Monday, April 30, 2007

Vote Saxon

(BBC Online)
With the local and Scottish and Welsh elections in three days time and many of you involved probably feeling a little stressed, so for fun I thought I would share this spoof website (BBC sanctioned) about a fictional politician who, if he existed, should be kept well away from the corridors of power.
(And it's nothing to do with Sam Tyler and the 1970s)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Quickly...

A busy weekend with a Stag Night yesterday (was hellish getting in and out of London) and a relative's 80th birthday party today, so one or two things I want to quickly mention this weekend

Rubbish Bins

Here's a question for you. 1) Which Party runs many of the councils ?and 2) Was notthe same Party that stripped a lot of councils of it's authority in the 1980s?
Don't doubt for a moment that this is one of the more nasty local election campaigns waged yet by the Tories, from cheap attacks on Gordon Brown's economic competence to making accusations about Labour's record in local government when it's the Tories who cause many of the problems which occur!

Cavatina

Written by Stanley Myers and performed by John Williams, this is one of my favourite pieces of music and I heard it for the first time in a while yesterday. It's best known for being part of the soundtrack of The Deer Hunter.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Goldsmith Factor

(Getty Images)

It's a fair comment, if politically biased in some quarters. The Attorney General is, in theory, answerable first and foremost to HM The Queen, not the Prime Minister, and it is one of those constitutional anomalies we have in this country which allows situations like this to develop. However, to call for Goldsmith to stand aside is, as some Labour critics know, pointless. Any successor of his would be appointed by the PM and therefore up for the same criticism. The Conservatives know this and are just using the position of the Attorney General as an exercise in kicking the government in the unmentionables during an election campaign.

If they, and others, were serious about the whole matter, then an all-Party review into the role of Attorney General would take place and whether it should be a Party-political post or one elected by members of the House of Commons. It's not as if the government isn't open to this. After one of Derry Irvine's regular exercises in arrogance and stupidity (a man who wasn't actually popular with many Labour MP's and activists), Labour did much to try and split the Office of Lord Chancellor and aviod acusations of bias.

But no, an All-Party group looking into the Office of Attorney General won't happen. The Conservatives like to continue their kicking, thus putting electoral expediency before decency.

The Two Bloggers

Flattery and compliments can take you to all kinds of strange places, and all because of an offhand comment by Iain Dale on Vox Politix


(Image source: Barry Beef, "touched up" by Red Tamarin.)


Apologies

For some reason one or two comments have not gone through to my e-mail account from comment moderation. Am working on this, but just to let you know that I do publish about 99% of the comments sent to me, friendly or critical, so the chances are that if you one of the few who have sent me a comment and it hasn't been published, it's because I didn't receive it

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Prime Minister Interviewed on YouTube

(Labour Party)
A bit of history here. For the first time, a British Prime Minister has been interviewed on YouTube, courtesy of John O'Farrell. Who says Labour are behind the Tories with these things ;)
Hat Tip to Alex Hilton at Labourhome

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Euston Manifesto Event

Received an e-mail yesterday evening, part of which I have copied:

Humanitarian Intervention post-Iraq, Monday 30th April.

Jubilee Room, Westminster Hall, Houses of Parliament, London.

A Euston Manifesto Forum

On Monday 30th April, a panel of leading Ministers, MPs, and thinkers will come together to discuss the future of humanitarian intervention, after the conflict in Iraq.

As a Euston Manifesto signatory blog, we would like to give your readership the opportunity to ask questions directly to the panel. We would really appreciate you and your readers' contributions to this important debate, and would be grateful to you if you could raise awareness of the event, which we hope will raise nationally and internationally the importance of humanitarian intervention.

The speakers include: -

Rt. Hon. Hilary Benn MP, Minister for International Development and a candidate for the Labour party deputy leadership.

Prof. Brian Brivati, Professor of Contemporary History and Human Rights at Kingston University.

Nick Cohen, journalist for the Observer and New Statesman, and author of 'What's Left? How Liberals lost their way'.

