30 September 2010
24 September 2010
Great to hear an intellectual discussion on a difficult topic by enthused participants. I kept on listening even when the conversation turned to calculus.
Did I understand it? Not a word - my degree was from the Faculty of Arts. But it was still a good programme.
Hey, my sympathy is with the bear. You drift along, minding your own business, having some fun with the dog, when this madwoman comes at you with a courgette. Nasty things, courgettes, especially when fried with garlic and a little extra virgin olive oil. What kind of American cowgirl keeps courgettes to hand?
I am slightly surprised to find myself mourning the fact that the swivel-eyed Balls has been unable to command the necessary support. Of all the candidates, he alone seems to have the energy and the intelligence to take the fight to the Tories. I have not been following every twist and turn but the Milibands still seem shocked by the loss of ministerial status; their focus seems to have been inward. Unlike Balls (or even Mrs Balls), I cannot recall either Miliband mounting an attack on the Tories.
And so, once again, the Party may be making a historic mistake, saddled with Ed M, the talking horse, or David M, the talking banana, for the foreseeable future.
20 September 2010
The Liberal Democrats today promised an attack on those who have made tax evasion a lifestyle choice, as the party announced government plans to raise an extra £7bn by 2014-15 by tackling tax avoidance and fraud.
The Treasury would be "ruthless with wealthy individuals and business who think paying extra tax is an optional extra", vowed its chief secretary, Danny Alexander.
Much of the clampdown will involve more intensive scrutiny of those liable for paying the new 50p tax band introduced by the Labour government. Revenue and Customs currently looks at 5,000 high net-worth individuals, but will expand that number to 150,000.
Aye weel. Let us see. Is Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue department in a position to launch an all out attack on tax evasion? Given that trained tax inspectors do not grow on trees and are difficult to retain, particularly in the demoralised civil service of today, and given that the department's staff numbers have declined by some 25% since 2005, there is room to doubt whether this exercise involves any more than good intentions. But if the Minister says it will be so, then let us hope he means it ...
16 September 2010
The Queen looked at the facsimile of the German gospel and said: "Oh, lovely. Thank you very much. It's lovely."I rather suspect something more alcoholic would have been in order ...
The pope then looked at the Holbeins and thanked her.
There was also a little small talk, with the Queen noting that Benedict appeared to have arrived at Holyrood "in a very small car".
She added: "It must have been a tight squeeze", before asking him about the popemobile. The press corps was then ushered out and fizzy water and squash were brought in to the room.
15 September 2010
14 September 2010
It's the principle of the thing. It is my right and my duty to be bored to tears by the preening effrontery of right-wing politicians. So there!
13 September 2010
Instead, we appear to be obsessed with footballers' follies and with who hacked whose telephones under whose orders.
And, hey, I'm far from exempt.
And now of course it's the conference season. TUC this week, so lots of stuff about job losses and strikes. The LibDems next week, so the sole topic of interest will be the future of the coalition. Then the Labour leadership, then back to the Tory cuts. All so predictable.
Well don't expect me to expatiate - blogging will therefore be light. I've got things to do, you know ...
10 September 2010
Sky News presenter Kay Burley gets the wrong side of former minister and possible hacking victim Chris Bryant. Can you really say that illegal newsroom practices were "endemic", demands Burley. "I have just said that," counters Bryant. "You seem to be a bit dim."Aye, and she's not the only news presenter to be so afflicted ...
09 September 2010
Of course Malaga airport remains unfinished (so what's new?) and you need to walk miles and miles to collect your bags. But the taxi system is vastly superior to Edinburgh airport (which is - by the way - an utter disgrace). And Ryanair will only sell spirits in these silly shampoo sachets. But, hey, we were only an hour late.
So here I am, sitting in my drawers and sweating profusely, compiling my first blog post of the holiday. Happy days ...
08 September 2010
The 21 year-old escort, from Bolton, is alleged to have been a “magnet” for Premier League players in bars and nightclubs.
Miss Thompson, who advertises herself as “Juicy Jen”, was reported to have slept with six defenders, three midfielders and four strikers, with two of the players married with children.
07 September 2010
For me, the most salient feature is the fact that the News of the World has already made out of court settlements of more than £1 million to each of Gordon Taylor of the Professional Footballers' Association and the publicist Max Clifford. Who's next?
Still think it's just a westminster village issue which will die away quietly? Not a snowball's chance ...
Craig Levein has launched a vigorous defence of his tactical approach with the national team, the Scotland manager pointing out that he will not bow to pressure from pundits or supporters to adopt an attacking style.That being so, maybe we can expect a 1-0 (or perhaps a 2-0) thrashing by the boys in blue.
Me, I blame the fact that we have neither a Rooney nor a Crouch within our ranks. What we need, what we really really need, is a bit more off-field misbehaviour.
Footnote: Liechtenstein is sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland. It has a total population of about 35,000. Its football team has in the past beaten Latvia, Luxembourg and Iceland and once drew with Portugal.
But that is just a fantasy when all the indications (notably a solid 10 point lead in the opinion polls) point to a comfortable (OK, not so comfortable) win for Labour, at least in terms of becoming the largest party in Holyrood. Can there ever have been a party so woefully ill-prepared to assume power? What will its manifesto say? With whom and on what terms will it seek to govern? What will it want to do, other than being a patsy for implementing Tory cuts? Will the grey Mr Gray have any influence at Westminster, even with his own party colleagues? Your guess is as good as mine, but don't hold your breath ...
03 September 2010
Not that we are any better - when did you last see a sparrow in Edinburgh?
I see the cheeky wee chappies in Spain and they always make me feel that the world is a better place. Maudlin, I know ...
The obvious option is the Lithuania/Scotland match on BBC1 Scotland with a kick-off at 7.15pm. But if you are less than enamoured with watching geriatric centre-halves doing their limited best to achieve a glorious nil-nil thrashing, you may care to betray your country by watching the England/Bulgaria match on ITV1 (English stations only but you can probably catch it at http://www.itv.com/Channels/ITV1/default.html) with kick-off at 8.00 pm.
If neither of these matches entices you, why not abandon the round ball? BBC Alba is showing the Glasgow/Leinster rugby match at 7.00 pm. If your telly does not stretch to teuchtertv, it will probably be available live on the BBC i-player.
Finally, for those of the distaff persuasion, young Mr Murray's latest tennis match against some Jamaican will be on SkySports 2 (and on Eurosport), probably starting some time between 7pm and 8pm (depending upon how quickly two preceding ladies singles are disposed of).
02 September 2010
From that damn book:
"That night she cradled me in her arms and soothed me; told me what I needed to be told; strengthened me; made me feel that what I was about to do was right," squelches Blair. "On that night of the 12th May, 1994, I needed that love Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength. I was an animal following my instinct, knowing I would need every ounce of emotional power to cope with what lay ahead. I was exhilarated, afraid and determined in roughly equal quantities."Oh gawd, he should be writing for Mills & Boon ...