Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Camerons Real Holiday

So I take it the press won't be allowed to go to Turkey with the Camerons! This begs the question why they had a previous holiday in the UK and invited the press to accompany them! The obvious answer is that it was so that a sign of solidarity be seen with the average person during times of economic difficulty.
So now clearly the family have gone on their real holiday, and hey, like many UK citizens can afford to do that. Now I don't actually mind David Cameron going on holiday abroad, but to try and make political capital out where people can go on holiday in such a way strikes me as a bit off..
Plus at least you won't see Gordon Brown do that. I hope not anyway!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Favourite Political Blogs of 2008-9

As requested by Paul Linford
(In no order of preference)

Cally's Kitchen (Mainly deals with Rugby and Catholicism, but also occasionally deals with politics and is a good read)

Kerron Cross-The Voice of the Delectable Left (Now Kerron is no longer a Parliamentary Researcher one wonders how his blog will adapt, although so far the signs are promising)

Rupa Huq's home on the web (Former Parliamentary Candidate and a London academic, this blog is going from strength to strength)

Tim Roll-Pickering (Thoughtful and analytical.Posts are sometimes infrequent, but definetly worth a read)

Labourhome (The simian charisma that is Alex Hilton being one of the Founders, this is fast becoming the major success story of Labour blogging)

Luke's blog (Concise and ideologically centerist. Luke recently covered the local elections for the BBC as one of Labour's major bloggers)

Iain Dale's Diary (The man is a Tory legend, and is clearly going onwards and upwards in the right-wing corner of the UK Media)

Lindylooz Muze (The lady with the pink stilettos from Bedford is fast emerging as a leading Lib Dem blogger)

Rachel from North London (One of the best non party political bloggers in the UK)

Paul Linford (Left wing without being tribal, Paul really ought to be a national newspaper columnist)

Apologies to those I have not mentioned. There are very few political blogs I actually dislike, so it's nothing personal and in any case doing these lists are hard!

New Bond Theme

And, for a first, it's a duet. Not sure about the choice of Jack White but it might work

Eric Varley 1932-2004

Very sad. One of the more capable and thoughtful ministers of the Wilson/Callaghan governments of the 1970s.

Driving Lessons Part XIII

Well am slowly improving. Smooth gear changes, am less fraught on crossroads and roundabouts, but I still need to check mirrors more often and am starting to not use the palm of my hand when changing gears.
But heigh ho, am also looking towards doing my theory

Monday, July 28, 2008

Favourite Political Blogs of 2008-9

Iain Dale wants you to take part in a vote where you mention your Top Ten Political Blogs. You simply give your list to toptenblogs@totalpolitics.com. From there a list will be compiled mentioning the Top 100 political blogs in the UK. This list will make up a book that will be published in early September entitled the "2008-9 Guide to Political Blogging in the UK".

As Iain has stated, the rules of voting are simple

1. Please only vote once
2. Only blogs based in the UK, run by UK residents are eligible or based on UK politics are eligible
3. Votes must be cast before Friday 15 August
4. Blogs chosen must be listed in the Total Politics Blog Directory.
5. You must send a list of TEN blogs, ranked. Any entry containing fewer than ten blogs will not count.
6. Anonymous votes left in the comments will not count. You must give a name

Obviously it would be nice if you voted for me, but it goes without saying that there are far more worthy candidates out there. Mind you I was interviewed on TalkSport last night about Obama's visit to Europe, so maybe...

Cameron's Bike Found

And it was all down to an investigation by the Sunday Mirror
You see, those of us on the left do have our moments of kindness ;)

Paul's blog posts of the week

Cally's Kitchen recommends an interview with the "SSPX/FSPX/They Who Love The Pope Even Though They Do Not Obey Him/Schismatic Lefbevrist Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bi Annual Bloggers Social - The Summer Event

A bit late in blogging this, as it was last week, and I do apologise.
A bit quiet on this occasion, but it went well. We met at the Westminster Arms, next to Westminster Central Hall. Tim was there, as was Andrew and Kris, although Kris had to leave early and I was rather late as the Victoria Line was down.
Subjects, as per usual, ranged from anything to everything, from the state of politics at the moment to the last series of Doctor Who, but hey, blogging does involve a certain randomness ;)

