Sunday, September 21, 2008


An LHC rap! Check it out. Via twenty sided

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Saving the labour government

I can't help but feel Gordon Brown's political suicide is mostly of his own making. Yes, events have caught up with him, but his inability to deal with them really outlines how weak he is. Politics is often broadly about creating the narrative, and inexplicably the government have been responding to the conservatives narritive, rather than creating their own.

This has not been helped by uninspired policies, and a general feeling that GB has been wussing out. Take the windfall tax on energy policies recently. It's certainly not something that the tories would do, and would have won GB support from his core voters, which the party NEEDS right now- they did not lose glasgow E to the tories.... Maybe there were good long term reasons not to go with this policy, but the argument was not made, and it felt weak.

I was also disappointed about the inheritance tax. This was well back in the day, when the conservatives had yet to gain the ground they did. GB seemed to cave in on the argument, and basically introduced a watered down version of the tax which cost the public finance a fair amount. Generally speaking, a stupid thing to do- there were better ways to go about it, more progressive ones, and the route chosen probably didn't win any votes. For example, an alternative would have been to raise the threshold for the tax, but also raise the tax, a very sensible and progressive move, which would have taken the ground from under the tories feet.

There seems an obvious way, to me, for labour to win back some ground. Ban, or control, city bonuses. It is very, very clear that the market cannot regulate itself. Time and time again we see CEO's getting massive bonuses for marginal successes. It makes no sense in this time of economic crisis, and the reward is rarely proportional to the risk. Doing this, and also ensuring that the rich bastards actually pay tax would be, I suspect, extremely popular, and would also be the right thing to do. GB needs to create eye catching policies, and needs them to make headlines, or he's going to wander labour back into the wilderness which certain members look like they really want to head too...

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Globe trotting

Well, if you call going to Paris and Antwerp globe trotting, anyhow.

Things are good here- my summer project is almost complete, and this weekend, as implied above, I am off to Antwerp, for my millionth conference. Or third.... Should be fun, although thanks to sunday travelling I'm going to get the sheer joy of bus replacement services in london. I rather think London city airport should be somewhat more accesible, but what do I know?


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back, and posting again

How long for, I am not certain, as I often make grand claims about my return to the internet, only for them to be dashed on the rocks of not actually being that bothered. Still, I went to Paris only 3 weeks ago, and intended to write a blog then, and there is no time like the present.

Alice has already written a rather marvelous blog under my name on the family blog, so I shall point you in that direction rather than try to recreate its majesty, although there were several photos we took which were not there. Rather, I shall attempt a rant, which I always enjoy, about tourists, and respect.

Having been to Paris before, I was well aware of the propensity for the tourists there to disobey the rules. The Louvre is full of people using flash photography, such a crime being punishable with death in the UK (or so I like to imagine). Part of the problem there stems from a lack of enforcement, whether from a lack of caring or a show of exasperation.

Still, I found it taken much to far at Notre Dame. Very kindly, the massive cathedral invites you into it, no matter your faith, even during their services. They ask merely that you take no photos, and keep silent. Simple rules, one might think? Not for the vast majority of the tourists, who fragrantly ignored these rules, many pulling out video cameras and following bishops around the room. It was sickening.

Regardless of your beliefs, you are a guest in this place, you haven't even been charged money, and yet you treat its few rules with scorn? Its rude, its spiteful, and it should not happen.