Gary Kent, Director of Labour Friends of Iraq.

Pat McFadden MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Cabinet Office

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust (tbc.)

In a first of its kind, the forum will be broadcast on Youtube and, hopefully, simultaneously these clips will be placed on blogs sympathetic to the Euston Manifesto across the internet, globally.

Please ask your readership to submit questions to the panel


--------------------
Let me know your thoughts on this

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bloggers4Labour Meetup Yesterday

Others will do the meeting with better justice, as I wasn't there throughout, but after visiting the Palace of Westminster on occasion for about six years now I still haven't lost my awe, having tentatively entered Committee Room 8 nervously wondering if I was walking in on another meeting. What I can say is that it was helpful and constructive with attendees in double figures.
Another plus is that afterwards we were taken to the House of Lords bar. I haven't been there in three years but it has been tided up well and looks rather trendy.
In fact it's been tided so well tht if it wasn't for the fact that it's next to the Terrace and the Red Decor, you wouldn't have thought you were in the Palace at all!

Boris Yeltsin R.I.P.

(Associated Press)
Was saddened, but not surprised to read of his death yesterday. As Iain Dale said, two images of Yeltsin spring to mind. I remember well those three days when it looked like Russian democracy was being choked at birth and the fear of a potential return to those horrendous years of 1917-1921. But Yeltsin showed true bravery and courage in standing his ground and giving the communists the final face-down that they deserved. That in itself was enough to give him a place in the pantheon of global statesmen who are fondly remembered.
Then of course Yeltsin the principled freedom fighter and Democrat became Yeltsin the drinking buffoon. Like a no of other people, I can also remember him keeping the Irish Prime Minister of the day, waiting on the tarmac at Shannon Airport because he was "sleeping". Rather embarrasing to all concerned and humiliating no doubt for the delegates from the Russian Embassy.

I would rather remember the former Yeltsin.

St George's Day


A belated happy St George's Day to you all.

Incidentally check this article by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, which is about St George's Day and multiculturalism and this Wikipedia entry on the man who was the previous Patron Saint of England (until 1348).


It seems to be a week of anniversaries. Saturday saw the Queen's birthday, yesterday also saw the anniversary of the birth (and death) of the Great Bard himself




Monday, April 23, 2007

Is the Party Over?

(BBC Online)
I really hope Kerron has got it wrong on this!
It was a bit cliched and predictable, true. But it was also fun to watch and was (from a Labour point of view) believeable in the balance of showing individual Tories who you liked and cared about, but still wanted to see lose in elections. That kind of contradiction seems to confuse people but these guys got it right. A second series could have shown scenes with the dreaded Lib Dems, although some would argue that that already happened with Saturday's episode of Doctor Who ;)
Party Animals also brought back memories of working as a volunteer for the Labour Party, although I hasten to add that I never shared the experiences that Scott, Danny, and Kirsty had! ;)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

When Will Those Tories Learn!

I suppose I am perhaps Tory-bashing a bit much this week, but hey there are elections coming up and I am a member of the Labour Party! But Mike Ion has written this piece which is worth reading and shows how flippantly some people treat the unacceptable views of others.
My own take. Well a) When will they learn and b) If Cameron was serious about his Party's future as an electoral success he would take on some of the more unpleasant aspects of the Conservative Party just as Neil Kinnock did in the 1980s with Millitant. Will that happen? What do you think!

Mitchell and Webb on Those Telephone Calls

(BBC)

Terry Major-Ball R.I.P.

(Press Association)

Meant to mention this yesterday, but have been battling a migraine.

Not many British Prime Ministers have had famous, or even vaguely well-known siblings (I think the last was Neville Chamberlain's brother, Austen), many preferring to keep out of the limelight, so it was always interesting to see Terry Major-Ball on television or in the newspapers. Like his brother (of whom I have a high regard for as a person, bar his overt friendship with Jeffrey Archer and his affair with Edwina Currie) he came across as a quiet, yet somewhat decent man who never once mentioned brother John's slightly colourful past in the face of a media environment that thrives on such stories.

