Saturday, 23 April 2011
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Yes I am a Liberal Democrat supporter, and have been ever since I started voting, but now there’s a whiff of something, a hint of a whisper that we could actually make a difference this election. So I was looking at what was needed for them to win and I hit a road block.
Using the excellent BBC seat calculator http://bit.ly/bDW9LT I played around with the percentages to see what swings would get them in. I found out that a swing of 40.5% of the vote would get them a one seat majority in the House of Commons. Ah.
What I also found out was that if the LibDems got 42.9% of the vote, the Tories 30% and Labour 27.1% then it would be a hung parliament.
Ermmmm What? How can a party gain 42.9% a full 12% more than the next and still not form a government?
“Well it’s because there would be more Tories and Labour politicians combined of course Loz, the LibDems wouldn’t be able to get anything done.”
“Really? Tories and labour voting together to thwart the LibDems? Would they really do this and prove it’s not about values but who can get what?”
So it would seem the current voting system is stacked towards the Old Boys Labour and Conservative, even if they get less of the vote, they can still win.
So I got down again, we’re never going to win. That was until I saw this.
I have heard so many people say, it’s throwing my vote away, they’ll never win, but if you all put your cross next to yellow the LibDems would thump the other two, old, parties.
It would give the LibDems a majority of 470 seats with Labour on 35 and the Tories on 31.
The LibDems are the only party who will reform voting, making it a clear case of most votes gets the win.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Monday, 8 June 2009
Monday, 18 May 2009
Oxford University has appointed a new Professor of Poetry, Ruth Padel. This appointment holds a large degree of prestige, little pay (£6,901) and involves the holder giving only three lectures per year.
It was the run up to her win that had the dons tongues a waggin'. Originally the post was between her and Derek Walcott who was seen by many to be the front runner, however he pulled out on 12th May due to a smear campaign in which over one hundred professors at the university were sent anonymous letters and details of a sexual assault allegation laid against Walcott in 1982.
The list of Professors of Poetry at Oxford is long and distinguished and one comment was made by opponents of Walcott that it would 'disgrace the university to give such a coveted role - second only to the poet laureate - to a man with such a libidinous record', however the post of Professor has been held by several other men who in their career have had certain claims made about them that would (to some) cast dispersion on the position. (W.H Auden in 1939 had a lover half his age, Edmund Blunden was married three times, the last time to an ex-student and John Wain was from Stoke-on-Trent!!).
As time has moved on the 'scandal' surrounding these poets has lessened as society's views have changed. I'm not suggesting that sexual harassment is by any means acceptable it should always be taken seriously and fully investigated however the case against Walcott was settled out of court (which depending on your point of view can mean anything but does not presume any guilt) and was not tried.
It seems that even in pursuit of the ode you have to watch your back.
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Coke Zero, that was my thing, (I could take or leave Diet and when it came to the full-fat, 8 teaspoons of sugar Regular (classic, original) I steered clear unless it was with vodka). But I could easily get through two 500ml bottles of Zero a day. At work it would be more thanks to the cafeteria or the vending machines downstairs.
One week they ran out of my particular brand, needless to say it caused stress in my life that got me thinking about the nature of this obsession. It's nice tasting, marginally refreshing, but deep down in the back of my mind I knew that it was un-healthy and costly.
I've been reading a lot about the credit crunch/meltdown/recession/end-of-the-world recently and I've been going to some lengths to get my head around what has actually happened to the financial system that has so many people sweating. I'm not an economist or any great follower of the markets so when it all blew up I had no idea.
Then I discovered Mark Thomas.
For those who don't know Mark Thomas he is an agitator of governments, a crusader against injustice, a poker-in-the eye of multinationals and also a damned funny man. In the course of reading,watching and listening to the wave of information about the economy I tripped across his 'It's the Stupid Economy' podcasts. I was hooked.
