Thursday, July 31, 2008
For it to happen there would need to be a party on their side of the political spectrum capable of taking over. The Tories in the late 1990s were always safe from being eclipsed because no rival party on the right emerged to fracture their vote, in Canada in the early 1990s their Progressive Conservative party did essentially disappear as a major force because another right centre party was able to attract conservative voters. In theory the Lib Dems are better placed to take over from Labour than the Conservatives but that would involve becoming a more overtly left wing party, and seeing as how most of their current MPs are defending their seats from Conservative opponents they aren't willing to do that. Losing their own seats for the good of the party isn't something that appeals to them.
The other reason why I think Labour will survive is because an lot of their current problems stem from the uniquely awful personality of Gordon Brown. Don't get me wrong I strongly dislike the party and think that they have been consistently incompetent, sleazy and malign however this was just as true when they were polling close to 50% in the late 1990s. Although some polls suggest that replacing Brown won't improve that is probably untrue because people don't have strong opinions of his potential successors as they aren't very well known and are seen as mere apparatchiks in Brown's Labour. The only figure whose name recognition is high enough to escape being tied down by Brown is Tony Blair and the polls suggest that he would cut the gap on the Tories to 9%, hung parliament territory. This despite the fact that Blair is more culpable than anyone except Brown for Labour's current woes.
If I were a supporter of the Labour Party I'd be optimistic that ditching Brown and replacing him with David Miliband or Alan Johnson would be enough to avoid a landslide defeat at the next election. Of course if I were a supporter of the Labour Party I'd also be drooling in the corner saying nothing but 'wibble', but that doesn't invalidate the point. David Cameron's whole strategy since coming to lead the Conservatives, and perhaps even before the last election has been based on waiting for Gordon Brown to take over and alienate the largest chunk of swing voters it madness for Labour to be assisting in that policy by keeping Brown in place.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Reform is overdue -- there hasn't been any change in the law for 50 yearsI must say murder doesn't strike me as being a crime which changes so much that laws become passe after 50 years. Incidentally this is not even the stupidest sentence in her post.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
But it is precisely because of my desire to protect the vulnerable that I am so opposed to Ms Harman’s absurd new plan, which is not only an affront to the basic morality of our society, but also a ridiculously one-sided, misogynistic, simplistic and dangerous response to the issue.
Indeed, as with so many of her other forays into policy-making, it is driven more by feminist ideology than compassion.
Effectively, what Harman and the ultra-feminist lobby want is a licence for women to kill.
The Guardian's favourite Millie Tant, Julie Bindel rates a mention too:
Spot on. Having Harriet Harman in charge of gender equality legislation is akin to having Abu Hamza draw up legislation pertaining to religious hatred.
It is telling that one of the driving forces behind these proposals is Julie Bindel, of the Left-wing pressure group Justice for Women.
Ms Bindel displayed her lack of balance in a recent article in the Guardian newspaper, entitled ‘Why I hate men’.
One of her sentences read: ‘I will say loud and proud, yes, today I hate men, and will tomorrow and the day after.’
No doubt in her misogynistic world, killing men is a form of justifiable homicide. But it is an outrage that thanks to Ms Harman, feminists such as Bindel can influence public policy.
Update: Via the comments under an article by the aforementioned Ms Bindel, these lunatics don't merely think that women who kill their husbands are victims, they actuallly consider them heroes fit to either receive awards or have awards named in their honour:
An Asian woman who was jailed for life for setting fire to her husband has been honoured at an awards ceremony for breaking the taboo of domestic violence.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
The word chosen 'outrageous' is one that is designed to make the opposition to the government's decision appear knee jerk and reactionary because it provides no reason for why they oppose it. 'Outrageous' simply indicates the strength of feeling about an issue but provides no hint as to why they feel that way. The BBC does of course explain the government's reasons, they want to grant the amnesty because
Most of their cases date back over three years, with some over seven years.Other outlets do allow Grieve to put forwards why he disagrees with the Home Office,
This exercise should be about reviewing applications properly and granting asylum in genuine cases. The Government should not be tempted to grant an effective amnesty just to get the backlog cleared, and achieve a good headline.This is a short and concise quote that neatly explains his viewpoint, whereas 'Outrageous' gives the impression of a pompous rent-a-quote venting over how angry he is with everything.
