Thursday, 27 August 2009

Newnight education debate

Very interesting debate on education in tonight's edition of newsnight. Thought the Teacher that they had on underlined the problem best. A C grade in english 10 years ago was around the same standard as an A grade now and today's C grade would have only got an E 10 years ago. A drastic adjustment on standards needs to undertaken by the next administration (Ed Balls is going to do 'sweet FA' as his article in the guardian showed. The League tables here mean bugger all, the fact that we are slipping down the international league tables in English, Maths and Science is far more important.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

An important anniversary

Today is an important anniversary in the history of England and Wales. It's the anniversary of the Battle of Crécy in 1346 where severely outnumbered and seemingly doomed our forces slaughtered around 14 thousand of the French for only 300 losses (both figures are historical estimates) because of the use of (predominately Welsh) longbowmen. It is also rumoured to have given birth to the famed 'V-sign', that ultimate gesture of defiance as alledgedly, the French knights had threatened to cut off the two bow drawing fingers of any archer captured so the archers waved them at the French in a symbol of defiance. As the french approached they were cut down by thousands of arrows raining on them. This tactic was also a decisive factor in the battles of Poitiers and later in the now legendary battle of Agincourt. The skill of the longbowman was also the reason that Owain Glyndwr was able to successfully stage a rebellion against English rule for over a decade (Though his men tended to use the longbow with guerrilla surprise attacks rather than conventional battles). Until the development of armour that succesfully repel these powerfully struck arrows, the two drawing fingers of a longbowman were probably the most deadly weapon in the history of warfare.

Why have I brought this up today? Well, this week we found out that our net contribution to the EU was going to increase by 60% to over 6 billion pounds (thanks Tony!) whilst the French have steadfastly refused to reform their CAP subsidies so I feel the urge to send them a little message...walk up to the Champs Elysee and flick v'd at any Frenchman I see. I may even enquire about the return of Calais and the Aquitaine while I'm there. The poiny of this story is that we never used to surrender to the cheese eating fops all those years ago, we should stop doing it now. In fact, I'd love to see an economist analyze the cost 6to our economy of leaving the EU, I honestly think we may not see an overall impact at all. So for one final flourish :-

Monday, 24 August 2009

Lol! Some days it's good to be me

I'm not one to gloat at other people's misfortunes but the news that Liverpool lost another game tonight did bring a smile to my face. I thought it was supposed to be their year? It wasn't just me that found it funny. Sir Alex Ferguson and Lord Giggs of Salford and Ely (A knighthood's not enough for him! He's always been an over-achiever!) had a good giggle too.

Oh and in politics, SNP justice minister was made to eat shit in public at Holyrood and McAvity Brown still is in hiding. Oh, and another bad poll for labour too. So I bet a few others are laughing too!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Tie me kangaroo down

Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Merv Hughes, Joe Mangle, Dame Edna, Kylie Minogue,Crocodile Dundee...Crocodile Dundee! Your boys took one hell of a beating!

Good old Tommy Atkins

First off, a big hat-tip to Ollie Cromwell at the Red Rag for bringing this to my attention.

As many of you will be aware, several Labour figures have been attempting to smear the head of the british armed forces General Sir Richard Dannatt because of his criticisms of the MOD's support to our troops. Their latest effort was to try and dig up some dirt on his expenses, just days before his retirement. Now, the good general is understandably miffed and, displaying the combined tactical nous of Julius Ceasar, Oddyseus and Uncle Bob (à la the Total War series of games) he has pulled a veritable flanker, publishing his expenses online and spiking our defence ministers' guns as reported in THIS article in the Telegraph. His expenses were about £5000 a year which considering part of his role involves entertaining foreign dignitaries and diplomats is remarkable. The man even shops at Lidl's for these things for christ's sake (Not that there's anything wrong with Lidl's, better fruit and veg than any of the major supermarkets and they sell Lobster at a fantastic price!).

Sir Richard is now just days from retirement after 38 years of serving this country in several theatres of war yet our government sees fit to try and sully his flawless reputation. But here's the thing, we the british public truly love our soldiers. They get sent into harms way, in the most dangerous environments of war, often under-equipped and under-manned though always with the best training in the world. We know this, they know this and yet the soldiers go anyway. Even if the country does not support the war, we back our troops unfailingly (Witness the dignified way the town of Wootton Bassett line the streets of the funeral processions for our soldiers several times a week). What General Dannatt has had the temerity to do is be honest with the public and ask the Mod for the equipment and manpower needed to do the job. So what have labour done, well, what they do best of course they've attacked and attempted to smear him. They are acting like sub-human scum. I have drafted off a letter to my MP, a junior foreign office minister explaining my feelings towards the defence secretary and his staff for their reprehensible actions.

