Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Those Wikileaks

I can appreciate the desire to root out certain sensitive information, especially with the righteous anger many feel that because the US is a democracy it's standards are much higher, but is this really helpful! Does it heal wounds, and will the fallout cause more harm than good and will lives be at risk if this continues!
Just asking!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Those Dangerous Tea Party Cheerleaders

I knew Sarah Palin was not that clued up on Global affairs, I knew she had an insular attitude to politics and anything outside the US, although I suppose one must congratulate her on her excellent eyesight which allows her to see distances of up to 53 miles from the westernmost point of Alaska.
But her latest gaffe must surely make even her most rabid supporters believe that she is not really the best person to be President in 2013. But then I am wondering, given some of them thing that Obama is a a "socialist muslim"
I am further concerned, (and pleased that one of my heroes, Jim Wallis, has spoken up on this) on the routine disinformation that Fox News and other leading Republicans give. It is dishonest, it is cowardly, and it strikes against every unwritten political code of honour that there is. These people prey on the fears of ordinary Americans, work on their ignorance, and repeat falsehoods until they are belived. The last point was a political ploy first used in Germany in the 1930s, and works on the dictum that if you keep repeating a lie, no matter how outrageous, then it gets believed eventually. So for example if I kept referring to xyz person as "xyz the man who has a violent temper!" the repeating will have a hypnotic effect and the reader will eventually associate the xyz with the words "has a violent temper!"
That said, more people are complaining about the Right in the US in a way that hardly happened five years ago. Hopefully, eventually, it will be obvious what is happening. Fox News backed the wrong side in 2008, as did Murdoch's empire in the US did generally. That shows a failing lack of finger on the pulse, one hopes however, that some headway is made in time for the November 2012 elections.

Flight's Speed of Mouth

First Lord Young, now this. It is saying something yet again about the PM's judgement and indeed about what it says about the lack of touch the coalition has with the more vulnerable recipients of their policies!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Five Programmes I'd Happy Pull The Plug On Meme

I got this idea from reading how Michael Grade enjoyed suspending Doctor Who for eighteen months in 1985, given his dislike for the programme. The idea here is to list the TV programmes you'd happily pull the plug on if you were in charge. Obviously ratings are not taken into account here, as in this hypothetical exercise they will not affect the station that broadcasts them and it's just for fun.

1) Sesame Street. Patronising,  I like children's programmes to be BBC in style. Blue Peter, etc.. Mind you I thought The Muppet Show was good when it was on.

2) EastEnders. Depressing and claustrophobic, especially around Christmas. Not good for morale

3) X Factor. Well not as such, but radical modification. Perhaps a change of talent scouts so that acts like Jedward don't stay for long

4) This Week. Patronising, tabloid-like, Panto-all year. Has a lot about what I dislike about News and Current affairs coverage in one area. Daily Politics on the other hand, much better. Done in a style of a late night Arts discussion programme would improve This Week, otherwise..

5) Bargain Hunt I like these sort of programmes to be a bit like the Antiques Roadshow in style

I would add Heartbeat, Big Brother, and Last of the Summer Wine, but thankfully the plug was pulled on these three this year.
Basically as you can guess, with exceptions, I like TV Programmes to be a bit less tabloid, although I can all-too painfully see why they are commissioned and popular, but they tend to be patronising, bland, or depressing

Nineteen Years Ago Today

We lost one of the UK's best musicians and performers. Freddie Mercury, much missed

Clegg Asks For Demonstration To Be Called Off!

This would be laughable if it wasn't pathetic and that Clegg is a member of a government that is penalising younger people. What will be hard for him to make clear though, is how with the whiff of power the Liberal Democrats can change their views so quickly. I suppose the comments could be translated as "Back off, because you are embarrassing me and showing the Liberal Democrats up for the hypocrites we are!"

