Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shilpa and Celebrity Big Brother

(Press Association)

A bit of a delay in mentioning this I know, but am glad she has won. It goes to show that viewers won't tolerate the bullying and alleged racism that went on and the fact she has been gracious and dignified throughout says more about Shilpa than it has about those who were unkind towards her.

Bloggers4Labour Meetup Part I

Apologies for the delay, have been more busy than usual this week, but here, for the first time, is a film of a Bloggers4Labour meetup. Was considering using it for 18 Doughty Street, but the picture quality is very bad. Anyways, the main bit is where I chat with Andrew Regan about B4L as an organisation.
And please, the jokes about people hiding their identity have already crossed my mind ;)


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part XXV: Jonathan Chilvers

Jonathan Chilvers works for a homeless project and the Citizens Advice Bureau in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. He is actively involved in his church, leading a small group Jonathan Chilvers works for a homeless project and the Citizens Advice Bureau in Leamington with his wife, Eloise and helping to run a kids club for children on a local estate. In 2003-5 he worked for Christian People's Alliance councillor in Canning Town, E.London.


What made you decide to start blogging?

A friend of mine Nick Turnbull, who sadly no longer blogs, kept telling me for years that I should start. I kept telling him that I was already introspective and reflective to a fault and that blogging would just make that worse. I was also frightened of falling into what I call the "what I ate for dinner syndrome“ many people have interesting ideas, but fairly boring day to day lives. I would quickly bore myself let alone others writing about what I did and thought and felt today. In the end I gave in and started writing on the condition that I would only write about issues from a fairly impersonal point of view.

What is your best blogging experience?

Getting comments from people I don't know in real life.

And your worst?

Having a blog entry written in my head, but not having time to put it onto paper before it's too late and the moment's gone.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Probably this post on the authority of the Bible, because I felt I was able to articulate something that I feel strongly about in a way that was accessible to Christians and non-Christians alike.

Favourite blogs?

Experimental Theology, Kerron Cross, Babblebabblebabble, & Mars Hill.

What inspired you to go into politics?

That's a really difficult question. I've tried to trace back where my political interest stems from, but I've kind of given up. I have simply always been interested. Only my 10 year old self knows why I bothered to get up at 6.30am every morning to watch breakfast news. Aged 9, I was the only Cub Scout in my pack to race out of the meeting on Tuesdays in 1990 to hear the very latest on the Conservative leadership election. And when I turned 8 I was the only one of my siblings wanting to know exactly who the General Public were that politicians on TV kept going on about.

Are there dangers that a certain type of political party, such as the one you are in, can be perceived as being too theocratic to the point that the Christian faith is perceived as being enforced?

There's always the danger, but I don't think it has to be like that. Freedom and in particular absolute freedom to choose or reject God is at the heart of the Christian message. Christians should freely give of what they have through demonstrating and proclaiming the Good News of knowing God. When Christians try and enforce and impose beliefs or changes of behaviour they are implying that the Good News isn't good enough for people to choose it freely - if Christianity is true that will stand on its own two feet.The Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA) is a Christian Democratic party, which means that starting from Christian principles it develops policy and politics which are rooted in those principles, although clearly other policies and politics can be reached starting from a Christian position. The traditions, heritage, faith and values of Christianity have a huge amount to contribute to politics in this country and for some Christians the CPA will be the best environment through which to make that contribution. The CPA is open to people of all faith and none, although at the moment it has an overwhelmingly Christian membership, although it's voters are very mixed.I would love to see the CPA develop into a party which has many non-Christian members, but who subscribe to the values rooted in faith of Christian Democracy. This would create a party where Christians are free to articulate the faith and values behind their politics without it been seen as a threat or an enforcement of the faith. I have a huge respect for Christians in other parties, but personally I would struggle to be in any of the main parties, because none of them do God, you're allowed to have a personal faith, but it's supposedly not meant to creep into the public sphere. That's a ridiculous and dangerous public-private duality. If I thought that God and Christianity only had something to say about my own private life and not the transformation of society as a whole then I'd say forget the whole thing, I am not interested.

What benefits are there in being involved in local politics in the way you have been?

In local politics there is no escape. If you're working on the ground day by day you have the privilege of being involved in people's day to day struggles. Not just one off contact, but an ongoing relationship in the middle of the community. You see directly the affect of legislation on people's lives how benefits and housing and regeneration policy work in reality rather than just on Whitehall headed paper. The experience has made me suspicious of career politicians/civil servants. This is not because I doubt their motives - the vast majority of people go into professional politics for the right reasons- but because I'm not always convinced that they really know what impact their policies have in the middle of people's daily lives. I know what it feels like to have well meaning ideas imposed from above which are great in theory, but show a complete lack of understanding about how they will play out. Having the time to be part of one community means that there is the opportunity to invest in, equip and empower local people and groups. It's where you can really see change happen. It's slow and it's hard work, but it's real. We cannot change society sitting at desks from the top down, however comfortable and attractive that option might be. In 2005 I helped write the CPA's 2020 vision for Newham which crystalises a lot of this thinking.

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

I'd love to go to the west coast of Ireland and although it's not, strictly speaking abroad, Iona.

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

We don't fly anymore for environmental reasons (although we haven't said never). If we did it would definitely be New Zealand or Bosnia. New Zealand for the sensational countryside; Bosnia, because I was involved in a fantastic Christian project, NoviMost there a few years ago. NoviMost means "new bridge" and it is trying to bring reconciliation on the ground in Bosnia by equipping and training locals and providing practical help all through growing the local church. An amazing example of how the church can serve everyone regardless of faith without letting go of the transforming core of Christianity.

Who, excluding the present Prime Minister, do you regard as the best British Prime Minister?

I've always been impressed by the 1906 Liberal government, so I am going with Asquith, although I don't know too much about his political skills.

Which Christian figure has been your greatest inspiration?

Very difficult to name just one, so I am not going to try: Jackie Pullinger (worked with addicts in Hong Kong); Alan Craig (gave up a multimillion pound lifestyle to live and work in the East End); Corrie Ten Boom (showed extraordinary courage emanating from her faith at the Nazi death camps); people I know whose lives who have been completely turned around since being touched by God: Kyle, Vicky, Pete, Dave to name a few; people who find the strength in God to forgive those who have done appalling things to them, some of the stories from the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission come to mind; Anthony Dobinson (a teacher who first showed me that Christianity was a living faith and a Godly, humble and joyful man); people in my church who never fail to amaze me with their generosity and love; Martin Luther King; Phillip Yancey; CS Lewis. In a world as messed up as ours you need to look for plenty of inspiration!

