28 June 2004

IDS get tough on poverty

About 8 months too late, but finally, IDS gets tough on poverty. I don't know if it cruel or not to tell him his not Tory leader any more and he doesn't need to be launching these sort of things.

25 June 2004

Book

I got my prize from the Guardian today for winning the Backbencher competition last week and it was a book by Paul Richards called How to Win an Election.
Suppose it could come in handy at some point (no idea when though!).

23 June 2004

NHS

Tony Blair and Michael Howard clashed over health today. Both waxed lyrical about "choice" and "flexibility". Both seemed to miss the point. What the NHS needs is money and de-bureaucraticastion. It doesn't need "patient passports" or "personalisation", just sustained investment and the stripping of the various management layers so that a rural hospital is as efficient and modern as an inner-city hospital.

Pubs

The behaviour of brewer highlighted in a recent Commons Committee hearing seems to have surprised our dear MPs. It shouldn't. Most companies in the UK are now out get as much out of the ordinary public as they can. Why can people not grasp this? Why do they assume that all companies are basically good at heart. They aren't! The people that run them would quite happily sell their mothers and bugger the cat if it gave them higher profits.

21 June 2004

Journalist Barred

Israel has decided to bar a journalist from entering the country.
So much for freedom of the press in democracies eh? Mind you, considering the Israeli Government doesn't believe in the free movement of people if they happen to be of an Arab persuasion, this should come as no great surprise.

20 June 2004

A moment of self-congratulation

Unashamedly, a piece of self-promotion.
This week I won the Guardian Backbencher competition by correctly spotting Tory bellies.
God I need to get a life.

19 June 2004

Primacy of EU Law

Finally, the EU Constitution has been agreed by all 25 member states and they will now go back to their people for approval. In the UK this means a referendum, probably in late 2005, early 2006. As expected, the right-wing press have been printing scare stories about the Constitution to force a "No" vote. Some of these stories are true, some are not.
The most glaring inaccuracy is the assertation by the Daily Mail that the constitution will introduce the principle of EU law having primacy over UK law. Whilst the document will state that the EU has primacy, this is not a new principle and has been the case in the UK ever since we signed up in 1973 and was confirmed by the House of Lords in R v Secretary of State, ex parte Factortame, 1990.
The choice in the referendum is clear, in or out? To stay in the EU, take advantage of the trade benefits, the free movement of people and the harmony of nations that comes from being part of it, or to stay out, isolated, alone and destitute. Let's hope we make the right choice, and don't succumb to the propaganda of the right wing press.

16 June 2004

He never....

This year's No Shit Sherlock Award (£10 cash prize and golden toilet seat winging their way to the winner) goes to the US 9/11 Commission for the startling revelation that Iraq had no link to the 11 September attacks. Took them a while didn't it. It must've been very confusing for them when 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Must've really thrown them off the Saudi Arabia link and straight on to how Iraq was involved in 9/11 (it wasn't).

But don't worry my Saudi friends, the US will not he invading your country, not whilst you produce a quarter of the world's oil.

So, the lesson for all you Iraqi's whining about human rights abuses in Iraqi prisons is clearly, find some more oil... And fast!

NB. As with the findings of most independent bodies, George Bush disputes their verdict. Well, he would, wouldn't he. He doesn't understand it.

Is that legal?

Glorious America. I thought it would be handy to remind everyone, in the wake of one of George Bush's latest re-election adverts, that The Patriot Act is legal.
That's as long as you ignore the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment. For reference, the USA's Federal Government might like to read this sentence -> "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (That's the Fourth Amendment, guys, in case you don't recognise it)

Student Loan Company, Scotland

I got a letter through today from the Student Loan Company, telling me how much they are willing to offer me to cover my university costs (thank you!)
One slight problem though... they're based in Glasgow, Scotland! That's the same Scotland where you don't have to pay to study at university. A slight anomaly perhaps, or our swingeing Government trying to cost cut by moving services further "oop North"?

14 June 2004

The 30 year plan

According to The Independent today, the Government are due to unveil a 30-year transport plan. How admirable.
Does it mention renationalisation of the railways? Nope. Further investment in our transport systems then? Not in it's present form. Pie-in-the-sky thinking? Bingo! Yes, our Government has decided that the best way forward when it comes to transport is (and I quote) "light-rail systems" (read "Trams") and "fresh initiatives to improve local bus services". Not anything silly, like, say, further investment in high speed railways and motorways to improve long distance travel and further investment in commuter lines (CrossRail, Thameslink 2000) to improve commuter travel.
Welcome to 2034, Transport Hell

It was the 1st of Blogs, and the last of Blogs

My first blog... Still don't know what I'm going to do with it...
In case you're interested, I'm 19, from London and currently on a Gap Year. I'm going to study Law in October at Reading University and I'm a member of the Liberal Democrats (and of course, LDYS)
So, there you go.