Saturday, February 25, 2006

Mark Oaten Spotted in Sudan?

Mark Oaten has apparently changed his name and appearance and has gone to live in the Sudan. Thanks to my brother for bringing this bit of animal husbandry to my notice
BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat

And sent them homewards to think again...

Another mighty win for the lions of Scotland. What a performance they were so good in defence and even managed to look better than England in attack.

Ruaridh is shown here giving a big smile and a salute to the Scottish, whilst wearing his Scotland Rugby Shirt.

BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | Six Nations | Scotland 18-12 England

Friday, February 24, 2006

Baxter returns for medal attempt

Here's hoping Alain, and his brother Noel, can do it again, if only so that Aviemore can have a party again, after hosting Tony Blair and his acolytes.
My wife Christina is from Aviemore and Alain lived about 4 doors down the road.
His recent biography about the last Olympics is well worth a read if only to see how persistence can get you there in the end.

BBC SPORT | Other Sport... | Winter Olympics | Baxter returns for medal attempt

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Could I suggest you read all the details of the bill and then ask yourself the following questions, and then ask your MP what he's doing about it. Follow the link to get more details on the bill and how to contact your MP.

Thirteen Unlucky Questions:

1. Why does the Bill change the current procedures for the enactment into our law of EU legislation?

2. What guarantees are there that the Bill could not be used to bring in the EU Constitution by the back door?

3. If the Bill is just a simplifying measure for deregulation, why does it contain no requirement for any orders to actually reduce the amounts of red tape and regulation?

4. Why does the Bill give the power to create new law, including new criminal offences, to the Law Commissions, which are unelected quangos appointed by Ministers?

5. If the Law Commissions are supposed to be staffed by impartial technical experts, why are Ministers taking the power to amend the recommendations of the Law Commissions before they are fast-tracked into legislation?

6. Why do protections in the Bill against new laws to permit forcible entry, search, seizure or compelling people to give evidence not apply to reforms recommended by the unelected Law Commissions appointed by Ministers?

7. If the Bill allows Ministers to “amend, repeal or replace legislation in any way that an Act might”, does this not give them an unlimited power to ignore a democratic Parliament and legislate by decree?

8. If the Bill is so sensible, why has Parliament used a different way of making laws for 700 years?

9. If the Bill is meant to retain Parliament’s ability to scrutinise regulations and regulators, why does it not contain a provision for automatic sunset clauses in orders issued under the Bill?

10. If the Bill gives Ministers powers to charge fees by decree, is that not a charter to bring in unlimited stealth taxes?

11. As the Bill permits an order to be made by a Minister under the Bill provided its effect is “proportionate” to his “policy objective”, since when in our history as a democratic country has a Government Minister’s “policy objective” directly received the force of law?

12. What guarantees are there that the Bill could not be used to bring in ID Cards by the back door?

13. Why does the Bill give the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly a veto over Ministers’ power to change the law which it denies to English MPs?

Its beginning to sink in - Legislative Regulatory Reform Bill

I blogged on this before but its beginning to get noticed and most views are distinctly unimpressed. The minister pushing this through, Jim Murphy said the following

"I am thinking of giving House of Commons committees a legal veto over any proposals."

And just why should we believe this. A Labour promise is more often than not a Labour lie.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Fears raised on ministers' power

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Smoking Ban Scotland - Clearing the Air Scotland

Now here is one bit of law I do agree with. So you smokers out there remember you only have 31 days left to kipper us.

Just look what it is doing to your lungs.

Don't worry I am not aiming this at anyone in particular (Take note Christina, Neil and Elaine) honestly!

Smoking Ban Scotland, Scottish Executive Smoke Free Laws - Clearing the Air Scotland

The Road to Nowhere (Aberdeens Western Peripheral Route)

Why these residents are getting their knickers in a twist I don't know. This road is unlikely ever to be built. As far as I know they have been talking about it since before I was born back when Aberdeen was a fishing village. The Labour/Lib Dem coalition that masquerades as an "Scottish Executive" just roll it out every so often to buy some votes and to pay each other back for favours done elsewhere in their heartlands. Who cares about those rich residents of Milltimber!

