Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Government defeated on Ghurkas vote

The BBC is reporting that the Government has lost the vote on Ghurka rights by 267 to 246.

Excellent news. I know this vote is non-binding but it will hopefully have the desired effect on Government policy (or at least drag it kicking and screaming towards what is right).

This was despite earlier "concessions".

Friday, 24 April 2009

EU vote Profiler - wohoo I'm a LibDem!

As seen over at Iain Dale's, the EU profiler asks you 30 questions and then tries to divine your position of political landscape. I took it and got this:

Petition for Brown to resign on No.10 site!

There is now a simple petition on the Number 10 petition site calling on the Prime Minister to just resign. Pleasingly the last bit of the URL is "please-go".

If you so desire, you can sign it here.

New Gurkha Guidelines - BBC and Guardian coverage - compare and contrast

Witness the gaping chasm between the two!

First the BBC article Fury over Gurkha settlement plan details how the government claims the new guidelines will allow another 4,300 Gurkhas to settles whereas the Gurkha Justice Campaign said it would be just 100. It includes quotes from Joanna Lumley , "To treat them like this is despicable." "ashamed of our administration", our very own Peter Carroll, "truly appalling", an ex-Gurkha local councillor, Dhan Gurung, "insulting to loyal Gurkhas"and the Gurkhas' solicitor, David Enwright, "This government, Mr Woolas, should hang their head in shame so low that their forehead should touch their boots. This is a disgrace and a betrayal of our armed forces and our veterans."

Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said in response: "This improves the situation."

Over at the Guardian however, it's reprinting Government Press Release time, in their article New guidelines allow thousands more Gurkha veterans to settle in UK, there is no mention that this might not be a pure good news story. In this version we have quotes from Phil Woolas, "This guidance honours the service, commitment and gallantry of those who served with the Gurkhas brigade" and the chief of the general staff General Sir Richard Dannatt, "further underlines our extensive and ongoing commitment to the welfare of former Gurkhas".

Now I know the BBC story is two hours after the Guardian one and you could argue is more of a follow-up reaction story but didn't it occur to anyone at the Guardian to actually talk to the Ghurkas or their organisations? I'm sure they wouldn't have been backwards in coming forwards!

UPDATE: Oh bah humbug as I was writing this the Guardian story has been updated with a more balanced view. Now it's called "Government accused of 'betraying' Gurkhas over UK settlement right" (same URL) and it talks of "an act of treachery" and has quotes from Nick.

Ah look there is an "Article History" link. I'll just link to the 10:30 version of the story...hang on it says "
This article was first published on at 13.28 BST on Friday 24 April 2009. It was last updated at 13.28 BST on Friday 24 April 2009. "

Hmm, so has the original now dissapeared into the ether for ever, so we have no proof of the Guardian's government mouthpiece role?

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Jade Goody - The Musical

Please tell me this is another prank from Chris Morris, right?

The Budget Galaxy Song

The Galaxy Song is one of my favourite Python songs and this reworking of it for the budget is quite good.

Whilst I don't wholeheartedly agree with the final sentiment (to be expected from a Tory Blogger), it made me chuckle. Credit where credit's due. No pun intended!

Shouldn't the parliamentary party be being seen to support Nick more?

Watching Nicks Clegg's budget response, you see and hear the usual appalling parliamentary behaviour in the background. The emptied out chamber, the hubbub of other MPs talking and the views of other MPs ignoring Nick's speech completely. What Tories are left are busy discussing strategy and writing notes (not on Nick's speech!).

I often wonder whether the speaker can do anything to stop this but I know this is part of the establishment game to belittle us in the eyes if the public.

However, I really think our own MPs should at least be seen to be paying attention and reacting to his speech especially if they are in the doughnut around him that will be seen on the news (and hopefully fool the viewers into thinking MPs are still listening).

I know it's probably been a long boring day but they can at least pretend to be interested for the sake of the cameras. The arms-crossed scowling slump is not a good look, St. Vince.

