Friday, June 30, 2006


If only us mortals had such expense accounts

Here are the facts:-

1) David Blunkett and Jack Straw both claimed more than £60,000 of taxpayers’ money to furnish and pay interest on constituency homes over 4 years.

2) Under Commons rules cabinet ministers can also claim for security, council tax, electricity, gas, repairs, decoration and modest furniture.

3) Regarding Blunkett, this suggests a “black hole” of £64,327 in his claims. His spokesman yesterday insisted that he had acted within the rules.

4) Straw’s total outgoings over four years were £14,412 against his total claim of £61,799, leaving a gap of £47,387.

It makes it worse that's it's all legal and above board. It's just more evidence that the taxpayers money os there to be wasted making MP's lives even more extravegent.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Judge quashes six terror orders

(Guardian) Before anybody jumps onto the News of the World bandwagon (oops, too late) they should know one thing - these control orders are issued against people who haven't been found found guilty of anything. So, er, that makes them innocent doesn't it?


Double Standards

A spokesman for US President George W Bush has said Israel has a right to defend itself and the lives of its citizens.

But heaven forbid if you're a Palestinian trying to defend your country from Israeli occupation! That's terrorism (of course).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Senate rejects flag burning ban

I can't believe they're even debating it.

President Bush said he continued to believe that the American people deserved the opportunity to express their views on this important issue.

So he doesn't mind people expressing their views on this, but he doesn't like it when they express their views by burning a flag. Is he so terrified of criticism that he has to ban it?


Terrorists Vs Army

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the only difference between someone labelled a terrorist and someone labelled a soldier is their equipment and funding.

If you can afford to fund an army, including advanced weaponry, well built prison camps for your "enemy combatants", and a uniform, they you are a soldier. If you can't, and can only afford rudimentary home-made bombs, you're a terrorist. It doesn't matter if you kill civilians or jail women and children; this has no bearing.

PS - I bet Israel can't believe it's luck that it can attack the Palestinians with the pseudo-moral excuse as they arbitarily blame Hamas for the kidnapping. And if they want to talk about Hamas being in defiance of international law...

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Abortion and the Law

Aparently, there is "substantial and growing disquiet in Britain at the numbers of abortions". I'd just like to add my 2p's worth, and that's that there is no disquiet from me. (I have personal experience on this, BTW, but I won't let that cloud my opinion). It annoys me when people think they can judge public opinion. Surely only newspaper editors can do that!

One thing I noticed from the article: "A survey by the Observer newspaper earlier this year showed that half of women wanted tougher laws." Why women? An abortion affects only 3 people in the main: the father, the mother and the baby. It doesn't affect any *other* woman, so who cares whether they want the abortion laws toughened? If they don't like abortion, they don't have to have one, but (along with religion) they should keep their noses out of issues that are non of their business.


A New Kind of Enemy

We are often being told that we now face a new kind of enemy, one that needs new laws and different weapons to fight - terrorists!

So let's spend £25Bn building nuclear deterrent to blow them up! Let's hope they're stealth nukes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Eat Your Own Dogfood

In the programming industry, we have a phrase that goes along the lines of "Eat your own Dogfood". This means that if possible, you should use your own software. For example, if you write accounting software, you should use that software to run the account for your company. It's a great way to test the software from a customer point of view and check it's up to the job.

Wouldn't it be a good idea if Governments did the same thing? Plucking a random subject out of the air, how about public transport? Whilst use mere mortals have to use it, it seems that the PM will get to use a private jet. So public transport, which is ultimately run by the Government, isn't good enough for the members of the Government. They shold be forced to use it - I'm sure it wouldn't take long for it to be improved, and we'd save money on the travel allowance they get - over 50p per mile in 2004.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Arguing Against the War

It's can seem difficult to argue against the war in Iraq, especially when faced with counter-arguments such as "you think Saddam Hussain should have been left in power?" or "Are you saying we shouldn't go after the terrorists?".

However, it's important to remember that the devil is in the detail:-

* Why did we go to war? I seem to remember something about WMD's.

* According to Iraq Body Count, over 35,000 civilians have been killed.

* Torture at Abu Graib and Guantanamo. Waterboarding, forced-feeding etc. Only 10 people have been charged in Guantanamo, so that leave over 400 innocent people still there.

* You can never win a war on terror by killing people. It's a war on an idea.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Protection From Ourselves

This reminded me of something I thought a while back - the problem with protecting people from themselves is "where do you draw the line?" Now we're protecting children from accidentally eating food at school that they are allergic to, what happens when they get home? Or leave school? They'll be so used to being protected that they may forget to think about it themselves. You learn far more from making a mistake, but people can't make mistake any more.

