Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mitchell and Webb on why Moneypenny's friend James, should not be invited to a Party!

(BBC)

An Unpleasant Week With the Tories

My general attitude towards Tories is probably the same as some zenophobes have towards the French and Germans. I like a few individuals, but as a whole...
And then there are those who say and do things that remind you what you morally dislike about them as a group.
First of all there was the discovery that David Cameron has fallen foul of the Parliamentary Standards Commission. Now I like David, but he does seem to be a bit of a chipmunk sometimes with his publicity-seeking events, such as cycling to Parliament, suggesting we hug hoodies etc.. which, added to various other events, does make one question his judgement.
But there is the unpleasant side as well, such as the Barnet Councillor who blacked up as Nelson Mandela at a fancy dress party.
Now Cllr Gordon says that it was in tribute to Mandela, and he has even had some support from Nelson Mandela's office, but did they know about this little story concerning Cllr Gordon some thirty years ago? I somehow doubt it.
The Tories. Always there to remind you how they once were and why they lost so badly in 1997!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bloggers Against Mugabe

I have thought about writing this for a while, and now seems a good a time as ever. If you agree to this, add your comment to this post and if possible link it to your blog and I will add your name on the post. If you like you can copy it, so long as you include the list of names here. The idea is that this posting gets repeated as much as possible and is used on as many blogs as possible:

Dear Mr Mugabe

Note first of all that we have not addressed you as President or any other such title, given the way the elections in Zimbabwe in the past few years have gone.
Our main aim in writing this is that we, as members of the international blogging community (not just the West) demand that you resign forthwith from your civic posts. This is not out of any racist or colonial attitude as you well know. It is out of a sense of common decency and horror at the way you are running what was once a beautiful and economically prosperous nation into the ground and the way you treat your people as if they were dirt, black and white. Not just the farm settlers, but also the poor city inhabitants as shown by your disgusting policy of "Operation Drive Out Trash"
You are not respected by a growing no of countries abroad, in recent weeks even South Africa has shown disquiet at your actions. Men of honour in that country such as Mandela and Archbishop Tutu are appalled at your actions. No doubt you think that we are arrogant and that we can "Go hang.." as you so arrogantly put it, but we are merely appalled and angered by your lust for power, your brutal ways of dealing with those who oppose you, and your total lack of respect for your people. You have in the past twenty-seven years made the economy and the democratic and judical processes in your nation (much valued in many a decent country) a joke. In the Name of God, of reason and of common decency. Resign now or else you will make things much worse for yourself.

Sincerely
Paul Burgin (Mars Hill)
Icedink (The Done Thing )
Prague Tory (Prague Tory )
Louise (My Rambling Thoughts )
Dizzy (DIzzy Tests , Dizzy Thinks )


Mightyeye (Bushey Chronicle )

Tim Roll-Pickering on Proportional Representation

A thoughtful piece which is worth a read, esp if you are like me and support "First Past the Post" for the House of Commons, simply because of the view that people vote for single parties to be in power, not coalition governments!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bloggers4Gordon


As a Gordon Brown supporter I am delighted to put this link on the sidebar. Hat tip to Kerron for pointing this out, and where he also has written a good blog piece on why Brown should be the next Prime Minister. In particular where he says:



"Under Gordon we have seen record employment levels (and record low unemployment), a stable yet growing economy, a national minimum wage, an increase in maternity leave and the introduction of paternity leave, help to the most needy in society, increase in aid to the poorest overseas, and investment in the public services that was so lacking under the Tories – amongst other things. (I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you!)




"And what do we have as the major criticism of Gordon from his critics from inside and outside the party? That he is a rather dour Scot, overly serious, with a forensic eye for detail, more bothered about the fine points of policy than how he comes across on TV. Well, I’m sorry, but those are exactly the sort of characteristics that I want from my politicians."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Eating My Words

(Press Association)

Seems like I was totally wrong when I wrote this post, since this happened. I could say more, but it's kinda late and Iain Dale has (unusually) written something political where I agree with not just one part of the entry, but just about every single word he says!

