Thursday, 10 November 2016

Donald Trump

Knock, Knock,
Who's there ?
Donald who?
Donald Trump
Go away

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

going up in smoke - time to stubb out cigs for good

Smoking rates across England are the lowest on record, health officials have said. Public Health England (PHE) said that 16.9 per cent of the population in England are smokers - the lowest level since records began.

The figures were released as the health body launched its annual Stoptober campaign to encourage the nation's remaining smokers to quit for the month of October. If people give up the habit for 28 days they are five times more likely to quit for good, PHE said.

In England there are now twice as many ex-smokers (14.6 million people), than current smokers (7.2 million), PHE added. Last year, out of the 2.5 million smokers who made a quit attempt, 500,000 people (20 per cent) were successful.

That's right, over 1/3 of smokers tried to quit last year. So much for the idea that smokers smoke out of freedom of choice, 80% of those trying to give up last year failed. Survey show over 90% of all smokers want to quit.
"Alongside unhealthy diet, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable early death in England, accounting for over 78,000 deaths a year. Quitters will soon see they have reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation. Stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health."
Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: "On top of this human cost, smoking has been estimated to cost the economy over £10 billion a year. We therefore support public health campaigns like Stoptober that motivate and support people to quit."

The Government's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Gina Radford said "We have a range of free support that can go direct to your phone, laptop or tablet via the Stoptober app, a daily email service or Facebook Messenger bot. The new Stoptober website also has advice and information on stop-smoking services and quitting aids." 

Add in the huge financial benefits of not smoking and the environmental and economic harm done by growing tobacco, there's never been a better time to quit.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

when I want your opinion ....

absolutely agree with this.

"In an internet age it is, at first glance, democratic to say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That is surely true. It is however a fatal step to then claim that all opinions are equal. Some opinions are backed by fact. Others are not. And those that are not backed by fact are worth considerably less than those that are."

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Your horoscope

Monday, 1 August 2016

coalition could liberal democrats have handled it better?

The Liberal Democrat History Group is hosting a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrat Conference with the rather odd title: coalition could liberal democrats have handled it better?

It is difficult to thin of a way in which they could have handed it worse !  Perhaps the one thing is that the Conservatives were very stupid to block reform of the House of Lords. Had the Clegg proposals gone through the Liberal Democrats would have lost most of their Lords. And the Parliamentary boundary changes would have gone through costing the Lib Dems 4 of the 8 seats the managed to cling on to.

Timothy West - A moment towards the end of the play

A fantastic autobiography - just oozes with the voice and personality of Timothy West. Forth right thoughts on actors, managements, arts funding etc, a host of anecdotes.

My only disappointment was when it ended and as it was published  in 2001, there are 15 more years to account for. 

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Leave it out - I never said that

This is from the official leave campaign website, campaign resources for the public to download.

It's even more explicit than the slogan on the side of the bus.

We know also that the intention was always to mislead people.

No Irony from Hannan as he tells us taking back control means doing what he tells us

Similar articles have been appearing in many places, after 40 years of not accepting the result of the 1976 referendum, Leave campaigners now tell us that people supporting remain should shut up and accept the result.

There are two main augments here, one the insinuation that seeking to overturn a result is not 'accepting' it and secondly that leave the EU means whatever the speaker wants it to means.

I do accept the result of the referendum, remain lost.  Let's be honest though,  I didn't get any say in how the referendum was conducted, what the question posed was or who led the debates on either side.  It is reported that George Osborne interventions were met with disbelief amongst the electorate.
Not surprisingly.  Similarly, many leave voters knew the leave campaign was telling lies, but at least they were "our liars".
As Mr Hannan himself has made clear, the remain campaign was based on "project fear", so what is his objection to another referendum where the debate can be based on project reality ?

There is nothing in the UK laws that prevent a second referendum on the leave terms offered. It would be inconvenient for the leave campaign and the Conservative Party to have another referendum, but that not actually a legal basis.  Referendums in the UK (unlike most countries) are called at the whim of the Prime Minister (assuming he can get most MPs to back him/her) . There is no mechanism for say 1 million ordinary electors to call a referendum.

Leave campaigners made great play of taking back control and Parliament be sovereign (i.e. having the final say)

Others seem to argue that somehow another referendum is 'unsporting', what if it goes the other way, will we have another referendum after that brought about by disgruntled leave campaigners ?  Well the answer is yes, that's the marvellous thing about democracy, one is allowed to change your mind.
The public supporter the Munich agreement in 1938, when it turned out not to be what it appeared, they supported war with Nazi Germany.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Iraq and Blair and Chilcot

It is typical that a war that wasted lives and billions of £ beyond comprehension and was built on errors should be addressed by a report that has wasted time, millions and told us nothing worthwhile.

