Monday, June 30, 2008

Housing and oil gloom

Not only has oil reached yet another record high, at over $143 a barrel but the crisis in the housing market looks set to get deeper as mortgage lending sets a new record low.

So no more boom and bust then Gordon?

The BBC has this on the housing market and this on oil.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Whats up in Zimbabwe? Can't they rig a ballot properly?

Well, we are still waiting for the results of the presidential election run off in Zimbabwe, not that anyone thinks it is either free or fair.

The vote took place on Friday. Apparently they were counted yesterday.

So why the hold up? Given the amount of beatings, murders and intimidation is the result still embarrassing?

After the result, all eyes will be on Africa and we will see if they recognise the nasty evil Robert Mugabe as president.

The BBC has this

Is Sweden stark staring mad?

The Times carries this story today about a Swedish child's attempts to organise a birthday party in which not all his classmates were invited.

According to this article in the Times this has sparked a national debate. The child's invitations were even confiscated.

They must be mad.

Bonkers smoking ban in Holland!

I have to say that I am against the smoking ban in this country. If they want clean air then they can legislate for clean air and if someone can provide that without banning smoking that is a matter for them.

However in a surreal move Holland, famous for its "coffee houses" where people smoke marijuana legally there is to be a smoking ban also. The thing is that it only applies to tobacco and not to marijuana. So you can smoke a joint if it has no tobacco in it but not if it has.

Is this just mad or what?

The BBC has this.

The great gun control experiment!

The Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that a ban on hand guns in Washington DC is unconstitutional.

Washington DC has both the some of the highest gun crime rates in the USA as well as the strictest laws on gun control. You could argue therefore that gun control laws do not work. Those who favour gun control argue that is rubbish and that gun crime is so rampant because you can nip across to Virginia and buy what you want.

There is some merit in both arguments, though gun control laws here came in and then gun crime rocketed. That does not mean they are related of course.

However it occurs to me that whilst the USA is going down this route we may get an answer on how useful gun control laws really are.

The BBC has this

Are Labour just a bunch of muppets?

Well, the Crown blog thinks so here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wendy Alexander resignation

Firstly this obviously throws Labour in general and Labour in Scotland into some disarray.

Iain Dale apparently is not crowing about it here on the grounds that she only committed a technical breach of the rules whilst Guido points out that it goes much deeper than that in that she received two donations for £950 from a foreign source.

Well, Iain laments a system that is unclear in its rules that will catch out the honest but unwary. Well it does and that is wrong, though to be fair many who have been found guilty of "technical breaches" have been let off.

There is an air of mutual mud slinging going on where political enemies are getting at each other by leaking damning stories about sleaze. As the SNP note a lot of these enemies are in the same party as the accused.

This is all very damaging to politics and the only answer is a simple clean and transparent system of both making donations and declaring them.

The BBC has this.

Babies with MRSA Shocker!

Apparently 5 babies in a specialist unit in Glasgow have MRSA on their skin.

It would actually be shocking if 5 babies did not have MRSA somewhere as it is actually a remarkably common bug, and no the babies are not in any danger at all. They probably have it up their noses as well, as do the rest of us.

The trick is not to treat an open wound just after you have picked your nose, unless you have washed your hands first. Likewise there is no point in assuming that anyone else has washed their hands so if you have touched anyone else, wash your hands before you do anything important.

Or in short, don't deep clean hospitals, or get visitors to wash their hands, sack staff who do not wash their hands properly.

Meanwhile the BBC has this non story here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Zimbabwe Elections: Will it backfire?

My understanding is that the presidential election run off is still going ahead despite the fact that Morgan Tsvangirai has stood down as a candidate to avoid further bloodshed.

However, Robert Mugabe is not only going ahead with the vote, but it seems that the voters have been told that if they do not vote they will be beaten.

I have to say that is a very dangerous tactic. I have to wonder if people will vote out of fear but vote for Morgan Tsvangirai.

Needless to say Mugabe is also saying that African leaders should mind their own business. So they should.. except that Zimbabwe is flooding the place with refugees. That causes them pain.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Law Lords and Anonymous witnesses

The Law Lords have, in a well argued judgement ruled that Ian Davis had not received a fair trial because there was too much anonymous witness evidence. (See the BBC here)

The Police have expressed great concern about the ruling because they have many cases which rely on anonymous witness evidence.

So why the problem?

