Sunday, June 29, 2008

Driving Lessons Part IX

Well the second batch of double lessons are underway. Put basically I feel I need to get a fair few under my belt before I start taking tests.
So on Wednesday I did 60 mph roads, which went better than I thought and what did surprise me was that I wasn't scared, which I thought might be the case. However it meant having to quickly learn to adapt going back to 30 mph again, plus my instructor has pointed out that whenever I am nervous in places like, say a roundabout, I am anxious to get out of there a.s.a.p. so I need to watch my speed a little more.
But other things are improving. Gear changes are becoming natural and I am developing a sense of knowing what speed I am going at without any prompting or a quick split second glance at the speedometer. All part of the learning curve

The Stolen Earth - No Spoilers, but..

The best, one of the best episodes of Doctor Who. The Daleks were more unnerving than ever, it was cool to see Davros and some of the former companions return, plus seeing the spin-off crossovers and as for the end..
All I will say is that I hope that what happened in that cliffhanger scene doesn't reach it's logical conclusion.
And, gosh, you know it's a goodie when you start texting friends, they start texting you, you get a phone call from one of them, purely to discuss the episode, you go on Facebook and many of your friends refer to it in their online status.
Guys if you haven't watched it, you must and you can find it here, so there's really little or no excuse ;)
Oh, and (hat tip to WongaBlog )here is the video used in the Doctor Who story Human Nature/The Family of Blood. Worth watching if only to see David Tennant ad lib for the fast forward bits


Friday, June 27, 2008

Henley Result

Lets face it we were never going to win that seat, and yes it was still a bad result for us.
But that said, the fact that as many as 1,243 individuals are prepared to vote BNP over the main political parties, and thus helping to knock Labour into fifth place (behind the BNP)! That says more about the people of Henley and if I were a constituent who lived there I would feel dirty and ashamed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Latest on Zimbabwe

Whilst Iain Dale feels Mandela could have said more, I think that the fact he has said anything says a great deal. African leaders and elder statesmen can be reticent in public and heavily critical in private, so the fact that remarks have been made in public in recent days means that Mugabe is in a very dangerous situation.
Was also pleased that the Queen has stripped Mugabe of his knighthood and that the Zimbabwe cricket team have been banned from touring the UK. At least the gloves are now totally off and we can avoid giving this so-called government running Zimbabwe any legitimacy it does not deserve. Incidentally if you want to have a smile about Mugabe's hypocritical behaviour you can do no better than look at Paul Linford's post.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Paul's blog posts of the week

Bloggers4Labour on how some extremists can go out of the frying pan and into the fire

Cally's Kitchen on the use of words like "Chav's" and "John's"

Kerron is now a married man :)

Rupa Huq has an unnerving possible prediction concerning Bangladesh

Will Parbury on "compassionate conservatism"

WongaBlog on ignorance of Shakespeare

Lisa Rullsenberg on Saturday's episode of Doctor Who
(NO SPOILERS BUT Personally I didn't find it as exciting as Utopia, but it still thought the end was brilliant, and for those who don't want to know, I still recommend you scroll to the end of Lisa's post and watch that embarrassing YouTube video from last year of those two fans watching the last few minutes of Utopia)

Pippa Wagstaff is unsure about Cardiff's geographical status

Rachel North on how The Sun found itself wrong footed

Petition to call for efforts to remove Robert Mugabe

Not much, but at least it's something. If you want to have your name put down, then let me know via the comments page and I will be happy to oblige.

We have been viewing the events in Zimbabwe over the past few weeks with horror, disgust, outrage, and anger that Zanu PF feels that it can flaunt the wishes of it's people in a democratic election and to try and threaten and cajole them into voting for Robert Mugabe, and that given the fact that diplomats were harassed, the MDC were prevented from moving freely around the country, aid to help those starving were used as blackmail by Zanu PF, intimidation was used (sometimes resulting in murder), we accept that for the sake of people's safety the MDC felt that they had no alternative but to stand aside, but that equally by ensuring that free and fair elections could not take place, Robert Mugabe removed any last trace of legitimacy left with regards to Zanu PF being in government.
We therefore feel that the International Community has no obligation to regard Mugabe's regime as legitimate, and urge the EU, the SADC, and the UN that efforts must be made to help Zanu PF's removal from power, that it must be impressed on the South Africans to turn off Zimbabwe's electricity supply and any other means short of violence to be used, that no prominent Zanu PF or government member should be allowed to travel outside Zimbabwe, unless it is into exile.

Paul Burgin
Jessica Olivera
Kishani Noori

Today in Zimbabwe

Given the events of the past few hours and that Zanu PF bullied, threatened, and intimidated the electorate and the MDC along the way, I put forward the view that the international community has no obligation to recognise the Zimbabwe government as free, fair, democratic, and that therefore given the fact it is meant to be a "Democratic" country, illegitimate, and that now it is up to the international community to do everything in it's power to have Mugabe and his ilk removed from the offices which they have no right to be in and for those in the top echelons of government to face some form of trial for their actions.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kelvin's Bottled It..

