Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MSP's hack the Hack's

Superb, just what you would expect from some Politician's and some real Hack's.

A charity football match between MSPs and sport pundits was abandoned after the bad-tempered game erupted into a mass stand-off between the two sides

The story in the Telegraph continues
The game started with players exchanging aggressive banter, but the flashpoint came after 40 minutes when Labour's John Park and BBC commentator Chick Young both went for the ball.

Mr Park's tackle was mistimed and Mr Young had to be stretchered off. He labelled the MSP team an "absolute disgrace" and claimed he had been left with six stud marks in his leg.

The MSP was ordered from the pitch by the referee and replaced, but relations between the two sides got worse in the second half when at least one punch was thrown.

Players from both teams squared up to each other, pushing their opponents in the chest. The referee decided he had seen enough and abandoned the match after about 55 minutes with the score 6-2 to the politicians.

The referee apparently said he'd never seen anything like it. He refs a lot of kids' games and said under-10s behave better on a Sunday morning."

H/T Easter Road on Political Betting

MSP football match abandoned after mass stand-off - Telegraph

Plods Guide on photography

Ever wondered where you can take photographs? According to the Register this may be tightened up with the usual excuse of terror laws.

Terror Laws due to be passed this autumn, could provide Police with a new and significant power to stop individuals taking photographs.

This follows reassurances from Home secretary Jacqui Smith that there is "no legal restriction on taking photographs in public places", which is why she will shortly be issuing police with updated guidelines on ... how to enforce legal restrictions on photography.

However according to the Register things may be changing as

Far more worrying is s.75 of the Counter-Terrorism Bill, even now tracking its weary way through the Lords. This makes it an offence to "elicit or attempt to elicit information about" members of the armed forces, intelligence services, or policemen, where this information could be of use to a terrorist.

Names? Addresses? Photographs? Since almost every other item of anti-Terror law has eventually been broadened out beyond its original scope, there must be some concern that once in place, these new powers will be used to make life uncomfortable for anyone wishing to photograph police at demonstrations. Or just police anywhere?

After all, if you are out demonstrating, you probably have a political axe to grind, and as far as New Labour are concerned, the dividing line between political activism, extremism, generally disagreeing with our current plight and involvement in Terror is increasingly fuzzy. Woe betide you disagree with our Glorious Leader or would like to enquire of an Officer's number as he cudgels you into the back of the van.

Home Office guides plods on photography • The Register

Nato's Afghan forces 'hit limit'

Coalition forces in Afghanistan have

"now reached their limit"
according to General Sir Michael Rose, former commander of UN forces in Bosnia.

What does he mean by this?

General Rose, who has recently returned from Afghanistan, says while the international community is clearly committed to a victory there, serious operational problems remain which could still undo NATO's mission.

He also points out that there are only 8,000 servicemen and women in a vast swathe of territory that is home to more than a million Afghans.

He then goes onto say

As in all insurgency wars, winning the confidence and consent of the people of Afghanistan will always be more important than winning any particular tactical level military battle against the Taleban

This is not new thinking and particularly not new thinking for Britain. The "Emergency" in Malaya (as was) was won by this sort of tactic, getting the people on board and using them to win the war. We and the USA in particular have been very poor at achieving this both in in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gen Rose also suggests forming Afghan tribal militias to aid western forces and the Afghan army.

"By winning the support of the Pashtun tribes who live on both sides of the border and by developing a sympathetic understanding of their complex tribal systems, it should be possible to achieve security in the key eastern and southern areas of Afghanistan,"
However, he does believe the war is being won - at least on a military level - for now.

"Afghanistan is not Vietnam, it is not even Iraq. The insurgency war that is being fought in Afghanistan today is militarily winnable and it is slowly being won."

How long it would take to win this war and how many of our servicemen's lives this will cost is not clear and this should be a huge concern. Only by getting the people of Afghanistan and Iraq involved can we really hope to see this war won without many years of conflict.

BBC NEWS UK Nato's Afghan forces 'hit limit'

Monday, October 27, 2008

Darling scraps Brown's Golden Rules

The Brown "Golden Rules" are no more.

No more boom and bust - Ha!

FT.com / World - Darling to scrap Brown’s fiscal rules

Service for fallen Scots soldiers

Last night I dropped my Nephew, Ben, off with his Mum, Gill, after he had spent the weekend with us and his granny, aunt and cousin's. Today he will attend a Special Service for Gill's Husband and Ben's Stepfather Captain John Mcdermid and the 36 other Scottish servicemen who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq in the current conflicts.

Ben will march with some of his school to honour the Scottish Servicemen who have given their life in the conflicts. Let us not forget them. RIP.

Also let us think of Ben's father who is currently abroad on active service and the many others who are serving with him and in other locations.

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Service for fallen Scots soldiers