Favourite Bond movie?

Never seen one. Maybe I've had a sense of humour bypass, but from the clips I've seen they seem to be sexist and glamourise violence.

Favorite Doctor Who?

David Tennant. Brilliant.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

If it's that posh vanilla with real vanilla pods then vanilla. Otherwise chocolate, the chocolatier the better.

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

Not fussed really. I think Robbie is an amazing live entertainer, but I'd probably have to go for Louis Armstrong with his Big Band.

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

Oxford hass got more interesting quirks than Cambridge. Barsby looks good if you need to catch up on reading/sleep.

Favourite national newspaper?

Guardian.

What would you say your hobbies were?

Reading, playing squash.

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

Books: Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)The Divine Conspiracy (Dallas Willard)Beloved (Toni Morrison)

Songs:Swallowed in the Sea (Coldplay)How Great Thou Art (Stuart Hines)Mack the Knife (Blitzstein)

Blair Must Go (Or the blog post I thought I would never have to write)

(Associated Press)
Some weeks ago I made a bit of a prat of myself in trying to do a scoop saying that the PM would resign within weeks, without actually saying that. Gosh I was so wrong on many levels because I think the PM is trying to hold on until around June.
Well given today's news I think he ought to resign now. He hired Lord Levy as an aide of sorts, something has definetly been going on (people playing silly b****rs at least and not thinking about the very strict rules and ethics of what they were doing), and for that he ought to go.
This goes beyond competence, it is about moral integrity and I am saddened to think that many decent Labour councillors could lose their seats in May because of this alleged scandal. One way to possibly avoid that is for the PM to forget about having his place in history and leaving on a high (that time has passed), and just stand aside for someone who, if not renowned for ready charisma, is renowned for being a pretty straightforward guy.

Last Night on Doughty Street


Click here if you want to watch my performance on 18 Doughty Street last night. I don't know what it is about seeing yourself on TV or video or anything like that, but I am one of those who watches playback and cringes at all the little things I do etc..
But it is interesting, esp when Devil's Kitchen starts going on about Global Warming and racism and socialism. With hindsight I would have handled that slightly differently, but his comments are a good reminder of why UKIP are seen as a little bit way out there.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Balcombe Street

(BBC Online)
I met up with S in London yesterday and whilst we were on our way to a cafe in Baker Street, we found ourselves walking straight into Balcombe Street.
Now I didn't know quite where this street was, and for those who wonder what I am taking about, it was where there was a siege thirty one years ago, where some IRA gunmen were holding a middle aged couple in a flat.
I have mentioned the incident briefly before, as part of a blog entry about a Channel 4 programme. But it was an eerie experience seeing the actual street and the building where the Matthews couple were held, and the balcony where the terrorists gave themselves up.
A long while ago, and a different time (although not one we will quite forget). And hopefully the news yesterday will signal a permanent new future for Anglo/Irish politics.

My Predictions for 2007

My slight mickey take on Iain Dale's bit on WebCameron ;)



Not as polished I admit, but worth it for making some valid general points

On 18 Doughty Street Tonight


I will be making an appearance at 9PM tonight on 18 Doughty Street, with Alex Hilton, Phil Hendron, and William Luckman.
Definetly worth a look.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Nigel Havers Alliance


This is interesting. A pseudo political party based around the idolising of one charismatic UK stage, television, and film actor.
Worth a good look around but Don't Wait Up to read it if it is late! ;)
What would the US version be, a political party based around The Benny perhaps?

Coming Out as a Dyspraxic

Well to be fair some of you know this already, but it is something I have kept deliberatley quiet about for a long while, for what I considered to be good reasons. But recently I have come to the conclusion that it would be best if I was totally straightforward and open about something which I was born with, which I was suspected of having when I was about six years old and which I was formally diagnosed with in my early twenties, and which I have been secretive about out of fear of people's reactions.
Anyone who doesn't know what I am talking about can read about it here. I do stress though that I have a very mild form, so some of this does not apply, but it's just so you get the picture. What is sad is that there a lot of people out there with it, who have not been diagnosed and who are seen as simply clumsy, wierd, and stupid, leaving them with a sense of low self esteem.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Paintballing

At last night's Bloggers4Labour social, Councillor Kris Brown suggested a paintballing day out for bloggers. The idea being Labour bloggers Vs Tory and Lib Dem bloggers, in any case I think this is an excellent idea, but let me know your thoughts on this and we shall see if it can be arranged.

Gays and Adoption

I happen to be one of those people who likes to have a good soak in the bath sometimes and think about life's problems, and recently was no exception as I started to compose a blog entry in my mind about this latest issue (Of course I can't avoid it now, because last night at the B4L social I got pounced on by BrightonRegencyLabourSupporter , Neil Harding,before I even had a chance to put my bag down and take off my coat, and asked for my views on this).
Fact is, I'm sacred, for the same reasons Iain Dale was a bit nervous of mentioning this. You just know some people are going to be offended no matter what you write and say. Well sometimes one has to make a stand, so if you are offened, then I apologise but these are important issues to consider, which I most certainly did before realising the bathwater was getting tepid. After all, it's good to be in hot water sometimes.
So here are some things for people on both sides of the argument to consider:

1) The Bible does mention homosexuality in negative terms in some passages (although there is some debate on this). But it bangs on far more incessentally about how important it is to help the poor, to be honest in your financial dealings, to love your neighbour as you love yourself (something to consider here), and many other such things.

2) This issue is part of a larger battle. There are two types of opponents here among the Christian community. The first are homophobic, the second are not and yet try and follow what they believe the Bible tells them, and are struggling to get a balanced perspective on all this. Many who oppose on this issue wonder what the next battle will be on where they feel they are compromising their beliefs. They feel frightened and scared as the gay community are, albeit from a different perspective, and feel very defensive. Many Christians always feel they are a minority in society, whether it appears they are or not.

3) I have two very dear friends of mine who are a lovely couple. They are devout Christians, very morally conservative. Thoughtful, conscientious, and just happen to be lesbians. Now I have been thinking about them and wondering if I had children and I wanted them to look after them whilst I was on holiday, would I trust them! The answer is a swift unequivocal yes. What does this tell me about the issue in a nutshell!

4) Some argue that the lack of a male or female presence in bringing up a child is damaging to the child. What about children who have been brought up by single mothers, and yes single fathers. Also worth considering is that, seeing as we are all different, a no of gay and lesbian couples will want their child to have the presence of someone from the opposite sex to their own in that child's life. Something akin to an Aunt or Uncle figure

5) Adele's point here is also worth considering:

Any exemptions should only be for internal doctrinal matters such as baptism and confirmation. It should not be lawful to refuse lesbian, gay and bisexual people services offered to the public such as hospices, schools and adoption services.

