Thursday, August 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Denis Healey

95 today and one of the last survivors of the Wilson Cabinet of 1964-1970. Quite a character I have spoken with him twice and he is not only a sharp cookie, but also speaks his mind in a way that does not necessarily cause offence. We needed someone like him in government in the 1960s and 1970s, we needed people like him in the Labour Party in the 1980s and there may come a time when we need people like him again

Leveson Loading a Gun on the Press

My reaction on reading this is "Good!" but obviously there is a caveat. Mainly that it is discerning and attacks only certain sections of the Press and bears in mind the good work that investigative journalism of the more mature variety does (take MP's expenses for example). We must always have a questioning media and a free press, but we must not have a feral media that wallows in spiv culture and that must always be stamped on when necessary

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Should Our Westminster Parliament Move and Where?

I have to say that I do strongly disagree with John Kampfner here. I think that some modern Parliamentary buildings look awful and why spend taxpayers money building a new building, if we need a five year absence, we need a building that is in London (and if not at least within a 120 mile radius, perhaps Oxford or Birmingham), is accessible to the public, is able to be successfully looked after by security, has a sense of British history, respects traditions and yet forward looking. That is what we need and I think that what we need is more important than the snobbery and inverted snobbery that takes place when we consider what we like and dislike about Parliament and it's location

Why I disagree with Walaa Idris on Louise Mensch and Nadine Dorries

I respect Walaa as a political opponent but on this blogpost which caught my eye via Twitter yesterday she is definitely wrong, and the only way to explain why is by fisking the piece she has written:

Nadine is wrong in attacking Louise for supporting the Sun’s decision to publish Prince Harry’s naked photos. One, because the photos were already in the public domain and all the Sun did was make them available for their readers and those who might not have access to Internet but wanted to see them. They (the Sun) did not judge the prince or his actions nor did they force the photos on anyone to see them, they just provided a service by making them publicly available for those who wanted to view them.

Whether the photos were in the public domain or not is irrelevant. A no of photos are and have been in the past and newspapers have rightfully not published them for reasons of taste and decency if nothing else. The Internet is an international communications access and some of those photos will have been on US sites. UK newspapers are bound by UK codes of conduct. Of course the Sun readers can easily have access to the Internet, such as their local library, but of course, rightfully so because the computers are accessed by all, there are terms and conditions about what you can see. In any case was Prince Harry seen exchanging money over some dodgy arms deal? No, was the event reported? Yes. Therefore the event may have been okay to be reported, but the photographs certainly were not

And, two, yes Prince Harry is free to live and enjoy his life, but guess what? People are also free to want to stick their nose in his business since he is a public figure! If we go down the line of “Harry did not have a choice on what family he was born into….” Tough! None of us did, but most of us daily deal with whatever our dynasty throws at us.

The Royal Family is a unique firm, I certainly am not a member of a family, or family business, that is in the public eye, nor is just about anyone I know.  I do not approve of what Prince Harry did in Las Vegas, it was foolish at best, but equally if we start trampling over the private lives of senior Royals, who have no choice as they cannot abdicate from their position, when they are not doing anything that affects us, then we should not complain when the media go all feral, which incidentally is what this is all about! A test case for Rupert Murdoch to see how far he can trample over Leveson!

... those photos were already out all over the world and therefore became of interest for the UK public. They wanted to see them and deserved to. The Sun, as I mentioned before, did not force them on anyone. Plus judging from the number of official complaints (in the region of 150,000) verses newspaper sales (millions of copies) we can safely say the Sun was right to publish them. 

Who in the public have said they wanted to see them? Plus the no of complaints over a newspaper publication as mentioned is unusually high, compared to sales of The Sun, two things. One how many of them brought the paper so as to see pics of Prince Harry, two even so figures do not mean that Sun readers are right, in fact I would gently suggest that newspaper readers across the board, including myself, should reflect how their reading and buying habits have helped create the country we live in in terms of having aspects of our media that is feral and out of control