Friday, July 25, 2008

That SNP by-election gain

Not good, and the frustrating thing is that we have put forward so many good policies in the past few years that makes this all the more painful. There is also the fear that this is another signal concerning how long Labour has in government.
But the real tragedy is allowing a Conservative government in and undoing some of the good work we have done, and we will need to have time to reflect on this and work and plan accordingly within the next few months in order to make sure that those policies that directly benefit the UK are heard and that David Cameron only ever visits No 10 as a visitor.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Opera and The Sun

I am all for high brow culture being accessible to all, in fact I am all for everyone embracing high brow culture, so I am somewhat hopeful about this.
That said, people embrace high brow, and indeed low brow culture for snobbish reasons as well, so cue the patronising comments about Sun readers, plus comments about where some people can stuff their Opera as well!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Lambeth Conference

Its an advantage for a church community as large as the Anglican Church, that most of their Bishops are able to meet up and, not just decide resolutions, but also that they get to share pastoral experiences, theological beliefs, and are able to learn new ways of outreach to the communities beyond.
It is sad then, that this Lambeth Conference is overshadowed by the issue over homosexuality in the Church. It is equally sad that some Bishops, whilst following their conscience, have decided to boycott the event.
My view is that the Bishops, whilst I see their point, would have gained more by attending. If they are wrong, then they would have learnt much by having discussions with other Bishops who hold more liberal views on this matter. If they are right, then they gained nothing for their cause by staying away instead of trying to fight their corner within the Anglican Community.
All in all it is a sorry state of affairs, and one hopes that both sides do not let anger overcome any distress and pain they feel over the potential schisms here. I appreciate that some would rather the Anglicans would be the "Church Militant" rather than the "Church Fudge n' Compromise" (a view I happen to share), but let us not be militant at the expense of Christian love and charity and loving one's neighbour, no matter how annoying and distressing one finds them. After all, if being a Christian was easy as well as true, then we would all be perfect saints

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's Not Big and It's Not Clever

Hat tip to Obama London who posted these videos on John McCain's economic advisor, Phil Gramm, stating that the recession is more or less in people's minds and the US is a nation of whiners. Plus Barack Obama's response.
Whilst many people in the US have advantages that citizens in many other countries do not have, it is equally true that there are areas of dire poverty in the US with many wondering just how to live a normal day-to-day existence. To make such facile comments as Phil Gramm did is not just patronising, it also shows appalling ignorance

Driving Lessons Part XII

This week it was roundabouts, which were less bothersome than I anticipated. Generally things seem to be going okay, although I have to be aware of picking up bad habits, such as not pushing in the button when I lift the handbrake, or using the brake to slow down when reversing round a corner, instead of using the clutch. But I am getting there

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Use of "Chav"

I can see the Fabian Society's point, but I agree with Iain in that it's a word.
Put basically, "Chav" is used as a word to describe predominantly working-class people who are loud, or indeed middle-class people who don't incorporate properly into old-style middle class culture (i.e. the perception that Chavs think buying the Daily Mail is posh, going on holiday to Ibiza, not Venice, calling their children names like Destiny, not Ophelia, and so on..). But it's not just class, as anyone saw Midsommer Murders like I did on Sunday night and saw the "Townies" and "locals" slug it out.
Those prejudices and differences will always be there and if "Chav" will soon be deemed too offensive, then those who like to see a neat social order (where if you enter into a different social culture you will be expected to change accordingly) will find another word or phrase to replace it.

