Sunday, 27 September 2009

Give me my pills! Quickly! I need my pills!

It seems that Gordon Brown's instinct for self-preservation is still working despite his rapidly disintegrating mental state - or he is no longer capable of telling the truth - judging by the way he lied when Andrew Marr asked him if he was taking pills to 'help him get through'.

One thing is for certain. His expression when Marr asked the question followed by his not-so-private temper tantrum afterwards will only fuel further speculation.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Most definitely in the public interest.

I met an old family friend for lunch this afternoon and the conversation eventually turned to the expenses fiasco.

A former QC now long since retired, he is quite disgusted by the inflated, often blatantly fraudulent expense claims made by MPs and expressed the desire to temporarily come out of retirement to prosecute just one last case.

When I laughingly asked which one he would prefer, he remarked "The former Speaker would be nice" but he'd be willing to settle for Gordon Brown or one of his 'inner circle'.

Then with a wicked smile he said those dreaded words which have been known to strike abject fear into the heart of even the most seasoned senior clerk.

"I might even do it pro bono."

Friday, 25 September 2009

Don't forget your lifejacket Gordon.

There's a rumour going round that Gordon Brown is preparing to jump ship ahead of the general election.

This is quite an 'about-face' for Brown who has always maintained that he "wasn't going anywhere" and was recently telling people that he'd have to be "carried out feet first". Naturally there is a long list of people who would be only too willing to help him achieve the latter ambition sooner rather than later.

However it's very unlikely to be true as it would also mean he would have to accept the reality of the forthcoming election defeat. Something he has clearly demonstrated over and over again he is incapable of doing.

I suspect what actually happened is that the blackshirts are so desperately trying to find bolt-holes for themselves to hide in, they forgot to keep an eye on whoever is making post-defeat arrangements for Brown and the rest of the cabinet.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Please keep your hands where I can see them Mr. Brown

I can't say I was surprised to hear that U.S. president Barak Obama had become the latest in a long line of foreign politicians who want nothing more to do with Gordon Brown.

I suspect that Obama, like most of the others, is concerned about the damage to his reputation and his own chances of re-election should he be perceived as being too closely associated with Brown.

Of course, the U.S. Secret Service expressing concerns about the state of Gordon Brown's mental health and his increasingly erratic behaviour may have also have been taken into consideration.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Of oars and feet

The CBI has stuck it's oar into the university funding debate - or it's foot in it's mouth depending on your point of view - by saying that students should pay higher tuition fees and more interest on their loans.

Naturally this has drawn a storm of protest from a wide range of sources including the National Union of Students which criticised the report as "gross hypocrisy" from the "fat cats of the CBI", very few of whom ever paid a penny towards their own state funded university education.

This view is supported by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers which referred to the proposals as "arrogant and elitist".

However the report does have some support from groups which want to see further restrictions on access to higher education, particularly at university level. And while the report itself doesn't specifically call for this, it does call for the government's aim of having 50% of young people attend university to be abandoned, along with other measures which would have the same effect.

Also contained within the report is the 'suggestion' that universities should focus more on 'economically valuable' subjects such as science, technology, engineering, maths and languages.

The very areas which most of the CBI's membership steadfastly refuse to invest in, claiming they are "not economically viable".

With CBI's constant complaints about how difficult it is for companies to keep graduate staff once they've got enough experience to make their skills marketable, it's not difficult to see why the CBI would want to see students pushed deeper into debt.

As for the students themselves. Someone more cynical than myself might suggest that for many of them, their primary concern would be that higher costs will mean less money for beer and drugs.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Turn left at next junction...

I see from the Times that the idiot who slavishly followed his sat-nav's instructions right to the very edge of a cliff in West Yorkshire has been convicted of driving without due care and attention.

He was fined £370, had 6 penalty points added to his license and was ordered to pay £500 costs. With the recovery bill for his car this piece of stupidity has cost him nearly £1900.

Yet despite this he is still insisting he did nothing wrong and is quoted as being "extremely disappointed" with the verdict. He also insists that he was using the sat-nav properly and that it was at fault, not him.

This is complete nonsense of course. Had he been paying proper attention to the footpath he was following he would have realised that something was seriously wrong before he hit the fence at the edge of the cliff.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Why can't we have it in Sterling?