Obviously criminals, particularly those who have committed serious crimes such as murder have no respect for other peoples lives, and will not think twice about intimidating witnesses. There friends, family or gang members may do the actual intimidation so the fact that the accused is locked up is not enough.

However the right to a fair trial is a common law right, now in the Human Rights act as is the right to see and confront your accuser. This is vital to a fair trial.

Imagine the situation where you (and yes, I do mean YOU) are accused of a crime, say murder, and the only evidence against you is that of 2 anonymous witnesses. Neither you nor your defence team know who they are. You do not know what if any axes they have to grind against you.

Is there a precedent for anonymous witnesses? Yes, though not a happy one, the Spanish inquisition used them were on the list of , though I have heard that you had to have 3 accusers and got to write down a list of enemies. If your enemiesaccusers they were struck off.

If you think about it having anonymous witnesses is a very bad thing. Someone who feels you have done them down, or who has some axe to grind could be a witness against you, and you would never know.

So what is the real problem here? What is the ill we seek to cure?

It is fear. Remove the fear and then there is no need to have anonymous witnesses.

To remove the fear of witnesses we need to do two things. Firstly there needs to be a fully funded witness protection program, secondly there needs to be a specialist unit to investigate witness intimidation of any sort. We need to make sure that anyone who intimidates a witness serves a long prison sentence, say 10 years as a minimum, or longer if the crime that the intimidation is over has a longer sentence.

If people can't get away with witness intimidation they will stop doing it.

The BBC also has this article by Professor Jon Silverman, of the University of Bedfordshire.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New house Building hits 70 year low!

According to this article in the Evening Standard new house building in London is at its lowest level since the great depression 70 years ago.

New building targets are flying out of the window, redundancies in house building are on the way.

Grim news indeed.

Zimbabwe: Is it time for the Colonels to seek promotion?

Much spleen has been vented by Zimbabwe's generals about how they will never accept an MDC government, they say on the basis that it would be selling out to the former colonial power.

It is clear that Zimbabwe is going a bit pear shaped and has been for a while. The ultimate loyalty of the lower ranks of both the army and police has been drawn into question.

We know hear that the UN Security Council has condemned the violence and said there can not be a free and fair election. Bear in mind that this includes Russia, China and South Africa. Robert Mugabe and the Generals must feel very lonely.

This is the time when ambitious colonels can snatch a promotion and rid Zimbabwe of Mugabe and his clique. Go on, you know it makes sense!

The BBC has this.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Boris Johnson, James McGrath and The Shrill Cry of Racist!

And so we have our first casualty of the Boris Johnson mayoralty.

James McGrath was a senior aide to Boris Johnson who gave an interview to Marc Wadsworth, who is a member of the Labour party, alleged journalist and race campaigner.

Alas before doing so he appears (according to Marc Wadsworths article here) not to have bothered looking the man up. As refreshing as this is, after all it is good to know that those in government don't spin, it was also a mistake, because those in "journalism" certainly do.

James McGrath has stood down, over this exchange:
McGrath was far from politically correct, David-Cameron-new- cuddly-Conservative Party, when I pointed out to him a critical comment of Voice columnist Darcus Howe that the election of "Boris Johnson, a right-wing Conservative, might just trigger off a mass exodus of older Caribbean migrants back to our homelands".

He retorted: "Well, let them go if they don’t like it here." McGrath dismissed influential race commentator Howe as ‘shrill’.
Now it is clear to me who is saying "blacks go home", it is Darcus Howe, though why is unclear as I can't find the article in the Voice online.

The problem we have is that whilst someone like Ken Livingstone can tell Jews to "go back to Iran" and get away with all sorts of other comments some might view as racist, (as indeed can Labour with their "British Jobs for British Workers" slogan) we can't. That sort of mud sticks to us far more than it does to Labour. We can't change that perception over night.

So was Boris right to ask for his resignation? I fear he was. I have not met James McGrath, but hear he is a decent, kind and honourable man.

The problem is that our opponents aren't.

They will use any means to smear our party.

We need to be much more careful about playing the game.

People like Marc Wadsworth and Darcus Howe will use what ever means they can to both get at the Conservative party and to divide the Afro Caribbean community from the rest of society. After all, how else could Darcus claim to speak for older Caribbean migrants?

Iain Dale has this, Conservative home has this and the BBC has this.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Morgan Tsvangirai quits race to avoid resounding beating

Morgan Tsvangirai quits race to avoid resounding beating according to sources close to Zanu PF.

