Saturday, February 10, 2007

Miliband - You are not worthy

Why did the BBC concentrate so much on Miliband's gaffe late on in Question Time. Miliband said

"I predict that when I come back on this programme in six months or a year’s time, people will be saying ‘wouldn’t it be great to have that Blair back because we can’t stand that Gordon Brown’."
Perhaps it is worthy of noting that the description of Miliband by Question Time included the following
Once described by Blair as the "Wayne Rooney of the Cabinet".
Having watched the first 20-30 mins of it on BBC1, I was cringing as all the panellists stormed into Miliband and his answers, he was the pathetic, fawning, autocratic, arrogant, sneering spinning and just plain lying puppet of this Government.

I then popped onto Political Betting to have a look at the take on what was happening and noticed the details of the BBC "News" of Miliband's gaffe. I thought I must have missed it during his cringing performance, maybe I had just shut it out amongst his vapid and crass comments, then I realised it hadn't been shown yet!

When I read the full details I thought of how true the statement would be, and for all the right reasons, GB will be an unworthy PM, ducking and diving from the hard issues of Government.

Paul Linford, a Labour blogger and former lobby journalist, commenting on the gaffe had the following to say.

Miliband tried to explain it away by saying he was merely making the point that people always complain about the sitting Prime Minister, but the Brownites will view the comment as, at best, inept and, at worst, indicative of the mindset in the "Blair Bunker."
I don't think Gordon will forget this, and it may well take him a fairly long time to forgive. I may have to revise my predictions as to the make up of Brown's future Cabinet.
A gaffe it was , badly phrased and badly thought out, by a typically inept NuLab front man but it was the earlier parts of the programme that showed for real that Miliband is not worthy of being in the cabinet or parliament, far less a contender for the leadership of a major political party in the UK.

Watch the full Question Time here.

Equality from Discrimination - But not Us of Course.

Dizzy via the Independent and an article by Dominic Lawson points out that after all the ho-ha going in Parliament about the Catholic Church and Abortion and how no-one could possibly be exempt from Discrimination that the following ARE exempt:-

This is the full text of the Equality Act 2006. Section (52) titled "Public Authorities" says the following

(1) It is unlawful for a public authority exercising a function to do any act which constitutes discrimination.

It then says,

(3) The prohibition in subsection (1) shall not apply to-

  • (a) the House of Commons,
  • (b) the House of Lords,
  • (c) the authorities of either House of Parliament,
  • (d) the Security Service,
  • (e) the Secret Intelligence Service,
  • (f) the Government Communications Headquarters, or
  • (g) a part of the armed forces of the Crown which is, in accordance with a requirement of the Secretary of State, assisting the Government Communications Headquarters.
Dominic Lawson then goes on to say.

When I inquired about these exemptions I was told by a government official that, at least in respect of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, they were made "on grounds of national security". The official wasn't immediately able to explain why the Houses of Parliament were exempt. The point is, however, that if this law, as Falconer states, "applies to everybody" then "everybody" cannot mean "everybody except us and the spooks". It is also not clear, to me at least, why it is perfectly proper for national security to be used as a reason for special treatment, but outrageous for religious conscience to be put forward as an argument.
So there we are nobody is above the Law apart from Spooks and Westminster of course.

Perhaps this explains why Tony and his cronies don't feel they have done anything wrong in the "Cash for Honours" saga. Maybe they feel all laws only apply to "The Proles".



Friday, February 09, 2007

Microshaft Vista

"You should go to Vista."

"So you like Vista?"

"Not really, no. I run a Vista simulator."

"Virtual Server?" the Boss asks.

"Nah, I just turned on all the flashy crap in XP, changed the background image, took some memory out of my box and clocked down the CPU. Then broke Media player. Works like a charm."

Extract from BOFH

Psychic Museum closes due to Unforeseen Circumstances

On a lighter note

York Psychic Museum has shut due to unforeseen circumstances, the York Press reports. Astrologer Jonathan Cainer, who opened the museum in 2003, admitted that he'd been welcoming just 100 people a week through the doors, and had accordingly decided to temporarily hang up his crystal ball. Cainer reckons he'll be back in business by 2008, but cautioned: "If you are asking me for predictions when exactly it will open up again, then it is hard to say. Although I'm in the prediction business, I don't believe you can make predictions about things you are close to."