UKIP MEP Ejected From European Parliament

This might go down well with the dwindling group of Xenophobes in the UK, but it just goes to show how out of touch, out of time, and how insensitive and idiotic UKIP members are capable of being!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lord Young's Gaffe & More

So it hasn't been that good a week for David Cameron. Whilst the nation is gearing up to the biggest Royal Wedding since 1981, the goodwill has not extended to the PM.
The problem was not just Lord Young's gaffe, it was the fact that the PM hired him and relied on his judgement enough to give him an office in Downing Street. It doesn't stop there either. One of the pieces of news that almost slipped away was the one regarding the ditching of Cameron's vanity photographer who was foolishly put on the civil service payroll.
And lets not talk about the Irish Economic Question this week and the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Cameron's friend), once advocated that we copy them. The man has no right whatsoever to attack Gordon Brown's economic record after that!
Cameron once saw himself as the Heir to Blair. Well Tony Blair hardly made such gaffes six months into his premiership, certainly not three in a week. What has happened this week, combined, has called into question the PM's judgement as the man who can be relied on to work at putting the UK together rather than making PR stunts. Something else. Whatever Blair's faults, he also had the full confidence of the country with a 179 seat majority in his first year as PM. Something it is increasingly obvious, thankfully, that Cameron will never have or enjoy

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Peerages

Whilst I am pleased to see some elevations to the Lords, inc Oona King and Joan Bakewell, and yes even the occasional Tory like Julian Fellowes, I am concerned about where all this is going.
The Coalition says it intends to reduce the power of the Lords, and yet over 50 new peers have been created, 42 of whom are either Conservative or Liberal Democrats! How does that look for Democracy? And then, among that list you have people like Bob Edmiston, a car salesman, who has been in trouble over the "cash for peerages" scandal! Ditto one of the list of Labour peers!
This is not good, it's not healthy. And quite frankly, if the coalition were going to create 42 of their own, they'd have been better with Iain Dale than Edmiston, as people on all sides would have been happy to see him there rather than a Tory with an apparently murky background

Catholic Church to soften stance on contraception

As someone who, even at my most morally conservative minded, have never had a problem with contraception at all, I do welcome this change of stance, if true. It would have been better though if this had been said years earlier and lives could have been spared, but am glad it's being said nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Burying Bad News On Day of Engagement

I can see what Iain Dale is saying about this, but I have to say that isn't it a bit coincidental on the day Prince William and Kate Middleton announce their engagement:

David Cameron removes his vanity photographer

The Greater Manchester Police announcing that their cuts will leave 1,387 officers being unemployed

And that's just two of the items considered "buried"

Am just saying!

UK To Bail Out Ireland!

All sad, and if we can help them we must, as George Osborne has stated. But hang on what did the Chancellor state four years ago!
Guilt working away there? As for the argument how could anyone predict this, if Osborne cannot tell the dangers of a tiger economy rushing into growth as it did, then his abilities as Chancellor concern me

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Delicatessen in Stainless Steel Mr Bond!

Some of you may well know, or guess with my "Twenty Questions", that I am a big James Bond fan. Some may object to that and fair enough, but I never take the whole thing seriously.  As it was a week ago I helped host a James Bond theme Party, the first such I had ever been involved with, and one of the guests was Tory blogger, Tim Roll-Pickering, who pointed out a piece of information I never knew before.
It concerns the beginning of the 1981 Bond movie For Your Eyes Only, where Bond finally kills his arch-enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Just before he does so, Blofeld pleads for his life, saying that "I'll buy you a delicatessen! In stainless steel!" Like many Bond fans and film buffs that line has always confused me and you wonder what the point of it was and I mentioned this to Tim.
Tim pointed out that it's actually a mafia bribe, and I have since looked it up. Apparently it was especially used by New York Italian Americans, who used to sell their wares on mobile trays. Having a shop was a sign of going up in the World, but for those selling delicatessen on the trays, they were put on stainless steel for hygienic purposes. The phrase therefore meant that you were going to offer something up front, no hidden agenda.
As it was, Blofeld had killed Bond's wife on their wedding day several films before, so Bond, being the man he is, was clearly not going to accept such a desperate plea. That said, if you ever wondered what was the point of that line, at least you know now.

1,000 Years of Europe in Five MIns

Hat tip to my brother for alerting me to this. Fascinating stuff!

A Farewell to Tom Harris

This evening I received the sad news that Tom Harris is quitting blogging.
I can see his points, but it's a shame. Tom is one of the most articulate and popular bloggers out of the Labour Party, let alone Westminster. He is clear, concise, and makes me cheer 75% of the time, especially when I think I am a lone voice on a particular contentious issue. His leaving leaves a void, but hopefully given the current political climate, it should be filled before long.
Tom we wish you well in your future

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lecturers Praising Protestors?!?