This is of course entirely accurate, though would have been more so if they had also used adjectives such as brutal, murderous and possibly fatal.

There is no doubt that Robert Mugabe and his regieme are doing anything to hang on to power whilst South Africa's Thabo Mbeki bestrides the stage like a paralised streak of piss.

At least some of the SADC nations are beginning to speak out, like Zambia's president Levy Mwanawasa. The BBC has this on what he has said:

But Levy Mwanawasa, president of neighbouring Zambia, said the run-off should be postponed "to avert a catastrophe in the region".
He said Zimbabwe's economic collapse was affecting the whole region, and he called on SADC to take a similar stance.

"It's scandalous for SADC to remain silent on Zimbabwe," he said.

"What is happening in Zimbabwe is embarrassing to all of us."
The BBC has this.

Is this the NHS we are paying double for?

We are now paying roughly twice what we were paying for the NHS than we were 11 years ago, yet according to this article in the Mail on Sunday a pregnant woman had to give birth in a hospital corridor after being turned away from two closer hospitals.

Emma Johnson of Brighton went into Labour, so called her local hospital the Royal Sussex county, who said they did not have enough beds. She called the next nearest at Worthing and got the same story. Then she called my local hospital in Haywards Heath, the Princess Royal. After a 40 minute car journey she ended up giving birth in the corridor. It is unclear why it was in a corridor, though presumably it was because the baby had to be delivered before she could be got into a birthing suite rather than a lack of one.

A spokesman for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals trust said:
We do everything we can to ensure women are able to give birth in a hospital of their choice.

We are sorry that this was clearly not Miss Johnson's experience.

Occasionally if a site is very busy we have to ask mums to travel but we do this as infrequently as possible because we know it is not what mums want.
Well, the cutbacks in maternity services are due to the PCT structure more than the hospital trust so maybe they can be let off that one. That it is not what mums want is bizarre statement. I can't see anyone queuing up to be sent from pillar to post for an urgent visit to a hospital.

The sad thing about all this is that the maternity unit at the Princess Royal is still under threat with its services due to be downgraded to a maternity led unit. Had that been the case then what would have happened to Emma Johnson and her baby had she had complications? Just how far would she have had to have traveled? Could she have been half way through birth at the Princess Royal and then need an urgent surgical procedure like a cesarean?

All this of course despite the amount of money being spent on the NHS whilst there are over 10,000 less beds than 1997. Where has all the money gone.

You can support the Save the Princess Royal Hospital campaign here.

The Mail on Sunday has this.

Health and Safety madness!

Firstly when I first heard this story the other day I did not believe it.

Secondly it is not the Health and Safety executive who are behind the latest piece of lunacy but the private, and hopefully soon to be bankrupt, shutdown or laughed at so loudly that they disappear in shame, The British Standards Institute.

They are working on a new standard of tree inspection. That ought to raise some suspicion for a start. 6 people a year die due to falling trees or bits falling off them. I don't want to belittle those who have died but that is not a lot in the scale of things, 30 people die in a bath each year.

It seems that trees should be inspected once every 3 years.

Why? Which tress?

Do they include Bonsai trees, ones in parks or do they include ones on private land over which people have the right to roam.

At £70 per tree per inspection this is of course a good way for tree surgeons to make a killing but I can't see it saving lives. The number of trees that will be cut down will cause massive loss of carbon absorption, causing deaths and also there are the deaths caused in the process of cutting down a lot of trees.

The chilling quote I read was this one here in the Daily Mail:
'We are not suggesting that everyone goes out and buys the standard," he said. "But people who have a tree in their garden and want to understand what their duty of care is can at least get an idea of what the standard is.'
Just so that we understand what this means, they are trying to tie a standard that we as a country do not need to solve a problem we do not have to the term "duty of care".

The issue here is that if you owe someone a duty of care and your breach of that causes the death or injury of someone then you are liable under the laws of negligence.

In other words, if you have a tree, buy are standards to avoid being sued.

This is wrong, very wrong.

Catastrophic Slump for Gordon Brown in latest poll!

There is a poll in today's Mail on Sunday that carries some very bad news for Labour and Gordon Brown. It was carried out by BPIX.

Gordon Brown's personal ratings are so low that there seems to be no way back for him. On almost any measure David Cameron is held in much higher regard.

The main polling numbers are devastating as well. The Conservatives are on 49%, Labour on 26% and the Liberal Democrats on 14%.

