Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Clash of Remits

To be honest I am not entirely sure what to make of this and can clearly see both sides of the argument. On one level Christian Choice feel they are pointing out a truthful piece of information and want to put it across, on the other hand the broadcasters concerned feel that, as a public service industry, they have a duty to be fully representative of the public and trying to uphold the spirit, if not the letter of the law, which sometimes takes them down interesting avenues.
I do think Christian Choice were wrong to start legal proceedings however and should have continued talking with the relevant broadcasting authorities, but then I am not sure if we know the whole story.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sentence Meme

I've been tagged by WongaBlog

  1. Pick up the nearest book.
  2. Open to page 123
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the next three sentences.
  5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.
Nearest book is John O'Farrell's An Utterly Impartial History of Britain, and pg 123 is O'Farrell's view of Henry V which does make me feel uncomfortable in my appreciation of Shakespeare's play on the monarch.

"By making his son King of England and France he guaranteed decades of war, death and suffering, plus he had a stupid pudding haircut and a hideous scar on his face.It would have been easy to make Henry V into one of the bad guys. Except that the script, once it had been written, is very hard to change."

Tagging (if they have the time and/or inclination) Cally's Kitchen, Kerron, Rupa, dizzykj, Tim,
Lisa, Linda, and Paul

Monday, April 28, 2008

Paul's blog posts of the week

Cally's Kitchen on the fortieth anniversary of Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech

Rupa Huq on the St George's Day Gift Idea

Will Parbury speculates on whether the Conservative front bench find Boris Johnson an embarrassment

Philip Purser-Hallard on reading both the Narnia books and Doctor Who

I have been tagged by WongaBlog, will respond shortly

Mike Ion on whether Hillary Clinton should pull out of the race for the Presidency

Iain Dale on the Amnesty International video on waterboarding

Louise Hector on the Zimbabwe arms shipment

Linda Jack wonders what the question is if David Cameron is the answer

Paul Linford is back in one piece

Brian May's Soapbox is back

Blog posts of the week

I know, missed it last week. My feeble excuse is that I was caught up with other things and those posts take time. However I will make the effort to do this within the next forty-eight hours, esp given that such posts help bring readers to each others blogs

Political Infighting

A rather nasty and unseemly business, esp with the Mayorals and local elections in a few days.
It seems like the usual suspects are wasting no time in trying to stick the knife into the Prime Minister, which is somewhat unessesary and rather self-indulgent, esp when we have an election coming up.
But before the Conservatives start crowing, things don't look too brilliant for their No 2 bloke Pin Up's. George Osborne is still in trouble over that £487.000 donation, plus Peter Oborne (not exactly a friend of Labour's), tore into David Cameron over his petty attacks on Gordon Brown and the general hypocritical style of delivery over his leadership. It's not often I cheer on the Daily Mail, or indeed Peter Oborne, but much of the column reflected exactly what I thought of Cameron and his leadership.
Overall this is rather sad because a) It turns the non committed right off politics, b) It destroys the respect political opponents ought to have for each other (and where I am standing, Cameron is someone I once briefly respected until he turned nasty) and c) No one wins by engaging in such indulgent mudfights. We have all done it and the temptations are sometimes too great but, esp with elections in a few days time, perhaps a bit more dignity so that more people go to the Polling Stations would not come amiss!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

London Weekend

It's not so often I find myself spending a weekend in London, but on this occasion I was down to do what I could to help in the Mayoral elections.
Having been offered a spare room by Rupa, I was hoping to spend Saturday evening doing some work for the campaign, but as nothing was found in time it ended up with watching BBC News plus a late repeat of the last episode of The Apprentice (and Lucinda's team so deserved to win and I do think that Miss Scarlett should have been sacked instead of Lindi , although I can see the thinking behind Lindi's sacking ).
But this morning was spent leafleting around Ealing and getting to meet some of the other campaigners. The mood is upbeat and we are determined, if wary (as any campaign team should be) about victory. One thing is for sure though, I am glad I went down to help because if Ken loses on Friday, I won't be thinking "and I did nothing to help prevent Boris Johnson getting in!"

Humphrey Lyttelton 1921-2008

I heard he had been ill recently, but was rather shocked when I saw yesterday's papers.
I first heard of him as a Radio 4 presenter of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, and was surprised some years later when I heard he was one of the great Jazzmen the UK has had (but then there was a time when I tried to follow the rules of Mornington Crescent and thought that the Lovely Samantha actually existed :/). So coming back on the train from King's Cross this afternoon, it was with some wistful sadness that I found myself listening to Lady Madonna by The Beatles, as it was partly inspired by Bad Penny Blues

