31 December 2009

Thank you, David Tennant

It's the end, but the moment has been prepared for.

It's certainly been trailered like nobody's business.

In about 26 hours time, Matt Smith will take on the most iconic role in British science fiction and David Tennant will join an elite club of former Doctors.

Before 2005 and the revival, I'd never really heard of David Tennant. When he was cast as the Doctor, I was willing to give him a chance and I was also willing to give the costume a chance.

From his initial appearances, it appeared that this Doctor was going to be a "Cockney wideboy in space".

But Tennant provided so much more than that. His Doctor was truly multi-faceted and varied. From the manic motormouth, to the lonely god, to the voice of time itself, to the oncoming storm that proved so terrible to the Family of Blood, Tennant played them all brilliantly. He (and his expressive face) was always enthralling and it must be said that the only poor episode of his reign hardly had him in.

Mr. Tennant's charisma and sheer talent kept the show strong and made it stronger. A hugely recognisable man, he will personify the Doctor for many of the young generation. Matt Smith has some big Converse All-Stars to fill.

I would like to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Mr. Tennant. You are simply the best of the Doctors.

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

30 December 2009

Revolution or war

The excellent Jams at The Poor Mouth (see my sidebar) continues with his commentary on the Iranian protests, which the regime is going to increasing lengths to try and suppress- but not succeeding.

It's clear that 2010 will be a significant year for Iran. If the regime is not overthrown and replaced by a less belligerent administration, Israel, the likely target for any nuclear weapons produced by Iran, will launch an airstrike against Iranian nuclear facilities.

If that happens, I don't know whether the regime will be strengthened or not. The populace might well rally around the government and democratic ambitions will be frustrated further.

I hope we don't have to find out.

19 December 2009

A Lot Of Hot Air

I actually reached 300 posts two posts back, but didn't notice it.

So the Copenhagen summit ends in an non-legally binding agreement that the conference merely "notes" rather than "approves". Many of the poorer countries are livid and with good reason.

One cause of this mess is that a treaty requires a two-thirds vote in the US Senate to be ratified and only 58 of the Senate are Democrats. Saunders would be friendly, but Lieberman...

Change you can believe in? Yeah, right.

18 December 2009

Words fail

Someone has stolen the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign from the gates of Auschwitz.

That is just tasteless. Some people have no shame.

07 December 2009

Advent

It's a time of year when we look forward to Christmas and all that it entails.

As a Christian, it's also a time of hope. The coming of Jesus was prophesied and it is prophesied that he will come back again. You won't have to worry about hunger, illness or tiredness if you belong to his kingdom then.

06 December 2009

Navy Field

I signed up for Navy Field today and tried out a Great Battle, sinking pretty quickly (I tried some of the training missions first).

I've gained a new appreciation for naval gunnery as a result, as well as for those who did it for real in the two World Wars.

28 November 2009

23 November 2009

46 Years of Doctor Who

Today is the 46th anniversary of one of the world's greatest TV programmes.

Check out an animated adventure if you live in the UK. It's pretty good.

07 November 2009

A Lie Can Get Around The World...

The attack at Fort Hood on Thursday is a deep tragedy and my condolences go out to the victims and their families.

 

I get the horrible feeling that whether this was a terrorist attack or not, people are going to look at the suspect’s Muslim faith and retaliate against Muslims anyway. Even if he denied it was a terrorist related attack, people aren’t going to believe it...

05 November 2009

The Water Torture Strategy: Thoughts On Afghanistan

Since it was on every front page in the country today, I am sure my British readers will have not missed the story of five British soldiers being gunned down by an Afghanistan while having tea. My condolences go out to their families.

 

It has struck me that what the Taliban and “Al-Qaeda” (the whole disparate movement, hence the speech marks) are trying to do is a repeat of what the North Vietnamese did in Vietnam. Not inflict one massive military victory, but inflict drip by drip by drip by drip- a steady stream of losses, which turn public opinion at home against a conflict.

 

It’s a strategy that only works when the leaders actually give in. South Vietnam fell two years after the US withdrawal and a carrier group or two there might have made a decisive impact. I am sure there are other cases. When the military goes ruthless, it generally fails- France and Poland were only liberated (yes, that ought to be in inverted commas for the latter) from the Nazis by direct military intervention, although Yugoslavia is the exception that proves the rule. Four decades of intifada in the Palestinian Territories haven’t altered the situation. I also refer to Northern Ireland, where the military didn’t go ruthless.

 

While there are definitely issues of strategy, human rights and corruption, I still believe we should stay and train up the forces properly. If we don’t, we won’t just be fighting them there, we’ll be fighting them here and there, because it’s going to stink to be female, a Christian or a supporter of democracy in Afghanistan.

 

An old friend of mine is currently in the Army, although I don’t think he’s deploying to the country any time soon. When he does, I hope he stays safe.

 

 

04 November 2009

US Elections

While the usual caveats about protest votes and stuff apply, it cannot honestly be said to be a good night for Barack Obama- and for the Republicans.

 

The NY-23 pickup was by a Blue Dog Democrat, gay marriage got banned again in Maine and there’s the obvious governor losses.

 

However, Bloomberg got back in only narrowly, the Republican brand is still fairly toxic (understandable really, it’ll take a decade to self-clean) and there’s NY-23.

29 October 2009

Pillars Of Sand

The US economy grew last quarter, officially ending the recession there.