The would give the Conservatives 455 seats to Labour's 150 seats and 17 for the Liberal Democrats according to Anthony Wells election calculator here.

BPIX are not currently a member of the British Polling Council so do not publish their data. This may change. Whilst that is the case though, polls like this need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In reply to David Davis Critics

Much waffle has issued forth on this issue, so I will cut to the chase. A conversation on

To this comment from Sea Shanty Irish here, I replied thus:

I could not agree less.

David Davis is so certain to retain his seat that the only question on the betting odds is whether you can beat the bank interest rates.

The real issue is how he changes the political weather on the issue.

Viscount Stansgate (My Lord Tony Benn for those not in the know) says there are two types of politician, the weathercock and the signpost.

What David Davis is trying to do is to change the weather so that he brings the weathercocks with him.

I think that is all that need be said on the matter.

Or at least I would, if Labour, led by Gordon "bottler" Brown could put up some kind of argument.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cure for Cancer?

Some good news on a black day.

There is news of a new treatment for cancer. It seems that the body always has had a cure for cancer in its immune system but the problem is that the immune system does not see cancer as quite the threat that it is.

The treatment revolves around the idea of taking a blood sample, isolating the immune cells that attack the cancer that someone has then picking the most aggressive and cloning them until you have something like 5 billion of them. Then you inject them.

This therapy has been used on advanced skin cancer but there is no reason why it could not work on all cancers.

At the moment it looks expensive because of the large amount of work and expertise involved in each case but then things that needed that combination 20 years ago are so cheap now it is ridiculous.

There is hope!

The Telegraph has this

Energy bills set to rise another 40% as economy is in the Brown stuff

Insiders in the energy business report that they expect to see 40% price rises before the winter.

That is going to hurt.

Meanwhile the economic outlook is very bad. Inflation is apparently 3.1%! That's a laugh. RPI is well over 4% and has been for ages. Peoples disposable income has been either static or going down for the past two years.

Its grim.

Quite a lot of this is not of the governments making, however the charge that they should have fixed the roof whilst the sun shone stands. The government built a healthy surplus in the years that it followed Conservative spending plans so that when the dot com bubble burst followed by September the 11th they had the cash to prevent a problem.

The problems were two fold. Firstly they over spent to prevent that crash, secondly they continued to spend to the point where they now have no room for maneuver at all.

It is too early to say how bad things will get, but it is clear that this government has squandered an opportunity to build in stability.

The BBC has this and the Telegraph has this.

Middle East Cease fire Number 9,994 Declared!

Diplomats hailed the declaration of a new ceasefire in the Israeli Arab conflict, between Israel and Hamas in Gaza brokered by the Egyptians.

This is potentially very good news as it lifts the overly harsh sanctions on Gaza that some regard as collective punishment whilst also lifting the rocket barrage on southern Israel, which whilst always ridiculous, almost always of no actual significance causes terror and death.

The question is, now it has just come into force, has it been broken yet.

The BBC has this.

Dead Lisbon Treaty Ratified in the Lords

The Lisbon treaty has been ratified in the House of Lords despite the fact that it is dead, after all Ireland voted no.

Fantastic. As David Cameron said at PMQ's, Gordon Brown has less spine than a bunch of jellyfish.

The BBC has this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gordon Brown bottles it again!

It seems Gordon Brown has bottled it again refusing to put up a candidate in the Haltemprice and Howden by election against David Davis. It seems Rupert Murdoch has bottled it as well.

So he does not want to defend this governments erosion of liberties?



The BBC has this.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Government lose yet more information shocker!

Well, OK, it is not shock at all is it?

This time the missing information was on a computer stolen from Hazel Blears constituency office in Salford. Thing is though that the information on terrorism and extremists should never have been on that computer in the first place as it should not have left her ministry.

So this ridiculously lax attitude to sensitive data goes right to the top. Fantastic. ID cards anyone?

The BBC has this

The Sun backs David Davis again!

The Sun is backing David Davis again as one of its columists, Fergus Shanahan also writes a column in support of David Davis' stand.

He points out things like the 3 pensioners harrased by police for wearing protest t-shirts,

In one telling passage he says:
Davis has hit the nail on the head. We HAVE allowed ourselves to be browbeaten by fears of Islamic terror attacks into abandoning too many of our freedoms something I have said for months. Many Sun readers agree with me.