Also, warning labels themselves have become so common that they are easy to ignore, especially when 99% of them state the obvious. "May contain nuts" on a packet of nuts may seem funny and ridiculous, but the problem is we're now so used to everything having a warning sign that we no longer read them.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Goverment Says One Thing, Does Another (Part 34,543)

Words are easy. A Government Department for Constitutional Affairs spokesman said the government "condemns torture in all its forms and works to eradicate it wherever it occurs". However, this doesn't stop them helping Saudi torturers (and that's been independently confirmed) avoid prosecution by arguing that its officials are protected by state immunity from prosecution.


Assets Recovery Agency 'failing'

Apart from the fact that the agency costs four times as much as it brings in, what I want to know is how come it costs £60m in the first place. I've never set up a Government agency as you can probably guess, but £60m in only 4 years? Is it located in the Maldives, staffed by supermodels and uses gold-plated toilet roll?

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Obsessed With the War

It seems to me that America is so obsessed with this being a war ("on terror") that even when people are so desperate that they commit suicide, it's still an act of war. To call it by it's real name (an invasion, occupation, civil war, etc...) doesn't sound quite so righteous.

Maybe death was preferable to being held in solitary confinement for over 4 years, with no end in sight? No doubt they'll ask a psychologist to confirm that, when common sense would do just as good a job.

Also, here's another term to add to the English - US Army dictionary:

Asymmetric warfare - Suicide.

It makes it sound almost palatable. In fact, isn't that the reason they have these terms? Like "Collatteral damage" - far more easy on the ears than the real meaning.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Foreign Agencies Access National DNA Database

Foreign agencies have had access to the National DNA Database since at least 2004, but probably longer since the Home Office only started keeping records since then. Don't forget, you don't have to be guilty of anything to have your DNA forcibly taken.

And you thought your own DNA was your own property? No, the Government can give it away to whoever it wants.


Exclusion appeal panels

(BBC) A head teacher in Manchester has been "forced" by an independent appeals panel to reinstate a pupil who had been found carrying a knife and guilty of violent conduct.

But it is the "independant appeals panel" setup that is the most ridiculuous thing here. From the article:-

They operate in relative secrecy: names of the members are not published, they meet behind closed doors and their deliberations are not published. But their decisions are binding on all involved.

WTF? Who invented this panel? The gestapo? If you were ever to create a "panel" that would be completely unnacountable to anyone, operate in complete secrecy, but have complete power over everyone, you would use the above as a template.


Al-Qaeda Leader KIlled in Iraq

So what? There are plenty of other people to fill his shoes. Nothing is going to change.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Eventually we'll get the truth out of them

It's coming out slowly like a bad abortion, but sooner or later the government will finally admit that it was complicit in sending people to foreign countries to be tortured. Why do they make us wait?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


America Officially Abandons Geneva Convention

Yes, you read that right. This isn't some Daily Mail We're-All-Going-To-Die headline (though we will thanks to America's terrorism-fuelling ways, or shot by a policeman who think's we're a terrorist.).

And Andrew Sullivan talks more about it here.


The New WMD's

After still not finding any chemical weapons in the house after the police raid, they'll probably do one of the old WMD tricks: "We just haven't found them yet", "There is evidence of a chemical weapons programme, honest guv." yadda yadda...

And the police said they had no choice? So when someone says to them "there are some chemical weapons in that there house", they have no choice but to burst in and shoot someone? It must be very easy to make decisions when you're a policeman - you don't have to.

And then there's this classic quote from a senior policeman:

"The public may have to get used to this sort of incident, with the police having to be safe rather than sorry."

That's okay, as long as the police are safe. Who's going to protect the public from the police though?

Who needs terrorists when you've got the police shooting innocent civilians?

Monday, June 05, 2006


Iraq in Civil War? That's a Good Thing!

So says the LA Times. Looks like they are doing the Governments job and getting us ready to be told that Iraq is in a civil war. What could be better for Iraq?

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Al-Quida 'Inspired'

I've just seen someone from the Canadian Authorities talking about the capture of the terrorist suspects. It seems that the authorities are so desperate to have a nice link between any suspected terrorist and Al-Quida, no doubt to give the story more power and worry the public more. This woman used the phrase "they were Al-Quida inspired".

What on earth does that mean? Absolutely nothing, but she gets to use the words 'Al-Quida', and so everyone's ears prick up and suddenly it becomes a lot more serious - Canada could have been a victim on the scale of 9/11, folks! We should send these lot to the chair now! They may be completely innocent, but they now have something to do with Al-Quida, so they must be the most dangerous people on the planet. Phew!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Why dies he even have it?

So Prescott has decided to give up one of his mansions. My question is: how come he even had it in the first place? How come any MP gets such a perk? How does it benefit the country?

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