The phrase "offered to the public" is somewhat critical here. What the relevant adoption agencies should ask themselves is what sort of couples do they cater to already?

------------------------------------------
Now I really don't want to use this post as a manifesto or polemic. I just simply want to use this as a piece to carefully consider what is behind the relevant arguments. I hope I have done that.
And now I must get ready for work. Will post on the B4L social tonight or tommorow.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

So You Think Gordon Brown is Dour!

(BBC Online)
He has just been voted in a list on the World's Top 100 sexiest men.
And why not, he is a man who cares. Who has done a lot for the enviroment and the Third World. Not for Gordon, is the sin of cycling to work with a chauffer driven lexus full of documents, creeping behind.

Greatest Postwar Prime Minister

(BBC Online)
I found this, courtesy of Paul Linford . At the moment the BBC Daily Politics Poll has Margaret Thatcher in the lead and it is every Labour or left leaning bloggers duty to make sure that is broken.
Now I was unsure whether to vote for Clement Attlee or Harold Wilson, but in the end I rooted for Attlee for helping to bring postwar stability and running a radical government with less social division caused by a particular government in the 1980's. Although if I had to vote for nicest Prime Minister it would probably go to Sir Alec Douglas Home.
It's also worth noting that Margaret Thatcher is being championed by Kelvin Mackenzie, so go and vote for a Labour PM and vote tactically.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part XXIV: Liz Saul

(Liz Saul)
Liz Saul is London born and bred, Arsenal fan, generally scary friendly nutty person. She loves music, friends family, hates dishonesty and hypocricy. She runs the blog Radioleaflet .

What made you decide to start blogging?

I have kept a journal or diary or notes in some way or aniother on and off since i was little so this seemed an easy way of scribbling down some random thoughts.

What is your best blogging experience?

I like the fact some people have kmet new people and made friends throught their blogs. I like that its a discreet way of being a fly on the wall and people watching without stalking anyone!

And your worst?

The fact that information (not from specific blog sites necessarily) is used to try and manipulate or guess how a person might be in real life, although mine is pretty true to form (perhaps a bit more revealing than in person as I'm quite private). You expect the odd follower because of the nature of my work, but sometimes a stranger's attentions has been a little too close for comfort...


What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Each time, its the one I've just written because I'm normally inspired into my written vomiting by something, an event, or a situation.


Favourite blogs?

Darren Hayes one is pretty direct at the moment and even more random than me - he's in creatuive mood apparently with his new album and I like his music - its deep and moody to me. My friend Paul (Mars Hill) is a politically, somewhat cynical look at life but quite funny and clever in its delivery. Paul himself is an old Uni friend and very intelligent!

- He didn't pay me to say that by the way! hahaha

What's the best thing about being a DJ?

Music is a journey and the songs that move me take me somewhere and I like all kinds of music so there's a lot of places to go!

And the worst...?

The crazy working hours! I've had one day off since January1st!

Why Arsenal?

Its in the blood! My great grandparents lived in Highbury in the next road to the old stadium and on a Saturday you could hear the roar of the crowd. Every generation since has got stuck being a Gooner - but all but my Dad support them so it runs on both sides - my brother's quite a good defender too and got a place on one of the Arsenal summer taster schools he was really chuffed.

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

Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, South America, NZ... so many places, I just have to work up the courage to stay on the aircraft for that length of time!!!!!!! hahaha

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

I do frequently revisted America! I'm off there again soon. I have family in many places in the world so I also go to Israel and Denmark regularly to see them.

Do you have a favourite political figure in history?

Aristotle/Pliny


Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?


not a famous person but all my Grandmothers had great advice and if they judged me, they never said, their love was unconditional.

Favourite Bond movie?


Goldfinger


Favourite Doctor Who?

Sylvester McCoy - i loved that scarf!!

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

mint

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

Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet

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

I've been to Oxford and Cambridge many times to visit and I have freiends in Coalville Leics and they all have good points though Coalville has a greast night club!

Favourite national newspaper?

Probably the Mail or the Times if pushed, though I try to never be without an Evening Standard

What would you say your hobbies were?


most things depends on my mood - i like the gym, reading, clubbing, theatre, travel, footy

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

Choosing just 3 of each is IMPOSSIBLE especially for a DJ!! At the moment my 3 songs are Chasing Cars, Grace Kelly, and Land orf Confusion but its always changing - books am reading 3 at the moment: an historical novel called Labarynth, Michael Caine autobio and some trash called the Ex Boyfriend Files.

Party Animals

(BBC Online)
I am rather intrigued about the new drama series Party Animals. About Parliamentary staff done in the style of This Life.
Now having worked briefly for an MP, and knowing a few people who work or have worked in Westminster I have to ask myself is this true to life? Well it probably is, but have not seen anything first hand, bar the occasional sighing at the sight of attractive female research assistants.
Thing is, when I worked for Geraint I worked in his constituency office (and it was for a three month period that extended to five months), and only occasionally helped out at Westminster, so I never got so much as a Pass.
But I did come across a very minor scandal, involving myself.
One afternoon in Portcullis (my first day there), I asked my colleague where the loos were. I found it, only to find it was engaged, so I did what any sensible person did; found and used the nearest empty disabled loo.
I couldn't find the light switch, but found that even if I locked it, there would be enough light under the door to see what I was doing. And so, after washing my hands, and unable to see or feel for the flush mechanism, I was relieved to see a cord and pulled to flush.
Of course the alarm starts, I swiftly open the door, to find to my horror I rashly pulled the alarm cord and quickly and quietly walk back to the office, only feeling safe when in front of my computer.
So if I did inconvenience a Portcullis security guard, no doubt busy watching some shenanigans between researchers on a monitor (If Party Animals is to be believed), then I am sorry for wasting your time!

Invasion of the Pikeys

(BBC Online)
Two hundred years ago, when Devon and Cornwall were awash with smugglers and the like, there were special laws to deal with looters of shipwrecks. Such a sceneario even featured in the Poldark storyline
In the past fortnight we have noticed that we have not gone much further than the eighteenth century. However vile Jade Goody behaved, had her eviction happened in front of a crowd it would have been akin to a public execution, and in the last couple of days we have seen theft of property on a grand scale on a Cornish beach.
You may well call it tidying up, but those items are the property of others and taking them and selling them on e-bay is theft. I hope those responsible will return the items via the police and those who do not should be prosecuted.

Would this girl have fitted in the League of German Maidens?