They aren’t soft on terror any more than I am.

But like me they worry that this is ceasing to be a country we feel at ease in, or the country we once knew.

A country of ID cards and databases, secret cameras, tax snoopers who can barge into your house and council spies who can fine you £200 just for dropping a crisp.

A country where any minor official can intercept your emails.

A country where any NHS manager can access your private medical records.

A country where you can be forced to give your DNA to police even though you are guilty of no offence.
And then goes on to bust the anti Davis myths:
Three myths are peddled by Davis’s opponents.

The first is that if you are against 42 days, you are soft on terror.

Rubbish. I have backed capital punishment for terrorist murderers while many of those kicking Davis are against it. How am I soft on terror?

The second myth is that weary old chestnut: "If you’ve nothing to hide, why worry?" That’s what German civilians told each other as they looked the other way while the concentration camps were being built.

The third myth is that there is massive public support for 42 days.

Yet I can find only one recent poll giving a clear majority for Brown. The internet is full of opposition to 42 days.
It seems David Davis has indeed changed the debate and hit a nerve.

Well done!

David Davis campaign website is here.

University Degrees dumbed down?

Professor Geoffrey Alderman will be giving a lecture later in which he will argue that university degrees are becoming easier as the marking schemes are becoming more lenient.

This article in the Independent broke the story last night, whilst the BBC carries this.

The allegations fall into several categories. Firstly plagiarism is not punished, secondly badly written answers are not penalised and thirdly there is a wild growth in the number of first class degrees that are being awarded.

Having spoken to university and other higher education lecturers over many years I can tell you that the standard of the input to university and higher education has been in decline. That is that A level students and their equivalent are less well versed in their subjects than they used to be. This trend started in the late 1980's but has accelerated. That the input should be declining whilst the output is rising in simply untenable.

The reason for the selling short of degrees? League tables. Brilliant.

David Davis website goes live!

David Davis for freedom website goes live, here.

Meanwhile he has written some articles on Conservative Home here, for The Evening Standard here, and of course there is his Telegraph article here.

Then of course there is Frank Fisher on Comment is Free here, about the rowback of the media.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Murdoch bottles it! He will not take on David Davis!

According to this article on the Spectator Coffee house blog Rupert Murdoch has bottled the fight as well. As noted earlier the Sun seems to be turning.

Apparently whilst Rupert Murdoch does not like David Cameron, he is fairly sure that Gordon Brown will lose the next general election.

So Gordon Brown does not have the courage of Rupert Murdoch's convictions and neither does Rupert! Fantastic.

Is the Sun going to back David Davis?

Reports from Wapping yesterday indicate that there may have been a major traffic incident.

One bystander reported seeing a large re topped juggernaut driving at speed, saw it swerve and then all its wheels locked up, causing massive amounts of blue smoke as it did a complete U turn. The smoke from the tyres hung in the air for hours.

There was only one reported casualty, Kelvin Mackenzie, who appeared to be struck dumb. Not that anyone noticed.

Seriously there is this article in today's Sun by Trevor Kavanagh which says David Davis is right.

Choice quotes include:
Annoyingly, though, it is hard to disagree with the cause Davis has decided to embrace.

Britain IS now a nation of unaccountable snoopers with sweeping powers to pry into every nook and cranny of our daily lives.

Yet, thanks to their blundering incompetence, none of us feels safer in our bed, on the roads or walking the streets at night.
He goes on:
But along with many Sun readers, I don’t trust this Government, the police or the State bureaucracy to discriminate between keeping an eye out for our well-being and spying on us.

Information is power. And the authorities — national and local — have far too much of the stuff already.

The idea that thousands of anonymous, low-ranking town hall officials can use anti-terror laws to monitor our movements should make us sweat.
Good stuff. I wonder if this does signal a change of heart at Wapping. Not only does Gordon Brown have the courage of Rupert Murdoch's convictions, Rupert appears not to either and he may even be changing his mind!

Hat tip to Gin on for the Sun article.

David Davis: In his own words

David Davis wrote an article for the Telegraph on Friday explaining his actions. You can read the here.

He was also interviewed by Andrew Marr on Sunday and That interview is here.

I can understand why so many people, especially in the Westminster village are horrified. To some extent I agree. When I heard the news it felt like a kick in the guts.

However what you need to understand is the drip drip erosion of our liberties that mean that a student was arrested, charged and tried for suggesting a police horse could be gay, a 15 year old was held for accusing Scientology of being a "cult" and three pensioners were seized by police over their t shirts. All in the name of "making a safer society".