Psychic museum closes due to unforeseen circumstances

Convict takes Executive to court over 'embarrassing' telephone warning

Apparently a convicted criminal is taking the Executive to court over the message played before phone calls are accepted on outgoing calls.
The message is as follows

"This call originates from a Scottish prison. It will be logged and may be recorded and/or monitored. If you do not wish to accept this call, please hang up."
You have to feel sorry for the poor guy whose only crime, this time, involved holding a knife at the throat of a shop manageress and is serving a minor sentence of 21 years at the moment.

Not only is he being allowed to take this to court but You and I are paying for it.

After a lengthy battle to secure thousands of pounds in legal aid, Stewart Potter, 43, has taken a case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, claiming the phone message "is an ... embarrassing reminder to his family" that he is calling from prison.

He has served previous sentences of four, six and eight years and was given a nine-year term in 2001 for armed robbery.

In 2002, he stood trial for another robbery, committed just before the nine-year sentence had been imposed.

In that case, he threatened the manageress of a Glasgow off- licence with a knife, then ordered her and a customer into a toilet. He fled with £292 but was arrested after police used CS gas spray to disarm him.

He was jailed for 12 years, to begin at the end of the nine-year sentence.

Convict takes Executive to court over 'embarrassing' telephone warning

Aviemore - Where politics is left out in the cold

As a long time visitor to Aviemore, my wife came from there, I thought this might interest herself. I love the area that Aviemore is in , but the village/town that it has become is not so great now for the residents. Much of the new money has been to provide expensive facilities purely for the guests with little regard for the growing number of residents. A good quote from the article is as follows.

There should be more stuff for the kids. They are being left on their own to get on with things and that is not good enough. There is a lot for tourists but nothing for the people who live here most of the time
Maybe it's just because it's growing so fast but to my mind the place has lost it's soul and character.

Where politics is left out in the cold

Council tax rise lowest so far - just as elections draw near

Amazing isn't it just as elections come up Council Taxes are going to up up by the least in the past 4 years. Am I being cynical? I think not.

Another article here takes up the same story.

The Scotsman - Council tax rise lowest so far - just as elections draw near

Thursday, February 08, 2007


What Is Intelligence, Anyway?
Isaac Asimov

What is intelligence, anyway? When I was in the army, I received the kind of aptitude test that all soldiers took and, against a normal of 100, scored 160. No one at the base had ever seen a figure like that, and for two hours they made a big fuss over me. (It didn't mean anything. The next day I was still a buck private with KP - kitchen police - as my highest duty.)

All my life I've been registering scores like that, so that I have the complacent feeling that I'm highly intelligent, and I expect other people to think so too. Actually, though, don't such scores simply mean that I am very good at answering the type of academic questions that are considered worthy of answers by people who make up the intelligence tests - people with intellectual bents similar to mine?

For instance, I had an auto-repair man once, who, on these intelligence tests, could not possibly have scored more than 80, by my estimate. I always took it for granted that I was far more intelligent than he was. Yet, when anything went wrong with my car I hastened to him with it, watched him anxiously as he explored its vitals, and listened to his pronouncements as though they were divine oracles - and he always fixed my car.

Well, then, suppose my auto-repair man devised questions for an intelligence test. Or suppose a carpenter did, or a farmer, or, indeed, almost anyone but an academician. By every one of those tests, I'd prove myself a moron, and I'd be a moron, too. In a world where I could not use my academic training and my verbal talents but had to do something intricate or hard, working with my hands, I would do poorly. My intelligence, then, is not absolute but is a function of the society I live in and of the fact that a small subsection of that society has managed to foist itself on the rest as an arbiter of such matters.

Consider my auto-repair man, again. He had a habit of telling me jokes whenever he saw me. One time he raised his head from under the automobile hood to say: "Doc, a deaf-and-mute guy went into a hardware store to ask for some nails. He put two fingers together on the counter and made hammering motions with the other hand. The clerk brought him a hammer. He shook his head and pointed to the two fingers he was hammering. The clerk brought him nails. He picked out the sizes he wanted, and left. Well, doc, the next guy who came in was a blind man. He wanted scissors. How do you suppose he asked for them?"

