talents and activities astounds me. The lovely George joined the blogging fun, Matt Crowder and the Fisking Crew are always good value, John's writing always amuses whatever incarnation he has, and Rosby has a great future ahead in screenplay writing. Still, despite all those and more, I have to admit I do feel deprived if there's nothing new from Marie at Struggling Author, Anna at "Theatre is Life", and MediumRob.

Okay, what is it about scotsmen (i.e. Douglas Henshall and David Tennant)?

Unsure. I do have a tendency to fall fast and hard over little details. A voice, a gesture, a bit of teasing. I'm a complete fool for good acting and the successful portrayal of slightly manic or off-beat characters with soft-centres, wounded souls, and broken hearts. Possessing a certain locale of Scottish accent (Glasgow-esque) does no harm at all either. Though each had crossed my radar previously and won attention, Henshall's portrayal of Dr. Daniel Nash in Psychos and David Tennant's of Det. Insp. Peter Carlisle in Blackpool were pivotal heart-winning moments. It helps balance my case though that Cloud/Neil has a long-term affection for Siobhan Redmond...

Favourite Beatles song?

Changes every day, from early ("Twist and Shout") to late ("Julia") to mid period ("You're Gonna Lose That Girl"). Though for the great harmonies and vocals I'm a fool for the Beatles at the Beeb version the band did of the Phil Spector/Teddy Bears song "To Know Her is To Love Her".

What sparked your interest in politics?

I did A level Politics at 6th form. We studied local and UK politics and political structures in year one, and then in year two added in American politics. I was at 6th form from 1983-1985 so we had elections - just before and during our course, the miner's strike (which had significant local ramifications), the Brighton bombing, privatisations, and Live Aid just to name a few. And I was always interested in history which is inherantly political, in both an institutional and personal sense.

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?

Germany. It's the birthplace of my father and I've never been. I keep meaning to do it. I really should.

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

New York. At any opportunity. I just love the city.

Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best Prime Minister, and if different, the best Labour leader?

I have a residual respect for Attlee, just because of what that post-war government achieved so in lieu of thorough-going political analysis I'm going with that gut response.

Which public figure has been your greatest inspiration?

Depends what you mean by public figure: good writing always inspires me - from Hannah Arendt to Simone de Beauvoir, from Aaron Sorkin to Joss Whedon. In fact, on that last one, I'll re-promote Whedon's speech for "Equality Now" which is both funny and brilliant. That's the kind of thing that inspires me.

Favourite Bond movie?

Goldeneye because Alan Cumming is evil and brilliant in it.

Favorite Doctor Who?

Come on! You're just TRYING to make this difficult! Though I have residual memories of Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker was my Doctor Who growing up so that period of DW still touches me. But Eccles-cake (TM: Stu_n) did bring it back to to popularity and for that thrill of seeing it return we say thank you (even if RTD seemed to have far more fun then Eccles did). Still, I would get killed for fibbing if I didn't say David Tennant inhabits the role spectactularly well. At his best, he is by far and away better than any other Doctor, even Tom Baker. When he's not so good, he's still watchable (nothing at all to do with being quite inherantly Jarvis-esque sexy...)

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

Vanilla - good quality...

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?

Can I just keep reliving the Pulp gig at Highbury Garage in 2000? Stroking Jarvis's feet on the front row, getting his end-of-gig ciggie, meeting the band - bliss! Otherwise, for something NOT seen, Dylan at the height of his powers

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?

Tough call! Cambridge, possibly, mostly for the reduced price gems of Galloway and Porter bookshop...

Favourite national newspaper?

It drives me mad at times but still The Guardian. I started reading when I started 6th form (having grown up on the Daily Mirror) and haven't stopped yet.

What would you say your hobbies were?

Reading, watching too much TV/film, blogging.

