What a fun day I had yesterday. I should have spotted the symptoms on Wednesday when it took me three attempts to pronounce "propriety" and my temperature seemed to plummet (I ignored the first and assumed the latter was due to the screwed up weather) nevertheless I headed to bed as normal only to wake up around 1am in a state of mild dehydration. My nose and throat were claggy, my head and limbs ached and along with both of these the sound of my own heartbeat was keeping me awake.
I kept losing water quickly and stayed in a semi-doze until it was time to get-up and head to work. So no proper REM sleep, very achy, claggy, and still dehydrated. I think I need a lie-in. Said lie-in lasted until about 4pm. Feeling better with a good night's sleep though still a touch cricky in the neck and a hot sensation up my nose but good enough to venture out.
"Great" I thought until about 10 minutes ago, when my speech started to slip again and my balance started to skew. From typing my reflexes are still keen so driving is fortunately still an option, but I'll have to see what I'm like this afternoon. Anadin's seemed to help last time, but they have a tendency to knock me out so I don't take them if driving.
In better news I noticed I appeared in the print version of the paper again under the awards for the bridge entry and I may be appearing as a commentor in Which? magazine on a point about photography and print ratios. They want to send a professional photographer for a portrait to put next to the entry for "a more human touch" so no doubt it'll be while my nose is streaming and I look like I haven't slept in a week :-)
Friday, May 30, 2008
What a fun day I had yesterday. I should have spotted the symptoms on Wednesday when it took me three attempts to pronounce "propriety" and my temperature seemed to plummet (I ignored the first and assumed the latter was due to the screwed up weather) nevertheless I headed to bed as normal only to wake up around 1am in a state of mild dehydration. My nose and throat were claggy, my head and limbs ached and along with both of these the sound of my own heartbeat was keeping me awake.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I was going to say how much I'm enjoying this Spring Bank break, the weather is keeping people indoors and as such my journey times around the area have been reduced to half or even a third of the normal duration.
That was until Central Networks decided to dig up the middle of Stourport and we get yet another three-way set of traffic lights put up. In this instance they're digging up opposing corners of the little island Bridge Street/York Street and High Street/New Street. As you might expect there's little signage up and yes once again coming from York Street you're faced with a sign telling you the right-hand side is closed that has been carefully positioned before the closed off portion on the left.
No parking cones have been put up on both sides of Bridge Street near the top, but they appear to have been moved out of the parking bays. As you may recall me mentioning before that due to stupidity/carelessness/meh although the road is just wide enough to accommodate three lanes here, anyone passing these bays is technically overtaking. Now have cars parking there and put the first traffic light one car length beyond the bays and you get problems with the larger vehicles encroaching heavily on the wrong side of the road and interfering with the traffic coming down due to the angle they're being forced to turn out due to the roadworks.
So how long is this going to last for? Well the temporary traffic light application form for May doesn't list them, the weekly list ran out on the 25th and they're not on the main Schedule of Works - ah good to see our County Council fully utilising the up-to-the-minute benefits of the interweb.
Hah I've just had my answer a colleague has just mentioned they were taken them down as he came through. Whether this is an evening moratorium or a complete removal I'll see in the morning.
Okay assume I'm wrong and this isn't a ruse, don't look surprised I have been wrong on occasion before, listening to the bleating justifications coming from various heads I have to once again conclude that those people elected to represent us (well kind of) are drifting every further from the shores of reality.
The first problem is with all the news talking about retrospective/retroactive tax, talking to friends some seem under the impression that they're going to be getting a bill for that car they had two years ago; they're not. What all that stupidity is about is that this tax won't be applied solely to cars purchased that year, but also to cars bought in the last seven years.
The justifications consist of one rationale - that it will encourage people to buy 'greener' cars and they're right, while at the same time being idiots. If you're looking to buy a car for the first time or upgrading (or just bloody have to) then you will be most likely looking for a low emission type, however if you already own a higher-taxed car you've just been well and truly stuffed.
If you decide to change cars you will probably find that your current vehicle is now worth little more then scrap? So the choice is buy a new car at almost full value or suck up the hike in road tax. Although the first option may be the cheapest in the long term, the current situation in lending means this is out of reach for a lot of people unless they take out loans at an exorbitant rate.
So by raising the tax for older cars the government may well be keeping or putting more high emitting cars on the road, because those who were looking to buy a new one suddenly can't afford to, and those second-hand cars that are sold will see their prices drop and may suddenly become attractive despite the associated high road tax.
The news has of course been filled with the stories of the road tax hike and fuel duty increase. We've had hauliers petitioning, talking heads discussing what this means for the 'average' person, and ministers defending them; what we haven't had is an official announcement on any of this. I'll repeat that - none of this is official policy. This has caused me to pause for thought and wonder...
Consultant: "Okay the U-turn on the 10p..."
C: "Sorry, the readjustment of the 10p tax band didn't bring you back as high in the polls as we'd hoped. It seems that people think you don't listen to them..."
M: "I do, see I'm listening to you now"
C: "Of course, but it's what people perceive and at the moment that's the fact you don't listen to them or understand the hassles they're going through. It's time to get them back on our side"
C: "We'll leak news that you're going to raise road tax and fuel duty."
M: "Are you mad they'll crucify me"
C: "No no this won't be official policy. We'll let the news leak out, everyone will be up in arms, the papers and TV will slap it up as headline news and then... you come out and say it's not going to happen"
M: "They'll call it a U-turn, I can't do that"
C: "Remember it's not official policy. You come out and announce that it was indeed being looked at, but that you've decided that in this current economic climate it wouldn't be the right or fair thing to do. You show that you've listened to and understood the 'people' and everyone thinks what a nice guy you are."
M: "Hmmm I don't know"
C: "And as a bonus everyone will stop grumbling about the current rates of tax and duty because it could have got much worse"
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Following a bin lorry around I saw it had plastered on its side the statement that "One-third of food we buy is thrown out". Now just accepting the WRAP as given.. oh hell no I can't do that let's delve in
We throw away 6.7 million tonnes of food each year in the UK, when most of this food could have been eaten. (Its not just peelings and bones –its good food).Contrast this with the BBC's take which gives the figure as 3.3 million,which means that the "not just peelings and bones" makes up 3.4m or to put it another way - the majority.
Researchers found that more than half the good food thrown out, worth £6 billion a year, is bought and simply left unused or untouched.So although it's "more than half" we should recognise that if the figure approached any other form of target (two-thirds, three-quarters) then that's more likely to be used so we'll take it as exactly half the 3.3m tons or 1.65m tons; so let's guess that value at £3 billion, now...