Indulgently, I lifted by right hand and made scissoring motions with my first two fingers. Whereupon my auto-repair man laughed raucously and said, "Why, you dumb jerk, He used his voice and asked for them." Then he said smugly, "I've been trying that on all my customers today." "Did you catch many?" I asked. "Quite a few," he said, "but I knew for sure I'd catch you." "Why is that?" I asked. "Because you're so goddamned educated, doc, I knew you couldn't be very smart."

And I have an uneasy feeling he had something there.

Liverpool Stealers

New badge for

Liverpool Football Club
is now available after their takeover.

Free Parking in Aberdeen - Maybe?

We can only hope this does get to a strike!

Parking patrollers in Aberdeen are threatening to strike after talks between union officials and the council broke down.At a meeting last night, patrollers voiced their anger claiming Aberdeen City Council...

Knitted breasts help new mothers

What more can/dare I say.
BBC NEWS | England | Merseyside | Knitted breasts help new mothers

NAO attacks £13.3bn savings claim

Joined up Government! Just about what you would expect from Labour.
Love the point where they say they can save 105 million but have already spent 106 million on Consultants!

For example, only four of ten central government departments had subtracted the cost of finding cost savings from the actual savings claimed. The Public and Commercial Services Union, which has fought job cuts across the public sector, noted that HM Revenue and Customs had found it could save £105 million with job cuts after it spent £106 million on consultants. The NAO urges government auditors and the like ought to challenge departments' claims more vehemently to avoid being fobbed off.

NAO attacks £13.3bn savings claim | The Register

Dirty work at the Green Crossroads - Maybe?

An interesting blog article but can it be believed? On both sides of the Global Warming are big Money and Countries. One quote below says that some of the figures are well out.

Figures in the final draft of the UN’s fourth five-year report on climate change show that the previous report, in 2001, had overestimated the human influence on the climate since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third. Also, the UN, in its 2007 report, has more than halved its high-end best estimate of the rise in sea level by 2100 from 3 feet to just 17 inches. It suggests that the rate of sea-level rise is up from 2mm/yr to 3mm/year – no more than one foot in a century. UN scientists faced several problems their computer models had not predicted. Globally, temperature is not rising at all, and sea level is not rising anything like as fast as had been forecast. Concentrations of methane in the air are actually falling…

Another view of the report is taken from some comments on the PB.Com website from Colm

While most of the article can be dismissed as selective quoting and spin (I’ll back that up in a longer post if necessary), the quote from the appendix about changing scientific content is disturbing. However, it is for the opposite reason that Monckton/Phillips contend.

The IPCC have decided to try to keep everyone on board, including governments with a vested interest in down-playing climate change (oil-rich nations and the USA). It’s harder to argue that any government has a strong vested interest in talking up climate change. By its nature it’s already a conservative report (in order to keep almost the entire scientific community on board) and this only increases that effect. The USA more or less has power of veto on statements it particularly dislikes.

Is it worth changing scientific content in this way (even if the changes are generally more of emphasis rather than factual) to be a truly global report? I can see the argument, but as a scientist, I would say definitely not. There’s no excuse for the spin Monckton/Phillips have put on it though.

So there it is Global Warming - As clear as Mud.

Melanie Phillips’s Diary » Dirty work at the green crossroads

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ruaridh says "hi I'm 10 now"

Ruaridh says "hi I'm 10 now"
Originally uploaded by fitaloon.
Ruaridh was ten today and celebrated by having the day off school as it snowed overnight. What better present for a ten year old!

Big shake-up for maternity care

Dr Crippen has a few modest words to say on the following article.

Living in a rural area any dumbing down of the current facilities is not what we would like. Getting to the nearest large Maternity Hospital today would have taken over an hour in a car and more in an ambulance with the snow/ice on the roads. Our second son , Malcolm, arrived about 30 minutes after my wife said its time to go. Luckily we lived only 5 minutes from the hospital.

BBC NEWS | Health | Big shake-up for maternity care

Young drivers 'still ignoring speed limits despite carnage'

I worry as my eldest gets closer to the age he can drive what will happen, will he be a safe driver or will he feel the "Need for Speed". At least when I was young the cars where slower (if not so safe).