They should also not be looking round, looking bored, writing, talking, concentrating on what they are reading with a pen in their mouth, looking round with a pen in their mouth, nudging a colleague to get more reading material to then flick through, looking like this is a waste of their time and generally being distracting. I'm looking at you Ms Goldsworthy!

I'm not sure that maybe the only reason we saw the other empty benches, the Tories plotting and the slouching St. Vince was that they had to cut to a long shot to avoid the distracting background.

Just a thought!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Visited by the Google Streetview car - surveillance feedback loop established

The day the Google StreetCar came to Chez LibCync...

Well, I caught it on camera (and film by mistake natch, luckily it reversed so I could get some actual pictures!) thus setting up some weird surveillance feedback loop. The fabric of space-time remains intact but there's no telling what will happen when they put the images up...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Doing a Jade Goody on Stephen Hawking

I turned on the ITV News last night to see what was effectively an obituary for Stephen Hawking. Lots of the great and the good talking about him in the past tense and reflections on aspects of the man, illustrating his sense of humour with his cameo on the Simpsons.

It turns out he had gone into hospital with a chest infection. Whilst this could have been undoubtedly serious, he's not dead yet! I'm pleased to see that he's now expected to make a full recovery.

However it seems now that the trend started with the coverage of Jade Goody's demise (remember the "pre-humous" memorial copy of OK) of trying to follow "celebrities" all the way to their death is to continue. This is a rather unpleasant turn I think.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Tory Brian Coleman says G20 assault woman was asking for it!

Tory London Assembly member Brian Coleman said:

"Nicky Fisher turned up to this protest, which everyone said could be violent. She put herself in this situation – and lo, she was hit.

"It's like going gambling and then complaining that you've lost money.

"All right-thinking people will have little sympathy for her. The police were dealing with a very serious situation caused by some very silly people."

I'm amazed Brian Coleman is still in a job. It was he who recently had a go at our Lynne Featherstone for calling out the fire brigade even though she was following official fire brigade advice. Brain Coleman is also chair of the London Fire Authority.

Maybe he has a problem with women?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

More G20 police brutality

The "I"PCC have launched another probe as video evidence of another incident has come to light.

The BBC show doesn't show all the blows landed by the big policeman on the small but agitated women. The orignal youtube video shows more (incident starts about 3:15 in).

Maybe it's time to remind the media about Kingsnorth? It might get some traction...

"I"PCC admit there may be CCTV footage of Ian Tomlinson

Blimey, an Easter weekend is a long time in the political blogosphere. I go away for a few days and all hell breaks loose!

Anyways, before all this, in a previous post I speculated that maybe the G20 CCTV footage of previous police contacts with the unfortunate Ian Tomlinson might conveniently disappear.

And lo, it came to pass.

It now seems, the "I"PCC now admits (forced by continued scrutiny I imagine...keep it up!) that their chairman was wrong to claim that they were no CCTV cameras in the area. It's okay though as he "believed he was correct at the time" and "it now appeared there were cameras in the surrounding area". Really in the City of London? Cameras in London? Wow!

(So, how do we stop them obtaining the footage and then "losing" it?)

On a related note, I listened to The Reunion on Radio 4 with people who were involved in the
Hillsborough disaster 20 years ago. It was quite an emotional programme but what struck me was that some of the survivors said they were taken aback by the speed at which the Police lies (let's not beat around the bush by calling it spin) operation seemed to start in earnest. Apparently, within 30 minutes of the tradgedy, stories were coming out of the police control room of fans urinating on the dead etc.

Plus ca change!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

When will the BBC cover Nick's expenses call?

Nick's excellent call to scrap the second home allowance and other expense reform has been covered in The Times, The Daily Mail, The Evening Standard and even the East Anglian Daily Times (enough with the Cleggover already, it's not big and it's not clever...).

But still not a peep on the BBC news site or even on that news ghetto that is their politics section.
When will the establishment BBC cover this (or will they at all?) or would it not please their establishment political masters? (oh God, I'm sounding like a Tory! Although I include them in the establishment here.)