500 Miles to the top of the charts!

(BBC Online)
Not often this happens to a favourite song of mine. Brings back a few poignant memories and this time it's for Comic Relief as well :)

Lest We Forget

It's good that this weekend has been spent remembering the 200th anniversary of the vote to abolish the slave trade (more of my thoughts on this can be read here), but the question has arisen as to whether it is right to apologise, considering it happened so long ago and those responsible are long since dead! I certainly question paying reperations as where does the money go?
The honest answer is I don't know, but I do believe it is right to have a statement of sorrow and regret at the very least as to do otherwise at this time would be a bit crass and it is at least a sign that we have moved forward in attitude.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

DUP - The Final Countdown

(Associated Press)

But it's sad that they are arrogant to be the only ones who find this difficult. Many who want to see this power sharing happen (inc myself) have long memories, but it's important for Northern Ireland's future that this happens. The DUP have wedded themselves to power sharing, Gordon Brown has promised an extra £1bn if they go ahead tomorrow, so is there any good reason for delay?

And the sad thing is that they are not letting down Sinn Fein, or the British or Irish governments. It's the good people of Northern Ireland they are letting down!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Jeffrey Archer, truth, betrayals, and the Vatican

I admit it, Jeffrey Archer is someone who I dislike, who I am wary and suspicious of, and therefore that may well give me an automatic bias when I come across stories like these.
I don't know the in's and out's of this so I suppose I ought to reserve some judgement, suffice to say that I am a bit unsure about the theological accuracy here and concerned about the Vatican approval, esp as Archer, as well described by Catherine Bennett in her column in The Guardian earlier this week:

"...is not devout and has never, unlike Jonathan Aitken, repented of anything. He is not a churchgoer. He is not spiritual. On the contrary: visiting interviewers find him gloating, with his customary enthusiasm, over the substantial treasures he has laid up on Earth. Rather than beg for absolution, he has, in the past, proclaimed his intention to appeal against a conviction he believes to have been unfair. Could he have been sent to challenge their forgiveness? If so, Moloney has responded magnificently, telling the world how much he admires Archer's "honesty and integrity".

More of her article can be read here.

I just don't understand what the Catholic Church (an organisation of which I have much love and respect) is playing at here., because the way things look on the surface it smacks of double standards, they might just as well stop their ban on contraception (and I was never a fan of that, the ban I mean ;) )
Would be interested to know what Cally's Kitchen makes of this and whether this is a spin on what is hopefully a more positive story.

Mitchell and Webb on dodgy degrees

(BBC)

Very funny Guy Riche pastiche, some of the one liners are classic ;)

Friday, March 23, 2007

More on Bob Woolmer's death

(BBC Online)

It also looks like it is opening a whole can of worms about cricket match fixing possibly involving the Mafia, which is in itself a shock because cricketing has previously had a rather genteel image of gentlemanly sport on a quiet summers day. The previous scandals being the, (what the old hands would term "not quiet a gentleman") cricketers, not training properly and getting "rat arsed" before a match. Either that or carrying on behind the wife's back and the worst being playing in South Africa during apartheid

This truly is a sad day for Bob Woolmer's family, friends and colleagues, for cricket, and for all who love the game.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

All Quiet on the Blogging Front

The more perceptive readers of Mars Hill will notice that my blogging has slowed down lately. The simple reason is that I am more busy and have less time. However I am still brimming with ideas for things to blog about and am still full of opinions, so stick around as I will be updating this slightly more frequently when I get the chance