The study revealed that £1 billion worth of wasted food is still “in date”So £1bn of the £3bn is presumably 0.55m tons of food. Hey look at that we've dropped from 6.7m tons of food to 0.55m tons of unused food thrown out that could have been eaten. Heck if I assumed that the £6bn figure referred to the "half" of good food and not the whole amount then we're talking 0.275m tons of food.
Now how did they get that monetary figure anyway? Well they don't say, but let's guess that if I bought an 800g loaf of bread for 65p and ended up throwing away 50g of it then that's 4p worth. Except my loaf of bread might have cost £1.35 in which case I've thrown away over 8p worth; same amount of waste, different cost. What if it was part of a BOGOF? I get two 800g loaves for £1.35, but one goes stale and I have to chuck 200g worth away - I've just wasted over 33p worth of food. Well no the part of the loaf I've chucked was free so at the most I've wasted about 17p worth. How has all this been calculated...who knows.
Okay having lightly fisked that let's get back to the proper question - "Why are we throwing food out?" over to that BBC page again
"A third of people are throwing away food that's cooked and left on the plate."Well yeah if you want to keep it you have to wrap it up, keep it stored, and guess how long it will last for and, worse yet, be expected to eat it before it goes off. Why bother when you can chuck it and if you fancy some again in a few days/weeks time just nip down to the store? You know it's in date, how long it will last and it isn't sitting in your fridge taking up space in the hope that you might be eating it at some time in the future.
Speaking of fridges another WRAP report sums up attitudes nicely with
by simply storing most fresh fruit and vegetables inside the fridge, these foods stay fresh for much longerSorry would this be the fridge that's already full of leftover food not to mention everything else that insists that "once opened keep refrigerated" which appears to be increasing. Yep of course we all have American style fridge-freezers the size of double wardrobes that blend well in our 20 foot square kitchens and presumably powered by their own roof-mounted wind turbine. Ah but it's all our own fault because...
part of the reason for the increase in waste was that people were buying more fresh produce, which had a shorter shelf life.There you go you should stop buying all this fresh produce and buy stuff injected with five kinds of preservatives. Of course it got mentioned on TV the fact that some are slavishly following the dates and "use within" markers on the packets without bothering to check if the food is still okay.
But still we can do better indeed as Zoe from London says
"I'd urge anyone who has some outside space to try composting."Kudos to Zoe for not making it 'I'd urge anyone to try composting' which introduces another question 'What is the waste distribution per capita across the country?'.
So the conclusion appears to be - we don't know how to either store or cook food properly and may have nowhere to recycle the true left-overs. The first requires education in food (which appears to be starting) and the second is food-pickups that are already being trialled in various areas. So what was the point of the media attention on this report again?
That's the headline in the latest Which? Magazine that looked at electrical stores selling digital boxes and DVD players. They sent staff out to buy a DVD recorder that could record Freeview programmes while using another digital box to watch a different channel. This should have been an easy task just buy a DVD recorder with a digital tuner.
They tried eight branches each of Comet, Currys/Currys.digital, and John Lewis, all the branches of John Lewis offered the right equipment as did all Currys.digital. However at various Currys and Comets they were offered DVD recorders with analogue tuners, or HDD recorders that wouldn't play or record DVDs.
Asking for a High-Definition player did better (possibly because they're newer and more expensive) with everyone offering a Blu-Ray player over the now defunct HD-DVD models, however at one branch of Currys.digital they were offered a £300 standard definition DVD recorder.
Am I surprised? Well if you've been reading my entries for a while you'll know the answer, remember most of these stores are selling HD televisions that are being displayed without being fed an HD-source. I bet they haven't even heard of FreeSat yet or think it's something to do with Sky.
Ah Spring Bank Holiday, so of course it started raining on Sunday and stopped somewhere in the middle of Monday evening. Highly annoying as I'd planned on heading up to Hartlebury Castle accompanied by the Bratii to see the Sir William Gascoigne’s Fellowship's recreation of 15th Century life.
They came over anyway and I entertained them, off-loading the two PS2 Lego Star Wars games onto Major in the process for a tenner. I'd noticed the Complete Saga for PS3 had dropped to £25 on Amazon and browsing around saw Woolies also had it at the same price so I ventured into Kiddy on Saturday to have a look for that and some other odds and ends I had to get while there anyway. Indeed Woolworths had the game in stock at £25, I chuntered over to the nearby Game store (of whom I possess a loyalty card) and found it there priced at £35. Locating a manager-type I held up the game for him to see -
"Woolworths are doing this for £24.99" I stated
He looked at me with a blank expression as if waiting for the punchline
"So can you do it for the same price?" I continued
"No" he said bluntly and with what seemed faint surprise that I'd even asked
"Okay", I said "I'll get it from there then" and then walked out and back across to Woolies where I picked it up.
Across to WHSmith's book store to see if the W40k Blood Angels Omnibus was out yet, yes Dan I'm a complete saddo :-) Anyway it wasn't and checking it isn't until the 2nd June, I'd got the dates muddled. While standing there I accidentally overheard someone reading the synopsis for Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere then looking at American Gods and commenting to her companion on how she'd been introduced to his writing, I headed over to WHSmith's fairly decent comic collection for a shufti and as she passed me to go upstairs I pointed out the Sandman collection to her which, it turned out, she didn't know existed. Ah it's good to turn the young (well young compared to me) to literature they might not even have thought to look at.
Back home I seeded the back lawn again with a multi-purpose granule thing. I'd done the same two weeks ago and it had turned the moss and weeds (i.e. the majority of the lawn) black while at the same time pushing through grass quite quickly. Anyway I'm going to try and keep up the dosing until it's reasonable then redo it every month or so to keep it that way so this time I seeded it with a slightly denser spread and ran out just as I got to the end of the main lawn and before I got to the auxiliary strip. Couldn't be arsed to go get some more that day 'It'll wait until Sunday' I thought; hah!
Spent some of Sunday doing a different kind of weeding, spam in my email. I seem to be getting a disproportionate amount in French and the filters don't seem to be catching it. Then tiring of that I spend a lazy time with some books and my new Lego Star Wars which is better in some ways then the PS2 versions, but worse in others. I'll knock out a review when I get chance.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Two delightful snippets from the BBC, the first from BBC Breakfast News with Harriet Harman discussing the Crewe by-election which they lost by a dumper truck full of votes to the Conservative party . To be honest they should consider themselves lucky to have come second rather then third or heck even positioned after The Flying Brick.
Discussing this we once again hear the tired old refrain of the 10p tax cut and how it shouldn't have been a big deal as the money was redistributed back in tax credits [which you have to apply for and wait and might not receive] and the adjustment in allowance [which we won't be seeing until September].