Do you feel safer? I don't. That is the point. This has gone on for the last 11 years, has grabbed great headlines in the Murdoch press, and has (previously) kept Labour's position in polls. The problem is that this has got to stop. The debate needs to be changed, and it needs to be changed now.

The Conservative party can't go into the next election being painted as soft on terror, nor can it do so advocating un British laws that are counter productive. The boil needs to be lanced, the battle joined and Murdoch defeated. (Lets face facts here, Gordon Brown appears to have no principles or courage, so the argument is not with Brown who will do what ever he thinks will get Murdoch's endorsement but with the man himself. After all, why talk to the monkey when you can skewer the organ grinder).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

David Davis: Cynics to the left of him, Cynics to the right of him

And into the valley of scorn rode David Davis.

Then they joined him from the left of him from the right of him and the fight against this hideous law!

It is amazing that the Westminster bubble has been caught totally off guard by a principled politician, then even further off guard by the public response.

Needless to say I support David Davis 100%.

Government lose more papers shocker!

Well, I suppose I am not shocked.

There is something entirely useless and moribund in this government and it clearly is infecting the civil service also.

Two sets of important papers lost in a week? (Actually on the same day)

They should not have been out of the office let alone left on a train!

You could not make it up!

The BBC has this.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Zimbabwe Judge cites Habeas Corpus

The deputy leader of the MDC, Tendai Biti was arrested at Harare airport on Thursday, and has been held without access to his lawyers since.

Now a high court judge in Harare has demanded that Tendai Biti be brought before him and that the police explain why he is being held.

This is the principle of Habeas Corpus that started with Magna Carta. Makes you proud to be British doesn't it? Bit of a shame that this government is trying to get rid of it though.

The BBC has this.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lisbon Treaty falls, as the Irish vote no!

Ireland has voted no, by 53.4% to 46.6%.


Full results here.

Gordon Brown does not have the courage of Rupert Murdoch's convictions!

It appears that Gordon Brown is not intending on fielding a candidate against David Davis. Clearly the man does not have the courage of Rupert Murdoch's convictions (for he has no convictions or indeed courage of his own).

It appears that Rupert Murdoch may have some courage and may put up Kelvin MacKenzie as a candidate instead, who has started off by calling Hull a shocking place! (See Iain Dale here)

The BBC has this.

Irish Vote No! to Lisbon Treaty!

According to Guido and Iain Dale sources at the count report the No's have it.

The question will be will this kill the constitution, or is there a plan C?


Thursday, June 12, 2008

The gut wrenchingly sad case of Kevin Tripp.

Today has been an emotional day for me.

I have been incandescent with rage over the current terrorism bill, both on the issue of secret inquests and 42 days. This deeply concerns me at the deepest level.

However i was smacked straight in the gut by the pointless murder of Kevin Tripp, aged 57.

It seems from reports that some 18 or 19 year old "yob" had insulted the other half of Tony Virsami so when she, Antoinette Richardson, pointed someone out in a queue he went and punched Kevin Tripp to the ground. he has now died.

There is now a 5 year old boy, who will have been waiting with much anticipation for his daddy to come home, and he will no longer. This young boy will never see his dad again.

I know how much my dad meant to me, and today I have shed many a tear for that 5 year old boy. I will pray for him.

The BBC has this.

Quentin Letts rips into Gordon Brown!

At Gordon Brown's press conference this morning Quentin Letts ripped into the prime minister!

Just look at the smirk on Gordon Brown's face!

Hat tip to the Crown Blog.

Guido also has this.

David Davis: A Man of serious courage!

David Davis has just resigned as an MP over the horrific erosion of our liberties that has gone on since this nasty Labour government got into power.

His aim is to force a by election in Haltemprice and Howden and return to the House of Commons with an increased mandate to fight against the 42 day detention without charge bill.

I must admit this came as a complete shock to me and many others in the Conservative party. David Davis is a man of serious courage.

Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats has said that they will not be fielding a candidate. Well done him.

The BBC has this, Iain Dale has this, PoliticalBetting has this.

Outstanding Mr Lee McQueen wins the Apprentice

I have to say that there have been some very good candidates for the apprentice this time around. I thought that in many ways the last 5 were outstanding.

Lee McQueen won. Well done him.

