link log

Friday, March 31, 2006


Tory Blair and the Beeb

Tory Blair?

If you search for "Election 2005" on the BBC website and then look at the last item on page 1, you'll find a rather hilarious error. Is this a Beeb in-joke or sloppy data entry? We will never know.

Credit to ConservativeHome.

UPDATE: It's now on page 2.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


A compromising position?

A 'compromise' (in nothing but name) was found last night with regards to the ID cards bill before the Lords. The snagging point has been the issue of whether or not the card should be made compulsory. Conservative and Lib Dem peers had rejected the bill on these terms on five previous occasions but the Tories submitted last night having found consensus with Labour peers that the passport linked ID cards wouldn't be 'compulsory' until 2010 rather than 2008. The bill, backed by 287 votes to 60 means that anyone who renews a passport will be put on a national ID database - but will not now be forced to have an ID card until 2010. Quite why the Conservatives have had such a change of heart bemuses me, once again they appear to have opened themselves up to the 'flip-flopping' criticisms and furthermore have more or less ensured that we will end up with ID cards being implemented, despite their stance against them in the commons. The NO2ID group's problem has (rightly) always been with the database rather than the cards themselves and this element of the bill remained unaltered by the 'compromise'.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis has pledged that the Conservatives will make ID cards an issue at the general election, by this time though, some people will already have the cards and the systems will already be coming in to practice. The stance should be taken now not at the election, if the Tories are going to oppose them, they should have done so this week. It makes you wonder whether the idea is to take up the opposition stance in the run up to the election and fight it on this subject. Although after Hague's 2001 election campaign bombed after focusing so intently on the Euro, you just wonder if a 'once bitten...' mentality may kick in.

Home Office minister Andy Burnham enthusiastically states how "people will be able to use ID cards as passports within the EU". I think most people are quite happy using their passport as a passport within the EU actually Andy, now go and do some real work.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Cheap jokes

Jenny Eclair?

Jenny Eclair's let herself go...

And who will be the next MP to fall foul of the leotard? First we had Galloway in Celebrity Big Brother and this week we've seen Julia Goldsworthy competing in gymnastics floor events against assorted E-list celebrities. Perhaps William Hill should open up a market!

MP's in leotards

Monday, March 20, 2006


Obsessive. Compulsive. Detective.

Adrian Monk

If you live in the UK, you might well not have heard of Adrian Monk - you can blame awful scheduling for that...

Monk is a fictional American detective (played by Tony Shalhoub), he worked for the San Fransisco Police Department until the murder of his wife Trudy in 1997, her death causes him to have a breakdown. Monk is granted psychiatric leave from his position but finds it incredibly difficult to function in everyday life, what were once manageable phobias have become fully blown disorders, Monk is devastated about his loss and this feeling is exasperated by his wife's murder being the only case he isn't able to solve.

Monk eventually returns to work aided by his friend and nurse, Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram) as a freelance detective/consultant to his former department in the hope of convincing his one time boss, Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), to allow him to return to the force. Monk assists on the cases that the police are unable to solve. He is the classic flawed genius, his photographic memory and amazing ability to piece tiny clues together comes at a price - his obsessive compulsive tendencies and genuine fears of everything from germs to heights.

When arriving at a crime scene, Monk's natural reaction is to clean it up, he shakes hands with people but hastily cleans them with a wet wipe afterwards and if he spots anything uneven, odd or slanted he is compelled to put it right. The show derives its light-hearted humour from his disposition, in one episode (Mr Monk Goes To Mexico), Monk takes cases and cases of the only brand of water he drinks - Sierra Springs, to Mexico and when the cases are stolen, he goes thirsty for three days! The humour though, is never mocking of Monk's condition and in fact the show is the finest depiction of OCD that I've seen on television.

The cases themselves are remarkably complex for their 40 minute duration and more along the exaggerated 'how did they do it' lines of Jonathan Creek than traditional 'whodunit' dramas.

