Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Honest guv, it just broke

Scattered amongst the usual rubbish in my mailbox this morning were a number of emails saying the e-petition I mentioned on Friday telling Gordo to 'get lost' was unavailable yesterday.

It's back now but it was an interesting time to have a computer failure don't you think?

With hindsight I suppose I should have expected something like this but I must admit, not being a technically minded person, the thought of what was almost certainly a deliberately induced breakdown simply didn't occur to me.

I have no doubt that Gordo would have simply ignored the e-petition no matter how many people had 'signed' it but a sufficiently large number would have been rather embarrassing to say the least. So by heading off the initial morning surge of people doing 'anything but work' in this way, the number can be kept down as the vast majority simply won't bother trying again.

This suggests that Gordo is getting significantly better advice on 'new media' than he was previously and judging by his past performance, it certainly isn't coming from Damian McBride.

Monday, 27 April 2009

A very good reason indeed

I hear that Town Councillor Chris Precious has been commenting on my somewhat 'erratic' posting history.

Well the reason for that is quite simple really. I'm not a lazy fat tory sitting on my arse in the Republic of Eire with my feet on the desk and my money in an offshore tax haven.

More tea anyone?

Friday, 24 April 2009

You tell him. No, YOU tell him.

Gordo may be in danger of being hung with his own 'web'-ing if an online e-petition started by Kalvis Jansons is successful. The petition's message is clear and simple.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign

I suspect that few if any seriously expect it to have the slightest effect, particularly as the whole e-petitions thing is a part of the same nonsense as LabourList. Not surprisingly, it's proving very popular and in the few hours it's been available, it's gained more than 3000 'signatures' putting it in the top 50 and the front page of the open petitions list.

Yes, I know. A drop in the ocean. But it would be rather ironic if the instrument of Gordo's demise was the very same 'new media' he was so desperate to manipulate and which back-fired so badly costing him one of his most trusted hatchet-men.

Whatever the outcome, the petition's very existence is almost certain to provoke a paroxysm of rage and I fully expect some of his staff will be sporting fresh bruises in the morning.

The Register's original article inviting Gordo to "Pick a Window!" is here or alternatively, you can just go straight to the petition here.

Lies, Damn Lies and Tax Calculations

I'm seeing a lot of nonsense being talked about Gordo's new top rate of tax, particularly over on the Guido Fawkes Blog where his latest claim is that "for the government to take more than half your income is not social justice".

Well I'd certainly agree with him if that were the case but it isn't. The most charitable explanation is that he is mistaken rather than deliberately misrepresenting the facts which, while a bit odd for someone who "spent several years in Finance", is entirely understandable for a political commentator. Mind you, he did go bankrupt didn't he...

The most common 'misconception' I've seen is that the new rate applies to the whole amount. It doesn't. It applies to anything over £150,000, so if you earn £160,000 then there's a slim chance that you might have to pay the 50% rate on £10,000 of that if - and only if - Gordo doesn't come up with an excuse to either postpone it or revoke it entirely before it takes effect next year.

Add in personal allowances and the lower rates which apply to any income under £150,000 and the net total is significantly less than half. But your personal accountant already told you that didn't he?

On a related note I had my attention drawn to a comment from some finance type - probably one of the red-braced yobs who caused Black Monday judging from his rhetoric - bewailing his fate and listing the many things this country will lose if he leaves, two private school places, two cleaners, a gardener, a part-time groom, a part-time farrier, an au-pair, 5 vehicles...

And to round off this rather childish temper tantrum, he's cancelling the charity evening he's hosting on behalf of the County Ambulance Service.

Now if that's not a childish act of spite then I really don't know what is...

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Did he really think we wouldn't notice?

There were no major surprises in today's budget which was the expected mixed bag of political fence mending and neo-tory toadying to big business.

A half-hearted swipe at greedy individuals with a new top income tax rate of 50% for earnings over £150,000 and the abolition of tax relief on their pensions was balanced with incentives for greedy corporations to be behave even worse by doubling capital allowances and allowing 'loss-making' firms to reclaim the last three years of tax up to 2010, along with outright bribery for the motor industry by offering gullible idiots £2000 to scrap perfectly good vehicles when they buy a new one.

The really 'clever' part was scheduling the tax increase to take effect from April next year and abolition of tax relief from April 2011 giving him the appearance of having listened to the screams and yells of public outrage over 'fat-cat' greed while giving Gordo plenty of time to revoke both of these measures before they take effect.

I expect that he will simply claim they're not longer needed regardless of whether the economy bounces back as rapidly as he is hoping it will or not. But just in case he's given them another year to line their pockets and another two to pad their pensions.

Free swimming for your parents but not your kids

At the end of last month Olympic swimmer Mark Foster, 400m Freestyle World Record holder Joanne Jackson, Paralympic Gold Medallist Heather Frederiksen and a handful of the usual ministerial suspects launched a national scheme to provide free swimming to anyone 16 or under and the over 60s using money the Department of Culture, Media and Sport made available last year for the purpose.

Yes, I know. The idea of Gordo's government helping out local people instead of the large corporations they'll be looking to for jobs after the general election is such an alien concept that Dover District Council can be forgiven for being suspicious.