The podcasts are a series of interviews with people who do know a bit about the economy, markets and global financial systems, they opened my eyes to the abuses and mistakes that lead to the current shambles. I became an avid listener and hope to make it to one of his live shows he's currently touring around England. As an aside I looked him up on amazon and found his book 'Belching out the Devil'.
I'm not one of those people who buy fairtrade, I try to be ethical, I really do but like so many of us I'm a committed consumer. I'd never really gone into what effect the manufacturing of my favourite drink, food or clothes cost. Until I finished this book.
The book outlined Mark's exploration into the business practices of the Coca-Cola company, from their overuse of water in drought-ridden areas of India that, robbing locals of water they need to grow crops and survive on, through their intimidation of a Mexican shopkeeper when she refused to stop selling a competitor brand finishing up with the company's moral ambiguity over a union member who was shot dead in one of their bottling factories in Columbia.
Now I knew that no multinational company was entirely clean and pure, but this book left me feeling a more ashamed and depressed about the kind of people who run the Coca-Cola empire than I was about the bankers, and that's saying a lot.
So I'm quitting the real thing, and I won't be turning to a competitor, I'm also going to be taking a closer look at what I but from now on.
Meanwhile I'll just sit down with a nice glass of water......
You see we've been getting it too good for too long, we've been having too much free content, going to other places for our news, places that are cheap and easy, and like a cheated lover the newspaper community is throwing china plates around the kitchen and screaming bitter recrimination.
Sly Bailey (head of Trinity Mirror Group) recently addressed the Digital Britain Summit with her call for a shake up of the media ownership rules. Sly said because newspaper bosses aren't allowed to merge regional papers making them more economical they are closing them down.
She stressed the importance of local papers, these papers are a vital local resource, they are, she added that soon people won't be able to get local news and have no representation, she's right.
Sly pouted that newspapers just can't compete with the likes of Yahoo or Google when it comes to advertising and because of this drop in revenue the smaller papers that are wrapped up in her gargantuan Trinity Mirror Group are having to fold. She said. "If we are going to compete with a myriad of digital operations, we’re going to need more scale." Adding: "Allowing regional newspaper publishers to merge is the only way to limit the damage to our industry."
This is the same Sly Bailey who in April 2006 got awarded a 12.9% increase on her £620,000 salary, just months after several hundred of Trinity Mirror's 11,000 staff had been made redundant due to slumps in advertising revenue isn't it?
The same Sly Bailey who received a 41.8% increase in her remuneration package in 2006. At the same time management continued to make redundancies and impose below inflation pay increases on its staff?
The same Sly bailey who qualified to receive 100 per cent of her bonus entitlement, which at £793,000 was equivalent to 110 per cent of her salary and a remuneration package including a further £240,000, one-third of her salary, as her annual pensions contribution despite a loss in profits and the share price collapsing?
The same Sly Bailey who brought in management consultants who recommended the sale of assets including the Racing Post, Midland Independent Newspapers and Trinity Mirror South. Only actually managing to sell the Racing Post, the remainder of the company's Sports Division, and parts of TMS?
Actually I see it now, that failed sell-off left Trinity Mirror with a large amount of titles that they couldn't sell. Wouldn't it be a good solution to package them together under one 'Super-Regional' edition. Something like the 'The Daily Eastern-South-West Echo' that might attract a buyer, and anything will do considering Trinity-Mirror's worth has dropped from 1.5bn down to 250m.
Now, how do we get around that tricky merger law? Oh yes, blame the internet for giving out free news, it's cheap and nasty and is killing journalism.
Of course, it IS local journalism that suffers, the smaller papers will be cut to make way for Boss's pensions and falling circulation, and this is a problem. But merging them into one of the motherships like News International or Trinity Mirror is hardly going to ensure balanced, quality, local journalism.
If Sly is so concerned with their plight, cut bonuses (after all The Mirror believes that Fat Cat Bosses shouldn't get rewarded for failure!!), streamline the operation, I know this will mean layoffs, I know this will be unpopular, but improving quality of the publications may help sell them.
Also I'm sure we all know some 'Journalists' that we could do without.
