Saturday, March 17, 2007

Six Billion Pound Man

Many years ago before the Olympics were awarded to London, Mr Brown wanted nothing to do with them. Now he seems to see them as his Millenium Dome, and we know how that turned out.

Two articles in the first Post are quite interesting on the subject.

The first shows how Gordon has turned from a critic of the games to now supporting the games to the tune of 6 Billion pounds that he has magiced up from You and I, because make no bones about it , that is where the money will be coming from.

The second shows the deep incompetency of Tessa Jowell who even a few weeks ago was denying the 9 billion forecast.

I love the idea of the Olympics coming to Britain as I think they can be good for us in many ways, but the unfortunate problem is that we have an incompetent government interfering and meddling in their usual way. Now the Olympic's are more a roundabout way of regenerating some of the more needy (Labour Supporting?) parts of London without proper consultation or planning.

I predict the final bill will be way above the projected 9 billion and we will all be paying for these Games for some time.

The First Post : Gordon Brown's Olympics embarrassment

Burning our Money - BBC Jam

Over at Burning our Money The very nice Mr Wat Tyler has given me some credit for a story on the BBC Jam fiasco.

As he said Alastair:

highlights the abandonment of the BBC's online education service, BBC Jam. This "free" service has only been up since last year, but it has been severely criticised by private sector education providers as unfairly damaging their businesses. They have taken their complaint to the European Commission, and the BBC Trust has now abruptly terminated the whole thing. It's a complete mess that has flushed £75m of our money down the toilet.

In fairness to the BBC, Alastair points out that the Jam project was landed on them by the government- in particular, our old friends the Commissar and Charles Clarke.
The original article I wrote is here - BBC Jamming Suspended.

Lions led by Donkeys

According to the Telegraph article Andrew Lansley, the Conservative health spokesman, said today that a consultant wrote to him this week and said that doctors today were

"lions led by donkeys"
- a phrase used originally about First World War soldiers.

"He’s right. The appalling shambles made of Modernising Medical Careers risks undermining the morale and the future of the medical profession. What is the point of expanding medical school places and then destroying the career progression of junior doctors

I am assuming that the Consultant means that the Government are the Donkeys as some of the more senior members of the Medical establishment seem very similar to the Generals in WW1.

Any way it is good to see that David Cameron will be supporting the Doctors and I wish them all the best in getting this travesty overturned.

For earlier posts on MMC/MTAS look here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

UCAS goes PC

I see UCAS will be asking for details of parents jobs and educations levels on their next applications forms.

I can't really see what relevance this information could possibly have to a University when it was considering an applicant, apart from to fulfil some sort of "quota" to allow them to display how PC they are in taking students from differing backgrounds.

Apparently Bill Rammell, the Higher Education minister, said the Government supported the plans.

"We believe that admissions officers should have as much information as possible to help them to assess who has the potential to succeed," he said.The new information on candidates' backgrounds would ensure all applications were "genuinely dealt with on their merits", he told the House of Commons.
How this information could help with the above I have no idea. I would tend to more agree with the following from Martin Stephen, the High Master of St Paul's, the independent boys' day school in London, whowsaid:
"This is taking university entry out of academic achievement and straight into social engineering."

Applicants must say if parents are graduates

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hackers Heaven - Opening near you Soon

The words "Government", "NHS", "Security" fill me with dread. The idea that our NHS could run a secure computer system, available to all and sundry, fills me with dread from some of the errors and foul-ups they have made in the past. I wouldn't trust them to keep my name and address secure far less more personal details.

Some idea of the task in front of the NHS is shown in this article.

Whilst reading the BBC article you wonder if it is the BBC dumbing down the level of security required on such a system or it is just the fact that the NHS is incompetent. The trouble is, that it is most likely, a bit of both.

After working for the past 28 years in the IT world I can tell you that no system available to all and sundry on the Internet can truly be secure, even if it has the best brains behind it. Even within a "closed" system available to only GP's and Hospital staff it will be insecure and the main reason will not be technology it will be people.

People who lend out their access as its "easier" , people who leave a PC logged on, people who just have a look for a bit of curiosity, People who design bad systems and processes etc etc. People will always be the weak link.

My advice, when the time comes don't let the buggers put any of your information onto the Spine. Say no!

BBC NEWS | Health | Home access to NHS records plan

McConnell hints at Cynical Electioneering.

The Election is obviously on our First Minister's mind as he announces the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road is likely to be the next big upgrade in Scotland.

This is despite the fact that only three years ago Scottish Executive officials insisted not enough vehicles used the road to justify dualling it. They said it could even handle 50 per cent more traffic.

Not that I'm cynical mind you.