 

I can’t help but feel, though, that said recovery is entirely due to TARP and “Cash for Clunkers” and that there’s still a lot of fragility in the real economy... Remember the jobless rate.

25 October 2009

Griffin and Question Time

I haven't posted here for a while- trying to resolve a crisis at AJJE Games that looks about to spill into the open.

I'm not sure about whether it was a good idea to invite Griffin onto Question Time. It certainly gave him the oxygen of publicity, but it also gave people some good quotes to attack him on. Defending the Ku Klux Klan, for example.

Speaking of indigenous Brits, how far back does he want to go with "voluntary repatriation"?

We'll have to see what this does to the success of the BNP.

13 October 2009

An interesting picture

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/08/entertainment_enl_1255430698/html/1.stm

 

I saw someone similar- it may have been these people- in Chicago last year. I remember some dude telling people to die. I guess it was an attempt at a joke.

09 October 2009

Apparently You Get Points For Trying

The decision of the Norwegian Storting to award President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize bemuses me to say the least.

 

The man apparently got it for strengthening international institutions and promoting global nuclear disarmament. By this logic, FDR should have got one for setting up the UN and Reagan for ending the Cold War.

 

The word “premature” comes to mind. I really wish people would stop waving pom-poms for this guy before he actually achieves something.

 

PS Can someone brighten up Mile End tube station please?

08 October 2009

Sir Richard Dannatt and the Tories

May not be an opportunist political gimmick...

 

But the timing looks mighty suspicious. It’s very rare for a serving officer to make public criticisms of policy (Sir John Hackett did it once and got away with it by wearing his NATO hat) and to go straight into a political advisory role to the Shadow Cabinet isn’t really cricket.

 

I naturally favour our troops having what they need to succeed in Afghanistan, but Dannatt has possibly done them a disservice.

30 September 2009

Iranian Evasion

Testing a feature of Blogger that I haven’t yet utilised, namely creating posts by email.

 

The discovery that Iran had a secret nuclear facility is rather alarming. They’re clearly being very sneaky. That said, considering the likely results of an attack on Iran by Israel or anyone else, I am not inclined to military action as yet. That said, I favour economic sanctions, as it’s time to hit the mullahs where it hurts.

 

I don’t want a nuclear-armed Iran. In fact, I don’t want nuclear-armed anybody, although I’m not a unilateralist.

26 September 2009

"The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret!"

I knew about this already, but still it's interesting reading.

There's actually a system of similar purpose in British service, known as the Last Resort letters. These letters from the PM are placed in a safe on each Vanguard missile submarine. In the event that the UK ceases to exist, the letters are opened and the crew follow his or her instructions, which are probably one of four options.

1. Take out Moscow (or whoever)
2. Contact the Americans or the Australians (if they're still around)
3. Do nothing
4. Use your own judgement.

I'm sure other nuclear powers have their own systems.

18 September 2009

Historical Unemployment Figures



Just a little study I'm doing, partly to make myself feel better about the recession and Labour's likely electoral defeat next year.

17 September 2009

Obama and Missile Defence

Obama's announcement cancelling the "third site" in Central Europe today is not an end to missile defence by any means, contrary to how many right-wing sources are reporting this.

He's just moving to another method, namely AEGIS and the SM-3.

I'm actually a supporter of missile defence. I'd rather have protection than deterrence, with all that entails.

16 September 2009

I sunk your Plucky Comic Relief!

They're making a movie of the board game Battleship.

I'd say the world has gone mad, but that happened years ago.

11 September 2009

9/11 Eight Years On

It was when I went to the Ground Zero exhibition and was told that the debris was ten storeys high that it really, really sunk in.

May we never forget.

09 September 2009

08 September 2009

Dropping A Blood Clot On Her

I'm not entirely sure whether the demise of a certain female character in a certain UK crime drama last night was poor writing or not.

Having a character die off-screen from a medical complication does seem a bit strange, but then again it's a subtle statement about life. People don't always get better and surgery isn't perfect.

Let's hope we're not dealing with a Replacement Scrappy...

05 September 2009

Realpolitik Stinks- Libya and Afghanistan

So, we've had a convicted terrorist (although there are doubts about his guilt) essentially released from prison to secure an oil deal and bring a former state sponsor of terrorism in from the cold.

These are the choices you sadly have to make though in international politics. I don't personally think al-Megrahi should have been released on compassionate grounds or as part of a "prisoner transfer arrangement", but I understand why Gordon Brown did it.

Meanwhile, the election in Afghanistan looks to have been seriously corrupt, on many sides. I hope, frankly, this ends up in a run-off and that Karzai loses. The "marital rape" law that he allowed to be enacted is fundamentally wrong and should be repealed immediately.

That said, I still support our mission in Afghanistan, provided we put a lot of pressure on Karzai and the warlords. There are many Afghans who are not corrupt, oppose these restrictive laws and they deserve a decent future that does not involve the Taliban. We definitely need an altering of strategy.

However, my view on an exit strategy is this:
  1. Define the job
  2. Do the job
  3. Go when it's done

03 September 2009

70 Years Ago Part Two

Chamberlain's announcement of war from 1939.

If I'd have heard that in 1939, I'd have been very worried. The announcements after hardly sound reassuring.

01 September 2009

70 Years Ago Today...

Hitler invaded Poland, starting the Second World War in Europe.