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

I still get the tingles from Pulp's "Common People", Bruce Springsteen's "The River" has a similar effect and because I'm in a romantic mood I'll go for The Beach Boys "God Only Knows". Of course, three doesn't get close to being representative of all the great music I love, but those three will do. In terms of books, I'd like to get away with asking for both the "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman, and the 10 volumes of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman as each counting as one. But if that's pushing it and I can only have the Pullman, I'll add in both the Collected Dorothy Parker and Danielewski's House of Leaves. I happily re-read all those. Across that lot there is art, philosophy, politics, history, theology, horror, romance... everything.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

YouTube moments Part 2

(BBC)

Brilliant Smith and Jones sketch found here
I have a warped sense of humour, I know! ;)

Greenbelt 06 Part II

Further to my last comments, I am setting off on Friday morning (although I will still be blogging, albeit infrequently, and boring (ahem) telling you of what has been going on there.
As for now, I am starting to have to deal with packing and sorting out a tent. My present one seems to have gone AWOL and I have flung myself on a friend's mercy (the nearest shop for these kind of things no longer stocking tents and with a five day order, which is too late for me). Thing is that spare is none too waterproof, but we shall see how things develop.
As for Bloggers4Labour social, I will be there, as I will have everything packed and ready by then. Thursday is a day off, so plenty to do! :/
And yes, God willing I will blog about the social from Greenbelt.

Opinion Polls Don't Mean Much in the Final Analysis!

(Getty Images)
Before the Conservatives get too excited about this latest poll, may I gently remind them that seventeen years ago Labour were as high as 21 points ahead of the Conservatives, who were facing almost unprecedented levels of unpopularity since they came to office.
Then there was a change of leadership and it all unravelled for those of us in opposition!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Dame Shirley Porter debacle. Snowballing news?

(Sky News)
There are many excuses for silence or aquiessence in the face of something wrong happening, from the disgraceful "I was only following orders!" to "I didn't know?" , and "If I interfere, it will make the situation worse!"
To be even more fair, some of these comments may well be right, but for the first time in recent weeks I have heard another one. Namely "It seems like an old story that's run its course...where is the interest?...(not) terribly notable!"
Yes folks I am mentioning Dame Shirley Porter again. How irritating? Why not mention what a dreadful person John Prescott is? Why should I pick on a seventy-six year old bully and battleaxe and keep mentioning abuses that a member of the Conservative Party did! After all it was a long time ago and to bring it up now is a tad embarrassing! Just hide it under the carpet and adore the excellence that is David Cameron!
Well two answers to that! One I have no interest in bettering the Conservative Party's fortunes (strangely enough), and secondly (and far more importantly) a major abuse of power happened here which destroyed (and is still destroying) many livelihoods and justice looks like it is being evaded. I would be just as tenatious about Derek Hatton and Liverpool City Council if I was a generation older and blogging existed in the 1980s.
But anyway, I digress, because today it has been announced that London Mayor, Ken Livingstone has announced that he is seeking legal advice to see if charges can be brought against Dame Shirley Porter. He has written to the Attorney General and asked for an "urgent investigation"
This follows her recent purchase of a £1.5m Mayfair flat after claiming to police that her fortune had dwindled to just £300.000, following an over £20m surcharge against her, due to her involvement of the "homes for votes" scandal.
Of course, none of this is news for Tory bloggers though! For one thing it's embarrasing, she isn't John Prescott, and she isn't Labour!

Popular Blogs at Bloggers4Labour (Week 7)

Disclaimer: As Jo has pointed out, these are the Top Ten with the most recommended posts. The Top 10 Bloggers at B4L this week, as voted for by fellow bloggers are:



1) Labour Humanists (Same place)

2) KERRON CROSS - The Voice of the Delectable Left (Same place)

3) The Daily (Up one place)

4) normblog (Down one place)

5) Harry's Place (Down one place)

6) wongaBlog (Same place)

7) Skuds' Sister's Brother (Same place)

8) Jo's Journal (Same place)

9) Ministry of Truth (Down one place)

10) Recess Monkey (Same place)

For the curious, I am now in Jt 12th place with Fourth Term, Let's be sensible, and Ridiculous Politics