I can almost believe Tony Bair acted with the best motives, I find it harder to believe that he didn't seek to mislead anyone, what I  utterly disagree with is his assertion that it was worth it and he would do it all again.

The war in Iraq was a disaster from the start. The build up ignored the United Nations, the war itself destroyed Iraq so badly it has still not recovered and it unleashed death and destruction  across the region and terrorist attacks across the world.

Monday, 4 July 2016

£12.6 billion Gamble

According to the Gambling Commission, Britons lost about £12.6 billion in the 12 months to September 2015, an increase of almost 12 per cent on the previous year.
That is almost £500 for every household in the land

Monday, 27 June 2016

Boris the Spider

the web of deception. - Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive

Boris Johnston says:
"This year the US is projected to grow by 2.4 per cent, China by 6.5 pc, NZ by 2 pc, Australia by 2.5 pc and India by 7.5 pc. The Eurozone – 1.5 per cent."

He sometimes adds his joke,  the only continent with lower growth than the EU is Antarctica

But what does GDP measure ? The size of the entire size of the economy. It can grow simply because the population grows. It can shrink because natural resources are depleted or fall in value. And % increases tell us very little when comparing countries with each other as opposed to comparing them with themselves in previous years.

Lets look at a more meaningful measure - GDP per person (also called per capita). Methodology (the way of working out the figures) varies, but roughly speaking, they are similar whatever method is used.
In 2015 they were: 

UK $43,940             China $14,107        India $6,162

So the India economy grew by 7.5% in 2015, or $403 per person
If the UK economy grew by 1.5% , that would be $649 per person
In fact the UK economy grew by 2.2% in 2015, or $946 per person

Funny how even when the India economy growing at more than 3 times the % rate of the UK economy, in cash terms, the UK economy grew more than twice as fast as the Indian economy and the gap between the two countries has widened.

So Boris does this usual thing with liars, he doesn't tell a direct lie, so much as not tell the truth and deliberately gives a misleading impression.  He claims if only we left the EU the UK could have a 7% growth rate like India. Well no it couldn't. 

Similarly, will Boris be moving to China because their economy is booming ? No, because the average UK citizen is about 3 and half times better off than a citizen of China.

Setting aside the fact that Boris doesn't support the economic polices of China or even the USA, the truth is that he is again misleading people with bogus statistics.

Free Eye test


Above is a photo from

I think it is part of an adult literacy campaign.

Or perhaps Specsavers or just one of those optical illusions that take the internet by storm,
Where some people can see the hidden words such as “the lions share” “this is a mistake, I haven't authorised it” “No, not me I knew nothing about it" or "Nay, nay and thrice nay, not on your nelly will you see a penny of that £350 million"
Most worryingly, Michael Gove used to be in charge of UK Education !
Boris Johnston, is well known for his quote "It is an inverted pyramid of piffle. It is all completely untrue and ludicrous conjecture. I am amazed people can write this drivel." but of course that was about the allegation that he had had an affair, which turns out, he was lying about.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

When someone says your like Hitler, how do you react when they want you to give them a good deal ?

Boris Johnson, the possible next prime minister, caused genuine and grave offence by likening the European project to the ambitions of Hitler. His declarations that Brexit will trigger events that unravel the entire project is

The UK has next to no trade negotiators, and will need hundreds, to replicate the market access it currently has with 50 states around the world .

Britain has made clear it doesn’t want free movement – and so any deal on those grounds would be so impossibly fragile as to be a waste of time. Frankfurt and Paris would certainly like our banks. clearing houses that trade in Euros and generate billions for the Exchequer will have to be domiciled in the Eurozone.

A Canadian-style trade deal, that will set tariffs on imports and exports. That may be fine for German manufacturers. But Britain’s service economy will be cut up like an old car. British graduates are about to learn what it's like to use an Australian-style points system. 

If a deal covering trade arrangements isn’t struck once the two-year period expires, Britain is  simply released from the EU treaties and left on crippling WTO terms - something the Treasury terms  a "severe shock scenario" and which it envisages would likely result in a cut in GDP of six per cent and increase unemployment by 800,000, not including the risks presented by emergency spending cuts, or the "tipping points" presented by the crystallisation of financial stability risks.