Other blog obits can be found on Iain Dale's blog, as well as Stephen Tall's.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Party Election Broadcast - Labour

As briefly mentioned when I was on 18 Doughty Street a few days ago, here is Labour's latest election broadcast.
This has been given a predictable pasting from the Tories and Lib Dems, but Labour in government has a knack of listening to people's concerns and fears and acting accordingly. Admittedly we sometimes get it wrong, we are only human after all, but we do try and the fact we have won three general elections in a row is an indicator of this.

(Labour.org.uk)


PS Wasn't it kind of Gordon to refuse the change from the taxi driver :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Conservatives and Finanical Hypocricy

One thing many of us in the Labour Party have had to stomach in the past few months are the constant sniping from the Conservatives about alleged financial misconduct from the Labour Party.
Whcih is amusing in so far as they aren't exactly as pure as the driven snow themselves. Not even recently it seems.
Maybe it's me, but living in tax exile and wanting to help society's disadvantaged seems slightly strange when you consider that the aim of most Labour governments (whether we have been succesful in the past or not) is to use tax as a way of helping the more disadvantaged in our society.
But it's the sheer open goal from the Tories that intrigues me. One can almost imagine them in a trench trying to storm a house full of faithful footsoldiers from the Labour Party. You have HQ suggesting that they set up an armed post in No Man's Land, you have the likes of George Osborne shouting personal insults to Gordon Brown above the parapet. Otis Ferry wanting to storm across, kamikaze fashion, shouting "I hate them! I hate them!", and in the distance there is a small but steady bonfire of leaflets that Guido has been dropping from repeated flyovers.
Ah well, C'est la vie I suppose.

Quick Mentions

One of the things about being an active blogger in a 24/7 culture is that sometimes there are things you want to blog on which you don't get the chance to do and then it all becomes so passe. So whilst it's still fresh in people's minds (and I know others have blogged on both stories), there are two subjects I wanted to mention.

(BBC)
The first is Edwardian Super Size Me, which was shown on Monday evening. Now I missed some of this, due to being a guest on 18 Doughty Street (not that I am complaining you understand. As always, good to be involved in active debate, good company etc..), but I did catch the end of a late night repeat.
What got me was the sheer greed of the wealthy Edwardians . For example, a typical breakfast consisted of Porridge, Sardines on Toast, Curried Eggs, Grilled Cutlets, Coffee & Chocolate,Bread & Butter, and Honey. Now I would be happy to have just one of those for breakfast with either coffee or chocolate, not the whole lot! It's especially disgusting when you look at people like my grandparents (all of whom were born and brought up in the Edwardian era), who, when they were growing up, were either on the poverty line or who were not that far away in comparison. Then there is the aspect to do with people's cholesterol levels. Giles Coren's went up by over 1.2 in the course of this experiment and gained two stone.


And the other story. Well this is indeed a culinary delight in shadenfreuder (depending on your political allegancies). It seems that 1 in 3 Conservatives are still not happy with David Cameron, esp those in the North of England, where the Haltemprice and Howden Conservative Association do not have a framed photo of their beloved leader at their HQ. This particular quote made me smile

"He was up there,” one volunteer said, “but he fell down and we haven’t found him since then, but we haven’t really been bothered.” Another said that an unframed, crumpled portrait existed. “Then we stacked boxes in front of it.”

I somehow don't think that would have happened to Margaret Thatcher ;)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Tories Are Still the Nasty Party

