Monday, 30 June 2008

Points at Reynolds

After reading the story of this sorry excuse for a government and their plans for the NHS earlier I had a post brewing in the back of my mind on the way home. It is another one that didn't get beyond the draft stage as my view as a user of the system is much less powerful that that of Reynolds in the post Dear Lord Darzi.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Wow that must be galling

In a country renowned for unfair elections, so presumably they are quite practiced at them.

Where a campaign of terror, violence and murder has caused the opposition candidate to withdraw leaving a single valid choice to vote for.

They still can't get the results out on time.

It really mussed be utterly embarrassing to be the chief Zimbabwean ballot box stuffer this weekend.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Accidental live blogging of the ODI

I didn't itend to live blog the One Day International but after the first few status updates (on Facebook/Twitter) I carried on. I thought I would copy it here to keep a record of my pain.

10:00 Tony awaits the ODI with mounting excitement.
10:43 Tony hopes KP winning the toss is a good omen.
11:11 Tony thinks Ambrose may have reignited the wicket keeper debate.
11:47 Tony wonders if Styris's sidebar picture was taken as a ferret went up his tracksuit.
12:11 Tony w00ts the demise of McCullum.
12:59 Tony notes you don't need to smack Flynn in the mouth to get him out.
13:33 Tony already hates the new magners advert as much as the bulmers one that has been running for weeks.
14:21 Tony isn't too unhappy at the prospect of chasing 266 as long as the buggers don't collapse like a sandcastle being hit by the incoming tide.
15:48 Tony says Go KP!
15:59 Tony is pretty sure 24 isn't a justification for picking Cook over an all-rounder.
16:48 Tony knows that a man with less blind loyalty and faith would start to worry at this point, but is resolutely not that man.
17:15 Tony may, only may, be starting to entertain doubts.
17:26 Tony has dropped the 'may's.
17:43 Tony starts composing a heroic ballad praising the skills of Shah and Broad ready.
18:01 Tony crosses out all he has written so far on the ballad.
18:17 Tony even the most optimistic fan can have no hope now.
18:26 Tony joins Sir Ian in the rush to blame the selection policy.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Flash bang wallop

Philip Gwynne, of the West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, which is responsible for speed cameras in the county, said: “Mr Fielden was doing what any other loving husband would do pointing out where something was possibly being done wrong and he attempted to do that using the laws of physics. “However, the judge has ruled that as in any other situation English law can over rule the law of physics. “Maybe it is time that we left physics in the classroom and allowed cameras to get on with the job of raising lots and lots of lovely money for us. How dare people challenge the universal truth that these things are far cheaper than real police officers.”

I must declare an interest in that I know the Fieldens, but I don't know any of the specifics of the case. Other coverage suggests that it wasn't just a simple case of attempting to blind the court with science in order to get off a fine, but that the camera was set up contrary to the manufacturers instructions. While I picked Mr Gwynne's comments as the easier target for satire the more worrying quote from the Examiner article is “I hope the large costs in this case will cause other motorists to think carefully before mounting spurious challenges.” from Trevor Hall, managing director of road safety support for the Association of Chief Police Officers, in other words, stop complaining peasants and accept what your lords and masters tell you, questioning us will just lead to punitive costs. Only those with large amounts of money should be given a fair day in court, the rest of you back to your mud.

Comments on comment.

Mark Easton has blogged about some of the background to the Equal Pay act and what the gender pay gap situation is today. This is all of course in reaction to Harriet Harman's plan to allow positive discrimination. It is a reasonably interesting piece of writing, but as ever these days the comments in response to the article are almost more interesting. One that stands out particularly says:

Why does this Government do everything it can to discriminate agaisnt men. Why do they dislike us so much?
The bring in All women-shortlists banning men from standing for Parliament for them;
they fail to do much on the educational underacheievement of boys;
they do nothing about the suicide rate amongst men being three times higher than that of women;
they spend little money on dealing with male cancers;
they do nothing to help male domestic abuse victims;
they do nothing to create a family court system that treats men and women alike;
and now this.
Why do they hate men? — davidstrauss1