Look you want to gain the respect of the public admit you screwed it up, you got it wrong and you moved as quickly as possible to remedy the problem. But noooo you can't do that this whole thing was our fearless leader's idea, and all the other parties will laugh and point at you; best to just say it was the right thing to do and you were reacting to widespread public opinion with all those 'adjustments'
Anyway the most interesting remark from the Harman was that the public seem to expect the government to deal with the problems they're having at the moment in respect to the ever-increasing cost of living; wow I'd never have thought of that. I mean I thought it was just one big social club, heck dealing with current day problems; that wacky public. Next they'd be expecting MPs to account for the money they spend, produce an IT project on time and in budget and, you know, govern the country effectively; silly, silly public.
The other BBC snippet was regarding the failed bomb attack in Exeter and the state of the suspect Nicky Reilly
"We believe, despite his weak and vulnerable illness, he was preyed upon, radicalised and taken advantage of.""Despite"? Again wow 'cos you know I've never heard of any religion pushing the weak and vulnerable to join their 'gang'. Good old Richard Dawkins -
The reason organized religion merits outright hostility is that [...] religion is powerful, influential, tax-exempt and systematically passed on to children too young to defend themselves.Great headline again from the BBC Blast suspect was 'radicalised' which sounds either like a painful operation or an effect from the blast.
Oops one more via 5cc pointing to the Metro's front page headline Girl of 8 used as 'suicide' bomber. Okay read that headline again now pop quiz:
How old was the girl?
Think you know the answer, check the full story
the child, thought to be as young as eight,Yeah go on
The Americans called it a 'suicide' attack and put the number of injured at seven. Later, they gave the age of the girl as between 16 and 18.So once more - How old was the girl? At least the Metro included that portion as 5cc points out neither the Telegraph nor the Daily Mail have bothered.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I caught a news piece some days ago, and another article just jogged my memory, on the use of mobile phones in Afghanistan. Since 2001 they've been cropping up in the country like weeds, the report I watched even showed that phone shops were appearing that allowed people without a mobile to use one instore. From a Western perspective this seems a little surreal, but if considered in context it makes sense. When fixed lines first appeared they were expensive and few had them, public phonepoints were slowly rolled out for those without. Now imagine if we'd skipped the lines and gone straight to wireless; I think the situation would resemble the Afghan model. With no lines to lay or maintain it's cheaper and easier and you have the potential to gain a huge market base.
So why my headline? Well it seems someone's not happy about all this - yep the Taleban. According to them authorities are using the phone network to target them; as such they are 'banning' everyone from using them, but only at night. To enforce this they've been shooting up masts and transmitters and in capitulation some of the mobile companies shut down at night.
Now the excuse is an odd one, if you're a Taleban member and worried that you'll be targeted when using a mobile - don't use a mobile, it's hardly difficult. However in a last fit of pique it seems to be the understanding that if we can't use them no-one can that may completely alienate them from the populace. See the 'normal' people like the ability to call their family and friends whenever they like and being told by a bunch of armed thugs that they can't isn't going down to well.
Asimov in the Caves of Steel put it well when he had his character muse that a person who's never known luxury will put up only a small fight for it, but threaten to take luxury from someone and you've a fight on your hands. Through this one simple declaration the remains of the Taleban may have galvanised the populace to completely turn against them.
Other politicians take note.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
In vague ascending order:
Twice in a row I've been held up in traffic in the morning thanks to deliveries in High Street where the truck parks opposite the bus stop. Triple stupidity for a) parking there in the first place b) parking there between 8-9am when there's neither parking nor loading c) having a bus stop that the buses don't fit in. I've listed this first as the stupidity is spread around and I sympathise for the drivers who turn up to early - what are they supposed to do circle the block?
Home/Garden tips on GMTV this morning "Most people just use the shed to store their lawn mower, but why not turn it into a kids play room" Because then I wouldn't have any where to keep my lawnmower, dear gods man you give a reason why we don't do that in the same bloody sentence.
A couple of days ago in York Street, the cars had stopped at the mini-island and an elderly couple decided to cross at the Pelican. Walked between the queued cars in the one lane and almost stepped out in front of a car travelling perfectly legally in the other. The women only stopped thanks to a hastily flung out arm from the man, she seemed a little shocked and glanced up at the red Do Not Walk sign as if she thought it was green. Well the cars have stopped what are you supposed to assume? Sheesh.
The 'big' Moscow match again on GMTV a group of elderly women travel over and haven't booked any accommodation "What will you do?" asks Fiona, "We'll try to find something after the match" they reply, "Now that's dedication!" exclaims Fiona. No that's idiocy, maybe you can persuade the authorities to let you camp out on Red Square; if they object at least you'll be guaranteed somewhere to stay.
Finally; driving home last night, well shuffling forwards in the queue to OGL anyway, I spot a car behind me with a couple in the front seats. The female passenger with a baby (2-3?) perched on her lap and seated behind them in the middle seat is presumably their daughter (5ish?). "At least", I think "they've got one child seated correctly" At that point she stood up and using the passenger head-restraint to balance herself leant between the front seats to play with the beads dangling from the rear-view mirror and then spent most of the time hanging on to said restraint while watching the world from her window. Before anyone pipes in with suggestions this was an old van/car without seatbelts etc. this was a 57 reg and yes she was doing this while the car was moving.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Yet another international company, yet another error. Trying to register on a site just fill in a simple form and hit submit and "an error has occurred"
Unfortunately a problem has occurred with the [website]. Click here to return to the login page.There then follows some technical info on exactly what module failed. So I called them up and the first question asked
If you wish to report this problem then click here to send an email to [company] or call the E-Commerce Helpdesk on [number] between 08:30 and 17:30, Monday to Thursday, and between 09:30 and 17:30 on Friday.
"Are you using Internet Explorer?"
"No. Why would that make a difference?"
"Ah that'll be the problem. Our site's only designed to work with Internet Explorer"
"I don't know that's just the IT checklist I have"
"But all I've got is an error message, if it said at the beginning 'this site only works with IE' it might have helped; okay can I talk to someone else?"
"I don't know who I could put you through to"
"How about the site administrators?"
"They're in India I'll have to see if I can pass you through"
I get passed up to his boss
"Hi what's the problem?"
"I've just been told I can't use your site without Internet Explorer"
"Why? All I'm doing is posting you a simple form and getting a reply. What's my browser got to do with it, all the work's being done at your end at the server"
"Yeah it was designed for IE"
"So if I was using a Mac or Linux it's basically 'Sorry you can't use our site' that's insane"
"Yeah if I had a fiver for every complaint about that..."
"So is anyone doing anything about it?"