Blizzard! The Latest

(BBC Online)
Having missed last Wednesday's episode, but caught last night's, I was disapointed, but not surprised to find that the Norwegian team one and had got back safetly, before the British even got to the "Pole".
It showed, pretty damingly,that it wasn't just a combination of bad luck, but rather that Scott did not plan well, plus perhaps a difference between British and Scandinavian cultures.
Consistently, in both cases, the Norwegians prepared and were focused, the British by contrast, were not and writing as a patriotic Brit, this was just plain embarrassing.
If the "Scott" Team, in this renactment, had taken more care and time in the days alloted to them to learn how to handle the dogs they had, the same amount of time given to the Norwegians, then I doubt we would win (given the rules of the renactment), but I wonder whether we would have a lot less mileage between the competing teams!
But there are also the greater cultural differences. The original Scott expedition in 1910 had a primary aim of reaching the South Pole, but made out that it was mainly a scientific expedition. It wouldn't do for the British to be so blatant in their quest for glory. Amundsen made no such pretences. His deviousness before reaching Antarctica may give credit to the British calling it a "Viking raid", but at least he was ultimately honest about his aims and objectives and used all the resources available to meet it! It could equally be argued that Scott did'nt know that there would be competition (there wasn't any against Shackleton in his attempt), but then the North Pole had, allegedly, been reached, so greater interest in the South Pole should have been more seriously considered!
The harsh lessons we learn!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Shot at Dawn

(Press Association)
It is times like these that you realise how much we have changed as a nation in the past ninety years.
This war has affected most of us. My paternal Gran's five elder brothers all fought in the First World War and all five came back (although Uncle Frank was shot in the jaw and later developed cancer there. He died at the age of 46, whilst Grandma's seven other surviving siblings (another died in infancy) lived till old age). On my Mum's side of the family, her maternal Grandad, Great Grandad Beckingham, was killed in the first hours of the Battle of Cambrai, the first battle where they used tanks.
But many families felt they could not discuss their relatives who fought, because they were shot for cowardice, and yet some had their own bravery. One such soldier, Private Harry Farr (the chap in the photo opposite), refused a blindfold when he was shot and showed a dignity and courage of his own. Their real crime was, in their own actions, daring to question the ill-thinking and inhumane tactics of generals like Haig, who seemed to have no idea about the conditions of the battle ground, or it's reality, and therefore the importance of looking after your own men.
Many "cowards" were treated with contempt by other soldiers, and I am sure my Great Grandad (a regular soldier) would have disagreed with my views, but fighting battles is one thing, treating your soldiers as cannon fodder is something else.
Inidentally WongaBlog has written a thought provoking post in this, and it can be found here.

YouTube moments

I really ought to be a member I know! :/
Priceless moments, courtesy of london left review. This one is a sketch Rowan Atkinson did, as the devil welcoming new intakes in Hell, and this one is about David Cameron copying Tony Blair.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Even More Stuff on Dame Shirley Porter

(Sky News)
According to the Evening Standard (Honestly I never thought I would find a Tory newspaper so helpful ;) ), Dame Shirley Porter has said that she wishes people would stop writing about her (Pretty understandable. If everyone wrote things I said and did in the past that didn't show me in a good light, I wouldn't be happy. But then, at the risk of being self righteous, I have never been told to pay a £37 million surcharge).
According to the Londoner's Diary, a friend of hers has stated that:

"She's going to hit back at her critics and she has been working at it for over a year, she has kept all the archives and is convinced that any fair minded person would see that the charges against her were nonsensical.
"Her policy of selling homes did not lose money and there was no way of telling how those who brought them would vote"

So, it never occured to her. Once. That those who were living in key marginal wards, dependent on council help and wanting to improve their lives would vote against those in power? Plus why only the key wards?
In any case, what about the morality of selling off council homes and putting the said tenants into absbestos ridden homes? Or selling off a cemetery for less than 20pence!
That woman is a disgrace! And a clear example why the Conservatives have done badly in national politics in the past decade, and still no Tory blogger has mentioned this once! Not as entertaining as John Prescott playing the fool, obviously!

