Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Blair - Kiss of Death

I wonder if Mr McConnell really wanted all this help from Blair. I suspect he couldn't say no but would have liked to.

Mr Blair dismissed accusations that he was seen as a liability to the Scottish Labour campaign. He said 10 years in government meant it was inevitable that he would become a controversial figure, but that he was able to look back on Labour's achievements with real pride.

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Blair backs McConnell's campaign

Hitchhiker's guide to Mugabe's Zimbabwe

This is an interesting and thought provoking article looking at the state of Zimbabwe and how it is completely failing it's people.

It is worth remembering that literally one generation ago, this country was the bread basket of Africa. Today life expectancy at birth in Zimbabwe has declined from 60 to 37 since 1990, while the infant mortality rate has climbed from 53 to 81 deaths per 1,000 live births in the same period. 5.5 million Zimbabweans currently live with the HIV virus.

Rhodesia may not have been a paradise on earth for the majority of the people but what Mugabe has done to this country is beyond belief.

I'll highlight one paragraph from the article that show the pure stupidity of what is going on in Zimbabwe.

At night Harare exists in a confusing half-light. Many of the "robots", or traffic lights, have stopped working. The bulbs and aluminium parts, like the streetlights, have been looted and sold for scrap. The confusion is added to by the closure of the main avenue leading north out of the city. From 6pm until 6am, it is sealed off to stop traffic from disturbing the presidential residence.

Hitchhiker's guide to a failing state

It's all Bush's Fault

According to The Independent it was all the American's fault that the 15 sailors and marines were abducted by the Iranians.

Whilst I'm sure that Iran was not particularly happy about this attempt, more from the embarrassment it would have caused, I think it probably pails into insignificance compared to all the other actions being taken against Iran on the Global stage.

I would suggest the reason is a little bit more due to the corruption that is rife in Iran and smuggling of goods/arms etc.

The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis

The Brown Defence

Previously we had the Elf Defence now we have the Brown Defence.

I have avoided comment on the Brown Pension story so far as I am still in a final pay scheme run by my company and as such am not directly affected by the problem, however now despite Mr Brown's best attempts at defusing the situation by managing to disappear at tough times, I will.

From what I now see in all the papers this story will run and run as it will affect so many people so hard in the future. It also shows up a number of the facets of Mr Brown's character that show he is unlikely ever to become Prime Minister.

Reading through the Independent article it becomes clear that Gordon Brown pushed through this little plan by himself against the advice of many people. He obviously thought of it as a neat little way of getting some extra money that would not affect people at that moment in time. However his little plan has now begun to fully unravel as we begin to understand all the affects, not just the closing of Final Pay Pensions.

This wonderful article on the BBC site will of course explain it all. Or maybe not. As far as I can see the defence for his destruction of pensions was that it was... necessary so that we could have the winter fuel allowance, the pensions credit and the planned relinking of the state pension to earnings. These are all add-ons to the state pension and would not be needed if he had not meddled with pensions. The only other defence is that it was... er.. neccesary and it was... right and it was... difficult.

So there we are Brown makes necessary and difficult decisions so he must be a good Prime Minister.

Special adviser warned Brown's raid on pensions was 'crackers' - Independent Online Edition > UK Politics

Monday, April 02, 2007


If Dizzy and Guido can change their blog addresses then I can too.

A new facility in Blogger lets you use your own domain name to publish to (If you have bought the domain name of course). I had a spare domain that was sitting doing nothing and thought it would be good to put it to some use.

The old address will still work fine as well.

McConnell's admission over referendum

I see Mr McConnell has now not ruled out a future Referendum on Independence for Scotland. It appears that under certain circumstances he thinks it might be possible.

Amazing what the thought of a slaughter at the coming elections does to a Politician.

It was only back in November 2006 that he said the following during a TV interview on the BBC's Sunday AM programme,

People north of the Border would "think twice" about independence given the option in a referendum. He also argued that holding any referendum on independence would be the wrong move for Scotland because it would create economic uncertainty.

The Scotsman - McConnell's admission over referendum

Snout in the Trough Alert - Mike Rumbles

I see my esteemed Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles has been using the vagaries of the publicly funded Edinburgh accommodation allowance (EAA), which helps MSPs to buy property in Edinburgh, to race up the property ladder purchasing three flats in eight years. He is the first MSP to achieve three Mortgages in this particular trough.

Not bad that and according to the Scotsman:

Mr Rumbles sold two properties and reinvested in larger ones with help from the public fund, eventually making a £40,000 profit. He now owns a £300,000 flat in an exclusive district of the capital, and claimed about £10,000 a year to help pay off his mortgage.
They go on to report
Yesterday, Mr Rumbles defended his use of the allowance.

He said: "I have bought three flats in Edinburgh. I made a loss on the sale of the first flat. And on the sale of the second flat I paid a capital-gains tax of 40 per cent.

So now he's complaining he had to pay Capital Gains Tax on money he got from us the taxpayers, what a bloody cheek.

One can only hope that he will soon be joining the ranks of the unemployed, rather than the underemployed at Holyrood.

This is not the first time some of the Lib Dems have been found out for using this particular trough

The Scotsman - Taxpayer subsidies help Lib Dem to buy three flats in capital