What they cannot be forgiven for is accepting the money for over 60s and not the 16 or unders.

Their official reason for this is it would cost too much to implement. Which would be entirely plausible were it not for the fact I have been unable to get a straight answer out of them about what these costs are or where they would be incurred.

The fact that a tory controlled local authority is giving away 'freebies' to one group which can vote and withholding the same 'freebies' from a group which cannot is purely coincidental of course.


I've just had the following Freedom of Information request brought to my attention:- FOI Request - Free Swimming Scheme

It will be interesting to see what convoluted excuses Dover District Council comes up with to avoid releasing information which they must have had in a readily accessible form in order to make their decision.

Misapplied Misdirection?

Former UK Independence Party MEP Tom Wise was charged with false accounting and money laundering on Monday following his arrest in June of last year. Tom Wise is the second UKIP MEP to face criminal charges related to his finances in recent years. In September 2007 Ashley Mote, MEP for South East England, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment after being convicted of 21 offences relating to benefit fraud.

However it is the timing of this which is significant and suggests a desperate attempt by Gordo's 'blackshirts' to distract attention away from themselves.

Whether this will actually work is anyone's guess, but it's interesting to compare the UK Independence Party's reaction to financial misconduct with that of our own. Where the labour leadership immediately leapt to the defence of Waccy-Baccy and the Four Lords of the Graft, even - it is alleged - to the extent of Waccy-Baccy ordering the City of London police to drop their investigation into the latter. The UKIP immediately suspended then later expelled both Ashley Mote and Tom Wise.

If Gordo's 'blackshirts' want to be sure of distracting attention then they should throw one of their new labour glove puppets to the wolves. It couldn't possibly cause the party anymore harm than they have already done and it's much safer than throwing a Tory. They would undoubtedly retaliate in kind with fairly predictable consequences.

Monday, 20 April 2009

The Order of the Boot?

The Guido Fawkes Blog is reporting that members of the Finchley and Golders Green CLP are to vote on McBride's expulsion from the party on May 11th with the group's recommendations going to the General Committee on the 27th.

Quite frankly I think they're taking a hell of a risk. McBride is one of Gordo's 'blackshirts' and if recent 'revelations' are anything to go by, anyone supporting a motion to expel him could very well end up as their next target.

Furthermore, even if the CLP were to vote for a recommendation to expel him and the committee accepted that recommendation, it is unlikely to be permanent and could in fact be no more than a token gesture, a 'slap-on-the-wrist' for getting caught.

In any event, this would have little effect as expulsion from the party won't prevent him from giving 'advice' to senior party members or the leadership. However he would not only have to learn the meaning of the word 'discretion', but actually start practising it as well.


I had a very strange experience in W.H.Smiths this morning while waiting to be served. The young lady operating the till 'ran out' of two pound coins and asked me to wait while she phoned upstairs for more despite the fact I could clearly see she had a drawer full of one pound coins. She then proceeded to argue with the person on the other end of the phone insisting that she was really desperate and needed more two pound coins NOW!!!

When I ventured to suggest that one pound coins were fine with me she said that this wouldn't take long and continued to argue with the other person becoming quite annoyed at what was obviously a refusal.

She eventually served me and included a two pound coin in my change which rather left me wondering if I'd missed something significant along the way.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Would the last Socialist to leave the party please turn out the lights

I was saddened but not particularly surprised to hear that Alice Mahon had resigned her membership of the Labour Party. For some time now she has been increasing unhappy with the current labour leadership, most of whom are now further to the right than many tories.

Alice Mahon was a long standing member and a genuine 'Leftie', both of which are about as welcome in Peter Mandelson's new labour as the Bubonic Plague would be. So for senior party members to 'privately' call her a traitor and suggest she was just another rat leaving a sinking ship was throughly despicable but pretty much what we've come to expect.

I must admit that while I disagreed with her quite strongly on many things it did make me smile to realise that she had managed to get the last word. This is not the Labour Party which I joined all those years ago either.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

A quick trip to the laundry?

I've just received an email pointing me in the direction of this article on a Mirror staff photographer's blog showing Draper in a taxi with his computer in a large stripy shopping bag.

By now he's probably back home with his computer all scrubbed and squeaky clean.

Honest guv, it's nothing to do with us

Iain Hain has a 'leaked' copy of a email to the National Executive Committee from general secretary Ray Collins in which he attempts to distance himself from both Draper and LabourList.

Nice try Ray but I'm sorry, it just won't wash. It's common knowledge both inside and outside the party that the whole thing was your idea in the first place. That you personally recruited Draper to chair the thing and that all of it's meetings were held at party headquarters with senior party members in attendance.

Why not simply be honest about it and say Draper exceeded his mandate? After all that is what happened, isn't it?

By the way, getting the press officers to point everyone to a Tory blog was a bit too bloody obvious. Even a Tory would be able to smell that one a mile off.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Anyone's fault but theirs...

I've been following the Draper/McBride nonsense on and off over the weekend in between doing other things. That they got caught conspiring to smear other politicians in such a fashion does not surprise me. It's not the first time they've done this sort of thing and with neither of them being familiar with the concepts of subtlety or discretion the only surprise is that they didn't get caught sooner.