"No, well not right now. Give me your number and if anything alters I can call"
[sigh] Again I just don't get this attitude, sure if they're using ActiveX or some Microsoft only Java function (which they're not) then this one browser only attitude is understandable; but if not then it takes more work to break functionality at this level then to code for all browsers. I mean seriously how fundamental is posting form data?
I think I'll look up this company's boss email and send him a polite note s/he probably doesn't even know.
[Update - Wow that was quick someone just phoned to tell me the problem lies with the page coding and at the moment they're not prepared to change it - hey at least they're honest]
I've been catching the Great British Menu on BBC2 on and off and it's been interesting to watch what the chefs prepare in the competition to serve at the Gherkin for Heston Blumenthal's bash. Now we've got to the semi-final (or damn close) it's all gone a bit wrong.
We got to the end of the show and the three judges gave their verdicts on the seven chefs starter, but we still don't know who won because you, yes you, now get to vote and make up 50% of the total score. Head scratching time because there are two simple flaws in this arrangement, the first is obvious - we can't taste the dishes involved, hell we can't even smell them. This means half of the score will be based solely on visual appeal and to an extent the personality of the chef and more to an extent the region they come from (yes it's a regional competition).
The second problem is more subtle and assumes that the people voting actually like the people to whom this food will be served and want them to have the best. Anyone who had the misfortune to watch "I'm a celebrity get me out of here" will know that the public may not pick the one who may succeed, but the one they hope will fail and be humiliated.
So what's the purpose of this vote? I could be cynical and say it's all about the money, but I think it's the new direction to making every bloody thing on television interactive whether it improves the format or not.
Personally I don't care who wins, but I think this microcosm of voting represents some fundamental aspects of voting in a wider sense. The two problems here are that you don't have enough information to make a decision and that said decision doesn't affect you in any way. I bring this up because there's been much discussion over on the WFA about the unelected positions on committees and how we the public don't seem to get much of a say in how or even what is done in out locality.
In the case of the food vote it's simply not feasible to prepare the starters for everyone in the country to try and, as I said, who cares anyway; this however is not a problem for decisions made by out councils. All the information available to them should be available to us and as it's in our backyard it may very well be of importance to us.
I'm purposefully not finishing this thought, just throwing it out there for consideration.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Saturday was a bit of a wash-out, but Sunday morning was very nice so I hit the basins armed with my camera and a tripod. I'd been looking into High Dynamic Range photography; in essence you take the same picture multiple times, but with a different exposure. The idea is that at a darker exposure you gain details in the lighter areas and at a lighter exposure you gain details in the darker areas, combine them all with some digital wizardry and you end up with a photo that should represent better what the photography actually saw.
Anyway as you can guess taking multiple photos to combine requires either a camera with an automatic bracketing facility and a steady hand, or a tripod. As I have neither of the first two it's lucky I have a tripod :-)
So I parked on Raven Street took some shots of the Civic Centre, headed down to the Meadows to the bandstand and then along the river up to the basin.
So I took an Auto shot then 3 or 5 Program shots with exposure compensation from -2 to +2 which was a simple arrow back and forth.
Then I picked up Qtpfsgui an open source program that loads JPG images and outputs an HDR image. A quick play with that and tone-mapping produced not very brilliant results. I could have a play, but instead I'll try < ahref="http://hdrsoft.com" target="soft">Photomatix which seems to be the stand-alone HDR software that gets mentioned the most. It's £50 to buy, but you get an unlimited trial that slaps a watermark on the end image.
Looking at their examples I may have taken the images incorrectly, which might explain my results with Qtpfsgui. Anyhoo Photomatix has an Exposure combine facility so I've tried that and the results aren't too shabby although their file sizes are twice as large.
Si I'm uploading the two Auto photos followed by two Exposure combines and one HDR tone-mapped photo. I've just used the auto settings in Photomatix except for a slight tweak on the HDR.
As a final test I used plain old Paint Shop Pro and loaded the 0,-2,+2 photos as three layers and had a play with the blend functions. In this instance I ended up with Normal, Soft Light and Hard Light respectively.
I'll say the Auto is a good enough shot, the Exposure combines look a little more like what I saw, but personally I prefer the Paint Shop Pro version even if if does require some manual alignment tweaking (which I couldn't be arsed to do this time around). I'll still have a look at Qtpfsgui in an attempt to replicate Photomatix and save myself fifty quid, but at medium print size the Paint Shop Pro ones I think are fine. Heck I even get greater control and more things to fiddle with.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Flicking through the channels this morning and I stumbled across a story on the BBC about a town using donkeys to carry their shopping up a steep hill. "That's odd", I thought, "Didn't they do that story a couple of months back?" The report started and didn't look like the same area. "Perhaps they were inspired by that other story" I thought, then they showed two women and a dog clambering up the steps on this hill and "That's the same footage they used in the previous report!".
"We've been here before" said the reporter "Yes I know" I said before the interviewee replied "Yes we used donkeys in the 30's"
I'm guessing I saw this on our local news and it's only just permeated through to the national level, got to be at least two months old.
I'm guessing despite the earthquake, cyclone, and local political woes it must have been a slow day as GMTV were asking the most pressing question of the day "What's the best way to boil an egg?" To which my answer was - there is no 'best' way to boil an egg as it's purely a matter of taste; that would be like asking 'What's the best amount of salt and vinegar to put on your chips?'.
In case that wasn't pointless enough their news segment then talked about our child obesity "epidemic", how they may introduce stomach stapling and how some obese children have to wear masks to sleep to stop them suffocating. Again here's an odd thought - Parents, stop letting your children eat whatever they bloody like; take some ******* personal responsibility and teach them not only to eat correctly but why they should. Wah wah we haven't got time, why can't the schools do it, why can't we make businesses stop selling food that our kids buy with the money we give them, why can't we all have a personal chef to cook out meals when we get home instead of bringing in a takeaway wah, wah.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Just logged on to our bank's website to sort some money matters out and a notice tells me they're introducing a faster transfer system as of the 27th.
The new service will be integrated into the existing Bill payment function. In preparation for the launch, from 12 May 2008, messages will be displayed advising the route the payment will take.Wow there really are times I wonder if I'm really dealing with one of the largest international banks in the world or a Mom & Pops Savings & Loan. Hmm I wonder what Gail's take on this would be?
All of these messages should be ignored until Faster Payments goes live on 27 May as all payments will be sent the existing 3 day route
Just come through town and they've cordoned off the right-hand lane of Mitton Street just off its entrance, no idea why and there's nobody about. That's not the cause of my weeping though.
Despite the fact that there's a bloody huge sign at the left-hand continuation from Worcester Road into Mitton Street telling everyone the right-hand lane's closed; despite the fact you can see from the corner that the right-hand lane is closed; despite both those facts traffic is still stopping at the left-hand entrance lane from Worcester Road to let the traffic from Gilgal come down and change lanes.