Am busy most of today, so no in-depth blogging, if I do that that is, but before I go I just want to ask one question about the Goldsmith College lecturers
What planet are they on?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

We almost get used to this, year in, year out. But let us not forget at 11AM this morning, the extraordinary deeds and sacrifices made by people in both World Wars  and in other conflicts that have helped us enjoy the freedoms and priviliges we have today

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fisking Pickled Politics

Sorry, but it had to be done.
Ann Widdecombe has become one of the most well known politicians over the past fifteen years. Forthright, outspoken, she has admirers and detractors alike. Like a no of people with the Labour Party, and indeed the Liberal Democrats, I have a lot of time for Ann Widdecombe and respect her, albeit heavily disagreeing with her at the same time.
So it was that I read this blogpost describing in detail as to why she is a "nasty person". Widders is many things, but nasty is an accusation I think is unfair, so it was that I felt that this post needed a fisking.

She is anti-abortion and seems to have problems with embryonic stem cell research whilst not fully understanding the science behind it.  Scientists didn’t want to create a human/animal hybrid Ann.

So are a no of Labour MP's, particularity those who are Roman Catholic. Understanding the science behind it or not is not the concern, it's the sanctity of life from conception but before birth that is why there is criticism of stem cell research

She is anti-Sex Education.

 That is a very broad and sweeping point, and could do with some clarification

She supports Homophobia as long it’s by religious people (It’s free speech you know.)

Ann Widdecombe is also a friend of Iain Dale who not only holds her in admiration but is also gay. So perhaps homophobic is a sweeping accusation that needs clarification

She seems to think that the Church of England apologising for the Crusades and slavery “makes them look silly”.

I agree that the need to apologise for past atrocities is important, but I can see where Ann Widdecombe is coming from, i.e. should one apologise for something that neither you or your contemporaries are responsible for. That doesn't make her a nasty person, that simply means that she is not looking at the whole picture.

She believes in censorship.

What's wrong with that?

She is one of the idiot MP’s who wanted Terrorism suspects detained for42 days despite no evidence that it would help investigations in any way.

 Again I agree that 42 days is excessive and prefer 28 days. But I can see where she, and other individual MP's from all sides of the House of Commons, are coming from! We live in a semi state of War, fighting terrorist groups who seek to aggressively destroy our way of life and that includes making innocent civilians targets. If you said she supported waterboarding, Guantamano Bay's history of operations on terrorism, or Kelvin Mackenzie's cretinous comment about 420 days, I would agree

She is against political parties trying to help get more women intoParliament.

That simply means that she feels that people should be elected to Parliament purely on merit

She insisted that Tories “throughout the Thatcher period” had always cared about the poor.

I see the point being made, but some Thatcherite Tories have outdated romanticised views of philanthropists coming in en masse when the state withdraws it's contribution. It just shows a naivety of human nature.

She writes for the Daily Express.

No, that just makes her naive. If I were to start having a go at people and regard them as nasty, simply for writing for a particular newspaper I detested (and the Daily Express is one of the newspapers I truly detest), then where would I stop?

She is a climate change denier.

Again, does that make her nasty! It just shows her to be ignorant of the facts. I know several pleasant people who are climate change deniers, I don't regard them as nasty, simply wrong on that issue.It's the overall views in general and the attitude that goes with it that makes me, and many others, regard someone as nasty or not!

She left the Church of England because they started ordinating woman.

Some interpretations of Scripture (and Ann Widdecombe is a believer) state that she may be right. I happen to disagree, both scripturally and morally, but given at how convincing a surface reading of The Bible can make regarding a negative view of the ordination of women, I feel sorry for her and those who share her views, I can't regard her as nasty for that. If she didn't want women in authority in all walks of life, then you may have a point.

Although on the plus side she is against fox hunting.

I agree on that, although there are some fairly unpleasant people who are pro foxhunting, and I like to keep some of my powder dry in dealing with them!

