Thursday, 31 December 2009

Music That Made My Noughties Part Three

The last half of the decade was, musically, a wasteland for me...

Wild Dances - Ruslana

Hung Up - Madonna

Boys Boys Boys - Lady Gaga

Pretender - Foo Fighters

Bulletproof - La Roux

Danzing - Verka Serduchka

Même Si - Lucie Silvas & Grégory Lemarchal

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Music That Made My Noughties Part Two

World Of Our Own - Westlife

Everyway That I Can - Sertab Erener

Leave Right Now - Will Young

All The Things She Said - t.A.T.u

Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back) - Eamon

Heaven (acoustic) - DJ Sammy. Reminds me of Jim so much.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Music That Made My Noughties Part One

Toca's Miracle - Fragma

Disposable Teens - Marilyn Manson

Taste In Men - Placebo

"Can't Get You out of My Head" - Kylie

Gotta Get Thru This - Daniel Bedingfield

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

999 "Please help, I'm STUPID!"

Yes it's that time of the year again... for silly 999 calls. Man stuck on patch of ice on path. Woman annoyed by playful kitten. Check them out here

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


There's been a lot of people moaning about Avatar's "simplistic" story. Well I'm sure these same people turn their noses up at the great myths of humanity from Greek through Native American. Those too are simple stories but also enduring ones which still continue to thrill and entertain us to this day. There's nothing wrong with a simple story when expertly told and in Avatar this is done with skill.

Avatar is, without a doubt, the most visually stunning film I've ever seen. I was concerned, very concerned hence the delay in seeing it, that the mixture of CGI and real actors was going to be jarring and distracting. I needn't have worried. This is the Jurassic Park of this generation, seamlessly merging reality and fiction to the point where you can't see the joins. And this film comes with a message, a simple and straightforward one about greed and our relationship with the world around us be it others or nature.

This film has the emotion, the cinematography and je ne suis quoi to make it well up on my top ten list of all time. I cannot be complimentary enough on this one.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Monday, 28 December 2009

Doctor Who 4.17 The End Of Time Part One

If you read Doctor Who forums you'll find there is a significant minority of Whovians who hate this episode. I, for once, am not one of them. The episode see's the return of the Master, Wilf, Donna and... THE TIME LORDS! I think anything could be forgiven for those last two minutes where they are revealed. Awesome! But the rest of the episode has it's good points too. John Simm plays the Master extremely well, showing us his obvious insanity in grim/hilarious detail. Wilf and the Doctor are both great as they play melancholy characters and the Doctor crying as he tells Wilf he is going to die is EXCELLENT. Seeing Donna again is always good and I hope we see more of her next episode.

The plot... well the plot was the sort of thing you'd find in Marvel Comics in the early 80s. Silly, weird but ultimately alright.

The episode reminded me a lot of Survival (the last story of the original run) with it's grim reality of a down and out London where it's hard to find a smile or a job. It was far more realistic than the end of series 4 trilogy that was just pants. I hope that the follow up episode is as dramatic, exciting and funny as it needs to be in order to give the Tenth Doctor a good send off. It'll be sad to see David Tennant go but if they do it right it won't be all that bad!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Leader Debates: Healthy For Democracy?

For many years the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have been very important positions in our land. They are flattered and insulted in our press depending on the political mood and looked to as leaders. That goes without saying really doesn't it?

But despite these natural developments, our system is not a Presidential one. Well, at least, it shouldn't be. The Prime Minister should be the "First Among Many", working with powerful allies in their Cabinet to carry out the business of Government. That's how it should be. But these days, and I suppose (with a brief exception for the Major years) since the days of Thatcher, our system has begun to tend towards making the Prime Minister all powerful and destroying the power of the House of Commons in the process. Once the House was littered with rebels, strong orators and those of an individual character. But now, as all attention turns to the Prime Minister at the expense of all others, they have seemingly disappeared.

Now we have the much heralded leader debates, that shall precede our impending General Election. Here the leaders (of those parties carefully selected by the media, of course... can't have the crazies rocking the boat!) will appear groomed and rehearsed to engage in a game of political jousting little seen outside of PMQs. It shall be so much fluff, and these extra Parliamentary debates will no doubt be low brow stuff, aimed at the less intelligent voters with soundbites and easy to digest "policies" (for which read: things we'll change later). And all it shall serve to do is to allow the Prime Ministerial position to take on ever more characteristics of a President in the American style.

This will only encourage people to blindly vote by Party preference for candidates they don't know, just because they like their leader.