I obviously can't offer expert comment on all the sectors David is commenting on (and want to be careful in case I am treading on any personal issues), however I strongly suspect that a great deal of this is perception. In the same way that we get letters to the metro saying that any time a defendant mentions human rights the judge's hands are tied due to the Human Rights Act, because only the cases where it is used successfully are reported we also only ever get to hear the cases in family courts that cause controversy. I have commented on the fact that soon we shall need to make as much fuss about prostate cancer as breast cancer, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't stop caring about the latter. The cancer point, like domestic abuse and suicide rates also has the facet that it often isn't the government at all that is driving these services, the third sector is quite often the major player.

So how much of this is real and how much is due to fourth estate and their *cough* cheerful outlook on the world?

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


It is a gentleman's game.
It is a professional sport where people offer millions of pounds on the result of a game.

Choose 1.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Sit back, relax, enjoy

I had read an interesting NS Article about the evolution of metabolism traits in E. coli and didn't think a huge amount more about it. Ben Goldacre reports on the fact that Conservapedia had challenged Professor Lenski on his findings. Professor Lenski's second reply is one of the best pieces of letting go at people who are wilfully misrepresenting your work and attacking you personally I have ever read.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Is it really bothering God?

I have already posted what I think about the current schism in the church over homosexuality. It looks like the idea of a split in the church is in the offing again. The booklet for the 'Gafcon' meeting in Jerusalem says

"We want unity… but not at the cost of re-writing the Bible to accommodate the latest cultural trend."
by latest cultural trend I assume they mean not persecuting your fellow man for being overly fond of his fellow man. I am also not 100% convinced that setting up this rival to the Lambeth Conference they are in any way promoting unity. Oh well if they do decide to bugger off out of the Anglican Communion I won't miss them and it saves me having to become a Scottish Episcopalian (after all it is vitally important to identify which church you don't get round to going to).

I have little sympathy for those that say that the bible is the word of God and inviolate because they are all so selective in which practices they think we need to return to in order to be good Christians, which parts of a rule set designed for a desert people thousands of years ago we should pay attention to, I would have much more respect if they had 100% courage in all their convictions. I also suspect that they don't follow all the rules about food that are in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, why are these any less important that who you fuck given most of us eat more in our lives than we screw? I shall leave you with one of my favourite pieces of writing on the subject from the West Wing.

Jed Bartlet: I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an "abomination"!
Jenna Jacobs: I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
Jed Bartlet: Yes it does. Leviticus!
Jenna Jacobs: 18:22.
Jed Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I wanted to sell my youngest daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown Sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?
(Bartlet only waits a second for a response, then plunges on.)
Jed Bartlet: While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGary, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself? Or is it okay to call the police?
(Bartlet barely pauses to take a breath.)
Jed Bartlet: Here’s one that’s really important, because we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?

Friday, 20 June 2008

Winnie the Pooh

"Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming down stairs. But sometimes he thinks there really is another way if only he could stop bumping a minute and think about it."
Richard Danzig a top advisor on foreign policy to Barack Obama quoted this to a major foreign policy conference in Washington. Some people are painting this as a gaffe, I get the feeling that they are doing this more because they can't stomach the underlying message "America needs to rethink the middle east and the *cough* war on terror is not one that will ever be won"

All of this is the sort of refreshing stuff that I think we want from a Democrat in the White House a sense that the real world will leak back into the Commander in Chief's viewpoint which under the current office holder is clouded with the belief that throwing enough troops and contracts at the munitions & reconstruction industry can solve anything.

P.S. another blog post that I don't have to finish writing Lee Griffin on liberal left bleating about David Davis

Monday, 16 June 2008

200 Hundred not out.

Slightly strange fruit for this the 200th post to the blog.