All about the No 3

Browsing through the Dunadan's blog and, in turn, browsing at the blogs linked to his (Totus Pius looks a bit scary, although I am sure they mean well ;) ), I came across one of those lists that go around the blogosphere from time to time, courtesy of Evie Winter's blog (The Dunadan's sister. Who, from what I can gather from having a brief look, seems to have the measure of him and a good thing to ;)).
But as it looks like he may well refuse to be tagged for this list, I thought I ought to try it myself and tag a few others along the way (apologies to the Dunadan and Evie if I have caused any breach of blogging ettiqute)


The MEME of three.

1... Things that scare me.


Being physically attacked
Rats
Horror movies late at night

2.…People who make me laugh.

Armando Iannucci
The League of Gentlemen
My brother

3...Things I hate the most

Bullies
Barney the Dinosaur
Sesame Street (Which is a contradiction in terms because I love the Muppets. I think it's the american patronising education thing)

4...Things I don't understand.

When we try to do good we can end up doing bad things (I know it's human nature and we are all imperfect, but...)
Why kids love Sesame Street when it teaches them to mispronounce words
Why the French weren't interested in us looking after them during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (Sorry, if you are reading this Aline)

5...Things I'm doing right now.

Writing these answers
Thinking on what to do before I go to bed
Thinking I ought to sort everything out for Greeneblt next week

6...Things I want to do before I die

Be a famous writer
Travel more
Fully work out my niche in politics (oh yes and getting married, having children, travelling to the furthest reaches of the World etc..)

7 Things I can do

Sing badly at Karioke
Recite all the King's and Queen's of England since Alfred the Great in quick succession (For an encore I can do Britsh Prime Ministers since Pitt the Younger, Popes since Clement XIV, US Presidents and Russian leaders since Ivan the Terrible)
Ski adequately

8.Ways to describe my personality

Sensitive
Thoughtful
Forward

9...Things I can't do

Pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time and quickly change hands
Abseil (Did it once, terrfying. On second attempt a year later I chickened out)
Play guitar (at all)

10...Things I think you should listen to

ELO's Mr Blue Sky (Preferably first thing in the morning on a sunny day)
Amazing Grace
Any recording of Mark Anthony's funeral oration for Julius Ceasar, as written by Shakespeare (You want to know about why some people are effectivepolitical speakers, you should consider that speech)

11...Things you should never listen to

Anything that dodgy chap Osama Bin Laden says
Boybands
The Count in Sesame Street

12...Things I'd like to learn

Another language (another attempt at French, or German or Latin)
How to drive
Why people think it's okay to violently protest against the government when it is about Fox Hunting, but not when it is anything more serious

13...Favorite foods

Chinese
Chocolate
Cooked breakfast

14...Beverages I drink regularly.

Tea/Coffee
Squash
Water

15...Shows I watched as a kid

Play School
Blue Peter
Record Breakers

16...People I'm tagging.

Kerron
Lisa Rullsenberg
Andrew at Wongablog
Jo
Lola
Rose
Louise
Adele

(Okay that's more than three, but I felt I couldn't leave others out, and those that did, it's simply because I didn't think this was your thing. That said, if I am wrong it will be interesting to see what you mention

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Either You've Got It Or You Don't

I am not usually inrigued by political gossip (okay, just a little, but I try and avoid it), but if Guido has seen the tape he is legally obliged to tell the police (my learned friends can tell me if I am wrong here), or else he is mentioning tittle tattle in the hope that by blackening the govts reputation (and avoiding naming a minister for fear of legal action) by spreading word that one of them has been involved in drugs, is helping to cause further damage.
Another example of tabloid blogging?

Just So You Know

My relationship with Rose has reached an empasse, so we have amicably decided to cool things as it were and both now regard ourselves as single. Not the sort of thing I would mention here, but as I have already mentioned the relationship and in case people ask how things are...
C'est la vie as they say!