(Press Association)
Reading this in some detail yesterday, it is quite shocking, although it begs the question as to whether (considering she is a teenager) Lucy Buchanan is echoing the views of others around her (whether it his her school, family, or both). I sincerely hope not and if she was doing it as a joke then it isn't very funny. So either she is silly or is appallingly racist!
Incidentally Lucy is the girl on the far right

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Six Political Heroes

Given Gordon Brown's recent comments, I am wondering who people's diverse political heroes are!

Mine inc:

Sir Winston Churchill

For giving us the morale to continue during our nations darkest hour

John F. Kennedy

For bringing forward a raft of civil reforms (unfortunatley some only realised after his death), and reminding us what could be possible. His remark "ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country" is a political creed of mine. I hold a high regard for his brother (Robert F. Kennedy) for similar reasons.

Denis Healey

For sticking to the political center at a difficult time and realising that social democracy was about pragmatism as well as principles.

Martin Luther King

For standing his ground, challenging the amoral racist attitudes of the South and sticking to his Christian principles.

William Wilberforce

For tirelessly working to abolish slavery

William Gladstone

For social reforms, such as the in the army, education, and trying to bring Home Rule for Ireland.


Tagging Cally's Kitchen , Kerron Cross-The Voice of the Delectable Left , Adele's labour blog , Cllr Miranda Grell , Iain Dale's Diary, Tim Roll-Pickering , Jonathan Chilvers and Paul Linford

Just What Is Going On There!

Have stopped watching Celebrity Big Brother out of sheer disgust, but I have read in the papers that Dirk Benedict is the current bullying target. (Alleged quote from Jo: "He's at breaking point. We just need to give him that extra tip over the edge." ) Well like Shilpa, the Benny can defend himself but this just goes to show how far down the programme makers of Big Brother have let standards drop to a frightening level. And if true, Danielle and Jo should be automatically evicted.
And that isn't taking this into account!

Denny Doherty R.I.P.

(Wikipedia.org)

Was saddened to read his obituary yesterday. In some ways Denny Doherty was the driving force of The Mamas & the Papas. His death leaves Michelle Phillips as the last surviving member of the original group.

Miguel Grima. The Mayor Loathed By His Village

(Julian Simmonds)
One of my favourite TV Detective dramas is Midsomer Murders. Partly because it is a tad silly and unrealistic. You know the type of plot, someone murdered in a village whom few liked and everyone is a suspect.
I thought that this was rather unrealistic, until the weekend when I came across this bit of news!
It reads as a cross between Midsomer Murders and The League of Gentlemen, but it just goes to show that truth is stranger than fiction.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Appearance on 18 Doughty Street

(18 Doughty Street)
Contary to the advertisment, I am not onBlogger TV tonight (as far as I know, although it was originally planned that I was going to be on for this evening), but I should make an appearance before long :).

Lennon and Scotland

(US Library of Congress)
I don't know what to make of this, although the word "canny" springs to mind ;)
That said you could equate a lot of tourists spots with John Lennon. Liverpool (obviously), Hamburg (where The Beatles cut their musical teeth), Surrey (where he lived for ten years), Ireland (a country of which he was proud to have ancestral roots), New York (where he lived more or less from 1971, until his tragic murder in 1980), Gibraltar (where he and Yoko Ono got married), Bermuda (where he found the inspiration for the title of his last completed album).
Almost here, there, and everywhere in fact* ;)



*Yes I know that is essentially a McCartney song

Sunday, January 21, 2007

More on Big Brother

I do think that Jade Goody, as vile as she was in the CBB Household, should not be the only one criticised here. Channel 4 have some explaining to do as well!
But to be honest I think this has been a long time in coming. The organisers of the show seem to delight in creating explosive situations, so if the show is to continue, this is what I suggest they do to help things!

1) Be very careful who you select to go in. Don't put in people who would find such a situation vulnerable and don't put people in purely because they might cause a fuss (to put it mildly)

2) Don't put in a lot of alcohol on the opening night, only to withdraw it, only to put it back again, which causes contestants to overdo it slightly

3) 24/7 access to the Big Brother garden and awareness that each contestant needs their personal space. Perhaps seperate bedrooms would be ideal, so as to help foster that! However, contestants will have to help tend to that garden

4) Contestants are allowed to bring reading material with them. The organisers can check it (so for example, no one brings in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion etc..), but reading material will help give contestants something to do

5) In defending themselves Channel 4 seem to suggest that racism is wrong but bullying is okay. Bullying is never okay and any form of bullying should be stopped with a warning from Big Brother. A second warning should lead to an automatic eviction, which leads to....

6) Some house rules and regulations given to contestants before they go in


It's not much, but it might help a lot

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hillary Says "I'm in to win".

(AFP)
I do feel slightly like a Eugene McCarthy supporter in March 1968 finding out that the iconic Bobby is standing (and if I was around and of age then, I would definetly have backed Robert Kennedy), but I feel that Hillary Clinton is a bit of a divisive figure and that Barack Obama is what the US needs right now.
That said, I am not totally averse to seeing Hillary in the White House and we do have less than two years to go before the Presidential elections. To paraphrase Harold Wilson "Two years is a millenium in politics!" Things can change.

UK Blog Wars

I think I can say hand on heart that there is not a single blogger I have come across that I dislike (which shows how sheltered I am here), although there are plenty who I am wary of, plenty who are sad and have a tendency towards being petty, plenty who I think have a tendency to enjoy getting into scraps, plenty who have a bit of an ego, and plenty who are their own worst enemy (andyes, the fact there are no links is on purpose).
But I refuse to get involved in any scraps involving Guido or anyone else. For a start life is too short, and secondly it adds fuel to the fire, and thirdly if I get a chance to make a criticism, I want it to be dignified and not as one who jumps headlong into the mire and thus making a bit of a hypocrite of myself. You may call that being pompus, I call it trying to be decent.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Empty Garden

It's not that often I get personal on this blog, and when I say personal, I mean mention some raw emotion in my private life. But I'm making an exception today as it is the fifth anniversary of the death of a friend of mine, Simon Rees.
I met Simon at University. He was a Warden of the University Chaplaincy during my second year (he was an Oxford graduate and this was his year out), and we ended up being friends. He was a bit of a Hugh Grant type figure, but underneath the odd bit of silliness and flipancy, he was a gentle and wise soul whom I almost never hesitated to confide in if I had a problem. Perhaps it was to do with the fact that I knew he was facing a calling into the priesthood.
He died due to an epileptic fit, some six months after being ordained and those of us who were close to him still feel his loss. His death, and that of another close friend from University, Tammy Wilband, have knocked me (and some others who knew them both) in ways that are painful and difficult. You find that accepting loss is not the same as putting it behind you. So if you are that way inclined, spare a thought or prayer tonight for Simon's family, in particular his widow Adele, because I am sure today is more difficult for them than it is for the rest of us.