Mind you Mr Nicol Stephen does have a history in drawing road maps where he would like them, against the advice of those who know better.

Mind you it is also great fun calling your friends from the affected area "nimbys" and saying how much we require this new road!

Legal threat after M74 decision

Also have a look at

Aberdeen Greenbelt Alliance

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire residents campaigning against the proposed route for the city's bypass have pledged to take their crusade to Europe. Around 800 people last night attended a packed public...

Brown set to miss Labour conference

I see Mr Brown can't even be bothered to meet up with his fellow members in Scotland. Perhaps he is running scared of their reaction to his part in the defeat by the Lib-Dems in Dunfermline. I enjoyed the following letter to the Herald.

Brown has failed crucial tests of leadership

THE Dunfermline and West Fife by-election result will send shock waves through Downing Street. Number 11 Downing Street. The chancellor, a resident of the constituency and MP for its neighbour, was in Moscow on polling day. His postal vote, personal prestige, his numerous constituency visits and ultra vires pronouncements on Forth Bridge tolls have only helped deliver this catastrophic result in his own Fife fief. If Gordon Brown can lose a seat where people vote Labour just as dogs bark, what chance has this dour Fifer of wooing women voters of a certain age in Middle England? Boasting "Britishness" and waving the Union flag cannot compete with the psephological charms of young David Chameleon (as we now must call the Tory leader). Sitting Labour MPs must be asking themselves the question: will this man lose my seat too?

The trouble with Brown is that he is really a very bright policy wonk and not a real leader at all.

Peter Mandelson got the message in 1994: Brown is a loser. That is why Mandelson, a man seriously interested in power, deserted Brown for Blair. Brown has failed crucial tests of leadership in government. Ability to delegate? Brown lumbered Scotland with Henry McLeish. Determination? Brown blinked first when Mandelson switched to Blair. Decisiveness? Initiative? Courage? For almost three years it has been obvious that the premiership of Tony Blair will end in contemptible failure. Yet Gordon Buggins waits his turn as viceroy in the twilight of a "Scottish Raj".

Gordon Brown is no longer even "Thane of Fife". That honorary title surely belongs to Sir Menzies Campbell. If his party has any sense it will now ensure his formal reign as "king hereafter".

Thomas McLaughlin, 4 Munro Road, Glasgow. News - Politics - Brown set to miss Labour conference

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Crisis Talks Over RGS Head Dingle (from Bucks Free Press)

This is my old school in England.
A quick fag roung the back of the Boarding House used to be the nearest we got to any drugs.

Crisis Talks Over RGS Head Dingle (from Bucks Free Press)

Original article from the Daily Mail avaialable here.

Daily Mail Article

Rural Shops and Post Offices

As a resident in rural Aberdeenshire (30 odd miles from Aberdeen) This article in the Scotsman picks up some worrying trends. We are lucky enough in our village to have a few shops including a Pharmicist, Newsagent,General Shop, Hardware shop, Hairdresser and a Post Office. This is pretty good for a village of just over 500 people. But, we must remember that only a few years ago there were 3 or 4 more shops in business that have now closed. The butcher closed as he could make more money working in Aberdeen for a Superstore!
So what can be done. Well the most important is to support your local business. Use it or lose it! It may be a few pence more but the time saved and petrol costs mean it will probably be cheaper for the small shopping or the emergency items.
Don't forget it will also probably be more informative and fun shopping locally as you will certainly hear something of what is going on in the Village and around the area.

Also highly worrying is the demise of local Post Office's, these are a lifeline to many in the community who cannot travel far. Our local Post Office is a hubbub of activity on most days but its days look numbered.

Have a look at this recent debate in Parliament.

Post Office Card Account

See the following from the Citizens advice bureau on rural Post Offices.

The future of the rural post office network

This is the article in the Scotsman. Leisure & Lifestyle - Living - Latest Update: "High street shuts up shop as 1,600 stores forced out"