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Comment and analysis of recent UK politics events

A police helicopter crashed through the roof of a crowded pub in central Glasgow last night. Current reports are of eight people dead and fourteen people seriously injured. Bystanders helped evacuate the injured until emergency services arrived.


The Tories are annoyed that charities are opposing their intended replacement of the Human Rights Act. The HRA is about decisions of the Strasbourg European Court of Human Rights although the UK government can and does make primary legislation that has precedence over it.


… The campaign’s partners include Age UK, Disability Rights UK and Mind. The campaign is led by the Equality and Diversity Forum, a registered charity which is backed by the state-run Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The timing of the campaign is significant as the Conservatives are expected to be preparing to fight the next election on a policy of replacing the Human Rights Act with a new Bill of Rights.

Charlie Elphicke, a Conservative MP, said: “This campaign is desperately out of touch. It is also an abuse of charitable status. Labour’s Human Rights Act has been a disaster. Human rights urgently require reform and modernisation. We need a British Bill of Rights. …


The Tardis by Disent http://disent.deviantart.com/art/The-Tardis-30529477

Bryan Dyne and Christine Schofelt claim that Doctor Who is getting more militaristic recently.

Doctor Who at the half-century mark: A brief assessment

UNIT, a military organization that combats extraterrestrial threats to the Earth, has been a part of the program from the beginning. In the original, while The Doctor sometimes worked with UNIT as a consultant, it was always on his own terms and with a skeptical eye toward weaponry. Over the course of the new series, UNIT has become something more threatening and nefarious, and The Doctor has become more willing to work with this body.

In Torchwood, the Doctor Who spinoff that first aired in 2006, that militarism has been extended into domestic spying. The ability to tap into any closed circuit television camera, hack computer systems and obtain personal data is presented as something the “good guys” routinely resort to. There is also an instance in Torchwood (“Countrycide,” 2006) in which torture is portrayed as a legitimate way of getting information.

 At a time when US and British authorities have turned to illegal drone assassinations, mass domestic spying and a policy of unending war, it is perhaps not surprising that Doctor Who reflects these trends. However, that is no excuse, especially for a series that has traditionally expressed a general disdain for the military.

 In the 50th anniversary episode (“The Day of the Doctor”), The Doctor does not allow UNIT to detonate a nuclear device in the heart of London to stop an alien incursion. Instead, he forces the humans and aliens to reach a truce with no loss of life. One hopes this marks a conscious and lasting return to the theme of the triumph of intellect over brute force—a notion that has helped the program build a devoted following over the course of decades.

 Through The Doctor, viewers glimpse people at their best and worst. The contradictory nature of modern society—with its beauties and horrors—is examined with a degree of empathy and subtlety. While its approach and execution are sometimes flawed, Doctor Who champions, from the perspective of an outsider, the greatness that humanity can and should aspire to.

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Politics news allsorts

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Comment and analysis of recent UK politics events.

Image of a badger

Major Tory party donor chosen as chair of government nature watchdog

Like it says but apparently totally coincidental that an investment banker is appointed head of wildlife and nature watchdog, Natural England.

The appointment comes at a sensitive time for both Natural England and the government, which has had to defend itself from accusations from 41 conservation groups that only four of its 25 pledges on environment and nature are progressing well.

Bullingdon Tory idiot Boris Johnson

Tory Bullinger [edit: Bullingdon] idiot employs a cornflake analogy to promote the Tories’ genetic superiority of the ruling elite thesis


“Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16% of our species have an IQ below 85 while about 2% …” he said as he departed from the text of his speech to ask whether anyone in his City audience had a low IQ. To muted laughter he asked: “Over 16% anyone? Put up your hands.” He then resumed his speech to talk about the 2% who have an IQ above 130.

Johnson then told the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, which helped lay the basis for Thatcherism in the 1970s: “The harder you shake the pack the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.”

“… greed [is] a valuable spur to economic activity.”

Image of Royal Mail postboxRoyal Mail shares: Goldman Sachs sets price target of 610p

Goldman Sachs has risked a further escalation of the Royal Mail privatisation row by putting a price target on the shares of 610p despite telling the government that the business should be floated at 330p last month.

Analysts at Goldman said the postal group’s valuation should benefit from an increase in parcel deliveries, despite falling letter volumes.

The investment bank’s 12-month price target of 610p represents an 85% premium on the flotation price, and gave further ammunition to those critics of the privatisation who argue the government sold off Royal Mail too cheaply.


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Yet more internet censorship from Cameron and the LibDems

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David Cameron and UK’s ConDem coalition government return to the issue of web censorship with an announcement that the UK government is to order ISPs to censor ‘extremist’ websites.