The Cruise of Your Life. Or Death!

(Wikipedia.org)
Read this in yesterday's Guardian. Quite scary but underlines how rules regarding security, dealing with disappearences etc.. need to be tightened up on cruise ships.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Jade or Shilpa

Not all of us will vote, but I think it's fair to say the majority of people want Jade out. I feel sorry for her, but she has brought it on herself. I just hope she realises in the next twenty-four hours just how low she has fallen and have the guts to go to Shilpa and say sorry before her eviction is announced.
If it gets that far. Since the Carphone Warehouse has withdrawn it's sponsorship, things have got a bit pear shaped for Celebrity Big Brother, but then they have not delat with this as they should have done.
Oh and before I go, check out this brilliant piece by Hamer Shawcross.

Castro's Legacy?

(Associated Press)
Like Michael Winner I sincerely hope he recovers, but let's not make out that Cuba is a utopia. It has human rights issues and no proper freedom of speech, nor indeed a proper functioning democracy. I know and appreciate that the Batista regime was itself not exactly brilliant but that is beside the point. One must try and improve ones country, not just simply contrast it with the previous regime running it.

The alleged 21/07 bombers

One has to be careful here because there is a trial going on, but if they are guilty how anyone could try and detonate a bomb right in front of a woman and child is beyond me. It would have to be a particually warped and brainwashed individual to do that!

Michael Winner

(Press Association)
I sincerely hope he recovers and I notice he hasn't been looking well of late, but I still hold that most of his films that I have come across are not good and that he can be abomnably rude.
And yes I am calm thankyou very much ;)

Barack Obama

(Associated Press)
Keep an eye on this chap because he may well become America's first black President, and from what I have heard of him so far, I hope he succeeds President Bush in Jan 2009.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More on the bullying in the CBB House

21,000 complaints, annoyance from an allied government, the issue mentioned in the House of Commons, some form of condemnation from the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Leader of the Opposition, a threat of withdrawal of sponsorship from the Carphone Warehouse. Shouldn't that tell Channel 4 something?
Big Brother were swift to punish Carole and Cleo for an offence very minor in comparison, I think Channel 4 should do something instead of making lame platitudes!

UPDATE: Danielle gets a slap on the wrist, which is something, although if the bullying continues for a second longer, Big Brother should act swiftly and more decisively. In any case it appears Jade is the ringleader.

Of Mice and Blogs

I don't know, I purposely write a small entry so as not to get noticed, and yet put it there so I can be a bit clever and say "Hey look I told you so!" in case it happened soon, and in the process it gets noticed and I get a bit of fair stick. (See here and here) and as a consequence I got what I hoped I would never get in the blogosphere. Fisked (Tom I wouldn't mind a newspaper column, but I get the impression you are not handing out compliments here!)
I got my story from a small piece in Monday's Telegraph, a small piece on Iain Dale's blog, plus some gossip I heard through the Party grapevine which led me to conclude that the news item would happen shortly. I didn't want to expose it in full in case I a) looked an idiot, b) annoyed a few people and c) got the sort of attention I didn't want, and this led to a bit of inflated ego on my part and a, b, and c still happening, although not as I expected.
In any case it looks like it won't happen now anyway. Not for a few months.

Mea Culpa.

Ah well I shall lick my wounds tonight, watching Blog Wars on BBC 4

New Blog Links (of sorts)

Adele's labour blog is Adele Reynolds' new blog. Am glad she is back as life in the Labour blogosphere is a bit dull without her. I am also surprised I am not mentioned on her new blog links (as I vaguely recall being mentioned on her previosu blog). Was it something I said or did? In any case do give her blog a read!

Lizzie Fision I think can go under my mental blog list of "Nice but Tory.."Worth a read, although ill health means it isn't updated as often as she would like, but do keep an eye on it.

Vive La Angleterre France

(Getty Images)
This is an incredible story. Apparently in 1956 there was serious consideration to France joining the Commonwealth with some Anglo-Franco Union in mind. Now this would not be quite so bizzare when you consider that France was part of the, well what was then the English Empire, from about 1420-1453 (Or the mid 1550's if you count Calais). Proof positive that we always favourite union with France ;)
But if it happened, just think how different history would have been. We would have probably have had De Gaulle as PM (shudder), plus we would have become the most powerful nation in Europe and the whole relationship with the US would have become more interesting to say the least!
We had a narrow escape indeed.

The Trials of David Cameron

Okay I admit it, I watched The Trial of Tony Blair on Monday, but it was worth it, not because of seeing a satire of any government minister, but rather the scenes with David Cameron, esp the one where he enters Conservative Central Office complaining about having to cycle into work just for the press and being reassured that his lexus was available round the back.
Good satire always picks on both sides and I am glad to see that this was no exception.

Celebrity Endorsements

With the radio on in the background, I heard yesterday an advertisment for a "Paul Simon furnitures" company. Made me wonder what his tagline was, "Build bridges over troubled waters" perhaps?

Who I Think Should Play Freddie Mercury in a Biopic

(EMI)
For a short while now, it's been known that a biopic on the life of Freddie Mercury of Queen is in the pipeline. Now of course it will be difficult for any actor, or indeed musician, to try and fill the Queen miester's shoes. However reading up on the Golden Globe awards the other day I think we have spotted the right actor for the part.

(Teh_definance)















Don't you think there is some resemblance here?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Celebrity Bullying

(AFP)
As I stated in my last post on this, I had seen some of it going on and thought that it was a minor clash of personalities and culture (admittedly I did turn on Channel 4 on Sunday night, only to see Jade pick on Shilpa, but Shilpa more than held her own), however I did not know about some of the more unpleasant aspects of the clash with Shilpa, such as the comments about her hands etc.. And if that is the case, esp given the level of complaints I think perhaps Big Brother should stage an intervention along the lines, as in making an announcement to the housemates and barring them from nominating and putting them up automatically for eviction.

Films I want to see at the moment

The Last King of Scotland.

Creepy, yet mesmerising. Perhaps one could say that about Idi Amin himself! Cally's Kitchen's review is also worth reading.


Bobby

I think this is a "must-see" and I mentioned it on this blog some months back.