Well he may well be pragmatic on this issue, but does he have the courage of his convictions to put his views to the test of the electorate? And maybe he shouldn't have gone around last week and opened his big mouth about possible plans until the ground was tested first! I think that says, once again, about Mackenzie's lack of proper judgement

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Farewell Kerron

Yes, Uber-blogger Kerron Cross is leaving Parliament after nine years as a Commons Researcher.
Ever since he started on that cold winter morning, carrying Hugh Gaitskell's briefcase and making cups of tea for Barbara Castle, Nye Bevan, and Harold Wilson, one of Westminsters' intrepid bloggers has carved a brilliant and unforgettable niche and now he is off to pastures new, i.e. promotion and marriage.
I for one wish him well :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Driving Lessons Part VIII

Well my newly booked lessons have started and yesterday I traversed around about a good third of North Herts. Apparently I am improving on the clutch and gear changes, but am still a bit rubbish on parking a car in an empty car park, but hey ho, if at first you don't succeed..
Next week I will be doing 60mph roads, which should be interesting.

Mugabe's Secret Diary

Hat tip to Iain Dale, this blog is satirical genius and rather timely :)
BTW (again, hat tip to Iain), you might care to look at this as well, both sites will be put on the blog roll. Remember there is always hope.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Love is in the air!

Like many people, I do take an interest in other people's love lives, although not, I hope, to the point where I am being nosey.
And of course in the blogosphere, every so often you read about relationships starting, breaking up,becoming more serious and, indeed, you do get the post once in a while to say that a marriage or a lifelong commitment has been/is going to be made.
Rare for two events to be close to each other though, particually in the political blogosphere. So it is that, at the weekend, Conservative Uber-Blogger, Iain Dale, entered into a civil partnership with his long-term partner John Simmons.
Likewise, next week Labour Uber-Blogger, Kerron Cross, will be getting married to Linsay Cunningham and I can honestly say that, having met the girl in question, I cannot think of a more delightful person to share Kerron's life. Trust me, he needs her to keep an eye on him ;)
So yes, summer is in the air, the birds are singing, people are falling in love and getting hitched and if you know of any other blogging love stories worth mentioning :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kelvin Mackenzie to stand for Parliament

Well David Davis's decision has put a no of individuals in the main political parties at sixes and sevens. Esp now that Kelvin Mackenzie has decided to stand should Labour not field a candidate. This puts those Labour Party activists who are for or against and who want to be involved at a quandary. For those who are against the extension it would mean not being involved because that would mean supporting David Davies. For those Labour activists who are for the extension, I doubt many of them would be happy at the thought of helping Kelvin Mackenzie campaign for any form of elected office.
Equally for the Conservatives it is difficult. Some of them are for the extension it means they feel they have to support their candidate in a by-election on a platform against the extension, the alternative being a desire to see a Conservative fail to win a Parliamentary seat. For those who are against the extension it means dealing with potential splits within the Conservative Party that they don't want to see exposed just yet!
Qui Bono?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Driving Lessons Part VII

Going well. Have booked for some more lessons. Did emergency stops last time and seemed to be good at that. Easy when you imagine something running onto the road :/
Am also improving on the clutch and gear changes. Usually it helps when I am not thinking, when I think about what to do I tend to make mistakes, when it comes automatically it seems to work.
So here's to more lessons :)

False Accusations on Tax

In spite of my cynical look on how we humans can be like, I am just taken aback by the sheer vindictiveness of some people.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Overcoming Prejudices

The other night I was having a chat with an old friend about my reluctance to wear a suit to church when I am conducting a service as part of my lay ministry training (this was the suggestion of a fellow lay minister for when I went to churches where the congregation dressed conservatively). During the conversation it came out that I didn't like any preacher I didn't know under, say, forty, wearing a suit unless a dog collar was involved. It brought to mind thoughts of TV evangelists and dodgy salesmen and basically I like to dress smart casual to church.
Two things therefore came to mind. The first is that, for someone who is, as one friend describes me, conservative with a small c, I had an area in my life where I felt a teeny bit rebellious and in an area you wouldn't expect, and secondly I was harbouring an irrational prejudice against preachers in suits under forty years of age. Well lets be honest here, male preachers, but thats me being sexist which makes it worse :/
But this is not an isolated incident, lately I am becoming more aware of unfair and unpleasant prejudices which I hold. For example I am not too keen on a certain kind of taxi driver. Not taxi drivers in general I hasten to add, but the sort who readily gives their opinions on everything with the force of impotent anger, the sort who seem to know the answer to everything, the sort who always vote Conservative, the sort who dislike anything that they are unfamiliar with and have a low opinion on most groups of people who are different, the sort who complain readily and are quick to be rude about others, the sort who seem to know how to handle so easily all the problems in the World (which always leads me to think that if they are so clever, why don't they get a job at the UN or run for public office).
That said, I appreciate thats me looking at all the negatives, and in many respects showing a casual, possibly snobbish prejudice of my own, Many taxi drivers have a hard time, have thankless customers, feel undervalued and unappreciated, and therefore is it any wonder that some of them can end up being aggressive the way they are! So my mission this week is to be ready at the thought of wearing a suit to church and to be actively nice to taxi drivers I take a dislike to.
That said, what are your prejudices and what are you going to do about them! ;)