The Scotsman - Young drivers 'still ignoring speed limits despite carnage'

Science lab demonstration to highlight danger of smoking banned in schools

Only we could manage to ban this and then to accept the ban. If this was anywhere else we would just ignore the ban when it was applied stupidly. Common sense dictates that this would be a good idea so why go along with it.
The Scotsman - Science lab demonstration to highlight danger of smoking banned in schools

Tartan Lobby Fodder?

Labour MPs vote more, but opponents say they are merely "tartan lobby fodder", used to shore up the government.
MPs' work rates leave lots of unanswered questions

The Scotsman - BNP to get £670,000 from taxpayers to fund campaign

Giving these scum any money is bad enough but when they are exploiting loopholes in the law it is a disgrace.
Lets do what we can to ensure they don't do this again by sending them homewards with the minimum of votes. Vote anybody but BNP, please.

The Scotsman - BNP to get £670,000 from taxpayers to fund campaign

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Experts' plan to cut heart deaths

All well and good in this article but look at the following from NHSBLOGDOC.

Also have a look at The Scotsman and some of the comments.

Is this driven by a want for profit or is it a good thing. As he says Statins are big business. Very big business.

I saw five patients today who are on statins, and they all had questions about safety, and memory loss and the "new statin" that has turned out to be dangerous. I worry about this more and more. I ask myself, how much do I REALLY know about the efficacy and safety of these drugs? I am merely the victim of the latest reseach paper.

Pfizer’s next big drug for heart disease (torcetrapib which was slated to replace Lipitor) has bombed in trials, causing sufficient deaths that the trials have been ended early and development has been stopped. This is obviously dreadful news for Pfizer, and I assume that the stock will be well done on Monday. But that’s how the pharma business is supposed to work—big bets on new blockbusters may not pan out, but others will do so. (Matthew Holt)

Statins are big business. Very big business.

An academic colleague in the Southern Hemisphere sends me regular updates on the dangers of statins. He draws my attention to this:

Frank Cooper - author of "Cholesterol and the French Paradox".

France is a nation of 62,000,000 people who have been eating foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol for a long time, and yet they enjoy very low levels of heart disease. Frank will explain how the French eat 3 times as much fat and cholesterol as Americans yet have 1/3 the deaths from heart attacks. (Source)

Popular medicine, maybe. But can someone explain it to me? Then I can explain it to my patients.

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Experts' plan to cut heart deaths

Monday, February 05, 2007

Can we have a reality check on the boundaries story?

The aptly named Colin Brown has a story in the unIndependent that purports to show how "unfair" the boundary changes, that are coming in, are on Labour. It mangles the facts to say that because Labour will lose some seats, it is unfair.

In reality the Boundary Commission have still not managed to sort this out properly despite having six years to do so. Also note that despite having had the recommendations for more than four months Labour has done nothing with them yet. The process to make the changes law could take over three months, so perhaps they are keeping them in abeyance, in case of a snap General Election caused by some of their recent scandals.

This is a typical Labour "spin" to try and gain sympathy and blame those nasty Tories.

New Labour "Whiter than White". » Blog Archive » Can we have a reality check on the boundaries story?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Jump Up and Down to Distract criminals, says minister

Beyond belief! What is this country coming to.
Tony McNumpty , Home office minister had the following to say.

Jeremy Vine: You see something happening in the street. Do you step in?

Tony McNulty: I think the general line must be to get in touch with the authorities straight and make sure that if things are as bad as you paint the police will be there as quickly as they can.

Jeremy: You see a young man looking aggressive, shouting at an old woman, what do you do? You retreat and ring the police?

Tony McNulty: I think you should in the first instance. It may well be the simply shouting at them, blowing your horn or whatever else deters them and they go away.

Jeremy: He's now hitting her and the police haven't come, what do you do then?

Tony McNulty: The same the same, you must always ...

Jeremy: Still wait?

Tony McNulty: Get back to the police, try some distractive activities whatever else.

Jeremy: What jump up and down?

Tony McNulty: But I would say you know sometimes that that may well work.

My idea is that if you see McNumpty you jump up and down on his head.

A few chosen thoughts from some Police Bloggers on this

a) PC Bloggs
b) Noddy and Mr Plod

Hat tip to Noddy

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Panorama | Distract criminals, says minister