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish National Party MSP for Moray, also welcomed the First Minister's comments.

He said:

"The people of Moray will welcome the growing cross-party support and momentum for upgrading the A96 and dragging this vital transport link into the 21st century.

"I do hope Mr McConnell's belated recognition of the need to improve the A96 is not just him getting carried away in the run-up to May's elections."

Nanette Milne, Tory MSP for the North-east, said:

"This is very encouraging and exceptionally long-overdue news. It is one of the most dangerous roads in Scotland."

The Scotsman - Scotland - Aberdeen - McConnell hint lifts hopes in road battle

Cherie says "Say Sorry now"

Great idea get the typical scroat who's just been convicted of kicking someone's head in to say sorry to his victim. Most scroats have a limited ability to recognise they have done wrong and the ideas of saying "Sorry" is risible.

Cherie needs to get out into the real world with her husband and see what happens, rather than say sorry, the scroat will spit in your face and do it again.

Her advice would be better placed aimed at her husband who should be saying sorry for the mess he making of "running" this country. Unfortunately Tony behaves a bit like a scoat and rather than apologising, laughs in your face before he steals off to "earn" money on the lecture circuit.

Independent Online Edition > UK Politics

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

BBC Jamming suspended

The BBC has had to suspend its £150m online education Service BBC JAM as it has fallen foul of EEC regulations. It follows complaints from commercial online companies to the European Commission about the £150m project.

The project was set up despite warnings and strict conditions placed on it in 2003 about likely impacts on other companies.

Under the BBC's charter, the corporation is charged with promoting learning for school-aged children.

One of the conditions BBC Jam was set up with was that half of its content budget had to be spent on commissioning material from outside the BBC.

Conservative broadcasting spokesman Ed Vaizey said:

"This is a mess of the government's own making.

"They told the BBC to set up Jam even though a number of education companies were already providing those services.

"We have constantly raised concerns about BBC Jam and its impact on the private sector. It does not surprise us that the service has been suspended. The blame rests fairly with the government."
Oh well that's another few million of our money the Government has wasted.

The complainants say the service, designed as a learning resource for children aged five to 16 in support of the national curriculums, damages their businesses.

BBC Jam is an online learning resource for children, designed to be used at home to support key areas of the school curriculums across the UK. It will be suspended from 20 March 2007.

Acting BBC Trust Chairman Chitra Bharucha said in a statement:
"The Trust has requested BBC management to prepare fresh proposals for how the BBC should deliver the Charter obligation to promote formal education and learning, meeting the online needs to school age children.

"Despite a rigorous approval process involving the BBC Governors, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, and the European Commission resulting in extensive conditions on the service, BBC Jam has continued to attract complaints from the commercial sector about the parameters of its activities."
An official statement is available here.

BBC NEWS | Education | BBC suspends net learning project

Pensioner denies smoke ban breach

Apparently this is the first court case where a person has appeared in court charged with smoking in a prohibited place. Such an irony for a man with the name of Wraith to be done for smoking.

I'm frankly amazed by that, though from what I have seen the law does seem to be being obeyed wherever I have been.

When the law came in nearly a year ago now, I would have said that it would have been a regular occurrence.

Mind you from the story it appears that the guy may have been a little under the weather.

The final irony of appearing in court on National No-Smoking day is just exquisite!

Now to persuade my wife to kick the habit, or maybe I can just get the Kids to do it for me.

BBC NEWS Scotland North East/N Isles Pensioner denies smoke ban breach

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Catholics turning away from Labour?

Labour and many Catholic priests are having some problems seeing eye-to-eye at the moment over a number of issues. Many of these are related to the family unit which most Catholics would see as Mum, Dad and Kids, whereas Labour tend to be a bit more free than this.

What is certain, from my quick poll of Catholics I know (my wife is a Catholic), is that Labour votes will be few and far between, and whilst they might not be representative of the whole of Scotland they are from vastly different areas and backgrounds.

None of them seem likely to vote for the CPA, but they all have one thing in common and that is they would like Labour and for, the most part, the Lib Dems out. Votes will be going to the SNP and the Tories and tactical voting will be going on.

The Scotsman - Labour and the turbulent priests

New Adam Smith £20 note launched

Nice to see the head of a Scotsman on the Bank of England £20 note.

As Mr Smith said:

What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
Too which he might have added the pleasure of being on a Bank of England £20!

BBC NEWS Business New Adam Smith £20 note launched

Life Thru a Lens.