The Polish people would suffer tremendously in the six years to come, as 7 million Poles were killed in the fighting or murdered by the Nazis in their "Final Solution".

Poles played a key part in defeating Hitler, delaying his invasion of France until spring 1940 by their resistance in Poland, flying in the Battle of Britain, fighting in other theatres such as Italy and, perhaps most importantly, providing key information on Enigma.

As we remember the destruction caused by one man's megalomania, may we also remember those who gave everything to stop it.

29 August 2009

Gordon Brown's Surprise Visit To Afghanistan

Is a clear indication that the country is still very dangerous.

I've probably said something like that before.

26 August 2009

Unfairly Maligning The Eurofighter

There's a lot of discussion over British equipment in Afghanistan and a lot of criticism of the Eurofighter Typhoon, with critics describing it as an "interceptor" and a "Cold War relic".

Yet again, people don't bother to check their facts.

  1. The Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 Typhoons are capable of doing air-to-ground operations just as well as the Tornado GR.4.
  2. The Eurofighter is a Cold War design, true. So is the A-10, F-16, F-15 and the Harrier.
  3. We're not going to be fighting Taliban-style enemies (i.e. air defence borderline non-existent) for the next 50 years. At some point we will be against someone with fighter aircraft and decent SAMs. In fact, we did that only a decade ago.
  4. The Eurofighter is a highly capable air-to-air fighter, perhaps second only to the F-22. It can also self-escort.
  5. We're not buying the original 232 planned anyway.

Daily Mail Headline Generator

Fun for all the left.

25 August 2009

US Torture

I'll say one thing about this.

This isn't even in the top ten of human rights abuses committed by the US government.

15 August 2009

VJ Day

Today is the 64th anniversary of the Japanese surrender that ended World War Two.

May we never forget the sacrifice of US, British and Commonwealth soldiers in defeating another form of fascism in Asia.

14 August 2009

New Layout

I've changed the layout, mostly because I like to do it every now and again.

What do you think?

13 August 2009

France and Germany exit recession

France and Germany grew economically last quarter.

That said, a double-dip recession there and elsewhere is a real possibility.

Twenty Years On: The Cold War and Its Legacy, Introduction

Twenty years ago last month, Solidarity won a landslide victory in Polish elections that the Communists had tried to rig. The result was the collapse of communism across Eastern Europe and ultimately the fall of the USSR.

I've had a long interest in the Cold War, as those who play Covert-81 can clearly see. The period is hugely interesting.

I'd like to start this series by making something very clear to certain members of the left. The Cold War was not a time of peace by any means and having a challenger to the United States actually made things worse.

The Cold War was a time of war by proxy, most notably in Vietnam and Afghanistan, but also in Central America and Africa. Human rights mattered far less to either side than retaining or gaining allies.

I would not want to go back to that period, that's for sure

07 August 2009

The Fourth Test

Not playing too well at the moment...

What's up with the wickets in this series anyway?

06 August 2009

Hiroshima - 64 Years On

Today is the 64th anniversary of the single largest act of destruction of humans by their fellow humans.

As someone with a large knowledge of nuclear weapons and their effects, I have no desire to see any more nuclear weapons used in anger.

I hope that we can actually see some further reductions in global stockpiles in this coming year. Much of the US and Russian stockpile is storage and it is time to start destroying these weapons- along with all other nuclear weapons.

30 July 2009

So called "non-jobs"

Daily Mail article

Six months work experience will be very helpful when applying for later jobs. Being a museum guide is not a "non-job".

I welcome this initiative.

25 July 2009

Harry Patch RIP

The last man who served in the trenches has died. Rest In Peace.

While the Western Front has now faded from living memory, let us ensure it is never forgotten.

24 July 2009

Norwich North

Well, it was always like we'd lose, but that was a bad loss. What appears to be the case is our voters are staying at home and probably will for a good few years.

We need to start thinking beyond 2010 and towards 2014/15. We need a "New New Labour", one that combines social justice with toughness.

20 July 2009

Cricket and Academic Punk

Nice one England. We might just win back the Ashes on a performance like that.

The new Doctor's costume
has been released to the press and I have to say that I like it. It's just the right kind of look for a Time Lord. Credit to RealJamie at Gallifrey Base for "academic punk", which should get a wide use.

Story I was going to relate but other events overtook it - a non-fan mate of mine saw a picture of Karen Gillan on the front cover of Doctor Who Magazine and said that he might have to start watching the show. Interpret that how you will.

11 July 2009

General Musings

Jams has a thought-provoking article on women in Afghanistan. I don't agree with his conclusion, but he makes a good point nonetheless.

I don't frankly know why David Cameron employed a guy who resigned over phone-hacking in the first place, as well as edited a trashy tabloid. Personally, I think that spin doctors are one of the biggest threats to democracy at present- they are only increasing cynicism and driving people to the BNP et. al.

The Tory 10% cuts are also an extremely bad idea. This will lead to job losses and we all know that people in work spend more money. If I was to spend £100 in any shop, I'd probably be helping several businesses indirectly. Even billionaires help keep textile workers in work.

The "agreement about an agreement" that is the Joint Understanding on the START replacement treaty is interesting and helpful. That said, both sides ought to be looking at tactical nukes as well.

29 June 2009

Wimbledon

Murray's not doing too well. He's just lost the first set, badly...

26 June 2009

Armed Forces Day

Thank you for your service.

Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

While his personal life may have left much to be desired, his music most certainly did not.

Quite simply a legend. Rest in Peace.

15 June 2009

Iran

I have little to say that Jams hasn't already said.

I look forward to the day these people are put on trial.

08 June 2009

Local and European Election Results

No denying it- that was awful with a capital A for Labour.

Why we did so badly
  1. We've been in power for 12 years. People tend to get sick of any government after 12 years.
  2. The economy is in a mess.
  3. The MPs expenses scandal.
  4. Hazel Blears, a woman who should never get near a ministerial box again, stabbed Gordon Brown the day before the election.
  5. Our voters didn't turn up.
  6. The other lot did.
  7. Infighting.
What do we do now

The first and most important thing is to stop this infighting, which just generates bad press. We are not going to win the general election with Gordon Brown, but we are not going to win it with anyone else either. The only thing we can do now is damage control- limiting the Tory majority.

I suggest that Mr. Brown subjects himself to a leadership contest like Major did in 1995. Whoever wins, the other side accepts that and supports them. If no-one gets the necessary support among MPs, so be it. Let's get this stupid thing over with.

I suggest we drop ID cards. More trouble then they're worth frankly. The Tories will only do it when they come in otherwise.

We need to focus our resources on the seats we can actually win. If this means not contesting places, so be it. We need to save money.

We also need to find ways to get our message across that do not involve the press. The Tory media don't care about our message- they never have.

Finally, we need to prepare for 2013/4. That's the key election for us.

06 June 2009

D-Day: 65 Years On

Today is 65 years since the Allied invasion of Western Europe that helped bring down Hitler.

I've been to Normandy on three occasions and when you see the American cemetery there, you get an idea of the scale of the invasion and the losses involved.

May their sacrifices never be forgotten. We owe you a lot.

03 June 2009

Rodents and descending water vessels

So, a woman who was about to sacked has decided to resign at a highly embarrassing time for her boss. To think I actually gave her my second preference for the Deputy Leadership.

It seems that poor Gordon has not been having a good few weeks. The "amateur Kremlinologists" are talking of his imminent departure following an extremely likely Labour whipping at the European and local elections tomorrow (we won't get the results on the former, by the way, until Sunday- everybody else has to vote too. Anything you hear before then is rumour).

I don't think that removing Brown now will do the party any good. It would just mean that the next leader would go down as the PM who got defeated in a landslide (I'm a realist, it's likely to happen) and we'd probably have to have another leadership contest. While Wilson came back from a defeat, he's the only PM who really has.

I think it's best that we focus on trying to reduce the Tory majority and deal with other issues later. That way, we'll be like a submarine- coming back when the Tories least expect it.

By the way, please go and vote tomorrow. I'd like you to vote Labour, but anybody bar the BNP will be good enough for me. Let's keep these fascists out of Brussels.

26 May 2009

Review of the season for each club- in one line

(In the editor that is)

In order of finish from top to bottom:

Manchester United

It's a kind of magic, magic, magic... Quite simply the second best team in England.

Liverpool

Two losses all season is league-winning form. Sadly, they drew 11 times too.

Chelsea

How many Chelsea managers does it take to change a lightbulb? Unknown, but it's at least four.

Arsenal

Only sharpshooters are supposed to hit the same spot four times in a row. Watch out Wenger...

Everton

Blue is the colour and Europe will be our game... A good season for the Toffees.

Aston Villa

Not a bad result all that. Sending down Newcastle also made many happy.

Fulham

Quite simply, Fulham's Crowning Moment of Awesome for this decade. Most improved club.

Tottenham

You only got here because of a Hammer! Now, watch out for us- we'll beat you next season.

West Ham

We were forever blowing bubbles. However, our poor early form burst them. Need strikers.

Man City

You can't buy the trophy. You need something else. It's not Gene Hunt, though.

Wigan

Many thought you would go down, but you got a decent finish. Cracking season, Gromit!

Stoke

Not really much to say about Stoke, except you clearly need a better defence.

Bolton

Not much to say about Bolton either.

Portsmouth

Without a Hammer, you're not much good either.

Blackburn

Clearly, you're not going to win the league again any time soon.

Sunderland

You only really stayed up because of worse sides below you. Must perk your ideas.

Hull

Unless you improve, you might not be staying up after next season.

Newcastle

Your players are so bad, it's unbelievable! The final own goal summed it all up.

Middlesbrough

Well, that wasn't particularly surprising was it? Might go straight back up.

West Bromwich Albion

You're a bit of a yo-yo side aren't you? Good thing you didn't spend too much.

23 May 2009

Predictions for tomorrow

It's the last day of the season, and a big day for four clubs in the north...

My predictions are:

Arsenal v Stoke: Arsenal victory. Not that it really matters.

Aston Villa v Newcastle: Villa victory. Newcastle have had an awful season and their last victory was against Boro, so go figure.

Blackburn v. West Brom: Blackburn victory, to finish off an awful season for the Baggies.

Fulham v. Everton: Draw.

Hull v. Man United: Even with a weakened team, Man U will win this.

Liverpool v. Tottenham: It'll be a small consolation to know that Spurs aren't in Europe either. Liverpool victory.

Man City v. Bolton: Draw.

Sunderland v. Chelsea: Chelsea victory, but only narrowly. Sunderland will stay up.

West Ham v. Middlesbrough: Victory for the Hammers to finish off a fairly good season and send Boro down.