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Mayoral Debates

Having watched Question Time last night and seen the news this morning, I have to say that Brian Paddick looks like he is in trouble. He is clearly trying to prevent Lib Dem votes from siphoning away and his whole demeanour when interviewed and/or taking part in debates (from what I have seen at least), is humourless, agitated, and just trying too hard to the point where you wonder if you want to see someone like him as Mayor. If I were a Lib Dem activist, I would not expect Paddick to win, but I would also be in despair at the damage he is clearly doing to himself and the campaign.
Time will tell however on how next Thursday goes, but be warned. Johnson is tied in with the Conservative leadership, he can't be trusted to run the show himself and that should tell you something about the Conservatives at the moment and I hope Ken might pull through, although, if he wins this one, he later goes for a fourth term then he will cause a lot of damage.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Playful Blogging

A couple of nights ago I caught up with an old Uni friend at St Pancras Station and over dinner we discussed how some blogs are just not getting the attention, esp with the increase in blogging per se. We also bemoaned the fact that mentioning words like sex etc.. tends to up the stats somewhat and therefore Sex and the City style blogs automatically get high hits because of their content. Then of course you have the big political, well-connected blogs as well.
Still I suppose the rest of us have to contend with the fact that it's only when we get linked or mention words like Life On Mars, or Doctor Who, or Sex that we get noticed, so clear there needs to be a lot more foreplay involved in trying to woo people over to the lesser blogs.
Well if this doesn't work I don't know what will ;)

Pennsylvania Waters

Okay, so those of us who support Barack Obama are feeling somewhat gutted this morning, but the silver lining is that experts predict that Hillary Clinton can't keep the momentum the way things are going. One hopes for a respectable margin for the next two or three primaries but we will have to accept that this is a long and drawn out battle.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Prescott and Bulimia

I have to say that my respect for John Prescott has gone up over the weekend. To admit to something like this in public takes guts and bravery. Considerably more bravery than throwing an egg at his face at close range in fact. How sad then that some people on Iain Dale's blog (though not Iain himself who has shown kindness and sensitivity over this) choose to belittle Prescott for admitting to this condition. If it wouldn't be so distressing for bulimics, I would suggest that they visit a treatment centre and explain to those suffering from the illness why they chose to pick on John Prescott.

Driving Lessons Part II

So Saturday morning and the provisional driving licence arrives in the post, which is a sigh of relief. Filling in that form was like filling in a tax return or a passport application, you feel that if you forget to say anything, not realise how relevant a piece of info is etc.. you will get penalised. I even twittered over the photo I sent off, almost getting a ruler to check if the regulation measurement between top of head and top of photo was correct.
So now the lessons lay ahead and I find I pay more attention to the driving whenever I am a passenger in another car. The things I usually don't notice such as the gear changes, the looking in the car mirror etc.. those sorts of things. So right now I am feeling nervous and excited :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gwynneth Dunnwoody

I didn't catch the news last night, and was rather saddened to read about her death this morning.
One of the more independent and principled MP's we have had, you crossed her at your peril, as Labour Whips found in 2001 when they tried to remove her as Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee. The House will be a slightly duller place without her

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pennsylvania debate

Click here to read about the latest Obama Vs Clinton debate and to see some of the highlights.
It's at that stage now I think, where because it will go down to the wire and the delegate difference could be close that people will get bored and stay away, hopefully that will not happen because every vote is important and a little bit at each primary/caucus can still make a heck of a difference.
And it goes without saying that one of my favourite jazz pieces is playing around in my head right now ;)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Digby's dug a hole for himself

So it looks like he was just in it for the ride then! I don't blame the PM, out of sheer decency he was trying to use the best brains at his disposal and sometimes that means looking outside the confines of party politics. But Lord Jones should have known better.When you are a government minister you represent the government as a whole, not just one tiny part of it. Any arguments, disagreements etc.. which occur, which is natural, should be conducted in private.
In any case, if he runs along to the Tories' now he will look a bit silly, in fact so would the Tories, which wouldn't be difficult.

For those who are missing Ashes To Ashes

I know, there are more worthy clips out there, but this is one of those wry smile moments


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cat Got Your Tounge!

Further to my last blog posting on coffee, I don't care how good this brand of coffee tastes, how expensive it is, how much of a delicacy etc.. Nothing will induce me to drink it out of my own free will.
Although, for once, if someone drinks it and dislikes it, they will be right when they say it tastes like s***! :/

Zimbabwe at the Precipice

This piece of news is depressing, but almost to be expected from a tyrant who has held an iron grip on Zimbabwe for over thirty years and who has the audacity to more or less tell voters that he thinks they are wrong so he will ignore their demands.
And whilst this is also depressingly almost expected, it is unbecoming of a statesman of one of Africa's wealthiest and most important countries and shameful that such words come from a man who has succeeded one of the greatest statesmen of the latter part of the Twentieth Century. Referring to someone as the Neville Chamberlain of South Africa is not a light accusation, but given his way of not holding Robert Mugabe to account for his actions, which would be far easier for him to do than any other World statesmen, is something he may well live to regret and will be a stain on his political career which he will find unable to wash away.
Unless of course he acts now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Southwark and Jerusalem, but no jam

I was a bit taken aback by this piece of news, Southwark Cathederal is not exactly a Conservative Christian place and is known to be a bit daring. However what exactly is wrong with the hymn? It doesn't say that those feet in ancient times walked upon England's mountains green. It says "And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England’s mountains green?" It is a hymn about trying to live out ones faith within a nation, to try and propagate those values. It's the one hymn which makes me personally feel spiritual and patriotic at the same time.
That said, I appreciate it is open to interpretation and if the Dean, as well as the congregation, have a conscience about it, then fair enough

A Tragic Postscript

I am sure I am not the only one who suspects that the pain caused by her sons murder contributed to the death of Gloria Taylor. Justice may be done in these cases but the loss never goes away. If any good comes out of this, it is that not only more attention is given towards violent attacks among teenagers, it is that more effort is made by all concerned to try and prevent these incidents happening.