Bizarre Media

From Eurovision to coffee, music, politics, and film. I read that Sir Paul McCartney has signed up to the Starbucks record label. I have to say that until a few weeks ago I didn't even know they had one. Maybe I'm Amazed, who knows ;)
But, oh I don't know, I think it's fair to say my feelings on this are mixed. On one hand it looks like a sellout, on the other what can be more cool than knowing that one company deals with, not only your favourite types of coffee, but also your favourite music.
As for politics and film, I am surprised to read that a film biopic is to be made of Ian Paisley (hat tip to Kerron btw). Well who says satire is dead, but any biopic sympathetic to Big Ian will run into problems. That said, the final chapter, leading a government with Sinn Fein is still a possibility, so let's just see what happens.
Don't think Paisley's sermons will be published by Starbucks though!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Eurovision

Like many others I am not impressed with the winner for the job of representing the UK and for the last few days have wondered if, yet again, Britain has taken leve of it's musical senses!
But Tim Roll-Pickering suggests otherwise. That it was all part of a cunning plan. Now I am all for saving money, whether we need to or not, but the thought of the alternative having another band that will be forgotten in five years time and having less visible talent compared to other UK musicians interested in taking part just makes me feel a tad ashamed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Searching Through Bins

(BBC Online)
I am not a fan of newspapers raiding through people's bins etc.. in order to get hold of a worthwhile story. It violates the privacy of the owner and his or her family and, if nothing, else, it is immoral. I can think of circumstances where it is okay, but those are ones where I think the police had better be doing it.


But that's where my sympathy ends, because talking about a commitment to the enviroment and then using a private jet to travel from Oxford to Hereford is a bit hypocritical as far as I'm concerned.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Zimbabwe

(BBC Online)
In the past week, the situation here has been tipping to the point where it is fair to ask: "Is Robert Mugabe coming to the end of his dictatorship?"

First there were the attacks on opposition leaders after a prayer meeting, then the African press started to attack Mugabe (unheard of until now), then South Africa (previously an ally) started to criticise Mugabe's regime, at the same time the President of the African Union calling Mugabe's actions "very embarrassing"

This has been followed by opposition members in Zimbabwe prevented from leaving the country and Mugabe threatening to expel western diplomats who criticise his regime. On top of all this, the country is undergoing economic meltdown, with inflation higher than anywhere else in the World.

Mugabe looks like a man who is becoming increasingly desperate to hold on to power whatever the cost. If he resigns, he knows there is a strong chance of being charged with a no of crimes pertaining to his regime. He can also feel the heat of other countries, previously silent, starting to attack him.

The UK are calling for widespread sanctions and the prevention of travelling abroad of 125 Zimbabwean officials and their families. In the meantime he is trying to encourage stronger relations with China, who have so far not criticised his regime and who are keen for a more predominant influence in the Third World.

There are two approaches to take on this, one is to take a prayerful and reflective view on how to resolve this issue without causing any damaging rifts with other African countries, the other is not to back down now. More people are attacking Mugabe and his language is becoming more hostile, this is the sign of a man rattled and losing his grip on power.

Mitchell and Webb on the dangers of inviting childhood heroes to a party!

(BBC)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Last Night on Life on Mars

(BBC Online)
I thought last night's episode was one of the best, and DCI Hunt at his finest, from his eating sherbert in a messy fashion to gate crashing a swingers party. The cover names made me smile, but why oh why the names of senior contemporary Labour politicians! The BBC is supposed to be biased against the Tories you know ;)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Charles Clarke on Gordon Brown

(Press Association)
Yesterday's interview with Charles Clarke in The Independent made an interesting read, esp when he suggests David Miliband would make a good Prime Minister, but neatly sidesteps the suggestion of supporting Gordon Brown.

Thing is, I agree we need a leadership election, that we need a debate, but I am sure I can be forgiven for questioning the motives behind what Milburn and Clarke are doing.

The whole issue and lack of transparent honesty just shows a degree of cowardice and a lack of respect from the electorate. If you want someone substantial to challenge Gordon, just say so or shut up and stop behaving like a pair of stereotypical politicians!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Is Cameron Out of Step with his Party?

