| Monday 28th February 2005 23:16MST | → 0 Comments |
My new colleagues made me very welcome today. I think I could be very happy there.
Channel 4 is doing a season on how torture has been legitimised by the so-called war on terror and I’ve just seen the first programme, entitled ‘Is Torture A Good Idea?’, which was excellent. Later programmes concentrate more on the US than I’d like, as the UK is certainly complicit. However, it’s certainly topical given the depressing news that according to a recent poll: ‘ Big majority puts security against terrorism ahead of civil liberties‘.
| Sunday 27th February 2005 21:33MST | → 0 Comments |
I’ve just been watching Bionic Buildings on BBC Three and it was as good as the fantastic architecture series Dreamspaces, also of the same channel. I love programmes on architecture as they show one of the few positive visions of the future, devoid of cynicism that pervades all contemporary documentaries on progress.
The website Backing Blair has a simple aim:
We want to register a highly visible and damaging protest vote against Tony Blair, his style of government, his right-wing leanings, and his lies about the ‘war’ on terror and Iraq… In ’safe’ Labour seats and marginal seats we want you to vote for the candidate most likely to beat the Labour candidate.
It then goes on to explain the idea in a FAQ that essentially is full of acknowledgements of what a crap idea this is. Apart from my personal belief that tactical voting is a bad idea (as it means you don’t vote on principle, so things never really change), you could end up having to vote in a more right-wing candidate or not choosing someone who actually would be very good in helping and representing the constituency locally.
Of course, it does highlight one segfault in our democratic system - which is that the Prime Minister should be elected separately from MPs and should not be an MP but still have to defend themself in Parliament. There was a good debate on this very idea in progress on the Charter 88 discussion boards before the phpBB hack struck and C88 abandoned them.
I hadn’t heard anything from bf since he left (i.e. no emails) so I mailed one of his friends. Apparently he is suffering from “severe jet lag”, which is ironic as he always claimed it never affected him.
Tomorrow I start my new job. Eeek!
| Saturday 26th February 2005 19:52MST | → 0 Comments |
Pictures of the first birthday party and the second birthday party, a mere four days later. The second one was a surprise - something of a consolation for turning 33 without having become either rich or famous.
| Friday 25th February 2005 19:09MST | → 1 Comments |
Blair, while pushing through plans for ‘political internment’, made the following sickening justification:
… We have to balance protection for the public from terrorism with safeguarding civil liberties. But there is no greater civil liberty than to live free from terrorist attack.
In other words, to protect us from terrorists who would undermine the basic freedoms of our way of life they have to… undermine our basic freedoms, by locking people up on the say-so of a politician based on evidence that can’t be challenged openly. When it comes to balances, civil liberties must always come first otherwise you’ve lost sight of what you’re supposed to be protecting.
As Robin Cook pointed out, people will be locked up based on unquestioned evidence that came from the same security services that provided the ‘oh so accurate’ dossier on Iraq.
I’m sickened that MPs let this through, especially Labour backbenchers, though one, Brian Sedgemore, made it quite clear what he thought:
Many Members have gone nap on the matter. They voted: first, to abolish trial by jury in less serious cases; secondly, to abolish trial by jury in more serious cases; thirdly, to approve an unlawful war; fourthly, to create a gulag at Belmarsh; and fifthly, to lock up innocent people in their homes. It is truly terrifying to imagine what those Members of Parliament will vote for next.I can describe all that only as new Labour’s descent into hell, which is not a place where I want to be.
It’s worth reading his contribution in its entirity, which is beautiful in its bluntness and should be nailed to the forehead of all MPs who voted for this.
On a lighter note, I sent an email to my bank on my birthday that simply said “It’s my birthday today!”. They wrote back with:
Everyone here wishes you a very happy birthday.
They’re so cool and that’s why I’m with them (as well as their colour scheme being pink, my favourite colour). I could imagine what one of the ‘big four’ banks would have said - probably something along the lines of: “This facility is for financial customer service issues only and your frivolous use of it is in contravention of section 94(3) of your terms and conditions. Further infractions will be dealt with as deliberate and malicious abuse.”
| Thursday 24th February 2005 13:03MST | → 0 Comments |
Just come back from the airport seeing bf off. I’m sad now. Four months went by so quickly.