Monday, November 08, 2010

New Miliband Baby

Many congratulations to Ed and Justine Miliband. The next question is the name. Obviously they will have thought of it for weeks, but it must be daunting knowing that the Press will be analysing the choice in all manner possible. Incidentally if you have any ideas, then feel free to mention them here.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Chinese Artist Under "House Arrest"

If you are in London over the next few days, or live in London and have some spare time, then do visit the Tate Modern and have a look at the ceramic sunflower seeds on display, as the artist who made them says that he is under "house arrest" in his native China, at least until Sunday.
Ai Weiwei is a critic of the Chinese government with regards to human rights issues and it seems that the reason for the house arrest is so as to prevent him travelling to Shanghai to host a party marking the forced demolition of his recently-built studio  there.
What intrigues me is that, by doing this the Chinese government have yet again shown themselves up to the rest of the World, have encouraged criticism against them, and in doing so have been counter-productive in their actions. This is a country that has opened up in tremendous ways for nearly forty years, and yet seem to fail to fully realise the value of mutual dependency and support from other nations.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Osborne's Unrealistic View of his Handling of the Cuts

The Chancellor may or may not have a point here, but when he makes it clear that he expects philanthropy to take over from the state, or as Iain Dale recently put to Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary:

How much do your benefits reforms actually rely on there being jobs for people to go into in the end? Because you can have an economic recovery without a lot of extra jobs being created. George Osborne is pinning a lot on the fact that the private sector is going to create huge numbers of new jobs. What if that doesn't happen?

Given the throwing of the axe with the cuts made, I have deep concerns about this gamble, as the private sector can only do this if there are enough incentives, and the massive cuts are not going to inspire the optimism needed for an economic recovery. It's also a heck of a lot to pin a recovery on this one thing. More hope than  planning!
Plus it's not as if, being a millionaire, that his own finances are on the line. In fact he has made sure that he gets to make as little contribution as possible with a tax dodging incentive, which you can read about here, complete with a petition to get Osborne to pay up!
I knew he'd be a disaster as Chancellor and it's sad to see that is in fact the case.

How to Talk Yourself Into the Firing Line! Paloma on The Apprentice

It's good to see that in it's sixth series, The Apprentice has not lost it's sense of drama, especially after last night.
Whilst I more or less wanted Paloma to go after it was obvious it would be her or Alex, I was a bit taken aback by the way she politely interrupted Lord Sugar, tried to fight her corner (so far so good) and then trashed her colleagues next to her in a manner I personally thought was unprofessional.
I know some people online took negative exception to Paloma, but whilst I was wary of her as a person, I thought she was a good businesswoman, albeit with some mistakes, who was good at what she did, and let's face it she was no Katie Hopkins. At the end of the day though we saw a valuable lesson in the last few minutes in how not to fight your corner and the value of accepting defeat with dignity.

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part CXLIX: Rupert Read

Dr. Rupert Read (born 1966) is Reader in Philosophy at UEA specialising in environmental and political philosophy; he is one of the 21 Norwich Green Party Councillors; and he is a blogger writing regularly on sites such as Liberal Conspiracy, Left Foot Forward, Open Democracy, Le Monde Diplomatique, and the Guardian, as well as at Rupert’s Read. His most recent books are PHILOSOPHY FOR LIFE and THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SOCIAL SCIENCE. He came within 1% of winning a first European seat for the Green Party in the East of England, in 2009, and also scored the Green Party’s highest-ever result in a Parliamentary byelection, in Norwich North, later that year. His blog can be found here.

What made you decide to start blogging?
The desire to reach my potential voters without mediation.

What is your best blogging experience?
Perhaps the time when I scooped the BBC and everyone else, by revealing, days earlier than government had intended to reveal it, that the Coalition are planning to hold the AV referendum on the first Thursday in May 2011: http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/07/av-referendum-to-be-announced-next-week-held-in-may/ . The blogosphere increasingly 'gets there first', and its fun when one can be the one who makes that happen...

And your worst?
My worst experience is probably looking back on some really old/early posts from time to time and thinking ‘Jeez, I sounded a bit stiff back in that one', or the like. Plus the time I got threatened with legal action because of a poorly (sarcastically and over-concisely) titled blogpost...

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Favourite blogs?
 At the moment, I'm enjoying http://brightgreenscotland.org/ a lot. I'm also pretty excited about this joint-blog on reframing, run by myself and Matt Wootton:http://www.greenwordsworkshop.org/ . But really, my favourite 'blog' is the Twitter Home page: it's the metablog of our time...

What inspired you to go into politics?
The desire to change the world around me, the desire to do good for other people and beings around me and as yet unborn, to be able to represent what they want. To be able to help people in one of the most underated jobs in the world. Yes it’s hard work and sometimes you can get home and your legs can be like lead (not to mention your brain), but one can always find the strength to carry on with the knowledge that one is slowly but steadily managing to change the world, one step at a time. I want to leave a habitable and flourishing world behind for my nephews and nieces and for everyone; I want this very badly.