I simply do not buy the cheat rubbish that the Telegraph has put on its front page.

I will write more later. After I have calmed down a bit over 42 days.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

DUP save Gordon Brown on 42 day terror vote!

The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) saved Gordon Brown's skin today by backing the 42 day terror detention vote, which the government only won by 315 votes to 306. Had the DUP had any integrity and voted against the government would have lost by 9 votes. There were 37 Labour rebels.

I wonder why they did that? Do they seriously think Gordon Brown will be PM after the next General Election?

The BBC has this.

Update, Iain Dale has this, and is not that complimentary about the DUP.

42 Day Terror Vote close!

The vote on the terrorism part of the terrorism bill allowing detention without charge will be held tonight. Apparently it will be close. The governments latest wheeze to convince their own side is to offer compensation at the rate of £3,000 per day for any one held for over 28 days who is not charged. In total that could amount to £42,000.

How odd is that? 42 seems to be the governments answer to Life, The Universe and Everything.

What is worse however is the precedent sent. There is, as yet no compensation for anyone lawfully held, and neither should there be. People who have been unlawfully detained can get compensation but only for their losses which (shockingly in my view) have prison food and accommodation costs deducted. We are not only now bringing that concept in, but removing the loss part of the equation and instead bringing in a very high day rate.

You can just see many people up and down the land trying to figure out how long they could get locked up for, even if it is only in jest.

It seems this odd scheme has just about swung it for the government, though I hope not. In any case the measure is likely to get struck down in the Lords and then the ping pong will begin.

The BBC has this, whilst Iain Dale has this.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Perfect Economic Storm?

Well, no economic storm is perfect, certainly not for those who suffer from it.

Economic times are looking bleak, though the hysteria of the press does not help. We have a very slow and collapsing housing market, the slowest since records began in 1978, high factory gate inflation and horrific factory input inflation.

In short we are boxed in. The slowdown in the housing market will impact on the construction and retail sectors, causing an economic slowdown, but inflationary pressures are so high that we are far more likely to get interest rate rises than cuts.

The New Statesman has this, The Telegraph this and the Guardian has this.

Gordon Brown less popular than Ian Duncan Smith?

According to that poll in the Times, Gordon Brown is also less popular than Ian Duncan Smith was at his worst in February of 2003. Ian reached 4 out of 10, whereas Gordon is now down to 3.9.

All other numbers are in sharp decline for Labour including on the economy.

Ouch, that has got to hurt!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Labour in yet another poll low!

Not really much of a story these days, as it seems to happen all the time!

Tomorrow's Times carries news of a Populus poll which has Labour at their lowest for that polster and the Conservatives with their biggest lead.

Conservatives are on 45% (+5), Labour on 25% (-4) and the Liberal Democrats on 20% (+1).

According to Anthony Wells election calculator here, that would give the Conservatives 409 seats, Labour 177 and the Liberal Democrats 35.

The question is how much pressure will this place on Gordon Brown?

Hat tip to Mike Smithson on PoliticalBetting and Iain Dale also has this.

42 days: So who wants it?

Well, we heard the other day that Jacqui Smith admitted that MI5 had not asked for 42 days, and now several senior policemen have also come out and said they are against it, according to todays Guardian.

So, to recap, we have the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, the Director of Public prosecutions, the former Lord Chancellor, Cheerful Charlie Falconer and many other senior politicians who have actually dealt with a long term terror threat say this is a bad idea.

Yet Gordon ploughs on to the vote on Wednessday. Surely this is now holed below the water line, and crucially he seems to have made it an issue of confidence in private badgering.

Cool. Gordon to get another kicking!

100 dead in Afghanistan

We have now had 100 dead in Afghanistan. A grisly landmark.

Our soldiers are heroes.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Labour hit new low in poll Shocker!

The latest poll for the Sunday Telegraph conducted by ICM, puts Labour at their lowest share of the vote since the polster started and also gives the Conservatives their largest lead since 1987.

The Conservatives are on 42 %, Labour are on 26% and the Liberal Democrats are on 21%. That is enough to give us Conservatives a 100 seat majority.

The article points out that the 42 day detention policy is popular with the public but the Conservatives are still considered tougher on terrorism.

In short, what ever Gordon Brown does, he loses. Cool!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Are high food prices a problem?

In the short term yes, especially for the poor, however in the long term it means that there will be money to invest in agriculture. The UN has a plan as reported on the BBC here.