Monday, April 07, 2008

2000th Blog Post: The Tibet Rally

Yes, from the messages and e-mails I have received, the consensus seems to be on yesterday's rally.
I did actually catch some of the tail end of it myself, as I was at a photo call at Parliament Square at 3PM (for want of a better description) for Barack Obama supporters in the UK. There were a no of demonstrators milling around and the two helicopters flying over Whitehall gave me the first indication that something might be up.
It was when I arrived home that I heard about the attempts to wrestle the torch from the relay competitors, most notably from Konnie Huq. Thing is, whilst I can count myself among China's critics and am happy to give moral support to the protesters, trying to grab the torch was foolhardy, silly, and dangerous, as well as unfair on those taking part*
The Olympics have never been far away from controversy. The last two occasions when the host nation was a totalitarian regime (Berlin 1936 and Moscow 1980) are a case in point. In my view, the 2008 Games should not have been given to China, but that is what has happened and hopefully the good that will come out of this is that China's record on human rights will be highlighted. Much good has come from the country since the 1970's, but a lot more needs to happen and there needs to be a continual campaign of awareness regarding China's faults. But that needs to be done in a positive and forthright manner, without being aggressive about it.

*Just in case it is pointed out, yes one of Konnie's sisters is a friend of mine but I would still have made the point. As it has been shown in India and the US in the past. The more peaceful the protest, the more long-term effect. Yesterday's incident played right into the Chinese government's hands

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lest We Forget

One of the most moving tributes made towards his memory came from Senator Robert Kennedy, who was tragically murdered himself two months later. The comments were made without notes on hand and came straight from the heart. You can hear his comments here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The End for Robert Mugabe?

Hopefully he will be out of office before long, but it looks like, unsurprisingly, that he will try and cling on to power come what may. My concern is that he will try and avoid releasing details of some of the results if he feels he can get away with it, but I am also heartened by the South African President stating that he is fine with the result, whatever it is. That means that he may be happy with an MDC administration, so perhaps this really is spelling the end of Mugabe's regime.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

2000th Blog Post

Have just noticed that I am coming up to my 2000th blog post. So what I mention in that post is up to you.
All suggestions (within reason ;) ) are welcome

Daily Coffee Intake

Given my love of coffee, I was relieved to read this latest health report. Makes a change from the usual scare stories

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Mars Hill Blog Stats (March 2008)

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

London, Virginia Beach, York (USA), Bellevue, San Francisco, Plymouth, Liverpool, Vancouver, Canterbury, Boulder

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

United Kingdom

United States









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) Paul Linford (+2)

2) British Blogs (+1)

3) Bloggers4Labour (-2)

4) Cally's Kitchen (+ 1)

5) Tim Roll-Pickering (-3)

6) Iain Dale (NEW-ish)

7) Rupa Huq (+ 3)

8) Rullsenberg Rules (NEW-ish)

9) Wikipedia (-3)

10) Cassilis (+3)

Out of the Top Ten are UK Polling Report, WongaBlog (11th place) and Kerron Cross - The Voice of the Delectable Left (12th place)

Top Ten Searchwords that lead people to my blog

brian wilde

life on mars final episode

wikipedia efforts nothing

richard littlejohn's views of margaret thatcher

ashes to ashes last series

ashes to ashes the clown

rolling stones cover band - satisfaction

mugabe blog

ann widdecombe doctor who

trevor eve

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools Day

It's that one day of the year when you try and decipher which stories are April Fool jokes and which aren't. Sadly it seems initial reports of Robert Mugabe may be stepping down seem to be among the April Fool's. That said I did smile at this remark by Paul Linford

"We learn courtesy of this morning's Guardian that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has not only shagged up to 30 women but that he once set fire to a greenhouse full of cacti while pissed out of his brain. Unfortunately for Lib Dem supporters, it wasn't an April Fool"

Ah well, you live and learn. Live and learn.

The Rolling Stones are a Tribute Band

I am sure you have checked the news this morning.
When you think about it, it's clear that they were basing themselves on a US southern blues band full of brigands and outlaws from the 1880's. Take Mick Jagger agreeing to be in that Ned Kelly film for example, a clear reference if there was one! Even though, erm, that is set in Australia.
Just stunned, absolutely stunned :(


Hamilton County Welcomes

The Rolling Stones

Performing at Drake's Bar, April 1st-8th.

(c) Follis Apare, 1884