Wigan v. Portsmouth: Draw.

21 May 2009

The BNP did not do the research on other aspects too.

Jams has the details.

I had a BNP leaflet through my door today and that picture was on it.

That's not the only error either. The BNP apparently does not know the difference between an immigrant and an asylum seeker.

An immigrant is someone coming here because they think their life will be better.

An asylum seeker is someone coming here because they know that if they stay, their life will either get worse or end. They want to be protected.

Now, I'm barring comments from this one, because I don't want gratuitous insults and flaming from BNP people.

17 May 2009

Stephen Fry and Twitter

I have just added my first Twitter feed to my Google Reader account.

Well, if it was going to be anyone, it had to be him.

16 May 2009

Congratulations to Manchester United

With a 0-0 draw against Arsenal, Manchester United have gone seven points clear at the top of the table with only two games left for Liverpool. Therefore, they are Premier League Champions for the 18th time.

With three trophies so far this season and a fourth possible in the Champions League, United are one of the greatest sides of all time.

I extend my most sincere congratulations to Sir Alex and his team. There's a reason you get these trophies.

Well done!

Well, this is beyond parody

This article alleges Obama is trying to destroy the US.

Two words: confirmation bias.

BTW, if someone on the left posted that about McCain, Bush or Reagan, I would make the same response.

09 May 2009

Farage and UKIP

I caught a bit of the UKIP Party Political Broadcast a couple of nights back.

The UKIP leader was speaking in a manner that I found rather uncomfortable, stating that Britain should leave the EU because our money was going to the states of the former Soviet bloc, who were only joining for subsidies and new infrastructure.

Mr. Farage, are you at all aware of the history of Communism? Or that these states are pretty poor, had their economies ruined by Soviet rule and are suffering because of the credit crunch? Or the principle of helping your neighbour out?

People need to examine UKIP throughly before voting for them.

Victory Day

Today is the 64th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

May I extend my deepest gratitude to all those who served to defend freedom during that war. You will never be forgotten.

On MPs Expenses

Two posts today- I anticipate at any rate.

It's important to get some perspective on this whole scandal over expense claims of MPs. Certain words are being bandied about, like "fraud", that aren't fully justified.

Firstly, Members of Parliament don't get paid that much. The basic salary of your backbencher is about £65,000. Members of the US House of Representatives earn over £100,000 a year. I don't know what Paul Dacre earns, but I guess it's at least £500,000.

Secondly, it costs considerably more than that to function as a member of Parliament. Some of the key expenditures:
  • The rent/mortgage on two residences.
  • Travel costs on a weekly basis to places as far away as Scotland.
  • The salaries of at least two staff members and probably more, as well as expenses for interns.
  • Office hire in your constituency.
  • Food costs.
  • Feeding yourself and your family.
  • Stationery and other office supplies (20,000 leaflets costs a fair chunk of cash)
Thirdly, there has probably been some fraud going on and it should be dealt with. However, most of this stuff isn't fraud, because that would require deception as to the purposes the money was used for. There is no evidence of that in most cases.

Fourthly, MPs do work very hard. Just because Parliament is taking a 12-week recess, it doesn't mean that MPs won't still be working. Even when in session, you can't spend all your time in the Commons Chamber.

Fifthly, there's been far worse cases of corruption, that's for sure. Try Italy.

The system needs complete reform, that's for sure. I propose an increase in basic salaries and an allowance specifically for all office-related stuff. No-one should claim non-essential social stuff on expenses.

Now, let's get this sorted out. We have more important things to deal with.

04 May 2009

30 Years After Thatcher's Election

It's been thirty years since Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. It will take another thirty, at least, to fix the damage she did to this country.

Mrs. Thatcher's economic policies condemned an entire generation of working class to long-term unemployment. The manufacturing capability of Britain was massively eroded. The credit crunch was caused by the culture of greed she helped create.

Before anyone says the Falklands War, her Government was planning to make cuts to the Navy beforehand. Those cuts were a reason for the Argentine invasion.

For those of you who are unhappy with Labour at present, remember Thatcher. Remember what a lurch to the left does. You can't play politics with people's livelihoods and jobs at stakes. Do what is best for this country and the wider world.

03 May 2009

Swine Flu

It appears, so far, that this swine flu thing is just going to turn out to be a minor strain of the regular sort of flu. Some people are going to have time off work. Some are going to pull sickies. Pigs are going to die in Egypt.

This is not going to be Spanish, or even Hong Kong Flu.

The papers have been doing their usual panic thing (thankfully, no-one's attempted to tie this to immigrants, although house prices have probably been mentioned somewhere) over a virus that has a mortality rate of about 2% or less and has had virtually all of its deaths confined to Mexico.

Which leads me to think that there's something odd going on in Mexico, which needs investigating. Diet, perhaps? It would be interesting to see a case location map, because if they're all grouped in one area that happens to be near a chemical plant, it would be suspicious to say the least. Remember the Bhopal disaster in India in 1984.

21 April 2009

Time for openness and accountability

It is time that key decision-makers and people of influence reveal their expenses and sources of income.

Mr. Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, how much do you earn a year?

18 April 2009

On recent events in London Town

Is it just me or does Max Clifford come across as the PR equivalent of an ambulance chasing lawyer? Every time someone suffers some nasty event, there he is representing them. While he may have waived the fee for Jade Goody, he got a lot of exposure from it. All publicity and all that...