Where I disagree with Louise is first in the timing of her resignation. She could not have picked a worst time to quit her seat and trigger a by – election. An intelligent media savvy woman, she, should have known, especially as an A’Listers that resigning mid cycle, was never going to go down well. The A’List and A’Listers are still a hot topic and in some party circles they are looked at suspiciously by members and grassroots. Plus Louise is already accused by some for being an attention seeking, limelight grabbing opportunist. Don’t get me wrong as a mother myself I support and even applaud her decision, to admit she could not cope and put her family first is nothing but admirable. My problem is with the timing of it. Especially as both Louise and her family have already endured the hardships of the job for over two years, therefore, why not just wait a few more months and resign in Christmas (I know it looks like a long time and her kids will miss the start of the school year) but resigning at the end of 2012, after the Police Commissioners elections are out of the way, and hopefully the party is polling better and CCHQ has a fuller list of possible candidates and is preparing for the 2015 general election would have been a much more considerate timing. 

Ah, well as a Labour Party activist I had better not comment, as the health and success of the Conservative Party is not the interests of the Labour Party or in terms of my own personal views, suffice to say isn't it good to have a mini referendum of sorts on the coalitions progress! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Health and Safety Rules

A sad state of affairs, but as one of the people who have left comments on the BBC Website has said, there is the fear of litigation here, and in dealing with companies using Health and Safety we must also consider the attitude and readiness of people to sue rather than accept it is their fault

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lord Prescott on Those Prince Harry Pics

Totally agree. Mention the story, but no need for the pics as far as I am concerned

Labour Calls For Franchise Review!

I do hope this happens, because simply put, in my own personal experience, Virgin provide a good service compared to other networks such as the FirstGroup, and my experience of First Capital Connect for example, has not been spectacular in the past, whether lack of good facilities in comparison to Virgin, or regular delays, although the latter seems to be changing

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Tories Should Hand Back The Money Donated To Them By Polly Peck!

Out of all the Conservative Party leaders in my lifetime, the one I have the most time for is Sir John Major. When Asil Nadir fled to Cyprus in 1993, Major, who was Prime Minister at the time, stated that donations to the Conservative Party would be returned if they were "dishonestly obtained and dishonestly donated".
This week, Nadir was found guilty of theft from the Polly Peck empire worth millions of pounds, as Nadir illegally ploughed money backwards and forwards in order to fund his other enterprises.
The Conservatives refuse to return the money, stating that the donations were made by the company itself, but how can they be sure of the legitimacy of the money received and also bear in mind that Nadir was the sole signatory on many of the transactions, at least that is my understanding
I suggest the Conservatives should reconsider

Those Prince Harry Pics

Yes it is not an issue as such in that he is doing something a lot of other people of his age have done and therefore not newsworthy. As Vanessa Feltz said, if he was a dignitary at the Olympics misbehaving in front of others that would have been different, but instead he is third in line to the throne and this was in his spare time. I may not approve of what he did, but it is not news and not in the public interest for the reasons I have given

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

RIP Tony Nicklinson

So sad, and I hope he is now at peace. That said I am still against all forms of euthanasia (unless someone is on the point of death and they need drugs to deal with the pain and there is a danger of an overdose) and one must think of the vulnerable who may be taken advantage of in such situations

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Assange, Galloway, and Sweden

Several things bother me about the Assange rape case and perhaps it is best if I list them as I can therefore publicly collect my thoughts:

1) It bothers me that some people loathe the US government (whichever administration it is) so much that they disregard accusations of rape

2)It bothers me that Assange does not seem to be taking the accusations seriously, whether true or false, and has not gone to Sweden to acknowledge them, or rather has allowed his paranoia over the US to get the better of him!

3) Craig Murray seemed to be all over defending Assange last night to the point where he publicly mentioned someone as a rape victim and from what I understand named at least one of the two women who have accused Julian Assange. He went from being zealous to defending Assange to being zealous to show he took rape seriously and in the process showed his lack of diplomatic credentials by trampling over a no of people in a horrible manner

4) Galloway's comments about bad etiquette were awful, especially when he said if accusations against Assange taken at their very worst and it was all true!