I wonder if the General has considered a role in politics now his military career is over. Perhaps he could run against smearer inc chief Kevan Jones. I'm sure the other two major parties would give him a free run against the mendacious little shit or failing that, put the two together in alocked room for twenty minutes as a leaving present for Sir Richard.

Unlike the present government, this blog supports our troops!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Get our acts together?

I've just spotted a link on Iain Dale's 'Daley Dozen' from welsh conservative blogger asking us welsh anti-socialists (conservatives to you, though I'm more of a temporary fixture in conservative terms. I've decided to go blue, but they'll have to do well to keep me!) to get our act together and be more organised and vocal online. I hope he succeeds in this endeavour and I will try and do my bit, as long as it can be done with a minimum of effort. After all, I am still trying to find gainful employment, study for an OU degree, write a novel and play in a rock band as well, so like the last scraps of flora, I'm spread pretty thin. But come on, if we all do a little bit we can get the present government ousted and deny the dreadful nationalists an enhanced platform. I may even blog on welsh issues occasionally which'll be different because I find the goings on at the assembly as dull as dishwater normally. All the will in the world won't turn my constituency blue though. It's the one seat in Wales which will remain unwinnable for decades. Do the tories even have a candidate in the Rhondda yet? Not that I'm volunteering, I'm a bad loser.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Man the ramparts.

I have read two excellent pieces on blogging by Mike Smithson and Tim Montgomerie on the mainstream media's attack on blogging, including a particularly deluded piece in the Financial Times. Tim in particular laid out a brilliant 7 point defence of blogs and bloggers :-

1. It's true that some people who use the internet only read blogs/ sites that reinforce their views but I now read The Guardian, Independent, FT and a whole range of left-wing new media when in the pre-internet age I only really read one or two (right-of-centre) newspapers each day.
2. All opinions are represented in the blogosphere. All barriers to entry have been blown away. Take ConHome's Platform blog. Voices never heard before are now heard by the leadership of the Conservative Party and beyond. Power has been transferred from a small Westminster class to 'a wiser crowd' and the transfer has only just begun (and will accelerate as the mainstream media retreats behind payment walls).
3. The mainstream media is held to account. This is one of the blogosphere's most important functions. Shoddy or biased journalism is now exposed instantly. Cosy relations between certain journalists and titles meant a lack of scrutiny between old media organs. Pre-blogosphere people had to wait days in the hope that their letter might be published in a newspaper that had misled or misrepresented. The right to reply was often never given and very often never in full. Fisking is one of the blogosphere's great innovations.
4. Blogs also hold other blogs to account. It's true that a lot of blogs write a lot of rubbish but plenty of other bloggers exist to point this out whenever it happens.
5. Not all blogs are same. Yes, some are tribal and deceitful. Some newspapers can also be described in those terms. Blogs are at least as different from each other as the FT is from the Daily Star. Guido Fawkes, Iain Dale and ConHome are invariably lumped together but they are very different products.
6. Blogs are often more specialist and, in a good way, more obsessive than anything in the mainstream media. PoliticalBetting and UKPollingReport on polling, Defence of the Realm on military issues, John Redwood on economic policy and Burning Our Money on government waste are stand out examples of this.
7. The blogosphere is often attacked for passing instant judgment but it also can debate topics for longer and in more detail than any traditional newspaper. ConHome's sustained examination of the next generation of Conservative MPs and Harry Phibbs' scrutiny of Tory councils, for example, are unmatched by traditional newspapers (who are replacing political coverage with more and more lifestyle journalism).

I shall now add my own take on it too.

I'm a blogger, I don't think of myself as an investigative journalist. I have no desire to be the next Woodward or Bernstein. I am merely a voice. An opinion. The news on my blog is largely secondhand. I state my views and invite others to leave their comments and set out their own opinions, which is nice and democratic. I link to other bloggers (See my links toolbar on the righthand side of this page) so that others views can be heard too. I don't just link to bloggers who always share my viewpoint, there are others there who would often disagree with my views but I still would recommend reading. Like other bloggers I am an important act of balance, because quite often the MSM either are mistaken, or are being deliberately deceitful about a piece of news. For I am not beholden to the SpAds and spackers of government for my news. I search for it myself and with access to the internet am easily able to check the printed statements of journalist with actual facts. The MSM are going after bloggers for two simple reasons :-

1.> We don't charge, we give our opinions freely and don't care how many people read it (Though all donations gratefully accepted!).

2.> We have shown up many mainstream journalists for their failures and acts of incompetence.