Sir John Betjeman

(BBC Online)
Well the centenary celebrations of his birth are coming up (Sir John Betjeman was born on 28th August 1906) and well deserved they are to.
I am a fan of Betjeman's poetry, having come across them some twelve years ago (that long!) whilst studying my A'level lit. Favourites of mine include A Subaltern's Love Song and Diary of a Church Mouse and you can find more of his poems here.
Another reason I like him is because he was such a contrast to Ted Hughes, who I studied beforehand, and who I saw give a talk once at Westminster City Hall (a quiet man, but who brimmed with such mesmerising passion about his work that I couldn't help but compare his personality to that of Rasputin in terms of having a hypnotic effect). After all that, Betjeman was like a relaxing evening in front of the fire with a small coffee or whisky.
I am disapointed that he didn't get along with another of my heroes, C. S. Lewis. His tutor at Oxford who allegedly failed him his degree, but I can see how their personalities would not mix.
One of the things I do like about Betjeman was that he had an impish sense of humour. When interviewed a year before his death, he was asked if he had any regrets as he looked back over his life. His reply was "Yes. Not enough sex."
I hope the centenary celebrations will bring more readers forward to his writings, because they are worth reading and he does have a fan base which includes those who don't even like poetry in general.

Some Myths About Terrorism

Because I am a bit fed up with hearing them:


It's all because we invaded Iraq

Not really. There was 9/11 and many British citizens, as well as those in many other countries were killed

If we pull out of Iraq and stop being pally with Israel and the US, the terrorist outrages will cease!

I think we all want them to cease right here and now (unless you are pro Al Qaeda or someone so ideologically bent that you have no moral scruples). But we are also attacked because we are seen as part of the "Decadent West". Such a comment assumes we are dealing with reasonable people. There is nothing reasonable about plotting to send a human detonator into a civilian or millitary area with the aim of that person blowing themselves up and causing maximum damage to human life and property

Iran and Al Qaeda are linked

Are they? I got the impression that they weren't bosom buddies, although I hasten to add that some evidence points the other way. But that said, neither were the USSR and China were friends during the 1960's, but both were individual causes for concern.

All these security checks at Heathrow and other airports are against our human rights

True they are not ideal, or helpful. But everyone is trying their best to help passengers. But hey, if you want it to stop and get blown up over the Atlantic...


It's all America's fault

The US Govts.. foreign policy has a lot to be desired sometimes, but nothing, absolutely nothing, justifies what happened on 9/11. Nor does kidnapping US citizens in Iraq and executing them on video, nor any other terrorist outrage. Some people are always prepared to believe the worst about the US (and they are not perfect as a nation), and yet these same people seem to be wilfully blind to similar abuses committed by nations that don't even have any form of democratic government! There is a word for that and it's called hypocricy.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gunter Grass

(Wikipedia.org)

All of us have done or said something in the past that we are ashamed of. Things we would not want shouted from the rooftops.
That especially seems to be the case for Gunter Grass!
On one hand, this anti Nazi author has been villified for admitting to having been in the Waffen SS during the War and for not mentioning it sooner. On the other hand, he states that he was a reluctant member, that he wasn't in the SS per se and therefore not involved with their worst crimes, that he was young at the time.
Thing is, imagine being born in Germany in the late 1920s. What would you do as you were growing up? And then after the War (assuming you were conscripted into the SS). Would you willingly admit to it?
I would like to think that I would have been in the German resistance, that I would have been prepared to die for my disgust and hatred of Nazism, but it is easy for me to state that, comfortable in front of my computer, shortly to retire to a comfortable bed.
But I tell you this. Assuming Grass is being totally forward and honest with us now, I don't think there is hypocricy in what he said and did after the War. Yes he should have immediately come clean, but would you? Plus his anti Nazism in his writings may, in part, have been to try and deal with his own guilt and make up for his actions in the closing months of the War.
I think Grass should perhaps be stripped of his Nobel Prize, but for symbolic reasons. The man has admitted, and seems to be contrite. Plus it's hardly as if he is Klaus Barbie, or Himmler, or Heydrich, or Eichmann, or Mengele. Men who deserved to be hunted down for what they did. They and their crimes must stand as a testament to show what happens when good men do nothing!
But is it right to lump Grass with these men?

