Monday, March 31, 2008

Should Hillary Now Pull Out Of The Race?

I ask this question for no other reason than it gives me the excuse to show you this photo which appeared here courtesy of NHS Blog Doctor.
No further comment necessary.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Beer And Sandwiches With The Taliban at Number 10 Anyone?

As Centre Right asks: what does Des Browne really mean by saying we should negotiate with the Taliban? He told the Daily Telegraph that we need to bring them "into a frame of mind that they accept that their political ambitions will be delivered by politics."

Surely, in a country like Afghanistan, we are dealing with old tribal emnities overlaid with strong cultural traditions of family, honour and the relative place of men and women in society together with various shades of Muslim interpretations of that religion (and little or no toleration of other religions) as well as by the infestation of extreme Islamists intent on spreading their beliefs by any means available.
Who are we going to talk to? More importantly, what are we going to talk to them about?

At least Adams and McGuiness, as members of the IRA, had reasonably well-defined, if bigotted, aims.

I can't believe Des Browne is totally naive - incompetent perhaps - so I wonder what he really means?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy 51st Birthday To The Treaty Of Rome...Not!

The EUSSR was created on this day in 1957 and has come a long way since then as John Redwood writes here .

But it's not a cause for celebration. If, in 1975 when the UK was given the chance to vote on leaving the then so-called "European Economic Union", we had known what was to come would the outcome have been different?

Probably not because most of us had no idea what the Treaty of Rome actually said. It appears that was our last chance to escape from being drawn into what has become an unelected, bureaucratic, unaccountable and corrupt organisation that is spending our money, making our laws and turning us all into "Europeans".

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lord Tebbitt Gives Cameron A Job Reference

Lord Tebbitt has today given his full support to Boris Johnson's bid to become London mayor, especially his stance on the expansion of cycling in the capital. Speaking from his office behind the bike sheds at Westminster he said: " It's important to encourage young people to get off their arses and go and look for a job. That's what my father did and that's what all these feckless youths need to do now."

Boris Johnson welcomed this strong support from the former airline pilot but pointed out all job applicants who follow his advice should ensure that they comply with the law. He called for "zero tolerance" of cyclists who break the rules. He said: "I am a militant cyclist myself and I love cycling and I want more people to cycle in London, but part of the deal has got to be that if we are going to expand cycling in London ... we cyclists have got to obey the laws of the road." Mr Johnson is known to oppose a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

In the meantime, David Cameron - who has recently applied for the job of Prime Minister - has been accused of reckless cycling and failing to go left at a bollard. The Daily Mirror reported that he always went to the right. If only!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why So Low?

The latest ICM poll is reported at ConservativeHome together with their own running "average" of all recent polls. (How they work out the latter is a mystery to me but I assume it is on some sort of scientific basis.)

What worries me is why are the Conservatives so low in the polls?

A 13% lead looks good but, surely, it should be 25% by now. The LibDems should be losing support - down to their bedrock vote of 15% or 16% rather than rising - and Brown's shamblers should be viewed as dead in the water. They have lost the argument and they should be on a downward trajectory.

Over to you Mr Cameron!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Watch My Lips, Balls - "It's The Economy, Stupid!"

Interesting comment on the Sky News - Boulton & Co blog about the puerile and very revealing behaviour of Ed Balls, that sad NuLabour wannabee.

A chap called Trevor said "as someone who has for years been 40% deaf in both ears and long inclined to subconsciously lip-read, I can absolutely assure the world that Balls said "So what?", and that there is no way that he said any of the alternative comments hastily invented and offered. The lip movement for "weak" and "what" are totally different. In one case ("weak") the lips spread sideways, in the other ("what") they move downwards, so the pathetic attempt to change the facts of what he said simply won't wash."

Hopefully, Balls will soon regret his ill-advised heckle of David Cameron after his abysmal party are voted into the oblivion they deserve. (Oh, I feel better after that!)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Is The World Blowing Hot And Cold On Global Warming?

Did you know that during this winter in Afghanistan they have lost 300,000 cattle and the human death toll has risen above 1,500 as a result of the extreme cold? Or that in Tibet, six months of snow and record low temperatures have killed 500,000 animals and left three million people on the edge of starvation? No, I didn't either.

Read Christopher Booker's article in the Sunday Telegraph about the extremely cold conditions that have occured across the world in the last year.

If you have already accepted the arguments made by Al Gore and his demented "green" followers that global warming will dominate our world for centuries to come you might find this report gives you "food" for thought.

After three days of what the chairman of the Manhattan Group called "the kind of free-spirited debate that is virtually absent from the global warming alarmist camp", the 500 delegates issued the Manhattan Declaration, stating that attempts by governments to reduce CO2 emissions would "markedly diminish further prosperity" while having "no appreciable impact" on the Earth's warming.

So, when you drive up the motorway in a few years time with all those wind turbines planted in the central reservation to generate piffling amounts of electricity and you look at the fields of oil seed rape being grown for bio-fuel just think yourself very lucky you can afford to own a car, much less afford the cost of the fuel.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Food! Glorious Food!

Professor Tim Lang has been quoted in this BBC report as saying: "There is a real, fundamental problem emerging in food policy that, frankly, has been under-recognised."

This response was prompted by the Government's new chief science adviser Professor John Beddington saying today: "A world food crisis can be expected in the coming decades as our demand for food outstrips our ability to produce it. The crisis could be as serious as climate change and may hit sooner."

Well, I don't want to say "I told you so" but last September I did just that.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Life's A Lottery - But It Depends On Who You Know!

Just a small anecdote to add to the discussion about the school places lottery.

Our 11-year old was automatically disbarred from going to the nearest comprehensive (less than a mile away) because our house is, literally, on the wrong side of the road. The main alternative (two and half miles away) has a very poor reputation and so we made the decision to make our main preference a school that is a 40 minute bus ride away. It has a strong record in terms of academic achievement and the wide range of sporting and extra-curricular activities that it offers. (Much like the grammar school I attended in the 1960s!).

Fortunately, our child has been offered a place for September 2008. I suppose it was not surprising really, as the school is in a rural area and it has compensated for falling rolls over the last few years by widening its catchment area.

And the point of this "anecdote"? Well, we happen to know a (physics) teacher at this school who has given us an insider tip. Apparently, there is a clear distinction between the overall performance of pupils that opt for French and those that are placed in the German set. The teachers believe that the parents of pupils most interested in their children's education persuade them to take French. The children of those parents who don't bother to express a preference are placed in the German set because all the French places have been filled.

QED: Children whose parents are interested in their education are likely to do better than those who aren't. Don't know if it's true but "Vive la France"!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

'Enjoy life while you can'!

A very interesting interview with James Lovelock in the Guardian today. Now well into his 80s, he still maintains that his original theory that the Earth - or "Gaia" - is a living organism with self-healing powers that, for the most part, are beyond the power of us humans to control.
I wrote about this last October, admittedly in a slightly different context, and said: "Is it time to look again at the Gaia hypothesis put forward by James Lovelock? If the Earth is an "organism" perhaps disease, pestilence, famine and disasters on the scale of tsunamis and earthquakes are its way of telling us that we will have to learn to live with Nature."