The team was already the subject of an interim ban after the Iraqi government replaced the country's Olympic committee with its own appointees.
Under the IOC charter, all committees must be free of political influence.
The Iraqi Olympic Committee used to be headed by Uday Hussein without being banned so presumably the IOC think that he was promoted to the job on merit.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
The director of a leading US cancer research institute has sent a memo to thousands of staff warning of possible higher risks from mobile phone use.
Ronald Herberman, of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said users should not wait for definitive studies on the risk and should take action now.
That's a great research institute, telling everyone not to bother with the research and just panic, perhaps we should apply that principle to the MMR vaccine next time. His memo will almost certainly provide a great service to many sleazy tort lawyers looking to extort vast sums of money from the mobile phone companies by telling credulous juries that their clients were made ill by their phones.
He lists tips including switching sides regularly while talking on mobiles.
I do that already, but the police keep pulling me over and telling me that I'm driving dangerously. I'm not a medical researcher and come to that I haven't actually had a mobile for years (people often seem amazed by that) but I seriously think that if something that widespread caused cancer then we would already know. It isn't as if the possibility hasn't been studied until now. More to the point there are few obvious mechanisms by which the radiation emitted by the phones could cause cancer.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The fact that it has taken 13 years to find a man who was living in a major city and writing a magazine column on alternative medicine suggests that he might just have had some assistance from the Serbian government.
Perhaps the alternative medicine will form part of his defence strategy- "No we didn't shoot them all in the head, we were simply applying a form of extreme accupuncture to release their negative chi".
Sunday, July 20, 2008
- Dumbjon on 'fat activists' trying to claim the mantle of victimhood over their depiction in the new Pixar movie 'Wall-E'.
- Alas the starving are also a major problem in Western society, so Tizona helpfully highlights a NPR story of the plight of ordinary Americans unable to afford to buy food for themselves in Bush's America. Helpfully the NPR website includes photos of the emaciated dears.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Problems with the BCS:
- It doesn't cover under 16s, who are proportionately more likely to be the victims of crime than adults.
- It doesn't cover crimes that aren't specifically directed at an individual, so for example if a school suffers an arson attack or some shops suffer theft then it doesn't show up on the BCS.
- It doesn't cover crimes against those who aren't permanent residents of the UK, such as tourists or migrant workers.
- It doesn't cover murder.
- The sample is not truly random as there are a large number of people who decline to take part and they are concentrated in high crime neighbourhoods.
- People's recall of what has happened to them over the course of a year is pretty poor.
- It doesn't cover repeat offences against the same victim, or to be precise it caps the number of offences it records.
Update: Stephen Pollard writes in the Daily Mail about the BCS's shortcomings.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI has attacked popular culture and consumerism in a formal address to tens of thousands of young Roman Catholics."
Presumably the purveyors of tacky gifts over at the Vatican don't count as contributers to consumerism.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
If you can't guess what I'm referring to have a look at these recent fraud cases and see what they have in common. You can almost taste the vibrancy coming off these trials.
Update: Someone else has spotted the pattern too.
On the subject of criminals and justice John East has a couple of very good posts up, as does Laban.
That is come out as gay, not come out as Mafia bosses, that's still frowned on in most of the USA with the possible exception of New Jersey. It should be pointed out that British gangsters are far more progressive and as far back as the 1960s Ronnie Kray was able to dominate gangland despite being a 'fat poof'. Although this was partly because he murdered people who called him a fat poof.
"These bosses have to cover their homosexuality; they're afraid because they risk being ridiculed and killed."Mr Ingroia said that the American Mafia had "a more broad-minded attitude towards gays and so gay bosses can come out."