At the end of the day, this country needs a strong blogging community. We are the last bastion against spin and the manipulation of public opinion. They may try to distort what we say, run us down, marginalise and ultimately break us...but they will fail. For we are bloggers, we are un-bloody-breakable!

NB, I admit to nicking that last bit from Gene Hunt but I think the gentle act of plagiarism was worth it!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

You can shove twitter right up your jacksie

So it's been announced that Labour have appointed Kerry McCarthy as their 'twitter tsar'. It's come to something when you are only able to communicate your plans for the future, your hopes and fears for the nation, your raison d' 140 characters or less. Words fail me.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Labour's sacred cow has deserted it

I had to laugh at this weekends polls, yougov gave labour an increase of 1, but also the tories, maintaining a 14 point lead in their poll and ICM gave them a whopping 17 point gap. All this after Labour 'took the fight' to the tories over the NHS. When Labour's one big idea in their history can no longer be used as a stick to beat the tories with then they are in big trouble indeed. At any other time or with any other leader, the tories would be taking a massive hit on this topic but Cameron has not only neutralised but turned it into a position of strength which is making Labourites tear their spleen out. He hasn't drawn on his personal history and why the health service is important to him, but everyone is aware of it but when he speaks about the NHS the public know he's speaking from conviction. And this is also the thing preventing Labour launching a full-on attack on Cameron on the topic. Because :-

1.> They won't be believed.
2.> The public will seriously hate them for it, after what he's been through, people will not stand for it.

The main tactical error on this was drawing him into an argument on the NHS in the first place. On, Mike Smithson has a series of golden rules, one of them is that when Cameron is in the press the tories get a bounce. So all Labour have managed to do is give the tories a little fillip before conference season. Shrewd. Other things have emerged from this too, Andy Burnham is nowrivalling Bob Ainsworth for most useless cabinet member, with his brief seeming a bit too much for him. Andrew Lansley, who has been under pressure and in receipt of much criticism of late has turned around and played a blinder (though the yellow jacket was enough to trigger seizures in some people) showing that while he might put his foot in his mouth occasionally, he is doing well with the health brief and has placed the spotlight back on Labour. Also, Labour's main line of attack has been drawn out in the open. Mandy accuses Cameron and co. of being two-faced (Oh, the irony!) and still being 'the nasty party'. And what of Brown? Well he proved Cameron correct, too many twits do make a twat. And the man can't pull off a decent photo-op to save his life!

The question is, as things are going from bad to worse for Labour, will they be tempted to cut and run and call an early election in late october/early november as it seems to be the only way they can stave off complete annihilation. My view is that if they carry on until next May the party may be irretrievably damaged and that could lead to the libdems leapfrogging them within a decade if they get their act together.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

RIP Les Paul

The Grandaddy of the electric guitar and co-developer of the finest musical instrument of all time (The legendary Gibson 'Les Paul' model) has passed away at the age of 94. Imagining a musical world without Les paul is impossible. Not only was he the first person to seriously develop the solidbody electrical guitars that now dominate the industry, he was also the first person to develop multi-track recording. And without him, there'd be less of this :-

And that would have been a tragedy. I'll play a song on mine for you tonight, Les. Good thing this Marshall goes to 11, you may still hear it!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Redwood: Kicking arse and taking names!

Am thoroughly enjoying the healthy dose of common sense that John Redwood is applying to the debate on Newsnight. Vince 'The Sage of wisdom' Cable is being shown up and Angela Eagle probably wishes she'd stayed at home. The Vulcan nickname used to be a stick to beat him with but in this case it is perfectly apt as he delivered a dose of pure hard logic on how to get the banks lending again. Redwood may not have many fans outside the right wing of the conservative party but when it comes to economic debates there is no-one better. If you haven't already done so, I advise you to click on the link to his blog on the list to the right. It's always informative and always full of excellent suggestions that hopefully Cameron and Osborne will make use of post election.

My god, Susie Squire...Ding Dong!

And this little turd from the Don't Panic website is a bit in love with himself isn't he. While I think Alan Duncan was being a bit of a dickhead trying to be sarcastic about the expenses I think this little class warrior needs to keep his ego in check. All he seems concerned about is Tory troughers, why not go after the guilty on every party. Or is that not his agenda? Prick.

Can we have the old Portillo back?

I was reading a thread over on political betting earlier today and one poster had a query as to why Portillo's defeat in Enfield at the '97 general election was such a big moment for the left. Others explained how in the 90's he was seen as Mrs Thatcher's 'heir apparent'. One poster linked to this clip.

As you can see his 90's incarnation was very different to the Michael Portillo we see being cuckolded by Dianne Abbott on This Week every Thursday. But as I watched, I realised something. This was actually a great, rousing speech (I can also see why the left would hate it...and him) and I've come to the conclusion that if Liam Fox made a speech like this at this years tory party conference the country would lap it up. It's probably the best paean to the British armed forces since Churchill. So I'll ask the question, can we have the old portillo back? Or at the very least, the same spirit?