Monday, 20 June 2016

It will be easier to leave the EU later than it will be to rejoin

In the rather awful EU membership Referendum draws top a close, the obvious point has not been made. This isn't a once in a lifetime opportunity to leave the EU. The UK can leave anytime Parliament votes to leave.  So if there comes a time when the EU admits Turkey, creates an EU army and forces the UK to pay for a bailout of euro zone countries or any of the other 'predictions' the likes of Farage make - then the UK will be able to leave. Some might even think that would be a more intelligent time to have a vote. 

Friday, 17 June 2016

Jo Cox - Tim Farron writes

This morning with my kids all I could think about was the family who’ve woken up with their lives changed forever.
Yesterday a mum, who left home to do her job to serve her constituents, was cruelly and brutally taken from them. Her husband and their children are in my thoughts and prayers.
When something terrible happens, I feel it. I am not one of those who shies away from emotion. And I, like so many others, am really feeling it today.
In Orlando, when all those people were massacred for simply being themselves, the hurt was overwhelming. And here in Britain, we have seen terror on our streets and lost an incredible woman. 
Grief, sorrow, anger, frustration, confusion.
Jo Cox was a wonderful MP. Much will be written about her and she deserves all the tributes that are being paid.  
Very few politicians had her vision and courage when it came to standing up for Syria and for refugees. She was really affected by their plight and when she spoke in Parliament I was deeply moved.   She came to the Commons to make a difference, for something she believed in.  
For too long we have allowed division and hatred to thrive. Vitriol has risen, and only yesterday we saw the shameful and sickening sight of England fans taunting child refugees, while public figures went out of their way to fan the flames of prejudice. 
I am angry and upset at all those politicians, public figures and newspapers who wilfully stir up fear and hatred.  
Political debate has become a nasty place where personal attacks, blaming foreigners, migrants, the poor, the different, have become palatable.
Where has all the hope, and optimism, and decency gone?  It will be quoted many times over, but Jo’s words in her maiden speech couldn’t be clearer and couldn’t be more poignant – ‘we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.’ 
Today I won’t be campaigning in the referendum, but I’m going to be in my constituency doing what MPs do; I will be holding an open-air surgery. 
This is how I, in my small way, can pay tribute to Jo.  
This is what I encourage all people in politics to do today. Be in your constituency, be in your ward. Be part of your community. Reach out, lend a hand, support, listen, comfort and help. This is what we’re here to do.
Tomorrow I will begin again to make the positive case for Europe.  
I am fed up with the anger and the hatred. It’s gone on for too long. I am a passionate believer that being part of Europe is better for our country, yet this debate has been suffocated by ego and dirty politics. 
We must turn a corner.  
Let this be a turning point for our country. When the world around us is fearful, confusing, and clouded, let us be the beacon of tolerance and hope.
Tim Farron

Thursday, 14 April 2016

RIP actor Gareth Thomas

Loved Blakes 7, loved Children of the Stones, he was even good in Heartbeat.

Such as shame, as I believe he was just about to record some more Blake's 7 for Big Finish Productions.
At one time he was in the running to be in The New Avengers on TV but was told he didn't look right so they chose Gareth Hunt - who looked incredibly similar - instead.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Damaging effect of Porn

Research is suggesting that pornography addiction may be distorting our ideas of healthy sexual relationships, causing erectile dysfunction, social anxiety, depression, compulsivity, desensitization, anorgamsia, delayed ejaculation, difficulty having sex with real partners, and abnormally low sexual desire

Saturday, 19 March 2016

The emperors new clothes

Iain Duncan-Smith has resigned from the UK Cabinet saying that the cuts to benefits for disabled people couldn't be justified in a budget which found money for tax cuts for the higher rate taxpayers.

It seems Mr Duncan-Smith has woken up to what his critics have been saying all along, as Chancellor, George Osborne has been preaching 'we're all in it together' and the 'broadest shoulders take the broadest burden' but most of his actions have been to give more to the rich and to make life harder for the poor.

It's as if Iain Duncan-Smith can no longer stand the cognitive dissonance and has woken up to the fact the Emperor has no clothes.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Utterly Outrageous

The Lloyd George Museum in Wales is under threat of closure following moves to axe its funding. Facing the loss of £27,000 in council support, it has managed now to secure an extra 12 months grace. A financial appeal is running to ensure that ends up being a permanent saving of the museum rather than simply a deferment of closure. You can support the appeal here.

David Lloyd George was perhaps the greatest Prime Minister the UK has ever had. As Chancellor he drove through policies like the introduction of the Old Age Pension.  As minister for munitions and Prime Minister he did more to win WW1 than anyone else.  He rose from a humble background to towering achievements.

