Saturday, July 17, 2004

Random linkage: obliquely connected

Blood and Treasure on Hodge Hill:
Oh…..kay. So a shifty looking slaphead runs from door to door throwing leaflets around and jabbering about dirty foreigners and feral youth and the RAYS. The RAYS in his HEAD from MOBILE PHONE MASTS. The RAYS being PUT into his HEAD by HIS POLITICAL OPPONENTS.

And Backword Dave on Keith Moon:

I tried to read his biography once, but all the days started to blur into “Woke up, threw TV out of window, called Ollie Reed, knocked back a bottle or so of brandy, took pills, send out for explosives, blew up hotel…” which, let me tell you, lacks plot, character development and all that, and becomes dull with the 400th repetition.

Tory troubles

Just a couple of thoughts from The Guardian:
In Leicester, if not in Birmingham, the party fought to win. Activists and MPs were shipped up the M1, thrown onto the streets and revived with iced Pimms on the journey home - yet voters shrugged and looked elsewhere. The outcome is all the worse given that there were no Ukip candidates and that in both seats the Conservatives once won a victory, started in a solid second place and in 1992 secured the backing of more than one in three voters.

And I wonder who the anonymous frontbencher in this article might be?

Optimists said it might have been worse. "If we had not campaigned so hard we would probably have come fourth to [George Galloway's] Respect in Leicester South and that really would have been a disaster," one frontbencher said.

It certainly could be an interesting General Election if UKIP and Respect live up to their promises of standing in every seat.

Please pay close attention to the voices in your head

I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.

George Bush, during a meeting with an Amish group (via Political Wire)

Remember kids, if you get in trouble for doing something your invisible friend told you to do, just call it 'God' and you can get away with just about anything.

Dream teams

One thing I forgot to mention earlier when discussing last night's by-elections was that I spent most of the time after midnight flicking between BBC News 24 and Sky News to try and create some bespoke election coverage. The problem was that while the BBC had the best line up of politicians commenting on the results (John Reid, Matthew Taylor and Liam Fox compared to Ian McCartney, Tim Collins and Navnit Dholakia), Sky had the best reporter/analyst combination with Adam Boulton and Peter Kellner compared to the BBC's newsreader/presenter-whose-name-I-can't-remember, and a swapping double act of John Curtice and Anthony Howard.

I probably would have stuck with Sky, but it was just that the McCartney/Dholakia/Collins triple act was incredibly dull - despite being Chris Brooke's favourite Tory MP, Tim Collins didn't really seem to be up to the up to the job of saying 'while it may be a mad night for us, it's obviously worse for the government' as though he meant it, McCartney makes John Prescott seem unitelligible and Dholakia is just too nice for the job. Meanwhile, though, the BBC's panel were much more enjoyable viewing with Taylor able to be as sumg as he wanted to be, Reid acting as though Tony Blair had just been given the mandate to be Lord High President of Everything for Life and Fox able to say with a straight face that of course the Tories weren't expecting to win seats where they came second at the General Election.

One day, someone will create digital TV technology that really will allow mix and match like that, I hope. Till then, I was just glad that our Freeview box doesn't pick up the ITV News Channel, thus sparing me having to flick through repeats of yesterday evening's news while mixing and matching.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Swivel-eyed loon update

As Anthony Wells is too busy getting married (and good luck to him, should he happen to be reading this) to keep us up to date with the antics of everyone's favourite wild-eyed nutters, I suppose it falls to me to inform you that UKIP have withdrawn the whip from one of their MEPs after he failed to inform them he was facing a trial for housing benefit fraud:
UKIP said: "The whip has been removed because Mr Mote did not inform the party of this situation before, during or immediately after the campaign."

The spokesman added: "We do not want to comment on the particulars of the court case, or in any way try to influence the outcome of the case."

UKIP said they only discovered the situation because of an article in the Daily Telegraph.

Can we play you every week?

I'm really hoping that Labour give Tom Watson a senior role in all their campaigns from now on. Given that he's already getting hagiographic congratulations for engineering one of the largest ever swings against Labour (27%) who knows just what he could do at a general election? One wonders just how many seats he could turn from safe to marginal with personal attacks on opposition candidates and Tebbitesque rants about 'yobs', 'crackheads' and 'junkies'.

(Dave has a good post on this: 'I suppose “issues’ are Old Labour and for all I know the word is banned from the Millbank dictionary.' As I noted before, it seems mentioning your candidate's name is also banned - I think The Candidate Who Cannot Be Named got just two mentions during the entire campaign by his campaign manager. It's good to know that Labour felt confident enough to run a campaign on his merits)

It's a shame for Nicola - guess we'll have to wait until the next election to begin the super-secret Swansea University Liberal Democrats conspiracy to take over the world.

Also, Yvonne Ridley should be congratulated for doing so well for Respect in Leicester South. That might go against the grain for some of you, but repeated praise for her could mean that she gets enough of an ego-boost to stand up to Mr Indefatigability and his ego and split the nutters up. It's only a matter of time before it happens anyway, so why not help to speed it up?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Back

Any aspiring blog conspiracy theorist may want to note that I've returned from holiday at the same time as Matt announced he was going off on one. However, I can positively assert that we are not the same person.

Anyway, I'm back from a lovely week up in Cumbria, just getting away from it all and even finding places that aren't overrun by tourists (that most schools don't finish until tomorrow helped in that as well). I didn't take too many pictures, as most places I went to, I've visited several times before, but there's one new set of photos available of Scafell Pike which I ascended on Sunday. Anyone who had a weird feeling around 1.30-2pm then can attribute it to the fact that I was the highest person in England at that time.

It's a long hard walk up to the top of the Pike, but definitely worth doing it. Those of you who know me will know that I'm not the fittest person around, so as you can see, it's possible for most people to complete the ascent. Hopefully, you'll have slightly better visibility than four days ago when the mist blocked everything out for most of the time. It's also worth taking the little side journey to Lingmell fell as the summit there, while a couple of hundred metres lower than any of the Scafells, is usually deserted and offers some great views, especially of Great Gable.

Another recommendation worth making is for the National Trust's excellent Lake District campsites, especially the site at Wasdale Head, right at the foot of Scafell Pike. Great facilities, friendly staff and a fantastic location make it a great (and very cheap) place to stay. Just make sure you remember to take some 20ps for the showers.

Anyway, I'm back now, so I guess it's time to start paying attention to the world again. One of the good things about being away from it all is that the newspaper just becomes something you buy so you've got a crossword to do in the tent that evening - most of the news just seems pretty irrelevant when the only question that really concerns you is where you're going to walk tomorrow. So, I suppose I better go and catch up...once I've got the rest of my photos sorted out and added the ones from the Gower as well.