On a slightly tenuous link it recently came to my attention about a young lad from my village who lost a leg while serving in Afghanistan. After hearing his story my band are planning on playing a fundraising benefit gig for the charity Help for Heroes some time next month. I'll blog about the event soon, I don't expect many of my readers will be able to attend but I will put up a button on the post for those that would like to help and donate to what is an incredibly worthwhile cause and not have to suffer the aural awfulness that is my music.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The reason for the destruction of the labour party

Hi peeps, not been blogging much the last few days as it's been the silly season and aside from the Linda Evans/Joan Collins bitch-fight that has been Harriet v Mandy nothing much has been happening in the world of uk politics. So I've had time to ponder and my mind drifted back to the 2007 conference season (Aided by some excellent Mike Smithson articles over on ) and the start of the red demise.

The reason was simple....Brown's lies. Until that period in time the media was happy to play along and the bullshit was delivered peicemeal to the public. But in that short period of time everything began to unravel. There was the ongoing fallout from the 10p tax debacle, the 'pulling 1000 troops out of afghanistan, etc. The more he said, the less people believed and it all came to a head with the general election that never was. After that lamentable interview where he denied bottling out there had been a fundemental shift in the UK. The public saw him for what he was...and they could never trust him again. Every week at PMQ's, his obfuscating and attacks on the opposition were seen for what they were, an attempt to hide the truth. When smeargate broke he denied all knowledge, even though it was well known that Brown had always had his people on these sort of operations for nearly two decades. When it came to the expenses scandal he tried pulling the wool over everybodies eyes and even play party politics in a crass manner. But there's no-one left who believes him (Even Ed Balls is probalby working on how to position himself in a post Brown era after not getting the chancellor's spot, which again Brown has denied planning even though it is common knowledge). He hasn't been straight with his cabinet colleagues, he hasn't been straight with his party. He most definitely has not been straight with parliament and worst of all, he has not been straight with the british public. So I ask this now, as your political career is in it's dying embers, 'Why can't you be straight with us, Gordon?'

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Go ahead short-arse, make my day!

Who else thinks Baron Sugar of Clapton is acting like a bit of a cock? Quentin Letts called him stupid because he had come across as a bit of a plank and everyone knows that he was only sent to the lords because he's on the tv (and his programme is one of the worst pieces of tripe the BBC have ever produced). Now's he's suing Letts, not Letts employers as is usually the case with journalists. This is a dangerous and unprecedented attack on the ability of journalists to criticise government ministers and hold them to account. What's next, bloggers? Bring it on.

In fact I'd like to point out that you, Lord Sugar of Tate & Lyle are a jumped up, humourless little twat (this word is really starting to catch on...bad Dave!) who likes to dish it out but can't bloody take it. Oh btw, your email phone is bloody rubbish and your skyhd receivers are shit (Stick to PACE or Samsung boxes people). Now this is not defamation but my personal opinion which people may agree with or they may not so go on Alan, sue me as well, I could use a laugh.

Whatever next? Will I get in trouble for mentioning that I think Ed Balls is a bit of a spacker (Oh, the PC police will have a field day with this term!) who is ruining the education system for the next generation or offering an appeal for anyone to send me evidence of RockingHorsegate so I can publish it and make my millions?

Monday, 3 August 2009

Shine on you crazy diamond

This is probably the best column I have read on the Gary Mckinnon extradition. It comes from Boris Johnson and once again demonstrates that while Boris is an irreverent eccentric genius he's also got a healthy dose of British common sense running through him (a rarity in today's politicians). He might think £250,000 a year for his articles is 'chickenfeed' or 'small-beer' but trust me Boris, it's worth every penny!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

All Men Are Bastards!

Or so says Special Agent Harriet Harpy! Big tip of the hat to Man in the street for this brilliant picture.

Now I'm going to go and watch McLintock, then spank my nextdoor neighbour until her buttocks blush like a red Ferrari, the saucy minx! Gentlemen, control your women!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Tories massively ahead in target seats

I've just spotted on that the tories have built up a massive lead in their 30 top target seats. Here is the figures :-

CON 44: LAB 20: LD 18

That's a 24 point gap. This hasn't come from one of the main pollsters and the fieldwork was over a longer period than normal but this is still a devastating look at Labour's election prospects. Clearly ther is no way they can even remotely hope of a majority come the election. So as Cameron suns himself in the south of France, Brown is being pissed on from the heavens (and the voters). Happy holidays gentlemen!