In what ways are the Greens more than a single issue Party?
It is most certainly a common misconception that the Greens are a single issue party and it is an obstacle that one comes across many times on the doorstep, an obstacle fed by continuing media stereotyping. The truth is that The Green Party have a policy on pretty much everything you could think of. We have extremely viable policies for instance on one of the most pressing problems facing us currently, one which the Conservatives are handling particularly badly, the current financial situation. Basically, one or more of the big banks needs to be permanently nationalised, and the rest of the system needs to be helped to (re-)mutualise. Here is how I've argued the case in blogland: http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2009/07/bank-of-britain-proposal.html . I'm proud to say that, at our September Party Conference, an amendment to our policy was accepted which makes roughly this into Green Party policy.
As well as the banking system we have a variety of innovative policies on Pensions, Housing, Unemployment and many more: see our manifesto, here:http://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies.html. Long ago, the Green Party's predecessor, the Ecology Party might have been thought of merely as a single issue party (though of course that would have been a complete mistake even then, as our emphasis has always been wholistic, as the ecological label means), but as everything does, we have evolved and grown, to be a real power in politics.

What is the best thing and the worst thing about being a councillor?
Best thing: The chance to make a difference. I am immensely proud for example of the 20mph speed limits in a large chunk of my own ward and of two other wards in Norwich. These would not have happened, without me.
Worst thing: Certain people from a certain disreputable Party lying about you and smearing you, for partisan reasons.

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
Bulgaria and Rumania. It’s on my 'gap year' list, if I ever get a gap year.

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
Ireland. The whole country has a somewhat magical feel to it. I'll never forget my time for instance in those stunning peninsulas south-west of Cork. I'd also love to return to Northern Ireland, where I had a fascinating (and terrifying) time as an amateur student reporter, back during the Troubles.

Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best out of past leading figures in the Green Party?
Interesting question! I'm inclined to plump for the great Mike Woodin, like me a Balliol man, and someone who should have been in the Cabinet or something, rather than dying tragically young. He was a truly inspirational thinker and speaker, and I'm proud to have known him, albeit far too briefly.

Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?

Petra Kelly. When I met her while at Oxford, she struck me as a true model for a politician / for a statesman (stateswoman), because of the way she exuded integrity.

Favourite Bond movie?

Tricky... I'm not a big Bond fan, these days!

Favorite Doctor Who?

Tricky for a different reason: there are too many great ones! But for me at the end of the day it still has to be Tom Baker. "I am a timelord, I walk in eternity!" No-one could say that like he did.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
Mint of course.

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?I saw Radiohead before they were famous. Amazingly, they weren't very good! If I could go back in time, I would love to see the Floyd in concert in the late 60s and early 70s.

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?
I would go for Cambridge. The architecture! But of course I am very fond too of Oxford, from my days studying and learning politics there. Both places also have great Green Councillors!  ;-)

Favourite national newspaper?
Le Monde Diplomatique: http://mondediplo.com/

What would you say your hobbies were?
Gardening. And laughing at LibDem graphs.

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?Songs:
Yes, Anastasia - Tori Amos
Souvenir of China - Jean Michel Jarre.
The world turned upside down - the great song about the Diggers...
Wainwright's pictorial guides to the Lakeland fells
Philosophical Investigations - Wittgenstein
Ancient futures - Helena Norberg-Hodge.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Cameron and the Photographer Issue at PMQ's

Sometimes in politics there comes a moment when the bright new hope becomes the cynical and jaded and impotent in policy, bar cheap sound-bites.  Clearly given the general election result, voters had their doubts about Cameron, but today we saw the man who eschewed Punch and Judy politics, followed by a pledge for bare knuckle boxing, showing his nasty and run-down jaded side.
After Ed Miliband asked, quite reasonably, about Cameron hiring a photographer and putting her on the civil service payroll, the PM gets tetchy and accuses Miliband of being on a "Milibandwagon". Gosh I have never known Cameron to be on any bandwagon, have you!
This of course, coming from a man who had no shame in whipping his MP's to ask questions about Gordon Brown allegedly hurling mobile phones at people during PMQ's. I suppose it takes one shallow person to recognise when he is being cornered on a particular shallow issue

Midterm Blues

Whilst last night's news was awful, lets not forget the silver linings. For one thing the Democrats still have control over the Senate, most midterm results are bad for whoever is in power, take Clinton in 1994, and the Republicans now have to show that they are good at delivery rather than being angry and shouty.
I cannot properly understand why Americans have not voted for a man who is doing his level best for them in terms of Healthcare and Education, but that said a no of Republicans stayed away in 2008 and clearly they have now felt less impotent in their rage. This needs to be checked and the Obama Administration needs to rethink how their plans are being presented.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Voting in Prisons. No Thanks!

