Politics

How Owen Smith shows what’s wrong with Labour

The other day I asked “Is Owen Smith for real?”, before we look at that question, let’s see how we got here. The conservatives must be very happy at the moment. First they won the election in 2010, and ousting Gordon “gaffes” Brown. Next their opposition was Ed Miliband; a man who’s three most notable achievements while in opposition were the “Ed Stone”; making eating a bacon sandwich look worse than eating a turd; oh, and changing Labour’s internal election process to reduce the influence of the unions. That last point came back to bite the party in the arse; at least once…
Read more

Share

The public’s view of Monitoring

Occasionally an issue turns up in the news that captures the public’s imagination and highlights the scale of their ignorance. The BBC and other news outlets did this on Thursday when they reported on a case from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECHR ruled that an employer was within their rights to read private messages sent using a work computer. Anybody that has worked in the information security field will be well aware of email monitoring being a fundamental part of Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Reading through the 1200+ comments on the BBC article, what becomes clear…
Read more

Share

If Callam did the budget

Rarely is a letter from the tax man good news. Usually it involves them telling you how you owe them money. It turns out the government is using HMRC to distribute letters showing how your taxes are spent. If we convert the absolute numbers to percentages then we can see how the budget is divided up. Bloody hell, I don’t know what this is, but it certainly doesn’t look like economic conservatism. Let’s take a look, section by section, and see if we can’t identify some waste. Welfare 25.3%: Over a quarter of our taxes goes to the welfare state….
Read more

Share

Has the BBC just taken a position on Paris?

The BBC, famous for sitting on the fence, even when it’s made of flaming hot pokers, appears to have just taken a position on the Paris attacks. Thanks to a near two minute monologue by Andrew Neil on his current affairs show, This Week. Never before have I heard such vicious condemnation of an event on British news. Sure, the Americans love to do it, but here, it’s just not seen as the thing to do. Welcome to This Week. The week in which a bunch of loser jihadists slaughtered 132 innocents in Paris to prove the future belongs to them rather…
Read more

Share

Long live the status quo

They came, they saw… They bottled it. When the question was asked whether the people of Scotland wanted to be an independent country, the answer was a solid no. For every eight people that said Yes, nine said No. In only four of the 32 counts did the Yes vote score a victory. A week on, we’re already seeing the fallout from the campaign leading up to that day. Alex Salmond resigned a few hours after the result was announced; a denouement that brings a long career in front line politics to an underwhelming end. From now on, regardless of…
Read more

Share

Scotland: Just Say No

In a little over 48 hours, the polls will close across Scotland and we will have an answer to the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” If the majority votes yes, then a union lasting over 300 years and spawning the greatest empire the world has ever seen will come crashing to an undignified and messy end. The problem is that even if the majority vote no, then both Scotland and the rest of the UK will find itself in an uncomfortable position. By any logical measure, the rest of the UK should be praying for Scotland to sod…
Read more

Share

How do we fix the NHS?

Sometimes an ongoing news event is like watching an earthquake. The story veers in one direction, then another, all the while wreaking damage. It’s not until the shaking stops that you can see the new landscape and give a considered opinion. The story in this case is that of Ashya King, the five year old boy with a brain tumour. When the story first broke, the parents were being criticised for being irresponsible by running off out of the country with him. Then more information comes to light and what do you know; now it’s the turn of the police…
Read more

Share

A case for paying our MPs more

MPs have had a hard time of it. When the media aren’t dragging up allegation of expenses fraud or sexual crimes, then they’re busy making themselves look like blithering idiots. Something the media is only too happy to report on. The question is surely then: Why does this keep happening? Yes, clever people say and do stupid things, but it’s only an occasional thing. I can only conclude that the reason politicians can’t stop transferring their foot between a steaming pile of manure and their mouth is that they really are monumental morons! As the saying goes: Those that can,…
Read more

Share

Lords reform is dead – now what do we do?

You should have seen Nick Clegg announcing that the Liberal Democrats were dropping their plans for reform of the house of Lords – it was quite a sight because you know what he really wanted to say was “You Tory bastards!!” In short, a rare dose of sanity has blanketed itself over Westmister and faced with significant enough opposition to Lords reform that passing it into law would be unreasonably delayed, they have backed off and laid these plans to rest. What is unclear at the moment however is how much of a fatal wound this decision is to the…
Read more

Share

On the issue of Lords Reform

On Tuesday night I sat watching the debate in the Commons on the Lords Reform bill with considerable interest. Sure, the debate itself wasn’t hugely interesting and for the most part it seemed like many MPs wanted to waste time and repeat the same points as everybody else had already done. At the end of the session the motion to send the bill for a second reading was sadly passed. I say sadly since this is an abominable idea, much like many others coming out of the Liberal Democrat party. It is bad for the country, it is bad for…
Read more

Share