  1. I am now the top hit on Google for "cindy mccain scientology" mostly through a coincidence, while I have written a post on the media coverage of the Anonymous protests against Scientology the 'Cindy McCain' part came from the blog-roll down the right hand side.
  2. Remember my open letter to the BBC. Well it happened, It is nice to know that they are listening.
  3. Me and some friends did ingenious things with wood and screws yesterday building the set for "The Rover" I'll post more about them next week, so not to spoil the surprise for any of you coming to see the play this week.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Sick to my stomach

Even if I didn't think David Davis was right to make the stand he has.

Even if I couldn't find myself able to support a tory campaign.

I have just had the greatest motivation to support his campaign, Kelvin Mackenzie probably standing as the Rupert Murdoch candidate in the in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election. I would rather Alan B'Stard stood for his old constituency. The worst point in his monologue espousing the pro side of the debates on 42 days, CCTV and ID Cards was that the innocent have nothing to fear. Tell that to Rizwaan Sabir and Hicham Yezza the Nottingham university academics detained over attempting to do research, the teenager summonsed for holding a placard summerising a High Court judgement on Scientology or anyone within the reach of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad sporting an Irish accent during the 70s.

I now have to go find a really strong anti-emetic.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

David Davis is either a bloody fool or a genius.

It isn't often that you think someone may have been inspired by John Major into doing something, but my first reaction was that David Davis's actions and statements today were very reminiscent of June 1995 when Major tried to beat the bastards at their own game. In the end though it provided nothing more that a miniscule respite and we all know what was unleashed upon us in 1997.

With a 5,116 vote majority I would think the result, even as he runs on a platform that differs from the general public's opinion, shouldn't be much in dispute; especially if the rumoured the pact with Clegg is real. So is this actually going to achieve anything or is it just a colossal waste of everyone's time and money (while he maybe campaigning with his own money, the taxpayers of his constituency and proportionately the rest of us pay for the process)?

One nice little point about this is that he will be ousting Blair as he is currently "Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern" and I assume, that as it is the commonest "office of profit under the crown" used when an MP wants to "resign", it will be Mr Davis's way out.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Open Letter to the BBC web team

Dear Auntie Beeb,

Can you please explain why some blogs on the website, "BBC Internet Blog" for example have the full content of the post in their RSS feed while others, e.g. "The Editors" only have a short excerpt.

I understand the use of summarising fragments by commercial websites that need you to come to the site itself in order to show you adverts in order to generate income, but I wouldn't have thought getting people to view the original HTML copy would have been a big priority for the BBC.
I find full content feeds much more useful especially when catching up with feeds on other devices on the move. Mobile browsing has vastly improved and where I am required to click through in most cases I can do so to read the whole content, but I would rather remain within my feed aggregating application.

I am a big fan of and find the blog network most illuminating, would you consider looking into providing the entirety of this content in full RSS feeds?

Tony Kennick

The above is an expanded version of a comment I put through the feedback system on the BBC website.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Note to the drivers of Sheffield.

174 Box junctions. These have criss-cross yellow lines painted on the road (see 'Road markings'). You MUST NOT enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear. However, you may enter the box and wait when you want to turn right, and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right. At signalled roundabouts you MUST NOT enter the box unless you can cross over it completely without stopping.

We have some particularly noxious box junctions in our fair city which often get themselves into all sorts of trouble due to people forgetting these fairly simple rules. The worst is probably this one which is plagued both by drivers coming up the dual carriageway queuing across it but also, and much worse for traffic flow, busses turning right from the east of the picture not understanding that while they are allowed into the box they are not suppose to stop diagonally all the way across it blocking people from crossing the junction in any direction.

There are many things painted on our roads that may not be necessary for their safe and efficient use (Kensington and Chelsea have created a lot of comment being minimalist on the High Street). I also understand that there are often junction layouts where things seem to have been put their because the town planner hates drivers. I really don't think box junctions are necessarily one of these things and certainly not in this particular case. People could do well in understanding that just sometimes these road markings are in place to help and not the mark of an oppressive state.