Miss Potter

Well why not. Looks rather enchanting :)

Some Bit of News

Having a read through various newspapers and one or two blogs, I have the suspicion that an interesting policy announcement will be made within the next three weeks. Can't say any more than that really (although I would love to) in case that might spoil things.
Plus I could be wrong and that would make me look bad, but I suppose I am saying this because when it's mentioned I thought I would have a nice miniscule bit of a scoop.

The Pontificating Bishop Hill

Sorry, but I just found this a bit difficult to swallow (from the comments page on my recent piece on the BNP Ballerina:

ME: Would the same people mention this view about Simone Clarke to racial minorities who feel threatened by the BNP?

BISHOP HILL: The feelings of minorities, or of the people who defend Simone Clarke, are irrelevant to the issue of whether someone should be persecuted for their political views in a state-owned business. Your own party is making huge steps to bring about a big brother state, and to take away our civil liberties. I feel threatened by it, really I do.OK if we start harassing you?

With respect I think this is slightly out of proportion, but what I found offensive was his way of trying to box this issue. The persecution of minorities is never irrelevant and I think that demonising the government in comparison is something I find a tad offensive. Ask yourself which is more immoral. An immigrant family feeling the heat of seeing BNP campaigners around the estate they live in and feeling scared and that being seen as irrelevant, compared to the use of ID Cards for example! I am sure this is not what Bishop Hill sees as his argument (at least I hope not) but that is exactly how many others may well see it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Latest in the Celebrity Big Brother House

(Channel 4/Endemol)
It looks like either Cleo or Dirk might win, which would be nice as I think they deserve it (although this is an unusual CBB as I like just about all the contestants. I hope that is nothing to do with the low ratings :( )
As for the ganging up on Shilpa and the apparent recent tiffs she has been having, I think (well I hope) it's all blown out of proportion, although I suspect it's to do with some mild social and cultural differences. Part of me is hoping she gets hitched with Dirk but I doubt that will happen.
And given other postings I have made about the BB phenonemon, some may well wonder why I am actually watching some of this! Well there are less controversial personalities and attempts to cause controversy etc.. in the House of not happened (at least not since the very early stages) and the more quiet and placid personalities seem to be the longer lasting.

Cameron on Brown

(Getty Images)
David Cameron's comments yesterday on Sunday AM (comparing Brown's possible succesion mid-term with Major and Macmillan):

"I think there's a difference this time in that Tony Blair uniquely said before the last election that 'I'm not going to fight another election but I'm going to do a full term'.
"People elected him for a full term, so we are in a different situation."


That argument would hold more water if we had a Presidential system similar to the United States, but in 2005 the British people primarily voted for the Labour Party to serve a third term in office, not any individual and that is what we shall do.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Issues Around the BNP Ballerina

Some newspaper columnists and bloggers (usually right-wingers) have been saying that we should leave Simone Clarke alone, on the basis that (as despicable as her views are) she has a right to have opinions and not being persecuted for them and that she is in the Arts, which is in itslef apolitical.
This may well hold some water although it does not take the following into account:

1) Would the same people mention this view about Simone Clarke to racial minorities who feel threatened by the BNP? (and before anyone accueses me of bias, I have posed a similar question a while back to a hardened socialist on a non racial left viewpoint that she held)

2) The BNP is a nationalist party with politics similar to the Nazis (at least before the Night of the Long Knives)

3) Many on the left are in fear after speaking up against the BNP, because they have found themselves and their details mentioned on a site called RedWatch.

I am open to the view that Simone Clarke shouldn't be sacked, but equally I believe that it was right to out her and for someone who stated that "I am not too proud to say that a lot of it went over my head" with regard to the BNP manifesto, she will now have to explain her views to many who find them offensive (inc myself) and that she has learnt the hard way how important it is to use ones brain rather than one's instincts when being involved in politics.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Question Time Last Night

I am not usually given to sadism, but I think Kelvin Mackenzie got the reception he deserved when Press Privacy and Hillsborough were mentioned. The interesting thing was when Mackenzie justified the papparatzi trailing Kate Middleton, not the usual polite applause and not even a shout of dismay, a bit of a tumbleweed moment in fact.
As for Hillsborough, Mackenzie looks like he regrets saying sorry, but it's not that hard to say it if you mean it.

David Beckham's Transfer

(BBC Online)
Am basically in two minds about this, so perhaps it's best if I put it like this

What I Like about Beckham's move

It's away from the media circus and he is doing something he enjoys. Plus I am sure his family will benefit too

What I don't like about Beckham's move

The amount of money being offered is a bit, welll put it this way, it's not as if Beckham is going to be financially insecure as long as he lives (unless he does something monumentally stupid with his cash). Plus the TV punditry would help his profile, plus he could get a career doing sports journalism for various newspapers and magazines across the globe.
But then I suspect we are all looking at this from a "What I would do" view and I for one find the idea of living in LA rather unappealing

Another Boring Post on Celeb Big Bro 5

(Channel 4/Endemol)
It's embarrasing, but it is obvious I think that I am now a fan. Even my family have noticed it. So I thought I would bore, I mean interest you, with some of my thoughts about what has been going on there recently.
Okay, Jade and Co were a bit irritating, but aren't we all and whilst I found her mother difficult I did feel sorry for her when she was evicted. Golden rule though for anyone who becomes a contestant. Prepare for the general public to see you warts and all and they might not like what they see.
It's amazing which celebs in there you originally liked but then found irritating and vice versa. Leo Sayer's behaviour in there has been disapointing to say the least and he seems to have a "Look at me" approach. But that said, how would any of us cope in there. His comments about the size of his old friend and DIY sex are a bit, well... In the same way I originally found Jermaine Jackson aloof but I think it's down to shyness, he certainly seems to be coping well at being flung into such an unknown enviroment and not getting defensive in repsonse in a prima donna way.
As for the recent nominations, well I like Carole and Dirk. I esp identify to a small extent with Dirk in so far as that he keeps a small degree of space to himself and seems to know what he has let himself in for. As for his attraction to Shilpa, he is single and Shilpa is attractive, but I suspect he is taking a realistic approach (I hope).
So I would vote for Leo if it wasn't the fact that I would feel slightly guilty as well as demeaning myself in further partaking in, what is for me, the slightly guilty pleasure of watching CBB.
As for the others, well I like them, although I did find Jack a bit boring last night with his little jokes about sharing a bed with Jade and several other girls. Jack, jokes about taking clothes off etc.. is a bit sleazy and the tumbleweed response should hopefully have told you something. I also have some respect for H in getting up and making himself coffee before anyone else is awake and thereby realising the value of personal space, and Cleo seems to be fun to chat with.
Ah well, at least we have no Kilroy there. A certain celebrity from last year mentioning something feline is something I think none of us will forget.