Rape is a serious accusation, sometimes it is a false allegation, sometimes true, sometimes the situation is blurred, but the accusation must always be investigated and taken seriously and Assange would do well to cooperate

Monday, August 20, 2012

Prince Philip Leaves Hospital

Good news, but I hope he takes it easy. Very few British Royals have lived longer than him, in fact only five come to mind:

HRH Princess Louise Duchess of Argyll (daughter of Queen Victoria) 1848-1939

HRH Prince Arthur Duke of Connaught (son of Queen Victoria) 1850-1942

HRH Princess Alice Countess of Athlone (longest lived and last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria, daughter of Prince Leopold, the first known hemophiliac in the European Royal families) 1883-1981

HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother 1900-2002

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (longest lived Royal, married to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, one of George VI's younger brothers) 1901-2004

At nine-one, although all were comparatively physically and mentally fit, Prince Philip seems to do better than they did at that age and so if he takes it easy from now on, no one can blame him, and in any case compared to most ninety-one year olds he does very well

Tory MP's Criticise "Idle Workers"

A no of people have commented on this, so will not add except to say "How would you feel if the work you do involved no expenses, little pay unless you did longer hours, and even then it would be difficult to get paid much more for the said longer hours, and you were called idle?"
Welcome to the caring world that some Conservative MP's inhabit!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fabrice Muamba To Retire

Not surprised and rather pleased in a way as one would always be concerned, but thoughts and prayers and hope he will find a new vocation that will take him to exciting places. An incredible miracle and shows how life is a precious gift

Assange and Diplomatic Immunity

I can sense the frustration of the British Government and I am one of those who believe that Assange has questions to answer in Sweden, but threatening to lift a nations diplomatic status has grave implications and I'd be concerned that someone could do that to the UK at a later date as a result! But the question for me is why are the Ecuadorians so keen to help Assange?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The People Who Slow Down To Film Accidents

I totally agree that it is disrespectful and morally wrong. What I would add to that is I would ask those who do such things how they would feel if they were victims in such circumstances! Doesn't it say a lot about our society?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Young Men Who Are Aspiring Tories!

It is easy to mock these two I know, well one of them, especially if you are not a Conservative. But the networking aspect is a valid point, although I have seen changes happening across the political board. That said, a warning to anyone under 21. Publicly aspire for high office not only shows your immaturity, it almost ensures it won't happen!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Tories Being Disingenuous About Boundary Changes!

Reading this, some questions come to mind. If any Conservative activist cares to answer them, please feel free!

1) Aren't the Conservatives being disingenuous. The appeal to them, as Tim Montgomerie has made clear, is twenty more seats to the Tories! Not whether it's a fair level playing field. The proposed changes do no credit and have caused many problems. Not least Copeland, where Jamie Reed MP may as well helicopter from one part of the redrawn constituency to another, given where the roads are and the hills that are slap bang in the middle

2) Why should Labour help Cameron on something that benefits the Tories and not us, and where they have made that clear? Plus given the lack of respect that Cameron has among opposition MP's as well!

3) How does Cameron think he can get this through, unless he wants to play the Martyr Card, rally sympathy around the Conservatives and do what he and Osborne have a tendency to do unless caught red handed, which is blame all and sundry but themselves

Anyone care to answer?

Monday, August 06, 2012

Mars Rover Curiosity Succesfully Lands on the Planet

Amazing stuff, especially when you consider the engineering involved in landing it. Dangling the rover from the mothercraft via cables just before landing with the engines still firing! Impressive. Hopefully some evidence of life will be found but it is like looking for a needle in a haystack

Louise Mensch to Quit Commons

I for one will be sorry to see her go, but family must come first. Some politicos dislike her but I have tended to respect her as an opponent and have a lot of time for her. My thoughts, prayers, and hopes for her future and I wish her well

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Gay Marriage - Defining Election Issue?

I don't think it is as such, as I think individual MP's must follow their consciences, but equally I think that voters must balance this with everything else their MP does and what Party he or she is from! The issue must certainly not be used by both sides to intimidate or blackmail MP's

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Murdoch at Olympic Games

Given the current question marks hanging over his business and his conduct, was this wise of Boris Johnson? Especially when you consider what yet may come out! If Boris plans to be Prime Minister one day, this certainly puts question marks on his judgement

DUP Mayor at Gay Pride Event!

Good for him! Any way you look at this it is important for any politician or indeed Christian, to engage with those around him or her! This is what Gavin Robinson is doing and hopefully all concerned will learn something positive as a result!