Formerly screened in the UK on both Hallmark and BBC2 on Saturday afternoons, the show has now moved to a Monday to Friday 2.35pm slot on BBC1 - sandwiched between the dire Doctors and erm, the institution that is Chucklevision. Please then, if you have the opportunity to see or record this show, do so. It's worthy of your attention and support and deserves so much more than a daytime filler slot before CBeebies.

A final note to thank Jon who first introduced me to Monk (and Peep Show for that matter); I am eternally grateful and hope that my recommendation of Smiley Culture's 'Police Officer' was equally life changing. (What?!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The day of destiny and a hit on the dynasty

So tonight is the night, the Education bill will go before the Commons at 7pm and we can expect the result at around 7.15pm. It's one of the biggest tests Blair has faced in his premiership and almost certainly his biggest test since re-election last May.

Cameron's Conservatives will be largely voting with the government (Tory's are under a two-line whip) and it appears that the bill will only be passed because of this Tory backing; the Labour rebellion is expected to be in the region of 40-60 MP's. My own feeling is that this figure will be nearer the latter end of that spectrum. 95 Labour MP's put their name to an alternative to government plans and the surveys on Tuesday's Newsnight and SkyNews this morning suggested that at least 35 will rebel with many more either refusing to comment, abstaining from voting or still to decide.

An additional vote takes place tonight on the timetable for the parliamentary scrutiny of this legislation. The Tories are expected to unite with the Labour rebels to defeat this and ensure that the 'BLAIR DEFEATED IN CRUCIAL EDUCATION VOTE' headlines can still be run with, the thinking is also that this token defeat may sugar the pill for the Conservatives who would rather vote against the bill outright to discomfit the Prime Minister. I do wonder if this tactic will further open Cameron up to the 'flip-flopping' line of attack - ''he backs our reforms but votes to slow down their implementation!'' This in fact came up in PMQ's this afternoon, Cameron responded by stating how he supported the education reforms, but not the undermining of Parliament, he went on to ask why a prime minister with a majority of 70 was struggling to explain to his own MPs why they should support school reforms. That quelled any attack for the moment but it ma come back to haunt him.

Still on the topic of PMQ's; Menzies Campbell suffered yet another embarrassment today, he began to ask his question concerning pensions when Eric Forth bellowed ''DECLARE YOUR INTEREST!'' to huge guffaws. Not a good day for the Lib Dem chief who is making somewhat of a habit of this sort of thing.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Layout Solution

I've finally got the three column layout working, it was harder than it should have been thanks to formatting issues with Blogger's image floating code... don't ask. Blogger Buzz led to the solution after I'd spent far too long altering code which had no bearing on anything!

We should be fully operational now though and I've kicked off the link log with two football related links. I'll leave you to digest them, if you feel so inclined.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Linklog implementation

I'm slightly redesigning this blog at the moment, from the existing two column layout to a three column one in order to incorporate a powered linklog. There may be some downtime as a result and the current design may go awry whilst I finalise these changes to the template.


Looking good!

The falling audience ratings are taking visible toll on Davina McCall...

Monday, March 06, 2006


Records Fair, Brighton

I went to a Record and CD Fair yesterday at the Brighton Centre and despite being stung for the parking (50p for every 15 minutes - or maybe I'm just tight?) it was a great way to spend a few hours. I'm somewhat of a regular to the fair and this one probably put me in to double figures of events attended, it was fitting therefore that it also saw perhaps my most successful return of CD's. I picked up the following albums for a total expenditure of just under £70:
A few (Beulah, Chris Mills, Songdog) were down to hearing the odd track on samplers and compilations, a few down to recommendations from friends (ABC, Dinosaur Jr., Grandaddy, Louis XIV, South San Gabriel) and the rest based upon my own tastes. Evidently I already had Liquid Skin though; I thought I only owned Bring It On. Bah.

I may well post short reviews of the albums as I come to listen to them.

Friday, March 03, 2006


The dynasty begins

^ I'm truly sorry. Campbell takes victory in the captivating Lib Dem leadership contest. More on this and it's implications to follow at a more agreeable hour.