Freedom, system thinking, politics, science, education, economics, pirates

Friday, 27 February 2009

Mackinlay rocks

My MP,  Andrew Mackinlay gave Jack Straw a piece of his mind today about being lied to over Iraq and about secrets still being kept.


Thursday, 26 February 2009

New blog find of the week

I give you: graph porn

Superb, thinking site

Friday, 20 February 2009

Teachers need to get out more

Don't they have any clue what is going on in the world?

"Christine Blower, acting general secretary of the NUT, says that the government and pay body should not be "tempted to use the economic downturn as an excuse" for lower pay increases.

"In this round, our case for a 10% pay rise is based on long-term trends in recruitment, retention and turnover. It also reflects the extent to which teachers' pay has fallen behind other graduate professions," says Ms Blower."

Frank kicks in

Frank Field today points out the failure of the new deal and Labours oeul reord in unemployment for the last 12 years.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

It's a blame game

Well I didn't know that

Magenta (pink to me) is not a colour.

Please tell me this isn't true

Tom Hanks to turn on LHC. WEhy do they feel the need to do this? What next: Sylvester Stallone presenting the next budget?

sentient developments

Will you percieve the event that kills you?

To add to this article, I have died: I had a cardiac arrest. I have no recollection of the event, I had passed out before I noticed anything wrong. So maybe (hopefully) he's right.

Snouts in the trough

MPs have voted to keep the current expenses regime.

Don't they read the papers or watch the TV? Have they no idea what the population thinks of them?

Don't they know there's a recession on. FFS.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Clegg - you muppet

Apparently, if/when I lose my job, it'll be OK becuase I will be able to spend more time with my children. Whilst I agree that I would like to spend more time with them, the need to put a roof over their heads and food on the table is more pressing.

Where's my sandals, I'll be needing thenm soon.

Watch for the rise in anorexia

I was talking to someone the other day, who is a therapist working with children and young adults suffering from anorexia. He said he was concerned that the government's programs of healthy eating at school and on TV are making more children eat less, due to the fear of food that is created by these projects. Some of the advertisng has graphic repesentation of fat blocking arteries and children are developing fear for eating foods that they have been told will kill them.

Possibly more children's lives will now be at risk from anorexia, than are saved by reducing fat in diets?

Did they think this through, before they started to help us this way?

Monday, 16 February 2009

Shurly sum misteak ?

I. Just. Can't. Believe. THIS

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Blimey - I agree with Ali

Alistair Campbell is getting annoyed at Sunday papers' attacks on state education; specifically Christina Lamb in today's Sunday Times. He sent his kids to local state schools in Camden and found them to be good. I sent my kids to local state schools and I am reasonably happy with them. My eldest is finishing a degree in Physics this year, the next is studying art at a top London Art college and the youngest has started out at the local academy (formerly one of the most failing schools in the country). Despite Ms.Lamb's assertions, they all had plenty of opportunity to participate in competitive sport and they were all recognised for academic excellence with a number of prizes and cups. I was annoyed by Ms. Lamb and wondered if it is just a London thing, but Alistair Campbell suggests not. 

I agree with Alistair Campbell - wow. Never saw that coming!

Jaks - get a decent room!

I understand  Jacqui has been claiming £116,000 a year to stay at her sister's house in Peckham (esentially).

Here's the marksany answer: Claridge's. To put the amount of money we are paying for MPs to live in London and have a home in the constituency in some context, you can stay at a suite in Claridge's for £590 a night. That's a suite: Bedroom, Bathroom, sitting room in one of the best hotels in the world. If we put MPs up there for let's say 150 nights/year it would cost £88,000, less what discount you could get for booking in bulk. 

If the MP is prepared to slum it, the Grosvenor is as little at £160 a night for a suite.

So how much would we save on expenses to provide the 550ish non-London based MPs with a suite in a top London hotel? Millions. Their own house would be in their contituency of course and how could they complain - Claridges is good enough for kings and presidents. 

Correction (thanks, Dave E) the £116,000 was over 5 years. The allowance would stll get a nice suite in the Grosvenor or a std room at Claridge's. 

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Jeff Randall today

in The Telegraph today.

Bit by bit, Gordon Brown's fantasy is being pulled apart by the facts. 

"You can see where this is going. From here, all roads lead to Harare."