Recently there has been this nasty lie going around that Gordon Brown has raided the state pensions in order to subsidise the British economy. Aside from the fact that even the Tories grudgingly admit that we have a relatively stable economy (which they try and pin the responsibility on the previous Tory government, even though Labour have now been in power for a decade), this is not exactly true.
This is what happened. Gordon Brown stopped a Conservative government subsidy for people who were wealthy enough to pay for private pensions. He then consequently put the money into the NHS in order to bring down the waiting list:
As the Tories know, the effect on the Pension industry was miniscule. All it did was remove a £5bn subsidy, which can hardly bankrupt an industry worth £1,000bn.
In consequence, Brown has virtually eradicated long-term waiting on the NHS. In 1997, 283,866 people in England were waiting more than six-months for an operation. Today, according to independently verified figures, there are only 299. That is still 299 too many and the system is still imperfect. For the Tories to then try and frighten vulnerable state pensioners is disgusting and vile.
The Express did the icing on the cake today by listing in it's editorial every postwar Chancellor of the Exchequer as being better than Gordon Brown. What, are the noveau riche of Middle England really dumb enough to believe that Norman Lamont (who wiped out 3.4bn of Britian's reserves in one day) is better than Gordon Brown? Richard Desmond has run an industry which peddles to the sad fantasies of sexist men and women which demeans them. A pity he has seen fit to continue in stoking the fantasies that arise from the fears of financial wellbeing from the vulnerable.

The Great Facebook Race - Labour

Labour, the Tories, and the Lib Dems are currently engaged in a slightly childish but fun and worthwhile competition. No, not the local elections, that's rather more serious and involves people's livelihoods.
Want The Great Facebook Race - Labour to beat the Tories and Lib Dems? Then join us, or join Facebook and join us. It may be petty but Honour is at stake here. Currently we are way ahead of the Lib Dems but slightly lagging behind the Tories. Ladies and Gentlemen you know what your duty requires you to do ;). Incidentally at the time of writing, Labour has 500 members, the Tories 691, and the Lib Dems 115.
Remember, time is short. The first to get 5,000 wins.

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?

Via Cally's Kitchen







Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?




You are Pope John Paul II. You are a force to be reckoned with.
Take this quiz!








Quizilla
Join

Make A Quiz More Quizzes Grab Code


Wouldn't have minded being John Paul I actually, but I feel somewhat comfortable with this one.

David Trimble

He did much to bring Northern Ireland to the political place where it is today and, having met him briefly a couple of times, I can say that he comes across in person as a fairly warm hearted and decent guy. Am just a bit saddened that he has joined the wrong mainland Party and joined the group of Tories who are decent but misguided, esp as Labour has done much for the peace process in Northern Ireland (although admittedly the Conservatives did some of the ground work at the beginning)

Gene Hunt 2007

Well I did promise

SYNOPSIS OF LIFE ON MARS SPIN-OFF, BLUE GENE

EPISODE ONE

Gene Hunt, politically incorrect DCI, is shot in a botched police operation on a gang of armed robbers and "wakes up" in 2007. He finds himself attached to the Met as a Detective Sergant and struggles to cope with the changes around him

EPISODE TWO

After being suspended from the Met for giving the addresses of suspects to the Media, Hunt decides this is an offence to his honour, and feeling fed up with the "namby-pamby" world of modern policing, formally resigns. But all is not lost for Hunt, as he is hired as a columnist for a top selling red top newspaper

EPISODE THREE

Things are going well for Hunt, his unreconstructed comments on the state of the World earn him many plaudits and soon he is seen socialising in the company of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Littlejohn, Jon Gaunt and many others. However, a misjudged appearance on Newsnight Review, a sexual harrasment charge at a local nightclub, a near falling-out with Max Clifford, and a rant too far on his column means that life is looking bleak for Hunt. Like some of his media friends, Hunt fails to realise that he is seen as a postmodern figure of fun and that back in 1973 he needed and depended on the effeminate Sam Tyler. On his own, he's in trouble.

EPISODE FOUR

But all is not lost on Gene Hunt. A friendship with Kelvin Mackenzie and a job on TalkSport can work wonders. The prospect of being a guest on 18 Doughty Street however is enough to even get Iain Dale a tad concerned, esp given Hunt's lively but sexist comments on Margaret Thatcher ;)

EPISODE FIVE

Being throughly fed up with his voice not being heard enough. Hunt stands for Mayor of London, but a car crash on the M 25 on the way to a campaign meeting means that he wakes up back in 1973.