Monday, July 14, 2008
Barack Obama is overwhelmingly Britain's choice to be the next US president, five times more popular than his Republican rival, John McCain, a Guardian/ICM poll shows today. Carried out ahead of the Democratic candidate's visit to Britain next week, the poll reveals that 53% feel certain he would make the best president, with only 11% favouring McCain; 36% declined to express an opinion.With this level of popularity in Britain, perhaps the Guardian could find a way for British voters to encourage Americans to support Obama. Perhaps a small county in a prominent swing state could be found....
This sounds plausible as small differences in age can mean major differences among school age children. The effect isn't limited to academia either, a look at the birth dates of Premiership footballers, professional cricketers and rugby players reveals the same pattern:
The reason for the summer-birth disadvantage is that those children have to sit important exams up to 11 months earlier than their autumn or winter-born counterparts, the report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says.
It proposes a number of reforms to ensure that summer-born babies are no longer penalised because of an “unlucky birth draw”. Chief among these is the suggestion that all school test scores should be adapted to take account of students' birth month, right up to GCSE level.
An analysis of 348 Premiership footballers playing this season shows that 32pc were born between September and November while only 20pc were born between June and August.In other words being born at the wrong time of the year is a major disadvantage in all sorts of ways right through adulthood, and having to keep pace mentally and physically with older children is not always possible. Given the potential wasting of people's talents that the current system creates, it might be a good idea to consider using 6 month age groups for grouping children in schools rather than 1 year groups.
In cricket, 34pc of first-class players in the County Championship this summer were born at the start of the school year, compared with 18pc in the last three months.In rugby union's Guinness Premiership, 30pc of players this season were born between September and November compared with 18pc at the end of the school year.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Male life expectancy for the whole of Glasgow, including its lush suburbs, averages 70.7 years - worse than Gaza’s 71.01 years. In East Glasgow, it goes right down to 53.9 years in the Calton wardThat is genuinely astounding, 53.9 it is the kind of figure you would expect from some impoverished banana republic.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
It's a step in the right direction, but clearly more drastic action is required if we are too eradicate the scourge of racism from our society, which means we have to identify and punish the perpetrators at an earlier age. I propose that we get expectant mothers and play gangsta rap at their wombs, if the foetus indicates that they aren't down with all the vibrant music, perhaps by turning away or by kicking, then they can be marked down as racists before they are even born and turned over to a team of crack diversity counsellors when they are born. It is too late to save them of course but at least they can be identified and monitored throughout their lives.
But his proposed amendment to the HFE Bill is even worse than it was described. It proposes to make it an offence to advertise information about alternatives to abortion (as well as abortion) if the presentation of that information is "likely to deceive the average person...even if the information is factually correct."Under Bercow's proposal people could be imprisoned for telling the truth. John Bercow used to be on the very right wing of the Conservative Party and was a secretary of the Monday Club, now he is the living embodiment of the idea that when fanatics change tack they don't become reasonable moderate individuals, but instead simply becom fanatics for another cause.
I don't have strong views on abortion and am generally accepting of the description of the two sides of the dispute as pro-life and pro-choice rather than pro and anti abortion, but shouldn't members of the pro choice lobby be condemning Bercow for advocating a position that is designed to restrict pregnant women's ability to make an informed choice? He isn't pro choice he is simply an evangelist for abortion.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Pupils are being rewarded for writing obscenities in their GCSE English examinations even when it has nothing to do with the question.Will pupils sitting biology exams now be rewarded if they choose to draw large pictures of their genitalia on the exam paper, assuming that they are biologically accurate?
One pupil who wrote “f*** off” was given marks for accurate spelling and conveying a meaning successfully.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
- Is there a helpful list of which MPs voted to block the most basic checks on their burgeoning expense accounts?
- Was Richard Gott's reaction to the Colombian hostage rescue as hilarious and graceless as I imagined it?
- Should we support Labour getting a kicking at the Glasgow East bye-election even if it is at the hands of a rabid Anglophobe?
- Are puppies really too offensive to appear on police posters?