This is wrong! We must speak out in defence of our Parliament, of our representatives, in defence of our very way of being. The Prime Minister will always be top dog, but they must never become supreme. It's time the Government got off our telly's and back into the Houses. It's time for leader debates to be kept in Parliament where other Members can intercede and hold the leaders to account.

Grr.... Parliament needs to act, and act soon, to stop the Westminster way from becoming extinct!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Extremist Nationalist Organisations Linked To BNP: No Surprise There!

The Herald is reporting Scottish Defence League members having BNP connections despite the BNP banning such things.

As I've reported before, nationalist organisations having links to racist parties are ten a penny. Just look at the English Democrats and their England First Party friends, reported during the European Elections earlier this year.

Nationalism and racism don't need to go together, even an old fashioned Unionist like myself can admit that, it's just sad that they usually seem to. Well sad for the nationalists... ammunition for those of us who believe in a united, progressive future.

Fight the fascists, the racists and the nationalists who seek to destroy our tolerant country and create a white version of the Taliban, hellbent on creating a fixed, inflexible culture. Down with religious fundamentalists. Down with racist scum. Down with all who wish to impose their way of life on others.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 6 December 2009

For The Flag

This country is full of, so-called, "patriots". Most of them don't even appear not know which country they are in (i.e. the United Kingdom NOT England) but regardless of that I'm flabbergasted at the disrespect these people show to even their own flags.

There's a pub near me, thankfully closing down soon, called the Royal George. Outside they fly, quelle and surprise, the St George's flag. Now I'm putting aside my unionism for this post so no insults from me here. But these flags are shabby, dirty and ill cared for. I have to ask: why bother? What is the point of making a big show of having flags, things which most countries have laws protecting how they are displayed, and then not caring for them. It's hardly patriotic, but based on my travels around London and Kent the flags there are actually far better than some. I've been past some pubs that actually have HOLES in their flags.

The same was true for the Greenwich Police Station who, until recently, was flying a dirty, holed Union flag. This is a Government body, and they can't even fly a decent looking flag. If there was some deeply interesting history behind the flag, perhaps they can be forgiven, but I doubt that was the case.

I know, we don't have a tradition of respecting our flags like America does nor do we have any rules or regulations governing civilian use of flags. In fact the Union flag isn't even, officially, the flag of the country (it is officially a flag of the monarch). But still... if one is to claim to be patriotic (which I think flying a flag is a statement of) why don't people care for them more?

Let's look at two examples from yesterdays "English" "Defence" League protest.

Firstly we have a bizarrely featured Union flag. Let us first ignore the strange juxtaposition of "English" and "Union flag" and instead focus on how they are holding that flag. Surely, if these folks are so passionate about their country, they would be treating the flag a little less like a "Happy Birthday" banner flying off a motorway bridge?

Then we have these rather delightful fellows holding DEFACED St George's flags. These people need to learn about flag poles. But then again this might involve some sort of education which they are clearly lacking.

Despite my rather irrational, and rabid, dislike for the St. George's flag, I'm not looking forward to the World Cup. Around that time people will drape St George's flags out their windows onto dirty walls, hang them from their cars and generally cause me to grow increasingly angry at their obviously FAUX patriotism.

I know, this is very petty stuff. But this a blog and a blog's main raison d'etre is the petty stuff not fit to print! Honestly folks... if you are going to do something, at least do it properly!!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Monday, 16 November 2009

Doctor Who 4.16 The Waters Of Mars

The Waters Of Mars is the penultimate story (if not episode) for the Tenth Doctor, and is even more foreboding and dark than the end of the Fourth Doctor.

The Doctor lands on Mars, a year after humanities first Martian colony has been established. In order for humanity to thrive, the Martian colony must be destroyed which leaves the Doctor in the awkward situation of being his ever nosey self whilst understanding he must allow the colonists to meet their fate. When the Doctor finally does interfere in a fit of megalomania, he manages to save three of the colonists but still loses his battle with time.

The Doctor is at his very worst in this episode, depressed and morose at the start and pompous and unduly confident near the end. These emotions have always been the flipside of the bubbly, enthusiastic Tenth Doctor and are appropriate, if depressing, for one of his final adventures.

The acting was great, the storyline slick, and the ending deeply moving. And, as a Doctor Who fan, the ringing of the Cloister Bell as the Doctor screams defiance at his end was electrifying.

I'll be sad to see the Tenth Doctor go, but all good things must come to an end... roll on Christmas!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The House Of Lords: Good For Something?

I don't believe in "hate crimes". I believe that some crimes occur purely because of irrational hate, but that that doesn't mean they should be treated any differently to other crimes. I understand that I am in the minority on the left, and in the gay "community", but I feel my belief in equality before the law is something I can't compromise.