Poseur Rock Stars and Fascism

To be honest his comments were stupid, rather arrogant, offensive, and ill-thought out. Although I don't think Bryan Ferry intended to be malicious and I don't think Marks and Spencer do either, and given the company's background, how they react is important. That said, it wasn't the first time a member of his family has done something very stupid and behaved in an arrogant and offhand fashion.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Last Night on 18 Doughty Street

Click here if you want to see my performance last night on Blogger TV and here if you want to see me on Vox Politix. Would love to say more but am a bit busy today. Oh and my one real gripe about last night. They got my blog address wrong!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Guess Who

(BBC)

A short clip from Grange Hill in the 1980s. Can you guess who the young actor who plays the boy talking is?

David Cameron's Current Political CV. Part One

Hat Tip to Private Eye.

“I think it was the right decision that it went to the north of England and actually it’s going to have a regeneration impact,” - David Cameron January 2007, on Manchester being chosen as the site of Britain's first super-casino.

March 21st 2007. The Conservative leadership imose a three-line whip to vote against Manchester. Coincidentally this came as they were told that there was a likely rebellion amongst Labour MP's on the vote. The Tories response?

"We are being consistent with our priority of reducing the problem of harmful gambling." -Tory Spokesman

And the names of two of the biggest donors in recent years? Step forward the owners of two spread betting firms, Stewart Wheeler and Michael Spencer.
David Cameron is a nice guy but is he being consistent!

Yet Again...

I will be a guest on 18 Doughty Street, tomorrow evening at 9PM on the Blogger TV show. Fellow guests will inc Jeremy Jacobs, James Graham, and Theo Spark. Should be interesting as the programme will therefore probably consist of two Tories (Dale and Spark), one Labour (myself), one Lib Dem (Graham), and one apparently neutral (Jacobs).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

William, Kate, and Other Tales

As many of us who have experienced a breakup in the past know, there are a no of reasons and factors. I wouldn't want to speculate why Prince William and his girlfriend have split up, but isn't it amazing that when the media speculate on the reasons (when it is really none of our business), they don't mention themselves, or the many who lap up all the details of celebrity life in newspapers, magazines, radio etc.. etc..
Rather like the newspapers who have attacked those sailors who sold their story about their captivity in Iran. I agree tht they shouldn't have sold their story, but how convenient that they didn't mention their own original involvement and of course many people will be reading those stories, tutting away, and being blithely unaware, or turning a blind eye, of the whole story.
I'd better leave it there, it's when I am in moods like these that I have a tendency to take a morally superior attitude, which is almost always in danger of crossing into some sort of hypocritical area.
Mind you, I can't resist pointing this out. It may be smug, arrogant, and superior of me but it is also true. Want a lesson in the world of wannabe middle class nasty bovver boy hypocricy? Read the Daily Mail! A newspaper which, if it were a person, would be a noveau riche snob that is claiming to be in the upmarket club of papers it lacks the manners and finesse to join. You can say all you like about red tops, one thing you can't say is that they don't try and hide what they are generally speaking!

Mitchell and Webb on Superheroes

(BBC)

John Denver and Cass Eliot on the importance of voting

(YouTube.com)

Something to consider for the May Council elections if you are considering voting. Okay the beginning is a bit cringeworthy and sugar coated and I am not a John Denver fan, and yes this dates from 1972 when americans were facing the nightmare of a Nixon administration, but the gist of the message is still the same. If you want to change things, or affirm your support for those in power. Get out and vote!

Life On Mars Stats

In the last few days I have had hit figures on my blog going well over the average amount, on one day nearing 400 (my average is about 120-180 hits per day). On checking the site feeds I find it is simply because I have blogged on Life On Mars. Of course the title of my blog must have helped, but I would be interested if others have had similar experiences
Oh and expect another blog entry on this fine series within the next few days. Iain Dale's comment on Gene Hunt has given me an idea ;)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Life On Mars Final Episode

(BBC)

What a shock! Was told to expect it, but even so! A definite ending tho.