Stop the War spoof poster

Via Jo, who saw it on Snedds’ blog
Made me laugh and represents exactly what I think of some of those who are involved with the hard left

Tenth Planet Part II

(BBC Online)
Further to my posting last year on this (which I can't seem to link to right now, but you can find it in the August 2005 archives, dated Aug 3rd), there is talk of recatergorising the Planets, so that Pluto is still listed as one (It's now seen as part of a series of some objects forming the Kuiper Belt).
This would increase the tally of Planets to twelve, and would upgrade the status of Pluto's "moon", Charon (because it's size is similar to Pluto's), and the largest asteroid, Ceres (regarded as a Planet upon it's discovery in 1801, but relegated a year later, because of the discovery of more asteroids).
In any case, the decision lies in the hands of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) who will decide at their meeting in Prague next Thursday.
Personally I think some change is needed in listing Planets, whether to devalue Pluto or to add new bodies of similar size which orbits the Sun, although for sentimental reasons I think we should keep Pluto, so adding three more bodies seems ideal.
But we shall see. In any case, the editors of various encylopedias have their work cut out! :)
Hat Tip to Tim Roll-Pickering BTW for reminding me of this!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cavaliers and Roundheads

For those that don't know I have been keen on History since about the age of seven and one of the first things that fascinated me was the English Civil War. I still remember the surprise in finding Oxford mentioned (I lived in Enstone at the time, deep in what has become David Cameron country), as I had yet to appreciate that it was a famous city. For me it was somewhere where my family did their occasional saturday shopping and which housed a University. But what I especially remember was Dad taking me to see Edge Hill one Saturday afternoon.
If asked at the time on whose side I would have been on then, the answer would have been ready and simple. Cavalier! Roundheads were led by the Puritans who did bad things like ban theatres, May Day, Christmas, and basically having a good time. Plus their uniforms did have a thuggish look to them, compared to the dash and abandon look of the Cavaliers. My answer today? Well a reluctant Parliamentarian. I say reluctant, because whilst I believe that King Charles I abused his power, the Roundheads did ban theatres, May Day celebrations, and Christmas. But then I have a twentieth century mindset, not a seventeenth century one.
So why do I mention this now? Well Iain Dale has mentioned Tory MEP and 'A' Lister Dan Hannan, as asking which are the Cavaliers and Roundheads in the Conservative Party on the debate on Europe.
I think that is a bit simplistic, as one cannot make proper metaphors from a time when the political culture and outlook on life was vastly different. That said, when I look at some of our great recent Parliamentarians, I can see allegancies made that go across the Party divide.
For example, can you not see Norman Tebbit and Tony Benn as anything other than Roundhead Puritans? Even though in modern day ideology they are vastly different. Has anyone seen that cartoon of Roy Jenkins, based on this painting below (by William Frederick Yeames)?

(Walker Art Gallery)
It's where Jenkins was the little boy and the roundheads were members of the TUC (the paraphrase being "And when did you last see the Prime Minister?") What is particually funny about it is that Jenkins was very Whiggish and had a taste for the finer things in life. Could you see a seventeenth century version of him thriving under Cromwell's leadership? In spite of Jenkins's political radicalism.
It's all academic of course, and I do think that you cannot make such comparisons with the distant past, but it's all good fun nonetheless.
Unless you are a Europhile Conservative in Dan Hannan's sights! ;)

Ancient Recordings of Famous People or Gladstone's Podcast

(Wikipedia.org)
I have a recording of William Gladstone's voice on a tape of political speeches (I know, I know, I really should get out more!), but whilst browsing this evening I came across a copy of it on the St.Deniol's website. If interested, you can listen to the recording here.
My curiosity got the better of me, as I remembered reading something about Queen Victoria's voice having been recorded. Unfortunatley however, she was reluctant to have her voice recorded, suffice to say a news blog has played it on their programme (see here, it's 50 mins into the bulletin), unfortunatley the only discernable words are "Greetings" and "I have never forgotten" Strange to hear her voice nonetheless
And finally I have come across a recording made by Antarctic Explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. It's here in MP3 file and in Unedited 24-bit wav file, courtesy of University of California, Santa Barbara Library.
That's enough recordings of famous people in one day, I think

Popular Blogs at Bloggers4Labour (Week 6)

A day late, but C'est la vie!