The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 was thankfully watered down in the House of Lords. Now the Coroners and Justice Bill is going the same way and clauses have been added to protect freedom of speech.

I'm in uncomfortable company when disliking these sort of laws (with the racists, the fundamentalists, the Tories, the insane and the nasty) but fundamentally I believe we should be able to speak freely, however much we might offend each other. Inciting VIOLENCE should always be a crime... whoever it is against. But we should not pick out certain groups for special protection from hatred, when hatred is sadly a common feature of daily life for a huge group of people. We all need equal protection for crime.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Age Of Forgetting

Today is Armistice Day, commemorating the end of the First World War. Here in Britain we wear poppies as a sign of respect (and as a way of helping out veterans and their dependants through the Royal British Legion and the Earl Haig Fund Scotland). Well that was the idea.

Sadly today I looked around and found I was the only person in a rather busy carriage of a westbound District Line train to be wearing one. Even on the way to work, discounting the rather glorious sight of pretty much every girl from a local school wearing one, I was taken aback at the sheer lack of poppies.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a poppy Nazi. I don't expect people to wear poppies by coercion. I was just shocked that so few had chosen of their own free will to wear one.

Then at work the subject was brought up by my only other poppy wearing colleague. We hoped the company would observe the 2 minute silence at 11a.m. We were pleased to hear that the silence would be started and finished by the sounding of fire alarm, but confused when we were told "If people don't feel comfortable with observing the silence they don't have to". Confused I wondered who might not feel comfortable with it, to find several people wouldn't but they didn't offer an explanation (and I didn't pry, again I'm not the Remembrance police).

When the time came just three of us in an office of 30 observed the two minutes silence as all around us others chatted, dealt with tenants and phoned colleagues in other departments.

I don't really know what to make of it. You can't force people to do things they don't want to do. But... but part of me feels sickened by the total lack of respect for those who lost their lives in the war (and all the rest of the wars too). I can't help it. It feels wrong to feel so strongly on something like this, as I do tend to dislike overt patriotism and strongly held beliefs in general but there's something inside me that recoils at this insult to the memory of our ancestors.

However, part of me knows the reason isn't disrespect. It's ignorance. Most of the people I work with, perhaps most of the people in this country, couldn't tell you much about the First World War except perhaps it involved the British and the Germans and trenches. It's as foreign to them as is the War of the Pacific or the Anglo-Afghan Wars.

Which scares me somewhat given that the First World War was caused mainly by a general ignorance of what it would involve. That ignorance infected every echelon of society and lead to deaths of millions. Let's hope we don't forget our past totally and blunder into yet another bloodbath.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Sun's Done It Again

As anyone who knows me knows, I hate The Sun. It is a singularly foul mouthed rag masquerading as a newspaper. Now that I've declared my position let us begin...

Grief. It's an awful emotion. When one is struck by the loss of someone very close to you, as most of us have been, the vast amount of conflicting emotions can overwealm you. There is often anger mixed up with grief, usually at yourself and perhaps some missed opportunity for a final goodbye, which can manifest itself in ugly and unpleasant ways.

There is no doubting the grief of the mother of Guardsman Jamie Janes, who sadly lost his life in the conflict in Afghanistan. And it is somewhat unsurpising that something as seemingly insignificant as bad handwriting might, thanks to her grief, arouse her anger at a Prime Minister who presides over the very conflict that killed her son. This is all clear enough, and somewhat understandable. Despite my feeling she was being unreasonable, I find it hard to blame a grieving parent for almost any action they made in the months following the death of their child.

The Sun however has no such excuse. I'm no friend of The Sun, but I'm also no friend of Gordon Brown. But surely even those of us who dislike the Prime Minister cannot fail to be slightly forgiving towards him should he make a mistake/a mess whilst taking the time to write a personal message to the family of one our armed forces fallen? I find it rather disgusting that the Sun would choose to exploit this woman's grief and the death of a soldier to score cheap political points.

But then again... this is The Sun... what else should one expect?

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Monday, 9 November 2009

The End Of History

Today marks 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It happened so suddenly that Helmut Kohl, the German Chancellor, was out of the country and even George Bush Snr. admits that nobody in the west had even an inkling of what was coming despite the refugee crisis that proceeded it's collapse. Whilst the fall of the wall does not mark "The End Of History" as proclaimed by Francis Fukuyama, it does, for me, mark the end of a period of history. And I'm not talking about just the Cold War. It serves as a bookend to a era started by another singularly unexpected event... the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand back in 1914. The outbreak of the First World War was the opening salvo in a European civil war which brought misery to our continent until finally the Berlin Wall fell and brought about the beginning of the end of a dark era in our history.