Apparently after its failed attempt to have one over Dave using the Chameleon, Labour are looking at another attempt to smear him using the Robbie Williams song 'Life Thru a Lens'

The song, which contains lyrics such as: "You sound so funny with your voice all plummy/Now your cheques bounced better run to your mummy ... You're scared of the poor and needy/Is that why you're all inbreedy," will be used to further send up Cameron's toffee-nosed credentials.

"Although it's now a few years old, it contains lyrics which we thought were perfect for a piss-take film on Cameron," I'm told.

"At the moment it's just a question of editing the best bits and using it with the best clips.

"It may well be something that gets used in a few months' time."

I have the feeling, that as usual, the Labour PR machine has read it all wrong. They just don't get what makes something funny rather than just plain boring, especially as Mr Williams is now a bit past it all.

Now if the Tories were to make a few adverts featuring our Gordy as the Rev I.M. Jolly that might be funny as in

"I am the Reverend I.M. Jolly. That's Jolly, spelt M-O-R-B-I-D."

More Jollies here

Independent Online Edition > Pandora

Monday, March 12, 2007

MMC/MTAS on 18 Doughty Street tonight

18 Doughty Street will be discussing the MMC/MTAS farce tonight.

for previous stories see here

18 Doughty Street : Politics for Adults | TALK TV

Sunday, March 11, 2007


I've been waiting for my favourite policeman, well he is my big bro, to blog on this before I said anything as I'm in no place to say what is good policing and what is a drunken slapper trying to kick, gouge, hit, scratch, maim and otherwise injure a policeman.

One really good point he raises is about the aspect of racism being brought in, As he says

What most will agree with though is the utterly despicable way in which Race has become an issue in this matter. It has been said before that many of the so-called ad-hoc anti-racist forums/spokespersons are actually, on many an occasion, creating a more divided not diverse society. This time, I believe 'they' have shot themselves in the foot.

As one commentator on another blog put it.

The arrest of a drunken and violent female is always a bit of a mare for a male officer. It never looks pretty and whilst you are dealing with her you are worrying not just about your safety, but also what spurious allegation the drunken thing is going to make.
Add to that the fact that current UDTs (Unarmed Defence Tactic) dont look too pretty either. Knee strikes, baton strikes and distraction blows look very aggressive to the untrained observer.
The officer was doing what his force trained him to do, the outcry is over how ugly it looks. It would appear at the moment his force are standing up for him, even a statement from his chief.
This is all a media circus, some yorkie wannabee Al Sharpton is trying to build a reputation out of it. He is a silly man who makes silly comments and should be ignored. He does however mention a few of the magic words the press love to hear.
Storm in a teacup, good luck to the PC involved, ignore it all and enjoy the 8-4 for a while.
Alternatively wait until one of the redtops does a few background checks on her, exposes her as a cross between Jade Goody and Punchy McPunchy and you can sell them your tale of suffering for a few grand.
As sergeant Stan Jablonski used to say
Let's do it to them before they do it to us.

Welcome to Toy Town
The Home of Noddy (& Mr Plod): Twit?

Blair called to account over abandoned troops

The Independent on Sunday reports today that

British soldiers returning from war are suffering unprecedented levels of mental health problems amid claims that the long-standing "military covenant" guaranteeing them proper care is in tatters.
They have investigated details of problems reported by returning service personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan and reveal that

More than 21,000 full-time servicemen and women who have served in Iraq, as well as army reservists, have developed anxiety and depression.
Apart from terrible toll on service personnel the paper also reports on the fact that the government is doing little to help those who return to our shores injured or maimed, it reports

The extent of the hidden costs of war is exposed in the same week that five British soldiers were killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq, the highest death toll since 2003. A total of 6,600 British troops have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 600 flown back to Britain for treatment. But Combat Stress and the British Legion say that even these figures grossly underestimate the real scale of the psychological injuries among troops. The charities warn that the true cost in terms of family breakdown and broken lives will not be felt by society for at least a decade.

They accuse the Ministry of Defence of abandoning vulnerable soldiers, some of whom experience crippling nightmares and flashbacks, by closing dedicated military hospitals and putting troops in civilian wards.

One senior Serviceman, Air Marshal Sir John Walker said

He believed that the military covenant is at "breaking point". The former head of Defence Intelligence Service and deputy chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee said: "Has the covenant been broken? Well in my opinion it has certainly been stretched to breaking point. This relationship should be based on trust, and I am afraid sending our forces into an illegal war is a severe breach of trust."

At the end of this month, Britain will become the only country in Europe without a dedicated military hospital when it closes the doors of Haslar Hospital at Gosport, Hampshire.

Meanwhile an MoD spokesman said that the defence budget had increased and that junior soldiers had received a substantial pay rise.

That should really help!

Independent Online Edition > UK Politics