Laughing Cavalier

I didn't follow the liaison committee meeting with Clarkson's Idiot today, but I caught this on the news: Brown sharing a joke with the MPs supposed to be holding hm to account. They're doing a good job, then. There's no pensioner or newly unemployed laughing.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Balls got balls

Until Gordo gets hold of him, that is...

Ed Cooper-Balls has said what we're all thinking:

Worst recession in 100 years
Could last 5, 10 or 15 years

So now we have a senior cabinet minister admitting the state of the economy, and one that is close to Clarkson's idiot. Why did he say that: death wish? turning on Gordo? Stupidity?

If Gordo's upset when Osbo talks down the economy, what does he do now - agree with Ed, roll his sleeves up get back to work or resign (please!) Disagree with Ed, punish him. What does Call me Dave do? Point out the dis-unity in govt, agree that Ed called it right..tricky.

Let's hope CmD has a good question time, one way or another Balls has ballsed up and handed CmD a present.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Moonbat skewers Chipmunk

George!  What an excellent article. I don't often agree with him, but boy, he just slaughtered the evil chipmunk. Not a single supportive comment for La Blears from Guardian readers. They are finished, aren't they?

Monday, 9 February 2009

Recession biting

Two of my colleagues were made redundant today, most agency staff have gone already. This is the first time there's been any compulsory redundancies in my 27 years with the company. Very sad. More to come during the week.

My wife is concerned about where she works, too. Many of her colleagues' partners have lost their jobs and they suspect cuts are coming their way too. It is a high-st bank where she works as a cashier. Bonuses are small, but prop up the very low pay of the front line staff (only a little above min wage). If they lose their bonuses it will be a hardship for them.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Snow closes Luton

Apparently heavy snow has closed Luton town centre.

No loss, then.


A scruffy Ricky Gervais look-alike appears to be following me on twitter - anybody know who he is and why he wants to follow me?

Update: he seems to have knicked Iain Dale's list of twitter followers. What a loser, he should get his own friends.

Go Jezza!

So let's see if I got this right, Jeremy Clarckson called Gordon Brown a One-eyed Scottish Idiot. Now he has been forced to apologise, but what for: 
Gordon has only one eye, check. 
Gordon is Scottish, check.
Gordon is an idiot - well that's a matter of opinion, and an opinion that I share with Jeremy and millions of others.

So who have complained? 
Charities for the disabled - surely they are delighted our PM has a disability, showing that the top office of the land is not barred to the disabled. 
Scots - you'd think they'd be happy their tiny country has produced a leader who can govern a larger state where they are in a minority. 
Idiots - did they complain, maybe that's it. Yeah.

Update: Jezza has only apologised for remarks made about Gordo's apearance, i.e. his lack of an eye. He still thinks Gordo is a Scottish Idiot then. Go Jezza!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Clucking bell

Sarge, send backup, he's got a Nikon

Over at the PJP

"Title: Jail for photographing police?

Feature: news
28 January 2009

The relationship between photographers and police could worsen next month when new laws are introduced that allow for the arrest - and imprisonment - of anyone who takes pictures of officers 'likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism'.

Set to become law on 16 February, the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 amends the Terrorism Act 2000 regarding offences relating to information about members of armed forces, a member of the intelligence services, or a police officer. 

The new set of rules, under section 76 of the 2008 Act and section 58A of the 2000 Act, will target anyone who 'elicits or attempts to elicit information about (members of armed forces) ... which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism'.

A person found guilty of this offence could be liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years, and to a fine.

The law is expected to increase the anti-terrorism powers used today by police officers to stop photographers, including press photographers, from taking pictures in public places. "

HT Leg Iron at Old Holborn

Stalin lives

Devil's Kitchen and The Englishman

This article over at the Beeb.    Alan Maryon Davis (left) of Bodymatters and the band Instant Sunshine,  says "I see an increasing acceptance that we, all of us, need not only more information and guidance from government, but also more legislation to save us from ourselves."

We don't need legisltion to save us from ourselves. I am my own responsibility. I appreciate some education and advice on things that may or may not be a good idea, but to force me to eat or not eat certain foods is ridiculous. Tax unhealthy behaviour to fund the health system that picks up the bill for it, fine. Pass legislation that protect others from my behaviour, certainly. But leave me my rights and freedom to choose, however bad you think my choices are. 