And just as few people know much about European history in the years leading up to the First World War (the early years of the 20th Century are fascinating mainly for bearing very little resemblance to the world that was to follow... the First World War changed everything), the history of the Cold War ends (for many) at the point of the wall falling. Few remember the bloody events in Romania in December 1989 and fewer still know the story of the final collapse of the Soviet Union two years later. The fall of the Berlin Wall may have been just one event among many but it served as a mental shorthand for everything that followed (and a little of what proceeded it).

Despite this, it really was a momentous event in it's own right... brought about by a bureaucratic slip up at a press conference and seen through peacefully thanks to the determination of the East Berlin populace and the good sense of the East German guards who finally stood aside. If even one of them had decided to make a stand, however unlikely that might seem, we might look upon this date as something quite different.

20 years ago, our continent finally set about healing long held wounds and began the process of moving forward again into a new era... that is why we should be proud of the achievements of the people of Berlin that day. And very grateful too.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Jurassic Park IV?

An old interview with Joe Johnston gives renewed hope to constantly postponed fourth outing for Jurassic Park IV.

"There is a great story for the fourth one that I would be interested in getting involved with, and it's nothing like the first three," Johnston told the site. "It sort of takes the franchise off in a completely different direction, which is the only way I would want to get involved."

He added that it likely won't be another storyline about a group of people struggling to survive a dinosaur attack. "We've done that, and it's been done three times..."

The site commented that they should stay away from an island setting this time. "Why would anybody go back to that island?" Johnston said. "It was hard enough to figure out the second and third reason for them to go, but it would take it off in a whole other trilogy basically, but when it gets to that level it's sort of about studios and Steven [Spielberg's] thing and who knows. I think we are at that point where we are due for another one if we are going to do it." - Source: Dread Central

File this one under the "I pray this movie gets made but probably never will".

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

For The Fallen - Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Posted by ShoZu

Rubbish Media

There used to be a difference between bloggers and the "old" media. Bloggers were depicted as ranting nutters who obsessed over the most inane and pointless things whilst the old media held itself up as the defenders of liberty through truth and intrepid reporters from whom nothing could be hidden.

How times have changed. Whilst the new media has evolved, even if it does still contain plenty of us ranters!, and now the old media seems to be relegated to reporting what we are saying. Who publishes the things the old media (other than perhaps the Private Eye) is too scared to? We do. Who has the time to truly research a subject and report on it in depth whilst the old media is too busy chasing readers/viewers and always looking for the next big thing? Us again.

Yesterday someone I follow on Twitter, @brumplum, made a very innocuous tweet about Stephen Fry's tweets being somewhat boring. @stephenfry took offence to this and major Twitter butt hurt occurred as per usual. After bandwagons were set off and idiots aroused, all was resolved and everyone should have moved on.

But despite this the BBC, the Guardian, the Times et al. decided this rather pointless exchange warranted prominent reporting. We live in a world in which hundreds of thousands of people languish in North Korea gulags, in which people are murdered on the streets of London just for being gay, in which elections are rigged and yet, in a sector crying poverty at every possible opportunity, time and resources are wasted on reporting a storm in a teacup.

The worst part is that. whilst I'm under no illusions that the old media has ever been the paragons of virtue, reading foreign media shows just how good reporting can be when done well. It's a shame that our media falls further and further behind the standards one would expect of them.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Trafalgar Square Vigil For Ian Baynham

Whilst I was on holiday in Berlin, the GLBT Network at work was formed. Having put my name down for it, I was invited to our first "event" which was to go as a group to the vigil in Trafalgar Square in honour of the life of the recently murdered Ian Baynham and all other recent victims of hate crime. There was only 4 of us (Stephanie, Paul, Cosimo and I) plus Stephanie's partner, so after gathering ourselves at First Out Cafe, we headed down to Trafalgar Square where a very large crowded had gathered.

Sandi Toksvig lead the events with various friends of Ian Baynham, Sue Perkins and many different representatives of organisations including the only politicians, Labour ministers, Chris Bryant and Maria Eagle.

It was deeply moving and the musical tributes by both the Gay Men's Chorus' of various cities and the London Gay Symphony Orchestra were touching. We did our part by distributing candle's (and card to protect one's hands!) around the little part of the crowd we'd found ourselves in.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Jan Moir: 48 Hours Later

When you spend time reading GLBT related news stories, you become somewhat immune to the bile and filth that spews from the bigoted and homophobic from around the world. So the real surprise I got from the Jan Moir/Twitter controversy of the last few days is this: How do people not realise this is just your run of the mill tabloid stuff?