Sly isn't the only one jumping on the bandwagon, Damien Reece of the Telegraph blames Brown's Digital Britain, Peter Preston in the Observer calls for an 'Internet Licence fee'.
It's that last piece that worries me, not for the rambling nonsense that it deals with but for a quote from the Grand-High Poobah of Media Himself Rupert Murdoch. The quote reads:
"Nobody is making money with free content on the web except search, and people are used to reading everything on the net for free - and that's going to have to change."
Unfortunately he'll probably do it......
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
So here they are.
1) As the result of a childhood injury involving my bike's stabilisers and my neighbours bike, I have no interconnecting piece of tissue between my inner top lip and my gums (apparently called the labial frenulum). This was due to my stabilisers locking up with the back wheel of Darren (my neighbour's) bike, flying over the handlebars and hitting a kerb with my mouth in a scene reminiscent of American History X without the follow up boot to the back of the head.
2) I have a blind spot about the difference between where and were and in what form to use them correctly. So typing, 'we were walking down the street where the people were looking at the pub where Oscar Wilde used to drink' holds terror beyond terror for me. Similarly I have no idea what a noun, verb, pronoun or adverb are. I could probably look those up but I seem to have coped thus far without needing to know. (As Vampire Weekend sing 'who gives a fuck about an Oxford Comma?').
3) I am extremely fixated with my feet (perhaps even a bit vain), unlike most men I know whose feet have been battered by years of football, rugby and sheer neglect and have toenails that look like quavers, I keep mine in trimmed aired and in neat working order. (That sounded less weird in my head). I think this was down to an ingrowing toenail I had when I was 16 that I had to have removed surgically. Looking up at the wrong point during that surgery and seeing a lot of blood and no nail has forced me into good care.
Monday, 13 April 2009
I've managed to plough my way through the complete Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minster DVD set.
I'm up to date on Lost, Heroes, How I met your Mother and The Big Bang Theory
Just haven't had the time to produce a coherent thought on anything at the moment, though I do have the beginning of a germ of a scrap of an idea on something that I'm feeling jolly annoyed about.
So, erm, until that comes to fruition I'll have to get back to my busy, busy life.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Yes the magazine that sank to new depths under it's proprietor Richard 'anything for money' Desmond with such headlines as: 'Jordan - why I walked out on Pete' (she didn't),'Cheryl - baby boy predicted' (Cheryl Cole wasn't pregnant but a physic OK had hired did a reading and said if she ever was pregnant it would be a boy) and The Lily Allen exclusive look round her Kilburn home (Ms Allen had not opened her doors and got her lawyers to force an apology). Has a new issue out that has caused quite a back up of bile in me.
That is because it has now plumbed depths not seen before in a 'checkout special' by showing how much it 'cares' about dying 27 year old Jade Goody in its 'Jade Goody Official Tribute Issue'.
Now I'm not a fan of Jade's work, I wasn't a lover of Big Brother, nor appreciated her apprentice rip-off, however I can sympathise with her and her family over the foul illness she has and even raise an impressed eyebrow about her determination to get as much money as she can to secure her family's future.
It is this selling of her story that muddies the water of my outrage somewhat. OK seems to think that because they paid for the exclusive to her wedding (even banning a close friend from attending because she worked for a rival mag) they think that they now have exclusive over her death as well.
To hammer home this exclusive they decide to release this 'Obit Special' before rivals and before Jade has actually died.
This is not, despite the 'Official' headline on the front cover, an official tribute. (I'm taking official to mean something asked for by the person involved or their family, not officially an OK tribute)! Despite OK saying they had cleared this with family apparently speaking to them to explain this celebration of Jade's life, it not appears they had not and that the family is not happy about it at all.
Some will say if you court the media for gain you must expect to have them come down on you as well. I personally think that's bullshit and hope these bottom feeding, gutter scouring, greasy, conscious free hacks choke on the money their grubby bylines bring in.
But that's just my opinion.