However to continue trying to blame everyone else for their own stupidity even after they've resigned suggests mental illness rather than simply a stubborn refusal to accept the consequences of their own actions.

That, along the correspondingly stupid remarks made by senior party members who leaped to their defence, only served to provide more ammunition for that right wing toerag Paul Staines, author of the Guido Fawkes Blog.

The following item about Waccy-Baccy seems somewhat anti-climatic by comparison - Blue Plaque.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Waccy-Baccy is ever so sorry...

I missed Ms Waccy-Baccy's performance on Radio 4's Today programme but I understand she came out with the tired old chestnuts of "I'm sorry" and "It was a mistake" while trying to defend her misuse of MPs allowances.

Quite frankly, I think that was incredibly stupid of her and unlikely to convince anyone except soap-opera fans who will believe pretty much anything you tell them no matter how ridiculous. It certainly wouldn't convince a magistrates court which hears the same two excuses several times a day from shoplifters and other petty thieves.

More importantly, her increasingly desperate attempts to keep her snout in the trough are in danger of provoking a public backlash which will cost the party more than just her seat in the commons.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Spoof Proof?

Two American 'researchers' have come up with an alternative to conventional biometric security systems based on iris and fingerprint scans which they claim will provide greater resistance to "spoofing".

X-Ray photographs of the knee.

No, I kid ye not. X-Ray photographs of the knee.

I realise this might seem a bit ridiculous, and somewhat risky considering that the medical profession has spent the past twenty or more years telling us that X-Rays are dangerous. However there are potential benefits in addition to increased 'spoof' resistance.

Passports and other identification documents would contain an embedded dosimeter which would require checking and replacement every year generating an additional revenue stream for the passport office and the nuclear medicine support industries.

It would stimulate the employment market by forcing early retirement for those who had reached their lifetime exposure limit.

The domestic holiday market would benefit by discouraging people from taking holidays abroad and by forcing those who do to remain in this country after they reach their exposure limit.

Border security would be enhanced by making those who regularly travel using falsified documents easily detectable due to residual radiation. The worst offenders could be identified by the fairly obvious signs of radiation sickness or simply by switching off the lights and looking to see who glows in the dark.

The domestic garment industry would experience a resurgence as the demand for protective underwear such as lead-lined y-fronts and corsets increased. Men with certain 'cultural' prejudices would require additional layers of lead foil to protect their precious 'manhood'. This would result in a characteristic nappy-like bulge allowing underage girls and women who prefer their eggs unfertilised to avoid them like the plague.

A small but profitable sideline would also exist in providing lead-lined boxer shorts for American visitors - no true Englishman would be caught dead wearing such a ridiculous garment.

Naturally Dover would be at the front of such technological innovations and the sight of passport control officers in radiation-proof protective clothing would quickly become common place as would the bluish glow from the vicinity of passport control.

Seriously though, this is not a new idea. Previous studies of similar methodologies concluded that the serious health risks associated with X-Ray radiation were an insurmountable problem and strange as it may seem, one of this pair actually works for the US National Institutes of Health. What precise capacity isn't specified but I sincerely hope it's not a medical one.

Oh and by the way - it doesn't work...

Saturday, 4 April 2009

An offer they couldn't refuse?

Another rights collection agency's extortion racket hit a bump in the road earlier this week when YouTube blocked German access to thousands music videos less than a month after blocking almost all "premium" content in the UK.

Neither the newly formed Featured Artists Coalition nor rabid 'psycho-leftie' Billy Bragg - a man who's political rhetoric makes Chairman Mao look like a Lib-Dem - wasted any time at all in jumping on the bandwagon and condemning Google for "use of its near-monopoly to dictate terms to PRS for Music".

Something which these 'collection agencies' have been doing to the rest of us since long before the Mountain View Funny-Farm ever existed.

While I like to see people defying bullies and extortionists like the PRS, this is more like rival organised crime families in twenties America fighting a turf war for control of the rackets - alcohol, gambling, prostitution, extortion, etc.

But what really disgusts me is the actions of the Featured Artists Coalition. These are the very same people who have spent years screaming about how they're being ripped off by record labels and collection agencies, demanding a bigger slice of the income from sales and licensing, demanding more control over their own work.

I've always agreed with them in the past. They are being ripped off. They should have a bigger slice of the income and more control over their own work.

But now they're screaming in support of the collection agencies. One of whom is notorious for attacking schools, charity events, local businesses and even it's own members, preventing them from performing their own work because the venue had not purchased a license from the PRS.

Perhaps someone made them an offer they couldn't refuse...

Friday, 3 April 2009

Myths and Legends

As if Jacqui Smith didn't have enough trouble with her "idiot husband" and his 'inappropriate behaviour', there is now a rumour going round that she and Gordon Brown have been having an illicit affair.

This is complete and utter nonsense of course. Gordon Brown may be many things but stupid is certainly not one of them. Even now with some signs that his mental abilities may starting to deteriorate due to stress he would not get involved in something which could only end very, very badly.