Thursday, May 25, 2006

Security dossier "mislaid"

A folder listing (it actually suggested attack scenarios) ways to assasinate the Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet was "left in a hotel", reports the Times.

Included were "secret" plans to protect Tony Blair from an al Qaida-style terrorist attack.

I know they're supposed to be facing a back-bench rebellion but this is a bit drastic, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's an ID thing

So this taxi driver, big guy, Congolese, is waiting for a client at the BBC in Shepherds Bush when a studio manager bustles up to him.

"Guy Kewney?" he asks.

"Yes," confirms our driver.

Guy Kewney is actually the fare he's supposed to pick up, but he's arrived too early.

He is then whisked away, fitted up with a microphone and placed in front of a camera to be interviewed by the luscious Karen Bowerman about the implications for Apple Computer after their High Court victory against Apple Corps.

Meanwhile the real Guy Kewney, little wiry guy, white, pale skin, wispy boffin beard, watches it on a monitor in reception...

Read the story

Watch video clip

Monday, May 08, 2006

The drowning man

At his monthly news conference today, Tony blair refused to name a date for a leadership handover, but guaranteed an orderly transition.

The term "mutually exclusive" springs to mind.

However, Mr Blair's administration hasn't allowed a lack of linguistic logic to become a clog on policy in the past, as the Iraqi situation testifies.

"To state a timetable now," he said, "would simply paralyse the proper working of government."

Excuse me?

He referred to Labour's implicit defeat in last week's local council elections as a "distraction" from "the necessary changes", which the party under his leadership is making for Britain.

Is this man reading the papers?

Has he forgotten the arguments his father in law, playing the part of a certain "Scouse Git" in the sitcom "Til Death Do Us Part", had with his in-law "Alf Garnett"?

Has he even seen it?

Does he even care?

Give it up, sir.

Blair soldiers on in the face of unrest

Jock 'n' Roll

A Scottish Executive website claims that Rock 'n' Roll was invented by Scots immigrants to the New World in the 18th century.

From Nashville to Govan

Also... Read this from 2000

The Scottish Play

North of the border the Scottish Labour Party leadership, amidst fears that the departure row will threaten the Holyrood election campaign, is refusing to back Blair.

Scottish parliamentary and local elections are due next May, and internal polling data leaked last week pointed to a possible loss of up to 12 seats.

On BBC's The Politics Show yesterday Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson dissociated the Scottish party from the Westminster leadership crisis.

"When we go into the elections for Holyrood and local government we should be going into those elections laying out what Labour has done for the people of Scotland," she said.

The electorate does not expect to see in-fighting within the Labour Party over the next year, she added.

Read Louise Gray and James Kirkup in The Scotsman

A summer coup?

How many MPs does it take to change a Prime Minister?

No it's not a new twist on an old joke but a serious (for Tony Blair at any rate) question.

Neither is it a retorical one; the answer is 71.

That's the number of backbenchers required to sign a letter to the party's national executive demanding a "clear timetable and procedure for the election of a new Labour Party leader, no later than the end of the current parliamentary session".

So far at least 50 of the gentlemen in question have agreed to sign.

Read Patrick Wintour's article in Guardian Politics

Thursday, May 04, 2006


If England wins the world cup will all her other problems go away?

Black Thursday?

Britain went to the polls today in the local mid-term elections.

Labour is up against a resurgent Conservative Party and stands to lose ground to far right groups like the BNP, with violent crime by foreigners close to the top of the electoral issues list.

Mick Green, 50, wearing an England football shirt, said he voted for the BNP:

"I've voted Labour all my life but I won't now. I'm fed up with Labour and the Liberals."

All eyes on Barking and the BNP

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

If you can smell fish that's probably what it is...

It should have come as no surprise to anyone that John Prescott was engaged in a bit of the "extra-marital".

Who could blame him?

It's my guess that in the appropriate stakes he had something to prove.

History shows that less than physically attractive politicians have often been prone.

When news of his indiscretion broke I - and I'm sure I wasn't alone - detected a distinct shadow overhead.

Was it a plane? Was it a train? Was it the truth?

No, of course not.

One possibility, which struck me at the time, was of that well known and oft-abused political fish, the Red Herring.

But I put the suspicion to the back of my mind: journalistic paranoia, I thought (or maybe wishful thinking?).

And then over the weekend Defence Secretary John Reid came within a hair's breadth of being busted for possession of class C drugs.

Again I had the impression of a political ruse badly executed.

Whatever the truth value of my idle thoughts, however, neither of these real or imagined attempts to distract the media (and the public) from Charles Clarke's "foreign rapists go free" fiasco have been effective.

