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Tuesday
Jan232007

Who does Ruth Turner work for?

Dominic Lawson has an article in the Indy today about Ruth Turner and the independence of the police. In it he say this:

The fact that Mr Blair is Prime Minister is, in an important sense, irrelevant to the case. This is all about the Labour Party. Ruth Turner is purely a Labour party appointee and is paid by the party; this whole matter relates to loans - or possibly that should read "loans" - given to the Labour Party.

This set me to thinking, because when the story broke last week the Times said this:

Turner, 36, is the first government official to be arrested in the inquiry. It also reveals a new line of investigation — looking at a potential cover-up rather than the crime.

 

So which is it? Does she work for the government or the Labour party? According to the Number 10 Website she's the Director of Government Relations, which sounds pretty much like a government job. But if that's the case, what is she doing getting involved in fundraising for the Labour party? 

Tuesday
Jan232007

Frank Field loses the plot. Or does he?

Extraordinary article by Frank Field over at Comment is Free. FF wants the Met to concentrate on preventing terrorist attacks rather than wasting their time on trivia like loans for peerages.

The commentariat are suitably gobsmacked - 130 comments so far, many questioning the man's sanity. FF has always come over to me as being one of the few people on the Labour benches who could reasonably be thought to be of compos mentis. This article just doesn't sound like him.

My theory? Blair has got something on him which Field can't ignore. 

Tuesday
Jan232007

More joined-up government

In yet another example of the breathtaking incompetence of the British State, the Metropolitan Police appear not to be registered under the Data Protection Act. The shambles keeps on growing.

Hat tip: Spy Blog 

Tuesday
Jan232007

State-funded intolerance

Unity at Ministry of Truth is upset about government funding of Catholic charities - charities which then discriminate against homosexuals when it comes to delivering their services. Not what I thought Chrisitianity was about, I must say, but I'm no expert.

Now I might take a slightly different approach to discrimination, seeing it as part of being free, but there's no question that the State shouldn't be funding organisations that do so. The Ggovernment is elected to look after everyone's interests, after all. If ever there was a quid pro quo for having to go along with the wishes of the majority, it is surely that the government doesn't actually encourage discrimination against you.

It's increasingly clear though that Labour is adopting a different approach. Evidence is growing quickly that they are governing for only for those who elected them, or those who can buy them off. So while Tony Blair is, at least publicly, not a Catholic, he clearly sees the Catholic Church as part of his constituency. So state-funded discrimination will become a feature of British life, in order to buy off a group of potential Labour voters. It's big state democracy in all its glory.

Now, as a small government kind of guy, I can sit back and say "I told you so". The problem for Unity and socialists in general is that they have no such get out. They believe that government can fund anything and anyone they like, provided the elections expressed the will of the people.

I say, if you give money to crooks, don't be surprised if they steal it.

(Updated to correct inadvertent capitalisation of Government. Lesson one of blogging - never write about grammar, spelling or editorial stylePsychotic.)

 

Sunday
Jan212007

The government

Could I just point out to everyone that capitalising government as "Government" is both incorrect, and lends a degree of respect that successive administrations simply don't deserve.

The cleaners, the chimney-sweeps, the night soil collection boys, the government.

Simple really. 

Sunday
Jan212007

More on BBC bias

Iain Dale is outraged over the BBC's attempt to bury news of Ruth Turner's arrest. I can't help but wonder how far down the news schedule they are going to put the forthcoming news of Tony Blair's arrest.
Saturday
Jan202007

Ruth Turner

So the big news yesterday was the arrest of a close aide of the Prime Minister - an extraordinary development in what must now be the biggest political story for a decade, if not longer.

And so what did BBC feel they should concentrate on? Conservative Home reports that the main story on Newsnight last night was:

An unknown Tory official in Bradford who - quite disgracefully - described a Labour councillor as a "cripple" in an email - for which he has apologised.

Meanwhile, the Times leads this morning on:Cancer study ordered into mobile phones, with an obscure academic claiming that there is a hint of a link between the two.

Professor Lawrie Challis, who is in the final stages of negotiation with the Department of Health and the mobile phone industry for the £3 million that he needs to fund the study, told The Times that research has shown that mobiles are very safe in the short term but that there is a “hint of something” for people using them longer.

OK, so he is calling for more funding for himself. How do I put this? It's not exactly a very important piece of news is it? It hardly even counts as news at all.

So let's just get our heads round this. The BBC, funded by taxes, goes for a naked piece of Labour party propaganda to try to divert attention from Blair's travails. We expect that from the BBC.  When the chips are down, the left will stick together. But the Times? Surely they're a little more independent? Perhaps not. Tim Worstall points out a Telegraph report that

[Tony Blair] has struck an unwritten deal with Rupert Murdoch to publish his memoirs after he quits for an advance of £4 million. But the book will not appear before the next general election.