Seriously what is wrong with you people?
[Update - it was moved last night, but all the barriers were still stacked up on the side]
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I've not said anything about the proposed closure of Lickhill Primary as I've no emotional or personal involvement; yeah yeah I'm completely self-centred, but at least I acknowledge it. Anyhoo my interest was peaked by Tav's commenting on trying to get information out of the WHub and I ended up reading the minutes of the meeting. Actually I ended up reading them several times because the logic didn't make sense until I read the consultancy documents.
Here's the rough deal:
The suggestion is that instead of having 2 schools each taking up to 30 pupils in each year group there would be 1 school admitting up to 60 pupils in a year group described as 2 FE.Sounds logical and cost-effective. The public consultation went out the beginning of 2007 asking for a simple yes or no to:
Having read the consultation document you will know that the Local Authority is suggesting amalgamating the new Lickhill and Stourport Primary Schools to form a new 2 FE primary school on the current Lickhill Middle School site.Now it's important to note that it has always been the intention of moving the Stourport Primary to the Lickhill Middle site, but that it was going to be rebuilt as a 1FE school. So if you're building anyway might as well suggest making it a 2FE and close the smaller Lickhill school, again logical.
On this consultation they only received 88 responses with 54 Nays and 29 yays. It's not many so on to the second consultancy phase. Here's the yes/no question:
Having read through this consultation document you will know that the Local Authority is proposing to expand Stourport Primary School and close Lickhill Primary School to form a new 2FE primary school on the site of the former Lickhill Middle School.This time they had 591 responses of which 535 were against. Read that again carefully and compare it to the first consultancy question. The actual question itself has not changed merely the focus. This is made clear when you read the minutes of the meeting on page 5
The report made clear that the issues raised were largely to do with the establishment of a 2 FE Primary which had been the focus of the first round of consultation, rather than the method of implementing such a change whichThe first question was clear-cut "Are you in favour of closing Lickhill, and Stourport Primary Schools and replacing them with one big school?" the second was "Are you in favour of closing Lickhill Primary and expanding Stourport Primary?" In other words the second consultancy question sets up a bias. People who may not object to both schools being amalgamated may object to one school being amalgamated despite the end result being completely identical.
was the focus of the latest round of consultation.
Likewise is the case of not being able to respond to the unasked question "Are you in favour of closing Stourport Primary and expanding Lickhill Primary?", if you're going to move Stourport Primary anyway why not expand Lickhill instead? This question would never occur in the first phase because the ascendancy of one school over another only occurs in the second phase.
Poorly phrased people, poorly phrased.
Like some others on the original page the results are not only linked incorrectly but appear to be either missing or spelt wrongly. Again Tav comes through with a search term to locate the breakdown of results of the second consultancy and it's interesting to note the paucity of votes from the Stourport Primary camp, is this a case once again of 'won't affect me' syndrome?
So am I in favour of the amalgamation or not, well I can see both the case for a single new school and the current small-style teaching. Taking into account that Stourport Primary is likely to be moved regardless I have to fall in favour of the one big school. Even if the building of a new 1FE instead of a 2FE school leaves some extra money in the pot for spending on Lickhill, I think it will be like patching the system instead of pulling the thing apart and putting it down right.
I know this view won't do me any favours, but I try to be honest.
As you may or may not know the Chancellor announced a mid-year alteration to the current tax bands. If like the media that's all you read then you've probably got no real idea what this means. Better to read the HMRC's own version of this which gives you both figures for the new bands.
Okay, the hassle is no-one is talking about national insurance thresholds, it's only a measly 11%/1% split so who cares. Well it makes a difference, compare my original percentage difference graph below for income tax with the one next to it which includes national insurance
See that dip in the middle, that's caused by the inclusion of people into the 11% band who used to be in the 1% band. So with no data I have to assume that the bottom rate of NI matches the allowance for Income Tax (as it has so far) and that the top rate isn't being changed.
So with those assumptions taking the differences from the 07/08 rates we end up with the following graph, the blue line representing the percentage differences from 07/08 to the current 08/09 rates and the pink line the percentages differences from 07/08 to the newly announced figures.
So is this a good thing or not? Well everybody is above the line now, but the government have needed to borrow another large chunk of money at a time when nobody wants to lend any. Ah well time will tell.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
A report from the news that voices concern that with all these exams pupils are only being taught to pass them rather then gain an underlying knowledge of the subject. Um duh, what did anyone expect when they started to use the same results to judge teachers and schools by?
Let's say I'm teaching Jimmy Genius and Johnny Dumbo. Jimmy grasps the basics that he needs to pass the exams quickly; Johnny on the other hand is playing catch-up. So a teacher has a choice - teach each section including the underlying knowledge and have to repeat it until Johnny has grasped even the basics with the result that Jimmy gets bored and you might not get to finish all the sections before the exams; or teach only the basics of each section enough to get through the exams, stretch those points until Johnny has grasped them and only after all the sections are complete go back to fill in the rest of the knowledge.
Okay I'm painting it a bit black and white here, but if the latter scenario results in both Jimmy and Johnny getting a passing grade and the former a fail for Johnny, but a better grade for Jimmy; and then you're told your job and school are being judged on the number of passes then what would you do?
I'm not saying this is the way things are done, I hope they're not, but it has to be recognised that if you take a particular measure and use it as a standard of performance then there's a tendency to shift priorities into improving that measure regardless of whether doing so actually increases the actual performance that the measurement was instigated for in the first place.
Case in point - Call centre operators can be judged by the number of calls they deal with, they may not be judged by the number of calls they resolve. So the priority here shifts to the length of the call - can I get this person off the line in the shortest amount of time possible so as to be available to answer another call. Does this help the customer, nope.
In the case of exams who can even pretend to be shocked or amazed that the priority may have shifted to increasing the pass rate rather then educate; show me that person and I'll show you someone who doesn't have a basic grip on reality (so that seems to include most politicians and the media)
Monday, May 12, 2008
I ventured out into the sun very briefly over the weekend and came back in hot and with my skin starting to turn red; an annoyance with my colouration as I go from white to lobster and back again, but rarely this quickly. Anyway as a result a lot of stuff I wanted to do didn't get done, so I've been working on my Stourport town alteration guide spurred on by Tav's efforts with Kidderminster.
Likewise he's slipped me the address of a new blog by Nigel Addison cheekily entitled "Will the real Wyre Forest Stand Up". It took a couple of reads for me to grasp the address I kept reading it as "there al wyre forest" and trying to work out what or who the heck "al" was :-) Not much up at the moment due to its being three days old, I expect it'll be more Woverley and Kidderminster based and thus provide more specific information on developments there in the same way I try to do for Stourport so I'll add it to the list.