(BBC Online)
It used to be Europe, now it looks like it's the enviroment!

If any of you had brought, or had access to a copy of the Sunday Telegraph today, then you will have read that David Cameron is planning on tax hikes on air travel if he ever becomes Prime Minister.

Natrually some of the airlines are unhappy about this, but so also are some in the Conservative Party. There are a no of Tories who tend to poo poo some of the comments made by experts on global warming, not least John Redwood, who is quoted on the back of the main supplement as being against the view that the current environment debacle is the fault of mankind!

Poor Tories, they have to sit and stomach a lot. The environment, Cameron's sacking of Patrick Mercer, hugging hoodies etc... Come the next election it will have to be asked whether David Cameron is leader of a coalition or two active political parties who are uncomfortable with each other!

Zimbabwe Lurching from Crisis to Crisis

(BBC Online)
This is just the icing on the cake. I have read recently that some individuals have been arrested recently for being rude about Mugabe in public. Hopefully the next twelve months will see a significant change for the better and hopefully a change of government!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Patrick Mercer

It would be easy for me to go in for that sport of Tory bashing this morning, as this comfirms the suspicions many non-Conservatives have about some groups of people within the Party. In this case I just hope it was the usual stupidity and crass insensitivity that you get with some of them. Although that in itslef breeds ignorance, which can breed prejudice, which can breed...
So it was a breath of fresh air that news came through that Cameron instantly sacked Patrick Mercer, although it is interesting, and indeed a pity, that few Conservative bloggers have mentioned it.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reform of the House of Lords

(BBC Online)
As time goes by, some changes are made to Britain's unwritten constitution that will be beneficial or unhelpful, but in both cases painful for a number of people.

Last night's vote on the House of Lords future was one of those times. For me it is a change I fully endorse, although that is not a view I held a number of years ago, for the simple reason that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!". For me the Commons was what mattered, being the primary legislator, and given the uneven composition of the Lords, one could hardly call it a politically biased chamber (For those who have accused it of being piled full of Tories, remember it wasn't exactly a friend of Margaret Thatcher's and could be obstructive during the 1980s). But the first wave of reform and the "Cash for Peerages" allegations have changed all that! The exclusion of most of the heriditary peers has meant that most of them can apply not only for election to the House of Commons, but if a heriditary peer dies, election as one of the 100 or so left in the Lords. That is elitist and unfair.

Then we have the "Cash for Peerages" allegations. To become a member of any legislature in the world is open to abuse, but the Lords in this case has hardly any democratic accountability. Political institutions must not only be clean of sleaze and corruption, they must appear to be as well, and whilst that is difficult in itself, significant reform of the Lords may well help restore people's faith in the political process, depending of course on how it is handled from now on!>

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Northern Ireland Assembly Elections

(Wikipedia.org)
Hopefully, today will see the election of a fully working assembly, as opposed to a simple talking shop. All that is needed now is for Ian Paisley (If the DUP win the most seats, which is likely) to form an inclusive administration and for him and his followers to put aside their antipathy towards Sinn Fein and for the hardline Republicans to shed theirs towards the Unionist community.

This is easier said than done and I know almost from first hand experience how difficult it is to face being in a room with former terrorists, but for Northern Ireland's sake we all have to move forward and stop putting obsticales in the way

Not the Nine O'Clock News -"One More Job"

One of my all-time favourite NTNOCN sketches and you will see why. Most of you will enjoy this as well ;)

(BBC)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Recess Monkey and Margaret Thatcher

Enough has been written about this post already, but how many of us, late at night, tired, probably a bit drunk, would have immediately blogged such a story sent by a friend? I remember last year sending an April Fool text to people saying that Tony Blair had resigned and more than one person it was sent to believed it!
Not only that but Alex didn't go into a diatribe against Maggie when he broke the news, if anything he seemed shocked and dumbfounded. He has since retracted his original statement, so I think it's best to draw a veil over the whole thing.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Village Vermin's mistakes

(US National Park Service)
It's a fair parody of other Westminster-style blogs, such as Recess Monkey, but for one thing. This would have not been so blatant in real life, more hinted at if anything, for fear of legal action!