The crime and security minister, James Brokenshire, said on Wednesday that measures for censoring extremist content would be announced shortly. The initiative is likely to be controversial, with broadband companies already warning that freedom of speech could be compromised.

Ministers are understood to want to follow the model used to crack down on online child abuse. The Internet Watch Foundation, which is partly industry-funded, investigates reports of illegal child abuse images online; it can then ask service providers to block or take down websites.

David Cameron has previously announced the censorship of internet search engines. This latest announcement represents a second tier of censorship at the point of internet access.

It is expected that David Cameron’s UK ConDem coalition government will censor such extremist sites as the Guardian newspaper that has published seditious material sourced by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the wikileaks site.

Guardian: NSA files live

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Politics news allsorts

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Commentary and analysis of recent UK politics news.

I found Cameron’s joke quite amusing: “It’s fair to say he’s no longer a follower of Marx, he’s loving Engels instead.”


Vince Cable defends Royal Mail valuation as profit almost doubles

Image of Royal Mail postbox

The business secretary, Vince Cable, defended the government’s valuation of Royal Mail on Wednesday after solid results from the newly privatised group sent its shares even higher.

Royal Mail was privatised last month when the government sold 60% of its stake to investors in an initial public offering (IPO).

Royal Mail shares were up 5% by mid-morning on Wednesday to 559.5p – 70% higher than the flotation price of 330p. Its market value has increased by £2.3bn since the flotation, which valued Royal Mail at £3.3bn.

Operating profit for the six months ended 29 September was £283m, up from £144m a year earlier.

Comment: The case that tells us what kind of country Britain is

His name is Isa Muazu. He is wasting away.

Locked in a cell just outside Heathrow, out of sight from the holidaymakers and business visitors, he can no longer get up off his mattress. He has not eaten in over 90 days. He can no longer stand or see. He struggles to talk.

On Friday, at 8:00 am, he will be forcibly put on board a flight and sent to Lagos, where he says he will be targeted by Islamic terror group Boko Haram. He was due to be deported tonight, but the Home Office has ordered new removal directions. Needless to say, he will be even weaker on Friday.

In a decision which has no legal, medical or moral consistency given the ‘end of life’ plan, a Home Office doctor has branded Muazu ‘fit to fly’. Yesterday morning, independent doctors visited him as he lay on the mattress in the detention centre and decided the precise opposite. There is a strong chance this man will die when he is deported.


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Takedown notice from the Independent

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I’ve received a takedown notice from the Independent for this article which I don’t think that I’m taking down.

The article is quite clearly attributed to the Independent and only a small section is used for non-commercial purposes. [later edit: looks like most of the article. Maybe I’ll shorten the quoted section. Nah, it’s attributed. I could understand if I was trying to pass it off as my own but I’m not. What do they expect?

later again: OK I’ll reduce it a bit.]


Wonder if they’re going to claim copyright in this too …

Notice and take-down letter under Article 14 of the E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC)

I am in charge of the Licensing and Syndication Department of the Evening Standard Limited and Independent Print Limited (the Publishers).

We have been alerted by the NLA to the presence of the content reproduced below on your website https://www.onaquietday.org.

The copyright in this original material reproduced on your website is owned by the Publishers. You have not been in contact with this Syndication Department or any other department of these newspapers to negotiate a fee for the use of the Publishers’ content, and I am informed that you have ignored or otherwise declined the NLA’s offer to legitimise such use by you by way of a Website Republishing Agreement.

You are therefore presumably well aware that each time the webpage https://www.onaquietday.org is accessed by a member of the public, the copyrighted work is also reproduced. The work is being communicated to the public · and reproduced as set out above without the consent of the copyright owners. Accordingly, these acts infringe the Publishers’ copyright contrary to sections 16 and 20 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

The webpage https://www.onaquietday.org is hosted by you. We hereby formally give you actual knowledge of the above infringements of the Publishers’ rights within the meaning of Article 14(1)(a) of the E­ Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC), and request that you act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the offending webpage.

If we receive confirmation within fourteen days of the date of this letter that you have removed or disabled access to the Publishers’ content on the offending webpage, we will take no further action against you in respect of this matter. If this confirmation is not received, the Publishers reserve the right to issue proceedings against you seeking relief for infringement of copyright. If proceedings become necessary (which may be issued and served without further notice to you), the remedies that may be available to the Publishers include an injunction pending trial, delivery up or destruction of all infringing copies, damages or an account of profits, legal costs and interest. In the meantime, we reserve all our rights in this matter, including that to take whichever commercial measures we consider appropriate.

We look forward to hearing from you by 17.30 on Tuesday 10th December 2013. I should be grateful if you could respond both to me and to the group legal department on [email protected]

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