Friday, May 09, 2008
A lovely little story from the Shuttle on how they're cracking down on people who illegally park on pavements and grass verges...
Comments anyone? Okay as I've said on Flickr there aren't any parking restrictions on this road, but they're still parked on the pavement, and a grass verge, and next to a drive opening. It gets better when you take a look how they searched the car. The lone AA guy who fixed my clutch took more precautions then the police, though that's not saying anything as anyone who took any precautions would have done more then the police here.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Tav over on WFA has alerted me to the objections on air quality grounds to the Tesco development I've commented there, but it led me to a longer document that needs some closer attention.
A 46-page Appendix on the full Tesco in Stourport proposal with lots of neat summaries.
The first 5 pages are blah background on the original proposals, rejections, and appeals. Neat point on 1.3 which declares
the site lies within the Town Centre Inset on the WFLP Proposals Map, but lies outside of the identified Primary Shopping Area of Stourport on SevernSo is that Edge of Centre or Out of Centre which are the terms bandied about in the planning documents?
Hold on to your hats for 1.6 this summarises the main works that Tesco propose to um make every little bit help?
"Upgrading of Severn Road and the new Link Road to Discovery Road" amazing you'd think they'd want people to be able to drive to their store - duh?
"Provision of a shared pedestrian and cycle way on Severn Road and the new Link Road." Hmm so a pedestrian bridge and a vehicular bridge with a shared pedestrian/cycle route. Oo I know how about directing all pedestrians to their own bridge and just having a non-shared cycle route?
"Signalised junction at Mitton Street / Severn Road including full pedestrian crossing facilities." Well it needs the crossing to be classed as EOC (according to the consultants report). However this means that everyone will switch to the right-hand lane until they're past Severn Road because traffic waiting to turn will block up the left-hand lane. It gets better when done in conjunction with -
"Improvements to pedestrian widths along Mitton Street." So unless they're thinking of knocking down walls and buildings this means narrowing two lanes that can barely allow two larger vehicles to pass as it is. Meh everyone will be using the right-hand lane anyway except -
"Signalised pedestrian crossing facilities at the Mitton Street/Lion Hill junction." will cause a queue to form in the left-hand lane and everyone whose been using the right-hand lane to avoid the first junction will start to block that lane as they try to merge with a queue. Locals might want to think of it as becoming a blind version of Gilgal in the morning rush, but for the afternoon and evening.
"Vehicle access to the development via a new priority junction with Severn Road. New access road incorporates a shared pedestrian and cycle way, Toucan crossing and bus lay by." This sounds like the island, note yet another shared cyclist pedestrian system.
"New signal pedestrian crossing across Severn Road between the development access road and Lichfield Street." Yay another crossing. I'd just like to point out that we have an entire three crossings in town (which aren't linked) and we're doubling that number just to help people get to Tesco. Oh okay it helps people who want to get into town too, but we all know that's not why they're being proposed.
"One-way operation on Lichfield Street towards Severn Road." Nope can't argue with that about time too.
"New footway outside 10 Severn Road (no existing footway) and 12-14 Severn Road including extended vehicle crossovers to replace existing lay by." No real comment seems fine to me.
"New bus stops on Severn Road close to the store access." because it's important people without cars can get here and not spend as much money. Hmm a niggle is reminding me to ask how the longer buses will around, I'll have to check on the plans.
"New pedestrian bridge linking the store with Pinta Drive and adjoining residential area." No really problem there if it's well lit.
"A Travel Plan Framework, which suggests a new bus service (eg a ‘Hopper’ bus) to connect the town centre with the site, and amendments/improvements to other local services to serve the site." [sigh] yet another 'Look we've got links to the town and aren't yanking everyone from the businesses there' Heh I love the phrase 'serve the site' yes masters.
A pedestrian walkway is proposed along the riverbank,Damn this starts to sound like the Kidderminster Tesco more and more.
planted with appropriate trees and vegetation.Yep just like in Kidderminster. More blah until 3.2 when we talk dirty, dirty cash with £573,000 towards an enhanced Stourport bus service, hey this wouldn't be the bus service to the store and the "Hopper" would it?
To contribute to the investigation and development of proposals to improve the junction of York Street / High Street / Bridge Street / New Street. The developer to contribute £50,000.00 payable prior to the opening of the store.Read carefully. Okay done now did you spot the clever phrasing? Was it "contribute to the investigation and development to improve the junction" nope see the added "of proposals" in there. They just have to look at how the junction could be improved while not being required to spend any money on the actual improvement finally recommended.
To contribute to a scheme to improve pedestrian accessibility by improving the status of Lodge Road. The developer to contribute £30,000 payable prior to the commencement of development.Which they need to do to be classed as EOC. Oo thanks for improving the access here that you have to do to be able to build, right generous of you.
To contribute to the enhancement of pedestrian and cycle access around Stourport on Severn through signage and street furniture. The developer to contribute £20,000 payable prior to the commencement of development.Still love "street furniture". Presumably we're talking about signs telling you how to get to Tesco and benches to sit on while you wait for the "Hopper" to take you to Tesco :-P Okay we really do need signs and more benches so I'll give this a pass.
To promote and make best efforts to introduce traffic regulation orders, details to be agreed with the Highway Authority in accordance with the approved highway improvement works. The applicant will contribute all costs associated with the implementation of these orders.The first bit of legalese. In this instance the TRO is a legal document setting out restrictions such as creating cycle lanes and one-way streets. They require consultations and advertising and here we see Tesco will be paying for those, which is fair enough as that's why they need to be created in the first place.
Then blah blah as nobody raises any major objections except the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust who fricks the wetlands study and the good old Civic society who contest - that the store is disproportionate to needs [dealt with in the Retail document], the need for a petrol station [it's an "expected" part of such a store and don't forget we may be losing one on Vale Road], the adequacy of the local road infrastructure [dealt with above] and
- The design of the building and the proposed materials pay no regard to local distinctiveness or character
- Bicycle provision is a token gesture with no thought given to access for cyclists
- The riverside walkway should be linked through to Worcester Road
- Better access for bus passengers is required
- Car park layout needs reconsidering to provide turning points and taxi pick up/set down points
- Where are the staff parking areas?
- Delivery Lorries should be restricted to Discovery Road
- Question whether Mitton Street is a suitable pedestrian link to the town centre?
- Vale Street/Mitton Street junction layout welcomed, but question whether this will have any impact on traffic to or from the site?
- Wetland Feasibility Study welcomed, but question whether there will be a Management Plan?