The sum withdrawn by the local Council to cover running cost of the Museum is £27,000 a year. I know of useless Councillors paid more than that. It wouldn't even pay for a MP and staff running costs for a  couple of months.  In terms of Government expenditure, it is nothing, yet the only museum dedicated to a man to whom we all owe so much is under threat of closure.  Incredible.

Monday, 7 March 2016

For a Morris Dancer

"For A Dancer" by Jackson Browne
Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down
I don't remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must have thought you'd always be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you're nowhere to be found

I don't know what happens when people die
Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It's like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can't sing
I can't help listening
And I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round
Crying as they ease you down
'Cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
(Right on dancing)
No matter what fate chooses to play
(There's nothing you can do about it anyway)

Just do the steps that you've been shown
By everyone you've ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another's steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you'll do alone

Keep a fire for the human race
Let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
(The world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you'll never know

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

too many angels - by jackson browne

There's an angel on a ribbon
Hanging from the armoire door
There's a Cupid with his feet crossed
On the bird cage by the door
There's a baby angel drummer
His eyes are open wide
And two more tiny cherubs
On the mantle side by side
Too many angels
Have seen me crying
Too many angels
Have heard you lying
There are photographs of children
All in their silver frames
On the window sills and tabletops
Lit by candle flames
And upon their angel faces
Life's expectations climb
Where the moment has preserved them
From the ravages of time
Too many angels
Have seen me crying
Too many angels
Have heard you lying
Bring the morning on
Voices sing of day
I want to step out in the morning sun
Through the flood of tears
I want this darkness gone
Your sweet face appears
These apparitions coming one by one
But there's no end in sight
Only the dead of night
And too many angels
Too many angels
Have seen me crying
Too many angels
Have heard you lying
Too many angels
Bring the morning on
Voices sing of day
I want to step out in the morning sun
Through the flood of tears
I want to greet the dawn
Cast away these fears
Forget about the things we could have done
Bring the morning on
Voices sing of day
I want to watch the children as they run
Through the broken years
I want this darkness gone
Your sweet face appears
These apparitions coming one by one
But there's no end in sight
Only the dead of night
And too many angels

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

taxing question

Facebook: The social media titan paid just £4,327 in corporation tax in 2014, despite reporting UK revenues of £105million.
Apple: The US-based technology firm behind the iPad and the iPhone made £34billion in profit during the year to September 2014.
Experts estimate that the UK accounted for £1.9billion of that profit, but the firm only paid £11.8million in British corporation tax.
Amazon: The online shopping giant took £5.3billion in sales from British shoppers in 2014 but paid just £11.9million in tax after announcing profits of £34.4million.
Starbucks: The coffee chain paid just £8.6million of tax over 14 years between 1998 and 2012 when sales totalled £3billion.
But latest company filings show it paid £8.1million in corporation tax for last year on profits of £34.2million.

Google paid its chief executive more than the £130million it handed to the UK taxman for 10 years of tax bills, it has emerged. 

Sundar Pichai was given shares in the company worth nearly £140million, making him one of the highest-paid directors of any public company in the world
Funny, if google doesn't actually make enough money to pay corporation tax, why is it paying it's chief executive so much money ?

Monday, 8 February 2016

Dad's Army - the new movie

The problem with remaking Dads Army for Cinema is the same one that faced all adaptations of TV sitcom from half an hour to an Hour and a half.

The cast of the new dads army film do a good job, they are not doing impression of the original cast but putting their own interpretations on the roles.

The production value are high and the plot fine.  

As the reviews have made clear, what is lacking is enough jokes. This I think is essentially the problem of having just one person writing the script.

Mark Kermode has a very perceptive review here:

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Glenn Frey RIP

He inspired millions: The Michigan native on stage in Los Angeles in 1977

Until today, the Eagles were one of the few bands from the 1970's where all members had survived and were alive.

Glenn Frey was absolutely key to the success of the Eagles and they won't be the same without him.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Jeremy Vile

The polygraph measures such things as heartbeat, blood pressure, and respiration. The polygraph is not a lie detector because changes in heartbeat, blood pressure, and respiration can be caused by many things. Nervousness, anger, sadness, embarrassment, and fear can all be causal factors in altering one's heart rate, blood pressure, or respiration rate. Having to go to the bathroom can also be causative. There are also a number of medical conditions such as colds, headaches, constipation, or neurological and muscular problems that can cause the physiological changes measured by the polygraph