That might sound very blasé about a something so nasty as her piece on Stephen Gately. But it's true. The Daily Mail, the Express, The Sun/NotW and the others all print this sort of stuff daily. Has no one heard of the ever quotable Richard Littlejohn?

I've spent much of my life moaning at people who read tabloids, and being accused of snobbery. But it's not snobbery... it's just I can't stand people propping up the careers of these regressive people. Just take a look at a few examples of the sort of things these folks put out there here, here and here.

So really, whilst I appreciate the strength of feeling over Jan Moir, I think it's a little over the top to be directing so much hate just at her. She is just part of a backward system, a symptom of the underlying problem in our media. The entire culture needs to change, but I see no way of doing that which at the same time maintains my liberal "say what you like and be damned" feelings. And I sort of agree with this article which points out the illiberal nature of much of vile comments being flung Jan Moir's way.

There has got to be a better way of doing things? There's got to be something we can do to rechannel all the Jan Moir hating into something more positive. Personally I think simply boycotting the tabloids and those who advertise in them is probably the best we can do. But then again... I already do the first part, and much of the second, anyway. It's a dilemma.

P.S. I wish people would remember Civil Partnerships are not Gay Marriage. We still have a way to go before we get marriage equality I'm afraid but I will be attending a Top Secret protest somewhere at some point soon in support of the principle of marriage equality... for straight people! Watch this space.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, 17 October 2009

The Surviving Supporters Of Clause 28 Of The Local Government Bill

An idea from Bill Cameron

On December 15th 1987, the last debate at which amendments could have been made to the infamous Clause/Section 28/2a occurred. At this election 309 MPs voted to keep it as it was:

Prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material
(1)The following section shall be inserted after section 2 of the [1986 c. 10.] Local Government Act 1986 (prohibition of political publicity)—
“2AProhibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material
(1)A local authority shall not—
(a)intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality;
(b)promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.
(2)Nothing in subsection (1) above shall be taken to prohibit the doing of anything for the purpose of treating or preventing the spread of disease.
(3)In any proceedings in connection with the application of this section a court shall draw such inferences as to the intention of the local authority as may reasonably be drawn from the evidence before it.
(4)In subsection (1)(b) above “maintained school” means,—
(a)in England and Wales, a county school, voluntary school, nursery school or special school, within the meaning of the Education Act 1944; and
(b)in Scotland, a public school, nursery school or special school, within the meaning of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.”
(2)This section shall come into force at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.
There are still 51 of those people in elected public office. 48 MPs and 3 MEPs, all Tory MPs at the time (one is now a Labour MP and the other, to my great disappointment, is now a Lib Dem MEP). Most got the chop in the 1992 and 1997 election.

That's 25% of the current sitting Conservative grouping in the House of Parliament. The Conservative party may have changed (and I would debate that) but I'm quite sure these people have not. We should not allow them to forget their previous records.

This list does not include Lords who voted for the Clause or against amendments to it nor those MPs who have since become Life Peers.


David Amess: Tory MP for Southend West. Like Wilshire, he's been having a spot of bother with his expenses claims. His majority, though, is very large and even if the Lib Dem and Labour vote were combined he'd still win.

James Arbuthnot: Tory MP for North East Hampshire. Again this majority seems insurmountable.

Julian Brazier: Tory MP for Canterbury. This is another big majority.

Simon Burns: Tory MP for West Chelmsford. Yet another large majority, and the only controversy seems to be a recent conviction for careless driving.

Tony Baldry: Tory MP for Banbury. Yet another huge majority.

Alistair Burt: Tory MP for North East Bedfordshire. Another big majority.

John Butterfill: Tory MP for Bournemouth West. He will not be seeking re-election possibly because of some rather messy expenses claims reported in the Daily Telegraph.

Henry Bellingham: Tory MP for North West Norfolk. Quelle surprise... it's another large majority.

Bill Cash: Tory MP for Stone. Bill Cash has made a lot of noise about being exonerated from his expenses problems, but no news on him being exonerated for his support of illiberal and regressive pieces of legislation in the 1980s.

Christopher Chope: Tory MP for Christchurch. Whilst his majority is huge, he did get a little trouble following some ill advised comments on the minimum wage shortly before the expenses scandal hit.

Kenneth Clarke: Tory MP for Rushcliffe. As you can imagine, I doubt he'll be going anywhere any time soon!