That should keep them onside then, shouldn't it Tony? 

Update: The Independent is leading on

Andrea Parhamovich, a 28-year-old political adviser from Ohio, was killed in Baghdad this week, in a possible attempted kidnapping.

 Ruth who?

Thursday
Jan182007

PJ

This is good - a three hour interview cum phone-in with PJ O'Rourke. Streaming video here. He's a much wiser and less wisecracking than I expected.

Wednesday
Jan172007

Sleeping quarters

One of my neighbours has applied for a tree preservation order. The council have said that it would not be possible to put one in place because they have no money left. "Try again in April", they said.

There's a bit of  pattern here isn't there, what with the NHS closing down in the first part of the year too? Now, I know someone who reckons that there is a bit more to it, and what actually happens is that the public sector all decamp somewhere sunny for the winter to spend all the bloated payrises that Blair has given them. It's not a view I subscribe to though.

If public sector closedown is going to be a feature of life in the future, we need a name for the time when it happens. The time when you don't want to get ill. The time when there's nobody there to help. When all the public servants are resting because they can no longer do their jobs. I think we should call it the sleeping quarter.

 

Wednesday
Jan172007

Brainwashing

It's something that worries me from time to time. My daughter comes back from school and starts telling me about what she's been doing. Very often it's along the lines of "I did the staff room compost" or "we learned about recycling". Even the teachers joke about it, telling us that they're sick of it too. In recent weeks we have had a "Fairtrade Fair" and there was a concert at which the parents were treated to the older children singing a little ditty about not giving in to greed and how we should all support Fairtrade.

Now, the Scotsman reports, every school in Scotland is to be provided with a copy of Al Gore's polemical film about global warming.

A GENERATION of environmental activists is set to emerge from Scotland's schools after it was agreed every pupil in the country will hear Al Gore's "powerful message" about the dangers of climate change.

The Scottish Executive announced yesterday - as the former US vice president flew in to Glasgow to address business people, environmentalists and others - that his documentary film An Inconvenient Truth would be shown to secondary school pupils.

Ross Finnie, the environment minister, said he felt the status of Mr Gore would ensure pupils listen to the message of the film, but was sure they would make their own minds up about it..

He dismissed any suggestion that the film was political propaganda, saying there was firm evidence of climate change and that anyone disputing it "has got to be on planet Mars".

It's utterly shameless of course. The objective is brainwashing, just as Mill predicted. I wonder if Ross Finnie has even heard of him.

Tuesday
Jan162007

'Ello, ello....

It's probably nothing, but this is interesting: Adrian Sanders MP is speculating that Tony Blair might go this week.

I wish. 

 Via Voting Taktix

Sunday
Jan142007

Fun with photoshop

My first proper attempt at a proper caricature. While I don't think it's really caught his facial characteristics, I do think it's captured the essence of the man's mind.

 brown6.gif

Wednesday
Jan102007

Government websites.

The Government is going to close down loads of its websites because, well, probably because they're mainly rubbish and nobody ever looks at them, and if they do they can't find anything. (This via Raw Carrot).

Has anyone stopped to think just how much has been spent on putting these sites together? And how much it's going to cost to put their replacement "super-sites" together?

Of course not. It's just another half-examined crudity from New Labour. 

Wednesday
Jan102007

Are they misleading us on porpoise?

Lots of media outlets are reporting a scientist who is claiming that harbour porpoises are threatened by starvation because of global warming. Changes in sea temperature are causing a reduction in the population of sand eels, apparently, so there's not enough for them to eat.

And how did our scientists reach this conclusion? The Graun newsblog fills us in:

Academics at Aberdeen University and the Scottish Agricultural College, in Inverness, studied the stomach contents of stranded porpoises collected from the east coast of Scotland in the springs of 2002 and 2003.

They found these contained fewer sand eels and other food compared with porpoises recovered between 1992 and 2001. Other research showed that while 5% of stranded porpoises died due to starvation in the late 1990s, 33% starved to death in the springs of 2002 and 2003.

Which is pretty amazing stuff. A study on the contents of porpoise stomachs proves that global warming is the culprit! How do you manage to do that?  Perhaps the author, Colin McLeod of Aberdeen University, is an augur rather than a proper scientist. I wonder if he reads tea leaves too? 

I wonder if perhaps rampant overfishing of sand eels, a well-documented phenomenon if ever there was one, might have played just an eeny weeny part too? Wouldn't get the headlines though, would it?    

Wednesday
Jan102007

Will Hutton on economics again

Following on from my posting on Will Hutton's rebranding as a economist, Tim Worstall finds our man getting a bit confused about trade deficits. Still, knowing something about economics is not a necessary requirement for a BBC economics expert. Feel the empathy instead.