WARNING. SPOILERS




What bugged me though was Tyler deciding to "go back to 1973" and taking such a drastic route to do so. What was also sad was the Test Card girl appearing at the very end, as if she was symbolising Sam's death. I'm inclined to believe that although apparently the makers of the programme don't. As for feeling alive, as much as any decent person would adore DC Cartwright platonically or romantically, doesn't feeling alive come through struggle to come to grips with the situation you are in, not simply down to positive feelings?

Ah well. Cracking series though, miss it already.

Blog Etiquette

I agree with this. I think that a self regulatory system is what is needed right now. Cyber abuse and bullying happens to be on the increase and it is amazing about what many suffer here which would not be tolerated in, say, a public meeting. Not only that, but the old argument of the past year is also valid. If someone is being nasty and abusive on the Net and posts anonymously, what does it say about them and should we tolerate it?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Amazing Grace - The Review

Originally posted on the CPF Blog

Saw Amazing Grace at the cinema last night (and missing the last episode of Life On Mars in the process) and I have to say that it is quite a good film. It was very clever in the way it didn't show actual slaveships operating, and yet made it very clear how they were used and what happened.The acting and some of the dialogue was also good. I esp liked the scene where a Bill on blockading French ships using US Flags of Convenience was put through the Commons and Lord Tarleton, recognising it was a clever manovere by the abolitionists, vainly searches the Commons to whip up MP's into the Chamber, only to find most of them had been invited to a day at the races.If I do have a major concern though, it is the accuracy. Fox died in 1806, the final time the Bill was put through the Commons was in 1807, and yet there he is, making a speech at the end, praising Wilberforce. Not only that, but shouldn't the Duke of Clarence be sitting in the Lords, not the Commons!Apart from that, a film you must see if you haven't already. 7/10

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Life On Mars - The Last Episode

Unfortunatley,as my post below indicates, I will miss the last episode tonight. However I will see the repeat on one of the BBC digital channels on Thursday and in the meantime I will try and avoid finding out what happened which I suspect will be very difficult.
My own theory. Tyler is in a coma, but some bizzare psychic connection means that he also travelled in time!
But for now, I shall simply leave you with my favourite quotes from the series:

Sam Tyler: I need you to connect me to a Virgin mobile number -
Operator: Don't you start that sexy business with me, young man. I can trace this call.

Dora Keens: I want a lawyer.
Gene Hunt: I wanna hump Britt Ekland, what are we gonna do?


[To a handful of kids, staring at his car]
Gene Hunt: Anything happens to this motor, I'll come 'round your houses and stamp on all your toys. Got it? Good kids.


Gene Hunt: I think you've forgotten who you're talking to.
Sam Tyler: An overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding?
Gene Hunt: You make that sound like a bad thing.


Chris Skelton: Woman in her twenties, dead.
Gene Hunt: Well I didn't think she was sunbathing, did I?!


(Gene Hunt barges into Tyler's sting operation, with a woman in tow)
Roger Trilby: Tony, who is this man?
Sam Tyler: This is... This is my friend, Gordon. Gordon Brown. And his wife... Uh...

Amazing Grace

Will be watching the film this evening, hopefully. So expect a review of sorts within the next few days.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Election 92