For far too long various governments have interfered with food prices, subsidising here, imposing import or export duties there and we have a mess. Vast areas of agricultural land lye idle or underutilised. African farmers can't make enough of a living so move to the cities.

Higher food prices make it worthwhile to bring areas of land back into production and jobs for the rural poor in places like Africa. With a bit of luck we can also stop subsidising our farmers to grow things to dump in other peoples markets as well. This is good.

Labour losing out amongst all voters!

There is a poll in today's Independent. It is by ComRes, and shows the Conservatives on its highest share of the vote for ComRes at 44% (+4) with Labour on 30% (+4) and the Liberal Democrats on 16 (-4).

However the devil is in the detail. If you read the article, us Conservatives lead in all social groups, all ages and all areas except Scotland.


Much done, much still to do.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Is there anyone more vacuous than Yasmin Alibhai-Brown?

Well, apart from Polly Toynbee, obviously.

Iain Dale wrote this earlier today, highlighting an article by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown here.

Firstly I echo all of Iain's criticism of the article, its just that he does not go anything like far enough. For example, Yasmin Vacuous writes:
The sun now rises on the right and those of us on the other side are left despondent as we anticipate a prolonged winter of discontent.
Good. Your useless, and so for that matter is Labour.
We, who believe in fairness, equality, human rights and universal justice, are of no consequence.
What are you talking about? Us on the right believe in the same things, and the polls clearly do not show us Conservatives as of no consequence. We believe in those things, we just profoundly disagree about the lefts way of trying to bring them about.
Local election results show the country lurching right, in some parts even embracing the BNP. Instead of condemning the scum, Britons are instructed to "understand" why these voters are "driven" to vote for neo-Nazis. We are simultaneously warned to show no such understanding of young Muslims who are seduced by hate-filled Imams.
Sorry, is she saying that people who vote BNP are scum? I seldom find it helpful to call voters scum, besides which, most of those voters used to vote Labour. As for young Muslims being enticed my "hate preachers" and not "understanding them" I think Yasmin would be on a somewhat less sticky wicket if these hate preaching Imams were standing for election and all the young Muslims were voting for them, rather than being engaged in "other activities".

With regret however Yasmin does go on...
The coup was complete when Boris took over our London, world city, colourful home of mavericks, revolutionaries and monarchs, radicals and cultural conformists, money makers and penniless refugees, the hopeless and hopeful.
Coup? I thought it was an election, in which Ken Livingstone got more votes than he ever has in the past. Still, I stand corrected. When Conservatives win it's a coup and when Labour win its a democracy, at least on planet Yasmin.
And so power inexorably shifts towards authoritarianism, new imperial arrogance and design (bafflingly known as "liberal intervention"), fundamentalist Christian revivalism, enforced assimilation ("You WILL love and only ever praise this country"), racism and cultural protectionism, Anglo-Saxon privilege and unregulated capitalism which creates both appalling levels of wealth and poverty.
Authoritarianism? Where has Yasmin been these last 11 years? Has she not seen the constant erosion of our liberties in favour of the power of the state? What is this about a new imperial arrogance and fundamentalist Christian revival? Where is the problem with assimilation? We are not saying that we expect every immigrant family to start having Sunday roasts, but we and indeed the race relations industry have recognised that separate communities is bad for society.

And Yasmin goes on..
Banging up suspect terrorists for forty two days in detention without charge is exactly that kind of Big Boy gesture that reveals wobbly conviction, shaky commitment to those principles that make this nation a free and great democracy.
But is still incapable of working out who the authoritarians are!
Almost more depressing is the sight of black and Asian Britons following the wind blowing the Tories to victory. Boris has recruited Afro Caribbean "leaders" who believe in physical chastisement and smart young Asians who deny the existence of racism and want an end to political correctness. The more old-fashioned Uncle Toms and their female equivalents are now expediently making themselves known to the Tories and right-wing think tanks.
Anyone who disagrees with Yasmin the racist twit about politics and has colour in their skin is an uncle Tom? It is depressing to read such disgraceful nonsense.
To see such enthusiasm for a party whose members have always opposed our presence on these shores was a wake-up slap. All over now. The right has crushed the left.
By the time our time comes around again, I will be pushing up the daisies or dancing half naked in some home for sufferers of senile dementia, a blessing perhaps, to be lost in irreversible lunacy and never again to care about what happens to politics.
Well having read such rubbish as that, all I can say is fantastic.