The Long Walk to Finchley

If I get the chance I will be watching this, although I do have one or two reservations.
One of which is the fictional scene where Margaret Thatcher effectively propositions Ted Heath and gets rebuffed. I know the old tale that major rows, arguments, and feuds between a man and a woman, or even two gay people, is down to sexual tension, but it's not always the case and I have always had the impression that the Thatcher/Heath feud was down to ideology, being different people with different approaches to dealing with certain situations, plus (later on), the simple fact that Thatcher effectively kicked Heath out of the Conservative leadership.
Plus I don't think they were exactly each others type, but hey! What's to stop that in the way of good TV Drama, which leads one to ask why we are so dependent on sex to get our attention to what in any case would be a riveting story!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mars Hill Blog Stats (May 2008)

Apologies for the lateness

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

Milton Keynes, London, Southampton, Sheffield, Santiago, Washington, Hong Kong, Canberra, Bristol, Winchester

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

United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Chile, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Ireland, France, Canada, Brazil

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) Wikio (NEW)

Facebook (+ 1)

3) Freemania (NEW-ish)

4) Cally's Kitchen (-3)

5) Tim Roll-Pickering (+6)

6) British Blogs (-)

7) Ellee Seymour (NEW-ish)

8) Wikipedia (NEW-ish)

9) WongaBlog (NEW-ish)

10) Man in a Shed (-1)

Out of the Top Ten are Bloggers4Labour (12th place), Antonia Bance, Lindyloosmuze (14th place), Paul Linford (15th place), New Statesman, and Rupa Huq

Top Ten Searchwords that lead people to my blog

Mary Whitehouse

Mars Hill blog


David Tennant leaving Doctor Who?

Life on Mars final

ashes ashes reviews

final episode parkinson

Jeremy Clarkson

Benazir Bhutto

doctor who leaving

Friday, June 06, 2008

Who else does Mugabe want to alienate!

I just find this so unbelievable! And when you think he can no longer have the capacity to shock. He clearly is someone on the edge and somehow don't think it will be long before he is removed from office. I do hope when that happens that no one gives him any amnesty. What an evil little man he is.

A Moment to Pause

In the midst of the excitement of Barack Obama effectively getting the Democratic nomination and Hillary Clinton standing aside. Let us not forget that today is the fortieth anniversary of the death of Robert Kennedy. Below is an excerpt of the eulogy given at his funeral by his surviving brother, Senator Edward Kennedy.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Supports and Breakthroughs

So Hillary is about to concede. At long last. Now we can get on the business of battling an election on one front and yes, a moment of pride that the US has for the first time, a black candidate from one of the two major parties in a direct race for the White House. A campaign I am proud to be involved with.
As for our beleagued Prime Minister, I was strangely heartened by the common sense comments made by Tony Blair this morning on GMTV. The problems with our economy are global and we need to remember that some of the great economic successes in the past decade are down to Labour. After all, was it the Conservatives who brought in the National Minimum Wage and New Deal, and isn't it also the case that they opposed those moves at the time!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Blogging Silence

I will be back on form, but things are a tad busy lately. In brief. Driving lesson went well, am pleased about Barack Obama's latest success and feel that Hillary has no choice but to pull out. I still stand by Gordon Brown (and what do you make of that story about him ringing voters?), am also enjoying watching the Super Sizers and The Apprentice, and last night I went to an interesting meeting of the Labour History Group about the 1983 general election manifesto and Sir Gerald Kaufman (who described it afterwards as "the longest suicide note in history') was also there.
Normal service will be resumed a.s.a.p

Monday, June 02, 2008

Conservatives being wild in the West

Hat tip to Recess Monkey. Am a bit surprised at this and you do wonder how such stories can almost go under the radar.

Paul's blog posts of the week

Cally's Kitchen does not like the new Indiana Jones movie (warning, there are spoilers and I noticed just in time)

Kerron Cross on the dangers of mortar boards

Thanks WongaBlog. Now I want to see the Telectroscope

Antonia and her friends have ended up being mentioned in The Guardian
(Oxford has been the unsung success story for Labour in May. We need to publicise it more)

lambethlife on Labourhome on the failed attempt to deselect Kate Hoey
(So long as she is aware of the damage she has caused and is prepared to make amends)

Lisa Rullsenberg on Hitler and Torchwood on YouTube
(A must if you are a Doctor Who/Torchwood fan like me and equally have a warped sense of humour)

Linda Jack on the talk American preacher Jim Wallis gave in London last week
(Was there myself, and very good it was too)

Miss Wagstaff thinks that it is the year of the Independent politician in Wales

Brian May will be blogging on the upcoming Queen + Paul Rodgers tour