Disclaimer: As Jo has pointed out, these are the Top Ten with the most recommended posts. The Top 10 Bloggers at B4L, as voted for by fellow bloggers are:




1) Labour Humanists (Same place)

2) KERRON CROSS - The Voice of the Delectable Left (Same place)

3) normblog (Same place)

Jt 4th)The Daily (NEW), Harry's Place (Up from 8th place)

6) wongaBlog (Down from 4th place)

7) Skuds' Sister's Brother (Down from 5th place)

Jt 8th) Jo's Journal (Up one place), Ministry of Truth (Down from 6th place)

10) Recess Monkey (NEW)

For the curious I am still in Jt 16th place, this week with Bloggers4Labour, BrightonRegencyLabourParty, PooterGeek, and Ridiculous Politics

Blizzard: Race to the Pole

(South-Pole.com)
Or in this case, a point in the interior of Greenland.
As I've mentioned already, I have been avidly following the documentary series on BBC 2 about two teams (One British, one Norwegian), copying Scott and Amundsen's race to the South Pole. Only in this case it has to be in Greenland because, for some reason, dogs are no longer allowed on Antarctica. The depots are laid for them and the packaging is modern (for health and safety reasons).
But the Norwegians (give or take the odd moment) still seem better equipped for this and the British (even though most of them are from the Armed Forces) seem slightly amatuerish. I groaned inwardly when the night before they started, the Norwegians checked their equipment and went through their materials carefully whilst the British were spending time at the local bar. All so predictable and all so frustrating.
At the time of writing, we have alreeady seen them pass the glacier (a stand in for the Trans-Antarctic mountains), before reaching the Greenland Ice Plateau. The Norwegians (consisting of five men) are 200 miles ahead and the British (consisting of six men, two had to be airlifted home) will soon have to start manhauling, just like Scott did.
But with pluck and tenacity I am sure Bruce Parry's team will do the UK proud and win!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Philip Purser-Hallard in The Guardian

(Philip Purser-Hallard)

Have noticed that fellow Subwayan, Philip Purser-Hallard wrote an article in Satuday's Guardian. Heck, and I didn't get round to buying it as well :(
BTW I ought to mention that it was seeing his blog last year that inspired me to set up mine a.s.a.p.

Whose Freedom?

I caught this post on the B4L daily e-mail some days ago, but accidentally lost it and forgot who blogged on this until now, when I had the chance and time to do a little research (so a belated post here and a belated hat tip to The Daily)
I have to say I am saddened, but not surprised that The Freedom Association have taken this stance. It has always been on the fringes of British politics and has attracted members of the hard right of the Conservative Party. Admittedly it had a huge following in the 1970s, although I suspect that that had more to do with understandable frustration with actions of the more millitant trade unionists, the culture of the times, and public sympathy due to the fact that it formally came into existence within a week of the callous and brutal murder at the hands of the IRA of one of it's founders, Ross McWhirter (a man who, with his twin Norris, was better known by the general public for dealing with world record statistics than dodgy right-wing politics).
The organisation takes a scattergun approach to it's targets, is guilty of hypocricy (Some of it's prominent members supported the Gatting tour of South Africa, but wanted a boycott of athletes to the Moscow Olympics), and can be rather shrill in it's statemnents.
It's members include Ann Winterton, Nicholas Winterton,Gerald Howarth (a prominent frontbench Conservative), and Christopher Gill.
It's links with the BNP with the Better Off Out campaign only show how out of touch they are.
I only hope that politicians who I thought were more reasonable, such as Austin Mitchell and Lord Weatherill will disassociate themselves from the "Better Off Out" campaign a.s.a.p.

Jonathan Chilvers on Israel/Hezbollah

CPA activist Jonathan Chilvers has written an insightful and thoughtful piece on his blog about the current Israeli/Hezbollah standoff. You can read it here.