Am I Republican or Democrat?

Via Adele

Your Vote Score: 34% Republican, 66% Democrat

While you don't always agree with the Democrat party, it's a pretty good match for you.
Do be sure to research each candidate. A liberal Republican or independent candidate might fit you better at times.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Wiberforce Anniversary

(University of Texas libraries)
This year sees the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. What is often forgotten is that, whilst much of this was down to William Wilberforce himself, some of the credit must also go to those who he worked with and who were known by the umbrella name of the Clapham Sect.

It's also worth noting that, aside from the great move towards an evil injustice and that therefore it is right and proper to remember Wilberforce for that. It is also right and proper to remember him this year because of the injustices of slavery that still go on in the World, whether it is physical or economic, or both! And those injustices are ones which, as then, we like to sweep under the carpet or put as somewhere from another time.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Is Your Blog Banned in China?

Cally's Kitchen has a link to an interesting site which checks whether your blog/website is banned in China!
Mine isn't, in spite of this posting, but I am sure that with this actual post that may change :/

Mars Hill Blog Stats (Feb 2007)

Top Ten Cities listed (from where people visit Mars Hill)

London, Northampton, New York, Hertford, Canberra, Woking, Verona, Toronto, Lancaster (Ohio), Wichita


Top Ten Countries listed (In order of most visits to my blog)


United Kingdom

United States

Canada

Australia

Ireland

Philippines

South Africa

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Netherlands


For those who have started reading my blog in the last month, or who have returned after an absence, a warm welcome to you all!


Top Ten Blog/Web Visitors

1) British Blogs (NEW)

2) Cally's Kitchen (+ 3)

3) Adele's labour blog (NEW-ish)

4) Brighton Regency Labour Party (NEW)

5) Political Opinions (NEW)

6) Tonguefire (NEW)

7) Tim Roll-Pickering (NEW-ish)

8) FurberWorld (NEW)

9) Iain Dale (- 5)

10) Paul Linford (-2)

Out of the Top Ten are Kerron Cross - The Voice of the Delectable Left, Bloggers4Labour , tygerland.net/, Prague Tory, Freemania, My BlogLog.com, and Jo Salmon

Mitchell and Webb on the abuse of Power

Or rather, why you should not have a green clarinet :)

(BBC)

World Book Day 2007 Part Two

Further to my last posting, it went well, although if a bit quiet compared to last year. The Quiz was also later, at 11PM and I found myself in a team consisting of regular customers of mine from work. Unfortunatley we came into third place (there were four teams), thus causing a blow to my ego when it comes to Quiz evenings (I pride myself in being in teams that usually come first or second), which is no bad thing ;)
Plus yesterday was St David's Day, so a belated regards to all my Welsh readers!

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Banned Photo

I have to admit, as someone from across the political boundaries I had some sympathy for David Cameron, but this is silly.
Probably down to some over zealous Tory, but it makes you wonder what more there is to hide?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Arthur Schlesinger 1917-2007

(Associated Press)
Just read that Arthur Schlesinger has died.

For those who don't know, he was one of Kennedy's advisers (and about the same age as President Kennedy as well, which makes it hard to believe that, if alive today, JFK would be approaching his 90th birthday), and he was against the Bay of Pigs invasion. Schlesinger also wrote a worthwhile book on the Kennedy administration called A Thousand Days, which is worth a browse at the least

World Book Day 2007

As with last year, the local bookshop in my area, David's, are planning a series of events. One of which being the twenty-six hour readathon.
As per usual, I am one of those taking part and am down for the 7:15PM slot. The book I have chosen is Scoop by Evelyn Waugh.

Will let you know how it all went!