Tim Boswell: Tory MP for Daventry. He will be standing down at the next election.

Peter Bottomley: Tory MP for Worthing West. Another big majority.

Patrick Cormack: Tory MP for South Staffordshire. An overwealming majority, but he has received a request to pay back some of his expenses.

Quentin Davies: Labour (but at the time Tory) MP for Grantham and Stamford. He has had his own issues with expenses.

Robert Key: Tory MP for Salisbury. Relatively safe majority.

David Davis: Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden. Famously in favour of civil liberties, yet his voting record suggests he isn't too concerned about progressive issues.

Stephen Dorrell: Tory MP for Charnwood. Secure majority.

Greg Knight: Tory MP for East Yorkshire, his majority seems secure too. Alas.

Michael Fallon: Tory MP for Sevenoaks. This is Sevenoaks, the day they don't elect a Tory MP is the day I'll finally have my faith restored in humanity. It's a long shot.

Peter Lilley: Tory MP for Hitchin and Harpenden. Secure, as per usual.

Michael Lord: Tory MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich. Standing down at the next election.

Andrew MacKay: Tory MP for Bracknell. Due to the expenses scandal he will be standing down at the next election.

David Maclean: Tory MP for Penrith and the Border. Standing down at the next election due to failing health.

Patrick McLoughlin: Tory MP for West Derbyshire. Secure. Worryingly he is the Shadow Chief Whip!

Roger Gale: Tory MP for North Thanet. Like's capital punishment, but is keen on animal welfare. Conflicting messages there.

Humfrey Malins: Tory MP for Woking. He is standing down at the next election.

John Maples: Tory MP for Stratford-Upon-Avon. He probably won't be going anywhere.

Francis Maude: Tory MP for Horsham. Another big hitter, likely to be in any future cabinet of a Conservative Government.

John Greenway: Tory MP for Ryedale. Another safe seat.

Andrew Mitchell: Tory MP for Sutton Coldfield. Is a Shadow Minister.

Malcolm Moss: Tory MP for North East Cambridgeshire. Another strong majority.

David Heathcoat-Amory: Tory MP for Wells. Majority is very slim.

Douglas Hogg: Tory MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham. Large majority. But standing down at the next election!

James Paice: Tory MP for South East Cambridgeshire. Double digit majority.

Michael Howard: Tory MP for Folkestone and Hythe (my home town!). He is standing down at the next election.

Gerald Howarth: Tory MP for Aldershot. Another Shadow Minister and has a double digit majority.

Michael Jack: Tory MP for Flyde. Standing down at the next election.

John Redwood: Tory MP for Wokingham. Large majority.

David Tredinnick: Tory MP for Bosworth. Has a huge majority but also seems to favour alternative therapies. Which is worrying.

Richard Shepherd: Tory MP for Aldridge-Brownhills. Double digit majority.

Nicholas Soames: Tory MP for Mid Sussex. Controversial MP. Double digit majority.

Ann Widdecombe: Tory MP for Maidstone and The Weald. Standing down at the next election.

Michael Spicer: Tory MP for West Worcestershire. Slim majority and standing down at the next election.

Ann Winterton: Tory MP for Congleton. Standing down at the next election following some infamous expenses claims.

Anthony Steen: Tory MP for Totnes. Standing down at the next election, yet enough "victim" of the expenses scandal.

Tim Yeo: Tory MP for South Suffolk. Double digit majority.

Peter Tapsell: Tory MP for Louth and Horncastle. Large majority.

Ian Taylor: Tory MP for Esher and Walton. Standing down at the next election.


Robert Atkins - Former Tory MP who now sits as an MEP for the North West England constituency.

Timothy Kirkhope: Former Tory MP who now sits as an MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber

Emma Nicholson: Former Tory MP but now Lib Dem MEP for South East England.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Friday, 16 October 2009

Tory MPs: You Couldn't Make Them Up

David Wilshire MP has decided not to fight the next General Election. What good news! But it's actually better news than I thought as the Rt. Hon. Wilshire was the man behind Section 28! I know, I'm so behind the times, but finally one of the architects of one of the most illiberal pieces of legislation of the 1980s has got his comeuppance.

In other Tory news....

Aren't the Tories supposed to be the sensible one's? The one's with their feet firmly on the ground? Well seems like there's a woomeister among the ranks of the Tory MPs... David Tredinnick. Read this then weep...