I fear the proof will be in Thursday's local election pudding.

OK, I know: nothing's new under the sun and all this has happened before and will continue to happen.

That's politics, after all.

What really worries me though are all those protest votes, many of which, if the word on the street is anything to go by, will have BNP written all over them.

Meltdown Thursday?

Amidst rampant predictions of a Labour meltdown in the looming local elections, ministers have begun a major blitz of the regions in an attempt to limit the damage caused by last weeks scandals.

However, Charles Clarke today continues to resist urgent calls to update Parliament on efforts to track down upwards of 1000 foreign criminals wrongly released into the community.

And Deputy PM John Prescott returns to work after a bank holiday weekend of low-lying at his home in Hull. He faces calls for his resignation over his affair with former diary secretary Tracey Temple.

Read Peter Riddell's Commentary in The Times online

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Living With War!

U.N. Agency Says Iran Falls Short on Nuclear Data Save

Published: April 29, 2006

VIENNA, April 28 — Iran has drastically curtailed cooperation with nuclear inspectors over the past month as it has sped forward with its nuclear enrichment, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday.

Read: "Origins of the Great War of 2007"

You want rice with that?

Tens of thousands of Chinese net users are calling for Google to rethink its Chinese identity.

It's less than two weeks since the company announced it would be known as "Guge", represented by the ideograms for valley and song, which, it said, conveyed "the sense of a fruitful and productive search experience".

However, already in trouble over bowing to censorship demands from Beijing, the search engine is now facing flack for choosing a name considered by many to be awkward, nonsensical or even rude.

In a poll conducted by, 85% were opposed to Guge.

Soso, the leader of an online campaign against it, said: "When I first heard the name Guge, I couldn't help laughing. It sounded like 'fool', 'funny' and 'fart'."

Soso is founder of, a site which allows superimposition of users' own names on Google branding.

In what seems to be a sideswipe at Google's submissive attitude to Beijing one of the most popular alternatives is "Good Gou", which translates as "Good Dog".

Defence Sec in Drugs Bust

Cannabis with a street value of approximately 85 pence has been discovered by police conducting a routine security sweep at the home of Defence Secretary John Reid.

A spokesman for the minister denied all knowledge of the drug or how it came to be there.

Strathclyde Police said the resin, weighing less than 1 gram was found in a guest room.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Article in London Daily

ALERT - "If you, or someone from your family, have any plan to visit the US in a near future, I strongly suggest you to continue reading this text, where I describe the experiences I had in LA International Airport, late Feb 24, 2002."

Read the story.

Quickies from up North

Tayside Police have lost a bag containing a "controlled substance" with a street value of about £500.

It was being used to train sniffer dogs.

Not very well "controlled", was it?

A PRISON escapee has told a court he went on the run in order to cure his drug habit.

Drugs in jail are apparently "too readily available".

The judge give him an extra 40 days.

POLICE in the Highlands are hunting a serial sheep killer

More than 50 animals have been murdered on the shores of Loch Eriboll.

Sgt Hamish Grace said the animals appeared to have been slain where they lay.

He added that the Northern Constabulary were following a "positive line of inquiry".

There is no evidence of a sexual motive.

COUNCILLOR Lorna Shiels wants to clean up Edinburghs's lap-dancing scene...

"So look, it's like this: I've got nothing against sex and we all need to make a living, right? But there has to be some rules, you know, for the voters?"

"Hmm. I'm listening."

"Yeah. Good. Here's the way it is. One: no private booths; everything has to be done in the open..."

"What, everything? Are you crazy?"

"Two: CCTV cameras everywhere."

"You're serious, aren't you? You really mean it..."

"Three: the girls don't dance within one metre of the punters and you don't employ anybody under 18."

"No way, Councillor. It ain't gonna work!"

"Oh come on, it'll be voluntary, of course..."

Mr Stringfellow, 65, who owns the "famous Stringfellows" bars in London, said:

"The last thing I need is a battle with the authorities. I will be keeping a close eye on how the situation develops."

He added:

"If the establishment insists on bringing in all these changes then I won't be coming."

Neither will we, Peter.

EDINBURGH'S Saughton jail is top of the hit list for drug busts.

More illegal substance seizures take place there than in any other Scottish prison.

Toddlers have been running cannabis, heroin and cocaine into jails north of the border for years.

And last week Glasgow Lawyer Angela Baillie was jailed for two years for smuggling drugs into Barlinnie.

Scottish Nationalist MSP Alex Neil said the situation was a "matter for concern".

"The number of people peddling drugs in prison is still far too high," he said.

Oh, come on.

Surely there's enough business for us all to make a decent living?