| Saturday 30th April 2005 13:33MDT | → 1 Comments |
Bank holiday weekend. Hopefully the weather will improve enough for some walking.
Although I’ve paid little attention to election literature that has flooded through my letterbox, one statement on a Green party pamphlet caught my eye:
Remember, the only wasted vote is the vote that you don’t believe in.
That has always summed up my philosophy and it’s the reason I plan to vote Lib Dem (despite the Labour’s scare tactics that it would let in the Tories, which has been roundly demolished in an article in today’s Independent). I understand why people choose to vote tactically but often those are the people crying out most for radical change - and tactical voting never gives you that. If only they would vote according to their conscience would they start getting the parties and policies they want.
That said, a change to the electoral system in favour of PR or similar, a move towards devolving more powers to local authorities and a move away from the staid party system and their whips would, I believe, also be necessary to re-engage people in politics.
| Friday 29th April 2005 21:27MDT | → 0 Comments |
Something I need to get used to regarding my new job: usually I make a payment to my credit card when I get paid. However, now I’m paid at the end of the month rather than the middle I keep missing the latest credit card payment date which results on nastygrams from the bank. It’s happened twice so far and I’d better keep a closer eye on the situation so as to avoid screwing up my credit rating.
After all the fuss I made about getting the UK to ratify Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlaws the death penalty in all circumstances, on the basis that it would have stopped UK forces in Iraq handing over suspects to the USA or the Iraqi government where they might have been executed (as UK forces are subject to the convention overseas, as has been determined by ECtHR case law), I missed some rather important ‘territorial applications’ the UK government snuck in:
In accordance with Article 4 of the Protocol, the Government of the United Kingdom declares that the United Kingdom will initially apply the Protocol to the metropolitan area of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
This was later extended to cover a few offshore islands and military bases in Cyprus but that’s all. So by a legal sleight of hand (as they couldn’t make any derogations or reservations) my efforts have come to naught. Live and learn.
| Tuesday 26th April 2005 8:34MDT | → 1 Comments |
I continue to be astounded by how the media make a point of avoiding real issues. This latest indignation comes from an item on the Radio 4 Today programme when Humphries was speaking to Brian Sedgemore who has recently defected from Labour to the Lib Dems. Not once did Humphries ask him exactly why he decided to leave and to explore those reasons - it was prattle about other possible defectors and when they would be going (huh?) and then even trying to drag the tired Blair/Brown rivalry into it.
The real reasons are clear to anyone who has followed Sedgemore’s speeches in the Commons, but of course those reasons are complex, don’t fit into neat soundbites and can’t be presented in party-politics terms so they’re ignored. Sickening.
| Sunday 24th April 2005 14:52MDT | → 1 Comments |
On Friday I saw an excellent production of ‘Frankenstein’ at the Electric Theatre in Guildford. A colleague from work had put me onto it, as he had a starring role. I was most impressed by the standard of acting.
In hacking news, I’ve managed to get my work phone to talk to my linux laptop via bluetooth and have successfully downloaded some images. It is in this manner that I’ve found out how crap the camera image quality is on the SonyEricsson T630. Then again, maybe there’s a resolution setting I just don’t know about.
Now I’m off roaming around the downs with my shiny new GPS receiver.
| Thursday 21st April 2005 21:26MDT | → 0 Comments |
Bush Administration’s Views on UN Reform. An extract:
I believe the United Nations works best when its member states and the United States work together. This requires U.S. leadership…. most would agree, I would maintain, that the UN can accomplish very important things when the United States and the member states of the United Nations act as partners.
In other words, the UN works best when the US tells all the other countries what to do and they do it.
| Tuesday 19th April 2005 17:36MDT | → 2 Comments |
I’m back and recovering from my brief hospital adventure. It was over relatively quickly and everyone involved was so nice (and there were a lot involved - four nurses in the theatre!), which made up for the consultatnt deciding to make six anasthetic injections in my mouth! I start shaking even thinking about it. Otherwise it seems to be a success. I need to have ‘warm salt mouthwashes’ after meals.
According to the documentation they gave me, the anasthetic was 2% Xylocaine. You’ve learned something new.
| Saturday 16th April 2005 9:37MDT | → 0 Comments |
I was up at 7.45am this morning, which is five minutes earlier than I would get up on a weekday! This is an abnormal occurrence and I can’t explain it. However, I did feel rested and refreshed - which I suspect was because I was so occupied with other things I wasn’t worrying about work.
Despite the UK and the US showing faux outrage at Kofi Annan’s comments that they knew more about the ‘Oil for Food’ scandal that they let on (and did little about it), it was clear from Security Council resolution 661 that the committee set up to monitor the programme was under the control of the Security Council and had UK and US representitives on it. That is a matter of fact.
Annan quite possibly is sick of the right-wing attacks on him and the UN, though speaking the truth is unlikely to help his cause given that the US is looking to remodel the UN further in its own image and, ironically, ignoring Annan’s own reform programme because it weakens their power. Worse still is how the other countries have been conspicuously silent on this - I wonder why?
Bf’s latest medical report is good news. His ‘viral load’ is undetectable and he’s in the best possible health someone can be with AIDS. I may have more time with him than either of us ever expected. Now if only we can sort out which country we’re going to settle in.
| Wednesday 13th April 2005 19:24MDT | → 1 Comments |
It’s been busy, busy at work and likely to get busier. I’m working on a project that has been scoped out right to the end of the year.
Have a look at a semi-live webcam looking out across Lake Mendota, Madison.
| Sunday 10th April 2005 9:41MDT | → 0 Comments |
I really am surprised (though maybe not ’shocked) that some many people are seriously considering not voting and feel totally turned off by politics, especially that special brand of politics you get before general elections. A colleague at work said he hasn’t paid any attention to political debate recently, with the inference that he doesn’t do so at any other time anyway.
It’s only over the past few years that I’ve become more interested in politics - and the reason it doesn’t ‘turn me off’ is this: I make a special effort to concentrate on issues and go that extra mile to distil policy from all the tedious background noise of personal attacks, general bitching and excessive emphasis on party infighting (who cares about what Blair and Brown think of each other?).
Also, I have no hesitation in laying a lot of blame at the door of the media (of all persuasions). I shouldn’t have to do this ‘distillation’ process and if the public complain of not feeling informed as to the issues then, quite simply, the media isn’t doing its job.
Try this for size: in the coming weeks, filter out what any party has to say about it opponents and concentrate on their own policies. If you don’t know what their policy is on a given issue, go look it up - I may have blamed the media earlier but when I suggested to my colleague that he look on a party’s website the response was predictable - “Oh, I can’t be bothered to do that“. A vote for the apathy party is a vote for extremism - it’s no use saying sorry afterwards.
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| Tuesday 5th April 2005 23:03MDT | → 2 Comments |
Just been watching an excellent documentary on BBC 2 called We Have Ways of Making You Talk that analyses the use of torture in intelligence gathering. This programme was different and striking in that it interviewed admitted torturers - those who did so as the behest of Governments. It was compelling and timely given this Government’s sickening attitude that they repudiate use of torture but are happy to accept the results of it when carried out in other countries. If they can’t see how that is an implicit endorsement of the very principle, then they’re even greater moral degenerates than suspected. I long for a party in power that doesn’t see human rights as either a “chancer’s charter” (Tories) or an inconvenience in prosecuting the so-called “war on terror” (Labour).