This takes us to the top of page 17, the remaining pages are filled with long justifications as to how they can build here, why it's not out-of-centre, how it'll help business, the economy, shoppers and puppies. Okay maybe not that last one, but I doubt anyone would notice if if did get slipped in amongst the acronyms and long titles.
So has this told us anything new? No not really, but does act as a nice summary to everything that's been going on.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Just checked my own feed and found no entries past the 25th of April, so I rechecked the feed address I was using and it's different to the current one being used. Plugged in the new address and hey presto there they were.
So anyone who feeds from here and is wondering why I've been so quiet you might want to check your settings.
[sigh] The irony that people who are still using the old feed address won't see this is not lost on me.
Freesat the new digital delivery service launched yesterday to enormous fanfare (yeah it only just blipped up on my radar); 'but', I hear you ask, 'hasn't Freesat been around for ages?' No, no silly people you're thinking of Freesat this is Freesat (B5 fans add your own Zathras joke here).
This is the service launched by the BBC and ITV to provide free-to-view channels to the 13% of the country who won't be able to get the full Freeview service when the analogue broadcast is switched off. It's also offering HD services from the off without requiring a subscription unlike Sky+, and it'll also hook up to your broadband connection so you can use services such as the BBC's iPlayer.
Installation seems to be set at £80, but you may be able to use your current satellite dish; the el-cheapo boxs seem to be around the £50 mark, but you'll need to pony up around £120 if you want HD. If you want one that has a built-in recorder who knows. One is listed, but doesn't actually seem to be a recorder not having a hard-drive spec. Oh and so far they're all single tuners so that means you can watch one and only one channel at a time.
To be fair on that last point this is exactly the same situation that met the start of the Freeview boxes; to be even more fair that was several years ago and the launch range of Freesat boxes should at least be comparable with its older sibling.
So far the channel line-up matches the basic Freeview except for some tweaks - you don't have Five yet, nor Virgin1, Sky3, or UK History (and a couple of others) . You do get three extra Childrens channels, a couple of entertainment channels (I use the term loosely), and some movie channels - Movies4 Men seemingly dedicated to war and westerns, and two True Movie channels broadcasting the type of low-budget daytime soap true-story movies that Channel 4 and Five occasionally broadcast on an afternoon when they're feeling particularly vindictive towards their viewers.
Hopefully that will change with spokespeople saying they hope to add another 30 odd channels of crap each month to reach around 300 channels with nothing on that you want to watch. Well they didn't quite say that, but that's what the result will be.
[sigh] Okay as I've discussed before OFCOM are going to frick about with the Freeview channels to shoehorn in a couple of HD broadcasts, which only purchasers of new equipment will be able to watch and the scope for expansion on terrestrial broadcasting is limited. So this is an inevitable step
If you absolutely have to have HD broadcasts now then you've probably already got Sky+ and at the moment despite it's "free" tag the BBC/ITV Freesat service isn't worth it. If you haven't gone digital yet, then Freesat is worth looking at, but wait until the IDTV's are out alongside the recorders and twin-tuners. If you've already got Freeview then you won't really get anything out of Freesat at the moment, but if the line-up improves along with HD broadcasts it might be worth switching in a few years.
Prediction time - come 2012, thanks to the take-up of Freesat, terrestrial broadcasting will start to be phased out. The government will talk about the lack of expansion and coverage etc. and won't mention the huge amount of wonga they'll be getting by selling off this chunk of the spectrum to various interests. Expect petitions from owners of listed and conservation buildings who can't erect satellite dishes and the announcement of Freeband, whereby your normal TV line-up is sent down your telephone line and decoded using a special box.
Come 2020 expect Freesat to be phased out in favour of Freeband for exactly the same reasons.
Our illustrious Prime Minster has examined the advice given to him by the professionally-varied expert panel and agreed with them to put cannabis back up to a Class B drug... wait what do you mean they recommended it stay where it was in C; but that would mean Brown ignored his own experts he must have some good reason for doing so surely?
Appearing on GMTV he told the sofa sitters that he was doing this because of 'skunk'. That's right cannabis is now so strong it's at lethal dosage he's just protecting the kids; wow how did the experts miss that? Well they didn't they just placed the risk at minimal if any.
Right I've dealt with a lot of this before, but this is getting beyond a joke; so far every case they've wheeled out as evidence that cannabis is dangerous deals with prolonged and highly active use. Hmm a substance that causes problems if used too much and over a prolonged time frame, that would describe tobacco, alcohol, or various types of medication wouldn't it?
Ah but it's the strength that Brown is worried about, so um why are we getting stronger stuff? Well imagine I have a 1kg bag of (arbitrary) strength 1 cannabis, to sell it I split it into thirty-three 30g bags and sell them at £30 each that equals £990. Now imagine I have the same quantity but in strength 2 I split it into sixty-six bags of 15g and still sell it at £30 that's double the money at £1,980 for transporting the same weight and size of drug. Legally the old, old phrase "might as well be hung for a sheep as a goat" comes into play so I might as well bring in as strong a stuff that I can.
So that's what we call economics Mr Brown, being a former Chancellor you should know this type of thing.
So what could be done to limit the strength of cannabis, which seems to be the basis of Mr Brown's decision to put it back into Class B? We could legalise and regulate it just like we already do for tobacco and alcohol. Sell it in regulated strengths and measures, stick warnings on the containers, and tax it; again just like we already do for tobacco and alcohol.
Are there risks associated with taking cannabis - yes; I won't say there aren't, but the self-harm risks are the same as for legal drugs (although some reports suggest subtle effects such as memory loss), and the other-harm risks match the drunken brawls we already see.
So why isn't it legalised, because it's bad and dangerous and oh won't somebody please think of the children!
[Update - gotta love Daily Mash]
[Update 2 - more links Obsolete, Flat Earth News]
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Heh forgot to mention one of my comments on the Shuttle site made it into print. Wow I feel proud and slightly validated :-P
Just to keep the balance and show I won't fawn over the Shuttle now, they're celebrating the opening of a Tesco Express in Kidderminster. I'll avoid the obvious cause for celebrations and take small task with the "£200 IN TESCO EXPRESS GIFT CARDS TO BE WON" headline; there is indeed £200 in gifts to be won, but split into four £50 vouchers. As only one entry per household is allowed you can't win £200 worth. Strictly speaking it is correct, just a tad misleading in my opinion.
Posted by FlipC at 3:28 pm
The lights were thankfully taken down for the Weekend and I slipped away from the Bratii to grab some photos (uploaded as and when) and it looks good, in and of itself. I'm still curious as to what's being done where they've abruptly finished especially as the river side and end is finished properly with a delineating row of bricks and the opposite end just stops. Rumours on decoration or non-slip surfaces float around, but as there seems to be no official plan available online who knows?