Thanks to Iain Dale's note on Facebook I am now watching Election 92 on BBC Parliament whilst typing this. I won't watch it for too long as I have an aversion to horror films :/
I remember the evening fairly well. I was in the fifth form/Year 11 at school and one of the few who stated themselves as a Labour supporter during the election campaign. Most of the others were a broad mixture of Conservatives and Lib Dems, so I did feel a bit vulnerable when I was involved in political arguments.
Come the night itself and I stayed up in bed to listen to the first two results on radio, before switching the light off and going to sleep. 4:30AM and I wake up and switch on the radio expecting the good news of Labour holding the edge in a hung parliament. Unfortunatley for me I switched on at the very moment most Labour activists and supporters feel sick and angry on an election night when the Tories win: The arrival at Conservative Central Office of their beloved leader.
Chris Pattern losing his seat was scant comfort and I was now very tired and very distressed. My cries, which went along the lines of"Noooooo. Those b******s. They got in again! I can't believe it! Are most voters in this country stupid?" woke up one or two family members who were none too pleased.
They were none too pleased at my waking them up either.
But what I didn't realise then (and neither did the Tories or Labour), is that many voted Conservative, not out of pleasure or happiness with the government, but because they feared tax hikes during a recession (which the Conservatives did the following year on fuel). That the result was out of fear of living in a worse economic climate than the one they had to endure under the Conservatives. So the following day, when I, like many others who publicly declared for Labour, had to endure the smug comments, the taunts, and the cheap wit. It was in a climate of not knowing that the Conservatives were now offically on parole, not clear endorsement. The sheer huge defeat for the Tories in 1997 spells that out.
However, one comment I made thought on that horrible day of April 10th 1992 of which I am proud of was this. "Five years from now, people will be begging for a Labour government" and to be slightly smug in turn, I was absolutely right. The warning though is that I fear that we ourselves in the Labour government are on parole and if we win the next general election, which I hope and expect, we must do so in a spirit of humility and caution if we are to survive a very long period in government.

UPDATE: Watching Basildon result. David Amess mentioning his majority has gone up, being cheap and smug. So interesting to watch these things with the benefit of hindsight.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Big Train on Jockeys and the Artist Formerly Known as Prince

(BBC)

One of their funniest, but more bizzare sketches

Yesterday's Good Friday

Went as usual to a "Churches Together" service yesterday, the difference being that there was no outdoor service in the town centre, although we had it in two halves. The first at the Methodist Church, the second at St Mary's.
It was also slightly unusual in that (for Good Friday) it involved Communion, although I did appreciate the gesture as it did help concentrate the mind.
Now to face Easter Sunday and avoid the gluttony of too much chocolate!

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Master

A YouTube tribute to one of the charismatic villains in Doctor Who. The Norman to the Doctor's Saxon, or should that be the other way around ;)
Music by Voltaire

(BBC/FOX)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

English/Scottish Tories to split?

Hat Tip to Stephen Tall, I am not too surprised if it is true, although it seems a bit unfair on the Scots, plus it says something about the Party in general, along the lines of "Oh, we do very badly in Scotland, lets split from our Scottish brethern and pretend it's nothing to do with us!"

Jeremy Clarkson

Like Boris Johnson, how does he do it? There is a difference between being honest, being thoughtful, and being tactful and I get the impression that this has not been wokred on by either men on these occasions, although I hasten to add that Boris Johnson is wrong about Portsmouth and I don't know much about cars so I can't comment on Clarkson's little rant

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

British Sailors Released

(AFP)
Well proof indeed that miracles do happen. I was worried that this would be a horribly drawn out protracted affair, so it's good that the Iranians have done the decent thing and thanks must be made to the Foreign Office for their diplomatic efforts

Some have also commented on the soldiers willingness to play the Iranian governments tune. To that I say two things. One, that this was a highly delicate international situation and Two, that as some of their critics (inc Richard Littlejohn) weren't there, how could they judge the situation correctly. In fact, as so many of these ranting commentators seem to know how best do deal with these sort of events whydon't they run for public office? I am sure they are prepared to have the courage of their convictions and obviously we do need their expertese!

Bob Woolmer - Was It Murder!

(BBC Online)
Doubts have been cast into the handling of this investigation and some are begining to wonder if he was murdered at all - The broken bone in his neck could be due to the handling of his body by police for example!
It would be made easier of course if he had a second autopsy, but that apparently isn't going to happen, but it seems that his body has already been embalmed.
All in all there is a whiff of incompetence into how this has been handled and if I were a member of his family I would find it heartbreaking and distressing to think it was a heart attack, then murder, then to cast doubt on that again. I would also be extremely angry with the police handling this, so God knows how his family are feeling right now

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My Face - Is It Bovvered!


