AV — Labour’s death rattle and a gigantic fraud

Gordon Brown

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First-past-the-post has served this country well ...  We should be mad to adopt a system less fair than the one we have

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So says Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, in an article in The Daily Telegraph to-day (February 28, 2011).

He draws a comparison between Colonel Mu‘ammar al-Gadaffi and unlamented former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown — pointing out a certain similarity of appearance and their common love of long, rambling speeches on socialist theory (in which he gives the edge, in logic and coherence, to the Colonel).

Continue reading AV — Labour’s death rattle and a gigantic fraud

The BBC Trust

“The extent to which the audience feels its trust betrayed ... bodes ill for the BBC.  In the long term the loser will be public-service broad­casting itself ;  the winners the revengists of ‘old’ New Labour.”

Photo of Dr. Robert Frew

Dr Robert Frew reflects on the role of the BBC Trust

BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons has recently revealed he will not seek to be re-appointed in the role when his four-year term ends next May.

A few weeks ago, in a letter to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Sir Michael said the Trust was robust, workable and effective ... with much remaining to be done.  So what of the background that led to the formation of the BBC Trust and its future ?

Birth of the Trust

The BBC Trust replaced the BBC’s Board of Governors in January 2007.  The Government said it was intended to ensure an “unprecedented obligation to openness and transparency”.  But one of its first announcements was that the BBC Trust would review the corporation’s UK news coverage, which, whilst seeming even-handed to some, was seen by others as an insidious first step to totalitarianism :  more like a politburo’s flexing its muscles.

Back in the time of Sir John Birt, BBC Director-General (DG) from 1992 to 2000 (now Lord Birt and blue-sky thinker), decisions were made to shift ultimate editorial control from managing editors to the DG.  In retrospect one can only conjecture whether there was pressure from the Government at that time.  Yet, despite a bitter strike by journalists, the transfer of editorial control went ahead.

Continue reading The BBC Trust

Where next for climate change ?

Prof. Hal W. Lewis
resigns from the American Physical Society
Resignation letter cites fraud across the field
picture of Hal Lewis
... the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, ... has corrupted so many scientists ...  It is the greatest and most successful pseudo­scientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.  ...

As regular visitors to these pages over recent months will know, it is rare for Pericles to say anything in a vehement tone.

To-day’s subject however is so important — to the well-being not only of residents of the British Isles but also to those in the far flung corners of the Earth, many of whom will have no access to a computer, many of whom will be largely illiterate — that he departs from his usual conciliatory demeanour.

To-day Pericles urges you to read Prof. Hal Lewis’s letter of resig­nation from the American Physical Society — an organization once thought of as amongst the greatest bodies (if not indeed the greatest) in the field of physics.

Prof. Lewis’s letter is set out in full at Pericles’s own site, together with his commentary.

Ski helmets have a lesson for us … on ‘localism’

schilaufer

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Boris Johnson rails against the centralization of power that has caused the cost of government to rise like a rocket, saying the sensible way forward is to simplify and devolve.

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In an article in The Daily Telegraph Boris Johnson admits — despite the economic rigours the population generally is suffering — to going ski-ing.  He does claim in mitigation that it was a cut-price affair with, as he puts it, “home-made sandwiches for lunch, washed down with eau de robinet”.

It is not, he says, just that he loves ski-ing and is addicted to hurling himself down the slopes and that his children are quite keen.  A collateral purpose drove him to take this vacation :  journalistic research.

Continue reading Ski helmets have a lesson for us … on ‘localism’

Blue parking badge failing those most in need

Frank Gardner

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There ought to be parking permits specifically for wheelchair users like the BBC’s Frank Gardner
— Boris Johnson

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Suppose you’re in the car and you are looking for somewhere to park.  In fact, you’ve been looking for somewhere to park for the past 25 minutes, and the kids are starting to hit each other and the windows are fogging up so that you have to rub them with your sleeve.  People behind you keep hooting because you are going so slowly, and your stressometer needle is edging towards critical as you drift further and further from the place you need to be ;  and then suddenly you see a space — a gap between a row of cars of at least six axe handles in length.  Enough for you to park!

Continue reading Blue parking badge failing those most in need

The John Lewis harassment case

Maybe I have this all wrong. It could be that Mr Konstantinos Kalomoiris will one day join the Tolpuddle Martyrs in the pantheon of those who have fought for the rights of working people. Perhaps Billy Bragg will strum an anthem in his honour and the trade unions will stitch his likeness to their gaily-coloured banners; and perhaps a street will be named after him in Islington and a plaque will be unveiled in Transport House, complete with a fiery speech by Tony Benn or Mr Tristram Hunt MP. Perhaps all future members of the British labour force – including my own grandchildren – will give thanks that Mr Konstantinos Kalomoiris decided he could take it no more.
After three slaps on the bottom he took a stand, on behalf of himself and his entire gender. No matter that the bottom-patter (alleged) had worked for 40 years for the firm, with an "unblemished record". Never mind that she was a 68-year-old woman, who insisted that she had only "touched his back in a caring way, like a mother or grandmother".
Mr Kalomoiris, 40, has sued the company, John Lewis – a notably tender-hearted employer – for sexual discrimination and harassment; and, as I say, my instincts could be completely out of whack. This could turn out to be a ground-breaking case in the advancement of workers' rights against the unfeeling boss class. But I sincerely doubt it. It sounds to me like a perfect indication of the levels of barminess now being attained by our system of employment tribunals. The hearing continues, it says at the bottom of the reports, and my first thought is how mad, how incredible it is that this poor man's grievance – whatever it really is – has come to court. Continue reading The John Lewis harassment case