Anyway the lights went back up this morning, but so far only two-way, which will be interesting.
One for Dan H :-) from my perspective a cyclist on the pavement behind me to my right heading in the same direction as me stops to cross the road at the controlled crossing point, stops there for a moment doing something which turns out to be opening a can of drink. Holding on to one handle and trying to hold on to the other whilst gripping the can he wobbles diagonally away from the crossing towards me in the overtake position cuts through the cars to bounce up to the other pavement to cross the bridge. Remember this is the bridge with the iron tank buster kerbs which makes it more difficult for even pedestrians to pass each other.
Approaching the lights I'm forced to slow down as three children play hop on the road - first and third child hopped from pavement to the road and then back while the second alternated, they had their backs to the traffic and had their parent/guardian adult bringing up the rear watching them. What the hell is wrong with some people?
Busy Saturday, some quick shopping in the morning meant passing PC World and on a whim I poked my head in. They had three LCD televisions set up in the entrance, I was amused to note that the one with the least judder, sharpening and best colours turned out to be the cheapest of the three. Looked at their rears and yes plugged in with component cables. Wandering further in I had a play with Ratchet and Clank on the PS3 via a television that amazingly was connected via an HDMI cable. Although R&C only goes as high as 720p when initialising the PS3 seemed to think the TV was a 1080p; as the box in question was only £500 this seemed odd.
Heading to the back to investigate further and once again the FullHD and HDReady televisions are being fed via a combination of component and composite cables; one TV kept losing the signal and some of the more expensive ones looked worse then the cheaper ones due to poor configuration.
Likewise football is not a good programme to display if you're a retailer with the fast movement of the ball showing up any form of jitter; although as mentioned the connections really don't help here.
Busy Saturday afternoon, lazy Sunday morning as it was a bit of a wash-out, busy Sunday afternoon.
The Bratii came over on Monday and we went down the river and the amusement park. Okay people it's not a difficult concept, but if you want people to be able to read any signs you put up then placing them above knee level would be a good start. The queue for the ticket booth got jammed up as people tried to enter through the exit, because they couldn't see the entrance sign, and I couldn't find the one open entrance (out of four) to one ride because likewise the sign was obscured by people.
Major was unimpressed by the vertical round-and-round, he's been on too many. Minor and I had fun on the dodgems and in this case there are clearly visible signs telling you to travel in only one direction and that head-on collisions are not allowed. Didn't stop some people and the attendant, though insistent that Minor wasn't allowed to even touch the wheel when we got in, did nothing to stop the continual flouters of this rule. Minor being small got a bit shaken about because of this and didn't enjoy it as much as he might.
Major and I went on to the horizontal round-and-round, which was fun even if I did get squashed
as Major was forced against me. Some small form of divider between the seats might be nice, although I'll remember this ride for future female company.
Minor went on the teacups of which we exploited a loophole in the sign "Parents do not spin the cups" with neither I nor Major being parents :-)
Major insisted he have a go on the slide, Minor deferred and was perhaps wise to do so as it ran very slowly with Major barely reaching the end mat and looking very bored.
Over to the green Crazy Golf, where Major once again showed up his lack of dexterity and patience by being beaten by his brother 64 to 60. The gap would have been even wider if Minor had at times just tapped the ball into the hole rather then repeatedly nudged it (I counted each hit) and so despite this smaller gap Major went into a huff and we decided it was time to head back.
Friday, May 02, 2008
...of no surprise to anyone whose been conscious for the last month.
And yes as Tav (and I) predicted all the government party representatives are using this local election as reflection/vindication of their national policies.
Good old BBC Breakfast had Harriet Harman on (via link-up) and she talked about viewing the results as a 'need to listen to the people'. In fact she mentioned that twice in the first part of her reply which I think caused Susanna Reid to snap and come back with 'But some people might think you should have done that before the election'... marry me Susanna and bear my children :-) Heh what a wild idea, political parties listening to people at times other then elections.
Harriet then waffled on about the economic turn and the 10p rate and the effect that had; yeah just want to point out those are national policies not local policies. Again seriously is it any wonder that people might use the local elections to reflect national issues when both MPs and the media collude in conflating the two? I didn't vote the way I did because of the national policies of the party, I voted because I thought that, of the choices, this candidate was the person who best matched my opinions of what needs to be done locally.
Likewise every national interview that I've seen so far regarding the results have been conducted with party members who were not standing in this election in context it would be like popping over to the EU Parliament to interview the leaders of the voting blocs on what they made of our General Election and ignoring the British MPs themselves.
Maybe we can change the rules, maybe we can separate national and local parties? If you want to form a new party for local elections then no member can stand for that party nationally and vice versa. Oh sure you'd get the old IRA/Sinn Féin dichotomy that's understandable, but at least there would be a conscious effort to split the two political systems and a better chance that neither party would be seen to be kowtowing to their 'brother' party.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I'm not a Londoner and as such have no say in their Mayoral elections. So why the vote Siân title?
(or "vote-sin" as Blogger names the file, which is just as fine with me)
Because despite not being a Londoner I'm going to be subjected to watching and listening to their Mayor on the national news with every decision they make regardless of its affect on me or anyone else outside the city.
So seeing as their policies or credentials have almost zero relevance to me I'll urge the voters to choose the prettiest of the candidates; much better for the rest of the country then suffering four years of watching and listening to Brian, Boris, or Ken.
In commenting on an entry by David Wysocki I had to wrack my brains to recall what I've got set to permanently record on my PVR via its series link option.
Doctor Who - BBC1
Have I Got News for You - BBC1
Heroes - BBC2
Inside the Medieval Mind - BBC4
Bionic Women - ITV2
Dirty Sexy Money - Ch4
The Big Bang Theory - Ch4
Reaper - E4
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Virgin1
With only four of those I'd get miffed at missing, two I'd say "damn it. Ah well" and three that would get a "meh" Feel free to guess what emotion matches to which programme :-)
The point is that of, say, 15+ channels equalling 2,500 hours a week less then 10 attract any of my continued attention.
Time to vote for the people you think will be the best for your community.
There was a story a couple of days back regarding an area (not naming names) Labour led for twenty years, but the consensus was it would switch back to Conservative control. This area had low unemployment, ranked highly in the standards of living and amenities and was overall a nice place to live and work; so why the potential change? Because the populace were fed up with the Labour government and this seemed to be the only way to legitimately voice their disfavour.
Think about it. In this country it seems people are prepared to vote against a council that has created prosperity in their area, just to spite the country's government who have little if anything in common with the 'ordinary' councillors. If this is the only way the people can give voice then I'm sorry but this is not a democracy and until we get the ability to remove officials from office at our pleasure and not theirs it never will be.
Good old Daily Mash