World's Oldest Blogger

Olive Riley, renowned as the World's Oldest Blogger, died just a few days ago aged 108.
She started her blog last year, although she never actually typed it herself (given her poor eyesight), she would dictate. I just find it incredible that someone who left school in 1914 and who was older than my grandparents (all long since dead), was keeping a blog. You can read it here.
The title of "World's Oldest Blogger" is now taken by Maria Amelia of Spain who is 95 years old. Incidentally does anyone knows who Britain's oldest blogger is?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

David Davis is back

Well done, although I think the fact that Cameron hasn't invited him back into the Shadow Cabinet shows a breach may well have taken place, and in any case it's an expensive way to make a point that the House of Lords can do already

SS Doctor "Still Alive"

If he is still alive I hope he is caught, put on trial, and given life imprisonment. But if not, lets hope this reinforces the point to the few still alive that they can't escape justice, even if that only means they have to constantly look over their shoulder and lie awake at night, fearful that Mossad or any other group will get them.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Privacy, English attitudes to sex, and Nazism

I don't know, it's Saturday night, I am alone minding my brothers house and whilst some couples up and down the land are probably doing things that involves, er going up and down (stairs of course ;) ), I am typing up my latest blog entry and deciding that I can resist no longer and blog my thoughts on the Max Mosley case.
To be honest I have mixed feelings about this. Do I approve of an aspect of his lifestyle that involves sado-mascochism? No. Is it any of my business? No. Are my sympathies with the News of the World? Sort of! I can appreciate that if it is thought that he had been doing Nazi role-play, considering his family backgound, the temptaton to publish would have been too much!
But here are some of my thoughts on the case, which, again, are mixed
First of all I find I can see Max Mosley's point that it wold not be in his interests to go in for S and M Nazi role play. For the simple reason, as he put it, that Nazism is strongly connected with his family background and thats kind of the last thing you want to think of whilst engaging in sexual activity. That said however, I find it incredible that, given that his family apparently didn't know until the story broke, that he had a hidden sexual life, he compounded the humiliation by taking legal action, thus ensuring more publicity over his private life, and to compound it even further, a lack of contrition as well. Mosley states that it is all harmless fun, and to him I am sure it is, but it's not the kind of comment that helps those in Eastern Europe who are caught up in the sex trade and are more or less real slaves!
One thing is for sure. in or lose, Mosley has lost a great deal of respect and gained attention he will find unwelcoming. However, given his background and an upbringing where his parents were treated, and it can be argued rightly so, as social parahs, I sadly doubt this will affect him much

Friday, July 11, 2008

Selling Voters' Details

Was a little bit surprised to read about this, and even more surprised that it goes on. In any case it goes without saying that it should be stopped

Welcome Back Senator Kennedy

(AP)





Senator Kennedy returned to the Senate this week, following surgery for a malignant brain tumour. The response of Senators of all parties is rather moving and I wonder if it would have happened in the House of Commons. I think it would given Blair's departure last year, but even so.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Driving Lessons Part XI

Well I am slowly improving on the clutch and I am generally making more smooth movements with the car. That said, I am picking up other bad habits, such as not keeping level on my side of the road. Difficult when other cars are parked in areas not meant for a row of parked cars.
But hey ho. Did reverse round a corner on an uphill road yesterday. Bit unnerving, but managed fairly successfully on the second attempt

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Doctor Who Season Four Finale

WARNING SPOILERS!

Okay, well I was in two-minds about this, so perhaps I had better divide this into two blocks. What I liked and what I didn't about the last two episodes.

I LIKED

The use of previous companions, although I will keep on saying this "Please bring back Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart"

The return of Davros, who was brilliantly played by Julian Bleach and was still on form

The ending. So sad, worse than what happened to Jamie and Zoe, and yet relief that no one got killed

The use of Torchwood

The cliffhanger at the end of The Stolen Earth? How can you beat that!

The added menace to the Daleks. You can no longer impair their vision and they can see!

I DISLIKED

The trampling over, although thankfully not completely, the previous assertion that the Doctor is half-human. That explained so much and was the best thing about the TV Movie

The towing of the Earth back to where it belonged

The fact that Mickey could just calmly walk out of Rose's life after all they went through!

The "Mexican stand-off" the companions had with the Daleks. Good idea, but a bit overdone

Too many companions. This would not have been a problem had they panned out the story a bit more!