Thankfully the Tories have a new friend. Boyz Magazine. Weird but true.... read all about here

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Jan Moir: Another Bow In The Daily Mail's Armour Of Hate

Yesterday I was in the pub, and after finishing the Guardian I headed over to where the newspapers are kept in a futile search for the Tech section. On the way back one of the regulars helpfully said "There's a Daily Mail over there if you want it Jae" at which I gave him a withering look and informed him that I don't "touch that sort of thing". He returned with "Don't blame ya, it's a piece of trash", which somewhat warmed my feelings towards him.

As if proof was needed of this obvious truth, Jan Moir decided to provide us all with a reason to hate that "news"paper. The evidence is here. I'm not going to go into detail on why it's wrong (check this out for that) instead I'm just writing this post to make sure everybody has the link as to where to make a formal complaint about it. Go here to help fight the conservative Daily Mail regressive agenda and stand up for honest reporting and human freedom.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Things That Interest Me - 15/10/2009

Most MPs have had their snouts in the trough. But some seem to have gone the whole hog (geddit? ;) ) and thrown their entire body in! Tory David Wilshire MP seems to have really enjoyed his time as a Member of Parliament, which is just as well I doubt he'll be getting back in at the next election (if his constituents have any sense anyway, but given that they voted Tory last time perhaps that is too much to ask)

It's very simple, but very funny! Spoiling TV advertising posters.

It's North Korea and The Hotel Of Doom

The failures, and history, of world hunger relief.

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Boy In Balloon Over Denver

BBC News here,

Live Footage here

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change Guest Post


Climate change is not only about melting ice caps and polar bears. Climate change is about people.

Swinging weather patterns are creating disasters on a scale that human civilization has never before witnessed. For the world’s poorest people – the ones least equipped to deal with its effects – climate change is devastating their crops, livelihoods and communities.

"Climate change is worsening the plight of those hundreds of millions of men, women and children who already live in extreme poverty – and it threatens to push hundreds of millions more people into similar destitution," says CARE International’s Secretary General Robert Glasser. "A concerted international response to this unprecedented challenge is required if we are to avoid catastrophic human suffering."

CARE is working toward a world where poor people can create opportunity out of crises like climate change. But the current reality is that climate change makes poor people even more vulnerable.

For instance, agricultural production will likely decline in the poorest countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Less reliable rainfall will likely affect planting seasons, crop growth and livestock health – and lead to increased malnutrition. In other parts of the developing world, flooding will likely further diminish the quality of already-marginal soil and could cause outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery.
Climate change also is hurling many poor families into “Catch-22” situations. For example, they may select crops that are less sensitive to rainfall variation, but also less profitable. As incomes decline and people are not able to eke out a living, children are forced to leave school, assets are sold off to afford essentials, malnutrition rates increase and large-scale migration ensues. The end result? Deepening poverty for tens of millions of people around the world.

What Must Be Done?

At the international level, negotiations to develop a new treaty to guide global efforts to address climate change will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark in just a couple weeks. The United States must help lead those efforts, and forge a strong agreement that caps emissions, stops global warming and responds to the effects already in motion. We must do this for the sake of all of humanity.

What can I do to help?

First, you can make a tax-deductible donation to CARE to help poor families access the tools and education they need to adapt to the effects of climate change, make efficient use of their existing resources and overcome poverty for good.

Second, if you live in the Unites States, you can write your senators and urge them to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, a critical step toward U.S. leadership in tackling climate change. U.S. leadership is critical to making the Copenhagen negotiations a success.

Third, you can join the CARE mailing list to be kept up to date on CARE’s activities and other ways you can take action in the days counting down to Copenhagen.

To donate, take action and join our e-mail list, please visit

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Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

20 odd years ago I can remember my Mum worrying about the hole in the Ozone Layer. It was a big thing, and after much huffing and puffing the world did something about it. Slowing, but surely, the "hole" is shrinking (although let's not call it problem solved but prospects look a lot better now thanks to global action).

Now we face another environmental problem: Climate Change. And the world just doesn't seem to care. The worst part of it is the controversy over whether it is man made or not. Does it really matter? I personally believe the extent of climate change is going to be directly affected by our actions at the least, but even if you think it's a natural phenomenon then it's still a problem we must solve. We build sea walls to defend our homes from the violent sea. We build roofs to cover ourselves from the affects of the weather. And if the weather or the sea destroys that which we have built we don't just shrug our shoulders and say "Oh jeez, guess there's nothing we can do, it's nature after all." No. We build things bigger, stronger and more intelligently than before and hope that works out better. It might not be the most sensible thing, but it's what us humans do and it's what makes us the species we are.

Climate change is real. It's happening. And if we don't do something to suppress it as much as possible our world, our homes and even our civilisation may not survive. We must change how we live voluntarily before the Earth makes changes for us.