My comment on the article at the Beeb (but they don't publish it):
"Let's ban everythinjg that could be harmful: Smoking, alcohol, fat, meat, crossing the road, cars, worrying, coffee, pubs, knives, metal, electricity, voting, gas, learning, carpet, shoe polish, petrol, catheters, oil, solvents, kettles, breathing, war, cleaning products, needles, pressurised gases, boilers, paint, any source of combustion, fun, ladders, trees, stairs, donkeys, dogs, food processors, cats, hats, bicycles, sex, anything that could fit in a child's mouth, lightbulbs, chocolate, not feeling my balls every 10 minutes, running, paracetamol, writing, asprin, computers, glass, ceramics, roads, shops, factories, the sea, sleeping, envelopes, lifts, biscuits, cookers, phones, radios, tvs, books, coal, trains, clocks, cows, socks, hats, insects, any plant with thorns, irons, guitars, trousers, tools, anti-depressants, defibrillators, paper, scissors, elbows, swiming pools, tea, talking, houses, libraries, fingers, coffins, stinging nettles, music, airplanes, plastic, arguing, rust, kerbs, bells, buckets, boxes, handles, pumps, sweets, apple seeds, rabbits, treadmills..."

The economy is not coming back

This article at Countercurrents is about the American economy, but our is in the same basket.

"What we are now seeing is the beginning of an inevitable downward adjustment in American living standards to conform with our actual place in the world. As a nation of consumers, and not producers, with little to offer to the rest of the world except raw materials, food crops, military hardware and bad films (none of which industries employ many people), we are headed to a recovery that will not feel like a recovery at all. Eventually, productive capacity will be restored, as lowered US wages make it again profitable for some things to be made here at home again, but like people in the 1930s looking back at the Roaring 20s of yore, we are going to look back at the last two decades as some kind of dream."

We have seen the end of a golden age; it's not coming back. We'd better stop spending like it is going to, when it ain't. Zimbabwe, here we come.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

And so exchange rate fuelled inflation starts...

Ford and Vauxhall are putting up prices, since their cars are made in the Eurozone.

Monday, 2 February 2009

German jobs for German workers

What else is going on in the EU labour market. Britain has completely opened our labour markets to the new EU countries (Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia) it was expected by Tony's experts that 13,000 workers would come. Instead, it is a million or more.

Other established EU countries, like Germany, have transitional arrangements for these workers, with work permits, quotas etc.. consequently they have smaller numbers of Poles etc.. working there. 

If there was a level playing field with all existing EU countries welcoming the East European workers, surely we would have had lower levels of immigration.

Why doesn't this get mentioned in the news?  

The System Thinking Review

New website, The System Thinking Review, take a look here.  Lots of insight into huge cost and quality improvements in the public sector, with lots of real, proven examples.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

A snowy back garden (not mine, it's off flickr, but mine looks much the same and I can't be arsed to go and take a picture of it) Thanks Stevie & Mart.

Buses are great

Sunday, 1 February 2009

British jobs for ..yada, yada, yada

Workers and ex-workers in oil and power construction are striking and protesting against foreign workers being imported into the UK to do jobs that they could do.

Welcome to the club:

Textile workers - jobs exported to India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, China etc

Shoe workers - jobs exported to Portugal and Poland and then re-exported to India and China

IT support, web design - jobs exported to India

Ship builders- jobs exported to Korea

Coal miners - jobs exported to Poland

Ships' crews - jobs exported to Singapore, Estonia

Builders, plumbers - jobs given to Poles coming here

Waitresses, manicurists, receptionists, nannies - jobs given to Polish and Czechs coming here

Car parts - jobs exported to Hungary, Czech and now being re-exported to China

Software engineers - jobs exported to India

Pottery - jobs exported to Indonesia

Car design engineers - jobs being exported to India and China

Call centre workers - jobs being exported to India

Nurses - NHS would rather bring trained nurses from the Philipines, India, China, Africa than train and recruit enough nurses in the UK.

and many, many more. (Add your own examples in the comments)

We now have 5.1million adults not working, it is about to rise to 7.1 million.  

Thank goodness we have lots of jobs in the civil service, fake charities, quangos, councils etc. If we didn't, no-one would have a job and who'd pay the taxes necessary to pay us all our benefits?