Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Am in Cornwall attm and it's chucking down with rain today :(

I have always loved Cornwall and its history so have enjoyed the break and am blissfully unaware of politics going on as I haven't read a paper nor gone online since Sunday, bliss


Thursday, 23 July 2009


I wasn't going to post about Gary Reinback . It was too close but....

Almost a year ago my brother Jonathan died from alcoholism . I was there as he was taken into intensive care, his bloated yellow body, yellow eyes, my older brother unable to vocalise that his kid bro should leave the ward rather than see him like that.

Let me tell you about Jon. He was a brilliant artist and before injury a brilliant sportsman. When he decided to try rowing both his rugby and cricket coaches complained. Sport was easy for him. He won countless regattas and won four Nat Champs, he also rowed in the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games for the England juniors.

Unfortunately because of an accident he ripped both his knees and his rowing career was over.

He struggled to find a place for himself and eventually he turned to alcohol. He knew he had a problem, he tried to stop himself but it was too late.

I drink, most of my friends drink but alcohol isn't our master, unfortunately for Jon it was.

I'm not glossing over, we had plenty of fights, but my brother got caught by this. Ignore the fact that Gary was young and that he started drinking at 11, ignore that his mother didn't realise what was going on, my family didn't.

My brother was used to going that extra meter in a race but this time it was too far for him. he was meant to be 40 on 9 April this year. he wasn't.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Hello to the Big Yin and anyone else coming from Tom Harris' blog!

Further to yesterday's pics I thought I would comment about the big shiny new blue box

I think the new box is to do with the series going high-def.

There will also be a new console room as well

Monday, 20 July 2009


A sneek peak at the new Doctor's new gear...apparently

Update: Yes it is indeed, shiny new box as well!


Apparently Kindle removed George Orwell's 1984 from its system and refunded downloaders.
Now aside from the tin hatters (it also removed Atlas Shrugged), as this is apparently a copyright issue, what gets me is that you only licence the e-book, you don't own it and Amazon can remove any copy of any book you downloaded.

Well that sucks. It's the equivalent of buying a book then someone coming into your house and leaving a fiver in its place whenever they want.

So Kindle is more akin to a library than a bookshop.

Glad I haven't paid £200 for one

Hat tip: Old holborn

guinea pigs

Sorry a bit of light relief...Guinea Pigs and Water Melons...

Thursday, 16 July 2009


Thought you'd like this JUKE BOX

From 1950 to 1999 it plays 20 hits from that year, just change the date in the addy!

Educating the political classes

Also in the news this week was the continuing war against private schools by the Charity Commission.

There is one thing that was missing from the frothing that went on on phone-ins etc...

Double taxation.

Essentially the parent pays twice for education - the state system through taxation and then fees for the children.

Also it means there is an extra space for another child in the state system.

Througout the frothing one fundamental issue remains - how do you raise the state system to challenge private schools?

Not through gerrymandering of university places (I don't think there should be universal higher education anyway but that's another argument)

Not through penalising those who decide to use their money to boost their children's education - hell if I had the money, whoosh, there would go my child like a shot!

Try things like, erm, competition, elitism, targetting to an individual child's skills whilst ensuring the basics like History (complete History not from 1968), Maths and English for all.

Just a thought


I see the government is proposing to charge everyone £20k for their old-age care.

The Devil has his own take on it but as I put on his blog, there is a massive assumption about NICs - in that people think it is an insurance scheme.

It is not.

It has never been an insurance scheme. It is an assurance scheme where money paid in now is used for current expenditure not future costs.

The issue is one of titles. I was at a Politea dinner where various politicians such as Frank Field were attending.

When I got dragged into the debate about how to get people to save for a pension, I said it would never work while we have NICs.

I added: "People think they are saving up for a pension already in a vehicle called National Insurance, they don't realise the reality of the scheme. To get people to save, you have to change NICs name to something more honest - Maybe Social Security tax?"

That was 10 years ago...

Friday, 10 July 2009


Tricky thing Democracy isn't it? I mean people you cannot stand get elected and represent the people, disgusting!

Luckily we have a solution at hand, thanks to New Labour:

Following the
European elections, the civil service and government officials considered a range of options for dealing with the BNP, from an inclusive non-discriminatory approach to total quarantine, effectively ostracising them. David Miliband, the foreign secretary, is said to have signed off a decision that would bar the BNP people from government and embassy events in Brussels, while providing the extremists with some policy information.

Hell I can't stand UKIP let alone that left-wing loony party the BNP* but...BUT...they are elected representatives of the people. You cannot pick and choose which representatives you deal with on the basis of taste, sorry.

Nick Farage of UKIP got it right: "I don't think the policy of isolating them, of a cordon sanitaire, will work at all. It's a mistake. They're elected representatives, whether we like it or not."

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies gets it wrong: "A line has been crossed [with the BNP]. It's a difference of degree. It's not surprising that the government has to draw up guidelines to deal with a different situation."

I remember in 1997 there was a movement to get the BNP banned from PEBs. Now the fact that it had complied with the law and it was entitled to one broadcast wasn't important to a lot of people including those sensible thinkers in the Student bar at my Uni.

Only myself and George (a good friend and, erm, Nigerian) argued that the BNP's inane message must be broadcasted and disseminated rather than making them political martyrs.

Even more importantly, we argued, where was the thin edge? Where and when would it be exceptable to ban other views you disagreed with? In theory Liberals and Tories could be banned.

Extremists should be confronted, their arguments shown up for ridicule, their logic dismantled.

All these actions will just make them political martyrs and gain them support.

Tch, as I said, tricky thing this democracy

* Yes the BNP are left wing if you actually look at their manifesto, it just fits the political narrative to call them right-wing, after all the Conservatives are right-wing aren't they?

Update: Leg Iron has a good take on this


I'm not going into detail over the Guardian's "expose" of phone tapping and the News of the Screws but I will make a quick comment:

The Labour dominated DCMS select committee is hauling Coulson in for interogation and Labour are jumping all over this in attempt to get comparative to the McBride smeargate scandal (imho there is no comparison, as much as it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, it has been part and parcel of tabloid life since year dot. Also Coulson has resigned as editor for this already ).

Mandy's prints are all over this one.

This coupled with lies about the economy and the stated aim of getting people to hate the Tories again no matter what shows us one thing -

the next election is probably going to be the nastiest, vicious and underhanded election ever


Unfortunately, as some of you who look at my art blog, an idiot has decided to fill my comments with nonsense.

Originally the ones over at simonscrawls were amusing but descended into purile and potentially libellous postings.

So I have put comment moderation on.

Normal service, both in blogging and comments will resume shortly

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


Modern technology, cutting edged, changes the world as information is processed down fibre optics at the speed of light to home computers, pda's and mobile

This is a genuine screen grab that I took yesterday from one of the pop-ups that infest the Harlequins supporters website Come All Within.

I believe the term is FAIL