Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The public interest

Am I alone in suspecting that Jack Straw is not really quite the best person to be offering an entirely objective judgement on whether we should get to see the Cabinet minutes on the meetings that led up to the Iraq invasion?

Still, it's nice to know that he's been keeping on top of his data security brief and practicing what he preaches when it comes to data sharing.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Would you compare Allen Stanford to Nelson Mandela? No, honestly, I jest not...

You'd probably have thought that Giles Clarke and David Collier would have been considering their positions at the ECB given recent events (don't hold your breath though).

One person who should certainly be considering his position is the BBC's 'sports editor', Mihir Bose. This bit of smarmy flannel takes some beating; Mihir's obviously first in line to replace Giles Clarke when that gentleman finally bows to the inevitable.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Unfortunately it is not possible to protect children from the stupidity of their parents, and the parents of both these children seem to have stupidity in abundance, if not worse.

The CPS may have decided that it's not in the 'public interest' to prosecute Alfie (although they don't seem to have even considered prosecuting Chantelle, the older of the two). How about prosecuting the parents? And, for that matter, taking their children into care?

That a predictable section of our media are bent on chucking money at the families in question is not only singularly unedifying but raises the possibility that this echoes the Karen Matthews case where financial gain was the motive all along.

Still plotting

What's new? You read it here first.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

One out, all out?

You'd have thought that the WTA would have long since cancelled the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, given the refusal of a visa to Shahar Peer. Whatever happened to the much vaunted 'player power' that supposedly exists within the professional game? Best not to ask Venus Williams. "All the players support Shahar" she tells us for all the good that's going to do anyone.

Unfortunately Dubai hosts the richest tournament on the circuit, and (when it comes to professional tennis players) money talks.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Delivering best value for the taxpayer

Jacqui Smith has become something of a favourite on this blog what with her inimical skill in raising one's blood pressure with every utterance and all. So one has to acknowledge her selfless commitment to her work where she is prepared to rough it round at her sister's rather than claim a large Parliamentary allowance for some spurious second 'home' like so many of her colleagues would do.

You know that an MP is unashamedly on the make as soon as they start claiming that they've 'broken no rules'. Ms Smith goes down that route adding the (somewhat ironic given the context)comment that her claim is "above board". She goes further though, claiming to have longstanding approval for her highly unconventional domestic arrangements. Well that's what she likes to imply, although the reality is somewhat different, "I have always been very clear with the authorities about the arrangements that I made. I specifically asked whether or not the home where my children live had to be my main home. I received assurances it didn't have."

It doesn't matter whether Ms Smith's allowances claim is within the rules; morally it is utterly corrupt. It is difficult to know why she should need a second home at all given that Redditch is within easy commuting distance of London anyway. It is MPs like our sleazy Home Secretary who lend the most strength to the argument that all MPs allowances should be ended, they're paid more than enough without them. Hopefully the voters of Redditch will take account of the stench of greed Ms Smith trails in her wake come the next election.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Should we join the Euro?

If the'll have us, that is. Yes we should. The current rock-bottom value of sterling makes it all the more sensible, since it would mean that the UK would retain the economic advantage that we already have - our exports are cheap and imports will soon be quite expensive, which is a wonderful basis on which to trade providing we learn to stem our inate preference for imported goods.

We should of course have joined the Euro from day one. Yet again we find ourselves outside a club that one day or another we'll end up joining, almost certainly on considerably less favourable terms given the delay. We'd certainly have been hit less hard by the current recession if we'd been in already.

Politicians from both the major parties have claimed that our economic cycle doesn't coincide with that of Europe, and that is why they are opposed to us joining the Eurozone. Now we can see how wrong they were; never has it been more obvious that our economies coincide with a vengeance.

British jobs for British workers

At best Gordon's ill-chosen pledge showed him to be a Little Englander. At worst, it pandered to the xenophobic tendency of too many of the public and the ugly press that feeds off that. The BNP didn't need Gordon to go recruiting from them and he shouldn't have done so.