Here's something which could explain the mystery behind LabourList's much disputed financing.

The US Special Operations Command has awarded General Dynamics a $10 million contract to set up a network of psychological warfare "influence websites" to support the Global War On Terror with France and Britain specifically included as "targeted regions".

Of course it's no secret that the U.S. maintains intelligence 'assets' in supposedly friendly countries. They've been caught at it often enough. So it's not that big a step from there to "influence websites" which provide,

"dissemination of truthful information to foreign audiences in support of US policy"

Hmm... Perhaps that's where Gordo and his chums get their ideas about what constitutes the truth. The U.S. has certainly been the source of many of their more questionable ideas.

However it's the following quote from the original article which puts me in mind of LabourList.

"It would appear that any UK media site or channel which appears to be functioning without any visible means of support appropriate to its expenses may in fact be a tentacle of US Special Ops psywar command."

Given the U.S. government's past record, there may be more 'truth' in that than the author intended.

US Spec Ops operates psywar websites targeted at UK

Who did you say you were?

I had a phone call this morning from someone who wanted to know how I thought Harriet Harmon compared with Gordon Brown.

A rather risky question under the current circumstances and having never heard of this individual I naturally attempted to determine precisely who he was before answering it.

He wouldn't say and eventually gave up when I persisted.

Obviously this was someone 'testing the water' to see how much support Harman might have amongst the CLPs in advance of the party conference later this month.

The question is, was this one of Harman's supporters or Gordo's blackshirts?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

But she NEEDS her bonus

It's been pointed out to me that the 'real' reason the W.H.Smiths area manager got rid of the cleaners was to preserve her bonus.

Well... Yes. I had sort of figured that out for myself.

With falling revenue the only way to maintain the illusion of increasing profits is drastic cost cutting regardless of consequences.

However that wasn't her stated reason was it?

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Don't just stand there. Clean something!

I was in one of the larger W.H.Smiths branches yesterday morning and noticed that it was looking rather shabby, as if it hadn't been cleaned properly for a while.

It didn't take long to ascertain that the area manager had had another of her 'funny turns' and got rid of all the cleaners. Apparently she believes that the staff can do it because,

"They spend too much time standing around doing nothing anyway."

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Patently Ridiculous

Trevor Baylis - the man credited with having 'invented' the wind-up radio despite having done nothing more than patented the idea of adding a clockwork mechanism to the old schoolboy physics experiment involving a dynamo and a transistor radio - has jumped on the "Nick em all and let the courts sort them out" bandwagon by writing to our Peter urging him to make intellectual property theft a criminal offence.

In an interview with the BBC he said that inventors need more protection against people who attempt to copy or steal their ideas. He went on to say,

"If I was to nick your car, which is worth £10,000, say, I could go to jail. But if I were to nick your patent, which is worth a million pounds, you'd have to sue me."

To which he added,

"And if I was a colossal company, or indeed another country, that had stolen your invention, how could you find a million pounds a day to take me to court?"

On the surface this seems quite reasonable. After all, no one likes having their ideas stolen, particularly if they've put a lot of work into them.

However his true motivation becomes clear when he says the answer is to make stealing a patent a criminal offence. That way the state, and not the individual inventor, would bear the costs of going to court.

In other words what he actually wants is the state - that's us taxpayers - to foot the bill for enforcing his patents.

Apparently people are using his idea of a wind-up mechanism without paying him for it. The fact that wind-up mechanisms were in common use long before he was born is irrelevant of course. Like any patent troll, he still wants people to pay him to use them.

However he's not alone in this. It's estimated that more than half of the world's patents are currently in the hands of 'patent trolls' who use them as a means to extort money from legitimate businesses.

A preview of one consequence of making patent infringement a criminal offence was seen in Germany last year. Major exhibitors at two separate consumer electronics shows in March and August had their stands raided by armed German Customs officers who seized exhibits following a complaint of patent infringement from a well known Italian patent troll. 180 officers took part in the first raid and over 200 in the second.

It's little surprise then that one critic described Baylis' remarks as "Barking Mad".

Inventor urges patent law change
Brit inventor wants prison for patent crims