Mr. Green is not being charged over the Home Office leaks. Right call I say. If anything the bad publicity would be spectacular. That said, while Labour may have got overly comfortable in power, I'd take 12 years of Labour to even one day of the Conservatives.

I see the Daily Fail is already smearing the woman who is complaining anyway. The hypocrisy of Tories is outstanding at times.

Smear and spin, by the way, are as old the hills.

10 April 2009

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day when Christians all over the world remember Jesus' death on the cross.

Over at TV Tropes we have a fairly large category called "Crowning Moment of Awesome", which details awesome moments that occur in fiction and also in real life.

We don't have a section on religion, but if we did, the Crucifixion would have to go on the last.

I've been spending some time over the last few days thinking about the whole story of Holy Week. There are just so many great aspects of it, that show just how amazing God is.

The entry into Jerusalem. Jesus comes into a city on a donkey and people mob him. I'm guessing the palm leaves were for the colt, to protect its feet. That donkey must have had a great story to tell to his peers for the rest of his life. It's also entirely different to traditional triumphant entries- but Jesus was no conventional hero. He was- and still is- so much cooler.

He never ran any earthly body, never ran for office. His only paid job was as a self-employed carpenter. He lived for 33 and a third years. He wrote no books and directly preached to only a few hundred thousand.

Yet this man, the Son of God, has influenced the entire of global history for the past 2000 years. That shows the power of God. Thanks to Jesus, many, many good works have been done as well. I admit that he has been misused for evil by many people, but the good he has achieved far out weighs that. Do you think that we'd have as little poverty as we do in this country without the impact of Christianity?

The Gospels differ over when precisely Jesus cast out the money-changers from the Temple. I'm perfectly happy for him to have done it twice. It's a dramatic enough event and shows a side of Jesus that people sometimes ignore. Yes, he is nice, but he can also be very angry at times.

He used skilled rhetoric and intelligence, not force of arms, to attack the corrupt society of his day. If it wasn't for Jesus, we'd have far more wars these days.

The authorities felt threatened by him. The powerful generally don't like anything that threatens their own position. In this case, the High Council were worried about their income from sacrifices and endangering their own good relations with an imperialist force. So, they falsely accused Jesus of blasphemy, subjected him to an unfair trial and executed him.

On to the Last Supper. Few of us know precisely when we are going to die. It tends to come rather suddenly. Those who know to the precise hour tend to be facing execution.

The Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus must have been terrified. He knew, he knew, that in less than 24 hours, he was going to be flogged, stripped naked and nailed to a cross. He was going to be taunted by a crowd who had earlier supported him and then he was going to die.

He knew he had a way out- he could have fled Jerusalem altogether. He knew Judas was going to betray him- he could have killed him. Yet he chose to face his fate.

He could have made a spectacular demonstration of his power and come off the cross. That would be the predictable thing to do. But Jesus was anything but predictable.

In fact, the evidence of what was going to happen was there, people just interpreted it wrongly.

It had to happen this way. If Jesus had done the "predictable" thing, people wouldn't have believed him.

Witness the Resurrection. It was observed by two women. Women didn't have much respect in society back then.

Jesus was spectacular by not being spectacular. In fact he still is. In the continuing provision for us, the hope he has offered for millions (I am sure many more suicides would occur without Jesus helping people), the miracles that still occur, he shows the awesome power of God.

Happy Easter.

08 April 2009

AJJE Games blog

Thought I'd advertise this:

The official blog of AJJE Games.

It's largely news announcements, but I'll be adding some more.

03 April 2009

G20 Thoughts

I've been on holiday to Dubai, so I haven't been able to blog recently.

Might as well give my thoughts on the latest excuse for a riot in my home city.

Personally, I doubt that the economy is exactly stimulation-capable at the moment. Metaphorically speaking, it's in a coma having banter with a lairy Mancunian detective (BTW, watching the first episode of Ashes to Ashes on the plane home, I remembered just how awesome Mr. Hunt can be- he gets three Crowning Moments of Awesome in the first episode can be).

What we're going to need, basically, is damage control- ensuring that the exchequers of some of the poorer countries still get decently revenue, that jobs are protected and that confidence doesn't go down any further (in the latter case, we need to drop out the rest of the bad debt news now to get it done with).

This is a step in the right direction, but things will get worse before they get better.

I expect the economy will recover in a couple of years. I'd say 2010 is too optimistic. Personally, I'm going for 2011.

If it does recover before the next election, Mr. Brown will have the thanks of a grateful world. If not, Mr. Cameron had better remember that he was responsible for none of the recovery and that he opposed many elements of it.

18 March 2009

That Goal Was Offside- I want £45 million because we didn't get into Europe because of it!

Just when I thought we'd finally put this whole stupid thing with Tevez to bed, we start getting sued by an ex-manager and Leeds United of all people.

Look, you got relegated due to your own incompetence. If we'd registered Tevez properly, he'd have been cleared to play.

Are you going to blame us for your poor footballing or are you going to try and get back into the Premier League?

Don't waste everyone's time.

16 March 2009

Upcoming Stuff

I got elected, pretty much unanimously, Administrator of the Ride The Edge club of AJJE Games recently. No-one else ran. That's a vote of confidence in itself, I hope.

I'ved Fast Eddie and the people at TV Tropes if I can take the articles on atomic weapons platforms there and put them here. They might be more suited for this. Who knows? I might even get a small community here.