We are not looking here at an end of the world scenario. We may not be looking at the end of the human race scenario. What we are looking at though is the destruction of our children's quality of life, of vast ecosystems filled with untold numbers of creatures and of centuries of progress towards a better world. Do you think a world with less land area to go around, water shortages, and "weird" weather is one which will be conducive to peace and prosperity? I don't.

We must make every effort to change our ways to beat climate change and many other environmental problems (climate change, to me, is but one part of the overall issue of the state we are leaving this planet in for future generations). We must also double our efforts in innovation, science and discovery, for we may be able to have our cake and eat it too if we can find a way to solve climate change through invention. It's what we humans are good at.

Need evidence? Check out this story from the BBC.

And for a more general idea of what we are doing to the world, read The World Without Us (Amazon US), which really brings home to you the need for us to change our ways.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Things That Interest Me - 14/10/2009

Themepark 1984 - An interesting "documentary"/home video on a tourist trip to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. If you're thinking of giving it a go yourself check out Regent Holidays

Millionaire Host Meets Gorgeous Navy Pilot then there's a question about a wet willy. :D

Black humour from Communist East Germany

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Scientologist Begins To Wake Up

Scientologists are not, in and of themselves, bad people. Like any religion Scientology attracts people who truly just want to better themselves and, perhaps, better the world. Sadly Scientology was set up, from the start, not as a guide to life but as a vehicle of self promotion (originally for L. Ron Hubbard). The early history of the movement (up and to just after L. Ron's death) is given in the excellent
Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L.Ron Hubbard Exposed (US Amazon).

Which makes it all the more depressing to find leak documents, such as this, in which an honourable Scientologist bemoans the fact that Scientology seems to be less about the Tech and more about making money. Sadly they think that keeping to L. Ron's original texts is the way forward, which means that this poor unfortunate has only opened their eyes half way.

At least, in this case, she is now out of the church and practising in what is known as the Scientology Freezone. Sadly that does not mean she is Scientology free.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Things That Interest Me - 13/10/2009

The pitfalls of tolerance - Lenin's Tomb. I have been avoiding the word tolerance for a very long time and this post sums up exactly why I do.

'Germany Has Become a Laboratory for Political Experiments' - Der Spiegel. It might have been a "boring" German election season but it had some interesting results.

An alternative version of Geert Wilders... who today had his ban from the United Kingdom overturned. I didn't agree with the ban. But I don't agree with Geert either.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Dan Carlin Makes Me Giddy!

I'm a podcast addict. Thanks to regularly long commutes to and from work I have a great deal of time to devote to podcasts (commuting and reading just don't go together in my opinion for so many reasons), and thus am constantly looking for new ones. For a long time it had become a dreary affair, as podcasts went from badly produced but infinitely lovable to sleek but soulless. With all my old favourites gone, I was almost ready to give up when in 2007 I came across Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. It was scholarly enough to mean I was learning something new, and Dan Carlin was enthusiastic enough to keep me interest. I was instantly hooked and even to this day it is the one podcast that makes me smile broadly when I see a new show pop up in iTunes.

Well I've been very lax in my research and it has taken me until yesterday to discover Dan Carlin has more than one podcast! Common Sense With Dan Carlin is his political podcast, and I just love it. Of course it's focussed upon American politics but you should all know I'm a not-so-secret lover of America so this is bonus rather than a detriment. Given it is updated much more regularly than Hardcore History, I think my trips to work (for I wouldn't be able to wait all the way until the end of the day to listen!) will be a lot more bearable. Check it out.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 11 October 2009

National Equality March - Not So Live Blog

From my social networks I bring you... the National Equality March! Sort of...

From @Skylarjordan preparing for the march. 

Queerty will be properly live blogging the events here

From the Bilerico Project: President Obama's HRC speech in full

The NEM crowd! via @davidhauslaib 

Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptish Church are in attendance, as bloody always. 

Hetero for Homos! 

The view of #NEM lining up @ 15th & K. That crowd goes for blocks before and behind via @Bilerico 

What the marchers are marching for...

Bilerico Project is liveblogging NEM too.

An interesting take on the gay agenda @rickydee1955

And they are off....

People seem to at least be agreeing on a Gay Agenda!

@RickyDee1955 is doing a pretty amazing job of RT'ing all the relevant tweets (so I don't have to! :P) 

Gotta love the Equality Wedding Cake.

Looks like a good turnout

A little bit of (gay rights) history repeating

At the White House

Lady GaGa has been spotted!

Follow the events using a Twub!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist