Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Blair Insanity

It was religion what dunnit.

It wasn't me.

Honest, your worshipful members of the War Crimes Court.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Pre-Budget Report

Not seen much of this today: a full day at work and a whole evening Christmas shopping haven't allowed me to fully digest its contents.

Suffice to say that all the soundbites and headlines I've seen don't bode well for a future under Labour. Mr Darling lacks the political will to curtail his horrendous borrowing habit, only making minor tweaks.

What is clear though is the course that Labour have set their rigging for: One that can only include higher taxes and high inflation. The first to try and close the funding gap and the second to reduce the debt burden.

Not a very sound future ahead then. Very uncertain and uncharted waters lie ahead, with many risks, not only for the government, but mainly for small businesses, small investors, small savers.... you get the picture. Its not looking rosy for us ordinary people at all.

Remember, exactly the same inflationary policy was tried in the seventies, but it got out of hand rather quickly. No-one has yet explained how it would be any different this time around. Once the money men spot a wound in the flank of the UK, they will descend and devour us just like any predator would.


You know, the more I think about this, the more I'm convinced that Labour are steering deliberately towards some financial brick wall. A financial game of chicken with huge consequences for millions of people. Once they hit the wall and we lose our AAA rating, suffer a bond market failure, have to go cap in hand to the IMF, etc. Whatever the reason, its always been New Labour's policy: to follow a path until someone or something else forces them to modify their behaviour. That way its not Labour that caused the pain: no, don't blame the nice Labour people, its the nasty IMF/conservatives/voters or whoever. Its just the usual blame-dodging from the government.

But at a huge cost to the country.

All for political reasons. I'm convinced that Gordon Brown would ruin this country completely for polictical ends. He would sell his kids, his wife, house, political party and country, he would set the whole nation ablaze and watch it burn to the ground, just so he can get one over on his political opponents.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The "None of the Above Candidate" and Lords Reform.

The handful of regular readers of this blog may remember me writing a blog extolling the virtues of voting for independant candidates at the next election as a "None of the above" option for those disinclined to vote in the first place.

Old Holborn also blogged something similar today. He wants people to vote for candidates that have never been an MP before.

I'd agree with that. We need a more varied mix of independant thinkers in Parliament. The Conservatives with their open primaries have taken a step towards this, but its resulted in pretty predictable results, so far a couple of doctors and a TV personality's daughter have been selected as candidates. But where are the "ordinary" people? We need ordinary, trustworthy people in Parliament.

I suppose the answer lies these days in the lack of community: there are no people that have large enough blocks of friends to put them forward and vote for them in numbers enough to get them selected. Which is a shame, as it makes the House of Commons a mixture of people unrepresentative of the wider population.

This is why one of my other ideas is to have a completely randomly selected upper house to replace the house of Lords. No patronage required, no dodgy deals or donations necessary.

In my system representatives for the upper house would be selected like jurors: entirely at random from the public. The randomness will ensure an upper house than would be representative of the nation at large.

The details would need to be thrashed out as to whether its a temporary position; say for a year, so that one group of "Peers" are able to pass a whole years worth of legislature and then return to life. How one would go about compensating them and their employers for a year of absence is another matter.
It may be a possibility that they become "Life Peers" and are selected entirely at random and serve for life, being replaced by other random selections upon death or their voluntary retirement.

Certainly the worst option for the upper house is that proposed by the main Parties: elected or selected candidates. Either way, we would just be reinforcing the party political system, which mustn't happen. The upper house must be entirely neutral and representative in order to provide the checks and balances necessary to rein in the legislative excesses of a majority government in the lower house, whatever their political leanings.

I'm sure there are some that would say without a voting system, this system would be undemocratic. But whats democratic in a system governed by patronage, or influenced by who has the biggest election fund? What indeed is democratic in the party whipping system?

My fervent wish is that we remove party politics from Parliament altogether, because what is clear is that after decades of it, concensus politics no longer exists. The direction of legislation, its content and its application are commenced and directed by a handful of people at the top, with a party apparatus on hand to blindly rubber stamp those decisions. Thats not democratic nor representative and we need to move away from it as it has corrupted and ruined what should be our Parliament.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

What is it With BBC Scheduling?

I have to mention this: what is going on with BBC scheduling at the moment?

It seems the corporation has a death wish, scheduling its popular entertainment programmes all over the shop.

There used to be certain slots in the schedule for instance, for comedy programmes: BBC2 used to have a "comedy Thursday" where popular comedy programmes were concentrated. You knew, without browsing the schedules, you could sit down on a Thursday evening and you'd be treated to a decent hour of comedy.

Not so now. Some (but not all) of those comedy programmes made famous have migrated to BBC1, some have stayed on BBC2, but ALL of them have been scattered all over the weekly schedule, so its impossible to remember when they're on.

Add to that the BBC's penchant for arbitrarily moving programmes to new timeslots in mid-series, stopping them for no apparent reason mid-series and replacing them with a totally different genre of program, you really have to ask, what the hell is going on?

There does appear to be a something at work damaging the BBC as a broadcaster, whether its cocking up the scheduling, or some of the worst casting I've seen in years.

I'd like to say its some sort of conspiracy as its more exciting, but I'm far more inclined to say its poor management and poor quality of staff. There appears to be an influx of medicocre graduates inducted into the corporation and a loss of focus at the BBC and to be honest I'm not impressed. I hark back to my days working for a large computer manufacturer: they started a policy of fast-tracking graduates (of any kind, with no engineering or I.T. background) into management positions ahead of experienced candidates. Within 5 years the company ceased to exist.

I'm not saying the BBC will cease to exist, but I'm sure its share of the market will fall and give ammunition to those who want to privatise it.


Another interesting side story to climategate, is the supposed strange behaviour of the Google search engine in not proffering links to climategate articles in its auto-suggest option. Many climate warming web pages are suggested as you type c-l-i-m-a-t-e, but as you continue to type g-a-t-e your options shrink, when upon after typing the whole word, you are left with two suggestions.

Once you hit the enter key to start the search, it returns with currently almost 31 million results.

Conspiracy theories regarding this are popping up on various blogs, even suggesting Google is censoring the word from its auto-suggest database. But is it?

Comparing other search engines for the term "climategate" shows varying results.

Google: 30,900,000 results (No Auto-Suggestions)

Bing: 2,400,000 (Typing climate gives a/s climate-gate, more typing makes a/s disappear)

Ask: 9,124,000 (No Auto-Suggestions)

Yahoo: 31,700,000 (No Auto-Suggestions)

So it seems that auto-suggestions for climategate don't work on a number of search sites. It would be interesting to note just what algorithm is used to create auto-suggestions and find out why climategate doesn't come up.

However, if you type in t-i-g-e-r c-r-a-s-h, searching for info on the very high publicity crash outside the golf star's home which has about the same lifespan as climategate, you also don't get any auto-suggestions. However, press enter and the search engine returns 41,400,000 results.

So conspiracy theorists can sleep safe in their beds: there is no conspiracy. Either Google is doing some maintenance to their auto-suggestion system, or it takes time for search results to become available in the auto-suggest window.