I've also joined up for a Harpoon 4.1 Play By Email game, a single scenario one based on one of the scenarios for the High Tide (1980s Cold War) box set. I'll do a write-up on that once it's concluded.

Does anyone know a place that does D20 Modern PBEM, by the way?

09 March 2009

Northern Ireland

I haven't been blogging as often as I aim to. Can't make any promises on that regard, it's been busy.

So, a bunch of bigots have just killed two British soldiers in Antrim. The Real IRA has actually been setting off bombs for a while now, but the papers don't really care about property damage.

I don't think this callous act (they shot them some more while they were lying on the ground) will derail the peace process. The Daily Mail's attack on Gerry Adams is not really going to help matters, especially as a front page headline (then again, the Daily Fail was always deeply Unionist).

Cooler heads should prevail and these evil-minded terrorists will not return Northern Ireland to the bad old days of the Troubles.

28 February 2009

Global Sale! Get Fifty Percent Off!

It seems like we've been in a constant sale since about October. Everywhere I go, or whatever I see on the radio, there's a sale on at most of the stores. Cars, sofas, houses etc.

There's one major reason why the economy isn't doing too well- there's nothing really to buy.

Books I can generally get for free from the local library if I'm even inclined to read them. With the Internet, I can find out most stuff easily.

Most of the magazines in any given newsagents are of the soft pornographic variety. While I like attractive women as much as the next heterosexual man, lesbian or bisexual, I have no interest and actually dislike "lads' mags".

The papers are either too expensive or not worth reading (I've been a Metro reader for months).

I don't eat a huge amount of sweets, I don't smoke and I don't like alcohol too much.

DVDs are generally rubbish (I can watch that stuff on TV), I rarely buy video games since I got seriously into RPing and I have little interest in clothing.

I'm sure many feel somewhat similar to me. With job worries, we're also saving our money.

We need an incentive to buy stuff before the economy recovers.

23 February 2009

West Ham's season

Since Mr. O'Donnell of The Poor Mouth (see my blogroll) has added me and I currently show as having made my last post a week ago, I might as well post.

West Ham now have 33 points with 12 games to go. We need 9 points from the remaining games to be statistically sure of being safe. I think we'll get that.

Our losses to Manchester United and Bolton were not all that bad and we should have some easier games after that.

I predict that we'll finish between 8th and 12th this season, more likely 9th or 10th. Good job Zola!

13 February 2009

Basic ideas for a post-STARTarms treaty

You might have heard already, but the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is due to expire soon and so President Obama has proposed reducing stockpiles to 1,500- 2,000 nuclear warheads.

I have some basic ideas for this new treaty and would like your opinions.

Overall aims

I would aim for a reduction in deliverable nuclear warheads to a total of 800 for the United States of America and 1000 for the Russian Federation. Those precise numbers would be tweaked about, but reflect the differences in technological capabilities, as well as other things.

This number would allow for effective mass destruction of either country without ensuring complete "breakdown" of their countries.

No strategic weapon systems with increased capability from present would be permitted.

Nuclear long-range bombers

The US has the B-52 and B-2s as their sole aircraft tasked for strategic nuclear weapons, with 1,080 such warheads. Russia has the Tu-22M "Backfire", the Tu-95 "Bear" and the Tu-160 "Blackjack".

I propose that the B-52 fleet is reduced to a total of about 30 and completely denuclearised. The B-2 will become the sole US nuclear bomber, along with the "2018 bomber" and these two together limited to a total of about 40. These would only carry free-fall bombs.

Russia would de-nuclearify the "Backfire" and the "Bear", reducing their numbers to 100 of the former and 50 of the latter. The "Blackjack" could go up to 40 in numbers too, retaining the air-launched cruise missile capability..

Stealth would balance out stand-off capability.

Tactical nuclear weapons

Eliminate the lot of them- on both sides. They are not needed in any likely war scenario. This includes sub-launched cruise missiles.

ICBMs

Eliminate the R-39M/SS-18 and UR-100N/SS-19 from Russian service immediately. Allow Russia a total of 400 ICBM mounted warheads, on Topol, Topol-M and RS-24 missiles.

Reduce the US Minuteman III force to 150 missiles, with two warheads each.

SLBMs

The US would convert three more of the fourteen Ohio-SSBNs to SSGNs and eliminate a further four, leaving seven.

Russia would be allowed nine Borey SSBNs, with everything else going.

Anti-Ballistic Missiles

Now, this is where things will get a little more controversial.

Basically, the US will be allowed to continue development of NMD, if President Obama decides to do so. However, its deployment will be limited to a total capacity to intercept 150 warheads and limitations would be placed on BMD-capable ships (10 in total as a figure I'm throwing out there), which would be clearly marked (paint the launchers orange or something).

In return, Russia would be permitted to have intercept capability of 200 warheads, either expanding A-135 or converting S-400/SA-21 missiles for an ABM role.

Other thoughts

The inspection regime would continue as is with appropriate modificiations.

China and the other nuclear powers, as well as potential ones (like Iran and Saudi Arabia) should be brought into a global agreement on the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons

Personally, I'd like to see one each of the Ohio and "Typhoon" SSBNs as museum vessels.

So, your thoughts.

Exhuming the Corpse: Why 'Demons' failed

ITV's big new Saturday drama, Demons is almost certainly not coming back. If Incompetent Television renew it, I will be very surprised indeed.