A no of people have blogged and twittered about this, but I have to say I was somewhat surprised when I first heard of this. I assumed it was a no brainer issue and that if you break major laws you should not be allowed to partake in electing those who make them until you have served your punishment.
I appreciate that prison is there to help rehabilitate people and restore a sense of self worth, however it is also there to punish people, and that includes terrorists, murderers and rapists, and those who will never be let out of prison for very good reasons. Do you really want such people to be involved in deciding who should be elected to Parliament! I really am not sure how we should react to this European ruling, I suppose we could do the stereotypical French thing and ignore it, but that is not ideal. We could put forward some form of legislation and kick it into the long grass and tie it into Commons/Lords timetable of Bills etc.. Ideally that is what we ought to do, if in the meantime we can persuade other European nations to see out view. If we must hold our noses and put in some legislation, taking long delays into account, lets make it as mediocre as possible so that it is ineffective.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Programmes I Have Personally Enjoyed On the BBC Throughout My Life(Past and Present)

The Two Ronnies
Last Night of the Proms
Any Questions
Question Time
Secret Army
Record Breakers
Red Dwarf
Our Friends in the North
Live Aid
Live 8
Simon Schama's History of Britiain
The League of Gentlemen
Have I Got News for You
Doctor Who (Oh yes)
Blake's 7
Blue Peter
Swap Shop
The World at One
BBC Breakfast
Monty Python
Children in Need Appeal
Robin Hood
Not the Nine O'Clock News
Stephen Poliakoff dramas
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Alan Partridge
Sherlock (Definitely)
David Attenborough programmes
BAFTA Evenings
The Flumps
Camberwick Green
Life On Mars
Ashes To Ashes
Stephen Fry's America
Michael Palin
The Box of Delights
The Wombles
Fawlty Towers
Morecambe and Wise
All Creatures Great and Small
Gavin and Stacey
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
The Politics Show
Loose Ends
The News Quiz
The Thick of It
The Apprentice
And many more...

The BBC is under threat at the moment in the form of major cuts following the Comprehensive Spending Review, indeed it was during that review that Osborne announced that the BBC Licence Fee would be frozen for six years. This seems to be a deliberate ideological attack from the Right and must be resisted. The channel provides many quality programmes which make the Licence Fee worthwhile and for it to go would encourage more mainstream low quality trash and take away the need to educate, entertain, and inform from mainstream broadcasting.
If you feel the way I do about this and feel passionate about the BBC to the point of seeing it as part of what makes Britain Great, then you could do no bad thing than buy Mitch Benn's song I'm Proud of the BBC, online for just 79p. If that gets to No 1 in the Charts next week, then that will surely send some sort of message. Again, if you feel as passionate as I do, then draw up a list of your favourite BBC programmes on your blog or Facebook, or via email, and pass on the link

The Firefighters Strike on Nov 5th

I have no problems in principle with the right to strike and for Trade Unions flexing workforce muscle of need be! (How could I otherwise be left wing), but I am not romantic about it and I do feel that public safety must always be taken into account and that politics must not be the be all and end all in industrial disputes.
So it is that I have problems with the proposed firefighters strike on Nov 5th, the very time when they will be most at need. I appreciate that the aim is to get publicity, but not all publicity is good publicity and in any such dispute you need full public support.
What seems to be apparent though, through recent readings of the twitter-sphere and blogosphere is that there us a lack of proper communication between union members and their leadership, and that some in the right are prepared to listen to their plight. What I'd suggest then is that the leadership rethink their strategy and that they call their strike for a less provocative day and work at using good contacts within the media and that includes using a variety of outlets with varying ideologies

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Fab Hoby Cartoon

A bit painful though, as I was a bit like that at seven years old
More Hoby cartoons can be found here, and hat tip to w4mp