UPDATE: The BBC now has it with a timestamp of 15:17. Well, it definitely wasn't there before and it is still confined to the politics ghetto. Maybe it will make onto the main UK page at some point today?

The inaccessability of GPs

Caron's Musings has a post about her trauma trying to get an appointment with a GP.
I echo her experiences but another aspect of GP surgeries is the delivery of test results.

Our local surgery has a dedicated test results phone line - well menu option of the main line (which sounds like a sensible user-friendly thing) but it is only open between 2pm and 4pm Monday-Friday and this is the only way to get your results short of booking a GP appointment (see above!).

Recently I had cause to ask them whether someone who couldn't ring between between 2pm-4pm as they couldn't get away from work (this was on the Friday and they didn't want to wait over the weekend) could maybe come into the surgery at 4:30pm and pick up their results instead. Eventually when I got through on the forth attempt (ring number, choose menu option, listen to ringing phone, eventually get message saying they are busy) they said no and that ringing between 2-4pm on a weekday was the only way to get results.

I know this may be a minor niggle but it's just another inconvenience put up when you're trying to deal with your local GP surgery and it could cause someone significant distress. Also this combined with difficulties and delays in getting appointments means that something that, to my mind, should take about a week (appointment, test, results, appointment) ends up taking a month with all the inherent stress.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Justice for Ian Tomlinson - what you can do?

I see LibDemBlogs has had its account suspended (due to high load I expect), so I can't see if I'm duplicating information but there is a facebook group Justice for Ian Tomlinson which you can join and also a Number 10 petition you can sign calling for a seperate enquiry to the "I"PCC one.

Let's see if we keep this in the public eye with our interweb skillz and effectively combat the police spin operation.

Ian Tomlinson - will there be justice?

Charlotte Gore has a good post on whether there will ever be a prosecution or a general outing of the truth arising from this tragic event and speculates on the many ways things can be subjective and muddied.

Mark Reckons thinks that without the footage emerging the police would have never volunteered an account of what really happened.

I wonder whether more evidence must have been caught on CCTV and whether the relevant CCTV footage will conveniently disappear as it did in the IPCC De Menezes case.

I'm not holding my breath for anything less than a whitewash...

All this and a new topically generated home office billboard:

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

3 cute animal stories for the afternoon

The Ship-wrecked Dog.
The Koala stuck in a car grill.
And the three Badger cubs found in a sussex field.


More outrageous behaviour by the police!

As predicted they have finally got a tourist.

Guy living in South Africa, back in Newcastle for his brothers funeral takes pictures of Tyneside to show the folks back home. Forced into an alleyway by plainclothes policeman who refuses to identify himself and he ends up being the one having to take a caution for a public order offense!!

You can bet that again no-one is held to account for this. The policeman in question should be sacked and so should anyone higher up who covered for him!

More police billboard fun

With thanks to James Holden's billboard generator.
(How do I get blogger to put pictures where I want them?!)

Monday, 6 April 2009

Clare Balding apologises for teeth remark

I remember thinking "that's a bit harsh" to criticise someone's teeth on national TV in front of millions when I watched Clare Balding interviewing the winning jockey at the Grand National.

Well, apparently, there were complaints and she has now apologised.

Don't get me wrong though, I love Clare Balding as a presenter and now Fi Glover is back doing Saturday Live, I want Clare back!

All your internet activity now belongs to the Government - How do we get round this?

As of today, ISPs will have to keep details of all your internet activities for a year. All the better for furnishing the state with private information about you and for random private companies and public officials in the chain to leak.

Charlotte Gore has a good post on this frightening situation. Some people in the comments are already talking about technical ways around this. I'm a bit techie but still am not particularly comfortable with all this clever interweb stuff. Technology has a way moving ahead of the laws to govern it. Is there a comprehensive and user-friendly system that we could all use to pull the rug out from under this burgeoning police state?