He took back an extra suitcase as he had so many goodies. In fact, both cases weren’t far short of the weight limit (max. 32kg). Some stuff, such as books and magazines, I’m going to have to post to him. Not only that, he even left some clothes and shoes here - for the next time, which hopefully will be three weeks in June/July if he can get a decent priced ticket.
| Wednesday 23rd February 2005 18:06MST | → 0 Comments |
So in the neo-fascist Prevention of Terrorism Bill, which not only allows any citizen to be interned at the say-so of a politician but is also being pushed though Parliament in less than a week, has been declared to be ‘compatible’ with the ECHR - if you ignore this rather ironic comment in the explanatory notes:
Obligations imposed under control orders (clause 1) potentially interfere with the right to respect to private and family life (Article 8), freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 9), freedom of expression (Article 10), and freedom of assembly and association (Article 11).
… which gets better:
However, the obligations may only be imposed if the Secretary of State considers that they are necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting further involvement of the individual in terrorism related activity… Interference is permissible to the extent that it is justified by a legitimate aim and proportionate.
I no way can this be considered ‘proportionate’. God, how we need a written constitution and God, how I really despise this Government.
| Tuesday 22nd February 2005 14:07MST | → 0 Comments |
It’s my birthday and it’s snowing! Just for me.
Then I read things like this and it makes me sad.
| Friday 18th February 2005 17:38MST | → 2 Comments |
Bf is busy cooking for my birthday party today (though my birthday isn’t actually until next Tuesday). I’ll have to take photos of his creations - the presentation alone is worth an award.
Yet again Slashdot editors demonstrate their ignorance of geography outside their own country by headlining the story about the nuclear fuel audit mismatch at Sellafield as London Nuke Plant Loses 30 Kilos of Plutonium. Last time I checked, Sellafied was a mere 319 miles away from London. Rather like saying Minneapolis is right next to Milwaukee.
My copy of Enterprise JavaBeans from O’Reilly books has arrived. Now the real learning begins.
| Wednesday 16th February 2005 13:35MST | → 0 Comments |
Got back around 8pm on Monday from Edinburgh. Bf enjoyed himself but all I can say is that the place is ‘nice’. The geography is fantastic, with all those hills (Arthur’s seat, which bf climbed but I didn’t) on the one side and the Firth on the other, and the natives were very friendly - especially when we were trying to get into restaurants (full, due to us forgetting it was the Six Nations). That, along with the cool Parliament building were the most memorable but, oh dear, isn’t the predominant colour of Edinburgh grey. It just looks so depressing. I know some people will claim that it looks so different in Summer, but that doesn’t justify why the architecture is (IMHO) so plain and dour. Clean the grime off too.
Pictures will be forthcoming when I’ve finished doing bf’s website.
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| Wednesday 9th February 2005 20:53MST | → 0 Comments |
Bf asked me to buy for him, as a Valentines Day present (?), the Mousetrap game. Humouring his apparent (and possibly early) second childhood, I got it. He set it up on the dining table and it worked exactly as designed. First time too.
Lib Dems to fight on freedom platform. Some juicy bits from Charles Kennedy’s speech are: saying no to ID cards, abolishing the royal perogative, pressing for a written constitution and bill of rights, strengthening parliamentary scrutiny of the executive and improving the freedom on information act. In otherwise ‘wobbly’ moments, this reminds me why I support the Lib Dems. The other two parties are fighting to out-right-wing each other and as Mark Oaten put it:
With eight weeks before the start of a General Election campaign the two old parties are in danger of setting aside the language of tolerance and liberty with ever increasing kneejerk policies.
Yesterday I went to the dentist to have a tooth out. However, it was a wisdom tooth at the back and wouldn’t ‘play ball’, i.e. without making a painful mess, so I’ve been referred to a specialist dental surgeon at the nearby hospital to have it done. This may well become annoying as it’ll almost definitely be after I’ve started my new job.
We’re off to Edinburgh tomorrow. Back on Sunday with, quite possibly, many hundreds of photos. Bf has been looking forward to this for months. Also, to make up for ignoring Pancake Day yesterday, he’s just made some crepes wrapped around vanilla ice-cream covered in chocolate sauce. Yummy.