Hugh is no Chicken

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is campaigning to promote chicken welfare, he produced a serries of programs on the subject for Channel 4 in the Autumn. Towards the end of that series we saw him meeting with representatives of many major retailers and between that series and a related Jamie Oliver programme in the same season caused an uplift in free range bird sales by 50%. Tesco the undisputed giant of British retailing wouldn't take part at anything other than the local level, it also is lagging somewhat behind the other supermarkets in initiatives relating to battery eggs. So Hugh as a shareholder drafted and submitted a resolution to be voted upon at the 2008 Tesco AGM that relates the requested improvements to the key factors of shareholder decision making, PR and bottom line.

Over the weekend it has been announced that Hugh has stepped in a boggy patch on this road to chicken welfare, it seams that Tesco has sent out all the paperwork packs it was planning to for the AGM so this resolution would need to be sent separately at a cost of £86,000. Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall's response? He has put in just over a third of the cash from his own pocket and is asking people who support his position to help. If you feel you want to be part of this you can either make a strait donation via the online presence of Compassion in World Farming. Or if you want a little more for your money you can bid for a number of events and items that Hugh is offering, read more on the Chicken Out web site.

P.S. I am in a play in Sheffield next week, if you can make it I can assure you it is great fun and full of laughs (mostly at me), swashbuckling and romance. The Company presents Aphra Behn's The Rover.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Just linking away

I have had a post on photographer's rights in my draft box for some while now, but I'll not be bothering to finish it. There really is no reason to as I can just point you at this piece by Bruce Schneier in the Grauniad with its attendant mine of links.

I will however point out this lovely piece of irony and also suggest you take a look at this short video on the subject.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Happy Birthday

Actually due to being busy with the play and other things, and looking at Google Analytics rather than the actual post dates I have missed this blog's birthday. It isn't the widest read in the world (technorati have me in the top 400,000 wikio say I am bubling under the top 100 in one of their ranking categories). I thought I would share with you my top 10 list of most read posts.
  1. Late term abortion
  2. Graham Calvert is a loser
  3. The Governance of Britain - part one
  4. Temporary and Agency Workers (Equal Treatment) Bill
  5. Quick (not dirty) Hollandaise sauce
  6. Fish Cakes
  7. Survey Monkey
  8. Anonymous V Scientology
  9. Human Rights
  10. Interview with Joe Otten

Monday, 2 June 2008


Nick Robinson has neatly summarised the main reasons Gordon shouldn't be fighting so hard to get 42 days detention:

  • there was no consensus for change (he met Liberty's Shami Chakrabati twice in one day in order to find a deal);
  • that he faced parliamentary defeat;
  • that the Director of Public Prosecutions, the former Attorney General and former Justice Secretary did not support the need for change;
  • that MI5 would not back his arguments either privately or publicly - the spooks have let it be known that they are "neutral" on the issue; and
  • that many of his own ministers - not least the man he brought into government to deal with terrorism, Lord West - had had real doubts about whether this was the right priority.
I have no gripe that he has listed the political reasons over the practical, that is after all his job.

I will be watching to see what my current MP, Angela Smith does, I suspect given that she voted for 90 days she will vote for 42. I would see this as a solid reason to vote against her next time, along with her strong support for introducing ID cards, voting against an investigation into the Iraq war and a transparent Parliament. But this isn't an issue, I won't be voting for or against her next time round, there has been Boundary Commission changes since then, next time round the Labour candidate will be a man for whom I respect his tenacity and ambition I revile his standpoints on many issues. David Blunkett is a man who has been caught on the fiddle and consistently promotes authoritarian policies whilst being paid by a company that will profit from them. I severely doubt it, but I really hope that there is some way of getting rid of him at the next election.

Free Our Bills

Duck-billed platypus and a portcullis
Free our Bills!The Nice Polite Campaign to Gently Encourage Parliament to Publish Bills in a 21st Century Way, Please. Now.