New Blog

It's not often I mention my work involving the CPF here, in fact I hardly mention it at all. But yesterday my friend Aidan and I have been putting the finishing touches to our brand new blog and you can find it here.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Maggie's Funeral

(Wikipedia.org)
In the past week there has been a bit of a fuss about whether Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven a.k.a. Maggie a.k.a. Attilla the Hen a.k.a. The Iron Lady (and those are the epithets that pro and anti Thatcherites can agree on) should have a state funeral when she dies.
It's well covered here, here, and here.
For me the question is not whether she caused three million to go unemployed, a cycle of economic boom and bust with the price of housing sky rocketing in the late eighties, the Poll Tax, decimation of sections of British industry, attacking economic sanctions against the then apartheid ridden South Africa, amongst other things. No, I think to refuse her a funeral for those reasons would be petty.
For me the question is, does she qualify with the unwritten criteria. For example the only Prime Ministers to be given a state funeral were the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill. Men who stood by our nation during some of it's darkest hours. I suppose you could say "The Cold War", but is that the same thing?
However, Gladstone was allowed to lie in state in Westminster Hall after his death, and that might well be appropriate. But why did Gladstone qualify for this? Was it his age? His longevity at the top of British politics? If the Iron Lady lives for another ten plus years she deserves the accolade. But then why not Harold Macmillan, or Harold Wilson (he led the Labour Party for thirteen years and if you add his time of office at No 10 together (1964-1970 and 1974-1976), then he was PM for seven and a half years). Come to think of it, the current Prime Minister has been PM for nearly a decade now and could well live for another forty years. How about a lying in state for him, and tie it as a condition to Baroness Thatcher's lying in state.
Somehow I think some people aren't so enthusiastic all of a sudden! ;)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Long and Winding Road to Peace

(Associated Press)
The good news is that Hezbollah have agreed to a UN ceasfire plan. As have Israel.
The bad news is that they will do so when Israeli soldiers withdraw from Lebanon, which isn't actually helpful as a ceasefire, such as in the case, usually means immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities from both sides.

Hopefully however, with the latest proposals from the UN being agreed to, at least in some theory, there is light at the end of this long tunnel.
Hopefully.

Bizarre Cult Film Moment

(Wikipedia.org)
Picture the scene. It's Saturday morning, have washed, dressed, just had breakfast and have flopped in front of the TV for a few minutes.
Flicking through Sky Movies, I come across this slightly obscure US/Japanese film from 1968 called King Kong Escapes. The usual stuff. Obvious special effects, bad dubbing etc.. but what is really fascinating is that the baddie is called Dr.Who!
How wierd, but the oppurtunities for in-jokes are fantastic ;)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Some More on Dame Shirley Porter

(BBC Online)
When I mentioned that hardly any Conservative blogger has mentioned Dame Shirley Porter's return to the UK. Some mentioned that they thought the story had run it's course, although I don't think it has for those poor souls whose lives were ruined, and are still ruined, because of her actions. It would be interesting to know how they would have reacted if she was a Labour councillor (shiver)!
So I am pleased to help them out by pointing out Page 15 of today's Evening Standard
In it, the Londoner's Diary mentions that Labour MP's Karen Buck and Andrew Dismore have considered contacting the police following her reappearance in London.
Buck points out that there is a case that she lied about her assets to the police and that she will be consulting with them to see whether there is evidence. She adds:

"Effectively, a deal was done on the basis that she wouldn't be living in this country. But if she's living in London, and she's come back to taunt the voters of Westminster; that's different."

Andrew Dismore added that:

"If she signed an affidavit swearing she's only got £300,000 but then goes on to buy a house in Mayfair which costs £1.5 million, one starts to question the truth of her statement. This is a matter for the police."

This will be very interesting!

More4 Podcast

I have been quoted by Iain Dale on the More4 morning podcast and am rather impressed.
He mentions Mel Smith's stand on smoking in Edinburgh and quotes my comments on it.
Am also impressed by the fact that my surname was pronounced correctly (doesn't often happen) and the fact that the actor reading my comments has a better voice than me.
He also quotes Brian Micklethwait, Morning Report , Devil's Kitchen, and, okay, Jeffrey Archer