Return to 18 Doughty Street

(18 Doughty Street)
At some point within the month, it may well be that Kerron and I will make a return to 18 Doughty Street, so stay tuned.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Clash of Minorities

I did wonder how I should post about this recent issue, but fellow Christian and political blogger Paul Linford has echoed my thoughts almost perfectly (esp the first two paragraphs). You can read his post here.
Incidentally I could echo some of the letters written to The Guardian today, protesting about the comments made by Polly Toynbee on this issue, but then I thought "Why? She is determined to lump many Christians together as either deluded bigots or deluded zombies, what would I write that would change things, I would just be trotting out what those who know me know I would say anyway!"
In any case I just pray and wish that those evangelical christians who stood outisde the House of Lords tried harder to understand the gay community and their fears and concerns and what it is like to have a sexual preference which is frowned on at best by many (For example, perhaps they ought to imagine for a moment, a society where heterosexuality is seen exactly in the same way homosexuality is, and then see how they would feel about their views then) . Likewise that some in the gay community would recognise that some of these people are not evil or malicious, just ignorant, frightened, and therefore defensive. For them the issue is not so much about sexuality, but their own complex identity within their understanding of a simple, yet complex faith.

The Tragedy of Burt Bacharach's daughter

Maybe if any good comes out of this, more effort will be made to understand aspergers and other similar autistic conditions. It goes without saying that Nikki Bacharach died because of the torments that her illness brought her.

What Kate Did Next? None of our business

If there is one thing that bothers me about the media, it's the way they do things, such as trying to get hold of private and confidential information about a celebs gran, or papparratzi stalking people in order to get a photograph. In very exceptional cases this might be warranted, but only in a Watergate type sceneario and even then a certain degree of ethics need to be upheld.
So I am a little bit bothered by all the attention on Kate Middleton. I mean is it really necessary! If she and Prince William decided to get engaged they will let us know, otherwise it's none of our business. If we take an interest in the love life of anyone we know, do we resort to such tactics as stalking or phone tapping etc... In a great many cases we don't, we don't know this couple at the end of the day and we should leave them alone.
Oh and BTW Have the media learnt nothing since the death of Princess Diana?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Top Ten Nicest MP's

I did say I would do this, so here is my list of Top Ten MP's who I like:

(Disclaimer. I like Oliver Heald and have had a good working relationship with him with regard to my work with Oxfam. The problem is however, that he represents the constituency I live in, which obviously I think would be better served with a Labour MP. I would also like to point out that I don't think any the less of the 636 other MP's. For a start I don't know very much about a lot of them!)

Alistair Burt

Very kind, approachable, down to earth sort of guy. Have met him once or twice at Christian political events and he once came to the coffee shop where I once worked.

Iain Duncan-Smith

Any Questions once came to my area and I got to be in the audience. Duncan-Smith was on the panel at the time (when he was just a Shadow Cabinet member), and I gave him a rough time afterwards on the Tories immigration policy, which he handled very well. He struck me then as a man committed to social principles but in the wrong political party. Was disgusted by the way many of his fellow MP's treated him in 2003.

Hilary Benn

The guy allegedly turned down promotion so that he could spend more time getting things done at DfID! Kind, courteous, and the only cabinet minister who I have addressed by his christian name when meeting him without a moments thought.

Andy Reed

Kerron's boss, and a friendly one at that. I once did a days work experience among the Reedites and was impressed by Andy's general demeanour.

Ann Widdecombe

Okay, many people find her difficult and she doesn't suffer fools gladly, but she is unafraid to tackle the things she regards as wrong and I am told that she is a very warm hearted person in private. Seeing her entertain Louis Theroux for a week, I can believe it ;), plus she is against foxhunting. I also have a lot of respect for her, even if I dislike a no of her political views!

Henry Bellingham

He once tried to set up an All Parliamentary Group looking into issues involving dyspraxia, dyslexia, autism, and aspergers, and I was interested enough to write to him and ask with a view to getting involved.We met up at Portcullis House and I was struck by his sheer decency.

Barbara Follett

My CLP's neighbouring MP. Gives us help, advice, and has been generally kind to us over the years. Honest and unpretentious and if only more MP's are like that

Hugh Bayley

Met him during the by-election campaign in Leicester South. A bit shy and unstuffy, which I found rather endearing.

Alan Beith

Moral, forthright, and talented. Devout Christian in the Methodist tradition as well ;)

Gordon Brown

A lot of people write about Gordon Brown being a dour Scot who is a control freak and have not met him. I have. He is a bit shy, but a leader cannot live by charisma alone, and as well as knowing where you stand with him, he is moral, considerate of others in need, and you always know where you stand with him.

David Ervine

(BBC Online)
Was saddened to hear of his tragic death yesterday. This isn't hyperbole when I say that I think that he was one of the most courageous politicians in Northern Ireland, because he came from the Paramillitary part of the Unionist community and was one of the first among the broad Unionist community to actively work for peace by working with Sinn Fein.

Seven Deadly Sins Quiz, My Results

Via Paul Linford

Greed:Medium
Gluttony:Medium
Wrath:Low
Sloth:Medium
Envy:Low
Lust:Very Low
Pride:High


Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

I am not that nice surely! ;)

Eggs Benedict

(Paul Goyette)
Watching Celebrity Big Brother does have it's advantages, one of which being that I now know what "Eggs Benedict" actually consists of.
This is because apparently it is The Benny's favourite breakfast, so intrigued enough I do a bit of research on Wikipedia and apparently it it consists of:

"a dish consisting of two halves of an English muffin, usually topped with smoked bacon or ham (sometimes known as back bacon, which in America is called Canadian bacon), poached eggs, and the crucial ingredient, hollandaise sauce."

There's me thinking it was a bit more posh than that, but it has whetted my appetite now where having eggs benedict for breakfast has become one of my lifetime's ambitions. Incidentally there is allegedly now an Eggs Benedict XVI (after the Pope) only it's Sauerbraten or sausage and rye bread with the egg.

Sadly yours...

Monday, January 08, 2007

New Year. New Sparring Politics. Well forget new...