Recently I find I have been getting a lot of hits from the Facebook website, enough to wonder what is going on and if someone was using my identity.
So I joined in this morning and found that there is a "Paul Burgin Appreciation Society". It mentions me as a thoughtful future Labour MP. It's very flattering and rather kind of them, but, like 99.9% of everyone else on the Planet I am sometimes anything but thoughtful and people being predicted for high things in politics find that it is the kiss of political death.
Talking of which I can now mention that I am not standing for District Council this year (for the first time since 2002). This is for a no of good reasons, but the main ones being that I am quite busy at the moment, I have other more personal considerations, and consequently feel the need to take a back seat.
I do wonder if this is a good thing, but the alternative is being in a stressful frame of mind for the next month and it is nice to be on the sidelines just this once!

Paul Linford's choice

Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy and God's Politics. Good choices although I wouldn't class Jim Wallis as an economic liberal, although I think I can see where Paul is coming from
You can read more about what I am refering to here.

The Falklands - Twenty-Five Years On

(BBC Online)
I can just about remember the Falklands War. I was six years old at the time and I knew we were at War in a faraway land and that one of the Queen's sons was involved. I also remember seeing photos of soldiers killed in the conflict on TV.
Now that I am older, I obviously know a bit more about the conflict and I have no doubts that, as awful as war is, that we did the right thing. It may well have been down to incompetence on our part that it happened, but these Islands were not only British, but many of it's residents were, and are, proud to belong to the UK.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mars Hill Blog Stats (Mar 2007)

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


Bath, London, Swindon, Charlotte, Boston, Lisle, Copenhagen, Anaheim, Allendale, Salisbury

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


United Kingdom

United States

Denmark

India

Canada

Switzerland

Norway

France

Ireland

Germany


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) Tim Roll-Pickering (+6)

2) Facebook.com (NEW)

3) Paul Linford (+7)

4) The Done Thing (NEW-ish)

5) The Bushey Chronicle (NEW)

6) Mike Ion (NEW-ish)

7) Political Opinions (-2)

8) Evie Winter (NEW)

9) Cally's Kitchen (-7)

10) Kerron Cross - The Voice of the Delectable Left (NEW-ish)

Out of the Top Ten are British Blogs, Adele's labour blog (which seems to have become defunct), Brighton Regency Labour Party, Tonguefire, FurberWorld, and Iain Dale

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Blogging Island of Follis Aperire

(NASA)
Recently a friend e-mailed me about an exciting development in the world of cyberspace. Apparently one of the biggest blogging communities in the World in any one place centers on the small independent island of Follis Aperire in the mediterranian.
It's not a big place (it's 118.2 sq kilometres in size, or 46 sq miles), but it has it's own system of government (albeit with the Queen as Head of State, as it was once part of the British Empire) and yet about one in every four of it's 88,200 residents has a blog or is an avid blog reader.
And it's recently that most UK Blogs have become popular over there. Every Sunday morning at the Roman Catholic Church of St Thomas. Excerpts from Cally's Kitchen are read prior to the notices. Two Social Democrat candidates in the forthcoming general election have based their personal manifesto on the messages left on Labourhome and there are plans for Kerron Cross and Alex Hilton to be the guest speakers at their Party Conference in July.
As for Guido Fawkes. Well it's unfortunate that many of the local fishermen are avid fans of Newsnight, so after some protest, he has had his application for a Visa to visit Follis Aperire revoked. That said, Iain Dale is more than welcome to host their new Sunday morning politics programme on Channel 18.
I could go on. About how Cllr Miranda Grell 's blog has inspired many local reforms, how Andrew West has become an adviser to the Ministry of Communications, how Andrew Regan has set up the new SPD Party website, and how Tim Roll-Pickering's plans on letterboxes has just become law in the Inutilis - The National Parliament, but I won't..
And as for little old me. Well a local coffee bar has been named in my honour, but some chocolate company seems to be rather annoyed and is considering legal action.
It is indded a lovely island, and as for the spaggetti trees... ;)