And thats basically it, but am looking forward to Season Five in 2010 and the specials in-between. Esp with Steven Moffat soon to be at the helm. As for favourite stories this season there were so many, but I did esp like The Fires Of Pompeii, Planet Of The Ood, The Doctor's Daughter, Silence In The Library/ Forest Of The Dead, The Stolen Earth/Journey's End

Oh and doesn't Davros remind you oh so slightly of the Emperor in the Star Wars films?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Paul's blog posts of the week

Bloggers4Labour on food waste

Cally's Kitchen has been alerted to the humourous site Failblog.org (and it is good :) )

Rupa Huq is not amused by Rod Liddle's comments about the sort of people who stab teenagers
(esp as it once happened to her)

Will Parbury on ideal MP/Constituent relationships

Andrew Philip on a new Edinburgh festival

WongBlog on the Doctor Who finale


Ditto Lisa Rullsenberg

Phil Dilks on the Tories' recent problems

Iain Dale on that incredible response to the guy who walked into a police station and claimed to have murdered those two French students in New Cross

Linda Jack on the Third Anniversary of July 7th

Friends of Zimbabwe on possible UN Sanctions


Paul Linford on the great Wimbledon Men's finals

Blog Entries To Come

Blog Posts of the week

Review of the last two episodes of Doctor Who

And my latest driving lesson, which will start in the next ten minutes so I will have to get moving

Women Bishops in the Church of England - The Result

Am happy about this, esp as I am one of those who regard women in ministry as "Biblical". After all, depending on how you define the priesthood or what constitutes a church, who was it who first proclaimed the Risen Lord to the Church?
In any case, as I mentioned before in-depth, I think that if one is for women priests, or even tolerates their presence, then why object to women Bishops! And if you are against women Bishops, why not women priests? It's a natural progression surely!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sir Charles Wheeler 1923-2008

One of the best journalists the BBC has had , one who exemplified the BBC at it's best, and one who had a long and profitable career with the Corporation. Working with them until just about the end of his life. I for one will miss his input towards BBC News journalism.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

Before I dash..

As I have a dentist appointment before work. A few quick thoughts..
Its definetly a time for anniversaries, particually in the US today, although don't you think the Boston Tea Party was a little over-reaction? (discuss)
Secondly it is a week ago that my blog had it's first anniversary, on the side-bar you can read my amateur first attempts of blogging way back in June 2005.
And, oh yes, dentist. That time of year where I have my teeth checked, feel like I am in Marathon Man, told everything is okay but to keep brushing them (As I hope continues to happen), before heading off for work.
Hey ho, another day

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Driving Lessons Part X

Fairly okay, although my Achilles heel (no pun intended) is the clutch. I am just not all that brilliant at it, but it is difficult for most people get to master, plus I am slowly improving with it.
First time yesterday I got everything in proper sequence without prompting before driving off. Not only that but I am using the mirrors more and I am also improving in learning to park a car. Its just a question of practise makes perfect I guess

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mayorals 2012

I hope Ken Livingstone doesn't stand. He was Mayor for two terms before he was defeated and a major London figure before then. Not only that but given the last election campaign, we need a new face and someone who can wrong-foot the Tories and pick up on all their mistakes.
It would also be ideal for someone who is savvy and yet has no major political experience. Someone popular with the electorate, someone tough and yet respected. I am not sure yet whether he ought to stand, but I am attracted to the idea of London's next Mayor being Sir Alan Sugar.
And isn't this bit of news interesting!

Mars Hill blog stats (June 2008)

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

Milton Keynes, London, Seoul, Herndon, Columbia, Limerick, Agawam, Melbourne, Swansea, St Louis

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

United Kingdom, United States, Ireland, South Korea, Australia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Canada, 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) Bloggers4Labour (+11)

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

3) Paul Linford (+12)

4) Wikio (-3)

5) Tim Roll-Pickering (-)

6) Cally's Kitchen (-2)

7) Wikipedia (+1)

8) Facebook (-6)

9) Rupa Huq (NEW-ish)

10) British Blogs (-10)

Out of the Top Ten are Freemania , Ellee Seymour , WongaBlog ,and Man in a Shed

Top Ten Searchwords that lead people to my blog

doctor who season four finale

obama london

mars hill

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mars hill blog

mars july 1st

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paul burgin

doctor who eason 4 finale rumours