| Saturday 27th May 2006 10:00MDT | → 1 Comments |
Woo Hoo! I finally made some effort to get involved in my local party. Sue Doughty, former MP for Guildford before she lost out to a Julian Clary lookalike by a mere 0.7%, phoned on Sunday to remind me it was the Guildford PPC selection on Friday and if I wasn’t going to the meeting, had I done a postal vote?
Well, I hadn’t and out of not a little guilt I went to the meeting instead at Onslow village hall. Packed out. Three candidates, each giving a little speech followed by answers to four questions chosen by local members. After an extended counting delay, Sue was back with an overwhelming majority.
I spoke to a number of people. I’ll have to see how I feel about attending other events or even getting more involved.
- Might be thought to confirm the claim about lack of involvement of younger people in organised politics, as I’d say the median age of those attending was 40+.
- The hustings were scrupulously fair - when one candidiate was speaking, the other had to hide so they couldn’t hear the answers. Also, supporters (i.e. those helping a candidate’s campaign) either had to get out or stay for all presentations.
- All the members present were, well, just normal. No political fanatics or frightening zealous activists. Typically Lib Dem - the pragmatic party?
- I spoke briefly to Sue before the thing started and she even remembered me, given that I’d written to her a number of times when she was MP and she’d even asked a question in Parliament for me!
- I did wonder about asking candidates their ‘views’ on certain issues. In essence, isn’t an MP there to represent (1) constituent’s views and (2) the party line? Why should their personal opinion come into it? Of course, naivete aside, people choose someone based on their ideology who would vote in Parliament according to that ideology. Not necessarily invalid but still not really a true representitive democracy.
In the meantime, things may have been spoiled by Ming seemingly making a pitch for right. His ideas might be sensible but he has to be careful - all this criticism of his performance in the house is misplaced IMHO. He doesn’t excel at the childish barracking that is Prime Minister’s Questions? Good!
… and when I got home, my Cubit, which was my Skype machine and had the shiny, new Cyberphone W connected to it, had died completely. For the time being, I’m back to a headset on my Linux box.
| Friday 19th May 2006 23:40MDT | → 0 Comments |
Oh, and the webcam is back.
| Friday 19th May 2006 21:40MDT | → 0 Comments |
Civil Liberties news (I must get around to making that list of all heinous legislation Noo Labour has railroaded through that trashes out basic rights - it just takes a lot of time to compile):
The UN Committee Against Torture demands the US close Guantanamo Bay. (Blair continues to tacitly support it, but in a typically cowardly fashion - just what the f**k does ‘anomaly’ mean?).
Excellent essay from Bruce Schneier on the value of privacy:
Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? (”Who watches the watchers?”) and “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Magna Carta- Did She Die in Vain?
| Wednesday 17th May 2006 20:24MDT | → 1 Comments |
Despite Blair’s sickening policy-by-tabloid-headline attitude of late, Marcel Berlins has produced an excellent demolition of Blair’s recent attack on the Human Rights Act. It seems like our dear leader is just totally incompetent when it comes to basic facts. Just hopeless (but also highly dangerous).
Looks like I’ll be visiting Terry sometime in the middle of September, now that work has arranged a company ‘day out’ on the 8th. Serves me right for not booking it earlier (though I did have to determine what dates were good for Denise). Terry is especially anxious for me to fix the dates as he wants us to spend a few days in Door County, an area of outstanding natural beauty in Wisconsin.
I’m quite satisfied with my Skype Cyberphone W. One irritation is that you have to use the computer to access voicemails but that’s survivable. I’ve also learned the trick that, if you’re suffering from poor connection quality, set Skype offline for 10s which apparently forces Skype to choose a new supernode. However, given all this talk about blocking VOIP, who knows how long it will remain a viable communications method.
| Friday 12th May 2006 19:53MDT | → 1 Comments |
Two glorious days of sunshine, though we’ve been threatened with rain this weekend. I’m assuming it’s still spring now - either that or summer is having an identity crisis.
The Scum newspaper has supposedly started a campaign against the Human Rights Act. This is nothing new as they’ve been distorting the idea of universal rights for years (and now Cameron has jumped on the bandwagon as Tories have always hated the idea that plebs should enjoy inherent rights rather than having them dispensed by privilege of the elite). However, true to form they fall at the first hurdle by claiming the European Convention on Human Rights was created by the EU, when of course it’s actually the Council of Europe. Then again, the scum prefers not to cloud the issue with facts.
It’s worth pointing out the bleedin’ obvious again, as one has to do with right-wingers (as they’re thick): scrapping the Human Rights Act doesn’t stop us being bound by the convention. In fact, doing so would mean decisions being taken by mostly foreign judges in Strasbourg rather than British ones! I wonder if they had ever thought of that?
Of course, they could then withdraw from the convention (as it’s effectly an international treaty)… at which point we’d be kicked out of the Council of Europe… following which we’d be kicked out of the EU (as being bound by the convention is effectively an implied requirement). Then where would we be, apart from a pariah state in Europe?
Do you want an example of why inherent rights against an overbearing government are vital? Read FUN WITH SURVEILLANCE for a chilling example.
In happier news, I’ve bought a Skype Cyberphone W which is now connected to my Cubit in the sitting room. I’m hoping to be practically there in having a VOIP phone acting like a real phone. I might even be able to switch off my real fixed-line phone (which I rarely use anyway) in time.
| Saturday 6th May 2006 9:47MDT | → 2 Comments |
End of another week of surviving - made that bit more bearable by the nice, sunny weather recently. On Thursday Denise, Daryl and I went to a tapas bar for an ersatz birthday party for him. Spoiled somewhat by the incredibly loud jazz band they had (it was only a tiny restaurant) that gave me a headache.
Terry has been busy helping friends do up their houses for sale (known in the trade as ’staging’). Unfortunately, this kept him so busy he hasn’t been able to call as often as I’d like. I always look forward to hearing from him.
Blair’s reshuffle seems to have confused everyone (one theory as to why he demoted Jack Straw was to replace him with a less independent thinker who would make all the right noises when it comes to invading Iran).
I think Blair is definitely on borrowed time and Chicken Yoghurt has put together an excellent list of reasons why Blair (and preferably all of Noo Labour) has to go. Compelling, as it if really needed to be spelled out.
| Tuesday 2nd May 2006 21:43MDT | → 0 Comments |
No better with depression (though today at work wasn’t the horror I anticipated). I suspect I’ll have to see my doctor and get some anti-depressents as I feel constantly like I’m about to burst into tears any moment.
36th session of the UNHCHR Committee Against Torture, wherein the USA finds itself in the company of George, Qatar and Guatemala in having to answer allegations of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.