I didn't catch much of that interview with Gordon Brown yesterday morning, but what I saw I liked.
This is down to two things, first of all he took the moral lead and condemmed Saddam Hussein's execution (a pity the PM has remained silent on this, of which I cannot find an adequate reason) and the second is Gordon's vision.
Put basically the style of government will change if he becomes Prime Minister. There are new challenges ahead and we need to meet them with a fresh perspective. Long running governments do get tired (see the last nine years of Conservative government) and Labour needs to gently renew itself within government and reconnect with the British public or else we might see the awful possibility of David Cameron being Prime Minister in the next decade.
Incidentally how are the Conservatives doing these days? Well falling back into some old habits it seems. According to my good friend and fellow blogger Kerron Cross, the Conservatives in Scotland might ditch their leader Annabel Goldie for not being right-wing enough!
Now Ms Goldie is one of those individual Conservatives I quite warm to, so I am a bit saddened by all of this, albeit a bit puzzled as to why the Conservatives have decided to take this course of action. After all it was under Margaret Thatcher and John Major that the Conservatives got to where they are now in Scotland (i.e. fourth place)! You would have thought that they would realise how the canny Scots feel about politics and be a bit more pragmatic and centerist, but C'est la vie.
Another story comes from Transpero.net, who has been involved with the HateMyTory campaign. One individual has understandably complained and sent an e-mail which can be seen here. A bit OTT of the individual but there you are.
Now I am not too keen on the HateMyTory campaign, it is vindictive and petty and (whilst I sympathise with the fact that it comes from years of political hurt) quite unessesary. In any case I have not seen anyone on there I really, really take a big dislike to. But I digress, my sympathy with the individual who sent the e-mail ended with this bit:


"Put my photo back on the site if you’d like i’ll gladly sacrifice that to tell you what an idiot you are, I have no manners, respect or time for a person of your caliber. Your probably a result of a state school education (bet that upsets you eh?)"

Now there really wasn't any need for that and it just goes to show that Young Conservatives still haven't changed. Whilst you get some nice individuals, you also get many who are childish, infantile, snobbish, prone to fighting dirty etc.. Nice to see the Cameronistas getting to grips with the real world.
Incidentally Transpero replied as follows:

"Well, _____, you are quite right. I spent most of my secondary school years at a pretty run down (these were the 1980s) North London comprehensive - but they did teach me the difference between you are and your so I suspect less money was wasted on me than you."*

*Have not mentioned the individuals name as I am unsure where I legally stand

More on Celebrity Big Brother

(Channel 4/Endemol)
Will blog tonight on yesterday's interview with Gordon Brown (which I didn't find as boring as Iain found it), plus on some recent Conservative Party embarrasments, but for now I have a few minutes to mention something a bit trivial.
I have to say that I have become somewhat hooked on Celebrity Big Brother this year. Is it because I like most of the contestants, or the fact we have seen two walkouts in two days, or the arrival of the Goody family, or...
Well it's all of it, but it's basically because I like most of the contestants and am just hoping that it all goes well for them, whether it means walking out or not. I have to say, I have developed a bit of respect for Ken Russell, even if he can be difficult at times.

Things to do with Advent/Christmas Pt 36: The Damp Squib of Early January

Well it offically finished on Saturday and I wanted to mark it with a picture I found on a blog, but for some reason I can't find it right now, so the jaded post here seems somewhat symbolic. By January 6th, many people have tidied away cards and taken down decorations (apart from a noble few), so until the issue of Christmas comes up again this is the last of these series of posts...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Magnus Magnusson

(BBC Online)
A main part of Sunday teatime with Mastermind, but there was much more to him than that. He hosted some superb documentaries and was a successor to Gordon Brown as Rector of the University of Edinburgh.
Definetly a part of what has made the BBC good quality over the years and he will be much missed.

Teddy Kollek 1911-2007


In the desert winds that make Israeli politics, Teddy Kollek was a voice of sweet reason and managed to serve both Israeli and Arab interests in Jerusalem, without being hypociritical. For those who knew him, knew of him, and respected him, he will be much missed

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Some Home Truths the Conservatives don't like or Tory Bashing!

It has been said that Kerron's counterpart in the Conservative blogosphere is Iain Dale, and I do wonder if my opposite no is Prague Tory , although I don't get into some of the scrapes he does (probably down to cowardice on my part), so if anything I suspect my Conservative counterpart is Tim Roll-Pickering .
That said, Prague Tory has started an open threat on "how to annoy lefties", now I am not too impressed with this (obviously) and I think some balance needs to be redressed, so I have told PT that I intend to do a list on how to annoy those on the right. So any suggestions from fellow Labour activists/bloggers will be most welcome.
So to set the ball rolling:

(Disclaimer. I want to make it clear in advance that I abide by some form of Queensbury rules in that I wish to state that there are a no of individual Conservatives I like and/or admire. With regards to blogs, not least Iain Dale , Louise, Prague Tory, Tim Roll-Pickering and Ellee Seymour, it's just that they are politically misguided.This list is meant to be a bit of fun and I apologise in advance to those Tories who take offence, depending on who they are ;) )

1) Point out that no left-leaning, Labour supporting national newspaper backed Sir Oswald Mosely, Hitler, or any other leading fascist in the 1930's, whereas....

2) No leading Labour figure backed a relaxing of economic sanctions against South Africa in the 1980's, nor did they support Pinochet's brutal dictatorship in Chile and make pathetic excuses for the regime

3) Just a few words: Westminster City Council under Dame Shirley Porter

4) Unemployment has never gone above two million under any postwar Labour Govt..

5) Three general election victories for Labour since 1997. Two of them landslides and better majorities than any the Conservatives enjoyed!

6) Politicians who have been arrested and imprisoned for a criminal offence have tended to be Tories!




Friday, January 05, 2007

Taking Offence

(BBC Online)
Like Jonathan Chilvers , Life of Brian is one of my favourite films, and therefore I find the whole furore coming from Christians when it was first released, rather embarrasing.
But, again like Jonathan, I wonder how I would have reacted had I been older than four years old in 1979 (when it was made), and I do empathise with some of the knee-jerk reaction in that many Christians felt that their faith was being threatened and some elemnets of society were persecuting them (God help them if they came across real persecution!)
But there is a difference between persecution and challenege and Life of Brian does challenge the Christian faith, pointing out the little foibles of it's followers and the general absurdities of life in general. Something Bishop Mervyn Stockwood should have perhaps of considered before he swanned into the TV studios and made unpleasant facetious comments about "Thirty Pieces of Silver" (But then I have never been a fan of Mervyn Stockwood, given the way he tried to bully John Stott into not allowing his church to be used by Billy Graham in the mid 1950's, and the incident with John Cleese and Michael Palin).
However, sometimes we Christians have a right to be worried and one example is the way the Exeter University Evangelical Christian Union has been treated. The group may have it's faults, but it is hardly a BNP Youth Wing and I don't quite see a problem with getting members to sign a declaration of faith (depending on what was in that declaration). After all you couldn't imagine a branch of a political party at University not having some form of ruling for it's members!