There's a number of reasons that it failed.

Firstly, Philip Glenister's American accent was pretty poor. A man of considerable acting talent, he looked wasted in this show. This was a minor reason.

Secondly, lack of genre savviness among the characters, who casually wandered into traps and fell for dodgy people. Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed the rules of the game regarding this.

Thirdly, a general moral issue with good guys who freely waved firearms around in public, shot someone who had just given information and were in essence pursuing a policy of genocide. Luke's father actually had the right idea.

Fourthly, it was too dark for the time slot. Doctor Who has far more humour.

Fifth and finally, it was boring. There was little to hold viewer interest.

Time to close the coffin on this one and for ITV to try something new.

03 February 2009

31 January 2009

Incompetent Television's doing it wrong

I'm a bit of a fan of The Bill. As you may be aware, ITV are moving the show to once weekly at 9pm.

Clearly, they want to stick on more football and other "ratings pullers". Then after those shows, you'll be able to watch cops topless, I'd say.

I am not impressed at all this. Partly, I don't like ITV's approach to things. Secondly, a strong ITV is needed to ensure a strong BBC.

Take ITV's fiction production. They can do one-off dramas like Unforgiven fairly. Their crime dramas are fairly good too (Taggart has now adapted to the hour slot effectively).

However, their comedy is awful (that Santa Contest thing, for example), they closed their childrens' department a couple of years back and their game shows aren't all that good.

Don't get me started on Demons, a show that Willow Rosenburg would have for breakfast in terms of quality.

Seriously, Grade gets an F.

What happens when you award the contract to the lowest bidder...

Certain words are coming back to haunt Gordon Brown.

What we need, basically, is a global minimum wage. This would mean that people would be judged based on their skills, not how much they're willing to work for.

30 January 2009

Man, Man U winning again???

Can Sir Alex please retire and let someone else dominate the game for a change?

27 January 2009

Holocaust Memorial Day

64 years ago today, Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz, the most infamous of the Nazi concentration camps. If you're ever in Poland and get the opportunity to go, pay a visit. You will not fully understand it until you have been there. In fact, you can't really fully understand it.

What makes someone take a person's clothes, shave all the hair from their body, force that person into a closed room while claiming it's a shower room and then gas him or her? Merely because of their ethnic background.

We are all children of God and racism is utterly wrong- regardless of who practices it.

19 January 2009

The Second Great Depression?

Mr. Brown (why am I doing that? It sounds like I'm blogging in the 1950s- now there's an idea...) has announced another large injection of public money into the banking sector to try and get the banks lending again.

I don't know whether this is going to work. I'm worried it won't.

I think that we could end up with another depression- and a big one.

Good Morning Mr. President, my name's Reality. Now give me your wallet.

Tomorrow marks the end of the Presidency of George W. Bush. I'm not going to do a full review of his presidency and his legacy because firstly it's clichéd and secondly, I think it's too early to fully judge him. I will say that I believe he'll go down fairly badly in history, but not as badly as many think at the moment.

With Bush's leaving office, Barack Hussein Obama (now there's a name you wouldn't have thought would be elected President even a decade ago) will become the 44th President.

Now I've got some cold hard facts for the huge number of Obama cheerleaders and groupies out there:

Obama's election was nothing more than the rejection of an incumbent government for economic incompetence in favour of a charismatic young politician who preached change and makes good speeches. It does not mark the end of conservatism by any means, especially as John McCain got only a million or so votes less than George W. Bush. It was not a landslide victory- Reagan won a bigger one. All that happened was that a load of first-time voters arrived and a load of Republicans stayed at home. This will not the same come 2012.

Mr. Obama had better perform and perform well.

15 January 2009

Heathrow Airport Expansion

The Government has decided to go ahead with the expansion of Heathrow to include a third runway and a sixth terminal, along with some new rail links and other stuff to try and balance out the environmental impact.

I'm not in favour of the airport expansion, at least not at Heathrow.

There is the obvious environmental aspect, although some of the green campaigners need to think of the long-term impact of their actions on the global economy and tackling poverty.

As for creation of jobs- you don't need an airport to do that.

I'd like to see where the aviation market is at in five years before a decision anyway- it might not keep growing.

I suspect this won't be built- the courts will throw it out or the government will change.

BTW, Boris Johnson's Thames Estuary idea is stupid.

12 January 2009

Covert-81 is up!

The game has been created!

If you want join, go to AJJE Games (link on my link bar) go to Ride The Edge and then to the application form.

We start on Friday.

Yes!

06 January 2009

London Lite fails geography...

It stated today that it's currently colder than parts of Antarctica.

Well, of course. It's summer in Antarctica. Aussies do celebrate Christmas on the beach after all...

01 January 2009

Starting 2009- RP Plans

Ah, the joys of automated posting. I was out bell ringing in the new year when midnight came. Hope you don't mind.

I hope that Covert-81 will go up soon. I've got plans (more or less) for the entire "first season" of this RP and I really look forward to starting it. I will keep you informed.

I have plans to develop another couple of RPs for AJJE Games. I won't really be playing in these, just setting them and letting someone else have all the fun of GMing. I have my limits and more ideas than time to implement them...

If you've got any good, original RP ideas, please email me at silenthunta@hotmail.com. You'll get full credit.

Happy New Year!

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy 2009!